(7) μὴ τοίνυν, ἐπειδή γε ἔστιν, ὦ βουλή, σῶσαί με δικαίως, ἀπολέσητε ἀδίκως· μηδὲ ἃ νεωτέρῳ καὶ μᾶλλον ἐρρωμένῳ ὄντι ἔδοτε, πρεσβύτερον καὶ ἀσθενέστερον γιγνόμενον ἀφέλησθε· μηδὲ πρότερον καὶ περὶ τοὺς οὐδὲν ἔχοντας κακὸν ἐλεημονέστατοι δοκοῦντες εἶναι νυνὶ διὰ τοῦτον τοὺς καὶ τοῖς ἐχθροῖς ἐλεινοὺς ὄντας ἀγρίως ἀποδέξησθε· μηδ’ ἐμὲ τολμήσαντες ἀδικῆσαι καὶ τοὺς ἄλλους τοὺς ὁμοίως ἐμοὶ διακειμένους ἀθυμῆσαι ποιήσητε.
The defendant addresses the Council.
Emotional appeal is the engine of these two chapters of the speech (Carey 1990: 47). Having quickly dispatched the legal question regarding the total value of his property, the defendant takes direct aim at the emotions of the jury. [read full essay]
μὴ...ἀπολέσητε...μηδὲ...ἀφέλησθε...μηδὲ ἀποδέξησθε...μηδὲ ποιήσητε: This long sentence is a series of negative commands directed to the members of the Council. The negative particle μή and a 2nd pl. aor. subj. verb expresses a prohibition (G. 473). Note how the negative commands build in length and syntactic complexity from the initial prohibition (μὴ τοίνυν...ἀπολέσητε ἀδίκως), reaching a peak at the third (of four) commands, and thus producing a rhetorical crescendo.
μὴ...ἀπολέσητε: ἀπολέσητε > ἀπόλλυμι 2nd pl. aor. act. subj. Note the significant separation between μή and ἀπολέσητε, termed hyperbaton (see note on chapter 2), a rhetorical technique used by Lysias to highlight the end of the phrase by syntactically bracketing it with the main action. Lysias repeats hyperbaton across the series of prohibitions.
ἀφέλησθε: > ἀφαιρέω 2nd pl. aor. mid. subj.
τοίνυν: particle used to mark a transition to a new point or stage in an argument, see note on Chapter 3.
ἔστιν: “it is possible” + complementary inf.
σῶσαί: > σώζω, aor. act. inf.
δικαίως...ἀδίκως: note the balanced antithesis, which underscores the stark decision that the defendant says faces the Council: to “save” him by “justly” upholding his award of the state benefit or “ruin” him “unjustly” by accepting the arguments of the challenger and disqualifying him.
ἃ: = ταῦτα ἅ “those things which.” Omission of the antecedent to the relative pronoun, especially common with a generic neuter accusative antecedent.
νεωτέρῳ καὶ μᾶλλον ἐρρωμένῳ ὄντι: supply μοι, “to me when I was (ὄντι) younger (νεωτέρῳ) and more (καὶ μᾶλλον) spry (ἐρρωμένῳ).” ὄντι: circumstantial pres. participle of εἰμί.
μᾶλλον ἐρρωμένῳ: the comparative degree of participles are formed using the adverb μᾶλλον (G. 180). ἐρρώμενος = perf. act. participle of ῥώνυμμι, which is used almost exclusively as an adjective.
πρεσβύτερον καὶ ἀσθενέστερον γιγνόμενον: supply με, “me now that I’ve become (γιγνόμενον) older and frailer.”
μηδὲ...ἀφέλησθε: supply ταῦτα as object of verb. ἀφ-έλησθε > ἀφ-αιρέω, 2nd pl. aor. mid. subj.: “deprive X person (acc.) of Y thing (acc.)” (LSJ ἀφαιρέω II).
