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Our mutual hostility has become so acute that, when I wanted to convey my fleet to the Hellespont, I was compelled to escort it with my army through the Chersonese, because your settlers there were at war with us in accordance with the decree of Polycrates,Unknown; apparently the author of the decree by which the colony was sent out. backed up by your resolutions, and your general was inciting the Byzantines and publicly announcing that your orders were to make war on me, if he got the chance. In spite of this provocation, I kept my hands off the fleets and the territory of your state, though I was strong enough to seize most, if not all, of these, and I have not ceased to appeal to you to have the points in dispute between us settled by arbitration.
My object in moving this decree was to serve Athens, not Philip. Nevertheless these excellent envoys took so little heed of it that they loitered in Macedonia for three whole months, until Philip returned from Thrace, having subdued the whole country; though they might have reached the Hellespont in ten or perhaps in three or four days, and rescued the outposts by receiving the oaths of ratification before Philip captured them. He dared not have touched them in our presence, or we should not have accepted his oath, and so he would have missed his peace, instead of gaining both his objects—peace and the strongholds as well
Even now I will not discuss them. But here was a man annexing Euboea and making it a basis of operations against Attica, attacking Megara, occupying Oreus, demolishing Porthmus, establishing the tyranny of Philistides at Oreus and of Cleitarchus at Eretria, subjugating the Hellespont, besieging Byzantium, destroying some of the Greek cities, reinstating exiled traitors in others: by these acts was he, or was he not, committing injustice, breaking treaty, and violating the terms of peace? Was it, or was it not, right that some man of Grecian race should stand forward to stop those aggressions?
Letter[Philip, King of Macedonia, to the Council and People of Athens, greeting.—Your ambassadors, Cephisophon and Democritus and Polycritus, visited me and discussed the release of the vessels commanded by Leodamas. Now, speaking generally, it seems to me that you will be very simple people if you imagine that I do not know that the vessels were sent ostensibly to convey corn from the Hellespont to Lemnos, but really to help the Selymbrians, who are being besieged by me and are not included in the articles of friendship mutually agreed upon between us.
I will not further ask what was your proper course in those circumstances,—the answer is too obvious. But who sent reinforcements to the Byzantines and delivered them? Who prevented the estrangement of the Hellespont at that crisis? You, men of Athens; and when I say you, I mean the whole city. Who advised the city, moved the resolutions, took action, devoted himself wholeheartedly and without stint to that business
Thus my considered policy was not only successful in delivering the Chersonese and Byzantium, in preventing the subjugation of the Hellespont to Philip, and in bringing distinction to the city, but it exhibited to mankind the noble spirit of Athens and the depravity of Philip. For he, the ally of the Byzantines, was besieging them in the sight of all men: could anything be more discreditable and outrageous?
that, instead of the seat of war being in Attica, it was seven hundred furlongs away on the far side of Boeotia; that, instead of privateers from Euboea harrying us, Attica was at peace on the sea-frontier throughout the war; and that, instead of Philip taking Byzantium and holding the Hellespont, the Byzantines fought on our side against him.
Would they not have told you that we had made Philip a present of our allies? That they had been driven away when they wanted to join us? That through the Byzantines he had gained the mastery of the Hellespont, and control of the corn-supply of all Greece? That by means of the Thebans Attica had become the scene of a distressing war with her own neighbors? That the sea had become useless for ships because of privateers with Euboea for their base? Would they not have made all those complaints, and plenty more?
When the peace of Philocrates, which Aeschines supported in a speech, had been concluded, Philip's ambassadors accepted the oaths, and departed. So far no fatal mischief had been done. The peace was, indeed, discreditable and unworthy of Athens—but then we were going to get those wonderful advantages in exchange. I at once called upon you, and told the envoys, to sail for the Hellespont as speedily as possible, and not to abandon, or allow Philip to seize and hold, any of the positions there in the meantime