Republic of Macedonia

The subject of this Oration is the same as the last, viz.,
the necessity of resistance to Philip. The time of its
delivery would appear to have been a little later, while
Philip was yet in Thrace, and before he commenced the siege
of the Propontine towns. No new event is alluded to, except
the seizure of Hermias by the satrap Mentor, the exact date
of which is uncertain. The orator urges here, still more
strongly than he had done in the third Philippic, the
necessity of applying to Persia for assistance. His advice
was followed, and a negotiation was opened with that
monarchy, which led to the effective relief of Perinthus.
There is a remarkable passage in this speech, on the
importance of general unanimity, which seems to imply that
disputes had arisen between the richer and poorer classes,
chiefly in regard to the application of the public revenue.
The view which is here taken on the subject of the Theoric
distributions is so different from the argument in the
Olynthiacs, that modern critics have generally considered
this Oration to be spurious. Another ground for such opinion
is, that it contains various passages borrowed from other
speeches, and not very skillfully put together. Yet the
genuineness seems not to have been doubted by any of the
ancient grammarians.

Believing, men of Athens, that the subject of your consultation is
serious and momentous to the state, I will endeavor to advise what I
think important. Many have been the faults, accumulated for some time
past, which have brought us to this wretched condition; but none is
under the circumstances so distressing as this, men of Athens; that your
minds are alienated from public business; you are attentive just while
you sit listening to some news, afterward you all go away, and, so far
from caring for what you heard, you forget it altogether.

Well; of the extent of Philip's arrogance and ambition, as evinced in
his dealings with every people, you have been informed. That it is not
possible to restrain him in such course by speeches and harangues, no
man can be ignorant: or, if other reasons fail to convince you, reflect
on this. Whenever we have had to discuss our claims, on no occasion have
we been worsted or judged in the wrong; we have still beaten and got the
better of all in argument. But do his affairs go badly on this account,
or ours well? By no means. For as Philip immediately proceeds, with arms
in his hand, to put all he possesses boldly at stake, while we with our
equities, the speakers as well as the hearers, are sitting still,
actions (naturally enough) outstrip words, and people attend not to what
we have argued or may argue, but to what we do, All our doings are not
likely to protect any of our injured neighbors: I need not say more upon
the subject. Therefore, as the states are divided into two parties, one
that would neither hold arbitrary government nor submit to it, but live
under free and equal laws; another desiring to govern their
fellow-citizens, and be subject to some third power, by whose assistance
they hope to accomplish that object; the partisans of Philip, [Footnote:
I agree with Pabst and Auger that [Greek: _ekeinon_] signifies
Philip. Schaefer takes it neutrally.] who desire tyranny and despotism,
have every where prevailed, and I know not whether there is any state
left, besides our own, with a popular constitution firmly established.
And those, that hold the government through him, have prevailed by all
the means efficacious in worldly affairs; principally and mainly, by
having a person to bribe the corruptible; secondly, a point no less
important, by having at their command, at whatever season they required,an army to put down their opponents. We, men of Athens, are not only in
these respects behindhand; we can not even be awaked; like men that have
drunk mandrake [Footnote: Used for a powerful opiate by the ancients. It
is called Mandragora also in English. See Othello, Act III. Sc. 3.

Not poppy, nor mandragora,
Nor all the drowsy sirups of the world,
Shall ever medicine thee to that sweet sleep
Which thou ow'dst yesterday.]

or some other sleeping potion; and methinks--for I judge the truth must
be spoken--we are by reason thereof held in such disrepute and contempt,
that, among the states in imminent danger, some dispute with us for the
lead, some for the place of congress; others have resolved to defend
themselves separately rather than in union with us.

