Kleons Rede vor der Ekklesia

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Thuk. 3, 37-40 – Original:

‘πολλάκις μὲν ἤδη ἔγωγε καὶ ἄλλοτε ἔγνων δημοκρατίαν ὅτι ἀδύνατόν ἐστιν ἑτέρων ἄρχειν, μάλιστα δ᾽ ἐν τῇ νῦν ὑμετέρᾳ περὶ Μυτιληναίων μεταμελείᾳ. [2] διὰ γὰρ τὸ καθ᾽ ἡμέραν ἀδεὲς καὶ ἀνεπιβούλευτον πρὸς ἀλλήλους καὶ ἐςτοὺς ξυμμάχους τὸ αὐτὸ ἔχετε, καὶ ὅτι ἂν ἢ λόγῳ πεισθέντες ὑπ᾽ αὐτῶν ἁμάρτητε ἢ οἴκτῳ ἐνδῶτε, οὐκ ἐπικινδύνως ἡγεῖσθε ἐς ὑμᾶς καὶ οὐκ ἐς τὴν τῶν ξυμμάχων χάριν μαλακίζεσθαι, οὐ σκοποῦντες ὅτι τυραννίδα ἔχετε τὴν ἀρχὴν καὶ πρὸς ἐπιβουλεύοντας αὐτοὺς καὶ ἄκοντας ἀρχομένους, οἳ οὐκ ἐξ ὧν ἂν χαρίζησθε βλαπτόμενοι αὐτοὶ ἀκροῶνται ὑμῶν, ἀλλ᾽ ἐξ ὧν ἂν ἰσχύι μᾶλλον ἢ τῇ ἐκείνων εὐνοίᾳ περιγένησθε. [3] πάντων δὲ δεινότατον εἰ βέβαιον ἡμῖν μηδὲν καθεστήξει ὧν ἂν δόξῃ πέρι,μηδὲ γνωσόμεθα ὅτι χείροσι νόμοις ἀκινήτοις χρωμένη πόλις κρείσσων ἐστὶν ἢκαλῶς ἔχουσιν ἀκύροις, ἀμαθία τε μετὰ σωφροσύνης ὠφελιμώτερον ἢ δεξιότης μετὰ ἀκολασίας, οἵ τε φαυλότεροι τῶν ἀνθρώπων πρὸς τοὺς ξυνετωτέρους ὡςἐπὶ τὸ πλέον ἄμεινον οἰκοῦσι τὰς πόλεις. [4] οἱ μὲν γὰρ τῶν τε νόμων σοφώτεροι βούλονται φαίνεσθαι τῶν τε αἰεὶ λεγομένων ἐς τὸ κοινὸν περιγίγνεσθαι, ὡς ἐν ἄλλοις μείζοσιν οὐκ ἂν δηλώσαντες τὴν γνώμην, καὶ ἐκ τοῦ τοιούτου τὰ πολλὰ σφάλλουσι τὰς πόλεις:οἱ δ᾽ ἀπιστοῦντες τῇ ἐξ αὑτῶν ξυνέσει ἀμαθέστεροι μὲν τῶν νόμων ἀξιοῦσιν εἶναι, ἀδυνατώτεροι δὲ τοῦ καλῶς εἰπόντος μέμψασθαι λόγον, κριταὶ δὲ ὄντες ἀπὸ τοῦ ἴσου μᾶλλον ἢ ἀγωνισταὶ ὀρθοῦνται τὰ πλείω.[5] ὣς οὖν χρὴ καὶ ἡμᾶς ποιοῦντας μὴ δεινότητι καὶ ξυνέσεως ἀγῶνι ἐπαιρομένους παρὰ δόξαν τῷ ὑμετέρῳ πλήθει παραινεῖν.
[38]‘ἐγὼ μὲν οὖν ὁ αὐτός εἰμι τῇ γνώμῃ καὶ θαυμάζω μὲν τῶν προθέντων αὖθις περὶ Μυτιληναίων λέγειν καὶ χρόνου διατριβὴν ἐμποιησάντων, ὅ ἐστι πρὸς τῶν ἠδικηκότων μᾶλλον (ὁ γὰρ παθὼν τῷ δράσαντι ἀμβλυτέρᾳ τῇ ὀργῇ ἐπεξέρχεται, ἀμύνεσθαι δὲ τῷ παθεῖν ὅτι ἐγγυτάτω κείμενον ἀντίπαλον ὂν μάλιστα τὴν τιμωρίαν ἀναλαμβάνει), θαυμάζω δὲ καὶ ὅστις ἔσται ὁ ἀντερῶνκαὶ ἀξιώσων