- Art Gallery -

 

.


Introduction.

After the fall of Olynthus in 348, the Athenians, on the
proposal of Eubulus, sent embassies to the Greek States in the Peloponnese and
elsewhere, to invite them to join in a coalition against Philip. Aeschines went
for this purpose to Megalopolis, and did his best to counteract Philip's
influence in Arcadia. When the embassies proved unsuccessful, it became clear
that peace must be made on such terms as were possible. Philip himself was
anxious for peace, since he wished to cross the Pass of Thermopylae without such
opposition from Athens as he had encountered in 352, and to be free from the
attacks of hostile ships upon his ports. Even before the fall of Olynthus,
informal communications passed between himself and Athens (see Speech on
Embassy, Sec.Sec. 12, 94, 315); and in consequence of these, Philocrates proposed and
the Assembly passed a decree, under which ten ambassadors were appointed to go
to Philip and invite him to send plenipotentiaries to Athens to conclude a
peace. Demosthenes (who had strongly supported Philocrates) was among the ten,
as well as Aeschines and Philocrates himself. Delighted with Philip's reception
of them, and greatly attracted by his personality, the ambassadors returned with
a letter from him, promising in general terms to confer great benefits upon
Athens, if he were granted alliance as well as peace: in the meantime he
undertook not to interfere with the towns allied to Athens in the Chersonese.
Demosthenes proposed (in the Council, of which he was a member in the year 347-
346) the usual complimentary resolution in honour of the ambassadors, and on his
motion it was resolved to hold two meetings of the Assembly, on the 18th and
19th of the month Elaphebolion (i.e. probably just after the middle of April
346), when Philip's envoys would have arrived, to discuss the terms of peace.
The envoys--Antipater, Parmenio, and Eurylochus--reached Athens shortly after
this; and before the first of the two meetings was held, the Synod of the allies
of Athens, now assembled in the city, agreed to peace on such terms as the
Athenian people should decide, but added a proposal that it should be permitted
to any Greek State to become a party to the Peace within three months. They said
nothing of alliance. Of the two meetings of the Assembly, in view of the
conflicting statements of Demosthenes and Aeschines, only a probable account can
be given. At the first, Philocrates proposed that alliance as well as peace
should be made by Athens and her allies with Philip and his allies, on the
understanding that both parties should keep what they _de facto_ possessed--a
provision entailing the renunciation by Athens of Amphipolis and Poteidaea; but
that the Phocians and the people of Halus should be excluded. Aeschines opposed
this strongly; and both he and Demosthenes claim to have supported the
resolution of the allies, which would have given the excluded peoples a chance
of sharing the advantage of the Peace. The feeling of the Assembly was with
them, although the Phocians had recently insulted the Athenians by declining to
give up to Proxenus (the Athenian admiral) the towns guarding the approaches to
Thermopylae, which they had themselves offered to place in the hands of Athens.
But Philocrates obtained the postponement of the decision till the next day. On
the next day, if not before, it became plain that Philip's envoys would not
consent to forgo the exclusion of the Phocians and Halus; but in order that the
Assembly might be induced to pass the resolution, the clause expressly excluding
them was dropped, and peace and alliance were made between Athens and Philip,
each with their allies.[n] Even this was not secured before Aeschines and his
friends had deprecated rash attempts to imitate the exploits of antiquity by
continuing the war, and had explained that Philip could not openly accept the
Phocians as allies, but that when the Peace was concluded, he would satisfy all
the wishes of the Athenians in every way; while Eubulus threatened the people
with immediate war, involving personal service and heavy taxation, unless they
accepted Philocrates' decree. A few days afterwards the Athenians and the
representatives of the allies took the oath to observe the Peace: nothing was
said about the Phocians and Halus: Cersobleptes' representative was probably not
permitted to swear with the rest. The same ten ambassadors as before were
instructed to receive Philip's oath, and the oaths of his allies, to arrange for
the ransom of prisoners, and generally to treat with Philip in the interests of
Athens. Demosthenes urged his colleagues (and obtained an instruction from the
Council to this effect) to sail at once, in order that Philip, who was now in
Thrace, might not make conquests at the expense of Athens before ratifying the
Peace; but they delayed at Oreus, went by land, instead of under the escort of
Proxenus by sea, and only reached Pella (the Macedonian capital) twenty-three
days after leaving Athens. Philip did not arrive for twenty-seven days more. By
this time he had taken Cersobleptes prisoner, and captured Serrhium, Doriscus,
and other Thracian towns, which were held by Athenian troops sent to assist
Cersobleptes. Demosthenes was now openly at variance with his colleagues. He had
