Lysias, Speeches (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose; rhetoric] [word count] [lemma count] [Lys.].
<<Lys. 12 Lys. 13 (Greek) >>Lys. 14

Against Agoratus

13.1It is the duty of you all, gentlemen of the jury, to avenge the men who were put to death as supporters of your democracy, and it is also my duty in particular; for Dionysodorus was my brother-in-law and cousin. It happens, therefore, that I share with your democracy the same settled animosity against the defendant, Agoratus; the acts that he has committed are of a kind to give me good reason to hate him today, and justification to you for the penalty which, by Heaven's will, you are to impose on him. 13.2For Dionysodorus, my brother-in-law, and many others whose names you shall be duly told,—all loyal friends of your democracy,—were done to death by him in the time of the Thirty, through his act in informing against them. By this conduct he inflicted not only grievous losses on me and each of their relatives as individuals, but serious injuries—so I consider—on the whole city at large, by depriving it of men of that character. 13.3I therefore, gentlemen, consider it an act of justice and piety in all of you as well as myself to take vengeance as far as each of us is able; and I think we should stand better both with the gods and with mankind if we did so. You must hear the whole of the circumstances, gentlemen, from the beginning, 13.4in order that you may know, first, in what manner your democracy was dissolved, and by whom; second, in what manner those men were done to death by Agoratus; and further, what injunction they gave when they were about to die. For when you have been accurately informed of all these things you will with the more pleasure and piety condemn this man Agoratus. I shall therefore start my relation at a point from which it will be easiest both for me to explain and for you to understand.

13.5When your ships had been destroyed note and the resources of the city had been enfeebled, the ships of the Lacedaemonians arrived soon after at the Peiraeus, and negotiations for peace were made at once with the Lacedaemonians. 13.6At this moment those who desired to have a revolution in the State were busy with their plots, conceiving that they had found an excellent opportunity, and that this was the very moment for them to arrange the government according to their own desire. 13.7The only obstacles that they saw in their path were the leaders of the popular party and the generals and commanders. These they consequently sought to clear out of their way by fair means or foul, in order that they might achieve their ends with ease. So they began with an attack on Cleophon note in the following manner. 13.8When the first Assembly was held on the question of peace, and the emissaries of the Lacedaemonians stated the terms on which the Lacedaemonians were prepared to make peace,—on condition that the Long Walls were demolished, each to the extent of ten stades,—you then refused, men of Athens, to stomach what you had heard as to the demolition of the walls, and Cleophon arose and protested on behalf of you all that by no means could the thing be done. 13.9After that Theramenes, who was plotting against your democracy, arose and said that, if you would appoint him an ambassador to treat for peace with a free hand, he would arrange that there should be neither a breach made in the walls nor any other abasement of the city; and that he thought he would contrive even to get from the Lacedaemonians some additional boon for the city. 13.10You were persuaded, and appointed as an ambassador with a free hand the man whom in the previous year, after his election to the generalship, you had rejected on his scrutiny, note because you judged him disloyal to your democracy. 13.11Well, he went to Lacedaemon and stayed there a long time, though he had left you here in a state of siege, and knew that your population was in desperate straits, as owing to the war and its distresses the majority must be in want of the necessaries of life. But he thought that, if he should reduce you to the condition to which he in fact reduced you, you would be only too glad to make peace on any sort of terms. 13.12The others remained here, with the design of subverting the democracy: they brought Cleophon to trial, on the pretext that he did not go to the camp for his night's rest, but really because he had spoken on your behalf against the destruction of the walls. So they packed a jury for his trial, and these promoters of oligarchy appeared before the court and had him put to death on that pretext. 13.13Theramenes arrived later from Lacedaemon. Then some of the generals and commanders—among them Strombichides note and Dionysodorus, and some other citizens, who were loyal to you, as indeed they showed later—went to him and protested strongly. 13.14For he had brought to us a peace whose nature we had learnt through the lessons of experience, since we had lost a great number of worthy citizens, and had ourselves been banished by the Thirty. Instead of a breach of ten stades' length in the Long Walls, its terms required the razing of the Long Walls in their entirety; and instead of his contriving to get some additional boon for the city, we were to surrender our ships and dismantle the wall around the Peiraeus. 13.15These men perceived that, although nominally we had the promise of peace, in actual fact it was the dissolution of the democracy, and they refused to authorize such a proceeding: their motive was not pity, men of Athens, for the walls that were to come down, or regret for the fleet that was to be surrendered to the Lacedaemonians,—for they had no closer concern in these than each one of you,— 13.16but they could see that this would be the means of subverting your democracy; nor were they lacking, as some declare, in eagerness for the conclusion of peace, but they desired to arrange a better peace than this for the Athenian people. They believed that they would be able to do it, and they would have succeeded, had they not been destroyed by this man Agoratus. 13.17Theramenes and the others who were intriguing against you took note of the fact that there were some men proposing to prevent the subversion of the democracy and to make a stand for the defence of freedom; so they resolved, before the Assembly met to consider the peace, to involve these men first in calumnious prosecutions, in order that there should be none to take up the defence of your people at the meeting. Now, let me tell you the scheme that they laid. 13.18They persuaded Agoratus here to act as informer against the generals and commanders; not that he was their accomplice, men of Athens, in anyway,—for I presume they were not so foolish and friendless that for such important business they would have called in Agoratus, born and bred a slave, as their trusty ally; they rather regarded him as a serviceable informer. Their desire was that he could seem to inform unwillingly, instead of willingly, so that the information should appear more trustworthy. 13.19But he gave it willingly, as I think you will perceive for yourselves from what has since occurred. For they sent into the Council Theocritus, the man called “the son of Elaphostictus note”: this Theocritus was a comrade and intimate of Agoratus. The Council which held session before the time of the Thirty had been corrupted, and its appetite for oligarchy, as you know, was very keen. 13.20For proof of it you have the fact that the majority of that Council had seats in the subsequent Council under the Thirty. And what is my reason for making these remarks to you? That you may know that the decrees issued by that Council were all designed, not in loyalty to you, but for the subversion of your democracy, and that you may study them as thus exposed. 13.21Theocritus entered this Council, and behind closed doors he informed them that certain persons were combining to oppose the system then being instituted. He declined, however, to give their several names, as he was bound by the same oaths as they were, and there were others who would give the names: he would never do it himself. 13.22Yet, if his information was not laid by arrangement, surely the Council could have compelled Theocritus to give the names, instead of laying the information with no names given. But in fact, here is the decree that they voted note:—Decree

