Demosthenes, Speeches (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose; rhetoric] [word count] [lemma count] [Dem.].
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Against Aphobus 2

28.1Of the many outrageous lies which Aphobus uttered in his address to you, I shall try to refute first, that one at which I felt greater indignation than at anything else he said. For he declared that my grandfather was a debtor to the state, and that for this reason my father would not have the property let, for fear of the risks he would run. note This is the pretence he uses; but he brought forward no proof that my grandfather died indebted to the state. He did introduce evidence that he became a state-debtor, but he waited until the last day, note and kept this evidence for his second speech, thinking that by it he would be able to give a malicious turn to the matter. So, if he reads it, give close heed. 28.2For you will find that the evidence adduced proves not that my grandfather is a state-debtor, but that he was one. I shall undertake first to refute this charge of which he thinks to make so much, and which we declare to be false. If I had been able to do so, and had not been thus ensnared by lack of time, I should have brought forward witnesses to prove that the money was paid in full, and that everything was settled between my grandfather and the state; as it is, I shall show by strong proofs that he was not indebted at the time of his death, and that we incurred no risks in letting our wealth be known.

28.3In the first place Demochares, who married my mother's sister, a daughter of Gylon, has not concealed his property, but acts as choregus and as trierarch, and performs other public services, without any fear of such consequences. In the second place, my father voluntarily revealed the rest of his property, and in particular the four talents and three thousand drachmae, which these men by their accusations against one another admit to have been mentioned in the will, and to have been received by them. 28.4Furthermore, Aphobus himself in conjunction with his co-trustees revealed to the state the amount of the property left me, when he appointed me leader of the tax-group and that at no low rating, but at one so high as to entail a payment of five hundred drachmae on each twenty-five minae. note And yet, if there were any truth in what he says, he would not have acted thus, but would have taken every precaution. But, as it is, Demochares, and my father, and these men themselves have manifestly let their wealth be known; they plainly feared no such risk as that of which he speaks.

28.5Strangest of all is it that, though they allege that my father would not permit them to let the property, they should never produce this will from which one could have learned the truth, and that having destroyed so important a piece of evidence, they should expect you to believe them on their mere word. It was their duty on the contrary, as soon as my father died, to call in a number of witnesses and to bid them seal the will, so that, in case any dispute should arise, it would have been possible to refer to the writing itself, and so learn the whole truth. 28.6But, as it is, they thought proper to have some other papers sealed, in which many items of the property left were not inscribed—papers which were mere memoranda; but the will itself, which gave them possession of the papers to which they affixed their seals, and all the rest of the property, and which acquitted them of all responsibility for not letting the estate, they did not seal, nor yet produce. You ought presumably to believe them in anything they say about this matter.

28.7I, for my part, cannot understand what it is they mean. My father, they say, would not suffer them to let the estate, or to disclose the value of the property. To me, do you mean, or to the state? Quite the contrary: you have plainly disclosed it to the state, but have hidden it absolutely from me. You have not even revealed the fund which was the basis for your assessment in the payment of the property-tax. Show me this fund. What was it? Where did you deliver it over to me, and in whose presence? 28.8Of the four talents and three thousand drachmae, you received the two talents and eighty minae, so that you did not include even these in the return you made on my behalf to the public treasury; for at that time they were your property. But the house and the fourteen slaves and the thirty minae which you gave over into my hands, could not have been assessed at any such sum as that which you agreed to pay to the tax-group. 28.9Nay; it is absolutely certain that the property left by my father was much more than this, and that it is all in your possession. It is because you are plainly proved to have made havoc of it that you have the audacity to make up such falsehoods. Sometimes you refer the responsibility to one another; again you mutually accuse one another of having received funds; you claim to have received but little, yet you have made reports of large expenditures. 28.10You have acted jointly as my guardians, but thereafter you scheme each one for himself. The will from which we could have learned the truth about everything you have made to disappear; and it appears that you are never in agreement when you speak of one another.

Take the depositions and read them all in turn to the jury, that they may bear in mind the testimony that has been brought and the statements that have been made, and so reach a more correct decision.Depositions

28.11There you have the assessment to which these men consented in my name, placing my estate in the class of those possessing fifteen talents, whereas the property which the three together have handed over to me is not worth seventy minae.

Read the next.Depositions

This dowry, his possession of which is proved by the testimony of the trustees and of others to whom he confessed that he had received it, he has never paid back, nor has he furnished maintenance.

Take the others and read them.Depositions

28.12For two years he conducted the business of the factory and paid to Therippides the hire of the slaves, but to me, though he took the profits for two years, amounting to thirty minae, he has turned over neither that sum nor the interest upon it.

Take and read the next.Deposition

These slaves the defendant took to himself, together with all the other things given to us as surety with them. He has reckoned up so heavy an outlay for their maintenance, but absolutely nothing as profit from them; and the men themselves he has made to vanish, though they brought in a clear profit of twelve minae each year.

Read the next.Deposition

28.13After selling this ivory and iron, he declares that none had been left me, but tries to defraud me of the value of these articles also, about a talent.

