Demosthenes, Orations 5. On the Peace

LCL 238: 104-105

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[57]Ὁρῶ μέν, ὦ ἄνδρες Ἀθηναῖοι, τὰ παρόντα πράγματα πολλὴν δυσκολίαν ἔχοντα καὶ ταραχὴν οὐ μόνον τῷ πολλὰ προεῖσθαι καὶ μηδὲν εἶναι προὔργου περὶ αὐτῶν εὖ λέγειν, ἀλλὰ καὶ περὶ τῶν ὑπολοίπων κατὰ ταὐτὰ μηδὲ καθ᾿ ἓν τὸ συμφέρον πάντας ἡγεῖσθαι, ἀλλὰ τοῖς μὲν ὡδί, τοῖς δ᾿ ἑτέρως δοκεῖν. 2δυσκόλου δ᾿ ὄντος φύσει καὶ χαλεποῦ τοῦ βουλεύεσθαι, ἔτι πολλῷ χαλεπώτερον ὑμεῖς αὐτὸ πεποιήκατ᾿, ὦ ἄνδρες Ἀθηναῖοι· οἱ μὲν γὰρ ἄλλοι πάντες ἄνθρωποι πρὸ τῶν πραγμάτων εἰώθασι χρῆσθαι τῷ βουλεύεσθαι, ὑμεῖς δὲ μετὰ τὰ πράγματα. ἐκ δὲ τούτου συμβαίνει παρὰ πάντα τὸν χρόνον ὃν οἶδ᾿ ἐγώ, τὸν μὲν οἷς ἂν ἁμάρτητ᾿ ἐπιτιμῶντ᾿ εὐδοκιμεῖν καὶ δοκεῖν εὖ λέγειν, τὰ δὲ πράγματα 3καὶ περὶ ὧν βουλεύεσθ᾿ ἐκφεύγειν ὑμᾶς. οὐ μὴν ἀλλὰ καίπερ τούτων οὕτως ἐχόντων οἴομαι καὶ πεπεικὼς ἐμαυτὸν ἀνέστηκα, ἂν ἐθελήσητε τοῦ θορυβεῖν καὶ φιλονικεῖν ἀποστάντες ἀκούειν, ὡς ὑπὲρ πόλεως βουλευομένοις καὶ τηλικούτων πραγμάτων προσήκει, ἕξειν καὶ λέγειν καὶ συμβουλεύειν δι᾿ ὧν καὶ τὰ παρόντ᾿ ἔσται βελτίω καὶ τὰ προειμένα σωθήσεται.

4Ἀκριβῶς δ᾿ εἰδώς, ὦ ἄνδρες Ἀθηναῖοι, τὸ λέγειν περὶ ὧν αὐτὸς εἶπέ τις καὶ περὶ αὑτοῦ παρ᾿


On The Peace

V. on the Peace

I perceive, men of Athens, that the present outlook gives rise to much vexation and perplexity, because not only have we suffered serious losses, which cannot be mended by fine speeches, but there is also complete divergence of opinion about the preservation of what is left of our empire, one favouring this policy, another that. While deliberation is naturally a vexatious and difficult task, you, Athenians, have enhanced its difficulties; for all other people deliberate before the event, but you after the event. And the result is that, as long as I can remember, the man who attacks any mistakes you have made gains your applause as an able speaker, but meanwhile the events and the real object of your deliberation wholly escape you. Nevertheless, although this is so, I have come forward in the belief and confidence that, if you will consent to still the noise of faction and listen with the attention that befits men who are debating the most important interests of the state, I shall be able to offer you advice which will ameliorate our present condition and redeem our past losses.

While I am well aware, Athenians, that to talk in this assembly about oneself and one’s own speeches

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.demosthenes-orations_v_peace.1930