|Isocrates, Speeches (English) (XML Header) [word count] [lemma count] [Isoc.].
|Isoc. 18 (Greek)
If any others had employed in litigation such a special plea of exception, I should have begun my discourse with the facts themselves; but as the situation is, I am compelled first to speak of the law in accordance with which we have come before the court, that you may cast your votes with an understanding of the issues in our dispute and that no one of you may be surprised that I, although defendant in the case, am speaking prior to the plaintiff.18.2
Now after your return to the city from Piraeus, note you saw that some of the citizens were bent upon bringing malicious prosecutions and were attempting to violate the Amnesty note; so, wishing to restrain these persons and to show to all others that you had not made these agreements under compulsion, but because you thought them of advantage to the city, you enacted a law, on the motion of Archinus, to the effect that, if any person should commence a lawsuit in violation of the oaths, the defendant should have the power to enter a plea of exception, the magistrates should first submit this question to the tribunal, and that the defendant who had entered the plea should speak first;18.3and further, that the loser should pay a penalty of one-sixth of the sum at stake. The purpose of the penalty was this—that persons who had the effrontery to rake up old grudges should not only be convicted of perjury but also, not awaiting the vengeance of the gods, should suffer immediate punishment. I thought, therefore, that it was absurd if, under the existing laws, I was to permit my calumniator to risk only thirty drachmas, while I myself am contesting a suit in which my whole property is at stake. 18.4
I intend to prove that Callimachus not only is bringing a suit in violation of the terms of the Amnesty agreement, but that he is also guilty of falsehood in his charges, and furthermore, that we have already resorted to arbitration in the matter at issue. But I wish to relate the facts to you from the beginning; for if you learn that he has suffered no wrong at my hands, I think that you will be more inclined to defend the Amnesty and be more incensed with him.18.5
The government of the Ten, who had succeeded the Thirty, was then in control when Patrocles, a friend of mine, was the King-Archon, note and with him one day I happened to be walking. Patrocles, an enemy of Callimachus who is now prosecuting me in this suit, met him as he was carrying a sum of money, laid hold of him, and claimed that this money had been left by Pamphilus and belonged to the government; for Pamphilus was a member of the party of the Piraeus. note18.6Callimachus denied this and as a violent quarrel ensued many others came running up; among them by chance Rhinon, who had become one of the Ten, approached. So Patrocles immediately laid information with him concerning the money and Rhinon led them both before his colleagues. These officials referred the matter to the Council note; after an adjudication, the money was declared the property of the state. 18.7Later, after the return of the citizen-exiles from Piraeus, Callimachus brought a charge against Patrocles and instituted proceedings against him on the ground that he was responsible for his loss. And when he had effected with him a settlement of the matter and had exacted from him ten minas of silver, Callimachus maliciously accused Lysimachus. Having obtained two hundred drachmas from him, he began to make trouble for me. At first he charged me with being the accomplice of the others; in the end, he came to such a pitch of impudence that he accused me as responsible for everything that had been done, and it may be that even now he will have the effrontery to make just such an accusation. 18.8In rebuttal, however, I will present to you as witnesses, first, those who were present at the beginning of the affair, who will testify that I did not arrest Callimachus nor did I touch the money; second, Rhinon and his colleagues, who will tell you that it was Patrocles, and not I, who denounced him to them; and finally, the members of the Council, who will attest that Patrocles was the accuser.&
Please call witnesses of these facts.
