“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?”
“This whole topic is handled here not merely to make oratory, which should move and flow, grow ancient because it must measure out each foot and weigh out each syllable. No, that is what miserable minds who are obsessed with minor things think about.
No one who throws himself into this concern completely will have any time for more important matters if, once the weight of the material is forgotten and polish itself is rejected, he constructs “mosaic work”, as Lucilius says, and works his words together in “vermiculate construction”. Won’t his fire cool down and his force diminish, the same way show-riders break the pace of their horses with a dancing gait?”
Totus vero hic locus non ideo tractatur a nobis ut oratio, quae ferri debet ac fluere, dimetiendis pedibus ac perpendendis syllabis consenescat: nam id cum miseri, tum in minimis occupati est: neque enim qui se totum in hac cura consumpserit potioribus vacabit, si quidem relicto rerum pondere ac nitore contempto ‘tesserulas’, ut ait Lucilius, struet et vermiculate inter se lexis committet. Nonne ergo refrigeretur sic calor et impetus pereat, ut equorum cursum delicati minutis passibus frangunt?
“If you listen to me, and you stop taking just any kind of advice at all and pay attention to yourselves and the city, you will gain some wisdom and examine what happened to these two cities, ours and Sparta. How did their empires over Greece rise up from pretty basic affairs and then, once they each took unrivaled power, how did they risk enslavement? What was the reason that the Thessalians, who have the most wealth, and the best and most abundant land, fell into poverty, but the Megarians, whose starting point was small and ragged, and even though they did not have land or harbors, or silver minds but were just farming stones, developed the richest economy of the Greeks?
Why do other people frequently control the Thessalians’ fortresses when they have a cavalry over three thousand and countless peltasts beyond that while the Megarians, who have only a small force, control their city as they want? In addition to this, why are the Thessalians always at war against one another while the Megarians who live near the Peloponnesians, the Thebans, and our city manage to survive at peace?
If you work through these questions, you will find that a lack of self-control and arrogance are the cause of our problems, while prudence is responsible for all of our advantages.”
“Where should I protest, whom should I implore, Senators, because the republic is being torn apart for any kind of audacious profiteer? Should I complain to the Roman people? They are so corrupted by bribes that they offer themselves and their fortunes for sale.
Should I appeal to you, Senators? You whose authority is a joke to any kind of criminal miscreant in this place where Marcus Tullius defends the laws, the courts and the state and acts like he is in charge here as if he were the only man left from a family of the most famous man, Scipio Africanus, and not some orphan found on the street, summoned here, and only just recently rooted in this city?”
Ubi querar, quos implorem, patres conscripti, diripi rem publicam atque audacissimo cuique esse praedae? apud populum Romanum? qui ita largitionibus corruptus est, ut se ipse ac fortunas suas venales habeat. an apud vos, patres conscripti? quorum auctoritas turpissimo cuique et sceleratissimo ludibrio est; ubi M. Tullius leges, iudicia, rem publicam defendit atque in hoc ordine ita moderatur quasi unus reliquus e familia viri clarissimi, Scipionis Africani, ac non reperticius, accitus, ac paulo ante insitus huic urbi civis.
“Citizens, it is always right to hate and hinder traitors and corrupt people, but at this current moment, this would be necessary help to all humankind. For a terrible and harsh sickness has come over our country, one which needs great luck and your constant attention.”
“I said, well, these minor crimes are small in comparison to serious ones but all of these are not one step in the direction—as the proverb goes—to the evil and suffering a tyrant introduces. For whenever there are many people like this and others who follow them and they sense how large their followers are, then these are the people who produce a tyrant with the ignorance of the people, a man who has the biggest and most tyrant-like nature in his soul.”
In the following speech check out the extreme distance between the μὲν clause and the δὲ clause. Also note Aeschines’ assertions about the rules for speaking in court (descending from oldest to youngest) traced back to Solon.
Aeschines, Against Ctesiphon 1-5
“Athenian men: you see the preparations and plans, how many there are, and the public pleading which certain men have used against what is measured and customary in the state. But I have come here because I have faith first in the gods and then in the laws and you—since I believe that no type of preparation is stronger among you than the laws and justice.
I [μὲν οὖν] would therefore wish, Athenian men, that the Council of Five Hundred and the Assembly would be governed rightly by those who led them and that the laws which Solon established about the proper order for public speakers would prevail: that it would be possible for the oldest citizen—as the laws prescribe—to speak prudently what he thinks is best for the city based on his experience on the platform without racket and trouble and then the rest of the citizens, as each desired, would provide their opinion about each matter in turn separated by age. In this way, the city would seem to me to be governed best, and the fewest cases would develop.
But [Ἐπειδὴ δὲ] since now all the standards which were previously agreed as acceptable have been rejected and certain men make illegal proclamations easily while others vote for them—and these are not men who were chosen by lot in the most just fashion to preside, but they sit in judgment by collusion and if any other councilor should actually obtain the right to be seated by lot and proclaims your votes correctly, then men who no longer believe that citizenship is a public good but think it is a private right threaten to accuse him; men who would take them as private slaves and make governments for themselves; these men who cast down the judgments of precedent and mete out their decisions based on the votes of anger—now the wisest and finest command of those in the city is silent: “Who of those men who are already fifty years old wishes to address the people?” and then in turn the rest of the Athenians. Now neither the laws nor the prytanes nor the selected officials nor even the selected tribe which is one tenth of the city is able to manage the disorder of the politicians.
“Constant, loud laughter is worse than anger. This is why it reaches a peak among prostitutes and rather foolish children. Personally, I think that a face is decorated better by tears than laughter. I think this because, generally, some kind of learning accompanies tears; while a lack of control comes with laughter. No one encourages an arrogant person by weeping; but laughter builds up his hopes.”