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A Smaller History of Greece by William Smith

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ships to the assistance of the Ionians; and in the following year
(B.C. 499) this fleet, accompanied by five ships from Eretria in
Euboea, crossed the AEgean. The troops landed at Ephesus, and,
being reinforced by a strong body, of Ionians, marched upon
Sardis. Artaphernes was taken unprepared; and not having
sufficient troops to man the walls, he retired into the citadel,
leaving the town a prey to the invaders. Accordingly they
entered it unopposed; and while engaged in pillage, one of the
soldiers set fire to a house. As most of the houses were built
of wickerwork and thatched with straw, the flames rapidly spread,
and in a short time the whole city was in flames. The Greeks, on
their return to the coast, were overtaken by a large Persian
force and defeated with great slaughter. The Athenians hastened
on board their ships and sailed home.

When Darius heard of the burning of Sardis, he burst into a
paroxysm of rage. It was against the obscure strangers who had
dared to burn one of his capitals that his wrath was chiefly
directed. "The Athenians!" he exclaimed, "who are they?" Upon
being informed he took his bow, shot an arrow high into the air,
saying, "Grant me, Jove, to take vengeance upon the Athenians!"
And he charged one of his attendants to remind him thrice every
day at dinner "Sire, remember the Athenians." Meantime the
insurrection spread to the Greek cities in Cyprus, as well as to
those on the Hellespont and the Propontis, and seemed to promise
permanent independence to the Asiatic Greeks; but they were no
match for the whole power of the Persian empire, which was soon
brought against them. Cyprus was subdued, and siege laid to the
cities upon the coast of Asia. Aristagoras now began to despair,
and basely deserted his countrymen, whom he had led into peril.
Collecting a large body of Milesians, he set sail for the
Thracian coast, where he was slain under the walls of a town to
which he had laid siege. Soon after his departure, his father-
in-law, Histiaeus came down to the coast. The artful Greek not
only succeeded in removing the suspicions which Darius first
entertained respecting him, but he persuaded the king to send him
into Ionia, in order to assist the Persian generals in
suppressing the rebellion. Artaphernes, however, was not so
easily deceived as his master, and plainly accused Histiaeus of
treachery when the latter arrived at Sardis. "I will tell you
how the facts stand" said Artaphernes to Histiaeus; "it was you
who made the shoe, and Aristagoras has put it on." Finding
himself unsafe at Sardis, he escaped to the island of Chios; but
he was regarded with suspicion by all parties. At length he
obtained eight galleys from Lesbos, with which he sailed towards
Byzantium, and carried on piracies as well against the Grecian as
the barbarian vessels. This unprincipled adventurer met with a
traitor's death. Having landed on the coast of Mysia, he was
surprised by a Persian force and made prisoner. Being carried to
Sardis, Artaphernes at once caused him to be crucified, and sent
his head to Darius, who ordered it to be honourably buried,
condemning the ignominious execution of the man who had once
saved the life of the Great King.

In the sixth year of the revolt (B.C. 495), when several Grecian
cities had already been taken by the Persians, Artaphernes laid
siege to Miletus by sea and by land. A naval engagement took
place at Lade a small island off Miletus, which decided the fate
of the war. The Samians deserted at the commencement of the
battle, and the Ionian fleet was completely defeated. Miletus
was soon afterwards taken, and was treated with signal severity.
Most of the males were slain; and the few who escaped the sword
were carried with the women and children into captivity (B.C.
494). The other Greek cities in Asia and the neighbouring
islands were treated with the same cruelty. The islands of
Chios, Lesbos, and Tenedos were swept of their inhabitants; and
the Persian fleet sailed up to the Hellespont and Propontis,
carrying with it fire and sword. The Athenian Miltiades only
escaped falling into the power of the Persians by a rapid flight
to Athens.

The subjugation of Ionia was now complete. This was the third
time that the Asiatic Greeks had been conquered by a foreign
power: first by the Lydian Croesus; secondly by the generals of
Cyrus; and lastly by those of Darius. It was from the last that
they suffered most, and they never fully recovered their former

Darius was now at liberty to take vengeance upon the Athenians.
He appointed Mardonius to succeed Artaphernes as satrap in
western Asia, and he placed under his command a large armament,
with injunctions to bring to Susa those Athenians and Eretrians
who had insulted the authority of the Great King. Mardonius,
after crossing the Hellespont, commenced his march through Thrace
and Macedonia, subduing, as he went along, the tribes which had
not yet submitted to the Persian power. He ordered the fleet to
double the promontory of Mount Athos, and join the land forces at
the head of the gulf of Therma; but one of the hurricanes which
frequently blow off this dangerous coast overtook the Persian
fleet, destroyed 300 vessels and drowned or dashed upon the rocks
20,000 men. Meantime the land forces of Mardonius had suffered
so much from an attack made upon them by a Thracian tribe, that
he could not proceed farther. He led his army back across the
Hellespont, and returned to the Persian court covered with shame
and grief (B.C. 492).

The failure of this expedition did not shake the resolution of
Darius. He began to make preparations for another attempt on a
still larger scale, and meantime sent heralds to most of the
Grecian states to demand from each earth and water as the symbol
of submission. Such terror had the Persians inspired by their
recent conquest of Ionia, that a large number of the Grecian
cities at once complied with the demand; but the Athenians cast
the herald into a deep pit, and the Spartans threw him into a
well bidding him take earth and water from thence.

In the spring of B.C. 490 a large army and fleet were assembled
in Cilicia, and the command was given to Datis, a Median, and
Artaphernes, son of the satrap of Sardis of that name. Warned by
the recent disaster of Mardonius in doubling the promontory of
Mount Athos, they resolved to sail straight across the AEgean to
Euboea, subduing on their way the Cyclades. These islands
yielded a ready submission; and it was not till Datis and
Artaphernes reached Euboea that they encountered any resistance.
Eretria defended itself gallantly for six days, and repulsed the
Persians with loss; but on the seventh the gates were opened to
the besiegers by the treachery of two of its leading citizens.
The city was razed to the ground, and the inhabitants were put in
chains. From Eretria the Persians crossed over to Attica, and
landed on the ever memorable plain of Marathon, a spot which had
been pointed out to them by the despot Hippias, who accompanied
the army.

As soon as the news of the fall of Eretria reached Athens, a
courier had been sent to Sparta to solicit assistance. This was
promised; but the superstition of the Spartans prevented them
from setting out immediately, since it wanted a few days to the
full moon, and it was contrary to their religious customs to
commence a march during this interval. Meantime the Athenians
had marched to Marathon, and were encamped upon the mountains
which surrounded the plain. They were commanded, according to
the regular custom, by ten generals, one for each tribe, and by
the Polemarch, or third Archon, who down to this time continued
to be a colleague of the generals. Among these the most
distinguished was Miltiades, who, though but lately a tyrant in
the Chersonesus, had shown such energy and ability, that the
Athenians had elected him one of their commanders upon the
approach of the Persian fleet. Upon learning the answer which
the courier brought from Sparta, the ten generals were divided in
opinion. Five of them were opposed to an immediate engagement
with the overwhelming number of Persians, and urged the
importance of waiting for the arrival of the Lacedaemonian
succours. Miltiades and the remaining four contended that not a
moment should be lost in fighting the Persians, not only in order
to avail themselves of the present enthusiasm of the people, but
still more to prevent treachery from spreading among their ranks.
Callimachus, the Polemarch, yielded to the arguments of
Miltiades, and gave his vote for the battle. The ten generals
commanded their army in rotation, each for one day; but they now
agreed to surrender to Miltiades their days of command, in order
to invest the whole power in a single person. While the
Athenians were preparing for battle, they received unexpected
assistance from the little town or Plataea, in Boeotia. Grateful
to the Athenians for the assistance which they had rendered them
against the Thebans, the whole force of Plataea, amounting to
1000 heavy-armed men, marched to the assistance of their allies
and joined them at Marathon. The Athenian army numbered only
10,000 hoplites, or heavy-armed soldiers: there were no archers
or cavalry, and only some slaves as light-armed attendants. Of
the number of the Persian army we have no trustworthy account,
but the lowest estimate makes it consist of 110,000 men.

The plain of Marathon lies on the eastern coast of Attica, at the
distance of twenty-two miles from Athens by the shortest road.
it is in the form of a crescent, the horns of which consist of
two promontories running into the sea, and forming a semicircular
bay. This plain is about six miles in length, and in its widest
or central part about two in breadth. On the day of battle the
Persian army was drawn up along the plain about a mile from the
sea, and their fleet was ranged behind them on the beach. The
Athenians occupied the rising ground above the plain, and
extended from one side of the plain to the other. This
arrangement was necessary in order to protect their flanks by the
mountains on each side, and to prevent the cavalry from passing
round to attack them in rear. But so large a breadth of ground
could not be occupied with a small a number of men without
weakening some portion of the line. Miltiades, therefore, drew
up the troops in the centre in shallow files, and resolved to
rely for success upon the stronger and deeper masses of his
wings. The right wing, which was the post of honour in a Grecian
army, was commanded by the Polemarch Callimachus; the hoplites
were arranged in the order of their tribes, so that the members
of the same tribe fought by each other's side; and at the extreme
left stood the Plataeans.

Miltiades, anxious to come to close quarters as speedily as
possible, ordered his soldiers to advance at a running step over
the mile of ground which separated them from the foe. Both the
Athenian wings were successful, and drove the enemy before them
towards the shore and the marshes. But the Athenian centre was
broken by the Persians, and compelled to take to flight.
Miltiades thereupon recalled his wings from pursuit, and charged
the Persian centre. The latter could not withstand this combined
attack. The rout now became general along the whole Persian
line; and they fled to their ships, pursued by the Athenians.

The Persians lost 6400 men in this memorable engagement: of the
Athenians only 192 fell. The aged tyrant Hippias is said to have
perished in the battle, and the brave Polemarch Callimachus was
also one of the slain. The Persians embarked and sailed away to
Asia. Their departure was hailed at Athens with one unanimous
burst of heartfelt joy. Marathon became a magic word at Athens.
The Athenian people in succeeding ages always looked back upon
this day as the most glorious in their annals, and never tired of
hearing its praises sounded by their orators and poets. And they
had reason to be proud of it. It was the first time that the
Greeks had ever defeated the Persians in the field. It was the
exploit of the Athenians alone. It had saved not only Athens but
all Greece. If the Persians had conquered at Marathon, Greece
must, in all likelihood, have become a Persian province; the
destinies of the world would have been changed; and oriental
despotism might still have brooded over the fairest countries of

The one hundred and ninety-two Athenians who had perished in the
battle were buried on the field, and over their remains a tumulus
or mound was erected, which may still be seen about half a mile
from the sea.

Shortly after the battle Miltiades requested of the Athenians a
fleet of seventy ships, without telling them the object of his
expedition, but only promising to enrich the state. Such
unbounded confidence did the Athenians repose in the hero of
Marathon, that they at once complied with his demand. This
confidence Miltiades abused. In order to gratify a private
animosity against one of the leading citizens of Paros, he sailed
to this island and laid siege to the town. The citizens repelled
all his attacks; and having received a dangerous injury on his
thigh, he was compelled to raise the siege and return to Athens.
Loud was the indignation against Miltiades on his return. He was
accused by Xanthippus, the father of Pericles, of having deceived
the people, and was brought to trial. His wound had already
begun to show symptoms of gangrene. He was carried into court on
a couch, and there lay before the assembled judges, while his
friends pleaded on his behalf. They could offer no excuse for
his recent conduct, but they reminded the Athenians of the
services he had rendered, and, begged them to spare the victor of
Marathon. The judges were not insensible to this appeal; and
instead of condemning him to death as the accuser had demanded,
they commuted the penalty to a fine of fifty talents. Miltiades
was unable immediately to raise this sum and died soon afterwards
of his wound. The fine was subsequently paid by his son Cimon.
The melancholy end of Miltiades must not blind us to his offence.
He had grossly abused the public confidence, and deserved his
punishment. The Athenians did not forget his services at
Marathon, and it was their gratitude towards him which alone
saved him from death.

