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


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 Salamis, our city stood in high repute, and although our walls had been thrown down by the barbarians, yet so long as we had peace with the Lacedaemonians we preserved our democratic form of government. [Note] But when certain men had stirred up trouble and finally caused us to become involved in war with the Lacedaemonians, then, after we had suffered and inflicted many losses, Miltiades, the son of Cimon, who was proxenus [Note] of the Lacedaemonians, negotiated with them, and we made a truce for fifty years, and kept it thirteen years. [Note]


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]

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