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A Smaller History of Greece by William Smith

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Hydaspes, when he ordered part of his army to descend the river
on its opposite banks; whilst he himself at the head of 8000 men,
embarked on board a fleet of about 2000 vessels, which he had
ordered to he prepared with the view of sailing down the Indus to
its mouth.

The army began to move in November 327. The navigation lasted
several months, but was accomplished without any serious
opposition, except from the tribe of the Malli, who are
conjectured to have occupied the site of the present MOOLTAN. At
the storming of their town the life of Alexander was exposed to
imminent danger. He was the first to scale the walls of the
citadel, and was followed by four officers; but before a fifth
man could mount, the ladder broke, and Alexander was left exposed
on the wall to the missiles of the enemy. Leaping down into the
citadel among the enemy, he placed his back to the wall, where he
succeeded in keeping the enemy at bay, and slew two of their
chiefs who had ventured within reach of his sword. But an arrow
which pierced his corslet brought him to the ground, fainting
with loss of blood. Two of his followers, who had jumped down
after him, now stood over and defended him; till at length, more
soldiers having scaled the walls and opened one of the gates,
sufficient numbers poured in not only to rescue their monarch,
but to capture the citadel; when every living being within the
place was put to the sword. Upon arriving at the mouth of the
Indus, Nearchus with the fleet was directed to explore the Indian
Ocean, the Persian Gulf, and the mouths of the Tigris and
Euphrates, with the view of establishing a maritime communication
between India and Persia. Alexander himself proceeded with his
army, in the autumn of 326, through the burning deserts of
Gedrosia towards Persepolis; marching himself on foot, and
sharing the privations and fatigues of the meanest soldier. In
these regions the very atmosphere seems to be composed of a fine
dust which, on the slightest wind, penetrates into the mouth and
nose, whilst the soil affords no firm footing to the traveller.
The march through this inhospitable region lasted 60 days, during
which numbers of the soldiers perished from fatigue or disease.
At length they emerged into the fertile province of Carmania.
Whilst in this country Alexander was rejoined by Nearchus, who
had arrived with his fleet at Harmozia (ORMUZ); but who
subsequently prosecuted his voyage to the head of the Persian

Upon reaching Susa (B.C. 325) Alexander allowed his soldiers to
repose from their fatigues, and amused them with a series of
brilliant festivities. It was here that he adopted various
measures with the view of consolidating his empire. One of the
most important was to form the Greeks and Persians into one
people by means of intermarriages. He himself celebrated his
nuptials with Statira the eldest daughter of Darius, and bestowed
the hand of her sister, Drypetis, on Hephaestion. Other
marriages were made between Alexander's officers and Asiatic
women, to the number, it is said, of about a hundred; whilst no
fewer than 10,000 of the common soldiers followed their example
and took native wives. As another means of amalgamating the
Europeans and Asiatics, he caused numbers of the latter to be
admitted into the army, and to be armed and trained in the
Macedonian fashion. But these innovations were regarded with a
jealous eye by most of the Macedonian veterans; and this feeling
was increased by the conduct of Alexander himself, who assumed
every day more and more of the state and manners of an eastern
despot. Their long-stifled dissatisfaction broke out into open
mutiny and rebellion at a review which took place at Opis on the
Tigris. But the mutiny was quelled by the decisive conduct of
Alexander. He immediately ordered thirteen of the ringleaders to
be seized and executed, and then, addressing the remainder,
pointed out to them how, by his own and his father's exertions,
they had been raised from the condition of scattered herdsmen to
be the masters of Greece and the lords of Asia; and that, whilst
he had abandoned to them the richest and most valuable fruits of
his conquest, he had reserved nothing but the diadem for himself,
as the mark of his superior labours and more imminent perils. He
then secluded himself for two whole days, during which his
Macedonian guard was exchanged for a Persian one, whilst nobles
of the same nation were appointed to the most confidential posts
about his person. Overcome by these marks of alienation on the
part of their sovereign, the Macedonians now supplicated with
tears to be restored to favour. A solemn reconciliation was
effected, and 10,000 veterans were dismissed to their homes under
the conduct of Craterus. That general was also appointed to the
government of Macedonia in place of Antipater, who was ordered to
repair to Asia with fresh reinforcements.

Soon after these occurrences Alexander proceeded to Ecbatana,
where during the autumn he solemnised the festival of Dionysus
with extraordinary splendour. But his enjoyment was suddenly
converted into bitterness by the death of his friend Hephaestion,
who was carried off by a fever. This event threw Alexander into
a deep melancholy, from which he never entirely recovered. The
memory of Hephaestion was honoured by extravagant marks of public
mourning, and his body was conveyed to Babylon, to be there
interred with the utmost magnificence.

Alexander entered Babylon in the spring of 324, notwithstanding
the warnings of the priests of Belus, who predicted some serious
evil to him if he entered the city at that time. Babylon was now
to witness the consummation of his triumphs and of his life.
Ambassadors from all parts of Greece, from Libya, Italy, and
probably from still more distant regions, were waiting to salute
him, and to do homage to him as the conqueror of Asia; the fleet
under Nearchus had arrived after its long and enterprising
voyage; whilst for the reception of this navy, which seemed to
turn the inland capital of his empire into a port, a magnificent
harbour was in process of construction. The mind of Alexander
was still occupied with plans of conquest and ambition; his next
design was the subjugation of Arabia; which, however, was to be
only the stepping-stone to the conquest of the whole known world.
He despatched three expeditions to survey the coast of Arabia;
ordered a fleet to be built to explore the Caspian sea; and
engaged himself in surveying the course of the Euphrates, and in
devising improvements of its navigation. The period for
commencing the Arabian campaign had already arrived; solemn
sacrifices were offered up for its success, and grand banquets
were given previous to departure. At these carousals Alexander
drank deep; and at the termination of the one given by his
favourite, Medius, he was seized with unequivocal symptoms of
fever. For some days, however, he neglected the disorder, and
continued to occupy himself with the necessary preparations for
the march. But in eleven days the malady had gained a fatal
strength, and terminated his life on the 28th of June, B.C. 323,
at the early age of 32. Whilst he lay speechless on his deathbed
his favourite troops were admitted to see him; but he could offer
them no other token of recognition than by stretching out his

Few of the great characters of history have been so differently
judged as Alexander. Of the magnitude of his exploits, indeed,
and of the justice with which, according to the usual sentiments
of mankind, they confer upon him the title of "Great," there can
be but one opinion. His military renown, however, consists more
in the seemingly extravagant boldness of his enterprises than in
the real power of the foes whom he overcame. The resistance he
met with was not greater than that which a European army
experiences in the present day from one composed of Asiatics; and
the empire of the East was decided by the two battles of Issus
and Arbela. His chief difficulties were the geographical
difficulties of distance, climate, and the nature of the ground
traversed. But this is no proof that he was incompetent to meet
a foe more worthy of his military skill; and his proceedings in
Greece before his departure show the reverse. His motive, it
must be allowed, seem rather to have sprung from the love of
personal glory and the excitement of conquest, than from any wish
to benefit his subjects. Yet on the whole his achievements,
though they undoubtedly occasioned great partial misery, must be
regarded as beneficial to the human race. By his conquests the
two continents were put into closer communication with one
another; and both, but particularly Asia, were the gainers. The
language, the arts, and the literature of Greece were introduced
into the East; and after the death of Alexander, Greek kingdoms
were formed in the western parts of Asia, which continued to
exist for many generations.


BY THE ROMANS, B.C. 323-146.

The vast empire of Alexander the Great was divided, at his death,
among his generals; but, before relating their history, it is
necessary to take a brief retrospective glance at the affairs of
Greece. Three years after Alexander had quitted Europe the
Spartans made a vigorous effort to throw off the Macedonian yoke.
They were joined by most of the Peloponnesian states; but though
they met with some success at first, they were finally defeated
with great slaughter by Antipater near Megalopolis. Agis fell in
the battle, and the chains of Greece were riveted more firmly
than ever. This victory, and the successes of Alexander in the
East, encouraged the Macedonian party in Athens to take active
measures against Demosthenes; and AEschines revived an old charge
against him which had lain dormant for several years. Soon after
the battle of Chaeronea, Ctesiphon had proposed that Demosthenes
should be presented with a golden crown in the theatre during the
great Dionysiac festival, on account of the services he had
conferred upon his country. For proposing this decree AEschines
indicted Ctesiphon; but though the latter was the nominal
defendant, it was Demosthenes who was really put upon his trial.
The case was decided in 330 B.C., and has been immortalised by
the memorable and still extant speeches of AEschines 'Against
Ctesiphon' and of Demosthenes 'On the Crown.' AEschines, who did
not obtain a fifth part of the votes, and consequently became
himself liable to a penalty, was so chagrined at his defeat that
he retired to Rhodes.

In B.C. 325 Harpalus arrived in Athens. He had been left by
Alexander at Ecbatana in charge of the royal treasures, and
appears also to have held the important satrapy of Babylon.
During the absence of Alexander in India he gave himself up to
the most extravagant luxury and profusion, squandering the
treasures intrusted to him, at the same time that he alienated
the people subject to his rule by his lustful excesses and
extortions. He had probably thought that Alexander would never
return from the remote regions of the East into which he had
penetrated; but when he at length learnt that the king was on his
march back to Susa, and had visited with unsparing rigour those
of his officers who had been guilty of any excesses during his
absence, he at once saw that his only resource was in flight.
Collecting together all the treasures which he could, and
assembling a body of 6000 mercenaries, he hastened to the coast
of Asia, and from thence crossed over to Attica, At first the
Athenians refused to receive him; but bribes administered to some
of the principal orators induced them to alter their
determination. Such a step was tantamount to an act of hostility
against Macedonia itself; and accordingly Antipater called upon
the Athenians to deliver up Harpalus, and to bring to trial those
who had accepted his bribes. The Athenians did not venture to
disobey these demands. Harpalus was put into confinement, but
succeeded in making his escape from prison. Demosthenes was
among the orators who were brought to trial for corruption. He
was declared to be guilty, and was condemned to pay a fine of 50
talents. Not being able to raise that sum, he was thrown into
prison; but he contrived to make his escape, and went into exile.
There are, however, good grounds for doubting his guilt; and it
is more probable that he fell a victim to the implacable hatred
of the Macedonian party. Upon quitting Athens Demosthenes
resided chiefly at AEgina or Troezen, in sight of his native
land, and whenever he looked towards her shores it was observed
that he shed tears.

When the news of Alexander's death reached Athens, the anti-
Macedonian party, which, since the exile of Demosthenes, was led
by Hyperides, carried all before it. The people in a decree
declared their determination to support the liberty of Greece.
Envoys were despatched to all the Grecian states to announce the
determination of Athens, and to exhort them to struggle with her
for their independence. This call was responded to in the
Peloponnesus only by the smaller states, whilst Sparta, Arcadia,
and Achaia kept aloof. In northern Greece the confederacy was
joined by most of the states except the Boaotians; and Leosthenes
was appointed commander-in-chief of the allied forces.

