[DEMOSTHENES] LIX

THEOMNESTUS AND APOLLODORUS

AGAINST NEAERA

III

 


88. I wish now, men of Athens, to bring before you the testimony also of the Athenian civic body, to show you how great care they take in regard to these religious rites. For the civic body of Athens, although it has supreme authority over all things in the state, and it is in its power to do whatsoever it pleases, yet regarded the gift of Athenian citizenship as so honourable and so sacred a thing that it enacted in its own restraint laws to which it must conform, when it wishes to create a citizen--laws which now have been dragged through the mire by Stephanus and those who contract marriages of this sort.

89. However, you will be the better for hearing them, and you will know that these people have debased the most honourable and the most sacred gifts, which are granted to the benefactors of the state.

In the first place, there is a law imposed upon the people forbidding them to bestow Athenian citizenship upon any man who does not deserve it because of distinguished services to the Athenian people. In the next place, when the civic body has been thus convinced and bestows the gift, it does not permit the adoption to become valid, unless in the next ensuing assembly more than six thousand Athenians confirm it by a secret ballot.

90. And the law requires the presidents to set out the ballot boxes and to give the ballots to the people as they come up before the non citizens have come in and the barriers have been removed, in order that every one of the citizens, being absolutely free from interference, may form his own judgement regarding the one whom he is about to make a citizen, whether the one about to be so adopted is worthy of the gift. Furthermore, after this the law permits to any Athenian who wishes to prefer it an indictment for illegality against the candidate, and he may come into court and prove that the person in question is not worthy of the gift, but has been made a citizen contrary to the laws.

91. And there have been cases ere now when, after the people had bestowed the gift, deceived by the arguments of those who requested it, and an indictment for illegality had been preferred and brought into court, the result was that the person who had received the gift was proved to be unworthy of it, and the court took it back. To review the many cases in ancient times would be a long task; I will mention only those which you all remember: Peitholas the Thessalian, and Apollonides the Olynthian, after having been made citizens by the people, were deprived of the gift by the court.

92. These are not events of long ago of which you might be ignorant.

However, although the laws regarding citizenship and the steps that must be taken before one may become an Athenian are so admirably and so securely established, there is yet another law which has been enacted in addition to all these, and this law is of paramount validity; such great precautions have the people taken in the interest of themselves and of the gods, to the end that the sacrifices on the state's behalf may be offered in conformity with religious usage. For in the case of all those whom the Athenian people may make citizens, the law expressly forbids that they should be eligible to the office of the nine archons or to hold any priesthood; but their descendants are allowed by the people to share in all civic rights, though the proviso is added: if they are born from an Athenian woman who was betrothed according to the law.

93. That these statements of mine are true, I will prove to you by the clearest and most convincing testimony; but I wish first to go back to the origins of the law and to show how it came to be enacted and who those were whom its provisions covered as being men of worth who had shown themselves staunch friends to the people of Athens. For from all this you will know that the people's gift which is reserved for benefactors is being dragged through the mire, and how great the privileges are which are being taken from your control by this fellow Stephanus and those who have married and begotten children in the manner followed by him.

94. The Plataeans, men of Athens, alone among the Greeks came to your aid at Marathon when Datis, the general of King Dareius, on his return from Eretria after subjugating Euboea, landed on our coast with a large force and proceeded to ravage the country. And even to this day the picture in the Painted Stoa exhibits the memorial of their valour; for each man is portrayed hastening to your aid with all speed--they are the band wearing Boeotian caps.

95. And again, when Xerxes came against Greece and the Thebans went over to the side of the Medes, the Plataeans refused to withdraw from their alliance with us, but, unsupported by any others of the Boeotians, half of them arrayed themselves in Thermopylae against the advancing barbarian together with the Lacedaemonians and Leonidas, and perished with them; and the remainder embarked on your triremes, since they had no ships of their own, and fought along with you in the naval battles at Artemisium and at Salamis.

