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|Antiph. 5 (Greek)
I could have wished, gentlemen, that my powers of speech and my experience of the world note were as great as the misfortune and the severities with which I have been visited. Instead, I know more of the last two than I should, and am more wanting in the first than is good for me.5.2When I had to submit to the bodily suffering which this unwarranted charge brought with it, experience afforded me no help; while now that my life depends upon my giving a truthful account of the facts, my case is being prejudiced by my inability to speak. 5.3Poor speakers have often before now been disbelieved because they spoke the truth, and the truth itself has been their undoing because they could not make it convincing: just as clever speakers have often gained credit with lies, and have owed their lives to the very fact that they lied. Thus the fate of one who is not a practised pleader inevitably depends less upon the true facts and his actual conduct than upon the version of them given by his accusers. 5.4I shall therefore ask you, gentlemen, not indeed for a hearing, as do the majority of those on trial, who lack confidence in themselves and presume you to be biassed; for with an honest jury the defence is naturally assured of a hearing even without appealing for it, seeing that that same jury accorded the prosecution a hearing unasked— 5.5no, my request of you is this. If, on the one hand, I make any mistake in speaking, pardon me and treat it as due to inexperience rather than dishonesty; and if, on the other hand, I express a point well, treat it as due to truthfulness rather than skill. For it is no more right that mere words should be the undoing of a man who is in fact innocent than that they should be the salvation of a man who is in fact guilty; the tongue is to blame for a word whereas the will is to blame for an act. 5.6Moreover, a man in personal danger is sure to make some mistake; he cannot help thinking of his fate as well as of his argument, as the decision of an issue which is still in doubt always depends more upon chance than upon human effort. Hence a man in danger is bound to be not a little distraught. 5.7Even speakers with a long experience of the courts are far from being at their best, I notice, when in any danger; they are more successful when conducting a case in safety. 5.8So much for my request, gentlemen; it breaks no law, human or divine: and it takes into account what you have a right to expect from me as much as what I have a right to expect from you. And now for the charges made, which I will answer one at a time.To begin with, I shall prove to you that the methods used to involve me in today's proceedings were entirely illegal and arbitrary. Not that I wish to evade trial before a popular court; as far as my belief in my innocence of the present charge and in the justice of your verdict is concerned, I would place my life in your hands even if you were not on oath and I were being tried under no particular law. No, my object is to let the arbitrary and illegal behavior of the prosecution furnish you with a presumption as to the character of the rest of their case against me 5.9First, note whereas an information has been lodged against me as a malefactor, I am being tried for murder: a thing which has never before happened to anyone in this country. note Indeed, the prosecution have themselves borne witness to the fact that I am not a malefactor and cannot be charged under the law directed against malefactors, as that law is concerned with thieves and footpads, and they have omitted to prove my claim to either title. Thus, as far as this arrest of mine goes, they have given you every right and justification to acquit me. 5.10They object, however, that murder is a malefaction, and a grave one. I agree, a very grave one; so is sacrilege; so is treason; but the laws which apply to each of them differ. In my case the prosecution have first of all caused the trial to be held in the one place from which those charged with murder are always debarred by proclamation, the Agora: and secondly, although it is laid down by law that a murderer shall pay with his life, they have entered a claim for damages note—not as a kindness to me, but for their own benefit—and by so doing they have grudged the dead man his lawful due. Their motives you will learn in the course of my speech. note 5.11Secondly, as of course you all know, every court judges cases of murder in the open air, and for good reasons: first, that the jurors may avoid entering the same building as those whose hands are unclean: and secondly, that he who is conducting the prosecution for murder may avoid being under the same roof as the murderer. No one but yourself has ever dreamed of evading this law. And not only that you should, as a preliminary, have taken the most solemn and binding oath known, note swearing, under pain of causing yourself, your kin, and your house to perish from the earth, that you would accuse me only in connection with the murder itself, to the effect that I committed it; whereby, however numerous my crimes, I could have been condemned only on the charge before the court, and however numerous my good deeds, none of those good deeds could have gained me an acquittal. 5.12This requirement you have evaded. You have invented laws to suit yourself. You, the prosecutor, are not on oath; nor are the witnesses, who are giving evidence against me which they should have given only after taking the same preliminary oath as yourself, their hands on the sacrifice as they did so. You bid the court, moreover, believe your witnesses, in spite of their not being on oath, and pass sentence for murder—when your own evasion of the laws of the land has destroyed the trustworthiness of those witnesses. Yes, you imagine that, in the eyes of the court, the laws themselves should have less authority than your own actions in defiance of them. 5.13You reply that if I had been allowed my freedom, I should have made off without awaiting my trial—as though you had forced me to enter this country against my will. Yet if I attached no importance to being debarred from
