Aeschines, Speeches (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose; rhetoric] [word count] [Aeschin.].
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3.246

For be assured, fellow citizens, it is not our wrestling halls or the schools or our system of liberal studies alone that educate the young, but far more our public proclamations. It is proclaimed in the theater that one is crowned for virtue and nobility and patriotism, a man whose life is shameful and loathsome; a younger man, at sight of that, is corrupted. A man has been punished who is a rascal and libertine—like Ctesiphon; the rest have received instruction. A juror who has cast his vote against honor and justice goes home and proceeds to instruct his son; the boy refuses to obey, and with good reason, and he is surely justified thenceforth in calling exhortation vexation.

3.247

Cast your vote, then, not only as men who are rendering a verdict, but also as men who are in the public eye, to be called to account by the citizens who, though they are not now present, will nevertheless ask you what your verdict was. For be assured, fellow citizens, men will hold the city to be of like character with the man who is proclaimed. And it is a reproach for you to be likened, not to your fathers, but to the cowardice of Demosthenes.

How then could you escape such disgrace?

3.248

By guarding against those who arrogate to themselves the name of “patriot” and “benefactor,” but are untrustworthy in character. For loyalty and the name of friend of the people are prizes which are offered to us all, but for the most part those persons are the first to take refuge in them in speech who are farthest from them in conduct.

3.249

When, therefore, you find a politician coveting crowns and proclamations in the presence of the Greeks, bid him bring his argument back to the proof of a worthy life and a sound character, precisely as the law commands a man to give security for property. [Note] But if he has no testimony to this, do not confirm to him the praises which he seeks let your thought be for the democracy, which is already slipping through your hands.

3.250

Does it not seem to you to be an outrage if the senate-house and the people are coming to be ignored, while the letters and ambassadors come to private houses, sent hither not by ordinary men, but by the first men of Asia and Europe? And deeds the legal penalty for which is death, these deeds certain men do not deny, but acknowledge them before the people; and they read their letters to one another and compare them. And some of them bid you look into their faces as being guardians of the democracy, and others call for rewards as being saviours of the state.

3.251

But the people, discouraged by what they have experienced, as though in very dotage or declared of unsound mind, lay claim only to the name of democracy, and have surrendered the substance to others. And so you go home from the meetings of your assembly, not as from a deliberative session, but as from some picnic, where you have been given the leavings as your share.

3.252

To prove that this is not mere talk, consider my statement in the light of the following facts: There came—it pains me to call it to mind repeatedly—there came a certain disaster to the city. At that time a certain private citizen who merely undertook to sail to Samos was on the same day punished with death by the Senate of the Areopagus, as a traitor to his country. Another private citizen, who sailed away to Rhodes, was only the other day prosecuted, because he was a coward in the face of danger. The vote of the jury was a tie, and if a single vote had been changed, he would have been cast outside our borders. [Note]

3.253

Now with that let us compare what is taking place today. A politician, the man who is responsible for all our disasters, deserted his post in the field, and then ran away from the city: [Note] this man is calling for a crown, and he thinks he must be proclaimed. Away with the fellow, the curse of all Hellas! Nay, rather, seize and punish him, the pirate of politics, who sails on his craft of words over the sea of state.

3.254

And mark well the occasion on which you are casting your vote. A few days hence the Pythian games are to be celebrated and the synod of Hellas assembled. Our city is already the object of slander in consequence of the policies of Demosthenes in connection with the present critical situation. [Note] If you crown him, you will seem to be in sympathy with those who violate the general peace, whereas if you do the opposite, you will free the people from these charges.



Aeschines, Speeches (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose; rhetoric] [word count] [Aeschin.].
<<Aeschin. 3.241 Aeschin. 3.250 (Greek) >>Aeschin. 3.259

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