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Title: Greek Imperialism
Author: Ferguson, William Scott
Language: English
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Professor of Ancient History
Harvard University


Boston and New York
Houghton Mifflin Company
The Riverside Press Cambridge

Copyright, 1913, by William Scott Ferguson

All Rights Reserved

Published September 1913



This book contains seven lectures, six of which were delivered at the
Lowell Institute in Boston during February, 1913. In the first of them
the main lines of imperial development in Greece are sketched. In the
others I have tried to characterize, having regard rather to clearness
than to novelty or completeness, the chief imperial growths which
arose in Greece during the transformance of city-states from ultimate
to constituent political units. I hope that these discussions of the
theory and practice of government in the empires of Athens, Sparta,
Alexander, the Ptolemies, Seleucids, and Antigonids will be found
useful by the general reader, and especially by the student of politics
and history. The idea I wish particularly to convey, however, is that
there was continuity of constitutional development within the whole
period. The city-state, indeed, reached its greatest efficiency in the
time of Pericles, but the federation of city-states was being still
perfected two hundred years afterwards. In government, as in science,
the classic period was but the youthful bloom of Greece, whereas its
vigorous maturity--in which it was cut down by Rome--came in the
Macedonian time.

Briefly stated, my thesis is this: The city-states of Greece were
unicellular organisms with remarkable insides, and they were incapable
of growth except by subdivision. They might reproduce their kind
indefinitely, but the cells, new and old, could not combine to form
a strong nation. Thus it happened that after Athens and Sparta had
tried in vain to convert their hegemonies over Greece into empires, a
cancerous condition arose in Hellas, for which the proper remedy was
not to change the internal constitutions of city-states, as Plato and
Aristotle taught, but to change the texture of their cell walls so as
to enable them to adhere firmly to one another. With a conservatism
thoroughly in harmony with the later character of the Greek people, the
Greeks struggled against this inevitable and salutary change. But in
the end they had to yield, saving, however, what they could of their
urban separateness, while creating quasi-territorial states, by the use
of the federal system and deification of rulers. These two contrivances
were, accordingly, rival solutions of the same great political problem.
Nothing reveals more clearly the limitations of Greek political theory
than that it takes no account either of them or of their antecedents.

 Cambridge, Mass., June, 1913.



      I. DEFINITIONS      1-5

      1. Of empire, 1.

      2. Of emperor, 3.

      3. Of imperialism, 4.

      II. THE CITY-STATE      6-19

      1. Its origin, 6.

      2. Its characteristics, 9.

      _a._ Fusion of agricultural, trading, industrial, and commercial
       classes, 9.

      _b._ Theory of common descent of citizens, 13.

      _c._ So-called worship of the dead, 14.

      _d._ Educative power of the laws, 16.

      _e._ Municipality and nation in one, 17.


      1. Symmachia the basis of the Peloponnesian league, 20.

      _a._ Support of oligarchies, 21.

      2. Stasis, or civil war, 22.

      3. Symmachia the basis of the Athenian empire, 23.

      _a._ Support of democracies, 23.

      _b._ Maintenance of the union, 24.

      IV. FAILURE OF HEGEMONIES      25-30

      1. The idea of proportionate representation, 27.


      1. Grant of Polity, or citizenship, 30.

      2. Grant of Isopolity, or reciprocity of citizenship, 31.

      3. Grant of Sympolity, or joint citizenship, 32.


      1. Deification of kings, 35.



      1. Themistocles, 39.

      2. Pericles, 41.




      1. Ecclesia and heliæa; their conjoined activity, 49.

      2. The council of the 500 and the committees of magistrates, 51.

      _a._ The ten prytanies, 52.

      _b._ Election by lot; annual tenure of office; rotation, 52, 53, 55.

      3. The ecclesia an assembly of high-class amateurs, 57.

      _a._ Its use of experts, 58.

      _b._ Its choice of a leader: ostracism, 60.

      4. The economic basis of democracy, 61.

      _a._ The place of slavery: simply a form of capital, 61.

      _b._ The object of indemnities: political equality, 64.

      V. THE EMPIRE      65-78

      1. The advantages of sea power, 66.

      2. The demands of the fleet, 68.

      3. The complaints made against Athens, 70.

      _a._ Misuse of tribute money, 71.

      _b._ Misuse of judicial authority, 72.

      _c._ Seizure of land in subject territory, 73.

      _d._ Extirpation of the best, 74.

      4. The destruction of the empire, 75.


      I. SPARTA IN HISTORY      79-97

      1. Crushing of early Spartan culture, 81.

      2. The military life of the Spartans, 84.

      3. The effect of the Perioec ring-wall, 85, 88.

      _a._ The Peloponnesian league: 550-370 B.C., 88.

      _b._ The Hellenic league: 405-395 B.C., 89.

      4. The hollowness of the Spartan hegemony, 90-95.

      _a._ Cinadon, 91.

      5. The age of reaction, 96, 97.

      _a._ Urban particularism, 96.

      _b._ The ancestral constitution, 96.


      1. Plato, 99-107.

      _a._ Neglect of History, 99.

      _b._ Plato's hatred of democracy, 102.

      _c._ His idealization of Sparta, 107.

      2. Aristotle, 107-114.

      _a._ Relation to history, 108.

      _b._ Aristotle's hatred of imperialism, 110, 113.

      _c._ Comparison of his Politics with the Prince of Machiavelli, 111.

      _d._ Aristotle's failure to let "strength" operate in international
        politics, 114.



      _a._ Alexander and Philip, 116.

      _b._ Alexander and Aristotle, 119, 135, 147.


      1. The destruction of Thebes, 123.

      2. The visit to Troy, 124.

      3. The Gordian knot, 125.

      4. The visit to the oasis of Siwah, 126, 139.

      5. The burning of the palace of the Persian kings, 129.

      6. The discharge of the Greek contingents, 130.

      7. _Proskynesis_, 131.

      8. The great marriage at Susa, 136.

      9. The _proskynesis_ of the city-states, 147.


      I. HISTORY OF THE PTOLEMIES      149-160

      1. Third period of Ptolemaic history: 80-30 B.C., 151.

      _a._ Ptolemy the Piper, 152.

      _b._ Cleopatra the Great, 152.

      2. First period of Ptolemaic history: 323-203 B.C., 155.

      _a._ Ptolemy I. Soter: 323-283 B.C., 150, 155.

      _b._ Ptolemy II. Philadelphus: 285-246 B.C., 156.

      _c._ Ptolemy III. Euergetes: 246-222 B.C., 159, 179.

      _d._ Ptolemy IV. Philopator: 222-203 B.C., 160, 179.

      II. EMPIRE OF THE PTOLEMIES      160-182

      1. Grounds of the imperial policy of the early Ptolemies, 160.

      _a._ Pride of possession, 160.

      _b._ Checkmating enemies, 161.

      _c._ Commercial advantages, 161.

      _d._ Domestic policy, 162.

      2. Triple theory of Ptolemaic state, 162.

      _a._ For Egyptians, 162.

      _b._ For Greek city-states, 163.

      _c._ For Macedonians, 166.

      3. The Ptolemaic army, 167.

      _a._ Origin, 168.

      _b._ Distribution of, in Egypt, 172.

      _c._ Influence of, upon natives, 176.

      _d._ Becomes immobile, 242-222 B.C., 179.

      _e._ Opened to Egyptians, 180.

      4. Second or domestic period of Ptolemaic history, 200-80 B.C., 180.

      _a._ Absorption of Greek by native population, 181.


      I. HISTORY OF THE SELEUCIDS      183-194

      1. Antigonus the One-eyed, creator of the realm, 183.

      2. Century and a half of progress, 184-190.

      _a._ Seleucus I: 312-281 B.C., 184.

      _b._ Antiochus I, Soter: 281-262 B.C., 185.

      _c._ Antiochus II, Theos: 262-246 B.C., 185.

      _d._ Seleucus II, Callinicus: 246-226 B.C., 186.

      _e._ Seleucus III, Soter: 226-223 B.C.

      _f._ Antiochus III, The Great: 223-187 B.C., 187.

      _g._ Seleucus IV: 187-175 B.C.

      _h._ Antiochus IV, The God Manifest: 175-164 B.C., 190, 213.

      3. Century of decline: 164-163 B.C., 190.

      4. External agents of destruction, 190.

      _a._ Rome disarms Seleucids, incites revolt, and keeps alive dynastic
       struggles, 190.

      _b._ Indo-Scythians (Yue Tchi) occupy East Iran,

      5. Internal agencies: revolt of Jews, Parthians, Armenians, 191, 192.


      1. Seleucus I, heir of Alexander's ideas, 195.

      2. Founding of city-states, 196.

      3. Priestly communities and feudal states, how treated, 197.

      4. Royal villages, how managed, 203, 205.

      5. Land either property of king or of city-states, 204.

      6. City-states, how far they Hellenized Asia, 206.

      7. Relations of king to city-states, 208.

      8. Comparison of Syria and Italy, 210.

      9. Policy of Antiochus IV: conflict with Jews; submission to
      Rome, 212.




      1. War, 215.

      2. Government--a constitutional and not an absolute monarchy, 216.

      3. Culture, 216.



      1. Antigonus I--the exponent of unity in Græco-Macedonian world, 218.

      2. Demetrius Poliorcetes--the adventurer, 219.

      3. Antigonus and Demetrius not really kings of Macedon, 220.

      V. ANTIGONUS GONATAS      222-234

      1. Training got in Greece and Macedon, 222.

      2. Peace with Asia and Egypt, 223.

      _a._ Inroad of Pyrrhus, 223.

      3. Protected Greece from northern barbarians, 224.

      4. Governs Greece by "tyrannies," 224.

      5. Stoic justification of "tyranny," 225.

      6. Ptolemy Philadelphus opposes Antigonus in Greece, 226.

      7. Rise of the _ethne_, 228.

      8. Struggle with Egypt for sea power, 229.

      _a._ Aratus seizes Sicyon: Alexander rebels, 230.

      _b._ The Laodicean War saves Antigonus, 231.

      _c._ Possessions of Antigonus at end of struggle, 233.


      VII. THE FEDERAL MOVEMENT      235-240

      1. _Ethne_ become leagues, 236.

      2. The city-state the federal unit, 237.

      3. The league lacks an _hegemon_, 238.

      4. Monarchical traits, 239.

      5. Relation of federal to local authorities, 239.

      VIII. DEMETRIUS II      240-241

      1. War with Achæans and Ætolians, 241.

      IX. FALL OF THE ACHÆAN LEAGUE      241-242

      1. Treachery of the Ætolians, 241.

      2. Desertion of Egypt, 242.

      3. Policy of Antigonus Doson, 242.

      4. Cleomenes of Sparta, 242.


      1. Leagues, not cities, the units, 243.

      2. Macedon a unit, 243.

      3. League assemblies recognized as sovereign authorities, 244.

      4. Military weakness, 244.

      XI. PHILIP IV AND THE LEAGUE      245-248

      1. The Social War, 246.

      2. The Roman peril: speech of Agelaus of Naupactus, 246.

      3. End of Hellenic independence, 248.





It is my purpose in this opening chapter to define some terms which I
shall have to use repeatedly in the book; to make a somewhat detailed
examination of the character of the Greek states whose political
integrity was threatened by imperialism; to trace the development of
imperialism to its culmination in the divine monarchy of Alexander the
Great and his successors; and, at the same time, to arrange a general
political setting for the topics to be discussed in the six succeeding

       *       *       *       *       *

An empire is a state formed by the rule of one state over other states.
It is immaterial in this connection what form of government the
ruling people prefers. Power may be exercised there by a monarchy, an
oligarchy, or a majority without altering in any essential the relation
of the sovereign to its dependencies. Still less does it matter whether
the subject people is governed by the one, the few, or the many; for
all kinds of governments may exist, and have existed, in dependencies.

Naturally, an empire is compatible with any kind of an administrative
service among both governors and governed. The suzerain may attend
to its affairs with the aid of professional and specially trained
officials, as in a bureaucracy; and a vassal may entrust the details of
its public business to successive fractions of its citizens, as in some
republics: no imperial relation is established unless separate states
or parts of states are involved. But when these are related in a whole
as superiors and inferiors, an empire at once arises.

The relation of inferiority and superiority is, however, essential
in any empire. In modern times this is acknowledged with the utmost
frankness. Upon the higher capacity for government claimed by the
Christian peoples, the Western cultures, or the Anglo-Saxons, as the
case may be, modern pride, greed, or conscience bases its right to
control inferior races. "Take up the white man's burden" is the modern
substitute for the ancient commandment, "Go ye into all the world and
preach the Gospel to every creature." The possession of a better rule
of public life imposes--it is affirmed--a missionary obligation no less
weighty than the possession of a special rule of eternal life.

Less exasperating, perhaps, than this assumption of moral and political
superiority is the candid profession of the right of the stronger.
The right of conquest gives a title which is valid in international
law when every other right is lacking. When superiority is stipulated
to be absent, the product is a federation or something similar from
which the name empire is withheld. When, in course of time, superiority
dies out till a common right eventually embraces subject and sovereign
alike, a new state arises, to which, as in the case of the present-day
British world, the title empire is applied with some impropriety.

There is, however, still another kind of empire. In it the superior
authority is not a people, but an individual. He is called an emperor,
and his family a dynasty. His authority is bestowed, as the present
German Emperor said at Königsberg in 1910, not by "parliaments, and
meetings, and decisions of the peoples, but by the grace of God alone."
He is "a chosen instrument of Heaven," to speak with the same high
authority, and "goes his way without regard to the views and opinions
of the day." An emperor, thus defined, is not properly a part of his
state at all. He stands outside of it, and is equal or superior to it.
He is a state unto himself; and his jurisdiction is not domestic but
imperial, in that he exercises dominion over another state. _L'état
c'est moi_ is an imperfect definition of this kind of empire, however;
for it presumes the absence of political organization and activity
among the subjects of the emperor. It presumes the permanency of the
condition of absolute surrender (_deditio_) which, with the Romans,
prefaced the work of restoration--the reëstablishment of civil rights
within an enlarged state. In actual experience, moreover, a complete
autocracy never exists. The will of every emperor is bound by the
legislation which he has himself enacted, or accepted with the throne
from his predecessor. If responsible to nothing else, he is responsible
to his own past. He may withdraw his charters: he cannot violate them
with impunity.

       *       *       *       *       *

The policy by which a people or an autocrat acquires and maintains an
empire, we call imperialism. The term is, of course, a legacy from
Rome--a mute witness to the peculiar importance of the Roman empire in
the history of state-building. And, I suppose, it is the policy of Rome
that we think of most instinctively when we allude to imperialism. This
is by no means an accident. For not simply the type, but also many of
the most noteworthy varieties of this kind of policy, are found in the
experience of the Romans; and the course of political progress has been
such that in the triumph of Rome imperialism reached its logical issue
more closely than either before or since in the history of the world.

For the logical issue of a thorough-going imperial policy--one in which
the possession of physical ability may be presupposed--is the formation
of an universal empire. And, in fact, the two most powerful and ardent
imperialists of antiquity, Alexander the Great and Julius Cæsar,
aimed to include in their dominions the entire inhabitable world.
This issue was, however, never more nearly reached than in the long
period before and after the Christian era during which only shifting
nomads and intractable Parthians disputed successfully the will of the
Roman Senate and the orders of the Roman emperors. For five hundred
years after the triumph of Constantine the universality of the Roman
empire was as mandatory in men's thinking as was the catholicity of
the Christian Church. "There are many 'empires' in the world to-day,"
says Professor Bury[1] in explaining the coronation of Charlemagne
in 800 A.D., "but in those days men could only conceive of one, the
Roman _imperium_, which was simple and indivisible; two Roman empires
were unimaginable. There might be more than the one emperor; but these
others could only be legitimate and constitutional if they stood to
him in a collegial relation." How thoroughly the Romans impressed the
concept of universality upon the term empire may be judged by the fact
that, in the face of all realities, the Frankish monarchs at Aachen
and the Greek kings at Constantinople ruled as colleagues a Roman
empire which stretched from the borders of Armenia to the shores of the

Transcendent as is the imperial achievement of the Romans, and
unrivaled as is the political sagacity with which they consolidated
their power and made it enduring, it must still be recognized that
they were the heirs, in war, diplomacy, and government, of the Greeks,
their predecessors. They worked with greater power and with larger
units than did the Spartans and the Athenians. They benefited by
the brilliant inventions and the costly errors of the Macedonians
whose kingdoms they destroyed. But their success simply brought to a
culmination the imperial movement in which Sparta, Athens, and Macedon
were worthy co-workers. It is our task in this series of essays to
examine in turn the imperial experiments by which the Greeks not only
won a field for the display of their own talents, but also prepared the
way for the unification of the ancient world in the empire of Rome.

       *       *       *       *       *

I alluded a moment ago to the smallness of the units with which the
imperial policy of Sparta and Athens had to deal. Before proceeding in
the latter part of this chapter to trace the development of the forms
by which imperialism was obscured, evaded, and ultimately justified in
Greece, I should like to try to make clear the qualities which rendered
the little Hellenic communities so hard for imperial digestion. In
classic Greece, as in renascence Italy, the city was the state. It
had not always been so; for in the past the land had been at one time
in the possession of rudimentary nations, called _ethne_. But in the
classic epoch these loose organisms persisted only in certain backward
regions in the west and north. Elsewhere city-states had everywhere
made their appearance as early as the sixth century B.C.

The circumstances in which these city-states arose are shrouded in the
mystery which surrounds most beginnings. They, accordingly, present all
the better opportunity for the construction of a theory; and perhaps
the theory which had once the greatest vogue is that enunciated by
Fustel de Coulanges in his brilliant book on _The Ancient City_. Of its
main propositions, however,--that each city-state came into being at a
single moment; that it was an artificial structure deliberately modeled
on the preëxistent family; that the family was a religious association
created and organized for the worship of ancestors; that the spirits of
ancestors were the first gods, or, indeed, were gods at all,--not one
has stood the test of a searching inquiry. On the contrary, it seems
established that the city-state was the result of a natural growth, and
that the incidents which accompanied its development, while varied and
numerous, were all manifestations of political progress. Growth in the
direction of a large number of distinct states was natural in Greece in
view of the well-known physical features of the country; but the study
of geography does not explain why these states were cities. For the
true explanation of this phenomenon we must not confine our observation
to Greece. Broadly speaking, high culture is everywhere city-bred, and
the cities have regularly been the leaders in political development.
In Babylonia that was the case, though the urban centres there were
dominated from a very early date by Semitic tribes from the desert.
Free cities, like Tyre and Sidon, were the prime sources of Phoenician
enterprise. The home of Roman law and government was a city, and when
Italy led the world a second time, she was a complex of city-states.
The Hanse towns and the Flemish communes, the chartered cities of
England and France, acquired political liberty or political rights long
before the rest of Central Europe. Where, in fact, the cities have not
been the mother, and the territorial states simply the foster-mother,
of freedom and culture, exceptional conditions have existed--such as
the need of regulating the Nile's overflow in Egypt, and the model and
influence of the Roman empire in Mohammedan and Christian Europe.

The city enables men to coöperate easily. In it ideas and feelings
spread quickly. Life, property, and privileges are there protected by
walls, and, if need be, by street barricades. "Two voices are there,"
wrote Wordsworth in 1807, his vision limited by the peril of England
and Switzerland,--

              "one is of the sea,
  One of the mountains; each a mighty Voice:
  In both from age to age thou didst rejoice,
  They were thy chosen music, Liberty."

The voice of a city mob--that of Rome, Alexandria, Constantinople,
Florence, or Paris, for example--was generally raucous and often cruel.
But it made tyrants tremble and limited absolutism when the fear of
assassination was powerless.

Fortunately, it is not with the origins, but with the characteristics,
of the Greek city-states that we have to do mainly when we seek to
discover the grounds of their hatred of all imperialistic projects.
Let us, therefore, try to form a concrete impression of the salient
features of the hundreds of little states with which the progressive
parts of Greece were honeycombed at the beginning of the classic
period, in the sixth century B.C. Each political cell, so to speak, had
its nucleus in a walled town and its substance in a small circuit of
grain, pasture, and garden land which the inhabitants of the town owned
and cultivated. Most of the towns were simply hives of farmers. Whether
the farmers were landlords, small proprietors, or peasants; however
much they were divided by lines of social cleavage, they were all able
to meet on the common ground of a single occupation. And every day from
March to November, from the out-cropping of the grass and foliage in
the spring, through the season of the grain harvest, the vintage, and
the picking of the olives, to the fall planting and seeding, the ebb
and flow of agricultural life carried the population of the city to the
country in the morning and back to the city again in the evening.

There were few towns in Greece whose land did not touch the sea;
and from the sea another harvest was gathered. Fishing existed, of
course; but that was not all. Transmarine commerce is never wholly
absent in any maritime country. In Greece it was especially favored
by the difficulties of land transit, and by the excellence of the
highways which the sea laid while carving the country up into a
myriad of islands, head-lands, and estuaries. Hence, by the opening
of the sixth century B.C. a second town had generally appeared on
the coast of each little state when the chief town had developed, as
was commonly the case, a few miles inland. In the new settlement the
tone was set by the sailor-folk and the traders; in the old centre
by the landed proprietors and the peasants. But the landlords were
frequently merchants, and the peasants could easily attach work-places
(_ergasteria_) to their houses--which, though in the towns, were
really farmhouses--and become manufacturers in a small way; while
it was regularly the ambition of a trader or seaman to crown a
successful career by buying a farm, a ranch, or an orchard. There
was, accordingly, a very close connection between urban and agrarian
pursuits and interests.

It is true that with the Greek occupation of the coasts of the
Mediterranean and Black Seas in the seventh century B.C. some Greek
towns, like Miletus, Samos, Corinth, Ægina, Chalcis, and Eretria,
became cities in the modern sense of the term, with commercial and
industrial interests predominant. But even there the advantages of
urban life were within reach of the farmers, as well as of the traders,
artisans, and merchants, since all alike were residents of the city.
The only difference was that life in those cities was more rich and
diversified than elsewhere.

The contrast between life in cities, with its complex social
organization, its playhouses, its excitements, its stimuli to effort
and to vice, its intolerance of oddities in manners and dress, and life
in the country, with its simplicity which degenerates so easily into
brutality, its monotony, its fanaticism in the pursuit of wealth, its
contempt for the effeminacy of the shopkeeper, its piety and sobriety
which easily accord with a longing to see the world and the wickedness
thereof--this contrast which is so distressing an aspect of life in
modern America, was almost entirely absent in classic Greece, at least
among the enfranchised part of the population.

None of the cities was so large as to shut off the view of the country.
After only a few minutes' walk Socrates and his companions might escape
from the noise and confusion of Athens into the cool and fragrant
groves of the suburbs. It was probably only into the biggest of the
Greek cities that the olive trees and the grapevines did not push, as
they and the late-come orange and lemon orchards push into the modern
Greek hamlets. Even in Athens the crowing of the cock sounded the
reveille for almost everybody, and it would never have come into the
mind of an Athenian to suggest, as has been done in Boston, that a zoo
should be stocked first with the common varieties of the domesticated
animals. There is, says a French writer, a flavor of the barnyard
about the comedies of Aristophanes. Yet this is the same Athens in
which there were engaged in the building trades alone, according to
Plutarch, carpenters, moulders, bronze-smiths, stone-cutters, dyers,
veneerers in gold and ivory, painters, embroiderers, embossers,
factors, sailors, pilots, wagon-makers, trainers of yoked beasts,
drivers, rope-makers, weavers, cobblers, road-builders, and miners.
This, too, is the Athens into which, as an ancient Athenian wrote, were
swept, because of its maritime empire, the choice things of Sicily and
Italy, of Cyprus, and Egypt, and Lydia, of Pontus and Peloponnesus,
and many another place besides. When the farmer lived side by side in
Athens, the largest city in the whole Greek world, with the trader
and the artisan, the fusion of town and country must have been still
more complete in the forty-three cities of Crete, the ten cities of
Euboea, and the four cities of Ceos--an island only ten miles broad and
fourteen long. This being the case, economic conditions tended to make
the citizens of each state homogeneous to a degree foreign in modern
experience; for, however rapid be its approach, the age has not yet
arrived in America in which the "country is to be urbanized"; in which,
to speak with a recent essayist,[2] farming is to be "of necessity
a specialized department of urban life"; "the task of agricultural
production is to be taken over by the classes of modern industrial
organization; by the capitalist, the manager and the laborer"; in
which "there is to be a continual shifting of laborers of the poorer
classes back and forth between the town and the country," and "the
distinction implied in the terms 'townsman' and 'countryman' is to be

Whether our essayist be right or wrong in his forecast of the future of
farming in America, we will not stop to discuss. It is enough to point
out that the early age of Greece was such a one as he desiderates; that
then life was exclusively and uniformly urban: with the result that
the entire population of any given city-state could be regarded as
merely a great family. And it not only could be, but it was in fact so
regarded. Were not all citizens descendants of a common ancestor? This
query aristocrats might answer in the negative, mindful of the special
god or demigod of whom each nobleman thought himself the offspring. But
his negative was generally qualified by the admission that he, too,
if he were an Athenian, had Zeus and Apollo--Zeus of the home-stead
and Apollo of the fatherland--as his progenitors; that he, too, like
all his fellow-citizens, was a descendant of Ion and a foster-child of
Athena. The gods and goddesses of the Greeks were their creators in the
literal physical sense of the word. Men projected backward, even to the
age of the gods and heroes, with which the world began, the fact of
paternity to which all animal origins were attributable; and since each
city had its peculiar demigods, from which its citizens were directly
sprung, all its inhabitants were bound to one another by a peculiar tie
of blood.

The family aspect of the Greek city is accentuated by the fact that the
town hall was a town hearth; that the chief subdivisions of citizens
were brotherhoods, and that all permanent associations of them for
public purposes assumed the descent of their several members from
common ancestors, who were naturally gods or demigods. When heroes
had to be discovered, with the help of the Pythian prophetess, to act
as progenitors for the groups of citizens artificially united in the
new electoral divisions which Clisthenes established in Athens in 508
B.C., it is conceivable that popular regard for purity of stock helped
Pericles to enact the notorious law of 451 B.C. limiting citizenship at
Athens to those sprung from the legitimate union of Athenian parents.
Every city in Greece inherited from its distant tribal past a strong
feeling of the kinship of its inhabitants, in comparison with which the
sense of ethnic and racial unity was weak and watery. To destroy the
political identity of a city was like taking human life.

We must make allowance, moreover, in appraising the strength of
local attachments among both Greeks and Romans, for their beliefs as
to the fate of the dead. The ancient world, like modern Japan, was
saturated with the idea that the spirits of departed ancestors needed
the ministrations of the living. Without the meat and drink which the
relatives brought to the grave; without the coins--or the articles of
use and pleasure which money might buy--that were buried with the body;
without the covering of earth that was strewn over the dead, loved ones
might lack life altogether in the underworld, or might lack everything
that made the spirit life tolerable. "The beasts of the field and the
birds of the air," rang the impassioned plea of Tiberius Gracchus[3]
in introducing his agrarian reforms, "have their holes and their
hiding-places, but the men who fight and die for Italy enjoy but the
blessings of light and air. Our generals urge their soldiers to fight
for the graves and the shrines of their ancestors. The appeal is idle
and false. You cannot point to a paternal altar. You have no ancestral
tomb. No! you fight and die to give wealth and luxury to others. You
are called the masters of the world: yet there is no clod of earth that
is really yours." Plutarch, with a touch which shows that despite his
modernity he belongs to the civilization which he interprets, tells us
that the Athenians before Salamis were disposed to count victory dear
which was purchased by the desertion of the temples and the tombs of
their fathers. No man who neglected the plot where his dead lay might
hold the chief magistracies in Athens. The soil of his fatherland was
thus in a peculiar sense holy ground to the citizen of a Greek city. He
might leave it, but not to an enemy; and if he were, like Æneas, the
last of his family, he was expected to carry his Lares and Penates
with him. Into a pit dug on the new site every companion of Romulus,
we are told in a legend which merely transfers into the past later-day
practice, threw a morsel of earth brought from his old home land. This
he did not simply from an intensification of the feeling which led the
Scotch girl in the well-known ballad to take with her, when starting
for America, not baggage, but sods from her mother's grave. He did it
from the sentiment which led General Nogi the other day to provide for
the spirits of his ancestors before committing suicide. Thereby the
colonist brought his dead along with him to the new city. The Greeks
and the Romans had, accordingly, a very special reason for local
patriotism. Like the Hebrew Christians, they were "also compassed about
with so great a crowd of witnesses."

We have made our peace with economics by considering first the
effect of occupation and residence in giving to the citizens of each
city-state solidarity of interest and attitude. We have dwelt a little
on the force which beliefs as to their origin and their destiny
hereafter exerted in keeping the city-states apart. We have still to
notice the centrifugal influence on the Greek race of their urban
institutions and politics.

Each city in Greece had its own laws and customs. These were not, as
with us, cold abstractions, but real, ever active, almost living,
personal forces, moulding incessantly their subjects according to
a given model. The citizens of each city had, in fact, a general
family resemblance, due to the imprint set upon them by their social
and political institutions. Cities acquired by this means clear-cut
individualities which were capable of definition, not simply by
narrating their history, but also in terms of physical, intellectual,
and emotional qualities. We may illustrate this point by observing
that the Hellenes created one literary type which we have not borrowed
from them: they wrote the biographies of cities as well as of men.
Their philosophers studied the effects upon urban character of climate,
prevailing winds and pursuits, location with reference to the sun and
the sea, contact with foreigners, and other similar agencies. They
even had specifics which they prescribed for the physiological and
pathological ills of cities, just as our sciolists, on a much more
slender basis of facts, however, diagnose the diseases and classify the
good and evil qualities of nations.

The truth is that cities meant to all the Greeks what (and much
besides) the city and the nation combined mean to those of us who do
not live in the country. They were the source and object at once of
municipal and national pride. The problems which city-states had to
consider and solve were not simply those in which good citizens find it
so hard nowadays to develop a wholesome interest. Questions of police,
education, public works, appointments; conflicts of racial, sectional,
class, and religious ambitions; rivalries with neighboring cities for
commercial, political, and cultural leadership--controversies of
this order are common to all cities in all times and places. But the
politics of the Greek cities had a high seriousness of their own. Each
town had its own foreign policy to determine, its own army to train
and direct, its own church to equip with shrines and deities, its own
gods to honor with games and tragedies. Every move on the complex
chessboard of the Mediterranean world might be pregnant with meaning
to it. On one day it might decide that the time had come to seize
some borderland in dispute with its immediate neighbors. On another
it might conclude an alliance which imposed the obligation to wage a
great war against frightful odds. On another the subject of voting
might be the recognition of a new god or goddess, which, in fact,
was often tantamount to a new creation. And in considering all these
matters citizens were simply doing what their fathers and forefathers
had done from time immemorial. Memories of great actions done in olden
times were preserved by monuments of bronze or marble, and revived
annually by appropriate ceremonies. Legend and fact, blended in an
edifying tradition,--the repository of the yearnings and ideals of dead
generations,--inspired the living to bear themselves worthily in all
national crises. "Love thou thy land with love far-brought from out the
storied past" was an admonition of which Greek cities of the classic
epoch stood in little need. The mischief was that the land which they
loved was not all Greece, but merely the territory of a single town.

The national fanaticism of the countries of modern Europe is probably
more tolerant of foreign interference than was the passionate
patriotism of the little urban units with which the imperial policy of
Athens and Sparta had to deal.

       *       *       *       *       *

If you were to look at a map of Greece which distinguished the states,
and not the meaningless ethnical or tribal divisions of the people,
you would observe that from the outset Sparta and Athens were destined
to greatness, if by nothing else, by the size and material resources
of their territories. They were, however, themselves city-states, and
inferior to none in the strength with which they held to the conviction
that no greater humiliation could befall them than to have to submit to
the domination of another city or the will of a foreign lord. With what
show of reason, therefore, could they adopt a policy of imperialism?
They had to deal with Greeks, and not with barbarians. Hence they could
not invoke in the interest of their ambition the convenient doctrine
that inferior races need a political guardian.

In estimating the territory of Sparta we have included in it not simply
the land of the citizens which the serfs or Helots tilled for them,
but also the much larger, but less valuable, mass of enveloping land
which belonged to the Periœcs; for the hamlets of the latter were
really Spartan municipalities. It was, moreover, with the resources of
the whole complex that Sparta held the Peloponnesians united under
her leadership for one hundred and eighty years (550-370 B.C.). On the
other hand, it was with the combined strength of the Peloponnesians
that Sparta broke up the Athenian empire in 405 B.C., and widened the
area of her leadership so as to include all Hellas. Thereafter Sparta's
Peloponnesian league was simply the core of a general Hellenic league.
The question is: What position did Sparta occupy in it?

Her legal rights rested solely upon a treaty of alliance (_symmachia_)
which she had struck with each city in the league. But there can be
no doubt that she had often secured the treaty in the first place by
force, and that she interfered thereafter in the local affairs of both
the Peloponnesian and the other Hellenic allies in a way not provided
by its stipulations. But, however outrageous her conduct might be in
fact, it was never formally reprehensible so long as the interference
achieved its object. This was to establish or maintain, first against
tyranny, and later against democracy, an aristocratic government in the
allied cities. Since the aristocrats were always in a minority, they
were bound to invite Spartan intervention for their own defense. Hence
it was only when they failed to retain control of the government that
an ally could regard Sparta's intermeddling as anything but the welcome
act of a friendly power. "Perhaps some one may expostulate," writes
a pamphleteer in 400 B.C. while commending to his fellow-citizens of
Larisa a proposal that they join the Hellenic league;[4] "but Sparta
sets up an oligarchy everywhere. That is true. But it is such a one
as we prayed and yearned for for ages, and lost when we had enjoyed
it for but a brief moment. Just compare the oligarchy they favor with
the one we have already. Where is there a city in their domain, be it
ever so small, in which a third of the population does not take part
in public affairs? It is not by the Lacedæmonians, but by fortune,
that those who have no arms or other capacity for public service are
disfranchised. Their exclusion lasts only so long as their political
worthlessness. How do we stand by comparison? It's my belief that were
we to pray for a constitution we would not ask the gods for a different
one from that which Sparta wishes." To even moderate men who thought as
this speaker did, unruly Spartan garrisons seemed quite compatible with
local autonomy. They came to Larisa at the call of the home authorities
and remained at the disposal of those who called them. Their captains,
the long-haired harmosts, took orders and did not give them. Their
presence involved no suspension of the constitution, no violation of
the laws, no seizure of public revenues. Naturally, the two thirds
who were disfranchised thought differently; but it is a good rule
of international law that a foreign state deal with the Government,
and not with the Opposition. The, mischief of this system, in the
circumstances then existing in Greece, was that it bred civil war
within the cities. "War," says the Larisæan pamphleteer just quoted,
"is conceded to be the greatest of all evils by as much as peace is the
greatest of all blessings. Yet _stasis_, or civil war, as far exceeds
war in the magnitude of its evil as war exceeds peace." The incentive
to stasis was that Athens, with a naval power as irresistible as was
the land power of Sparta, and an equally imposing array of allies,
had long continued to reach out a supporting or encouraging hand to
the two thirds whom Sparta tried to keep down. Athens, too, was the
apostle of a great political idea, "the constitutional equality of the
many," and whenever she succeeded in putting those who believed in this
creed in control of an allied city, or in keeping them in control once
they had the advantage, her interference was formally justifiable or
at least justified. Not she, but the government she upheld, had the

With the outbreak of the great duel for national leadership between
Sparta and Athens which fills the final third of the fifth century
B.C., the war was carried in the form of stasis into every city of
the two confederacies. For the leaders of both the one third and the
two thirds, says Thucydides in a famous passage of his history of the
Peloponnesian War[5] "used specious names, the one professing to
uphold the constitutional equality of the many, the other the wisdom
of an aristocracy, while they made the public interests, to which in
name they were devoted, in reality their prize. Striving in every way
to overcome each other, they committed the most monstrous crimes;
yet even these were surpassed by the magnitude of their revenges,
which they pursued to the very utmost, neither party observing any
definite limits either of justice or public expediency, but both alike
making the caprice of the moment their law. Either by the help of an
unrighteous sentence, or grasping power with the strong hand, they were
eager to satiate the impatience of party spirit. Neither faction cared
for religion; but any fair pretence which succeeded in effecting some
odious purpose was greatly lauded. And the citizens who were of neither
party fell a prey to both; either they were disliked because they held
aloof, or men were jealous of their surviving. Thus stasis gave birth
to every form of wickedness in Greece." The singleness of purpose with
which Sparta made vocational training the aim of her public education
achieved the happy result that she had no men of letters to betray
to posterity damaging secrets of state. Hence no one has done for
her what Thucydides has done for Athens: let us have an insight into
the conscience of the city at the time of its greatness. With brutal
candor Cleon and others in Thucydides' narrative brush aside the formal
justification of the Athenian empire and lay bare the fact that it was
in reality a tyranny, a sovereignty exercised without a moral sanction,
one which self-respecting people had a solemn duty to overthrow. "You
should remember," said Cleon to the Athenians in 427 B.C.,[6] "that
your empire is a despotism exercised over unwilling subjects who are
always conspiring against you; they do not obey in return for any
kindness which you do them to your own injury, but in so far as you are
their mistress; they have no love of you, but they are held down by

Dependence upon Sparta or Athens was, in fact, regarded by none
of their allies except as the less of two evils: the greater was
dependence upon their domestic foes. Hence the tyranny just described
did not arise with the consent of the tyrannized. The allies of Athens
had consented to enter only into alliance (symmachia) with her on
stipulated terms and for a stipulated purpose--protection against
Persia. What they had neglected to stipulate was the time for which
they were to remain allies. Athens, accordingly, denied them the right
to secede, and when particular cities tried none the less to withdraw,
she made the preservation of the union a moral ground for coercion,
and with the aid of such cities as remained faithful, and the fleet
which she kept ready for action by the financial contributions of
all, she forced them back on terms such as a conqueror could dictate.
A new treaty of alliance was, however, the future, as it had been
the ancient, tie. And speaking broadly, we may affirm that in the
city-state world of classic Greece an empire was legally impossible:
what we, and the ancients, looking to realities, call an empire was an
aggregate knit together by treaties, the very formation of which shows
that we have to do, not with a single sovereign, but with a group of
sovereigns. In other words, the city remained the ultimate political
unit. The rule of Athens and Sparta was, strictly speaking, an hegemony
and not an _arche_; a shifting and temporary leadership, and not a
permanent suzerainty. It was a necessity of circumstances assumed to be

       *       *       *       *       *

Unfortunately, experience showed that the circumstances in which
imperialism was a political necessity recurred constantly. After the
fall of Athens in 404 B.C., a defensive war against the barbarians--the
Macedonians in Thessaly, the Persians in Ionia--served as a
justification to Sparta in employing force to maintain the hegemony
which she had won. But in 387 B.C. the peace known as the "King's
Peace," or the "Peace of Antalcidas," was concluded with Persia,
whereupon it became impossible to use any longer the national cause as
even a pretext for tyranny. The hegemony, however, was not abandoned.
It had to be maintained, it was alleged, to keep the other cities free,
and to this end Persia lent aid to Sparta and Thebes successively. If
an empire could only be prevented by an empire, and national recreancy
to boot, the times were surely out of joint. Such an issue was the
_reductio ad absurdum_ of the system of hegemonies, as both reformers
and statesmen in Greece came speedily to realize.

The reformers strove to alter the untoward circumstances, and in a
later chapter we shall have occasion to note how Plato and Aristotle,
with a blind faith in the power of education and of legislation, aimed
to divert citizens from work to leisure and from war to peace, and
both to eradicate the greed for land and money and to restrict the
natural increase of population to which they traced the imperialistic
spirit. Some of the statesmen followed their lead. Others, however,
conceding that unity was demanded for the preservation and spread of
civilization, and that the world needed not fewer but more Greeks,
either, like the great publicist Isocrates, advocated an hegemony on
the old lines but endowed with stability through being based on general
consent, or favored one of several new devices for welding cities into
a permanent territorial state. Respect for progress bids us to view at
this point somewhat narrowly these unitarian movements.

The position attained by Thebes in Greece after her victory over Sparta
at Leuctra in 371 B.C. was simply an hegemony of the earlier model--the
reoccupation of lines proved twice already to be untenable.[7] On the
other hand, the position occupied by Thebes in Boeotia prior to 387
B.C. was clearly anticipatory of what the future was to bring to Greece
as a whole. Boeotia was thereby blocked off into six districts,[8] one
(Thebes) with four electoral divisions, two (Orchomenus and Thespiæ)
with two each, and three with one apiece. Six of the ten city-states of
Boeotia--the six little lake cities--were confined to two of the eleven
divisions. This was a setback to them and a boon to Thebes, seeing that
each division furnished one of the eleven Boeotarchs who formed the
executive of the league, sixty of the six hundred and sixty councillors
who formed the Boeotian synod, and its corresponding share of the
league judges. Thebes thus became the Prussia of Boeotia, and in return
for the political advantages which it gained and four elevenths of the
revenues which it received, it undertook to provide four elevenths of
the soldiers and four elevenths of the taxes. In this way the burdens
and the advantages of the league were distributed according to the
population and wealth of the different parts of the country. That was
equitable; and since the city-states, though thrust into the background
and held responsible for decisions in the making of which they had
often little influence, formed a single _ethnos_ and spoke a single
dialect, they were evidently fairly well satisfied. As the league was
constituted, Thebes was forced to struggle with Orchomenus and Thespiæ
for the control of the six little lake cities. In this she was normally
successful--so successful, in fact, that in 387 B.C. Sparta, while
enforcing the King's Peace, dissolved the league in order to destroy
her influence. It was not revived when Thebes reunited Boeotia (377-371
B.C.), and under Epaminondas we may more properly speak of Boeotia as a
single city-state like Attica than as a league of city-states.