The allied army assembled in the neighbourhood of Thermopylae.
Antipater now advanced from the north, and offered battle in the
vale of the Spercheus; but being deserted by his Thessalian
cavalry, who went over to his opponents during the heat of the
engagement, he was obliged to retreat and threw himself into
Lamia, a strong fortress on the Malian gulf. Leosthenes,
desirous to finish the war at a blow, pressed the siege with the
utmost vigour; but his assaults were repulsed, and he was
compelled to resort to the slower method of a blockade. From
this town the contest between Antipater and the allied Greeks has
been called the Lamian War.

The novelty of a victory over the Macedonian arms was received
with boundless exultation at Athens, and this feeling was raised
to a still higher pitch by the arrival of an embassy from
Antipater to sue for peace. But the Athenians were so elated
with their good fortune, that they would listen to no terms but
the unconditional surrender of Antipater. Meantime Demosthenes,
though still an exile, exerted himself in various parts of the
Peloponnesus in counteracting the envoys of Antipater, and in
endeavouring to gain adherents to the cause of Athens and the
allies. The Athenians in return invited Demosthenes back to his
native country, and a ship was sent to convey him to Piraeus,
where he was received with extraordinary honours.

Meanwhile Leonnatus, governor of the Hellespontine Phrygia, had
appeared on the theatre of war with an army of 20,000 foot and
2500 horse. Leosthenes had been slain at Lamia in a sally of the
besieged; and Antiphilus, on whom the command of the allied army
devolved, hastened to offer battle to Leonnatus before he could
arrive at Lamia. The hostile armies met in one of the plains of
Thessaly, where Leonnatus was killed and his troops defeated.
Antipater, as soon as the blockade of Lamia was raised, had
pursued Antiphilus, and on the day after the battle he effected a
junction with the beaten army of Leonnatus.

Shortly afterwards Antipater was still further reinforced by the
arrival of Craterus with a considerable force from Asia; and
being now at the head of an army which outnumbered the forces of
the allies, he marched against them and gained a decisive victory
over them near Crannon in Thessaly, on the 7th of August, B.C.
322. The allies were now compelled to sue for peace; but
Antipater refused to treat with them except as separate states,
foreseeing that by this means many would be detached from the
confederacy. The result answered his expectations. One by one
the various states submitted, till at length all had laid down
their arms. Athens, the original instigator of the insurrection,
now lay at the mercy of the conqueror. As Antipater advanced,
Phocion used all the influence which he possessed with the
Macedonians in favour of his countrymen; but he could obtain no
other terms than an unconditional surrender. On a second mission
Phocion received the final demands of Antipater; which were, that
the Athenians should deliver up a certain number of their
orators, among whom were Demosthenes and Hyperides; that their
political franchise should be limited by a property
qualification; that they should receive a Macedonian garrison in
Munychia; and that they should defray the expenses of the war.
Such was the result of the Lamian war, which riveted the
Macedonian fetters more firmly than ever.

After the return of the envoys bringing the ultimatum of
Antipater, the sycophant Demades procured a decree for the death
of the denounced orators. Demosthenes, and the other persons
compromised, made their escape from Athens before the Macedonian
garrison arrived. AEgina was their first place of refuge, but
they soon parted in different directions. Hyperides fled to the
temple of Demeter (Ceres) at Hermione in Peloponnesus, whilst
Demosthenes took refuge in that of Poseidon (Neptune) in the isle
of Calaurea, near Troezen. But the satellites of Antipater,
under the guidance of a Thurian named Archias who had formerly
been an actor, tore them from their sanctuaries. Hyperides was
carried to Athens, and it is said that Antipater took the brutal
and cowardly revenge of ordering his tongue to be cut out, and
his remains to be thrown to the dogs. Demosthenes contrived at
least to escape the insults of the tyrannical conqueror. Archias
at first endeavoured to entice him from his sanctuary by the
blandest promises, But Demosthenes, forewarned, it is said, by a
dream, fixing his eyes intently on him, exclaimed, "Your acting,
Archias, never touched me formerly, nor do your promises now."
And when Archias began to employ threats, "Good," said
Demosthenes; "now you speak as from the Macedonian tripod; before
you were only playing a part. But wait awhile, and let me write
my last directions to my family." So taking his writing
materials, he put the reed into his mouth, and bit it for some
time, as was his custom when composing; after which he covered
his head with his garment and reclined against a pillar. The
guards who accompanied Archias, imagining this to be a mere
trick, laughed and called him coward, whilst Archias began to
renew his false persuasions. Demosthenes, feeling the poison
work--for such it was that he had concealed in the reed now bade
him lead on. "You may now," said he, "enact the part of Creon,
and cast me out unburied; but at least, O gracious Poseidon, I
have not polluted thy temple by my death which Antipater and his
Macedonians would not have scrupled at." But whilst he was
endeavouring to walk out, he fell down by the altar and expired.

The history of Alexander's successors is marked from first to
last by dissension, crimes, and unscrupulous ambition. It is
only necessary for the purpose of the present work to mention
very briefly the most important events.

Alexander on his death-bed is said to have given his signet-ring
to Perdiccas, but he had left no legitimate heir to his throne,
though his wife Roxana was pregnant. On the day after
Alexander's death a military council was assembled, in which
Perdiccas assumed a leading part; and in which, after much
debate, an arrangement was at length effected on the following
basis: That Philip Arrhidaeus, a young man of weak intellect,
the half-brother of Alexander (being the son of Philip by a
Thessalian woman named Philinna), should be declared king,
reserving however to the child of Roxana if a son should be born,
a share in the sovereignty: that the government of Macedonia and
Greece should be divided between Antipater and Craterus: that
Ptolemy should preside over Egypt and the adjacent countries:
that Antigonus should have Phrygia Proper, Lycia, and Pamphylia:
that the Hellespontine Phrygia should be assigned to Leonnatus:
that Eumenes should have the satrapy of Paphlagonia and
Cappadocia, which countries, however, still remained to be
subdued: and that Thrace should be committed to Lysimachus.
Perdiccas reserved for himself the command of the horse-guards,
the post before held by Hephaestion, in virtue of which he became
the guardian of Philip Arrhidaeus, the nominal sovereign. It was
not for some time after these arrangements had been completed
that the last rites were paid to Alexander's remains. They were
conveyed to Alexandria, and deposited in a cemetery which
afterwards became the burial-place of the Ptolemies. Nothing
could exceed the magnificence of the funeral car, which was
adorned with ornaments of massive gold, and was so heavy, that it
was more than a year in being conveyed from Babylon to Syria,
though drawn by 84 mules. In due time Roxana was delivered of a
son, to whom the name of Alexander was given, and who was
declared the partner of Arrhidaeus in the empire. Roxana had
previously inveigled Statira and her sister Drypetis to Babylon,
where she caused them to be secretly assassinated.

Perdiccas possessed more power than any of Alexander's generals,
and he now aspired to the Macedonian throne. His designs,
however, were not unknown to Antigonus and Ptolemy ; and when he
attempted to bring Antigonus to trial for some offence in the
government of his satrapy, that general made his escape to
Macedonia, where he revealed to Antipater the full extent of the
ambitious schemes of Perdiccas, and thus at once induced
Antipater and Craterus to unite in a league with him and Ptolemy,
and openly declare war against the regent. Thus assailed on all
sides, Perdiccas resolved to direct his arms in the first
instance against Ptolemy. In the spring of B.C. 321 he
accordingly set out on his march against Egypt, at the head of a
formidable army, and accompanied by Philip Arrhidaeus, and Roxana
and her infant son. He advanced without opposition as far as
Pelusium, but he found the banks of the Nile strongly fortified
and guarded by Ptolemy, and was repulsed in repeated attempts to
force the passage of the river; in the last of which, near
Memphis, he lost great numbers of men by the depth and rapidity
of the current. Perdiccas had never been popular with the
soldiery, and these disasters completely alienated their
affections. A conspiracy was formed against him, and some of his
chief officers murdered him in his tent.

The death of Perdiccas was followed by a fresh distribution of
the provinces of the empire. At a meeting of the generals held
at Triparadisus in Syria, towards the end of the year 321 B.C.,
Antipater was declared regent, retaining the government of
Macedonia and Greece; Ptolemy was continued in the government of
Egypt; Seleucus received the satrapy of Babylon; whilst Antigonus
not only retained his old province, but was rewarded with that of

Antipater did not long survive these events. He died in the year
318, at the advanced age of 80, leaving Polysperchon, one of
Alexander's oldest generals, regent; much to the surprise and
mortification of his son Cassander, who received only the
secondary dignity of Chiliarch, or commander of the cavalry.
Cassander was now bent on obtaining the regency; but seeing no
hope of success in Macedonia, he went over to Asia to solicit the
assistance of Antigonus.

Polysperchon, on his side, sought to conciliate the friendship of
the Grecian states, by proclaiming them all free and independent,
and by abolishing the oligarchies which had been set up by
Antipater. In order to enforce these measures, Polysperchon
prepared to march into Greece, whilst his son Alexander was
despatched beforehand with an army towards Athens to compel the
Macedonian garrison under the command of Nicanor to evacuate
Munychia. Nicanor, however, refused to move without orders from
Cassander, whose general he declared himself to be. Phocion was
suspected of intriguing in favour of Nicanor, and being accused
of treason, fled to Alexander, now encamped before the walls of
Athens. Alexander sent Phocion to his father, who sent him back
to Athens in chains, to be tried by the Athenian people. The
theatre, where his trial was to take place, was soon full to
overflowing. Phocion was assailed on every side by the clamours
of his enemies, which prevented his defence; from being heard,
and he was condemned to death by a show of hands. To the last
Phocion maintained his calm and dignified, but somewhat
contemptuous bearing. When some wretched man spat upon him as he
passed to the prison, "Will no one," said he, "check this
fellow's indecency?" To one who asked him whether he had any
message to leave for his son Phocus, he answered, "Only that he
bear no grudge against the Athenians." And when the hemlock
which had been prepared was found insufficient for all the
condemned, and the jailer would not furnish more unless he was
paid for it, "Give the man his money," said Phocion to one of his
friends, "since at Athens one cannot even die for nothing." He
died in B.C. 317, at the age of 85. The Athenians afterwards
repented of their conduct towards Phocion. His bones, which had
been cast out on the frontiers of Megara, were brought back to
Athens, and a bronze statue was erected to his memory.

Whilst Alexander was negotiating with Nicanor about the surrender
of Munychia, Cassander arrived in the Piraeus with a considerable
army, with which Antigonus had supplied him. Polysperchon was
obliged to retire from Athens, and Cassander established an
oligarchical government in the city under the presidency of
Demetrius of Phalerus.

Although Polysperchon was supported by Olympias, the mother of
Alexander the Great, he proved no match for Cassander, who became
master of Macedonia after the fall of Pydna in B.C. 316. In this
city Olympias had taken refuge together with Roxana and her son;
but after a blockade of some months it was obliged to surrender.
Olympias had stipulated that her life should be spared, but
Cassander soon afterwards caused her to be murdered, and kept
Roxana and her son in custody in the citadel of Amphipolis.
Shortly afterwards Cassander began the restoration of Thebes
(B.C. 315), in the twentieth year after its destruction by
Alexander, a measure highly popular with the Greeks.

