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4 In Defence of Euxenippus

Personally, gentlemen of the jury, as I was just saying to those seated beside me, note I am surprised that you are not tired by now of this kind of impeachment. At one time the men impeached before you were Timomachus, Leosthenes, Callistratus, Philon of Anaea, Theotimus who lost Sestos, and others of the same type. note Some were accused of betraying ships, others of giving up Athenian cities, and another, an orator, of speaking against the people's interests. Though there were five of them, not one waited to be tried; they left the city of their own accord and went into exile. The same is true of many others who were impeached. In fact it was a rare thing to see anyone subjected to impeachment appearing in court. So serious and so notorious were the crimes which at that time led to an impeachment. But the present practice in the city is utterly absurd. Diognides and Antidorus the metic are impeached on a charge of hiring out flute-girls at a higher price than that fixed by law, Agasicles of Piraeus note because he was registered in Halimus, and Euxenippus because of the dreams which he claims to have had; though surely not one of these charges has anything to do with the impeachment law.

And yet in public trials, gentlemen of the jury, the jury should refuse to listen to the details of the prosecution until they have first considered the point at issue, and also the written statement of the accused, to see if the pleas are legally valid. It is certainly wrong to maintain, as Polyeuctus did in his speech for the prosecution, that defendants should not insist on the impeachment law; which lays it down that impeachments shall be reserved for the orators themselves, when they speak against the interests of the people, but shall not apply to every Athenian. With me this law would have first claim to notice; and a point, I think, which should be dwelt on as much as any, is how to ensure that the laws in a democracy are binding and that impeachments and other actions brought into court are legally valid. It was with this in view that you made separate laws covering individually all offences committed in the city. Suppose someone commits a religious offence. There is the method of public prosecution before the King-Archon. Or he maltreats his parents. The Archon presides over his case. Someone makes illegal proposals in the city. There is the board of Thesmothetae ready. Perhaps he does something involving summary arrest. You have the authority of the Eleven. note Similarly, to deal with every other offence you have established laws, offices, and courts appropriate to each. In what cases then do you think impeachments should be used? Your answer has already been embodied in detail in the law, so as to leave no room for doubt. “If any person,” it says, “seeks to overthrow the democracy of the Athenians.” Naturally, gentlemen of the jury; for a charge like that admits of no excuse from anyone nor of an oath for postponement. note It should come directly into court. “Or if he attends a meeting in any place with intent to undermine the democracy, or forms a political society; or if anyone betrays a city, or ships, or any land, or naval force, or being an orator, makes speeches contrary to the interests of the Athenian people, receiving bribes.” The opening provisions of the law were made applicable by you to the entire citizen body, since those are offences which anyone might commit; but the latter part is directed against the orators themselves, in whose hands the proposing of measures rests. You would have been insane if you had framed the law in any other way; if, when the orators enjoy both the honors and the profits of speaking, you had exposed the ordinary citizen to the risks that go with them. Nevertheless, Polyeuctus is bold enough to assert, though he is bringing in an impeachment, that defendants must not make use of the impeachment law. All other prosecutors who think it necessary, when speaking first, to steal the defendants' arguments from them encourage the jury to refuse to listen to any defendant who does not keep within the scope of the law, to challenge his statements and tell the clerk to read the law. The opposite is true of you: it is recourse to law of which you think you should deprive Euxenippus in his defence.

You also maintain that no one should even help him or be his advocate, and you exhort the jury to refuse a hearing to those who come up to speak. And yet, of the many good institutions of the city, what is better or more democratic note than our custom, when some private person is facing the danger of a trial and cannot conduct his own defence, of allowing any citizen who wishes to come forward to help him and give the jury a fair statement of the case? You will claim, no doubt, that you have never worked on such a principle. Yet when you were prosecuted by Alexander of Oeon, note you asked for ten advocates from the tribe Aegeis, and I was one of them, chosen by yourself. You also summoned men from other tribes into the court to help you. But why should I mention other instances? Take your handling of the present trial. Did you not make as many accusations as you wished? Did you not call Lycurgus to join you in the prosecution, a speaker who is the equal of any in the city and who has the reputation among these gentlemen of being sound and honorable? If you then, as a defendant, may summon advocates, or as a prosecutor may bring in co-prosecutors—you who are not merely capable of speaking for yourself but well able to give a whole city trouble—is Euxenippus, because he is not a professional speaker and is now advanced in years, even to be denied the help of friends and relatives, on pain of their being abused by you?

Yes; for in the words of your indictment, his conduct has been scandalous and deserves the death penalty. Gentlemen of the jury, will you please review it and scrutinize it point by point? The people ordered Euxenippus, as one of three, to lie down in the temple; and he tells us that he fell asleep and had a dream which he reported to them. If you assumed, Polyeuctus, that this was true and that he reported to the people what he actually saw in his sleep, why is he to blame for notifying the Athenians of the commands which the god had been giving him? If on the other hand, as you now maintain, you thought that he misrepresented the god and, out of partiality for certain persons, had made a false report to the people, rather than propose a decree disputing the dream you ought to have sent to Delphi, as the previous speaker said, and inquired the truth from the god. But instead of doing that, you proposed a decree, entirely conceived by yourself, note against two tribes, a measure not only most unjust but self-contradictory also. This was what caused your conviction for illegal proposals. It was not the fault of Euxenippus.

