Aeschines, Speeches (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose; rhetoric] [word count] [Aeschin.].
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For they will offer a law that has nothing to do with this case, and will say that the city has two laws governing proclamations: one, the law that I now offer in evidence, which expressly forbids the man who is crowned by the people to be proclaimed outside the assembly; but they will say that there is another law, contradictory to this, and that that law has given authority for the proclamation of the crown at the time of the tragedies in the theater, “if the people vote.” And so they will say that it is in accordance with that law that Ctesiphon has made his motion.


Now against their tricks I will introduce your own laws as my advocates, as indeed I earnestly try to do throughout this whole prosecution. For if what they say is true, and such a custom has crept into your government that invalid laws stand written among the valid, and that there exist two laws concerning one and the same action, which contradict each other, how could any man longer call this a “government,” if in it the laws command to do and not to do one and the same thing?


But that is not the case. May you never reach the point where your laws are in such disorder as that! Nor was the lawgiver who established the democracy guilty of such neglect; he has expressly laid upon the Thesmothetae [Note] the duty of making an annual revision of the laws in the presence of the people, prescribing sharp investigation and examination, in order to determine whether any law stands written which contradicts another law, or an invalid law stands among the valid, or whether more laws than one stand written to govern each action.


And if they find such a thing, they are required to write it out and post it on bulletins in front of the Eponymi; [Note] and the prytanes are required to call a meeting of the assembly, writing at the head of the call, “For Nomothetae”; [Note] and the chairman of the presiding officers must submit to vote [Note] the question of the removal of one set of laws and the retention of the other, in order that for each action there may be one law and no more. Please read the laws.Laws


If now, fellow citizens, what they assert were true, and two laws had been in force governing proclamations, I think the Thesmothetae would necessarily have searched them out, and the prytanes would have referred them to the Nomothetae, and one or the other of the two laws would have been repealed, either the law that gave authority for the proclamation, or the law that forbade it. But seeing that no such thing has been done, surely what they say is demonstrated to be, not only false, but absolutely impossible.


But I will show you where they get this false assertion. First, however, I will tell the reason why the laws governing the proclamations in the theater were enacted. It frequently happened that at the performance of the tragedies in the city proclamations were made without authorization of the people, now that this or that man was crowned by his tribe, now that others were crowned by the men of their deme, while other men by the voice of the herald manumitted their household slaves, and made all Hellas their witness;


and, most invidious of all, certain men who had secured positions as agents of foreign states managed to have proclaimed that they were crowned—it might be by the people of Rhodes, or of Chios, or of some other state—in recognition of their merit and uprightness. And this they did, not like those who were crowned by your senate or by the people, by first obtaining your consent and by your decree, and after establishing large claims upon your gratitude, but themselves reaching out after the honor with no authorization from you.


The result of this practice was that the spectators, the choregi, and the actors alike were discommoded, and that those who were crowned in the theater received greater honors than those whom the people crowned. For the latter had a place prescribed where they must receive their crown, the assembly of the people, and proclamation “anywhere else” was forbidden; but the others were proclaimed in the presence of all the Hellenes; the one class with your consent, by your decree; the other, without decree.


Now some legislator, seeing this, caused a law to be enacted which has nothing to do with the law concerning those who are crowned by our people, and did not supersede it. For it was not the assembly that was being disturbed, but the theater; and he was not enacting a law contradictory to the previously existing laws, for that may not be done; but a law governing those who, without your decree, are crowned by their tribe or deme, and governing the freeing of slaves, and also the foreign crowns. He expressly forbids the manumission of a slave in the theater, or the proclamation of a crown by the tribe or deme, “or by any one else,” he says, “and the herald who disobeys shall lose his civic rights.”

Aeschines, Speeches (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose; rhetoric] [word count] [Aeschin.].
<<Aeschin. 3.30 Aeschin. 3.40 (Greek) >>Aeschin. 3.48

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