Aeschines, Speeches (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose; rhetoric] [word count] [Aeschin.].
<<Aeschin. 2.109 Aeschin. 2.117 (Greek) >>Aeschin. 2.125


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 Boeotia were lying in ruins. [Note] To prove that they were Amphictyonic cities and thus protected by the oaths, I enumerated twelve tribes which shared the shrine: the Thessalians, Boeotians (not the Thebans only), Dorians, Ionians, Perrhaebi, Magnetes, Dolopians, Locrians, Oetaeans, Phthiotians, Malians, and Phocians. And I showed that each of these tribes has an equal vote, the greatest equal to the least: that the delegate from Dorion and Cytinion has equal authority with the Lacedaemonian delegates, for each tribe casts two votes; again, that of the Ionian delegates those from Eretria and Priene have equal authority with those from Athens and the rest in the same way.


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] and that those individuals who were originally responsible for the seizure of the shrine ought to be punished—not their cities, but the individuals who had plotted and carried out the deed; and that those cities which surrendered the wrongdoers for trial ought to be held guiltless. “But if you take the field and with your forces confirm the wrongdoing of the Thebans, [Note] you will receive no gratitude from those whom you help, for you could not possibly do them so great a service as the Athenians once did, and they have no memory for that; while you will be wronging those whom you leave in the lurch, and will find them, not your friends in the future, but all the more your enemies.”


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 Thebes would be humbled; and that I told about the Euboeans, how I had frightened them, and that I led you on into empty hopes. But, fellow citizens, let me tell you what it is that he is doing. While I was with Philip I demanded—and when I returned to you I reported that I thought it right—that Thebes should be Boeotian, and not Boeotia, Theban. He asserts, not that I reported this, but that I promised it.


And I told you that Cleochares of Chalcis said that he was surprised at the sudden agreement between you and Philip, especially when we had been instructed “to negotiate concerning any good thing that should be within our power.” For he said the people of the small states, like himself, were afraid of the secret diplomacy of the greater. Demosthenes asserts, not that I related this fact, but that I promised to hand over Euboea! But I had supposed that when the city was about to deliberate on matters of supreme importance, no statement from any Hellenic source ought to be ignored.


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 Athens ever been prevented from presenting to the people an official report of his conduct? And if one had suffered such treatment and had been repudiated by his colleagues, would he ever have made a motion that they be given a vote of thanks and invited to dinner? But Demosthenes on his return from the second embassy, in which he says that the cause of Hellas was ruined, moved the vote of thanks in his decree;

Aeschines, Speeches (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose; rhetoric] [word count] [Aeschin.].
<<Aeschin. 2.109 Aeschin. 2.117 (Greek) >>Aeschin. 2.125

Powered by PhiloLogic