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

32.1If the matters in dispute were not important, gentlemen of the jury, I should never have allowed these persons to appear before you; for I regard a dispute with one's relations as most disgraceful, and I know that you reprobate not merely those who are guilty of wrong, but also anyone who is unable to tolerate the sharp practice of a kinsman. But, gentlemen, since they have been robbed of a great sum of money and, after suffering numerous outrages from those who should have been the last to act in such a way, have sought refuge in me, their brother-in-law, I find it incumbent on me to speak for them. 32.2I am married to their sister, a child of Diogeiton's daughter; and after many appeals I at first prevailed on both parties to submit the case to the arbitration of their friends, as I held it most desirable that their affairs should not be known to anyone else. But since Diogeiton would not allow himself to be advised by any of his own friends regarding the property which he was plainly convicted of holding, but preferred to be prosecuted, to sue against the validity of judgements, and to encounter the utmost risks, rather than do the just thing which would relieve him of all their complaints, I entreat you, 32.3if I prove that the guardianship of their grandfather has been conducted more disgracefully than any heretofore held in the city by persons who had no bond of relationship, to give them the support of justice: otherwise, believe this man entirely, and reprobate us henceforward. I will now try to inform you on the matter from the beginning.

32.4Diodotus and Diogeiton, gentlemen of the jury, were brothers born of the same father and mother, and they had divided between them the personal estate, but held the real property in partnership. When Diodotus had made a large fortune in shipping business, Diogeiton induced him to marry the one daughter that he had, and two sons and a daughter were born to him. 32.5Some time later, when Diodotus was enrolled for infantry service, he summoned his wife, who was his niece, and her father, who was also his father-in-law and his brother, and grandfather and uncle of the little ones, as he felt that owing to these connections there was nobody more bound to act justly by his children: he then gave him a will and five talents of silver in deposit; 32.6and he also produced an account of his loans on bottomry, amounting to seven talents and forty minaeand two thousand drachmae invested in the Chersonese. note He charged him, in case anything should happen to himself, to dower his wife and his daughter with a talent each, and to give his wife the contents of the room; he also bequeathed to his wife twenty minae and thirty staters of Cyzicus. note 32.7Having made these arrangements and left duplicate deeds in his house, he went to serve abroad with Thrasyllus. He was killed at Ephesus note: for a time Diogeiton concealed from his daughter the death of her husband, and took possession of the deeds which he had left under seal, alleging that these documents were needed for recovering the sums lent on bottomry. 32.8When at length he informed them of the death, and they had done what is customary, note they lived for the first year in the Peiraeus, as all their provisions had been left there. But when these began to give out, he sent up the children to the city, and gave their mother in marriage with a dowry of five thousand drachmae,—a thousand less than her husband had given her. 32.9Seven years later the elder of the boys was certified to be of age note; when Diogeiton summoned them, and said that their father had left them twenty minae of silver and thirty staters, adding,—“Now I have spent a great deal of my own money on your support: so long as I had the means, I did not mind; but at this moment I too am in difficulties myself. You, therefore, since you have been certified and have attained manhood, must henceforth contrive to provide for yourself.” 32.10On hearing these words they went away, aghast and weeping, to their mother, and brought her along with them to me. It was pitiful to see how they suffered from the blow: the poor wretches, turned out of doors, wept aloud and besought me not to allow them to be deprived of their patrimony and reduced to beggary by the last persons who ought to have committed this outrage upon them, but to give my best aid, for their sister's sake as well as their own.

32.11Of the mourning that filled my house at that time it would take long to tell. In the end, their mother implored and entreated me to assemble her father and friends together, saying that even though she had not before been accustomed to speak in the presence of men, the severity of their misfortunes would compel her to give us a full account of their hardships. 32.12I went first and expressed my indignation to Hegemon, the husband of this man's daughter; I then discussed the matter with the other relations; and I called upon this man to allow his handling of the money to be investigated. Diogeiton at first refused, but finally he was compelled by his friends. When we held our meeting, the mother asked him what heart he could have, that he thought fit to take such measures with the children, “when you are their father's brother,” she said, “and my father, and their uncle and grandfather. 32.13Even if you felt no shame before any man, you ought to have feared the gods. For you received from him, when he went on the expedition, five talents in deposit. I offer to swear to the truth of this on the lives of my children, both these and those since born to me, in any place note that you yourself may name. Yet I am not so abject, or so fond of money, as to take leave of life after perjuring myself on the lives of my own children, and to appropriate unjustly my father's estate.” 32.14And she convicted him further of having recovered seven talents and four thousand drachmae of bottomry loans, and she produced the record of these; for she showed that in the course of his removal from Collytus note to the house of Phaedrus the children had happened upon the register, which had been mislaid, and had brought it to her. 32.15She also proved that he had recovered a hundred minae which had been lent at interest on land mortgages, besides two thousand drachmae and some furniture of great value; and that corn came in to them every year from the Chersonese. note“After that,” she said, “you had the audacity to state, when you had so much money in your possession, that their father bequeathed them two thousand drachmae and thirty staters,—just the amount that was bequeathed to me, and that I gave you after his decease! 32.16And you thought fit to turn these, the children of your daughter, out of their own house, in worn-out clothes, without shoes or attendant or bedding or cloaks; without the furniture which their father bequeathed to them, and without the money which he had deposited with you. 32.17And now you are bringing up the children you have had by my step-mother in all the comforts of affluence; and you are quite right in that: but you are wronging mine, whom you ejected from the house in dishonor, and whom you are intent on turning from persons of ample means into beggars. And over proceedings of this sort you feel neither fear of the gods nor shame before me who am cognizant of the facts, nor are you mindful of your brother, but you put money before us all.” 32.18Thereupon, gentlemen of the jury, after hearing all the severe things spoken by the mother, the whole company of us there were so affected by this man's conduct and by her statements,—when we saw how the children had been treated, and recalled the dead man to mind and how unworthy was the guardian he had left in charge of his estate, and reflected how hard it is to find a person who can be trusted with one's affairs,—that nobody, gentlemen, among us there was able to utter a word: we could only weep as sadly as the sufferers, and go our ways in silence.

