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Athens: Its Rise and Fall, Complete by Edward Bulwer-Lytton

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Chor. Why?
Phil. To seek my father.
Chor. On earth?
Phil. In Hades.

Having thus worked us up to the utmost point of sympathy with the
abandoned Philoctetes, the poet now gradually sheds a gentler and
holier light over the intense gloom to which we had been led.
Neoptolemus, touched with generous remorse, steals back to give the
betrayed warrior his weapons--he is watched by the vigilant Ulysses--
an angry altercation takes place between them. Ulysses, finding he
cannot intimidate, prudently avoids personal encounter with the son of
Achilles, and departs to apprize the host of the backsliding of his
comrade.--A most beautiful scene, in which Neoptolemus restores the
weapons to Philoctetes--a scene which must have commanded the most
exquisite tears and the most rapturous applauses of the audience,
ensues; and, finally, the god so useful to the ancient poets brings
all things, contrary to the general rule of Aristotle [373], to a
happy close. Hercules appears and induces his former friend to
accompany Neoptolemus to the Grecian camp, where his wound shall be
healed.. The farewell of Philoctetes to his cavern--to the nymphs of
the meadows--to the roar of the ocean, whose spray the south wind
dashed through his rude abode--to the Lycian stream and the plain of
Lemnos--is left to linger on the ear like a solemn hymn, in which the
little that is mournful only heightens the majestic sweetness of all
that is musical. The dramatic art in the several scenes of this play
Sophocles has never excelled, and scarcely equalled. The contrast of
character in Ulysses and Neoptolemus has in it a reality, a human
strength and truth, that is more common to the modern than the ancient
drama. But still the fault of the story is partly that the plot rests
upon a base and ignoble fraud, and principally that our pity is
appealed to by the coarse sympathy with physical pain: the rags that
covered the sores, the tainted corruption of the ulcers, are brought
to bear, not so much on the mind as on the nerves; and when the hero
is represented as shrinking with corporeal agony--the blood oozing
from his foot, the livid sweat rolling down the brow--we sicken and
turn away from the spectacle; we have no longer that pleasure in our
own pain which ought to be the characteristic of true tragedy. It is
idle to vindicate this error by any dissimilarity between ancient and
modern dramatic art. As nature, so art, always has some universal and
permanent laws. Longinus rightly considers pathos a part of the
sublime, for pity ought to elevate us; but there is nothing to elevate
us in the noisome wounds, even of a mythical hero; our human nature is
too much forced back into itself--and a proof that in this the ancient
art did not differ from the modern, is in the exceeding rarity with
which bodily pain is made the instrument of compassion with the Greek
tragedians. The Philoctetes and the Hercules are among the exceptions
that prove the rule. [374]

XII. Another drawback to our admiration of the Philoctetes is in the
comparison it involuntarily courts with the Prometheus of Aeschylus.
Both are examples of fortitude under suffering--of the mind's conflict
with its fate. In either play a dreary waste, a savage solitude,
constitute the scene. But the towering sublimity of the Prometheus
dwarfs into littleness every image of hero or demigod with which we
contrast it. What are the chorus of mariners, and the astute Ulysses,
and the boyish generosity of Neoptolemus--what is the lonely cave on
the shores of Lemnos--what the high-hearted old warrior, with his
torturing wound and his sacred bow--what are all these to the vast
Titan, whom the fiends chain to the rock beneath which roll the rivers
of hell, for whom the daughters of Ocean are ministers, to whose
primeval birth the gods of Olympus are the upstarts of a day, whose
soul is the treasure-house of a secret which threatens the realm of
heaven, and for whose unimaginable doom earth reels to its base, all
the might of divinity is put forth, and Hades itself trembles as it
receives its indomitable and awful guest! Yet, as I have before
intimated, it is the very grandeur of Aeschylus that must have made
his poems less attractive on the stage than those of the humane and
flexible Sophocles. No visible representation can body forth his
thoughts--they overpower the imagination, but they do not come home to
our household and familiar feelings. In the contrast between the
"Philoctetes" and the "Prometheus" is condensed the contrast between
Aeschylus and Sophocles. They are both poets of the highest
conceivable order; but the one seems almost above appeal to our
affections--his tempestuous gloom appals the imagination, the vivid
glare of his thoughts pierces the innermost recesses of the intellect,
but it is only by accident that he strikes upon the heart. The other,
in his grandest flights, remembers that men make his audience, and
seems to feel as if art lost the breath of its life when aspiring
beyond the atmosphere of human intellect and human passions. The
difference between the creations of Aeschylus and Sophocles is like
the difference between the Satan of Milton and the Macbeth of
Shakspeare. Aeschylus is equally artful with Sophocles--it is the
criticism of ignorance that has said otherwise. But there is this
wide distinction--Aeschylus is artful as a dramatist to be read,
Sophocles as a dramatist to be acted. If we get rid of actors, and
stage, and audience, Aeschylus will thrill and move us no less than
Sophocles, through a more intellectual if less passionate medium. A
poem may be dramatic, yet not theatrical--may have all the effects of
the drama in perusal, but by not sufficiently enlisting the skill of
the actor--nay, by soaring beyond the highest reach of histrionic
capacities, may lose those effects in representation. The storm in
"Lear" is a highly dramatic agency when our imagination is left free
to conjure up the angry elements,

"Bid the winds blow the earth into the sea,
Or swell the curled waters."

But a storm on the stage, instead of exceeding, so poorly mimics the
reality, that it can never realize the effect which the poet designs,
and with which the reader is impressed. So is it with supernatural
and fanciful creations, especially of the more delicate and subtle
kind. The Ariel of the "Tempest," the fairies of the "Midsummer
Night's Dream," and the Oceanides of the "Prometheus," are not to be
represented by human shapes. We cannot say that they are not
dramatic, but they are not theatrical. We can sympathize with the
poet, but not with the actor. For the same reason, in a lesser
degree, all creations, even of human character, that very highly task
the imagination, that lift the reader wholly out of actual experience,
and above the common earth, are comparatively feeble when reduced to
visible forms. The most metaphysical plays of Shakspeare are the
least popular in representation. Thus the very genius of Aeschylus,
that kindles us in the closet, must often have militated against him
on the stage. But in Sophocles all--even the divinities themselves--
are touched with humanity; they are not too subtle or too lofty to be
submitted to mortal gaze. We feel at once that on the stage Sophocles
ought to have won the prize from Aeschylus; and, as a proof of this,
if we look at the plays of each, we see that scarcely any of the great
characters of Aeschylus could have called into sufficient exercise the
powers of an actor. Prometheus on his rock, never changing even his
position, never absent from the scene, is denied all the relief, the
play and mobility, that an actor needs. His earthly representative
could be but a grand reciter. In the "Persians," not only the
theatrical, but the dramatic effect is wanting--it is splendid poetry
put into various mouths, but there is no collision of passions, no
surprise, no incident, no plot, no rapid dialogue in which words are
but the types of emotions. In the "Suppliants" Garrick could have
made nothing of Pelasgus. In the "Seven before Thebes" there are not
above twenty or thirty lines in the part of Eteocles in which the art
of the actor could greatly assist the genius of the poet. In the'
trilogy of the "Agamemnon," the "Choephori," and the "Orestes,"
written in advanced years, we may trace the contagious innovation of
Sophocles; but still, even in these tragedies, there is no part so
effective in representation as those afforded by the great characters
of Sophocles. In the first play the hypocrisy and power of
Clytemnestra would, it is true, have partially required and elicited
the talents of the player; but Agamemnon himself is but a thing of
pageant, and the splendid bursts of Cassandra might have been
effectively uttered by a very inferior histrionic artist. In the
second play, in the scene between Orestes and his mother, and in the
gathering madness of Orestes, the art of the poet would unquestionably
task to the uttermost the skill of the performer. But in the last
play (the Furies), perhaps the sublimest poem of the three, which
opens so grandly with the parricide at the sanctuary, and the Furies
sleeping around him, there is not one scene from the beginning to the
end in which an eminent actor could exhibit his genius.

But when we come to the plays of Sophocles, we feel that a new era in
the drama is created; we feel that the artist poet has called into
full existence the artist actor. His theatrical effects [375] are
tangible, actual--could be represented to-morrow in Paris--in London--
everywhere. We find, therefore, that with Sophocles has passed down
to posterity the name of the great actor [376] in his principal plays.
And I think the English reader, even in the general analysis and
occasional translations with which I have ventured to fill so many
pages, will perceive that all the exertions of subtle, delicate, and
passionate power, even in a modern actor, would be absolutely
requisite to do justice to the characters of Oedipus at Coloneus,
Antigone, Electra, and Philoctetes.

This, then, was the distinction between Aeschylus and Sophocles--both
were artists, as genius always must be, but the art of the latter
adapts itself better to representation. And this distinction in art
was not caused merely by precedence in time. Had Aeschylus followed
Sophocles, it would equally have existed--it was the natural
consequence of the distinctions in their genius--the one more sublime,
the other more impassioned--the one exalting the imagination, the
other appealing to the heart. Aeschylus is the Michael Angelo of the
drama, Sophocles the Raffaele.

XIII. Thus have I presented to the general reader the outline of all
the tragedies of Sophocles. In the great length at which I have
entered in this, not the least difficult, part of my general task, I
have widely innovated on the plan pursued by the writers of Grecian
history. For this innovation I offer no excuse. It is her poetry at
the period we now examine, as her philosophy in a later time, that
makes the individuality of Athens. In Sophocles we behold the age of
Pericles. The wars of that brilliant day were as pastimes to the
mighty carnage of oriental or northern battle. The reduction of a
single town, which, in our time, that has no Sophocles and no
Pericles, a captain of artillery would demolish in a week, was the
proudest exploit of the Olympian of the Agora; a little while, and one
defeat wrests the diadem of the seas from the brows of "The Violet
Queen;" scanty indeed the ruins that attest the glories of "The
Propylaea, the Parthenon, the Porticoes, and the Docks," to which the
eloquent orator appealed as the "indestructible possessions" of
Athens; along the desolate site of the once tumultuous Agora the
peasant drives his oxen--the champion deity [377] of Phidias, whose
spectral apparition daunted the barbarian Alaric [378], and the gleam
of whose spear gladdened the mariner beneath the heights of Sunium,
has vanished from the Acropolis; but, happily, the age of Pericles has
its stamp and effigy in an art more imperishable than that of war--in
materials more durable than those of bronze and marble, of ivory and
gold. In the majestic harmony, the symmetrical grace of Sophocles, we
survey the true portraiture of the genius of the times, and the old
man of Coloneus still celebrates the name of Athens in a sweeter song
than that of the nightingale [379], and melodies that have survived
the muses of Cephisus [380]. Sophocles was allegorically the prophet
when he declared that in the grave of Oedipus was to be found the
sacred guardian and the everlasting defence of the city of Theseus.


