Full Text Archive logoFull Text Archive — Books, poems, drama…

The Great Events by Famous Historians, Vol. 2 by Various

Part 1 out of 9

Adobe PDF icon
Download this document as a .pdf
File size: 1.0 MB
What's this? light bulb idea Many people prefer to read off-line or to print out text and read from the real printed page. Others want to carry documents around with them on their mobile phones and read while they are on the move. We have created .pdf files of all out documents to accommodate all these groups of people. We recommend that you download .pdfs onto your mobile phone when it is connected to a WiFi connection for reading off-line.












Vol. II

The binding of this volume is a facsimile of the original on exhibition
in the Bibliotheque Nationale.

It was executed by the Royal Binder, Clovis Eve, for Marie de' Medicis,
Queen Consort of Henry IV of France. She was a great lover of fine arts,
and especially of rich bindings. The one here shown was her special
pride. It shows her arms--the arms of France and Tuscany--surrounded
with the cordeliere, the sign of her widowhood, accompanied by the
monogram M.M. (Marie Medicis). She was exiled by Cardinal Richelieu in



An Outline Narrative of the Great Events,

Institution and Fall of the Decemvirate in Rome (B.C. 450),

Pericles Rules in Athens (B.C. 444),

Great Plague at Athens (B.C. 430),

Defeat of the Athenians at Syracuse (B.C. 413),

Retreat of the Ten Thousand Greeks (B.C. 401-399),

Condemnation and Death of Socrates (B.C. 399),

Brennus Burns Rome (B.C. 388),

Tartar Invasion of China by Meha (B.C. 341),

Alexander Reduces Tyre, Later Founds Alexandria (B.C. 332),

The Battle of Arbela (B.C. 331),

First Battle Between Greeks and Romans (B.C. 280-279),

The Punic Wars (B.C. 264-219-149),

Battle of the Metaurus (B.C. 2O7),

Scipio Africanus Crushes Hannibal at Zama and Subjugates Carthage (B.C.

Judas Maccabaeus Liberates Judea (B.C. 165-141),

The Gracchi and Their Reforms (B.C. 133),

Caesar Conquers Gaul (B.C. 58-50),

Roman Invasion and Conquest of Britain (B.C. 55-A.D. 79),

Cleopatra's Conquest of Caesar and Antony (B.C. 51-30),

Assassination of Caesar (B.C. 44),

Rome Becomes a Monarchy
Death of Antony and Cleopatra (B.C. 44-30),

Germans under Arminius Revolt Against Rome (A.D. 9),

Universal Chronology (B.C. 450-A.D. 12),



Blind Appius Claudius led into the Roman Senate Chamber to vote on the
proposition of peace or war with Pyrrhus (page 174),

Painting by Prof, A. Maccari.

Oracle of Delphi,

Painting by Claudius Harper.

Death of Alexander the Great after a prolonged debauch,

Painting by Carl von Piloty.






Earth's upward struggle has been baffled by so many stumbles that
critics have not been lacking to suggest that we do not advance at all,
but only swing in circles, like a squirrel in its cage. Certain it is
that each ancient civilization seemed to bear in itself the seeds of its
own destruction. Yet it may be held with equal truth that each new
power, rising above the ruins of the last, held something nobler, was
borne upward by some truth its rival could not reach.

At no period is this more evident than in the five centuries immediately
preceding the Christian era. Persia, Greece, Carthage, Rome, each in
turn was with some justice proclaimed lord of the world; each in turn
felt the impulse of her glory and advanced rapidly in culture and
knowledge of the arts; and each in turn succumbed to the temptations
that beset unlimited success. They degenerated not only in physical
strength, but in moral honesty.

Let us recognize, however, that the term "world-ruler" as applied to
even the greatest of these nations has but a restricted sense. When the
Persian monarch called himself lord of the sun and moon, he only meant
in a figurative way that he was acquainted with no other king so
powerful as himself; that beyond his own dominions he heard only of
feeble colonies, and beyond those the wilderness. Alexander, when he
sighed for more worlds to conquer, had in reality made himself lord of
less than a quarter of Asia and of about one-sixtieth part of Europe.

No man and no nation has ever yet been intrusted with the government of
the entire globe. None has proved sufficiently fitted for the giant
task. Each empire has been, as it were, but an experiment; and beyond
the border line of seas and deserts which ringed each boastful
conqueror, there were always other races developing along slower, and it
may be surer, lines.

In those old days our world was in truth too big for conquest. Armies
marched on foot. Provisions could not be carried in any quantity, unless
a general clung to the sea-shore and depended on his ships. What
Alexander might with more truth have sighed for, was some modern means
of swift transportation, possessed of which he might still have enjoyed
many interesting, bloody battles in more distant lands.


Taking the idea "world power" in the restricted sense suggested, Persia
lost it to Greece at Salamis. As the Asiatic hordes fled behind their
panic-stricken king, the Greeks, looking round their limited horizon,
could see no power that might vie with them. The idea of pressing home
their success and overthrowing the entire unwieldy Persian empire was at
once conceived.

But the Greeks were of all races least like to weld earth into one
dominion. They could not even unite among themselves. In short it cannot
be too emphatically pointed out that the work of Greece was not to
consolidate, but to separate, to teach the value of each individual man.
Asia had made monarchies in plenty. King after king had passed in
splendid, glittering pomp across her plains, circled by a crowd of
obsequious courtiers, trampling on a nameless multitude of slaves.
Europe was to make democracies, or at least to try her hand at them.

It has been well said that a democracy is the strongest government for
defence, the weakest for attack. Every little Greek city clung jealously
to its own freedom, and to its equally obvious right to dominate its
neighbors. The supreme danger of the Persian invasion united them for a
moment; but as soon as safety was assured, they recommenced their
bickering. Sparta with her record of ancient leadership, Athens with her
new-won glory against the common foe, each tried to draw the other
cities in her train. There was no one man who could dominate them all
and concentrate their strength against the enemy. So for a time Persia
continued to exist; she even by degrees regained something of her former
influence over the divided cities.

Among these Athens held the foremost rank. She was, as we have
previously seen, far more truly representative of the Greek spirit than
her rival. Sparta was aristocratic and conservative; Athens democratic
and progressive. The genius of her leaders gathered the lesser towns
into a great naval league, in which she grew ever more powerful. Her
allies sank to be dependent and unwilling vassals, forced to contribute
large sums to the treasury of their overlord.

This was the age of Pericles.[1] As Athens became wealthy, her citizens
became cultured. Statues, temples, theatres made the city beautiful.
Dramatists, orators, and poets made her intellectually renowned. A
marvellous outburst, this of Athens! Displaying for the first time in
history the full capacity of the human mind! Had there been similar
flowerings of genius amid forgotten Asiatic times? One doubts it; doubts
if such brilliancy could ever anywhere have passed, and left no clearer
record of its triumphs.

[Footnote 1: See _Pericles Rules in Athens_, page 12.]

Amid such splendor it seems captious to point out the flaw. Yet Athenian
and all Greek civilization did ultimately decline. It represented
intellectual, but not moral culture. The Greeks delighted intensely in
the purely physical life about them; they had small conception of
anything beyond. To enjoy, to be successful, that was all their goal;
the means scarce counted. The Athenians called Aristides the Just; but
so little did they honor his high rectitude that they banished him for a
decade. His title, or it may have been his insistence on the subject,
bored them.

His rival, Themistocles, was more suited to their taste, a clever scamp,
who must always be dealing with both sides in every quarrel, and
outwitting both. Athens was driven to banish him also at last, at his
too flagrant treachery. But he was not dismissed with the scathing scorn
our modern age would heap upon a traitor. He was sent regretfully, as
one turns from a charming but too persistently lawless friend. The
banishment was only for ten years, and he had his nest already prepared
with the Persian King. If you would understand the Greek spirit in its
fullest perfection, study Themistocles. Rampant individualism, seeking
personal pleasure, clamorous for the admiration of its fellows, but not
restrained from secret falsity by any strong moral sense--that was what
the Greeks developed in the end.

Neither must Athens be regarded as a democracy in the modern sense. She
was only so by contrast with Persia or with Sparta. Not every man in the
beautiful city voted, or enjoyed the riches that flowed into her
coffers, and could thus afford, free from pecuniary care, to devote
himself to art. Athens probably had never more than thirty thousand
"citizens." The rest of the adult male population, vastly outnumbering
these, were slaves, or foreigners attracted by the city's splendor.

But those thirty thousand were certainly men. "There were giants in
those days." One sometimes stands in wonder at their boldness. What all
Greece could not do, what Persia had completely failed in, they
undertook. Athens alone should conquer the world. By force of arms they
would found an empire of intellect. They fought Persia and Sparta, both
at once. Plague swept their city, yet they would not yield.[2] Their own
subject allies turned against them; and they fought those too. They sent
fleets and armies against Syracuse, the mightiest power of the West. It
was Athens against all mankind!

[Footnote 2: See _Great Plague at Athens_, page 34.]

She was unequal to the task, superbly unequal to it. The destruction of
her army at Syracuse[3] was only the foremost of a series of inevitable
disasters, which left her helpless. After that, Sparta, and then Thebes,
became the leading city of Greece. Athens slowly regained her fighting
strength; her intellectual supremacy she had not lost. Socrates,[4]
greatest of her sons, endeavored to teach a morality higher than earth
had yet received, higher than his contemporaries could grasp. Plato gave
to thought a scientific basis.

[Footnote 3: See _Defeat of the Athenians at Syracuse_, page 48.]

[Footnote 4: See _Condemnation and Death of Socrates_, page 87.]

Then Macedonia, a border kingdom of ancient kinship to the Greeks, but
not recognized as belonging among them, began to obtrude herself in
their affairs, and at length won that leadership for which they had all
contended. A hundred and fifty years had elapsed since the Greeks had
stood united against Persia. During all that time their strength had
been turned against themselves. Now at last the internecine wars were
checked, and all the power of the sturdy race was directed by one man,
Alexander, King of Macedon. Democracy had made the Greeks intellectually
glorious, but politically weak. Monarchy rose from the ruin they had

As though that ancient invasion of Xerxes had been a crime of yesterday,
Alexander proclaimed his intention of avenging it; and the Greeks
applauded. They understood Persia now far better than in the elder days;
they saw what a feeble mass the huge heterogeneous empire had become.
Its people were slaves, its soldiers mercenaries. The Greeks themselves
had been hired to suppress more than one Persian rebellion,[5] and to
foment these also. They had learned the enormous advantage their
stronger personality gave them against the masses of sheeplike Asiatics.

[Footnote 5: See _Retreat of the Ten Thousand Greeks_, page 68.]

So it was in holiday mood that they followed Alexander, and in schoolboy
roughness that they trampled on the civilization of the East. In fact,
it is worth noting that the most vigorous resistance they encountered
was not from the Persians, but from a remnant of the Semites, the
merchants of the Phoenician city of Tyre.[6] In less than eight years,
B.C. 331-323, Alexander overran the whole known world of the East,[7]
only stopping when, on the border of India, his soldiers broke into open
revolt, not against fighting, but against further wandering.

[Footnote 6: See _Alexander Reduces Tyre_, page 133.]

[Footnote 7: See _The Battle of Arbela_, page 141.]