Soon after the battle of Marathon a war broke out between Athens
and AEgina. This war is of great importance in Grecian history,
since to it the Athenians were indebted for their navy, which
enabled them to save Greece at Salamis as they had already done
at Marathon. AEgina was one of the chief maritime powers in
Greece; and accordingly Themistocles urged the Athenians to build
and equip a large and powerful fleet, without which it was
impossible for them to humble their rival. There was at this
time a large surplus in the public treasury, arising from the
produce of the silver-mines at Laurium. It had been recently
proposed to distribute this surplus among the Athenian citizens;
but Themistocles persuaded them to sacrifice their private
advantage to the public good, and to appropriate the money to
building a fleet of 200 ships.

The two leading citizens of Athens at this period were
Themistocles and Aristides. These two eminent men formed a
striking contrast to each other. Themistocles possessed
abilities of the most extraordinary kind; but they were marred by
a want of honesty. Aristides was inferior to Themistocles in
ability, but was incomparably superior to him in honesty and
integrity. His uprightness and justice were so universally
acknowledged that he received the surname of the "Just."
Themistocles was the leader of the democratical, and Aristides of
the conservative party at Athens. After three or four years of
bitter rivalry, the two chiefs appealed to the ostracism, and
Aristides was banished (B.C. 483). We are told that an
unlettered countryman gave his vote against Aristides at the
ostracism, because he was tired of hearing him always called the


AND PLATAEA, B.C. 480-479.

The defeat of the Persians at Marathon served only to increase
the resentment of Darius. He now resolved to collect the whole
forces of his empire, and to lead them in person against Athens.
For three years busy preparations were made throughout his vast
dominions. In the fourth year his attention was distracted by a
revolt of the Egyptians; and before he could reduce them to
subjection he was surprised by death, after a reign of 37 years
(B.C. 485). Xerxes, the son and successor of Darius, had
received the education of an eastern despot, and been surrounded
with slaves from his cradle. In person he was the tallest and
handsomest man amidst the vast hosts which he led against Greece;
but there was nothing in his mind to correspond to this fair
exterior. His character was marked by faint-hearted timidity and
childish vanity. Xerxes had not inherited his father's animosity
against Greece; but he was surrounded by men who urged him to
continue the enterprise. Foremost among these was Mardonius, who
was eager to retrieve his reputation, and to obtain the conquered
country as a satrapy for himself after subduing Egypt (B.C. 484),
Xerxes began to make preparations for the invasion of Greece.
For four years the din of preparation sounded throughout Asia.
Troops were collected from every quarter of the Persian empire,
and were ordered to assemble in Cappadocia. As many as forty-six
different nations composed the land-force, of various
complexions, languages, dresses, and arms. Meantime Xerxes
ordered a bridge to be thrown across the Hellespont, that his
army might march from Asia into Europe: and he likewise gave
directions that a canal should be cut through the isthmus of
Mount Athos, in order to avoid the necessity of doubling this
dangerous promontory, where the fleet of Mardonius had suffered
shipwreck. The making of this canal, which was about a mile and
a half long employed a number of men for three years.

In the spring of B.C. 480 Xerxes set out from Sardis with his
vast host. Upon reaching Abydos on the Hellespont the army
crossed over to Europe by the bridge of boats. Xerxes surveyed
the scene from a marble throne. His heart swelled within him at
the sight of such a vast assemblage of human beings; but his
feelings of pride and pleasure soon gave way to sadness, and he
burst into tears at the reflection that in a hundred years not
one of them would be alive. Xerxes continued his march through
Europe along the coast of Thrace. Upon arriving at the spacious
plain of Doriscus, which is traversed by the river Hebrus, he
resolved to number his forces. He found that the whole armament,
both military and naval, consisted of 2,317,610 men. In his
march from Doriscus to Thermopylae he received a still further
accession of strength; and accordingly when he reached
Thermopylae the land and sea forces amounted to 2,641,610
fighting men. The attendants are said to have been more in
number than the fighting men; but if they were only equal, the
number of persons who accompanied Xerxes to Thermopylae reaches
the astounding figure of 5,283,220! The number is quite
incredible; but though the exact number of the invading army
cannot be determined, we may safely conclude, from all the
circumstances of the case, that it was the largest ever assembled
at any period of history.

From Doriscus Xerxes his march along the coast through Thrace and
Macedonia. The principal cities through which he passed had to
furnish a day's meal for the immense host, and for this purpose
had made preparations many months before-hand. The cost of
feeding such a multitude brought many cities to the brink of
ruin. At Acanthus his fleet sailed through the isthmus of Athos
and after doubling the promontories of Sithonia and Pallene
joined him at the city of Therma, better known by its later name
of Thessalonica. Thence he continued his march through the
southern part of Macedonia and Thessaly, meeting with no
opposition till he reached the celebrated pass of Thermopylae.

The mighty preparations of Xerxes had been no secret in Greece;
and during the preceding winter a congress of the Grecian states
had been summoned by the Spartans and Athenians to meet at the
isthmus of Corinth. But so great was the terror inspired by the
countless hosts of Xerxes that many of the Grecian states at once
tendered their submission to him, and others refused to take any
part in the congress. The only people, north of the isthmus of
Corinth, who remained faithful to the cause of Grecian liberty,
were the Athenians and Phocians, and the inhabitants of the small
Boeotian towns of Plataea and Thespiae. The other people in
northern Greece were either partisans of the Persians, like the
Thebans, or were unwilling to make any great sacrifices for the
preservation of their independence. In Peloponnesus, the
powerful city of Argos and the Achaeans stood aloof. From the
more distant members of the Hellenic race no assistance was
obtained. Gelon, the ruler of Syracuse, offered to send a
powerful armament, provided the command of the allied forces was
intrusted to him; but the envoys did not venture to accept a
proposal which would have placed both Sparta and Athens under the
control of a Sicilian tyrant.

The desertion of the cause of Grecian independence by so many of
the Greeks did not shake the resolution of Sparta and of Athens.
The Athenians, especially, set a noble example of an enlarged
patriotism. They became reconciled to the AEginetans, and thus
gained for the common cause the powerful navy of their rival.
They readily granted to the Spartans the supreme command of the
forces by sea as well as by land, although they furnished two-
thirds of the vessels of the entire fleet. Their illustrious
citizen Themistocles was the soul of the congress. He sought to
enkindle in the other Greeks some portion of the ardour and
energy which he had succeeded in breathing into the Athenians.

The Greeks determined to make a stand at the pass of Thermopylae,
which forms the entrance from northern into southern Greece.
This pass lies between Mount OEta and the sea. It is about a
mile in length. At each of its extremities the mountains
approach so near the sea as to leave barely room for the passage
of a single carriage. The northern, or, to speak more properly,
the western Gate, was close to the town of Anthela, where the
Amphictyonic council held its autumnal meetings; while the
southern, or the eastern Gate, was near the Locrian town of
Alpeni. These narrow entrances were called Pylae, or the Gates.
The space between the gates was wider and more open, and was
distinguished by its hot springs, from which the pass derived the
name of Thermopylae, or the "Hot-Gates." The island of Euboea is
here separated from the mainland by a narrow strait, which in one
part is only two miles and a half in breadth; and accordingly it
is easy, by defending this part of the sea with a fleet, to
prevent an enemy from landing troops at the southern end of the

The Grecian fleet, under the command of the Spartan Eurybiades,
took up its station off that portion of the northern coast of
Euboea which faces Magnesia and the entrance to the Thessalian
gulf and which was called Artemisium, from a neighbouring temple
of Artemis (Diana). It was, however, only a small land-force
that was sent to the defence of Thermopylae. When the arrival of
Xerxes at Therma became known, the Greeks were upon the point of
celebrating the Olympic games, and the festival of the Carnean
Apollo, which was observed with great solemnity at Sparta and in
other Doric states. The Peloponnesians therefore sent forward
only 300 Spartans and 3000 hoplites from other Peloponnesian
states, under the command of the Spartan king Leonidas, a force
which they thought would be sufficient to maintain the pass till
the festivals were over. In his march northwards Leonidas
received additions from the Thespians, Phocians, and Locrians, so
that he had under his command at Thermopylae about 7000 men.

Meanwhile Xerxes had arrived within sight of Thermopylae. He had
heard that a handful of desperate men, commanded by a Spartan,
had determined to dispute his passage, but he refused to believe
the news. He was still more astonished when a horseman, whom he
had sent to reconnoitre, brought back word that he had seen
several Spartans outside the wall in front of the pass, some
amusing themselves with gymnastic exercises, and others combing
their long hair. In great perplexity, he sent for the exiled
Spartan king Demaratus, who had accompanied him from Persia, and
asked him the meaning of such madness. Demaratus replied, that
the Spartans would defend the pass to the death, and that it was
their practice to dress their heads with peculiar care when they
were going to battle. Later writers relate that Xerxes sent to
them to deliver up their arms. Leonidas desired him "to come and
take them." One of the Spartans being told that "the Persian
host was so prodigious that their arrows would conceal the sun:"
--"So much the better" (he replied), "we shall then fight in the

At length, upon the fifth day, Xerxes ordered a chosen body of
Medes to advance against the presumptuous foes and bring them
into his presence. But their superior numbers were of no avail
in such a narrow space, and they were kept at bay by the long
spears and steady ranks of the Greeks. After the combat had
lasted a long time with heavy loss to the Medes, Xerxes ordered
his ten thousand "Immortals," the flower of the Persian army, to
advance. But they were as unsuccessful as the Medes. Xerxes
beheld the repulse of his troops from a lofty throne which had
been provided for him, and was seen to leap thrice from his seat
in an agony of fear or rage.

On the following day the attack was renewed, but with no better
success: and Xerxes was beginning to despair of forcing his way
through the pass, when a Malian, of the name of Ephialtes,
betrayed to the Persian king that there was an unfrequented path
across Mount OEta, ascending on the northern side of the mountain
and descending on the southern side near the termination of the
pass. Overjoyed at this discovery, a strong detachment of
Persians was ordered to follow the traitor. Meantime Leonidas
and his troops had received ample notice of the impending danger.
During the night deserters from the enemy had brought him the
news; and their intelligence was confirmed by his own scouts on
the hills. His resolution was at once taken. As a Spartan he
was bound to conquer or to die in the post assigned to him; and
he was the more ready to sacrifice his life, since an oracle had
declared that either Sparta itself or a Spartan king must perish
by the Persian arms. His three hundred comrades were fully equal
to the same heroism which actuated their King; and the seven
hundred Thespians resolved to share the fate of this gallant
band. He allowed the, rest of the allies to retire, with the
exception of four hundred Boeotians, whom he retained as
hostages. Xerxes delayed his attack till the middle of the day,
when it was expected that the detachment sent across the mountain
would arrive at the rear of the pass. But Leonidas and his
comrades, only anxious to sell their lives as dearly as possible,
did not wait to receive the attack of the Persians, but advanced
into the open space in front of the pass, and charged the enemy
with desperate valour. Numbers of the Persians were slain; many
were driven into the neighbouring sea; and others again were
trampled to death by the vast hosts behind them. As long as the
Greeks could maintain their ranks they repelled every attack; but
when their spears were broken, and they had only their swords
left, the enemy began to press in between them. Leonidas was one
of the first that fell, and around his body the battle raged
fiercer than ever. The Persians made the greatest efforts to
obtain possession of it; but four times they were driven back by
the Greeks with great slaughter. At length, thinned in numbers,
and exhausted by fatigue and wounds, this noble band retired
within the pass, and seated themselves on a hillock. Meanwhile
the Persian detachment, which had been sent across the mountains,
began to enter the pass from the south. The Spartan heroes were
now surrounded on every side, overwhelmed with a shower of
missiles, and killed to a man.

On the hillock, where the Greeks made their last stand, a marble
lion was set up in honour of Leonidas. Another monument, erected
near the spot, contained the memorable inscription:--

"Go, tell the Spartans, thou that passest by,
That here obedient to their laws we lie."

