This speech concerns a case of intentional wounding (trauma ek pronoias), an offence which fell under the jurisdiction of the Areiopagos. This fact, together with the severity of the penalty and the procedural similarities between wounding and homicide trials, have been taken to support the contention of our speaker (§41) that wounding was regarded as attempted murder, as does the fact that the speaker of Lysias 4 (another wounding case, not included in this collection) argues as though he were charged with attempting to kill, not merely knowingly wounding, his alleged victim. This may explain the fact that there appears to have been no action for accidental wounding. However, the most recent (and thorough) modern study of this offence and the related procedure (D. Phillips, ‘Trauma ek Pronoias in Athenian Law’, Journal of Hellenic Studies 127 (2007), 74–105) concludes that the intent was only to wound. Although scholarly opinion has often viewed trauma as a private case, all the evidence indicates that, unlike homicide, wounding was covered by a graphe, a public action. The paradox that the lesser offence was open to prosecution by the volunteer (ho boulomenos), while the right to prosecute was restricted in homicide cases, is less surprising when we consider the conservatism in Athenian approaches to the homicide laws and the fact that they predated Solon’s introduction of third party intervention. It appears to have been distinguished from battery (aikeia) and outrage (hybris) by the use of a weapon. The unnamed defendant is (as the opening makes clear) into middle age; he is evidently a man of substance, as the reference at the close to public services (leitourgiai) indicates. His opponent Simon is otherwise unknown. The date of the speech can be fixed broadly by the reference to the battles of Corinth and Koroneia near the close. Both battles were fought in 394. There is a commentary on this speech and a more detailed commentary (with translation) in C. Carey, Lysias: Selected Speeches (Cambridge 1989) and S.C. Todd, A Commentary on Lysias, Speeches 111 (Oxford 2008).

[1] Though I know many appalling things about Simon, Council, I would never have expected his audacity to reach the point where he would bring a charge, as though he were the victim, relating to acts for which he should himself be punished, and come before you having sworn such an important and solemn oath. [2] Now, if any other judges were going to decide my case, I should find the risk very frightening; for I observe that sometimes the effect of fabrications and accidents is such that the result often surprises those on trial. But coming before you I hope to receive just treatment. [3] What I most resent, Council, is that I shall be compelled to speak to you about matters which so embarrassed me that I tolerated mistreatment to avoid having them widely known. But since Simon has placed me in this difficult situation, I shall tell you the whole story without concealment. [4] And I ask, Council, that if I am guilty you show me no mercy; but if on this issue I prove that I am not guilty of the acts to which Simon swore, and in general if it becomes clear that my feelings for the lad display a folly inappropriate to my age, I ask you to think no worse of me; for you know that desire is common to all mankind, but the best and most decent man is the one who is capable of bearing his misfortunes with the most decorum. All my efforts to achieve this have been blocked by this man Simon, as I shall prove to you.

[5] We both fell in love with Theodotos, a Plataian youth, Council. And I tried to win his affection by treating him well, while Simon thought that with violent and lawless behaviour he would force the boy to do whatever he wanted. It would take too long to tell all the mistreatment Theodotos has received from him. But what I think you should hear is his offences against me personally.

[6] Discovering that the boy was with me, he came to my house at night, drunk, broke down the doors and went into the women’s quarters, when my sister and my nieces were there; and they have lived such a decent life that they are embarrassed to be seen even by their relatives. [7] Such was his violence that he refused to go until the passers-by and the people who came with him, shocked at his conduct in entering the presence of orphaned young girls, made him leave by force. And so far from regretting his outrageous conduct, he found out where we were dining and did the strangest thing, something quite incredible, unless one happened to know the man’s madness. [8] He called me from indoors, and when I came out he immediately tried to strike me; when I resisted, he stood at a distance and pelted me with stones. He actually missed me, but hit Aristokritos, who had come with him to see me, with a stone and split his forehead open.

[9] Personally, Council, though I thought myself appallingly treated, I tolerated it through embarrassment at my unfortunate situation, as I have already said. I preferred to forgo satisfaction for these wrongs rather than to be thought a fool by my fellow citizens, in the knowledge that, while these events would be thought consistent with the villainy of this man, my sufferings would excite mockery from many of those who habitually resent it if anyone in the city tries to be a useful citizen. [10] I was so unsure how to cope with this man’s contempt for legality, Council, that I decided it would be best to go away from Athens. So taking the boy along (I have to tell the whole truth) I left the city.

