(2) καίτοι ὅστις τούτοις φθονεῖ οὓς οἱ ἄλλοι ἐλεοῦσι, τίνος ἂν ὑμῖν ὁ τοιοῦτος ἀποσχέσθαι δοκεῖ πονηρίας; εἰ μὲν γὰρ ἕνεκα χρημάτων με συκοφαντεῖ—· εἰ δ’ ὡς ἐχθρὸν ἑαυτοῦ με τιμωρεῖται, ψεύδεται· διὰ γὰρ τὴν πονηρίαν αὐτοῦ οὔτε φίλῳ οὔτε ἐχθρῷ πώποτε ἐχρησάμην αὐτῷ.
φθονέω, φθονήσομαι, ἐφθόνησα, ἐφθονήθην: be envious at (+ dat.), resent (+ gen.)
ἐλεέω, ἐλεήσω, ἠλέησα, ἠλέημαι, ἐλεήθην: have or feel pity
ἀπέχω, ἀφέξω, ἀπέσχον, ἀπέσχηκα, ἀπέσχημαι, —: refrain from (+ gen.), hold off, keep away
πονηρία -ας, ἡ: wickedness, vice
συκοφαντέω: accuse falsely
ἑαυτοῦ -ῆς, -οῦ: of himself, herself, itself, themselves
τιμωρέω, τιμωρήσω, ἐτιμώρησα, τετιμώρημαι, ἐτιμωρήθην: take vengeance on, avenge
ψεύδω, ψεύσω, ἔψευσα, ἔψευσμαι, ἐψεύσθην: deceive, lie
What sort of man would attack a person who is pitied by everyone else? The challenger is either after the defendant’s money or seeks to exact revenge. In either event, he is lying to accomplish his goals.
ὅστις τούτοις φθονεῖ οὓς οἱ ἄλλοι ἐλεοῦσι: envy and pity are antithetical emotions (Aristotle Rhet. 1386b). One pities another who is understood to suffer undeservedly, while one envies another (often considered a social equal) who experiences or posesses good fortune (Rhet. 1387b-1388a). By claiming that the challenger is the sort of man who envies those men who are the objects of pity, the defendant casts the challenger as ethically corrupt or even deformed.
τούτοις φθονεῖ: one envies another in the dative.
τίνος...πονηρίας: “from what criminal behavior.” The interrogative phrase brackets the entire clause through the use of hyperbaton i.e., the separation of two syntactically connected words (S. 3028). The hyperbaton effectively retains the audience’s attention to the question as they wait to hear the noun modified by the interrogative adjective. The question is doubly emphasized by the placement of πονηρία as the final word in the sentence.
πονηρίας: attacks on the moral character of the challenger, especially in the opening chapters (de Bakker 2018), are a common component of defense speeches in Attic oratory.
ὁ τοιοῦτος: “such a man as this.”
ὑμῖν ὁ τοιοῦτος...δοκεῖ: literally “[does] such a man as this seem to you all...”. The inclusion of ὑμῖν filters the speaker’s assessment of the challenger’s character through the perspective of the judges, a rhetorical maneuver to align the judges with the viewpoint of the defendant.
ἀποσχέσθαι: “to refrain from” (LSJ ἀπέχω II.2). A person refrains from another person, object, or action that is given in the genitive.
ἂν... ἀποσχέσθαι: “from what wickedness do you think that a man such as this would refrain?” The combination of the modal particle ἄν and the aorist m/p infinitive ἀποσχέσθαι represents a potential optative (S.1848a). The verbal phrase is equivalent to the aorist optative with ἄν (= ἄν ἀπόσχοιτο).
ἕνεκα χρημάτων: “for the sake of money.” The preposition usually follows after its genitive object, including with this particular phrase in Lysias (e.g. 1.4 and 12.7). The deviation from the norm is attested elsewhere in the speeches of Lysias (e.g. 4.9 and 6.39) and in other Attic orators, including this expression (Aeschin. 2.152 and [Dem.] 46.19).
συκοφαντεῖ: “he slanders.” Frivolous or unmerited prosecutions seeking monetary damages were a significant problem in the Athenian legal system, and being characterized as a vexatious litigant, who undermined the democratic ideal of an honest and dispassionate prosecutor, was a serious slander (Osborne 1990; Christ 1998: 48-71). As he humorously emphasizes here, it is ridiculous to imagine that the speaker of Lysias 24 would be the victim of such a crime because he relies on the funding of the state to survive. In Athens, the term has no direct relationship to flattery, as it does in the modern parlance. The etymology of συκοφαντέω, constructed out of the ancient Greek words for “fig” (σῦκον) and “display” (φαίνω), is obscure. What exactly it means to be a “displayer of figs,” and how that serves as the basis for this legal term, has been hotly debated since antiquity.
εἰ μὲν...συκοφαντεῖ ——: The defendant breaks off (aposiopesis) before he completes the conditional, a dramatic technique that draws attention to the absurdity of the hypothetical statement. We should imagine that this pause in speech was accompanied by a non-verbal exclamation or gesture, perhaps the turning out of his pockets--if ancient Greek tunics had pockets!
ὡς ἐχθρὸν ἑαυτοῦ: “as his own personal enemy,” one of the common grounds for attacking another citizen in the courts. Ancient Greek distinguishes between a personal or private enemy (ἐχθρός) and enemy of the state (πολέμιος). The antithesis of an ἐχθρός is a φίλος.
τιμωρεῖται: “avenge oneself upon” (LSJ τιμωρέω I.3). The middle voice emphasizes that the act of vengeance is being taken in response to a (perceived) injustice suffered by the subject himself.
γὰρ: explanatory use of the particle. The clause will make it clear why the challenger “lies” (ψεύδεται).
οὔτε φίλῳ οὔτε ἐχθρῷ...αὐτῷ: note the appositional relationship.
πώποτε ἐχρησάμην: “I never once had dealings with.” ἐχρησάμην > χράομαι, 1st sing. aor. mid. ind. For the use of the verb to describe interactions with another person as a dative object, see LSJ χράομαι C IVb.
φίλῳ οὔτε ἐχθρῷ πώποτε ἐχρησάμην: the high frequency of hiatus–φίλῳ οὔτε ἐχθρῷ and πώποτε ἐχρησάμην–in this phrase requires the speaker to slow his speech in order to properly enunciate the words. This draws attention to the important claim that the defendant and challenger have had no previous legal entanglements.