ἀτυχῶν οὔπω δῆλον εἰ διὰ ταῦτα δίκην δίδωσιν ἐνταῦθα δὲ παρ᾿ οἷς προὔδωκε φανερόν ἐστιν ὅτι τῶν αὑτοῦ παρανομημάτων ὑπέχει ταύτην τὴν 92τιμωρίαν. οἱ γὰρ θεοὶ οὐδὲν πρότερον ποιοῦσιν1 ἢ τῶν πονηρῶν ἀνθρώπων τὴν διάνοιαν παράγουσι· καὶ μοι δοκοῦσι τῶν ἀρχαίων τινὲς ποιητῶν ὥσπερ χρησμοὺς γράψαντες τοῖς ἐπιγιγνομένοις2 τάδε τὰ ἰαμβεῖα καταλιπεῖν·
ὅταν γὰρ ὀργὴ δαιμόνων βλάπτῃ τινά, τοῦτ᾿ αὐτὸ πρῶτον, ἐξαφαιρεῖται3 φρενῶν τὸν νοῦν τὸν ἐσθλόν, εἰς δὲ τὴν χείρω τρέπει γνώμην, ἵν᾿ εἰδῇ μηδὲν ὧν ἁμαρτάνει.
τίς γὰρ οὐ μέμνηται τῶν πρεσβυτέρων ἢ τῶν νεωτέρων οὐκ ἀκήκοε Καλλίστρατον, οὗ θάνατον ἡ πόλις κατέγνω, τοῦτον φυγόντα καὶ τοῦ θεοῦ τοῦ ἐν Δελφοῖς ἀκούσαντα ὅτι ἂν ἔλθῃ Ἀθήναζε τεύξεται τῶν νόμων, ἀφικόμενον καὶ ἐπὶ τὸν βωμὸν τῶν δώδεκα θεῶν καταφυγόντα, καὶ οὐδὲν ἧττον ὑπὸ τῆς πόλεως ἀποθανόντα; δικαίως· τὸ γὰρ τῶν νόμων τοῖς ἠδικηκόσι τυχεῖν τιμωρία ἐστίν. ὁ δέ γε θεὸς ὀρθῶς ἀπέδωκε τοῖς ἠδικημένοις κολάσαι τὸν αἴτιον· δεινὸν γὰρ ἂν εἴη, εἰ ταὐτὰ σημεῖα τοῖς εὐσεβέσι καὶ τοῖς κακούργοις φαίνοιτο.494
Ἡγοῦμαι δ᾿ ἔγωγ᾿, ὦ ἄνδρες, τὴν τῶν θεῶν
some other place it is hardly clear if this is the crime for which he is being punished. But here, among the men whom he betrayed, it is obvious that his own transgressions of the law have brought upon him this reward. For the first step taken by the gods in the case of wicked men is to unhinge their reason; and personally I value as the utterance of an oracle these lines, composed by ancient poets and handed down to posteritya:
When gods in anger seek a mortal’s harm, First they deprive him of his sanity. And fashion of his mind a baser instrument, That he may have no knowledge when he errs.
Who does not know the fate of Callistratus,b which the older among you remember and the younger have heard recounted, the man condemned to death by the city? How he fled and later, hearing from the god at Delphi that if he returned to Athens he would have fair treatment by the laws, came back and taking refuge at the altar of the twelve gods was none, the less put to death by the state, and rightly so, for “fair treatment by the laws” is, in the case of wrongdoers, punishment. And thus the god too acted rightly in allowing those who had been wronged to punish the offender. For it would be an unseemly thing if revelations made to good men were the same as those vouchsafed to malefactors.
It is my belief, gentlemen, that the guidance of
- aThe authorship of these verses is not known.
- bCallistratus, an orator whom Demosthenes much admired, was instrumental in building up the Second Athenian Confederacy. After a raid by Alexander of Pherae on the Piraeus he was condemned to death by the Athenians (361 b.c.); and, though at first he tied to Methone, he returned later and the sentence was carried out. His name is mentioned by Hyperides (iv. 1).