VII 1 Against Andokides, Or. VI
1. Against Andokides.
[Or. VI.]—This is certainly not the work of Lysias; but in any survey of his works its claim to be ranked with them must at least be examined. It is probable that it was really spoken against Andokides at his trial in 399 B. C. The occasion and the circumstances of that trial have already been discussed1
. Of his three accusers—Kephisios, Epichares and Melêtos—one, Kephisios, is mentioned by the speaker (§ 42): it is possible that the speaker himself may have been one of the other two2
. Two lost pages of the Palatine MS. contained probably the latter part of the speech Against Kallias, and the first part of this speech Against Andokides. But it is not likely that the part thus lost was so large as to include, besides the proem, a connected statement of the whole case. It remains to suppose that such a statement had been made by a previous speaker and is only supplemented
here. This is what might have been expected; Kephisios, the chief accuser, would properly have made the leading speech.
The fragment begins in the middle of a story told to show how surely the goddesses of Eleusis resent an insult. A certain man cheated them of an offering; and there came upon him this doom, that he starved amid plenty; for though good food was set before him, the goddesses made it seem loathsome to him. Let the judges beware, then, of showing mercy to Andokides, whose punishment is claimed by these same deities (§§ 1—3). If he should be acquitted, and, as Archon Basileus, should some day conduct the festival of the Mysteries, what a scandal for comers from all parts of Greece! For he is known to them, not only by his deeds at Athens, but by his conduct during his exile in Sicily, in Italy, in the Peloponnesus, at the Hellespont, in Ionia, at Cyprus (§§ 4—8).
He will say that the decree banishing him from the agora and the temples has been cancelled. Let the advice of Perikles be remembered, that impious men should be liable not only to written laws, but to the unwritten laws of the Eumolpidae. Andokides has aggravated his offence against the gods by presuming to make himself their champion. Before he had been ten days at Athens, he accused Archippos of having defaced a Hermes, and withdrew the charge only on receiving money (§§ 9—12). He will say that it is hard if the informer is to suffer when the denounced have been pardoned. The court is not responsible for that pardon; besides, these men denied their guilt; he confesses it. A man is banished for injuring his fellow; shall he not be banished for injuring the gods? Diagoras of Melos mocked the religion of a strange land; Andokides outraged the religion of his own. It is a further proof of atheism that, not dreading his own crimes, he committed himself to the dangers of the sea. [A notable petitio principii.] But the gods were reserving him for a late reckoning. Let the judges consider what his life has been since his first great crime. Imprisoned, and escaping only by betraying kinsmen and friends;
disfranchised and banished; rejected by oligarchy and by democracy at home, ill-treated by tyrants abroad; and now, in this same year, twice brought to trial! Men ought not to lose faith in the gods because they see Andokides surmount so many dangers: the life of pain thus spared to him is no life (§§ 13—32).
But he is not content to have escaped punishment; he dares to meddle in public affairs, even in the concerns of religion (§§ 33, 34). And now he will be ready with various pleas. That his informations relieved Athens from distress: —but who had first caused it? That the Amnesty shields him: but it was only political. That Kephisios is as bad as he is: perhaps so, but that is irrelevant. That no one will inform in future, if he suffers: nay, he has had his reward— he saved his life. He is now in danger because he has forced himself upon Athens—more shameless than Batrachos, the informer of the Thirty, who at least hid his infamy abroad (§§ 35—45).
Why should Andokides be acquitted? Not for his services in war, for he has never made a campaign. Not for services rendered by his boasted wealth; for at the citizens' sorest need he did not so much as buy them corn (§§ 46—49). [Here, after the ἀνταποδούς
, follows a lacuna: see above, p. 201.]
