previous next

Ὑπὲρ τοῦ ἀδυνάτου

. [Or. XXIV.] — ‘For the Invalid’. At Athens a certain allowance was made by the State to the ἀδύνατοι: 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 Senate and then passed by the Ecclesia (§ 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 impeachment (eisangelia); but had, of course, nothing in common with eisangeliae technically so called, except that it was an accusation laid immediately before the Senate. As appears from § 25, the date was later than 403 B.C.; and it might be inferred that the memory of the tyranny in 404 B.C. was no longer very recent. — Attic Orators, I, 254.

§§ 10 — 14.

ἱππικῆς ‘As to my riding, which he has had the hardihood to mention to you, — so little does he fear Fortune, or respect your common sense — the reply is brief’. Τύχη may some day make him ἀδύνατον, and then he will need the cripple's dole: cp. § 22, οὗ μόνου μεταλαβεῖν τύχη μοι ἔδωκεν ἐν τῇ πατρίδι, ‘the only privilege which Fortune [who has afflicted me] has permitted me to enjoy in my country’. Cp. Thuc. v. 104, τύχη ἐκ τοῦ θείου. — οὔτε ὑμᾶς αἰσχ.: because he asks them not to believe their own eyes, § 14.

φιλοσοφεῖν ‘study’. Isocr. Panegyr. § 6, πῶς οὐ χρὴ σκοπεῖν καὶ φιλοσοφεῖν τοῦτον τὸν λόγον; (the theme of a Panhellenic war on Persia): for φιλοσοφία in the general sense of study, see Attic Orators, II. 36.

τὰς μακρ. τῶν ἀναγκ.] ‘for the longer of my necessary excursions’; τῶν ἀναγκαίων is partitive gen., not gen. after μακροτέρας. The longest of his ὁδοί were still only ἀναγκαῖαι.

ἀστράβης ‘If I were wealthy, I should sit at ease on my mule, instead of riding other men's horses’: ἀστράβη, a padded saddle with a back like a chair, used by luxurious persons, who preferred steady-going mules: hence the notion that ἀστρ. meant a mule. Cp. Dem. In Mid. § 133, ἐπ᾽ ἀστράβης ὀχούμενος ἀργυρᾶς. In Lucian Lexiphanes 2, ἀστραβηλάτης= ‘the muleteer’. — ἀνέβαινον: an effort for him, as the ordinary Greek saddle, or rather horsecloth (ἐφίππιον, sc. στρῶμα), of that period had no stirrups.

τοῦτον αὐτὸν...σιωπᾶν ‘that the prosecutor himself should be silent, if he saw me in my mule-saddle (for what could he say?)’ The insertion of ἄν before σιωπᾶν is unnecessary, because the parenthesis, τί γὰρ ἂν καὶ ἔλεγεν; is equivalent to ὥσπερ ἂν ἐσιώπα. — δυνατός, ‘sound’: cp. § 4, τῷ σώματι δύνασθαι.

οἷς ‘when I have the same reason for using both these resources’ (crutches and riding).

κληρ. τῶν . ἀρχ.] ‘to ballot for a place among the nine archons’. The archons were κληρωτοί, chosen by lot, (opp. to αἱρετοί, chosen by χειροτονία,) prob. from Solon's time, though Her. VI. 109 ascribes the change to Cleisthenes. Cp. the pseudo-Lysian or. VI. In Andoc. § 4, ἂν ἔλθῃ κληρωσόμενος τῶν ἐννέα ἀρχόντων καὶ λάχῃ βασιλεύς (draw the lot to be Archon Basileus). — ἀναπήρῳ, ‘a cripple’.

οὐ γὰρ δήπου ‘For I presume that the same person will not be deprived of his allowance by you on the ground that he is able-bodied, and excluded by the presidents of the ballot on the ground that he is physically disabled’: οἱ δέ=οἱ θεσμοθέται, who presided over the ballot for offices: Aeschin. In Ctes. § 13, ἀρχὰς ἐκείνας (opp. to τὰς αἱρετάς) ἃς οἱ θ. ἀποκληροῦσιν ἐν τῷ Θησείῳ.

ὥσπερ ἐπικλήρου When the property of a deceased citizen was inherited by his daughter, her nearest male kinsman was legally entitled to claim her in marriage: and this claim was sometimes enforced, acc. to Isaeus, even when it involved the dissolution of a marriage contracted before her father's death: Isae. or. III. § 64, πολλοὶ συνοικοῦντες ἤδη ἀφῄρηνται τὰς ἑαυτῶν γυναῖκας. So the prosecutor, the ἀδύνατος says with grim humour, seeks to take the συμφορά — dowered as it is with its one obol a day — away from its lawful consort. The Greeks could say, νόσος συνοικεῖ τινί: thus the common idiom would make the fancy seem less strained. For ἀμφισβητεῖν with gen. of the object claimed, cp. Isae. or. v. § 14 (below, p. 170) ἀμφισβητοῦμεν αὐτῷ ἅπαντος τοῦ οἴκου.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: