The Weaponization of Ancient Sexuality in Aeschines' Against Timarchus

Daniel Libatique, College of the Holy Cross
Click here to Tweet about this paper.

October 24, 2019 | Brandeis University

Passages | Bibliography


The translations of items 1, 2, 3, 6, and 8 are mine; all other translations are from Adams’ Loeb unless otherwise noted.

1. οὐδὲ γὰρ ὁ νόμος τοὺς ἰδιωτεύοντας, ἀλλὰ τοὺς πολιτευομένους ἐξετάζει. (195)

For the law does not scrutinize private citizens but rather those engaged in politics.

2. τρίτον τίσι διαλέγεται; «Ἢ πεπορνευμένος,» φησίν, «ἢ ἡταιρηκώς·» τὸν γὰρ τὸ σῶμα τὸ ἑαυτοῦ ἐφ᾿ ὕβρει πεπρακότα, καὶ τὰ κοινὰ τῆς πόλεως ῥᾳδίως ἡγήσατο ἀποδώσεσθαι. (29-30)

Who is mentioned third? He says, “The man who has prostituted himself or served as an escort.” For Solon thought that he who has sold his own body in hybris would easily sell the common affairs of the city too.

3. …εὔσαρκον ὄντα καὶ νέον καὶ βδελυρὸν καὶ ἐπιτήδειον πρὸς τὸ πρᾶγμα ὃ προῃρεῖτο ἐκεῖνος μὲν πράττειν, οὗτος δὲ πάσχειν. (41)

…[Timarchus] was handsome and young and disgusting and suitable for the deed which Misgolas wanted to perform and which Timarchus wanted to endure.

4. «ὦ Ἀθηναῖοι, κλέπτουσιν ὑμῶν ἀνὴρ καὶ γυνὴ χιλίας δραχμάς.» Θαυμασάντων δ’ ὑμῶν πῶς ἀνὴρ καὶ γυνὴ καὶ τίς ὁ λόγος, εἶπε μικρὸν διαλιπών· «ἀγνοεῖτε», ἔφη, «ὅ τι λέγω; ὁ μὲν ἀνήρ ἐστιν Ἡγήσανδρος ἐκεῖνος νυνί», ἔφη, «πρότερον δ’ ἦν καὶ αὐτὸς Λεωδάμαντος γυνή· ἡ δὲ γυνὴ Τίμαρχος οὑτοσί.» (110-111)

“Fellow citizens, a man and a woman are conspiring to steal one thousand drachmas of yours.” Then you in astonishment cried, “How ‘a man and a woman,’ what are you talking about?” After a little he went on: “Don’t you understand,” said he, “what I mean? The man is our friend Hegesandrus there, a man now, though he too used to be a woman, Laodamas’s woman; as for the woman, she is Timarchus yonder.

5. Ἔπειθ’ οἱ μὲν πατέρες ὑμῶν οὕτω περὶ τῶν αἰσχρῶν καὶ καλῶν διεγίγνωσκον, ὑμεῖς δὲ Τίμαρχον τὸν τοῖς αἰσχίστοις ἐπιτηδεύμασιν ἔνοχον ἀφήσετε; τὸν ἄνδρα μὲν καὶ ἄρρενα τὸ σῶμα, γυναικεῖα δὲ ἁμαρτήματα ἡμαρτηκότα; τίς οὖν ὑμῶν γυναῖκα λαβὼν ἀδικοῦσαν τιμωρήσεται; ἢ τίς οὐκ ἀπαίδευτος εἶναι δόξει τῇ μὲν κατὰ φύσιν ἁμαρτανούσῃ χαλεπαίνων, τῷ δὲ παρὰ φύσιν ἑαυτὸν ὑβρίσαντι συμβούλῳ χρώμενος; (185)

Such, then, was the judgment of your fathers concerning things shameful and things honorable; and shall their sons let Timarchus go free, a man chargeable with the most shameful practices, a creature with the body of a man defiled with the sins of a woman? In that case, who of you will punish a woman if he finds her in wrong doing? Or what man will not be regarded as lacking intelligence who is angry with her who errs by an impulse of nature, while he treats as adviser the man who in despite of nature has sinned against his own body?

6. ἕν τι τῶν αἰσχίστων ἡγησάμην εἶναι μὴ βοηθῆσαι τῇ τε πόλει πᾶσῃ και τοῖς νόμοις καὶ ὑμῖν καὶ ἐμαυτῷ … αἱ γὰρ ἴδιαι ἔχθραι πολλὰ πάνυ τῶν κοινῶν ἐπανορθοῦσι. (2)

I decided it would be one of the most shameful acts not to give aid to the entire city and our laws and you all and myself … Private hostilities very often set right public affairs.

