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


The other Amphictyons took their seats. Now it was reported to us by one and another who wished to show friendship to our city, that the Amphissians, who were at that time dominated by the Thebans and were their abject servants, were in the act of bringing in a resolution against our city, to the effect that the people of Athens be fined fifty talents, because we had affixed gilded shields to the new temple and dedicated them before the temple had been consecrated, and had written the appropriate inscription, “The Athenians, from the Medes and Thebans when they fought against Hellas.” [Note]

The hieromnemon sent for me and asked me to go into the council and speak to the Amphictyons in behalf of our city—indeed I had already determined of myself so to do.


When I had entered the council, perhaps a little too impetuously—the other pylagori had withdrawn [Note]—and when I was just beginning to speak, one of the Amphissians, a scurrilous fellow, and, as I plainly saw, a man of no education whatever, but perhaps also led on to folly by some divine visitation, cried out, “O Greeks, if you were in your right mind, you would not have so much as named the name of the people of Athens in these sacred days, hut you would have debarred them from the shrine, as men polluted.”

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