Redevoeringen, Hyperides (390-322 v. Chr.): redevoering V (fragmenten)



Against Demosthenes

fr. 1

Personally, gentlemen of the jury, as I was just saying to those seated beside me, what surprises me is this. Is it really true that Demosthenes, unlike any other man in Athens, is exempt from the laws which enforce an agreement made by a person against his own interests? Is he unaffected by the people's decrees, which you have sworn to observe in voting, decrees which were proposed, not by any of his enemies, but by Demosthenes himself, and which the people carried on his motion, almost as though he deliberately sought to destroy himself . . . and yet the just verdict, gentlemen of the jury, is, as I see it, simple: it is in our favor against Demosthenes. In private suits differences are often settled by challenge, and that is how this affair also has been settled. Look at it in this way, gentlemen. The people accused you, Demosthenes, of having accepted twenty talents illegally, against the interests of the state. You denied having done so and drew up a challenge, which you laid before the people in the form of a decree entrusting the matter on which you were accused to the council of the Areopagus. . . .

fr. 2

. . . and you malign the Areopagus and publish challenges, in which you ask how you came by the gold, who gave it you, and where. Perhaps you will end by asking what you used it for after you obtained it, as though you were demanding a banker's statement from the Areopagus. I, on the other hand, should like to know from you why the council of the Areopagus said . . .

fr. 3

. . . the reports. On the contrary they have shown, as you will recognize, an exceptionally democratic spirit in handling the affair. They reported the guilty persons; even this was not done from choice but in answer to repeated pressure from the people; and they did not undertake to punish them on their own responsibility but rightly left it to you, with whom the final authority rests. It is not only his own trial which Demosthenes has in mind when he determines to mislead you by abusing the report; he wishes also to frustrate all the other prosecutions which the city has in hand. That is a point to be carefully borne in mind and you must not be deceived by the defendant's argument. For these reports concerning the money of Harpalus have all been drawn up by the Areopagus on an equal footing. They are the same for all the accused. In no case has the council added the reason why it publishes a particular name. It stated summarily how much money each man had received, adding that he was liable for that amount. Is Demosthenes to have more weight with you than the report given against him? . . . For of course this argument, if it protects Demosthenes, will also protect the rest. The sum on which you are pronouncing judgement is not twenty, but four hundred, talents. You are judging all the crimes, not one. For your mad conduct, Demosthenes, has made you champion of all these criminals, foremost in danger as you are in impudence. In my opinion the fact that you took the gold is proved to the jury well enough by your being condemned by the council to which you entrusted yourself. . . . When Harpalus arrived in Attica, gentlemen of the jury, and the envoys from Philoxenus demanding him were, at the same time, brought into the Assembly, Demosthenes came forward and made a long speech in which he argued that it was not right for Athens to surrender Harpalus to the envoys from Philoxenus, and that Alexander must not be left with any cause for complaint, on his account, against the people; the safest course for the city was to guard the money and the person of Harpalus, and to take up all the money, with which Harpalus had entered Attica, to the Acropolis on the following day, while Harpalus himself should announce then and there how much money there was. His real purpose, it seems, was not simply to learn the figure, but to find out from how large a sum he was to collect his commission. Sitting below in his usual place in the niche, he told Mnesitheus the dancer to ask Harpalus how much money there would be to take up to the Acropolis. The answer given was seven hundred talents. . . . He had told you himself in the Assembly that that was the correct figure; and yet when the total brought up to the Acropolis was three hundred and fifty talents instead of seven hundred, having by then received his twenty, he did not utter a word. . . . After saying before the Assembly that there were seven hundred talents you now bring up half. . . . Harpalus would not have bought . . . nor would the city be exposed to accusation and reproach. But of all these things, Demosthenes . . . It was you who decreed that a guard should be posted over the person of Harpalus. Yet when it relaxed its vigilance you did not try to restore it, and after it was disbanded you did not prosecute those responsible. I suppose you went unpaid for your shrewd handling of the crisis? If Harpalus distributed his gold among the lesser orators, who had nothing to give but noise and shouting, what of you who control our whole policy? Did he pass you over? That is incredible. So supreme is the contempt, gentlemen of the jury, with which Demosthenes has treated the affair, or to be quite frank, you and the laws, that at the outset, it seems, he admitted having taken the money but said that he had used it on your behalf and had borrowed it free of interest for the Theoric fund. Cnosion and his other friends went about saying that Demosthenes would be compelled by his accusers to publish facts which he wished kept secret and to admit that he had borrowed the money free of interest for the state to meet expenses of government. Since the anger of those of you who heard this statement was greatly increased by these aspersions cast on your democracy, on the grounds that he was not content to have taken bribes himself but thought fit to infect the people too . . . speaking and complaining that the Areopagus was seeking favor with Alexander and for that reason wanted to destroy him. As if you did not all know that no one destroys the kind of man who can be bought. On the contrary, it is the opponent who can be neither persuaded nor corrupted with bribes that men contrive to be rid of by any means in their power. There is some likelihood, it seems, that you, Demosthenes, are deaf to prayers and not to be persuaded into taking bribes? Do not imagine, gentlemen, that only trivial matters are affected by the venal conduct of these men. For it is no secret that all who conspire for power in Greece secure the smaller cities by force of arms and the larger ones by buying the influential citizens in them; and we know that Philip reached the height he did because, at the outset, he sent money to the Peloponnese, Thessaly, and the rest of Greece, and those with power in the cities and authority. . . .

