Aeschines, Speeches (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose; rhetoric] [word count] [Aeschin.].
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“Now,” said I, “a claim which Amyntas renounced in the presence of all the Greeks, and that not by words alone, but by his vote, that claim you his son have no right to advance. But if you argue that it is right for you to keep the place because you took it in war, if it is true that it was a war against us in which you took the city, you do hold it justly, by right of conquest; but if it was from the Amphipolitans that you took a city which belonged to the Athenians, it is not the property of the Amphipolitans that you are holding, but territory of Athens.” [Note]


Now when I had said this and more beside, at last came Demosthenes' turn to speak. All were intent, expecting to hear a masterpiece of eloquence. For, as we learned afterwards, his extravagant boasting had been reported to Philip and his court. So when all were thus prepared to listen, this creature mouthed forth a proem—an obscure sort of thing and as dead as fright could make it; and getting on a little way into the subject he suddenly stopped speaking and stood helpless; finally he collapsed completely.


Philip saw his plight and bade him take courage, and not to think, as though he were an actor on the stage, that his collapse was an irreparable calamity, but to keep cool and try gradually to recall his speech, and speak it off as he had prepared it. But he, having been once upset, and having forgotten what he had written, was unable to recover himself; nay, on making a second attempt, he broke down again. Silence followed; then the herald bade us withdraw.


Now when we were by ourselves, our worthy colleague Demosthenes put on an exceedingly sour face and declared that I had ruined the city and the allies. And when not only I, but all the rest of the ambassadors were amazed, and asked him his reason for saying that, he asked me if I had forgotten the situation at Athens, and if I did not remember that the people were worn out and exceedingly anxious for peace.


“Or does your confidence rest,” said he, “on those fifty ships that have been voted but are never going to be manned? You have so exasperated Philip by the speech you have made that the effect of it could not possibly be to make peace out of war, but implacable war out of peace!” I was just beginning to answer him, when the attendants summoned us.


When we had come in and taken our seats, Philip began at the beginning and undertook to make some sort of answer to every argument which we had advanced. Naturally he dwelt especially on my argument, for I think I may fairly say that I had omitted nothing that could be said; and again and again he mentioned my name in the course of his argument. But in reply to Demosthenes, who had made such a laughing.stock of himself, not one word was said on a single point, I believe. And you may be sure that this was pain and anguish to him.


But when Philip turned to expressions of friendship, and the bottom dropped out of the slander which this Demosthenes had previously uttered against me before our fellow ambassadors, that I was going to be the cause of disagreement and war, then indeed it was plain to see that he was altogether beside himself, so that even when we were invited to dinner he behaved with shameful rudeness.


When we set out on our return home after completing our mission, suddenly he began talking to each of us on the way in a surprisingly friendly manner. Why, up to that time I had never so much as known the meaning of words like “kerkops,” or the so-called “paipalema,” or “palimbolon” [Note] but now after acquiring him as expounder of the mysteries of all rascality, I am fully instructed.


and he would take each of us in turn to one side, and to one he would promise to open a subscription to help him in his private difficulties, and to another that he would get him elected general. As for me, he fol- lowed me about, congratulating me on my ability and praising my speech; so lavish was he in his compliments that I became sick and tired of him. And when we were all dining together at Larisa, he made fun of himself and the embarrassment which had come upon him in his speech, and he declared that Philip was the most wonderful man under the sun.


When I had added my testimony, saying something like this, that Philip had shown excellent memory in his reply to what we had said, and when Ctesiphon, who was the oldest of us, speaking of his own advanced age and the number of his years, added that in all his many years he had never looked upon so charming and lovable a man, then this Sisyphus [Note] here clapped his hands and said,

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