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For you, Demosthenes, fabricated these charges against me, but I will tell my story, as I was taught to do from childhood, truthfully. Yonder is my father, Atrometus; there are few older men among all the citizens, for he is now ninety-four years old. When he was a young man, before the war destroyed his property, he was so fortunate as to be an athlete; banished by the Thirty, he served as a soldier in Asia, and in danger he showed himself a man; by birth he was of the phratryEach of the four Athenian tribes was divided into three phratries. Under the democracy these groups of families had only religious functions. Each phratry had its own place of worship. that uses the same altars as the Eteobutadae, from whom the priestess of Athena Polias comes; and he helped in the restoration of the democracy, as I said a little while ago.See Aeschin. 2.78.
But see from the following how the facts tally with the charge. For if Demosthenes had been bent on war with Alexander, as he claims to have been, or had any thought of it, three of the best opportunities in the world have been offered to him, and, as you see, he has not seized one of them. One, the first, was when Alexander, newly come to the throne, and not yet fairly settled in his personal affairs, crossed into Asia. The king of Persia was at the height of his power then, with ships and money and troops,and he would gladly have received us into his alliance because of the dangers that were threatening him. But did you, Demosthenes, at that time say a word? Did you move a decree? Shall I assume that you followed your natural disposition and were frightened? And yet the public opportunity waits not for the orator's fears.
How great is this imposture, I will try to show you by a signal proof. Not long before Alexander crossed over into Asia, the king of the Persians sent to our people a most insolent and barbarous letter, in which everything was expressed in the most ill-mannered terms; and at the close he wrote, “I will not give you gold; stop asking me for it; you will not get it
Does it not seem to you to be an outrage if the senate-house and the people are coming to be ignored, while the letters and ambassadors come to private houses, sent hither not by ordinary men, but by the first men of Asia and Europe? And deeds the legal penalty for which is death, these deeds certain men do not deny, but acknowledge them before the people; and they read their letters to one another and compare them. And some of them bid you look into their faces as being guardians of the democracy, and others call for rewards as being saviours of the state.
And mark well the occasion on which you are casting your vote. A few days hence the Pythian games are to be celebrated and the synod of Hellas assembled. Our city is already the object of slander in consequence of the policies of Demosthenes in connection with the present critical situation.The recent revolt of Sparta against Macedonia and the present brilliant success of Alexander in Asia made the situation especially critical for Greece so far as any thought of opposition to Macedon was still cherished. It might well be expected that at the coming meeting of the Amphictyonic Council, or at a special synod of delegates from the Greek states held at the time of the Pythian games, complaint would be brought by the Macedonians against the Spartans and those who had encouraged them in breaking the peace. If you crown him, you will seem to be in sympathy with those who violate the general peace, whereas if you do the opposite, you will free the people from these charges.
Now the whole earth cries aloud in lamentation; . . . lament the greatness of the glory of your time-hallowed honor,the honor that was yours and your brother's; and all mortals who make their dwelling place in holy Asia share the anguish of your most lamentable suffering;
Chorus The fiery lord of populous Asiais leading his wondrous warrior-flock against the whole earth in two divisions, on foot and by the sea, putting his trust in his stalwart and stern commanders; he himself,a god-like hero whose race is sprung from gold.The hero Perseus, here regarded as the ancestor of Xerxes, and in l. 146 as giving his name to the whole Persian race, was the son of Zeus, who descended to Danae in a shower of gold.
Messenger O cities of all the land of Asia,O realm of Persia, and bounteous haven of wealth, at a single stroke all your plenteous prosperity has been shattered, and the flower of the Persians has fallen and perished! Ah, it is a terrible task to be the first to deliver news of disaster. And yet, Persians, I must relate the entirety of the calamity—the whole barbarian host is los