no doubt realized the necessity of peace, but probably regarded the exclusion of
the Phocians as unwarrantable, and thought that the policy of his colleagues
must end in Philip's conquest of all Greece. At Pella he occupied himself in
negotiations for the ransom of prisoners. After taking the oath, Philip kept the
ambassadors with him until he had made all preparations for his march southward,
and during this time he played with them and with the envoys from the other
Greek States who were present at the same time. His intention of marching to
Thermopylae was clear; but he seems to have led all alike to suppose that he
would fulfil their particular wishes when he had crossed the Pass. The
ambassadors accompanied him to Pherae, where the oath was taken by the
representatives of Philip's allies; the Phocians, Halus, and Cersobleptes were
excluded from the Peace. (Halus was taken by Philip's army shortly afterwards.)
The ambassadors of Athens then returned homewards, bearing a letter from Philip,
but did not arrive at Athens before Philip had reached Thermopylae. On their
return Demosthenes denounced them before the Council, which refused them the
customary compliments, and (on Demosthenes' motion) determined to propose to the
people that Proxenus with his squadron should be ordered to go to the aid of the
Phocians and to prevent Philip from crossing the Pass. When the Assembly met on
the 16th of Scirophorion (shortly before the middle of July), Aeschines rose
first, and announced in glowing terms the intention of Philip to turn round upon
Thebes and to re-establish Thespiae and Plataeae; and hinted at the restoration
to Athens of Euboea and Oropus. Then Philip's letter was read, containing no
promises, but excusing the delay of the ambassadors as due to his own request.
The Assembly was elated at the promises announced by Aeschines; Demosthenes'
attempt to contradict the announcement failed; and on Philocrates' motion, it
was resolved to extend the Peace and alliance with Philip to posterity, and to
declare that if the Phocians refused to surrender the Temple of Delphi to the
Amphictyons, Athens would take steps against those responsible for the refusal.
Demosthenes refused to serve on the Embassy appointed to convey this resolution
to Philip: Aeschines was appointed, but was too ill to start. The ambassadors
set out, but within a few days returned with the news that the Phocian army had
surrendered to Philip (its leader, Phalaecus, and his troops being allowed to
depart to the Peloponnese). The surrender had perhaps been accelerated by the
news of the Athenian resolution. The Assembly, in alarm lest Philip should march
southwards, now resolved to take measures of precaution and defence, and to send
the same ambassadors to Philip, to do what they could. They went, Aeschines
among them, and arrived in the midst of the festivities with which Philip was
celebrating the success of his plans. The invitation which Philip sent to
Athens--to send a force to join his own, and to assist in settling the affairs
of Phocis--was (on Demosthenes' advice) declined by the Assembly; and soon
afterwards another letter from Philip expressed surprise at the unfriendly
attitude taken up by the Athenians towards him. Philip next summoned the
Amphictyonic Council (the legitimate guardians of the Delphian Temple, on whose
behalf the Thebans and Thessalians, aided by Philip, were now at war with the
Phocians): and the Council, in the absence of many of its members, resolved to
transfer the votes of the Phocians in the Council-meeting to Philip, to break up
the Phocian towns into villages, disarming their inhabitants and taking away
their horses, to require them to repay the stolen treasure to the temple by
instalments, and to pronounce a curse upon those actually guilty of sacrilege,
which would render them liable to arrest anywhere. The destructive part of the
sentence was rigorously executed by the Thebans. In order to punish the former
supporters of the Phocians, the right to precedence in consulting the oracle was
transferred from Athens to Philip, by order of the Council, and the Spartans
were excluded from the temple: Orchomenus and Coroneia were destroyed and their
inhabitants enslaved; and Thebes became absolute mistress of all Boeotia. The
Pythian games (at Delphi) in September 346 were celebrated under Philip's
presidency; but both Sparta and Athens refused to send the customary deputation
to them, and Philip accordingly sent envoys to Athens, along with
representatives of the Amphictyons, to demand recognition for himself as an
Amphictyonic power. Aeschines supported the demand, his argument being
apparently to the effect that Philip had been forced to act as he had done by
the Thebans and Thessalians; but the Assembly was very angry at the results (as
they seemed to be) of Aeschines' diplomacy and the calamities of the Phocians;
and it was only when Demosthenes, in the Speech on the Peace, advised
compliance, that they were persuaded to give way. To have refused would have
brought the united forces of the Amphictyonic States against Athens: and these
she could not have resisted. It was therefore prudent to keep the Peace, though
Demosthenes evidently regarded it only as an armistice.


