Aeschines, Speeches (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose; rhetoric] [word count] [Aeschin.].
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3.234

But it seems to me, fellow citizens, that the political situation, while fortunate, is also perilous; for we are not wise. The fact that at the present time you, the people, give over the mainstays of the democracy to the few is to be deplored; but the fact that there has not sprung up to our hurt a crop of politicians both corrupt and daring is a gift of fortune. For in former times the state did bring forth such characters, and they made short work of putting down the democracy. For the people loved to be flattered, and in consequence were overthrown, not by the men whom they feared, but by those in whose hands they had placed themselves.

3.235

And some of them actually joined the Thirty, who killed more than fifteen hundred of the citizens without trial, before they had even heard the charges on which they were to be put to death, and who would not even allow the relatives to be present at the burial of the dead. Will you not hold the politicians under your control? Will you not humble and dismiss those who are now exultant? Will you not bear in mind that in the past no one has ever attempted the overthrow of the democracy until he has made himself stronger than the courts?

3.236

But I would like to reckon up in your presence, fellow citizens, with the author of this motion, the benefactions for which he calls on you to crown Demosthenes. For if, Ctesiphon, you propose to cite that which you made the beginning of your motion, that he did good work in excavating the trenches around the walls, I am astonished at you. For to have been responsible for the necessity of doing the work at all involves an accusation greater than is the credit for having done it well. Indeed, it is not for surrounding the walls with palisades, and not for tearing down the public tombs [Note] that the statesman of clean record ought to ask reward, but for having been responsible for some good to the city.

3.237

But if you turn to the second part of your decree, in which you have had the effrontery to write that he is a good man, and “constantly speaks and does what is best for the Athenian people,” omit the pretence and the bombast of your decree, and take hold of the facts, and show us what you mean. I pass by his corruption in the case of the Amphissians and Euboeans; but when you give Demosthenes the credit for the alliance with Thebes, you deceive the ignorant and insult the sensible and well informed. For in failing to mention the crisis and the prestige of these your fellow citizens, which were the real reasons why the alliance was made, you think you prevent our seeing that you are crowning Demosthenes with the credit which belongs to the city.

3.238

How great is this imposture, I will try to show you by a signal proof. Not long before Alexander crossed over into Asia, the king of the Persians sent to our people a most insolent and barbarous letter, in which everything was expressed in the most ill-mannered terms; and at the close he wrote, “I will not give you gold; stop asking me for it; you will not get it.”

3.239

But this same man, overtaken by the dangers which are now upon him, [Note] sent, not at the request of the Athenians, but of his own accord, three hundred talents to the people, which they were wise enough to refuse. Now what brought the gold was the crisis, and his fear, and his need of allies. And this same thing it was that brought about the alliance with Thebes. But you, Demosthenes, tire us out with your everlasting talk of Thebes and of that most ill-starred alliance, while you are silent as to the seventy talents of the king's gold which you have seized and embezzled. [Note]

3.240

Was it not for lack of money, nay, for lack of five talents, that the mercenaries failed to deliver up the citadel to the Thebans? [Note] And when all the Arcadians were mobilized and their leaders were ready to bring aid, did not the negotiations fail for want of nine talents of silver? [Note] But you are a rich man, you serve as choregus [Note]—to your own lusts. In a word, the king's gold stays with Demosthenes, the dangers, fellow citizens, with you.

3.241

But we may well consider their lack of good breeding also. For if Ctesiphon shall have the effrontery to call Demosthenes to the platform to speak to you, [Note] and he to come forward and praise himself, that will be even harder for you to hear than his deeds were to bear. We refuse to listen even to honest men when they speak their own praises, though we know full well how many noble deeds they have done; who, then, could endure to listen when a man who has made himself a disgrace to the city lauds himself?



Aeschines, Speeches (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose; rhetoric] [word count] [Aeschin.].
<<Aeschin. 3.229 Aeschin. 3.237 (Greek) >>Aeschin. 3.245

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