Dinarchus, Speeches (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose; rhetoric] [word count] [Din.].
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1.49This is a story of his own invention, not based on fact, and he is impudent enough to lie to you. So to make sure that, if he embarks upon this story, you will pay no attention to him but will realize fully that the council did not report me and was in no danger of doing so,—the truth being that I suffered at the hands of a man of low character who has been convicted before you,—let me explain briefly. Then I will come back to Demosthenes.

1.50The council of the Areopagus is bound, gentlemen, to follow one of two methods in making all its reports. What are these methods? Its inquiry is made either on its own initiative or in obedience to the people's instructions. [Note] Apart from these two, there is no other procedure it could follow. If then you tell us, you abominable brute, that the council followed the people's instructions in making its inquiry and publishing the report on me, 1.51show me the decree and tell me who were my accusers after the report was made. Compare the present case, where you have both: a decree which authorized the council's inquiry, and accusers, elected by the people, who are now giving the jury an account of the crimes. If your story is true, I am prepared to die. But if you claim that the council took the initiative in reporting me, produce the Areopagites as witnesses, just as I myself shall produce them to show that I was not reported, 1.52to show in fact that, after impeaching one rogue and traitor who, like you, had maligned the council and myself, I proved before two thousand five hundred citizens that he had hired himself to Pythocles [Note] in making this attack upon me, and so avenged myself with the help of those then serving on the jury. Clerk, please take the deposition. I laid it before the jury previously as evidence and no one questioned its veracity. So I will produce it now. Read the deposition.Deposition

1.53Is it not an anomaly, Athenians, that on that occasion, because one man, Pistias an Areopagite, [Note] told lies against the council and myself and said that I was a criminal, falsehood would have prevailed over truth, if through my weakness and isolation at the time the trumped up lies against me had been believed; whereas now, when the fact is admitted by the whole Areopagus that Demosthenes has taken twenty talents of gold against your interests, and is therefore a criminal, and that your popular leader, in whom some men place their hopes, 1.54has been caught in the act of taking bribes, the customs of the Areopagus and truth and justice are going to prove weaker than Demosthenes' word? Truth will be overridden by the slanderous statement he intends to make against the council, namely that many of those reported by it as a menace to the people have, on coming into court, been acquitted, in some cases the council failing to secure a fifth part of the votes. There is an explanation for this which you will easily follow. 1.55The council, gentlemen, has its own method of inquiring into the cases which you assign to it and the crimes committed within its own body. Unlike yourselves,—and you need not take offence at this,—who are sometimes apt when judging to give more weight to mercy than to justice, it simply reports anyone who is liable to the charges in question or has broken any traditional rule of conduct believing that if a person is in the habit of committing small offences he will more easily involve himself in serious crimes. 1.56Consequently when one of its number robbed the ferryman of his fare it fined him and reported him to you. Again, when someone claimed the five drachma allowance [Note] in the name of an absentee, it reported him also to you. Similarly it fined and expelled the man who presumed to break the rule and sell the Areopagite portion. 1.57You tried these men and acquitted them. You were not thereby convicting the Areopagus of error but you were more concerned with sympathy than justice, and thought the punishment too severe for the offence which the defendants had committed. Do you imagine then, Demosthenes, that the council made a false report? Of course it did not. Nevertheless, gentlemen, you acquitted these men and others like them, though the council reported that they were guilty of breaking its rules. 1.58In the case of Polyeuctus of Cydantidae, [Note] when the people instructed the council to inquire whether he was accompanying the exiles to Megara and to report back after the investigation, it reported that he was doing so. You chose accusers as the law prescribes: Polyeuctus came into court and you acquitted him, on his admitting that he was going to Megara to Nicophanes who, he said, was married to his mother. So you did not consider that he was doing anything strange or reprehensible in keeping in touch with his mother's husband who was in difficulties, or in assisting him, so far as he could, while he was banished from the country. 1.59The report of the council, Demosthenes, was not proved false; it was quite true, but the jury decided to acquit Polyeuctus. The council was instructed to discover the truth, yet, as I say, the court decided whether it was a case for pardon. Is that any reason for distrusting the council over the present reports in which it has stated that you and your confederates are in possession of the gold? That would be disgraceful.



Dinarchus, Speeches (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose; rhetoric] [word count] [Din.].
<<Din. 1.44 Din. 1.53 (Greek) >>Din. 1.64

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