text adapted from Project Perseus
If the discourse which is now about to be read 1 had been like the speeches which are produced either for the law-courts 2 or for oratorical display, 3 I should not, I suppose, have prefaced it by any explanation. Since, however, it is novel and different in character, it is necessary to begin by setting forth the reasons why I chose to write a discourse so unlike any other; for if I neglected to make this clear, my speech would, no doubt, impress many as curious and strange.
The fact is that, although I have known that some of the sophists 4 traduce my occupation, saying that it has to do with writing speeches for the courts,5 very much as one might have the effrontery to call Pheidias, who wrought our statue of Athena,6 a doll-maker, or say that Zeuxis and Parrhasius7 practiced the same art as the sign-painters,8 nevertheless I have never deigned to defend myself against their attempts to belittle me, because I considered that their foolish babble had no influence whatever and that I had, myself, made it manifest to all that I had elected to speak and write, not on petty disputes, but on subjects so important and so elevated9 that no one would attempt them except those who had studied with me, and their would-be imitators.
Indeed, I had always thought, until well on in years, that, owing to this choice and to my retired life in general,10 I stood fairly well in the opinion of all the lay public. Then when my career was near its close, having been challenged to an exchange of property on the question of a trierarchy, and subjected to a trial on that issue, I came to realize that even outside of my profession there were those who were not disposed towards me as I had thought; nay, that some had been absolutely misled as to my pursuits and were inclined to listen to my detractors, while others, who were well aware of the nature of my work, were envious, feeling the same towards me as do the sophists, and rejoiced to see people hold false opinions of my character. They betrayed their sentiments at the trial; for, although my opponent made no argument whatever on the merits of the case, and did nothing but decry my “cleverness” of speech11 and indulge in extravagant nonsense about my wealth and the number of my pupils, they imposed the trierarchy upon me.
Now, I bore that expense in such a manner as is becoming to those who are neither too much upset by such things nor altogether reckless or even careless about money. But when my eyes were opened, as I have said, to the fact that a greater number than I supposed had mistaken ideas about me, I began to ponder how I could show to them and to posterity the truth about my character, my life, and the education to which I am devoted, and not suffer myself to be condemned on these issues without a trial nor to remain, as I had just been, at the mercy of my habitual calumniators. And as I kept thinking upon it, I came ever to the same conclusion, namely, that the only way in which I could accomplish this was to compose a discourse which would be, as it were, a true image of my thought and of my whole life; for I hoped that this would serve both as the best means of making known the truth about me and, at the same time, as a monument, after my death, more noble than statues of bronze.12
I saw, however, that if I were to attempt a eulogy of myself, I should not be able to cover all the points which I proposed to discuss, nor should I succeed in treating them without arousing the displeasure or even the envy of my hearers. But it occurred to me that if I were to adopt the fiction of a trial and of a suit brought against me—if I were to suppose that a sycophant13 had brought an indictment and was threatening me with trouble14and that he was using the calumnies which had been urged against me in the suit about the exchange of property, while I, for my part, cast my speech in the form of a defense in court—in this way it would be possible to discuss to the best advantage all the points which I wanted to make.
With these thoughts in mind I set myself to write this discourse—I who am no longer in the prime of youth but in my eighty-second year. Wherefore, you may well forgive me if my speech appears to be less vigorous15 than those which I have published in the past. For, I assure you, it has not been an easy nor a simple task, but one of great difficulty; for while some things in my discourse are appropriate to be spoken in a court-room, others are out of place amid such controversies, being frank discussions about philosophy and expositions of its power. There is in it, also, matter which it would be well for young men to hear before they set out to gain knowledge and an education; and there is much, besides, of what I have written in the past, inserted in the present discussion, not without reason nor without fitness, but with due appropriateness to the subject in hand.
Now to view as a whole so great an extent of subject matter, to harmonize and bring together so many diverse varieties of discourse, to connect smoothly what follows with what goes before, and to make all parts consonant one with another, was by no means an easy undertaking. Yet I did not desist, in spite of my age, until I had accomplished it, such as it is. It is, at any rate, written with devotion to the truth; its other qualities I leave to the judgement of my hearers. But I urge all who intend to acquaint themselves with my speech, first, to make allowance, as they listen to it, for the fact that it is a mixed discourse, composed with an eye to all these subjects; next, to fix their attention even more on what is about to be said than on what has been said before; and, lastly, not to seek to run through the whole of it at the first sitting, but only so much of it as will not fatigue the audience.16 For if you comply with this advice, you will be better able to determine whether I speak in a manner worthy of my reputation.
These, then, are the things which it was necessary for me to say by way of introduction. I beg you now to listen to my defense, which purports to have been written for a trial, but whose real purpose is to show the truth about myself, to make those who are ignorant about me know the sort of man I am and those who are afflicted with envy suffer a still more painful attack of this malady; for a greater revenge upon them than this I could not hope to obtain.
I consider that in all the world there are none so depraved and so deserving of the severest punishment as those who have the audacity to charge others with the offenses of which they themselves are guilty. And this is the very thing that Lysimachus has done. For this informer, himself delivering a composed speech, has said more in complaint of my compositions than upon all other points; it is as if one were to charge another with breaking into a temple, while showing in his own hands plunder stolen from the gods. I would give much if he really thought that I am as “clever” as he has made me out to be to you, for then he would never have tried to trouble me. But now, although he alleges that I am able to make the weaker cause appear the stronger,17 he has, in fact, so low an opinion of my powers that he is confident that he with his lies will win against me and the truth. And so maliciously has everything conspired against me, that while others may depend on their power of speech to make an end of calumnies, it is, in my case, just this power of speech which Lysimachus has most calumniated, in order that if I shall appear to speak well, I may show that I am subject to the charges which he has made about my cleverness; while if it turns out that I speak less ably than he has led you to expect, you may think that mine is the weaker cause.
I beg you, then, neither to credit nor to discredit what has been said to you until you have heard to the end what I also have to say, bearing it in mind that there would have been no need of granting to the accused the right of making a defense, had it been possible to reach a just verdict from the arguments of the accuser. At this stage of the case no one here present is in any doubt whether the accuser has spoken well or badly, but it is not yet easy for the jury to decide from what the first speaker has said whether he has based his arguments on the truth; nay, they will be fortunate if they are able to draw a just conclusion from the arguments of both sides.
I do not wonder that men spend more time in denouncing those who attempt to deceive the jury than upon their own defense, nor that they complain that calumny is our greatest bane. What, indeed, could work greater mischief? It causes liars to be looked on with respect, innocent men to be regarded as criminals, and judges to violate their oaths; in a word, it smothers truth, and pouring false ideas into our ears, it leaves no man among our citizens secure from an unjust death. You must be on your guard against this and take care that nothing of the sort happens in this case and that you are not yourselves seen to fall into the very faults which you find reprehensible in others. I think you know well enough that time and again in the past Athens has so deeply repented18 the judgements which have been pronounced in passion and without proof that not long after the events she has become eager to punish her deceivers, and would gladly have seen the victims of calumny in happier circumstances than before.
You should remember this and not trust too hastily the assertions of the accuser nor hear the defendant in uproar and anger.19 Ours is a shameful state of inconsistency; for while it is acknowledged that in our life in general we are the most merciful20 and gentle of all the Hellenes, yet in the conduct of our trials here we manifestly give the lie to this reputation. In other states, when they try a man for his life, they cast a portion of the votes for the defendant,21 but with us the accused has not even an equal chance with the sycophants;22 nay, while we take our solemn oath at the beginning of each year that we will hear impartially both accusers and accused, we depart so far from this in practice, that when the accuser makes his charges we give ear to whatever he may say; but when the accused endeavors to refute them, we sometimes do not endure even to hear his voice.23 Those states in which an occasional citizen is put to death without a trial we condemn as unfit to live in, yet are blind to the fact that we are in the same case when we do not hear with equal good will both sides of the contest. But what is most absurd of all is the fact that when one of us is on trial, he denounces the calumniators, but when he sits in judgement upon another, he is no longer of the same mind regarding them. Yet, surely, intelligent men ought to be such when they are judges of others, as they would expect others to be to them in like case, bearing in mind the fact that because of the audacity of the sycophants it is impossible to foresee what man may be placed in peril and be compelled to plead, even as I am now doing, before men who are to decide his fate by their votes.
Indeed no one may rely on the honesty of his life as a guarantee that he will be able to live securely in Athens; for the men who have chosen to neglect what is their own and to plot against what belongs to others do not keep their hands off citizens who live soberly and bring before you only those who do evil; on the contrary, they advertise their powers in their attacks upon men who are entirely innocent, and so get more money from those who are clearly guilty.24 This is exactly what Lysimachus had in mind when he subjected me to this trial; for he thought that this suit against me would bring him profit from other sources, and he expected that if he won in the debate with me, whom he calls the teacher of other men, everyone would regard his power as irresistible. He is confident that he will win easily; for he sees that you are over-ready to accept slanders and calumnies, while I, because of my age and my lack of experience in contests of this kind,25 shall not be able to reply to them in a manner worthy of my reputation; for I have so lived all my life till now that no man either under the oligarchy or under the democracy has ever charged me with any offense, whether of violence or injury,26 nor will any man be found to have sat either as arbitrator 27 or as judge upon my actions. For I have schooled myself to avoid giving any offense to others, and, when I have been wronged by others, not to seek revenge in court but to adjust the matter in dispute by conferring with their friends. All this has availed me nothing; on the contrary, I who have lived to this advanced age without complaint from anyone could not be in greater jeopardy if I had wronged all the world.
Yet I am not utterly discouraged because I face so great a penalty;28 no, if you will only hear me with good will, I am very confident that those who have been misled as to my pursuits and have been won over by my would-be slanderers will promptly change their views, while those who think of me as I really am will be still more confirmed in their opinion.
But in order that I may not overtax your patience by speaking at undue length before coming to the subject, I shall leave off this discussion and attempt forthwith to inform you on the question which you are to vote upon.
Please read the indictment.29“”
Here in the indictment my accuser endeavors to vilify me, charging that I corrupt young men30 by teaching them to speak and gain their own advantage in the courts contrary to justice, while in his speech he makes me out to be a man whose equal has never been known either among those who hang about the law-courts or among the devotees of philosophy; for he declares that I have had as my pupils not only private persons but orators, generals, kings, and despots;31 and that I have received from them and am now receiving enormous sums of money. He has made his accusation in this manner, thinking that his extravagant assertions about me and my wealth and the great number of my pupils would arouse the envy of all his hearers, while my alleged activities in the law-courts would stir up your anger and hate; and when judges are affected by these very passions, they are most severe upon those who are on trial.
However, in the one charge he has grossly exaggerated the facts and in the other he lies outright, as I think I can easily show. Let me ask you, however, not to pay any attention to what you have heard about me in the past from my would-be slanderers and calumniators, not to credit charges which have been made without proof or trial, and not to be influenced by the suspicions which have been maliciously implanted in you by my enemies, but to judge me to be the kind of man which the accusation and the defense in this trial will show me to be; for if you decide the case on this basis, you will have the credit of judging honorably and in accordance with the law, while I, for my part, shall obtain my complete deserts.Now, in fact, no citizen has ever been harmed either by my “cleverness” or by my writings, and I think the most convincing proof of this is furnished by this trial; for if any man had been wronged by me, even though he might have held his tongue up till now, he would not have neglected the present opportunity, but would have come forward to denounce me or bear witness against me. For when one who has never in his life heard a single disparaging word from me has put me in so great peril, depend upon it, had any suffered injury at my hands, they would now attempt to have their revenge.32 For surely it is neither probable nor possible both that I, on the one hand, have wronged many people and that those, on the other hand, who have been visited with misfortune through me are silent and refrain from accusing me; nay, are kinder to me when my life is in peril than those who have suffered no injury, especially since all they have to do is to testify to the wrongs I have done them in order to obtain the fullest reparation. But neither in the past nor now will anyone be found to have made any such complaint.If, therefore, I were to agree with my accuser and concede his claim that I am the “cleverest” of men and that I have never had an equal as a writer of the kind of speeches which are offensive to you, it would be much more just to give me credit for being an honest man than to punish me; for when a man has superior talents whether for speech or for action, one cannot fairly charge it to anything but fortune, but when a man makes good and temperate use of the power which nature has given him, as in my own case, all the world ought in justice to commend his character.
However, though I might advance this argument in my behalf, I shall never be found to have had anything to do with speeches for the courts.33 You can judge this from my habits of life, from which, indeed, you can get at the truth much better than from the lips of my accusers; for no one is, I think, blind to the fact that all people are wont to spend their time in the places where they elect to gain their livelihood. And you will observe that those who live upon your contracts and the litigation connected with them are all but domiciled in the courts of law, while no one has ever seen me either at the council-board, or at the preliminaries,35 or in the courts,36 or before the arbitrators 37; on the contrary, I have kept aloof from all these more than any of my fellow-citizens.
Moreover, you will find that these men are able to carry on a profitable business in alone; if they were to sail to any other place they would starve to death; while my resources, which this fellow has exaggerated, have all come to me from abroad.38 Then again you will find associated with them either men who are themselves in evil case or who want to ruin others, while in my company are those who of all the Hellenes lead the most untroubled lives.
But you have heard also from my accuser that I have received many great presents from Nicocles, the king of the Salaminians.39 And yet, can any one of you be persuaded that Nicocles made me these presents in order that he might learn how to plead cases in court—he who dispensed justice, like a master, to others in their disputes? So, from what my accuser has himself said, it is easy for you to conclude that I have nothing to do with litigation. Nay, everyone is aware of this also, that there is a superabundance of men who produce speeches for litigants in the courts. Nevertheless you will not find that any one of them, numerous as they are, has ever been thought worthy to have pupils, while I, as my accuser states, have had more than all the rest together who are occupied with philosophy. Yet how can anyone think that people who are so far apart in their ways of life are engaged in the same occupations?
But although I could point out many contrasts between my own career and that of the pleaders in the courts, I believe that the quickest way to disabuse your mind of this confusion would be to show that people do not study under me what my accuser says they do, and that I am not clever at the kind of oratory which has to do with private disputes. For I think, now that the charge under which I formerly labored has been disproved, you are anxious to change your attitude and want to hear from me what sort of eloquence it is which has occupied me and given me so great a reputation.
Whether, indeed, it is going to profit me to speak the truth, I am not sure; for it is hard to conjecture what is in your thoughts. Yet, for all that, I am going to speak to you absolutely without reserve. For I should blush before my associates, if, after having told them again and again that I should be glad to have everyone of my fellow-citizens know the life I lead and the speeches which I compose, I did not now lay them open before you, but appeared rather to attempt to hide them away. Be assured, therefore, that you shall hear from me the whole truth, and in this spirit give me your attention.
