Demosthenes (klein)

Πότ’ οὖν, ὦ ἄνδρες Ἀθηναῖοι, πόθ’ ἃ χρὴ πράξετε; ἐπειδὰν τί γένηται; ἐπειδὰν νὴ Δί’ ἀνάγκη τις ᾖ; νῦν δὲ τί χρὴ τὰ γιγνόμεν’ ἡγεῖσθαι; ἐγὼ μὲν γὰρ οἴομαι τοῖς ἐλευθέροις μεγίστην ἀνάγκην τὴν ὑπὲρ τῶν πραγμάτων αἰσχύνην εἶναι. ἢ βούλεσθ’, εἰπέ μοι, περιιόντες αὑτῶν πυνθάνεσθαι, “λέγεταί τι καινόν;” γένοιτο γὰρ ἄν τι καινότερον ἢ Μακεδὼν ἀνὴρ Ἀθηναίους καταπολεμῶν καὶ τὰ τῶν Ἑλλήνων διοικῶν; “τέθνηκε Φίλιππος;”—”οὐ μὰ Δί’, ἀλλ’ ἀσθενεῖ.” τί δ’ ὑμῖν διαφέρει; καὶ γὰρ ἂν οὗτός τι πάθῃ, ταχέως ὑμεῖς ἕτερον Φίλιππον ποιήσετε, ἄνπερ οὕτω προσέχητε τοῖς πράγμασι τὸν νοῦν· οὐδὲ γὰρ οὗτος παρὰ τὴν αὑτοῦ ῥώμην τοσοῦτον ἐπηύξηται ὅσον παρὰ τὴν ἡμετέραν ἀμέλειαν. καίτοι καὶ τοῦτο· εἴ τι πάθοι καὶ τὰ τῆς τύχης ἡμῖν, ἥπερ ἀεὶ βέλτιον ἢ ἡμεῖς ἡμῶν αὐτῶν ἐπιμελούμεθα, καὶ τοῦτ’ ἐξεργάσαιτο, ἴσθ’ ὅτι πλησίον μὲν ὄντες, ἅπασιν ἂν τοῖς πράγμασιν τεταραγμένοις ἐπιστάντες ὅπως βούλεσθε διοικήσαισθε, ὡς δὲ νῦν ἔχετε, οὐδὲ διδόντων τῶν καιρῶν Ἀμφίπολιν δέξασθαι δύναισθ’ ἄν, ἀπηρτημένοι καὶ ταῖς παρασκευαῖς καὶ ταῖς γνώμαις.
(Demosthenes, Or. 4.10-12)

When, men of Athens, when will you do what is needed? What are you waiting for? For some necessity to arise, by Zeus? What, then, should we call the present developments? For, I believe, the strongest necessity for free men is shame at their situation. Or, tell me, do you wish to go around asking each other, “Is there any news?” What could be graver news than that a Macedonian is waging war on Athens and is in control of the affairs of Greece? “Is Philip dead?” “No, by Zeus, but he is sick.” What difference does it make to you? Even if something were to happen to him, you would soon create another Philip, if this is how you apply yourselves to the situation, since even he has not prospered by reason of his own strength as much as because of our neglect. Moreover, if Fortune, which always takes better care of us than we do of ourselves, should arrange for something to happen to him, you know that if you were on the scene, you might step in and in the general state of confusion arrange matters as you wish. But as you are now, even if the opportunity were to present itself, you would be unable to take Amphipolis, since you are disunited in your preparations and in your resolve. (tr. Jeremy Trevett)

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