The Public Orations of Demosthenes, volume 2
by Demosthenes
1  2  3  4  5     Next Part
Home - Random Browse




[Introduction. Late in the year 343 (some time after the acquittal of Aeschines) Philip invaded Epirus, made Alexander, brother of his wife Olympias, king of the Molossi instead of Arybbas, and so secured, his own influence in that region. Arybbas was honourably received at Athens. Philip next threatened Ambracia and Leucas, which were colonies of Corinth, and promised to restore Naupactus, which was in the hands of the Achaeans, to the Aetolians. But Athens sent Demosthenes, Hegesippus, Polyeuctus and others to rouse the Corinthians to resistance, and also dispatched a force of citizens to Acarnania to help in the defence against Philip. Philip thereupon returned, captured Echinus and Nicaea on the Malian Gulf, and established a tetrarch in each division of Thessaly (343 B.C., or early in 342). In 342 Philistides was established, by Philip's influence, as tyrant at Oreus in Euboea (as Cleitarchus had been at Eretria in the preceding year), and the democratic leader Euphraeus committed suicide in prison.[1] The town of Chalcis, however, under Callias and Taurosthenes, remained friendly to Athens, and made a treaty of alliance with her.

About the same time a controversy, begun in the previous year, in regard to Halonnesus, was renewed. This island had belonged to Athens, but had been occupied by pirates. At some time not recorded (but probably since the Peace of 346) Philip had expelled the pirates and taken possession of the island. He now sent a letter, offering to give Halonnesus to Athens, but not to give it back (since this would concede their right to it); or else to submit the dispute to arbitration. He also offered to discuss a treaty for the settlement of private disputes between Athenians and Macedonians, and to concert measures with Athens for clearing the Aegean of pirates. He was willing to extend the advantages of the Peace to other Greek States, but not to agree that he and Athens should respectively possess 'what was their own', instead of 'what they held'; though he was ready to submit to arbitration in regard to Cardia and other disputed places. He again denied having made the promises attributed to him, and asked for the punishment of those who slandered him. Hegesippus replied in an extant speech ('On Halonnesus'), while Demosthenes insisted that no impartial arbitrator could possibly be found. Philip's terms in regard to Halonnesus were refused, but the Athenian claim to the island was not withdrawn.

Philip spent the greater part of 342 and 341 in Thrace, mainly in the valley of the Hebrus, where he endured very great hardships through the winter, and founded colonies of Macedonian soldiers, the chief of these being Philippopolis and Cabyle. He also entered into relations with the Getae, beyond the Haemus, and garrisoned Apollonia on the Euxine. These operations were all preparatory to his projected attack upon Byzantium. (Byzantium and Athens were at this time on unfriendly terms, owing to the part taken by the latter in the Social War.)

But the immediate subject of the present Speech was the state of affairs in the Chersonese in 342. The Chersonese (with the exception of Cardia) had been secured for Athens in 357, but had been threatened by Philip in 352,[2] when he made alliance with Cardia, and forced the neighbouring Thracian Prince Cersobleptes to submit. Soon after the Peace of Philocrates, Athens sent settlers to the Chersonese under Diopeithes. Cardia alone refused to receive them, and Diopeithes, with a mercenary force, prepared to compel the Cardians to admit them; while Philip sent troops to hold the town, and complained to Athens in threatening terms of the actions of Diopeithes, and more particularly of an inroad which Diopeithes had made upon Philip's territory in Thrace. Diopeithes had been ill-supported with money and men by Athens, and had had recourse to piratical actions, in order to obtain supplies, thus arousing some indignation at Athens; but the prospect of the heavy expenditure which would be necessary, if an expedition were sent to his aid, was also unattractive. Demosthenes, however, proposed that Diopeithes should be vigorously supported, on the ground that Philip was really at war with Athens, and that this was not the time to interfere with the general who alone was pushing the Athenian cause. The speech was delivered early in the spring of 341. It is a masterpiece of oratory, at once statesmanlike and impassioned, and shows a complete command of every variety of tone. The latter part of it contains a strong denunciation of the Macedonian party in Athens, a defence of the orator's own career, and an urgent demand for the punishment of disloyalty. At the same time Demosthenes does not embody the policy which he advises in any formal motion. For this we have to wait for the Third Philippic.]

{1} It was the duty, men of Athens, of every speaker not to allow either malice or favour to influence any speech which he might make, but simply to declare the policy which he considered to be the best, particularly when your deliberations were concerned with public affairs of great importance. But since there are some who are led on to address you, partly out of contentiousness, partly from causes which I need not discuss, it is for you, men of Athens—you, the People—to dismiss all other considerations, and both in the votes that you give and in the measures that you take to attend solely to what you believe to be for the good of the city. {2} Now our present anxiety arises out of affairs in the Chersonese, and the campaign, now in its eleventh month, which Philip is conducting in Thrace. But most of the speeches which we have heard have been about the acts and intentions of Diopeithes. For my part, I conceive that all charges made against any one who is amenable to the laws and can be punished by you when you will are matters which you are free to investigate, either immediately or after an interval, as you think fit; and there is no occasion for me or any one else to use strong language about them. {3} But all those advantages which an actual enemy of the city, with a large force in the Hellespont, is trying to snatch from you, and which, if we once fall behind-hand, we shall no longer be able to recover—these, surely, are matters upon which our interest demands that our plans be formed and our preparations made with the utmost dispatch; and that no clamour, no accusations about other matters, be allowed to drive us from this point.

{4} Often as I am surprised at the assertions which are habitually made in your presence, nothing, men of Athens, has surprised me more than the remark which I heard only lately in the Council—that one who advises you ought, forsooth, to advise you plainly either to go to war or to keep the peace. {5} Very good.[3] If Philip is remaining inactive, if he is keeping nothing that is ours, in violation of the Peace, if he is not organizing all mankind against us, there is nothing more to be said—we have simply to observe the Peace; and I see that, for your part, you are quite ready to do so. But what if the oath that we swore, and the terms upon which we made the Peace, stand inscribed for our eyes to see? {6} What if it is proved that from the outset, before Diopeithes sailed from Athens with the settlers who are now accused of having brought about the war, Philip wrongfully seized many of our possessions—and here, unrepealed, are your resolutions charging him with this—and that all along he has been uninterruptedly seizing the possessions of the other Hellenic and foreign peoples, and uniting their resources against us? What is then the meaning of the statement that we ought either to go to war or to keep the Peace? {7} For we have no choice in the matter: nothing remains open to us but the most righteous and most necessary of all acts—the act that they deliberately refuse to consider—I mean the act of retaliation against the aggressor: unless indeed, they intend to argue that, so long as Philip keeps away from Attica and the Peiraeus, he does the city no wrong and is not committing acts of war. {8} But if this is their criterion of right and wrong, if this is their definition of peace, then, although what they say is iniquitous, intolerable, and inconsistent with your security, as all must see, at the same time these very statements are actually contradictory of the charges which they are making against Diopeithes. {9} Why, I beg to ask,[n] are we to give Philip full leave to act in whatever way he chooses, so long as he does not touch Attica, when Diopeithes is not to be allowed even to assist the Thracians, without being accused of initiating war? But even if this inconsistency is brought home to them, still, we are told, the conduct of the mercenaries in ravaging the Hellespontine country is outrageous, and Diopeithes has no right to drive the vessels to shore,[n] and ought to be stopped. {10} I grant it: let it be done: I have nothing to say against it. Yet nevertheless, if their advice is genuinely based on considerations of right, and right alone, I consider that they are bound to prove that, as surely as they are seeking to break up the force on which Athens at present relies, by slandering its commander to you when he tries to provide funds to support it, so surely Philip's force will be disbanded if you accept their advice. If they fail to prove this, you must consider that they are simply setting the city once more upon the same course which has already resulted in the utter ruin of her fortunes. {11} For surely you know that nothing in the world has contributed so much to Philip's successes, as his being always first on the scene of action. With a standing force always about him, and knowing beforehand what he intends to do, he suddenly falls upon whomsoever he pleases: while we wait until we learn that something is happening, and only then, in a turmoil, make our preparations. {12} It follows, of course, that every position which he has attacked, he holds in undisturbed possession; while we are all behindhand; all our expenditure proves to have been so much useless waste; we have displayed our hostility and our desire to check him; but we are too late for action, and so we add disgrace to failure.