While Leonidas had been fighting at Thermopylae, the Greek fleet
had also been engaged with the Persians at Artemisium. The
Persian fleet set sail from the gulf of Therma, and arrived in
one day at almost the southern corner of Magnesia. In this
position they were overtaken by a sudden hurricane, which blew
upon the shore with irresistible fury. For three days and three
nights the tempest raged without intermission; and when calm at
length returned, the shore was seen strewed for many miles with
wrecks and corpses. At least four hundred ships of war were
destroyed, together with a countless number of transports,
stores, and treasures. The Greek fleet had been seized with a
panic terror at the approach of the Persians, and retreated to
Chalcis in the narrowest part of the Euboean straits; but upon
hearing of the disaster of the Persian fleet, they took courage,
and sailed back with the utmost speed to their former station at
Artemisium. Being now encouraged to attack the enemy, they
gained some success. On the following night another terrific
storm burst upon the Persians. All night long it blew upon the
Thessalian coast at Aphetae, where the Persian ships were
stationed, thus causing little inconvenience to the Greeks upon
the opposite shore. Notwithstanding these losses, the Persian
fleet still had a vast superiority of numbers, and determined to
offer battle to the Greeks. Quitting the Thessalian coast, they
sailed towards Artemisium in the form of a crescent. The Greeks
kept near the shore, to prevent the Persians from bringing their
whole fleet into action. The battle raged furiously the whole
day, and each side fought with determined valour. Both parties
suffered severely; and though the Persians lost a greater number
of ships and men, yet so many of the Greek vessels were disabled
that they found it would be impossible to renew the combat.
Under these circumstances the Greek commanders saw that it would
be necessary to retreat; and their determination was hastened by
the news which they now received, that Leonidas and his
companions had fallen, and that Xerxes was master of the pass of
Thermopylae. Having sailed through the Euboean strait, the fleet
doubled the promontory of Sunium, and did not stop till it
reached the island of Salamis.

Meanwhile the Peloponnesians had abandoned Attica and the
adjoining states to their fate, whilst they strained every nerve
to secure themselves by fortifying the isthmus of Corinth. The
Athenians, relying upon the march of a Peloponnesian army into
Boeotia, had taken no measures for the security of their families
and property, and beheld with terror and dismay the barbarian
host in full march towards their city. In six days it was
calculated Xerxes would be at Athens--a short space to remove the
population of a whole city: but fear and necessity work wonders.
Before the six days had elapsed, all who were willing to abandon
their homes had been safely transported, some to AEgina, and
others to Troezen in Peloponnesus; but many could not be induced
to proceed farther than Salamis. It was necessary for
Themistocles to use all his art and all his eloquence on this
occasion. The oracle at Delphi had told the Athenians that "the
divine Salamis would make women childless,"--yet, "when all was
lost, a wooden wall should still shelter the Athenians."
Themistocles told his countrymen that these words clearly
indicated a fleet and a naval victory as the only means of
safety. Some however gave to the words another meaning; and a
few, especially among the aged and the poor, resolved to shut
themselves up in the Acropolis, and to fortify its accessible or
western front with barricades of timber.

On his march towards Athens, Xerxes sent a detachment of his army
to take and plunder Delphi. But this attempt proved
unsuccessful. The god of the most renowned oracle of the Grecian
world vindicated at once the majesty of his sanctuary and the
truth of his predictions. As the Persians climbed the rugged
path at the foot of Mount Parnassus, leading up to the shrine,
thunder was heard to roll, and two crags, suddenly detaching
themselves from the mountain, rolled down upon the Persians, and
spread dismay and destruction in their ranks, Seized with a
sudden panic, they turned and fled, pursued, as they said, by two
warriors of superhuman size and prowess, who had assisted the
Delphians in defending their temple.

On arriving before Athens, Xerxes found the Acropolis occupied by
a handful of desperate citizens, who made a brave resistance; but
they were overpowered and put to the sword. The temples and
houses on the Acropolis were pillaged and burnt; and Xerxes thus
became undisputed master of Athens.

About the same time the Persian fleet arrived in the bay of
Phalerum. Its strength is not accurately known, but it must have
exceeded 1000 vessels. The combined Grecian fleet at Salamis
consisted of 366 ships, of which 200 were Athenian.

At this critical juncture dissension reigned in the Grecian
fleet. In the council of war which had been summoned by
Eurybiades the Spartan commander, Themistocles urged the
assembled chiefs to remain at Salamis, and give battle to the
Persians in the narrow straits, where the superior numbers of the
Persians would be of less consequence. The Peloponnesian
commanders, on the other hand, were anxious that the fleet should
be removed to the isthmus of Corinth, and thus be put in
communication with their land-forces. The council came to a vote
in favour of retreat; but Themistocles prevailed upon Eurybiades
to convene another assembly upon the following day. When the
council met, the Peloponnesian commanders loudly expressed their
dissatisfaction at seeing a debate re-opened which they had
deemed concluded. Adimantus, the Corinthian admiral broke out
into open rebukes and menaces. "Themistocles," he exclaimed,
"those who rise at the public games before the signal are
whipped." "True," replied Themistocles; "but they who lag behind
it never win a crown." Another incident in this discussion has
been immortalized by Plutarch. Eurybiades, incensed by the
language of Themistocles, lifted up his stick to strike him,
whereupon the Athenian exclaimed, "Strike, but hear me!"
Themistocles repeated his arguments and entreaties; and at length
threatened that he and the Athenians would sail away to Italy and
there found a new city, if the Peloponnesians still determined to
retreat. Eurybiades now gave way and issued orders for the fleet
to remain and fight at Salamis; but the Peloponnesians obeyed the
order with reluctance. A third council was summoned and
Themistocles, perceiving that the decision of the assembly would
be against him, determined to effect his object by stratagem. He
secretly despatched a trusty slave with a message to Xerxes,
representing the dissensions which prevailed in the Grecian
fleet, and how easy a matter it would be to surround and vanquish
an armament both small and disunited. Xerxes readily adopted the
suggestion, and ordered his captains to close up the straits of
Salamis at both ends during the night. On the council assembling
in the morning, Aristides arrived with the news that the Grecian
fleet was completely surrounded by that of the Persians, and that
retreat was no longer possible. As the veil of night rolled
gradually away, the Persian fleet was discovered stretching as
far as the eye could reach along the coast of Attica. The
Grecian fleet, being concentrated in the harbour of Salamis, was
thus surrounded by the Persians. Xerxes had caused a lofty
throne to be erected upon one of the projecting declivities of
Mount AEgaleos, opposite the harbour of Salamis, whence be could
survey the combat, and stimulate by his presence the courage of
his men.

As a battle was now inevitable the Grecian commanders lost no
time in making preparations for the encounter. The Greek seamen
embarked with alacrity, encouraging one another to deliver their
country, their wives, and children, and the temples of their
gods, from the grasp of the barbarians. History has preserved to
us but few details of the engagement. The Persian fleet, with
the exception of some of the Ionic contingents, fought with
courage. But the very numbers on which they so confidently
relied, proved one of the chief causes of their defeat. Too
crowded either to advance or to retreat, their oars broken or
impeded by collision with one another, their fleet lay like an
inert and lifeless mass upon the water, and fell an easy prey to
the Greeks. A single incident will illustrate the terror and
confusion which reigned among the Persians. Artemisia, queen of
Halicarnassus in Caria, distinguished herself in it by deeds of
daring bravery. At length she turned and fled, pursued by an
Athenian galley. Full in her course lay the vessel of a Carian
prince. Instead of avoiding, she struck and sunk it, sending
her countryman and all his crew to the bottom. The captain of
the Athenian galley, believing from this act that she was a
deserter from the Persian cause, suffered her to escape. Xerxes,
who from his lofty throne beheld the feat of the Halicarnassian
queen, but who imagined that the sunken ship belonged to the
Greeks, was filled with admiration at her courage, and exclaimed
--"My men are become women, my women men!"

Two hundred of the Persian ships were destroyed and sunk when
night put an end to the engagement. But notwithstanding this
loss the fleet was still formidable by its numbers. The Greeks
themselves did not regard the victory as decisive, and prepared
to renew the combat. But the pusillanimity of Xerxes relieved
them from all further anxiety. He became alarmed for his own
personal safety; and his whole care was now centred on securing
his retreat by land. The best troops were disembarked from the
ships, and marched towards the Hellespont, in order to secure the
bridge, whilst the fleet itself was ordered to make for Asia.
These dispositions of Xerxes were prompted by Mardonius. He
represented to his master that the defeat, after all, was but
slight; that having attained one of the great objects of the
expedition by the capture of Athens, he might now retire with
honour, and even with glory; and that for the rest he (Mardonius)
would undertake to complete the conquest of Greece with 300,000
men. While the Persian fleet sailed towards Asia, Xerxes set out
on his homeward march. In Thessaly Mardonius selected the
300,000 men with whom he proposed to conclude the war; but as
autumn was now approaching, he resolved to postpone all further
operations till the spring.

After forty-five days' march from Attica, Xerxes again reached
the shores of the Hellespont, with a force greatly diminished by
famine and pestilence. On the Hellespont he found his fleet, but
the bridge had been washed away by storms. Landed on the shores
of Asia, the Persian army at length obtained abundance of
provisions, and contracted new maladies by the sudden change from
privation to excess. Thus terminated this mighty but
unsuccessful expedition.

Greece owed its salvation to one man--Themistocles, This was
virtually admitted by the leaders of the other Grecian states,
when they assembled to assign the prizes of wisdom and conduct.
Upon the altar of Poseidon, at the isthmus of Corinth, each chief
deposited a ticket inscribed with two names, of those whom he
considered entitled to the first and second prizes. But in this
adjudication vanity and self-love defeated their own objects.
Each commander had put down his own name for the first prize; for
the second, a great majority preponderated in favour of
Themistocles. From the Spartans, also, Themistocles received the
honours due to his merit. A crown of olive was conferred upon
him, together with one of the most splendid chariots which the
city could produce.

On the very same day on which the Persians were defeated at
Salamis the Sicilian Greeks also obtained a victory over the
Carthaginians. There is reason to believe that the invasion of
Sicily by the Carthaginians was concerted with Xerxes, and that
the simultaneous attach on two distinct Grecian peoples, by two
immense armaments, was not merely the result of chance. Gelon,
the powerful ruler of Syracuse, defeated Hamilcar, the
Carthaginian general, with the loss it is said of 150,000 men.

In the spring of B.C. 479 Mardonius prepared to open the
campaign. He was not without hopes of inducing the Athenians to
join the Persian alliance, and he despatched Alexander, king of
Macedon, to conciliate the Athenians, now partially
re-established in their dilapidated city. His offers on the part
of the Persians were of the most seductive kind; but the
Athenians dismissed him with a positive refusal, whilst to the
Lacedaemonians they protested that no temptations, however great,
should ever induce them to desert the common cause of Greece and
freedom. In return for this disinterested conduct all they asked
was that a Peloponnesian army should be sent into Boeotia for the
defence of the Attic frontier: a request which the Spartan
envoys promised to fulfil. No sooner, however, had they returned
into their own country than this promise was completely

When Mardonius was informed that the Athenians had rejected his
proposal, he immediately marched against Athens, accompanied by
all his Grecian allies; and in May or June, B.C. 479, about ten
months after the retreat of Xerxes, the Persians again occupied
that city. With feelings of bitter indignation against their
faithless allies, the Athenians saw themselves once more
compelled to remove to Salamis. Mardonius took advantage of his
situation to endeavour once more to win them to his alliance.
Through a Hellespontine Greek, the same favourable conditions
were again offered to them, but were again refused. One voice
alone, that of the senator Lycidas, broke the unanimity of the
assembly. But his opposition cost him his life. He and his
family were stoned to death by the excited populace. In this
desperate condition the Athenians sent ambassadors to the
Spartans to remonstrate against their breach of faith, and to
intimate that necessity might at length compel them to listen to
the proposals of the enemy. The Spartans became alarmed. That
very night 5000 citizens, each attended by seven Helots, were
despatched to the frontiers; and these were shortly followed by
5000 Lacedaemonian Perioeci, each attended by one light-armed
Helot. Never before had the Spartans sent so large a force into
the field. Their example was followed by other Peloponnesian
cities; and the Athenian envoys returned to Salamis with the
joyful news that a large army was preparing to march against the
enemy, under the command of Pausanias, who acted as regent for
the infant son of Leonidas.