Witnesses5.21Such were our respective reasons for making the voyage. In the course of it, we happened to meet with a storm which forced us to put in at a place within the territory of
Witnesses5.23After crossing into the other boat, we fell to drinking. Now whereas it is established that Herodes quitted the boat and did not board it again, I did not leave the boat at all that night. Next day, when Herodes was missing, I joined in the search as anxiously as any; if anyone considered the matter serious, I did. Not only was I responsible for the dispatch of a messenger to
Witnesses5.25Those are the facts; now draw the logical conclusions. First, in the interval before I put to sea for
Witnesses5.29After I had departed for
Witnesses5.31You have listened to evidence for the length of the delay before the man's examination under torture; now notice the actual character of that examination. The slave was doubtless promised his freedom: it was certainly to the prosecution alone that he could look for release from his sufferings. Probably both of these considerations induced him to make the false charges against me which he did; he hoped to gain his freedom, and his one immediate wish was to end the torture. 5.32I need not remind you, I think, that witnesses under torture are biassed in favor of those who do most of the torturing; they will say anything likely to gratify them. It is their one chance of salvation, especially when the victims of their lies happen not to be present. Had I myself proceeded to give orders that the slave should be racked for not telling the truth, that step in itself would doubtless have been enough to make him stop incriminating me falsely. As it was, the examination was conducted by men who also knew what their own interests required. 5.33Now as long as he believed that he had something to gain by falsely incriminating me, he firmly adhered to that course; but on finding that he was doomed, he at once reverted to the truth and admitted that it was our friends here who had induced him to lie about me. However, neither his persevering attempts at falsehood nor his subsequent confession of the truth helped him. 5.34They took him, took the man upon whose disclosures they are resting their case against me, and put him to death, note a thing which no one else would have dreamed of doing. As a rule, informers are rewarded with money, if they are free, and with their liberty, if they are slaves. The prosecution paid for their information with death, and that in spite of a protest from my friends that they should postpone the execution until my return. 5.35Clearly, it was not his person, but his evidence, which they required; had the man remained alive, he would have been tortured by me in the same way, and the prosecution would be confronted with their plot: but once he was dead, not only did the loss of his person mean that I was deprived of my opportunity of establishing the truth, but his false statements are assumed to be true and are proving my undoing. Call me witnesses to confirm these facts.
<Witnesses>5.36In my opinion, they should have produced the informer himself in court, if they wished to prove me guilty. That was the issue to which they should have brought the case. Instead of putting the man to death, they ought to have produced him in the flesh and challenged me to examine him under torture. As it is, which of his statements will they use, may I ask: his first or his second? And which is true: the statement that I committed the murder or the statement that I did not? 5.37If we are to judge from probability, it is obviously the second which is the truer; he was lying to benefit himself, but on finding that those lies were proving fatal, he thought that he would be saved by telling the truth. However, he had no one to stand up for the truth, as I, who was vindicated by his second, true statement, was unfortunately not present; while there were those who were ready to put his first, his false one, beyond all reach of future correction. As a rule, it is the victim who quietly seizes an informer and then makes away with him. In this case, it is the very persons who arrested the slave in order to discover the truth who have done so; 5.38and it is the very person who had supplied information against myself with whom they have made away. Had I myself been responsible for his disappearance, had I refused to surrender him to the prosecution or declined to establish the truth in some other way, they would have treated that very fact as most significant: it would have furnished the strongest presumption in their favor that I was guilty. So now that they themselves have declined to submit to an inquiry, in spite of a challenge from my friends to do so, that fact should in the same way furnish a presumption in my favor that the charge which they are bringing is a false one. note 5.39They further allege that the slave admitted under torture that he had been my accomplice in the murder. I maintain that he did not say this; what he said was that he conducted Herodes and myself off the boat, and that after I had murdered him, he helped me pick him up and put him in the boat; then he threw him into the sea. 5.40Also let me point out to you that at the start, before being placed on the wheel, in fact, until extreme pressure was brought to bear, the man adhered to the truth and declared me innocent. It was only when on the wheel, and when driven to it, that he falsely incriminated me, in order to put an end to the torture. 