ἀποφαίνειν τὰς μὲν Μυτιληναίων ἀδικίας ἡμῖν ὠφελίμους οὔσας,τὰς δ᾽ ἡμετέρας ξυμφορὰς τοῖς ξυμμάχοις βλάβας καθισταμένας. [2] καὶ δῆλον ὅτι ἢ τῷ λέγειν πιστεύσας τὸ πάνυ δοκοῦν ἀνταποφῆναι ὡς οὐκ ἔγνωσται ἀγωνίσαιτ᾽ ἄν, ἢ κέρδει ἐπαιρόμενος τὸ εὐπρεπὲς τοῦ λόγου ἐκπονήσας παράγειν πειράσεται. [3] ἡ δὲ πόλις ἐκ τῶν τοιῶνδε ἀγώνων τὰ μὲν ἆθλα ἑτέροις δίδωσιν, αὐτὴ δὲ τοὺς κινδύνους ἀναφέρει. [4] αἴτιοι δ᾽ ὑμεῖς κακῶς ἀγωνοθετοῦντες, οἵτινες εἰώθατε θεαταὶ μὲν τῶν λόγων γίγνεσθαι, ἀκροαταὶ δὲ τῶν ἔργων, τὰ μὲν μέλλοντα ἔργα ἀπὸ τῶν εὖ εἰπόντων σκοποῦντες ὡς δυνατὰ γίγνεσθαι, τὰ δὲ πεπραγμένα ἤδη, οὐ τὸ δρασθὲν πιστότερον ὄψει λαβόντες ἢ τὸ ἀκουσθέν, ἀπὸ τῶν λόγῳ καλῶς ἐπιτιμησάντων: [5] καὶ μετὰ καινότητος μὲν λόγου ἀπατᾶσθαι ἄριστοι, μετὰ δεδοκιμασμένου δὲ μὴ ξυνέπεσθαι ἐθέλειν, δοῦλοι ὄντες τῶν αἰεὶ ἀτόπων, ὑπερόπται δὲ τῶν εἰωθότων, [6] καὶ μάλιστα μὲν αὐτὸς εἰπεῖν ἕκαστος βουλόμενος δύνασθαι, εἰ δὲ μή,ἀνταγωνιζόμενοι τοῖς τοιαῦτα λέγουσι μὴ ὕστεροι ἀκολουθῆσαι δοκεῖν τῇ γνώμῃ, ὀξέως δέ τι λέγοντος προεπαινέσαι, καὶ προαισθέσθαι τε πρόθυμοι εἶναι τὰ λεγόμενα καὶ προνοῆσαι βραδεῖς τὰ ἐξ αὐτῶν ἀποβησόμενα, [7] ζητοῦντές τε ἄλλο τι ὡς εἰπεῖν ἢ ἐν οἷς ζῶμεν, φρονοῦντες δὲ οὐδὲ περὶ τῶν παρόντων ἱκανῶς: ἁπλῶς τε ἀκοῆς ἡδονῇ ἡσσώμενοι καὶ σοφιστῶν θεαταῖς ἐοικότες καθημένοις μᾶλλον ἢ περὶ πόλεως βουλευομένοις.
[39] ‘ὧν ἐγὼ πειρώμενος ἀποτρέπειν ὑμᾶς ἀποφαίνω Μυτιληναίους μάλιστα δὴμίαν πόλιν ἠδικηκότας ὑμᾶς. [2] ἐγὼ γάρ, οἵτινες μὲν μὴ δυνατοὶ φέρειν τὴν ὑμετέραν ἀρχὴν ἢ οἵτινες ὑπὸ τῶν πολεμίων ἀναγκασθέντες ἀπέστησαν, ξυγγνώμην ἔχω: νῆσον δὲ οἵτινες ἔχοντες μετὰ τειχῶν καὶ κατὰ θάλασσαν μόνον φοβούμενοι τοὺς ἡμετέρους πολεμίους, ἐν ᾧ καὶ αὐτοὶ τριήρων παρασκευῇ οὐκ ἄφαρκτοι ἦσαν πρὸς αὐτούς, αὐτόνομοί τε οἰκοῦντες καὶ τιμώμενοι ἐς τὰ πρῶτα ὑπὸ ἡμῶν τοιαῦτα εἰργάσαντο, τί ἄλλο οὗτοι ἢ ἐπεβούλευσάν τε καὶ ἐπανέστησαν μᾶλλον ἢ ἀπέστησαν (ἀπόστασις μέν γε τῶν βίαιόν τι πασχόντων ἐστίν), ἐζήτησάν τε μετὰ τῶν πολεμιωτάτων