Aeschines, Speeches (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose; rhetoric] [word count] [Aeschin.].
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And our city, the common refuge of the Greeks, to which in former days used to come the embassies of all Hellas, each city in turn to find safety with us, our city is now no longer contending for the leadership of Hellas, but from this time on for the soil of the fatherland. And this has come upon us from the time when Demosthenes came into political leadership. Well does the poet Hesiod speak concerning such men; for he says somewhere, instructing the people and advising the cities not to take to themselves corrupt politicians—but I will myself recite the verses;


for this is the reason, I think, that in our childhood we commit to memory the sentiments of the poets, that when we are men we may make use of them: Ofttimes whole peoples suffer from one man,
Whose deeds are sinful, and whose purpose base.
From heaven Cromon launches on their heads
Dire woe of plague and famine joined; and all
The people waste away. Or else he smites
Their wide-camped host, or wall. Or wrath of Zeus
Far-thundering wrecks their ships upon the sea.
Hes. WD 240


If you disregard the poet's meter and examine only his thought, I think this will seem to you to be, not a poem of Hesiod, but an oracle directed against the politics of Demosthenes. For by his politics army and navy and peoples have been utterly destroyed.


I think that not Phrynondas and not Eurybatus, nor any other of the traitors of ancient times ever proved himself such a juggler and cheat as this man, who, oh earth and heaven, oh ye gods and men—if any men of you will listen to the truth—dares to look you in the face and say that Thebes actually made the alliance with you, not because of the crisis, not because of the fear that was impending over them, not because of your reputation, but because of Demosthenes' declamations!


And yet in other days many men who had stood in the closest relations with the Thebans had gone on missions to them; first, Thrasymachus of Collytus, a man trusted in Thebes as no other ever was; again, Thrason of Erchia, proxenus of the Thebans;


Leodamas of Acharnae, a speaker no less able than Demosthenes, and more to my taste; Archedemus of Pelekes, a powerful speaker, and one who had met many political dangers for the sake of the Thebans; Aristophon of Azenia, who had long been subject to the charge of having gone over to the Boeotians; Pyrrhandrus of Anaphlystus, who is still living. Yet no one of these was ever able to persuade them to be friends with you. And I know the reason, but because of the present misfortune of Thebes, I have no desire to speak it. [Note]


But, I think, when Philip had taken Nicaea [Note] from them and given it to the Thessalians, and when he was now bringing back again upon Thebes herself through Phocis the same war that he had formerly driven from the borders of Boeotia, [Note] and when finally he had seized Elateia and fortified and garrisoned it, [Note] then, and not till then, it was, when the peril was laying hold on them, that they sent for the Athenians. You went out and were on the point of marching into Thebes under arms, horse and foot, before ever Demosthenes had moved one single syllable about an alliance.


What brought you into Thebes was the crisis and fear and need of alliance, not Demosthenes.

For in this whole affair Demosthenes is responsible to you for three most serious mistakes. The first was this: when Philip was nominally making war against you, but really was far more the enemy of Thebes, as the event itself has proved (why need I say more?), Demosthenes concealed these facts, which were so important, and pretending that the alliance was to be brought about, not through the crisis, but through his own negotiations,

Aeschines, Speeches (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose; rhetoric] [word count] [Aeschin.].
<<Aeschin. 3.130 Aeschin. 3.138 (Greek) >>Aeschin. 3.145

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