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

31.1I did not suppose, gentlemen of the Council, that Philon would ever carry audacity to the point of consenting to appear before you in order to pass a scrutiny. But since he is audacious, not in one instance only, but in many, and I have taken oath before entering the Council-chamber 31.2that my counsel would be for the best advantage of the State, and as the terms of that oath require us to expose any person appointed by lot whom we know to be unsuitable for service on the Council, I shall deliver the accusation against this man Philon: I am not, however, pursuing any private feud, nor am I prompted by my ability or practice in speaking before you, but I merely rely on the multitude of his offences, and feel bound to abide by the oaths that I have sworn. 31.3Now you will recognize that the contest will be an unequal one: my resources will not be so ample for showing up his character as his were for contriving his villainies. Nevertheless, if I should not altogether discharge my part in speaking to the accusation, it would not be right that he should benefit by that, but rather that he should be rejected on the score of any points that I can demonstrate to your satisfaction. 31.4For my speech will be found defective only on account of my imperfect acquaintance with the whole of his actions, but adequate on account of the vileness of all his ways. And I also call upon those among you who may have more ability in speaking than I to amplify my exposure of his offences, and to make use of any points that I omit for accusing Philon, in your turn, of offences known to you. For it is not from my sole statement that you ought to form your views of his character.

31.5What I say is that only those have the right to sit in Council on our concerns who, besides holding the citizenship, have their hearts set upon it. For to them it makes a great difference whether this city is prosperous or unsuccessful, because they consider themselves obliged to bear their share in her calamities as they also share in her advantages. 31.6But those who, though citizens by birth, adopt the view that any country in which they have their business is their fatherland, are evidently men who would even abandon the public interest of their city to seek their private gain, because they regard their fortune, not the city, as their fatherland. 31.7Now I will demonstrate that Philon here has set his private safety above the public danger of the city, and has held it preferable to pass his life without danger to himself rather than save the city by sharing her dangers with the rest of the citizens.

31.8For this man, gentlemen of the Council, in the midst of the city's disaster (which I only touch upon so far as I am forced to do so), was banned from the town by the Thirty along with the main body of the citizens, and for a while he lived in the country: but when the party of Phyle returned to the Peiraeus, and the people, not only from the country, but from over the border, assembled together, partly in the town and partly in the Peiraeus, and when each to the extent of his powers came to the rescue of his fatherland, Philon's conduct was the opposite of that shown by the rest of the citizens. 31.9For he packed up all his belongings and left the city to live beyond the border, at Oropus, where he paid the aliens’ tax and resided under the protection of a patron, since he preferred the life of an alien among those people to citizenship with us. And so he would not even do as some citizens did, who turned about when they saw the party of Phyle succeeding in their efforts; he did not even think fit to take any share in these successes, but chose to come when the business was achieved rather than join in the return after achieving something for the advantage of the common wealth. For he did not come to the Peiraeus, nor is there any instance of his having placed himself at your disposal. 31.10But I ask you, if on seeing us successful he did not shrink from betraying us, what must he have done to us, had we failed of our object? Now those who were prevented by private calamities from sharing the dangers that then beset the city deserve some indulgence: for misfortune befalls no man of his own will. 31.11But those who acted thus by design merit no indulgence, since their conduct was due not to mishap, but to policy. It is a custom accepted as just among all mankind that in face of the same crimes we should be most incensed with those men who are most able to avoid criminal action, but should be indulgent to the poor or disabled because we regard their offences as involuntary. 31.12This man, therefore, deserves no indulgence; for neither was he disabled and thus unfit for hardship, as you see for yourselves, nor did he lack means for the public services, as I shall establish. If, then, he was as backward as he was able to help, how should he not hated with good reason by you all? 31.13Nor indeed will you incur the enmity of any of the citizens if you reject him; for it is by no means one party, but both, that he has manifestly betrayed, so that he can claim friendship neither with those who were in the town (for he did not think fit to stand by them in their peril), nor with those who occupied the Peiraeus, since he did not consent to return even with them; and that, too, when he was, as he asserts, a townsman! note 31.14But if there yet remains a party of the citizens that had a share in his proceedings, if ever—may Heaven forfend it!—they get the city into their hands, let him claim his seat on the Council with them.

Well, that he lived at Oropus under the protection of a patron, that he possessed ample means, and yet stood to arms neither in the Peiraeus nor in the town, are my first contentions: to make sure of their truth, hear the witnesses.Witnesses

31.15So now it remains for him to state that owing to some infirmity that befell him he was incapacitated from assisting the party in the Peiraeus, but that he offered to spend his own resources either in contributing to the people's funds or in arming some of his fellow-townsmen as infantry, after the example of many other citizens who were unable to give their loyal services in person. 31.16Now, to preclude him from deceiving you with lies, I will give you clear information at once on these points also, since I shall not be at liberty afterwards to come forward in this place and expose him. Please call Diotimus of Acharnae note and those who were appointed with him to arm the townsmen as infantry from the funds then contributed.Testimony of Diotimus and those Appointed With Him