When I thought that enough time had elapsed for Simon to forget the youth and regret his former misconduct, I came back, [11] I went off to Peiraieus. But Simon noticed at once that Theodotos was back and was at the house of Lysimachos, who lived near the house which Simon had leased, and he summoned some of his friends. They passed their time dining and drinking; they had set watchers on the roof so that when the boy emerged they could drag him in. [12] At this juncture I came back from Peiraieus, and while passing I called in at Lysimachos’ house. After a short interval we came out. Drunk by now, our opponents jumped on us. Some of Simon’s companions refused to join in his misbehaviour; but Simon here, Theophilos, Protarchos and Autokles began dragging the boy off. He however threw off his robe and took to flight. [13] As for me, thinking Theodotos would escape and that my opponents would turn back in shame as soon as they encountered people – with these thoughts I went off in another direction; I was so keen to avoid them, and I thought that all I had experienced at their hands a great misfortune. [14] And at this point, where Simon says the fight took place, none of them or us had his head cut open or suffered any other injury, as I shall prove by presenting those who were there as witnesses.


[15] The testimony of those who were there has shown, Council, that Simon was the offender and that he plotted against us, not I against him. After this the boy took refuge in a laundry, and they rushed in together and began to drag him off by force, while he yelled and called for witnesses to his protests. [16] A large number of people ran up and expressed disapproval of the affair, saying that these acts were appalling; but they ignored the comments and when Molon the fuller and some others tried to protect the boy they beat them severely. [17] By now they were in the vicinity of Lampon’s house, when I came upon them, walking along on my own. I thought it would be appalling and disgraceful of me to stand by while the youth was assaulted in so lawless and violent a manner; so I took hold of him. When asked why they were subjecting him to such unlawful treatment, my opponents refused to answer but let go of the young man and began to hit me. [18] A fight ensued, Council, in which the boy was pelting them and fighting for his life and these people were pelting us and still beating him drunkenly, while I was defending myself and the passers-by were all of them assisting us as the victims, and in this confusion we all had our heads split open.

[19] As for all the others who joined Simon in his drunken violence, as soon as they saw me after this, they asked me to forgive them, as the ones who behaved intolerably and not the victims. And from that day to this, though four years have elapsed nobody has ever brought any complaint against me. [20] But as for this man Simon, the cause of all the trouble, for most of the time he kept his peace through fear for himself; but when he saw me lose some private suits arising from a challenge to exchange property, he began to despise me and with the impudence you see embroiled me in a trial of such a serious nature. To prove the truth of my story, I shall present you with those who were there as witnesses.


[21] You have heard what happened both from me and from the witnesses. I could wish, Council, that Simon’s attitude was the same as mine, so that you could hear the truth from both of us and decide with ease where justice lies. But since he has no respect for the oaths he swore, I shall try to correct the lies he has told you.

[22] He had the audacity to state that he made an agreement with Theodotos and gave him three hundred drachmas, and that I schemed to detach the boy from him. But what he should have done, if this was the truth, was to summon the largest number of witnesses he could and deal with the matter legally. [23] But this man self-evidently never did anything of the sort, but assaulted and struck both of us, came on a drunken visit, broke down the doors and went by night into the quarters of free women. You should consider this conduct the firmest indication that he is lying.

[24] Observe how implausible his claim is. He assessed his whole property at a value of two hundred and fifty drachmas. Now it would be remarkable if he hired a male lover for more money than he actually possesses. [25] But his impudence is such that he is not content to lie merely about this point, the payment of the money; he actually says that he has been repaid. But surely it’s inconceivable that at that point we would commit offences of the sort he has charged us with, in an attempt to deprive him of the three hundred drachmas, and pay back the money precisely when we had outfought him, without obtaining formal release from his charges and when under no compulsion? [26] No, Council, all this is a calculated fabrication by him; he says he gave the money so that he will not seem guilty of intolerable conduct in daring to treat the lad so outrageously when there was no compact between them, and he pretends to have been repaid because it is obvious that he never made a formal complaint about money or made any mention of it whatsoever.

[27] And he claims that he was beaten and left in a terrible condition by me at his own door. Yet it is certain that he pursued the boy more than four stades from his house without any injury, and he denies this though more than two hundred people saw it.

[28] He says that we came to his house with shards of pottery and I threatened to kill him; and this indicates intent. In my opinion, Council, it is easy to tell that he is lying, not only for you who regularly consider such matters but for the rest of the world as well. [29] Who could find it credible that with full intent and deliberation I came to Simon’s house in the daytime, with the lad, when there was such a large number of people gathered there, unless I was so deranged as to wish to fight alone against large numbers? Besides which, I knew that he would be delighted to see me at his door, since it was he who used to come to my house and force his way in, and who had the impudence to search for me without any consideration for my sister and my nieces, and finding out where I happened to be at dinner called me out and hit me. [30] And at that point, it seems, I kept my peace to avoid notoriety, regarding his criminality as my misfortune, but when time had passed, I then (according to him) became eager for notoriety!

