Demosthenes, Orations 6. Philippic 2

LCL 238: 124-125

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Ὅταν, ὦ ἄνδρες Ἀθηναῖοι, λόγοι γίγνωνται περὶ ὧν Φίλιππος πράττει καὶ βιάζεται παρὰ τὴν εἰρήνην, ἀεὶ τοὺς ὑπὲρ ἡμῶν λόγους καὶ δικαίους καὶ φιλανθρώπους ὁρῶ φαινομένους, καὶ λέγειν μὲν ἅπαντας ἀεὶ τὰ δέοντα δοκοῦντας τοὺς κατηγοροῦντας Φιλίππου, γιγνόμενον δ᾿ οὐδὲν ὡς ἔπος 2εἰπεῖν τῶν δεόντων, οὐδ᾿ ὧν ἕνεκα ταῦτ᾿ ἀκούειν [66]ἄξιον· ἀλλ᾿ εἰς τοῦτ᾿ ἤδη προηγμένα τυγχάνει πάντα τὰ πράγματα τῇ πόλει, ὥσθ᾿ ὅσῳ τις ἂν μᾶλλον καὶ φανερώτερον ἐξελέγχῃ Φίλιππον καὶ τὴν πρὸς ὑμᾶς εἰρήνην παραβαίνοντα καὶ πᾶσι τοῖς Ἕλλησιν ἐπιβουλεύοντα, τοσούτῳ τὸ τί χρὴ 3ποιεῖν συμβουλεῦσαι χαλεπώτερον. αἴτιον δὲ τούτων, ὅτι πάντας, ὦ ἄνδρες Ἀθηναῖοι, τοὺς πλεονεκτεῖν ζητοῦντας ἔργῳ κωλύειν καὶ πράξεσιν, οὐχὶ λόγοις δέον, πρῶτον μὲν ἡμεῖς οἱ παριόντες τούτων μὲν ἀφέσταμεν καὶ γράφειν καὶ συμβουλεύειν, τὴν πρὸς ὑμᾶς ἀπέχθειαν ὀκνοῦντες, οἷα ποιεῖ δ᾿, ὡς δεινά, καὶ τοιαῦτα διεξερχόμεθα· ἔπειθ᾿ ὑμεῖς οἱ καθήμενοι, ὡς μὲν ἂν εἴποιτε δικαίους λόγους καὶ λέγοντος ἄλλου συνείητε, ἄμεινον Φιλίππου παρεσκεύασθε, ὡς δὲ κωλύσαιτ᾿ ἂν ἐκεῖνον πράττειν ταῦτ᾿ ἐφ᾿ ὧν ἐστι νῦν, παντελῶς ἀργῶς ἔχετε. συμβαίνει δὴ πρᾶγμ᾿ ἀναγκαῖον,


Second Philippic

VI. Second Philippic

Whenever, men of Athens, we are discussing Philip’s intrigues and his violations of the peace, I observe that all the speeches on our side are manifestly inspired by justice and generosity, and those who denounce Philip are all felt to be saying exactly the right thing; but of the much needed action, which alone would make the speeches worth hearing, little or nothing ensues. Unfortunately all our national affairs have now reached to such a pass, that the more completely and manifestly Philip is convicted of violating the peace with us and of plotting against the whole of Greece, the more difficult it is to suggest the right course of action. The reason, Athenians, is this. Though all who aim at their own aggrandizement must be checked, not by speeches, but by practical measures, yet, in the first place, we who come before you shrink from any definite proposal or advice, being reluctant to incur your displeasure; we prefer to dilate on Philip’s shocking behaviour and the like topics; and, secondly, you who sit here are indeed better equipped than Philip for making speeches about justice and for appreciating them in the mouth of another, but, when it comes to hindering the accomplishment of his present plans, you remain utterly inactive. The result is, I suppose, inevitable

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.demosthenes-orations_vi_second_philippic.1930