If this invasion had been the mere outcome of one man's ambition, it
might scarce be worth recording. But Alexander was only the topmost wave
in the surging of a long imminent, inevitable racial movement. Its
effect upon civilization, upon the world, was incalculably vast.
Alexander and his successors were city-builders, administrators. As such
they spread Greek culture, the Greek idea of individualism, over all
their world.

How deep was the change, made upon the imbruted Asiatics, we may perhaps
question. Our own age has seen how much of education may be lavished on
an inferior race without materially altering the brute instincts within.
The building-up of the soul in man is not a matter of individuals, but
of centuries. Yet in at least a superficial way Greek thought became the
thought of all mankind. We may dismiss Alexander's savage conquests with
a sigh of pity; but we cannot deny him recognition as a most potent
teacher of the world.

His empire did not last. It was in too obvious opposition to all that we
have recognized as the Grecian spirit. At his death the same impulse
seems to have stirred each one of his subordinates, to snatch for
himself a kingdom from the confusion. Instead of one there were soon
three, four, and then a dozen semi-Grecian states in Asia. The Greek
element in each grew very faint.

From this time onward Asia takes a less prominent place in world
affairs. Her ancient leadership in the march of civilization had long
been yielded to the Greeks. Now her semblance of military power
disappeared as well. Only two further happenings in all Asia seem worth
noting, down to the birth of Christ. One of these was the Tartar
conquest of China, an event which coalesced the Tartars, helped make
them a nation.[8] It was thus fraught with most disastrous consequences
for the Europe of the future. The other was the revolt of the Hebrews
under Judas Maccabaeus, against their Grecian rulers. This was a
religious revolt, a religious war. Here for the first time we find a
people who will believe, who can believe, in no god but their own, who
will die sooner than give worship to another. We approach the borders of
an age where the spirit is more valued than the body, where the mental
is stronger than the physical, where facts are dominated by ideas.[9]

[Footnote 8: See _Tartar Invasion of China_, page 126.]

[Footnote 9: See _Judas Maccabaeus Liberates Judea_, page 245.]

Had Alexander even at the moment of his greatest strength directed his
forces westward instead of east, he would have found a different world
and encountered a sturdier resistance. He himself recognized this, and
during his last years was gathering all the resources of his unwieldy
empire, to hurl them against Carthage and against Italy. What the issue
might have been no man can say. Alexander's death ended forever the
impossible attempt to unite his race. Once more and until the end,
Grecian strength was wasted against itself.

This gave opportunity to the growing powers of the West. Alexander is
scarce gone ere we hear Carthage boasting that the Mediterranean is but
a private lake in her possession. She rules all Western Africa and
Spain, Sardinia and Corsica. She masters the Greeks of Sicily, against
whom Athens failed. Rome is compelled to sign treaties with her as an


Rome was only husbanding her strength; the little republic of B.C. 510
had grown much during the two centuries of Grecian splendor. Her people
had become far better fitted for conquest than their eastern kinsmen. It
is presumable that here too it was the difference of surroundings which
had differentiated the race. The ancient Etrurian (non-Aryan)
civilization on which the Latins intruded, was apparently more advanced
than their own. For centuries their utmost prowess scarce sufficed to
maintain their independence. Thus it was not possible for them to become
too self-satisfied, to stand afar off and look down on their neighbors
with Grecian scorn. The _ego_ was less prominently developed; the
necessity of mutual dependence and united action was more deeply taught.
Their records display less of brilliancy, but more of patient
persistency, than those of Greece, less of spectacular individualism,
more of truly patriotic self-suppression. In Rome, even more than in
Sparta, the "State" was everything. During the early days men found
their highest glory in making their city glorious; their proudest boast
was to be "citizens of Rome."

To trace the slow steps by which the tiny republic grew to be mistress
of all Italy would take too long. She settled her internal difficulties
as all such difficulties must be settled, if the race is to progress;
that is, she became more democratic.[10] As the lower classes advanced
in knowledge and intelligence they insisted on a share of the
government. They fought their way to it. They united Rome, mastered the
other Latin cities, and admitted them to partnership in her power. She
conquered the Etruscans and the Samnites. For a moment we find her
almost overwhelmed by an inroad of the wild Celtic tribes from the
forests of Central Europe;[11] but, fortunately for her, the other
Italian states were equally crushed. It was weakness against weakness,
and the Romans retained their foremost place.

[Footnote 10: See _Institution and Fall of the Decemvirate in Rome_,
page 1.]

[Footnote 11: See _Brennus Burns Rome_, page 110.]

Not till more than a century later were they brought into serious
conflict with the Greeks. In the year B.C. 280, Pyrrhus, King of Epirus,
who had won a temporary leadership over a portion of the Grecian land,
undertook the conquest of the West.[12] Fifty years before, Alexander
with far greater power might have been victorious over a feebler Rome.
Pyrrhus failed completely. If the Romans had less dash and a less wide
experience of varied warfare than his followers, they had far more of
true, heroic endurance. The Greeks had reached that stage of individual
culture where they were much too selfishly intelligent to be willing to
die in battle. Pyrrhus withdrew from Italy. Grecian brilliancy was
helpless against Roman strength of union.

[Footnote 12: See _First Battle between Greeks and Romans_, page 166.]

Then came the far more serious contest between Rome and Carthage.[13]
Carthage was a Phoenician, a Semite state; and hers was the last, the
most gigantic struggle made by Semitism to recover its waning
superiority, to dominate the ancient world. Three times in three
tremendous wars did she and Rome put forth their utmost strength against
each other. Hannibal, perhaps the greatest military genius who ever
lived, fought upon the side of Carthage. At one time Rome seemed
crushed, helpless before him.[14] Yet in the end Rome won.[15] It was
not by the brilliancy of her commanders, not by the superiority of her
resources. It was the grim, cool courage of the Aryan mind, showing
strongest and calmest when face to face with ruin.

[Footnote 13: See _The Punic Wars_, page 179.]

[Footnote 14: See _Battle of the Metaurus_, page 195.]

[Footnote 15: See _Scipio Africanus Crushes Hannibal at Zama and
Subjugates Carthage_, page 224.]

Our modern philosophers, being Aryan, assure us that the victory of
Carthage would have been an irretrievable disaster to mankind; that her
falsity, her narrow selfishness, her bloody inhumanity, would have
stifled all progress; that her dominion would have been the tyranny of a
few heartless masters over a world of tortured slaves. On the other
hand, Rome up to this point had certainly been a generous mistress to
her subjects. She had left them peace and prosperity among themselves;
she had given them as much political freedom as was consistent with her
sovereignty; she had wellnigh succeeded in welding all Italy into a
Roman nation. It is noteworthy that the large majority of the Italian
cities clung to her, even in the darkest straits to which she was
reduced by Hannibal.

Yet when the fall of her last great rival left Rome irresistible abroad,
her methods changed. It is hard to see how even Carthaginians could have
been more cruel, more grasping, more corrupt than the Roman rulers of
the provinces. Having conquered the governments of the world, Rome had
to face outbreak after outbreak from the unarmed, unsheltered masses of
the people. Her barbarity drove them to mad despair. "Servile" wars,
slave outbreaks are dotted over all the last century of the Roman

The good, if there was any good, that Roman dominion brought the world
at that period was the spreading of Greek culture across the western
half of the world. As Rome mastered the Greek states one by one, their
genius won a subtler triumph over the conqueror. Her generals recognized
and admired a culture superior to their own. They carried off the
statues of Greece for the adornment of their villas, and with equal
eagerness they appropriated her manners and her thought, her literature
and her gods.

But this superficial culture could not save the Roman Republic from the
dry-rot that sapped her vitals from within. As a mere matter of numbers,
the actual citizens of Rome or even of the semi-Roman districts close
around her were too few to continue fighting over all the vast empire
they controlled. The sturdy peasant population of Italy slowly
disappeared. The actual inhabitants of the capital came to consist of a
few thousand vastly wealthy families, who held all the power, a few
thousand more of poorer citizens dependent on the rich, and then a vast
swarm of slaves and foreigners, feeders on the crumbs of the Roman

In the battles against Carthage, the mass of Rome's armies had consisted
of her own citizens or of allies closely united to them in blood and
fortune. Her later victories were won by hired troops, men gathered from
every clime and every race. Roman generals still might lead them, Roman
laws environ them, Roman gold employ them. Yet the fact remained, that
in these armies lay the strength of the Republic, no longer within her
own walls, no longer in the stout hearts of her citizens.

Perhaps the world itself was slow in seeing this degeneration. The
Gracchi brothers tried to stem the tide, and they were slain, sacrificed
by the nation they sought to save.[16] Cornelius Sulla was the man who
completed, and at the same time made plain to all, the change that had
been growing up. Having bitter grievances against his enemies in the
capital, he appealed for redress, not to the Roman senate, not to the
votes of the populace, but to the swords of the legions he commanded.
Twice he marched his soldiers against Rome. He brushed aside the feeble
resistance that was offered, and entered the city like a conqueror. The
blood of those who had opposed his wishes flowed in streams. Three
thousand senators and knights, the flower of the Roman aristocracy, were
slain at his nod. Of the common folk and of the Italians throughout the
peninsula, the slaughter was immeasurable. And when his bloody vengeance
was at last glutted, Sulla ruled as an extravagant, conscienceless,
licentious dictator. Rome had found a fitting master.

[Footnote 16: See _The Gracchi and Their Reforms_, page 259.]


The Roman people, the mighty race who had defied a Hannibal at their
gates, were clearly come to an end. Sulla had proved the power of the
Republic to be an empty shell. After his death, men used the empty forms
awhile; but the surviving aristocrats had learned their awful lesson.
They put no further faith in the strength of the city; they watched the
armies and the generals; they intrigued for the various commands. It was
an exciting game. Life and fortune were the stakes they risked; the
prize--the mastery of a helpless world, waiting to be plundered.

Pompey and Caesar proved the ablest players. Pompey overthrew what was
left of the Greek Asiatic kingdoms and returned to Rome the idol of his
troops, wellnigh as powerful as had been Sulla. Caesar, looking in his
turn for a place to build up an army devoted to himself, selected Gaul
and spent eight years in subduing and civilizing what was in a way the
most important of all Rome's conquests. In Gaul he came in contact with
another, fresher Aryan race.[17] Rome received new soldiers for her
legions, new brains fitted to understand and carry on the work of
civilizing the world.

[Footnote 17: See _Caesar Conquers Gaul_, page 267.]

When Caesar, turning away from Britain,[18] marched these new-formed
legions back against Rome, even as Sulla had done, it was almost like
another Gallic invasion of the South. Pompey fled. He gathered his
legions from Asia; and the world resounded once more to the clash of

[Footnote 18: See _Roman Invasion and Conquest of Britain_, page 285.]

This, then, was the third and final stage of the huge struggle for
empire. War was still the business of the world. Rome had first defeated
foreign nations; then she had to defeat the uprisings of the subject
peoples; now her chiefs, finding her exhausted, fought among themselves
for the supreme power. Armies of Asiatics, armies of Gauls, each
claiming to represent Rome, battled over her helpless body.

Caesar was victorious. But when the conquering power which had once
belonged to the united nation became embodied in a single man, there was
a new way by which it might be checked. The government of Rome, like
that of the Greek and Asiatic tyrannies, became a "despotism tempered by
assassination"; and Caesar was its foremost victim.[19]

[Footnote 19: See _Assassination of Caesar_, page 313.]