Although so many persons had been present when the events took place, Callimachus here, as if no one had any knowledge of the matter, himself mixed with the crowds, sat in the workshops, and related again and again his story, how he had suffered outrageous treatment at my hands and had been of his money. And some of his friends came to me and advised me to settle the dispute with him, and not deliberately to risk defamation and great financial loss, even though I had the greatest confidence in my cause; and they went on to say that many decisions rendered in the tribunals were contrary to the expectation of litigants,18.10and that chance rather than justice determined the issue in your courts. Consequently, they asserted, it was in my interest to be freed of serious charges by paying a petty sum, rather than by paying nothing to run the risk of penalties of such gravity. Why need I relate to you all the details? They omitted none of the arguments which are customarily urged in such cases. In any case I was finally prevailed upon (for I will tell you the whole truth) to give him two hundred drachmas. But in order that it might not be in his power to blackmail me again, we committed the arbitration under stated terms note to Nicomachus of Bat
At first Callimachus kept his agreement, but later in complicity with Xenotimus—that falsifier of the laws, corrupter of our tribunals, vilifier of the authorities, and author of every evil—he brought suit against me for the sum of ten thousand drachmas. But when I brought forward in my defense a witness to show that the suit was not within the jurisdiction of the court by reason of the previous arbitration, he did not attack my witness—18.12for he knew that, if he did not receive the fifth of the votes cast, he would be assessed a penalty of one-sixth of the amount demanded—but having won over the magistrate, he again brought the same suit, in the belief that he risked only his court deposit-fee. And since I was at a loss how to cope with my difficulties, I judged that it was best to make the hazard equal for us both note and to come before you. And these are the facts. 18.13
I learn that Callimachus not only intends to speak falsely in the matter of his complaint, but will also deny that the arbitration took place, and that he is prepared to go so far as to assert that he never would have entrusted an arbitration to Nicomachus, whom he knew to be an old friend of ours, and further, that it is improbable that he was willing to accept two hundred drachmas instead of ten thousand.18.14You must reflect, however, first, that we were not in dispute in the matter of the arbitration, but we committed it as an arbitration under stated terms, so that it is not at all strange that Callimachus chose Nicomachus as arbiter; it would have been far stranger if, after he had come to an agreement about the matter, he had then made difficulty about the choice of arbiter. In the next place, it is not reasonable to assume that, if ten thousand drachmas had been owing to him, he would have settled for two minas note; but since his charges were unjust and in the nature of blackmail, it is not astonishing that he was willing to take so little. Furthermore, if, after exorbitant demands, he exacted little, this is no proof in favor of his contention that the arbitration did not take place on the contrary, it confirms all the more our contention that his claim was unjust in the first place. 18.15I am astonished that, while he judges himself capable of recognizing that it was not probable that he was willing to take two hundred drachmas instead of the ten thousand, yet believes that I am incapable of discovering, if I had wished to lie, that I ought to have asserted that I had given him more. But this I ask—that in so far as it would have been an indication in his favor that the arbitration did not take place, if he had proved the falsity of the testimony, to that same extent it shall be proof in favor of my contention that I tell the truth concerning the arbitration, inasmuch as it is clearly shown that he did not dare to proceed against my witness. 18.16
I think, however, that even if there had been neither arbitration nor witnesses to the actual facts and you were under the necessity of considering the case in the light of the probabilities, not even in this event would you have difficulty in arriving at a just verdict. For if I were so audacious a man as to wrong others, you would with good reason condemn me as doing wrong to him also; but as it is, I shall be found innocent of having harmed any citizen in regard to his property, or of jeopardizing his life, or of having expunged his name from the list of active citizens, or of having inscribed his name on Lysander's list. note18.17And yet the wickedness of the Thirty note impelled many to act in this way for they not only did not punish the evil-doers but they even commanded some persons to do wrong. So as for me, not even when they had control of the government, shall I be found guilty of any such misdeed; yet Callimachus says that he was wronged after the Thirty had been expelled, the Piraeus had been taken, and when the democracy was in power, and the terms of reconciliation were being discussed. 18.18And yet do you think that a man who was well behaved under the Thirty put off his wrongdoing until that period when even those who had formerly transgressed were repentant? But the most absurd thing of all would be this—that although I never saw fit to avenge myself on anyone of my existing enemies, I was attempting to injure this man with whom I have never had any business dealings at all! 18.19
That I am not responsible for the confiscation of the money of Callimachus I think I have sufficiently proved. But that it was not legally in his power to bring a suit pertaining to events which occurred then, not even if I had done everything he says I did, you will learn from the covenant of Amnesty. note
Please take the document.
Covenant of Amnesty
Was it, then, a weak defense of my rights I trusted in when I entered this demurrer? On the contrary, do not the terms of the Amnesty explicitly exculpate any who have laid information against or denounced any person or have done any similar thing, and am I not able to prove that I have neither committed these acts nor transgressed in any other way?