{1} I see, men of Athens, that our present situation is one of great perplexity
and confusion, for not only have many of our interests been sacrificed, so that
it is of no use to make eloquent speeches about them; but even as regards what
still remains to us, there is no general agreement in any single point as to
what is expedient: some hold one view, and some another. {2} Perplexing,
moreover, and difficult as deliberation naturally is, men of Athens, you have
made it far more difficult. For while all the rest of mankind are in the habit
of resorting to deliberation before the event, you do not do so until
afterwards: and consequently, during the whole time that falls within my memory,
however high a reputation for eloquence one who upbraids you for all your errors
may enjoy, the desired results and the objects of your deliberation pass out of
your grasp. {3} And yet I believe--and it is because I have convinced myself of
this that I have risen--that if you resolve to abandon all clamour and
contention, as becomes men who are deliberating on behalf of their country upon
so great an issue, I shall be able to describe and recommend measures to you, by
which the situation may be improved, and what we have sacrificed, recovered.

{4} Now although I know perfectly well, men of Athens, that to speak to you
about one's own earlier speeches, and about oneself, is a practice which is
always extremely repaying, I feel the vulgarity and offensiveness of it so
strongly, that I shrink from it even when I see that it is necessary. I think,
however, that you will form a better judgement on the subject on which I am
about to speak, if I remind you of some few of the things which I have said on
certain previous occasions. {5} In the first place, men of Athens, when at the
time of the disturbances in Euboea[n] you were being urged to assist Plutarchus,
and to undertake an inglorious and costly campaign, I came forward first and
unsupported to oppose this action, and was almost torn in pieces by those who
for the sake of their own petty profits had induced you to commit many grave
errors: and when only a short time had elapsed, along with the shame which you
incurred and the treatment which you received--treatment such as no people in
the world ever before experienced at the hands of those whom they went to
assist--there came the recognition by all of you of the baseness of those who
had urged you to this course, and of the excellence of my own advice. {6} Again,
men of Athens, I observed that Neoptolemus[n] the actor, who was allowed freedom
of movement everywhere on the ground of his profession, and was doing the city
the greatest mischief, was managing and directing your communications with
Philip in Philip's own interest: and I came forward and informed you; and that,
not to gratify any private dislike or desire to misrepresent him, as subsequent
events have made plain. {7} And in this case I shall not, as before, throw the
blame on any speakers or defenders of Neoptolemus--indeed, he had no defenders;
it is yourselves that I blame. For had you been watching rival tragedies in the
theatre, instead of discussing the vital interests of a whole State, you could
not have listened with more partiality towards him, or more prejudice against
me. {8} And yet, I believe, you have all now realized that though, according to
his own assertion, this visit to the enemy's country was paid in order that he
might get in the debts owing to him there, and return with funds to perform his
public service[n] here; though he was always repeating the statement that it was
monstrous to accuse those who were transferring their means from Macedonia to
Athens; yet, when the Peace had removed all danger, he converted his real estate
here into money, and took himself off with it to Philip. {9} These then are two
events which I have foretold--events which, because their real character was
exactly and faithfully disclosed by me, are a testimony to the speeches which I
have delivered. A third, men of Athens, was the following; and when I have given
you this one instance, I will immediately proceed to the subject on which I have
come forward to speak. When we returned from the Embassy, after receiving from
Philip his oath to maintain the Peace, {10} there were some[n] who promised that
Thespiae and Plataeae[n] would be repeopled, and said that if Philip became
master of the situation, he would save the Phocians, and would break up the city
of Thebes into villages; that Oropus would be yours, and that Euboea would be
restored to you in place of Amphipolis--with other hopes and deceptions of the
same kind, by which you were seduced into sacrificing the Phocians in a manner
that was contrary to your interest and perhaps to your honour also. But as for
me, you will find that neither had I any share in this deception, nor yet did I
hold my peace. On the contrary, I warned you plainly, as, I know you remember,
that _I_ had no knowledge and no expectations of this kind, and that I regarded
such statements as nonsense.