[1] "Cum consuetudine ad imperii cupiditatem trahi videretur."--Nepos
in Vit. Milt., cap. 8.

[2] Corn. Nepos in Vit. Milt., cap. 7.

[3] Nepos. in Vit. Milt., cap. 7.

[4] Herod., lib. vi., cap. cxxxvi.

[5] Nepos says the fine was estimated at the cost of the navy he had
conducted to Paros; but Boeckh rightly observes, that it is an
ignorant assertion of that author that the fine was intended for a
compensation, being the usual mode of assessing the offence.

The case is simply this--Miltiades was accused--whether justly or
unjustly no matter--it was clearly as impossible not to receive the
accusation and to try the cause, as it would be for an English court
of justice to refuse to admit a criminal action against Lord Grey or
the Duke of Wellington. Was Miltiades guilty or not? This we cannot
tell. We know that he was tried according to the law, and that the
Athenians thought him guilty, for they condemned him. So far this is
not ingratitude--it is the course of law. A man is tried and found
guilty--if past services and renown were to save the great from
punishment when convicted of a state offence, society would perhaps be
disorganized, and certainly a free state would cease to exist. The
question therefore shrinks to this--was it or was it not ungrateful in
the people to relax the penalty of death, legally incurred, and
commute it to a heavy fine? I fear we shall find few instances of
greater clemency in monarchies, however mild. Miltiades unhappily
died. But nature slew him, not the Athenian people. And it cannot be
said with greater justice of the Athenians, than of a people no less
illustrious, and who are now their judges, that it was their custom
"de tuer en amiral pour encourager les autres."

[6] The taste of a people, which is to art what public opinion is to
legislation, is formed, like public opinion, by habitual social
intercourse and collision. The more men are brought together to
converse and discuss, the more the principles of a general national
taste will become both diffused and refined. Less to their climate,
to their scenery, to their own beauty of form, than to their social
habits and preference of the public to the domestic life, did the
Athenians, and the Grecian republics generally, owe that wonderful
susceptibility to the beautiful and harmonious, which distinguishes
them above all nations ancient or modern. Solitude may exalt the
genius of a man, but communion alone can refine the taste of a people.

[7] It seems probable that the principal Bacchic festival was
originally held at the time of the vintage--condita post frumenta.
But from the earliest known period in Attica, all the triple Dionysia
were celebrated during the winter and the spring.

[8] Egyptian, according to Herodotus, who asserts, that Melampus
first introduced the Phallic symbol among the Greeks, though he never
sufficiently explained its mysterious significations, which various
sages since his time had, however, satisfactorily interpreted. It is
just to the Greeks to add, that this importation, with the other rites
of Bacchus, was considered at utter variance with their usual habits
and manners.

[9] Herodotus asserts that Arion first named, invented, and taught
the dithyramb at Corinth; but, as Bentley triumphantly observes,
Athenaeus has preserved to us the very verses of Archilochus, his
predecessor by a century, in which the song of the dithyramb is named.

[10] In these remarks upon the origin of the drama, it would belong
less to history than to scholastic dissertation, to enter into all the
disputed and disputable points. I do not, therefore, pause with every
step to discuss the questions contested by antiquarians--such as,
whether the word "tragedy," in its primitive and homely sense,
together with the prize of the goat, was or was not known in Attica
prior to Thespis (it seems to me that the least successful part of
Bentley's immortal work is that which attempts to enforce the latter
proposition); still less do I think a grave answer due to those who,
in direct opposition to authorities headed by the grave and searching
Aristotle, contend that the exhibitions of Thespis were of a serious
and elevated character. The historian must himself weigh the
evidences on which he builds his conclusions; and come to those
conclusions, especially in disputes which bring to unimportant and
detached inquiries the most costly expenditure of learning, without
fatiguing the reader with a repetition of all the arguments which he
accepts or rejects. For those who incline to go more deeply into
subjects connected with the early Athenian drama, works by English and
German authors, too celebrated to enumerate, will be found in
abundance. But even the most careless general reader will do well to
delight himself with that dissertation of Bentley on Phalaris, so
familiar to students, and which, despite some few intemperate and bold
assumptions, will always remain one of the most colossal monuments of
argument and erudition.

[11] Aeschylus was a Pythagorean. "Veniat Aeschylus, sed etiam
Pythagoreus."--Cic. Tusc. Dis., b. ii., 9.

[12] Out of fifty plays, thirty-two were satyrical.--Suidas in Prat.

[13] The Tetralogy was the name given to the fourfold exhibition of
the three tragedies, or trilogy, and the Satyric Drama.

[14] Yet in Aeschylus there are sometimes more than two speaking
actors on the stage,--as at one time in the Choephori, Clytemnestra,
Orestes, Electra (to say nothing of Pylades, who is silent), and again
in the same play, Orestes, Pylades, and Clytemnestra, also in the
Eumenides, Apollo, Minerva, Orestes. It is truly observed, however,
that these plays were written after Sophocles had introduced the third
actor. [The Orestean tetralogy was exhibited B. C. 455, only two
years before the death of Aeschylus, and ten years after Sophocles had
gained his first prize.] Any number of mutes might be admitted, not
only as guards, etc., but even as more important personages. Thus, in
the Prometheus, the very opening of the play exhibits to us the demons
of Strength and Force, the god Vulcan, and Prometheus himself; but the
dialogue is confined to Strength and Vulcan.

[15] The celebrated temple of Bacchus; built after the wooden theatre
had given way beneath the multitude assembled to witness a contest
between Pratinas and Aeschylus.

[16] 1st. The rural Dionysia, held in the country districts
throughout Attica about the beginning of January. 2d. The Lenaean, or
Anthesterial, Dionysia, in the end of February and beginning of March,
in which principally occurred the comic contests; and the grand
Dionysis of the city, referred to in the text. Afterward dramatic
performances were exhibited also, in August, during the Panathenaea.

[17] That is, when three actors became admitted on the stage.

[18] For it is sufficiently clear that women were admitted to the
tragic performances, though the arguments against their presence in
comic plays preponderate. This admitted, the manners of the Greeks
may be sufficient to prove that, as in the arena of the Roman games,
they were divided from the men; as, indeed, is indirectly intimated in
a passage of the Gorgias of Plato.

[19] Schlegel says truly and eloquently of the chorus--"that it was
the idealized spectator"--"reverberating to the actual spectator a
musical and lyrical expression of his own emotions."

[20] In this speech he enumerates, among other benefits, that of
Numbers, "the prince of wise inventions"--one of the passages in which
Aeschylus is supposed to betray his Pythagorean doctrines.

[21] It is greatly disputed whether Io was represented on the stage
as transformed into the actual shape of a heifer, or merely accursed
with a visionary phrensy, in which she believes in the transformation.
It is with great reluctance that I own it seems to me not possible to
explain away certain expressions without supposing that Io appeared on
the stage at least partially transformed.

[22] Vit. Aesch.

[23] It is the orthodox custom of translators to render the dialogue
of the Greek plays in blank verse; but in this instance the whole
animation and rapidity of the original would be utterly lost in the
stiff construction and protracted rhythm of that metre.

[24] Viz., the meadows around Asopus.

[25] To make the sense of this detached passage more complete, and
conclude the intelligence which the queen means to convey, the
concluding line in the text is borrowed from the next speech of
Clytemnestra--following immediately after a brief and exclamatory
interruption of the chorus.

[26] i. e. Menelaus, made by grief like the ghost of his former self.

[27] The words in italics attempt to convey paraphrastically a new
construction of a sentence which has puzzled the commentators, and met
with many and contradictory interpretations. The original literally
is--"I pity the last the most." Now, at first it is difficult to
conjecture why those whose adversity is over, "blotted out with the
moistened sponge," should be the most deserving of compassion. But it
seems to me that Cassandra applies the sentiments to herself--she
pities those whose career of grief is over, because it is her own lot
which she commiserates, and by reference to which she individualizes a
general reflection.

[28] Perhaps his mere diction would find a less feeble resemblance in
passages of Shelley, especially in the Prometheus of that poet, than
in any other poetry existent. But his diction alone. His power is in
concentration--the quality of Shelley is diffuseness. The interest
excited by Aeschylus, even to those who can no longer sympathize with
the ancient associations, is startling, terrible, and intense--that
excited by Shelley is lukewarm and tedious. The intellectuality of
Shelley destroyed, that of Aeschylus only increased, his command over
the passions.

[29] In the comedy of "The Frogs," Aristophanes makes it the boast of
Aeschylus, that he never drew a single woman influenced by love.
Spanheim is surprised that Aristophanes should ascribe such a boast to
the author of the "Agamemnon." But the love of Clytemnestra for
Aegisthus is never drawn--never delineated. It is merely suggested
and hinted at--a sentiment lying dark and concealed behind the motives
to the murder of Agamemnon ostensibly brought forward, viz., revenge
for the sacrifice of Iphigenia, and jealousy of Cassandra.

[30] In plays lost to us.

[31] I reject the traditions which make Aristides and Themistocles
rivals as boys, because chronology itself refutes them. Aristides
must have been of mature age at the battle of Marathon, if he was the
friend and follower of Clisthenes, one of the ten generals in the
action, and archon in the following year. But both Plutarch and
Justin assure us that Themistocles was very young at the battle of
Marathon, and this assurance is corroborated by other facts connected
with his biography. He died at the age of sixty-five, but he lived
to see the siege of Cyprus by Cimon. This happened B. C. 449. If,
then, we refer his death to that year, he was born 514 B. C., and
therefore was about twenty-four at the battle of Marathon.

[32] Plut. in Vit. Them. Heraclides et Idomeneus ap. Athen., lib. 12.

[33] See Dodwell's "Tour through Greece," Gell's "Itinerary."

[34] "Called by some Laurion Oros, or Mount Laurion." Gell's

[35] Boeckh's Dissert. on the Silver Mines of Laurium.

[36] Boeckh's Dissert. on the Silver Mines of Laurium.

[37] On this point, see Boeckh. Dissert. on the Silver Mines of
Laurion, in reference to the account of Diodorus.

[38] If we except the death of his brother, in the Cambyses of
Ctesias, we find none of the crimes of the Cambyses of Herodotus--and
even that fratricide loses its harsher aspect in the account of
Ctesias, and Cambyses is represented as betrayed into the crime by a
sincere belief in his brother's treason.

