Dēmos · Classical Athenian Democracy · a Stoa Publication
→ § 7 (Dem. 7).
Craig Gibson, trans., edition of April 30, 2003
page 8 of 58
(1) This speech is entitled “On Halonnesus,” but perhaps it should more correctly be entitled “Response to Philip’s Letter.”6 (2) For he has sent a letter to the Athenians discussing many topics, one of which is the matter of Halonnesus. Halonnesus was an ancient holding of Athens, but in the time of Philip it was held by pirates. After kicking the pirates out, Philip did not “give back” the island to the Athenians when they demanded it, because he said that it was his, but he promised that he would “give” it to them when they asked for it. (3) This speech does not seem to me to be by Demosthenes. The diction and harmony of composition are obviously at great remove from the Demosthenic type, being slack and dissolute, contrary to this orator’s style. (4) Furthermore, the bit spoken at the end is no small indication that the speech is spurious: “if in fact you carry your brains between your temples and not trodden down in your heels.”7 For Demosthenes customarily exercised his freedom of speech, but this is hubris and abuse without measure, and there is a terrible baseness that attaches to him with this expression. In addition, it is also silly to believe that people have brains in their temples. (5) The older critics also suspected this speech as not being by the orator. Some have detected signs that it is by Hegesippus, both from the style of the words (for he uses this sort of style) and from the contents; for the man who wrote this speech says that he indicted Callippus of the deme Paeanea for an illegal proposal, and it is apparently not Demosthenes, but rather Hegesippus who brought said indictment against Callippus. (6) Right, by Zeus, but the speech advises the Athenians with regard to Halonnesus not to take it, but to take it back, and it quibbles over semantics; and Aeschines says that Demosthenes was the one who gave this advice to the Athenians.8 (7) Well, what of that? It is entirely possible that Demosthenes and Hegesippus gave the same advice, since in other respects they shared the same policies in governance and spoke against those orators who were on Philip’s side, and Demosthenes also mentions that Hegesippus served as an ambassador with him and was opposed to Philip.9 (8) Therefore, it is evident that Demosthenes’ “On Halonnesus” is not extant, but since it is not, they attributed the one they found to him, taking as their justification the fact that an “On Halonnesus” was delivered by the orator, but they inquired no further as to whether or not this one is likely to be it.
page 8 of 58
page 8 of 58