Before they did anything, fear struck the Achaeans and the thought came to them on how unequal grounds the argument was likely to be
conducted, because they saw Areus and Alcibiades, who had been condemned to death by them at the latest council, with the commissioners; nor did anyone dare to open his mouth.
Appius stated that the conduct of which the Lacedaemonians had complained before the senate was displeasing to the senate: first, the [p. 331]
slaughter which took place at Compasium of those1
Lacedaemonians who had come in response to the summons of Philopoemen to plead their cause;2
second, that after they had treated men with such violence, that they might overlook no form of cruelty, they had torn down the walls of a most illustrious city, had repealed their most ancient laws, and had done away with the discipline of Lycurgus, famed as it was throughout the world.
When Appius had said this, Lycortas, both because he was praetor and because he belonged to the party of Philopoemen, who was responsible for whatever had been done in Lacedaemon, replied thus: "It is more difficult for us, Appius Claudius, to speak in your presence than it was recently in Rome before the senate.3
For then our task was to answer the accusations of the Lacedaemonians: now we have been accused by you, before whom we must plead our cause.
This disadvantage of situation we accept in the hope that you will listen in the spirit of a judge, laying aside the vehemence of a prosecutor with which you spoke a little while ago.
I at any rate, when these complaints which were presented, both here previously before Quintus Caecilius4
and in Rome later by the Lacedaemonians, were repeated by you a little while ago, shall believe that I am replying, not to you, but to them in your presence. You bring up the murder of those men who were killed when they had been summoned by the praetor Philopoemen to plead their [p. 333]
cause. This charge, in my opinion, should not only5
not have been made against us by you, Romans, but not even by them before you. Why so?
Because it was stated in your treaty that the Lacedaemonians should keep their hands off the towns on the coast. At the time when they took up arms and seized, by a night attack, those cities which they had been ordered to let alone, if Titus Quinctius, if a Roman army, as before, had been in the Peloponnesus, the captured and oppressed would doubtless have fled to them.6
Since you were far away, where else could they flee except to us, whom they had previously seen bringing aid to Gytheum and besieging Lacedaemon in common cause with you? On your behalf, then, we undertook a legal and righteous
war. Since others applaud it, since not even the Lacedaemonians can criticize it, and since the very gods themselves, by giving us the victory, have approved it, how can those things which took place under the law of war come into dispute? Yet the greatest part of those things have nothing to do with
us. It is our affair that we summoned to plead their cause those who had called the multitude to arms, who had captured the coast towns, who had plundered them, who had caused the murder of the leading men. But as to the fact that they were killed while they were coming to our camp, that is your affair, Areus and Alcibiades —who now (heaven help us!) are accusing us —not
ours. The exiles of the Lacedaemonians, to which number even these two belonged, were indeed at that time with us, and because they had chosen as their places of residence the towns on the coast believing that they were being sought out, they made an attack on those men thanks to whose efforts they [p. 335]
saw with indignation that they, exiles from home,7
could not grow old even in a safe place of
exile. Lacedaemonians, then, were killed by Lacedaemonians, not by Achaeans; whether they were killed justly or unjustly it is not important to