[39] The account of this conspiracy in Ctesias seems more improbable
than that afforded to us by Herodotus. But in both the most
extraordinary features of the plot are the same, viz., the striking
likeness between the impostor and the dead prince, and the complete
success which, for a time, attended the fraud. In both narrations,
too, we can perceive, behind the main personages ostensibly brought
forward, the outline of a profound device of the magi to win back from
the Persian conquerors, and to secure to a Mede, the empire of the

[40] Herodotus says it was resolved that the king could only marry
into the family of one of the conspirators; but Darius married two
daughters and one grand-daughter of Cyrus. It is more consonant with
eastern manners to suppose that it was arranged that the king should
give his own daughters in marriage to members of these six houses. It
would have been scarcely possible to claim the monopoly of the royal
seraglio, whether its tenants were wives or concubines, and in all
probability the king's choice was only limited (nor that very rigidly)
to the family of Cyrus, and the numerous and privileged race of the

[41] Besides the regular subsidies, we gather from Herodotus, I. c.
92, that the general population was obliged to find subsistence for
the king and his armies. Babylon raised a supply for four months, the
resources of that satrapy being adequate to a third part of Asia.

[42] That comparatively small and frontier part of India known to

[43] Forming a revenue of more than 100,000l. sterling.--Heeren's
Persians, chap. ii.

[44] Such are the expressions of Herodotus. His testimony is
corroborated by the anecdotes in his own history, and, indeed, by all
other ancient authorities.

[45] Dinon. (Apud Athen., lib. xiii.) observes, that the Persian
queen tolerated the multitude of concubines common to the royal
seraglio, because they worshipped her, like a divinity.

[46] See, in addition to more familiar authorities, the curious
remarks and anecdotes relative to the luxury of the Persian kings, in
the citations from Dinon, Heraclides, Agathocles, and Chares of
Mitylene, scattered throughout Athenaeus, lib. xii., xiii., xiv.; but
especially lib. xii.

[47] Strabo, lib. xv, Herod., lib. i., c. cxxxi., etc.

[48] Among innumerable instances of the disdain of human life
contracted after their conquest by those very Persians who, in their
mountain obscurity, would neither permit their sovereign to put any
one to death for a single offence, nor the master of a household to
exercise undue severity to a member of his family (Herod., lib. i., c.
cxxxvii.), is one recorded by Herodotus, and in the main corroborated
by Justin. Darius is at the siege of Babylon; Zopyrus, one of the
seven conspirators against the magian, maims himself and enters
Babylon as a deserter, having previously concerted with Darius that a
thousand men, whose loss he could best spare, should be sent one day
to the gate of Semiramis, and two thousand, another day, to the gates
of Ninus, and four thousand, a third day, to the Chaldaean gates. All
these detachments Zopyrus, at the head of the Babylonians,
deliberately butchered. The confidence of the Babylonians thus
obtained, Zopyrus was enabled to betray the city to the king. This
cold-blooded and treacherous immolation of seven thousand subjects was
considered by the humane Darius and the Persians generally a proof of
the most illustrious virtue in Zopyrus, who received for it the reward
of the satrapy of Babylon. The narrative is so circumstantial as to
bear internal evidence of its general truth. In fact, a Persian would
care no more for the lives of seven thousand Medes than a Spartan
would care for the lives of suspected Helots.

[49] Herodot., lib. i., c. cxxxiv. The Pasargadae, whom the ancient
writers evidently and often confound with the whole Persian
population, retained the old education and severe discipline for their
youth, long after the old virtues had died away. (See Strabo, xv.,
Herod., lib. i., and the rhetorical romance of Xenophon.) But laws
and customs, from which the animating spirit of national opinion and
sentiment has passed, are but the cenotaphs of dead forms embalmed in

[50] Ctesias, 20.

[51] Herod., lib vii., c. xi.

[52] Juvenal, Richardson, etc. The preparations at Mount Athos
commenced three years before Xerxes arrived at Sardis. (Compare
Herod., l. vii. 21, with 33, 37.)

[53] Differently computed; according to Montfaucon, the sum total may
be estimated at thirty-two millions of Louis d'ors.

[54] It must be confessed that the tears of Xerxes were a little
misplaced. He wept that men could not live a hundred years, at the
very moment when he meditated destroying a tolerable portion of them
as soon as he possibly could.--Senec. de Brev. Vit., c. 17.

[55] Common also to the ancient Germans.

[56] For this reason--whoever died, whether by disease or battle, had
his place immediately supplied. Thus their number was invariably the

[57] Diod. Sic.

[58] See note [48].

[59] Her., lib. vii., c. 138.

[60] Mueller on the Greek Congress.

[61] Mueller on the Greek Congress.

[62] Anaxandrides, king of Sparta, and father of Cleomenes and
Leonidas, had married his niece: she was barren. The Ephors persuaded
him to take another wife; he did so, and by the second wife.
Cleomenes was born. Almost at the same time, the first wife, hitherto
barren, proved with child. And as she continued the conjugal
connexion, in process of time three sons were born; of these Leonidas
was the second. But Cleomenes, though the offspring of the second
wife, came into the world before the children by the first wife and
therefore had the prior right to the throne.

[63] It is impossible by any calculations to render this amount more
credible to modern skepticism. It is extremely likely that Herodotus
is mistaken in his calculation; but who shall correct him?

[64] The Cissii, or Cissians, inhabited the then fertile province of
Susiana, in which was situated the capital of Susa. They resembled
the Persians in dress and manners.

[65] So Herodotus (lib. vii., c. 218); but, as it was summer, the
noise was probably made rather by the boughs that obstructed the path
of the barbarians, than by leaves on the ground.

[66] Diod. Sic., xi., viii.

[67] Justin, ii., ix.

[68] Another Spartan, who had been sent into Thessaly, and was
therefore absent from the slaughter of Thermopylae, destroyed himself.

[69] The cross was the usual punishment in Persia for offences
against the king's majesty or rights. Perhaps, therefore, Xerxes, by
the outrage, only desired to signify that he considered the Spartan as
a rebel.

[70] "Thus fought the Greeks at Thermopylae," are the simple
expressions of Herodotus, lib. vii., c. 234.

[71] Thus the command of the Athenian forces was at one time likely
to fall upon Epicydes, a man whose superior eloquence had gained an
ascendency with the people, which was neither due to his integrity nor
to his military skill. Themistocles is said to have bribed him to
forego his pretensions. Themistocles could be as severe as crafty
when occasion demanded: he put to death an interpreter who accompanied
the Persian envoys, probably to the congress at the Isthmus [Plutarch
implies that these envoys came to Athens, but Xerxes sent none to that
city.], for debasing the language of free Greeks to express the
demands of the barbarian enemy.

[72] Plutarch rejects this story, very circumstantially told by
Herodotus, without adducing a single satisfactory argument for the
rejection. The skepticism of Plutarch is more frivolous even than his

[73] Demost., Philip. 3. See also Aeschines contra Ctesiphon.

[74] I have said that it might be doubted whether the death of
Leonidas was as serviceable to Greece as his life might have been; its
immediate consequences were certainly discouraging. If his valour was
an example, his defeat was a warning.

[75] There were [three hundred, for the sake of round numbers--but
one of the three hundred--perhaps two--survived the general massacre.]
three hundred Spartans and four hundred Thespians; supposing that (as
it has been asserted) the eighty warriors of Mycenae also remained
with Leonidas, and that one hundred, or a fourth of the Thebans fell
ere their submission was received, this makes a total of eight hundred
and eighty. If we take now what at Plataea was the actual ratio of
the helots as compared with the Spartans, i. e, seven to one, we shall
add two thousand one hundred helots, which make two thousand nine
hundred and ninety; to which must be added such of the Greeks as fell
in the attacks prior to the slaughter of Thermopylae; so that, in
order to make out the total of the slain given by Herodotus, more than
eleven hundred must have perished before the last action, in which
Leonidas fell.

[76] Plut. in vit. Them.

[77] Ibid.

[78] It is differently stated; by Aeschylus and Nepos at three
hundred, by Thucydides at four hundred.

[79] Plut. in vit. Them.

[80] Here we see additional reason for admiring the sagacity of

[81] Her., lib. viii., c. 74.

[82] The tutor of his children, Sicinnus, who had experience of the
Eastern manners, and spoke the Persian language.

[83] The number of the Persian galleys, at the lowest computation,
was a thousand [Nepos, Herodotus, and Isocrates compute the total at
about twelve hundred; the estimate of one thousand is taken from a
dubious and disputed passage in Aeschylus, which may be so construed
as to signify one thousand, including two hundred and seven vessels,
or besides two hundred and seven vessels; viz., twelve hundred and
seven in all, which is the precise number given by Herodotus. Ctesias
says there were more than one thousand.]; that of the Greeks, as we
have seen, three hundred and eighty. But the Persians were infinitely
more numerously manned, having on board of each vessel thirty men-at-
arms, in addition to the usual number of two hundred. Plutarch seems
to state the whole number in each Athenian vessel to be fourteen heavy
armed and four bowmen. But this would make the whole Athenian force
only three thousand two hundred and forty men, including the bowmen,
who were probably not Athenian citizens. It must therefore be
supposed, with Mr. Thirlwall, that the eighteen men thus specified
were an addition to the ordinary company.

[84] Aeschylus. Persae. 397.

[85] The Persian admiral at Salamis is asserted by Ctesias to have
been Onaphas, father-in-law to Xerxes. According to Herodotus, it was
Ariabignes, the king's brother, who seems the same as Artabazanes,
with whom he had disputed the throne.--Comp. Herod., lib. vii., c. 2,
and lib. viii., c. 89.

[86] Plut in vit. Them.

[87] Plut. in vit. Them. The Ariamenes of Plutarch is the Ariabignes
of Herodotus.

[88] Mr. Mitford, neglecting to observe this error of Xerxes,
especially noted by Herodotus, merely observes--"According to
Herodotus, though in this instance we may have difficulty to give him
entire credit, Xerxes, from the shore where he sat, saw, admired, and
applauded the exploit." From this passage one would suppose that
Xerxes knew it was a friend who had been attacked, and then, indeed,
we could not have credited the account; but if he and those about him
supposed it, as Herodotus states, a foe, what is there incredible?
This is one instance in ten thousand more important ones, of Mr.
Mitford's habit of arguing upon one sentence by omitting those that
follow and precede it.

[89] Diod., lib xi., c. 5. Herod., lib. viii., c. 110. Nepos, et
Plut, in vit. Them.

[90] Plut. in vit. Them.

[91] Ibid. These anecdotes have the stamp of authenticity.

[92] Herod., lib. viii., c. 125. See Wesseling's Comment on
Timodemus. Plutarch tells the same anecdote, but makes the baffled
rebuker of Themistocles a citizen of Seriphus, an island in which,
according to Aelian, the frogs never croaked; the men seem to have
made up for the silence of the frogs!

[93] See Fast. Hell., vol. ii., page 26.

[94] Plut. in vit. Arist.

[95] Ibid.

[96] The custom of lapidation was common to the earlier ages; it had
a kind of sanction, too, in particular offences; and no crime could be
considered by a brave and inflamed people equal to that of advice
against their honour and their liberties.

