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Περὶ τοῦ μὴ καταλῦσαι τὴν πάτριον πολιτείαν Ἀθήνησι

[Or. XXXIV.] — ‘A Plea against abolishing the ancestral Constitution of Athens’: a fragment, preserved (like the last) by Dionysius. When, after the fall of the Thirty, the Democracy was restored in 403 B.C., it was the aim of Sparta to restrict it. One Phormisios proposed in the Ecclesia that only land-owners should have the franchise, a measure which, according to Dionysius, would have excluded about five thousand citizens. The speech from which he gives an extract was made against this motion during a debate in the Ecclesia. It appears to have been written by Lysias for some wealthy citizen who was not personally affected by the proposal, and may probably be regarded as the earliest of the orator's works now known. — Attic Orators, I. 211.

τὰς γεγεν. συμφοράς ‘our past misfortunes’: the defeat at Aegospotami, which was popularly ascribed to oligarchic treason (see on Lys. In Eratosth. § 36, p. 256), the surrender of Athens, and the tyranny of the Thirty. The date of the speech is shortly after the restoration of the Democracy in 413 B.C.

ὥστε μηδ᾽ ἄν ‘So that not even a later generation [much less our own] could desire a change in the constitution [from Democracy to Oligarchy]’. μηδ᾽ ἂν ἐπιθυμεῖν, oblique of οὐκ ἂν ἐπιθυμοῖεν. — ἀμφοτέρων: Democracy and Oligarchy.

πρότερον Δὶς ἤδη. καὶ So Dobree for πρότερον. διὸ δὴ καὶ: — δίς referring to (1) the Revolution of the 400 in 411 B.C., and (2) the tyranny of the Thirty. This gives more point. Yet διὸ δὴ καὶ is possible. ‘For that very reason [i.e. just because you have had these experiences], though I do not marvel at them, I marvel at you’.

τούτων...ὑμῶν As we often have θαυμάζω τοῦτο ὑμῶν, ‘I wonder at this in (belonging to) you’, so also θαυμάζω ὑμῶν ὅτι ἐστέ, κ.τ.λ., where ὅτι ἐστέ=τὸ εἶναι ὑμᾶς.

Πειραιῶς...ἄστεος ‘men whose fortune associated them with the party of the Peiraeus [the patriots whom Thrasybulus led from Phylè], but whose sympathies were with the party of the Town’ [the oligarchical adherents of the Tyranny]. See note below on In Eratosth. § 92, p. 74.

<οὔτε πλούτῳ>] Markland's conj. to supply the lacuna, before οὔτε γένει, is better than οὔτε ἡλικίᾳ (Stephanus) or οὔτε οὐσίᾳ (Sauppe). ‘Though I am not in danger of exclusion [from the franchise] on the score either of wealth or of birth, but have in both respects the advantage of my opponents’. The proposed restriction of the franchise probably threatened to exclude all who could not satisfy some definition of a pure Attic descent (γένος), as well as those who did not possess a certain property qualification (πλοῦτος).

ἐκτήμεθα ‘we possessed’, from ἐκτήμην, plup. for ἐκεκτήμην, as in Andoc. De Pace § 37, Her. II. 108: v. l. ἐκτησάμεθα, ‘when we acquired’, i.e. ‘after we had acquired’.

οὐχ ὅπως <ἄτιμον> Ἀθ. τινὰ ποιήσομεν διενοούμεθα ‘We did not think of disfranchising any Athenian’. Note that the constr. differs from (though it is akin to) that in which οὐχ ὅπως...ἀλλά=‘not only not...but’: for this we should need ποιῆσαι. Cp. Lysias κατὰ Φίλωνος (or. XXXI.) § 17, οὗτος τοίνυν οὐχ ὅπως ὠφελήσει τὴν πόλιν ἐν τοιούτῳ καιρῷ καὶ τοιαύτῃ καταστάσει διενοήθη, ἀλλ᾽ ὅπως τι κερδανεῖ ἀπὸ τῶν ὑμετέρων συμφορῶν παρεσκευάσατο.

Εὐβοεῦσιν ‘we even proposed to confer on Euboeans the right of intermarriage with Athenians’: probably at some time subsequent to the revolt and reduction of the island in 445 B.C. ‘In Euboea two-thirds of the island gradually became the property of Attic citizens’ (Curt. Hist. Gr. II. 486), i.e. of κληροῦχοι. — ἐπιγαμία, one of the privileges of ἰσοπολιτεία, or admission to the citizenship of a foreign state: others were ἀτέλεια (exemp tion from the taxes on aliens) and ἔγκτησις, right of acquiring land.

ἀπολοῦμεν ‘ruin’ (by disfranchisement): so the mss.: Bekker ἀπελῶμεν, ‘eject from their rights’.

μετὰ τῶν τειχῶν ‘along with the walls’ (of Athens, demolished in 404 B.C. under the terms imposed by Sparta).

πλέον ‘better’ (than you could hope to do otherwise).