His death did not stop the fascinating gamble for empire. It only added
one more move to the possible complexities of the game. The lesser
players had their chance. They intrigued and they fought. Egypt, the
last remaining civilized state outside of Rome, was drawn into the
whirlpool also.[20] Cleopatra and Antony acted their reckless parts, and
at length out of the world-wide tumult emerged "young Octavius," to
assume his _role_ as "Augustus Caesar," acknowledged emperor of the

[Footnote 20: See _Cleopatra's Conquest of Caesar and Antony_, page

[Footnote 21: See _Rome Becomes a Monarchy_, page 333.]

Note, however, that the term "world" is still one of boast, not truth.
Emperor over many men, Augustus was; but the powers of nature still shut
many races safe beyond his mastery. The ocean bounded his dominion on
the west; the deserts to the south and east; the German forests to the
north. These last he did essay to conquer, but they proved beyond him.
The wild German tribes having no cities, which they must defend at any
cost, could afford to flee or hide. Choosing their own time and place
they rose suddenly, smote the legions of Augustus, and melted into the
wilderness again.[22]

[Footnote 22: See _Germans Under Arminius Revolt against Rome_, page

Rome was checked at last. No civilized nation had been able to stand
against her; but the wild tribes of the Germans and the Parthians did.
Barbarism had still by far the larger portion of the world wherein to
live and develop, and gather brain and brawn. Rome could not conquer the

(For the next section of this general survey see Volume III.)


B.C. 450


(When wars and pestilence had laid a heavy burden upon the Roman people,
there appears to have been a period in which internal commotions and
civil strife were stilled, and the quarrels of patricians and plebeians
gave way to temporary truce. On the inevitable renewal of the old
struggle the college of tribunes adopted a measure favorable to the
plebeians in so far as it provided means for checking the abuse of power
on the part of consuls in punishing members of that class in connection
with the prosecution of suits against them.

The passage of this measure had the effect of reopening former
conflicts, the patrician elements becoming greatly alarmed at what they
regarded as a fresh encroachment upon their hereditary rights. The
contest was long and bitter, each side either bringing forward or
rejecting again and again the same measures or the same representatives.

Finally, compromises were made, and in the year B.C. 452 a commission of
ten men, called _decemvirs_, constituting the _Decemvirate_, was chosen,
consisting wholly of patricians, who entered with great efficiency upon
the discharge of legislative duties which resulted in the production of
a new code. This was approved by the senate and by the popular
representatives, and was published in the form of ten copper plates or
tables, which were affixed to the speaker's pulpit in the Forum. Among
the new decemvirs appointed in the year B.C. 450 were several plebeians,
the first official representatives of the entire people who were chosen
from that class.)

The patrician burgesses endeavored to wrest independence from the
"plebs" after the battle of Lake Regillus; and the latter, ruined by
constant wars with the neighboring nations, being compelled to make good
their losses by borrowing money from patrician creditors, and liable to
become bondsmen in default of payment, at length deserted the city, and
only returned on condition of being protected by tribunes of their own;
they then, by the firmness of Publilius Volero and Laetorius, obtained
the right of electing these tribunes at their own assembly, the "Comitia
of the Tribes." Finally the great consul Spurius Cassius endeavored to
relieve the commonalty by an agrarian law, so as to better their
condition permanently.

The execution of the Agrarian law was constantly evaded. But on the
conquest of Antium from the Volscians, in the year B.C. 468, a colony
was sent thither, and this was one of the first examples of a
distribution of public land to poorer citizens; which answered two
purposes--the improvement of their condition, and the defence of the
place against the enemy.

Nor did the tribunes, now made altogether independent of the patricians,
fail to assert their power. One of the first persons who felt the force
of their arm was the second Appius Claudius. This Sabine noble,
following his father's example, had, after the departure of the Fabii,
led the opposition to the Publilian law. When he took the field against
the Volscians, his soldiers would not fight, and the stern commander put
to death every tenth man in his legions. For the acts of his consulship
he was brought to trial by the tribunes M. Duillius and C. Sicinius.
Seeing that conviction was certain, the proud patrician avoided
humiliation by suicide.

Nevertheless the border wars still continued, and the plebeians suffered
much. To the evils of debt and want were added about this time the
horrors of pestilential disease, which visited the Roman territory
several times at that period. In one year (B.C. 464) the two consuls,
two of the four augurs, and the curio Maximus, who was the head of all
the patricians, were swept off--a fact which implies the death of a vast
number of less distinguished persons. The government was administered by
the plebeian aediles, under the control of senatorial interreges. The
Volscians and Aequians ravaged the country up to the walls of Rome; and
the safety of the city must be attributed to the Latins and Hernici, not
to the men of Rome.

Meantime the tribunes had in vain demanded a full execution of the
Agrarian law. But in the year B.C. 462, one of the Sacred College, by
name C. Terentilius Harsa, came forward with a bill, the object of which
was to give the plebeians a surer footing in the state. This man
perceived that as long as the consuls retained their almost despotic
power, and were elected by the influence of the patricians, this order
had it in its power to thwart all measures, even after they were passed,
which tended to advance the interests of the plebeians. He therefore no
longer demanded the execution of the Agrarian law, but proposed that a
commission of ten men (_decemviri_) should be appointed to draw up
constitutional laws for regulating the future relations of the
patricians and plebeians.

The Reform Bill of Terentilius was, as might be supposed, vehemently
resisted by the patrician burgesses. But the plebeians supported their
champion no less warmly. For five consecutive years the same tribunes
were reelected and in vain endeavored to carry the bill. This was the
time which least fulfils the character which we have claimed for the
Roman people--patience and temperance, combined with firmness in their
demands. To prevent the tribunes from carrying their law, the younger
patricians thronged to the assemblies and interfered with all
proceedings; Terentilius, they said, was endeavoring to confound all
distinction between the orders. Some scenes occurred which seem to show
that both sides were prepared for civil war.

In the year B.C. 460 the city was alarmed by hearing that the Capitol
had been seized by a band of Sabines and exiled Romans, under the
command of one Herdonius. Who these exiles were is uncertain. But we
know, by the legend of Cincinnatus, that Caeso Quinctius, the son of that
old hero, was an exile. It has been inferred, therefore, that he was
among them, that the tribunes had succeeded in banishing from the city
the most violent of their opponents, and that these persons had not
scrupled to associate themselves with Sabines to recover their homes.
The consul Valerius, aided by the Latins of Tusculum, levied an army to
attack the insurgents, on condition that after success the law should be
fully considered. The exiles were driven out and Herdonius was killed.
But the consul fell in the assault, and the patricians, led by old
Cincinnatus, refused to fulfil his promises.

Then followed the danger of the AEquian invasion, to which the legend of
Cincinnatus, as given above, refers. The stern old man used his
dictatorial power quite as much to crush the tribunes at home as to
conquer the enemies abroad.

One of the historians tells us that in this period of seditious violence
many of the leading plebeians were assassinated (as the tribune Genucius
had been), and to this time only can be attributed the horrible story,
mentioned by more than one writer, that nine tribunes were burned alive
at the instance of their colleague Mucius. Society was utterly
disorganized. The two orders were on the brink of civil war. It seemed
as if Rome was to become the city of discord, not of law. Happily, there
were moderate men in both orders. Now, as at the time of the secession,
their voices prevailed, and a compromise was arranged.

In the eighth year after the first promulgation of the Terentilian law,
this compromise was made (B.C. 454). The law itself was no longer
pressed by the tribunes. The patricians, on the other hand, so far gave
way as to allow three men (_triumviri_) to be appointed, who were to
travel into Greece, and bring back a copy of the laws of Solon, as well
as the laws and institutes of any other Greek states which they might
deem good and useful. These were to be the groundwork of a new code of
laws, such as should give fair and equal rights to both orders and
restrain the arbitrary power of the patrician magistrates.

Another concession made by the patrician lords was a small installment of
the Agrarian law. L. Icilius, tribune of the plebs, proposed that all
the Aventine hill, being public land, should be made over to the plebs,
to be their quarter forever, as the other hills were occupied by the
patricians and their clients. This hill, it will be remembered, was
consecrated to the goddess Diana (Jana), and though included in the
walls of Servius, was yet not within the sacred limits (_pomoerium_) of
the patrician city. After some opposition the patricians suffered this
Icilian law to pass, in hopes of soothing the anger of the plebeians.
The land was parcelled out into building-sites. But as there was not
enough to give a separate plot to every plebeian householder that wished
to live in the city, one allotment was assigned to several persons, who
built a joint house _flats_ or stories, each of which was inhabited--as
in Edinburgh and in most foreign towns--by a separate family.

The three men who had been sent into Greece returned in the third year
(B.C. 452). They found the city free from domestic strife, partly from
the concessions already made, partly from expectation of what was now to
follow, and partly from the effect of a pestilence which had broken out

So far did moderate counsels now prevail among the patricians, that
after some little delay they agreed to suspend the ordinary government
by the consuls and other officers, and in their stead to appoint a
council of ten, who were, during their existence, to be intrusted with
all the functions of government. But they were to have a double duty:
they were not only an administrative, but also a legislative council. On
the one hand, they were to conduct the government, administer justice,
and command the armies. On the other, they were to draw up a code of
laws by which equal justice was to be dealt out to the whole Roman
people, to patricians and plebeians alike, and by which especially the
authority to be exercised by the consuls, or chief magistrates, was to
be clearly determined and settled.

This supreme council of ten, or decemvirs, was first appointed in the
year B.C. 450. They were all patricians. At their head stood Appius
Claudius and T. Genucius, who had already been chosen consuls for this
memorable year. This Appius Claudius (the third of his name) was son and
grandson of those two patrician chiefs who had opposed the leaders of
the plebeians so vehemently in the matter of the tribunate. But he
affected a different conduct from his sires. He was the most popular man
of the whole council, and became in fact the sovereign of Rome. At first
he used his great power well, and the first year's government of the
decemvirs was famed for justice and moderation.

They also applied themselves diligently to their great work of
law-making, and before the end of the year had drawn up a code of ten
tables, which were posted in the Forum, that all citizens might examine
them and suggest amendments to the decemvirs. After due time thus spent,
the ten tables were confirmed and made law at the Comitia of the
Centuries. By this code equal justice was to be administered to both
orders without distinction of persons.

At the close of the year the first decemvirs laid down their office,
just as the consuls and other officers of state had been accustomed to
do before. They were succeeded by a second set of ten, who, for the next
year at least, were to conduct the government like their predecessors.
The only one of the old decemvirs reelected was Appius Claudius. The
patricians, indeed, endeavored to prevent even this, and to this end he
was himself appointed to preside at the new elections; for it was held
impossible for a chief magistrate to return his own name, when he was
himself presiding. But Appius scorned precedents. He returned himself as
elected, together with nine others, men of no name, while two of the
great Quinctian gens, who offered themselves, were rejected.

Of the new decemvirs, it is certain that three--and it is probable that
five--were plebeians. Appius, with the plebeian Oppius, held the
judicial office, and remained in the city; and these two seem to have
been regarded as the chiefs. The other six commanded the armies and
discharged the duties previously assigned to the quaestors and aediles.

