On the Confiscation of the Property Of The Brother Of Nicias: Peroration


Lysias. Lamb, W.R.M., translator. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press; London: William Heinemann Ltd., 1930.

For at this moment Diomnestus, my brother and I, three of one household, are equipping warships, and when the State requires money we raise a special contribution on these properties. Since, then, we are of this way of thinking, and our ancestors have evinced the same character, spare us.

Else we should have no escape, gentlemen, from the most miserable plight: after being left orphans in the time of the Thirty we should be stripped of our property under the democracy,—we, to whom fortune vouchsafed that, as mere children, we should succor the people by going to the tent of Pausanias! Having such a record behind us, with what judges would we have chosen to take refuge?

Surely with those who support a constitution for which both our father and our kinsmen gave their lives. And so today this is the sole return that we ask of you for all that we have done,—that you do not suffer us to be reduced to destitution or left in want of bare necessaries, and that you do not ruin the prosperity that was our ancestors’, but much rather give an example to those who desire to do the State good service of the treatment that they will receive from you in times of danger.

I have nobody, gentlemen, whom I can put up here to plead on our behalf: for some of my kinsmen, after giving proof of their valor in promoting the greatness of the city, have perished in the war; others, in the defence of the democracy and of your freedom, have drunk hemlock under the Thirty.

We therefore owe our isolation to the merits of our kinsmen and the calamities of the State. Bearing all this in mind, you ought to succor us, judging those to be rightful recipients of your favours under democracy who bore their share of calamity under oligarchy.

I also call upon the Commissioners here to be kind to us: let them remember that time when, expelled from your native land and deprived of your property, you esteemed most highly the men who gave their lives for you, and you prayed to the gods that you might be able to show your gratitude to their children.

So we, sons and relatives of those who have been foremost to meet danger in the cause of freedom, ask this return of your gratitude today, and call upon you not to ruin us unjustly, but much rather to succor those who have shared in the common calamities. Now I beg and beseech and implore you to grant us what we claim. For it is no slight matter that we have at stake: it is the whole of our possessions.