Why am I so particular in mentioning these things? I seek not to give
offense; so help me all the powers of heaven! I wish, men of Athens, to
make it clear and manifest to you all, that habitual sloth and
indolence, the same in public matters as in private life, is not
immediately felt on every occasion of neglect, but shows itself in the
general result. [Footnote: Auger: "presentent a la fin un total
effrayant."] Look at Serrium and Doriscus; which were first disregarded
after the peace. Their names perhaps are unknown to many of you: yet
your careless abandonment of these lost Thrace and Cersobleptes your
ally. Again, seeing these places neglected and unsupported by you, he
demolished Porthmus, and raised a tyrant in Euboea like a fortress
against Attica. This being disregarded, Megara was very nearly taken.
You were insensible, indifferent to all his aggressions; gave no
intimation that you would not permit their continuance. He purchased
Antrones, [Footnote: A town in Thessaly. We do not know all the details
of Philip's proceedings in that country, but we have seen enough to
know, first under the guise of a protector he was not far short of being
the master of the Thessalian people. Some of these towns were actually
in his possession, as Pherae and Pagasae. But that the Thesssalians were
never entirely subjugated to Macedonia, and still retained a hankering
after independence, was proved at a later period by their desertion of
Antipater.] and not long after had got Oreus into his power. Many
transactions I omit; Pherae, the march against Ambracia, the massacres
at Elis, [Footnote: The Elean exiles, having engaged in their service a
body of the Phocian mercenaries, made an incursion into Elis, but were
repelled. A large number of prisoners were taken and put to death. This
happened B. C. 343. The government of Elis was at that time in the hands
of a Macedonian party.] and numberless others: for I have not entered
upon these details, to enumerate the people whom Philip has oppressed
and wronged, but to show you that Philip will not desist from wronging
all people and pursuing his conquests, until an effort is made to
prevent him.

There are persons whose custom it is, before they hear any speech in the
debate, to ask immediately--"What must we do?"--not with the intention
of doing what they are told (or they would be the most serviceable of
men), but in order to get rid of the speaker. Nevertheless, you should
be advised what to do. First, O my countrymen, you must be firmly
convinced in your minds, that Philip is at war with our state, and has
broken the peace; that, while he is inimical and hostile to the whole of
Athens, to the ground of Athens, and I may add, to the gods in Athens,
(may they exterminate him!) there is nothing which he strives and plots
against so much as our constitution, nothing in the world that he is so
anxious about, as its destruction. And thereunto he is driven in some
sort by necessity. Consider. He wishes for empire: he believes you to be
his only opponents. He has been a long time injuring you, as his own
conscience best informs him; for by means of your possessions, which he
is able to enjoy, he secures all the rest of his kingdom: had he given up Amphipolis and Potidaea, he would not have deemed himself safe even
in Macedonia. He knows therefore, both that he is plotting against you,
and that you are aware of it; and, supposing you to have common sense,
he judges that you detest him as you ought. Besides these important
considerations, he is assured that, though he became master of every
thing else, nothing can be safe for him while you are under popular
government: should any reverse ever befall him, (and many may happen to
a man,) all who are now under constraint will come for refuge to you.
For you are not inclined yourselves to encroach and usurp dominion; but
famous rather for checking the usurper or depriving him of his
conquests, ever ready to molest the aspirants for empire, and vindicate
the liberty of all nations. He would not like that a free spirit should
proceed from Athens, to watch the occasions of his weakness; nor is such
reasoning foolish or idle. First then you must assume, that he is an
irreconcilable enemy of our constitution and democracy; secondly, you
must be convinced, that all his operations and contrivances are designed
for the injury of our state. None of you can be so silly as to suppose,
that Philip covets those miseries in Thrace, (for what else can one call
Drongilus and Cabyle and Mastira and the places which he is said now to
occupy?) and that to get possession of them he endures hardships and
winters and the utmost peril, but covets not the harbors of Athens, the
docks, the galleys, the silver mines, the revenues of such value, the
place and the glory--never may he or any other man obtain these by the
conquest of our city!--or that he will suffer you to keep these things,
while for the sake of the barley and millet in Thracian caverns he
winters in the midst of horrors. [Footnote: See the note in the Oration
on the Chersonese, page 108, where the same words nearly are repeated.]
Impossible. The object of that and every other enterprise of Philip is,
to become master here.

So should every man be persuaded and convinced; and therefore, I say,
should not call upon your faithful and upright counselor to move a
resolution for war: [Footnote: He deprecates here, as elsewhere, the
factious proceedings of certain opponents, who sought to fasten the
responsibility of a war on the orator, by forcing him to propose a
decree. This (argues Demosthenes) was unnecessary, as they were at war
already.] such were the part of men seeking an enemy to fight with, not
men forwarding the interests of the state. Only see. Suppose for the
first breach of the treaty by Philip, or for the second or third, (for
there is a series of breaches,) any one had made a motion for war with
him, and Philip, just as he has now without such motion, had aided the
Cardians, would not the mover have been sacrificed? [Footnote: Pabst,
following Wolf, takes this in the more limited sense of being carried
off to prison: _ins Gefangniss geworfen_. The English translators,
who have "torn to pieces," understand the word in the same sense that I
do, as meaning generally "destroyed, exterminated."] would not all have
imputed Philip's aid of the Cardians to that cause? Don't then look for
a person to vent your anger on for Philip's trespasses, to throw to
Philip's hirelings to be torn in pieces. Do not, after yourselves voting
for war, dispute with each other, whether you ought or ought not to have
done so. As Philip conducts the war, so resist him: furnish those who
are resisting him now [Footnote: Referring to Diopithes and his troops
in the Chersonese.] with money and what else they demand; pay your
contributions, men of Athens, provide an army, swift-sailing galleys,
horses, transports, all the materials of war. Our present mode of
operation is ridiculous; and by the gods I believe, that Philip could
not wish our republic to take any other course than what ye now pursue.
You miss your time, waste your money, look for a person to manage your
affairs, are discontented, accuse one another. How all this comes about,
I will explain, and how it may cease I will inform you.

