|Demosthenes, Speeches (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose; rhetoric] [word count] [lemma count] [Dem.].|
|<<Dem. 28||Dem. 29 (Greek)||>>Dem. 30|
29.1If I were not conscious, men of the jury, that in a former suit against Aphobus I had readily (so absolutely manifest were his wrongdoings) convicted him of lies greater and more outrageous than these which he now utters, I should have grave doubts of my ability to show how he seeks to lead you astray in regard to each one of them. As it is, however (be it said with the favor of heaven), if you prove fair and impartial hearers, I have strong hopes that you will become as fully aware of the shamelessness of this man as were the jurors in the former trial. If the case required eloquence or cleverness I should shrink through distrust of my youth; but, as matters are, I need merely point out and rehearse to you what the plaintiff's conduct toward us has been. From this it will be easy, I think, for all of you to determine which of us is the villain.
29.2I know that the plaintiff has instituted this suit, not because he believes he can convict anyone of having borne false witness against him, but because he thinks that the large amount of damages which he was condemned to pay will give rise to a feeling of prejudice against me, and of compassion toward himself. For this reason he is now seeking to defend himself against charges made in a suit that has already been decided, regarding which he had at the time no reasonable defence to make. I, for my part, men of the jury, if I had proceeded to execute the judgement against him and had been unwilling to make any reasonable concession, should even so have done no wrong in exacting the damages awarded by your decision; but for all that it might have been said that I had shown undue ruthlessness and enmity toward a man who is a relative in depriving him of all his property. 29.3But, as it is, the precise contrary is the truth. This man with his co-trustees has robbed me of my entire patrimony, and, even after being clearly convicted in your court, he does not consider himself obliged to do anything reasonable. On the contrary he has dispersed his property, giving his farm-buildings to Aesius and his farm to Onetor, against whom he has forced me to engage in a troublesome lawsuit. He himself stripped the house of its furniture, took away the slaves, destroyed the wine-vat, tore off the doors, and all but set fire to the house itself; then he made off to
29.4Regarding the rapacity and vile character of the plaintiff I purpose to speak at length before you later on, though what you have even now heard gives you a fair idea of it. But I shall now undertake to show you, that the testimony which has been given, about which you are going to cast your votes, is true. But one request I make of you, men of the jury, and it is a reasonable one—that you will give us both a fair hearing. This is as much in your interest as in mine, for the more accurate your knowledge of the facts, the more just and in harmony with your oaths will be the vote you will cast regarding them. 29.5I shall show that Aphobus has not only acknowledged
29.6I instituted suit, men of the jury, against Demophon, Therippides and the plaintiff for breach of trust in their guardianship, for I had been defrauded by them of all my inheritance. When my suit against Aphobus in the first instance came up for trial, I proved clearly to the jury, as I shall prove to you, that he, in conjunction with the others, had robbed me of all the property that had been left me; and I relied upon no false testimony. 29.7Here is a clear proof of this. A host of depositions was read at the trial, some of the deponents declaring that they had given to the plaintiff property of mine, others that he had received such property in their presence, still others that they had purchased goods from him, and paid him the price; yet he has charged not a single one of these with bearing false testimony. He has dared to attack this one piece of testimony, and it alone, although in it he cannot show that there was mention even of one single drachma. 29.8And yet for the computation of the sums of which I had been robbed, I relied not so much on this man's testimony, for there was no mention of money in it, but on the several statements of the others, against whom the plaintiff has made no charges. Therefore the jurymen who at that time heard my plea, not only found him guilty, but fixed the damages at the full amount stated in my complaint. Why was it, then, that he passed over the other witnesses and sued the defendant alone? I will tell you. 29.9In regard to all the witnesses who testified that he had received the money, he knew that the more discussion there should be over each separate point, the more convincingly would he be convicted of possessing it, and this was bound to be the case in a trial for false witness; for the accusations which I then made along with all the others in a small part of the time allotted me, I should now discuss severally and in detail in the time of an entire speech; 29.10whereas, if he attacked an answer given, he thought that as he had made an admission before, so now it would be in his power to make a denial. note That is the reason why he attacks the testimony of this witness, the truth of whose testimony I mean to prove conclusively to you all, not on the basis of probabilities, or of arguments made up to fit the occasion, but by reasoning which, I am sure, will approve itself to you all as just and fair. Listen, and judge.
