"On the Navy Boards" or "On the Symmories" (Ancient Greek: Περὶ τῶν Συμμοριῶν) is the first surviving political oration of the prominent Athenian statesman and orator Demosthenes.[1] A reference to the speech made in Demosthenes' later On the Liberty of the Rhodians proves that the speech was actually delivered to the Ecclesia, not just composed but never spoken. According to Dionysius of Hallicarnassus, the speech was delivered in 354/3 BC.[2]

On the Navy Boards is a speech of general interest, which provided Demosthenes an opportunity to be an advocate for common sense. The ecclesia had convened to consider a rumored threat against Athens by the Great King of Persia. The orator espoused moderation and did not endeavor to rouse the hot-blooded ones of his audience against the Persians.[3] He advocated avoiding any provocation, but he also proposed a well-organised preparation in case of war. For this reason he supported the reform of the "symmoriai" (boards) through which the Athenian fleet was funded.[4] In his first political intervention the young politician did not accomplish his goals. On the Navy has been regarded as artistically inferior to his later political orations.

D. M. McDowell, Demosthenes the Orator, 142.
D. M. McDowell, Demosthenes the Orator, 143.
K. Tsatsos, Demosthenes, 88.

I. Worthington, Demosthenes: Statesman and Orator, 29.

External links

Text of the speech at the Perseus Digital Library

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

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