|Aeschines, Speeches (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose; rhetoric] [word count] [Aeschin.].|
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I beg you, fellow citizens, to hear me with willing and friendly mind, remembering how great is my peril, and how many the charges against which I have to defend myself; remembering also the arts and devices of my accuser, and the cruelty of the man who, speaking to men who are under oath to give equal hearing to both parties, had the effrontery to urge you not to listen to the voice of the defendant.
and it was not anger that made him say it; for no man who is lying is angry with the victim of his calumny, nor do men who are speaking the truth try to prevent the defendant from obtaining a hearing; for the prosecution does not find justification in the minds of the hearers until the defendant has had opportunity to plead for himself and has proved unable to refute the charges that have been preferred.
But Demosthenes, I think, is not fond of fair argument, nor is that the sort of preparation he has made. No, it is your anger that he is determined to call forth. And he has accused me of receiving bribes—he who would be the last man to make such suspicion credible! For the man who seeks to arouse the anger of his hearers over bribery must himself refrain from such conduct.
But, fellow citizens, as I have listened to Demosthenes' accusation, the effect upon my own mind has been this: never have I been so apprehensive as on this day, nor ever more angry than now, nor so exceedingly rejoiced. I was frightened, and am still disturbed, lest some of you form a mistaken judgment of me, beguiled by those antitheses of his, conceived in deliberate malice. And I was indignant—fairly beside myself at the charge, when he accused me of insolence and drunken violence towards a free woman of
To you I do, indeed, give praise and high esteem for putting your faith in the life of those who are on trial, rather than in the accusations of their enemies; however, I would not myself shrink from defending myself against this charge. For if there is any man among those who are standing outside the bar—and almost the whole city is in the court—or if there is any man of you, the jurors, who is convinced that I have ever perpetrated such an act, not to say towards a free person, but towards any creature, I hold my life as no longer worth the living. And if as my defence proceeds I fail to prove that the accusation is false, and that the man who dared to utter it is an impious slanderer, then, even though it be clear that I am innocent of all the other charges, I declare myself worthy of death.
But strange indeed did that other argument of his seem to me, and outrageously unjust, when he asked you whether it was possible in one and the same city to sentence Philocrates to death because he would not await trial and so condemned himself, and then to acquit me. But I think that on this very ground I ought most certainly to be cleared for if the man who condemns himself by not awaiting trial is guilty, certainly he who denies the charge and submits his person to the laws and to his fellow citizens is not guilty.
Now, fellow citizens, as regards the rest of his accusations, if I pass over any point and fail to mention it, I beg of you to question me and let me know what it is that you wish to hear about, and to refrain from forming any judgment in advance, but to listen with impartial goodwill. I do not know where I ought to begin, so inconsistent are his accusations. See whether you think I am being treated in a reasonable way.
it is I who am now on trial, and that too for my life; and yet the greater part of his accusation has been directed against Philocrates and Phrynon and the other members of the embassy, against Philip and the peace and the policies of Eubulus; it is only as one among all these that he gives me a place. But when it is a question of solicitude for the interests of the state, one solitary man stands out in all his speech—Demosthenes; all the rest are traitors! For he has unceasingly insulted us and poured out his slanderous lies, not upon me alone, but upon all the rest as well.
and after treating a man with such contempt, later, when it suits his whim, he turns about, and as though he were accusing an Alcibiades or a Themistocles, the most famous men among all the Greeks, he proceeds to charge that same man with having destroyed the cities in
and he undertook to liken me to Dionysius, the tyrant of
When now a man has shown such trickery and effrontery, it is difficult even to remember every single thing, and in the face of danger it is not easy to answer unexpected slanders. But I will begin with those events which I think will enable me to make my presentation most clear and intelligible to you, and fair; these events are the discussion that took place concerning the peace, and the choice of the ambassadors. In this way I shall best remember his charges and best be able to speak effectively, and you will be best instructed.
There is one thing, at any rate, which I think you all yourselves remember: how the ambassadors from
for they attacked the motion as unconstitutional, [Note] subscribing the name of Lycinus to the indictment, in which they proposed a penalty of one hundred talents. When the case came to trial Philocrates was ill, and called as his advocate Demosthenes, not me. And Demosthenes the Philip-hater came to the platform and used up the day in his plea for the defence. Finally Philocrates acquitted, and the prosecutor failed to receive the fifth part of the votes. [Note] This is matter of common knowledge.
Now about the same time
But when Aristodemus returned from his mission, his report to the senate was delayed by certain business of his, and meanwhile Iatrocles came back from
Finally Democrates of
Next Philocrates moved that ten ambassadors be chosen to go to Philip and discuss with him both the question of peace and the common interests of the Athenians and Philip. At the election of the ten ambassadors I was nominated by Nausicles, but Philocrates himself nominated Demosthenes—Demosthenes, the man who now accuses Philocrates.
and so eager was Demosthenes for the business, that in order to make it possible for Aristodemus to be a member of our embassy without financial loss to himself, he moved that we elect envoys to go to the cities in which Aristodemus was under contract to act, and beg in his behalf the cancelling of his forfeitures. To prove the truth of this, take, if you please, the decrees, and read the deposition of Aristodemus, and call the witnesses before whom the deposition was made, in order that the jury may know who was the good friend of Philocrates, and who it was that promised to persuade the people to bestow the rewards on Aristodemus.
The whole affair, therefore, from the beginning originated not with me, but with Demosthenes and Philocrates. And on the embassy he was eager to belong to our mess—not with my consent, but with that of my companions, Aglaocreon of Tenedos, whom you chose to represent the allies, and Iatrocles. And he asserts that on the journey I urged him to join me in guarding against the beast—meaning Philocrates. But the whole story was a fabrication; for how could I have urged Demosthenes against Philocrates, when I knew that he had been Philocrates' advocate in the suit against the legality of his motion, and that he had been nominated to the embassy by Philocrates?
Moreover, this was not the sort of conversation in which we were engaged, but all the way we were forced to put up with Demosthenes' odious and insufferable ways. When we were discussing what should be said, and when Cimon remarked that he was afraid Philip would get the better of us in arguing his claims, Demosthenes promised fountains of oratory, and said that he was going to make such a speech about our claims to
But not to describe at length the overweening self-confidence of this fellow, as soon as we were come to
But we, who have shrines and family tombs in our native land, and such life and intercourse with you as belong to free men, and lawful marriage, with its offspring and connections, we while at
Hear now the pleas that we made in your behalf, and again those which stand to the credit of Demosthenes, that great benefactor of the state, in order that I may answer one after another and in full detail each one of his accusations. But I commend you exceedingly, gentlemen of the jury, that in silence and with fairness you are listening to us. If, therefore, I fail to refute any one of his accusations, I shall have myself, not you, to blame.
So when the older men had spoken on the object of our mission, our turn came. [Note] All that I said there and Philip's reply, I reported fully in your assembly in the presence of all the citizens, but I will try to recall it to you now in a summary way.