First of all, then, you should know that there are no fewer branches of composition in prose than in verse. For some men have devoted their lives to researches in the genealogies of the demi-gods; others have made studies in the poets; others have elected to compose histories of wars; while still others have occupied themselves with dialogue,40 and are called dialecticians. It would, however, be no slight task to attempt to enumerate all the forms of prose, and I shall take up only that which is pertinent to me, and ignore the rest.
For there are men who, albeit they are not strangers to the branches which I have mentioned, have chosen rather to write discourses, not for private disputes, but which deal with the world of Hellas, with affairs of state, and are appropriate to be delivered at the Pan-Hellenic assemblies—discourses which, as everyone will agree, are more akin to works composed in rhythm and set to music than to the speeches which are made in court. For they set forth facts in a style more imaginative and more ornate; they employ thoughts which are more lofty and more original, and, besides, they use throughout figures of speech in greater number and of more striking character.41All men take as much pleasure in listening to this kind of prose as in listening to poetry, and many desire to take lessons in it, believing that those who excel in this field are wiser and better and of more use to the world than men who speak well in court. For they know that while the latter owe to a capacity for intrigue their expertness in forensic debate, the former have drawn from their pursuit of wisdom the eloquence which I have described; that while those who are thought to be adept in court procedure are tolerated only for the day when they are engaged in the trial, the devotees of philosophy are honored and held in high esteem in every society and at all times; that, furthermore, while the former come to be despised and decried as soon as they are seen two or three times in court, the latter are admired more and more as they become better and more widely known; and, finally, that while clever pleaders are sadly unequal to the higher eloquence, the exponents of the latter could, if they so desired, easily master also the oratory of the courts.42 Reflecting on these facts, and considering it to be by far the better choice, they elect to have a part in that culture wherein, it would appear, neither have I myself been an alien but have, on the contrary, won a far more gracious reputation.
Now you have heard the whole truth about my power, my philosophy, my profession, or whatever you care to call it.43 However, I want to set up for myself a more difficult standard than for other people, and to make a proposition which may seem over-rash for my years. For I ask you not only to show me no mercy, if the oratory which I cultivate is harmful, but to inflict on me the extreme penalty if it is not superior to any other.44 But I should not have made so bold a proposal, if I were not about to show you what my eloquence is and to make it very easy for you to pass judgement upon it.
For it is this way: the best and fairest defense, in my opinion, is that which enables the judges to know the facts, so far as this is possible, in regard to the issues on which they are to vote, and which leaves no room for them to go astray in their judgement or to be in doubt as to which party speaks the truth. If, however, I were being tried for some criminal act, I should not have been able to produce the act itself before your eyes but you would have had to conjecture the facts from what I said and pass judgement as best you might. But since I am charged with offending by my words, I think that I shall be in a better position to make you see the truth; for I shall present in evidence the actual words which I have spoken and written, so that you will vote upon my discourses, not from conjecture, but with clear knowledge of their nature. I cannot, however, present them all in complete form; for the time which has been allowed me is too short.45 But just as is done with fruits, I shall try to produce a sample of each kind. For when you have heard a small portion of them you will easily recognize my true character and appreciate the force of all my speeches.
But I beg those of you who have read many times what you are now about to hear, not to expect new discourses from me on the present occasion nor think me burdensome because I repeat what has long been the talk of Athens. For if I were to repeat my orations in order to display my powers,46 I should reasonably be liable to this complaint; but now that I am on trial and in jeopardy I have no choice but to use my speeches in this fashion. For it would be the height of absurdity if in a case where my accuser denounces me for writing the kind of speeches which both hurt our city and corrupt our youth I used other speeches in my defense, when I can clear my name of the calumnies which are being heaped upon it by producing before you the very discourses of which he complains.
I ask of you, then, for these reasons to bear with me and to lend me your support. But for the benefit of the others on the jury47 I shall attempt to proceed with my selections, after a further word of explanation to enable them to follow more easily what is said.
The discourse which is to be submitted to you first was written at the time when the Lacedaemonians were the first power in, while our fortunes were at low ebb. In it I summon the Hellenes to make an expedition against the barbarians, and I dispute the right of the Lacedaemonians to take the lead. Developing this theme, I show that Athens has been author of all the advantages which the Hellenes now enjoy. Then, having concluded the account of these benefactions, and desiring to show more convincingly that leadership in the expedition is the right of Athens, I further try to prove that far greater honor is due to her for the perils she has faced in war than for her other benefactions.
Now I thought that I should be able to go through these passages myself, but I find that my age hampers me and causes me to give out easily. So then, in order that I may not break down utterly while there are still many things which I must say, let the clerk begin at the place marked and read the passage on the hegemony.
Extract from the Panegyricus
As to the hegemony, then, it is easy enough for you to make up your minds from what has been read to you that it should by right belong to Athens. But, I beg of you, consider well whether I appear to you to corrupt the young by my words, or, on the contrary, to inspire them to a life of valor and of dangers endured for their country; whether I should justly be punished for the words which have been read, or whether, on the contrary, I deserve to have your deepest gratitude for having so glorified Athens and our ancestors and the wars which were fought in those days that the orators who had composed discourses on this theme have destroyed them all, being ashamed of their own efforts, while they who today are reputed to be clever dare no longer to speak upon this subject, but confess the feebleness of their own powers.
But yet, although these things are true, you will find among those who are unable to create or say anything of value, but are past masters in criticizing and prejudicing the works of others, some who will say that all this is spoken “prettily” （for they will be too grudging to say “well”）, but that those discourses are better and more profitable which denounce our present mistakes than those which praise our past deeds, and those which counsel us what we ought to do than those which recount ancient history.
Well, then, in order that I may forestall even this objection, I shall abstain from defending the speech to which you have listened and shall attempt to bring before you a selection of equal length from another oration, in which it will be seen that I have given much attention to all these questions. At the beginning of this oration I speak on the question of making peace with the Chians, the Rhodians, and the Byzantines; and, after I have shown that it is to the advantage of Athens to end the war, I decry our dominion over the Hellenes and our sea-power, showing that it is no whit different, either in its conduct or in its results, from tyranny. I recall also the evils which that power has brought upon Athens, upon the Lacedaemonians, and upon all the others. After having dwelt upon this subject, deplored the misfortunes of Hellas, and urged Athens not to allow herself to remain in her present state, finally I summon her to a career of justice, I condemn the mistakes she is now making, and I counsel her as to her future policy.
Now begin at the point where I start to discuss these matters and read this selection also to the jury.
Extracts from oration On the Peace
You have heard parts of two discourses; I want now to run through a few topics from a third, in order that it may become even more evident to you that all my writings tend toward virtue and justice. The one which is about to be produced before you is addressed to Nicocles of Cyprus, who at that time was king, and is made up of advice to him as to how to rule over his people. It is not, however, composed in the same style as the extracts which have been read. For in them each part is always in accord and in logical connection with that which goes before; but in this, on the contrary, I detach one part from another, and breaking up the discourse, as it were, into what we call general heads, I strive to express in a few words each bit of counsel which I have to offer.48 But my reason for writing upon this subject was that I thought my advice would be the best means of aiding his understanding and at the same time the readiest means of publishing my own principles. It was with the same motive that I decided to present this discourse to you on the present occasion, not that it is the best written of my works, but that through it you will best see in what spirit I am wont to deal with princes as well as with private men; for you will see that I have expressed myself to Nicocles as a free man and an Athenian should, not paying court to his wealth nor to his power, but pleading the cause of his subjects, and striving with all my powers to secure for them the mildest government possible. And since in addressing a king I have spoken for his subjects, surely I would urge upon men who live under a democracy to pay court to the people.
Now in the introduction and in the opening words of that discourse I reproach monarchs because they who more than others ought to cultivate their understanding are less educated than men in private station. After discussing this point, I enjoin upon Nicocles not to be easy-going and not to feel that he had taken up the royal office as one takes up the office of a priest, but to put aside his selfish pleasures and give his mind to his affairs. And I try to persuade him also that it ought to be revolting to his mind to see the base ruling over the good and the foolish giving orders to the wise, saying to him that the more vigorously he condemns folly in other men, the more should he cultivate his own understanding.49
Now then, begin where I have left off and read to the jury the rest of the discourse.
Extract from discourse To Nicocles
Now this is the last selection which I shall have the clerk read to you—and the last of such length which I shall use; since I am not going to refrain from quoting, at any rate briefly, from my earlier writings, but shall use whatever I may think appropriate to the present occasion. For it would be absurd, when I see other men making use of my words, if I alone should refrain from using what I have written in former days, especially now when I have chosen to repeat to you not merely small parts but whole divisions of my speeches. I shall, therefore, act in this matter as occasion may suggest.
I said, I think, before these selections were read, that I asked not only to be adjudged guilty if my discourses are harmful but to be visited with the heaviest of punishments if they are not incomparable.50 If any of you then felt that my words were boastful and over-confident, they cannot longer justly be of this opinion; for I think that I have made good my promise and that the discourses which have been read to you are such as from the first I maintained that they were. But I want to say just a word in behalf of each of them and so make it still more manifest that what I then said and what I now say about them is true.
First of all, tell me what eloquence could be more righteous or more just than one which praises our ancestors in a manner worthy of their excellence and of their achievements? Again, what could be more patriotic or more serviceable to Athens than one which shows that by virtue both of our other benefactions and of our exploits in war we have greater claims to the hegemony than the Lacedaemonians? And, finally, what discourse could have a nobler or a greater theme than one which summons the Hellenes to make an expedition against the barbarians and counsels them to be of one mind among themselves?
Well, then, in the first speech I have discoursed upon these themes, and in those later quoted upon matters which, though less lofty, are by no means less fruitful or less advantageous to our city. And you will appreciate the power of these discourses if you will read them side by side with others written by orators of recognized ability and service to mankind.
Now everyone would admit, I think, that our laws have been the source of very many and very great benefits to the life of humanity.51 But our enjoyment of these laws is a boon which, in the very nature of the case, is limited to the affairs of our state and to the engagements which you enter into with each other; whereas, if you would heed my words, you might direct the whole of Hellas with honor and justice and, at the same time, with advantage to Athens. Men of wisdom ought to concern themselves both for the interests of our city and for the interests of Hellas, but should give preference to the broader and worthier cause;52 and they ought, furthermore, to appreciate the fact that while any number of men both among the Hellenes and among the barbarians have been able to lay down laws, there are not many who can discourse upon questions of public welfare in a spirit worthy both of Athens and of Hellas.
For these reasons, men who make it their duty to invent discourses of that kind should be held in higher esteem than those who propose and write down laws, inasmuch as they are rarer, have the more difficult task, and must have superior qualities of mind. Especially is this true in our day; for, at the time when the human race was beginning to come into existence and to settle together in cities,53 it was natural that their searching should have been for much the same thing; but today, on the other hand, when we have advanced to the point where the discourses which have been spoken and the laws which have been laid down are innumerable, and where we single out the oldest among laws and the newest among discourses for our praise, these tasks no longer call for the same understanding; nay, those who have elected to make laws have had at their service a multitude of laws already made （for they have no need to search for new laws, but only to put forth the effort to collect those which are approved in other states, which anyone who so desires can easily do）, while those who occupy themselves with oratory, seeing that most subjects have been seized upon and used by others before them, are in the opposite case; for if they repeat the same things which have been said in the past, they will be regarded as shameless babblers, and if they seek for what is new, they will have great difficulty in finding it. That is why I stated that, while both are entitled to your praise, they are the more entitled to it who are able to execute the harder task.
I maintain also that if you compare me with those who profess54 to turn men to a life of temperance and justice, you will find that my teaching is more true and more profitable than theirs. For they exhort their followers to a kind of virtue and wisdom which is ignored by the rest of the world and is disputed among themselves; I, to a kind which is recognized by all. They, again, are satisfied if through the prestige of their names they can draw a number of pupils into their society; I, you will find, have never invited any person to follow me, but endeavor to persuade the whole state to pursue a policy from which the Athenians will become prosperous themselves, and at the same time deliver the rest of the Hellenes from their present ills.
And yet, when anyone devotes his life to urging all his fellow-countrymen to be nobler and juster leaders of the Hellenes, how is it conceivable that such a man should corrupt his followers? What man possessed of the power to discover discourses of this character would try to search for those that are pernicious and have to do with pernicious things, especially a man who has reaped from his works the rewards which I have had? For the writing and publication of them has won me distinction in many parts of the world and brought me many disciples, no one of whom would have remained with me had they not found in me the very kind of man they expected to find. In fact, although I have had so many pupils, and they have studied with me in some cases three, and in some cases four years, yet not one of them will be found to have uttered a word of complaint about his sojourn with me; on the contrary, when at the last the time would come for them to sail away to their parents or their friends at home, so happy did they feel in their life with me, that they would always take their leave with regret and tears.
Well, then, whom ought you to believe? Those who know intimately both my words and my character, or a sycophant who knows nothing about me at all, but has chosen to make me his victim? Ought you to believe a man who is so unscrupulous and so brazen that, having indicted me for teaching the kind of eloquence which enables people to gain their own advantage contrary to justice, he has not brought before you the slightest evidence of this but has dwelt from the beginning to the end of his speech on the iniquity of corrupting our youth—as if anyone disputed that, or as if it were necessary for him to prove what all men concede, instead of showing simply that I have been guilty of this offense? Why, if anyone were to bring this fellow to trial for kidnapping or stealing or highway robbery, and, instead of proving that he had done any of these things, were to hold forth on the iniquity of each of these crimes, my opponent would reply that his accuser was mad and talked like a fool; yet he has, himself, used just such arguments and thinks that you do not see through him. I, however, believe that even the most simple-minded of people recognize that an accusation, to be convincing and to carry great weight, must not be one which may be employed equally well against the innocent, but one which can be applied only to the guilty. My accuser has made light of this fact, and has made a speech which is in no respect pertinent to the indictment. For he ought both to have produced before you the speeches by which I corrupt my associates and to have named to you the pupils who have been debased by association with me.55 However, he has done neither of these things, but has rejected the most legitimate form of accusation and attempted to lead you astray. I, on the contrary, shall base my defense only on grounds which are pertinent and just.
I had my speeches read to you a moment ago; I shall now bring before you the men who have been associated with me from the time of my youth to the days of my old age, and from your own number I shall present men of my own years to bear witness to the truth of what I say.
