Demosthenes, Speeches (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose; rhetoric] [word count] [lemma count] [Dem.].
<<Dem. 26 Dem. 27 (Greek) >>Dem. 28

Against Aphobus 1

27.1If Aphobus, men of the jury, had been willing to do what is fair, or to submit the matters in dispute between us to the arbitration of friends, there would be no occasion for a troublesome lawsuit; for I should have been satisfied to abide by their decision, and we should have had no controversy with him. Since, however, he has refused to let those well acquainted with our affairs give a decision, and has come before you, who have no accurate knowledge of them, it must be in your court that I try to win from him what is my due. 27.2I know well, men of the jury, that it is a hard task to enter into a contest in which all my fortune is at stake with men who are able speakers and clever in preparing their case, while I because of my youth am wholly without experience in affairs. Yet nevertheless, although they have every advantage over me, I have strong hopes that I shall obtain justice in your court, and that, as far at least as relating the facts, I shall myself speak well enough to ensure that not a single detail shall escape you, and that you will not be in the dark regarding the matters concerning which you are to cast your vote. 27.3I beg of you, men of the jury, to give me a favorable hearing, and, if you judge that I have been wronged, to render me the aid which is my due. I shall make my speech as brief as possible, and shall begin by endeavoring to inform you of the facts from which you will most readily understand the case.

27.4Demosthenes, my father, men of the jury, left at his death an estate of nearly fourteen talents, a son, myself, aged seven, and my sister, aged five, and his widow, our mother, who had brought him a fortune of fifty minae. He had taken thought for our welfare, and, when he was about to die, put all this property in the hands of the defendant, Aphobus, and Demophon, son of Demo, nephews of his, one by his brother, the other by his sister, and of Therippides of Paeania, note who was not a relative, but had been his friend from boyhood. 27.5To Therippides he gave the interest on seventy minae of my property, to be enjoyed by him until I should come of age, note in order that avarice might not tempt him to mismanage my affairs. To Demophon he gave my sister with a dowry of two talents, to be paid at once, and to the defendant himself he gave our mother with a dowry of eighty minae, and the right to use my house and furniture. His thought was that, if he should unite these men to me by still closer ties, they would look after my interests the better because of this added bond of kinship. 27.6But these men, who took at once their own legacies from the estate, and as my guardians administered all the remainder for ten years, have robbed me of my entire fortune except the house, and fourteen slaves and thirty silver minae, which they have handed over to me—amounting in all to about seventy minae. 27.7This, men of the jury, to put it as briefly as possible, is a summing up of the wrongs they have done me. But of the fact that the amount of property left by my father was as much as I have stated these men themselves have proved the most convincing witnesses, for in the tax-company note they agreed on my behalf to a tax of five hundred drachmae on every twenty-five minae note—a tax equal to that paid by Timotheus, son of Conon, note and those possessing the largest fortunes. However, I had better inform you in detail what portions of the property were producing a profit and what were unproductive, and what were their respective values; for when you have accurate information regarding these matters, you will know that of all who have ever acted as trustees none have so shamelessly and so openly plundered an estate as these men have plundered ours. 27.8I shall produce witnesses to prove, first, that in the tax-company they agreed on my behalf to be taxed to the amount which I have stated, and, next, that my father did not leave me a poor man, nor one possessing an estate of merely seventy minae. On the contrary, my estate was so considerable that these men were themselves unable to hide its value from the state.