[31] If the boy had been at his house, it would make some sense for him to lie to the effect that I was compelled by desire to behave somewhat more foolishly than usual. As it stands, the boy would not even talk to him, but hated him more than anyone in the world, while it was with me that he was actually staying. [32] So which of you finds it credible that, when I had earlier made a voyage away from the city taking the boy with me, to avoid fighting with Simon, once I arrived back I took him to Simon’s house, where I was likely to have the most trouble? [33] And when scheming against him did I come so ill-prepared that I had summoned neither friends nor servants nor any other person, except for this child, who could not have helped me, but would be able to disclose under torture any offence I committed? [34] Was I so stupid that when scheming against Simon, instead of watching for an opportunity to catch him alone, at night or in daylight, I went to the very place where I was sure to be seen by the largest number of people and beaten up, as though my intent was against myself, to ensure that I received the maximum humiliation from my enemies?

[35] Furthermore, Council, you can easily tell from the fight which took place that he is lying. Once the boy realized what was happening, he threw off his robe and took to flight, and these people followed him, while I went off by another route. [36] But who should one hold responsible for what happened, the ones who ran away or the ones who tried to catch them? I think it’s obvious to all that people who fear for their safety flee and people who wish to cause harm pursue. [37] And it’s not the case that though this is the probability what actually happened was different. They seized the lad on the street and were dragging him off by force; I came along, and I did not touch them but took hold of the boy, while they were dragging him off by force and beating me. This has been attested for you by those who were present. So it is intolerable if it is to be believed that I am guilty of intent in matters where these people have in reality behaved in such an appalling and lawless way.

[38] Whatever would have happened to me, if the reverse of this had happened, if accompanied by many of my friends I had met Simon, fought with him and beaten him, then pursued him and having caught him I tried to drag him off by force, if as it is when he has behaved like this I find myself facing a trial of such seriousness, in which I stand to lose my fatherland and all my possessions?

[39] The most important and clearest indication is this. The man who has been wronged and schemed against by me, as he claims, could not bring himself to bring a charge before you for four years. Other people, when they are in love and are robbed of the object of desire and are beaten up, grow angry and attempt to take revenge at once, while this man does it ages afterwards.

[40] I think, Council, that I have given adequate proof that I am not to blame for what happened. But my attitude to quarrels over matters like this is such that, though I have suffered a great many other outrages from Simon and had my head split open by him, I could not bring myself to take legal action against him. I thought it preposterous that just because we had been in competition with each other for a lover one should try to have people exiled from their homeland.

[41] Then again, I did not think that intent applied to a wound unless the person inflicting it wanted to kill. For who is so foolish as to spend a long time planning to wound one of his enemies? [42] Clearly our legislators did not see fit, just because people happened to injure each other’s heads in a fight, to punish them with exile from their fatherland. In that case they would have exiled a good many people. No, it was for those who having planned to kill people wounded them and failed to kill that they made the penalties so severe. They believed that they should be punished for acts that were planned and intended; if they failed, the deed had still been done as far as their action was concerned. [43] This is a decision you have often reached before now in the matter of intent. For it would be bizarre if, whenever people received a wound as a result of drunken rivalry or horseplay or an insult or a fight over a mistress, for incidents which everyone regrets when they come to their senses, you are to make the penalties so severe and awful that you exile some of the citizen body from their homeland.

[44] One thing especially amazes me about his character. I don’t think that the same nature is capable of both love and malicious litigation; the former belongs to simpler souls, the latter to the most unscrupulous. I wish it was possible for me to give proof of this man’s criminality in your court from the rest of his conduct, so that you would realize that it would be far more just for him to be on trial for his life than to place others in danger of losing their homeland. [45] Most of it I shall omit. But I shall mention a fact, which you should hear and which will be an indication of his audacity and impudence. In Corinth, after arriving too late for the battle against the enemy and the expedition to Koroneia, he fought with Laches the taxiarch and struck him; and though the whole citizen body took part in the expedition, he was deemed thoroughly undisciplined and wicked and alone of the Athenians he was formally dismissed by the generals.

[46] There are many other tales I could tell about him, but since it is not allowable in your court to speak outside the main issue, please bear this in mind. It was they who entered our home by force; they who pursued; they who tried to drag us by force off the street. [47] Remember this and vote for what is just. Do not allow me to be exiled unjustly from my fatherland, for which I have faced many dangers and performed many public services; I have never been responsible for any harm to it, nor has any of my ancestors, but for much benefit. [48] So in justice I should be pitied by you and other men, not only if any of the things Simon wants were to happen to me but also because I have been forced as a result of events like this to face a trial of this nature.

