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


And if the gods permit, and the jurors give us an impartial hearing, and I am able to call to mind all that I know about you, I confidently expect to show to the jury that for the safety of the city it is the gods who are responsible, and the men who in the crisis have treated the city with humanity and moderation; [Note] but for all our misfortunes, Demosthenes. The order of my treatment shall be that which I understand he will follow; and I will speak first concerning the first period, second concerning the second, third concerning the next, and fourth concerning the present situation. So now I address myself to the peace which you and Philocrates formally proposed.


You could have made that former peace, [Note] fellow citizens, supported by the joint action of a congress of the Greek states, if certain men had allowed you to wait for the return of the embassies which at that crisis you had sent out among the Greeks, with the call to join you against Philip; and in the course of time the Greeks would of their own accord have accepted your hegemony again. Of this you were deprived, thanks to Demosthenes and Philocrates, and the bribes which they took in their conspiracy against the common weal.


But if such a statement as I have just made, falling suddenly on your ears, is too incredible to some of you, permit me to suggest how you ought to listen to the rest of my argument: When we take our seats to audit the accounts of expenditures which extend back a long time, it doubtless sometimes happens that we come from home with a false impression; nevertheless, when the accounts have been balanced, no man is so stubborn as to refuse, before he leaves the room, to assent to that conclusion, whatever it may be, which the figures themselves establish.


I ask you to give a similar hearing now. If some of you have come from home with the opinion, formed in the past, that of course Demosthenes has never in conspiracy with Philocrates said a word in Philip's interest—if any man of you is under such impression, let him decide nothing either way, aye or no, until he has heard; for that would not be fair. But if, as I briefly recall the dates, and cite the resolutions which Demosthenes moved in cooperation with Philocrates, the truthful audit of the facts shall convict Demosthenes of having moved more resolutions than Philocrates concerning the original peace and alliance,


and of having flattered Philip and his ambassadors with a shamelessness which was beyond measure, and of being responsible to the people for the failure to secure the concurrence of a general congress of the Greek states in the making of the peace, and of having betrayed to Philip Cersobleptes, king of Thrace, a friend and ally of our city—if I shall clearly demonstrate all this to you, I shall make of you this modest request: in God's name agree with me, that in the first of his four periods his policies have not been those of a good citizen. I will speak in a way that will enable you to follow me most easily.

Aeschines, Speeches (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose; rhetoric] [word count] [Aeschin.].
<<Aeschin. 3.47 Aeschin. 3.56 (Greek) >>Aeschin. 3.65

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