|Andocides, Speeches (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose; rhetoric] [word count] [lemma count] [Andoc.].
|Andoc. 4 (Greek)
4.1This is not the first occasion upon which the perils of engaging in politics have come home to me; I regarded it as no less hazardous in the past, before I had concerned myself in any way with affairs of state. Yet I consider it the duty of the good citizen, not to withhold himself from public life for fear of making personal enemies, but to be ready to face danger for the benefit of the community. Those who think only of themselves contribute nothing to a state's advancement; it is to those who think of the state that its greatness and its independence are due. 4.2I myself desired to be included in this number: and consequently I now find myself in the utmost peril. True, in yourselves I have an audience actively devoted to the public good, and that circumstance makes for my salvation; but I have innumerable enemies of the most dangerous kind, and by them I am being misrepresented. Nor is the contest in which I am engaged for the winning of a crown; it is to decide whether one who has done the state no wrong is to spend ten years in exile. The competitors for that prize are Alcibiades, Nicias, and myself. Upon one of us the blow must fall.
4.3Now the legislator note responsible for this deserves censure; for the law which he framed violates the oath of the People and Council. Under the terms of that oath you swear to exile no one, to imprison no one, to put no one to death, without trial; whereas on this present occasion, when the person ostracized is to be cut off from his country for so long, no accusation has been made, no defence allowed, and the voting is secret. 4.4Moreover, at a time like this those who have political associates and confederates have an advantage over the rest, because the judges are not appointed by lot as in courts of law: in the present decision every member of the community has a voice. And not only that: the law appears to me to go both too far and not far enough; for wrongs done to individuals I consider such redress as this excessive: for wrongs done to the state I regard it as an insufficient and useless penalty, when you have the right to punish by fine, imprisonment, or death. 4.5Furthermore, if a man is exiled because he is a bad citizen, his leaving
4.7I see no reason for dwelling further on this subject, as, whatever the outcome, I should achieve nothing of immediate advantage. But I do ask you to preside over our speeches in a fair and impartial manner, and one and all to act as Archons. note Do not countenance abuse or undue flattery. Show yourselves kindly to him who desires to speak and to listen: show yourselves stern to him who is insolent and disorderly; for you will decide our fate all the better, if each of the cases to be laid before you is given a hearing.
4.8It remains for me to make a brief reference to my hostility to the democracy and my membership of a political faction. Had I never appeared in court, you would have had some reason for listening to my accusers, and it would have been necessary for me to answer them on these points. But since I have been tried and acquitted four times, I do not consider any further discussion of the subject justified. Before a man is tried, it is difficult to know whether the charges made against him are false or true; but after his acquittal or conviction the matter is decided, and it is settled whether they are the one or the other. 4.9Hence I cannot but think it strange that while defendants who are convicted by but a single vote note are put to death and have their property confiscated by you, those who win their case should have to face the same charges again: that while the court has the power to take away life, it should so clearly lack the authority to save it once and finally, especially as the laws forbid the same charge to be brought twice against the same defendant, and you have sworn to observe those laws.
4.10I shall therefore say nothing of myself. I wish instead to remind you of the past of Alcibiades— although such is the multitude of his misdeeds that I am at a loss where to begin: there is not one of them that does not press for mention. Were I faced with the task of describing at length his career as an adulterer, as a stealer of the wives of others, as a perpetrator of acts of lawless violence in general, the time at my disposal would be all too short, and I should furthermore earn the ill-will of many of my fellows for making public the injuries which they have suffered. Of his conduct towards the state, however, and towards the members of his family and such citizens and foreigners as have crossed his path, I will give you some account.
4.11To begin with, he persuaded you to revise the assessment of the tribute of the subject-states made with the utmost fairness by Aristeides. note Chosen with nine others to perform the task, note he practically doubled the contribution of each member of the alliance, while by showing how formidable he was and how influential, he made the revenues of the state a means of procuring revenue for himself. note Now just consider: when our safety depends entirely upon our allies and those allies are acknowledged to be worse off today than in the past, how could anyone do greater mischief than by doubling the tribute of each? 4.12In fact, if you hold that Aristeides was a good Athenian and a just one, you can only regard Alcibiades as a scoundrel, since his policy towards the subject-states is the exact opposite of that of Aristeides. Indeed, because of his behaviour, many are leaving their homes as exiles and going off to settle at
4.13I am astonished, furthermore, at those who are persuaded that Alcibiades is a lover of democracy, that form of government which more than any other would seem to make equality its end. They are not using his private life as evidence of his character, in spite of the fact that his greed and his arrogance are plain to them. On his marriage with the sister of Callias he received a dowry of ten talents; yet after Hipponicus note had lost his life as one of the generals at
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
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
4.24In addition to all this, some dare to say that the like of Alcibiades has never been before. For my part, I believe that
4.25I imagine that Alcibiades will make no reply to this, but will talk instead of his victory at
4.26Diomedes took a chariot-team to
4.29In order to make it clear, however, that he was insulting
4.30Then again, look at the arrangements which he made for his stay at
4.33Then again, remember how steadfast, how true to their principles your fathers showed themselves, when they ostracized Cimon for breaking the law by taking his own sister to wife note; and yet not only was Cimon himself an Olympic victor; his father, Miltiades, had been one likewise. Nevertheless, they took no account of his victories; for it was not by his exploits at the games, but by his manner of life that they judged him.