The case arises out of a dispute between two rivals for the affections of a youth named Theodotos. The dispute obviously has a long history. The speaker (§5) traces it back to vindictive jealousy on Simon’s part because the boy preferred the speaker’s kindness to Simon’s abusive treatment. Simon for his part appears to be arguing (§22) that he had a sexual contract with the boy and that the speaker induced the boy to breach this arrangement1 The speaker’s evasiveness on the subject suggests that Simon may be telling the truth on this point. The rivalry has erupted into violence, and Simon is prosecuting the speaker for allegedly wounding him. The speaker claims that Simon laid an ambush for the boy and that the speaker and the boy were innocent victims. Simon claims that the speaker came to his house and threatened to kill him.

The case for the defence relies heavily on a tapestry of contrasting characterization woven by Lysias. Noteworthy is the use of the preliminary narrative in §§5–10, tracing the prehistory of the dispute, to create a vivid impression of Simon in preparation for the main narrative. Simon emerges as consistently drunken, violent and lawless. In contrast, the speaker is a mild-mannered individual, painfully embarrassed at the strength of his passion, unbecoming in a man of his years, and eager to avoid trouble at all costs. As in Lysias 1 (Case I), the characterization effects an implicit argument: could a man as retiring as the speaker be an aggressor, and could a man as violent as Simon be an innocent victim of aggression? So powerful is this contrast that it is only on reflection that we notice that the speaker is our sole source for this characterization. The speaker also, by emphasizing that similar quarrels have taken place before and stressing the triviality of the cause, and by presenting the fight in question as a confused and slightly comic affair, seeks to present the incident as a petty squabble unworthy of the attention of the Areiopagos. In the same vein he presses the definition of trauma as attempted murder (§§41–3), a charge that in the seriousness both of allegation and punishment is disproportionate to the activity which engendered it. In the process he distorts the legal position on wounding with intent. He treats intent as though it necessarily involved premeditation in the fullest sense. In fact, the presentation of wounding, both in Demosthenes 54.18–19 (Case VI) and [Demosthenes] 40.32 (not in this collection), as arising out of an escalating quarrel would suggest that intent did not necessarily involve premeditation and wounding like homicide was treated as intentional even if it occurred in the heat of the moment.

Is the speaker guilty? We may reasonably accept that witness testimony supports the claim that Simon and his gang pursued the boy through the streets. Clearly Simon is no innocent victim of violence. But there are two features of the defence which leave one dissatisfied (in the study, though possibly not in the lawcourt on the day). Instead of arguing bluntly that he at no time wounded him, the speaker is content to give us a blurred impression of a confused street fight in which everyone received some injury (§18). In view of this evasion it is difficult to resist the conclusion that Simon was actually injured (how seriously it is impossible to guess). The other suspicious feature is the presence of the speaker and the boy in the vicinity of Simon’s house on the day in question. If the retiring personality he projects is real, it is surprising to see him taking such a risk. This lends some support to Simon’s version. The interval between alleged offence and prosecution suggests that Simon has been waiting for an opportunity for revenge.

Little detail emerges about Theodotos, the cause of the quarrel, in all this; the mention of the possibility of his being questioned under torture (§33) suggests that he may have been a slave.

This text is also interesting for the light it casts on Athenian attitudes to homosexuality. It was common for grown males to form erotic relationships with pubescent youths (as in the present case), and this is the normal expectation for homoerotic relationships. Although by no means all Athenian writers approve of the practice, there is a broad acceptance that such desires are normal, as can be seen from the fact that the speaker’s embarrassment at the opening concerns the strength of his passion, its unseemliness for one of his age, and the situations into which it drew him, rather than the gender of the love object. Likewise, at §43 he sets his quarrel on the same level as fights over mistresses (hetairai, courtesans, slave or free). Attitudes to, and the etiquette of, homosexuality are however complex, and the reader interested in pursuing the issue further should consult K.J. Dover, Greek Homosexuality (London 1978), E. Cantarella, Bisexuality in the Ancient World (New Haven and London 1992), and more recently (and contentiously) J. Davidson, The Greeks and Greek Love (Chatham 2007). The theme recurs again in Aischines 1 (Case XV).


We have here a private action for battery (aikeias dike). A young man named Ariston claims to have been the victim of an unprovoked attack by a middle-aged man named Konon. Although he has brought a private case, Ariston notes that he could have brought a public action for outrage (graphe hybreos). The nature of these actions is discussed in the brief essay at the end of the speech. Both plaintiff and defendant appear to be people of substance, to judge by both the reference to public services (leitourgiai) at the close and the fact that Konon’s associates (§7) include Spintharos, whose father Euboulos was one of the most successful politicians in fourth-century Athens. The date of the action can be fixed by the reference in §3 to garrison duty at Panakton two years before the trial. Demosthenes speaks at 19.326 of an expedition to Panakton in 343, and tells us that during the Sacred War (355–346) no such expedition had been necessary. It is far from clear that the expedition mentioned in Dem. 19 and the guard duty mentioned here are the same kind of operation; nor can we exclude the possibility that Demosthenes is exaggerating. But the evidence such as it is would suggest a date of 357 or 343 for the incidents narrated and 355 or 341 for the hearing. It is difficult to choose with confidence. The association of Konon with the son of Euboulos, whose faction Demosthenes was attacking by the late 350s on the ground of its failure to check the rising power of Macedon, suggests that Demosthenes may have accepted the case from political motives. Unfortunately, even if true, this conjecture does not help for dating, since Demosthenes was still struggling (though more successfully) with this faction in the late 340s. However, since by 341 Demosthenes was one of the leading political figures, he is less likely to have needed, or to have been free, to take on a speechwriting brief. So a date in the 350s seems marginally more likely. There is a commentary on the speech in C. Carey and R.A. Reid, Demosthenes: Selected Private Speeches (Cambridge 1985).