13.23Now when this decree had been passed, the councillors appointed for the purpose went down to the Peiraeus to find Agoratus: they lighted on him in the market, and sought to take him off. On the spot were Nicias, Nicomenes and some others, who, seeing that the business was not going very successfully in the city, refused to allow Agoratus to be taken: they were for releasing him and giving bail, and undertook to produce him before the Council. 13.24The councillors, having duly noted the names of those who tendered bail and stopped the arrest, went off to town. Then Agoratus and his sureties seated themselves at the altar on Munichia. note Seated there, they debated the question of what should be done. The sureties and everyone else were of opinion that they should get Agoratus out of the way as quickly as possible, and having brought two vessels alongside they begged him at all costs to quit Athens, 13.25and said that they would themselves accompany him on the voyage until affairs should get settled; they argued that if he were brought up before the Council he would be put to the torture, and would perhaps be compelled to give the names of such Athenians as might be suggested by those who were bent on working some mischief in the city. 13.26Although they thus entreated him, and had provided vessels, and were ready themselves to accompany him on the voyage, this man Agoratus refused to take their advice. And yet, Agoratus, unless there had been some prearrangement with you, such as to assure you that you would come to no harm, how could you have failed to make off, when there were vessels provided, and your sureties were ready to accompany you on the voyage? It was still possible for you: the Council had not yet got you in their hands. 13.27Nay, indeed, you were not in nearly so good a case as your friends: in the first place, they were Athenians, and so were not in fear of being tortured; and in the second, they were ready to resign their own native land and go on the voyage with you, because they felt that there was more to be gained by this than by your unjust destruction of a large number of good citizens. But you, first of all, were in danger of being tortured if you stayed where you were; and secondly, you would not have been parting from your own native land. 13.28So in every view it was more to your interest to go on a voyage than it was to theirs, unless you had something to give you assurance. But now you pretend that you acted unwillingly, though you willingly put to death a large number of good Athenians. To show how all that I have recounted was done by prearrangement I have witnesses; and the very decree of the Council will testify against you.Decree

