Andocides, Speeches (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose; rhetoric] [word count] [Andoc.].
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On the Mysteries

1.1The systematic and untiring efforts of my enemies, gentlemen, to do me every possible injury, by fair means or by foul, from the very moment of my arrival in this city, [Note] are known to almost all of you, and it is unnecessary for me to pursue the subject. Instead, I shall make a request of you, gentlemen, a fair request, which it is as easy for you to grant as it is valuable for me to gain. [Note] 1.2First, I ask you to bear in mind that it is not because I have been forced to face my trial that I am here today—I have not been on bail, nor have I been kept in confinement. [Note] I am here, first and foremost because I rely upon justice and secondly because I rely upon you; I believe that you will decide my case impartially and, far sooner than allow my enemies to defy justice by taking my life, will uphold justice by protecting me, as your laws and your oaths as jurors require you to do.

1.3With defendants who face a trial of their own free will, gentlemen, it stands to reason that you should feel as convinced of their innocence as they do themselves. When a defendant admits himself guilty by refusing to await trial, you naturally endorse the verdict which he has passed upon himself; so it follows that if a man is prepared to face his trial because his conscience is clear, you should let his verdict upon himself determine your own in the same way, instead of presuming him guilty. 1.4Mine is a case in point. My enemies have been saying, or so I keep hearing, that I would take to my heels instead of standing my ground. “What motive could Andocides possibly have for braving so hazardous a trial?” they argue. “He can count upon a livelihood sufficient for all his needs, if he does no more than withdraw from Attica; while if he returns to Cyprus whence he has come, [Note] an abundance of good land has been offered him and is his for the asking. Will a man in his position want to risk his life? What object could he have in doing so? Cannot he see the state of things in Athens?” 1.5That entirely misrepresents my feelings, gentlemen. I would never consent to a life abroad which cut me off from my country, whatever the advantages attached to it; and although conditions in Athens may be what my enemies allege, I would sooner be a citizen of her than of any other state which may appear to me to be just now at the height of prosperity. Those are the feelings which have led me to place my life in your hands.

1.6I ask you, then, to show more sympathy to me, the defendant, gentlemen, than to my accusers, in the knowledge that even if you give us an impartial hearing, the defence is inevitably at a disadvantage. The prosecution have brought their charge in perfect safety, after elaborating their plans at leisure; whereas I who am answering that charge am filled with fear; my life is at stake, and I have been grossly misrepresented. You have good reason for showing more sympathy to me than you do to my accusers.

1.7And there is another thing to be borne in mind. Serious charges have often before now been disproved at once, and so decisively that you would much rather have punished the accusers than the accused. Again, witnesses have caused the death of innocent men by giving false evidence, and have only been convicted of perjury when it was too late to be of help to the victims. When this kind of thing has been so common, you can hardly do less than refuse for the Present to consider the prosecution's statement of the case trustworthy. You may use it to judge whether the charge is serious or not but you cannot tell whether the charge is true or false until you have heard my reply as well.

1.8Now I am wondering at what point to begin my defence, gentlemen. Shall I start with what ought to be discussed last and prove that the prosecution disobeyed the law in lodging their information against me? [Note] Shall I take the decree of Isotimides and show that it has been annulled? Shall I start with the laws which have been passed and the oaths which have been taken? Or shall I tell you the story right from the beginning? I will explain the chief reason for my hesitation. Doubtless the different charges made have not moved you all to the same degree, and each of you has some one of them to which he would like me to reply first; yet to answer them all simultaneously is impossible. On the whole, I think it best to tell you the entire story from the beginning, omitting nothing; once you are properly acquainted with the facts, you will see immediately how unfounded are the charges which my accusers have brought against me.

1.9Now to return a just verdict is already, I feel sure, your intention; indeed, it was because I relied upon you that I stood my ground. I have observed that in suits public and private the one thing to which you attach supreme importance is that your decision should accord with your oath; and it is that, and that alone, which keeps our city unshaken, in spite of those who would have things otherwise. I do, however, ask you to listen to my defence with sympathy; do not range yourselves with my opponents; do not view my story with suspicion; do not watch for faults of expression. Hear my defence to the end: and only then return the verdict which you think best befits yourselves and best satisfies your oath. 1.10As I have already told you, gentlemen, my defence will begin at the beginning and omit nothing. I shall deal first with the actual charge which furnished grounds for the lodging of the information that has brought me into court today, profanation of the Mysteries. I shall show that I have committed no act of impiety, that I have never turned informer, that I have never admitted guilt, and that I do not know whether the statements made to you by those who did turn informers were true or false. Of all this you shall have proof.

1.11The Assembly had met [Note] to give audience to Nicias, Lamachus, and Alcibiades, the generals about to leave with the Sicilian expedition—in fact, Lamachus' flag-ship was already lying offshore—when suddenly Pythonicus rose before the people and cried: “Countrymen, you are sending forth this mighty host in all its array upon a perilous enterprise. Yet your commander, Alcibiades, has been holding celebrations of the Mysteries in a private house, and others with him; I will prove it. Grant immunity [Note] to him whom I indicate, and a non-initiate, a slave belonging to someone here present, shall describe the Mysteries to you. You can punish me as you will, if that is not the truth.” 1.12Alcibiades denied the charge at great length; so the Prytanes [Note] decided to clear the meeting of non-initiates and themselves fetch the lad indicated by Pythonicus. They went off, and returned with a slave belonging to Archebiades, son of Polemarchus. His name was Andromachus. As soon as immunity had been voted him, he stated that Mysteries had been celebrated in Pulytion's house. Alcibiades, Niciades and Meletus —those were the actual celebrants; but others had been present and had witnessed what took place. The audience had also included slaves, namely, himself, his brother, the fluteplayer Hicesius, and Meletus' slave.

1.13Such was the statement of Andromachus, the first of the informers. He gave the following list of persons concerned, [Note] all of whom, save Polystratus, fled the country and were sentenced to death by you in their absence; Polystratus was arrested and executed. Take the list, please, and read out their names. [Note]NamesThe following were denounced by Andromachus: Alcibiades, Niciades, Meletus, Archebiades, Archippus, Diogenes, Polystratus, Aristomenes, Oeonias, Panaetius.

1.14This was the first information, gentlemen; it was due to Andromachus, and implicated the persons mentioned. Now call Diognetus, please. WitnessYou were on the commission of inquiry, [Note] Diognetus when Pythonicus impeached Alcibiades before the Assembly?


You recollect that Andromachus laid an information as to what was going on in Pulytion's house?


And these are the names of those implicated by that information?


1.15A second information followed. An alien named Teucrus, resident in Athens, quietly withdrew to Megara. From Megara he informed the Council that if immunity were granted him, he was prepared not only to lodge an information with regard to the Mysteries—as one of the participants, he would reveal the names of his companions—but he would also tell what he knew of the mutilation of the Hermae. The Council, which had supreme powers at the time, voted acceptance; and messengers were sent to Megara to fetch him. He was brought to Athens, and on being granted immunity, furnished a list of his associates. No sooner had Teucrus denounced them than they fled the country. Take the list, please, and read out their names. NamesThe following were denounced by Teucrus: Phaedrus, Gniphonides, Isonomus, Hephaestodorus, Cephisodorus, himself, Diognetus, Smindyrides, Philocrates, Antiphon, [Note] Teisarchus, Pantacles.

Let me remind you, gentlemen, that you are receiving confirmation of these further facts in every detail. [Note]

1.16A third information followed. According to the wife of Alcmaeonides—she had previously been married to Damon and was named Agariste—according, as I say, to Alcmaeonides' wife, Alcibiades, Axiochus, and Adeimantus celebrated Mysteries in Charmides' house, next to the Olympieum. No sooner had the information been lodged than those concerned left the country to a man.

