Forget Patriotism: Public Service Ruins You

Pausanias, Description of Greece 1.8:

Following the statues of the Eponymoi there are images of the gods, Amphiaraus and Eirene carrying the child Ploutos. Here is a bronze statue of Lycurgus son of Lycophron, and Kallias, who made peace (so most of the Athenians say) between the Greeks and Atarxerxes, the son of Xerxes. There is also a statue of Demosthenes, whom the Athenians forced into exile at Kalaureia, an island near Troizen, and whom they welcomed back but banished again following the embarassment in Lamia. In his second exile, Demosthenes went again to Kalaureia, where he drank a poison and died. He is the only Greek exile whom Archias did not lead back to Antipater and the Macedonians. This Archias, who came from Thuria, had set his heart on an unholy work: he rounded up all of the Greeks who had opposed the Macedonians before the Greek defeat in Thessaly and gave them to Antipater to be punished. So the goodwill which Demosthenes felt toward the Athenians came to this. It seems to me to be well said that whenever a man becomes devoted to his polis and relies upon the confidence of the people, he never suffers a good end.

μετὰ δὲ τὰς εἰκόνας τῶν ἐπωνύμων ἐστὶν ἀγάλματα θεῶν, Ἀμφιάραος καὶ Εἰρήνη φέρουσα Πλοῦτον παῖδα. ἐνταῦθα Λυκοῦργός τε κεῖται χαλκοῦς ὁ Λυκόφρονος καὶ Καλλίας, ὃς πρὸς Ἀρταξέρξην τὸν Ξέρξου τοῖς Ἕλλησιν, ὡς Ἀθηναίων οἱ πολλοὶ λέγουσιν, ἔπραξε τὴν εἰρήνην: ἔστι δὲ καὶ Δημοσθένης, ὃν ἐς Καλαυρείαν Ἀθηναῖοι τὴν πρὸ Τροιζῆνος νῆσον ἠνάγκασαν ἀποχωρῆσαι, δεξάμενοι δὲ ὕστερον διώκουσιν αὖθις μετὰ τὴν ἐν Λαμίᾳ πληγήν. Δημοσθένης δέ ὡς τὸ δεύτερον ἔφυγε, περαιοῦται καὶ τότε ἐς τὴν Καλαυρείαν, ἔνθα δὴ πιὼν φάρμακον ἐτελεύτησεν: φυγάδα τε Ἕλληνα μόνον τοῦτον Ἀντιπάτρῳ καὶ Μακεδόσιν οὐκ ἀνήγαγεν Ἀρχίας. ὁ δὲ Ἀρχίας οὗτος Θούριος ὢν ἔργον ἤρατο ἀνόσιον: ὅσοι Μακεδόσιν ἔπραξαν ἐναντία πρὶν ἢ τοῖς Ἕλλησι τὸ πταῖσμα τὸ ἐν Θεσσαλίᾳ γενέσθαι, τούτους ἦγεν Ἀρχίας Ἀντιπάτρῳ δώσοντας δίκην. Δημοσθένει μὲν ἡ πρὸς Ἀθηναίους ἄγαν εὔνοια ἐς τοῦτο ἐχώρησεν: εὖ δέ μοι λελέχθαι δοκεῖ ἄνδρα ἀφειδῶς ἐκπεσόντα ἐς πολιτείαν καὶ πιστὰ ἡγησάμενον τὰ τοῦ δήμου μήποτε καλῶς τελευτῆσαι.

From Boswell’s Life of Samuel Johnson:

“Sir Adam introduced the ancient Greeks and Romans. JOHNSON. ‘Sir, the mass of both of them were barbarians. The mass of every people must be barbarous where there is no printing, and consequently knowledge is not generally diffused. Knowledge is diffused among our people by the news-papers.’ Sir Adam mentioned the orators, poets, and artists of Greece. JOHNSON. ‘Sir, I am talking of the mass of the people. We see even what the boasted Athenians were. The little effect which Demosthenes’s orations had upon them, shews that they were barbarians.’”

Leave a Reply