The speeches of Aeschines - (1919) PDF book Translated by Charles Adams

The speeches of Aeschines - (1919) 

The speeches of Aeschines
The speeches of Aeschines 

Aeschines was born about 390 B.C His father, Atrometus, had already lost his property in the Peloponnesian war, had been exiled with the rest of the democrats by the Thirty Tyrants, and had shared in the glorious enterprise of the democratic “return.” The mother, Glaucothea, was the sister of a successful general, Cleobulus. The children of such parents had a right to be proud both of the purity of their blood | and the patriotic achievements of father and uncle. But the losses by war and exile forced the father to take up the little honoured profession of a schoolmaster, while the mother, we may perhaps believe, contributed something to the support of the family by serving as a priestess in someone of the secret religious cults.. 

We hear of three sons in the schoolmaster’s family, all reaching positions of some honour in the public service, The eldest, Philochares, served under the famous Iphicrates, and was himself in 343 serving his third successive term as general. 

The third son, Aphobetus, had in the same year already made a record for himself as an ambassador to Persia and had received the high honour of election as a special Commissioner of Finance. Aeschines, the second son, was performing the regular services of an Athenian young man as cadet _when the battle of Leuctra plunged Greece into the “nine years’ Theban wars. He won the praise of his commander in an expedition for the relief of - Phlius in 366 and served in other Athenian expeditions, at last taking part in the battle of Mantinea. _ All this was in his early manhood. In subsequent years we find him serving in the successful expedition for the relief of Eretria in Euboea, hastily or- _ organized under the enthusiasm aroused by Timotheus (357 .c.), and in the Euboean expedition of 348. In the latter, Aeschines’ bravery at the battle of Tamynae was so distinguished that he received a wreath of honour from his commanding officers, and was appointed one of the two messengers to carry the news of the victory to Athens, where he was again crowned as the bringer of good news

In the earlier years of his citizenship, Aeschines was employed with his younger brother as a clerk in the civil service. But military service and clerical employment were only incidental or temporary occupations for the gifted young man. His early profession became that of the tragic actor. The organization of the Athenian stage was such that a group of three men naturally formed a “ company.” Aeschines became the third member of a company of which the two most famous actors of the time, Theodorus and Aristodemus, were the chiefs. We conclude that as an actor he fell just short of the highest attainments. 

The sneers with which  Demosthenes in his speech On the Crown refers to his efforts on the stage are in flat contradiction to Demosthenes’ own testimony in the earlier speech that he was associated with actors of such rank. It appears from Demosthenes xix. 337 that by the year 343 Aeschines had left the stage. We cannot trace the steps by which Aeschines made his way to political influence. 

We hear only of his holding an elective clerkship, probably that of the reader of documents to senate and assembly, a position for which he was well fitted by his stage training in elocution. But when in 348 Philip of Macedon had destroyed Olynthus and seized the whole Chalcidic peninsula, 

Aeschines took an active part in arousing Athens to meet the danger which was threatening her interests. And when, on motion of Eubulus, it was voted to send ambassadors to the Greek states — to invite them to a congress for concerted action toward Macedon—whether for war or peace— Aeschines was sent on one of the most important missions, that to Arcadia. 

Two facts are evident here: that Aeschines was now, at the age of forty-two, - already a man of influence in political affairs, and that he was a supporter of Eubulus, the great leader of the conservatives. When, shortly after this, Aeschines’ former associate on the stage, Aristodemus, had unofficially opened the way for peace negotiations with Philip, it was natural that Aeschines, both as_ his personal friend and a man already active in anti-Macedonian preparations, should be made one of the ten ambassadors to treat with a ως Philip. Here he came into intimate relations with Demosthenes, who had already come to the front, during Philip’s movement against Olynthus, as the ablest of the radical leaders.

 The part which Aeschines and Demosthenes each played in this embassy _ to Macedonia, in the deliberations at Athens with the ambassadors whom Philip sent in his turn, in the _ negotiations of the second embassy (for the ratification

Against Timarchus.--On the embassy.--Against Ctesiphon

the book details :
  • Author: Aeschines was a Greek statesman and one of the ten Attic orators
  • Translator: Charles Darwin Adams
  • Publication date: 1919
  • Company: London, W. Heinemann; New York, G.P. Putnam's Sons

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