Demosthenes, Speeches (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose; rhetoric] [word count] [lemma count] [Dem.].
<<Dem. 46 Dem. 47 (Greek) >>Dem. 48

Against Evergus And Mnesibulus

47.1It is in my opinion, men of the jury, an admirable provision of the laws that they allow another chance after a trial by means of proceedings for false testimony, in order that, if anyone by bringing forward witnesses testifying to what is false or by citing challenges which were never tendered or depositions made contrary to law, has deceived the jury, he may gain nothing by it, but the one who has been wronged may impeach the testimony, and come into your court and show that the witnesses have given false testimony regarding the matter at issue, and thus exact the penalty from them and hold the one who brought them forward liable to an action for subornation of perjury. 47.2And for this reason they have made the fine less for the plaintiff, if he lose his case, in order that those who have been wronged may not by the fine be deterred from prosecuting witnesses for false testimony, while they have imposed a heavy penalty upon the defendant, if he be convicted and be thought by you to have given false testimony. 47.3And justly so, men of the jury. For you look to the witnesses and give your verdict as you do, because you have believed the testimony which they have given. It is, therefore, to prevent you from being deceived and those who come into your court from being wronged that the lawgiver made the witnesses responsible. I, therefore, beg of you hear me with goodwill, while I rehearse all the facts from the beginning, in order that from these you may see the magnitude of the wrongs I have suffered, and know that the jurymen were deceived and that these men have given testimony which is false.

47.4I should have much preferred not to go to law, but, if forced to do so, it is a satisfaction to appear against men who are not unknown to you. However, I shall devote a larger part of my speech to exposing the character of these men than to proving that their testimony is false. As to my charge that the testimony to which they have deposed is false, they seem to me to have given proof by their own actions, and there is no need for me to produce any other witnesses than themselves. 47.5For when they might have got rid of all trouble, and have avoided the risk which they run in coming into your court, by establishing in fact the truth of their testimony, they have refused to deliver up the woman, whom they have testified that Theophemus was ready to deliver up, and had offered to deliver up before the arbitrator, Pythodorus of Cedae, note but whose surrender I, in fact, demanded, as the witnesses who were then present in court testified, and will now testify. And Theophemus has not impeached them for giving testimony that was not true, nor does he proceed against them for false witness.

47.6The defendants themselves practically admit in their deposition that I was anxious to receive the woman for the torture, and that Theophemus urged me to postpone the action, whereas I was unwilling to do so. And yet it was regarding this woman, whom I demanded for the torture, but whom Theophemus offered to give up, as these men say; whom, however, no one ever saw present in person either at that time before the arbitrator or afterwards in the court-room, or produced at any other place,—it was regarding her that these witnesses deposed that Theophemus was ready to give her up, and made the offer with a challenge; 47.7and the jury thought that the testimony was true, and that I was seeking to evade the evidence which the woman might have given in regard to the assault and the question as to which one of us delivered the first blow (for this is what constitutes assault). Is it not, then, a necessary inference that these witnesses have given false testimony, men who even up to this day dare not deliver up the woman in person, as according to their statement Theophemus offered to do, and as they testified for him? And they dare not establish by actual fact the truth of their testimony 47.8and free the witnesses from the risk of a trial by making Theophemus, since he then refused to do so, deliver up the woman in person, to be put to the torture regarding the assault for which I am suing Theophemus, and so make the proof result from the very statements made at that time by Theophemus with a view to deceiving the jurors. For he said in the course of the trial for assault that the witnesses who had been present and who testified to what had taken place by a deposition in writing, as the law provides, were false witnesses and had been suborned by me; but that the woman who had been present would tell the truth, deposing, not to a written document, but under torture, giving thus the strongest kind of evidence as to which party delivered the first blow. 47.9This is what he said at that time, using the most vigorous language and bringing forward witnesses to support his statements, and by this means deceiving the jurors; but now all this is proved to be false; for he does not dare to deliver up the woman, whom the witnesses have declared that he was ready to deliver up, but prefers that his brother and his brother-in-law should have to stand trial on a charge of giving false testimony, rather than that he should deliver up the woman in person, and so be well rid of his troubles in a fair and legal way, and that they should not try by arguments and entreaties to find a means of escape by deceiving you, if they could; 47.10although I challenged him again and again, and asked for the woman, demanding to receive her for the torture both at that time and after the trial, and again when I paid them the money, and in my suit for assault against Theophemus, and in the examination before the magistrate in the trial for false testimony. These men do not try to hide anything; their words are perjury, their act is to refuse to deliver up the woman; for they knew well that, if she should be put to the torture, it would be proved that they were the wrongdoers and not the parties wronged.