Let us consider it in this way. The tribes, formed into groups of two, shared out the mountains in Oropus awarded to them by the people. This mountain fell to the lot of Acamantis and Hippothoontis. You proposed that these tribes should restore the mountain to Amphiaraus and the price of produce from it which they had sold; your reason being that the fifty boundary officials had selected it beforehand and set it apart for the god, and that the two tribes had no right to be holding it. A little later in the same decree you propose that the eight tribes shall provide compensation and pay it to the other two so that they shall not suffer unfairly. But if the mountain really belonged to the two tribes and you tried to take it from them, surely we are entitled to be angry. Alternatively, if they had no right to be occupying it and it belonged to the god, why were you proposing that the other tribes should actually pay them compensation? They should have been well content that when restoring the property of the god they did not also pay a fine in cash.

These proposals, when examined in court, were considered unsatisfactory, and the jury condemned you. So if you had been acquitted in your trial, Euxenippus would not have misrepresented the god: because you happened to be convicted, must ruin fall on him? note And when you, who proposed a decree like that, were fined a mere twenty-five drachmas, is the man who lay down in the temple at the people's request even to be refused a grave in Attica?

Yes, you say; for he committed a serious crime in regard to the cup which he allowed Olympias to dedicate to the statue of Health. note You think that if you bring her name irrelevantly into the case to serve your own ends and accuse Euxenippus of deceitful flattery, you will bring down the jury's hatred and anger upon him. The thing to do, my friend, is not to use the name of Olympias and Alexander in the hope of harming some citizen. Wait till they send the Athenian people some injunctions which are unjust or inappropriate. Then is the time for you to get up and oppose them in the interests of your city, disputing the cause of justice with their envoys and resorting to the Congress of the Greeks note as the champion of your country. But you never stood up or spoke about them there; it is only here that you hate Olympias so that you can ruin Euxenippus by alleging that he flatters her and the Macedonians. If you show us that he has ever been to Macedon or entertained any of the people in his own home, that he knows a Macedonian intimately or meets any of them; if you prove that he has said one word about such matters, either in a shop or in the market or anywhere else, instead of quietly and modestly minding his own business as much as any other citizen, the jury may do what they like with him. For if these charges of yours were true, not only you but everyone else in the city would know the facts, as is the case with all the others who speak or act in the interests of Macedon. Their conduct is no secret. The rest of Athens, even the schoolchildren, know the orators who take Macedonian money and the other persons who put up Macedonian visitors, either secretly making them welcome or going into the streets to meet them when they arrive. You will not see Euxenippus classed with a single one of these men anywhere. But you do not prosecute or bring to trial any of the people who are universally known to be doing these things, and yet you accuse Euxenippus of flattery when his manner of life disproves the charge. And yet if you had any sense, you would neither be blaming Euxenippus for the dedication of the cup nor have made any further mention of the affair, since it is impolitic to do so. Why is that? Will you please listen, gentlemen of the jury, to the account which I am going to give?

Olympias has made complaints against you about the incident at Dodona, note complaints which are unfair, as I have twice already proved in the Assembly before yourselves and the rest of Athens. I explained to her envoys that the charges she brings against the city are not justified. For Zeus of Dodona commanded you through the oracle to embellish the statue of Dione. You made a face as beautiful as you could, together with all the other appropriate parts; and having prepared a great deal of expensive finery for the goddess and dispatched envoys with a sacrifice at great expense, you embellished the statue of Dione in a manner worthy of yourselves and of the goddess. These measures brought you the complaints of Olympias, who said in her letters that the country of Molossia, in which the temple stands, belonged to her, and that therefore we had no right to interfere with anything there at all. Now if you decide that the incidents relating to the cup constitute an offence, we are in a sense condemning ourselves as being wrong in what we did at Dodona. But if we acquiesce in what has been done we shall have taken away her right to these theatrical complaints and accusations. For I presume that when Olympias can furnish ornaments for shrines in Athens we may safely do so at Dodona, particularly when the god demands it.

