Aeschines, Speeches (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose; rhetoric] [word count] [Aeschin.].
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But, after all, why these tears? Why all this noise? Why this straining of the voice? Is it not Ctesiphon who is the defendant? Is not the suit one in which the penalty is for the jury to determine? [Note] Is it not true that you are pleading neither for your person nor for your citizenship nor for your property? But what is this anxiety of his about? About crowns of gold and proclamations in the theater—against the laws.


Nay, but if the people gone mad, or forgetful of the existing situation, had actually wished to crown him at a time so unfitting, he ought to have come before the assembly and said, “Fellow citizens, I accept the crown, but I do not approve the time at which the proclamation is to be made. For events which have caused our city to shear her head in mourning are no fitting occasion for my head to receive a crown.” This I think a man would say whose life had been one of genuine virtue.


But the words which you, Demosthenes, will speak, are the natural expression of a worthless scoundrel, with whom virtue is a pretence. One thing at any rate is sure, by Heracles; no one of you will feel any anxiety lest Demosthenes, a man high-spirited and distinguished in war, will, if he fails to receive the meed of valor, go back home and make away with himself—he who so despises honor in your eyes that on this pestilential and accountable [Note] head of his upon which Ctesiphon, in defiance of all the laws, proposes that you set a crown, he has inflicted a thousand gashes, and he has made money out of his wounds by bringing suit [Note] for malicious assault. And on one occasion he got such a smashing blow that I imagine he still carries the visible marks of Meidias' knuckles. [Note] For it is not a head that the creature possesses, but an investment.


Now I wish to speak briefly about Ctesiphon, the author of the motion; and I will pass over the greater part of what might be said, for I should like to test your ability, even when no one cautions you, to discern those men who are utter rascals. I will speak only of what is common to the pair of them, and what I can honestly report to you concerning both. For the opinion that each of them has of the other is true, and the things that each, as he goes about the market-place, says of the other are no falsehoods.


For Ctesiphon says he is not afraid so far as he himself is concerned, since he hopes it will appear that he is but a plain citizen, but that what he does fear is Demosthenes' corruption in his conduct of affairs, and his instability and cowardice. And Demosthenes says that when he looks at his own case only, he is confident, but that he is exceedingly anxious in view of Ctesiphon's wickedness and licentiousness! Well, when men have thus condemned one another, you, the common judges of both, must surely not acquit them of the crimes they charge.


I wish also to caution you in a few words as to the slanders which they will utter against me. For I learn that Demosthenes will say that the city has been greatly benefited by him, but damaged by me and he will bring up against me Philip and Alexander, and the charges connected with them. And he is, as it seems, such a master-craftsman of words that he is not content to bring charges against whatever part I have taken in your political action, or whatever speeches I have delivered,


but he actually attacks the very quietness of my life, and makes my silence an accusation, in order that no topic may be left untouched by his slanders. And he censures my frequenting of the gymnasia with the younger men. [Note] And at the very beginning of his speech he demurs against this legal process, saying that I instituted the suit, not in behalf of the city, but as a manifesto to Alexander because he hates Demosthenes. [Note]


And, by Zeus, I understand that he proposes to ask me why I denounce his policy as a whole, but did not try to thwart it in detail, and did not prefer charges in the courts: and why I have brought suit at this late day without having steadily attacked his policy. But I have never in the past emulated the habits of Demosthenes, nor am I ashamed of my own, nor would I wish unsaid the words which I have spoken in your presence, nor would I care to live had my public speeches been like his.


As to my silence, Demosthenes, it has been caused by the moderation of my life. For a little money suffices me, and I have no shameful lust for more. Both my silence and my speech are therefore the result of deliberation, not of the impulse of a spendthrift nature. But you, I think, are silent when you have gotten, and bawl aloud after you have spent; and you speak, not when your judgment approves, and not what you wish to speak, but whenever your pay-masters so order. And you are not ashamed of impostures in which you are instantly convicted of falsehood.

Aeschines, Speeches (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose; rhetoric] [word count] [Aeschin.].
<<Aeschin. 3.205 Aeschin. 3.213 (Greek) >>Aeschin. 3.222

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