aleator classicus

Reading at Random in Classical Literature

Demosthenes, Olynthiacs 2.31

leave a comment »

This is the end of the second of Demosthenes’ three Olynthiacs, speeches in which the orator urged his fellow-Athenians to go to the aid of Olynthus, one of the city’s allies, after it was attacked by Philip II of Macedon in 349 BC. Demosthenes gives a brief summary of the actions he is advising:

λέγω δὴ κεφάλαιον, πάντας εἰσφέρειν ἀφ’ ὅσων ἕκαστος ἔχει τὸ ἴσον· παντάς ἐξιέναι κατὰ μέρος, ἕως ἂν ἅπαντες στρατεύσησθε· πᾶσι τοῖς παριοῦσι λόγον διδόναι, καὶ τὰ βέλτισθ’ ὧν ἂν ἀκούσηθ’ αἱρεῖσθαι, μὴ ἂν ὁ δεῖν’ ἢ ὁ δεῖν’ εἴπῃ. κἂν ταῦτα ποιῆτε, οὐ τὸν εἰπόντα μόνον παραχρῆμ’ ἐπαινέσεσθε, ἀλλὰ καὶ ὑμᾶς αὐτοὺς ὕστερον, βέλτιον τῶν ὅλων πραγμάτων ὑμῖν ἐχόντων.

In brief, then, I am saying that everyone should each contribute the fair proportion from the resources they have; that everyone should take their turn in going on the expedition, until everyone has seen service; that everyone who comes forward should be given the opportunity to speak; and that we should take the best courses of action which we hear, not whatever some man or other says. If you do these things, not only will you applaud whoever has just been speaking, but in future you will applaud yourselves as well, when your whole position has improved.

Despite the Athenians’ efforts in sending troops, Philip captured Olynthus and razed it to the ground in the following year.

Written by aleatorclassicus

July 13, 2010 at 12:00 PM

Posted in Demosthenes

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: