By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII | HTML | PDF ]

Look for this book on Amazon

We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

Title: Athens: Its Rise and Fall, Book II
Author: Lytton, Edward Bulwer Lytton, Baron
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Athens: Its Rise and Fall, Book II" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.




The Conspiracy of Cylon.--Loss of Salamis.--First Appearance of
Solon.--Success against the Megarians in the Struggle for Salamis.--
Cirrhaean War.--Epimenides.--Political State of Athens.--Character of
Solon.--His Legislation.--General View of the Athenian Constitution.

I.  The first symptom in Athens of the political crisis (B. C. 621)
which, as in other of the Grecian states, marked the transition of
power from the oligarchic to the popular party, may be detected in the
laws of Draco.  Undue severity in the legislature is the ordinary
proof of a general discontent: its success is rarely lasting enough to
confirm a government--its failure, when confessed, invariably
strengthens a people.  Scarcely had these laws been enacted (B. C.
620) when a formidable conspiracy broke out against the reigning
oligarchy [195].  It was during the archonship of Megacles (a scion of
the great Alcmaeonic family, which boasted its descent from Nestor)
that the aristocracy was menaced by the ambition of an aristocrat.

Born of an ancient and powerful house, and possessed of considerable
wealth, Cylon, the Athenian, conceived the design of seizing the
citadel, and rendering himself master of the state.  He had wedded the
daughter of Theagenes, tyrant of Megara, and had raised himself into
popular reputation several years before, by a victory in the Olympic
games (B. C. 640).  The Delphic oracle was supposed to have inspired
him with the design; but it is at least equally probable that the
oracle was consulted after the design had been conceived.  The divine
voice declared that Cylon should occupy the citadel on the greatest
festival of Jupiter.  By the event it does not appear, however, that
he selected the proper occasion.  Taking advantage of an Olympic year,
when many of the citizens were gone to the games, and assisted with
troops by his father-in-law, he seized the citadel.  Whatever might
have been his hopes of popular support--and there is reason to believe
that he in some measure calculated upon it--the time was evidently
unripe for the convulsion, and the attempt was unskilfully planned.
The Athenians, under Megacles and the other archons, took the alarm,
and in a general body blockaded the citadel.  But they grew weary of
the length of the siege; many of them fell away, and the contest was
abandoned to the archons, with full power to act according to their
judgment.  So supine in defence of the liberties of the state are a
people who have not yet obtained liberty for themselves!

II.  The conspirators were reduced by the failure of food and water.
Cylon and his brother privately escaped.  Of his adherents, some
perished by famine, others betook themselves to the altars in the
citadel, claiming, as suppliants, the right of sanctuary.  The guards
of the magistrates, seeing the suppliants about to expire from
exhaustion, led them from the altar and put them to death.  But some
of the number were not so scrupulously slaughtered--massacred around
the altars of the furies.  The horror excited by a sacrilege so
atrocious, may easily be conceived by those remembering the humane and
reverent superstition of the Greeks:--the indifference of the people
to the contest was changed at once into detestation of the victors.  A
conspiracy, hitherto impotent, rose at once into power by the
circumstances of its defeat.  Megacles--his whole house--all who had
assisted in the impiety, were stigmatized with the epithet of
"execrable."  The faction, or friends of Cylon, became popular from
the odium of their enemies--the city was distracted by civil
commotion--by superstitious apprehensions of the divine anger--and, as
the excesses of one party are the aliment of the other, so the
abhorrence of sacrilege effaced the remembrance of a treason.

III.  The petty state of Megara, which, since the earlier ages, had,
from the dependant of Athens, grown up to the dignity of her rival,
taking advantage of the internal dissensions in the latter city,
succeeded in wresting from the Athenian government the Isle of
Salamis.  It was not, however, without bitter and repeated struggles
that Athens at last submitted to the surrender of the isle.  But,
after signal losses and defeats, as nothing is ever more odious to the
multitude than unsuccessful war, so the popular feeling was such as to
induce the government to enact a decree, by which it was forbidden,
upon pain of death, to propose reasserting the Athenian claims.  But a
law, evidently the offspring of a momentary passion of disgust or
despair, and which could not but have been wrung with reluctance from
a government, whose conduct it tacitly arraigned, and whose military
pride it must have mortified, was not likely to bind, for any length
of time, a gallant aristocracy and a susceptible people.  Many of the
younger portion of the community, pining at the dishonour of their
country, and eager for enterprise, were secretly inclined to
countenance any stratagem that might induce the reversal of the

At this time there went a report through the city, that a man of
distinguished birth, indirectly descended from the last of the
Athenian kings, had incurred the consecrating misfortune of insanity.
Suddenly this person appeared in the market-place, wearing the
peculiar badge that distinguished the sick [196].  His friends were,
doubtless, well prepared for his appearance--a crowd, some predisposed
to favour, others attracted by curiosity, were collected round him--
and, ascending to the stone from which the heralds made their
proclamations, he began to recite aloud a poem upon the loss of
Salamis, boldly reproving the cowardice of the people, and inciting
them again to war.  His supposed insanity protected him from the law--
his rank, reputation, and the circumstance of his being himself a
native of Salamis, conspired to give his exhortations a powerful
effect, and the friends he had secured to back his attempt loudly
proclaimed their applauding sympathy with the spirit of the address.
The name of the pretended madman was Solon, son of Execestides, the
descendant of Codrus.

Plutarch (followed by Mr. Milford, Mr. Thirlwall, and other modern
historians) informs us that the celebrated Pisistratus then proceeded
to exhort the assembly, and to advocate the renewal of the war--an
account that is liable to this slight objection, that Pisistratus at
that time was not born! [197]

IV.  The stratagem and the eloquence of Solon produced its natural
effect upon his spirited and excitable audience, and the public
enthusiasm permitted the oligarchical government to propose and effect
the repeal of the law [198].  An expedition was decreed and planned,
and Solon was invested with its command.  It was but a brief struggle
to recover the little island of Salamis: with one galley of thirty
oars and a number of fishing-craft, Solon made for Salamis, took a
vessel sent to reconnoitre by the Megarians, manned it with his own
soldiers, who were ordered to return to the city with such caution as
might prevent the Megarians discovering the exchange, on board, of
foes for friends; and then with the rest of his force he engaged the
enemy by land, while those in the ship captured the city.  In
conformity with this version of the campaign (which I have selected in
preference to another recorded by Plutarch), an Athenian ship once a
year passed silently to Salamis--the inhabitants rushed clamouring
down to meet it--an armed man leaped ashore, and ran shouting to the
Promontory of Sciradium, near which was long existent a temple erected
and dedicated to Mars by Solon.

But the brave and resolute Megarians were not men to be disheartened
by a single reverse; they persisted in the contest--losses were
sustained on either side, and at length both states agreed to refer
their several claims on the sovereignty of the island to the decision
of Spartan arbiters.  And this appeal from arms to arbitration is a
proof how much throughout Greece had extended that spirit of
civilization which is but an extension of the sense of justice.  Both
parties sought to ground their claims upon ancient and traditional
rights.  Solon is said to have assisted the demand of his countrymen
by a quotation, asserted to have been spuriously interpolated from
Homer's catalogue of the ships, which appeared to imply the ancient
connexion of Salamis and Athens (199); and whether or not this was
actually done, the very tradition that it was done, nearly half a
century before the first usurpation of Pisistratus, is a proof of the
great authority of Homer in that age, and how largely the services
rendered by Pisistratus, many years afterward, to the Homeric poems,
have been exaggerated and misconstrued.  The mode of burial in
Salamis, agreeable to the custom of the Athenians and contrary to that
of the Megarians, and reference to certain Delphic oracles, in which
the island was called "Ionian," were also adduced in support of the
Athenian claims.  The arbitration of the umpires in favour of Athens
only suspended hostilities; and the Megarians did not cease to watch
(and shortly afterward they found) a fitting occasion to regain a
settlement so tempting to their ambition.

V.  The credit acquired by Solon in this expedition was shortly
afterward greatly increased in the estimation of Greece.  In the Bay
of Corinth was situated a town called Cirrha, inhabited by a fierce
and lawless race, who, after devastating the sacred territories of
Delphi, sacrilegiously besieged the city itself, in the desire to
possess themselves of the treasures which the piety of Greece had
accumulated in the temple of Apollo.  Solon appeared at the
Amphictyonic council, represented the sacrilege of the Cirrhaeans, and
persuaded the Greeks to arm in defence of the altars of their tutelary
god.  Clisthenes, the tyrant of Sicyon, was sent as commander-in-chief
against the Cirrhaeans (B. C. 595); and (according to Plutarch) the
records of Delphi inform us that Alcmaeon was the leader of the
Athenians.  The war was not very successful at the onset; the oracle
of Apollo was consulted, and the answer makes one of the most amusing
anecdotes of priestcraft.  The besiegers were informed by the god that
the place would not be reduced until the waves of the Cirrhaean Sea
washed the territories of Delphi.  The reply perplexed the army; but
the superior sagacity of Solon was not slow in discovering that the
holy intention of the oracle was to appropriate the land of the
Cirrhaeans to the profit of the temple.  He therefore advised the
besiegers to attack and to conquer Cirrha, and to dedicate its whole
territory to the service of the god.  The advice was adopted--Cirrha
was taken (B. C. 586); it became thenceforth the arsenal of Delphi,
and the insulted deity had the satisfaction of seeing the sacred lands
washed by the waves of the Cirrhaean Sea.  An oracle of this nature
was perhaps more effectual than the sword of Clisthenes in preventing
future assaults on the divine city!  The Pythian games commenced, or
were revived, in celebration of this victory of the Pythian god.

VI.  Meanwhile at Athens--the tranquillity of the state was still
disturbed by the mortal feud between the party of Cylon and the
adherents of the Alcmaeonidae--time only served to exasperate the
desire of vengeance in the one, and increase the indisposition to
justice in the other.  Fortunately, however, the affairs of the state
were in that crisis which is ever favourable to the authority of an
individual.  There are periods in all constitutions when, amid the
excesses of factions, every one submits willingly to an arbiter.  With
the genius that might have made him the destroyer of the liberties of
his country, Solon had the virtue to constitute himself their saviour.
He persuaded the families stigmatized with the crime of sacrilege, and
the epithet of "execrable," to submit to the forms of trial; they were
impeached, judged, and condemned to exile; the bodies of those whom
death had already summoned to a sterner tribunal were disinterred, and
removed beyond the borders of Attica.  Nevertheless, the superstitions
of the people were unappeased.  Strange appearances were beheld in the
air, and the augurs declared that the entrails of the victims denoted
that the gods yet demanded a fuller expiation of the national crime.

At this time there lived in Crete one of those remarkable men common
to the early ages of the world, who sought to unite with the honours
of the sage the mysterious reputation of the magician.  Epimenides,
numbered by some among the seven wise men, was revered throughout
Greece as one whom a heavenlier genius animated and inspired.  Devoted
to poetry, this crafty impostor carried its prerogatives of fiction
into actual life; and when he declared--in one of his verses, quoted
by St. Paul in his Epistle to Titus--that "the Cretans were great
liars," we have no reason to exempt the venerable accuser from his own
unpatriotic reproach.  Among the various legends which attach to his
memory is a tradition that has many a likeness both in northern and
eastern fable:--he is said to have slept forty-seven [200] years in a
cave, and on his waking from that moderate repose, to have been not
unreasonably surprised to discover the features of the country
perfectly changed.  Returning to Cnossus, of which he was a citizen,
strange faces everywhere present themselves.  At his father's door he
is asked his business, and at length, with considerable difficulty.
he succeeds in making himself known to his younger brother, whom he
had left a boy, and now recognised in an old decrepit man.  "This
story," says a philosophical biographer, very gravely, "made a
considerable sensation"--an assertion not to be doubted; but those who
were of a more skeptical disposition, imagined that Epimenides had
spent the years of his reputed sleep in travelling over foreign
countries, and thus acquiring from men those intellectual acquisitions
which he more piously referred to the special inspiration of the gods.
Epimenides did not scruple to preserve the mysterious reputation he
obtained from this tale by fables equally audacious.  He endeavoured
to persuade the people that he was Aeacus, and that he frequently
visited the earth: he was supposed to be fed by the nymphs--was never
seen to eat in public--he assumed the attributes of prophecy--and
dying in extreme old age: was honoured by the Cretans as a god.

In addition to his other spiritual prerogatives, this reviler of
"liars" boasted the power of exorcism; was the first to introduce into
Greece the custom of purifying public places and private abodes, and
was deemed peculiarly successful in banishing those ominous phantoms
which were so injurious to the tranquillity of the inhabitants of
Athens.  Such a man was exactly the person born to relieve the fears
of the Athenians, and accomplish the things dictated by the panting
entrails of the sacred victims.  Accordingly (just prior to the
Cirrhaean war, B. C. 596), a ship was fitted out, in which an Athenian
named Nicias was sent to Crete, enjoined to bring back the purifying
philosopher, with all that respectful state which his celebrity
demanded.  Epimenides complied with the prayer of the Athenians he
arrived at Athens, and completed the necessary expiation in a manner
somewhat simple for so notable an exorcist.  He ordered several sheep,
some black and some white, to be turned loose in the Areopagus,
directed them to be followed, and wherever they lay down, a sacrifice
was ordained in honour of some one of the gods.  "Hence," says the
historian of the philosophers, "you may still see throughout Athens
anonymous altars (i. e. altars uninscribed to a particular god), the
memorials of that propitiation."

The order was obeyed--the sacrifice performed--and the phantoms were
seen no more.  Although an impostor, Epimenides was a man of sagacity
and genius.  He restrained the excess of funeral lamentation, which
often led to unseasonable interruptions of business, and conduced to
fallacious impressions of morality; and in return he accustomed the
Athenians to those regular habits of prayer and divine worship, which
ever tend to regulate and systematize the character of a people.  He
formed the closest intimacy with Solon, and many of the subsequent
laws of the Athenian are said by Plutarch to have been suggested by
the wisdom of the Cnossian sage.  When the time arrived for the
departure of Epimenides, the Athenians would have presented him with a
talent in reward of his services, but the philosopher refused the
offer; he besought the Athenians to a firm alliance with his
countrymen; accepted of no other remuneration than a branch of the
sacred olive which adorned the citadel, and was supposed the primeval
gift of Minerva, and returned to his native city,--proving that a man
in those days might be an impostor without seeking any other reward
than the gratuitous honour of the profession.

VII.  With the departure of Epimenides, his spells appear to have
ceased; new disputes and new factions arose; and, having no other
crimes to expiate, the Athenians fell with one accord upon those of
the government.  Three parties--the Mountaineers, the Lowlanders, and
the Coastmen--each advocating a different form of constitution,
distracted the state by a common discontent with the constitution that
existed, the three parties, which, if we glance to the experience of
modern times, we might almost believe that no free state can ever be
without--viz., the respective advocates of the oligarchic, the mixed,
and the democratic government.  The habits of life ever produce among
classes the political principles by which they are severally
regulated.  The inhabitants of the mountainous district, free, rude,
and hardy, were attached to a democracy; the possessors of the plains
were the powerful families who inclined to an oligarchy, although, as
in all aristocracies, many of them united, but with more moderate
views, in the measures of the democratic party; and they who, living
by the coast, were engaged in those commercial pursuits which at once
produce an inclination to liberty, yet a fear of its excess, a
jealousy of the insolence of the nobles, yet an apprehension of the
licentiousness of the mob, arrayed themselves in favour of that mixed
form of government--half oligarchic and half popular--which is usually
the most acceptable to the middle classes of an enterprising people.
But there was a still more fearful division than these, the three
legitimate parties, now existing in Athens: a division, not of
principle, but of feeling--that menacing division which, like the
cracks in the soil, portending earthquake, as it gradually widens, is
the symptom of convulsions that level and destroy,--the division, in
one word, of the rich and the poor--the Havenots and the Haves.  Under
an oligarchy, that most griping and covetous of all forms of
government, the inequality of fortunes had become intolerably
grievous; so greatly were the poor in debt to the rich, that [201]
they were obliged to pay the latter a sixth of the produce of the
land, or else to engage their personal labour to their creditors, who
might seize their persons in default of payment.  Some were thus
reduced to slavery, others sold to foreigners.  Parents disposed of
their children to clear their debts, and many, to avoid servitude, in
stealth deserted the land.  But a large body of the distressed, men
more sturdy and united, resolved to resist the iron pressure of the
law: they formed the design of abolishing debts--dividing the land--
remodelling the commonwealth: they looked around for a leader, and
fixed their hopes on Solon.  In the impatience of the poor, in the
terror of the rich, liberty had lost its charms, and it was no
uncommon nor partial hope that a monarchy might be founded on the
ruins of an oligarchy already menaced with dissolution.

VIII.  Solon acted during these disturbances with more than his usual
sagacity, and therefore, perhaps, with less than his usual energy.  He
held himself backward and aloof, allowing either party to interpret,
as it best pleased, ambiguous and oracular phrases, obnoxious to none,
for he had the advantage of being rich without the odium of extortion,
and popular without the degradation of poverty.  "Phanias the Lesbian"
(so states the biographer of Solon) "asserts, that to save the state
he intrigued with both parties, promising to the poor a division of
the lands, to the rich a confirmation of their claims;" an assertion
highly agreeable to the finesse and subtlety of his character.
Appearing loath to take upon himself the administration of affairs, it
was pressed upon him the more eagerly; and at length he was elected to
the triple office of archon, arbitrator, and lawgiver; the destinies
of Athens were unhesitatingly placed within his hands; all men hoped
from him all things; opposing parties concurred in urging him to
assume the supreme authority of king; oracles were quoted in his
favour, and his friends asserted, that to want the ambition of a
monarch was to fail in the proper courage of a man.  Thus supported,
thus encouraged, Solon proceeded to his august and immortal task of

IX.  Let us here pause to examine, by such light as is bequeathed us,
the character of Solon.  Agreeably to the theory of his favourite
maxim, which made moderation the essence of wisdom, he seems to have
generally favoured, in politics, the middle party, and, in his own
actions, to have been singular for that energy which is the
equilibrium of indifference and of rashness.  Elevated into supreme
and unquestioned power--urged on all sides to pass from the office of
the legislator to the dignity of the prince--his ambition never passed
the line which his virtue dictated to his genius.  "Tyranny," said
Solon, "is a fair field, but it has no outlet."  A subtle, as well as
a noble saying; it implies that he who has once made himself the
master of the state has no option as to the means by which he must
continue his power.  Possessed of that fearful authority, his first
object is to rule, and it becomes a secondary object to rule well.
"Tyranny has, indeed, no outlet!"  The few, whom in modern times we
have seen endowed with a similar spirit of self-control, have
attracted our admiration by their honesty rather than their intellect;
and the skeptic in human virtue has ascribed the purity of Washington
as much to the mediocrity of his genius as to the sincerity of his
patriotism:--the coarseness of vulgar ambition can sympathize but
little with those who refuse a throne.  But in Solon there is no
disparity between the mental and the moral, nor can we account for the
moderation of his views by affecting doubt of the extent of his
powers.  His natural genius was versatile and luxuriant.  As an
orator, he was the first, according to Cicero, who originated the
logical and brilliant rhetoric which afterward distinguished the
Athenians.  As a poet, we have the assurance of Plato that, could he
have devoted himself solely to the art, even Homer would not have
excelled him.  And though these panegyrics of later writers are to be
received with considerable qualification--though we may feel assured
that Solon could never have been either a Demosthenes or a Homer, yet
we have sufficient evidence in his history to prove him to have been
eloquent--sufficient in the few remains of his verses to attest
poetical talent of no ordinary standard.  As a soldier, he seems to
have been a dexterous master of the tactics of that primitive day in
which military science consisted chiefly in the stratagems of a ready
wit and a bold invention.  As a negotiator, the success with which,
out of elements so jarring and distracted, he created an harmonious
system of society and law, is an unanswerable evidence not more of the
soundness of his theories than of his practical knowledge of mankind.
The sayings imputed to him which can be most reasonably considered
authentic evince much delicacy of observation.  Whatever his ideal of
good government, he knew well that great secret of statesmanship,
never to carry speculative doctrines too far beyond the reach of the
age to which they are to be applied.  Asked if he had given the
Athenians the best of laws, his answer was, "The best laws they are
capable of receiving."  His legislation, therefore, was no vague
collection of inapplicable principles.  While it has been the origin
of all subsequent law,--while, adopted by the Romans, it makes at this
day the universal spirit which animates the codes and constitutions of
Europe--it was moulded to the habits, the manners, and the condition
of the people whom it was intended to enlighten, to harmonize, and to
guide.  He was no gloomy ascetic, such as a false philosophy produces,
affecting the barren sublimity of an indolent seclusion; open of
access to all, free and frank of demeanour, he found wisdom as much in
the market-place as the cell.  He aped no coxcombical contempt of
pleasure, no fanatical disdain of wealth; hospitable, and even
sumptuous, in his habits of life, he seemed desirous of proving that
truly to be wise is honestly to enjoy.  The fragments of his verses
which have come down to us are chiefly egotistical: they refer to his
own private sentiments, or public views, and inform us with a noble
pride, "that, if reproached with his lack of ambition, he finds a
kingdom in the consciousness of his unsullied name."  With all these
qualities, he apparently united much of that craft and spirit of
artifice which, according to all history, sacred as well as profane,
it was not deemed sinful in patriarch or philosopher to indulge.
Where he could not win his object by reason, he could stoop to attain
it by the affectation of madness.  And this quality of craft was
necessary perhaps, in that age, to accomplish the full utilities of
his career.  However he might feign or dissimulate, the end before him
was invariably excellent and patriotic; and the purity of his private
morals harmonized with that of his political ambition.  What Socrates
was to the philosophy of reflection, Solon was to the philosophy of

X.  The first law that Solon enacted in his new capacity was bold and
decisive.  No revolution can ever satisfy a people if it does not
lessen their burdens.  Poverty disposes men to innovation only because
innovation promises relief.  Solon therefore applied himself
resolutely, and at once, to the great source of dissension between the
rich and the poor--namely, the enormous accumulation of debt which had
been incurred by the latter, with slavery, the penalty of default.  He
induced the creditors to accept the compromise of their debts: whether
absolutely cancelling the amount, or merely reducing the interest and
debasing the coin, is a matter of some dispute; the greater number of
authorities incline to the former supposition, and Plutarch quotes the
words of Solon himself in proof of the bolder hypothesis, although
they by no means warrant such an interpretation.  And to remove for
ever the renewal of the greatest grievance in connexion with the past
distresses, he enacted a law that no man hereafter could sell himself
in slavery for the discharge of a debt.  Even such as were already
enslaved were emancipated, and those sold by their creditors into
foreign countries were ransomed, and restored to their native land,
But, though (from the necessity of the times) Solon went to this
desperate extent of remedy, comparable in our age only to the formal
sanction of a national bankruptcy, he rejected with firmness the wild
desire of a division of lands.  There may be abuses in the contraction
of debts which require far sterner alternatives than the inequalities
of property.  He contented himself in respect to the latter with a law
which set a limit to the purchase of land--a theory of legislation not
sufficiently to be praised, if it were possible to enforce it [202].
At first, these measures fell short of the popular expectation,
excited by the example of Sparta into the hope of an equality of
fortunes: but the reaction soon came.  A public sacrifice was offered
in honour of the discharge of debt, and the authority of the lawgiver
was corroborated and enlarged.  Solon was not one of those politicians
who vibrate alternately between the popular and the aristocratic
principles, imagining that the concession of to-day ought necessarily
to father the denial of to-morrow.  He knew mankind too deeply not to
be aware that there is no statesman whom the populace suspect like the
one who commences authority with a bold reform, only to continue it
with hesitating expedients.  His very next measure was more vigorous
and more unexceptionable than the first.  The  evil of the laws of
Draco was not that they were severe, but that they were inefficient.
In legislation, characters of blood are always traced upon tablets of
sand.  With one stroke Solon annihilated the whole of these laws, with
the exception of that (an ancient and acknowledged ordinance) which
related to homicide; he affixed, in exchange, to various crimes--to
theft, to rape, to slander, to adultery--punishments proportioned to
the offence.  It is remarkable that in the spirit of his laws he
appealed greatly to the sense of honour and the fear of shame, and
made it one of his severest penalties to be styled atimos or
unhonoured--a theory that, while it suited the existent, went far to
ennoble the future, character of the Athenians.  In the same spirit
the children of those who perished in war were educated at the public
charge--arriving at maturity, they were presented with a suit of
armour, settled in their respective callings, and honoured with
principal seats in all public assemblies.  That is a wise principle of
a state which makes us grateful to its pensioners, and bids us regard
in those supported at the public charge the reverent memorials of the
public service [203].  Solon had the magnanimity to preclude, by his
own hand, a dangerous temptation to his own ambition, and assigned
death to the man who aspired to the sole dominion of the commonwealth.
He put a check to the jobbing interests and importunate canvass of
individuals, by allowing no one to propose a law in favour of a single
person, unless he had obtained the votes of six thousand citizens; and
he secured the quiet of a city exposed to the license of powerful
factions, by forbidding men to appear armed in the streets, unless in
cases of imminent exigence.

XI.  The most memorable of Solon's sayings illustrates the theory of
the social fabric he erected.  When asked how injustice should be
banished from a commonwealth, he answered, "by making all men
interested in the injustice done to each;" an answer imbodying the
whole soul of liberty.  His innovations in the mere forms of the
ancient constitution do not appear to have been considerable; he
rather added than destroyed.  Thus he maintained or revived the senate
of the aristocracy; but to check its authority he created a people.
The four ancient tribes [204], long subdivided into minor sections,
were retained.  Foreigners, who had transported for a permanence their
property and families to Athens, and abandoned all connexion with
their own countries, were admitted to swell the numbers of the free
population.  This made the constituent body.  At the age of eighteen,
each citizen was liable to military duties within the limits of
Attica; at the age of twenty he attained his majority, and became
entitled to a vote in the popular assembly, and to all the other
rights of citizenship.  Every free Athenian of the age of twenty was
thus admitted to a vote in the legislature.  But the possession of a
very considerable estate was necessary to the attainment of the higher
offices.  Thus, while the people exercised universal suffrage in
voting, the choice of candidates was still confined to an oligarchy.
Four distinct ranks were acknowledged; not according, as hitherto, to
hereditary descent, but the possession of property.  They whose income
yielded five hundred measures in any commodity, dry or liquid, were
placed in the first rank, under the title of Pentacosiomedimnians.
The second class, termed Hippeis, knights or horsemen, was composed of
those whose estates yielded three hundred measures.  Each man
belonging to it was obliged to keep a horse for the public service,
and to enlist himself, if called upon, in the cavalry of the military
forces (the members of either of these higher classes were exempt,
however, from serving on board ship, or in the infantry, unless
intrusted with some command.)  The third class was composed of those
possessing two hundred [205] measures, and called Zeugitae; and the
fourth and most numerous class comprehended, under the name of Thetes,
the bulk of the non-enslaved working population, whose property fell
short of the qualification required for the Zeugitae.  Glancing over
these divisions, we are struck by their similarity to the ranks among
our own northern and feudal ancestry, corresponding to the nobles, the
knights, the burgesses, and the labouring classes, which have so long
made, and still constitute, the demarcations of society in modern
Europe.  The members of the first class were alone eligible to the
highest offices as archons, those of the three first classes to the
political assembly of the four hundred (which I shall presently
describe), and to some minor magistracies; the members of the fourth
class were excluded from all office, unless, as they voted in the
popular assembly, they may be said to have had a share in the
legislature, and to exercise, in extraordinary causes, judicial
authority.  At the same time no hereditary barrier excluded them from
the hopes so dear to human aspirations.  They had only to acquire the
necessary fortune in order to enjoy the privileges of their superiors.
And, accordingly, we find, by an inscription on the Acropolis,
recorded in Pollux, that Anthemion, of the lowest class, was suddenly
raised to the rank of knight. [206]

XII.  We perceive, from these divisions of rank, that the main
principle of Solon's constitution was founded, not upon birth, but
wealth.  He instituted what was called a timocracy, viz., an
aristocracy of property; based upon democratic institutions of popular
jurisdiction, election, and appeal.  Conformably to the principle
which pervades all states, that make property the qualification for
office, to property the general taxation was apportioned.  And this,
upon a graduated scale, severe to the first class, and completely
exonerating the lowest.  The ranks of the citizens thus established,
the constitution acknowledged three great councils or branches of
legislature.  The first was that of the venerable Areopagus.  We have
already seen that this institution had long existed among the
Athenians; but of late it had fallen into some obscurity or neglect,
and was not even referred to in the laws of Draco.  Solon continued
the name of the assembly, but remodelled its constitution.  Anciently
it had probably embraced all the Eupatrids.  Solon defined the claims
of the aspirants to that official dignity, and ordained that no one
should be admitted to the areopagus who had not filled the situation
of archon--an ordeal which implied not only the necessity of the
highest rank, but, as I shall presently note, of sober character and
unblemished integrity.

