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§ 1. The first Oration of DEMOSTHENES against Philip: pronounced in the Archonship of Aristodemus, in the first year of the Hundred and Seventh Olympiad, and the ninth of Philip's reign.


WE have seen Philip, opposed in his design of passing into Greece, through Thermopyla, was obliged to retire. The danger they had thus escaped deeply affected the Athenians. So daring an attempt, which was, in effect, declaring his purposes, filled them with astonishment: and the view of a power, which every day received new accessions, drove them even to despair. Yet their aversion to public business was still predominant. They forgot that Philip might renew his attempt; and thought they had provided sufficiently for their security, by posting a body of troops at the entrance of Attica, under the command of Menelaus, a foreigner. They then proceeded to convene an assembly of the people, in order to consider what measures were to be taken to check the progress of Philip. On which occasion Demosthenes, for the first time, appeared against that prince; and displayed those abilities, which proved the greatest obstacle to his designs.

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At Athens, the whole power and ma nagement of affairs were placed in the people. It was their prerogative to receive appeals from the courts of

justice, to abrogate and enact laws, to make what alterations in the state they judged convenient; in short, all matters, public or private, foreign or domestic, civil, military, or religious, were determined by them. Whenever there was occasion to deliberate, the people assembled early in the morning, sometimes in the forum or public place, sometimes in place called Pnyx, but most frequently in the theatre of Bacchus. A few days before each assembly there was a Προγραμμα or Placard fixed on the statues of some illustrious men erected in the city, to give notice of the subject to be debated. As they refused admittance into the assembly to all persons who had not attained the necessary age, so they obliged all The Lexiarchs others to attend.

stretched out a cord dyed with scarlet, and by it pushed the people towards the place of meeting. Such as received the stain were fined; the more diligent had a small pecuniary reward. These Lexiarchs were the keepers of the register, in which were enrolled the names of such citizens as had a right of voting. And all had this right who were of age, and not excluded by a personal fault. Undutiful children, cowards, brutal debauchees, prodigals, debtors to the public, were all excluded. Until the time of Cecrops, women had a right of suffrage, which they were said to have lost, on account of their

partiality to Minerva, in her dispute with Neptune, about giving a name to the city.

In ordinary cases, all matters were first deliberated in the senate of five hundred, composed of fifty senators chosen out of each of the ten tribes. Each tribe had its turn of presiding, and the fifty senators in office were called Prytanes. And, according to the number of the tribes, the Attic year was divided into ten parts, the four first containing thirty-six, the other thirty-five days; in order to make the Lunar year complete,which according to their calculation, contained three hundred and fifty-four days. During each of these divisions, ten of the fifty Prytanes governed for a week, and were called Proedri: and, of these, he who in the course of the week presided for one day, was called the Epistatæ: three of the Proedri being excluded from this office.

The Prytanes assembled the people; the Proedri declare the occasion; and the Epistatæ demand their voices. This was the case in the ordinary assemblies: the extraordinary were convened as well by the generals as the Prytanes; and sometimes the people met of their own accord, without waiting the formalities. The assembly was opened by a sacrifice; and the place was sprinkled with the blood of the victim. Then an imprecation was pronounced, conceived in these terms: "May the "gods pursue that man to destruction, "with all his race, who shall act, "speak, or contrive, any thing against "this state!" This ceremony being finished, the Proedri declared the occasion of the assembly, and reported the opinion of the senate. If any doubt arose, an herald, by commission from the Epistate, with a loud voice, invited any citizen, first of those above the age of fifty, to speak his opinion: and then the rest according to their ages. This right of precedence had been granted by a law of Solon, and the order of speaking determined entirely by the difference of years. In the time of Demosthenes, this law was not in force. It is said to have been repealed about fifty years before the date of this ora