[1] I was outrageously assaulted by this Konon, judges, and placed in such a serious condition that for a long time neither my family nor any of the doctors expected me to pull through. So having recovered my health and survived against expectation I have brought this suit for battery against him. Though all the friends and relatives whom I consulted declared that his acts rendered him liable to summary arrest as a mugger and indictment for outrage, they advised and encouraged me not to take on a task beyond my abilities or to be seen bringing a complaint beyond my years for the injuries I suffered. So this is what I have done, and under their influence I have brought a private suit, though I would prefer most of all, men of Athens, to bring him to trial on a capital charge. [2] This you will all understand, I am sure, when you hear what I have suffered. Though the outrage committed then was terrible, the defendant’s appalling conduct since then has been every bit as bad. I urge and beg all of you alike, firstly to give a favourable hearing to my account of my sufferings and secondly, if you think I have been wronged and treated unlawfully, to help me as justice demands. I shall give you a full and detailed account of events as briefly as I can.

[3] Two years ago I went out to Panakton, when we were assigned to garrison duty. The sons of Konon here had a tent near us, though I wish they hadn’t. For that was the origin of the hostility and clashes between us. I shall tell you how it came about.

These people used to spend the whole day drinking, beginning immediately after the midday meal, and they continued to do this all the time we were on garrison duty. As for us, we behaved outside the city exactly as we used to do here. [4] So when the time came for the rest to have dinner, they were already engaged in drunken games. Most of it they directed at our servants, but finally against us personally. They claimed our servants annoyed them with the smoke when they were preparing food and took every remark as an insult. So they beat them, emptied their chamberpots over them, and urinated on them; there was no kind of disgraceful or outrageous act which they omitted. Though we saw all this and were vexed, initially we remonstrated with them; but when they mocked us and refused to stop, we went and told the whole story to the general, all of my mess together, not myself alone. [5] Though he abused them roundly and reproached them, not only for their disgraceful treatment of us but also for their entire conduct in the camp, so far from desisting or feeling ashamed, as soon as it grew dark they immediately rushed into our tent that evening; they began by insulting us but finally threw some punches at me. And they raised such a noisy uproar around the tent that the general and the taxiarchs came with some of the other soldiers; it was these who prevented us from suffering some irreparable injury, or indeed inflicting it in response to the drunken violence of these people.

[6] Now that the matter had gone so far, when we returned here, as one would expect, there was anger and hostility between us. But good heavens, I did not think it necessary to sue them or to make an issue of any of the events; no, I simply decided for the future to be careful and avoid them and to have no dealings with people of that sort.

First of all, I wish to provide the depositions relating to the statements I have made, and then to show you the treatment I have received from Konon himself; then you will realize that the very man who should have criticized the original offences has himself taken the lead in committing far more serious crimes.


[7] These are the events I chose to ignore. Not long afterwards I was walking in the agora one evening, as was my habit, together with Phanostratos of Kephisia, one of my contemporaries, when this man’s son Ktesias came up, drunk, in the vicinity of the Leokorion, near Pythodoros’ premises. On catching sight of us he shouted out, and after talking to himself as a drunk would, so that one could not catch what he was saying, he went off up to Melite. It turns out they were drinking there (as we learned later) at Pamphilos the fuller’s place; Konon here, a man named Diotimos, Archebiades, Spintharos son of Euboulos, Theogenes son of Andromenes, and many others. All these Ktesias roused up and set off to the agora.

[8] As it happened, we were returning from the shrine of Persephone and were once more walking roughly opposite the Leokorion, when we encountered them. When we closed with them, one of them (someone unknown to me) fell upon Phanostratos and held him down, while Konon here, his son and the son of Andromenes attacked me and to begin with stripped me and then tripped me up and knocked me down into the mud; and they reduced me to such a state, by jumping on me and outrageously assaulting me, that they split my lip and closed up my eyes. They left me in such a poor condition that I could neither stand up nor speak. And as I lay there I heard them saying many dreadful things. [9] Much of it is abusive and I should hesitate to repeat some things in your court; but one thing, which is evidence of his arrogance and an indication that he was the leader in the whole business, I shall tell you. He crowed in imitation of victorious cocks, and the rest urged him to flap his elbows against his sides by way of wings. After this I was carried home, unclothed, by passers-by; these people had gone off taking my robe with them. When I reached my door, there was shouting and yelling from my mother and her serving-girls, and with an effort I was eventually carried off to a bathhouse, where I was washed and shown to the doctors.