The remotest traditions clothed the very name of this assembly with
majesty and awe.  Holding their council on the sacred hill consecrated
to Mars, fable asserted that the god of battle had himself been
arraigned before its tribunal.  Solon exerted his imagination to
sustain the grandeur of its associations.  Every distinction was
lavished upon senators, who, in the spirit of his laws, could only
pass from the temple of virtue to that of honour.  Before their
jurisdiction all species of crime might be arraigned--they had equal
power to reward and to punish.  From the guilt of murder to the
negative offence of idleness [207], their control extended--the
consecration of altars to new deities, the penalties affixed to
impiety, were at their decision, and in their charge.  Theirs was the
illimitable authority to scrutinize the lives of men--they attended
public meetings and solemn sacrifices, to preserve order by the
majesty of their presence.  The custody of the laws and the management
of the public funds, the superintendence of the education of youth,
were committed to their care.  Despite their power, they interfered
but little in the management of political affairs, save in cases of
imminent danger.  Their duties, grave, tranquil, and solemn, held them
aloof from the stir of temporary agitation.  They were the last great
refuge of the state, to which, on common occasions, it was almost
profanity to appeal.  Their very demeanour was modelled to harmonize
with the reputation of their virtues and the dignity of their office.
It was forbidden to laugh in their assembly--no archon who had been
seen in a public tavern could be admitted to their order [208], and
for an areopagite to compose a comedy was a matter of special
prohibition [209].  They sat in the open air, in common with all
courts having cognizance of murder.  If the business before them was
great and various, they were wont to divide themselves into
committees, to each of which the several causes were assigned by lot,
so that no man knowing the cause he was to adjudge could be assailed
with the imputation of dishonest or partial prepossession.  After duly
hearing both parties, they gave their judgment with proverbial gravity
and silence.  The institution of the ballot (a subsequent custom)
afforded secrecy to their award--a proceeding necessary amid the
jealousy and power of factions, to preserve their judgment unbiased by
personal fear, and the abolition of which, we shall see hereafter, was
among the causes that crushed for a while the liberties of Athens.  A
brazen urn received the suffrages of condemnation--one of wood those
of acquittal.  Such was the character and constitution of the

XIII.  The second legislative council ordained or revived by Solon,
consisted of a senate, composed, first of four hundred, and many years
afterward of five hundred members.  To this council all, save the
lowest and most numerous class, were eligible, provided they had
passed or attained the age of thirty.  It was rather a chance assembly
than a representative one.  The manner of its election appears not
more elaborate than clumsy.  To every ward there was a president,
called phylarchus.  This magistrate, on a certain day in the year,
gave in the names of all the persons within his district entitled to
the honour of serving in the council, and desirous of enjoying it.
These names were inscribed on brazen tablets, and cast into a certain
vessel.  In another vessel was placed an equal number of beans;
supposing the number of candidates to be returned by each tribe to be
(as it at first was) a hundred, there were one hundred white beans put
into the vessel--the rest were black.  Then the names of the
candidates and the beans were drawn out one by one; and each candidate
who had the good fortune to have his name drawn out together with a
white bean, became a member of the senate.  Thus the constitution of
each succeeding senate might differ from the last--might, so far from
representing the people, contradict their wishes--was utterly a matter
of hazard and chance; and when Mr. Mitford informs us that the
assembly of the people was the great foundation of evil in the
Athenian constitution, it appears that to the capricious and
unsatisfactory election of this council we may safely impute many of
the inconsistencies and changes which that historian attributes
entirely to the more popular assembly [211].  To this council were
intrusted powers less extensive in theory than those of the Areopagus,
but far more actively exerted.  Its members inspected the fleet (when
a fleet was afterward established)--they appointed jailers of prisons
--they examined the accounts of magistrates at the termination of
their office; these were minor duties; to them was allotted also an
authority in other departments of a much higher and more complicated
nature.  To them was given the dark and fearful extent of power which
enabled them to examine and to punish persons accused of offences
unspecified by any peculiar law [212]--an ordinance than which, had
less attention been paid to popular control, the wildest ambition of
despotism would have required no broader base for its designs.  A
power to punish crimes unspecified by law is a power above law, and
ignorance or corruption may easily distort innocence itself into
crime.  But the main duty of the Four Hundred was to prepare the laws
to be submitted to the assembly of the people--the great popular
tribunal which we are about presently to consider.  Nor could any law,
according to Solon, be introduced into that assembly until it had
undergone the deliberation, and received the sanction, of this
preliminary council.  With them, therefore, was THE ORIGIN OF ALL
LEGISLATION.  In proportion to these discretionary powers was the
examination the members of the council underwent.  Previous to the
admission of any candidate, his life, his character, and his actions
were submitted to a vigorous scrutiny [213].  The senators then took a
solemn oath that they would endeavour to promote the public good, and
the highest punishment they were allowed to inflict was a penalty of
five hundred drachma.  If that punishment were deemed by them
insufficient, the criminal was referred to the regular courts of law.
At the expiration of their trust, which expired with each year, the
senators gave an account of their conduct, and the senate itself
punished any offence of its members; so severe were its inflictions,
that a man expelled from the senate was eligible as a judge--a proof
that expulsion was a punishment awarded to no heinous offence. [214]

The members of each tribe presided in turn over the rest [215] under
the name of prytanes.  It was the duty of the prytanes to assemble the
senate, which was usually every day, and to keep order in the great
assembly of the people.  These were again subdivided into the proedri,
who presided weekly over the rest, while one of this number, appointed
by lot, was the chief president (or Epistates) of the whole council;
to him were intrusted the keys of the citadel and the treasury, and a
wholesome jealousy of this twofold trust limited its exercise to a
single day.  Each member gave notice in writing of any motion he
intended to make--the prytanes had the prior right to propound the
question, and afterward it became matter of open discussion--they
decided by ballot whether to reject or adopt it; if accepted, it was
then submitted to the assembly of the people, who ratified or refused
the law which they might not originate.

Such was the constitution of the Athenian council, one resembling in
many points to the common features of all modern legislative

XIV.  At the great assembly of the people, to which we now arrive, all
freemen of the age of discretion, save only those branded by law with
the opprobrium of atimos (unhonoured) [216], were admissible.  At the
time of Solon, this assembly was by no means of the importance to
which it afterward arose.  Its meetings were comparatively rare, and
no doubt it seldom rejected the propositions of the Four Hundred.  But
whenever different legislative assemblies exist, and popular control
is once constitutionally acknowledged, it is in the nature of things
that the more democratic assembly should absorb the main business of
the more aristocratic.  A people are often enslaved by the accident of
a despot, but almost ever gain upon the checks which the constitution
is intended habitually to oppose.  In the later time, the assembly met
four times in five weeks (at least, during the period in which the
tribes were ten in number), that is, during the presidence of each
prytanea.  The first time of their meeting they heard matters of
general import, approved or rejected magistrates, listened to
accusations of grave political offences [217], as well as the
particulars of any confiscation of goods.  The second time was
appropriated to affairs relative as well to individuals as the
community; and it was lawful for every man either to present a
petition or share in a debate.  The third time of meeting was devoted
to the state audience of ambassadors.  The fourth, to matters of
religious worship or priestly ceremonial.  These four periodical
meetings, under the name of Curia, made the common assembly, requiring
no special summons, and betokening no extraordinary emergency.  But
besides these regular meetings, upon occasions of unusual danger, or
in cases requiring immediate discussion, the assembly of the people
might also be convened by formal proclamation; and in this case it was
termed "Sugkletos," which we may render by the word convocation.  The
prytanes, previous to the meeting of the assembly, always placarded in
some public place a programme of the matters on which the people were
to consult.  The persons presiding over the meeting were proedri,
chosen by lot from the nine tribes, excluded at the time being from
the office of prytanes; out of their number a chief president (or
epistates) was elected also by lot.  Every effort was made to compel a
numerous attendance, and each man attending received a small coin for
his trouble [218], a practice fruitful in jests to the comedians.  The
prytanes might forbid a man of notoriously bad character to speak.
The chief president gave the signal for their decision.  In ordinary
cases they held up their hands, voting openly; but at a later period,
in cases where intimidation was possible, such as in the offences of
men of power and authority, they voted in secret.  They met usually in
the vast arena of their market-place. [219]

XV.  Recapitulating the heads of that complex constitution I have thus
detailed, the reader will perceive that the legislative power rested
in three assemblies--the Areopagus, the Council, and the Assembly of
the People--that the first, notwithstanding its solemn dignity and
vast authority, seldom interfered in the active, popular, and daily
politics of the state--that the second originated laws, which the
third was the great Court of Appeal to sanction or reject.  The great
improvement of modern times has been to consolidate the two latter
courts in one, and to unite in a representative senate the sagacity of
a deliberative council with the interests of a popular assembly;--the
more closely we blend these objects, the more perfectly, perhaps, we
attain, by the means of wisdom, the ends of liberty.

XVI.  But although in a senate composed by the determinations of
chance, and an assembly which from its numbers must ever have been
exposed to the agitation of eloquence and the caprices of passion,
there was inevitably a crude and imperfect principle,--although two
courts containing in themselves the soul and element of contradiction
necessarily wanted that concentrated oneness of purpose propitious to
the regular and majestic calmness of legislation, we cannot but allow
the main theory of the system to have been precisely that most
favourable to the prodigal exuberance of energy, of intellect, and of
genius.  Summoned to consultation upon all matters, from the greatest
to the least, the most venerable to the most trite--to-day deciding on
the number of their war-ships, to-morrow on that of a tragic chorus;
now examining with jealous forethought the new harriers to
oligarchical ambition;--now appointing, with nice distinction, to
various service the various combinations of music [220];--now
welcoming in their forum-senate the sober ambassadors of Lacedaemon or
the jewelled heralds of Persia, now voting their sanction to new
temples or the reverent reforms of worship; compelled to a lively and
unceasing interest in all that arouses the mind, or elevates the
passions, or refines the taste;--supreme arbiters of the art of the
sculptor, as the science of the lawgiver,--judges and rewarders of the
limner and the poet, as of the successful negotiator or the prosperous
soldier; we see at once the all-accomplished, all-versatile genius of
the nation, and we behold in the same glance the effect and the
cause:--every thing being referred to the people, the people learned
of every thing to judge.  Their genius was artificially forced, and in
each of its capacities.  They had no need of formal education.  Their
whole life was one school.  The very faults of their assembly, in its
proneness to be seduced by extraordinary eloquence, aroused the
emulation of the orator, and kept constantly awake the imagination of
the audience.  An Athenian was, by the necessity of birth, what Milton
dreamed that man could only become by the labours of completest
education: in peace a legislator, in war a soldier,--in all times, on
all occasions, acute to judge and resolute to act.  All that can
inspire the thought or delight the leisure were for the people.
Theirs were the portico and the school--theirs the theatre, the
gardens, and the baths; they were not, as in Sparta, the tools of the
state--they were the state!  Lycurgus made machines and Solon men.  In
Sparta the machine was to be wound up by the tyranny of a fixed
principle; it could not dine as it pleased--it could not walk as it
pleased--it was not permitted to seek its she machine save by stealth
and in the dark; its children were not its own--even itself had no
property in self.  Sparta incorporated, under the name of freedom, the
worst complexities, the most grievous and the most frivolous
vexations, of slavery.  And therefore was it that Lacedaemon
flourished and decayed, bequeathing to fame men only noted for hardy
valour, fanatical patriotism, and profound but dishonourable craft--
attracting, indeed, the wonder of the world, but advancing no claim to
its gratitude, and contributing no single addition to its intellectual
stores.  But in Athens the true blessing of freedom was rightly
placed--in the opinions and the soul.  Thought was the common heritage
which every man might cultivate at his will.  This unshackled liberty
had its convulsions and its excesses, but producing unceasing
emulation and unbounded competition, an incentive to every effort, a
tribunal to every claim, it broke into philosophy with the one--into
poetry with the other--into the energy and splendour of unexampled
intelligence with all.  Looking round us at this hour, more than
four-and-twenty centuries after the establishment of the constitution we
have just surveyed,--in the labours of the student--in the dreams of the
poet--in the aspirations of the artist--in the philosophy of the
legislator--we yet behold the imperishable blessings we derive from the
liberties of Athens and the institutions of Solon.  The life of Athens
became extinct, but her soul transfused itself, immortal and
immortalizing, through the world.

XVII.  The penal code of Solon was founded on principles wholly
opposite to those of Draco.  The scale of punishment was moderate,
though sufficiently severe.  One distinction will suffice to give us
an adequate notion of its gradations.  Theft by day was not a capital
offence, but if perpetrated by night the felon might lawfully be slain
by the owner.  The tendency to lean to the side of mercy in all cases
may be perceived from this--that if the suffrages of the judges were
evenly divided, it was the custom in all the courts of Athens to
acquit the accused.  The punishment of death was rare; that of atimia
supplied its place.  Of the different degrees of atimia it is not my
purpose to speak at present.  By one degree, however, the offender was
merely suspended from some privilege of freedom enjoyed by the
citizens generally, or condemned to a pecuniary fine; the second
degree allowed the confiscation of goods; the third for ever deprived
the criminal and his posterity of the rights of a citizen: this last
was the award only of aggravated offences.  Perpetual exile was a
sentence never passed but upon state criminals.  The infliction of
fines, which became productive of great abuse in later times, was
moderately apportioned to offences in the time of Solon, partly from
the high price of money, but partly, also, from the wise moderation of
the lawgiver.  The last grave penalty of death was of various kinds,
as the cross, the gibbet, the precipice, the bowl--afflictions seldom
in reserve for the freemen.

As the principle of shame was a main instrument of the penal code of
the Athenians, so they endeavoured to attain the same object by the
sublimer motive of honour.  Upon the even balance of rewards that
stimulate, and penalties that deter, Solon and his earlier successors
conceived the virtue of the commonwealth to rest.  A crown presented
by the senate or the people--a public banquet in the hall of state--
the erection of a statue in the thoroughfares (long a most rare
distinction)--the privilege of precedence in the theatre or assembly--
were honours constantly before the eyes of the young and the hopes of
the ambitious.  The sentiment of honour thus became a guiding
principle of the legislation, and a large component of the character
of the Athenians.

XVIII.  Judicial proceedings, whether as instituted by Solon or as
corrupted by his successors, were exposed to some grave and vital
evils hereafter to be noticed.  At present I content myself with
observing, that Solon carried into the judicial the principles, of his
legislative courts.  It was his theory, that all the citizens should
be trained to take an interest in state.  Every year a body of six
thousand citizens was chosen by lot; no qualification save that of
being thirty years of age was demanded in this election.  The body
thus chosen, called Heliaea, was subdivided into smaller courts,
before which all offences, but especially political ones, might be
tried.  Ordinary cases were probably left by Solon to the ordinary
magistrates; but it was not long before the popular jurors drew to
themselves the final trial and judgment of all causes.  This judicial
power was even greater than the legislative; for if an act had passed
through all the legislative forms, and was, within a year of the date,
found inconsistent with the constitution or public interests, the
popular courts could repeal the act and punish its author.  In Athens
there were no professional lawyers; the law being supposed the common
interest of citizens, every encouragement was given to the prosecutor
--every facility to the obtaining of justice.

Solon appears to have recognised the sound principle, that the
strength of law is in the public disposition to cherish and revere
it,--and that nothing is more calculated to make permanent the general
spirit of a constitution than to render its details flexile and open
to reform.  Accordingly, he subjected his laws to the vigilance of
regular and constant revision.  Once a year, proposals for altering
any existent law might be made by any citizen--were debated--and, if
approved, referred to a legislative committee, drawn by lot from the
jurors.  The committee then sat in judgment on the law; five advocates
were appointed to plead for the old law; if unsuccessful, the new law
came at once into operation.  In addition to this precaution, six of
the nine archons (called Thesmothetae), whose office rendered them
experienced in the defects of the law, were authorized to review the
whole code, and to refer to the legislative committee the
consideration of any errors or inconsistencies that might require
amendment. [221]

XIX.  With respect to the education of youth, the wise Athenian did
not proceed upon the principles which in Sparta attempted to transfer
to the state the dearest privileges of a parent.  From the age of
sixteen to eighteen (and earlier in the case of orphans) the law,
indeed, seems to have considered that the state had a right to prepare
its citizens for its service; and the youth was obliged to attend
public gymnastic schools, in which, to much physical, some
intellectual, discipline was added, under masters publicly nominated.
But from the very circumstance of compulsory education at that age,
and the absence of it in childhood, we may suppose that there had
already grown up in Athens a moral obligation and a general custom, to
prepare the youth of the state for the national schools.

Besides the free citizens, there were two subordinate classes--the
aliens and the slaves.  By the first are meant those composed of
settlers, who had not relinquished connexion with their native
countries.  These, as universally in Greece, were widely distinguished
from the citizens; they paid a small annual sum for the protection of
the state, and each became a kind of client to some individual
citizen, who appeared for him in the courts of justice.  They were
also forbidden to purchase land; but for the rest, Solon, himself a
merchant, appears to have given to such aliens encouragements in trade
and manufacture not usual in that age; and most of their disabilities
were probably rather moral or imaginary than real and daily causes of
grievance.  The great and paramount distinction was between the
freeman and the slave.  No slave could be admitted as a witness,
except by torture; as for him there was no voice in the state, so for
him there was no tenderness in the law.  But though the slave might
not avenge himself on the master, the system of slavery avenged itself
on the state.  The advantages to the intellect of the free citizens
resulting from the existence of a class maintained to relieve them
from the drudgeries of life, were dearly purchased by the constant
insecurity of their political repose.  The capital of the rich could
never be directed to the most productive of all channels--the labour
of free competition.  The noble did not employ citizens--he purchased
slaves.  Thus the commonwealth derived the least possible advantage
from his wealth; it did not flow through the heart of the republic,
employing the idle and feeding the poor.  As a necessary consequence,
the inequalities of fortune were sternly visible and deeply felt.  The
rich man had no connexion with the poor man--the poor man hated him
for a wealth of which he did not (as in states where slavery does not
exist) share the blessings--purchasing by labour the advantages of
fortune.  Hence the distinction of classes defied the harmonizing
effects of popular legislation.  The rich were exposed to unjust and
constant exactions; and society was ever liable to be disorganized by
attacks upon property.  There was an eternal struggle between the
jealousies of the populace and the fears of the wealthy; and many of
the disorders which modern historians inconsiderately ascribe to the
institutions of freedom were in reality the growth of the existence of


The Departure of Solon from Athens.--The Rise of Pisistratus.--Return
of Solon.--His Conduct and Death.--The Second and Third Tyranny of
Pisistratus.--Capture of Sigeum.--Colony in the Chersonesus founded by
the first Miltiades.--Death of Pisistratus.

I.  Although the great constitutional reforms of Solon were no doubt
carried into effect during his archonship, yet several of his
legislative and judicial enactments were probably the work of years.
When we consider the many interests to conciliate, the many prejudices
to overcome, which in all popular states cripple and delay the
progress of change in its several details, we find little difficulty
in supposing, with one of the most luminous of modern scholars [222],
that Solon had ample occupation for twenty years after the date of his
archonship.  During this period little occurred in the foreign affairs
of Athens save the prosperous termination of the Cirrhaean war, as
before recorded.  At home the new constitution gradually took root,
although often menaced and sometimes shaken by the storms of party and
the general desire for further innovation.

The eternal consequence of popular change is, that while it irritates
the party that loses power, it cannot content the party that gains.
It is obvious that each concession to the people but renders them
better able to demand concessions more important.  The theories of
some--the demands of others--harassed the lawgiver, and threatened the
safety of the laws.  Solon, at length, was induced to believe that his
ordinances required the sanction and repose of time, and that absence
--that moral death--would not only free himself from importunity, but
his infant institutions from the frivolous disposition of change.  In
his earlier years he had repaired, by commercial pursuits, estates
that had been empoverished by the munificence of his father; and,
still cultivating the same resources, he made pretence of his vocation
to solicit permission for an absence of ten years.  He is said to
have obtained a solemn promise from the people to alter none of his
institutions during that period [223]; and thus he departed from the
city (probably B. C. 575), of whose future glories he had laid the
solid foundation.  Attracted by his philosophical habits to that
solemn land, beneath whose mysteries the credulous Greeks revered the
secrets of existent wisdom, the still adventurous Athenian repaired to
the cities of the Nile, and fed the passion of speculative inquiry
from the learning of the Egyptian priests.  Departing thence to
Cyprus, he assisted, as his own verses assure us, in the planning of a
new city, founded by one of the kings of that beautiful island, and
afterward invited to the court of Croesus (associated with his father
Alyattes, then living), he imparted to the Lydian, amid the splendours
of state and the adulation of slaves, that well-known lesson on the
uncertainty of human grandeur, which, according to Herodotus, Croesus
so seasonably remembered at the funeral pile. [224]

II.  However prudent had appeared to Solon his absence from Athens, it
is to be lamented that he did not rather brave the hazards from which
his genius might have saved the state, than incur those which the very
removal of a master-spirit was certain to occasion.  We may bind men
not to change laws, but we cannot bind the spirit and the opinion,
from which laws alone derive cogency or value.  We may guard against
the innovations of a multitude, which a wise statesman sees afar off,
and may direct to great ends; but we cannot guard against that
dangerous accident--not to be foreseen, not to be directed--the
ambition of a man of genius!  During the absence of Solon there rose
into eminence one of those remarkable persons who give to vicious
designs all the attraction of individual virtues.  Bold, generous,
affable, eloquent, endowed with every gift of nature and fortune--
kinsman to Solon, but of greater wealth and more dazzling qualities--
the young Pisistratus, son of Hippocrates, early connected himself
with the democratic or highland party.  The Megarians, who had never
relinquished their designs on Salamis, had taken an opportunity,
apparently before the travels, and, according to Plutarch, even before
the legislation of Solon, to repossess themselves of the island.  When
the Athenians were enabled to extend their energies beyond their own
great domestic revolution, Pisistratus obtained the command of an
expedition against these dangerous neighbours, which was attended with
the most signal success.  A stratagem referred to Solon by Plutarch,
who has with so contagious an inaccuracy blended into one the two
several and distinct expeditions of Pisistratus and Solon, ought
rather to be placed to the doubtful glory of the son of Hippocrates
[225].  A number of young men sailed with Pisistratus to Colias, and
taking the dress of women, whom they there seized while sacrificing to
Ceres, a spy was despatched to Salamis, to inform the Megarian guard
that many of the principal Athenian matrons were at Colias, and might
be easily captured.  The Megarians were decoyed, despatched a body of
men to the opposite shore, and beholding a group in women's attire
dancing by the strand, landed confusedly to seize the prize.  The
pretended females drew forth their concealed weapons, and the
Megarians, surprised and dismayed, were cut off to a man.  The victors
lost no time in setting sail for Salamis, and easily regained the
isle.  Pisistratus carried the war into Megara itself, and captured
the port of Nisaea.  These exploits were the foundation of his after
greatness; and yet young, at the return of Solon, he was already at
the head of the democratic party.  But neither his rank, his genius,
nor his popular influence sufficed to give to his faction a decided
eminence over those of his rivals.  The wealthy nobles of the lowlands
were led by Lycurgus--the moderate party of the coastmen by Megacles,
the head of the Alcmaeonidae.  And it was in the midst, of the strife
and agitation produced by these great sections of the people that
Solon returned to Athens.

III.  The venerable legislator was received with all the grateful
respect he deserved; but age had dimmed the brilliancy of his powers.
His voice could no longer penetrate the mighty crowds of the
market-place.  New idols had sprung up--new passions were loosed--new
interests formed, and amid the roar and stir of the eternal movement,
it was in vain for the high-hearted old man to recall those rushing on
the future to the boundaries of the past.  If unsuccessful in public,
he was not discouraged from applying in private to the leaders of the
several parties.  Of all those rival nobles, none deferred to his
advice with so marked a respect as the smooth and plausible
Pisistratus.  Perhaps, indeed, that remarkable man contemplated the
same objects as Solon himself,--although the one desired to effect by
the authority of the chief, the order and the energy which the other
would have trusted to the development of the people.  But, masking his
more interested designs, Pisistratus outbid all competition in his
seeming zeal for the public welfare.  The softness of his manners--his
profuse liberality--his generosity even to his foes--the splendid
qualities which induced Cicero to compare him to Julius Cesar [226],
charmed the imagination of the multitude, and concealed the
selfishness of his views.  He was not a hypocrite, indeed, as to his
virtues--a dissembler only in his ambition.  Even Solon, in
endeavouring to inspire him with a true patriotism, acknowledged his
talents and his excellences.  "But for ambition," said he, "Athens
possesses no citizen worthier than Pisistratus."  The time became ripe
for the aspiring projects of the chief of the democracy.

IV.  The customary crowd was swarming in the market-place, when
suddenly in the midst of the assembly appeared the chariot of
Pisistratus.  The mules were bleeding--Pisistratus himself was
wounded.  In this condition the demagogue harangued the people.  He
declared that he had just escaped from the enemies of himself and the
popular party, who (under the auspices of the Alcmaeonidae) had
attacked him in a country excursion.  He reminded the crowd of his
services in war--his valour against the Megarians--his conquest of
Nisaea.  He implored their protection.  Indignant and inflamed, the
favouring audience shouted their sympathy with his wrongs.  "Son of
Hippocrates," said Solon, advancing to the spot, and with bitter wit,
"you are but a bad imitator of Ulysses.  He wounded himself to delude
his enemies--you to deceive your countrymen." [227]  The sagacity of
the reproach was unheeded by the crowd.  A special assembly of the
people was convened, and a partisan of the demagogue moved that a
body-guard of fifty men, armed but with clubs, should be assigned to
his protection.  Despite the infirmities of his age, and the decrease
of his popular authority, Solon had the energy to oppose the motion,
and predict its results.  The credulous love of the people swept away
all precaution--the guard was granted.  Its number did not long
continue stationary; Pisistratus artfully increased the amount, till
it swelled to the force required by his designs.  He then seized the
citadel--the antagonist faction of Megacles fled--and Pisistratus was
master of Athens.  Amid the confusion and tumult of the city, Solon
retained his native courage.  He appeared in public--harangued the
citizens--upbraided their blindness--invoked their courage.  In his
speeches he bade them remember that if it be the more easy task to
prevent tyranny, it is the more glorious achievement to destroy it.
In his verses [228] he poured forth the indignant sentiment which a
thousand later bards have borrowed and enlarged; "Blame not Heaven for
your tyrants, blame yourselves."  The fears of some, the indifference
of others, rendered his exhortations fruitless!  The brave old man
sorrowfully retreated to his house, hung up his weapons without his
door, and consoled himself with the melancholy boast that "he had done
all to save his country, and its laws."  This was his last public
effort against the usurper.  He disdained flight; and, asked by his
friends to what he trusted for safety from the wrath of the victor,
replied, "To old age,"--a sad reflection, that so great a man should
find in infirmity that shelter which he claimed from glory.

V.  The remaining days and the latter conduct of Solon are involved in
obscurity.  According to Plutarch, he continued at Athens, Pisistratus
showing him the utmost respect, and listening to the counsel which
Solon condescended to bestow upon him: according to Diogenes Laertius,
he departed again from his native city [229], indignant at its
submission, and hopeless of its freedom, refusing all overtures from
Pisistratus, and alleging that, having established a free government,
he would not appear to sanction the success of a tyrant.  Either
account is sufficiently probable.  The wisdom of Solon might consent
to mitigate what he could not cure, or his patriotism might urge him
to avoid witnessing the changes he had no power to prevent.  The
dispute is of little importance.  At his advanced age he could not
have long survived the usurpation of Pisistratus, nor can we find any
authority for the date of his death so entitled to credit as that of
Phanias, who assigns it to the year following the usurpation of
Pisistratus.  The bright race was already run.  According to the grave
authority of Aristotle, the ashes of Solon were scattered over the
Isle of Salamis, which had been the scene of his earlier triumphs; and
Athens, retaining his immortal, boasted not his perishable remains.

VI.  Pisistratus directed with admirable moderation the courses of the
revolution he had produced.  Many causes of success were combined in
his favour.  His enemies had been the supposed enemies of the people,
and the multitude doubtless beheld the flight of the Alcmaeonidae
(still odious in their eyes by the massacre of Cylon) as the defeat of
a foe, while the triumph of the popular chief was recognised as the
victory of the people.  In all revolutions the man who has sided with
the people is permitted by the people the greatest extent of license.
It is easy to perceive, by the general desire which the Athenians had
expressed for the elevation of Solon to the supreme authority that the
notion of regal authority was not yet hateful to them, and that they
were scarcely prepared for the liberties with which they were
intrusted.  But although they submitted thus patiently to the
ascendency of Pisistratus, it is evident that a less benevolent or
less artful tyrant would not have been equally successful.  Raised
above the law, that subtle genius governed only by the law; nay, he
affected to consider its authority greater than his own.  He assumed
no title--no attribute of sovereignty.  He was accused of murder, and
he humbly appeared before the tribunal of the Areopagus--a proof not
more of the moderation of the usurper than of the influence of public
opinion.  He enforced the laws of Solon, and compelled the unruly
tempers of his faction to subscribe to their wholesome rigour.  The
one revolution did not, therefore, supplant, it confirmed, the other.
"By these means," says Herodotus, "Pisistratus mastered Athens, and
yet his situation was far from secure." [230]

VII.  Although the heads of the more moderate party, under Megacles,
had been expelled from Athens, yet the faction, equally powerful and
equally hostile, headed by Lycurgus, and embraced by the bulk of the
nobles, still remained.  For a time, extending perhaps to five or six
years, Pisistratus retained his power; but at length, Lycurgus,
uniting with the exiled Alcmaeonidae, succeeded in expelling him from
the city.  But the union that had led to his expulsion ceased with
that event.  The contests between the lowlanders and the coastmen were
only more inflamed by the defeat of the third party, which had
operated as a balance of power, and the broils of their several
leaders were fed by personal ambition as by hereditary animosities.
Megacles, therefore, unable to maintain equal ground with Lycurgus,
turned his thoughts towards the enemy he had subdued, and sent
proposals to Pisistratus, offering to unite their forces, and to
support him in his pretensions to the tyranny, upon condition that the
exiled chief should marry his daughter Coesyra.  Pisistratus readily
acceded to the terms, and it was resolved by a theatrical pageant to
reconcile his return to the people.  In one of the boroughs of the
city there was a woman named Phya, of singular beauty and lofty
stature.  Clad in complete armour, and drawn in a chariot, this woman
was conducted with splendour and triumph towards the city.  By her
side rode Pisistratus--heralds preceded their march, and proclaimed
her approach, crying aloud to the Athenians "to admit Pisistratus, the
favourite of Minerva, for that the goddess herself had come to earth
on his behalf."