{11} All these plain instances of superior foresight on my part, men of Athens,
I shall not ascribe to any cleverness, any boasted merits, of my own. I will not
pretend that my foreknowledge and discernment are due to any causes but such as
I will name; and they are two. The first, men of Athens, is that good fortune,
which, I observe, is more powerful than all the cleverness and wisdom on earth.
{12} The second is the fact that my judgement and reasoning are disinterested.
No one can point to any personal gain in connexion with my public acts and
words: and therefore I see what is to our interest undistorted, in the light in
which the actual facts reveal it. But when you throw money into one scale of the
balance, its weight carries everything with it; your judgement is instantly
dragged down with it, and one who has acted so can no longer think soundly or
healthily about anything.

{13} Now there is one primary condition which must be observed by any one who
would furnish the city with allies or contributions or anything else--he must do
it without breaking the existing Peace: not because the Peace is at all
admirable or creditable to you, but because, whatever its character, it would
have been better, in the actual circumstances, that it should never have been
made, than that having been made, it should now be broken through our action.
For we have sacrificed many advantages which we possessed when we made it, and
which would have rendered the war safer and easier for us then than it is now.
{14} The second condition, men of Athens, is that we shall not draw on these
self-styled Amphictyons,[n] who are now assembled, until they have an
irresistible or a plausible reason for making a united war against us. My own
belief is that if war broke out again between ourselves and Philip about
Amphipolis or any such claim of our own, in which the Thessalians and Argives
and Thebans had no interest, none of these peoples would go to war against us,
least of all--{15} and let no one raise a clamour before he hears what I have to
say--least of all the Thebans; not because they are in any pleasant mood towards
us; not because they would not be glad to gratify Philip; but because they know
perfectly well, however stupid one may think them,[n] that if war springs up
between themselves and you, _they_ will get all the hardships of war for their
share, while another will sit by, waiting to secure all the advantages; and they
are not likely to sacrifice themselves for such a prospect, unless the origin
and the cause of the war are such as concern all alike. {16} Nor again should
we, in my opinion, suffer at all, if we went to war with Thebes on account of
Oropus[n] or any other purely Athenian interest. For I believe that while those
who would assist ourselves or the Thebans would give their aid if their ally's
own country were invaded, they would not join either in an offensive campaign.
For this is the manner of alliances--such, at least, as are worth considering;
and the relationship is naturally of this kind. {17} The goodwill of each ally--
whether it be towards ourselves or towards the Thebans--does not imply the same
interest in our conquest of others as in our existence. Our continued existence
they would all desire for their own sakes; but none of them would wish that
through conquest either of us should become their own masters. What is it then
that I regard with apprehension? What is it that we must guard against? I fear
lest a common pretext should be supplied for the coming war, a common charge
against us, which will appeal to all alike. {18} For if the Argives[n] and
Messenians and Megalopolitans, and some of the other Peloponnesians who are in
sympathy with them, adopt a hostile attitude towards us owing to our
negotiations for peace with Sparta, and the belief that to some extent we are
giving our approval to the policy which the Spartans have pursued: if the
Thebans already (as we are told) detest us, and are sure to become even more
hostile, because we are harbouring those whom they have exiled,[n] and losing no
opportunity of displaying our ill-will towards them; {19} and the Thessalians,
because we are offering a refuge to the Phocian fugitives;[n] and Philip,
because we are preventing his admission to Amphictyonic rank; my fear is that,
when each power has thus its separate reasons for resentment, they may unite in
the war against us, with the decrees of the Amphictyons for their pretext: and
so each may be drawn on farther than their several interests would carry them,
just as they were in dealing with the Phocians. {20} For you doubtless realize
that it was not through any unity in their respective ambitions, that the
Thebans and Philip and the Thessalians all acted together just now. The Thebans,
for instance, could not prevent Philip from marching through and occupying the
passes, nor even from stepping in at the last moment to reap the credit of all
that they themselves had toiled for.[n] {21} For, as it is, though the Thebans
have gained something so far as the recovery of their territory is concerned,
their honour and reputation have suffered shamefully, since it now appears as
though they would have gained nothing, unless Philip had crossed the Pass. This
was not what they intended. They only submitted to all this in their anxiety to
obtain Orchomenus and Coroneia, and their inability to do so otherwise. {22} And
as to Philip, some persons,[n] as you know, are bold enough to say that it was
not from any wish to do so that he handed over Orchomenus and Coroneia to
Thebes, but from compulsion; and although I must part company with them there, I
am sure that at least he did not want to do this _more_ than he desired to
occupy the passes, and to get the credit of appearing to have determined the
issue of the war, and to manage the Pythian games by his own authority. These, I
am sure, were the objects which he coveted most greedily. {23} The Thessalians,
again, did not desire to see either the Thebans or Philip growing powerful; for
in any such contingency they thought that they themselves were menaced. But they
did desire to secure two privileges--admission to the Amphictyonic meeting, and
the recovery of rights at Delphi;[n] and in their eagerness for these
privileges, they joined Philip in the actions in question. Thus you will find
that each was led on, for the sake of private ends, to take action which they in
no way desired to take. But this is the very thing against which we have now to
be on our guard.

