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Antiphon

<ἡ βάσανος>1 ἀναγκάζοι τὰ γεγονότα κατηγορεῖν· αὕτη γὰρ καὶ τοὺς τὰ ψευδῆ παρεσκευασμένους λέγειν τἀληθῆ κατηγορεῖν ποιήσει.

11Καίτοι εὖ οἶδά γ᾿, εἰ οὗτοι πρὸς ἐμὲ ἐλθόντες, επειδὴ τάχιστα αὐτοῖς ἀπηγγέλθη ὅτι ἐπεξίοιμι τοῦ πατρὸς τὸν φονέα, ἠθέλησαν τὰ ἀνδράποδα ἃ ἦν αὐτοῖς παραδοῦναι, ἐγὼ δὲ μὴ ἠθέλησα παραλαβεῖν, αὐτὰ ἂν ταῦτα μέγιστα τεκμήρια παρείχοντο ὡς οὐκ ἔνοχοί εἰσι τῷ φόνῳ. νῦν δ᾿, ἐγὼ γάρ εἰμι τοῦτο μὲν ὁ θέλων αὐτὸς βασανιστὴς γενέσθαι, τοῦτο δὲ τούτους αὐτοὺς κελεύων ἀντ᾿ ἐμοῦ βασανίσαι, ἐμοὶ δήπου εἰκὸς ταὐτὰ ταῦτα 12τεκμήρια εἶναι ὡς εἰσὶν ἔνοχοι τῷ φόνῳ. εἰ γὰρ τούτων ἐθελόντων διδόναι εἰς βάσανον ἐγὼ μὴ ἐδεξάμην, τούτοις ἂν ἦν ταῦτα τεκμήρια. τὸ αὐτὸ οὖν τοῦτο καὶ ἐμοὶ γενέσθω, εἴπερ ἐμοῦ θέλοντος ἔλεγχον λαβεῖν τοῦ πράγματος αὐτοὶ μὴ ἠθέλησαν δοῦναι. δεινὸν δ᾿ ἔμοιγε δοκεῖ εἶναι, εἰ ὑμᾶς μὲν ζητοῦσιν αἰτεῖσθαι ὅπως αὐτῶν μὴ καταψηφίσησθε, αὐτοὶ δὲ σφίσιν αὐτοῖς οὐκ ἠξίωσαν δικασταὶ γενέσθαι δόντες βασανίσαι τὰ αὑτῶν ἀνδράποδα.

13Περὶ μὲν οὖν τούτων οὐκ ἄδηλον ὅτι αὐτοὶ ἔφευγον τῶν πραχθέντων τὴν σαφήνειαν πυθέσθαι· ᾔδεσαν γὰρ οἰκεῖον σφίσι τὸ κακὸν ἀναφανησόμενον, ὥστε σιωπώμενον καὶ ἀβασάνιστον αὐτὸ [113]ἐᾶσαι ἐβουλήθησαν. ἀλλ᾿ οὐχ ὑμεῖς γε, ὦ ἄνδρες, ἔγωγ᾿ εὖ οἶδα, ἀλλὰ σαφὲς ποιήσετε. ταῦτα μὲν οὖν μέχρι τούτου· περὶ δὲ τῶν γενομένων πειράσομαι ὑμῖν διηγήσασθαι τὴν ἀλήθειαν· δίκη δὲ κυβερνήσειεν.

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Prosecution of the Stepmother for Poisoning

inconsistent statements, my intention was that the torture should force from them the charges which the facts demanded: for torture will make even those prepared to lie confine their charges to the truth.

I am quite sure, though, that had the defence approached me with an offer of their slaves directly they learned that I intended to proceed against my father’s murderer, only to meet with a refusal of the offer, they would have produced that refusal as affording the strongest presumption of their innocence of the murder. As it is, it was I who in the first place volunteered to conduct the examination personally, and in the second told the defence to conduct it themselves in my stead. Surely, then, it is only logical that this corresponding offer and refusal should afford a presumption in my favour that they are guilty of the murder. Had I refused an offer of theirs to hand over their slaves for torture, the refusal would have afforded a presumption in their favour. The presumption, then, should similarly be in my favour, if I was ready to discover the truth of the matter, while they refused to allow me to do so. In fact, it is amazing to me that they should try to persuade you not to find them guilty, after refusing to decide their case for themselves by handing over their slaves for torture.

In the matter of the slaves, then, it is quite clear that the defence were themselves anxious to avoid ascertaining the facts. The knowledge that the crime would prove to lie at their own door made them desirous of leaving it wrapped in silence and uninvestigated. But you will not do this, gentlemen, as I know full well; you will bring it into the light. Enough, though; I will now try to give you a true statement of the facts: and may justice guide me.

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DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.antiphon-prosecution_stepmother_poisoning.1941