Mardonius, on learning the approach of the Lacedaemonians,
abandoned Attica and crossed into Boeotia. He finally took up a
position on the left bank of the Asopus, and not far from the
town of Plataea. Here he caused a camp to be constructed of ten
furlongs square, and fortified with barricades and towers.
Meanwhile the Grecian army continued to receive reinforcements
from the different states, and by the time it reached Boeotia, it
formed a grand total of about 110,000 men. After several days'
manoeuvring a general battle took place near Plataea. The light-
armed undisciplined Persians, whose bodies were unprotected by
armour, maintained a very unequal combat against the serried
ranks, the long spears, and the mailed bodies of the Spartan
phalanx. Mardonius, at the head of his body-guard of 1000 picked
men, and conspicuous by his white charger, was among the foremost
in the fight, till struck down by the hand of a Spartan. The
fall of their general was the signal for flight to the Persians,
already wearied and disheartened by the fruitless contest; nor
did they once stop till they lad again crossed the Asopus and
reached their fortified camp. The glory of having defeated the
Persians at Plataea rests with the Lacedaemonians, since the
Athenians were engaged in another part of the field with the
Thebans. After repulsing the Thebans, the Athenians joined the
Lacedaemonians, who had pursued the Persians as far as their
fortified camp. Upon the arrival of the Athenians the barricades
were stormed and carried, after a gallant resistance on the part
of the Persians. The camp became a scene of the most horrible
carnage. The Persian loss was immense, while that of the Greeks
seems not to have exceeded 1300 or 1400 men.

It remained to bury the dead and divide the booty, and so great
was the task that ten days were consumed in it. The booty was
ample and magnificent. Gold and silver coined, as well as in
plate and trinkets, rich vests and carpets, ornamented arms,
horses, camels--in a word, all the magnificence of Eastern
luxury. The failure of the Persian expedition was completed by
the destruction of their naval armament. Laotychides, the
Spartan admiral, having sailed across the AEgean, found the
Persian fleet at Mycale a promontory of Asia Minor near Miletus.
Their former reverses seem completely to have discouraged the
Persians from hazarding another naval engagement. The ships were
hauled ashore and surrounded with a rampart, whilst an army of
60,000 Persians lined the coast for their defence. The Greeks
landed on the very day on which the battle of Plataea was fought.
A supernatural presentiment of that decisive victory, conveyed by
a herald's staff which floated over the AEgean from the shores of
Greece, is said to have pervaded the Grecian ranks at Mycale as
they marched to the attack. The Persians did not long resist:
they turned their backs and fled to their fortifications, pursued
by the Greeks, who entered them almost simultaneously. A large
number of the Persians perished; and the victory was rendered
still more decisive by the burning of the fleet.

The Grecian fleet now sailed towards the Hellespont with the view
of destroying the bridge; but hearing that it no longer existed,
Leotychides departed homewards with the Peloponnesian vessels.
Xanthippus however, the Athenian commander, seized the
opportunity to recover from the Persians the Thracian Chersonese,
which had long been an Athenian possession; and proceeded to
blockade Sestos, the key of the strait. This city surrendered in
the autumn, after a protracted siege, whereupon the Athenians
returned home, carrying with them the cables of the bridge across
the Hellespont, which were afterwards preserved in the Acropolis
as a trophy.



The Athenians, on their return to Attica, after the defeat of the
Persians, found their city ruined and their country desolate.
They began to rebuild their city on a larger scale than before,
and to fortify it with a wall. Those allies to whom the
increasing maritime power of Athens was an object of suspicion,
and especially the AEginetans, to whom it was more particularly
formidable, beheld her rising fortifications with dismay. They
endeavoured to inspire the Lacedaemonians with their fears, and
urged them to arrest the work. But though Sparta shared the
jealousy of the allies, she could not with any decency interfere
by force to prevent a friendly city from exercising a right
inherent in all independent states. She assumed therefore the
hypocritical garb of an adviser and counsellor. Concealing her
jealousy under the pretence of zeal for the common interests of
Greece, she represented to the Athenians that, in the event of
another Persian invasion, fortified towns would serve the enemy
for camps and strongholds, as Thebes had done in the last war;
and proposed that the Athenians should not only desist from
completing their own fortifications, but help to demolish those
which already existed in other towns.

The object of the proposal was too transparent to deceive so
acute a statesman as Themistocles. Athens was not yet, however,
in a condition to incur the danger of openly rejecting it; and he
therefore advised the Athenians to dismiss the Spartan envoys
with the assurance that they would send ambassadors to Sparta to
explain their views. He then caused himself to be appointed one
of these ambassadors; and setting off straightway for Sparta,
directed his colleagues to linger behind as long as possible. At
Sparta, the absence of his colleagues, at which he affected to be
surprised, afforded him an excuse for not demanding an audience
of the ephors. During the interval thus gained, the whole
population of Athens, of both sexes and every age, worked day and
night at the walls, which, when the other ambassadors at length
arrived at Sparta, had attained a height sufficient to afford a
tolerable defence. Meanwhile the suspicions of the Spartans had
been more than once aroused by messages from the AEginetans
respecting the progress of the walls. Themistocles, however,
positively denied their statements; and urged the Spartans to
send messengers of their own to Athens in order to learn the true
state of affairs, at the same time instructing the Athenians to
detain them as hostages for the safety of himself and colleagues.
When there was no longer any motive for concealment, Themistocles
openly avowed the progress of the works, and his intention of
securing the independence of Athens, and enabling her to act for
herself. The walls being now too far advanced to be easily
taken, the Spartans found themselves compelled to acquiesce, and
the works were completed without further hindrance.

Having thus secured the city from all danger of an immediate
attack, Themistocles pursued his favourite project of rendering
Athens the greatest maritime and commercial power of Greece. He
erected a town round the harbour of Piraeus, distant between four
and five miles from Athens, and enclosed it with a wall as large
in extent as the city itself, but of vastly greater height and
thickness. Meanwhile an event occurred which secured more firmly
than ever the maritime supremacy of Athens, by transferring to
her the command of the allied fleet.

In the year after the battle of Plataea a fleet had been fitted
out and placed under the command of the Spartan regent,
Pausanias, in order to carry on the war against the Persians.
After delivering most of the Grecian towns in Cyprus from the
Persians, this armament sailed up the Bosporus and laid siege to
Byzantium, which was garrisoned by a large Persian force. The
town surrendered after a protracted siege; but it was during this
expedition that the conduct of the Spartan commander struck a
fatal blow at the interests of his country.

The immense booty, as well as the renown, which Pausanias had
acquired at Plataea, had filled him with pride and ambition.
After the capture of Byzantium he despatched a letter to Xerxes,
offering to marry the king's daughter, and to bring Sparta and
the rest of Greece under his dominion. Xerxes was highly
delighted with this letter, and sent a reply in which he urged
Pausanias to pursue his project night and day, and promised to
supply him with all the money and troops that might be needful
for its execution. But the childish vanity of Pausanias betrayed
his plot before it was ripe for execution. Elated by the
confidence of Xerxes, and by the money with which he was lavishly
supplied, he acted as if he had already married the Great King's
daughter. He assumed the Persian dress; he made a progress
through Thrace, attended by Persian and Egyptian guards; and
copied, in the luxury of his table and the dissoluteness of his
manners, the example of his adopted country. Above all, he
offended the allies by his haughty reserve and imperiousness.
His designs were now too manifest to escape attention. His
proceedings reached the ears of the Spartans, who sent out Dorcis
to supersede him. Disgusted by the insolence of Pausanias, the
Ionians serving in the combined Grecian fleet addressed
themselves to Aristides, whose manners formed a striking contrast
to those of the Spartan leader, and begged him to assume the
command. This request was made precisely at the time when
Pausanias was recalled; and accordingly, when Dorcis arrived, he
found Aristides in command of the combined fleet (B.C. 478).

This event was not a mere empty question about a point of honour.
It was a real revolution, terminated by a solemn league, of which
Athens was to be the head. Aristides took the lead in the
matter, for which his proverbial justice and probity eminently
qualified him. The league obtained the name of "the Confederacy
of Delos," from its being arranged that deputies of the allies
belonging to it should meet periodically for deliberation in the
temple of Apollo and Artemis (Diana) in that island. Each state
was assessed in a certain contribution, either of money or ships,
as proposed by the Athenians and ratified by the synod. The
assessment was intrusted to Aristides, whose impartiality was
universally applauded. Of the details, however, we only know
that the first assessment amounted to 460 talents (about 106,000L
sterling), that certain officers called Hellenotamiae were
appointed by the Athenians to collect and administer the
contributions, and that Delos was the treasury.

Such was the origin of the Confederacy of Delos. Soon after its
formation Aristides was succeeded in the command of the combined
fleet by Cimon, the son of Miltiades.

Pausanias, on his return to Sparta, seems to have been acquitted
of any definite charges; but he continued his correspondence with
Persia, and an accident at length afforded convincing proofs of
his guilt. A favourite slave, to whom he had intrusted a letter
to the Persian satrap at Sardis, observed with dismay that none
of the messengers employed in this service had ever returned.
Moved by these fears, he broke the seal and read the letter, and
finding his suspicions of the fate that awaited him confirmed, he
carried the document to the ephors. But in ancient states the
testimony of a slave was always regarded with suspicion. The
ephors refused to believe the evidence offered to them unless
confirmed by their own ears. For this purpose they directed him
to plant himself as a suppliant in a sacred grove near Cape
Taenarus, in a hut behind which two of their body might conceal
themselves. Pausanias, as they had expected, anxious at the step
taken by his slave, hastened to the spot to question him about
it. The conversation which ensued, and which was overheard by
the ephors, rendered the guilt of Pausanias no longer doubtful.
They now determined to arrest him on his return to Sparta. They
met him in the street near the temple of Athena Chalcioecus (of
the Brazen House), when Pausanias, either alarmed by his guilty
conscience, or put on his guard by a secret signal from one of
the ephors, turned and fled to the temple, where he took refuge
in a small chamber belonging to the building. From this
sanctuary it was unlawful to drag him; but the ephors caused the
doors to be built up and the roof to be removed, and his own
mother is said to have placed the first stone at the doors. When
at the point of death from starvation, he was carried from the
sanctuary before he polluted it with his corpse. Such was the
end of the victor of Plataea. After his death proofs were
discovered among his papers that Themistocles was implicated in
his guilt. But in order to follow the fortunes of the Athenian
statesman, it is necessary to take a glance at the internal
history of Athens.

The ancient rivalry between Themistocles and Aristides had been
in a good degree extinguished by the danger which threatened
their common country during the Persian wars. Aristides had
since abandoned his former prejudices, and was willing to conform
to many of the democratical innovations of his rival. The effect
of this was to produce, soon after their return to Attica, a
still further modification of the constitution of Clisthenes.
The Thetes the lowest of the four classes of Athenian citizens,
were declared eligible for the magistracy, from which they had
been excluded by the laws of Solon. Thus not only the
archonship, but consequently the Council of Areopagus, was thrown
open to them; and, strange to say, this reform was proposed by
Aristides himself.

