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Apollodorus Against Nicostratus

53.1I have no desire to bring a baseless and malicious charge; but I have filed this inventory of property because I have suffered wrong and indignity from these men and therefore thought it my duty to avenge myself upon them. Of this you will find convincing proof, men of the jury, in the amount of the valuation, and in my having filed the information in my own name. For, I take it, if I had wished to bring a malicious suit, I should not have listed slaves worth two minae and a half, the sum at which the claimant himself has fixed their value, and myself have run the risk of losing a thousand drachmae, and forfeiting the right ever again to indict anyone on my own behalf. Nor, again, was I so lacking in resources or in friends as to be unable to find some one to file the information; 53.2but I thought it the most outrageous thing ever seen among men, that I should myself suffer the wrong, but that another should lend his name on behalf of me, the one wronged; and that this would then serve as presumptive proof to my adversaries that I am lying whenever I speak to you of our enmity; for they would say that no other man would have filed the information, if I were myself the one wronged. It was for this reason that I filed the information. And now that I have done so, if I can prove that the slaves belong to Arethusius, to whom they are stated in the information to belong, I relinquish to the state the three fourths which under the law are given to the private citizen filing the information; for myself it is enough to have taken vengeance. 53.3If, now, there were water enough in the water-clock to permit my telling you in detail from the beginning all the benefits I have conferred on them and all the acts they have committed toward me, I am sure that you would feel more lenient toward me for my resentment against them, and would deem these men the most wicked of humankind. As it is, however, even double the amount of water that I now have would be insufficient. I shall therefore relate to you the greatest and most flagrant of their wrongdoings, and those which gave rise to the filing of the information; the bulk of them I shall pass over.

53.4Nicostratus, whom you see here in court, men of the jury, was a neighbor of mine in the country, and a man of my own age. We had long known each other, but after my father's death, when I went to live in the country, where I still live, we had much more to do with one another, since we were neighbors and men of the same age. As time went on we became very intimate; indeed I came to feel on such intimate terms with him that he never failed to win any favor he asked of me; and he, on his part, was useful to me in looking after my affairs and managing them, and whenever I was abroad on public service as trierarch, or on any private business of my own, I used to leave him in charge of everything on the farm. 53.5It happened that I was sent as trierarch round the Peloponnesus, and from thence I had to carry to Sicily the ambassadors whom the people had elected. I was forced to set sail in haste, so I wrote to Nicostratus, telling him that I had to put to sea, and that I should not be able to come home for fear of delaying the ambassadors; and I charged him to look after the administration of matters at home, as he had done before.

53.6During my absence three household slaves of Nicostratus ran away from him from his farm, two of those whom I had given him, and one of a number whom he had purchased for himself. He pursued them, but was taken captive by a trireme and brought to Aegina, where he was sold. When I had come home with the ship of which I was in command, Deinon, this man's brother, came to me and told me of his misfortunes, stating that, although Nicostratus had sent him letters, he had not gone in quest of him for want of funds for the journey, and he told me also that he heard that his brother was in a dreadful condition. 53.7When I heard this I was touched with compassion for Nicostratus on account of his ill-fortune, and at once sent his brother Deinon to fetch him, giving him three hundred drachmae for his journey. When Nicostratus got home, he came at once to me, embraced me, thanked me for giving his brother money for his journey, bewailed his own unhappy lot, and, while complaining of his own relatives, begged me to succor him, just as in time past I had been a true friend to him. Then he wept, and told me that he had been ransomed for twenty-six minae, and urged me to contribute something toward the cost of his redemption.

53.8On hearing this story, I felt pity for him, and moreover I saw in what wretched plight he was, and he showed me the wounds of the fetters on his calves (he has the scars of them still, but, if you bid him show them to you, he will not wish to do so); I therefore answered that in time past I had been a true friend to him, and that now I would help him in his distress, that I forgave him the three hundred drachmae which I had given his brother for the expenses of his journey to fetch him, and that I would make a contribution of one thousand drachmae toward his ransom. 53.9Nor did I make this promise in words only and fail to perform it in act; but, since I was not well provided with funds in consequence of my quarrel with Phormion and of his depriving me of the estate which my father left me, I took to Theocles, who at that time was carrying on a banking business, some cups and a chaplet of gold, which I happened to have in my house as a part of my ancestral inheritance, and bade him give Nicostratus a thousand drachmae; and that sum I gave him outright as a gift, and I acknowledge that it was a gift. 53.10A few days afterwards he came up to me weeping, and told me that the strangers who had lent him the ransom money were demanding payment of the balance, and that it was stipulated in the agreement that he should pay it within thirty days or be indebted for double the amount; that, moreover, no one would either buy or take a mortgage on the farm adjoining mine, because his brother Arethusius, who is the owner of the slaves mentioned in the information, would not suffer anyone to buy it or take it on mortgage, alleging that money was owing him on it already. 53.11“Do you, therefore,” he said, “provide for me the amount which is lacking before the thirty days have passed, in order that what I have already paid, the thousand drachmae, may not be lost, and that I myself be not liable to seizure. I shall make a collection from my friends,” he said, “and when I have got rid of the strangers, I shall pay you in full whatever you shall have lent me. You know,” he said, “that the laws enact that a person ransomed from the enemy shall be the property of the ransomer, if he fail to pay the redemption money.”