29.11I knew, men of the jury, that I should find the whole contest centring about the deposition inserted in the record, and that it would be regarding the truth or falsehood of this that you would cast your votes, and I therefore determined that the first step for me to take was to offer Aphobus a challenge. What, then, did I do? I offered to surrender to him for examination by torture a slave who knew how to read and write, and who had been present when Aphobus made the admission in question, and who wrote down the statement of the witness. This man had been ordered by me not to use any fraud or trickery, nor to write down some and suppress others of the statements made by the plaintiff regarding the matters at issue, but simply to write the absolute truth, and what Aphobus actually said. 29.12What better opportunity could he have had of convicting us of falsehood than by putting my slave to torture? But Aphobus knew better than anyone else that the slave had borne true testimony, and therefore he declined the test. And in truth it is not one or two only who know these facts; the challenge was not made in secret, but in the midst of the agora where many were present.
Call, please, the witnesses to these facts.
29.13The fellow is so cunning, and so ready to pretend ignorance of what is right, that, although he is pressing a suit for false witness, and although you are to cast your votes regarding this, and have sworn so to do, he refused the proffered examination by torture in regard to the testimony (the point to which he should have devoted his argument), and declares that he requires the slave to be given up for testing in regard to other matters. In this he is lying. 29.14Is it not indeed monstrous that he should claim that he is being outrageously treated by my refusal of his demand to have delivered to him for torture a freeman (for such I shall conclusively prove
29.15Furthermore, men of the jury, the first witness to give this testimony was Aesius, the brother of the plaintiff. He now denies it, because he has allied himself in the suit with Aphobus; but at that time he gave this testimony along with the other witnesses, for he had no desire to perjure himself, or to suffer the penalty which would straightway follow. Surely now, if I had been getting up false testimony, I should not have put this man in my list of witnesses, seeing that he was more intimate with Aphobus than with anyone else in the world, and knowing that he was going to plead for him in the suit, and that he was an adversary of my own. It is not reasonable that one should call as witness to a false statement one who is an opponent of his own, and a brother of his adversary. 29.16I have many witnesses to these facts, and circumstantial proofs no fewer in number than the witnesses. In the first place, if he did not in very truth give this testimony, he would not be denying it now, but would have done so at once in the courtroom, when the deposition was read, for it would have answered his purpose better then than now. In the second place Aesius would not have kept quiet, but would have sued me for damages, if without cause I had made him liable to a charge of bearing false witness against his brother, a charge on which men run the risk both of damages in money and the loss of citizenship. 29.17Again, in seeking to bring the truth of the matter to light, he would have demanded of me the slave who wrote the depositions, in order that, if I refused to give him up, I might seem to have no just ground for my statements. But, as it is, so far from doing anything of the sort, he refused to accept the slave for torture, when I, on his denial that he had given the evidence, offered him. So plain is it that regarding this matter too both he and Aphobus as well were alike unwilling to have recourse to torture.
29.18To prove that my words are true, that after Aesius had given his testimony with the other witnesses, he made no denial of the fact, when, standing by the plaintiff's side in the courtroom, he heard the deposition read, and that, when I offered the slave to them to be questioned by torture regarding all these matters, he refused to accept the offer—regarding each of these points severally I shall produce witnesses. Please call them here.
29.19I wish now to set forth to you, men of the jury, what I consider a stronger proof than all those that have been mentioned, to show that the plaintiff did give this answer. When, despite the admissions which he is proved to have made, he demanded of me
To prove that I am speaking the truth, take the challenge and the deposition.
29.22Such are the legal tests which he has refused, and so numerous the proofs by which he is shown to be acting with malice and insincerity; yet he demands that you put credence in his own witnesses, and he slanders mine, and declares that their testimony is false.
