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When Charondes was archon at Athens, Lucius Aemilius and Gaius Plautius succeeded to the consulship.2 In this year, Philip the king, having won most of the Greeks over to friendship with him, was ambitious to gain the uncontested leadership of Greece by terrifying the Athenians into submission.3 [2] Therefore he suddenly seized the city of Elateia, concentrated his forces there and adopted a policy of war with Athens. He expected to have no trouble in defeating them, since their reliance on the existing peace treaty4 made them unprepared for hostilities; and that is how it worked out. For after Elateia had been occupied, persons came at night to Athens reporting the occupation and stating that Philip would march immediately into Attica with his army.5 [3] Taken aback by this unexpected development, the Athenian generals summoned the trumpeters and ordered them to keep blowing the alarm signal the whole night through.

The news spread into every household and the city was tense with terror, and at dawn the whole people flocked to the theatre even before the archons had made their customary proclamation. [4] When the generals came and introduced the messenger and he had told his story, silence and terror gripped the assembly and none of the usual speakers dared propose a course of action. Again and again the herald called for someone to speak for the common safety, but no one came forward with a proposal. [5] In utter perplexity and dismay, the crowd kept their eyes on Demosthenes. Finally he came down from his seat, and bidding the people take heart gave it as his opinion that they must straightway send envoys to Thebes and invite the Boeotians to join them to make a struggle for freedom. There was no time to send envoys to their other allies6 invoking the treaties of alliance, since in two days the king could be expected to enter Attica. As his way led through Boeotia, the support of the Boeotians was their only recourse, especially since Philip was at that time the friend and ally of the Boeotians and would evidently try to take them along as he marched past to the war against Athens.

1 338/7 B.C.

2 Chaerondes was archon at Athens from July 338 to June 337 B.C. The consuls of 341 B.C. were L. Aemilius Mamercinus Privernas and C. Plautius Venno (Broughton, 1.134).

3 Continued from chap. 77.3. These events are briefly noted in Justin 9.3.

4 This is consistent with Diodorus's statement in chap. 77.3, that peace was concluded on the abandonment of the siege of Byzantium. Actually, the situation seems to have been just the reverse: Athens denounced the Peace of Philocrates at that time.

5 This narrative follows and must ultimately derive from Dem. 18.169-178.

6 These are listed by Dem. 18.237 as Euboea, Achaia, Corinth, Megara, Leucas, and Corcyra. Aeschin. 3.97 mentions Acarnania also.

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  • Cross-references to this page (1):
    • Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854), ELATEIA
  • Cross-references in notes from this page (3):
    • Aeschines, Against Ctesiphon, 97
    • Demosthenes, On the Crown, 169
    • Demosthenes, On the Crown, 237
  • Cross-references in general dictionaries to this page (1):
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