Nothing, O men of Athens, have you ever set on foot or contrived rightly
in the beginning: you always follow the event, stop when you are too
late, on any new occurrence prepare and bustle again. But that is not the way of proceeding. It is never possible with sudden levies to
perform any essential service. You must establish an army, provide
maintenance for it, and paymasters, and commissaries, so ordering it
that the strictest care be taken of your funds; demand from those
officers an account of the expenditure, from your general an account of
the campaign; and leave not the general any excuse for sailing elsewhere
or prosecuting another enterprise. If ye so act and so resolve in
earnest, you will compel Philip to observe a just peace and remain in
his own country, or will contend with him on equal terms; and perhaps,
Athenians, perhaps, as you now inquire what Philip is doing, and whither
marching, so he may be anxious to learn, whither the troops of Athens
are bound, and where they will make their appearance.

Should any man think that these are affairs of great expense and toil
and difficulty, he thinks rightly enough: but let him consider what the
consequences to Athens must be, if she refuse so to act, and he will
find it is our interest to perform our duties cheerfully. Suppose you
had some god for your surety--for certainly no mortal could guarantee a
thing so fortunate--that, although you kept quiet and sacrificed every
thing, Philip would not attack you at last, yet, by Jupiter and all the
gods, it would be disgraceful, unworthy of yourselves, of the dignity of
your state, and the deeds of your ancestors, for the sake of selfish
indolence to abandon the rest of Greece to servitude. For my part, I
would rather die than have advised such a course: however, if any other
man advises it, and can prevail on you, be it so; make no defense,
abandon all. But if no man holds such an opinion, if on the contrary we
all foresee, that, the more we permit Philip to conquer, the more fierce
and formidable an enemy we shall find him, what subterfuge remains? what
excuse for delay? Or when, O Athenians, shall we be willing to act as
becomes us? Peradventure, when there is some necessity. But what may be
called the necessity of freemen is not only come, but past long ago; and
that of slaves you must surely deprecate. What is the difference? To a
freeman shame for what is occurring is the strongest necessity; I know
of none stronger that can be mentioned: to a slave, stripes and bodily
chastisement; abominable things! too shocking to name!

