ON THE EMBASSY – Aeschines (trad. de Charles Darwin Adams, Cambridge, 1919.)

Discurso em autodefesa, contra as acusações de Demóstenes, promotor do caso. O contexto histórico é Atenas sob a dominação de Filipe da Macedônia. A “Embaixada” se refere a uma comitiva de dez embaixadores escolhidos por Atenas para negociarem a paz na Macedônia. Tanto Ésquines como Demóstenes faziam parte desta dezena. Ambos têm versões diferentes sobre quem dos dois agira como traidor da pátria na mal-sucedida viagem. Demóstenes possui um discurso, a que este retorque, chamado hoje, para diferenciá-lo de seu homônimo (e antípoda), On the FALSE Embassy.

“But when it is a question of solicitude for the interests of the state, one solitary man stands out in all his speech—Demosthenes; all the rest are traitors! For he has unceasingly insulted us and poured out his slanderous lies, not upon me alone, but upon the rest as well”

“But we, who have shrines and family tombs in our native land, and such life and intercourse with you as belong to free man, and lawful marriage, with its offspring and connections, we while at Athens were worthy of your confidence, or you would never have chosen us, but when we had come to Macedonia we all at once turned traitors! But the man who had not one member of his body left unsold, posing as a 2nd Aristeides <the Just>, is displeased, and spits on us, as takers of bribes.

“and when Pausanias was coming back to contend for the throne,¹ an exile then, but favoured by opportunity and the support of many of the people, and bringing a Greek force with him, and when he had already seized Anthemon, Therma, Strepsa and certain other places, at a time when the Macedonians were not united, but most of them favoured Pausanias: at this crisis the Athenians elected Iphicrates as their general to go against Amphipolis [no tempo desta ação, future colônia ateniense; ex-colônia ateniense, no momento do discurso de Ésquines]—for at that time the people of Amphipolis were holding their city themselves and enjoying the products of the land.” Vê-se, também, por extensão, que neste tempo Atenas formava uma coalisão imperialista com a Macedônia.

¹ Da dividida Macedônia. Segue explicação do tradutor: “Amyntas, king of Macedonia, left 3 sons, Alexander, Perdiccas, and Philip. Alexander succeeded his father, but after a short reign he was assassinated. His mother Eurydice with her paramour Ptolomaeus took the throne. Her power was threatened by Pausanias, a member of a rival princely house.”

(*) “Amyntas, hard pressed by his Illyrian and Thessalian neighbors, had at one time been driven from his throne by a rival prince. After 2 years, he was restored to power by help of Sparta and Athens. [!] It is conjectured that this was the occasion of his adoption of the Athenian Iphicrates, one of the most capable leaders of mercenary troops.”

Toda a controvérsia do princípio do discurso de defesa está em que a Macedônia tomou Anfípolis para si. Mas teria sido direito de conquista, subtraindo-a dos atenienses, ou uma “tirania”, uma usurpação de uma ainda-colônia de Atenas? Melindres e filigranas…

Ésquines diz que Demóstenes, o último da comitiva a falar com Filipe, desmaiou de nervoso.

“he … having forgotten what he had written, was unable to recover himself; nay, on making a 2nd attempt, he broke down again. Silence followed; then the herald bade us withdraw.”

“And when we were all dining together at Larisa, he made fun of himself and the embarrassment which had come upon him in his speech, and he declared that Philip was the most wonderful man under the sun.”

“In referring to me he said something like this: that I had not disappointed the hopes of those who elected me to the embassy. And to cap it all he moved that each of us be crowned with a garland of wild olive because of our loyalty to the people, and that we be invited to dine on the morrow in the Prytaneum. To prove that I have spoken to you nothing but the truth, please let the clerk take the decree, and let him read the testimony of my colleagues in the embassy.”

“Then he went on and said <See how briefly I will report all the rest. To Aeschines Philip seemed to be eloquent, but not to me; nay, if one should strip off his luck and clothe another with it, this other would be almost his equal.”

“that you may know, fellow citizens, that when it is a question of speaking in the city’s behalf, Demosthenes is helpless, but against those who have broken bread with him and shared in the same libations, he is a practised orator.”