To prove that I am speaking the truth in this, the clerk shall read you the depositions concerning these matters.Depositions

47.11That, despite my frequent challenges and demands for the delivery of the woman for examination, no one has ever delivered her up, has been shown to you by witnesses. But in order that you may know from circumstantial proofs also that they have given false testimony, I will prove it. For if what they state were true, namely, that Theophemus tendered the challenge and offered to give up the woman in person, these men, I take it, would not have produced two witnesses only, a brother and a brother-in-law, to testify to what was true, but many others as well. 47.12For the arbitration took place in the Heliaea, note where those serving as arbitrators for the Oeneïd and Erectheïd tribes hold their sessions; and when challenges of this sort are given, and a party brings his slave in person, and delivers him up for examination by the torture, hosts of people stand forth to hear what is said; so that they would not have been at a loss for witnesses, if there had been the least truth in the deposition.

47.13They have testified, then, in the same deposition, men of the jury, that I was unwilling to have a postponement, but that Theophemus urged it in order that he might produce the woman. That this is not true, I will show you. For if I had tendered to Theophemus this challenge to which they have deposed, requiring him to deliver up the woman, 47.14he might fittingly have answered by urging that the arbitration be put off until the next meeting, in order that he might bring the woman and deliver her up to me; but as it is, Theophemus, they have deposed that it was you who desired to deliver up the woman and that I was not willing to receive her. How is it that you, who were the woman's master, when you were on the point of tendering me this challenge, to which your witnesses have deposed, when you were forced to take refuge in this woman's testimony to establish your case, 47.15and when you had no other witness to my having assaulted you and having delivered the first blow—how is it, I ask, that you did not bring the woman with you to the arbitrator and deliver her up, having her then present in person, and being yourself her master? Nay, you state that you tendered the challenge; but no one saw the woman by means of whom you deceived the jurors, through producing false witnesses to represent that you wished to give her up.

47.16Well, then, since the woman was not present with you at that time and the boxes had previously been sealed, did you at any time afterward bring her into the market-place or before the court? For if she was not present with you at that time, you surely ought to have delivered her up afterwards, and to have called witnesses to prove that you were willing to have the test made by the woman's evidence in accordance with the challenge which you had tendered, as your challenge had been put in the box, and a deposition stating that you were ready to deliver her up. Well then, when you were on the point of entering upon the trial, did you ever bring the woman before the court? 47.17And yet, if what they say about his tendering the challenge is true, he ought, when the court-rooms were being assigned by lot, to have brought the woman, got a herald to attend, and bidden me, if I chose, to put her to the torture, and have made the jurors as they came in witnesses to the fact that he was ready to deliver her up. But as it is, he has made deceitful statements and has produced false witnesses, but even to this day he does not dare to deliver up the woman, though I have made repeated challenges and demands, as the witnesses who were present have testified before you.

Please read the depositions again.Depositions

47.18I wish now, men of the jury, to explain to you the origin of my action against Theophemus, in order that you may be assured that he not only secured my condemnation unjustly by deceiving the jury, but also at the same time secured by the same verdict the condemnation of the senate of five hundred, and made of no effect the decisions of your courts and of no effect your decrees and your laws, and shook your faith in your magistrates and in the inscriptions on the public stelae. note How he has done this I will show you point by point. 47.19I never before at any time in my life had any business transaction with Theophemus, nor yet any revel or love-affair or drinking-bout, to lead me to go to his house, because of a quarrel with him about some matter in which he had got the better of me, or under the excitement of amorous passion. No, but in obedience to decrees passed by your assembly and senate and at the bidding of the law I demanded of him the ship's equipment which he owed to the state. For what reason, I shall proceed to tell you. 47.20It chanced that some triremes were about to sail, a military force having to be despatched in haste. Now there was not in the dockyards equipment for the ships, but those from whom it was due, who had in their possession such equipment, had failed to return it; and furthermore there was not available for purchase in the Peiraeus either an adequate supply of sail-cloth and tow and cordage, which serve for the equipment of a trireme. Chaeridemus, therefore, proposed this decree, in order that the equipment for the ships might be recovered and kept safe for the state.