7. Σκέψασθε δή, ὦ ἄνδρες Ἀθηναῖοι, ὅσον διαφέρει ὁ Σόλων Τιμάρχου καὶ οἱ ἄνδρες ἐκεῖνοι, ὧν ἐγὼ ὀλίγῳ πρότερον ἐμνήσθην. Ἐκεῖνοι μέν γε ᾐσχύνοντο ἔξω τὴν χεῖρα ἔχοντες λέγειν, οὑτοσὶ δὲ οὐ πάλαι, ἀλλὰ πρώην ποτὲ ῥίψας θοἰμάτιον γυμνὸς ἐπαγκρατίαζεν ἐν τῇ ἐκκλησίᾳ, οὕτω κακῶς καὶ αἰσχρῶς διακείμενος τὸ σῶμα ὑπὸ μέθης καὶ βδελυρίας ὥστε τούς γε εὖ φρονοῦντας ἐγκαλύψασθαι, αἰσχυνθέντας ὑπὲρ τῆς πόλεως, εἰ τοιούτοις συμβούλοις χρώμεθα. (26)

See now, fellow citizens, how unlike to Timarchus were Solon and those men of old whom I mentioned a moment ago. They were too modest to speak with the arm outside the cloak, but this man not long ago, yes, only the other day, in an assembly of the people threw off his cloak and leaped about like a gymnast, half naked, his body so reduced and befouled through drunkenness and lewdness that right-minded men, at least, covered their eyes, being ashamed for the city, that we should let such men as he be our advisers.

8. ἀμφοτέρῃσι δὲ χερσὶν ἑλὼν κόνιν αἰθαλόεσσαν
χεύατο κὰκ κεφαλῆς, χαρίεν δ’ ᾔσχυνε πρόσωπον. (Homer Iliad 18.23-24)

He took smoky dust in both his hands and poured it down on his head, and he disfigured his gracious face.

9. Ταῦτα μὲν οὖν πάλαι νενομοθέτηται· ὑμεῖς δ᾿ ἔτι προσέθεσθε καινὸν νόμον μετὰ τὸ καλὸν παγκράτιον, ὃ οὗτος ἐπαγκρατίασεν ἐν τῇ ἐκκλησίᾳ, ὑπεραισχυνθέντες ἐπὶ τῷ πράγματι. (33)

Now these regulations of the law have long been in force; but you went further and added a new law, after that charming gymnastic exhibition which Timarchus gave in an assembly of the people; for you were exceedingly ashamed of the affair.

10. Δέομαι δ’ ὑμῶν, ὦ Ἀθηναῖοι, συγγνώμην μοι ἔχειν ἐὰν ἀναγκαζόμενος λέγειν περὶ ἐπιτηδευμάτων φύσει μὲν μὴ καλῶν, τούτῳ δὲ πεπραγμένων, ἐξαχθῶ τι ῥῆμα εἰπεῖν ὅ ἐστιν ὅμοιον τοῖς ἔργοις τοῖς Τιμάρχου. Οὐδὲ γὰρ ἂν δικαίως ἐμοὶ ἐπιτιμήσαιτε, εἴ τι σαφῶς εἴποιμι διδάσκειν βουλόμενος, ἀλλὰ πολὺ μᾶλλον τουτῳί. Οὕτω γὰρ αἰσχρῶς τυγχάνει βεβιωκὼς ὥστε τὸν τὰ τούτῳ πεπραγμένα διεξιόντα ἀδύνατον εἶναι εἰπεῖν ὡς αὐτὸς βούλεται, ἐὰν μή τι καὶ τῶν τοιούτων φθέγξηται ῥημάτων. Εὐλαβήσομαι δ’ αὐτὸ ποιεῖν ὡς ἂν δύνωμαι μάλιστα. Σκέψασθε δέ, ὦ ἄνδρες Ἀθηναῖοι, ὡς μετρίως μέλλω προσφέρεσθαι Τιμάρχῳ τουτῳί. (37-39)

And I beg you to pardon me, fellow citizens, if, compelled to speak about habits which by nature are, indeed, unclean, but are nevertheless his, I be led to use some expression that is as bad as Timarchus’ deeds. For it would not be right for you to blame me, if now and again I use plain language in my desire to inform you; the blame should rather be his, if it is a fact that his life has been so shameful that a man who is describing his behavior is unable to say what he wishes without sometimes using expressions that are likewise shameful. But I will try my best to avoid doing this. See, fellow citizens, with what moderation I am going to deal with Timarchus here.