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



Andocides, Speeches (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose; rhetoric] [word count] [Andoc.].
<<Andoc. 1.1 Andoc. 1.7 (Greek) >>Andoc. 1.15

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