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§ I. The first Oration against Philip: pronounced in the Archonjhip os Aristodemus, in the first year of the Hundred and Seventh Olympiad, and the ninth of Philip's Reign.
WE have seen Philip opposed in his design of pasting into Greece, through Thermopylæ; and obliged to retire. The danger they had thus escaped deeply affected the Athenians. So daring an attempt, which was, in effect, declaring his purposes, filled thsm with astonishment: and the view of a power, which every day received new accessions, drove them even to despair. Yet their aversion to public business was still predominant. They forgot that Philip might renew his attempt; and thought they had provided sufficiently for their security, by posting a body of troops at the entrance of Attica, under the command of Menelaus, a foreigner. They then proceeded to convene an assembly of the people, in order to consider what measures were to be taken to check the progress of Philip. On which occasion Demosthenes, for the first time, appeared against that prince; and displayed those abilities, which proved the greatest obstacle to his designs.
At Athens, the whole power and management of assiirs were placed in the people. It was their prerogative
to receive appeals from the courts of justice, to abrogate and enact laws, to make what alterations in the state they judged convenient; in short, all matters, public or private, foreign or domestic, civil, military, or religious, were determined by them.
Whenever there was occasion to deliberate, the people assembled early in the morning, sometimes in the forum or public place, sometimes in a place called Pnyx, but most frequently in the theatre of Bacchus. A few days before each assembly there was a njoy^afifw* or Placart fixed on the statues of some illustrious men erected in the city, to give notice of the subject to be debated. As they refused admittance into the assembly to all persons who had not attained the necessary age, so they obliged all others to attend. The Lexiarchs stretched out a cord dyed with scarlet, and by it pushed the people towards the place of meeting. Such as received the stain were fined; the more diligent had a small pecuniary reward. These Lexiarchs were the keepers of the register, in which were inrolled the names of such citizens as had a right of voting. And all had this right who were of age, and not excluded by a personal fault. Undutiful children, cowards, brutal debauchees, prodigals, debtors to the public, were all excluded. Until the time of Cecrops, women had a right of suffrage, which
R r 3 " they they were said to have lost, on account of their partiality to Minerva, in her dispute with Neptune, about giving a name to the city. In ordinary cases, all matters were first deliberated in the senate os five hundred, composed os fifty senators chosen out of each of the ten tribes. Each tribe had its turn of presiding, and the fifty senators in office were called Prytanes. And, according to the number of the tribes, the Attic year was divided into ten parts, the four first containing thirty - fix, the other thirtylive days; in order to make the Lunar year complete, which, according to their calculation, contained one hundred and fifty-four days. During each of these divisions, ten of the fifty Prytanes governed for a week, and were called Proedri: and, of these, he who in the course of the week presided for one day, was called the Epiilate: thrie of the Proedri being excluded from this office. The Prytanes assembled the people: the Proedri declare the oacasion; and the Epistatæ demand their voices. This was the cafe in the ordinary assemblies: the extraordinary were convened as well by the generals as the Prytanes; and sometimes the people met of their own accord, without waiting the formalities. The assembly was opened by a sacrifice; and the place was sprinkled with the blood of the victim. Then an imprecation was pronounced, conceived in these terms: "May the gods pur"sue that man to destruction, with "all his race, who shall act, speak, ** or contrive, any thing against this *' state!" This ceremony being finished, the Proedri declared the occasion of the assembly, and reported the opinion of the senate. Is any doubt arose, an herald, by commission from the Epistatæ, with a loud voice, invited any citizen, first of those above the age of fifty, to speak his opinion: and then the rest according to their ages. This right of precedence had •been granted by a law of Solon, and the order of speaking determined intireiy by the difference of years. In the time of Demosthenes, this law was not in force. It is said to have been repealed about fifty years' before the date of this otation. Ypi t,ae custom
still continued, out of refpeft to the
reasonable and decent purpose for winch the law was originally enacted. When a speaker has delivered his sentiments, he generally called on an officer, appointed for that purpose, to read his motion, and propound it in form. He then fat down, or resumed his discourse, and enforced his motion by additional arguments: and sometimes the speech was introduced by his motion thus propounded. When all the speakers had ended, the people gave their opinion, by stretching out their hands to him whose proposal pleased them most. And Xenophon reports, that, night having come on when the people were engaged in an important debate, they were obliged to defer their determination till next day, for fcar of confusion, when their hands were to be raised. Porrexerunt manus, faith Cicero (pro Flacco) 13 Psephifina natumesi. And, to constitute this Pscphisma or decree, six thousand citizens at least were required. When it was drawn up, the name of its author, or that person whose opinion has prevailed, was prefixed: whence, in speaking of it, they call it his decree. The date of it contained the name of the Archon, that of the day and month, and that of the tribe then presiding. The business being over, the Prytanes dismissed the assembly. The reader who chuses to be more minutely informed in the customs, and manner of procedure in the public assemblies of Athens, may consult the Archælogia of Archbishop Potter, Sigonins or the Concionatrices of Aristophanes.
