24.24

(24) πότερον ὅτι δι’ ἐμέ τις εἰς ἀγῶνα πώποτε καταστὰς ἀπώλεσε τὴν οὐσίαν; ἀλλ’ οὐδ’ ἂν εἷς ἀποδείξειεν. ἀλλ’ ὅτι πολυπράγμων εἰμὶ καὶ θρασὺς καὶ φιλαπεχθήμων; ἀλλ’ οὐ τοιαύταις ἀφορμαῖς τοῦ βίου τυγχάνω χρώμενος.

πώποτε: ever yet

πολυπράγμων –ον: meddlesome, officious

θρασύς –εῖα –ύ: rash, arrogant

φιλαπεχθήμων –ον: quarrelsome

ἀφορμή –ης, ἡ: resources, assets

The defendant has steered clear, up until this present time, from lawsuits and politics. So, this cannot explain his current predicament.

πότερον: “whether,” the adverb is often used to introduce direct questions that contain an alternative, marked by ἥ (“or”). In this instance, the speaker breaks off before he introduces the alternative (LSJ πότερος ΙΙ.2).

εἰς ἀγῶνα...καταστὰς: “having stood (at) trial” > nom. sg. masc. aor. act. participle of καθίστημι, “to bring into a certain state” (LSJ καθίστημι II.3). The speaker is proud to acknowledge that he has previously steered clear of the politics of the courts and interpersonal conflict.

τὴν οὐσίαν: “his estate.”

ἀλλ᾽ ὅτι: “Well, is it that…” Introduces another (rather indignant) rhetorical question in which the speaker expects a negative response. The speaker repeats this interrogative phrase several times in this part of the speech.

πολυπράγμων: “a busybody.” πολυπράγμων was a term of social disproval, suggesting that Athenians valued privacy and a distinction between personal and private affairs, which a meddlesome, over-active citizen’s actions could potentially blur and undermine.

φιλαπεχθήμων: “quarrelsome.”

ἀλλ᾽ οὐδ᾽…ἀλλ᾽ ὅτι…ἀλλ᾽ οὐ: the repetition of ἀλλά in successive clauses (anaphora), each acting as a response to a hypothetical but ultimately rejected explanation for the challenger’s dislike of the defendant, lend a plain-spoken air to the defendant’s argument. The repetition continues into the next chapter.  

οὐ...τυγχάνω χρώμενος: “I don’t happen to make use of.” The verb τυγχάνω often requires a complementary participle in the nominative to fill out the action of the sentence (S. 2096). This sentence answers the preceding rhetorical question, which establishes a pattern of questions asked and answered (hypophora), as the speaker builds towards his conclusion.

χρώμενος: “to make use of” a thing for a particular end or purpose in the dative case (LSJ χράομαι C III.4).

τοιαύταις ἀφορμαῖς τοῦ βίου: “these sorts of resources of life” (LSJ ἀφορμή Ι.3), i.e. the defendant does not have access to the same advantages as the challenger, such as wealth and youth, that would allow him to act in such an arrogant and meddlesome manner without impunity. The choice of ἀφορμή, which is used elsewhere to refer to capital and investments, may lend this expression a mocking tone of commercial sophistication. Altogether, this argument recalls the discussion in Chapter 16.

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Suggested Citation

Taylor Coughlin, Lysias: For the Disabled Man (Oration 24). Carlisle, Pennsylvania: Dickinson College Commentaries, 2022 ISBN: 978-1-947822-22-1