First speech for the prosecution

When a crime is planned by an ordinary person, it is not hard to expose; but to detect and expose criminals who are naturally able, who are men of experience, and who have reached an age when their faculties are at their best, is no easy matter. [2] The enormous risk makes them devote a great deal of thought to the problem of executing the crime in safety, and they take no steps until they have completely secured themselves against suspicion. With these facts in mind, you must place implicit confidence in any and every indication from probability1 presented to you. [3] We, on the other hand, who are seeking satisfaction for the murder, are not letting the guilty escape and bringing the innocent into court; we know very well that as the whole city is defiled by the criminal until he is brought to justice, the sin becomes ours and the punishment for your error falls upon us, if our prosecution is misdirected. Thus, as the entire defilement falls upon us, we shall try to show you as conclusively as our knowledge allows that the defendant killed the dead man. [4] (Malefactors are not likely to have murdered him,)2 as nobody who was exposing his life to a very grave risk would forgo the prize when it was securely within his grasp; and the victims were found still wearing their cloaks. Nor again did anyone in liquor kill him: the murderer's identity would be known to his boon companions. Nor again was his death the result of a quarrel; they would not have been quarrelling at the dead of night or in a deserted spot. Nor did the criminal strike the dead man when intending to strike someone else; he would not in that case have killed master and slave together. [5] As all grounds for suspecting that the crime was unpremeditated are removed, it is clear from the circumstances of death themselves that the victim was deliberately murdered.3 Now who is more likely to have attacked him than a man who had already suffered cruelly at his hands and who was expecting to suffer more cruelly still? That man is the defendant. He was an old enemy of the other, and indicted him on several serious charges without success. [6] On the other hand, he has himself been indicted on charges still more numerous and still more grave, and not once has he been acquitted, with the result that he has lost a good deal of his property. Further, he had recently been indicted by the dead man for embezzling sacred monies,4 the sum to be recovered being assessed at two talents; he knew himself to be guilty, experience had taught him how powerful his opponent was, and he bore him a grudge for the past; so he naturally plotted his death: he naturally sought protection against his enemy by murdering him. [7] Thirst for revenge made him forget the risk, and the overpowering fear of the ruin which threatened him spurred him to all the more reckless an attack. In taking this step he hoped not only that his guilt would remain undiscovered, but that he would also escape the indictment;5 [8] nobody, he thought, would proceed with the suit, and judgement would go by default; while in the event of his losing his case after all, he considered it better to have revenged himself for his defeat than, like a coward, to be ruined by the indictment without retaliating. And he knew very well that he would lose it, or he would not have thought the present trial the safer alternative. [9] Such are the motives which drove him to sin as he did. Had there been eyewitnesses in large numbers, we should have produced them in large numbers; but as the dead man's attendant was alone present, those who heard his statement will give evidence; for he was still alive when picked up, and in reply to our questions stated that the only assailant whom he had recognized was the defendant.

Inferences from probability and eyewitnesses have alike proved the defendant's guilt: so both justice and expediency absolutely forbid you to acquit him. [10] Not only would it be impossible to convict deliberate criminals if they are not to be convicted by eyewitnesses and by such inferences; but it is against all your interests that this polluted wretch should profane the sanctity of the divine precincts by setting foot within them, or pass on his defilement to the innocent by sitting at the same tables as they.6 It is this that causes dearth and public calamity. [11] And so you must hold the avenging of the dead a personal duty; you must visit the defendant with retribution for the sin which was his alone; you must see that none but he suffers, and that the stain of guilt is removed from the city.

1 εἰκός, εἰκότως, and τὰ εἰκότα cannot properly be rendered by any single English equivalent. I have made use of “natural,” “logical,” “probable,” “to be expected,” etc., according to the requirements of the context.

2 Inserted in the Aldine edition to fill a probable lacuna in the manuscript text; some reference to κακοῦργοι is clearly wanted. The term κακοῦργος(cf. Antiph. 2.4.5-6) is a generic one comprising various species of criminal; κλέπται, τοιχωρύχοι, βαλλοντιοτόμοι, etc. The “ malefactors” her referred to are doubtless λωποδύται“footpads”. For a further discussion of κακοῦργοι see Herodes, Introd.

3 Here, as elsewhere in the Tetralogies, the Greek has to be expanded in translating in order to make the connection of thought clear. For an explanation of the words αὐτὸς θάνατος, “circumstances of death” see Antiph. 2.2.4 note 1.

4 ἱερῶν κλοπή (embezzelment of sacred monies of which the person concerned was in charge) is to be distinguished from ἱεροσυλία(temple-robbery), for which see Antiph. 5.10. The penalty for ἱερῶν κλοπή was the repayment of ten times the sum embezzled (Dem. 24.111-112).

5 Or possibly: “be acquitted on the indictment.”

6 Cf. the disabilities involved in τὸ εἴργεσθαι τῶν νομίμων, Antiph. 6.34 sqq.

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    • Basil L. Gildersleeve, Syntax of Classical Greek, The Article
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