To prove the truth of these statements, I shall provide you with witnesses to the facts.


[10] As it happened, judges, Euxitheos of Cholleidai here, a relative of mine, and with him Meidias, who were coming back from dinner, came upon me when I was already near my home; they accompanied me as I was carried to the bath and were there when the doctor was brought. I was in such a weak condition that, to avoid my being carried the long distance home from the bath, those present decided to take me to Meidias’ house for that night, and they did so. So then, take the depositions of these people also, so you will know that there are many people who know the sort of outrage I was subjected to by these men.


Now take also the doctor’s deposition.


[11] At that point then my immediate condition from the blows I received and the outrage I suffered was such as you hear and all the people who saw me right then have testified to you. But subsequently the doctor said that he was not overly concerned for the swellings on my face and the cuts, but I was subject to persistent bouts of fever and severe and violent pains, especially of the sides and the pit of the stomach, and I was incapable of eating. [12] And according to the doctor, but for the fact that a very substantial spontaneous evacuation of blood occurred at a time when I was in great pain and already despaired of, I might even have died from suppuration. As it was, it was this that saved me, the evacuation of blood. To prove that in this too I am telling the truth, and that I was subjected to illness such as to reduce me to a desperate condition, as a result of the blows I received from these men, read the doctor’s deposition and that of the people who visited me.


[13] So the fact that the blows I received were not slight or insignificant but that I found myself in extreme danger because of the outrageous behaviour and the violence of these people, and so the action I have brought is far less serious than they deserve, this has I think been made clear to you on many counts. And I imagine that some of you are wondering what on earth Konon will dare to say in reply to this. Now I want to warn you about the argument I am informed he has contrived; he will attempt to divert the issue away from the outrage of what was done and reduce it to laughter and ridicule. [14] And he will say that there are many individuals in the city, the sons of decent men, who in the playful manner of young people have given themselves titles, and they call some ‘Ithyphallics’, others ‘Down-and-outs’; that some of them love courtesans and have often suffered and inflicted blows over a courtesan, and that this is the way of young people. As for my brothers and myself, he will misrepresent all of us as drunken and violent but also as unreasonable and vindictive. [15] Personally, judges, though I have been angered by the treatment I have received, my indignation and feeling of having been outraged would be no less, if I may say so, if these statements about us by Konon here are regarded as the truth and your ignorance is such that each man is taken for whatever he claims or his neighbour alleges him to be, and decent men get no benefit at all from their normal life and habits. [16] We have not been seen either drunk or behaving violently by anyone in the world, nor do we think we are behaving unreasonably if we demand to receive satisfaction under the laws for the wrongs done to us. We agree that his sons are ‘Ithyphallics’ and ‘Down-and-outs’, and I for my part pray to the gods that this and all else of the sort may recoil upon Konon and his sons. [17] For these are the men who initiate each other into the rites of Ithyphallos and commit the sort of acts which decent people find it deeply shameful even to speak of, let alone do.

But what’s all this to me? I am amazed if any excuse or pretext has been discovered for use in your court to enable a man, if he is proved guilty of outrage and inflicting blows, to escape punishment. For the laws, quite the reverse, have provided even for pleas of necessity and sought to prevent them from turning into something more serious. For instance – I’ve had to find out and research this subject because of this man – there are suits for slander; [18] it’s said that these take place so that people will not be led on to beat each other when insulted. Then again, there are suits for battery; I’m told that these exist to prevent anyone, when he is getting the worst of it, from retaliating with a stone or any other object of the sort, but to ensure that he waits for legal satisfaction. Again there are indictments for wounding to prevent murder from occurring when people are wounded. [19] The least significant, I think, the action for slander, has been provided for to avoid the ultimate and most serious offence, to ensure that murder will not be committed or people led on by degrees from slander to blows and from blows to wounds and from wounds to killing, but there should be an action for each of these acts laid down in the laws so that they are not judged by individual anger of whim.