Read the decree, please.Decree

47.21When this decree had been passed, the magistrates chose by lot those who owed the ship's equipment to the state and handed over their names, and the overseers of the dockyards passed on the list to the trierarchs who were then about to sail, and to the overseers of the navy-boards. The law of Periander note forced us and laid command upon us to receive the list of those who owed equipment to the state,—I mean the law in accordance with which the navy-boards were constituted. And besides this another decree of the people compelled them to assign to us the several debtors that we might recover from each man his proportionate amount. 47.22Now I, as it happened, was a trierarch and overseer of the navy-board, and Demochares of Paeania note was in the navy-board, and was indebted to the state for the equipment of a ship in conjunction with Theophemus here, for he had served as joint trierarch with him. Both their names, then, had been inscribed on the stelê as indebted to the state for the ship's equipment, and the magistrates, receiving their names from those in office before them, gave them over to us in accordance with the law and the decrees. 47.23It was therefore a matter of necessity for us to receive them. I must tell you that hitherto, although I had often served as your trierarch, I had never taken equipment from the dockyards, but had supplied it at my own private expense whenever need arose, in order that I might have as little trouble as possible with the state. On this occasion, however, I was compelled to take over the names in accordance with the decrees and the law.

47.24To prove that I am speaking the truth in this, I shall produce as witnesses supporting these facts, the decree and the law, next the magistrate who gave the names over to me and who brought the case into court, and finally the members of the navy-board in which I was overseer and trierarch.

Read, please.Law

47.25That it was absolutely necessary, therefore, for me to take over the names of those indebted to the state, you have heard from the law and the decrees; and that I took them over from the magistrate, the one who delivered them to me has testified. So, then, the first question for you to consider at the outset, men of the jury, is this, whether the wrongdoer was I, who was compelled to recover from Theophemus what he owed, or Theophemus, who had long owed the equipment to the state and refused to give it back. 47.26For if you look at each matter severally, you will find that Theophemus was wholly in the wrong, and that this is not merely a statement of mine but a fact decided by vote of the senate and the court. For when I had received his name from the magistrate, I approached him and first demanded the ship's equipment; when he refused to give it back on my making this statement, I subsequently fell in with him near the Hermes note which stands by the little gate and summoned him before the despatching board and the overseers of the dockyards; for it was they who at that time brought into court suits regarding ship's equipments.

47.27To prove that I am speaking the truth, I shall produce as witnesses to these facts those who served the summons.Witnesses

That he was summoned by me, then, has been testified to you by those who served the summons; now to prove that he was brought into court, take the deposition of the despatching board and the magistrates.Deposition

47.28The one who I thought would give me trouble, Demochares of Paeania, was indeed disagreeable before he was brought into court, but after he had been tried and convicted he returned the part of the ship's equipment that was due from him. But the one whom I should never have expected to go to such an extreme of rascality that he would ever dare to rob the state of the equipment, has gone ahead with all these troublesome lawsuits. He was present in the court-room when the suit was brought in, but never made any defence, nor did he give in the name of anyone for an adjudication, note as he should have done, if he claims that someone else has the equipment and that it was not his duty to give it back; but he suffered the verdict to be given against him; 47.29yet after he left the courtroom he did not pay any the more because of that, but decided that for the time being he would keep out of the way and remain quiet until I should have sailed with the fleet, and some time should have elapsed, thinking that I should have to pay for the equipment which he owed to the state either when I returned here, or else to my successor who should come from the navy-boards to take command of the ship. For what answer could I have given this man, when he produced decrees and laws showing that I was obliged to recover the equipment? 47.30And Theophemus, after a lapse of time, when I had come back and made demands upon him, would have said that he had paid back the equipment, and to show that he had paid would have insisted upon these proofs—the crisis, the urgency, and that I was not such a fool and had never been such a friend of his as to wait; for what possible reason, then, when I was serving the state as trierarch and was overseer of the navy-board, and when decrees of such a nature and such a law were in force, should I have obliged him by delaying the collection? 47.31It was because Theophemus reasoned in this way that he then refused to restore the equipment but kept himself out of the way, and thought that later on he would he able to rob me; and besides this, he could take refuge in an oath and perjure himself without trouble, a thing which he has done to others also. For the greediness of the man's character in matters where his interests are involved is dreadful, as I shall show you in fact. For Theophemus, while owing this equipment to the state, made a pretence of shifting the charge to Aphareus, but in actual fact he never reported his name for an adjudication, well knowing that he would be convicted of falsehood, if he should come into court. 47.32For Aphareus proved that Theophemus had reckoned up against him the cost of the equipment and had got the money from him, when he took over the trierarchy. Now Theophemus maintains that he gave it over to Demochares, and he is suing the children of Demochares, who is now dead. But, while Demochares lived, Theophemus did not report his name for an adjudication when he was being sued by me for the equipment; he merely wished, on the pretence of the lapse of time, to rob the state of the equipment.

