III. 3. Against Philokrates, Or. XXIX
3. Against Philokrates.
[Or. XXIX.]—This case may be regarded as a sequel to that of Ergokles [Or. XXVIII]1
. Philokrates had sailed, as steward or purser (ταμίας
§ 3), under command of Ergokles as trierarch. Ergokles had now been put to death and his property had been confiscated. But a sum of thirty talents, which he was said to have gained by corrupt practices, had not been found (§ 2). A writ was therefore issued against Philokrates on the supposition that, since he had been in the confidence of Ergokles, he must know what had become of the money.
The speaker is one of several Public Prosecutors (συνήγοροι
) and, as in the case of Ergokles, merely follows others with a summary of the leading points. The case Against Philokrates has been stated, and the evidence cited, by former speakers; this is the concluding speech for the prosecution; hence the title of epilogue or peroration2
given in the
MSS. to this as well as to the speech Against Ergokles. The date is probably the year of the trial
of Ergokles—389 B. C.
Many persons, says the speaker, who had promised to
appear against Philokrates have failed; an additional proof that he has the money, and has been able to buy off numerous accusers. The thirty talents have not been discovered: who can have them but the most intimate friend of Ergokles, his subaltern and his steward? It rests with Philokrates to show either that Ergokles was wrongly condemned, or that some one else now has the missing sum (§§ 1—5). Three talents, it is well known, had been promised to public speakers if they could save Ergokles. Philokrates has got this money back, and has possessed himself of the rest of his late chief's property; yet now he has the effrontery to pretend that he was his enemy. Is it likely that in that case he would have volunteered to sail with him as trierarch? (§§ 6, 7.)
The Athenians ought to defend their own interests, and compel Philokrates to give up their property. It is hard if those who cannot pay taxes incur the public anger, while the embezzlers of State-property escape. Indeed, the accomplices of Ergokles deserve not only a pecuniary penalty, but the same punishment which he suffered—death. While his trial was pending, his friends went about boasting that they had bribed upwards of 2000 men (§ 12). Let it be proved to them that no amount of bribery can save evil-doers. If the citizens are wise, they will reclaim what is their own (§§ 8—14).
Like the speeches Against Ergokles and Against Epikrates, this is the address of an official prosecutor, and of one who had but a subordinate part to perform. It has the characteristic excellences of the other two, compactness and vigour; but it is necessarily inferior to the speech Against Ergokles, in which the greater importance of the cause calls forth more oratorical vigour.