Aeschines, Speeches (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose; rhetoric] [word count] [Aeschin.].
<<Aeschin. 3.101 Aeschin. 3.110 (Greek) >>Aeschin. 3.119


There is, fellow citizens, a plain, called the plain of Cirrha, and a harbor, now known as “dedicate and accursed.” This district was once inhabited by the Cirrhaeans and the Cragalidae, most lawless tribes, who repeatedly committed sacrilege against the shrine at Delphi and the votive offerings there, and who transgressed against the Amphictyons also. This conduct exasperated all the Amphictyons, and your ancestors most of all, it is said, and they sought at the shrine of the god an oracle to tell them with what penalty they should visit these men.


The Pythia replied that they must fight against the Cirrhaeans and the Cragalidae day and night, bitterly ravage their country, enslave the inhabitants, and dedicate the land to the Pythian Apollo and Artemis and Leto and Athena Pronaea, [Note] that for the future it lie entirely uncultivated; that they must not till this land themselves nor permit another.

Now when they had received this oracle, the Amphictyons voted, on motion of Solon of Athens, a man able as a law-giver and versed in poetry and philosophy, to march against the accursed men according to the oracle of the god.


Collecting a great force of the Amphictyons, they enslaved the men, destroyed their harbor and city, and dedicated their land, as the oracle had commanded. Moreover they swore a mighty oath, that they would not themselves till the sacred land nor let another till it, but that they would go to the aid of the god and the sacred land with hand and foot and voice, and all their might.


They were not content with taking this oath, but they added an imprecation and a mighty curse concerning this; for it stands thus written in the curse : “If any one should violate this,” it says, “whether city or private man, or tribe, let them be under the curse,” it says, “of Apollo and Artemis and Leto and Athena Pronaea.”


The curse goes on: That their land bear no fruit; that their wives bear children not like those who begat them, but monsters; that their flocks yield not their natural increase; that defeat await them in camp and court and market-place, and that they perish utterly, themselves, their houses, their whole race; “And never,” it says, “may they offer pure sacrifice unto Apollo, nor to Artemis, nor to Leto, nor to Athena Pronaea, and may the gods refuse to accept their offerings.”


As a proof of this, let the oracle of the god be read; hear the curse; call to mind the oaths that your fathers swore together with all the other Amphictyons.Oracle [Ye may not hope to capture town nor tower,
Till dark-eyed Amphitrite's waves shall break
And roar against Apollo's sacred shore.] [Note]
Paus. 10.7.6OathsCurse


This curse, these oaths, and this oracle stand recorded to this day; yet the Locrians of Amphissa, or rather their leaders, most lawless of men, did till the plain, and they rebuilt the walls of the harbor that was dedicate and accursed, and settled there and collected port-dues from those who sailed into the harbor and of the deputies [Note] who came to Delphi they corrupted some with money, one of whom was Demosthenes.


For after he had been elected your deputy, [Note] he received two thousand drachmas from the Amphissians, in return for which he was to see that no mention of them should he made in the assembly of the Amphictyons. And it was agreed with him that thereafter twenty minas of the accursed and abominable money should he sent to Athens to him yearly, on condition that he at Athens aid the Amphissians in every way. In consequence of this it has come to pass even more than before, that whatsoever he touches, be it private citizen, or ruler, or democratic state, becomes entangled, every one, in irreparable misfortune.


Now behold how providence and fortune triumphed over the impiety of the Amphissians. It was in the archonship of Theophrastus; [Note] Diognetus of Anaphlystus was our hieromnemon; as pylagori [Note] you elected Meidias of Anagyrus, whom you all remember—I wish for many reasons he were still living [Note]—and Thrasycles of Oeum; I was the third. But it happened that we were no sooner come to Delphi than Diognetus, the hieromnemon, fell sick with fever; the same misfortune had befallen Meidias already.

Aeschines, Speeches (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose; rhetoric] [word count] [Aeschin.].
<<Aeschin. 3.101 Aeschin. 3.110 (Greek) >>Aeschin. 3.119

Powered by PhiloLogic