Hyperides, Speeches (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose; rhetoric] [word count] [Hyp.].
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1 In Defence of Lycophron

. . . each man in private and in public life, [Note] and also in the law and in the oath which bids you give an equal hearing to the prosecution and to the defence.

. . . to conduct the prosecution, [Note] allow me also in the same way to follow out, so far as I am able, the line of defence which I have chosen. I must ask you all, while I am speaking, to refrain from interrupting me with: “Why are you telling us this?” And do not add anything of your own to the prosecution's argument; rather <attend> to the defence . . .

. . . nor is it true that the law, while allowing freedom to join in the prosecution of men on trial, denies the right to share in their defence. I do not intend to waste words before coming to the point, and shall therefore proceed to the actual defence, after praying the gods to help me and bring me safely through the present trial and requesting you, gentlemen of the jury, first . . .

. . . either the betrayal of dockyards, the burning of public buildings, or the seizure of the Acropolis . . .

. . . Euphemus . . . first . . . when the husband died . . . of Phlya . . . from him . . . that the woman . . . he had left his wife with child, which did not entail any breach of the law. But if their interpretation of this story tallied with that given by Ariston in the impeachment, they [Note] should not surely have prevented the nearest relatives from ejecting Euphemus. They ought to have let them do so. Whereas now, by behaving as they did, they have by their own action furnished evidence that the charge against me is false. Besides, is it not strange that if anything had happened to the child at birth, or after, they would have adhered firmly to this will, in which . . .

. . . nor is it possible for him to deny his own handwriting

. . . to be sluggish. . . . . . and he had Ariston's slaves in his works. This fact he confirmed for you himself [Note] in court when Ariston was bringing an action against Archestratides. [Note] Let me explain the kind of method which this man Ariston employs. He issues a summons against everyone he meets, accusing and prosecuting those who do not give him money, but letting go all who are willing to pay. He gives the money to Theomnestus who takes it and buys slaves, providing Ariston with a livelihood, as is done for pirates, and paying him an obol a day for each slave, to enable him to continue permanently as a false informer.

When considering the matter, gentlemen of the jury, we ought to begin with the charges which my accusers themselves brought against me at the outset in the Assembly. My relatives communicated the impeachment to me by letter, and also the charges which they made against me in the Assembly when they brought the impeachment in. Among these was recorded a statement of Lycurgus, who claimed to have been told by the relatives that during the wedding of Charippus to the woman I followed and tried to persuade her to reserve herself and have nothing to do with Charippus. Let me now repeat to you the answer which I gave to the relatives and also to my own relations directly I arrived, namely this. If these accusations are true, I agree to having done all the other things set down in the impeachment. But they are false, as is surely obvious to everyone. For who is there in Athens so uncritical as to believe these allegations? There must have been attenders, gentlemen of the jury, with the carriage that conveyed the bride: first a muleteer and a guide, and then her escort of boys, and also Dioxippus. [Note] For he was in attendance, too, since she was a widow being given away in marriage. Was I then so utterly senseless, do you think, that with all those other people in the procession, as well as Dioxippus and Euphraeus his fellow-wrestler, both acknowledged to be the strongest men in Greece, I had the impudence to pass such comments on a free woman, in the hearing of everyone, and was not afraid of being strangled on the spot? Would anyone have listened to such remarks about his sister as these men accuse me of having made, without killing the speaker? And to crown it all, as I said just now, are we to conclude that Charippus was so completely obtuse that he was still prepared to marry her, although in the first place she said beforehand, according to their story, that she was pledged to me and in the second place he heard me encouraging her to keep the promises she had made? Do you think that the mad Orestes, or Margites, [Note] the greatest fool of all time, would act like that?

