Aeschines, Speeches (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose; rhetoric] [word count] [Aeschin.].
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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] as he said, and as he has just now told you, although he knew that at no time during the war had Philip exacted ransom-money for any Athenian, and although he had heard all Philip's friends say that he would release the rest also, if peace should be made. And he was carrying one talent for many unfortunates—sufficient ransom for one man, and not a very well to-do man at that!


But when we reached Macedonia and found Philip returned from Thrace, we held a meeting; [Note] the decree under which we were acting was read, and we went over the instructions that had been given us in addition to the business of receiving the oaths. But finding that no one mentioned the subjects that were most important, and all were dwelling on minor matters, I spoke words which I must repeat to you.


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] this is now a task for wise ambassadors. I mean,” said I, “the question of the expedition to Thermopylae, which you see in course of preparation. That I am not wide of the mark in this matter, I will show you by weighty considerations.


For ambassadors from Thebes are here, ambassadors from Lacedaemonia have arrived, and here are we with a decree of the people in which it stands written, ‘The ambassadors shall also negotiate concerning any other good thing that may be within their power.’ All Hellas is watching to see what is going to happen. If now our people had thought it wise to speak out plainly to Philip, bidding him strip the Thebans of their insolence, and rebuild the walls of the Boeotian towns, [Note] they would have asked this of him in the decree. But as it is, by the obscurity of their language they left open a way of retreat for themselves, in case they should fail to persuade him, and they thought best to take the risk its our persons.


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 Athens and set it up at the entrance to the Cadmeia.”

Aeschines, Speeches (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose; rhetoric] [word count] [Aeschin.].
<<Aeschin. 2.92 Aeschin. 2.101 (Greek) >>Aeschin. 2.109

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