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

1.1This popular leader of yours, Athenians, who has imposed on himself a sentence of death should he be proved to have taken even the smallest sum from Harpalus, has been clearly convicted of taking bribes from those very men whom he formerly professed to oppose. Much has already been said by Stratocles note and most of the charges have now been made; as regards the report itself the Areopagus has expressed opinions which are both just and true, while with events succeeding this Stratocles has already dealt and read the decrees relating to them. 1.2It remains for us, Athenians, especially when contesting a case never paralleled in the experience of the city, to make a general exhortation to you all. May we ask you first to pardon those of us who have still to speak if there are certain points which we raise again; our aim is not to weary you by alluding twice to the same matters but to arouse your anger all the more. Secondly, may we ask you not to surrender the rights enjoyed by the whole city or to barter away our common security in exchange for the arguments of the defendant. 1.3You are aware, Athenians, that whereas this man Demosthenes is here for judgement before you, you are on trial before your fellows. For they are waiting to see what kind of conclusion you will reach about your country's interests: are you going to welcome into your midst the private venality and corruption of these people, or will you make it universally known that you hate men who accept bribes against their city and that, in ordering the Areopagus to make its inquiry, your intention was not to acquit the culprits but rather, when the councillors had made their report, to exact punishment in a manner appropriate to the crimes? This decision then rests with you now. 1.4For when the people passed a lawful decree and every citizen wished to discover which of the politicians had dared to accept money from Harpalus to the discredit and danger of the city; when, moreover, you, Demosthenes, and many others had proposed in a decree that the Areopagus, according to its traditional right, should hold an inquiry to discover if any of them had received gold from Harpalus, the Areopagus began its investigation. 1.5In reaching a just decision it paid no heed to your challenges, Demosthenes, nor did it wish to pervert the truth or destroy its own reputation on your account. On the contrary, gentlemen, although, as the Areopagites themselves said, the council realized beforehand the strength of these men and their influence as orators and statesmen, it did not consider that if incrimination or danger was threatening its country it ought to be influenced by any misrepresentation likely to be published about itself. 1.6Though this investigation has been conducted, in the people's opinion, both fairly and profitably, accusations, challenges, and calumnies are proceeding from Demosthenes, since he has been listed as the holder of twenty talents of gold. Will that council then which, in cases of willful] murder, is trustworthy enough to arrive at truth and justice and is empowered to pass judgement in matters of life and death on each of the citizens, to take up the cause of those who have met a violent end and banish or execute any in the city who have broken the law, note be powerless now to administer justice over the money credited to Demosthenes?

1.7It will; for the council has told lies against Demosthenes. This is the crowning argument in his case. It has told lies, has it, against you and Demades: men against whom it is evidently not even safe to speak the truth; though you previously instructed the Areopagus to investigate many public matters and expressed approval of it for the inquiries which it had held? Are the indictments which the council has made against these men false when the whole city cannot compel them to do right? Great Heavens! 1.8Then why, Demosthenes, did you agree in the Assembly to a penalty of death for yourself, if the report of the council should turn out against you? And why have you yourself ruined many others by insisting on the findings of the council? To what authority should the people now refer, or to whom should it entrust the inquiry in the event of mysterious or momentous crimes, if it is to discover the truth? 1.9For the council which formerly commanded confidence is being discredited by you, who claim to be the people's man, though it is a body to which the people gave in trust the protection of their lives, to whose charge they have often committed their constitution and democracy, a council which, destined though you were to malign it, has safeguarded your life, according to your own account so often threatened, and which keeps the mystic deposits note whereby the safety of the city is preserved.

1.10Now in one respect—for I shall speak my mind—the Areopagus fully deserves this treatment. It was faced with two alternatives. One would have been, in accordance with the people's instructions, to conduct the previous investigation over the three hundred talents which came from the Persian king note; in which case this monster would have been convicted and the names of those who shared the money published; the betrayal of Thebes, for which Demosthenes was responsible, note would have been exposed, and we, exacting from this demagogue the punishment he deserved, would have been rid of him. 1.11Alternatively, if it was your wish to forgive Demosthenes for these offences and to have in the city a large number of people who would take bribes against you, the council ought, having tested your wishes in the previous cases, to have refused to undertake an investigation over the payments of money recently reported. For despite the excellence and the justice of this recent report, which incriminates Demosthenes and the rest of them, and despite the fact that the Areopagus has not deferred to the power of Demosthenes or Demades but has regarded justice and truth as more important, 1.12Demosthenes goes round none the less maligning the council and telling the same stories about himself with which he will probably try to mislead you presently. “I made the Thebans your allies.” note No, Demosthenes, you impaired the common interest of both our states. “I brought everyone into line at Chaeronea.” On the contrary you yourself were the only one to leave the line at Chaeronea. note “I served on many embassies on your behalf.” 1.13One wonders what he would have done or what he would have said if the course that he had recommended on these missions had proved successful, when, after touring the whole Greek world to negotiate such disasters and mistakes, he still claims to have been granted the greatest privileges, namely those of accepting bribes against his country and saying and doing whatever he wishes against the public interest. 1.14You made no allowance for Timotheus, note Athenians, although he sailed round the Peloponnese and defeated the Lacedaemonians in a naval battle at Corcyra, and was the son of Conon note too who liberated Greece. Though he captured Samos, Methone, Pydna, Potidaea, and twenty other cities besides, you did not permit such services to outweigh the trial which you were then conducting or the oaths that governed your vote; instead you fined him a hundred talents because Aristophon said that he had accepted money from the Chians and Rhodians. 1.15Will you then absolve this abominable wretch, this Scythian,—really I cannot contain myself,—whom no mere individual but the whole Areopagus has shown, after inquiry, to be in possession of money to your detriment, whose bribery and corruption against the city have been revealed and established beyond doubt? Will you not punish him and make him an example to others? He is known not only to have taken gold from the royal treasuries note but also to have enriched himself at the city's own expense, since he did not even withhold his hand from the money lately brought to her by Harpalus. 1.16Yet the embassies to Thebes which Demosthenes undertook are equivalent to a mere fraction of Timotheus' services; and which of you, contrasting with the exploits on which Demosthenes prides himself those which Timotheus and Conon performed on your behalf, would not laugh to scorn all who consented to listen to this man? But then there should be no comparison made between this outcast and the men who in your interests acted worthily of the city and your ancestors. I will therefore cite the decree which was passed concerning Timotheus and then return to my review of the defendant. Read.Decree