To prove that I am speaking the truth, the clerk shall read you the depositions.Depositions

47.33Bearing all these facts in mind, therefore, and hearing from those who had had dealings with Theophemus what sort of a man he was in matters where his interests were involved, and failing to recover the equipment from him, I approached the despatching board and the senate, stating that Theophemus would not return to me the equipment for which he was accountable by judgement of the court. And the other trierarchs also approached the senate, all those who had not been able to recover the equipment from the persons bound to produce it. And after much argument the senate answered by a decree which the clerk shall read to you, instructing us to recover what was due in whatever way we could.Decree

47.34When, then, the decree had been passed by the senate, since no one indicted it for illegality, but it became valid, I approached this man Evergus, the brother of Theophemus, since I was unable to see Theophemus; and having the decree in my hand I first demanded the return of the equipment, and bade him inform Theophemus; then, after allowing a few days to pass, since he refused to return the equipment, but only jeered at me, I took some witnesses with me, and asked him whether he had divided the estate with his brother, or whether their property was held in common. 47.35On Evergus's answering me that it had been divided and that Theophemus lived in a house by himself, but that he (Evergus) lived with his father, I thus learned where Theophemus lived, and taking with me a servant from the magistrates, I went to Theophemus's house. As I did not find him at home, I bade the woman who answered the door to go and fetch him wherever he might be. This was the woman, whom, according to the depositions of these men, Theophemus offered to deliver up, but whom, after repeated demands, I cannot get from him, that you might learn the truth as to which party began the assault. 47.36But when Theophemus came in, after the woman had gone to fetch him, I asked for the inventory of the equipment, telling him that I was now on the point of sailing; and I showed him the decree of the senate. When, on my saying this, he refused to give it up, but began to threaten me and abuse me, I bade the boy call in from the street any citizens note whom he might see passing by, that I might have them as witnesses to what was said, 47.37and I again made demand upon Theophemus either to go with me himself to the despatching board and the senate, and, if he denied that he was liable, to convince those who had given over the names and compelled us to seek to recover what was due, or else to pay back the equipment; otherwise, I declared that I should take goods as security in accordance with the laws and the decrees. Since he was not willing to do anything that was right, I started to lead away the woman who was standing by the door, the same one who had gone to fetch him. 47.38He seized her to prevent me, and I let go of the woman, but proceeded to enter the house to take some security for the equipment due; for the door, as it happened, had been opened when Theophemus came, and he had not yet gone in. I had already informed myself that he was not married. note As I was going in Theophemus struck me on the mouth with his fist, and I, calling upon those who were present to bear witness, returned the blow. 47.39Now the proof that what I am saying is true, and that Theophemus began the assault, needs, I think, nothing else for its establishment than the testimony of the woman whom these witnesses have stated that Theophemus was ready to deliver up. By means of this testimony Theophemus, whose case came first into court, seeing that I did not enter a special plea or an affidavit for delay, since these measures had once been a disadvantage to me in a former suit, deceived the jurors, saying that the witnesses whom I had brought forward gave false testimony, but that this woman would tell the truth if she were put to the torture. 47.40But their actions now are shown to be the very opposite of the language which they then used with such insistence; for I am unable to get the woman for examination despite repeated demands, as has been stated to you by witnesses. Since, therefore, they refuse to deliver up the woman, whom they themselves declare that I was challenged to receive, I desire to call before you the witnesses who saw Theophemus deal me the first blow. And this is what constitutes assault, when a man commits the first act of violence, especially when he strikes one who is seeking to exact payment in accordance with the laws and your decrees.

