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First Philippic

4.1If the question before us were a new one, men of Athens, I should have waited until most of the regular speakers had delivered their opinions, and if satisfied with any of their proposals, I should have remained silent, but if not satisfied, I should then have tried to express my own views. Since, however, it is our fortune to be still debating a point on which they have often spoken before, I can safely claim your indulgence if I am the first to rise and address you. For if in the past their advice had been sound, there would be no need for deliberation today.

4.2Now in the first place, Athenians, there is no need to despair of our present position, however hopeless it may seem. For that which is worst in the days that are past and gone is just what affords the best assurance for the future. And what is that? It is that your affairs are in this evil plight just because you, men of Athens, utterly fail to do your duty; since surely, were you so placed in spite of every effort on your part, it would be hopeless to look for improvement. 4.3In the next place, bear this in mind. Some of you have been told, others know and remember, how formidable the Spartans were, not many years ago, and yet how at the call of honor and duty you played a part not unworthy of your country, and entered the lists against them in defence of your rights. note I remind you of this, Athenians, because I want you to know and realize that, as no danger can assail you while you are on your guard, so if you are remiss no success can attend you. Learn a lesson from the former strength of the Lacedaemonians, which you mastered by strict attention to your affairs, and the present arrogance of our enemy, which discomposes us because we ignore every call of duty. 4.4But if anyone here, Athenians, is inclined to think Philip too formidable, having regard to the extent of his existing resources and to our loss of all our strongholds, he is indeed right, yet he must reflect that we too, men of Athens, once held Pydna, Potidaea, and Methone and had in our own hands all the surrounding territory, and that many of the native tribes now in his service were then free and independent and were indeed more inclined to side with us than with Philip. 4.5If, therefore, Philip had then come to the conclusion that it was a difficult task to fight the Athenians while they held such strong outposts in his own territory and he was destitute of allies, in that case he would never have gained his present successes, never acquired his present power. But, men of Athens, Philip saw clearly that all these outposts were but the open prizes of war, that by natural right the property of the absent belongs to those who are on the spot, and the property of the careless to those who can face toil and danger. 4.6It was precisely by acting on this principle that he has mastered and now holds them all. Some he has seized by right of arms, others he has won by alliance and friendship. For indeed alliance and respect are willingly offered by all men to those whom they see ready and prompt to take action. 4.7And you too, men of Athens, if you are willing to adopt this principle, now if never before, if each citizen is ready to throw off his diffidence and serve the state as he ought and as he best may, the rich man paying, the strong man fighting, if, briefly and plainly, you will consent to become your own masters, and if each man will cease to expect that, while he does nothing himself, his neighbor will do everything for him, then, God willing, you will recover your own, you will restore what has been frittered away, and you will turn the tables upon Philip. 4.8Do not believe that his present power is fixed and unchangeable like that of a god. No, men of Athens; he is a mark for the hatred and fear and envy even of those who now seem devoted to him. One must assume that even his adherents are subject to the same passions as any other men. At present, however, all these feelings are repressed and have no outlet, thanks to your indolence and apathy, which I urge you to throw off at once. 4.9For observe, Athenians, the height to which the fellow's insolence has soared; he leaves you no choice of action or inaction; he blusters and talks big, according to all accounts; he cannot rest content with what he has conquered; he is always taking in more, everywhere casting his net round us, while we sit idle and do nothing. 4.10When, Athenians, will you take the necessary action? What are you waiting for? Until you are compelled, I presume. But what are we to think of what is happening now? For my own part I think that for a free people there can be no greater compulsion than shame for their position. Or tell me, are you content to run round and ask one another, “Is there any news today?” Could there be any news more startling than that a Macedonian is triumphing over Athenians and settling the destiny of Hellas? 4.11“Is Philip dead?” you ask. “No, indeed; but he is ill.” And what is that to you? Even if something happens to him, you will soon raise up a second Philip, if that is the way you attend to your affairs; for even this Philip has not grown great through his own unaided strength so much as through our carelessness. 4.12Nor is this all. If anything happened to him, or if Fortune, which always cares for us better than we care for ourselves, should bring that result about, remember that you must be on the spot if you want to take advantage of the general confusion and to control the situation at your pleasure; but in your present condition you would be unable, even if the opportunity offered, to take over Amphipolis, having neither a force nor a policy ready to hand. note

4.13Well, assuming that you are thoroughly convinced that you must all be ready and willing to make this necessary effort, I say no more on that point. But as to the nature and size of the force which I think adequate to relieve the situation, the means of defraying the cost, and the best and speediest method of providing for its equipment, I shall now endeavor to state my views, making just this appeal to you, Athenians. 4.14Wait till you have heard everything before you pass judgement. Do not be premature; and even if at the outset I seem to be suggesting a novel kind of expeditionary force, do not imagine that I am trying to postpone our operations. It is not those who cry “at once” or “today” that really speak to the purpose, for no dispatch of forces now could prevent what has already happened; 4.15but it is the man who can indicate the nature, the size, and the source of the expedition that will be able to keep the field until we either defeat the enemy or consent to a termination of hostilities; for that is how we shall avoid trouble in the future. Now I believe that I can indicate this, without prejudice to anyone else's proposal. That is a bold promise, but it will soon be put to a practical test, and you shall be my judges.