The sagacity of the Athenians was already so acute, and the artifice
appeared to Herodotus so gross, that the simple Halicarnassean could
scarcely credit the authenticity of this tale.  But it is possible
that the people viewed the procession as an ingenious allegory, to the
adaptation of which they were already disposed; and that, like the
populace of a later and yet more civilized people, they hailed the
goddess while they recognised the prostitute [231].  Be that as it
may, the son of Hippocrates recovered his authority, and fulfilled his
treaty with Megacles by a marriage with his daughter.  Between the
commencement of his first tyranny and the date of his second return,
there was probably an interval of twelve years.  His sons were already
adults.  Partly from a desire not to increase his family, partly from
some superstitious disinclination to the blood of the Alcmaeonidae,
which the massacre of Cylon still stigmatized with contamination,
Pisistratus conducted himself towards the fair Coesyra with a chastity
either unwelcome to her affection, or afflicting to her pride.  The
unwedded wife communicated the mortifying secret to her mother, from
whose lips it soon travelled to the father.  He did not view the
purity of Pisistratus with charitable eyes.  He thought it an affront
to his own person that that of his daughter should be so tranquilly
regarded.  He entered into a league with his former opponents against
the usurper, and so great was the danger, that Pisistratus (despite
his habitual courage) betook himself hastily to flight:--a strange
instance of the caprice of human events, that a man could with a
greater impunity subdue the freedom of his country, than affront the
vanity of his wife! [232]

VIII.  Pisistratus, his sons and partisans, retired to Eretria in
Euboea: there they deliberated as to their future proceedings--should
they submit to their exile, or attempt to retrieve, their power?  The
councils of his son Hippias prevailed with Pisistratus; it was
resolved once more to attempt the sovereignty of Athens.  The
neighbouring tribes assisted the exiles with forage and shelter.  Many
cities accorded the celebrated noble large sums of money, and the
Thebans outdid the rest in pernicious liberality.  A troop of Argive
adventurers came from the Peloponnesus to tender to the baffled
usurper the assistance of their swords, and Lygdamis, an individual of
Naxos, himself ambitious of the government of his native state,
increased his resources both by money and military force.  At length,
though after a long and tedious period of no less than eleven years,
Pisistratus resolved to hazard the issue of open war.  At the head of
a foreign force he advanced to Marathon, and pitched his tents upon
its immortal plain.  Troops of the factious or discontented thronged
from Athens to his camp, while the bulk of the citizens, unaffected ay
such desertions, viewed his preparations with indifference.  At
length, when they heard that Pisistratus had broken up his encampment,
and was on his march to the city, the Athenians awoke from their
apathy, and collected their forces to oppose him.  He continued to
advance his troops, halted at the temple of Minerva, whose earthly
representative had once so benignly assisted him, and pitched his
tents opposite the fane.  He took advantage of that time in which the
Athenians, during the heats of the day, were at their entertainments,
or indulging the noontide repose, still so grateful to the inhabitants
of a warmer climate, to commence his attack.  He soon scattered the
foe, and ordered his sons to overtake them in their flight, to bid
them return peacefully to their employments, and fear nothing from his
vengeance.  His clemency assisted the effect of his valour, and once
more the son of Hippocrates became the master of the Athenian

IX.  Pisistratus lost no time in strengthening himself by formidable
alliances.  He retained many auxiliary troops, and provided large
pecuniary resources [233].  He spared the persons of his opponents,
but sent their children as hostages to Naxos, which he first reduced
and consigned to the tyranny of his auxiliary, Lygdamis.  Many of his
inveterate enemies had perished on the field--many fled from the fear
of his revenge.  He was undisturbed in the renewal of his sway, and
having no motive for violence, pursued the natural bent of a mild and
generous disposition, ruling as one who wishes men to forget the means
by which his power has been attained.  Pisistratus had that passion
for letters which distinguished most of the more brilliant Athenians.
Although the poems of Homer were widely known and deeply venerated
long before his time, yet he appears, by a more accurate collection
and arrangement of them, and probably by bringing them into a more
general and active circulation in Athens, to have largely added to the
wonderful impetus to poetical emulation, which those immortal writings
were calculated to give.

When we consider how much, even in our own times, and with all the
advantages of the press, the diffused fame and intellectual influence
of Shakspeare and Milton have owed to the praise and criticism of
individuals, we may readily understand the kind of service rendered by
Pisistratus to Homer.  The very example of so eminent a man would have
drawn upon the poet a less vague and more inquiring species of
admiration; the increased circulation of copies--the more frequent
public recitals--were advantages timed at that happy season when the
people who enjoyed them had grown up from wondering childhood to
imitative and studious youth.  And certain it is, that from this
period we must date the marked and pervading influence of Homer upon
Athenian poetry; for the renown of a poet often precedes by many
generations the visible influence of his peculiar genius.  It is
chiefly within the last seventy years that we may date the wonderful
effect that Shakspeare was destined to produce upon the universal
intellect of Europe.  The literary obligations of Athens to
Pisistratus were not limited to his exertions on behalf of Homer: he
is said to have been the first in Greece who founded a public library,
rendering its treasures accessible to all.  And these two benefits
united, justly entitle the fortunate usurper to the praise of first
calling into active existence that intellectual and literary spirit
which became diffused among the Athenian people, and originated the
models and masterpieces of the world.  It was in harmony with this
part of his character that Pisistratus refitted the taste and
socialized the habits of the citizens, by the erection of buildings
dedicated to the public worship, or the public uses, and laid out the
stately gardens of the Lyceum--(in after-times the favourite haunt of
philosophy), by the banks of the river dedicated to song.  Pisistratus
did thus more than continue the laws of Solon--he inculcated the
intellectual habits which the laws were designed to create.  And as in
the circle of human events the faults of one man often confirm what
was begun by the virtues of another, so perhaps the usurpation of
Pisistratus was necessary to establish the institutions of Solon.  It
is clear that the great lawgiver was not appreciated at the close of
his life; as his personal authority had ceased to have influence, so
possibly might have soon ceased the authority of his code.  The
citizens required repose to examine, to feel, to estimate the
blessings of his laws--that repose they possessed under Pisistratus.
Amid the tumult of fierce and equipoised factions it might be
fortunate that a single individual was raised above the rest, who,
having the wisdom to appreciate the institutions of Solon, had the
authority to enforce them.  Silently they grew up under his usurped
but benignant sway, pervading, penetrating, exalting the people, and
fitting them by degrees to the liberty those institutions were
intended to confer.  If the disorders of the republic led to the
ascendency of Pisistratus, so the ascendency of Pisistratus paved the
way for the renewal of the republic.  As Cromwell was the
representative of the very sentiments he appeared to subvert--as
Napoleon in his own person incorporated the principles of the
revolution of France, so the tyranny of Pisistratus concentrated and
imbodied the elements of that democracy he rather wielded than

X.  At home, time and tranquillity cemented the new laws; poetry set
before the emulation of the Athenians its noblest monument in the
epics of Homer; and tragedy put forth its first unmellowed fruits in
the rude recitations of Thespis (B. C. 535). [234]  Pisistratus sought
also to counterbalance the growing passion for commerce by peculiar
attention to agriculture, in which it is not unlikely that he was
considerably influenced by early prepossessions, for his party had
been the mountaineers attached to rural pursuits, and his adversaries
the coastmen engaged in traffic.  As a politician of great sagacity,
he might also have been aware, that a people accustomed to
agricultural employments are ever less inclined to democratic
institutions than one addicted to commerce and manufactures; and if he
were the author of a law, which at all events he more rigidly
enforced, requiring every citizen to give an account of his mode of
livelihood, and affixing punishments to idleness, he could not have
taken wiser precautions against such seditions as are begot by poverty
upon indolence, or under a juster plea have established the
superintendence of a concealed police.  We learn from Aristotle that
his policy consisted much in subjecting and humbling the pediaei, or
wealthy nobles of the lowlands.  But his very affection to agriculture
must have tended to strengthen an aristocracy, and his humility to the
Areopagus was a proof of his desire to conciliate the least democratic
of the Athenian courts.  He probably, therefore, acted only against
such individual chiefs as had incurred his resentment, or as menaced
his power; nor can we perceive in his measures the systematic and
deliberate policy, common with other Greek tyrants, to break up an
aristocracy and create a middle class.

XI.  Abroad, the ambition of Pisistratus, though not extensive, was
successful.  There was a town on the Hellespont called Sigeum, which
had long been a subject of contest between the Athenians and the
Mitylenaeans.  Some years before the legislation of Solon, the
Athenian general, Phryno, had been slain in single combat by Pittacus,
one of the seven wise men, who had come into the field armed like the
Roman retiarius, with a net, a trident, and a dagger.  This feud was
terminated by the arbitration of Periander, tyrant of Corinth, who
awarded Sigeum to the Athenians, which was then in their possession,
by a wise and plausible decree, that each party should keep what it
had got.  This war was chiefly remarkable for an incident that
introduces us somewhat unfavourably to the most animated of the lyric
poets.  Alcaeus, an eminent citizen of Mitylene, and, according to
ancient scandal, the unsuccessful lover of Sappho, conceived a passion
for military fame: in his first engagement he seems to have discovered
that his proper vocation was rather to sing of battles than to share
them.  He fled from the field, leaving his arms behind him, which the
Athenians obtained, and suspended at Sigeum in the temple of Minerva.
Although this single action, which Alcaeus himself recorded, cannot be
fairly held a sufficient proof of the poet's cowardice, yet his
character and patriotism are more equivocal than his genius.  Of the
last we have ample testimony, though few remains save in the frigid
grace of the imitations of Horace.  The subsequent weakness and civil
dissensions of Athens were not favourable to the maintenance of this
distant conquest--the Mitylenaeans regained Sigeum.  Against this town
Pisistratus now directed his arms--wrested it from the Mitylenaeans--
and, instead of annexing it to the republic of Athens, assigned its
government to the tyranny of his natural son, Hegesistratus,--a stormy
dominion, which the valour of the bastard defended against repeated
assaults. [235]

XII.  But one incident, the full importance of which the reader must
wait a while to perceive, I shall in this place relate.  Among the
most powerful of the Athenians was a noble named Miltiades, son of
Cypselus.  By original descent he was from the neighbouring island of
Aegina, and of the heroic race of Aeacus; but he dated the
establishment of his house in Athens from no less distant a founder
than the son of Ajax.  Miltiades had added new lustre to his name by a
victory at the Olympic games.  It was probably during the first
tyranny of Pisistratus [236] that an adventure, attended with vast
results to Greece, befell this noble.  His family were among the
enemies of Pisistratus, and were regarded by that sagacious usurper
with a jealous apprehension which almost appears prophetic.  Miltiades
was, therefore, uneasy under the government of Pisistratus, and
discontented with his position in Athens.  One day, as he sat before
his door (such is the expression of the enchanting Herodotus,
unconscious of the patriarchal picture he suggests [237]), Miltiades
observed certain strangers pass by, whose garments and spears denoted
them to be foreigners.  The sight touched the chief, and he offered
the strangers the use of his house, and the rites of hospitality.
They accepted his invitation, were charmed by his courtesy, and
revealed to him the secret of their travel.  In that narrow territory
which, skirting the Hellespont, was called the Chersonesus, or
Peninsula, dwelt the Doloncians, a Thracian tribe.  Engaged in an
obstinate war with the neighbouring Absinthians, the Doloncians had
sent to the oracle of Delphi to learn the result of the contest.  The
Pythian recommended the messengers to persuade the first man who, on
their quitting the temple, should offer them the rites of hospitality,
to found a colony in their native land.  Passing homeward through
Phocis and Boeotia, and receiving no such invitation by the way, the
messengers turned aside to Athens; Miltiades was the first who offered
them the hospitality they sought; they entreated him now to comply
with the oracle, and assist their countrymen; the discontented noble
was allured by the splendour of the prospect--he repaired in person to
Delphi--consulted the Pythian--received a propitious answer--and
collecting all such of the Athenians as his authority could enlist, or
their own ambition could decoy, he repaired to the Chersonesus
(probably B. C. 559).  There he fortified a great part of the isthmus,
as a barrier to the attacks of the Absinthians: but shortly afterward,
in a feud with the people of Lampsacus, he was taken prisoner by the
enemy.  Miltiades, however, had already secured the esteem and
protection of Croesus; and the Lydian monarch remonstrated with the
Lampsacenes in so formidable a tone of menace, that the Athenian
obtained his release, and regained his new principality.  In the
meanwhile, his brother Cimon (who was chiefly remarkable for his
success at the Olympic games), sharing the political sentiments of his
house, had been driven into exile by Pisistratus.  By a transfer to
the brilliant tyrant of a victory in the Olympic chariot-race, he,
however, propitiated Pisistratus, and returned to Athens.

VIII.  Full of years, and in the serene enjoyment of power,
Pisistratus died (B. C. 527).  His character may already be gathered
from his actions: crafty in the pursuit of power, but magnanimous in
its possession, we have only, with some qualification, to repeat the
eulogium on him ascribed to his greater kinsman, Solon--"That he was
the best of tyrants, and without a vice save that of ambition."


The Administration of Hippias.--The Conspiracy of Harmodius and
Aristogiton.--The Death of Hipparchus.--Cruelties of Hippias.--The
young Miltiades sent to the Chersonesus.--The Spartans Combine with
the Alcmaeonidae against Hippias.--The fall of the Tyranny.--The
Innovations of Clisthenes.--His Expulsion and Restoration.--Embassy to
the Satrap of Sardis.--Retrospective View of the Lydian, Medean, and
Persian Monarchies.--Result of the Athenian Embassy to Sardis.--
Conduct of Cleomenes.--Victory of the Athenians against the Boeotians
and Chalcidians.--Hippias arrives at Sparta.--The Speech of Sosicles
the Corinthian.--Hippias retires to Sardis.

I.  Upon the death of Pisistratus, his three sons, Hipparchus,
Hippias, and Thessalus, succeeded to the government.  Nor, though
Hippias was the eldest, does he seem to have exercised a more
prominent authority than the rest--since, in the time of Thucydides,
and long afterward, it was the popular error to consider Hipparchus
the first-born.  Hippias was already of mature age; and, as we have
seen, it was he who had counselled his father not to despair, after
his expulsion from Athens.  He was a man of courage and ability worthy
of his race.  He governed with the same careful respect for the laws
which had distinguished and strengthened the authority of his
predecessor.  He even rendered himself yet more popular than
Pisistratus by reducing one half the impost of a tithe on the produce
of the land, which that usurper had imposed.  Notwithstanding this
relief, he was enabled, by a prudent economy, to flatter the national
vanity by new embellishments to the city.  In the labours of his
government he was principally aided by his second brother, Hipparchus,
a man of a yet more accomplished and intellectual order of mind.  But
although Hippias did not alter the laws, he chose his own creatures to
administer them.  Besides, whatever share in the government was
intrusted to his brothers, Hipparchus and Thessalus, his son and
several of his family were enrolled among the archons of the city.
And they who by office were intended for the guardians of liberty were
the necessary servants of the tyrant.

II.  If we might place unhesitating faith in the authenticity of the
dialogue attributed to Plato under the title of "Hipparchus," we
should have, indeed, high authority in favour of the virtues and the
wisdom of that prince.  And by whomsoever the dialogue was written, it
refers to facts, in the passage relative to the son of Pisistratus, in
a manner sufficiently positive to induce us to regard that portion of
it with some deference.  According to the author, we learn that
Hipparchus, passionately attached to letters, brought Anacreon to
Athens, and lived familiarly with Simonides.  He seems to have been
inspired with the ambition of a moralist, and distributed Hermae, or
stone busts of Mercury, about the city and the public roads, which,
while answering a similar purpose to our mile-stones, arrested the eye
of the passenger with pithy and laconic apothegms in verse; such as,
"Do not deceive your friend," and "Persevere in affection to
justice;"--proofs rather of the simplicity than the wisdom of the
prince.  It is not by writing the decalogue upon mile-stones that the
robber would be terrified, or the adulterer converted.

It seems that the apothegmatical Hipparchus did not associate with
Anacreon more from sympathy with his genius than inclination to the
subjects to which it was devoted.  He was addicted to pleasure; nor
did he confine its pursuits to the more legitimate objects of sensual
affection.  Harmodius, a young citizen of no exalted rank, but much
personal beauty, incurred the affront of his addresses [238].
Harmodius, in resentment, confided the overtures of the moralist to
his friend and preceptor, Aristogiton.  While the two were brooding
over the outrage, Hipparchus, in revenge for the disdain of Harmodius,
put a public insult upon the sister of that citizen, a young maiden.
She received a summons to attend some public procession, as bearer of
one of the sacred vessels: on presenting herself she was abruptly
rejected, with the rude assertion that she never could have been
honoured with an invitation of which she was unworthy.  This affront
rankled deeply in the heart of Harmodius, but still more in that of
the friendly Aristogiton, and they now finally resolved upon revenge.
At the solemn festival of Panathenaea, (in honour of Minerva), it was
the custom for many of the citizens to carry arms in the procession:
for this occasion they reserved the blow.  They intrusted their
designs to few, believing that if once the attempt was begun the
people would catch the contagion, and rush spontaneously to the
assertion of their freedom.  The festival arrived.  Bent against the
elder tyrant, perhaps from nobler motives than those which urged them
against Hipparchus [239], each armed with a dagger concealed in the
sacred myrtle bough which was borne by those who joined the
procession, the conspirators advanced to the spot in the suburbs where
Hippias was directing the order of the ceremonial.  To their dismay,
they perceived him conversing familiarly with one of their own
partisans, and immediately suspected that to be the treason of their
friend which in reality was the frankness of the affable prince.
Struck with fear, they renounced their attempt upon Hippias, suddenly
retreated to the city, and, meeting with Hipparchus, rushed upon him,
wounded, and slew him.  Aristogiton turned to fly--he escaped the
guards, but was afterward seized, and "not mildly treated" [240] by
the tyrant.  Such is the phrase of Thucydides, which, if we may take
the interpretation of Justin and the later writers, means that,
contrary to the law, he was put to the torture [241].  Harmodius was
slain upon the spot.  The news of his brother's death was brought to
Hippias.  With an admirable sagacity and presence of mind, he
repaired, not to the place of the assassination, but towards the
procession itself, rightly judging that the conspiracy had only broken
out in part.  As yet the news of the death of Hipparchus had not
reached the more distant conspirators in the procession, and Hippias
betrayed not in the calmness of his countenance any signs of his
sorrow or his fears.  He approached the procession, and with a
composed voice commanded them to deposite their arms, and file off
towards a place which he indicated.  They obeyed the order, imagining
he had something to communicate to them.  Then turning to his guards,
Hippias bade them seize the weapons thus deposited, and he himself
selected from the procession all whom he had reason to suspect, or on
whose persons a dagger was found, for it was only with the open
weapons of spear and shield that the procession was lawfully to be
made.  Thus rose and thus terminated that conspiracy which gave to the
noblest verse and the most enduring veneration the names of Harmodius
and Aristogiton. [242]

III.  The acutest sharpener of tyranny is an unsuccessful attempt to
destroy it--to arouse the suspicion of power is almost to compel it to
cruelty.  Hitherto we have seen that Hippias had graced his authority
with beneficent moderation; the death of his brother filled him with
secret alarm; and the favour of the populace at the attempted escape
of Aristogiton--the ease with which, from a personal affront to an
obscure individual, a formidable conspiracy had sprung up into life,
convinced him that the arts of personal popularity are only to be
relied on when the constitution of the government itself is popular.

It is also said that, when submitted to the torture, Aristogiton, with
all the craft of revenge, asserted the firmest friends of Hippias to
have been his accomplices.  Thus harassed by distrust, Hippias
resolved to guard by terror a power which clemency had failed to
render secure.  He put several of the citizens to death.  According to
the popular traditions of romance, one of the most obnoxious acts of
his severity was exercised upon a woman worthy to be the mistress of
Aristogiton.  Leaena, a girl of humble birth, beloved by that
adventurous citizen, was sentenced to the torture, and, that the pain
might not wring from her any confession of the secrets of the
conspiracy, she bit out her tongue.  The Athenians, on afterward
recovering their liberties, dedicated to the heroine a brazen lioness,
not inappropriately placed in the vicinity of a celebrated statue of
Venus [243].  No longer depending on the love of the citizens, Hippias
now looked abroad for the support of his power; he formed an alliance
with Hippoclus, the prince of Lampsacus, by marrying his daughter with
the son of that tyrant, who possessed considerable influence at the
Persian court, to which he already directed his eyes--whether as a
support in the authority of the present, or an asylum against the
reverses of the future. [244]

It was apparently about a year before the death of Hipparchus, that
Stesagoras, the nephew and successor of that Miltiades who departed
from Athens to found a colony in the Thracian Chersonesus, perished by
an assassin's blow.  Hippias, evidently deeming he had the right, as
sovereign of the parent country, to appoint the governor of the
colony, sent to the Chersonesus in that capacity the brother of the
deceased, a namesake of the first founder, whose father, Cimon, from
jealousy of his power or repute, had been murdered by the sons of
Pisistratus [245].  The new Miltiades was a man of consummate talents,
but one who scrupled little as to the means by which to accomplish his
objects.  Arriving at his government, he affected a deep sorrow for
the loss of his brother; the principal nobles of the various cities of
the Chersonesus came in one public procession to condole with him; the
crafty chief seized and loaded them with irons, and, having thus
insnared the possible rivals of his power, or enemies of his designs,
he secured the undisputed possession of the whole Chersonesus, and
maintained his civil authority by a constant military force.  A
marriage with Hegesipyle, a daughter of one of the Thracian princes,
at once enhanced the dignity and confirmed the sway of the young and
aspiring chief.  Some years afterward, we shall see in this Miltiades
the most eminent warrior of his age--at present we leave him to an
unquiet and perilous power, and return to Hippias.

IV.  A storm gathered rapidly on against the security and ambition of
the tyrant.  The highborn and haughty family of the Alcmaeonids had
been expelled from Athens at the victorious return of Pisistratus--
their estates in Attica confiscated--their houses razed--their very
sepulchres destroyed.  After fruitless attempts against the
oppressors, they had retired to Lipsydrium, a fortress on the heights
of Parnes, where they continued to cherish the hope of return and the
desire of revenge.  Despite the confiscation of their Attic estates,
their wealth and resources, elsewhere secured, were enormous.  The
temple of Delphi having been destroyed by fire, they agreed with the
Amphictyons to rebuild it, and performed the holy task with a
magnificent splendour far exceeding the conditions of the contract.
But in that religious land, wealth, thus lavished, was no unprofitable
investment.  The priests of Delphi were not insensible of the
liberality of the exiles, and Clisthenes, the most eminent and able of
the Alcmaeonidae, was more than suspected of suborning the Pythian.
Sparta, the supporter of oligarchies, was the foe of tyrants, and
every Spartan who sought the oracle was solemnly involved to aid the
glorious enterprise of delivering the Eupatrids of Athens from the
yoke of the Pisistratidae.

The Spartans were at length moved by instances so repeatedly urged.
Policy could not but soften that jealous state to such appeals to her
superstition.  Under the genius of the Pisistratidae, Athens had
rapidly advanced in power, and the restoration of the Alcmaeonidae
might have seemed to the Spartan sagacity but another term for the
establishment of that former oligarchy which had repressed the
intellect and exhausted the resources of an active and aspiring
people.  Sparta aroused herself, then, at length, and "though in
violation."  says Herodotus, "of some ancient ties of hospitality,"
despatched a force by sea against the Prince of Athens.  That alert
and able ruler lost no time in seeking assistance from his allies, the
Thessalians; and one of their powerful princes led a thousand horsemen
against the Spartans, who had debarked at Phalerum.  Joined by these
allies, Hippias engaged and routed the enemy, and the Spartan leader
himself fell upon the field of battle.  His tomb was long visible in
Cynosarges, near the gates of Athens--a place rendered afterward more
illustrious by giving name to the Cynic philosophers. [246]

Undismayed by their defeat, the Spartans now despatched a more
considerable force against the tyrant, under command of their king
Cleomenes.  This army proceeded by land--entered Attica--encountered,
defeated, the Thessalian horse [247],--and marched towards the gates
of Athens, joined, as they proceeded, by all those Athenians who
hoped, in the downfall of Hippias, the resurrection of their
liberties.  The Spartan troops hastened to besiege the Athenian prince
in the citadel, to which he retired with his forces.  But Hippias had
provided his refuge with all the necessaries which might maintain him
in a stubborn and prolonged resistance.  The Spartans were unprepared
for the siege--the blockade of a few days sufficed to dishearten them,
and they already meditated a retreat.  A sudden incident opening to us
in the midst of violence one of those beautiful glimpses of human
affection which so often adorn and sanctify the darker pages of
history, unexpectedly secured the Spartan triumph.  Hippias and his
friends, fearing the safety of their children in the citadel, resolved
to dismiss them privately to some place of greater security.
Unhappily, their care was frustrated, and the children fell into the
hands of the enemy.  All the means of success within their reach (the
foe wearied--the garrison faithful), the parents yet resigned
themselves at once to the voluntary sacrifice of conquest and

Upon the sole condition of recovering their children, Hippias and his
partisans consented to surrender the citadel, and quit the territories
of Attica within five days.  Thus, in the fourth year from the death
of Hipparchus (B. C. 510), and about fifty years after the first
establishment of the tyranny under its brilliant founder, the dominion
of Athens passed away from the house of Pisistratus.

V.  The party of Hippias, defeated, not by the swords of the enemy,
but by the soft impulses of nature, took their way across the stream
of the immemorial Scamander, and sought refuge at Sigeum, still under
the government of Hegesistratus, the natural brother of the exiled

The instant the pressure of one supreme power was removed, the two
parties imbodying the aristocratic and popular principles rose into
active life.  The state was to be a republic, but of what
denomination?  The nobles naturally aspired to the predominance--at
their head was the Eupatrid Isagoras; the strife of party always tends
to produce popular results, even from elements apparently the most
hostile.  Clisthenes, the head of the Alcmaeonidae, was by birth even
yet more illustrious than Isagoras; for, among the nobles, the
Alcmaeonid family stood pre-eminent.  But, unable to attain the sole
power of the government, Clisthenes and his party were unwilling to
yield to the more numerous faction of an equal.  The exile and
sufferings of the Alcmaeonids had, no doubt, secured to them much of
the popular compassion; their gallant struggles against, their
ultimate victory over the usurper, obtained the popular enthusiasm;
thus it is probable, that an almost insensible sympathy had sprung up
between this high-born faction and the people at large; and when,
unable to cope with the party of the nobles, Clisthenes attached
himself to the movement of the commons, the enemy of the tyrant
appeared in his natural position--at the head of the democracy.
Clisthenes was, however, rather the statesman of a party than the
legislator for a people--it was his object permanently to break up the
power of the great proprietors, not as enemies of the commonwealth,
but as rivals to his faction.  The surest way to diminish the
influence of property in elections is so to alter the constituencies
as to remove the electors from the immediate control of individual
proprietors.  Under the old Ionic and hereditary divisions of four
tribes, many ancient associations and ties between the poorer and the
nobler classes were necessarily formed.  By one bold innovation, the
whole importance of which was not immediately apparent, Clisthenes
abolished these venerable divisions, and, by a new geographical
survey, created ten tribes instead of the former four.  These were
again subdivided into districts, or demes; the number seems to have
varied, but at the earliest period they were not less than one
hundred--at a later period they exceeded one hundred and seventy.  To
these demes were transferred all the political rights and privileges
of the divisions they supplanted.  Each had a local magistrate and
local assemblies.  Like corporations, these petty courts of
legislature ripened the moral spirit of democracy while fitting men
for the exercise of the larger rights they demanded.  A consequence of
the alteration of the number of the tribes was an increase in the
number that composed the senate, which now rose from four to five
hundred members.

Clisthenes did not limit himself to this change in the constituent
bodies--he increased the total number of the constituents; new
citizens were made--aliens were admitted--and it is supposed by some,
though upon rather vague authorities, that several slaves were
enfranchised.  It was not enough, however, to augment the number of
the people, it was equally necessary to prevent the ascension of a
single man.  Encouraged by the example in other states of Greece,
forewarned by the tyranny of Pisistratus, Clisthenes introduced the
institution of the Ostracism [248].  Probably about the same period,
the mode of election to public office generally was altered from the
public vote to the secret lot [249].  It is evident that these
changes, whether salutary or pernicious, were not wanton or uncalled
for.  The previous constitution had not sufficed to protect the
republic from a tyranny: something deficient in the machinery of
Solon's legislation had for half a century frustrated its practical
intentions.  A change was, therefore, necessary to the existence of
the free state; and the care with which that change was directed
towards the diminution of the aristocratic influence, is in itself a
proof that such influence had been the shelter of the defeated
tyranny.  The Athenians themselves always considered the innovations
of Clisthenes but as the natural development of the popular
institutions of Solon; and that decisive and energetic noble seems
indeed to have been one of those rude but serviceable instruments by
which a more practical and perfect action is often wrought out from
the incompleted theories of greater statesmen.

VI.  Meanwhile, Isagoras, thus defeated by his rival, had the mean
ambition to appeal to the Spartan sword.  Ancient scandal attributes
to Cleomenes, king of Sparta, an improper connexion with the wife of
Isagoras, and every one knows that the fondest friend of the cuckold
is invariably the adulterer;--the national policy of founding
aristocracies was doubtless, however, a graver motive with the Spartan
king than his desire to assist Isagoras.  Cleomenes by a public herald
proclaimed the expulsion of Clisthenes, upon a frivolous pretence that
the Alcmaeonidae were still polluted by the hereditary sacrilege of
Cylon.  Clisthenes privately retired from the city, and the Spartan
king, at the head of an inconsiderable troop, re-entered Athens--
expelled, at the instance of Isagoras, seven hundred Athenian
families, as inculpated in the pretended pollution of Clisthenes--
dissolved the senate--and committed all the offices of the state to an
oligarchy of three hundred (a number and a council founded upon the
Dorian habits), each of whom was the creature of Isagoras.  But the
noble assembly he had thus violently dissolved refused obedience to
his commands; they appealed to the people, whom the valour of liberty
simultaneously aroused, and the citadel, of which Isagoras and the
Spartans instantly possessed themselves, was besieged by the whole
power of Athens.  The conspirators held out only two days; on the
third, they accepted the conditions of the besiegers, and departed
peaceably from the city.  Some of the Athenians, who had shared the
treason without participating in the flight, were justly executed.
Clisthenes, with the families expelled by Cleomenes, was recalled, and
the republic of Athens was thus happily re-established.

VII.  But the iron vengeance of that nation of soldiers, thus far
successfully braved, was not to be foreboded without alarm by the
Athenians.  They felt that Cleomenes had only abandoned his designs to
return to them more prepared for contest; and Athens was not yet in a
condition to brave the determined and never-sparing energies of
Sparta.  The Athenians looked around the states of Greece--many in
alliance with Lacedaemon--some governed by tyrants--others distracted
with their own civil dissensions; there were none from whom the new
commonwealth could hope for a sufficient assistance against the
revenge of Cleomenes.  In this dilemma, they resorted to the only aid
which suggested itself, and sought, across the boundaries of Greece,
the alliance of the barbarians.  They adventured a formal embassy to
Artaphernes, satrap of Sardis, to engage the succour of Darius, king
of Persia.

Accompanying the Athenians in this mission, full of interest, for it
was the first public transaction between that republic and the throne
of Persia, I pause to take a rapid survey of the origin of that mighty
empire, whose destinies became thenceforth involved in the history of
Grecian misfortunes and Grecian fame.  That survey commences with the
foundation of the Lydian monarchy.