Please read the Oaths also.
Is it not outrageous, men of the jury, that, although such were the terms of the covenant and the oaths which were sworn were of such nature, Callimachus is so convinced of his own eloquence that he believes he will persuade you to vote in opposition to them? If he saw that the city regretted its past action, his conduct should not occasion surprise; but as a matter of fact you have shown the importance you attach to the covenant, not only in the enactment of the laws,18.22but when Philon of Coele was indicted for malversation on an embassy, and although he could offer no defense but merely cited the covenant in exoneration, you decided to dismiss his case and not even hold him for trial. And although the city does not think it proper to punish even confessed transgressors, yet this man has the effrontery to bring malicious charges against those who have done no wrong at all. 18.23Furthermore, he is certainly not unaware of this either—that Thrasybulus and Anytus, men of the greatest influence in the city, although they have been robbed of large sums of money and know who gave in lists of their goods, nevertheless are not so brazen as to bring suit against them or to bring up old grudges against them; on the contrary, even if, in respect to all other claims, they have greater power than others to accomplish their ends, 18.24yet in matters covered by the covenant at least they see fit to put themselves on terms of equality with the other citizens. And it is not these men alone who have accepted this point of view; no, not even one of you has dared to bring such an action. And yet it would be outrageous if you, while honoring your oaths where your own affairs are concerned, shall attempt to violate them in connexion with the calumnious charges of Callimachus, and if, while insisting that private agreements must be held valid by public authority, shall allow anyone who so desires, on his own private authority, to break the covenants of the state. 18.25But it would be the most astounding outcome of all if, while it was still uncertain whether or not the reconciliation would be of advantage to the city, you strengthened it with such oaths that, even if it proved disadvantageous, you were forced to abide by your agreements, yet now, when the results have been so happy for you that, even if you had not given any solemn pledge to do so, it is right for you scrupulously to preserve the existing government, note you are going to seize that moment to violate your oaths! 18.26And although you were incensed with those who have said that the covenant of Amnesty should be repealed, yet this man, who has the effrontery to transgress it after its official promulgation, you are going to discharge without a penalty! No, should you do so, you would neither be rendering justice nor acting in a manner worthy of yourselves or consistent with your former decisions. 18.27
I beg you, however, to bear in mind that you have come to pass judgement on matters of the highest importance; for you are going to cast your votes on the question of a covenant, and covenants have never been violated to the advantage of either yourselves in relation to the other parties or of others in relation to you; and they have such binding force that almost all the daily activities of Greeks and of barbarians are governed by covenants.18.28For it is through our reliance on them that we visit one another's lands and procure those things of which we both have need; with the aid of these we make our contracts with each other and put an end to both our private animosities and our common wars. This is the only universal institution which all we of the human race constantly employ. It is, therefore, the duty of all men to uphold them, and, above all, yours. 18.29
It is your duty, I say, for recently, when we had been conquered and had fallen into the power of enemies at home and many wished to destroy the city, we took refuge in the oaths and covenants; and if the Lacedaemonians should dare to violate these, every man of you would be exceedingly indignant.18.30And yet how can one accuse the other party of transgressions of which he is himself guilty? Who would regard us as victims of injustice when suffering injury through a violation of covenants, if even we ourselves were manifestly holding them in slight esteem? What pledges shall we find binding in our relations with other peoples if we so lightly disregard those which we have made among ourselves? 18.31This, too, is worthy of our remembrance that, although our forefathers performed many glorious deeds in war, not the least of its glory our city has won through these treaties of reconciliation. For whereas many cites might be found which have waged war gloriously, in dealing with civil discord there is none which could be shown to have taken wiser measures than ours. 18.32Furthermore, the great majority of all those achievements that have been accomplished by fighting may be attributed to Fortune; but for the moderation we showed towards one another no one could find any other cause than our good judgement. Consequently it is not fitting that we should prove false to this glorious reputation. 18.33