Take, note please, and read this deposition.Deposition

27.9From this evidence it is clear what the value of the property was. Three talents is the tax on an estate of fifteen, and this tax they saw fit to pay. But you will see this more clearly if you hear what the property was. My father, men of the jury, left two factories, both doing a large business. One was a sword-manufactory, employing thirty-two or thirty-three slaves, most of them worth five or six minae each and none worth less than three minae. From these my father received a clear income of thirty minae each year. The other was a sofa-manufactory, employing twenty slaves, given to my father as security for a debt of forty minae. These brought him in a clear income of twelve minae. In money he left as much as a talent, loaned at the rate of a drachma a month, note the interest of which amounted to more than seven minae a year. 27.10This was the amount of productive capital which my father left, as these men will themselves admit, the principal amounting to four talents and five thousand drachmae, note and the proceeds to fifty minae each year. Besides this, he left ivory and iron, used in the factory, and wood for sofas, worth about eighty minae; and gall note and copper, which he had bought for seventy minae; furthermore, a house worth three thousand drachmae, and furniture and plate, and my mother's jewelry and apparel and ornaments, worth in all ten thousand drachmae, and in the house eighty minae in silver. 27.11To these sums left by him at home we must add seventy minae, a maritime loan to Xuthus; twenty-four hundred drachmae in the bank of Pasion, six hundred in that of Pylades, sixteen hundred in the hands of Demomeles, son of Demon, and about a talent loaned without interest in sums of two hundred or three hundred drachmae. The total of these last sums amounts to more than eight talents and fifty minae, and the whole taken together you will find on examination to come to about fourteen talents. note

27.12This, then, men of the jury, was the amount of property left by my father. How much of it has been squandered, how much they have severally taken, and of how much they have jointly robbed me, it is impossible to tell in the time note allotted to one plea. I must discuss each one of these questions separately. I pass over the question as to what property of mine Demophon or Therippides are holding. It will be time enough to discuss this when I bring in my accusations against them. I shall speak to you now of the defendant and shall state what his colleagues prove that he has in his hands, and what I know he has taken. In the first place I shall show that he has the marriage-portion, the eighty minae, and after that shall take up the other matters and discuss them with the utmost brevity.

27.13Immediately after my father's death the defendant came and dwelt in the house according to the terms of the will, and took possession of my mother's jewels and the plate. In these he received the equivalent of about fifty minae. Furthermore, he received from Therippides and Demophon the proceeds of the sale of the slaves until he had made up the full amount of the marriage-portion, eighty minae; 27.14and after getting this, when he was about to set sail for Corcyra as trierarch, note he sent Therippides a written acknowledgement that he had these sums in his possession, and admitted that he had received the marriage-portion. Of these matters Demophon and Therippides, his co-trustees, are witnesses, and, besides this, his own acknowledgement of having received these moneys is attested by Demochares, of Leuconion, note who is the husband of my aunt, and by many other witnesses. 27.15For when it proved that Aphobus, though he had her fortune, would not maintain my mother, and refused to let the property, choosing rather to administer it himself in conjunction with the other guardians, Demochares remonstrated with him about the matter; and Aphobus, when he had heard him, neither denied that he had the money nor waxed indignant as one who had received nothing, but admitted the fact, and said that he was having a little dispute with my mother about her jewels, and that, when he had settled this matter, he would act regarding the maintenance and all else in such a way that I should have no ground for complaint. 27.16Yet, if it be shown that he made these admissions before Demochares and the others who were present; that he received from Demophon and Therippides the money accruing from the sale of the slaves in part settlement of the marriage portion; that he gave to his co-trustees a written acknowledgement that he had received the portion; and that he occupied the house immediately after the death of my father; will it not be clear—the matter being admitted by everybody—that he has received the portion, the eighty minae, and that his denial of having received it is a piece of shameless impudence?

