Aeschines, Speeches (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose; rhetoric] [word count] [Aeschin.].
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and instead of respect and the hegemony of Hellas, Athens had a name that stank like a nest of Myonnesian [Note] pirates. And Philip from his base in Macedonia was no longer contending with us for Amphipolis, but already for Lemnos, Imbros, and Scyros, our own possessions, while our citizens were abandoning the Chersonese, the undisputed property of Athens. And the special meetings of the assembly which you were forced to hold, in fear and tumult, were more in number than the regular meetings.


The situation was so precarious and dangerous that Cephisophon of Paeania, one of the friends and companions of Chares, was compelled to make the motion that Antiochus, who commanded the dispatch boats, should sail immediately and hunt up the general who had been put in charge of our forces, and in case he should happen to find him anywhere, should tell him that the people of Athens were astonished to learn that Philip was on the way to the Chersonese, Athenian territory, while as to the general and the force which they themselves had sent out, the Athenians did not even know what had become of them. To prove that I am speaking the truth, hear the decree and recall the facts of the war, and then charge the peace, not to the ambassadors, but to the commanders of our arms.Decree


Such was the situation of the city, such the circumstances under which the debate on the peace took place. But the popular speakers arose and with one consent ignored the question of the safety of the state, but called on you to gaze at the Propylaea of the Acropolis, and remember the battle of , Salamis, and the tombs and trophies of our forefathers.


I replied that we must indeed remember all these, but must imitate the wisdom of our forefathers, and beware of their mistakes and their unseasonable jealousies; I urged that we should emulate the battle that we fought at Plataea, the struggles off the shores of Salamis, the battles of Marathon and Artemisium, and the generalship of Tolmides, who with a thousand picked men of the Athenians fearlessly marched straight through the Peloponnesus, the enemy's country.


But I urged that we should take warning from the Sicilian expedition, which was sent out to help the people of Leontini, at a time when the enemy were already in our own territory and Deceleia was fortified against us; and that final act of folly, when, outmatched in the war, and offered terms of peace by the Lacedaemonians, with the agreement that we should hold not only Attica, but Lemnos, Imbros, and Scyros also, and retain the constitutional democracy, the people would have none of it, but chose to go on with a war that was beyond their powers. And Cleophon, the lyre-maker, whom many remembered as a slave in fetters, who had dishonourably and fraudulently got himself enrolled as a citizen, and had corrupted the people by distribution of money, [Note] threatened to take his knife and slit the throat of any man who should make mention of peace.


Finally they brought the city to such a pass that she was glad to make peace, giving up everything, tearing down her walls, receiving a garrison and a Lacedaemonian governor, and surrendering the democracy to the Thirty, who put fifteen hundred citizens to death without a trial. I admit that I urged that we should guard against such folly as that, and imitate the conduct shortly before described. For it was from no stranger that I heard that story, but from him who is nearest of all men to me.


for Atrometus our father, whom you slander, though you do not know him and never saw what a man he was in his prime—you, Demosthenes, a descendant through your mother of the nomad Scythians—our father went into exile in the time of the Thirty, and later helped to restore the democracy; while our mother's brother, our uncle Cleobulus, the son of Glaucus of the deme Acharnae, was with Demaenetus of the family of the Buzygae, when he won the naval victory over Cheilon the Lacedaemonian admiral. The sufferings of the city were therefore a household word with us, familiar to my ears.


But you find fault with my service as ambassador to Arcadia and my speech before the Ten Thousand [Note] there, and you say that I have changed sides—yourself more slave than freeman, all but branded as a runaway! So long as the war lasted, I tried so far as in me lay to unite the Arcadians and the rest of Hellas against Philip. But when no man came to the help of our city, but some were waiting to see what was going to happen, and others were taking the field against us, while the politicians in our own city were using the war to subsidize the extravagance of their daily life, [Note] I acknowledge that I advised the people to come to terms with Philip, and to make the peace, which you, Demosthenes, now hold disgraceful, you who never had a weapon of war in your hands—but which I declare to be much more honourable than the war.

Aeschines, Speeches (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose; rhetoric] [word count] [Aeschin.].
<<Aeschin. 2.66 Aeschin. 2.75 (Greek) >>Aeschin. 2.83

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