And let no one think that I exaggerate or pass due bounds, because I, a defendant in a private suit, have spoken in this fashion. For this law-suit is concerned not merely with the sum of money specified in the indictment; for me, it is true, this is the issue, but for you it is that of which I have just spoken; on this subject no one would be able to speak in fitting fashion nor could he fix an adequate penalty.18.34For this law-suit difiers so greatly from other private suits in this respect that, while the latter are of concern to the litigants only, in this private law-suit common interests of the city are likewise at stake. In trying this case you are bound by two oaths: one is the customary judicial oath which you take in all ordinary cases, and the other is that oath which you swore when you ratified the covenant of Amnesty. If in render an unjust verdict in this case, you will be violating not only the laws of the city, but also the laws common to all men. Consequently, it is not fitting that your votes should be based upon favor, or upon mere equity, nor upon anything else than upon the oaths you took when you made the covenant of Amnesty. 18.35
Now that it is right, and is expedient and just that you should decide thus concerning the covenant of Amnesty not even Callimachus himself, I think, will gainsay; but he intends, I suppose, to bewail his present poverty and the misfortune which has befallen him and to say that his fate will be dreadful and cruel if now under the democracy he must pay the assessed fine for the money of which under the oligarchy he was deprived, note and also if then because he possessed property he was forced to go into exile, yet now, at a time when he ought to get satisfaction for wrongs done him, he is to be deprived of his civic rights. note18.36And he will accuse also those who took part in the revolution, in the hope that in this way especially he will arouse you to wrath; for perhaps he has heard it said that whenever you fail to apprehend the guilty, you punish any who cross your path. But I for my part do not think that you are so disposed, and I believe that it is easy to controvert the pleas just suggested. 18.37As for his lamentations, it is fitting that you give aid, not to those who try to show that they are the most miserable of men, but to those whose statements concerning the facts to which they have sworn in their affidavits are manifestly the more just. And in regard to the penalty assessed against the loser, if I were responsible for this action, you might reasonably sympathize with him as about to be penalized; but the truth is, it is he who brings in a calumnious accusation and therefore you cannot in justice accept anything he says. 18.38In the second place, you should consider this point—that all the exiles who returned to the city from the Peiraeus would be able to use the very same arguments as he; but no one except Callimachus has had the audacity to introduce such a suit. And yet you ought to hate such persons and regard them as bad citizens who, although they have suffered the same misfortunes as the part of the people, think fit to exact exceptional punishments. 18.39Furthermore, it is possible for him even now, before he has made trial of your decision, to drop the suit and to be entirely rid of all his troubles. And yet is it not stupid of him to seek to win your pity while in this jeopardy, for which he himself is responsible, and in which he has involved himself, a jeopardy which even now it is possible for him to avoid? 18.40And if he does mention events which occurred under the oligarchy, demand of him that, instead of accusing persons whom no one will defend, note he prove that it was I who took his money; for this is the issue upon which you must cast your votes. And demand that he, instead of showing that he has suffered cruel wrongs, prove that it is I who have committed them, I, from whom he seeks to recover what he has lost; 18.41since the fact of his evil plight he can readily establish in a suit brought against any other citizen whatever. And yet the accusations which should have great weight with you are not those which may be made even against those who are entirely guiltless, but those only which cannot be brought against any persons except those who have committed an act of injustice. To these allegations, this will perhaps be a sufficient reply and a further rebuttal soon will be possible. 18.42
Also bear in mind, I ask you—even though I may be thought by someone to be repeating myself—that many persons are attentively watching the outcome of this case; not because they are interested in affairs, but because they believe that the covenant of Amnesty is on trial. Such persons, if your decision is just, you will enable to dwell in the city without fear; otherwise, how do you expect those who remained in the city to feel, if you show that you are angry with all alike who obtained the rights of citizenship?18.43And what will those think who are conscious of even slight error on their part, when they see that not even persons whose conduct as citizens has been decent obtain justice? What confusion must be expected to ensue when some note are encouraged to bring malicious accusations in the belief that your sentiments are now the same as theirs, and when others note fear the present form of government on the ground that no place of refuge is any longer left to them? 18.44May we not rightly fear that, once your oaths have been violated, we shall again be brought to the same state of affairs which compelled us to make the covenant of Amnesty? Certainly you do not need to learn from others how great is the blessing of concord or how great a curse is civil war; for you have experienced both in so extreme a form that you yourselves would be best qualified to instruct all others regarding them. 18.45