“You find, therefore, that it was not Philocrates and I who entered into partnership in the negotations for the peace, but Philocrates and Demosthenes.”

“For it the presiding officers gave no opportunity for discussion in the 2nd meeting, it is impossible that I spoke then. And if my policy was the same as that of Philocrates, what motive could I have had for opposing on the first day, and then after an interval of a single night, in the presence of the same listeners, for supporting?”

A História (antiga, moderna, ambas?) divide a Guerra Atenas Contra Macedônia ou Liga Atenéia x Filipe II em duas, mas podemos encará-la como uma grande conflagração continuada, com esparsas tréguas. A Guerra de Tróia, por sinal, contemplou mais armistício do que combates, durando de 9 a 10 anos…

“and instead of respect and the hegemony of Hellas, Athens had a name that stank like a nest of Myonnesian¹ pirates. And Philip from his base in Macedonia was no longer contending with us for Amphipolis, but already for Lemnos, Imbros, and Scyros, our own possessions, while our citizens were abandoning Chersonese, the undisputed property of Athens.”

¹ Ilha dos Ratos, mostrando que corsários sempre foram depreciados como animais de rapina ou até coisa pior!

“charge the peace not to the ambassadors, but to the commanders o four arms.”

“Such was the situation of the city, such the circumstances under which the debate on the peace took place. But the popular speakers arose and with one consent ignored the question of the safety of the state, but called on you to gaze at the Propylaea of the Acropolis, and remember the battle of Salamis, and the tombs and trophies of our forefathers.”

(*) “Aristotle tells us that it was Cleophon who introduced the 2 obol donation from the treasury to provide a free seat in the theatre for every citizen who applied for it. This was the beginning of the Theorika, recognized in the time of Aeschines as one of the greatest abuses in the democracy.”

“Finally they brought the city to such a pass that she was glad to make peace, giving up everything, tearing down her walls [como bem visto nos discursos de Lísias no seclusão], receiving a garrison and a Lacedaemonian governor, and surrendering the democracy to the Thirty, who put 1500 citizens to death without a trial.”

“For Atrometus, our father, whom you slander, though you do not know him and never saw what a man he was in his prime—you, Demosthenes, a descendant through your mother of the nomad Scythians—our father went into exile in the time of the Thirty, and later helped to restore the democracy”

“But you find fault with my service as ambassador to Arcadia and my speech before the Ten Thousand there, and you say that I have changed sides—yourself more slave than freeman, all but branded as a runaway! (…) I acknowledge that I advised the people to come to terms with Philip, and to make the peace, which you, Demosthenes, now hold disgraceful, you who never had a weapon of war in your hands—but which I declare to be much more honourable than the war.”

“But if the responsibility for the wars is to be laid upon the ambassadors, while the generals are to receive the rewards, the wars you wage will know neither truce nor herald of peace, for no man will be willing to be your ambassador.”

“Demosthenees, who just now burst into tears here at mention of Cersobleptes, tried to shut him out of the alliance. (…) and my accuser has dared to tell you that it was I who drove Critobulus, Cersobleptes’ ambassador, from the ceremony—in the presence of the allies, under the eyes of the generals, after the people had voted as they did! Where did I get all that power?”

“you preserve for all time in the public archives your decrees, together with their dates and the names of the officials who put them to vote.”

“And do you put on airs before these jurymen, as though they did not know that you are the bastard son of Demosthenes the cutler?” Não é a primeira vez que Ésquines utiliza o fato de a mãe de Demóstenes não ser cidadã ateniense como argumento extra, ad hominem.

“For it serves you, as it does all liars, to confuse the dates, but it serves me to give the events in their order”

“At the same time I reviewed [to Phillip] from the beginning the story of the founding of the shrine, and of the first synod of the Amphictyons that was ever held; and I read their oaths, in which the men of ancient times swore that they would raze no city of the Amphictyonic states, nor shut them off from flowing water either in war or in peace; that if anyone should violate this oath, they would march against such an one and raze his cities; and if any one should violate the shrine of the god or be accessory to such violation, or make any plot against the holy places, they would punish him with hand and foot and voice, and all their power. To the oath was added a mighty course.”