1.17There was still one more information. According to Lydus, a slave of Pherecles of Themacus, Mysteries were celebrated at the house of his master, Pherecles, at Themacus. He gave a list of those concerned, including my father among them; my father had been present, so Lydus said, but asleep with his head under his cloak. Speusippus, one of the members of the Council, was for handing them all over to the proper court; whereupon my father furnished surieties and brought an action against Speusippus for making an illegal proposal. [Note] The case was tried before six thousand citizens. [Note] There were six thousand jurors, I repeat; yet Speusippus failed to gall the votes of two hundred. I may add that my father was induced to stay in the country partly by the entreaties of his relatives in general, but principally by my own. 1.18Kindly call Callias and Stephanus—yes, and call Philippus and Alexippus. Philippus and Alexippus are related to Acumenus and Autocrator, who fled in consequence of the information lodged by Lydus; Autocrator is a nephew of the one, and Acumenus is the other's uncle. They have little reason to love the man who drove the them from this country, and they should also know better than anyone who it was who caused their exile in the first instance. [Note] Face the court, gentlemen, and state whether I have been telling the truth. Witnesses

1.19Now that you have heard the facts, gentlemen, and the witnesses have confirmed them for you, let me remind you of the version of those facts which the prosecution had the effrontery to give—for after all, the right way to conduct a defence is to recall the statements of the prosecution and disprove them. According to the prosecution, I myself gave information in the matter of the Mysteries and included my own father in my list of those present: yes, turned informer against my own father. I cannot imagine a more outrageous, a more abominable suggestion. My father was denounced by Pherecles' slave, Lydus: it was I who persuaded him to remain in Athens instead of escaping into exile—and it was only after numberless entreaties and by clinging to his knees that I did so. 1.20What, pray, was I about in informing against my father, as we are asked to believe that I did, when at the same time I was begging him to remain in Athens—begging him, that is, to let me be guilty of the consequences to himself? Again, we are to suppose that my father himself consented to face a trial which was bound to have one or other of two terrible results for him; if my information against him was deemed true, his blood would be upon my hands: if he himself was acquitted, mine would be upon his; because the law ran that whereas an informer's claim to immunity should be allowed if his information were true, he should be put to death, if it were not. Yet if there is one thing of which you are all certain, it is the fact that my father and I both escaped with our lives. That could not have happened, if I had informed against my father: either he or I would have had to die.

1.21Then again, assume that he actually desired to stay. Do you imagine that his friends would have let him do so? Would they have gone bail for him? Would they not have urged him to change his mind? Would they not have begged him to find some place of refuge abroad, where he would be out of harm's way himself and would avoid causing my death also?

1.22But to return to facts: when prosecuting Speusippus for making an illegal proposal, one thing upon which my father insisted repeatedly was that he had never visited Pherecles at Themacus in his life; and he offered the defence the opportunity of examining his slaves under torture [Note]; those who were ready to hand over their slaves, he said, ought not to meet with a refusal of the test which they were proposing, when those who were not ready to hand them over were forced to do so. You all know my father's challenge to be a fact. Now if there is any truth in the prosecution's assertion, what had Speusippus to reply but: “Why talk of slaves, Leogoras? Has not your son here informed against you? Does not he say that you were at Themacus? Andocides, prove your father guilty, or your chance of a pardon is gone.” Was that Speusippus' natural retort or not, gentlemen? 1.23I for one think so. In fact, if I ever entered a court, if I was ever mentioned in connexion with the affair, or if there is any recorded information or list containing my name, let alone any for which I was myself responsible, anyone who wishes is welcome to step up here and prove it against me. For my own part, I have never known anyone tell so outrageous or so unconvincing a story. All that was necessary, they imagined, was sufficient effrontery to bring a charge; the possibility of their being refuted did not disturb them in the least. Be consistent, then. 1.24Had this accusation of theirs been true, your anger would have fallen upon me, and you would have considered the severest penalty justified. So now that you see them to be lying, I demand that you look upon them instead as scoundrels—and with good reason too: for if the worst of their charges are shown to be conspicuously false, I shall hardly find it difficult to prove the same of those which are less serious.

1.25Such, then, were the informations lodged in connexion with the Mysteries; they were, as I say, four in number. I have read you the names of those who went into exile after each, and the witnesses have given their evidence. I shall now do something more to convince you, gentlemen. Of those who went into exile as a result of the profanation of the Mysteries, some died abroad; but others have returned and are living in Athens. These last are present in court at my request. 1.26Any of them who wishes is welcome to prove, in the time now allotted to me, [Note] that I was responsible for the exile of any of their number, that I informed against any of them, or that the various groups did not go into exile in consequence of the particular informations which I have described to you. If I am shown not to be speaking the truth, you may punish me as you will. I shall now interrupt my defence and give place to anyone who wishes to step up here.

1.27And now, gentlemen, what followed? After the various informations had been laid, the question of rewards arose: for Cleonymus' decree had offered one thousand drachmae, and Peisander's ten. [Note] Conflicting claims were made by the informers I have mentioned, [Note] by Pythonicus, on the ground that he had first brought the matter before the Assembly, and by Androcles, who urged the part played by the Council. 1.28It was therefore publicly resolved that such members of the court of the Thesmothetae [Note] as were initiates should be presented with the informations of the several claimants and decide between them. As a result the principal reward was voted to Andromachus, the second to Teucrus; and at the festival of the Panathenaea [Note] Andromachus received ten thousand drachmae and Teucrus one thousand. Kindly call witnesses to confirm this.Witnesses

1.29So much for the profanation of the Mysteries, gentlemen, on which the information lodged against me is based and which you are here as initiates to investigate. I have shown that I have committed no act of impiety, that I have never turned informer, that I have never admitted guilt, and that I have not a single offence against the Two Goddesses [Note] upon my conscience, whether serious or otherwise. And it is vitally important for me to convince you of this; for the stories told you by the prosecution, who treated you to so shrill a recital of bloodcurdling horrors, with their descriptions of past offenders who have made mock of the Two Goddesses and of the fearful end to which they have been brought as a punishment—what, I ask you, have such tales and such crimes to do with me? 1.30It is I, in fact, who am much more truly the accuser, and they the accused. They have been guilty of impiety; and therefore, I maintain, they deserve death. I, on the other hand, have done no wrong, and therefore I deserve to go unharmed. It would be nothing less than monstrous to vent upon me the wrath which the misdeeds of others have aroused in you, or to let the malicious attack to which I have been subjected weigh more with you than the truth, when you know that it is my enemies who are responsible for it. Obviously anyone who was guilty of an offence such as that with which we are concerned could not clear himself by denying that he had committed it: for the scrutiny to which a defendant's statements are subjected is formidable indeed when the court already knows the truth. But to me the inquiry into the facts is the very opposite of embarrassing; I have no need to resort to entreaties or appeals for mercy to gain an acquittal upon a charge such as this: I have merely to show the absurdity of the statements of my accusers by reminding you of what actually occurred. 1.31And you yourselves have taken solemn oaths as the jurors who are to decide my fate: as jurors you have sworn to see that that decision is a fair one, under pain of causing the most terrible of curses to fall upon yourselves and your children; and at the same time you are here as initiates who have witnessed the rites of the Two Goddesses, in order that you may punish those who are guilty of impiety and protect those who are innocent. 1.32Understand, then, that to condemn the innocent for impiety is no less an act of impiety than to acquit the guilty. Indeed, in the name of the Two Goddesses I repeat yet more sternly the charge laid upon you by my accusers, for the sake both of the rites which you have witnessed and of the Greeks who are coming to this city for the festival. If I have committed any act of impiety, if I have admitted guilt, if I have informed against another, or if another has informed against me, then put me to death; I ask no mercy. 1.33But if on the other hand, I have committed no offence, and completely satisfy you of the fact, then I ask you to let the whole nation see that I have been brought to trial wrongfully. Should Cephisius here, who was responsible for the information laid against me, fail to gain one-fifth of your votes and so lose his rights as a citizen, he is forbidden to set foot within the sanctuary of the Two Goddesses under pain of death. [Note] And now, if you think my defence satisfactory up to the present, show your approval, so that I may present what remains with increased confidence.