Now, first, will you come forward, witnesses, to support what I say.Witnesses

32.19Well, gentlemen of the jury, I ask that due attention be given to this reckoning, in order that you may take pity on the young people for the depth of their misfortune, and may consider that this man deserves the anger of everyone in the city. For Diogeiton is reducing all men to such a state of suspicion towards their fellows that neither living nor dying can they place any more confidence in their nearest relations than in their bitterest enemies; 32.20since he has had the face to deny one part of his debt and, after finally confessing to the rest, to make out a sum of seven talents of silver and seven thousand drachmae as receipts and expenses on account of two boys and their sister during eight years. So gross is his impudence that, not knowing how he should enter the sums spent, he reckoned for the viands of the two young boys and their sister five obols a day note; for shoes, laundry and hairdressing he kept no monthly or yearly account, but he shows it inclusively, for the whole period, as more than a talent of silver. 32.21For the father's tomb, though he did not spend twenty-five minae of the five thousand drachmae shown, he charges half this sum to himself, and has entered half against them. note Then for the Dionysia, note gentlemen of the jury,—I do not think it irrelevant to mention this also,—he showed sixteen drachmae as the price of a lamb, and charged eight of these drachmae to the children: this entry especially roused our anger. note And so it is, gentlemen: in the midst of heavy losses the sufferers of wrong are sometimes wounded as much by little things; for these expose in so very clear a light the wickedness of the wrongdoer. 32.22Then for the other festivals and sacrifices he charged to their account an expenditure of more than four thousand drachmae; and he added a multitude of things which he counted in to make up his total, as though he had been named in the will as guardian of the children merely in order that he might show them accounts instead of money, and reduce them from wealth to utter poverty, and that they might forget whatever ancestral enemy they might have to wage war on their guardian for stripping them of their patrimony! 32.23But yet, had he wished to act justly by the children, he was free to act in accordance with the laws which deal with orphans for the guidance of incapable as well as capable guardians: he might have farmed out the estate and so got rid of a load of cares, or have purchased land and used the income for the children's support; whichever course he had taken, they would have been as rich as anyone in Athens. But the fact is, in my opinion, that at no time has he had any notion of turning their fortune into real estate, but has meant to keep their property for himself, assuming that his own wickedness ought to be heir of the wealth of the deceased. 32.24Most monstrous of all, gentlemen of the jury, he asserts that in sharing with Alexis, son of Aristodicus, the service of equipping a warship, he paid a contribution of forty-eight minae, and has entered half of this against these orphan children, whom the State has not only exempted during their childhood, but has freed from all public services for a year after they have been certified to be of age. Yet he, their grandfather, illegally exacts from his daughter's children one half of his expenses in equipping a warship! 32.25Again, he dispatched to the Adriatic a cargo of two talents' value, and told their mother, at the moment of its sailing, that it was at the risk of the children note; but when it went safely through and the value was doubled, note He declared that the venture was his. But if he is to lay the losses to their charge, and keep the successful gains for himself, he will have no difficulty in making the account show on what the money has been spent, while he will find it easy to enrich himself from the money of others. 32.26To set the reckoning before you in detail, gentlemen of the jury, would be a lengthy affair; but when with some trouble I had got him to hand over the balance-sheet, in the presence of witnesses I asked Aristodicus, brother of Alexis,—the latter being now dead—whether he had the account for the equipment of a warship. He told me that he had, and we went to his house and found that Diogeiton had paid Alexis a contribution of twenty-four minae towards equipping the warship. 32.27But the expenditure that he showed was forty-eight minae, so that the children have been charged exactly the total of what he has spent. note Now, what do you suppose he has done in cases of which nobody else has had cognizance, and where he managed the business alone, when in those which were conducted through others and of which information could easily be obtained he did not shrink from falsehood in mulcting his own daughter's children to an amount of twenty-four minae? Please come forward, witnesses, in support of this.Witnesses

32.28You have heard the witnesses, gentlemen of the jury. I will now base my reckoning against him on the sum which he did eventually confess to holding,—seven talents and forty minae: not counting in any income, I will put down, as spent out of capital, a larger amount than anyone in the city has ever spent,—for two boys and their sister, an attendant and a maid, a thousand drachmae a year, a little less than three drachmae a day. note 32.29For eight years, that amounts to eight thousand drachmae; and we are left with a balance of six talents and twenty minae. For he will not be able to show that he has either had losses by pirates, or met with failure or paid off debts.



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