(23) πῶς οὖν οὐκ ἂν ἀθλιώτατος εἴην, εἰ τῶν μὲν καλλίστων καὶ μεγίστων διὰ τὴν συμφορὰν ἀπεστερημένος εἴην, ἃ δ’ ἡ πόλις ἔδωκε προνοηθεῖσα τῶν οὕτως διακειμένων, διὰ τὸν κατήγορον ἀφαιρεθείην; μηδαμῶς, ὦ βουλή, ταύτῃ θῆσθε τὴν ψῆφον. διὰ τί γὰρ ἂν καὶ τύχοιμι τοιούτων ὑμῶν;
Misfortune has already deprived the defendant of so much, and he asks the jury not to let the challenger deprive him of the one thing that the city has seen fit to grant him.
πῶς οὖν οὐκ ἂν...εἴην: “How, then, would I not be…,” i.e. “I would surely be….” Negative rhetorical question for emphasis that functions as the apodosis of a future-less-vivid conditional.
ἀθλιώτατος: “most pitiful.” ἄθλιος (long α) is the Attic contraction of ἀέθλιος. The adjective also has an extended meaning (“miserable, wretched, pitiful”) in Attic from its literal meaning of “struggling in competition,” e.g. athletics.
This form is a modern emendation of δικαίοτατος (“most fitting”) transmitted in the manuscripts, but wholly unfit given the context. Lysias uses ἄθλιος nine times in his corpus, including a near-identical rhetorical question at 7.16. Markland proposed the alternative emendation δειλαίοτατος. While paleographically simpler than ἀθλιώτατος, δειλαίος is quite rare in Attic oratory in comparison to its application to characters in tragedy. If accepted, this descriptor’s presence here would likely be designed to intensify the emotional content of the defendant’s final appeals
ἂν...εἴην...εἰ...ἀπεστερημένος εἴην...ἀφαιρεθείην: “I would be...if I were deprived...and I should then lose.” A future-less-vivid conditional (εἰ + optative, optative + ἄν).
ἀπεστερημένος εἴην...ἀφαιρεθείην: synonyms place stress on the notion that the speaker will have a rightful benefit unjustly taken from him, rather than simply not granted, should the jury rule against him.
διὰ τὴν συμφορὰν...διὰ τὸν κατήγορον: “because of my misfortune...because of the challenger.” The parallel phrasing equates the deleterious impact of the speaker’s disability with the actions of the challenger in bringing this challenge to the courts.
ἃ δ᾽: “and those things which….” Supply ταῦτα as the antecedent and object of ἀφαιρεθείην.
προνοηθεῖσα τῶν οὕτως διακειμένων: “(the city) mindful of men in these circumstances.” Substantive participle.
μηδαμῶς: a very strong negative.
θῆσθε τὴν ψῆφον: “vote.” Literally translated as “put down the pebble,” the phrase retains the fifth-century practice of voting where a juror would record his decision by depositing a pebble in one of two urns, either for the prosecution or the defense. Only a simple majority was required for a decision to be rendered.
θῆσθε: > 2nd pl. aor. mid. subj. of τίθημι. Prohibitive subjunctive with μηδαμῶς (G. 473).
ταύτῃ: “in this way,” i.e. against the continued granting of the benefit.
διὰ τί γὰρ: “But why?” Introduces a rhetorical question that underscores the speaker’s confidence in the outcome of the jury’s vote in his favor.
τοιούτων ὑμῶν: “you all so inclined,” i.e. to vote in favor of the challenger’s challenge. Genitive object of τύχοιμι.
ἄθλιος –α –ον: wretched, miserable
ἀποστερέω, ἀποστερήσω, ἀπεστέρησα, ἀπεστέρηκα, ἀπεστέρημαι, ἀπεστερήθην: rob (act.) someone (acc.) of something (gen.); be robbed (pass.) of something (gen.)
προνοέω, προνοήσω, προὐνόησα, προνενόηκα, προνενόημαι προὐνοήθην: take thought for, provide for (+gen.)
διάκειμαι, διακείσομαι: be in X state, be in X mood
μηδαμῶς: by no means, in no way
ψῆφος –ου, ἡ: vote, lit. a pebbled used to register a vote