1.34Next comes the mutilation of the images and the denunciation of those responsible. I will do as I promised and tell you the whole story from the beginning. On his return from Megara Teucrus was guaranteed his immunity. Hereupon, besides communicating what he knew about the Mysteries, he gave a list of eighteen of those responsible for the mutilation of the images. Of these eighteen, a number fled the country upon being denounced; the remainder were arrested and executed upon the information lodged by Teucrus. Kindly read their names. 1.35NamesIn the matter of the Hermae Teucrus denounced: Euctemon, Glaucippus, Eurymachus, Polyeuctus, Plato, Antidorus, Charippus, Theodorus, Alcisthenes, Menestratus, Eryximachus, Euphiletus, Eurydamas, Pherecles, Meletus, Timanthes, Archidamus, Telenicus.

A number of these men have returned to Athens and are present in court, as are several of the relatives of those who have died. Any of them is welcome to step up here, during the time now allotted me, and prove against me that I caused either the exile or the death of a single one.

1.36And now for what followed. Peisander [Note] and Charicles, [Note] who were regarded in those days as the most fervent of democrats, were members of the commission of inquiry. These two maintained that the outrage was not the work of a small group of criminals, but an organized attempt to overthrow the popular government: and that therefore inquiries ought still to be pursued as vigorously as ever. As a result, Athens reached such a state that the lowering of the flag, by the Herald, when summonig a meeting of the Council, was quite as much a signal for the citizens to hurry from the Agora, each in terror of arrest, as it was for the Council to proceed to the Council-chamber. [Note]

1.37The general distress encouraged Diocleides to bring an impeachment before the Council. He claimed that he knew who had mutilated the Hermae, and gave their number as roughly three hundred. He then went on to explain how he had come to witness the outrage. Now I want you to think carefully here, gentlemen; try to remember whether I am telling the truth, and inform your companions; for it was before you that Diocleides stated his case, and you are my witnesses of what occurred.

1.38Diocleides' tale was that he had had to fetch the earnings of a slave of his at Laurium. [Note] He arose at an early hour, mistaking the time, and started off on his walk by the light of a fuIl moon. As he was passing the gateway of the theatre of Dionysus, he noticed a large body of men coming down into the orchestra from the Odeum. [Note] In alarm, he withdrew into the shadow and crouched down between the column and the pedestal with the bronze statue of the general upon it. He then saw some three hundred men standing about in groups of five and ten and, in some cases, twenty. He recognized the faces of the majority, as he could see them in the moonlight. 1.39Now to begin with, gentlemen, Diocleides gave his story this particular form simply to be in a position to say of any citizen, according as he chose, that he was or was not one of the offenders—a monstrous proceeding. However, to continue his tale: after seeing what he had, he went on to Laurium; and when he learned next day of the mutilation of the Hermae, he knew at once that it was the work of the men he had noticed. 1.40On his return to Athens he found a commission already appointed to investigate, and a reward of one hundred minae offered for information [Note]; so seeing Euphemus, the brother of Callias, son of Telocles, sitting in his smithy, he took him to the temple of Hephaestus. Then, after describing, as I have described to you, how he had seen us on the night in question, he said that he would rather take our money than the state's, as he would thereby avoid making enemies of us. Euphemus thanked Diocleides for confiding in him. “And now,” he added, “be good enough to come to Leogoras' house, so that you and I can see Andocides and the others who must be consulted.” 1.41According to his story, Diocleides called next day. My father happened to be coming out just as he was knocking at the door. “Are you the man they are expecting in there?” he asked. “Well, well, we must not turn friends like you away.” And with these words he went off. This was an attempt to bring about my father's death by showing that he was in the secret.

We informed Diocleides, or so he alleged, that we had decided to offer him two talents of silver, as against the hundred minae from the Treasury, [Note] and promised that he should become one of ourselves, if we achieved our end. [Note] Both sides were to give a guarantee of good faith. Diocleides replied that he would think it over; 1.42and we told him to meet us at Callias' house, so that Callias, son of Telocles, might be present as well. This was a similar attempt to bring about the death of my brother-in-law.

Diocleides said that he went to Callias' house, and after terms had been arranged, pledged his word on the Acropolis. [Note] we on our side agreed to give him the money the following month; but we broke our promise and did not do so. He had therefore come to reveal the truth.

1.43Such was the impeachment brought by Diocleides, gentlemen. He gave a list of forty-two persons whom he claimed to have recognized, and at the head of the forty-two appeared Mantitheus and Apsephion who were members of the Council and present at that very meeting. Peisander hereupon rose and moved that the decree passed in the archonship of Scamandrius [Note] be suspended and all whose names were on the list sent to the wheel, to ensure the discovery of everyone concerned before nightfall. The Council broke into shouts of approval. 1.44At that Mantitheus and Apsephion took sanctuary on the hearth, and appealed to be allowed to furnish sureties and stand trial, instead of being racked. They finally managed to gain their request; but no sooner had they provided their sureties than they leapt on horseback and deserted to the enemy, [Note] leaving the sureties to their fate, as they were now liable to the same penalties as the prisoners for whom they had gone bail.

1.45The Council adjourned for a private consultation and in the course of it gave orders for our arrest and close confinement. [Note] Then they summoned the Generals and bade them proclaim that citizens resident in Athens proper were to proceed under arms to the Agora; those between the Long Walls to the Theseum; and those in Peiraeus to the Agora of Hippodamus. The Knights were to be mustered at the Anaceum [Note] by trumpet before nightfall, while the Council would take up its quarters on the Acropolis for the night, and the Prytanes in the Tholus. [Note]

1.46Now first of all I want those of you who witnessed all this to picture it once more and describe it to those who did not. Next I will ask the clerk to call the Prytanes in office at the time, Philocrates and his colleagues. Witnesses

1.47And now I am also going to read you the names of those denounced by Diocleides, so that you may see how many relatives of mine he tried to ruin. First there was my father, and then my brother-in-law; my father he had represented as in the secret, while he had alleged that my brother-in-law's house was the scene of the meeting. The names of the rest you shall hear. Read them out to the court.

Charmides, son of Aristoteles.

That is a cousin of mine; his mother and my father were brother and sister.


That is a cousin of my father's.


A son of Taureas.

Callias, son of Alcmaeon.

A cousin of my father's.


A brother of Callias, son of Telocles.

Phrynichus, son of Orchesamenus. [Note]

A cousin.


The brother of Nicias. [Note] He is Callias' brother-in-law.


Another cousin of my father's; their mothers were sisters.

All of these appeared among the last forty on Diocleides' list.

1.48We were all thrown into one prison. Darkness fell, and the gates were shut. Mothers, sisters, wives, and children had gathered. Nothing was to be heard save the cries and moans of grief-stricken wretches bewailing the calamity which had overtaken them. In the midst of it all, Charmides, a cousin of my own age who had been brought up with me in my own home since boyhood, said to me: 1.49“You see the utter hopelessness of our position, Andocides. I have never yet wished to say anything which might distress you: but now our plight leaves me no choice. Your friends and associates outside the family have all been subjected to the charges which are now to prove our own undoing: and half of them have been put to death,—while the other half have admitted their guilt by going into exile. [Note] 1.50I beg of you: if you have heard anything concerning this affair, disclose it. Save yourself: save your father, who must be dearer to you than anyone in the world: save your brother-in-law, the husband of your only sister: save all those others who are bound to you by ties of blood and family: and lastly, save me, who have never vexed you in my life and who am ever ready to do anything for you and your good.”

1.51At this appeal from Charmides, gentlemen, which was echoed by the rest, who each addressed their entreaties to me in turn, I thought to myself: “Never, oh, never has a man found himself in a more terrible strait than I. Am I to look on while my own kindred perish for a crime which they have not committed: while they themselves are put to death and their goods are confiscated: nay more, while the names of persons entirely innocent of the deed which has been done are inscribed upon stones of record as the names of men accursed in the sight of heaven? Am I to pay no heed to three hundred Athenians who are to be wrongfully put to death, to the desperate plight of Athens, to the suspicions of citizen for citizen? Or am I to reveal to my countrymen the story told me by the true criminal, Euphiletus?” [Note]

1.52Then a further thought struck me, gentlemen. I reminded myself that a number of the offenders responsible for the mutilation had already been executed upon the information lodged by Teucrus, while yet others had escaped into exile and been sentenced to death in their absence. In fact, there remained only four of the criminals whose names had not been divulged by Teucrus: Panaetius, Chaeredemus, Diacritus, and Lysistratus; 1.53and it was only natural to assume that they had been among the first to be denounced by Diocleides, as they were friends of those who had already been put to death. It was thus still doubtful whether they would escape: but it was certain that my own kindred would perish, unless Athens learned the truth. So I decided that it was better to cut off from their country four men who richly deserved it—men alive today and restored to home and property—than to let those others go to a death which they had done nothing whatever to deserve.

