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Against Andocides

6.1he tied up the horse to the ring on the temple door, as though he were handing it back; but on the following night he contrived to take it away. Well, the man who did this has perished by the most painful death, of hunger; for, although plenty of good things were set on the table before him, he found that the bread and cake had a vile odor, and he was unable to eat. 6.2This fact a number of us heard stated by the priest in charge of the rites. 6.3I therefore think it just that I should now recall in connection with the accused the statements made at that time, and that not only should his friends perish by his act and his information, but he himself too should perish by the action of another.

It is impossible for you on your part, when you give your vote on a matter of this kind, to show either pity or indulgence to Andocides, since you understand that these two goddesses note take signal vengeance upon wrongdoers: every man ought therefore to expect the same consequences for himself and for others. 6.4I would ask you, if you allow Andocides to get off now unscathed from this trial, and to attend for drawing the lots for the nine archons, and to be elected king-archon, note shall we not see him performing sacrifices and offering prayers on your behalf according to ancestral custom, sometimes in the Eleusinium here, note sometimes in the temple at Eleusis, and overseeing the celebration of the Mysteries, to prevent the commission of any offence or impiety concerning the sacred things? 6.5And what, think you, will be the feelings of the initiated who arrive for the rite, when they see who the king is, and remember all his impious acts; or what the thoughts of the other Greeks who come for this celebration, purposing either to sacrifice or to attend in state note at that great assembly? 6.6For Andocides is by no means unknown either to foreigners or to our own people, such has been the impiety of his conduct; since it needs must be that, if they are specially outstanding, either good or evil deeds make their doers well-known. And besides, during his absence abroad he has caused commotion in many cities, in Sicily, Italy, the Peloponnese, Thessaly, the Hellespont, Ionia and Cyprus: he has flattered many kings—everyone with whom he has had dealings, except Dionysius of Syracuse. 6.7That monarch is either the most fortunate of them all, or far above the rest in intelligence, since he alone of those who dealt with Andocides was not deceived by the sort of man who has the art of doing no harm to his enemies but as much as he can to his friends. So, by heaven, it is no easy matter for you to show him any indulgence in contempt of justice without being noticed by the Greeks.

6.8The moment, therefore, has come when you must of necessity make a decision on his case. For you are well aware, men of Athens, that it is not possible for you to live with our ancestral laws and with Andocides at the same time: it must be one of two things, either you must wipe out the laws, or you must get rid of the man. 6.9He has carried audacity to such a pitch that he actually refers to the law we have made regarding him as one that has been abolished, note and claims liberty henceforth to enter the market-place and the templeseven today in the Council House of the Athenians. 6.10Yet Pericles, they say, advised you once that in dealing with impious persons you should enforce against them not only the written but the unwritten laws also, which the Eumolpidae note follow in their exposition, and which no one has yet had the authority to abolish or the audacity to gainsay,—laws whose very author is unknown: he judged that they would thus pay the penalty, not merely to men, but also to the gods. 6.11But Andocides has shown such contempt for the gods and for those whose duty it is to avenge them, that before he had been resident in the city ten days he instituted proceedings for impiety before the king-archon, and lodged his complaint, note though he was Andocides, and had not only done what that person has done with regard to the gods, but asserted—and here you should give your closest attention—that Archippus was guilty of an impiety against the Hermes of his house. Archippus countered this with a sworn statement that the Hermes was sound and entire and had in no way been treated like the other figures of the god: 6.12but at the same time, to avoid being troubled by a man of Andocides' sort, he got his release by a payment of money. Well now, since Andocides has sought to exact a penalty from another for impiety, surely justice and piety require that others should exact one from him.

