|The Story of the Greeks|
|by Helene A. Guerber|
| Elementary history of Greece, made up principally of stories about persons, giving at the same time a clear idea of the most important events in the ancient world and calculated to enforce the lessons of perseverance, courage, patriotism, and virtue that are taught by the noble lives described. Beginning with the legends of Jason, Theseus, and events surrounding the Trojan War, the narrative moves on to present the contrasting city-states of Sparta and Athens, the war against Persia, their conflicts with each other, the feats of Alexander the Great, and annexation by Rome. Ages 10-14 |
THE ORATOR DEMOSTHENES
AS you have seen in the last chapter, Philip had one
great enemy in Greece, the orator Demosthenes. He had
distrusted Philip from the very first, and had kept
warning the Athenians that the King of Macedon was very
ambitious, and would soon try to become master of all
Greece. When the Olynthians asked for aid, he had
warmly urged the Athenians to give it, saying that
 they ought to bring on the conflict with Philip as soon
as possible, so that the fighting might be done outside
of Greece. In spite of his good arguments, however,
Philip took not only Olynthus, but all the towns
which formed the Olynthian union, and destroyed them so
completely that a few years later one could not even
find out where these once prosperous cities had been.
Demosthenes made three very fine speeches in favor of
the Olynthians, and several against Philip. These were
written down, and have been translated time and again.
You may some day read and admire them for yourselves.
Of course, when Philip heard of Demosthenes' speeches,
he was very angry; but he thought that his gold could
do wonders, so he sent a beautiful cup of that precious
metal to the orator. The gift was accepted; still
Demosthenes, instead of remaining silent as Philip had
expected, went on talking against him as openly as
 As Demosthenes was such a great man, you will like to
hear how he learned to speak so well. He was an orphan,
but very ambitious indeed. He saw how eagerly the
Athenians listened to the best speakers, and he thought
that he too would like to become an orator.
Unfortunately, he could not talk very plainly, and
instead of listening to him, even his playmates made
fun of him. But instead of crying, sulking, or getting
angry, Demosthenes sensibly made up his mind to learn
how to speak so well that they could no longer laugh at
him. He therefore learned a great deal of poetry, which
he recited daily as distinctly as possible. To be able
to do this without attracting any attention, he used to
go down to a lonely spot on the seashore, where he
would put some pebbles in his mouth, and then try to
recite so loud that his voice could be heard above the
noise of the waves.
To make his lungs strong, he used to walk and run up
hill, reciting as he went; and, in order to form a
pleasant style, he copied nine times the words of the
great Greek historian Thucydides.
When a young man, he shut himself up in the house to
study hard. Then, as he was afraid of being tempted to
go out and amuse himself, he shaved one side of his
head, and let the hair grow long on the other.
You see, he was bound to succeed, and his constant
trying was duly rewarded, as it always is. He became
learned, eloquent, and energetic; and whenever he rose
to speak in the public places of Athens, he was
surrounded by an admiring crowd, who listened
open-mouthed to all he said.
 The Athenians were too lazy at this time, however, to
bestir themselves very much, even for their own good.
So, in spite of all that Demosthenes could say, they
did not offer any great resistance to Philip, who
little by little became a very powerful king.
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