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On Halonnesus

7.1Men of Athens, the charges that Philip brings against the speakers who here uphold your claims shall never deter us from offering our advice on what concerns your interests; for it would be monstrous if the freedom of utterance which is the privilege of this platform should be stifled by dispatches from him. But for myself, men of Athens, I wish first to touch upon the different points of his letter, and then to add my comments on the speeches of his ambassadors.

7.2Philip begins by saying that he offers you Halonnesus as his own property, but that you have no right to demand it of him, because it was not yours when he took it, and is not yours now that he holds it. Moreover, when we ambassadors visited him, he used similar language, to the effect that he had captured the island from pirates and that therefore it belonged absolutely to him. 7.3It is not difficult to refute this claim on the ground of its unfairness. For all pirates seize places belonging to others and turn them into strongholds from which to harry their neighbors. But a man who should defeat and punish pirates would surely be unreasonable, if he said that the stolen property wrongfully held by them passed thereby into his own possession. 7.4For, that plea once granted, if some pirates seize a strip of Attic territory, or a part of Lemnos or Imbros or Scyros, and if someone dislodges these pirates, what is to prevent this place, where the pirates are established and which is really ours, from becoming the property of those who chastised them? 7.5Philip is quite aware that his claim is unjust, but, though he knows this as well as anyone, he thinks that you may be hoodwinked by the men who have engaged, and are now fulfilling their engagement, to direct Athenian policy in accordance with his own desires. Nor again does he fail to see that in either case, however you dub the transaction, the island will be yours, whether it is presented or restored to you. 7.6Then what does he gain by using the wrong term and making a present of it to you, instead of using the right term and restoring it? It is not that he wants to debit you with a benefaction received, for such a benefaction would be a farce; but that he wants all Greece to take notice that the Athenians are content to receive maritime strongholds from the man of Macedon. And that is just what you, men of Athens, must not do.

7.7But when he says that he is willing to arbitrate, he is merely mocking you. In the first place, he expects Athenians to refer to arbitration, as against this upstart from Pella, the question whether the islands are yours or his. If you cannot preserve your maritime possessions by your might that once saved Hellas, but rely on any jury to whom you refer it, and whose verdict is final, to preserve them for you, provided always that Philip does not buy their votes, 7.8is it not an open confession, when you adopt this policy, that you have abandoned everything on the mainland, and are you not advertising to the world that there is not a single thing for the sake of which you will appeal to arms, if indeed for your possessions on the sea, where you say your strength lies, you shall appeal, not to arms, but to the law-courts?

7.9Then again he says that he has sent envoys to arrange with you an inter-state legal compact, and that this compact will be valid, not as soon as it is ratified by the body of Athenian jurors, as the law directs, but only after it has been referred to him, thus constituting himself a court of appeal from your decision. note His object, of course, is to steal a march on you, and to insert in the compact an admission on your part that none of the wrongs committed at Potidaea are charged against him by you as the injured party, but that you confirm his seizure and retention of that city as lawful. 7.10Yet Athenians, settled at Potidaea, were robbed of their property by Philip, though they were not at war but in alliance with him, and though he had duly pledged his word to all the inhabitants of that city. Of course he wants to get his many illegal acts everywhere confirmed by a declaration on your part that you bring no charge against him and do not consider yourselves wronged; 7.11for that Macedonians need no inter-state compact with Athenians let past history be your witness, since neither Amyntas, the father of Philip, nor the earlier kings ever made any such compact with our city, 7.12though intercourse between the two nations was more frequent then than now. For Macedonia was under our sway and tributary to us, note and we used each other's markets more freely then than at present, and mercantile suits note were not then, as now, settled strictly every month, making a formal compact between such distant parties unnecessary. 7.13However, there was no such compact, and it would not have paid to make one which would entail a voyage from Macedonia to Athens or from Athens to Macedonia in order to obtain satisfaction. Instead, we sought redress in Macedonia under their laws and they at Athens under ours. So do not forget that the real object of this proposed compact is to get your admission that you have no reasonable claim to Potidaea.

7.14As for the pirates, he says that it is only fair that we should join him in clearing the sea of these depredators, who injure you as much as himself; which amounts to a claim that you should set him up as a maritime power and confess that without Philip's help you cannot keep the high seas safe, 7.15and furthermore that he should have a free hand to cruise about and anchor off the different islands and, under pretence of protecting them from pirates, bribe the islanders to revolt from you. Not content with getting your commanders to carry refugees from Macedonia to Thasos, he claims the right to appropriate the other islands also, and sends agents to accompany your commanders, as if to share with you the task of policing the seas. 7.16And yet some people say that he has no use for the sea! Why, this man who has no use for the sea is laying down war-ships and building docks, and is ready to send out fleets and incur considerable expense in facing risks at sea, and all for objects that he does not value!