tion. Yet the custom still continued, out of respect to the reasonable and decent purpose for which the law was originally enacted. When a speaker had delivered his sentiments he generally called on an officer, appointed for that purpose, to read his motion, and propound it in form. He then sat down, or resumed his discourse, and enforced his motion by additional arguments; and sometimes the speech was introduced by his motion thus propounded. When all the speakers had ended, the people gave their opinion, by stretching out their hands to him whose proposal pleased them most. And Xenophon reports that, night having come on when the people were engaged in an important debate, they were obliged to defer their determination till next day, for fear of confusion, when their hands were to be raised. Porrexerunt manus, saith Cicero (pro Flecco) & Psephismaratum est. And, to constitute this Psephisma or decree, six thousand citizens at least were required. When it was drawu up, the name of its author, or that person whose opinion has prevailed, was prefixed whence, in speaking of it, they call it his decree. The date of it contained the name of the Archon, that of the day and month, and that of the tribe then presiding. The business being over, the Prytanes dismissed the assembly.

The reader who chooses to be more minutely informed in the customs, and manner of procedure in the public assemblies of Athens, may consult the Archæologia of Archbishop Potter, Sigonius, or the Concionatrices of Aristophanes.

HAD we been convened, Athenians! on some new subject of debate, I had waited until most of the usual persons had declared their opinions. If I had approved of any thing proposed by them, I should have continued silent: if not, I had then attempted to speak my sentiments. But since those very points on which these speakers have oftentimes been heard already are, at this time, to be considered; though I have arisen first, I presume I may expect your pardon; for if they on former occasions had advised the necessary measures, ye would not have found it needful to consult at present.


First then, Athenians! these our affairs must not be thought desperate; no, though their situation seems entirely deplorable. For the most shocking circumstance of all our past conduct is really the most favour able to our future expectations. And what is this? That our own total indolence hath been the cause of all our present difficulties. For were we thus distressed, in spite of every vigorous effort which the honour of our state demanded, there were then no hope of a recovery.

In the next place reflect (you who have been informed by others, and you who can yourselves remember) how great a power the Lacedemonians not long since possess ed; and with what resolution, with what dignity you disdained to act unworthy of the state, but maintained the war against them for the rights of Greece. Why do I mention these things? That ye may know, that ye may see, Athenians! that if duly vigilant, ye cannot have any thing to fear; that if once remiss, not any thing can hap pen agreeable to your desires: witness the then powerful arms of Lacedemon, which a just attention to your interests enabled you to vanquish; and this man's late insolent attempt, which our insensibility to all our great concerns hath made the cause of this confusion.

If there be a man in this assembly who thinks that we must find a formidable enemy in Philip, while he views, on one hand, the numerous armies which attend him; and, on the other, the weakness of the state thus despoiled of its dominions; he thinks justly. Yet let him reflect on this: there was a time, Athenians! when we possessed Pydna, and Potidæa,and Methonè, and all that country round: when many of those states now subjected to him were free and independent; and more inclined to our alliance than to his. Had then Philip reasoned in the same manner, "How shall I dare to attack the Atheni


ans, whose garrisons command my ter"ritory, while I am destitute of all as"sistance!" he would not have engaged in those enterprises which are now crowned with success; nor could he have raised himself to this pitch of greatness. No, Athenians! he knew this well, that all these places are but prizes, laid between the combatants, and ready for the conqueror: that the dominions of the absent devolve naturally to those who are in the field; the possessions of the supine to the active and intrepid. Animated by these

sentiments, he overturns whole countries; he holds all people in subjection: some, as by the right of conquest; others, under the title of allies and confederates: for all are willing to confederate with those whom they see prepared and resolved to exert themselves as they ought.

And if you (my countrymen!) will now at length be persuaded to entertain the like sentiments; if each of you, renouncing all evasions, will be ready to approve himself an useful citizen, to the utmost that his station and abilities demand; if the rich will be ready to contribute, and the young to take the field; in one word, if you will be yourselves, and banish those vain hopes, which every single person entertains, that while so many others are engaged in public business, his service will hot be required; you then (if Heaven so pleases) shall regain your dominions, recal those opportunities your supineness hath neglected, and chastise the insolence of this man. For you are not to imagine, that like a god, he is to enjoy his present greatness for ever fixed and unchangeable. No, Athenians! there are, who hate him, who fear him, who envy him, even among those seemingly the most attached to his cause. These are passions common to mankind: nor must we think that his friends only are exempted from them. It is true they lie concealed at present, as our indolence deprives them of all resource. let us shake off this indolence! for you see how we are situated; you see the outrageous arrogance of this man, who does not leave it to your choice whether you shall act, or remain quiet; but braves you with his menaces; and talks (as we are informed) in a strain of the highest extravagance: and is not able to rest satisfied with his present acquisitions, but is ever in pursuit of further conquests; and while we sit down, inactive and irresolute, encloses us on all sides with his toils.


