Andocides, Speeches (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose; rhetoric] [word count] [Andoc.].
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4.16But most monstrous of all is the fact that a man of his character should talk as though he were a friend of the people, and call others oligarchs and foes of the democracy. Yes, although he himself deserves death for behaving as he does, he is chosen by you to proceed against any whose sympathies conflict with yours ; and he poses as guardian of the constitution, in spite of the fact that he refuses to be the equal of, or but little superior to, his fellows. So completely, indeed, does he despise you that he spends his time flattering you in a body and insulting you individually. 4.17Why, there are no limits to his impudence. He persuaded Agatharchus, the artist, to accompany him home, [Note] and then forced him to paint; and when Agatharchus appealed to him, stating with perfect truth that he could not oblige him at the moment because he had other engagements, Alcibiades threatened him with imprisonment, unless he started painting straight away. And he carried out his threat. Agatharchus only made his escape three months later, by slipping past his guards and running away as he might have done from the king of Persia. But so shameless is Alcibiades that he went to Agatharchus and accused him of doing him a wrong; instead of apologizing for his violence, he uttered threats against him for leaving his work unfinished. Democracy, freedom went for nothing: Agatharchus had been put in chains exactly like any acknowledged slave. 4.18It makes me angry to think that while you yourselves cannot place even malefactors under arrest without risk, because it is enacted that anyone who fails to gain one-fifth of the votes shall be liable to a fine of a thousand drachmae, Alcibiades, who imprisoned a man for so long and forced him to paint, went unpunished—nay, increased thereby the awe and the fear in which he is held. In our treaties with other states [Note] we make it a condition that no free man shall be imprisoned or placed in durance, and a heavy fine is prescribed as the penalty for so doing. Yet when Alcibiades behaved as he did, no one sought satisfaction, whether for himself or for the state. 4.19Obedience to the magistrates and the laws is to my mind the one safeguard of society; and anyone who sets them at nought is destroying at one blow the surest guarantee of security which the state possesses. It is hard enough to be made to suffer by those who have no conception of right and wrong; but it is far more serious when a man who knows what the public interest requires, acts in defiance of it. He shows clearly, as Alcibiades has done, that instead of holding that he ought himself to conform with the laws of the state, he expects you to conform with his own way of life.

4.20Then again, remember Taureas [Note] who competed against Alcibiades as Choregus of a chorus of boys. [Note] The law allows the ejection of any member whatsoever of a competing chorus who is not of Athenian birth, and it is forbidden to resist any attempt at such ejection. Yet in your presence, in the presence of the other Greeks who were looking on, and before all the magistrates in Athens, Alcibiades drove off Taureas with his fists. [Note] The spectators showed their sympathy with Taureas and their hatred of Alcibiades by applauding the one chorus and refusing to listen to the other at all. Yet Taureas was none the better off for that. 4.21Partly from fear, partly from subservience, the judges pronounced Alcibiades the victor, treating him as more important than their oath. And it seems to me only natural that the judges should thus seek favour with Alcibiades, when they could see that Taureas, who had spent so vast a sum, was being subjected to insults, while his rival, who showed such contempt for the law, was all-powerful. The blame lies with you. You refuse to punish insolence; and while you chastise secret wrongdoing, you admire open effrontery. 4.22That is why the young spend their days in the courts instead of in the gymnasia; that is why our old men fight our battles, while our young men make speeches— they take Alcibiades as their model, Alcibiades who carries his villainy to such unheard-of lengths that, after recommending that the people of Melos [Note] be sold into slavery, he purchased a woman from among the prisoners and has since had a son by her, a child whose birth was more unnatural than that of Aegis—thus, [Note] since he is sprung from parents who are each other's deadliest enemies, and of his nearest kin the one has committed and the other has suffered the most terrible of wrongs. 4.23Indeed it would be well to make such shamelessness still plainer. He got himself a child by the very woman whom he had turned from a free citizen into a slave, whose father and kinsfolk he had put to death and whose city he had made a waste, that he might thereby make his son the deadly enemy of himself and of this city; so inevitably is the boy driven to hate both. When you are shown things of this kind on the tragic stage, you regard them with horror; but when you see them taking place in Athens, you remain unmoved—and yet you are uncertain whether the tales of tragedy are founded on the truth or spring merely from the imagination of the poets; whereas you well know that these other lawless outrages, which you accept with indifference, have occurred in fact.



Andocides, Speeches (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose; rhetoric] [word count] [Andoc.].
<<Andoc. 4.11 Andoc. 4.19 (Greek) >>Andoc. 4.27

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