1.17This citizen, Demosthenes, of such a character, who might well have gained the pardon and gratitude of his colleagues in the public life of those days, since he had rendered great services to the city, not in word only but in deed, and had always remained true to the same policy rather than changing to and fro as you have done, met his death without begging the people for such extensive favors as would set him above the laws or thinking that men who had sworn to vote in accordance with the law should consider anything more important than their word; he was ready even for condemnation, if the jury decided upon it, and did not plead the inclemency of circumstance or express in public opinions which he did not hold.

1.18Will you not execute this accursed wretch, Athenians, who, in addition to many other crucial blunders, stood by while the Thebans' city was destroyed, though he had accepted three hundred talents from the Persian King for their protection though the Arcadians, note arriving at the Isthmus, had dismissed with a rebuff the envoys of Antipater and welcomed those from the unhappy Thebans who had reached them with difficulty by sea, bearing a suppliant's staff and heralds' wands, plaited, they said, from olive shoots? 1.19They came to assure the Arcadians that no wish to break their friendship with the Greeks had led the Thebans to a revolution, nor did they intend to do anything to the detriment of Greece; but they were no longer able to countenance at home the behavior of the Macedonians in the city, to endure slavery, or to witness the outrages perpetrated against the persons of free men. 1.20The Arcadians were ready to help them and, sympathizing with their misfortunes, explained that, though they were compelled through force of circumstance to serve Alexander with their persons, in spirit they sided always with the Thebans and the cause of Greek liberty. Since their leader, Astylus, was open to bribery, as Stratocles said, and wanted ten talents as the price of helping the Thebans, the envoys approached Demosthenes who, as they knew, held the King's gold and earnestly begged him to spend the money to save their city. 1.21But this hard-hearted and impious miser could not bring himself to expend, from his great resources, ten paltry talents, though he saw such high hopes dawning for the salvation of Thebes. Instead, as Stratocles said, he allowed others to provide this sum to induce those of the Arcadians who had marched out to return home and deny their help to Thebes. 1.22Do you consider that the evils for which Demosthenes and his avarice have been responsible are trivial or of little import for the whole of Greece? Do you think that he deserves any pity at your hands after committing such offences? Should he not rather suffer the extreme penalty to atone for his crimes, both past and present? The verdict given by you today, Athenians, will be heard by all mankind, who will observe how you, the judges, treat the man with such a record. 1.23You are the people who, for crimes far smaller than those Demosthenes has committed, have inflicted on men severe and irrevocable penalties. It was you who killed Menon the miller, because he kept a free boy from Pellene in his mill. You punished with death Themistius of Aphidna, because he assaulted the Rhodian lyre-player at the Eleusinian festival, and Euthymachus, because he put the Olynthian girl in a brothel. 1.24But through this traitor children and women, the wives of the Thebans, were distributed among the tents of the barbarians, a neighboring and allied city has been torn up from the midst of Greece and the site of Thebes is being ploughed and sown, the city of men who shared with you the war against Philip. Yes, it is being ploughed and sown. And this unfeeling wretch showed no compassion for a city thus lamentably destroyed, though he visited it as an envoy representing you and has often shared the meat and drink of its citizens, claiming himself that he made it our ally. But those to whom he often resorted in their prosperity he has betrayed in their misfortune. 1.25The Thebans, so our elders tell us, when the democracy in our city had been overthrown and Thrasybulus was assembling the exiles in Thebes ready for the seizure of Phyle, note although the Spartans were strong and forbade them to admit or let out any Athenian, helped the democrats to return and passed that decree which has so often been read before you, stating that they would turn a blind eye if any Athenian marched through their territory bearing arms. 1.26This man who fraternizes, as he will presently tell you, with our allies, behaved very differently; he would not part with any of the money which he had received for their protection. Remember these things, gentlemen; consider the disasters caused by traitors in the downfall of Olynthus and of Thebes; decide wisely now in your interest; destroy those who are ready to take bribes against their country and so rest your hopes of safety on yourselves and on the gods. 1.27For there is only one way, Athenians, in which you will reform the rest of mankind, only one way: to expose those criminals who are notable men and punish them as their crimes deserve. In the case of the average defendant no one knows or troubles to inquire, when he is convicted, what has been his sentence. But with men of note everyone hears the news and praises the jury, when they have not sacrificed the interests of justice in deference to the reputation of the defendants. Read the Theban decree. Cite the evidence. Read the letters.Decree