A new war now broke out in the East. Antigonus had become the
most powerful of Alexander's successors. He had conquered
Eumenes, who had long defied his arms, and he now began to
dispose of the provinces as he thought fit. His increasing power
and ambitious projects led to a general coalition against him,
consisting of Ptolemy, Seleucus, Cassander, and Lysimachus, the
governor of Thrace. The war began in the year 315, and was
carried on with great vehemence and alternate success in Syria,
Phoenicia, Asia Minor, and Greece. After four years all parties
became exhausted with the struggle, and peace was accordingly
concluded in 311, on condition that the Greek cities should be
free, that Cassander should retain his authority in Europe till
Alexander came of age, that Ptolemy and Lysimachus should keep
possession of Egypt and Thrace respectively, and that Antigonus
should have the government of all Asia. This hollow peace, which
had been merely patched up for the convenience of the parties
concerned, was not of long duration. It seems to have been the
immediate cause of another of those crimes which disgrace the
history of Alexander's successors. His son, Alexander, who had
now attained the age of sixteen, was still shut up with his
mother Roxana in Amphipolis; and his partisans, with injudicious
zeal, loudly expressed their wish that he should be released and
placed upon the throne. In order to avert this event Cassander
contrived the secret murder both of the mother and the son.

This abominable act, however, does not appear to have caused a
breach of the peace. Ptolemy was the first to break it (B.C.
310), under the pretext that Antigonus, by keeping his garrisons
in the Greek cities of Asia and the islands, had not respected
that article of the treaty which guaranteed Grecian freedom.
After the war had lasted three years Antigonus resolved to make a
vigorous effort to wrest Greece from the hands of Cassander and
Ptolemy, who held all the principal towns in it. Accordingly, in
the summer of 307 B.C. he despatched his son Demetrius from
Ephesus to Athens, with a fleet of 250 sail, and 5000 talents in
money. Demetrius, who afterwards obtained the surname of
"Poliorcetes," or "Besieger of Cities," was a young man of ardent
temperament and great abilities. Upon arriving at the Piraeus he
immediately proclaimed the object of his expedition to be the
liberation of Athens and the expulsion of the Macedonian
garrison. Supported by the Macedonians, Demetrius the Phalerean
had now ruled Athens for a period of more than ten years. Of
mean birth, Demetrius the Phalerean owed his elevation entirely
to his talents and perseverance. His skill as an orator raised
him to distinction among his countrymen; and his politics, which
led him to embrace the party of Phocion, recommended him to
Cassander and the Macedonians. He cultivated many branches of
literature, and was at once an historian, a philosopher, and a
poet; but none of his works have come down to us. The Athenians
heard with pleasure the proclamations of the son of Antigonus his
namesake, the Phalerean was obliged to surrender the city to him,
and to close his political career by retiring to Thebes. The
Macedonian garrison in Munychia offered a slight resistance,
which was soon overcome, Demetrius Poliorcetes then formally
announced to the Athenian assembly the restoration of their
ancient constitution, and promised them a large donative of corn
and ship-timber. This munificence was repaid by the Athenians
with the basest and most abject flattery. Both Demetrius and his
father were deified, and two new tribes, those of Antigonias and
Demetrias, were added to the existing ten which derived their
names from the ancient heroes of Attica.

Demetrius Poliorcetes did not, however, remain long at Athens.
Early in 306 B.C. he was recalled by his father, and, sailing to
Cyprus, undertook the siege of Salamis. Ptolemy hastened to its
relief with 140 vessels and 10,000 troops. The battle that
ensued was one of the most memorable in the annals of ancient
naval warfare, more particularly on account of the vast size of
the vessels engaged. Ptolemy was completely defeated; and so
important was the victory deemed by Antigonus, that on the
strength of it he assumed the title of king, which he also
conferred upon his son. This example was followed by Ptolemy,
Seleucus, and Lysimachus.

Demetrius now undertook an expedition against Rhodes, which had
refused its aid in the attack upon Ptolemy. It was from the
memorable siege of Rhodes that Demetrius obtained his name of
"Poliorcetes." After in vain attempting to take the town from
the sea-side, by means of floating batteries, from which stones
of enormous weight were hurled from engines with incredible force
against the walls, he determined to alter his plan and invest it
on the land-side. With the assistance of Epimachus, an Athenian
engineer, he constructed a machine which, in anticipation of its
effect, was called Helepolis, or "the city-taker." This was a
square wooden tower, 150 feet high, and divided into nine
stories, filled with armed men, who discharged missiles through
apertures in the sides. When armed and prepared for attack, it
required the strength of 2300 men to set this enormous machine in
motion. But though it was assisted by the operation of two
battering-rams, each 150 feet long and propelled by the labour of
1000 men, the Rhodians were so active in repairing the breaches
made in their walls, that, after a year spent in the vain attempt
to take the town, Demetrius was forced to retire and grant the
Rhodians peace.

In 301 B.C, the struggle between Antigonus and his rivals was
brought to a close by the battle of Ipsus in Phrygia, in which
Antigonus was killed, and his army completely defeated. He had
attained the age of 81 at the time of his death. A third
partition of the empire of Alexander was now made. Seleucus and
Lysimachus shared between them the possessions of Antigonus.
Lysimachus seems to have had the greater part of Asia Minor,
whilst the whole country from the coast of Syria to the
Euphrates, as well as a part of Phrygia and Cappadocia, fell to
the share of Seleucus. The latter founded on the Orontes a new
capital of his empire, which he named Antioch, after his father
Antiochus, and which long continued to be one of the most
important Greek cities in Asia. The fall of Antigonus secured
Cassander in the possession of Greece.

Demetrius was now a fugitive, but in the following year he was
agreeably surprised by receiving an embassy from Seleucus, by
which that monarch solicited his daughter Stratonice in marriage.
Demetrius gladly granted the request, and found himself so much
strengthened by this alliance, that in the spring of the year 296
he was in a condition to attack Athens, which he captured after a
long siege, and drove out the bloodthirsty tyrant Lachares, who
had been established there by Cassander.

Meanwhile Cassander had died shortly before the siege of Athens,
and was succeeded on the throne of Macedon by his eldest son,
Philip IV. [Philip Arrhidaeus is called Philip III.] But that
young prince died in 295, and the succession was disputed between
his two brothers, Antipater and Alexander. Demetrius availed
himself of the distracted state of Macedonia to make himself
master of that country (B.C. 294). He reigned over Macedonia,
and the greater part of Greece, about seven years. He aimed at
recovering the whole of his father's dominions in Asia; but
before he was ready to take the field, his adversaries, alarmed
at his preparations, determined to forestall him. In the spring
of B.C. 287 Ptolemy sent a powerful fleet against Greece, while
Pyrrhus on the one side and Lysimachus on the other
simultaneously invaded Macedonia. Demetrius had completely
alienated his own subjects by his proud and haughty bearing, and
by his lavish expenditure on his own luxuries; while Pyrrhus by
his generosity, affability, and daring courage, had become the
hero of the Macedonians, who looked upon him as a second
Alexander. The appearance of Pyrrhus was the signal for revolt:
the Macedonian troops flocked to his standard and Demetrius was
compelled to fly. Pyrrhus now ascended the throne of Macedonia;
but his reign was of brief duration; and at the end of seven
months he was in turn driven out by Lysimachus. Demetrius made
several attempts to regain his power in Greece, and then set sail
for Asia, where he successively endeavoured to establish himself
in the territories of Lysimachus, and of his son-in-law Seleucus.
Falling at length into the hands of the latter, he was kept in a
kind of magnificent captivity in a royal residence in Syria;
where, in 283, at the early age of 55, his chequered career was
brought to a close, partly by chagrin, and partly by the sensual
indulgences with which be endeavoured to divert it.

Lysimachus, Seleucus, and Ptolemy now divided the empire of
Alexander between them. In Egypt the aged Ptolemy had abdicated
in 285 in favour of his son by Berenice afterwards known as
Ptolemy Philadelphus, and to the exclusion of his eldest son,
Ptolemy Ceraunus, by his wife Eurydice. Ptolemy Ceraunus quitted
Egypt in disgust, and fled to the court of Lysimachus; and
Arsinoe, the wife of Lysimachus, jealous of her stepson
Agathocles, the heir apparent to the throne, and desirous of
securing the succession for her own children, conspired with
Ptolemy Ceraunus against the life of Agathocles. She even
procured the consent of Lysimachus to his murder; and after some
vain attempts to make away with him by poison, he was flung into
prison, where Ptolemy Ceraunus despatched him with his own hand.
Lysandra, the mother of Agathocles, fled with the rest of her
family to Seleucus, to demand from him protection and vengeance;
and Seleucus, induced by the hopes of success, inspired by the
discontent and dissensions which so foul an act had excited among
the subjects of Lysimachus, espoused her cause. The hostilities
which ensued between him and Lysimachus were brought to a
termination by the battle of Corupedion, fought near Sardis in
281, in which Lysimachus was defeated and slain. By this
victory, Macedonia, and the whole of Alexander's empire, with the
exception of Egypt, southern Syria, Cyprus, and part of
Phoenicia, fell under the sceptre of Seleucus.

That monarch, who had not beheld his native land since he first
joined the expedition of Alexander, now crossed the Hellespont to
take possession of Macedonia. Ptolemy Ceraunus, who after the
battle of Corupedion had thrown himself on the mercy of Seleucus,
and had been received with forgiveness and favour, accompanied
him on this journey. The murder of Agathocles had not been
committed by Ptolemy merely to oblige Arsinoe. He had even then
designs upon the supreme power, which he now completed by another
crime. As Seleucus stopped to sacrifice at a celebrated altar
near Lysimachia in Thrace, Ptolemy treacherously assassinated him
by stabbing him in the back (280). After this base and cowardly
act, Ptolemy Ceraunus, who gave himself out as the avenger of
Lysimachus, was, by one of those movements wholly inexplicable to
our modern notions, saluted king by the army; but the Asiatic
dominions of Seleucus fell to his son Antiochus, surnamed Soter.
The crime of Ptolemy. however, was speedily overtaken by a just
punishment. In the very same year his kingdom of Macedonia and
Thrace was invaded by an immense host of Celts, and Ptolemy fell
at the head of the forces which he led against them. A second
invasion of the same barbarians compelled the Greeks to raise a
force for their defence, which was intrusted to the command of
the Athenian Callippus (B.C. 279). On this occasion the Celts
attracted by the report of treasures which were now perhaps
little more than an empty name, penetrated as far southwards as
Delphi, with the view of plundering the temple. The god, it is
said, vindicated his sanctuary on this occasion in the same
supernatural manner as when it was attacked by the Persians: it
is at all events certain that the Celts were repulsed with great
loss, including that of their leader Brennus. Nevertheless some
of their tribes succeeded in establishing themselves near the
Danube; others settled on the sea-coast of Thrace whilst a third
portion passed over into Asia, and gave their name to the country
called Galatia.