53.12When I heard these words of Nicostratus, having no idea that he was lying, I answered, as was natural for a young man who was an intimate friend, and who was far from thinking that he would be defrauded, “Nicostratus, in time past I was a true friend to you, and now in your misfortunes I have helped you to the full extent of my power. But since at the moment you are unable to find the whole amount due, I indeed have no funds on hand, nor have I money any more than yourself, but I grant you a loan of whatever part of my property you choose, for you to mortgage for the balance of your debt, and to use the money without interest for a year, and to pay off the strangers. When you have made the collection from your friends, pay off my mortgage, as you yourself propose.” 53.13Hearing this, Nicostratus thanked me, and bade me to proceed with the matter with all speed before the expiration of the days in the course of which he said he must pay the ransom. Accordingly I mortgaged my lodging-house for sixteen minae, to Arcesas of Pambotadae, note whom Nicostratus himself introduced to me, and he lent me the money at the interest rate of eight obols a month for each mina. note But, when Nicostratus had got the money, so far from showing any gratitude for what I had done for him, he immediately began to lay a plot against me to rob me of my money and become my enemy, in order that I might be at a loss how to deal with the matter, since I was young and without experience in affairs, and might not exact from him the sum for which the lodging-house had been mortgaged, but might forgive him the debt.

53.14Accordingly he first conspired against me with some persons with whom I was at law, and bound himself by an oath to support them; then, after my action against them had commenced, he divulged to them my arguments, with which he was acquainted, and he entered me as a debtor to the public treasury to the amount of six hundred and ten drachmae, as a fine for non-production of property (although no citation had been served upon me), having got the case brought on through the agency of Lycidas the miller. As witnesses against me to attest the citation, he entered the name of his own brother, this Arethusius to whom these slaves belong, and another person; and they were prepared, in the event of my bringing to a preliminary hearing the suits which I had entered against my relatives note who were wronging me, to lay an information against me, as being a debtor to the treasury, and throw me into prison. 53.15And more than all this, he who had secured a judgement against me for six hundred and ten drachmae, when no citation had been served upon me, and had entered the names of false witnesses to the citation, made a forcible entry into my house and carried off all the furniture to the value of more than twenty minae; he did not leave a thing. I thought it my duty to avenge myself, and after paying the debt to the treasury on hearing of the fine, I was proceeding to indict the one who admitted that he had cited me to appear (that is, Arethusius), on a charge of false citation, as the law directs. He, however, came to my farm by night, cut off all the choice fruit-grafts that were there, and the tree-vines as well, and broke down the nursery-beds of olive trees set in rows round about, making worse havoc than enemies in war would have done. 53.16More than this, as they were neighbors and my farm adjoined theirs, they sent into it in the daytime a young boy who was an Athenian, and put him up to plucking off the flowers from my rose-bed, in order that, if I caught him and in a fit of anger put him in bonds or struck him, assuming him to be a slave, they might bring against me an indictment for assault.

When they failed in this, and I merely called witnesses to observe the wrong done me without committing any offence against them myself, they played against me the most dastardly trick. 53.17When I had now brought my indictment of him for false citation to the preliminary examination and was about to bring the case into court, Nicostratus lay in wait for me near the stone quarries, as I was coming back late from Peiraeus, and struck me with his fist and seizing me around the waist was on the point of throwing me into the quarries, had not some people come up and, hearing my cries, run to my assistance. A few days later, I came into court on a day that was divided up among a number of cases, and proving that he had falsely attested the citation and was guilty of all the other crimes which I have mentioned, I won a conviction. 53.18When it came to fixing the penalty, the jurymen wished to impose a sentence of death upon him, but I begged them to do nothing like that on a prosecution brought by me, and I agreed to the fine of a talent which these men themselves proposed,—not that I wished to save Arethusius from the death penalty (for he deserved death on account of the wrongs which he had committed against me), but that I, Pasion's son, made a citizen by a decree of the people, might not be said to have caused the death of any Athenian.