[97] See Herod., lib. ix., c. 10. Also Mr. Clinton on the Kings of
Sparta. Fast. Hell., vol. ii., p. 187.

[98] See Herod., lib, vi., c. 58. After the burial of a Spartan
king, ten days were devoted to mourning; nor was any public business
transacted in that interval.

[99] "According to Aristides' decree," says Plutarch, "the Athenian
envoys were Aristides, Xanthippus, Myronides, and Cimon."

[100] Herodotus speaks of the devastation and ruin as complete. But
how many ages did the monuments of Pisistratus survive the ravage of
the Persian sword!

[101] Plut. in vit. Arist.

[102] This, among a thousand anecdotes, proves how salutary and
inevitable was the popular distrust of the aristocracy. When we read
of the process of bribing the principal men, and of the conspiracy
entered into by others, we must treat with contempt those accusations
of the jealousy of the Grecian people towards their superiors which
form the staple declamations of commonplace historians.

[103] Gargaphia is one mile and a half from the town of Plataea.
Gell's Itin. 112.

[104] Plut. in vit. Arist.

[105] A strange fall from the ancient splendour of Mycenae, to
furnish only four hundred men, conjointly with Tiryns, to the cause of

[106] Her., lib. ix., c. 45.

[107] Plutarch in vit. Arist.

[108] This account, by Herodotus, of the contrast between the Spartan
and the Athenian leaders, which is amply supported elsewhere, is, as I
have before hinted, a proof of the little effect upon Spartan
emulation produced by the martyrdom of Leonidas. Undoubtedly the
Spartans were more terrified by the slaughter of Thermopylae than
fired by the desire of revenge.

[109] "Here seem to be several islands, formed by a sluggish stream
in a flat meadow. (Oeroe?) must have been of that description.--
"Gell's Itin, 109.

[110] Herod., lib. ix., c. 54.

[111] Plut. in vit. Arist.

[112] Sir W. Gell's Itin. of Greece.

[113] Herod. lib. ix., c. 62.

[114] The Tegeans had already seized the tent of Mardonius,
possessing themselves especially of a curious brazen manger, from
which the Persian's horse was fed, and afterward dedicated to the
Alean Minerva.

[115] I adopt the reading of Valcknaer, "tous hippeas." The Spartan
knights, in number three hundred, had nothing to do with the cavalry,
but fought on foot or on horseback, as required. (Dionys. Hal., xi.,
13.) They formed the royal bodyguard.

[116] Mr. Mitford attributes his absence from the scene to some
jealousy of the honours he received at Sparta, and the vain glory with
which he bore them. But the vague observations in the authors he
refers to by no means bear out this conjecture, nor does it seem
probable that the jealousy was either general or keen enough to effect
so severe a loss to the public cause. Menaced with grave and imminent
peril, it was not while the Athenians were still in the camp that they
would have conceived all the petty envies of the forum. The
jealousies Themistocles excited were of much later date. It is
probable that at this period he was intrusted with the very important
charge of watching over and keeping together that considerable but
scattered part of the Athenian population which was not engaged either
at Mycale or Plataea.

[117] Thucyd., lib. i., c. 89.

[118] Ibid., lib. i., c. 90.

[119] Diod. Sic., lib. xi.; Thucyd., lib. i., c. 90.

[120] Ap. Plut. in vit. Them.

[121] Diodorus (lib. xi.) tells us that the Spartan ambassadors,
indulging in threatening and violent language at perceiving the walls
so far advanced, were arrested by the Athenians, who declared they
would only release them on receiving hack safe and uninjured their own

[122] Thucyd., lib. i., c. 91.

[123] Ibid., lib. i., c. 92.

[124] Schol. ad Thucyd., lib. i., c. 93. See Clinton, Fasti Hell.,
vol. i., Introduction, p. 13 and 14. Mr. Thirlwall, vol. ii., p. 401,
disputes the date for the archonship of Themistocles given by Mr.
Clinton and confirmed by the scholiast on Thucydides. He adopts (page
366) the date which M. Boeckh founds upon Philochorus, viz., B. C.
493. But the Themistocles who was archon in that year is evidently
another person from the Themistocles of Salamis; for in 493 that hero
was about twenty-one, an age at which the bastard of Neocles might be
driving courtesans in a chariot (as is recorded in Athenaeus), but was
certainly not archon of Athens. As for M. Boeckh's proposed
emendation, quoted so respectfully by Mr. Thirlwall, by which we are
to read Hybrilidon for Kebridos, it is an assumption so purely
fanciful as to require no argument for refusing it belief. Mr.
Clinton's date for the archonship of the great Themistocles is the one
most supported by internal evidence--1st, by the blanks of the years
481-482 in the list of archons; 2dly, by the age, the position, and
repute of Themistocles in B. C. 481, two years after the ostracism of
his rival Aristides. If it were reduced to a mere contest of
probabilities between Mr. Clinton on one side and Mr. Boeckh and Mr.
Thirlwall on the other, which is the more likely, that Themistocles
should have been chief archon of Athens at twenty-one or at thirty-
three--before the battle of Marathon or after his triumph over
Aristides? In fact, a schoolboy knows that at twenty-one (and
Themistocles was certainly not older in 493) no Athenian could have
been archon. In all probability Kebridos is the right reading in
Philochorus, and furnishes us with the name of the archon in B. C. 487
or 486, which years have hitherto been chronological blanks, so far as
the Athenian archons are concerned.

[125] Pausan., lib. i., c. 1.

[126] Diod., lib. xi.

[127] Diod., lib. xi.

[128] Diod., lib. xi. The reader will perceive that I do not agree
with Mr. Thirlwall and some other scholars, for whose general opinion
I have the highest respect, in rejecting altogether, and with
contempt, the account of Diodorus as to the precautions of
Themistocles. It seems to me highly probable that the main features
of the story are presented to us faithfully; 1st, that it was not
deemed expedient to detail to the popular assembly all the objects and
motives of the proposed construction of the new port; and, 2dly, that
Themistocles did not neglect to send ambassadors to Sparta, though
certainly not with the intention of dealing more frankly with the
Spartans than he had done with the Athenians.

[129] Thucyd., lib. i.

[130] Aristot. Pol., lib. ii. Aristotle deems the speculations of
the philosophical architect worthy of a severe and searching

[131] Of all the temples, those of Minerva and Jupiter were the most
remarkable in the time of Pausanias. There were then two market-
places. See Pausanias, lib. i., c. i.

[132] Yet at this time the Amphictyonic Council was so feeble that,
had the Spartans succeeded, they would have made but a hollow
acquisition of authority; unless, indeed, with the project of gaining
a majority of votes, they united another for reforming or
reinvigorating the institution.

[133] Thucyd., lib. i., c. 96.

[134] Heeren, Pol. Hist. of Greece.

[135] Corn. Nep. in vit. Paus.

[136] Thucyd., lib. i., c. 129.

[137] Plut. in vit. Arist.

[138] Ibid.

[139] Thucyd., lib. i.

[140] Plut. in vit. Cimon. Before this period, Cimon, though rising
into celebrity, could scarcely have been an adequate rival to

[141] Corn. Nep. in vit. Cim.

[142] According to Diodorus, Cimon early in life made a very wealthy
marriage; Themistocles recommended him to a rich father-in-law, in a
witticism, which, with a slight variation, Plutarch has also recorded,
though he does not give its application to Cimon.

[143] Corn. Nep. in vit. Cim.

[144] Thucyd., lib. i.

[145] Ibid., lib. i. Plut. in vit. Cim. Diod. Sic., lib. xi.

[146] See Clinton, Fast. Hell., vol. ii., p. 34, in comment upon

[147] Athenaeus, lib. xii.

[148] Plut. in vit. Them.

[149] Plut. in vit. Aristid.

[150] About twenty-three English acres. This was by no means a
despicable estate in the confined soil of Attica.

[151] Aristot. apud Plat. vit. Cim.

[152] Produced equally by the anti-popular party on popular pretexts.
It was under the sanction of Mr. Pitt that the prostitution of charity
to the able-bodied was effected in England.

[153] Plut. in vit. Cim.

[154] His father's brother, Cleomenes, died raving mad, as we have
already seen. There was therefore insanity in the family.

[155] Plut. in vit. Cim. Pausanias, lib. iii., c. 17.

[156] Pausarias, lib. iii., c. 17.

[157] Phigalea, according to Pausanias.

[158] Plut. in vit. Cim.

[159] Thucyd., lib. i.

[160] Plato, leg. vi.

[161] Nep. in vit. Paus.

[162] Pausanias observes that his renowned namesake was the only
suppliant taking refuge at the sanctuary of Minerva Chalcioecus who
did not obtain the divine protection, and this because he could never
purify himself of the murder of Cleonice.

[163] Thucyd., lib. i., 136.

[164] Plut. in vit. Them.

[165] Thucyd., lib. i., 137.

[166] Mr. Mitford, while doubting the fact, attempts, with his usual
disingenuousness, to raise upon the very fact that he doubts,
reproaches against the horrors of democratical despotism. A strange
practice for an historian to allow the premises to be false, and then
to argue upon them as true!

[167] The brief letter to Artaxerxes, given by Thucydides (lib i.,
137), is as evidently the composition of Thucydides himself as is the
celebrated oration which he puts into the mouth of Pericles. Each has
the hard, rigid, and grasping style so peculiar to the historian, and
to which no other Greek writer bears the slightest resemblance. But
the matter may be more genuine than the diction.

[168] At the time of his arrival in Asia, Xerxes seems to have been
still living. But he appeared at Susa during the short interval
between the death of Xerxes and the formal accession of his son, when,
by a sanguinary revolution, yet to be narrated, Artabanus was raised
to the head of the Persian empire: ere the year expired Artaxerxes was
on the throne.

[169] I relate this latter account of the death of Themistocles, not
only because Thucydides (though preferring the former) does not
disdain to cite it, but also because it is evident, from the speech of
Nicias, in the Knights of Aristophanes, i. 83, 84, that in the time of
Pericles it was popularly believed by the Athenians that Themistocles
died by poison; and from motives that rendered allusion to his death a
popular claptrap. It is also clear that the death of Themistocles
appears to have reconciled him at once to the Athenians. The previous
suspicions of his fidelity to Greece do not seem to have been kept
alive even by the virulence of party; and it is natural to suppose
that it must have been some act of his own, real or imagined, which
tended to disprove the plausible accusations against him, and revive
the general enthusiasm in his favour. What could that act have been
but the last of his life, which, in the lines of Aristophanes referred
to above, is cited as the ideal of a glorious death! But if he died
by poison, the draught was not bullock's blood--the deadly nature of
which was one of the vulgar fables of the ancients. In some parts of
the continent it is, in this day, even used as medicine.