6.13But he will say it is strange that the denouncer should suffer the extreme penalty, while the denounced are to retain their full rights and share the same privileges with you. Nay, in fact, he will not speak in his own defence, but will accuse the rest. Now of course the persons who ordered the recall of the rest are in the wrong, and are guilty of the same impiety as they: but if you, with your supreme authority, are yourselves the persons who have cheated the gods of their vengeance, it is certainly not those men who will be the guilty ones. Then do not allow this charge to rebound on you, when you are free to clear yourselves by punishing the wrongdoer. 6.14Moreover, they deny the acts for which they have been denounced, whereas he admits those reported of him. And yet, in a trial before the Areopagus, that most august and equitable of courts, a man who admits his guilt suffers death, while if he contests the charge he is put to the proof, and many have been found quite innocent. So you should not hold the same opinion of those who deny and of those who admit the charge. And this, to my mind, is a strange thing: 6.15whoever wounds a man's person, in the head or face or hands or feet, he shall be banished, according to the laws of the Areopagus, from the city of the man who has been injured, and if he returns, he shall be impeached and punished with death; but whoever does these same injuries to the images of the gods is not to be debarred by you from approaching the very temples, and is not to be punished for entering them! Nay, surely it is just and good to have a care for those beings by whom you may be either well or ill entreated. 6.16It is even said that many of the Greeks exclude men from their own temples on account of impious acts committed here; while to you, the very persons who have suffered these wrongs, your own established customs are of less account than they are to mere strangers! 6.17And mark how far more impious this man has shown himself than Diagoras the Melian note; for he was impious in speech regarding the sacred things and celebrations of a foreign place, whereas Andocides was impious in act regarding the sanctities of his own city. Now where these sacred things are concerned you should rather be indignant, men of Athens, at guilt in your own citizens than in strangers; for in the one case the offence is in a manner alien to you, but in the other it is domestic. 6.18And do not let off those whom you hold here as wrongdoers, while you seek to apprehend those who are in exile, proclaiming by herald your offer of a talent of silver to anyone who arrests or kills them; else you will be judged by the Greeks to be making a brave show rather than intending to punish. 6.19He has made it plain to the Greeks at large that he does not revere the gods. For without a sign of misgiving for his actions, but with an air of assurance, he took to ship-owning, and went voyaging on the sea. But the deity was enticing him on, that he might return to his iniquities and pay the penalty at my instance. note 6.20Well, I hope that he will indeed pay the penalty, and there would be nothing to surprise me in that; for the deity does not punish immediately, as I may conjecture by many indications, when I see others besides who have paid the penalty long after their impious acts, and their descendants punished for the ancestors' offences. But in the meantime the deity sends upon the wrongdoers many terrors and dangers, so that many men ere now have desired that their end had come and relieved them of their troubles by death. At length, it is only when he has utterly blasted this life of theirs that the deity has closed it in death.

6.21Only consider Andocides' own life since he committed his impiety, and judge if there is any other man to compare with him. For Andocides, when after his offence he was brought before the court by a summary citation, note committed himself to prison, having assessed note the penalty at imprisonment if he failed to hand over his attendant: 6.22he knew well that he would not be able to hand him over, since he had been put to death in order to shield this man and his offences from his servant's denunciation. Now, must it not have been some god that destroyed his reason, when he conceived it to be easier for him to propose imprisonment than a sum of money, with as good a hope in either case? 6.23However, as the result of this proposal he lay for nearly a year in prison, and informed as a prisoner against his own kinsmen and friends, having been granted impunity if his information should be deemed true. What soul do you think was his, when he could descend to the utmost depth of baseness in informing against his own friends, with so little prospect of deliverance? 6.24After that, when he had achieved the death of those whom he professed to value most highly, he was held to have given true information and was released: you then passed a special decree that he was to be barred from the market-place and the temples, so that even if wronged by his enemies he could get no redress. 6.25Why, nobody to this day, throughout the ever-memorable history of Athens, has been disqualified on so grave a charge. And justly; for neither has anyone to this day committed such acts. Should we attribute these results to the gods, or to mere chance? 6.26After this he took ship and went to the king of Citium note; and being caught by him in an act of treachery he was imprisoned, and was in fear, not merely of death, but of daily tortures, expecting to be docked alive of his extremities. 6.27But he slipped away from this danger and sailed back to his own city in the time of the Four Hundred note: such a gift of forgetfulness had Heaven bestowed on him, that he desired to come amongst the very persons whom he had wronged. When he came, he was imprisoned and tormented, but not to death, and he was released. 6.28He then took a ship and went to Evagoras, who was king of Cyprus, committed a crime, and was locked up. He slipped away from those clutches also, a fugitive from the gods of our land, a fugitive from his own city, a fugitive from each place as soon as he arrived in it! And yet what charm could he find in a life of repeated suffering without a moment of respite? 6.29He sailed back from that land to this city—then under a democracy —and bribed the presiding magistrates to introduce him here; but you banished him from the city, upholding at Heaven's behest the laws which you had decreed. 6.30And there is not a democracy, an oligarchy, a despot, or a city anywhere that is willing ever to receive this man: during all the time since he committed his impiety he spends his days as a wanderer, trusting always to unknown people rather than known, because of the wrong that he has done to those whom he knows. Finally, on his present arrival in the city he has been twice impeached in the same place. 6.31He keeps his person always in gaol, while his substance diminishes owing to his embarrassments. And yet, when a man portions out his own life among enemies and blackmailers, it is living no life at all. These shifts are suggested to him by the deity, not for his salvation, but to punish him for the impieties that have been committed. 6.32And now at last he has given himself up to you, to be dealt with at your discretion, not trusting in an absence of guilt, but urged by some supernal compulsion. Now, by Heaven, it must not be that any man, whether elderly or young, should lose faith in the gods through seeing Andocides saved from his dangers, when all are acquainted with the unholy acts that he has committed: we should reflect that half a life lived in freedom from pain is preferable to one of double span that is passed, like his, in distress.

