Demosthenes, Orations 7. On Halonnesus

LCL 238: 150-151

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[Demosthenes]

VII. ΠΕΡΙ ΑΛΟΝΝΗΣΟΥ

Ὦ ἄνδρες Ἀθηναῖοι, οὐκ ἔστιν ὅπως αἱ αἰτίαι, ἃς Φίλιππος αἰτιᾶται τοὺς ὑπὲρ τῶν δικαίων πρὸς ὑμᾶς λέγοντας, κωλύσουσι συμβούλους ἡμᾶς γίγνεσθαι ὑπὲρ τῶν ὑμῖν συμφερόντων· δεινὸν γὰρ [77]ἂν εἴη, εἰ τὴν ἐπὶ τοῦ βήματος παρρησίαν αἱ παρ᾿ ἐκείνου πεμπόμεναι ἐπιστολαὶ ἀνέλοιεν. ἐγὼ δ᾿ ὑμῖν, ὦ ἄνδρες Ἀθηναῖοι, βούλομαι πρῶτον μὲν περὶ ὧν Φίλιππος ἐπέσταλκε, περὶ τούτων διεξελθεῖν· ὕστερον δέ, περὶ ὧν οἱ πρέσβεις λέγουσι, καὶ ἡμεῖς λέξομεν.

2Φίλιππος γὰρ ἄρχεται μὲν περὶ Ἁλοννήσου λέγων ὡς ὑμῖν δίδωσιν ἑαυτοῦ οὖσαν, ὑμᾶς δ᾿ οὔ φησι δικαίως αὐτὸν ἀπαιτεῖν· οὐ γὰρ ὑμετέραν οὖσαν οὔτε λαβεῖν οὔτε νῦν ἔχειν. ἔλεγε δὲ καὶ πρὸς ἡμᾶς τοιούτους λόγους, ὅτε πρὸς αὐτὸν ἐπρεσβεύσαμεν, ὡς λῃστὰς ἀφελόμενος ταύτην τὴν νῆσον κτήσαιτο, καὶ προσήκειν αὐτὴν ἑαυτοῦ εἶναι. 3τοῦτον δὲ τὸν λόγον, ὡς οὐκ ἔστι δίκαιος, οὐ χαλεπόν ἐστιν αὐτοῦ ἀφελέσθαι. ἅπαντες γὰρ οἱ λῃσταὶ τοὺς ἀλλοτρίους τόπους καταλαμβάνοντες καὶ τούτους ἐχυροὺς ποιούμενοι, ἐντεῦθεν τοὺς ἄλλους κακῶς ποιοῦσιν. ὁ δὴ τοὺς λῃστὰς τιμωρησάμενος καὶ κρατήσας οὐκ ἂν δήπου εἰκότα λέγοι, εἰ φαίη, ἃ ἐκεῖνοι ἀδίκως καὶ ἀλλότρια

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On Halonnesus

Vii. on halonnesus

Men of Athens, the charges that Philip brings against the speakers who here uphold your claims shall never deter us from offering our advice on what concerns your interests; for it would be monstrous if the freedom of utterance which is the privilege of this platform should be stifled by dispatches from him. But for myself, men of Athens, I wish first to touch upon the different points of his letter, and then to add my comments on the speeches of his ambassadors.

Philip begins by saying that he offers you Halonnesus as his own property, but that you have no right to demand it of him, because it was not yours when he took it, and is not yours now that he holds it. Moreover, when we ambassadors visited him, he used similar language, to the effect that he had captured the island from pirates and that therefore it belonged absolutely to him. It is not difficult to refute this claim on the ground of its unfairness. For all pirates seize places belonging to others and turn them into strongholds from which to harry their neighbours. But a man who should defeat and punish pirates would surely be unreasonable, if he said that the stolen property wrongfully held by

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DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.demosthenes-orations_vii_halonnesus.1930