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


For, as the people of the Paralus say, [Note] and those who have been ambassadors to Alexander—and the story is sufficiently credible—there is one Aristion, a man of Plataean status, [Note] son of Aristobulus the apothecary, known perhaps to some of you. This young man, distinguished for extraordinary beauty of person, once lived a long time in Demosthenes' house (what he used to do there or what was done to him, is a scandal that is in dispute, and the story is one that would be quite improper for me to repeat). Now I am told that this Aristion, his origin and personal history being unknown to the king, is worming himself into favour with Alexander and getting access to him. Through him Demosthenes has sent a letter to Alexander, and has secured a certain degree of immunity for himself, and reconciliation; and he has carried his flattery to great lengths.


But see from the following how the facts tally with the charge. For if Demosthenes had been bent on war with Alexander, as he claims to have been, or had any thought of it, three of the best opportunities in the world have been offered to him, and, as you see, he has not seized one of them. One, the first, was when Alexander, newly come to the throne, and not yet fairly settled in his personal affairs, crossed into Asia. The king of Persia was at the height of his power then, with ships and money and troops,and he would gladly have received us into his alliance because of the dangers that were threatening him. But did you, Demosthenes, at that time say a word? Did you move a decree? Shall I assume that you followed your natural disposition and were frightened? And yet the public opportunity waits not for the orator's fears.


But when Darius was come down to the coast [Note] with all his forces, and Alexander was shut up in Cilicia in extreme want, as you yourself said, and was, according to your statement, on the point of being trampled under the hoofs of the Persian horse, and when there was not room enough in the city to contain your odious demonstrations and the letters that you carried around, dangling them from your fingers, while you pointed to my face as showing my discouragement and consternation, and in anticipation of some mishap to Alexander you called me “gilded horn,” and said the garland was already on my head, [Note] not even then did you take one step, but deferred it all for some more favorable opportunity.


But I will pass over all this, and speak of the most recent events. The Lacedaemonians and their mercenary force had been successful in battle and had destroyed the forces of Corrhagus; [Note] the Eleans and the Achaeans, all but the people of Pellene, had come over to them, and so had all Arcadia except Megalopolis, and that city was under siege and its capture was daily expected. Meanwhile Alexander had withdrawn to the uttermost regions of the North, almost beyond the borders of the inhabited world, and Antipater was slow in collecting an army; the whole outcome was uncertain. Pray set forth to us, Demosthenes, what in the world there was that you did then, or what in the world there was that you said. I will yield the platform to you, if you wish, until you have told us.

Aeschines, Speeches (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose; rhetoric] [word count] [Aeschin.].
<<Aeschin. 3.154 Aeschin. 3.162 (Greek) >>Aeschin. 3.169

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