Aeschines, Speeches (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose; rhetoric] [word count] [Aeschin.].
<<Aeschin. 3.160 Aeschin. 3.166 (Greek) >>Aeschin. 3.174


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 Meanwhile Alexander had withdrawn to the uttermost regions of the North, almost beyond the borders of the inhabited world, and Antipater was slow in collecting an army; the whole outcome was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.


You are silent. I can well understand your embarrassment. But what you said then, I myself will tell now. Do you not remember, gentlemen, his disgusting and incredible words? Ye men of iron, how had you ever the endurance to listen to them! When he came forward and said, “Certain men are pruning the city, certain men have trimmed off the tendrils of the people, the sinews of the state have been cut, we are being matted and sewed up, certain men are first drawing us like needles into tight places.”


What are these things, you beast? Are they words or monstrosities? And again when you whirled around in a circle on the platform and said, pretending that you were working against Alexander, “I admit that I organized the Laconian uprising, I admit that I am bringing about the revolt of the Thessalians and the Perrhaebi.” You cause a revolt of the Thessalians? What! Could you cause the revolt of a village? Would you actually approach—let us talk not about a city—would you actually approach a house, where there was danger? But if money is being paid out anywhere, you will lay siege to the place; a man's deed you will never do. If any good-fortune come of itself, you will lay claim to it, and sign your name to the thing after it has been done; but if any danger approach, you will run away; and then if we regain confidence, you will call for rewards and crowns of gold.


Yes, but he is a friend of the people! If now you attend only to the plausible sound of his words, you will be deceived as in the past; but if you look at his character and the truth, you will not be deceived. Call him to account in this way: with your help I will reckon up what ought to be the inborn qualities of the “friend of the people” and the orderly citizen; and over against them I will set down what manner of man one would expect the oligarch and the worthless man to be. And I ask you to compare the two and to see to which class he belongs—not by his professions, but by his life.


I think you would all acknowledge that the following qualities ought to he found in the “friend of the people”: in the first place, he should be free-born, on both his father's and his mother's side, lest because of misfortune of birth he be disloyal to the laws that preserve the democracy. In the second place, he should have as a legacy from his ancestors some service which they have done to the democracy, or at the very least there must he no inherited enmity against it, lest in the attempt to avenge the misfortunes of his family he undertake to injure the city.


Thirdly, he ought to be temperate and self-restrained in his daily life, lest to support his wanton extravagance he take bribes against the people. Fourthly, he ought to be a man of good judgment and an able speaker; for it is well that his discernment choose the wisest course, and his training in rhetoric and his eloquence persuade the hearers; but if he cannot have both, good judgment is always to be preferred to eloquence of speech. Fifthly, he ought to be a man of brave heart, that in danger and peril he may not desert the people. But the oligarch we should expect to have all the opposite qualities; why need I go over them again? Examine, then, and see what one of these qualities belongs to Demosthenes. And let the reckoning be made with all fairness.

Aeschines, Speeches (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose; rhetoric] [word count] [Aeschin.].
<<Aeschin. 3.160 Aeschin. 3.166 (Greek) >>Aeschin. 3.174

Powered by PhiloLogic