Though sacrificed at home to the ambition of Thebes, the Boeotian
league maintained a high prestige abroad. Some of its institutions
had been transferred to Athens during the revolution of 411 B.C., and
others had been adopted in Arcadia after they had been set aside in
Boeotia. Moreover, and this is an important historical connection which
the wonderful epigraphical researches of Adolph Wilhelm[9] enable us
to establish, the Boeotian league reappears _mutatis mutandis_ in the
organization imposed upon all Greece by Philip of Macedon after his
crowning victory at Chæronea in 338 B.C. For if we equate Philip and
the Committee of Public Safety with the eleven Boeotarchs, the synod
of Corinth with the Boeotian synod of six hundred and sixty, and the
districts into which Hellas, including Macedon and excluding only
Sparta, was divided for federal purposes, with the six districts which
had existed in Boeotia, it is evident that the political system used
by Philip for organizing the Greeks was borrowed from Boeotia no less
than the military system with which he conquered them. It was not for
nothing that the king of Macedon had spent his youth as a hostage in

Characteristic of the Boeotian league and of Philip's Hellenic league
is the synod. It was in each a strictly representative body. Its
members were apportioned to the area constituting the league in such a
way that the larger states had several representatives and the smaller
states had one representative between them; while in the Hellenic
league neighboring states and federated states were treated as a unit
and given proportional representation. That this made all but the
largest state--Macedon--the largest state's inferiors and subordinated
many city-states to the federal districts to which they belonged,
is obvious. And in this case loss of local liberty was compensated
for very imperfectly by the consideration that what the constituent
states surrendered the Hellenic synod, which met at Corinth, gained.
The national appeal was far weaker than the ethnic appeal had been in
Boeotia. The liberty lost had indeed been a bane and not a blessing.
After 338 B.C. the cities could no longer enjoy the excitement of
waging private wars and fomenting revolutions. No longer were they free
to be enemies of Philip. Henceforth they must contribute the quota of
horsemen, hoplites, light-armed troops, and sailors for which their
representation in the synod obligated them, or pay a heavy fine for
every day their contingents were absent from the national levy. The
synod completed its organization by choosing Philip its _hegemon_
by land and sea, and selected as its executive board a Committee of
Public Safety which seemingly had its sessions at Pydna. The committee
the confederates probably welcomed as a possible champion of their
interests. The unwelcome organ of the league, and the one for which
there was no parallel in Boeotia, was the hegemon. Subordination to
a synod was offensive enough to city-states which regarded complete
independence as alone ideal. It was intolerable to them to submit to
a synod which its hegemon, Philip of Macedon, controlled,--one which
could never have any one but the contemporary king of Macedon as its
hegemon. The hegemony of Macedon was sugar-coated, but it was none the
less an hegemony, and, as such, illegal and unacceptable.[10]

A notable start in the direction of uniting city-states legally in a
larger whole had been made by Athens during the epoch of her empire.
She had then founded many colonies (_cleruchies_), which, though
organized as separate cities, retained for their residents citizenship
in Athens. Why not grant citizenship (_polity_) to the inhabitants of
other cities as well? There were some, and among them the comedian
Aristophanes,[11] who canvassed this idea. "Let us assume," he says,
"that our city is a heap of wool, and that each of our allied cities
is a fleck of wool. Let us take all the wool and spin it into yarn,
and weave the yarn into a great blanket with which to protect our lord
Demos against the cold." But for this drastic measure the times were
not ripe. It was altogether repugnant to the pride of the Athenians
to share with everybody advantages which they had sacrificed so much
to acquire; and there was little in the advantages thus diluted to
compensate other cities for the at least partial loss of identity
which they were bound to sustain on acquiring Athenian citizenship.
In the one instance in which this course was taken, the Samians, to
whom Athens gave her full civic rights in the supreme agony of the
Peloponnesian War, had both earned them and come to appreciate them by
sacrificing their own territory rather than desert their ally.

Another less heroic expedient for bringing about a permanent _entente_
between cities was the grant of _isopolity_, or reciprocity of
citizenship. In certain cases this was the concession of the passive
rights of citizenship (_civitas sine suffragio_) to all citizens of a
particular city who should take up residence in, or even merely visit,
the territory of the grantor. Thus circumscribed, however, it amounted
simply to an exchange of commercial privileges, and proved barren of
political consequences in that each city reserved to itself complete
control of its own policy, thus rendering impossible any advance in
state building. It remained for the Romans to render this institution
fruitful to an astonishing degree by making the legal exercise of Roman
citizenship independent of migration to Rome.

Substantially the same result was achieved by the Greeks through what
they termed _sympolity_, or joint citizenship. This was possessed from
of old by rudimentary nations, like the Achæans and the Ætolians,[12]
among whom the towns and hamlets had never become independent and
self-sufficient political units; so that the inhabitants were Achæans
from Ægium, or Achæans from Cerynia, or Achæans from some other
of the ten so-called cities of which the Achæan nation or league
was constituted. In like fashion the Ætolian hamlets had a double
citizenship. An essential part of this scheme, evidently, was that each
city had an equal voice in the election of the officials of the league
and in the settlement of all federal matters. And so satisfactory a
safeguard of urban autonomy did this prove to be that in the last half
of the third century B.C. city after city in the Peloponnesus outside
the ancient limits of Achæa took the irrevocable step of acquiring
Achæan citizenship in addition to its own; while in Central Greece
the Ætolians by fair means or foul bestowed a dual citizenship upon
all their neighbors. Athens and Sparta alone persisted in their
isolation, the former on the strength of an international guarantee
of autonomy, the latter in stubborn reliance upon its own powers.
The other city-states entrusted to an international board, not for a
definite or indefinite term of years, but for all future time, complete
control of their foreign relations. Each city put permanently the
international authority between itself and the outside world, thus
escaping individual danger by the surrender of individual diplomacy.[13]

In this way arose what by the general consent of historians and jurists
is the most perfect state which antiquity produced. The antinomy
between the city-state and the imperial spirit which had existed for
centuries was reduced to a minimum by the nice balance of the federal

There were defects in the Achæan and Ætolian leagues which their
statesmen did not remove. "Equality," says Aristotle, "is just, but
only between equals." The cities which had an equal voice in the
international board, like the modern nations which cast a vote each at
the Hague Congress, were unequal in population and in wealth.

The Achæans and Ætolians came nearer than any ancient republicans to
entrusting power to representatives; but, besides creating a large
legislative council, constituted in successive years, in the one case,
of different fractions of the citizens of each city, and in the
other, of deputies apportioned to the constituent cities according
to their size, they showed the ingrained distrust held by all Greeks
for oligarchy by requiring the reference to a general assembly of all
matters of high importance.

How to satisfy the just claims of those whom distance or lack of
leisure prevented from coming to the meeting-place, they did not

However, it was not these institutional imperfections which prevented
the unification of Hellas in a single federation. For this result
could not now be achieved by any triumph of political science.
Antigonus Doson (229-221 B.C.) whose name ought not to be unknown where
Callicratidas, Agesilaus, Iphicrates, and Phocion are household words,
attempted with equal skill and generosity to combine the new federal
idea with the old idea of a representative national congress meeting
at Corinth under the hegemony of the king of Macedon;[14] but the best
that can be said of the combination he made is that despite its great
promise and possibilities it proved unacceptable to Hellas, and hence
ineffective.[15] The situation had now got beyond the control of the
Greek people. It may, perhaps, be realized best, if we imagine that
the European nations of to-day, weakened politically by continuous
emigration and incessant conflicts, economically, by the withdrawal
of industry and commerce to more favorably situated districts
under European control, let us say in the East, were to pool their
diplomatic and military interests, and entrust them, not to a European
parliament, but to warring Latin and Teutonic parliaments, and were to
take this step only to escape the Russian peril and when America was
already thundering at their shores, if that be imaginable, coming with
irresistible might, at once to save and to destroy.

To describe how the Roman republic emancipated Greece from Macedon,
impressed her will upon the Greek kingdoms of the East, and built
up a universal empire of diverse fragments, lies beyond the scope
of this book. We may note simply that to some cities she gave her
citizenship, or polity, thus destroying their identity altogether; that
to others she gave isopolity, or reciprocity of citizenship, and with
it the local advantages preserved in Greece by sympolity, or joint
citizenship, thus creating the municipality and organizing wards, so to
speak, of the city of Rome all over Italy; that some (the _socii_, or
Italian allies) she bound to herself by irrevocable treaties till she
was forced to give them municipal status, and others (the "friends,"
_amici_, or the "friends and allies," _amici et socii_, in what later
became the provinces) by understandings or temporary treaties till she
had familiarized herself with deification of rulers, which was the
Greek method of legalizing absolutism.

A word on this strange institution and I have finished this survey of
the expedients devised by the Greeks to obscure, evade, and finally
to justify imperialism. The Greek method of legalizing despotism was
Alexander the Great's genial adaptation to state building of an idea
which his tutor, Aristotle, had developed in his _Politics_.[16] It was
a means of uniting cities or provinces in an indissoluble whole while
preserving, on the one hand, the superiority and freedom of action of
the suzerain, be it an emperor or a republic, and, on the other hand,
the self-respect of the inferior states, without which their status
was politically intolerable. Deification of rulers did the impossible:
it reconciled completely the antinomy between the city-state and
imperialism. It resolved the antagonism into two harmonious duties; the
duty of the ruler to command and of the subject to obey.

To Alexander the Great governments have been in serious debt for over
two thousand years. From him to Kaiser Wilhelm II runs an unbroken
line. So long as the world had many gods and did not believe in the
supernatural power of any of them, there was no religious difficulty
in adding to its stock another such deity in the person of the living
monarch. With the decadence of polytheism, however, a slight change was
necessary. In Constantine's time god-kings suffered the same fate as
other pagan gods; but with a difference. The heathen gods became devils
or were metamorphosed into saints.

The kings became men chosen for their high office by God, Most High.
Crowned, usually by their predecessors, and anointed by God's priests,
the patriarchs, they governed by divine right and acknowledged
responsibility only to their Creator.[17] In a less ecclesiastical
world, as in modern Prussia, the kings crown themselves. But with these
later developments we have no concern in this book. I shall endeavor,
however, in chapters III-VI, to trace the growth of deification in the
world-monarchy of Alexander the Great, and to make clear the purpose it
served in the empires of the Ptolemies and Seleucids.


 1. de Coulanges, Fustel. _La cité antique_^7 (1879).

 2. Busolt, G. _Die griechischen Staats- und Rechtsaltertümer_,^2
 (1892). In Müller's _Handbuch der klassischen Altertumswissenschaft_,
 IV, 1.

 3. Schömann-Lipsius. _Griechische Alterthümer_,^4 II (1892).

 4. Francotte, H. _La Polis grecque_ (1907).

 5. Wilamowitz-Moellendorff, Ulrich von. _Staat und Gesellschaft der
 Griechen_ (1910). In Hinneberg's _Die Kultur der Gegenwart_. Teil II,
 Abteilung IV, 1.

 6. Zimmern, Alfred. _The Greek Commonwealth_ (1911).

 7. Keil, Bruno. _Griechische Staatsaltertümer_ (1912). In Gercke and
 Norden's _Einleitung in die Altertumswissenschaft_, pp. 297 _ff._


[Footnote 1: _A History of the Eastern Roman Empire_, pp. 319 _f._]

[Footnote 2: _Atlantic Monthly_, Oct., 1912, vol. cx, pp. 517 _ff._]

[Footnote 3: Plutarch, _Ti. Gracch._ 9; cf. Greenidge, _A History of
Rome_, p. 111.]

[Footnote 4: [Ηρωζου]Περι Πολιτειαϛ, 30 (Ed. Drerup). With
characteristic conservatism the English scholars, Adcock and Knox
(_Klio_, 1913, pp. 249 _ff._), uphold the attribution of this pamphlet
to Herodes Atticus.]

[Footnote 5: Thucy., III, 82, 8. (The translation used here and
elsewhere in the book is that of Jowett.)]

[Footnote 6: Thucy., III, 37, 2.]

[Footnote 7: The same is true of the second Athenian empire. The
confederation from which it grew had no reason to outlast the occasion
which had called t into existence--the "tyranny" of Sparta. It was,
therefore, by design at least, a temporary, and not a permanent, union.]

[Footnote 8: _Hellenica Oxyrhyn._, II, 2-4.]

[Footnote 9: _Attische Urkunden_, I Teil. (Sitzb. d. Akad. in Wien.
Phil.-hist. Klasse. 165, 6, 1911).]

[Footnote 10: It was revived on much less objectionable terms by
Antigonus Doson. See below, page 34 and chapter VII.]

[Footnote 11: _Lysistrata_, 579 _ff._]

[Footnote 12: See below, chapter VII.]

[Footnote 13: See below, chapter VII.]

[Footnote 14: See above, page 30.]

[Footnote 15: See below, chapter VII.]

[Footnote 16: See especially Ed. Meyer, _Kleine Schriften_, 283 _ff._,
and below, chapter IV.]

[Footnote 17: Bury, J.B., _The Constitution of the Later Roman Empire_
(1910), pp. 10 _ff._, 36.]



No form of government, or profession of political idea, saves a
state from imperialism. Even this country, which is dedicated, as
is no other of the modern great powers, to the concept of popular
sovereignty; which uprears the structure of its state upon a belief in
the essential equality of men, and treats, or at least aims to treat,
as comparatively negligible the differences created by birth and race,
education and religion, property and occupation;-even this idealistic
republic has become an empire in our own time and almost without our
perceiving it. M. Bouché-Leclercq has given a prominent place in his
_Leçons d'histoire romaine_[18] to the discomforting doctrine that
the Romans conquered the world in spite of themselves--a debatable
question, as he himself shows. It is not our sense of truth that is
gratified when we are told that the beatitude, "Blessed are the meek,
for they shall inherit the earth," designates the English. Yet Seeley
has maintained the thesis that the British empire was secured in a
"prolonged fit of national absence of mind." Unwittingly, it seems, the
modern foster-mother of liberal institutions has become the mistress of
countless millions.

There never was a people which made the principle that all its citizens
were equal a more live reality than the Athenians made it; and no state
to my knowledge was more cunningly contrived to insure the government
of the people than was theirs. Yet they became imperialists with ardor
and conviction, and with this much of logical consequence, that, while
they believed in democracy for everybody, they did not doubt that the
Athenians had earned the right to rule both Greeks and barbarians by
the acquisition of superior culture. Equality among its citizens Athens
carefully distinguished from equality among all men.

The foundations of Athenian democracy and empire were laid by
Themistocles, whose figure moves weird and gigantic through the golden
mist in which Herodotus has enveloped the great Persian War. And it
was this genial statesman, to whose unerring skill in discerning the
course of coming events the austere historian Thucydides pays a rare
tribute, who mapped out for his city the foreign policy by which it
had the best chance of realizing its imperial ambition. Let it use its
great fleet, which by fifteen years of persistent advocacy he had led
the Athenians to build, as its arm of offense, and its impregnable
walls, which he had enabled the Athenians to construct despite the
treacherous opposition of Sparta, as a bulwark of defense and a basis
for timely advance against its powerful continental rivals. Let it
utilize the wave of democratic fervor then sweeping through Greece to
consolidate its power within the Confederacy of Delos and to undermine
and eventually to overthrow the leadership which Sparta, by the support
of dying mediæval aristocracies, had hitherto possessed in Hellenic
affairs. Let it make peace on advantageous terms with Persia; use the
liberty thus secured to break the power of Sparta, and, on the basis of
a consolidated Hellas, strike boldly for Athenian dominion of the world.

It seems almost incredible that a clear-headed man should have
entertained a programme of such magnitude. But we must remember that
never had human beings more clearly performed the obviously miraculous.
_We_ know, on the authority of a German military expert,[19] that, had
the host which followed Xerxes to Athens numbered the 5,283,220 men
attributed to it by Herodotus "without taking count of women cooks,
concubines, eunuchs, beasts of burden, cattle, and Indian dogs," its
rear guard must have been still filing out of Sardis while its van was
vainly storming Thermopylæ. But what Herodotus reports is what the
Athenians believed. They had met and routed the might of all Asia. They
had mastered in fair fight the conquerors of all other peoples. The
world was theirs: it was merely a question of taking possession.

Themistocles had, accordingly, to reckon with a national
self-confidence which knew no bounds. And this had been increased by
famous victories of Cimon over the Persians, and a revolt of the Helots
which disclosed the fatal weakness of Sparta, when in 461 B.C. the
task of conducting the fierce current of national energy, first for
fifteen years (461-446 B.C.) in a heroic, but fruitless, struggle by
sea and land against the Greeks and Persians simultaneously, and then
for fifteen further years (446-431 B.C.) in the prosecution of glorious
works of peace, fell upon the broad shoulders of Pericles, Xanthippus's

It is conceded that there is no taskmaster so ruthless as one's own
will. The impulse to action during this strenuous epoch came from
the Athenian people itself, not from its chief statesman. That fact
does not, however, diminish the credit of Pericles. The golden age
of Greece is, properly speaking, a golden age of Athens, and to its
birth many things contributed; but decisive among them, in addition to
the intensity of national life already alluded to, was an unrivaled
facility for great leaders to get into effective contact with the
masses under conditions in which there was the fullest opportunity for
men in general to use their natural powers to the utmost. This happy
combination of creative genius and receptive multitude arose in the
main from the democratic institutions of Athens; but, for the public
and private wealth without which Athenian democracy proved unworkable,
and for the imaginative stimulus which enterprises of great pitch and
moment alone give, the possession of empire was, perhaps, essential.

       *       *       *       *       *

In the age of Pericles, Athens was a city with a population of about
150,000. Attica, the territory of the Athenians, had an approximately
equal number of inhabitants. Of the 300,000 thus accounted for, about
one third was servile and one sixth foreign. The free and franchised
population made up one half of the total, and yielded about 50,000
males of military age.

The empire of the Athenians consisted of five provinces, the Thracian,
Hellespontine, Insular, Ionian, and Carian, with a total population
of perhaps, 2,000,000. It formed a complex of islands, peninsulas,
and estuaries, the most remote extremities of which were distant two
hundred or two hundred and fifty miles from Athens. The highways of
this empire were the land-locked channels and lakes which make up the
Ægean Archipelago. Their greatest length in normal circumstances was
a continuous voyage of about eight days. On the other hand, no land
way of more than a single day's march need be traversed by an Athenian
expedition aimed at any of its subject cities. Without the control
of the sea the empire was, accordingly, unthinkable. This absent,
the district fell at once into more than four hundred fragments, the
thousand "cities" from which, according to the comedian Aristophanes,
the Athenians gathered tribute.

The Athenian sphere of naval operations and of political and commercial
interests reached far beyond the frontiers of the empire. It included
points like Sicily, Egypt, Phoenicia, and the Euxine, distant over six
hundred miles from the Piræus. An Athenian fleet might thus require the
best part of a month to reach its destination. The world which had to
take careful account of the Athenian naval power in all its political
and military calculations, the world which Athens under Pericles sought
to dominate, must have had a population of over 20,000,000.

If, then, we take into account the ratio of dominant, subject, and
foreign elements, and also the time consumed in reaching with ships,
orders, or explanations, the outer limits of authority, the magnitude
of Athens's imperial undertaking will stand comparison with that of
England in modern times.

       *       *       *       *       *

In Sparta the gravestone of a citizen was inscribed regularly with his
name alone. No epitaph was needed there to tell the tale of a life; for
the life of one citizen was the well-known life of all. If, however, a
man had died for his country, two words, ἑνπολἑμω, "in war," expressed
with laconic brevity his ground of distinction.

For those who fell in battle Athens set apart a public cemetery near
the Dipylon Gate, and at the end of every campaign a commemorative
service was held there in honor of the year's crop of martyrs. A
man high in public esteem voiced the nation's gratitude for the
sacrifice. On such an occasion, at the end of the first year of the
Peloponnesian War, Pericles reversed the normal procedure, and, instead
of expatiating on the merits of the fallen, he explained in an eloquent
speech why Athens was worthy of loyalty unto death. Thucydides heard
his words, and, perhaps many years afterwards, reproduced them as best
he could in the famous _Funeral Oration_.

The statesman did not linger long over the legendary glories of Athens.
Her alleged boons to humanity--grain, the norms of civilized life, the
drama; the services, that is to say, upon which the later Athenians
dwelt with special pride--had no meaning for him. Two things their
ancestors had done: they had defended their country successfully,
and had transmitted to their descendants a free state. "And if these
were worthy of praise,"[20] proceeds his splendid exordium, "still
more were our fathers, who added to their inheritance, and after
many a struggle transmitted to us their sons this great empire. And
we ourselves assembled here to-day, who are still most of us in the
vigor of life, have chiefly done the work of improvement, and have
richly endowed our city with all things, so that she is sufficient for
herself both in peace and war. Of the military exploits by which our
various possessions were acquired, or of the energy with which we or
our fathers drove back the tide of war, Hellenic or Barbarian, I will
not speak; for the tale would be long and is familiar to you. But ... I
should like to point out by what principles of action we rose to power,
and under what institutions and through what manner of life our empire
became great."

In these words of Pericles I should like you to find stated the theme
of my second chapter. And were it not that Pericles left unexplained,
what the Athenians whom he addressed knew without explanation, the
social and political forms by which they realized their ideals, I might
absolve my task by one long quotation. I might transcribe the whole
_Oration_ and have done with it.

That being inexpedient, I cannot do better than present, using again
Pericles's own words as a sort of text, the main principles of Athenian
policy. But in passing I may be permitted to observe that were our
knowledge of Athens dependent solely upon the _Funeral Oration_; had we
to form our idea of political life in fifth-century B.C. Greece from it
alone, we might still infer a unique epoch in the history of mankind.
Fortunately, that is not the case. The "tooth of time and razure of
oblivion" have spared the Parthenon and its matchless sculptures, the
noble tragedies of Æschylus and Sophocles, and the undying charm of
Herodotus. Ideals are always grounded in some measure in realities. At
the least they stand to them as the "perfect round" to the "broken
arc." Even in Plato's psychology the mind needs to be sharpened by
observation and reflection before, as in a flash of light, the glimpse
of the divine idea suddenly appears. Hence, were the affirmations of
the _Funeral Oration_ unsupported by contemporary monuments of similar
spirit, they would still be helpful revelations of Athenian democracy.
And this conclusion, as I hope to show, rests not upon logical
inference alone, but also upon the evidence of minute research.

       *       *       *       *       *

"It is true," said Pericles,[21] "we are called a democracy, for the
administration is in the hands of the many and not of the few. But
while the law secures equal justice to all alike in their private
disputes, the claim of excellence is also recognized, and when a
citizen is in any way distinguished, he is preferred to the public
service, not as a matter of privilege, but as the reward of merit.
Neither is poverty a bar, but a man may benefit his country whatever be
the obscurity of his condition. There is no exclusiveness in our public
life, and in our private intercourse we are not suspicious of one
another, nor angry with our neighbor if he does what he likes; we do
not put on sour looks at him which, though harmless, are not pleasant.
While we are thus unconstrained in our private intercourse, a spirit
of reverence pervades our public acts; we are prevented from doing
wrong by respect for authority and for the laws, having an especial
regard to those ordained for the protection of the injured as well as
to those unwritten laws which bring upon the transgressor of them the
reprobation of the general sentiment.... Wealth we employ not for talk
and ostentation, but when there is a real use for it. To avow poverty
with us is no disgrace: the true disgrace is in doing nothing to avoid
it. An Athenian citizen does not neglect the state because he takes
care of his own household; and even those of us who are engaged in
business have a very fair idea of politics. We alone regard a man who
takes no interest in public affairs, not as a harmless but as a useless
character; and if few of us are originators, we are all sound judges
of a policy. The great impediment to action is, in our opinion, not
discussion but the want of that knowledge which is gained by discussion
preparatory to action. For we have a peculiar power of thinking before
we act and of acting too.... And we have not forgotten to provide for
our weary spirits many relaxations from toil; we have regular games
and sacrifices throughout the year; at home the style of our life is
refined; and the delight which we daily feel in all these things helps
to banish melancholy. Because of the greatness of our city the fruits
of the whole earth flow in upon us; so that we enjoy the goods of other
countries as freely as of our own.... We are lovers of the beautiful,
yet simple in our tastes, and we cultivate the mind without loss of
manliness.... To sum up: I say that Athens is the school of Hellas,
and that the individual Athenian in his own person seems to have the
power of adapting himself to the most varied forms of action with the
utmost versatility and grace. This is no passing and idle word, but
truth and fact; and the assertion is verified by the position to which
these qualities have raised the state.... And we shall assuredly not
be without witnesses; there are mighty monuments of our power which
will make us the wonder of this and of succeeding ages; we shall not
need the praises of Homer or of any other panegyrist whose poetry may
please for the moment, although his representation of the facts will
not bear the light of day. For we have compelled every land and every
sea to open a path for our valor, and have everywhere planted eternal
memorials of our friendship and of our enmity."

       *       *       *       *       *

Such were the proud claims of the great Athenian statesman. Of art
there was said no word except in so far as art was embodied in the
monuments of empire. Music and the drama are alluded to, but in the
same breath with athletic contests, as the relaxation of overworked
men. The speaker has no apology to make for democracy. He gloried in
imperialism. Had he met Plato in Elysium--Plato who was born in the
year after Pericles's death, and both embodied and expressed the higher
ideals of a later generation of Athenians--he would have disdained to
reply to the philosopher's accusation that he had filled the city with
traders and shops and ships and dockyards and such rubbish, instead of
with righteousness and justice.

       *       *       *       *       *

Taking the _Funeral Oration_ as my text, I should like to explain at
this point by what institutions the principles of Periclean democracy
and imperialism were converted into facts.

It was in the _ecclesia_, or general assembly, and in the _heliæa_,
or popular courts of justice, that sovereign power was vested in
Athens.[22] The heliæa demanded of its jurors only that they should
be citizens in good standing, but each year it drew according to need
from a specially constituted list of 6000. So, too, of the 50,000
citizens who might attend the ecclesia, 6000 were regarded as a quorum
when a quorum was required, and commonly an even smaller number was
present. Meetings of the ecclesia were held either in the city or at
the harbor; hence the urban element tended to dominate. Stated meetings
occurred four times a month, but others might be called by the generals
or the council. Various panels of from 401 to 2001 jurymen each might
be allotted to tribunals on every day of the year which was not set
aside for a public festival or preëmpted by a meeting of the ecclesia.
Usually poor men of advanced years, such as were unsuited for more
active work and were satisfied with the indemnity of two obols[23] per
day, volunteered for registration among the 6000 jurors.

The work of Parliament was divided between the ecclesia and the heliæa;
for legislation in the strict sense of the term could be enacted only
by the joint action of the two bodies.[24] Administrative decrees,
moreover, by means of which the ecclesia disposed of all important
public business, and which might differ from laws only in a formal
way, could be suspended at the initiative of individuals and were
incontestable only when passed on, as to constitutionality or public
expediency, by the heliæa. The men who sat in the heliæa were but
common citizens like those who voted in the ecclesia; but they came to
sit in judgment on both laws and decrees by the accident of the lot
and not because of any particular interest in the questions concerned.
In other words, the courts could not be packed with partisans as the
meetings of the ecclesia commonly were. This fact, together with the
delay which necessarily occurred, protected the state against the
verdict of a chance majority, which was in fact usually a minority
of all the citizens. There was no such thing in Athens as the final
settlement of controversial matters by a single popular vote.

The heliæa acted as sovereign in one further particular. Upon it
devolved the duty of determining whether the magistrates and
councilors observed the laws and conducted themselves honestly during
their years of office. It was to the sworn assembly of the Athenians,
accordingly, that all those engaged in civil administration were
responsible. The ecclesia, on the other hand, had the right to impeach
and dismiss those officials who, being given discretionary powers,
abused them.

The main work of the heliæa was of course to settle domestic and
imperial litigation. As we shall see, the judicial power of the heliæa
gave it a large measure of political control over all the subject
cities of Athens.

The heliæa was the brake on the democratic machine: the ecclesia
was the dynamo. The intent of the Athenians was that all political
decisions of importance should be reached, after full debate, by the
ecclesia. It was, however, obvious that an assembly of from five to
fifty thousand men would proceed with disastrous slowness if all
matters, great and small, were laid before it, or even if it considered
only significant affairs, but considered them without previous
examination and formulation. Perversion of modern democracies results
most notably from the usurpation of power on the part of those who sift
proposals for popular reference. Athens had to guard against a similar
danger. Hence the harbinger of democracy, Clisthenes, created for it
one of the most peculiar _probuleutic_, or deliberative, bodies which
ever had the handling of large affairs. This was the council of the
Five Hundred.

It was constituted anew each year and was made an exact miniature of
the ecclesia which it was to serve. Every ward and township of Attica,
to the number of one hundred and over, first eliminated such of its
members as had not yet reached their thirtieth year or had already
served two terms in the council, and then selected by lot from among
the rest the councilor or councilors to which it was entitled on the
basis of population. Accordingly, each successive council had from
two hundred and fifty to five hundred new and inexperienced members.
Not desire or fitness but pure chance determined its personnel. Every
section, interest, and class of Attica--if we exclude young men between
eighteen and thirty--was adequately represented in it. There was,
therefore, a general presumption that it would take the same view of
public questions as the ecclesia; that it would do a disservice to its
own members should it foster their temporary rights as councilors at
the expense of their lifelong rights as members of the ecclesia; that
it would, in other words, labor to the best of its ability to present
to the ecclesia a well-considered and sufficiently inclusive programme
of business. Otherwise, the heliæa had to be faced at the end of the
twelve months.

A committee of five hundred impresses us as little less unwieldy than
an assembly of five thousand. Clisthenes was of the same opinion.
Hence he divided his council into ten sections, or prytanies, of fifty
members each, and arranged that each prytany should act for the
whole for thirty-six days in an order determined by lot at the latest
possible moment. The prytany was constituted in such a way that it was
a miniature of the council, just as the council was a miniature of
the ecclesia. The lot, again applied at the latest possible moment,
determined, furthermore, which of its fifty members should be its
chairman, and be present with one third of his colleagues in the
council chamber for the single twenty-four hours for which he served.
The same man was chairman of the council at its daily session, and
he also presided at the ecclesia, should a meeting of the citizens
be held on his day of office. A chance nomination for a single day's
service, at a time not previously known, was, Clisthenes thought,
a sufficient safeguard of council and ecclesia against successful
scheming, conspiracy, collusion, or other interference with the popular
will on the part of the chairman. He was mistaken; and the later
democracy took the further precaution of requiring the chairman to
relinquish the presidency at the meetings of the council and ecclesia
to a board of nine men chosen by lot for that specific purpose from the
non-officiating prytanies of the council. One of the nine, designated
likewise by lot, was given the special honor and responsibility of
putting the motions and declaring the votes.

Only proposals which originated in a council thus organized came before
the ecclesia; but there they might be discussed _ad libitum_, emended,
accepted, rejected, or referred back to the council; and it was even
possible during their consideration to substitute for the resolution
of the council an entirely different bill, or to move that the council
bring in a proposition at the next meeting on an altogether irrelevant
matter. It was the deliberate intention of the Athenians that the
ecclesia should consider everything it wanted to consider.

The management of civil administration, subject to the constant
direction of the ecclesia and the watchful supervision of the
council,--which in this matter also acted for the body of which it
was a miniature,--was entrusted to a multitude of committees, each
composed normally of ten members. Aristotle, in his _Constitution of
the Athenians_, specifies the duties of twenty-five such committees
and estimates at seven hundred the number of citizens engaged annually
in domestic administration. The work of each committee was definitely
circumscribed by law and formed a small bundle of routine matters. The
committees may be thought of as standing drawn up in a long line for
the council to inspect. Had they been placed one behind the other in
files, the rear committee being responsible to the one before it and so
on down to the front, the council would have come into direct contact
only with a few powerful committees. Such committees, however, must
have proved impossible for inexperienced councilors to manage. Besides,
while the councilors, as agents of the ecclesia, and subject to its
commands, might properly hold all the civil magistrates to a monthly
accounting, it was not thought in accord with democracy that one group
of citizens who happened to hold one civil office should have under
their direction another group of citizens also engaged temporarily on
public work. Though all the committees were thus on the same plane, and
recognized only the council as their common superintendent, the work
that they did was by no means of equal dignity or importance. It ranged
all the way from managing the scavengers to managing the Great Dionysia.

All committees were reconstituted annually. No man could be a member of
the same committee twice in his lifetime. At the end of his year each
magistrate was required to render an indescribably minute accounting
of his public acts, first to specially appointed auditing committees,
and finally to the heliæa. It was an easy matter to get an office in
Athens, but a very difficult task to get honorably rid of it. For
the lot was used to select the requisite number of members for each
committee from among the citizens thirty years old or older who had
not disqualified themselves by earlier service. The theory that one
citizen was as competent as another for public office was thus put into
practice. Every office was refilled annually by a chance group of new
and necessarily inexperienced men.

While defining constitutions Aristotle lays down the condition
for a thorough-going democracy that all citizens should hold
governmental positions in turn. On this theory, there should have
been an approximate agreement between the number of places in Athens
and the number of citizens reaching their thirtieth year annually.
That, however, was not the case. Even if we assume that men were
councilors only once and held only one magistracy in their lifetime,
we need to include some of the seven hundred (?) imperial posts in our
calculation, and regard them, too, as subject to the conditions of
tenure assumed for domestic positions, in order to reach the required
total of about thirteen hundred. This is, naturally, an unwarranted
and unworkable series of assumptions. It is, however, reasonable to
suppose that the majority of Athenian citizens, and practically all
of those who made a habit of attending the meetings of the ecclesia
held a _deme_, or municipal, position, let us say, in their youth; a
post in the council or in the domestic or imperial administration in
their maturity; and a place in the register of the six thousand jurors
in their advancing years. Recall, now, that three hundred and sixty
of the five hundred councilors had to preside at meetings of fifty
and five hundred men, and, if chance willed, at one of from five to
fifty thousand also; observe that magistrates had not only to know the
duties of their office,--which included the reception and preparation
of some kind of cases for submission to a panel of jurors, over which
they had, moreover, to preside,--but had also to keep accounts which
they must defend in a law court; reflect that jury service involved
acting as judge and jury in both domestic and imperial litigation,
and it will appear that the knowledge of reading and writing which
Clisthenes presupposed in all citizens would not have carried a man
far in the age of Pericles; he must then have had a working knowledge
of parliamentary forms, he must have had the view of administration
which comes of being on the inside of the wicket; he must have been so
conversant with the law and legal procedure that he could assume heavy
personal responsibility for the legality of all bills proposed by him
and could argue his own cases when acting as plaintiff or defendant in
a law suit. It was a proverb in Athens that "office will show the man."
We may be sure that most men took some pains in advance that it did not
show them wholly incompetent. It must have left them with a new insight
into public affairs. It is fair to say that, as a consequence of all
this, the normal town meeting of the Athenians was, from one point of
view, an assembly of experts, while viewed differently it possessed
simply a high level of amateur attainment, comparable, perhaps, with
that Mr. H.G. Wells postulates in his socialistic Utopia.

       *       *       *       *       *

The office assigned by Pericles to this assembly of high-class amateurs
was to choose the best among divergent policies proposed to it by
citizens of exceptional endowment. The ecclesia by no means closed
the door in the face of such real experts as it possessed. Thus it
did not leave it to the council to draw up the specifications for the
construction of the naval arsenals or any similarly technical job, but
it could and did delegate such tasks to men of special competence. Nor
was it so doctrinaire as to entrust the command of its expeditions or
the conduct of its diplomacy to chance persons; but it both elected
its generals, reëlected them as often as it cared to, and gave them
special rights of calling and canceling meetings of the ecclesia and
of laying proposals directly before them. It was, accordingly, aware
of the difficulty and danger which it faced in settling questions of
foreign policy, where the elements involved, being the resources,
aims, sentiments, and traditions of other states, far transcended the
knowledge of the common citizen; and where error might mean irreparable
disaster; where, in fact, error _did_ mean irreparable disaster.

The surest way to avoid error was to pick out a single individual of
high character, intelligence, and competence, and give him cordial
and resolute support in the policy he advocated. The ecclesia was
accordingly a great "contest," or _agon_, of statesmen. The Athenians
believed in competition. A public contest, in which excellence might
be displayed and determined, was arranged to encourage effort in every
conceivable employment. To digress a little, there was a contest of
potters, as we learn from a gravestone on which an unknown affirms
by a mighty oath that he was adjudged the first of all the potters of
Attica. There were probably contests of painters and sculptors as well.
There were contests of horse-breeders--the chariot- and running-races;
contests of athletes of all ages in all kinds of physical exercises, of
torch-racers on foot and on horseback; there were contests between the
successive prytanies of the council, between detachments of cavalry,
and between regiments of foot; at each of many festivals there were
contests in singing of five choruses of boys and five choruses of men,
each fifty voices strong, so that a single festival called for the
training of five hundred singers annually and the production of ten new
musical compositions; there were contests of rhapsodists in reciting
Homer, contests of rhetoricians; above all contests of tragedians and
contests of comedians, each tragic contest demanding twelve new plays
annually and the participation of one hundred and eighty choral singers
and dancers, each comic contest involving six new plays yearly and one
hundred and forty-four choral singers and dancers. The rivalry which
produces Olympic records and superdreadnaughts nowadays, the Athenians
turned to advantage in art and music as well: with the result that the
taste and skill of the artisan as well as the sculptor and painter,
of the consumer as well as the producer, became well-nigh faultless;
that in the hundred years of the empire close to two thousand plays of
picked quality were written and staged in Athens, while during the
same time from five to six thousand new musical compositions were made
and presented. It is estimated that upwards of two thousand Athenians
had to memorize the words and practice the music and dance figures of a
lyric or dramatic chorus every year. Hence, a normal Athenian audience
must have been composed in large part of ex-performers, a fact which
students of Sophocles and Aristophanes would do well to bear constantly
in mind.

The reward of victory in an athletic or musical contest was the glory
and the prize. Great, indeed, was the reward which the victor in the
supreme contest, the struggle for political leadership in the ecclesia,
obtained. The man to whom the Athenians gave their confidence became
stronger than a king. "In form," says Thucydides, "their government
was a democracy: in reality it was the rule of their ablest citizen."
The man who was vanquished in a chariot-race might be the victor on
the next occasion. Not so the victim of a decisive political defeat.
His fate was ostracism. That is to say, he was exiled without dishonor
or loss of property for ten years. The way was thereby cleared for the
victor. By this strange device the Athenians saved themselves for over
two generations from the procrastination and uncertainty of distracted
counsels. It was ostracism which made possible the uncrowned kingship
of Themistocles, Cimon, and Pericles; and when, after the death
of Pericles in 429 B.C., this institution failed them utterly, the
Athenians were pulled this way and that by rival leaders; till finally,
misled by Alcibiades and Cleophon, they were convicted by disaster of
being _un_sound judges of _foreign_ policy.

       *       *       *       *       *

There is nothing that dies so hard as a well-nurtured delusion. In
the romantic-idealizing view of the Greeks which was long current,
the Athenians found leisure for art, literature, and philosophy by
having all their work done for them by their slaves.[25] By this means,
too, they were enabled to devote themselves freely to politics. If
this were so, the inference of Calhoun was a sound one, that seen "in
its true light" slavery was "the most safe and stable basis for free
institutions in the world." The "first lie" is that the Athenians of
the great age, whose dominant characteristic was their vibrant mental
and physical activity, were in any sense men of leisure. The few among
them who had slaves and other property to the extent of great wealth
had to make and manage their own investments. The majority of the
farmers had to till the land with their own hands. Many citizens--at
least one third of the whole, in all probability--had to earn their
living by selling their labor. This they could do easily in the
time of the empire. For during that period of rapid commercial and
industrial expansion the demand for labor was so great that the price
could be regulated only by the constant import of slaves and by a
steady stream of immigration from less prosperous parts of Greece.
Outside labor served the purpose in Athens which immigrant labor serves
in the United States to-day. With its growth grew the need that the
material prosperity which occasioned it should endure. The problem of
food-supply became progressively acute and the control of the sea was
soon seen to be an economic necessity. More than one half of the grain
sold on the Athenian market came ultimately from abroad, as did an
even larger proportion of the raw materials of Athenian industry. "The
Athenians are the only people in the Hellenic and barbarian world,"
wrote an Athenian aristocrat[26] in about 420 B.C., "who are able to
control an abundant supply of raw materials. For if a state is rich in
timber for shipbuilding, where will it find a market for it if not with
the masters of the sea? If another abounds in iron or bronze or linen
yarn, where will it find a market except with the sea-lord? Yet this is
the stock from which ships are made in Athens. One city yields timber
to her, another iron, a third bronze, a fourth linen yarn, a fifth wax,
and so on. Moreover, Athens prevents her rivals from transporting goods
to other countries than Attica by the threat of driving them from the
sea altogether."

The demands put upon the time of Athenian citizens by the state were
enormous, but not such as to cripple economic production. A comparison
with modern conditions will make this clear. A little less frequently
than once a week the ecclesia met, but the attendance was generally
less than one tenth of those qualified. That represents a suspension of
work roughly equivalent to our Saturday afternoons and legal holidays.
A little oftener than once a week a contest or other public festival
occurred, and to these there was, it seems, a pretty general resort.
They correspond to our fair-days and Sundays. Preparation for the
contests was, perhaps, not more destructive of money-earning time than
are our collegiate and university courses. During their nineteenth
and twentieth years young Athenians of the upper third trained for
the army; but it was not till a century after Pericles's death that
universal military service for a similar period was made compulsory--as
in modern Europe. We may assume that at least two years of every
citizen's life was required for deliberative and administrative work;
and, having regard to the imperial service, we may, perhaps, advance
this requirement to three. That is an enormous enlargement of modern
demands. The same ratio would give the United States two million and a
half or three million public employees, exclusive of postmasters and
postal clerks, tax-collectors, and day laborers of every description.
But a bald comparison of this sort is misleading. Athens regularly
employed a committee of ten to do one man's work, with the result
that all of them were free to give nine tenths of their time to their
private business. The council during the year and the jury courts at
its expiry were there to insure the state that, even if his colleagues
would let him, any particular official did not neglect his public
duties. Nor was the Athenian practice wildly extravagant so long as
the magistrate received, not a living salary, but an indemnity equal
only to a common workman's daily wage. The Athenians employed four
hundred or even two thousand jurors where we employ twelve; but they
had neither high salaried judges nor exacting lawyers to pay, since the
judicial system worked without either. The juryman's fee, moreover,
was a meagre indemnity, comparable to the old-age pension paid in the
progressive countries of modern Europe.

The payment of indemnities for service in the council, the
magistracies, the jury courts, and for attendance in the theatre,
music-hall, and stadion, was a Periclean innovation. He did not intend
to create a class of salaried officials; nor yet to make an advance
toward communism. His ideal was political, not economic, equality--to
enable all, irrespective of wealth or station, to use the opportunities
and face the obligations which democracy brought in its train. Like
all the great democratic leaders who preceded him, he was a nobleman
by birth and breeding, and, like them, he did not doubt for a moment
that the culture which ennobled the life of his class would dignify and
uplift that of the masses also. To give the workingman the political
insight and knowledge of the Eupatrids; to lend to him the grace and
elasticity of movement which physical culture gave them; to fill his
memory with the noble thoughts set in melodious and stirring words
which they got from their intimacy with great poetry; to inspire in
him, though a mere artisan, an artist's taste and fervor for formal
beauty--that was to bless him with more than leisure. It was to unite
the whole people in a community of high ideas and emotions. It was
to make them a nation of noblemen. We do not wonder much that in the
furtherance of this cause the men of large wealth in Athens volunteered
to assume in turn financial and personal responsibility for the support
of the theatre, the opera-house, the stadion, and the gymnasia. It was
a heavy burden, but, in the absence of a regular property or income
tax, generosity became at once a duty and a wise precaution.