6.33But so high is the flight of his impudence that he actually prepares for a public career, and already speaks before the people, makes accusations, and is for disqualifying note some of our magistrates; he attends meetings of the Council, and takes part in debates on sacrifices, processions, prayers and oracles. Yet, in allowing yourselves to be influenced by this man, what gods can you expect to be gratifying? For do not suppose, gentlemen of the jury, that, if you wish to forget the things that he has done, the gods will forget them also. 6.34He claims a quiet enjoyment of his citizenship, as though he were no wrongdoer, nay, with the air of having himself discovered the injurers of the city; and he plans to have more power than other men, as though he had not to thank your mildness and preoccupation for his escape from punishment at your hands. He is trespassing against you now, as all can see; but the instant of his conviction will also be that of his punishment.

6.35But there is another argument on which he will insist,—for it is necessary to instruct you in the defence that he will make, in order that having heard both sides you may form a better decision: he says he has conferred great benefits on the city by laying information and relieving you of the fear and confusion of that time. But who was the author of our great troubles? 6.36Was it not this very man, by the acts that he committed? After that, ought we to feel grateful to him for those benefits, because he laid information when you offered him impunity as his payment, and are you the authors of that confusion and those troubles, because you sought out the wrongdoers? Surely not: the case is quite the contrary; he threw the city into confusion, but you restored it to composure.

6.37I understand that he proposes to urge in his defence that the agreements note hold for him in just the same way as for the rest of the Athenians; and on the strength of this pretext he supposes that many of you, in fear of breaking the agreements, will absolve him. 6.38I will therefore explain how Andocides has no part in those agreements,—not only those, I aver, which you made with the Lacedaemonians, but also those which the men of the Piraeus made with the party of the town. For not one amongst us all had committed the same offences, or anything like the same, as Andocides, whence he might be able to make us serve his turn. 6.39But of course, as it was not on his account that we were divided, we did not wait to include him under the terms of the agreements before we came to a reconciliation. It was not for the sake of a single man, but for the sake of us, the people of the town and of the Piraeus, that the agreements were made and the oaths taken; for surely it would be an extraordinary thing if we in our want had taken so much care of Andocides, an absentee, as to have his offences expunged. 6.40Yet it may be said that the Lacedaemonians, in the agreements made with them, took care of Andocides because of some benefit that they had received from him; but did you take care of him? For what sort of good service? Because he has often risked danger on your account, in aid of the city? 6.41There is no truth, men of Athens, in this defence of his; do not let yourselves be deceived. You have a breach of the agreements, not if Andocides is punished for his private offences, but if private requital is exacted from a man on account of public misfortunes.

6.42Perhaps, then, he will bring a counter-accusation against Cephisius, and he will have plenty to say; for the truth should be spoken. But you could not, by the same vote, punish both the defendant and the accuser. Now is the moment for a just sentence upon this man; another time will come for Cephisius, and for each of us whom he will now proceed to cite. Do not, therefore, be led by anger against another to absolve now the wrongdoer here before you.