13.29Now when this decree had been passed, and the councillors had arrived at Munichia, Agoratus of his own free will arose from the altar: yet he now says that he was taken away by force. 13.30When they were brought up before the Council, Agoratus deposed first the names of his sureties, then those of the generals and commanders, and then those of some other citizens. This was the beginning of the whole trouble. That he deposed the names, I think he himself will admit: failing that, I shall convict him as taken in the act. So answer me.Interrogation

13.31Now, they wanted him, gentlemen of the jury, to depose the names of yet more people; so firmly determined were the Council to work some mischief that they would not believe that he had yet given them the whole truth in his accusation. Well, he willingly deposed against all those men, with no compulsion upon him. 13.32When the Assembly met in the theater at Munichia, some were so extremely anxious to have information laid before the people also in regard to the generals and commanders—as to the others, it was enough to have had it laid before the Council only—that they brought him up there also, before the people. Now answer me, Agoratus: you will not, I suppose, deny what you did in the presence of all the Athenians.Interrogation

13.33He admits it himself; but however, the decrees of the people shall be read to you.Decrees

That this man Agoratus deposed the names of those men, both before the Council and before the people, and that he is their murderer, I believe you understand well enough. My further point, that he was the author of all the city's troubles, and does not deserve to be pitied by anybody, I think I can make plain to you in summary fashion. 13.34For it was just when those persons had been arrested and imprisoned that Lysander sailed into your harbors, that your ships were surrendered to the Lacedaemonians, that the walls were demolished, that the Thirty were established, and that every conceivable misery befell the city. 13.35And then, as soon as the Thirty were established, they promptly brought these men to trial before the Council; whereas the people had decreed that it should be “before the court of two thousand.” note Please read the decree.Decrees

13.36Now if they had been tried before the proper court, they would have easily escaped harm; for by that time you were all apprised of the evil plight of the city, though you were unable at that stage to be of further service to her. But as it was, they were brought before the Council which sat under the Thirty. note And the trial was conducted in a manner that you yourselves well know: 13.37the Thirty were seated on the benches which are now the seats of the presiding magistrates; two tables were set before the Thirty, and the vote had to be deposited, not in urns, but openly on these tables,—the condemning vote on the further one note—so what possible chance of escape had any of them? 13.38In a word, all those who had entered that Council chamber for their trial were condemned to death: not one was acquitted, except this man Agoratus; him they let off, as being a “benefactor.” And in order that you may know of the large number done to death by this man, I propose to read you their names.Names

13.39Now, when sentence of death, gentlemen, had been passed on them, and they had to die, each of them sent for his sister, or his mother, or his wife, or any female relative that he had, to see them in the prison, in order that they might take the last farewell of their people before they should end their days. 13.40In particular, Dionysodorus sent for my sister—she was his wife—to see him in the prison. On receiving the message she came, dressed in a black cloak note 13.41as was natural in view of the sad fate that had befallen her husband. In the presence of my sister, Dionysodorus, after disposing of his personal property as he thought fit, referred to this man Agoratus as responsible for his death, and charged me and Dionysius his brother here, 13.42and all his friends to execute his vengeance upon Agoratus; and he charged his wife, believing her to be with child by him, that if she should bear a son she should tell the child that Agoratus had taken his father's life, and should bid him execute his father's vengeance on the man for his murder. To show the truth of what I state, I will produce witnesses to these facts.Witnesses

13.43So then these persons, men of Athens, lost their lives through the depositions of Agoratus. But after the Thirty had cleared them out of their way, you know well enough, I imagine, what a multitude of miseries next befell the city; and for all of them this man, by taking those people's lives, was responsible. 13.44It gives me pain, indeed, to recall the calamities that have befallen the city, but it is a necessity, gentlemen of the jury, at the present moment, so that you may know how richly Agoratus deserves your pity! For you know the character and number of the citizens who were brought away from Salamis, note and the way in which they were destroyed by the Thirty. You know what a great number of the people of Eleusis shared that calamity. 13.45You remember also our people here who were haled to prison on account of private enmities; and who, having done no harm to the city, were compelled to perish by the most shameful, the most infamous, of deaths. Some left elderly parents behind them, who were expecting to be supported in their old age by their own children and, when they should end their days, to be laid by them in the grave; others left sisters unwedded, and others little children who still required much tendance. 13.46What sort of feelings, gentlemen, do you think are theirs towards this man, or what kind of vote would they give, if it rested with them, when by his act they have been deprived of their best comforts? You recollect, again, how the walls were demolished, the ships surrendered to the enemy, the arsenals destroyed, our Acropolis occupied by the Lacedaemonians, and the whole strength of the city crippled, so that our city was sunk to a level with the smallest in the world! 13.47And besides all this, you lost your private possessions and finally, at one swoop, you were all expelled by the Thirty from your native land. Impressed with these perils, those loyal citizens, gentlemen, refused their assent to the conditions of peace, 13.48and you, Agoratus, because they sought to do the State some service, brought about their death by laying information that they were intriguing against our democracy; and you are responsible for all the troubles that have befallen the city. So now let each of you remember the misfortunes caused both to individuals and to the common weal of the city, and take vengeance on their author.

