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Title: Ancient States and Empires
Author: Lord, John, 1810-1894
Language: English
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                        Ancient States and Empires

                         For Colleges And Schools


                             John Lord LL.D.

                     Author of the “Old Roman World”

                           “Modern History” &c.

                                 New York

                        Charles Scribner & Company





This work is designed chiefly for educational purposes, since there is
still felt the need of some book, which, within moderate limits, shall
give a connected history of the ancient world.

The author lays no claim to original investigation in so broad a field. He
simply has aimed to present the salient points—the most important events
and characters of four thousand years, in a connected narrative, without
theories or comments, and without encumbering the book with details of
comparatively little interest. Most of the ancient histories for schools,
have omitted to notice those great movements to which the Scriptures
refer; but these are here briefly presented, since their connection with
the Oriental world is intimate and impressive, and ought not to be
omitted, even on secular grounds. What is history without a Divine

In the preparation of this work, the author has been contented with the
last standard authorities, which he has merely simplified, abridged, and
condensed, being most indebted to Rawlinson, Grote, Thirlwall, Niebuhr,
Mommsen, and Merivale,—following out the general plan of Philip Smith,
whose admirable digest, in three large octavos, is too extensive for

Although the author has felt warranted in making a free use of his
materials, it will be seen that the style, arrangement, and reflections
are his own. If the book prove useful, his object will be attained.

STAMFORD _October, 1869_.

                                 BOOK I.


                                CHAPTER I.


(M1) The history of this world begins, according to the chronology of
Archbishop Ussher, which is generally received as convenient rather than
probable, in the year 4004 before Christ. In six days God created light
and darkness, day and night, the firmament and the continents in the midst
of the waters, fruits, grain, and herbs, moon and stars, fowl and fish,
living creatures upon the face of the earth, and finally man, with
dominion “over the fish of the sea, and the fowls of the air, and cattle,
and all the earth, and every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.”
He created man in his own image, and blessed him with universal dominion.
He formed him from the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils
the breath of life. On the seventh day, God rested from this vast work of
creation, and blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, as we suppose,
for a day of solemn observance for all generations.

(M2) He there planted a garden eastward in Eden, with every tree pleasant
to the sight and good for food, and there placed man to dress and keep it.
The original occupation of man, and his destined happiness, were thus
centered in agricultural labor.

(M3) But man was alone; so God caused a deep sleep to fall upon him, and
took one of his ribs and made a woman. And Adam said, “this woman,” which
the Lord had brought unto him, “is bone of my bone, and flesh of my flesh;
therefore shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall cleave unto
his wife: and they shall be one flesh.” Thus marriage was instituted. We
observe three divine institutions while man yet remained in a state of
innocence and bliss—the Sabbath; agricultural employment; and marriage.

(M4) Adam and his wife lived, we know not how long, in the garden of Eden,
with perfect innocence, bliss, and dominion. They did not even know what
sin was. There were no other conditions imposed upon them than they were
not to eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, which
was in the midst of the garden—a preeminently goodly tree, “pleasant to
the eyes, and one to be desired.”

(M5) Where was this garden—this paradise—located? This is a mooted
question—difficult to be answered. It lay, thus far as we know, at the
head waters of four rivers, two of which were the Euphrates and the
Tigris. We infer thence, that it was situated among the mountains of
Armenia, south of the Caucasus, subsequently the cradle of the noblest
races of men,—a temperate region, in the latitude of Greece and Italy.

(M6) We suppose that the garden was beautiful and fruitful, beyond all
subsequent experience—watered by mists from the earth, and not by rains
from the clouds, ever fresh and green, while its two noble occupants lived
upon its produce, directly communing with God, in whose image they were
made, moral and spiritual—free from all sin and misery, and, as we may
conjecture, conversant with truth in its loftiest forms.

But sin entered into the beautiful world that was made, and death by sin.
This is the first recorded fact in human history, next to primeval
innocence and happiness.

(M7) The progenitors of the race were tempted, and did not resist the
temptation. The form of it may have been allegorical and symbolic; but, as
recorded by Moses, was yet a stupendous reality, especially in view of its

(M8) The tempter was the devil—the antagonist of God—the evil power of the
world—the principle of evil—a Satanic agency which Scripture, and all
nations, in some form, have recognized. When rebellion against God began,
we do not know; but it certainly existed when Adam was placed in Eden.

(M9) The form which Satanic power assumed was a serpent—then the most
subtle of the beasts of the field, and we may reasonably suppose, not
merely subtle, but attractive, graceful, beautiful, bewitching.

(M10) The first to feel its evil fascination was the woman, and she was
induced to disobey what she knew to be a direct command, by the desire of
knowledge as well as enjoyment of the appetite. She put trust in the
serpent. She believed a lie. She was beguiled.

(M11) The man was not directly beguiled by the serpent. Why the serpent
assailed woman rather than man, the Scriptures do not say. The man yielded
to his wife. “She gave him the fruit, and he did eat.”

(M12) Immediately a great change came over both. Their eyes were opened.
They felt shame and remorse, for they had sinned. They hid themselves from
the presence of the Lord, and were afraid.

(M13) God pronounced the penalty—unto the woman, the pains and sorrows
attending childbirth, and subserviency to her husband; unto the man labor,
toil, sorrow—the curse of the ground which he was to till—thorns and
thistles—no rest, and food obtained only by the sweat of the brow; and all
these pains and labors were inflicted upon both until they should return
to the dust from whence they were taken—an eternal decree, never
abrogated, to last as long as man should till the earth, or woman bring
forth children.

(M14) Thus came sin into the world, through the temptations of
introduction Satan and the weakness of man, with the penalty of labour,
pain, sorrow, and death.

(M15) Man was expelled from Paradise, and precluded from re-entering it by
the flaming sword of cherubim, until the locality of Eden, by thorns and
briars, and the deluge, was obliterated forever. And man and woman were
sent out into the world to reap the fruit of their folly and sin, and to
gain their subsistence in severe toil, and amid, the accumulated evils
which sin introduced.

(M16) The only mitigation of the sentence was the eternal enmity between
the seed of the woman and the seed of the Serpent, in which the final
victory should be given to the former. The rite of sacrifice was
introduced as a type of the satisfaction for sin by the death of a
substitute for the sinner; and thus a hope of final forgiveness held out
for sin, Meanwhile the miseries of life were alleviated by the fruits of
labor, by industry.

(M17) Industry, then, became, on the expulsion from Eden, one of the final
laws of human happiness on earth, while the sacrifice held out hopes of
eternal life by the substitution which the sacrifice typified—the Saviour
who was in due time to appear.

With the expulsion from Eden came the sad conflicts of the race—conflicts
with external wickedness—conflicts with the earth—conflicts with evil
passions in a man’s own soul.

(M18) The first conflict was between Cain, the husbandman, and Abel, the
shepherd; the representatives of two great divisions of the human family
in the early ages. Cain killed Abel because the offering of the latter was
preferred to that of the former. The virtue of Abel was faith: the sin of
Cain was jealousy, pride, resentment, and despair. The punishment of Cain
was expulsion from his father’s house, the further curse of the land for
_him_, and the hatred of the human family. He relinquished his occupation,
became a wanderer, and gained a precarious support, while his descendants
invented arts and built cities.

(M19) Eve bear another son—Seth, among whose descendants the worship of
God was preserved for a long time; but the descendants of Seth
intermarried finally with the descendants of Cain, from whom sprung a race
of lawless men, so that the earth was filled with violence. The material
civilization which the descendants of Cain introduced did not preserve
them from moral degeneracy. So great was the increasing wickedness, with
the growth of the race, that “it repented the Lord that he had made man,”
and he resolved to destroy the whole race, with the exception of one
religious family, and change the whole surface of the earth by a mighty
flood, which should involve in destruction all animals and fowls of the
air—all the antediluvian works of man.

(M20) It is of no consequence to inquire whether the Deluge was universal
or partial—whether it covered the whole earth or the existing habitations
of men. All were destroyed by it, except Noah, and his wife, and his three
sons, with their wives. The authenticity of the fact rests with Moses, and
with him we are willing to leave it.

(M21) This dreadful catastrophe took place in the 600th year of Noah’s
life, and 2349 years before Christ, when world was 1655 years old,
according to Usshur, but much older according to Hale and other
authorities—when more time had elapsed than from the Deluge to the reign
of Solomon. And hence there were more people destroyed, in all
probability, than existed on the earth in the time of Solomon. And as men
lived longer in those primeval times than subsequently, and were larger
and stronger, “for there were giants in those days,” and early invented
tents, the harp, the organ, and were artificers in brass and iron, and
built cities—as they were full of inventions as well as imaginations, it
is not unreasonable to infer, though we can not know with certainty, that
the antediluvian world was more splendid and luxurious than the world in
the time of Solomon and Homer—the era of the Pyramids of Egypt.

(M22) The art of building was certainly then carried to considerable
perfection, for the ark, which Noah built, was four hundred and fifty feet
long, seventy-five wide, and forty-five deep; and was constructed so
curiously as to hold specimens of all known animals and birds, with
provisions for them for more than ten months.

(M23) This sacred ark or ship, built of gopher wood, floated on the
world’s waves, until, in the seventh month, it rested upon the mountains
of Ararat. It was nearly a year before Noah ventured from the ark. His
first act, after he issued forth, was to build an altar and offer
sacrifice to the God who had preserved him and his family alone, of the
human race. And the Lord was well pleased, and made a covenant with him
that he would never again send a like destruction upon the earth, and as a
sign and seal of the covenant which he made with all flesh, he set his bow
in the cloud. We hence infer that the primeval world was watered by mists
from the earth, like the garden of Eden, and not by rains.

(M24) “The memory of the Deluge is preserved in the traditions of nearly
all nations, as well as in the narrative of Moses; and most heathen
mythologies have some kind of sacred ark.” Moreover, there are various
geological phenomena in all parts of the world, which can not be accounted
for on any other ground than some violent disruption produced by a
universal Deluge. The Deluge itself can not be explained, although there
are many ingenious theories to show it might be in accordance with natural
causes. The Scriptures allude to it as a supernatural event, for an
express end. When the supernatural power of God can be disproved, then it
will be time to explain the Deluge by natural causes, or deny it
altogether. The Christian world now accepts it as Moses narrates it.

                               CHAPTER II.


(M25) When Noah and his family issued from the ark, they were blessed by
God. They were promised a vast posterity, dominion over nature, and all
animals for food, as well as the fruits of the earth. But new laws were
imposed, against murder, and against the eating of blood. An authority was
given to the magistrate to punish murder. “Whosoever sheddeth man’s blood,
by man shall _his_ blood be shed.” This was not merely a penalty, but a
prediction. The sacredness of life, and the punishment for murder are
equally asserted, and asserted with peculiar emphasis. This may be said to
be the Noachic Code, afterward extended by Moses. From that day to this,
murder has been accounted the greatest human crime, and has been the most
severely punished. On the whole, this crime has been the rarest in the
subsequent history of the world, although committed with awful frequency,
but seldom till other crimes are exhausted. The sacredness of life is the
greatest of human privileges.

(M26) The government was patriarchal. The head of a family had almost
unlimited power. And this government was religious as well as civil. The
head of the family was both priest and king. He erected altars and divided
inheritances. He ruled his sons, even if they had wives and children. And
as the old patriarchs lived to a great age, their authority extended over
several generations and great numbers of people.

Noah pursued the life of a husbandman, and planted vines, probably like
the antediluvians. Nor did he escape the shame of drunkenness, though we
have no evidence it was an habitual sin.

(M27) From this sin and shame great consequences followed. Noah was
indecently exposed. The second son made light of it; the two others
covered up the nakedness of their father. For this levity Ham was cursed
in his children. Canaan, his son, was decreed to be a servant of
servants—the ancestor of the races afterward exterminated by the Jews. To
Shem, for his piety, was given a special religious blessing. Through him
all the nations of the earth were blessed. To Japhet was promised especial
temporal prosperity, and a participation of the blessing of Shem, The
European races are now reaping this prosperity, and the religious
privileges of Christianity.

(M28) Four generations passed without any signal event. They all spoke the
same language, and pursued the same avocations. They lived in Armenia, but
gradually spread over the surrounding countries and especially toward the
west and south. They journeyed to the land of Shinar, and dwelt on its
fertile plains. This was the great level of Lower Mesopotamia, or Chaldea,
watered by the Euphrates.

(M29) Here they built a city, and aspired to build a tower which should
reach unto the heavens. It was vanity and pride which incited them,—also
fear lest they should be scattered.

(M30) We read that Nimrod—one of the descendants of Ham—a mighty hunter,
had migrated to this plain, and set up a kingdom at Babel—perhaps a revolt
against patriarchal authority. Here was a great settlement—perhaps the
central seat of the descendants of Noah, where Nimrod—the strongest man of
his times—usurped dominion. Under his auspices the city was built—a
stronghold from which he would defy all other powers. Perhaps here he
instituted idolatry, since a tower was also a temple. But, whether fear or
ambition or idolatry prompted the building of Babel, it displeased the

(M31) The punishment which he inflicted upon the builders was confusion of
tongues. The people could not understand each other, and were obliged to
disperse. The tower was left unfinished. The Lord “scattered the people
abroad upon the face of all the earth.” Probably some remained at Babel,
on the Euphrates—the forefathers of the Israelites when they dwelt in
Chaldea. It is not probable that every man spoke a different language, but
that there was a great division of language, corresponding with the great
division of families, so that the posterity of Shem took one course, that
of Japhet another, and that of Ham the third—dividing themselves into
three separate nations, each speaking substantially the same tongue,
afterward divided into different dialects from their peculiar

(M32) Much learning and ingenuity have been expended in tracing the
different races and languages of the earth to the grand confusion of
Babel. But the subject is too complicated, and in the present state of
science, too unsatisfactory to make it expedient to pursue ethnological
and philological inquiries in a work so limited as this. We refer students
to Max Muller, and other authorities.

(M33) But that there was a great tripartite division of the human family
can not be doubted. The descendants of Japhet occupied a great zone
running from the high lands of Armenia to the southeast, into the
table-lands of Iran, and to Northern India, and to the west into Thrace,
the Grecian peninsula, and Western Europe. And all the nations which
subsequently sprung from the children of Japhet, spoke languages the roots
of which bear a striking affinity. This can be proved. The descendants of
Japhet, supposed to be the oldest son of Noah, possessed the fairest lands
of the world—most favorable to development and progress—most favorable to
ultimate supremacy. They composed the great Caucasian race, which spread
over Northern and Western Asia, and over Europe—superior to other races in
personal beauty and strength, and also intellectual force. From the times
of the Greek and Romans this race has held the supremacy of the world, as
was predicted to Noah. “God shall enlarge Japhet, and he shall dwell in
the tents of Shem, and Canaan shall be his servant.” The conquest of the
descendants of Ham by the Greeks and Romans, and their slavery, attest the
truth of Scripture.

(M34) The descendants of Shem occupied another belt or zone. It extended
from the southeastern part of Asia Minor to the Persian Gulf and the
peninsula of Arabia. The people lived in tents, were not ambitious of
conquest, were religious and contemplative. The great theogonies of the
East came from this people. They studied the stars. They meditated on God
and theological questions. They were a chosen race with whom sacred
history dwells. They had, compared with other races, a small territory
between the possessions of Japhet on the north, and that of Ham on the
south. Their destiny was not to spread over the world, but to exhibit the
dealings of God’s providence. From this race came the Jews and the
Messiah. The most enterprising of the descendants of Shem were the
Phœnicians, who pursued commerce on a narrow strip of the eastern shore of
the Mediterranean, and who colonized Carthage and North Africa, but were
not powerful enough to contend successfully with the Romans in political

(M35) The most powerful of the posterity of Noah were the descendants of
Ham, for more than two thousand years, since they erected great
monarchies, and were warlike, aggressive, and unscrupulous. They lived in
Egypt, Ethiopia, Palestine, and the countries around the Red Sea. They
commenced their empire in Babel, on the great plain of Babylonia, and
extended it northward into the land of Asshur (Assyria). They built the
great cities of Antioch, Rehoboth, Calah and Resen. Their empire was the
oldest in the world—that established by a Cushite dynasty on the plains of
Babylon, and in the highlands of Persia. They cast off the patriarchal
law, and indulged in a restless passion for dominion. And they were the
most civilized of the ancient nations in arts and material life. They
built cities and monuments of power. These temples, their palaces, their
pyramids were the wonders of the ancient world. Their grand and somber
architecture lasted for centuries. They were the wickedest of the nations
of the earth, and effeminacy, pride and sensuality followed naturally from
their material civilization unhallowed by high religious ideas. They were
hateful conquerors and tyrants, and yet slaves. They were permitted to
prosper until their vices wrought out their own destruction, and they
became finally subservient to the posterity of Japhet. But among some of
the descendants of Ham civilization never advanced. The negro race of
Africa ever has been degraded and enslaved. It has done nothing to advance
human society. None of these races, even the most successful, have left
durable monuments of intellect or virtue: they have left gloomy monuments
of tyrannical and physical power. The Babylonians and Egyptians laid the
foundation of some of the sciences and arts, but nothing remains at the
present day which civilization values.