VIII.  Amid the Grecian colonies of Asia whose rise we have
commemorated, around and above a hill commanding spacious and fertile
plains watered by the streams of the Cayster and Maeander; an ancient
Pelasgic tribe called the Maeonians had established their abode.
According to Herodotus, these settlers early obtained the name of
Lydians, from Lydus, the son of Atys.  The Dorian revolution did not
spare these delightful seats, and an Heraclid dynasty is said to have
reigned five hundred years over the Maeonians; these in their turn
were supplanted by a race known to us as the Mermnadae, the founder of
whom, Gyges, murdered and dethroned the last of the Heraclidae; and
with a new dynasty seems to have commenced a new and less Asiatic
policy.  Gyges, supported by the oracle of Delphi, was the first
barbarian, except one of the many Phrygian kings claiming the name of
Midas, who made votive offerings to that Grecian shrine.  From his
time this motley tribe, the link between Hellas and the East, came
into frequent collision with the Grecian colonies.  Gyges himself made
war with Miletus and Smyrna, and even captured Colophon.  With
Miletus, indeed, the hostility of the Lydians became hereditary, and
was renewed with various success by the descendants of Gyges, until,
in the time of his great-grandson Alyattes, a war of twelve years with
that splendid colony was terminated by a solemn peace and a strict
alliance.  Meanwhile, the petty but warlike monarchy founded by Gyges
had preserved the Asiatic Greeks from dangers yet more formidable than
its own ambition.  From a remote period, savage and ferocious tribes,
among which are pre-eminent the Treres and Cimmerians, had often
ravaged the inland plains--now for plunder, now for settlement.
Magnesia had been entirely destroyed by the Treres--even Sardis, the
capital of the Mermnadae, had been taken, save the citadel, by the
Cimmerians.  It was reserved for Alyattes to terminate these
formidable irruptions, and Asia was finally delivered by his arms from
a people in whom modern erudition has too fondly traced the ancestors
of the Cymry, or ancient Britons [250].  To this enterprising and able
king succeeded a yet more illustrious monarch, who ought to have found
in his genius the fame he has derived from his misfortunes.  At the
age of thirty-five Croesus ascended the Lydian throne.  Before
associated in the government with his father, he had rendered himself
distinguished in military service; and, wise, accomplished, but
grasping and ambitious, this remarkable monarch now completed the
designs of his predecessors.  Commencing with Ephesus, he succeeded in
rendering tributary every Grecian colony on the western coast of Asia;
and, leaving to each state its previous institutions, he kept by
moderation what he obtained by force.

Croesus was about to construct a fleet for the purpose of adding to
his dominions the isles of the Aegaean, but is said to have been
dissuaded from his purpose by a profound witticism of one of the seven
wise men of Greece.  "The islanders," said the sage, "are about to
storm you in your capital of Sardis, with ten thousand cavalry."--
"Nothing could gratify me more," said the king, "than to see the
islanders invading the Lydian continent with horsemen."--"Right,"
replied the wise man, "and it will give the islanders equal
satisfaction to find the Lydians attacking them by a fleet.  To
revenge their disasters on the land, the Greeks desire nothing better
than to meet you on the ocean."  The answer enlightened the king, and,
instead of fitting out his fleet, he entered into amicable alliance
with the Ionians of the isles [251].  But his ambition was only
thwarted in one direction to strike its roots in another; and he
turned his invading arms against his neighbours on the continent,
until he had progressively subdued nearly all the nations, save the
Lycians and Cilicians, westward to the Halys.  And thus rapidly and
majestically rose from the scanty tribe and limited territory of the
old Maeonians the monarchy of Asia Minor.

IX.  The renown of Croesus established, his capital of Sardis became
the resort of the wise and the adventurous, whether of Asia or of
Greece.  In many respects the Lydians so closely resembled the Greeks
as to suggest the affinity which historical evidence scarcely suffices
to permit us absolutely to affirm.  The manners and the customs of
either people did not greatly differ, save that with the Lydians, as
still throughout the East, but little consideration was attached to
women;--they were alike in their cultivation of the arts, and their
respect for the oracles of religion--and Delphi, in especial, was
inordinately enriched by the prodigal superstition of the Lydian

The tradition which ascribes to the Lydians the invention of coined
money is a proof of their commercial habits.  The neighbouring Tmolus
teemed with gold, which the waters of the Pactolus bore into the very
streets of the city.  Their industry was exercised in the manufacture
of articles of luxury rather than those of necessity.  Their purple
garments.-their skill in the workmanship of metals--their marts for
slaves and eunuchs--their export trade of unwrought gold--are
sufficient evidence both of the extent and the character of their
civilization.  Yet the nature of the oriental government did not fail
to operate injuriously on the more homely and useful directions of
their energy.  They appear never to have worked the gold-mines, whose
particles were borne to them by the careless bounty of the Pactolus.
Their early traditional colonies were wafted on Grecian vessels.  The
gorgeous presents with which they enriched the Hellenic temples seem
to have been fabricated by Grecian art, and even the advantages of
commerce they seem rather to have suffered than to have sought.  But
what a people so suddenly risen into splendour, governed by a wise
prince, and stimulated perhaps to eventual liberty by the example of
the European Greeks, ought to have become, it is impossible to
conjecture; perhaps the Hellenes of the East.

At this period, however, of such power--and such promise, the fall of
the Lydian empire was decreed.  Far from the fertile fields and
gorgeous capital of Lydia, amid steril mountains, inhabited by a
simple and hardy race, rose the portentous star of the Persian Cyrus.

X.  A victim to that luxury which confirms a free but destroys a
despotic state, the vast foundations of the Assyrian empire were
crumbling into decay, when a new monarchy, destined to become its
successor, sprung up among one of its subject nations.  Divided into
various tribes, each dependant upon the Assyrian sceptre, was a
warlike, wandering, and primitive race, known to us under the name of
Medes.  Deioces, a chief of one of the tribes, succeeded in uniting
these scattered sections into a single people, built a city, and
founded an independent throne.  His son, Phraortes, reduced the
Persians to his yoke--overran Asia--advanced to Nineveh--and
ultimately perished in battle with a considerable portion of his army.
Succeeded by his son Cyaxares, that monarch consummated the ambitious
designs of his predecessors.  He organized the miscellaneous hordes
that compose an oriental army into efficient and formidable
discipline, vanquished the Assyrians, and besieged Nineveh, when a
mighty irruption of the Scythian hordes called his attention homeward.
A defeat, which at one blow robbed this great king of the dominion of
Asia, was ultimately recovered by a treacherous massacre of the
Scythian leaders (B. C. 606).  The Medes regained their power and
prosecuted their conquests--Nineveh fell--and through the whole
Assyrian realm, Babylon alone remained unsubjugated by the Mede.  To
this new-built and wide-spread empire succeeded Astyages, son of the
fortunate Cyaxares.  But it is the usual character of a conquering
tribe to adopt the habits and be corrupted by the vices of the subdued
nations among which the invaders settle; and the peaceful reign of
Astyages sufficed to enervate that vigilant and warlike spirit in the
victor race, by which alone the vast empires of the East can be
preserved from their natural tendency to decay.  The Persians, subdued
by the grandsire of Astyages, seized the occasion to revolt.  Among
them rose up a native hero, the Gengis-khan of the ancient world.
Through the fables which obscure his history we may be allowed to
conjecture, that Cyrus, or Khosroo, was perhaps connected by blood
with Astyages, and, more probably, that he was intrusted with command
among the Persians by that weak and slothful monarch.  Be that as it
may, he succeeded in uniting under his banners a martial and
uncorrupted population, overthrew the Median monarchy, and transferred
to a dynasty, already worn out with premature old age, the vigorous
and aspiring youth of a mountain race.  Such was the formidable foe
that now menaced the rising glories of the Lydian king.

XI.  Croesus was allied by blood with the dethroned Astyages, and
individual resentment at the overthrow of his relation co-operated
with his anxious fears of the ambition of the victor.  A less
sagacious prince might easily have foreseen that the Persians would
scarcely be secure in their new possessions, ere the wealth and
domains of Lydia would tempt the restless cupidity of their chief.
After much deliberation as to the course to be pursued, Croesus
resorted for advice to the most celebrated oracles of Greece, and even
to that of the Libyan Ammon.  The answer he received from Delphi
flattered, more fatally than the rest, the inclinations of the king.
He was informed "that if he prosecuted a war with Persia a mighty
empire would be overthrown, and he was advised to seek the alliance of
the most powerful states of Greece."  Overjoyed with a response to
which his hopes gave but one interpretation, the king prodigalized
fresh presents on the Delphians, and received from them in return, for
his people and himself, the honour of priority above all other nations
in consulting the oracle, a distinguished seat in the temple, and the
right of the citizenship of Delphi.  Once more the fated monarch
sought the oracle, and demanded if his power should ever fail.  Thus
replied the Pythian: "When a mule shall sit enthroned over the Medes,
fly, soft Lydian, across the pebbly waters of the Hermus."  The
ingenuity of Croesus could discover in this reply no reason for alarm,
confident that a mule could never be the sovereign of the Medes.  Thus
animated, and led on, the son of Alyattes prepared to oppose, while it
was yet time, the progress of the Persian arms.  He collected all the
force he could summon from his provinces--crossed the Halys--entered
Cappadocia--devastated the surrounding country--destroyed several
towns--and finally met on the plains of Pteria the Persian army.  The
victory was undecided; but Croesus, not satisfied with the force he
led, which was inferior to that of Cyrus, returned to Sardis,
despatched envoys for succour into Egypt and to Babylon, and
disbanded, for the present, the disciplined mercenaries whom he had
conducted into Cappadocia.  But Cyrus was aware of the movements of
the enemy, and by forced and rapid marches arrived at Sardis, and
encamped before its walls.  His army dismissed--his allies scarcely
reached by his embassadors--Croesus yet showed himself equal to the
peril of his fortune.  His Lydians were among the most valiant of the
Asiatic nations--dexterous in their national weapon, the spear, and
renowned for the skill and prowess of their cavalry.

XII.  In a wide plain, in the very neighbourhood of the royal Sardis,
and watered "by the pebbly stream of the Hermus," the cavalry of Lydia
met, and were routed by the force of Cyrus.  The city was besieged and
taken, and the wisest and wealthiest of the Eastern kings sunk
thenceforth into a petty vassal, consigned as guest or prisoner to a
Median city near Ecbatana [252].  The prophecy was fulfilled, and a
mighty empire overthrown. [253]

The Grecian colonies of Asia, during the Lydian war, had resisted the
overtures of Cyrus, and continued faithful to Croesus; they had now
cause to dread the vengeance of the conqueror.  The Ionians and
Aeolians sent to demand the assistance of Lacedaemon, pledged equally
with themselves to the Lydian cause.  But the Spartans, yet more
cautious than courageous, saw but little profit in so unequal an
alliance.  They peremptorily refused the offer of the colonists, but,
after their departure, warily sent a vessel of fifty oars to watch the
proceedings of Cyrus, and finally deputed Latrines, a Spartan of
distinction, to inform the monarch of the Persian, Median, and Lydian
empires, that any injury to the Grecian cities would be resented by
the Spartans.  Cyrus asked with polite astonishment of the Greeks
about him, "Who these Spartans were?" and having ascertained as much
as he could comprehend concerning their military force and their
social habits, replied, "That men who had a large space in the middle
of their city for the purpose of cheating one another, could not be to
him an object of terror:" so little respect had the hardy warrior for
the decent frauds of oratory and of trade.  Meanwhile, he obligingly
added, "that if he continued in health, their concern for the Ionian
troubles might possibly be merged in the greatness of their own."
Soon afterward Cyrus swept onwards in the prosecution of his vast
designs, overrunning Assyria, and rushing through the channels of
Euphrates into the palaces of Babylon, and the halls of the scriptural
Belshazzar.  His son, Cambyses, added the mystic Egypt to the vast
conquests of Cyrus--and a stranger to the blood of the great victor,
by means of superstitious accident or political intrigue, ascended the
throne of Asia, known to European history under the name of Darius.
The generals of Cyrus had reduced to the Persian yoke the Ionian
colonies; the Isle of Samos (the first of the isles subjected) was
afterward conquered by a satrap of Sardis, and Darius, who, impelled
by the ambition of his predecessors, had led with no similar success a
vast armament against the wandering Scythians, added, on his return,
Lesbos, Chios, and other isles in the Aegaean, to the new monarchy of
the world.  As, in the often analogous history of Italian republics,
we find in every incursion of the German emperor that some crafty
noble of a free state joined the banner of a Frederick or a Henry in
the hope of receiving from the imperial favour the tyranny of his own
city--so there had not been wanting in the Grecian colonies men of
boldness and ambition, who flocked to the Persian standard, and, in
gratitude for their services against the Scythian, were rewarded with
the supreme government of their native cities.  Thus was raised Coes,
a private citizen, to the tyranny of Mitylene--and thus Histiaeus,
already possessing, was confirmed by Darius in, that of Miletus.
Meanwhile Megabazus, a general of the Persian monarch, at the head of
an army of eighty thousand men, subdued Thrace, and made Macedonia
tributary to the Persian throne.  Having now established, as he deemed
securely, the affairs of the empire in Asia Minor, Darius placed his
brother Artaphernes in the powerful satrapy of Sardis, and returned to
his capital of Susa.

XIII.  To this satrap, brother of that mighty monarch, came the
ambassadors of Athens.  Let us cast our eyes along the map of the
ancient world--and survey the vast circumference of the Persian realm,
stretching almost over the civilized globe.  To the east no boundary
was visible before the Indus.  To the north the empire extended to the
Caspian and the Euxine seas, with that steep Caucasian range, never
passed even by the most daring of the early Asiatic conquerors.
Eastward of the Caspian, the rivers of Oxus and Iaxartes divided the
subjects of the great king from the ravages of the Tartar; the Arabian
peninsula interposed its burning sands, a barrier to the south--while
the western territories of the empire, including Syria, Phoenicia, the
fertile satrapies of Asia Minor, were washed by the Mediterranean
seas.  Suddenly turning from this immense empire, let us next
endeavour to discover those dominions from which the Athenian
ambassadors were deputed: far down in a remote corner of the earth we
perceive at last the scarce visible nook of Attica, with its capital
of Athens--a domain that in its extremest length measured sixty
geographical miles!  We may now judge of the condescending wonder with
which the brother of Darius listened to the ambassadors of a people,
by whose glory alone his name is transmitted to posterity.  Yet was
there nothing unnatural or unduly arrogant in his reply.  "Send
Darius," said the satrap, affably, "earth and water (the accustomed
symbols of homage), and he will accept your alliance."  The ambassadors
deliberated, and, impressed by the might of Persia, and the sense of
their own unfriended condition, they accepted the proposals.

If, fresh from our survey of the immeasurable disparity of power
between the two states, we cannot but allow the answer of the satrap
was such as might be expected, it is not without a thrill of sympathy
and admiration we learn, that no sooner had the ambassadors returned
to Athens, than they received from the handful of its citizens a
severe reprimand for their submission.  Indignant at the proposal of
the satrap, that brave people recurred no more to the thought of the
alliance.  In haughty patience, unassisted and alone, they awaited the
burst of the tempest which they foresaw.

XIV.  Meanwhile, Cleomenes, chafed at the failure of his attempt on
the Athenian liberties, and conceiving, in the true spirit of
injustice, that he had been rather the aggrieved than the aggressor,
levied forces in different parts of the Peloponnesus, but without
divulging the object he had in view [254].  That object was twofold--
vengeance upon Athens, and the restoration of Isagoras.  At length he
threw off the mask, and at the head of a considerable force seized
upon the holy city of Eleusis.  Simultaneously, and in concert with
the Spartan, the Boeotians forcibly took possession of Oenoe and
Hysix--two towns on the extremity of Attica while from Chalcis (the
principal city of the Isle of Euboea which fronted the Attic coast) a
formidable band ravaged the Athenian territories.  Threatened by this
threefold invasion, the measures of the Athenians were prompt and
vigorous.  They left for the present unavenged the incursions of the
Boeotians and Chalcidians, and marched with all the force they could
collect against Cleomenes at Eleusis.  The two armies were prepared
for battle, when a sudden revolution in the Spartan camp delivered the
Athenians from the most powerful of their foes.  The Corinthians,
insnared by Cleomenes into measures, of the object of which they had
first been ignorant, abruptly retired from the field.  Immediately
afterward a dissension broke out between Cleomenes and Demaratus, the
other king of Sparta, who had hitherto supported his colleague in all
his designs, and Demaratus hastily quitted Eleusis, and returned to
Lacedaemon.  At this disunion between the kings of Sparta,
accompanied, as it was, by the secession of the Corinthians, the other
confederates broke up the camp, returned home, and left Cleomenes with
so scanty a force that he was compelled to forego his resentment and
his vengeance, and retreat from the sacred city.  The Athenians now
turned their arms against the Chalcidians, who had retired to Euboea;
but, encountering the Boeotians, who were on their march to assist
their island ally, they engaged and defeated them with a considerable
slaughter.  Flushed by their victory, the Athenians rested not upon
their arms--on the same day they crossed that narrow strait which
divided them from Euboea, and obtained a second and equally signal
victory over the Chalcidians.  There they confirmed their conquest by
the establishment of four thousand colonists [255] in the fertile
meadows of Euboea, which had been dedicated by the islanders to the
pasturage of their horses.  The Athenians returned in triumph to their
city.  At the price of two minae each, their numerous prisoners were
ransomed, and the captive chains suspended from the walls of the
citadel.  A tenth part of the general ransom was consecrated, and
applied to the purchase of a brazen chariot, placed in the entrance of
the citadel, with an inscription which dedicated it to the tutelary
goddess of Athens.

"Not from the example of the Athenians only," proceeds the father of
history, "but from universal experience, do we learn that an equal
form of government is the best.  While in subjection to tyrants the
Athenians excelled in war none of their neighbours--delivered from the
oppressor, they excelled them all; an evident proof that, controlled
by one man they exerted themselves feebly, because exertion was for a
master; regaining liberty, each man was made zealous, because his zeal
was for himself, and his individual interest was the common weal."
[256]  Venerable praise and accurate distinction! [257]

XV.  The Boeotians, resentful of their defeat, sent to the Pythian
oracle to demand the best means of obtaining revenge.  The Pythian
recommended an alliance with their nearest neighbours.  The Boeotians,
who, although the inspiring Helicon hallowed their domain, were
esteemed but a dull and obtuse race, interpreted this response in
favour of the people of the rocky island of Aegina--certainly not
their nearest neighbours, if the question were to be settled by
geographers.  The wealthy inhabitants of that illustrious isle, which,
rising above that part of the Aegean called Sinus Saronicus, we may
yet behold in a clear sky from the heights of Phyle,--had long
entertained a hatred against the Athenians.  They willingly embraced
the proffered alliance of the Boeotians, and the two states ravaged in
concert the coast of Attica.  While the Athenians were preparing to
avenge the aggression, they received a warning from the Delphic
oracle, enjoining them to refrain from all hostilities with the people
of Aegina for thirty years, at the termination of which period they
were to erect a fane to Aeacus (the son of Jupiter, from whom,
according to tradition, the island had received its name), and then
they might commence war with success.  The Athenians, on hearing the
response, forestalled the time specified by the oracle by erecting at
once a temple to Aeacus in their forum.  After-circumstances did not
allow them to delay to the end of thirty years the prosecution of the
war.  Meanwhile the unsleeping wrath of their old enemy, Cleomenes,
demanded their full attention.  In the character of that fierce and
restless Spartan, we recognise from the commencement of his career the
taint of that insanity to which he subsequently fell a victim [258].
In his earlier life, in a war with the Argives, he had burnt five
thousand fugitives by setting fire to the grove whither they had fled
--an act of flagrant impiety, no less than of ferocious cruelty,
according to the tender superstition of the Greeks.  During his
occupation of Eleusis, he wantonly violated the mysterious sanctuary
of Orgas--the place above all others most consecrated to the
Eleusinian gods.  His actions and enterprises were invariably
inconsistent and vague.  He enters Athens to restore her liberties--
joins with Isagoras to destroy them; engages in an attempt to
revolutionize that energetic state without any adequate preparation--
seizes the citadel to-day to quit it disgracefully to-morrow; invades
Eleusis with an army he cannot keep together, and, in the ludicrous
cunning common to the insane, disguises from his allies the very enemy
against whom they are to fight, in order, as common sense might have
expected, to be deserted by them in the instant of battle.  And now,
prosecuting still further the contradictory tenour of his conduct, he
who had driven Hippias from Athens persuades the Spartan assembly to
restore the very tyrant the Spartan arms had expelled.  In order to
stimulate the fears of his countrymen, Cleomenes [259] asserted, that
he had discovered in the Athenian citadel certain oracular
predictions, till then unknown, foreboding to the Spartans many dark
and strange calamities from the hands of the Athenians [260].  The
astute people whom the king addressed were more moved by political
interests than religious warnings.  They observed, that when oppressed
by tyranny, the Athenians had been weak and servile, but, if admitted
to the advantages of liberty, would soon grow to a power equal to
their own [261]: and in the restoration of a tyrant, their sagacity
foreboded the depression of a rival.

XVI.  Hippias, who had hitherto resided with his half-brother at
Sigeum, was invited to Lacedaemon.  He arrived--the Spartans assembled
the ambassadors of their various tribes--and in full council thus
spoke the policy of Sparta.

"Friends and allies, we acknowledge that we have erred; misled by
deceiving oracles, we have banished from Athens men united to us by
ancient hospitality.  We restored a republican government to an
ungrateful people, who, forgetful that to us they owed their liberty,
expelled from among them our subjects and our king.  Every day they
exhibit a fiercer spirit--proofs of which have been already
experienced by the Boeotians, the Chalcidians, and may speedily extend
to others, unless they take in time wise and salutary precautions.  We
have erred--we are prepared to atone for our fault, and to aid you in
the chastisement of the Athenians.  With this intention we have
summoned Hippias and yourselves, that by common counsel and united
arms we may restore to the son of Pisistratus the dominion and the
dignity of which we have deprived him."

The sentiments of the Spartans received but little favour in the
assembly.  After a dead and chilling silence, up rose Sosicles, the
ambassador for Corinth, whose noble reply reveals to us the true cause
of the secession of the Corinthians at Eleusis.

"We may expect," said he, with indignant eloquence, "to see the earth
take the place of heaven, since you, oh Spartans, meditate the
subversion of equal laws and the restoration of tyrannical
governments--a design than which nothing can be more unjust, nothing
more wicked.  If you think it well that states should be governed by
tyrants, Spartans, before you establish tyranny for others, establish
it among yourselves!  You act unworthily with your allies.  You, who
so carefully guard against the intrusion of tyranny in Sparta--had you
known it as we have done, you would be better sensible of the
calamities it entails: listen to some of its effects."  (Here the
ambassador related at length the cruelties of Periander, the tyrant of
Corinth.) "Such," said he, in conclusion, "such is a tyrannical
government--such its effects.  Great was our marvel when we learned
that it was you, oh Spartans, who had sent for Hippias,--at your
sentiments we marvel more.  Oh! by the gods, the celestial guardians
of Greece, we adjure you not to build up tyrannies in our cities.  If
you persevere in your purpose--if, against all justice, you attempt
the restoration of Hippias, know, at least, that the Corinthians will
never sanction your designs."

It was in vain that Hippias, despite his own ability, despite the
approval of the Spartans, endeavoured to counteract the impression of
this stern harangue,--in vain he relied on the declarations of the
oracles,--in vain appealed to the jealousy of the Corinthians, and
assured them of the ambition of Athens.  The confederates with one
accord sympathized with the sentiments of Sosicles, and adjured the
Spartans to sanction no innovations prejudicial to the liberties of a
single city of Greece.

XVII.  The failure of propositions so openly made is a fresh proof of
the rash and unthinking character of Cleomenes--eager as usual for
all designs, and prepared for none.  The Spartans abandoned their
design, and Hippias, discomfited but not dispirited, quitted the
Lacedaemonian capital.  Some of the chiefs of Thessaly, as well as the
prince of Macedon, offered him an honourable retreat in their
dominions.  But it was not an asylum, it was an ally, that the
unyielding ambition of Hippias desired to secure.  He regained Sigeum,
and thence, departing to Sardis, sought the assistance of the satrap,
Artaphernes.  He who in prosperity was the tyrant, became, in
adversity, the traitor of his country; and the son of Pisistratus
exerted every effort of his hereditary talent of persuasion to induce
the satrap not so much to restore the usurper as to reduce the
Athenian republic to the Persian yoke [262].  The arrival and the
intrigues of this formidable guest at the court of Sardis soon reached
the ears of the vigilant Athenians; they sent to Artaphernes,
exhorting him not to place confidence in those whose offences had
banished them from Athens.  "If you wish for peace," returned the
satrap, "recall Hippias."  Rather than accede to this condition, that
brave people, in their petty share of the extremity of Greece, chose
to be deemed the enemies of the vast monarchy of Persia. [263]


Histiaeus, Tyrant of Miletus, removed to Persia.--The Government of
that City deputed to Aristagoras, who invades Naxos with the aid of
the Persians.--Ill Success of that Expedition.--Aristagoras resolves
upon Revolting from the Persians.--Repairs to Sparta and to Athens.--
The Athenians and Eretrians induced to assist the Ionians.--Burning of
Sardis.--The Ionian War.--The Fate of Aristagoras.--Naval Battle of
Lade.--Fall of Miletus.--Reduction of Ionia.--Miltiades.--His
Character.--Mardonius replaces Artaphernes in the Lydian Satrapy.--
Hostilities between Aegina and Athens.--Conduct of Cleomenes.--
Demaratus deposed.--Death of Cleomenes.--New Persian Expedition.

I.  We have seen that Darius rewarded with a tributary command the
services of Grecian nobles during his Scythian expedition.  The most
remarkable of these deputy tyrants was Histiaeus, the tyrant of
Miletus.  Possessed of that dignity prior to his connexion with
Darius, he had received from the generosity of the monarch a tract of
land near the river Strymon, in Thrace, sufficing for the erection of
a city called Myrcinus.  To his cousin, Aristagoras, he committed the
government of Miletus--repaired to his new possession, and employed
himself actively in the foundations of a colony which promised to be
one of the most powerful that Miletus had yet established.  The site
of the infant city was selected with admirable judgment upon a
navigable river, in the vicinity of mines, and holding the key of
commercial communication between the long chain of Thracian tribes on
the one side, and the trading enterprise of Grecian cities on the
other.  Histiaeus was describing the walls with which the ancient
cities were surrounded, when Megabazus, commander of the forces
intended to consummate the conquest of Thrace, had the sagacity to
warn the Persian king, then at Sardis, of the probable effects of the
regal donation.  "Have you, sire, done wisely," said he, "in
permitting this able and active Greek to erect a new city in Thrace?
Know you not that that favoured land, abounding in mines of silver,
possesses, also, every advantage for the construction and equipment of
ships; wild Greeks and roving barbarians are mingled there, ripe for
enterprise--ready to execute the commands of any resolute and aspiring
leader!  Fear the possibility of a civil war--prevent the chances of
the ambition of Histiaeus,--have recourse to artifice rather than to
force, get him in your power, and prevent his return to Greece."

Darius followed the advice of his general, sent for Histiaeus, loaded
him with compliments, and, pretending that he could not live without
his counsels, carried him off from his Thracian settlement to the
Persian capital of Susa.  His kinsman, Aristagoras, continued to
preside over the government of Miletus, then the most haughty and
flourishing of the Ionian states; but Naxos, beneath it in power,
surpassed it in wealth; the fertile soil of that fair isle--its
numerous population--its convenient site--its abundant resources,
attracted the cupidity of Aristagoras; he took advantage of a civil
commotion, in which many of the nobles were banished by the people--
received the exiles--and, under the pretence of restoring them,
meditated the design of annexing the largest of the Cyclades to the
tyranny of Miletus.

He persuaded the traitorous nobles to suffer him to treat with
Artaphernes--successfully represented to that satrap the advantages of
annexing the gem of the Cyclades to the Persian diadem--and Darius,
listening to the advice of his delegate, sent two hundred vessels to
the invasion of Naxos (B. C. 501), under the command of his kinsman,
Megabates.  A quarrel ensued, however, between the Persian general and
the governor of Miletus.  Megabates, not powerful enough to crush the
tyrant, secretly informed the Naxians of the meditated attack; and,
thus prepared for the assault, they so well maintained themselves in
their city, that, after a siege of four months, the pecuniary
resources, not only of Megabates, but of Aristagoras, were exhausted,
and the invaders were compelled to retreat from the island.
Aristagoras now saw that he had fallen into the pit he had digged for
others: his treasury was drained--he had incurred heavy debts with the
Persian government, which condemned him to reimburse the whole expense
of the enterprise--he feared the resentment of Megabates and the
disappointment of Artaphernes--and he foresaw that his ill success
might be a reasonable plea for removing him from the government of
Miletus.  While he himself was meditating the desperate expedient of a
revolt, a secret messenger from Histiaeus suddenly arrived at Miletus.
That wily Greek, disgusted with his magnificent captivity, had had
recourse to a singular expedient: selecting the most faithful of his
slaves, he shaved his scull, wrote certain characters on the surface,
and, when the hair was again grown, dismissed this living letter to
Aristagoras [264].  The characters commanded the deputy to commence a
revolt; for Histiaeus imagined that the quiet of Miletus was the
sentence of his exile.

II.  This seasonable advice, so accordant with his own views, charmed
Aristagoras: he summoned the Milesians, and, to engage their zealous
assistance, he divested himself of the tyranny, and established a
republic. It was a mighty epoch that, for the stir of thought!--
everywhere had awakened a desire for free government and equal laws;
and Aristagoras, desirous of conciliating the rest of Ionia, assisted
her various states in the establishment of republican institutions.
Coes, the tyrant of Mitylene, perished by the hands of the people; in
the rest of Ionia, the tyrants were punished but by exile.  Thus a
spark kindled the universal train already prepared in thought, and the
selfish ambition of Aristagoras forwarded the march of a revolution in
favour of liberty that embraced all the cities of Ionia.  But
Aristagoras, evidently a man of a profound, though tortuous policy,
was desirous of engaging not only the colonies of Greece, but the
mother country also, in the great and perilous attempt to resist the
Persian.  High above all the states of the elder Greece soared the
military fame of Sparta; and that people the scheming Milesian
resolved first to persuade to his daring project.

Trusting to no ambassador, but to his own powers of eloquence, he
arrived in person at Sparta.  With a brazen chart of the world, as
then known, in his hand, he sought to inspire the ambition of
Cleomenes by pointing out the wide domains--the exhaustless treasures
of the Persian realm.  He depreciated the valour of its people,
ridiculed their weapons, and urged him to the vast design of
establishing, by Spartan valour, the magnificent conquest of Asia.
The Spartans, always cold to the liberty of other states, were no less
indifferent to the glory of barren victories; and when Aristagoras too
honestly replied, in answer to a question of the king, that from the
Ionian sea to Susa, the Persian capital, was a journey of three
months, Cleomenes abruptly exclaimed, "Milesian, depart from Sparta
before sunset;--a march of three months from the sea!--the Spartans
will never listen to so frantic a proposal!"  Aristagoras, not
defeated, sought a subsequent interview, in which he attempted to
bribe the king, who, more accustomed to bribe others than be bribed,
broke up the conference, and never afterward would renew it.