The first decemvirs had earned the respect and esteem of their
fellow-citizens. The new Council of Ten deserved the hatred which has
ever since cloven to their name. Appius now threw off the mask which he
had so long worn, and assumed his natural character--the same as had
distinguished his sire and grandsire, of unhappy memory. He became an
absolute despot. His brethren in the council offered no hinderance to
his will; even the plebeian decemvirs, bribed by power, fell into his
way of action and supported his tyranny. They each had twelve lictors,
who carried fasces with the axes in them the symbol of absolute power,
as in the times of the kings; so that it was said, "Rome had now twelve
Tarquins instead of one, and one hundred and twenty armed lictors
instead of twelve!" All freedom of speech ceased. The senate was seldom
called together. The leading men, patricians and plebeians, left the
city. The outward aspect of things was that of perfect calm and peace,
but an opportunity only was wanting for the discontent which was
smouldering in all men's hearts to break out and show itself.

By the end of the year the decemvirs had added two more tables to the
code, so that there were now twelve tables. But these two last were of a
most oppressive and arbitrary kind, devoted chiefly to restore the
ancient privileges of the patrician caste. Of these tables, it should be
observed that they were made laws not by the vote of the people, but by
the simple edict of the decemvirs.

It was, no doubt, expected that the second decemvirs also would have
held _comitia_ for the election of successors. But Appius and his
colleagues showed no such intention, and when the year came to a close
they continued to hold office as if they had been reelected. So firmly
did their power seem to be established that we hear of no endeavor being
made to induce them to resign.

In the course of this next year (B.C. 449), the border wars were
renewed. On the north the Sabines, and the AEquians on the northeast,
invaded the Roman country at the same time. The latter penetrated as far
as Mount Algidus, as in B.C. 458, when they were routed by old
Cincinnatus. The decemvirs probably, like the patrician burgesses in
former times, regarded these inroads not without satisfaction; for they
turned away the mind of the people from their sufferings at home. Yet
from these very wars sprung the events which overturned their power and
destroyed themselves.

Two armies were levied, one to check the Sabines, the other to oppose
the AEquians, and these were commanded by the six military decemvirs.
Appius and Oppius remained to administer affairs at home. But there was
no spirit in the armies. Both were defeated; and that which was opposed
to the AEquians was compelled to take refuge within the walls of

Then followed two events which were preserved in well-known legends, and
which give the popular narrative of the manner in which the power of the
decemvirs was at last overthrown.


In the army sent against the Sabines, Siccius Dentatus was known as the
bravest man. He was then serving as a centurion; he had fought in one
hundred and twenty battles; he had slain eight champions in single
combat; had saved the lives of fourteen citizens; had received forty
wounds, all in front; had followed in nine triumphal processions, and
had won crowns and decorations without number. This gallant veteran had
taken an active part in the civil contests between the two orders, and
was now suspected, by the decemvirs commanding the Sabine army, of
plotting against them. Accordingly they determined to get rid of him;
and for this end they sent him out as if to reconnoitre, with a party of
soldiers, who were secretly instructed to murder him. Having discovered
their design, he set his back against a rock and resolved to sell his
life dearly. More than one of his assailants fell and the rest stood at
bay around him, not venturing to come within sword's length, when one
wretch climbed up the rock behind and crushed the brave old man with a
massive stone. But the manner of his death could not be hidden from the
army, and the generals only prevented an outbreak by honoring him with a
magnificent funeral.

Such was the state of things in the Sabine army.


[Footnote 23: Dionysius is the authority for this legend.]

The other army had a still grosser outrage to complain of. In this there
was a notable centurion, Virginius by name. His daughter Virginia, just
ripening into womanhood, beautiful as the day, was betrothed to L.
Icilius, the tribune who had carried the law for allotting the Aventine
hill to the plebeians. Appius Claudius, the decemvir, saw her and lusted
to make her his own. And with this intent he ordered one of his clients,
M. Claudius by name, to lay hands upon her as she was going to her
school in the Forum, and to claim her as his slave. The man did so; and
when the cries of her nurse brought a crowd round them, M. Claudius
insisted on taking her before the decemvir, in order, as he said, to
have the case fairly tried. Her friends consented; and no sooner had
Appius heard the matter than he gave judgment that the maiden should be
delivered up to the claimant, who should be bound to produce her in case
her alleged father appeared to gainsay the claim. Now this judgment was
directly against one of the laws of the twelve tables, which Appius
himself had framed; for therein it was provided that any person being at
freedom should continue free till it was proved that such person was a
slave. Icilius, therefore, with Numitorius, the uncle of the maiden,
boldly argued against the legality of the judgment, and at length
Appius, fearing a tumult, agreed to leave the girl in their hands on
condition of their giving bail to bring her before him next morning; and
then, if Virginius did not appear, he would at once, he said, give her
up to her pretended master. To this Icilius consented, but he delayed
giving bail, pretending that he could not procure it readily; and in the
mean time he sent off a secret message to the camp on Algidus, to inform
Virginius of what had happened. As soon as the bail was given, Appius
also sent a message to the decemvirs in command of that army, ordering
them to refuse leave of absence to Virginius. But when this last message
arrived, Virginius was already halfway on his road to Rome; for the
distance was not more than twenty miles, and he had started at

Next morning, early, Virginius entered the Forum, leading his daughter
by the hand, both clad in mean attire. A great number of friends and
matrons attended him, and he went about among the people entreating them
to support him against the tyranny of Appius. So when Appius came to
take his place on the judgment seat he found the Forum full of people,
all friendly to Virginius and his cause. But he inherited the boldness
as well as the vices of his sires, and though he saw Virginius standing
there ready to prove that he was the maiden's father, he at once gave
judgment, against his own law, that Virginia should be given up to M.
Claudius till it should be proved that she was free. The wretch came up
to seize her, and the lictors kept the people from him. Virginius, now
despairing of deliverance, begged Appius to allow him to ask the maiden
whether she were indeed his daughter or not. "If," said he, "I find I am
not her father, I shall bear her loss the lighter." Under this pretence
he drew her aside to a spot upon the northern side of the Forum,
afterward called the "_Nova Tabernce_" and here, snatching up a knife
from a butcher's stall, he cried: "In this way only can I keep thee
free!"--and so saying, stabbed her to the heart. Then he turned to the
tribunal and said, "On thee, Appius, and on thy head be this blood!"
Appius cried out to seize "the murderer," but the crowd made way for
Virginius, and he passed through them holding up the bloody knife, and
went out at the gate and made straight for the army. There, when the
soldiers had heard his tale, they at once abandoned their decemviral
generals and marched to Rome. They were soon followed by the other army
from the Sabine frontier; for to them Icilius had gone, and Numitorius;
and they found willing ears among men who were already enraged by the
murder of old Siccius Dentatus. So the two armies joined their banners,
elected new generals, and encamped upon the Aventine hill, the quarter
of the plebeians.

Meantime the people at home had risen against Appius, and after driving
him from the Forum they joined their armed fellow-citizens upon the
Aventine. There the whole body of the commons, armed and unarmed, hung
like a dark cloud ready to burst upon the city.

Whatever may be the truth of the legends of Siccius and Virginia, there
can be no doubt that the conduct of the decemvirs had brought matters to
the verge of civil war. At this juncture the senate met, and the
moderate party so far prevailed as to send their own leaders, M.
Horatius Barbatus and L. Valerius Potitus, to negotiate with the
insurgents. The plebeians were ready to listen to the voices of these
men; for they remembered that the consuls of the first year of the
Republic, when the patrician burgesses were friends to the plebeians,
were named Valerius and Horatius; and so they appointed M. Duillius, a
former tribune, to be their spokesman. But no good came of it; and
Duillius persuaded the plebeians to leave the city, and once more to
occupy the Sacred Mount.

Then remembrances of the great secession came back upon the minds of the
patricians, and the senate, observing the calm and resolute bearing of
the plebeian leaders, compelled the decemvirs to resign, and sent back
Valerius and Horatius to negotiate anew.

The leaders of the plebeians demanded: First, that the tribuneship
should be restored, and the _Comitia Tributa_ recognized; secondly, that
a right of appeal to the people against the power of the supreme
magistrate should be secured; thirdly, that full indemnity should be
granted to the movers and promoters of the late secession; fourthly,
that the decemvirs should be burnt alive.

Of these demands the deputies of the senate agreed to the three first;
but the fourth, they said, was unworthy of a free people; it was a piece
of tyranny, as bad as any of the worst acts of the late government; and
it was needless, because anyone who had reason of complaint against the
late decemvirs might proceed against them according to law. The
plebeians listened to these words of wisdom, and withdrew their savage
demand. The other three were confirmed by the fathers, and the plebeians
returned to their quarters on the Aventine. Here they held an assembly
according to their tribes, in which the pontifex Maximus presided; and
they now, for the first time, elected ten tribunes--first Virginius,
Numitorius, and Icilius, then Duillius and six others: so full were
their minds of the wrong done to the daughter of Virginius; so entirely
was it the blood of young Virginia that overthrew the decemvirs, even as
that of Lucretia had driven out the Tarquins.

The plebeians had now returned to the city, headed by their ten
tribunes, a number which was never again altered so long as the
tribunate continued in existence. It remained for the patricians to
redeem the pledges given by their agents Valerius and Horatius on the
other demands of the plebeian leaders.

The first thing to settle was the election of the supreme magistrates.
The decemvirs had fallen, and the state was without any executive

It has been supposed, as we have said above, that the government of the
decemvirs was intended to be perpetual. The patricians gave up their
consuls, and the plebeians their tribunes, on condition that each order
was to be admitted to an equal share in the new decemviral college. But
the tribunes were now restored in augmented number, and it was but
natural that the patricians should insist on again occupying all places
in the supreme magistracy. By common consent, as it would seem, the
Comitia of the Centuries met and elected to the consulate the two
patricians who had shown themselves the friends of both orders: L.
Valerius Potitus and M. Horatius Barbatus. Thus ended the government of
the decemvirate.


B.C. 444


(Under the sway of Pericles many changes occurred in the civil affairs
of Athens affecting the constitution of the state and the character and
administration of its laws. Events of magnitude marked the struggles of
the Athenians with other powers. The development of art and learning was
carried to an unprecedented height, and the Age of Pericles is the most
illustrious in ancient history.

Pericles began his career by opposing the aristocratic party of Athens,
led by Cimon. In this policy he was aided by complications arising with
Sparta and Argos. Directing his attack particularly against the
Areopagus, he succeeded in greatly modifying the composition of that
body and diminishing its powers. The exile of Cimon, the strengthening
of Athens by new alliances, and the vigorous prosecution of wars against
Persia and Corinth combined to establish his supremacy, which was still
further confirmed by the building of the long walls connecting Athens
with the sea, and by the acquisition of neighboring territory.

A favorable convention was concluded with Persia, Athens resumed a state
of general peace, and Pericles found himself at the head of a powerful
empire formed out of a confederacy previously existing. The strength of
this empire was indeed soon impaired by ill-judged military movements,
against the advice of Pericles himself, but during six years of peace
which followed he succeeded in perfecting a state whose preeminence in
intellectual, political, and artistic development has had no rival.

In the later wars of Athens the renown of Pericles was still further
enhanced; but his chief glory arose from the architectural adornment of
the city, and especially from the building of the Parthenon and the
splendid decoration of the Acropolis; while his work of judicial reform
remains an added monument to his fame, and among the masters of
eloquence his orations preserve for him a foremost place.)