How impressive and august the ancient prophecy to Noah! How strikingly
have all the predictions been fulfilled! These give to history an
imperishable interest and grandeur.

                               CHAPTER III.


(M36) We postpone the narrative of the settlements and empires which grew
up on the banks of the Euphrates and the Nile, the oldest monarchies,
until we have contemplated the early history of the Jews—descended from
one of the children of Shem. This is not in chronological order, but in
accordance with the inimitable history of Moses. The Jews did not become a
nation until four hundred and thirty years after the call of Abram—and
Abram was of the tenth generation from Noah. When he was born, great
cities existed in Babylon, Canaan, and Egypt, and the descendants of Ham
were the great potentates of earth. The children of Shem were quietly
living in tents, occupied with agriculture and the raising of cattle.
Those of Japhet were exploring all countries with zealous enterprise, and
founding distant settlements—adventurers in quest of genial climates and
fruitful fields.

Abram was born in Ur, a city of the Chaldeans, in the year 1996 before
Christ—supposed by some to be the Edessa of the Greeks, and by others to
be a great maritime city on the right bank of the Euphrates near its
confluence with the Tigris.

From this city his father Terah removed with his children and kindred to
Haran, and dwelt there. It was in Mesopotamia—a rich district, fruitful in
pasturage. Here Abram remained until he was 75, and had become rich.

(M37) While sojourning in this fruitful plain the Lord said unto him, “get
thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s
house, unto a land which I will show thee.” “And I will make thee a great
nation, and will bless thee, and make thy name great, and thou shalt be a
blessing. And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that
curseth thee. And in thee shall all the families of the earth be blessed.”
So Abram departed with Lot, his nephew, and Sarai, his wife, with all his
cattle and substance, to the land of Canaan, then occupied by that Hamite
race which had probably proved unfriendly to his family in Chaldea. We do
not know by what route he passed the Syrian desert, but he halted at
Shechem, situated in a fruitful valley, one of the passes of the hills
from Damascus to Canaan. He then built an altar to the Lord, probably
among an idolatrous people. From want of pasturage, or some cause not
explained, he removed from thence into a mountain on the east of Bethel,
between that city and Hai, or Ai, when he again erected an altar, and
called upon the living God. But here he did not long remain, being driven
by a famine to the fertile land of Egypt, then ruled by the Pharaohs,
whose unscrupulous character he feared, and which tempted him to practice
an unworthy deception, yet in accordance with profound worldly sagacity.
It was the dictate of expediency rather than faith. He pretended that
Sarai was his sister, and was well treated on her account by the princes
of Egypt, and not killed, as he feared he would be if she was known to be
his wife. The king, afflicted by great plagues in consequence of his
attentions to this beautiful woman, sent Abram away, after a stern rebuke
for the story he had told, with all his possessions.

(M38) The patriarch returned to Canaan, enriched by the princes of Egypt,
and resumed his old encampment near Bethel. But there was not enough
pasturage for his flocks, united with those of Lot. So, with magnanimous
generosity, disinclined to strife or greed, he gave his nephew the choice
of lands, but insisted on a division. “Is not the whole land before thee,”
said he: “Separate thyself, I pray thee: if thou wilt take the left hand,
I will go to the right, and if thou depart to the right hand, then I will
go to the left.” The children of Ham and of Japhet would have quarreled,
and one would have got the ascendency over the other. Not so with the just
and generous Shemite—the reproachless model of all oriental virtues, if we
may forget the eclipse of his fair name in Egypt.

(M39) Lot chose, as was natural, the lower valley of the Jordan, a fertile
and well-watered plain, but near the wicked cities of the Canaanites,
which lay in the track of the commerce between Arabia, Syria, Egypt, and
the East. The worst vices of antiquity prevailed among them, and Lot
subsequently realized, by a painful experience, the folly of seeking, for
immediate good, such an accursed neighborhood.

Abram was contented with less advantages among the hills, and after a
renewed blessing from the Lord, removed his tents to the plain of Mamre,
near Hebron, one of the oldest cities of the world.

(M40) The first battle that we read of in history was fought between the
Chaldean monarch and the kings of the five cities of Canaan, near to the
plain which Lot had selected. The kings were vanquished, and, in the
spoliation which ensued, Lot himself and his cattle were carried away by

(M41) The news reached Abram in time for him to pursue the Chaldean king
with his trained servants, three hundred and eighteen in number. In a
midnight attack the Chaldeans were routed, since a panic was created, and
Lot was rescued, with all his goods, from which we infer that Abram was a
powerful chieftain, and was also assisted directly by God, as Joshua
subsequently was in his unequal contest with the Canaanites.

(M42) The king of Sodom, in gratitude, went out to meet him on his return
from the successful encounter, and also the king of Salem, Melchizedek,
with bread and wine. This latter was probably of the posterity of Shem,
since he was also a priest of the most high God, He blessed Abram, and
gave him tithes, which Abram accepted.

(M43) But Abram would accept nothing from the king of Sodom—not even to a
shoe-latchet—from patriarchal pride, or disinclination to have any
intercourse with idolators. But he did not prevent his young warriors from
eating his bread in their hunger. It was not the Sodomites he wished to
rescue, but Lot, his kinsman and friend.

(M44) Abram, now a powerful chieftain and a rich man, well advanced in
years, had no children, in spite of the promise of God that he should be
the father of nations. His apparent heir was his chief servant, or
steward, Elizur, of Damascus. He then reminds the Lord of the promise, and
the Lord renewed the covenant, and Abram rested in faith.

(M45) Not so his wife Sarai. Skeptical that from herself should come the
promised seed, she besought Abram to make a concubine or wife of her
Egyptian maid, Hagar. Abram listens to her, and grants her request. Sarai
is then despised by the woman, and lays her complaint before her husband.
Abram delivers the concubine into the hands of the jealous and offended
wife, who dealt hardly with her, so that she fled to the wilderness.
Thirsty and miserable, she was found by an angel, near to a fountain of
water, who encouraged her by the promise that her child should be the
father of a numerous nation, but counseled her to return to Sarai, and
submit herself to her rule. In due time the child was born, and was called
Ishmael—destined to be a wild man, with whom the world should be at
enmity. Abram was now eighty-six years of age.

(M46) Fourteen years later the Lord again renewed his covenant that he
should be the father of many nations, who should possess forever the land
of Canaan. His name was changed to Abraham (father of a multitude), and
Sarai’s was changed to Sarah. The Lord promised that from Sarah should
come the predicted blessing. The patriarch is still incredulous, and
laughs within himself; but God renews the promise, and henceforth Abraham
believes, and, as a test of his faith, he institutes, by divine direction,
the rite of circumcision to Ishmael and all the servants and slaves of his
family—even those “bought with money of the stranger.”

(M47) In due time, according to prediction, Sarah gave birth to Isaac, who
was circumcised on the eighth day, when Abraham was 100 years old.
Ishmael, now a boy of fifteen, made a mockery of the event, whereupon
Sarah demanded that the son of the bondwoman, her slave, should be
expelled from the house, with his mother. Abraham was grieved also, and,
by divine counsel, they were both sent away, with some bread and a bottle
of water. The water was soon expended in the wilderness of Beersheba, and
Hagar sat down in despair and wept. God heard her lamentations, and she
opened her eyes and saw that she was seated near a well. The child was
preserved, and dwelt in the wilderness of Paran, pursuing the occupation
of an archer, or huntsman, and his mother found for him a wife out of the
land of Egypt. He is the ancestor of the twelve tribes of Bedouin Arabs,
among whom the Hamite blood predominated.

(M48) Meanwhile, as Abraham dwelt on the plains of Mamre, the destruction
of Sodom and Gomorrah took place, because not ten righteous persons could
be found therein. But Lot was rescued by angels, and afterward dwelt in a
cave, for fear, his wife being turned into a pillar of salt for daring to
look back on the burning cities. He lived with his two daughters, who
became the guilty mothers of the Moabites and the Ammonites, who settled
on the hills to the east of Jordan and the Dead Sea.

(M49) Before the birth of Isaac, Abraham removed to the South, and dwelt
in Gerah, a city of the Philistines, and probably for the same reason that
he had before sought the land of Egypt. But here the same difficulty
occurred as in Egypt. The king, Abimelech, sent and took Sarah, supposing
she was merely Abraham’s sister; and Abraham equivocated and deceived in
this instance to save his own life. But the king, warned by God in a
dream, restored unto Abraham his wife, and gave him sheep, oxen, men
servants and women servants, and one thousand pieces of silver, for he
knew he was a prophet. In return Abraham prayed for him, and removed from
him and his house all impediments for the growth of his family. The king,
seeing how Abraham was prospered, made a covenant with him, so that the
patriarch lived long among the Philistines, worshiping “the everlasting

(M50) Then followed the great trial of his faith, when requested to
sacrifice Isaac. And when he was obedient to the call, and did not
withhold his son, his only son, from the sacrificial knife, having faith
that his seed should still possess the land of Canaan, he was again
blessed, and in the most emphatic language. After this he dwelt in

(M51) At the age of 120 Sarah died at Hebron, and Abraham purchased of
Ephron the Hittite, the cave of Machpelah, with a field near Mamre, for
four hundred shekels of silver, in which he buried his wife.

(M52) Shortly after, he sought a wife for Isaac. But he would not accept
any of the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom he dwelt, but sent his
eldest and most trusted servant to Mesopotamia, with ten loaded camels, to
secure one of his own people. Rebekah, the grand-daughter of Nahor, the
brother of Abraham, was the favored damsel whom the Lord provided. Her
father and brother accepted the proposal of Abraham’s servant, and loaded
with presents, jewels of silver and jewels of gold, and raiment, the
Mesopotamian lady departed from her country and her father’s house, with
the benediction of the whole family. “Be thou the mother of thousands of
millions, and let thy seed possess the gate of those which hate them.”
Thus was “Isaac comforted after his mother’s death.”

(M53) Abraham married again, and had five sons by Keturah; but, in his
life-time, he gave all he had unto Isaac, except some gifts to his other
children, whom he sent away, that they might not dispute the inheritance
with Isaac. He died at a good old age, 175 years, and was buried by his
sons, Isaac and Ishmael, in the cave of Machpelah, which had been
purchased of the sons of Heth. Isaac thus became the head of the house,
with princely possessions, living near a well.

(M54) But a famine arose, as in the days of his father, and he went to
Gerar, and not to Egypt. He, however, was afraid to call Rebekah his wife,
for the same reason that Abraham called Sarah his sister. But the king
happening from his window to see Isaac “sporting with Rebekah,” knew he
had been deceived, yet abstained from taking her, and even loaded Isaac
with new favors, so that he became very great and rich—so much so that the
Philistines envied him, and maliciously filled up the wells which Abraham
had dug. Here again he was befriended by Abimelech, who saw that the Lord
was with him, and a solemn covenant of peace was made between them, and
new wells were dug.

(M55) Isaac, it seems, led a quiet and peaceful life—averse to all strife
with the Canaanites, and gradually grew very rich. He gave no evidence of
remarkable strength of mind, and was easily deceived. His greatest
affliction was the marriage of his eldest and favorite son Esau with a
Hittite woman, and it was probably this mistake and folly which confirmed
the superior fortunes of Jacob.

(M56) Esau was a hunter. On returning one day from hunting he was faint
from hunger, and cast a greedy eye on some pottage that Jacob had
prepared. But Jacob would not give his hungry brother the food until he
had promised, by a solemn oath, to surrender his birthright to him. The
clever man of enterprise, impulsive and passionate, thought more, for the
moment, of the pangs of hunger than of his future prospects, and the
quiet, plain, and cunning man of tents availed himself of his brother’s

(M57) But the birthright was not secure to Jacob without his father’s
blessing. So he, with his mother’s contrivance, for he was _her_ favorite,
deceived his father, and appeared to be Esau. Isaac, old and dim and
credulous, supposing that Jacob, clothed in Esau’s vestments as a hunter,
and his hands covered with skins, was his eldest son, blessed him. The old
man still had doubts, but Jacob falsely declared that he was Esau, and
obtained what he wanted. When Esau returned from the hunt he saw what
Jacob had done, and his grief was bitter and profound. He cried out in his
agony, “Bless me even me, also, O my father.” And Isaac said: “Thy brother
came with subtilty, and hath taken away thy blessing.” And Esau said, “Is
he not rightly named Jacob—that is, a supplanter—for he hath supplanted me
these two times: he took away my birthright, and behold now he hath taken
away my blessing.” “And he lifted up his voice and wept.” Isaac, then
moved, declared that his dwelling should be the fatness of the earth, even
though he should serve his brother,—that he should live by the sword, and
finally break the yoke from off his neck. This was all Esau could wring
from his father. He hated Jacob with ill-concealed resentment, as was to
be expected, and threatened to kill him on his father’s death. Rebekah
advised Jacob to flee to his uncle, giving as an excuse to Isaac, that he
sought a wife in Mesopotamia. This pleased Isaac, who regarded a marriage
with a Canaanite as the greatest calamity. So he again gave him his
blessing, and advised him to select one of the daughters of Laban for his
wife. And Jacob departed from his father’s house, and escaped the wrath of
Esau. But Esau, seeing that his Hittite wife was offensive to his father,
married also one of the daughters of Ishmael, his cousin.

(M58) Jacob meanwhile pursued his journey. Arriving at a certain place
after sunset, he lay down to sleep, with stones for his pillow, and he
dreamed that a ladder set up on the earth reached the heavens, on which
the angels of God ascended and descended, and above it was the Lord
himself, the God of his father, who renewed all the promises that had been
made to Abraham of the future prosperity of his house. He then continued
his journey till he arrived in Haran, by the side of a well. Thither
Rachel, the daughter of Laban, came to draw water for the sheep she
tended. Jacob rolled away the stone from the mouth of the well, and
watered her flock, and kissed her, and wept, for he had found in his
cousin his bride. He then told her who he was, and she ran and told her
father that his nephew had come, Isaac’s son, and Laban was filled with
joy, and kissed Jacob and brought him to his house, where he dwelt a month
as a guest.

(M59) An agreement was then made that Jacob should serve Laban seven
years, and receive in return for his services his youngest daughter
Rachel, whom he loved. But Laban deceived him, and gave him Leah instead,
and Jacob was compelled to serve another seven years before he obtained
her. Thus he had two wives, the one tender-eyed, the other beautiful. But
he loved Rachel and hated Leah.

(M60) Jacob continued to serve Laban until he was the father of eleven
sons and a daughter, and then desired to return to his own country. But
Laban, unwilling to lose so profitable a son-in-law, raised obstacles.
Jacob, in the mean time, became rich, although his flocks and herds were
obtained by a sharp bargain, which he turned to his own account. The envy
of Laban’s sons was the result. Laban also was alienated, whereupon Jacob
fled, with his wives and children and cattle. Laban pursued, overtook him,
and after an angry altercation, in which Jacob recounted his wrongs during
twenty years of servitude, and Laban claimed every thing as his—daughters,
children and cattle, they made a covenant on a heap of stones not to pass
either across it for the other’s harm, and Laban returned to his home and
Jacob went on his way.

(M61) But Esau, apprised of the return of his brother, came out of Edom
against him with four hundred men. Jacob was afraid, and sought to
approach Esau with presents. The brothers met, but whether from fraternal
impulse or by the aid of God, they met affectionately, and fell into each
other’s arms and wept. Jacob offered his presents, which Esau at first
magnanimously refused to take, but finally accepted: peace was restored,
and Jacob continued his journey till he arrived in Thalcom—a city of
Shechem, in the land of Canaan, where he pitched his tent and erected an

Here he was soon brought into collision with the people of Shechem, whose
prince had inflicted a great wrong. Levi and Simeon avenged it, and the
city was spoiled.

(M62) Jacob, perhaps in fear of the other Amorites, retreated to Bethel,
purged his household of all idolatry, and built an altar, and God again
appeared to him, blessed him and changed his name to Israel.

(M63) Soon after, Rachel died, on the birth of her son, Benjamin, and
Jacob came to see his father in Mamre, now 180 years of age, and about to
die. Esau and Jacob buried him in the cave of Machpelah.

Esau dwelt in Edom, the progenitor of a long line of dukes or princes. The
seat of his sovereignty was Mount Seir.

(M64) Jacob continued to live in Hebron—a patriarchal prince, rich in
cattle, and feared by his neighbors. His favorite son was Joseph, and his
father’s partiality excited the envy of the other sons. They conspired to
kill him, but changed their purpose through the influence of Reuben, and
cast him into a pit in the wilderness. While he lay there, a troop of
Ishmaelites appeared, and to them, at the advice of Judah, they sold him
as a slave, but pretended to their father that he was slain by wild
beasts, and produced, in attestation, his lacerated coat of colors. The
Ishmaelites carried Joseph to Egypt, and sold him to Potaphar, captain of
Pharaoh’s guard. Before we follow his fortunes, we will turn our attention
to the land whence he was carried.