In the first place, I described to him our traditional friendship and your generous services to Amyntas, the father of Philip, recalling them all one after another, and omitting nothing. Secondly, I reminded him of services of which he himself had been both witness and recipient. For shortly after the death of Amyntas, and of Alexander, the eldest of the brothers, while Perdiccas and Philip were still children, when their mother Eurydice had been betrayed by those who professed to be their friends,
and when Pausanias was coming back to contend for the throne, [Note]
When Iphicrates had come into this region—with a few ships at first, for the purpose of examining into the situation rather than of laying siege to the city— “Then,” said I, “your mother Eurydice sent for him, and according to the testimony of all who were present, she put your brother Perdiccas into the arms of Iphicrates, and set you upon his knees—for you were a little boy—and said, ‘Amyntas, the father of these little children, when he was alive, made you his son, [Note]
After this she at once began to make earnest entreaty in your behalf and in her own, and for the maintenance of the throne—in a word for full protection. When Iphicrates had heard all this, he drove Pausanias out of
And I showed that, wronged as you were, you maintained your friendly attitude; for I told how, when you had conquered Perdiccas in the war, under the generalship of Callisthenes, you made a truce with him, ever expecting to receive some just return. And I tried to remove the ill feeling that was connected with this affair by showing that it was not the truce with Perdiccas that led the people to put Callisthenes to death, but other causes. And again I did not hesitate to complain of Philip himself, blaming him for having taken up in his turn the war against our state.
As proof of all my statements, I offered the letters of the persons in question, the decrees of the people, and Callisthenes' treaty of truce. Now the facts about our original acquisition both of the district and of the place called Ennea Hodoi, [Note]
For at a congress [Note]
“Now,” said I, “a claim which Amyntas renounced in the presence of all the Greeks, and that not by words alone, but by his vote, that claim you his son have no right to advance. But if you argue that it is right for you to keep the place because you took it in war, if it is true that it was a war against us in which you took the city, you do hold it justly, by right of conquest; but if it was from the Amphipolitans that you took a city which belonged to the Athenians, it is not the property of the Amphipolitans that you are holding, but territory of
Now when I had said this and more beside, at last came Demosthenes' turn to speak. All were intent, expecting to hear a masterpiece of eloquence. For, as we learned afterwards, his extravagant boasting had been reported to Philip and his court. So when all were thus prepared to listen, this creature mouthed forth a proem—an obscure sort of thing and as dead as fright could make it; and getting on a little way into the subject he suddenly stopped speaking and stood helpless; finally he collapsed completely.
Philip saw his plight and bade him take courage, and not to think, as though he were an actor on the stage, that his collapse was an irreparable calamity, but to keep cool and try gradually to recall his speech, and speak it off as he had prepared it. But he, having been once upset, and having forgotten what he had written, was unable to recover himself; nay, on making a second attempt, he broke down again. Silence followed; then the herald bade us withdraw.
Now when we were by ourselves, our worthy colleague Demosthenes put on an exceedingly sour face and declared that I had ruined the city and the allies. And when not only I, but all the rest of the ambassadors were amazed, and asked him his reason for saying that, he asked me if I had forgotten the situation at
“Or does your confidence rest,” said he, “on those fifty ships that have been voted but are never going to be manned? You have so exasperated Philip by the speech you have made that the effect of it could not possibly be to make peace out of war, but implacable war out of peace!” I was just beginning to answer him, when the attendants summoned us.
When we had come in and taken our seats, Philip began at the beginning and undertook to make some sort of answer to every argument which we had advanced. Naturally he dwelt especially on my argument, for I think I may fairly say that I had omitted nothing that could be said; and again and again he mentioned my name in the course of his argument. But in reply to Demosthenes, who had made such a laughing.stock of himself, not one word was said on a single point, I believe. And you may be sure that this was pain and anguish to him.
But when Philip turned to expressions of friendship, and the bottom dropped out of the slander which this Demosthenes had previously uttered against me before our fellow ambassadors, that I was going to be the cause of disagreement and war, then indeed it was plain to see that he was altogether beside himself, so that even when we were invited to dinner he behaved with shameful rudeness.
When we set out on our return home after completing our mission, suddenly he began talking to each of us on the way in a surprisingly friendly manner. Why, up to that time I had never so much as known the meaning of words like “kerkops,” or the so-called “paipalema,” or “palimbolon” [Note] but now after acquiring him as expounder of the mysteries of all rascality, I am fully instructed.
and he would take each of us in turn to one side, and to one he would promise to open a subscription to help him in his private difficulties, and to another that he would get him elected general. As for me, he fol- lowed me about, congratulating me on my ability and praising my speech; so lavish was he in his compliments that I became sick and tired of him. And when we were all dining together at
When I had added my testimony, saying something like this, that Philip had shown excellent memory in his reply to what we had said, and when
“But, Ctesiphon, it will never do for you to tell the people that, nor would our friend here,” meaning me, “venture to say to the Athenians that Philip is a man of good memory and great eloquence.” And we innocently, not foreseeing the trick of which you shall hear presently, allowed him to bind us in a sort of agreement that we would say this to you. [Note] And he begged me earnestly not to fail to tell how Demosthenes also said something in support of our claim to
Now up to this point I am supported by the testimony of my colleagues in the embassy, whom he has reviled and slandered from beginning to end of his accusation. But his words on the platform in your presence you yourselves have heard; so it will not be possible for me to misrepresent them. And I beg of you to continue to hear patiently the rest of my narrative. I do not forget that each of you is anxious to hear the story of Cersobleptes and the charges made about the Phocians, and I am eager to get to those subjects; but you will not be as well able to follow them unless you shall first hear all that preceded. And if, in my peril, you allow me to speak as I wish, you will be able to save me, if I am innocent, and that on good and sufficient grounds; and you will also have before you the facts that are acknowledged as you proceed to examine the points that are in dispute.
On our return, then, after we had rendered to the senate a brief report of our mission and had delivered the letter from Philip, Demosthenes praised us to his colleagues in the senate, and he swore by Hestia, goddess of the senate, [Note] that he congratulated the city on having sent such men on the embassy, men who in honesty and eloquence were worthy of the state.
In referring to me he said something like this: that I had not disappointed the hopes of those who elected me to the embassy. And to cap it all he moved that each of us be crowned with a garland of wild olive because of our loyalty to the people, and that we be invited to dine on the morrow in the Prytaneum. To prove that I have spoken to you nothing but the truth, please let the clerk take the decree, and let him read the testimony of my colleagues in the embassy.
Now when we presented the report of our embassy before the assembly,
After giving an account of our mission in general, I went on to say, according to the agreement with my colleagues on the embassy, that Philip showed both memory and eloquence when he spoke. And I did not forget what Demosthenes had asked me to mention, namely, that we had agreed that he was to speak about
After we had spoken, last of all Demosthenes arose, and with that imposing air of his, and rubbing his forehead, when he saw that the people approved my report and were satisfied with it, he said that he was amazed at both parties, as well the listeners as the ambassadors, for they were carelessly wasting time—the listeners wasting the time for taking counsel, the ambassadors the time for giving it, all of them amusing themselves with foreign gossip, when they ought to be giving attention to our own affairs; for nothing, he said, was easier than to render account of an embassy.