Please read the decrees and the deposition.Decrees

47.41So when the pledge which I had seized had been taken from me by Theophemus, and I had been beaten, I went to the senate and showed them the marks of the blows, and told them how I had been treated, and also that it was while I was seeking to collect for the state the ship's equipment. The senate, angered at the treatment which I had received and seeing the plight that I was in, thinking, too, that the insult had been offered, not to me, but to itself and the assembly which had passed the decree and the law which compelled us to exact payment for the equipment,— 47.42the senate, I say, ordered me to prefer an impeachment, and that the prytanes note should give Theophemus two days' notice of trial on a charge of breaking the law and of impeding the fleet's departure, charging further that he had refused to return the ship's equipment and had taken from me the pledge which I had seized, and beaten me when I was seeking to collect what was due and was performing my duty to the state. Well, then, the trial of Theophemus came on before the senate in accordance with the impeachment which I had preferred; and after both sides had been heard and the senators had cast their votes secretly, he was convicted in the senate-chamber and adjudged to be guilty. 47.43And when the senate was going into a division on the question whether it should remand him to a jury-court or sentence him to a fine of five hundred drachmae, the highest penalty which the law allowed it to inflict, while all these men were making pleas and entreaties and sending any number of people to intercede for them, and offering us right there in the senate-chamber the inventory of the equipment due, and promising to submit the question of the assault to any one of the Athenians whom I should name, I consented that a fine of twenty-five drachmae note should be imposed upon Theophemus.

47.44To prove that I am speaking the truth in this, I beg all of you who were senators in the archonship of Agathocles note to tell the facts to those who sit by you, and I will bring before you as witnesses all those whom I have been able to find who were senators that year.Depositions

I, you see, men of the jury, showed myself thus reasonable toward these men. And yet the decree ordered the confiscation of the property, not only of those who had ship's equipment and did not return it to the state, but also of anyone who, having such equipment, refused to sell it; such a scarcity of equipment was there in the city at that time.

Read the decree, please.Decree

47.45When I had come back from my voyage, men of the jury, as Theophemus refused to refer to anyone the matter of the blows which he had dealt me, I summoned him, and began an action against him for assault. He summoned me in a cross-action, and while the arbitrators had the causes before them, and the time came for making the award, he put in a special plea and an affidavit for postponement; I, however, being conscious that I had done no wrong, came in for trial before your court. 47.46Theophemus, by bringing this testimony to which no one else has deposed, but only his brother and his brother-in-law, to the effect that he was willing to deliver up the woman, and by pretending to be a man without guile, deceived the jurors. But now I make of you a fair request, both to decide regarding the testimony whether it is true or false, and at the same time to consider the whole case from the beginning. 47.47I, for my part, hold that the proof should be drawn from the very course of procedure to which the fellow at that time fled for refuge, that is, from the examination of the woman by the torture, to determine which party struck the first blow; for this is what constitutes assault. And it is for this reason that I am suing the witnesses for false testimony, because they deposed that Theophemus was willing to deliver up the woman, whereas he never would produce her in person either at that time before the arbitrator or subsequently, despite my repeated demands. 47.48They ought, therefore, to suffer a double punishment, both because they deceived the jurors by bringing forward false testimony—that of the brother-in-law and the brother—, and because they wronged me while I was zealously performing a public service, doing what the state commanded me, and obeying your laws and your decrees.

Now to prove to you that I was not the only one thus commissioned, when I received from the magistrates the name of this man with orders to exact from him the equipment which he owed to the state, but that others of the trierarchs took such measures against others whose names they had received, read, please, their depositions.Depositions

47.49I wish now, men of the jury, to set forth before you the treatment with which I have met at their hands. For when I had lost to them the suit in which the witnesses gave the false testimony for which I am suing them, and the time for paying the judgement was about to expire, I came up to Theophemus and begged him to oblige me by waiting a little while, telling him what was true, that although I had got together the money which I was going to pay him, a trierarchy had fallen to my lot, 47.50and it was necessary to despatch the trireme with all speed, and that Alcimachus, the general, had ordered me to furnish this ship for his own use; the money, therefore, which I had got together to pay Theophemus, I had to use up for this purpose. So I asked him to extend the time of payment until I should have sent off the ship. And he answered me quite readily and guilelessly: “There is no objection to that,” he said, “but, when you shall have despatched the ship, also bring the money to me.” 47.51When Theophemus had given me this answer and had extended the time of payment, and especially because I relied upon my impeachment for false testimony and his unwillingness to deliver up the woman, and so thought he would take no violent measures in my affair, I despatched the trireme, and a few days later, having got the money together, I approached him and bade him to go with me to the bank to receive the amount of his judgement.

