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What then is the cause of this? For not without reason, not without just cause, the Greeks of old were as eager for freedom as their descendants today are for slavery. There was something, men of Athens, something which animated the mass of the Greeks but which is lacking now, something which triumphed over the wealth of Persia, which upheld the liberties of Hellas, which never lost a single battle by sea or land, something the decay of which has ruined everything and brought our affairs to a state of chaos. And what was that?
[It was nothing recondite or subtle, but simply that] men who took bribes from those who wished to rule Greece or ruin her, were hated by all, and it was the greatest calamity to be convicted of receiving a bribe, and such a man was punished with the utmost severity [and no intercession, no pardon was allowed].
Now, however, all these things have been sold in open market, and in place of them we have imported vices which have infected Greece with a mortal sickness. And what are those vices? Envy of the man who has secured his gains; contempt for him who confesses; [pardon for those who are convicted;] hatred for him who censures such dealings; and every other vice that goes hand in hand with corruption.
Of our present difficulties and of the existing confusion the causes are many and of long standing, but if you are willing to hear them, I am ready to speak. Men of Athens, you have deserted the post in which your ancestors left you; you have been persuaded by politicians of this sort that to be paramount in Greece, to possess a standing force, and to help all the oppressed, is a superfluous task and an idle expense; while you fondly imagined that to live in peace, to neglect all your duties, to abandon all your possessions and let others seize them one by one, ensured wonderful prosperity and complete security.
For a market or a fair might be judged on such evidence to be well or ill stocked; but a city, which every aspirant to the rule of Greece has regarded as his only possible opponent and as champion of the freedom of all, must surely not be tested by her market-stuff to see whether all is well with her, but by her ability to trust the loyalty of her allies, by her strength in ams—these are the qualities that you must look for in the city; and these in your case are all untrustworthy and unsound
You will understand it if you look at it in this way. When have the affairs of Greece been in the greatest confusion? For no other occasion than the present could possibly be named by anyone. All during the past Greece was divided into two camps, the Lacedaemonians' and ours, and of the other Greeks some took their orders from us, others from them. The king of Persia, in himself, was equally distrGreece was divided into two camps, the Lacedaemonians' and ours, and of the other Greeks some took their orders from us, others from them. The king of Persia, in himself, was equally distrusted by all, but by taking up the cause of the losing side in the struggle, he retained their confidence until he could put them on an equality with the others; but thereafter he was no less hated by those he had saved than by those who had been his enemies from the beginning.
Then 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.
But 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,
But if you imagine that Greece will be saved by Chalcidians or Megarians, while you run away from the task, you are wrong. For they may think themselves lucky if they can save themselves separately. But this is a task for you; it was for you that your ancestors won this proud privilege and bequeathed it to you at great and manifold risk.