7.17Men of Athens, do you suppose that Philip would insist on your making such concessions to him, if he did not despise you and put complete confidence in his friends here, whom he has made it his policy to conciliate? They are not ashamed to devote their lives to Philip rather than to their own country, and they think that when they take his gifts they are taking them home—though they are selling everything at home.

7.18With regard to the amendment of the peace, Philip's ambassadors conceded to us the right to amend it, and our amendment, universally admitted to be fair, was that each side should retain its own possessions. But he now contends that he never agreed to this, and that his ambassadors never even raised the point. This simply means that his friends here have persuaded him that you have no memory for what has been stated publicly in the Assembly. 7.19But that is just the one thing that you cannot have forgotten; for at the same meeting of the Assembly Philip's ambassadors put his case before you and the decree was duly proposed, so that, as the decree was recited immediately after the conclusion of the speeches, it was impossible for you to pass at once a resolution which gives the lie to the ambassadors. So it is not against me but against you that his letter is aimed, alleging that you have sent back to him your decision on questions that were never put before you. 7.20Why, the ambassadors themselves, whom your resolution flatly contradicted, when you read them your answer and offered them hospitality, did not venture to come forward and say, “You misrepresent us, men of Athens; you say we have said something that we never did say.” No; they held their tongues and took their leave. But I want, men of Athens—for Pytho, who was one of the ambassadors, made an excellent impression on you by his address—I want to recall to you the exact words he used, for I am sure you must remember them. 7.21His language was pretty much that of Philip's present letter. For while accusing those of us who misrepresent Philip, he at the same time blamed you because, though Philip is eager to benefit you and prefers your friendship to that of any other state, you constantly thwart him, lending an ear to false accusers, who both beg money of him and slander him; for tales of that sort, when he is told that he was traduced and that you believed what was said, make him change his mind, since he finds himself distrusted by the very people whom it has been his aim to benefit. 7.22Pytho therefore urged public speakers not to attack the peace, because it was not good policy to rescind it, but to amend any unsatisfactory clause, on the understanding that Philip was prepared to fall in with your suggestions. If, however, the speakers confined themselves to abusing Philip without drafting any proposals which, while preserving the terms of peace, might clear Philip of suspicion, he asked you to pay no attention to such fellows. 7.23And you approved these arguments and said that Pytho was right, as indeed he was. He made these statements, however, not in order that all those advantages that Philip had paid so much money to secure might be struck out of the treaty, but because he had been so instructed by his schoolmasters here in Athens, who did not imagine that anyone would propose to annul the decree of Philocrates, which lost us Amphipolis.

7.24As for me, men of Athens, I did not venture to propose anything that was unconstitutional, but it was not so to propose the direct contrary of Philocrates' decree, as I can prove to you. For the decree of Philocrates, through which you lost Amphipolis, was itself contrary to the earlier decrees by which you claimed possession of that territory. 7.25So it was this decree of Philocrates that was unconstitutional, nor would it have been possible to draft a constitutional proposal in conformity with his unconstitutional decree. By drafting mine to agree with the earlier decrees, which were constitutional and which also kept your territory intact, I both kept within the constitution and was able to convict Philip of trying to deceive you and of wishing, not to amend the peace, but to bring discredit on those who were pleading your cause. 7.26You are all aware that, after conceding the right to amend the peace, he now denies it. He says that Amphipolis is his, because your decree that he should keep what he held confirmed his right. It is true that you passed that decree, but you never admitted his right to Amphipolis, for it is possible to “hold” what belongs to another, and it is not all “holders” who hold what is their own, but many are in possession of what is really another's. So his clever quibble is merely foolish. 7.27Moreover he remembers the decree of Philocrates, but he has quite forgotten the letter sent to you when he was besieging Amphipolis, in which he admitted that Amphipolis was yours; for he said that when he had taken it he would “restore” it to you, implying that it was your property, and not that of the holders. 7.28Apparently those who inhabited Amphipolis, before Philip took it, were holding Athenian territory; but when he has taken it, it is no longer our territory, but his own, that he holds; and in the same way at Olynthus and Apollonia and Pallene he is in possession of his own property, not that of others. 7.29Do you not see that his letter to you is all carefully calculated, so that his words and his actions may appear to conform to the universal standard of justice, while he has really shown supreme contempt for it in claiming for himself and denying to you territory which is yours by common consent and decree of the Greeks and of the King of Persia? note

7.30As for the other amendment which you propose to introduce, that all the Greeks who are not parties to the peace should remain free and independent, and that if they are attacked, the signatories should unite to defend them, 7.31you considered it both fair and generous that the peace should not be confined to Athens and her allies on the one side and Philip and his allies on the other, while those who are allies of neither are exposed to ruin at the hands of their stronger neighbors, but rather that your peace should extend its protection to them also, and that we should disarm and observe a real peace. 7.32But Philip, although, as you have heard from his letter, he admits the justice of this amendment and consents to accept it, has robbed the Pheraeans of their city, placing a garrison in their citadel, in order, I suppose, to ensure their independence; he is even now engaged in an expedition against Ambracia, and as for the three Elean colonies in Cassopia notePandosia, Bucheta, and Elatea—he has wasted their land with fire, stormed their cities, and handed them over to be the slaves of his own kinsman, Alexander. How zealous he is for the freedom and independence of the Greeks, you may judge from his acts.