To prove that I am speaking the truth in this, the clerk shall read you the depositions regarding these matters.Depositions

47.52Theophemus, however, instead of going with me to the bank and receiving the amount of his judgement, went and seized fifty soft-woolled sheep of mine that were grazing and with them the shepherd and all that belonged to the flock, and also a serving-boy who was carrying back a bronze pitcher of great value which was not ours, but had been borrowed. And they were not content with having these, but went on to my farm 47.53(I have a piece of land near the Hippodrome, and have lived there since my boyhood), and first they made a rush to seize the household slaves, but since these escaped them and got off one here and another there, they went to the house, and bursting open the gate which led into the garden (these were this man Evergus, the brother of Theophemus, and Mnesibulus, his brother-in-law, who had won no judgement against me, and who had no right to touch anything that was mine)—these men, I say, note entered into the presence of my wife and children and carried off all the furniture that was still left in the house. 47.54They thought to get, not so much merely, but far more, for they expected to find the stock of household furniture which I formerly had; but because of my public services and taxes and my liberality toward you, some of the furniture is lying in pawn, and some has been sold. All that was left, however, they took away with them. 47.55More than this, men of the jury, my wife happened to be lunching with the children in the court and with her was an elderly woman who had been my nurse, a devoted soul and a faithful, who had been set free by my father. After she had been given her freedom she lived with her husband, but after his death, when she herself was an old woman and there was nobody to care for her, she came back to me. 47.56I could not suffer my old nurse, or the slave who attended me as a boy, to live in want; at the same time I was about to sail as trierarch and it was my wife's wish that I should leave such a person to live in the house with her. They were lunching in the court when these men burst in and found them there, and began to seize the furniture. The rest of the female slaves (they were in a tower room where they live), when they heard the tumult, closed the door leading to the tower, so the men did not get in there; but they carried off the furniture from the rest of the house, although my wife forbade them to touch it, 47.57and declared that it was her property, mortgaged to secure her marriage portion; she said to them also, “You have the fifty sheep, the serving boy, and the shepherd, whose value is in excess of the amount of your judgement” (for one of the neighbors knocked at the door and told her this). Furthermore she told them that the money was lying at the bank for them, for she had heard me say so. “And, if you will wait here,” she said, “or if one of you will go after him, you shall take the money back with you at once; but let the furniture alone, and do not carry off anything that is mine—especially since you have the full value of your judgement.” 47.58But although my wife spoke in this way, they not only did not desist, but when the nurse took the cup which was set by her and from which she had been drinking, and put it in her bosom to prevent these men from taking it, when she saw that they were in the house, Theophemus and Evergus, this brother of his, observing her, treated her so roughly in taking the cup from her 47.59that her arms and wrists were covered with blood, as they wrenched her arms and pulled her this way and that in taking the cup from her, and she had lacerations on her throat, where they strangled her, and her breast was black and blue. And they pushed their brutality to such extremes, that they did not stop throttling and beating the old woman, until they had taken the cup from her bosom. 47.60The servants of the neighbors, hearing the tumult and seeing that my house was being pillaged, some of them called from the roofs of their own houses to the people passing by, and others went into the other street and seeing Hagnophilus passing by, bade him to come. Hagnophilus, when he came up, summoned by a servant of Anthemion, who is a neighbor of mine, did not enter the house (for he thought he ought not to do so in the absence of the master), but, standing on Anthemion's land, saw the furniture being carried off and Evergus and Theophemus coming out of the house. 47.61And not only did they go off with my furniture, men of the jury, but they were even on the point of taking away my son, as though he were a slave, until Hermogenes, one of my neighbors, met them and told them that he was my son.

To prove that I am speaking the truth in this, the clerk shall read you the depositions.Depositions