After the death of Ptolemy Ceraunus, Macedonia fell for some time
into a state of anarchy and confusion, and the crown was
disputed by several pretenders. At length, in 278, Antigonus
Gonatas, son of Demetrius Poliorcetes, succeeded in establishing
himself on the throne of Macedonia; and, with the exception of
two or three years (274-272) during which he was temporarily
expelled by Pyrrhus, he continued to retain possession of it till
his death in 239. The struggle between Antigonus and Pyrrhus was
brought to a close at Argos in 272. Pyrrhus had marched into the
Peloponnesus with a large force in order to make war upon Sparta,
but with the collateral design of reducing the places which still
held out for Antigonus. Pyrrhus having failed in an attempt to
take Sparta, marched against Argos, where Antigonus also arrived
with his forces. Both armies entered the city by opposite gates;
and in a battle which ensued in the streets Pyrrhus was struck
from his horse by a tile hurled by a woman from a house-top, and
was then despatched by some soldiers of Antigonus. Such was the
inglorious end of one of the bravest and most warlike monarchs of
antiquity; whose character for moral virtue, though it would not
stand the test of modern scrutiny, shone out conspicuously in
comparison with that of contemporary sovereigns.

Antigonus Gonatas now made himself master of the greater part of
Peloponnesus, which he governed by means of tyrants whom he
established in various cities.

While all Greece, with the exception of Sparta, seemed hopelessly
prostrate at the feet of Macedonia, a new political power, which
sheds a lustre on the declining period of Grecian history, arose
in a small province in Peloponnesus, of which the very name has
been hitherto rarely mentioned since the heroic age. In Achaia,
a narrow slip of country upon the shores of the Corinthian gulf,
a league, chiefly for religious purposes, had existed from a very
early period among the twelve chief cities of the province. The
league, however, had never possessed much political importance,
and it had been suppressed by the Macedonians. At the time of
which we are speaking Antigonus Gonatas was in possession of all
the cities formerly belonging to the league, either by means of
his garrisons or of the tyrants who were subservient to him. It
was, however, this very oppression that led to a revival of the
league. The Achaean towns, now only ten in number, as two had
been destroyed by earthquakes, began gradually to coalesce again;
but Aratus of Sicyon, one of the most remarkable characters of
this period of Grecian history, was the man who, about the year
251 B.C., first called the new league into active political
existence. He had long lived in exile at Argos, whilst his
native city groaned under the dominion of a succession of
tyrants. Having collected a band of exiles, he surprised Sicyon
in the night time, and drove out the last and most unpopular of
these tyrants. Instead of seizing the tyranny for himself, as he
might easily have done, Aratus consulted only the advantage of
his country, and with this view united Sicyon with the Achaean
league. The accession of so important a town does not appear to
have altered the constitution of the confederacy. The league was
governed by a STRATEGUS, or general, whose functions were both
military and civil; a GRAMMATEUS, or secretary; and a council of
ten DEMIURGI. The sovereignty, however, resided in the general
assembly, which met twice a year in a sacred grove near AEgium.
It was composed of every Achaean who had attained the age of
thirty, and possessed the right of electing the officers of the
league, and of deciding all questions of war, peace, foreign
alliances, and the like. In the year 245 B.C. Aratus was elected
STRATEGUS of the league, and again in 243. In the latter of
these years he succeeded in wresting Corinth from the Macedonians
by another nocturnal surprise, and uniting it to the league. The
confederacy now spread with wonderful rapidity. It was soon
joined by Troezen, Epidaurus, Hermione and other cities; and
ultimately embraced Athens, Megara, AEgina, Salamis, and the
whole Peloponnesus, with the exception of Sparta, Elis, and some
of the Arcadian towns.

Sparta, it is true, still continued to retain her independence,
but without a shadow of her former greatness and power. The
primitive simplicity of Spartan manners had been completely
destroyed by the collection of wealth into a few hands, and by
the consequent progress of luxury. The number of Spartan
citizens had been reduced to 700; but even of these there were
not above a hundred who possessed a sufficient quantity of land
to maintain themselves in independence. The young king, Agis
IV., who succeeded to the crown in 244, attempted to revive the
ancient Spartan virtue, by restoring the institutions of
Lycurgus, by cancelling all debts, and by making a new
distribution of lands; and with this view he relinquished all his
own property, as well as that of his family, for the public good.
But Agis perished in this attempt, and was put to death as a
traitor to his order. A few years afterwards, however,
Cleomenes, the son of Leonidas, succeeded in effecting the
reforms which had been contemplated by Agis, as well as several
others which regarded military discipline. The effect of these
new measures soon became visible in the increased success of the
Spartan arms. Aratus was so hard pressed that he was compelled
to solicit the assistance of the Macedonians. Both Antigonus
Gonatas and his son Demetrius II.--who had reigned in Macedonia
from 239 to 229 B.C. were now dead, and the government was
administered by Antigonus Doson, as guardian of Philip, the
youthful son of Demetrius II. Antigonus Doson was the grandson
of Demetrius Poliorcetes, and the nephew of Antigonus Gonatas.
The Macedonians compelled him to accept the crown; but he
remained faithful to his trust as guardian of Philip, whose
mother he married; and though he had children of his own by her,
yet Philip succeeded him on his death. It was to Antigonus Doson
that Aratus applied for assistance; and though Cleomenes
maintained his ground for some time, he was finally defeated by
Antigonus Doson in the fatal battle of Sellasia in Laconia (B.C.
221). The army of Cleomenes was almost totally annihilated; he
himself was obliged to fly to Egypt; and Sparta, which for many
centuries bad remained unconquered, fell into the hands of the

The succession of Macedonian kings from Alexander the Great to
the extinction of the monarchy will be seen from the following

Philip III. Arrhidaeus . . . . . . . . 323-316
Cassander . . . . . . . . 316-296
Philip IV. . . . . . . . . 296-295
Demetrius I. Poliorcetes . . . . . . . . 294-287
Pyrrhus . . . . . . . . 287-286
Lysimachus . . . . . . . . 286-280
Ptolemy Ceraunus and others . . . . . . . . 280-277
Antigonus Gonatas . . . . . . . . 277-239
Demetrius II . . . . . . . . 239-229
Antigonus Doson . . . . . . . . 229-220
Philip V . . . . . . . . 220-178
Perseus . . . . . . . . 178-167

In the following gear Antigonus was succeeded by Philip V., the
son of Demetrius II., who was then about sixteen or seventeen
years of age. His youth encouraged the AEtolians to make
predatory incursions into the Peloponnesus. That people were a
species of freebooters, and the terror of their neighbours; yet
they were united, like the Achaeans, in a confederacy or league.
The Aetolian League was a confederation of tribes instead of
cities, like the Achaean. The diet or council of the league,
called the Panaetolicum, assembled every autumn, generally at
Thermon, to elect the strategus and other officers; but the
details of its affairs were conducted by a committee called
APOCLETI, who seem to have formed a sort of permanent council,
The AEtolians had availed themselves of the disorganised state of
Greece consequent upon the death of Alexander to extend their
power, and had gradually made themselves masters of Locris,
Phocis, Boeotia, together with portions of Acarnania, Thessaly,
and Epirus. Thus both the Amphictyonic Council and the oracle of
Delphi were in their power. They had early wrested Naupactus
from the Achaeans, and had subsequently acquired several
Peloponnesian cities.

Such was the condition of the AEtolians at the time of Philip's
accession. Soon after that event we find them, under the
leadership of Dorimachus, engaged in a series of freebooting
expeditions in Messenia, and other parts of Peloponnesus. Aratus
marched to the assistance of the Messenians at the head of the
Achaean forces, but was totally defeated in a battle near
Caphyae. The Achaeans now saw no hope of safety except through
the assistance of Philip. That young monarch was ambitious and
enterprising possessing considerable military ability and much
political sagacity. He readily listened to the application of
the Achaeans, and in 220 entered into an alliance with them. The
war which ensued between the AEtolians on the one side, and the
Achaeans, assisted by Philip, on the other, and which lasted
about three years, has been called the Social War. Philip gained
several victories over the AEtolians, but he concluded a treaty
of peace with them in 217, because he was anxious to turn his
arms against another and more formidable power.

The great struggle now going on between Rome and Carthage
attracted the attention of the whole civilized world. If was
evident that Greece, distracted by intestine quarrels, must be
soon swallowed up by whichever of those great states might prove
successful; and of the two, the ambition of the Romans, who had
already gained a footing on the eastern shores of the Adriatic
was by far the more formidable to Greece. After the conclusion
of the peace with the AEtolians Philip prepared a large fleet,
which he employed to watch the movements of the Romans, and in
the following year (216) he concluded a treaty with Hannibal,
which, among other clauses, provided that the Romans should not
be allowed to retain their conquests on the eastern side of the
Adriatic. He even meditated an invasion of Italy, and with that
view endeavoured to make himself master of Apollonia and Oricum.
But though he succeeded in taking the latter city, the Romans
surprised his camp whilst he was besieging Apollonia, and
compelled him to burn his ships and retire. Meanwhile Philip had
acted in a most arbitrary manner in the affairs of Greece; and
when Aratus remonstrated with him respecting his proceedings, he
got rid of his former friend and counsellor by means of a slow
and secret poison (B.C. 213).

In B.C., 209 the Achaeans, being hard pressed by the AEtolians,
were again induced to call in the aid of Philip. The spirit of
the Achaeans was at this time revived by Philopoemen, one of the
few noble characters of the period, and who has been styled by
Plutarch "the last of the Greeks." He was a native of
Megalopolis in Arcadia, and in 208 was elected Strategus of the
league. In both these posts Philopoemen made great alterations
and improvements in the arms and discipline of the Achaean
forces, which he assimilated to those of the Macedonian phalanx.
These reforms, as well as the public spirit with which he had
inspired the Achaeans were attended with the most beneficial
results. In 207 Philopoemen gained at Mantinea a signal victory
over the Lacedaemonians, who had joined the Roman alliance; 4000
of them were left upon the field, and among them Machanidas who
had made himself tyrant of Sparta. This decisive battle,
combined with the withdrawal of the Romans, who, being desirous
of turning their undivided attention towards Carthage, had made
peace with Philip (205), secured for a few years the tranquillity
of Greece. It also raised the fame of Philopoemen to its highest
point; and in the next Nemean festival, being a second time
general of the league, he was hailed by the assembled Greeks as
the liberator of their country.