1.28This man is a hireling, Athenians, a hireling of long standing. It was he who summoned from Thebes the embassy coming to us from Philip and was responsible for finishing the first war. note He helped to defend Philocrates who proposed the peace with Philip and was exiled by you in consequence, he hired a carriage for the envoys who came here with Antipater, and by attaching them to himself, first introduced into the city the custom of flattering Macedon. 1.29Do not acquit him, Athenians. Do not let go unpunished this man who has endorsed the misfortunes of his country and the rest of Greece, when he has been caught with bribes against the city in his very hands. Now that good fortune is improving your lot and, after expelling from the city one of the two who have defiled their country, has surrendered this other to you for execution, do not oppose all our interests yourselves but rather bring happier omens to our state affairs and divert our misfortunes on to the heads of these leaders. 1.30Against what occasion will you reserve Demosthenes in the belief that he will prove useful to you? Could any one of you, or of the bystanders, say what public or private affairs he has not ruined by his contact with them? After gaining access to the home of Aristarchus note and planning with him the death of Nicodemus which they contrived, an affair of which you all know the details, did he not banish Aristarchus on the most shameful charges? And did not Aristarchus find in Demosthenes such a friend as to make him think that this was some evil spirit which had visited him and the originator of all his misfortunes? 1.31Is it not true that once this man began to advise the city, and would he had never done so,—I shall pass over his private affairs, for time does not permit me to speak at length,—absolutely no good has befallen it; indeed not only the city but the whole of Greece has been involved in dangers, misfortunes, and dishonor? Is it not true that he has had many opportunities while speaking to you and yet let slip every opportunity to help you? On those occasions when a patriot with any regard for the city would have chosen to make some move, this demagogue, who will presently say that he has been of service to you, was so far from showing signs of action that he even infected with his own ill-luck the men who were doing something to further your interests. 1.32Charidemus note set out to visit the Persian King, wishing to do you some practical service apart from mere talking, and anxious at his own peril to win safety for you and every Greek. Demosthenes went round the market making speeches and associating himself with the project. So completely did fortune wreck this plan that it turned out in just the opposite way to what was expected. 1.33Ephialtes put to sea. Admittedly he hated Demosthenes but he was compelled to have a partner in public affairs. Fortune robbed the city of this man too. note Euthydicus note elected to work for the people. Demosthenes claimed to be his friend. He too was lost. Do not these facts, which you see and know better than I do, give you cause for thought? Do they not make you weigh up your future prospects in the light of the past and reflect in your own minds that this man is of no use except to our enemies, against the interests of the city? 1.34to raise such another force as we had in the time of Agis, note when the Spartans took the field together and Achaeans and men of Elis were taking their part in the campaign with ten thousand mercenaries also; when Alexander was in India, note according to report, and the whole of Greece, owing to the traitors in every city, was dissatisfied with the existing state of things and hoped for some release from the misfortunes that beset her. In that hour,—for I need not dwell on other crises,— 1.35what was the behavior of this Demosthenes who had the power to give advice and make proposals, who will shortly tell you that he hates our present circumstances? On these matters, Demosthenes, did you offer any proposal, any advice? Did you contribute money? Were you of the smallest value to the men safeguarding us all? Not the least; you went round suborning speechwriters. He wrote a letter at home, defiling the city's honor, 1.36and walked about dangling it from his finger ends, living in luxury during the city's misfortunes, travelling down the road to the Piraeus in a litter and reproaching the needy for their poverty. Is this man then going to prove useful to you on future occasions, when he has let slip every opportunity in the past? By our lady Athena and Zeus the Savior, I could wish that the enemies of Athens had lighted upon counsellors and leaders like him and never better.

1.37Let me remind you, gentlemen, of the conduct of your forbears, who, at a time when many grave perils beset the city, faced danger in the interests of the people, in a manner worthy of their country and their well-earned reputation, as befitted free men. Time does not permit me to deal with those figures of the past, Aristides and Themistocles: the men who built the city's walls and carried up to the Acropolis the tribute paid by the willing and even eager Greeks. 1.38But you will recall what was done, shortly before our own time, by Cephalus the orator, Thrason of Herchia, Eleus and Phormisius and other fine men, some of whom are still alive today. note Some of them, when the Cadmea was garrisoned by Spartans, assisted the exiles who returned to Thebes and at their own risk set free a neighboring city, long enslaved. note 1.39Others lent aid when your ancestors were persuaded to take the field by Cephalus, who proposed the decree and who, undaunted by the might of Sparta and regardless of the risks either of military or political action, moved that the Athenians should march out to help the exiles who had taken Thebes. Your fathers did march out and in a few days the commander of the Spartan garrison was expelled, the Thebans had been freed and your city had acted worthily of your ancestors. 1.40They were counsellors, Athenians, they were leaders such as yourselves and the state deserve. How different from rogues like this who neither have done nor will do the city any service but watch over their own safety and treat everything as a source of income. They have made the city more infamous than themselves, and now, convicted of taking bribes against you, they deceive you and presume, after conduct such as this, to talk to you about their own aggrandizement. They ought, by the terms of their own decree, to have been put to death long ago for doing such things.

