On the Chersonese is a political oration delivered by the Athenian statesman and orator Demosthenes in 341 BC. A few time later Demosthenes delivered one of his most famous speeches, the Third Philippic.

Historical Background

In 343 BC the Macedonian arms were carried across Epirus and a year later Philip II of Macedon turned his military activities towards Thrace.[1] He also imposed an amendment of the Peace of Philocrates in his favor.[2] The war in Thrace lasted more than three years and was one of the toughest for Philip. When the Macedonia army approached Chersonese, the Athenians got anxious about the future of their colony. An Athenian general, Diopeithes, ravaged the maritime district of Thrace, an offensive resulting in Philip's rage. The King sent a letter of remonstrance to Athens, demanding the immediate withdrawal of the Athenian troops from Cardia, which was occupied by the Macedonian army.[3] Because of this turbulence, ecclesia convened and Demosthenes delivered On the Chersonese.


With these speech Demosthenes exhorted his compatriots to support Diopeithes, although the general committed certain injustices, counting as serious and decisive only Philip's wrongs towards Athens. Demosthenes finally convinced the Athenians, who would not recall Diopeithes.


  1. ^ Demosthenes, Third Philippic, 17
  2. ^ Demosthenes, On Halonnesus, 18
  3. ^ Demosthenes, Third Philippic, 35

Demosthenes' orations

Political orations Olynthiacs 1-2-3 | First Philippic | On the Peace | Second Philippic | On the Halonnesus | On the Chersonese | Third Philippic | Fourth Philippic | Reply to Philip | Philip | On Organisation | On the Navy | For the Megalopolitans | On the Liberty of the Rhodians | On the Accession of Alexander

Judicial orations On the Crown | On the False Embassy | Against Leptines | Against Meidias | Against Androtion | Against Aristocrates | Against Timocrates | Against Aristogiton 1-2 | Against Aphobus 1-2-3 | Against Ontenor 1-2 | Against Zenothemis | Against Apatourius | Against Phormio | Against Lacritus | For Phormio | Against Pantaenetus | Against Nausimachus and Xenopeithes | Against Boeotus 1-2 | Against Spudias | Against Phaenippus | Against Macartatus | Against Leochares | Against Stephanus 1-2 | Against Evergus and Mnesibulus | Against Olympiodorus | Against Timotheus | Against Polycles | On the Trierarcic Crown | Against Callipus | Against Nicostratus | Against Conon | Against Callicles | Against Dionysodorus | Against Eubulides | Against Theocrines | Against Naeara

Epideictic orations Funeral Oration | Erotic Essay

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