Aeschines, Speeches (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose; rhetoric] [word count] [Aeschin.].
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Now some legislator, seeing this, caused a law to be enacted which has nothing to do with the law concerning those who are crowned by our people, and did not supersede it. For it was not the assembly that was being disturbed, but the theater; and he was not enacting a law contradictory to the previously existing laws, for that may not be done; but a law governing those who, without your decree, are crowned by their tribe or deme, and governing the freeing of slaves, and also the foreign crowns. He expressly forbids the manumission of a slave in the theater, or the proclamation of a crown by the tribe or deme, “or by any one else,” he says, “and the herald who disobeys shall lose his civic rights.”


When, therefore, the lawgiver designates, for those who are crowned by the senate, the senate-house as the place of proclamation, and, for those who are crowned by the people, the assembly, and when he forbids those who are crowned by the demes or tribes to be proclaimed at the tragedies—that no one may try to get spurious honor by begging crowns and proclamations, and when in the law he further forbids proclamation being made by any one else, senate, people, tribe, and deme being thus eliminated—when one takes these away, what is it that is left except the foreign crowns?


For the truth of my assertion I will show you a strong argument derived from the laws themselves. For the golden crown itself which is proclaimed in the city theater the law takes from the man who is crowned, and commands that it be dedicated to Athena. And yet who among you would dare to charge the Athenian people with such illiberality? For certainly no state, nay, not even a private person—not one—would be so mean as to proclaim a crown and at the same moment demand back the gift which he himself had made. But I think it is because the crown is the gift of foreigners that the dedication is made, lest any one set a higher value upon the gratitude of a foreign state than upon that of his own country, and so become corrupted.


But the other crown, the crown that is proclaimed in the assembly, no one dedicates, but he is permitted to keep it, that not only he, but also his descendants, having the memorial in their house, may never become disloyal to the democracy. And the reason why the lawgiver also forbade the proclamation of the foreign crown in the theater “unless the people vote,” is this: he would have the state that wishes to crown any one of your citizens send ambassadors and ask permission of the people, for so he who is proclaimed will be more grateful to you for permitting the proclamation than to those who confer the crown. But to show that my statements are true, hear the laws themselves.Laws


When, therefore, they try to deceive you, and say that it is added in the law that the bestowal of the crown is permitted “if the people vote,” do not forget to suggest to them, Yes, if it is another state that is crowning you; but if it is the Athenian people, a place is designated for you where the ceremony must be performed; it is forbidden you to be crowned outside the assembly. For you may spend the whole day in explaining the meaning of the words “and nowhere else”; you will never show that his motion is lawful.


But that part of my accusation remains upon which I lay greatest stress: the pretext upon which he claims that the crown is deserved. It reads thus in his motion : “And the herald shall proclaim in the theater in the presence of the Hellenes that the Athenian people crown him for his merit and uprightness,” and that monstrous assertion, “because he continually speaks and does what is best for the people.”


You see how entirely simple the remainder of our argument becomes, and how easy for you, my hearers, to weigh. For it is obviously incumbent upon me, the complainant, to show this to you, that the praise given to Demosthenes is false, and that he never began to “speak what was best,” nor now “continues to do what is good for the people.” If I show this, then Ctesiphon will doubtless lose his case, and justly; for all the laws forbid inserting falsehoods in the decrees of the people. But the defence must show the opposite of this. And you are to be the judges of our pleas.


The case is this: To review the private life of Demosthenes would, in my opinion, demand too long a speech. And why need I tell it all now? the story of what happened to him in the matter of the suit over the wound, when he summoned his own cousin, Demomeles of Paeania, before the Areopagus; [Note] and the cut on his head; or the story of the generalship of Cephisodotus, and the naval expedition to the Hellespont,


when Demosthenes as one of the trierarchs carried the general on his ship, and shared his table, his sacrifices, and his libations and how after he had been thus honored because the general was an old friend of his father's, he did not hesitate, when the general was impeached, and was on trial for his life, to become one of his accusers; or, again, that story about Meidias and the blow of the fist that Demosthenes got when he was choregus, in the orchestra, and how for thirty minas he sold both the insult to himself and the vote of censure that the people had passed against Meidias in the theater of Dionysus. [Note]

Aeschines, Speeches (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose; rhetoric] [word count] [Aeschin.].
<<Aeschin. 3.39 Aeschin. 3.47 (Greek) >>Aeschin. 3.56

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