27.17To prove that what I say is true, take and read the depositions.Depositions

The dowry, then, he got in this way, and kept. But in the event of his not marrying my mother the law declares that he owes me the amount of the dowry with interest at nine obols a month. note However, I set it down at a drachma a month only. This comes, if one adds the principle and the interest for ten years, to about three talents. 27.18This money I have thus shown you that he received and that he confessed in the presence of a host of witnesses that he had it. Then he has also in his possession thirty minae besides, which he received as the revenue from the factory, and of which he has tried to defraud me in the most shameless manner possible. My father left me a revenue of thirty minae accruing from the factory; and after the sale by these men of one-half of the slaves, I should receive the proportionate sum of fifteen minae. 27.19Therippides, however, who had charge of the slaves for seven years, has submitted an account of eleven minae a year, four minae a year less than it should have been; and the defendant who had charge of the business at the first for two years shows no profit whatever, but says sometimes that the factory was idle, and sometimes that he was not himself the manager, but that the foreman, Milyas, a freedman of ours, had charge of it, and that I should look for an accounting from him. If he persists even now in making any of these statements he will easily be convicted of falsehood. 27.20If he declares that the factory was idle, yet he has himself rendered an account of money expended, not on provisions for the men, but for their work—ivory for the trade, swordhandles, and other supplies—indicating that the workmen were busy. Furthermore, he charges me with money which he has paid to Therippides for the hire of three slaves of his who were in my factory. Yet if no work was being done, Therippides should have received no pay, nor should these expenditures have been charged to me. 27.21Again, if he alleges that the work was done, but that there was no market for goods manufactured, he ought at any rate to show that he has delivered to me these goods, and to produce witnesses in whose presence he delivered them. Seeing that he has done neither of these things, how can you doubt that he is keeping thirty minae, the two years' income from the factory, since the business has so manifestly been carried on? 27.22If, however, he shall make none of these statements, but shall assert that Milyas had charge of everything, how can you believe him, when he alleges that he himself made the disbursements amounting to more than five hundred drachmae, but that any profits which accrued are in the hands of Milyas? For my part, I think it likely that the very opposite is the case, supposing that Milyas actually did have charge of the work,—that he made the disbursements, and that Aphobus received the profits, if we may draw any conclusion from the general character and the shamelessness of the man.

Take now and read these depositions to the jury.Depositions

27.23These thirty minae, then, he has received from the factory, and the interest on them for eight years; and if one sets this down at the rate of a drachma only, note it will make thirty minae more. These sums he has himself embezzled, and, if they be added to the marriage-portion, the total is about four talents, principal and interest combined. Now I shall go on to show you what sums he has embezzled in conjunction with his co-trustees, and what sums he asserts were never left by my father at all. 27.24First, regarding the twenty sofa-makers, given to my father as security for a debt of forty minae, whom my father certainly left behind him at his death, but of whom these men show not a trace—let me prove to you with what utter shamelessness and how openly they are seeking to cheat me of these. That these slaves were left by my father in the house they all admit, and that they brought him in an income of twelve minae every year. Yet these men report no receipts as having come in to my credit from them in ten years, and Aphobus reckons up a total expenditure on them of nearly a thousand drachmae. To such a pitch of effrontery has he come! 27.25And these slaves themselves, upon whom he alleges that he has expended the money, they have never handed over to me. On the contrary, they tell the idlest tale imaginable, to the effect that the man who pledged the slaves to my father is the vilest sort of a fellow, who has left many friendly loans note unpaid, and who is overwhelmed with debt; and to prove this against him they have called a large number of witnesses. But as for the slaves—who got them; how they went out of the house; who took them away; or in what suit they lost them by judgement, they are unable to say. 27.26Yet, if there were any truth in what they allege they would not be bringing forward witnesses to prove this man's vile character (with which I have no concern), but would be holding on to the slaves, or would show who took them, and would have left not one of them out of sight. But as it is, though they admit that the slaves were left by my father, and though they took possession of them and enjoyed the profits from them for ten years, they have in the most ruthless manner possible done away with the whole factory.

To prove that I am speaking the truth in this, take, please, and read the depositions.Depositions

27.27That, moreover, Moeriades was not without resources and that my father did not act foolishly in making the contract with him about the slaves, I will show you by the clearest proof. For after Aphobus took into his own hands the factory as you have yourselves heard from the witnesses, when it was his duty as my guardian to prevent anyone else from advancing money on the same security, he himself loaned to Moeriades on the security of these same slaves the sum of five hundred drachmae, which he admits he has duly recovered from him in full. 27.28And yet is it not outrageous that we who made the prior loan should, besides having received no profit from the slaves, have lost our security, while this fellow, who loaned money on security belonging to us, and whose loan was so long subsequent to ours, should from funds that were ours have recovered both principal and interest, and have suffered no loss whatever? To prove that what I say is true, take the deposition and read it.Deposition

27.29Consider now of how large a sum they are defrauding me in the matter of these sofa-makers: the principal alone, forty minae, and interest upon it for ten years, two talents; for they obtained from the slaves a profit of twelve minae each year. Is this a trifling sum drawn from some obscure source, which might easily have been miscalculated, or have they not manifestly robbed me of nearly three talents note? Of this sum which they have jointly scattered to the winds, it is surely right that I should recover a third from the defendant.