Among the first to begin studying with me were Eunomus, Lysitheides, and Callippus; and following them were Onetor, Anticles, Philonides, Philomelus, and Charmantides.56 All these men were crowned by Athens with chaplets of gold,57 not because they were covetous of other people's possessions, but because they were honorable men and had spent large sums of their private fortunes upon the city.
Suppose whatever you like as to the nature of my relations with them; for the result, at any rate so far as the present issue is concerned, will be altogether to my advantage. For if you suppose that I was their counsellor and teacher, I should deserve from you greater gratitude than those who are maintained in the Prytaneum in recognition of excellence;58 for each of the latter has furnished to the city his own high qualities alone, whereas I have furnished those of all whom I have just now named to you. But if, on the other hand, you suppose that I, myself, had nothing to do with their achievements, but that I merely enjoyed their society and friendship, I consider that even this view is defense enough against the charges on which I am being tried. For if I have had the affection of men who have received rewards in recognition of excellence, but have nothing in common with the sycophant, then how, in all reason, could you judge me to be a corrupter of youth? Verily, I should be the most unfortunate of all men if, when others are esteemed better or worse, as the case may be, from the manner of their lives and from the character of their associates, I alone should be denied this basis of judgement; and if I, who have lived all my life in company with such men, and have kept myself above all criticism up to this point in my career, should be classed with those who from the manner of their lives and the character of their associates have got themselves a bad name. I should like to know what in the world my fate would have been if I had numbered among my associates anyone like my accuser, when, although I hate all his kind and am hated by them, I am yet subjected to this trial.
Nor, I assure you, can my case be justly injured by the argument which certain of those who are entirely hostile to me may, perhaps, dare to put forth, namely, that I have associated with the men I have mentioned merely to the extent of having been seen conversing with them, whereas I have had as my disciples many of another sort, mischievous characters, whom I am trying to conceal from you. For I have ready at hand a reply which will refute and confound all calumnies of that sort. For I ask this of you: If any of those who have been associated with me have turned out to be good men in their relations to the state, to their friends, and to their own households—I ask you to give them the praise and not to be grateful to me on their account; but if, on the other hand, any of them have turned out to be bad—the kind of men who lay information, hale people into court, and covet the property of others—then to let the penalty be visited on me. What proposition could be less invidious or more fair than one which claims no credit for those who are honorable, but offers to submit to punishment for any who have become depraved? And these are no idle words; on the contrary, if anyone can name anyone of that kind to you, I yield the floor59 for this purpose to my accuser or to anyone else who may desire it—not that there are not persons who would gladly perjure themselves to my harm, but that they would be shown up to you at once, and the injury would fall upon them, not upon me . . . Well, then, I do not see how I could show more clearly that the charges filed against me are false and that I am not guilty of corrupting my associates.
My accuser has mentioned also the friendship which existed between me and Timotheus,60 and has attempted to calumniate us both, nor did any sense of shame restrain him from saying slanderous and utterly infamous things about a man who is dead, to whom Athens is indebted for many services. But I, for my part, should have thought that even if I were proved guilty beyond a doubt, yet because of my friendship with him I should be entitled to go free. But since Lysimachus is attempting to hurt me by the very means which ought to help my case, I am compelled to go into this question.
I must explain that I did not mention Timotheus when I named my other associates because he was in very different case from them. For, in the first place, my accuser has not dared to say anything derogatory of my other friends, while he has laid greater stress upon his arraignment of Timotheus than upon the charges which he has preferred in his indictment. In the next place, my other friends were entrusted with only a few commissions, although in every case they discharged the duties assigned to them in such a manner that they won the honor which I mentioned a moment ago,61 while Timotheus had the responsibility of many affairs of great importance and over a long period of time. It would not, therefore, have been fitting to discuss him and the others in one group, but it was necessary to separate and segregate them as I have done.
You must not think, however, that what I say in behalf of Timotheus is irrelevant to the present case, nor that I am straying beyond the limits of the indictment; for while it is proper for the layman to say what he has to say in defense of his own actions and then take his seat or else to be thought to overdo his case, yet when anyone occupies a position in the eyes of the public as a counsellor and teacher, he must then justify his followers as well as himself, especially if he is being tried on this charge—which is exactly the position in which I have been placed.
Now any other man might be satisfied to say that it is not fair that he should share the blame for any mistakes which Timotheus may have made, on the ground that he was given no share in the rewards or the honors which were voted to Timotheus, nor was he even thought worthy by any orator of being commended as an adviser of the latter, and that it is only fair that one should either share the good fortunes of another, or have no part in his misfortunes. I, however, should be ashamed to make this plea, and I make you the same proposition regarding Timotheus as I made regarding my other associates. For I ask that if it turns out that Timotheus was a bad man and committed many wrongs against you—I ask to be allowed to share the blame, to pay the penalty, and to suffer whatever is meted out to the guilty; but if, on the other hand, it is shown that he was both a good citizen and a greater general than any other within our knowledge, then I hold that you should praise him and be grateful to him, while as to this indictment against me, you should pass whatever judgement you may deem fair in the light of what I, myself, have done.
The facts, then, about Timotheus I can put most concisely and in the most comprehensive terms by saying that he has taken more cities by storm than any other man has ever done, and I include all generals who have led armies into the field whether from Athens or from the rest of Hellas. And among these cities were some whose capture compelled all the surrounding territory to make terms with Athens; so great was their importance in each case. For who does not know that Corcyra has the best strategic position among the cities in the neighborhood of the Peloponnese; Samos, among the cities of Ionia; Sestos and Crithôte, among those in the Hellespont; and Potidaea and Torône among the settlements in Thrace?
All these cities he has taken and presented to you, with no great outlay of money, without imposing burdens upon your present allies, and without forcing you to pay many taxes62 into the treasury. Indeed, for the voyage of the fleet around the Peloponnese, Athens allowed him only thirteen talents and fifty triremes,63 and yet he captured Corcyra, a city with a fleet of eighty triremes, and about the same time he won a naval battle over the Lacedaemonians and forced them to agree to the terms of the present peace—a peace which has so changed the relative positions of Athens and of Lacedaemon that from that day to this we celebrate the peace with sacrifices every year because no other treaty has been so advantageous to our city;64 while, as for the Lacedaemonians, no man since that time has seen a ship of theirs voyage this side of Malea65 nor any land force advance beyond the Isthmus, and anyone can see in this fact the cause of their disaster at Leuctra.
After these exploits he led an expedition against Samos;66 and that city which Pericles, renowned above all others for his wisdom, his justice, and his moderation, reduced with a fleet of two hundred ships and the expenditure of a thousand talents,67 Timotheus, without receiving from you or collecting from your allies any money whatsoever, captured after a siege of ten months with a force of eight thousand light-armed troops and thirty triremes, and he paid all these forces from the spoils of war. And if you can point to any other man who has done a like thing, I stand ready to admit my folly in attempting to praise superlatively one who has done no more than others.
Well, then, from Samos he sailed away and captured Sestos and Crithôte,68 forcing you, who up to that time had been careless of your interests in the Chersonese, to give your attention to that territory. And finally he took Potidaea, upon which Athens had in times past squandered twenty-four hundred talents, and he met the expense from money which he himself provided and from contributions of the Thracians; and, for full measure, he reduced all the Chalcideans to subjection.69
To speak, not in detail, but in summary, he made you masters of twenty-four cities and spent in doing so less than your fathers paid out in the siege of Melos.
I could wish that just as it has been quite easy to recount his exploits, so it were possible to picture briefly the circumstances under which each of them was accomplished—what the situation was in Athens in each case and what the strength of our foes—, for you would then have been made to appreciate much more highly the worth of his achievements and of the man himself. As it is, the subject is so large that I must leave it untouched.
But I think you would like to have me explain to you why in the world it is that some of the generals who have a high reputation among you and are thought to be great fighters have not been able to take even a village, while Timotheus, who lacks a robust physique and has not knocked about with itinerant armies but has shared with you the duties of a citizen, has accomplished such great things. What I have to say on this question will no doubt be offensive, but it will not be without profit for you to hear it. Timotheus was superior to all the rest in that he did not hold the same views as you with regard to the affairs of the Hellenes and of your allies and the manner in which they should be directed. For you elect as your generals men who have the most robust bodies70 and who have served in many campaigns with foreign armies, thinking that under their leadership you will have some success. Timotheus, on the other hand, used these men as captains and division-commanders, while he, himself, showed his ability in the very things which it is necessary for a good general to know.
What, then, are the requisites of a good general and what ability do they involve? For they cannot be summed up in a word, but must be explained clearly. First of all is the ability to know against whom and with whose help to make war; for this is the first requisite of good strategy, and if one makes any mistake about this, the result is inevitably a war which is disadvantageous, difficult, and to no purpose. Well, in this kind of sagacity there has never been anyone like him or even comparable with him, as may easily be seen from his deeds themselves. For, although he undertook most of his wars without support from the city, he brought them all to a successful issue, and convinced all the Hellenes that he won them justly. And what greater or clearer proof of his wise judgement could one adduce than this fact?
What, then, is the second requisite of a good general? It is the ability to collect an army which is adequate to the war in hand, and to organize and to employ it to good advantage. Now, that Timotheus understood how to employ his forces to good purpose, his achievements themselves have shown; that in the ability to recruit armies which were splendidly equipped and reflected honor upon Athens he excelled all other men, no one even of his enemies would dare to gainsay; and, furthermore, in the power both to bear the privations and hardships of army life, and again to find abundant resources, who of the men who were with him in the field would not pronounce him incomparable? For they know that at the beginning of his campaigns, owing to the fact that he received nothing from Athens, he found himself in great extremities, but that, even with this handicap, he was able to bring his fortunes round to the point where he not only prevailed over our enemies but paid his soldiers in full.
These are great things and compel our admiration; but the facts which I now give entitle him to even greater praise. For although he saw that you respected only the kind of generals who threatened and tried to terrify the other cities and were always for setting up some revolution or other among your allies, he did not fall in with your prejudices, nor was he willing to enhance his own reputation to the injury of Athens; on the contrary, he made it the object of his thought and of his actions to see to it that no one of the cities of Hellas should be afraid of him, but that all should feel secure excepting those which did wrong; for he realized that men who are afraid hate those who inspire this feeling in them, and that it was due to the friendship of the other cities that Athens rose to great power and prosperity, just as it was due to their hatred that she barely escaped the most disastrous fate. Bearing in mind these facts, he used the power of Athens in order to subdue her enemies, and the force of his own character in order to win the good will of the rest of the world, believing that this is a greater and nobler kind of generalship than to conquer many cities many times in battle. So concerned was he that none of the cities should in the slightest degree suspect him of sinister designs that whenever he intended to take his fleet to any of the cities which had been remiss in their contributions,71 he sent word to the authorities and announced his coming beforehand, lest his appearance without warning in front of their ports might plunge them into disquiet and confusion; and if he happened to harbor his fleet in any place, he would never permit his soldiers to plunder and pillage and sack the people's houses, but took as great precautions to prevent such an occurrence as the owners would take to guard their own possessions; for his mind was not upon winning for himself the good opinion of his soldiers by such license, but upon winning for Athens the good opinion of the Hellenes. Moreover, when cities had been taken by him in battle, he would treat them with a mildness and a consideration for their rights which no one else has ever shown to allies in war; for he thought that if he showed such an attitude toward those who had made war upon him, he could give no greater guarantee that he would never bring himself to wrong the others.
Therefore it was that, because of the reputation which this conduct gave him, many of the cities which had no love for Athens used to welcome him with gates thrown wide; and he, in turn, never set up any disturbance in them, but just as he found them governed when he entered their gates, so he left them when he passed out.
And now to sum up all this: In other times many calamities were wont to be visited upon the Hellenes, but, under his leadership, no one can point to cities devastated, governments overthrown, men murdered or driven into exile, or any other of those ills that are irreparable.72 Nay, so complete was the respite from such misfortunes in his day that, so far back as we can remember, he is the only general under whom no complaint was raised against Athens by the other Hellenes. And surely you ought to find your ideal of a good general, not in one who by a single stroke of good fortune has attained, like Lysander,73 a success which it has been the lot of no other man to achieve, but one who, though loaded with many difficult responsibilities of all sorts, has always discharged them with honesty and wisdom. And just this has been the fortune of Timotheus.
Most of you are, I suppose, astonished at what I am saying, and think that in praising him I am condemning Athens, since he, after having captured so many cities and having never lost a single one, was tried for treason, and again when he submitted his reports, and Iphicrates took upon himself the responsibility for the conduct of the campaign and Menestheus accounted for the moneys expended upon it, they, on the one hand, were acquitted, while Timotheus was fined a larger sum than anyone in the past had ever been condemned to pay.74 The fact is, however, that I desire to stand up for Athens also. It is true that if you consider the actions of the city by the standard of pure justice, no one of you can avoid the conclusion that her treatment of Timotheus was cruel and abominable; but if you make allowance for the ignorance which possesses all mankind, for the feelings of envy that are aroused in us, and, furthermore, for the confusion and turmoil in which we live, you will find that nothing of what has been done has come about without a reason nor does the cause lie outside our human weakness, but that Timotheus, also, has been responsible in some degree for the mistaken judgements passed upon him. For while he was no anti-democrat nor a misanthrope, nor arrogant, nor possessed of any such defect of character, yet because of his proud bearing—an advantage to the office of a general but out of place in dealing with men from day to day—everyone attributed to him the faults which I have named; for he was by nature as inept in courting the favor of men as he was gifted in handling affairs.
Indeed he has often been advised by me, among others, that while men who are in public life and desire to be in favor must adopt the principle of doing what is most serviceable and noble and of saying what is most true and just, yet they must at the same time not neglect to study and consider well how in everything they say and do they may convince the people of their graciousness and human sympathy; since those who are careless of these matters are thought by their fellow-citizens to be disagreeable and offensive. “You observe,” I would say to him, “the nature of the multitude, how susceptible they are to flattery; that they like those who cultivate their favor better than those who seek their good; and that they prefer those who cheat them with beaming smiles and brotherly love to those who serve them with dignity and reserve. You have paid no attention to these things, but are of the opinion that if you attend honestly to your enterprises abroad, the people at home also will think well of you. But this is not the case, and the very contrary is wont to happen. For if you please the people in Athens, no matter what you do they will not judge your conduct by the facts but will construe it in a light favorable to you; and if you make mistakes, they will overlook them, while if you succeed, they will exalt your success to the high heaven. For good will has this effect upon all men.
“But you, while seeking by every means in your power to win for Athens the good will of the rest of the Hellenes, because you recognize its great advantages, nevertheless do not consider that there is any need to secure for yourself the good will of Athens; nay, you who have benefited the city in ways beyond calculation are less esteemed than those who have done nothing of note.