To be backward, men of Athens, in performing those services to which the
person and property of every one are liable, is wrong, very wrong, and
yet it admits of some excuse: but refusing even to bear what is
necessary to be heard, and fit to be considered, this calls for the
severest censure. Your practice however is, neither to attend until the
business actually presses, as it does now, nor to deliberate about any
thing at leisure. When Philip is preparing, you, instead of doing the
like and making counter-preparation, remain listless, and, if any one
speaks a word, clamor him down: when you receive news that any place is
lost or besieged, then you listen and prepare. But the time to have
heard and consulted was then when you declined; the time to act and
employ your preparations is now that you are hearing. Such being your
habits, you are the only people who adopt this singular course: others
deliberate usually before action, you deliberate after action. One thing
[Footnote: He means negotiation with Persia, to obtain pecuniary
assistance.] remains, which should have been done long ago, but even yet
is not too late: I will mention it. Nothing in the world does Athens
need so much, as money for approaching exigencies. Lucky events have
occurred, and, if we rightly improve them, perhaps good service may be
done. In the first place, those, [Footnote: The Thracians, who had
always been regarded as benefactors of the Persian king, since they
assisted Darius on his invasion of Scythia. Philip was making war in
Thrace at this time, and had subjected a considerable part of the
country.] whom the king trusts and regards as his benefactors, are at
enmity and war with Philip. Secondly, the agent and confidant [Footnote:
Hermias, governor of Atarneus in Mysia, who for his treasonable
practices against Artaxerxes was seized by Mentor and sent in chains to
Susa, where he was put to death. He was a friend of Aristotle, who was at his court, when he was taken prisoner. The philosopher afterward
married his sister.] of all Philip's preparations against the king has
been snatched off, and the king will hear all the proceedings, not from
Athenian accusers, whom he might consider to be speaking for their own
interests, but from the acting minister himself; the charges therefore
will be credible, and the only remaining argument for our embassadors
will be, one which the Persian monarch will rejoice to hear, that we
should take common vengeance on the injurer of both, and that Philip is
much more formidable to the king, if he attack us first; for, should we
be left in the lurch and suffer any mishap, he will march against the
king without fear. On all these matters then I advise that you dispatch
an embassy to confer with the king, and put aside that nonsense which
has so often damaged you--"the barbarian," forsooth, "the common
enemy"--and the like. I confess, when I see a man alarmed at a prince in
Susa and Ecbatana, and declaring him to be an enemy of Athens, him that
formerly [Footnote: In the confederate war, when the Persian fleet
enabled Conon to defeat the Lacedaemonians at Onidus, B. C. 394.]
assisted in re-establishing her power, and lately made overtures
[Footnote: Artaxerxes had applied both to Athens and Lacedaemon to aid
him in the recovery of Egypt, which for many years had been held in a
state of revolt. Both these states refused to assist him. He then
applied to Thebes and Argos, each of which sent an auxiliary force.]--if
you did not accept them, but voted refusal, the fault is not his--while
the same man speaks a different language of one who is close at our
doors, and growing up in the centre of Greece to be the plunderer of her
people; I marvel, I dread this man, whoever he is, because he dreads not

There is another thing too, the attacking of which by unjust reproach
and improper language hurts the state, and affords an excuse to men who
are unwilling to perform any public duty: indeed you will find that
every failure to discharge the obligation of a citizen is attributable
to this. I am really afraid to discuss the matter; however, I will speak

I believe I can suggest, for the advantage of the state, a plea for the
poor against the rich, and for men of property against the indigent;
could we remove the clamor which some persons unfairly raise about the
theatric fund, [Footnote: Boeckh, Schaefer, and others, regard it as
conclusive against the genuineness of this Oration, that a different
view is here taken on the subject of the Theoric fund from that which
Demosthenes had expressed in the Olynthiacs. And certainly it is a
strong argument. It is possible, however, that circumstances may have
induced him to modify his opinion, or he may have thought it dangerous
to meddle with the law of Eubulus at the present crisis, which called
for the greatest unanimity among all classes. We may partly gather from
this speech, that there had been some agitation among the lower classes,
occasioned by the complaints of the wealthy against this law. Any
agitation tending to a spirit of communism must have been extremely
dangerous at Athens, where the people had such power of muleting the
higher classes by their votes in the popular assembly and courts of
justice. It might therefore be better to let the people alone with their
theatrical treats, their fees and largesses, than to provoke retaliation
by abridging such enjoyments. Leland observes on the subject as
follows--"All that the orator here says in defense of the theatrical
appointments is expressed with a caution and reserve quite opposite to
his usual openness and freedom; and which plainly betray a consciousness
of his being inconsistent with his former sentiments. How far he may be
excused by the supposed necessity of yielding to the violent
prepossessions of the people, and giving up a favorite point, I can not
pretend to determine. But it is certainly not very honorable to
Demosthenes, to suppose with Ulpian, that his former opposition was
merely personal, and that the death of Eubulus now put an end to it."]
and the fear that it can not stand without some signal mischief. No greater help to our affairs could we introduce; [Footnote: Viz., than
the removal of this clamor and alarm about the theatric fund.] none that
would more strengthen the whole community. Look at it thus. I will
commence on behalf of those who are considered the needy class. There
was a time with us, not long ago, when only a hundred and thirty talents
came into the state; [Footnote: This must be understood (according to
Boeckh) of the tribute only, which came in from the allies. The total
revenue of Athens must have greatly exceeded this.] and among the
persons qualified to command ships or pay property-tax, there was not
one who claimed exemption from his duty because no surplus existed:
[Footnote: There was as much ground for legal exemption then as there is
now; and yet it was never claimed. Why should the rich seek to be
relieved from their burdens because of an abundance of revenue? That
abundance is for the general benefit of the state, not for theirs in
particular. Such appears to be the argument, perhaps not quite
satisfactory; but such it is. Pabst, apparently reading [Greek: _aph
heautou_], has: _der nicht aus eigenem Antrieb seine Schuldigkeit
zu thun bereit war, weil kein Gelduberschuss vorhanden war_.] galleys
sailed, money was forthcoming, every thing needful was done. Since that
time fortune happily has increased the revenue, and four hundred talents
come in instead of one, without loss to any men of property, but with
gain to them; for all the wealthy come for their share of the fund, and
they are welcome to it. [Footnote: _I. e._ the Theoric fund, in
which every member of the commonwealth had a right to share.] Why then
do we reproach one another on this account, and make it an excuse for
declining our duties, unless we grudge the relief given by fortune to
the poor? I would be sorry to blame them myself, and I think it not
right. In private families I never see a young man behaving so to his
elders, so unfeeling or so unreasonable, as to refuse to do any thing
himself, unless all the rest will do what he does. Such a person would
certainly be amenable to the laws against undutiful conduct: [Footnote:
Pabst: _die Gesetze wegen ungebuhrlicher Behandlung der Eltern_.
[Greek: _Kakosis_], "maltreatment", was a technical term in the
Attic law, denoting a failure of duty on the part of husbands, children,
or guardians, toward their wives, parents, or wards, for which they were
liable to be tried and punished in a suit called [Greek: _kakoseos
dikae_]. The jurisdiction over this offense belonged to the Archon,
who was the protector of all family rights.] for I ween there is a
tribute assigned to parents both by nature and by law, which ought to be
cheerfully offered and amply paid. Accordingly, as each individual among
us hath a parent, so should we regard the whole people as parents of the
state, and, so far from depriving them of what the state bestows, we
ought, in the absence of such bounty, to find other means to keep them
from destitution. If the rich will adopt this principle, I think they
will act both justly and wisely; for to deprive any class of a necessary
provision, is to unite them in disaffection to the commonwealth.

