IV. 3. Against Philon, Or. XXXI
3. Against Philon.
[Or. XXXI.]—This speech may be considered as a companion-piece to the last; being an Accusation, as the other is probably a Defence, at a dokimasia for the Senate. Philon—a man otherwise unknown—had been chosen by lot a member of the Senate of Five Hundred; and had appeared before that body, with others designated to places in it, in order to pass the scrutiny. The speaker, himself a senator, comes forward to oppose the admission of Philon. The date cannot be fixed. Philon is accused of having gone about Attica, plundering ‘the oldest of the citizens,’ who had stayed quietly in their
demes (§ 18); and some of these citizens were still alive: some time between 404 and 395 B. C. may therefore be assumed.
The speaker begins by protesting that no private enmity, but only regard to his oath as senator, induces him to appear against Philon. What is the definition of a worthy senator? One who both is, and desires to be, a citizen (§ 5). Now when the troubles came on Athens [405 B. C.], Philon proved how little he valued his citizenship. He neither stayed with the oligarchs in the town, nor joined the exiles at Phylê,
but went to Orôpus—paid the resident-alien's tax, and lived under the protection of a patron. This shall be proved by witnesses (§§ 1—14). If he says that he was unfit for fighting, it can be shown that his name does not appear among those of the citizens who, instead of personal service, paid money or armed their demesmen (§§ 15, 16). Nor was he merely passive: he did positive wrong to aged citizens of Athens whom he met with in the country (§§ 17—19). This corresponds with his treatment of his own mother, who transferred the keeping of her money from her son to a stranger (§§ 20—23). Why should such as he be a senator? The betrayer of a garrison, a fleet, or a camp is punished; but Philon has betrayed the State itself (§§ 24—26).
‘He has broken no law,’ he says. No: for an offence so enormous was never expressly contemplated by any legislator (§§ 27, 28). If the aliens who helped Athens in her need were honoured, surely the citizens who abandoned her should be disgraced. The advocates who claim honour for Philon now would have done better had they advised him to deserve it then (§§ 29—33). Let each senator ask himself why he
was admitted to that dignity, and he will see why Philon ought to be shut out from it (§ 34).
The tone of this address is in contrast with that
The attack strong, but temperate.
of the protest against the election of Evandros: it is severe and decided, but not bitter or unfair. A character which seems to have been really contemptible is drawn without passion, each statement being supported by evidence; and the assertion of the speaker, that only a sense of duty prompted him to accuse, is at least not contradicted by his method. The style is rhetorical, and rather more openly artificial than is usual with Lysias (see esp. §§ 11, 32); but it has all his compactness and force—of which the short appeal at the end is a good example. One point of
Allusion to the crime of Neutrality.
historical interest comes out. Philon is accused of
having taken part, in 405 B. C., neither with oligarchs nor with democrats. He pleads:—‘Had it been an offence not to be present at such a time, a law would have been made expressly on that subject.’ The answer is, that, owing to the inconceivable enormity of the offence, no law has been enacted on the subject (§ 27). So completely had Solon's enactment against neutrality—to which the speaker could have appealed with so much rhetorical effect—passed out of the remembrance of that generation1