Demosthenes, Speeches (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose; rhetoric] [word count] [lemma count] [Dem.].
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Against Spudias

41.1This man Spudias and I, men of the jury, are married to two sisters, daughters of Polyeuctus. Polyeuctus having died without male issue, I am forced to go to law with the defendant in regard to the property which has been left. And if, men of the jury, I had not shown all zeal and eagerness in my desire to find a settlement and to submit the matters at issue to our friends, I should have blamed myself for not choosing to suffer a trifling loss rather than engage in a troublesome lawsuit. 41.2But, as it is, the more gentleness and consideration I used in talking with the defendant, the more contempt he showed toward me. And now it appears that in my contest with him we are in no sense on equal terms, but he can take the matter lightly, since he has been accustomed to come often before you, whereas I fear this very thing, that because of my lack of experience I may prove unable to explain my case to you. None the less, men of the jury, I beg you to give heed.

41.3Polyeuctus was a man of Teithras, note not unknown, it may well be, to some of you. This Polyeuctus, since he had no male children, adopted Leocrates, the brother of his own wife; but since he had two daughters by the sister of Leocrates, he gave the elder to me in marriage with a portion of forty minae, and the younger to Leocrates. note 41.4So matters stood, when a quarrel came about between Polyeuctus and Leocrates, as to the nature of which I know of nothing which it is incumbent upon me to relate, and Polyeuctus took away his daughter note and gave her in marriage to this man Spudias. After this Leocrates, being greatly incensed, brought suit against Polyeuctus and Spudias here, and they were forced to render an accounting in regard to all the matters at issue, and in the end a settlement was reached on the terms that Leocrates, on receiving back all that he had brought into the estate, should be reconciled with Polyeuctus, and that final releases should be given from all demands made by each upon the other. 41.5Now, why is it, men of the jury, that I have told you this? Because I did not receive the whole of my wife's portion, but a thousand drachmae were left unpaid with the understanding that I should receive them on the death of Polyeuctus; and so long as Leocrates was the heir of Polyeuctus, it was he who was responsible to me for the debt; but when Leocrates had left the family, and Polyeuctus was seriously ill, then, men of the jury, to secure the ten minae, I took a mortgage on this house, the rents accruing from which Spudias seeks to prevent me from collecting. 41.6In the first place, then, I shall bring before you as witnesses those who were present when Polyeuctus betrothed his daughter to me with a portion of forty minae; then I shall prove that what I received was less by a thousand drachmae; and further that Polyeuctus always admitted that he was in my debt, and that he introduced to me Leocrates as guarantor note; and that at his death he directed by his will that pillars should be set up on the house in my favor for a thousand drachmae due on account of my wife's portion.

Please call the witnesses.Witnesses

41.7This, then, men of the jury, is one of the charges which I make against Spudias. And in this matter what stronger or more solid ground could I have in coming before you than the law which expressly ordains that, in all cases where men have given a mortgage, there shall be no right of action for them or for their heirs? But nevertheless it is to dispute this just provision that Spudias has come here. 41.8A second claim, men of the jury, is the following: Aristogenes has deposed that Polyeuctus, when about to die, charged that there were due him from Spudias two minae with interest (this was the price of a domestic slave whom the defendant had bought from Polyeuctus, but had neither paid the money nor has now entered it in the general account); and furthermore there are eighteen hundred drachmae, regarding which I am myself at a loss to know what reasonable thing he will have to say. 41.9He had borrowed the money from the wife of Polyeuctus, and there are papers which that lady left behind at her death, and the lady's brothers are witnesses, for they were present at all times and questioned her on every point, that there might be no unpleasantness between us. It is, then, an outrageous and cruel thing, men of the jury, when I on my part, for everything which I either bought from Polyeuctus during his lifetime or received from his wife, have duly paid the price and the interest as well, and am now bringing into the general account everything which I owed, 41.10that this fellow should show no regard either for your laws or for the will of Polyeuctus, or for the papers which have been left, or for those who knew the facts, but in the face of all this should have come into court to contest my plea.

Please take first the law which denies the right of action for mortgaged property against the holders of the mortgage, then the papers which were left, and the deposition of Aristogenes.Law

41.11I wish now, men of the jury, to instruct you in detail also regarding the other claims which I make. They received from the wife of Polyeuctus a bowl, which they pawned together with some pieces of jewelry, and this they have not redeemed and brought into the general account, as Demophilus, to whom it was pawned, will testify. They have also some stuff for hangings, note which they received, but they do not account for this either; and many more articles of the same sort. And finally, although my wife advanced a mina of silver and expended it on her father's behalf for the feast of the dead, note the defendant refuses to contribute his share even of this; nay, what he has received he keeps; of other items he receives his due portion; but these claims he thus openly refuses to meet.