Nevertheless party spirit still ran high at Athens. Cimon and
Alcmaeon were violent opponents of Themistocles, and of their
party Aristides was still the head. The popularity of Aristides
was never greater than at the present time, owing not only to the
more liberal spirit which he exhibited, but also to his great
services in establishing the Confederacy of Delos. Themistocles
had offended the Athenians by his ostentation and vanity. He was
continually boasting of his services to the state; but worse than
all this, his conduct was stained with positive guilt. Whilst,
at the head of an Athenian squadron, he was sailing among the
Greek islands for the ostensible purpose of executing justice,
there is little room to doubt that he corrupted its very source
by accepting large sums of money from the cities which he
visited. Party spirit at length reached such a height that it
was found necessary to resort to ostracism, and Themistocles was
condemned to a temporary banishment (B.C. 471). He retired to
Argos, where he was residing when the Spartans called upon the
Athenians to prosecute their great statesman before a synod of
the allies assembled at Sparta, on the ground of treasonable
correspondence with Persia. Accordingly joint envoys were sent
from Athens and Sparta to arrest him (B.C. 466). Themistocles
avoided the impending danger by flying from Argos to Corcyra.
The Corcyraeans, however, not daring to shelter him, he passed
over to the continent; where, being still pursued, he was forced
to seek refuge at the court of Admetus, king of the Molossians,
though the latter was his personal enemy. Fortunately, Admetus
happened to be from home. The forlorn condition of Themistocles
excited the compassion of the wife of the Molossian king, who
placed her child in his arms, and bade him seat himself on the
hearth as a suppliant. As soon as the king arrived, Themistocles
explained his peril, and adjured him by the sacred laws of
hospitality not to take vengeance upon a fallen foe. Admetus
accepted his appeal, and raised him from the hearth; he refused
to deliver him up to his pursuers, and at last only dismissed him
on his own expressed desire to proceed to Persia. After many
perils, Themistocles succeeded in reaching in safety the coast of
Asia. Artaxerxes, the son of Xerxes, was now upon the throne of
Persia, and to him Themistocles hastened to announce himself.
The king was delighted at his arrival, and treated him with the
greatest distinction. In a year's time, Themistocles, having
acquired a sufficient knowledge of the Persian language to be
able to converse in it, entertained Artaxerxes with magnificent
schemes for the subjugation of Greece. Artaxerxes loaded him
with presents, gave him a Persian wife, and appointed Magnesia, a
town not far from the Ionian coast, as his place of residence.
after living there some time he was carried off by disease at the
age of sixty-five, without having realised, or apparently
attempted, any of those plans with which he had dazzled the
Persian monarch. Rumour ascribed his death to poison, which he
took of his own accord, from a consciousness of his inability to
perform his promises; but this report, which was current in the
time of Thucydides, is rejected by that historian.

Aristides died about four years after the banishment of
Themistocles. The common accounts of his poverty are probably
exaggerated, and seem to have been founded on the circumstances
of a public funeral, and of handsome donations made to his three
children by the state. But whatever his property may have been,
it is at least certain that he did not acquire or increase it by
unlawful means; and not even calumny has ventured to assail his
well-earned title of THE JUST.

On the death of Aristides, Cimon became the undisputed leader of
the conservative party at Athens. Cimon was generous, affable,
magnificent; and, notwithstanding his political views, of
exceedingly popular manners. He had inherited the military
genius of his father, and was undoubtedly the greatest commander
of his time. He employed the vast wealth acquired in his
expeditions in adorning Athens and gratifying his fellow-
citizens. It has been already mentioned that he succeeded
Aristides in the command of the allied fleet. His first exploits
were the capture of Eion on the Strymon, and the reduction of the
island of Scyros (B.C. 476). A few years afterwards we find the
first symptoms of discontent among the members of the Confederacy
of Delos. Naxos, one of the confederate islands, and the largest
of the Cyclades, revolted in B.C. 466, probably from a feeling of
the growing oppressiveness of the Athenian headship. It was
immediately invested by the confederate fleet, reduced, and made
tributary to Athens. This was another step towards dominion
gained by the Athenians, whose pretensions were assisted by the
imprudence of the allies. Many of the smaller states belonging
to the confederacy, wearied with perpetual hostilities, commuted
for a money payment the ships which they were bound to supply;
and thus, by depriving themselves of a navy, lost the only means
by which they could assert their independence.

The same year was marked by a memorable action against the
Persians. Cimon at the head of 200 Athenian triremes, and 100
furnished by the allies, proceeded to the coast of Asia Minor.
The Persians had assembled a large fleet and army at the mouth of
the river Eurymedon in Pamphylia. After speedily defeating the
fleet, Cimon landed his men and marched against the Persian army
which was drawn up on the shore to protect the fleet. The land-
force fought with bravery, but was at length put to the rout.

The island of Thasos was the next member of the confederacy
against which the Athenians directed their arms. After a siege
of more than two years that island surrendered, when its
fortifications were razed, and it was condemned to pay tribute
(B.C. 463).

The expedition to Thasos was attended with a circumstance which
first gives token of the coming hostilities between Sparta and
Athens. At an early period of the blockade the Thasians secretly
applied to the Lacedaemonians to make a diversion in their favour
by invading Attica: and though the Lacedaemonians were still
ostensibly allied with Athens, they were base enough to comply
with this request. Their treachery, however, was prevented by a
terrible calamity which befel themselves. In the year B.C. 461
their capital was visited by an earthquake which laid it in ruins
and killed 20,000 of the citizens. But this was only part of the
calamity. The earthquake was immediately followed by a revolt of
the Helots, who were always ready to avail themselves of the
weakness of their tyrants. Being joined by the Messenians, they
fortified themselves in Mount Ithome in Messenia. Hence this
revolt is sometimes called the Third Messenian War (B.C. 464).
after two or three years spent in a vain attempt to dislodge them
from this position, the Lacedaemonians found themselves obliged
to call in the assistance of their allies, and, among the rest,
of the Athenians. It was with great difficulty that Cimon
persuaded the Athenians to comply with this request; but he was
at length despatched to Laconia with a force of 4000 hoplites.
The aid of the Athenians had been requested by the Lacedaemonians
on account of their acknowledged superiority in the art of
attacking fortified places. As, however, Cimon did not succeed
in dislodging the Helots from Ithome the Lacedaemonians, probably
from a consciousness of their own treachery in the affair of
Thasos, suspected that the Athenians were playing them false, and
abruptly dismissed them, saying that they had no longer any
occasion for their services. This rude dismissal gave great
offence at Athens, and annihilated for a time the political
influence of Cimon. The democratical party had from the first
opposed the expedition; and it afforded them a great triumph to
be able to point to Cimon returning not only unsuccessful but
insulted. That party was now led by Pericles. A sort of
hereditary feud existed between Pericles and Cimon; for it was
Xanthippus, the father of Pericles, who had impeached Miltiades,
the father of Cimon. The character of Pericles was almost the
reverse of Cimon's. Although the leader of the popular party,
his manners were reserved. He appeared but little in society,
and only in public upon great occasions. His mind had received
the highest polish which that period was capable of giving. He
constantly conversed with Anaxagoras, Protagoras, Zeno, and other
eminent philosophers. To oratory in particular he had devoted
much attention, as an indispensable instrument for swaying the
public assemblies of Athens.

Pericles seized the occasion presented by the ill success of
Cimon, both to ruin that leader and to strike a fatal blow at the
aristocratical party. He deprived the Areopagus of its chief
functions, and left it a mere shadow of its former influence and
power. He rendered the election to magistracies dependent simply
upon lot, so that every citizen however poor, had an equal chance
of obtaining the honours of the state. Other changes which
accompanied this revolution--for such it must be called--were
the institution of paid DICASTERIES or jury-courts, and the
almost entire abrogation of the judicial power of the Senate of
Five Hundred. It cannot be supposed that such fundamental
changes were effected without violent party strife. The poet
AEschylus, in the tragedy of the EUMENIDIES, in vain exerted all
the powers of his genius in support of the aristocratical party
and of the tottering Areopagus; his exertions on this occasion
resulted only in his own flight from Athens. The same fate
attended Cimon himself; and he was condemned by ostracism (B.C.
461) to a ten years' banishment. Nay, party violence even went
the length of assassination. Ephialtes, who had taken the lead
in the attacks upon the Areopagus, fell beneath the dagger of a
Boeotian, hired by the conservative party to dispatch him.

It was from this period (B.C. 461) that the long administration
of Pericles may be said to have commenced. The effects of his
accession to power soon became visible in the foreign relations
of Athens. Pericles had succeeded to the political principles of
Themistocles, and his aim was to render Athens the leading power
of Greece. The Confederacy of Delos had already secured her
maritime ascendency; Pericles directed his policy to the
extension of her influence in continental Greece. She formed an
alliance with the Thessalians, Argos, and Megara. The possession
of Megara was of great importance, as it enabled the Athenians to
arrest the progress of an invading army from Peloponnesus,
AEgina, so long the maritime rival of Athens, was subdued and
made tributary. The Athenians marched with rapid steps to the
dominion of Greece. Shortly afterwards the battle of OEnophyta
(B.C. 456), in which the Athenians defeated the Boeotians, gave
Athens the command of Thebes, and of all the other Boeotian
towns. From the gulf of Corinth to the straits of Thermopylae
Athenian influence was now predominant. During these events the
Athenians had continued to prosecute the war against Persia. In
the year B.C. 460 they sent a powerful fleet to Egypt to assist
Inarus, who had revolted against Persia; but this expedition
proved a complete failure, for at the end of six years the revolt
was put down by the Persians, and the Athenian fleet destroyed
(B.C. 455). At a later period (B.C. 449) Cimon, who had been
recalled from exile, sailed to Cyprus with a fleet of 200 ships.
He undertook the siege of Citium in that island; but died during
the progress of it, either from disease or from the effects of a
wound. Shortly afterwards a pacification was concluded with
Persia, which is sometimes, but erroneously, called "the peace of
Cimon." It is stated that by this compact the Persian monarch
agreed not to tax or molest the Greek colonies on the coast of
Asia Minor, nor to send any vessels of war westward of Phaselis
in Lycia, or within the Cyanean rocks at the junction of the
Euxine with the Thracian Bosporus; the Athenians on their side
undertaking to leave the Persians in undisturbed possession of
Cyprus and Egypt. During the progress of these events, the
states which formed the Confederacy of Delos, with the exception
of Chios, Lesbos, and Samos, had gradually become, instead of the
active allies of Athens, her disarmed and passive tributaries.
Even the custody of the fund had been transferred from Delos to
Athens. The purpose for which the confederacy had been
originally organised disappeared with the Persian peace; yet what
may now be called Imperial Athens continued, for her own ends, to
exercise her prerogatives as head of the league. Her alliances,
as we have seen, had likewise been extended in continental
Greece, where they embraced Megara, Boeotia, Phocis, Locris,
together with Troezen and Achaia in Peloponnesus. Such was the
position of Athens in the year 448 B.C., the period of her
greatest power and prosperity. From this time her empire began
to decline; whilst Sparta, and other watchful and jealous
enemies, stood ever ready to strike a blow.

In the following year (B.C. 447) a revolution in Boeotia deprived
Athens of her ascendency in that country. With an overweening
contempt of their enemies, a small band of 1000 Athenian
hoplites, chiefly composed of youthful volunteers belonging to
the best Athenian families, together with a few auxiliaries,
marched under the command of Tolmides to put down the revolt, in
direct opposition to the advice of Pericles, who adjured them to
wait and collect a more numerous force. The enterprise proved
disastrous in the extreme. Tolmides was defeated and slain near
Chaeronea, a large number of the hoplites also fell in the
engagement, while a still larger number were taken prisoners.
This last circumstance proved fatal to the interests of Athens in
Boeotia. In order to recover these prisoners, she agreed to
evacuate Boeotia, and to permit the re-establishment of the
aristocracies which she had formerly overthrown. But the
Athenian reverses did not end here. The expulsion of the
partisans of Athens from the government of Phocis and Locris, and
the revolt of Euboea and Megara, were announced in quick
succession. The youthful Pleistoanax, king of Sparta, actually
penetrated, with an army of Lacedaemonians and Peloponnesian
allies, as far as the neighbourhood of Eleusis; and the capital
itself, it is said, was saved only by Pericles having bribed the
Spartan monarch. Pericles reconquered Euboea; but this was the
only possession which the Athenians succeeded in recovering.
Their empire on land had vanished more, speedily than it had been
acquired; and they were therefore induced to conclude, at the
beginning of B.C. 445, a THIRTY YEARS' TRUCE with Sparta and her
allies, by which they consented to abandon all the acquisitions
which they had made in Peloponnesus, and to leave Megara to be
included among the Peloponnesian allies of Sparta.