96. And they fought together with you and the others who were seeking to save the freedom of Greece in the final battle at Plataea against Mardonius, the King's general, and deposited the liberty thus secured as a common prize for all the Greeks. And when Pausanias, the king of the Lacedaemonians, sought to put an insult upon you, and was not content that the Lacedaemonians had been honoured by the Greeks with the supreme command, and when your city, which in reality had been the leader in securing liberty for the Greeks, forbore to strive with the Lacedaemonians as rivals for the honour through fear of arousing jealousy among the allies;

97. Pausanias, the king of the Lacedaemonians, puffed up by this, inscribed a distich upon the tripod at Delphi, which the Greeks who had jointly fought in the battle at Plataea and in the sea fight at Salamis had made in common from the spoils taken from the barbarians, and had set up in honour of Apollo as a memorial of their valour. The distich was as follows:

Pausanias, supreme commander of the Greeks, when he had destroyed the host of the Medes, dedicated to Phoebus this memorial.

He wrote thus, as if the achievement and the offering had been his own and not the common work of the allies;

98. and the Greeks were incensed at this, and the Plataeans brought suit on behalf of the allies against the Lacedaemonians before the Amphictyons for one thousand talents, and compelled them to erase the distich and to inscribe the names of all the states which had had a part in the work. This act more than any other drew upon the Plataeans the hatred of the Lacedaemonians and their royal house.

For the moment the Lacedaemonians had no means of dealing with them, but about fifty years later Archidamus, son of Zeuxidamus, king of the Lacedaemonians, undertook in time of peace to seize their city.

99. He did this from Thebes, through the agency of Eurymachus, the son of Leontiadas, the Boeotarch, and the gates were opened at night by Naucleides and some accomplices of his, who had been won over by bribes. The Plataeans, discovering that the Thebans had got within the gates in the night and that their city had been suddenly seized in time of peace, ran to bear aid and arrayed themselves for battle. When day dawned, and they saw that the Thebans were few in number, and that only their first ranks had entered--a heavy rain which had fallen in the night prevented them from all getting in; for the river Asopus was flowing full and was not easy to cross especially in the night;

100. --so, when the Plataeans saw the Thebans in the city and learned that their whole body was not there, they made an attack, overwhelmed them in battle, and destroyed them before the rest arrived to bear them further aid; and they at once sent a messenger to you, telling of what had been done and of their victory in the battle, and to ask for your help in case the Thebans should ravage their country. The Athenians, when they heard what had taken place, hastened to the aid of the Plataeans; and the Thebans, seeing that the Athenians had come to the Plataeans' aid, returned home.

101. So, when the Thebans had failed in their attempt and the Plataeans had put to death those of their number whom they had taken alive in the battle, the Lacedaemonians, without waiting now for any pretext, marched against Plataea. They ordered all the Peloponnesians with the exception of the Argives to send two thirds of their armies from their several cities, and they sent word to all the rest of the Boeotians and the Locrians and Phocians and Malians and Oetaeans and Aenians to take the field with their entire forces. Then they invested the walls of. Plataea with a large force, and made overtures to the Plataeans on terms that, if they would surrender their city to the Lacedaemonians, they should retain their land and enjoy their property, but that they should break off their alliance with the Athenians. The Plataeans refused this offer and made answer that they would do nothing without the Athenians, whereupon the Lacedaemonians besieged them for two years, built a double wall about their city, and made repeated assaults of every conceivable sort.

103. When the Plataeans were quite worn out and were in want of everything, and despaired of safety, they divided themselves by lot into two groups; some of them remained and endured the siege, but the others, waiting for a night when there was rain and a heavy wind, climbed over the wall of circumvallation, unseen of the enemy, cut down the sentinels, and got safely to Athens, but in a desperate plight and beyond all expectation. As for those who remained behind, when the city was taken by storm, all who had reached manhood were killed and the women and children were made slaves--all, that is, save those who, when they saw the Lacedaemonians advancing, got secretly away to Athens.

104. Once more I would have you observe in what way you granted the right to share citizenship with you to men who had thus signally manifested their good will toward your people, and who sacrificed all their possessions and their children and their wives. The decrees which you passed will make the law plain to everybody, and you will know that I am speaking the truth.