[170] Plut. in vit. Them.

[171] Plut. in vit. Them.

[172] Thucyd., lib. i.

[173] Diod., lib. xi.

[174] Plut. in vit. Cim.

[175] Diod. (lib. xi.) reckons the number of prisoners at twenty
thousand! These exaggerations sink glory into burlesque.

[176] The Cyaneae. Plin. vi., c. 12. Herod. iv., c. 85, etc. etc.

[177] Thucyd., lib.., 99.

[178] Plut. in vit. Cim.

[179] For the siege of Thasos lasted three years; in the second year
we find Cimon marching to the relief of the Spartans; in fact, the
siege of Thasos was not of sufficient importance to justify Cimon in a
very prolonged absence from Athens.

[180] Plut. in vit. Cim.

[181] Plut. in vit. Cim.

[182] Those historians who presume upon the slovenly sentences of
Plutarch, that Pericles made "an instrument" of Ephialtes in assaults
on the Areopagus, seem strangely to mistake both the character of
Pericles, which was dictatorial, not crafty, and the position of
Ephialtes, who at that time was the leader of his party, and far more
influential than Pericles himself. Plato (ap. Plut. in vit. Peric.)
rightly considers Ephialtes the true overthrower of the Areopagus; and
although Pericles assisted him (Aristot., l. ii., c. 9), it was
against Ephialtes as the chief, not "the instrument," that the wrath
of the aristocracy was directed.

[183] See Demosth. adv. Aristocr., p. 642. ed. Reisk. Herman ap.
Heidelb. Jahrb., 1830, No. 44. Forckhammer de Areopago, etc. against
Boeckh. I cannot agree with those who attach so much importance to
Aeschylus, in the tragedy of "The Furies," as an authority in favour
of the opinion that the innovations of Ephialtes deprived the
Areopagus of jurisdiction in cases of homicide. It is true that the
play turns upon the origin of the tribunal--it is true that it
celebrates its immemorial right of adjudication of murder, and that
Minerva declares this court of judges shall remain for ever. But
would this prophecy be risked at the very time when this court was
about to be abolished? In the same speech of Minerva, far more direct
allusion is made to the police of the court in the fear and reverence
due to it; and strong exhortations follow, not to venerate anarchy or
tyranny, or banish "all fear from the city," which apply much more
forcibly to the council than to the court of the Areopagus.

[184] That the Areopagus did, prior to the decree of Ephialtes,
possess a power over the finances, appears from a passage in Aristotle
(ap. Plut. in vit. Them.), in which it is said that, in the expedition
to Salamis, the Areopagus awarded to each man eight drachmae.

[185] Plutarch attributes his ostracism to the resentment of the
Athenians on his return from Ithome; but this is erroneous. He was
not ostracised till two years after his return.

[186] Mikaeas epilabomenoi prophaseos.--Plut. in vit. Cim. 17.

[187] Neither Aristotle (Polit., lib. v., c. 10), nor Justin, nor
Ctesias nor Moderns speak of the assassin as kinsman to Xerxes. In
Plutarch (Vit. Them.) he is Artabanus the Chiliarch.

[188] Ctesias, 30; Diod, 11; Justin, lib. iii., c. 1. According to
Aristotle, Artabanus, as captain of the king's guard, received an
order to make away with Darius, neglected the command, and murdered
Xerxes from fears for his own safety.

[189] Thucyd., lib. i., 107. The three towns of Doris were,
according to Thucydides, Baeum, Cytenium, and Erineus. The scholiast
on Pindar (Pyth. i., 121) speaks of six towns.

[190] Thucyd., lib. i.

[191] Thucydides, in mentioning these operations of the Athenians,
and the consequent fears of the Spartans, proves to what a length
hostilities had gone, though war was not openly declared.

[192] Diod. Sic.. lib. xi.

[193] Thucyd., lib, i.

[194] Diod., lib. xi.

[195] Certain German historians, Mueller among others, have built
enormous conclusions upon the smallest data, when they suppose Cimon
was implicated in this conspiracy. Meirs (Historia Juris de bonis
Damnatis, p. 4, note 11) is singularly unsuccessful in connecting the
supposed fine of fifty talents incurred by Cimon with the civil
commotions of this period. In fact, that Cimon was ever fined at all
is very improbable; the supposition rests upon most equivocal ground:
if adopted, it is more likely, perhaps, that the fine was inflicted
after his return from Thasos, when he was accused of neglecting the
honour of the Athenian arms, and being seduced by Macedonian gold (a
charge precisely of a nature for which a fine would have been
incurred). But the whole tale of this imaginary fine, founded upon a
sentence in Demosthenes, who, like many orators, was by no means
minutely accurate in historical facts, is possibly nothing more than a
confused repetition of the old story of the fine of fifty talents (the
same amount) imposed upon Miltiades, and really paid by Cimon. This
is doubly, and, indeed, indisputably clear, if we accept Becker's
reading of Parion for patrion in the sentence of Demosthenes referred

[196] If we can attach any credit to the Oration on Peace ascribed to
Andocides, Cimon was residing on his patrimonial estates in the
Chersonese at the time of his recall. As Athens retained its right to
the sovereignty of this colony, and as it was a most important
position as respected the recent Athenian conquests under Cimon
himself, the assertion, if true, will show that Cimon's ostracism was
attended with no undue persecution. Had the government seriously
suspected him of any guilty connivance with the oligarchic
conspirators, it could scarcely have permitted him to remain in a
colony, the localities of which were peculiarly favourable to any
treasonable designs he might have formed.

[197] In the recall of Cimon, Plutarch tells us, some historians
asserted that it was arranged between the two parties that the
administration of the state should be divided; that Cimon should be
invested with the foreign command of Cyprus, and Pericles remain the
head of the domestic government. But it was not until the sixth year
after his recall (viz., in the archonship of Euthydemus, see Diodorus
xii.) that Cimon went to Cyprus; and before that event Pericles
himself was absent on foreign expeditions.

[198] Plutarch, by a confusion of dates, blends this short armistice
with the five years' truce some time afterward concluded. Mitford and
others have followed him in his error. That the recall of Cimon was
followed by no peace, not only with the Spartans, but the
Peloponnesians generally, is evident from the incursions of Tolmides
presently to be related.

[199] Diod lib. xi.

[200] See Mueller's Dorians, and the authorities he quotes. Vol. i.,
b. I.

[201] For so I interpret Diodorus.

[202] Diod. Sic., lib. xi.

[203] There was a democratic party in Thessaly always favourable to
Athens. See Thucyd., iv., c. 88.

[204] Now Lepanto.

[205] Paus., lib. ii., c. 25.

[206] Plut. in vit. Peric.

[207] Thucyd., lib. i., 112.

[208] Diod., lib. xi. Plut. in vit. Cim. Heeren, Manual of Ancient
History; but Mr. Mitford and Mr. Thirlwall properly reject this
spurious treaty.

[209] Plut. in Cim.

[210] The Clouds.

[211] Isoc. Areop., 38.

[212] Idomen. ap. Athen., lib. xii.

[213] Thucyd., lib. ii., 16; Isoc. Areopag., e. xx., p. 234.

[214] If we believe with Plutarch that wives accompanied their
husbands to the house of Aspasia (and it was certainly a popular
charge against Pericles that Aspasia served to corrupt the Athenian
matrons), they could not have been so jealously confined as writers,
judging from passages in the Greek writers that describe not what
women were, but what women ought to be, desire us to imagine. And it
may be also observed, that the popular anecdotes represent Elpinice as
a female intriguante, busying herself in politics, and mediating
between Cimon and Pericles; anecdotes, whether or not they be strictly
faithful, that at least tend to illustrate the state of society.

[215] As I propose, in a subsequent part of this work, to enter at
considerable length into the social life and habits of the Athenians,
I shall have full opportunity for a more detailed account of these
singular heroines of Alciphron and the later comedians.

[216] It was about five years after the death of Cimon that Pericles
obtained that supreme power which resembled a tyranny, but was only
the expression and concentration of the democratic will.

[217] Theophrast. ap. Plut. in vit. Per.

[218] Justin, lib. iii., c. 6.

[219] For the transfer itself there were excuses yet more plausible
than that assigned by Justin. First, in the year following the breach
between the Spartans and Athenians (B. C. 460), probably the same year
in which the transfer was effected, the Athenians were again at war
with the great king in Egypt; and there was therefore a show of
justice in the argument noticed by Boeckh (though in the source whence
he derives it the argument applies to the earlier time of Aristides),
that the transfer provided a place of greater security against the
barbarians. Secondly, Delos itself was already and had long been
under Athenian influence. Pisistratus had made a purification of the
island [Herod., lib. i., c. 64], Delian soothsayers had predicted to
Athens the sovereignty of the seas [Semius Delius, ap. Athen., viii.],
and the Athenians seem to have arrogated a right of interference with
the temple. The transfer was probably, therefore, in appearance,
little more than a transfer from a place under the power of Athens to
Athens itself. Thirdly, it seems that when the question was first
agitated, during the life of Aristides, it was at the desire of one of
the allies themselves (the Samians). [Plut. in vit. Aristid. Boeckh
(vol. i., 135, translation) has no warrant for supposing that Pericles
influenced the Samians in the expression of this wish, because
Plutarch refers the story to the time of Aristides, during whose life
Pericles possessed no influence in public affairs.]

[220] The assertion of Diodorus (lib. xii., 38), that to Pericles was
confided the superintendence and management of the treasure, is
corroborated by the anecdotes in Plutarch and elsewhere, which
represent Pericles as the principal administrator of the funds.

[221] The political nature and bias of the Heliaea is apparent in the
very oath, preserved in Demost. con. Tim., p. 746, ed. Reiske. In
this the heliast is sworn never to vote for the establishment of
tyranny or oligarchy in Athens, and never to listen to any proposition
tending to destroy the democratic constitution. That is, a man
entered upon a judicial tribunal by taking a political oath!

[222] These courts have been likened to modern juries; but they were
very little bound by the forms and precedents which shackled the
latter. What a jury, even nowadays, a jury of only twelve persons,
would be if left entirely to impulse and party feeling, any lawyer
will readily conceive. How much more capricious, uncertain, and
prejudiced a jury of five hundred, and, in some instances, of one
thousand or fifteen hundred! [By the junction of two or more
divisions, as in cases of Eisangelia. Poll. viii., 53 and 123; also

[223] "Designed by our ancestors," says Aristotle (Pol., lib. viii,
c. 3) not, as many now consider it, merely for delight, but for
discipline that so the mind might be taught not only how honourably to
pursue business, but how creditably to enjoy leisure; for such
enjoyment is, after all, the end of business and the boundary of
active life.

[224] See Aristot. (Pol., lib. viii., c. 6.)

