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


Now when we had reported this decree to our senate, and then to the assembly, and when the people had approved our acts, and the whole city was ready to choose the righteous course, and when Demosthenes had spoken in opposition—he was earning his retaining-fee from Amphissa—and when I had clearly convicted him in your presence, thereupon the fellow, unable to frustrate the city by open means, goes into the senate chamber, expels all listeners, and from the secret session brings out a bill to the assembly, taking advantage of the inexperience of the man who made the motion. [Note]


And he managed to have this same bill put to vote in the assembly and passed by the people, at the moment when the assembly was on the point of adjourning, when I had already left the place—for I would never have allowed it—and when most of the people had dispersed. Now the substance of the bill was this: “The hieromnemon of the Athenians,” it says, “and the pylagori who are at the time in office, shall go to Thermopylae and Delphi at the times appointed by our fathers”; fine in sound, shameful in fact; for it prevents attendance on the special meeting at Thermopylae, which had to be held before the date of the regular meeting.


Again in the same decree he writes much more explicitly and malignantly; “The hieromnemon of the Athenians,” he says, “and the pylagori who are at the time in office, shall take no part with those assembled there, in word or deed or decree, or in any act whatsoever.” But what does it mean to “take no part”? Shall I tell you the truth, or what is most agreeable for your ears? I will tell you the truth, for it is the universal habit of speaking to please you that has brought the city to such a pass. It means that you are forbidden to remember the oaths which our fathers swore, or the curse, or the oracle of the god.


And so, fellow citizens, we stayed at home because of this decree, while the other Amphictyons assembled at Thermopylae—all but one city, whose name I would not mention; I pray that misfortune like unto hers may come upon no city of Hellas. [Note] And when they were assembled they voted to march against the Amphissians. As general they chose Cottyphus of Pharsalus, who was at the time president of the Amphictyons. Philip was not in Macedonia at that time, nor in Hellas, but in Scythia—so far away as that! And yet presently Demosthenes will dare to say that it was I who brought him against Hellas!

Aeschines, Speeches (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose; rhetoric] [word count] [Aeschin.].
<<Aeschin. 3.116 Aeschin. 3.124 (Greek) >>Aeschin. 3.132

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