       *       *       *       *       *

A nation of noblemen is a luxury for which somebody has to pay. Athens,
in Pericles's memorable phrase, was "the school of Hellas." It was
right, he thought, that the Hellenes should sacrifice something for
their education. He had tried to make them all contributory allies of
Athens, but had failed in the attempt. As a good schoolmaster he was
determined, none the less, to hold those "well in hand" whom he had
under his care.

The physical means to this end was the control of the sea. The
advantages of sea power in warfare, in enabling the holder of it to
circumscribe according to his convenience the area of military action,
as well as in facilitating mobilization, transport, and communications,
were not perceived for the first time by the English Admiralty, much
less by Clausewitz and Captain Mahan. They are stated in the clearest
terms by a contemporary of Pericles.[27] Here is what he says: "The
subjects of a power which is dominant by land have it open to them to
form contingents from several small states and to muster in force to
battle. But with the subjects of a naval power it is different. As far
as they are groups of islands (and the whole world, we may remark in
passing, is now simply a magnified Ægean Archipelago) it is impossible
for their states to meet together for united action, for the sea lies
between them, and the dominant power is master of the sea. And even if
it were possible for them to assemble in some single island unobserved,
they would only do so to perish of famine. And as to the states subject
to Athens which are not islanders, but situated on the continent, the
larger are held in check by need and the small ones absolutely by fear,
since there is no state in existence which does not depend upon imports
and exports and these she will forfeit, if she does not lend a willing
ear to those who are masters of the sea. In the next place, a power
dominant by sea can do certain things which a land power is debarred
from doing; as, for instance, ravage the territory of a superior, since
it is always possible to coast along to some point, where either there
is no hostile force to deal with or merely a small body; and in case
of an advance in force on the part of the enemy they can take to their
ships and sail away. Such a performance is attended by less difficulty
than that experienced by the army marching along the seaboard to the
rescue. Again, it is open to a power so dominating by sea to leave its
own territory and sail off on as long a voyage as you please. Whereas
the land power cannot place more than a few days' journey between
itself and its own territory, for marches are slow affairs; and it is
not possible for an army on the march to have food supplies to last
for any great length of time. Such an army must either march through
friendly territory or it must force a way by victory in battle. The
voyager meanwhile has it in his power to disembark at any point where
he finds himself in superior force; or, at the worst, to coast by
until he reaches either a friendly district or an enemy too weak to
resist. Again, those diseases to which the fruits of the earth are
liable as visitations from heaven fall severely on a land power, but
are scarcely felt by the naval power, for such sicknesses do not visit
the whole earth everywhere at once.... There is just one thing which
the Athenians lack. Supposing they were the inhabitants of an island,
and were still, as now, rulers of the sea, they would have had it in
their power to work whatever mischief they liked and suffer no evil in

At all costs Athens must retain control of the sea. That meant to keep
the fleet constantly in fighting trim. In the effort the Athenians
made the most heroic financial and personal sacrifices, demonstrating
clearly that popular government need not be self-indulgent. Neither the
aristocracy in England nor Napoleon in France was as hard a taskmaster
of the people as the majority which ruled in Athens. Between 410 and
402 B.C.--a time of great economic distress--a well-to-do citizen was
called upon to expend twenty thousand franks--which are perhaps equal
in purchasing power to as many dollars--on what we may call national
education and entertainment. His taxes on the account of the fleet
amounted in the same years to double as much, or forty-three thousand
franks. Great as was the burden of the rich, that of the commons was
conceded by their adversaries to have been still greater. "In the
first place," writes an aristocrat in about 420 B.C.,[28] "it is only
just that the poorer classes and the 'people' of Athens should have
the advantage over the men of birth and wealth, seeing that it is the
people who man the fleet and put round the city her girdle of power.
The steersman, the boatswain, the lieutenant, the look-out-man at
the prow, the shipwright--these are the people who engird the city
with power far rather than her heavy infantry and men of birth and
quality." Plutarch[29] tells us that on a peace footing Athens kept a
fleet of sixty ships on the sea for eight months of every year. To man
such a squadron 10,200 rowers, 480 officers, and 600 marines would be
required. In other words, one quarter of all the citizens of Athens
would have lived on their battleships for three quarters of every year.
We might believe this report, if it were not contradicted by Aristotle,
who in a place, where exaggeration, not reduction, is suspected,[30]
makes the fleet of Athens, which was constantly in service in time of
war, consist only of twenty guard-ships. Hence one twelfth and not
one quarter of all the Athenians were on active naval duty during the
sailing season of almost every year. In addition, two thousand men were
drafted yearly by lot to serve in garrisons throughout the empire; so
that, if these are added to the seven hundred (?) imperial magistrates,
and the five hundred guards of the arsenals, nearly another one twelfth
of the citizens was involved.

This computation takes no account of the demands of naval warfare. In
the Athenian dockyards lay ready for action four hundred battleships,
from which the requisite number was selected for each particular
expedition. If two hundred and fifty vessels were mobilized, as
occasionally happened, nearly fifty thousand additional sailors were
required. With the use of every possible citizen Athens could not
produce such a number. She commonly did her utmost and called upon the
allies for the rest.

It is true that tribute was collected from the allies to enable Athens
to build the ships and pay the sailors; but it is also true that, in
addition, huge sums were contributed for mobilization expenses by rich
Athenians and were advanced for heavy war expenses by the Athenian
treasury. And Athens gave freely not only of her money but also of her
blood. The death roll of one of the ten corps into which the Athenians
were divided for army and navy purposes is extant for the year 459
B.C. "Of the Erechtheid _phyle_," it runs, "these are they who died
in the war, in Cyprus, in Egypt, in Phoenicia, at Halieis, in Ægina,
at Megara, in the same year";[31] and one hundred and seventy-two
names follow. It was not the year of a great battle, or of an Athenian
disaster, yet in it the death rate must have been nearly twice as great
as the birth rate; so costly in lives was the empire to its lords in

       *       *       *       *       *

On three specific points and on one general ground, contemporaries
both within and without Athens assailed the treatment accorded by
the Periclean democracy to its subjects. In no instance, however, is
the charge of misbehavior established conclusively, though in this
matter, as in so many others in the history of Greece, our judgment is
dependent upon the point at which we transfer our sympathy from the
city-states, which were the bearers of culture in the Greek Middle
Ages, to the whole people, for whose progress and independence urban
particularism was finally fatal. "Surely Hellas is insulted with a
dire insult," declared the opponents of Pericles,[32] "and manifestly
subjected to tyranny when she sees that, with her own enforced
contributions for the war, we are gilding and bedizening our city,
which, for all the world like a wanton woman, adds to her wardrobe
precious stones and costly statues and temples worth their millions."
To this accusation the proper retort was, not that having provided
adequate protection against Persia, Athens was free to spend the money
contributed by the subjects in any way she pleased; for the logical
inference was then that the contributions were excessive. Pericles
may not have cared to be logical, but he could not ignore forms. Had
he been able to show, as has been claimed recently, that he used for
building purposes only the sixtieth of the tribute, which had been
dedicated as the first fruits to Athena, he would never have been
attacked at all. Evidently, he spent on Athenian public works much
larger sums derived indirectly from the tribute, for which course
the defense actually made seems to have been that the money was due
Athens for losses sustained during the invasion of Xerxes and for sums
advanced to the war fund during the continuance of the struggle with
Persia. In any case the tribute paid was a mere bagatelle as compared
with what the subjects saved through having no fleets of their own to

The charge is more serious that in order to enjoy "the steady receipt
of salaries throughout the year derived from the court fees"; to
"manage the affairs of the subjects while seated at home without the
expense of naval expeditions"; to "preserve the partisans of democracy
and ruin its opponents"; to boost the business of hotel keepers and
such ilk in Athens, and to win for the common citizens the flattery
and consideration that would be shown otherwise only to generals and
ambassadors, the Athenians "compelled the allies to voyage to Athens
in order to have their cases tried." For it seems clear that the law
courts at Athens were usually so clogged with litigation that the gain
in having a model code of law and in escaping the fierce partisanship
of the local tribunals was largely neutralized by the added expense
and humiliation. The real justification of the practice was that it
obviated the necessity of sending out naval expeditions.

In the third place Athens took from the allies lands and settled them
with impecunious Athenians; but in payment therefor reductions of
tribute were given. On the other hand, thousands from the allied cities
migrated to Athens, and, while not escaping military or financial
service, or obtaining Athenian citizenship, they were cordially
welcomed, and enjoyed to the full the commercial and industrial
advantages of the metropolis. Again, Athenians often found it less
profitable to invest capital in Attic land, which was exposed to
hostile attack, than in lands on the islands of the empire, which the
fleet protected. Hence there were many Attic farmers in the subject
territory, their right to own foreign real estate being secured by
commercial treaties. There was accordingly economic give and take, the
military preponderance of Athens being, however, responsible for the
result that the Athenians abroad were often policemen, the allies in
Athens, hostages.

In all three instances of alleged misbehavior, it must be admitted that
the defense offered by the Athenian apologists simply added insult to
injury in the view of a majority of the subjects. But for them Athens,
arrogant or conciliatory, malefactor or benefactor, was always a
foreign governor to be gotten rid of at any cost. Such uncompromising
sentiments time alone could alter, and to secure the benefits of time
Pericles endeavored to avoid an Hellenic war. His policy of peace after
446 B.C. was, therefore, the sound policy of an imperialist.

The general ground on which contemporaries criticized the Athenian
régime was that under it every assistance was given by the state to
the least cultivated portion of the inhabitants both of Athens and of
its four hundred and twenty subject cities, at the expense of the most
intelligent and cultivated elements; that the highest goal of endeavor
was moral and intellectual mediocrity. There may be some truth in this
contention. The case would be more conclusive, however, if the tendency
of the critics to identify intelligence with wealth and cultivation
with birth were less obvious. If the point be granted, we must accept
the opinion of those historians who affirm that Athens was great in
this age despite, and not because of, its democracy. Personally, I do
not believe that this was so. I cannot admit that extirpation of the
best was practiced in an age in which ideas were created and forms were
perfected for their literary and artistic expression which have been
the wonder and despair of the men of the highest cultivation from that
day to this. Does it not seem like irony that a régime is charged with
promoting mediocrity under which rose Sophocles, Herodotus, Phidias,
Pericles, Euripides, Hippocrates, Socrates, and Thucydides? Much more
important than the leveling tendency of the democracy was the facility
it afforded for men of ability both to rise to the top and to find
there a sympathetic and critical audience. So much for democracy.

The empire stands approved by the fact that the sharpest accusation
now made against the democracy is that it failed to make the empire
enduring. On this point the last word--unless it be that no political
order has ever been enduring, and that those which have lasted
the longest have been generally of the least worth--was said by
Thucydides[33] over twenty-three hundred years ago, and I present in
conclusion his masterly account of the circumstances which led to the
downfall of the Athenian Empire:--

"During the peace while Pericles was at the head of affairs he ruled
with prudence; under his guidance Athens was safe, and reached the
height of her greatness in his time. When the war began, he showed that
here, too, he had formed a true estimate of the Athenian power. He
survived the commencement of hostilities two years and six months; and,
after his death, his foresight was even better appreciated than during
his life. For he had told the Athenians that if they would be patient
and would attend to their navy, and not seek to enlarge their dominions
while the war was going on, nor imperil the existence of the city, they
would be victorious; but they did all that he told them not to do,
and in matters which seemingly had nothing to do with the war, from
motives of private ambition and private interest they adopted a policy
which had disastrous effects in respect both of themselves and of their
allies; their measures, had they been successful, would have brought
honor and profit only to individuals, and, when unsuccessful, crippled
the city in the conduct of the war. The reason of the difference was
that he, deriving authority from his capacity and acknowledged worth,
being also a man of transparent integrity, was able to control the
multitude in a free spirit; he led them rather than was led by them;
for, not seeking power by dishonest arts, he had no need to say
pleasant things, but, on the strength of his own high character, could
venture to oppose and even to anger them. When he saw them unseasonably
elated and arrogant, his words humbled and awed them; and when they
were depressed by groundless fears, he sought to reanimate their
confidence. Thus Athens, though still in name a democracy, was in fact
ruled by her greatest citizen. But his successors were more on an
equality with one another, and, each struggling to be first himself,
they were ready to sacrifice the whole conduct of affairs to the whims
of the people. Such weakness in a great and imperial city led to many
errors, of which the greatest was the Sicilian expedition; not that
the Athenians miscalculated their enemy's power, but they themselves,
instead of consulting for the interests of the expedition which they
had sent out, were occupied in intriguing against one another for the
leadership of the democracy, and not only grew remiss in the management
of the army, but became embroiled, for the first time, in civil strife.
And yet, after they had lost in the Sicilian expedition the greater
part of their fleet and army, and were distracted by revolution at
home, still they held out three years not only against their former
enemies, but against the Sicilians who had combined with them, and
against most of their own allies who had risen in revolt. Even
when Cyrus, the son of the King, joined in the war and supplied the
Peloponnesian fleet with money, they continued to resist, and were at
last overthrown, not by their enemies, but by themselves and their own
internal dissensions."

A summarization such as this, in style austere and authoritative,
in content the product of penetrating insight and wonderful sense
for political realities, not only bears witness to the greatness of
Thucydides; when it is contrasted with similar analyses in Plato and
Aristotle it testifies to the loss of power for sustained historical
thinking which Greece suffered when men of genius were no longer
enriched by the experience which came through living in a state like
the imperial democracy of Athens. Not the least of its merits is
its self-restraint. Having concluded that the reckless rivalries of
her would-be leaders and the reckless dissensions of her citizens
ruined Athens, he refrains from assigning a cause for the spirit of
lawlessness. It is not Thucydides, but Alcibiades, who declared that
democracy was "manifest folly"; not he, but Cleon, who reiterated that
"a democracy cannot manage an empire." Thucydides does not despair
of democracy. In the case of Athens it was less the unsoundness of
the "majority" than the selfishness of the "remnant" that caused the
nation to perish. For the demoralization of their leaders, however, the
Athenians themselves held Socrates responsible, meaning to incriminate
the Sophistic movement. Who shall say that they were wrong? And
who shall hold democracy responsible for the evils of the Sophistic


 1. Wilamowitz-Moellendorff, Ulrich von. _Von des attischen Reiches
 Herrlichkeit_ (1877). In _Reden und Vorträge_, pp. 27 _ff._

 2. Jebb, R.C. _The Age of Pericles_ (1889). In _Essays and Addresses_,
 pp. 104 _ff._

 3. Meyer, Eduard. _Geschichte des Altertums_, IV (1901).

 4. Wilamowitz-Moellendorff, Ulrich von. _Staat und Gesellschaft der
 Griechen_ (1910): C. _Die athenische Demokratie_, pp. 95 _ff._

 5. Zimmern, Alfred. _The Greek Commonwealth_ (1911).

 6. Cavaignac, E. _Histoire de l'Antiquité_, II: _Athènes_ (480-330),


[Footnote 18: Pages 27 _ff._]

[Footnote 19: Delbrück, _Die Perserkriege und die Burgunderkriege_, pp.
137 _ff._; Beloch, _Griechische Geschichte_, I (1893), p. 368, n. 3.]

[Footnote 20: Thucy., II, 36, 2.]

[Footnote 21: Thucy., II, 37 _ff._]

[Footnote 22: For the following sections see especially Aristotle's
_Constitution of the Athenians_.]

[Footnote 23: Seven cents, equal in purchasing power to thirty-five
cents perhaps.]

[Footnote 24: Greenidge, _Greek Constitutional History_ (1896), pp. 170

[Footnote 25: See particularly Ed. Meyer, _Die Sklaverei im Altertum_
(_Kleine Schriften_, pp. 169 _ff._).]

[Footnote 26: Pseudo-Xenophon, _State of the Athenians_, II, 10. (The
translation used here and elsewhere, with a few modifications, is that
of Dakyns.)]

[Footnote 27: Pseudo-Xenophon, _State of the Athenians_, II, 2 _ff._]

[Footnote 28: Pseudo-Xenophon, _State of the Athenians_, I, 2.]

[Footnote 29: Plut., _Pericles_, XI, 4.]

[Footnote 30: _Const. of the Athenians_, 24, 3.]

[Footnote 31: Bury, J.B., _A History of Greece_ (1900), p. 355.]

[Footnote 32: Plut., _Pericles_, 12. (Translated by Perrin.)]

[Footnote 33: Thucy., II, 65, 5 _ff._]



A curious legend about the Spartans arose in the age that followed the
conquest of Persia by Alexander the Great. It was then reported that
they were the kinsmen of the Jews. According to one version of the
story, Judæa was founded by a Spartan named Judæus, who had accompanied
the god Dionysus from Thebes on his triumphal progress through Asia.
According to another account, the Spartans were descendants of Abraham,
the strongest of the children of Israel having migrated to Greece at
the time Moses led the remainder out of Egypt to the land of Canaan.[34]

This absurd legend, of which the Greek origin is unmistakable, seems
to have been responsible for a certain _rapprochement_ between the
two peoples. Despite the first book of the Maccabees, which affirms
the contrary, it is, indeed, impossible that Areus I, king of Sparta
between 308 and 264 B.C., wrote to Onias I, Jewish high priest,
demanding and offering a community of goods, and that Jonathan
Maccabæus, one hundred and fifty years afterwards, sent greetings
to the Spartans, together with the word that the Jews "at all
times without ceasing both in their feasts and other convenient
days remembered them in the sacrifices which they offered, and in
their prayers, as reason was, and as it becameth them to think upon
their brethren."[35] Nothing is more unlikely than that the Spartans
volunteered to divide their "cattle" and property with the Jews only
a short time before they crushed with great bloodshed a communistic
movement among their own citizens, unless it be the thought that the
prayers and offerings of the Jews went up continually to Jehovah for
the prosperity of heathen who were also backsliders. Nevertheless, that
communications were actually established between the Judæa of Onias
and Jonathan and the Sparta of Areus and Menalcidas, we cannot doubt;
and, indeed, we have still other evidences that the alleged community
of origin was turned to account by the Jews. There was evidently a
considerable Jewish settlement in Sparta.

When we seek to discover the reason for this strange conjunction of
the warrior community by the Eurotas and the religious community by
the Jordan, we are helped by observing that in another Hellenistic
legend the Jews are made the kinsmen of the gymnosophists, or naked
philosophers, of India. The Greek mind was at this time fascinated
by the great problem of subordinating the species of things to their
proper genera, of perceiving the types by means of which individual
objects became intelligible parts of a cosmos. It was the age of
Aristotle and Theophrastus, Menander and the New Comedy, of idealistic
portraiture. Hence the temptation was irresistible to bring into family
relationship the various societies of men in which the principle of
caste dominated; to regard it as unessential that in Judæa the people
were there to support the priests, in Laconia to support the soldiers,
in India to support the Brahmans. In each case there was found an odd
community, in which, so far at least as the state could accomplish
it, all human interests were subordinated to one, be it war and
preparation for war, religious practices of a ritualistic character, or
theosophical speculation.

Had the Greeks known it, there was a further analogy of an external
sort between the Spartans and the Jews which they would have delighted
to establish. For at about the same time that a richly diversified
national life was narrowed down in Judæa to a single interest under the
stress of complete preoccupation with the means of regaining Jehovah's
favor for his chosen people, Sparta ruthlessly compressed and crushed a
many-sided and progressive culture to the end that her citizens might
become trained soldiers, having but one esprit, the esprit de corps of
a professional army.

Prior to 580 B.C. Sparta was the home of poets and musicians. It was
for a chorus of Spartan maidens, the élite of the noble families, that
Alcman wrote the exquisite lines on the breathless calm of nature
which Goethe has made familiar to all lovers of poetry. In hollow
Lacedæmon--a valley rich with vegetation suggestive of bountiful
harvests, down which the steel-gray Eurotas runs, swift and turbulent,
over its rocky bottom, and over which rise on either side the
snow-capped ridges of Taygetus and Parnon, their slopes resonant with
the songs of the nightingales in the mating season--in this secluded
spot, whose haunting beauty is a joy forever to all who have seen it,
there was reared a famous temple of Athena, "Athena of the Brazen
House," at a time when in Athens itself the city's protecting goddess
had to be content with a crude, primitive sanctuary.

All this, and much besides, was observed, and the proper inferences
drawn, by Eduard Meyer twenty years ago;[36] so that the amazement with
which the English archæologists, who have excavated in Laconia during
the past five or six years, report their remarkable "finds" is a source
of no little amusement to the wary. They have discovered that prior to
580 B.C. Sparta was the maker of a kind of artistic pottery which was
known and imitated in far-distant Cyrene and Tarentum; that she then
had trade relations with Egypt and Lydia; that "combs, toilet-boxes,
elaborate pins and bronze ornaments, seals, necklaces, and gold and
ivory gewgaws" were made and used--witnesses _for_ "a golden age of
Spartan art," _against_ the puritanical spirit traditionally attributed
to early and middle Sparta.[37]

In Athens, as we have seen, supremacy in art and literature was
attained by making universal among citizens the spirit and culture of
the aristocracy, the whole people, thus ennobled, being supported on
the shoulders of the tributary allies and enriched by the commercial
advantages of maritime empire. The development of Sparta was directly
the reverse of this. There the aristocracy, whose exuberance of life
and responsiveness to sensuous impressions are attested with sufficient
certainty, was destroyed in the sixth century B.C.

This century was one of repression in Greece generally; whence some
historians have called it the epoch of the Greek Reformation. It is the
time of the "Seven Wise Men," from one of whom came the Delphian motto
"nothing in excess," a time in which the riotous joy of living and the
fresh spontaneity of the so-called Ionian Renascence were subdued by a
force, which might have been everywhere a blight,--as in Sparta,--but
which in fact, when later the inspiration of the great Persian War
came, exerted the gentle restraint which marks the classic in Greek
art and letters. In this perilous period the aristocracy of Sparta
perished, and with it the ideals and accomplishments of which it had
been the exponent.

The instrument of repression of all that was superior to the average
in Spartan life was the college of the five ephors, which Cicero
compares with the tribunate in Rome. The ephors acquired such power
that they made the continuance of even the kingship dependent upon the
submission of the kings to their authority; and upon the kings, as upon
all others, they enforced the new rules of law of which they were the
living expositors.

The development of Sparta, like the development of Rome, from
aristocratic to republican government is characterized by the absence
of tyrants. The fact is that the tribunate in the one case and the
ephorate in the other was tyranny in commission, the division of its
powers between ten and five annually changing officers respectively
having proved to be a sufficient safeguard against the concentration
of executive power in the person of a single individual, be he an
inherited king robbed of monarchical rights or an ambitious demagogue
aiming at their restoration.

The new rules of law which the ephors enforced prescribed in minute
detail the life of the citizen from the moment of his birth to the
time of his death. They were the regulations of a military school in
which war alone was taught, of military barracks when war was already
declared. From seven years of age to sixty the entire energies of the
male half of the population were directed toward being prepared for
war. Boys and men drilled and hunted, learned to use their weapons
and campaigned, danced and exercised, ate in the "messes" year in and
year out, and never escaped the watchful eyes of trainers, subalterns,
officers, and ephors.

No one in Sparta had to make his own way in life. His whole course was
mapped out for him before he was born. No citizen had any business
cares; for all trade and industry were tabooed, and the lands which he
inherited he could not sell. Neither could he buy those of another. The
agricultural laborers were serfs, the sullen and recalcitrant Helots,
of whom there were fifteen to every Spartan; the clothing and weapons
were made by the contented and tractable Perioecs, who outnumbered
the Spartans five to one, and formed with their one hundred hamlets
and their contiguous territories an insulating band round Helots and
Spartans alike. Iron money was the only local currency, though silver
had, of course, to be given in payment for the articles which were
imported from abroad. These, however, were reduced to a minimum, and
such foreigners as made their way through the wall of Perioecs were
rounded up at intervals and forcefully expelled.

All the pretty things of their earlier life, the Spartans chose to do
without. Coarse fare and unlovely houses, piazzas devoid of statues
and inclosed in unsightly and flimsy public buildings; no theatres, no
new music, no new ideas of any kind; mothers who gave up their little
children and their grown sons without flinching; wives who violated
fundamental instincts that their offspring might be more perfect;
homeless boys who went half-naked winter and summer, slept in pens in
the open air like cattle and got their food and living by their wits;
girls who would hardly have known their brothers, brides who would
hardly have recognized their husbands, mothers who would hardly have
been able to distinguish their own sons, were it not that there were
less than five thousand brothers, husbands, and sons in all--of such
was the new Sparta, to whose citizens the ephors issued the annual
command "to shave their mustaches and obey the laws." Long-haired and
tangly-bearded, in groups of about fifteen each, they lounged and
ate and slept in the three hundred tents, or barracks, which lined
Hyacinth Street. There they kept their long spears and their armor.[38]
Thence, clad in their scarlet cloaks, they issued in time of danger
or of war to take their places, group by group, in the five carefully
drilled regiments of which the Spartan phalanx was composed. Quietly,
at an appointed hour in a single night, the whole army might steal
away without confusion, trailing after it, on occasion, thirty-five
thousand Helots to attend to the commissariat. Five thousand Perioec
hoplites might follow at its heels, and with machine-like precision,
to the sound of flutes played in the austere Dorian mode, ten thousand
Lacedæmonian soldiers might advance into battle against foemen who were
always comparatively ill-organized, and who often fled before a single
blow was struck.

The secret of this strange perversion of the natural life of man is to
be found in the declaration of war annually made by the ephors upon
the Helots. They could not follow it up by a campaign waged in regular
fashion; for that would have been to destroy their own serfs. But
they picked out young soldiers, and sent them about among the Helots,
with instructions to strike down secretly all who seemed restless or
over-ambitious. The chief centre of Helot disaffection, at least in
the seventh and sixth centuries B.C., was on the far side of Mount
Taygetus, in Messenia. There the yoke of serfdom chafed more than
elsewhere, not least because those whose estates the Helots of Messenia
tilled for one half the yield lived beyond the snow-capped ridge which
shuts in that country on the east. The Messenians aspired to regain
their lost independence. The Helots of the Eurotas Valley had no such
ambition. They were, therefore, slower to revolt against injustice; but
their aim, when an insurrection _did_ come, could be nothing less than
the extermination of their masters, or at least an exchange of position
with them. Moreover, their very proximity to the five villages which
constituted the unwalled city of Sparta, and the very weight of their
numbers made the Spartans live in ever-present fear of a massacre.
Constant preparedness for war was, accordingly, a simple mandate of

       *       *       *       *       *

The Spartans thought it unwise that any of their serf-tilled estates
should lie in or outside the ring of Perioec land. It would not do
to have fuses, so to speak, of Helots running through the wall to the
outside world, or to have masses of Helots beyond the wall, exposed
directly to foreign manipulation. Hence the formation of the Perioec
ring set definite limits to the territory of Sparta. It could be
enlarged in but one way--the widening of the ring by the reduction of
more and more outlying states to the status of Perioecs. And it was
in this way that the Spartan dominions were in fact enlarged in the
seventh century B.C.[39]

At the end of this century, however, Sparta came into conflict with
cities which, unlike the mountain and maritime hamlets situated
roundabout Laconia and Messenia, were too strong and high-spirited
to submit to Spartan control. They had, therefore, to be treated
leniently, since Sparta could not crush them altogether and would
not leave them alone. And the reasons for conciliatory action were
strengthened by the fact that Sparta had now to act abroad with a sharp
eye to the possibility of a servile insurrection at home. There was
never anything mechanical or idealistic in the foreign policy of the
ephors. Hence, first with Tegea at about 560 B.C., and thereafter with
all the states in the Peloponnesus, excepting Argos and Achæa, Sparta
concluded a treaty, the imperialistic aspect of which was that they
agreed individually to accept Sparta's leadership in all defensive
wars and in offensive wars to which they had assented.

The Peloponnesian league, thus formed, stood for the autonomy and
freedom of its members; but Sparta, by championing aristocracies
against tyrants and democracies, and using to its own advantage the
jealousies of its allies as well as their fears of outside powers,
dominated it for one hundred and eighty years, and made it during all
that time the main steadying influence in Greek politics. Twice it was
enlarged into an Hellenic league, first during the three years of the
great Persian invasion (480-478 B.C.), and again for ten years after
the dissolution of the Athenian empire (405-395 B.C.). On the earlier
occasion, the ephors felt relieved of an intolerable burden when in
477 B.C. the Ægean cities, over four hundred and twenty in number,
abandoned Spartan for Athenian leadership. And in the forty-six years
that followed, not they but the Athenians were the aggressors. During
that epoch of democratic fervor,[40] it was an uphill struggle for
the champions of aristocracy to maintain their position; and the war
of political principles was even carried into Sparta, when, in 464
B.C., the Helots of Messenia made a last desperate fight for their
liberty. The Spartans profited, however, during the last third of the
fifth century B.C., by the discredit into which democracy came among
cultivated people through the mistakes and excesses of Athens; and
at the end of the Peloponnesian War they were again able to make the
Peloponnesian league an Hellenic league by incorporating into it Athens
and the Ægean cities which they had just "liberated" from Athenian

A successful war may strengthen a nation, but not when victory lays
upon it a task that is beyond its powers to perform. Such would have
been the case had Athens won at Syracuse. Such was the issue of
Ægospotami. This we can readily see by examining briefly, first the
situation in Sparta, and then the position of Sparta in Hellas, during
the existence of her second Hellenic league.

The Spartans of military age now numbered only about two thousand. War
had done its part in reducing them to this handful. Close intermarriage
had done even more. In the case of large families, the subdivision of
lots which then occurred impoverished sons so greatly that they could
no longer stand the expense of the military clubs, upon membership in
which, however, citizenship depended. So far did the evil implicit in
this condition go that brothers refused to divide their inheritance,
and possessed not only one house, but one wife in common. Men could
neither buy land nor sell it, but they might acquire it by marriage
or by gift; and since the rich, then as always, tended to marry among
themselves, property, and with it citizenship, remained eventually in
the possession of a very few. Much of the land, which was the only
wealth, came into the hands of women. A plutocracy thus developed
in Sparta as the number of the Spartans diminished; and in this way
the domestic situation became still further ominous by the growth in
the city of a considerable body of disfranchised and discontented
"inferiors" and half-breeds.

The perils which attended this situation are revealed by the following
incident as described by Xenophon in his _Hellenica_:[41]--

"Now Agesilaus (401-360 B.C.) had not been seated on the throne one
year when, as he sacrificed one of the appointed sacrifices in behalf
of the city, the soothsayer warned him, saying: 'The gods reveal a
conspiracy of the most fearful character'; and when the king sacrificed
a second time, he said: 'The aspect of the victims is now even yet
more terrible'; but when he had sacrificed for the third time, the
soothsayer exclaimed: 'O Agesilaus, the sign is given to me, even
as though we were in the very midst of the enemy.' Thereupon they
sacrificed to the deities who avert evil and work salvation, and so
barely obtained good omens, and ceased sacrificing. Nor had five
days elapsed after the sacrifices were ended, ere one came bringing
information to the ephors of a conspiracy, and named Cinadon as the
ringleader; a young man robust of body as of soul, but not one of the
peers. Accordingly, the ephors questioned their informant: 'How say
you the occurrence is to take place?' and he who gave the information
answered: 'Cinadon took me to the limit of the market-place, and bade
me count how many Spartans there were in the market-place; and I
counted--king, and ephors, and elders, and others, maybe forty. _But
tell me, Cinadon_, I said to him, _why have you bidden me count them?_
and he answered me: _Those men, I would have you know, are your sworn
foes; and all those others, more than four thousand, congregated there
are your natural allies_. Then he took and showed me in the streets,
here one and there two of our enemies, as we chanced to come across
them, and all the rest our natural allies; and so again running through
the list of Spartans to be found in the country districts, he still
kept harping on that string: _Look you, on each estate one foeman--the
master--and all the rest allies!_' The ephors asked: 'How many do you
reckon are in the secret of the matter?' The informant answered: 'On
that point also he gave me to understand that there were by no means
many in their secret who were prime movers of the affair, but those
few to be depended on; _and to make up_, said he, _we ourselves are in
their secret, all the rest of them--Helots, enfranchised, inferiors,
Perioecs, one and all. Note their demeanor when Spartans chance to be
the topic of their talk. None of them can conceal the delight it would
give him if he might eat up every Spartan raw._' Then, as the inquiry
went on, the question came: 'And where did they propose to find arms?'
The answer followed: 'He explained that those of us, of course, who
are enrolled in regiments have arms of our own already, and as for
the mass--he led the way to the war foundry, and showed me scores and
scores of knives, of swords, of spits, hatchets, and axes, and reaping
hooks. _Anything or everything_, he told me, _which men use to delve
in the earth, cut timber, or quarry stone, would serve our purpose;
nay, the instruments used for other arts would in nine cases out of ten
furnish weapons enough and to spare, especially in dealing with unarmed
antagonists_.' Once more being asked what time the affair was to come
off, he replied his orders were _not to leave the city_."

The ephors, wishing to remove Cinadon from Sparta without suspicion,
sent him on a mission to Aulon. He was to arrest certain persons, and
among them "a woman, the fashionable beauty of the place--supposed
to be the arch-corruptress of all Lacedæmonians, young and old, who
visited Aulon." His escort seized him instead and wrested from him
the names of his accomplices. "His fate was to be taken out forthwith
in irons, just as he was, and to be placed with his two hands and
his neck in the collar, and so under scourge and goad to be driven,
himself and his accomplices, round the city. Thus upon the heads of
those," concludes the pious Xenophon, "was visited the penalty of their

       *       *       *       *       *

Beset with dangers such as this, the Spartans had to tread warily.
They drafted Perioecs into their army so as to make it about fifty-six
hundred strong. They picked out Helots, trained and emancipated them,
and used them abroad as soldiers. They took mercenaries into their
service and distributed them according to local needs under Spartan
captains, acting always, however, on requests from local governments.
They got large contingents of troops from their old allies, whom,
however, they left free of tribute, financing their government with a
thousand talents raised annually from the former allies of Athens. With
the funds thus secured they hired rowers and marines for the warships
which their allies furnished and thus patrolled the sea as well as
the land. They got a moral mandate for empire by upholding everywhere
aristocracy, real or sham, against democracy, and by assuming the rôle
of champion of Greece against the barbarians. This did not prevent
them, however, from forming an alliance with Dionysius I,[42] who had
just made himself tyrant of Syracuse, or from working in harmony with
Persia as long as that was possible.

"The growth of Lacedæmon," said Timolaus of Corinth[43] in 394 B.C.,
"seems to me just like that of some mighty river--at its sources small
and easily crossed, but as it further and further advances, other
rivers discharge themselves into its channel, and its stream grows
ever more formidable. So it is with the Lacedæmonians. Take them at
the starting-point and they are but a single community, but as they
advance and attach city after city they grow more numerous and more
resistless. I observe that when people wish to take wasps' nests--if
they try to capture the creatures on the wing, they are liable to be
attacked by half the hive; whereas, if they apply fire to them ere they
leave their homes, they will master them without scathe themselves. On
this principle, I think it best to bring about the battle within the
hive itself, or, short of that, as close to Lacedæmon as possible."

The advice was sound; but the wasps could not be caught at home. It
was not till Athens had beaten the Spartans at sea, and Thebes had
beaten them on land, that Epaminondas reached the hive. He then broke
up the Peloponnesian league, emancipated the Helots of Messenia, and
substituted, for the once considerable power which had saved the
Peloponnesus from serious attack for two hundred years, a multitude of
little city-states such as existed elsewhere in Greece--rather, such as
came to exist elsewhere in European Greece, when, a few years later,
with Epaminondas's death, the supremacy of Thebes ceased, Athens was
abandoned by the states which had joined her against Sparta, and the
empire of Dionysius I in the west dissolved, shortly after his death,
into its constituent parts.

Theoretically, conditions should then have been ideal. In the case
of the Greeks the deep-seated human instinct to compare the present
disadvantageously with the past was not checked by a theory of
evolution conceived as progress, such as misleads many sensible people
nowadays to imagine that the farther back they go the more rudimentary
political and social conditions become. The golden age of the Greeks
lay in "the dark backward and abysm of time." In early days, before
the rise of the Spartan and Athenian empires, every city, so it was
believed, had "lived in peace, free and autonomous, and in secure
possession of its own territory." For more than a century men had
struggled to bring back those blessed times, and now at length their
efforts, it might have seemed, had been crowned with success. Every
city in Greece, great and small, had apparently regained its liberty
and autonomy.

At the same time men had made a persistent effort to reëstablish in
each city "the constitution of the fathers," and under the Spartan
hegemony the favorable opportunity for success in this campaign had
seemingly come. But it then appeared that, apart from the general
understanding that citizenship was to be reserved to those who could
afford to pay taxes and provide themselves with the arms and knowledge
of arms necessary for fighting, no two persons agreed as to what the
"ancestral constitution" was. It proved to be in reality the ideal of
each reformer and each politician, and since the age was one in which
most of the ordinary restraints were lacking as they seldom are in
the history of civilized man, the transition from an unpopular ideal
to a conspiracy was apt to be singularly abrupt. The outcome of the
attempts to restore the urban particularism of mediæval Greece and
the constitutions of the over-praised olden time was unsatisfactory
to everybody. Barren wars of city against city instead of large
enterprises directed by imperial ambitions; an atmosphere murky with
plots and counter-plots, where once there had blown the strong wind
of steady civic progress; and, in addition, national disaster and
humiliation despite manifest military superiority--these were the
bitter fruits of political reaction in Greece during the Spartan

       *       *       *       *       *

It was in this unhappy age that the science of government was born,
and it bears its birthmark to the present day. The midwife, to use
his own homely figure, was Socrates, whom the Athenians, tarred on by
Aristophanes, put to death "for corrupting the youth and introducing
strange gods." He, of course, denied the accusations, and claimed
that he deserved the honors of a public benefactor for taking men
individually and showing to them how ill they understood the virtues
on which all societies are based, to wit, justice, wisdom, temperance,
and courage. No one, he thought, could make them better citizens except
by promoting truth and dispelling ignorance about these things. His
execution consecrated his mission. It was the sowing of dragon's teeth
from which sprang up armed warriors, of whom the most doughty were
Plato and Aristotle.

The vice of the Socratic school was a noble one--an enormous
overestimate of the value of education. "Truth is the beginning of
every good thing," says Plato,[44] "both to gods and men; and he who
would be blessed and happy, should be from the first a partaker of
the truth, that he may live a true man as long as possible, for then
he can be trusted; but he is not to be trusted who loves voluntary
falsehood and he who loves involuntary falsehood is a fool." There was,
of course, only one truth; which, being discovered, should be taught;
which, being taught, must be acted upon, since, if men really knew what
was right, it was impossible, Plato thought--ignoring the frailty or
obstinacy of the human will--that they should not do it. "Discover the
truth." "Teach it." These are the two Socratic commandments.

I have no intention to make an exposition of the political philosophy
of Plato and Aristotle,[45] but to do something much more modest: to
explain wherein and wherefore they missed the truth in the matter of
Greek imperialism, and to notice some of the historic forces which they
disregarded. If I deal with the _Laws_ rather than the _Republic_ of
Plato, it is because it is his more mature and less imaginative work.

It was upon his immediate present that Plato focused his attention;
to the analysis of its political and moral strength and weakness that
he turned his penetrating intelligence; for its betterment that he
wrote and taught and suffered. The past he peopled with creations
of his own exuberant fancy, of popular misconception, of defective
knowledge. He can be easily convicted of gross historical errors. And
what is more serious; he has no real regard for historical truth and
no sense whatever for the real factors in historical developments.
Without the slightest qualm of conscience, and without taking the least
pains to ascertain the facts, Plato alters the divine and profane
history of his people to make it serve his purpose. And he does this
on principle: "The legislator," he says,[46] "has only to reflect and
find out what belief will be of the greatest public advantage, and
then use all his efforts to make the whole community utter one and
the same word in their songs and tales and discourses all their life
long." To disagreeable things in the sacred story he gives a short
shrift. Since the gods are perfect, every report that tends to tarnish
the lustre of their reputation must be false. The history of mankind
is solved by a similar formula; since justice is the _sine qua non_ of
public and private prosperity and happiness, all reports which affirm
the conjunction of injustice with well-being, or of righteousness with
misfortune, need correction or suppression.[47] History, accordingly,
becomes a happy hunting-ground for edifying stories. It at once ceases
to yield lessons, which, being grounded in the realities of human
experience, are less apropos, perhaps, than the political theorist may
like, but are alone valuable.

Plato's absorption in the present led him to misread not only the past,
but also the future. For the false standard with which he measured
past policies and institutions is not less characteristic than the
false judgment which he formed of the drift of contemporary events.
The future belonged, not, as he dreamed, to the autonomous, archaizing
city-state, but to the movement for their unification which he
condemned. He tried to mend city constitutions when the world required
the creation of larger territorial states. He watched with attention
domestic politics when foreign politics were chiefly worth watching.

A glance at the ideal state portrayed by Plato in the _Laws_[48] shows
in what sense he read his history. His citizens are to have "their
food and clothing provided for them in moderation," the latter through
"entrusting the practice of the arts to others," the former through
getting from the land, which slaves till for a part of the produce, "a
return sufficient for men living temperately." They are to have "common
tables in which the men are placed apart, and near them are the common
tables of their families, of their daughters and mothers, which, day
by day, the officers, male and female, are to inspect." They are not,
however, to live fattening like beasts; for "such a life is neither
just nor honorable, nor can he who lives it fail of meeting his due;
and the due reward of the idle fatted beast is that he should be torn
to pieces by some other valiant beast whose fatness is worn down by
brave deeds and toil."

Naturally, Plato does not wish his ideal citizens to meet such an
ignominious end. He proceeds to prescribe a régime for them in which,
after a most carefully nurtured childhood, three years are spent on
reading and writing, three more on learning to play the lyre, and
others still on the study of arithmetic, geometry, astronomy, and law,
and on the practice of dancing, wrestling, running, hunting, and many
kinds of military exercises. The citizens to be protected from fatty
degeneration in this way are, it should be observed, the women as well
as the men.

The children's stories are prescribed and are unalterable; so are the
music and the dancing and the poetry. The law studied is that of the
commonwealth, with which every citizen is to be inoculated. The moral
and religious ideas are to be fixed, and death is the penalty set for
heterodoxy. Everything is to be made and kept rigid, the number of the
houses, of the farms, of the citizens, of the children, of traders,
artisans, and foreigners, the maximum and minimum wealth of everybody.
In other words, the community which Plato in his old age proposed as a
model is not a thorough-going communism, like that of his more youthful
and more famous _Republic_. It is simply a system of governmental
control carried to its logical extreme--an emended and perfected
edition of Sparta.

