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[3arg] What the orator Aeschines, in the speech in which he accused Timarchus of unchastity, said that the Lacedaemonians decided about the praiseworthy suggestion of a most unpraiseworthy man

AESCHINES, the most acute and sagacious of the orators who gained renown in the Athenian assemblies, in that cruel, slanderous and virulent speech in which he severely and directly accused Timarchus of unchastity, says that a man of advanced years and high character, a leader in that State, once gave noble and distinguished counsel to the Lacedaemonians.

“The people of Lacedaemon,” he says, 1 “were deliberating as to what was honourable and expedient in a matter of great moment to their State. [p. 305] Then there arose, for the purpose of giving his opinion, a man notorious for the baseness of his past life, but at the same time highly eminent for his eloquence and oratory. The advice which he gave, and the course which he said ought to be followed, were approved and accepted by all, and a decree of the people was about to be passed in accordance with his opinion. Thereupon one of that body of leading citizens whom the Lacedaemonians, because of the prestige of their age and rank, reverenced as judges and directors of public policy, 2 sprang up in a spirit of anger and vexation, and said: ' What prospect, Lacedaemonians, or what hope, pray, will there be that this city and this State can longer be secure and invincible, if we follow counsellors whose past life is like that of this man? Even if this advice is honourable and noble, let us not, I pray you, allow it to be disgraced by the pollution of its most shameful author.' And when he had said this, he selected a man conspicuous before all others for his courage and justice, but a poor speaker and without eloquence, and bade him, with the consent and at the request of all, to deliver that opinion of the eloquent man in the best language he could command, in order that, without mention of the former speaker, the vote and decree of the people might be passed under the name of him alone who had last made that proposition. And the action which that most sagacious old man had recommended was taken. So the good advice endured, but its base author was displaced.”

[p. 307]

1 In Timarch. 180.

2 Cf. Cic. De Senectute, 20, apud Lacedaemonios quidem ii qui amplissimum magistratum geruiit, ut sunt, sic etiam nominantur, senes, referring to the γερουσία.

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