1.41Are you not ashamed, Athenians, that you should think our speeches the only evidence you have on which to determine the punishment of Demosthenes? Do you not know yourselves that this man is open to bribes and is both a robber and a traitor to his friends that neither he nor the fortune which has gone with him is fit for the city? Are there any decrees or any laws which have not brought him money? 1.42Are there any people in the court who were among those included in the three hundred when Demosthenes brought in his law concerning the trierarchs? note Then tell your neighbors that he accepted three talents and used to alter and re-draft the law for every sitting of the Assembly, in some cases taking money over points for which he had been paid already, in others failing to honor the sales which he had made. 1.43Really, gentlemen, tell me: do you think he got nothing for proposing that Diphilus note should have meals at the Prytaneum or for that statue to be put up in the market? Nothing for conferring Athenian citizenship on Chaerephilus, Phidon, Pamphilus, and Phidippus, or again on Epigenes and Conon the bankers? Nothing for putting up in the market bronze statues of Berisades, Satyrus and Gorgippus the tyrants from the Pontus, from whom he receives a thousand medimni of wheat a year—this man who will presently tell you that there is nowhere for him to take refuge. 1.44Did he get nothing for proposing that Taurosthenes note should become an Athenian, though he had enslaved his fellow citizens and, with his brother Callias, betrayed the whole of Euboea to Philip? Taurosthenes whom the laws forbid to set foot on Athenian soil, providing that if he does so he shall be liable to the same penalties as an exile who returns after being sentenced by the Areopagus. This was the man who Demosthenes the democrat proposed should be your fellow citizen. 1.45Is there any need then for me to call up witnesses for you so far as these men are concerned or any of the others whom he has proposed as proxeni or citizens? I ask you in Athena's name: do you imagine that when he gladly accepts silver he would refuse twenty talents of gold? Do you think that though he takes money in dribblets, he would not accept as a lump sum so great a fee, or that the Areopagus, which spent six months inquiring over Demosthenes, Demades, and Cephisophon, note has been unjust over the reports submitted to you?

1.46Gentlemen, you have very many witnesses, as I said before, among citizens and other Greeks, watching to see how you will judge this trial; are you, they wonder, going to bring within the scope of the courts the venal actions of other men, or will there be complete freedom to accept bribes against you? Will the things which so far have been held trustworthy and sure now cease to be so on account of the trial of Demosthenes? On his past record he ought to have been put to death, and he is liable to all the curses known to the city, 1.47having broken the oaths he took on the Areopagus, in the names of the holy goddesses and the other deities by whom it is customary to swear there, and making himself accursed at every sitting of the Assembly. He has been proved to have taken bribes against Athens, has cheated the people and the council in defiance of the curse, professing views he does not hold, and in private has recommended to Aristarchus a course both cruel and unlawful. note For these misdeeds, if there is any power to exact a just punishment from perjurers and criminals—as there surely is—this man shall pay today. Gentlemen of the jury, listen to the curse. noteCurse

1.48Despite this, gentlemen of the jury, Demosthenes is so ready with his lies and utterly unsound assertions, so oblivious of shame, exposure, or curse, that he will dare to say of me, I gather, that I too was previously condemned by the council. According to him I am behaving with the utmost inconsistency, because in the past I opposed the council's report and pleaded my own case, whereas I am now serving as its advocate and accusing him over the report before us today. 1.49This is a story of his own invention, not based on fact, and he is impudent enough to lie to you. So to make sure that, if he embarks upon this story, you will pay no attention to him but will realize fully that the council did not report me and was in no danger of doing so,—the truth being that I suffered at the hands of a man of low character who has been convicted before you,—let me explain briefly. Then I will come back to Demosthenes.

1.50The council of the Areopagus is bound, gentlemen, to follow one of two methods in making all its reports. What are these methods? Its inquiry is made either on its own initiative or in obedience to the people's instructions. note Apart from these two, there is no other procedure it could follow. If then you tell us, you abominable brute, that the council followed the people's instructions in making its inquiry and publishing the report on me, 1.51show me the decree and tell me who were my accusers after the report was made. Compare the present case, where you have both: a decree which authorized the council's inquiry, and accusers, elected by the people, who are now giving the jury an account of the crimes. If your story is true, I am prepared to die. But if you claim that the council took the initiative in reporting me, produce the Areopagites as witnesses, just as I myself shall produce them to show that I was not reported, 1.52to show in fact that, after impeaching one rogue and traitor who, like you, had maligned the council and myself, I proved before two thousand five hundred citizens that he had hired himself to Pythocles note in making this attack upon me, and so avenged myself with the help of those then serving on the jury. Clerk, please take the deposition. I laid it before the jury previously as evidence and no one questioned its veracity. So I will produce it now. Read the deposition.Deposition

