Dinarchus, Speeches (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose; rhetoric] [word count] [Din.].
<<Din. 1.1 Din. 1.4 (Greek) >>Din. 1.14

Against Demosthenes

1.1This popular leader of yours, Athenians, who has imposed on himself a sentence of death should he be proved to have taken even the smallest sum from Harpalus, has been clearly convicted of taking bribes from those very men whom he formerly professed to oppose. Much has already been said by Stratocles [Note] and most of the charges have now been made; as regards the report itself the Areopagus has expressed opinions which are both just and true, while with events succeeding this Stratocles has already dealt and read the decrees relating to them. 1.2It remains for us, Athenians, especially when contesting a case never paralleled in the experience of the city, to make a general exhortation to you all. May we ask you first to pardon those of us who have still to speak if there are certain points which we raise again; our aim is not to weary you by alluding twice to the same matters but to arouse your anger all the more. Secondly, may we ask you not to surrender the rights enjoyed by the whole city or to barter away our common security in exchange for the arguments of the defendant. 1.3You are aware, Athenians, that whereas this man Demosthenes is here for judgement before you, you are on trial before your fellows. For they are waiting to see what kind of conclusion you will reach about your country's interests: are you going to welcome into your midst the private venality and corruption of these people, or will you make it universally known that you hate men who accept bribes against their city and that, in ordering the Areopagus to make its inquiry, your intention was not to acquit the culprits but rather, when the councillors had made their report, to exact punishment in a manner appropriate to the crimes? This decision then rests with you now. 1.4For when the people passed a lawful decree and every citizen wished to discover which of the politicians had dared to accept money from Harpalus to the discredit and danger of the city; when, moreover, you, Demosthenes, and many others had proposed in a decree that the Areopagus, according to its traditional right, should hold an inquiry to discover if any of them had received gold from Harpalus, the Areopagus began its investigation. 1.5In reaching a just decision it paid no heed to your challenges, Demosthenes, nor did it wish to pervert the truth or destroy its own reputation on your account. On the contrary, gentlemen, although, as the Areopagites themselves said, the council realized beforehand the strength of these men and their influence as orators and statesmen, it did not consider that if incrimination or danger was threatening its country it ought to be influenced by any misrepresentation likely to be published about itself. 1.6Though this investigation has been conducted, in the people's opinion, both fairly and profitably, accusations, challenges, and calumnies are proceeding from Demosthenes, since he has been listed as the holder of twenty talents of gold. Will that council then which, in cases of willful] murder, is trustworthy enough to arrive at truth and justice and is empowered to pass judgement in matters of life and death on each of the citizens, to take up the cause of those who have met a violent end and banish or execute any in the city who have broken the law, [Note] be powerless now to administer justice over the money credited to Demosthenes?

1.7It will; for the council has told lies against Demosthenes. This is the crowning argument in his case. It has told lies, has it, against you and Demades: men against whom it is evidently not even safe to speak the truth; though you previously instructed the Areopagus to investigate many public matters and expressed approval of it for the inquiries which it had held? Are the indictments which the council has made against these men false when the whole city cannot compel them to do right? Great Heavens! 1.8Then why, Demosthenes, did you agree in the Assembly to a penalty of death for yourself, if the report of the council should turn out against you? And why have you yourself ruined many others by insisting on the findings of the council? To what authority should the people now refer, or to whom should it entrust the inquiry in the event of mysterious or momentous crimes, if it is to discover the truth? 1.9For the council which formerly commanded confidence is being discredited by you, who claim to be the people's man, though it is a body to which the people gave in trust the protection of their lives, to whose charge they have often committed their constitution and democracy, a council which, destined though you were to malign it, has safeguarded your life, according to your own account so often threatened, and which keeps the mystic deposits [Note] whereby the safety of the city is preserved.

1.10Now in one respect—for I shall speak my mind—the Areopagus fully deserves this treatment. It was faced with two alternatives. One would have been, in accordance with the people's instructions, to conduct the previous investigation over the three hundred talents which came from the Persian king [Note]; in which case this monster would have been convicted and the names of those who shared the money published; the betrayal of Thebes, for which Demosthenes was responsible, [Note] would have been exposed, and we, exacting from this demagogue the punishment he deserved, would have been rid of him.



Dinarchus, Speeches (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose; rhetoric] [word count] [Din.].
<<Din. 1.1 Din. 1.4 (Greek) >>Din. 1.14

Powered by PhiloLogic