“And you could expect nothing else; for such men cultivate the public orators and the speakers who are effective in private gatherings and who profess to be authorities on every subject, while you not only neglect to do this, but actually make an open breach between yourself and the orators who are from time to time the most influential.
“And yet I wonder if you realize how many men have either come to grief or failed of honor because of the misrepresentations of these orators; how many in the generations that are past have left no name, although they were far better and worthier men than those who are celebrated in song and on the tragic stage. But the latter, you see, found their poets and historians, while the others secured no one to hymn their praises.75 Therefore, if you will only heed me and be sensible, you will not despise these men whom the multitude are wont to believe, not only with reference to each one of their fellow-citizens, but also with reference to the affairs of the whole state, but you will in some measure show attention and pay court to them in order that you may be held in honor both because of your own deeds and because of their words.”
When I would speak to him in this wise, he would admit that I was right, but he could not change his nature. He was a good man and true, a credit to Athens and to Hellas, but he could not lower himself to the level of people who are intolerant of their natural superiors. So it was that the orators occupied themselves with inventing many false charges against him, and the multitude with drinking them in. I should be glad to refute these slanders, if the occasion permitted me to do so; for I believe that if you could hear me, you would come to loathe the men who have stirred the city to anger against Timotheus and the men who dare to speak evil of him. Now, however, I shall leave this subject and take up again my own defense and the case before us.
But I am at a loss to know how to proceed with the rest of my speech—what topic to take up first and what next; for the power to speak in any set order has escaped me. Perhaps, therefore, I have no choice but to discuss each point as it happens to occur to me. Accordingly, I am going to lay bare to you the thoughts which have now come into my mind. I have been thinking all along that I ought to put them before you, but I have been advised against doing so. For when I was indicted, I pondered these very matters, as any one of you would have done, and I reviewed my life and my actions, dwelling longest on the things for which I thought I deserved approbation. But one of my associates, hearing me, made bold to urge an objection which was amazing in the extreme; he stated that while my life as I described it was worthy of emulation, yet he himself greatly feared that my story would irritate many of my hearers.
“Some men,” he said, “have been so brutalized by envy and want and are so hostile that they wage war, not on depravity, but on prosperity; they hate not only the best men but the noblest pursuits; and, in addition to their other faults, they take sides with wrong-doers and are in sympathy with them, while they destroy, whenever they have the power, those whom they have cause to envy. They do these things, not because they are ignorant of the issues on which they are to vote, but because they intend to inflict injury and do not expect to be found out;76 and so, by protecting those of their own kind, they think they are providing for their own safety.
“I have told you this in order that, being forewarned, you may be able to handle your case to better advantage and to use less dangerous arguments before the jury. For as things are, what judgement can you expect such men to reach when you tell them of your life and your conduct, which are not in the least degree like their own, but such as you are attempting to describe to me? For you show that the speeches which you have written merit, not blame, but the highest favor; that the men who have been under your instruction have in no case been guilty of wrong-doing or of crime, while some of them have been crowned by the city in recognition of their worth; that from day to day you, yourself, have lived so uprightly and lawfully that I know not who of your fellow-citizens can compare with you; and that, furthermore, you have never brought anyone to trial nor stood trial yourself77 save in the matter of an exchange of property, nor have you appeared as counsel or as witness for others, nor have you engaged in any other of the activities which make up the civic life of all Athenians. And to these peculiarities and idiosyncrasies you add another, namely, that you have held aloof from the public offices and the emoluments which go with them, and from all other privileges of the commonwealth as well, while you have enrolled not only yourself but your son78. among the twelve hundred who pay the war-taxes and bear the liturgies, and you and he have three times discharged the trierarchy, besides having performed the other services more generously and handsomely than the laws require.79
“When you say these things to men whose conduct is the opposite of all which has been said, do you not suppose that they will take offense and think that you are showing up the unworthiness of their own lives? For possibly if they had seen that it is through hard work and sacrifice that you provide yourself with the means wherewith to discharge your public duties and to maintain your affairs in general, they would not have felt the same about it. But in fact they think that these fees which come to you from your foreign pupils are much greater than they actually are, and they consider that you live in greater ease and comfort than not only the people in general but also than those who cultivate philosophy and are of the same profession as yourself.
“For they see most of the sophists, excepting those who have embraced your life and ways, showing off their oratory in the public assemblies or in private gatherings, contesting against each other, making extravagant professions, disputing, reviling each other, omitting nothing in the language of abuse, but in effect damaging their own cause and giving license to their auditors, now to ridicule what they say, sometimes to praise them, most often to despise them, and again to think of them whatever they like. But in you they see a man who has no part in these things,80 who lives in a manner different from the sophists as well as from laymen, and from those who enjoy many possessions as well as from those who live in want. It is true that reasonable and intelligent people might perhaps congratulate you on these grounds, but people who are less fortunate and are wont to be more chagrined at the honest prosperity of others than at their own ill fortune cannot fail to be surly and resentful. Knowing, then, that such will be the attitude of your audience, consider well what you had better say and what you had better leave unsaid.”
But I thought as he said these things and I think now that they would be of all men the strangest and most perverse who could take offense at being told that I hold myself at the service of Athens in discharging the liturgies and performing any public duty she enjoins, and yet do not ask to have any part in the allotment of the offices nor in the distribution of the gifts she doles out to others, nor in the privilege of prosecuting or defending cases in the courts.81 For I have prescribed this course for myself, not because I am rich or have any false pride, nor because I look down on those who do not live in the same way as I do, but because I love peace and tranquillity, and most of all because I see that men who so live are looked up to both in Athens and in other parts of the world. Moreover, I consider that this kind of life is more agreeable than that of men who are busy with a multitude of things, and that it is, besides, more in keeping with the career to which I have dedicated myself from the first.
It was for these reasons that I chose this manner of life. And if I have refrained from accepting the bounties which are distributed by the city it was because I thought it outrageous if I, who am able to maintain myself from my private resources, should stand in the way of any of those who have been compelled to get their livelihood from the city, and if because of my presence82 anyone should be deprived of the necessities of existence.83
Now for this I deserved praise rather than prejudice. But as things are I am utterly at a loss to know what I could do to satisfy men of this stamp. For if I have made it my object all my life not to injure or burden or offend any man, and if by this very course I offend certain people, what could I do to please them? Or what conclusion is left to me other than that I seem to be unfortunate, and that these people appear to be boorish and churlish toward their fellow-citizens?
It is, therefore, utter folly to seek to justify myself to those who are not minded like other men but are harder on the innocent than on the guilty; for it is obvious that the more honest a man shows himself to be, the more hopeless will he make his case in their eyes. But to the others84 I must address myself in reply to the false charge of Lysimachus that I am possessed of enormous wealth, lest this statement, if credited, impose upon me greater public burdens than I could bear.
Now, generally speaking, you will find that no one of the so-called sophists has accumulated a great amount of money, but that some of them have lived in poor, others in moderate circumstances. The man who in our recollection laid up the most was Gorgias of Leontini.85 He spent his time in Thessaly when the Thessalians were the most prosperous86 people in Hellas; he lived a long life87 and devoted himself to the making of money; he had no fixed domicile in any city and therefore paid out nothing for public weal nor was he subject to any tax; moreover, he did not marry and beget children, but was free from this, the most unremitting and expensive of burdens; and yet, although he had so great an advantage toward laying up more wealth than any other man, he left at his death only a thousand staters.88 And surely on the subject of each other's incomes we must not credit people who make charges at haphazard nor think that the earnings of the sophists are equal to those of the actors,89 but should judge men of the same profession in reference to each other and go on the principle that those of the same order of talent in each profession have incomes which are comparable. If, then, you will class me with the sophist who has made more money than any other, and will compare me with him, you will not seem to engage in utterly blind conjectures on such matters, nor shall I be found to have managed badly in providing either for the public welfare or for my own, although, as a matter of fact, I have lived on less than I have expended on my public duties. And surely it is deserving of praise when a man is more frugal in what he spends on his own household than in what he pays out for the common weal.
It occurs to me as I am speaking what a change has come over Athens; people nowadays do not look at things in the same way as those who lived in the city in former times. For, when I was a boy, wealth was regarded as a thing so secure as well as admirable that almost every one affected to own more property than he actually possessed, because he wanted to enjoy the standing which it gave.90 Now, on the other hand, a man has to be ready to defend himself against being rich as if it were the worst of crimes, and to keep on the alert if he is to avoid disaster; for it has become far more dangerous to be suspected of being well off than to be detected in crime; for criminals are pardoned or let off with slight penalties, while the rich are ruined utterly, and it will be found that the number of men who have been spoiled of their property is greater than those who have been punished for their misdeeds.
But why speak of public affairs? For I have myself, in my own affairs, suffered not a little from this change. For when I was beginning to repair my own fortunes after I had lost in the Peloponnesian War the patrimony which remained to me from what my father had spent partly in rendering himself serviceable to the state and partly in educating me with such care that I was more conspicuous then and more distinguished among the youth of my own age and among my fellow-students than I am now among my fellow-citizens91— when, as I have said, I began to attach pupils to myself, I thought that if I could acquire a greater competence and attain a higher position than others who had started in the same profession, I should be acclaimed both for the superiority of my teaching and for the excellence of my conduct. But the result has been the very opposite; for if I had turned out to be worthless and had excelled in nothing, no one would have made trouble for me;92 nay, I might have been a flagrant offender and yet lived secure—from the sycophants, at any rate. But now, instead of the acclaim which I expected, I have been rewarded with trials and perils and envy and calumny. For so much does the Athens of this day rejoice in repressing and humiliating honest men, while giving license to the depraved to say and do what they please, that Lysimachus, a man who has elected to live by practicing intrigue and by preying from day to day on his fellow-citizens, is here in court denouncing me; while I, who have never in my life injured any man, who have kept my hands clean from such spoils, and have provided my advantages from foreigners who feel that I have served them well, am charged with grave offenses and placed in very great peril by this trial. And yet all sensible men would do well to pray the gods to endow as many of our people as possible with the power of getting means from abroad in order to make themselves serviceable to the city, even as I have done.
But, though there are many anomalies in my situation, it would be the crowning absurdity of all if, when the men who have paid me money are so grateful to me that they are still even now devoted to me, you on whom I have spent my means should desire to penalize me. It would be even more absurd if, whereas Pindar, the poet, was so highly honored by our forefathers because of a single line of his in which he praises Athens as “the bulwark of Hellas”93 that he was made ”proxenos“94 and given a present of ten thousand drachmas, I, on the other hand, who have glorified Athens and our ancestors with much ampler and nobler encomiums, should not even be privileged to end my days in peace.
With regard, then, to this as well as to the other charges of my accuser, I consider that the defense which I have made is a sufficient answer. Nevertheless, I am not going to hesitate to confide in you the truth as to how I now feel about the pending trial and how I felt about it at the first. I was very confident that for myself personally I could make out a good case; for I relied upon the character of my life and conduct, and believed that I had no lack of arguments to justify them. But as I observed not only the intolerant feeling toward the teaching of eloquence on the part of those who are churlish toward everyone, but the truculent attitude towards it on the part of my fellow-citizens in general, I began to be afraid that the truth regarding me personally might be overlooked and that I might suffer some harm from the common prejudice against the sophists. But as time went on, and I fell to thinking what I should do in the present circumstances, I ceased being fearful and disturbed on this account, not without good reason, but after having weighed the probabilities and reassured myself. For I knew that the honest men among you—and it is to those that I shall address myself—do not remain fixed in opinions which they have formed unjustly, but are in quest of the truth and are ready to be convinced by those who plead a just cause; and I believed that I should have abundant grounds to show that philosophy has been unjustly slandered, and that it deserves much more to be held in favor than in contempt; and I am still of the same opinion.
However, it is not surprising that liberal pursuits have sometimes failed of recognition and regard, nor that some people have been utterly misled about them. In fact we find that this happens in regard to ourselves as well as to other things without number. For our city, which is now and has been in the past the author of so many blessings both to our own people and to the other Hellenes, and which abounds in so many charms, has, nevertheless, a most serious drawback. For Athens is so large and the multitude of people living here is so great, that the city does not present to the mind an image easily grasped or sharply defined, but, like a turbid flood, whatever it catches up in its course, whether men or things, in each case it sweeps them along pell-mell, and in some cases it imbues them with a reputation which is the opposite of the true; and exactly that has been the fortune of this system of education.
You must bear these things in mind, and not pass judgement in any trial without the exercise of reason, nor be as careless when you sit in judgement as you are in your private occupations, but must examine thoroughly each point and search for the truth, mindful of your oaths and of the laws under which you have come together to dispense justice. It is no minor question which is under discussion and on trial here, but the most important in the world. For you are to determine by your votes, not my fate only, but that of a way of life to which many of our youths are devoting their minds.
I suppose that you are not unaware of the fact that the government of the state is handed on by the older men to the youth of the coming generation; and that since the succession goes on without end, it follows of necessity that as is the education of our youth so from generation to generation will be the fortune of the state. Therefore, you must not let the sycophants have control of a thing so momentous, nor punish those who refuse to pay them money, while permitting those from whom they have received it to do whatever they please. But if philosophy has an influence which tends to corrupt our youth, you ought not merely to punish the occasional offender whom some sycophant hales into court but to banish all who are engaged in teaching it. If, however, it has the opposite effect and helps and improves and makes better men of its devotees, then you should call a halt on those who load this study with abuse; you should strip the sycophants of their rewards, and counsel our young men to occupy themselves with this pursuit above all others.
I would have given a good deal, assuming that I was doomed by fate to defend myself against this charge, if I could have faced this trial in the fullness of my vigor; for in that case I should have felt no misgiving but should have been better able both to protect myself from my accuser and to champion the cause of liberal education. Now, however, I am afraid that, although I have been enabled by this education to speak well enough on other themes, I may find that I have discoursed less ably upon this subject than upon matters which should have concerned me less. And yet I would rather lay down my life this day—for you shall have the truth even though the words be inept95—after having spoken adequately upon this theme and persuaded you to look upon the study of eloquence in its true light, than live many times my allotted span and see it continue to fare among you as it now does.
My aspiration, then, is much greater than my power to do the subject justice; but yet I shall try as best I can to explain what is the nature of this education, what is its power, what of the other arts it is akin to, what benefit it is to its devotees, and what claims I make for it. For I think that when you know the truth about this you will be in a better position to deliberate and pronounce judgement upon it. But I beg of you, if I appear to carry on the discussion in a manner far removed from that which is customary here, not to be impatient but to bear with me,96 remembering that when a man is defending himself on a charge unlike any other, he must resort to a kind of pleading which is out of the ordinary. Be patient, therefore, with the manner of my discourse and with my frankness of speech; permit me to use up the time allotted to my defense; and then cast your ballots as each of you thinks is right and in accordance with the law.
