(17) οἱ μὲν γὰρ πλούσιοι τοῖς χρήμασιν ἐξωνοῦνται τοὺς κινδύνους, οἱ δὲ πένητες ὑπὸ τῆς παρούσης ἀπορίας σωφρονεῖν ἀναγκάζονται· καὶ οἱ μὲν νέοι συγγνώμης ἀξιοῦνται τυγχάνειν παρὰ τῶν πρεσβυτέρων, τοῖς δὲ πρεσβυτέροις ἐξαμαρτάνουσιν ὁμοίως ἐπιτιμῶσιν ἀμφότεροι·
The rich pay to make their troubles disappear; the young are often granted forgiveness for their trespasses. Not so for the poor or elderly.
τοῖς χρήμασιν ἐξωνοῦνται τοὺς κινδύνους: “they pay off their misadventures with money.” The verb ἐξωνέομαι often appears in expressions that feature an accusative direct object of the person or thing bought/paid off and a noun in either the genitive or dative, as here, of the thing or amount paid.
ὑπὸ τῆς παρούσης ἀπορίας: “by their present poverty.”
σωφρονεῖν ἀναγκάζονται: “they must practice self-control.”
οἱ μὲν γὰρ πλούσιοι...ἐξωνοῦνται τοὺς κινδύνους, οἱ δὲ πένητες...σωφρονεῖν ἀναγκάζονται: the membership of the Council generally comprised lower-class male citizens for whom the law courts provided the first intimate view of upper-class life (Ober 1989: 207). Accordingly, wealthy litigants were easy targets for speechwriters who sought to stoke resentment and envy in jurors by reference to the profligate, arrogant, and sometimes violent behavior of the Athenian elite, which often went unpunished. By contrast, poverty required for men constant social surveillance of their behavior.
συγγνώμης...τυγχάνειν: “to obtain leniency,” i.e. get a pass on their bad behavior. τυχχάνειν often takes a genitive noun (= a partitive genitive) as its object.
ἀξιοῦνται: middle or passive? The distinction in voice has implications for the meaning of the claim. If we understand ἀξιοῦνται as middle, then the defendant states that the youthful offenders “deem themselves worthy” of receiving leniency from their elders, possibly stressing that not everyone shares this opinion. Whereas an interpretation of the verb as passive (“they are deemed worthy…”), especially with the absence of an agentive (“by”) phrase, renders the statement more generalized.
τοῖς δὲ πρεσβυτέροις ἐξαμαρτάνουσιν: “the elders who do wrong,” the predicate position of the participle functions like a relative clause. Note how Lysias enlivens the balanced contrast between youth and old age through variation of the syntax.
ἐπιτιμῶσιν: “censure” + dative (LSJ ἐπιτιμάω II.2c).
ἀμφότεροι: “both,” i.e. the young and old.
πλούσιος –α –ον: wealthy
ἐξωνέομαι, ἐξωνήσομαι, ἐξωνησάμην, ἐξώνημαι, ἐξωνήθην: buy off, redeem
πένης –ητος, ὁ: poor man, day laborer
ἀπορία –ας, ἡ: difficulty, distress
σωφρονέω, σωφρονήσω, ἐσωφρόνησα, σεσωφρόνηκα: be temperate, be of sound mind
συγγνώμη –ης, ἡ: forgiveness
ἐξαμαρτάνω, ἐξαμαρήσω, ἐξήμαρτον, ἐξημάρτηκα, ἐξημάρτημαι, ἐξημαρτήθην: fail, err, make a mistake
ἐπιτιμάω, ἐπιτιμήσω, ἐπετίμησα, ἐπιτετίμηκα, ἐπιτετίμημαι, ἐπετιμήθην: rebuke, censure (+dat.)