From Peithô's Web
Lives of the Ten Orators, tr. Bancroft


ANDOCIDES, the son of Leogoras, [and grandson of that Andocides] who once made a peace between the Athenians and the Lacedaemonians, by descent a Cydathenian or Thorian, of a noble family, and, as Hellanicus tells us, the offspring of Mercury himself, for the race of Heralds belongs to him. On this account he was chosen by the people to go with Glaucon, with twenty sail of ships, to aid the Corcyraeans against the Corinthians. But in process of time he was accused of some notorious acts of impiety, as that he was of the number of those who defaced the statues of Mercury and divulged the sacred mysteries of Ceres. And withal, he had been before this time wild and intemperate, and had once been seen in the night in masquerade to break one of the statues of Mercury; and when on his trial he refused to bring his servant to examination whom his accusers named, he not only remained under this reproach, but was also on this account very much suspected to be guilty of the second crime too. This later action was laid to his charge soon after the expedition of the navy sent by the Athenians into Sicily. For, as Cratippus informs us, when the Corinthians sent the Leontines and Egestians to the Athenians, who hesitated to lend them assistance, they in the night defaced and brake all the statues of Mercury which were erected in the market. To which offence Andocides added another, that of divulging the mysteries of Ceres. He was brought to his trial, but was acquitted on condition he would discover who were companions with him in the crime. In which affair being very diligent, he found out who they were that had been guilty, and among the rest he discovered his own father. He proved all guilty, and caused them all to be put to death except his father, whom he saved, though in prison, by a promise of some eminent service he would do to the commonwealth. Nor did he fail of what he promised; for Leogoras accused many who had acted in several matters against the interest of the commonwealth, and for this was acquitted of his own crime.

Now, though Andocides was very much esteemed of for his skill in the management of the affairs of the commonwealth, yet his inclinations led him rather to traffic by sea; and by this means he contracted friendship with the kings of Cyprus and other great princes. At which tune he privily stole a damsel of the city, the daughter of Aristides, and his own niece, and sent her as a present to the king of Cyprus. But suspecting he should be called in question for it, he again stole her from Cyprus, for which the king of Cyprus took him and clapped him up in prison; whence he brake loose, and returned to Athens, just at that time when the four hundred conspirators had usurped the government. By whom being confined, he again escaped when the oligarchical government was broken up. . . . . But when the Thirty Tyrants were uppermost, he withdrew to Elis, and there lived till Thrasybulus and his faction returned into the city, and then he also repaired thither. And after some time, being sent to Lacedaemon to conciliate a peace, he was again suspected to be faulty, and on that suspicion banished.

He himself has given an account of all these transactions, in his orations, which he has left behind him. For some of them contain his defence of himself in regard to the mysteries; others his petition for restoration from exile; there is one extant on Endeixis (or information laid against a criminal); also a defence against Phaeax, and one on the peace. He flourished at the same time with Socrates the philosopher. He was born in the seventy-eighth Olympiad, when Theogenides was chief magistrate of Athens, so that he should seem to be about ten years before Lysias. There is an image of Mercury, called from his name, being given by the tribe Aegeis; and it stood near the house where Andocides dwelt, and was therefore called by his name. This Andocides himself was at the charge of a cyclic chorus for the tribe Aegeis, at the performance of a dithyrambus. And having gained a victory, he erected a tripod on an ascent opposite to the tuffstone statue of Silenus. His style in his orations is plain and easy, without the least affectation or any thing of a figurative ornament.

Scanned by Agathon (RSB) from the University of Washington's copy of Plutarch's Lives and Writings, ed. by A.H. Clough and William W. Goodwin, with an introd. by Ralph Waldo Emerson. London, Simpkin, Hamilton, Kent & Co., Ltd. [1914?], vol. 5.

Peithô's Web