Upon the conclusion of the second Punic war the Romans renewed
their enterprises in Greece, and declared war against Philip
(B.C. 200). For some time the war lingered on without any
decided success on either side; but in 198 the consul T.
Quinctius Flamininus succeeded in gaining over the Achaean league
to the Roman alliance; and as the AEtolians had previously
deserted Philip, both those powers fought for a short time on the
same side. In 197 the struggle was brought to a termination by
the battle of Cynoscephalae, near Scotussa, in Thessaly, which
decided the fate of the Macedonian monarchy. Philip was obliged
to sue for peace, and in the following year (196) a treaty was
ratified by which the Macedonians were compelled to renounce
their supremacy, to withdraw their garrisons from the Grecian
towns, to surrender their fleet, and to pay 1000 talents for the
expenses of the war. At the ensuing Isthmian games Flamininus
solemnly proclaimed the freedom of the Greeks, and was received
by them with overwhelming joy and gratitude.

The AEtolians, dissatisfied with these arrangements, persuaded
Antiochus III., king of Syria, to enter into a league against the
Romans. He passed over into Greece with a wholly inadequate
force, and was defeated by the Romans at Thermopylae (B.C. 191).
The AEtolians were now compelled to make head against the Romans
by themselves. After some ineffectual attempts at resistance
they were reduced to sue for peace, which they at length
obtained, but on the most humiliating conditions (B.C. 189). They
were required to acknowledge the supremacy of Rome, to renounce
all the conquests they had recently made, to pay an indemnity of
500 talents and to engage in future to aid the Romans in their
wars. The power of the AEtolian league was thus for ever
crushed, though it seems to have existed, in name at least, till
a much later period.

The Achaean league still subsisted but was destined before long
to experience the same fate as its rival. At first, indeed, it
enjoyed the protection of the Romans, and even acquired an
extension of members through their influence, but this
protectorate involved a state of almost absolute dependence.
Philopoemen also had succeeded, in the year 192, in adding Sparta
to the league, which now embraced the whole of Peloponnesus. But
Sparta having displayed symptoms of insubordination, Philopoemen
marched against it in 188, and captured the city; when he put to
death eighty of the leading men, razed the walls and
fortifications, abolished the institutions of Lycurgus, and
compelled the citizens to adopt the democratic constitution of
the Achaeans. Meanwhile the Romans regarded with satisfaction
the internal dissensions of Greece, which they foresaw would only
render her an easier prey, and neglected to answer the appeals of
the Spartans for protection. In 183 the Messenians, under the
leadership of Dinocrates, having revolted from the league,
Philopoemen, who had now attained the age of 70, led an
expedition against them; but having fallen from his horse in a
skirmish of cavalry, he was captured, and conveyed with many
circumstances of ignominy to Messene, where, after a sort of mock
trial, he was executed. His fate was avenged by Lycortas, the
commander of the Achaean cavalry, the father of the historian

In B.C. 179 Philip died, and was succeeded by his son Perseus,
the last monarch of Macedonia. The latter years of the reign of
Philip had been spent in preparations for a renewal of the war,
which he foresaw to be inevitable; yet a period of seven years
elapsed after the accession of Perseus before the mutual enmity
of the two powers broke out into open hostilities. The war was
protracted three years without any decisive result; but was
brought to a conclusion in 168 by the consul L. AEmilius Paulus,
who defeated Perseus with great loss near Pydna. Perseus was
carried to Rome to adorn the triumph of Paulus (167), and was
permitted to spend the remainder of his life in a sort of
honourable captivity at Alba. Such was the end of the Macedonian
empire, which was now divided into four districts, each under the
jurisdiction of an oligarchical council.

The Roman commissioners deputed to arrange the affairs of
Macedonia did not confine their attention to that province, but
evinced their design of bringing all Greece under the Roman sway.
In these views they were assisted by various despots and traitors
in different Grecian cities, and especially by Callicrates, a man
of great influence among the Achaeans, and who for many years
lent himself as the base tool of the Romans to effect the
enslavement of his country. After the fall of Macedonia,
Callicrates denounced more than a thousand leading Achaeans who
had favoured the cause of Perseus. These, among whom was
Polybius the historian, were apprehended and sent to Rome for
trial. A still harder fate was experienced by AEtolia, Boeotia,
Acarnania, and Epirus. In the last-named country, especially, no
fewer than seventy of the principal towns were abandoned by
Paulus to his soldiers for pillage, and 150,000 persons are said
to have been sold into slavery.

A quarrel between the Achaeans and Sparta afforded the Romans a
pretence for crushing the small remains of Grecian independence
by the destruction of the Achaean league.

The Spartans, feeling themselves incompetent to resist the
Achaeans, appealed to the Romans for assistance; and in 147 two
Roman commissioners were sent to Greece to settle the disputes
between the two states. These commissioners decided that not
only Sparta, but Corinth, and all the other cities, except those
of Achaia, should be restored to their independence. This
decision occasioned serious riots at Corinth, the most important
city of the league. All the Spartans in the town were seized,
and even the Roman commissioners narrowly escaped violence. On
their return to Rome a fresh embassy was despatched to demand
satisfaction for these outrages. But the violent and impolitic
conduct of Critolaus, then Strategus of the league, rendered all
attempts at accommodation fruitless, and after the return of the
ambassadors the Senate declared war against the league. The
cowardice and incompetence of Critolaus as a general were only
equalled by his previous insolence. On the approach of the
Romans under Metellus from Macedonia he did not even venture to
make a stand at Thermopylae; and being overtaken by them near
Scarphea in Locris, he was totally defeated, and never again
heard of. Diaeus, who succeeded him as Strategus, displayed
rather more energy and courage. But a fresh Roman force under
Mummius having landed on the isthmus, Diaeus was overthrown in a
battle near Corinth; and that city was immediately evacuated not
only by the troops of the league, but also by the greater part of
the inhabitants. On entering it Mummius put the few males who
remained to the sword; sold the women and children as slaves and
having carried away all its treasures, consigned it to the flames
(B.C. 146). Corinth was filled with masterpieces of ancient art;
but Mummius was so insensible to their surpassing excellence as
to stipulate with those who contracted to convey them to Italy,
that, if any were lost in the passage, they should be replaced by
others of equal value! Mummius then employed himself in
chastising and regulating the whole of Greece; and ten
commissioners were sent from Rome to settle its future condition.
The whole country, to the borders of Macedonia and Epirus, was
formed into a Roman province, under the name of ACHAIA, derived
from that confederacy which had made the last struggle for its
political existence.



The Greeks possessed two large collections of epic poetry. The
one comprised poems relating to the great events and enterprises
of the Heroic age, and characterised by a certain poetical unity;
the other included works tamer in character and more desultory in
their mode of treatment, containing the genealogies of men and
gods, narratives of the exploits of separate heroes, and
descriptions of the ordinary pursuits of life. The poems of the
former class passed under the name of Homer; while those of the
latter were in the same general way ascribed to Hesiod. The
former were the productions of the Ionic and AEolic minstrels in
Asia Minor, among whom Homer stood pre-eminent and eclipsed the
brightness of the rest: the latter were the compositions of a
school of bards in the neighbourhood of Mount Helicon in Boeotia,
among whom in like manner Hesiod enjoyed the greatest celebrity.
The poems of both schools were composed in the hexameter metre
and in a similar dialect; but they differed widely in almost
every other feature.

Of the Homeric poems the Iliad and the Odyssey were the most
distinguished and have alone come down to us. The subject of the
Iliad was the exploits of Achilles and of the other Grecian
heroes before Ilium or Troy; that of the Odyssey was the
wanderings and adventures of Odysseus or Ulysses after the
capture of Troy on his return to his native island. Throughout
the flourishing period of Greek literature these unrivalled works
were universally regarded as the productions of a single mind;
but there was very little agreement respecting the place of the
poet's birth the details of his life, or the time in which he
lived. Seven cities laid claim to Homer's birth, and most of
them had legends to tell respecting his romantic parentage, his
alleged blindness, and his life of an itinerant bard acquainted
with poverty and sorrow. It cannot be disputed that he was an
Asiatic Greek; but this is the only fact in his life which can be
regarded as certain. Several of the best writers of antiquity
supposed him to have been a native of the island of Chios; but
most modern scholars believe Smyrna to have been his birthplace.
His most probable date is about B.C. 850.

The mode in which these poems were preserved has occasioned great
controversy in modern times. Even if they were committed to
writing by the poet himself, and were handed down to posterity in
this manner, it is certain that they were rarely read. We must
endeavour to realise the difference between ancient Greece and
our own times. During the most flourishing period of Athenian
literature manuscripts were indifferently written, without
division into parts, and without marks of punctuation. They were
scarce and costly, could be obtained only by the wealthy, and
read only by those who had had considerable literary training.
Under these circumstances the Greeks could never become a reading
people; and thus the great mass even of the Athenians became
acquainted with the productions of the leading poets of Greece
only by hearing them recited at their solemn festivals and on
other public occasions. This was more strikingly the case at an
earlier period. The Iliad and the Odyssey were not read by
individuals in private, but were sung or recited at festivals or
to assembled companies. The bard originally sung his own lays to
the accompaniment of his lyre. He was succeeded by a body of
professional reciters, called Rhapsodists, who rehearsed the
poems of others. and who appear at early times to have had
exclusive possession of the Homeric poems. But in the seventh
century before the Christian era literary culture began to
prevail among the Greeks; and men of education and wealth were
naturally desirous of obtaining copies of the great poet of the
nation. From this cause copies came to be circulated among the
Greeks; but most of them contained only separate portions of the
poems, or single rhapsodes, as they were called. Pisistratus,
the tyrant or despot of Athens, is said to have been the first
person who collected and arranged the poems in their present
form, in order that they might be recited at the great
Panathenaic festival at Athens.

Three works have come down to us bearing the name of Hesiod--the
'Works and Days,' the 'Theogony,' and a description of the
'Shield of Hercules.' Many ancient critics believed the 'Works
and Days' to be the only genuine work of Hesiod, and their
opinion has been adopted by most modern scholars. We learn from
this work that Hesiod was a native of Ascra, a village at the
foot of Mount Helicon, to which his father had migrated from the
AEolian Cyme in Asia Minor. He further tells us that he gained
the prize at Chalcis in a poetical contest; and that he was
robbed of a fair share of his heritage by the unrighteous
decision of judges who had been bribed by his brother Perses.
The latter became afterwards reduced in circumstances, and
applied to his brother for relief; and it is to him that Hesiod
addresses his didactic poem of the 'Works and Days,' in which he
lays down various moral and social maxims for the regulation of
his conduct and his life. It contains an interesting
representation of the feelings, habits, and superstitions of the
rural population of Greece in the earlier ages. Respecting the
date of Hesiod nothing certain can be affirmed. Modern writers
usually suppose him to have flourished two or three generations
later than Homer.

The commencement of Greek lyric poetry as a cultivated species of
composition dates from the middle of the seventh century before
the Christian era. No important event either in the public or
private life of a Greek could dispense with this accompaniment;
and the lyric song was equally needed to solemnize the worship of
the gods, to cheer the march to battle, or to enliven the festive
board. The lyric poetry, with the exception of that of Pindar,
has almost entirely perished, and all that we possess of it;
consists of a few songs and isolated fragments.

The great satirist ARCHILOCHUS was one of the earliest and most
celebrated of all the lyric poets. He was a native of the island
of Paros, and flourished about the year 700 B.C. His fame rests
chiefly on his terrible satires, composed in the Iambic metre.
in which he gave vent to the bitterness of a disappointed man.

