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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.
A further point for you to notice, gentlemen, is this: the trial of Leocrates is not comparable with that of other ordinary men. For if the defendant were unknown in Greece, your verdict, whether good or bad, would be a matter solely for yourselves to contemplate. But where this man is concerned, whatever judgement you may give will be discussed by every Greek, since it is common knowledge that the conduct of your ancestors was just the opposite of his. He won notoriety by his voyage to Rhodes and the discreditable report of you which he made officially to the Rhodians and to those merchants residing there;
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 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. 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.
It is now clear, gentlemen, that Leocrates is liable under all the articles of the indictment. He will, I gather, try to mislead you by saying that it was merely as a merchant that he departed on this voyage and that the pursuance of this calling took him from his home to Rhodes. So if he says this, please take note how you may easily expose his lies. The first point is that men travelling as merchants do not leave by the postern on the beach; they embark inside the harbor with all their friends watching to see them off. Secondly, they go alone with their attendant slave, not with their mistress and her maids.
You hear this decree too, gentlemen. It says that they condemned any who moved to Decelea in war-time and laid it down that those who were caught returning should be led by any Athenian who cared to do so to the Thesmothetae who should take them into custody and hand them over to the executioner.Literally: “the man in charge of the pit.” to\ o)/rugma is the same as to\ ba/raqron, the cleft into which criminals at Athens were thrown. If they dealt thus with men who merely changed their place in Attica, how will you treat Leocrates who in wartime fled from his city and his country to Rhodes and deserted the state? Will you not kill him? If you do not, how can you pass as the descendants of those m