“I wish,” said he, “to show you how the thing ought to be done.” As he said this he called for the reading of the decree of the people. When it had been read he said, “This is the decree according to which we were sent out; what stands written here, we did. Now, if you please, take the letter that we have brought from Philip.” When this had been read he said, “You have your answer; it remains for you to deliberate.”
The people shouted, some applauding his forceful brevity, but more of them rebuking his abominable jealousy. Then he went on and said, “See how briefly I will report all the rest. To Aeschines Philip seemed to be eloquent, but not to me; nay, if one should strip off his luck and clothe another with it, this other would be almost his equal.
all this talk of theirs,” said he, “is sheer nonsense. But for my part, I am going to move that safe conduct be granted both for the herald who has come from Philip, and for the ambassadors who are to come here from him; also I shall move that on the arrival of the ambassadors the prytanes call a meeting of the assembly for two successive days to consider not only the question of peace, but the question of an alliance also; and finally, that if we, the members of the embassy, are thought to deserve the honor, a vote of thanks be passed, and an invitation be given us to dine tomorrow in the prytaneum.”
is proof of the truth of what I say, take, if you please, the decrees, that you, gentlemen of the jury, may know how crooked he is and how jealous, and how completely he and Philocrates were in partnership in the whole affair; and that you may know his character—how treacherous and faithless. Call also my colleagues in the embassy, if you please, and read their testimony.
Moreover, he not only made these motions, but afterwards he moved in the senate to assign seats in the theatre for the Dionysia to the ambassadors of Philip when they should arrive. [Note] Read this decree also.
Now read also the testimony of my colleagues in the embassy, that you may know, fellow citizens, that when it is a question of speaking in the city's behalf, Demosthenes is helpless, but against those who have broken bread with him and shared in the same libations, he is a practised orator.
You find, therefore, that it was not Philocrates and I who entered into partnership in the negotiations for the peace, but Philocrates and Demosthenes. And I think that the proofs which I have presented to you in confirmation of what I have said, are sufficient. For as to the report we made, you yourselves are my witnesses; but I have presented to you my colleagues in the embassy as witnesses of what was said in
and, utterly untruthful in this part of his accusation, he complained bitterly about the occasion of that speech, saying that it was delivered in the presence of the ambassadors whom the Greeks had sent to you; for you had invited them in order that if you must go on with the war, they might join you against Philip, and that if peace should seem the better policy, they might participate in the peace. Now see the man's deceit in a momentous matter, and his outrageous shamelessness.
For in the public archives you have the record of the dates when you chose the several embassies which you sent out into
Come forward, then, Demosthenes, to this platform while I have the floor, and mention the name of any city of
Now read also what is said in the decree of the allies, [Note]
Decree of the Synod
Now in contrast with this, read, if you please, the decree moved by Demosthenes, in which he orders the prytanes, after the celebration of the City Dionysia and the session of the assembly in the precinct of Dionysus, [Note] to call two meetings of the assembly, the one on the eighteenth, the other on the nineteenth; for in thus fixing the dates, he saw to it that the meetings of your assembly should be held before the ambassadors from the states of
You have heard both decrees; by them Demosthenes is convicted of saying that the ambassadors were here, when they were still abroad, and of having made void the decree of the allies, when you wished to comply with it. For it was their judgment that we should wait for the ambassadors from the other states of
But he has said that at the first of the two meetings of the assembly, after Philocrates had spoken, I then arose and found fault with the resolution for peace which he had introduced, calling it disgraceful and unworthy of the city; but that again on the next day I spoke in support of Philocrates, and succeeded in sweeping the assembly off its feet, persuading you to pay no attention to those who talked of our fathers' battles and trophies, and not to aid the Greeks.
But that what he has laid to my charge is not only false, but a thing that could not have happened, he himself shall furnish one proof, a witness against himself; another proof all the Athenians shall furnish, and your own memory; a third, the incredibility of the charge; and the fourth, a man of repute, who is active in public affairs, Amyntor, to whom Demosthenes exhibited the draft of a decree, asking him whether he should advise him to hand it to the clerk, a decree not contrary in its provisions to that of Philocrates, but identical with it.
Now, if you please, take and read the decree of Demosthenes, [Note] in which you will see that he has prescribed that in the first of the two meetings of the assembly all who wish shall take part in the discussion, but that on the next day the presiding officers shall put the question to vote, without giving opportunity for debate—the day on which he asserts that I supported Philocrates in the discussion.
You see that the decrees stand as they were originally written, whereas the words of rascals are spoken to fit the day and the occasion. My accuser makes two speeches out of my plea before the assembly, but the decree and the truth make it one. For if the presiding officers gave no opportunity for discussion in the second meeting, it is impossible that I spoke then. And if my policy was the same as that of Philocrates, what motive could I have had for opposing on the first day, and then after an interval of a single night, in the presence of the same listeners, for supporting? Did I expect to gain honor for myself, or did I hope to help Philocrates? I could have done neither, but would have got myself hated by all, and could have accomplished nothing.
But please call Amyntor of the deme Herchia and read his testimony. First, however, I wish to go over its contents with you: Amyntor in support of Aeschines testifies that when the people were deliberating on the subject of the alliance with Philip, according to the decree of Demosthenes, in the second meeting of the assembly, when no opportunity was given to address the people, but when the decrees concerning the peace and alliance were being put to vote,
At that meeting Demosthenes was sitting by the side of the witness, and showed him a decree, over which the name of Demosthenes stood written; and that he consulted him as to whether he should hand it to the presiding officers to put to vote; this decree contained the terms on which Demosthenes moved that peace and alliance he made, and these terms were identical with the terms which Philocrates had moved. Now, if you please, call Amyntor of the deme Herchia; if he does not come hither voluntarily, serve summons upon him.
You have heard the testimony, fellow citizens. Consider whether you conclude that it is I whom Demosthenes has accused, or whether on the contrary he has accused himself in my name. But since he also misrepresents the speech that I made, and puts a false construction on what was said, I have no disposition to run away, or to deny a word that was then spoken; I am not ashamed of what I said; on the contrary, I am proud of it.