(To the clerk.) Take this decree, please, and read it to the jury.

THE DECREE REGARDING THE PLATAEANS

On motion of Hippocrates it is decreed that the Plataeans shall be Athenians from this day, and shall have full rights as citizens, and that they shall share in all the privileges in which the Athenians share, both civil and religious, save any priesthood or religious office which belongs to n particular family, and that they shall not be eligible to the office of the nine archons but their descendants shall be. And the Plataeans shall be distributed among the demes and the tribes, and after they have been so distributed, it shall no longer be lawful for any Plataean to become an Athenian, unless he wins the gift from the people of Athens.

105. You see, men of Athens, how well and how justly the orator framed the decree in the interest of the people of Athens by requiring that the Plataeans, after receiving the gift, should first undergo the scrutiny in the court, man by man, in order to show whether each man was a Plataean and one of the friends of the city, so as to avoid the danger that many might use this pretext to acquire Athenian citizenship; and by requiring further that the names of those who had passed the scrutiny should be inscribed upon a pillar of marble and should be set up in the Acropolis near the temple of the goddess, to the end that the favour granted to them should be preserved for their descendants and that each one of these might be in a position to prove his relationship to one of those receiving the grant.

106. And he does not suffer anyone to become an Athenian in the later period, unless he be made such at the time and be approved by the court, for fear that numbers of people, by claiming to be Plataeans, might acquire for themselves the right of citizenship. And furthermore, he defined at once in the decree the rule applying to the Plataeans in the interest of the city and of the gods, declaring that it should not be permitted to any of them to be drawn by lot for the office of the nine archons or for any priesthood, but that their descendants might be so drawn, if they were born from mothers who were of Attic birth and were betrothed according to the law.

107. Is not this a monstrous thing? In the case of those who were neighbours and who had shown themselves of all the Greeks by common consent to have conferred the greatest benefits upon your state, you thus carefully and accurately defined regarding each one the terms on which they should receive the gift of citizenship; are you then thus shamefully and recklessly to let off unpunished a woman who has openly played the harlot throughout the whole of Greece, who treats the city with outrage and the gods with impiety, and who is a citizen neither by birth nor by the gift of the people?

108. Where has this woman not prostituted herself? To what place has she not gone in quest of her daily wage? Has she not been everywhere in the Peloponnesus, in Thessaly and in Magnesia in the company of Simus of Larisa and Eurydamas son of Medeius, in Chios and most of Ionia, following in the train of Sotadas the Cretan, and was she not let out for hire by Nicarete so long as she belonged to her? What do you suppose a woman does who is subject to men who are not her kinsfolk, and who follows in the train of him who pays her? Does she not serve all the lusts of those who deal with her? Will you, then, declare by your vote that a woman of this stamp, who is known by everybody beyond all question to have plied her trade the whole world over, is an Athenian citizen?

109. What honourable deed will you say that you have done, when people ask you, or with what shame and impiety will you yourselves say that you are not chargeable? For up to the time when this woman was indicted and brought to trial, so that you all learned who she was and what acts of impiety she had committed, the crimes were her own, and the state was merely guilty of neglect; and some of you knew nothing of the matter, and others learning of it expressed their indignation in words but in fact had no means of dealing with her, seeing that nobody brought her to trial or gave an opportunity of casting a vote regarding her. But now that you all know the facts and have got her in your own hands, and have the power to punish her, the sin against the gods becomes your own, if you fail to do so.

110. And when each one of you goes home, what will he find to say to his own wife or his daughter or his mother, if he has acquitted this woman ?--when the question is asked you, " Where were you? " and you answer, " We sat as jury." " Trying whom? " it will at once be asked, " Neaera," you will say, of course, will you not? " because she, an alien woman, is living as wife with an Athenian contrary to law, and because she gave her daughter, who had lived as a harlot, in marriage to Theogenes, the king, and this daughter performed on the city's behalf the rites that none may name, and was given as wife to Dionysus." And you will narrate all the other details of the charge, showing how well and accurately and in a manner not easily forgotten the accusation covered each point.