5.41When it was over, he ceased affirming that I had had any part in the crime; indeed, at the end he bemoaned the injustice with which both I and he were being sent to our doom: not that he was trying to do me a kindness—hardly that, after falsely accusing me as he had done; no, the truth left him no choice: he was confirming as true the declaration which he had made to begin with. 5.42Then there was the second man. note He had travelled on the same boat as I: had been present throughout the voyage: and had been constantly in my company. When tortured in the same way, he confirmed the first and last statements of the other as true; for he declared me innocent from start to finish. On the other hand, the assertions made by the other upon the wheel, made not because they were the truth, but because they were wrung from him, he contradicted. Thus, while the one said that it was not until I had left the boat that I killed Herodes, and that he had himself helped me to remove the body after the murder, the other maintained that I did not leave the boat at all. 5.43And indeed, the probabilities are in my favor; I hardly imagine myself to have been so benighted that after planning the murder on my own to ensure that no one was privy to it—for there lay my one great danger—I proceeded to furnish myself with witnesses and confederates once the crime had been committed. 5.44Furthermore, Herodes was murdered very close to the sea and the boats, or so we are told by the prosecution. Was a man who was struck down by but one assailant not going to shout out or attract the attention of those on shore or on board? Moreover, sounds can be heard note over much greater distances by night than by day, on a beach than in a city. Moreover, it is admitted that the passengers were still awake when Herodes left the boat. 5.45Again, he was murdered on shore and placed in the boat; yet no trace or bloodstain was found either on shore or in the boat, in spite of the fact that it was at night that he was picked up and at night that he was placed in the boat. Do you think that any human being in such circumstances would have been able to smooth out the traces on shore and wipe away the marks on the boat, clues which a calm and collected man could not have removed successfully even by daylight? What probability is there in such a suggestion, gentlemen? 5.46One thing above all you must remember, and I hope that you will forgive me for repeatedly stressing the same point; but my danger is great, and only if you form a right judgement, am I safe; if you are misled, I am doomed. I repeat, let no one cause you to forget that the prosecution put the informer to death, that they used every effort to prevent his appearance in court and to make it impossible for me to take him and examine him under torture on my return; 5.47although to allow me to do so was to their own advantage. note Instead, they bought the slave and put him to death, entirely on their own initiative—put the informer himself to death, without any official sanction, and without the excuse that he was guilty of the murder. They should of course have kept him in custody, or surrendered him to my friends on security, or else handed him over to the magistrates of
Witnesses5.57Now what was my motive in murdering Herodes? For there was not even any bad feeling between us. The prosecution have the audacity to suggest that I murdered him as a favor. But who has ever turned murderer to oblige a friend? No one, I am sure. The bitterest feeling has to exist before murder is committed, while the growth of the design is always abundantly manifest. And, as I said, between Herodes and myself there was no bad feeling. 5.58Well and good. Then was it that I was afraid of being murdered by him myself? A motive of that kind might well drive a man to the deed. No, I had no such fears with regard to him. Then was I going to enrich myself by the murder? No, he had no money. 5.59Indeed, it would be more intelligible and nearer the truth for me to maintain that money was at the bottom of your own attempt to secure my death than it is for you to suggest it as my motive in murdering Herodes. You yourself deserve to be convicted of murder by my relatives for killing me far more than I by you and the family of Herodes. Of your designs on my life I have clear proof: whereas you, in seeking to make an end of me, produce only a tale of which proof is impossible. 5.60I assure you that I personally can have had no motive for murdering Herodes; but I must apparently clear Lycinus as well as myself by showing the absurdity of the charge in his case also. I assure you that his position with regard to Herodes was the same as my own. He had no means of enriching himself by the murder; and there was no danger from which the death of Herodes released him. 5.61Further, the following consideration indicates most strikingly that he did not desire his death: had redress for some old injury been owing to Lycinus, he could have brought Herodes into court on a charge which endangered his life, and have enlisted the help of your laws in making an end of him. By proving him a criminal he could have gained both his own object and your city's gratitude. This he did not trouble to do: he did not even attempt to institute proceedings against him, in spite of the fact that he was running a more honorable risk <by bringing Herodes into court than by engaging me to murder him. Call me witnesses to confirm these facts.> note
