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


And did he not at last from smouldering and ill-omened sacrifices send forth our troops into manifest danger? And yet it was but yesterday that he dared to assert that the reason why Philip did not advance against our country [Note] was that the omens were not favorable to him. What punishment, then, do you deserve, you curse of Hellas! For if the conqueror refrained from entering the land of the conquered because the omens were not favorable to him, whereas you, ignorant of the future, sent out our troops before the omens were propitious, ought you to be receiving a crown for the misfortunes of the city, or to have been thrust already beyond her borders?


Wherefore what is there, strange and unexpected, that has not happened in our time! [Note] For it is not the life of men we have lived, but we were born to be a tale of wonder to posterity. Is not the king of the Persians—he who channelled Athos, he who bridged the Hellespont, he who demanded earth and water of the Greeks, he who dared to write in his letters that he was lord of all men from the rising of the sun unto its setting—is he not struggling now, no longer for lordship over others, but already for his life? [Note] And do we not see this glory and the leadership against the Persians bestowed on the same men who liberated the temple of Delphi?


But Thebes! Thebes, our neighbor, has in one day been swept from the midst of Hellas—even though justly, for her main policy was wrong, yet possessed by an infatuate blindness and folly that were not of men, but a divine visitation. And the wretched Lacedaemonians, who barely touched these acts at their beginning in connection with the seizure of the temple, [Note] they who once claimed the right to lead the Greeks, are now about to be sent to Alexander to serve as hostages, and to make an exhibition of their misfortunes [Note]—destined, themselves and their country, to suffer whatever may please him; their fate dependent on the mercy of the man who has conquered them after receiving unprovoked injury at their hands.

Aeschines, Speeches (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose; rhetoric] [word count] [Aeschin.].
<<Aeschin. 3.123 Aeschin. 3.130 (Greek) >>Aeschin. 3.138

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