Pericles was of the tribe Acamantis, and of the township of Cholargos,
and was descended from the noblest families in Athens, on both his
father's and mother's side. His father, Xanthippus, defeated the Persian
generals at Mycale, while his mother, Agariste, was a descendant of
Clisthenes, who drove the sons of Pisistratus out of Athens, put an end
to their despotic rule, and established a new constitution admirably
calculated to reconcile all parties and save the country. She dreamed
that she had brought forth a lion, and a few days afterward was
delivered of Pericles. His body was symmetrical, but his head was long,
out of all proportion; for which reason, in nearly all his statues he is
represented wearing a helmet, as the sculptors did not wish, I suppose,
to reproach him with this blemish. The Attic poets called him
squill-head, and the comic poet Cratinus, in his play _Chirones_, says;

"From Chronos old and faction
Is sprung a tyrant dread,
And all Olympus calls him
The man-compelling head."

And again in the play of _Nemesis_:

"Come, hospitable Zeus, with lofty head."

Teleclides, too, speaks of him as sitting

"Bowed down
With a dreadful frown,
Because matters of state have gone wrong,
Until at last,
From his head so vast,
His ideas burst forth in a throng."

And Eupolis, in his play of _Demoi_, asking questions about each of the
great orators as they come up from the other world one after the other,
when at last Pericles ascends, says:

"The great headpiece of those below."

Most writers tell us that his tutor in music was Damon, whose name they
say should be pronounced with the first syllable short. Aristotle,
however, says that he studied under Pythoclides. This Damon, it seems,
was a sophist of the highest order, who used the name of music to
conceal this accomplishment from the world, but who really trained
Pericles for his political contests just as a trainer prepares an
athlete for the games. However, Damon's use of music as a pretext did
not impose upon the Athenians, who banished him by ostracism, as a
busybody and lover of despotism.

Pericles greatly admired Anaxagoras, and became deeply interested in
grand speculations, which gave him a haughty spirit and a lofty style of
oratory far removed from vulgarity and low buffoonery, and also an
imperturbable gravity of countenance and a calmness of demeanor and
appearance which no incident could disturb as he was speaking, while the
tone of his voice never showed that he heeded any interruption. These
advantages greatly impressed the people. The poet Ion, however, says
that Pericles was overbearing and insolent in conversation, and that his
pride had in it a great deal of contempt for others, while he praises
Cimon's civil, sensible, and polished address. But we may disregard Ion
as a mere dramatic poet who always sees in great men something upon
which to exercise his satiric vein; whereas Zeno used to invite those
who called the haughtiness of Pericles a mere courting of popularity and
affectation of grandeur, to court popularity themselves in the same
fashion, since the acting of such a part might insensibly mould their
dispositions until they resembled that of their model.

Pericles when young greatly feared the people. He had a certain personal
likeness to the despot Pisistratus; and as his own voice was sweet, and
he was ready and fluent in speech, old men who had known Pisistratus
were struck by his resemblance to him. He was also rich, of noble birth,
and had powerful friends, so that he feared he might be banished by
ostracism, and consequently held aloof from politics, but proved himself
a brave and daring soldier in the wars. But when Aristides was dead,
Themistocles banished, and Cimon generally absent on distant campaigns,
Pericles engaged in public affairs, taking the popular side, that of the
poor and many, against that of the rich and few; quite contrary to his
own feelings, which were entirely aristocratic. He feared, it seems,
that he might be suspected of a design to make himself despot, and
seeing that Cimon took the side of the nobility, and was much beloved by
them, he betook himself to the people, as a means of obtaining safety
for himself, and a strong party to combat that of Cimon. He immediately
altered his mode of life; was never seen in any street except that which
led to the market-place and the national assembly, and declined all
invitations to dinner and such like social gatherings. But Pericles
feared to make himself too common even with the people, and only
addressed them after long intervals; not speaking upon every subject,
and not constantly addressing them, but, as Critolaus says, keeping
himself like the Salaminian trireme for great crises, and allowing his
friends and the other orators to manage matters of less moment.

Wishing to adopt a style of speaking consonant with his haughty manner
and lofty spirit, Pericles made free use of the instrument which
Anaxagoras, as it were, put into his hand, and often tinged his oratory
with natural philosophy. He far surpassed all others by using this
"lofty intelligence and power of universal consummation," as the divine
Plato calls it; in addition to his natural advantages, adorning his
oratory with apt illustrations drawn from physical science. For this
reason some think that he was nicknamed the Olympian; though some refer
this to his improvement of the city by new and beautiful buildings, and
others from his power both as a politician and a general. It is not by
any means unlikely that these causes all combined to produce the name.

Pericles was very cautious about his words, and, whenever he ascended
the tribune to speak, used first to pray to the gods that nothing
unfitted for the present occasion might fall from his lips. He left no
writings, except the measures which he brought forward, and very few of
his sayings are recorded.

Thucydides represents the constitution under Pericles as a democracy in
name, but really an aristocracy, because the government was all in the
hands of one leading citizen. But as many other writers tell us that,
during his administration, the people received grants of land abroad,
and were indulged with dramatic entertainments, and payments for their
services, in consequence of which they fell into bad habits, and became
extravagant and licentious, instead of sober hard-working people as they
had been before, let us consider the history of this change, viewing it
by the light of the facts themselves. First of all, Pericles had to
measure himself with Cimon, and to transfer the affections of the people
from Cimon to himself. As he was not so rich a man as Cimon, who used
from his own ample means to give a dinner daily to any poor Athenian who
required it, clothe aged persons, and take away the fences round his
property, so that anyone might gather the fruit, Pericles, unable to vie
with him in this, turned his attention to a distribution of the public
funds among the people, at the suggestion, we are told by Aristotle, of
Damonides of Oia. By the money paid for public spectacles, for citizens
acting as jurymen, and other paid offices, and largesses, he soon won
over the people to his side, so that he was able to use them in his
attack upon the senate of the Areopagus, of which he himself was not a
member, never having been chosen _archon_, or _thesmothete_, or _king
archon_, or _polemarch_. These offices had from ancient times been
obtained by lot, and it was only through them that those who had
approved themselves in the discharge of them were advanced to the
Areopagus. For this reason it was that Pericles, when he gained strength
with the populace, destroyed this senate, making Ephialtes bring forward
a bill which restricted its judicial powers, while he himself succeeded
in getting Cimon banished by ostracism, as a friend of Sparta and a
hater of the people, although he was second to no Athenian in birth or
fortune, and won most brilliant victories over the Persians, and had
filled Athens with plunder and spoils of war. So great was the power of
Pericles with the common people.

One of the provisions of ostracism was that the person banished should
remain in exile for ten years. But during this period the Lacedaemonians
with a great force invaded the territory of Tanagra, and, as the
Athenians at once marched out to attack them, Cimon came back from
exile, took his place in full armor among the ranks of his own tribe,
and hoped by distinguishing himself in the battle among his
fellow-citizens to prove the falsehood of the Laconian sympathies with
which he had been charged. However, the friends of Pericles drove him
away, as an exile. On the other hand, Pericles fought more bravely in
that battle than he had ever fought before, and surpassed everyone in
reckless daring. The friends of Cimon also, whom Pericles had accused of
Laconian leanings, fell, all together, in their ranks; and the Athenians
felt great sorrow for their treatment of Cimon, and a great longing for
his restoration, now that they had lost a great battle on the frontier,
and expected to be hard pressed during the summer by the Lacedaemonians.
Pericles, perceiving this, lost no time in gratifying the popular wish,
but himself proposed the decree for his recall; and Cimon on his return
reconciled the two states, for he was on familiar terms with the
Spartans, who were hated by Pericles and the other leaders of the common
people. Some say that, before Cimon's recall by Pericles, a secret
compact was made with him by Elpinice, Cimon's sister, that Cimon was to
proceed on foreign service against the Persians with a fleet of two
hundred ships, while Pericles was to retain his power in the city. It is
also said that, when Cimon was being tried for his life, Elpinice
softened the resentment of Pericles, who was one of those appointed to
impeach him. When Elpinice came to beg her brother's life of him, he
answered with a smile, "Elpinice, you are too old to meddle in affairs
of this sort." But, for all that, he spoke only once, for form's sake,
and pressed Cimon less than any of his other prosecutors. How, then, can
one put any faith in Idomeneus, when he accuses Pericles of procuring
the assassination of his friend and colleague Ephialtes, because he was
jealous of his reputation? This seems an ignoble calumny which Idomeneus
has drawn from some obscure source to fling at a man who, no doubt, was
not faultless, but of a generous spirit and noble mind, incapable of
entertaining so savage and brutal a design. Ephialtes was disliked and
feared by the nobles, and was inexorable in punishing those who wronged
the people; wherefore his enemies had him assassinated by means of
Aristodicus of Tanagra. This we are told by Aristotle. Cimon died in
Cyprus while in command of the Athenian forces.

The nobles now perceived that Pericles was the most important man in the
state, and far more powerful than any other citizen; wherefore, as they
still hoped to check his authority, and not allow him to be omnipotent,
they set up Thucydides, of the township of Alopecae, as his rival, a man
of good sense and a relative of Cimon, but less of a warrior and more of
a politician, who, by watching his opportunities, and opposing Pericles
in debate, soon brought about a balance of power. He did not allow the
nobles to mix themselves up with the people in the public assembly as
they had been wont to do, so that their dignity was lost among the
masses; but he collected them into a separate body, and by thus
concentrating their strength was able to use it to counterbalance that
of the other party. From the beginning these two factions had been but
imperfectly welded together, because their tendencies were different;
but now the struggle for power between Pericles and Thucydides drew a
sharp line of demarcation between them, and one was called the party of
the Many, the other that of the Few. Pericles now courted the people in
every way, constantly arranging public spectacles, festivals, and
processions in the city, by which he educated the Athenians to take
pleasure in refined amusements; and also he sent out sixty triremes to
cruise every year, in which many of the people served for hire for eight
months, learning and practising seamanship. Besides this he sent a
thousand settlers to the Chersonese, five hundred to Naxos, half as many
to Andros, a thousand to dwell among the Thracian tribe of the Bisaltae,
and others to the new colony in Italy founded by the city of Sybaris,
which was named Thurii. By this means he relieved the state of numerous
idle agitators, assisted the necessitous, and overawed the allies of
Athens by placing his colonists near them to watch their behavior.