{13} You must therefore not fail to recognize, men of Athens, that now, as before, all else that you hear consists of mere words and pretexts; and that the real aim of all that is being done is to secure that you may remain at home, that Athens may have no force outside the city, and that thus Philip may give effect to all his desires without let or hindrance. Consider, in the first place, what is actually occurring at the present moment. {14} He is at present passing the time[n] in Thrace, with a great army under him; and, as we are told by those who are on the spot,[n] he is sending for a large addition to it from Macedonia and Thessaly. Now if he waits for the Etesian winds,[n] and then goes to Byzantium and besieges it, tell me first whether you think that the Byzantines will persist in their present infatuation,[n] and will not call upon you and entreat you to go to their aid? {15} I do not think so. Why, I believe that they would open their gates to men whom they distrust even more than they distrust you (if such exist), rather than surrender the city to Philip—supposing, that is, that he does not capture them first. And then, if we are unable to set sail from Athens, and if there are no forces there on the spot to help them, nothing can prevent their destruction. {16} 'Of course,' you say, 'for the men are possessed, and their infatuation passes all bounds.' Very true; and yet they must be preserved; for the interests of Athens require it. And besides, we cannot by any means be certain that he will not invade the Chersonese. Indeed, if we are to judge by the letter which he has sent to you, he there says that he will punish the settlers[n] in the Chersonese. {17} If then the army that is now formed there is in existence, it will be able to help the Chersonese, and to injure some part of Philip's country. But when once it is dissolved, what shall we do if he marches against the Chersonese? 'We shall of course put Diopeithes on his trial.' And how will that improve our position? 'Well, we should go to the rescue from Athens ourselves.' What if the winds make it impossible? {18} 'But, of course, he will not really get there.' And who can guarantee that? Do you realize, men of Athens, or take into account, what the coming season of the year is, the season against which some think you ought to evacuate the Hellespont and hand it over to Philip? What if, when he leaves Thrace, he does not go near the Chersonese or Byzantium at all—for this, too, is a possibility which you must consider—but comes to Chalcis[n] or Megara, just as he lately came to Oreus? Is it better to resist him here, and to allow the war to come into Attica, or to provide something to keep him busy there? The latter course is surely the better.

{19} Realizing these things, therefore, as you all must, and taking due account of them, you must not, Heaven knows, look askance at the force which Diopeithes is trying to provide for Athens, or attempt to disband it. You must yourselves prepare another force to support it: you must help him freely with money, and give him in all other respects your loyal co-operation. {20} If Philip were asked to say whether he would wish these soldiers who are now with Diopeithes—describe them as you will, for I in no way dispute your description—to be prosperous and in high favour with the Athenians, and to be augmented in numbers by the co-operation of the city; or whether he would rather see them broken up and destroyed in consequence of calumnious charges against them; he would prefer, I imagine, the latter alternative. Can it then be, that there are men among us here who are trying to bring about the very thing that Philip would pray Heaven for? And if so, do you need to seek any further for the cause of the total ruin of the city's fortunes?

{21} I wish, therefore, to examine without reserve the present crisis of our affairs, to inquire what we ourselves are now doing, and how we are dealing with it. We do not wish to contribute funds, nor to serve with the forces in person; we cannot keep our hands from the public revenues;[n] we do not give the contributions of the allies[n] to Diopeithes, nor do we approve of such supplies as he raises for himself; {22} but we look malignantly at him, we ask whence he gets them, what he intends to do, and every possible question of that kind: and yet we are still not willing to confine ourselves to our own affairs, in consequence of the attitude which we have adopted; we still praise with our lips those who uphold the dignity of the city, though in our acts we are fighting on the side of their opponents. {23} Now whenever any one rises to speak, you always put to him the question 'What are we to do?' I wish to put to you the question, 'What are we to say?' For if you will neither contribute, nor serve in person, nor leave the public funds alone, nor grant him the contributions, nor let him get what he can for himself, nor yet confine yourselves to your own affairs, I do not know what I can say. For when you give such licence to those who desire to make charges and accusations, that you listen to them even when they denounce him by anticipation for his alleged intentions—well, what can one say?

{24} The possible effect of this is a matter which some of you require to understand, and I will speak without reserve; for indeed I could not speak otherwise. All the commanders who have ever yet sailed from Athens—if I am wrong, I consent to any penalty that you please[n]—take money from the Chians, from the Erythraeans,[n] from any people from whom they can severally get it—I mean, any of the Asiatic settlers who are now in question. {25} Those who have one or two ships take less, those who have a larger force take more. And those who give to them do not give either little or much for nothing; they are not so insane: in fact, with these sums they buy immunity from injury for the merchants who sail from their ports, freedom from piracy, the convoying of their vessels, and so on. They call the gifts 'benevolences',[n] and that is the name given to the sums thus obtained. {26} And in the present case, when Diopeithes is there with his army, it is obvious that all these peoples will give him money. From what other source do you imagine that a general can maintain his troops, when he has received nothing from you, and has no resources from which he can pay his men? Will money drop from the sky? Of course not. He subsists upon what he can collect or beg or borrow. {27} The real effect, therefore, of the accusations made against him here, is simply to warn every one that they should refuse to give him anything, since he is to pay the penalty for his very intentions, not to speak of any action that he may have taken or any success that he may have achieved. That is the only meaning of the cry that 'he is preparing a blockade', or 'he is surrendering[n] the Hellenes'. Do any of his critics care about the Hellenes who live in Asia? {28} Were it so, they would be more thoughtful for the rest of mankind than for their own country. And the proposal to send another general to the Hellespont amounts to no more than this. For if Diopeithes is acting outrageously and is driving the vessels to shore, then, gentlemen, one little wax-tablet[n] is enough to put an end to it all: and what the laws command is that for these offences we should impeach the wrong-doers—not that we should keep a watch upon our own forces at such expense and with so many ships.[n] {29} Such insanity really passes all bounds. No! Against the enemy whom we cannot arrest and render amenable to the laws, it is both right and necessary to maintain a force, to send war-ships, and to contribute war-funds: but against one of ourselves, a decree, an impeachment, a dispatch-boat[n] will answer our purpose. These are the means which sensible men would use: the policy of the other side is the policy of men whose spitefulness[n] is ruining your fortunes. {30} And that there should be some such men, bad though it is, is not the worst. No! for you who sit there are already in such a frame of mind, that if any one comes forward and says that Diopeithes is the cause of all the mischief, or Chares,[n] or Aristophon,[n] or any Athenian citizen that he happens to name, you at once agree, and clamorously declare that he is right; {31} but if any one comes forward and tells you the truth, and says, 'Men of Athens, this is nonsense. It is Philip that is the cause of all this mischief and trouble; for if he were quiet, the city would have nothing to disturb her,' you cannot, indeed, deny the truth of his words, but you seem, I think, to be annoyed, as though you were losing something.[n] {32} And the cause of these things is this—and I beseech you, in Heaven's name, to let me speak unreservedly, when I am speaking for your true good—that some of your politicians have contrived that you should be terrifying and severe in your assemblies, but easy- going and contemptible in your preparations for war. And accordingly, if any one names as the culprit some one whom you know you can arrest in your own midst, you agree and you wish to act; but if one is named whom you must first master by force of arms, if you are to punish him at all, you are at a loss, I fancy, what to do, and you are vexed when this is brought home to you. {33} For your politicians, men of Athens, should have treated you in exactly the opposite way to this; they should train you to be kind and sympathetic in your assemblies; for there it is with the members of your own body and your own allies that your case is argued: but your terrors and your severity should be displayed in your preparations for war, where the struggle is with your enemies and your rivals. {34} As it is, by their popular speeches, and by courting your favour to excess, they have brought you into such a condition that, while in your assemblies you give yourselves airs and enjoy their flattery, listening to nothing but what is meant to please you, in the world of facts and events you are in the last extremity of peril. Imagine, in God's name, what would happen, if the Hellenes were to call you to account for the opportunities which, in your indolence, you have now let pass, and were to put to you the question, {35} 'Is it true, men of Athens, that you send envoys to us on every possible occasion, to tell us of Philip's designs against ourselves and all the Hellenes, and of the duty of keeping guard against the man, and to warn us in every way?' We should have to confess that it was true. We do act thus. 'Then,' they would proceed, 'is it true, you most contemptible of all men, that though the man has been away for ten months, {36} and has been cut off from every possibility of returning home, by illness and by winter and by wars, you have neither liberated Euboea nor recovered any of your own possessions? Is it true that you have remained at home, unoccupied and healthy—if such a word can be used of men who behave thus—and have seen him set up two tyrants in Euboea, one to serve as a fortress directly menacing Attica, the other to watch Sciathus; {37} and that you have not even rid yourselves of these dangers—granted that you did not want to do anything more—but have let them be? Obviously you have retired in his favour, and have made it evident that if he dies ten times over, you will not make any move the more. Why trouble us then with your embassies and your accusations?' If they speak thus to us, what will be our answer? What shall we say, Athenians? I do not see what we can say.

