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[66] For all breaches of the law alike, however small, they fixed upon the death penalty, making no special allowances, in their assessment of the magnitude of crimes, for the individual circumstances of each. On one point only they insisted: was the crime such that, if it became more widespread, it would do serious harm to society? And it is absurd to face this question in any other way. Just imagine, gentlemen. Suppose someone had entered the Metroon1 and erased one law and then excused himself on the grounds that the city was not endangered by the loss of just this one. Would you not have killed him? I think you would have been justified in doing so, at least if you intended to save the other laws.

1 The Metroon or temple of Cybele, which stood in the market place, contained the state archives.Cf. Dem. 19.129.

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    • Demosthenes, On the False Embassy, 129
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