ἡμᾶς στάντες διαφθεῖραι; καίτοι δεινότερόν ἐστιν ἢ εἰκαθ᾽ αὑτοὺς δύναμιν κτώμενοι ἀντεπολέμησαν. [3] παράδειγμα δὲ αὐτοῖς οὔτε αἱ τῶν πέλας ξυμφοραὶ ἐγένοντο, ὅσοι ἀποστάντες ἤδη ἡμῶν ἐχειρώθησαν, οὔτε ἡ παροῦσα εὐδαιμονία παρέσχεν ὄκνον μὴ ἐλθεῖν ἐς τὰ δεινά: γενόμενοι δὲ πρὸς τὸ μέλλον θρασεῖς καὶ ἐλπίσαντες μακρότερα μὲν τῆς δυνάμεως, ἐλάσσω δὲ τῆς βουλήσεως, πόλεμον ἤραντο, ἰσχὺν ἀξιώσαντες τοῦ δικαίου προθεῖναι: ἐν ᾧ γὰρ ᾠήθησαν περιέσεσθαι, ἐπέθεντο ἡμῖν οὐκ ἀδικούμενοι. [4] εἴωθε δὲ τῶν πόλεων αἷς ἂν μάλιστα καὶ δι᾽ ἐλαχίστου ἀπροσδόκητος εὐπραγία ἔλθῃ, ἐς ὕβριν τρέπειν: τὰ δὲ πολλὰ κατὰ λόγον τοῖς ἀνθρώποις εὐτυχοῦντα ἀσφαλέστερα ἢ παρὰ δόξαν, καὶ κακοπραγίαν ὡς εἰπεῖν ῥᾷον ἀπωθοῦνται ἢ εὐδαιμονίαν διασῴζονται. [5] χρῆν δὲ Μυτιληναίους καὶ πάλαι μηδὲν διαφερόντως τῶν ἄλλων ὑφ᾽ ἡμῶν τετιμῆσθαι, καὶ οὐκ ἂν ἐς τόδε ἐξύβρισαν: πέφυκε γὰρ καὶ ἄλλως ἄνθρωπος τὸμὲν θεραπεῦον ὑπερφρονεῖν, τὸ δὲ μὴ ὑπεῖκον θαυμάζειν. [6] κολασθέντων δὲ καὶ νῦν ἀξίως τῆς ἀδικίας, καὶ μὴ τοῖς μὲν ὀλίγοις ἡ αἰτία προστεθῇ, τὸν δὲ δῆμον ἀπολύσητε. Πάντες γὰρ ὑμῖν γε ὁμοίως ἐπέθεντο, οἷς γ᾽ ἐξῆν ὡς ἡμᾶς τραπομένοις νῦν πάλιν ἐν τῇ πόλει εἶναι: ἀλλὰ τὸν μετὰ τῶν ὀλίγων κίνδυνον ἡγησάμενοι βεβαιότερον ξυναπέστησαν. [7] τῶν τε ξυμμάχων σκέψασθε εἰ τοῖς τε ἀναγκασθεῖσιν ὑπὸ τῶν πολεμίων καὶτοῖς ἑκοῦσιν ἀποστᾶσι τὰς αὐτὰς ζημίας προσθήσετε, τίνα οἴεσθε ὅντινα οὐ βραχείᾳ προφάσει ἀποστήσεσθαι, ὅταν ἢ κατορθώσαντι ἐλευθέρωσις ᾖ ἢσφαλέντι μηδὲν παθεῖν ἀνήκεστον; [8] ἡμῖν δὲ πρὸς ἑκάστην πόλιν ἀποκεκινδυνεύσεται τά τε χρήματα καὶ αἱ ψυχαί, καὶ τυχόντες μὲν πόλιν ἐφθαρμένην παραλαβόντες τῆς ἔπειτα προσόδου, δι᾽ ἣν ἰσχύομεν, τὸ λοιπὸν στερήσεσθε, σφαλέντες δὲ πολεμίους πρὸς τοῖς ὑπάρχουσιν ἕξομεν, καὶ ὃν χρόνον τοῖς νῦν καθεστηκόσι δεῖ ἐχθροῖς ἀνθίστασθαι, τοῖς οἰκείοις ξυμμάχοις πολεμήσομεν.