III.  The patient and plotting Milesian departed thence to Athens
(B. C. 500): he arrived there just at the moment when the Athenian
ambassadors had returned from Sardis, charged with the haughty reply
of Artaphernes to the mission concerning Hippias.  The citizens were
aroused, excited, inflamed; equally indignant at the insolence, and
fearful of the power, of the satrap. It was a favourable occasion for

To the imagination of the reader this passage in history presents a
striking picture.  We may behold the great assembly of that lively,
high-souled, sensitive, and inflammable people.  There is the Agora;
there the half-built temple to Aeacus;--above, the citadel, where yet
hang the chains of the captive enemy;--still linger in the ears of the
populace, already vain of their prowess, and haughty in their freedom,
the menace of the Persian--the words that threatened them with the
restoration of the exiled tyrant; and at this moment, and in this
concourse, we see the subtle Milesian, wise in the experience of
mankind, popular with all free states, from having restored freedom to
the colonies of Ionia--every advantage of foreign circumstance and
intrinsic ability in his favour,--about to address the breathless and
excited multitude.  He rose: he painted, as he had done to Cleomenes,
in lively colours, the wealth of Asia, the effeminate habits of its
people--he described its armies fighting without spear or shield--he
invoked the valour of a nation already successful in war against hardy
and heroic foes--he appealed to old hereditary ties; the people of
Miletus had been an Athenian colony--should not the parent protect the
child in the greatest of all blessings--the right to liberty?  Now he
entreats--now he promises,--the sympathy of the free, the enthusiasm
of the brave, are alike aroused.  He succeeds: the people accede to
his views.  "It is easier," says the homely Herodotus, "to gain (or
delude) a multitude than an individual; and the eloquence which had
failed with Cleomenes enlisted thirty thousand Athenians." [265]

IV.  The Athenians agreed to send to the succour of their own
colonists, the Ionians, twenty vessels of war.  Melanthius, a man of
amiable character and popular influence, was appointed the chief.
This was the true commencement of the great Persian war.

V.  Thus successful, Aristagoras departed from Athens.  Arriving at
Miletus, he endeavoured yet more to assist his design, by attempting
to arouse a certain colony in Phrygia, formed of Thracian captives
[266] taken by Megabazus, the Persian general.  A great proportion of
these colonists seized the occasion to return to their native land--
baffled the pursuit of the Persian horse--reached the shore--and were
transported in Ionian vessels to their ancient home on the banks of
the Strymon.  Meanwhile, the Athenian vessels arrived at Miletus,
joined by five ships, manned by Eretrians of Euboea, mindful of former
assistance from the Milesians in a war with their fellow-islanders,
the Chalcidians, nor conscious, perhaps, of the might of the enemy
they provoked.

Aristagoras remained at Miletus, and delegated to his brother the
command of the Milesian forces.  The Greeks then sailed to Ephesus,
debarked at Coressus, in its vicinity, and, under the conduct of
Ephesian guides, marched along the winding valley of the Cayster--
whose rapid course, under a barbarous name, the traveller yet traces,
though the swans of the Grecian poets haunt its waves no more--passed
over the auriferous Mount of Tmolus, verdant with the vine, and
fragrant with the saffron--and arrived at the gates of the voluptuous
Sardis.  They found Artaphernes unprepared for this sudden invasion--
they seized the city (B. C. 499).--the satrap and his troops retreated
to the citadel.

The houses of Sardis were chiefly built of reeds, and the same slight
and inflammable material thatched the roofs even of the few mansions
built of brick.  A house was set on fire by a soldier--the flames
spread throughout the city.  In the midst of the conflagration despair
gave valour to the besieged--the wrath of man was less fearful than
that of the element; the Lydians, and the Persians who were in the
garrison, rushed into the market-place, through which flowed the river
of Pactolus.  There they resolved to encounter the enemy.  The
invaders were seized with a sudden panic, possibly as much occasioned
by the rage of the conflagration as the desperation of the foe; and,
retiring to Mount Tmolus, took advantage of the night to retrace their
march along the valley of the Cayster.

VI.  But the Ionians were not fated to return in safety: from the
borders of the river Halys a troop of Persians followed their retreat,
and overtaking them when the Ephesian territory was already gained,
defeated the Ionians with a great slaughter, amid which fell the
leader of the Eretrians.

The Athenians were naturally disappointed with the result of this
expedition.  Returning home, they refused all the overtures of
Aristagoras to renew their incursions into Asia.  The gallant Ionians
continued, however, the hostilities they had commenced against Darius.
They sailed to the Hellespont, and reduced Byzantium, with the
neighbouring cities.  Their forces were joined by the Cyprians,
aroused against the Persian yoke by Onesilus, a bold usurper, who had
dethroned his brother, the prince of Salamis, in Cyprus; and the
conflagration of Sardis dazzling the Carians, hitherto lukewarm,
united to the Ionian cause the bulk of that hardy population.  The
revolt now assumed a menacing and formidable aspect.  Informed of
these events, Darius summoned Histiaeus: "The man," said he, "whom you
appointed to the government of Miletus has rebelled against me.
Assisted by the Ionians, whom I shall unquestionably chastise, he has
burnt Sardis.  Had he your approbation?  Without it would he have
dared such treason?  Beware how you offend a second time against my
authority."  Histiaeus artfully vindicated himself from the suspicions
of the king.  He attributed the revolt of the Ionians to his own
absence, declared that if sent into Ionia he would soon restore its
inhabitants to their wonted submission, and even promised to render
the Island of Sardinia tributary to Persia.

VII.  Deluded by these professions, Darius dismissed the tyrant of
Miletus, requiring only his return on the fulfilment of his promises.
Meanwhile, the generals of Darius pressed vigorously on the
insurgents.  Against Onesilus, then engaged in reducing Amathus (the
single city in Cyprus opposed to him), Artybius, a Persian officer,
conducted a formidable fleet.  The Ionians hastened to the succour of
their Cyprian ally--a battle ensued both by land and sea: in the
latter the Ionians defeated, after a severe contest, the Phoenician
auxiliaries of Persia--in the former, a treacherous desertion of some
of the Cyprian troops gave a victory to the Persian.  The brave
Onesilus, who had set his fate upon the issue of the field, was among
the slain.  The Persians proceeded to blockade, and ultimately to
regain, the Cyprian cities: of these, Soli, which withstood a siege of
five months, proffered the most obdurate resistance; with the
surrender of that gallant city, Cyprus once more, after a year of
liberty, was subjected to the dominion of the great king.

This success was increased by the reduction of several towns on the
Hellespont, and two signal defeats over the Carians (B. C. 498), in
the last of which, the Milesians, who had joined their ally, suffered
a prodigious loss.  The Carians, however, were not subdued, and in a
subsequent engagement they effected a great slaughter among the
Persians, the glory of which was enhanced by the death of Daurises,
general of the barbarians, and son-in-law to Darius.  But this action
was not sufficiently decisive to arrest the progress of the Persian
arms.  Artaphernes, satrap of Sardis, and Otanes, the third general in
command, led their forces into Ionia and Aeolia:--the Ionian
Clazomenae, the Aeolian Cuma, were speedily reduced.

VIII.  The capture of these places, with the general fortunes of the
war, disheartened even the patient and adventurous Aristagoras.  He
could not but believe that all attempts against the crushing power of
Darius were in vain.  He assembled the adherents yet faithful to his
arms, and painted to them the necessity of providing a new settlement.
Miletus was no longer secure, and the vengeance of Darius was
gathering rapidly around them.  After some consultation they agreed to
repair to that town and territory in Thrace which had been given by
Darius to Histiaeus [267].  Miletus was intrusted to the charge of a
popular citizen named Pythagoras, and these hardy and restless
adventurers embarked for Thrace.  Aristagoras was fortunate enough to
reach in safety the settlement which had seemed so formidable a
possession to the Persian general; but his usual scheming and bold
ambition, not contented with that domain, led him to the attack of a
town in its vicinity.  The inhabitants agreed to resign it into his
hands, and, probably lulled into security by this concession, he was
suddenly, with his whole force, cut off by an incursion of the
Thracian foe.  So perished (B. C. 497) the author of many subsequent
and mighty events, and who, the more we regard his craft, his courage,
his perseverance, and activity, the vastness of his ends, and the
perseverance with which he pursued them, must be regarded by the
historian as one of the most stirring and remarkable spirits of that
enterprising age.

IX.  The people of Miletus had not, upon light grounds or with feeble
minds, embarked in the perilous attempt to recover their liberties.
Deep was the sentiment that inspired--solemn and stern the energy
which supported them.  The Persian generals now collected in one body
their native and auxiliary force.  The Cyprians, lately subdued (B. C.
496), were compelled to serve.  Egypt and Cilicia swelled the
armament, and the skill of the Phoenicians rendered yet more
formidable a fleet of six hundred vessels.  With this power the
barbarians advanced upon Miletus.  Most, if not all, of the Ionian
states prepared themselves for the struggle--delegates met at the
Panionium--it was agreed to shun the Persians upon land--to leave to
the Milesians the defence of their city--to equip the utmost naval
force they could command--and, assembling in one fleet off the small
isle of Lade, opposite to Miletus, to hazard the battle upon the seas.
Three hundred and fifty triremes were provided, and met at the
appointed place.  The discipline of the navy was not equal to the
valour of the enterprise; Dionysius, commander of the Phocaeans,
attempted, perhaps too rigorously, to enforce it;--jealousy and
disgust broke out among the troops--and the Samian leaders, whether
displeased with their allies, or tempted by the Persians, who, through
the medium of the exiled tyrants of Greece, serving with them,
maintained correspondence with the Ionians, secretly agreed to desert
in the midst of the ensuing battle.  This compact made, the
Phoenicians commenced the attack, and the Ionians, unsuspicious of
treachery, met them with a contracted line.  In the beginning of the
engagement, the Samians, excepting only eleven ships (whose captains
were afterward rewarded by a public column in their native
market-place), fulfilled their pledge, and sailed away to Samos.  The
Lesbians, stationed next them, followed their example, and confusion
and flight became contagious.  The Chians alone redeemed the character
of the allies, aided, indeed, by Dionysius the Phocaean, who, after
taking three of the enemy's ships, refused to retreat till the day was
gone, and then, sailing to Phoenicia, sunk several trading vessels,
enriched himself with their spoil, and eventually reaching Sicily,
became renowned as a pirate, formidable to the Carthaginian and
Tyrsenian families of the old Phoenician foe, but holding his Grecian
countrymen sacred from his depredations.

The Persian armament now bent all its vengeance on Miletus; they
besieged it both by land and by sea--every species of military machine
then known was directed against its walls, and, in the sixth year
after the revolt of Aristagoras, Miletus fell (B. C. 494)--Miletus,
the capital of Ionia--the mother of a hundred colonies!  Pittacus,
Thales, Arctinus, were among the great names she gave to science and
to song.  Worthy of her renown, she fell amid the ruins of that
freedom which she showed how nobly she could have continued to adorn
by proving how sternly she could defend.  The greater part of the
citizens were slain--those who remained, with the women and the
children, were borne into slavery by the victors.  Their valour and
renown touched the heart of Darius, and he established the captives in
a city by that part of the Erythraean Sea which receives the waters of
the Barbarian Tigris.  Their ancient territories were portioned out
between the Persians and the Carians of Pedasa.

X.  The Athenians received the news of this fatal siege with the
deepest sorrow, and Herodotus records an anecdote illustrative of the
character of that impassioned people, and interesting to the history
of their early letters.  Phrynichus, a disciple of Thespis,
represented on the stage the capture of Miletus, and the whole
audience burst into tears.  The art of the poet was considered
criminal in thus forcibly reminding the Athenians of a calamity which
was deemed their own: he was fined a thousand drachmae, and the
repetition of the piece forbidden--a punishment that was but a
glorious homage to the genius of the poet and the sensibility of the

After innumerable adventures, in which he exhibited considerable but
perverted abilities, Histiaeus fell into the hands of Artaphernes, and
died upon the cross.  Darius rebuked the zeal of the satrap, and
lamented the death of a man, whose situation, perhaps, excused his

And now the cloud swept onward--one after one the Ionian cities were
reduced--the islands of Chios, Lesbos, Tenedos, depopulated; and all
Ionia subjugated and enslaved.  The Persian fleet proceeded to subdue
all the towns and territories to the left of the Hellespont.  At this
time their success in the Chersonesus drove from that troubled isthmus
a chief, whose acute and dauntless faculties made him subsequently the
scourge of Persia and the deliverer of Greece.

XI.  We have seen Miltiades, nephew to the first of that name, arrive
at the Chersonesus--by a stroke of dexterous perfidy, seize the
persons of the neighbouring chieftains--attain the sovereignty of that
peninsula, and marry the daughter of a Thracian prince.  In his
character was united, with much of the intellect, all the duplicity of
the Greek.  During the war between Darius and the Scythians, while
affecting to follow the Persian army, he had held traitorous
intercourse with the foe.  And proposed to the Grecian chiefs to
destroy the bridge of boats across the Danube confided to their
charge; so that, what with the force of the Scythians and the pressure
of famine, the army of Darius would have perished among the Scythian
wastes, and a mighty enemy have been lost to Greece--a scheme that,
but for wickedness, would have been wise.  With all his wiles, and all
his dishonesty, Miltiades had the art, not only of rendering authority
firm, but popular.  Driven from his state by the Scythian Nomades, he
was voluntarily recalled by the very subjects over whom he had
established an armed sovereignty--a rare occurrence in that era of
republics.  Surrounded by fierce and restless foes, and exercised in
constant, if petty warfare, Miltiades had acquired as much the
experience of camps as the subtleties of Grecian diplomacy; yet, like
many of the wise of small states, he seems to have been more crafty
than rash--the first for flight wherever flight was the better policy
--but the first for battle if battle were the more prudent.  He had in
him none of the inconsiderate enthusiasm of the hero--none of the
blind but noble subservience to honour.  Valour seems to have been for
his profound intellect but the summation of chances, and when we
afterward find him the most daring soldier, it is only because he was
the acutest calculator.

On seeing the Phoenician fleet, raider Persia, arrive off the Isle of
Tenedos, which is opposite the Chersonesus, Miltiades resolved not to
wait the issue of a battle: as before he had fled the Scythian, so
now, without a struggle, he succumbed to the Phoenician sword.  He
loaded five vessels with his property--with four he eluded the hostile
fleet--the fifth, commanded by his eldest son, was pursued and taken
[268].  In triumphant safety the chief of the Chersonesus arrived at
Athens.  He arrived at that free state to lose the dignity of a
Thracian prince, and suddenly to be reminded that he was an Athenian
citizen.  He was immediately prosecuted for the crime of tyranny.  His
influence or his art, admiration of his genius, or compassion of his
reverses, however, procured him an acquittal.  We may well suppose
that, high-born and wealthy, he lost no occasion of cementing his
popularity in his native state.

XII.  Meanwhile, the Persians suspended for that year all further
hostilities against the Ionians.  Artaphernes endeavoured to
conciliate the subdued colonies by useful laws, impartial taxes, and
benign recommendations to order and to peace.  The next year, however,
that satrap was recalled (B. C. 492), and Mardonius, a very young
noble, the son-in-law of Darius, was appointed, at the head of a
considerable naval and military force, to the administration of the
affairs in that part of the Persian empire.  Entering Ionia, he
executed a novel, a daring, but no unstatesman-like stroke of policy.
He removed all the Ionian tyrants, and everywhere restored republican
forms of government; deeming, unquestionably, that he is the securest
master of distant provinces who establishes among them the
institutions which they best love.  Then proceeding to the Hellespont,
Mardonius collected his mighty fleets and powerful army, and passed
through Europe towards the avowed objects of the Persian vengeance--
the cities of Eretria and Athens.

From the time that the Athenians had assisted the forces of Miletus
and long in the destruction of Sardis, their offence had rankled in
the bosom of Darius.  Like most monarchs, he viewed as more heinous
offenders the foreign abetters of rebellion, than the rebels
themselves.  Religion, no doubt, conspired to augment his indignation.
In the conflagration of Sardis the temple of the great Persian deity
had perished, and the inexpiated sacrilege made a duty of revenge.  So
keenly, indeed, did Darius resent the share that the remote Athenians
had taken in the destruction of his Lydian capital, that, on receiving
the intelligence, he is said to have called for his bow, and, shooting
an arrow in the air, to have prayed for vengeance against the
offenders; and three times every day, as he sat at table, his
attendants were commanded to repeat to him, "Sir, remember the

XIII.  But the design of Mardonius was not only directed against the
Athenians and the state of Eretria, it extended also to the rest of
Greece: preparations so vast were not meant to be wasted upon foes
apparently insignificant, but rather to consolidate the Persian
conquests on the Asiatic coasts, and to impress on the neighbouring
continent of Europe adequate conceptions of the power of the great
king.  By sea, Mardonius subdued the islanders of Thasus, wealthy in
its gold-mines; by land he added to the Persian dependances in Thrace
and Macedonia.  But losses, both by storm and battle, drove him back
to Asia, and delayed for a season the deliberate and organized
invasion of Greece.

In the following year (B. C. 491), while the tributary cities
Mardonius had subdued were employed in constructing vessels of war and
transports for cavalry, ambassadors were despatched by Darius to the
various states of Greece, demanding the homage of earth and water--a
preliminary calculated to ascertain who would resist, who submit to,
his power--and certain to afford a pretext, in the one case for
empire, in the other for invasion.  Many of the cities of the
continent, and all the islands visited by the ambassadors, had the
timidity to comply with the terms proposed.  Sparta and Athens,
hitherto at variance, united at once in a haughty and indignant
refusal.  To so great a height was the popular rage in either state
aroused by the very demand, that the Spartans threw the ambassadors
into their wells, and the Athenians, into their pit of punishment,
bidding them thence get their earth and water; a singular coincidence
of excess in the two states--to be justified by no pretence--to be
extenuated only by the reflection, that liberty ever becomes a species
of noble madness when menaced by foreign danger. [269]

XIV.  With the rest of the islanders, the people of Aegina, less
resolute than their near neighbours and ancient foes, the Athenians,
acceded to the proposal of tribute.  This, more than the pusillanimity
of the other states, alarmed and inflamed the Athenians; they
suspected that the aeginetans had formed some hostile alliance against
them with the Persians, and hastened to accuse them to Sparta of
betraying the liberties of Greece.  Nor was there slight ground for
the suspicions of the Athenians against Aegina.  The people of that
island had hereditary and bitter feuds with the Athenians, dating
almost from their independence of their parent state of Epidaurus;
mercantile jealousies were added to ancestral enmity, and the wares of
Athens were forbidden all application to sacred uses in Aegina.  We
have seen the recent occasion on which Attica was invaded by these
hostile neighbours, then allied with Thebes: and at that period the
naval force of gins was such as to exceed the unconscious and untried
resources of the Athenians.  The latter had thus cause at once to hate
and to dread a rival placed by nature in so immediate a vicinity to
themselves, that the submission of Aegina to the Persian seemed in
itself sufficient for the destruction of Athens.

XV.  The Athenian ambassadors met with the most favourable reception
at Sparta.  The sense of their common danger, and sympathy in their
mutual courage, united at once these rival states; even the rash and
hitherto unrelenting Cleomenes eagerly sought a reconciliation with
his former foe.  That prince went in person to Aegina, determined to
ascertain the authors of the suspected treachery;--with that
characteristic violence which he never provided the means to support,
and which so invariably stamps this unable and headstrong Spartan, as
one who would have been a fool, if he had not been a madman--Cleomenes
endeavoured to seize the persons of the accused.  He was stoutly
resisted, and disgracefully baffled, in this impotent rashness; and
his fellow-king, Demaratus, whom we remember to have suddenly deserted
Cleomenes at Eleusis, secretly connived with the Aeginetans in their
opposition to his colleague, and furnished them with an excuse, by
insinuating that Cleomenes had been corrupted by the Athenians.  But
Demaratus was little aware of the dark and deadly passions which
Cleomenes combined with his constitutional insanity.  Revenge made a
great component of his character, and the Grecian history records few
instances of a nature more vehemently vindictive.

There had been various rumours at Sparta respecting the legitimacy of
Demaratus.  Cleomenes entered into a secret intrigue with a kinsman of
his colleague, named Leotychides, who cherished an equal hatred
against Demaratus [270]; the conditions between them were, that
Cleomenes should assist in raising Leotychides to the throne of
Demaratus, and Leotychides should assist Cleomenes in his vengeance
against Aegina.  No sooner was this conspiracy agreed upon than
Leotychides propagated everywhere the report that the birth of
Demaratus was spurious.  The Spartans attached the greatest value to
legitimacy,--they sent to consult the Pythian--and Cleomenes, through
the aid of Colon, a powerful citizen of Delphi, bribed the oracle to
assert the illegitimacy of his foe.  Demaratus was deposed.  Sinking
at once into the rank of a private citizen, he was elected to some
inferior office.  His enemy, Leotychides, now upon his throne, sent
him, by way of insult, a message to demand which he preferred--his
past or his present dignity.  Demaratus was stung, and answered, that
the question might fix the date of much weal or much wo to Sparta;
saying this, he veiled his head--sought his home--sacrificed to
Jupiter--and solemnly adjured his mother to enlighten him as to his
legitimacy.  The parental answer was far from unequivocal, and the
matron appeared desirous of imputing the distinction of his birth to
the shade of an ancient Spartan hero, Astrobachus, rather than to the
earthly embrace of her husband.  Demaratus heard, and formed his
decision: he escaped from Sparta, baffled his pursuers, and fled into
Asia, where he was honourably received and largely endowed by the
beneficent Darius.

XVI.  Leotychides, elected to the regal dignity, accompanied Cleomenes
to Aegina: the people of that isle yielded to the authority they could
not effectually resist; and ten of their most affluent citizens were
surrendered as hostages to Athens.  But, in the meanwhile, the
collusion of Cleomenes with the oracle was discovered--the priestess
was solemnly deposed--and Cleomenes dreaded the just indignation of
his countrymen.  He fled to Thessaly, and thence passing among the
Arcadians, he endeavoured to bind that people by the darkest oaths to
take arms against his native city--so far could hatred stimulate a man
consistent only in his ruling passion of revenge.  But the mighty
power of Persia now lowering over Lacedaemon, the Spartan citizens
resolved to sacrifice even justice to discretion: it was not a time to
distract their forces by new foes, and they invited Cleomenes back to
Sparta, with the offer of his former station.  He returned, but his
violent career, happily for all, was now closed; his constitutional
madness, no longer confined to doubtful extravagance, burst forth into
incontrollable excess.  He was put under confinement, and obtaining a
sword from a Helot, who feared to disobey his commands, he
deliberately destroyed himself--not by one wound, but slowly gashing
the flesh from his limbs until he gradually ascended to the nobler and
more mortal parts.  This ferocious suicide excited universal horror,
and it was generally deemed the divine penalty of his numerous and
sacrilegious crimes: the only dispute among the Greeks was, to which
of his black offences the wrath of Heaven was the most justly due.

XVII.  No sooner did the news of his suicide reach the Aeginetans than
those proud and wealthy islanders sought, by an embassy to Sparta, to
regain their hostages yet detained at Athens.  With the death of
Cleomenes, the anger of Sparta against Aegina suddenly ceased--or,
rather, we must suppose that a new party, in fellowship with the
Aeginetan oligarchy, came into power.  The Spartans blamed Leotychides
for his co-operation with Cleomenes; they even offered to give him up
to the Aeginetans--and it was finally agreed that he should accompany
the ambassadors of Aegina to Athens, and insist on the surrender of
the hostages.  But the Athenians had now arrived at that spirit of
independence, when nor the deadly blows of Persia, nor the iron sword
of Sparta, nor the treacherous hostilities of their nearest neighbour,
could quell their courage or subdue their pride.  They disregarded the
presence and the orations of Leotychides, and peremptorily refused
to surrender their hostages.  Hostilities between Aegina and Athens
were immediately renewed.  The Aeginetans captured (B. C. 494) the
sacred vessel then stationed at Sunium, in which several of the most
eminent Athenians were embarked for the festival of Apollo; nor could
the sanctity of the voyage preserve the captives from the ignominy of
irons.  The Athenians resolved upon revenge, and a civil dissension in
Aegina placed it in their power.  An Aeginetan traitor, named
Nicodromus, offered them his assistance, and, aided by the popular
party opposed to the oligarchical government, he seized the citadel.
With twenty ships from Corinth, and fifty of their own, the Athenians
invaded Aegina; but, having been delayed in making the adequate
preparations, they arrived a day later than had been stipulated.
Nicodromus fled; the oligarchy restored, took signal and barbarous
vengeance upon such of their insurgent countrymen as fell into their
hands.  Meanwhile, the Athenian fleet obtained a victory at sea, and
the war still continued.

XVIII.  While, seemingly unconscious of greater dangers, Athens thus
practised her rising energies against the little island of Aegina,
thrice every day the servants of the Persian king continued to
exclaim, "Sir, remember the Athenians!" [272]  The traitor, Hippias,
constantly about the person of the courteous monarch, never failed to
stimulate still further his vengeance by appealing to his ambition.
At length, Darius resolved no longer to delay the accomplishment of
his designs.  He recalled Mardonius, whose energy, indeed, had not
been proportioned to his powers, and appointed two other generals--
Datis, a native of the warlike Media, and Artaphernes, his own nephew,
son to the former satrap of that name.  These were expressly ordered
to march at once against Eretria and Athens.  And Hippias, now broken
in frame, advanced in age [273], and after an exile of twenty years,
accompanied the Persian army--sanguine of success, and grasping, at
the verge of life the shadow of his former sceptre.


The Persian Generals enter Europe.--Invasion of Naxos, Carystus,
Eretria.--The Athenians Demand the Aid of Sparta.--The Result of their
Mission and the Adventure of their Messenger.--The Persians advance to
Marathon.--The Plain Described.--Division of Opinion in the Athenian
Camp.--The Advice of Miltiades prevails.--The Dream of Hippias.--The
Battle of Marathon.

I.  On the Cilician coast the Persian armament encamped--thence, in a
fleet of six hundred triremes, it sailed to Samos (B. C. 490)--passed
through the midst of the clustering Cyclades, and along that part of
the Aegaean Sea called "the Icarian," from the legendary fate of the
son of Daedalus--invaded Naxos--burnt her town and temples, and
sparing the sacred Delos, in which the Median Datis reverenced the
traditionary birthplace of two deities analogous to those most
honoured in the Persian creed [274]--awed into subjection the various
isles, until it arrived at Euboea, divided but by a strait from
Attica, and containing the city of the Eretrians.  The fleet first
assailed Carystus, whose generous citizens refused both to aid against
their neighbours, and to give hostages for their conduct.  Closely
besieged, and their lands wasted, they were compelled, however, to
surrender to the Persians.  Thence the victorious armament passed to
Eretria.  The Athenians had sent to the relief of that city the four
thousand colonists whom they had established in the island--but fear,
jealousy, division, were within the walls.  Ruin seemed certain, and a
chief of the Eretrians urged the colonists to quit a city which they
were unable to save.  They complied with the advice, and reached
Attica in safety.  Eretria, however, withstood a siege of six days; on
the seventh the city was betrayed to the barbarians by two of that
fatal oligarchical party, who in every Grecian city seem to have
considered no enemy so detestable as the majority of their own
citizens; the place was pillaged--the temples burnt--the inhabitants
enslaved.  Here the Persians rested for a few days ere they embarked
for Attica.

II.  Unsupported and alone, the Athenians were not dismayed.  A
swift-footed messenger was despatched to Sparta, to implore its prompt
assistance.  On the day after his departure from Athens, he reached
his destination, went straight to the assembled magistrates, and thus
addressed them:

"Men of Lacedaemon, the Athenians supplicate your aid; suffer not the
most ancient of the Grecian cities to be enslaved by the barbarian.
Already Eretria is subjected to their yoke, and all Greece is
diminished by the loss of that illustrious city."

The resource the Athenians had so much right to expect failed them.
The Spartans, indeed, resolved to assist Athens, but not until
assistance would have come too late.  They declared that their
religion forbade them to commence a march till the moon was at her
full, and this was only the ninth day of the month [275].  With this
unsatisfying reply, the messenger returned to Athens.  But, employed
in this arduous enterprise--his imagination inflamed by the greatness
of the danger--and its workings yet more kindled by the loneliness of
his adventure and the mountain stillness of the places through which
he passed, the Athenian messenger related, on his return, a vision
less probably the creation of his invention than of his excited fancy.
Passing over the Mount Parthenius, amid whose wild recesses gloomed
the antique grove dedicated to Telephus, the son of Hercules [276],
the Athenian heard a voice call to him aloud, and started to behold
that mystic god to whom, above the rest of earth, were dedicated the
hills and woods of Arcady--the Pelasgic Pan.  The god bade him "ask at
Athens why the Athenians forgot his worship--he who loved them well--
and might yet assist them at their need."

Such was the tale of the messenger.  The lively credulities of the
people believed its truth, and in calmer times dedicated a temple to
the deity, venerated him with annual sacrifices, and the race of

III.  While the Athenians listened to the dreams of this poetical
superstition, the mighty thousands of the Mede and Persian landed on
the Attic coast, and, conducted by Hippias among their leaders,
marched to the plain of Marathon, which the traveller still beholds
stretching wide and level, amid hills and marshes, at the distance of
only ten miles from the gates of Athens.  Along the shore the plain
extends to the length of six miles--inland it exceeds two.  He who
surveys it now looks over a dreary waste, whose meager and arid
herbage is relieved but by the scanty foliage of unfrequent shrubs or
pear-trees, and a few dwarf pines drooping towards the sea.  Here and
there may be seen the grazing buffalo, or the peasant bending at his
plough:--a distant roof, a ruined chapel, are not sufficient evidences
of the living to interpose between the imagination of the spectator
and the dead.  Such is the present Marathon--we are summoned back to
the past.

IV.  It will be remembered that the Athenians were divided into ten
tribes at the instigation of Clisthenes.  Each of these tribes
nominated a general; there were therefore ten leaders to the Athenian
army.  Among them was Miltiades, who had succeeded in ingratiating
himself with the Athenian people, and obtained from their suffrages a
command. [277]

Aided by a thousand men from Plataea, then on terms of intimate
friendship with the Athenians, the little army marched from the city,
and advanced to the entrance of the plain of Marathon.  Here they
arrayed themselves in martial order, near the temple of Hercules, to
the east of the hills that guard the upper part of the valley.  Thus
encamped, and in sight of the gigantic power of the enemy, darkening
the long expanse that skirts the sea, divisions broke out among the
leaders;--some contended that a battle was by no means to be risked
with such inferior forces--others, on the contrary, were for giving
immediate battle.  Of this latter advice was Miltiades--he was
supported by a man already of high repute, though now first presented
to our notice, and afterward destined to act a great and splendid part
in the drama of his times.  Aristides was one of the generals of the
army [278], and strenuously co-operated with Miltiades in the policy
of immediate battle.

