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17. Again, when Demosthenes was heaping abuse upon Alexander, who was already advancing against Thebes, Phocion said: ‘‘Rash one, why dost thou seek to provoke a man who is savage,’1 and is reaching out after great glory? Canst thou wish, when so great a conflagration is near, to fan the city into flame? But I, who am bearing the burdens of command with this object in view, will not suffer these fellow citizens of mine to perish even if that is their desire.’ [2] And when Thebes had been destroyed2 and Alexander was demanding the surrender of Demosthenes, Lycurgus, Hypereides, Charidemus, and others, and the assembly turned their eyes upon Phocion and called upon him many times by name, he rose up, and drawing to his side one of his friends, whom he always cherished, trusted, and loved most of all, he said: ‘These men have brought the city to such a pass that I, for my part, even if this Nicocles should be demanded, would urge you to give him up. [3] For if I might die myself in behalf of you all, I should deem it a piece of good fortune for me. And I feel pity,’ said he, ‘men of Athens, for those also who have fled hither from Thebes; but it is enough that the Greeks should have the fate of Thebes to mourn. Therefore it is better to supplicate and try to persuade the victors for both you and them, and not to fight.’

[4] Well, then, we are told that when Alexander got the first decree which the Athenians passed, he cast it from him and ran with averted face from the envoys; the second, however, he accepted, because it was brought by Phocion, and because he heard from the older Macedonians that Philip also used to admire this man. And he not only consented to meet Phocion and hear his petition, but actually listened to his counsels. And Phocion counselled him, if he sought quiet, to make an end of the war; but if glory, to transfer the war, and turn his arms away from Greece against the Barbarians. [5] And by saying many things that suited well with Alexander's nature and desires he so far changed and softened his feelings that he advised the Athenians to give close attention to their affairs, since, if anything should happen to him, the leadership of Greece would properly fall to them.3 In private, too, he made Phocion his friend and guest, and showed him greater honour than most of his constant associates enjoyed. [6] At any rate, Duris writes that after Alexander had become great and had conquered Dareius, he dropped from his letters the word of salutation, ‘chairein,’ except whenever he was writing to Phocion; him alone, like Antipater, he used to address with the word ‘chairein.’ This is the testimony of Chares also.

1 Odyssey, ix. 494, Odysseus, to a companion, of Polyphemus the Cyclops.

2 In 335 B.C.

3 Cf. the Alexander, xiii. 2.

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    • Homer, Odyssey, 9.494
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