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For The Megapolitans


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The translations included in this volume were written at various times during
the last ten years for use in connexion with College Lectures, and a long
holiday, for which I have to thank the Trustees of the Balliol College Endowment
Fund, as well as the Master and Fellows of Balliol College, has enabled me to
revise them and to furnish them with brief introductions and notes. Only those
speeches are included which are generally admitted to be the work of
Demosthenes, and the spurious documents contained in the MSS. of the Speech on
the Crown are omitted. The speeches are arranged in chronological order, and the
several introductions to them are intended to supply an outline of the history
of the period, sufficient to provide a proper setting for the speeches, but not
more detailed than was necessary for this purpose. No discussion of conflicting
evidence has been introduced, and the views which are expressed on the character
and work of Demosthenes must necessarily seem somewhat dogmatic, when given
without the reasons for them. I hope, however, before long to treat the life of
Demosthenes more fully in another form. The estimate here given of his character
as a politician falls midway between the extreme views of Grote and Schaefer on
the one hand, and Beloch and Holm on the other.

I have tried to render the speeches into such English as a political orator of
the present day might use, without attempting to impart to them any antique
colouring, such as the best-known English translations either had from the first
or have acquired by lapse of time. It is of the essence of political oratory
that it is addressed to contemporaries, and the translation of it should
therefore be into contemporary English; though the necessity of retaining some
of the modes of expression which are peculiar to Greek oratory and political
life makes it impossible to produce completely the appearance of an English
orator's work. The qualities of Demosthenes' eloquence sometimes suggest rather
the oratory of the pulpit than that of the hustings or that of Parliament and of
the law-courts. I cannot hope to have wholly succeeded in my task; but it seemed
to be worth undertaking, and I hope that the work will not prove to have been
altogether useless.

I have made very little use of other translations; but I must acknowledge a debt
to Lord Brougham's version of the Speeches on the Chersonese and on the Crown,
which, though often defective from the point of view of scholarship and based on
faulty texts, are (together with his notes) very inspiring. I have also, at one
time or another, consulted most of the standard German, French, and English
editions of Demosthenes. I cannot now distinguish how much I owe to each; but I
am conscious of a special debt to the editions of the late Professor Henri Weil,
and of Sir J.E. Sandys, and (in the Speech on the Crown) to that of Professor
W.W. Goodwin. I also owe a few phrases in the earliest speeches to Professor
W.R. Hardie, whose lectures on Demosthenes I attended twenty years ago. My
special thanks are due to my friend Mr. P.E. Matheson of New College, for his
kindness in reading the proof-sheets, and making a number of suggestions, which
have been of great assistance to me.

The text employed has been throughout that of the late Mr. S.H. Butcher in the
_Bibliotheca Classica Oxoniensis_. Any deviations from this are noted in their

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