Defense Against A Charge Of Taking Bribes: Undesignated


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

Rather is it to be wished that they, gentlemen, might recount their own proceedings to you in Assembly; for I could not find a worse fate to invoke upon them. On my own part, I request, I beseech, I supplicate you not to condemn me for venality, nor to believe that any amount of money could make me wish any ill to befall the city.

For I should be a madman, gentlemen, if, after spending my patrimony upon you in the pursuit of distinction, I accepted bribes from others with the aim of injuring the State. I indeed, gentlemen, cannot think what judges I should prefer to you for the trial of my case, if one ought really to pray that the benefited should give decision upon their benefactors.

Furthermore, gentlemen,—for this is a point that I am anxious to mention,—never once when I had to perform a public service in your aid did I consider it a hardship that I should leave my children so much the poorer, but much rather that I should fail in the zealous discharge of my obligations.

Nor, whenever I was about to risk my life in our sea-fights, did I once pity or bewail or mention my wife or my children, nor think it hard that, if I lost my life in my country’s cause, I should leave them orphaned and bereft of their father; but hard indeed it would be if I should save myself by a shameful act and fasten reproach on them as well as myself.

In return I ask from you the grace that I deserve, and I expect that, since I have shown such regard for you in times of danger, you in your present security will set a high value on me and these children, considering that it will be as disgraceful to you as terrible to us if we are to be compelled on such charges as these to lose our citizenship, or to be deprived of our present resources, and thus impoverished, and to wander about in sore straits and in a plight unworthy of ourselves and unworthy also of the services that you have received. Let it not be so, gentlemen of the jury, but decide on our acquittal, and continue to find in us the self-same kind of citizens as you have done in the past.