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Proems of Lysias and Isaeos compared.

Good illustrations are afforded by those ‘proems,’ or openings, of Lysian and Isaean speeches which Dionysios has compared1. In the speech of Lysias ‘For Pherenikos2,’ an Athenian citizen thus prefaces his defence of his Theban friend:—

‘I think, judges, I must first tell you of my

1. Lysias, ‘For Pherenikos.’
friendship with Pherenikos, lest some of you should wonder why I, who have never been any man's advoeate before, am his now. His father Kephisodotos was my friend, judges; and when we were exiles at Thebes I stayed with him—I, and any other Athenian who would; and many were the good offices, public and private, that we received from him before we came home. Well, when he and his son had the like fortune, and came to Athens banished men, I thought that I owed them the fullest recompense, and made them so thoroughly at home in my house that no one coming in could have told, unless he knew before, whether it belonged to them or to me. Pherenikos knows as well as other people, judges, that there are plenty of better speakers than I, and better experts in affairs of this kind; but still he thinks that my close friendship is the best thing he can trust to. So, when he appeals to me and asks me to give him my honest help, I think it would be a shame to let him be deprived, if I can help it, of what Androkleides gave him.’

Now take the opening of a speech by Isaeos3. The speaker, Xenokles, is asserting the liberty of a freedman named Eumathes whom the heirs of his former master claimed as a slave:—

‘Once, judges, on a former occasion, I proved

Isaeos, ‘For Eumathes’
useful to Eumathes the defendant; and, on this, I shall be justified in aiding you, as best I can, to rescue him. Allow me, however, to say a few words to guard against any of you fancying that it is in a petulant spirit, or in any mood of aggression, that I have meddled with his concerns. When I was trierarch in the archonship of Kephisodoros, and tidings came to my kinsfolk that I had been killed in the sea fight,—property of mine being then in the hands of Eumathes,—he sent for my relations and friends, produced the property which I had entrusted to him, and restored the whole amount correctly and honestly. When I returned in safety, I therefore became still more intimate with him; and, when he proposed to establish a bank, I made him a farther advance. When, subsequently, Dionysios claimed him, I vindicated his freedom, knowing that he had been made free in a lawcourt by Epigenes.’

Lysias wrote a defence4 for a guardian whom his wards had accused of abusing the trust:—

‘It is not enough, judges, for guardians to have

Lysias, ‘Against the sons of Hippokrates.
all the trouble they have from their office, but, for keeping their friends’ properties together, they are vexatiously accused by the orphans in many cases; and such is my case now. I was appointed trustee, judges, of the estate of Hippokrates, I managed the property till the sons came of age, I handed over to them the money which had been left in my keeping, and now they bring a vexatious and unjust law-suit against me.’

Isaeos, too, wrote a defence for a guardian against his ward:—

‘I could have wished, judges, that the plaintiff's

Isaeos, ‘Defence of a Guardian.’
tendencies, where money is concerned, had not been so discreditable as to engage him in designs on the property of others and in law-suits such as the present. With better reason still might I have wished that my own nephew, the master of a patrimony ample enough for the discharge of public services, a patrimony of which you placed him in possession, had looked after his own fortune instead of grasping at mine. Thrift might have given him a better name with all men; and a larger liberality would have made him a better citizen for you. Now, however, as he has squandered, mortgaged, disgracefully and miserably wrecked his own property, and trusting to cabals and clap-trap, has assailed mine, there is nothing for it, I suppose—however much one may deplore such a character in a relation—but to meet his charges or his irrelevant slanders with the most energetic reply that I can address to you.’

Lysias supplied a defence5 to a young Athenian who had lately succeeded to his paternal estate, and who was sued by one Archebiades for a debt alleged to have been contracted by the defendant's father:—

‘As soon as Archebiades brought this action

3. Lysias, ‘Against Archebiades.’
against me, judges, I went to him, represented that I was young, unskilled in such affairs, and not at all desirous of entering a law-court. ‘I appeal to you, then,’ I said, ‘not to make capital out of my inexperience, but to take my friends and your own into council and explain to them how the debt arose. If they think your story true, you shall have no more trouble, you shall get your money and go your way. You ought, however, to give the full and complete story,—since the transaction was before my time,—in order that we may learn any facts that we do not know before we discuss your case, and so determine, if possible, whether you are making a dishonest attempt on my property, or are trying to get back your own.’ This was my challenge;—but he would never consent to have a meeting, or to talk over his claims, or refer them to arbitration, until you enacted the law concerning arbitrators.’

Isaeos wrote a speech for a man who claimed from his demesmen a farm which he had pledged to them; the speaker is supposed to be young and untrained (ἰδιώτης); and he begins thus:—

‘I should have wished, judges, if possible, not

Isaeos, ‘Against the Demesmen.’
to be injured by any of my fellowcitizens—or, at least, to have found adversaries with whom my controversy would have caused me less disquietude. But now I am in a very painful situation; I am wronged by the men of my own deme, whom I can scarcely allow to rob me, yet with whom it is distressing to quarrel, seeing that our common rites must be celebrated in their society. It is hard, of course, to hold one's own against a multitude; numbers are no small help to plausibility; nevertheless, as I felt confident in my case, though a host of trying circumstances beset me, I resolved that I would not shrink from the endeavour to obtain my rights by your aid. I ask you, then, to be indulgent if, youthful as I am, I have ventured to address a court. It is through the fault of those who wrong me that I am compelled to take a part so alien from my character. But I will attempt to set the case before you from the outset, and in the fewest words.’

1 The three pairs of proems which follow are given by Dionysios De Isaeo, cc. 5—11, in this order.—(1) c. 5, Isaeos ‘For Eumathes,’ c. 6, Lysias ‘For Pherenikos’; c. 7, comments. (2) c. 8, Isaeos ‘Defence of a Guardian,’ Lysias ‘Against the sons of Hippokrates’; c. 9, comments. (3) c 10, Isaeos ‘Against the Demesmen,’ Lysias ‘Against Archebiades’; c. 11, comments.Speaking of Lysias and Isaeos, Sir W. Jones says in his Prefatory Discourse (XI.) that it is ‘almost impossible to convey in our language an adequate notion of the nice distinction between the different originals’; but this is too strong; and the ethical contrast in the specimens taken by Dionysios lessens the difficulty.

2 Vol. I. p. 312.

3 For a notice of these and the two following fragments of Isaeos, see ch. XXI. ad finem.

4 The speech ‘Against the sons of Hippokrates,’ vol. I. p. 313.

5 The speech ‘Against Archebiades,’ vol. I. p. 314.

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