In my treatment of the art of discourse, I desire, like the genealogists, to start at the beginning.97 It is acknowledged that the nature of man is compounded of two parts, the physical and the mental, and no one would deny that of these two the mind comes first and is of greater worth; for it is the function of the mind to decide both on personal and on public questions, and of the body to be servant to the judgements of the mind. Since this is so, certain of our ancestors, long before our time, seeing that many arts had been devised for other things, while none had been prescribed for the body and for the mind, invented and bequeathed to us two disciplines, physical training for the body, of which gymnastics is a part, and, for the mind, philosophy, which I am going to explain. These are twin arts—parallel and complementary—by which their masters prepare the mind to become more intelligent and the body to become more serviceable, not separating sharply the two kinds of education, but using similar methods of instruction, exercise, and other forms of discipline.
For when they take their pupils in hand, the physical trainers instruct their followers in the postures which have been devised for bodily contests, while the teachers of philosophy impart all the forms of discourse in which the mind expresses itself. Then, when they have made them familiar and thoroughly conversant with these lessons, they set them at exercises, habituate them to work, and require them to combine in practice the particular things which they have learned, in order that they may grasp them more firmly and bring their theories into closer touch with the occasions for applying them—I say “theories,” for no system of knowledge can possibly cover these occasions, since in all cases they elude our science.98 Yet those who most apply their minds to them and are able to discern the consequences which for the most part grow out of them, will most often meet these occasions in the right way.
Watching over them and training them in this manner, both the teachers of gymnastic and the teachers of discourse are able to advance their pupils to a point where they are better men and where they are stronger in their thinking or in the use of their bodies. However, neither class of teachers is in possession of a science by which they can make capable athletes or capable orators out of whomsoever they please. They can contribute in some degree to these results, but these powers are never found in their perfection save in those who excel by virtue both of talent and of training.99
I have given you now some impression of what philosophy is. But I think that you will get a still clearer idea of its powers if I tell you what professions I make to those who want to become my pupils. I say to them that if they are to excel in oratory or in managing affairs or in any line of work, they must, first of all, have a natural aptitude for that which they have elected to do; secondly, they must submit to training and master the knowledge of their particular subject, whatever it may be in each case; and, finally, they must become versed and practised in the use and application of their art; for only on these conditions can they become fully competent and pre-eminent in any line of endeavor. In this process, master and pupil each has his place; no one but the pupil can furnish the necessary capacity; no one but the master, the ability to impart knowledge while both have a part in the exercises of practical application: for the master must painstakingly direct his pupil, and the latter must rigidly follow the master's instructions.
Now these observations apply to any and all the arts. If anyone, ignoring the other arts, were to ask me which of these factors has the greatest power in the education of an orator I should answer that natural ability is paramount and comes before all else. For given a man with a mind which is capable of finding out and learning the truth and of working hard and remembering what it learns, and also with a voice and a clarity of utterance which are able to captivate the audience, not only by what he says, but by the music of his words, and, finally, with an assurance100 which is not an expression of bravado, but which, tempered by sobriety, so fortifies the spirit that he is no less at ease in addressing all his fellow-citizens than in reflecting to himself—who does not know that such a man might, without the advantage of an elaborate education and with only a superficial and common training, be an orator such as has never, perhaps, been seen among the Hellenes? Again, we know that men who are less generously endowed by nature but excel in experience and practice, not only improve upon themselves, but surpass others who, though highly gifted, have been too negligent of their talents. It follows, therefore, that either one of these factors may produce an able speaker or an able man of affairs, but both of them combined in the same person might produce a man incomparable among his fellows.
These, then, are my views as to the relative importance of native ability and practice. I cannot, however, make a like claim for education; its powers are not equal nor comparable to theirs. For if one should take lessons in all the principles of oratory and master them with the greatest thoroughness, he might, perhaps, become a more pleasing speaker than most, but let him stand up before the crowd and lack one thing only, namely, assurance, and he would not be able to utter a word.
But let no one of you think that before you I belittle my pretensions, while when I address those who desire to become my pupils I claim every power for my teaching; for it was to avoid just such a charge as this that, when I entered upon my profession, I wrote and published a discourse in which you will find that I attack those who make pretensions which are unwarranted, and set forth my own ideas. Now I am not going to quote from it my criticisms of others; for they are too long for the present occasion; but I shall attempt to repeat to you that part in which I express my own views. I begin at this point.
Extract from Against the Sophists
Now this quotation is of a more finished style101 than what has been said before, but its meaning is the same, and this ought to be taken by you as a convincing proof of my honesty; for you see that I did not brag and make big promises when I was young only to speak modestly for my philosophy now that I have reaped the harvest of my labors and am an old man, but that, on the contrary, I speak in the same terms both when I was at the height of my career and now when I am ready to retire from it, both when I had no thought of danger and now when I stand in jeopardy, and both in addressing those who wanted to become my pupils and now in addressing those who are to vote upon my fate. I do not see, therefore, how the sincerity and honesty of my professions could be more clearly shown.
Let this quotation, then, add its weight to what I have said before. I do not, however, delude myself as to the people who are ill disposed towards my teaching: nothing of what I have said so far is enough to disabuse them of this feeling; and it will take many arguments of all sorts to convert them to a different opinion from that which they now hold. Accordingly I must not leave off expounding and speaking until I shall accomplish one of two things—until I have persuaded them to change their views or have proved that the slanders and charges which they repeat against me are false.
These charges are of two kinds. Some of them say that the profession of the sophist is nothing but sham and chicane, maintaining that no kind of education has ever been discovered which can improve a man's ability to speak or his capacity for handling affairs, and that those who excel in these respects owe their superiority to natural gifts; while others acknowledge that men who take this training are more able, but complain that they are corrupted and demoralized by it, alleging that when they gain the power to do so, they scheme to get other people's property.
Now there is not a sound or true word in either complaint, as I am very confident that I can prove to everyone. First of all I would have you note, in the case of those who assert that education is a sham, that they quite obviously talk rubbish themselves; for while they ridicule it as powerless to help us—nothing but humbug and chicane—at the same time they demand that my pupils show improvement from the moment they come to me; that when they have been with me a few days, they must be abler and wiser in speech than those who have the advantage over them both in years and in experience; and that when they have been with me no more than a year, they must all be good and finished orators; nor must the indolent be a whit less accomplished than the industrious, nor they who are lacking in ability than those who are blessed with vigorous minds. These are the requirements they set up, and yet they have never heard me make such promises, nor have they ever seen like results in the other arts and disciplines. On the contrary, all knowledge yields itself up to us only after great effort on our part, and we are by no means all equally capable of working out in practice what we learn. Nay, from all our schools only two or three students turn out to be real champions,102 the rest retiring from their studies into private life.103
And yet how can we fail to deny intelligence to those who have the effrontery to demand powers which are not found in the recognized arts of this which they declare is not an art and who expect greater advantages to come from an art in which they do not believe than from arts which they regard as thoroughly perfected? Men of intelligence ought not to form contrary judgements about similar things104 nor refuse to recognize a discipline which accomplishes the same results as most of the arts. For who among you does not know that most of those who have sat under the sophists have not been duped nor affected as these men claim, but that some of them have been turned out competent champions and others able teachers; while those who have preferred to live in private have become more gracious in their social intercourse105 than before, and keener judges and more prudent counsellors than the great majority? How then is it possible to scorn a discipline which is able to make of those who have taken advantage of it men of that kind?
Furthermore, this also will be agreed to by all men, namely, that in all the arts and crafts we regard those as the most skilled who turn out pupils who all work as far as possible in the same manner. Now it will be seen that this is the case with philosophy. For all who have been under a true and intelligent guide will be found to have a power of speech so similar that it is evident to everyone that they have shared the same training. And yet, had not a common habit and a common technique of training been instilled into them, it is inconceivable that they should have taken on this likeness.
Again, every one of you could name many of your schoolfellows who when they were boys seemed to be the dullest among their companions, but who, growing older, outstripped them farther in intelligence and in speech than they had lagged behind them when they were boys. From this fact you can best judge what training can do; for it is evident that when they were young they all possessed such mental powers as they were born with, but as they grew to be men, these outstripped the others and changed places with them in intelligence, because their companions lived dissolutely and softly, while they gave heed to their own opportunities and to their own welfare. But when people succeed in making progress through their own diligence alone, how can they fail to improve in a much greater degree both over themselves and over others if they put themselves under a master who is mature, of great experience, and learned not only in what has been handed down to him but in what he has discovered for himself?
But there remain still other reasons why everyone may well be astonished at the ignorance in men who venture so blindly to condemn philosophy. For, in the first place, they know that pains and industry give proficiency in all other activities and arts, yet deny that they have any such power in the training of the intellect; secondly, they admit that no physical weakness is so hopeless that it cannot be improved by exercise and effort, but they do not believe that our minds, which are naturally superior to our bodies, can be made more serviceable through education and suitable training; again, they observe that some people possess the art of training horses and dogs and most other animals by which they make them more spirited, gentle or intelligent, as the case may be, yet they do not think that any education has been discovered for training human nature, such as can improve men in any of those respects in which we improve the beasts. Nay, so great is the misfortune which they impute to us all, that while they would acknowledge that it is by our mental powers that every creature is improved and made more useful, yet they have the hardihood to claim that we ourselves, who are endowed with an intelligence through which we render all creatures of greater worth, cannot help each other to advance in excellence.106 But most absurd of all, they behold in the shows which are held year after year lions which are more gentle toward their trainers than some people are toward their benefactors, and bears which dance about and wrestle and imitate our skill, and yet they are not able to judge even from these instances the power which education and training have, nor can they see that human nature will respond more promptly than the animals to the benefits of education. In truth, I cannot make up my mind which should astonish us the more—the gentleness which is implanted in the fiercest of wild beasts or the brutishness which resides in the souls of such men.
One might say more upon this head, but if I say too much on questions about which most men are agreed, I fear you may suspect that I have little to say on questions which are in dispute. Therefore I shall leave this subject and turn my attention to a class of people who do not, to be sure, contemn philosophy but condemn it much more bitterly since they attribute the iniquities of those who profess to be sophists,107 but in practice are far different, to those whose ways have nothing in common with them. But I am speaking, not in behalf of all those who pretend to be able to educate the young, but in behalf of those only who have justly earned this reputation, and I think that I shall convince you that my accusers have shot very wide of the truth if only you are willing to hear me to the end.
In the first place, then, we must determine what are the objects which make people venture to do evil; for if we define these correctly, you will be better able to make up your minds whether the charges which have been made against us are true or false. Well then, I maintain that everyone does everything which he does for the sake of pleasure or gain or honor; for I observe that no desire springs up in men save for these objects. If this be so, it only remains to consider which of these objects we should attain by corrupting the young.
Do you suppose it would give us pleasure to see or hear that our pupils were bad and in evil repute with their fellow-citizens? And who is so insensate that he would not be distressed to have such things reported about himself? But surely we could not expect to be admired nor to enjoy great honor for sending out disciples of that sort; on the contrary, we should be much more despised and hated than those who are charged with other forms of villainy. And, mark you, even if we could shut our eyes to these consequences, we could not gain the most money by directing a training of that character; for, I suppose, all men are aware that a sophist reaps his finest and his largest reward when his pupils prove to be honorable and intelligent and highly esteemed by their fellow-citizens, since pupils of that sort inspire many with the desire to enjoy his teaching, while those who are depraved repel even those who were formerly minded to join his classes. Who, then, could be blind to the more profitable course, when there is so vast a difference between the two?
Perhaps, however, some might venture to reply that many men, because of their incontinence, are not amenable to reason, but neglect their true interests and rush on in the pursuit of pleasure. I grant you that many men in general and some who pretend to be sophists are of this nature. Nevertheless, no one even of their number is so incontinent as to desire his pupils also to show the same lack of control; for he would not be able to share in the pleasures which they might enjoy as the result of their incontinence, while he would bring down upon his own head most of the evil repute which would result from their depravity.
Again, whom would they corrupt and what manner of people would they get as pupils? For this is worth inquiring into. Would they get those who are already perverse and vicious? And who, pray, would make an effort to learn from another what his own nature teaches him? Would they, then, get those who are honest and ambitious to lead a useful life? But no such person would deign to speak with men who are evil in their words and in their deeds.
I should like to ask those who disapprove of me what they think about the students who cross the sea from Sicily, from the Pontus, and from other parts of the world in order to enjoy my instruction. Do they think that they voyage to Athens because of the dearth of evil-minded men at home? But anywhere on earth anyone can find no lack of men willing to aid him in depravity and crime. Do they think, then, that they come here in order to become intriguers and sycophants, at great expense to themselves? But, in the first place, people of this mind are much more inclined to lay hold of other people's property than to part with anything of their own; and, in the next place, who would pay out money to learn depravity, since it is easy to be depraved at no expense whatever, whenever one is so inclined? For there is no need of taking lessons in evil-doing; all that a man has to do is to set his hands to it.
No, it is evident that these students cross the sea and pay out money and go to all manner of trouble because they think that they themselves will be the better for it and that the teachers here are much more intelligent than those in their own countries. This ought to fill all Athenians with pride and make them appreciate at their worth those who have given to the city this reputation.
But, in fact, some of our people are extremely unreasonable. They know that neither the strangers who come here nor the men who preside over their education occupy themselves with anything harmful, but that they are, on the contrary, the most unofficious and the most peaceable of all who live in Athens, giving their minds to their own affairs and confining their intercourse to each other, and living, furthermore, day by day in the greatest simplicity and decorum, taking their pleasures in discourse—not the kind of discourse which is employed in petty litigation nor that which is offensive to anyone, but the kind which has the approbation of all men. Nevertheless, although they know all this about them, they do not refrain from traducing them and saying that they engage in this training in order that they may defeat the ends of justice in the courts and win their own advantage. And yet who that engages in the practice of injustice and of evildoing would be willing to live more continently than the rest? Whom have these traducers ever seen reserving and treasuring up their depravities for future use instead of indulging from the first the evil instincts present in their nature?
But, apart from these considerations, if it be true that cleverness in speech results in plotting against other people's property, we should expect all able speakers to be intriguers and sycophants; for the same cause produces in every instance the same effect. In fact, however, you will find that among our public men who are living today or who have but lately passed away those who give most study to the art of words are the best of the statesmen who come before you on the rostrum, and, furthermore, that among the ancients it was the greatest and the most illustrious orators who brought to the city most of her blessings.
