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Do not be surprised, Philip, that I am going to begin, not with the discourse which is to be addressed to you and which is presently to be brought to your attention, but with that which I have written about Amphipolis.Amphipolis, a city in Macedonia near the mouth of the Strymon river, conquered and colonized by Athenians in 437 B.C. It was taken by Philip in 358 B.C., but the war with Athens was delayed until Philip seized Potidaea, 356 B.C. For I desire to say a few words, by way of preface, about this question, in order that I may make it clear to you as well as to the rest of the world that it was not in a moment of folly that I undertook to write my address to you, nor because I am under any misapprehension as to the infirmityIsocrates had now passed his ninetieth birthday. which now besets me, but that I was led advisedly and deliberately to this resolution.
More than that, he has about him the ablest men in Macedonia, who, however inexperienced they may be in other matters, are likely to know better than you do what is expedient for him. Furthermore, you will find that there are many Hellenes living in his country, who are not unknown to fame or lacking in intelligence, but men by sharing whose counsel he has not diminished his kingdom but has, on the contrary, accomplished deeds which match his dreams.
For what is lacking to complete his success? Has he not converted the Thessalians, whose power formerly extended over Macedonia, into an attitude so friendly to him that every Thessalian has more confidence in him than in his own fellow countrymen? And as to the cities which are in that region, has he not drawn some of them by his benefactions into an alliance with him; and others, which sorely tried him, has he not razed to the ground?
Now you will realize that it is not becoming in you to disregard any of these cities if you will review their conduct in relation to your ancestors; for you will find that each one of them is to be credited with great friendship and important services to your house: Argos is the land of your fathers,Perdiccas I., the founder of the Argive dynasty in Macedonia, was, according to Hdt. 8.137, a descendant of the Argive hero Temenus. See also Hdt. 5.22 and Grote, Hist. iii. p. 432. and is entitled to as much consideration at your hands as are your own ancestors; the Thebans honor the founderHeracles. See General Introd. p. xli. of your race, both by processionals and by sacrifices,At the “Festival of Heracles.” Xen. Hell. 6.4.7; Dio. Sic. 15.53. beyond all the other go
Now if Alcibiades in exile, and Conon after a disastrous defeat, and Dionysius, a man of no repute, and Cyrus, with his pitiable start in life, advanced so far and achieved such mighty deeds, how can we fail to expect that you, who are sprung from such ancestors, who are king of Macedonia and master of so many peoples, will effect with ease this union which we have discussed?
Similar to this was the career of Amyntas, king of the Macedonians. Worsted in battle by the neighboring barbarians, and robbed of all Macedonia, he at first proposed to quit the country and save his life, but hearing someone praise the remark made to Dionysius, and, like Dionysius, repenting of his decision, Amyntas seized a small fortified post, sent out thence for reinforcements, recovered the whole of Macedonia within three months, spent the remainder of his days on the throne, and finallyuit the country and save his life, but hearing someone praise the remark made to Dionysius, and, like Dionysius, repenting of his decision, Amyntas seized a small fortified post, sent out thence for reinforcements, recovered the whole of Macedonia within three months, spent the remainder of his days on the throne, and finally died of old age.Amyntas, defeated by the Illyrians, won such a victory in 393 B.C. See Dio. Sic. 14.92.3. Amyntas was father of Philip, and reigned from 394 to 370 B.C.