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you will see all Hellas on tiptoe with interest in whatever you happen to propose; and no one will be indifferent to the measures which are being decided in your councils, but, on the contrary, some will seek news of how matters stand, some will pray that you will not be thwarted in your aims, and others will fear lest something befall you before your efforts are crowned with success.
I observe that you are being painted in false colors by men who are jealous of you,Demosthenes and his party. On Isocrates and Demosthenes see Havet, Introd. to Cartelier's Isoc. 15.pp. xlviii ff. for one thing, and are, besides, in the habit of stirring up trouble in their own cities—men who look upon a state of peace which is for the good of all as a state of war upon their selfish interests. Heedless of all other considerations, they keep talking about your power, representing that it is being built up, not in behalf of Hellas, but against her, that you have for a long time been plotting against us all
For these latter are so far divorced from intelligence that they do not realize that one may apply the same words in some cases to a man's injury, in others to his advantage. For example, if at the present moment one were to say that the King of Asia was plotting against the Hellenes, and had made preparations to send an expedition against us, he would not he saying anything disparaging of him; nay, he would, on the contrary, make us think more highly of his courage and his worth. But if, on the other hand, one should bring this charge against one of the descendants of Heracles, who made himself the benefactor of all Hellas, he would bring upon him the greatest opprobrium.
Besides, you will find as many soldiers at your service as you wish, for such is now the state of affairs in Hellas that it is easier to get together a greater and stronger army from among those who wander in exile than from those who live under their own polities.See Isoc. 4.168 and note. But in those days there was no body of professional soldiers, and so, being compelled to collect mercenaries from the several states, they had to spend more money on bountiesCyrus gave Clearchus about ten thousand pounds with which to levy mercenaries. Xen. Anab. 1.1.9. for their recruiting agents than on pay for the troops.
When Heracles saw that Hellas was rife with wars and factions and many other afflictions, he first brought these troubles to an end and reconciled the cities with each other,See Diod. iv. 17. and then showed by his example to coming generations with whom and against whom it was their duty to go to war. For he made an expedition against Troy,Isoc. 9.16. which was in those days the strongest power in Asia, and so far did he excel in generalship those who at a later time waged war against this same city, that,
while they with the combined strength of Hellas found it difficult to take Troy after a siege which lasted ten years, he, on the other hand, in less than as many days, and with a small expedition, easily took the city by storm. After this, he put to death to a man all the princesChiefs, of barbarian tribes, such as Diomedes, Mygdon, Sarpedon, Busiris, Antaeus. of the tribes who dwelt along the shores of both continentsEurope and Asia. Cf. Isoc. 4.35.; and these he could never have destroyed had he not first conquered their armies. When he had done these things, he set up the Pillars of Heracles, as they are called, to be a trophy of victory over the barbarians, a monument to his own valor and the perils he had surmounted, and to mark the bounds of the territory of the Hellenes.
It is therefore the duty of a man who is high-minded, who is a lover of Hellas, who has a broader vision than the rest of the world, to employ these bands in a war against the barbarians, to strip from that empire all the territory which I defined a moment ago, to deliver these homeless wanderers from the ills by which they are afflicted and which they inflict upon others, to collect them into cities, and with these cities to fix the boundary of Hellas, making of them buffer states to shield us therefore the duty of a man who is high-minded, who is a lover of Hellas, who has a broader vision than the rest of the world, to employ these bands in a war against the barbarians, to strip from that empire all the territory which I defined a moment ago, to deliver these homeless wanderers from the ills by which they are afflicted and which they inflict upon others, to collect them into cities, and with these cities to fix the boundary of Hellas, making of them buffer states to shield us all.
For as things now are, who would not have reason to be amazedFor this and what follows cf. Isoc. 4.133-136. at the turn events have taken and to feel contempt for us, when among the barbarians, whom we have come to look upon as effeminate and unversed in war and utterly degenerate from luxurious living,Persian effeminacy is described at length in Isoc. 4.150 ff. men have arisenDareius, Xerxes. who thought themselves worthy to rule over Hellas, while among the Hellenes no one has aspired so high as to attempt to make us masters of Asia?
Therefore, since the others are so lacking in spirit, I think it is opportune for you to head the war against the King; and, while it is only natural for the other descendants of Heracles, and for men who are under the bonds of their polities and laws, to cleave fondly to that state in which they happen to dwell, it is your privilege, as one who has been blessed with untrammeled freedom,Cf. 14, 15. to consider all Hellas your fatherland,Cf. Isoc. 4.81. as did the founder of your race, and to be as ready to brave perils for her sake as for the things about which you are personally most concerned.