13.49I am wondering myself, gentlemen, what he will be bold enough to say to you in his defence. For he must show that he did not lay information against these men, and so is not responsible for their death; but this he could never contrive to show. 13.50In the first place, we have as witnesses against him the decrees issued by the Council, and that of the people, stating expressly—Decree
“in regard to those whom Agoratus has denounced.”
In the second place, the judgement passed on him when he was acquitted under the Thirty says expressly—DECISION
“in as much as his report has been approved as true.”
Read them, please.Decrees

13.51Well then, that he did not make the deposition, he can find no means of showing; he must therefore prove that he was justified in giving that information, because he saw them criminally working against the interest of your people. But he will not attempt to show this either, I believe. For, I presume, if it had been the people of Athens on whom they had inflicted some injury, the Thirty would never, in fear of the people's rule being subverted, have put them to death to vindicate the cause of the people; no, I conceive they would have done very much the opposite.

13.52But perhaps he will say that he committed all these wrongful acts against his will. My own opinion, gentlemen, is that, however much against his will a man may have done you a wrong so great that it cannot be exceeded, this is no reason why you should not protect yourselves. And then, there are some further facts that you must remember: it was open to this man Agoratus, before he was brought up at the Council, and while he was seated at the altar in Munichia, to escape in safety; for vessels had been provided, and his sureties were ready to depart with him. 13.53And indeed, sir, had you taken their advice and consented to sail away with your friends, neither willingly nor unwillingly would you have taken the lives of so many Athenians. But the fact is that, seduced by certain persons who then made it worth your while, you had only to mention the names of the generals and commanders, and you could count on obtaining a handsome reward from them. So I see no reason there for your receiving any indulgence from us, since those men received none either from you, when you took their lives. 13.54And Hippias of Thasos, and Xenophon of Curium, note who were summoned by the Council on the same charge as this man, were put to death,—the one, Xenophon, after suffering on the rack, the other, Hippias, in the manner note; because in the eyes of the Thirty they did not deserve to be saved,—they had not destroyed one Athenian! But Agoratus was let off, because in their eyes he had done what was most agreeable to them.

13.55I am told that he attributes these depositions in part to Menestratus. But the affair of Menestratus was like this: Menestratus was informed against by Agoratus, and was arrested and put in prison. Hagnodorus of Amphitrope, note a fellow townsman of Menestratus, was a kinsman of Critias, one of the Thirty. Well, when the Assembly was being held in the theater at Munichia, this man, with the double aim of saving the life of Menestratus and of causing, by means of depositions, the destruction of as many people as possible, brought him before the people, when they contrived to give him impunity under the following decree.Decree

13.56As soon as this decree had been passed, Menestratus turned informer, and added some more names of citizens to those already deposed. The Thirty, of course, let him off as they did Agoratus here, accepting his report as true: but you long afterwards had him before you in court as an actual murderer, and justly condemned him to death; you handed him over to the executioner, and he suffered death on the plank. note 13.57Yet, if that man was put to death, surely Agoratus will be put to death with justice; for since he deposed against Menestratus he is responsible for his death, while, as to those who were deposed against by Menestratus, who is more responsible than the man who placed him under the necessity of such a step?

