I 3 Against Ergokles, Or. XXVIII
3. Against Ergokles.
[Or. XXVIII.]—In 390 B.C. a fleet of forty triremes was sent to the coast of Asia Minor under the command of Thrasybulos. After many successes in the Hellespont and a victory over the Lacedaemonians at Lesbos, Thrasybulos was slain at Aspendos in Pamphylia by a party of natives who surprised his camp by night (Xen. Hellen. IV. viii. 25—30
). Meanwhile anger had been excited at Athens by reports that the commanders of the expedition had embezzled moneys levied on the towns in Asia, and had been treacherous to the cause of the city. A decree was passed demanding an account of all funds so raised, and recalling the commanders. Thrasybulos died before he could obey the summons; his colleagues, of whom Ergokles was one, were
brought to trial in 389 B.C. The procedure was apparently by impeachment. Ergokles was condemned to death and his property was confiscated1
The short speech of Lysias was spoken by one of the Public Prosecutors; who, as others had already gone fully into the charges, does little more than recapitulate them.
Ergokles is charged with having betrayed Greek towns
in Asia, with having injured citizens and friends of Athens, and with having enriched himself at the public cost. All this time the fleet was allowed to go to ruin, with the connivance of Thrasybulos—who would never have been given the command, had it been foreseen that only his ‘flatterers’ (§ 4) were to benefit by it (§§ 1—7). Thrasybulos had done well to die; the partners of his guilt are now seeking to buy their lives by wholesale bribery; but this must not be suffered (§§ 8—11). Ergokles pleads his patriotism at the restoration of the democracy; but he has since shown himself worse than the Tyrants (§§ 12—14). His condemnation and that of his associates is necessary as an example to Greece, and is due to the cities, such as Halikarnassos2
, which they betrayed (§§ 15—17).
Decision and vigorous brevity are the chief characteristics of this speech, as of that Against Epikrates (XXVII.) and that Against Philokrates (XXIX.); both of which, like this, were spoken by Public Prosecutors. An address by an official afforded less scope for artistic individual colouring than a speech which had to be fitted to the character and circumstances of a private speaker.