(9) δοκεῖ δέ μοι τῆς πενίας τῆς ἐμῆς τὸ μέγεθος ὁ κατήγορος ἂν ἐπιδεῖξαι σαφέστατα μόνος ἀνθρώπων. εἰ γὰρ ἐγὼ κατασταθεὶς χορηγὸς τραγῳδοῖς προκαλεσαίμην αὐτὸν εἰς ἀντίδοσιν, δεκάκις ἂν ἕλοιτο χορηγῆσαι μᾶλλον ἢ ἀντιδοῦναι ἅπαξ. καὶ πῶς οὐ δεινόν ἐστι νῦν μὲν κατηγορεῖν ὡς διὰ πολλὴν εὐπορίαν ἐξ ἴσου δύναμαι συνεῖναι τοῖς πλουσιωτάτοις, εἰ δὲ ὧν ἐγὼ λέγω τύχοι τι γενόμενον, τοιοῦτον ἂν εἶναι καὶ ἔτι πονηρότερον;
The depths of the defendant’s poverty are very great indeed: the challenger would never choose to exchange property with him.
The depths of the defendant’s poverty can be ascertained most transparently not through an accurate accounting of his property (which Lysias never has his client offer) but rather by way of a hypothetical whose thought experiment illustrates the “chasm between the rich and poor among Athenian citizens” (Major 2021: 256) and possibly elicited sympathetic laughs (Carey 1990: 49), or resigned nods of recognition (Major 2021: 256-57), from members of the Council. [read full essay]
δοκεῖ δέ μοι...ὁ κατήγορος ἂν ἐπιδεῖξαι: “it seems to me that the challenger could point out…”
Aorist infinitive + ἄν following after the impersonal expression δοκεῖ δέ μοι (“it seems to me that…” or “I think that…”) represents either an indicative or optative verb + ἄν (G. 579). Context suggests that we understand ἂν ἐπιδεῖξαι as equivalent to the potential optative ἐπιδείξειεν ἄν.
τῆς πενίας τῆς ἐμῆς τὸ μέγεθος: “the depth of my poverty.” Common use of genitive in combination with a neuter noun of quality, quantity or degree (G. 507c). The phrase is the object of ἂν ἐπιδεῖξαι.
σαφέστατα μόνος ἀνθρώπων: σαφέστατα is an example of the adverbial use of acc. pl. neut. superlative adjective. Understand μόνος ἀνθρώπων in apposition to ὁ κατήγορος; ἄνθρώπων = genitive of the whole.
Lysias drives home the point that the challenger, in fact, is the best witness to the defendant’s financial difficulties, and thus his need for state benefits, through the combination of two more common emphatic phrases σαφέστατα ἀνθρώπων and μόνος ἀνθρώπων (Morgan 1895: 124).
κατασταθεὶς: > καθίστημι, nom. sg. aor. pass. participle. In all tenses of the middle and passive (as well as the aor., perf., and plpf. act.), this verb is intransitive in meaning, e.g. “to be set” or “to settle.” It is commonly used, as it is here, in this sense to describe the act of appointing a person to a role or position.
χορηγὸς τραγῳδοῖς: the funding and production of tragedies and comedies at Athenian dramatic festivals was directed by a choregus, a wealthy Athenian (male) citizen nominated to the role by that year’s Eponymous Archon (Aristotle Ath. Pol. 56.3). The position of choregus was part of the larger Athenian institution of liturgies, the private funding of public goods (e.g. civic festivals and military training and infrastructure), and thus a site of heated aristocratic competition for power and prestige (Wilson 2000).
Most nominations to liturgies were nominally voluntary; however, the archon, often in consultation with tribal representatives, could assign qualified men to the position if a need remained. The choregus financed many core aspects of a dramatic production, most notably the recruitment and training of the chorus as well as costumes and staging. Should the choregus’ dramatic production be victorious he was even expected to host a celebratory feast! Given the exalted position of a choregus in Athenian society, the thought of the defendant being nominated to the role is a humorously improbable hypothetical and one which Lysias exploits to great argumentative effect.
τραγῳδοῖς: “tragedy” i.e. the performance, when the noun is in the plural. The singular τραγῳδός is used to refer to a performer in a tragedy. τραγῳδός = τράγος (“goat”) + ἀοιδός (“singer”), whose meaning has been debated since antiquity.
εἰ...προκαλεσαίμην...ἂν ἕλοιτο: future less vivid conditional (εἰ + optative, optative + ἄν).
προκαλεσαίμην: “to challenge” (LSJ προκαλέω B), a technical term used in the formal process of liturgy avoidance (see εἰς ἀντίδοσις below).
The form is an emendation by Reiske for the manuscript reading προσκαλεσαίμην, which in the middle (“to invite” or “to summon” in legal contexts) does not obtain the sense of calling someone out to task required by the context.
εἰς ἀντίδοσιν: “to an exchange of property.” ἀντἰδοσις was a formal legal mechanism for the avoidance of performing a liturgy, like the role of choregus.