First of all was Solon.108 For when he was placed at the head of the people, he gave them laws, set their affairs in order, and constituted the government of the city so wisely that even now Athens is well satisfied with the polity which was organized by him. Next, Cleisthenes, after he had been driven from Athens by the tyrants, succeeded by his eloquence in persuading the Amphictyons to lend him money from the treasury of Apollo,109 and thus restored the people to power, expelled the tyrants, and established that democracy to which the world of Hellas owes its greatest blessings. After him, Themistocles,110 placed at the head of our forces in the Persian War, counselled our ancestors to abandon the city<111（and who could have persuaded them to do this but a man of surpassing eloquence?）, and so advanced their circumstances that at the price of being homeless for a few days they became for a long period of time the masters of the Hellenes. Finally, Pericles,112 because he was both a good leader of the people and an excellent orator, so adorned the city with temples, monuments, and other objects of beauty, that even today visitors who come to Athens think her worthy of ruling not only the Hellenes, but all the world; and, more than this, he stored away in the Acropolis a sum of not less than ten thousand talents. And of these men who carried out such great enterprises not one neglected the art of discourse; nay, so much more did they apply their minds to eloquence than to other things, that Solon was named one of the seven sophists113 and was given the title which is now dishonored and on trial here; and Pericles studied under two of the sophists, Anaxagoras of Clazomenae114 and Damon,115 the latter in his day reputed to be the wisest among the Athenians. Could one, then, show more clearly than by these examples that the powers of eloquence do not turn men into evil-doers? No, but, on the other hand, those who are evil from their birth, like my accuser, will, I doubt not, continue to the end indulging their depravity both in words and in deeds.
But I can show you also where you may see, if you desire, the names of our trouble-makers and of the men who are really liable to the charges which these people apply to the sophists. They are published by law on the tablets which the magistrates set up: public offenders and sycophants have their names published by the Thesmothetae; malefactors and their instigators, by the Eleven; and private offenders and authors of unjust complaints, by the Forty.116 In these lists you will find the names of this fellow and his friends recorded many times, but you will not find my name nor that of anyone of my profession published in a single one of them. On the contrary, you will find that we so order our own affairs as to stand in no need of your lawsuits. And yet, when men keep clear of these troubles, when they live decently and have had no part in any disgraceful act, why do you not give them their due of praise instead of subjecting them to trial? For it is evident that the principles which we instil into our students are such as we practice in our own lives.
Now you will appreciate even more clearly from the things which I am going to say that I am far from being a corrupter of our youth. For if I were guilty of this, Lysimachus would not be the one to be incensed in their behalf, nor anyone of his kind, but you would see the fathers and relatives of my pupils up in arms, framing writs and seeking to bring me to justice.117 But instead of that they bring their sons to me and are ready to pay me money, and are rejoiced when they see them spending their days in my society,118 while the sycophants are the men who speak evil of me and hale me into court. And who more than these sycophants would like to see many of our citizens corrupted and depraved, since they know that when they live among such characters they wield great power,119 whereas when they fall into the hands of honorable and intelligent men, they are doomed to destruction? Therefore these men are wise in seeking to do away with all studies which they consider will make men better, and so render them more intolerant of the depravities and intrigues of the sycophants. It is well for you, however, to take the opposite course and regard those pursuits as the best to which you see that these men are most inimical.
But I now find myself in a curious position; for I am going to be frank even if some will say that I shift my ground too easily. A little while ago I said that many good men had been misled about philosophy, and are consequently harshly disposed toward it. Now, however, I have assumed that the arguments which I have presented are so plain and evident to all that no one, it seems to me, can misapprehend its power or accuse me of corrupting my disciples or have any such feeling as I imputed to them a little while ago. Nevertheless, if I am to speak the truth and say what has now come into my mind, I am of the opinion that while all those who are envious of my success covet the ability to think and speak well, yet they themselves neglect to cultivate it, some because they are indolent, some because they discredit their own powers, and some on other pretexts （and these are legion）; but when other men take great pains and show a desire to attain what they themselves covet, then they grow irritated, jealous, perturbed in spirit, and are much in the same state of mind as lovers are. Indeed, how could one more aptly explain their condition? They envy the good fortune of those who are able to use words eloquently; yet they reproach the youth who aspire to win this distinction. There is no one of them who would not pray the gods to bestow the power of eloquence upon himself, first of all, and failing that, upon his sons and his own kin; yet when men strive through work and study to accomplish for themselves what these people would like to have as a gift from the gods, they accuse them of going utterly astray. At one moment they make believe to mock at them as dupes and victims; and then again, for no reason at all, they change about and denounce them as adepts in grasping their own advantage. When any danger threatens the city, they seek counsel from those who can speak best upon the question at issue and act upon their advice; but when men devote their efforts to preparing themselves to serve the state in just such crises, they think it proper to traduce them. And they reproach the Thebans and our other enemies for their ignorance;120 yet when men seek by every means to escape from that malady, they never cease maligning them.
But as a symptom, not only of their confusion of mind, but of their contempt for the gods, they recognize that Persuasion is one of the gods, and they observe that the city makes sacrifices to her every year,121 but when men aspire to share the power which the goddess possesses, they claim that such aspirants are being corrupted, as though their desire were for some evil thing. But what is most astonishing of all is that while they would grant that the mind is superior to the body, nevertheless, in spite of this opinion, they look with greater favor upon training in gymnastics than upon the study of philosophy.122 And yet how unreasonable it is to give higher praise to those who cultivate the less than to those who cultivate the greater thing, and that too when everyone knows it was not through excellence of body that Athens ever accomplished any noteworthy thing, but that through wisdom of men123 she became the most prosperous and the greatest of Hellenic states.
It would be possible to bring together many more contradictions than the above in the views of these people, but that is a task for those who are younger than I and who are free from anxiety about the present occasion. For example, one might put the following questions on this very subject: Suppose the case of men who, having inherited large fortunes from their ancestors, used their wealth, not to render themselves serviceable to the state, but to outrage their fellow-citizens and to dishonor their sons and their wives; would anyone venture to put the blame upon the authors of their wealth instead of demanding that the offenders themselves be punished? Again, suppose the case of men who, having mastered the art of war, did not use their skill against the enemy, but rose up and slew many of their fellow-citizens; or suppose the case of men who, having been trained to perfection in the art of boxing or of the pancration, kept away from the games and fell foul of the passers-by; would anyone withhold praise from their instructors instead of putting to death those who turned their lessons to an evil use?124
We ought, therefore, to think of the art of discourse just as we think of the other arts, and not to form opposite judgements about similar things, nor show ourselves intolerant toward that power which, of all the faculties which belong to the nature of man, is the source of most of our blessings. For in the other powers which we possess, as I have already said on a former occasion,125 we are in no respect superior to other living creatures; nay, we are inferior to many in swiftness and in strength and in other resources; but, because there has been implanted in us the power to persuade each other and to make clear to each other whatever we desire, not only have we escaped the life of wild beasts, but we have come together and founded cities and made laws and invented arts; and, generally speaking, there is no institution devised by man which the power of speech has not helped us to establish. For this it is which has laid down laws concerning things just and unjust, and things honorable and base; and if it were not for these ordinances we should not be able to live with one another. It is by this also that we confute the bad and extol the good. Through this we educate the ignorant and appraise the wise; for the power to speak well is taken as the surest index of a sound understanding, and discourse which is true and lawful and just is the outward image of a good and faithful soul. With this faculty we both contend against others on matters which are open to dispute and seek light for ourselves on things which are unknown; for the same arguments which we use in persuading others when we speak in public, we employ also when we deliberate in our own thoughts; and, while we call eloquent those who are able to speak before a crowd, we regard as sage those who most skilfully debate their problems in their own minds. And, if there is need to speak in brief summary of this power, we shall find that none of the things which are done with intelligence take place without the help of speech, but that in all our actions as well as in all our thoughts speech is our guide, and is most employed by those who have the most wisdom.126
But without reflecting at all on these truths, Lysimachus has dared to attack those who aspire to an accomplishment which is the source of blessings so many and so great. But why should we be surprised at him when even among the professors of disputation127 there are some who talk no less abusively of the art of speaking on general and useful themes than do the most benighted of men, not that they are ignorant of its power or of the advantage which it quickly gives to those who avail themselves of it, but because they think that by decrying this art they will enhance the standing of their own.
I could, perhaps, say much harsher things of them than they of me, but I refrain for a double reason. I want neither to descend to the level of men whom envy has made blind nor to censure men who, although they do no actual harm to their pupils are less able to benefit them than are other teachers. I shall, however, say a few words about them, first because they also have paid their compliments to me; second, in order that you, being better informed as to their powers, may estimate us justly in relation to each other; and, furthermore, that I may show you clearly that we who are occupied with political discourse and whom they call contentious are more considerate than they; for although they are always saying disparaging things of me, I shall not answer them in kind but shall confine myself to the simple truth.
For I believe that the teachers who are skilled in disputation and those who are occupied with astronomy and geometry and studies of that sort128 do not injure but, on the contrary, benefit their pupils, not so much as they profess, but more than others give them credit for. Most men see in such studies nothing but empty talk and hair-splitting; for none of these disciplines has any useful application either to private or to public affairs; nay, they are not even remembered for any length of time after they are learned because they do not attend us through life nor do they lend aid in what we do, but are wholly divorced from our necessities. But I am neither of this opinion nor am I far removed from it; rather it seems to me both that those who hold that this training is of no use in practical life are right and that those who speak in praise of it have truth on their side. If there is a contradiction in this statement, it is because these disciplines are different in their nature from the other studies which make up our education; for the other branches avail us only after we have gained a knowledge of them, whereas these studies can be of no benefit to us after we have mastered them unless we have elected to make our living from this source, and only help us while we are in the process of learning. For while we are occupied with the subtlety and exactness of astronomy and geometry and are forced to apply our minds to difficult problems, and are, in addition, being habituated to speak and apply ourselves to what is said and shown to us, and not to let our wits go wool-gathering, we gain the power, after being exercised and sharpened on these disciplines, of grasping and learning more easily and more quickly those subjects which are of more importance and of greater value.129 I do not, however, think it proper to apply the term “philosophy” to a training which is no help to us in the present either in our speech or in our actions, but rather I would call it a gymnastic of the mind and a preparation for philosophy. It is, to be sure, a study more advanced than that which boys in school pursue, but it is for the most part the same sort of thing; for they also when they have labored through their lessons in grammar, music,130 and the other branches, are not a whit advanced in their ability to speak and deliberate on affairs, but they have increased their aptitude for mastering greater and more serious studies. I would, therefore, advise young men to spend some time on these disciplines,131 but not to allow their minds to be dried up by these barren subtleties, nor to be stranded on the speculations of the ancient sophists, who maintain, some of them, that the sum of things is made up of infinite elements; Empedocles that it is made up of four, with strife and love operating among them; Ion, of not more than three; Alcmaeon, of only two; Parmenides and Melissus, of one; and Gorgias, of none at all.132 For I think that such curiosities of thought are on a par with jugglers' tricks which, though they do not profit anyone, yet attract great crowds of the empty-minded, and I hold that men who want to do some good in the world must banish utterly from their interests all vain speculations and all activities which have no bearing on our lives.
Now I have spoken and advised you enough on these studies for the present. It remains to tell you about “wisdom” and “philosophy.”133 It is true that if one were pleading a case on any other issue it would be out of place to discuss these words （for they are foreign to all litigation）, but it is appropriate for me, since I am being tried on such an issue, and since I hold that what some people call philosophy is not entitled to that name, to define and explain to you what philosophy, properly conceived, really is. My view of this question is, as it happens, very simple. For since it is not in the nature of man to attain a science by the possession of which we can know positively what we should do or what we should say, in the next resort I hold that man to be wise who is able by his powers of conjecture to arrive generally at the best course, and I hold that man to be a philosopher who occupies himself with the studies from which he will most quickly gain that kind of insight.134
What the studies are which have this power I can tell you, although I hesitate to do so; they are so contrary to popular belief and so very far removed from the opinions of the rest of the world, that I am afraid lest when you first hear them you will fill the whole court-room with your murmurs and your cries. Nevertheless, in spite of my misgivings, I shall attempt to tell you about them; for I blush at the thought that anyone might suspect me of betraying the truth to save my old age and the little of life remaining to me.135 But, I beg of you, do not, before you have heard me, judge that I could have been so mad as to choose deliberately, when my fate is in your hands, to express to you ideas which are repugnant to your opinions if I had not believed that these ideas follow logically on what I have previously said, and that I could support them with true and convincing proofs.
I consider that the kind of art which can implant honesty and justice in depraved natures has never existed and does not now exist, and that people who profess that power will grow weary and cease from their vain pretensions before such an education is ever found.136 But I do hold that people can become better and worthier if they conceive an ambition to speak well,137 if they become possessed of the desire to be able to persuade their hearers, and, finally, if they set their hearts on seizing their advantage—I do not mean “advantage” in the sense given to that word by the empty-minded, but advantage in the true meaning of that term;138 and that this is so I think I shall presently make clear.
For, in the first place, when anyone elects to speak or write discourses which are worthy of praise and honor, it is not conceivable that he will support causes which are unjust or petty or devoted to private quarrels, and not rather those which are great and honorable, devoted to the welfare of man and our common good; for if he fails to find causes of this character, he will accomplish nothing to the purpose. In the second place, he will select from all the actions of men which bear upon his subject those examples which are the most illustrious and the most edifying; and, habituating himself to contemplate and appraise such examples, he will feel their influence not only in the preparation of a given discourse but in all the actions of his life.139 It follows, then, that the power to speak well and think right will reward the man who approaches the art of discourse with love of wisdom and love of honor.
Furthermore, mark you, the man who wishes to persuade people will not be negligent as to the matter of character; no, on the contrary, he will apply himself above all to establish a most honorable name among his fellow-citizens; for who does not know that words carry greater conviction when spoken by men of good repute than when spoken by men who live under a cloud, and that the argument which is made by a man's life is of more weight than that which is furnished by words?140 Therefore,the stronger a man's desire to persuade his hearers, the more zealously will he strive to be honorable and to have the esteem of his fellow-citizens.
And let no one of you suppose that while all other people realize how much the scales of persuasion incline in favor of one who has the approval of his judges, the devotees of philosophy alone are blind to the power of good will. In fact, they appreciate this even more thoroughly than others, and they know, furthermore, that probabilities and proofs and all forms of persuasion support only the points in a case to which they are severally applied, whereas an honorable reputation not only lends greater persuasiveness to the words of the man who possesses it, but adds greater lustre to his deeds, and is, therefore, more zealously to be sought after by men of intelligence than anything else in the world.