[20] So this is what is in the laws. And if Konon says: ‘We’re a band of Ithyphallics, and in our love affairs we beat and strangle whoever we choose’, will you laugh and let him off? I don’t think so. None of you would have been seized with laughter, if he had chanced to be there when I was being attacked and stripped and outraged, when after going out in full health I was carried home, and my mother rushed out, and there was so much yelling and shouting at our house from the women, like that for a dead man, that some of the neighbours sent to our house to ask what had happened. [21] As a general rule, judges, in justice there should be no excuse or indemnity for anyone in your court such as to allow a man to commit outrage. But if it is open to anyone, it is proper that recourse to arguments of this sort should be reserved for people who commit any such act through youth, and in their case not to prevent them from being punished but so they face a lighter punishment than they should. [22] But when a man over fifty years old, and in the company of younger men, his sons at that, not only failed to dissuade or prevent them but has himself been ringleader and instigator and the vilest of all, what punishment could he suffer which would be adequate for his actions? In my opinion, not even death. Even if he had carried out none of the acts but had stood by while his son Ktesias committed the acts, which Konon clearly has done, you would be right to hate him. [23] For if he has brought up his sons in such a way that they feel neither fear nor shame to commit offences in his presence, offences at that which in some cases carry the death penalty, what punishment in your view could not reasonably be inflicted on him? For myself, I think that this is evidence that he did not respect his own father either; for if Konon personally had honoured and feared his own father, he would have demanded that his sons too honour and fear him.

[24] Please take these laws too, the law dealing with outrage and the one about clothes-stealers. For you will see that they are liable under both. Read it.


Konon’s actions render him liable under both laws; he committed both outrage and clothes-stealing. And if we have chosen not to sue under these laws, though we would rightly be recognized as peaceful and reasonable, he is a criminal all the same. [25] Indeed, if anything had happened to me, he would have faced a charge of murder and the most terrible punishment. At any rate, in the case of the father of the priestess at Brauron, though it was agreed that he did not touch the dead man, the Council of the Areiopagos exiled him because he urged on the man who struck the blow. And rightly so; for if bystanders instead of checking people attempting a wrongful act through wine or anger or any other cause actually incite them, there is no hope of escape for anyone who falls into the hands of men of violence, and it will be his lot to suffer outrageous treatment until they give up. And this is what happened to me.

[26] Now I want to tell you what they did when the arbitration took place. This too will show you their recklessness. They prolonged the time beyond midnight by refusing either to read out the depositions or to hand over copies and just taking our supporters one by one to the stone and making them take an oath, and drafting utterly irrelevant depositions, to the effect that this was his son by a mistress and that he had been treated in this way or that, behaviour which roused the disapproval and disgust of every person present, including finally their own.

[27] Anyway, when they tired and had had enough of this conduct, they issued a challenge aimed at causing delay and preventing the sealing of the jars, to the effect that they were willing to hand over for questioning about the assault some slaves whose names they wrote down. And now I think that much of their speech will be on this subject. But in my opinion what you should bear in mind is that, if the purpose of their challenge was for the torture to take place and they had confidence in the justice of this point, they would not have issued the challenge when the decision was on the point of being made, at night, when they had no excuse left; [28] but at the start before the suit was lodged, when I was in bed ill, not knowing whether I would survive, and was telling all my visitors the identity of the man who struck me first and carried out most of the outrage inflicted on me, that was the time when he would have come at once to my house with many witnesses, that was the time when he would have offered to hand over the servants and invited members of the Areiopagos along. For if I had died, they were the ones who would have tried the case. [29] If he was ignorant of all this, and if (as he claims now) though he had a valid argument to offer in this he made no preparations when facing a danger of this magnitude, at least when I was back on my feet and had summoned him, he would have shown himself willing to hand over the slaves at the first meeting before the arbitrator. He has done none of this. To prove that I am telling the truth and that the challenge was issued to cause delay, read out this deposition. This will make it clear.


[30] Now on the subject of the challenge you should remember this; the time when he made the challenge, his evasive purpose in doing this, and the initial periods during which he has shown no desire to have this argument to support him, nor issued a challenge nor made any demand. So when all the facts were proved before the arbitrator as is happening now, and it was clearly demonstrated that he was guilty of the charges, [31] he entered a lying testimony and named as witnesses people whom I think you too will not fail to recognize, if you hear them: ‘Diotimos son of Diotimos of Ikaria, Archebiades son of Demoteles of Halai, Chairetios son of Chairimenes of Pithe, testify that they were coming away from dinner with Konon and came upon Ariston and Konon’s son fighting in the agora, and Konon did not strike Ariston.’ [32] As if you would immediately trust them and would not work out the truth, that to start with neither Lysistratos nor Paseas nor Nikeratos nor Diodoros, who have explicitly attested that they saw me being beaten by Konon and stripped of my robe and subjected to all the other outrageous treatment I received, would have been willing to give false testimony, as people unknown to me who turned up at the incident by chance, if they did not see me in this condition. Again, I myself would never, if I had not suffered this treatment at Konon’s hands, have let off the men who on the admission of my opponents themselves beat me and elected to take action first against the one who never even touched me. [33] Why should I? No, the man who was the first to strike me and from whom I suffered the greatest outrage is the man I am suing, the one I hate and prosecute.

