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


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]


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.


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?


But that I may speak concerning the fourth period also, and the present situation, I wish to remind you of this fact, that Demosthenes not only deserted his post in the army, but his post in the city also; for he took possession of one of your triremes and levied money upon the Greeks. [Note] But when our unexpected safety [Note] had brought him hack to the city, during the first months the man was timid, and he came forward half-dead to the platform and urged you to elect him “preserver of the peace.” But as for you, you would not even let resolutions that were passed bear the name of Demosthenes as the mover, but gave that honor to Nausicles. And yet, to-day, here is Demosthenes actually demanding a crown!


But when Philip was dead and Alexander had come to the throne, Demosthenes again put on prodigious airs and caused a shrine to he dedicated to Pausanias [Note] and involved the senate in the charge of having offered sacrifice of thanksgiving as for good news. And he nicknamed Alexander “Margites”; [Note] and had the effrontery to say that Alexander would never stir out of Macedonia, for he was content, he said, to saunter around [Note] in Pella, and keep watch over the omens; and he said this statement was not based on conjecture, but on accurate knowledge, for valor was to be purchased at the price of blood. For Demosthenes, having no blood himself, formed his judgment of Alexander, not from Alexander's nature, but from his own cowardice.


But when now the Thessalians had voted to march against our city, and the young Alexander was at first bitterly angry—naturally [Note]—and when the army was near Thebes, Demosthenes, who had been elected ambassador by you, turned back when halfway across Cithaeron and came running home—useless in peace and war alike! And worst of all: while you did not surrender him [Note] nor allow him to be brought to trial in the synod of the Greeks, he has betrayed you now, if current report is true.

Aeschines, Speeches (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose; rhetoric] [word count] [Aeschin.].
<<Aeschin. 3.150 Aeschin. 3.158 (Greek) >>Aeschin. 3.164

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