[40] ‘οὔκουν δεῖ προθεῖναι ἐλπίδα οὔτε λόγῳ πιστὴν οὔτε χρήμασιν ὠνητήν, ὡς ξυγγνώμην ἁμαρτεῖν ἀνθρωπίνως ήψονται. Ἄκοντες μὲν γὰρ οὐκ ἔβλαψαν,εἰδότες δὲ ἐπεβούλευσαν: ξύγγνωμον δ᾽ ἐστὶ τὸ ἀκούσιον. [2] ἐγὼ μὲν οὖν καὶ τότε πρῶτον καὶ νῦν διαμάχομαι μὴ μεταγνῶναι ὑμᾶς τὰ προδεδογμένα, μηδὲ τρισὶ τοῖς ἀξυμφορωτάτοις τῇ ἀρχῇ, οἴκτῳ καὶ ἡδονῇ λόγων καὶ ἐπιεικείᾳ, ἁμαρτάνειν. [3] ἔλεός τε γὰρ πρὸς τοὺς ὁμοίους δίκαιος ἀντιδίδοσθαι, καὶ μὴ πρὸς τοὺς οὔτ᾽ἀντοικτιοῦντας ἐξ ἀνάγκης τε καθεστῶτας αἰεὶ πολεμίους: οἵ τε τέρποντες λόγῳ ῥήτορες ἕξουσι καὶ ἐν ἄλλοις ἐλάσσοσιν ἀγῶνα, καὶ μὴ ἐν ᾧ ἡ μὲν πόλις βραχέα ἡσθεῖσα μεγάλα ζημιώσεται, αὐτοὶ δὲ ἐκ τοῦ εὖ εἰπεῖν τὸ παθεῖν εὖ ἀντιλήψονται:καὶ ἡ ἐπιείκεια πρὸς τοὺς μέλλοντας ἐπιτηδείους καὶ τὸ λοιπὸν ἔσεσθαι μᾶλλον δίδοται ἢ πρὸς τοὺς ὁμοίους τε καὶ οὐδὲν ἧσσον πολεμίους ὑπολειπομένους. [4] ἕν τε ξυνελὼν λέγω: πειθόμενοι μὲν ἐμοὶ τά τε δίκαια ἐς Μυτιληναίους καὶτὰ ξύμφορα ἅμα ποιήσετε, ἄλλως δὲ γνόντες τοῖς μὲν οὐ χαριεῖσθε, ὑμᾶς δὲ αὐτοὺς μᾶλλον δικαιώσεσθε. Εἰ γὰρ οὗτοι ὀρθῶς ἀπέστησαν, ὑμεῖς ἂν οὐ χρεὼν ἄρχοιτε. Εἰ δὲ δὴ καὶ οὐ προσῆκον ὅμως ἀξιοῦτε τοῦτο δρᾶν, παρὰ τὸ εἰκός τοικαὶ τούσδε ξυμφόρως δεῖ κολάζεσθαι,
ἢ παύεσθαι τῆς ἀρχῆς καὶ ἐκ τοῦ ἀκινδύνου ἀνδραγαθίζεσθαι. [5] τῇ τε αὐτῇ ζημίᾳ ἀξιώσατε ἀμύνασθαι καὶ μὴ ἀναλγητότεροι οἱ διαφεύγοντες τῶν ἐπιβουλευσάντων φανῆναι, ἐνθυμηθέντες ἃ εἰκὸς ἦν αὐτοὺς ποιῆσαι κρατήσαντας ὑμῶν, ἄλλως τε καὶ προϋπάρξαντας ἀδικίας. [6] μάλιστα δὲ οἱ μὴ ξὺν προφάσει τινὰ κακῶς ποιοῦντες ἐπεξέρχονται καὶ διολλύναι, τὸν κίνδυνον ὑφορώμενοι τοῦ ὑπολειπομένου ἐχθροῦ: ὁ γὰρ μὴ ξὺνἀνάγκῃ τι παθὼν χαλεπώτερος διαφυγὼντοῦ ἀπὸ τῆς ἴσης ἐχθροῦ. [7] ‘μὴ οὖν προδόται γένησθε ὑμῶν αὐτῶν, γενόμενοι δ᾽ ὅτι ἐγγύτατα τῇ γνώμῃ τοῦ πάσχειν καὶ ὡς πρὸ παντὸς ἂν τιμήσασθε αὐτοὺς χειρώσασθαι, νῦν ἀνταπόδοτε μὴ μαλακισθέντες πρὸς τὸ παρὸν αὐτίκα μηδὲ τοῦ ἐπικρεμασθέντος ποτὲ δεινοῦ ἀμνημονοῦντες. Κολάσατε δὲ ἀξίως τούτους τε καὶ τοῖς ἄλλοις ξυμμάχοις παράδειγμα σαφὲς καταστήσατε, ὃς ἂν ἀφιστῆται,θανάτῳ ζημιωσόμενον. Τόδε γὰρ ἢν γνῶσιν, ἧσσον τῶν πολεμίων ἀμελήσαντες τοῖς ὑμετέροις αὐτῶν μαχεῖσθε ξυμμάχοις.’