The building of the temples, by which Athens was adorned, the people
delighted, and the rest of the world astonished, and which now alone
prove that the tales of the ancient power and glory of Greece are no
fables, was what particularly excited the spleen of the opposite
faction, who inveighed against him in the public assembly, declaring
that the Athenians had disgraced themselves by transferring the common
treasury of the Greeks from the island of Delos to their own custody.
"Pericles himself," they urged, "has taken away the only possible excuse
for such an act--the fear that it might be exposed to the attacks of the
Persians when at Delos, whereas it would be safe at Athens. Greece has
been outraged, and feels itself openly tyrannized over, when it sees us
using the funds--which we extorted from it for the war against the
Persians--for gilding and beautifying our city as if it were a vain
woman, and adorning it with precious marbles and statues and temples
worth a thousand talents." To this Pericles replied that the allies had
no right to consider how their money was spent, so long as Athens
defended them from the Persians; while they supplied neither horses,
ships, nor men, but merely money, which the Athenians had a right to
spend as they pleased, provided they afforded them that security which
it purchased. It was right, he argued, that after the city had provided
all that was necessary for war, it should devote its surplus money to
the erection of buildings which would be a glory to it for all ages,
while these works would create plenty by leaving no man unemployed, and
encouraging all sorts of handicraft, so that nearly the whole city would
earn wages, and thus derive both its beauty and its profit from itself.
For those who were in the flower of their age, military service offered
a means of earning money from the common stock; while, as he did not
wish the mechanics and lower classes to be without their share, nor yet
to see them receive it without doing work for it, he had laid the
foundations of great edifices which would require industries of every
kind to complete them; and he had done this in the interests of the
lower classes, who thus, although they remained at home, would have just
as good a claim to their share of the public funds as those who were
serving at sea, in garrison, or in the field. The different materials
used, such as stone, brass, ivory, gold, ebony, cypress-wood, and so
forth, would require special artisans for each, such as carpenters,
modelers, smiths, stone-masons, dyers, melters and moulders of gold,
and ivory painters, embroiderers, workers in relief; and also men to
bring them to the city, such as sailors and captains of ships and pilots
for such as came by sea; and, for those who came by land, carriage
builders, horse breeders, drivers, ropemakers, linen manufacturers,
shoemakers, road menders, and miners. Each trade, moreover, employed a
number of unskilled laborers, so that, in a word, there would be work
for persons of every age and every class, and general prosperity would
be the result.

These buildings were of immense size, and unequalled in beauty and
grace, as the workmen endeavored to make the execution surpass the
design in beauty; but what was most remarkable was the speed with which
they were built. All these edifices, each of which one would have
thought it would have taken many generations to complete, were all
finished during the most brilliant period of one man's administration.
In beauty each of them at once appeared venerable as soon as it was
built; but even at the present day the work looks as fresh as ever, for
they bloom with an eternal freshness which defies time, and seems to
make the work instinct with an unfading spirit of youth.

The overseer and manager of the whole was Phidias, although there were
other excellent architects and workmen, such as Callicrates and Ictinus,
who built the Parthenon on the site of the old Hecatompedon, which had
been destroyed by the Persians, and Coroebus, who began to build the
Temple of Initiation at Eleusis, but who only lived to see the columns
erected and the architraves placed upon them. On his death, Metagenes,
of Xypete, added the frieze and the upper row of columns, and Xenocles,
of Cholargos, crowned it with the domed roof over the shrine. As to the
long wall, about which Socrates says that he heard Pericles bring
forward a motion, Callicrates undertook to build it. The Odeum, which
internally consisted of many rows of seats and many columns, and
externally of a roof sloping on all sides from a central point, was said
to have been built in imitation of the king of Persia's tent, and was
built under Pericles' direction.

The Propylaea, before the Acropolis, were finished in five years by
Mnesicles the architect; and a miraculous incident during the work
seemed to show that the goddess did not disapprove, but rather
encouraged and assisted the building. The most energetic and active of
the workmen fell from a great height, and lay in a dangerous condition,
given over by his doctors. Pericles grieved much for him; but the
goddess appeared to him in a dream, and suggested a course of treatment
by which Pericles quickly healed the workman. In consequence of this, he
set up the brazen statue of Athene the Healer, near the old altar in the
Acropolis. The golden statue of the goddess was made by Phidias, and his
name appears upon the basement in the inscription. Almost everything was
in his hands, and he gave his orders to all the workmen--as has been
said before--because of his friendship with Pericles.

When the speakers of Thucydides' party complained that Pericles had
wasted the public money, and destroyed the revenue, he asked the people
in the assembly whether they thought he had spent much. When they
answered, "Very much indeed," he said in reply; "Do not, then, put it
down to the public account, but to mine; and I will inscribe my name
upon all the public buildings." When Pericles said this, the people,
either in admiration of his magnificence of manner, or being eager to
bear their share in the glory of the new buildings, shouted to him with
one accord to take what money he pleased from the treasury, and spend it
as he pleased, without stint. And finally, he underwent the trial of
ostracism with Thucydides, and not only succeeded in driving him into
exile, but broke up his party.

As now there was no opposition to encounter in the city, and all parties
had been blended into one, Pericles undertook the sole administration of
the home and foreign affairs of Athens, dealing with the public revenue,
the army, the navy, the islands and maritime affairs, and the great
sources of strength which Athens derived from her alliances, as well
with Greek as with foreign princes and states. Henceforth he became
quite a different man: he no longer gave way to the people, and ceased
to watch the breath of popular favor; but he changed the loose and
licentious democracy which had hitherto existed, into a stricter
aristocratic, or rather monarchical, form of government. This he used
honorably and unswervingly for the public benefit, finding the people,
as a rule, willing to second the measures which he explained to them to
be necessary and to which he asked their consent, but occasionally
having to use violence, and to force them, much against their will, to
do what was expedient; like a physician dealing with some complicated
disorder, who at one time allows his patient innocent recreation, and at
another inflicts upon him sharp pains and bitter though salutary
draughts. Every possible kind of disorder was to be found among a people
possessing so great an empire as the Athenians, and he alone was able to
bring them into harmony by playing alternately upon their hopes and
fears, checking them when overconfident, and raising their spirits when
they were cast down and disheartened. Thus, as Plato says, he was able
to prove that oratory is the art of influencing men's minds, and to use
it in its highest application, when it deals with men's passions and
characters, which, like certain strings of a musical instrument, require
a skilful and delicate touch. The secret of his power is to be found,
however, as Thucydides says, not so much in his mere oratory as in his
pure and blameless life, because he was so well known to be
incorruptible, and indifferent to money; for though he made the city,
which was a great one, into the greatest and richest city of Greece, and
though he himself became more powerful than many independent sovereigns,
who were able to leave their kingdoms to their sons, yet Pericles did
not increase by one single drachma the estate which he received from his
father. For forty years he held the first place among such men as
Ephialtes, Leocrates, Myronides, Cimon, Tolmides, and Thucydides; and,
after the fall and banishment of Thucydides by ostracism, he united in
himself for five-and-twenty years all the various offices of state,
which were supposed to last only for one year; and yet during the whole
of that period proved himself incorruptible by bribes.

As the Lacedaemonians began to be jealous of the prosperity of the
Athenians, Pericles, wishing to raise the spirit of the people and to
make them feel capable of immense operations, passed a decree, inviting
all the Greeks, whether inhabiting Europe or Asia, whether living in
large cities or small ones, to send representatives to a meeting at
Athens to deliberate about the restoration of the Greek temples which
had been burned by the barbarians, about the sacrifices which were due
in consequence of the vows which they had made to the gods on behalf of
Greece before joining battle, and about the sea, that all men might be
able to sail upon it in peace and without fear. To carry out this decree
twenty men, selected from the citizens over fifty years of age, were
sent out, five of whom invited the Ionian and Dorian Greeks in Asia and
the islands as far as Lesbos and Rhodes, five went to the inhabitants of
the Hellespont and Thrace as far as Byzantium, and five more proceeded
to Boeotia, Phocis, and Peloponnesus, passing from thence through Locris
to the neighboring continent as far as Acarnania and Ambracia; while the
remainder journeyed through Euboea to the Oetaeans and the Malian Gulf,
and to the Achaeans of Phthia and the Thessalians, urging them to join
the assembly and take part in the deliberations concerning the peace and
well-being of Greece. However, nothing was effected, and the cities
never assembled, in consequence it is said of the covert hostility of
the Lacedaemonians, and because the attempt was first made in
Peloponnesus and failed there: yet I have inserted an account of it in
order to show the lofty spirit and the magnificent designs of Pericles.

In his campaigns he was chiefly remarkable for caution, for he would
not, if he could help it, begin a battle of which the issue was
doubtful; nor did he wish to emulate those generals who have won
themselves a great reputation by running risks and trusting to good
luck. But he ever used to say to his countrymen, that none of them
should come by their deaths through any act of his. Observing that
Tolmides, the son of Tolmaeus, elated by previous successes and by the
credit which he had gained as a general, was about to invade Boeotia in
a reckless manner, and had persuaded a thousand young men to follow him
without any support whatever, he endeavored to stop him, and made that
memorable saying in the public assembly, that if Tolmides would not take
the advice of Pericles, he would at any rate do well to consult that
best of advisers, Time. This speech had but little success at the time;
but when, a few days afterward, the news came that Tolmides had fallen
in action at Coronea, and many noble citizens with him, Pericles was
greatly respected and admired as a wise and patriotic man.

His most successful campaign was that in the Chersonesus, which proved
the salvation of the Greeks residing there: for he not only settled a
thousand colonists there, and thus increased the available force of the
cities, but built a continuous line of fortifications reaching across
the isthmus from one sea to the other, by which he shut off the
Thracians, who had previously ravaged the peninsula, and put an end to a
constant and harassing border warfare to which the settlers were
exposed, as they had for neighbors tribes of wild plundering barbarians.

But that by which he obtained most glory and renown was when he started
from Pegae, in the Megarian territory, and sailed round the Peloponnesus
with a fleet of a hundred triremes; for he not only laid waste much of
the country near the coast, as Tolmides had previously done, but he
proceeded far inland, away from his ships, leading the troops who were
on board, and terrified the inhabitants so much that they shut
themselves up in their strongholds. The men of Sicyon alone ventured to
meet him at Nemea, and them he overthrew in a pitched battle, and
erected a trophy. Next he took on board troops from the friendly
district of Achaia, and, crossing over to the opposite side of the
Corinthian Gulf, coasted along past the mouth of the river Achelous,
overran Acarnania, drove the people of Oeneadae to the shelter of their
city walls, and after ravaging the country returned home, having made
himself a terror to his enemies, and done good service to Athens; for
not the least casualty, even by accident, befell the troops under his

When he sailed into the Black Sea with a great and splendidly equipped
fleet, he assisted the Greek cities there, and treated them with
consideration, and showed the neighboring savage tribes and their chiefs
the greatness of his force, and his confidence in his power, by sailing
where he pleased, and taking complete control over that sea. He left at
Sinope thirteen ships, and a land force under the command of Lamachus,
to act against Timesileon, who had made himself despot of that city.
When he and his party were driven out, Pericles passed a decree that six
hundred Athenian volunteers should sail to Sinope, and become citizens
there, receiving the houses and lands which had formerly been in the
possession of the despot and his party. But in other cases he would not
agree to the impulsive proposals of the Athenians, and he opposed them
when, elated by their power and good fortune, they talked of recovering
Egypt and attacking the seaboard of the Persian empire. Many, too, were
inflamed with that ill-starred notion of an attempt on Sicily, which was
afterward blown into a flame by Alcibiades and other orators. Some even
dreamed of the conquest of Etruria and Carthage, in consequence of the
greatness which the Athenian empire had already reached, and the full
tide of success which seemed to attend it.

Pericles, however, restrained these outbursts, and would not allow the
people to meddle with foreign states, but used the power of Athens
chiefly to preserve and guard her already existing empire, thinking it
to be of paramount importance to oppose the Lacedaemonians, a task to
which he bent all his energies, as is proved by many of his acts,
especially in connection with the Sacred War. In this war the
Lacedaemonians sent a force to Delphi, and made the Phocians, who held
it, give it up to the people of Delphi: but as soon as they were gone
Pericles made an expedition into the country, and restored the temple to
the Phocians; and as the Lacedaemonians had scratched the oracle which
the Delphians had given them, on the forehead of the brazen wolf there,
Pericles got a response from the oracle for the Athenians, and carved it
on the right side of the same wolf.