1.54If, then, any of you yourselves, gentlemen, or any of the public at large has ever been possessed with the notion that I informed against my associates with the object of purchasing my own life at the price of theirs—a tale invented by my enemies, who wished to present me in the blackest colours—use the facts themselves as evidence; 1.55for today not only is it incumbent upon me to give a faithful account of myself—I am in the presence, remember, of the actual offenders who went into exile after committing the crime which we are discussing; they know better than anyone whether I am lying or not, and they have my permission to interrupt me and prove that what I am saying is untrue—but it is no less incumbent upon you to discover what truly happened. 1.56I say this, gentlemen, because the chief task confronting me in this trial is to prevent anyone thinking the worse of me on account of my escape: to make first you and then the whole world understand that the explanation of my behaviour from start to finish lay in the desperate plight of Athens and, to a lesser degree, in that of my own family, not in any lack of principles or courage: to make you understand that, in disclosing that Euphiletus had told me, I was actuated solely by my concern for my relatives and friends and by my concern for the state as a whole, motives which I for one consider not a disgrace but a credit. If this proves to be the truth of the matter, I think it only my due that I should be acquitted with my good name unimpaired.

1.57Come now, in considering a case, a judge should make allowances for human shortcomings, gentlemen, as he would do, were he in the same plight himself. What would each of you have done? Had the choice lain between dying a noble death and preserving my life at the cost of my honour, my behaviour might well be described as base—though many would have made exactly the same choice; they would rather have remained alive than have died like heroes. 1.58But the alternatives before me were precisely the opposite. On the other hand, if I remained silent, I myself died in disgrace for an act of impiety which I had not comitted, and I allowed my father, my brother-in-law, and a host of my relatives and cousins to perish in addition. Yes, I, and I alone, was sending them to their death, if I refused to say that others were to blame; for Diocleides had thrown them into prison by his lies, and they could only be rescued if their countrymen were put in full possession of the facts; therefore I became their murderer if I refused to tell what I had heard. Besides this, I was causing three hundred citizens to perish; while the plight of Athens was growing desperate. 1.59That is what silence meant. On the other hand, by revealing the truth I saved my own life, I saved my father, I saved the rest of my family, and I freed Athens from the panic which was working such havoc. True, I was sending four men into exile; but all four were guilty. And for the others, who had already been denounced by Teucrus, I am sure that none of them, whether dead or in exile, was one whit the worse off for any disclosures of mine.

1.60Taking all this into consideration, gentlemen, I found that the least objectionable of the courses open to me was to tell the truth as quickly as possible, to prove that Diocleides had lied, and so to punish the scoundrel who was causing us to be put to death wrongfully and imposing upon the public, while in return he was being hailed as a supreme benefactor and rewarded for his services. 1.61I therefore informed the Council that I knew the offenders, and showed exactly what had occurred. The idea, I said, had been suggested by Euphiletus at a drinking-party; but I opposed it, and succeeded in preventing its execution for the time being. Later, however, I was thrown from a colt of mine in Cynosarges [Note]; I broke my collar-bone and fractured my skull, and had to be taken home on a litter. 1.62When Euphiletus saw my condition, he informed the others that I had consented to join them and had promised him to mutilate the Hermes next to the shrine of Phorbas [Note] as my share in the escapade. He told them this to hoodwink them; and that is why the Hermes which you can all see standing close to the home of our family, the Hermes dedicated by the Aegeid tribe, was the only one in Athens unmutilated, it being understood that I would attend to it as Euphiletus had promised.

1.63When the others learned the truth, they were furious to think that I was in the secret without having taken any active part; and the next day I received a visit from Meletus [Note] and Euphiletus. “We have managed it all right, Andocides,” they told me. “Now if you will consent to keep quiet and say nothing, you will find us just as good friends as before. If you do not, you will find that you have been much more successful at making enemies of us than at making fresh friends by turning traitor to us.” 1.64I replied that I certainly thought Euphiletus a scoundrel for acting as he had; although he and his companions had far less to fear from my being in the secret than from the mere fact that the deed was done.

I supported this account by handing over my slave for torture, to prove that I was ill at the time in question and had not even left my bed; and the Prytanes arrested the women-servants in the house which the criminals had used as their base. 1.65The Council and the commission of inquiry went into the matter closely, and when at length they found that it was as I said and that the witnesses corroborated me without exception, they summoned Diocleides. He, however, made a long cross-examination unnecessary by admitting at once that he had been lying, and begged that he might be pardoned if he disclosed who had induced him to tell his story; the culprits, he said, were Alcibiades of Phegus [Note] and Amiantus of Aegina. 1.66Alcibiades and Amiantus fled from the country in terror; and when you heard the facts yourselves, you handed Diocleides over to the court and put him to death. You released the prisoners awaiting execution—my relatives, who owed their escape to me alone—you welcomed back the exiles, and yourselves shouldered arms [Note] and dispersed, freed from grave danger and distress.

1.67Not only do the circumstances in which I here found myself entitle me to the sympathy of all, gentlemen, but my conduct can leave you in no doubt about my integrity. When Euphiletus suggested that we pledge ourselves to what was the worst possible treachery, I opposed him, I attacked him, I heaped on him the scorn which he deserved. Yet once his companions had committed the crime, I kept their secret; it was Teucrus who lodged the information which led to their death or exile, before we had been thrown into prison by Diocleides or were threatened with death. After our imprisonment I denounced four persons: Panaetius, Diacritus, Lysistratus, and Chaeredemus. 1.68I was responsible for the exile of these four, I admit; but I saved my father, my brother-in-law, three cousins, and seven other relatives, [Note] all of whom were about to be put to death wrongfully; they owe it to me that they are still looking on the light of day, and they are the first to acknowledge it. In addition, the scoundrel who had thrown the whole of Athens into chaos and endangered her very existence was exposed; and your own suspense and suspicions of one another were at an end.

1.69Now recollect whether what I have been saying is true, gentlemen; and if you know the facts, make them clear to those who do not. Next I will ask the clerk to call the persons who owed their release to me; no one knows what happened better than they, and no one can give the court a better account of it. The position, then, is this, gentlemen: they will address you from the platform for as long as you care to listen to them; then, when you are satisfied, I will proceed to the remainder of my defence. Witnesses

1.70You now know exactly what took place at the time, I for one think that I have given all the explanations necessary. However, should any of you wish to hear more or think that any point has not been dealt with satisfactorily, or should I have omitted anything, has only to rise and mention it, and I will reply to his inquiry as well. Otherwise, I will proceed to explain the legal position to you.

1.71Admittedly, Cephisius here conformed with the law as it stands in lodging his information against me; but he is resting his case upon an old decree, moved by Isotimides, [Note] which does not concern me at all. Isotimides proposed to exclude from temples all who had committed an act of impiety and admitted their guilt. I have done neither: I have not committed any act of impiety, nor have I admitted guilt. 1.72Further, I will prove to you that the decree in question has been repealed and is void. I shall be adopting a dangerous line of defence here, I know; if I fail to convince you, I shall myself be the sufferer, and if I succeed in convincing you, I shall have cleared my opponents. [Note] However, the truth shall be told.

1.73After the loss of your fleet and the investment of Athens [Note] you discussed ways and means of re-uniting the city. As a result you decided to reinstate those who had lost their civic rights, a resolution moved by Patrocleides. Now who were the disfranchised, and what were their different disabilities? I will explain. [Note]

First, state-debtors. All who had been condemned on their accounts when vacating a public office, all who had been condemned as judgement-debtors, [Note] all those fined in a public action or under the summary jurisdiction of a magistrate, all who farmed taxes and then defaulted or were liable to the state as sureties for a defaulter, [Note] had to pay within eight Prytanies; otherwise, the sum due was doubled and the delinquent's property distrained upon. [Note]

1.74Such was one form of disfranchisement. According to a second, delinquents lost all personal rights, but retained possession of their property. This class included all persons convicted of theft or of accepting bribes—it was laid down that both they and their descendants should lose their personal rights. Similarly, all who deserted on the field of battle, who were found guilty of evasion of military service, of cowardice, or of withholding a ship from action, [Note] all who threw away their shields, or were thrice convicted of giving perjured evidence or of falsely endorsing a summons, [Note] or who were found guilty of maltreating their parents, were deprived of their personal rights, while retaining possession of their property.