[225] An anecdote in Gellius, lib. xv., c. 17, refers the date of the
disuse of this instrument to the age of Pericles and during the
boyhood of Alcibiades.

[226] Drawing was subsequently studied as a branch of education
essential to many of the common occupations of life.

[227] Suid.

[228] Hecataeus was also of Miletus.

[229] Pausan., ii., c. 3: Cic. de Orat., ii., c. 53; Aulus Gellius,
xv., c. 23.

[230] Fast. Hell., vol. i.

[231] A brilliant writer in the Edinburgh Review (Mr. Macauley) would
account for the use of dialogue in Herodotus by the childish
simplicity common to an early and artless age--as the boor always
unconsciously resorts to the dramatic form of narration, and relates
his story by a series of "says he's" and "says I's." But does not Mr.
Macauley, in common with many others, insist far too much on the
artlessness of the age and the unstudied simplicity of the writer?
Though history itself was young, art was already at its zenith. It
was the age of Sophocles, Phidias, and Pericles. It was from the
Athenians, in their most polished period, that Herodotus received the
most rapturous applause. Do not all accounts of Herodotus, as a
writer, assure us that he spent the greater part of a long life in
composing, polishing, and perfecting his history; and is it not more
in conformity with the characteristic spirit of the times, and the
masterly effects which Herodotus produces, to conclude, that what we
suppose to be artlessness was, in reality, the premeditated
elaboration of art?

[232] Esther iii., 12; viii., 9: Ezra vi., 1.

[233] Herod., vii., 100.

[234] About twenty-nine years younger.--Fast. Hell., vol. ii., p. 7.

[235] Cic. Acad. Quaest., 4, Abbe de Canaye, Mem. de l'Acad.
d'l* *crip., tom. x. etc. (*illegible letters)

[236] Diog. Laert., cap. 6._ Cic. Acad. Quaest. 4, etc.

[237] Arist. Metap. Diog. Laert. Cic. Quaest. 4. etc.

[238] It must ever remain a disputable matter how far the Ionian
Pythagoras was influenced by affection for Dorian policy and customs,
and how far he designed to create a state upon the old Dorian model.
On the one hand, it is certain that he paid especial attention to the
rites and institutions most connected with the Dorian deity, Apollo--
that, according to his followers, it was from that god that he derived
his birth, a fiction that might be interpreted into a Dorian origin;
he selected Croton as his residence, because it was under the
protection of "his household god;" his doctrines are said to have been
delivered in the Dorian dialect; and much of his educational
discipline, much of his political system, bear an evident affinity to
the old Cretan and Spartan institutions. But, on the other hand, it
is probable, that Pythagoras favoured the god of Delphi, partly from
the close connexion which many of his symbols bore to the metaphysical
speculations the philosopher had learned to cultivate in the schools
of oriental mysticism, and partly from the fact that Apollo was the
patron of the medical art, in which Pythagoras was an eminent
professor. And in studying the institutions of Crete and Sparta, he
might rather have designed to strengthen by examples the system he had
already adopted, than have taken from those Dorian cities the
primitive and guiding notions of the constitution he afterward
established. And in this Pythagoras might have resembled most
reformers, not only of his own, but of all ages, who desire to go back
to the earliest principles of the past as the sources of experience to
the future. In the Dorian institutions was preserved the original
character of the Hellenic nation; and Pythagoras, perhaps, valued or
consulted them less because they were Dorian than because they were
ancient. It seems, however, pretty clear, that in the character of
his laws he sought to conform to the spirit and mode of legislation
already familiar in Italy, since Charondas and Zaleucus, who
flourished before him, are ranked by Diodorus and others among his

[239] Livy dates it in the reign of Servius Tullus.

[240] Strabo.

[241] Iamblichus, c. viii., ix. See also Plato de Repub., lib. x.

[242] That the Achaean governments were democracies appears
sufficiently evident; nor is this at variance with the remark of
Xenophon, that timocracies were "according to the laws of the
Achaeans;" since timocracies were but modified democracies.

[243] The Pythagoreans assembled at the house of Milo, the wrestler,
who was an eminent general, and the most illustrious of the disciples
were stoned to death, the house being fired. Lapidation was
essentially the capital punishment of mobs--the mode of inflicting
death that invariably stamps the offender as an enemy to the populace.

[244] Arist. Metaph., i., 3.

[245] Diog. Laert., viii., 28.

[246] Plut. in vit. Them. The Sophists were not, therefore, as is
commonly asserted, the first who brought philosophy to bear upon

[247] See, for evidence of the great gifts and real philosophy of
Anaxagoras, Brucker de Sect. Ion., xix.

[248] Arist. Eth. Eu., i., 5.

[249] Archelaus began to teach during the interval between the first
and second visit of Anaxagoras. See Fast. Hell., vol. ii., B. C. 450.

[250] See the evidence of this in the Clouds of Aristophanes.

[251] Plut. in vit. Per.

[252] See Thucyd., lib. v., c. 18, in which the articles of peace
state that the temple and fane of Delphi should be independent, and
that the citizens should settle their own taxes, receive their own
revenues, and manage their own affairs as a sovereign nation
(autoteleis kai autodikois [consult on these words Arnold's
Thucydides, vol. ii., p. 256, note 4]), according to the ancient laws
of their country.

[253] Mueller's Dorians, vol. ii., p. 422. Athen., iv.

[254] A short change of administration, perhaps, accompanied the
defeat of Pericles in the debate on the Boeotian expedition. He was
evidently in power, since he had managed the public funds during the
opposition of Thucydides; but when beaten, as we should say, "on the
Boeotian question," the victorious party probably came into office.

[255] An ambush, according to Diodorus, lib. xii.

[256] Twenty talents, according to the scholiast of Aristophanes.
Suidas states the amount variously at fifteen and fifty.

[257] Who fled into Macedonia.--Theopomp. ap. Strab. The number of
Athenian colonists was one thousand, according to Diodorus--two
thousand, according to Theopompus.

[258] Aristoph. Nub., 213.

[259] Thucyd., i., 111.

[260] 1bid., i., 115.

[261] As is evident, among other proofs, from the story before
narrated, of his passing his accounts to the Athenians with the item
of ten talents employed as secret service money.

[262] The Propylaea alone (not then built) cost two thousand and
twelve talents (Harpocrat. in propylaia tauta), and some temples cost
a thousand talents each. [Plut. in vit. Per.] If the speech of
Pericles referred to such works as these, the offer to transfer the
account to his own charge was indeed but a figure of eloquence. But,
possibly, the accusation to which this offer was intended as a reply
was applicable only to some individual edifice or some of the minor
works, the cost of which his fortune might have defrayed. We can
scarcely indeed suppose, that if the affected generosity were but a
bombastic flourish, it could have excited any feeling but laughter
among an audience so acute.

[263] The testimony of Thucydides (lib. ii., c. 5) alone suffices to
destroy all the ridiculous imputations against the honesty of Pericles
which arose from the malice of contemporaries, and are yet perpetuated
only by such writers as cannot weigh authorities. Thucydides does not
only call him incorrupt, but "clearly or notoriously honest."
[Chraematon te diaphanos adorotatos.] Plutarch and Isocrates serve to
corroborate this testimony.

[264] Plut. in vit. Per.

[265] Thucyd., lib. ii., c. 65.

[266] "The model of this regulation, by which Athens obtained the
most extensive influence, and an almost absolute dominion over the
allies, was possibly found in other Grecian states which had subject
confederates, such as Thebes, Elis, and Argos. But on account of the
remoteness of many countries, it is impossible that every trifle could
have been brought before the court at Athens; we must therefore
suppose that each subject state had an inferior jurisdiction of its
own, and that the supreme jurisdiction alone belonged to Athens. Can
it, indeed, be supposed that persons would have travelled from Rhodes
or Byzantium, for the sake of a lawsuit of fifty or a hundred
drachmas? In private suits a sum of money was probably fixed, above
which the inferior court of the allies had no jurisdiction, while
cases relating to higher sums were referred to Athens. There can be
no doubt that public and penal causes were to a great extent decided
in Athens, and the few definite statements which are extant refer to
lawsuits of this nature."--Boeckh, Pol. Econ. of Athens, vol. ii., p.
142, 143, translation.

[267] In calculating the amount of the treasure when transferred to
Athens, Boeckh (Pol. Econ. of Athens, vol. i., p. 193, translation) is
greatly misled by an error of dates. He assumes that the fund had
only existed ten years when brought to Athens: whereas it had existed
about seventeen, viz., from B. C. 477 to B. C. 461, or rather B. C.
460. And this would give about the amount affirmed by Diodorus, xii.,
p. 38 (viz., nearly 8000 talents), though he afterward raises it to
10,000. But a large portion of it must have been consumed in war
before the transfer. Still Boeckh rates the total of the sum
transferred far too low, when he says it cannot have exceeded 1800
talents. It more probably doubled that sum.

[268] Such as Euboea, see p. 212.

[269] Vesp. Aristoph. 795.

[270] Knight's Prolegomena to Homer; see also Boeckh (translation),
vol. i., p. 25.

[271] Viz., B. C. 424; Ol. 89.

[272] Thucyd., iv., 57.

[273] See Chandler's Inscript.

[274] In the time of Alcibiades the tribute was raised to one
thousand three hundred talents, and even this must have been most
unequally assessed, if it were really the pecuniary hardship the
allies insisted upon and complained of. But the resistance made to
imposts upon matters of feeling or principle in our own country, as,
at this day, in the case of church-rates, may show the real nature of
the grievance. It was not the amount paid, but partly the degradation
of paying it, and partly, perhaps, resentment in many places at some
unfair assessment. Discontent exaggerates every burden, and a feather
is as heavy as a mountain when laid on unwilling shoulders. When the
new arrangement was made by Alcibiades or the later demagogues,
Andocides asserts that some of the allies left their native countries
and emigrated to Thurii. But how many Englishmen have emigrated to
America from objections to a peculiar law or a peculiar impost, which
state policy still vindicates, or state necessity still maintains!
The Irish Catholic peasant, in reality, would not, perhaps, be much
better off, in a pecuniary point of view, if the tithes were
transferred to the rental of the landlord, yet Irish Catholics have
emigrated in hundreds from the oppression, real or imaginary, of
Protestant tithe-owners. Whether in ancient times or modern, it is
not the amount of taxation that makes the grievance. People will pay
a pound for what they like, and grudge a farthing for what they hate.
I have myself known men quit England because of the stamp duty on

[275] Thucyd., lib. i., c. 75; Bloomfield's translation.