13.58And his behavior was, I consider, quite unlike that of Aristophanes of Cholleis, note who went surety for him at that time, provided the vessels at Munichia, and was ready to accompany him on the voyage. Thus, so far as it lay with him, you were saved, and then you would neither have destroyed any Athenian nor have brought your own self into such serious dangers. 13.59But no: you not only had the face to depose against your own deliverer, but by making your deposition you sent both him and your other sureties to their death. Some, indeed, desired that Aristophanes should be put to the torture, as one who was not of pure Athenian stock, and they prevailed on the people to pass the following decree.Decree

13.60Well, after that the persons who then had control of affairs came to Aristophanes and appealed to him to save himself by a denunciation, and not to run the risk of the extreme penalty by standing his trial on the count of alien birth. But he said—“Never!” Such was his loyalty both to the men who had been imprisoned and to the Athenian people that he chose to suffer death rather than denounce and destroy anyone unjustly. 13.61So this was the character shown by that man, even when you were bringing him to destruction; and you, when you knew nothing against those persons, but had been seduced with the promise to you of a share in the government then being established if they should be destroyed, made your deposition and sent to their death a large number of good Athenians.

13.62But I wish now, gentlemen of the jury, to represent to you the character of the men of whom Agoratus has bereft you. Had they been merely a few, one might mention them to you separately; but, as it is, I must cover them all in one brief account. Some had served you several times as generals, and then had handed on the city with added greatness to their successors in authority; 13.63some had held other high offices, and had borne the expense of many naval equipments: never before had they met with any disgraceful censure from you. Some of them survived, by having got away in safety; though this man sent them to their death none the less, and they were condemned to die: but fortune and providence delivered them. They fled the city, instead of being arrested and awaiting their trial; they have returned from the exile of Phyle, and are honored by you as worthy men.

13.64Such, you see, was the character of these men whom Agoratus either did to death or sent into exile from the city. And who, then, is he? You must know that he is a slave born and bred, so that you may know what manner of man it was that grossly maltreated you. For the defendant's father was Eumares, and this Eumares was the property of Nicocles and Anticles. Come forward, please, witnesses.Witnesses

13.65Now Agoratus, gentlemen, had three brothers. One of them, the eldest, was caught in Sicily making traitorous signals to the enemy, and by Lamachus's order he was executed on the plank. The second abducted a slave from our city to Corinth, and was taken in the act of abducting a girl from a household there: he was cast into prison and put to death. 13.66The third was arrested here by Phaenippides as a clothes stealer, and you tried him in your court: you condemned him to death, and consigned him to execution on the plank. The truth of my statements will, I think, be admitted even by this man himself, and we shall produce witnesses to support them.Witnesses

13.67Now, to tell of all the other injuries and infamies, gentlemen, which have been the practice of this man and his brothers would be a lengthy task. As to his trade of slander in all the private suits that he brought, or in the various impeachments and depositions that he made, there is no need for me to speak in detail. To sum the whole, you all in the Assembly, and likewise in the law-court, convicted him of venal slander and made him pay a fine of ten thousand drachmae; 13.68so that this point has been sufficiently attested by your whole body. Then again, he attempted, with a character like that, to debauch and defile free-born wives of our citizens, and was taken in adultery; and for that the penalty is death. Call witnesses to the truth of my words.Witnesses

13.69Then is it not clearly a duty upon you all to convict this man? For if each of the brothers was thought deserving of death for a single offence, surely the man who, both publicly against the city and privately against each of you, has committed many offences, for each of which the penalty under our laws is death, must by all means be condemned to death by you.

13.70He will say, gentlemen, attempting to deceive you, that in the time of the Four Hundred note he killed Phrynichus, note and in reward for this, he asserts, the people made him an Athenian citizen. But he lies, gentlemen. For neither did he kill Phrynichus, nor did the people make him an Athenian citizen. 13.71It was Thrasybulus of Calydon and Apollodorus of Megara, gentlemen, who combined in a plot against Phrynichus: they lighted on him as he was out walking, and Thrasybulus struck Phrynichus, knocking him down with the blow; but Apollodorus did not touch him. Meanwhile an outcry arose, and they ran off and disappeared. But Agoratus here was neither invited to join them nor was present at the deed, nor does he know anything of the matter. The truth of my statement will be shown you by the decree itself.Decree

13.72That he did not kill Phrynichus is clear from the decree itself: for nowhere do we find “that Agoratus be an Athenian,” as in the case of Thrasybulus. If, however, he had killed Phrynichus, he ought to appear as having been made an Athenian in the inscription on the same tablet as Thrasybulus does; though some do contrive, by bribing the proposer, to have their own names added to the tablet as “benefactors.” The truth of my words will be proved by this decree.Decree