From the Thirty Years' Truce to the commencement of the
Peloponnesian war, few political events of any importance
occurred. During these fourteen years (B.C. 445-431) Pericles
continued to enjoy the sole direction of affairs. His views were
of the most lofty kind. Athens was to become the capital of
Greece, and the centre of art and refinement. In her external
appearance the city was to be rendered worthy of the high
position to which she aspired, by the beauty and splendour of her
public buildings, by her works of art in sculpture, architecture,
and painting, and by the pomp and magnificence of her religious
festivals. All these objects Athens was enabled to attain in an
incredibly short space of time, through the genius and energy of
her citizens and the vast resources at her command. No state has
ever exhibited so much intellectual activity and so great a
progress in art as was displayed by Athens in the period which
elapsed between the Thirty Years' Truce and the breaking out of
the Peloponnesian war. She was the seat and centre of Grecian
literature. The three great tragic poets of Greece were natives
of Attica. AEschylus, the earliest of the three, had recently
died in Sicily; but Sophocles was now at the full height of his
reputation, and Euripides was rapidly rising into notice.
Aristophanes, the greatest of the Grecian comic poets, was also
born in Attica, and exhibited plays soon after the beginning of
the Peloponnesian war. Herodotus, the Father of History, though
a native of Halicarnassus in Asia Minor, resided some time at
Athens, and accompanied a colony which the Athenians sent to
Thurii in Italy. Thucydides, the greatest of Greek historians,
was an Athenian, and was a young man at this period.

Colonization, for which the genius and inclination of the
Athenians had always been suited, was another method adopted by
Pericles for extending the influence and empire of Athens. The
settlements made under his auspices were of two kinds CLERUCHIES,
and regular colonies. The former mode was exclusively Athenian.
It consisted in the allotment of land in conquered or subject
countries to certain bodies of Athenians who continued to retain
all their original rights of citizenship. This circumstance, as
well as the convenience of entering upon land already in a state
of cultivation instead of having to reclaim it from the rude
condition of nature, seems to have rendered such a mode of
settlement much preferred by the Athenians. The earliest
instance which we find of it is in the year B.C. 506, when four
thousand Athenians entered upon the domains of the Chalcidian
knights (see Ch.5). But it was under Pericles that this system
was most extensively adopted. During his administration 1000
Athenian citizens were settled in the Thracian Chersonese, 500 in
Naxos, and 250 in Andros. The islands of Lemnos, Imbros, and
Scyros, as well as a large tract in the north of Euboea, were
also completely occupied by Athenian proprietors.

The most important colonies settled by Pericles were those of
Thurii and Amphipolis. Since the destruction of Sybaris by the
Crotoniates, in B.C. 509, the former inhabitants had lived
dispersed in the adjoining territory along the gulf of Tarentum,
In B.C. 443 Pericles sent out a colony to found Thurii, near the
site of the ancient Sybaris. The colony of Amphipolis was
founded some years later (B.C. 437), under the conduct of Agnon.

But Pericles, notwithstanding his influence and power, had still
many bitter and active enemies, who assailed him through his
private connections, and even endeavoured to wound his honour by
a charge of peculation. Pericles, after divorcing a wife with
whom he had lived unhappily, took his mistress Aspasia to his
house, and dwelt with her till his death on terms of the greatest
affection. She was distinguished not only for her beauty, but
also for her learning and accomplishments. Her intimacy with
Anaxagoras, the celebrated Ionic philosopher, was made a handle
for wounding Pericles in his tenderest relations. Paganism,
notwithstanding its licence, was capable of producing bigots:
and even at Athens the man who ventured to dispute the existence
of a hundred gods with morals and passions somewhat worse than
those of ordinary human nature, did so at the risk of his life.
Anaxagoras was indicted for impiety. Aspasia was included in the
same charge, and dragged before the courts of justice.
Anaxagoras prudently fled from Athens, and thus probably avoided
a fate which in consequence of a similar accusation afterwards
overtook Socrates. Pericles himself pleaded the cause of
Aspasia. He was indeed indirectly implicated in the indictment;
but he felt no concern except for his beloved Aspasia, and on
this occasion the cold and somewhat haughty statesman, whom the
most violent storms of the assembly could not deprive of his
self-possession, was for once seen to weep. His appeal to the
jury was successful, but another trial still awaited him. An
indictment was preferred against his friend, the great sculptor
Phidias, for embezzlement of the gold intended to adorn the
celebrated ivory statue of Athena; and according to some,
Pericles himself was included in the charge of peculation.
Whether Pericles was ever actually tried on this accusation is
uncertain; but at all events, if he was, there can be no doubt
that he was honourably acquitted. The gold employed in the
statue had been fixed in such a manner that it could be detached
and weighed, and Pericles challenged his accusers to the proof.
But Phidias did not escape so fortunately. There were other
circumstances which rendered him unpopular, and amongst them the
fact that he had introduced portraits both of himself and
Pericles in the sculptures which adorned the frieze of the
Parthenon. Phidias died in prison before the day of trial.

The Athenian empire, since the conclusion of the Thirty Years'
Truce, had again become exclusively maritime. Yet even among the
subjects and allies united with Athens by the Confederacy of
Delos, her sway was borne with growing discontent. One of the
chief causes of this dissatisfaction was the amount of the
tribute exacted by the Athenians, as well as their misapplication
of the proceeds. In the time of Aristides and Cimon, when an
active war was carrying on against the Persians, the sum annually
collected amounted to 460 talents. In the time of Pericles,
although that war had been brought to a close, the tribute had
nevertheless increased to the annual sum of 600 talents. Another
grievance was the transference to Athens of all lawsuits, at
least of all public suits; for on this subject we are unable to
draw the line distinctly. In criminal cases, at all events, the
allies seem to have been deprived of the power to inflict capital
punishment. Besides all these causes of complaint, the allies
had often to endure the oppressions and exactions of Athenian
officers, both military and naval, as well us of the rich and
powerful Athenian citizens settled among them.

In B.C. 440 Samos, one of the free independent allies already
mentioned, revolted from Athens; but even this island was no
match for the Athenian power. Pericles, who sailed against the
Samians in person, defeated their fleet in several engagements,
and forced the city to capitulate. The Samians were compelled to
raze their fortifications, to surrender their fleet, to give
hostages for their future conduct, and to pay the expenses of the

The triumphs and the power of Athens were regarded with fear and
jealousy by her rivals; and the quarrel between Corinth and
Corcyra lighted the spark which was to produce the conflagration.
On the coast of Illyria near the site of the modern Durazzo, the
Corcyraeans had founded the city of Epidamnus. Corcyra (now
Corfu) was itself a colony of Corinth; and though long at enmity
with its mother country, was forced, according to the time-
hallowed custom of the Greeks in such matters, to select the
founder of Epidamnus from the Corinthians. Accordingly Corinth
became the metropolis of Epidamnus as well as of Corcyra. At the
time of which we speak, the Epidamnians, being hard pressed by
the Illyrians, led by some oligarchical exiles of their own city,
applied to Corcyra for assistance, which the Corcyraeans, being
connected with the Epidamnian oligarchy, refused. The
Epidamnians then sought help from the Corinthians, who undertook
to assist them. The Corcyraeans, highly resenting this
interference, attacked the Corinthian fleet off Cape Actium, and
gained a signal victory (B.C. 435).

Deeply humbled by this defeat, the Corinthians spent the two
following years in active preparations for retrieving it. The
Corcyraeans, who had not enrolled themselves either in the
Lacedaemonian or Athenian alliance, and therefore stood alone,
were greatly alarmed at these preparations. They now resolved to
remedy this deficiency; and as Corinth belonged to the
Lacedaemonian alliance, the Corcyraeans had no option, and were
obliged to apply to Athens. The majority of the Athenians were
ready to comply with their request; but in order to avoid an open
infringement of the Thirty Years' Truce, it was resolved to
conclude only a defensive alliance with Corcyra: that is, to
defend the Corcyraeans in case their territories were actually
invaded by the Corinthians, but beyond that not to lend them any
active assistance. A small Athenian squadron of only 10 triremes
was despatched to the assistance of the Corcyraeans. Soon after
their arrival a battle ensued off the coast of Epirus, between
the Corinthian and Corcyraean fleets. After a hard-fought day,
victory finally declared in favour of the Corinthians. The
Athenians now abandoned their neutrality, and did all in their
power to save the dying Corcyraeans from their pursuers. This
action took place early in the morning; and the Corinthians
prepared to renew the attack in the afternoon, when they saw in
the distance 20 Athenian vessels, which they believed to be the
advanced guard of a still larger fleet. They accordingly sailed
away to the coast of Epirus; but finding that the Athenians did
not mean to undertake offensive operations against them, they
departed homewards with their whole fleet. These events took
place in the year B.C. 432.

The Corinthians were naturally incensed at the conduct of Athens;
and it is not surprising that they should have watched for an
opportunity of revenge. This was soon afforded them by the
enmity of the Macedonian prince Perdiccas towards the Athenians.
He incited her tributaries upon the coast of Macedonia to revolt,
including Potidaea, a town seated on the isthmus of Pallene.
Potidaea, though now a tributary of Athens, was originally a
colony of the Corinthians, and received from them certain annual
magistrates. Being urged as well by the Corinthians as by
Perdiccas, the Potidaeans openly raised the standard of revolt
(B.C. 432). A powerful Athenian armament was despatched to the
coast of Macedonia and laid siege to Potidaea.

Meanwhile the Lacedaemonians, urged on all sides by the
complaints of their allies against Athens, summoned a general
meeting of the Peloponnesian confederacy at Sparta. The
Corinthians took the most prominent part in the debate; but other
members of the confederacy had also heavy grievances to allege
against Athens. Foremost among these were the Megarians, who
complained that their commerce had been ruined by a recent decree
of the Athenians which excluded them from every port within the
Athenian jurisdiction. It was generally felt that the time had
now arrived for checking the power of Athens. Influenced by
these feelings, the Lacedaemonians decided upon war; and the
congress passed a resolution to the same effect, thus binding the
whole Peloponnesian confederacy to the same policy. This
important resolution was adopted towards the close of B.C. 432,
or early in the following year. Before any actual declaration of
war, hostilities were begun in the spring of B.C. 431 by a
treacherous attack of the Thebans upon Plataea. Though Boeotians
by descent, the Plataeans did not belong to the Boeotian league,
but had long been in close alliance with the Athenians. Hence
they were regarded with hatred and jealousy by the Thebans, which
sentiments were also shared by a small oligarchical faction in
Plataea itself. The Plataean oligarchs secretly admitted a body
of 300 Thebans into the town at night; but the attempt proved a
failure; the citizens flew to arms, and in the morning all the
Thebans were either slain or taken prisoner.



The figures referred to in a few places in this chapter have had
to be omitted from the etext.]

