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6. Against Aeschines.

6. Against Aeschines.—The Aeschines in question here is that disciple whom Sokrates once advised ‘to borrow from himself by shortening his commons’1. Athenaeos2 quotes a curious passage from this speech by way of exemplifying the truth that philosophers are not always philosophers. ‘Who would have supposed,’ he says, ‘that Aeschines the Sokratic had been such a character as Lysias makes him in one of his speeches on contracts?’ (ἐν τοῖς τῶν συμβολαίων λόγοις.) The ‘contract’ to which the speech cited by Athenaeos referred was a debt, due from Aeschines to the speaker. It is not clear, as Blass remarks, how Aeschines came to be plaintiff instead of defendant in the action; that he was so, however, is plain from the opening words. Aeschines had applied for a loan to help him to set up in business as a distiller of perfumes (τέχνην μυρεψικὴν κατασκευάζεσθαι). The speaker had lent him the money, ‘reflecting that this Aeschines had been a disciple of Sokrates, and was in the habit of discoursing impressively concerning Justice and Virtue.’ Then come some scandalous stories about Aeschines. The genuineness of the speech has been elaborately attacked by Welcker3, who takes it to be the work of a later rhetorician, inspired by hatred of philosophers generally. He thinks it too coarsely defamatory for Lysias. This kind of argument is scarcely satisfactory when not supported by particular evidence; and in this case there is none. Sauppe and Blass seem right, then, in holding the fragment to be genuine. The broad comedy of the latter part is remarkable4.

1 Diog. Laert. II. 62, φασὶ δ᾽ αὐτῷ λέγειν Σωκράτην, ἐπειδήπερ ἐπιέζετο ὑπὸ πενίας, παρ᾽ ἑαυτοῦ δανείζεσθαι τῶν σιτίων ὑφαιροῦντα.

2 XIII. p. 611 D.

3 The substance of his view, as explained in an essay, Unachtheit der Rede des Lysias gegen den Sokratiker Aeschines, is given by Sauppe, O. A. II. p. 170.

4 Besides this fragment — to which Athenaeos (XIII. p. 611 D) gives the title, πρὸς Αἰσχίνην τὸν Σωκρατικὸν χρεώς—two others are cited by the lexicographers; viz. (1) κατ᾽ Αἰσχίνου περὶ τῆς δημεύσεως τῶν Ἀριστοφάνους χρημάτων: Harpokr. s. v. Χύτροι: and (2) πρὸς Αἰσχίνην βλάβης: Bekker anecd. p. 132, 23. Sauppe thinks that neither of the two latter was against the Sokratic. Aeschines was one of the commonest names. Diogenes Laertius (II. 64) mentions eight bearers of the name who were all more or less distinguished. The speech περὶ συκοφαντίας which Diogenes notices in the same chapter as having been written by Lysias against the Sokratic Aeschines is very likely that from which our fragment comes: see its opening words—νομίζω δ᾽ οὐκ ἂν ῥᾳδίως αὐτὸν ἑτέραν ταύτης (δίκην) συκοφαντωδεστέραν ἐξευρεῖν.

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