ἐν ταῖς ἐφ̓ ἡμῶν ὀλ. γ.] ‘under the oligarchies that have arisen in our own time’: those, namely, of 411 and 404 B.C. — ἐν is rightly supplied by Reiske.

ἄλλως τε καὶ μεμν ‘Especially when you remember that the champions of oligarchy, while nominally waging war on Democracy, are in fact lusting for your property’: alluding to the recent spoliations by the Thirty. See Lys. In Eratosth. § 6 (below, p. 66), καλλίστην...πρόφασιν τιμωρεῖσθαι μὲν δοκεῖν, τῷ δ᾽ ἔργῳ χρηματίζεσθαι (‘to make money’ — in reference to the raid of the Tyrants on the μέτοικοι). On the art. with ὀλιγαρχίας, δήμῳ, cp. ib. § 97, note.

ἐρῶσι...προστάττουσιν ‘And then, these persons who are so enamoured of your possessions — what safety are they to find for the city, unless we do what Sparta bids us? But I would ask them to tell me, what will be left to the people, supposing that we obey her behests?’ i.e. the proposed narrowing of the franchise would so diminish the number of ὁπλῖται and ἱππεῖς as to leave Athens, in a military sense, at the mercy of Sparta; and if Sparta's dictation were obeyed, the end would be an Oligarchy of the closest type — like that of the Thirty. With Markland's ἐρωτῶσι (adopted by Baiter and Sauppe) we must strike out τοῖς (as they have not done), and render: — ‘And then they ask, How is the city to save your property, unless we do what Sparta bids us?’ But the tenor of the argument clearly supports the ἐρῶσι of the mss.

Ἀργείους...Μαντινέας ‘Now I observe that the Argives and Mantineians, while they maintain the same policy’ [i.e. have democratic governments, instead of oligarchies servile to Sparta], ‘are in possession of their territory, though the Argives (τοὺς μέν) touch the frontier of Lacedaemon, and the Mantineians (τοὺς δέ) are its neighbours, — the citizens of Argos being not more numerous than we are, while those of Mantineia do not number 3000’. Clinton (F. H. II. 517) computes that at this time Argos and Athens may each have had about 16,000 male citizens, which would give a total free population for each of about 66,000: similarly the free population of Mantineia and its territory would be about 13,000 (ib. p. 507).

ἴσασι sc. οἱ Λακεδαιμόνιοι: τούτων, the Argives and Mantineians.

ὥστε οὐ καλός ‘And so the venture strikes them as offering inglorious alternatives; if they conquer their neighbours, they must enslave them too (γε): if they are vanquished, they will have robbed themselves of the advantages which they now enjoy’. Reiske's insertion of οὐ before καταδουλώσεσθαι (adopted by Baiter and Sauppe) seems to me to make nonsense of the whole sentence. Lys. does not mean ‘the risk of failing to enslave them’ (where, too, we should expect μή, not οὐ), but the discredit of being compelled to enslave them, in order to avoid τὸ πολλάκις ἐμβάλλειν.

<ἧττον>] The sense shows that Reiske is right in supplying ἧττον. It is perhaps to be supplied before ἀποδεξαμένους in Antiph. Tetr. B. β. § 2 (above, p. 2, where see note).

τὴν χώραν τεμν Cp. Thuc. II. 62 (Pericles to the Athenians, during the Peloponnesian invasion of 430 B.C.), οὐδ᾽ εἰκὸς χαλεπῶς φέρειν αὐτῶν (for your lands and houses) μᾶλλον οὐ κηπίον καὶ ἐγκαλλώπισμα πλούτου πρὸς ταύτην (the naval empire of Athens) νομίσαντες ὀλιγωρῆσαι.

κίνδυνος οὗτος ‘We know that on this one cast all our hopes of welfare are staked’: κίνδ. οὗτος, i.e. περὶ τῆς πατρίδος, the question whether the πάτριος πολιτεία (the Democracy) is to be maintained or not.

τὸ δίκαιον We can say, ἐπανορθοῦν (or even πράσσειν) ἐπὶ τὸ δίκαιον, to amend (or to act) ‘in the direction of right’; but hardly εἶναι μετὰ τῶν ἀδικ. ἐπὶ τὸ δίκ., to be on the side of the wronged in the cause of right: hence Taylor's omission of ἐπὶ seems warranted. ‘Trusting in the gods, and hoping that Justice will be the ally of the injured’. μένκαί, (as μέντε Soph. O. T. 498), Thuc. II. 65, τρία μὲν ἔτη ἀντεῖχον ...καὶ οὐ πρότερον ἐνέδοσαν. — If the subject to ἔσεσθαι is θεούς understood, τὸ δίκ.=‘as is just’, an acc. like τὸ λεγόμενον (Thuc. VII. 68): but this is too harsh.

φευξόμεθα ‘go into exile’ — as the mass of Athenian citizens had actually done when the Thirty limited the franchise to 3000; see Lys. In Eratosth. § 95, p. 76, and notes, p. 258.

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