                               CHAPTER IV.


(M65) The first country to which Moses refers, in connection with the
Hebrew history, is Egypt. This favored land was the seat of one of the
oldest monarchies of the world. Although it would seem that Assyria was
first peopled, historians claim for Egypt a more remote antiquity. Whether
this claim can be substantiated or not, it is certain that Egypt was one
of the primeval seats of the race of Ham. Mizraim, the Scripture name for
the country, indicates that it was settled by a son of Ham. But if this is
true even, the tide of emigration from Armenia probably passed to the
southeast through Syria and Palestine, and hence the descendants of Ham
had probably occupied the land of Canaan before they crossed the desert
between the Red Sea and the Mediterranean. I doubt if Egypt had older
cities than Damascus, Hebron, Zoar, and Tyre.

But Egypt certainly was a more powerful monarchy than any existing on the
earth in the time of Abraham.

(M66) Its language, traditions, and monuments alike point to a high
antiquity. It was probably inhabited by a mixed race, Shemitic as well as
Hamite; though the latter had the supremacy. The distinction of castes
indicates a mixed population, so that the ancients doubted whether Egypt
belonged to Asia or Africa. The people were not black, but of a reddish
color, with thick lips, straight black hair, and elongated eye, and sunk
in the degraded superstitions of the African race.

(M67) The geographical position indicates not only a high antiquity, but a
state favorable to great national wealth and power. The river Nile,
issuing from a great lake under the equator, runs 3,000 miles nearly due
north to the Mediterranean. Its annual inundations covered the valley with
a rich soil brought down from the mountains of Abyssinia, making it the
most fertile in the world. The country, thus so favored by a great river,
with its rich alluvial deposits, is about 500 miles in length, with an
area of 115,000 square miles, of which 9,600 are subject to the
fertilizing inundation. But, in ancient times, a great part of the country
was irrigated, and abounded in orchards, gardens, and vineyards. Every
kind of vegetable was cultivated, and grain was raised in the greatest
abundance, so that the people lived in luxury and plenty while other
nations were subject to occasional famines.

(M68) Among the fruits, were dates, grapes, figs, pomegranates, apricots,
peaches, oranges, citrons, lemons, limes, bananas, melons, mulberries,
olives. Among vegetables, if we infer from what exist at present, were
beans, peas, lentils, luprins, spinach, leeks, onions, garlic, celery,
chiccory, radishes, carrots, turnips, lettuce, cabbage, fennel, gourds,
cucumbers, tomatoes, egg-plant. What a variety for the sustenance of man,
to say nothing of the various kinds of grain,—barley, oats, maize, rice,
and especially wheat, which grows to the greatest perfection.

In old times the horses were famous, as well as cattle, and sheep, and
poultry. Quails were abundant, while the marshes afforded every kind of
web-footed fowl. Fish, too, abounded in the Nile, and in the lakes. Bees
were kept, and honey was produced, though inferior to that of Greece.

(M69) The climate also of this fruitful land was salubrious without being
enervating. The soil was capable of supporting a large population, which
amounted, in the time of Herodotus, to seven millions. On the banks of the
Nile were great cities, whose ruins still astonish travelers. The land,
except that owned by the priests, belonged to the king, who was supreme
and unlimited in power. The people were divided into castes, the highest
being priests, and the lowest husbandmen. The kings were hereditary, but
belonged to the priesthood, and their duties and labors were arduous. The
priests were the real governing body, and were treated with the most
respectful homage. They were councilors of the king, judges of the land,
and guardians of all great interests. The soldiers were also numerous, and
formed a distinct caste.

(M70) When Abram visited Egypt, impelled by the famine in Canaan, it was
already a powerful monarchy. This was about 1921 years before Christ,
according to the received chronology, when the kings of the 15th dynasty
reigned. These dynasties of ancient kings are difficult to be settled, and
rest upon traditions rather than well defined historical grounds,—or
rather on the authority of Manetho, an Egyptian priest, who lived nearly
300 years before Christ. His list of dynasties has been confirmed, to a
great extent, by the hieroglyphic inscriptions which are still to be found
on ancient monuments, but they give us only a barren catalogue of names
without any vital historical truths. Therefore these old dynasties, before
Abraham, are only interesting to antiquarians, and not satisfactory to
them, since so little is known or can be known. These, if correct, would
give a much greater antiquity to Egypt than can be reconciled with Mosaic
history. But all authorities agree in ascribing to Menes the commencement
of the first dynasty, 2712 years before Christ, according to Hales, but
3893 according to Lepsius, and 2700 according to Lane. Neither Menes nor
his successors of the first dynasty left any monuments. It is probable,
however, that Memphis was built by them, and possibly hieroglyphics were
invented during their reigns.

But here a chronological difficulty arises. The Scriptures ascribe ten
generations from Shem to Abram. Either the generations were made longer
than in our times, or the seventeen dynasties, usually supposed to have
reigned when Abram came to Egypt, could not have existed; for, according
to the received chronology, he was born 1996, B.C., and the Deluge took
place 2349, before Christ, leaving but 353 years from the Deluge to the
birth of Abraham. How could seventeen dynasties have reigned in Egypt in
that time, even supposing that Egypt was settled immediately after the
Flood, unless either more than ten generations existed from Noah to Abram,
or that these generations extended over seven or eight hundred years?
Until science shall reconcile the various chronologies with the one
usually received, there is but little satisfaction in the study of
Egyptian history prior to Abram. Nor is it easy to settle when the
Pyramids were constructed. If they existed in the time of Abram a most
rapid advance had been made in the arts, unless a much longer period
elapsed from Noah to Abraham than Scripture seems to represent.

(M71) Nothing of interest occurs in Egyptian history until the fourth
dynasty of kings, when the pyramids of Ghizeh, were supposed to have been
built—a period more remote than Scripture ascribes to the Flood itself,
according to our received chronology. These were the tombs of the Memphian
kings, who believed in the immortality of the soul, and its final reunion
with the body after various forms of transmigration. Hence the solicitude
to preserve the body in some enduring monument, and by elaborate
embalment. What more durable monument than these great masses of granite,
built to defy the ravages of time, and the spoliations of conquerors! The
largest of these pyramids, towering above other pyramids, and the lesser
sepulchres of the rich, was built upon a square of 756 feet, and the
height of it was 489 feet 9 inches, covering an area of 571,536 feet, or
more than thirteen acres. The whole mass contained 90,000,000 cubic feet
of masonry, weighing 6,316,000 tons. Nearly in the centre of this pile of
stone, reached by a narrow passage, were the chambers where the royal
sarcophagi were deposited. At whatever period these vast monuments were
actually built, they at least go back into remote antiquity, and probably
before the time of Abram.

(M72) The first great name of the early Egyptian kings was Sesertesen, or
Osirtasin I., the founder of the twelfth dynasty of kings, B.C. 2080. He
was a great conqueror, and tradition confounds him with the Sesostris of
the Greeks, which gathered up stories about him as the Middle Ages did of
Charlemagne and his paladins. The real Sesostris was Ramenes the Great, of
the nineteenth dynasty. By the kings of this dynasty (the twelfth)
Ethiopia was conquered, the Labyrinth was built, and Lake Moevis dug, to
control the inundations. Under them Thebes became a great city. The
dynasty lasted 100 years, but became subject to the Shepherd kings. These
early Egyptian monarchs wore fond of peace, and their subjects enjoyed
repose and prosperity.

(M73) The Shepherd kings, who ruled 400 years, were supposed by Manetho to
be Arabs, but leaves us to infer that they were Phœnicians—as is
probable—a roving body of conquerors, who easily subdued the peaceful
Egyptians. They have left no monumental history. They were alien to the
conquered race in language and habits, and probably settled in Lower Egypt
where the land was most fertile, and where conquests would be most easily

It was under their rule that Abram probably visited Egypt when driven by a
famine from Canaan. And they were not expelled till the time of Joseph, by
the first of the eighteenth dynasty. The descendants of the old kings, we
suppose, lived in Thebes, and were tributary princes for 400 years, but
gained sufficient strength, finally, to expel the Shemite invaders, even
as the Gothic nations of Spain, in the Middle Ages, expelled their
conquerors, the Moors.

(M74) But it was under the Shepherd kings that the relations between Egypt
and the Hebrew patriarchs took place. We infer this fact from the friendly
intercourse and absence of national prejudices. The Phœnicians belonged to
the same Shemitic stock from which Abraham came. They built no temples.
They did not advance a material civilization. They loaded Abram and Joseph
with presents, and accepted the latter as a minister and governor. We read
of no great repulsion of races, and see a great similarity in pursuits.

(M75) Meanwhile, the older dynasties under whom Thebes was built, probably
B.C. 2200, gathered strength in misfortune and subjection. They reigned,
during five dynasties, in a subordinate relation, tributary and oppressed.
The first king of the eighteenth dynasty seems to have been a remarkable
man—the deliverer of his nation. His name was Aah-mes, or Amo-sis, and he
expelled the shepherds from the greater part of Egypt, B.C. 1525. In his
reign we see on the monuments chariots and horses. He built temples both
in Thebes and Memphis, and established a navy. This was probably the king
who knew not Joseph. His successors continued the work of conquest, and
extended their dominion from Ethiopia to Mesopotamia, and obtained that
part of Western Asia formerly held by the Chaldeans. They built the temple
of Karnak, the “Vocal Memnon,” and the avenue of Sphinxes in Thebes.

(M76) The grandest period of Egyptian history begins with the nineteenth
dynasty, founded by Sethee I., or Sethos, B.C. 1340. He built the famous
“Hall of Columns,” in the temple of Karnak, and the finest of the tombs of
the Theban kings. On the walls of this great temple are depicted his
conquests, especially over the Hittites. But the glories of the monarchy,
now decidedly military, culminated in Ramesis II.—the Sesostris of the
Greeks. He extended his dominion as far as Scythia and Thrace, while his
naval expeditions penetrated to the Erythræan Sea. The captives which he
brought from his wars were employed in digging canals, which intersected
the country, for purposes of irrigation, and especially that great canal
which united the Mediterranean with the Red Sea. He added to the temple of
Karnak, built the Memnonium on the western side of the Nile, opposite to
Thebes, and enlarged the temple of Ptah, at Memphis, which he adorned by a
beautiful colossal statue, the fist of which is (now in the British
Museum) thirty inches wide across the knuckles. But the Rameseum, or
Memnonium, was his greatest architectural work, approached by an avenue of
sphinxes and obelisks, in the centre of which was the great statue of
Ramesis himself, sixty feet high, carved from a single stone of the red
granite of Syene.

(M77) The twentieth dynasty was founded by Sethee II., B.C. 1220 (or 1232
B.C., according to Wilkinson), when Gideon ruled the Israelites and
Theseus reigned at Athens and Priam at Troy. The third king of this
dynasty—Ramesis III.—built palaces and tombs scarcely inferior to any of
the Theban kings, but under his successors the Theban power declined.
Under the twenty-first dynasty, which began B.C. 1085, Lower Egypt had a
new capital, Zoan, and gradually extended its power over Upper Egypt. It
had a strong Shemetic element in its population, and strengthened itself
by alliances with the Assyrians.

The twenty-second dynasty was probably Assyrian, and began about 1009 B.C.
It was hostile to the Jews, and took and sacked Jerusalem.

(M78) From this period the history of Egypt is obscure. Ruled by
Assyrians, and then by Ethiopians, the grandeur of the old Theban monarchy
had passed away. On the rise of the Babylonian kingdom, over the ruins of
the old Assyrian Empire, Egypt was greatly prostrated as a military power.
Babylon became the great monarchy of the East, and gained possession of
all the territories of the Theban kings, from the Euphrates to the Nile.

Leaving, then, the obscure and uninteresting history of Egypt, which
presents nothing of especial interest until its conquest by Alexander,
B.C. 332, with no great kings even, with the exception of Necho, of the
twenty-sixth dynasty, B.C. 611, we will present briefly the religion,
manners, customs, and attainments of the ancient Egyptians.

(M79) Their religion was idolatrous. They worshiped various divinities:
Num, the soul of the universe; Amen, the generative principle; Khom, by
whom the productiveness of nature was emblematized; Ptah, or the creator
of the universe; Ra, the sun; Thoth, the patron of letters; Athor, the
goddess of beauty; Mu, physical light; Mat, moral light; Munt, the god of
war; Osiris, the personification of good; Isis, who presided over funeral
rites; Set, the personification of evil; Anup, who judged the souls of the

(M80) These were principal deities, and were worshiped through sacred
animals, as emblems of divinity. Among them were the bulls, Apis, at
Memphis, and Muenis, at Heliopolis, both sacred to Osiris. The crocodile
was sacred to Lebak, whose offices are unknown; the asp to Num; the cat to
Pasht, whose offices were also unknown; the beetle to Ptah. The worship of
these and of other animals was conducted with great ceremony, and
sacrifices were made to them of other animals, fruits and vegetables.

Man was held accountable for his actions, and to be judged, according to
them. He was to be brought before Osiris, and receive from him future
rewards or punishments.

(M81) The penal laws of the Egyptians were severe. Murder was punished
with death. Adultery was punished by the man being beaten with a thousand
rods. The woman had her nose cut off. Theft was punished with less
severity—with a beating by a stick. Usury was not permitted beyond double
of the debt, and the debtor was not imprisoned.

(M82) The government was a monarchy, only limited by the priesthood, into
whose order he was received, and was administered by men appointed by the
king. On the whole, it was mild and paternal, and exercised for the good
of the people.

(M83) Polygamy was not common, though concubines were allowed. In the
upper classes women were treated with great respect, and were regarded as
the equals of men. They ruled their households. The rich were hospitable,
and delighted to give feasts, at which were dancers and musicians. They
possessed chariots and horses, and were indolent and pleasure-seeking. The
poor people toiled, with scanty clothing and poor fare.

(M84) Hieroglyphic writing prevailed from a remote antiquity. The papyrus
was also used for hieratic writing, and numerous papyri have been
discovered, which show some advance in literature. Astronomy was
cultivated by the priests, and was carried to the highest point it could
attain without modern instruments. Geometry also reached considerable
perfection. Mechanics must have been carried to a great extent, when we
remember that vast blocks of stone were transported 500 miles and elevated
to enormous heights. Chemistry was made subservient to many arts, such as
the working of metals and the tempering of steel. But architecture was the
great art in which the Egyptians excelled, as we infer from the ruins of
temples and palaces; and these wonderful fabrics were ornamented with
paintings which have preserved their color to this day. Architecture was
massive, grand, and imposing. Magical arts were in high estimation, and
chiefly exercised by the priests. The industrial arts reached great
excellence, especially in the weaving of linen, pottery, and household
furniture. The Egyptians were great musicians, using harps, flutes,
cymbals, and drums. They were also great gardeners. In their dress they
were simple, frugal in diet, though given to occasional excess; fond of
war, but not cruel like the Assyrians; hospitable among themselves, shy of
strangers, patriotic in feeling, and contemplative in character.

                                CHAPTER V.


(M85) When Joseph was sold by the Midianites to Potiphar, Egypt was
probably ruled by the Shepherd kings, who were called Pharaoh, like all
the other kings, by the Jewish writers. Pitiphar (Pet-Pha, dedicated to
the sun) was probably the second person in the kingdom. Joseph, the Hebrew
slave, found favor in his sight, and was gradually promoted to the
oversight of his great household. Cast into prison, from the intrigues of
Potiphar’s wife, whose disgraceful overtures he had virtuously and
honorably rejected, he found favor with the keeper of the prison, who
intrusted him with the sole care of the prisoners, although himself a
prisoner,—a striking proof of his transparent virtue. In process of time
two other high officers of the king, having offended him, were cast into
the same prison. They had strange dreams. Joseph interpreted them,
indicating the speedy return of the one to favor, and of the other to as
sudden an execution. These things came to pass. After two years the king
himself had a singular dream, and none of the professional magicians or
priests of Egypt could interpret it. It then occurred to the chief butler
that Joseph, whom he had forgotten and neglected, could interpret the
royal dream which troubled him. He told the king of his own dream in
prison, and the explanation of it by the Hebrew slave. Whereupon Joseph
was sent for, shaven and washed, and clothed with clean raiment to appear
in the royal palace, and he interpreted the king’s dream, which not only
led to his promotion to be governor over Egypt, with the State chariots
for his use, and all the emblems of sovereignty about his person—a viceroy
whose power was limited only by that of the king—but he was also
instrumental in rescuing Egypt from the evils of that terrible famine
which for seven years afflicted Western Asia. He was then thirty years of
age, 1715 B.C., and his elevation had been earned by the noblest
qualities—fidelity to his trusts, patience, and high principle—all of
which had doubtless been recounted to the king.