I come now to the question of “advantage”141—the most difficult of the points I have raised. If anyone is under the impression that people who rob others or falsify accounts or do any evil thing get the advantage, he is wrong in his thinking; for none are at a greater disadvantage throughout their lives than such men; none are found in more difficult straits, none live in greater ignominy; and, in a word, none are more miserable than they. No, you ought to believe rather that those are better off now and will receive the advantage in the future at the hands of the gods142 who are the most righteous and the most faithful in their devotions, and that those receive the better portion at the hands of men who are the most conscientious in their dealings with their associates, whether in their homes or in public life, and are themselves esteemed as the noblest among their fellows.
This is verily the truth, and it is well for us to adopt this way of speaking on the subject, since, as things now are, Athens has in many respects been plunged into such a state of topsy-turvy and confusion that some of our people no longer use words in their proper meaning but wrest them from the most honorable associations and apply them to the basest pursuits.143 On the one hand, they speak of men who play the buffoon and have a talent for mocking and mimicking as “gifted”144—an appellation which should be reserved for men endowed with the highest excellence; while, on the other hand, they think of men who indulge their depraved and criminal instincts and who for small gains acquire a base reputation as “getting the advantage,” instead of applying this term to the most righteous and the most upright, that is, to men who take advantage of the good and not the evil things of life. They characterize men who ignore our practical needs and delight in the mental juggling of the ancient sophists as “students of philosophy,” but refuse this name to whose who pursue and practise those studies which will enable us to govern wisely both our own households and the commonwealth—which should be the objects of our toil, of our study, and of our every act.
It is from these pursuits that you have for a long time now been driving away our youth,145 because you accept the words of those who denounce this kind of education. Yes, and you have brought it about that the most promising of our young men are wasting their youth in drinking-bouts, in parties, in soft living and childish folly, to the neglect of all efforts to improve themselves; while those of grosser nature are engaged from morning until night in extremes of dissipation which in former days an honest slave would have despised. You see some of them chilling their wine at the “Nine-fountains”146; others, drinking in taverns; others, tossing dice in gambling dens; and many, hanging about the training-schools of the flute-girls.
And as for those who encourage them in these things, no one of those who profess to be concerned for our youth has ever haled them before you for trial, but instead they persecute me, who, whatever else I may deserve, do at any rate deserve thanks for this, that I discourage such habits in my pupils.
But so inimical to all the world is this race of sycophants that when men pay a ransom147 of a hundred and thirty minae148 for women who bid fair to help them make away with the rest of their property besides, so far from reproaching them, they actually rejoice in their extravagance; but when men spend any amount, however small, upon their education, they complain that they are being corrupted. Could any charge be more unjust than this against our students? For, while in the prime of vigor, when most men of their age are most inclined to indulge their passions, they have disdained a life of pleasure; when they might have saved expense and lived softly, they have elected to pay out money and submit to toil; and, though hardly emerged from boyhood, they have come to appreciate what most of their elders do not know, namely, that if one is to govern his youth rightly and worthily and make the proper start in life, he must give more heed to himself than to his possessions, he must not hasten and seek to rule over others149 before he has found a master to direct his own thoughts, and he must not take as great pleasure or pride in other advantages as in the good things which spring up in the soul under a liberal education. I ask you, then, when young men have governed themselves by these principles, ought they not to be praised rather than censured, ought they not to be recognized as the best and the most sober-minded among their fellows?
I marvel at men who felicitate those who are eloquent by nature on being blessed with a noble gift, and yet rail at those who wish to become eloquent, on the ground that they desire an immoral and debasing education. Pray, what that is noble by nature becomes shameful and base when one attains it by effort? We shall find that there is no such thing, but that, on the contrary, we praise, at least in other fields, those who by their own devoted toil are able to acquire some good thing more than we praise those who inherit it from their ancestors. And rightly so; for it is well that in all activities, and most of all in the art of speaking, credit is won, not by gifts of fortune, but by efforts of study. For men who have been gifted with eloquence by nature and by fortune, are governed in what they say by chance, and not by any standard of what is best, whereas those who have gained this power by the study of philosophy and by the exercise of reason never speak without weighing their words, and so are less often in error as to a course of action.
Therefore, it behoves all men to want to have many of their youth engaged in training to become speakers, and you Athenians most of all. For you, yourselves, are pre-eminent and superior to the rest of the world, not in your application to the business of war, nor because you govern yourselves more excellently or preserve the laws handed down to you by your ancestors more faithfully than others, but in those qualities by which the nature of man rises above the other animals,150 and the race of the Hellenes above the barbarians, namely, in the fact that you have been educated as have been no other people in wisdom and in speech.151 So, then, nothing more absurd could happen than for you to declare by your votes that students who desire to excel their companions in those very qualities in which you excel mankind, are being corrupted, and to visit any misfortune upon them for availing themselves of an education in which you have become the leaders of the world.
For you must not lose sight of the fact that Athens is looked upon as having become a school152 for the education of all able orators and teachers of oratory. And naturally so; for people observe that she holds forth the greatest prizes for those who have this ability, that she offers the greatest number and variety of fields of exercise to those who have chosen to enter contests of this character and want to train for them, and that, furthermore, everyone obtains here that practical experience which more than any other thing imparts ability to speak; and, in addition to these advantages, they consider that the catholicity and moderation of our speech,153 as well as our flexibility of mind and love of letters, contribute in no small degree to the education of the orator. Therefore they suppose, and not without just reason, that all clever speakers are the disciples of Athens.
Beware, then, lest it make you utterly ridiculous to pronounce a disparaging judgement upon the reputation which you have among the Hellenes even more than I have among you. Manifestly, by such an unjust verdict, you would be passing sentence upon yourselves. It would be as if the Lacedaemonians were to attempt to penalize men for training themselves in preparation for war, or as if the Thessalians154 saw fit to punish men for practicing the art of horsemanship. Take care, therefore, not to do yourselves this wrong and not to lend support to the slanders of the enemies of Athens rather than to the eulogies of her friends.
I think that you are not unaware that while some of the Hellenes are hostile to you, some are extremely friendly, and rest their hopes of security upon you. These say that Athens is the only city, the others being mere villages, and that she deserves to be termed the capital of Hellas both because of her size and because of the resources which she furnishes to the rest of the world, and most of all because of the character of her inhabitants; for no people, they insist, are more kindly or more sociable,155 nor could anyone find any people with whom he could spend all his days in friendlier intercourse. Indeed, so extravagant are they in their praise that they do not even hesitate to say that they would rather suffer injury at the hands of an Athenian gentleman than benefit through the rudeness of people from another city.156
There are, on the other hand, those who scoff at this praise, and, dwelling upon the cruel and iniquitous practices of the sycophants, denounce the whole city as savage and insupportable.
It is, therefore, the duty of intelligent judges to destroy those who heap infamy upon the city and to reward those who are responsible in some degree for the tributes paid to her, more than you reward the athletes who are crowned in the great games, seeing that they win for the city a greater and more fitting glory than any athlete;157 for in contests of the body we have many rivals; but in the training of the mind everyone would concede that we stand first. And men with even a slight ability to reason ought to show the world that they reward those who excel in those activities for which the city is renowned, and they ought not to envy them nor hold an opinion of them which is the opposite of the esteem in which they are held by the rest of the Hellenes.
But you have never troubled yourselves to do this; nay, you have so far mistaken your true interests that you are more pleased with those who cause you to be reviled than with those who cause you to be praised, and you think that those who have made many people hate the city are better friends of the demos than those who have inspired good will toward Athens in all with whom they have had to deal.
If, however, you are wise, you will put an end to this confusion, and you will not continue, as now, to take either a hostile or a contemptuous view of philosophy; on the contrary, you will conceive that the cultivation of the mind is the noblest and worthiest of pursuits and you will urge our young men who have sufficient means and who are able to take the time for it to embrace an education and a training of this sort. And when they are willing to work hard and to prepare themselves to be of service to the city, you will make much of them; but when they give themselves to loose living and care for nothing else than to enjoy riotously what their fathers left to them, you will despise them and look upon them as false to the city and to the good name of their ancestors. For it will be hard enough, even though you show such an attitude of mind in either case, to get our youth to look down upon a life of ease and be willing to give their minds to their own improvement and to philosophy.
But reflect upon the glory and the greatness of the deeds wrought by our city and our ancestors, review them in your minds and consider what kind of man was he, what was his birth and what the character of his education, who expelled the tyrants, brought the people into their own, and established our democratic state;158 what sort was he who conquered the barbarians in the battle at Marathon and won for the city the glory which has come to Athens from this victory;159 what was he who after him liberated the Hellenes and led our forefathers forth to the leadership and power which they achieved, and who, besides, appreciating the natural advantage of the Piraeus, girded the city with walls in despite of the Lacedaemonians;160 and what manner of man was he who after him filled the Acropolis with gold and silver and made the homes of the Athenians to overflow with prosperity and wealth:161 for you will find if you review the career of each of these, that it was not those who lived unscrupulously or negligently nor those who did not stand out from the multitude who accomplished these things, but that it was men who were superior and pre-eminent, not only in birth and reputation, but in wisdom and eloquence, who have been the authors of all our blessings.
You ought to lay this lesson to heart and, while seeing to it in behalf of the mass of the people that they shall obtain their just rights in the trials of their personal disputes and that they shall have their due share of the other privileges which are common to all, you ought, on the other hand, to welcome and honor and cherish those who stand out from the multitude both in ability and in training and those who aspire to such eminence, since you know that leadership in great and noble enterprises, and the power to keep the city safe from danger and to preserve the rule of the people, rests with such men, and not with the sycophants.
Many ideas crowd into my thoughts, but I do not know how I can make place for them; for it seems to me that while every point which I have in mind would appeal to you if I presented it by itself, yet if I attempted to discuss them all at this time, I should put too great a strain both upon myself and upon my hearers. Indeed I fear that in what I have already said to you I may have fatigued you by speaking at such length. For we are all so insatiable in discourse that while we prize due measure and affirm that there is nothing so precious, yet when we think that we have something of importance to say, we throw moderation to the winds, and go on adding point after point until little by little we involve ourselves in utter irrelevancies. Why, at the very moment that I say this and recognize its truth, I desire, nevertheless, to speak to you at greater length! For I am grieved to see the sycophant's trade faring better than philosophy—the one attacking, the other on the defensive. Who of the men of old could have anticipated that things would come to this pass, in Athens, of all places, where we more than others plume ourselves on our wisdom? Things were not like that in the time of our ancestors; on the contrary, they admired the sophists, as they called them, and envied the good fortune of their disciples, while they blamed the sycophants for most of their ills.
You will find the strongest proof of this in the fact that they saw fit to put Solon, who was the first of the Athenians to receive the title of sophist, at, the head of the state, while they applied to the sycophants more stringent laws than to other criminals; for, while they placed the trial of the greatest crimes in the hands of a single one of the courts,162 against the sycophants they instituted indictments before the Thesmothetae, impeachments before the Senate, and plaints before the General Assembly, believing that those who plied this trade exceeded all other forms of villainy; for other criminals, at any rate, try to keep their evil-doing under cover, while these flaunt their brutality, their misanthropy, and their contentiousness before the eyes of all.
That was the way our ancestors felt about them. But you, so far from punishing the sycophants,163 actually set them up as accusers and legislators for the rest of the people. And yet there is reason for detesting them now more than at that time; for then it was only in matters of ordinary routine and in affairs confined to the city that they damaged their country-men. In the meantime, however, the city waxed powerful and seized the empire of the Hellenes, and our fathers,164 growing more self-assured than was meet for them, began to look with disfavor on those good men and true who had made Athens great, envying them their power, and to crave instead men who were base-born and full of insolence, thinking that by their bravado and contentiousness they would be able to preserve the rule of the people,165 while because of the meanness of their origin they would not become overweening nor ambitious166 to overturn the constitution.
And since this change has taken place, what calamity has not been visited upon the city? What great misfortunes have these depraved natures failed to bring to pass through their speech and through their actions? Have they not taunted the most illustrious of the Athenians—the men who were the best able to benefit the city—with oligarchical and Lacedaemonian sympathies,167 and never ceased until they have driven them to become in fact what they were charged with being?168 Have they not by ill-treating our allies, by lodging false complaints against them,169 by stripping the best of them of their possessions—have they not so disaffected them that they have revolted against us and craved the friendship and alliance of the Lacedaemonians? And with what results? We have been plunged into war170; we have seen many of our fellow-countrymen suffer, some of them dying in battle, some made prisoners of war, and others reduced to the last extremities of want; we have seen the democracy twice overthrown,171 the walls which defended our country torn down172; and, worst of all, we have seen the whole city in peril of being enslaved,173 and our enemy encamped on the Acropolis.174
But I perceive, even though my feelings carry me away, that the water in the clock175 is giving out, while I myself have fallen into thoughts and recriminations which would exhaust the day. Therefore, I pass over the multitude of calamities which these men have brought upon us; I thrust aside the throng of offenses which we might charge to their infamy, and content myself with just one word before I close.
I observe that when others who are placed in jeopardy here come to the end of their defense, they supplicate, they implore, they bring their children and their friends before the jury.176 I, however, consider that such expedients are unbecoming to one of my age; and, apart from this feeling, I should be ashamed to owe my life to any other plea than to the words which you have just heard. For I know that I have spoken with so just and clear a conscience both towards the city and our ancestors, and above all towards the gods, that if it be true that the gods concern themselves at all with human affairs I am sure that they are not indifferent to my present situation. Wherefore, I have no fear of what may come to me at your hands; nay, I am of good courage and have every confidence that when I close my life it will be when it is best for me; for I take it as a good sign that all my past life up to this day has been such as is the due of righteous and god-fearing men.
Being assured, therefore, that I am of this mind, and that I believe that whatever you decide will be for my good and to my advantage, let each one cast his vote as he pleases and is inclined.177
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2 See General Introd. p. xxxi.
3 Like the Encomium on Helen See General Introd. p. xxxi, and Burgess, Epideictic Literature.
4 The term “sophist” is used loosely throughout the discourse, sometimes as the equivalent of wise man, but more often, as here, of a professional teacher of philosophy and oratory. See General Introd. p. xii, note a .
5 See General Introd. p. xx, and note c .
6 The “gold and ivory” statue of Athena which stood in the Parthenon.
7 Zeuxis and Parrhasius sojourned in Athens about 400 B.C.
Literally, painters of votive tablets set up in temples as thank-offerings for deliverance from sickness or from dangers on the sea. Cf. Tibullus 1.3.27-28: nunc, dea, nunc succurre mihi, nam posse mederi/picta docet templis multa tabella tuis.
