Aeschines, Speeches (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose; rhetoric] [word count] [Aeschin.].
<<Aeschin. 2.152 Aeschin. 2.159 (Greek) >>Aeschin. 2.168

2.156

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 Hellas, and his praise of Satyrus the comic actor, because over the cups he begged of Philip the release of certain friends of his who were captives in chains, digging in Philip's vineyard—you remember, do you not, how after this preface he lifted up that shrill and abominable voice of his and cried out,

2.157

“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 Arcadia, did not restrain his insolence, but in drunken heat, when Xenodocus, one of the picked corps of Philip, was entertaining us, seized a captive woman by the hair, and took a strap and flogged her!”

2.158

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 man
Whose deeds are sinful and whose purpose base.”
Hes. WD 240

2.159

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.

2.160

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one by one, fellow citizens, the possible grounds for my prosecution: what decree have I proposed, what law have I repealed, what law have I kept from being passed, what covenant have I made in the name of the city, what vote as to the peace have I annulled, what have I added to the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?

2.161

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?

2.162

Yes, my accuser says, because I joined Philip in singing paeans when the cities of Phocis had been razed. [Note] What evidence could be sufficient to prove that charge? I was, indeed, invited to receive the ordinary courtesies, as were my colleagues in the embassy. Those who were invited and were present at the banquet, including the ambassadors from other Hellenic states, were not less than two hundred. And so it seems that among all these I was conspicuous, not by my silence, but by joining in the singing—for Demosthenes says so, who was not there himself, and presents no witness from among those who were.

2.163

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?

2.164

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 Mantineia. You fought against Themison and the Eretrians, and again you saved them. And you have before now treated countless others of the Hellenes in the same way. For in order to attain the highest good the individual, and the state as well, is obliged to change front with changing circumstances.



Aeschines, Speeches (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose; rhetoric] [word count] [Aeschin.].
<<Aeschin. 2.152 Aeschin. 2.159 (Greek) >>Aeschin. 2.168

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