(M86) The course which Joseph pursued toward the Egyptians was apparently
hard. The hoarded grain of seven years’ unexampled plenty was at first
sold to the famishing people, and when they had no longer money to buy it,
it was only obtained by the surrender of their cattle, and then by the
alienation of their land, so that the king became possessed of all the
property of the realm, personal as well as real, except that of the
priests. But he surrendered the land back again to the people
subsequently, on condition of the payment of one-fifth of the produce
annually (which remained to the time of Moses)—a large tax, but not so
great as was exacted of the peasantry of France by their feudal and royal
lords. This proceeding undoubtedly strengthened the power of the Shepherd
kings, and prevented insurrections.

(M87) The severity of the famine compels the brothers of Joseph to seek
corn in Egypt. Their arrival of course, is known to the governor, who has
unlimited rule. They appear before him, and bowed themselves before him,
as was predicted by Joseph’s dreams. But clothed in the vesture of
princes, with a gold chain around his neck, and surrounded by the pomp of
power, they did not know him, while he knows them. He speaks to them,
through an interpreter, harshly and proudly, accuses them of being spies,
obtains all the information he wanted, and learns that his father and
Benjamin are alive. He even imprisons them for three days. He releases
them on the condition that they verify their statement; as a proof of
which, he demands the appearance of Benjamin himself.

(M88) They return to Canaan with their sacks filled with corn, and the
money which they had brought to purchase it, secretly restored, leaving
Simeon as surety for the appearance of Benjamin. To this Jacob will not
assent. But starvation drives them again to Egypt, the next year, and
Jacob, reluctantly is compelled to allow Benjamin to go with them. The
unexpected feast which Joseph made for them, sitting himself at another
table—the greater portions given to Benjamin, the deception played upon
them by the secretion of Joseph’s silver cup in Benjamin’s sack, as if he
were a thief, the distress of all the sons of Jacob, the eloquent
pleadings of Judah, the restrained tears of Joseph, the discovery of
himself to them, the generosity of Pharaoh, the return of Jacob’s children
laden not only with corn but presents, the final migration of the whole
family, to the land of Goshen, in the royal chariots, and the consummation
of Joseph’s triumphs, and happiness of Jacob—all these facts and incidents
are told by Moses in the most fascinating and affecting narrative ever
penned by man. It is absolutely transcendent, showing not only the highest
dramatic skill, but revealing the Providence of God—that overruling power
which causes good to come from evil, which is the most impressive lesson
of all history, in every age. That single episode is worth more to
civilization than all the glories of ancient Egypt; nor is there anything
in the history of the ancient monarchies so valuable to all generations as
the record by Moses of the early relations between God and his chosen
people. And that is the reason why I propose to give them, in this work,
their proper place, even if it be not after the fashion with historians.
The supposed familiarity with Jewish history ought not to preclude the
narration of these great events, and the substitution for them of the less
important and obscure annals of the Pagans.

(M89) Joseph remained the favored viceroy of Egypt until he died, having
the supreme satisfaction of seeing the prosperity of his father’s house,
and their rapid increase in the land of Goshen, on the eastern frontier of
the Delta of the Nile,—a land favorable for herds and flocks. The capital
of this district was On—afterward Heliopolis, the sacred City of the Sun,
a place with which Joseph was especially connected by his marriage with
the daughter of the high priest of On. Separated from the Egyptians by
their position as shepherds, the children of Jacob retained their
patriarchal constitution. In 215 years, they became exceedingly numerous,
but were doomed, on the change of dynasty which placed Ramesis on the
throne, to oppressive labors. Joseph died at the age of 110—eighty years
after he had become governor of Egypt. In his latter years the change in
the Egyptian dynasty took place. The oppression of his people lasted
eighty years; and this was consummated by the cruel edict which doomed to
death the infants of Israel; made, probably, in fear and jealousy from the
rapid increase of the Israelites. The great crimes of our world, it would
seem, are instigated by these passions, rather than hatred and malignity,
like the massacre of St. Bartholomew and the atrocities of the French

(M90) But a deliverer was raised up by God in the person of Moses, the
greatest man in human annals, when we consider his marvelous intellectual
gifts, his great work of legislation, his heroic qualities, his moral
excellence, and his executive talents. His genius is more powerfully
stamped upon civilization than that of any other one man—not merely on the
Jews, but even Christian nations. He was born B.C. 1571, sixty-four years
after the death of Joseph. Hidden in his birth, to escape the sanguinary
decree of Pharaoh he was adopted by the daughter of the king, and taught
by the priests in all the learning of the Egyptians. He was also a great
warrior, and gained great victories over the Ethiopians. But seeing the
afflictions of his brethren, he preferred to share their lot than enjoy
all the advantages of his elevated rank in the palace of the king—an act
of self-renunciation unparalleled in history. Seeing an Egyptian smite a
Hebrew, he slew him in a burst of indignation, and was compelled to fly.
He fled to Jethro, an Arab chieftain, among the Midianites. He was now
forty years of age, in the prime of his life, and in the full maturity of
his powers. The next forty years were devoted to a life of contemplation,
the best preparation for his future duties. In the most secret places of
the wilderness of Sinai, at Horeb, he communed with God, who appeared in
the burning bush, and revealed the magnificent mission which he was
destined to fulfill. He was called to deliver his brethren from bondage;
but forty years of quiet contemplation, while tending the flocks of
Jethro, whose daughter he married, had made him timid and modest. God
renewed the covenant made to Abraham and Jacob, and Moses returned to
Egypt to fulfill his mission. He joined himself with Aaron, his brother,
and the two went and gathered together all the elders of the children of
Israel, and after securing their confidence by signs and wonders, revealed
their mission.

(M91) They then went to Pharaoh, a new king, and entreated of him
permission to allow the people of Israel to go into the wilderness and
hold a feast in obedience to the command of God. But Pharaoh said, who is
the Lord that I should obey his voice. I know not the Lord—_your God_. The
result was, the anger of the king and the increased burdens of the
Israelites, which tended to make them indifferent to the voice of Moses,
from the excess of their anguish.

(M92) Then followed the ten plagues which afflicted the Egyptians, and the
obstinacy of the monarch, resolved to suffer any evil rather than permit
the Israelites to go free. But the last plague was greater than the king
could bear—the destruction of all the first-born in his land—and he
hastily summoned Moses and Aaron in the night, under the impulse of a
mighty fear, and bade them to depart with all their hosts and all their
possessions. The Egyptians seconded the command, anxious to be relieved
from further evils, and the Israelites, after spoiling the Egyptians,
departed in the night—“a night to be much observed” for all generations,
marching by the line of the ancient canal from Rameses, not far from
Heliopolis, toward the southern frontier of Palestine. But Moses,
instructed not to conduct his people at once to a conflict with the
warlike inhabitants of Canaan, for which they were unprepared, having just
issued from slavery, brought them round by a sudden turn to the south and
east, upon an arm or gulf of the Red Sea. To the eyes of the Egyptians,
who repented that they had suffered them to depart, and who now pursued
them with a great army, they were caught in a trap. Their miraculous
deliverance, one of the great events of their history, and the ruin of the
Egyptian hosts, and their three months’ march and countermarch in the
wilderness need not be enlarged upon.

(M93) The exodus took place 430 years from the call of Abraham, after a
sojourn in Egypt of 215 years, the greater part of which had been passed
in abject slavery and misery. There were 600,000 men, besides women and
children and strangers.

(M94) It was during their various wanderings in the wilderness of
Sinai—forty years of discipline—that Moses gave to the Hebrews the rules
they were to observe during all their generations, until a new
dispensation should come. These form that great system of original
jurisprudence that has entered, more or less, into the codes of all
nations, and by which the genius of the lawgiver is especially manifested;
although it is not to be forgotten he framed his laws by divine direction.

Let us examine briefly the nature and character of these laws. They have
been ably expounded by Bishop Warburton, Prof. Wines and others.

(M95) The great fundamental principle of the Jewish code was to establish
the doctrine of the unity of God. Idolatry had crept into the religious
system of all the other nations of the world, and a degrading polytheism
was everywhere prevalent. The Israelites had not probably escaped the
contagion of bad example, and the suggestions of evil powers. The most
necessary truth to impress upon the nation was the God of Abraham, and
Isaac, and Jacob. Jehovah was made the supreme head of the Jewish state,
whom the Hebrews were required, first and last, to recognize, and whose
laws they were required to obey. And this right to give laws to the
Hebrews was deduced, not only because he was the supreme creator and
preserver, but because he had also signally and especially laid the
foundation of the state by signs and miracles. He had spoken to the
patriarchs, he had brought them into the land of Egypt, he had delivered
them when oppressed. Hence, they were to have no other gods than this God
of Abraham—this supreme, personal, benevolent God. The violation of this
fundamental law was to be attended with the severest penalties. Hence
Moses institutes the worship of the Supreme Deity. It was indeed
ritualistic, and blended with sacrifices and ceremonies; but the idea—the
spiritual idea of God as the supreme object of all obedience and faith,
was impressed first of all upon the minds of the Israelites, and engraven
on the tables of stone—“Thou shalt have no other gods before me.”

Having established the idea and the worship of God, Moses then instituted
the various rites of the service, and laid down the principles of civil
government, as the dictation of this Supreme Deity, under whose supreme
guidance they were to be ruled.

(M96) But before the details of the laws were given to guide the
Israelites in their civil polity, or to regulate the worship of Jehovah,
Moses, it would seem, first spake the word of God, amid the thunders and
lightnings of Sinai, to the assembled people, and delivered the ten
fundamental commandments which were to bind them and all succeeding
generations. Whether these were those which were afterward written on the
two tables of stone, or not, we do not know. We know only that these great
obligations were declared soon after the Israelites had encamped around
Sinai, and to the whole people orally.

And, with these, God directed Moses more particularly to declare also the
laws relating to man-servants, and to manslaughter, to injury to women, to
stealing, to damage, to the treatment of strangers, to usury, to slander,
to the observance of the Sabbath, to the reverence due to magistrates, and
sundry other things, which seem to be included in the ten commandments.

(M97) After this, if we rightly interpret the book of Exodus, Moses went
up into the mountain of Sinai, and there abode forty days and forty
nights, receiving the commandments of God. Then followed the directions
respecting the ark, and the tabernacle, and the mercy-seat, and the
cherubim. And then were ordained the priesthood of Aaron and his
vestments, and the garments for Aaron’s sons, and the ceremonies which
pertained to the consecration of priests, and the altar of incense, and
the brazen laver.

(M98) After renewed injunctions to observe the Sabbath, Moses received of
the Lord the two tables of stone, “written with the finger of God.” But as
he descended the mountain with these tables, after forty days, and came
near the camp, he perceived the golden calf which Aaron had made of the
Egyptian ear-rings and jewelry,—made to please the murmuring people, so
soon did they forget the true God who brought them out of Egypt. And Moses
in anger, cast down the tables and brake them, and destroyed the calf, and
caused the slaughter of three thousand of the people by the hands of the
children of Levi.

(M99) But God forgave the iniquity and renewed the tables, and made a new
covenant with Moses, enjoining upon him the utter destruction of the
Canaanites, and the complete extirpation of idolatry. He again gathered
together the people of Israel, and renewed the injunction to observe the
Sabbath, and then prepared for the building of the tabernacle, as the Lord
directed, and also for the making of the sacred vessels and holy garments,
and the various ritualistic form of worship. He then established the
sacrificial rites, consecrated Aaron and his sons as priests, laid down
the law for them in their sacred functions, and made other divers laws for
the nation, in their social and political relations.

(M100) The substance of these civil laws was the political equality of the
people; the distribution of the public domains among the free citizens
which were to remain inalienable and perpetual in the families to which
they were given, thus making absolute poverty or overgrown riches
impossible; the establishment of a year of jubilee, once every fifty
years, when there should be a release of all servitude, and all debts, and
all the social inequalities which half a century produced; a magistracy
chosen by the people, and its responsibility to the people; a speedy and
impartial administration of justice; the absence of a standing army and
the prohibition of cavalry, thus indicating a peaceful policy, and the
preservation of political equality; the establishment of agriculture as
the basis of national prosperity; universal industry, inviolability of
private property, and the sacredness of family relations. These were
fundamental principles. Moses also renewed the Noahmic ideas of the
sacredness of human life. He further instituted rules for the education of
the people, that “sons may be as plants grown up in their youth, and
daughters as corner stones polished after the similitude of a palace.”
Such were the elemental ideas of the Hebrew commonwealth, which have
entered, more or less, into all Christian civilizations. I can not enter
upon a minute detail of these primary laws. Each of the tribes formed a
separate state, and had a local administration of justice, but all alike
recognized the theocracy as the supreme and organic law. To the tribe of
Levi were assigned the duties of the priesthood, and the general oversight
of education and the laws. The members of this favored tribe were thus
priests, lawyers, teachers, and popular orators—a literary aristocracy
devoted to the cultivation of the sciences. The chief magistrate of the
united tribes was not prescribed, but Moses remained the highest
magistrate until his death, when the command was given to Joshua. Both
Moses and Joshua convened the states general, presided over their
deliberations, commanded the army, and decided all appeals in civil
questions. The office of chief magistrate was elective, and was held for
life, no salary was attached to it, no revenues were appropriated to it,
no tribute was raised for it. The chief ruler had no outward badges of
authority; he did not wear a diadem; he was not surrounded with a court.
His power was great as commander of the armies and president of the
assemblies, but he did not make laws or impose taxes. He was assisted by a
body of seventy elders—a council or senate, whose decisions, however, were
submitted to the congregation, or general body of citizens, for
confirmation. These senators were elected; the office was not hereditary;
neither was a salary attached to it.

(M101) The great congregation—or assembly of the people, in which lay the
supreme power, so far as any human power could be supreme in a
theocracy,—was probably a delegated body chosen by the people in their
tribes. They were representatives of the people, acting for the general
good, without receiving instructions from their constituents. It was
impossible for the elders, or for Moses, to address two million of people.
They spoke to a select assembly. It was this assembly which made or
ratified the laws, and which the executioner carried out into execution.

(M102) The oracle of Jehovah formed an essential part of the constitution,
since it was God who ruled the nation. The oracle, in the form of a pillar
of cloud, directed the wanderings of the people in the wilderness. This
appeared amid the thunders of Sinai. This oracle decided all final
questions and difficult points of justice. It could not be interrogated by
private persons, only by the High Priest himself, clad in his pontifical
vestments, and with the sacred insignia of his office, by “urim and
thummim.” Within the most sacred recesses of the tabernacle, in the Holy
of Holies, the Deity made known his will to the most sacred personage of
the nation, in order that no rash resolution of the people, or senate, or
judge might be executed. And this response, given in an audible voice, was
final and supreme, and not like the Grecian oracles, venal and mendacious.
This oracle of the Hebrew God “was a wise provision to preserve a
continual sense of the principal design of their constitution—to keep the
Hebrews from idolatry, and to the worship of the only true God as their
immediate protector; and that their security and prosperity rested upon
adhering to his counsels and commands.”

(M103) The designation and institution of high priest belonged not to the
council of priests—although he was of the tribe of Levi, but to the
Senate, and received the confirmation of the people through their
deputies. “But the priests belonged to the tribe of Levi, which was set
apart to God—the king of the commonwealth.” “They were thus, not merely a
sacerdotal body, appointed to the service of the altar, but also a
temporal magistracy having important civil and political functions,
especially to teach the people the laws.” The high priest, as head of the
hierarchy, and supreme interpreter of the laws, had his seat in the
capital of the nation, while the priests of his tribe were scattered among
the other tribes, and were hereditary. The Hebrew priests simply
interpreted the laws; the priests of Egypt made them. Their power was
chiefly judicial. They had no means of usurpation, neither from property,
nor military command. They were simply the expositors of laws which they
did not make, which they could not change, and which they themselves were
bound to obey. The income of a Levite was about five times as great as an
ordinary man, and this, of course, was derived from the tithes. But a
greater part of the soil paid no tithes. The taxes to the leading class,
as the Levites were, can not be called ruinous when compared with what the
Egyptian priesthood received, especially when we remember that all the
expenses connected with sacrifice and worship were taken from the tithes.
The treasures which flowed into the sacerdotal treasury belonged to the
Lord, and of these the priests were trustees rather than possessors.

(M104) Such, in general terms, briefly presented, was the Hebrew
constitution framed by Moses, by the direction of God. It was eminently
republican in spirit, and the power of the people through their
representatives, was great and controlling. The rights of property were
most sacredly guarded, and crime was severely and rigidly punished. Every
citizen was eligible to the highest offices. That the people were the
source of all power is proven by their voluntary change of government,
against the advice of Samuel, against the oracle, and against the council
of elders. We look in vain to the ancient constitutions of Greece and Rome
for the wisdom we see in the Mosaic code. Under no ancient government were
men so free or the laws so just. It is not easy to say how much the
Puritans derived from the Hebrew constitution in erecting their new
empire, but in many aspects there is a striking resemblance between the
republican organization of New England and the Jewish commonwealth.