31.17So this man had no intention of aiding the city in such a moment, in such a position of her affairs; his purpose was to make a profit out of your disasters. For he set out from Oropus, going sometimes alone and sometimes at the head of others who took your misfortunes as so much good fortune, and so traversed the countryside: 31.18where he met with the most elderly citizens who had stayed behind in their townships with scanty supplies that barely sufficed them,—men who were attached to the democracy, but unable owing to their age to give it their support,—he stripped them of their resources, thinking it more important to make his own petty gains than to spare them injury. It is not possible for all these to prosecute him today, from the very same cause that disabled them from supporting the city: 31.19yet this man ought not to benefit twice from their disability, and be helped thereby to pass your present scrutiny as he was before to rob them of what they had. Nay, if but a single one of those whom he has wronged appears in court, make much of it, and utterly detest this man, who could bring himself to strip of their resources those on whom other men, out of pity for their straits, freely bestowed something from their own. Pray call the witnesses.Witnesses

31.20Well now, I do not see how your judgement of him should differ from that of his own people; for the facts are of such a nature that, even if he had committed no other offence, they would alone justify his rejection. The strange things of which his mother accused him while she was alive I will pass over; but on the evidence of the measures that she took at the close of her life you can easily judge how he treated her. 31.21She demurred to committing herself to his care after her death, but as she had confidence in Antiphanes, who was no connection of hers, she gave him three minae of silver for her burial, ignoring this man, who was her own son. Obviously, of course, she was convinced that he would not perform the last duties even on the ground of his relationship. 31.22Now I ask you, if a mother,—who is naturally most willing to tolerate even an injury at the hands of her own children, and who counts little benefits as great gains because she assesses their behavior by affection rather than logic,—believed that this man would seek his profit from her even in death, what should be your feeling about him? 31.23For when a man commits such offences in regard to his own relations, what would he do in regard to strangers? To prove that these also are true facts, hear the statement of the actual person who received the money and buried her.Testimony

31.24What inducement, then, could you have for approving this man? Because he has committed no offence ? But he is guilty of the gravest crimes against his country. Or do you think he will reform? Then, I say, let him reform first in his bearing towards the city, and claim a seat on the Council later, when he has done her a service as signal as the wrong that he did her before. The saner course is to recompense everyone for his services after they have been performed; for I consider it monstrous that for the offences which he has already committed he is never to pay the penalty, but for the benefits which he intends to confer he is to be already possessed of honor. 31.25Or is it to make the citizens better when they see all men honored alike,—is this why he is to be approved? But the danger is that good men, when they observe that they and the bad are honored alike, will desist from their good behavior, expecting that the same persons who honor the wicked may well be forgetful of the virtuous. 31.26And this further point is worthy of your attention,—that whereas anyone who had betrayed a fort or a ship or an army which happened to have in it some part of our people, would be visited with the extreme penalty, this man, who has betrayed the whole city, is planning not merely to escape requital but even to obtain honor! But surely anyone who has betrayed liberty in the flagrant manner of this man deserves to be faced with a judgement awarding him, not a seat on the Council, but slavery and the heaviest punishment.

31.27He argues, so I am told, that, if it was a crime to absent himself at that crisis, we should have had a law expressly dealing with it, as in the case of all other crimes. He does not expect you to perceive that the gravity of the crime was the reason why no law was proposed to deal with it. For what orator would ever have conceived, or lawgiver have anticipated, that any of the citizens would be guilty of so grave an offence? 31.28So, I suppose, if one should desert one's post when the city itself was not in danger, but was rather endangering another people, note a law would have been made condemning that as a grievous crime; but if one deserted the city itself when the city itself was in danger, we should have had no law against this! Certainly we should, if there had been a thought that any of the citizens would ever commit such a crime. 31.29Not a man but would have reason to rebuke you, gentlemen, if, after honoring in a manner worthy of the city our resident aliens for having supported the democracy beyond the requirements of their duty, you are not going to inflict on this man, for having betrayed the city in violation of his duty, if not some heavier punishment of another kind, at least the dishonor which you hold over him today. 31.30Recall to your minds what reason you can have for honoring those who have proved themselves good servants of the State and for dishonoring those who serve her ill. In either case the distinction has been made not so much for the sake of those who have come into the world, as of those who are yet to come, in order that they may strive to become worthy by studious effort, and in no single direction may attempt to be base. 31.31Reflect, moreover, on this: what kind of oaths do you think he would regard, when by his act he has betrayed his ancestral gods? Or how could he give good counsel on our State affairs, when he did not even desire to liberate his country? Or what secrets would he keep, when he did not even choose to obey public orders? How can it be suitable that this man, who was not even the last to come at the call of danger, should be placed in front of those who achieved our success to receive this honor today? It would be deplorable if he, who accounted the whole body of our citizens as nothing, should not in his single person be disqualified by you. 31.32I see certain persons who are preparing today to support him and to plead with you, since they were not able to seduce me; but in those days of your dangers and sorest struggles, when the constitution itself was at stake and you had to contend not merely for seats on the Council but for freedom itself, they did not plead with him then to support both you and the commonwealth, and to betray neither his country nor the Council, to which he now demands admission without any right, since our success was achieved by others. 31.33He alone, gentlemen of the Council, will have no fair cause for complaint if he is not admitted: for it is not you who are debarring him from honor today; it is he who deprived himself of it, at the time when he declined to come, with a zeal such as brings him now for the drawing of the lots, to take his stand with you then as a champion of the Council.

31.34I believe that what I have said is sufficient; and yet there are many things that I have omitted. But I am confident that even without these you will make for yourselves the decision that is best for the city. To judge of those who are worthy to sit on the Council you need no other test than yourselves and the civic character which enabled you to pass your own scrutiny. For this man's conduct sets up a standard that is novel and foreign to all democracy.



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