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After the disaster of Chaeronea the Athenian people passed a decree forbidding persons to leave the city or to remove their wives or children. Now a certain Leocrates left the city and, after going to Rhodes and later Megara, returned to Athens. He made no secret of his story and so was accused of treason by Lycurgus. The case must be classified as an instance of contradictory definition, since Leocrates admits that he left the city but denies that he betrayed it. Others class it as an instance of conjecture as to intention, since it is admitted that the accused left the city, while his purpose in leaving it is doubtful: did he wish to be a traitor or only to trade? Others think it an instance of counterplea, since he claims that he left the city not with treasonable intentions but for commerce. The subject matter resembles that of the speech against Autolycus.
merchants who sailed round the whole Greek world on their business and passed on the news of Athens which they had heard from Leocrates. It is important therefore to reach a correct verdict upon him. For you must realize, Athenians, that you would be held to have neglected the virtues which chiefly distinguish you from the rest of mankind, piety towards the gods, reverence for your ancestors and ambition for your country, if this man were to escape punishment at your hands.
I am asking you, Athenians, to listen to my accusation to the end and not to be impatient if I begin with the history of Athens at the time under discussion; you may reserve your anger for the men whose fault it is that I am now compelled to recall those happenings. After the battle of Chaeronea you all gathered hastily to the Assembly, and the people decreed that the women and children should be brought from the countryside inside the walls and that the generals should appoint any Athenians ornger for the men whose fault it is that I am now compelled to recall those happenings. After the battle of Chaeronea you all gathered hastily to the Assembly, and the people decreed that the women and children should be brought from the countryside inside the walls and that the generals should appoint any Athenians or other residents at Athens to defence duties as they thought fit.The proposer of this measure was Hyperides,cf. Lyc. 1.41. See Life of Hyperides and Hyperides, fragment 18, note.
He landed and entered Rhodes, where, as if he were bringing good news of great successes for his country, he announced that the main city had been captured when he left it, that the Piraeus was blockaded and that he was the only one who had escaped, feeling no shame at speaking of his country's ruin as the occasion of his own safety. The Rhodians took his news so seriously that they manned triremes and brought in their merchantmen; and the traders and shipowners who had intended to sail to Athens unloaded their corn and other cargoes there, because of Leocrates.
To prove the truth of this account the clerk shall read you the evidence of all concerned: first the testimony of the neighbors and the men living in this district who know that the defendant ran away during the war and sailed from Athens, next that of the people present at Rhodes when Leocrates was delivering this news, and finally the evidence of Phyrcinus, whom most of you know as the accuser of Leocrates in the Assembly for having seriously harmed the two per cent tax in which he had an inten Leocrates was delivering this news, and finally the evidence of Phyrcinus, whom most of you know as the accuser of Leocrates in the Assembly for having seriously harmed the two per cent tax in which he had an interest.The penthkosth/, a 2 per cent tax on imports and exports, was let out by the pwlhtai/ to the highest bidder, usually a company. Leocrates was evidently a member of such a company, and by frightening away trade from Athens diminished the returns from the tax. Cf. Andoc. 1.133.
To resume then, gentlemen. After this, time passed, merchant ships from Athens continued to arrive at Rhodes, and it was clear that no disaster had overtaken the city. So Leocrates grew alarmed, and embarking again, left Rhodes for Megara. He stayed at Megara for over five years with a Megarian as his patron, unashamed at living on the boundaries of Attica, an alien on the borders of the land that nurtured him.
He had condemned himself so finally to a lifetime of exile that he sent for Amyntas, the husband of his elder sister, and Antigenes of Xypete, a friend of his, to come to him from Athens, and asked his brother-in-law to buy his house and slaves from him, selling them to him for a talent. Out of this sum he arranged that his debts should be settled, his loans paid offFor these loans compare Hyp. 3.7 and note. and the balance restored to him.
And yet in those days, gentlemen, who would not have pitied the city, even though he were not a citizen but only an alien who had lived among us in previous years? Surely there was no one whose hatred of the people or of Athens was so intense that he could have endured to see himself remain outside the army. When the defeat and consequent disaster had been reported to the people and the city was tense with alarm at the news, the people's hope of safety had come to rest with the men of over fifty.