{38} Now there are some who imagine that they confute a speaker, as soon as they have asked him the question, 'What then are we to do?' I will first give them this answer—the most just and true of all—'Do not do what you are doing now.' {39} But at the same time I will give them a minute and detailed reply; and then let them show that their willingness to act upon it is not less than their eagerness to interrogate. First, men of Athens, you must thoroughly make up your minds to the fact that Philip is at war with Athens, and has broken the Peace—you must cease to lay the blame at one another's doors—and that he is evilly-disposed and hostile to the whole city, down to the very ground on which it is built; {40} nay, I will go further—hostile to every single man in the city, even to those who are most sure that they are winning his favour. (If you think otherwise, consider the case of Euthycrates[n] and Lasthenes of Olynthus, who fancied that they were on the most friendly terms with him, but, after they had betrayed their city, suffered the most utter ruin of all.) But his hostilities and intrigues are aimed at nothing so much as at our constitution, whose overthrow is the very first object in the world to him. {41} And in a sense it is natural that he should aim at this. For he knows very well that even if he becomes master of all the rest of the world, he can retain nothing securely, so long as you are a democracy; and that if he chances to stumble anywhere, as may often happen to a man, all the elements which are now forced into union with him will come and take refuge with you. {42} For though you are not yourselves naturally adapted for aggrandizement or the usurpation of empire, you have the art of preventing any other from seizing power and of taking it from him when he has it; and in every respect you are ready to give trouble to those who are ambitious of dominion, and to lead all men forth into liberty. And so he would not have Freedom, from her home in Athens, watching for every opportunity he may offer—far from it—and there is nothing unsound or careless in his reasoning. {43} The first essential point, therefore, is this—that you conceive him to be the irreconcilable foe of your constitution and of democracy: for unless you are inwardly convinced of this, you will not be willing to take an active interest in the situation. Secondly, you must realize clearly that all the plans which he is now so busily contriving are in the nature of preparations against this country; and wherever any one resists him, he there resists him on our behalf. {44} For surely no one is so simple as to imagine that when Philip is covetous of the wretched hamlets[n] of Thrace—one can give no other name to Drongilum, Cabyle, Masteira, and the places which he is now seizing—and when to get these places he is enduring heavy labours, hard winters, and the extremity of danger;—{45} no one can imagine, I say, that the harbours and the dockyards, and the ships of the Athenians, the produce of your silver-mines, and your huge revenue, have no attraction for him, or that he will leave you in possession of these, while he winters in the very pit of destruction[n] for the sake of the millet and the spelt in the silos[n] of Thrace. No, indeed! It is to get these into his power that he pursues both his operations in Thrace and all his other designs. {46} What then, as sensible men, must you do? Knowing and realizing your position, as you do, you must lay aside this excessive, this irremediable[n] indolence: you must contribute funds, and require them from your allies; you must so provide and act, that this force which is now assembled may be held together; in order that, as Philip has the force in readiness that is to injure and enslave all the Hellenes, you may have in readiness that which shall preserve and succour them. {47} You cannot effect by isolated expeditions any of the things which must be effected. You must organize a force, and provide maintenance for it, and paymasters, and a staff of servants; and when you have taken such steps as will ensure the strictest possible watch being kept over the funds, you must hold these officials accountable for the money, and the general for the actual operations. If you act thus, and honestly make up your minds to take this course, you will either compel Philip to observe a righteous peace and remain in his own land—and no greater blessing could you obtain than that—or you will fight him on equal terms.

{48} It may be thought that this policy demands heavy expenditure, and great exertions and trouble. That is true indeed; but let the objector take into account what the consequences to the city must be, if he is unwilling to assent to this policy, and he will find that the ready performance of duty brings its reward. {49} If indeed some god is offering us his guarantee—for no human guarantee would be sufficient in so great a matter—that if you remain at peace and let everything slide, Philip will not in the end come and attack yourselves; then, although, before God and every Heavenly Power, it would be unworthy of you and of the position that the city holds, and of the deeds of our forefathers, to abandon all the rest of the Hellenes to slavery for the sake of our own ease—although, for my part, I would rather have died than have suggested such a thing— yet, if another proposes it and convinces you, let it be so: do not defend yourselves: let everything go. {50} But if no one entertains such a belief, if we all know that the very opposite is true, and that the wider the mastery we allow him to gain, the more difficult and powerful a foe we shall have to deal with, what further subterfuge is open to us? Why do we delay? {51} When shall we ever be willing, men of Athens, to do our duty? 'When we are compelled,' you say. But the hour of compulsion, as the word is applied to free men, is not only here already, but has long passed; and we must surely pray that the compulsion which is put upon slaves may not come upon us. And what is the difference? It is this—that for a free man the greatest compelling force is his shame at the course which events are taking—I do not know what greater we can imagine; but the slave is compelled by blows and bodily tortures, which I pray may never fall to our lot; it is not fit to speak of them.

{52} I would gladly tell you the whole story, and show how certain persons are working for your ruin by their policy. I pass over, however, every point but this. Whenever any question of our relations with Philip arises, at once some one stands up and talks of the blessings of peace, of the difficulty of maintaining a large force, and of designs on the part of certain persons to plunder our funds; with other tales of the same kind, which enable them to delay your action, and give Philip time to do what he wishes unopposed. {53} What is the result? For you the result is your leisure, and a respite from immediate action—advantages which I fear you will some day feel to have cost you dear; and for them it is the favour they win, and the wages for these services. But I am sure that there is no need to persuade you to keep the Peace—you sit here fully persuaded. It is the man who is committing acts of war that we need to persuade; for if he is persuaded, you are ready enough. {54} Nor is it the expenditure which is to ensure our preservation that ought to distress us, but the fate which is in prospect for us, if we are not willing to take this action: while the threatened 'plunder of our funds' is to be prevented by the proposal of some safeguard which will render them secure, not by the abandonment of our interests. {55} And even so, men of Athens, I feel indignant at the very fact that some of you are so much pained at the prospect of the plunder of our funds, when you have it in your power both to protect them and to punish the culprits, and yet feel no pain when Philip is seizing all Hellas piecemeal for his plunder, and seizing it to strengthen himself against you. {56} What then is the reason, men of Athens, that though Philip's campaigns, his aggressions, his seizure of cities, are so unconcealed, none of my opponents has ever said that he was bringing about war? Why is it those who advise you not to allow it, not to make these sacrifices, that they accuse, and say that they will be the cause of the war? I will inform you. {57} It is because[n] they wish to divert the anger which you are likely to show, if you suffer at all from the war, on to the heads of those who are giving you the best advice in your own interests. They want you to sit and try such persons, instead of resisting Philip; and they themselves are to be the prosecutors, instead of paying the penalty for their present actions. That is the meaning of their assertion that there are some here, forsooth, who want to bring about war. {58} That is the real point of these allegations of responsibility. But this I know beyond all doubt—that without waiting for any one in Athens to propose the declaration of war, Philip has not only taken many other possessions of ours, but has just now sent an expedition to Cardia. If, in spite of this, we wish to pretend that he is not making war on us, he would be the most senseless man living, were he to attempt to convince us of our error. {59} But what shall we say, when his attack is made directly upon ourselves? He of course will say that he is not at war with us—just as he was not at war with Oreus,[n] when his soldiers were in the land; nor with the Pheraeans,[n] before that, when he was assaulting their walls; nor with the Olynthians, first of all, until he and his army were actually within their territory. Or shall we still say that those who urge resistance are bringing about war? If so, all that is left to us is slavery. If we may neither offer resistance, nor yet be suffered to remain at peace, no other compromise[n] is possible. {60} And further, the issues at stake are not for you merely what they are for other states. What Philip desires is not your subjection, but your utter annihilation. For he knows full well that you will never consent to be his slaves, and that even if you were willing, you would not know the way, accustomed as you are to govern; and he knows that you will be able to give him more trouble, if you get the opportunity, than all the rest of the world. {61} The struggle, then, is a struggle for existence; and as such you ought to think of it: and you should show your abhorrence of those who have sold themselves to Philip by beating them to death. For it is impossible, utterly impossible, to master your enemies outside the city, before you punish your enemies in the city itself. {62} Whence comes it, think you, that he is insulting us now (for his conduct seems to me to be nothing less than this), and that while he at least deceives all other peoples by doing them favours, he is using threats against you without more ado? For instance, he enticed the Thessalians by large gifts into their present servitude; and words cannot describe how greatly he deceived the Olynthians at first by the gift of Poteidaea and much beside. {63} At this moment he is alluring the Thebans, by delivering up Boeotia to them, and ridding them of a long and arduous campaign. Each of these peoples has first reaped some advantage, before falling into those calamities which some of them have already suffered, as all the world knows, and some are destined to suffer whenever their time comes. But as for yourselves, to pass over all that you have been robbed of at an earlier period,[n] what deception, what robbery have been practised upon you in the very act of making the Peace! {64} Have not the Phocians, and Thermopylae, and the Thracian seaboard—Doriscus, Serrhium, Cersobleptes himself—been taken from you? Does not Philip at this moment occupy the city of the Cardians, and avow it openly? Why is it then, that he behaves as he does to all others, and so differently to you? Because yours is the one city in the world where men are permitted to speak on behalf of the enemy without fear; because here a man may take bribes, and still address you with impunity, even when you have been robbed of your own. In Olynthus it was only safe to take Philip's side when the people of Olynthus as a whole had shared Philip's favours, and was enjoying the possession of Poteidaea. {65} In Thessaly it was only safe to take Philip's side when the Thessalian commons had shared Philip's favours; for he had expelled the tyrants for them, and restored to them their Amphictyonic position. In Thebes it was not safe, until he had restored Boeotia to Thebes and annihilated the Phocians. {66} But at Athens—though Philip has not only robbed you of Amphipolis and the territory of the Cardians, but has turned Euboea into a fortress overlooking your country, and is now on his way to attack Byzantium—at Athens it is safe to speak in Philip's interest. Aye, and you know that, of such speakers, some who were poor are rapidly growing rich; and some who were without name or fame are becoming famous and distinguished, while you, on the other hand, are becoming inglorious instead of famous, bankrupt instead of wealthy. For a city's wealth consists, I imagine, in allies, confidence, loyalty—and of all these you are bankrupt. {67} And because you are indifferent to these advantages, and let them drift away from you, he has become prosperous and powerful, and formidable to all, Hellenes and foreigners alike; while you are deserted and humbled, with a splendid profusion of commodities in your market, and a contemptible lack of all those things with which you should have been provided. But I observe that certain speakers do not follow the same principles in the advice which they give you, as they follow for themselves. You, they tell you, ought to remain quiet, even when you are wronged; but they cannot remain quiet in your presence, even when no one is wronging them.