I wish now to speak of the matter on the basis of probabilities. I am certain that you would all agree that those who give false testimony are led to do so by bribes through stress of poverty, or by friendship, or else by enmity toward the opposite party in the suit.29.23Now no one of these reasons would have led the men to testify in my favor. Not friendship; how could that be, seeing that they are not engaged in the same pursuits, nor are they of like age, I will not say with me, but with one another? Not enmity against my adversary, that is plain; for one of them is his brother and pleads on his side; Phanus is a close friend and a member of the same tribe; and Philip is neither friend nor enemy, so that this motive, too, cannot be justly charged against them. 29.24Furthermore, no one could say that poverty was the ground, for they all possess means so ample that they willingly assume the expense of public services, and discharge whatever duties are laid upon them. Besides all this, they are well known to you, and you know nothing to their discredit; for they are worthy citizens. Yet, if they are not poor, nor enemies of the plaintiff, nor friends of mine, how can it be right to suspect them of bearing false witness? I certainly do not know.
29.25My opponent was aware of all this, and knew better than anybody else that their testimony was true, but nonetheless he brings forward a malicious charge against them, and not only declares that he did not make the statement which I have proved in the most conclusive manner that he did make, but even asserts that the man,
Come now, to prove that I am speaking the truth and that we were ready to do these things, call the witnesses thereto.
29.27So many were the just arguments we had to urge, and so ready were we to have recourse to the most infallible tests regarding the testimony given; and yet the plaintiff evades all these, and fancies that by slandering me regarding the trial which has already taken place, and bringing accusations against me, he can induce you to convict the witness,—a piece of trickery the most unfair and the most rapacious imaginable. 29.28For he has himself suborned men to bear false witness about these matters, having as co-workers his brother-in-law Onetor, and Timocrates note; we had no forewarning of this, and supposed that the contest would be regarding the deposition alone, and therefore have not come prepared with witnesses regarding the guardianship accounts. Nevertheless, despite the fellow's trickery, I think that, simply by reciting the facts, I shall easily convince you that no man was ever more justly convicted than he. 29.29It was not because I refused to allow
29.30For, men of the jury, when I instituted my suit against him concerning his guardianship, I did not fix the damages at a lump sum, as one bringing forward a baseless charge out of malice would have done, but specified each item, stating the source of each, the precise amount, and the person from whom it had been received. In no case did I add mention of
29.35With regard to the maritime loan, note the sofa-makers, and the iron and the ivory that were left me, and my sister's marriage-portion, at the purloining of which Aphobus connived in order to secure for himself the right to take whatever he pleased of my goods, listen, and see how just was the verdict given against him, and how absurd it would have been to examine
29.36For as regards the purloining of funds at which you connived there is a law which expressly declares that you are responsible for them exactly as if you had them in your own possession. So what has the law to do with the testing of a slave by torture? But in the matter of the maritime loan you made common cause with Xuthus, note divided the money with him, and destroyed the contract, and now that you have arranged everything to suit your wish, and have done away with the documentary evidence (as Demo testified against you), you have recourse to trickery, and endeavor to mislead these gentlemen. 29.37Regarding the sofa-makers, if you took money, and made large profits for yourself by making loans on security that was mine—you, who should rather have prevented others from doing so—and finally made away with the slaves altogether, what, pray, can the witnesses do in your behalf? These men at any rate have not testified that you admitted lending money on the security of my slaves, and that you appropriated the slaves to yourself. On the contrary, it was you who acknowledged this in your account, and the witnesses testified to the fact against you.
29.38Now look you, as to the ivory and iron, I have this to say: all the slaves of the household know that the plaintiff used to sell these articles. I am ready now, as I was then, to give over to him any one of these slaves whom he may choose to be examined by torture. If then, he alleges that I refuse to surrender the man who has knowledge of the facts, and offer him others who have no such knowledge, he will but show that he ought all the more to have accepted my offer. For if those whom I offered to him as having knowledge of the facts, declared that he had none of these articles in his possession, he would of course have been acquitted of the charge. 29.39But nothing of the sort is the truth. It would have been proved past all question that he had sold the goods, and appropriated the profits. Therefore, he passed over those who were admittedly slaves, and demanded that a freeman be examined by torture, whom it would have been a crime for me to surrender; for it was not his purpose that he should sift out the matter, but that he might make a specious argument out of the fact that his demand was refused.
Regarding, therefore, all these facts, first the marriage-portion, then his connivance with fraud, then all the rest, there shall be read to you the laws and the depositions, that you may have full knowledge.