{24} 'Are we then, for fear of this, to submit to Philip? and do _you_ require
this of us?' you ask me. Far from it. Our action must be such as will be in no
way unworthy of us, and at the same time will not lead to war, but will prove to
all our good sense and the justice of our position: and, in answer to those who
are bold enough to think that we should refuse to submit to anything
whatever,[n] [2] and who cannot foresee the war that must follow, I wish to urge
this consideration. We are allowing the Thebans to hold Oropus; and if any one
asked us to state the reason honestly, we should say that it was to avoid war.
{25} Again, we have just ceded Amphipolis to Philip by the Treaty of Peace;[n]
we permit the Cardians[n] to occupy a position apart from the other colonists in
the Chersonese; we allow the Prince of Caria[n] to seize the islands of Chios,
Cos, and Rhodes, and the Byzantines to drive our vessels to shore[n]--obviously
because we believe that the tranquillity afforded by peace brings more blessings
than any collision or contention over these grievances would bring: so that it
would be a foolish and an utterly perverse policy, when we have behaved in this
manner towards each of our adversaries individually, where our own most
essential interests were concerned, to go now to war with all of them together,
on account of this shadow at Delphi.[n]


FOOTNOTES

[1] The term 'the allies of Athens' was ambiguous. It might be taken (as it was
taken by Philip and his envoys) to include only the remaining members of the
League (see p. 9), who were represented by the Synod then sitting, and whose
policy Athens could control. But it was evidently possible to put a wider
interpretation upon it, as the Assembly probably did and as Demosthenes often
does (e.g. Speech on Embassy, Sec. 278), and to understand it as including the
Phocians and others (such as Cersobleptes) with whom Athens had a treaty of
alliance. Much of the trouble which followed arose out of this ambiguity.

[2] [Greek: oud hotioun].