Now that these matters too may not be left neglected, take, please, the depositions regarding them all.Depositions

41.12It may well be, men of the jury, that Spudias will make no statement to meet these facts; for he will not be able to do so, clever though he is; but will accuse Polyeuctus and his wife, and will declare that they did all these things under my influence and as favors to me, and that he is being greatly injured in many other respects, and has brought action against me; for this is what he undertook to say before the arbitrator also. 41.13But for my part, men of the jury, in the first place I do not think that a defence of that sort is legitimate, or that it is proper, when one is manifestly shown to be in the wrong, for him to shift the charges and have recourse to accusation and calumny; nay, for his counter-charges, if he is suffering any wrong, he will plainly receive satisfaction, but for the claims made on him, he will give it. For how could I now defend myself against the slanders of these men, if I passed over the matters upon which you are to give your verdict? 41.14In the next place I wonder, if he had true and just demands to make, why it was that, when our friends wished to settle our differences, and many conferences were held, he could not abide by their decision. And yet who could better have exposed the baselessness of claims advanced by him or by me than those who were present at all these transactions, who knew the facts as well as we did ourselves, and who were impartial friends of us both? 41.15But this was plainly not to the interest of my opponent—that he should be openly convicted by our friends and find a settlement in this way. For do not imagine, men of the jury, that men who know all these facts, and who now at their own risk are giving testimony in my favor, would then, when they had been put under oath, have formed a different conclusion about them. However, though you had none of these facts to aid you, even so it is not difficult to form an opinion as to which of the two parties is speaking the truth. 41.16For regarding the house, if he maintains that Polyeuctus was induced by me to order that mortgage-pillars be set up for the thousand drachmae, yet surely, Spudias, I did not use my influence to induce the witnesses to give false testimony in my interest,—witnesses who were present when he betrothed to me his daughter, who knew that I received less than the entire marriage portion, who heard him when he acknowledged that he was in my debt and also when he had introduced Leocrates as the one who should make payment, and who finally were present when the will was made. For with all these persons it was no longer a question of favoring me in these matters, but of risking a charge of giving false testimony, if they deposed to what was not the truth. Let us, then, have no more of that matter; but what will you say to this, Spudias? 41.17And see that you give these gentlemen a precise answer. If he does not, do you all demand it of him. For, when Polyeuctus gave these directions in his will, the defendant's wife was present, and you may be sure that she reported to him the will of her father, especially if he did not receive an equal share, but was at a disadvantage in all respects; and the defendant himself was invited to be present, so that it is not open to him to say that we managed this in secret and kept them in the dark. For although he was invited to be present, he said that he was busy himself, but that it would be enough if his wife were there. What more would you have? 41.18When Aristogenes gave him an exact account of all these matters, even then he made no comment, and though Polyeuctus lived on more than five days after this, he neither showed any vexation on going to the house, nor made any protest, nor did his wife, who was present from the first on all these occasions. It would appear, then, that Polyeuctus was not induced by me to favor me in these matters; the act was your own. Keep these facts, then, clearly in your minds, men of the jury, and if he now tries to make any slanderous statements about the matter, confront him with them.

But first, that you may be fully assured that matters are as I have stated, hear the witnesses. Read.Witnesses

41.19Well then, men of the jury, in the matter of the one thousand drachmae, to prove that Polyeuctus mortgaged the house to me honestly, and for an existing debt, I have the testimony of my opponent himself and his wife in addition to these other witnesses whose depositions have been put in; for they concurred at the time, and made no objection either to Polyeuctus who lived so many days after, or to Aristogenes, when they first heard of the will. But assuredly, if the house was honestly mortgaged, it is impossible for you, if you bear the law in mind, to acquit Spudias as to this part of the case. 41.20Now consider also the matter of the twenty minae, which he does not bring into the account; for in this again the defendant himself will be my strongest witness—not by words, heaven knows, such as he utters now in opposing my suit—words are a criterion of no worth—but by manifest act. By doing what, men of the jury? To this I bid you now to give close heed, in order that, if he really dares to utter any slanders about the mother of our wives or about the documents, your knowledge of the facts may make it impossible for him to deceive you by his talk.