fr. 4

. . . you tell us marvellous stories, little thinking that your conduct is no secret; you professed to be supporting the people's interests but were clearly speaking on behalf of Alexander. Personally I believe that even in the past everyone knew that you acted in this way over the Thebans, and over all the rest, and that you appropriated money, which was sent from Asia to buy help, for your own personal use, spending most of it; and now you engage in sea commerce and make bottomry loans, and having bought a house . . . you do not live in the Piraeus but have your anchorage outside the city. A popular leader worthy of the name should be the savior of his country, not a deserter. When Harpalus recently descended on Greece so suddenly that he took everyone by surprise, he found affairs in the Peloponnese and in the rest of Greece in this condition owing to the arrival of Nicanor with the orders which he brought from Alexander relating to the exiles and to the . . . of the Achaean, Arcadian, and Boeotian Leagues. . . . You have contrived this situation by means of your decree, because you arrested Harpalus. You have induced the whole of Greece to send envoys to Alexander, since they have no other recourse, and have prevented all the satraps, who by themselves would willingly have joined forces with us, each with money and all the troops at his disposal, not merely from revolting from him, by your detention of Harpalus, but also . . . each of them . . .

fr. 5

. . . sent by Demosthenes, and with Olympias Callias the Chalcidian, the brother of Taurosthenes. For these men were made Athenian citizens on the motion of Demosthenes and they are his special agents. Naturally enough; for being perpetually unstable himself, I suppose he might well have friends from the Euripus. Will you dare then presently to speak to me of friendship . . . you yourself broke up that friendship when you accepted bribes against your country and made a change of front. You made yourself a laughing stock and brought disgrace on those who had ever shared your policy in former years. When we might have gained the highest distinction in public life and been accompanied for the remainder of our lives by the best of reputations, you frustrated all these hopes, and you are not ashamed, even at your age, to be tried by youths for bribery. And yet the positions ought to be reversed: your generation ought to be training the younger orators, reproving and punishing any over-impetuous action. But the fact is just the opposite: the youths are taking to task the men of over sixty. Therefore, gentlemen of the jury, you have a right to feel resentful towards Demosthenes; for after gaining a tolerable reputation and great riches, all through you, even on the threshold of old age he has no loyalty to his country. But you used to be ashamed . . . the Greeks who were standing round, when you passed sentence on certain persons, to think that such popular leaders and generals and guardians of your affairs . . .

