Second Philippic

Second Philippic

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The Second Philippic is an oration that was delivered by the Athenian statesman and orator Demosthenes
Demosthenes
Demosthenes was a prominent Greek statesman and orator of ancient Athens. His orations constitute a significant expression of contemporary Athenian intellectual prowess and provide an insight into the politics and culture of ancient Greece during the 4th century BC. Demosthenes learned rhetoric by...

 between 344 BC
344 BC
Year 344 BC was a year of the pre-Julian Roman calendar. At the time it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Rutilus and Torquatus...

-343 BC
343 BC
Year 343 BC was a year of the pre-Julian Roman calendar. At the time it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Corvus and Arvina...

. The speech constitutes the second of the four philippic
Philippic
A philippic is a fiery, damning speech, or tirade, delivered to condemn a particular political actor. The term originates with Demosthenes, who delivered several attacks on Philip II of Macedon in the 4th century BC....

s the orator is said to have delivered.

Historical background


In 344 BC
344 BC
Year 344 BC was a year of the pre-Julian Roman calendar. At the time it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Rutilus and Torquatus...

, Demosthenes barnstormed Peloponnese
Peloponnese
The Peloponnese, Peloponnesos or Peloponnesus , is a large peninsula , located in a region of southern Greece, forming the part of the country south of the Gulf of Corinth...

, in order to detach as many cities as possible from Macedon's influence. Nonetheless, his mission mainly failed, since most of the Peloponnesians saw Philip as the guarantor of their continued freedom and independence. They did not consider that the freedom of Greece was directly linked with the Athenian power, especially as the Athenians were allies of the Sparta
Sparta
Sparta or Lacedaemon, was a prominent city-state in ancient Greece, situated on the banks of the River Eurotas in Laconia, in south-eastern Peloponnese. It emerged as a political entity around the 10th century BC, when the invading Dorians subjugated the local, non-Dorian population. From c...

ns. Thereby, Philip and certain Peloponnesian cities, including Argos
Argos
Argos is a city and a former municipality in Argolis, Peloponnese, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Argos-Mykines, of which it is a municipal unit. It is 11 kilometres from Nafplion, which was its historic harbour...

, Messinia and Arcadia
Arcadia
Arcadia is one of the regional units of Greece. It is part of the administrative region of Peloponnese. It is situated in the central and eastern part of the Peloponnese peninsula. It takes its name from the mythological character Arcas. In Greek mythology, it was the home of the god Pan...

, sent a joint embassy to Athens to express their grievances. Athens' position was tough, since they wanted to keep their friendship with Sparta
Sparta
Sparta or Lacedaemon, was a prominent city-state in ancient Greece, situated on the banks of the River Eurotas in Laconia, in south-eastern Peloponnese. It emerged as a political entity around the 10th century BC, when the invading Dorians subjugated the local, non-Dorian population. From c...

, but, at the same time, they did not want to accuse Philip of violating the Peace of Philocrates
Peace of Philocrates
Peace of Philocrates is the name given to the peace treaty concluded in 346 BC between Athens and Macedon under Philip II. Philocrates was the name of the main Athenian negotiator of the Treaty.-Background:...

.

Content of the speech


In response to the complaints of the Peloponnesian cities, Demosthenes delivered the Second Philippic, a vehement attack against Philip and his Athenian supporters. The most serious accusation against the King of Macedon is that he violates the terms of the peace of 346 BC. According to Demosthenes, his countrymen were misled by Philip's friends, who convinced them that the King of Macedon would save the Phocians and humiliate Thebes
Thebes, Greece
Thebes is a city in Greece, situated to the north of the Cithaeron range, which divides Boeotia from Attica, and on the southern edge of the Boeotian plain. It played an important role in Greek myth, as the site of the stories of Cadmus, Oedipus, Dionysus and others...

. Nevertheless, this oration is not as passionate as the First Philippic
First Philippic
The First Philippic was delivered by the Athenian statesman and orator Demosthenes between 351 BC-350 BC. It constitutes the first speech of the prominent politician against Philip II of Macedon.-Historical framework:...

, since Demosthenes prefers to foster caution.

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