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Trial and condemnation of Antiphon.

Onomakles seems to have escaped or died before the day. Archeptolemos and Antiphon were brought to trial. The scanty fragments of the speech made by Antiphon in his own defence reveal only one item of its contents. One of the prosecutors, Apolexis, having asserted that Antiphon's grandfather had been a partisan of the Peisistratidae, Antiphon replied that his grandfather had not been punished after the expulsion of the tyrants, and could scarcely, therefore, have been one of their ‘body-guard1.’ The other special topics are unknown; but their range, at least, is shown by the title under which the speech was extant. It was inscribed περὶ μεταστάσεως, On the Change of Government. It dealt, then, not merely with the matter specified in the eisangelia—the embassy to Sparta—but with the whole question of the Revolution. It is described by Thucydides as the greatest defence made in the memory of that age by a man on trial for his life. The story in the Eudemian Ethics2, whether true or not, seems at any rate characteristic. Agathon, the tragic poet, praised the speech; and Antiphon—on whom sentence of death had passed—answered that a man who respects himself must care more what one good man thinks than what is thought by many nobodies.

The sentence ran thus:—

‘Found guilty of treason—Archeptolemos son of Hippodamos, of Agryle, being present: Antiphon son of Sophilos, of Rhamnus, being present. The award on these two men was—That they be delivered to the Eleven: that their property be confiscated and the goddess have the tithe: that their houses be razed and boundary-stones put on the sites, with the inscription, ‘the houses of Archeptolemos and Antiphon the traitors:’ that the two demarchs [of Agryle and Rhamnus] shall point out their houses. That it shall not be lawful to bury Archeptolemos and Antiphon at Athens or in any land of which the Athenians are masters. That Archeptolemos and Antiphon and their descendants, bastard or true-born, shall be infamous; and if a man adopt any one of the race of Archeptolemos or Antiphon, let the adopter be infamous. That this decree be written on a brazen column and put in the same place where the decrees about Phrynichos are set up3.’

1 Harpokr. s.v. στασιώτης (Sauppe, Or. Att. II. p. 138.) “Ἀντιφῶν ἐν τῷ περὶ τῆς μεταστάσεως: περὶ τοίνυν ὧν Ἀπόληξις κατηγόρηκεν ὡς στασιώτης ἦν ἐγὼ καὶ πάππος ἐμός: ἔοικε νῦν ῥήτωρ ἰδίως ἐπὶ τοῦ δορυφόρου κεχρῆσθαι τῷ ὀνόματι: ἐν γοῦν τοῖς ἑξῆς φησιν ὅτι: οὐκ ἂν τοὺς μὲν τυραννοῦντας ἠδυνήθησαν οἱ πρόγονοι κολάσαι, τοὺς δὲ δορυφόρους ἠδυνάτησαν”.Curtius (Hist. Gr. Vol. III. p. 460, transl. Ward) infers from this fragment that Antiphon in his speech argued ‘that the Four Hundred had acted as one equally responsible body, and that, therefore, either all ought to be punished or all acquitted.’ He observes that ‘reference seems to be made to an unjustifiable separation of the parties involved: this is indicated by the distinction drawn between the τύραννοι and the δορυφόροι.’ It is very likely that Antiphon may have used this argument: but I do not see how it is to be inferred from the fragments of the speech περὶ τῆς μεταστάσεως that he used it. The distinction between the τύραννοι and the δορυφόροι is made, as a perusal of the fragment will show, solely in reference to the Peisistratidae.

2 Eth. Eudem. III. 5,καὶ μᾶλλον ἂν φροντίσειεν ἀνὴρ μεγαλόψυχος τί δοκεῖ ἑνὶ σπουδαίῳ πολλοῖς τοῖς τυγχάνουσιν, ὥσπερ Ἀντιφῶν ἔφη πρὸς Ἀγάθωνα κατεψηφισμένος τὴν ἀπολογίαν ἐπαινέσαντα”.

3 [Plut.] Vitt. X. Oratt.

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