4.34Furthermore, if account is to be taken of our families, I on my side cannot claim any acquaintance with ostracism. No one could show that any kinsman of mine has ever had the misfortune to suffer it. Alcibiades, on the other hand, knows more of it than any other member of the community. His mother's father, Megacles, and his father's father, Alcibiades, were both ostracized twice; so it will be neither surprising nor unnatural if he receives the same treatment as his ancestors. Indeed, not even Alcibiades himself would venture to maintain that they, the worst miscreants of their time though they were, did not have more regard for decency and honesty than he himself; for no one in the world could frame an accusation which would do justice to his misdeeds.
4.35Moreover, the legislator who instituted ostracism appears to me to have had the following intention. Observing that whenever members of the community are more powerful than the magistrates and the laws, it is impossible for an individual to obtain redress from them, he arranged that punishment for their misdeeds should be exacted by the state. Now I myself have been publicly tried four times, and have never prevented any private person who so desired from bringing me to justice. On the other hand, Alcibiades, who has worked such mischief, has never yet dared to answer for it in any way whatsoever. 4.36So forbidding is he that instead of punishing him for the wrongs which he has done already, men fear him for what he will do hereafter; and while it pays his victims to suffer in silence, he himself is not satisfied unless he can work his will in the future also. Yet I hardly deserve to be ostracized, gentlemen, if I do not deserve to be put to death note; and if I was acquitted when brought to trial, I cannot deserve to be sent into exile when no trial has taken place; nor after vindicating myself so many times in court can I be thought to merit banishment on the same grounds of accusation again.
4.37It may be objected that when I was prosecuted, the attack made upon me was a weak one, that my accusers were unimpressive, or that the case was conducted by casual enemies instead of by those who excel both as speakers and as men of action and who, in fact, brought about the death of two of the persons charged with the same offences as myself. I answer that justice requires you to banish, not those whom, after repeated inquiry, you have found to be innocent, but those who refuse to render to the state an account of their past. 4.38Indeed what seems strange to me is this. If one sought to vindicate persons who have been put to death by showing that they met their end unjustly, such an attempt would not be tolerated. If, on the other hand, those who have been declared innocent should once more be accused on the same charge—is it not only right that you should behave in the case of the living as you would in the case of the dead?
4.39It is characteristic of Alcibiades to pay no attention to laws or oaths himself, and to try to teach you to disregard them as well, and while he is ruthless in bringing about the banishment and the death of others, to have recourse to heartrending tears and appeals for mercy on his own account. Nor does such behaviour surprise me—he has done much that calls for tears. But whose goodwill will he gain by his entreaties, I wonder? That of the young, upon whom he has brought the disfavour of the people by his insolence, by his emptying of the gymnasia, and by behaviour which his years do not warrant? Or that of the old, whose ways are the exact opposite of his own, and whose mode of life he has treated with contempt?
4.40However, it is not the mere exaction of punishment from wrongdoers themselves that should be your object; you should seek also to render everyone else more upright and more self-controlled by the sight of that punishment. If, then, you send me into exile, you will strike fear into all men of worth. If, on the other hand, you punish Alcibiades, you will inspire a greater respect for the law in those whose insolence is uncontrolled.
4.41I wish, further, to remind you of what I have done. I have been sent on missions to
4.42Of my public services I do not intend to speak. I will say only this: the expenditure required of me I meet, not from monies belonging to the state, but from my own pocket. And yet I have in fact gained victories in the contest of physique, note in the torch-race, and at the tragic competitions without striking rival Choregi, and without feeling shame at my possessing less power than the laws. Citizens of this kind, it seems to me, deserve to remain in
|Andocides, Speeches (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose; rhetoric] [word count] [lemma count] [Andoc.].
|Andoc. 4 (Greek)