4.16First then, men of Athens, I propose to equip fifty war-galleys; next you must make up your minds to embark and sail in them yourselves, if necessary. Further I recommend the provision of transports and other vessels, sufficient for the conveyance of half our cavalry. 4.17All this is a necessary provision against Philip's sudden raids from Macedonia against Thermopylae, the Chersonese, Olynthus, or where he will. You must present to his mind the consideration that you may possibly shake off your excessive apathy and strike out as you did at Euboea, and before that, as we are told, at Haliartus, and quite recently at Thermopylae. note 4.18That, even if you should not act as I, personally, think you ought, is not an altogether trivial matter; for its purpose is that he may either hold his hand through fear, knowing that you are on the alert—he will know it sure enough, for there are some on our side, yes, too many, who report everything to him—or that he may overlook it and so be taken off his guard, provided there is nothing to hinder you from sailing against his country, if he gives you the chance. 4.19Such, in my opinion, are the resolutions which you ought to adopt, and the force which must be equipped, at once. But in addition to this, Athenians, I propose that you should get ready a corps to carry on a continuous war of annoyance against Philip. Not an imposing army—on paper—of ten or twenty thousand mercenaries! It shall be a real Athenian contingent, and whether you appoint one general or more, whether it is this man or that or the other, him it shall strictly follow and obey. I also urge you to provide for its maintenance. 4.20And what will this force be, and how large? How will it be maintained, and how far will it consent to effect its purpose? I will tell you, describing each detail separately. Of mercenaries I propose—and beware of the mistake that has so often thwarted your efforts. Thinking that the utmost is too little for the occasion, you choose the biggest scheme in your resolutions, but when it comes to performance, you fail to realize even the smallest. You should rather act and provide on a small scale, adding more if this proves insufficient. 4.21So I propose that the whole force should consist of two thousand men, but of these five hundred must be Athenians, chosen from any suitable age and serving in relays for a specified period—not a long one, but just so long as seems advisable; the rest should be mercenaries. Attached to them will be two hundred cavalry, fifty at least of them being Athenians, serving on the same terms as the infantry. There will also be cavalry transports provided. 4.22So far, so good; and what besides? Ten fast-sailing war-galleys. Since Philip has a fleet, we must have fast vessels if our force is to sail in safety. Now how is this army to be maintained? That also I will explain fully, when I have told you why I think so small a force sufficient, and why I insist that those serving shall be citizens.

4.23I name a force of this size, Athenians, because it is not in our power now to provide one fit to meet him in pitched battle: we must adopt guerilla tactics to start with. The force must therefore be neither unwieldy—for we cannot afford the pay and maintenance—nor altogether insignificant. 4.24My reasons for insisting on the presence of citizens in the expedition are these. I am told that on a previous occasion the state maintained a mercenary force at Corinth, note commanded by Polystratus, Iphicrates, Chabrias, and others, and that you citizens also served in person; and I know from history that you and these mercenaries, fighting shoulder to shoulder, beat the Lacedaemonians in the field. But ever since exclusively mercenary forces have been fighting for you, it is your friends and allies that they have beaten, while the power of your enemies has increased beyond bounds. They cast a casual glance at the war for which Athens has hired them, and off they sail to join Artabazus or anyone else, and the general naturally follows them, for he cannot command if he does not pay. 4.25What then do I recommend? Deprive both general and men of all excuse by providing pay and by attaching to them citizen soldiers as overseers, so to speak, of their conduct in the field; for at present our system is a mockery. If anyone asked you, “Are you at peace, Athenians?” you would reply, “Certainly not; we are at war with Philip.” 4.26But have you not been electing from among yourselves ten brigadiers and ten generals and ten squadron—leaders and a couple of cavalry-commanders? And what, pray, are those officers doing? With the exception of the solitary one whom you dispatch to the seat of war, they are all busy helping the state-sacrificers to marshal your processions. You are like the men who model the clay puppets; note you choose your brigadiers and commanders for the market-place, not for the field. What! 4.27Ought there not to be brigadiers and a cavalry-commander, all chosen from among yourselves, native Athenian officers, that the force might be a truly national one? Yes, but your own cavalry-commander has to sail to Lemnos, note leaving Menelaus note to command the men who are fighting for our city's possessions. I do not say this in his disparagement, but that commander, whoever he is, ought to be one elected by you.