47.62When, then, the news of what had been done was brought me in Peiraeus by the neighhors, I went to the farm, but found that these men had left; I saw, however, that the household goods had been carried off and in what plight the old woman was. My wife told me what had taken place, so, early next morning, I approached Theophemus in the city, having witnesses with me, and demanded, first that he accept payment of the amount of his judgement, and go with me to the bank, then, that he should provide for the care of the old woman whom they had beaten, calling in any physician whom they pleased. 47.63While I was saying this and solemnly protesting against their actions, they abused me roundly; then Theophemus went with me very reluctantly and making much delay, alleging that he too wished to take witnesses along with him (this talk was a trick on his part to gain time); but this fellow Evergus went at once from the city in company with some others of like stamp to the farm. The furniture which I had remaining—some few pieces which the day before happened to be in the tower and not outside—had, after I came home, necessarily been brought down, and Evergus, forcing open the gate which they had broken down the day before, and which was scarcely fastened, carried off my furniture—Evergus, to whom I owed no judgement, and with whom I had had no business transaction whatever. 47.64On my making full payment to Theophemus to whom I owed the judgement, when I had paid him in the presence of many witnesses eleven hundred drachmae, the amount of the judgement, one hundred and eighty-three drachmae two obols for the fine of one-sixth of that sum, and thirty drachmae for court fees (I owed him nothing in the way of other penalties)—when, I say, he had received from me at the bank one thousand three hundred and thirteen drachmae two obols, the total amount, on my demanding the return of the sheep and the slaves and the furniture of which he had robbed me, he declared that he would not return them to me unless I should release him and his associates from all claims, and the witnesses from the suit for false testimony. 47.65When he had given me this reply, I called upon those present to be witnesses to his answer, but I paid him the judgement, for I did not think it best to he in default. As for Evergus, I did not know that he had gone to my house on that day, but as soon as the judgement had been paid, while Theophemus still had the sheep and the slaves and the furniture, a stone-cutter, who was working on the monument near by, came to bring me word that Evergus had carried off from the house the rest of my furniture—that, namely, which had remained untouched the day before,—Evergus, with whom I had nothing whatever to do.

47.66To prove that I am speaking the truth, that on the day before they had taken from me goods as security, and that the next day they recovered the money from me (and yet, if the money had not been got together and I had not given them notice, how, pray, could they have secured immediate payment?), and that on that very day they had gone again into the house, while I was paying the money—to prove all this, the clerk shall read you the depositions.Depositions

47.67Since, then, men of the jury, he paid no heed, when I served notice on him to care for the woman whom they had beaten and to bring in a physician, I myself brought in one with whom I had had dealings for many years, and he cared for her during her illness. I showed him the plight she was in, and brought witnesses. Hearing from the physician that the woman's condition was hopeless, I again took other witnesses, and pointing out the condition she was in served notice on these men to care for her. On the sixth day after these men had come into the house the nurse died.

To prove that I am speaking the truth in this, the clerk shall read you the depositions bearing upon these matters.Depositions

47.68Well then, after her death I went to the Interpreters note in order to learn what I ought to do in the matter, and I related to them all that had taken place: the coming of these men, the devotion of the woman, why it was that I kept her in my house, and that she had met her end because she would not surrender the cup. When the Interpreters had heard all this from me, they asked me whether they should interpret the law for me and nothing more, or should also advise me. 47.69On my answering them, “Both,” they said to me, “Very well, we will interpret for you the law, and also give you advice to your profit. In the first place, if there be anyone related to the woman, let him carry a spear when she is borne forth to the tomb and make solemn proclamation at the tomb, and thereafter let him guard the tomb for the space of three days. And this is the advice which we give you: since you were not yourself present, but only your wife and your children, and since you have no other witnesses, we advise you not to make proclamation against anyone by name, but in general against the perpetrators and the murderers; 47.70and again not to institute suit before the king. note For that course is not open to you under the law, since the woman is not a relative of yours nor yet a servant, according to your own statement; and it is to relatives or to masters that the law appoints the duty of prosecuting. If, then, you should take the oath at the Palladium, note yourself and your wife and your children, and imprecate curses upon yourselves and your house, you will lose the goodwill of many, and if your opponent is acquitted, you will be thought to have committed perjury, and if you convict him, you will he an object of malice. No, after you have performed the proper religious rites to cleanse yourself and your house, bear your misfortune with such patience as you can, and, if you choose, avenge yourself in some other way.”

47.71When I had received this advice from the Interpreters and had looked at the laws of Draco on the inscribed slab, I consulted with my friends as to what course of action I should pursue. As they gave me the same advice, I did what was necessary to purify the house and what the Interpreters had prescribed, and abstained from further action which the laws forbade. 47.72For the law, men of the jury, ordains that prosecution shall be by relatives within the degree of children of cousins; and that in the oath inquiry shall be made as to what the relationship is, even if the victim be a servant; and it is from these persons that criminal actions shall proceed. But the woman was in no way related to me by blood, she had only been my nurse; nor again was she a servant; for she had been set free by my father, and she lived in a separate house, and had taken a husband. 47.73Now, to tell a false story to you and support it by an oath with imprecations on myself, my son, and my wife, was a thing I dared not do, even if I knew well that I should convict these men; for I do not hate them as much as I love myself.