The Mosaic code was framed in the first year after the exodus, while the
Israelites were encamped near Sinai. When the Tabernacle was erected, the
camp was broken up, and the wandering in the desert recommenced. This was
continued for forty years—not as a punishment, but as a discipline, to
enable the Jews to become indoctrinated into the principles of their
constitution, and to gain strength and organization, so as more
successfully to contend with the people they were commanded to expel from
Canaan. In this wilderness they had few enemies, and some friends, and
these were wandering Arab tribes.

(M105) We can not point out all the details of the wanderings under the
leadership of Moses, guided by the pillar of fire and the cloud. After
forty years, they reached the broad valley which runs from the eastern
gulf of the Red Sea, along the foot of Mount Seir, to the valley of the
Dead Sea. Diverted from a direct entrance into Canaan by hostile Edomites,
they marched to the hilly country to the east of Jordan, inhabited by the
Amorites. In a conflict with this nation, they gained possession of their
whole territory, from Mount Hermon to the river Anton, which runs into the
Dead Sea. The hills south of this river were inhabited by pastoral
Moabites—descendants of Lot, and beyond them to the Great Desert were the
Ammonites, also descendants of Lot. That nation formed an alliance with
the Midianites, hoping to expel the invaders then encamped on the plains
of Moab. Here Moses delivered his farewell instructions, appointed his
successor, and passed away on Mount Pisgah, from which he could see the
promised land, but which he was not permitted to conquer. That task was
reserved for Joshua, but the complete conquest of the Canaanites did not
take place till the reign of David.

                               CHAPTER VI.


The only survivors of the generation that had escaped from Egypt were
Caleb and Joshua. All the rest had offended God by murmurings, rebellion,
idolatries, and sundry offenses, by which they were not deemed worthy to
enter the promised land. Even Moses and Aaron had sinned against the Lord.

(M106) So after forty years’ wanderings, and the children of Israel were
encamped on the plains of Moab, Moses finally addressed them, forbidding
all intercourse with Jews with other nations, enjoining obedience to God,
requiring the utter extirpation of idolatry, and rehearsing in general,
the laws which he had previously given them, and which form the substance
of the Jewish code, all of which he also committed to writing, and then
ascended to the top of Pisgah, over against Jericho, from which he
surveyed, all the land of Judah and Napthali, and Manasseh and Gilead unto
Dan—the greater part of the land promised unto Abraham. He then died, at
the age of 120, B.C. 1451 and no man knew the place of his burial.

(M107) The Lord then encouraged Joshua his successor, and the conquest of
the country began—by the passage over the Jordan and the fall of Jericho.
The manna, with which the Israelites for forty years had been miraculously
fed, now was no longer to be had, and supplies of food were obtained from
the enemy’s country. None of the inhabitants of Jericho were spared except
Rahab the harlot, and her father’s household, in reward for her secretion
of the spy which Joshua had sent into the city. At the city of Ai, the
three thousand men sent to take it were repulsed, in punishment for the
sin of Achan, who had taken at the spoil of Jericho, a Babylonian garment
and three hundred sheckels of silver and a wedge of gold. After he had
expiated this crime, the city of Ai was taken, and all its inhabitants
were put to death. The spoil of the city was reserved for the nation.

(M108) The fall of these two cities alarmed the Hamite nations of
Palestine west of the Jordan, and five kings of the Amorites entered into
a confederation to resist the invaders. The Gibeonites made a separate
peace with the Israelites. Their lives were consequently spared, but they
were made slaves forever. Thus was fulfilled the prophecy that Canaan
should serve Shem.

Meantime the confederate kings—more incensed with the Gibeonites than with
the Israelites, since they were traitors to the general cause, marched
against Gibeon, one of the strongest cities of the land. It invoked the
aid of Joshua, who came up from Gilgal, and a great battle was fought, and
resulted in the total discomfiture of the five Canaanite kings. The cities
of Makkedah, Libnah, Gizu, Eglon, Hebron, successively fell into the hands
of Joshua, as the result of their victory.

(M109) The following year a confederation of the Northern kings, a vast
host with horses and chariots, was arrayed against the Israelites; but the
forces of the Canaanites were defeated at the “Waters of Merom,” a small
lake, formerly the Upper Jordan. This victory was followed by the fall of
Hazor, and the conquest of the whole land from Mount Halak to the Valley
of Lebanon. Thirty-one kings were smitten “in the mountains, in the
plains, in the wilderness, in the south country: the Hittites, the
Amorites, the Canaanites, the Perizites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites.”
There only remained the Philistines, whose power was formidable. The
conquered country was divided among the different tribes, half of which
were settled on the west of Jordan. The tabernacle was now removed to
Shiloh, in the central hill country between Jordan and the Mediterranean,
which had been assigned, to the tribe of Ephraim. Jacob had prophetically
declared the ultimate settlements of the twelve tribes in the various
sections of the conquered country. The pre-eminence was given to Judah,
whose territory was the most considerable, including Jerusalem, the future
capital, then in the hands of the Jebusites. The hilly country first fell
into the hands of the invaders, while the low lands were held tenaciously
by the old inhabitants where their cavalry and war chariots were of most

(M110) The Israelites then entered, by conquest, into a fruitful land,
well irrigated, whose material civilization was already established, with
orchards and vineyards, and a cultivated face of nature, with strong
cities and fortifications.

(M111) Joshua, the great captain of the nation, died about the year 1426
B.C., and Shechem, the old abode of Abraham and Jacob, remained the chief
city until the fall of Jerusalem. Here the bones of Joseph were deposited,
with those of his ancestors.

(M112) The nation was ruled by Judges from the death of Joshua for about
330 years—a period of turbulence and of conquest. The theocracy was in
full force, administered by the high priests and the council of elders.
The people, however, were not perfectly cured of the sin of idolatry, and
paid religious veneration to the gods of Phœnicia and Moab. The tribes
enjoyed a virtual independence, and central authority was weak. In
consequence, there were frequent dissensions and jealousies and

(M113) The most powerful external enemies of this period were the kings of
Mesopotamia, of Moab, and of Hazor, the Midianites, the Amalekites, the
Ammonites, and the Philistines. The great heroes of the Israelites in
their contests with these people were Othnie, Ehud, Barak, Gideon,
Jepthna, and Samson. After the victories of Gideon over the Midianites,
and of Jepthna over the Ammonites, the northern and eastern tribes enjoyed
comparative repose, and when tranquillity was restored Eli seems to have
exercised the office of high priest with extraordinary dignity, but his
sons were a disgrace and scandal, whose profligacy led the way to the
temporary subjection of the Israelites for forty years to the Philistines,
who obtained possession of the sacred ark.

(M114) A deliverer of the country was raised up in the person of Samuel,
the prophet, who obtained an ascendancy over the nation by his purity and
moral wisdom. He founded the “School of the Prophets” in Kamah, and to him
the people came for advice. He seems to have exercised the office of
judge. Under his guidance the Israelites recovered their sacred ark, which
the Philistines, grievously tormented by God, sent back in an impulse of
superstitious fear. Moreover, these people were so completely overthrown
by the Israelites that they troubled them no longer for many years.

(M115) Samuel, when old, made his sons judges, but their rule was venal
and corrupt. In disgust, the people of Israel then desired a king. Samuel
warned them of the consequences of such a step, and foretold the
oppression to which they would be necessarily subject; but they were bent
on having a king, like other nations—a man who should lead them on to
conquest and dominion. Samuel then, by divine command, granted their
request, and selected Saul, of the tribe of Benjamin, as a fit captain to
lead the people against the Philistines—the most powerful foe which had
afflicted Israel.

(M116) After he had anointed the future king he assembled the whole nation
together, through their deputies, at Mizpeh, who confirmed the divine
appointment. Saul, who appeared reluctant to accept the high dignity, was
fair and tall, and noble in appearance, patriotic, warlike, generous,
affectionate—the type of an ancient hero, but vacillating, jealous, moody,
and passionate. He was a man to make conquests, but not to elevate the
dignity of the nation. Samuel retired into private life, and Saul reigned
over the whole people.

(M117) His first care was to select a chosen band of experienced warriors,
and there was need, for the Philistines gathered together a great army,
with 30,000 chariots and 6,000 horsemen, and encamped at Michmash. The
Israelites, in view of this overwhelming force, hid themselves from fear,
in caves and amid the rocks of the mountain fastnesses. In their trouble
it was found necessary to offer burnt sacrifices; but Saul, impulsive and
assuming, would not wait to have the rites performed according to the
divine direction, but offered the sacrifices himself. By this act he
disobeyed the fundamental laws which Moses had given, violated, as it
were, the constitution; and, as a penalty for this foolish and rash act,
Samuel pronounced his future deposition; but God confounded, nevertheless,
the armies of the Philistines, and they were routed and scattered. Saul
then turned against the Amalekites, and took their king, whom he spared in
an impulse of generosity, even though he utterly destroyed his people.
Samuel reproved him for this leniency against the divine command, Saul
attempted to justify himself by the sacrifice of all the enemies’ goods
and oxen, to which Samuel said, “Hath the Lord as great delight in burnt
sacrifices and offerings as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold! to
obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams; for
rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness as iniquity and
idolatry.” Most memorable words! thus setting virtue and obedience over
all rites and ceremonies—a final answer to all ritualism and phariseeism.

(M118) The remainder of the life of Saul was embittered by the
consciousness that the kingdom would depart from his house; and by his
jealousy of David, and his unmanly persecution of him; in whom he saw his
successor. He was slain, with three of his sons, at the battle of Gilboa,
when the Philistines gained a great victory—B.C. 1056.

(M119) David, meanwhile had been secretly anointed by Samuel as king over
Israel. Nothing could exceed his grief when he heard of the death of Saul,
and of Jonathan, whom he loved, and who returned his love with a love
passing that of women, and who had protected him against the wrath and
enmity of his father.

(M120) David, of the tribe of Judah, after his encounter with Goliath, was
the favorite of the people, and was rewarded by a marriage with the
daughter of Saul—Michal, who admired his gallantry and heroism. Saul too
had dissembled his jealousy, and heaped honors on the man he was
determined to destroy. By the aid of his wife, and of Jonathan, and
especially protected by God, the young warrior escaped all the snares laid
for his destruction, and even spared the life of Saul when he was in his
power in the cave of Engedi. He continued loyal to his king, patiently
waiting for his future exaltation.

(M121) On the death of Saul, he was anointed king over Judah, at Hebron;
but the other tribes still adhered to the house of Saul. A civil war
ensued, during which Abner, the captain-general of the late king, was
treacherously murdered, and also Ishboseth, the feeble successor of Saul.
The war lasted seven and a half years, when all the tribes gave their
allegiance to David, who then fixed his seat at Jerusalem, which he had
wrested from the Jebusites, and his illustrious reign began, when he was
thirty years of age, B.C. 1048, after several years of adversity and

                               CHAPTER VII.


(M122) We can not enter upon a detail of the conquests of David, the
greatest warrior that his nation has produced. In successive campaigns,
extending over thirty years, he reduced the various Canaanite nations that
remained unconquered—the Amalekites, the Moabites, the Philistines, the
Edomites, and the Syrians of Tobah. Hiram, king of Tyre, was his ally. His
kingdom extended from the borders of Egypt to the Euphrates, and from the
valley of Cœlo-Syria to the eastern gulf of the Red Sea. But his reign, if
glorious and successful, was marked by troubles. He was continually at
war; his kingdom was afflicted with a plague as the punishment for his
vanity in numbering the people; his son Amnon disgraced him; Absalom, his
favorite son, revolted and was slain; he himself was expelled for a time
from his capital.

(M123) But David is memorable for his character, and his poetry, his
romantic vicissitudes of life, and as the founder of a dynasty rather than
for his conquests over the neighboring nations. His magnificent virtues
blended with faults; his piety in spite of his sins, his allegiance to
God, and his faith in his promises invest his character with singular
interest. In his Psalms he lives through all the generations of men. He
reigned thirty-three years at Jerusalem, and seven at Hebron, and
transmitted his throne to Solomon—his youngest child, a youth ten years of
age, precocious in wisdom and culture.

(M124) The reign of Solomon is most distinguished for the magnificent
Temple he erected in Jerusalem, after the designs furnished by his father,
aided by the friendship of the Phœnicians. This edifice, “beautiful for
situation—the joy of the whole earth,” was the wonder of those times, and
though small compared with subsequent Grecian temples, was probably more
profusely ornamented with gold, silver, and precious woods, than any
building of ancient times. We have no means of knowing its architectural
appearance, in the absence of all plans and all ruins, and much ingenuity
has been expended in conjectures, which are far from satisfactory. It most
probably resembled an Egyptian temple, modified by Phœnician artists. It
had an outer court for worshipers and their sacrifices, and an inner court
for the ark and the throne of Jehovah, into which the high priest alone
entered, and only once a year. It was erected upon a solid platform of
stone, having a resemblance to the temples of Paestum. The portico, as
rebuilt, in the time of Herod, was 180 feet high, and the temple itself
was entered by nine gates thickly coated with silver and gold. The inner
sanctuary was covered on all sides by plates of gold, and was dazzling to
the eye. It was connected with various courts and porticoes which gave to
it an imposing appearance. Its consecration by Solomon, amid the cloud of
glories in which Jehovah took possession of it, and the immense body of
musicians and singers, was probably the grandest religious service ever
performed. That 30,000 men were employed by Solomon, in hewing timber on
Mount Lebanon, and 70,000 more in hewing stones, would indicate a very
extensive and costly edifice. The stones which composed the foundation
were of extraordinary size, and rivaled the greatest works of the
Egyptians. The whole temple was overlaid with gold—a proof of its
extraordinary splendor, and it took seven years to build it.

(M125) The palace of Solomon must also have been of great magnificence, on
which the resources of his kingdom were employed for thirteen years. He
moreover built a palace for his wife, the daughter of Pharaoh, composed of
costly stones, the foundation-stones of which were fifteen feet in length,
surrounded with beautiful columns. But these palaces did not include all
his works, for the courts of the temple were ornamented with brazen
pillars, with elaborate capitals, brazen seas standing upon bronze oxen,
brazen bases ornamented with figures of various animals, brazen layers,
one of which contained forty baths, altars of gold, tables, candelabras,
basins, censers and other sacred vessels of pure gold,—all of which
together were of enormous expense and great beauty.

(M126) During the execution of these splendid works, which occupied
thirteen years or more, Solomon gave extraordinary indications of wisdom,
as well as signs of great temporal prosperity. His kingdom was the most
powerful of Western Asia, and he enjoyed peace with other nations. His
fame spread through the East, and the Queen of Sheba, among others, came
to visit him, and witness his wealth and prosperity. She was amazed and
astonished at the splendor of his life, the magnificence of his court, and
the brilliancy of his conversation, and she burst out in the most
unbounded panegyrics. “The half was not told me.” She departed leaving a
present of one hundred and twenty talents of gold, besides spices and
precious stones; and he gave, in return, all she asked. We may judge of
the wealth of Solomon from the fact that in one year six hundred and
sixty-six talents of gold flowed into his treasury, besides the spices,
and the precious stones, and ivory, and rare curiosities which were
brought to him from Arabia and India. The voyages of his ships occupied
three years, and it is supposed that they doubled the Cape of Good Hope.
All his banqueting cups and dishes were of pure gold, and “he exceeded all
the kings of the earth for riches and wisdom,” who made their
contributions with royal munificence. In his army were 1,400 chariots and
12,000 horses, which it would seem were purchased in Egypt.

(M127) Intoxicated by this splendor, and enervated by luxury, Solomon
forgot his higher duties, and yielded to the fascination of oriental
courts. In his harem were 700 wives, princesses, and 300 concubines, who
turned his heart to idolatry. In punishment for his apostasy, God declared
that his kingdom should be divided, and that his son should reign only
over the single tribe of Judah, which was spared him for the sake of his
father David. In his latter days he was disturbed in his delusions by
various adversaries who rose up against him—by Hadad, a prince of Edom,
and Rezon, king of Damascus, and Jeroboam, one of his principal officers,
who afterward became king of the ten revolted tribes. Solomon continued,
however, to reign over the united tribes for forty years, when he was
gathered to his fathers.

(M128) The apostasy of Solomon is the most mournful fall recorded in
history, thereby showing that no intellectual power can rescue a man from
the indulgence of his passions and the sins of pride and vainglory. How
immeasurably superior to him in self-control was Marcus Aurelius, who had
the whole world at his feet! It was women who had estranged him from
allegiance to God—the princesses of idolatrous nations. Although no
mention is made of his repentance, the heart of the world will not accept
his final impenitence; and we infer from the book of Ecclesiastes, written
when all his delusions were dispelled—that sad and bitter and cynical
composition,—that he was at least finally persuaded that the fear of the
Lord constitutes the beginning and the end of all wisdom in this
probationary state. And we can not but feel that he who urged this wisdom
upon the young with so much reason and eloquence at last was made to feel
its power upon his own soul.