Witnesses5.62So we are to understand that Lycinus left Herodes in peace as far as an action at law was concerned, and instead chose the one course which was bound to endanger both himself and me, that of plotting his death, notwithstanding the fact that, if discovered, he would have deprived me of my country and himself of his rights before heaven and mankind, and of all that men hold most sacred and most precious. I will go further: I will adopt the standpoint of the prosecution: I will admit as readily as you like that Lycinus did desire the death of Herodes. Does it follow that I should ever have been induced to perform in his stead a deed which he refused to commit with his own hand? 5.63Was I, for instance, in a position to risk my life, and he in a position to hire me to do so? No, I had money, and he had none. On the contrary, the probabilities show that he would have been induced to commit the crime by me sooner than I by him; for even after suffering an execution for a debt of seven minae, he could not release himself from prison: his friends had to purchase his release. In fact, this affords the clearest indication of the relations between Lycinus and myself; it shows that my friendship with him was hardly close enough to make me willing to satisfy his every wish. I cannot suppose that I braved the enormous risk which murder involved to oblige him, after refusing to pay off seven minae for him when he was suffering the hardships of imprisonment. 5.64I have proved, then, to the best of my ability that both Lycinus and I are innocent. However, the prosecution make endless play with the argument that Herodes has disappeared; and doubtless it is a fact which you want explained. Now if it is conjecture which is expected of me, you are just as capable of it as I am—we are both alike innocent of the crime; on the other hand, if it is the truth, the prosecution must ask one of the criminals: he would best be able to satisfy them. 5.65The utmost that I who am not guilty can reply is that I am not guilty; whereas the criminal can easily reveal the facts, or at least make a good guess. Criminals no sooner commit a crime than they invent an explanation to suit it note; on the other hand, an innocent man can scarcely guess the answer to what is a mystery to him. Each of you yourselves, I am sure, if asked something which he did not happen to know, would simply reply reply to that effect; and if told to say more, you would find yourselves, I think, in a serious difficulty. 5.66So do not present me with a difficulty which you yourselves would not find easy of solution. Furthermore, do not make my acquittal depend on my making plausible conjectures. Let it be enough for me to prove my innocence of the crime; and that depends not upon my discovering how Herodes disappeared or met his end, but upon my possessing no motive whatever for murdering him. 5.67As I know from report, there have been similar cases in the past, when sometimes the victim, sometimes the murderer, has not been traced; it would be unfair, were those who had been in their company held responsible. Many, again, have been accused before now of the crimes of others, and have lost their lives before the truth became known. 5.68For instance, the murderers of one of your own citizens, Ephialtes, note have remained undiscovered to this day; it would have been unfair to his companions to require them to conjecture who his assassins were under pain of being held guilty of the murder themselves. Moreover, the murderers of Ephialtes made no attempt to get rid of the body, for fear of the accompanying risk of publicity—unlike myself, who, we are told, took no one into my confidence when planning the crime, but then sought help for the removal of the corpse. 5.69Once more, a slave, not twelve years old, recently attempted to murder his master. Had he had the courage to stay where he was, instead of taking to his heels in terror at his victim's cries, leaving the knife in the wound, the entire household note would have perished, as no one would have dreamed him capable of such audacity. As it was, he was caught, and later confessed his own guilt.
Then again, your Hellenotamiae note were once accused of embezzlement, as wrongfully as I am accused today. Anger swept reason aside, and they were all put to death save one. Later the true facts became known.5.70This one, whose name is said to have been Sosias, though under sentence of death, had not yet been executed. Meanwhile it was shown how the money had disappeared. The Athenian people rescued him from the very hands of the Eleven note: while the rest had died entirely innocent. 5.71You older ones remember this yourselves, I expect, and the younger have heard of it like myself.