29.40Not only from the facts already adduced can you see that Aphobus was not in any respect whatever prejudiced by my refusal to give the man up for torture, but also from a consideration of the matter itself. Let us suppose that
29.42There are many points from which one may see your rascality, but most of all if one hears how you acted regarding the will. For although my father, men of the jury, wrote a will containing an inventory of all that he left, with instructions for letting the property, this will Aphobus never gave up to me, lest I should learn from it the value of the estate, and admitted possessing only those items which were so well known that he could not deny that he had them. 29.43The will, according to his statement, contained these provisions: that Demophon should at once receive two talents, and should marry my sister when she should come of age (this would be in ten years); that Aphobus himself should have eighty minae with my mother, and the house to live in; and that Therippides should enjoy the interest on seventy minae until I should reach manhood. All the rest of the property left to me apart from these items, and the clause regarding the letting of the estate, he suppressed from the will, not thinking that it was to his interest that these matters should be made known in your court. 29.44However, since it was admitted by Aphobus himself that my father on his death-bed gave to each of these men such large sums of money, the jurymen at the former trial considered these admissions to be a proof of the size of the estate. For when a man gave out of his estate four talents and three thousand drachmae by way of marriage-portion and legacy, it was plain that he took these sums, not from a small estate, but from one (bequeathed to me) of more than double this amount. 29.45 note For it cannot be supposed that he would 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 seventy minae, and to Demophon that on the two talents—though he was not yet to marry my sister. These moneys it has been proved that Aphobus never gave over to me, nor even an amount slightly less. Part of it he said he had spent, part he had never received, part he knew nothing about, part was in the hands of so-and-so, part was in the house, and of part he could say anything except when and where he had paid it over.
29.46As to his story of money left in the house I shall clearly prove to you that he is lying. This argument he speciously introduced, when it had become clear that the property was large and was unable to show that he had paid it back, in order that it might appear a reasonable inference that I was wrongfully seeking to recover what was already in my possession. 29.47 note If my father had no confidence in these men it is plain that he would neither have entrusted them with the rest of his property, nor, if he had left this money in the way alleged, would he have told them of it. How, then, do they know about it? 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 charge of the rest. Nor would he have entrusted this remainder to my mother to keep and then have pledged her herself in marriage to this man, who was one of the guardians. For it is not reasonable that he should seek to make the money secure through her, and yet put one of the men whom he distrusted in control both of her and of it. 29.48Furthermore, if there were any truth in all this, do you suppose that 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, from motives of avarice, in order that, in addition to what he had received from us, he might get from him other eighty minae. 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? 29.49Would 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 existence of which you would not be able to testify? Who can believe this? It is impossible, men of the jury; it is impossible. No; all the money which my father left was indeed buried on the day on which it came into the hands of these men; and the defendant, not being able to tell when and where he paid back any of it, makes use of these arguments, hoping that I may seem to be a rich man, and so meet with no compassion from you.
29.50I have many other charges to make against him, but I have not the right to speak of the injuries I myself have suffered, when the witness is in danger of losing his civic rights. Still I wish to read to you a challenge, for you will know, when you have heard it, that the testimony was true, and that Aphobus, who now declares that he demands
To prove that my words are true, call the witnesses to these facts.
29.54Do not suppose that while I was ready to take this course, the witnesses did not hold the same opinion. No; they too were ready to place their children by their side, and in confirmation of the testimony they had given, to take an oath with imprecations upon them, if they swore falsely. But Aphobus did not see fit to allow an oath to be given either to them or to me. Instead, he rests his case on arguments subtly planned and on witnesses accustomed to perjury, and thinks thereby easily to mislead you. So take and read to the jury this deposition also.
29.55How could one prove more clearly than I have proved that we are the object of a malicious charge; that the evidence brought forward against my opponent is true; and that his condemnation was just? I have shown that he refused to examine by torture the slave who wrote the testimony regarding the very things to which he had testified; that his brother, Aesius, has attested the facts which he on his part declares to be false; 29.56that Aphobus himself has, at my summons, given against Demo, note his uncle and co-trustee, the same testimony as the witnesses whom he is suing; that he refused to examine my women-servants as to the fact of
|Demosthenes, Speeches (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose; rhetoric] [word count] [lemma count] [Dem.].|
|<<Dem. 28||Dem. 29 (Greek)||>>Dem. 30|