1.53Is it not an anomaly, Athenians, that on that occasion, because one man, Pistias an Areopagite, note told lies against the council and myself and said that I was a criminal, falsehood would have prevailed over truth, if through my weakness and isolation at the time the trumped up lies against me had been believed; whereas now, when the fact is admitted by the whole Areopagus that Demosthenes has taken twenty talents of gold against your interests, and is therefore a criminal, and that your popular leader, in whom some men place their hopes, 1.54has been caught in the act of taking bribes, the customs of the Areopagus and truth and justice are going to prove weaker than Demosthenes' word? Truth will be overridden by the slanderous statement he intends to make against the council, namely that many of those reported by it as a menace to the people have, on coming into court, been acquitted, in some cases the council failing to secure a fifth part of the votes. There is an explanation for this which you will easily follow. 1.55The council, gentlemen, has its own method of inquiring into the cases which you assign to it and the crimes committed within its own body. Unlike yourselves,—and you need not take offence at this,—who are sometimes apt when judging to give more weight to mercy than to justice, it simply reports anyone who is liable to the charges in question or has broken any traditional rule of conduct believing that if a person is in the habit of committing small offences he will more easily involve himself in serious crimes. 1.56Consequently when one of its number robbed the ferryman of his fare it fined him and reported him to you. Again, when someone claimed the five drachma allowance note in the name of an absentee, it reported him also to you. Similarly it fined and expelled the man who presumed to break the rule and sell the Areopagite portion. 1.57You tried these men and acquitted them. You were not thereby convicting the Areopagus of error but you were more concerned with sympathy than justice, and thought the punishment too severe for the offence which the defendants had committed. Do you imagine then, Demosthenes, that the council made a false report? Of course it did not. Nevertheless, gentlemen, you acquitted these men and others like them, though the council reported that they were guilty of breaking its rules. 1.58In the case of Polyeuctus of Cydantidae, note when the people instructed the council to inquire whether he was accompanying the exiles to Megara and to report back after the investigation, it reported that he was doing so. You chose accusers as the law prescribes: Polyeuctus came into court and you acquitted him, on his admitting that he was going to Megara to Nicophanes who, he said, was married to his mother. So you did not consider that he was doing anything strange or reprehensible in keeping in touch with his mother's husband who was in difficulties, or in assisting him, so far as he could, while he was banished from the country. 1.59The report of the council, Demosthenes, was not proved false; it was quite true, but the jury decided to acquit Polyeuctus. The council was instructed to discover the truth, yet, as I say, the court decided whether it was a case for pardon. Is that any reason for distrusting the council over the present reports in which it has stated that you and your confederates are in possession of the gold? That would be disgraceful. 1.60Convince the jury now, Demosthenes, that any of those crimes ranks with yours and that to take bribes against one's country is a pardonable act which would justify these men in acquitting you. For other pecuniary offences the laws prescribe damages twice as great as the sum involved, note but in cases of bribery they have laid down two penalties only: either death, to ensure that by meeting with this punishment the guilty man is an example to others, or a fine for bribery ten times as great as the original bribe, so that men who dare to commit this offence shall not gain by it.

1.61Perhaps you will not attempt to argue thus, Demosthenes, but will say that of those whom the council has reported up till now the rest have admitted that the penalty which it imposed was deserved, whereas you alone have protested against it. But you alone, of all those ever reported, asked these men of your own accord to be your judges and court of inquiry. You proposed the decree against yourself and made the people witness of the agreement, defining the penalty for yourself as death, if the council should report that you had taken any of the money brought into the country by Harpalus. 1.62And yet in the past, Demosthenes, you proposed that the council of the Areopagus should have power over all these men, and the rest of Athens too, to enforce the laws of the land and punish any who transgressed them. It was you who surrendered the whole city into the hands of this council which you will presently tell us is oligarchic. By the terms of your decree the death sentence has been inflicted on two citizens, a father and a son, who were given over to the executioner. 1.63One of the descendants of Harmodius was imprisoned in pursuance of your order. These gentlemen, acting on the council's report, tortured and killed Antiphon. note You expelled Charinus note from the city for treason on the strength of the council's reports and punishments. After proposing this treatment for yourself also, are you now overriding the decree of your own accord? Surely that is neither just nor lawful.

1.64I summon as my witnesses, Athenians, the awful goddesses and their abode, the heroes of the land, Athena Polias, and those other gods who have obtained our city and countryside as their home, to show that when the people has consigned to you for punishment one who, against his country's interests, has accepted a part of the <imported money>, note one who has defiled and ruined the city's prosperity and betrayed that country which he claimed to have fortified by his diplomacy, note 1.65enemies, and those who bear the city ill will, would wish him alive, counting this a disaster for Athens; but all who favor your concerns and hope that with a turn of fortune the city's prospects may improve wish that this man may die and pay the penalty merited by his conduct, and such is the burden of their prayers. I also join in praying the gods to save our country, which I see to be in danger of forfeiting its safety, its women and children, its honor, and every other thing of worth. 1.66What shall we say to the bystanders, Athenians, when we come out of the court, if you are deceived, as I pray you may not be, by the wizardry of this man? What will be the feelings of you all, when, on your return, you presume to look upon your fathers' hearths, after acquitting the traitor who first brought into his own home the gold of bribery; after convicting as utterly false, in both its inquiry and its conclusion, the body which all men hold in the greatest awe? 1.67What hopes, Athenians,—picture for yourselves,—what hopes shall we have if some danger overtakes the city, when we have made it a safe thing to take bribes against one's country and have robbed of its status the body which kept watch over the city in such times of crisis? 1.68Or again,—let us suppose this to happen,—what if Alexander, in pursuance of Demosthenes' decree, note sends and asks us for the gold brought into the country by Harpalus, and, over and above the fact that the council has made a report, sends down here the slaves which have now been returned to him and asks us to find out the truth from them; what in Heaven's name shall we say, gentlemen? 1.69Will you propose, Demosthenes, that we go to war, in view of your success with the previous wars? Suppose the rest of Athens decides on this, which is fairer: for your gold to be available for war along with other people's or for others to contribute from their own property, melting down the personal ornaments of their wives, the cups and all the country's store of offerings to the gods, as you said you would suggest, though you yourself paid in fifty drachmas from your houses in Piraeus and the city? That has been your contribution under the last levy though now you have twenty talents. 1.70Perhaps you will not advocate war but advise us to follow out the decree which you proposed and give back to Alexander the gold brought to us? If so, it will be for your sake that the people have to restore it. It is surely neither just nor fair nor democratic that those who work should contribute, while you plunder and steal; that some should make no secret of the property they hold and make contributions proportionate to it, while you who have received more than a hundred and fifty talents, either from the King's money note or from your association with Alexander, have no declared property in the city but have fortified yourself against the people as though you had no confidence in your own conduct of affairs. 1.71Is it right, when the laws demand that the orator or general who expects to get the people's confidence shall observe the laws in begetting children, shall own land within our boundaries, shall give all the lawful pledges and only thus lay claim to be the people's leader, that you should have sold the land inherited from your father or be claiming as yours children which are not your own, thus breaking the laws which govern oaths in court, note and be ordering others to fight when you deserted the citizens' ranks yourself?