{68} But now some one or other comes forward and says, 'Ah, but you will not move a motion or take any risk. You are a poor-spirited coward.' Bold, offensive, shameless, I am not, and I trust I may never be; and yet I think I have more courage than very many of your dashing statesmen. {69} For one, men of Athens, who overlooks all that the city's interest demands—who prosecutes, confiscates, gives, accuses—does so not from any bravery, but because in the popular character of his speeches and public actions he has a guarantee of his personal safety, and therefore is bold without risk. But one who in acting for the best sets himself in many ways against your wishes—who never speaks to please, but always to advise what is best; one who chooses a policy in which more issues must be decided by chance than by calculation, and yet makes himself responsible to you for both—that is the courageous man, {70} and such is the citizen who is of value to his country, rather than those who, to gain an ephemeral popularity, have ruined the supreme interests of the city. So far am I from envying these men, or thinking them worthy citizens of their country, that if any one were to ask me to say, what good I had really done to the city, although, men of Athens, I could tell how often I had been trierarch and choregus,[n] how I had contributed funds, ransomed prisoners, and done other like acts of generosity, I would mention none of these things; {71} I would say only that my policy is not one of measures like theirs—that although, like others, I could make accusations and shower favours and confiscate property and do all that my opponents do, I have never to this day set myself to do any of these things; I have been influenced neither by gain nor by ambition; but I continue to give the advice which sets me below many others in your estimation, but which must make you greater, if you will listen to it; for so much, perhaps, I may say without offence. {72} Nor, I think, should I be acting fairly as a citizen, if I devised such political measures as would at once make me the first man in Athens, and you the last of all peoples. As the measures of a loyal politician develop, the greatness of his country should develop with them; and it is the thing which is best, not the thing which is easiest, that every speaker should advocate. Nature will find the way to the easiest course unaided. To the best, the words and the guidance of the loyal citizen must show the way.

{73} I have heard it remarked before now, that though what I say is always what is best, still I never contribute anything but words; whereas the city needs work of some practical kind. I will tell you without any concealment my own sentiments on this matter. There is no work that can be demanded of any of your public advisers, except that he should advise what is best; and I think I can easily show you that this is so. {74} No doubt you know how the great Timotheus[n] delivered a speech to the effect that you ought to go to the rescue and save the Euboeans, when the Thebans were trying to reduce them to servitude; and how, in the course of his speech, he spoke somewhat in this strain:—'What?' said he, 'when you actually have the Thebans in the island, do you debate what you are to do with them, and how you are to act? Will you not cover the sea with warships, men of Athens? Will you not rise from your seats and go instantly to the Peiraeus and launch your vessels?' {75} So Timotheus spoke, and you acted as he bade you; and through his speech and your action the work was done. But if he had given you the best possible advice (as in fact he did), and you had lapsed into indolence and paid no attention to it, would the city have achieved any of the results which followed on that occasion? Impossible! And so it is with all that I say to-day, and with all that this or that speaker may say. For the actions you must look to yourselves; from the speaker you must require that he give you the best counsel that he can.[n]

{76} I desire now to sum up my advice and to leave the platform. I say that we must contribute funds, and must keep together the force now in existence, correcting anything that may seem amiss in it, but not disbanding the whole force because of the possible criticisms against it. We must send envoys everywhere to instruct, to warn, and to act. Above all, we must punish those who take bribes in connexion with public affairs, and must everywhere display our abhorrence of them; in order that reasonable men, who offer their honest services, may find their policy justified in their own eyes and in those of others. {77} If you treat the situation thus, and cease to ignore it altogether, there is a chance—a chance I say, even now—that it may improve. If, however, you sit idle, with an interest that stops short at applause and acclamation, and retires into the background when any action is required, I can imagine no oratory, which, without action on your part, will be able to save your country.


[1] See Third Philippic Sec.Sec. 59 sqq.

[2] See Introduction to First Philippic.

[3] [Greek: esto de.]


[Introduction. The Third Philippic seems to have been delivered in the late spring or early summer of 341 B. C., about two months after the Speech on the Chersonese, which apparently had little positive result, though it probably prevented the recall and prosecution of Diopeithes. The immediate occasion of the Third Philippic was a request from the forces in the Chersonese for supplies. The general situation is the same as at the date of the last speech, but the danger to Byzantium is more pressing. Demosthenes now takes the broad ground of Panhellenic policy, and formally proposes to send envoys throughout Greece, to unite all the Greek states against Philip, as well as to send immediate reinforcements and supplies to the Chersonese.

Many critics, ancient and modern, have regarded this as the greatest of all Demosthenes' political orations. The lessons of history (from the speaker's point of view) are repeated and enforced by the citation of instance after instance. The tone of the speech, while less varied than that of the last, is grave and intense. The passage (Sec.Sec. 36 ff.) in which the orator contrasts the spirit of Athenian political life in the past with that of his own day is one of the most impressive in all his works, and the nobility of his appeal to the traditional ideals of Athenian policy has been universally recognized even by his most severe critics.

The speech is found in the MSS. in two forms, of which the shorter omits a number of passages[1] which the longer includes, though there are signs of an imperfect blending of the two versions in certain places. It seems probable that both versions are due to Demosthenes, and the speech may have been more than once revised by him before publication or republication. In which form it was delivered there is not sufficient evidence to show.]

{1} Many speeches are made, men of Athens, at almost every meeting of the Assembly, with reference to the aggressions which Philip has been committing, ever since he concluded the Peace, not only against yourselves but against all other peoples; and I am sure that all would agree, however little they may act on their belief, that our aim, both in speech and in action, should be to cause him to cease from his insolence and to pay the penalty for it. And yet I see that in fact the treacherous sacrifice of our interests has gone on, until what seems an ill-omened saying may, I fear, be really true—that if all who came forward desired to propose, and you desired to carry, the measures which would make your position as pitiful as it could possibly be, it could not (so I believe), be made worse than it is now. {2} It may be that there are many reasons for this, and that our affairs did not reach their present condition from any one or two causes. But if you examine the matter aright, you will find that the chief responsibility rests with those whose aim is to win your favour, not to propose what is best. Some of them, men of Athens, so long as they can maintain the conditions which bring them reputation and influence, take no thought for the future [and therefore think that you also should take none]; while others, by accusing and slandering those who are actively at work,[n] are simply trying to make the city spend its energies in punishing the members of its own body, and so leave Philip free to say and do what he likes. {3} Such political methods as these, familiar to you as they are, are the real causes of the evil. And I beg you, men of Athens, if I tell you certain truths outspokenly, to let no resentment on your part fall upon me on this account. Consider the matter in this light. In every other sphere of life, you believe that the right of free speech ought to be so universally shared by all who are in the city, that you have extended it both to foreigners and to slaves; and one may see many a servant in Athens speaking his mind with greater liberty than is granted to citizens in some other states: but from the sphere of political counsel you have utterly banished this liberty. {4} The result[n] is that in your meetings you give yourselves airs and enjoy their flattery, listening to nothing but what is meant to please you, while in the world of facts and events, you are in the last extremity of peril. If then you are still in this mood to-day, I do not know what I can say; but if you are willing to listen while I tell you, without flattery, what your interest requires, I am prepared to speak. For though our position is very bad indeed, and much has been sacrificed, it is still possible, even now, if you will do your duty, to set all right once more. {5} It is a strange thing, perhaps, that I am about to say, but it is true. The worst feature in the past is that in which lies our best hope for the future. And what is this? It is that you are in your present plight because you do not do any part of your duty, small or great; for of course, if you were doing all that you should do, and were still in this evil case, you could not even hope for any improvement. As it is, Philip has conquered your indolence and your indifference; but he has not conquered Athens. You have not been vanquished—you have never even stirred. {6} [Now if it was admitted by us all that Philip was at war with Athens, and was transgressing the Peace, a speaker would have to do nothing but to advise you as to the safest and easiest method of resistance to him. But since there are some who are in so extraordinary a frame of mind that, though he is capturing cities, though many of your possessions are in his hands, and though he is committing aggressions against all men, they still tolerate certain speakers, who constantly assert at your meetings that it is some of us who are provoking the war, it is necessary to be on our guard and come to a right understanding on the matter. {7} For there is a danger lest any one who proposes or advises resistance should find himself accused of having brought about the war.]