When, therefore, O my countrymen! when will you exert your vigour? When roused by some event? When forced by some necessity? What then are we to think of our present condition? To freemen, the disgrace attending on misconduct is, in my opinion, the most urgent necessity. Or, say, is it your sole ambition to wander through the public places, each inquiring of the other, "What new advices?" Can any thing be more new, than that a man of Macedon should conquer the Athe. nians, and give law to Greece!" is Philip

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"dead? No, but in great danger." How are you concerned in those rumours? Suppose he should meet some fatal stroke: you would soon raise up another Philip, if your interests are thus regarded. For it is not to his own strength that he so much owes his elevation, as to our supineness. And should some accident affect him; should fortune, who hath ever been more careful of the state than we ourselves, now repeat her favours (and may she thus crown them!) be assured of this, that by being on the spot, ready to take advantage of the confusion, you will every where be absolute masters; but in your present disposition, even if a favourable juncture should present you with Amphipolis, you could not take possession of it, while this suspense prevails in your designs and in your councils.

And now, as to the necessity of a general vigour and alacrity; of this you must be fully persuaded; this point therefore I shall urge no further. But the nature of the armament, which, I think, will extricate you from the present difficulties, the numbers to be raised, the subsidies required for their support, and all the other necessaries; how they may (in my opinion) be best and most expeditiously provided; these things I shall endeavour to explain. But here I make this request, Athenians! that you would not be precipitate, but suspend your judgment till you have heard me fully. And if, at first, I seem to propose a new kind of armament, let it not be thought that I am delaying your affairs. For it is not they who cry out, "Instantly!" "This moment!" whose counsels suit the present juncture (as it is not possible to repel violences already committed by an occasional detachment) but he who will shew you of what kind that armament must be, how great, and how supported, which may subsist until we yield to peace, or till our enemies sink beneath. our arms; for thus only can we be secured from future dangers. These things, I think, I can point out; not that I would prevent any other person from declaring his opinion thus far am I engaged. How I can acquit myself, will immediately appear: to your judgments I appeal.

First then, Athenians! I say that you should fit out fifty ships of war; and then resolve, that on the first emergency you will embark yourselves. To these I insist that you must add transports, and other ne-. cessary vessels sufficient for half our horse.

Thus far we should be provided against those sudden excursions from his own kingdom to Thermopyla, to the Chersonesus, to Olynthus, to whatever places he thinks proper. For of this he should necessarily be persuaded, that possibly you may break out from this immoderate indolence, and fly to some scene of action: as you did to Euboea, and formerly, as we are told, to Haliartus, and, but now, to Thermopylaæ. But although we should not act with all this vigour, (which yet I must regard as our indispensable duty) still the measures I propose will have their use: as his fears may keep him quiet, when he knows we are prepared (and this he will know, for there are too many among ourselves who inform him of every thing): or, if he should despise our armament, his security may prove fatal to him: as it will be absolutely in our power, at the first favourable juncture, to make a descent upon his own coasts.

These then are the resolutions I propose; these the provisions it will become you to make. And I pronounce it still farther necessary to raise some other forces which may harass him with perpetual incursions. Talk not of your ten thousands, or twenty thousands of foreigners; of those armies which appear so magnificent on paper: but let them be the natural forces of the state: and if you choose a single person, if a number, if this particular man, or whomever you appoint as general,let them be entirely under his guidance and authority. I also move you that subsistence be provided for them. But as to the quality, the numbers, the maintenance of this body: how are these points to be settled? I now proceed to speak of each of them distinctly.