[276] A sentiment thus implied by the Athenian ambassadors: "We are
not the first who began the custom which has ever been an established
one, that the weaker should be kept under by the stronger." The
Athenians had, however, an excuse more powerful than that of the
ancient Rob Roys. It was the general opinion of the time that the
revolt of dependant allies might be fairly punished by one that could
punish them--(so the Corinthians take care to observe). And it does
not appear that the Athenian empire at this period was more harsh than
that of other states to their dependants. The Athenian ambassadors
(Thucyd., i., 78) not only quote the far more galling oppressions the
Ionians and the isles had undergone from the Mede, but hint that the
Spartans had been found much harder masters than the Athenians.

[277] Only twelve drachma each yearly: the total, therefore, is
calculated by the inestimable learning of Boeckh not to have exceeded
twenty-one talents.

[278] Total estimated at thirty-three talents.

[279] The state itself contributed largely to the plays, and the
lessee of the theatre was also bound to provide for several expenses,
in consideration of which he received the entrance money.

[280] On the authority of Pseud. Arist. Oecon., 2-4.

[281] In the expedition against Sicily the state supplied the vessel
and paid the crew. The trierarchs equipped the ship and gave
voluntary contributions besides.--Thucyd., vi., 31.

[282] Liturgies, with most of the Athenian laws that seemed to harass
the rich personally, enhanced their station and authority politically.
It is clear that wherever wealth is made most obviously available to
the state, there it will be most universally respected. Thus is it
ever in commercial countries. In Carthage of old, where, according to
Aristotle, wealth was considered virtue, and in England at this day,
where wealth, if not virtue, is certainly respectability,

[283] And so well aware of the uncertain and artificial tenure of the
Athenian power were the Greek statesmen, that we find it among the
arguments with which the Corinthian some time after supported the
Peloponnesian war, "that the Athenians, if they lost one sea-fight,
would be utterly subdued;"--nor, even without such a mischance, could
the flames of a war be kindled, but what the obvious expedient
[Thucyd., lib. i., c. 121. As the Corinthians indeed suggested,
Thucyd., lib. i., c. 122] of the enemy would be to excite the Athenian
allies to revolt, and the stoppage or diminution of the tribute would
be the necessary consequence.

[284] If the courts of law among the allies were not removed to
Athens till after the truce with Peloponnesus, and indeed till after
the ostracism of Thucydides, the rival of Pericles, the value of the
judicial fees did not, of course, make one of the considerations for
peace; but there would then have been the mightier consideration of
the design of that transfer which peace only could effect.

[285] Plut. in vit. Per.

[286] "As a vain woman decked out with jewels," was the sarcastic
reproach of the allies.--Plut. in vit. Per.

[287] The Propylaea was built under the direction of Mnesicles. It
was begun 437 B. C., in the archonship of Euthymenes, three years
after the Samian war, and completed in five years. Harpocrat. in
propylaia tauta.

[288] Plut. in vit. Per.

[289] See Arnold's Thucydides, ii., 13, note 12.

[290] "Their bodies, too, they employ for the state as if they were
any one's else but their own; but with minds completely their own,
they are ever ready to render it service."--Thucyd., i., 70,
Bloomfield's translation.

[291] With us, Juries as well as judges are paid, and, in ordinary
cases, at as low a rate as the Athenian dicasts (the different value
of money being considered), viz., common jurymen one shilling for each
trial, and, in the sheriffs' court, fourpence. What was so pernicious
in Athens is perfectly harmless in England; it was the large member of
the dicasts which made the mischief, and not the system of payment
itself, as unreflecting writers have so often asserted.

[292] See Book IV., Chapter V. VII. of this volume.

[293] At first the payment of the dicasts was one obolus.--(Aristoph.
Nubes, 861.) Afterward, under Cleon, it seems to have been increased
to three; it is doubtful whether it was in the interval ever two
obols. Constant mistakes are made between the pay, and even the
constitution, of the ecclesiasts and the dicasts. But the reader must
carefully remember that the former were the popular legislators, the
latter, the popular judges or jurors--their functions were a mixture
of both.

[294] Misthos ekklaesiastikos--the pay of the ecclesiasts, or popular

[295] We know not how far the paying of the ecclesiasts was the work
of Pericles: if it were, it must have been at, or after, the time we
now enter upon, as, according to Aristophanes (Eccles., 302), the
people were not paid during the power of Myronides, who flourished,
and must have fallen with Thucydides, the defeated rival of Pericles.

[296] The Athenians could extend their munificence even to
foreigners, as their splendid gift, said to have been conferred on
Herodotus, and the sum of ten thousand drachmas, which Isocrates
declares them to have bestowed on Pindar. [Isoc. de Antidosi.]

[297] The pay of the dicast and the ecclesiast was, as we have just
seen, first one, then three obols; and the money paid to the infirm
was never less than one, nor more than two obols a day. The common
sailors, in time of peace, received four obols a day. Neither an
ecclesiast nor a dicast was, therefore, paid so much as a common

[298] Such as the Panathenaea and Hieromeniae.

[299] From klaeroi, lots. The estates and settlements of a cleruchia
were divided among a certain number of citizens by lot.

[300] The state only provided the settlers with arms, and defrayed
the expenses of their journey. See Boeckh, Pol. Econ. of Athens, vol.
ii., p. 170 (translation).

[301] Andoc. Orat. de Pace.

[302] These institutions differed, therefore, from colonies
principally in this: the mother country retained a firm hold over the
cleruchi--could recall them or reclaim their possessions, as a penalty
of revolt: the cleruchi retained all the rights, and were subject to
most of the conditions, of citizens. [Except, for instance, the
liturgies.] Lands were given without the necessity of quitting
Athens--departure thence was voluntary, although it was the ordinary
choice. But whether the cleruchi remained at home or repaired to
their settlement, they were equally attached to Athenian interests.
From their small number, and the enforced and unpopular nature of
their tenure, their property, unlike that of ordinary colonists,
depended on the power and safety of the parent state: they were not so
much transplanted shoots as extended branches of one tree, taking
their very life from the same stem. In modern times, Ireland suggests
a parallel to the old cleruchiae--in the gift of lands to English
adventurers--in the long and intimate connexion which subsisted
between the manners, habits, and political feeling of the English
settlers and the parent state--in the separation between the settlers
and the natives; and in the temporary power and subsequent feebleness
which resulted to the home government from the adoption of a system
which garrisoned the land, but exasperated the inhabitants.

[303] Nor were even these composed solely of Athenians, but of mixed
and various races. The colony to Amphipolis (B. C. 465) is the first
recorded colony of the Athenians after the great Ionic migrations.

[304] In the year in which the colony of Thurium or Thurii was
founded, the age of Lysias was fifteen, that of Herodotus forty-one.

[305] Plut. in vit. Per. Schol. Aristoph. Av., 521.

[306] Viz., Callias, Lysippus, and Cratinus. See Athenaeus, lib.
viii., p. 344. The worthy man seems to have had the amiable
infirmities of a bon vivant.

[307] Plut. in vit. Them.

[308] Historians, following the received text in Plutarch, have
retailed the incredible story that the rejected claimants were sold
for slaves; but when we consider the extraordinary agitation it must
have caused to carry such a sentence against so many persons,
amounting to a fourth part of the free population--when we remember
the numerous connexions, extending throughout at least four times
their own number, which five thousand persons living long undisturbed
and unsuspected as free citizens must have formed, it is impossible to
conceive that such rigour could even have been attempted without
creating revolution, sedition, or formidable resistance. Yet this
measure, most important if attended with such results--most miraculous
if not--is passed over in total silence by Thucydides and by every
other competent authority. A luminous emendation by Mr. Clinton
(Fast. Hell., vol. ii., second edition, p. 52 and 390, note p)
restores the proper meaning. Instead of heprataesan, he proposes
apaelathaesan--the authorities from Lysias quoted by Mr. Clinton (p.
390) seem to decide the matter. "These five thousand disfranchised
citizens, in B. C. 544, partly supplied the colony to Thurium in the
following year, and partly contributed to augment the number of the

[309] Fourteen thousand two hundred and forty, according to
Philochorus. By the term "free citizens" is to be understood those
male Athenians above twenty--that is, those entitled to vote in the
public assembly. According to Mr. Clinton's computation, the women
and children being added, the fourteen thousand two hundred and forty
will amount to about fifty-eight thousand six hundred and forty, as
the total of the free population.

[310] Thucyd., i., c. 40.

[311] See the speech of the Corinthians.--Thucyd., lib. i., 70.

[312] Who was this Thucydides? The rival of Pericles had been exiled
less than ten years before [in fact, about four years ago; viz., B. C.
444]; and it is difficult to suppose that he could have been recalled
before the expiration of he sentence, and appointed to command, at the
very period when the power and influence of Pericles were at their
height. Thucydides, the historian, was about thirty-one, an age at
which so high a command would scarcely, at that period, have been
bestowed upon any citizen, even in Athens, where men mixed in public
affairs earlier than in other Hellenic states [Thucydides himself
(lib. v., 43) speaks of Alcibiades as a mere youth (at least one who
would have been so considered in any other state), at a time when he
could not have been much less, and was probably rather more than
thirty]; besides, had Thucydides been present, would he have given us
no more ample details of an event so important? There were several
who bore this name. The scholiast on Aristophanes (Acharn., v., 703)
says there were four, whom he distinguishes thus--1st, the historian;
2d, the Gargettian; 3d, the Thessalian; 4th, the son of Melesias. The
scholiast on the Vespae (v., 991) enumerates the same, and calls them
all Athenians. The son of Melesias is usually supposed the opponent
of Pericles--he is so called by Androtion. Theopompus, however, says
that it was the son of Pantanus. Marcellinus (in vit. Thucyd., p.
xi.) speaks of many of the name, and also selects four for special
notice. 1st, the historian; 2d, the son of Melesias; 3d, a
Pharsalian; 4th, a poet of the ward of Acherdus, mentioned by
Androtion, and called the son of Ariston. Two of this name, the
historian and the son of Melesias, are well known to us; but, for the
reasons I have mentioned, it is more probable that one of the others
was general in the Samian war. A third Thucydides (the Thessalian or
Pharsalian) is mentioned by the historian himself (viii., 92). I take
the Gargettian (perhaps the son of Pantanus named by Theopompus) to
have been the commander in the expedition.

[313] Plut. in vit. Per.

[314] Alexis ap. Ath., lib. xiii.

[315] At this period the Athenians made war with a forbearance not
common in later ages. When Timotheus besieged Samos, he maintained
his armament solely on the hostile country, while a siege of nine
months cost Athens so considerable a sum.

[316] Plut. in vit. Per.

The contribution levied on the Samians was two hundred talents,
proportioned, according to Diodorus, to the full cost of the
expedition. But as Boeckh (Pol. Econ. of Athens, vol. i., p. 386,
trans.) well observes, "This was a very lenient reckoning; a nine
months' siege by land and sea, in which one hundred and ninety-nine
triremes [Boeckh states the number of triremes at one hundred and
ninety-nine, but, in fact, there were two hundred and fifteen vessels
employed, since we ought not to omit the sixteen stationed on the
Carian coast, or despatched to Lesbos and Chios for supplies] were
employed, or, at any rate, a large part of this number, for a
considerable time, must evidently have caused a greater expense, and
the statement, therefore, of Isocrates and Nepos, that twelve hundred
talents were expended on it, appears to be by no means exaggerated."