All of my claims are as you see true and patently so. But in his case, if he had not offered these witnesses he would have had no argument at all but would have found himself convicted in silence. But as drinking companions of his and partners in many acts of this sort they have naturally given false testimony. If it’s to be this way, if people once abandon all shame and dare to give blatantly false testimony, and the truth brings no benefit, it will be intolerable.

[34] Oh, but they’re not that sort of people. Yet many of you, so I believe, know Diotimos, Archebiades and Chairetios, the grey-haired man here, who in daylight assume a grim expression and claim to play the Spartan and wear short cloaks and thin shoes, but when they gather together and are in each other’s company, leave no manner of evil or shameful deed undone. [35] And this is their splendid and spirited attitude: ‘What, not give evidence for each other? Isn’t this what confederates and friends do? What in the evidence he will bring against you is really to be feared? Some people say they saw him being beaten? We shall testify that he was never even touched. That he was stripped of his robe? We shall testify that they did this first. That his lip had to be stitched? We shall say your head or some other part was fractured.’ [36] But we actually provide the testimony of doctors. This is something they don’t have, judges. Except for their own testimony, they will have no witness to offer against us. By the gods, I could not tell you the extent and nature of their readiness to commit any act in the world. But so you will know the sort of acts they go round committing, read out to them these depositions, and you, stop the water.


[37] So then, when they break into houses and beat up people they meet, do you think they would scruple to give false testimony on a scrap of paper, men who have participated in viciousness, wickedness, unscrupulousness and outrage of this magnitude and kind? For in my opinion at least all these qualities are found in the acts they commit. Yet there are other acts still more terrible committed by these men, but we should find it impossible to find all the victims.

[38] Now as to the most unprincipled thing I hear he intends to do, I think it better if I warn you. They say he intends to bring his children to the stand and swear on them, and to invoke dread and severe curses of a sort that someone who heard them announced them to us in amazement. Reckless acts of this sort are impossible to counter, judges. For the most decent people who would be least likely to tell any lie themselves are most easily deceived by such things. Nonetheless, one must base one’s trust on a consideration of a man’s life and character. [39] I shall tell you the contempt he feels for such concerns; I have been forced to discover it. I am informed, judges, that a certain Bakchios, who was condemned to death in your court, and Aristokrates, the man with bad eyes, and others of that sort including Konon here were comrades as young men and had the name ‘Triballians’; and they used regularly to collect the offerings to Hekate and the testicles of the pigs used for purification before meetings and feast together, and to swear oaths and break them more casually than anything in the world. [40] So Konon, a man such as I describe, is not to be trusted on oath, not remotely, but the man who would not swear even an honest oath, and would not even dream of swearing on his children but would rather suffer anything in the world, and if he has to swears as custom dictates, is more deserving of trust than the one who swears by his children and is ready to go through fire. And I, who would more rightly be believed than you in every respect, Konon, was ready to swear this oath, not out of a readiness to do anything to escape punishment for wrongs I have done, as in your case, but for the sake of the truth and to avoid suffering additional outrage, since I had no intention of letting the case be lost by a false oath. Read out the challenge.


[41] This is the oath I offered to swear, and I swear now by all the gods and goddesses, for your sake, judges, and that of the bystanders, that it is because I suffered at Konon’s hands the acts for which I am now suing, and was beaten and had my lip split to the extent that it had to be stitched and I was outrageously assaulted that I am bringing this action. And if my oath is honest, may much good befall me and may I never again suffer anything of the sort, while if my oath is false, may I myself perish utterly, and anything that is mine now or in the future. But my oath is not false, even if Konon says so till he bursts.

[42] So I urge you, judges, now that I have proved my case in full justice, and have given you a pledge in addition, that just as each of you would personally hate the perpetrator if he had suffered this, he should feel the same anger against Konon here on my behalf, and not regard as a private matter any such thing which might perhaps befall anyone. Whoever it befalls, you should give aid and grant justice, and hate people who in the face of their crimes are bold and impetuous and when put on trial are shameless and wicked and care nothing for custom or anything else in their efforts to escape punishment.

[43] But Konon will beg and weep. Now consider: who deserves more pity, the man who suffers what I have suffered at his hands, if I leave the court as a victim of further outrage, deprived of justice, or Konon, if he is punished? Is it more advantageous for each of you that people should be free to commit assault and outrage or not? I think not. Now if you acquit, there will be more of these people, but if you convict, there will be less.

[44] There is much I could say, judges, to show we have been useful citizens, both ourselves and our father during his life, serving as trierarchs and soldiers and doing our duty, and that neither Konon nor any of his family have been of use. But there is not sufficient time, and the case is not about these matters. Indeed, if in reality we were on our own admission even more useless and criminal than these people, we do not, I think, deserve to be beaten or subjected to outrage.

I don’t know that I need say more. I think you understand all that has been said.