But then, in my opinion, gentlemen of the jury, the prosecutors in a trial have many advantages over the defendants. For them the case involves no risk, [Note] and so they are free to talk and lie to their heart's content, while the men on trial are afraid and so forget to mention a great deal, even of what they have really done. Also, accusers, speaking first, do not confine themselves to putting the just arguments which support their case, but trump up baseless slanders about the accused and so deprive them of the means of defence. The latter are thus affected in one of two ways. Either they defend themselves against the extraneous charges and fall short in the relevant parts of their defence, or else they forget the accusations which have just been made, and so leave the jury with the impression that these are true. In addition to this the accusers create a prejudice against the advocates for the defence and distort the case of the accused himself; which is what Ariston here attempted to do, when speaking for the prosecution, since he does not even allow me to benefit from those who come forward to help me intending to share in my defence. What reason is there why they should not? Is it not right that men on trial should be supported by their relatives and friends? Or is there any custom in the city more democratic [Note] than that which permits citizens capable of public-speaking to assist those who are incapable when they are in trouble? But you, Ariston, have not merely discussed my advocates; you even determine my own arguments and tell the jury what they must listen to, what line of defence they must prescribe for me, and what they must not tolerate. Surely it is most unfair that after conducting the prosecution as you wanted you should rob me of my defence, because you know already the honest answers I can offer to your lies. And you accuse me in the impeachment of undermining the democracy by breaking the laws; but you override every law yourself, by presenting an impeachment in a case where the laws require a public charge before the Thesmothetae. [Note] Your object was to run no risk in bringing in the action and also to have the opportunity of writing tragic phrases [Note] in the impeachment, such as you have written now, protesting that I am making many women grow old unmarried in their homes and many live illegally with men unsuited for them. The fact is that you can instance no other woman in the city whom I have wronged in this way, and as for the subject of your present charge, what view did you take of her? Was she right to live with Charippus, an Athenian citizen who was her husband; or was she growing old unmarried in her home, [Note] she who was married at once, as soon as Euphemus supplied a talent of silver as a dowry, obviously with no ulterior motive but simply out of kindness? [Note]

So Ariston may say whatever he pleases, gentlemen of the jury, and invent lies against me, but surely your verdict upon me must be based, not on the slanders of the prosecutor, but on a review of the whole of my life. No one in the city, whether good or bad, can deceive the community in which you live. Indeed the most reliable testimonial of character which a man can have is his past career, especially in refuting charges like the present. Where the crime is one which can be committed at any time during a man's life it should be considered in the light of the particular accusation made. But adultery is a practice which no man can begin after fifty. Either he has been a loose-liver for a long lime—and let these men prove that that is true of me—or else the charge may be presumed false. Now I, gentlemen of the jury, have lived with you in Athens all my life. I have never been subjected to any discreditable charge, nor have I brought an accusation against another citizen. I have not been defendant or prosecutor in any lawsuit, but have always been a keen horsebreeder, consistently overtaxing my strength and my resources. [Note] I have been crowned for bravery by the order of knights and by my colleagues in office. For you appointed me, gentlemen of the jury, first as Phylarch and later as Cavalry Leader at Lemnos. [Note] I held the command there for two years, the only cavalry leader who has ever done so, and prolonged my stay for a third, as I did not wish, in exacting the pay for the horsemen rashly, to burden citizens in financial straits. During that time no one there brought an action against me, either private or public. In fact I was crowned three times by the inhabitants of Hephaestia and as many times more by those of Myrine. These facts should satisfy you, in the present trial, that the charges against me are false. No man can be good in Lemnos if he is bad in Athens, and you had no poor opinion of me when you dispatched me there and made me responsible for two of your own cities.

Well, gentlemen of the jury, you have heard virtually all that I had to say in my own defence. The prosecutor, who is an experienced speaker and used to frequent litigation, summoned advocates [Note] to help him in unjustly ruining a citizen. So I too am asking you, most earnestly, for your authority to summon my advocates in this important case, and I beg you to give a sympathetic hearing to any of my relatives or friends who can help me. I am a fellow-citizen of yours, an amateur unused to speaking, on trial now with the risk not only of losing my life—a minor consideration to men with a proper sense of values—but also of being cast out after death, without even the prospect of a grave in my own country. So if you will give the word, gentlemen of the jury, I will call an advocate. Will you please come up, Theophilus, and say what you can in my defence? The jury ask you to do so.



Hyperides, Speeches (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose; rhetoric] [word count] [Hyp.].
<<Hyp. 1 Hyp. 1 (Greek) >>Hyp. 1a

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