In brief, a man appointed to a liturgy which he did not wish to perform had to recruit a suitable replacement. This act of substitution took the form of a challenge (see προκαλεσαίμην). If the challenge was not accepted, the citizen to whom the liturgy was originally assigned had the option of an exchange of property (ἀντίδοσις) with the man whom he challenged. If this exchange was accepted, the challenger was then required to execute the liturgy using his new, and presumably increased, wealth. If the proposed exchange was rejected, as was often the case, the dispute was brought before a jury who made the ultimate decision to whom the liturgy would be assigned. While the exchange of property is not well attested in the historical evidence, the legal process of antidosis was experienced by many members of the upper-classes.
ἕλοιτο: the challenger of the benefit is the subject.
δεκάκις...χορηγῆσαι μᾶλλον ἢ ἀντιδοῦναι ἅπαξ: a single antidosis would leave our challenger of the benefit much more impoverished than if he took on ten dramatic liturgies, underscoring the financial gap between the defendant and challenger. Can we surmise that the challenger belonged to a social class whose wealth qualified him for liturgical service? Lysias effectively reinforces this antithesis through the use of chiasmus: δεκάκις (A)...χορηγῆσαι (B) μᾶλλον ἢ ἀντιδοῦναι (B) ἅπαξ (A).
ἢ ἀντιδοῦναι ἅπαξ: The string of hiatus in the phrase, forcing the speaker to slow his pronunciation of each word, further emphasizes the contrast (for a similar use of hiatus see ἐννέα ἀρχόντων at Chapter 13).
καὶ πῶς: “just how?” The interrogative is commonly used to express astonishment tinged with displeasure.
δεινόν: “monstrous, terrible.”
καὶ πῶς οὐ δεινόν ἐστι: the defendant ramps up his outrage with this rhetorical question. If the challenger would not agree to exchange property with the defendant, how then can he also honestly argue that the defendant associates with the elite of Athens as a social equal?
κατηγορεῖν: supply με as object.
ἐξ ἴσου: adverbial expression, “on their level.”
τοῖς πλουσιωτάτοις: “the ultra-wealthy”, i.e. the Athenian top 1%.
εἰ δὲ...τύχοι τι γενόμενον: “but if something (of these sorts of affairs) should happen,” i.e. the challenge to an antidosis.
τύχοι = 3rd sing. aor. act. opt. in the protasis of a future less vivid conditional. The verb τυγχάνω is often used combination with a supplementary participle, where the participle supplies the main action and τυγχάνω contributes a sense of chance or, more simply, temporality (e.g. “just now”) (S. 2096). Since the use of an aorist verb and aorist participle, as here, express that actions occur contemporaneously, both senses are operative in this context.
ὧν ἐγὼ λέγω: “these sorts of affairs of which I speak.” The antecedent of the relative pronoun has been omitted and the relative pronoun then attracted into its case. The omitted antecedent is τοιούτων the genitive of the whole to be supplied with τι, “something of these sorts of affairs,” i.e. the act of antidosis. The expanded statement would read: εἰ δὲ τύχοι τι τοιούτων γενόμενον ἅ ἐγὼ λέγω (“If something of this sort which I mention should happen”).
τοιοῦτον ἂν εἶναι καὶ ἔτι πονηρότερον: “‘[he would say] that I am in such a condition (i.e. poor and disabled) and still even worse off?” The ellipsis of a main verb for the apodosis of the conditional makes syntax of this phrase is difficult. The presence of acc. + inf. suggest indirect discourse and thus a verb of speech, e.g. λέγοι “he would say.” The ellipsis has led many editors to emend the text in various ways. The editor of our text (Carey) has inserted the particle ἄν which is expected (though not required) in the apodosis of a future less vivid construction.
τοιοῦτον...πονηρότερον: supply με as predicate to both adjectives.
πενία –ας, ἡ: poverty, need, lack
ἐπιδείκνυμι, ἐπιδείξω, ἐπέδειξα, ἐπιδέδειχα, ἐπιδέδειγμαι, ἐπεδείχθην: display, prove, exhibit
χορηγός –οῦ, ὁ: chorus leader, one who pays for a chorus
τραγῳδός –οῦ, ὁ: a tragedy (pl.); tragic performer (sg.)
προκαλέω, προκαλῶ, προυκάλεσα, προκέκληκα, προκέκλημαι, προυκλήθην: challenge, call forth, call out
ἀντίδοσις –εως, ἡ: an exchange of property
δεκάκις: ten-times, tenfold
χορηγέω, χορηγήσω, ἐχορήγησα, κεχορήγηκα, κεχορήγημαι, ἐχορηγήθην: lead a chorus, fund a chorus
ἀντιδίδωμι, ἀντιδώσω, ἀντέδωκα, ἀντιδέδωκα, ἀντιδέδομαι, ἀντιδόθην: take or offer an exchange of property, i.e. make an antidosis
εὐπορία –ας, ἡ: wealth, plenty, abundance
σύνειμι, συνέσομαι: associate with, be acquainted with
πλούσιος –α –ον: wealthy, rich