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


first he persuaded the people to give up all consideration of the terms of the alliance, and to count themselves fortunate if only it were made; and when he had gained this point he betrayed all Boeotia to the Thebans by writing in the decree, “If any city refuse to follow Thebes, the Athenians shall aid the Boeotians in Thebes,” [Note] cheating with words and altering the facts, as he is wont to do; as though, forsooth, when the Boeotians should be suffering in fact, they would be content with Demosthenes' fine phrases, rather than indignant at the outrageous way in which they had been treated;


and, secondly, he laid two thirds of the costs of the war upon you, whose danger was more remote, and only one third on the Thebans (in all this acting for bribes); and the leadership by sea he caused to be shared equally by both; but all the expenditure he laid upon you and the leadership by land, if we are not to talk nonsense, he carried away bodily and handed it over to Thebes. The result was that in all the war that followed, Stratocles, your general, had no authority to plan for the safety of his troops.

Aeschines, Speeches (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose; rhetoric] [word count] [Aeschin.].
<<Aeschin. 3.133 Aeschin. 3.140 (Greek) >>Aeschin. 3.147

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