But I wish also to recall to you the time and circumstances of your deliberations. We went to war in the first place over the question of
and a hundred and fifty triremes which he took from the dockyards he failed to bring back, a story which the accusers of Chares are never tired of telling you in the courts; and he spent fifteen hundred talents, not upon his troops, hut upon his tricky officers, a Deiares, a Deipyrus, a Polyphontes, vagabonds collected from all
and instead of respect and the hegemony of
The situation was so precarious and dangerous that Cephisophon of Paeania, one of the friends and companions of Chares, was compelled to make the motion that Antiochus, who commanded the dispatch boats, should sail immediately and hunt up the general who had been put in charge of our forces, and in case he should happen to find him anywhere, should tell him that the people of
Such was the situation of the city, such the circumstances under which the debate on the peace took place. But the popular speakers arose and with one consent ignored the question of the safety of the state, but called on you to gaze at the Propylaea of the Acropolis, and remember the battle of ,
I replied that we must indeed remember all these, but must imitate the wisdom of our forefathers, and beware of their mistakes and their unseasonable jealousies; I urged that we should emulate the battle that we fought at
But I urged that we should take warning from the Sicilian expedition, which was sent out to help the people of Leontini, at a time when the enemy were already in our own territory and Deceleia was fortified against us; and that final act of folly, when, outmatched in the war, and offered terms of peace by the Lacedaemonians, with the agreement that we should hold not only
Finally they brought the city to such a pass that she was glad to make peace, giving up everything, tearing down her walls, receiving a garrison and a Lacedaemonian governor, and surrendering the democracy to the Thirty, who put fifteen hundred citizens to death without a trial. I admit that I urged that we should guard against such folly as that, and imitate the conduct shortly before described. For it was from no stranger that I heard that story, but from him who is nearest of all men to me.
for Atrometus our father, whom you slander, though you do not know him and never saw what a man he was in his prime—you, Demosthenes, a descendant through your mother of the nomad Scythians—our father went into exile in the time of the Thirty, and later helped to restore the democracy; while our mother's brother, our uncle Cleobulus, the son of Glaucus of the deme Acharnae, was with Demaenetus of the family of the Buzygae, when he won the naval victory over Cheilon the Lacedaemonian admiral. The sufferings of the city were therefore a household word with us, familiar to my ears.
But you find fault with my service as ambassador to
You ought, fellow citizens, to judge your ambassadors in the light of the crisis in which they served your generals, in the light of the forces which they commanded. For you set up your statues and you give your seats of honour and your crowns and your dinners in the Prytaneum, not to those who have brought you tidings of peace, but to those who have been victorious in battle. But if the responsibility for the wars is to he laid upon the ambassadors, while the generals are to receive the rewards, the wars you wage will know neither truce nor herald of peace, for no man will be willing to be your ambassador.
Now it remains for me to speak of Cersobleptes and the Phocians, as well as the other matters in which I have been slandered. For, fellow citizens, both on the first and on the second embassy I reported to you what I saw, as I saw it; what I heard, as I heard it. What was it then in either case: what was it that I saw and what was it that I heard about Cersobleptes? I, as well as all my colleagues in the embassy, saw the son of Cersobleptes a hostage at Philip's court; and this is still the case.
now it happened on the occasion of our first embassy, that at the moment when I was leaving for home with the rest of the ambassadors, Philip was setting out for
in that assembly Critobulus of
When the motion had been read—I think you all remember this—Demosthenes arose from among the presiding officers and refused to put the motion to vote, saying that he would not bring to naught the peace with Philip, and that he did not recognize the sort of allies who joined only in time, as it were, to help in pouring the peace libations; for they had had their opportunity at an earlier session of the assembly. But you shouted and called the board of presidents to the platform, and so against his will the motion was put to vote.
To prove that I am speaking the truth, please call Aleximachus, the author of the motion, and the men who served with Demosthenes on the board of presidents, and read their testimony.
You see, therefore, that Demosthenes, who just now burst into tears here at mention of Cersobleptes, tried to shut him out of the alliance. Now on the adjournment of that session of the assembly, Philip's ambassadors proceeded to administer the oaths to your allies in your army-building.
and my accuser has dared to tell you that it was I who drove Critobulus, Cersobleptes' ambassador, from the ceremony—in the presence of the allies, under the eyes of the generals, after the people had voted as they did! Where did I get all that power? How could the thing have been hushed tip? If I had really dared to undertake such a thing, would you have suffered it, Demosthenes? Would you not have filled the market-place with your shouts and screams, if you had seen me, as you just now said you did, thrusting the ambassador away from the ceremony? But please let the herald call the generals and the representatives of the allies, and do you hear their testimony.
Is it not, therefore, an outrage, gentlemen, if one dares utter such lies about a man who is his own—no, I hasten to correct myself, not his own, but your—fellow citizen, when he is in peril of his life? Wisely, indeed, did our fathers prescribe that, in the trials for bloodshed which are held at the Palladion, [Note] the one who wins his case must cut in pieces the sacrificial flesh, and take a solemn oath (and the custom of your fathers is in force to this day), affirming that those jurors who have voted on his side have voted what is true and right, and that he himself has spoken no falsehood; and he calls down destruction upon himself and his household, if this be not true, and prays for many blessings for the jurors. A right provision, fellow citizens, and worthy of a democracy.
For if no one of you would willingly defile himself with justifiable bloodshed, surely he would guard against that which was unjustifiable, such as robbing a man of life or property or civil rights—such acts as have caused some men to kill themselves, others to be put to death by decree of the state. Will you then, fellow citizens, pardon me, if I call him a lewd rascal, unclean of body, even to the place whence his voice issues forth, and if I go on to prove that the rest of his accusation about Cersobleptes is false on the face of it?
You have a practice which in my judgment is most excellent and most useful to those in your midst who are the victims of slander: you preserve for all time in the public archives your decrees, together with their dates and the names of the officials who put them to vote. Now this man has told you that what ruined the cause of Cersobleptes was this: that when Demosthenes urged that we should go to
Hear now the letter which Chares sent to the people at the time, saying that Cersobleptes had lost his kingdom and that Philip had taken Hieron Oros [Note] on the twenty-fourth of Elaphebolion. And it was Demosthenes, one of the ambassadors, who was presiding in the assembly here on the twenty-fifth of that month.
Now not only did we delay all the rest of that month, but it was Munichion [Note] when we set out. As witness of this I will present the senate, for there is a decree of theirs which commands the ambassadors to set out in order to receive the oaths. Please read the decree of the senate.
Now read also the date of the decree.
You hear that the decree was passed on the third of Munichion. How many days before I set out was it that Cersobleptes lost his kingdom? According to Chares the general it occurred the month before—that is, if Elaphebolion is the month next before Munichion! Was it, then, in my power to save Cersobleptes, who was lost before I set out from home? And now do you imagine that there is one word of truth in his account of what was done in
and is it true, Demosthenes, that you at
But you undertook to say that I at first refused to serve on the embassy to the Amphictyons, [Note] and later went on the embassy and was guilty of misconduct, and you read the one decree and suppressed the other. [Note]
(for the law does not permit men who have been elected by the assembly to decline before the senate), but merely to testify to my illness.
When now the ambassadors had been informed of the fate of the Phocians, they returned, and a meeting of the assembly was held. I had by this time recovered and was present. When the people insisted that we who had been originally elected should all go on with the embassy in spite of what had happened, I thought it my duty to speak the truth to the Athenians. [Note]
and when I rendered account of my service on that embassy, you, Demosthenes, preferred no charge, but you proceed against my conduct on this embassy, the embassy that was appointed to receive the oaths. As to this I will make a clear and just defence. For it serves you, as it does all liars, to confuse the dates, but it serves me to give the events in their order, beginning with our journey to receive the oaths. [Note]
In the first place, of the ten ambassadors (or rather eleven, counting the representative of the allies, who was with us) not one was willing to mess with Demosthenes, when we set out on the second embassy, nor even to lodge at the same inn with him as we journeyed, whenever it could be avoided, for they had seen how he had plotted against them all on the previous embassy.