At the commencement of the Peloponnesian war Athens was at the
height of its glory under the brilliant administration of
Pericles. We may therefore here pause to take a brief survey of
the city and of its most important buildings. Athens is situated
about three miles from the sea-coast, in the central plain of
Attica. In this plain rise several eminences. Of these the most
prominent is a lofty insulated mountain, with a conical peaked
summit, now called the Hill of St. George, and which bore in
ancient times the name of LYCABETTUS. This mountain, which was
not included within the ancient walls, lies to the north-east of
Athens, and forms the most striking feature in the environs of
the city. It is to Athens what Vesuvius is to Naples, or
Arthur's Seat to Edinburgh. South-west of Lycabettus there are
four hills of moderate height, all of which formed part of the
city. Of these the nearest to Lycabettus and at the distance of
a mile from the latter, was the ACROPOLIS, or citadel of Athens,
a square craggy rock rising abruptly about 150 feet, with a flat
summit of about 1000 feet long from east to west, by 500 feet
broad from north to south. Immediately west of the Acropolis is
a second hill of irregular form, the AREOPAGUS. To the south-
west there rises a third hill, the PNYX, on which the assemblies
of the citizens were held; and to the south of the latter is a
fourth hill, known as the MUSEUM. On the eastern and western
sides of the city there run two small streams, which are nearly
exhausted before they reach the sea, by the heats of summer and
by the channels for artificial irrigation. That on the east is
the Ilissus, which flowed through the southern quarter of the
city: that on the west is the Cephissus. South of the city was
seen the Saronic gulf, with the harbours of Athens.

Athens is said to have derived its name from the prominence given
to the worship of Athena by its king Erechtheus. The inhabitants
were previously called Cranai and Cecropidae, from Cecrops, who
according to tradition, was the original founder of the city.
This at first occupied only the hill or rock which afterwards
became the ACROPOLIS; but gradually the buildings began to spread
over the ground at the southern foot of this hill. It was not
till the time of Pisistratus and his sons (B.C. 560-514) that the
city began to assume any degree of splendour. The most
remarkable building of these despots was the gigantic temple of
the Olympian Zeus, which, however, was not finished till many
centuries later. In B.C. 500 the theatre of Dionysus was
commenced on the south-eastern slope of the Acropolis, but was
not completed till B.C. 34O; though it must have been used for
the representation of plays long before that period.

Xerxes reduced the ancient city almost to a heap of ashes. After
the departure of the Persians, its reconstruction on a much
larger scale was commenced under the superintendence of
Themistocles, whose first care was to provide for its safety by
the erection of walls. The Acropolis now formed the centre of
the city, round which the new walls described an irregular circle
of about 60 stadia or 7 1/2 miles in circumference. The space
thus enclosed formed the ASTY, or city, properly so called. But
the views of Themistocles were not confined to the mere defence
of Athens: he contemplated making her a great naval power, and
for this purpose adequate docks and arsenals were required.
Previously the Athenians had used as their only harbour the open
roadstead of PHALERUM on the eastern side of the Phaleric bay,
where the sea-shore is nearest to Athens. But Themistocles
transferred the naval station of the Athenians to the peninsula
of Piraeus, which is distant about 4 1/2 miles from Athens, and
contains three natural harbours,--a large one on the western
side, called simply Piraeus or The Harbour, and two smaller ones
an the eastern side, called respectively ZEA and MUNYCHIA, the
latter being nearest to the city. It was not till the
administration of Pericles that the walls were built which
connected Athens with her ports. These were at first the outer
or northern Long Wall, which ran from Athens to Piraeus, and the
Phaleric wall connecting the city with Phalerum. These were
commenced in B.C. 457, and finished in the following year. It
was soon found, however, that the space thus enclosed was too
vast to be easily defended; and as the port of Phalerum was small
and insignificant in comparison with the Piraeus, and soon ceased
to be used by the Athenian ships of war, its wall was abandoned
and probably allowed to fall into decay. Its place was supplied
by another Long wall, which was built parallel to the first at a
distance of only 550 feet, thus rendering both capable of being
defended by the same body of men. Their height in all
probability was not less than 60 feet. In process of time the
space between the two Long Walls was occupied on each side by

It will be seen from the preceding description that Athens, in
its larger acceptation, and including its port, consisted of two
circular cities, the Asty and Piraeus, each of about 7 1/2 miles
in circumference, and joined together by a broad street of
between four and five miles long.

Such was the outward and material form of that city, which during
the period between the Persian and Peloponnesian wars reached the
highest pitch of military, artistic, and literary glory. The
latter portion of this period, or that comprised under the
ascendency of Pericles, exhibits Athenian art in its highest
state of perfection, and is therefore by way of excellence
commonly designated as the age of Pericles. The great sculptor
of this period--perhaps the greatest the world has ever seen--
was Phidias, to whom Pericles intrusted the superintendence of
all the works executed in his administration.

The first public monuments that arose after the Persian wars were
erected under the auspices of Cimon, who was, like Pericles, a
lover and patron of the arts. The principal of these were the
small Ionic temple of Nike Apteros (Wingless Victory), and the
Theseum, or temple of Theseus. The temple of Nike Apteros was
only 27 feet in length by 18 in breadth, and was erected on the
Acropolis in commemoration of Cimon's victory at the Eurymedon.
A view of it is given at the beginning of this chapter, and its
position on the Acropolis, on one side of the Propylaea, is seen
in the drawings on p. 91, as well as on the Frontispiece of the

The Theseum is situated on a height to the north of the
Areopagus, and was built to receive the bones of Theseus, which
Cimon brought from Scyros in B.C. 469. It was probably finished
about 465, and is the best preserved of all the monuments of
ancient Athens. It was at once a tomb and temple, and possessed
the privileges of an asylum. It is of the Doric order, 164 feet
in length by 45 feet broad, and surrounded with columns.

But it was the Acropolis which was the chief centre of the
architectural splendour of Athens. After the Persian wars the
Acropolis had ceased to be inhabited, and was appropriated to the
worship of Athena and to the other guardian deities of the city.
It was covered with the temples of gods and heroes; and thus its
platform presented not only a sanctuary, but a museum, containing
the finest productions of the architect and the sculptor, in
which the whiteness of the marble was relieved by brilliant
colours, and rendered still more dazzling by the transparent
clearness of the Athenian atmosphere. It was surrounded with
walls, and the surface seems to have been divided into terraces
communicating with one another by steps. The only approach to it
was from the Agora on its western side at the top of a
magnificent flight of marble steps, 70 feet broad, stood the
Propylaea, constructed under the auspices of Pericles, and which
served as a suitable entrance to the exquisite works within. The
Propylaea were themselves one of the masterpieces of Athenian
art. They were entirely of Pentelic marble, and covered the
whole of the western end of the Acropolis, having a breadth of
168 feet. The central portion of them consisted of two
porticoes, of which the western one faced the city, and the
eastern one the interior of the Acropolis, each consisting of a
front of six fluted Doric columns. This central part of the
building was 58 feet in breadth, but the remaining breadth of the
rock at this point was covered by two wings, which projected 26
feet in front of the western portico. Each of these wings was in
the form of a Doric temple. The northern one, or that on the
left of a person ascending the Acropolis, was called the
PINACOTHECA, from its walls being covered with paintings. The
southern wing consisted only of a porch or open gallery.
Immediately before its western front stood the little temple of
Nike Apteros already mentioned.

On passing through the Propylaea all the glories of the Acropolis
became visible. The chief building was the Parthenon (I.E. House
of the Virgin), the most perfect production of Grecian
architecture. It derived its name from its being the temple of
Athena Parthenos, or Athena the Virgin, the invincible goddess of
war. It was also called HECATOMPEDON, from its breadth of 100
feet. It was built under the administration of Pericles, and was
completed in B.C. 438. The Parthenon stood on the highest part
of the Acropolis near its centre, and probably occupied the site
of an earlier temple destroyed by the Persians. It was entirely
of Pentelic marble, on a rustic basement of ordinary limestone,
and its architecture, which was of the Doric order, was of the
purest kind. Its dimensions were about 228 feet in length, 101
feet in breadth, and 66 feet in height to the top of the
pediment. It consisted of a cella, surrounded by a peristyle.
The cella was divided into two chambers of unequal size, the
eastern one of which was about 98 feet long, and the western one
about 43 feet. The ceiling of both these chambers was supported
by rows of columns. The whole building was adorned with the most
exquisite sculptures, executed by various artists under the
direction of Phidias. These consisted of, 1. The sculptures in
the tympana of the pediments (I.E. the inner portion of the
triangular gable ends of the roof above the two porticoes), each
of which was filled with about 24 colossal figures. The group in
the eastern or principal front represented the birth of Athena
from the head of Zeus, and the western the contest between Athena
and Poseidon (Neptune) for the land of Attica. 2. The metopes
between the triglyphs in the frieze of the entablature (I.E. the
upper of the two portions into which the space between the
columns and the roof is divided) were filled with sculptures in
high relief, representing a variety of subjects relating to
Athena herself, or to the indigenous heroes of Attica. Each
tablet was 4 feet 3 inches square. Those on the south side
related to the battle of the Athenians with the Centaurs. One of
the metopes is figured below. 3. The frieze which ran along
outside the wall of the cella, and within the external columns
which surround the building, at the same height and parallel with
the metopes, was sculptured with a representation of the
Panathenaic festival in very low relief. This frieze was 3 feet
4 inches in height, and 520 feet in length. A small portion of
the frieze is also figured below. A large number of the slabs
of the frieze, together with sixteen metopes from the south side,
and several of the statues of the pediments, were brought to
England by Lord Elgin, of whom they were purchased by the nation
and deposited in the British Museum.

But the chief wonder of the Parthenon was the colossal statue of
the Virgin Goddess executed by Phidias himself, which stood in
the eastern or principal chamber of the cella. It was of the
sort called CHRYSELEPHANTINE, a kind of work said to have been
invented by Phidias in which ivory was substituted for marble in
those parts which were uncovered, while the place of the real
drapery was supplied with robes and other ornaments of solid
gold. Its height, including the base, was nearly 40 feet. It
represented the goddess standing, clothed with a tunic reaching
to the ankles, with a spear in her left hand, and an image of
Victory in her right.

The Acropolis was adorned with another colossal figure of Athena,
in bronze, also the work of Phidias. It stood in the open air,
nearly opposite the Propylaea, and was one of the first objects
seen after passing through the gates of the latter. With its
pedestal it must have stood about 70 feet high, and consequently
towered above the roof of the Parthenon, so that the point of its
spear and the crest of its helmet were visible off the promontory
of Sunium to ships approaching Athens. It was called the "Athena
Promachus," because it represented the goddess armed, and in the
very attitude of battle.

The only other monument on the summit of the Acropolis which it
is necessary to describe is the Erechtheum, or temple of
Erechtheus. The traditions respecting Erechtheus vary, but
according to one set of them he was identical with the god
Poseidon. He was worshipped in his temple under the name of
Poseidon Erechtheus, and from the earliest times was associated
with Athena as one of the two protecting deities of Athens. The
original Erechtheum was burnt by the Persians, but the new temple
was erected on the ancient site. This could not have been
otherwise; for on this spot was the sacred olive-tree which
Athena evoked from the earth in her contest with Poseidon, and
also the well of salt-water which Poseidon produced by a stroke
of his trident, the impression of which was seen upon the rock.
The building was also called the temple of Athena Polias, because
it contained a separate sanctuary of the goddess, as well as her
most ancient statue. The building of the new Erechtheum was not
commenced till the Parthenon and Propylaea were finished, and
probably not before the year preceding the breaking out of the
Peloponnesian war. Its progress was no doubt delayed by that
event, and it was probably not completed before 393 B.C. When
finished it presented one of the finest models of the Ionic
order, as the Parthenon was of the Doric, It stood to the north
of the latter building and close to the northern wall of the
Acropolis. The form of the Erechtheum differed from every known
example of a Grecian temple. Usually a Grecian temple was an
oblong figure with a portico at each extremity. The Erechtheum,
on the contrary, though oblong in shape and having a portico at
the eastern or principal front, had none at its western end,
where, however, a portico projected north and south from either
side, thus forming a kind of transept. This irregularity seems
to have been chiefly owing to the necessity of preserving the
different sanctuaries and religious objects belonging to the
ancient temple. A view of it is given opposite. The roof of the
southern portico, as shown in the view, was supported by six

Such were the principal objects which adorned the Acropolis at
the time of which we are now speaking. Their general appearance
will be best gathered from the engraving on the Frontispiece.