To the poor I would recommend, that they remove the cause, which makes
men of property discontented with the present system, and excites their
just complaints. I shall take the same course on behalf of the wealthy
as I did just now, and not hesitate to speak the truth. There can not, I
believe, be found a wretch so hard-hearted--I will not say among
Athenians, but among any other people--who would be sorry to see poor
men, men without the necessaries of life, receiving these bounties.
Where then is the pinch [Footnote: The expression "Where is the rub?"
would be still nearer to the original, and the expression reminds one of
the line in Hamlet:

To sleep! perchance to dream! ay, there's the rub.

Reiske says the simile is taken from the collision of chariots in the
race; but this is confining it too much. His vernacular explanation is:
_woran stosst es sich? wo ist der Haken?_ Pabst has: _woran
stosst sich die Sache, und was erzeugt den Verdruss?_] of the matter?where the difficulty? When they see certain persons transferring the
usage established for the public revenue to private property, and the
orator becoming immediately powerful with you, yea, (so far as privilege
can make him,) immortal, and your secret vote contradicting your public
clamor. [Footnote: Having admonished the higher classes to pay their
property-tax and perform their public services cheerfully, and without
seeking to be relieved at the expense of the public revenue, he proceeds
to remind the lower classes of their duty. He warns them, that, while
they receive a benefit from the funds of the state, they must not
endeavor to increase those funds unduly by an invasion of the rights of
property. His language is not open, but would easily be understood by
his audience. The Athenians ought not to promote lawsuits to increase
court-fees; not to encourage prosecutions against wealthy citizens, in
order to obtain fines and confiscations. He insinuates that there was
too much cause for complaint already. [Greek: _Ton legonta_] is,
not as Schaefer contends, the rich man pleading his cause before the
people, but, as Wolf explains it, the popular orator or informer, who
speedily rose to favor and influence, of which it was not easy to
deprive him. His opponent, speaking in a just cause, might be applauded
at the time, but the votes showed what was the real bias of the people.
In courts of justice at Athens the voting was usually by a secret
ballot; (see my article _Psephus_ in the Archaeological
Dictionary;) and there being a large number of jurors, it would be
difficult to discover by whose votes the verdict was obtained. It is
impossible to read the frequent appeals made by Athenian speakers to the
passions and prejudices of the jury, without seeing that there was some
ground for the insinuations of the orator in this passage.] Hence arises
mistrust, hence indignation. We ought, O ye men of Athens, to have a
just communion of political rights; the opulent holding themselves
secure in their fortunes, and without fear of losing them, yet in time
of danger imparting their substance freely for the defense of their
country; while the rest consider the public revenue as public, and
receive their share, but look on private property as belonging to the
individual owner. Thus it is that a small commonwealth becomes great,
and a great one is preserved. To speak generally then, such are the
obligations of each class; to insure their performance according to law,
some regulation should be made.