27.30Furthermore, men of the jury, they have dealt in much the same way with the ivory and iron which were left me. They do not produce them. Yet it is impossible that one who possessed so many sofa-makers and so many sword-makers should not also have left iron and ivory. These things must have been available, for what could the slaves have produced without these materials? 27.31Well then, though my father possessed more than fifty slaves and conducted two factories, one of which easily consumed two minae worth of ivory per month for the sofas, while the sword-factory consumed as much more, and iron besides, these men declare that he left no ivory and no iron; to such a pitch of shamelessness have they come! 27.32From these facts alone it is easy to see that no credence is to be given to their statements; but that my father actually did leave such an amount of these materials as not only to suffice for his own workmen to use in their trade, but also for sale to anyone else who wished to buy, is made clear by the fact that he himself during his lifetime used to sell these materials, and that after his death Demophon and the defendant continued to sell them from out my house to those wishing to buy. 27.33And yet how large must one suppose the quantity left by my father to have been, when it is shown to have sufficed for such extensive factories, and to have been sold by the guardians besides? Was it a small amount, or not rather much more than I have charged?

Take now these depositions and read them to the jury.Depositions

Of this ivory, you see, there is more than a talent's worth of which they make no report—neither of the raw material nor of the finished product. No; this also they have utterly and absolutely made away with.

27.34Furthermore, men of the jury, I shall prove to you from the account which they render, and from the receipts admitted by themselves, that these three men have in their possession more than eight talents of my money, and that of this amount Aphobus has separately taken three talents and one thousand drachmae. I shall set down separately at a higher figure than they do themselves the moneys they have expended, and shall deduct all the sums they have paid me, that you may see the utter shamelessness of their attempts. 27.35They confess to have received from my estate, Aphobus one hundred and eight minae (besides what I shall now show to be in his hands); Therippides two talents; and Demophon eighty-seven minae. This makes altogether five talents and fifteen minae. Of this sum there are nearly seventy-seven minae, the income from the slaves, which were not received all at once, and a little less than four talents of which they got possession immediately. Now, if you add to this last sum the interest for ten years, reckoned at a drachma only note you will find that the whole, principal and interest, amounts to eight talents and four thousand drachmae. 27.36From the seventy-seven minae, the profits of the factory, the cost of maintenance of the men must be deducted, for Therippides expended for this seven minae a year, and I admit having received thus much. Thus they expended on our behalf in the ten years seventy minae for maintenance; to this I add the balance, seven hundred drachmae, and thus credit them with a larger expenditure than they do themselves. There must also be deducted from the eight talents and more the sum they handed over to me when I came of age, and the taxes which they have paid to the state. 27.37The defendant and Therippides paid me thirty-one minae, and they compute that they have paid eighteen minae in taxes. I will go beyond them and will make this sum thirty minae, that they may have not a word to say in protest. Well, then, if you take away one talent from the eight, seven are left, which, according to their own admissions of receipts, they must necessarily have in their possession. This sum, then, even if they rob me of everything else and deny that they have it, they ought at least to have paid me, seeing that they admit having received it from my estate. 27.38But what is it that they do? They report no return in interest for this money, and tell me that they have expended the entire principal together with the seventy-seven minae; and Demophon has, moreover, actually set me down as indebted to him. Is not this absolute and barefaced effrontery? Is it not the very excess of outrageous rapacity? What is the meaning of outrageous, if matters pushed to this extreme are not to be so called? 27.39The defendant, then, for his own part, since he admits having received one hundred and eight minae, has in his possession these and the interest on them for ten years, in all about three talents and one thousand drachmae.