Thus it is wise to let time help us in testing the truth of a matter. Perhaps the circumstances of Herodes' death will similarly come to light hereafter; so do not discover that you have put an innocent man to death when it is too late. Weigh the matter carefully while there is yet time, without anger and without prejudice: for they are the worst of counsellors;5.72it is impossible for an angry man to make a right decision, as anger destroys his one instrument of decision, his judgement. The lapse of one day after another, gentlemen, has a wondrous power of liberating the judgement from the sway of passion and of bringing the truth to light. 5.73Remember too that it is pity which I deserve from you, not punishment. Wrongdoers should be punished: those wrongfully imperilled should be pitied. You must never let your power to satisfy justice by saving my life be overridden by my enemies' desire to outrage it by putting me to death. A delay will still allow you to take the awful step which the prosecution urge upon you; whereas haste will make a fair consideration of the case quite impossible. 5.74I must also defend my father although, as my father, it would have been far more natural for him to be defending me. He is far older than I, and knows what my life has been whereas I am far younger than he, and cannot know what his has been. If my accuser were on trial, and I were giving evidence against him based on hearsay instead of certain knowledge, he would protest that he was being treated monstrously; 5.75yet he sees nothing monstrous in forcing me to explain occurrences with which I am far too young to be acquainted save from hearsay. However, as a loyal son, I will use what knowledge I have to defend my father against the unwarranted abuse to which you have been listening. Possibly indeed I may fail. I may describe but faultily a life which was without fault. But none the less, I will accept that risk. 5.76Before the revolt of
Witnesses5.84I know furthermore, gentlemen of the jury, that if the witnesses were testifying against me that my presence on shipboard or at a sacrifice had been the occasion of some unholy manifestation, the prosecution would be treating that fact as supremely significant; they would be showing that here, in the signs from heaven, was to be found the clearest confirmation of their charge. As, however, the signs have contradicted their assertions and the witnesses testify that what I say is true and that what the prosecution say is not, they urge you to put no credence in the evidence of those witnesses; according to them, it is their own statements which you should believe. Whereas every one else uses the facts to prove the worth of mere assertion, they use mere assertion for the purpose of discrediting the facts. 5.85All the charges which I can remember, gentlemen, I have answered; and for your own sakes I think that you should acquit me. A verdict saving my life will alone enable you to comply with the law and your oath; for you have sworn to return a lawful verdict; and while the crime with which I am charged can still be tried legally, the laws under which I was arrested do not concern my case. note If two trials have been made out of one, it is not I, but my accusers, who are to blame; and I cannot suppose that if my bitterest enemies have involved me in two trials, impartial ministers of justice like yourselves will prematurely find me guilty of murder in the present one. 5.86Beware of such haste, gentlemen; give time its opportunity; it is time which enables those who seek the truth to find it with certainty. In fact, gentlemen, I for one have always maintained that, while a case of this kind should certainly be tried according to law, the rights of the matter should be established as many times as the law will permit, since they would thus be the better understood; the repeated trial of a case is a good friend of the truth and the deadly foe of misrepresentation. 5.87In a trial for murder, note even if judgement is wrongly given against the defendant, justice and the facts cannot prevail against that decision. Once you condemn me, I must perforce obey your verdict and the law, even if I am not the murderer or concerned in the crime. No one would venture either to disregard the sentence passed upon him because he was sure that he had had no part in the crime, or to disobey the law if he knew in his heart that he was guilty of such a deed. He has to submit to the verdict in defiance of the facts, or submit to the facts themselves, as the case may be, above all if his victim has none to avenge him. note 5.88The laws, the oaths, the sacrifices, the proclamations, in fact the entire proceeding in connection with trials for murder differ as profoundly as they do from the proceedings elsewhere simply because it is of supreme importance that the facts at issue, upon which so much turns, should themselves be rightly interpreted. Such a right interpretation means vengeance for him who has been wronged; whereas to find an innocent man guilty of murder is a mistake, and a sinful mistake, which offends both gods and laws. 5.89Nor is it as serious for the prosecutor to accuse the wrong person as it is for you jurors to reach a wrong verdict. The charge brought by the prosecutor is not in itself effective; whether it becomes so, depends upon you, sitting in judgement. On the other hand if you yourselves, when actually sitting in judgement, return a wrong verdict, you cannot rid yourselves of the responsibility for the mistake by blaming someone else for that verdict. 5.90Then how can you decide the case aright? By allowing the prosecution to bring their charge only after taking the customary oath, and by allowing me to confine my defence to the question before the court. And how will you do this? By acquitting me today. For I do not escape your sentence even so: you will be the judges at the second hearing also. note If you spare me now, you can treat me as you will then; whereas once you put me to death, you cannot even consider my case further. 5.91Indeed, supposing that you were bound to make some mistake, it would be less of an outrage to acquit me unfairly than to put me to death without just cause; for the one thing is a mistake and nothing more: the other is a sin in addition. You must exercise the greatest caution in what you do, because you will not be able to reconsider your action. In a matter which admits of reconsideration a mistake, whether made through giving rein to the feelings or through accepting a distorted account of the facts, is not so serious; it is still possible to change one's mind and come to a right decision. But when reconsideration is impossible, the wrong done is only increased by altering one's mind and acknowledging one's mistake. Some of you yourselves have in fact repented before now of having sent men to their death; but when you, who had been misled, felt repentance, most assuredly did those who had misled you deserve death. 5.92Moreover, whereas involuntary mistakes are excusable, voluntary mistakes are not; for an involuntary mistake is due to chance, gentlemen, a voluntary one to the will. And what could be more voluntary than the immediate putting into effect of a carefully considered course of action? Furthermore, the wrongful taking of life by one's vote is just as criminal as the wrongful taking of life by one's hand. 5.93Rest assured that I should never have come to
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