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In Defense of Mantitheus

16.1If I were not conscious, gentlemen of the Council, that my accusers are seeking every possible means of injuring me, I should feel most grateful to them for this accusation; since I consider that the victims of unjust slander have the greatest service rendered to them by anyone who will compel them to undergo an examination of the record of their lives. 16.2For I have so strong a confidence in myself that, if there is anyone who is inclined to dislike me, I hope that when he has heard me speak of my conduct in the past he will change his mind, and will think much better of me in the future. 16.3Now, gentlemen, I make no claim to special merit, if I merely make plain to you that I am a supporter of the existing constitution and have been compelled to take my own share in your dangers: but if I am found to have lived, in all other respects, a regular life, quite contrary to the opinion and statements of my enemies, I request you to pass me through and to think the worse of these persons. I will begin by showing that I did not serve in the cavalry or reside here under the Thirty, and that I had no hand in the government of that time.

16.4Our father, before the disaster at the Hellespont, note had sent us abroad to live at the court of Satyrus, on the Pontus. note We were not residing in Athens either when the walls were being demolished or when the constitution was being changed. note We came here five days before the people at Phyle returned to the Peiraeus. note 16.5Surely it was not to be expected that, having arrived at such a moment, we should want to share in dangers that concerned others; while obviously the Thirty were in no mind to share the government with men who were residing abroad and were guilt of no crime: they were rather disfranchising even the men who had helped them to overthrow the democracy. 16.6Moreover, to refer to the register for those who served in the cavalry is puerile: for it does not include many of those who admit that they served, while some who were absent abroad are on the list. But the strongest proof lies in the fact that, after you had returned, you voted that the tribal officers should make out a list of those who had served in the cavalry, so that you might recover the allowances note from them. 16.7Well, nobody will be able to show that I was either put on the list by the tribal officers or reported to the Revenue Commission or made to refund an allowance: yet it is within the knowledge of all that the tribal officers were under the necessity, if they failed to show who had the allowances, of bearing the loss themselves. Hence you would be far more justified in relying on these lists than on the register: for anyone who wished could easily have his name erased from the latter; but in the former the tribal officers were obliged to record those who had served. 16.8Besides, gentlemen if I had served, I should not deny it as though I had done something monstrous: I should merely claim, after showing that no citizen had suffered injury by my act, to pass the scrutiny. And I see that you also take this view, and that many of those who served then in the cavalry are on the Council, while many others have been elected generals and brigadiers. You must therefore conclude that my only reason for making this defense is that they have dared thus openly to attack me with a falsehood. Mount the dais, please and bear witness.Testimony

16.9Now, as regards the charge itself, I do not see what more there is to say. But it seems to me, gentlemen, that although in other trials one ought to confine one's defence to the actual points of the accusation, in the case of scrutinies one has a right to render an account of one's whole life. I request you, therefore, to give me a favorable hearing: I will make my defence as briefly as I can.

16.10In the first place, although but little property had been bequeathed to me, owing to the disasters that had befallen both my father and the city, I bestowed two sisters in marriage with a dowry of thirty minae apiece; to my brother I allowed such a portion as made him acknowledge that he had got a larger share of our patrimony than I had; and towards everyone else my behavior has been such that never to this day has a single person shown any grievance against me. 16.11So much for the tenor of my private life: with regard to public matters, I hold that the strongest proof I can give of my decorous conduct is the fact that all the younger set who are found to take their diversion in dice or drink or the like dissipations are, as you will observe, at feud with me, and are most prolific in lying tales about me. It is obvious, surely, that if we were at one in our desires they would not regard me with such feelings. 16.12And moreover, gentlemen, nobody will be able to prove that I have ever been cited in a disgraceful private suit, or in public proceedings or in a special impeachment; yet you see others frequently involved in such trials. Again, as regards campaigns and dangers in face of the enemy, observe how I discharge my duty to the State. 16.13First of all, when you made your alliance with the Boeotians, and we had to go to the relief of Haliartus, note I had been enrolled by Orthobulus for service in the cavalry: I saw that it was everyone’s opinion that, whereas the cavalry were assured of safety, the infantry would have to face danger; so, while others mounted on horseback illegally, without having passed the scrutiny, I went up to Orthobulus and told him to strike me off the roll, as I thought it shameful, while the majority were to face danger, to take the field with precaution for my own security. Come forward, please, Orthobulus.Testimony

16.14Now, when the townsmen had assembled together before their setting out, as I knew that some among them, though true and ardent patriots, lacked means for expenses of service, I said that the well-to-do ought to provide what was necessary for those in needy circumstances. Not only did I recommend this to the others, but I myself gave thirty drachmae each to two men; not as being a person of great possessions, but to set a good example to the others. Come forward, please.Witnesses

16.15Then after that, gentlemen, there was the expedition to Corinth note; and everyone knew beforehand that it must be a dangerous affair. Some were trying to shirk their duty, but I contrived to have myself posted in the front rank for our battle with the enemy. Our tribe had the worst fortune, and suffered the heaviest losses in the ranks: I retired from the field later than the fine fellow of Steiria note who has been reproaching everybody with cowardice. 16.16Not many days after this event some strong posts in Corinth had been occupied, to prevent the passage of the enemy: when Agesilaus had forced his way into Boeotia, the commanders decided to detach some battalions to the rescue; everyone felt afraid (with some reason, gentlemen: for it was a serious thing, when they had just previously felt the relief of getting off in safety, to face a fresh danger), but I went to the commander and urged him to dispatch our battalion.without drawing lots. 16.17So if any of you are incensed against those who claim the management of the city’s affairs and yet evade its dangers, you can have no right to regard me with any such feeling; for I not only carried out my orders with zeal, but I was also forward to face danger. I acted in this way, not because I did not think it a serious thing to do battle with the Lacedaemonians, but in order that, if ever I should be involved in an unjust prosecution, the better opinion that you would form of me on this account might avail to secure me the full measure of my rights. Now let the witnesses to this come forward, please.Witnesses

16.18In every other campaign or outpost I have never once failed in my duty, but have adhered throughout to my rule of marching out in the first rank and retreating in the last. Surely it is by such conduct that one ought to judge who are the aspiring and orderly subjects of the State, and not to take the fact of a man’s wearing his hair long note as a reason for hating him; for such habits as this do no harm either to private persons or to the public weal, while it is from those who are ready to face danger before the enemy that you all derive advantage. 16.19Hence it is not fair, gentlemen, to like or dislike any man because of his appearance, but rather to judge him by his actions; for many who are modest in speech and sober in dress have been the cause of grievous mischief, while others who are careless of such things have done you many a valuable service.

16.20I have had occasion to observe, gentlemen, that some people are annoyed with me merely for attempting at too early an age to speak before the people. But, in the first place, I was compelled to speak in public to protect my own interests; and indeed, in the second, I do feel that my tendency has been unduly enterprising: for in reflecting on my ancestors, and how they have continually taken part in the administration, I had you also in my view— 16.21I must tell you the truth—as attaching no value to any but men of that stamp. So who, on seeing you so minded, would not be stimulated to work and speak for the benefit of the State? Moreover, how could you be annoyed with such people? For it is you, and none else, who are judges of their worth.

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