1.72What do you think it is, Athenians, that makes cities vary between good and evil fortunes? You will find only one cause: the counsellors and leaders. Take Thebes. It was a city; it became supreme. Under what leaders and generals? All the older men, on whose authority I shall give you the story, would admit that it was when Pelopidas, note so they have it, 1.73led the Sacred Band note and Epaminondas and their compeers were in command. It was then that Thebes won the battle of Leuctra, then that they invaded the Spartans' country which, it was thought, could not be ravaged. During that period they accomplished many fine achievements: founded Messene in the four hundredth note year after its fall, gave the Arcadians self-government, and won a universal reputation. 1.74On the other hand when was their achievement despicable and unworthy of their spirit? When Timolaus, note the friend of Demosthenes, was corrupted and took bribes from Philip, when the traitor Proxenus commanded the mercenaries enlisted at Amphissa and Theagenes was placed in command of the phalanx, a man of ill luck and, like the defendant here, open to bribes. Then, because of the three men whom I have mentioned, the whole city was destroyed and blotted from the face of Greece. Far from being false it is only too true that leaders are responsible for all the citizens' good fortunes and for the reverse. 1.75Think again, this time of Athens, with the same points in mind. Our city was great, renowned in Greece, and worthy of our forbears, apart from the well-known exploits of the past, at the time when Conon triumphed, as our elders tell us, in the naval battle at Cnidus; when Iphicrates destroyed the Spartan company, when Chabrias defeated the Spartan triremes at sea off Naxos, when Timotheus won the sea battle off Corcyra. note 1.76That was the time, Athenians, when the Spartans, once famous through the leaders in whose ways they had been schooled, came humbly to our city and begged our ancestors to save them; and the democracy which they had overthrown was made by the counsellors, whom we then had, the first power in Greece again: deservedly, in my belief; for they had found generals of the type I have just mentioned and had as advisers Archinus and Cephalus of Collytus. note For the only salvation of a city or a nation is to find brave men to lead it and wise counsellors. 1.77It follows then, Athenians, that if you fully recognize this fact you should not surely be parties in future to Demosthenes' corruption and ill-luck or rest your hopes of security on him; you need not think that you will lack brave men or wise advisers. Let the anger of your forefathers be yours. Put to death this robber taken in the act, this traitor who does not withhold his hands from the gold brought into Athens but has cast the city into the direst misfortunes, this arch-criminal of Greece. Have his body cast beyond the city's borders, give her fortunes a chance to mend, and then, with this accomplished, expect a happier lot.

1.78I want you also, Athenians, to hear that other decree moved by Demosthenes, note the decree which this democratic statesman proposed when the city was in disorder after the battle of Chaeronea, and also the oracle sent from Dodona from Dodonian Zeus; for it has long been warning you clearly to beware of your leaders and advisers. Read the oracle first.Oracle
1.79Read that splendid decree of his.Part of the Decree

A fine democrat indeed who arranges for himself, being a brave and courageous man, to remain in arms, while he orders the citizens whom he rejects for service to go off to their work or to do anything else he thinks is called for. Read the rest.Rest of the Decree
1.80Listen to that, gentlemen of the jury. The decree says that the chosen embassies shall set out. When, after the battle of Chaeronea, he heard that Philip intended to invade our country he appointed himself an envoy, so as to escape from the city, and went off, note after scraping together eight talents from the treasury, without a thought about the plight we were in, at a time when everyone else was contributing from his own money to ensure your protection. 1.81That is the character of your adviser. Demosthenes has made only these two journeys abroad in his life note: one after the battle when he ran away from the city, and another just recently to Olympia when he wanted to use the presidency of the sacred embassy as a means of meeting Nicanor. note A right thing indeed to entrust the city to this man's charge, when danger confronts us! When it was time to fight against the enemy, side by side with his fellows, he left his post and made for home; yet when he should have stayed at home to face danger with them, he offered himself as an envoy and ran away and left the city. 1.82When ambassadors were needed for the peace he said he would not move a foot to leave the city; yet when it was reported that Alexander was restoring the exiles and Nicanor came to Olympia he offered himself to the council as president of the sacred embassy. These are the parts he plays: on the field of battle he is a stay-at-home, when others stay at home he is an ambassador, among ambassadors he is a runaway.

Now read the note and the decree relating to the inquiry over the money proposed by Demosthenes for the Areopagus and affecting both himself and you. I want you by comparing them together to realize that he is demented.Decree
1.83Did you propose this, Demosthenes? You did; you cannot deny it. Was the council given authority on your motion? It was. Have some of the citizens been executed? They have. Did your decree have power over them? You cannot deny that it did.

