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.



Andocides, Speeches (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose; rhetoric] [word count] [Andoc.].
<<Andoc. 1.1 Andoc. 1.3 (Greek) >>Andoc. 1.13

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