Τετραλογία3 speech 1— An elderly man having died of blows received in a quarrel, the youth who had dealt them is accused of murder before the Areiopagus. The accuser's first address expresses in a striking form the religious view of homicide as a defilement. See Attic Orators, I. 55.
τοὺς πρώτους γενομένους Cp. Hes. Op. 109, χρύσεον μὲν πρώτιστα γένος μερόπων ἀνθρώπων | ἀθάνατοι ποίησαν... καρπὸν δ᾽ ἔφερε ζείδωρος ἄρουρα | αὐτομάτη πολλόν τε καὶ ἄφθονον.
τῶν ἀλιτηρίων ‘avenging spirits’. The gods under whose protection the murdered person stood, and to whom his spirit turns for vengeance — οἱ τῶν ἀποθανόντων προστρόπαιοι (§ 4) — become ἀλιτήριοι, punishers of sin, in relation to the murderer. The commoner sense of ἀλιτήριος is ‘sinful’, with a genit. of the god offended or the place polluted (e.g. θεῶν, Ἑλλάδος): for the double meaning, cp. ἀλάστωρ, μιάστωρ, προστρόπαιος, ἀφίκτωρ, προσίκτωρ. οὐ προσῆκον ‘gratuitous’: strictly ‘alien’, — not arising from their own sin. From another point of view, ‘selfinflicted’ woes are οἰκεῖα πάθη, Soph. Ai. 260.
οὐ τιμωροῦντες (1) τιμωρεῖν τινά τινι, to punish A for B's satisfaction: (2) τιμωρεῖσθαί τινά τινι, to revenge oneself on A for wronging B. The accus. is more often omitted with τιμωρεῖν, the dat. with τιμωρεῖσθαι. τοῖς ἐπιτιμίοις A word of poetical cast, like many which the older prose writers used: see Attic Orators, I. 20. Soph. El. 1382, τἀπιτίμια τῆς δυσσεβείας. Lycurg. In Leocr. § 4, τὰ ἐκ τῶν νόμων ἐπιτίμια. καὶ τοῦ ὑμετέρου ἁμαρτ. ὑπαίτιοι ‘responsible for your offence also’. ὑπαίτιος is not ‘accessory’, like μεταίτιος or παραίτιος opposed to παναίτιος, but ‘under’, ‘liable to, αἰτία’.
ὕβρει καὶ ἀκολασίᾳ Cp. note on Tetr. Β. β. § 3. τῶν γεραιοτέρων As τὰ τῶν γ. νόμιμα could not mean ‘the privileges of elders’, we can only render ‘the institutions of our ancestors’. But it may be suspected that the text is corrupt, and that the τὸν γεραιότερον of N points to this. The contention is that he would in any case have been guilty of homicide; but that the offence has been aggravated by violence to a man so much older than himself. After τὸν γεραιότερον, τύψας or a similar participle may have fallen out. ἁμαρτεῖν ‘to miss’: Andoc. De Myst. § 20, δυοῖν τοῖν μεγίστοιν κακοῖν οὐκ ἦν αὐτῷ ἁμαρτεῖν. Cp. δικαιοῦσθαι, ‘to get one's due’, to be punished, Thuc. III. 40.
τιμωρεῖσθαι Middle, ‘to punish Cp. Tetr. Γ. δ. § 11, τὸν δὲ μιαρὸν τῷ χρόνῳ ἀποδόντες φῆναι τοῖς ἔγγιστα τιμωρεῖσθαι ὑπολείπετε. τὴν βουλεύσασαν ψυχήν Cp. Andoc. De Reditu § 24, where he argues that not his σῶμα but his γνώμη was answerable for his deeds: ἡ δὲ γνώμη ἀντὶ τῆς προτέρας ἑτέρα νυνὶ παρέστηκεν. Here, as there, the sinning mind is personified. In Thuc. ψυχή is nearly always ‘the breath of life’ in a physical sense: once, in II. 40 § 3, κράτιστοι τὴν ψυχήν = εὐψυχότατοι, of moral courage.