Before quitting the city of Athens, there are two or three other
objects of interest which must be briefly described. First, the
Dionysiac theatre, which occupied the slope at the south-eastern
extremity of the Acropolis. The middle of it was excavated out
of the rock, and the rows of seats ascended in curves one above
another, the diameter increasing with the height. It was no
doubt sufficiently large to accommodate the whole body of
Athenian citizens, as well as the strangers who flocked to Athens
during the Dionysiac festival, but its dimensions cannot now be
accurately ascertained. It had no roof, but the spectators were
probably protected from the sun by an awning, and from their
elevated seats they had a distinct view of the sea, and of the
peaked hills of Salamis in the horizon. Above them rose the
Parthenon and the other buildings of the Acropolis, so that they
sat under the shadow of the ancestral gods of the country.

The Areopagus, or Hill of Ares (Mars), was a rocky height
opposite the western end of the Acropolis, from which it was
separated only by some hollow ground. It derived its name from
the tradition that Ares (Mars) was brought to trial here before
the assembled gods, by Poseidon (Neptune), for murdering
Halirrhothius the son of the latter. It was here that the
Council of Areopagus met, frequently called the Upper Council, to
distinguish it from the Council of Five Hundred, which assembled
in the valley below. The Areopagites sat as judges in the open
air, and two blocks of stone are still to be seen, probably those
which were occupied respectively by the accuser and the accused.
The Areopagus was the spot where the Apostle Paul preached to the
men of Athens.

The Pnyx, or place for holding the public assemblies of the
Athenians, stood on the side of a low rocky hill, at the distance
of about a quarter of a mile from the Areopagus. Projecting from
the hill and hewn out of it, still stands a solid rectangular
block, called the Bema or pulpit, from whence the orators
addressed the multitude in the area before them. The position of
the Bema commanded a view of the Propylaea and the other
magnificent edifices of the Acropolis, while beneath it was the
city itself studded with monuments of Athenian glory. The
Athenian orators frequently roused the national feelings of their
audience by pointing to the Propylaea and to the other splendid
buildings before them. Between the Pnyx on the west, the
Areopagus on the north, and the Acropolis on the east, and
closely adjoining the base of these hills, stood the Agora (or
market-place). In a direction from north-west to south-east a
street called the Ceramicus ran diagonally through the Agora,
entering it through the valley between the Pnyx and the
Areopagus. The street was named after a district of the city,
which was divided into two parts, the Inner and Outer Ceramicus.
The former lay within the city walls, and included the Agora.
The Outer Ceramicus, which formed a handsome suburb on the north-
west of the city, was the burial-place of all persons honoured
with a public funeral. Through it ran the road to the gymnasium
and gardens of the Academy which were situated about a mile from
the walls. The Academy was the place where Plato and his
disciples taught. On each side of this road were monuments to
illustrious Athenians, especially those who had fallen in battle.

East of the city, and outside the walls, was the Lyceum, a
gymnasium dedicated to Apollo Lyceus, and celebrated as the place
in which Aristotle taught.



War was now fairly kindled. All Greece looked on in suspense as
its two leading cities were about to engage in a strife of which
no man could forsee the end; but the youth, with which both
Athens and Peloponnesus then abounded, having had no experience
of the bitter calamities of war, rushed into it with ardour. It
was a war of principles and races. Athens was a champion of
democracy, Sparta of aristocracy; Athens represented the Ionic
tribes, Sparta the Dorian; the former were fond of novelty, the
latter were conservative and stationary; Athens had the command
of the sea, Sparta was stronger upon land. On the side of Sparta
was ranged the whole of Peloponnesus, except Argos and Achaia,
together with the Megarians, Boeotians, Phocians, Opuntian
Locrians, Ambraciots, Leucadians, and Anactorians. The allies of
Athens, with the exception of the Thessalians, Acarnanians,
Messenians at Naupactus, and Plataeans, were all insular, and
consisted of the Chians, Lesbians, Corcyraeans, and Zacynthians,
and shortly afterwards of the Cephallenians, To these must be
added her tributary towns on the coast of Thrace and Asia Minor,
together with all the islands north of Crete, except Melos and

The Peloponnesians commenced the war by an invasion of Attica,
with a large army, under the command of the Spartan King
Archidamus (B.C. 431). Pericles had instructed the inhabitants
of Attica to secure themselves and their property within the
walls of Athens. They obeyed his injunctions with reluctance,
for the Attic population had from the earliest times been
strongly attached to a rural life. But the circumstances
admitted of no alternative. Archidamus advanced as far as
Acharnae, a flourishing Attic borough situated only about seven
miles from Athens. Here he encamped on a rising ground within
sight of the metropolis, and began to lay waste the country
around, expecting probably by that means to provoke the Athenians
to battle. But in this he was disappointed. Notwithstanding the
murmurs and clamours of the citizens Pericles remained firm, and
steadily refused to venture an engagement in the open held. The
Peloponnesians retired from Attica after still further ravaging
the country; and the Athenians retaliated by making descents upon
various parts of the coasts of Peloponnesus, and ravaging the
territory of Megara.

Such were the results of the first campaign. From the method in
which the war was conducted it had become pretty evident that it
would prove of long duration; and the Athenians now proceeded to
provide for this contingency. It was agreed that a reserve fund
of 1000 talents should be set apart, which was not to be touched
in any other case than an attack upon Athens by sea. Any citizen
who proposed to make a different use of the fund incurred thereby
the punishment of death. With the same view it was resolved to
reserve every year 100 of their best triremes, fully manned and

Towards the winter Pericles delivered, from a lofty platform
erected in the Ceramicus, the funeral oration of those who had
fallen in the war. This speech, or at all events the substance
of it, has been preserved by Thucydides, who may possibly have
heard it pronounced. It is a valuable monument of eloquence and
patriotism, and particularly interesting for the sketch which it
contains of Athenian manners as well as of the Athenian

In the following year (B.C. 430) the Peloponnesians, under
Archidamus, renewed their invasion of Attica. At the same time
the Athenians were attacked by a more insidious and a more
formidable enemy. The plague broke out in the crowded city.
This terrible disorder, which was supposed to have originated in
AEthiopia, had already desolated Asia and many of the countries
around the Mediterranean. A great proportion of those who were
seized perished in from seven to nine days. It frequently
attacked the mental faculties, and left even those who recovered
from it so entirely deprived of memory that they could recognise
neither themselves nor others. The disorder being new, the
physicians could find no remedy in the resources of their art.
Despair now began to take possession of the Athenians. Some
suspected that the Peloponnesians had poisoned the wells; others
attributed the pestilence to the anger of Apollo. A dreadful
state of moral dissolution followed. The sick were seized with
unconquerable despondency; whilst a great part of the population
who had hitherto escaped the disorder, expecting soon to be
attacked in turn, abandoned themselves to all manner of excess,
debauchery, and crime. The numbers carried off by the pestilence
can hardly be estimated at less than a fourth of the whole

Oppressed at once by war and pestilence, their lands desolated,
their homes filled with mourning, it is not surprising that the
Athenians were seized with rage and despair, or that they vented
their anger on Pericles, whom they deemed the author of their
misfortunes. But that statesman still adhered to his plans with
unshaken firmness. Though the Lacedaemonians were in Attica,
though the plague had already seized on Athens, he was vigorously
pushing his schemes of offensive operations. A foreign
expedition might not only divert the popular mind but would prove
beneficial by relieving the crowded city of part of its
population; and accordingly a fleet was fitted out, of which
Pericles himself took the command, and which committed
devastations upon various parts of the Peloponnesian coast. But,
upon returning from this expedition, Pericles found the public
feeling more exasperated than before. Envoys had even been
despatched to Sparta to sue for peace, but had been dismissed
without a hearing; a disappointment which had rendered the
populace still more furious. Pericles now found it necessary to
call a public assembly in order to vindicate his conduct, and to
encourage the desponding citizens to persevere. But though he
succeeded in persuading them to prosecute the war with vigour;
they still continued to nourish their feelings of hatred against
the great statesman. His political enemies, of whom Cleon was
the chief, took advantage of this state of the public mind to
bring against him a charge of peculation. The main object of
this accusation was to incapacitate him for the office of
Strategus, or general. [The Strategi, or Generals, were ten in
number, elected annually, and were intrusted not only with the
command on military expeditions, but with the superintendence of
all warlike preparations, and with the regulation of all matters
in any way connected with the war department of the state.] He
was brought before the dicastery on this charge, and sentenced to
pay a considerable fine; but eventually a strong reaction
occurred in his favour. He was re-elected general, and
apparently regained all the influence he had ever possessed.

But he was not destined long to enjoy this return of popularity.
His life was now closing in, and its end was clouded by a long
train of domestic misfortunes. The epidemic deprived him not
only of many personal and political friends, but also of several
near relations, amongst whom were his sister and his two
legitimate sons Xanthippus and Paralus. The death of the latter
was a severe blow to him. During the funeral ceremonies, as he
placed a garland on the body of this his favourite son, he was
completely overpowered by his feelings and wept aloud. His
ancient house was now left without an heir. By Aspasia, however,
he had an illegitimate son who bore his own name, and whom the
Athenians now legitimised and thus alleviated, as far as lay in
their power, the misfortunes of their great leader.

After this period it was with difficulty that Pericles was
persuaded by his friends to take any active part in public
affairs; nor did he survive more than a twelvemonth. An attack
of the prevailing epidemic was succeeded by a low and lingering
fever, which undermined both his strength of body and vigour of
intellect. As Pericles lay apparently unconscious on his death-
bed, the friends who stood around it were engaged in recalling
his exploits. The dying man interrupted them by remarking:
"What you praise in me is partly the result of good fortune, and
at all events common to me with many other commanders. What I
chiefly pride myself upon you have not noticed--no Athenian ever
wore mourning through me."

The enormous influence which Pericles exercised for so long a
period over an ingenious but fickle people like the Athenians, is
an unquestionable proof of his intellectual superiority. This
hold on the public affection is to be attributed to a great
extent to his extraordinary eloquence. Cicero regards him as the
first example of an almost perfect orator, at once delighting the
Athenians with his copiousness and grace, and overawing them by
the force and cogency of his diction and arguments. He seems,
indeed, to have singularly combined the power of persuasion with
that more rapid and abrupt style of oratory which takes an
audience by storm and defies all resistance. As the accomplished
man of genius and the liberal patron of literature and art,
Pericles is worthy of the highest admiration. By these qualities
he has justly given name to the most brilliant intellectual epoch
that the world has ever seen. But on this point we have already
touched, and shall have occasion to refer hereafter in the sketch
of Grecian literature.

In the third year of the war (B.C. 429) Archidamus directed his
whole force against the ill-fated town of Plataea. The siege
that ensued is one of the most memorable in the annals of Grecian
warfare. Plataea was but a small city, and its garrison
consisted of only 400 citizens and 80 Athenians, together with
110 women to manage their household affairs. Yet this small
force set at defiance the whole army of the Peloponnesians. The
latter, being repulsed in all their attempts to take the place by
storm, resolved to turn the siege into a blockade, and reduce the
city by famine. The Plataeans endured a blockade of two years,
during which the Athenians attempted nothing for their relief.
In the second year, however, about half the garrison effected
their escape; but the rest were obliged to surrender shortly
afterwards (B.C. 427). The whole garrison, consisting of 200
Plataeans and 25 Athenians, were now arraigned before five judges
sent from Sparta. Their indictment was framed in a way which
precluded the possibility of escape. They were simply asked
"Whether, during the present war, they had rendered any
assistance to the Lacedaemonians and their allies?" Each man was
called up separately before the judgment-seat, and the same
question having been put to him and of course answered in the
negative, he was immediately led away to execution. The town of
Plataea was transferred to the Thebans, who a few months
afterwards levelled all the private buildings to the ground.
Thus was Plataea blotted out from the map of Greece (B.C. 427).
In recording the fall of Plataea we have anticipated the order of

The most important event in the fourth year of the war (B.C. 428)
was the revolt of Mytilene; the capital of Lesbos, and of the
greater part of that island. The Athenians sent out a fleet

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