The causes of our present troubles and embarrassment are many and of
ancient date: if you are willing to hear, I will declare them. You have
quitted, O Athenians, the position in which your ancestors left you; you
have been persuaded by these politicians, that to stand foremost of the
Greeks, to keep a permanent force and redress injured nations, is all
vanity and idle expense; you imagine that to live in quiet, to perform
no duty, to abandon one thing after another and let strangers seize on
all, brings with it marvelous welfare and abundant security. By such
means a stranger has advanced to the post which you ought to have
occupied, has become prosperous and great, and made large conquest;
naturally enough. A prize there was, noble, great, and glorious, one for
which the mightiest states were contending all along; but as the
Lacedaemonians were humbled, the Thebans had their hands full through
the Phocian war, and we took no regard, he carried it off without
competition. The result has been, to others terror, to him a vast
alliance and extended power; while difficulties so many and so
distressing surround the Greeks, that even advice is not easy to be

Yet, perilous as I conceive the present crisis to be for all, no people
are in such danger as you, men of Athens; not only because Philip's
designs are especially aimed at you, but because of all people you are
the most remiss. If, seeing the abundance of commodities and cheapness
in your market, you are beguiled into a belief that the state is in no
danger, your judgment is neither becoming nor correct. A market or a
fair one may, from such appearances, judge to be well or ill supplied:but for a state, which every aspirant for the empire of Greece has
deemed to be alone capable of opposing him, and defending the liberty of
all--for such a state! verily her marketable commodities are not the
test of prosperity, but this--whether she can depend on the good-will of
her allies; whether she is puissant in arms. On behalf of such a state
these are the things to be considered; and in these respects your
condition is wretched and deplorable. You will understand it by a simple
reflection. When have the affairs of Greece been in the greatest
confusion? No other time could any man point out but the present. In
former times Greece was divided into two parties, that of the
Lacedaemonians and ours: some of the Greeks were subject to us, some to
them. The Persian, on his own account, was mistrusted equally by all,
but he used to make friends of the vanquished parties, and retain their
confidence, until he put them on an equality with the other side; after
which those that he succored would hate him as much as his original
enemies. Now however the king is on friendly terms with all the Greeks,
though least friendly with us, unless we put matters right. Now too
there are protectors [Footnote: This is said with some irony: many
states offer to come forward as protectors, but only on condition of
taking the lead: they will not join the common cause on fair terms. Many
of the translations miss the sense here. Leland understands it rightly:
"there are several cities which affect the character of guardians and
protectors." Auger confounds this sentence with the next: "il s' eleve
de tous cotes plusieurs puissances qui aspirent toutes a la primaute."]
springing up in every quarter, and all claim the precedency, though some
indeed have abandoned the cause, or envy and distrust each other--more
shame for them--and every state is isolated, Argives, Thebans,
Lacedaemonians, Corinthians, Arcadians, and ourselves. But, divided as
Greece is among so many parties and so many leaderships, if I must speak
the truth freely, there is no state whose offices and halls of council
appear more deserted by Grecian politics than ours. And no wonder; when
neither friendship, nor confidence, nor fear leads any to negotiate with

This, ye men of Athens, has come not from any single cause, (or you
might easily mend it,) but from a great variety and long series of
errors. I will not stop to recount them, but will mention one, to which
all may be referred, beseeching you not to be offended, if I boldly
speak the truth.

Your interests are sold on every favorable opportunity: you partake of
the idleness and ease, under the charm whereof you resent not your
wrongs; while other persons get the reward. [Footnote: Schaefer rightly
explains [Greek: _timas_] to mean the price received for treason.
But most of the translators, following Wolf, understand it to mean the
honors won by Philip. [Greek: _Tois adikousin_] is rendered by
Auger, Leland, and Francis, "the traitors." I think it rather refers to,
or at least includes, the enemies who profited by the treason, and made
conquests from Athens: of course meaning Philip in particular.] Into all
these cases I could not enter now: but when any question about Philip
arises, some one starts up directly and says--"We must have no trifling,
no proposal of war"--and then goes on to say--"What a blessing it is to
be at peace! what a grievance to maintain a large army!"--and
again--"Certain persons wish to plunder the treasury"--and other
arguments they urge, no doubt, in the full conviction of their truth.
[Footnote: There is no difficulty in this, if we understand it to be
ironical; and no need of any amendment.] But surely there is no need of
persuading you to observe peace, you that sit here persuaded already. It
is Philip (who is making war) that needs persuasion: prevail on him, and
all is ready on your part. We should consider as grievous, not what we
expend for our deliverance, but what we shall suffer in case of refusal.
Plunder of the treasury should be prevented by devising a plan for its
safe custody, not by abandoning our interests. Yet this very thing makes
me indignant, that some of you are pained at the thought of your treasury being robbed, though it depends on yourselves to guard it and
to punish the criminal, but are not pained to see Philip plundering
Greece, plundering as he does one people after another, to forward his
designs upon you.