Read the decree again which Demosthenes proposed against Demosthenes. Let me have your attention, gentlemen.Decree
1.84The council has found Demosthenes guilty. Need we enlarge on this? It has made its report on him, Athenians. Justice demanded that, having been self-condemned, he should immediately be put to death. But now that he has fallen into the hands of you who have been assembled by the people and have sworn to obey the laws and the people's decrees, what will you do? Will you ignore the claims of piety towards the gods and the justice recognized by the world? No, Athenians, do not do so. 1.85It would be an utter disgrace if, when others no worse, and even less guilty, than Demosthenes have been destroyed by his decrees, he, with his contempt for you and the laws, should be at large unpunished in the city, when by his own motion and the decrees which he proposed he has been convicted. The same council, Athenians, the same place, the same rights have been in question. 1.86The same orator was responsible for the misfortunes which overtook them and those which will soon overtake him. He himself in the Assembly instructed this council to judge his case, after calling on you as his witnesses. He made an agreement with the people and proposed the decree against himself, to be kept by the mother of the gods, note who is the city's guardian of all written contracts. It would thus be impious for you to invalidate this or, after swearing by the gods in the present trial, to give a vote which did not conform with the actions of the gods themselves. 1.87When Poseidon lost his suit against Ares over Halirrothius he abode by the decision. note The awful goddesses too, in their case against Orestes, note abode by the judgement of this council, associating themselves for the future with its reputation for truth. How will you act with your claim to unrivalled piety? Will you annul the decision of the council and follow the bad example of Demosthenes? You will not, Athenians, if you remain in your senses. 1.88This is no small or incidental matter that you are deciding today; the question at issue is the safety of the whole city and also bribery, an evil habit and a practice which is harmful to you and has always brought men to ruin. If you do everything in your power to rid the city of this vice and to suppress those who gladly take bribes against you, we shall be saved, with Heaven's consent. But if you allow the orators to sell you, you will stand by and see them wreck the city.

1.89Demosthenes himself proposed in the Assembly, clearly implying that it was a just step to take, that we should keep for Alexander the money brought into Attica with Harpalus. note Tell me, sir: are we going to keep it under present conditions, when you have taken twenty talents for personal use, someone else fifteen, Demades six thousand gold staters, and the others the various sums that have been credited to them? For sixty-four talents have already been traced, for which, you must conclude, gentlemen, that these men are to be held responsible. 1.90Which is the more honorable alternative, which the more just: that all the money should be kept in the treasury until the people has reached some fair decision, or that the orators and certain of the generals should seize and keep it? Personally I think that to keep it in the treasury is the course which all would admit to be just, while no one would consider it fair for these men to retain it.

1.91The statements made by the defendant, gentlemen, have been numerous and very varied but never consistent. For he realizes that all along you have been cheated by him with empty hopes and lying assertions and that you remember his promises only so long as they are being uttered. If then the city must go on enjoying the fruits of Demosthenes' wickedness and ill-fortune, that we may still be plagued by an evil genius,—I can find no other word for it,—we should acquiesce in the present state of affairs. 1.92But if we have any regard for our country, if we hate wicked and corrupt men and want our fortune to change for the better, you must not surrender yourselves, Athenians, to the prayers of this accursed juggler or lend an ear to his laments and quackeries. You have had enough experience of him, his speeches, his actions, and his luck. 1.93Which of you is so hopeful, Athenians, or so irrational, which of you is so unversed in past or present history, as to expect that a man who reduced the city, through whatever fault or fortune,—I am not concerned with that,—from such great prosperity to such utter disgrace, will save us now by serving as a counsellor and administrator? For besides the other difficulties and dangers which beset us we have now corruption also, of men right in the city, and are one and all striving to clear ourselves of a shameful charge, lest the people be thought to hold in their own name the money which certain individuals are keeping for themselves. 1.94I am not citing other instances of his continual change of policy or of the pernicious speeches which he has consistently made. At one time he made a proposal forbidding anyone to believe in any but the accepted gods and at another said that the people must not question the grant of divine honors to Alexander note; and again when he was on the point of being tried before you, he impeached Callimedon for consorting with the exiles note in Megara with intent to overthrow the democracy, 1.95and directly after countermanded the impeachment and brought forward at the recent sitting of the Assembly a false witness whom he had primed to say that there was a plot afoot threatening the docks. In all this he offered no proposals but simply furnished us with charges for the present trial, since on all these points you are witnesses against him. This man is a juggler, Athenians, and a blackguard, not entitled to be a citizen of Athens, either by virtue of his birth or of his political record. 1.96Where are the triremes which Demosthenes, like Eubulus note in his time, has supplied to the city? Where are the dockyards built under his administration? When did he improve the cavalry either by decree or law? Despite such opportunities as were offered after the battle of Chaeronea, did he raise a single force either for land or sea? What ornament for the goddess has he carried up to the Acropolis? What building has Demosthenes put up, either in your exchange, or in the city, or anywhere else in the country? Not a man could point to one anywhere. 1.97Very well; if a person has proved untrustworthy in military matters and useless in the business of the city, if he has idly watched his opponents accomplish everything they wished, changing his own position and neglecting to pursue the people's interests, will you wish to preserve him? 1.98Not if you are prudent and make the right decision for yourselves and Athens. No; you will welcome the good fortune which gave up to you for punishment those orators who, through their own bribery, have humiliated the city, and will beware, as the gods have often cautioned you in oracles, against the leaders and counsellors of this type. Listen to the oracle itself. Read the oracle. noteOracle