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[37] ‘I have often before now been convinced that a democracy is incapable of empire, and never more so than by your present change of mind in the matter of Mitylene. [2] Fears or plots being unknown to you in your daily relations with each other, you feel just the same with regard to your allies, and never reflect that the mistakes into which you may be led by listening to their appeals, or by giving way to your own compassion, are full of danger to yourselves, and bring you no thanks for your weakness from your allies; entirely forgetting that your empire is a despotism and your subjects disaffected conspirators, whose obedience is insured not by your suicidal concessions, but by the superiority given you by your own strength and not their loyalty.[3] The most alarming feature in the case is the constant change of measures with which we appear to be threatened, and our seeming ignorance of the fact that bad laws which are never changed are better for a city than good ones that have no authority; that unlearned loyalty is more serviceable than quick-witted insubordination; and that ordinary men usually manage public affairs better than their more gifted fellows. [4] The latter are always wanting to appear wiser than the laws, and to overrule every proposition brought forward, thinking that they cannot show their wit in more important matters, and by such behavior too often ruin their country; while those who mistrust their own cleverness are content to be less learned than the laws, and less able to pick holes in the speech of a good speaker; and being fair judges rather than rival athletes, generally conduct affairs successfully. [5] These we ought to imitate, instead of being led on by cleverness and intellectual rivalry to advise your people against our real opinions.
[38]For myself, I adhere to my former opinion, and wonder at those who have proposed to reopen the case of the Mitylenians, and who are thus causing a delay which is all in favour of the guilty, by making the sufferer proceed against the offender with the edge of his anger blunted; although where vengeance follows most closely upon the wrong, it best equals it and most amply requites it. I wonder also who will be the man who will maintain the contrary, and will pretend to show that the crimes of the Mitylenians are of service to us, and our misfortunes injurious to the allies. [2] Such a man must plainly either have such confidence in his rhetoric as to adventure to prove that what has been once for all decided is still undetermined, or be bribed to try to delude us by elaborate sophisms. [3] In such contests the state gives the rewards to others, and takes the dangers for herself. [4] The persons to blame are you who are so foolish as to institute these contests; who go to see an oration as you would to see a sight, take your facts on hearsay, judge of the practicability of a project by the wit of its advocates, and trust for the truth as to past events not to the fact which you saw more than to the clever strictures which you heard; [5] the easy victims of newfangled arguments, unwilling to follow received conclusions; slaves to every new paradox, despisers of the commonplace; [6] the first wish of every man being that he could speak himself, the next to rival those who can speak by seeming to be quite up with their ideas by applauding every hit almost before it is made, and by being as quick in catching an argument as you are slow in foreseeing its consequences;[7] asking, if I may so say, for something different from the conditions under which we live, and yet comprehending inadequately those very conditions; very slaves to the pleasure of the ear, and more like the audience of a rhetorician than the council of a city.
[39] In order to keep you from this, I proceed to show that no one state has ever injured you as much as Mitylene. [2] I can make allowance for those who revolt because they cannot bear our empire, or who have been forced to do so by the enemy. But for those who possessed an island with fortifications; who could fear our enemies only by sea, and there had their own force of triremes to protect them; who were independent and held in the highest honor by you—to act as these have done, this is not revolt—revolt implies oppression; it is deliberate and wanton aggression; an attempt to ruin us by siding with our bitterest enemies; a worse offence than a war undertaken on their own account in the acquisition of power. [3] The fate of those of their neighbors who had already rebelled and had been subdued, was no lesson to them; their own prosperity