111. And the women, when they have heard, will say, " Well, what did you do? " And you will say, " We acquitted her." At this point the most virtuous of the women will be angry at you for having deemed it right that this woman should share in like manner with themselves in the public ceremonials and religious rites; and to those who are not women of discretion you point out clearly that they may do as they please, for they have nothing to fear from you or the laws. For if you treat the matter with indifference or toleration, you will yourselves seem to approve of this woman's conduct.

112. It would be far better, therefore, that this trial should never have taken place than that, when it has taken place, you should vote for acquittal; for in that case prostitutes will indeed have liberty to live with whatever men they choose and to name anyone whatever as the father of their children, and your laws will become of no effect, and women of the character of the courtesan will be able to bring to pass whatever they please. Take thought, therefore, also for the women who are citizens, that the daughters of poor men may not fail of marriage.

113. For as things are now, even if a girl be poor, the law provides for her an adequate dowry, if nature has endowed her with even moderate comeliness; but if through the acquittal of this woman you drag the law through the mire and make it of no effect, then the trade of the harlot will absolutely make its way to the daughters of citizens, who through poverty are unable to marry, and the dignity of free born women will descend to the courtesans, if they be given licence to bear children to whomsoever they please, and still to share in all the rites and ceremonies and honours in the state.

114. I would, then, have each one of you consider that he is casting his vote, one in the interest of his wife, one of his daughter, one of his mother, and one in the interest of the state and the laws and of religion, in order that these women may not be shown to be held in like esteem with the harlot, and that women who have been brought up by their relatives with great care and in the grace of modesty and have been given in marriage according to the laws may not be seen to be sharing on an equal footing with a creature who in many and obscene ways has bestowed her favours many times a day on all comers, as each one happened to desire.

115. Forget that I, the speaker, am Apollodorus, and that those who will support and plead for the defendant are citizens of Athens; but consider that the laws and Neaera here are contending in a suit regarding the life which she has led. And when you take up the accusation, listen to the laws themselves, which are the foundation of your civic life, and in accordance with which you have sworn to cast your votes, in order that you may hear what they ordain and in what way the defendants have transgressed them; and when you are concerned with the defence, bear in mind the charges which the laws prefer and the proofs offered by the testimony given; and with a glance at the woman's appearance, consider this and this only--whether she, being Neaera, has done these things.

116. It is worth your while, men of Athens, to consider this also--that you punished Archias, who had been hierophant, when he was convicted in court of impiety and of offering sacrifice contrary to the rites handed down by our fathers. Among the charges brought against him was, that at the feast of the harvest he sacrificed on the altar in the court at Eleusis a victim brought by the courtesan Sinope, although it was not lawful to offer victims on that day, and the sacrifice was not his to perform, but the priestess'. It is, then, a monstrous thing that a man who was of the race of the Eumolpidae, born of honourable ancestors and a citizen of Athens, should be punished for having transgressed one of your established customs; and the pleadings of his relatives and friends did not save him, nor the public services which he and his ancestors had rendered to the city; no, nor yet his office of hierophant; but you punished him, because he was judged to be guilty,--and this Neaera, who has committed acts of sacrilege against this same god, and has transgressed the laws, shall you not punish her--her and her daughter?

117. I for my part wonder what in the world they will say to you in their defence. Will it be that this woman Neaera is of Athenian birth, and that she lives as his wife with Stephanus in accordance with the laws? But testimony has been offered, showing that she is a courtesan, and has been the slave of Nicarete. Or will they claim that she is not his wife, but that he keeps her in his house as a concubine? Yet the woman's sons, by having been introduced to the clansmen by Stephanus, and her daughter, by having been given in marriage to an Athenian husband, prove beyond question that he keeps her as his wife.

119.I think, therefore, that neither Stephanus himself nor anyone on his behalf will succeed in proving that the charges and the testimony are false--that, in short, this Neaera is an Athenian woman. But I hear that he is going to set up some such defence as this--that he is keeping her, not as a wife, but as a mistress, and that the children are not hers, but were born to him by another woman, an Athenian and a relative of his, whom he will assert that he married at a earlier date.