But lest it be thought that the reason I am dwelling long on the covenant of Amnesty is merely because it is easy when speaking on that subject to make many just observations, I urge you to remember when you cast your votes only one thing more—that before we entered into those agreements we Athenians were in a state of war, some of us occupying the circle enclosed by the city's walls, others Piraeus after we had captured it, note and we hated each other more than we did the enemies bequeathed to us by our ancestors.18.46But after we came together and exchanged the solemn pledges, we have lived so uprightly and so like citizens of one country that it seemed as if no misfortune had ever befallen us. At that time all looked upon us as the most foolish and ill-fated of mankind; now, however, we are regarded as the happiest and wisest of the Greeks. 18.47Therefore it is incumbent upon us to inflict upon those who dare to violate the covenant, not merely the heavy penalties prescribed by the treaty, but the most extreme, on the ground that these persons are the cause of the greatest evils, especially those who have lived as Callimachus has lived. For during the ten years note when the Lacedaemonians warred upon you uninterruptedly, not for one single day's service did he present himself to the generals; 18.48on the contrary, all through that period he continued to evade service and to keep his property in concealment. But when the Thirty came to power, then it was that he sailed back to Athens. And although he professes to be a friend of the people, yet he was so much more eager than anybody else to participate in the oligarchical government that, even though it meant hardship, he saw fit not to depart, but preferred to be besieged in company with those who had injured him rather than to live as a citizen with you, who likewise had been wronged by them. 18.49And he remained as a participant in their government until that day on which you were on the point of attacking the walls of Athens; then he left the city, not because he had come to hate the present regime, but because he was afraid of the danger which threatened, as he later made evident. For when the Lacedaemonians came and the democracy was shut up in the Piraeus, note again he fled from there and resided among the Boeotians; it is far more fitting, therefore, that his name should be enrolled in the list of the deserters than that he should be called one of the “exiles.” 18.50And although he has proved to be a man of such character by his conduct toward the people who occupied the Piraeus, toward those who remained in the city, and toward the whole state, he is not content to be on equal terms with the others, but seeks to be treated better than you, as if either he alone had suffered injury, or was the best of the citizens, or had met with the gravest misfortunes on your account, or had been the cause of the most numerous benefits to the city. 18.51
I could wish that you knew him as well as I do, in order that, instead of commiserating with him over his losses, you might bear him a grudge for what he has left. The fact is, though, that if I should try to tell of all the others who have been the objects of his plots, of the private law-suits in which he has been involved, of the public suits which he has entered, of the persons with whom he has conspired or against whom he has borne false witness, not even twice as much water note as has been allotted me would prove sufficient.18.52But when you have heard only one of the acts which he has committed you will readily recognize the general run of his villainy.
Cratinus once had a dispute over a farm with the brother-in-law of Callimachus. A personal encounter ensued. Having concealed a female slave, they accused Cratinus of having crushed her head, and asserting that she had died as a result of the wound, they brought suit against him in the court of the Palladium note on the charge of murder.18.53Cratinus, learning of their plots, remained quiet for a long time in order that they might not change their plans and concoct another story, but instead might be caught in the very act of committing a crime. When the brother-in-law of Callimachus had made accusation and Callimachus had testified on oath that the woman was actually dead, 18.54Cratinus and his friends went to the house where she had been hidden, seized her by force and, bringing her into court, presented her alive to all present. The result was that, in a tribunal of seven hundred judges, after fourteen witnesses had given the same testimony as that of Callimachus, he failed to receive a single vote.
Please call witnesses to these facts.