Now not a word was said about making the journey along the Thracian coast; [Note] for the decree did not prescribe any such journey, but simply that we should receive the oaths and transact certain other business, nor could we have accomplished anything if we had gone, for Cersobleptes' fate had already been decided, as you heard a moment ago; for there is not a word of truth in what he has said, but, at a loss for any true charge, he resorts to these prodigious lies.
On the journey two attendants followed him, carrying sacks of bedding; in one of the sacks, he assured us, was a talent of silver; so that his colleagues were reminded of those old nicknames of his; for the boys used to call him “Batalos,” he was so vulgar and obscene then when he was growing out of boyhood and was bringing against his guardians big lawsuits of ten talents each, he was called “Argas”; [Note] now, grown to manhood, he has got also the name that we apply to rascals in general, “Blackmailer.”
and he was going with the intention of ransoming the captives, [Note]
But when we reached
and in heaven's name, gentlemen, even as you allowed my accuser to speak as he himself chose, pray so continue to listen quietly to the defence also, in the same manner in which from the beginning you have listened during all my speech thus far. Well, as I just now intimated, fellow citizens, at the meeting of the ambassadors I said that it seemed to me that we were strangely ignoring the most important matter that the people had entrusted to us.
“The reception of the oaths, the discussion of the other questions, and the talk about the prisoners, all that sort of thing could have been done, I think, if the city had entrusted it to some of its petty servants and sent them. But to reach a right solution of the supreme question, so far as that is in our power or Philip's, [Note]
For ambassadors from
Men, therefore, who are ambitious to serve the state must not assume the function of other ambassadors whom the Athenians could have sent instead of us, and at the same time, on their own initiative, try to avoid stirring up the hostility of the Thebans. Epameinondas was a Theban, and he did not cower before the fame of the Athenians, but spoke right out in the Theban assembly, saying that they must remove the propylaea of the Acropolis of
As I was in the midst of these words, Demosthenes protested with a loud voice, as all our colleagues know, for on top of all his other crimes he is for the Boeotians. At any rate words like these came from him: “This fellow is full of quarrelsomeness and rashness. For myself, I confess that I am timid, that I fear danger from afar, but I protest against embroiling the cities one with another; I hold it to be the wise course that we ambassadors refrain from meddlesome conduct.
Philip is setting out for
Accordingly, fellow citizens, when the ambassadors were assembled at
He began his speech with certain slanderous allusions to his colleagues, to the effect that not all of us had come with the same end in view, nor were we all of one mind; and then he proceeded to review his own previous services to Philip: first, his defence of Philocrates' motion, when Philocrates, having moved that Philip be permitted to send ambassadors to the Athenians to discuss peace, was defendant on the charge of having made an unconstitutional proposal; secondly, he read the motion of which Demosthenes himself was author, to grant safe conduct to the herald and ambassadors from Philip; and thirdly, the motion that restricted the people's discussion of peace to appointed days.
To the account he added a conclusion like this: that he had been the first to put a curb on those who were trying to block the peace; that he had done this, not by his words, but by fixing the dates. Then he brought up another motion, the one which provided that the people should discuss an alliance also; then, after that, the motion about assigning the front seats at the Dionysia to Philip's ambassadors.
He alluded also to the special attention he had shown them: the placing of cushions, and certain watchings and vigils of the night, caused by men who were jealous of him and wished to bring insult upon his honourable name! And that utterly absurd story, whereat his colleagues covered their faces for shame, how he gave a dinner to the ambassadors of Philip; and how when they set out for home he hired for them some teams of mules, and escorted them on horseback. For he did not hide in the dark, as certain others do, but made an exhibition of his fawning conduct.
And finally he carefully corrected those other statements: [Note]“I did not say that you are beautiful, for a woman is the most beautiful of all beings; nor that you are a wonderful drinker, for that is a compliment for a sponge, in my opinion; nor that you have a remarkable memory, for I think such praise belongs to the professional sophist.” But not to prolong the story, he said such things in the presence of the ambassadors from almost the whole of
But when at last he stopped and there was silence, I was forced to speak—after such an exhibition of ill-breeding and such excess of shameful flattery. Necessarily, by way of preface, I made a brief reply to his insinuations against his colleagues, saying that the Athenians had sent us as ambassadors, not to offer apologies in
Then after speaking briefly on the subject of the oaths for which we had come, I reviewed the other matters that you had entrusted to us. For the eminent Demosthenes, for all his exceeding eloquence, had not mentioned a single essential point. And in particular I spoke about the expedition to
At the same time I reviewed from the beginning the story of the founding of the shrine, and of the first synod of the Amphictyons that was ever held; and I read their oaths, in which the men of ancient times swore that they would raze no city of the Amphictyonic states, nor shut them off from flowing water either in war or in peace; that if anyone should violate this oath, they would march against such an one and raze his cities; [Note] and if any one should violate the shrine of the god or be accessory to such violation, or make any plot against the holy places, they would punish him with hand and foot and voice, and all their power. To the oath was added a mighty curse.
When I had read all this, I solemnly declared that in my opinion it was not right that we should overlook the fact that the cities in
Now I showed that the motive of this expedition was righteous and just; but I said that the Amphictyonic Council ought to be convened at the temple, receiving protection and freedom to vote, [Note]
But not to waste time in reciting to you now precisely what was spoken there, I will content myself with this brief summary of it all. Fortune and Philip were masters of the issue, but I, of loyalty to you and of the words spoken. My words were words of justice, and they were spoken in your interest; the issue was not according to our prayer, but according to Philip's acts. Who, therefore, is it that deserves your approval? Is it the man who showed no desire to do any good thing whatever, or the man who left undone nothing that was in his power? But I now pass over many things for lack of time.
He said that I deceived you by saying that within a few days
And I told you that Cleochares of
But he falsely declared that when he wished to report the truth, he was hindered by me, together with Philocrates—for he divided the responsibility in that case also. Now I should like to ask you this: Has any ambassador sent out from
and not only that, but when I had reported to the people what I had said about the Amphictyons and Boeotians, not briefly and rapidly as now, but as nearly word for word as possible, and when the people heartily applauded, I called upon him together with the other ambassadors, and asked them whether my report was true, and identical with what I had said to Philip; and when all my colleagues had testified and praised me, after them all Demosthenes arose and said: No, I had not to-day been speaking as I spoke there, but that I spoke twice as well there. You who are going to give the verdict are my witnesses of this.
and yet what better opportunity could he have had to convict me than to do it then and there, if I was in any wise deceiving the city? You say, Demosthenes, that while I was in a conspiracy against the city in the first embassy, you were not aware of it, but that on the second you found it out—the embassy in which we find you testifying to my services! And while accusing me for my conduct on the first embassy, you at the same time deny that you accuse me, and direct your accusations against the embassy that was sent to take the oaths. And yet if it is the peace you find fault with, it was you who moved to add the alliance to it. And if Philip did at any point deceive the city, his deception had to do with the peace, for he was maneuvering for the precise form of peace that would serve his own advantage. But it was the earlier embassy that offered the opportunity to accomplish this; the second took place after the thing was already done.