TYRTAEUS and ALCMAN were the two great lyric poets of Sparta,
though neither of them was a native of Lacedaemon. The personal
history of Tyrtaeus, and his warlike songs which roused the
fainting courage of the Spartans during the second Messenian war,
have already been mentioned. Alcman was originally a Lydian
slave in a Spartan family, and was emancipated by his master. He
lived shortly after the second Messenian war. His poems partake
of the character of this period, which was one of repose and
enjoyment after the fatigues and perils of war. Many of his
songs celebrate the pleasures of good eating and drinking; but
the more important were intended to be sung by a chorus at the
public festivals of Sparta.

ARION was a native of Methymna in Lesbos, and lived some time at
the court of Periander, tyrant of Corinth, who began to reign
B.C. 625. Nothing is known of his life beyond the beautiful
story of his escape from the sailors with whom he sailed from
Sicily to Corinth. On one occasion, thus runs the story, Arion
went to Sicily to take part in a musical contest. He won the
prize, and, laden with presents, he embarked in a Corinthian ship
to return to his friend Periander. The rude sailors coveted his
treasures, and meditated his murder. After imploring them in
vain to spare his life, he obtained permission to play for the
last time on his beloved lyre. In festal attire he placed
himself on the prow of the vessel, invoked the gods in inspired
strains, and then threw himself into the sea. But many song-
loving dolphins had assembled round the vessel, and one of them
now took the bard on its back. and carried him to Taenarum, from
whence he returned to Corinth in safety, and related his
adventure to Periander. Upon the arrival of the Corinthian
vessel, Periander inquired of the sailors after Arion, who
replied that he had remained behind at Tarentum; but when Arion,
at the bidding of Periander, came forward, the sailors owned
their guilt, and were punished according to their desert. The
great improvement in lyric poetry ascribed to Arion is the
invention of the Dithyramb. This was a choral song and dance in
honour of the god Dionysus, and is of great interest in the
history of poetry, since it was the germ from which sprung at a
later time the magnificent productions of the tragic Muse at

ALCAEUS and SAPPHO were both natives of Mytilene in the island of
Lesbos, and flourished about B.C. 610-580. Their songs were
composed for a single voice, and not for the chorus, and they
were each the inventor of a new metre, which bears their name,
and is familiar to us by the well-known odes of Horace. Their
poetry was the warm outpouring of the writers' inmost feelings,
and present the lyric poetry of the AEolians at its highest

Alcaeus took an active part in the civil dissensions of his
native state, and warmly espoused the cause of the aristocratical
party, to which he belonged by birth. When the nobles were
driven into exile, he endeavoured to cheer their spirits by a
number of most animated odes, full of invectives against the
popular party and its leaders.

Of the events of Sappho's life we have scarcely any information;
and the common story that, being in love with Phaon and finding
her love unrequited, she leaped down from the Leucadian rock,
seems to have been an invention of later times.

ANACREON was a native of the Ionian city of Teos. He spent part
of his life at Samos, under the patronage of Polycrates; and
after the death of this despot he went to Athens at the
invitation of Hipparchus. The universal tradition of antiquity
represents Anacreon as a consummate voluptuary; and his poems
prove the truth of the tradition. His death was worthy of his
life, if we may believe the account that he was choked by a

SIMONIDES, of the island of Ceos, was born B.C. 556, and reached
a great age. He lived many years at Athens, both at the court of
Hipparchus, together with Anacreon, and subsequently under the
democracy during the Persian wars. The struggles of Greece for
her independence furnished him with a noble subject for his muse.
He carried away the prize from AEschylus with an elegy upon the
warriors who had fallen at the battle of Marathon. Subsequently
we find him celebrating the heroes of Thermopylae, Artemisium,
Salamis, and Plataea. He was upwards of 80 when his long
poetical career at Athens was closed with the victory which he
gained with the dithyrambic chorus in B.C. 477, making the 56th
prize that he had carried off. Shortly after this event he
repaired to Syracuse at the invitation of Hiero. Here he spent
the remaining ten years of his life, not only entertaining Hiero
with his poetry, but instructing him by his wisdom; for Simonides
was a philosopher as well as a poet, and is reckoned amongst the

PINDAR, though the contemporary of Simonides, was considerably
his junior: He was born either at, or in the neighbourhood of,
Thebes in Boeotia, about the year 522 B.C. Later writers tell us
that his future glory as a poet was miraculously foreshadowed by
a swarm of bees which rested upon his lips while he was asleep,
and that this miracle first led him to compose poetry. He
commenced his professional career at an early age, and soon
acquired so great a reputation, that he was employed by various
states and princes of the Hellenic race to compose choral songs.
He was courted especially by Alexander, king of Macedonia, and by
Hiero, despot of Syracuse. The praises which he bestowed upon
Alexander are said to have been the chief reason which led his
descendant, Alexander the Great, to spare the house of the poet
when he destroyed the rest of Thebes. The estimation in which
Pindar was held is also shown by the honours conferred upon him
by the free states of Greece. Although a Theban, he was always a
great favourite with the Athenians, whom he frequently praised in
his poems, and who testified their gratitude by making him their
public guest, and by giving him 10,000 drachmas. The only poems
of Pindar which have come down to us entire are his Epinicia or
triumphal odes, composed in commemoration of victories gained in
the great public games. But these were only a small portion of
his works. He also wrote hymns, paeans, dithyrambs, odes for
processions, songs of maidens, mimic dancing songs, drinking
songs, dirges and encomia, or panegyrics on princes.

The Greeks had arrived at a high pitch of civilization before
they can be said to have possessed a HISTORY. The first essays
in literary prose cannot be placed earlier than the sixth century
before the Christian aera; but the first writer who deserves the
name of an historian is HERODOTUS, hence called the Father of
History. Herodotus was born in the Dorian colony of
Halicarnassus in Caria, in the year 484 B.C., and accordingly
about the time of the Persian expeditions into Greece. He
resided some years in Samos, and also undertook extensive
travels, of which he speaks in his work. There was scarcely a
town in Greece or on the coasts of Asia Minor with which he was
not acquainted; he had explored Thrace and the coasts of the
Black Sea; in Egypt he had penetrated as far south as
Elephantine; and in Asia he had visited the cities of Babylon,
Ecbatana, and Susa. The latter part of his life was spent at
Thurii, a colony founded by the Athenians in Italy in B.C. 443.
According to a well-known story in Lucian, Herodotus, when he had
completed hia work, recited it publicly at the great Olympic
festival, as the best means of procuring for it that celebrity to
which he felt that it was entitled. The effect is described as
immediate and complete. The delighted audience at once assigned
the names of the nine Muses to the nine books into which it is
divided. A still later author (Suidas) adds, that Thucydides,
then a boy, was present at the festival with his father Olorus,
and was so affected by the recital as to shed tears; upon which
Herodotus congratulated Olorus on having a son who possessed so
early such a zeal for knowledge. But there are many objections
to the probability of these tales.

Herodotus interwove into his history all the varied and extensive
knowledge acquired in his travels, and by big own personal
researches. But the real subject of the work is the conflict
between the Greek race, in the widest sense of the term, and
including the Greeks of Asia Minor, with the Asiatics. Thus the
historian had a vast epic subject presented to him, which was
brought to a natural and glorious termination by the defeat of
the Persians in their attempts upon Greece. The work concludes
with the reduction of Sestos by the Athenians, B.C. 478.
Herodotus wrote in the Ionic dialect, and his style is marked by
an ease and simplicity which lend it an indescribable charm.

THUCYDIDES, the greatest of the Greek historians, was an
Athenian, and was born in the year 471 B.C. His family was
connected with that of Miltiades and Cimon. He possessed gold-
mines in Thrace, and enjoyed great influence in that country. He
commanded an Athenian squadron of seven ships at Thasos, in 424
B.C., at the time when Brasidas was besieging Amphipolis; and
having failed to relieve that city in time, he went into a
voluntary exile, in order probably to avoid the punishment of
death. He appears to have spent 20 years in banishment,
principally in the Peloponnesus, or in places under the dominion
or influence of Sparta. He perhaps returned to Athens in B.C.
403, the date of its liberation by Thrasybulus. According to the
unanimous testimony of antiquity he met with a violent end, and
it seems probable that he was assassinated at Athens, since it
cannot be doubted that his tomb existed there. From the
beginning of the Peloponnesian war he had designed to write its
history, and he employed himself in collecting materials for that
purpose during its continuance; but it is most likely that the
work was not actually composed till after the conclusion of the
war, and that he was engaged upon it at the time of his death.
The first book of his History is introductory, and contains a
rapid sketch of Grecian history from the remotest times to the
breaking out of the war. The remaining seven books are filled
with the details of the war, related according to the division
into summers and winters, into which all campaigns naturally
fall; and the work breaks off abruptly in the middle of the 21st
year of the war (B.C. 411). The materials of Thucydides were
collected with the most scrupulous care; the events are related
with the strictest impartiality; and the work probably offers a
more exact account of a long and eventful period than any other
contemporary history, whether ancient or modern, of an equally
long and important aera. The style of Thucydides is brief and
sententious, and whether in moral or political reasoning, or in
description, gains wonderful force from its condensation. But
this characteristic is sometimes carried to a faulty extent, so
as to render his style harsh, and his meaning obscure.

XENOPHON, the son of Gryllus, was also an Athenian, and was
probably born about B.C. 444. He was a pupil of Socrates, who
saved his life at the battle of Delium (B.C. 424). His
accompanying Cyrus the younger in his expedition against his
brother Artaxerxes, king of Persia, formed a striking episode in
his life, and has been recorded by himself in his ANABASIS. He
seems to have been still in Asia at the time of the death of
Socrates in 399 B.C., and was probably banished from Athens soon
after that period, in consequence of his close connexion with the
Lacedaemonians. He accompanied Agesilaus, the Spartan king, on
the return of the latter from Asia to Greece; and he fought along
with the Lacedaemonians against his own countrymen at the battle
of Coronea in 394 B.C. After this battle he went with Agesilaus
to Sparta, and soon afterwards settled at Scillus in Elis, near
Olympia. He is said to have lived to more than 90 years of age,
and he mentions an event which occurred as late as 357 B.C.

