« EelmineJätka »
it is the laws which preserve the commonwealth, you should act, all of you, in the same manner as if you were sitting here to make up a club-subscription.1 Him that obeys the laws you should praise and honour, as a person contributing his full share to the welfare of his country; him that disobeys them you should punish. For whatever any of us does at the bidding of the laws, is a contribution to the state and to the public; and he that is a defaulter to it robs you, men of Athens, of many noble institutions, many important advan tages, yea, does all he can to destroy them. One or two of these, which are the most familiar, I will mention for the sake of example. The Council of Five-hundred, by means of a slight railing, is able to ensure secrecy, and to prevent the intrusion of strangers. The Council of Areopagus, when it sits in the King's porch and shuts itself in with a cord, is quiet and undisturbed, all people retiring out of the way. All the magistrates who are elected by lot from the people, as soon as the officer has said "withdraw," are armed with the power of the laws, which they were commissioned to execute, and no violence is offered by outrageous persons. A thousand instances besides these I could mention. Everything which is honourable and noble-everything by which the commonwealth is adorned and upheld-discretion, modesty, reverence for parents, respect of the young for their elders-all these prevail by the assistance of the laws over what is disgraceful, over impudence, audacity, and temerity. For profligacy is a thing of a bold and reckless and grasping nature; while honesty, on the contrary, is quiet and scrupulous and slow, and easy to be taken advantage of You therefore who sit as jurors from time to time should give heed to the laws, that you may maintain their efficiency; for by their help good men prevail over bad. If not, everything is loosed, opened, confounded; the state is at the mercy of the most wicked and the most shameless. By heavens ! suppose every citizen had the boldness and impudence of Aristogiton, and reasoned with himself as he does, that a man may say or do what he pleases in a democracy without restraint, if he that so acts has no regard for his reputation, and that for no offence whatever will he be put to death immediately and suppose, under such persuasion, the non-elect 1 See the Oration against Midias, Vol. iii. p. 99.
pretended to equality with the elect (whether by lot or by show of hands), and claimed to share the same privileges suppose, in short, that neither young nor old would perform their duties, but that each individual, banishing order and discipline from his life, regarded his own will as law, as magistrate, as all in all-if we were to act in this way, could any government go on? How say ye? Could the laws retain their authority? What violence and outrage would the city be filled with every day! What lawlessness, what licentiousness of language, in place of the present moderation and reserve! And why need I tell you that all order is preserved by the laws and the obedience which is paid to them? You yourselves are the only persons here impanelled, though all the Athenians drew lots just now, and all wished, I am sure, to be drawn for this court. How comes this about? Because the lot fell on you, and then you were again drawn for the court;1 and this is what the laws prescribe. You then, who have taken your own places here by virtue of the laws-will you let off a person, when you have caught him, who resolves to speak or to act in defiance of the laws? And will none of you show resentment or indignation at the violence offered to the laws by this impudent and abominable man? Why, you monster of impurity! when your right of speech is barred not by doors or railings, which one may push open, but by penalties of such number and magnitude, which are registered in the temple of the Goddess-you dare to burst those barriers and approach a place from which the laws have banished you! Excluded2 as you are by every principle of our polity, by the decisions of three tribunals, by an entry of
I cannot persuade myself that Taylor and Schäfer (whom Pabst also follows) are right in understanding λáxere to mean "you drew lots." If the orator had been speaking of one allotment only, why did he not say simply orι ÅTEKλnpwente? I rather agree with Reiske in supposing that a second drawing is referred to. After the section of five hundred have been drawn in the usual way (see Schömann, Antiquitates Juris Publici, p. 265) it is found that a portion only of these are required for the court in question, and therefore there is a new striking of the jury, as we say; this is the amoкλnpwσis. Or perhaps λáxere refers to the original selection of the whole Heliastic body, dτEKλnρwenтe to the impanelling of the jury. "corded
2 Literally excluded by a cord." We might perhaps say off." It has reference to the cord by which the Areopagites fenced themselves in. (Ante, p. 62.)
the Judges, by another of the Collectors, by the indictment for false entry which you yourself prefer1-excluded almost by an iron chain-you nevertheless sneak in and tear through these obstacles! inventing excuses, and getting up false charges, you think to overturn the fabric of your country's justice!