(M129) The government of Solomon, nevertheless had proved arbitrary, and
his public works oppressive. The monarch whom he most resembled, in his
taste for magnificence, in the splendor of his reign, and in the vexations
and humiliations of his latter days, was Louis XIV. of France, who sowed
the seeds of future revolutions. So Solomon prepared the way for
rebellion, by his grievous exactions. Under his son Rehoboam, a vain and
frivolous, and obstinate young man, who ascended the throne B.C. 975, the
revolt took place. He would not listen to his father’s councillors, and
increased rather than mitigated the burdens of the people. And this revolt
was successful: ten tribes joined the standard of Jeroboam, with 800,000
fighting men. Judah remained faithful to Rehoboam, and the tribe of
Benjamin subsequently joined it, and from its geographical situation, it
remained nearly as powerful as the other tribes, having 500,000 fighting
men. But the area of territory was only quarter as large.

(M130) The Jewish nation is now divided. The descendants of David reign at
Jerusalem; the usurper and rebel Jeroboam reigns over the ten tribes, at

For the sake of clearness of representation we will first present the
fortunes of the legitimate kings who reigned over the tribe of Judah.

(M131) Rehoboam reigned forty-one years at Jerusalem, but did evil in the
sight of the Lord. In the fifth year of his reign his capital was rifled
by the king of Egypt, who took away the treasures which Solomon had
accumulated. He was also at war with Jeroboam all his days. He was
succeeded by his son Abijam, whose reign was evil and unfortunate, during
which the country was afflicted with wars which lasted for ninety years
between Judah and Israel. But his reign was short, lasting only three
years, and he was succeeded by Asa, his son, an upright and warlike
prince, who removed the idols which his father had set up. He also formed
a league with Ben-Hadad, king of Syria, and, with a large bribe, induced
him to break with Baasha, king of Israel. His reign lasted forty years,
and he was succeeded by his son Jehoshaphat, B.C. 954. Under this prince
the long wars between Judah and Israel terminated, probably on account of
the marriage of Jehoram, son of Jehoshaphat, with the daughter of Ahab,
king of Israel—an unfortunate alliance on moral, if not political grounds.
Jehoshaphat reigned thirty-five years, prosperously and virtuously, and
his ships visited Ophir for gold as in the time of Solomon, being in
alliance with the Phœnicians. His son Jehoram succeeded him, and reigned
eight years, but was disgraced by the idolatries which Ahab encouraged. It
was about this time that Elijah and Elisha were prophets of the Lord,
whose field of duties lay chiefly among the idolatrous people of the ten
tribes. During the reign of Jehoram, Edom revolted from Judah, and
succeeded in maintaining its independence, according to the predictions
made to Esau, that his posterity, after serving Israel, should finally
break their yoke.

(M132) His son Ahaziah succeeded him at Jerusalem B.C. 885, but formed an
alliance with Jehoram, king of Israel, and after a brief and wicked reign
of one year, he was slain by Jehu, the great instrument of divine
vengeance on the idolaters. Of his numerous sons, the infant Joash alone
was spared by Athaliah, the daughter of Ahab and Jezebel, who usurped
authority in the name of the infant king, until she was overthrown by the
high priest Jehoiada. The usurpations of this queen have furnished a
subject for one of the finest tragedies of Racine. Jehoiada restored the
temple worship, and instituted many other reforms, having supreme power,
like Dunstan over the Saxon kings, when they were ruled by priests. His
death left Judah under the dominion of the patriarchal rulers (the princes
of Judah), who opposed all reforms, and even slew the son of Jehoida,
Zechariah the prophet, between the altar and the temple. It would seem
that Joash ruled wisely and benignantly during the life of Jehoiada, by
whom he was influenced—a venerable old man of 130 years of age when he
died. After his death Joash gave occasion for reproach, by permitting or
commanding the assassination of Zechariah, who had reproved the people for
their sins, and his country was invaded by the Syrians under Hazaal, and
they sent the spoil of Jerusalem to Damascus. Joash reigned in all forty
years, and was assassinated by his servants.

(M133) His son Amaziah succeeded him B.C. 839, and reigned twenty-nine
years. He was on the whole a good and able prince, and gained great
victories over the Edomites whom he attempted to reconquer. He punished
also the murderers of his father, and spared their sons, according to the
merciful provision of the laws of Moses. But he worshiped the gods of the
Edomites, and was filled with vainglory from his successes over them. It
was then he rashly challenged the king of Israel, who replied haughtily:
“The thistle that was in Lebanon sent to the cedar that was in Lebanon,
saying, give thy daughter to my son to wife, and there passed by a wild
beast that was in Lebanon, and trode down the thistle.” “So thou hast
smitten the Edomites, and thine heart lifteth thee up to boast. Abide now
at home; why shouldst thou meddle to thine hurt, that thou shouldst fall,
even thou and Judah with thee.” But Amaziah would not heed, and the two
kings encountered each other in battle, and Judah suffered a disastrous
defeat, and Joash, the king of Israel, came to Jerusalem and took all the
gold and silver and all the sacred vessels of the temple and the treasures
of the royal palace, and returned to Samaria. After this humiliation
Amaziah reigned, probably wisely, more than fifteen years, until falling
into evil courses, he was slain in a conspiracy, B.C. 810, and his son
Uzziah or Azariah, a boy of sixteen, was made king by the people of Judah.

(M134) This monarch enjoyed a long and prosperous reign of fifty-two
years. He reorganized the army and refortified his capital. He conquered
the Philistines, and also the Arabs, on his borders: received tribute from
the Ammonites, and spread his name unto Egypt. During his reign the
kingdom of Judah and Benjamin had great prosperity and power. The army
numbered 307,500 men well equipped and armed, with military engines to
shoot arrows and stones from the towers and walls. He also built castles
in the desert, and digged wells for his troops stationed there. He
developed the resources of his country, and devoted himself especially to
the arts of agriculture and the cultivation of the vine, and the raising
of cattle. But he could not stand prosperity, and in his presumption,
attempted even to force himself in the sacred part of the temple to offer
sacrifices, which was permitted to the priests alone; for which violation
of the sacred laws of the realm, he was smitten with leprosy—the most
loathsome of all the diseases which afflict the East. As a leper, he
remained isolated the rest of his life, not even being permitted by the
laws to enter the precincts of the temple to worship, or administer his
kingdom. It was during his reign that the Assyrians laid Samaria under

(M135) He was succeeded by Jotham, his son, B.C. 758, who carried on his
father’s reforms and wars, and was therefore prospered. It is worthy of
notice that the kings of Judah, who were good, and abstained from
idolatry, enjoyed great temporal prosperity. Jotham reigned sixteen years,
receiving tribute from the Ammonites, and was succeeded by Ahaz, who
walked in the ways of the kings of Israel, and restored idolatrous and
superstitious rites. Besieged in Jerusalem by the forces of Rezin, king of
Syria, and Pekah, king of Israel, and afflicted by the Edomites and
Philistines, he invoked the aid of Tiglath-pileser, king of Assyria,
offering him the treasure of the temple and his royal palace. The Assyrian
monarch responded, and took Damascus, and slew its king. Ahaz, in his
distress, yet sinned still more against the Lord by sacrificing to the
gods of Damascus whither he went to meet the Assyrian king. He died in the
year B.C. 726, after a reign of sixteen years, and Hezekiah, his son,
reigned in his stead.

(M136) This prince was one of the best and greatest of the kings of Judah.
He carried his zeal against idolatry so far as to break in pieces the
brazen serpent of Moses, which had become an object of superstitious
homage. He proclaimed a solemn passover, which was held in Jerusalem with
extraordinary ceremony, and at which 2,000 bullocks and 17,000 sheep were
slaughtered. No such day of national jubilee had been seen since the reign
of Solomon. He cut down the groves in which idolatrous priests performed
their mysterious rites, and overthrew their altars throughout the land.
The temple was purified, and the courses of the priests were restored.
Under his encouragement the people brought in joyfully their tithes to the
priests and levites, and offerings for the temple.

(M137) In all his reforms he was ably supported by Isaiah, the most
remarkable of all the prophets who flourished during the latter days of
the Hebrew monarchy. Under his direction he made war successfully against
the Philistines, and sought to recover the independence of Judah. In the
fourteenth year of his reign, Sennacherib invaded Palestine. Hezekiah
purchased his favor by a present of three hundred talents of silver and
thirty talents of gold, which stripped his palace and the temple of all
their treasure. But whether he neglected to pay further tribute or not, he
offended the king of Assyria, who marched upon Jerusalem, but was arrested
in his purpose by the miraculous destruction of his army, which caused him
to retreat with shame into his own country. After this his reign was
peaceful and splendid, and he accumulated treasures greater than had been
seen in Jerusalem since the time of Solomon. He also built cities, and
diverted the course of the river Gihar to the western side of his capital,
and made pools and conduits. It was in these years of prosperity that he
received the embassadors of the king of Babylon, and showed unto them his
riches, which led to his rebuke by Isaiah, and the prophecy of the future
captivity of his people.

(M138) He was succeeded by his son, Manasseh, B.C. 698, who reigned
fifty-five years; but he did not follow out the policy of his father, or
imitate his virtues. He restored idolatry, and “worshiped all the hosts of
heaven,” and built altars to them, as Ahab had done in Samaria. He was
also cruel and tyrannical, and shed much innocent blood; wherefore, for
these and other infamous sins, the Lord, through the mouth of the
prophets, declared that “he would wipe Jerusalem as a man wipeth a dish,”
and would deliver the people into the hands of their enemies.

(M139) His son, Amon, followed in the steps of his father, but after a
brief reign of two years, was killed by his servants, B.C. 639, and was
buried in the sepulchre of his family, in the garden of Uzza.

(M140) Then followed the noble reign of Josiah—the last independent king
of Judah—whose piety and zeal in destroying idolatry, and great reforms,
have made him the most memorable of all the successors of David. He
repaired the temple, and utterly destroyed every vestige of idolatry,
assisted by the high priest Hilkiah, who seems to have been his prime
minister. He kept the great feast of the passover with more grandeur than
had ever been known, either in the days of the judges, or of the kings,
his ancestors; nor did any king ever equal him in his fidelity to the laws
of Moses. But notwithstanding all his piety and zeal, God was not to be
turned from chastising Judah for the sins of Manasseh, and the repeated
idolatries of his people; and all that Josiah could secure was a promise
from the Lord that the calamities of his country should not happen in his

(M141) In the thirty-first year of his reign, Necho, the king of Egypt,
made war against the king of Babylon, who had now established his empire
on the banks of the Euphrates, over the ruins of the old Assyrian
monarchy. Josiah rashly embarked in the contest, either with a view of
giving his aid to the king of Babylon, or to prevent the march of Necho,
which lay through the great plain of Esdrælon. Josiah, heedless of all
warnings, ventured in person against the Egyptian army, though in
disguise, and was slain by an arrow. His dead body was brought to
Jerusalem, and was buried in one of the sepulchres of his fathers; and all
Judah and Israel mourned for the loss of one of the greatest, and
certainly the best of their kings.

The prophet Jeremiah pronounced his eulogy, and led the lamentations of
the people for this great calamity, B.C. 608.

(M142) The people proclaimed one of his sons, Shallum, to be king, under
the name of Jehoahaz, but the Egyptian conqueror deposed him and set up
his brother Jehoiakim as a tributary vassal. He reigned ingloriously for
eleven years—an idolator and a tyrant.

(M143) In his days Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, came up against him,
having driven the Egyptians out of Palestine. Jehoiakim made his
submission to the conqueror of Egypt, who now reigned over the whole
Assyrian empire, but did not escape captivity in Babylon, with many other
of the first men of the nation, including Daniel, and the spoil of
Jerusalem. He was restored to the throne, on promise of paying a large
tribute. He served the king of Babylon three years and then rebelled,
hoping to secure the assistance of Egypt. But he leaned on a broken reed.
A Chaldean army laid siege to Jerusalem, and Jehoiakim was killed in a
sally, B.C. 597. His son Jehoiachin had reigned only three months when
Nebuchadnezzar, a great general, came to carry on the siege in person. The
city fell, the king was carried into captivity, with 10,000 of his
subjects, among whom were Ezekiel and Mordecai, and only the poorer class
remained behind. Over these people Nebuchadnezzar set up Zedekiah, the
youngest son of Josiah, as tributary king. Yet even in this state of
degradation and humiliation the Jews, wrought upon by false prophets,
expected deliverance, against the solemn warnings of Jeremiah, who
remained at Jerusalem. Zedekiah, encouraged by the partial successes of
the Egyptians, rebelled, upon which the king of Babylon resolved upon the
complete conquest and utter ruin of the country. Jerusalem fell into his
hands, by assault, and was leveled with the ground, and the temple was
destroyed. Zedekiah, in attempting to escape, was taken, had his eyes put
out, and was carried captive to Babylon, together with the whole nation,
and the country was reduced to utter desolation. It was not, however,
repeopled by heathen settlers, as was Samaria. The small remnant that
remained, under the guidance of Jeremiah, recovered some civil rights, and
supported themselves by the cultivation of the land, and in their bitter
misery learned those lessons which prepared them for a renewed prosperity
after the seventy years captivity. Never afterward was idolatry practiced
by the Jews. But no nation was ever more signally humiliated and
prostrated. Can we hence wonder at the mournful strains of Jeremiah, or
the bitter tears which the captive Jews, now slaves, shed by the rivers of
Babylon when they remembered the old prosperity of Zion.

(M144) The Jewish monarchy ended by the capture of Zedekiah. The kingdom
of the ten tribes had already fallen to the same foes, and even more
disastrously, because the kings of Israel were uniformly wicked, without a
single exception, and were hopelessly sunk into idolatry; whereas the
kings of Judah were good as well as evil, and some of them were
illustrious for virtues and talents. The descendants of David reigned in
Jerusalem in an unbroken dynasty for more than 500 years, while the
monarchs of Samaria were a succession of usurpers. The degenerate kings
were frequently succeeded by the captains of their guards, who in turn
gave way for other usurpers, all of whom were bad. The dynasty of David
was uninterrupted to the captivity of the nation. And the kingdom of Judah
was also more powerful and prosperous than that of the ten tribes, in
spite of their superior numbers.

(M145) But it is time to consider these ten tribes which revolted under
Jeroboam. Their history is uninteresting, and, were it not for the
beautiful episodes which relate to the prophets who were sent to reclaim
the people from idolatry, would be without significance other than that
which is drawn from the lives of wicked and idolatrous kings.

(M146) Jeroboam commenced his reign B.C. 975, by setting up for worship
two golden calves in Bethel and Dan, and thus inaugurated idolatry: for
which his dynasty was short. His son Nadah was murdered in a military
revolution, B.C. 953, and the usurper of his throne, Baasha, destroyed his
whole house. He, too, was a wicked prince, and his son Elah was slain by
Zimri, captain of his guard, who now reigned over Israel, after
exterminating the whole family of Elah, but was in his turn assassinated
after a reign of seven years, B.C. 929. Omri, the captain of the guard,
was now raised by the voice of the people to the throne; but he had a
rival in Tibni, whom he succeeded in conquering. Omri reigned twelve
years, and bought the hill of Samaria, on which he built the capital of
his kingdom. But he exceeded all his predecessors in iniquity, and was
succeeded by his son Ahab, who reigned twenty-two years. He was the most
infamous of all the kings of Israel, both for cruelty and idolatry, and
his queen, Jezebel, was also unique in crime—the Messalina and Fredigonde
of her age. It was through her influence that the worship of Baal became
the established religion, thus showing that the general influence of woman
on man is evil whenever she is not Christian. And this is perhaps the
reason that the ancients represented women as worse than men.

(M147) It was during the reign of this wicked king that God raised up the
greatest of the ancient prophets—Elijah, and sent him to Ahab with the
stern intelligence that there should be no rain until the prophet himself
should invoke it. After three years of grievous famine, during which he
sought to destroy the man who prophesied so much evil, but who was
miraculously fed in his flight by the ravens, Ahab allowed Elijah to do
his will.

(M148) Thereupon he caused the king to assemble together the whole people
of Israel, through their representatives, upon Mount Carmel, together with
the four hundred and fifty priests of Baal, and the four hundred false
prophets of the grove, whom Jezebel supported. He then invoked the people,
who, it seems, vacillated in their opinions in respect to Jehovah and
Baal, to choose finally, of these two deities, the God whom they _would_
worship. Having discomfited the priests of Baal in the trial of
sacrifices, and mocked them with the fiercest irony, thereby showing to
the people how they had been imposed upon, Elijah incited them to the
slaughter of these false prophets and foreign priests, and then set up an
altar to the true God. But all the people had not fallen into idolatry;
there still had remained seven thousand who had not bowed unto Baal.