13.73But yet, this man had so much contempt for you that although he was not an Athenian he took his seat in the law-court, and in the Assembly, and made impeachments of every conceivable kind, giving in his name with the addition—“of Anagyra. note” And besides, I have further good evidence against his having killed Phrynichus,—an act for which he claims to have been made an Athenian: this Phrynichus established the Four Hundred; after his death, most of the Four Hundred fled. 13.74Do you then believe that the Thirty and the Council in session at that time, who were themselves all members of the Four Hundred who had fled, would have let off the slayer of Phrynichus when they had hold of him, instead of taking vengeance on him for Phrynichus and the exile they had suffered? 13.75In my opinion, they would have taken vengeance on him. Now, if he is pretending, as I assert,to be the slayer of Phrynichus when he is not, he is guilty there; while if you, sir, dispute this, and declare that you did kill Phrynichus, it is evident that you must have done yet greater injuries to the Athenian people so as to redeem, in the eyes of the Thirty, the blame for Phrynichus's death. For you will never persuade anyone at all that after killing Phrynichus you would have been let off by the Thirty, unless you had inflicted great and irremediable injuries upon the Athenian people. 13.76Hence, if he asserts that he killed Phrynichus, remember my words and take vengeance on this man for what he has done: if he disclaims it, ask him on what grounds he alleges that he was made an Athenian. If he fails to prove it, punish him for making use of his assumed title of Athenian to sit in both law-court and Assembly, and to bring slanderous charges against so many persons.

13.77I am told that he is concocting for his defence the plea that he went off to Phyle, and was in the party that returned from Phyle, and that this is the mainstay of his case. But the facts were as I shall relate. This man did go to Phyle; yet, could there be an example of more abject vileness? For he knew that at Phyle there were some of those who had been banished by him, and he had the face to approach them! 13.78As soon as they saw him they laid hold of him and dragged him straight away to be killed in the place where they executed ordinary pirates or robbers that fell into their hands. Anytus, who was the general, said that they ought not to do that, on the ground that they were not yet in a position to punish certain of their enemies: at that moment they should rather keep quiet. If ever they returned home, they would then proceed to punish the guilty. 13.79By that speech he was the cause of this man's escape at Phyle: it was necessary to obey a man in the position of general, if they were to preserve themselves. Nay, further, you will find no one who has shared either this man's table or his tent, nor did the commander assign him a place in his tribe note; to all he was a polluted person with whom they would not talk. Please call the commander.Evidence

13.80When they had reached their mutual agreement, and the Peiraeus party made their procession to the citadel, note they were led by Aesimus; but there too this man showed similar audacity. For he followed along under arms, joining in the procession with the heavy-armed men to the city. 13.81But when they were close to the gates, and grounded arms before entering the city, Aesimus perceived him and went up to him, seized his shield, and flung it away, with the order—“Be off, crows' meat! A murderer like you must not join in the procession to Athene.” This was the way in which he was driven off by Aesimus; and I will produce witnesses to the truth of my statement.Witnesses

13.82These were the real relations, gentlemen, that he had with the heavy-armed troops, both at Phyle and in the Peiraeus. Nobody would speak to him, as a known murderer, and Anytus was the cause of his escape from death. If, therefore, he makes use of his journey to Phyle as a plea in his defence, you must retort with the question whether Anytus was the cause of his escape from death when they were ready to do justice upon him, and whether Aesimus flung away his shield and forbade him to join in the procession.

13.83You must not accept that plea from him, nor this one either, if he should urge it,—that we are exacting the penalty a long time after the offence. For I do not think there is any statute of limitations note for such crimes as his: my opinion rather is that, whether brought to his account immediately or after some time, this man must prove that he has not done the things that form the subject of the charge. 13.84Let him therefore satisfy us, either that he did not cause the death of those men, or that he did so with justice because they were doing a mischief to the Athenian people. But if we are late in punishing where we ought to have punished long ago, he is a gainer by the time in which he lived illicitly, while those men have none the less suffered death by his act.