Events proved that Pericles was right in confining the Athenian empire
to Greece. First of all Euboea revolted, and he was obliged to lead an
army to subdue that island. Shortly after this, news came that the
Megarians had become hostile, and that an army, under the command of
Plistoanax, king of the Lacedaemonians, was menacing the frontier of
Attica. Pericles now in all haste withdrew his troops from Euboea, to
meet the invader. He did not venture on an engagement with the numerous
and warlike forces of the enemy, although repeatedly invited by them to
fight: but, observing that Plistoanax was a very young man, and entirely
under the influence of Cleandrides, whom the _ephors_ had sent to act as
his tutor and counsellor because of his tender years, he opened secret
negotiations with the latter, who at once, for a bribe, agreed to
withdraw the Peloponnesians from Attica. When their army returned and
dispersed, the Lacedaemonians were so incensed that they imposed a fine
on their king, and condemned Cleandrides, who fled the country, to be
put to death. This Cleandrides was the father of Gylippus, who caused
the ruin of the Athenian expedition in Sicily. Avarice seems to have
been hereditary in the family, for Gylippus himself, after brilliant
exploits in war, was convicted of taking bribes, and banished from
Sparta in disgrace.

When Pericles submitted the accounts of the campaign to the people,
there was an item of ten talents, "for a necessary purpose," which the
people passed without any questioning, or any curiosity to learn the
secret. Some historians, among whom is Theophrastus the philosopher, say
that Pericles sent ten talents annually to Sparta, by means of which he
bribed the chief magistrates to defer the war, thus not buying peace,
but time to make preparations for a better defence. He immediately
turned his attention to the insurgents in Euboea, and proceeding thither
with a fleet of fifty sail, and five thousand heavy armed troops, he
reduced their cities to submission. He banished from Chalcis the
"equestrian order," as it was called, consisting of men of wealth and
station; and he drove all the inhabitants of Hestiaea out of their
country, replacing them by Athenian settlers. He treated these people
with this pitiless severity, because they had captured an Athenian ship,
and put its crew to the sword. After this, as the Athenians and
Lacedaemonians made a truce for thirty years, Pericles decreed the
expedition against Samos, on the pretext that they had disregarded the
commands of the Athenians to cease from their war with the Milesians.

Pericles is accused of going to war with Samos to save the Milesians.
These states were at war about the possession of the city of Priene, and
the Samians, who were victorious, would not lay down their arms and
allow the Athenians to settle the matter by arbitration, as they ordered
them to do. For this reason Pericles proceeded to Samos, put an end to
the oligarchical form of government there, and sent fifty hostages and
as many children to Lemnos, to insure the good behavior of the leading
men. It is said that each of these hostages offered him a talent for his
own freedom, and that much more was offered by that party which was
loath to see a democracy established in the city. Besides all this,
Pissuthnes the Persian, who had a liking for the Samians, sent and
offered him ten thousand pieces of gold if he would spare the city.
Pericles, however, took none of these bribes, but dealt with Samos as he
had previously determined, and returned to Athens. The Samians now at
once revolted, as Pissuthnes managed to get them back their hostages,
and furnished them with the means of carrying on the war. Pericles now
made a second expedition against them, and found them in no mind to
submit quietly, but determined to dispute the empire of the seas with
the Athenians. Pericles gained a signal victory over them in a sea-fight
off the Goats' Island, beating a fleet of seventy ships with only
forty-four, twenty of which were transports.

Simultaneously with his victory and the flight of the enemy he obtained
command of the harbor of Samos, and besieged the Samians in their city.
They, in spite of their defeat, still possessed courage enough to sally
out and fight a battle under the walls; but soon a larger force arrived
from Athens, and the Samians were completely blockaded.

Pericles now with sixty ships sailed out of the Archipelago into the
Mediterranean, according to the most current report intending to meet
the Phoenician fleet which was coming to help the Samians, but,
according to Stesimbrotus, with the intention of attacking Cyprus, which
seems improbable. Whatever his intention may have been, his expedition
was a failure, for Melissus, the son of Ithagenes, a man of culture, who
was then in command of the Samian forces, conceiving a contempt for the
small force of the Athenians and the want of experience of their leaders
after Pericles' departure, persuaded his countrymen to attack them. In
the battle the Samians proved victorious, taking many Athenians
prisoners, and destroying many of their ships. By this victory they
obtained command of the sea, and were able to supply themselves with
more warlike stores than they had possessed before. Aristotle even says
that Pericles himself was before this beaten by Melissus in a sea-fight.
The Samians branded the figure of an owl on the foreheads of their
Athenian prisoners, to revenge themselves for the branding of their own
prisoners by the Athenians with the figure of a _samaina_. This is a
ship having a beak turned up like a swine's snout, but with a roomy
hull, so as both to carry a large cargo and sail fast. This class of
vessel is called _samaina_ because it was first built at Samos by
Polycrates, the despot of that island.

When Pericles heard of the disaster which had befallen his army, he
returned in all haste to assist them. He beat Melissus, who came out to
meet him, and, after putting the enemy to rout, at once built a wall
round their city, preferring to reduce it by blockade to risking the
lives of his countrymen in an assault. In the ninth month of the siege
the Samians surrendered. Pericles demolished their walls, confiscated
their fleet, and imposed a heavy fine upon them, some part of which was
paid at once by the Samians, who gave hostages for the payment of the
remainder at fixed periods.

Pericles, after the reduction of Samos, returned to Athens, where he
buried those who had fallen in the war in a magnificent manner, and was
much admired for the funeral oration which, as is customary, was spoken
by him over the graves of his countrymen. Ion says that his victory over
the Samians wonderfully flattered his vanity. Agamemnon, he was wont to
say, took ten years to take a barbarian city, but he in nine months had
made himself master of the first and most powerful city in Ionia. And
the comparison was not an unjust one, for truly the war was a very great
undertaking, and its issue quite uncertain, since, as Thucydides tells
us, the Samians came very near to wresting the empire of the sea from
the Athenians.

After these events, as the clouds were gathering for the Peloponnesian
war, Pericles persuaded the Athenians to send assistance to the people
of Corcyra, who were at war with the Corinthians, and thus to attach to
their own side an island with a powerful naval force, at a moment when
the Peloponnesians had all but declared war against them.

When the people passed this decree, Pericles sent only ten ships under
the command of Lacedaemonius, the son of Cimon, as if he designed a
deliberate insult; for the house of Cimon was on peculiarly friendly
terms with the Lacedaemonians. His design in sending Lacedaemonius out,
against his will, and with so few ships, was that if he performed
nothing brilliant he might be accused, even more than he was already, of
leaning to the side of the Spartans. Indeed, by all means in his power,
he always threw obstacles in the way of the advancement of Cimon's
family, representing that by their very names they were aliens, one son
being named Lacedaemonius, another Thessalus, another Elius. Moreover,
the mother of all three was an Arcadian.

Now Pericles was much reproached for sending these ten ships, which were
of little value to the Corcyreans, and gave a great handle to his
enemies to use against him, and in consequence sent a larger force after
them to Corcyra, which arrived there after the battle. The Corinthians,
enraged at this, complained in the congress of Sparta of the conduct of
the Athenians, as did also the Megarians, who said that they were
excluded from every market and every harbor which was in Athenian hands,
contrary to the ancient rights and common privileges of the Hellenic
race. The people of Aegina also considered themselves to be oppressed
and ill-treated, and secretly bemoaned their grievances in the ears of
the Spartans, for they dared not openly bring any charges against the
Athenians. At this time, too, Potidaea, a city subject to Athens, but a
colony of Corinth, revolted, and its siege materially hastened the
outbreak of the war. Archidamus, indeed, the king of the Lacedaemonians,
sent ambassadors to Athens, was willing to submit all disputed points to
arbitration, and endeavored to moderate the excitement of his allies, so
that war probably would not have broken out if the Athenians could have
been persuaded to rescind their decree of exclusion against the
Megarians, and to come to terms with them. And, for this reason,
Pericles, who was particularly opposed to this, and urged the people not
to give way to the Megarians, alone bore the blame of having begun the

Pericles passed a decree for a herald to be sent to the Megarians, and
then to go on to the Lacedaemonians to complain of their conduct. This
decree of Pericles is worded in a candid and reasonable manner; but the
herald, Anthemocritus, was thought to have met his death at the hands of
the Megarians, and Charinus passed a decree to the effect that Athens
should wage war against them to the death, without truce or armistice;
that any Megarian found in Attica should be punished with death, and
that the generals, when taking the usual oath for each year, should
swear in addition that they would invade the Megarian territory twice
every year; and that Anthemocritus should be buried near the city gate
leading into the Thriasian plain, which is now called the Double Gate.
How the dispute originated it is hard to say, but all writers agree in
throwing on Pericles the blame of refusing to reverse the decree.

Now, as the Lacedaemonians knew that if he could be removed from power
they would find the Athenians much more easy to deal with, they bade
them "drive forth the accursed thing," alluding to Pericles' descent
from the Alcmaeonidae by his mother's side, as we are told by Thucydides
the historian. But this attempt had just the contrary effect to that
which they intended; for, instead of suspicion and dislike, Pericles met
with much greater honor and respect from his countrymen than before,
because they saw that he was an object of especial dislike to the enemy.
For this reason, before the Peloponnesians, under Archidamus, invaded
Attica, he warned the Athenians that if Archidamus, when he laid waste
everything else, spared his own private estate because of the friendly
private relations existing between them, or in order to give his
personal enemies a ground for impeaching him, he should give both the
land and the farm buildings upon it to the state.

The Lacedaemonians invaded Attica with a great host of their own troops
and those of their allies, led by Archidamus, their king. They
proceeded, ravaging the country as they went, as far as Acharnae (close
to Athens), where they encamped, imagining that the Athenians would
never endure to see them there, but would be driven by pride and shame
to come out and fight them. However, Pericles thought that it would be a
very serious matter to fight for the very existence of Athens against
sixty thousand Peloponnesian and Boeotian heavy-armed troops, and so he
pacified those who were dissatisfied at his inactivity by pointing out
that trees when cut down quickly grow again, but that when the men of a
state are lost, it is hard to raise up others to take their place. He
would not call an assembly of the people, because he feared that they
would force him to act against his better judgment, but, just as the
captain of a ship, when a storm comes on at sea, places everything in
the best trim to meet it, and trusting to his own skill and seamanship,
disregarding the tears and entreaties of the seasick and terrified
passengers, so did Pericles shut the gates of Athens, place sufficient
forces to insure the safety of the city at all points, and calmly carry
out his own policy, taking little heed of the noisy grumblings of the
discontented. Many of his friends besought him to attack, many of his
enemies threatened him and abused him, and many songs and offensive
jests were written about him, speaking of him as a coward, and one who
was betraying the city to its enemies. Cleon too attacked him, using the
anger which the citizens felt against him to advance his own personal

Pericles was unmoved by any of these attacks, but quietly endured all
this storm of obloquy. He sent a fleet of a hundred ships to attack
Peloponnesus, but did not sail with it himself, remaining at home to
keep a tight hand over Athens until the Peloponnesians drew off their
forces. He regained his popularity with the common people, who suffered
much from the war, by giving them allowances of money from the public
revenue, and grants of land; for he drove out the entire population of
the island of Aegina, and divided the land by lot among the Athenians. A
certain amount of relief also was experienced by reflecting upon the
injuries which they were inflicting on the enemy; for the fleet as it
sailed round Peloponnesus destroyed many small villages and cities, and
ravaged a great extent of country, while Pericles himself led an
expedition into the territory of Megara and laid it all waste. By this
it is clear that the allies, although they did much damage to the
Athenians, yet suffered equally themselves, and never could have
protracted the war for such a length of time as it really lasted, but,
as Pericles foretold, must soon have desisted had not Providence
interfered and confounded human counsels. For now the pestilence fell
among the Athenians, and cut off the flower of their youth. Suffering
both in body and mind they raved against Pericles, just as people when
delirious with disease attack their fathers or their physicians. They
endeavored to ruin him, urged on by his personal enemies, who assured
them that he was the author of the plague, because he had brought all
the country people into the city, where they were compelled to live
during the heat of summer, crowded together in small rooms and stifling
tents, living an idle life too, and breathing foul air instead of the
pure country breeze to which they were accustomed. The cause of this,
they said, was the man who, when the war began, admitted the masses of
the country people into the city, and then made no use of them, but
allowed them to be penned up together like cattle, and transmit the
contagion from one to another, without devising any remedy or
alleviation of their sufferings.