In proof that what I say is true—that each one of them in the account of his guardianship admits that he has received the money, but claims to have spent it all—take the depositions and read them.Depositions

27.40I think, men of the jury, that you have now been fully informed regarding the theft and wrongdoings of each of these men. You would, however, have had more exact knowledge of the matter, if they had been willing to give up to me the will which my father left; for it contained (so my mother tells me) a statement of all the property that my father left, along with instructions regarding the funds from which these men were to take what had been given them, and regarding the letting of the property. 27.41But as it is, on my demanding it, they admit that there was a will, but they do not produce it; and they take this course because they do not want to make known the amount of the property which was left, and which they have embezzled, and to the end that they may not appear to have received their legacies—as though they would not easily be convicted by the facts themselves.

Take now, and read them the evidence of those in whose presence they made their answers.Depositions

27.42This man note declares that a will was made and testifies that in it the two talents were given to Demophon, and the eighty minae to Aphobus; but he declares there was no additional clause regarding the seventy minae which Therippides received, or regarding the amount of the property bequeathed, or instructions as to the letting of it; for it was not to his interest to make these further admissions.

Now take the answer of the defendant.Deposition

27.43He also declares that the will was made, and that the money accruing from the copper and the gall was duly paid to Therippides, which Therippides denies; and that the two talents were paid to Demophon; but in regard to the money given to himself, while he admits that the clause was written in the will, he declares that he did not assent to it, in order that he may not appear to have received it. But as to the amount of the estate he, too, reveals absolutely nothing, nor as to letting the property. For it was not to his interest either to make these further admissions. 27.44The amount of the property that was left is, however, none the less clear (though these men seek to conceal it) from the terms of the will, in accordance with which they state that such large sums were given to them severally. When a man out of four talents and three thousand drachmae has given to two of these men three talents and two thousand drachmae as marriage-portions, and to the third the interest on seventy minae, it is clear, I fancy, that he took these sums, not from a small estate, but from one bequeathed to me of more than double this amount. 27.45For, I take it, he would not wish to leave me, his son, in poverty, and be eager further to enrich these men, who were already wealthy. No; it was because of the size of the estate left to me that he gave to Therippides the interest on a sum so considerable, and to Demophon that on the two talents—though he was not yet to marry my sister—in order to accomplish one or the other of two ends: either he would by his gifts encourage them to act the more honorably in the guardianship, or, if they should prove dishonest, they would meet with no leniency at your hands, seeing that, after being so liberally treated, they sinned so grievously against us. 27.46Well now, the defendant, who in addition to my mother's marriage-portion has taken the female servants, and has lived in the house, when it becomes necessary to render an account of these matters, says he is busy with his own affairs; and he has come to such a pitch of rapaciousness, that he has even cheated my instructors of their fees, and has left unpaid some of the taxes, although he charges me with the amounts.

Take these depositions too, and read them to the jury.Depositions

27.47How could one show more clearly that he has made havoc of the whole estate, sparing nothing, however small, than by proving, as I have done by so many witnesses and proofs, that he admitted having received the marriage-portion, and that he acknowledged in writing to the guardians that he had it; that he enjoyed the profits of the factory, but makes report of none; 27.48that of our other effects he has sold some without paying to us the proceeds, while others he has taken to himself and hidden; that according to the account which he has himself rendered, he has embezzled large sums; that in addition to all this he has made away with the will, sold the slaves, and in all other respects has administered the estate as not even the bitterest enemies would have done? I do not see how anyone could prove the matter more clearly.

27.49He had the audacity to say before the arbitrator note that he had paid many debts for me out of the estate to Demophon and Therippides, his fellow-guardians, and that they received a large part of my property, yet neither of these facts was he able to prove. He did not show by the books that my father left me in debt, nor has he brought forward as witnesses the men whom he says he paid; nor, again, is the amount of money which he charged against his fellow-guardians equal to the amount which he is shown to have received himself. On the contrary, it is much less. 27.50When the arbitrator questioned him about each of these matters, and asked him whether he had managed his own estate from the interest or had spent the principal, and whether,if he had been under guardianship, he would have accepted an account of this sort from his guardians or would have demanded that the money be duly paid to him with the accrued interest, he made no answer to these questions, but tendered me a challenge note to the effect that he was ready to show that my property was worth ten talents, and said that, if it fell short of this amount, he would himself make up the difference. 27.51When I bade him prove this to the arbitrator, he did not do so, nor did he show that his fellow-guardians had paid me (for if he had, the arbitrator would not have given judgement against him); but he put in a piece of evidence note of a sort regarding which he will try to find something to say.

