The Third Philippic

  • The Third Philippic

  • Demosthenes

    Many speeches are made, men of Athens, at almost every meeting of the Assembly, with reference to the aggressions which Philip has been committing, ever since he concluded the Peace, not only against yourselves but against all other peoples.

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  • And I am sure that all would agree, however little they may act on their belief, that our aim, both in speech and in action, should be to cause him to cease from his insolence and to pay the penalty for it.

  • And yet I see that in fact the treacherous sacrifice of our interests has gone on, until what seems an ill-omened saying may, I fear, be really true -

  • that if all who came forward desired to propose, and you desired to carry, the measures which would make your position as pitiful as it could possibly be, it could not, so I believe, be made worse than it is now.

  • Demosthenes

    It may be that there are many reasons for this, and that our affairs did not reach their present condition from any one or two causes.

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  • But if you examine the matter aright, you will find that the chief responsibility rests with those whose aim is to win your favor, not to propose what is best.

  • Some of them, men of Athens, so long as they can maintain the conditions which bring them reputation and influence, take no thought for the future and therefore think that you also should take none,

  • while others, by accusing and slandering those who are actively at work, are simply trying to make the city spend its energies in punishing the members of its own body, and so leave Philip free to say and do what he likes.

  • Such political methods as these, familiar to you as they are, are the real causes of the evil.

  • Demosthenes

    And I beg you, men of Athens, if I tell you certain truths outspokenly, to let no resentment on your part fall upon me on this account.

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  • Consider the matter in this light.

  • In every other sphere of life, you believe that the right of free speech ought to be so universally shared by all who are in the city, that you have extended it both to foreigners and to slaves;

  • and one may see many a servant in Athens speaking his mind with greater liberty than is granted to citizens in some other states:

  • but from the sphere of political counsel you have utterly banished this liberty.

  • The result is that in your meetings you give yourselves airs and enjoy their flattery, listening to nothing but what is meant to please you, while in the world of facts and events, you are in the last extremity of peril.

  • Demosthenes

    If then you are still in this mood to-day, I do not know what I can say;

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  • but if you are willing to listen while I tell you, without flattery, what your interest requires, I am prepared to speak.

  • For though our position is very bad indeed, and much has been sacrificed, it is still possible, even now, if you will do your duty, to set all right once more.

  • It is a strange thing, perhaps, that I am about to say, but it is true.