41.21These papers were left by the wife of Polyeuctus, as I just now said. The seals being acknowledged both by the defendant's wife and by mine, we both, being present, broke them and took copies, and then sealed up the papers again, and deposited them in the hands of Aristogenes. 41.22Now, note this, men of the jury, note this, I beg of you. There was in the papers mention of the two minae, the price of the slave—and it was not only Polyeuctus on his death-bed who had made this claim—and there was mention of the eighteen hundred drachmae. When he read this, if what was written did not concern him at all and was untrue, why pray did he not at once protest about it? Why did he join in sealing again papers which were false and of no worth? This of course no one in the world would do, if he did not concur in all that was written. 41.23But surely, men of the jury, this is an outrageous thing if these men are to be permitted now to dispute matters to which they have themselves given assent, and you are to find no basis for judgement in the fact that all of us are wont, when charges are made against us that are unjust and untrue, not to keep silent, but to dispute them on the spot, and that those who do not do this, if they contest them subsequently, are accounted rascals and tricksters. 41.24Now Spudias knows this as well as I, and I think even better, inasmuch as he comes oftener before your court, yet he feels no shame in saying things that contradict all that he has himself done. And yet full often when you become conscious of one single piece of fraud, you treat it as evidence against the other charges; but the defendant is found to have been convicted by himself of falsehood on every point.

Take, please, the deposition, proving that the seals of the papers were acknowledged at the time by the wife of the defendant, and that the papers are now deposited, sealed by Spudias.Deposition

41.25Since, then, these facts have been so convincingly established, there is no further need, I think, of more words. For when I am able to produce both laws and witnesses in support of everything that I have said, and also admissions made in my favor by my opponent himself, what further need can there be for a long argument? However, if Spudias perchance waxes indignant about the marriage portion and maintains that he is being defrauded to the amount of one thousand drachmae, he will be lying. For, while he disputes my claim to this sum, he has received not less, but more, as will presently be made clear to you. 41.26Nay more, even if all these statements of his were indeed true, it is not just, I take it, if the laws are good for anything, that I should lose the marriage portion which was promised me, or that Polyeuctus, if he chose to give a smaller portion to one daughter and a larger to the other, should now be thwarted. For it was open to you, Spudias, not to marry his daughter, unless the thousand drachmae were given to you as well as to me. However you received no less than I, as I shall show.

But, first, take the deposition which shows on what terms the lady was given to him.Deposition

41.27But how can it be that he has received as much as I, one may ask, if in his case the jewelry and the apparel, to the value of a thousand drachmae, were reckoned in the forty minae, while to me the ten minae were paid separately and in addition? This is precisely what I am going to explain. For Spudias, men of the jury, received his wife from Leocrates with the jewelry and apparel on which Polyeuctus set a value to Leocrates of more than a thousand drachmae, while in my case, if you set what was sent to me over and above the marriage portion—all that I have in my possession—over against what was given to Spudias, you will find them practically equal over and above what was reckoned in the thousand drachmae; 41.28so that it was only fair that these articles should be included in the forty minae, seeing that Polyeuctus had charged them against Leocrates, and they were more than had been given me.

Now please take this inventory and read to the jurymen what each of us has in his possession; after that, read the deposition of the arbitrators, that they may see that Spudias has received even far more than I, and that Leocrates made complaint regarding this, and that the arbitrators rendered this decision.Inventory

41.29Is it not plain, then, that the defendant has long had in his possession forty minae as his wife's marriage portion, whereas I received the thirty minae, just as he did, but not only did not receive the thousand drachmae, but am now actually in jeopardy regarding them, charged with possessing them wrongfully. It was for this reason, men of the jury, that Spudias would not leave to our friends the settlement of his claims against me, since the result would have been that all these falsehoods of his would have been exposed, for they had been present at all these transactions and knew all about them, and would therefore not have permitted him to say whatever he pleased; whereas in your court he thinks that by his falsehoods he will get the better of me and my statement of the truth. 41.30And yet I have set forth to you clearly all my charges, as well as I could do it myself, while my opponent evaded coming before those acquainted with the facts thinking that he would be unable to lead them astray. Do not you, then, men of the jury, do not you any more than they suffer him to have recourse to lies and calumnies, but bear in mind what you have heard; for you know all the facts of the case, unless perhaps I have omitted something, since I have been forced to speak with but scant water in the water-clock.

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