Hoping to relieve them somewhat, and also to annoy the enemy, Pericles
manned a hundred and fifty ships, placed on board, besides the sailors,
many brave infantry and cavalry soldiers, and was about to put to sea.
The Athenians conceived great hopes, and the enemy no less terror from
so large an armament. When all was ready, and Pericles himself had just
embarked in his own trireme, an eclipse of the sun took place, producing
total darkness, and all men were terrified at so great a portent.
Pericles sailed with the fleet, but did nothing worthy of so great a
force. He besieged the sacred city of Epidaurus, but, although he had
great hopes of taking it, he failed on account of the plague, which
destroyed not only his own men, but every one who came in contact with
them. After this he again endeavored to encourage the Athenians, to whom
he had become an object of dislike. However, he did not succeed in
pacifying them, but they condemned him by a public vote to be general no
more, and to pay a fine which is stated at the lowest estimate to have
been fifteen talents, and at the highest fifty. This was carried,
according to Idomeneus, by Cleon, but, according to Theophrastus, by
Simmias; while Heraclides of Pontus says that it was effected by

He soon regained his public position, for the people's outburst of anger
was quenched by the blow they had dealt him, just as a bee leaves its
sting in the wound; but his private affairs were in great distress and
disorder, as he had lost many of his relatives during the plague, while
others were estranged from him on political grounds. Yet he would not
yield, nor abate his firmness and constancy of spirit because of these
afflictions, but was not observed to weep or mourn, or attend the
funeral of any of his relations, until he lost Paralus, the last of his
legitimate offspring. Crushed by this blow, he tried in vain to keep up
his grand air of indifference, and when carrying a garland to lay upon
the corpse he was overpowered by his feelings, so as to burst into a
passion of tears and sobs, which he had never done before in his whole

Athens made trial of her other generals and public men to conduct her
affairs, but none appeared to be of sufficient weight or reputation to
have such a charge intrusted to him. The city longed for Pericles, and
invited him again to lead its counsels and direct its armies; and he,
although dejected in spirits and living in seclusion in his own house,
was yet persuaded by Alcibiades and his other friends to resume the
direction of affairs.

After this it appears that Pericles was attacked by the plague, not
acutely or continuously, as in most cases, but in a slow wasting
fashion, exhibiting many varieties of symptoms, and gradually
undermining his strength. As he was now on his death-bed, the most
distinguished of the citizens and his surviving friends collected round
him and spoke admiringly of his nobleness and immense power, enumerating
also the number of his exploits, and the trophies which he had set up
for victories gained; for while in chief command he had won no less than
nine victories for Athens.

Events soon made the loss of Pericles felt and regretted by the
Athenians. Those who during his lifetime had complained that his power
completely threw them into the shade, when after his death they had made
trial of other orators and statesmen, were obliged to confess that with
all his arrogance no man ever was really more moderate, and that his
real mildness in dealing with men was as remarkable as his apparent
pride and assumption. His power, which had been so grudged and envied,
and called monarchy and despotism, now was proved to have been the
saving of the State; such an amount of corrupt dealing and wickedness
suddenly broke out in public affairs, which he before had crushed and
forced to hide itself, and so prevented its becoming incurable through
impunity and license.


B.C. 430


(Almost at the beginning of the Peloponnesian war, when the prosperity
of Athens had placed her at the height of her power and given her
unquestioned supremacy among the Grecian states, her strength was
greatly impaired by a visitation against which there was nothing in
military prowess or patriotic pride and devotion that could prevail.

It is one of the tragic contrasts of history--the picture of Athens, in
her full triumph and glory, smitten, at a moment when she needed to put
forth her full strength, by a deadly foe against whose might mortal arms
were vain. Her citizens were rejoicing in her social no less than her
military preeminence, and they had already been trained in the hardships
necessary to be endured in defence of an invaded country. Again they
were prepared to undergo whatever service might be laid upon them in her
behalf. They could foresee the arduous tasks and inevitable sufferings
of a great war, but had no warning of an impending calamity far worse
than those which even war, though always attended with horrors, usually
entails. Pericles had lately delivered his great funeral oration at the
public interment of soldiers who had fallen for Athens. "The bright
colors and tone of cheerful confidence," says Grote, whose account of
the plague follows, "which pervaded the discourse of Pericles, appear
the more striking from being in immediate antecedence to the awful
description of this distemper."

The death of Pericles himself, who directly or indirectly fell a victim
to the prevailing pestilence, marked a grievous crisis for Athens in
what was already become a measureless public woe. During the autumn of
the year B.C. 427 the epidemic again broke out, after a considerable
intermission, and for one year continued, "to the sad ruin both of the
strength and the comfort of the city.")

At the close of one year after the attempted surprise of Plataea by the
Thebans, the belligerent parties in Greece remained in an unaltered
position as to relative strength. Nothing decisive had been accomplished
on either side, either by the invasion of Attica or by the flying
descents round the coast of Peloponnesus. In spite of mutual damage
inflicted--doubtless in the greatest measure upon Attica--no progress
was yet made toward the fulfilment of those objects which had induced
the Peloponnesians to go to war. Especially the most pressing among all
their wishes--the relief of Potidaea--was in no way advanced; for the
Athenians had not found it necessary to relax the blockade of that city,
The result of the first year's operations had thus been to disappoint
the hopes of the Corinthians and the other ardent instigators of war,
while it justified the anticipations both of Pericles and of Archidamus.

A second devastation of Attica was resolved upon for the commencement of
spring; and measures were taken for carrying it all over that territory,
since the settled policy of Athens, not to hazard a battle with the
invaders, was now ascertained. About the end of March or beginning of
April the entire Peloponnesian force--two-thirds from each confederate
city as before--was assembled under the command of Archidamus and
marched into Attica. This time they carried the work of systematic
destruction not merely over the Thriasian plain and the plain
immediately near to Athens, as before; but also to the more southerly
portions of Attica, down even as far as the mines of Laurium. They
traversed and ravaged both the eastern and the western coast, remaining
not less than forty days in the country. They found the territory
deserted as before, all the population having retired within the walls.

In regard to this second invasion, Pericles recommended the same
defensive policy as he had applied to the first; and apparently the
citizens had now come to acquiesce in it, if not willingly, at least
with a full conviction of its necessity. But a new visitation had now
occurred, diverting their attention from the invader, though enormously
aggravating their sufferings. A few days after Archidamus entered
Attica, a pestilence or epidemic sickness broke out unexpectedly at

It appears that this terrific disorder had been raging for some time
throughout the regions round the Mediterranean; having begun, as was
believed, in Ethiopia--thence passing into Egypt and Libya, and
overrunning a considerable portion of Asia under the Persian government.
About sixteen years before, there had been a similar calamity in Rome
and in various parts of Italy. Recently it had been felt in Lemnos and
some other islands of the Aegean, yet seemingly not with such intensity
as to excite much notice generally in the Grecian world: at length it
passed to Athens, and first showed itself in the Piraeus. The progress
of the disease was as rapid and destructive as its appearance had been
sudden; while the extraordinary accumulation of people within the city
and long walls, in consequence of the presence of the invaders in the
country, was but too favorable to every form of contagion. Families
crowded together in close cabins and places of temporary
shelter--throughout a city constructed, like most of those in Greece,
with little regard to the conditions of salubrity and in a state of
mental chagrin from the forced abandonment and sacrifice of their
properties in the country, transmitted the disorder with fatal facility
from one to the other. Beginning as it did about the middle of April,
the increasing heat of summer further aided the disorder, the symptoms
of which, alike violent and sudden, made themselves the more remarked
because the year was particularly exempt from maladies of every other

Of this plague--or, more properly, eruptive typhoid fever, distinct
from, yet analogous to, the smallpox--a description no less clear than
impressive has been left by the historian Thucydides, himself not only a
spectator but a sufferer. It is not one of the least of his merits, that
his notice of the symptoms, given at so early a stage of medical science
and observation, is such as to instruct the medical reader of the
present age, and to enable the malady to be understood and identified.
The observations with which that notice is ushered in deserve particular
attention. "In respect to this distemper (he says), let every man,
physician or not, say what he thinks respecting the source from whence
it may probably have arisen, and respecting the causes which he deems
sufficiently powerful to have produced so great a revolution. But I,
having myself had the distemper, and having seen others suffering under
it, will state _what it actually was_, and will indicate in addition
such other matters as will furnish any man, who lays them to heart, with
knowledge and the means of calculation beforehand, in case the same
misfortune should ever occur again."

To record past facts, as a basis for rational prevision in regard to the
future--the same sentiment which Thucydides mentions in his preface, as
having animated him to the composition of his history--was at that time
a duty so little understood that we have reason to admire not less the
manner in which he performs it in practice than the distinctness with
which he conceives it in theory. We infer from his language that
speculation in his day was active respecting the causes of this plague,
according to the vague and fanciful physics, and scanty stock of
ascertained facts, which was all that could then be consulted. By
resisting the itch of theorizing from one of those loose hypotheses
which then appeared plausibly to explain everything, he probably
renounced the point of view from which most credit and interest would be
derivable at the time. But his simple and precise summary of observed
facts carries with it an imperishable value, and even affords grounds
for imagining that he was no stranger to the habits and training of his
contemporary Hippocrates, and the other Asclepiads of Cos.

It is hardly within the province of a historian of Greece to repeat
after Thucydides the painful enumeration of symptoms, violent in the
extreme and pervading every portion of the bodily system, which marked
this fearful disorder. Beginning in Piraeus, it quickly passed into the
city, and both the one and the other was speedily filled with sickness
and suffering, the like of which had never before been known. The
seizures were sudden, and a large proportion of the sufferers perished
after deplorable agonies on the seventh or on the ninth day. Others,
whose strength of constitution carried them over this period, found
themselves the victims of exhausting and incurable diarrhoea afterward;
with others again, after traversing both these stages, the distemper
fixed itself in some particular member, the eyes, the genitals, the
hands, or the feet, which were rendered permanently useless, or in some
cases amputated, even where the patient himself recovered.

Book of the day: