Οὐδένα πώποτε τῶν πολιτῶν, ὦ ἄνδρες Ἀθηναῖοι, οὔτε γραφὴν γραψάμενος οὔτ᾿ ἐν εὐθύναις λυπήσας, ἀλλ᾿ ὡς ἔγωγε νομίζω μέτριον ἐμαυτὸν πρὸς ἕκαστα τούτων παρεσχηκώς, ὁρῶν δὲ τήν τε πόλιν μεγάλα βλαπτομένην ὑπὸ Τιμάρχου τουτουὶ δημηγοροῦντος παρὰ τοὺς νόμους, καὶ αὐτὸς ἰδίᾳ συκοφαντούμενος (ὃν δὲ τρόπον, προϊόντος 2ἐπιδείξω τοῦ λόγου), ἕν τι τῶν αἰσχίστων ἡγησάμην εἶναι μὴ βοηθῆσαι τῇ τε πόλει πάσῃ καὶ τοῖς νόμοις καὶ ὑμῖν καὶ ἐμαυτῷ· εἰδὼς δ᾿ αὐτὸν ἔνοχον ὄντα οἷς ὀλίγῳ πρότερον ἠκούσατε ἀναγιγνώσκοντος τοῦ γραμματέως, ἐπήγγειλα αὐτῷ τὴν δοκιμασίαν ταυτηνί. καὶ ὡς ἔοικεν, ὦ ἄνδρες Ἀθηναῖοι, οἱ εἰωθότες λόγοι λέγεσθαι ἐπὶ τοῖς δημοσίοις ἀγῶσιν οὐκ εἰσὶ ψευδεῖς· αἱ γὰρ ἴδιαι ἔχθραι πολλὰ πάνυ τῶν κοινῶν ἐπανορθοῦσι.
3Τοῦ μὲν οὖν ὅλου ἀγῶνος φανήσεται οὔθ᾿ ἡ πόλις αἰτία οὖσα Τιμάρχῳ οὔθ᾿ οἱ νόμοι οὔθ᾿
I have never, fellow citizens, brought indictment against any Athenian, nor vexed any man when he was rendering account of his office1; but in all such matters I have, as I believe, shown myself a quiet and modest man.2 But when I saw that the city was being seriously injured by the defendant, Timarchus, who, though disqualified by law, was speaking in your assemblies,3 and when I myself was made a victim of his blackmailing attack—the nature of the attack I will show in the course of my speech—I decided that it would be a most shameful thing if I failed to come to the defence of the whole city and its laws, and to your defence and my own; and knowing that he was liable to the accusations that you heard read a moment ago by the clerk of the court, I instituted this suit, challenging him to official scrutiny. Thus it appears, fellow citizens, that what is so frequently said of public suits is no mistake, namely, that very often private enmities correct public abuses.
You will see, then, that Timarchus cannot blame the city for any part of this prosecution, nor can he
- 1The Athenian Constitution provided for rigid auditing of the accounts of all officials at the close of their year of office, and gave full opportunity to any citizen to bring charges against any act of their administration. Such opportunity might easily be used for malicious or blackmailing attack.
- 2A quiet citizen, as distinguished from the professional political blackmailer, συκοφάντης.
- 3As the speech proceeds we shall see that Aeschines declares that Timarchus was guilty of immoral practices that disqualified him from speaking before the people.