Antiphon, On the Choeutes

LCL 308: 246-247

Go To Section
Go To Section



1Ἥδιστον μέν, ὦ1 ἄνδρες δικασταί, ἀνθρώπῳ ὄντι μὴ γενέσθαι μηδένα κίνδυνον περὶ τοῦ σώματος, καὶ εὐχόμενος ἄν τις ταῦτα εὔξαιτο· εἰ <δ᾿>2 ἄρα τις καὶ ἀναγκάζοιτο κινδυνεύειν, τοῦτο γοῦν ὑπάρχειν, ὅπερ3 μέγιστον ἐγὼ νομίζω ἐν πράγματι τοιούτῳ, αὐτὸν ἑαυτῷ συνειδέναι μηδὲν ἐξημαρτηκότι, ἀλλ᾿ εἴ τις καὶ συμφορὰ γίγνοιτο, ἄνευ κακότητος καὶ αἰσχύνης γίγνεσθαι, καὶ τύχῃ μᾶλλον ἢ ἀδικίᾳ.

2Καὶ τοὺς μὲν νόμους οἳ κεῖνται περὶ τῶν τοιούτων πάντες ἂν ἐπαινέσειαν4 κάλλιστα νόμων κεῖσθαι καὶ ὁσιώτατα. ὑπάρχει μὲν γὰρ αὐτοῖς ἀρχαιοτάτοις εἶναι ἐν τῇ γῇ ταύτῃ, ἔπειτα τοὺς αὐτοὺς αἰεὶ περὶ τῶν αὐτῶν, ὅπερ μέγιστον σημεῖον νόμων καλῶς κειμένων· ὁ χρόνος γὰρ καὶ ἡ5 ἐμπειρία τὰ μὴ καλῶς ἔχοντα διδάσκει τοὺς ἀνθρώπους. ὥστ᾿ οὐ δεῖ ὑμᾶς ἐκ τῶν λόγων τοῦ κατηγοροῦντος τοὺς νόμους μαθεῖν εἰ καλῶς ἔχουσιν ἢ μή, ἀλλ᾿ ἐκ τῶν νόμων τοὺς τούτων λόγους, εἰ ὀρθῶς ὑμᾶς καὶ νομίμως διδάσκουσιν ἢ οὔ.

3Ὁ μὲν οὖν ἀγὼν ἐμοὶ μέγιστος τῷ κινδυνεύοντι


On the Choreutes

On the Choreutes

True happiness for one who is but human, gentlemen, would mean a life in which his person is threatened by no peril: and well might that be the burden of our prayers. But well too might we pray that if we must perforce face danger, we may have at least the one consolation which is to my mind the greatest of blessings at such an hour, a clear conscience; so that if disaster should after all befall us, it will be due to no iniquity of ours and bring no shame: it will be the result of chance rather than of wrongdoing.

It would be unanimously agreed, I think, that the laws which deal with cases such as the present are the most admirable and righteous of laws. Not only have they the distinction of being the oldest in this country, but they have changed no more than the crime with which they are concerned; and that is the surest token of good laws, as time and experience show mankind what is imperfect. Hence you must not use the speech for the prosecution to discover whether your laws are good or bad: you must use the laws to discover whether or not the speech for the prosecution is giving you a correct and lawful interpretation of the case.a

The person whom to–day’s proceedings concern

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.antiphon-choeutes.1941