fr. 6

. . . For to take money is not so serious as to take it from the wrong source, and the private individuals who took the gold are not so culpable as the orators and generals. Why is that? Because the private individuals were given the money by Harpalus for safe-keeping, but the generals and orators have accepted it with some policy in view. The laws prescribe that ordinary offenders shall pay a simple fine but that men accepting bribes shall pay ten times the usual sum. Therefore, just as we can lawfully fix the penalty for these men, so also . . . from you against them. . . . It is as I said in the Assembly. You give full permission, gentlemen of the jury, to the orators and generals to reap substantial rewards. It is not the laws which grant them this privilege but your tolerance and generosity. But on one point you insist: your interests must be furthered, not opposed, with the money they receive. Now Demosthenes and Demades, from actual decrees passed in the city and from proxenies, have each received, I believe, more than sixty talents, quite apart from the Persian funds and money sent from Alexander. If neither of these sources suffices for them, and they have now accepted bribes which threaten the city's life itself, can we doubt our right to punish them? Suppose that one of you, mere private individuals, during the tenure of some office, makes a mistake through ignorance or inexperience; he will be overwhelmed in court by the eloquence of these men and will either lose his life or be banished from his country. Shall they themselves, after harming the city on such a scale, escape unscathed? Conon of Paeania took theoric money for his son who was abroad. He was prosecuted for it by these men in court, and though he asked your pardon, had to pay a talent, all for taking five drachmas. Aristomachus also, because, on becoming principal of the Academy, he transferred a spade from the wrestling school to his own garden near by and used it and . . .

fr. 7

. . . However during the period which followed the people did not forbid us to approach them or to discuss with them; instead they used us as counsellors and advisers . . . and elected him next . . . as treasurer with full control of their finances, considering, quite rightly, that we owed him a debt of gratitude. Later, too, though we were often brought to trial on the strength of that policy and the war itself, these men did not vote against us once but brought us safely through everything; and one could not have a more impressive, or a surer sign of popular favor. . . . the people so behaved that though deprived themselves by fortune of their crown of glory, they did not take from us the wreath which they had granted. When the people have acted thus towards us should we not render them all due service, and if need be die for them? I believe we should, but you, against the people . . . benefits. For them to serve their own, and not some other's country . . . you have continued to display the power of your eloquence. When you thought that the Areopagus would report those who had the gold you became hostile and created a disturbance in the city so as to obstruct the inquiry. But when the Areopagus postponed its statement on the grounds that it had not yet discovered the truth, you conceded in the Assembly that Alexander might be the son of Zeus and Poseidon too if he wished . . . wished . . . to set up a statue of Alexander, the king and god invincible . . . Olympias . . . announced to the people . . .

fr. 8

. . . of the charges and made a proclamation about them. And they, instead of returning what they had received and being quit of the affair, were proposing penalties and inquiries directed against themselves. How ought we to treat men who began by doing wrong and taking bribes and then, when exemption was offered them, did not give back the gold? Should we let them go unpunished? No; for it would be a shameful thing, gentlemen of the jury, to jeopardize the safety of the city because of charges brought against individual men. You cannot acquit these men themselves unless you are willing also to assume responsibility for their crimes. . . . Then do not indulge their love of gain, gentlemen of the jury, at the expense of your own security. Do not let your motive for making war be love of sordid gain; let it be rather a wish for a more creditable record and a change to better fortunes. . . .

fr. 9

. . . on behalf of them . . . we made peace. . . . to be rendered to it by each of us. The prosecuting in court and the exposing of those who had received the money and taken bribes against their country it allotted to us, the chosen accusers. The reporting of the names of the recipients it assigned to the Areopagus, who gave these men's names to the people. Punishment of the criminals . . . to you . . . the Areopagus. If the vote goes contrary to law or justice, that is a responsibility, gentlemen of the jury, which will rest with you. You must all therefore . . . the safety of the city and the good fortune which in other ways you all enjoy in this country both collectively and individually. Remember the tombs of your ancestors and punish the offenders in the interests of the whole city. Do not allow their plausibility in argument . . . the men who have taken bribes against their country and defied the laws. And do not let the tears of Hagnonides affect you. Remember this . . . but this man would have no right to shed tears, any more than pirates who cry upon the wheel when they need not have embarked in the boat. The same is true of Demosthenes. What excuse will he have for tears when he need not have accepted . . .


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