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


Now these incidents and all the others like them I think it is best to pass over; not that I would betray you, gentlemen of the jury, or politely yield this case to him, but because I fear that I shall encounter in you the feeling that, while all this is true, it is an old story, admitted by everybody. And yet, Ctesiphon, when a man's utter shame is so credible to the hearers and so notorious that his accuser seems, not to be speaking what is false, but what is stale, and what everybody admits at the outset, ought that man to be crowned with a golden crown, or ought he to be censured? And you, who had the effrontery to make your false and unlawful motion, ought you to despise the courts, or ought you to give satisfaction to the city?


But concerning the crimes of his public life I will try to speak more explicitly. For I understand that when the defence are given opportunity to speak, Demosthenes will enumerate to you four periods in the history of the city as the periods of his own political activity. [Note] One of them, and the first, as I hear, he reckons as the time of our war with Philip over Amphipolis. He marks this off by the peace and alliance that were made on motion of Philocrates of Hagnus, and with the cooperation of Demosthenes himself, as I shall show.


And he says that the second period was the time while we kept the peace, doubtless up to that day on which this same orator put an end to the existing peace, by himself introducing the motion for war; and the third period, the period of war, up to the events of Chaeronea; and the fourth, the present period. When he has enumerated these, he intends, as I hear, to call me forward and ask me to tell him for which of these four periods I accuse him, and when it is that I say that his policy has not been for the best interests of the people. And if I refuse to answer, and cover my face and run away, he says he will come and uncover me and lead me to the platform, and force me to answer.


In order, then, that he may lose his confidence, and that you may be instructed in advance, and that I may reply, in the presence of the jury, Demosthenes, and of all the other citizens who are standing there outside the bar, and of all the other Greeks who have taken the trouble to listen to this case—and I see that not a few are here, more in fact than have ever attended a public trial within the memory of any man—I answer you that for all the four periods which you enumerate I accuse you.

Aeschines, Speeches (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose; rhetoric] [word count] [Aeschin.].
<<Aeschin. 3.42 Aeschin. 3.52 (Greek) >>Aeschin. 3.60

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