could not dissuade them from affronting danger; but blindly confident in the future, and full of hopes beyond their power though not beyond their ambition, they declared war and made their decision to prefer might to right, their attack being determined not by provocation but by the moment which seemed propitious. [4] The truth is that great good fortune coming suddenly and unexpectedly tends to make a people insolent: in most cases it is safer for mankind to have success in reason than out of reason; and it is easier for them, one may say, to stave off adversity than to preserve prosperity. [5] Our mistake has been to distinguish the Mitylenians as we have done: had they been long ago treated like the rest, they never would have so far forgotten themselves, human nature being as surely made arrogant by consideration, as it is awed by firmness. [6] Let them now therefore be punished as their crime requires, and do not, while you condemn the aristocracy, absolve the people. This is certain, that all attacked you without distinction, although they might have come over to us, and been now again in possession of their city. But no, they thought it safer to throw in their lot with the aristocracy and so joined their rebellion! [7] Consider therefore! if you subject to the same punishment the ally who is forced to rebel by the enemy, and him who does so by his own free choice, which of them, think you, is there that will not rebel upon the slightest pretext; when the reward of success is freedom, and the penalty of failure nothing so very terrible? [8] We meanwhile shall have to risk our money and our lives against one state after another; and if successful, shall receive a ruined town from which we can no longer draw the revenue upon which our strength depends; while if unsuccessful, we shall have an enemy the more upon our hands, and shall spend the time that might be employed in combating our existing foes in warring with our own allies.
[40] No hope, therefore, that rhetoric may instil or money purchase, of the mercy due to human infirmity must be held out to the Mitylenians. Their offence was not involuntary, but of malice and deliberate; and mercy is only for unwilling offenders. [2] I therefore now as before persist against your reversing your first decision, or giving way to the three failings most fatal to empire—pity, sentiment, and indulgence. [3] Compassion is due to those who can reciprocate the feeling, not to those who will never pity us in return, but are our natural and necessary foes: the orators who charm us with sentiment may find other less important arenas for their talents, in the place of one where the city pays a heavy penalty for a momentary pleasure, themselves receiving fine acknowledgments for their fine phrases; while indulgence should be shown towards those who will be our friends in future, instead of towards men who will remain just what they were, and as much our enemies as before. [4] To sum up shortly, I say that if you follow my advice you will do what is just towards the Mitylenians, and at the same time expedient; while by a different decision you will not oblige them so much as pass sentence upon yourselves. For if they were right in rebelling, you must be wrong in ruling. However, if, right or wrong, you determine to rule, you must carry out your principle and punish the Mitylenians as your interest requires; or else you must give up your empire and cultivate honesty without danger. [5] Make up your minds, therefore, to give them like for like; and do not let the victims who escaped the plot be more insensible than the conspirators who hatched it; but reflect what they would have done if victorious over you, especially as they were the aggressors. [6] It is they who wrong their neighbor without a cause, that pursue their victim to the death, on account of the danger which they foresee in letting their enemy survive; since the object of a wanton wrong is more dangerous, if he escape, than an enemy who has not this to complain of.[7] Do not, therefore, be traitors to yourselves, but recall as nearly as possible the moment of suffering and the supreme importance which you then attached to their reduction; and now pay them back in their turn, without yielding to present weakness or forgetting the peril that once hung over you. Punish them as they deserve, and teach your other allies by a striking example that the penalty of rebellion is death. Let them once understand this and you will not have so often to neglect your enemies while you are fighting with your own confederates.’
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Thuk. 3, 37-40

