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And yet, Athenians, must we not call it a crime, or rather an impiety, to say that a man is a murderer and then swear that one has never said this to reproach a man with murder and then sit in the same room with him? And if I let him off now and so stultify your vote of condemnation, I am an innocent man apparently; but if I proceed with my case, I am a deserter, I am accessory to a murder, I deserve extermination. I am quite of the contrary opinion, men of Athens. If I had let Meidias off, then I should have been a deserter from the cause of justice, and I might reasonably have charged myself with murder, for life would have been impossible for me, had I acted thus.
Men of Athens, you have now heard how many outrages I endured, both in my own person and in the performance of my public service, and how many escapes I have had from plots and ill-treatment of every kind. Yet I have omitted much, for it was not easy perhaps to mention everything. But the case is this. By none of his acts was I alone wronged, but in the wrongs inflicted on the chorus my whole tribe, the tenth part of the citizens, shared; by his plots and attacks against me he wronged the laws, to which each of you looks for protection;lastly by all these acts he wronged the god to whose service I had been dedicated and that divine and awful power beyond our ken—the power of Holiness.
Those who would exact from him an adequate punishment for his misdeeds must not let their indignation be checked by the reflection that I alone am concerned, but must base the penalty on the ground that all alike are victims of the same wrong—the laws, the gods, the city of Athens; and they must look upon those who support him and are marshalled in his defence as something more than mere advocates, as men who set the seal of their approval to his acts
Now if, men of Athens, Meidias had in other respects behaved with decency and moderation, if he had never injured any other citizen, but had confined his brutality and violence to me, I might, in the first place, consider this a piece of my own bad luck, and, in the second place, I should be afraid lest, by pointing to the moderation and humanity of the rest of his life, he might so evade punishment for his outrage on me.
But now, I believe, his champions are Polyeuctus and Timocrates and the ragamuffin Euctemon. Such are the mercenaries that he keeps about him; and there are others besides, an organized gang of witnesses, who do not openly force themselves upon you, but readily give a silent nod of assent to his lies. [I do not of course imagine that they make anything out of him, but there are some people, men of Athens, who are strangely prone to abase themselves towards the wealthy, to attend upon them, and to give witness in their favour.]
History tells us that Alcibiades lived at Athens in the good old days of her prosperity, and I want you to consider what great public services stand to his credit and how your ancestors dealt with him when he thought fit to behave like a ruffian and a bully. And assuredly it is not from any desire to compare Meidias with Alcibiades that I mention this story. I am not so foolish or infatuated. My object, men of Athens, is that you may know and feel that there is not, and never will be, anything—not birth, not wealth, not power—that you, the great mass of citizens, ought to tolerate, if it is coupled with insolen
But these were not his only claims, for he had also taken arms in the cause of democracy, twice in Samos and a third time in Athens itself, displaying his patriotism, not by gifts of money or by speeches, but by personal service. He had also to his credit for the Olympian chariot-race and victories there, and we are told that he was regarded as the best general and the ablest speaker of the day.
If, men of Athens, public service consists in saying to you at all the meetings of the Assembly and on every possible occasion, “We are the men who perform the public services; we are those who advance your tax-money; we are the capitalists”—if that is all it means, then I confess that Meidias has shown himself the most distinguished citizen of Athens; for he bores us at every ing to you at all the meetings of the Assembly and on every possible occasion, “We are the men who perform the public services; we are those who advance your tax-money; we are the capitalists”—if that is all it means, then I confess that Meidias has shown himself the most distinguished citizen of Athens; for he bores us at every Assembly by these tasteless and tactl
But, mark you, he gave us a war-galley! I am sure he will brag about that vessel. “I,” he will say, “presented you with a trireme.” Now this is how you must deal with him. If, men of Athens, he gave it from patriotic motives, be duly grateful and pay him the thanks that such a gift deserves. But do not give him a chance to air his insolence; that must not be conceded as the price of any act or deed. If, on the other hand, it is proved that his motive was cowardice and malingering, do not be led astray. How then will you know? This too I will explain. I will tell you the story from the start: it is not a lo
Voluntary gifts were first introduced at Athens for the expedition to Euboea. Meidias was not one of those volunteers, but I was, and my colleague was Philinus, the son of Nicostratus. There was a second call subsequently for Olynthus. Meidias was not one of those volunteers either. Yet surely the public-spirited man ought to be found at his post on every occasion. We have now these voluntary gifts for the third time, and this time he did make an offer. But how? Though present in the Council when the gifts were being received, he made no offer then.