That you ought in no way to tolerate such things, I will show you by a plain and striking illustration. Suppose any one now were to get up and contend that our speakers ought to be taken from the youngest men, or from the richest, or from those who have performed the official services, or from any other class which he chose to select, you would put him to death, I am sure, as a person endeavouring to overthrow the democracy. And you would be justified in doing so. Yet none of these proposals would be so shocking as for a man to advise, that the privilege of speaking should be given to any of the classes to which Aristogiton belongs, namely, to wilful violators of law, or to persons who have come out of prison, or to those whose fathers the people have put to death, or those who have been drawn for an office and rejected on their probation, or debtors to the treasury, or persons completely disfranchised, or those who are, and are reputed to be, thoroughly base: all of which categories belong to the defendant, and apply to such as resemble him in character. I consider, men of Athens, that he deserves death for what he is doing now, but much more, or at least as much, for what it is manifest he would do, if he got the means and opportunity from you; which I trust he never will. I can hardly suppose any of you to be ignorant, that the defendant is fit for nothing that is good or honourable or worthy of the state; (never, O ye Immortals, may there be such a dearth of men in the commonwealth, that she should employ Aristogiton upon any honourable service!) no: the things, for which any one would employ this monster, are such as we should implore the Gods to avert. But, if such things should occur, it were better luck for the state
1 The indictment against Ariston, the very preferring of which was an admission of the fact, that Aristogiton's name was entered as a debtor. See the argument. And for an explanation of the law, see articles Bouleuseos and Pseudengraphes Graphe, Atimia, Practores, &c., in the Archæological Dictionary.
that ill-disposed people should be at a loss for an instrument to execute their purposes, than that Aristogiton should be at liberty and ready to help them. For what crime is there, men of Athens, however terrible, however deadly, which he would shrink from-a creature so polluted, so full of hereditary hatred against the people? Who so gladly as he would overturn the commonwealth, if he had the power? which Heaven forbid! See you not that his nature and his politics are not guided by any reason or good feeling, but by desperation? Or rather his political life is wholly desperation : which is a calamity most baneful to the possessor, shocking and offensive to all, and intolerable to the state. For a desperate man has abandoned all care of himself, all hope of rational safety, but is saved, if at all, by some extraordinary aud paradoxical means. What wise man then would connect himself or his country's interests with such a pest? Who would not shun it as far as possible, and keep a person infected with it out of his way, for fear at some time he might stumble upon it unintentionally? Those who take counsel for their country, O Athenians, should not look for a person who will communicate to them his desperation, but one who will impart to them understanding and good sense and a fair share of prudence. These are the things which lead men to happiness: despair leads them where the defendant ought to pack himself off to. In considering this question, have regard not to my speech, but to the general customs of mankind. There are in all cities altars and temples of all the Gods, and among them one of Minerva the provident, worshipped as a good and great Goddess; and at Delphi there is a grand and magnificent temple to her1 immediately as you enter the sanctuary of Apollo; who, being a God and a prophet, on both accounts knows what is best; but there is no temple of despair or impudence. And there are altars too among all people of justice and legality and modesty, the most beautiful and holy being in the very soul and nature of every man, while others are set up for all men publicly to honour; but there are none of shamelessness or
1 As to the confusion between ̓Αθηνὴ Πρόνοια and ̓Αθηνὴ Προναία, I refer the reader to the learned note of Taylor in the Apparatus Criticus.
pettifoggery or perjury or ingratitude, all of which qualities belong to the defendant.
I know that he will avoid the proper and regular course of defence, and, keeping clear of that, will resort to railing and abuse, and threaten to prosecute, to bring into court, to give into custody, and the like. However, he'll get nothing by all this with you,1 if you give your attention as you should do for has not the futility of it all been proved in case after case 2 repeatedly? Other instances I will pass by: but, Aristogiton, you have tried seven indictments against me, having bired yourself to the party who then acted for Philip; and you accused me twice when I rendered my account at the audit. I pay that respect to Nemesis which it becomes me as a human being, and I am deeply thankful to the Gods and to all of you, O Athenians, who preserved me; but you, Aristogiton, never were known to speak a word of truth, but were always proved to be a pettifogger. If the jury then should neglect to enforce the laws and should let you off today, will you convict me now? For what? Only look at it in this way. For two years the defendant has been obtruding himself on the platform, when he has no right to speak, and he does speak notwithstanding. In this time he could see
the wretched Phocides and the brazier from Piræus and the leather-dresser and all the rest whom he has accused before you-he could see them wronging the state; yet he did not see me, the orator, with whom he was at war, nor Lycurgus, nor the others of whom he will have something to say presently. Take it either way, he deserves death: whether, having a good criminal charge against us, he let us off and proceeded against private men; or whether, having nothing against us, he will make such statements to deceive and impose upon you. Now if there really is a man in the city of this way of thinking, that he must and will find some one to bring vexatious charges and prosecutions, without caring whether he does it justly or unjustly, he cannot find any one less useful to him than the defendant. Why? Because a person who is to accuse others and bring them all to trial ought himself to be irreproachable, in order that his
1 adókipa. Pabst-" Diess Alles wird euren Beifall nicht haben. Auger-seront inutiles."
2πl Távτwv. Pabst-" in allen Fällen." Auger-" en toute occasion."