Leitfragen:

1) Mit welchen Argumenten versucht Kleon die Volksversammlung von seiner Meinnung zu überzeugen?

2) Welche Stellung nimmt er zum athenischen Imperialismus ein?

3) Welche Rückschlüsse auf die Meinung des athenischen Volkes lassen sich aus der Tatsache schließen, dass Kleons Meinung beinahe die Hälfte überzeugte?

 

Kommentar:

In diesem Abschnitt hat Thukydides dem Politiker Kleon eine Rede in den Mund gelegt, die er so nicht wortwörtlich gehalten hat, aber die dem Sinn und Stil nach ihm entsprechen könnte, zumindest nach Thukydides‘ Meinung. Dies ist eine allgemein übliche Praxis antiker Historiographen, und Reden in historischen Werken sind daher mit Vorsicht zu betrachten. Allerdings ist die Methodik des Thukydides weitestgehend unstrittig, ebenso wie seine Beobachtungsgabe.

In jedem Fall ist diese Rede ein gutes Beispiel für Reden vor der Ekklesia, denn würde sie von diesen zu sehr abweichen, hätte Thukydides sein Werk sicher nicht so publizieren können.

Hintergrund der Rede ist der Peloponnesische Krieg und die kürzliche Revolte der Polis Mytilene auf Lesbos. Da die Insel strategisch höchst wichtig war, hatten die Athener sie belagert, und die Mytilener hatten bald kapituliert. Am Tag vor dieser Rede hatte die Volksversammlung beschlossen, alle männlichen Mytilener hinzurichten, die Frauen und Kinder zu versklaven und die Stadt zu vernichten. Nun, einen Tag später, wurden die Bürger Athens von Schuldgefühlen und Zweifeln geplagt, und obwohl das Botenschiff schon abgeschickt worden war, saß man noch einmal über die Angelegenheit zur Beratung.