How comes it, ye men of Athens, that of this flagrant aggressor, this
capturer of cities, no one has ever declared that he commits hostility
or injustice, while those who counsel against submission and sacrifice
are charged as the authors of war? The reason is, that people wish to
cast upon your faithful counselors the blame of any untoward events in
the war; for war must necessarily be attended with many misfortunes.
They believe that, if you resist Philip with one heart and mind, you
will prevail against him, and they can be hirelings no longer; but that
if on the first outcry [Footnote: Leland: "the first unhappy accident."
Francis gives the right meaning, but with too many words; "the first
tumults occasioned by any unfortunate success." Spillau: "the first
alarm."] you arraign certain persons and bring them to trial, they by
accusing such persons will gain a double advantage, repute among the
Athenians and recompense from Philip; and that you will punish your
friendly advisers for a cause for which you ought to punish the
traitors. Such are the hopes, such the contrivance of these charges,
"that certain persons wish to kindle a war." I am sure, however, that,
without any Athenian moving a declaration of war, Philip has taken many
of our possessions, and has recently sent succor to Cardia. If we choose
to assume that he is not making war against us, he would be the simplest
of mankind to convince us of our mistake: for when the sufferers
disclaim the injury, what should the offenders do? But when he marches
to attack us, what shall we say then? He will assure us that he is not
making war, as he assured the Orites, when his troops were in their
country, as he assured the Pheraeans before he assaulted their walls,
and the Olynthians in the first instance, until he was in their
territories with his army. Shall we then say, that persons who bid us
defend ourselves kindle a war? If so, we must be slaves; for nothing
else remains.

But remember: you have more at stake than some other people. Philip
desires not to subjugate your city, but to destroy it utterly. He is
convinced, you will not submit to be slaves; if you were inclined, you
would not know how, having been accustomed to command: you will be able,
should occasion offer, to give him more trouble than any people in the
world. For this reason he will show us no mercy, if he get us into his
power: and therefore you must make up your minds, that the struggle will
be one for life and death. These persons, who have openly sold
themselves to Philip, you must execrate, you must beat their brains out:
for it is impossible, I say impossible, to vanquish your foreign
enemies, until you have punished your enemies within the city: these are
the stumbling-blocks that must cripple your efforts against the

From what cause, do ye think, Philip insults you now; (for his conduct,
in my judgment, amounts to nothing less;) and while he deceives other
people by doing them services--this at least is something--you he
threatens already? For example, the Thessalians by many benefits he
seduced into their present servitude: no man can tell how he cheated the
poor Olynthians, giving them first Potidaea and many other places: now
he is luring the Thebans, having delivered up Boeotia to them, and freed
them from a tedious and harassing war. Of these people, who each got a
certain advantage, some have suffered what is notorious to all, others
have yet to suffer what may befall them. As to yourselves; the amount of
your losses I do not mention: but in the very making of the peace how
have you been deceived! how plundered! Lost you not the Phocians,
Thermopylae, country toward Thrace, Doriscus, Serrium, Cersobleptes
himself? Holds he not Cardia now, and avows it? Why then does he behave
thus to other people, and in a different way to you? Because our city is the only one where liberty is allowed to speak for the enemy, where a
man taking a bribe may safely address the people, though they have been
deprived of their possessions. It was not safe at Olynthus to advocate
Philip's cause, without the Olynthian people sharing the benefit by
possession of Potidaea. It was not safe to advocate Philip's cause in
Thessaly, without the people of Thessaly sharing the benefit, by
Philip's expelling their tyrants and restoring the Pylaean Synod. It was
not safe at Thebes, until he restored Boeotia to them, and destroyed the
Phocians. But at Athens, though Philip has taken from you Amphipolis and
the Cardian territory, and is even turning Euboea into a hostile post,
and advancing to attack Byzantium, it is safe to speak on Philip's
behalf. Yea, among these men, some have risen rapidly from poverty to
wealth, from meanness and obscurity to repute and honor, while you, on
the contrary, have fallen from honor to obscurity, from wealth to
indigence. For the riches of a state I consider to be allies,
confidence, good-will; of all which you are destitute. And by your
neglecting these things and suffering your interests thus to be swept
away, Philip has grown prosperous and mighty, formidable to all the
Greeks and barbarians, while you are forlorn and abject, in the
abundance of your market magnificent, but in your national defenses
ridiculous. [Footnote: The whole of the foregoing passage is taken, with
some little variation, from the speech on the Chersonese. It certainly
would seem strange, if this Oration had been forged by any grammarian,
that he should have borrowed thus by wholesale from Demosthenes. There
is perhaps less difficulty in the supposition that Demosthenes repeated
his own words.]