That a well-born Athenian, disgusted at the license which resulted from
letting people live as they pleased, should have planned to put all
citizens in an administrative strait-jacket, is not surprising. Many of
us to-day object to a "wide-open town." But that Plato, whose practice
in discussion was "to follow the argument whithersoever it might
lead," should have idealized a state in which freedom of thought and
freedom of speech were denied altogether, shows (even if we make all
allowances for the idea, that, if things were perfect and there was but
one perfection, all changes must be harmful) how unreal and involved in
self-contradiction was the thinking of the best Greeks in this age of

The theory of individual liberty, as applied in Athens, had led, in
the economic sphere, thought Plato, to the exploitation of the poor
by the rich, and, in the political sphere, to the exploitation of the
rich by the poor. Plato, therefore, discarded the theory of individual
liberty altogether. He was dominated by a general view of life in which
all the natural human instincts and cravings were harmful. The only
hope for states was that they should educate their best citizens to be
their governors. Plato, accordingly, nailed to the mast the doctrine
of salvation by education, and despaired of all states in which the
carefully trained few of high intellectual capacity did not make the
laws and enforce them. Of all these ideas the Athenian democracy was
the negation, and Plato hated it with the bitterness of a passionate

That Plato hated the Periclean democracy as a political system is also
intelligible from his hatred of imperialism upon which it was based;
and there are those to-day, who, for the same reason and also because
of a mistaken notion of its dependence upon slavery, find Athenian
democracy justified, if at all, by its fruits; who contemplate its art
and literature with the same mingled feelings with which they view
the hectic beauty of the consumptive. Plato is not of their company.
The fruits he finds even more deleterious than the stock which bore
them. "In music," he writes,[49] meaning thereby poetry interpreted
by the voice with musical accompaniment,--"in music it was that
there first arose the universal conceit of omniscience and general
lawlessness;--freedom came following afterwards, and men, fancying
that they knew what they did not know, had no longer any fear, and the
absence of fear begets shamelessness. For what is this shamelessness,
which is so evil a thing, but the insolent refusal to regard the
opinion of the better by reason of an over-daring sort of liberty?"
Whereto the Spartan who is his interlocutor says: "Very true."

"Consequent upon this freedom," continues the speaker, "comes the
other freedom, of disobedience to rulers; and then the attempt to
escape the control and exhortation of father, mother, elders, and
when near the end, the control of the laws also; and at the very end
there is the contempt of oaths and pledges, and no regard at all for
the gods,--herein they exhibit and imitate the old so-called Titanic
nature, and come to the same point as the Titans when they rebelled
against God, leading a life of endless evils."

The modern critic, even if he endorses the sharp indictment of
Euripides, the poet of the most radical democracy,--that he destroyed
the character of Attic tragedy by introducing into it elements from
melodrama and the operatic concert, by perverting the grand style of
its text and music by vulgar flippancies and incongruous measures,
by substituting for artistic development of characters and plot
disturbing discussions of the woman question and the latest sensations
in philosophy and science, by turning the ancient gods and heroes
into burlesque through having them argue and act like contemporary
sycophants and sophists,--the modern critic, even Professor Shorey,[50]
for example, in his spirited defense of the Sophoclean drama, would
abandon Plato, I fancy, when he makes the drama the fundamental cause
for the decline of Athenian greatness.

In his _Laws_, Plato is dealing with what, chastened by age and
experience, he regarded as correctible things. The lust for private
possessions, for land and home, wife and children, he once placed in
this category, but he does so no longer; and in other respects he makes
wide concessions to human frailties. With greed for wealth, however,
he concluded no truce. It is Greeks, mark you, of whom Plato[51] says:
"Love of wealth wholly absorbs men, and never for a moment allows them
to think of anything but their own private possessions; on this the
soul of every citizen hangs suspended, and can attend to nothing but
his daily gain. Mankind are ready to learn any branch of knowledge,
and to follow any pursuit which tends to this end, and they laugh at
every other.... From an insatiate love of gold and silver, every man
will stoop to any art or contrivance, seemly or unseemly, in the hope
of becoming rich; and will make no objection to performing any action,
holy or unholy and utterly base, if only like a beast he have the power
of eating and drinking all kinds of things, and procuring for himself
in every sort of way the gratifications of his lusts."

Such were the evil conditions of the present when one citizen despoiled
his fellow and every city its neighbor. It had been different in
the past. Before the introduction of luxurious tastes to stimulate
inventions and of coined money to destroy a sense for the natural
limits of wealth, men had "worked in summer, commonly, stripped and
barefoot,[52] but in winter substantially clothed and shod. They fed
on barley-meal and flour of wheat, baking and kneading them, making
noble cakes and loaves; these they served up on a mat of reeds or on
clean leaves, themselves reclining the while upon beds strewn with yew
or myrtle. And they and their children feasted, drinking of the wine
which they had made, wearing garlands on their heads, and hymning the
praises of the gods, in happy converse with one another. They took
care that their families did not exceed their means: having an eye to
poverty or war." But it was not to an age of such rude simplicity that
Plato would recall his contemporaries. He would, indeed, restore the
virtues which existed among the early country folk before the rise
of modern cities and the establishment of the capitalistic régime;
but, while hostile to transmarine commerce, retail trade, industries,
banking, interest, and all other accompaniments of interchange between
cities, which he regarded as generally undesirable and provocative of
wars and conquests, he imagines his ideal people in possession of city
culture and the articles of luxury and convenience secured through
the capitalistic organization. His citizens are, indeed, farmers, but
they are gentlemen farmers, who have their money invested in land and
slaves and live on their dividends, free to devote their leisure to
athletic, intellectual, and other worthy pursuits. They will be free
from greed of wealth because they all possess a competency, which Plato
defines as enough to live "temperately," Aristotle as enough to live
"with liberality and temperance." Neither philosopher thinks of poverty
except as the ordainer of body- and soul-destroying work, work which
degrades those who have to perform it, and makes slavery their natural
condition. Plato and Aristotle would make all tillers of the soil and
workers at the trades and crafts slaves and aliens. They were to exist
simply to provide the conditions of "good living" for their masters
or superiors; whereupon "we must not conceal from ourselves," says
Aristotle,[53] "that a country as large as the Babylonian or some other
of boundless extent will be required if it is to support five thousand
citizens in idleness." Even in America, where, to use the current
formula, ten per cent of the people own ninety per cent of the wealth,
the economic situation proposed as ideal by the most enlightened
reformers of the fourth century B.C. has hardly been reached. Whether
Plato failed to realize that he was condemning nine tenths of people
to perpetual bondage and ignorance; or, realizing it, refused to think
of anything but the perfection of the few, the conclusion is alike
inevitable: he had failed miserably to trace to their historical causes
both the cultural barrenness of Sparta and the astounding fertility of
his own Athens.

Had Aristotle lived in the commonwealth of Plato's _Laws_, he must
have suffered the same fate that Socrates suffered in Athens. For,
though far from ungrateful to his teacher, he was not a docile pupil.
By birth he was a Stagirite, by experience a citizen of the world. He
did not, like Plato, form his youthful impressions in a milieu that
was poisoned with bitterness at a demoralized democracy. The Athens
to which he came as a lad of seventeen was still a democracy, and a
very unhealthy one at that, and for it he had little liking; but his
was a more dispassionate nature than was Plato's. He was not a great
historian.[54] _That_ the discovery in Egypt in 1890 of one of his many
lost historical works has proven clearly; but he was a very learned
man, and perhaps came to as close a comprehension of earlier Greek
history as was possible for a political philosopher who had nothing to
guide him but the unscientific methods then in vogue for investigating
the past.

By its very nature science is objective. It is not inhuman, but it is
deliberately impersonal. In this respect it contrasts sharply with the
arts. The greatest artist may be the man who embodies in his verse or
stone or colors moods and thoughts which must be in "widest commonalty
spread," but which constitute in the aggregate his own self or soul.
History is of course a science, but not one of the common type. Unlike
the ordinary scientist, the scientific historian has to practice, not
self-suppression, but self-expansion. He must become conscious, so far
as that is possible, of the prejudices and special interests of his
own age, and, divested of them, he must migrate into a strange land
in order to bring back thence a report that is at once an unbiased
account of what he has seen and a story that is comprehensible to his
fellow-citizens, or, at least, to his fellow-historians. He dare not
treat the past as one in spirit with the present, or as resolvable
into precisely the same factors. He must be alive to the existence of
many different pasts leading to the present in no pre-determinable
succession, much less progression. The points must make a line, but the
line may be of any conceivable curve. Aristotle was far from arriving
at a full appreciation of the difficulties of historical inquiry; but,
unlike Plato, he took infinite pains to acquire historical knowledge.

He did not idealize the constitutions of the olden times. Since all men
then carried daggers, the presumption, he says, is that they needed
them and used them. Since conditions where violence reigned must have
continued indefinitely, if political change had been prohibited, he
finds it good as well as inevitable that laws be modified from time to
time. The permanency of those of Sparta is worthy of high praise; but
he traces the corruption and decay of the Spartan state to failure to
make needed reforms. In general he strikes a much more just balance
between Spartan and Athenian achievement than does Plato.

The first test he applies to institutions, such as the family and the
state, is their naturalness--their source in the nature of man as that
is revealed in his history. He was well aware that a political science
that was based upon _perfected_ human nature was, indeed, suited only
for "gods and sons of gods"; that the only principles of government
which had real value were those which had approved themselves in
practice. "All discoveries," he says,[55] "have been already made,
although in some cases they have not been combined, and in others, when
made, are not acted upon." "The _Politics_ of Aristotle," says a recent
writer, "is the one great book on the science of government because it
is the only one which is wholly empirical."

That is too high praise. For the _Politics_ of Aristotle differs
from the _Prince_ of Machiavelli in other respects, of course, but
noticeably in that the Greek has moral ideals, the Italian none.
With Aristotle, as with Plato, the state has an ethical purpose. He
requires it to justify not only its acts but its existence. Iniquitous
governments might exist,--Aristotle's world was full of them, in
fact,--and his mind was too curious of all things political for him to
leave them out of his observation: he has, indeed, considered minutely
the ways and means for the preservation of all kinds of states, and
has shown therein that he had as keen an eye for the realities as
had Machiavelli himself. But he would never have permitted, much
less advised, his legislator to use foul means to establish a just
government or fair means to establish an unjust one.

On the establishment of governments, moreover, he spends very little
thought. This, however, is with Machiavelli the main matter, as he
himself says near the opening of the second part of his work: "The
chief foundations of all states, new as well as old or composite, are
good laws and good arms; and as there cannot be good laws where the
state is not well armed, it follows that when they are well armed
they have good laws. I shall leave the laws out of the discussion
and shall speak of the arms." Had the Greek heard him he would have
scoffed at both the argument and the conclusion. The argument is, of
course, sophistical, and the conclusion saved only by the fact that
Machiavelli had already considered the political weapons with which
rulers should operate. The _Politics_ is a handbook for legislators;
the _Prince_ a set of instructions for potentates. For the latter the
ways and means of _acquiring_ power was, in Machiavelli's judgment, the
all-important thing; whereas the legislator's possession of power is
taken for granted by Aristotle, and it is assumed throughout his entire
treatment that, if the lawgiver knows the constitution, the laws, and
the system of education which are best adapted to the economic, social,
and political conditions of his state, he can at once introduce them.

In a measure, therefore, the _Prince_ and the _Politics_ supplement
each other, though Aristotle would have been horrified at the idea.
For in his thinking, in anything approximating to an ideal world, each
city was free to order its internal affairs as it thought best, and,
having this liberty, if it was shown what was best, it must, according
to the Socratic psychology, immediately adopt it; whereas--to give the
devil his due--Machiavelli was actuated, in formulating his precepts
for Prince Lorenzo, by the vision of a united Italy, the realization of
which by his pupil was to wash away the crimes committed in subjecting
to his will the city-states of the peninsula. The conquest of Italy
was, accordingly, the goal of the ideal Prince's endeavor; whereas,
though Aristotle in one passage of the _Politics_[56] notes that "if
the Greeks were united in a single polity they would be capable of
universal empire," he regards such a union as highly undesirable. To
him a state that was not a city was a rudimentary and very imperfect
state. It ceased to be a state at all when it ceased to be free.
Hence a city could have subjects, that is to say, slaves, but not
dependencies. And since in his thinking it was natural inferiority
alone that justified slavery, and this was found especially among the
nations of Asia, and not at all in Greece, no Greek city could rightly
enslave the inhabitants of any other Greek city: it could wage war and
organize slave raids only against barbarians.

The birthmark which we have noted on Plato is an inheritance from
unreasoning hatred of democracy. That which mars above all the
political thinking of Aristotle comes from the aversion instinctively
felt by his age for imperialism. That this, too, is a disfigurement,
we may show in a few concluding remarks. "It is necessary," says
Aristotle[57] in concluding his plea that a mixed constitution is best
for the common run of states, "it is necessary to begin by assuming
a principle of general application, viz., that the part of the state
which desires the continuance of the polity ought to be stronger than
that which does not"; and he proceeds to point out that "strength"
consists neither in numbers, nor property, nor military or political
ability alone, but in all of them combined, so that regard has to
be taken of "freedom, wealth, culture, and nobility, as well as of
mere numerical superiority." Nothing could be more cold and objective
than the thinking of Aristotle on this important matter. Yet by an
extraordinary oversight he lets "strength" exert a decisive influence
_within_ the city-states, while he ignores altogether the effect of
varying population, wealth, and political and military ability in
determining the relations _between_ them.

The whole of the political thinking of Aristotle is dominated by the
idea that the world of men is made up of an infinite procession of
inferiors and superiors, the desire to forge ahead being one of the
most fundamental instincts of human beings. If an omniscient God were
to arrange the inhabitants of each city in a line according to their
real "strength," he would place few of them abreast. No Greek betrays
more naïvely than Aristotle does the national consciousness of the
Hellenes that they stood at the head of the honor roll of peoples. It
was, therefore, imperative upon them to conquer the Asiatics; for he
finds it to be a beneficent command of nature, issued primarily for the
advantage of the weaker, that superiors should rule inferiors.

Among moral philosophers Aristotle is characterized by his refusal
to let himself be led astray by a visionary ideal of human equality.
Nevertheless, while recognizing that Greek cities, even more than
individuals, differed in "strength," he refused to let the "strong"
use their advantage. He sets apart the sphere of interurban, that
is to say, international, relations as one in which the "universal
principle," that superior rule inferior, shall not apply. In a
visionary world, the "strong" man, on Aristotle's theory, is a "gentle"
man; but in the real world, he is a ruler. Had Aristotle not been
blinded by the prejudices of his age against imperialism, he must have
seen the necessity that in the real world the "strong" state would
also be the ruler. It is one of the enigmas of history that Aristotle
was the contemporary and subject of Philip II of Macedon, one of its
ironies that he was the tutor of Alexander the Great.


 1. Schömann-Lipsius. _Griechische Altertümer_,^4 I (1892), pp. 197

 2. Bury, J.B. _A History of Greece to the Death of Alexander the
 Great_ (1900).

 3. Meyer, Eduard. _Geschichte des Altertums_, V (1902).

 4. Niese, B. _Neue Beiträge zur Geschichte und Landeskunde Lakedämons:
 Die lakedämonischen Periöken._ In _Nachrichten der Gött. Gesell. d.
 Wissenschaften_ (1906), pp. 101 _ff._

 5. Arnim, Hans von. _Die politischen Theorien des Altertums_ (1910).

 6. Gomperz, Th. _Greek Thinkers_, III (1905), IV (1912).


[Footnote 34: Schürer, _Geschichte des jüdischen Volkes im Zeitalter
Jesu Christi_, I^3 (1901), pp. 236 _f._ See notes.]

[Footnote 35: 1 Macc. XII, 11.]

[Footnote 36: _Geschichte des Altertums, II^1_ (1893), pp. 562 _f_.]

[Footnote 37: Dickins, _Journal of Hellenic Studies_, XXXII (1912), p.

[Footnote 38: Schoemann-Lipsius, _Griechische Alterthümer_,^4 1 (1897),
pp. 261 _ff_.]

[Footnote 39: See particularly Niese, _op. cit._ in Select Bibliography
at end of chapter.]

[Footnote 40: Beloch, _Griechische Geschichte_, I (1893), pp. 439 _ff_.]

[Footnote 41: III, 3, 4 _ff._]

[Footnote 42: The successive tyrannies in Syracuse and the empires of
Syracuse over the West Greeks have been omitted of necessity in this
book. They have been examined with particular care by Freeman in his
_History of Sicily_ and with particular sympathy by Beloch in his
_Griechische Geschichte_.]

[Footnote 43: Xenophon, _Hellenica_, IV, 2, 11 _ff._]

[Footnote 44: _Laws_, v, p. 730. (The translation used here and
elsewhere in the book is that of Jowett.)]

[Footnote 45: For what is here omitted see the excellent little book by
von Arnim, _Die politischen Theorien des Altertums_.]

[Footnote 46: _Laws_, II, p. 664.]

[Footnote 47: _Laws_, II, p. 662.]

[Footnote 48: VII, p. 806.]

[Footnote 49: _Laws_, III, p. 700. The same initial cause of degeneracy
is postulated in Plato's _Republic_, VIII, p. 546.]

[Footnote 50: _Greek Literature_ (The Columbia University Press, 1912),
p. 11.]

[Footnote 51: _Laws_, VIII, p. 831.]

[Footnote 52: _Republic_, II, p. 372 _b_.]

[Footnote 53: _Politics_, II, 3 (6), 3, p. 1265 _a_. (The translation
used here and elsewhere in the book is that of Welldon: the text that
of Immisch.)]

[Footnote 54: Bury, J.B., _The Ancient Greek Historians_, pp. 182 _ff._]

[Footnote 55: _Politics_, II, 2 (5), 10, p. 1264 _a_.]

[Footnote 56: VII (IV), 6 (7), 1, p. 1327 _b_.]

[Footnote 57: _Politics_, IV (VI), 10 (12), 1, p. 1296 _b_.]



Alexander the Great was born in 356 B.C. His mother, Olympias, was a
half-civilized Molossian princess whose fresh beauty, revealed at a
wild religious fête on mystic Samothrace, had caught the roving fancy
of Philip of Macedon. Their union had the further attraction to Philip
that it might bring Epirus under his suzerainty.

Philip wished his wife to be his chief concubine rather than his
consort. Olympias, a proud and passionate woman, chafed at her
husband's marital infidelities, and had the will and courage to revolt
and act for herself when Philip set her aside in 337 B.C. She cannot be
acquitted of guilty knowledge of the murder of Philip which occurred a
year later at the marriage arranged by him between her daughter and her
brother. The act was timed to assure the accession of her son, who was
its chief beneficiary.

"My father," Alexander is reported to have said twelve years later to
his mutinous Macedonian soldiers,[58] "found you nomadic and poor.
Clad in sheepskins, you tended your meagre herds on the mountains, and
had to fight grievously for them against the Illyrians, Triballi,
and Thracians on your borders. He gave you cloaks to wear in place of
hides, he led you down from the hills into the plains, he made you
the match in battle of the barbarians who dwelt near you; so that you
depended for your safety thenceforth, not on the inaccessibility of
your country, but on your own valor. He taught you to live in cities;
he appointed good laws and customs for your governance. He made you
lords, instead of slaves and subjects of those barbarians by whom
you and your possessions had long been harried. The greatest part of
Thrace he annexed to Macedon. By seizing the most suitable points on
the seacoast, he threw open your country to commerce. He gave you the
chance to work your mines in safety. The Thessalians, before whom
you had cowered, half dead with fright, he taught you to conquer,
and by humbling the Phocians he made your road into Greece, hitherto
narrow and difficult, broad and easy. To such a degree did he lower
the Athenians and the Thebans, who had ever been ready to fall upon
Macedon,--and herein had he my help,--that, instead of your paying
tribute to Athens and taking orders from Thebes, it was to us in turn
that they went for protection. Into the Peloponnesus he passed and set
matters to rights there; and, being appointed commander-in-chief of
united Greece in its projected war against Persia, he achieved this
high distinction, not so much for himself as for the commonwealth of

The words are not those of the great king himself: they are at the
best a paraphrase of the ideas expressed by him on the occasion; at
the worst they are the free invention of an historian concerned only
with having Alexander say what the situation seemed to him to demand.
However that may be, they are a good account of the wonderful work
which Alexander, as a boy and young man, saw his father accomplish
for Macedon. "What a man we had to fight," said Demosthenes,[59] his
great enemy. "For the sake of power and dominion he had an eye put
out, his shoulder broken, an arm and a leg injured. Whatever limb
fortune demanded, that he gave up, so that the remnant of his body
might live in glory and honor." "Taking everything into account," says
Theopompus,[60] the far from generous contemporary historian of his
achievements, "Europe has never produced the like of Philip, the son of

The court of Philip was rough and boorish. Revels, disgraced by
drunkenness and debauchery, interrupted the king's wars and amours.
In Pella men behaved like Centaurs and Læstrygonians, sneered the
fastidious Athenians; and the frenzy which wine inspired in Philip,
religion inspired in Olympias. In wild abandon she let herself be
possessed with the spirit of the god, Dionysus, and roamed the hills at
night in the company of other women equally intoxicated, brandishing
the thyrsus and the "wreathèd snake," shouting with ecstasy. Hers
was the religion which William Vaughn Moody, with poetic license,
singled out in the splendid _Prelude_ to his _Masque of Judgment_ as
characteristic of the world into which Christ was born. It was really
abhorrent to the best Greek feeling, and was repressed with stern
cruelty by Rome.

Passion, fierce and generous, the main source of heroic action, was
bred in the bone of Alexander. His imagination, naturally fervent, was
fed by tales of his ancestor Achilles which he heard at his mother's
knee, and fired by the vistas opened out to it by the exploits of
his father. At thirteen Philip gave him Aristotle as his tutor, and
during the formative years of his youth he studied poetry with this
great teacher. The poetry was Greek, not Macedonian. In it were found
the ideals of the people to which Alexander belonged in spirit and
in blood, if not in nationality; thence came the ideas tinged with
emotion which fasten themselves like barbed arrows in the memory of
the learner--the ideas of right and wrong, of heroism and tenderness,
of regard for parents and for duties; as Plato would say, of justice,
wisdom, temperance, and courage--which color all subsequent thinking
and constitute character. The Greeks have still something to teach us
as to the educative power of great poetry.

The commandments of Homer, whom Aristotle never ceases to cite in his
philosophical works, went over into the flesh and blood of Alexander,
and in him Achilles, the youthful hero of the Iliad, became in a real
sense incarnate. Next after Homer, Alexander rated and knew the Attic
tragedians, the continuators and improvers of Homer, according to
Aristotle, who, therefore, bases his _Poetics_ largely upon tragedy, as
being the highest form of dramatic art.

There can be no question of the influence of Aristotle in determining
the literary interest and taste of Alexander. It seems also clear
that the young prince came at least to know, and probably to share,
his teacher's curiosity as to natural history; for he afterwards sent
specimens back from Asia for Aristotle's botanical and zoölogical
collections. This being the case, it seems incredible that he should
have received from him no instruction in politics; that Aristotle, the
pupil of Plato, who had himself gone to Sicily to educate the young
Dionysius II for his high place, should have failed to communicate
to the future ruler of Macedon and of Greece the ideas which he had
formed as to the best kind of government. We can imagine the thousand
opportunities which their three years of close association in the
country seat at Mieza offered for the discussion of politics: how
Aristotle explained that virtue or merit or political capacity, or
however the elusive Greek word _arete_ be translated, gave the best
claim to leadership, and that the best of all forms of government
was that in which the man of the highest virtue ruled; "that," to
use his own words,[61] "wherever there is, as it happens, a whole
family or an individual so superior in virtue to all the rest that
the virtue of this individual or family exceeds that of all others in
the state, in that case it is but just that this family should enjoy
a regal or supreme position and that this individual should be king.
For ... this is not only in accordance with the principle of justice
usually alleged by the founders of polities, whether aristocracies,
oligarchies, or democracies, in all of which the claim to rule is
dependent on superiority, although the superiority is not the same;
but it accords also with the theory we laid down before. For assuredly
it is not proper to put to death or outlaw or even ostracize this
preëminent individual or to require him to become a subject in his
turn.... The only alternative is that they should yield him obedience,
and that he should be supreme, not on the principle of alternation,
but absolutely.... It will be a wrong," he urged,[62] "to treat him as
worthy of mere equality, when he is so vastly superior in virtue and
political capacity, for any person so exceptional may well be compared
to a deity upon the earth." Again and again, in season and out of
season, often doubtless to the annoyance of the impatient young prince,
who feared lest his father's victories should leave him nothing to do,
Aristotle[63] must have harped on the theme that "man is naturally a
city-dwelling animal and that one who is not a native of a city, if
the cause of his isolation be natural and not accidental, is either
a superhuman being or low in the scale of civilization, as he stands
alone like a 'blot' on the backgammon board. The 'clanless, lawless,
hearthless' man so bitterly described by Homer is a case in point; for
he is naturally a native of no city and a lover of war." We can imagine
the philosopher insisting that just as city life was synonymous with
civilized life, so city was synonymous with state; that the highest
of all human activities, the exercise of political functions, was
destroyed the moment a city became dependent upon an outside power;
that subjects could not exist permanently unless the conquered were
natural inferiors like the Asiatics; that it was, however, to the
interest of such persons that they should be ruled by their superiors,
in the case of Asiatics, by the Greeks. Such were the oft-repeated
maxims of the political philosopher in whose age Philip rejoiced, it
is said,[64] "that his son was born, since his teaching would make
him worthy of his father and equal to the position to which he was to
succeed." Such was the literary and political education of Alexander:
his military training and his knowledge of affairs he got in the
unrivaled school of his father; but in this connection it is well to
remember the admission of Napoleon:[65] "War is a singular art; I can
assure you that fighting sixty battles taught me nothing I did not know
at the first one. The essential quality of the general is firmness,
and that is a gift from heaven."

It is not my purpose to give a biographical sketch of Alexander, nor
yet to tell the story of his marvelous conquests, or to estimate the
consequences of his work on the later course of history. I have had in
mind while preparing this chapter first to emphasize such features in
his family and education as help to explain his political thinking, and
then, somewhat in Plutarch's fashion, to pick up such incidents in his
career as show concretely how precisely he aimed to organize his world

       *       *       *       *       *

Where the political sagacity of Alexander stood forth most
conspicuously, according to Napoleon, was in the skill with which he
appealed to the imagination of men. Love of symbolism was ingrained
in his nature. By an act which he went deliberately out of his way to
perform he contrived again and again to illumine an entire situation,
to drive home a lesson, to reveal a policy. In a way it was a kind
of advertising; a means of conveying to the world at large in an
unmistakable manner the will and attitude of the monarch. But it was
more than that. It was the application in the world of politics of a
mode of expression with which the Greeks were familiar in the world of
the plastic arts.

The first instance of this sort of thing was the destruction of Thebes
in 335 B.C. At the accession of Alexander a year earlier, all Greece
had seethed with insurrection. Philip was dead in the full vigor of
manhood, and a stripling of twenty was about to take his place. By a
prompt advance southward Alexander nipped the threatened revolt in the
bud; and to secure himself for the future, he put a garrison in the
citadel of Thebes, where the most manifest disaffection had existed.
A few months later, however, while he was cleansing his northern
frontiers, preparatory to attacking Persia, the Thebans, acting on the
false report that he had fallen in battle, and in conjunction with
Athens and other Greek cities, revolted a second time. With almost
incredible secrecy and celerity Alexander came upon Thebes, took it by
assault, sold the inhabitants into slavery, and razed the city to the
ground. No such disaster had overtaken a Greek city (outside of unhappy
Sicily) since the destruction of Miletus by the Persians in 493 B.C.
It showed beyond the shadow of a doubt what the Greeks had to expect
if they continued to make trouble while Alexander was absent in Asia.
And on this occasion one object lesson was contained within another:
by sparing the house of Pindar, the destroyer of Thebes proclaimed his
regard for Hellenic civilization; distinguished himself clearly from
the destroyers of Miletus and other barbarians.

Next year, when about to open his attack on the Persian empire,
Alexander sent his army across the Hellespont by the usual route
from Sestus to Abydus; but he himself proceeded to Elaius where he
sacrificed at the tomb of Protesilaus, and prayed that he might have
a better fate than was his who first of Agamemnon's men set foot
on the soil of Asia. Then crossing the Hellespont to Harbor of the
Achæans, he went up to Ilium where he dedicated his armor to Athena
Ilias and took in its place some weapons said to have been used in the
Trojan War. After appeasing the _manes_ of Priam and entreating them
to forgive him, a descendant of Neoptolemus, Priam's slayer, he laid
a wreath on the tomb of Achilles, while his bosom friend, Hephæstion,
laid another on that of Patroclus. Whereupon he proceeded to rejoin
his army. The incident stirred in every Greek a thousand memories. He
saw another Agamemnon set out to take another Troy; another champion
of the Hellenes in their eternal struggle with the peoples of Asia. In
no way could Alexander more clearly identify his undertaking with the
long cherished dreams of the whole Greek race. It was the nearest that
a ruler of that time could come to proclaiming a holy war.

At Gordium, where Alexander's troops spent their first winter in
Asia, there stood on the citadel the cart in which, according to the
story, Midas, a peasant's son, had driven to the meeting-place of
the Phrygians on the day when unexpectedly he was proclaimed their
king. The legend had spread thence around the country that whosoever
unfastened the knot of cornel bark which held the yoke to the shaft
of this cart would become king of Asia. This task Alexander essayed
in vain. Then he drew his sword and cut the thong in two. Thereby he
announced both his departure from the policy of Philip, which had been
simply to emancipate the Ionian Greeks, and the forthcoming execution
of his own policy, which was to take from the Persians their dominion
over Asia.

After his first victory at the Granicus River Alexander advanced along
the Ægean seaboard as far as Cilicia, securing as he went all the coast
towns in Asia Minor which had contributed ships to the Persian fleet.
This plan of campaign he adhered to after his second victory at Issus
over Darius, when, instead of keeping in touch with his defeated enemy
and of following him into the interior, as the ordinary common sense
of war commanded, he let the King go, and spent a year in seizing the
naval towns between Cilicia and Cyrene. This he did in order to destroy
the Persian fleet, an end which he could not otherwise attain, since he
had no ships of his own. To leave the enemy's fleet in possession of
the Mediterranean, however, while he was campaigning far in the heart
of the continent would have been to jeopardize all that he had already
accomplished, and, in particular, to leave to the Persians the means
of causing a general insurrection among the Greeks, whom he rightly
feared more than the Persians. This long détour southward to Egypt
is, accordingly, amply explained by sound strategical considerations.
That, however, cannot be said of Alexander's sensational march through
the Sahara to the oasis of Siwah in the hinterland of Cyrene. There,
in mysterious aloofness, lay an oracle of the Egyptian Ammon whom the
Greeks called Zeus. Just as Dodona in Epirus had been eclipsed in times
past as an oracular seat by the shrine of Apollo at Delphi, so this in
turn had waned in prestige and credit when it became known gradually
to the Greeks that Zeus Ammon revealed unfailingly the future to his
priests at Siwah. For more than two generations prior to Alexander's
visit the Ammonium had been the Mecca of pilgrims, and the recipient of
gifts from all parts of the Greek world. Athens had even built a sacred
trireme, the so-called "ship of Ammon," to carry public messengers to
and from the oracle. In Egypt the Ammon of Siwah was of no account as
compared with the Ammon of Thebes; but among the Greeks the Ammon that
was known and revered was, to speak with Plato, the Ammon of Cyrene.
Alexander knew well the impression which would be produced in the
official and pious world of Hellas should the priests of Ammon greet
him as the son of their god. This, however, they were bound to do on
his arrival at the temple, since to omit this formality would have been
to refuse allegiance to the new Pharaoh who had just been recognized in
Egypt; for every Pharaoh from time immemorial was officially a son of
Ammon. It was the peculiarity of Siwah that the ruler greeted there as
the son of Ammon was presented authoritatively to the Greek world as
the son of Zeus.

The march across the desert to Ammonium was accomplished only with
supernatural assistance, according to the official report; and
deliberate mystery shrouded the interview of Alexander with the god. It
is with no impropriety, as we shall see presently, that Tennyson brings
his fine poem on the great king to a climactic close with an allusion
to the occurrence:--

  "High things were spoken there, unhanded down;
  Only they saw thee from the secret shrine
  Returning with hot cheek and kindled eyes."

One thing, however, was stressed in the official version of what
happened: the desired greeting was given publicly to Alexander by the
eldest of the priests. And its import was enhanced by the arrival
of messengers to say that oracles to the same effect had been given
simultaneously by the Sibyl of Erythræ and Apollo at Branchidæ, where
a long silence of over one hundred and fifty years was interrupted
thereby. As to the private interview Alexander wrote to his mother that
"secret things were divulged to him which he could communicate only to
her personally."

I shall revert to the significance of the visit to Siwah presently.
Meanwhile, it will suffice to note that it was quite in character with
the methods already adopted by Alexander that he should seek in this
bizarre way to impress upon the imagination of men a new idea; to
disclose by a sensational action of this kind an important change of
policy. And it is paralleled by several incidents in his later career.

Twelve months after leaving Siwah, Alexander was master of Persepolis.
This was the capital of Persis, a land of some half a million
inhabitants whom Cyrus and Darius had made lords of a subject
population not much below that of the Roman empire. For over two
hundred years forty millions of people had looked to Persis and
Persepolis as the seats of the mighty. The "city of the Persians" and
the palace of their kings which it contained were the manifest symbols
of empire: the one Alexander gave over to his soldiers to pillage, the
other he fired with his own hand, thus proclaiming to the world that
the end of a dynasty had come. His own part in this catastrophe--which
affected the imaginations of men in some such way as did the capture of
Rome by Alaric in 410 A.D.--was taken conspicuously. Starting up from a
banquet, he and his companions, among whom was the beautiful Athenian
courtesan Thais, went in Dionysiac revel to the sound of flutes through
the streets to the palace, and threw the torches which they had taken
with them from the feast upon the cedar beams of the roof. Once the
flames had shot up and the desired effect had been produced, Alexander
ordered the fire to be extinguished.

Early in the following year Alexander entered Ecbatana, the summer
capital of the Persian empire, and Darius became a fugitive. Up to
this point Alexander had been hegemon of the Hellenic league as well
as king of Macedon, and, on liberating the Greek cities in Asia from
Persian control, he had added them to the league. Now that the war
against Persia, for which the league had been ostensibly formed, had
ended, Alexander thought the time had come to relieve himself of the
partnership into which, following the policy of Philip, he had entered
at the opening of his reign. This he did in his usual dramatic way. He
discharged all the Greek troops put under his command by the league,
and made elaborate provision for their transport back to the coast
and across the Mediterranean to Greece. To every Greek city which had
sent him a contingent, its return was a message that Alexander was no
longer bound by the treaties made when the league was formed. This did
not mean, as he took pains to show, that it was freed thereby from all
obligations toward him. Over the Macedonians he ceased at this point to
be hegemon, but he still remained their king.[66]

A little later he appeared before his astonished Macedonian officers
clad in what pleased him of the costume of the Persians. The tiara and
the sleeved jacket and the baggy trousers he did not adopt, but he
took their soft undergarments, and, as the symbol of authority, the
diadem. He also remodeled his court in the Oriental fashion, adding
purple to the uniform of the guards, chamberlains, and, if a dubious
report is to be trusted, a harem. Finally in 327 B.C., shortly after
his romantic marriage with Roxane, a Persian princess of the Sogdian
nobility, he added the requirement that all who were admitted to his
presence should kneel at his feet and kiss the dust before him. "Chares
of Mytilene,"[67] who was master of ceremonies when this custom was
inaugurated, "says that Alexander, while drinking at a symposium,
offered his goblet to one of his comrades, who, taking it, rose and
went to the hearth, where, quaffing it off, he first knelt and kissed
Alexander's feet, then kissed his cheek and returned to his couch. All
present did the same except Callisthenes," who proffered the kiss on
the cheek without first kneeling and thus earned the disfavor of the
king. With this rather lame conclusion was enacted the prologue of what
his old Macedonian nobles regarded as a great tragedy.

"It has been thought," says Eduard Meyer,[68] "that _proskynesis_"--to
use the technical term for this ceremony--"was only the natural
expression of the fact that by the arbitrament of battle Alexander
had become lord of the Persian empire and legitimate successor of
Darius. And, indeed, there is truth in this idea. But the meaning of
the requirement, and the historical significance of the occurrence
and of the conflict which it occasioned, are by no means exhausted
when proskynesis is regarded as a harmless concession to the views of
his Oriental subjects. The essential point is that Alexander demanded
it of the Macedonians and Greeks also. It is precisely in this
matter, however, that the views of Orientals and Europeans collide
most squarely and typically. Herein exists an antagonism which is
independent altogether of race and nationality. We cannot say how it
arose, but it dominates the whole course of the cultural and political
development of the regions in question. The Oriental, be he a Semite,
an Egyptian, an Indo-European, a Chinaman, or of any other stock, finds
it natural that in intercourse with others he has to humble himself;
that he call himself their servant, them his masters; that he kneel in
the dust, not only before the king, but before all superiors, without
lessening thereby the sense of personal pride with which he, too, may
be animated.

"To the European, on the other hand, such demeanor involves the
destruction of his own personality. Never will a free man call
himself the slave of another. Rather, he will always speak of himself
in confident tones, with a strong feeling of; his own worth....
Prostration and kissing the dust are due, in European thinking, only to
a god who is thereby acknowledged to be the lord of the worshiper, in
whose presence the worshiper can have no will of his own.

"It was among the Greeks, in their free republics, that this feeling
developed to its full strength. It finds typical expression in the
story of the Spartan heralds, Sperthies and Bulis, who, although they
had surrendered themselves to the Persian king to be executed, refused
to prostrate themselves before him; 'for in their country,' Herodotus
makes them say, 'it was not customary to kiss the dust before a man,
nor had they come for that purpose.' The stories of Themistocles who
rendered the required homage, and of Conon who on its account avoided
an audience with the King altogether, despite the high value it would
have had for him, are similarly significant. In demanding proskynesis,
accordingly, Alexander offended Greek sentiment violently. Rather,
what he thereby demanded was the acknowledgment that officially, in
his capacity of king,--his private position is a different matter
altogether,--he was no longer a man, but a god."

In other words, when Alexander demanded that Greeks and Macedonians
fall at his feet and kiss the dust before him, he demanded that they
recognize him as a god, as in fact the son of Zeus. This ceremony
had no such implications for the Persians; but, as we shall see in a
moment, in Alexander's thinking, the Persians were to cease to exist;
they were to be made Hellenes by education.

Alexander set out for Asia with a firm belief in the absolute
superiority of Hellenic culture; and in this belief he remained fixed
to the end. To establish Hellenic life throughout Asia, he regarded
as the main object of his conquests. His Hellenic ideals he revealed
to the astonished natives at almost every halting-place on his march;
for on such occasions he again and again held gymnastic and musical
contests after the Greek pattern. As we have seen, he had learned
from Aristotle that city-life and Hellenic life were synonymous,
and that without political activity city-life was animal rather than
human in character. Accordingly, he displayed a feverish energy in
founding Greek city-states everywhere in the conquered territory, but
particularly in the regions of the Far East where urban life had been
hitherto lacking. Like mushrooms overnight, towns by the scores sprang
up behind him on his line of march; so vast was the immigration into
Asia from Greece and Macedon even during the thirteen brief years of
his reign.

The fact was that by founding cities Alexander lessened enormously his
military and administrative difficulties. For every city took from his
shoulders responsibility for maintaining order, collecting taxes, and
dispensing justice in the territory assigned to it--necessary tasks,
now that a European state was arising in Asia, which could be performed
otherwise only by the creation of a bureaucratic system of officials.
This, however, was a non-Hellenic institution for which Alexander had
naturally no liking. In the future he saw the whole world--that of
Asia which he had already conquered and that of the Far West which he
meant to conquer--honeycombed, like Greece itself, with a multitude
of city-states, each a separate cell with a town in its centre, each
possessed of a general assembly and a council, magistrates of its own
choosing and laws of its own making or adoption, each the home of free
men speaking the Greek language, fostering Greek art and letters, and
fighting with Greek arms and tactics. It was a grand vision, which
failed of realization in Alexander's time and thereafter; but it set
forth an ideal toward which future generations moved for over five

It is clear that Alexander never lost faith in the absolute supremacy
of Hellenic culture. Certainly the place of unlimited authority which
he reserved for himself above the world of city-states and their
law-bound citizens, was the one prescribed for the ideal wise man,
the man of supreme political ability, by Aristotle his tutor. That
Aristotle thought of a different _pambasileus_ for each city-state and
Alexander of a single "absolute monarch" for all, is a non-essential
difference, and it is simply in the institutions which Alexander found
necessary to translate the idea of the philosopher into the world of
reality that Hellenic practice and custom were violated.

These outlandish institutions, however, Alexander employed as means
for the better dissemination of Greek life and thought, without being
conscious, perhaps, that they were destructive of the spirit which they
were intended to preserve.

On the other hand, it is indisputable that Alexander revised his
tutor's, and his own youthful, opinion as to the worth of the Asiatics.
What he came to think of Semites and Egyptians we do not know; and it
may be that he continued to regard them as naturally servile and,
hence, condemned them to remain forever hewers of wood and drawers of
water for the Hellenic or Hellenized citizens in whose cities they
were to live. But as to the Medes and Persians and the kindred Iranian
stocks of the Far East, the views of their conqueror changed radically
when he came really to know them, and to appreciate fully the magnitude
of the task which he had undertaken.

He found that they had spirit and capacity comparable to those of
the Greeks and Macedonians themselves. That they caused him no
physical repulsion is shown by his falling in love with and marrying
Roxane. Teach them the Greek language, draw them along with the
immigrant Greeks into the body politic of the new cities, equip them
with Macedonian weapons, drill them in the Macedonian fashion, and
distribute them in the Macedonian regiments; above all, use the nobles
in the high administrative posts, and it seemed to Alexander possible,
within a short time, to fuse the new masters of Asia with the old into
a new cosmopolitan race.

