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12. Well, then, he set out to engage in public matters after the Phocian war1 had broken out, as he himself says,2 and as it is possible to gather from his Philippic harangues. For some of these were made after the Phocian war was already ended, and the earliest of them touch upon affairs which were closely connected with it. And it is clear that when he prepared himself to speak in the prosecution of Meidias3 he was thirty-two years old, but had as yet no power or reputation in the conduct of the city's affairs. [2] And his fears on this score were the chief reason, in my opinion, why he compromised his case against the man he hated for a sum of money:
For he was not at all a sweet-tempered man or
of gentle mood,
4 but vehement and violent in his requitals. However, seeing that it was no mean task and one beyond his power to overthrow a man like Meidias, who was well hedged about with wealth, oratory and friends, he yielded to those who interceded in his behalf. [3] For it does not seem to me that the three thousand drachmas of themselves could have dulled the bitter feelings of Demosthenes if he had expected or felt able to triumph over his adversary.

But when he had once taken as a noble basis for his political activity the defence of the Greeks against Philip, and was contending worthily here, he quickly won a reputation and was lifted into a conspicuous place by the boldness of his speeches, so that he was admired in Greece, and treated with deference by the Great King; [4] Philip, too, made more account of him than of any other popular leader at Athens, and it was admitted even by those who hated him that they had to contend with a man of mark. For both Aeschines and Hypereides say thus much for him while denouncing him.

1 357-346 B.C.

2 On the Crown, § 18.

3 About 350 B.C. The speech ‘Aganinst Meidias’ (Or. xxi.) was never delivered. See § 154.

4 IIiad, xx. 467, of Achilles.

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hide References (4 total)
  • Cross-references to this page (1):
  • Cross-references in notes from this page (3):
    • Demosthenes, On the Crown, 18
    • Demosthenes, Against Midias, 154
    • Homer, Iliad, 20.467
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