[317] It was on Byzantium that they depended for the corn they
imported from the shores of the Euxine.

[318] The practice of funeral orations was probably of very ancient
origin among the Greeks: but the law which ordained them at Athens is
referred by the scholiast on Thucydides (lib. ii., 35) to Solon; while
Diodorus, on the other hand, informs us it was not passed till after
the battle of Plataea. It appears most probable that it was a usage
of the heroic times, which became obsolete while the little feuds
among the Greek states remained trivial and unimportant; but, after
the Persian invasion, it was solemnly revived, from the magnitude of
the wars which Greece had undergone, and the dignity and holiness of
the cause in which the defenders of their country had fallen.

[319] Ouk an muraisi graus eous aegeitheo.

This seems the only natural interpretation of the line, in which, from
not having the context, we lose whatever wit the sentence may have
possessed--and witty we must suppose it was, since Plutarch evidently
thinks it a capital joke. In corroboration of this interpretation of
an allusion which has a little perplexed the commentators, we may
observe, that ten years before, Pericles had judged a sarcasm upon the
age of Elpinice the best way to silence her importunities. The
anecdote is twice told by Plutarch, in vit. Cim., c. 14, and in vit.
Per., c. 10.

[320] Aristot., Poet. iv.

[321] "As he was removed from Cos in infancy, the name of his adopted
country prevailed over that of the country of his birth, and
Epicharmus is called of Syracuse, though born at Cos, as Apollonius is
called the Rhodian, though born at Alexandria."--Fast. Hell., vol.
ii., introduction.

[322] Moliere.

[323] Laertius, viii. For it is evident that Epicharmus the
philosopher was no other than Epicharmus the philosophical poet--the
delight of Plato, who was himself half a Pythagorean.--See Bentley,
Diss. Phal., p. 201; Laertius, viii., 78; Fynes Clinton, Fast. Hell.,
vol. ii., introduction, p. 36 (note g).

[324] A few of his plays were apparently not mythological, but they
were only exceptions from the general rule, and might have been
written after the less refining comedies of Magnes at Athens.

[325] A love of false antithesis.

[326] In Syracuse, however, the republic existed when Epicharmus
first exhibited his comedies. His genius was therefore formed by a
republic, though afterward fostered by a tyranny.

[327] For Crates acted in the plays of Cratinus before he turned
author. (See above.) Now the first play of Crates dates two years
before the first recorded play (the Archilochi) of Cratinus;
consequently Cratinus must have been celebrated long previous to the
exhibition of the Archilochi--indeed, his earlier plays appear,
according to Aristophanes, to have been the most successful, until the
old gentleman, by a last vigorous effort, beat the favourite play of
Aristophanes himself.

[328] That the magistrature did not at first authorize comedy seems a
proof that it was not at the commencement considered, like tragedy, of
a religious character. And, indeed, though modern critics constantly
urge upon us its connexion with religion, I doubt whether at any time
the populace thought more of its holier attributes and associations
than the Neapolitans of to-day are impressed with the sanctity of the
carnival when they are throwing sugarplums at each other.

[329] In the interval, however, the poets seem to have sought to
elude the law, since the names of two plays (the Satyroi and the
Koleophoroi) are recorded during this period--plays which probably
approached comedy without answering to its legal definition. It might
be that the difficulty rigidly to enforce the law against the spirit
of the times and the inclination of the people was one of the causes
that led to the repeal of the prohibition.

[330] Since that siege lasted nine months of the year in which the
decree was made.

[331] Aristophanes thus vigorously describes the applauses that
attended the earlier productions of Cratinus. I quote from the
masterly translation of Mr. Mitchell.

"Who Cratinus may forget, or the storm of whim and wit,
Which shook theatres under his guiding;
When Panegyric's song poured her flood of praise along,
Who but he on the top wave was riding?"

* * * * * * *

"His step was as the tread of a flood that leaves its bed,
And his march it was rude desolation," etc.
Mitchell's Aristoph., The Knights, p. 204.

The man who wrote thus must have felt betimes--when, as a boy, he
first heard the roar of the audience--what it is to rule the humours
of eighteen thousand spectators!

[332] De l'esprit, passim.

[333] De Poet., c. 26.

[334] The oracle that awarded to Socrates the superlative degree of
wisdom, gave to Sophocles the positive, and to Euripides the
comparative degree,

Sophos Sophoclaes; sophoteros d'Euripoeaes;
'Andron de panton Sokrataes sophotatos.

Sophocles is wise--Euripides wiser--but wisest of all men is Socrates.

[335] The Oresteia.

[336] For out of seventy plays by Aeschylus only thirteen were
successful; he had exhibited fifteen years before he obtained his
first prize; and the very law passed in honour of his memory, that a
chorus should be permitted to any poet who chose to re-exhibit his
dramas, seems to indicate that a little encouragement of such
exhibition was requisite. This is still more evident if we believe,
with Quintilian, that the poets who exhibited were permitted to
correct and polish up the dramas, to meet the modern taste, and play
the Cibber to the Athenian Shakspeare.

[337] Athenaeus, lib. xiii., p. 603, 604.

[338] He is reported, indeed, to have said that he rejoiced in the
old age which delivered him from a severe and importunate taskmaster.
--Athen., lib. 12, p. 510. But the poet, nevertheless, appears to
have retained his amorous propensities, at least, to the last.--See
Athenaeus, lib. 13, p. 523.

[339] He does indeed charge Sophocles with avarice, but he atones for
it very handsomely in the "Frogs."

[340] M. Schlegel is pleased to indulge in one of his most
declamatory rhapsodies upon the life, "so dear to the gods," of this
"pious and holy poet." But Sophocles, in private life, was a
profligate, and in public life a shuffler and a trimmer, if not
absolutely a renegade. It was, perhaps, the very laxity of his
principles which made him thought so agreeable a fellow. At least,
such is no uncommon cause of personal popularity nowadays. People
lose much of their anger and envy of genius when it throws them down a
bundle or two of human foibles by which they can climb up to its

[341] It is said, indeed, that the appointment was the reward of a
successful tragedy; it was more likely due to his birth, fortune, and
personal popularity.

[342] It seems, however, that Pericles thought very meanly of his
warlike capacities.--See Athenaeus, lib. 13, p. 604.

[343] Oedip. Tyr., 1429, etc.

[344] When Sophocles (Athenaeus, i., p. 22) said that Aeschylus
composed befittingly, but without knowing it, his saying evinced the
study his compositions had cost himself.

[345] "The chorus should be considered as one of the persons in the
drama, should be a part of the whole, and a sharer in the action, not
as in Euripides, but as in Sophocles."--Aristot. de Poet., Twining's
translation. But even in Sophocles, at least in such of his plays as
are left to us, the chorus rarely, if ever, is a sharer in the outward
and positive action of the piece; it rather carries on and expresses
the progress of the emotions that spring out of the action.

[346] --akno toi pros s' aposkopois' anax.--Oedip. Tyr., 711.

This line shows how much of emotion the actor could express in spite
of the mask.

[347] "Of all discoveries, the best is that which arises from the
action itself, and in which a striking effect is produced by probable
incidents. Such is that in the Oedipus of Sophocles."--Aristot. de
Poet., Twining's translation.

[348] But the spot consecrated to those deities which men "tremble to
name," presents all the features of outward loveliness that contrast
and refine, as it were, the metaphysical terror of the associations.
And the beautiful description of Coloneus itself, which is the passage
that Sophocles is said to have read to his judges, before whom he was
accused of dotage, seems to paint a home more fit for the graces than
the furies. The chorus inform the stranger that he has come to "the
white Coloneus;"

"Where ever and aye, through the greenest vale
Gush the wailing notes of the nightingale
From her home where the dark-hued ivy weaves
With the grove of the god a night of leaves;
And the vines blossom out from the lonely glade,
And the suns of the summer are dim in the shade,
And the storms of the winter have never a breeze,
That can shiver a leaf from the charmed trees;
For there, oh ever there,
With that fair mountain throng,
Who his sweet nurses were, [the nymphs of Nisa]
Wild Bacchus holds his court, the conscious woods among!
Daintily, ever there,
Crown of the mighty goddesses of old,
Clustering Narcissus with his glorious hues
Springs from his bath of heaven's delicious dews,
And the gay crocus sheds his rays of gold.
And wandering there for ever
The fountains are at play,
And Cephisus feeds his river
From their sweet urns, day by day.
The river knows no dearth;
Adown the vale the lapsing waters glide,
And the pure rain of that pellucid tide
Calls the rife beauty from the heart of earth.
While by the banks the muses' choral train
Are duly heard--and there, Love checks her golden rein."

[349] Geronta dorthoun, phlauron, os neos pesae.
Oedip. Col., 396.

Thus, though his daughter had only grown up from childhood to early
womanhood, Oedipus has passed from youth to age since the date of the
Oedipus Tyrannus.

[350] See his self-justification, 960-1000.

[351] As each poet had but three actors allowed him, the song of the
chorus probably gave time for the representative of Theseus to change
his dress, and reappear as Polynices.

[352] The imagery in the last two lines has been amplified from the
original in order to bring before the reader what the representation
would have brought before the spectator.

[353] Mercury.

[354] Proserpine.

[355] Autonamos.--Antig., 821.

[356] Ou toi synechthein, alla symphilein ephun.
Antig., 523.

[357] Ceres.

[358] Hyper dilophon petras--viz., Parnassus. The Bacchanalian light
on the double crest of Parnassus, which announced the god, is a
favourite allusion with the Greek poets.

[359] His mother, Semele.

[360] Aristotle finds fault with the incident of the son attempting
to strike his father, as being shocking, yet not tragic--that is, the
violent action is episodical, since it is not carried into effect;
yet, if we might connect the plot of the "Antigone" with the former
plays of either "Oedipus," there is something of retribution in the
attempted parricide when we remember the hypocritical and cruel
severity of Creon to the involuntary parricide of Oedipus. The whole
description of the son in that living tomb, glaring on his father with
his drawn sword, the dead form of his betrothed, with the subsequent
picture of the lovers joined in death, constitutes one of the most
masterly combinations of pathos and terror in ancient or modern

[361] This is not the only passage in which Sophocles expresses
feminine wo by silence. In the Trachiniae, Deianira vanishes in the
same dumb abruptness when she hears from her son the effect of the
centaur's gift upon her husband.

[362] According to that most profound maxim of Aristotle, that in
tragedy a very bad man should never be selected as the object of

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