[Well, I say this first of all, and lay it down as a principle, that if it is open to us to deliberate whether we should remain at peace or should go to war ...]

{8} Now if it is possible for the city to remain at peace—if the decision rests with us (that I may make this my starting-point)—then, I say that we ought to do so, and I call upon any one who says that it is so to move his motion, and to act and not to defraud us.[n] But if another with weapons in his hands and a large force about him holds out to you the name of peace, while his own acts are acts of war, what course remains open to us but that of resistance? though if you wish to profess peace in the same manner as he, I have no quarrel with you. {9} But if any man's conception of peace is that it is a state in which Philip can master all that intervenes till at last he comes to attack ourselves, such a conception, in the first place, is madness; and, in the second place, this peace that he speaks of is a peace which you are to observe towards Philip, while he does not observe it towards you: and this it is—this power to carry on war against you, without being met by any hostilities on your part—that Philip is purchasing with all the money that he is spending.

{10} Indeed, if we intend to wait till the time comes when he admits that he is at war with us, we are surely the most innocent persons in the world. Why, even if he comes to Attica itself, to the very Peiraeus, he will never make such an admission, if we are to judge by his dealings with others. {11} For, to take one instance, he told the Olynthians, when he was five miles from the city, that there were only two alternatives— either they must cease to live in Olynthus, or he to live in Macedonia: but during the whole time before that, whenever any one accused him of any such sentiments, he was indignant and sent envoys to answer the charge. Again, he marched into the Phocians' country, as though visiting his allies:[n] it was by Phocian envoys that he was escorted on the march; and most people in Athens contended strongly that his crossing the Pass would bring no good to Thebes. {12} Worse still, he has lately seized Pherae[n] and still holds it, though he went to Thessaly as a friend and an ally. And, latest of all, he told those unhappy citizens of Oreus[n] that he had sent his soldiers to visit them and to make kind inquiries; he had heard that they were sick, and suffering from faction, and it was right for an ally and a true friend to be present at such a time. {13} Now if, instead of giving them warning and using open force, he deliberately chose to deceive these men, who could have done him no harm, though they might have taken precautions against suffering any themselves, do you imagine that he will make a formal declaration of war upon you before he commences hostilities, and that, so long as you are content to be deceived? {14} Impossible! For so long as you, though you are the injured party, make no complaint against him, but accuse some of your own body, he would be the most fatuous man on earth if he were to interrupt your strife and contentions with one another—to bid you turn upon himself, and so to cut away the ground from the arguments by which his hirelings put you off, when they tell you that he is not at war with Athens.

{15} In God's name, is there a man in his senses who would judge by words, and not by facts, whether another was at peace or at war with him? Of course there is not. Why, from the very first, when the Peace had only just been made, before those who are now in the Chersonese had been sent out, Philip was taking Serrhium[n] and Doriscus, and expelling the soldiers who were in the castle of Serrhium and the Sacred Mountain, where they had been placed by your general. {16} But what was he doing, in acting thus? For he had sworn to a Peace.[n] And let no one ask, 'What do these things amount to? What do they matter to Athens?' For whether these acts were trifles which could have no interest for you is another matter; but the principles of religion[n] and justice, whether a man transgress them in small things or great, have always the same force. What? When he is sending mercenaries into the Chersonese, which the king and all the Hellenes have acknowledged to be yours; when he openly avows that he is going to the rescue, and states it in his letter, what is it that he is doing? {17} He tells you, indeed, that he is not making war upon you. But so far am I from admitting that one who acts in this manner is observing the Peace which he made with you, that I hold that in grasping at Megara, in setting up tyrants in Euboea, in advancing against Thrace at the present moment, in pursuing his machinations in the Peloponnese, and in carrying out his entire policy with the help of his army, he is violating the Peace and is making war against you;—unless you mean to say that even to bring up engines to besiege you is no breach of the Peace, until they are actually planted against your walls. But you will not say this; for the man who is taking the steps and contriving the means which will lead to my capture is at war with me, even though he has not yet thrown a missile or shot an arrow. {18} Now what are the things which would imperil your safety, if anything should happen?[n] The alienation of the Hellespont, the placing of Megara and Euboea in the power of the enemy, and the attraction of Peloponnesian sympathy to his cause. Can I then say that one who is erecting such engines of war as these against the city is at peace with you? {19} Far from it! For from the very day when he annihilated the Phocians—from that very day, I say, I date the beginning of his hostilities against you. And for your part, I think that you will be wise if you resist him at once; but that if you let him be, you will find that, when you wish to resist, resistance itself is impossible. Indeed, so widely do I differ, men of Athens, from all your other advisers, that I do not think there is any room for discussion to-day in regard to the Chersonese or Byzantium. {20} We must go to their defence, and take every care that they do not suffer [and we must send all that they need to the soldiers who are at present there]. But we have to take counsel for the good of all the Hellenes, in view of the grave peril in which they stand. And I wish to tell you on what grounds I am so alarmed at the situation, in order that if my reasoning is correct, you may share my conclusions, and exercise some forethought for yourselves at least, if you are actually unwilling to do so for the Hellenes as a whole; but that if you think that I am talking nonsense, and am out of my senses, you may both now and hereafter decline to attend to me as though I were a sane man.

{21} The rise of Philip to greatness from such small and humble beginnings; the mistrustful and quarrelsome attitude of the Hellenes towards one another; the fact that his growth out of what he was into what he is was a far more extraordinary thing than would be his subjugation of all that remains, when he has already secured so much;—all this and all similar themes, upon which I might speak at length, I will pass over. {22} But I see that all men, beginning with yourselves, have conceded to him the very thing which has been at issue in every Hellenic war during the whole of the past. And what is this? It is the right to act as he pleases —to mutilate and to strip the Hellenic peoples, one by one, to attack and to enslave their cities. {23} For seventy-three years[n] you were the leading people of Hellas, and the Spartans for thirty years save one;[n] and in these last times, after the battle of Leuctra,[n] the Thebans too acquired some power: yet neither to you nor to Thebes nor to Sparta was such a right ever conceded by the Hellenes, as the right to do whatever you pleased. Far from it! {24} First of all it was your own behaviour—or rather that of the Athenians of that day—which some thought immoderate; and all, even those who had no grievance against Athens, felt bound to join the injured parties, and to make war upon you. Then, in their turn, the Spartans, when they had acquired an empire and succeeded to a supremacy like your own, attempted to go beyond all bounds and to disturb the established order[n] to an unjustifiable extent; and once more, all, even those who had no grievance against them, had recourse to war. {25} Why mention the others? For we ourselves and the Spartans, though we could originally allege no injury done by the one people to the other, nevertheless felt bound to go to war on account of the wrongs which we saw the rest suffering. And yet all the offences of the Spartans in those thirty years of power, and of your ancestors in their seventy years, were less, men of Athens, than the wrongs inflicted upon the Greeks by Philip, in the thirteen years, not yet completed, during which he has been to the fore. Less do I say? {26} They are not a fraction of them. [A few words will easily prove this.] I say nothing of Olynthus, and Methone, and Apollonia, and thirty-two cities in the Thracian region,[n] all annihilated by him with such savagery, that a visitor to the spot would find it difficult to tell that they had ever been inhabited. I remain silent in regard to the extirpation of the great Phocian race. But what is the condition of Thessaly? Has he not robbed their very cities of their governments,[n] and set up tetrarchies, that they may be enslaved, not merely by whole cities, but by whole tribes at a time? {27} Are not the cities of Euboea even now ruled by tyrants, and that in an island that is neighbour to Thebes and Athens? Does he not write expressly in his letters, 'I am at peace with those who choose to obey me'? And what he thus writes he does not fail to act upon; for he is gone to invade the Hellespont; he previously went to attack Ambracia;[n] the great city of Elis[n] in the Peloponnese is his; he has recently intrigued against Megara;[n] and neither Hellas nor the world beyond it is large enough to contain the man's ambition. {28} But though all of us, the Hellenes, see and hear these things, we send no representatives to one another to discuss the matter; we show no indignation; we are in so evil a mood, so deep have the lines been dug which sever city from city, that up to this very day we are unable to act as either our interest or our duty require. {29} We cannot unite; we can form no combination for mutual support or friendship; but we look on while the man grows greater, because every one has made up his mind (as it seems to me) to profit by the time during which his neighbour is being ruined, and no one cares or acts for the safety of the Hellenes. For we all know that Philip is like the recurrence or the attack of a fever or other illness, in his descent upon those who fancy themselves for the present well out of his reach. {30} And further, you must surely realize that all the wrongs that the Hellenes suffered from the Spartans or ourselves they at least suffered at the hands of true-born sons of Hellas; and (one might conceive) it was as though a lawful son, born to a great estate, managed his affairs in some wrong or improper way;—his conduct would in itself deserve blame and denunciation, but at least it could not be said that he was not one of the family, or was not the heir to the property. {31} But had it been a slave or a supposititious son that was thus ruining and spoiling an inheritance to which he had no title, why, good Heavens! how infinitely more scandalous and reprehensible all would have declared it to be. And yet they show no such feeling in regard to Philip, although not only is he no Hellene, not only has he no kinship with Hellenes, but he is not even a barbarian from a country that one could acknowledge with credit;—he is a pestilent Macedonian, from whose country it used not to be possible to buy even a slave of any value.