How he has deceived you—deceit is ever the mark of the charlatan—see from his own words. He says that I went down the Loedias river to Philip in a canoe by night, and that I wrote for Philip the letter which came to you. For Leosthenes, who had been exiled from
and Philip himself was not competent, against whom Demosthenes was not able to hold his own when he tried to speak in your behalf! nor Python of
But there is no truth in your story, as those who messed with me have come to testify—Aglaocreon of
If the slaves testify that I ever slept away from these messmates of mine, spare me not, fellow citizens, but rise up and kill me. But if you, Demosthenes, shall be convicted of lying, let this be your penalty—to confess in this presence that you are a hermaphrodite, and no free man. Please summon the slaves to the platform here, and read the testimony of my colleagues.
Since now he does not accept the challenge, saying that he would not rest his case on the testimony of tortured slaves, please take this letter, which Philip sent. For a letter that kept us busy writing all night long must obviously be full of clever deception of the city.
You hear, gentlemen, what he wrote: “I gave my oath to your ambassadors and he has written the names of those of his allies who were present, both the names of the representatives themselves and of their states; and he says he will send to you those of his allies who were not there in time. Does it seem to you that it would have been beyond Philip's ability to write that in the daytime, and without my help?
But, by heaven, the only thing, apparently, that this man Demosthenes cares about, is to win applause while he is on the platform but whether or not a little later he will be considered the greatest scoundrel in
Now all this is the invention of my accuser. It was fortune, first of all, that ruined the Phocians, and she is mistress of all things; and secondly, it was the long continuance of the ten years' war. For the same thing that built up the power of the tyrants in
the third cause of their ruin was mutiny, such as usually attends armies which are poorly supplied with funds. The fourth cause was Phalaecus' inability to foresee the future. For it was plain that the Thessalians and Philip were going to take the field; and shortly before the peace with you was concluded, ambassadors came to you from the Phocians, urging you to help them, and offering to hand over to you Alponus,
But when you had passed a decree that the Phocians should hand over these posts to your general Proxenus, and that you should man fifty triremes, and that all citizens up to the age of forty years should take part in the expedition, then instead of surrendering the Posts to Proxenus, the tyrants arrested those ambassadors of their own who had offered to hand over the garrison posts to you and when your heralds carried the proclamation of the sacred truce of the Mysteries, [Note]
That was before you had come to terms with Philip; but on the very day when you were discussing the question of the peace, the letter of Proxenus was read to you, in which he said that the Phocians had failed to hand over the posts to him; and on the same day the heralds of the Mysteries reported to you that the Phocians alone in all
The dates, fellow citizens, taken from the public archives, have been read and compared in your hearing, and you have heard the witnesses, who further testify that before I was elected ambassador, Phalaecus the Phocian tyrant distrusted us and the Lacedaemonians as well, but put his trust in Philip.
But was Phalaecus the only one who failed to discern what the outcome was going to be? How stood public opinion here? Were you not yourselves all expecting that Philip was going to humble the Thebans, when he saw their audacity, and because he was unwilling to increase the power of men whom he could not trust? And did not the Lacedaemonians take part with us in the negotiations against the Thebans, and did they not finally come into open collision with them in
Did not some of' Philip's companions say explicitly to some of us that Philip was going to reestablish the cities in
Was it I, therefore, who prevented the people from imitating our forefathers, or was it you, Demosthenes, and those who were in conspiracy with you against the common good? And was it a safer and more honourable course for the Athenians to take the field at a time when the Phocians were at the height of their madness and at war with Philip, with Alponus and
Was not the latter opportunity far better than the former? But at this later time, thanks to the combination of cowardice and envy in you, Demosthenes, the Athenians brought in their property from the fields, when I was already absent on the third embassy, [Note] and appearing before the assembly of the Amphictyons [Note]
When, therefore, the Thebans were besieging him with their importunities, and our city was in confusion, thanks to you, and the Athenian hoplites were not with him; [Note] when the influence of the Thessalians had been added to that of the Thebans, thanks to your shortsightedness and because of the hostility to the Phocians which the Thessalians had inherited from that ancient time when Phocians seized and flogged the Thessalian hostages; and when, before my coming and that of Stephanus, Dercylus, and the rest of the ambassadors, Phalaecus already made terms and departed;
Then the people of
For if there were any truth in these assertions of yours, the Boeotian fugitives, for whose expulsion I was responsible, and the Phocian exiles, whose restoration I prevented, would be accusing me now. But as a matter of fact they ignore the misfortunes that have come upon them, and satisfied with my loyalty to them, the Boeotian exiles have held a meeting and chosen men to speak in my behalf; and from the towns of
To prove that I speak the truth, please call Mnason the Phocian and those who have come with him, and call the delegates chosen by the Boeotian exiles. Come up to the platform, Liparus and Pythion, and do me the same service for the saving of my life that I did for you.
Plea of the Boeotians and Phocians
Would it not, then, be monstrous treatment for me if I should be convicted when my accuser is Demosthenes, the paid servant of
But he dared to say that I am tripped up by my own words. For he says [Note] that when I was prosecuting Timarchus I said that his lewdness was a matter of common report, and that Hesiod, a good poet, says, “But Common Report dies never, the voice that tongues of many men do utter. She also is divine.” [Note] He says that this same god comes now and accuses me, for everybody says, according to him, that I have got money from Philip.
But be assured, fellow citizens, there is the greatest difference between common report and slander. For common report has no affinity with malice, but malice is slander's own sister. I will define each of them specifically: it is a case of common report when the mass of the people, on their own impulse and for no reason that they can give, say that a certain event has taken place; but it is slander when one person, insinuating an accusation in the minds of the people, calumniates a man in all the meetings of the assembly and before the senate. To Common Report we offer public sacrifice, as to a god, but the slanderer we prosecute, in the name of the people, as a scoundrel. Do not, therefore, join together the most honourable and the most shameful things.