The profanation of the Mysteries is an old story now, and men's horror of it is faded: but let them for a moment imagine Andokides mocking the awful rites of the Initiated, and then remember the priests standing with their faces to the west, and waving the crimson banners as they cursed him! The city must be purged and the gods appeased by his expulsion. Once, when it was proposed that a Megarian guilty of impiety should be put to death without trial, Diokles said that he ought to be tried indeed, but that every judge must come into court resolved to condemn. And now, let not the judges be moved by entreaty. Compassion is not for murderers but for their victims (§§ 50—55).
The doubt with which Harpokration twice 3
this speech is the only clue to the opinion of the ancients. Modern critics are all but unanimous in rejecting it.
The speech not by Lysias.
The diction shows many words and phrases which Lysias could hardly have used4
; but it is not by the diction nor by the composition5
that his authorship is disproved. The question is decided by broader characteristics. In arrangement Lysias was not faultless; but he would not have tolerated the chaotic disorder which is found here. Again, in several of those passages which dwell on the crimes of Andokides and on the vengeance of the gods there is a certain hollow pathos, a certain falseness and affected elevation, which are utterly remote from the style of Lysias. Further the whole speech has what may be called (in the Greek sense) a sycophantic
tone; it is rancorous, palpably unfair and prodigal of unproved assertion. Lastly it is singularly deficient in the foremost general quality of Lysias—in tact; it is preeminently a blundering speech. The accuser makes at least four mistakes. First, he recites at length the sufferings which Andokides has been enduring without respite for the last sixteen years; intending thereby to prove the displeasure of the gods, but forgetting that he was more likely
to move the compassion of men. Secondly, he observes that, strange to say, Andokides has always come safely through his perils; but that it would be wrong to suppose the gods capable of protecting him;—an awkward allusion to the natural inference, and almost a prophecy of acquittal. Thirdly, in noticing the charges brought by Andokides against Kephisios, he allows that there is something in them, and objects to them only as irrelevant; thus needlessly throwing over his own colleague, the leader of the prosecution. Fourthly, he ends by begging the court to remember a saying of his own grandfather—that, in certain cases, it was the duty of the judges to be prejudiced against the accused. Any one of these faults would have been striking: taken together, they make the authorship of Lysias inconceivable.
It is a further question whether this Accusation
Was the author a contemporary of Lysias or a later sophist?
was written by a contemporary of Lysias and was actually delivered in the Mysteries-trial, or is merely a rhetorical exercise of later date. Those who take the latter view, lay stress upon the discrepancies between this speech and the speech of Andokides On the Mysteries. Two of these discrepancies are important. (1) Andokides complains of having been specially charged with denouncing his own father (De Myst.
§ 19): here, he is only accused generally of denouncing his kinsfolk (§ 23). Again (2) he speaks of having been charged with placing a suppliant's bough in the temple at Eleusis (De Myst.
§ 110); here nothing of the kind is mentioned. But in regard to such differences, it should be
remembered that this speech, itself mutilated, was not the only one for the prosecution; and that, where the subjects of accusation were so large and covered so many years, it would have been strange if every point had been touched by every accuser. On the other hand a rhetorician who had prepared himself by studying the Speech On the Mysteries would have aimed at a more exact correspondence with it. He would probably have taken the charges against Andokides in the order set by his model, and have given paragraph for paragraph, or at least topic for topic. He must have been a subtle artist indeed, if with a general agreement he combined so many intentional differences of detail. It may be noticed that in § 46. Andokides is said to be ‘upwards of forty years old.’ This statement has been used as an argument for the late origin of the speech by those who identify the orator Andokides with the general named by Thucydides (I. 51) as holding a command in 435 B.C. But if, as is most probable, the general was the grandfather of the orator, and the age of the latter in 399 B.C. was really about forty, then the statement in § 46 is one reason the more for ascribing the speech to a contemporary of Andokides6
. As regards the faults of expression, of method or of general tone, these help to disprove the authorship of Lysias; but they are not of a kind which help to prove that the
author was a late sophist. Bad taste is of no age; and the fact of being contemporary with Lysias need not have given a good style to Epichares or Melêtos.