To prove that I have told you the truth, I shall call before you witnesses to all these facts.Witnesses

53.19The wrongs done to me by these people, men of the jury, which led me to file the information, I have made clear to you. That these slaves are the property of Arethusius, and that I listed them in the inventory because they formed a part of his estate, I shall proceed to show you. Cerdon he reared from early childhood; and to prove that he belonged to Arethusius, I shall bring before you witnesses who know the fact.Witnesses

53.20I shall also bring before you witnesses to prove that Arethusius got the wages on his account from all the persons with whom Cerdon ever worked, and that he used, as being his master, to receive compensation or give it, whenever Cerdon wrought any damage.Witnesses

As for Manes: Arethusius lent some money to Archepolis of Peiraeus, and when Archepolis was unable to pay either the interest or the principal in full, he made over to him Manes in settlement.

To prove that I am speaking the truth, I shall bring before you witnesses to establish these statements.Witnesses

53.21Furthermore, from the following facts also you will see that the men belong to Arethusius. For whenever they bought up the produce of an orchard, or hired themselves out to reap a harvest, or undertook any other piece of farming work, it was Arethusius who made the purchase or paid the wages on their behalf.

To prove that I am speaking the truth, I shall bring before you witnesses to establish these statements also.Witnesses

53.22All the evidence which I had to offer to prove that the slaves belong to Arethusius, I have laid before you. I wish, however, to speak also about the challenge which these men tendered me, and which I also tendered them. They challenged me at the preliminary hearing, stating that they were ready to deliver up the slaves, that I myself might put them to the torture, their wish being that this offer should serve as a sort of evidence for their side. 53.23I answered, however, in the presence of witnesses, that I was ready to go with them to the senate, and in conjunction with the senate or the Eleven note to receive the slaves for the torture, telling them that, if my suit against them had been a private one, I should have accepted the slaves for the torture, if they had offered them, but that, as it was, both the slaves and the information belonged to the state note; and therefore the examination by the torture should be conducted by a public official. 53.24I thought that it was not proper for me as a private individual to put public slaves to the torture; for I was not empowered to conduct the torture, nor was it proper that I should decide on the meaning of the answers given by the men. I thought that the Eleven, or persons chosen by the senate, should have everything written down, and then, having sealed up the evidence extorted by the torture—the answers, that is, given by the men—should produce it in court, that you might hear it, and in the light of this reach whatever verdict you might think right. 53.25For if the men had been put to the torture privately by me, everything would have been disputed by these men; but, if publicly, we should have kept quiet, and the officers or those chosen by the senate would have carried on the torture as far as they saw fit. When I made this offer, they declared that they would not deliver up the slaves to the officials, nor would they go with me to the senate.

To prove that I am speaking the truth, call, please, the witnesses to these facts.Witnesses

53.26Their shameless impudence in laying claim to what is yours appears to me manifest on many grounds, but I shall make their character to appear most clearly by a reference to your laws. For these men, when the jurors wished to impose a sentence of death upon Arethusius, begged the jurors to impose a fine in money, and begged me to give my assent to this; and they agreed to be jointly responsible for the payment. 53.27But so far are they from making payment according to their guarantee, that they even lay claim to what is yours. And yet the laws enact that any man's estate shall be confiscated who, after guaranteeing any sum due to the state, does not make good his guarantee; so that, even if the slaves belonged to them, they ought to be state-property, if the laws are of any use. 53.28And before Arethusius became a debtor to the state, he was admitted to be the richest of the brothers, but since the laws declare his property to be yours, Arethusius is made out to be a poor man, and his mother lays claim to one part of his property, and his brothers to another. If they had wished to act fairly toward you, they should have disclosed the entire estate of Arethusius, and then have filed a claim, if any of their own property had been included in the inventory. 53.29If, then, you reflect that there will be no lack of persons to lay claim to what is yours—for they will either suborn some orphans or heiresses and claim your sympathy, or they will talk about old age and embarrassments and a mother's maintenance, and by dwelling tearfully upon these matters by which they think they can most easily deceive you, they will try to rob the state of what is due her;—if, I say, you disregard all these tricks, and reach an adverse verdict, you will decide aright.

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