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


And it is not true that in this I alone accuse, while others are silent; nay, I speak, all men blame him, you know the facts—and are not angry! For this is your experience as regards Demosthenes: you have so long been accustomed to hear of his crimes that they no longer surprise you. But it ought not so to be; you ought to be indignant, and to punish him, if the city is to prosper in the future.


But he was guilty of a second and far greater crime; for he stole the senate-house of the city and the democracy outright and carried them off to Thebes, to the Cadmeia, by his agreement with the Boeotarchs for joint control. And he contrived such domination for himself that now he came forward to the platform and declared that he was going as ambassador wherever he chose, whether you sent him or not;


and, treating your magistrates as his slaves, and teaching them to raise no word of opposition against him, he declared that if any of the generals should oppose him, [Note] he would bring suit to settle the claims of the speakers' platform as against those of the war office; for he said you owed more benefits to him from the platform than to the generals from the war office. And by drawing pay for empty places in the mercenary force, [Note] by stealing the pay of the troops, and by hiring out those ten thousand mercenaries to the Amphissians [Note] against my repeated protests and complaints in the assembly—when the mercenaries had thus been carried off, he rushed the city all unprepared into the mist of peril.


What, think you, would Philip have prayed for at that crisis? Would it not have been that he might in one place fight against the city's forces, and in another, in Amphissa, against the mercenaries, and thus close his hand upon the Greeks already discouraged by so great a disaster? And Demosthenes, who is responsible for such misfortunes as that, is not content with escaping punishment, but is miserable unless he shall he crowned with a golden crown! Nor is he satisfied that the crown shall be announced in your presence, but if it is not to he proclaimed before the Hellenes, he is miserable over that. So true it seems to be that a wicked nature, when it has laid hold on great license, works out public disaster.


But the third and greatest of the crimes that I have mentioned is that which I am about to describe. Philip did not despise the Greeks, and he was well aware (for he was not without understanding) that he was about to contend in a little fraction of a day for all that he possessed; for that reason he wished to make peace, and was on the point of sending envoys. The officials at Thebes also were frightened at the impending danger—naturally, for they had no run-away orator and deserter to advise them, but the ten years' Phocian war had taught them a lesson not to be forgotten.


Now when Demosthenes saw that such was the situation, suspecting that the Boeotarchs were about to conclude a separate peace and get gold from Philip without his being in it, and thinking that life was not worth living if he was to be left out of any act of bribery, he jumped up in the assembly, when no man was saying a word either in favour of making peace with Philip or against it; and with the idea of serving a sort of notice on the Boeotarchs that they must turn over to him his share of the gain, he swore by Athena


(whose statue, it seems, Pheidias wrought expressly that Demosthenes might have it to perjure himself by and to make profit of) that if any one should say that we ought to make peace with Philip, he would seize him by the hair and drag him to prison—in this imitating the politics of Cleophon, who, they tell us, in the time of the war against the Lacedaemonians, brought ruin to the state. But when the officials in Thebes would pay no attention to him, but even turned your soldiers back again when they had marched out, for they wished to give you an opportunity to deliberate concerning peace,

Aeschines, Speeches (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose; rhetoric] [word count] [Aeschin.].
<<Aeschin. 3.138 Aeschin. 3.145 (Greek) >>Aeschin. 3.154

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