7.33With regard to his repeated promises to you of substantial benefits, he complains that I am slandering and defaming him in the ears of the Greeks, for he says that he has never made you any promises at all. Such is the shamelessness of the man who stated in his letter, which is still to be seen in the Council House, that if peace was made he would confer such benefits on you as would stop the mouths of us, his opponents, benefits which he said he would put down in writing, if he were sure that the peace would be made. The inference was that all the good things that we were to enjoy on the conclusion of peace were ready for immediate delivery. 7.34Peace has been concluded, but all the good things that we were to enjoy are still to seek, and upon the Greeks has come such ruin as you well know. Yet he promises in the present letter that if you will only trust his friends and advocates and will punish the wicked men who traduce him to you, he will confer substantial benefits. His benefits, however, will amount to this: 7.35he will not restore your possessions, for he claims them as his own, and his rewards will not be delivered in this part of the world, for fear his motive should be misrepresented to the Greeks note; some other country, it seems, some new quarter will be assigned for the bestowal of your rewards.

7.36As for the places held by you which he took in time of peace, violating the terms and breaking his engagements, since he has not a word to say but is clearly convicted of injustice, he expresses his willingness to refer the question to a fair and impartial court. But this is the only question that needs no such reference; the calendar is sufficient to decide it. 7.37For we all know in what month and on what day the peace was made, and as surely also do we know in what month and on what day Fort Serreum and Ergisce and the Sacred Mount note were captured. Surely these things were not done in a corner; they need no judicial inquiry; everyone can find out which came first, the month in which the peace was made or that in which the places were taken.

7.38Again, he says that he has restored all the prisoners that were taken in the war. Yet the man of Carystus, note the agent of our city, for whose recovery you sent three embassies—Philip was so anxious to oblige you that he killed him and did not even allow you to recover his corpse for burial.

7.39With regard to the Chersonese, it is important to examine the terms of his dispatch to you and also to know what he is actually doing in the matter. For the whole of the land north of Agora, as being his own property and no concern of yours, he has handed over as a private estate to Apollonides of Cardia. Yet the boundary of the Chersonese is not Agora, but the altar of Zeus of the Marches, half way between Pteleum and the White Strand, 7.40where there was going to be a canal across the peninsula. This is proved by the inscription on the altar of Zeus, which runs thus: The dwellers here have set this boundary-stone
Midway `twixt Pteleum and the Silver Strand,
And raised this altar fair, that men may own
That Zeus is Warden of our No Mans Land. note

7.41This district, however, of whose extent most of you are aware, he treats as his own, enjoying part himself and bestowing part on others, and so he brings all your property under his own control. Not only does he appropriate the land north of Agora, but he also orders you in his present letter to settle by arbitration any disputes you have with the Cardians to the south of Agora—the Cardians, who are settlers in your own territory! 7.42They have a dispute with you; see whether it is about a trifle. They say that the land they live in is not yours, but their own, and that while your possessions there are held by grace in a foreign country, theirs are their own property on their own soil, and that this is admitted in a decree of your countryman, Callippus of the Paeanian deme. 7.43And there they speak truth, for he did propose such a decree, and when I indicted him for a breach of the constitution, you acquitted him; that is how he has brought your claim into dispute. But if and when you submit your dispute with the Cardians to arbitration, to decide whether the land is yours or theirs, why not extend the principle to the other states of the Chersonese also? 7.44Philip's insolence is carried so far that he says that if the Cardians decline arbitration, he will be responsible for coercing them; as if you could not compel Cardians to do anything you wanted! He will make them do it, he says, since you cannot. Are not his favors to you great and manifest? 7.45And this letter was actually commended by some Athenians, who merit your hatred much more than Philip. For whatever Philip does to thwart you, he is only aiming at advantage and glory for himself, but Athenians who make a parade of their goodwill to Philip, rather than to their own country, are wretches who deserve to perish at your hands unpitied, if you carry your brains in your heads and not trodden down in your heels. note

7.46It now remains for me, in answer to this precious letter and to the speeches of the ambassadors, to propose the resolution which I conceive to be in accordance with justice and your interests.

Demosthenes, Speeches (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose; rhetoric] [word count] [lemma count] [Dem.].
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