Read these.Depositions

These three talents and one thousand drachmae he has in his hands besides the rest—five talents of capital of which he has taken possession. Adding the interest, if one reckons it at a drachma a month only, he holds more than ten talents.

Read the next ones.Depositions

28.14That these items were written in the will, and were received by them, is proved by their testimony against one another. But Aphobus, though admitting that he was sent for by my father, and though he came to the house, declares that he did not come into the presence of my father, who had sent for him, nor enter into any agreement in regard to these matters, but merely heard Demophon read a document and Therippides say that my father made these arrangements; whereas in fact he was the first to go in and had agreed with my father to carry out in all respects precisely what he wrote in his will. 28.15For my father, men of the jury, when he saw that he was not to recover from his sickness, called together these three men, and causing his brother Demon to sit with them by his side, placed our persons in their hands, calling us a sacred deposit. My sister he gave to Demophon with a dowry of two talents to be paid at once, and betrothed her to him in marriage; me, together with my property, he committed to the care of them all in common, charging them to let the property, and by their joint efforts to preserve the estate for me. 28.16At the same time he gave to Therippides the seventy minae, and betrothed my mother to the defendant with her portion of eighty minae, and placed me on his knees. To all this Aphobus, the most impious of men, has paid no heed, although these were the terms upon which he became possessed of my estate. Nay, after joining with his co-trustees in robbing me of everything, he will now claim your compassion, although what he with the two others has paid back to me does not amount even to seventy minae, and even this he is plotting to get back again. 28.17For when I was on the point of instituting this suit against them they attacked me by having an exchange of estates tendered me, note in order that, if I accepted it, I might not be allowed to pursue my action against them, note since (they thought) this suit would then belong to the one tendering the exchange; and if I did not do so, I might undertake the service with slender means, and so be absolutely ruined. In this matter Thrasylochus of Anagyrus note was their tool. I, with no thought of the consequences, accepted the exchange with him, but excluded him from the premises hoping to win a court decision, note but, failing of this, and being hard pressed for time, rather than be forced to give up my suit, I mortgaged my house and all my property, and paid the cost of the service in question, note being eager to bring before you my suit against these men.

28.18Is not the wrong I have suffered from the beginning great indeed, and great the harm they are striving to do me now, because I seek to obtain redress? Who of you would not rightly feel indignation against this man and pity for me, seeing that to the estate of more than ten talents which he inherited there has been added my own of such considerable size, while I have not only been defrauded of my inheritance, but am by the rascality of these men being robbed even of what they have now repaid me? To what are we to turn, if you give a different decision regarding them? To the goods mortgaged to our creditors? But they belong to the holders of the mortgage. To what is left after the creditors are paid? But that becomes the property of the defendant, if you condemn me to pay an obol on each drachma. note 28.19Do not, men of the jury, be to us the cause of such deep distress; do not allow my mother, my sister and myself to suffer undeserved misfortunes. It was not to prospects such as these that my father left us. Nay, my sister was to be the wife of Demophon with a dowry of two talents, my mother the wife of this most ruthless of all men with a dowry of eighty minae, and I as my father's successor was to perform state services as he had done. 28.20Succor us, then, succor us, for the sake of justice, for your own sakes, for ours, and for my dead father's sake. Save us; have compassion on us since these, our relatives, have felt no compassion. It is to you that we have fled for protection. I beseech you, I implore you by your children, by your wives, by all the good things you possess. So may heaven give you joy of them, do not look upon me with indifference nor cause my mother, deprived of the hopes in life that are left her, to suffer a lot unworthy of her. 28.21She now thinks that she is to welcome me home after I have won a just verdict from you, and that my sister will not be portionless. But, if you decide adversely (which may heaven forfend) what, think you, will be her anguish of soul when she sees me not only robbed of my patrimony, but disenfranchised as well, and has no hope that my sister will find an establishment that befits her station because of the poverty that will be ours? 28.22I have not deserved, men of the jury, to fail of justice at your hands, nor has Aphobus deserved that he should retain all the money that he has wrongfully taken. Regarding myself, even though you have as yet had no experience to prove what manner of man I am in my relations to you, yet it is fair to expect that I shall not be worse than my father; but of this man you have had experience, and you know well that, though he inherited a large estate, he has shown no generosity toward you, but has been proven to be a defrauder of others.

28.23Look, then, to this, and bear in mind the other facts; and then cast your vote on the side of justice. You have evidence that is adequate, evidence from witnesses, from depositions, from probabilities, from the statements of these men themselves who acknowledge that they took possession of my entire estate. They say they have spent it, but they have not spent it; they have it all in their own possession.

28.24All these things should be in your minds, and you should show some consideration for us, knowing that, if I recover my property through your aid, I shall naturally be ready to undertake public services, being grateful to you for rightfully restoring to me my estate; while this fellow, if you make him master of my goods, will do nothing of the kind. Do not imagine that he will be ready to undertake public services for you on behalf of property which he denies having received. Nay; he will conceal it rather, that it may appear that he was justly acquitted.

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