With iron resolution he carried this policy forward despite all
opposition. Then, choosing the dramatic moment of his return to Susa
after his Indian campaign, he arranged an extraordinary marriage as a
symbol of the contemplated fusion of the dominant peoples of Europe
and Asia. "He himself," says Arrian in his _Anabasis_,[69] quoting
Aristobulus, an eye-witness, "married Barsine (rather Stateira), the
eldest of the daughters of Darius, and, in addition to her, another,
the youngest of the daughters of Ochus (the able predecessor of
Darius), Parysatis. Earlier, too, he had wedded Roxane, the daughter
of Oxyartes of Bactria. To Hephæstion he gave Drypetis, who, too, was
a daughter of Darius and sister of the wife he took himself; for he
wished the children of Hephæstion to be cousins of his own children. To
Craterus he gave Amastrine, the daughter of Oxyartes, Darius's brother;
to Perdiccas, the daughter of Atropates, satrap of Media; to Ptolemy,
his aide, and to Eumenes, his private secretary, children of Artabazus,
to the one Artacama, to the other, Artonis. To Nearchus he gave the
daughter of Barsine and Mentor, to Seleucus the daughter of Spitamenes
of Bactria; and in like manner to his other companions he gave the most
famous of the daughters of the Medes and Persians, to the number of
eighty. The marriages were celebrated in the Persian manner. Seats were
placed in order, and on them the bridegrooms reclined"; and at this
point we may let Chares, master of ceremonies, interrupt Arrian and
describe the setting which he had arranged for the service.

"It was," he says,[70] "a hall of a hundred couches, each large enough
for two to recline at table, and in it each couch, made of twenty
minas' worth of silver, was decked as for a wedding. Alexander's had
feet of gold. And to the feast were bidden all his Persian friends,
and given places on the opposite side of the hall from himself and the
other bridegrooms. And all the army and the sailors and the embassies
and the visitors were assembled in the outer court. The hall was
decorated in most sumptuous style, with expensive rugs, and hangings
of fine linen, and tapestries of many colors wrought with threads of
gold. And for the support of the vast tent which formed the hall there
were pillars thirty feet high, plated with silver and gold, and set
with precious stones. And around about the sides were costly portières,
embroidered with figures and shot through with gold threads, hung on
gilded and silvered rods.

"The circuit of the court was half a mile. Everything was started at
the signal of a trumpet-blast, whether it was the beginning of the
feast, the celebration of the marriages, or the pouring of one of
the various libations, so that all the army might know." "After the
banquet," resumes Arrian,[71] "the brides entered and seated themselves
each beside her fiancé, who thereupon took her by the hand and kissed
her; and the first to do this was the king.... Then each man, taking
his wife, led her away. Their dowries Alexander gave to every one of
them. And he caused the names to be written down of all the other
Macedonians who had married Asiatic women, and there were said to
be over ten thousand of them. To these, too, gifts were given by
Alexander at the marriage feast."

For five consecutive days artists from every land and people
entertained the cosmopolitan assembly with displays of skill as various
as were the ideas and interests to which they catered. But the discord
was lessened and the dominant _motiv_ repeated again and again by
the appearance and reappearance of the greatest Greek masters of the
dramatic and musical arts.

       *       *       *       *       *

It being established by these many incidents that it was a salient
trait of Alexander's character to disclose his fundamental policies
by acts elaborately staged and performed before the largest possible
audiences, we may return to his extraordinary visit to the temple of
Ammon of Cyrene. He had first to proceed one hundred and seventy-five
miles along the Libyan coast and then southwest for about seven days
before reaching his goal. A month of the most difficult marching,
at a time when every day was precious, was the high price which
Alexander thought it economical to pay for the recognition which he
there received as the son of Zeus. What was, then, the value of this
well-advertised recognition?

That it had none for Egypt and the nations of Asia, to whom the god of
Siwah, like the prophet in his own country, was without honor, implies
that Alexander esteemed highly its value in the Greek world, where the
voice heard at Siwah was in fact an admonition to the pious and might
be an embarrassment to all in official positions. An oracle, however,
was always addressed primarily to him who received it. Other persons
could neglect it with impunity. Nevertheless, Alexander had made it
improbable that anybody should be unaware that Zeus had acknowledged
him as his son. Doubtless, much discussion was provoked; but there the
matter seems to have ended so far as Hellas was concerned till seven
years later, at the time of the feast at Susa, when Alexander issued
a mandate to all the Greek city-states, new and old, that they should
recognize him as a god.

Strange as it may seem to us, among whom church and state are
separated sharply, and religion depends upon a revelation which can
be interpreted but not supplemented, the question was one which came
properly within the province of the general assembly of the citizens of
each city. At this very time the Athenians, for example, had waiting
within their gates many foreign deities whose claims to official
recognition were being pressed upon the ecclesia by votaries among both
the alien and the native population. Such were Isis the Egyptian, and
the Cypriote Aphrodite. In comparatively recent times, moreover, the
ecclesia had yielded to similar solicitations, and had enrolled among
the deities of the Athenian people Asclepius and the Thracian Bendis.

In a polytheistic world there is no logical limit to the possible
number of gods; so that the chance always existed that there were
deities whom a given community had not yet discovered at any given
moment. There is, in such a world, a logical necessity that anarchy
should be absent from heaven. Hence each community had to rank its gods
and goddesses according to their power and spheres of activity. The
lowest god, demigod or hero was, accordingly, separated from mankind by
no deep or broad chasm. With most of their deities, in fact, the Greeks
were on terms of familiar intimacy, as were mediæval Christians with
their saints. Various of the lesser gods, Theseus and Heracles among
the ancestors of Alexander for example, had once been men who had been
elevated to Olympus by the grace of Zeus because of the many services
which they had rendered to men. It is true that they were the children
of Zeus; but had not Zeus also claimed Alexander as his own son? Why,
then, should not he too be deified?

The difficulty from the standpoint of religion--of the sentiment which
had led in the past to the heroizing of men--was that he was still
living. And this was an insurmountable difficulty. From the religious
conceptions of the Greeks the worship of the living ruler could never
be derived; and, in fact, it was by pious people and for theological
reasons that the rendering of divine honors to Alexander was opposed in
Athens and elsewhere.[72] The most that could be expected from men of
religious convictions was a sullen acquiescence in something which they
could not prevent.

The apotheosis of Alexander was grounded in impiety, in disbelief in
the supernatural altogether. For the age in which he lived was marked
by this very thing. In that time of storm and stress the ancient Greek
religion became bankrupt. For enlightened people--and their name was
then legion--the gods had ceased to have objective reality. Like the
spirits of the departed whom Ulysses had recalled to consciousness by
giving them blood to drink, they were dependent for their existence
upon the kindliness of men. Without the ministrations of the living
they would not merely be forgotten; they would be annihilated. It was
the gratitude of mankind which had kept the memory of benefactors
green by rites deemed and called religious. Once, to be sure, the
deities had been real beings, but that was before they had died, while
they were living upon the earth as men. Then they had performed great
services--had founded cities, conquered worlds, established laws,
invented arts, developed grains and fruits, and trained animals.
So at least many men of talent and learning already taught. But it
remained for Euhemerus of Messene, about fifty years later (_ca._ 280
B.C.), to give the idea classic expression in an entertaining work
of popularization.[73] With all the circumstantiality of Defoe, he
tells how, in the course of his voyaging, he was driven southward into
the Indian Ocean from Araby the Blest, till he came to the island of
Panchæa. There he found a model community whose social and political
organization he described in the manner familiar to us from Plato's
_Republic_. There, too, he made a remarkable discovery--an account
written on golden tablets in "reformed Egyptian" by Hermes of the lives
and achievements of Chronus, Zeus, and all the other gods and goddesses
of the Greek hierarchy. They had been kings and notables of Panchæa,
and some of them, like Zeus and Dionysus, had been world conquerors.
Others, indeed, had earned the favorable verdict of posterity by very
questionable acts. Aphrodite was the first prostitute, and Cadmus, the
grandfather of Dionysus, was the cook of a king in Sidon and had run
away with a flute girl named Harmonia.

This "sacred writ" was naturally the latest and most authoritative
revelation. It was saved, moreover, from being a gospel of atheism
because, as Cumont[74] says, "It left to the eternal and incorruptible
stars ... the dignity of original gods and exalted them in proportion
as it lowered their rivals of bygone days." The signal merit of Chronus
had been to introduce the worship of the heavenly bodies in Panchæa.

In this respect the _Scriptures_ of Euhemerus accorded with a strong
current of both earlier and contemporary religious thought. Most men
at that time recognized supernatural powers of a certain sort, like
Tyche, "Chance,"--the favorite deity of the Hellenistic world,--whose
play in human affairs modern disbelievers in religion also would be the
last to deny. But they declined to recognize as efficacious the gods
and goddesses in whose honor the cities maintained temples, priests,
sacrifices, and games, except when they had lived on the earth as men
and women.

At the best, therefore, these deities were simply prototypes of
Alexander, who had founded seventy cities and given them their
constitutions and laws, who had conquered all the territory which
Dionysus had once overrun, and who was planning to build a highway
along the coast of North Africa to the pillars set by Heracles at the
limits of the world; who, moreover, was moulding the masses of Europe
and Asia into a new race, and upheld, as no god had ever done, the
social and political framework of the world.

Religion was unable to elevate a living man to godhood. Even in Egypt
the sacred animals were but sacred animals till seventy days after
their death, when they became deities. But irreligion, having degraded
all gods to the level of human beings, had no reason to withhold from
great men the homage which it accorded to the great dead.

The fundamental document on the deification of Greek kings comes
to us stamped with the seal of the Athenian state. It was sung by
the multitude at the official reception of its sovereign, the young
Macedonian king, Demetrius Poliorcetes, on his return to Athens in
290 B.C.[75] "The king comes, light-hearted as befits a god, fair and
laughing, yet majestic withal in his circle of courtiers, he the sun,
they the stars: hail! child of mighty Poseidon and of Aphrodite. The
other gods are a long way off, or have no ears, or no existence, or
take no care of us, but thee we see face to face--a true god, not one
of wood and stone." This catchy bit of blasphemy makes it impossible
for any reasonable doubt to linger as to the regions of thought from
which the worship of Greek rulers sprang.

But why should men who regarded the gods they already had as useless
burden the state with the cult of another whose power was only too
real? Why abandon King Log for a possible King Stork? It is on this
point chiefly that scholars disagree to-day. There are those who
make the apotheosis of Alexander a tribute paid by the Greeks to
transcendant genius, a result of the reverence-compelling personality
of the man. I confess, however, that enthusiastic admiration such as
this presupposes does not seem to me to harmonize with the contemptuous
expressions which marked the establishment of his cult in certain
places in Greece.[76] In Sparta, Damis moved, in regard to Alexander's
message that he be decreed a god, that the Spartans "let him be
called a god if he wishes it"; while in Athens Demosthenes advised his
fellow-citizens "to acknowledge the king as the son of Zeus, or, for
all he cared, as the son of Poseidon, if such was his pleasure." In
other places, however, the recognition seems to have been spontaneous
enough, and to have been an expression of real gratitude for services
rendered or expected. But Greeks on earlier occasions, and other
peoples as well, were equally grateful and no less servile without
deifying the object of those sentiments. Why then did admiration,
gratitude, or servility take this form in this particular instance?

It is true that deification was _demanded_ of the Greek cities by
Alexander, and that it was in response to a mandate sent out by him
from Susa in 324 B.C. that "sacred ambassadors," such as were sent to
gods and not to kings or states, arrived at Babylon in the spring of
323 B.C. a few weeks before Alexander's death, bearing the decrees in
which his request was granted. But for the following fifty years it
was at the initiative of the Greek cities, and, at times, against the
will and interest of the recipient, that such honors were conferred
upon later rulers. Hence we may be certain that in the first instance
deification was an accommodation both to Alexander and to the cities in
his realm. Nor can we, I think, be in serious doubt as to the character
of the service it rendered.

It gave a legal position to Alexander in the world of city-states which
he was organizing. It was unjust, Aristotle had taught him, that a
man of supreme political capacity--such as he had displayed--should
be treated as worthy of mere equality in the cities of his realm. Yet
he could be treated in no other fashion if he were to be a citizen
of them. On the other hand, now that he had freed himself from the
constitutional limitations placed upon the earlier kings of Macedon and
from the treaties which he had formed with the Hellenic cities at the
opening of his reign, he ran the risk of being put to death or outlawed
or ostracized, if he were not, as Aristotle suggested, rated as a deity
upon the earth.

From his point of view, his rule was legitimatized when he was enrolled
among the deities recognized by each city; for thereafter he had a
clear right to issue orders to all the citizens of his world. From
their point of view, on the other hand, by deifying Alexander they
escaped from the intolerable necessity of obeying the commands of a
foreigner. They thereby gave their consent to be ruled by him. They
subordinated their will to his.

The deification of rulers was, accordingly, simply the proskynesis of
cities. Its consequences were an absolutism such as Europe--and for
that matter Asia--had never known before and has never ceased to know
since. And it is this melancholy consequence of apotheosis which has
only too frequently obscured its signal service: that it made possible
the lasting union of all the city-states of the world in a single great
territorial state.


 1. Hogarth, D. _The Deification of Alexander the Great._ In _English
 Historical Review_, II (1887), pp. 317 _ff._

 2. Niese, B. _Zur Würdigung Alexander's des Grossen._ In _Historische
 Zeitschrift_, LXXIX (1897), pp. 1 _ff._

 3. Wheeler, B.I. _Alexander the Great_, (1900).

 4. Bevan, E. _The Deification of Kings in the Greek Cities._ In
 _English Historical Review_, XVI (1901), pp. 625 _ff._

 5. Meyer, Eduard. _Alexander der Grosse und die absolute Monarchie._
 In _Kleine Schriften_ (1910), pp. 283 _ff._

 6. Kärst, J. _Der hellenistische Herrscherkult._ Beilage 2 in
 _Geschichte des hellenistischen Zeitalters_, II, 1 (1909), pp. 374

 7. Ferguson, W.S. _Legalized Absolutism en route from Greece to Rome._
 In _American Historical Review_, XVIII (1912), pp. 29 _ff._


[Footnote 58: Arrian, _Anabasis_, VII, 9, 2 _ff._]

[Footnote 59: _De Cor._ 67.]

[Footnote 60: Müller, F.H.G., I, _Frg._ 27.]

[Footnote 61: _Politics_, III, 11 (17), 12, p. 1288 _a_.]

[Footnote 62: _Politics_, III, 8 (13), 1, p. 1284 _a_.]

[Footnote 63: _Politics_, I, 1 (2), 9, p. 1253 _a_.]

[Footnote 64: Aulus Gellius, _Noctes Atticæ_, IX.]

[Footnote 65: Johnston, R.M., _The Corsican_, p. 498.]

[Footnote 66: See above, page 28, and below, page 243.]

[Footnote 67: Plut., _Alex._ 54.]

[Footnote 68: _Kleine Schriften_, pp. 314 _ff._]

[Footnote 69: VII, 4, 4 _ff._]

[Footnote 70: Athenaeus, XII, pp. 538 _ff._ (Translated by Wheeler in
his _Alexander the Great_, pp. 477 _f._)]

[Footnote 71: VII, 4, 7 _f._]

[Footnote 72: In Macedon, by the regent Αντιτροϛ ἁσεβἑϛ τοὑτο κριναϛ

[Footnote 73: Pauly-Wissowa, _Real-encyclopädie_, VI, 1, pp. 952 _ff._;
Wendland, _Die Hellenistisch-römische Kultur_ (1907), pp. 67 _ff._]

[Footnote 74: _Astrology and Religion among the Greeks and Romans_
(1912), p. 55.]

[Footnote 75: Ferguson, _Hellenistic Athens_, p. 143.]

[Footnote 76: Meyer, Ed., _Kleine Schriften_, p. 330, n. 2.]



The death of Alexander the Great was followed by some days of
indescribable confusion. When a certain semblance of order was restored
the view was officially promulgated that he had not died at all,
but had simply "departed from the life among men." His memory was,
accordingly, not damned; and, in a sense, his presence in the world
which he had transformed continued to be recognized. But not in any
real sense. The imperial coins, wherever issued, bore for some time the
great king's face as Zeus Ammon; but no imperial cult existed to bring
steadily to men's consciousness the idea that their dead lord had an
honored place among the Olympians. It was not by the will of those who
succeeded to his power, but by the force of historic developments, that
his _acta_ were validated.

His heirs were the Macedonians whom he had recently tried to oust
from their ancestral partnership with him. They were now to be found,
partly in Macedon, partly in detachments throughout the empire, and
partly in Babylon where Alexander had died. Those in Babylon took it
upon themselves to act for the whole people; and what they did was
to establish a regency in the interest of Philip Arrhidæus and the
son whom Roxane was expected to bear, and to concur in the "grab" of
the important western satrapies which was at once made by their chief

It was they, too, who decided not to proceed with Alexander's ambitious
projects. These, as read to them from his papers,[77] were "to build
in Phoenicia, Syria, Cilicia, and Cyprus one thousand battleships of
the super-trireme pattern for the campaign against the Carthaginians
and the other peoples dwelling on the shores of the Mediterranean from
Libya and Iberia clear round to Sicily; to construct a road along the
coast from Cyrene to the Pillars of Hercules, and prepare harbors and
naval stations at suitable places; to erect six temples at the enormous
cost of $1,890,000 each (fifteen hundred talents); to found cities and
transplant men and women both from Asia into Europe and from Europe
into Asia, thus linking the two greatest continents by understandings
based upon friendly intercourse and by brotherly feeling due to
intermarriages." Alexander, it appeared, had looked upon his work as
only half done: the Macedonians were eager to enjoy the fruits of an
enterprise which they regarded as already finished.

Their sentiment was shared by Ptolemy, son of Lagos, formerly one of
Alexander's aides. He had married a Persian princess at Alexander's
order, but now he deserted her, and, taking his Athenian mistress,
Thais, with him, he went off to Egypt, which had been given to him
as his province. There he established himself securely, governed
with power and sagacity for forty years, and, marrying in succession
two Macedonian princesses, founded a dynasty which gave to Egypt
its last great queen, Cleopatra VI, and prior to her accession, ten
kings,[78] all of whom were named Ptolemy. Between them they reigned
two hundred and seventy-one years; the average length of the reign was
over thirty-two years; several of them were expelled temporarily and
several of them had colleagues, but nine of them died in possession of
the throne. That constitutes a statistical record which it is hard to
parallel in all history.

It would be a fascinating study of human enterprise and human depravity
to trace the careers of these eleven monarchs. But to do so would be to
exhaust the space at my disposal without reaching the special subject
of my essay. It must suffice, therefore, to observe that the history
of the Ptolemies falls into an imperial period of four reigns and
one hundred and twenty years (323-203 B.C.); and a domestic period,
likewise of one hundred and twenty years (200-80 B.C.), in which the
native peoples, encouraged by the weakness of the Ptolemies abroad, and
by a ruinous schism between the military and the civil elements of the
foreign-resident population, gained point after point at the expense
of the dynasty. A third period follows of fifty years' duration, in
which Egypt was at the mercy, not now of the Roman Senate, but of the
all-powerful generals who had dethroned it.

The last king of Egypt, Ptolemy the Piper, a bastard by birth and
instinct, demeaned himself for twenty-eight years (80-52 B.C.); but
by bankrupting his treasury and sacrificing the good opinion of his
countrymen, he managed to transmit a badly tarnished crown to his
famous daughter, then a girl of seventeen years.

Cleopatra VI had an asset of much greater value than the servility and
buffoonery of her father, namely, her personal attractiveness. She
early lost all repugnance against using her physical charms, as well
as her even more notable mental graces, in what, with all our dislike
for the imperial courtesan, we must characterize as her gallant and
patriotic effort to rescue her country from the spoiler, to make the
queen of Egypt the consort instead of the slave of the coming Roman
monarch, to set proud Alexandria beside imperious Rome at the head of
the Mediterranean peoples.

She gave herself to Julius Cæsar; bore him a son; left her kingdom and
joined him in Rome, where Cicero and others paid her court in Cæsar's
gardens, wondering, perhaps, if she was to become their titular queen.
In contemporary documents Cæsar is called "the savior and benefactor
of the inhabitable world"; and during the last year of his life he was
busied with projects of universal empire. He meant to add the districts
not yet Roman to his realm, to subdue the Getæ, the Scythians, and
the Parthians. Why was not Egypt, the richest prize of all, included
in the list of his intended conquests? It was the country which he had
tried over twenty years earlier to secure as his own province. But that
was before he had met Cleopatra. That he left it out of the military
programme on which he was engaged at the time of his murder shows, I
think, that Cleopatra's solution of the Egyptian question was likely to
be his also.

Ten years later Alexandria witnessed an extraordinary spectacle.[79]
On a stage plated with silver two thrones of gold stood, and on them
sat side by side Antony as Dionysus and Cleopatra as Isis. At their
feet sat Cæsarion, Cleopatra's son by Cæsar, and on a level with him
Alexander, her oldest son by Antony, in Persian costume and with the
tiara of the Persian kings. Lower down sat Alexander's twin sister,
Cleopatra Selene, and at her side her younger brother, Philadelphus, in
Macedonian costume and with the headgear of the kings of Macedon. The
significance of the tableau Antony himself explained: Cleopatra, queen
of Egypt, Cyprus, and Coele-Syria, was henceforth 'queen of queens';
her son, Cæsarion, 'king of kings.' Alexander was declared king of
Armenia and of the states lying between the Euphrates and India,
Philadelphus, of Syria and all the lands between the Euphrates and the
Hellespont, Cleopatra Selene, queen of Libya including Cyrene. It was
the restoration of the ancient empire of the Ptolemies, and in Antony
"captured Italy" was symbolized. The Alexandrian siren had regained
what her ancestors had lost; and, had the Roman whom she had enthralled
only proved equal to the task of maintaining his initial ascendency in
Italy, she might, indeed, have fulfilled her boast and administered
justice on the Capitol. But Antony went down to defeat at Actium and
the young Augustus came to Egypt, like the comrades of Ulysses to the
shore of the tempters, with his ears stuffed with wax.

Pascal[80] says: _Le nez de Cléopâtre: s'il eût été plus court, toute
la face de la terre aurait changé._ But Pascal speaks as a philosopher.
He probably did not know that Cleopatra had a prominent nose. He was
certainly ignorant that her death made little or no difference in the
constitutional position of Egypt. In a sense Augustus was simply the
executor of the great queen's policy; for, after his reorganization of
the Roman empire was completed, "it is," as Mommsen[81] says, "quite as
correct to say that the kings of Egypt ruled in Rome as that the prince
of the Roman people reigned in the valley of the Nile." Be that as it
may, the empire of the Ptolemies could not have been recalled from the
past even by the magic of a woman's beauty; for, as we shall see when
we come to look at the second period of its history, the death it had
died was a natural one. It had but experienced the fate to which its
constitution made it prone. It was beset from its birth with incurable

None the less it made a brave show during the first century of its
existence; and during the reign of its second monarch, Ptolemy
Philadelphus (285-246 B.C.), its capital, Alexandria, was the London
of the ancient world. Its only rival in trade and commerce was its
neighbor to the west, Carthage. The golden age of the Ptolemies
coincides with the one epoch in the history of the world in which
Africa was the leader in business enterprise, in money power, in
naval strength, in luxury, in science, and, till the real test came,
in political prestige and influence. The commercial aristocracy
of Carthage and the enlightened despots of Alexandria had the
Mediterranean divided between them. West of Sicily lay a Carthaginian
lake, into which foreign ships entered at their own peril; east of it,
the chief harbors in the whole circuit from Cyrene to Corcyra, as well
as the islands which lay in the area thus inclosed, the Ptolemies aimed
to secure. Possession of the sea between Egypt and the Græco-Macedonian
world and of the coasts which it washed and the islands which it
surrounded, was the main object of the foreign policy of the early

The founder of the dynasty was a brave soldier, but a cautious
general. Again and again he withdrew from Asia before a land attack
and put his main reliance upon the natural defenses of Egypt. He was
no sailor at all; yet he became an admiral, and as the result of three
great maritime expeditions (308-306, 295-294, 288-287 B.C.), he handed
over to his unwarlike son the essential body of the possessions of the
family outside of Egypt. The founder of the dynasty was at the same
time the founder of the empire.

The Solomon of the Ptolemies, Philadelphus, is addressed by
Theocritus,[82] a Sicilian poet who had recently come to Alexandria
looking for a patron, in the following adulatory strains:--

  "Lo he hath seen three hundred towns arise,
  Three thousand, yea three myriad; and o'er all
  He rules, the prince of heroes, Ptolemy.
  Claims half Phoenicia, and half Araby,
  Syria and Libya, and the Æthiops murk;
  Sways the Pamphylian and Cilician braves,
  The Lycian and the Carian trained to war,
  And all the isles; for never fleet like his
  Rode upon ocean: land and sea alike
  And sounding rivers hail King Ptolemy."

The hero of these lines had just brought a war against his brother in
Cyrene and his rival in Asia to a successful termination (273 B.C.);
and, except for a probable interval of four years (253-249 B.C.), the
invincible fleet which he then possessed ruled the sea till his death.
But he was anything but a warrior king. During his whole life he never
commanded an army or a fleet in person. Like Augustus Cæsar, with whom
he has been compared, he had a delicate constitution which unfitted him
for the rough and tumble of war. He had a lively intelligence, which
was carefully cultivated, and, like the Emperor Hadrian, an insatiable
thirst for novelties. A new book, an old painting, a strange animal, a
useful invention, alike aroused his curiosity. One amazing woman--his
own sister--swept him from his self-indulgent moorings. She made
herself his wife--as any Egyptian woman might do with her brother--and,
though she was his queen for six years at most (275-270 B.C.), when
she was over forty and he over thirty-two, he followed her policy and
cherished her memory for many long years.

That her _acta_ might not be invalid he had her deified after her
death, and that he might still be her consort, he had himself elevated
at the same time to her side as the first self-constituted god-king
since Alexander.

A sensualist by instinct, he surrounded himself in Alexandria with
everything that appealed to his variegated lusts.[83] The women whom
he took into his harem after his sister's death were given palaces
and race-horses, public statues,--in costumes which were not always
modest,--and even divine honors. Splendid new quarters were laid out
in Alexandria, and public works erected there and elsewhere in his
realm. The capital thronged with scientific, literary, and musical
celebrities, attracted by the endowments and collections of the Museum,
the richness of the library, the profusion of festivals, and the
liberality of the king, who wished Alexandria to become to the new
world what Athens had been to the old.

Yet despite all these manifold gratifications, life palled on the
much-experienced monarch. He turned from the doctors to the quacks,
and, shrinking from pain and death, experimented with draughts that
were alleged to confer immortality: a strange act for one who was
already a god! While suffering agony from the gout, he envied the lot
of the fellahs, whom he saw from his window stretched out on the sand
in the sun eating their simple meal. "Ye poor," he is said to have once
exclaimed, "would that I had been one of you."

"From behind the rich curtains of his palace," as his stout adversary,
Antigonus of Macedon,[84] phrased it, Ptolemy Philadelphus played
cautiously and adroitly the great game of international politics. His
emissaries, laden with gifts and money, were to be found at every
capital from the Ganges to the Tiber. "Mighty kings" and "great
cities," Theocritus tells us,[85] were in his pay; and in the harbor
of Alexandria many great battleships lay ready to give emphasis to
diplomacy, to support the agents whom his gold had brought into action.

By these means, too, he kept open the roads which led across the sea
from all directions to Alexandria; shut off, by a fringe of Egyptian
possessions, the great continental empire of the Seleucids from access
to the Mediterranean; and kept Greece so persistently in insurrection
against its suzerain, Macedon, that he was able to ward off all danger
from that quarter.

He enlarged his inherited empire by seizing Ionia when Eumenes I of
Pergamum threw off the suzerainty of the Seleucids and shattered their
authority in Asia Minor (263-261 B.C.); but the gains he then made he
had to abandon during the upheaval which accompanied the revolt of his
"son" in Ephesus (259-255 B.C.), and he suffered still further losses
in Asia during the war he waged thereafter (253-249 B.C.), with Macedon
and Syria combined. These, however, his son, Euergetes, at the opening
of his reign (246-242 B.C.), regained, and he acquired districts in
Ionia and the Hellespont besides; and the position which he thereby
secured he held till his death twenty years later. On the sea, however,
he showed himself less persistent than his father. Philadelphus had
lost control of the Ægean when beaten at Cos in 253 B.C. by Antigonus
of Macedon, but had not rested till he had regained it four years
later, when the league of the Islanders, which was the immediate
bone of contention, came again under the authority of his admirals.
Euergetes suffered a crushing naval defeat in 242 B.C. off the island
of Andros at the hands of the "veteran" Antigonus; whereupon he let
the Cyclades go altogether. That was not the only sequel, however;
for in consequence of the large outlay for little gain entailed in
building and keeping in readiness the huge battleships then employed,
and perhaps also in consequence of the failure of the Carthaginians,
despite great naval expense and preparations, to hold the sea against
the improvised fleets of Rome in the First Punic War (which had just
ended), the third Ptolemy, like the Barcid government in Carthage,
abandoned the policy of maintaining a fleet strong enough to drive all
enemies from their respective parts of the Mediterranean. It was a
great mistake in each case. When at the end of the third century B.C.
Macedon and Syria, the traditional and long-suffering enemies of Egypt,
were in a position to renew their joint struggle with the Ptolemies,
the far-spread Ptolemaic empire fell together like a house of cards,
and Rome alone saved the dynasty from complete destruction.

       *       *       *       *       *

A variety of motives actuated the early Ptolemies in their struggle
for foreign dominions. Pride of possession was among them, of course.
The court poet Callimachus[86] struck a responsive chord when, in his
poem on the death of Arsinoë, the sister-wife of Philadelphus, he has
the sad news flashed from beacon point to beacon point till it reaches
Lemnos at the outer edge of the empire. National honor is a strong
motive for action, but it is commonly stirred by the fear of losing
something possessed rather than by the hope of acquiring something new.
Hence we must look deeper for the reasons which led cautious statesmen
like the first two Ptolemies to place round Egypt its girdle of power.

The motive suggested by Polybius[87] is quite different. It was with
regard to possible movements on the part of the monarchs of Syria, Asia
Minor, Thrace, and Macedon that the Ptolemies held, as he says, "the
most important towns, places, and harbors along the whole coast" of the
eastern Mediterranean. And there can be no doubt that he is right in
attributing this rather malicious aim to them. They were, doubtless,
great intriguers. But to Polybius, looking on from without, from one
of the districts which had been affected by the close proximity of
Egyptian garrisons and naval stations, the connection of these posts
with the foreign policy of the Ptolemies was apt to obtrude itself to
the exclusion of everything else. Nowadays historians are prone to
a similar onesidedness because of the close attention they give to
economic factors. They are quite right when they stress the importance
of Ptolemaic naval power and of the vantage-points held in Europe and
Asia for the development of Alexandrian commerce. The lighthouse which
Ptolemy erected at the mouth of the Nile at a cost of a million dollars
(eight hundred talents) was not only one of the seven wonders of the
world: it was a messenger of good will to the trading vessels which
came from all the dependencies with or without cargoes, to get for
Greek consumption the varied products of the Alexandrian factories, the
Egyptian grain-fields, and the Nile-borne traffic of Arabia, India,
Somaliland, and Ethiopia. What the lighthouse symbolizes, the growth of
Alexandria to half a million in a hundred years proves: the magnitude
of the commerce which the transmarine possessions of Egypt stimulated,
when they did not originate it.

Where the economic historians are wrong, however, is in doing what
Polybius did. _He_ made the imperial policy of the early Ptolemies
primarily foreign; _they_ make it primarily commercial. The truth is
that it was dictated also by the plain necessities of the domestic
situation. Let us see what that was.

       *       *       *       *       *

The first Ptolemy had stepped into the place of the Pharaohs on
Alexander the Great's death. The only right he cared to acknowledge for
the obedience of the Egyptians was the right of conquest. As for them,
we may be sure that just as they created the myth that Alexander was
not really Philip's child, but a son begotten from Olympias by either
Nectanebus, the last native Pharaoh, or Ammon, the great god himself
who had taken the form of Nectanebus for the purpose; and just as they
in later times represented Cæsar and Antony as Ammon reincarnate, that
Cleopatra's bastard children might be legitimate Pharaohs: so, too,
they applied to Ptolemy the fiction by which for thousands of years
they had been wont to bridge over the gaps in the genealogy of their

The bridge was necessary, however; for, in their thinking, the gods,
who had once lived among men, on withdrawing to the divine abodes, had
left one of their number to rule over the world--which, of course,
was Egypt. From him all their kings were descended. The Pharaoh was,
accordingly, the only god who resided upon the earth, and, as such,
fittingly the mediator between men and the great gods and goddesses of
the upper and nether world.[89] The Pharaoh was, therefore, both the
god-king and the chief priest. The whole land and people of Egypt were
his property. Without his presence and ministrations the earth would
literally languish and grow barren, and the men, women, and children
would perish. Egypt was, accordingly, bound to have a legitimate
Pharaoh. Ptolemy could be made Ammon's offspring as easily as Alexander
the Great; but how it was done we do not know.

On his arrival in Egypt, Ptolemy found there two other states in
addition to that of the Egyptians. These were the old Greek city of
Naucratis and the new city of Alexandria. A third arose when he himself
founded Ptolemais to be to Upper Egypt what Alexandria was to Lower
Egypt--the centre and rallying point of Hellenic interests. To these
three city-states he added a multitude of others in and about the
Mediterranean when he acquired for his house its foreign dominions.
The convenient thing for these to do was to bind themselves to him
by the Gordian knot of religious worship; and, as Ptolemy Soter,
or the Savior, he was in fact enrolled in the circle of deities
recognized by the several cities. In Alexandria we may be sure that
its founder, Alexander the Great, had been accorded divine honors
from the beginning, and that after his death the citizens appointed
each year a priest of Alexander, just as they had been in the habit
of doing while he was alive, and just as they appointed one for Zeus
or Apollo. However, at some date between 311 and 289 B.C., perhaps on
his assumption of the regal title in 306 B.C., Ptolemy took into his
own hands the administration of his capital, and thenceforth appointed
personally the priest of the city-god Alexander, who became therewith
an imperial god. To this cult Philadelphus did not add that of his
parents, "the savior gods," when he had them officially deified at
their death (283 B.C.); but he did add to it that of his deceased
queen and of himself when in 270 B.C. he inaugurated the worship of
"the brother gods." His example was followed by each succeeding pair
of rulers to the end of the dynasty, except that the savior gods were
inserted by the fourth Ptolemy in their proper place after Alexander.
So that central among the gods of the capital of the empire stood
ultimately the long series of the departed rulers and at its head the
living king and queen.

Outside the capital, in the city-states of the realm, as later on in
the provinces subject to the Roman emperors, the reigning monarchs
were alone the recipients of divine honors. The living Ptolemy, by
recognizing the divinity of his predecessors, assumed responsibility
for the validity of all their _acta_. They had issued their mandates
(_prostagmata_) as gods; so long as they remained gods their mandates
must be obeyed. The cities, on the other hand, had no concern except
to legalize the orders issued to them by their living rulers, once
their living rulers had legalized and thus become responsible for all
orders issued by the dead. At Rome the memory of certain emperors was
damned, and their acts rescinded. That was possible there because the
emperor was theoretically only an officer of the Roman people. One
means employed to invalidate the _acta_ of deposed rulers was to refuse
to have them among their gods after their death. The Alexandrians had
no such discretion. After about 306 B.C. they were subjects themselves,
not masters, of the Ptolemies. In their city it was the living Ptolemy
who willed his own deification, and he could withhold divine honors
from his predecessor only when, as in the solitary case of the founder
of the dynasty, the monarch neglected to have himself created a god
during his lifetime. Since his wish was decisive, it is not surprising
that he had the members of his family, his wife, sisters, children,
and concubines, elevated to Olympus along with himself. Curiously
enough, however, Philadelphus and his four immediate successors,
while demanding that their subjects should worship them as deities,
treated themselves simply as kings, and carefully refrained from
describing themselves as gods even in their public communications.
The fact seems to be that only by accepting the Egyptian theory of
a divine incarnation could the Ptolemies find a theological ground
for constituting themselves gods. This concession to native thinking
the proud early members of the dynasty refused, however, to make,
preferring to challenge by their own self-denial the divine honors
which they required from others. With this view accords the further
fact that the first Ptolemy deliberately to court a native support for
his throne--Euergetes II--was also the first to sign his edicts as
θεὁϛ, or "god."

While it is true that no great empire ever existed without a
constitutional fiction, it is also true that it never endured on a
fiction alone. The Macedonian soldiers whom Ptolemy found in Egypt and
those whom he brought with him and sent for later were essential for
the maintenance of his government. So long as the son of Alexander
the Great lived, and, indeed, for four years longer (till 306 B.C.),
Ptolemy was simply their general. Then he became their king, and to
legitimatize this practical usurpation, the legend arose that he
was not really the son of Lagos, but the son of Philip. It is to the
honor of Ptolemy that he had nothing to do with this libel on the good
name of his mother, and preferred rather to be an illegitimate king
than an illegitimate son. Besides, it was only necessary to go back a
generation or two to attach the line of Ptolemy to that of the ancient
"Zeus-born" kings of Macedon. The wife of Lagos had belonged, in fact,
to the royal family, as the Ptolemies took good care to observe.

The Ptolemaic empire was, accordingly, based on three concurrent
theories, one for the native Egyptians, one for the Greek city-states
and one for the Macedonians.

       *       *       *       *       *

Appian of Alexandria,[90] writing about two hundred years after the
death of Cleopatra, cites the royal registers as authority for his
report that Philadelphus kept, for land operations 200,000 foot, 40,000
cavalry, and arms for 300,000 men; in addition, 300 war elephants and
2000 war chariots; for naval warfare, 2000 transports, 1500 battleships
with three to five banks of rowers, and oars and rigging for twice that
number. He had also, according to the same authority, 800 royal barges
with gilt poops and beaks, and in his treasury a reserve of 740,000
Egyptian talents, or $890,000,000.

That the reserve as given amounts to three times the value of the gold
and silver in the United States treasury shows that the enumeration
belongs only in the history yet to be written of the absurdities of
statistics. More credible estimates of the Egyptian army place it at
80,800 under the second Ptolemy and (exclusive of natives, who then
numbered 26,000) 49,700 under the fourth Ptolemy.[91] These are very
large totals. It will help to solve many questions of Ptolemaic policy
to observe where the soldiers came from.

But first we may notice that they could not come from the natives; for
their most important duty was to hold them in subjection. There were so
many people to keep down! Alexandria itself had a large native quarter.
The other two Greek cities in the land were but alien flecks in the
midst of a great multitude. Up and down the valley lay the native
hamlets, to the number of 33,333 according to Theocritus, teeming with
the seven million people whom Egypt then sustained. Alexander the
Great may have dreamed of Hellenizing these masses; Ptolemy, however,
had no such thought, as is shown conclusively by the fact that under
his dynasty and, indeed, for at least two centuries after its fall,
Naucratis, and probably also Ptolemais, forbade by law marriages
between their citizens and the natives.[92]

The sole landowner in Egypt was the king. The entire valley of the Nile
was literally his personal estate.

Except for certain portions "set apart" for particular purposes, which
we shall examine in a moment, the arable land surrounding the countless
native villages was in the possession of tenants of the crown, who
paid to the king about seven bushels of grain per acre as rent and
sowed their land according to royal orders with seed provided by him;
who might be dispossessed at any time, but could neither abandon their
plots (at least in seeding- and harvest-time) nor their villages
(except for short periods), at their own volition; who had numerous
services in connection with "geometry," irrigation, transport, post,
and similar matters to perform, and might be moved or forced en masse
to redeem and cultivate dry or marsh land situated near their hovels;
who paid a poll-tax and a house-tax to the king, and one sixth of
the yield of their vineyards and orchards, when they had any, to the
temple authorities whom the king appointed; who bought their beer, oil,
fish, honey, cloth, soda, bricks, wood, paper, and almost every other
article of common use either exclusively from the king, who was the
sole producer and seller, or in certain cases from private dealers,
who, however, paid so much for their license that they could not
undersell the king. Watchmen were everywhere in the fields to see that
the king was not defrauded. Gendarmes patrolled the country to guard
the roads and deserts, to prevent smuggling and "moonshining." Scribes
and bankers were in every village to keep account of all changes in
families and in leases; to visé every payment. Every village had its
storehouse of records, of grain, of money. And on the Nile went to and
fro the royal transports which carried the surpluses to Alexandria,
and the products of the royal factories to the local depots from which
they were sold. The king of Egypt was, accordingly, by far the greatest
merchant and manufacturer in the whole world. Even in far distant Delos
the price of paper, myrrh, and other articles was fixed by the pleasure
of the royal monopolist. That his interference "regulated the market"
to his own advantage may be inferred from the fact that the sheet of
paper which was sold in 296 B.C. for one obol (three and one half
cents) cost on the average eleven in 279-250 B.C.[93]

Thus set about by countless officials and shorn to the very skin, the
fellahs lived under the Ptolemies, "patient, laborious, cheerful,"
yet filled with hidden bitterness at the magnificence in which their
masters lived at their expense in Alexandria, venting their rage in
impotent prophecies that "the great city at the water's edge should
become a drying-place for the nets of fishers, and its gods should
migrate to the native capital Memphis."[94]

Clearly, the army of the Ptolemies could not be recruited from such
elements. The Egyptians might be put on the warships as rowers, used
in the transport service, and, occasionally when the need was great,
in small numbers as soldiers. But granted that they might be useful
in fighting abroad,--at home they belonged to the enemy from whom the
early Ptolemies had greatly to fear.

As such, the citizens of Alexandria, Naucratis, and Ptolemais were
apparently exempt from military service. Hence the great problem of
national defense could not have been solved by the founding of new
Greek cities of this type in Egypt had there been room for them, or by
the founding of any kind of cities, had Ptolemy thought it possible to
organize the natives in urban communities round a Greek or Macedonian
nucleus--as Alexander may have wished to do, as the Romans in fact did
in the year 202 A.D.; for, even if Ptolemy had cared for that kind of
thing, the Greek or Macedonian nucleus did not as yet exist in Egypt.
It had to be brought there from abroad. Hence it was a question of life
and death for the Ptolemaic dynasty to remain in constant communication
with the regions of the eastern Mediterranean whence came supporters of
their rule, soldiers for their armies.

"But shouldst thou really mean a voyage out," says one Greek peasant to
another in Theocritus,[95]--

      "The freeman's best paymaster's Ptolemy.


      What is he else?


                       A gentleman: a man

      Of wit and taste: the top of company;
      Loyal to ladies; one whose eye is keen
      For friends, and keener still for enemies.
      Large in his bounties, he, in kingly sort,
      Denies a boon to none: but, Æschines,
      One should not ask too often. This premised,
      If thou wilt clasp the military cloak
      O'er thy right shoulder, and with legs astride
      Await the onward rush of shielded men:
      Hie thee to Egypt."