Despite, however, the military renown of the one, and the civil
eminence of the other, the opposite and more tame opinion seemed
likely to prevail, when Miltiades suddenly thus addressed the
Polemarch Callimachus.  That magistrate, the third of the nine
archons, was held by virtue of his office equal in dignity to the
military leaders, and to him was confided the privilege of a casting

"On you, Callimachus," said the chief of the Chersonese, "on you it
rests, whether Athens shall be enslaved, or whether from age to age
your country, freed by your voice, shall retain in yours a name dearer
to her even than those of Aristogiton and Harmodius [279].  Never
since the foundation of Athens was she placed in so imminent a peril.
If she succumb to the Mede, she is rendered again to the tyranny of
Hippias--but if she conquer, she may rise to the first eminence among
the states of Greece.  How this may be accomplished, and how upon your
decision rests the event, I will at once explain.  The sentiments of
our leaders are divided--these are for instant engagement, those for
procrastination.  Depend upon it, if we delay, some sedition, some
tumult will break out among the Athenians, and may draw a part of them
to favour the Medes; but if we engage at once, and before a single
dissension takes from us a single man, we may, if the gods give us
equal fortune, obtain the victory.  Consider the alternative--our
decision depends on you."

V.  The arguments of Miltiades convinced Callimachus, who knew well
the many divisions of the city, the strength which Hippias and the
Pisistratidae still probably possessed within its walls, and who could
not but allow that a superior force becomes ever more fearful the more
deliberately it is regarded.  He interposed his authority.  It was
decided to give battle.  Each general commanded in turn his single
day.  When it came to the turn of Aristides, he gave up his right to
Miltiades, showing his colleagues that it was no disgrace to submit to
the profound experience of another.  The example once set was
universally followed, and Miltiades was thus left in absolute and
undivided command.  But that able and keen-sighted chief, fearing
perhaps that if he took from another his day of command, jealousy
might damp the ardour of the general thus deprived, and, as it were,
degraded, waited till his own appointed day before he commenced the

VI.  On the night before Hippias conducted the barbarians to the
plains of Marathon, he is said to have dreamed a dream.  He thought he
was with his mother!  In the fondness of human hopes he interpreted
the vision favourably, and flattered himself that he should regain his
authority, and die in his own house of old age.  The morning now
arrived (B. C. 490) that was to attest the veracity of his

VII.  To the left of the Athenians was a low chain of hills, clothed
with trees (and which furnished them timber to break the charge of the
Persian horse)--to their right a torrent;--their front was long, for,
to render it more imposing in extent, and to prevent being outflanked
by the Persian numbers, the centre ranks were left weak and shallow,
but on either wing the troops were drawn up more solidly and strong.
Callimachus, the polemarch, commanded the right wing--the Plataeans
formed the left.  They had few, if any, horsemen or archers.  The
details which we possess of their arms and military array, if not in
this, in other engagements of the same period, will complete the
picture.  We may behold them clad in bright armour, well proof and
tempered, which covered breast and back--the greaves, so often
mentioned by Homer, were still retained--their helmets were wrought
and crested, the cones mostly painted in glowing colours, and the
plumage of feathers or horse-hair rich and waving, in proportion to
the rank of the wearer.  Broad, sturdy, and richly ornamented were
their bucklers--the pride and darling of their arms, the loss of which
was the loss of honour; their spears were ponderous, thick, and long--
a chief mark of contradistinction from the slight shaft of Persia--
and, with their short broadsword, constituted their main weapons of
offence.  No Greek army marched to battle without vows, and sacrifice,
and prayer--and now, in the stillness of the pause, the soothsayers
examined the entrails of the victims--they were propitious, and
Callimachus solemnly vowed to Diana a victim for the slaughter of
every foe.  Loud broke the trumpets [280]--the standards wrought with
the sacred bird of Athens were raised on high [281];--it was the
signal of battle--and the Athenians rushed with an impetuous vehemence
upon the Persian power.  "The first Greeks of whom I have heard," says
the simple Halicarnassean, "who ever ran to attack a foe--the first,
too, who ever beheld without dismay the garb and armour of the Medes;
for hitherto in Greece the very name of Mede had excited terror."

VIII.  When the Persian army, with its numerous horse, animal as well
as man protected by plates of mail [283]--its expert bowmen--its lines
and deep files of turbaned soldiers, gorgeous with many a blazing
standard,--headed by leaders well hardened, despite their gay garbs
and adorned breastplates, in many a more even field;--when, I say,
this force beheld the Athenians rushing towards them, they considered
them, thus few, and destitute alike of cavalry and archers [284], as
madmen hurrying to destruction.  But it was evidently not without
deliberate calculation that Miltiades had so commenced the attack.
The warlike experience of his guerilla life had taught him to know the
foe against whom he fought.  To volunteer the assault was to forestall
and cripple the charge of the Persian horse--besides, the long lances,
the heavy arms, the hand-to-hand valour of the Greeks, must have been
no light encounter to the more weakly mailed and less formidably-armed
infantry of the East.  Accustomed themselves to give the charge, it
was a novelty and a disadvantage to receive it.  Long, fierce, and
stubborn was the battle.  The centre wing of the barbarians, composed
of the Sacians and the pure Persian race, at length pressed hard upon
the shallow centre of the Greeks, drove them back into the country,
and, eager with pursuit, left their own wings to the charge of
Callimachus on the one side and the Plataean forces on the other.  The
brave polemarch, after the most signal feats of valour, fell fighting
in the field; but his troops, undismayed, smote on with spear and
sword.  The barbarians retreated backward to the sea, where swamps and
marshes encumbered their movements, and here (though the Athenians did
not pursue them far) the greater portion were slain, hemmed in by the
morasses, and probably ridden down by their own disordered cavalry.
Meanwhile, the two tribes that had formed the centre, one of which was
commanded by Aristides [285], retrieved themselves with a mighty
effort, and the two wings, having routed their antagonists, now
inclining towards each other, intercepted the barbarian centre, which,
thus attacked, front and rear (large trees felled and scattered over
the plain obstructing the movements of their cavalry), was defeated
with prodigious slaughter.  Evening came on [286]:--confused and
disorderly, the Persians now only thought of flight: the whole army
retired to their ships, hard chased by the Grecian victors, who, amid
the carnage, fired the fleet.  Cynaegirus, brother to Aeschylus, the
tragic poet (himself highly distinguished for his feats that day),
seized one of the vessels by the poop: his hand was severed by an axe;
he died gloriously of his wounds.  But to none did the fortunes of
that field open a more illustrious career than to a youth of the tribe
Leontis, in whom, though probably then but a simple soldier in the
ranks, was first made manifest the nature and the genius destined to
command.  The name of that youth was Themistocles [287].  Seven
vessels were captured--six thousand four hundred of the barbarians
fell in the field--the Athenians and their brave ally lost only one
hundred and ninety-two; but among them perished many of their bravest
nobles.  It was a superstition not uncharacteristic of that
imaginative people, and evincing how greatly their ardour was aroused,
that many of them (according to Plutarch) fancied they beheld the
gigantic shade of their ancestral Theseus, completely armed, and
bearing down before them upon the foe.

So perished the hopes of the unfortunate Hippias; obscure and
inglorious in his last hour, the exiled prince fell confounded amid
the general slaughter. [288]

IX.  Despite the capture of some vessels, and the conflagration of
others, the Persians still retained a considerable fleet, and,
succeeding in boarding their Eretrian plunder (which they had left on
the Euboean Isle), they passed thence the promontory of Sunium, with
the intention of circumventing the Athenians, and arriving at Athens
before them--a design which it was supposed they were induced to form
by the treachery of some one suspected, without sufficient proof, to
belong to the house of the Alcmaeonids, who held up a shield as a
signal to the Persians while they were under sail [289].  But the
Athenians were under a prompt and vigilant commander, and while the
barbarian fleet doubled the Cape of Sunium, they reached their city,
and effectually prevented the designs of the foe.  Aristides, with the
tribe under his command, was left on the field to guard the prisoners
and the booty, and his scrupulous honesty was evinced by his jealous
care over the scattered and uncounted treasure [290].  The painter of
the nobler schools might find perhaps few subjects worthier of his art
than Aristides watching at night amid the torches of his men over the
plains of Marathon, in sight of the blue Aegean, no longer crowded
with the barbarian masts;--and the white columns of the temple of
Hercules, beside which the Athenians had pitched their camp.

The Persian fleet anchored off Phalerum, the Athenian harbour, and
remaining there, menacing but inactive, a short time, sailed back to

X.  The moon had passed her full, when two thousand Spartans arrived
at Athens: the battle was over and the victory won; but so great was
their desire to see the bodies of the formidable Medes, that they
proceeded to Marathon, and, returning to Athens, swelled the triumph
of her citizens by their applause and congratulations.

XI.  The marble which the Persians had brought with them, in order to
erect as a trophy of the victory they anticipated, was, at a
subsequent period, wrought by Phidias into a statue of Nemesis.  A
picture of the battle, representing Miltiades in the foremost place,
and solemnly preserved in public, was deemed no inadequate reward to
that great captain; and yet, conspicuous above the level plain of
Marathon, rises a long barrow, fifteen feet in height, the supposed
sepulchre of the Athenian heroes.  Still does a romantic legend, not
unfamiliar with our traditions of the north, give a supernatural
terror to the spot.  Nightly along the plain are yet heard by
superstition the neighings of chargers and the rushing shadows of
spectral war [291].  And still, throughout the civilized world
(civilized how much by the arts and lore of Athens!) men of every
clime, of every political persuasion, feel as Greeks at the name of
Marathon.  Later fields have presented the spectacle of an equal
valour, and almost the same disparities of slaughter; but never, in
the annals of earth, were united so closely in our applause,
admiration for the heroism of the victors, and sympathy for the
holiness of their cause.  It was the first great victory of OPINION!
and its fruits were reaped, not by Athens only, but by all Greece
then, as by all time thereafter, in a mighty and imperishable
harvest,--the invisible not less than the actual force of despotism
was broken.  Nor was it only that the dread which had hung upon the
Median name was dispelled--nor that free states were taught their
pre-eminence over the unwieldy empires which the Persian conquerors had
destroyed,--a greater lesson was taught to Greece, when she discovered
that the monarch of Asia could not force upon a petty state the
fashion of its government, or the selection of its rulers.  The defeat
of Hippias was of no less value than that of Darius; and the same blow
which struck down the foreign invader smote also the hopes of domestic

One successful battle for liberty quickens and exalts that proud and
emulous spirit from which are called forth the civilization and the
arts that liberty should produce, more rapidly than centuries of
repose.  To Athens the victory of Marathon was a second Solon.


[1]  In their passage through the press I have, however, had many
opportunities to consult and refer to Mr. Thirlwall's able and careful

[2]  The passage in Aristotle (Meteorol., l. I, c. 14), in which,
speaking of the ancient Hellas (the country about Dodona and the river
Achelous), the author says it was inhabited by a people (along with
the Helli, or Selli) then called Graeci, now Hellenes (tote men
Graikoi, nun de Hellaenes) is well known.  The Greek chronicle on the
Arundel marbles asserts, that the Greeks were called Graeci before
they were called Hellenes; in fact, Graeci was most probably once a
name for the Pelasgi, or for a powerful, perhaps predominant, tribe of
the Pelasgi widely extended along the western coast--by them the name
was borne into Italy, and (used indiscriminately with that of Pelasgi)
gave the Latin appellation to the Hellenic or Grecian people.

[3]  Modern travellers, in their eloquent lamentations over the now
niggard waters of these immortal streams, appear to forget that Strabo
expressly informs us that the Cephisus flowed in the manner of a
torrent, and failed altogether in the summer.  "Much the same," he
adds, "was the Ilissus."  A deficiency of water was always a principal
grievance in Attica, as we may learn from the laws of Solon relative
to wells.

[4]  Platon. Timaeus.  Clinton's Fasti Hellenici, vol. i., p. 5.

[5]  According to some they were from India, to others from Egypt, to
others again from Phoenicia.  They have been systematized into
Bactrians, and Scythians, and Philistines--into Goths, and into Celts;
and tracked by investigations as ingenious as they are futile, beyond
the banks of the Danube to their settlements in the Peloponnese.  No
erudition and no speculation can, however, succeed in proving their
existence in any part of the world prior to their appearance in

[6]  Sophoc. Ajax, 1251.

[7]  All those words (in the Latin) which make the foundation of a
language, expressive of the wants or simple relations of life, are
almost literally Greek--such as pater, frater, aratrum, bos, ager,
etc.  For the derivation of the Latin from the Aeolic dialect of
Greece, see "Scheid's Prolegomena to Lennep's Etymologicon Linguae

[8]  The Leleges, Dryopes, and most of the other hordes prevalent in
Greece, with the Pelasgi, I consider, with Mr. Clinton, but as tribes
belonging to the great Pelasgic family.  One tribe would evidently
become more civilized than the rest, in proportion to the social state
of the lands through which it migrated--its reception of strangers
from the more advanced East--or according as the circumstances of the
soil in which it fixed its abode stimulated it to industry, or forced
it to invention.  The tradition relative to Pelasgus, that while it
asserts him to have been the first that dwelt in Arcadia, declares
also that he first taught men to build huts, wear garments of skins,
and exchange the yet less nutritious food of herbs and roots for the
sweet and palatable acorns of the "fagus," justly puzzled Pausanias.
Such traditions, if they prove any thing, which I more than doubt,
tend to prove that the tribe personified by the word "Pelasgus,"
migrated into that very Arcadia alleged to have been their aboriginal
home, and taught their own rude arts to the yet less cultivated
population they found there.

[9]  See Isaiah xxiii.

[10]  The received account of the agricultural skill of the Pelasgi is
tolerably well supported.  Dionysius tells us that the Aboriginals
having assigned to those Pelasgi, whom the oracle sent from Dodona
into Italy, the marshy and unprofitable land called Velia, they soon
drained the fen:--their love of husbandry contributed, no doubt, to
form the peculiar character of their civilization and religion.

[11]  Solinus and Pliny state that the Pelasgi first brought letters
into Italy.  Long the leading race of Italy, their power declined,
according to Dionysius, two generations before the Trojan war.

[12]  Paus. Arcad., c. xxxviii.  In a previous chapter (II.) that
accomplished antiquary observes, that it appeared to him that Cecrops
and Lycaon (son of Pelasgus and founder of Lycosura) were
contemporaries.  By the strong and exaggerating expression of
Pausanias quoted in the text, we must suppose, not that he considered
Lycosura the first town of the earth, but the first walled and
fortified city.  The sons of Lycaon were great builders of cities, and
in their time rapid strides in civilization appear by tradition to
have been made in the Peloponnesus.  The Pelasgic architecture is
often confounded with the Cyclopean.  The Pelasgic masonry is
polygonal, each stone fitting into the other without cement; that
called the Cyclopean, and described by Pausanias, is utterly
different, being composed by immense blocks of stone, with small
pebbles inserted in the interstices.  (See Gell's Topography of Rome
and its Vicinity.)  By some antiquaries, who have not made the mistake
of confounding these distinct orders of architecture, the Cyclopean
has been deemed more ancient than the Pelasgic,--but this also is an
error.  Lycosura was walled by the Pelasgians between four and five
centuries prior to the introduction of the Cyclopean masonry--in the
building of the city of Tiryns.  Sir William Gell maintains the
possibility of tracing the walls of Lycosura near the place now called
Surias To Kastro.

[13]  The expulsion of the Hyksos, which was not accomplished by one
sudden, but by repeated revolutions, caused many migrations; among
others, according to the Egyptians, that of Danaus.

[14]  The Egyptian monarchs, in a later age, employed the Phoenicians
in long and adventurous maritime undertakings.  At a comparatively
recent date, Neco, king of Egypt, despatched certain Phoenicians on no
less an enterprise than that of the circumnavigation of Africa.
[Herod., iv., 12.  Rennell., Geog. of Herod.]  That monarch was indeed
fitted for great designs.  The Mediterranean and the Red Sea already
received his fleets, and he had attempted to unite them by a canal
which would have rendered Africa an island.  [Herod., ii., 158, 159.
Heeren., Phoenicians, c. iii.  See also Diodorus.]

[15]  The general habits of a people can in no age preclude exceptions
in individuals.  Indian rajahs do not usually travel, but we had an
Indian rajah for some years in the Regent's Park; the Chinese are not
in the habit of visiting England, but a short time ago some Chinese
were in London.  Grant that Phoenicians had intercourse with Egypt and
with Greece, and nothing can be less improbable than that a Phoenician
vessel may have contained some Egyptian adventurers.  They might
certainly be men of low rank and desperate fortunes--they might be
fugitives from the law--but they might not the less have seemed
princes and sages to a horde of Pelasgic savages.

[16]  The authorities in favour of the Egyptian origin of Cecrops
are.--Diod., lib. i.; Theopomp.; Schol. Aristoph.; Plot.; Suidas.
Plato speaks of the ancient connexion between Sais and Athens.  Solon
finds the names of Erechtheus and Cecrops in Egypt, according to the
same authority, I grant a doubtful one (Plat. Critias.)  The best
positive authority of which I am aware in favour of the contrary
supposition that Cecrops was indigenous, is Apollodorus.

[17]  To enter into all the arguments that have been urged on either
side relative to Cecrops would occupy about two hundred pages of this
work, and still leave the question in dispute.  Perhaps two hundred
pages might be devoted to subjects more generally instructive.

[18]  So, in the Peruvian traditions, the apparition of two persons of
majestic form and graceful garments, appearing alone and unarmed on
the margin of the Lake Titiaca, sufficed to reclaim a naked and
wretched horde from their savage life, to inculcate the elements of
the social union, and to collect a people in establishing a throne.

[19]  "Like the Greeks," says Herodotus (book ii., c. 112), "the
Egyptians confine themselves to one wife."  Latterly, this among the
Greeks, though a common, was not an invariable, restraint; but more on
this hereafter.

[20]  Hobhouse's Travels, Letter 23.

[21]  It is by no means probable that this city, despite its fortress,
was walled like Lycosura.

[22]  At least Strabo assigns Boeotia to the government of Cecrops.
But I confess, that so far from his incorporating Boeotia with Attica,
I think that traditions relative to his immediate successors appear to
indicate that Attica itself continued to retain independent tribes--
soon ripening, if not already advanced, to independent states.

[23]  Herod., ii., c. i.

[24]  Ibid., ii., c. liii.

[25]  That all the Pelasgi--scattered throughout Greece, divided among
themselves--frequently at war with each other, and certainly in no
habits of peaceful communication--each tribe of different modes of
life, and different degrees of civilization, should have concurred in
giving no names to their gods, and then have equally concurred in
receiving names from Egypt, is an assertion so preposterous, that it
carries with it its own contradiction.  Many of the mistakes relative
to the Pelasgi appear to have arisen from supposing the common name
implied a common and united tribe, and not a vast and dispersed
people, subdivided into innumerable families, and diversified by
innumerable influences.

[26]  The connexion of Ceres with Isis was a subsequent innovation.

[27]  Orcos was the personification of an oath, or the sanctity of an

[28]  Naith in the Doric dialect.

[29]  If Onca, or Onga, was the name of the Phoenician goddess!--In
the "Seven against Thebes," the chorus invoke Minerva under the name
of Onca--and there can be no doubt that the Grecian Minerva is
sometimes called Onca; but it is not clear to me that the Phoenicians
had a deity of that name--nor can I agree with those who insist upon
reading Onca for Siga in Pausanias (lib. ix., chap. 12), where he says
Siga was the name of the Phoenician Minerva.  The Phoenicians
evidently had a deity correspondent with the Greek Minerva; but that
it was named Onca, or Onga, is by no means satisfactorily proved; and
the Scholiast, on Pindar, derives the epithet as applies to Minerva
from a Boeotian village.

[30]  De Mundo, c. 7.

[31]  The Egyptians supposed three principles: 1st. One benevolent and
universal Spirit.  2d. Matter coeval with eternity.  3d. Nature
opposing the good of the universal Spirit.  We find these principles
in a variety of shapes typified through their deities.  Besides their
types of nature, as the Egyptians adopted hero gods, typical fables
were invented to conceal their humanity, to excuse their errors, or to
dignify their achievements.

[32]  See Heeren's Political History of Greece, in which this point is
luminously argued.

[33]  Besides, it is not the character of emigrants from a people
accustomed to castes, to propagate those castes superior to then own,
of which they have exported no representatives.  Suppose none of that
privileged and noble order, called the priests, to have accompanied
the Egyptian migrators, those migrators would never have dreamed of
instituting that order in their new settlement any more than a colony
of the warrior caste in India would establish out of their own order a
spurious and fictitious caste of Bramins.

[34]  When, in a later age, Karmath, the impostor of the East, sough
to undermine Mahometanism, his most successful policy was in declaring
its commands to be allegories.

[35]  Herodotus (b. ii, c. 53) observes, that it is to Hesiod and
Homer the Greeks owe their theogony; that they gave the gods their
titles, fixed their ranks, and described their shapes.  And although
this cannot be believed literally, in some respects it may
metaphorically.  Doubtless the poets took their descriptions from
popular traditions; but they made those traditions immortal.  Jupiter
could never become symbolical to a people who had once pictured to
themselves the nod and curls of the Jupiter of Homer.

[36]  Cicero de Natura Deorum, b. ii.--Most of the philosophical
interpretations of the Greek mythology were the offspring of the
Alexandrine schools.  It is to the honour of Aristarchus that he
combated a theory that very much resembles the philosophy that would
convert the youthful readers of Mother Bunch into the inventors of
allegorical morality.

[37]  But the worship can be traced to a much earlier date than that
the most plausibly ascribed to the Persian Zoroaster.

[38]  So Epimenides of Crete is said to have spent forty-five years in
a cavern, and Minos descends into the sacred cave of Jupiter to
receive from him the elements of law.  The awe attached to woods and
caverns, it may be observed, is to be found in the Northern as well as
Eastern superstitions.  And there is scarcely a nation on the earth in
which we do not find the ancient superstition has especially attached
itself to the cavern and the forest, peopling them with peculiar
demons.  Darkness, silence, and solitude are priests that eternally
speak to the senses; and few of the most skeptical of us have been
lost in thick woods, or entered lonely caverns, without acknowledging
their influence upon the imagination: "Ipsa silentia," says
beautifully the elder Pliny, "ipsa silentia adoramus."  The effect of
streams and fountains upon the mind seems more unusual and surprising.
Yet, to a people unacquainted with physics, waters imbued with mineral
properties, or exhaling mephitic vapours, may well appear possessed of
a something preternatural.  Accordingly, at this day, among many
savage tribes we find that such springs are regarded with veneration
and awe.  The people of Fiji, in the South Seas, have a well which
they imagine the passage to the next world, they even believe that you
may see in its waters the spectral images of things rolling on to
eternity.  Fountains no less than groves, were objects of veneration
with our Saxon ancestors.--See Meginhard, Wilkins, etc.

[39]  2 Kings xvi., 4.

[40]  Of the three graces, Aglaia, Euphrosyne, and Thalia, the
Spartans originally worshipped but one--(Aglaia, splendour) under the
name of Phaenna, brightness: they rejected the other two, whose names
signify Joy and Pleasure, and adopted a substitute in one whose name
was Sound (Cletha,)--a very common substitute nowadays!

[41]  The Persian creed, derived from Zoroaster, resembled the most to
that of Christianity.  It inculcated the resurrection of the dead, the
universal triumph of Ormuzd, the Principle of Light--the destruction
of the reign of Ahrimanes, the Evil Principle.

[42]  Wherever Egyptian, or indeed Grecian colonies migrated, nothing
was more natural than that, where they found a coincidence of scene,
they should establish a coincidence of name.  In Epirus were also the
Acheron and Cocytus; and Campania contains the whole topography of the
Virgilian Hades.

[43]  See sect. xxi., p. 77.

[44]  Fire was everywhere in the East a sacred symbol--though it
cannot be implicitly believed that the Vulcan or Hephaistus of the
Greeks has his prototype or original in the Egyptian Phta or Phtas.
The Persian philosophy made fire a symbol of the Divine intelligence--
the Persian credulity, like the Grecian, converted the symbol into the
god (Max. Tyr., Dissert. 38; Herod., lib. 3, c. 16).  The Jews
themselves connected the element with their true Deity.  It is in fire
that Jehovah reveals himself.  A sacred flame was burnt unceasingly in
the temples of Israel, and grave the punishment attached to the
neglect which suffered its extinction.--(Maimonides, Tract. vi.)

[45]  The Anaglyph expressed the secret writings of the Egyptians,
known only to the priests.  The hieroglyph was known generally to the

[46]  In Gaul, Cesar finds some tribes more civilized than the rest,
cultivating the science of sacrifice, and possessed of the dark
philosophy of superstitious mysteries; but in certain other and more
uncivilized tribes only the elements and the heavenly luminaries (quos
cernunt et quorum opibus aperte juvantur) were worshipped, and the
lore of sacrifice was unstudied.  With the Pelasgi as with the Gauls,
I believe that such distinctions might have been found simultaneously
in different tribes.

[47]  The arrival of Ceres in Attica is referred to the time of
Pandion by Apollodorus.

[48]  When Lobeck desires to fix the date of this religious union at
so recent an epoch as the time of Solon, in consequence of a solitary
passage in Herodotus, in which Solon, conversing with Croesus, speaks
of hostilities between the Athenians and Eleusinians, he seems to me
to fail in sufficient ground for the assumption.  The rite might have
been instituted in consequence of a far earlier feud and league--even
that traditionally recorded in the Mythic age of Erechtheus and
Eumolpus, but could not entirely put an end to the struggles of
Eleusis for independence, or prevent the outbreak of occasional
jealousy and dissension.

[49]  Kneph, the Agatho demon, or Good Spirit of Egypt, had his symbol
in the serpent.  It was precisely because sacred with the rest of the
world that the serpent would be an object of abhorrence with the Jews.
But by a curious remnant of oriental superstition, the early
Christians often represented the Messiah by the serpent--and the
emblem of Satan became that of the Saviour.

[50]  Lib. ii., c. 52, 4.

[51]  And this opinion is confirmed by Dionysius and Strabo, who
consider the Dodona oracle originally Pelasgic.

[52]  Also Pelasgic, according to Strabo.

[53]  "The Americans did not long suppose the efficacy of conjuration
to be confined to one subject--they had recourse to it in every
situation of danger or distress.------From this weakness proceeded
likewise the faith of the Americans in dreams, their observation of
omens, their attention to the chirping of birds and the cries of
animals, all which they supposed to be indications of future events."
--Robertson's History of America, book iv.

Might not any one imagine that he were reading the character of the
ancient Greeks?  This is not the only point of resemblance between the
Americans (when discovered by the Spaniards) and the Greeks in their
early history; but the resemblance is merely that of a civilization in
some respects equally advanced.

[54]  The notion of Democritus of Abdera, respecting the origin of
dreams and divination, may not be uninteresting to the reader, partly
from something vast and terrible in the fantasy, partly as a proof of
the strange, incongruous, bewildered chaos of thought, from which at
last broke the light of the Grecian philosophy.  He introduced the
hypothesis of images (eidola,), emanating as it were from external
objects, which impress our sense, and whose influence creates
sensation and thought.  Dreams and divination he referred to the
impressions communicated by images of gigantic and vast stature, which
inhabited the air and encompassed the world.  Yet this philosopher is
the original of Epicurus, and Epicurus is the original of the modern

[55]  Isaiah lxvi. I.

[56]  This Lucian acknowledges unawares, when, in deriding the popular
religion, he says that a youth who reads of the gods in Homer or
Hesiod, and finds their various immoralities so highly renowned, would
feel no little surprise when he entered the world, to discover that
these very actions of the gods were condemned and punished by mankind.

[57]  Ovid. Metam., lib. ix.

[58]  So the celebrated preamble to the laws for the Locrians of Italy
(which, though not written by Zaleucus, was, at all events, composed
by a Greek) declares that men must hold their souls clear from every
vice; that the gods did not accept the offerings of the wicked, but
found pleasure only in the just and beneficent actions of the good.--
See Diod. Siculus, lib. 8.

[59]  A Mainote hearing the Druses praised for their valour, said,
with some philosophy, "They would fear death more if they believed in
an hereafter!"

[60]  In the time of Socrates, we may suspect, from a passage in
Plato's Phaedo, that the vulgar were skeptical of the immortality of
the soul, and it may be reasonably doubted whether the views of
Socrates and his divine disciple were ever very popularly embraced.

[61]  It is always by connecting the divine shape with the human that
we exalt our creations--so, in later times, the saints, the Virgin,
and the Christ, awoke the genius of Italian art.

[62] See note [54].

[63] In the later age of philosophy I shall have occasion to return to
the subject.  And in the Appendix, with which I propose to complete
the work, I may indulge in some conjectures relative to the Corybantes
Curetes, Teichines, etc.

[64]  Herodotus (I. vi., c. 137) speaks of a remote time when the
Athenians had no slaves.  As we have the authority of Thucydides for
the superior repose which Attica enjoyed as compared with the rest of
Greece--so (her population never having been conquered) slavery in
Attica was probably of later date than elsewhere, and we may doubt
whether in that favoured land the slaves were taken from any
considerable part of the aboriginal race.  I say considerable part,
for crime or debt would have reduced some to servitude.  The assertion
of Herodotus that the Ionians were indigenous (and not conquerors as
Mueller pretends), is very strongly corroborated by the absence in
Attica of a class of serfs like the Penestae of Thessaly and the
Helots of Laconia.  A race of conquerors would certainly have produced
a class of serfs.

[65]  Or else the land (properly speaking) would remain with the
slaves, as it did with the Messenians an Helots--but certain
proportions of the produce would be the due of the conquerors.

[66]  Immigration has not hitherto been duly considered as one of the
original sources of slavery.

[67]  In a horde of savages never having held communication or
intercourse with other tribes, there would indeed be men who, by a
superiority of physical force, would obtain an ascendency over the
rest; but these would not bequeath to their descendants distinct
privileges.  Exactly because physical power raised the father into
rank--the want of physical power would merge his children among the
herd.  Strength and activity cannot be hereditary.  With individuals
of a tribe as yet attaching value only to a swift foot or a strong
arm, hereditary privilege is impossible.  But if one such barbarous
tribe conquer another less hardy, and inhabit the new settlement,--
then indeed commences an aristocracy--for amid communities, though not
among individuals, hereditary physical powers can obtain.  One man may
not leave his muscles to his son; but one tribe of more powerful
conformation than another would generally contrive to transmit that
advantage collectively to their posterity.  The sense of superiority
effected by conquest soon produces too its moral effects--elevating
the spirit of the one tribe, depressing that of the other, from
generation to generation.  Those who have denied in conquest or
colonization the origin of hereditary aristocracy, appear to me to
have founded their reasonings upon the imperfectness of their
knowledge of the savage states to which they refer for illustration.