At many of his charges I was indeed angry, but most of all when he accused me of being a traitor. For to bring such charges as those was to hold me up to public view as a brute, without natural affection, and chargeable in the past with many other sins. Now of my daily life and conduct I think you are competent judges. But facts that escape the public eye, yet are of greatest importance in the opinion of men of character, I will bring into court as my witnesses—facts very many in number and to my credit in the eyes of the law—in order that seeing them you may know what pledges I left at home when I set out for
For you, Demosthenes, fabricated these charges against me, but I will tell my story, as I was taught to do from childhood, truthfully. Yonder is my father, Atrometus; there are few older men among all the citizens, for he is now ninety-four years old. When he was a young man, before the war destroyed his property, he was so fortunate as to be an athlete; banished by the Thirty, he served as a soldier in
It is my good fortune, too, that all the members of my mother's family are free-born citizens; and to-day I see her here before my eyes in anxiety and fear for my safety. And yet, Demosthenes, this mother of mine went out to
wherefore you are polluted, and have no right to be invading the market-place. [Note]
Philochares yonder, our eldest brother, a man not of ignoble pursuits, as you slanderously assert, [Note] but a frequenter of the gymnasia, a one-time comrade of Iphicrates in the field, and a general now for the past three years, has come to beg you to save me. Our youngest brother, too, Aphobetus yonder, who as ambassador to the king of
But you dared to speak about my wife's family also—so shameless you are and so inherently thankless, you that have neither affection nor respect for Philodemus, [Note] the father of Philon and Epicrates, the man by whose good offices you were enrolled among the men of your deme, as the elder Paeanians know. [Note] But I am amazed if you dare slander Philon, and that, too, in the presence of the most reputable men of Athens, who, having come in here to render their verdict for the best interest of the state, are thinkingmore about the lives we have lived than what we say.
Which think you would they pray heaven to give them, ten thousand hoplites like Philon, so fit in body and so sound of heart, or thrice ten thousand lewd weaklings like you? You try to bring into contempt the good breeding of Epicrates, Philon's brother; but who ever saw him behaving in an indecent manner, either by day in the Dionysiac procession, as you assert, or by night? For you certainly could never say that he was unobserved, for he was no stranger.
And I myself, gentlemen, have three children, one daughter and two sons, by the daughter of Philodemus, the sister of Philon and Epicrates; and I have brought them into court with the others for the sake of asking one question and presenting one piece of evidence to the jury. This question I will now put to you; for I ask, fellow citizens, whether you believe that I would have betrayed to Philip, not only my country, my personal friendships, and my rights in the shrines and tombs of my fathers, but also these children, the dearest of mankind to me. Do you believe that I would have held his friendship more precious than the safety of these children? By what lust have you seen me conquered? What unworthy act have I ever done for money? It is not
But in public affairs I have become exceedingly entangled with a cheat and rascal, who not even by accident can speak a truthful word. No: when he is lying, first comes an oath by his shameless eyes, and things that never happened he not only presents as facts, but he even tells the day on which they occurred; and he invents the name of some one who happened to be there, and adds that too, imitating men who speak the truth. But we who are innocent are fortunate in one thing, that he has no intelligence with which to supplement the trickery of his character and his knack of putting words together. For think what a combination of folly and ignorance there must be in the man who could invent such a lie against me as that about the Olynthian woman, [Note] such a lie that you shut him up in the midst of his speech. For he was slandering a man who is the farthest removed from any such conduct, and that in the presence of men who know.
But see how far back his preparations for this accusation go. For there is a certain Olynthian living here, Aristophanes by name. Demosthenes was introduced to him by some one, and having found out that he is an able speaker, paid extravagant court to him and won his confidence; this accomplished, he tried to persuade him to give false testimony against me before you, promising, namely, to give him five hundred drachmas on the spot, if he would consent to come into court and complain of me, and say that I was guilty of drunken abuse of a woman of his family, who had been taken captive; and he promised to pay him five hundred more when he should have given the testimony.
But Aristophanes answered him, as he himself told the story, that so far as his exile and present need were concerned, Demosthenes' aim had not been wide of the mark—indeed no aim could have been closer—but that he had entirely misjudged his character; for he could do nothing of the sort. I will offer Aristophanes himself to testify to the truth of what I say. Please call Aristophanes the Olynthian, and read his testimony, and call those who heard his story and reported it to me—Dercylus, of the deme Hagnus, the son of Autocles, and Aristeides of Cephisia, the son of Euphiletus.
You hear the sworn testimony. But these wicked arts of rhetoric, which Demosthenes offers to teach our youth, and has now employed against me, his tears and groans for
“How outrageous that when a man whose business it is to act the parts of a Carion or of a Xanthias [Note] showed himself so noble and generous, Aeschines, the counsellor of the greatest city, the adviser of the Ten Thousand of
If you had believed him, or Aristophanes had helped him out in his his against me, I should have been destroyed under shameful accusations. Will you therefore harbour longer in your midst guilt that is so fraught with doom to itself—God grant it be not to the city!—and will you, who purify your assembly, [Note] offer the prayers that are contained in your decrees on motion of this man, as you send your troops out by land or sea? You know the words of Hesiod:
“Ofttimes whole peoples suffer from one manHes. WD 240
Whose deeds are sinful and whose purpose base.”
One thing more I wish to add to what I have said: if there is anywhere among mankind any form of wickedness in which I fail to show that Demosthenes is preeminent, let my death be your verdict. But I think many difficulties attend a defendant: his danger calls his mind away from his anger, to the search for such arguments as shall secure his safety, and it causes him earnest thought lest he overlook some one of the accusations which have been brought against him. I therefore invite you, and at the same time myself, to recall the accusations.
Consider, then, one by one, fellow citizens, the possible grounds for my prosecution: what decree have I proposed, what law have I repealed, what law have I kept from being passed, what covenant have I made in the name of the city, what vote as to the peace have I annulled, what have I added to the terms of peace that you did not vote?
The peace failed to please some of our public men. Then ought they not to have opposed it at the time, instead of putting me on trial now? Certain men who were getting rich out of the war from your war-taxes and the revenues of the state, have now been stopped; for peace does not feed laziness. Shall those, then, who are not wronged, but are themselves wronging the city, punish the man who was sponsor for the peace, [Note]1 and will you, who are benefited by it, leave in the lurch men who have proved themselves useful to the commonwealth?
Yes, my accuser says, because I joined Philip in singing paeans when the cities of
Who would have noticed me, unless I was a sort of precentor and led the chorus? Therefore if I was silent, your charge is false; but if, with our fatherland safe and no harm done to my fellow citizens, I joined the other ambassadors in singing the paean when the god was being magnified and the Athenians in no wise dishonored, I was doing a pious act and no wrong, and I should justly be acquitted. Am I, forsooth, because of this to be considered as a man who knows no pity, but you a saint, you, the accuser of men who have shared your bread and cup?
But you have also reproached me with inconsistency in my political action, in that I have served as ambassador to Philip, when I had previously been summoning the Greeks to oppose him. [Note] And yet, if you choose, you may bring this charge against the rest of the Athenian people as a body. You, gentlemen, once fought the Lacedaemonians, and then after their misfortune at Leuctra you aided the same people. You once restored Theban exiles to their country, and again you fought against them at
But what is the good counsellor to do? Is he not to give the state the counsel that is best in view of each present situation? And what shall the rascally accuser say? Is he not to conceal the occasion and condemn the act? And the born traitor—how shall we recognize him? Will he not imitate you, Demosthenes, in his treatment of those whom chance throws in his way and who have trusted him? Will he not take pay for writing speeches for them to deliver in the courts, and then reveal the contents of these speeches to their opponents? [Note] You wrote a speech for the banker Phormion and were paid for it: this speech you communicated to Apollodorus, who was bringing a capital charge against Phormion.
