Aeschines, Speeches (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose; rhetoric] [word count] [Aeschin.].
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When I had entered the council, perhaps a little too impetuously—the other pylagori had withdrawn [Note]—and when I was just beginning to speak, one of the Amphissians, a scurrilous fellow, and, as I plainly saw, a man of no education whatever, but perhaps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.”


And at the same time he reminded them of your alliance with the Phocians, proposed by that man whom we used to call “Top-knot”; [Note] and he went through a long list of vexatious charges against our city, which angered me almost beyond endurance as I listened to them then, and which it is no pleasure to recall now. For as I listened, I was exasperated as never before in my life.

I will pass over the rest of what I said, but this occurred to me, to call attention to the impiety of the Amphissians in relation to the sacred land; and from the very spot where I was standing I pointed it out to the Amphictyons for the plain of Cirrha lies just below the shrine and is clearly visible.


“You see,” I said, “O Amphictyons, the plain yonder tilled by the Amphissians, and pottery works and farm buildings erected there. You see with your own eyes the dedicated and accursed harbor walled again. You know of your own knowledge, and have no need of other witness, how these men have farmed out port-dues, and how they are making money from the sacred harbor.” At the same time I called for the reading of the oracle of the god, the oath of our fathers, and the curse that was proclaimed. And I made this declaration:


“I, in behalf of the people of Athens, in my own behalf, and in behalf of my children and my house, do come to the help of the god and the sacred land according unto the oath, with hand and foot and voice, and all my powers and I purge our city of this impiety. As for you, now make your own decision. The sacred baskets are prepared; the sacrificial victims stand ready at the altars and you are about to pray to the gods for blessings on state and hearth.


Consider then with what voice, with what spirit, with what countenance, possessed of what effrontery, you will make your supplications, if you let go unpunished these men, who stand under the ban of the curse. For not in riddles, but plainly is written the penalty to be suffered by those who have been guilty of impiety, and for those who have permitted it; and the curse closes with these words: ‘May they who fail to punish them never offer pure sacrifice unto Apollo, nor to Artemis, nor to Leto, nor to Athena Pronaea, and may the gods refuse to accept their offerings.’”


These words I spoke, and many more. And when now I had finished and gone out from the council, there was great outcry and excitement among the Amphictyons, and nothing more was said about the shields that we had dedicated, but from now on the subject was the punishment of the Amphissians. As it was already late in the day, the herald came forward and made proclamation that all the men of Delphi who were of full age, slaves and free men alike, should come at daybreak on the morrow with shovels and mattocks to the place that is there called the Thyteion. And again the same herald proclaimed that all the hieromnemons and the pylagori should come to the same place to the aid of the god and the sacred land; “And whatever city shall fail to appear, shall he debarred from the shrine and shall be impure and under the curse.


The next morning we came to the designated spot, and descended to the Cirrhaean plain. And when we had despoiled the harbor and burned down the houses, we set out to return. But meanwhile the Locrians of Amphissa, who lived sixty stadia from Delphi, came against us, armed and in full force; and it was only by running that we barely got back to Delphi in safety, for we were in peril of our lives.


Now on the next day Cottyphus, the presiding officer, called an “assembly” of the Amphictyons (they call it an “assembly” when not only the pylagori and hieromnemons are called together,but with them those who are sacrificing and consulting the god). Then immediately one charge after another was brought against the Amphissians, and our city was much praised. As the outcome of all that was said,they voted that before the next Pylaea [Note] the hieromnemons should assemble at Thermopylae at a time designated, bringing with them a resolution for the punishment of the Amphissians for their sins against the god and the sacred land and the Amphictyons. As proof of what I say, the clerk shall read the decree to you.Decree

Aeschines, Speeches (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose; rhetoric] [word count] [Aeschin.].
<<Aeschin. 3.112 Aeschin. 3.120 (Greek) >>Aeschin. 3.128

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