Aeschines, Speeches (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose; rhetoric] [word count] [Aeschin.].
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The Speech on the Embassy 2.1

I beg you, fellow citizens, to hear me with willing and friendly mind, remembering how great is my peril, and how many the charges against which I have to defend myself; remembering also the arts and devices of my accuser, and the cruelty of the man who, speaking to men who are under oath to give equal hearing to both parties, had the effrontery to urge you not to listen to the voice of the defendant.


and it was not anger that made him say it; for no man who is lying is angry with the victim of his calumny, nor do men who are speaking the truth try to prevent the defendant from obtaining a hearing; for the prosecution does not find justification in the minds of the hearers until the defendant has had opportunity to plead for himself and has proved unable to refute the charges that have been preferred.


But Demosthenes, I think, is not fond of fair argument, nor is that the sort of preparation he has made. No, it is your anger that he is determined to call forth. And he has accused me of receiving bribes—he who would be the last man to make such suspicion credible! For the man who seeks to arouse the anger of his hearers over bribery must himself refrain from such conduct.


But, fellow citizens, as I have listened to Demosthenes' accusation, the effect upon my own mind has been this: never have I been so apprehensive as on this day, nor ever more angry than now, nor so exceedingly rejoiced. I was frightened, and am still disturbed, lest some of you form a mistaken judgment of me, beguiled by those antitheses of his, conceived in deliberate malice. And I was indignant—fairly beside myself at the charge, when he accused me of insolence and drunken violence towards a free woman of Olynthus. [Note] But I was rejoiced when, as he was dwelling on this charge, you refused to listen to him. This I consider to be the reward that you bestow upon me for a chaste and temperate life.


To you I do, indeed, give praise and high esteem for putting your faith in the life of those who are on trial, rather than in the accusations of their enemies; however, I would not myself shrink from defending myself against this charge. For if there is any man among those who are standing outside the bar—and almost the whole city is in the court—or if there is any man of you, the jurors, who is convinced that I have ever perpetrated such an act, not to say towards a free person, but towards any creature, I hold my life as no longer worth the living. And if as my defence proceeds I fail to prove that the accusation is false, and that the man who dared to utter it is an impious slanderer, then, even though it be clear that I am innocent of all the other charges, I declare myself worthy of death.


But strange indeed did that other argument of his seem to me, and outrageously unjust, when he asked you whether it was possible in one and the same city to sentence Philocrates to death because he would not await trial and so condemned himself, and then to acquit me. But I think that on this very ground I ought most certainly to be cleared for if the man who condemns himself by not awaiting trial is guilty, certainly he who denies the charge and submits his person to the laws and to his fellow citizens is not guilty.


Now, fellow citizens, as regards the rest of his accusations, if I pass over any point and fail to mention it, I beg of you to question me and let me know what it is that you wish to hear about, and to refrain from forming any judgment in advance, but to listen with impartial goodwill. I do not know where I ought to begin, so inconsistent are his accusations. See whether you think I am being treated in a reasonable way.


it is I who am now on trial, and that too for my life; and yet the greater part of his accusation has been directed against Philocrates and Phrynon and the other members of the embassy, against Philip and the peace and the policies of Eubulus; it is only as one among all these that he gives me a place. But when it is a question of solicitude for the interests of the state, one solitary man stands out in all his speech—Demosthenes; all the rest are traitors! For he has unceasingly insulted us and poured out his slanderous lies, not upon me alone, but upon all the rest as well.


and after treating a man with such contempt, later, when it suits his whim, he turns about, and as though he were accusing an Alcibiades or a Themistocles, the most famous men among all the Greeks, he proceeds to charge that same man with having destroyed the cities in Phocis, with having lost you the Thracian coast, with having expelled from his kingdom Cersobleptes, a friend and ally of the city.


and he undertook to liken me to Dionysius, the tyrant of Sicily, and vehemently and with loud cries he called upon you to be on your guard against me; and he related the dream of the priestess in Sicily. [Note] Then, after all this exaggeration, he begrudged me the credit even for what he had slanderously charged me with accomplishing, and ascribed it all, not to my words, but to the arms of Philip.

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