Probably all the works of Xenophon are still extant. The
ANABASIS is the work on which his fame as an historian chiefly
rests. It is written in a simple and agreeable style, and
conveys much curious and striking information. The HELLENICA is
a continuation of the history of Thucydides, and comprehends in
seven books a space of about 48 years; namely, from the time when
Thucydides breaks off, B.C. 411, to the battle of Mantinea in
362. The subject is treated in a very dry and uninteresting
style; and his evident partiality to Sparta, and dislike of
Athens, have frequently warped his judgment, and must cause his
statements to be received with some suspicion. The CYROPAEDIA,
one of the most pleasing and popular of his works, professes to
be a history of Cyrus, the founder of the Persian monarchy, but
is in reality a kind of political romance, and possesses no
authority whatever as an historical work. The design of the
author seems to have been to draw a picture of a perfect state;
and though the scene is laid in Persia, the materials of the work
are derived from his own philosophical notions and the usages of
Sparta engrafted on the popularly current stories respecting
Cyrus. Xenophon displays in this work his dislike of democratic
institutions like those of Athens, and his preference for an
aristocracy, or even a monarchy. Xenophon was also the author of
several minor works; but the only other treatise which we need
mention is the MEMORABILIA of Socrates, in four books, intended
as a defence of his master against the charges which occasioned
his death, and which undoubtedly contains a genuine picture of
Socrates and his philosophy. The genius of Xenophon was not of
the highest order; it was practical rather than speculative; but
he is distinguished for his good sense, his moderate views, his
humane temper, and his earnest piety.

The DRAMA pre-eminently distinguished Athenian literature. The
democracy demanded a literature of a popular kind, the vivacity
of the people a literature that made a lively impression; and
both these conditions were fulfilled by the drama. But though
brought to perfection among the Athenians, tragedy and comedy, in
their rude and early origin, were Dorian inventions. Both arose
out of the worship of Dionysus. There was at first but little
distinction between these two species of the drama, except that
comedy belonged more to the rural celebration of the Dionysiac
festivals, and tragedy to that in cities. The name of TRAGEDY
was far from signifying any thing mournful, being derived from
the goat-like appearance of those who, disguised as Satyrs,
performed the old Dionysiac songs and dances. In like manner,
COMEDY was called after the song of the band of revellers who
celebrated the vintage festivals of Dionysus, and vented the rude
merriment inspired by the occasion in jibes and extempore
witticisms levelled at the spectators. Tragedy, in its more
perfect form, was the offspring of the dithyrambic odes with
which that worship was celebrated. These were not always of a
joyous cast. Some of them expressed the sufferings of Dionysus;
and it was from this more mournful species of dithyramb that
tragedy, properly so called, arose. The dithyrambic odes formed
a kind of lyrical tragedy, and were sung by a chorus of fifty
men, dancing round the altar of Dionysus. The improvements in
the dithyramb were introduced by Arion at Corinth; and it was
chiefly among the Dorian states of the Peloponnesus that these
choral dithyrambic songs prevailed. Hence, even in attic
tragedy, the chorus, which was the foundation of the drama, was
written in the Doric dialect, thus clearly betraying the source
from which the Athenians derived it.

In Attica an important alteration was made in the old tragedy in
the time of Pisistratus, in consequence of which it obtained a
new and dramatic character. This innovation is ascribed to
THESPIS, a native of the Attic village of Icaria, B.C. 535. It
consisted in the introduction of an actor for the purpose of
giving rest to the chorus. Thespis was succeeded by Choerilus
and Phrynichus, the latter of whom gained his first prize in the
dramatic contests in 511 B.C. The Dorian Pratinas, a native of
Philius, but who exhibited his tragedies at Athens, introduced an
improvement in tragedy by separating the Satyric from the tragic
drama. As neither the popular taste nor the ancient religious
associations connected with the festivals of Dionysus would have
permitted the chorus of Satyrs to be entirely banished from the
tragic representations, Pratinas avoided this by the invention of
what is called the Satyric drama; that is, a species of play in
which the ordinary subjects of tragedy were treated in a lively
and farcical manner, and in which the chorus consisted of a band
of Satyrs in appropriate dresses and masks. After this period it
became customary to exhibit dramas in TETRALOGIES, or sets of
four; namely, a tragic trilogy, or series of three tragedies,
followed by a Satyric play. These were often on connected
subjects; and the Satyric drama at the end served like a merry
after-piece to relieve the minds of the spectators.

The subjects of Greek tragedy were taken, with few exceptions,
from the national mythology. Hence the plot and story were of
necessity known to the spectators, a circumstance which strongly
distinguished the ancient tragedy from the modern. It must also
be recollected that the representation of tragedies did not take
place every day, but only, after certain fixed intervals, at the
festivals of Dionysus, of which they formed one of the greatest
attractions. During the whole day the Athenian public sat in the
theatre witnessing tragedy after tragedy; and a prize was awarded
by judges appointed for the purpose to the poet who produced the
best set of dramas.

Such was Attic tragedy when it came into the hands of AESCHYLUS,
who, from the great improvements which he introduced, was
regarded by the Athenians as its father or founder, just as Homer
was of Epic poetry, and Herodotus of History. AEschylus was born
at Eleusis in Attica in B.C. 525, and was thus contemporary with
Simonides and Pindar. He fought with his brother Cynaegirus at
the battle of Marathon, and also at those of Artemisium, Salamis,
and Plataea. In B.C. 484 he gained his first tragic prize. In
468 he was defeated in a tragic contest by his younger rival
Sophocles; shortly afterwards he retired to the court of king
Hiero, at Syracuse, He died at Gela, in Sicily, in 456, in the
69th year of his age. It is unanimously related that an eagle,
mistaking the poet's bald head for a stone, let a tortoise fall
upon it in order to break the shell, thus fulfilling an oracle
predicting that he was to die by a blow from heaven. The
improvements introduced into tragedy by AEschylus concerned both
its form and composition, and its manner of representation. In
the former his principal innovation was the introduction of a
second actor; whence arose the dialogue, properly so called, and
the limitation of the choral parts, which now became subsidiary.
His improvements in the manner of representing tragedy consisted
in the introduction of painted scenes, drawn according to the
rules of perspective. He furnished the actors with more
appropriate and more magnificent dresses, invented for them more
various and expressive masks, and raised their stature to the
heroic size by providing them with thick-soled cothurni or
buskins. AEschylus excels in representing the superhuman, in
depicting demigods and heroes, and in tracing the irresistible
march of fate. His style resembles the ideas which it clothes:
it is bold, sublime, and full of gorgeous imagery, but sometimes
borders on the turgid.

SOPHOCLES, the younger rival and immediate successor of Aeschylus
in the tragic art, was born at Colonus, a village about a mile
from Athens, in B.C. 495. We have already adverted to his
wresting the tragic prize from AEschylus in 468, from which time
he seems to have retained the almost undisputed possession of the
Athenian stage, until a young but formidable rival arose in the
person of Euripides. The close of his life was troubled with
family dissensions. Iophon, his son by an Athenian wife, and
therefore his legitimate heir, was jealous of the affection
manifested by his father for his grandson Sophocles, the
offspring of another son, Ariston, whom he had had by a Sicyonian
woman. Fearing lest his father should bestow a great part of his
property upon his favourite, Iophon summoned him before the
Phratores, or tribesmen, on the ground that his mind was
affected. The old man's only reply was--"If I am Sophocles I am
not beside myself; and if I am beside myself I am not Sophocles."
Then taking up his OEDIPUS AT COLONUS, which he had lately
written, but had not yet brought out, he read from it a beautiful
passage, with which the judges were so struck that they at once
dismissed the case. He died shortly afterwards, in B.C. 406, in
his 90th year. As a poet Sophocles is universally allowed to
have brought the drama to the greatest perfection of which it is
susceptible. His plays stand in the just medium between the
sublime but unregulated flights of AEschylus, and the too
familiar scenes and rhetorical declamations of Euripides. His
plots are worked up with more skill and care than the plots of
either of his great rivals. Sophocles added the last improvement
to the form of the drama by the introduction of a third actor; a
change which greatly enlarged the scope of the action. The
improvement was so obvious that it was adopted by AEschylus in
his later plays; but the number of three actors seems to have
been seldom or never exceeded.

EURIPIDES was born in the island of Salamis, in B.C. 480 his
parents having been among those who fled thither at the time of
the invasion of Attics by Xerxes. He studied rhetoric under
Prodicus, and physics under Anaxagoras and he also lived on
intimate terms with Socrates. In 441 he gained his first prize,
and he continued to exhibit plays until 408, the date of his
Orestes. Soon after this he repaired to the court of Macedonia,
at the invitation of king Archelaus, where he died two years
afterwards at the age of 74 (B.C. 406). Common report relates
that he was torn to pieces by the king's dogs, which, according
to some accounts, were set upon him by two rival poets out of
envy. In treating his characters and subjects Euripides often
arbitrarily departed from the received legends, and diminished
the dignity of tragedy by depriving it of its ideal character,
and by bringing it down to the level of every-day life. His
dialogue was garrulous and colloquial, wanting in heroic dignity,
and frequently frigid through misplaced philosophical
disquisitions. Yet in spite of all these faults Euripides has
many beauties, and is particularly remarkable for pathos, so that
Aristotle calls him "the most tragic of poets."

Comedy received its full development at Athens from Cratinus, who
lived in the age of Pericles. Cratinus, and his younger
contemporaries Eupolis and Aristophanes, were the three great
poets of what is called the Old Attic Comedy. The comedies of
Cratinus and Eupolis are lost; but of Aristophanes, who was the
greatest of the three, we have eleven dramas extant.
ARISTOPHANES was born about 444 B.C. Of his private life we know
positively nothing. He exhibited his first comedy in 427, and
from that time till near his death, which probably happened about
380, he was a frequent contributor to the Attic stage. The OLD
ATTIC COMEDY was a powerful vehicle for the expression of
opinion; and most of the comedies of Aristophanes turned either
upon political occurrences, or upon some subject which excited
the interest of the Athenian public. Their chief object was to
excite laughter by the boldest and most ludicrous caricature; and
provided that end was attained the poet seems to have cared but
little about the justice of the picture. Towards the end of the
career of Aristophanes the unrestricted licence and libellous
personality of comedy began gradually to disappear. The chorus
was first curtailed and then entirely suppressed, and thus made
way for what is called the Middle Comedy, which had no chorus at
all. The latter still continued to be in some degree political;
but persons were no longer introduced upon the stage under their
real names, and the office of the chorus was very much curtailed.
It was, in fact, the connecting link between the Old Comedy and
the New, or the Comedy of Manners. The NEW COMEDY arose after
Athens had become subject to the Macedonians. Politics were now
excluded from the stage, and the materials of the dramatic poet
were derived entirely from the fictitious adventures of persons
in private life. The two most distinguished writers of this
school were PHILEMON and MENANDER. Philemon was probably born
about the year 360 B.C., and was either a Cilician or Syracusan,
but came at an early age to Athens. He is considered as the
founder of the New Comedy, which was soon afterwards brought to
perfection by his younger contemporary Menander. The latter was
an Athenian, and was born in B.C. 312. He was drowned at the age
of 52, whilst swimming in the harbour of Piraeus. He wrote
upwards of 100 comedies, of which only fragments remain; and the
unanimous praise of posterity awakens our regret for the loss of
one of the most elegant writers of antiquity. The comedies,
indeed, of Plautus and Terence may give us a general notion of
the New Comedy of the Greeks, from which they were confessedly
drawn; but there is good reason to suppose that the works even of
the latter Roman writer fell far short of the wit and elegance of

The latter days of literary Athens were chiefly distinguished by
the genius of her ORATORS and PHILOSOPHERS. There were ten Attic
orators, whose works were collected by the Greek grammarians, and
many of whose orations have come down to us. Their names are
Antiphon, Andocides, Lysias, Isocrates, Isaeus, AEschines,
Lycurgus, Demosthenes, Hyperides and Dinarchus. ANTIPHON, the
earliest of the ten was born B.C. 480. He opened a school of
rhetoric, and numbered among his pupils the historian Thucydides.
Antiphon was put to death in 411 B.C. for the part which he took
in establishing the oligarchy of the Four Hundred.