13.85I am told that he also takes his stand on the plea that the words “in the act” appear in the warrant for arrest; but this, I consider, is utter imbecility. So, without the addition of the words “in the act,” he would be liable to the arrest; but just because the words have been added, he thinks he can extricate himself! This simply amounts, it would seem, to an admission that he has killed, but has not been taken in the act; and to insist on that is to imply that, if he was not taken in the act, but did the killing, he ought therefore to escape. 13.86But, in my view, the Eleven who authorized this arrest, without a thought of supporting Agoratus's plea,—on which he was even then insisting,—were quite correct in compelling Dionysius, who sought the warrant for arrest, to add the words “in the act”: surely that must be so, in dealing with a man who, first before five hundred, and then again before the whole body of the Athenians, made depositions whereby he took the lives of some of them, and thus was responsible for their death. 13.87For you cannot of course suppose that “in the act” only applies to a man felled with the stroke of a club or a dagger; since, by your argument, nobody will be found to have actually killed the men against whom you deposed. For no one either struck them or assassinated them, but your deposition had the effect of compelling them to die. note Then is not the author of their death a person caught “in the act”? Now, who can be that author but you, who made the depositions? So clearly you, who killed them, have been caught in the act.

13.88I understand that he intends to refer to the oaths and agreements, note and will tell us that his prosecution is a violation of the oaths and agreements that we of the Peiraeus contracted with the party of the town. Well, if he takes his stand on these, he practically admits that he is a murderer: at least, he makes an objection of oaths, or agreements, or lapse of time, or the words “in the act”; but in itself the case affords him no confidence of success in his trial. 13.89Your duty, gentlemen of the jury, is to reject these arguments: you must bid him direct his defence to these questions—Did he make no depositions ? Are those men not dead? Besides, I consider that the oaths and agreements in no way affect our position regarding this man. For the oaths have been taken between the parties of the town and of the Peiraeus. 13.90If indeed, he was in the town while we were in the Peiraeus, the agreements would have been something for him to count upon; but the truth is that he was in the Peiraeus, like me and Dionysius and all these persons who are for punishing the man, so that we are faced with no objection there. For there was no oath taken between the men of the Peiraeus and the men of the Peiraeus.

13.91In every view, I consider, he deserves more deaths than one; for the same man who says that the people have made him one of them is found to have injured the people whom he himself calls his father, by treacherously sapping the resources that they had for advancing their greatness and strength. Therefore, just as much as the man who struck his own natural father and denied him all necessaries of life, he who robbed his adoptive father of the means that he possessed is certainly, on this one score, as provided by the law of such maltreatment, deserving of the penalty of death. note

13.92It is the duty of you all, gentlemen, as it is of each one of us, to avenge those men. For it was their dying injunction both to us and to all their friends, that we should avenge them on this man Agoratus as their murderer, and do him, in a word, all the injury of which each of us is capable. Now, if they have manifestly done some good service to the city or your democracy, as you yourselves acknowledge, it must follow that you all are friends and intimates of theirs, so that they enjoined this on each of you no less than on us. Hence it would be impious as well as illegal for you to absolve this man Agoratus. 13.93And now it is for you, men of Athens, today,—since at that moment when they were to die you were unable to come to their aid because of the embarrassments of your situation,—today, when you are able, to punish their murderer. And take heed, men of Athens, lest you commit the most abominable act of all. For if you acquit this man Agoratus, your action does not stop there, but by that same vote you condemn to death those men whom you acknowledge as your supporters. 13.94By releasing the author of their death you simply decide that they have been justly put to death by him. And thus the most awful of all fates would be theirs, if those whom they charged to avenge them as their friends should support with their votes the motion of the Thirty against those men. 13.95In the name of the Olympian gods, gentlemen of the jury, let neither art nor craft induce you to condemn those men to death who precisely for their many good services to you were put to death by the Thirty and by Agoratus here. Remember all the horrors, both those that smote the State as a whole and those that each of us felt in private, when those men lost their lives, and punish the author of them all. It has been made plain to you, alike from the decrees, the depositions and all the rest, that Agoratus is the author of their death.

13.96Furthermore, it behoves you to vote in opposition to the Thirty: you must therefore acquit the men whom they condemned to death; and you must convict those whom they did not so condemn. Now, the Thirty condemned to death these men, who were your friends, and these you ought to acquit. Agoratus they acquitted, because he was found zealous for their destruction: him you ought to convict. 13.97If therefore, you vote in opposition to the Thirty, first of all, you are not supporting your enemies with your votes; next, you will have avenged your own friends; and last, you will he held by all the world to have given a just and a pious vote.

Lysias, Speeches (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose; rhetoric] [word count] [lemma count] [Lys.].
<<Lys. 12 Lys. 13 (Greek) >>Lys. 14

Powered by PhiloLogic