HAD we been convened, Athenians! on some new subject of debate, I had waited, until most of the usual persons had declared their opinions. If I had approved of any thing proposed by them, I should have continued silent: If not, I had then attempted to speak my sentiments. But since thole very points on which these speakers have oftentimes been heard already are, at this time, to be considered; though I have arisen first, I presume I may expect your pardon; for if they on former occasions had advised the necessary measures, yc would not have found it needful to consult at present.
First then, Athenians must not bethoucht desperate; no, though their situation seems intirely deplorable. .For the most (hocking circumstance of all our past conduct is really the most favourable to our future expectations. And what is this? That our own total indolence hath been the cause of all our present difficulties. For were we thus distressed, in spite of every vigorous effort which the honour of our state demanded, there were then no hope of a recovery.
In the next place, reflect (you who have been informed by others, and you who can yourselves remember) how great a power the Lacedemonians not long since possessed; and with what resolution, with what dignity you disdained to act unworthy of the state, but maintained the war against them for the rights of Greece. Why do I mention these things? That ye may know, that ye may fee, Athenians! that if duly vigilant, ye cannot have any thing to fear; tlm if once remiss, not any thing can happen agreeable to your desires: witness the then powerful arms of Laccdemon, which a just attention to your interests enabled you to vanquish: and this man's late insolent attempt, which our insensibility to all our great concerns hath made the cause of this confusion.
If there be a man in this assembly who thinks that we must find a formidable enemy in Philip, while he views, on one hind, the numerous armies which attend him; and, on the other, the weakness of the state thus despoiled of its dominions; he thinks justly. Yet let him reflect on this: there was a time, Athenians! when we possessed Pydna, and Potidxa, and Methone, and all that country round: when many of those states now subjected to him were free and independent; and more in-clined to our alliance than to his. Had then Philip reasoned in the same manner, "How (hall I dare to attack the Atheni■ ans, whose garrisons command my ter"ritory, while I am destitute of all as
! these our affairs sentiments, he overturns whole countries;
he holds all people in subjection : some, as by the right of conquest; others, under the title of allies and confederates: for all are willing to confederate with those whom they see prepared and resolved to exert themselves as they ought.
And if you (my countrymen!) will now at length be persuaded to entertain the like sentiments; if each of you, renouncing all evasions, will be ready to approve himself an useful citizen, to the utmost that his station and abilities demand; if the rich will be ready to contribute, and the youngto take the field; in one word, if you will be yourselves, and banish those vain hopes which every single person entertains, that while so many others are engaged in public business, his service will not be required; you then (if Heaven so pleases) shall regain your dominions, recal those opportunities your supineness hath neglected, and chastise the insolence of this For you are not to imagine, that
"sistance!" He would not have engaged in those enterprizes which are now crowned with success; nor could he have raised himself to this pitch of greatness. No, Athenians! he knew this well, that all these places are but prizes, laid between the combatants, and ready for the conqueror: that the dominions of the absent devolve naturally to those who are in the fold; the possessions of the supine to the active and intrepid. Animated by these
like a god, he is to enjoy his present greatness for ever fixed and unchangeable. No, Athenians! there are, who hate him, who fear him, who envy him, even among those seemingly the most attached to his cause. These are passions common to mankind: nor must we think that his friends only are exempted from them. It is true they lie concealed at present, as our indolence deprives them of all resource. But let us shake off this indolence 1 for you see how we are situated; you see the outrageous arrogance of this man, who docs not leave it to your choice whether you stuill act, or remain quiet; but braves you with his menaces; and talks (as we are informed) in a strain of the highest extravagance: and is not able to rest satisfied with his present acquisitions, but is ever in pursuit of further conquests; and while we lit down, inactive and irresolute, incloses us on all sides with his toils.
When, therefore, O my countrymen! when will you exert your vigour f When roused by some event? When forced by some necessity f What then are we to think of our present condition? To freemen, the disgrace attending on misconduct is, in my opinion, the most urgent necessity. Or, say, is it your sole ambition to wander through the public places, each cnquiringof theother, "What new advices?" Can any thing be more new, than that a man of Macedon should conquer the Athenians, and give law to Greece? "Is Piiilip