120. To meet the impudence of this assertion of his, of the defence which he has concocted, and of the witnesses whom he has suborned to support it, I tendered him a precise and reasonable challenge, by means of which you would have been enabled to know the whole truth: I proposed that he should deliver up for the torture the women servants, Thratta and Coccaline, who remained loyally with Neaera when she came to Stephanus from Megara, and those whom she purchased subsequently, while living with him, Xennis and Drosis;

121. for these women know perfectly well that Proxenus, who died, Ariston, who is still living, and Antidorides the runner, and Phano, formerly called Strybele, who married Theogenes, the king, are children of Neaera. And if it should appear from the torture that this man Stephanus had married an Athenian wife and that these children were borne to him, not by Neaera, but by another woman who was an Athenian, I offered to withdraw from the case and to prevent this indictment from coming into court.

122. For this is what living with a woman as one's wife means--to have children by her and to introduce the sons to the members of the clan and of the deme, and to betroth the daughters to husbands as one's own. Mistresses we keep for the sake of pleasure, concubines for the daily care of our persons, but wives to bear us legitimate children and to be faithful guardians of our households. If, therefore, Stephanus had previously married an Athenian woman, and these children are hers and not Neaera's, he could have shown it by the most certain evidence, by delivering up these women servants for the torture.

123. To prove that I so challenged him, the clerk shall read to you the deposition regarding these matters and the challenge.

(To the clerk.) Read the deposition and then the challenge.

THE DEPOSITION

Hippocrates, son of Hippocrates, of Probalinthus, Demosthenes, son of Demosthenes, of Paeania, Diophanes, son of Diophanes, of Alopece, Deinomenes, son of Archelaus, of Cydathenaeum, Deinias, son of Phormides, of Cydantidae, and Lysimachus, son of Lysippus, of Aegilia, depose that they were present in the agora, when Apollodorus challenged Stephanus, demanding that he deliver up the women servants for the torture in regard to the charges preferred against Stephanus by Apollodorus concerning Neaera; and that Stephanus refused to deliver up the women servants: and that the challenge was the one which Apollodorus produces.

124. (To the clerk.) Now read the challenge itself which I tendered to this Stephanus.

THE CHALLENGE

Apollodorus tendered this challenge to Stephanus in connexion with the indictment which he preferred against Neaera, charging that she, being an alien, is living as wife with him, a citizen. Apollodorus is ready to receive for examination by the torture the women servants of Neaera, Thratta and Coccaline, whom she brought with her from Megara, and those whom she subsequently purchased while living with Stephanus--Xennis, namely, and Drosis--women who have accurate knowledge regarding the children of Neaera, that they are not by Stephanus. These are Proxenus, who died, Ariston, who is now living, Antidorides the runner, and Phano. And if they agreed that these children are Neaera's, I demanded that Neaera be sold as a slave in accordance with the law, and that her children be declared aliens; but if they agreed that the children are not hers but were born of some other woman who was an Athenian, then I offered to withdraw from the action against Neaera, and if the women had been injured in any way as a result of the torture, to pay for the injuries sustained.

125. On my tendering this challenge to Stephanus, men of the jury, he refused to accept it. Does it not, then, appear to you, men of the jury, that a verdict has been given by Stephanus here himself that Neaera is guilty under the indictment which I preferred against her, and that I have told you the truth and produced testimony which is true, whereas whatever Stephanus may say to you will be wholly false, and he will himself prove that he has no sound argument to advance, inasmuch as he has refused to deliver up for the torture the women servants whom I demanded of him?

126. I therefore, men of the jury, as an avenger of the gods against whom these people have committed sacrilege, and as an avenger of myself, have brought them to trial and submitted them to be judged by you. It is now your duty to render the verdict which justice demands, knowing well that the gods, against whom these people have acted lawlessly, will not be unaware of the vote each one of you shall cast. It is your duty to be avengers in the first place of the gods, but also of your own selves. If you do this, you will be held by all men to have given an honourable and just decision on this indictment which I have preferred against Neaera, charging that she, being an alien, lives as his wife with an Athenian citizen.


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