On the Property of Aristophanes: Against the Treasury


Lysias with an English translation by W.R.M. Lamb, M.A.; Cambridge, MA, Harvard University Press; London, William Heinemann Ltd. 1930.

It is not fair, then, to credit our accusers’ words rather than the deeds that marked his whole life, or than time, which you are to regard as the clearest test of truth. If he had been of another stamp, he would not have left but a small remnant of his estate; for if you should now be utterly deceived by these people, and should confiscate our property, you would receive less than two talents. So not only with a view to repute, but also in respect of money, it is more to your advantage to acquit us; for you will get far more benefit if we keep it.

Consider, as you survey the time that is past, all that is found to have been spent on the city: at this moment, too, I am equipping a warship from the residue; my father was equipping one when he died, and I will try to do what I saw him doing, and raise, by degrees, some little sums for the public services. Thus in reality it continues to be the property of the State, and while I shall not be feeling the wrong of having been deprived of it, you will have in this way more benefits than you would get by its confiscation.

Moreover, you would do well to reflect on the kind of nature that my father possessed. In every single case where he desired to spend beyond what was necessary, it will be found that it was something designed to bring honor to the city also. For instance, when he was in the cavalry, he not only procured handsome mounts, but also won victories with race-horses at the Isthmus and Nemea, so that the city was proclaimed, and he himself was crowned.

I therefore beg you, gentlemen of the jury, to remember these things, and also everything else that has been stated, and to support us, and not to suffer us to be annihilated by our enemies. In taking this course you will be voting what is just and also advantageous to yourselves.