Some of our orators, I observe, take not the same thought for you as for
themselves. They say that you should keep quiet, though you are injured;
but they can not themselves keep quiet among you, though no one injures
them. Come, raillery apart, suppose you were thus questioned,
Aristodemus, [Footnote: This man was a tragic actor, and charged by
Demosthenes with being a partisan of Philip. He was the first person who
proposed peace with Macedonia, shortly before the embassy of ten. See
the Argument to the Oration on the Peace.]--"Tell me, as you know
perfectly well, what every one else knows, that the life of private men
is secure and free from trouble and danger, while that of statesmen is
exposed to scandal [Footnote: I have taken [Greek: _philaition_] in
the passive sense, as it is explained by Reiske and Schaefer, though it
scarcely suits the character of the word. Compare Shakspeare, Henry V.
Act IV. Sc. 1.

O hard condition, twin-born with greatness,
Subjected to the breath of every fool!
What infinite heart's ease must kings neglect
That private men enjoy!]

and misfortune, full of trials and hardships every day, how comes it
that you prefer, not the quiet and easy life, but the one surrounded
with peril?"--what should you say? If we admitted the truth of what
would be your best possible answer, namely, that all you do is for honor
and renown, I wonder what puts it into your head, that you ought from
such motives to exert yourself and undergo toil and danger, while you
advise the state to give up exertion and remain idle. You can not surely
allege, that Aristodemus ought to be of importance at Athens, and Athens
to be of no account among the Greeks. Nor again do I see, that for the
commonwealth it is safe to mind her own affairs only, and hazardous for
you, not to be a superlative busy-body. [Footnote: All the translators
have mistaken [Greek: _ton allon pleon_], which is simply "more
than others," as Wolf explains it.] On the contrary, to you I see the
utmost peril from your meddling and over-meddling, to the commonwealth
peril from her inactivity. But I suppose, you inherit a reputation from
your father and grandfather, which it were disgraceful in your own
person to extinguish, whereas the ancestry of the state was ignoble and mean. This again is not so. Your father was a thief, [Footnote: This
seems to shock Leland, who spoils the pungency of the expression, by
rendering it: "Your father was like you, and therefore base and
infamous." Auger remarks: "L'invective de Demosthene est fort eloquente,
mais bien violente. L'amour de la patrie, contre laquelle sans doute
agissait Aristodeme, peut seul en excuser la vivacite."] if he resembled
you, whereas by the ancestors of the commonwealth, as all men know, the
Greeks have twice been rescued from the brink of destruction. Truly the
behaviour of some persons, in private and in public, is neither
equitable nor constitutional. How is it equitable, that certain of these
men, returned from prison, should not know themselves, while the state,
that once protected all Greece and held the foremost place, is sunk in
ignominy and humiliation?

Much could I add on many points, but I will forbear. It is not, I
believe, to lack of words that our distresses have been owing either now
or heretofore. The mischief is when you, after listening to sound
arguments, and all agreeing in their justice, sit to hear with equal
favor those who try to defeat and pervert them; not that you are
ignorant of the men; (you are certain at the first glance, who speak for
hire and are Philip's political agents, and who speak sincerely for your
good;) your object is to find fault with these, turn the thing into
laughter and raillery, and escape the performance of your duty.

Such is the truth, spoken with perfect freedom, purely from good-will
and for the best: not a speech fraught with flattery and mischief and
deceit, to earn money for the speaker, and to put the commonwealth into
the hands of our enemies. I say, you must either desist from these
practices, or blame none but yourselves for the wretched condition of
your affairs.


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