If even now he still tries to assert that I am in possession of property, ask him who handed it over to me, and demand that he produce witnesses to prove each statement. 27.52If he declares that it is my possession in this sense, that he reckons up what is in the hands of either of the trustees, it will be clear that he accounts for only a third part, and still does not prove that I have possession of it. For as I have convicted the defendant of having in his possession the large amount I have stated, I shall also prove that each of them has not less than he. This statement, therefore, will not help him. No; he must show that either he or his fellow-trustees really handed the money over to me. If he fails to prove this, why should you pay any attention to his challenge? He still does not prove that I have the money.

27.53Being sorely at a loss to explain any of these matters before the arbitrator, and being convicted on each point, just as he is now before you, he had the audacity to make an outrageously false statement, to the effect that my father left me four talents buried in the ground, and that he had put my mother in charge of them. He made this statement in order that, if I should assume that he would repeat it here, I might waste my time in refuting it, when I ought to be preferring the rest of my charges against him; or if I should pass it over, not expecting him to repeat it, then he himself might now bring it up, in the hope that I, by seeming to be rich, might meet with less compassion from you. 27.54Yet he who dared to make such a statement put in no evidence to prove it, but relied on his bare word, as though you would lightly give him credence. When one asks him upon what he has spent so much of my money, he says he has paid debts for me, and so represents me as poor; yet, when it pleases him, he makes me rich, as it seems, seeing that my father left such a sum of money in the house. It is easy to see, however, from many considerations that he is lying, and that there is no basis of fact in this story. 27.55For if my father had no confidence in these men, it is plain that he would neither have entrusted to them the rest of his property, nor, if he had left this money in the way alleged, would he have told them of it. It would have been the height of madness to tell them of hidden treasure, when he was not going to make them trustees even of his visible property. But if he had confidence in them, he would not, I take it, have given into their hands the bulk of his property, and not have put them in control of this. Nor would he have entrusted this remainder to my mother to keep, and then have given her herself in marriage to this man who was one of the guardians. For it is not reasonable that he should seek to secure the money through my mother, and yet to put one of the men whom he distrusted in control both of her and of it. 27.56Furthermore, if there were any truth in all this, do you suppose Aphobus would not have taken my mother to wife, bequeathed to him as she was by my father? He had already taken her marriage-portion—the eighty minae—as though he were going to marry her; but he subsequently married the daughter of Philonides of Melite note But if there had been four talents in the house and in her custody, as he alleges, don't you imagine he would have raced to get possession both of her and of them? 27.57Would he have joined with his co-trustees in so shamefully plundering my visible property, which many of you knew had been left me, and have refrained, when he had the chance, from seizing a fund to the evidence of which you would not be able to testify? Who can believe this? It is impossible, men of the jury; it is impossible. No; my father entrusted to these men all the property which he left, and the defendant will tell this story, that I may meet with less compassion from you.

27.58I have many other charges to make against him, but summing them all up in one, I will break down every defence of his. He could have avoided all this trouble, had he let the estate in accordance with these laws.

Take the laws and read them.Laws

In the case of Antidorus, as a result of his property having been let in accordance with these laws, there was given over to him, at the end of six years, an estate of six talents and more from an original amount of three talents and three thousand drachmae; and this some of you have seen with your own eyes; for Theogenes of Probalinthus, note who leased the estate, counted out that sum in the market-place. 27.59But in my case, fourteen talents in ten years, when consideration is given to the time and the terms of his lease, ought to have been more than trebled. Ask him why he did not do this. If he declares that it was better not to let the estate, let him show, not that it has been doubled or trebled, but that the mere principal has been paid back to me in full. But if out of fourteen talents they have handed over to me not even seventy minae, and one of them has actually recorded me as in his debt, how can it be right to accept any word they say? It is surely impossible.

