Aeschines, Speeches (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose; rhetoric] [word count] [Aeschin.].
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3.150

(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,

3.151

then indeed he became frantic, and went forward to the platform and stigmatized the Boeotarchs as traitors to Hellas, and declared that he would move a decree—he, who never looked on the face of an enemy in arms !—that you should send ambassadors to Thebes to ask them to give you free passage through their country for the march against Philip. But the officials in Thebes, ashamed lest they should seem in reality to be traitors to Hellas, turned from the thought of peace, and threw themselves into the war.

3.152

Here indeed it is fitting that we should pay the tribute of memory to those brave men whom he, regardless of the smouldering and ill-omened sacrifices, sent forth into manifest danger—he who, when they had fallen, dared to set his cowardly and runaway feet upon their tomb and eulogize the valor of the dead. [Note] O man of all mankind most useless for great and serious deeds, but for boldness of words most wonderful, will you presently undertake to look this jury in the face and say that over the disasters of the city you must be crowned? And, gentlemen, if he does, will you endure it? Are we to believe that you and your memory are to die with the dead?

3.153

I ask you to imagine for a little time that you are not in the court-room, but in the theater, and to imagine that you see the herald coming forward to make the proclamation under the decree; consider whether you believe the relatives of the dead will shed more tears over the tragedies and the sufferings of the heroes soon afterward to be presented on the stage, or over the blindness of the city.

3.154

For what Greek, nurtured in freedom, would not mourn as he sat in the theater and recalled this, if nothing more, that once on this day, when as now the tragedies were about to be performed, in a time when the city had better customs and followed better leaders, the herald would come forward and place before you the orphans whose fathers had died in battle, young men clad in the panoply of war; and he would utter that proclamation so honorable and so incentive to valor; “These young men, whose fathers showed themselves brave men and died in war, have been supported by the state until they have come of age and now, clad thus in full armour by their fellow citizens, they are sent out with the prayers of the city, to go each his way and they are invited to seats of honor in the theater.”

3.155

This was the proclamation then, but not today. For when the herald has led forward the man who is responsible for making the children orphans, what will he proclaim? What words will he utter? For if he shall recite the mere dictates of the decree, yet the truth, ashamed, will refuse to be silent, and we shall seem to hear it crying out in words which contradict the voice of the herald, “This man, if man he can be called, the Athenian people crown, the basest— ‘for his virtue’ and ‘for his nobility‘—the coward and deserter.”

3.156

No! by Zeus and the gods, do not, my fellow citizens, do not, I beseech you, set up in the orchestra of Dionysus a memorial of your own defeat; do not in the presence of the Greeks convict the Athenian people of having lost their reason; do not remind the poor Thebans of their incurable and irreparable disasters, men who, exiled through Demosthenes' acts, found refuge with you, when their shrines and children and tombs had been destroyed by Demosthenes' taking of bribes and by the Persian gold. [Note]

3.157

But since you were not present in person, yet in imagination behold their disaster; imagine that you see their city taken, the razing of their walls, the burning of their homes; their women and children led into captivity; their old men, their aged matrons, late in life learning to forget what freedom means; weeping, supplicating you, angry not so much at those who are taking vengeance upon them, as at the men who are responsible for it all and calling on you by no means to crown the curse of Hellas, but rather to guard yourselves against the evil genius and the fate that ever pursue the man.

3.158

For there is no city, there is no private man—not one—that has ever come off safe after following Demosthenes' counsel. You have passed a law, fellow citizens, governing the men who steer the boats across the strait to Salamis; if one of them by accident overturns a boat in the strait, your law permits him no longer to be a ferryman, in order that no man may be careless of Greek lives; are you not then ashamed if this man, who has utterly overturned the city and all Hellas, if this man is to be permitted again to pilot the ship of state?



Aeschines, Speeches (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose; rhetoric] [word count] [Aeschin.].
<<Aeschin. 3.145 Aeschin. 3.153 (Greek) >>Aeschin. 3.161

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