(M149) Rain descended almost immediately, and Ahab departed, and told
Jezebel what had transpired. Hereupon, she was transported with rage and
fury, and sought the life of the prophet. He again escaped, and by divine
command went to the wilderness of Damascus and anointed Hazael to be king
over Syria, and Jehu to be king over Israel, and Elisha to be his
successor as prophet.

(M150) Soon after this, Benhadad, the king of Syria, came from Damascus
with a vast army and thirty-two allied kings, to besiege Samaria. Defeated
in a battle with Ahab, the king of Syria fled, but returned the following
year with a still larger army for the conquest of Samaria. But he was
again defeated, with the loss of one hundred thousand men in a single day,
and sought to make peace with the king of Israel. Ahab made a treaty with
him, instead of taking his life, for which the prophet of the Lord
predicted evil upon him and his people. But the anger of God was still
further increased by the slaughter of Naboth, through the wiles of
Jezebel, and the unjust possession of the vineyard which Ahab had coveted.
Elijah, after this outrage on all the fundamental laws of the Jews, met
the king for the last time, and pronounced a dreadful penalty—that his own
royal blood should be licked up by dogs in the very place where Naboth was
slain, and that his posterity should be cut off from reigning over Israel;
also, that his wicked queen should be eaten by dogs.

(M151) In three years after, while attempting to recover Ramoth, in
Gilead, from Benhadad, he lost his life, and was brought in his chariot to
Samaria to be buried. And the dogs came and licked the blood from the
chariot where it was washed. He was succeeded by Ahaziah, his son, B.C.
913, who renewed the worship of Baal, and died after a short and
inglorious reign, B.C. 896, without leaving any son, and Jehoram, his
brother, succeeded him. In reference to this king the Scripture accounts
are obscure, and he is sometimes confounded with Jehoram, the son of
Jehoshaphat, king of Judah, who married a daughter of Ahab. This accounts
for the alliance between Jehoshaphat and Ahab, and also between the two
Jehorams, since they were brothers-in-law, which brought to an end the
long wars of seventy years, which had wasted both Israel and Judah.

Jehoram did evil in the sight of the Lord, but was not disgraced by
idolatry. In his reign the Moabites, who paid a tribute of one hundred
thousand sheep and one hundred thousand lambs, revolted. Jehoram, assisted
by the kings of Judah, and of Edom, marched against them, and routed them,
and destroyed their cities, and filled up their wells, and felled all
their good trees, and covered their good land with stones.

(M152) Meanwhile, it happened that there was a grievous famine in Samaria,
so that an ass’s head sold for eighty pieces of silver. Benhadad, in this
time of national distress, came with mighty host and besieged the city;
but in the night, in his camp was heard a mighty sound of chariots and
horses, and a panic ensued, and the Syrians fled, leaving every thing
behind them. The spoil of their camp furnished the starving Samaritans
with food.

(M153) After this, Jehoram was engaged in war with the Syrians, now ruled
by Hazael, one of the generals of Benhadad, who had murdered his master.
In this war, Jehoram, or Joram, was wounded, and went to be healed of his
wounds at Jezreel, where he was visited by his kinsman, Ahaziah, who had
succeeded to the throne of Judah. While he lay sick in this place, Jehu,
one of his generals, conspired against him, and drew a bow against him,
and the arrow pierced him so that he died, and his body was cast into
Naboth’s vineyard. Thus was the sin against Naboth again avenged. Jehu
prosecuted the work of vengeance assigned to him, and slew Ahaziah, the
king of Judah, also, and then caused Jezebel, the queen mother, to be
thrown from a window, and the dogs devoured her body. He then slew the
seventy sons of Ahab, and all his great men, and his kinsfolk, and his
priests, so that none remained of the house of Ahab, as Elijah had
predicted. His zeal did not stop here, but he collected together, by
artifice, all the priests of Baal, and smote them, and brake their images.

(M154) But Jehu, now king of Israel, though he had destroyed the priests
of Baal, fell into the idolatry of Jehoram, and was therefore inflicted
with another invasion of the Syrians, who devastated his country, and
decimated his people. He died, after a reign of twenty-eight years, B.C.
856, and was succeeded by his son, Jehoahaz.

(M155) This king also did evil in the sight of the Lord, so that he was
made subject to Hazael, king of Syria, all his days, who ground down and
oppressed Israel, as the prophet had predicted. He reigned seventeen
years, in sorrow and humiliation, and was succeeded by his son Johash, who
followed the wicked course of his predecessors. His reign lasted sixteen
years, during which Elisha died. There is nothing in the Scriptures more
impressive than the stern messages which this prophet, as well as Elijah,
sent to the kings of Israel, and the bold rebukes with which he reproached
them. Nor is anything more beautiful than those episodes which pertain to
the cure of Naaman, the Syrian, and the restoration to life of the son of
the Shunamite woman, in reward for her hospitality, and the interview with
Hazael before he became king. All his predictions came to pass. He seems
to have lived an isolated and ascetic life, though he had great influence
with the people and the king, like other prophets of the Lord.

(M156) Jeroboam II. succeeded Johash, B.C. 825, and reigned successfully,
and received all the territory which the Syrians had gained, but he did
not depart from the idolatry of the golden calves. His son and successor,
Zachariah, followed his evil courses, and was slain by Shallum, after a
brief reign of six mouths, and the dynasty of Jehu came to an end, B.C.

(M157) Shallum was murdered one month afterward by Menahem, who reigned
ingloriously ten years. It was during his reign that Pul, king of Assyria,
invaded his territories, but was induced to retire for a sum of one
thousand talents of silver, which he exacted from his subjects. He was
succeeded by Pekaiah, a bad prince, who was assassinated at the end of two
years by Pekah, one of his captains, who seized his throne. During his
reign, which lasted twenty years, Tiglath-Pilaser, king of Assyria, made
war against him, by invitation of Ahaz, and took his principal cities, and
carried their inhabitants captive to Nineveh. He was assassinated by
Hosea, who reigned in his stead. He also was a bad prince, and became
subject to Shalmanezer, king of Assyria, who came up against him. In the
ninth year of his reign, having proved treacherous to Shalmanezer, the
king of Assyria besieged Samaria, and carried him captive to his own
capital. Thus ended the kingdom of the ten tribes, who were now carried
into captivity beyond the Euphrates, and who settled in the eastern
provinces of Assyria, and probably relapsed hopelessly into idolatry,
without ever revisiting their native laud. In all probability most of them
were absorbed among the nations which composed the Assyrian empire, B.C.

(M158) Nineteen sovereigns thus reigned over the children of Israel in
Samaria—a period of two hundred and fifty-four years; not one of them was
obedient to the laws of God, and most of whom perished by assassination,
or in battle. There is no record in history of more inglorious kings.
There was not a great man nor a good man among them all. They were, with
one or two exceptions, disgraced by the idolatry of Jeroboam, in whose
steps they followed. Nor was their kingdom ever raised to any considerable
height of political power. The history of the revolted and idolatrous
tribes is gloomy and disgraceful, only relieved by the stern lives of
Elijah and Elisha, the only men of note who remained true to the God of
their fathers, and who sought to turn the people from their sins.
“Whereupon the Lord was very angry with Israel, and removed them out of
his sight.”

                              CHAPTER VIII.


(M159) On a great plain, four hundred miles in length and one hundred
miles in width, forming the valley of the Euphrates, bounded on the north
by Mesopotamia, on the east by the Tigris, on the south by the Persian
Gulf, and on the west by the Syrian Desert, was established, at a very
early period, the Babylonian monarchy. This plain, or valley, contains
about twenty-three thousand square miles, equal to the Grecian
territories. It was destitute of all striking natural features—furnishing
an unbroken horizon. The only interruptions to the view on this level
plain were sand-hills and the embankments of the river. The river, like
the Nile, is subject to inundations, though less regular than the Nile,
and this, of course, deposits a rich alluvial soil. The climate in summer
is intensely hot, and in winter mild and genial. Wheat here is indigenous,
and the vine and other fruits abound in rich luxuriance. The land was as
rich as the valley of the Nile, and was favorable to flocks and herds. The
river was stocked with fish, and every means of an easy subsistence was

(M160) Into this goodly land a migration from Armenia—the primeval seat of
man—came at a period when history begins. Nimrod and his hunters then
gained an ascendency over the old settlers, and supplanted them—Cushites,
of the family of Ham, and not the descendants of Shem. The beginning of
the kingdom of Nimrod was Babel, a tower, or temple, modeled after the one
which was left unfinished, or was destroyed. This was erected, probably,
B.C. 2334. It was square, and arose with successive stories, each one
smaller than the one below, presenting an analogy to the pyramidical form.
The highest stage supported the sacred ark. The temple was built of burnt
brick. Thus the race of Ham led the way in the arts in Chaldea as in
Egypt, and soon fell into idolatry. We know nothing, with certainty, of
this ancient monarchy, which lasted, it is supposed, two hundred and
fifty-eight years, from B.C. 2234 to 1976. It was not established until
after the dispersion of the races. The dynasty of which Nimrod was the
founder came to an end during the early years of Abraham.

(M161) The first king of the new dynasty is supposed to be Chedorlaomer,
though Josephus represents him as a general of the Chaldean king who
extended the Chaldean conquests to Palestine. His encounters with the
kings of Sodom, Gomorrah, and others in the vale of Siddim, tributary
princes, and his slaughter by Abraham’s servants, are recounted in the
fourteenth chapter of Genesis, and put an end to Chaldean conquests beyond
the Syrian desert. From his alliance, however, with the Tidal, king of
nations; Amrapher, king of Shinar; and Arioch, king of Ellasar, we infer
that other races, besides the Hamite, composed the population of Chaldea,
of which the subjects of Chedorlaomer were pre-eminent.

His empire was subverted by Arabs from the desert, B.C. 1518; and an
Arabian dynasty is supposed to have reigned for two hundred and forty-five

(M162) This came to an end in consequence of a grand irruption of
Assyrians—of Semitic origin. “Asshur (Gen. 10, 11), the son of Shem, built
Nineveh,” which was on the Tigris. The name Assyria came to be extended to
the whole of Upper Mesopotamia, from the Euphrates to the Tagros
mountains. This country consisted of undulating pastures, diversified by
woodlands, and watered by streams running into the Tigris. Its valleys
were rich, its hills were beautiful, and its climate was cooler than the
Chaldean plain.

(M163) It would seem from the traditions preserved by the Greeks, that
Nineveh was ruled by a viceroy of the Babylonian king. This corresponds
with the book of Genesis, which makes the dynasty Chaldean, while the
people were Semitic, since the kingdom of Asshur was derived from that of
Nimrod. “Ninus, the viceroy,” says Smith, “having revolted from the king
of Babylon, overruns Armenia, Asia Minor, and the shores of the Euxine, as
far as Tanais, subdues the Medes and Persians, and makes war upon the
Bactrians. Semiramis, the wife of one of the chief nobles, coming to the
camp before Bactria, takes the city by a bold stroke. Her courage wins the
love of Ninus, and she becomes his wife. On his death she succeeds to the
throne, and undertakes the conquest of India, but is defeated.” These two
sovereigns built Nineveh on a grand scale, as well as added to the
edifices of Babylon.

This king was the founder of the northwest palace of Nineveh, three
hundred and sixty feet long and three hundred wide, standing on a raised
platform overlooking the Tigris, with a grand facade to the north fronting
the town, and another to the west commanding the river. It was built of
hewn stone, and its central hall was one hundred and twenty feet long and
ninety wide. The ceilings were of cedar brought from Lebanon. The walls
were paneled with slabs of marble ornamented with bas-reliefs. The floors
were paved with stone. (See Rawlinson’s Herodotus.)

(M164) All this is tradition, but recent discoveries in cuneiform
literature shed light upon it. From these, compared with the fragments of
Berosus, a priest of Babylon in the third century before Christ, and the
scattered notices of Scripture history, we infer that the dynasty which
Belus founded reigned more than five hundred years, from 1272 to 747
before Christ. Of these kings, Sardanapalus, the most famous, added
Babylonia to the Assyrian empire, and built vast architectural works. He
employed three hundred and sixty thousand men in the construction of this
palace, some of whom were employed in making brick, and others in cutting
timber on Mount Hermon. It covered an area of eight acres. The palaces of
Nineveh were of great splendor, and the scenes portrayed on the walls, as
discovered by Mr. Layard, lately disinterred from the mounds of earth,
represent the king as of colossal stature, fighting battles, and clothed
with symbolic attributes. He appears as a great warrior, leading captives,
and storming cities, and also in the chase, piercing the lion, and
pursuing the wild ass. This monarch should not be confounded with the
Sardanapalus of the Greeks, the last of the preceding dynasty. His son,
Shalmanezer, was also a great prince, and added to the dominion of the
Assyrian empire. Distant nations paid tribute to him, the Phœnicians, the
Syrians, the Jews, and the Medians beyond the Tagros mountains. He
defeated Benhadad and routed Hazael. His reign ended, it is supposed, B.C.
850. Two other kings succeeded him, who extended their conquests to the
west, the last of whom is identified by Smith with Pul, the reigning
monarch when Jonah visited Nineveh, B.C. 770.

The next dynasty commences with Tiglath-Pileser II., who carried on wars
against Babylon and Syria and Israel. This was in the time of Ahaz, B.C.

(M165) His son, Shalmanezer, made Hosea, king of Israel, his vassal, and
reduced the country of the ten tribes to a province of his empire, and
carried the people away into captivity. Hezekiah was also, for a time, his
vassal. He was succeeded by Sargon, B.C. 721, according to Smith, but 715
B.C., according to others. He reigned, as Geseneus thinks, but two or
three years; but fifteen according to Rawlinson, and built that splendid
palace, the ruins of which, at Khorsabad, have supplied the Louvre with
its choicest remains of Assyrian antiquity. He was one of the greatest of
the Assyrian conquerors. He invaded Babylon and drove away its kings; he
defeated the Philistines, took Ashdod and Tyre, received tribute from the
Greeks at Cyprus, invaded even Egypt, whose king paid him tribute, and
conquered Media.

(M166) His son, Sennacherib, who came to the throne, B.C. 702, is an
interesting historical personage, and under him the Assyrian empire
reached its culminating point. He added to the palace of Nineveh, and
built one which exceeded all that had existed before him. No monarch
surpassed this one in the magnificence of his buildings. He erected no
less than thirty temples, shining with silver and gold. One of the halls
of his palace was two hundred and twenty feet long, and one hundred and
one wide. He made use of Syrian, Greek, and Phœnician artists. It is from
the ruins of this palace at _Koyunjik_ that Mr. Layard made those valuable
discoveries which have enriched the British Museum. He subdued Babylonia,
Upper Mesopotamia, Syria, Phœnicia, Philistia, Idumaen, and a part of
Egypt, which, with Media, a part of Armenia, and the old Assyrian
territory, formed his vast empire—by far greater than the Egyptian
monarchy at any period. He chastised also the Jews for encouraging a
revolt among the Philistines, and carried away captive two hundred
thousand people, and only abstained from laying siege to Jerusalem by a
present from Hezekiah of three hundred talents of silver and thirty of
gold. The destruction of his host, as recorded by Scripture, is thought by
some to have occurred in a subsequent invasion of Judea, when it was in
alliance with Egypt. That “he returned to Nineveh and dwelt there” is
asserted by Scripture, but only to be assassinated by his sons, B.C. 680.

His son Esar-Haddon succeeded him, a warlike monarch, who fought the
Egyptians, and colonized Samaria with Babylonian settlers. He also built
the palace of Nimrod, and cultivated art.

(M167) The civilization of the Assyrians shows a laborious and patient
people. Its chief glory was in architecture. Sculpture was imitated from
nature, but had neither the grace nor the ideality of the Greeks. War was
the grand business of kings, and hunting their pleasure. The people were
ground down by the double tyranny of kings and priests. There is little of
interest in the Assyrian annals, and what little we know of their life and
manners is chiefly drawn by inductions from the monuments excavated by
Botta and Layard. The learned treatise of Rawlinson sheds a light on the
annals of the monarchy, which, before the discoveries of Layard, were
exceedingly obscure, and this treatise has been most judiciously abridged,
by Smith, whom I have followed. It would be interesting to consider the
mythology of the Assyrians, but it is too complicated for a work like

(M168) Under his successors, the empire rapidly declined. Though it
nominally included the whole of Western Asia, from the Mediterranean to
the desert of Iran, and from the Caspian Sea and the mountains of Armenia
to the Persian Gulf, it was wanting in unity. It embraced various
kingdoms, and cities, and tribes, which simply paid tribute, limited by
the power of the king to enforce it. The Assyrian armies, which committed
so great devastations, did not occupy the country they chastised, as the
Romans and Greeks did. Their conquests were like those of Tamerlane. As
the monarchs became effeminated, new powers sprung up, especially Media,
which ultimately completed the ruin of Assyria, under Cyaxares. The last
of the monarchs was probably the Sardanapalus of the Greeks.

