IV. 5. For the Invalid, Or. XXIV
5. For the Invalid.
[Or. XXIV.]—This speech may conveniently be classed with the four preceding, since it was written for a dokimasia, although the scrutiny in this case was of a different kind. At
Public Charity at Athens.
Athens a certain allowance was made by the State to the ἀδύνατοι1
: that is, to persons who were unable, through bodily ailment, to earn a livelihood, and who had less than three minae of private property. Once a year, or perhaps oftener, the list of applicants for such relief was scrutinised by the Senate2
and then passed by the ekklesia (§ 22). It is on the occasion of such a scrutiny that the present speech is made. The speaker had for years (§ 8) been in receipt of an obol daily (§ 26) from the State; but lately it had been attempted to show that he was not entitled to public relief. This objection is termed in the title to the speech (not in the speech itself) an eisangelia; but had, of course, nothing in common with eisangeliae technically so called except that it was an
accusation laid immediately before the Senate. The
date appears from § 25 to have been later than 403 B. C.
Having premised that jealousy is the only conceivable
motive for this attack upon him, the speaker comes to the two objections which have been made to his receiving the public alms:—that he is not really a cripple; and that he has a trade (§§ 1—4). He answers the second objection first (§§ 5—9); and then refutes the other with a good deal of grim humour (§§ 10—14). Lastly, he defends his general character (§§ 15—20), and concludes with an entreaty not to be deprived of his obol a day (§§ 21—27).
to have doubted the genuineness
No ground for doubting the genuineness.
of this speech; possibly on the ground taken by Boeckh4
—that Lysias would not have written, nor the Senate endured, so elaborate an address on such a subject. This seems a most unsafe argument against a composition excellent of its kind, and excellent in a way suggestive of Lysias. The humour, broad, but stopping short of burlesque, exactly suits the condition of the speaker; and there is true art in the ironical pathos of the invalid, when, using an Attic illustration, he remarks that his infirmity is disputed with him by his adversary as eagerly as if it were an heiress (§ 14).