No Gain! Or, How To Defend Against A Charge of Conspiracy

Gorgias, Defense of Palamedes

“Someone claims that we made a promise to each other with money, he gave it and I took it. Was it only a little? Is it not likely that I took only a little money in exchange for tremendous efforts on my part? Or, was it a lot? How did I get it? How could he have brought it to me? Or did many people do it? If many people had done it, there would have been many witnesses of the conspiracy. But if one person did it, then he could not have carried much. Did they bring during the day or the night? There were many guards close together—it would have been hard to evade them. So it was at day? Well, daylight is hostile to these kinds of things.

Ok, let’s imagine this. Did I come out and take the money or did the man who brought it come inside? Both have their challenges. If I took it, how did I hide the fact from people inside and outside? Where could I have placed it? How would I have guarded it? If I used it, it would have been clear as day! If I didn’t use it, than what would I have gained from it?”

φήσει τις ὡς χρήμασι τὴν πίστιν ἐποιούμεθα, ἐκεῖνος μὲν διδούς, ἐγὼ δὲ λαμβάνων. πότερον οὖν ὀλίγοις; ἀλλ’ οὐκ εἰκὸς ἀντὶ μεγάλων ὑπουργημάτων ὀλίγα χρήματα λαμβάνειν. ἀλλὰ πολλοῖς; τίς οὖν ἦν ἡ κομιδή; πῶς δ’ ἂν ἐκόμισεν; ἢ πολλοί; πολλῶν γὰρ κομιζόντων πολλοὶ ἂν ἦσαν μάρτυρες τῆς ἐπιβουλῆς, ἑνὸς δὲ κομίζοντος οὐκ ἂν πολύ τι τὸ φερόμενον ἦν. [10] πότερα δὲ ἐκόμισαν ἡμέρας ἢ νυκτός; ἀλλὰ πολλαὶ καὶ πυκναὶ φυλακαί, δι’ ὧν οὐκ ἔστι λαθεῖν. ἀλλ’ ἡμέρας; ἀλλά γε τὸ φῶς πολεμεῖ τοῖς τοιούτοις. εἶεν. ἐγὼ δ’ ἐξελθὼν ἐδεξάμην, ἢ ἐκεῖνος ὁ φέρων εἰσῆλθεν; ἀμφότερα γὰρ ἄπορα. λαβὼν δὲ δὴ πῶς ἂν ἔκρυψα καὶ τοὺς ἔνδον καὶ τοὺς ἔξω; ποῦ δ’ ἂν ἔθηκα; πῶς δ’ ἂν ἐφύλαξα; χρώμενος δ’ ἂν φανερὸς ἐγενόμην, μὴ χρώμενος δὲ τί ἂν ὠφελούμην ἀπ’ αὐτῶν;

Rembrandt Historical Painting 1626.jpg

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