{32} And in spite of this, is there any degree of insolence to which he does not proceed? Not content with annihilating cities, does he not manage the Pythian games,[n] the common meeting of the Hellenes, and send his slaves to preside over the competition in his absence? [Is he not master of Thermopylae, and of the passes which lead into Hellenic territory? Does he not hold that district with garrisons and mercenaries? Has he not taken the precedence in consulting the oracle, and thrust aside ourselves and the Thessalians and Dorians and the rest of the Amphictyons, though the right is not one which is given even to all of the Hellenes?] {33} Does he not write to the Thessalians to prescribe the constitution under which they are to live? Does he not send one body of mercenaries to Porthmus, to expel the popular party of Eretria, and another to Oreus, to set up Philistides as tyrant? And yet the Hellenes see these things and endure them, gazing (it seems to me) as they would gaze at a hailstorm—each people praying that it may not come their way, but no one trying to prevent it. Nor is it only his outrages upon Hellas that go unresisted. {34} No one resists even the aggressions which are committed against himself. Ambracia and Leucas belong to the Corinthians—he has attacked them: Naupactus to the Achaeans—he has sworn to hand it over to the Aetolians: Echinus[n] to the Thebans—he has taken it from them, and is now marching against their allies the Byzantines—is it not so? {35} And of our own possessions, to pass by all the rest, is not Cardia, the greatest city in the Chersonese, in his hands? Thus are we treated; and we are all hesitating and torpid, with our eyes upon our neighbours, distrusting one another, rather than the man whose victims we all are. But if he treats us collectively in this outrageous fashion, what do you think he will do, when he has become master of each of us separately?

{36} What then is the cause of these things? For as it was not without reason and just cause that the Hellenes in old days were so prompt for freedom, so it is not without reason or cause that they are now so prompt to be slaves. There was a spirit, men of Athens, a spirit in the minds of the people in those days, which is absent to-day—the spirit which vanquished the wealth of Persia, which led Hellas in the path of freedom, and never gave way in face of battle by sea or by land; a spirit whose extinction to-day has brought universal ruin and turned Hellas upside down. What was this spirit? [It was nothing subtle nor clever.] {37} It meant that men who took money from those who aimed at dominion or at the ruin of Hellas were execrated by all; that it was then a very grave thing to be convicted of bribery; that the punishment for the guilty man was the heaviest that could be inflicted; that for him there could be no plea for mercy, nor hope of pardon. {38} No orator, no general, would then sell the critical opportunity whenever it arose—the opportunity so often offered to men by fortune, even when they are careless and their foes are on their guard. They did not barter away the harmony between people and people, nor their own mistrust of the tyrant and the foreigner, nor any of these high sentiments. {39} Where are such sentiments now? They have been sold in the market and are gone; and those have been imported in their stead, through which the nation lies ruined and plague-stricken—the envy of the man who has received his hire; the amusement which accompanies his avowal; [the pardon granted to those whose guilt is proved;] the hatred of one who censures the crime; and all the appurtenances of corruption. {40} For as to ships, numerical strength, unstinting abundance of funds and all other material of war, and all the things by which the strength of cities is estimated, every people can command these in greater plenty and on a larger scale by far than in old days. But all these resources are rendered unserviceable, ineffectual, unprofitable, by those who traffic in them.

{41} That these things are so to-day, you doubtless see, and need no testimony of mine: and that in times gone by the opposite was true, I will prove to you, not by any words of my own, but by the record inscribed by your ancestors on a pillar of bronze, and placed on the Acropolis [not to be a lesson to themselves—they needed no such record to put them in a right mind—but to be a reminder and an example to you of the zeal that you ought to display in such a cause]. {42} What then is the record? 'Arthmius,[n] son of Pythonax, of Zeleia, is an outlaw, and is the enemy of the Athenian people and their allies, he and his house.' Then follows the reason for which this step was taken—'because he brought the gold from the Medes into the Peloponnese.' {43} Such is the record. Consider, in Heaven's name, what must have been the mind of the Athenians of that day, when they did this, and their conception of their position. They set up a record, that because a man of Zeleia, Arthmius by name, a slave of the King of Persia (for Zeleia is in Asia), as part of his service to the king, had brought gold, not to Athens, but to the Peloponnese, he should be an enemy of Athens and her allies, he and his house, and that they should be outlaws. {44} And this outlawry is no such disfranchisement as we ordinarily mean by the word. For what would it matter to a man of Zeleia, that he might have no share in the public life of Athens? But there is a clause in the Law of Murder, dealing with those in connexion with whose death the law does not allow a prosecution for murder [but the slaying of them is to be a holy act]: 'And let him die an outlaw,' it runs. The meaning, accordingly, is this—that the slayer of such a man is to be pure from all guilt. {45} They thought, therefore, that the safety of all the Hellenes was a matter which concerned themselves—apart from this belief, it could not have mattered to them whether any one bought or corrupted men in the Peloponnese; and whenever they detected such offenders, they carried their punishment and their vengeance so far as to pillory their names for ever. As the natural consequence, the Hellenes were a terror to the foreigner, not the foreigner to the Hellenes. It is not so now. Such is not your attitude in these or in other matters. {46} But what is it? [You know it yourselves; for why should I accuse you explicitly on every point? And that of the rest of the Hellenes is like your own, and no better; and so I say that the present situation demands our utmost earnestness and good counsel.[n]] And what counsel? Do you bid me tell you, and will you not be angry if I do so?

[He reads from the document.]

{47} Now there is an ingenuous argument, which is used by those who would reassure the city, to the effect that, after all, Philip is not yet in the position once held by the Spartans, who ruled everywhere over sea and land, with the king for their ally, and nothing to withstand them; and that, none the less, Athens defended herself even against them, and was not swept away. Since that time the progress in every direction, one may say, has been great, and has made the world to-day very different from what it was then; but I believe that in no respect has there been greater progress or development than in the art of war. {48} In the first place, I am told that in those days the Spartans and all our other enemies would invade us for four or five months—during, that is, the actual summer—and would damage Attica with infantry and citizen-troops, and then return home again. And so old-fashioned were the men of that day—nay rather, such true citizens—that no one ever purchased any object from another for money, but their warfare was of a legitimate and open kind. {49} But now, as I am sure you see, most of our losses are the result of treachery, and no issue is decided by open conflict or battle; while you are told that it is not because he leads a column of heavy infantry[n] that Philip can march wherever he chooses, but because he has attached to himself a force of light infantry, cavalry, archers, mercenaries, and similar troops. {50} And whenever, with such advantages,[n] he falls upon a State which is disordered within, and in their distrust of one another no one goes out in defence of its territory, he brings up his engines and besieges them. I pass over the fact that summer and winter are alike to him—that there is no close season during which he suspends operations. {51} But if you all know these things and take due account of them, you surely must not let the war pass into Attica, nor be dashed from your seat through looking back to the simplicity of those old hostilities with Sparta. You must guard against him, at the greatest possible distance, both by political measures and by preparations; you must prevent his stirring from home, instead of grappling with him at close quarters in a struggle to the death. {52} For, men of Athens, we have many natural advantages for a war,[n] if we are willing to do our duty. There is the character of his country, much of which we can harry and damage, and a thousand other things. But for a pitched battle he is in better training than we.

