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To Heracleodorus

1 Demosthenes sends his good wishes to Heracleodorus.

I am at a loss to know whether I ought to believe or disbelieve the news that Menecrates brings me. For he said that information had been laid against Epitimus, that Aratus2 had taken him to prison and that you were supporting the prosecution and were the most uncompromising of all toward him. I do beseech you in the name of Zeus the god of friendship and by all the gods not to get me involved in any disagreeable and embarrassing predicament. [2] For be well assured that, apart from my concern for the safety of Epitimus and my belief that it will be a great misfortune if anything should happen to him and you should be partly responsible for it, I am ashamed to face people who are familiar with the reports I have been making to everybody concerning yourself. I was convinced that I spoke the truth, not because I possessed confirmation from having associated with you, [3] but because I observed that, while gaining some renown, you were also glad to have an education, and that too in the school of Plato, the one that really has nothing to do with getting the better of people and the quackeries3 that concern themselves with this, but has been demonstrated to aim at the highest excellence and perfect justice in all things. By the gods I swear that it is impious for a man who has shared in this instruction not to be free from all deception and honest in all dealings. [4] It would also be to me one of the most grievous disappointments if, after having started out to feel friendly toward you, I should be compelled to take the opposite decision instead, and if I assume that I have been slighted and deceived, even if I shall deny it, believe me, it will be so. [5] If you have looked down upon us because we are not yet among the foremost men,4 reflect that you too were once a young man of the same age as we are now, and that you have reached your present position through speech and action in public life. Such success may attend me also. For deliberative oratory I have mastered already5 and, with Fortune lending a hand, the practical experience also may follow. [6]

Now a fine tribute, a just return.6 Please make me this recompense. Neither allow yourself to be led by one of those whose judgement is inferior to your own nor submit to them, but try to bring those men around to your way of thinking, and so conduct yourself that we may not have to give up any of our judgements of you that were assumed to be true, but that for Epitimus some deliverance may be found and release from his perils. I too shall be on hand at whatever time you shall say is the fitting moment. Send me a written message or rather command me as a friend. Farewell.

1 Schaefer judges the evidence against the genuineness of these last two letters to be decisive. If this one be genuine, it must be assumed that Heracleodorus is a citizen of some neighboring city, such as Corinth, because Demosthenes would have no need to write to a fellow-citizen of Athens.

2 The persons here named are citizens of some neighboring city and otherwise unknown.

3 The reference is to the sophists, professional teachers who undertook to prepare their pupils for worldly success.

4 If the letter is genuine, this evidence of date would point approximately to 355 B.C. The First Philippic was delivered in 351.

5 Deinarchus in Din. 1.35 may be making a taunting reference to this boast.

6 This looks like a proverbial expression. The reference is either to a favor conferred by Demosthenes and not mentioned here or to the good opinion he claims to have expressed.

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  • Cross-references in notes from this page (1):
    • Dinarchus, Against Demosthenes, 35
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