Aeschines, Speeches (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose; rhetoric] [word count] [Aeschin.].
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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 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.


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 Mantineia, not without honour to myself or credit to the city. I took part in the expeditions to Euboea, [Note] and at the battle of Tamynae [Note] as a member of the picked corps I so bore myself in danger that I received a wreath of honour then and there, and another at the hands of the people on my arrival home; for I brought the news of the Athenian victory, and Temenides, taxiarch [Note] of the tribe Pandionis, who was despatched with me from camp, told here how I had borne myself in the face of the danger that befell us.


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.DecreeTestimony

Aeschines, Speeches (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose; rhetoric] [word count] [Aeschin.].
<<Aeschin. 2.157 Aeschin. 2.166 (Greek) >>Aeschin. 2.174

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