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Against Timarchus   



[183] and Solon, the most famous of lawgivers, has written in ancient and solemn manner concerning orderly conduct on the part of the women. For the woman who is taken in the act of adultery he does not allow to adorn herself, nor even to attend the public sacrifices, lest by mingling with innocent women she corrupt them. But if she does attend, or does adorn herself, he commands that any man who meets her shall tear off her garments, strip her of her ornaments, and beat her (only he may not kill or maim her); for the lawgiver seeks to disgrace such a woman and make her life not worth the living.

[184] and he commands that procurers, men and women, be indicted, and if they are convicted, be punished with death, because to people who lust after sin but hesitate and are ashamed to meet one another, the procurers offer their own shamelessness for pay, and make it possible to discuss the act and to accomplish it.

[185] Such, then, was the judgment of your fathers concerning things shameful and things honorable; and shall their sons let Timarchus go free, a man chargeable with the most shameful practices, a creature with the body of a man defiled with the sins of a woman? In that case, who of you will punish a woman if he finds her in wrong doing? Or what man will not be regarded as lacking intelligence who is angry with her who errs by an impulse of nature,while he treats as adviser the man who in despite of nature has sinned against his own body?

[186] How will each man of you feel as he goes home from court? For the person who is on trial is no obscure man, but well known; the law governing the official scrutiny of public speakers is not a trivial law, but a most excellent one; and we must expect that the boys and young men will ask the members of their families how the case was decided.

[187] What then, pray, are you going to answer, you in whose hands the decision now rests, when your sons ask you whether you voted for conviction or acquittal? When you acknowledge that you set Timarchus free, will you not at the same time be overturning our whole system of training the youth? What use is there in keeping attendants for our children, or setting trainers and teachers over them, when those who have been entrusted with the laws allow themselves to be turned into crooked paths of shame?

[188] I am also surprised, fellow citizens, that you who hate the brothel-keeper propose to let the willing prostitute go free. And it seems that a man who is not to be permitted to be a candidate for election by lot for the priesthood of any god, as being impure of body as that is defined by the laws, this same man is to write in our decrees prayers to the August Goddesses in behalf of the state. Why then do we wonder at the futility of our public acts, when the names of such public men as this stand at the head of the people's decrees? And shall we send abroad as ambassador a man who has lived shamefully at home, and shall we continue to trust that man in matters of the greatest moment? What would he not sell who has trafficked in the shame of his own body? Whom would he pity who has had no pity on himself?

[189] To whom of you is not the bestiality of Timarchus well known? For just as we recognize the athlete, even without visiting the gymnasia, by looking at his bodily vigor, even so we recognize the prostitute, even without being present at his act, by his shamelessness, his effrontery, and his habits. For he who despises the laws and morality in matters of supreme importance, comes to be in a state of soul which is plainly revealed by his disorderly life.

[190] Many men of this sort you could find who have overthrown cities and have fallen into the greatest misfortunes themselves. For you must not imagine, fellow citizens, that the impulse to wrong doing is from the gods; nay, rather, it is from the wickedness of men; nor that ungodly men are, as in tragedy, driven and chastised by the Furies with blazing torches in their hands.

[191] No, the impetuous lusts of the body and insatiate desire--these it is that fill the robbers' bands, that send men on board the pirates' boats; these are, for each man, his Fury, urging him to slay his fellow citizens, to serve the tyrant, to help put down the democracy. For such men reck not of disgrace, nor yet of punishment to come, but are beguiled by the pleasures they expect if they succeed. Therefore, fellow citizens, remove from among us such natures, for so shall you turn the aspirations of the young toward virtue.

[192] And be assured--I earnestly beg of you to remember what I am about to say--be assured that if Timarchus shall pay the penalty for his practices, you will lay the foundation for orderly conduct in this city; but if he shall be cleared, the case had better never have been tried. For before Timarchus came to trial, the law and the name of the courts did cause some men to fear; but if the leader in indecency and the most notorious man of all shall once have been brought into court and then come safely off, many will be induced to offend; and it will finally be, not what is said, but the desperate situation, that will arouse your anger.

[193] therefore punish one man, and do not wait till you have a multitude to punish; and be on your guard against their machinations and their advocates. I will name no one of these, lest they make that their excuse for speaking, saying that they would not have come forward had not someone mentioned them by name. But this I will do: I will omit their names, but by describing their habits will make known their persons also. And each man will have only himself to blame if he comes up here and displays his impudence.

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