Home > Uncategorized > Lysias: Those who wage war imitate tyrants

Lysias: Those who wage war imitate tyrants

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Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

Greek and Roman writers on war and peace

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Lysias
From Subverting the Democracy
Translated by W. R. M. Lamb

In my opinion, gentlemen of the jury, those among our people remaining in the city who shared my views have clearly proved, both under oligarchy and under democracy, what manner of citizens they are. But the men who give us good cause to wonder what they would have done if they have been allowed to join the Thirty [tyrants] are the men who now, in a democracy, imitate those rulers; who have made a rapid advance from poverty to wealth, and who hold a number of offices without rendering an account of any; who instead of concord have created mutual suspicion, and who have declared war instead of peace…

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Lysias
From Against Epicrates
Translated by W. R. M. Lamb

During the war, these men have advanced themselves from poverty to wealth at your expense, while you are in poverty because of them. Yet surely it is the duty of true leaders of the people not to take your property in the stress of your misfortune, but to give their own property to you…

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