But Demosthenes put a bold face on the matter and introduced a bill providing that the case should be referred for investigation to the council of the Areiopagus, and that those should be brought to trial who were found guilty there. He was himself, however, among the first condemned by the council, and came before the court for trial, where he was sentenced to a fine of fifty talents and delivered over to prison in default of payment.
But out of shame at the charge under which he lay, as he says,1
and owing to the weakness of his body, which could not endure confinement, he ran away, through the carelessness of some of his keepers and the connivance of others. At any rate, we are told that when he was in flight at a short distance from the city, he learned that some of the citizens who were his enemies were in pursuit of him, and therefore wished to hide himself;
and when they called upon him loudly by name, and came up near to him, and begged him to accept from them provision for his journey, declaring that they were bringing money from home for this very purpose, and were pursuing him only in order to get it to him; and when at the same time they exhorted him to be of good courage and not to be pained at what had happened, Demosthenes broke out all the more into cries of grief, saying:
‘Surely I must be distressed to leave a city where my enemies are as generous as I can hardly find friends to be in another.’
And he bore his exile without fortitude, taking up his quarters in Aegina and Troezen for the most part, and looking off towards Attica with tears in his eyes, so that utterances of his are on record which are not generous or consonant with his spirited efforts as a statesman. We are told, namely, that as he was leaving the city he lifted up his hands towards the acropolis and said:
‘O potent Guardian of the City, Athena, how, pray, canst thou take delight in those three most intractable beasts, the owl, the serpent, and the people?’
Moreover, when young men came to visit and converse with him, he would try to deter them from public life, saying that if two roads had been presented to him in the beginning, one leading to the bema and the assembly, and the other straight to destruction, and if he could have known beforehand the evils attendant on a public career, namely, fears, hatreds, calumnies and contentions, he would have taken that road which led directly to death.