4.28You think perhaps that this is a sound proposal, but you are chiefly anxious to hear what the cost will be and how it will be raised. I now proceed to deal with that point. As to the cost then: the maintenance, the bare rationing of this force, comes to rather more than ninety talents; for the ten fast galleys forty talents, or twenty minae a ship every month; for two thousand men the same amount, that each may receive ten drachmas a month ration-money; for the two hundred cavalry twelve talents, if each is to receive thirty drachmas a month. note 4.29If anyone imagines that ration-money for the men on active service is only a small provision to start with, he is wrong; for I feel quite sure that if no more than that is forthcoming, the force itself will provide the rest out of the war, so as to make up their pay without injury to any Greek or allied community. I am ready to embark as a volunteer and submit to any punishment, if this is not so. I will now tell you the sources from which the sums may be derived which I recommend you to provide.Memorandum of Ways and Means

4.30This is the scheme, Athenians, which my colleagues note and I have been able to contrive. When you give your votes, you will pass these proposals, if you approve them, because your object is to fight Philip not only with decrees and dispatches, but with deeds also.

4.31But you would, I think, men of Athens, form a better idea of the war and of the total force required, if you considered the geography of the country you are attacking, and if you reflected that the winds and the seasons enable Philip to gain most of his successes by forestalling us. He waits for the Etesian winds note or for the winter, and attacks at a time when we could not possibly reach the seat of war. 4.32Bearing this in mind, we must rely not on occasional levies, or we shall be too late for everything, but on a regular standing army. You have the advantage of winter bases for your troops in Lemnos, Thasos, Sciathos, and the neighboring islands, where are to be found harbors, provisions, and everything that an army needs; and during that season of the year when it is easy to stand close in to shore and the winds are steady, your force will easily lie off his coast and at the mouth of his seaports.

4.33How and when this force is to be employed will be a matter for your duly appointed commander to determine according to circumstances, but what it is your task to provide, that I have put down in my resolution. If, men of Athens, you first provide the funds which I name and then equip the whole force complete, men, ships and cavalry, binding them legally to serve for the duration of the war, and if you make yourselves the stewards and administrators of the funds, looking to your general for an account of his operations, then you will no longer be for ever debating the same question and never making any progress. 4.34More than that, Athenians, you will be depriving Philip of his principal source of revenue. And what is that? For the war against you he makes your allies pay by raiding their sea-borne commerce. Is there any further advantage? Yes, you will be out of reach of injury yourselves. Your past experience will not be repeated, when he threw a force into Lemnos and Imbros and carried your citizens away captive, when he seized the shipping at Geraestus and levied untold sums, or, to crown all, when he landed at Marathon and bore away from our land the sacred trireme, note while you are still powerless to prevent these insults or to send your expeditions at the appointed times. 4.35And yet, men of Athens, how do you account for the fact that the Panathenaic festival and the Dionysia are always held at the right date, whether experts or laymen are chosen by lot to manage them, that larger sums are lavished upon them than upon any one of your expeditions, that they are celebrated with bigger crowds and greater splendor than anything else of the kind in the world, whereas your expeditions invariably arrive too late, whether at Methone or at Pagasae or at Potidaea? 4.36The explanation is that at the festivals everything is ordered by statute; every man among you knows long beforehand who of his tribe is to provide the chorus or who to equip the gymnasium, note what he is to receive, when and from whom he is to receive it, and what he is to do; nothing here is left to chance, nothing is undetermined: but in what pertains to war and its equipment, everything is ill-arranged, ill-managed, ill-defined. Consequently we wait till we have heard some piece of news, and then we appoint our ship-masters, and arrange suits for exchange of property, note and go into committee of ways and means, and next we resolve that the fleet shall be manned by resident aliens and freedmen, 4.37then again by citizens, then by substitutes, then, while we thus delay, the object of our cruise is already lost. Thus the time for action is wasted in preparation, but the opportunities of fortune wait not for our dilatoriness and reluctance. The forces which we fancied would serve us as a stop-gap prove incapable when the crucial moment arrives. Meanwhile Philip has the effrontery to send such letters as these to the Euboeans.Reading of the Letter