However, it seems to me, Polyeuctus, that there is nothing which you would not use as grounds for an accusation. But from the time when you decided to play a part in public life, for which I admit you are well fitted, you should not have prosecuted private individuals or made them the victims of your impudence. Wait for an orator to commit a crime and then prosecute him, or for a general to do wrong and then impeach him. These are the men who have power to harm the city, all of them who choose to do so, not Euxenippus or any member of this jury. It is not as if I were prescribing one line of conduct for you having followed another in my own public life. I myself never in my life prosecuted any private citizen, and there are some whom before now I have done my best to help. What men, then, have I prosecuted and brought to trial? Aristophon of Hazenia, note now a most influential person in public life—he was acquitted in this court by two votes only; Diopithes of Sphettus, thought to be the most formidable man in the city; Philocrates of Hagnus, whose political career has been marked by the utmost daring and wantonness. I prosecuted that man for his services to Philip against Athens and secured his conviction in court. The impeachment which I drew up was just and in accordance with the law, referring to him as “an orator giving counsel against the best interests of the people and receiving money and gifts from those working against them.” Even so I was not satisfied to bring in the impeachment before I had added underneath: “These proposals he made against the best interests of the people, because he had taken bribes.” And I wrote his decree underneath. And again I added: “These further proposals he made against the best interests of the people, because he had taken bribes.” And I wrote the decree alongside. Indeed this statement is written down five or six times in my speech; for I thought that I must make the trial and the prosecution just. But you could not include in your impeachment the things which you allege Euxenippus to have said against the best interests of the people. Yet, though he is a private citizen, by your mode of prosecution you class him as an orator. After a scanty reference to the defendant's written statement you are now bringing fresh charges and incriminations against him, mentioning, amongst other similar allegations, that he tried to marry his daughter to Philocles, that he undertook an arbitration for Demotion, and other similar charges. note Your intention is that, if the defence neglect the main indictment and deal with the irrelevant allegations, the jury shall interrupt them by calling: “Why do you tell us this?” and if they ignore the additional points entirely their case shall be weakened. For any charge that is not refuted is left to be fastened on by the anger of the jury. The most outrageous feature of your speech was the fact that often during the argument you let fall the remark—you thought that your motive in doing so passed unnoticed, though it was obvious—that Euxenippus was rich, and again, a little later, that he had amassed great wealth dishonestly. It has surely nothing to do with this case whether he is a man of large means or small, and to raise the matter is malicious and implies an unfair assumption regarding the jury, namely that they would base their verdict on other considerations than the point at issue and the question whether the man on trial is offending against you or not.

You do not realize, Polyeuctus, it seems to me, you and those who share your views, that there is not in the world a single democracy or monarch or race more magnanimous than the Athenian people, and that it does not forsake those citizens who are maligned by others, whether singly or in numbers, but supports them. Let me give an instance. When Tisis of Agryle brought in an inventory of the estate of Euthycrates, amounting to more than sixty talents, on the grounds of its being public property, and again later promised to bring in an inventory of the estate of Philip and Nausicles saying that they had made their money from unregistered mines, this jury were so far from approving such a suggestion or coveting the property of others that they immediately disfranchised the man who tried to slander the accused and did not award him a fifth part of the votes. note Or take a recent instance, if you like, the verdict given by the jury last month, surely a most commendable decision. I refer to the case of Lysander, who reported that the mine of Epicrates of Pallene had been bored beyond the boundaries. It had already been worked for three years and virtually the richest men in Athens had shares in it. Lysander promised to secure three hundred talents for the city, since that, he claimed, was the sum which they had made from the mine. In spite of this the jury were governed, not by the accusers promises, but by the claims of justice. They decided that the mine was within its proper limits, and in one and the same verdict assured the safety of the men's estates and guaranteed their working of the mine for the remainder of the period. That is why the excavation of new mines, neglected previously because men were afraid, is now in progress, and the city's revenues from these are again being increased, revenues which some of our orators impaired by misleading the people and subjecting the mine-workers to tribute. The good citizen, gentlemen of the jury, is not a man to make some small additions to the public funds in ways which cause an ultimate loss, nor one who, by dishonestly producing an immediate profit, cuts off the city's lawful source of revenue. On the contrary, he is the man who is anxious to keep what will be profitable to the city in the future, to preserve agreement among the citizens and safeguard your reputation. There are some who disregard these things. By taking money from contractors they claim that they are providing revenue, although it is the lack of it that they are really causing in the city. For when anxiety is attached to earning and saving, who will want to take the risk?

Now perhaps it is not easy to prevent these men from acting as they do; but you, gentlemen of the jury, have saved many other citizens who were unjustly brought to trial. Then help Euxenippus in the same way, rather than desert him over a trivial matter, and in an impeachment like the present: an impeachment to which he is not liable, which has been framed in defiance of the laws, and which moreover has been partly invalidated by the prosecutor himself. For Polyeuctus has impeached Euxenippus for speaking against the best interests of the people of Athens, being in receipt of money and gifts from those acting against the people of Athens. Now if he were arguing that there were men outside the city with whom Euxenippus was co-operating on receipt of bribes, he would then be able to say that, since these persons could not be punished, their servants in the city must be brought to justice. But, in fact, he says that it is from Athenians that Euxenippus has had the gifts. For shame, sir; when you have here in the city the men who act against the people, do you let them be and choose instead to harass Euxenippus?

I will say a few words more about the vote which you are going to give and then leave the platform. When about to go to the ballot, gentlemen of the jury, tell the clerk to read you the impeachment, the impeachment law and the oath sworn by jurymen. Dispense with the arguments of us all let the impeachment and the laws govern your decision and give whatever verdict you consider to be just and in keeping with your oath.

And now, Euxenippus, I have done all in my power to help you. It remains for you to ask the jury's permission to summon your friends and bring your children to the bar.

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