[68]  Accordingly we find in the earliest records of Greek history--in
the stories of the heroic and the Homeric age--that the king possessed
but little authority except in matters of war: he was in every sense
of the word a limited monarch, and the Greeks boasted that they had
never known the unqualified despotism of the East.  The more, indeed,
we descend from the patriarchal times; the more we shall find that
colonists established in their settlements those aristocratic
institutions which are the earliest barriers against despotism.
Colonies are always the first teachers of free institutions.  There is
no nation probably more attached to monarchy than the English, yet I
believe that if, according to the ancient polity, the English were to
migrate into different parts, and establish, in colonizing, their own
independent forms of government; there would scarcely be a single such
colony not republican!

[69]  In Attica, immigration, not conquest, must have led to the
institution of aristocracy.  Thucydides observes, that owing to the
repose in Attica (the barren soil of which presented no temptation to
the conqueror), the more powerful families expelled from the other
parts of Greece, betook themselves for security and refuge to Athens.
And from some of these foreigners many of the noblest families in the
historical time traced their descent.  Before the arrival of these
Grecian strangers, Phoenician or Egyptian settlers had probably
introduced an aristocratic class.

[70]  Modern inquirers pretend to discover the Egyptian features in
the effigy of Minerva on the earliest Athenian coins.  Even the golden
grasshopper, with which the Athenians decorated their hair, and which
was considered by their vanity as a symbol of their descent from the
soil, has been construed into an Egyptian ornament--a symbol of the
initiated.--(Horapoll. Hierogl., lib. ii., c. 55.)  "They are the only
Grecian people," says Diodorus, "who swear by Isis, and their manners
are very conformable to those of the Egyptians; and so much truth was
there at one time (when what was Egyptian became the fashion) in this
remark, that they were reproached by the comic writer that their city
was Egypt and not Athens."  But it is evident that all such
resemblance as could have been derived from a handful of Egyptians,
previous to the age of Theseus, was utterly obliterated before the age
of Solon.  Even if we accord to the tale of Cecrops all implicit
faith, the Atticans would still remain a Pelasgic population, of which
a few early institutions--a few benefits of elementary civilization--
and, it may be, a few of the nobler families, were probably of
Egyptian origin.

[71]  It has been asserted by some that there is evidence in ancient
Attica of the existence of castes similar to those in Egypt and the
farther East.  But this assertion has been so ably refuted that I do
not deem it necessary to enter at much length into the discussion.  It
will be sufficient to observe that the assumption is founded upon the
existence of four tribes in Attica, the names of which etymological
erudition has sought to reduce to titles denoting the different
professions of warriors, husbandmen, labourers, and (the last much
more disputable and much more disputed) priests.  In the first place,
it has been cogently remarked by Mr. Clinton (F. H., vol. i., p. 54),
that this institution of castes has been very inconsistently
attributed to the Greek Ion,--not (as, if Egyptian, it would have
been) to the Egyptian Cecrops.  2dly, If rightly referred to Ion, who
did not long precede the heroic age, how comes it that in that age a
spirit the most opposite to that of castes universally prevailed--as
all the best authenticated enactments of Theseus abundantly prove?
Could institutions calculated to be the most permanent that
legislation ever effected, and which in India have resisted every
innovation of time, every revolution of war, have vanished from Attica
in the course of a few generations?  3dly, It is to be observed, that
previous to the divisions referred to Ion, we find the same number of
four tribes under wholly different names;--under Cecrops, under
Cranaus, under Ericthonius or Erectheus, they received successive
changes of appellations, none of which denoted professions, but were
moulded either from the distinctions of the land they inhabited, or
the names of deities they adored.  If remodelled by Ion to correspond
with distinct professions and occupations (and where is that social
state which does not form different classes--a formation widely
opposite to that of different castes?) cultivated by the majority of
the members of each tribe, the name given to each tribe might be but a
general title by no means applicable to every individual, and
certainly not implying hereditary and indelible distinctions.  4thly,
In corroboration of this latter argument, there is not a single
evidence--a single tradition, that such divisions ever were
hereditary.  5thly, In the time of Solon and the Pisistratida we find
the four Ionic tribes unchanged, but without any features analogous to
those of the Oriental castes.--(Clinton, F. H., vol. i., p. 55.)
6thly, I shall add what I have before intimated (see note [33]), that
I do not think it the character of a people accustomed to castes to
establish castes mock and spurious in any country which a few of them
might visit or colonize.  Nay, it is clearly and essentially contrary
to such a character to imagine that a handful of wandering Egyptians,
even supposing (which is absurd) that their party contained members of
each different caste observed by their countrymen, would have
incorporated with such scanty specimens of each caste any of the
barbarous natives--they would leave all the natives to a caste by
themselves.  And an Egyptian hierophant would as little have thought
of associating with himself a Pelasgic priest, as a Bramin would dream
of making a Bramin caste out of a set of Christian clergymen.  But if
no Egyptian hierophant accompanied the immigrators, doubly ridiculous
is it to suppose that the latter would have raised any of their own
body, to whom such a change of caste would be impious, and still less
any of the despised savages, to a rank the most honoured and the most
reverent which Egyptian notions of dignity could confer.  Even the
very lowest Egyptians would not touch any thing a Grecian knife had
polluted--the very rigidity with which caste was preserved in Egypt
would forbid the propagation of castes among barbarians so much below
the very lowest caste they could introduce.  So far, therefore, from
Egyptian adventurers introducing such an institution among the general
population, their own spirit of caste must rapidly have died away as
intermarriage with the natives, absence from their countrymen, and the
active life of an uncivilized home, mixed them up with the blood, the
pursuits, and the habits of their new associates.  Lastly, If these
arguments (which might be easily multiplied) do not suffice, I say it
is not for me more completely to destroy, but for those of a contrary
opinion more completely to substantiate, an hypothesis so utterly at
variance with the Athenian character--the acknowledged data of
Athenian history; and which would assert the existence of institutions
the most difficult to establish;--when established, the most difficult
to modify, much more to efface.

[72]  The Thessali were Pelasgic.

[73]  Thucyd., lib. i.

[74]  Homer--so nice a discriminator that he dwells upon the barbarous
tongue even of the Carians--never seems to intimate any distinction
between the language and race of the Pelasgi and Hellenes, yet he
wrote in an age when the struggle was still unconcluded, and when
traces of any marked difference must have been sufficiently obvious to
detect--sufficiently interesting to notice.

[75]  Strabo, viii.

[76]  Pausan., viii.

[77]  With all my respect for the deep learning and acute ingenuity of
Mueller, it is impossible not to protest against the spirit in which
much of the History of the Dorians is conceived--a spirit than which
nothing can be more dangerous to sound historical inquiry.  A vague
tradition, a doubtful line, suffice the daring author for proof of a
foreign conquest, or evidence of a religious revolution.  There are
German writers who seem to imagine that the new school of history is
built on the maxim of denying what is, and explaining what is not?
Ion is never recorded as supplanting, or even succeeding, an Attic
king.  He might have introduced the worship of Apollo; but, as Mr.
Clinton rightly observes, that worship never superseded the worship of
Minerva, who still remained the tutelary divinity of the city.
However vague the traditions respecting Ion, they all tend to prove an
alliance with the Athenians, viz., precisely the reverse of a conquest
of them.

[78]  That connexion which existed throughout Greece, sometimes pure,
sometimes perverted, was especially and originally Doric.

[79]  Prideaux on the Marbles.  The Iones are included in this
confederacy; they could not, then, have taken their name from the
Hellenic Ion, for Ion was not born at the time of Amphictyon.  The
name Amphictyon is, however, but a type of the thing amphictyony, or
association.  Leagues of this kind were probably very common over
Greece, springing almost simultaneously out of the circumstances
common to numerous tribes, kindred with each other, yet often at
variance and feud.  A common language led them to establish, by a
mutual adoption of tutelary deities, a common religious ceremony,
which remained in force after political considerations died away.  I
take the Amphictyonic league to be one of the proofs of the affinity
of language between the Pelasgi and Hellenes.  It was evidently made
while the Pelasgi were yet powerful and unsubdued by Hellenic
influences, and as evidently it could not have been made if the
Pelasgi and Hellenes were not perfectly intelligible to each other.
Mr. Clinton (F. H., vol. i., 66), assigns a more recent date than has
generally been received to the great Amphictyonic league, placing it
between the sixtieth and the eightieth year from the fall of Troy.
His reason for not dating it before the former year is, that until
then the Thessali (one of the twelve nations) did not occupy Thessaly.
But, it may be observed consistently with the reasonings of that great
authority, first, that the Thessali are not included in the lists of
the league given by Harpocratio and Libanius; and, secondly, that even
granting that the great Amphictyonic assembly of twelve nations did
not commence at an earlier period, yet that that more celebrated
amphictyony might have been preceded by other and less effectual
attempts at association, agreeably to the legends of the genealogy.
And this Mr. Clinton himself implies.

[80]  Strabo, lib. ix.

[81]  Mueller's Dorians, vol. i.

[82]  Probably chosen in rotation from the different cities.

[83]  Even the bieromnemons (or deputies intrusted with religious
cares) must have been as a class very inferior in ability to the
pylagorae; for the first were chosen by lot, the last by careful
selection.  And thus we learn, in effect, that while the hieromnemon
had the higher grade of dignity, the pylagoras did the greater share
of business.

[84]  Milton, Hist. of Eng., book i.

[85]  No man of rank among the old northern pirates was deemed
honourable if not a pirate, gloriam sibi acquirens, as the Vatzdaela
hath it.

[86]  Most probably more than one prince.  Greece has three
well accredited pretenders to the name and attributes even of the
Grecian Hercules.

[87]  Herodotus marks the difference between the Egyptian and Grecian
deity, and speaks of a temple erected by the Phoenicians to Hercules,
when they built Thasus, five hundred years before the son of
Amphitryon was known to the Greeks.  The historian commends such of
the Greeks as erected two temples to the divinity of that name,
worshipping in the one as to a god, but in the other observing only
the rites as to a hero.-B.  ii., c.  13, 14.

[88]  Plot. in Vit. Thes.--Apollod., l. 3.  This story is often
borrowed by the Spanish romance-writers, to whom Plutarch was a
copious fountain of legendary fable.

[89]  Plut. in Vit. Thes.

[90]  Mr. Mueller's ingenious supposition, that the tribute was in
fact a religious ceremony, and that the voyage of Theseus had
originally no other meaning than the landings at Naxos and Delos, is
certainly credible, but not a whit more so than, and certainly not so
simple as, the ancient accounts in Plutarch; as with mythological, so
with historical legends, it is better to take the plain and popular
interpretation whenever it seems conformable to the manners of the
times, than to construe the story by newly-invented allegories.  It is
very singular that that is the plan which every writer on the early
chronicles of France and England would adopt,--and yet which so few
writers agree to*****[three illegible words in the print copy]*****
the obscure records of the Greeks.

[91]  Plutarch cites Clidemus in support of another version of the
tale, somewhat less probable, viz., that, by the death of Minos and
his son Deucalion, Ariadne became possessed of the throne, and that
she remitted the tribute.

[92]  Thucydides, b. ii., c. 15.

[93]  But many Athenians preferred to a much later age the custom of
living without the walls--scattered over the country.--(Thucyd., lib.
ii., 15.)  We must suppose it was with them as with the moderns--the
rich and the great generally preferred the capital, but there were
many exceptions.

[94]  For other instances in which the same word is employed by Homer,
see Clinton's Fast Hell., vol. i., introduction, ix.

[95]  Paus., l. i., c. 19; l. ii., c. 18.

[96]  Paus., l. vii., c. 25.  An oracle of Dodona had forewarned the
Athenians of the necessity of sparing the suppliants.

[97]  Herod. (lib. v., 76) cites this expedition of the Dorians for
the establishment of a colony at Megara as that of their first
incursion into Attica.

[98]  Suidas.  One cannot but be curious as to the motives and policy
of a person, virtuous as a man, but so relentless as a lawgiver.
Although Draco was himself a noble, it is difficult to suppose that
laws so stern and impartial would not operate rather against the more
insolent and encroaching class than against the more subordinate ones.
The attempt shows a very unwholesome state of society, and went far to
produce the democratic action which Solon represented rather than

[99]  Hume utters a sentiment exactly the reverse: "To expect," says
he, in his Essay on the rise of Arts and Sciences, "that the arts and
sciences should take their first rise in a monarchy, is to expect a
contradiction;" and he holds, in a subsequent part of the same essay,
that though republics originate the arts and sciences, they may be
transferred to a monarchy.  Yet this sentiment is utterly at variance
with the fact; in the despotic monarchies of the East were the
elements of the arts and sciences; it was to republics they were
transferred, and republics perfected them.  Hume, indeed, is often the
most incautious and uncritical of all writers.  What can we think of
an author who asserts that a refined taste succeeds best in
monarchies, and then refers to the indecencies of Horace and Ovid as
an example of the reverse in a republic--as if Ovid and Horace had not
lived under a monarchy! and throughout the whole of this theory he is
as thoroughly in the wrong.  By refined taste he signifies an
avoidance of immodesty of style.  Beaumont and Fletcher, Rochester,
Dean Swift, wrote under monarchies--their pruriencies are not excelled
by any republican authors of ancient times.  What ancient authors
equal in indelicacy the French romances from the time of the Regent of
Orleans to Louis XVI.?  By all accounts, the despotism of China is the
very sink of indecencies, whether in pictures or books.  Still more,
what can we think of a writer who says, that "the ancients have not
left us one piece of pleasantry that is excellent, unless one may
except the Banquet of Xenophon and the Dialogues of Lucian?"  What!
has he forgotten Aristophanes?  Has he forgotten Plautus!  No--but
their pleasantry is not excellent to his taste; and he tacitly agrees
with Horace in censuring the "coarse railleries and cold jests" of the
Great Original of Moliere!

[100]  Which forbade the concentration of power necessary to great
conquests.  Phoenicia was not one state, it was a confederacy of
states; so, for the same reason, Greece, admirably calculated to
resist, was ill fitted to invade.

[101]  For the dates of these migrations, see Fast. Hell., vol. i.

[102]  To a much later period in the progress of this work I reserve a
somewhat elaborate view of the history of Sicily.

[103]  Pausanias, in corroboration of this fact, observes, that
Periboea, the daughter of Alcathous, was sent with Theseus with
tribute into Crete.

[104]  When, according to Pausanias, it changed its manners and its

[105]  In length fifty-two geographical miles, and about twenty-eight
to thirty-two broad.

[106]  A council of five presided over the business of the oracle,
composed of families who traced their descent from Deucalion.

[107]  Great grandson to Antiochus, son of Hercules.--Pausanias, l. 2,
c. 4.

[108]  But at Argos, at least, the name, though not the substance, of
the kingly government was extant as late as the Persian war.

[109]  Those who meant to take part in the athletic exercises were
required to attend at Olympia thirty days previous to the games, for
preparation and practice.

[110]  It would appear by some Etruscan vases found at Veii, that the
Etruscans practised all the Greek games--leaping, running,
cudgel-playing, etc., and were not restricted, as Niebuhr supposes,
to boxing and chariot-races.

[111]  It however diminishes the real honour of the chariot-race, that
the owner of horses usually won by proxy.

[112]  The indecorum of attending contests where the combatants were
unclothed, was a sufficient reason for the exclusion of females.  The
priestess of Ceres, the mighty mother, was accustomed to regard all
such indecorums as symbolical, and had therefore refined away any
remarkable indelicacy.

[113]  Plut. in Alex.  When one of the combatants with the cestus
killed his antagonist by running the ends of his fingers through his
ribs, he was ignominiously expelled the stadium.  The cestus itself
made of thongs of leather, was evidently meant not to increase the
severity of the blow, but for the prevention of foul play by the
antagonists laying hold of each other, or using the open hand.  I
believe that the iron bands and leaden plummets were Roman inventions,
and unknown at least till the later Olympic games.  Even in the
pancratium, the fiercest of all the contests--for it seems to have
united wrestling with boxing (a struggle of physical strength, without
the precise and formal laws of the boxing and wrestling matches), it
was forbidden to kill an enemy, to injure his eyes, or to use the

[114]  Even to the foot-race, in which many of the competitors were of
the lowest rank, the son of Amyntas, king of Macedon, was not admitted
till he had proved an Argive descent.  He was an unsuccessful

[115]  Herodotus relates an anecdote, that the Eleans sent deputies to
Egypt, vaunting the glories of the Olympic games, and inquiring if the
Egyptians could suggest any improvement.  The Egyptians asked if the
citizens of Elis were allowed to contend, and, on hearing that they
were, declared it was impossible they should not favour their own
countrymen, and consequently that the games must lead to injustice--a
suspicion not verified.

[116]  Cic. Quaest. Tusc., II, 17.

[117]  Nero (when the glory had left the spot) drove a chariot of ten
horses in Olympia, out of which he had the misfortune to tumble.  He
obtained other prizes in other Grecian games, and even contended with
the heralds as a crier.  The vanity of Nero was astonishing, but so
was that of most of his successors.  The Roman emperors were the
sublimest coxcombs in history.  In men born to stations which are
beyond ambition, all aspirations run to seed.

[118]  Plut. in Sympos.

[119]  It does not appear that at Elis there were any of the actual
contests in music and song which made the character of the Pythian
games.  But still it was a common exhibition for the cultivation of
every art.  Sophist, and historian, and orator, poet and painter found
their mart in the Olympic fair.

[120]  Plut. in vita Them.

[121]  Pausanias, lib. v.

[122]  When Phidias was asked on what idea he should form his statue,
he answered by quoting the well-known verses of Homer, on the curls
and nod of the thunder god.

[123]  I am of course aware that the popular story that Herodotus read
portions of his history at Olympia has been disputed--but I own I
think it has been disputed with very indifferent success against the
testimony of competent authorities, corroborated by the general
practice of the time.

[124]  We find, indeed, that the Messenians continued to struggle
against their conquerors, and that about the time of the battle of
Marathon they broke out into a resistance sometimes called the third
war.--Plato, Leg. III.

[125]  Suppose Vortigern to have been expelled by the Britons, and to
have implored the assistance of the Saxons to reinstate him in his
throne, the Return of Vortigern would have been a highly popular name
for the invasion of the Saxons.  So, if the Russians, after Waterloo,
had parcelled out France, and fixed a Cossack settlement in her
"violet vales," the destruction of the French would have been still
urbanely entitled "The Return of the Bourbons."

[126]  According to Herodotus, the Spartan tradition assigned the
throne to Aristodemus himself, and the regal power was not divided
till after his death.

[127]  He wrote or transcribed them, is the expression of Plutarch,
which I do not literally translate, because this touches upon very
disputed ground.

[128]  "Sometimes the states," says Plutarch, "veered to democracy--
sometimes to arbitrary power;" that is, at one time the nobles invoked
the people against the king; but if the people presumed too far, they
supported the king against the people.  If we imagine a confederacy of
Highland chiefs even a century or two ago--give them a nominal king--
consider their pride and their jealousy--see them impatient of
authority in one above them, yet despotic to those below--quarrelling
with each other--united only by clanship, never by citizenship;--and
place them in a half-conquered country, surrounded by hostile
neighbours and mutinous slaves--we may then form, perhaps, some idea
of the state of Sparta previous to the legislation of Lycurgus.

[129]  When we are told that the object of Lycurgus was to root out
the luxury and effeminacy existent in Sparta, a moment's reflection
tells us that effeminacy and luxury could not have existed.  A tribe
of fierce warriors, in a city unfortified--shut in by rocks--harassed
by constant war--gaining city after city from foes more civilized,
stubborn to bear, and slow to yield--maintaining a perilous yoke over
the far more numerous races they had subdued--what leisure, what
occasion had such men to become effeminate and luxurious?

[130]  See Mueller's Dorians, vol. ii., p. 12 (Translation).

[131]  In the same passage Aristotle, with that wonderful sympathy in
opinion between himself and the political philosophers of our own day,
condemns the principle of seeking and canvassing for suffrages.

[132]  In this was preserved the form of royalty in the heroic times.
Aristotle well remarks, that in the council Agamemnon bears reproach
and insult, but in the field he becomes armed with authority over life
itself--"Death is in his hand."

[133]  Whereas the modern republics of Italy rank among the causes
which prevented their assuming a widely conquering character, their
extreme jealousy of their commanders, often wisely ridiculed by the
great Italian historians; so that a baggage-cart could scarcely move,
or a cannon be planted, without an order from the senate!

[134]  Mueller rightly observes, that though the ephoralty was a
common Dorian magistrature, "yet, considered as an office, opposed to
the king and council, it is not for that reason less peculiar to the
Spartans; and in no Doric, nor even in any Grecian state is there any
thing which exactly corresponds with it."

[135]  They rebuked Archidamus for having married too small a wife.
See Mueller's Dorians, vol. ii. (Translation), p. 124, and the
authorities he quotes.

[136]  Aristot. Pol., lib. ii., c. 9.

[137]  Idem.

[138]  These remarks on the democratic and representative nature of
the ephoralty are only to be applied to it in connexion with the
Spartan people.  It must be remembered that the ephors represented the
will of that dominant class, and not of the Laconians or Perioeci, who
made the bulk of the non-enslaved population; and the democracy of
their constitution was therefore but the democracy of an oligarchy.

[139]  Machiavel (Discourses on the first Decade of Livy, b. i., c.
vi.), attributes the duration of the Spartan government to two main
causes--first, the fewness of the body to be governed, allowing
fewness in the governors; and secondly, the prevention of all the
changes and corruption which the admission of strangers would have
occasioned.  He proceeds then to show that for the long duration of a
constitution the people should be few in number, and all popular
impulse and innovation checked; yet that, for the splendour and
greatness of a state, not only population should be encouraged, but
even political ferment and agitation be leniently regarded.  Sparta is
his model for duration, republican Rome for progress and empire.  "To
my judgment," the Florentine concludes, "I prefer the latter, and for
the strife and emulation between the nobles and the people, they are
to be regarded indeed as inconveniences, but necessary to a state that
would rise to the Roman grandeur."

[140]  Plut. de Musica.

[141]  At Corinth they were abolished by Periander as favourable to an
aristocracy, according to Aristotle; but a better reason might be that
they were dangerous to tyranny.

[142]  "Yet, although goods were appropriated, their uses," says
Aristotle, "were freely communicated,--a Spartan could use the horses,
the slaves, the dogs, and carriages of another."  If this were to be
taken literally, it is difficult to see how a Spartan could be poor.
We must either imagine that different times are confounded, or that
limitations with which we are unacquainted were made in this system of

[143]  See, throughout the Grecian history, the Helots collecting the
plunder of the battle-field, hiding it from the gripe of their lords,
and selling gold at the price of brass!

[144]  Aristotle, who is exceedingly severe on the Spartan ladies,
says very shrewdly, that the men were trained to submission to a civil
by a military system, while the women were left untamed.  A Spartan
hero was thus made to be henpecked.  Yet, with all the alleged
severity of the Dorian morals, these sturdy matrons rather discarded
the graces than avoided the frailties of their softer contemporaries.
Plato [Plat. de legibus, lib. i. and lib. vi.] and Aristotle [Aristot.
Repub., lib. ii.] give very unfavourable testimonials of their
chastity.  Plutarch, the blind panegyrist of Sparta, observes with
amusing composure, that the Spartan husbands were permitted to lend
their wives to each other; and Polybius (in a fragment of the 12th
book) [Fragm. Vatican., tom. ii., p. 384.] informs us that it was an
old-fashioned and common custom in Sparta for three or four brothers
to share one wife.  The poor husbands!--no doubt the lady was a match
for them all!  So much for those gentle creatures whom that grave
German professor, M. Mueller, holds up to our admiration and despair.

[145]  In Homer the condition of the slave seems, everywhere, tempered
by the kindness and indulgence of the master.

[146]  Three of the equals always attended the king's person in war.

[147]  The institution of the ephors has been, with probability,
referred to this epoch--chosen at first as the viceroys in the absence
of the kings.

[148]  Pausanias, Messenics.

[149]  See Mueller's Dorians, vol. i., p. 172, and Clinton's Fast.
Hell. vol. i., p. 183.

[150]  For the dates here given of the second Messenian war see Fast.
Hell., vol. i., 190, and Appendix 2.

[151]  Now called Messina.

[152]  In Phocis were no less than twenty-two states (poleis); in
Boeotia, fourteen; in Achaia, ten.  The ancient political theorists
held no community too small for independence, provided the numbers
sufficed for its defence.  We find from Plato that a society of five
thousand freemen capable of bearing arms was deemed powerful enough to
constitute an independent state.  One great cause of the ascendency of
Athens and Sparta was, that each of those cities had from an early
period swept away the petty independent states in their several
territories of Attica and Laconia.

[153]  Machiavel (Discor., lib. i., c. ii.).

[154]  Lib. iv., c. 13.

[155]  Aristotle cites among the advantages of wealth, that of being
enabled to train horses.  Wherever the nobility could establish among
themselves a cavalry, the constitution was oligarchical.  Yet, even in
states which did not maintain a cavalry (as Athens previous to the
constitution of Solon), an oligarchy was the first form of government
that rose above the ruins of monarchy.

[156]  One principal method of increasing the popular action was by
incorporating the neighbouring villages or wards in one municipality
with the capital.  By this the people gained both in number and in

[157]  Sometimes in ancient Greece there arose a species of lawful
tyrants, under the name of Aesymnetes.  These were voluntarily chosen
by the people, sometimes for life, sometimes for a limited period, and
generally for the accomplishment of some particular object.  Thus was
Pittacus of Mitylene elected to conduct the war against the exiles.
With the accomplishment of the object he abdicated his power.  But the
appointment of Aesymnetes can hardly be called a regular form of
government.  They soon became obsolete--the mere creatures of
occasion.  While they lasted, they bore a strong resemblance to the
Roman dictators--a resemblance remarked by Dionysius, who quotes
Theophrastus as agreeing with Aristotle in his account of the

[158]  For, as the great Florentine has well observed, "To found well
a government, one man is the best--once established, the care and
execution of the laws should be transferred to many."--(Machiavel.
Discor., lib. i., c. 9.) And thus a tyranny builds the edifice, which
the republic hastens to inhabit.

[159]  That of Orthagoras and his sons in Sicyon.  "Of all
governments," says Aristotle, "that of an oligarchy, or of a tyrant,
is the least permanent."  A quotation that cannot be too often pressed
on the memory of those reasoners who insist so much on the brief
duration of the ancient republics.

[160]  Besides the representation necessary to confederacies--such as
the Amphictyonic League, etc., a representative system was adopted at
Mantinea, where the officers were named by deputies chosen by the
people.  "This form of democracy," says Aristotle, "existed among the
shepherds and husbandmen of Arcadia;" and was probably not uncommon
with the ancient Pelasgians.  But the myrioi of Arcadia had not the
legislative power.

[161]  "Then to the lute's soft voice prolong the night,
        Music, the banquet's most refined delight."
                               Pope's Odyssey, book xxi., 473.

It is stronger in the original--

    Moltae kai phormingi tu gar t'anathaemata daitos.

[162]  Iliad, book ix., Pope's translation, line 250.

[163]  Heyne, F. Clinton, etc.

[164]  Pope's translation, b. iv., line 75, etc.

[165]  At least this passage is sufficient to refute the arguments of
Mr. Mitford, and men more learned than that historian, who, in taking
for their premises as an indisputable fact the extraordinary
assumption, that Homer never once has alluded to the return of the
Heraclidae, arrive at a conclusion very illogical, even if the
premises were true, viz., that therefore Homer preceded the date of
that great revolution.

[166]  I own that this seems to me the most probable way of accounting
for the singular and otherwise disproportioned importance attached by
the ancient poets to that episode in the Trojan war, which relates to
the feud of Achilles and Agamemnon.  As the first recorded enmity
between the great Achaeans and the warriors of Phthiotis, it would
have a solemn and historical interest both to the conquering Dorians
and the defeated Achaeans, flattering to the national vanity of either

[167]  I adopt the analysis of the anti-Homer arguments so clearly
given by Mr. Coleridge in his eloquent Introduction to the Study of
the Greek Poets.  Homer, p. 39.

[168]  en spanei biblon, are the words of Herodotus.  Leaves and the
bark of trees were also used from a very remote period previous to the
common use of the papyrus, and when we are told that leaves would not
suffice for works of any length or duration, it must not be forgotten
that in a much later age it was upon leaves (and mutton bones) that
the Koran was transcribed.  The rudest materials are sufficient for
the preservation of what men deem it their interest to preserve!

[169]  See Clinton's F. H., vol. i., p. 145.

[170]  Critics, indeed, discover some pretended gaps and
interpolations; but these, if conceded, are no proof against the unity
of Homer; the wonder is, that there should be so few of such
interpolations, considering the barbarous age which intervened between
their composition and the time in which they were first carefully
edited and collected.  With more force it is urged against the
argument in favour of the unity of Homer, derived from the unity of
the style and character, that there are passages which modern critics
agree to be additions to the original poems, made centuries afterward,
and yet unsuspected by the ancients; and that in these additions--such
as the last books of the Iliad, with many others less important--the
Homeric unity of style and character is still sustained.  We may
answer, however, that, in the first place, we have a right to be
skeptical as to these discoveries--many of them rest on very
insufficient critical grounds; in the second place, if we grant them,
it is one thing whether a forged addition be introduced into a poem,
and another thing whether the poem be all additions; in the third
place, we may observe, that successful imitations of the style and
characters of an author, however great, may be made many centuries
afterward with tolerable ease, and by a very inferior genius,
although, at the time he wrote or sung, it is not easy to suppose that
half a dozen or more poets shared his spirit or style.  It is a very
common scholastic trick to imitate, nowadays, and with considerable
felicity, the style of the greatest writers, ancient and modern.  But
the unity of Homer does not depend on the question whether imitative
forgeries were introduced into a great poem, but whether a multitude
of great poets combined in one school on one subject.  An ingenious
student of Shakspeare, or the elder dramatists, might impose upon the
public credulity a new scene, or even a new play, as belonging to
Shakspeare, but would that be any proof that a company of Shakspeares
combined in the production of Macbeth?  I own, by-the-way, that I am a
little doubtful as to our acumen in ascertaining what is Homeric and
what is not, seeing that Schlegel, after devoting half a life to
Shakspeare (whose works are composed in a living language, the
authenticity of each of which works a living nation can attest),
nevertheless attributes to that poet a catalogue of plays of which
Shakspeare is perfectly innocent!--but, to be sure, Steevens does the

[171]  That Pisistratus or his son, assisted by the poets of his day,
did more than collect, arrange, and amend poems already in high
repute, we have not only no authority to suppose, but much evidence to
contradict.  Of the true services of Pisistratus to Homer, more

[172]  "The descent of Theseus with Pirithous into hell," etc.--Paus.,
ix., c. 31.

[173]  Especially if with the Boeotians we are to consider the most
poetical passage (the introductory lines to the muses) a spurious

[174]  A herdsman.