27.60Seeing that the fortune left me was of so great value, as you heard at the beginning, the third part of it bringing in an income of fifty minae, these men, albeit insatiate in their greed, even if they refused to let the property, might out of this income and leaving the principal untouched, have maintained us, paid the taxes to the state, and saved the residue. 27.61The rest of the estate—an amount twice as large—they might have invested profitably, and, if greedy for money, have taken a reasonable amount for themselves, and have increased my estate from the income, besides keeping the principal intact. Yet they did nothing of the sort. Instead, by selling to one another the most valuable of the slaves and by absolutely doing away with the rest, they destroyed the existing source of my income and secured a considerable one for themselves at my cost. 27.62Having taken all the rest thus shamefully, they unite in maintaining that more than half of my property was never left to me at all. They have rendered an account as though the estate were one of five talents only; they do not produce the principal, though reporting no income from it, but have the impudence to tell me that the capital itself has been expended. And for this audacity they feel no shame! 27.63What, pray, would have been my plight, if I had continued longer as their ward? They would have hard work to tell. For when, after the lapse of ten years, I have recovered so little from two of these men, and by the third am even set down as a debtor, have I not good ground for indignation? Nay, it is wholly clear. If I had been left an orphan of a year old, and had been six years longer under their guardianship, I should never have recovered even the pitiful amounts I now have. For, if the expenditures they have made were justifiable, the sums they have handed over to me would not have lasted six years, but they would either have had to support me themselves or to have let me perish from hunger. 27.64Yet is it not an outrage, if estates left to others of a value of one or two talents have as a result of letting been doubled or trebled, so that the owners have been called upon for state services, note while mine, which has been wont to equip triremes and to make large contributions in taxes, will be unable to contribute even small sums thanks to the shameless acts of these men? What words are gross enough to describe their conduct? They have done away with the will, thinking to avoid discovery, their own estates they have administered from the income, and have greatly increased their capital by drawing upon my funds, while, as for my own estate, they have destroyed my entire capital, as if in requital for some grievous wrong we had done them. 27.65You, on your part, do not act thus even toward those who sin against you: when you give judgement against any of them, you do not take away all that they have, but in pity for their wives and children you leave something even to these. But these men are so different from you that, although they had received legacies from us to make them administer their trust faithfully, they have done us these outrageous wrongs. They felt no touch of shame for their ruthlessness toward my sister, who, though my father left two talents as the dowry due her, will now get no fitting portion. Nay, they have recked nothing of kinship, as though they had been left to us, not as friends and kinsfolk, but as bitterest enemies.

27.66For myself, I am the most wretched of men. I am helpless both to give my sister a portion and to maintain myself. Besides this, the state is pressing me hard, demanding taxes, and with right, for my father left me an estate large enough to pay them; but these men have taken all the money left me. 27.67And now, in seeking to recover what is mine, I have come into the greatest peril; for if the defendant is acquitted (which heaven forbid!) I shall have to pay one-sixth of the damages, note one hundred minae. The defendant, if you give judgement against him, will be liable for a sum to be determined, and will make payment, not out of his own funds, but out of mine; while in my case the sum is fixed, so that I shall not only have been robbed of my inheritance, but shall also lose my civic rights, unless you now take pity on me. 27.68I beg you, therefore, men of the jury, I entreat, I implore you, to remember the laws and the oaths which you took as jurors, to render me the aid that is my due, and not to count the pleas of this man of higher worth than mine. It is your duty to show pity, not toward the guilty, but toward those in unmerited misfortune; not upon those who so cruelly rob another of his goods, but upon me, who have for so long a time been deprived of my inheritance and treated with outrage by these men, and who am now in danger of losing my civic rights. 27.69Loudly methinks, would my father groan, should he learn that I, his son, am in danger of being forced to pay the sixth part of the marriage-portions and legacies given by himself to these men; and that, while others of our countrymen out of their own funds have dowered the daughters of impoverished kinsfolk and even friends, Aphobus refuses to pay back even the marriage-portion which he took, and that too in the tenth year.

Demosthenes, Speeches (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose; rhetoric] [word count] [lemma count] [Dem.].
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