The Public Orations of Demosthenes/On the Chersonese

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The Public Orations of Demosthenes by Demosthenes, translated by Arthur Wallace Pickard
On the Chersonese
Translated by Arthur Wallace Pickard

Introduction[edit]

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.

Text[edit]

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,[4] 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,[5] 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[6] in Thrace, with a great army under him; and, as we are told by those who are on the spot,[7] he is sending for a large addition to it from Macedonia and Thessaly. Now if he waits for the Etesian winds,[8] and then goes to Byzantium and besieges it, tell me first whether you think that the Byzantines will persist in their present infatuation,[9] 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[10] 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[11] 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;[12] we do not give the contributions of the allies[13] 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[14]--take money from the Chians, from the Erythraeans,[15] 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',[16] 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[17] 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[18] 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.[19] 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[20] 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[21] 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,[22] or Aristophon,[23] 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.[24] 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[25] 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[26] 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[27] for the sake of the millet and the spelt in the silos[28] 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[29] 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[30] 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,[31] when his soldiers were in the land; nor with the Pheraeans,[32] 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[33] 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,[34] 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,[35] 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[36] 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.[37]

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: est_o d_e.]
  4. The argument is, 'if Philip is not committing hostilities so long as he keeps away from Attica, Diopeithes is not doing so, so long as he keeps away from Macedonia, and only operates in Thrace.'
  5. "drive the vessels", &c. See Speech on the Peace, Sec. 25 n.
  6. "passing the time". i.e. until a convenient season for an attack arrives.
  7. "those who are on the spot". i.e. in Thrace, and who had doubtless sent messages to Athens. Others think that the words mean 'those who are here from Thrace'.
  8. "Etesian winds". See First Philippic, Sec. 31 n.
  9. "infatuation". i.e. hostility to Athens.
  10. "punish the settlers". i.e. those who were sent with Diopeithes and demanded admission to Cardia.
  11. "Chalcis", in Euboea (see Introd.).
  12. "keep our hands ... revenues". a reference to the distributions of Festival-Money (see Third Olynthiac, with Introduction and notes).
  13. "contributions of the allies". This interpretation seems on the whole better warranted than 'contributions promised to Diopeithes'.
  14. "I consent to any penalty". lit. *'I assess my own penalty at anything'--a metaphor from the practice of the law-courts, which allowed a convicted prisoner to propose an alternative penalty to that suggested by the prosecutor.
  15. "Erythraeans". Erythrae was on the coast of Asia Minor, opposite Chios.
  16. "benevolences". the same word as was used of the forced contributions levied by English kings.
  17. "surrendering". i.e. to his soldiers, to be plundered (if the phrase is meant to convey anything but a vague accusation).
  18. "wax-tablet". i.e. a summons.
  19. "so many ships". The critics of Diopeithes must have proposed the sending of a definite force to control him.
  20. "a dispatch-boat". lit. 'the "Paralus".. This ship, and the "Salaminia", were the two vessels regularly employed on public errands.
  21. "spitefulness". i.e. towards Diopeithes.
  22. "Chares". see references in n. on Speech on Embassy, Sec. 332.
  23. "Aristophon". The reference may be to his conduct as general in the early days of the war with Philip about Amphipolis. His activity as a statesman began as far back as 403, and he was one of the most influential politicians in Athens from about 361 to 354.
  24. "losing something". "sc". a scapegoat whom you could punish.
  25. "Euthycrates", &c. See Introd. to Olynthiacs.
  26. "wretched hamlets" ([Greek: kak".n]): lit. 'evils' or 'miseries'; but the word is possibly corrupt. (The original reading may possibly have been [Greek: kalyb".n].) According to the scholiast, Drongilum and Cabyle are near Amphipolis and the Strymon; but others assign different localities to them. Masteira is quite unknown.
  27. "pit of destruction" ([Greek: barhathrh".]). This was literally the pit into which the bodies of condemned criminals were thrown at Athens.
  28. "silos". underground store-houses for grain, such as were found in Ceos not many years ago, and may still be in use.
  29. "irremediable" ([Greek: an".keston]). The reading of two good manuscripts [Greek: aneikaston] (otherwise only known as a late Greek word) may be correct. If so, it may mean 'unparalleled', or 'inexplicable'.
  30. The meaning is, that by denouncing those who propose active measures now, they are preparing the way in order to prosecute them so soon as you find the war burdensome; whereas they should themselves be prosecuted for letting things go as far as they have gone.
  31. "Oreus". See Introd.
  32. "Pheraeans", in 344. See Introd. to Second Philippic; and cf. Third Philippic, Sec. 12.
  33. "compromise". Slavery seems to be ironically regarded as a compromise between activity and quiescence.
  34. "robbed of at an earlier period". The sense must either be this, or else 'all that you have lost in open war '. In either case emendation is required.
  35. "trierarch and choregus". Demosthenes was choregus in 348, and trierarch in 363, 359, and 357.
  36. "Timotheus". in 358, when Athens liberated Euboea from the Thebans. Cf. First Philippic, Sec. 17, First Olynthiac, Sec. 8. The effect of Timotheus' speech was such that the expedition started within three days. (Speech against Androtion, Sec. 14.)
  37. "best counsel that he can". The text is probably corrupt; but this was probably the sense of the original.