But that you may hear this not merely from my own lips, the clerk shall read you the law itself.Law

47.74I fancy, men of the jury, that it has become clear to you on many grounds that the deposition is false, but that you see it most readily from the conduct of the men themselves. For they thought, men of the jury, that, if they took a large quantity of goods from me as security, I should be glad to release the witnesses from the charge of false testimony in order to get back the goods. 47.75And when I asked Theophemus to oblige me by extending the time of payment, he was glad to comply in order that I might be in default, and that he might carry off as many goods as possible. It was for this reason that he acceded to my request so guilelessly and so promptly in order to win my confidence and keep me from seeing his plot; for he thought it was not possible for him in any other way to get the witnesses released from the charge of false testimony than by tricking me, catching me in default and carrying off as many goods as possible; for he expected to get, not only what they actually have of mine, but a great deal more. 47.76And he waited the rest of the time, thinking that I should not quickly get the money together, and wishing to seize the goods as security just when the trial for false testimony was coming on; but when I served notice on him to come and collect the amount of the judgement, he went and seized my furniture and slaves and sheep instead of receiving payment. I till a farm near the Hippodrome, so that he did not have far to go. 47.77That what I am saying is true let this be a strong proof: he got the amount of the judgement the day after he seized the security. And yet, if I had not got the money together, how could he have got payment at once in cash, one thousand three hundred and thirteen drachmae two obols? And the goods which he had seized as security he refused to return to me, but up to this day he keeps them, as though I were in default. But to prove that I was not in default, read me the deposition and the law which ordains that all agreements entered into by the two parties shall be binding; I was, therefore, as you see, no longer in default to him.Law

47.78Well, then, that he consented and extended the time of payment has been established for you by witnesses, and that I was serving as trierarch my colleague in the trierarchy has testified, and also that the ship was equipped as flagship for the admiral Alcimachus. Surely, then, I was not in default to him when he had extended the time, especially since I paid the money in full. But the graspingness of his disposition, when it is a question of more or less, is dreadful, men of the jury. And they knew well that, if they should deliver up the woman for examination, it would be proved that their charge was false, while, if they should not deliver up the woman, whom the witnesses stated that Theophemus was willing to deliver up, they would be convicted of false testimony. 47.79I beg of you, men of the jury, if any one of those who then served as jurors happens to be in the court-room, to act upon the same principles as you did then; and, if the deposition seemed to you to be worthy of credence, and I seemed to shrink from the test which the examination of the woman would have afforded, now, when they are proved to have given false testimony and do not deliver up the woman, to come to my aid: and if you are angry with me because I went to the house of Theophemus to take security, to be angry now with these men also because they went to my house. 47.80And I, who was forced to go by the laws and the decrees, was careful not to make my way into the presence of the father or mother of Theophemus or to take anything belonging to his brother; but I went to where Theophemus lived by himself, and when I did not find him at home, I did not seize anything and carry it off, but bade someone fetch him, and I took the security in his presence and not in his absence; and when it was taken from me, I gave it up and betook myself to the senate, the proper authority, and when I had preferred my impeachment and had convicted him in the senate, I thought it enough merely to recover the ship's equipment, and to leave the matter of the assault to a referee, and to make a concession in the matter of the fine. 47.81I, then, was lenient toward these men, whereas they were so brutal and ruthless that they forced themselves into the presence of my wife and children, although they had in their possession the sheep and the slaves, of greater value than their judgement, and although they had given me an extension of time and I had given them notice to come and recover their judgement, as has been proved to you by testimony. They came to my house and not only carried off the furniture, but beat the nurse, an old woman, for the sake of a cup; and they keep possession of all these things, and refuse to give them up, though I have paid in full the amount of the judgement, one thousand three hundred and thirteen drachmae two obols. 47.82If anyone through ignorance thought these men at the time of the former trial to be guileless and inoffensive persons, I wish to read you the depositions regarding them which have been furnished me by those whom they have wronged (for the water in the clock is not sufficient to permit me to tell the whole story in my speech), in order that, when you have considered the case in the light of all these things, both the arguments and the testimony, the verdict which you will render may be such as piety and justice demand of you.

Read the depositions.Depositions

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