[175]  I cannot omit a tradition recorded by Pausanias.  A leaden
table near the fountain was shown by the Boeotians as that on which
the "Works and Days" was written.  The poems of Hesiod certainly do
not appear so adapted to recital as perusal.  Yet, by the most
plausible chronology, they were only composed about one hundred years
after those of Homer!

[176]  The Aones, Hyantes, and other tribes, which I consider part of
the great Pelasgic family, were expelled from Boeotia by Thracian
hordes.  [They afterward returned in the time of the Dorian
emigration.]  Some of the population must, however, have remained--the
peasantry of the land; and in Hesiod we probably possess the national
poetry, and arrive at the national religion, of the old Pelasgi.

[177]  Welcker.

[178]  The deadly signs which are traced by Praetus on the tablets of
which Bellerophon was the bearer, and which are referred to in the
Iliad, are generally supposed by the learned to have been pictorial,
and, as it were, hieroglyphical figures; my own belief, and the
easiest interpretation of the passage, is, that they were alphabetical
characters--in a word, writing, not painting.

[179]  Pausanias, lib. i., c. 27, speaks of a wooden statue in the
Temple of Pohas, in Athens, said to have been the gift of Cecrops;
and, with far more claim to belief, in the previous chapter he tells
us that the most holy of all the images was a statue of Minerva,
which, by the common consent of all the towns before incorporated in
one city, was dedicated in the citadel, or polis.  Tradition,
therefore, carried the date of this statue beyond the time of Theseus.
Plutarch also informs us that Theseus himself, when he ordained divine
honours to be paid to Ariadne, ordered two little statues to be made
of her--one of silver and one of brass.

[180]  All that Homer calls the work of Vulcan, such as the dogs in
the palace of Alcinous, etc., we may suppose to be the work of
foreigners.  A poet could scarcely attribute to the gods a work that
his audience knew an artificer in their own city had made!

[181]  See Odyssey, book vii.

[182]  The effect of the arts, habits, and manners of a foreign
country is immeasurably more important upon us if we visit that
country, than if we merely receive visits from its natives.  For
example, the number of French emigrants who crowded our shores at the
time of the French revolution very slightly influenced English
customs, etc.  But the effect of the French upon us when, after the
peace, our own countrymen flocked to France, was immense.

[183]  Herod., lib. ii., c. 178.

[184]  Grecian architecture seems to have been more free from
obligation to any technical secrets of Egyptian art than Grecian
statuary or painting.  For, in the first place, it is more than
doubtful whether the Doric order was not invented in European Greece
long prior to the reign of Psammetichus [The earliest known temple at
Corinth is supposed by Col. Leake to bear date B. C. 800, about one
hundred and thirty years before the reign of Psammetichus in Egypt.];
and, in the second place, it is evident that the first hints and
rudiments both of the Doric and the Ionic order were borrowed, not
from buildings of the massive and perennial materials of Egyptian
architecture, but from wooden edifices; growing into perfection as
stone and marble were introduced, and the greater difficulty and
expense of the workmanship insensibly imposed severer thought and more
elaborate rules upon the architect.  But I cannot agree with Mueller
and others, that because the first hints of the Doric order were taken
from wooden buildings, therefore the first invention was necessarily
with the Dorians, since many of the Asiatic cities were built chiefly
of wood.  It seems to me most probable that Asia gave the first
notions of these beautiful forms, and that the Greeks carried them to
perfection before the Asiatics, not only from their keen perception of
the graceful, but because they earlier made a general use of stone.
We learn from Herodotus that the gorgeous Sardis was built chiefly of
wood, at a time when the marble of Paros was a common material of the
Grecian temples.

[185]  Thales was one of the seven wise men, B. C. 586, when
Pherecydes of Syrus, the first prose writer, was about fourteen years
old.  Mr. Clinton fixes the acme of Pherecydes about B. C. 572.
Cadmus of Miletus flourished B. C. 530.

[186]  To this solution of the question, why literature should
generally commence with attempts at philosophy, may be added another:
--When written first breaks upon oral communication, the reading
public must necessarily be extremely confined.  In many early nations,
that reading public would be composed of the caste of priests; in this
case philosophy would be cramped by superstition.  In Greece, there
being no caste of priests, philosophy embraced those studious minds
addicted to a species of inquiry which rejected the poetical form, as
well as the poetical spirit.  It may be observed, that the more
limited the reading public, the more abstruse are generally prose
compositions; as readers increase, literature goes back to the fashion
of oral communication; for if the reciter addressed the multitude in
the earlier age, so the writer addresses a multitude in the later;
literature, therefore, commences with poetical fiction, and usually
terminates with prose fiction.  It was so in the ancient world--it
will be so with England and France.  The harvest of novels is, I fear,
a sign of the approaching exhaustion of the soil.

[187]  See chapter i.

[188]  Instead of Periander of Corinth, is (by Plato, and therefore)
more popularly, but less justly, ranked Myson of Chene.

[189]  Attributed also to Thales; Stob. Serm.

[190]  Aristotle relates (Pol., lib. i.) a singular anecdote of the
means whereby this philosopher acquired wealth.  His skill in
meteorology made him foresee that there would be one season an
extraordinary crop of olives.  He hired during the previous winter all
the oil-presses in Chios and Miletus, employing his scanty fortune in
advances to the several proprietors.  When the approaching season
showed the ripening crops, every man wished to provide olive-presses
as quickly as possible; and Thales, having them all, let them at a
high price.  His monopoly made his fortune, and he showed to his
friends, says Aristotle, that it was very easy for philosophers to be
rich if they desire it, though such is not their principal desire;--
philosophy does not find the same facilities nowadays.

[191]  Thus Homer is cited in proof of the progenital humidity,

    "'Okeanos hosper ginesis pantos tet ktai;"

The Bryant race of speculators would attack us at once with "the
spirit moving on the face of the waters."  It was not an uncommon
opinion in Greece that chaos was first water settling into slime, and
then into earth; and there are good but not sufficient reasons to
attribute a similar, and of course earlier, notion to the Phoenicians,
and still more perhaps to the Indians.

[192]  Plut. de Plac. Phil.

[193]  Ap. Stob. Serm.

[194]  Laert.

[195]  According to Clinton's chronology, viz., one year after the
legislation of Draco.  This emendation of dates formerly received
throws considerable light upon the causes of the conspiracy, which
perhaps took its strength from the unpopularity and failure of Draco's
laws.  Following the very faulty chronology which pervades his whole
work, Mr. Mitford makes the attempt of Cylon precede the legislation
of Draco.

[196]  A cap.

[197]  The expedition against Salamis under Solon preceded the arrival
of Epimenides at Athens, which was in 596.  The legislation of Solon
was B. C. 594--the first tyranny of Pisistratus B. C. 560: viz.,
thirty-four years after Solon's legislation, and at least thirty-seven
years after Solon's expedition to Salamis.  But Pisistratus lived
thirty-three years after his first usurpation, so that, if he had
acted in the first expedition to Salamis, he would have lived to an
age little short of one hundred, and been considerably past eighty at
the time of his third most brilliant and most energetic government!
The most probable date for the birth of Pisistratus is that assigned
by Mr. Clinton, about B. C. 595, somewhat subsequent to Solon's
expedition to Salamis, and only about a year prior to Solon's
legislation.  According to this date, Pisistratus would have been
about sixty-eight at the time of his death.  The error of Plutarch
evidently arose from his confounding two wars with Megara for Salamis,
attended with similar results--the first led by Solon, the second by
Pisistratus.  I am the more surprised that Mr. Thirlwall should have
fallen into the error of making Pisistratus contemporary with Solon in
this affair, because he would fix the date of the recovery of Salamis
at B. C. 604 (see note to Thirlwall's Greece, p. 25, vol. ii.), and
would suppose Solon to be about thirty-two at that time (viz.,
twenty-six years old in 612 B. C.).  (See Thirlwall, vol. ii., p. 23,
note.) Now, as Pisistratus could not have been well less than
twenty-one, to have taken so prominent a share as that ascribed to him
by Plutarch and his modern followers, in the expedition, he must,
according to such hypothesis, have been only eleven years younger than
Solon, have perpetrated his first tyranny just before Solon died of old
age, and married a second wife when he was near eighty!  Had this been
the case, the relations of the lady could not reasonably have been angry
that the marriage was not consummated!

[198]  We cannot suppose, as the careless and confused Plutarch would
imply, that the people, or popular assembly, reversed the decree; the
government was not then democratic, but popular assemblies existed,
which, in extraordinary cases--especially, perhaps, in the case of
war--it was necessary to propitiate, and customary to appeal to.  I
make no doubt that it was with the countenance and consent of the
archons that Solon made his address to the people, preparing them to
receive the repeal of the decree, which, without their approbation, it
might be unsafe to propose.

[199]  As the quotation from Homer is extremely equivocal, merely
stating that Ajax joined the ships that he led from Salamis with those
of the Athenians, one cannot but suppose, that if Solon had really
taken the trouble to forge a verse, he would have had the common sense
to forge one much more decidedly in favour of his argument.

[200]  Fifty-seven, according to Pliny.

[201]  Plut. in Vit. Sol.

[202]  Arist. Pol., lib. ii., c. 8.

[203]  This regulation is probably of later date than the time of
Solon.  To Pisistratus is referred a law for disabled citizens, though
its suggestion is ascribed to Solon.  It was, however, a law that
evidently grew out of the principles of Solon.

[204]  A tribe contained three phratries, or fraternities--a phratry
contained three genes or clans--a genos or clan was composed of thirty
heads of families.  As the population, both in the aggregate and in
these divisions, must have been exposed to constant fluctuations, the
aforesaid numbers were most probably what we may describe as a fiction
in law, as Boeckh (Pol. Econ. of Athens, vol. i., p. 47, English
translation) observes, "in the same manner that the Romans called the
captain a centurion, even if he commanded sixty men, so a family might
have been called a triakas (i.e., a thirtiad), although it contained
fifty or more persons."  It has been conjectured indeed by some, that
from a class not included in these families, vacancies in the
phratries were filled up; but this seems to be a less probable
supposition than that which I have stated above.  If the numbers in
Pollux were taken from a census in the time of Solon, the four tribes
at that time contained three hundred and sixty families, each family
consisting of thirty persons; this would give a total population of
ten thousand eight hundred free citizens.  It was not long before that
population nearly doubled itself, but the titles of the subdivisions
remained the same.  I reserve for an appendix a more detailed and
critical view of the vehement but tedious disputes of the learned on
the complicated subject of the Athenian tribes and families.

[205]  Boeckh (Pub. Econ. of Athens, book iv., chap. v.) contends,
from a law preserved by Demosthenes, that the number of measures for
the zeugitae was only one hundred and fifty.  But his argument,
derived from the analogy of the sum to be given to an heiress by her
nearest relation, if he refused to marry her, is by no means
convincing enough to induce us to reject the proportion of two hundred
measures, "preserved (as Boeckh confesses) by all writers," especially
as in the time of Demosthenes.  Boeckh himself, in a subsequent
passage, rightly observes, that the names of zeugitae, etc., could
only apply to new classes introduced in the place of those instituted
by Solon.

[206]  With respect to the value of "a measure" in that time, it was
estimated at a drachma, and a drachma was the price of a sheep.

[207]  The law against idleness is attributable rather to Pisistratus
than Solon.

[208]  Athenaeus, lib. xiv.

[209]  Plutarch de Gloria Athen.  I do not in this sketch entirely
confine myself to Solon's regulations respecting the areopagus.

[210]  The number of the areopagites depending upon the number of the
archons, was necessarily fluctuating and uncertain.  An archon was not
necessarily admitted to the areopagus.  He previously underwent a
rigorous and severe examination of the manner in which he had
discharged the duties of his office, and was liable to expulsion upon
proofs of immorality or unworthiness.

[211]  Some modern writers have contended that at the time of Solon
the members of the council were not chosen by lot; their arguments are
not to me very satisfactory.  But if merely a delegation of the
Eupatrids, as such writers suppose, the council would be still more
vicious in its constitution.

[212]  Pollux.

[213]  Aeschines in Timarch.

[214]  Each member was paid (as in England once, as in America at this
day) a moderate sum (one drachma) for his maintenance, and at the
termination of his trust, peculiar integrity was rewarded with money
from the public treasury.

[215]  When there were ten tribes, each tribe presided thirty-five
days, or five weeks; when the number was afterward increased to
twelve, the period of the presidency was one month.

[216]   Atimos means rather unhonoured than dishonoured.  He to whom,
in its milder degree, the word was applied, was rather withdrawn (as
it were) from honour than branded with disgrace.  By rapid degrees,
however, the word ceased to convey its original meaning; it was
applied to offences so ordinary and common, that it sunk into a mere
legal term.

[217]  The more heinous of the triple offences, termed eisangelia.

[218]  This was a subsequent law; an obolus, or one penny farthing,
was the first payment; it was afterward increased to three oboli, or
threepence three farthings.

[219]  Sometimes, also, the assembly was held in the Pnyx, afterward
so celebrated: latterly, also (especially in bad weather), in the
temple of Bacchus;--on extraordinary occasions, in whatever place was
deemed most convenient or capacious.

[220]  Plato de Legibus.

[221]  Plutarch assures us that Solon issued a decree that his laws
were to remain in force a hundred years: an assertion which modern
writers have rejected as incompatible with their constant revision.
It was not, however, so contradictory a decree as it seems at first
glance--for one of the laws not to be altered was this power of
amending and revising the laws.  And, therefore, the enactment in
dispute would only imply that the constitution was not to be altered
except through the constitutional channel which Solon had appointed.

[222]  See Fast. Hell., vol.  ii., 276.

[223]  Including, as I before observed, that law which provided for
any constitutional change in a constitutional manner.

[224]  "Et Croesum quem vox justi facunda Solonis
        Respicere ad longae jussit spatia ultima vitae."
                                            Juv., Sat. x., s. 273.

The story of the interview and conversation between Croesus and Solon
is supported by so many concurrent authorities, that we cannot but
feel grateful to the modern learning, which has removed the only
objection to it in an apparent contradiction of dates.  If, as
contended for by Larcher, still more ably by Wesseling, and since by
Mr. Clinton, we agree that Croesus reigned jointly with his father
Alyattes, the difficulty vanishes at once.

[225]  Plutarch gives two accounts of the recovery of Salamis by
Solon; one of them, which is also preferred by Aelian (var. c. xix.,
lib. vii.), I have adopted and described in my narrative of that
expedition: the second I now give, but refer to Pisistratus, not
Solon: in support of which opinion I am indebted to Mr. Clinton for
the suggestion of two authorities.  Aeneas Tacticus, in his Treatise
on Sieges, chap. iv., and Frontinus de Stratagem., lib. iv., cap.
vii.--Justin also favours the claim of Pisistratus to this stratagem,
lib. xi., c. viii.

[226]  The most sanguine hope indeed that Cicero seems to have formed
with respect to the conduct of Cesar, was that he might deserve the
title of the Pisistratus of Rome.

[227]  If we may, in this anecdote, accord to Plutarch (de Vit. Sol.)
and Aelian (Var. lib. viii., c. xvi.) a belief which I see no reason
for withholding.

[228]  His own verses, rather than the narrative of Plutarch, are the
evidence of Solon's conduct on the usurpation of Pisistratus.

[229]  This historian fixes the date of Solon's visit to Croesus and
to Cyprus (on which island he asserts him to have died), not during
his absence of ten years, but during the final exile for which he

[230]  Herod., l. i., c. 49.

[231]  The procession of the goddess of Reason in the first French
revolution solves the difficulty that perplexed Herodotus.

[232]  Mr. Mitford considers this story as below the credit of
history.  He gives no sufficient reason against its reception, and
would doubtless have been less skeptical had he known more of the
social habits of that time, or possessed more intimate acquaintance
with human nature generally.

[233]  Upon which points, of men and money, Mr. Mitford, who is
anxious to redeem the character of Pisistratus from the stain of
tyranny, is dishonestly prevaricating.  Quoting Herodotus, who
especially insists upon these undue sources of aid, in the following
words--'Errixose taen tyrannida, epikouroisi te polloisi kai
chraematon synodoisi, ton men, autothen, ton de, apo Strumanos potamou
synionton: this candid historian merely says, "A particular interest
with the ruling parties in several neighbouring states, especially
Thebes and Argos, and a wise and liberal use of a very great private
property, were the resources in which besides he mostly relied."  Why
he thus slurs over the fact of the auxiliary forces will easily be
perceived.  He wishes us to understand that the third tyranny of
Pisistratus, being wholesome, was also acceptable to the Athenians,
and not, as it in a great measure was, supported by borrowed treasure
and foreign swords.

[234]  Who, according to Plutarch, first appeared at the return of
Solon; but the proper date for his exhibitions is ascertained (Fast.
Hell., vol. ii., p. 11) several years after Solon's death.

[235]  These two wars, divided by so great an interval of time,--the
one terminated by Periander of Corinth, the other undertaken by
Pisistratus,--are, with the usual blundering of Mr. Mitford, jumbled
together into the same event.  He places Alcaeus in the war following
the conquest of Sigeum by Pisistratus.  Poor Alcaeus! the poet
flourished Olym. 42 (611 B. C.); the third tyranny of Pisistratus may
date somewhere about 537 B. C., so that Alcaeus, had he been alive in
the time ascribed by Mr. Mitford to his warlike exhibitions, would
have been (supposing him to be born twenty-six years before the date
of his celebrity in 611) just a hundred years old--a fitting age to
commence the warrior!  The fact is, Mr. Mitford adopted the rather
confused account of Herodotus, without taking the ordinary pains to
ascertain dates, which to every one else the very names of Periander
and Alcaeus would have suggested.

[236]  For the reader will presently observe the share taken by
Croesus in the affairs of this Miltiades during his government in the
Chersonesus; now Croesus was conquered by Cyrus about B. C. 546--it
must, therefore, have been before that period.  But the third tyranny
of Pisistratus appears to have commenced nine years afterward, viz.,
B. C. 537.  The second tyranny probably commenced only two years
before the fall of the Lydian monarchy, and seems to have lasted only
a year, and during that period Croesus no longer exercised over the
cities of the coast the influence he exerted with the people of
Lampsacus on behalf of Miltiades; the departure of Miltiades, son of
Cypselus, must therefore have been in the first tyranny, in the
interval 560 B. C.--554 B. C., and probably at the very commencement
of the reign--viz., about 550 B. C.

[237]  In the East, the master of the family still sits before the
door to receive visiters or transact business.

[238]  Thucydides, b. vi., c. 54.  The dialogue of Hipparchus,
ascribed to Plato, gives a different story, but much of the same
nature.  In matters of history, we cannot doubt which is the best
authority, Thucydides or Plato,--especially an apocryphal Plato.

[239]  Although it is probable that the patriotism of Aristogiton and
Harmodius "the beloved" has been elevated in after times beyond its
real standard, yet Mr. Mitford is not justified in saying that it was
private revenge, and not any political motive, that induced them to
conspire the death of Hippias and Hipparchus.  Had it been so, why
strike at Hippias at all?--why attempt to make him the first and
principal victim?--why assail Hipparchus (against whom only they had a
private revenge) suddenly, by accident, and from the impulse of the
moment, after the failure of their design on the tyrant himself, with
whom they had no quarrel?  It is most probable that, as in other
attempts at revolution, that of Masaniello--that of Rienzi--public
patriotism was not created--it was stimulated and made passion by
private resentment.

[240]  Mr. Mitford has most curiously translated this passage thus:
"Aristogiton escaped the attending guards, but, being taken by the
people (!!!) was not mildly treated.  So Thucydides has expressed
himself."  Now Thucydides says quite the reverse: he says that, owing
to the crowd of the people, the guard could not at first seize him.
How did Mr. Mitford make this strange blunder?  The most charitable
supposition is, that, not reading the Greek, he was misled by an error
of punctuation in the Latin version.

[241]  "Qui cum per tormenta conscios caedis nominare cogeretur," etc.
(Justin., lib. ii., chap. ix.) This author differs from the elder
writers as to the precise cause of the conspiracy.

[242]  Herodotus says they were both Gephyraeans by descent; a race,
according to him, originally Phoenician.--Herod.  b. v., c. 57.

[243]  Mr. Mitford too hastily and broadly asserts the whole story of
Leaena to be a fable: if, as we may gather from Pausanias, the statue
of the lioness existed in his time, we may pause before we deny all
authenticity to a tradition far from inconsonant with the manners of
the time or the heroism of the sex.

[244]  Thucyd., b. vi., c. 59.

[245]  Herodotus, b. vi., c. 103.  In all probability, the same
jealousy that murdered the father dismissed the son.  Hippias was far
too acute and too fearful not to perceive the rising talents and
daring temper of Miltiades.  By-the-way, will it be believed that
Mitford, in is anxiety to prove Hippias and Hipparchus the most
admirable persons possible, not only veils the unnatural passions of
the last, but is utterly silent about the murder of Cimon, which is
ascribed to the sons of Pisistratus by Herodotus, in the strongest and
gravest terms.--Mr. Thirlwall (Hist. of Greece, vol. ii., p. 223)
erroneously attributes the assassination of Cimon to Pisistratus

[246]  Suidas.  Laertius iv., 13, etc.  Others, as Ammonius and
Simplicius ad Aristotelem, derive the name of Cynics given to these
philosophers from the ridicule attached to their manners.

[247]  Whose ardour appears to have been soon damped.  They lost but
forty men, and then retired at once to Thessaly.  This reminds us of
the wars between the Italian republics, in which the loss of a single
horseman was considered no trifling misfortune.  The value of the
steed and the rank of the horseman (always above the vulgar) made the
cavalry of Greece easily discouraged by what appears to us an
inconsiderable slaughter.

[248]  Aelian. V. Hist. xiii., 24.

[249]  Wachsm, l. i., p. 273.  Others contend for a later date to this
most important change; but, on the whole, it seems a necessary
consequence of the innovations of Clisthenes, which were all modelled
upon the one great system of breaking down the influence of the
aristocracy.  In the speech of Otanes (Herod., lib. iii., c. 80), it
is curious to observe how much the vote by lot was identified with a
republican form of government.

[250]  See Sharon Turner, vol. i., book i.

[251]  Herod., b. i., c. xxvi.

[252]  Ctesias.  Mr. Thirlwall, in my judgment, very properly contents
himself with recording the ultimate destination of Croesus as we find
it in Ctesias, to the rejection of the beautiful romance of Herodotus.
Justin observes that Croesus was so beloved among the Grecian cities,
that, had Cyrus exercised any cruelty against him, the Persian hero
would have drawn upon himself a war with Greece.

[253]  After his fall, Croesus is said by Herodotus to have reproached
the Pythian with those treacherous oracles that conduced to the loss
of his throne, and to have demanded if the gods of Greece were usually
delusive and ungrateful.  True to that dark article of Grecian faith
which punished remote generations for ancestral crimes, the Pythian
replied, that Croesus had been fated to expiate in his own person the
crimes of Gyges, the murderer of his master;--that, for the rest, the
declarations of the oracle had been verified; the mighty empire,
denounced by the divine voice, had been destroyed, for it was his own,
and the mule, Cyrus, was presiding over the Lydian realm: a mule might
the Persian hero justly be entitled, since his parents were of
different ranks and nations.  His father a low-born Persian--his
mother a Median princess.  Herodotus assures us that Croesus was
content with the explanation--if so, the god of song was more
fortunate than the earthly poets he inspires, who have indeed often,
imitating his example, sacrificed their friends to a play upon words,
without being so easily able to satisfy their victims.

[254]  Herod., l. v., c. 74.

[255]  If colonists they can properly be called--they retained their
connexion with Athens, and all their rights of franchise.

[256]  Herod., l. v., c. 78.

[257]  Mr. Mitford, constantly endeavouring to pervert the simple
honesty of Herodotus to a sanction of despotic governments, carefully
slurs over this remarkable passage.

[258]  Pausanias, b. iii., c. 5 and 6.

[259]  Mr. Mitford, always unduly partial to the Spartan policy,
styles Cleomenes "a man violent in his temper, but of considerable
abilities."  There is no evidence of his abilities.  His restlessness
and ferocity made him assume a prominent part which he was never
adequate to fulfil: he was, at best, a cunning madman.

[260]  Why, if discovered so long since by Cleomenes, were they
concealed till now?  The Spartan prince, afterward detected in bribing
the oracle itself, perhaps forged these oracular predictions.

[261]  Herod., b. v. c. 91.

[262]  What is the language of Mr. Mitford at this treason?  "We have
seen," says that historian, "the democracy of Athens itself setting
the example (among the states of old Greece) of soliciting Persian
protection.  Will, then, the liberal spirit of patriotism and equal
government justify the prejudices of Athenian faction (!!!) and doom
Hippias to peculiar execration, because, at length, he also, with many
of his fellow-citizens, despairing of other means for ever returning
to their native country, applied to Artaphernes at Sardis?"  It is
difficult to know which to admire most, the stupidity or dishonesty of
this passage.  The Athenian democracy applied to Persia for relief
against the unjust invasion of their city and liberties by a foreign
force; Hippias applied to Persia, not only to interfere in the
domestic affairs of a free state, but to reduce that state, his native
city, to the subjection of the satrap.  Is there any parallel between
these cases?  If not, what dulness in instituting it!  But the
dishonesty is equal to the dulness.  Herodotus, the only author Mr.
Mitford here follows, expressly declares (I. v., c. 96) that Hippias
sought to induce Artaphernes to subject Athens to the sway of the
satrap and his master, Darius; yet Mr. Mitford says not a syllable of
this, leaving his reader to suppose that Hippias merely sought to be
restored to his country through the intercession of the satrap.

[263] Herod., l. v., c. 96.

[264]  Aulus Gellius, who relates this anecdote with more detail than
Herodotus, asserts that the slave himself was ignorant of the
characters written on his scull, that Histiaeus selected a domestic
who had a disease in his eyes--shaved him, punctured the skin, and
sending him to Miletus when the hair was grown, assured the credulous
patient that Aristagoras would complete the cure by shaving him a
second time.  According to this story we must rather admire the
simplicity of the slave than the ingenuity of Histiaeus.

[265]  Rather a hyperbolical expression--the total number of free
Athenians did not exceed twenty thousand.

[266]  The Paeonians.

[267]  Hecataeus, the historian of Miletus, opposed the retreat to
Myrcinus, advising his countrymen rather to fortify themselves in the
Isle of Leros, and await the occasion to return to Miletus.  This
early writer seems to have been one of those sagacious men who rarely
obtain their proper influence in public affairs, because they address
the reason in opposition to the passions of those they desire to lead.
Unsuccessful in this proposition, Hecataeus had equally failed on two
former occasions;--first, when he attempted to dissuade the Milesians
from the revolt of Aristagoras: secondly, when, finding them bent upon
it, he advised them to appropriate the sacred treasures in the temple
at Branchidae to the maintenance of a naval force.  On each occasion
his advice failed precisely because given without prejudice or
passion.  The successful adviser must appear to sympathize even with
the errors of his audience.

[268]  The humane Darius--whose virtues were his own, his faults of
his station--treated the son of Miltiades with kindness and respect,
married him to a Persian woman, and endowed him with an estate.  It
was the habitual policy of that great king to attach to his dominions
the valour and the intellect of the Greeks.

[269]  Pausanias says, that Talthybius afterward razed the house of
Miltiades, because that chief instigated the Athenians to the
execution of the Persian envoys.

[270]  Demaratus had not only prevented the marriage of Leotychides
with a maiden named Percalos, but, by a mixture of violence and
artifice, married her himself.  Thus, even among the sober and
unloving Spartans, woman could still be the author of revolutions.

[271]  The national pride of the Spartans would not, however, allow
that their king was the object of the anger of the gods, and
ascribing his excesses to his madness, accounted for the last
by a habit of excessive drinking which he had acquired from the

[272]  Herod., l. 6, c. 94.

[273]  Ibid., l. 6, c. 107.

[274]  The sun and moon.

[275]  In his attack upon Herodotus, Plutarch asserts that the
Spartans did make numerous military excursions at the beginning of the
month; if this be true, so far from excusing the Spartans, it only
corroborates the natural suspicion that they acted in accordance, not
with superstition, but with their usual calculating and selfish policy
--ever as slow to act in the defence of other states as prompt to
assert the independence of their own.

[276]  Paus., l. 8, c. 5.

[277]  The exact number of the Athenians is certainly doubtful.
Herodotus does not specify it.  Justin estimates the number of
citizens at ten thousand, besides a thousand Plataeans: Nepos at ten
thousand in all; Pausanias at nine thousand.  But this total,
furnished by authorities so equivocal, seems incredibly small.  The
free population could have been little short of twenty thousand.  We
must add the numbers, already great, of the resident aliens and the
slaves, who, as Pausanias tells us, were then for the first time
admitted to military service.  On the other hand it is evident, from
the speech of Miltiades to Callimachus, and the supposed treachery of
the Alcmaeonidae, that some, nor an inconsiderable, force, was left in
reserve at Athens for the protection of the city.  Let us suppose,
however, that two thirds of the Athenian citizens of military age,
viz., between the ages of twenty and sixty, marched to Marathon (and
this was but the common proportion on common occasions), the total
force, with the slaves, the settlers, and the Plataean auxiliaries,
could not amount to less than fifteen or sixteen thousand.  But
whatever the precise number of the heroes of Marathon, we have ample
testimony for the general fact that it was so trifling when compared
with the Persian armament, as almost to justify the exaggeration of
later writers.

[278]  Plut. in Vit. Aris. Aristid., pro Quatuor Vias, vol. ii., p.
222, edit. Dindorf.

[279]  In his graceful work on Athens and Attica, Mr. Wordsworth has
well observed the peculiar propriety of this reference to the examples
of Harmodius and Aristogiton, as addressed to Callimachus.  They were
from the same borough (aphidnae) as the polemarch himself.

[280]  The goddess of Athens was supposed to have invented a peculiar
trumpet used by her favoured votaries.

[281]  To raise the standard was the sign of battle.--Suidas, Thucyd.
Schol., c. 1.  On the Athenian standard was depicted the owl of
Minerva.--Plut. in Vit. Lysand.

[282]  Aeschyl. Persae.

[283]  Ibid.

[284]  Herod., l. 6., c. xii.

[285]  Plut. in Vit. Aristid.

[286]  Roos hespera.  Aristoph., Vesp 1080.

[287]  Justin, lib. ii., c. ix.

[288]  According, however, to Suidas, he escaped and died at Lemnos.

[289]  This incident confirms the expressed fear of Miltiades, that
delay in giving battle might produce division and treachery among some
of the Athenians.  Doubtless his speech referred to some particular
faction or individuals.

[290]  Plut. in Vit. Arist.

[291]  These apparitions, recorded by Pausanias, l. i., c. 33, are
still believed in by the peasantry.


*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Athens: Its Rise and Fall, Book II" ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.