1.75Others again had their rights curtailed in specified directions; they were only partially, not wholly, disfranchised. The soldiers who remained in Athens under the Four Hundred are a case in point. [Note] They enjoyed all the rights of ordinary citizens, except that they were forbidden to speak in the Assembly or become members of the Council. They lost their rights in these two respects, because in their case the limited disability took this particular form. 1.76Others were deprived of the right of bringing an indictment, or of lodging an information: others of sailing up the Hellespont, or of crossing to Ionia: while yet others were specifically debarred from entering the Agora.

You enacted, then, that both the originals and all extant copies of these several decrees should be cancelled, and your differences ended by an exchange of pledges on the Acropolis. Kindly read the decree of Patrocleides whereby this was effected. [Note]

1.77DecreeOn the motion of Patrocleides: whereas the Athenians have enacted that persons disfranchised and public debtors may speak and propose measures in the Assembly with impunity, the People shall pass the decree which was passed at the time of the Persian Wars and which proved of benefit to Athens. As touching such of those registered with the Superintendents of Revenue, the Treasurers of Athena and the other Deities, or the Basileus, as had not been removed from the register before the last sitting of the Council in the archonship of Callias, [Note]: 1.78all who before that date had been disfranchised as debtors: or had been found guilty of maladministration by the Auditors and their assessors at the Auditors' offices: or had been indicted for maladministration, but had not as yet been publicly tried: or <had been condemned to suffer> specific disabilities: or had been condemned as sureties for a defaulter; and all who were recorded as members of the Four Hundred: or who had recorded against them any act performed under the oligarchy—alway excepting those publicly recorded as fugitives: those who have been tried for homicide by the Areopagus, or by the Ephetae, whether sitting at the Pryaneum or the Delphinium, under the Presidency of the Basileus, and are now in exile or under sentence of death [Note]: and those guilty of massacre or attempted tyranny— 1.79shall one and all have their names everywhere cancelled by the Superintendents of Revenue and by the Council in accordance with the foregoing, wherever any public record of their offence be found; and any copies of such records which anywhere exist shall be produced by the Thesmothetae and other magistrates. This shall be done within three days after the consent of the People has been given. And no one shall secretly retain a copy of those records which it has been decided to cancel, nor shall he at any time make malicious reference to the past. He who does so shall be liable to the punishment of fugitives from the court of the Areopagus [Note]: to the end that the Athenians may live in all security both now and hereafter.

1.80By this decree you reinstated those who had lost their rights; but neither the proposal of Patrocleides nor your own enactment contained any reference to a restoration of exiles. However, after you had come to terms with Sparta and demolished your walls, you allowed your exiles to return too. [Note] Then the Thirty came into power, and there followed the occupation of Phyle and Munychia, and those terrible struggles which I am loath to recall either to myself or to you. 1.81After your return from Peiraeus [Note] you resolved to let bygones be bygones, in spite of the opportunity for revenge. You considered the safety of Athens of more importance than the settlement of private scores; so both sides, you decided, were to forget the past. Accordingly, you elected a commission of twenty to govern Athens until a fresh code of laws had been authorized; during the interval the code of Solon and the statutes of Draco were to be in force. 1.82However, after you had chosen a Council by lot and elected Nomothetae, [Note] you began to discover that there were not a few of the laws of Solon and Draco under which numbers of citizens were liable, owing to previous events. You therefore called a meeting of the Assembly to discuss the difficulty, and as a result enacted that the whole of the laws should be revised and that such as were approved should be inscribed the Portico. [Note] Kindly read the decree.

1.83DecreeOn the motion of Teisamenus [Note] the People decreed that Athens be governed as of old, in accordance with the laws of Solon, his weights and his measures, and in accordance with the statutes of Draco, which we used aforetime. Such further laws as may be necessary shall be inscribed upon tables by the Nomothetae elected by the Council and named hereafter, exposed before the Tribal Statutes for all to see, and handed over to the magistrates during the present month. 1.84The laws thus handed over, however, shall be submitted beforehand to the scrutiny of the Council and the five hundred Nomothetae elected by the Demes, when they have taken their oath. Further, any private citizen who so desires may come before the Council and suggest improvements in the laws. When the laws have been ratified, they shall be placed under the guardianship of the Council of the Areopagus, to the end that only such laws as have been ratified may be applied by magistrates. Those laws which are approved shall be inscribed upon the wall, where they were inscribed aforetime, for all to see.

1.85There was a revision of the laws, gentlemen, in obedience to this decree, and such as were approved were inscribed in the Portico. When this had been done, we passed a law which is universally enforced. Kindly read it. LawIn no circumstances shall magistrates enforce a law which has not been inscribed.

1.86Is any loophole left here? Can a single suit be brought before a jury by a magistrate or set in motion by one of you, save under the laws inscribed? Then if it is illegal to enforce a law which has not been inscribed, there can surely be no question of enforcing a decree which has not been inscribed.

Now when we saw that a great many citizens had been placed in a serious position either by previous laws or by previous decrees, we enacted the laws which follow as a safeguard against the very thing which is now going on; we wished to prevent anything of the kind happening, that is to say, and to make it impossible for anyone to prosecute from malice. Kindly read the laws.

1.87LawsIn no circumstances shall magistrates enforce a law which has not been inscribed. No decree, whether of the Council or Assembly, shall override a law. No law shall be directed against an individual without applying to all citizens alike, unless an Assembly of six thousand so resolve by secret ballot. [Note]

What was needed to complete the list? Only the following law, which I will ask the clerk to read to you.

LawsAll decisions given in private suits and by arbitrators under the democracy shall be valid. But of the laws only those passed since the archonship of Eucleides [Note] shall be enforced.

1.88The validity of decisions given in private suits and by arbitrators under the democracy you upheld, gentlemen; and you did so to avoid the cancelling of debts and the reopening of such suits, and to ensure the enforcement of private contracts. On the other hand, in the matter of public offences dealt with by indictment, denunciation, information, or arrest, you enacted that only such laws should be enforced as had been passed since the archonship of Eucleides.

1.89Now you decided that the laws were to be revised and afterwards inscribed that in no circumstances were magistrates to enforce a law which had not been inscribed: that no decree, whether of the Council or the Assembly, was to override a law: that no law might be directed against an individual without applying to all citizens alike: and that only such laws as had been passed since the archonship of Eucleides were to be enforced. In view of this, can any decree passed before the archonship of Eucleides, whatever its importance or unimportance, still remain in force? I for one think not, gentlemen. Just consider the matter for yourselves.

1.90And now, what of your oaths? First, the oath in which the whole city joined, the oath which you swore one and all after the reconciliation:“. . . and I will harbour no grievance against any citizen, save only the Thirty, the Ten, [Note] and the Eleven: and even of them against none who shall consent to render account of his office.” After swearing to forgive even the Thirty, whom you had to thank for sufferings untold, provided that they rendered account of themselves, you can have been in very little hurry to harbour grievances against the ordinary citizen. Again, what is the oath sworn by the Council when it takes office? 1.91“. . . and I will allow no information or arrest arising out of past events, save only in the case of those who fled from Athens.” [Note] And what is your own oath as jurors, gentlemen?“. . . and I will harbour no grievance and submit to no influence, but will give my verdict in accordance with the laws in force at the present time.” Let those oaths help you to decide whether I am right when I say that I am championing yourselves and the laws.