Phoenicia and its hinterland were necessary to Ptolemy because of their
forests of timber for shipbuilding, which Egypt lacked. The rest of
his transmarine possessions were necessary because of their stock of
reliable soldiers, which Egypt also lacked. Hence, as stated already,
the imperial policy of the early Ptolemies was a plain consequence of
their domestic policy--of holding Egypt as a foreign country.

Let us now see what they did with the store of soldiers which they
possessed and with the new recruits whom they constantly added to
it.[96] I have already drawn your attention to certain lands which the
Ptolemies "set aside" for particular purposes. One complex of such
lands they assigned to the temples. And I may remark that while the
Ptolemies appointed and controlled the priests, they also conciliated
them, by leaving them valuable perquisites, paying to them stated sums
annually, building new temples and repairing old ones, and allowing
them to make for their own consumption the various articles which they
could buy only at the royal counters and at monopolistic prices. They
also set their land aside in a favored category. What is common to this
category is not a single fiscal arrangement, but a relinquishing by the
king of his right of direct management. To its members he binds himself
in a way that does not impair his ownership, but does restrict his
ability to take possession.

To this category belong the "gifts" of large blocks of land with
their villages to his courtiers, who received them free from rent
and taxes. The "friends" of the Ptolemies, though they resided in
Alexandria, were thus landed proprietors, absentee landlords, who
maintained their luxurious establishments in the capital on the rents
which their Egyptian tenants paid. Common soldiers could not expect
to become feudal lords by entering Ptolemy's service. But for his
"loyal comrades," as Theocritus[97] calls them,--his officers, court
dignitaries, and favorites,--he had such benefices to confer.

To the ordinary men-at-arms lots of land all over Egypt were
assigned; to those of the guard and the cavalry, sixty-five and
forty-five acre farms, to the infantrymen, farms of twenty acres.
For Egyptian conditions these were very large units, and since
under Philadelphus--who perfected this system of farming out his
soldiers--the army consisted of 57,600 foot and 23,200 horsemen, over
one quarter of all the arable land in Egypt would have been in their
possession, if only land naturally watered by the Nile had been given
to them, and if none of them were mercenaries serving only for hire.
Many, however, were doubtless mercenaries of this type; and to the
rest, land was commonly distributed which needed some expenditure of
capital and energy to be reclaimed from the desert or the water. Of
this kind of land the Ptolemies evidently inherited a goodly quantity
from the Persians, whose government had been rendered inefficient in
the fourth century B.C. by frequent revolts of the natives.

The soldiers might sublet their lots in whole or part and live in
Alexandria or elsewhere. Or they might take possession and till them
with their own hands. To facilitate the actual distribution of the
army over the country, the king attached to the lots "quarters" on
the premises of the neighboring Egyptians. This was not at all to the
liking of the latter, as the following letter of a quartermaster to a
county official shows:[98] "We have discovered that certain owners of
houses in Crocodilopolis, which were once used for quartering troops,
have taken off the roofs, and walled up the doors and built altars in
their places. This they have done so as not to have them occupied. If
then you agree, in view of the shortage of quarters, write Agenor that
he make the owners of the houses take the altars down, and build them
up again better than before upon the most suitable and conspicuous
parts of the roofs, so that we may be able to take possession." The
gods had never objected to having old altars replaced by finer ones.
Henceforth, not the entrances, but the roofs, were to be protected by
religion. The ancient quartermaster knew his business.

It was decidedly to the interest of the government that it should have
a sort of garrison in residence in all the _nomes_, or counties, of
Egypt--trained soldiers ready to take their places in their companies
at the command of the chief nome official, who was also their general.

These men were by no means all Macedonians or Greeks. Some of them
were Persians who had been in the land when Ptolemy arrived; some were
Libyans, Jews, Thracians, Mysians, Galatians; nearly all were from the
regions tapped by the empire of the Ptolemies.

They paid no rents for their lots, no poll-tax, and one tenth, in
place of one sixth, of the yield of their gardens and orchards. Like
the Hellenes generally, they might give commutation money in lieu of
manual labor on dykes and canals. In other respects they were taxed
rather more severely than the "royal tenants"; and, in addition, they
had to pay certain feudal "aids" to the king. If they failed to pay
these "aids," or if they fell in arrears with their taxes, they lost
their holdings. Hence they were under a financial constraint to make
the land, which they commonly received as waste land, productive. The
soldiers were, accordingly, the "pioneers" of Ptolemaic Egypt, steadily
at work enlarging the arable areas of the country and redressing the
agricultural wrongs which it had sustained during the troubles of the
later Persian régime.

Their lots reverted to the king when they died or left the army. The
king could then add them to his domain or reassign them to other
soldiers. During the imperial period of Ptolemaic history he seems to
have taken the former course whenever the land was in a condition to
bring him in a rent in addition to the taxes. However, from the very
beginning, he undertook to make a new or a re-grant to the sons of dead
or superannuated soldiers who were trained for military service. These
were officially designated "men of the _epigone_, or increase," and
they entered the army at the same time that they entered upon their
inheritance. In this way the Ptolemies bred a crop of new soldiers
in Egypt, so that they might look forward to being gradually less
dependent upon mercenaries recruited from beyond the seas. Egypt was
being enriched by a new military caste which should take the place by
the side of the new dynasty which the "_machimoi_" or "warriors" had
occupied during the old days of the native Pharaohs.

Multiracial though the soldiers were, they all spoke Greek. They had
to regulate their private conduct and their business affairs by the
special laws established in Egypt for the benefit of the various ethne,
or nationalities, to which they belonged. For in Ptolemaic Egypt,
as in the Turkish empire to-day, foreigners brought their own legal
restrictions and safeguards with them, which, however, were formulated,
for use in the Ptolemaic courts, in ethnic codes. These codes, however,
were either couched originally in Greek, or, like the laws of Moses,
which the Jews observed, they were translated into Greek at an early
date. How much political freedom the various nations enjoyed, it
is difficult to say; but in general they seem to have tempered the
absolutism of the Ptolemies only where they were massed together in
large numbers, as in Memphis and, above all, Alexandria. Elsewhere the
ethnic groups were, doubtless, constituted chiefly of the territorial
soldiers, or _cleruchs_, as they were called.[99] These, however,
ceased to have any civil rights when called by the king into active
service. With them political agitation could become effective only when
it became mutiny.

Prominent among the institutions which the Hellenic and Hellenized
foreigners brought into Egypt were those that centred in the gymnasia.
Some of them were, doubtless, at first and for long, a subject of
scandal and wonderment to the natives. As the Greeks ran and tumbled
stark naked in the palæstræ, or in the contests for which, as for the
army, the palæstræ were the training-grounds, the story of Heracles and
Busiris was constantly reënacted; except that in time Busiris came to
see whence sprang the strength which he could not resist. It was in the
gymnasia also that the Greeks received their higher education and by
its means that they secured for their sons the ideas which the poetry
and philosophy of Hellas alone could give. In the gymnasia temples of
Hellenism appeared in county after county of Egypt.

The foreigners brought with them into Egypt their native religions,
and, when they were not monotheists like the Jews, they came easily
into sympathy with the myriad cults of the natives. A religious
_rapprochement_ was thus established and a bi-religious _milieu_
created, by which a new half-Greek, half-Egyptian god, Sarapis,
whom Ptolemy I introduced from Sinope, prospered. Before long this
Janus-like deity, who was endowed with a sanctity and miraculous
power which hoary Egypt could alone give, and with a plastic beauty
peculiarly Greek, became distinctively _the_ great god of Egypt,
and, in conjunction with Isis, Anubis, and Harpocrates, the most
active religious force in the whole world of the Ptolemaic empire.
Sarapis-Osiris, the monarch, judge, and savior of the world of the
dead: Ptolemy-Pharaoh, the monarch, judge, and savior of the world
of the living;--these two and these two alone received the divine
homage of Greeks and Egyptians alike. The early Ptolemies willed
the impossible; to accept the native deities, cults, creeds, and
hierarchies as the active element in the fused Græco-Egyptian religion;
to let the two civilizations represented in their realm coalesce in so
far as their religious ideas, practices, aspirations, and hopes were
concerned; and at the same time to keep them apart in other respects:
to preserve in other matters the unapproachable superiority of the

       *       *       *       *       *

Certainly, success in this attempt to graft the ancient religion which
he as Pharaoh was bound to accept and preserve on the new stock of
Hellenism without corrupting the fine flavor of the fruit hitherto
borne by it in Greece, depended on making the Greek cities, Alexandria,
Naucratis, and Ptolemais, and the Græco-Macedonian military colonies
simply the Egyptian portion of a Græco-Macedonian realm reaching over
the seas to the head of the Ægean. This necessary support to his
position in Egypt the third Ptolemy jeopardized when he neglected to
replace the great fleet after 242 B.C. For twenty long years, moreover,
he left his army at work farming in Egypt, with the inevitable result
that it became immobile. Such a neglect of military matters seemed
warranted by the impotence of his two great rivals. For during this
entire period Asia was rent by a dynastic struggle and Macedon was
paralyzed by a general insurrection in Greece. His weak and indolent
son paid the penalty for his father's neglect. By strengthening his
army with 26,000 natives, whom he armed and drilled in the Macedonian
fashion (221-217 B.C.), he saved the empire for seventeen years, when
it fell before the combined attack of Macedon and Syria (202-200 B.C.);
but he tempted the Egyptians to lay claim with the sword to partnership
with the foreigners in the government. Thus presented, their claim was
rejected, as was natural; but once the empire was lost and the flow of
immigration into Egypt ceased, the Ptolemies of the "domestic" period
were forced to acknowledge its justice.

They constituted their territorial army more and more from native
soldiers, to whom they gave increasingly larger lots, while they
progressively diminished the size of those held by the foreigners. They
ceased to take back the holdings on the death or superannuation of the
occupants, thus admitting the right of sons and other male descendants
to get, in return for military service, not dry or marsh land, as in
the early days, but land already redeemed by their father's capital and
labor. Soldiers ceased to be soldiers spending their spare time winning
new land from the desert and the swamp for their master's estate; and
became farmers to whom service in the army was a nuisance and a loss.
The army became thereby hopelessly immobile.

The age was generally one of economic decline and not of economic
advance; for Egypt had gained more, as the sequel proved, from the
vigorous government of the early Ptolemies than it had lost by the
expenditure of its surpluses on the empire. In this decadent age the
Egyptians gained admission freely to the police and administrative
service as well as to the army. Thus elevated in social esteem,
they were able to intermarry with their ancient lords; so that a
considerable half-breed and bilingual population developed--Greek in
the outward things, fellaheen, according to Polybius, in character and
culture. Alexandria, he says,[100] "three strata occupy: the Egyptian
and the native race, sharp and (un)civilized. Then the mercenary
troops, oppressive and numerous and dissolute; for from old custom
they kept armed troops who had learned to rule rather than to obey, on
account of the worthlessness of the kings. The third stratum was that
of the Alexandrians, nor was even this truly a civilized population
owing to the same causes, but yet better than the other two, for though
of mixed breed, yet they were originally Greeks, with traditions of
the general type of the Greeks. But this part of the population having
disappeared mainly owing to Ptolemy Euergetes Physkon (145-116 B.C.) in
whose reign Polybius visited Alexandria,--for Physkon, when revolted
against, over and over again let loose his troops on the population and
massacred them,--and such being the state of things, to visit Egypt was
a long and thankless journey." Foreign enemies the omnipotent Roman
Senate kept off during the second century B.C.

But unnerved by the menacing patronage of the great republic, the
Ptolemies, now represented by men of vigor and no character or of
character and no vigor; by women, who were sprung mostly from adelphic
unions, of remarkable ability, beauty, and morals, prefaced with a
period of long-continued dynastic and national strife the dramatic
epoch of Ptolemy the Piper and Cleopatra the Great.


 1. Mahaffy, J.P. _The Empire of the Ptolemies_ (1895), and _The
 Ptolemaic Dynasty_ (1899).

 2. Beloch, J. _Griechische Geschichte_, III (1904).

 3. Bouché-Leclercq, A. _Histoire des Lagides_, especially vols. III
 and IV (1906).

 4. Rostowzew, M. _Studien zur Geschichte des römischen Kolonates_

 5. Wilamowitz-Moellendorff, Ulrich von. _Stoat und Gesellschaft der
 Griechen_: D. _Die makedonischen Königreiche_ (1910).

 6. Lesquier, J. _Les institutions militaires de l'Égypte sous les
 Lagides_ (1911).

 7. Kornemann, E. _Ægypten und das (römische) Reich._ In Gercke and
 Norden's, _Einleitung in die AItertumswissenschaft_ (1912), pp. 272

 8. Mitteis, L., und Wilcken, U. _Grundzüge und Chrestomathie der
 Papyruskunde_ (1912).


[Footnote 77: Diodorus, XVIII, 4.]

[Footnote 78: Omitting the shadowy Eupator, Philopator Neos, and
Alexander II.]

[Footnote 79: Bouché-Leclercq, _Histoire des Lagides_, II, p. 278;
Plut., _Antony_, 54; Dio Cassius, XLIX, 41.]

[Footnote 80: _Pensées_, VI, 43 bis. Ed. Havet; cf. Bouché-Leclercq,
_Hist. des Lagides_, II, p. 180, n. 1.]

[Footnote 81: _Gesammelte Schriften_, IV, p. 256.]

[Footnote 82: _Idyll_, XVII. (Translation of Calverley.)]

[Footnote 83: See Droysen, _Geschichte des Hellenismus_,^2 III, pp. 262

[Footnote 84: Plut., _Aratus_, XV.]

[Footnote 85: _Idyll_, XVII, 110 _f._]

[Footnote 86: Wilamowitz-Moellendorff, _Sitzb. d. Berl. Akad._ XXIX
(1912), pp. 524 _ff._]

[Footnote 87: V, 34, 6-8.]

[Footnote 88: Bouché-Leclercq, _Histoire des Lagides_, III, pp. 1 _ff._]

[Footnote 89: Breasted, J.H., _Development of Religion and Thought in
Ancient Egypt_ (1912).]

[Footnote 90: _Prooem._ 10. Tarn, _Antigonus Gonatas_, pp. 454 _ff._]

[Footnote 91: Athenæus, V, 202 _f._; Polybius, V, 65.]

[Footnote 92: Wilcken, _Grundzüge_, 13, 17, 47.]

[Footnote 93: Glotz, _Journal des Savants_ (1913), pp. 16 _ff._]

[Footnote 94: Wilcken, _Grundzüge_, 22.]

[Footnote 95: _Idyll_, 14, 58 _ff._ (Translated by Calverley.)]

[Footnote 96: For the following section the works of Rostowzew,
Bouché-Leclercq (vol. IV), Wilcken, and Lesquier cited in the Select
Bibliography at the end of this chapter are fundamental.]

[Footnote 97: _Idyll_, XVII, 111.]

[Footnote 98: Wilcken, _Chrestomathie_, 449.]

[Footnote 99: See for this section Lesquier, _op. cit._, pp. 142 _ff._;
Mitteis, _Grundzüge_ Einl. XII; Schubart, W., _Spuren politischen
Autonomie in Ægypten unter den Ptolemäern_, _Klio_, X (1910), pp.
41 _ff._; cf. _Id._ _Archiv für Papyrusforschung_, V, pp. 81 _ff._;
Jouguet, P., _La vie municipale dans l'Égypte Romaine_ (1911);
Plaumann, G., _Ptolemais in Oberægypten_ (1910).]

[Footnote 100: XXXIV, 14 (Translated by Mahaffy, _The Ptolemaic
Dynasty_, p. 191.)]



The main portion of the conquests made by Alexander the Great lay
in the continent of Asia. On the establishment of the regency this
vast district had been divided among over twenty satraps. Ten years
afterwards, in the fall of 313 B.C., one of these, Antigonus, known
in history as Monophthalmus, or the "One-eyed," had now held for two
years all the territory that lay between the fan-shaped offshoots of
the Himalaya Mountains and the sea. The whole Asiatic coast of the
Mediterranean from the Hellespont to Gaza on the Egyptian frontier was
in his possession. His fleet ruled the sea.

The spring of 312 B.C. was one of the most critical moments in ancient
history. In Antigonus the man seemed come with the will, ability,
and power to take the place of Alexander. By his side stood a son
of remarkable attractiveness and brilliancy, Demetrius, surnamed
Poliorcetes, or "Taker-of-Cities"; so that a dynasty seemed assured.

The work to be done was plainly indicated and preparations for its
accomplishment were already completed. After having stirred up an
insurrection in Greece in the preceding year, the fleet of Antigonus
had joined his main army which was massed at the Hellespont in
readiness to cross into Europe for the conquest of Thrace and
Macedon. In this district Antigonus conducted operations in person.
His son Demetrius was stationed with a minor army in Palestine with
instructions to avoid an engagement, and simply to keep Ptolemy cooped
up in Egypt till the European campaign was ended. If beaten in his
attack on Thrace and Macedon, Antigonus had nothing serious to fear so
long as he was master of the sea; if victorious, he could then fall
with irresistible force upon Egypt and complete the unification of
Alexander's empire. The whole campaign was admirably planned and the
troops well distributed for its successful execution.[101]

That it did not even get started was partly due to Ptolemy, who,
impelled by the magnitude of his danger, took the desperate step of
adding many natives to his army; and partly due to Demetrius, who,
despite his numerical inferiority, his instructions, and the judgment
of his staff officers, risked a pitched battle at Gaza, and was
decisively defeated. That the project could never again be renewed on
similarly advantageous terms was due to Seleucus, the son of Antiochus.
For taking a thousand men with him this accomplished officer, old in
service though still young in years, set out straightway after the
battle of Gaza for Babylon, his own satrapy, whence he had fled to
Egypt for fear of Antigonus four years earlier. Ten years afterwards,
in 302 B.C., when Antigonus again proceeded to conquer Macedon and
Thrace, after having beaten Ptolemy back into Egypt, his great aim
was frustrated, not only because the king of Thrace, Lysimachus,
outmanoeuvred him by getting an army across into Asia Minor, but also
because Seleucus, now master of all the territory in the rear of
Antigonus between the Euphrates and the frontiers of India, threw the
decisive weight of his new army into the scale, and joined Lysimachus
in crushing their common enemy at the great battle of Ipsus in 301 B.C.

Thereby Seleucus advanced his western frontier from the Euphrates to
the edge of the Mediterranean, shifted his capital from Babylon to
newly founded Antioch, and brought his empire into immediate proximity
with the districts whence alone Greek and Macedonian immigrants could
come. The Seleucids dated the founding of their dynasty from the return
of Seleucus to Babylon in 312 B.C. There is, however, much to be said
for the view that their empire was first established after the battle
of Ipsus.

For the next twenty years (301-281 B.C.) Seleucus had the great good
fortune to remain in secure possession of the vast territory which
called him king; and while he failed to pass on to his descendants all
the fruits of his crowning victory over Lysimachus at Corupedion in 282
B.C., he left to his son Antiochus I, surnamed Soter, or the Savior,
and he in turn about twenty years later, to _his_ son Antiochus II,
surnamed Theos, or the God, the fabric of their dominions, somewhat
tattered at the edges, to be sure, but otherwise whole.

The evil genius of the Seleucid empire during the century when it
was a great power was a woman--Laodice, the wife of Antiochus II and
mother of his successor, Seleucus II, surnamed Callinicus, or the
Glorious Victor (246-226 B.C.). Her power as queen is attested by
other evidences, and also by the fact that she was associated with
the king in the worship accorded by the satrapies of the realm to
their rulers, every satrapy being required by Theos to establish a
chief-priesthood in her especial honor.[102] None the less, she had
to yield her place to Berenice, daughter of Ptolemy Philadelphus,
when that crafty monarch seduced her husband from his alliance with
Macedon by giving to him along with his daughter a prodigious dowry
and extensive territorial concessions (249 B.C.). She retired to Asia
Minor, where she owned large estates secured in earlier days at the
expense of the royal domain, and where she could live in almost regal
state. For the death of her former husband, which occurred three
years later, she was probably not responsible,--though rumor held her
guilty,--since Theos had already, on his deathbed apparently, and for
reasons of sound dynastic policy, designated her oldest son, then a
"youth nearing manhood," as his successor, to the exclusion of the boy
with whom his Egyptian queen had recently presented him. Nor is she
to be condemned harshly for having had her rival and her son's rival
put out of the way; for she acted not only in self-defense, but also
to save the Seleucid empire from becoming simply an appanage of Egypt
during the long minority of Berenice's child. For conducting to a
successful termination, despite initial disasters, the campaign against
Ptolemy III, by which she put her son in possession of his throne, she
is deserving of high credit. It was when this was accomplished, and her
son was king, that her ambition led her into maternal and political
crime; for, in order to retain the government, which her oldest son,
now arrived at years of discretion, threatened to take from her, she
set up against him her younger son Antiochus, surnamed the Hawk, for
whom she got the administration of Asia Minor. The Seleucids became
thereby divided against themselves, and for twenty years (242-223 B.C.)
they were so weakened by a dynastic feud that they not only neglected
vital questions of foreign policy, but had to permit the total loss of
certain frontier satrapies and the rebellion of almost all the rest.
Antiochus III, surnamed the Great, opened his reign with an error--the
attempt to deal with the foreign situation before he had put his house
in order; and he ended it with a great disaster--his irreparable defeat
by the Romans at Magnesia in 190 B.C.; but in between he restored
his authority over what Bevan in his _House of Seleucus_ calls "the
essential body of the Empire" and his suzerainty over its "outside
sphere." The latter he accomplished by an impressive campaign, in
Armenia (where ruled Xerxes, betrayed by his name as an Iranian), in
Parthia (where Arsaces, the third king of a barbarian line from the
Turanian desert, which had mastered that country a little less than
forty years before, had just come to the throne), in Bactria (where
Euthydemus, a Greek from Magnesia, had recently founded a new Hellenic
dynasty in the place of an old one established nearly fifty years
earlier by Diodotus, "lord of the thousand Bactrian cities," as he is
called), and in India, where a certain Sophragasenus, following the
examples of Arsaces and Euthydemus, recognized the superior power of
the Seleucid.

On his return to Antioch after five years of marching and fighting in
the Far East (210-205 B.C.), Antiochus wrested Palestine from the now
feeble grasp of the Ptolemies. This exploit gave him the long-desired,
long-lacked, and long-fought-for access to the sea; and for the first
time in the history of the realm an opportunity was secured for the
construction of a great fleet. Simultaneously, Philip of Macedon fell
before the Romans at Cynocephalæ (197 B.C.); whereupon Antiochus went
vigorously to work dislodging all "foreigners" from the Mediterranean
seaboard of Asia Minor. This led in 192 B.C. to conflict with Rome.

Antiochus the Great has been late in coming into his due.[103] The mere
fact that Hannibal, whom the undying hatred of Rome had driven into his
service, worked out for him a plan of campaign against the Romans which
he rejected, and that he put the greatest general of his age in charge
of a new squadron of his extemporized fleet, have sufficed to rule out
of court in advance any apology for his defeat. The issue showed that
the view taken by Hannibal of the power of Rome was right. It is true
that it could have been checked only by a great combination of all the
Mediterranean states. But it is equally true that such a combination
was impracticable. Antiochus had to deal with the situation as he found
it. He risked too much for a few frontier districts and a possible
hegemony in Greece. But he seems to have greatly underestimated the
power of Rome, and to have credited the Senate with far less energy and
tenacity of purpose than it actually possessed. Once his vanguard was
thrown out of Greece by the incomparable Roman legions, his main hope
of defending Asia Minor did actually rest with his fleet. Hannibal was,
accordingly, in the right place. But the fleet was too new and too weak
as well as too scattered to hold the Romans in Europe; and, once the
veterans of the Second Punic War were across the Hellespont, no army in
Asia could have resisted them.

The Seleucids learned a terrible lesson on the battle-fields of
Thermopylæ and Magnesia: the fatality was that all the peoples in Asia
learned it also. That Antiochus the Great consented to surrender all
his possessions in Asia Minor and to pay to the Romans an indemnity
of one thousand talents a year for twelve years; to hand over his
battleships and to limit his fleet to ten decked vessels and a few
small craft; to give up all his war elephants and to keep no others
in the future; to take no Italians into his service as mercenaries,
and to throw open his empire to the merchants and traders from Rhodes,
proclaimed only too clearly to the Orientals that the days of the
lordship of the Macedonians in the world were past.

       *       *       *       *       *

It was not, however, till after the untimely death of his son,
Antiochus IV, surnamed Epiphanes, or the "God Manifest," in 164 B.C.
that the storm broke in all its fury. The forces then set in motion for
the destruction of the Seleucid empire were of two kinds, external and
internal. Of the external forces we have already considered one--the
advance of the Roman power toward the East. The Roman Senate had at
this time only one concern in its dealings with Syria, namely, to make
the Seleucids harmless. This it accomplished in a variety of ways.
Immediately after the death of Antiochus IV, it sent commissioners
into Syria who executed an unenforced article of the treaty struck
after the battle of Magnesia: they burnt the Seleucid battleships found
in the cities of Phoenicia and hamstrung the war elephants which
they discovered in the royal arsenals. By jealously restricting the
military establishment of the Seleucids the Senate broke their power
in all respects. Not content, however, with binding the feet of its
victim, the Senate held out an encouraging hand to all rebels against
his authority. A case in point is that of the Jews. Again and again,
between 164 and 120 B.C., Judas and Jonathan Maccabæus and Hyrcanus I
sought and obtained Roman recognition in their struggle against their
overlords. They had national causes for their repeated outbreaks and
religious stimuli to resist desperately, but it is doubtful whether
they could have carried their war of independence to a successful
termination without the assurance that Rome sympathized with their
enterprise. The Senate helped on the disruption of the Seleucid realm
by still another unfriendly act: it joined with Pergamum and Egypt in
lighting the fire of dynastic war in Syria in 153 B.C. and in adding
fuel to it from time to time thereafter, with the result that the realm
was devastated by civil war almost continuously from that date till
the end of the dynasty, ninety years later. Then, the blackened hulk,
manned by a mutinous crew, lay helpless in a sea infested with pirates,
when Pompey picked it up and towed it into a Roman harbor.

The other external force which contributed to this inglorious end
of a voyage begun with such fair promise was set in motion from the
Farthest East. I do not reckon it in this account that the Parthians
again rebelled and in 140 B.C. advanced their western frontier to the
Euphrates, thus forming the philhellen kingdom of west Iran which grew
behind the breastwork of the Seleucid empire to such power that later
it disputed with some success Rome's claim to suzerainty in Asia. Nor
do I enter it here that Armenia established its complete independence,
and under Tigranes the Great annexed for a time (83-69 B.C.) all of
the Seleucid realm then remaining. For these are internal movements
analogous to the insurrection of the Jews. It was from the banks of the
Hoang-Ho that an advance toward the west occurred in the early part of
the second century B.C. which may be paralleled with the simultaneous
advance eastward of the Roman power from the banks of the Tiber.[104]
The oncoming Eastern assailant was the conglomerate of Indo-European
peoples whom the Chinese call the Yue Tchi. They came along the edges
of the great desert of shifting sand in Eastern Turkestan down which
flows the mouthless Tarim River, not with the _élan_ of conquerors,
but retreating slowly before the superior strength of the Huns (Hioung
Nou), their former subjects, with whom they had recently fought an
unsuccessful war for the possession of North China. It was against
their conquerors, we may remark in passing, that the Chinese emperors,
Chi-Houang-ti and Wou-ti of the Ts'in and Han Dynasties respectively,
constructed in the third and second centuries B.C., to the south of
the Desert of Gobi, the great Chinese _Limes_, or Wall. In 159 B.C.
the Yue Tchi occupied Sogdiana. Twenty years later (139 B.C.) they
crushed the Greek kingdom of Bactria; so that in this general region
it was only in India, in the vast district drained by the Indus River,
that Greek kingdoms existed thereafter. Somewhere near the opening of
the Christian era these, too, succumbed to the Yue Tchi, now properly
designated Indo-Scythians by the Greeks. For several centuries the
Indo-Scythians, like the Huns who followed them in the fifth century
of our era, and the Turks who followed the Huns in the sixth, kept
open the trade routes along which they had themselves advanced when
driven westward from the Hoang-Ho. Their successors transmitted to
the frontiers of China Manichæism, the cosmopolitan religion of Iran:
_they_ did a greater work. They not only forwarded Buddhism to the
Chinese; but before it, and with it, the pure as well as the debased
art of Greece. Among the priceless treasures which Dr. Stein has
brought back from the desert cities of Cathay, none are more remarkable
than certain clay seals attached to documents of the third century of
our era, found at Niya in a district then under Chinese control;[105]
for one of them might have been made for Diodotus, the first Greek
king of Bactria, while on others appears Athena Alcis, the haughty,
helmeted, _promachus_ Athena, hurling the thunderbolt, whom the
Antigonid kings of Macedon and the Greek kings of India had put on
their coins.[106] Not without some reason, therefore, is the view now
being advanced that the art of China and Japan is derived, like that of
Europe and America, from Greek sources.[107] It is an amazing spectacle
to observe how Hellenistic civilization flowed simultaneously back the
channels to the springs in Italy and China whence came the floods which
overwhelmed the Seleucid empire.

       *       *       *       *       *

After this rapid survey of the political history of the Seleucids,
I wish to devote the remainder of this chapter to considering the
domestic policy of the dynasty. I shall point out that Seleucus and his
successors continued Alexander the Great's work of founding city-states
in Asia, and that, having to deal with priestly communities and feudal
lords as well as with the occupants of the widespread royal domains,
they refused to exempt from their direct control any lands not placed
under the jurisdiction of a city-state. I shall discuss briefly the
internal structure of the city-states and more at length their relation
in theory and fact to the monarch. This will finally bring up for
examination the policy of Antiochus IV, in whose reign the internal as
well as the external development of the Seleucid empire culminated.

       *       *       *       *       *

Seleucus had been advanced to high position in Alexander's service
after Alexander had disclosed his purpose of fusing the Macedonians,
Greeks, and Iranians into a new cosmopolitan race. The promotion
obtained by him during the course of the bitter struggle which this
policy occasioned suggests that he made Alexander's point of view his
own. This surmise as to the attitude of Seleucus is confirmed by the
fact that he took his place, after Alexander's death, with those who
upheld the cause of Alexander's family, and left it for his Babylonian
satrapy only when it became clear that to remain meant to perish
without accomplishing anything.

Seleucus was the only one of the great Macedonian captains who did not
take Alexander's death as a license to discard their Iranian wives. The
Bactrian maiden assigned to him at the great Susian marriage--Apama,
daughter of Spitamenes--became his queen and the mother of his heir,
Antiochus. The Seleucid dynasty was, accordingly, half Iranian from
the start; and for the policy which it inherited from Antigonus and
Alexander, and which it prosecuted vigorously till the death of
Antiochus IV in 164 B.C., namely, the Hellenization of Asia, it had as
warrant the practice of its idealized founder.

Of the Greek cities which Seleucus planted in his realm, fifty-nine
are named by Appian.[108] They lay especially in Syria, in the district
between the Euphrates and the sea which he sought to make a second
Macedonia. His son Antiochus, to whom he gave the administration of the
eastern satrapies in 293 B.C., was particularly active in developing
cities on the Greek model in that region; and to him and his son
Antiochus Theos belongs the honor of establishing the urban habits of
Hellenic life in the interior of Asia Minor. In the arm of their realm
which reached through this peninsula to the rear of the Greek strip
on the Anatolian coast, new cities sprang up under their auspices by
the score. Nor did the movement come to an end with the reign of the
second Antiochus in 246 B.C., though it probably weakened at that time.
Over two generations later, in the reign of Antiochus IV, it was again
resumed actively and directed especially into Palestine, which had been
newly added to the realm.

The most striking feature in the internal policy of the Seleucids is
the attempted transfer into Asia of the urban form of life theretofore
characteristic of Hellas. Evidently, these monarchs believed with
Aristotle, Alexander, and, we may add, Polybius, and, indeed, all
Greeks, that men who did not live in cities were uncivilized men.
Evidently, too, they thought it wise and possible to civilize their

It is not easy to form a definite impression of the political
situation in the Seleucid realm when the Macedonians first took
possession, but cities in the Greek sense seem to have been entirely
absent. This does not mean that towns were lacking altogether,
since, even if we disregard administrative centres like Babylon,
Susa, Ecbatana, Persepolis, we may use the term "town" properly of
places like Bambyce in Syria, fourteen miles west of the Euphrates.
There, in a fertile, well-watered valley, stood a famous temple of
Atargatis, the Syrian goddess. It was a wonderful establishment, as
readers of Lucian know, with its wide approaches, its obelisk-like
_phalli_, its sacred fish-pond, its shocking rites. At its head were
emasculated priests, who not only conducted the ceremonies and directed
a far-reaching proselytism, but also governed the community of temple
slaves (_hieroduli_) who tilled the land of the neighborhood for
their own support and that of the church. This clerical form of local
organization had been carefully fostered by the Persians. We all know
how in reorganizing Judæa they put the common people, who were there
simply to pay tithes, under the control of the high priest, elders, and
Levites, and made the so-called law of Moses the civil law of the land.
They proceeded in similar fashion throughout Asia Minor. There Seleucus
found scores of towns, big and little, to which the description, given
by Strabo[109] of the sacred city of Ma at Comana in Cappadocia, is
applicable: "In itself it is," he says, "a notable city, but most of
its inhabitants are god-possessed, or temple slaves. They are all of
Cataonian stock and are subject generally to the authority of the
king, but are under the immediate control of the priest. He is lord at
once of the temple and of the temple slaves, of whom there were more
than six thousand, including men and women, at the time of my visit.
Attached to the temple is much land, of which the priest enjoys the
revenues, and there is no one in Cappadocia of higher dignity than he
except the king." Similar to this was the temple of Zeus at Venasa with
its three thousand temple slaves and its land which yielded to its
priest an annual income of twenty thousand dollars (fifteen talents);
the temple of Zeus Asbamæus near Tyana, of Apollo in Cataonia, Mater
Zizimene near Iconium, and Artemis Perasia in Castabala. Similar, too,
was the temple of Ma in Pontic Comana with its swarming mart, its wide
acres, and its six thousand temple slaves, of whom the young women,
here as elsewhere, were sacred prostitutes; the temple of Anaitis in
Zela, of Men in Cabira, of Selene in Iberia, of the Great Mother at
Pessinus, of Zeus at Olba, and of other gods in other places scattered
through Phrygia, Pisidia, and Lydia, as well as Palestine, Syria, and
Babylonia. The Seleucids must have found the body of their empire
thickly studded with religious communities, each subject to its own
code of divine law, each dominated by a masterful and long-petted
theocracy. Under this baleful rule the whole country had settled
gradually down during the Persian time in progressive political and
economic stagnation.

Apart from the mountains and the deserts, where tribal and nomadic
liberty reigned,--a constant menace to central government,--the peoples
of Asia lived in villages when the Macedonians came. Many of these
villages, villagers and all, were owned by princelings and noblemen,
who, if natives, had been undisturbed by the Persians, if Iranians,
had come into their possessions by reason of royal grants. All through
Syria and Asia Minor may be seen to-day the ruins of "square towers"
(_tetrapyrgiæ_) and manorial castles such as these grandees built and
fortified for defense against their neighbors and, if need be, against
the royal authority itself.[110] Those who built them had apparently
had little loyalty to the Persian king, but also little inclination to
obey his successor. They were, accordingly, ejected right and left. Of
the estates thus obtained, the Macedonian kings could dispose at their
pleasure. They formed again part of the royal domain, which stretched
in all directions at the edges of the deserts and the mountains, among
the temple lands, the feudal fiefs, and administrative cities--a
veritable archipelago of landed property, tilled for the crown by
myriads of royal serfs. Here was the ὑλη the material, of which the
Seleucids founded many of their city-states.

The handle for reorganization which the priestly towns offered to the
new government was often the non-ecclesiastical part of the population.
That the temple was regularly the centre of local trade and the scene
of a recurrent bazaar tempted to its proximity money-changers and the
like. When the Greek immigration began this element was naturally
strengthened. It was, therefore, possible for the Seleucids to give it
an urban organization--a general assembly, a council, and magistrates;
and in this way to create a new city-state.

According to invariable Greek practice, however, such a city
controlled--with certain limitations--its own shrines. The great
temples of Apollo at Delphi and Delos, for example, were governed
by the citizens of those towns. Hence the natural policy for
the Seleucids, and the one which they in fact followed wherever
practicable, was to subordinate the high priests and clergy to the
adjacent urban authorities, thus solving the ecclesiastical question
in a way convenient for themselves and agreeable to European feeling.
Where this did not prove practicable, they often despoiled the temple
of its lands for the benefit of their followers. Thus the village of
Bætocæce was taken from the local temple of Zeus and given to a certain
Demetrius, and the sacred land of Zeus of Æzani was divided into lots,
which were assigned to cleruchs, subjected to a tax, and attached to
the financial jurisdiction of an adjoining city.[111] It is simply
another aspect of the same general policy when king after king sought
to lay "impious" hands upon the treasures stored up in the temples of
Bel, Anaitis, Atargatis, and Jehovah.

The secularization of religious properties was a very difficult
matter, and it was not pushed at all times with equal vigor by the
Seleucids. When the monarchs were embarrassed by foreign or domestic
troubles, they had to conciliate the priests even to the point of
undoing what they had already done. How easily a reaction might occur
we can perceive from the case recorded in the splendid inscription
which Mr. Butler has recently found cut on the inner wall of the great
temple of Artemis at Sardis.[112] A certain Mnesimachus, presumably
a Macedonian officer or adventurer, had got a huge fief from King
Antigonus. It consisted of the village of Tobalmura in the Sardian
plain and its appurtenances, the villages of Tandu and Combdilipia. On
these he had to pay annual dues of £50 to the proper chiliarchy, or
subdivision of the satrapy. Near by, in Cinara was a _kleros_, or lot,
on which he paid £3 yearly. The fief consisted, in addition, of the
village of Periasasostra, of which the annual dues, payable to another
chiliarchy, were £57. Close by, in Nagrioa was again a _kleros_, on
which he paid £3 7_s._ yearly. The fief consisted, moreover, of the
village of Ilu in the territory of the well-known city of Attuda, of
which the dues, paid annually to the city of course, were £3 5_s._
The manor (_aule_) of the fief was in the village of Tobalmura, and
together with certain lodges held by bailiffs and certain gardens and
parks tilled by manorial serfs in Tobalmura and Periasasostra, it had
once been assigned to Pytheus and Adrastus, likewise Macedonians; but
later on it had seemingly come into the possession of Mnesimachus. The
happy holder of this great estate enjoyed, doubtless, the total net
yield of the manor and the lots, and, in addition, as the possessor of
the manor and lots, rights to exact services in money, kind, and labor
from the villeins of the villages. Had he been so minded he might have
settled down in Lydia and become a baron like the Iranian nobles whom
the Macedonians dispossessed; and, doubtless, many Macedonians and
Greeks established themselves in Asia in this fashion. Mnesimachus,
however, wanted money rather than "rights"; and, turning to the temple
of Artemis in Sardis, he secured a loan of £1325 from the temple
treasurers. The inscription cut on the temple wall records the sale to
Artemis, with right to repurchase, of Mnesimachus's interest in the
fief. His inability to repay his loan resulted in the aggrandizement of
the temple.

Incidents of this sort were, doubtless, of frequent occurrence and show
what the Seleucids had to guard against. Their land policy seems to
have been prudent and far-sighted. They were bound to deal cautiously
with their gigantic domain, since from it came the most valuable and
stable portion of their revenues. On the other hand, they found a
limit set to the quantity which they could profitably retain by the
fact that, unlike the Ptolemies, they inherited from the Persians a
public service adequate, not to administer, but simply to supervise
administration. They did indeed increase the number of their satrapies,
without, perhaps, diminishing the number of chiliarchies or hyparchies
into which each satrapy was divided, and they seem to have paralleled
the general service by a distinct fiscal service and by a distinct
priestly service; but, none the less, they had to leave the details of
fiscal, judicial, and religious administration to the villages. Though
we are singularly ill-informed as to how they organized the villages,
it is conceivable that they picked out certain persons, like the elders
in the Egyptian villages, and held them responsible for the taxes of
the villagers and for their general good behavior. These men would be
rather hostages than officials, and would be nominees of the central
government rather than of the villages. But we really know nothing of
the facts, except that the villagers had some means by which they paid
their taxes collectively.

One way by which the Seleucids could relieve themselves of the troubles
of local administration and at the same time strengthen their hold
upon the country was to make grants of whole blocks or complexes of
their land, villages and villagers and all, to Macedonian and Greek
feudatories, like Mnesimachus, who of course became responsible for
the dues owing to the crown. But the evils of this system had been
discovered by the Persian kings when they found their vassals more
unruly than the villages. Hence the Seleucids refused to give a clear
title to those to whom they made grants of portions of the royal
domain, and in the case of Mnesimachus the temple of Artemis, to which
he sold his rights, had to secure itself in the contract against the
loss which it might sustain should the king recall his grant. On the
other hand, when the king sold outright parts of the domain, as he
frequently did, particularly in times of financial distress, and the
lands and villages sold became with their peasants private property, he
required that they should be added to the territory of some city-state,
it being a privilege highly cherished by the purchasers that they
should be given the liberty of deciding to which city their property
should belong. The Seleucid policy that land should belong either to a
city-state or to the crown was admirably calculated to destroy priestly
and feudal sovereignties, and it was taken over by the Roman emperors,
into whose patrimony in Asia Minor passed many temple lands which had
either escaped secularization under their predecessors or had been
regained by the priests during the later, weaker days of the Seleucid

By a similar sale, or by a gift outright, the colonists who formed
a new city, or the old inhabitants of a village on being constituted
citizens of a free town, obtained full ownership of the lots of land
assigned to them. The citizens, in turn, had authority, subject of
course to the city's laws and the constitutions of the realm, over
the serfs when there happened to be any on their holdings. In this
way the king lost control of his peasants and his property; for the
foundation was not merely a new city, but at the same time a new state.
Its sovereign was not, or not simply, the king: it was the body of its
franchised inhabitants assembled in general assembly, and it proceeded
to manage its public affairs by means of discussion and resolutions, by
delegating functions to a council and magistrates, and by determining
its own domestic and foreign policies. The language of public life was
of course Greek. The code of public and private law was, doubtless,
drafted according to Hellenic models. Gymnasia appeared and with them
gymnastic and musical contests--the most characteristic marks of Greek
education. The deities they honored were those whom they themselves
chose: they chose native gods and goddesses as well as Greek; above all
they chose as their chief city-god the living emperor.

