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DEMOSTHENES, an Athenian statesman and orator, born about 384, died in 322 B.C. He was carefully educated for the profession of a "rhetorician," or advocate. He labored under some great disadvantages for the exercise of this profession. His constitution was delicate; his chest was weak; and he had a marked impediment in his speech. But gradually he overcame this disabil ity; and before he had reached the age of thirty he had become one of the leading members of the Athenian "bar," with a large and lucrative practice. Up to his thirtieth year Demosthenes was busied simply as a lawyer. He now began to speak in the agora upon public matters, and more especially upon the foreign affairs of the commonwealth. The most ominous feature was the growing power of Philip of Macedon. Demosthenes took every occasion to warn his countrymen against the designs of Philip, and to urge a stricter union between the Grecian States in opposition to Philip. In 351 B. C. being then thirty-three years of age, he delivered the first of the great speeches known as the " Philippics; " from their being specially directed against Philip; the third Philippic was delivered ten years later, but between these dates he delivered several other speeches, such as the "Olynthiacs "of hardly less importance. There are extant sixty orations attributed to Demosthenes, though the authenticity of several of them has been questioned from very early times. The greatest of these is that "Upon the Crown," delivered in his fiftieth year.


(From "The Orations of Demosthenes.")

I BELIEVE, men of Athens, you would give much to know what is the true policy to be adopted in the present matter of inquiry. This being the case, you should be willing to hear with attention those who offer you their counsel. Besides that you will have the benefit of all preconsidered advice, I esteem it part of your good fortune that many fit suggestions will occur to some speakers at the moment, so that from them all you may easily choose what is profitable.

The present juncture, Athenians, all but proclaims aloud that you must yourselves take these affairs in hand, if you care for their success. I know not how we seem disposed in the matter. My own opinion is, vote succor immediately, and make the speediest preparations for sending it off from Athens, that you may not incur the same mishap as before; send also ambassadors to announce this and watch the proceedings. For the danger is that this man, being unscrupulous and clever at turning events to account, making concessions when it suits him, threatening at other times (his threats may well be believed), slandering us and urging our absence against us, may convert and wrest to his use some of our main resources. Though, strange to say, Athenians, the very cause of Philip's strength is a circumstance favorable to you. His having it in his sole power to publish or conceal his designs, his being at the same time general, sovereign, paymaster, and everywhere accompanying his army, is a great advantage for quick and timely operations in war; but for a peace with the Olynthians, which he would gladly make, it has a contrary effect. For it is plain to the Olynthians that now they are fighting, not for glory or a slice of territory, but to save their country from destruction and servitude. They know how he treated those Amphipolitans who surrendered to him their city, and those Pydneans who gave him admittance. And generally, I believe, a despotic power is mistrusted by free States, especially if their dominions are adjoining. All this being known to you, Athenians, all else of importance considered, I say you must take heart and spirit, and apply yourselves more than ever to the war, contributing promptly, serving personally, leaving nothing undone. No plea or pretence is left to you for declining your duty. What you were all so clamorous about, that the Olynthians should be pressed into a war with Philip, has of itself come to pass, and in a way most advantageous to you. For, had they undertaken the war at your instance, they might have been slippery allies, with minds but half resolved, perhaps ; but since they hate him on a quarrel of their own, their enmity is like to endure on account of their fears and their wrongs. You must not, then, Athenians, forego this lucky opportunity, nor commit the error which you have often done heretofore. For example, when we returned from succoring the Euboeans, and Hierax and Stratocles of Amphipolis came to this platform, urging us to sail and receive possession of their city, if we had shown the same zeal

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