1.92And now, gentlemen, consider how my accusers stand with regard to the laws. They are prosecuting others; but what is their own position? Cephisius here purchased from the state the right to collect certain public rents, and obtained thereby a return of ninety minae from the farmers occupying the lands concerned. He then defaulted; and since he would have been placed in close confinement had he appeared in Athens 1.93—it being laid down by law that any defaulting tax farmer may be so punished by the Council—he retired into exile. Owing, however, to the fact that you decided to apply only those laws passed since the archonship of Eucleides, Cephisius considers himself entitled to keep his profits from your lands. He is no longer an exile, but a citizen: no longer an outcast without rights, but an informer—and all because you are applying only the revised laws.

1.94Then there is Meletus here. Meletus arrested Leon [Note] under the Thirty, as you all know; and Leon was put to death without a trial. But we find it laid down that there shall be no distinction between the principal who plans a crime and the agent who commits it; the law not only existed in the past, but still exists and is still enforced because of its fairness. Quite so; but Leon's sons cannot prosecute Meletus for murder, because only laws passed since the archonship of Eucleides can be enforced. The fact of the arrest, of course, is not denied, even by Meletus himself. [Note]

1.95Then Epichares here, an utter blackguard, and proud of it, a man who does his best not to let his own bygones be bygones—friend Epichares served on the Council under the Thirty. And yet what does the law upon the stone in front of the Council-chamber say? “Whosoever shall hold a public office after the suppression of the democracy may be slain with impunity. No taint shall rest upon his slayer, and he shall possess the goods of the slain.” Thus as far as Solon's law is concerned, Epichares, it is clear that anyone can kill you here and now without defiling his hands. 1.96Kindly read the law from the stone

Law [Note] Enacted by the Council and People. Prytany of the tribe Aeantis. Secretary: Cleigenes. President: Boethus. The enactment following was framed by Demophantus and his colleagues. The date of this decree is the first sitting of the Council of Five Hundred, chosen by lot, at which Cleigenes acted as Secretary.

If anyone shall suppress the democracy at Athens or hold public office after its suppression, he shall become a public enemy and be slain with impunity; his goods shall be confiscated and a tithe given to the Goddess. 1.97No sin shall he commit, no defilement shall he suffer who slays such an one or who conspires to slay him. And all the Athenians shall take oath by tribes and by demes over a sacrifice without blemish to slay such an one. And this shall be the oath: “If it be in my power, I will slay by word and by deed, by my vote and by my hand, whosoever shall suppress the democracy at Athens, whosoever shall hold any public office after its suppression, and whosoever shall attempt to become tyrant or shall help to instal a tyrant. And if another shall slay such an one, I will deem him to be without sin in the eyes of the gods and powers above, as having slain a public enemy. And I will sell all the goods of the slain and will give over one half to the slayer, and will withhold nothing from him. 1.98And if anyone shall lose his life in slaying such an one or in attempting to slay him, I will show to him and to his children the kindness which was shown to Harmodius and Aristogeiton and to their children. And all oaths sworn at Athens or in the army [Note] or elsewhere for the overthrow of the Athenian democracy I annul and abolish.” All the Athenians shall take this oath over a sarifice without blemish, as the law enjoins, before the Dionysia. And they shall pray that he who observes this oath may be blessed abundantly: but that he who observes it not may perish from the earth, both he and his house.

1.99Well, Mr. Informer, is this law in force? Yes or no, you practised villain? [Note] No; and the reason for that is of course that only laws passed after the archonship of Eucleides can be applied. That is how you come to be walking about this city alive—hardly the fate which you deserved after making a living as a common informer under the democracy, and becoming the tool of the Thirty under the oligarchy to avoid having to disgorge your profits. 1.100But that is not enough. You actually talk to me of my intrigues! [Note] You actually hold others up to censure— you, who had not the decency to confine your own intrigues to but a single admirer, but welcomed the entire world for next to nothing, as the court knows, and supported yourself by vice, your villainous appearance notwithstanding.

1.101But yet, although your laws deny him even the right of defending himself, [Note] the fellow has the impudence to accuse others. Really, gentlemen, as I sat watching him make his speech for the prosecution, I quite thought that I had been arrested and put on trial by the Thirty. Who would have prosecuted, if I had found myself in court in those days? Epichares, none other. There he would have been, ready with a charge, unless I bought him off. And here he is once more. Who, again, but Charicles [Note] would have cross-examined me? “Tell me Andocides,” he would have asked, “did you go to Decelea [Note] and occupy it as a menace to your country?” “I did not.” “Well, did you lay Attica waste and pillage your fellow Athenians by land or by sea?” “No.” “Then at least you fought Athens at sea, [Note] or helped to demolish her walls or put down her democracy, or reinstalled yourself by force?” [Note]“No, I have done none of those things either.” “Then do you expect to escape the fate of so many others?”

1.102Do you not agree, gentlemen, that that is just how I would have been treated for remaining loyal to you, had I fallen into the clutches of the Thirty? Then will it not be a travesty of justice if a man whom the Thirty would have put to death, as they did others, for failing to commit any act of disloyalty to Athens, is not to be acquitted when tried before you whom he refused to wrong? Such a thing would be an outrage. It would make acquittal next to impossible in any case whatsoever.

1.103The truth is, gentlemen, that although the prosecution may have availed themselves of a perfectly valid law in lodging their information against me, they based their charge upon that old decree which is concerned with an entirely different matter. So if you condemn me, beware: you will find that a host of others ought to be answering for their past conduct with far more reason than I. First there are the men who fought you, with whom you swore oaths of reconciliation: then there are the exiles whom you restored: and finally there are the citizens whose rights you gave back to them. For their sakes you removed stones of record, annulled laws, and cancelled decrees; and it is because they trust you that they are still in Athens, gentlemen. 1.104What, do you imagine, will they presume their own position to be, if they find that you are allowing prosecutions for past conduct? Will any of them be ready to stand trial for his past conduct? Yet enemies and informers will spring up right and left, ready to bring every man of them into court. 1.105Today both parties have come to listen, but from very different motives. One side wants to know whether they are to rely upon the laws as they now stand and on the oaths which you and they swore to one another; while the others have come to sound our feelings, to find out whether they will be given complete licence to fill their pockets by indictments,or informations, maybe, or arrests. Thus the truth the matter is, gentlemen, that although it is my life alone which is at stake in this trial, your verdict will decide for the public at large whether they are to put faith in your laws, or whether, on the other hand, they must choose between buying off informers and quitting Athens as fast as they can.

1.106Your measures for reuniting Athens, gentlemen, have not been wasted; they were appropriate, and they were sound policy. To convince you of this, I wish to say a few words with regard to them. Those were dark days for Athens when the tyrants ruled her and the democrats were in exile. But, led by Leogoras, my own great-grandfather, and Charias, whose daughter bore my grandfather to Leogoras, your ancestors crushed the tyrants near the temple at Pallene, [Note] and came back to the land of their birth. Some of their enemies they put to death, some they exiled, and some they allowed to live on in Athens without the rights of citizens.

1.107Later the Great King invaded Greece. As soon as our fathers saw what an ordeal faced them and what vast forces the King was assembling, they decreed that exiles should be restored and disfranchised citizens reinstated, that these too should take their part in the perilous struggle for deliverance. After passing this decree, and exchanging solemn pledges and oaths, they fearlessly took up their stand as the protectors of the whole of Greece, and met the Persians at Marathon; for they felt that their own valour was itself a match for the enemy hordes. They fought, and they conquered. They gave back Greece her freedom, and they delivered Attica, the land of their birth. 1.108After their triumph, however, they refused to revive old quarrels. And that is how men who found their city a waste, her temples burnt to the ground, and her walls and houses in ruins, men who were utterly without resources, [Note] brought Greece under their sway and handed on to you the glorious and mighty Athens of today—by living in unity. Long afterwards you in your turn had to face a crisis just as great [Note]; 1.109and by deciding to restore your exiles and give back their rights to the citizens who had lost them you showed that you still had the noble spirit of your forefathers. What, then, have you still to do to equal them in generosity? You must refuse to cherish grievances, gentlemen, remembering that Athens had far less in the old days upon which to build her greatness and prosperity. The same greatness and prosperity are hers still, were only we, her citizens, ready to control our passions and live in unity.

