On the Navy Boards

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On the Navy Boards or On the Symmories (Ancient Greek: Περὶ τῶν Συμμοριῶν) is the first political oration of the prominent Athenian statesman and orator Demosthenes. It was delivered in 354 BC and constitutes one of the initial political interventions of Demosthenes. On the Navy Boards is a speech of general interest, which provided Demosthenes an opportunity to be an advocate for common sense. The ecclesia had convened to consider a rumored threat against Athens by the Great King of Persia. The orator espoused moderation and did not endeavor to rouse the hot-blooded ones of his audience against the Persians.[1] He advocated avoiding any provocation, but he also proposed a well-organised preparation in case of war. For this reason he supported the reform of the "symmoriai" (boards) through which the Athenian fleet was funded.[2] In his first political intervention the young politician did not accomplish his goals. On the Navy has been regarded as artistically inferior to his later political orations.


  1. ^ K. Tsatsos, Demosthenes, 88.
  2. ^ I. Worthington, Demosthenes: Statesman and Orator, 29.

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