Monday, 14 November 2011



In contrast to the grand public speech "On the Crown" (see previous item on this blog), the speech, from which the extract translated below is taken, was a private speech for a case of assault. The speaker, Ariston, describes the outrageous behaviour of Conon's sons when they were on garrison duty together on the borders of Attica in 343 B.C. The court action probably took place two years later. 

The text of this extract is taken from "A Greek Anthology", Joint Association of Classics Teachers, Cambridge University Press, 2002. 

Sections 3-6.

Harassment on military service.

Two years ago (lit. this (is) the third year) I went out to Panactum, garrison duty having been ordered for us. The sons of that Conon encamped near us, as I wished they had not. For the feud and the collisions happened to us beginning from there. And from what (causes) you will hear. These men, as soon as they had breakfast, at all times spent the whole day drinking, and, while indeed we were in the garrison, they continued doing (this). And we conducted ourselves in such a way as we were accustomed (to do) here. And so, at whatever time it happened  in respect of the others to be having dinner, these men were already behaving with drunken violence, for the most part towards our attendant slaves, but, in the end, towards us ourselves too. For alleging that the slaves had annoyed them with smoke when preparing the meal, or had insulted them, whatever they happened (to say), they beat (them) and emptied their chamber pots on them and urinated (on them), and they did not leave out anything whatever of shamelessness and outrageous behaviour. And we ourselves, seeing this and being distressed, at first ignored (it), but, as they mocked us and did not desist, not I apart from the rest, (but) all our mess-mates, reported the matter jointly to the general. He having rebuked them for this and having reproached them about the things they had outrageously committed against us, but also about the things they had done in the camp generally, (yet) they were so far from stopping or feeling shame that as soon as ever it grew dark they, immediately on that very evening, burst in upon us, and at first they insulted (us) and eventually they dealt blows upon me as well, and they made such a great shouting and commotion around the tent that both the general and the captains came, as well as some of the other soldiers, who prevented us suffering something irreparable and doing something (irreparable) ourselves, having been subjected to drunken violence by them. The matter having progressed to this (point), when we returned here, there was between us, as was natural, anger and hatred towards one another. (I swear) by the gods that I did not indeed think it would be necessary to bring a case against them or to take any (further) account of what occurred, but I resolved simply this, to be careful in future and to be on my guard not to come near such people. So I wish firstly to provide the evidence of these things which I have said, (and) after this to show what sort of things I have suffered at the hands of the defendant himself, in order that you may see that the man, who ought (lit. for whom it was right) to have criticised the offences committed in the first place (by his sons), has committed on his own account much more outrageous acts.


Ariston goes on to describe how he was attacked, robbed and almost killed by Conon, his sons and friends. He anticipates that Conon will try to dismiss the affair as high spirits: the jury should not be taken in by this, but should take it as seriously as if they themselves had been the victims. 

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