“in the apportionment of the day eleven jars of water have been assigned to my defence.(*)

(*) How long a time would be occupied by the running of one amphora of water through the clepsydra, we have no means of knowing.”

“Would it not, then, be monstrous treatment for me if I should be convicted when my accuser is Demosthenes, the paid servant of Thebes and the wickedest man in Hellas, while my advocates are Phocians and Boeotians?”

“For you, Demosthenes, fabricated these charges against me, but I will tell my story, as I was taught to do from childhood, truthfully. Yonder is my father, Atrometus; there are few older men among all the citizens, for he is now 94 years old. When he was a young man, before the war destroyed his property, he was so fortunate as to be an athlete; banished by the Thirty, he served as a soldier in Asia, and in danger he showed himself a man (…) and he helped in the restoration of the democracy

It is my good fortune, too, that all the members of my mother’s family are free-born citizens; and today I see her here before my eyes in anxiety and fear for my safety. And yet, Demosthenes, this mother of mine went out to Corinth an exile, with her husband, and shared the disasters of the democracy; but you, who claim to be a man—that you really are a man I should not venture to say—you were once indicted for desertion, and you saved yourself by buying off the man who indicted you, Nicodemus of Aphidna, whom afterward you helped Aristarchus to destroy; wherefore you are polluted, and have no right to be invading the market-place.”

(*) “The murder of Nichodemus by Aristarchus, a young friend of Demosthenes, was a notorious case, but the attempts of Demosthenes’ enemies to connect him with it were entirely unsuccessful.”

“But you dared to speak about my wife’s family also—so shameless you are and so inherently thankless, you that have neither affection nor respect for Philodemus, the father of Philon and Epicrates, the man by whose good offices you were enrolled among the men of your deme, as the elder Paeanians know.”

“But see how far back his preparations for this accusation go. For there is a certain Olynthians living here, Aristophanes by name. Demosthenes was introduced to him by some one, and having found out that he is an able speaker, paid extravagant court to him and won his confidence; this accomplished, he tried to persuade him to give false testimony against me before you, promising, namely, to give him 500 drachmas on the spot, if he would consent to come into court and complain of me, and say that I was guilty of drunken abuse of a woman of his family, who had been taken captive; and he promised to pay him 500 more when he should have given the testimony.

But Aristophanes answered him, as he himself told the story, that Demosthenes had entirely misjudged his character, for he could do nothing of the sort. (…) Please call Aristophanes the Olynthian (…) and call those who heard his story and reported it to me—Dercylus, of the deme Hagnus, the son of Autocles, and Aristeides of Cephisia, the son of Euphiletus.”

“Ofttimes whole peoples suffer from one man

Whose deeds are sinful and whose purpose base.”


“You wrote a speech for the banker Phormion and were paid for it: this speech you communicated to Apollodorus, who was bringing a capital charge against Phormion.”

“I fought in the battle of Mantineia, not without honour to myself or credit to the city. I took part in the expeditions to Euboea, and at the battle of Tamynae as a member of the picked corps I so bore myself in danger that I received a wreath of honour then and there, and another at the hands of the people on my arrival home; for I brought the news of the Athenian victory, and Temenides, taxiarch of the tribe Pandionis, who was despatched with me from camp, told here how I had borne myself in the face of the danger that befell us.”

“In former days, after the battle of Salamis, our city stood in high repute, and although our walls had been thrown down by the barbarians yet so long as we had peace with the Lacedaemonians we preserved our democratic form of government.”

“and we held the democratic constitution unshaken. But meanwhile men who were neither free by birth nor of fit character had intruded into our body politic, and finally we became involved in war again with the Lacedaemonians, this time because of the Aeginetans.”

(*) “Ver Andocides, On the Peace with the Lacedaemonians

“a creature who is no man—no better in spirit than a woman.”

“Is he not indeed to be pitied who must look into the sneering face of an enemy, and hear with his ears his insults? But nevertheless I have taken the risk, I have exposed my body to the peril.”