1.110The prosecution have also accused me in connexion with the suppliant's bough. They allege that it was I who placed it in the Eleusinium, [Note] and that under ancient law the penalty for doing such a thing during the Mysteries is death. The impudence of it! They resort to a ruse for my undoing, but will not leave well alone when their plot proves a failure. They proceed to bring a formal accusation against me in spite of it.

1.111It was on our return from Eleusis, after the information had already been lodged against me. [Note] The Basileus appeared before the Prytanes to give the usual report on all that had occurred during the performance of the ceremonies there. The Prytanes said that they would bring him before the Council, and told him to give Cephisius and myself notice to attend at the Eleusinium, as it was there that the Council was to sit in conformity with a law of Solon's, which lays down that a sitting shall be held in the Eleusinium on the day after the Mysteries. We duly attended; 1.112and when the Council had assembled, Callias, son of Hipponicus, who was wearing his ceremonial robes, [Note] rose and announced that a suppliant's bough had been placed on the altar. He displayed this bough to the Council. Thereupon the herald [Note] called for the person responsible. There was no reply, although I was standing close by and in full view of Cephisius. When no one replied, and Eucles here, who had come out to inquire, had disappeared inside once more—but call him. Now, Eucles, testify whether these facts are correct to start with. Evidence

1.113The truth of my account has been attested and it seems to me to contradict the prosecution's story flatly. The prosecution, you may remember, alleged that the Two Goddesses themselves infatuated me and made me place the bough on the altar in ignorance of the law, in order that I might be punished. But I maintain, gentlemen, that even if every word of the prosecution's story is true, it was the Goddesses themselves who saved my life. 1.114Suppose that I laid the bough there, and then failed to answer the Herald. Was it not I myself who was bringing about my doom by putting the bough on the altar? And was it not a piece of good fortune, my silence, that saved me, a piece of good fortune for which I clearly had the Two Goddesses to thank? Had the Goddesses desired my death, I ought surely to have confessed that I had laid the bough there, even though I had not done so. As it was, I did not answer, nor had I placed the bough on the altar.

1.115When Eucles informed the Council that there had been no response, Callias rose once more and said that under an ancient law, as officially interpreted on a former occasion by his father, Hipponicus, the penalty for placing a bough in the Eleusinium during the Mysteries was instant death. He added that he had heard that it was I who had put it there. Thereupon Cephalus here leapt to his feet and cried: 1.116“Callias, you impious scoundrel, first you are giving interpretations, when you have no right to do such a thing as a member of the Ceryces. [Note] Then you talk of an ‘ancient law,’ when the stone at your side lays down that the penalty for placing a bough in the Eleusinium shall be a fine of a thousand drachmae. And lastly, who told you that Andocides had put the bough there? Summon him before the Council, so that we too may hear what he has to say.” The stone was read, and Callias could not say who his informant was. It was thus clear to the Council that he had put the bough there himself.

1.117And now, gentlemen, you would perhaps like to know what motive Callias had in putting the bough on the altar. I will explain why he tried to trap me. Epilycus, son of Teisander, was my uncle, my mother's brother. [Note] He died in Sicily without male issue, but left two daughters who ought now to have passed to Leagrus and myself. [Note] 1.118His private affairs were in confusion. The tangible property which he left did not amount to two talents, while his debts came to more than five. However, I arranged a meeting with Leagrus [Note] before our friends and told him that this was the time for decent men to show their respect for family ties. 1.119“We have no right to prefer a wealthy or successful alliance and look down upon the daughters of Epilycus,” I argued: “for if Epilycus were alive, or had died a rich man, we should be claiming the girls as their next of kin. We should have married them then either because of Epilycus himself or because of his money; we will do the same now because we are men of honour. Do you obtain an order of the court for the one, and I will do the same for the other.”

1.120He assented, gentlemen; so in accordance with our agreement we both applied for an order of the court. The girl claimed by me happened to fall ill, and died; the other is still alive. Now Callias tried to bribe Leagrus into letting him have this second daughter. [Note] Directly I heard of it, I deposited a fee, [Note] and began by obtaining leave to proceed against Leagrus, to this effect: “If you will claim the girl for yourself, take her and good luck to you. If not, I will claim her myself.” [Note] 1.121As soon as Callias learned of this, he entered a claim for the girl in his son's name, on the tenth of the month, to prevent me from obtaining an order. Soon after the twentieth, [Note] during the Mysteries which are just over, he gives Cephisius a thousand drachmae, gets an information lodged against me, and involves me in today's trial. Then, when he saw that I was standing my ground, he put the bough on the altar, intending to have me either put to death without a trial or banished, and then to marry the daughter of Epilycus himself by bribing Leagrus.

1.122However, he saw that even thus he would not get his way without coming into court; so he approached Lysistratus, Hegemon, and Epichares, whom he saw to be intimate friends of mine. He had insolence enough, he had contempt enough for the law to inform them that if I was prepared even now to relinquish my claims to the daughter of Epilycus, he was ready to stop persecuting me, to call off Cephisius, and to make amends for his behaviour with our friends as arbitrators. 1.123I told him to proceed with his case and hire still more help. “But if the people of Athens return a true verdict and I escape you,” I warned him, “you will find that it is your turn, I think, to fight for your life.” And with your permission, gentlemen, I will not disappoint him. Kindly call witnesses to confirm what I have been saying. Witnesses

1.124But you must let me tell you how the son to whom Callias tried to have the daughter of Epilycus awarded was born and acknowledged by his father; it is quite worth hearing, gentlemen. Callias married a daughter of Ischomachus; but he had not been living with her a year before he made her mother his mistress. Was ever man so utterly without shame? He was the priest of the Mother and the Daughter; yet he lived with mother and daughter and kept them both in his house together.

1.125The thought of the Two Goddesses may not have awoken any shame or fear in Callias; but the daughter of Ischomachus thought death better than an existence where such things went on before her very eyes. She tried to hang herself: but was stopped in the act. Then, when she recovered, she ran away from home; the mother drove out the daughter. Finally Callias grew tired of the mother as well, and drove her out in her turn. She then said she was pregnant by him; but when she gave birth to a son, Callias denied that the child was his. 1.126At that, the woman's relatives came to the altar at the Apaturia [Note] with the child and a victim for sacrifice, and told Callias to begin the rites. He asked whose child it was. “The child of Callias, son of Hipponicus,” they replied. “But I am he.” “Yes, and the child is yours.” Callias took hold of the altar and swore that the only son he had or had ever had was Hipponicus, and the mother was Glaucon's daughter. If that was not the truth, he prayed that he and his house might perish from the earth—as they surely will.

1.127Now some time afterwards, gentlemen, he fell in love with the abandoned old hag once more and welcomed her back into his house, while he presented the boy, a grown lad by this time, to the Ceryces, asserting that he was his own son. Calliades opposed his admission; but the Ceryces voted in favour of the law which they have, whereby a father can introduce his son, if he swears that it is his own son whom he is introducing. So Callias took hold of the altar and swore that the boy was his legitimate son by Chrysilla. Yet he had disowned that same son. Call witnesses to confirm all this, please. Witnesses

1.128Let us just see, gentlemen, whether anything of this kind has ever happened in Greece before. A man marries a wife, and then marries the mother as well as the daughter. The mother turns the daughter out. Then, while living with the mother, he wants to marry the daughter of Epilycus, so that the granddaughter can turn the grandmother out. Why, what ought his child to be called? 1.129Personally, I do not believe that there is anyone ingenious enough to find the right name for him. There are three women with whom his father will have lived: and he is the alleged son of one of them, the brother of another, and the uncle of the third. What ought a son like that to be called? Oedipus, Aegisthus, or what?

1.130As a matter of fact, I want to remind you briefly, gentlemen, of a certain incident connected with Callias. As you may remember, when Athens was mistress of Greece and at the height of her prosperity, and Hipponicus was the richest man in Greece, a rumour with which you are all familiar was on the lips of little children and silly women throughout the city: “Hipponicus,” they said, “has an evil spirit in his house, and it upsets his books.” [Note] You remember it, gentlemen. 1.131Now in what sense do you think that the saying current in those days proved true? Why, Hipponicus imagined that he had a son in his house; but that son was really an evil spirit, which has upset his wealth, his morals, and his whole life. So it is as Hipponicus' evil spirit that you must think of Callias.