ANDOCIDES, who was concerned with Alcibiades in the affair of the
Hermae, was born at Athens in B.C. 467, tend died probably about

LYSIAS, also born at Athens in 458, was much superior to
Andocides as an orator, but being a METIC or resident alien, he
was not allowed to speak in the assemblies or courts of justice,
and therefore wrote orations for others to deliver.

ISOCRATES was born in 436. After receiving the instructions of
some of the most celebrated sophists of the day, he became
himself a speech-writer and professor of rhetoric; his weakly
constitution and natural timidity preventing him from taking a
part in public life. He made away with himself in 338, after the
fatal battle of Chaeronea, in despair, it is said, of his
country's fate. He took great pains with his compositions, and
is reported to have spent ten, or, according to others, fifteen
years over his Panegyric oration.

ISAEUS flourished between the end of the Peloponnesian war and
the accession of Philip of Macedon. He opened a school of
rhetoric at Athens, and is said to have numbered Demosthenes
among his pupils. The orations of Isaeus were exclusively
judicial, and the whole of the eleven which have come down to us
turn on the subject of inheritances.

AESCHINES was born in the year 389, and he was at first a violent
anti-Macedonian; but after his embassy along with Demosthenes and
others to Philip's court, he was the constant advocate of peace,
Demosthenes and AEschines now became the leading speakers on
their respective sides, and the heat of political animosity soon
degenerated into personal hatred. In 343 Demosthenes charged
AEschines with having received bribes from Philip during a second
embassy; and the speech in which he brought forward this
accusation was answered in another by AEschines. The result of
this charge is unknown, but it seems to have detracted from the
popularity of AEschines. We have already adverted to his
impeachment of Ctesiphon, and the celebrated reply of Demosthenes
in his speech DE CORONA. After the banishment of AEschines on
this occasion (B.C. 330), he employed himself in teaching
rhetoric at Rhodes. He died in Samos in 314. As an orator he
was second only to Demosthenes.

Of the life of his great rival, DEMOSTHENES, we have already
given some account. The verdict of his contemporaries, ratified
by posterity, has pronounced Demosthenes the greatest; orator
that ever lived. The principal element of his success must be
traced in his purity of purpose, which gave to his arguments all
the force of conscientious conviction. The effect of his
speeches was still further heightened by a wonderful and almost
magic force of diction. The grace and vivacity of his delivery
are attested by the well-known anecdote of AEschines, when he
read at Rhodes his speech against Ctesiphon. His audience having
expressed their surprise that he should have been defeated after
such an oration "You would cease to wonder," he remarked, "if
you had heard Demosthenes."

The remaining three Attic orators, viz. LYCURGUS, HYPERIDES, and
DINARCHUS, were contemporaries of Demosthenes. Lycurgus and
Hyperides both belonged to the anti-Macedonian party, and were
warm supporters of the policy of Demosthenes. Dinarchus, who is
the least important of the Attic orators, survived Demosthenes,
and was a friend of Demetrius Phalereus.

The history of Greek PHILOSOPHY, like that of Greek poetry and
history, began in Asia Minor. The earliest philosopher of
distinction was THALES of Miletus, who was born about B.C. 640,
and died in 554 at the age of 90. He was the founder of the
IONIC school of philosophy, and to him were traced the first
beginnings of geometry and astronomy. The main doctrine of his
philosophical system was, that water, or fluid substance was the
single original element from which everything came and into which
everything returned. ANAXIMANDER, the successor of Thales in the
Ionic school, lived from B.C. 610 to 547. He was distinguished
for his knowledge of astronomy and geography, and is said to have
been the first to introduce the use of the sun-dial into Greece.
ANAXIMENES, the third in the series of the Ionian philosophers,
lived a little later than Anaximander. He endeavoured, like
Thales, to derive the origin of all material things from a single
element; and, according to his theory, air was the source of

A new path was struck out by ANAXAGORAS Of Clazomenae, the most
illustrious of the Ionic philosophers. He came to Athens in 480
B.C., where he continued to teach for thirty years, numbering
among his hearers Pericles, Socrates, and Euripides. He
abandoned the system of his predecessors, and, instead of
regarding some elementary form of matter as the origin of all
things, he conceived a supreme mind or intelligence, distinct
from the visible world, to have imparted form and order to the
chaos of nature. These innovations afforded the Athenians a
pretext for indicting Anaxagoras of impiety, though it is
probable that his connexion with Pericles was the real cause of
that proceeding (see Ch.IX). It was only through the influence
and eloquence of Pericles that he was not put to death; but he
was sentenced to pay a fine of five talents and quit Athens. The
philosopher retired to Lampsacus, where he died at the age of 72.

The second school of Greek philosophy was the ELEATIC which
derived its name from Elea or Velia, a Greek colony on the
western coast of Southern Italy. It was founded by XENOPHANES of
Colophon, who fled to Elea on the conquest of his native land by
the Persians. He conceived the whole of nature to be God.

The third school of philosophy was the PYTHAGOREAN, founded by
PYTHAGORAS. He was a native of Samos and was born about B.C.
580. His father was an opulent merchant, and Pythagoras himself
travelled extensively in the East. He believed in the
transmigration of souls; and later writers relate that Pythagoras
asserted that his own soul had formerly dwelt in the body of the
Trojan Euphorbus, the son of Panthous, who was slain by Menelaus,
and that in proof of his assertion he took down, at first
sight,the shield of Euphorbus from the temple of Hera (Juno) at
Argos, where it had been dedicated by Menelaus. Pythagoras was
distinguished by his knowledge of geometry and arithmetic; and it
was probably from his teaching that the Pythagoreans were led to
regard numbers in some mysterious manner as the basis and essence
of all things. He was however more of the religious teacher than
of the philosopher; and he looked upon himself as a being
destined by the gods to reveal to his disciples a new and a purer
mode of life. He founded at Croton in Italy a kind of religious
brotherhood, the members of which were bound together by peculiar
rites and observances. Everything done and taught in the
fraternity was kept a profound secret from all without its pale.
It appears that the members had some private signs, like
Freemasons, by which they could recognise each other, even if
they had never met before. His doctrines spread rapidly over
Magna Graecia, and clubs of a similar character were established
at Sybaris, Metapontum, Tarentum, and other cities.

At Athens a new direction was given to the study of philosophy by
Socrates, of whom an account has been already given. To his
teaching either directly of indirectly may be traced the origin
of the four principal Grecian schools: the ACADEMICIANS,
established by Plato; the PERIPATETICS, founded by his pupil
Aristotle; the EPICUREANS, so named from their master Epicurus;
and the STOICS, founded by Zeno.

PLATO was born at Athens in 429 B.C., the year in which Pericles
died. His first literary attempts were in poetry; but his
attention was soon turned to philosophy by the teaching of
Socrates, whose lectures he began to frequent at about the age of
twenty. From that time till the death of Socrates he appears to
have lived in the closest intimacy with that philosopher. After
that event Plato withdrew to Megara, and subsequently undertook
some extensive travels, in the course of which he visited Cyrene,
Egypt, Sicily, and Magna Graecia. His intercourse with the elder
and the younger Dionysius at Syracuse has been already related
His absence from Athens lasted about twelve years; on his return,
being then upwards of forty, he began to teach in the gymnasium
of the Academy. His doctrines were too recondite for the popular
ear, and his lectures were not very numerously attended. But he
had a narrower circle of devoted admirers and disciples,
consisting of about twenty-eight persons, who met in his private
house; over the vestibule of which was inscribed--"Let no one
enter who is ignorant of geometry." The most distinguished of
this little band of auditors were Speusippus, his nephew and
successor, and Aristotle. He died in 347, at the age of 81 or
82, and bequeathed his garden to his school.

ARISTOTLE was born in 381 B.C., at Stagira, a seaport town of
Chalcidice, whence he is frequently called THE STAGIRITE. At the
age of 17, Aristotle, who had then lost both father and mother,
repaired to Athens. Plato considered him his best scholar, and
called him "the intellect of his school." Aristotle spent twenty
years at Athens, during the last ten of which he established a
school of his own. In 342 he accepted the invitation of Philip
of Macedon to undertake the instruction of his son Alexander. In
335, after Alexander had ascended the throne, Aristotle quitted
Macedonia, to which he never returned. He again took up his
abode at Athens, where the Athenians assigned him the gymnasium
called the Lyceum; and from his habit of delivering his lectures
whilst walking up and down in the shady walks of this place, his
school was called the PERIPATETIC. In the morning he lectured
only to a select class of pupils, called ESOTERIC. His afternoon
lectures were delivered to a wider circle, and were therefore
called EXOTERIC. It was during the thirteen years in which he
presided over the Lyceum that he composed the greater part of his
works, and prosecuted his researches in natural history, in which
he was most liberally assisted by the munificence of Alexander.
The latter portion of Aristotle's life was unfortunate. He
appears to have lost from some unknown cause the friendship of
Alexander; and, after the death of that monarch, the disturbances
which ensued in Greece proved unfavourable to his peace and
security. Being threatened with a prosecution for impiety, he
escaped from Athens and retired to Chalcis; but he was condemned
to death in his absence, and deprived of all the rights and
honours which he had previously enjoyed. He died at Chalcis in
322, in the 63rd year of his age.

Of all the philosophical systems of antiquity, that of Aristotle
was best adapted to the practical wants of mankind. It was
founded on a close and accurate observation of human nature and
of the external world; but whilst it sought the practical and
useful, it did not neglect the beautiful and noble. His works
consisted of treatises on natural, moral and political
philosophy, history, rhetoric, criticism, &c,; indeed there is
scarcely a branch of knowledge which his vast and comprehensive
genius did not embrace.

EPICURUS was born at Samos in 342, and settled at Athens at about
the age of 35. Here he purchased a garden, where he established
his philosophical school. He taught that pleasure is the highest
good; a tenet, however, which he explained and dignified by
showing that it was mental pleasure that he intended. The ideas
of atheism and sensual degradation with which the name of
Epicurus has been so frequently coupled are founded on ignorance
of his real teaching. But as he denied the immortality of the
soul, and the interference of the gods in human affairs,--though
he held their existence,--his tenets were very liable to be
abused by those who had not sufficient elevation of mind to love
virtue for its own sake.

ZENO was a native of Citium in the island of Cyprus, and settled
at Athens about B.C. 299. Here he opened a school in the Poecile
Stoa, or painted porch, whence the name of his sect. He
inculcated temperance and self-denial, and his practice was in
accordance with his precept.

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