{53} Nor have you only to recognize these facts, and to resist him by actual operations of war. You must also by reasoned judgement and of set purpose come to execrate those who address you in his interest, remembering that it is impossible to master the enemies of the city, until you punish those who are serving them in the city itself. {54} And this, before God and every Heavenly Power—this you will not be able to do; for you have reached such a pitch of folly or distraction or—I know not what to call it; for often has the fear actually entered my mind, that some more than mortal power may be driving our fortunes to ruin—that to enjoy their abuse, or their malice, or their jests, or whatever your motive may chance to be, you call upon men to speak who are hirelings, and some of whom would not even deny it; and you laugh to hear their abuse of others. {55} And terrible as this is, there is yet worse to be told. For you have actually made political life safer for these men, than for those who uphold your own cause. And yet observe what calamities the willingness to listen to such men lays up in store. I will mention facts known to you all.

{56} In Olynthus, among those who were engaged in public affairs, there was one party who were on the side of Philip, and served his interests in everything; and another whose aim was their city's real good, and the preservation of their fellow citizens from bondage. Which were the destroyers of their country? which betrayed the cavalry, through whose betrayal Olynthus perished? Those whose sympathies were with Philip's cause; those who, while the city still existed brought such dishonest and slanderous charges against the speakers whose advice was for the best, that, in the case of Apollonides at least, the people of Olynthus was even induced to banish the accused.

{57} Nor is this instance of the unmixed evil wrought by these practices in the case of the Olynthians an exceptional one, or without parallel elsewhere. For in Eretria,[n] when Plutarchus and the mercenaries had been got rid of, and the people had control of the city and of Porthmus, one party wished to entrust the State to you, the other to entrust it to Philip. And through listening mainly, or rather entirely, to the latter, these poor luckless Eretrians were at last persuaded to banish the advocates of their own interests. {58} For, as you know, Philip, their ally, sent Hipponicus with a thousand mercenaries, stripped Porthmus of its walls, and set up three tyrants—Hipparchus, Automedon, and Cleitarchus; and since then he has already twice expelled them from the country when they wished to recover their position [sending on the first occasion the mercenaries commanded by Eurylochus, on the second, those under Parmenio].

{59} And why go through the mass of the instances? Enough to mention how in Oreus Philip had, as his agents, Philistides, Menippus, Socrates, Thoas, and Agapaeus—the very men who are now in possession of the city— and every one knew the fact; while a certain Euphraeus,[n] who once lived here in Athens, acted in the interests of freedom, to save his country from bondage. {60} To describe the insults and the contumely with which he met would require a long story; but a year before the capture of the town he laid an information of treason against Philistides and his party, having perceived the nature of their plans. A number of men joined forces, with Philip for their paymaster and director, and haled Euphraeus off to prison as a disturber of the peace. {61} Seeing this, the democratic party in Oreus, instead of coming to the rescue of Euphraeus, and beating the other party to death, displayed no anger at all against them, and agreed with a malicious pleasure that Euphraeus deserved his fate. After this the conspirators worked with all the freedom they desired for the capture of the city, and made arrangements for the execution of the scheme; while any of the democratic party, who perceived what was going on, maintained a panic-stricken silence, remembering the fate of Euphraeus. So wretched was their condition, that though this dreadful calamity was confronting them, no one dared open his lips, until all was ready and the enemy was advancing up to the walls. Then the one party set about the defence, the other about the betrayal of the city. {62} And when the city had been captured in this base and shameful manner, the successful party governed despotically: and of those who had been their own protectors, and had been ready to treat Euphraeus with all possible harshness, they expelled some and murdered others; while the good Euphraeus killed himself, thus testifying to the righteousness and purity of his motives in opposing Philip on behalf of his countrymen.

{63} Now for what reason, you may be wondering, were the peoples of Olynthus and Eretria and Oreus more agreeably disposed towards Philip's advocates than towards their own? The reason was the same as it is with you—that those who speak for your true good can never, even if they would, speak to win popularity with you; they are constrained to inquire how the State may be saved: while their opponents, in the very act of seeking popularity, are co-operating with Philip. {64} The one party said, 'You must pay taxes;' the other, 'There is no need to do so.' The one said, 'Go to war, and do not trust him;' the other, 'Remain at peace,'— until they were in the toils. And—not to mention each separately—I believe that the same thing was true of all. The one side said what would enable them to win favour; the other, what would secure the safety of their State. And at last the main body of the people accepted much that they proposed—not now from any such desire for gratification, nor from ignorance, but as a concession to circumstances, thinking that their cause was now wholly lost. {65} It is this fate, I solemnly assure you, that I dread for you, when the time comes that you make your reckoning, and realize that there is no longer anything that can be done. May you never find yourselves, men of Athens, in such a position! Yet in any case, it were better to die ten thousand deaths, than to do anything out of servility towards Philip [or to sacrifice any of those who speak for your good]. A noble recompense did the people in Oreus receive, for entrusting themselves to Philip's friends, and thrusting Euphraeus aside! {66} and a noble recompense the democracy of Eretria, for driving away your envoys, and surrendering to Cleitarchus! They are slaves, scourged and butchered! A noble clemency did he show to the Olynthians, who elected Lasthenes to command the cavalry, and banished Apollonides! {67} It is folly, and it is cowardice, to cherish hopes like these, to give way to evil counsels, to refuse to do anything that you should do, to listen to the advocates of the enemy's cause, and to fancy that you dwell in so great a city that, whatever happens, you will not suffer any harm. {68} Aye, and it is shameful to exclaim after the event, 'Why, who would have expected this? Of course, we ought to have done, or not to have done, such and such things!' The Olynthians could tell you of many things, to have foreseen which in time would have saved them from destruction. So too could the people of Oreus, and the Phocians, and every other people that has been destroyed. {69} But how does that help them now? So long as the vessel is safe, be it great or small, so long must the sailor and the pilot and every man in his place exert himself and take care that no one may capsize it by design or by accident: but when the seas have overwhelmed it, all their efforts are in vain. {70} So it is, men of Athens, with us. While we are still safe, with our great city, our vast resources, our noble name, what are we to do? Perhaps some one sitting here has long been wishing to ask this question. Aye, and I will answer it, and will move my motion; and you shall carry it, if you wish. We ourselves, in the first place, must conduct the resistance and make preparation for it—with ships, that is, and money, and soldiers. For though all but ourselves give way and become slaves, we at least must contend for freedom. {71} And when we have made all these preparations ourselves, and let them be seen, then let us call upon the other states for aid, and send envoys to carry our message [in all directions—to the Peloponnese, to Rhodes, to Chios, to the king; for it is not unimportant for his interests either that Philip should be prevented from subjugating the world]; that so, if you persuade them, you may have partners to share the danger and the expense, in case of need; and if you do not, you may at least delay the march of events. {72} For since the war is with a single man, and not against the strength of a united state, even delay is not without its value, any more than were those embassies[n] of protest which last year went round the Peloponnese, when I and Polyeuctus, that best of men, and Hegesippus and the other envoys went on our tour, and forced him to halt, so that he neither went to attack Acarnania, nor set out for the Peloponnese. {73} But I do not mean that we should call upon the other states, if we are not willing to take any of the necessary steps ourselves. It is folly to sacrifice what is our own, and then pretend to be anxious for the interests of others—to neglect the present, and alarm others in regard to the future. I do not propose this. I say that we must send money to the forces in the Chersonese, and do all that they ask of us; that we must make preparation ourselves, while we summon, convene, instruct, and warn the rest of the Hellenes. That is the policy for a city with a reputation such as yours. {74} But if you fancy that the people of Chalcis or of Megara will save Hellas, while you run away from the task, you are mistaken. They may well be content if they can each save themselves. The task is yours. It is the prerogative that your forefathers won, and through many a great peril bequeathed to you. {75} But if each of you is to sit and consult his inclinations, looking for some way by which he may escape any personal action, the first consequence will be that you will never find any one who will act; and the second, I fear, that the day will come when we shall be forced to do, at one and the same time, all the things we wish to avoid.

{76} This then is my proposal, and this I move. If the proposal is carried out, I think that even now the state of our affairs may be remedied. But if any one has a better proposal to make, let him make it, and give us his advice. And I pray to all the gods that whatever be the decision that you are about to make, it may be for your good.


[1] These are printed in square brackets in the translation.


[Introduction. The advice given by Demosthenes in the Third Philippic (spoken before the middle of 341) was in the main followed. He himself was sent almost immediately to Byzantium, where he renewed the alliance between that city and Athens, and at the same time entered into relations with Abydos and the Thracian princes. Rhodes, and probably Chios and Cos, were also conciliated, and an embassy was sent to the King of Persia to ask for aid against Philip. The king appears to have sent assistance to Diopeithes, and it is also stated (not on the best authority) that he sent large sums of money to Demosthenes and Hypereides. Demosthenes further succeeded, in conjunction with Callias of Chalcis, in organizing a league against Philip, which included Corinth, Megara, Corcyra, and the Acarnanians, and which at least supplied a considerable number of men and some funds. The cities of Euboea, most of which had been in the hands of Philip's party, were also formed into a confederacy, in alliance with Athens, under the leadership of Chalcis; Philistides was expelled from Oreus, about July 341, by the allied forces under Cephisophon; and later in the summer, Phocion drove Cleitarchus from Eretria. On the motion of Aristonicus, the Athenians voted Demosthenes a golden crown, which was conferred on him in the theatre at the Great Dionysia in March 340. The arrest of Anaxinus of Oreus, and his condemnation as a spy, acting in Philip's interest, must have occurred about the same time. Not long afterwards Demosthenes succeeded in carrying out a complete reorganization of the trierarchic system, by which he made the burden of the expense vary strictly according to property, and secured a regular and efficient supply of ships, money, and men.