The Seleucid empire was a state without a citizenship. If an Athenian
settled in it, he remained an Athenian, even if he became a satrap,
unless he were given citizen rights in some one of the free cities.
In other words, the empire had as many different citizenships as
there were different cities, and as many distinct states as there were
distinct citizenships.

Accordingly, each city could adopt whatever policy it pleased in the
matter of admitting foreigners, be they Greeks or Asiatics, newcomers
or natives, to its body politic. It might prohibit the intermarriage
of citizens with non-citizens altogether, or it might go so far as
to open its doors to bastards. It is, therefore, impossible for us,
without such sources of knowledge as the papyri afford for Egypt,
to speak in any general way of the extent and effects of racial
fusion in the Seleucid empire. Two things, however, seem clear: (1)
Intermarriage between citizens of different cities was of frequent
occurrence and, doubtless, of full legal propriety; (2) the great mass
of the agricultural population was not much affected racially by the
proximity of Greeks, Macedonians, Jews, or Iranians. The peasants were
practically serfs. Their social inferiority protected them against
assimilation by citizens. On the other hand, they were, doubtless,
much more deeply stirred by the European immigration than were the
fellahs in Egypt; for the influx into their land was much more abundant
and more spontaneous than was that into the valley of the Nile. Here,
too, Hellenism had much more effective agents for its diffusion than
it had there. For within the hundreds of city-states in Asia we must
presume that intermarriage was permitted among all citizens, whether
the elements which mingled with the Greeks were Phrygians, Lydians,
Syrians, Jews, Babylonians, or Iranians. We must presume that at least
the men knew in a fashion the Greek language. They certainly tended
to take Greek names, and in documents of Delos dating from the second
century B.C. we meet with natives of Bambyce--now a _polis_ and renamed
Hierapolis, or the Sacred City--who would be indistinguishable from
native-born Greeks were it not for the Semitic names of their wives.
Indeed, some of them may have been Greeks who had married Syrian women.
The various circles of Europeans in Syria, and, though to a less
degree, elsewhere in Asia, must have been surrounded at an early date
by a penumbra of half-breeds, by means of which the sharp contrast of
antagonistic civilizations was lessened. In these circumstances Greek
ideas and customs became a ferment which stirred the peoples of Asia
to the depths. The awakening of the Nearer East was in progress in
the third century B.C., and had the Romans succumbed to Hannibal and
the Greeks maintained their prestige unimpaired for a century or two
longer, the whole course of history would have been changed.

The Greeks came to Asia "not to send peace but a sword." They came
to fill the continent up with cantankerous little republics where
formerly a dense multitude had lived in a state of political lethargy.
And curiously enough those who directed the dismemberment of Asia into
far more states than even mediæval Germany produced were the rulers
who had the responsibility for the government of the whole region. How
explain this anomaly?

The anomaly is more apparent than real. The ruler was not simply
the great landed proprietor of the cities' neighborhood; he was the
founder, or the descendant of the heroized founder, of most of them;
he was the "benefactor" or the "preserver" of them all. As such he was
deserving of their homage and entitled to their obedience. This they
could proffer in an unobjectionable manner once Alexander had shown
them the way. They had simply to make their proskynesis; to elect him
to membership in their circle of deities, furnish him with a sacred
precinct, temple, altar, image, procession, and contest, and designate
a priest to attend to the sacrifices and other matters pertaining to
his worship. This they did of their own volition during the reign of
the founder of the dynasty. Apotheosis without territorial limitations
Antiochus I demanded for Seleucus "after his departure from the life
among men," and the second Antiochus demanded it for himself and his
sister-wife during their lifetime as well as for their "departed"
father; so that just as in Egypt and for the same reasons an imperial
cult of the rulers dead and living was established throughout not only
the satrapies and hyparchies but also the cities of the realm.[114]

The city had, accordingly, a dual character: it was at once both in
theory and fact a nation and a municipality. In the former capacity it
could grant or withhold allegiance to the king; in the latter it had
simply to obey. It had for example to pay tribute to him (_phoros_ or
_syntaxis_), which might be viewed as a rent for the land assigned to
it, or as the price paid for military protection. It might have not
simply a priest of the king and a priestess of the queen, but also a
resident (_epistates_), who on occasion might also be _phrurarch_, or
commandant, of the royal garrison when it had one. The double status
of the city is further evidenced by the fact that its citizens were
subject not only to the laws which they themselves passed but also
to the mandates (_prostagmata_) which the king issued. In cases of
conflict there could be no doubt which was superior. The king was in
theory absolute as a god was absolute. He had, of course, citizenship
in no state, but was simply _basileus_, or king. This title, attached
to the name without an _ethnicum_, was the only one that the early
Seleucids used; but the later members of the dynasty, beginning
with Antiochus IV, added to it the title, such as Epiphanes, or God
Manifest, by which their peculiar office as gods was indicated.
Thereafter, on their coins and edicts the two titles appeared, and
the monarchs were thereby classified in the two worlds to which they
belonged--that of men and that of gods--as completely as were citizens
when to their names were added the adjectival forms of their city's
name. In either capacity they were superior to the cities. On the other
hand, the Seleucid god-kings had to consider carefully the demands of
their cities, since these, having the means to organize resistance,
could easily revolt. When they did not get satisfaction they might
choose some other god-king instead, as the cities in Parthia and
Bactria actually did; or they might secure immunity from tribute, as
did the cities in Asia Minor in the reign of Antiochus I. Room was,
accordingly, left for a large measure of municipal liberty; and, in
general, the activities of the citizens were numerous and important.
They had to attend to the maintenance of order, the administration of
justice, and the collection of taxes within their several territories.
Hence the cities gave a stimulus to political interest and ambition
such as Asia had never known before. They occupied, in fact, a place in
the Seleucid empire quite as important as that of the municipalities in
the early Roman empire, of which they were, indeed, the prototypes.

The Roman empire, however, had not yet come into existence. It was the
Italian federation under Rome's leadership which defeated Hannibal
and won the battles of Thermopylæ and Magnesia. When compared with
this aggregate of incorporated and allied states, the Seleucid empire
demonstrated fatal weaknesses. Rome had, perhaps, not many more
citizens on her army list than there were males of military age in the
franchised population of the Seleucid cities; and her public land,
which, too, was her chief source of revenue, was far inferior in
extent and yield to the royal domain of the Seleucids. Her advantages
were twofold and their enumeration will help us to understand the
disabilities under which the Asiatic monarchy labored. First, apart
from the soldiers on Rome's army list there were few males of military
age in Italy; in other words, there was no vast native population to
hold in subjection. Second, Rome could mobilize her forces much more
easily, quickly, and completely than could the Seleucids. The great
distances, often of mountain and desert, which separated the cities of
Asia from one another; the considerable trading, industrial, Asiatic,
and otherwise unwarlike, element in the free population of the Hellenic
and Hellenized cities; and the independence of the cities, particularly
in the matter of giving or refusing military aid to their suzerain, had
no parallel in Italy, where the territory was compact, the population
mainly a warlike peasantry, and the cities all bound to provide troops
at the call of Rome to the full extent of their power. Like the giant
Antæus in his trial of strength with Heracles, Rome with every fall
renewed her might from contact with her native soil. The Seleucids
ruled over a cosmopolitan, denationalized world. They had no native
soil on which to fall. It is of profound significance that there were
and could be no fellow-citizens of Seleucus in all Asia. The loyalty
of true men in his realm was due first of all to their cities, and it
was only by the lapse of time that a secondary loyalty to the ruling
dynasty ceased to imply treason to their native states. The cities
stood always before the decision whether in any given case they had
more to gain or to lose by abandoning the Seleucid and transferring
their allegiance to his enemy or to some other king.

It was the tragedy of Antiochus IV that through an education in Italy
he came to realize fully the political grounds for the military
superiority of Rome, and that through a sentimental attachment for
Athens and the art, letters, and philosophy for which Athens stood,
he renewed his conviction as to the absolute superiority of Greek
culture.[115] He attempted to push more vigorously than ever the
dynastic policy of Hellenization, by which alone a new nation could be
bred in Asia, at a time when native hopes were revived; and he tried
to draw the city-states of his realm into more complete dependence
upon himself by the only means available to him--the right which
he possessed as one of their gods to unhesitating obedience in all
matters--at the very time when this policy came into collision with a
religion to which deification of kings was an abomination. For in 200
B.C. Palestine had passed from the control of Egypt into the control
of Antiochus the Great, whereupon his dynasty had to deal with the
Jews. The trouble was, of course, that the Jews were monotheists. Many
Jews in Jerusalem, as well as in the other cities of the realm, were
not averse to Hellenism, and frequented the gymnasia, enrolled their
sons in the ephebe corps, and gave them Greek names, but the devout
shrank with horror from worshiping the emperor, and the peasants from
everything foreign. Accordingly an open revolt occurred in Judæa,
chiefly among the country people, when Antiochus IV chartered Jerusalem
as a Hellenized city, substituted for the bizarre law of Moses an
enlightened, up-to-date, Greek code, and set down his own image as the
Olympian Zeus in the Holy of Holies.

This is the same Antiochus who twice led his victorious army to the
walls of Alexandria, once to retreat after dictating terms to the
Ptolemies, once to meet a Roman embassy headed by his old friend Gaius
Popillius. Before answering the king's pleasant greeting, the Roman
handed to him the message of his Senate and curtly bade him read it.
He found it to be an order to evacuate Egypt immediately. On asking
for time to consider the proposal, he got a further surprise; for,
drawing a circle round the king in the sand with his cane, Popillius
demanded an answer "Yes" or "No" before he stepped outside of it. A
few months earlier, by crushing Perseus of Macedon on the battle-field
of Pydna (168 B.C.), Rome had rid itself of its last serious rival.
Since for Antiochus to resist meant now to stand alone against the
master of the world, the only answer he could give was "Yes"; yet it
meant the ruin of the Seleucid empire. Thereafter, there was but one
free will in the vast territory of Africa, Asia, and Europe which lay
between the Euphrates River and the Atlantic Ocean--the will of the
government of Rome. Instruments to give it continuous effect in Italy
that sagacious and persistent corporation, the Roman Senate, had made
and used already; and in its march to universal empire it had broken
and hurled to the ground the instruments of authority raised against it
by its Greek adversaries. To pick them up, mend them, and improve them
for further use was the imperial task of the immediate future.


 1. Schürer, E. _Geschichte des jüdischen Volks im Zeitalter Jesu
 Christi_, I^3 (1901), II^4 (1907).

 2. Bevan, E. _The House of Seleucus_ (1902).

 3. Niese, B. _Geschichte der griechischen und makedonischen Staaten._
 Especially Vol. III (1903).

 4. Beloch, J. _Griechische Geschichte_, III (1904).

 5. Rostowzew, M. _Studien zur Geschichte des römischen Kolonates_
 (1910), pp. 240 _ff._

 6. Wilamowitz-Moellendorff, Ulrich von. _Staat und Gesellschaft der
 Griechen: D. Die makedonischen Königreiche_ (1910).

 7. Bouché-Leclercq, A. _Histoire des Séleucides_ (1913).


[Footnote 101: Kromayer, _Historische Zeitschrift_, C, p. 50.]

[Footnote 102: Dittenberger, _Orientis Græcæ Inscriptiones Selectæ_,
224; if the king is Antiochus II, and not, as is now claimed (Pozzi,
_Memorie della Reale Accademia di Torino_, serie II, tom. LXIII,
p. 345, n. 4), Antiochus III. See, however, Kärst, _Geschichte des
hellenistischen Zeitalters_, II, I, p. 422 and Bouché-Leclercq, _Hist.
des Séleucides_, pp. 90 _f._, 470 _ff._]

[Footnote 103: See now Kromayer, _Hannibal und Antiochus der Grosse_
(_Neue Jahrbücher für d. klass, Altert._ XIX (1907), pp. 681 _ff._).]

[Footnote 104: Cordier, H., _Journal des Savants_ (1907), pp. 247
_ff._; Cunningham, _Numismatic Chronicle_ (1888), pp. 222 _ff._]

[Footnote 105: _Ruins of Desert Cathay_ (1912), I, pp. 274, 284.]

[Footnote 106: W.W. Tarn, _Journal of Hellenic Studies_, XXII (1902),
pp. 268 _ff._, and _Antigonus Gonatas_, frontispiece; Gardner, P.,
_Numismatic Chronicle_ (1887), p. 177.]

[Footnote 107: _Encyclopedia Britannica_^11, _s. v._ _Hellenism_

[Footnote 108: _Syr._ 57; cf. Droysen, _Gesch. d. Hellenismus_^2, III,
2, pp. 254 _ff._]

[Footnote 109: XII, 2, 3, p. 535. Rostowzew, _Studien zur Geschichte
des römischen Kolonates_, pp. 269 _ff._]

[Footnote 110: Butler, _Publications of an American Expedition to
Syria_, II (1903), pp. 121 _ff._, 177; cf. Rostowzew, _op. cit._, p.

[Footnote 111: Dittenberger, _Orientis Græcæ Inscriptiones Selectæ_,
262, 502.]

[Footnote 112: Buckler and Robinson, _Greek Inscriptions from Sardis_.
(_American Journal of Archæology_, XVI, 1912, pp. 11 _ff._)]

[Footnote 113: Calder, _Classical Review_, XXVII (1913), pp. 9 _ff._]

[Footnote 114: Kärst, _Gesch. des hellen. Zeitalters_, II, I, pp.
419 _ff._ Bouché-Leclercq's treatment of this subject (_Hist. des
Séleucides_, pp. 469 _ff._), is inadequate.]

[Footnote 115: _Hellenistic Athens_, pp. 303 _ff._]



Of the Hellenistic empires the one from which Rome suffered most and
learned least was that of the Antigonids in Macedon and Greece. We say
"Macedon and Greece": the kings of Macedon from Philip II to Perseus
said "Hellas"; for they never ceased to claim that Macedon was a part
of Hellas--_the_ part of Hellas which had earned by the achievements
of Philip II and Alexander the right of hegemony for its kings. It
was an imperial nation for which its king, nobles, and commons had
an intense loyalty and pride, but which stood in their thinking to
Hellas as Virginia did to the United States in the _ante-bellum_ days,
or as Prussia does to Germany, rather than as Austria does to the
Austro-Hungarian empire.

It taught the Romans least because it had least to teach them. The one
thing in which the Macedonians were masterful was the art of war; yet
in this the Romans by native accomplishment were their superiors. They
invented the phalanx, but the phalanx succumbed to the legion. In the
art of government the Antigonids were resourceful, but to lift up a
jellyfish on a spear-point is an impossible task. Yet that is what they
had to do in Hellas. The only lessons of government they could teach
were lessons of failure; but that this is not to their discredit is
shown by the inability of Rome itself to cope with the same situation
till Hellas was dead and desiccated. They were sagacious enough to
realize that for a people with the customs, piety, and bluntness of the
Macedonians a kingship was best which, to speak with Aristotle, was
a perpetual magistracy and not an absolute monarchy. Hence they were
under no necessity to demand that the Macedonians worship them as gods,
and the Macedonians, having inherited rights which no Antigonid dared
to ignore,[116] were under no legal necessity to thrust divinity upon
their rulers. Hence the Antigonids alone of the Hellenistic dynasties
governed as men supported by their people's loyalty, and not as gods to
whom all things were permitted. They, moreover, organized no official
cult of their family in Hellas, for reasons which will appear later. It
was not Macedon but Greece which took the proud Roman victor captive
and bore the arts to rustic Latium. For the Macedonians remained
themselves a rustic people, and added little or nothing to the poetry,
painting, sculpture, architecture, and science of Hellas.[117] Their
élite were rulers and officers, their commons farmers and soldiers.
From the time Philip II came to the throne (359 B.C.) to the battle of
Cynocephalæ (197 B.C.), it is impossible to find a decade, and not
easy to find half a one, during which the able-bodied men of Macedon
were not called to the standards at least once either to defend their
country against foreign attack or to march north, south, east, or west
against their lord's enemies.[118] Their dead were to be found in
every valley of Hellas, and their emigrants in every land of Asia; but
theirs was a prolific race, so that, despite their many losses in the
interval, they put 29,000 Macedonians in the field in the last struggle
with Rome, or 2000 more than stood under the command of Alexander the
Great when he had completed his arrangements for the conquest of Asia.

Rome suffered more from the Antigonids than from any other Hellenistic
dynasty because it had there alone to do with a nation of veterans
under arms. The Macedonians were, as has been said, an imperial people,
loyal to their kings, and ambitious to maintain their ascendancy in
the world. While at war with Rome--the wielder of armies 100,000
strong--they were assailed simultaneously by their Hellenic vassals
and rivals and attacked or abandoned by their Macedonian kinsmen
in Asia and Africa; yet they held out under the Antigonids, in the
first struggle for eight years (212-205 B.C.), in the second for four
(200-197 B.C.), in the third for still another four (171-168 B.C.); and
even after one half of their men of military age had fallen at Pydna,
and their last king had died in captivity and his only son as a clerk
at Alba Fucens, their conquerors were so seriously disturbed by the
"throbbings of their ancient loyalty" that the Senate had finally to
place a Roman proconsul on the throne of the great Alexander (148 B.C.).

       *       *       *       *       *

Though sprung from a Macedonian stock, the dynasty of the Antigonids
was bred in Asia, and it was transplanted into Macedon only in its
third generation. That came about in the following way. The first
Antigonus was made ruler of Phrygia when Alexander the Great left Asia
Minor in 333 B.C., and he was still in possession of that satrapy when
his sovereign died ten years later. With Phrygia as a starting point
and a nomination as commander-in-chief of the royal forces in Asia as
a pretext, he planned and fought with such success in the next decade
that in the spring of 312 B.C. he seemed destined to add Macedon to
Asia, which he already possessed; and with it to support and not to
oppose him, he counted on being able to master the whole of Alexander's
empire. We have already seen why this project failed, and also how a
later attempt to accomplish the same purpose cost him his life and his
Asiatic realm. He may have been over-ambitious. Possibly no one could
have prevented the dismemberment of the Græco-Macedonian world. Perhaps
the centrifugal tendencies would have proved too strong for Alexander
himself had he lived long enough to test them. That, however, does
not make the issue less of a calamity for the Hellenes; for on the
battle-fields of Gaza and Ipsus it was decided that the alien Romans
and not the kindred Macedonians were to unite the world under a single
government. With the person of the first Antigonus went to the grave
the hope of a great people.

The sharer of his aspirations and the cause in considerable measure
of his defeat was his son Demetrius, surnamed Poliorcetes, or
"Taker-of-Cities." By his disobedience to orders at Gaza and his
impetuosity in action at Ipsus, he had done most to lose his kingdom;
but after the death of his father he still retained the dominion of
the sea, and, with it, value as an ally and ability to use his forces
at such points as he himself chose. After some years of aimless
adventuring and galling inactivity he chose to use them in the attempt,
twice vainly made already in coöperation with his father, to seize
Greece and Macedon. His strength was incomparably inferior to that
used on the earlier occasions and he had still watchful enemies on
all sides. The essential difference was that the house of Antipater,
which had ruled Macedon and Greece since Alexander the Great had
crossed into Asia, was now represented, not by Antipater's able son,
Cassander, who died in 297 B.C. after a reign of nineteen years, but
by his weakly and dissentious children. These looked on inactive while
he blockaded Athens (295-294 B.C.) and starved it into submission;
whereupon he brushed them aside and took their place as king of
Macedon and suzerain of Greece. Since his wife was Phila, Cassander's
sister, his son, Antigonus, surnamed Gonatas, was a grandson of
Antipater I, no less than Antipater II, who was now the sole survivor
of Cassander's family. Hence, if the right of Demetrius Poliorcetes to
the Macedonian throne rested upon nothing more substantial than the
frustrated ambition of his father, the right of his son was flawless
after the death of Antipater II. This, however, occurred in 288-287
B.C. at the very time when Demetrius, on being expelled from Macedon,
abandoned Greece and went to meet captivity in Asia for the rest of his
life. Left behind in Greece, Antigonus Gonatas exercised a watchful
suzerainty there without being king of Macedon, which Pyrrhus of
Epirus and Lysimachus of Thrace shared for a few years (288 to 284-283
B.C.), Lysimachus, Seleucus, and Ptolemy Ceraunus held alone in rapid
succession for another interval (283-280 B.C.), and Celts from the
north plundered and harried for three years. It was not till 277 B.C.
that Antigonus succeeded in freeing it from its troubles and making it
the base of his operations in Greece. He therewith planted in Europe
the dynasty which ruled Macedon till the Roman conquest (168 B.C.).

Antigonus I and Demetrius Poliorcetes had formed their political
ambitions and ideas during the age of the _diadochi_, when the empire
of Alexander stood in all its magnificence and promise as a golden
prize for the able, courageous, and unscrupulous. They had aspired to
rule as god-kings over a world in which men and cities rendered homage
(proskynesis) to them, as they had rendered it to Alexander. They had
viewed Greece and Macedon as alike desirable,[119] the common charm
being that they were the mother of the soldiers and settlers of whom
their limitless realm had need. They may have coveted Greece even more
than Macedon. Certainly, Athens, not Pella, was the city of Demetrius's
dreams. He had gloried in being its liberator in 307 B.C., and when
it dashed his hopes by excluding him after his defeat at Ipsus, he
had suffered bitter disappointment. None the less, and despite the
desperate resistance which it had offered to him in 295-294 B.C., he
treated it with clemency when he was once again its master. What his
father had thought of the approval of Athens he expressed by calling it
the beacon tower of the world. How highly he had esteemed the culture
of its inhabitants he demonstrated by making a colony of Athenians
the nucleus of Antigonia (later Antioch), which he founded as the new
capital of the empire that had been Alexander's, but was now, he hoped,
to be his.

Antigonus I had never had the good fortune to rule in the land of his
birth, but Demetrius Poliorcetes was its king for six years (294-288
B.C.).[120] As such he showed conclusively that he had no intention
to reign there patriarchally, as Cassander and Antipater, following
the example of Philip II and his predecessors, had done. He displayed
an utter disregard for the established customs of the court and for
the limitations imposed by usage upon his royal authority. The court
he surrounded himself with was the richly appointed, ceremonious,
uniformed affair devised by Alexander in his later, more splendid, more
arrogant days; and by requiring proskynesis of the Macedonian noblemen
and commons, he offended, unnecessarily, as it proved, the sturdiest
sentiment of the nation.[121] His attempt to establish absolute
monarchy in unsophisticated Macedon was the most direct cause of the
loss of his kingdom; for when his foreign enemies, anticipating the
attack which he designed against them, assailed him from all sides, his
subjects hastened to abandon him and joined hands with the invaders.
They had no longer heart for the wild imperialistic projects into
which, almost without perceiving it, they had been led by Alexander the

       *       *       *       *       *

Antigonus Gonatas had never known the lure of the East. He had spent
his early manhood in Athens (294-290 B.C.), where an unworthy liaison
with the courtesan Demo and an intimacy that does him honor with Zeno,
the founder of the Stoa, attest the range of his activity. He won his
spurs in his father's Boeotian campaigns of 292-291 B.C., and spent
the formative years of his career as a general and statesman in Greece
(288-280 B.C.). Only once, when hard pushed in 280B.C., did he show
that the blood of Demetrius Poliorcetes and Antigonus I flowed in his
veins, namely, when he tried to seize Asia Minor, then temporarily
without a master. Normally, he acted like the child of Phila and the
heir of the policy of Cassander and Antipater. And it was in the spirit
of his mother's line that he established his government in Macedon on
expelling the Celts in 277 B.C.

His reign opened auspiciously. Having obtained--how, when, and at what
price, we do not know--the friendship of Egypt, he got the opportunity
to order affairs to his liking in Greece. On the other hand, his
accession to the throne was accompanied by his marriage to Phila, his
own niece, the sister of Antiochus I, the new king of Asia. This union
sanctioned an agreement by which Antigonus abandoned his claim to Asia
Minor and Antiochus his right, as Seleucus's son, to the Macedonian
throne. It inaugurated a policy by which Macedon secured for eighty
years (277-197 B.C.) immunity from attack or intrigue on the part of
the Seleucids. His friendship with Egypt was less enduring, but it
gave him ten years (277-267 B.C.) in which to consolidate his power--a
period of quiet activity, interrupted only by the return of Pyrrhus
from Italy and the startling upheaval in Macedon and Greece (274-272
B.C.) which accompanied that adventurous monarch's vigorous assertion
of his right to rule those countries. The fall of Pyrrhus in battle at
Argos relieved the tension of this situation, but till the time of his
death thirty-two years afterwards, Antigonus had always to count Epirus
among his possible enemies when it was not actually his assailant.
On his northern frontier he faced the threatening Dardanians, and on
the northeastern the marauding Celts, who had reduced Thrace to the
condition of barbarity that prevailed throughout Central Europe. By
keeping these peoples in check he did a great service to Greece, which
he thereby protected; but for it he got little gratitude, and it was
his suzerainty over Greece which brought to him and his successors most
of their many troubles.

Just as he was faithful to the traditional policy of the Macedonian
kings in his dealings with his own people, so, too, in regard to the
Greeks the plan he followed was in general the old-fashioned one,
of making them his dependent allies. In states ostensibly free and
self-governing he secured a preponderating influence by designating an
individual as his representative and making him practically governor.
Naturally, the domestic opponents of such a person called him a tyrant,
and such, in fact, the nature of his position forced him to become,
since he could not hold his place without breaking both the public and
private laws. But outward appearances were preserved, even when he
called in Macedonian troops to his aid, by the old practice whereby he
and his adherents assumed the responsibility for their coming.

Antigonus Gonatas and some at least of his governors were pupils of
Zeno. That meant in this connection that, whereas Alexander the Great,
for example, had been obliged to discard what was most characteristic
in the politics of Aristotle when he identified himself with the man
of transcendent virtue, who, his teacher had urged, should be made
absolute monarch when found, Antigonus drew from his philosophy an
obligation to let none but the sage rule.[122] As against the wisdom
of the ideal wise man the laws of states which he ignored or broke had
no avail; for, according to his creed, they were unnatural and hence
unwholesome. The wise man could do no wrong. In his actions, since
he was a law unto himself, morality triumphed over mere legality.
Antigonus Gonatas disdained to seek a justification for his acts by
claiming, though a man, the prerogatives of the gods, and, though
there was nothing in the pantheistic theory of Stoicism to prevent
his being worshiped if people wanted to worship him, he was under no
legal necessity to pose as a god; whereas, had he done so, he must have
come into conflict with the religious conservatism of his philosophy.
He, accordingly, had no difficulty in rendering an account to his own
conscience for setting up "tyrants" in his Greek dependencies and for
practicing or authorizing lawlessness. But he was too shrewd a man
to suppose that because Zeno and he thought his conduct justified he
could do what he pleased to the Macedonians or Greeks with impunity.
They could not be expected to know that their ruler was a Stoic sage
who could do no wrong, or to make allowances for his behavior on that
account. Hence, while he could justify his system of government on
philosophic grounds, there is no evidence that he was not a scrupulous
Macedonian king and a considerate suzerain of Greece. And had he been
left alone to work out the problem of Hellenic administration without
outside interference it is probable that his high sense of duty and his
skill and forbearance would have given Greece a long period of peace.

The founder of the first Macedonian empire, Philip II, had been opposed
in Greece by Persia, but the resistance he had encountered because of
the diplomacy of Artaxerxes Ochus was as nothing when compared with
the difficulties raised up for Antigonus Gonatas's uncle, Cassander,
by the promises and armies of his grandfather, Antigonus I, or with
the obstacles he himself had to meet in the intrigue, money, and
expeditions of Ptolemy Philadelphus.

The situation which existed in the first ten years of his reign
(277-267 B.C.) was not of Antigonus's creating, nor was Philadelphus
responsible for it. It was Ptolemy I Soter who had seized the dominion
of the sea on the final _débâcle_ of Demetrius Poliorcetes (287-286
B.C.) and with it the control of the league of the Islanders. This
established a long and, in fact, indefinable frontier between the
realm of Philadelphus and that of Antigonus. The lordship of the sea
Gonatas seems not to have bothered about at first, and, indeed, the
great war which broke out in 266-265 B.C. between the two monarchs--the
so-called Chremonidean War--was clearly incited by Egypt and not by
him. Notwithstanding that she was dead four years when the actual
conflict began, its real instigator was, doubtless, Arsinoë, the
sister-queen of Philadelphus. Acting on her policy, Philadelphus first
formed an alliance with King Areus I of Sparta and his allies (Achæa,
Elis, Mantinea, Phlius, and part of Crete) and with Athens, and then
backed them up in the concerted effort they decided to make to free
Greece from Antigonus and his "tyrants." What the real object of the
"brother-gods" was, is a matter of conjecture. All they accomplished,
in any case, was to give Antigonus five years of hard fighting[123] and
to complete the ruin of Athens and the enforced quietude of Sparta.

Therewith was accomplished, what had been long in the preparing, the
overthrow of the leadership which city-states had held from time
immemorial in European Greece. Henceforth it was not from cities
that significant movements sprang, but from ethne. Macedon itself was
an ethnos, or, at least, a group of ethne, and it seemed possible to
enlarge it by adding to it all the other ethne in the peninsula. The
difficulty was that two other ethne, Ætolia and Achæa, the first in
Central Greece and the second in the Peloponnesus, had each a similar,
if less far-reaching, ambition; and while the aspirations of Ætolia to
acquire territory in the Peloponnesus, and the aspirations of Achæa to
expand into Central Greece, kept them normally in conflict with one
another; and while each in turn (Ætolia in 245-241, Achæa in 220-217
and 212-206 B.C.) got the help of Macedon against the other, and both
united only once (238-229 B.C.) in a war against Macedon, Achæa offered
till 224 B.C. and Ætolia till 200 B.C. an attractive alternative for
Macedonian suzerainty to ethne and city-states which could not stand
alone. The natural desire of the new ethne, as of the old city-states,
was, however, to be independent--a sentiment which Ætolia and Achæa
shared completely; and against this powerful force Antigonus had to
contend, after the Chremonidean War no less than before it.

He had come so brilliantly out of the Chremonidean War, however, that
ten years elapsed before his suzerainty was again challenged. His most
formidable enemy, Ptolemy Philadelphus, was absorbed meanwhile with a
dangerous disturbance in Ionia, occasioned by the revolt of Ptolemy,
his "son", and Timarchus, his admiral, to whose aid his watchful enemy,
Antiochus II, and his daring maritime rivals, the Rhodians,[124] had
come (258 B.C.); but when this outbreak was brought to a close with
the peace of 255 B.C.,[125] Antigonus had to anticipate a renewal of
his troubles in Greece. He, accordingly, determined to cease being
the anvil and to become the hammer. That meant the construction of a
fleet with which to take from Egypt control of the Ægean, which had
been possessed prior to 288-287 B.C. by his father and grandfather. To
accomplish this end he renewed his alliance with Syria, and arranged
a marriage between his son and heir, Demetrius, and Stratonice,
Antiochus's sister. This being done, he sought out the admirals of
Ptolemy at Leucolla near Cos, and defeated them in a great naval battle
(253 B.C.). Suzerainty over the league of the Islanders was the most
striking gain; but a more substantial advantage was that with his fleet
he could now ward off trouble in Greece and stir it up in Ptolemy's
realm. The latter he accomplished by dispatching his half-brother,
Demetrius the Fair, to Cyrene and by snatching that kingdom, which had
just been vacated by the death of Magas (251-250 B.C.), from the grasp
of Egypt. In the former he had a rather surprising lack of success.
For in 251 B.C. Aratus, the somewhat melodramatic hero of the Achæan
league, on mastering his native city Sicyon by a coup d'état, not only
chose to accept a subsidy from Philadelphus rather than from himself,
but added Sicyon to the neighboring ethnos of the Achæans. And almost
immediately thereafter Ptolemy struck a second blow which made the
first of importance. In 250 B.C. Alexander, Antigonus's nephew and
chief lieutenant in Greece, egged on by Egypt doubtless, revolted and
set himself up as an independent monarch, with Corinth and Calchis,
which he had held for his uncle, and the Macedonian fleet of which
these were the naval stations, as his basis for action. He at once
allied himself with the Achæans and forced Argos and Athens to pay
him tribute (before 250-249 B.C.). This rebellion paralyzed the naval
power of Antigonus. It was doubtless precipitated by the disloyalty of
Antiochus II to Macedon; for that monarch (now, in or before 249 B.C.)
broke faith with Antigonus and allied himself with Egypt, retaining
the conquests he had made during the war and receiving in marriage
Berenice, the only daughter of Philadelphus, whose intrinsic worth was
augmented by an enormous dowry. This base and, as it proved, foolish
action freed Ptolemy to devote all his energies to the war with
Macedon. The fleet of Egypt once more mastered the Ægean and regained
control of the league of the Islanders (249 B.C.). Simultaneously,
the pro-Egyptian party in Cyrene slew the fair Demetrius, and by the
marriage of their young queen Berenice to Philadelphus's heir, effected
the reunion of the two kingdoms, which had been estranged since the
revolt of Berenice's father, Magas, in 274 B.C.[126] The triumph of
Ptolemy was complete, and when his daughter promptly bore to her
Seleucid husband a son, who by the marriage stipulation was to be his
heir, the future of the Ptolemies seemed bright indeed.

Between 250 and 245 B.C. the fortunes of Gonatas were at a low ebb.
He evidently bent before the storm, unable to confront Alexander and
Aratus in Greece and the admirals of Philadelphus in the Ægean. Relief
came to him from an unexpected source--the renewal of the war between
Egypt and Asia, when, on the death of Antiochus II, his sister-wife
Laodice took up arms against the Egyptian queen and her babe on behalf
of her son Seleucus Callinicus. For, helped by the untimely death of
Philadelphus, and despite the intervention of the Egyptian fleet, she
succeeded in compassing the death of her rivals;[127] whereupon the new
Ptolemy, Euergetes, took the field in person and made a general attack
by land and sea upon her and her adherents. This tragic incident was
one of the few pieces of good luck experienced by Antigonus. Another
was the premature death of his nephew Alexander (246 B.C.), followed
as it was by the Ætolian conquest of Boeotia, and the decision of
Nicæa, Alexander's widow, to surrender Corinth and the rest of her
kingdom to Macedon, the arrangement being that she was to take the
place of the barren and discredited Stratonice as wife of the crown
prince Demetrius. In 245-244 B.C. the balance in Asia inclined sharply
in favor of Laodice, and at the same time Antigonus, aided by his
patron god Pan, recovered Delos and the Islands. Having thus regained
what the rebellion of Alexander had cost him, and having settled his
account with Egypt, Antigonus had now to deal with Aratus of Sicyon
alone. The Achæan was too quick for him, however. By a night attack,
in time of peace, he treacherously seized Corinth (243 B.C.), and at
once added it, together with Megara, Epidaurus, and Troezen, to the
Achæan league. The response of Antigonus to this audacious coup was
to form a pact with his old friends the Ætolians to divide Achæan
territory between them; whereupon, as the only escape from so great a
peril, Aratus put the responsibility where the responsibility really
belonged, by having Ptolemy Euergetes elected general of the Achæan
league on land and sea for 242 B.C. Euergetes brought the Laodicean
War to a point where an advantageous peace was possible by a victory
over Callinicus in this critical year; but his attempt to help
Aratus, who tried to "liberate" Athens while his "commander" engaged
Gonatas in the Ægean, was frustrated by the defeat sustained by his
admiral Sophron at the hands of the veteran Antigonus off the island
of Andros. Macedon still held the Ægean. In the mean time its allies
the Ætolians, already dangerously strengthened by the occupation of
Boeotia, had worsted Olympias, the queen regent of Epirus, in several
engagements, and were on the point of incorporating all of Acarnania
in their league. Antigonus thought the time had come to call a halt.
Euergetes and Callinicus were of the same mind. Accordingly, the long
war was concluded in 242-241 B.C. by a general peace arranged on the
basis of _uti possidetis_. Antigonus held Argos, Hermione, Phlius,
Ægina, Megalopolis, and Orchomenus in the Peloponnesus, in Central
Greece Athens alone, and in the Ægean Euboea and the Cyclades, as well,
seemingly, as Lemnos, Imbros, and Scyros, the colonies of Athens.
Thessaly was of course his. His garrisons stood in Demetrias, Chalcis,
and Piræus. Of the "shackles" of Greece Corinth alone was out of his
hands. In 240-239 B.C. he died at the age of eighty, having been a king
forty-seven years, all but ten of them in Macedon.

       *       *       *       *       *

I have sketched the career of Antigonus Gonatas in some fullness
chiefly because it has only recently become possible to give anything
like chronological precision to an account of this remarkable
man.[128] His reign deserves detailed consideration, however, because
of the position it occupies at one of the culminating points of Greek
imperialism, the only other point of equal importance being that in
which Alexander the Great introduced deification of rulers. The record
given above shows clearly, I think, that the power of Macedon did
not suffice to hold Greece in subjection on the principles followed
by Antigonus Gonatas, and against the opposition of Egypt. Even the
final triumph of 242-241 B.C. left Egyptian garrisons in Thrace, the
Hellespont, Ionia, and islands as far advanced into the Ægean as Thera
and Astypalæa, Samos and Lesbos, Thasos and Samothrace. It left Achæa
in possession of Corinth and Megara, Epidaurus and Troezen, as well as
Sicyon and at least a foothold in Arcadia. It left Ætolia in possession
of part of Acarnania, Dolopia, Æniania, Malis, Doris, Locris, Phocis,
and in close alliance with Boeotia. Heraclea at Thermopylæ and Delphi
with its Amphictyonic council were Ætolian. Hence when the new king
of Macedon, Demetrius II, married Olympias's daughter Phthia, and
took Epirote Acarnania under his protection (240-239 B.C.); and when
Ætolia, thus check-mated, entered into a defensive and offensive
alliance with Achæa, the territory of the two leagues, now united in
opposition to Macedon, met, and inclosed completely the Corinthian
Gulf. The one had grown strong despite Antigonus and the other with
his connivance. He had been forced to give Ætolia a free rein from
need of its aid against Egypt, Epirus, and Achæa. Now the policy of
Epirus was subservient to that of Macedon as it had been prior to the
accession of Pyrrhus to its throne in 295 B.C., but the two leagues
were able to fight on fair terms with the two monarchies, and in 238
B.C. they defied Macedon, now supported by Epirus, without having Egypt
as their ally. The failure of the Greek policy of Antigonus Gonatas may
be best gauged by the fact that twenty-seven years earlier Athens and
Sparta had dared to do the like, but only when Egypt, and probably also
Epirus, were fighting on their side.

The chief reason for this striking difference is that in the interval
the Achæans, following the lead given to them by the Ætolians, had
come to life and shed their ethnic cocoon. They had long since been
a _koinon_, or league; but up to 251 B.C. their league, like that of
Boeotia prior to 387 B.C., like that of the Ætolians prior to the
seizure of Delphi in 292 B.C., had been confined strictly by the limits
of their ethnos. The Ætolians had enlarged their territory under the
ægis of the Delphian Amphictyony. The Achæans had no such favoring
circumstance. In their case expansion by the incorporation of "foreign"
peoples was the policy and achievement of a citizen of the first
"foreign" city to be absorbed, Aratus of Sicyon, who saw a greater
opportunity for power as the head of the neighboring league than as
the "tyrant" of his native state, holding office, like the priest at
Nemi, till murdered, or till he had lost the confidence of Antigonus.
At his instigation the Achæan league was carried into the territory
of the "foreigner," the necessary prerequisite for such a development
being, however, that the ethnic bond between the Achæan cities had
been canceled and replaced by a federal bond. The tenacious theory
that common citizenship presupposed community of descent was therewith
discarded. Its abandonment opened to the league possibilities of growth
never possessed by either the city-state or the ethnic state. Of these
the Ætolians and the Achæans took advantage to the best of their

They were wise enough, moreover, to perceive that not only were city
institutions indispensable for an up-to-date polity--whence the
Ætolians on forming their league in 322-314 B.C. abandoned their three
ancient tribes and their multitudinous villages and organized in their
stead a score or two of cities[129]--but also that their federal system
must recognize and accept the preexistent city-states as its units.
This, as we have seen,[130] had not been done in Boeotia or in the
Hellenic league organized by Philip II, in each of which the federal
synod, being constructed on the idea of representation according to
population, made districts and not cities the units; so that the
smaller cities felt themselves discriminated against and tended to
rebel against being clubbed together. How far equality of cities
prevailed among the Achæans it is impossible to say with certainty:
we are simply informed that the voting there was by cities. But we
are, I think, permitted to infer that the principle followed was
"one city one vote." For it is unlikely that the old Achæan cities,
on admitting Sicyon, Corinth, Megalopolis, and Argos, deliberately
exposed themselves to the fate of the little lake cities in Boeotia by
giving these large "foreign" cities voting power proportionate to their
populations. This conclusion holds, I believe, both for the Achæan
representative assembly, or synod, which was made up, seemingly, of
successive fractions of the citizens of the constituent cities,[131]
and for the Achæan primary assembly, or _syncletus_, which was open
to all citizens over thirty years of age. It holds, too, it seems,
for the two Ætolian assemblies, the ordinary and the extraordinary,
which were both primary,[132] but not for the Ætolian council which
was constituted of delegates apportioned to the constituent cities
according to their size. The Achæan and the Ætolian leagues represent
in this respect a reaction from the earlier leagues. Their hope was
to change the stress of the cities, which came into play, from a
centrifugal into a centripetal force by basing their federations
squarely on the city-states.

This they could do, up to a certain point, the more easily because
each ethnos had lacked a city-state of outstanding political and
economic power. Equality of city-states did not conflict flagrantly
with realities in either Achæa or Ætolia. Hence the principle that each
city-state, irrespective of strength in the Aristotelian sense, should
have a single vote in the federal assembly, and an equal voice in the
choosing of the federal cabinet (_demiurgi_; _apocleti_), and the
federal executive (_strategus_, hipparch, secretary of state, treasurer
or treasurers) appeared equitable. In Boeotia and Hellas in the earlier
time the league had been created by the superior strength of Thebes
and Macedon respectively; and these capital states had taken care that
the initial leadership should be preserved by the institutions of the
leagues. The Achæan and the Ætolian leagues, on the other hand, were
partly, no doubt, the result of a compromise between the constituent
units, but mainly the consequence of foreign pressure. The federal
movement was not based primarily upon the activity of any one city, but
upon a need generally felt. Hence the capital of the Achæan league
was Ægium, and the capital of the Ætolian league Thermon--neutral
meeting-places, like Washington, Ottawa, and Canberra. That was
something new in the annals of the Greek leagues.