1.99How then shall we be of one mind, Athenians? How shall we agree upon the interests of the state when our leaders and demagogues take bribes and betray their country's interests, when you yourselves and the whole people are in danger of losing the very foundations of Athens, together with your fathers' temples and your wives and children, while they have conspired together, so that in the assemblies they purposely abuse and lose their tempers with each other, though in private they are united and thus deceive you, who are so ready to lend an ear to what they say. 1.100What is the duty of a democratic orator, hating those who menace the city by speech or bill? What are we told, Demosthenes and Polyeuctus, about your predecessors? What did they always do, even though no danger threatened the city at the time? Did they not summon each other for trial; bring in impeachments? Did they not indict each other for illegal proposals? Have you, who profess to have the people at heart, and maintain that your safety rests upon this jury's vote, done a single one of these things? 1.101Have you denounced a decree, Demosthenes, despite the many outrageous and illegal measures which Demades has proposed? Have you prevented any political step among those which he has taken on his own initiative against the interests of the state? Not a single one. Have you impeached this man who has often acted contrary to the decrees of the people and the laws? Never. You allowed him to have his statue set up in bronze in the market and to share entertainment in the Prytaneum with the descendants of Harmodius and Aristogiton. note 1.102In what way then did the people sample your goodwill, where did we see proof of the orator's protecting power? Or will you all maintain that herein lie your powers: to cheat these men by persisting that you cannot leave the country, that you have no other refuge than our goodwill? You ought first to have made it clear that in speech and action you opposed the decrees brought forward against the people's interests and then sought to convince these men that your claim to have no means of safety but the assistance offered by the people was true. 1.103But you place your hopes abroad and compete in flattery with those who admit that they are serving Alexander and have taken bribes from the same sources as those from which you are reported by the council to have received them. And you, Demosthenes, after conversing with Nicanor in front of all the Greeks and settling everything you wanted, now make yourself out to be in need of pity, traitor though you are and a receiver of bribes; as if these men will forget your wickedness, as if you will not pay the penalty for the crimes at which you have been caught. You are acting more boldly than Demades to this extent, 1.104that though he has given warning in the Assembly of his desperate character and admits that he accepts money and will continue to do so, still he has not dared to show his face before these men and did not presume to dispute the council's report; moreover he did not propose that the council should have authority over him or lay down the death penalty if he should be proved to have taken bribes. But you have such complete confidence in your own arguments and such a contempt for these men's simplicity that you expect to persuade the jury that in your case only has the council's statement been false and that you alone of those whom it reported have not accepted the gold. Who could believe that?

1.105Let me explain, Athenians, what you are going to do. You have taken over the case from the people, who know the facts; and to undergo the punishment, due to those whose names appear in the reports, Demosthenes is brought in first. We have made our accusation and have allowed no private interest on the part of any to stand in the way of common justice. 1.106Will you disregard all that has passed and acquit the first man up before you? Will you, with full power at your command, reject what seemed just both to the people and the Areopagus, and indeed to everyone, and take upon yourselves these men's depravity? 1.107Or will you, for the city's sake, give a demonstration to all alike of the hatred you bear towards traitors and those who, through love of gain, betray the people's interests? All this now lies in your control, and the fifteen hundred of you hold the city's safety in your hands. Your verdict of today will either bring to Athens great security, if you are willing to make a just decision, or else, if you endorse such practices as this, drive all men to despondency.

1.108You must not be cowed, Athenians, or by losing your self-control give up the city's just defence, which touches all alike, in deference to Demosthenes' entreaties. For none of you compelled this man to take the money, to which he had no right, against your own interests, when he has acquired, with your assistance, much more than enough besides, nor to defend himself now when the crimes have been acknowledged and he has proposed the death penalty for himself. But the avarice and wickedness, fostered in him by his whole mode of life, have brought this on his head. 1.109So do not be concerned when he weeps and laments. You might, with far more justice, pity the country, which this man is exposing to danger by behaving as he has, and which is begging you, who are its sons, in the names of your wives and children, to take vengeance on the traitor and save it: the land which your ancestors, after facing many noble combats for it, have handed on to you free in which many noble examples have been left us of the courage of those who gave their lives. 1.110It is this land, Athenians, the sacrifices traditional in it, and its ancestral sepulchres to which right-thinking men must turn their thoughts when they give their vote. And when Demosthenes wishes to cheat you and cunningly turns pathetic, shedding tears, you must think of the city's person, and the glory which it once possessed, and judge between two alternatives: which has become the more deserving of pity: the city because of Demosthenes or Demosthenes because of the city? 1.111You will find that this man has become famous since he entered politics; that from being a speechwriter and a paid advocate, in the service of Ctesippus, Phormio and many others, note he has become the richest man in Athens; that after being an unknown figure, inheriting no family honor from his ancestors, he is now famous, while the city has reached a pass unworthy of herself or the honor of our forbears. Therefore ignore this man's entreaties and deceptions, bring in the verdict that is just and right, having regard for your country's interest, as befits an honorable jury, not the welfare of Demosthenes.

1.112And whenever anyone comes forward to speak for him, bear in mind that he who does so, even if not involved in the reports we are about to hear, is hostile to the constitution, unwilling to see punished those who take bribes against the people and anxious that the general protection of your persons, for which the Areopagus is responsible, should be abolished and every right in the city overwhelmed; whereas, if it is some orator or general, one of those participating in the defence because they wish to discredit the report, which they expect will reflect against themselves, you must give their arguments no credence, knowing as you do that all these men collaborated over the landing of Harpalus and his release. 1.113You must realize then, Athenians, that when these men come forward, they do so against your interests, being enemies alike of the laws and the entire city. Do not tolerate them; insist that their defence answers the charges. And do not countenance his own fury either; for he prides himself on his powers as an orator and, since he is known to have taken bribes against you, has been proved an even greater fraud. No, punish him in a manner befitting yourselves and the city. If you do not, by one verdict and at one trial you will release all who have been reported, and all who ever will be, and will bring these men's corruption upon yourselves and upon the people, even though, afterwards, you may prosecute those who acquitted them, when it will avail you nothing.

1.114I have now played my full part in assisting the prosecution and have shown regard for nothing but justice and your interests. I have not deserted the city or given more weight to personal favor than to the people's vote. With an appeal to you to show the same spirit I now hand over the water to the other prosecutors.

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