6.43But he will say that he turned informer, and that no one else will be willing to give you information, if you punish him. Yet Andocides has got from you the informer's price, since he has saved his own life while bringing others, for that price, to their death. You are the authors of his salvation, but he is the author of his own present troubles and dangers, for he transgressed the decrees and the terms of impunity on which he turned informer. 6.44You ought not to give informers a free licence for wrongdoing, since what is already done is enough: you have rather to punish them for their transgressions. All other informers who, after being convicted on disgraceful charges, have informed against themselves, understand one thing at least,—that they must not molest those whom they have wronged: they feel that while resident abroad they will be accounted Athenians in full possession of their rights, but that residing here among the citizens whom they have wronged they will be regarded as wicked and impious persons. 6.45Batrachus, for instance, the most wicked, next to this man, of them all, having turned informer in the time of the Thirty, note and being covered by agreements and oaths along with the party at Eleusis, was yet so afraid of those of you whom he had wronged that he made his abode in another city. But Andocides, who has wronged the very gods themselves, made less account of them by entering their temples than Batrachus did of mankind. He therefore who is both more wicked and more obtuse than Batrachus ought to be only too glad to have his life spared by you.

6.46Pray now, on what consideration ought you to absolve Andocides? As a good soldier? But he has never gone on any expedition from the city, either in the cavalry or in the infantry, either as a ship's captain or as a marine, either before our disaster note or after our disaster, though he is more than forty years old. 6.47Yet other exiles were captains with you at the Hellespont. Remember from what a load of trouble and warfare you by your own efforts delivered yourselves and the city: many were your bodily labours, many your payments from private and public funds, many the brave citizens whom you buried because of the war that you waged. 6.48And Andocides, who suffered none of these troubles<who contributed nothing> note to his country's salvation, claims now to take part in the affairs of the city, the scene of his impieties! But with all his wealth, and the power of his possessions, the accepted guest of kings and despots,—so he will now boast, well acquainted as he is with your character,— 6.49what sort of contribution <or other aid did he furnish that> note might stand to his credit? Knowing that the State was beset by storm and danger he, a seafarer, had not spirit enough to venture to aid the city by importing corn. Why, resident aliens from abroad, just because they were resident aliens, aided the city by such imports. But you, Andocides, what benefit have you actually conferred, what offences have you expiated, what return have you made for your nurture? note

6.50Men of Athens, recall the actions of Andocides, and reflect too on the festival note which has brought you special honor from the majority of mankind. But indeed you have become so stupefied by now with his offences, from your frequent sight and hearing of them, that monstrous things no longer seem to you monstrous. But apply your minds to the task of making your thought envisage the things that he did, and you will come to a better decision. 6.51For this man donned a ceremonial robe, and in imitation of the rites he revealed the sacred things to the uninitiated, and spoke with his lips the forbidden words: those deities whom we worship, and to whom with our devotions and purifications we sacrifice and pray, he mutilated. And for such a deed priestesses and priests stood up and cursed him, facing the west, note and shook out their purple vestments according to the ancient and time-honored custom. He has admitted this action. 6.52Moreover, transgressing the law that you made, whereby he was debarred from the temples as a reprobate, he has violated all these restrictions and has entered into our city; he has sacrificed on the altars which were forbidden him, and come into the presence of the sacred things on which he committed his impiety; he has entered into the Eleusinium, and baptized his hands in the holy water. 6.53Who ought to tolerate these doings? What person, whether friend or relation or townsman, is to incur the open enmity of the gods by showing him secret favour? You should therefore, consider that to-day, in punishing Andocides and in ridding yourselves of him, you are cleansing the city, you are solemnly purifying it from pollution, you are dispatching a foul scapegoat, you are getting rid of a reprobate; for this man is all of them in one.

6.54And now I would mention the advice that Diocles son of Zacorus the officiating priest, and our grandfather, note gave you when you were deliberating on the measures to be taken with a Megarian who had committed impiety. Others urged that he be put to death at once, unjudged; he counselled you to judge him in the interest of mankind, so that the rest of the world, having heard and seen, might be more sober-minded, and in the interest of the gods he bade each of you, before entering the court, judge first at home and in his own heart what should be the fate of the impious. 6.55So you, men of Athens,—for you understand what you are bound to do,—must not be perverted by this man. You hold him, caught in the open commission of impiety: you have seen, you have heard his offences. He will beseech and supplicate you: have no pity. For it is not those who justly, but those who unjustly, suffer death that deserve to be pitied.

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