The creative force of foreign policy is manifest in still other
characteristics of these Hellenistic leagues. It was almost
inevitable that in those days of executive efficiency states should
be monarchically organized. Hence, whereas there had been eleven
Boeotarchs in the Boeotian league and seven generals in early
third-century Acarnania, a single general stood at the head of
the Ætolians from the founding of their league and at the head of
the Achæans after 255 B.C. That gave a unity of action otherwise
impossible, the lack of which, though negligible perhaps in domestic
affairs, had been found disadvantageous in foreign affairs. It was a
necessary concession to a monarchical age, one which, however, had been
made reluctantly and with an important reservation which took from
the serum its malignancy: the generalship could be held by the same
individual only every alternate year. He might be the uncrowned king of
the league one year; the next he must be a private citizen.

In still another respect distrust of monarchy and aversion to the
"tyranny" on which Antigonus Gonatas had based his Greek empire, are
betrayed in the institutions of the Achæans. The rule of a city by a
tyrant and membership in the league were regarded as incompatible
with one another. This was, doubtless, a requirement of the federal
laws, which, consisting of treaties negotiated between the original
cities in 275 B.C. and at the admission of new cities thereafter,
of oaths by which these treaties were sanctioned, and of general
enactments made from time to time by special legislative process,
bound the citizens of the individual cities no less than did the local
laws which they themselves passed. Otherwise the city-states were at
liberty to adopt whatever form of government they chose. The league
championed neither democracy nor oligarchy, though its working favored
the well-to-do classes. At most it compelled a certain uniformity in
local administration, its general attitude being admirably symbolized
by its monetary arrangements, wherein the standard was determined by
the federal authority while the coins were issued by the constituent

       *       *       *       *       *

The very constitutions of the Achæan and the Ætolian leagues disclose
the importance of the part which the Greek policy of Antigonus Gonatas
played in the creation of these dangerous adversaries of himself and
his country. It is true that his son, Demetrius II, fought them to a
standstill, wrested from Ætolia a large part of its acquisitions, and
might have dissolved both leagues by force, had not Epirus deserted him
and gone over to their side; had not the Illyrian pirates whom he let
loose on this new enemy provoked the Romans to cross the Adriatic; and
had not the Dardanians moved down on Macedon and defeated and killed
him in battle. Such "had nots" belonged, however, to the constant
possibilities, and complications of this sort were ever occurring in
the struggle of Macedon for the hegemony of Greece. On this occasion
their issue was so disastrous for Macedon that the hour of the two
leagues seemed come.

But what should have been their triumph proved to be their destruction.
For the frustration of their hopes Polybius,[134] who voices the
opinion of Aratus, held the Ætolians responsible, and it is likely that
he was in the main right. For just at this critical moment, when the
Achæans were face to face with the most serious problem which their
federal system presented, namely, the reluctance of states, like Sparta
and Athens, which were markedly stronger than the common run of the
Achæan cities, to accept mere equality with them, the Ætolians not only
left them in the lurch and made an advantageous peace for themselves
with Antigonus Doson, the new king of Macedon, but, by ceding to Sparta
their Arcadian cities (Tegea, Mantinea, Orchomenus, and Caphiæ), they
made it possible for Cleomenes, the young Spartan monarch, to rally
round himself all the Peloponnesian opposition to the Achæans, and to
make a brilliant effort to establish once again the Spartan hegemony
in the peninsula. Another view of the matter is that the downfall of
the Achæan league--which, to escape Cleomenes, threw itself into the
arms of Antigonus Doson--was due to the intervention of Ptolemy III,
who backed up Sparta, Athens, and Ætolia by his friendship and his
money,[135] and would have gladly seen Achæa eliminated in order that
Greece might present a united front to Antigonus Doson. In any case it
was Antigonus Doson who reaped the benefits, and it seems unlikely that
they were wholly an unearned increment. What he was capable of he had
already shown by joining heartily in the international guarantee of
the neutrality of Athens which had robbed Aratus of that choice prize.
He was clearly no common man, and had he not died an untimely death
shortly after the great victory he gained over Cleomenes at Sellasia
(222 B.C.), he would probably have been much better known in history.
His energetic and tactful conduct in this crisis contrasts sharply with
the nerveless backdown of Egypt, for which the only excuse was the
imminent demise of Euergetes and the threatening attitude of Antiochus
the Great. It cannot be denied that Antigonus Doson made a good use of
all his opportunities.

His settlement of Hellenic affairs was characterized by the revival of
the general synod established by the great Philip.[136] Representatives
of the Hellenic states met in formal assembly at Corinth (224 B.C.),
and chose the king of Macedon as their hegemon. Subsequently the synod
was to meet at a time and place to be designated by its head. A mere
enumeration of the states which took this action tells the story of
the constitutional development of Hellas in the Macedonian age. They
were Macedon, Thessaly, Epirus, Acarnania, Locris, Phocis, Boeotia,
Euboea, Achæa, and probably the Islanders. Of these the first was a
kingdom,[137] but all the others were leagues. The city-states, which
had been everything in Philip's synod, have disappeared, swallowed
up in the federations. Whether each of the units had now an equal
number of votes, or, as in the time of Philip, a number proportionate
to its size, we do not know, though the second alternative is the
more probable one. In both cases Macedonian deputies took part in the
meetings of the synod and served as heads of the Macedonian interest.
Together with the deputies from Thessaly and other subservient states
they probably formed a majority in the synod. In both Philip II and
Antigonus Doson, Macedon had, accordingly, at once hegemons and kings.
We hear of nothing in the revived Hellenic league comparable with the
Committee of Public Safety of the old one; but nothing similar was
now required, since the generals of the constituent leagues were the
natural representatives of these bodies when the synod was not in
session. They had thus a place provided for them in the scheme of
Antigonus Doson.

The republican reaction against the policy of Antigonus Gonatas had
by no means spent its force. This is shown in the seriousness with
which it was now reckoned with by Antigonus Doson. He could not ignore
the well established practice of the league assemblies to decide all
important questions of foreign policy. Hence his synod differs from
that of Philip II particularly in this important respect, that its
action in declaring war, concluding peace, and other like matters was
taken subject to ratification by the league authorities, and was,
seemingly, binding only on such of them as ratified it.[138] His synod,
in other words, stood to the league assemblies as the Achæan synod
stood to the Achæan _syncletus_. Naturally, the confederates could not
withdraw from the hegemony at pleasure, much less join its enemies;
so that the refusal of a league to accept a decision of the synod to
declare war meant only that it assumed a position of neutrality. In
Philip's time each city had had to pay per day a fine of thirty drachmæ
for every horseman, twenty drachmæ for every hoplite, ten drachmæ
for every light-armed soldier, and seven or eight drachmæ for every
sailor who was absent from a duly authorized expedition.[139] Now the
leagues could refuse to coöperate without suffering any penalty. They
surrendered their liberty to fight one another, and their right to
contract alliances with outside states; but they did not surrender
their diplomacy entirely to the hegemon, though they agreed to enter
into no negotiations with any outside king.[140] They gave their
hegemon no right whatever to interfere in their local concerns.[141]

Such were the generous concessions to local sentiment by means of which
Antigonus Doson sought to place the hegemony of the kings of Macedon
in Hellas on a secure basis. Never before in the history of the people
had a conqueror made so noble a use of his power. Antigonus Doson went
in fact so far in conciliating the Greek states that had he withdrawn
Macedonian troops from Demetrias, Chalcis, and Corinth,--the three
shackles of Hellas,--added new conquests like Orchomenus, Sparta,
and Messene to the constituent leagues instead of to the central
organization, and possessed less personal prestige, it is difficult
to imagine how the Hellenic league could ever have been brought into
action. Probably all that he cared to be absolutely sure of was the
neutrality of the confederates who did not support him in the field.

In any case that was all that his successor Philip V was able to
accomplish, when, in 220 B.C., he had the Hellenic synod accept the
repeated challenge of war offered to him by the Ætolians, who, taking
advantage of the accession of a young and untried king to the throne
of Macedon, assailed his hegemony in Greece while it was still
precarious. Had Doson lived to wage the Social War (220-217 B.C.),
he might have crushed the Ætolians by sheer weight of numbers, and
have completed the unification of Hellas. Philip V fought bravely and
skillfully and won the respect of both his friends and his foes; but
before any definite issue of the struggle had arrived, the campaign
between Hannibal and the Romans had reached such a point that the
hegemon of Hellas dared not neglect it any longer.

"Let Greece," said Agelaus of Naupactus at the peace conference which
followed,[142] "be united; let no Greek state make war upon any other;
let them thank the Gods if they can all live in peace and agreement,
if, as men in crossing rivers grasp one another's hands, so they can
hold together and save themselves and their cities from barbarian
inroads. If it is too much to hope that it should be so always, let
it at least be so just now; let Greeks, now at least, unite and keep
on their guard, when they behold the vastness of the armies and the
greatness of the struggle going on in the West. No man who looks at
the state of things with common care can doubt what is coming. Whether
Rome conquers Carthage or Carthage conquers Rome, the victor will not
be content with the dominion of the Greeks of Italy and Sicily; he will
extend his plans and his warfare much further than suits us or our
welfare. Let all Greece be on its guard, and Philip above all. Your
truest defense, O King," he continued, "will be found in the character
of the chief and protector of the Greeks. Leave off destroying Greek
cities; leave off weakening them till they become a prey to every
invader. Rather watch over Greece, as you watch over your own body;
guard the interests of all her members as you guard the interest of
what is your own. If you follow such a course as this, you will win
the good will of Greece; you will have every Greek bound to you as
a friend and as a sure supporter in all your undertakings; foreign
powers will see the confidence which the whole nation reposes in you,
and will fear to attack either you or them. If you wish for conquest
and military glory, another field invites you. Cast your eyes to the
West; look at the war raging in Italy; of that war you may easily, by
a skilful policy, make yourself the arbiter; a blow dealt in time may
make you master of both the contending powers. If you cherish such
hopes, no time bids fairer than the present for their accomplishment.
But as for disputes and wars with Greeks, put them aside till some
season of leisure; let it be your main object to keep in your own hands
the power of making war and peace with them when you will. If once the
clouds which are gathering in the West should advance and spread over
Greece and the neighboring lands, there will be danger indeed that
all our truces and wars, all the child's play with which we now amuse
ourselves, will be suddenly cut short. We may then pray in vain to the
Gods for the power of making war and peace with one another, and indeed
of dealing independently with any of the questions which may arise
among us."

The speaker was right, and Philip took his advice. But when he became
embroiled with Rome, it was the speaker's own countrymen, the Ætolians,
who, by attacking Macedon in the rear, contributed most to the dreaded
sequel: that never after 212 B.C. did the Greeks have an opportunity
of dealing independently with any of the questions which arose among
them. At the time of the Social War Macedon missed its last chance of
establishing a single state in European Hellas.


 1. Droysen, J.G. _Geschichte des Hellenismus_,^2 III: _Geschichte der
 Epigonen_ (1877).

 2. Freeman, E. _History of Federal Government in Greece and Italy_^2
 (1893). Ed. by J.B. Bury.

 3. Niese, B. _Geschichte der griechischen und makedonischen Staaten._
 Especially vol. II (1899).

 4. Beloch, J. _Griechische Geschichte_, III (1904).

 5. Kärst, J. _Geschichte des hellenistischen Zeitalters_, II, I (1909).

 6. Ferguson, W.S. _Hellenistic Athens_ (1911).

 7. Pozzi, Emilio. _Le Battaglie di Cos e di Andro e la Politica
 marittima di Antigono Gonata._ In _Memorie della Reale Accademia delle
 Scienze di Torino_: serie II, tom. LXIII (1912).

 8. Tarn, W.W. _Antigonus Gonatas_ (1913).


[Footnote 116: Tarn, W.W., _Journal of Hellenic Studies_, XXIX (1909),
pp. 269 _f._; Beloch, _Griechische Geschichte_, III, 1, pp. 386 _f._;
_Hellenistic Athens_, p. 190.]

[Footnote 117: Mahaffy, _The Progress of Hellenism in Alexander's
Empire_ (1905), p. 32.]

[Footnote 118: Wilamowitz-Moellendorff, Ulrich von, _Staat und
Gesellschaft der Griechen: D. Die makedonischen Königreiche_, pp. 139

[Footnote 119: For their revival of the Hellenic league, in which
Macedon formed simply one unit, see Klotzsch, _Epirotische Geschichte_,
p. 130, n. 1, and _Hellenistic Athens_, pp. 121 _f._]

[Footnote 120: For the date see Mayer, _Philologus_, LXXI (1912), p.

[Footnote 121: _Hellenistic Athens_, p. 148.]

[Footnote 122: Wilamowitz-Moellendorff, _Antigonos von Karystos_, p.
218; Kärst, _Geschichte des hellenistischen Zeitalters_, II, 1, pp.
121, 125. Tarn (_Antigonus Gonatas_, pp. 276 _ff._) bases Antigonus's
system of tyrants on expediency, not on philosophy.]

[Footnote 123: For the peace between Egypt and Macedon made in 261 B.C.
see _Inscriptiones Græcæ_, XI, 2, 114.]

[Footnote 124: The enmity of Rhodes and Philadelphia is proved by
Blinkenberg's _La chronique du temple Lindien_. It is, accordingly,
probable that the defeat of Chremonides by Agathostratus at Ephesus
belongs to this struggle, though something may still be said, I think,
for 242 B.C. See _Hellenistic Athens_, p. 197, n. 2.]

[Footnote 125: For this peace see _Inscriptiones Græcæ_, XI, 2, 116.
Its effect is perceptible in Athens (_Hellenistic Athens_, p. 191) and
in Achæa (_Ibid._, n. 1).]

[Footnote 126: Tarn (_Antigonus Gonatas_, pp. 321 _ff._, 449 _ff._)
has Demetrius slain in 258 B.C., and Berenice married to Euergetes, in
247-246 B.C. This position, which Beloch challenged (_Griech. Gesch._,
III, 2, pp. 133 _ff._), leaves unexplained the extraordinary delay
in the marriage of the young couple and in the reunion of the two

[Footnote 127: De Sanctis, _Contributi alla Storia dell' Impero
Seleucidico_ (_Atti della Reale Accademia delle Scienze di Torino_,
XLVII, pp. 11 _ff._).]

[Footnote 128: The account given in the text differs from that given in
_Hellenistic Athens_ mainly because (led by Dürrbach, _Inscriptiones
Græcæ_, XI, 2, pp. vi _f._ and Pozzi, _op. cit._ in Select Bibliography
at the end of the chapter) I now return to Homolle's Delian chronology.
It differs only in a few details from that given by Pozzi. Tarn's
masterly biography (_Antigonus Gonatas_) reached me only when this
chapter was already in type. The complete data which it contains agree
well, I believe, with the construction given above.]

[Footnote 129: Swoboda, _Die ätolische Komenverfassung_ (_Wiener
Studien_, XXXIV, 1912, pp. 37 _ff._).]

[Footnote 130: Above, chapter I.]

[Footnote 131: De Sanctis, _Rivista di Filol._ XXXVI (1908), pp. 252

[Footnote 132: Swoboda, _Studien zu den griechischen Bünden_, I
(_Klio_, XI, 1911, pp. 456 _ff._).]

[Footnote 133: Swoboda, _Studien zu den griechischen Bünden_, II. _Die
Städte im achäischen Bünde_ (_Klio_, XII, 1912, pp. 17 _ff._).]

[Footnote 134: II, 45.]

[Footnote 135: _Hellenistic Athens_, pp. 240 _f._]

[Footnote 136: Freeman, _History of Federal Government_, pp. 379 _ff._]

[Footnote 137: And in all probability, a league as well. Tarn,
_Antigonus Gonatas_, p. 54. n. 36.]

[Footnote 138: Polybius, IV, 26.]

[Footnote 139: Wilhelm, _Attische Urkunden_, I, p. 36.]

[Footnote 140: Plut., _Aratus_, 45.]

[Footnote 141: Polybius, IV, 24.]

[Footnote 142: Polybius, V. 104. (Translated by Freeman, _History of
Federal Government_, pp. 435 _f._)]




      Absolutism, creation of, 135;
        legalized in Greece, 147 _f._

      Acarnania, 234.

      Achæa. _See_ League.

      Ætolia. _See_ League.

      Agelaus of Naupactus, speech of, 246.

      _Agon_, in Athens, 58 _ff._

      Alexander of Corinth, rebellion of, 230;
        death of, 232.

      Alexander the Great, 4;
        deification of, 36;
        accession of, to throne, 116, 123 _f._;
        character of, 119;
        training of, 119 _ff._;
        and Aristotle, 119 _ff._;
        love of symbolism of, 123, 128, 139;
        destroys Thebes, 123 _f._;
        spares Pindar's house, 124;
        visits Troy, 124 _f._;
        cuts Gordian knot, 125 _f._;
        plan of Persian campaign of, 126 _f._;
        son of Zeus, 128, 133, 162 _f._;
        in Persepolis, 129;
        dissolves Hellenic league, 129 _f._;
        ceases to be hegemon of Hellas, 130;
        ceases to be king of Macedon, 130 _f._;
        marries Roxane, 130;
        adopts Persian costume, 130;
        tries to establish Hellenism in Asia, 133 _f._;
        founds city-states, 134 _f._;
        plans conquest of West, 134;
        and absolute monarchy, 135;
        changes opinion as to Iranians, 135 _f._;
        tries to fuse dominant peoples of Europe and Asia, 136 _ff._;
        marries Persian princesses, 137;
        plans of, 144,
        rejected by the Macedonians, 150;
        demands recognition as a god, 146;
        departs from the life among men, 149.

      Alexandria, 155, 157, 163, 213;
        new Athens, 158;
        trade of, 161 _f._;
        imperial cult of Ptolemies in, 164 _ff._;
      _vs._ Memphis, 170;
        laws of, 177;
        classes of population in, 181.

      Ammon, god of Cyrene, 126 _ff._;
        visited by Alexander, 139.

      _Ancient City_, of Fustel de Coulanges, criticized, 7.

      Andros, battle of, 159, 233.

      Antigonids, constitutional government of, 216;
        wars of, with Rome, 217 _f._;
        alliance of, with Seleucids, 223.

      Antigonus I, Monophthalmus, 183;
        tries to take Alexander's place and fails, 184 _f._;
        policy of, 218 _f._;
        monarchy of, 220 _f._

      Antigonus II, Gonatas, victories of, at Cos and Andros, 159;
        rightful heir of Macedonian crown, 220;
        suzerain of Greece, 220;
        king of Macedon, 220, 223;
        education of, 222 _f._;
        reign of, 223-233;
        peace of, with Egypt, 223;
        hostility of, with Epirus, 224;
        protects Greece from barbarians, 224;
        tyrants of, in Greece, 224 _ff._;
        relation of, to Stoa, 225 _f._;
        refuses deification, 225 _f._;
        struggle of, with Ptolemy Philadelphus, 226, 229;
        renews alliance with Seleucids, 229;
        deserted by Antiochus II, 230;
        recovers Ægean, 232;
        treaty of, with Ætolians, 232;
        empire of, 233;
        death of, 233;
        failure of, in Greece, 235.

      Antigonus III, Doson, Hellenic league of, 34;
        makes peace with Ætolians, 241;
        hegemon of Hellas, 243.

      Antiochus I, Soter, 185.

      Antiochus II, Theos, 185;
        deserts Macedon, 230.

      Antiochus III, the Great, 187 _ff._;
        wrests Palestine from Egypt, 188;
        and Hannibal, 189;
        peace of, with Rome, 190.

      Antiochus IV, Epiphanes, policy of, 212;
        and the Jews, 212 _f._;
        invades Egypt, 213.

      Antiochus Hierax, 187.

      Antipater, house of, 219.

      Antipater II, 220.

      Antony, and Cleopatra, 153;
        as Ammon, 162.

      Apama, wife of Seleucus, 195.

      Aratus, of Sicyon, 236;
        seizes Sicyon, 230;
        seizes Corinth, 232.

      Areus I, correspondence of, with Jews, 79.

      Aristocracy, supported by Sparta, 20;
        defined, 20 _f._;
        destroyed in Sparta, 83;
        championed by Sparta, 94.

      Aristophanes, view of, as to extending Athenian citizenship, 31.

      Aristotle, 26, 36;
        on equality of states, 33;
        training of, 108;
        a poor historian, 108 _f._;
        theory of progress of, 109;
        empiricism of, 110 _f._;
        compared with Machiavelli, 110 _ff._;
        neglects the acquisition of power, 111;
        makes city-state the ultimate political unit, 112 _ff._;
        aversion of, for imperialism, 113;
        "strength" in the political system of, 113 _f._;
        and conquest of Asia, 114;
        defect in politics of, 114;
        and Alexander, 119 _ff._;
        teacher of poetry, 119,
          of politics, 120 _f._;
        view of, as to Asiatics, 122;
        and deification of rulers, 135, 147.

      Armenia, 188;
        conquers Syria, 192.

      Arsinoë Philadelphus, 157;
        death of, 160;
        deified, 164;
        imperial policy of, 227.

      Art, in Athens, 59.

      Artemis, temple of, in Sardis, 202.

      Asia Minor, priestly communities in, 197 _f._

      Astral religion, 143.

      Atargatis, temple of, 197.

      Athena Alcis, in China, 193 _f._

      Athenians, democratic imperialists, 39;
        self-confidence of, 40 _f._;
        political capacity of, 56 _f._;
        capacity of, in art and literature, 59 _f._;
        demands upon time of, 63 _f._;
        blame Sophists for decay of democracy, 77.

      Athens, life in, 11 _f._;
        empire of, a despotism, 23 _f._;
        relation of, to allies, 24 _f._;
        relation of, to cleruchies, 30;
        inability of, to grant citizenship to allies, 30 _f._;
        refuses to enter Achæan league, 32;
        size of, 42;
        size of empire of, 42;
        sphere of interests of, 43;
        empire of, compared with British empire, 43;
        funeral customs of, 43 _f._;
        institutions of, 49 _ff._;
        judicial system, 50 _f._;
        competition of citizens in, 58;
        failure of, in foreign politics, 58, 61;
        slavery in, 61;
        absence of leisure in, 61;
        grain supply of, 62;
        raw materials of, imported, 62;
        nation of noblemen, 65;
        obligations of wealth in, 65;
        the "school of Hellas," 65;
        sea-power of, 66 _f._;
        cost of sea-power of, 68 _ff._,
          in lives, 70;
        allies of, grievances of, 70 _ff._;
        imperial litigation of, 72;
        land policy of, 72 _f._;
        promotes mediocrity, 73 _f._;
        reputation of, 221;
        neutrality of, 242.

      Augustus, in Egypt, 154;
        becomes Pharaoh, 154.

      Autocracy, incompleteness of, 4.

      Autonomy, urban in Greece, 96.

      Bactria, Greek kingdoms in, 188, 193.

      Bambyce, church at, 197.

      Berenice, of Cyrene, 231.

      Berenice, of Egypt, becomes wife of Antiochus II, 186, 230;
        murdered 187.

      Boeotarchs, 27.

      Boeotia. _See_ League.

      Branchidæ, Apollo of, 128.

      Buildings, funds for, at Athens, 71.

      Cæsarion, 153.

      Callimachus, court poet, 160.

      Capitalistic régime, in Plato, 106.

      Carthage, 155.

      Cassander, 219.

      Charlemagne, 5.

      China, contact of, with Hellenism, 192 _f._

      Chremonidean War, 227.

      Cinadon, conspiracy of, 91 _ff._

      Cities, and freedom, 7 _ff._;
        and culture, 7 _ff._;
        in modern sense, 10;
        contrast of, with country, 11 _ff._

      City-states, relation of, to ethne, 6;
        described, 9;
        agrarian character of, 9;
        commerce and industry of, 10;
        family character of, 13 _f._;
        care of, for dead, 14 _ff._;
        laws of, 16 _f._;
        biographies of, 17;
        subordinated to districts, 29;
        combined in territorial states, 33;
        reconciled with imperialism, 36;
        ultimate political units of Aristotle, 112;
        Aristotle's view of, 121 _f._;
        founded by Alexander, 133 _f._;
        founded by Seleucus, 196,
          by his successors, 196, 199, 205;
        in Egypt, 171;
        made out of priestly communities, 200;
        racial fusion in, in Asia, 206;
        at once nations and municipalities, 209;
        loss of leadership of, 227 _f._;
        as federal units, 237 _f._;
        eclipse of, 243.

      Civil administration, at Athens, 54 _ff._

      Cleomenes, career of, 241 _f._

      Cleon, on empire of Athens, 23 _f._

      Cleopatra, the Great, 152;
        and Antony, 153 _f._

      Cleruchies, 30.

      Cleruchs, in Egypt, 173 _ff._;
        position of, 175 _f._;
        Egyptianized, 180 _f._;
        in Seleucid empire, 201.

      Clisthenes, 51.

      Comana, in Cappadocia, sacred city of Ma at, 197 _f._,
        in Pontus, 198.

      Commerce, in Athens, 12.

      Committee of Public Safety, 28, 30.

      Competition, in Athens, 58 _f._

      Constantine, the Great, and deification of rulers, 36.

      Constitutions, ancestral, 96 _f._

      Cos, battle of, 159, 229.

      Council of the Five Hundred, constitution and powers of, 51 _ff._

      Crown lands, in Seleucid realm, how disposed of, 204.

      Culture, origin of, in cities, 7 _ff._

      Cyclades, lost to Egypt, 160.
        _See_ League.

      Cynocephalæ, battle of, 188.

      Cyrene, 229, 231.

      Dardanians, invade Macedon, 241.

      Deification of rulers, 35 _f._, 127 _ff._, 131 _ff._, 139 _ff._;
        real motive of, 145 _f._;
        in Egypt, 164 _ff._;
        legalized absolutism, 165;
        in Asia, 205, 208;
        attitude of Antigonus Gonatas toward, 225 _f._

      Delos, prices at, fixed in Alexandria, 170.

      Demetrius II, protects Epirus, 234;
        war of, with leagues, 240 _f._;
        death of, 241.

      Demetrius Poliorcetes, deification of, 145;
        expectations of, 183 _f._;
        career of, 219 _f._;
        monarchy of, 220 _f._;
        king of Macedon, 221 _f._

      Demetrius the Fair, king of Cyrene, 229;
        murder of, 231.

      Democracy, in Athens, connection of, with empire, 41 _f._;
        principles of, 45 _ff._;
        safeguards of, 50;
        rôle of experts in, 58;
        not self-indulgent, 68 _ff._;
        and mediocrity, 73 _f._;
        failure of, at Athens attributed to Sophists, 77 _f._;
        hated by Plato, 102.

      Demosthenes, on Philip of Macedon, 118.

      Divine right of kings, 3.

      Ecclesia, constitution of, at Athens, 49;
        powers of, 50 _f._;
        freedom of discussion in, 53 _f._;
        assembly of experts, 57;
        functions of, 57;
        _agon_ of statesmen, 58.

      Education, the vice of the Socratic school, 98.

      Egypt, seized by Alexander, 126;
        decay of, 180 _f._;
        empire of, 234.

      Egyptians, view of Alexander as to, 135;
        ruled over by Ptolemies, 168;
        owned by the Ptolemies, 169;
        hatred of, for Ptolemies, 170;
        use of, in military service, 170 _f._;
        admitted to Ptolemaic army, 180 _f._;
          to civil service, 181.

      Emperor, defined, 3 _f._

      Empire, defined, 1 _ff._;
        of Rome, 4;
        legally impossible, 25;
        how secured, 38;
        of Athens, criticism of, 70 _ff._;
        of Ptolemies, reasons for, 160 _ff._

      Ephorate, compared with Roman tribunate, 83 _f._

      Epirus, under Macedon, 235;
        deserts Macedon, 240.

      Equality of states, 33, 237 _f._, 241.

      Erythræ, Sibyl of, 128.

      _Ethne_, predecessors of city-states, 6;
        in Egypt, 176 _f._;
        rise of, in Hellas, 228;
        replaced by _koina_, 236.

      Euhemerus, 142 _f._

      Eumenes, of Pergamum, revolts, 159.

      Euripides, criticized by Plato, 104.

      Europeans, contrast of, with Orientals, 131 _ff._

      Federation, defined, 3.

      Feudal lords in Persian empire, 199.

      Fiefs, in Seleucid empire, 200 _f._, 203 _f._

      Fleet, of Athens, 69 _f._

      Foreign policy, influence of, 238 _f._

      Freedom, origin of, in cities, 7 _ff._

      Gaza, battle of, 184.

      Generals, special position of, in Athens, 58.

      Gordian knot, 125 _f._

      Government, science of, born, 97.

      Gracchus, Tiberius, 15.

      Greece, golden age of, 41.

      Greeks, mania of, for classifying things, 80 _f._;
        absorbed by Egyptians, 181.

      Gymnasia, in Egypt, 177 _f._

      Hannibal, interest for, in Greece, 246 _ff._

      Hegemony, nature of, 25;
        of Sparta, 25;
        becomes an absurdity, 25 _f._

      Heliæa, constitution of, 49;
        powers of, 50 _f._

      Hellas, unification of, 34.

      Hellenism, in Egypt, 176 _f._, 181;
        in China, 193;
        in Asia, 133 _ff._, 205 _ff._

      Hellenization, of Asia by Seleucids, 195 _ff._;
        of Judæa, 212 _f._

      Helots, 19;
        annual declaration of war upon, 86 _f._;
        confined within Perioec ring-wall, 87 _f._

      _Hieroduli_, 197 _ff._

      History, character of, 108 _f._

      Huns, 192.

      Imperialism, defined, 4;
        evaded by federal leagues, 32 _f._;
        justified, 36.

      Indemnities, in Athens, 64.

      Industry, in Athens, 12.

      Ipsus, battle of, 185.

      Iranians, opinion of Alexander as to, 136.

      Irreligion, basis of deification of Alexander, 142, 144 _f._

      Isocrates, 26.

      Isopolity, defined, 31 _f._

      Jews, kinsmen of the Spartans, 79;
        of the gymnosophists, 80;
        encouraged in revolt by Rome, 191.

      Judæus, Spartan oecist of Judæa, 79.

      Julius Cæsar, 4;
        and Cleopatra, 152 _f._;
        as Ammon, 162.

      Kingship, Aristotle's theory of, 120 _f._

      Lacedæmon, population of, 85.

      Laodice, wife of Antiochus II, 186 _ff._;
        murders Berenice, 231;
        war of, with Egypt, 231.

      Larisa, 20.

      Leader of the people, at Athens, 60 _f._

      League, _Achæan_, 32;
        defects of, 33 _f._, 228;
        expansion of, 230;
        territory of, 234;
        alliance of, with Ætolians, 235;
        development of, 235 _ff._;
        institutions of, 237 _ff._;
        laws of, 240;
        war of, with Demetrius II, 240 _f._
        ... _Ætolian_, 32;
        defects of, 33 _f._, 228;
        treaty of, with Antigonus Gonatas, 232;
        expansion of, 233;
        territory of, 234;
        alliance of, with Achæans, 235;
        development of, 235 _ff._;
        founds city-states, 236;
        institutions of, 237 _ff._;
        dismembered by Macedon, 240;
        deserts Achæans, 241;
        ally of Sparta, 241;
        attacks Macedon, 245 _f._, 248.
        ... _Boeotian_, 27 _ff._
        ... _Hellenic_, under Sparta, 20 _ff._, 89 _f._;
        under Philip II, 28 _ff._, 244;
        under Antigonus Doson, 34, 242 _ff._;
        dissolved by Alexander, 129 _f._;
        under Antigonus I, 221.
        ... _of Islanders_, 159, 227, 229, 230 _f._, 232.
        ... _Peloponnesian_, 20, 89, 95.

      Leagues, as federal units, 243;
        extent of powers of, 244.

      Leisure, lack of, in Athens, 61.

      Literature, in Athens, 59 _f._;
        the corruptor of the Athenians, 103 _f._

      Lot, election by, in Athens, 52, 53, 55;
        theory of, 55.

      Lysimachus, king of Macedon, 220.

      Maccabæus, correspondence of, with Sparta, 79 _f._

      Macedon, relation of, to Hellas, 215;
        army of, 217;
        national state in, 217;
        Roman province, 218;
        troubles of, 224.

      Macedonians, heirs of Alexander, 149;
        establish a regency, 149;
        refuse to carry out Alexander's plans, 150;
        characteristics of, 215 _f._;
        sacrifices of, for empire, 216 _f._;
        aversion to imperialism, 222.

      Magas, of Cyrene, death of, 231.

      Magnesia, battle of, 190.

      Machiavelli, compared with Aristotle, 110 _ff._

      Messenians, revolts of, 87.

      Meyer, Eduard, on _proskynesis_, 131 _ff._

      Mnesimachus, fief of, 201.

      Monarchy, influence of, 239.

      Municipality, and city, 17 _f._

      Napoleon, on generalship, 122;
        on Alexander, 123.

      Nation, and city, 17 _ff._

      Naucratis, 163, 168.

      Nectanebus, reputed father of Alexander, 162.

      Nicæa, dupe of Gonatas, 232.

      Olympias, wife of Philip, marriage of, 116;
        religion of, 118 _f._;
        queen of Epirus, 233 _f._

      Oration, Funeral, significance of, 45 _f._

      Orientals, contrast of, with Europeans, 131 _ff._

      Ostracism, function of, in Athens, 60 _f._

      Palestine, becomes Seleucid, 188;
        Hellenization of, 196, 212 _f._

      Pan, patron of Gonatas, 232.

      Panchæa, 143.

      Parthians, rebellion of, 188, 192;
        power of, 192.

      Patriotism, in city-states, 18 _f._

      Pella, 118, 221.

      Pergamum, incites dynastic war in Syria, 191.

      Pericles, 41;
        law of, regarding citizenship, 14;
        Funeral Oration of, 44 _ff._;
        and art, 48;
        and drama, 48;
        and Plato, 48 _f._;
        aim of, in introducing indemnities, 64 _f._;
        ideal of,
      64 _f._;
        defends misuse of tribute, 71 _f._;
        judgment on, by Thucydides, 75 _f._

      Perioecs, 19;
        ring of, around Spartan land, 88.

      Persepolis, 129.

      Persia, supports hegemony in Greece, 25;
        feudal lords in empire of, 199.

      Persians, conciliated by Alexander, 130, 131;
        Hellenization of, 133;
        foster local religions, 197 _ff._

      Pharaoh, sole god on earth, 163.

      Phila, wife of Antigonus Gonatas, 223.

      Philip II, and Thebes, 28 _f._;
        hegemon of Hellas, 28 _ff._;
        relations of, with Olympias, 116;
        murder of, 116;
        achievements of, 116 _ff._;
        court of, 118.

      Philip V, war of, with Ætolians, 245 _f._

      Phoenicia, source of timber for Egypt, 172.

      Phthia, queen of Macedon, 234.

      Plato, 26;
        a student of his present alone, 99;
        without sense of historic truth, 99 _f._, 107;
        misreads the future, 100;
        historic conceptions of, 100 _f._;
        and governmental control, 101 _f._;
        disgust of, for democracy, 102;
        abandons theory of individual liberty, 102;
        dislike of, for Athenian empire, 103;
        dislike of, for Athenian culture, 103 _f._;
        assailant of materialism, 105;
        advocate of aristocracy, 106 _f._

      Plutarch, 15.

      Poetry, place of, in Greek education, 119 _f._

      Politics, in Athens, 56 _f._;
        instruction of Alexander in, 120.

      Polybius, in Egypt, 181.

      Polytheism, elasticity of, 140 _f._

      Pompey, conquers Syria, 191.

      Popillius, Gaius, 213.

      Priests, governments of, in Asia Minor, 197 _f._

      _Proskynesis_, of individuals established, 131;
        meaning of, 131 _ff._;
        of cities, 147 _f._;
        under the _diadochi_, 164 _f._, 208, 221.

      Prussia, divine right of kings in, 3, 37.

      Ptolemais, 163 _f._

      Ptolemies, dynasty of, 151 _f._;
        empire of, restored, 153 _f._;
        imperial policy of, 155;
        saved by Rome, 160;
        deification of, in Greek cities, 164;
        army of, 167 _f._, 173 _ff._;
        owners of land and people of Egypt, 169;
        farmers, manufacturers, merchants, 169 _f._;
        temple policy of, 172 _f._;
        land policy of, 172 _ff._;
        gifts of, to friends, 173;
        abandon land policy, 180;
        later monarchs, 181 _f._;
        lose Palestine, 188;
        incite dynastic war in Syria, 191.

      Ptolemy, son of Lagos, goes to Egypt, 150 _f._;
        founds a dynasty, 151;
        founds an empire, 155 _f._;
        son of Ammon, 162 _ff._;
        king of the Macedonians, 166 _f._;
        religious policy of, 178 _f._
        ... _Ceraunus_, 220.
        ... _Philadelphus_, 155;
        eulogy of, by Theocritus, 156, 171 _f._;
        character of, 157 _f._;
        diplomat, 158;
        occupies Ionia, 159;
        forces of, 167;
        revolt in Ionia against, 228;
        war of, with Antiochus II, 229,
          with Rhodians, 229,
          with Macedon and Syria, 230 _ff._
        ... _Euergetes_, victorious in Asia, 159;
        beaten on sea, 159;
        neglects fleet, 179;
        war of, in Asia, 231 _f._;
        generalissimo of Achæan league, 232 _f._;
        weakness of, 242.
        ... _Philopator_, military policy of, 180.
        ... _Euergetes II_, "the god," 166, 181.
        ... _The Piper_, 152.

      Pydna, battle of, 213, 217.

      Pyrrhus, king of Macedon, 220;
        invades Macedon, 223 _f._

      Quartering of troops, in Egypt,

      Races, fusion of, in Seleucid empire, 206.

      Reaction, age of, 95 _ff._;
        of Plato, unreality of, 106 _f._

      Reformation, age of, in Greece, 83.

      Reformers, political, 26.

      Religion, and deification of rulers, 141 _f._;
        in Egypt, 178 _f._

      Representation according to population, 27, 33 _f._, 237, 243.

      Rhodians, war of, with Ptolemy II, 229.

      Romans, heirs of Greeks, 5;
        empire of, 35;
        save Ptolemies, 160;
        war of, with Illyrians, 241;
          with Macedonians, 248.

      Rome, Senate of, disarms Seleucids, 190 _f._,
          encourages revolt of Jews, 191,
          sets up usurpers in Syria, 191;
        emperors of, use Seleucid land policy, 204;
        Italian federation of, compared with Seleucid empire, 210 _f._;
        intimidates Seleucids, 213 _f._;
        imperial problems of, 214.

      Rotation of office, in Athens, 55 _f._

      Roxane, married by Alexander, 130, 136.

      Samians, get Athenian citizenship, 31.

      Sarapis, 178.

      Sea-power, benefits of, 66 _ff._;
        gained by Alexander, 126 _f._;
        of Egypt, 156, 158;
        struggle for, between Egypt and Macedon, 159;
        abandoned by Egypt, 160;
        first gained by Egypt, 227;
        restored, 230;
        lost, 233.

      Seleucids, hemmed in by Egypt, 159;
        division in dynasty of, 187;
        get access to sea, 188;
        lose prestige in Asia, 189 _f._;
        disarmed by Rome, 190 _f._;
        dynastic war among, 191;
        half Iranian, 195;
        expansion of, 196 _ff._;
        crown lands of, 199;
        land policy of, 202 _f._;
        administrative service of, 203;
        local government of, 203, 205;
        empire of, a conglomerate
      of states, 205 _ff._;
        relation of, to city-states, 208;
        difficulties of, 211;
        intimidated by Rome, 213 _f._

      Seleucus, son of Antiochus, 184;
        at Ipsus, 185;
        reaches Mediterranean, 185;
        at Corupedion, 185;
        faithful to Iranian wife, 195;
        relation to Alexander, 195.
        ... _Callinicus_, 186.

      Sellasia, battle of, 242.

      Semites, view of Alexander as to, 135 _f._

      Sicilian expedition, 76.

      Sicyon, added to Achæan league, 230.

      Siwah, oasis of, visited by Alexander, 126 _ff._, 139 _ff._

      Slavery, rôle of, in Athens, 61 _f._

      Social War, 246.

      Socrates, 97.

      Sparta, size of, 19;
        Peloponnesian league of, 20;
        Hellenic league of, 20 _f._;
        supports aristocracy, 20;
        pretexts of, for tyranny, 25;
        refuses to enter Achæan league, 32 _f._;
        funeral custom of, 43;
        home of poets and musicians, 81 _f._;
        golden age of art at, 82;
        absence of tyrants in, 84;
        military life of, 84 _f._;
        puritan movement in, 85;
        army of, 86;
        danger of, from Helots, 87;
        growth of, 87 _ff._;
        change of foreign policy by, 88 _f._;
        in conflict with democratic movement, 89 _f._;
        domestic situation in, when hegemon, 90 _ff._;
        imperial problems of, 93 _ff._;
        donation to, from Ætolians, 241.

      Spartans, kinsmen of the Jews, 79 _f._

      _Stasis_, 22 _ff._

      Stoa, philosophy of, in Macedon, 225 _f._

      Superiority, essential in empire, 2.

      Susa, great marriage of, 136 _ff._

      _Symmachia_, basis of Spartan empire, 20 _f._;
        of Athenian empire, 24 _f._

      Sympolity, defined, 32 _f._

      Syncretism, religious, in Egypt, 178 _f._

      Synod, Boeotian, 27 _ff._;
        Hellenic, of Philip II, 28 _ff._;
          of Antigonus Doson, 242 _ff._;
        Achæan, 237.

      Taxes, in Athens, 68.

      Temples, in Egypt, 172 _f._;
        subordinated to city-states by Seleucids, 200;
        despoiled by Seleucids, 200 _f._

      Thebes, hegemony of, 26;
        position of, in Boeotia, 27;
        destruction of, 123 _f._

      Themistocles, policy of, 39 _f._

      Theocritus, on Philadelphus, 156, 171 _f._

      Theopompus, on Philip II, 118.

      Thermopylæ, battle of, 189 _f._

      Thucydides, on stasis, 22 _ff._;
        on empire, 23 _f._;
        Funeral Oration of, 44 _ff._;
        on the Athenian empire, 75 _f._;
        political sense of, 77.

      Tigranes the Great, conquers Syria, 192.

      Tribute, how used by Athenians, 71.

      Troy, visited by Alexander, 124 _f._

      Truth, in Plato, 98.

      Tyche, worship of, by the irreligious, 144.

      Tyranny, outlawed, 239 _f._

      Tyrants, absent in Sparta, 84;
        in Greece, 224 _f._

      Universality, logical issue of imperialism, 4 _f._

      Worship of the dead, so-called, 14 _ff._

      Xerxes, army of, 40.

      Yue Tchi, immigration of, 192;
        occupy Sogdiana, Bactria, and India, 193.

      Zeno, tutor of Antigonus Gonatas, 222.

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Greek Imperialism" ***

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