You entered a happy home, that of Aristarchus the son of Moschus; you ruined it. You received three talents from Aristarchus in trust as he was on the point of going into exile; [Note] you cheated him out of the money that was to have aided him in his fight, and were not ashamed of the reputation to which you laid claim, that of being a wooer of the young man's bodily charms—an absurd story, of course, for genuine love has no place for rascality. That conduct, and conduct like that, defines the traitor.
But he spoke, I believe, about service in the field, and named me “the fine soldier.” But I think, in view of my present peril rather than of his slander, I may without offence speak of these matters also. For where, or when, or to whom, shall I speak of them, if I led this day go by? As soon as I passed out of boyhood I became one of the frontier guards of this land for two years. [Note] As witnesses to this statement, I will call my fellow cadets and our officers.
My first experience in the field was in what is called “division service,” [Note] when I was with the other men of my age and the mercenary troops of Alcibiades, who convoyed the provision train to Phleius. We fell into danger near the place known as the Nemean ravine, and I so fought as to win the praise of my officers. [Note] I also served on the other expeditions in succession, whether we were called out by age-groups or by divisions.
I fought in the battle of
But to prove that I am speaking the truth, please take this decree, and call Temenides and those who were my comrades in the expedition in the service of the city, and call Phocion, the general, not yet to plead for me, [Note] if it please the jury, but as a witness who cannot speak falsely without exposing himself to the libellous attacks of my prosecutor.
Since, then, it was I who brought you the first news of the victory of the city and the success of your sons, I ask of you this as my first reward, the saving of my life. For I am not a hater of the democracy, as my accuser asserts, but a hater of wickedness; and I am not one who forbids your “imitating the forefathers” of Demosthenes [Note]—for he has none—but one who calls upon you to emulate those policies which are noble and salutary to the state. Those policies I will now review somewhat more specifically, beginning with early times.
In former days, after the battle of
During this period we fortified the Peiraeus and built the north wall; we added one hundred new triremes to our fleet; we also equipped three hundred cavalrymen and bought three hundred Scythians; [Note] and we held the democratic constitution unshaken.
But meanwhile men who were neither free by birth nor of fit character had intruded into our body politic, and finally we became involved in war again with the Lacedaemonians, this time because of the Aeginetans. [Note]
In this war we received no small injury, and became desirous of peace. We therefore sent Andocides and other ambassadors to the Lacedaemonians and negotiated a peace, which we kept for thirty years. [Note] This peace brought the democracy to the height of its prosperity. For we deposited on the Acropolis a thousand talents of coined money we built one hundred additional triremes, and constructed dockyards; we formed a corps of twelve hundred cavalry and a new force of as many bowmen, and the southern long wall was built; and no man undertook to overthrow the democratic constitution.
But again we were persuaded to go to war, now because of the Megarians. [Note] Having given up our land to be ravaged, and suffering great privations, we longed for peace, and finally concluded it through Nicias, the son of Niceratus. [Note] In the period that followed we again deposited treasure in the Acropolis, seven thousand talents, thanks to this peace, and we acquired triremes, seaworthy and fully equipped, no fewer than three hundred in number; a yearly tribute of more than twelve hundred talents came in to us; we held the
Though the blessings we were enjoying were so great, we again brought war against the Lacedaemonians, persuaded by the Argives; [Note]
The democracy then took on new life and vigour. But now men who have been illegally registered as citizens, constantly attaching to themselves what ever element in the city is corrupt, and following a policy of war after war, in peace ever prophesying danger, and so working on ambitious and over excitable minds, yet when war comes never touching arms themselves, but getting into office as auditors and naval commissioners—men whose mistresses are the mothers of their offspring, and whose slanderous tongues ought to disfranchise them—these men are bringing the state into extreme peril, fostering the name of democracy, not by their character, but by their flatteries, trying to put an end to the peace, wherein lies the safety of the democracy, and in every way fomenting war, the destroyer of popular government.
These are the men who now are making a concerted attack on me; they say that Philip bought the peace, that he overreached us at every point in the articles of agreement, and that the peace which he contrived for his own interests, he himself has violated. And they put me on trial, not as an ambassador, but as a surety for Philip and the peace; the man who had nothing but words under his control they call to account for deeds—deeds that existed only in their own imagination. And the very man whom I exhibit to you as my eulogist in the public decrees, I have found as my accuser in the court-room. And although I was but one of ten ambassadors, I alone am made to give account.
To plead with you in my behalf are present my father, whom I beg of you not to rob of the hopes of his old age; my brothers, who would have no desire for life if I should be torn from them; my connections by marriage; and these little children, who do not yet realize their danger, but are to be pitied if disaster fall on us. For them I beg and beseech you to take earnest thought, and not to give them over into the hands of our enemies, or of a creature who is no man—no better in spirit than a woman.
And first of all I pray and beseech the gods to save me, and then I beseech you, who hold the verdict in your hands, before whom I have defended myself against every one of the accusations, to the best of my recollection; I beg you to save me, and not give me over to the hands of the rhetorician and the Scythian. You who are fathers of children or have younger brother's whom you hold dear, remember that to me they are indebted for a warning which they will not forget, admonished to live chastely through my prosecution of Timarchus.
And all the rest of you, toward whom I have conducted myself without offence, in fortune a plain citizen, a decent man like any one of you, and the only man who in the strife of politics has refused to join in conspiracy against you, upon you I call to save me. With all loyalty I have served the city as her ambassador, alone subjected to the clamour of the slanderers, which before now many a man conspicuously brave in war has not had the courage to face; for it is not death that men dread, but a dishonoured end.
Is he not indeed to be pitied who must look into the sneering face of an enemy, and hear with his ears his insults? But nevertheless I have taken the risk, I have exposed my body to the peril. Among you I grew up, your ways have been my ways. No home of yours is the worse for my pleasures; no man has been deprived of his fatherland by accusation of mine at any revision of the citizen-lists, nor has come into peril when rendering account of his administration of an office.
A word more and I have done. One thing was in my power, fellow citizens: to do you no wrong. But to be free from accusation, that was a thing which depended upon fortune, and fortune cast my lot with a slanderer, a barbarian, who cared not for sacrifices nor libations nor the breaking of bread together; nay, to frighten all who in time to come might oppose him, he has fabricated a false charge against us and come in here. If, therefore, you are willing to save those who have laboured together with you for peace and for your security, the common good will find champions in abundance, ready to face danger in your behalf.
To endorse my plea I now call Eubulus as a representative of the statesmen and all honourable citizens, and Phocion as a representative of the generals, preeminent also among us all as a man of upright character. From among my friends and associates I call Nausicles, and all the others with whom I have associated and whose pursuits I have shared.
My speech is finished. This my body I, and the law, now commit to your hands.
|Aeschines, Speeches (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose; rhetoric] [word count] [Aeschin.].|
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