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


Now when they had come through the pass [Note] in the first expedition, they dealt very leniently with the Amphissians, for as penalty for their monstrous crimes, they laid a money fine upon them, and ordered them to pay it at the temple within a stated time; and they removed the wicked men who were responsible for what had been done, and restored others, whose piety had forced them into exile. But when the Amphissians failed to pay the money to the god, and had restored the guilty men, and banished those righteous men who had been restored by the Amphictyons, under these circumstances at last the second campaign was made, a long time afterward, when Philip had now returned from his Scythian expedition. It was to us that the gods had offered the leadership in the deed of piety, but Demosthenes' taking of bribes had prevented us.


But did not the gods forewarn us, did they not admonish us, to be on our guard, all but speaking with human voice? No city have I ever seen offered more constant protection by the gods, but more inevitably ruined by certain of its politicians. Was not that portent sufficient which appeared at the Mysteries—the death of the celebrants? [Note] In view of this did not Ameiniades warn you to be on your guard, and to send messengers to Delphi to inquire of the god what was to he done? And did not Demosthenes oppose, and say that the Pythia had gone over to Philip? Boor that he was, gorged with his feast of indulgence from you!

Aeschines, Speeches (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose; rhetoric] [word count] [Aeschin.].
<<Aeschin. 3.119 Aeschin. 3.127 (Greek) >>Aeschin. 3.133

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