1.132Now take my other accusers, Callias' partners, who have helped to institute this trial and have financed the prosecution. Why, I ask, did it never strike them that I was committing sacrilege during the three years which I have spent in Athens since my return from Cyprus? I initiated A— from Delphi and other friends of mine besides from outside Attica, and I frequented the Eleusinium and offered sacrifices, as I consider I have a perfect right to do. Yet so far from prosecuting, they actually proposed me for public services, first as Gymnasiarch [Note] at the Hephaestia, then as head of the state deputation to the Isthmus and to Olympia, [Note] and finally as Treasurer of the Sacred Monies on the Acropolis. [Note] Today, on the other hand, I commit a sacrilege and a crime by entering a temple.

1.133I will tell you the reason for this change of front. Last year and the year before our honest Agyrrhius here was chief contractor for the two per cent customs duties. [Note] He farmed them for thirty talents, and the friends he meets under the poplar [Note] all took shares with him. You know what they are like; it is my belief that they meet there for a double purpose: to be paid for not raising the bidding, and to take shares in taxes which have been knocked down cheap. 1.134After making a profit of six talents, they saw what a gold-mine the business was; so they combined, gave rival bidders a percentage, and again offered thirty talents. There was no competition; so I went before the Council and outbid them, until I purchased the rights for thirty-six talents. I had ousted them. I then furnished you with sureties, collected the tax, and settled with the state. I did not lose by it, as my partners and I actually made a small profit. At the same time I stopped Agyrrhius and his friends from sharing six talents which belonged to you.

1.135They saw this themselves, and discussed the situation. “This fellow will not take any of the public money himself,” they argued, “and he will not let us take any either. He will be on the watch and stop our sharing what belongs to the state; and furthermore, if he catches any of us acting dishonestly, he will bring him into the public courts and ruin him. He must be got rid of at all costs.” 1.136The prosecution were bound to behave thus, gentlemen; but you must do the opposite: for I should be happy to see you with as many men as possible like myself and to see my accusers stamped out of existence, or at least confronted by those who will not countenance their activities. Such men should show themselves staunch and impartial champions of your interests, and they will be able to serve you well, if they are willing to do so. I for one promise you either to put a stop to the practices of the prosecution and render them better citizens, or to bring such of them as are guilty of criminal behaviour into court and have them punished.

1.137The prosecution have also found grounds for attacking me in the fact that I am a merchant who owns ships. We are asked to believe that the only object of the gods in saving me from the dangers of the sea was, apparently, to let Cephisius put an end to me when I reached Athens. No, gentlemen. I for one cannot believe that if the gods considered me guilty of an offence against them, they would have been disposed to spare me when they had me in a situation of the utmost peril—for when is man in greater peril than on a winter sea-passage? Are we to suppose that the gods had my person at their mercy on just such a voyage, that they had my life and my goods in their power, and that in spite of it they kept me safe? 1.138Why, could they not have caused even my corpse to be denied due burial? Furthermore, it was war-time; the sea was infested with triremes and pirates, who took many a traveller prisoner, and after robbing him of his all, sent him to end his days in slavery. And there were foreign shores on which many a traveller had been wrecked, to be put to death after meeting with shameful indignities and maltreatment. 1.139Is it conceivable that the gods saved me from perils of that nature, only to let themselves be championed by Cephisius, the biggest scoundrel in Athens, whose citizen he claims to be when he is nothing of the kind, and whom every one of you sitting in this court knows too well to trust with any thing belonging to him? No, gentlemen; to my mind the dangers of a trial like the present are to be regarded as the work of man, and the dangers of the sea as the work of God. So if we must perforce speculate about the gods, I for one am sure that they would be moved to the deepest wrath and indignation to see those whom they had themselves preserved brought to destruction by mortal men.

1.140There is yet another thing worth your consideration, gentlemen. At the moment the whole of Greece thinks that you have shown the greatest generosity and wisdom in devoting yourselves, not to revenge, but to the preservation of your city and the reuniting of its citizens. Many before now have suffered no less than we; but it is very rightly recognized that the peaceable settlement of differences requires generosity and self-control. Now it is acknowledged on all sides, by friend and foe alike, that you possess those gifts. So do not change your ways: do not hasten to rob Athens of the glory which she has gained thereby, or allow it to be supposed that you authorized your decree more by chance than by intention.

1.141I beg you one and all, then, to hold towards me the feelings which you hold towards my ancestors, so that I may have the opportunity of imitating them. They rank, remember, among the most tireless and the greatest benefactors of our city; and foremost among the many motives which inspired them came devotion to your welfare and the hope that if they or any of their children were ever in danger or distress, they would find protection in your sympathy. You have good reason, indeed, for remembering them; 1.142for from the heroic deeds of your own forefathers Athens as a whole received inestimable benefit. After the loss of our fleet, when there was a general desire to cripple Athens forever, the Spartans, although our enemies at the time, decided to spare her because of the valiant exploits of those heroes who had led the whole of Greece to freedom. [Note] 1.143Now since Athens as a city was spared because of the brave exploits of your forefathers, I likewise claim to be spared because of the brave deeds of mine; for my own forefathers themselves played no small part in those very exploits to which Athens owed her salvation, and I therefore have the right to expect from you the mercy shown to you yourselves by the Greeks.

1.144Think, furthermore, what a citizen you will have in me, if you give me your protection. I was once, as you know, a man of great wealth. Then to begin with, through no fault of my own, but through the disasters which overtook Athens, I was plunged into utter penury and want. I then started life afresh, a life of honest toil, with my brains and my hands to help me. Nay more, I not only know what it is to be the citizen of a city such as this; I know what it is to be an alien sojourning in the lands of neighbouring peoples; I have learnt the meaning of self-control and good sense; I have learnt what it is to suffer for one's mistakes. [Note] 1.145I have been on terms of familiarity with many, and I have had dealings with still more. In consequence, I have formed ties and friendships with kings, with states, and with individuals too, in plenty. Acquit me, and you will share in them all, and be able to make use of them whenever occasion may arise.

1.146The position is in fact this, gentlemen. If you sentence me to death today, you leave not a single member of our family alive; it perishes root and branch. Yet the home of Andocides and Leogoras does not disgrace you by its presence. It was far more truly a disgrace during my exile, when Cleophon [Note] the lyre-maker occupied it. Not one of you, in passing our house, was ever reminded of an injury done him by its owners whether privately or publicly. 1.147They have held countless commands, and have won you many a victory over your foes on land and sea. They have held countless other offices and handled public monies; yet not once have they been found guilty of fraud. We have not wronged you, and you have not wronged us. Our house is the oldest in Athens, and has always been the first to open its doors to those in need. Yet never once has any member of my family appeared on trial before you and asked you to show your gratitude for these services. 1.148So although they are dead, at least do not forget what they did. Remember their achievements: imagine that you can see them in the flesh, begging you for my life. For after all, whom can I produce here to plead for me? My father? He is dead. My brothers? I have none. My children? They are still unborn. 1.149It is you who must act as my father and my brothers and my children. It is with you that I seek refuge. It is to you that I turn with my entreaties and my prayers. You must plead with yourselves for my life, and save it. When you are ready to extend civic rights to Thessalians and Andrians on the ground that men are scarce, you cannot but refuse to put acknowledged citizens to death, men who should serve you well, and who will have the opportunity of doing so,if they are willing. You cannot but refuse, gentlemen. Again, I ask you to show your appreciation of my services to you. Then, if you listen to me, you will not rob yourselves of such further services as I may be able to render. On the other hand, if you listen to my opponents, even repentance later on will avail you nothing. 1.150So do not deprive yourselves of what you can reasonably expect from me, and do not deprive me of what I can reasonably expect from you.

And now I will ask men who have given public proof of their outstanding worth to take my place here and give you their opinion of me. Come, Anytus [Note] and Cephalus [Note]: come, Thrasyllus and you others of my tribe who have been chosen to support me.

Andocides, Speeches (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose; rhetoric] [word count] [Andoc.].
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