Home > Uncategorized > Aeschines: Following a policy of war after war; war, the destroyer of popular government

Aeschines: Following a policy of war after war; war, the destroyer of popular government

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Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

Greek and Roman writers on war and peace

Aeschines: Peace does not feed laziness

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Aeschines
From On the Embassy
Translated by Charles Darwin Adams

Though the blessings we were enjoying were so great, we again brought war against the Lacedaemonians, persuaded by the Argives; and at last, in consequence of the eagerness of our public men for war, we sank so low as to see a Spartan garrison in our city, and the Four Hundred, and the Impious Thirty; and it was not the making of peace that caused this, but we were forced by orders laid upon us. But when again a moderate government had been established, and the exiled democracy had come back from Phyle, with Archinus and Thrasybolus as the leaders of the popular party, we took the solemn oath with one another “to forgive and forget” – an act which, in the judgment of all men, won for our state the reputation of the highest wisdom. The democracy then took on new life and vigour. But now men who have been illegally registered as citizens, constantly attaching themselves to whatever element in the city is corrupt, and following a policy of war after war, in peace ever prophesying danger, and so working on ambitions and over-excitable minds, yet when war comes never touching arms themselves, but getting into office as auditors and naval commissioners – men whose mistresses are the mothers of their offspring, and whose slanderous tongues ought to disenfranchise them – these men are bringing the state into extreme peril, fostering the name of democracy, not by their character, but by their flatteries, trying to put an end to the peace, wherein lies the safety of the democracy, and in every way fomenting war, the destroyer of popular government.

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