Demosthenes, Speeches (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose; rhetoric] [word count] [Dem.].
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9.20Help them, if you will, guard them from harm [supply the troops already there with all that they require], but let your deliberations embrace all the Greek states and the great danger that besets them. But I wish to tell you the grounds for my alarm about our condition, so that if my reasoning is sound, you may adopt it as your own and take forethought for yourselves, even if you refuse to take it for the others also; but if I seem to you a driveler and a dotard, neither now nor at any other time pay any heed to me as if I were in my senses.

9.21As for the fact, then, that Philip rose to greatness from small and humble beginnings, that the Greek states are mutually disloyal and factious, and that the increase of Philip's power in the past was a far greater miracle than the completion of his conquests now that he has already gained so much, these and all such topics on which I might expatiate, I will pass over in silence. 9.22I observe, however, that all men, and you first of all, have conceded to him something which has been the occasion of every war that the Greeks have ever waged. And what is that? The power of doing what he likes, of calmly plundering and stripping the Greeks one by one, and of attacking their cities and reducing them to slavery. 9.23Yet your hegemony in Greece lasted seventy-five years, that of Sparta twenty-nine, and in these later times Thebes too gained some sort of authority after the battle of Leuctra. But neither to you nor to the Thebans nor to the Lacedaemonians did the Greeks ever yet, men of Athens, concede the right of unrestricted action, or anything like it. 9.24On the contrary, when you, or rather the Athenians of that day, were thought to be showing a want of consideration in dealing with others, all felt it their duty, even those who had no grievance against them, to go to war in support of those who had been injured; and again, when the Lacedaemonians had risen to power and succeeded to your position of supremacy, and when they set to work to encroach on others and interfered unduly with the established order of things, all the Greeks were up in arms, even those who had no grievance of their own. 9.25Why need I refer to the other states? Nay, we ourselves and the Lacedaemonians, though at the outset we could not have specified any wrong at each other's hands, thought it our duty to fight on account of wrongs which we saw the other states suffering. Yet all the faults committed by the Lacedaemonians in those thirty years, and by our ancestors in their seventy years of supremacy, are fewer, men of Athens, than the wrongs which Philip has done to the Greeks in the thirteen incomplete years in which he has been coming to the top—or rather, they are not a fraction of them. 9.26[And this is easily proved by a short calculation.] I pass over Olynthus and Methone and Apollonia and the two and thirty cities in or near Thrace, all of which Philip has destroyed so ruthlessly that a traveler would find it hard to say whether they had ever been inhabited. I say nothing of the destruction of the important nation of the Phocians. But how stands the case of the Thessalians? Has he not robbed them of their free constitutions and of their very cities, setting up tetrarchies in order to enslave them, not city by city, but tribe by tribe? 9.27Are not tyrannies already established in Euboea, an island, remember, not far from Thebes and Athens? Does he not write explicitly in his letters, “I am at peace with those who are willing to obey me”? And he does not merely write this without putting it into practice; but he is off to the Hellespont, just as before he hurried to Ambracia; in the Peloponnese he occupies the important city of Elis; only the other day he intrigued against the Megarians. Neither the Greek nor the barbarian world is big enough for the fellow's ambition. 9.28And we Greeks see and hear all this, and yet we do not send embassies to one another and express our indignation. We are in such a miserable position, we have so entrenched ourselves in our different cities, that to this very day we can do nothing that our interest or our duty demands; we cannot combine, we cannot take any common pledge of help or friendship; 9.29but we idly watch the growing power of this man, each bent (or so it seems to me) on profiting by the interval afforded by another's ruin, taking not a thought, making not an effort for the salvation of Greece. For that Philip, like the recurrence or attack of a fever or some other disease, is threatening even those who think themselves out of reach, of that not one of you is ignorant.



Demosthenes, Speeches (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose; rhetoric] [word count] [Dem.].
<<Dem. 9.13 Dem. 9.24 (Greek) >>Dem. 9.34

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