Redevoeringen, Isaeus (415-340 v. Chr.): redevoering XII



On Behalf of Euphiletus

The Deme of Erchia is summoned before the court by one of its members who has been rejected by its vote and who pleads that he is being unjustly disfranchised. A law had been passed by the Athenians ordering that a revision should be made of the lists of citizens according to demes, and that anyone who was rejected by the votes of his fellow-demesmen should no longer enjoy the rights of citizenship; those, however, who were unjustly rejected had the right to appeal to the court by summoning the members of the deme, and, if they were again excluded, they were to be sold as slaves and their property confiscated. It is under this law that Euphiletus, having summoned the demesmen of Erchia on the ground that they had unjustly rejected him, instituted the present case. The facts have been already skilfully set forth and confirmed by witnesses. The following passage, in which the orator seeks to confirm the evidence, is composed, in my opinion, with consummate skill, but the reader must decide for himself whether my judgement of it is correct.

Gentlemen, you have heard not only us but also all our kinsmen give evidence that Euphiletus here is our brother. Next consider, in the first place, what motive our father could have for lying and for having adopted Euphiletus as his son, if he were not really so.

You will find that all those who do such things either have no legitimate children of their own or else are constrained by poverty to adopt aliens in order that they might receive some assistance from them, because they are indebted to them for their Athenian citizenship. Our father had neither of these motives, for in us he has two legitimate sons, so that he would never have adopted Euphiletus because he lacked an heir.

Nor again is he in need of any material support or comfort which Euphiletus could give him; for he is possessed of sufficient resources, and further evidence has been given you that he brought up Euphiletus and educated him from childhood and introduced him to the members of his ward--all of which represents a considerable outlay. So that it is unlikely, judges, that my father committed so wicked a crime from which he derived no advantage.

Again, as for myself, no one could imagine me to be so completely insane as to bear false witness in favor of Euphiletus with the result that I should have to share my patrimony with a larger number of heirs. For I should never hereafter be at liberty to plead that Euphiletus is not my brother; for none of you would listen to me for a moment, if, after now bearing witness that he is my brother and making myself liable to the penalties of the law, I should hereafter openly contradict this assertion.

Thus, gentlemen, the probabilities are in favor of my having given true evidence, and the same is true of the other relatives. For observe, in the first place, that the husbands of our sisters would never have given false evidence in favor of Euphiletus; for his mother had become stepmother to our sisters, and it is customary for differences to exist between stepmothers and the daughters of a former marriage; so that, if their stepmother had borne Euphiletus to any man other than our father, our sisters would never have allowed their husbands to give evidence in his favor.

Again, our uncle, a relative on our mother's side and no kinsman of Euphiletus, would never have consented, judges, to give in favor of Euphiletus's mother evidence which was manifestly against our interests, if Euphiletus were an alien whom we are attempting to introduce into the family as our own brother. Furthermore, judges, how could any of you convict of perjury Demaratus here and Hegemon and Nicostratus, who, in the first place, will never be shown to have lent themselves to any base action, and who, secondly, being our kinsmen and knowing us all, have each borne witness to his own relationship to Euphiletus?

I should like, then, to hear from the most respectable of our opponents, whether he can produce any other sources of evidence to prove his own Athenian citizenship than those which we are employing in support of Euphiletus. I do not think he could urge any plea except that his mother was a citizen and a married woman and his father a citizen, and he would produce his kinsmen to bear witness that he was speaking the truth.

Next, judges, if it were our opponents who were on their trial, they would demand that you should believe the evidence of their kinsmen rather than their accusers; and now, when we produce all these proofs, are they going to demand that you should believe what they say, rather than Euphiletus's father and me and my brother and the members of the ward and all our kindred? Furthermore, our opponents are acting out of personal spite without exposing themselves to any risk, while we are all rendering ourselves liable to the penalties of the law in giving evidence.

And in addition to the depositions, judges, in the first place, the mother of Euphiletus, who is admitted by our opponents to be a citizen, expressed before the arbitrators her willingness to swear an oath in the sanctuary of Delphinian Apollo that Euphiletus here was the issue of herself and our father; and who had better means of knowing than she? Secondly, judges, our father, who naturally is better able to recognize his own son than anyone else except his mother, was ready on the former occasion, and is ready now, to swear that Euphiletus here is his son by a mother who is a citizen and legally married.

In addition to this, judges, I was thirteen years old, as I have already said, when he was born, and I am ready to swear that Euphiletus here is my brother by the same father. You would be justified then, judges, in regarding our oaths as more worthy of credence than the statements of our opponents; for we, knowing all the facts, are willing to swear oaths concerning him, while they are repeating statements which they have heard from his enemies or uttering their own fabrications.

Furthermore, judges, we are producing before you our kinsmen, as we produced them before the arbitrators, as witnesses whom there is no reason for you to disbelieve; whereas our opponents, when Euphiletus brought his former case against the community of the deme and the demarch then in office, who has since died, though the case was before the arbitrator for two years, could never find a single piece of evidence to show that Euphiletus was the son of any father other than our father. In the opinion of the arbitrators this was the strongest indication that our opponents were lying, and they both gave their award against them. Please take the deposition about the former arbitration.

Deposition

Furthermore, judges, we are producing before you our kinsmen, as we produced them before the arbitrators, as witnesses whom there is no reason for you to disbelieve; whereas our opponents, when Euphiletus brought his former case against the community of the deme and the demarch then in office, who has since died, though the case was before the arbitrator for two years, could never find a single piece of evidence to show that Euphiletus was the son of any father other than our father. In the opinion of the arbitrators this was the strongest indication that our opponents were lying, and they both gave their award against them. Please take the deposition about the former arbitration.

Deposition

You have now heard that my opponents lost their case before the arbitrators. I claim, judges, that, just as they would have declared, if the arbitrators had decided in their favor, that this was a strong proof that Euphiletus is not the son of Hegesippus, so now you should regard as equally strong evidence of the truth of our contention the fact that they were considered by the arbitrators to be doing Euphiletus an injury in having subsequently deleted his name, though he was a citizen and had before been legally enrolled. You have, I think, now heard enough, judges, to convince you that Euphiletus here is our brother and your fellow-citizen, and that he has been unjustly insulted by those who have conspired against him in the deme.


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