1Νέος μὲν καὶ ἄπειρος δικῶν ἔγωγε ἔτι, δεινῶς δὲ καὶ ἀπόρως ἔχει μοι περὶ τοῦ πράγματος, ὦ ἄνδρες, τοῦτο μὲν εἰ ἐπισκήψαντος τοῦ πατρὸς ἐπεξελθεῖν τοῖς αὑτοῦ φονεῦσι μὴ ἐπέξειμι, τοῦτο δὲ εἰ ἐπεξιόντι ἀναγκαίως ἔχει οἷς ἥκιστα ἐχρῆν ἐν διαφορᾷ καταστῆναι, ἀδελφοῖς ὁμοπατρίοις καὶ μητρὶ ἀδελφῶν. 2ἡ γὰρ τύχη καὶ αὐτοὶ οὗτοι ἠνάγκασαν ἐμοὶ πρὸς τούτους αὐτοὺς τὸν ἀγῶνα καταστῆναι, οὓς εἰκὸς ἦν τῷ μὲν τεθνεῶτι τιμωροὺς γενέσθαι, τῷ δ᾿ ἐπεξιόντι βοηθούς. νῦν δὲ τούτων τἀναντία γεγένηται· αὐτοὶ γὰρ οὗτοι καθεστᾶσιν ἀντίδικοι καὶ φονῆς, ὡς καὶ ἐγὼ καὶ ἡ γραφὴ λέγει.

3Δέομαι δ᾿ ὑμῶν, ὦ ἄνδρες, ἐὰν ἐπιδείξω ἐξ ἐπιβουλῆς καὶ προβουλῆς τὴν τούτων μητέρα φονέα οὖσαν τοῦ ἡμετέρου πατρός, καὶ μὴ ἅπαξ ἀλλὰ καὶ πολλάκις ἤδη ληφθεῖσαν τὸν θάνατον τὸν ἐκείνου ἐπ᾿ αὐτοφώρῳ μηχανωμένην, τιμωρῆσαι πρῶτον


Prosecution for Poisoning

Prosecution of the Stepmother for Poisoning

Not only am I still too young to know anything of courts of law, gentlemen; but I am also faced with a terrible dilemma. On the one hand, how can I disregard my father’s solemn injunction to bring his murderers to justice? On the other hand, if I obey it, I shall inevitably find myself ranged against the last persons with whom I should quarrel, my half-brothers and their mother. Circumstances for which the defence have only themselves to blame have made it necessary that my charge should be directed against them, and them alone. One would have expected them to seek vengeance for the dead and support the prosecution; but as it is, the opposite is the case: they are themselves my opponents and the murderers, as both I and my indictmenta state.

Gentlemen, I have one request. If I prove that my opponents’ mother murdered our father by malice aforethought, after being caught not merely once, but repeatedly, in the act of seeking his life,b then first

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.antiphon-prosecution_stepmother_poisoning.1941