Kleon, der Meinungsführer des tags zuvor beschlossenen Kurses war, hält noch eine Rede. An dieser lassen sich eine Reihe interessanter Beobachtungen zu den Reden vor der Ekklesia treffen. Zuerst einmal gibt sich Kleon große Mühe seinen Standpunkt klar zu machen, er ist schlicht gegen jedes Mitleid und zwar aus machtpolitischen Gründen. Er argumentiert allerdings bei Weitem nicht rein sachlich, sondern versucht geschickt, die Emotionen des Volkes zu lenken, ein Vorgehen, dessen sich jeder erfolgreiche Redner vor der Ekklesia bedienen musste, denn nur mit Sachargumenten alleine kam man meist nicht weit: Die Bürger wollten mit Reden beeindruckt werden.

Als erstes versucht Kleon, die Wut vom Vortag wieder anzustacheln, indem er dem Volk das ganze Ausmaß des mytilenischen Verrates vor Augen führt. Daraufhin packt er sie bei ihrem Stolz auf die Machtposition ihrer Polis: Das gesamte Seereich Athens sei im Grunde zum Scheitern verurteilt, wenn man die Mytilener leben ließe. Interessant ist, dass er den Athener hierbei deutlich den Spiegel vorhält: Das Seereich ist kein freundlicher Bund zwischen Gleichgestellten, sondern athenische Unterdrückung von Schwächeren. Dass er diesen Punkt so anbringen kann, zeigt, dass die Bürger Athens sich in dieser Position des mächtigen Unterdrückers scheinbar recht wohl fühlten.

Kleon, der diese Rede sehr geschickt führt, spielt auf eine weitere Angst des Volkes an: Von Demagogen zu schlechten Entschlüssen verführt zu werden. Eben dies unterstellt er allen, die gegen ihn noch sprechen könnten, während er sich auf die Seite des Volkes stellt, das er gegen die Sophismen der Gegenseite verteidigen will. Er unterschlägt selbstverständlich geflissentlich, dass er sich auch solcher Überzeugungstechniken bedient: In 38,2 sind die Mytilener gewaltsam von Athen Unterdrückte, in 39,2, als er ein anderes Argument aufbaut, sind sie plötzlich ein Volk mit freiem Willen, dessen Verrat umso schwerer wiegt.

Insgesamt stellt die Rede ein gutes Beispiel für eine Rede vor der Ekklesia dar: Kleon spielt mit Emotionen, geschickten Argumenten und rhetorischen Topoi, wie der Aussage, er sei eben kein Demagoge, seine politischen Gegner schon. Auch wenn am Ende die Rede seines Kontrahenten die Athener mehr überzeugt, so hatte er sie doch am Vortag vollständig überzeugen können und auch an diesem Tag folgt seiner Meinung eine Reihe von Bürgern.

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Podcast-Hinweise
Sehen Sie zu dieser Quelle auch den Podcast „Die athenische Demokratie“. Um einen breiteren Einblick in die griechische Klassik  zu erhalten, sehen Sie auch die Podcastreihe „Griechische Geschichte II – Klassik“.
Hier geht’s zum Podcast

 

Vergleiche zur Rücksichtslosigkeit des athenischen „Imperialismus“ auch den Melierdialog (http://emanualaltegeschichte.blogs.uni-hamburg.de/melierdialog/), zur Rhetorik in Athen die Lysiasrede (http://emanualaltegeschichte.blogs.uni-hamburg.de/lysiasrede/), zur Furcht vor Demagogen die Quellenstelle zum Mytilenischen Psephisma insgesamt (http://emanualaltegeschichte.blogs.uni-hamburg.de/mytilene/) und zu den Dekreten der Volksversammlung (http://emanualaltegeschichte.blogs.uni-hamburg.de/troizeninschrift/).