In the meantime (in 341 or 340) the island of Peparethus was attacked by Philip's ships, in revenge for the seizure of the Macedonian garrison in Halonnesus by the Peparethians: and the Athenian admirals were ordered to retaliate. Philip himself had been pursuing his course in Thrace; and on the rejection of his request to Byzantium for an alliance, he laid siege (late in 340) to Perinthus (which lay on his way to Byzantium), sending part of his forces through the Chersonese. Aided by Byzantine and Persian soldiers, Perinthus held out, till at last Philip took off most of his forces and besieged Byzantium itself. He had shortly before this sent to Athens an express declaration of war, and received a similar declaration from her, the formal excuse for which was found in the recent seizure by his ships of some Athenian merchant-vessels. But with help from Athens, Chios, Rhodes, and Cos, the Byzantines maintained the defence. Philip's position became serious; but he managed by a ruse to get his ships away into the open sea, and even to do some damage to the Athenian settlers in the Chersonese. In the winter he withdrew from Byzantium, and in 339 made an incursion into Scythia; but, returning through the country of the Triballi, he sustained some loss, and was severely wounded. Later in the year a new Sacred War which had arisen gave him a convenient opportunity for the invasion of Greece.

At the meeting of the Amphictyonic Council in the autumn of 340,[1] Aeschines was one of the representatives of Athens. The Athenians had recently offended Thebes by re-gilding and dedicating in the restored temple at Delphi fifty shields, with an inscription stating that they were spoil 'taken from the Medes and the Thebans, when they fought against the Hellenes' (probably at Plataeae in 479). The Locrians of Amphissa intended (according to Aeschines' account) to propose that the Council should fine Athens fifty talents. Aeschines rose to state the case for Athens; but a delegate from Amphissa forbade all mention of the Athenians, and demanded their exclusion from the temple, on the ground of their alliance with the accursed Phocians. Aeschines retorted by charging the Amphisseans with cultivating and building upon the sacred plain of Cirrha—acts forbidden for all time in 586 B.C.—and roused the Council to such indignation that they gathered a body of men and destroyed the harbour and the unlawful buildings of Cirrha; but they were severely handled by the Amphisseans, and the Council now voted that the Amphictyonic states should send representatives, to discuss the question of war against Amphissa, to a meeting to be held at Thermopylae before the spring meeting of the Council. To this preliminary meeting, the Athenians (though inclined to view Aeschines' performance with favour), on the advice of Demosthenes, sent no representatives; nor did the Thebans (the allies of Amphissa). War was declared by the Amphictyons against Amphissa; but Cottyphus, the Thessalian, who had been appointed general, made little headway, and (at the spring or the autumn meeting of the Council) declared that the Amphictyonic states must either send men and money, or else make Philip their general. Philip was, of course, at once appointed; but instead of proceeding against Amphissa, marched to Elateia and fortified it. This caused the greatest alarm at Athens. Demosthenes was immediately dispatched to Thebes, where he succeeded, by what appear to have been liberal and judicious proposals, in making an alliance between Thebes and Athens, in spite of the attempts of Philip's envoys to counteract his influence. Euboea, Megara, Corinth, and other members of the league also sent help. Philip himself called upon his own friends in the Peloponnese for aid, and at last moved towards Amphissa. Demosthenes seems now to have succeeded in applying the festival-money to purposes of war, and with the aid of Lycurgus, who became Controller of the Festival Fund, to have amassed a large sum for the use of the State. At the Dionysia of 338 he was again crowned, on the proposal of Demomeles and Hypereides. The allies at first won some successes and refortified some of the Phocian towns, but afterwards unfortunately divided their forces, and so enabled Philip to defeat the two divisions separately, and to destroy Amphissa. Philip's proposals of peace found supporters both in Thebes and in Athens, but were counteracted by Demosthenes. Late in the summer of 338, the decisive battle was fought at Chaeroneia, and resulted in the total rout of the allies. Demosthenes himself was one of the fugitives. Philip placed a Macedonian garrison in Thebes, restored his exiled friends to power there, established a Council of Three Hundred, and (through them) put to death or banished his enemies. He also gave Orchomenus, Thespiae, and Plataeae their independence. After a moment of panic, the Athenians, led by Demosthenes, Lycurgus, and Hypereides, proceeded to take all possible measures for the defence of the city, while private munificence supplied the treasury. Demosthenes himself superintended the repair of the fortifications, and went on a mission to secure a supply of corn. But Philip, instead of marching upon Athens, sent a message by Demades, whom he had taken prisoner at Chaeroneia; and the Assembly, in reply, instructed Demades, Aeschines, and Phocion to ask Philip to release his Athenian prisoners. Philip released them without ransom, and sent Antipater and Alexander (with the ashes of the Athenian dead) to offer terms of peace. By the 'Peace of Demades', concluded while Demosthenes was still absent, the alliance between Athens and Philip was renewed; the independence of Athens was guaranteed; Oropus was taken from Thebes and restored to Athens; and she was permitted to retain Salamis, Samos, Delos, and probably Lemnos and Imbros. On the other hand, she lost all her possessions on the Hellespont and in the Chersonese, and promised to join the league which Philip intended to form for the invasion of Persia. Demosthenes was selected by the Assembly to deliver the funeral oration upon those who fell at Chaeroneia; and although the Macedonian party attacked him repeatedly in the law-courts, he was always acquitted. Philip paid a long visit to the Peloponnese, in the course of which he placed a Macedonian garrison in Corinth, ravaged Laconia, giving parts of it to his allies, the Argives and Arcadians, and announced his plans for the invasion of Persia at the head of the Greeks; he then returned to Macedonia.

In 337 Demosthenes was again Commissioner of Fortifications, as well as Controller of the Festival Fund—the most important office in the State. He not only performed his work most efficiently, but gave considerable sums for public purposes out of his private fortune; and early in 336 Ctesiphon proposed, and the Council resolved, that he should once more be crowned at the Dionysia. But before the proposal could be brought before the Assembly, Aeschines indicted Ctesiphon for its alleged illegality. The trial did not take place until late in the summer of 330. We do not know the reason for so long a delay, but probably the events of the intervening time were such as to render the state of public feeling unfavourable to Aeschines. In 336 Philip was assassinated, and was succeeded by Alexander. In 335 Alexander destroyed Thebes, which had revolted, and sold its inhabitants into slavery. He also demanded from Athens the surrender of Demosthenes and other anti-Macedonian politicians and generals, but was persuaded to be content with the banishment of Charidemus and Ephialtes, and the promise of the prosecution of Demosthenes for using subsidies from Persia to help Thebes—a prosecution which was allowed to drop. From 334 onwards Alexander was pursuing his conquests in the East, and we know practically nothing of the history of Athens until the trial of Ctesiphon came on in 330.

Aeschines alleged against Ctesiphon (1) that it was illegal to propose to crown any one who had not passed his examination before the Board of Auditors at the end of his term of office; and that Demosthenes, who had been Commissioner of Fortifications and Controller of the Festival Fund, was still in this position: (2) that it was illegal to proclaim the grant of a crown at the Dionysia, except in the case of crowns conferred by foreign states: (3) that it was illegal to insert untrue statements in the public records, and that the language in which Ctesiphon's decree described the political career of Demosthenes was untrue. On the first point Aeschines was almost certainly right: Demosthenes' defence is sophistical, and all that could really be said was that the rule had often been broken before. On the second point, certainty is impossible: the most probable view (though it also has its difficulties) is that there were two inconsistent laws, and that one of them permitted the proclamation in the theatre, if expressly voted by the people; but the alleged illegality had certainly been often committed. The third point, which raised the question of the value to Athens of Demosthenes' whole political life, was that upon which the case really turned; and it is to this that Demosthenes devotes the greater part of his speech, breaking up his reply into convenient stages by discussions (of a far less happy description) of the other counts of the indictment, and of the character and career of Aeschines. As in the Speech on the Embassy, certain facts are misrepresented, and there are passages which are in bad taste; but Demosthenes proves beyond doubt his unswerving loyalty to the high ideal of policy which he had formed for his country, and it is with good reason that parts of this speech have always been felt to reach a height of eloquence which has never been surpassed.

1  2  3  4  5     Next Part
Home - Random Browse