The body of infantry therefore-But here give me leave to warn you of an error which hath often proved injurious to you. Think not that your preparations never can be too magnificent: great and terrible in your decrees: in execution weak and contemptible. Let your preparations, let your supplies at first be moderate, and add to these if you find them not sufficient. I say then that the whole body of infantry should be two thousand; of these, that five hundred should be Athenians, of such an age as you should think proper; and with a stated time for service, not long, but such as that others may have their turn of duty. Let the rest be formed of foreigners. To these you are to add two hundred horse,

fifty of them at least Athenians, to serve in the same manner as the foot. For these you are to provide transports. And now, what farther preparations? Ten light galleys. For as he hath a naval power, we must be provided with light vessels, that our troops may have a secure convoy. But whence are these forces to be subsisted? This I shall explain when I have first given my reasons why I think such numbers sufficient, and why I have advised that we should serve in person. As to the numbers, Athenians! my reason is this: it is not at present in our power to provide a force, able to meet him in the open field; but we must harass him by depredations: thus the war must be carried on at first. We therefore cannot think of raising a prodigious army (for such we have neither pay nor provisions), nor must our forces be absolutely mean. And I have proposed, that citizens should join in the service, and help to man our fleet: because I am informed, that some time since, the state maintained a body of auxiliaries at Corinth, which Polystratus commanded, and Iphicrates, and Chabrias, and some others; that you yourselves served with them; and that the united efforts of these auxiliary and domestic forces gained a considerable victory over the Lacedemonians. But, ever since our armies have been formed of foreigners alone, their victories have been over our allies and confederates, while our enemies have arisen to an extravagance of power. And these armies, with scarcely the slightest attention to the service of the state, sail off to fight for Artabazus, or any other person; and their general follows them; nor should we wonder at it; for he cannot command, who cannot pay his soldiers. What then do I recommend? That you should take away all pretences both from generals and from soldiers, by a regular payment of the army, and by incorporating domestic forces with the auxiliaries, to be as it were inspectors into the conduct of the commanders. For at present our manner of acting is even ridiculous. If a man should ask, "Are "you at peace, Athenians?" the answer would immediately be," By no means! we are at war with Philip. Have not we chosen the usual generals and officers "both of horse and foot?" And of what use are all these, except the single person whom you send to the field? The rest attend your priests in their processions. So that, as if you formed so many men of

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clay, you make your officers for shew, and not for service. My countrymen! should not all these generals have been chosen from your own body; all these several officers from your own body; that our force might be really Athenian? And yet, for an expedition in favour of Lemnos, the general must be a citizen, while troops, engaged in defence of our own territories, are commanded by Menelaus. I say not this to detract from his merit; but to whomsoever this command hath been intrusted, surely he should have derived it from your voices.

Perhaps you are fully sensible of these truths; but would rather hear me upon another point; that of the supplies; what we are to raise, and from what funds. To this I now proceed. The sum therefore necessary for the maintenance of these forces, that the soldiers may be supplied with grain, is somewhat above ninety talents. To the ten galleys, forty talents, that each vessel may have a monthly allowance of twenty minæ. To the two thousand foot the same sum, that each soldier may receive ten drachmæ a month for corn. To the two hundred horse, for a monthly allowance of thirty drachmæ each, twelve talents. And let it not be thought a small convenience, that the soldiers are supplied with grain: for I am clearly satisfied, that if such a provision be made, the war itself will supply them with every thing else, so as to complete their appointment, and this without an injury to the Greeks or allies: and I myself am ready to sail with them, and to answer for the consequence with my life, should it prove otherwise. From what fund the sum which I propose may be supplied, shall now be explained. ******

[Here the secretary of the assembly reads a scheme for raising the supplies, and proposes it to the people in form, in the name of the orator.] These are the supplies, Athenians! in our power to raise. And, when you come to give your voices, determine upon some effectual provision, that you may oppose Philip, not by decrees and letters only, but by actions. And, in my opinion, your plan of operation, and every thing relating to your armament, will be much more happily adjusted, if the situation of the country, which is to be the scene of action, be taken into the account; and if you reflect, that the winds and seasons have greatly contributed to the rapidity of Phi

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