Kibōton

forrest-fenn-treasure-chest-620

This is part 1 of 3. Part 2 is here. Part 3 is here.

Οὑμὸς πατὴρ Κέφαλος ἐπείσθη μὲν ὑπὸ Περικλέους εἰς ταύτην τὴν γῆν ἀφικέσθαι, ἔτη δὲ τριάκοντα ᾤκησε, καὶ οὐδενὶ πώποτε οὔτε ἡμεῖς οὔτε ἐκεῖνος δίκην οὔτε ἐδικασάμεθα οὔτε ἐφύγομεν, ἀλλ’ οὕτως ᾠκοῦμεν δημοκρατούμενοι ὥστε μήτε εἰς τοὺς ἄλλους ἐξαμαρτάνειν μήτε ὑπὸ τῶν ἄλλων ἀδικεῖσθαι. ἐπειδὴ δ’ οἱ τριάκοντα πονηροὶ καὶ συκοφάνται ὄντες εἰς τὴν ἀρχὴν κατέστησαν, φάσκοντες χρῆναι τῶν ἀδίκων καθαρὰν ποιῆσαι τὴν πόλιν καὶ τοὺς λοιποὺς πολίτας ἐπ’ ἀρετὴν καὶ δικαιοσύνην τραπέσθαι, τοιαῦτα λέγοντες οὐ τοιαῦτα ποιεῖν ἐτόλμων, ὡς ἐγὼ περὶ τῶν ἐμαυτοῦ πρῶτον εἰπὼν καὶ περὶ τῶν ὑμετέρων ἀναμνῆσαι πειράσομαι. Θέογνις γὰρ καὶ Πείσων ἔλεγον ἐν τοῖς τριάκοντα περὶ τῶν μετοίκων, ὡς εἶέν τινες τῇ πολιτείᾳ ἀχθόμενοι· καλλίστην οὖν εἶναι πρόφασιν τιμωρεῖσθαι μὲν δοκεῖν, τῷ δ’ ἔργῳ χρηματίζεσθαι· πάντως δὲ τὴν μὲν πόλιν πένεσθαι τὴν ἀρχὴν ‹δὲ› δεῖσθαι χρημάτων. καὶ τοὺς ἀκούοντας οὐ χαλεπῶς ἔπειθον· ἀποκτιννύναι μὲν γὰρ ἀνθρώπους περὶ οὐδενὸς ἡγοῦντο, λαμβάνειν δὲ χρήματα περὶ πολλοῦ ἐποιοῦντο. ἔδοξεν οὖν αὐτοῖς δέκα συλλαβεῖν, τούτων δὲ δύο πένητας, ἵνα αὐτοῖς ᾖ πρὸς τοὺς ἄλλους ἀπολογία, ὡς οὐ χρημάτων ἕνεκα ταῦτα πέπρακται, ἀλλὰ συμφέροντα τῇ πολιτείᾳ γεγένηται, ὥσπερ τι τῶν ἄλλων εὐλόγως πεποιηκότες. διαλαβόντες δὲ τὰς οἰκίας ἐβάδιζον· καὶ ἐμὲ μὲν ξένους ἑστιῶντα κατέλαβον, οὓς ἐξελάσαντες Πείσωνί με παραδιδόασιν· οἱ δὲ ἄλλοι εἰς τὸ ἐργαστήριον ἐλθόντες τὰ ἀνδράποδα ἀπεγράφοντο. ἐγὼ δὲ Πείσωνα μὲν ἠρώτων εἰ βούλοιτό με σῶσαι χρήματα λαβών· ὁ δ’ ἔφασκεν, εἰ πολλὰ εἴη. εἶπον οὖν ὅτι τάλαντον ἀργυρίου ἕτοιμος εἴην δοῦναι· ὁ δ’ ὡμολόγησε ταῦτα ποιήσειν. ἠπιστάμην μὲν οὖν ὅτι οὔτε θεοὺς οὔτ’ ἀνθρώπους νομίζει, ὅμως δ’ ἐκ τῶν παρόντων ἐδόκει μοι ἀναγκαιότατον εἶναι πίστιν παρ᾽ αὐτοῦ λαβεῖν. ἐπειδὴ δὲ ὤμοσεν, ἐξώλειαν ἑαυτῷ καὶ τοῖς παισὶν ἐπαρώμενος, λαβὼν τὸ τάλαντόν με σώσειν, εἰσελθὼν εἰς τὸ δωμάτιον τὴν κιβωτὸν ἀνοίγνυμι· Πείσων δ᾽ αἰσθόμενος εἰσέρχεται, καὶ ἰδὼν τὰ ἐνόντα καλεῖ τῶν ὑπηρετῶν δύο, καὶ τὰ ἐν τῇ κιβωτῷ λαβεῖν ἐκέλευσεν. ἐπεὶ δὲ οὐχ ὅσον ὡμολόγητο εἶχεν, ὦ ἄνδρες δικασταί, ἀλλὰ τρία τάλαντα ἀργυρίου καὶ τετρακοσίους κυζικηνοὺς καὶ ἑκατὸν δαρεικοὺς καὶ φιάλας ἀργυρᾶς τέτταρας, ἐδεόμην αὐτοῦ ἐφόδιά μοι δοῦναι, ὁ δ’ ἀγαπήσειν με ἔφασκεν, εἰ τὸ σῶμα σώσω.
(Lysias, Or. 12.4-11)

My father Cephalus was invited by Pericles to move to this land, and he lived here for thirty years. Neither he nor the rest of the family was ever involved in any litigation, either as prosecutor or as defendant. We lived our lives under the democracy in such a way as to do no wrong to others and to suffer no harm from others. Later on, however, the Thirty, who were criminals and sykophants, established themselves in the office, claiming that they needed to cleanse the city of wrongdoers and redirect the remaining citizens towards goodness and justice. But despite this assertion, they did not venture to do anything of the kind. I shall do my best to refresh your memories of this, by speaking first about my own affairs and then about yours. It was at a meeting of the Thirty that Theognis and Peison raised the subject of the metics, claiming that some were hostile to the new constitution. This would provide an excellent pretext for appearing to punish them while in reality making money, because the city was completely impoverished, and the regime needed cash. They had no difficulty persuading their audience, who thought nothing of taking human life but were very keen to make money. They decided to arrest ten metics, two of them poor, so that they could plead in the case of the others that this had not been done for money but was for the benefit of the constitution—as if they had had valid reasons for any of their actions! They divided up the houses and set out. They found me entertaining guests at dinner, drove them out, and handed me over to Peison. The others went to the slave workshop and began to draw up a confiscation list of the slaves. I asked Peison whether he would be willing to take a bribe for rescuing me. He said yes, if it was a big one. I replied that I was prepared to give him a talent of silver, and he agreed to this. I knew he had no respect for gods or for men, but given my situation, I thought it absolutely essential to get a pledge from him. He swore an oath that he would rescue me if he received the talent, and he called down destruction on himself and his children. I then went into my bedroom and opened my treasure chest. Peison noticed this and came in, and seeing its contents, he called two of his attendants and told them to take what was in the chest. He now had not simply the agreed amount, gentlemen of the jury, but three talents of silver, four hundred Cyzicene staters, one hundred Persian darics, and four silver cups. So I asked him to give me some traveling money, but he said that I should be glad to save my skin. (tr. Stephen C. Todd)

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