πρότερον...νυνὶ: the defendant draws a distinction between the compassion that the Council had previously (πρότερον) shown to more fortunate petitioners and his fear that now (νυνί) the Council will be swayed by the challenger to take a (needlessly) strict approach to the issue of his state disability benefit. Since members of the Council served for a year before rotating out of the position (and could serve no more than twice in their lifetime), we may suspect that πρότερον refers to recent decisions made by this same cohort of Councilmembers, though stressing that previous iterations of the Council have acted with leniency may also have been an effective persuasive strategy.
νυνὶ: another example of the emphatic deictic iota, underscoring the potential difference between the past and present. Imagine the speaker punctuating νυνί with a vigorous hand gesture.
περὶ τοὺς οὐδὲν ἔχοντας κακὸν: “concerning those people who suffer no trouble.” It is unclear if Lysias here refers to other citizen petitioners for the state disability benefit or to a wider class of citizens who appear before the Council.
ἐλεημονέστατοι δοκοῦντες εἶναι: the defendant flatters the jury for their history of compassion in the hopes of earning sympathy. Pity ( ἐλεημονέστατοι) is (properly) shown to those whom one thinks suffer ills undeservedly, which would apparently clash with the actions of the Council since they take pity on citizens who (from the perspective of the defendant) have suffered no trouble (τοὺς οὐδὲν ἔχοντας κακὸν). Is, then, this a backhanded compliment?
διὰ τοῦτον: supply ἄνδρα, “on account of this man.”
τοὺς καὶ τοῖς ἐχθροῖς ἐλεινοὺς ὄντας: i.e. men who evoke pity from their personal enemies. A notable paradox, given the cultural assumption that one should revel in the misfortunes of an enemy, which only further stresses the extent of the defendant’s disability.
καὶ: adverbial “even,” stressing the rather unique circumstances.
μηδὲ…ἀγρίως ἀποδέξησθε: “and don’t treat (them) cruelly.” ἀποδέχομαι commonly means “to welcome” or “to accept kindly,” but here Lysias negates this standard meaning through the use of the adverb ἀγρίως (“cruelly”), an emotionally potent word.
The choice of this verb underscores the feared inversion of expected civic behavior on the part of the Council: one should expect the Council to welcome willingly a man pitied by his enemies. Note, too, the alliteration of alpha in the verb phrase, which further highlights the non-standard use of the verb and has a parallel with ἀπολέσητε ἀδικως at the start of the sentence.
τολμήσαντες: “having dared to” + inf. (LSJ τολμάω II), nom. pl. aor. act. participle. The sense of the verb here drips with a tone of scorn or reproach.
μηδὲ...τοὺς ἄλλους...ἀθυμῆσαι ποιήσητε: ποιέω + X (acc.) + Y (inf.) = “make X do Y” (LSJ ποίεω Α ΙΙ.1b), “don’t make the others despair.”
διακειμένους: “to be in a state or circumstance,” the verb is often paired with an adverb as here with ὀμοίως, which completes its meaning: “being in similar circumstances,” i.e. experiencing a similar situation.
τοὺς ὁμοίως ἐμοὶ διακειμένους: “the others, who are in a similar situation as I am.” Article and attributive participle further defining τοὺς ἄλλους. These types of participial phrases are often best rendered in English as a relative clause.
The appeal to consider how an individual decision will impact a whole class of people, in this instance those who receive a disability benefit, is an example of the rhetorical tactic of amplification (Albini 1952: 331).]
ἐπειδή: when, after
ἀδίκως: wrongly, unjustly
νεώτερος –η –ον: younger (comp. of νέος –η –ον)
ἐρρωμένος –η –ον: in good health, vigorous
ἀσθενής –ές: weak, without strength
ἐλεήμων –ον: merciful, compassionate
ἐλεινός –ή –όν: pitiful, worthy of pity
ἀγρίως: savagely, wildly
ἀποδέχομαι, ἀποδέξομαι, ἀπεδεξάμην, ἀποδέδεγμαι, —: receive favorably, accept
τολμάω, τολμήσω, ἐτόλμησα, τετόλμηκα, τετόλμημαι, ἐτολμήθην: dare, undertake
διάκειμαι, διακείσομαι: be in X state, be in X mood
ἀθυμέω, ἀθυμήσω, ἠθύμησα: be downhearted, lose heart