4.38Most of what has been read, Athenians, is unfortunately true—possibly, however, not pleasant to listen to. But if all that a speaker passes over, to avoid giving offence, is passed over by the course of events also, then blandiloquence is justified; but if smooth words out of season prove a curse in practice, then it is our disgrace if we hoodwink ourselves, if we shelve whatever is irksome and so miss the time for action, 4.39if we fail to learn the lesson that to manage a war properly you must not follow the trend of events but must forestall them, and that just as an army looks to its general for guidance, so statesmen must guide circumstances, if they are to carry out their policy and not be forced to follow at the heels of chance. 4.40But you, Athenians, possessing unsurpassed resources—fleet, infantry, cavalry, revenues—have never to this very day employed them aright, and yet you carry on war with Philip exactly as a barbarian boxes. The barbarian, when struck, always clutches the place; hit him on the other side and there go his hands. He neither knows nor cares how to parry a blow or how to watch his adversary. 4.41So you, if you hear of Philip in the Chersonese, vote an expedition there; if at Thermopylae, you vote one there; if somewhere else, you still keep pace with him to and fro. You take your marching orders from him; you have never framed any plan of campaign for yourselves, never foreseen any event, until you learn that something has happened or is happening. All this was once perhaps possible; now things have come to a crisis, so that it is no longer in your power. 4.42It seems to me, Athenians, as if some god, out of very shame for the conduct of our city, had inspired Philip with this activity. For if he did nothing more, but were willing to rest satisfied with what he has already captured and subdued, I believe some of you would be quite content with what must bring the deepest disgrace upon us and brand us as a nation of cowards. But by always attempting something new, always grasping at more power, he may possibly rouse even you, if you have not utterly abandoned hope. 4.43Personally I am surprised that none of you, Athenians, is distressed and angry to find that at the beginning of the war our aim was to punish Philip, but at the end it is to escape injury at his hands. But surely it is obvious that he will not stop, unless someone stops him. And is that what we are to wait for? Do you fancy that all is well, if you dispatch an unmanned fleet and the vague hope of some deliverer? 4.44Shall we not man the fleet ourselves? Shall we not take the field with at least a proportion of native troops, even now, if never before? Shall we not sail against his territory? “Where then are we to go and anchor?” someone has asked. The progress of the war, men of Athens, will itself discover the weak places in his front, if we make the effort; but if we sit here at home listening to the abuse and mutual recriminations of the orators, there is not the slightest chance of our getting anything done that ought to be done. 4.45Wherever, I believe, we send out a force composed partly or wholly of our citizens, there the gods are gracious and fortune fights on our side; but wherever you send out a general with an empty decree and the mere aspirations of this platform, your needs are not served, your enemies laugh you to scorn, your allies stand in mortal fear of such an expeditionary force. 4.46It is impossible, utterly impossible for one man ever to do all that you want done; he can only promise note and assent and throw the blame on someone else. In consequence our interests are ruined. For when your general leads wretched, ill-paid mercenaries, and finds plenty of men here to lie to you about what he has done, while you pass decrees at random on the strength of these reports, what are you to expect?

4.47How then is all this to be stopped? As soon as you, men of Athens, definitely appoint the same men as soldiers and as eye-witnesses of the campaign, and, on their return, as jurymen at the audit of your generals. In this way you will not merely learn about your affairs by hearsay, but you will be witnesses on the spot. So scandalous is our present system that every general is tried two or three times for his life in your courts, but not one of them dares to risk death in battle against the enemy; no, not once. They prefer the doom of a kidnapper or a pickpocket to a fitting death; for malefactors are condemned to the gallows, generals should die on the field of honor. 4.48Some of us spread the rumor that Philip is negotiating with the Lacedaemonians for the overthrow of Thebes and the dissolution of the free states, others that he has sent an embassy to the Great King, others that he is besieging towns in Illyria; in short, each of us circulates his own piece of fiction. 4.49Truly, men of Athens, I do think that Philip is drunk with the magnitude of his achievements and dreams of further triumphs, when, elated by his success, he finds that there is none to bar his way; but I cannot for a moment believe that he is deliberately acting in such a way that all the fools at Athens know what he is going to do next. For of all fools the rumor-mongers are the worst. 4.50But if, putting rumors aside, we recognize that this man is our enemy, who has for years been robbing and insulting us, that wherever we once hoped to find help we have found hindrance, that the future lies in our own hands, and if we refuse to fight now in Thrace, we shall perhaps be forced to fight here at home—if, I say, we recognize these facts, then we shall have done with idle words and shall come to a right decision. Our business is not to speculate on what the future may bring forth, but to be certain that it will bring disaster, unless you face the facts and consent to do your duty.

4.51For my own part, I have never yet chosen to court your favor by saying anything that I was not quite convinced would be to your advantage; and today, keeping nothing back, I have given free utterance to my plain sentiments. Yet, certain as I am that it is to your interest to receive the best advice, I could have wished that I were equally certain that to offer such advice is also to the interest of the speaker; for then I should have felt much happier. But, as it is, in the uncertainty of what the result of my proposal may be for myself, yet in the conviction that it will be to your interest to adopt it, I have ventured to address you. Whatever shall be to the advantage of all, may that prevail!

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