Notes

ON THE PEACE

Sec. 5. _disturbances in Euboea_. Plutarchus of Eretria applied for Athenian
aid against Callias of Chalcis, who was attacking him with the aid of
Macedonian troops. Demosthenes was strongly opposed to granting the
request, but it was supported by Eubulus and Meidias, and a force was sent
under Phocion, probably early in 348 (though the chronology has been much
debated, and some place the expedition in 350 or 349). Owing to the
premature action or the treachery of Plutarchus at Tamynae (where the
Athenian army was attacked), Phocion had some difficulty in winning a
victory. Plutarchus afterwards seized a number of Athenian soldiers, and
Athens had actually to ransom them. Phocion's successor, Molossus, was
unsuccessful. When peace was made in the summer of 348, the Euboeans
became for the most part independent of Athens, and were regarded with
ill-feeling by Athens for some years. There is no proof that the proposers
of the expedition were bribed, as Demosthenes alleges.

Sec. 6. _Neoptolemus_. See Speech on Embassy, Sec.Sec. 12, 315.

Sec. 8. _public service_: i.e. as trierarch or choregus or gymnasiarch, &c.
See n. on Phil. I. Sec. 36.

Sec. 10. _there were some_ : i.e. Aeschines and his colleagues. (See Introd.)

_Thespiae and Plataeae_. See Speech for Megalopolitans, Section 4 n.

Sec. 14. _self-styled Amphictyons_. The Amphictyonic Council represented the
ancient Amphictyonic League of Hellenic tribes (now differing widely in
importance, but equally represented on the Council), and was supreme in
all matters affecting the Temple of Apollo at Delphi. (See n. on Speech on
Crown, Sec. 148.) The Council summoned by Philip was open to criticism (1)
because only certain members of it were present, of whom the Thebans and
Thessalians were the chief, (2) because Philip had been given the vote of
the dispossessed Phocians.

Sec. 15. _however stupid, &c_. It had been conventional for over a century to
apply this adjective to the Boeotians, and therefore to the Thebans. For a
more favourable view, see W. Rhys Roberts, _Ancient Boeotians_, chap. i.

Sec. 16. _Oropus_. See Speech for Megalopolitans, Sec. ii n.

Sec. 18. _Argives, &c_. See Speech for Megalopolitans throughout (with
Introd.).

_those whom they have exiled_: especially the refugees from Orchomenus and
Coroneia. See vol. i, p. 124.

_Phocian fugitives_. The Amphictyonic Council had recently declared that
these had been guilty of sacrilege, and might be seized wherever they
might be.

Sec. 20. _all that they themselves had toiled for_: i.e. the conquest of the
Phocians in the Sacred War.

Sec. 22. _some persons_: i.e. Aeschines and others who tried to excuse
Philip's treatment of the Phocians to the Athenian people.

Sec. 23. _admission ... Delphi_. The Phocians had formerly contrived their
exclusion from the Amphictyonic meeting and from the temple and oracle of
Delphi. The Council now restored them, and excluded the Phocians.

Sec. 24. _refuse to submit_: reading [Greek: (_oud) otioun upomeinai_.] The
insertion of [Greek: _oude_] (after Cobet) seems necessary, [Greek:
_otioun upomeinai_] alone would mean 'face any risk', but this would be
contradicted by the next clause. To translate, 'who think that we should
face any risk, but do not see that the risk would be one of war,' is to
narrow the meaning of [Greek: _otioun_] unduly.

Sec. 25. _Treaty of Peace_: i.e. the Peace of Philocrates.

_Cardians_. The Athenians claimed Cardia (the key of the Chersonese on the
Thracian side) as an ally, though in fact it was expressly excluded from
the towns ceded to Athens by Cersobleptes in 357, and had made alliance
with Philip in 352.

_prince of Caria_. See Speech for Rhodians (with Introd.).

_drive our vessels to shore_: a regular form of ancient piracy (see Speech
on Chersonese, Sec. 28). The Byzantines drove the Athenian corn-ships into
their own harbour. The victims were relieved of their money or their corn.

_shadow at Delphi_: i.e. the empty privilege (as Demosthenes here chooses
to represent it) of membership of the Amphictyonic League and Council, now
claimed by Philip.


Greece

World

Hellenica World

Index