Demosthenes, Orations 3. Olynthiac 3

LCL 238: 42-43

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Οὐχὶ ταὐτὰ παρίσταταί μοι γιγνώσκειν, ὦ ἄνδρες Ἀθηναῖοι, ὅταν τ᾿ εἰς τὰ πράγματ᾿ ἀποβλέψω καὶ ὅταν πρὸς τοὺς λόγους οὓς ἀκούω· τοὺς μὲν γὰρ λόγους περὶ τοῦ τιμωρήσασθαι Φίλιππον ὁρῶ γιγνομένους, τὰ δὲ πράγματ᾿ εἰς τοῦτο προήκοντα, ὥσθ᾿ ὅπως μὴ πεισόμεθ᾿ αὐτοὶ πρότερον κακῶς σκέψασθαι δέον. οὐδὲν οὖν ἄλλο μοι δοκοῦσιν οἱ τὰ τοιαῦτα λέγοντες ἢ τὴν ὑπόθεσιν, περὶ ἧς βουλεύεσθε, οὐχὶ τὴν οὖσαν παριστάντες 2ὑμῖν ἁμαρτάνειν. ἐγὼ δ᾿, ὅτι μέν ποτ᾿ ἐξῆν τῇ πόλει καὶ τὰ αὑτῆς ἔχειν ἀσφαλῶς καὶ Φίλιππον τιμωρήσασθαι, καὶ μάλ᾿ ἀκριβῶς οἶδα· ἐπ᾿ ἐμοῦ γάρ, οὐ πάλαι γέγονε ταῦτ᾿ ἀμφότερα· [29]νῦν μέντοι πέπεισμαι τοῦθ᾿ ἱκανὸν προλαβεῖν ἡμῖν εἶναι τὴν πρώτην, ὅπως τοὺς συμμάχους σώσομεν. ἐὰν γὰρ τοῦτο βεβαίως ὑπάρξῃ, τότε καὶ περὶ τοῦ τίνα τιμωρήσεταί τις καὶ ὃν τρόπον ἐξέσται σκοπεῖν· πρὶν δὲ τὴν ἀρχὴν ὀρθῶς ὑποθέσθαι, μάταιον ἡγοῦμαι περὶ τῆς τελευτῆς ὁντινοῦν ποιεῖσθαι λόγον.

3Ὁ μὲν οὖν παρὼν καιρός, εἴπερ ποτέ, πολλῆς φροντίδος καὶ βουλῆς δεῖται· ἐγὼ δ᾿ οὐχ ὅ τι χρὴ περὶ τῶν παρόντων συμβουλεῦσαι χαλεπώτατον ἡγοῦμαι, ἀλλ᾿ ἐκεῖν᾿ ἀπορῶ, τίνα χρὴ τρόπον, ὦ


Third Olynthiac

III. Third Olynthiac

Very different, men of Athens, are the thoughts suggested to me by the contemplation of public affairs and by the speeches to which I listen. I observe that the speeches are all about punishing Philip, while our affairs have reached a stage at which it must be our first concern to avoid disaster ourselves. Hence these speakers seem to me to make precisely the mistake of submitting to you the wrong subject for deliberation. But for myself I am perfectly well aware that Athens once had the chance both of establishing her power and of punishing Philip; for within my own memory and not long ago, both these objects were within our grasp. Now, however, I am persuaded that we must be content to secure the first, that of saving our allies. If once we can be sure of that, then we can go on to consider who is to be punished and how it is to be done; but until that foundation is well and truly laid, it is idle, in my opinion, to say a word about our ultimate object.

Never was there a crisis that demanded more careful handling than the present. But the difficulty lies, I think, not in proposing a plan to meet the case: what puzzles me, men of Athens, is how to put it

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.demosthenes-orations_iii_third_olynthiac.1930