9 The kind of oratory to which Isocrates devoted himself. See General Introd. p. xxiv.
10 See General Introd. p. xviii.
18 The outstanding instance is the decree passed by the General Assembly, condemning to death without due process of law, the Athenian generals who were in command at the battle of Arginusae. After the execution of the sentence, the people repented of their haste and called to account the leading instigators of this irregular procedure. See Xen. Hell. 1.7.35; Plat. Apol. 32; Grote, History vol. vii. pp. 446-447.
21 The reference seems to be to some custom somewhere by which in capital cases a number of the votes of the jury were at the outset of the trial given by grace to the defendant. No such custom is, so far as I know, mentioned anywhere else.
25 Cf. Plat. Apol. 17d. Isocrates repeatedly echoes the defense of Socrates. See General Introd. p. xvii and Vasold, Ueber das Verhältniss der isocrateischen Rede Περὶ ἀντιδόσεως Platons Apologia Socratis.
27 Certain issues might be kept out of court by being referred to an arbitrator, either agreed upon by the parties concerned or designated by lot from the public arbitrators provided for by law. See Lipsius, Das attische Recht p. 220 ff.
28 Isocrates seems to pretend throughout that he, like Socrates, is being tried on a capital charge.
29 Here, as elsewhere, Isocrates preserves the fiction of a court scene by calling upon the clerk to read the formal charge.
31 See General Introd. p. xxix.
33 See General Introd. p. xx.
38 There is a story that Isocrates charged no fees to Athenian pupils.
39 See Isocrates, Vol. I. p. 39, L.C.L.
40 Elsewhere called disputation （“eristic”）. See General Introd. p. xxi.
41 See General Introd. p. xxiv.
45 No case could occupy more than one day, and the speakers were limited in time by the clepsydra or water-clock.
46 That is, in making an epideictic lecture or show speech.
47 That is, those of the jury who had not “read these discourses many times.”
48 See Vol. I. p. 3, note a.
49 The earliest known MSS. omit the rest of the Isoc. 15.310 ff. up to the peroration, and so did the earlier editions. Mustoxydis discovered the complete Isoc. 15in MSS. E and Θ, and published the first modern edition of the entire discourse in 1812. See General Introd. pp. xlviii-xlix.
52 See General lntrod. p. xxxii.
54 These are the “eristics.” See General Introd. pp. xxi, xxv.
56 For the pupils of Isocrates see Blass, Die attische Beredsamkeit 2 pp. 17 ff.
57 It was common in the fourth century for Athens to recognize public services in this way. Cf. the contest between Demosthenes and Aeschines On the Crown.
60 Timotheus, the son of Conon and the favorite pupil of Isocrates, was first appointed to an important command in 378 B.C. From that time on for twenty-two years he was one of the prominent generals in Athenian campaigns. In 357 he was associated with Iphicrates, Menestheus, and Chares in command of the Athenian navy. For his alleged misconduct in this command he was tried in Athens （356 B.C. according to Diodorus） and condemned to pay an enormous fine of 100 talents. See § 129 and note. Unable to pay this, he withdrew to Chalcis in Euboea, where he died shortly after. See Grote, History, vol. xi. pp. 27 ff. The eulogy of Timotheus here is a characteristic “digression.” See General lntrod. p. xvi.
62 Special taxes levied for military purposes.
64 This campaign took place in 375. It was followed up the next year by a peace patched up between Athens and Sparta. Nothing is known about the terms of this peace, but in any case it was promptly broken. See Grote, History, vol. ix. pp. 348 ff. Isocrates seems to refer, not to that temporary truce, but to the important “Peace of Callias” in 371, which virtually gave Athens the command of the sea, limiting Sparta to the land, and weakening her, according to Isocrates, for the decisive clash with the Theban power at Leuctra in the same year. See Grote, History, vol. ix. pp. 381 ff.
65 The southern cape of the Peloponnesus.
66 Captured by Timotheus in 366 B.C. For the campaign see Grote, History, vol. x. pp. 54 ff.
68 Sestos and Crithôte were acquired for Athens by Timotheus as a part of the Samos （Asia Minor） campaign.
69 The “Thracian” campaign, in the course of which he won over the cities in the Chalcidean peninsula, took place in 365-364. See Grote, History, vol. x. pp. 60 ff.
70 With specific reference to Chares, the rival and enemy of Timotheus. See Plut. Mor. 187-188.
73 He happened to be in command of the Spartan forces when the Athenian empire crumpled at the battle of Aegospotami.
74 In the campaign against Byzantium, which was aided by the Chians and their allies （357 B.C.）, a conflict arose between Chares and the other commanders of the Athenian fleet, Timotheus, Iphicrates, and Menestheus, Iphicrates' son. Chares persisted in carrying out a plan of attack which had been agreed upon but which the others abandoned on account of a storm. Unsupported in this, he was defeated. Returning to Athens, he then charged his colleagues with treason and corruption. In the trial Iphicrates shouldered the responsibility for the campaign, and Menestheus gave a full accounting for the receipts and expenditures. They were acquitted, while Timotheus, never popular with the demos, was fined 100 talents. See § 101, note. Isocrates' version of the facts is generally accepted. See Grote, History, vol. xi. pp. 30 ff.
75 This recalls the poetic commonplace on the immortality lent by literature, for example in the familiar lines of Horace （Hor. Odes 4.9.25-28）: vixere fortes ante Agamemnona/ multi; sed omnes inlacrimabiles/ urgentur ignotique longa/ nocte, carent quia vate sacro.
78 Isocrates married Plathane, the widow of Hippias of Elis, and adopted her son Aphareus. So far as we know, he had no children of his own. See Jebb, Attic Orators vol. ii. p. 30.
79 The twelve hundred richest citizens in Athens paid the special tax levies for war purposes and performed at private expense the ”liturgies” （public services）, such as standing the expense of the training of a chorus for the drama or of fitting out a ship of war （trierarchy）. See Gilbert, Greek Constitutional Antiquities p. 371.
80 Cf. Isoc. 12.12-13. Havet （Introd. to Cartelier's Antidosis p. xlix） contrasts the dignity of the discourses of Isocrates with the personalities and recriminations characteristic of the public orators of his day.
84 So Socrates, in Plato's Apology, addresses first one group of the jury, then the other.
85 See General Introd. p. xii.
87 He lived one hundred and seven years according to Cicero, De senect. v.
88 A gold coin about equal in value to the guinea.
89 Popular actors, especially in comedy, received high pay. See Böckh, Public Economy of Athens p. 120.
91 See General Introd. p. xi.
92 See 8, note.
93 Of Pindar's encomium on Athens there is preserved a fragment （76 （46））: Ὦ ταὶ λιπαραὶ καὶ ἰοστέφανοι καὶ ἀοίδιμοι, Ἑλλάδος ἔρεισμα, κλειναὶ Ἀθᾶναι, δαιμόνιον πτολίεθρον “O splendid, violet-crowned, famed in song, glorious/ Athens, bulwark of Hellas, a wondrous city.”
94 ”Friend of the city,“an honorary title conferred upon a foreigner by vote of the General Assembly, making him a sort of informal representative of Athens in his own country, and entitling him to special privileges and courtesies in Athens. See Gilbert, Greek Constitutional Antiquities pp. 181-182.
97 Literally, I desire first to discuss the art of discourse after the manner of the genealogists.
98 The distinction usually drawn, in Plato for instance, between δόξα and ἐπιστήμη, the one “opinion,” the other “knowledge,” is not exactly that made by Isocrates. δόξα is here, not irresponsible opinion, but a working theory based on practical experience—judgement or insight in dealing with the uncertain contingencies of any human situation which presents itself. In this realm, he holds, there can be no exact science. Cf. Isoc. 15.271; Isoc. 13.1-3. See General Introd. pp. xxii, xxvii.
99 For Isocrates' view as to the elements which produce the successful orator see General Introd. p. xxiv.
102 That is, champions in the contests of oratory.
103 As distinguished from the professional life of public orators and teachers of oratory. Cf. 204.
105 See General Introd. p. xxvi.
107 That is, teachers of wisdom. He means so-called sophists, such as teachers of forensic skill, who bring all sophists into disrepute.
109 For the Amphictyonic Council see Isoc. 5.74, note. The family of the Alcmaeonidae, to which Cleisthenes belonged, won the favor of this council by their aid in rebuilding the temple of Apollo which had been burned in 548 B.C. The story that Cleisthenes and his party got funds from the Amphictyony is found also in Dem. 21.144. But the facts are confused; see Beloch, Griechische Geschichte vol. ii. p. 387.
110 The commander of the Athenian fleet at the battle of Salamis.
116 When a case was accepted for trial, the appropriate court fixed a day for the preliminary hearing, and published the charge on white tablets set up in the market place. See Lipsius, Das attische Recht p. 820. The “Thesmothetae” （see 38, note） were responsible for bringing to trial mainly offenders against the state, including sycophants. See Lipsius, Das attische Recht pp. 374 ff. The “Eleven,” besides being a board for the care of prisons and for the execution of condemned criminals, dealt with malefactors such as robbers, burglars, pickpockets, kidnappers, etc. See Lipsius, Das attische Recht p. 78. “The Forty,” four selected by lot from each of the ten tribes, had jurisdiction over the great mass of private litigation, involving mainly property rights （torts）, themselves settling without more ado all petty cases involving sums not exceeding ten drachmas. See Lipsius, Das attische Recht pp. 8l ff.
120 No love was lost between Athens and Thebes, and to the Athenians the Thebans were proverbial for their stupidity. Cf. Plut. Mor. 995e: τοὺς γὰρ Βοιωτοὺς ἡμᾶς οἱ Ἀττικοὶ καὶ παχεῖς καὶ ἀναισθήτους καὶ ἠλιθιους, μάλιστα διὰ τὰς ἀδηφαγίας προσαγορεύουσιν. Cf. Pind. O. 6.148-153; Cicero, De fato4; Horace, Epist. 2.1.241-244.
121 Pausanias （Paus. 1.22.3） states that the worship of Πειθώ （Persuasion） was established in Athens by Theseus, and speaks of a statue of this goddess as once standing near the Acropolis. A special seat of honor was assigned to her priestess in the Theatre. See C.I.A. iii. 351.
123 The rendering is here doubtful. Literally it is “through wisdom of a man.” Possibly Isocrates has in mind Pericles and the triumphs of Athens under his administration. Supporting the rendering “of a man” is Isoc. 7.11.
127 The “eristics.” Cf. Isoc. Letter 5.3 ff. See General Introd. p. xxi. In this passage, as well as in Isoc. Letter 5.3 ff., he may be resenting the criticisms of the Aristotelians. See Blass, Die attische Beredsamkeit ii. p. 65.
130 A broad term including the study of poetry.
132 The fruitlessness of the speculations of the early philosophers （physicists） is shown, according to Isocrates, in the utter diversity of their views, for example, regarding the first principles or primary elements from which the world was created. At one extreme was Anaxagoras, who held that the primary elements were infinate in number; at the other was Gorgias, who in his nihilistic philosophy denied that there was any such thing as being or entity at all. Cf. Isoc. 10.3; Xen. Mem. 1.1.14 ff.; Plat. Soph. 242.
133 See General Introd. pp. xxvi ff.
139 See General Introd. p. xxiv.
146 A famous spring near the Acropolis, first called Callirrhoe （Fair-flowing）. Later, when enclosed and adorned by Pisistratus, it was called the Fountain of Nine Spouts. See Thuc. 2.15; Gardner, Ancient Athens p. 18.
147 The ransom of slaves captured in war. Isocrates is probably thinking of some notorious case.
148 The mina = 100 drachmas. A drachma was the standard wage of a day-laborer.
153 The Attic “dialect” was the least provincial of all, avoiding the extreme harshness of the Doric and the softness of the Ionic, and tended to be more and more the language of cultivated Greeks, until in the time of Alexander the Great it had broadened into the “common dialect,” ἡ κοινὴ διάλεκτος.
154 The best cavalrymen in Greece.
156 The Spartans.
160 At the close of the Persian Wars, the Athenians returned to their city and, under the leadership of Themistocles, against the protest of the Lacedaemonians, built strong walls around Athens and around the harbor-town, the Piraeus. Later these two walled towns were connected by the building of the “long walls.”
161 Pericles. See 232-234, where all these, except Miltiades, are eulogized by name.
162 For example, a charge of deliberate murder could come only before the Court of the Areopagus. A charge against the sycophants, on the other hand, could be brought before the Thesmothetae （see 237, note）, who prepared the case for trial before a Heliastic Court, in which case the charge was termed γραφή（indictment）; or before the Senate of the Five Hundred, in which case the charge was called εἰσαγγελία（impeachment）; or before the General Assembly, in which case the charge was termed προβολή（plaint）. See Lipsius, Das attische Recht pp. 176 ff. This was, however, true of so many crimes that the point of Isocrates is rather rhetorical.
163 The term sycophant is applied here as elsewhere in Isocrates and the other orators to demagogic politicians.
164 From the time of the “reforms” of Ephialtes （see Isoc. 7.50: τοῖς ὀλίγῳ πρὸ ἡμῶν）, and especially after the death of Pericles. Aristotle （Aristot. Ath. Pol. 28） states: “So long, however, as Pericles was leader of the people, things went tolerably well with the State; but when he was dead there was a great change for the worse. Then for the first time did the people choose a leader who was of no reputation among the people of good standing, whereas up to this time men of good standing were always found as leaders of the democracy” （Kenyon's translation）. Aristotle goes on to say that Pericles was followed by such leaders as Cleon, the tanner—insolent demagogues who vied with each other in pandering to the mob.
165 That is, vigilance exercised by loud-mouthed demagogues is the price of liberty.
167 The Athenian democracy since the days of Cleisthenes lived in continual fear of revolution. There remained a strong oligarchical party, supported by Sparta, and it was always easy to catch the ear of the Athenian demos by accusing anyone of oligarchical or Spartan sympathies. Cf. Isoc. 8.133.
168 Is he thinking particularily of Alcibiades?
170 The Peloponnesian War.
171 First by the oligarchy of the Four Hundred in 411 B.C., secondly by the oligarchy of the Thirty Tyrants in 404 B.C., after the downfall of the Athenian Empire.
172 One of the terms of peace at the end of the war was that the “long walls” connecting Athens with the Piraeus should be torn down.
174 A Spartan garrison occupied the Acropolis during the reign of the Thirty.
175 The clepsydra or water-clock, which marked the time allowed to each speaker.