Who, therefore, would be able to condemn his acts as they deserve? Or who would be able to find a more flagrant example of wrongdoing, of malicious prosecution, and of villainy? Some misdeeds, it is true, do not reveal in its entirety the character of the evil-doers, but from acts such as his it is easy to discern the whole life of the culprits.18.56For any man who testifies that the living are dead, from what villainy do you think that he would abstain? What outrageous deed would a man not have the effrontery to commit in his own interest who is so knavish a villain in the interest of others ? How is it right to trust this man when he speaks in his own behalf, who is proved guilty of perjury in his testimony on behalf of another? Who was ever more convincingly proved to be a giver of false testimony? You judge all other defendants by what is said of them, but this man's testimony the jurors themselves saw was false. 18.57And after the commission of such crimes he will dare to say that it is we who are lying. Why that would be as if Phrynondas note should reproach a man with villainy, or as if Philurgos, who stole the Gorgon's head, note had called everybody else temple-robbers! Who is more likely to present witnesses of events which have not occurred than my antagonist here, who himself has the hardihood to testify falsely for others? 18.58
But against Callimachus it will be possible to bring accusations time and again, for he has contrived his life as a citizen that way; but as for myself, I shall say nothing of all my other contributions to the state, but I will merely remind you of that one, a service for which, if you would do me justice, you would not only be grateful, but you would take it even as evidence bearing upon the case as a whole.18.59Now when the city had lost its ships in the Hellespont note and was shorn of its power, I so far surpassed the majority of the trierarchs that I was one of the very few who saved their ships: and of these few I alone brought back my ship to the Piraeus and did not resign my duties as trierarch; 18.60but when the other trierarchs were glad to be relieved of their duties and were discouraged over the situation, and not only regretted the loss of what they had already spent, but were trying to conceal the remainder and, judging that the commonwealth was completely ruined, were looking out for their private interests, my decision was not the same as theirs; but after persuading my brother to be joint-trierarch with me, we paid the crew out of our own means and proceeded to harass the enemy. 18.61And finally, when Lysander note proclaimed that if anyone should import grain to you he would be punished with death, we were so zealous for the city's welfare that, although no one else dared to bring in even his own, we intercepted the grain that was being brought in to them and discharged it at the Piraeus. In recognition of these services you voted that we should be honored with crowns, and that in front of the statues of the eponymous heroes note we should be proclaimed as the authors of great blessings. 18.62Yet surely men who should now be regarded as friends of the people are not those who, when the people were in power, were eager to participate in affairs, but those who, when the state was suffering misfortune, were willing to brave the first dangers in your behalf, and gratitude is due, not to him who has suffered personal hardships, but to him who has conferred benefits upon you; and in the case of those who have become poor, pity should be felt, not for those who have lost their property, but for those who have spent their fortune for your good. 18.63Of these last named it will be found that I have been one; and I should be the most miserable of all men, if, after I have spent much of my fortune for the good of the city, it should be thought that I plot against the property of others, and that I care naught for your poor opinion of me; when it is obvious that I set less store, not merely on my property, but even on my life, than on your good opinion. 18.64Who among you would not feel remorse, even if not immediately, yet soon hereafter, if you should see the calumniator enriched, but me despoiled even of that which I left remaining when serving you as trierarch: and if you should see this man, who never even ran a risk on your behalf, influential enough to override both the laws and the covenant of Amnesty, 18.65and me, who have been so zealous in serving the state, adjudged unworthy of obtaining even my just rights? And who would not reproach you, if, cajoled by the words of Callimachus, you should find me of such baseness, you who, when you judged us on the strength of our deeds, crowned us for our bravery at a time when it was not so easy as it is now to win that honor? 18.66
It has come to pass that our appeal is the opposite of that which other litigants generally make; for everybody else reminds the recipients of the benefactions they have received, whereas we ask you, the donors, to bear your gifts in mind, that they may serve you as corroboration of all I have said and of our principles of conduct.18.67And it is evident that we showed ourselves worthy of this honor, not for the purpose of plundering the property of others after the oligarchy had been established, but in order that, after the city had been saved, not only all the citizens might keep their own possessions, but also that in the hearts of our fellow-citizens at large there might be a feeling of gratitude to us as a debt to be paid. It is this that we beg of you now, not seeking to have more than is just, but offering proof that we are guilty of no wrongdoing and asking you to abide by the oaths and the covenant of Amnesty. 18.68For it would be outrageous if those covenants should be held valid for the exculpation of the evil-doers, but should be made invalid for us, your benefactors! And it is prudent for you to guard well your present fortune, remembering that while in the past such agreements have increased civic discord in other cities, yet to ours they have brought a greater degree of concord. note So you, keeping these considerations in mind, should cast your votes for that which is at the same time just and also expedient.
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