(M169) The decline of this great monarchy was so rapid and complete, that
even Nineveh, the capital city, was blotted out of existence. No traces of
it remained in the time of Herodotus, and it is only from recent
excavations that its site is known. Still, it must have been a great city.
The eastern wall of it, as it now appears from the excavations, is fifteen
thousand nine hundred feet (about three miles); but the city probably
included vast suburbs, with fortified towers, so as to have been equal to
four hundred and eighty stadias in circumference, or sixty miles—the three
days’ journey of Jonah. It is supposed, with the suburbs, to have
contained five hundred thousand people. The palaces of the great were
large and magnificent; but the dwellings of the people were mean, built of
brick dried in the sun. The palaces consisted of a large number of
chambers around a central hall, open to the sky, since no pillars are
found necessary to support a roof. No traces of windows are found in the
walls, which were lined with slabs of coarse marble, with cuneiform
inscriptions. The façade of the palaces we know little about, except that
the entrances to them were lined by groups of colossal bulls. These are
sculptured with considerable spirit, but _art_, in the sense that the
Greeks understood it, did not exist. In the ordinary appliances of life
the Assyrians were probably on a par with the Egyptians; but they were
debased by savage passions and degrading superstitions. They have left
nothing for subsequent ages to use. Nothing which has contributed to
civilization remains of their existence. They have furnished no _models_
of literature, art, or government.

(M170) While Nineveh was rising to greatness, Babylon was under an
eclipse, and thus lasted six hundred and fifty years. It was in the year
1273 that this eclipse began. But a great change took place in the era of
Narbonassar, B.C. 747, when Babylon threatened to secure its independence,
and which subsequently compelled Esar-Haddon, the Assyrian monarch, to
assume, in his own person, the government of Babylon, B.C. 680.

(M171) In 625 B.C. the old Chaldeans recovered their political importance,
probably by an alliance with the Medes, and Nabopolassar obtained
undisputed possession of Babylon, and founded a short but brilliant
dynasty. He obtained a share of the captives of Nineveh, and increased the
population of his capital. His son, Nebuchadnezzar, was sent as general
against the Egyptians, and defeated their king, Neko, reconquered all the
lands bordering on Egypt, and received the submission of Jehoiakim, of
Jerusalem. The death of Nabopolassar recalled his son to Babylon, and his
great reign began B.C. 604.

(M172) It was he who enlarged the capital to so great an extent that he
may almost be said to have built it. It was in the form of a square, on
both banks of the Euphrates, forty-eight miles in circuit, according to
Herodotus, with an area of two hundred square miles—large enough to
support a considerable population by agriculture alone. The walls of this
city, if we accept the testimony of Herodotus, were three hundred and
fifty feet high, and eighty-seven feet thick, and were strengthened by two
hundred and fifty towers, and pierced with one hundred gates of brass. The
river was lined by quays, and the two parts of the city were united by a
stone bridge, at each end of which was a fortified palace. The greatest
work of the royal architect was the new palace, with the adjoining hanging
garden—a series of terraces to resemble hills, to please his Median queen.
This palace, with the garden, was eight miles in circumference, and
splendidly decorated with statues of men and animals. Here the mighty
monarch, after his great military expeditions, solaced himself, and
dreamed of omnipotence, until a sudden stroke of madness—that form which
causes a man to mistake himself for a brute animal—sent him from his
luxurious halls into the gardens he had planted. His madness lasted seven
years, and he died, after a reign of forty-three years, B.C. 561, and
Evil-Merodach, his son, reigned in his stead.

(M173) He was put to death two years after, for lawlessness and
intemperance, and was succeeded by his brother-in-law and murderer,
Neriglissar. So rapid was the decline of the monarchy, that after a few
brief reigns Babylon was entered by the army of Cyrus, and the last king,
Bil-shar-utzur, or Bilshassar, associated with his father Nabonadius, was
slain, B.C. 538. Thus ended the Chaldean monarchy, seventeen hundred and
ninety-six years after the building of Babel by Nimrod, according to the
chronology it is most convenient to assume.

                               CHAPTER IX.


(M174) The third of the great Oriental monarchies brought in contact with
the Jews was that of the Medes and Persians, which arose on the
dissolution of the Assyrian and Babylonian empires. The nations we have
hitherto alluded to were either Hamite or Shemite. But our attention is
now directed to a different race, the descendants of Japhet. Madai, the
third son of Japhet, was the progenitor of the Medes, whose territory
extended from the Caspian Sea on the north, to the mountains of Persia on
the south, and from the highlands of Armenia and the chain of Tagros on
the west, to the great desert of Iran on the east. It comprised a great
variety of climate, and was intersected by mountains whose valleys were
fruitful in corn and fruits. “The finest part of the country is an
elevated region inclosed by the offshoots of the Armenian mountains, and
surrounding the basin of the great lake Urumizu, four thousand two hundred
feet above the sea, and the valleys of the ancient Mardus and the Araxes,
the northern boundary of the land. In this mountain region stands Tabris,
the delightful summer seat of the modern Persian shahs. The slopes of the
Tagros furnish excellent pasture; and here were reared the famous horses
which the ancients called Nisæan. The eastern districts are flat and
pestilential, where they sink down to the shores of the Caspian Sea;
rugged and sterile where they adjoin the desert of Iran.” The people who
inhabited this country were hardy and bold, and were remarkable for their
horsemanship. They were the greatest warriors of the ancient world, until
the time of the Greeks. They were called Aryans by Herodotus. They had
spread over the highlands of Western Asia in the primeval ages, and formed
various tribes. The first notice of this Aryan (or Arian) race, appears in
the inscriptions on the black obelisk of Nimrod, B.C. 880, from which it
would appear that this was about the period of the immigration into Media,
and they were then exposed to the aggressions of the Assyrians. “The first
king who menaced their independence was the monarch whose victories are
recorded on the black obelisk in the British Museum.” He made a raid into,
rather than a conquest of, the Median country. Sargon, the third monarch
of the Lower Empire, effected something like a conquest, and peopled the
cities which he founded with Jewish captives from Samaria, B.C. 710. Media
thus became the most eastern province of his empire, but the conquest of
it was doubtless incomplete. The Median princes paid tribute to the kings
of Nineveh, or withheld it, according to their circumstances.

(M175) According to Ctesias, the Median monarchy commenced B.C. 875; but
Herodotus, with greater probable accuracy, places the beginning of it B.C.
708. The revolt of Media from Assyria was followed by the election of
Deioces, who reigned fifty-three years. The history of this king is drawn
through Grecian sources, and can not much be depended upon. According to
the legends, the seven tribes of the Medes, scattered over separate
villages, suffered all the evils of anarchy, till the reputation of
Deioces made him the arbiter of their disputes. He then retired into
private life; anarchy returned, a king was called for, and Deioces was
elected. He organized a despotic power, which had its central seat in
Ecbatana, which he made his capital, built upon a hill, on the summit of
which was the royal palace, where the king reigned in seclusion,
transacting all business through spies, informers, petitions, and decrees.
Such is the account which Rawlinson gives, and which Smith follows.

(M176) The great Median kingdom really began with Cyaxares, about the year
B.C. 633, when the Assyrian empire was waning. He emerges from the
obscurity like Attila and Gengis Khan, and other eastern conquerors, at
the head of irresistible hordes, sweeps all away before him, and builds up
an enormous power. This period was distinguished by a great movement among
the Turanian races (Cimmerians), living north of the Danube, which,
according to Herodotus, made a great irruption into Asia Minor, where some
of the tribes effected a permanent settlement; while the Scythians, from
Central Asia, overran Media, crossed the Zagros mountains, entered
Mesopotamia, passed through Syria to Egypt, and held the dominion of
Western Asia, till expelled by Cyaxares. He only established his new
kingdom after a severe conflict between the Scythian and Aryan races,
which had hitherto shared the possession of the tablelands of Media.

(M177) From age to age the Turanian races have pressed forward to occupy
the South, and it was one of these great movements which Cyaxares opposed,
and opposed successfully—the first recorded in history. These nomads of
Tartary, or Scythian tribes, which overran Western Asia in the seventh
century before Christ, under the new names of Huns, Avari, Bulgarians,
Magyars, Turks, Mongols, devastated Europe and Asia for fifteen successive
centuries. They have been the scourge of the race, and they commenced
their incursions before Grecian history begins.

(M178) Learning from these Scythian invaders many arts, not before
practiced in war, such as archery and cavalry movements, Cyaxares was
prepared to extend his empire to the west over Armenia and Asia Minor, as
far as the river Halys. He made war in Lydia with the father of Crœsus.
But before these conquests were made, he probably captured Nineveh and
destroyed it, B.C. 625. He was here assisted by the whole force of the
Babylonians, under Nabopolassar, an old general of the Assyrians, but who
had rebelled. In reward he obtained for his son, Nebuchadnezzar, the hand
of the daughter of Cyaxares. The last of the Assyrian monarchs, whom the
Greeks have called Sardanapalus, burned himself in his palace rather than
fall into the hands of the Median conqueror.

(M179) The fall of Nineveh led to the independence of Babylon, and its
wonderful growth, and also to the conquests of the Medes as far as Lydia
to the west. The war with Lydia lasted six years, and was carried on with
various success, until peace was restored by the mediation of a Babylonian
prince. The reason that peace was made was an eclipse of the sun, which
happened in the midst of a great battle, which struck both armies with
superstitious fears. On the conclusion of peace, the son of the Median
king, Astyages, married the daughter of the Lydian monarch, Alyattes, and
an alliance was formed between Media and Lydia.

(M180) At this time Lydia comprised nearly all of Asia Minor, west of the
Halys. The early history of this country is involved in obscurity. The
dynasty on the throne, when invaded by the Medes, was founded by Gyges,
B.C. 724, who began those aggressions on the Grecian colonies which were
consummated by Crœsus. Under the reign of Ardys, his successor, Asia Minor
was devastated by the Cimmerians, a people who came from the regions north
of the Black Sea, between the Danube and the Sea of Azov, being driven
away by an inundation of Scythians, like that which afterward desolated
Media. These Cimmerians, having burned the great temple of Diana, at
Ephesus, and destroyed the capital city of Sardis, were expelled from
Lydia by Alyattes, the monarch against whom Cyaxares had made war.

(M181) Cyaxares reigned forty years, and was succeeded by Astyages, B.C.
593, whose history is a total blank, till near the close of his long reign
of thirty-five years, when the Persians under Cyrus arose to power. He
seems to have resigned himself to the ordinary condition of Oriental
kings—to effeminacy and luxury—brought about by the prosperity which he
inherited. He was contemporary with Crœsus, the famous king of Lydia,
whose life has been invested with so much romantic interest by
Herodotus—the first of the Asiatic kings who commenced hostile aggression
on the Greeks. After making himself master of all the Greek States of Asia
Minor, he combated a power which was destined to overturn the older
monarchies of the East—that of the Persians—a race closely connected with
the Medes in race, language, and religion.

(M182) The Persians first appear in history as a hardy, warlike people,
simple in manners and scornful of luxury. They were uncultivated in art
and science, but possessed great wit, and a poetical imagination. They
lived in the mountainous region on the southwest of Iran, where the great
plain descends to the Persian Gulf. The sea-coast is hot and arid, as well
as the eastern region where the mountains pass into the table-land of
Iran. Between these tracts, resembling the Arabian desert, lie the high
lands at the extremity of the Zagros chain. These rugged regions, rich in
fruitful valleys, are favorable to the cultivation of corn, of the grape,
and fruits, and afford excellent pasturage for flocks. In the northern
part is the beautiful plain of Shiraz, which forms the favorite residence
of the modern shahs. In the valley of Bend-amir was the old capital of
Persepolis, whose ruins attest the magnificent palaces of Darius and
Xerxes. Persia proper was a small country, three hundred miles from north
to south, and two hundred and eighty from east to west, inhabited by an
Aryan race, who brought with them, from the country beyond the Indus, a
distinctive religion, language, and political institutions. Their language
was closely connected with the Aryan dialects of India, and the tongues of
modern Europe. Hence the Persians were noble types of the great
Indo-European family, whose civilization has spread throughout the world.
Their religion was the least corrupted of the ancient races, and was
marked by a keen desire to arrive at truth, and entered, in the time of
the Gnostics, into the speculations of the Christian fathers, of whom
Origen was the type. Their teachers were the Magi, a wise and learned
caste, some of whom came to Jerusalem in the time of Herod, guided by the
star in the East, to institute inquiries as to the birth of Christ. They
attempted to solve the mysteries of creation, but their elemental
principle of religion was worship of all the elements, especially of fire.
But the Persians also believed in the two principles of good and evil,
which were called the principle of dualism, and which they brought from
India. It is thought by Rawlinson that the Persians differed in their
religion from the primeval people of India, whose Vedas, or sacred books,
were based on monotheism, in its spiritual and personal form, and that,
for the heresy of “dualism,” they were compelled to migrate to the West.
The Medes, with whom they subsequently became associated, were inclined to
the old elemental worship of nature, which they learned from the Turanian
or Scythic population.

(M183) The great man among the Persians was Zoroaster—or Zerdusht, born,
probably, B.C. 589. He is immortal, not from his personal history, the
details of which we are ignorant, but from his ideas, which became the
basis of the faith of the Persians. He stamped his mind on the nation, as
Mohammed subsequently did upon Arabia. His central principle was
“dualism”—the two powers of good and evil—the former of which was destined
ultimately to conquer. But with this dualistic creed of the old Persian,
he also blended a reformed Magian worship of the elements, which had
gained a footing among the Chaldean priests, and which originally came
from the Scythic invaders. Magism could not have come from the Semitic
races, whose original religion was theism, like that of Melchisedek and
Abraham; nor from the Japhetic races, or Indo-European, whose worship was
polytheism—that of personal gods under distinct names, like Jupiter, Juno,
and Minerva. The first to yield to this Magism were the Medes, who adopted
the religion of older settlers,—the Scythic tribes, their subjects,—and
which faith superseded the old Aryan religion.

(M184) The Persians, the flower of the Aryan races, were peculiarly
military in all their habits and aspirations. Their nobles, mounted on a
famous breed of horses, composed the finest cavalry in the world. Nor was
their infantry inferior, armed with lances, shields, and bows. Their
military spirit was kept alive by their mountain life and simple habits
and strict discipline.

(M185) Astyages, we have seen, was the last of the Median kings. He
married his daughter, according to Herodotus, to Cambyses, a Persian
noble, preferring him to a higher alliance among the Median princes, in
order that a dream might not be fulfilled that her offspring should
conquer Asia. On the return of the dream he sought to destroy the child
she was about to bear, but it was preserved by a herdsman; and when the
child was ten years of age he was chosen by his playfellows on the
mountains to be their king. As such he caused the son of a noble Median to
be scourged for disobedience, who carried his complaint to Astyages. The
Median monarch finds out his pedigree from the herdsman, and his officer,
Harpagns, to whom he had intrusted the commission for his destruction. He
invites, in suppressed anger, this noble to a feast, at which he serves up
the flesh of his own son. Harpagus, in revenge, conspires with some
discontented nobles, and invites Cyrus, this boy-king, now the bravest of
the youths of his age and country, to a revolt. Cyrus leads his troops
against Astyages, and gains a victory, and also the person of the
sovereign, and his great reign began, B.C. 558.

(M186) The dethronement of Astyages caused a war between Lydia and Persia.
Crœsus hastens to attack the usurper and defend his father-in-law. He
forms a league with Babylonia and Egypt. Thus the three most powerful
monarchs of the world are arrayed against Cyrus, who is prepared to meet
the confederation. Crœsus is defeated, and retreats to his capital,
Sardis; and the next spring, while summoning his allies, is attacked
unexpectedly by Cyrus, and is again defeated. He now retires to Sardia,
which is strongly fortified, and the city is besieged, by the Persians,
and falls after a brief siege. Crœsus himself is spared, and in his
adversity gives wise counsel to his conqueror.

(M187) Cyrus leaves a Lydian in command of the captured city, and departs
for home. A revolt ensues, which leads to a collision between Persia and
the Greek colonies, and the subjection of the Grecian cities by Harpagus,
the general of Cyrus. Then followed the conquest of Asia Minor, which
required several years, and was conducted by the generals of Cyrus. He was
required in Media, to consolidate his power. He then extended his
conquests to the East, and subdued the whole plateau of Iran, to the
mountains which divided it from the Indus. Thus fifteen years of splendid
military successes passed before he laid siege to Babylon, B.C. 538.

(M188) On the fall of that great city Cyrus took up his residence in it,
as the imperial capital of his vast dominion. Here he issued his decree
for the return of the Jews to their ancient territory, and for the
rebuilding of their temple, after seventy years’ captivity. This decree
was dictated by the sound military policy of maintaining the frontier
territory of Palestine against his enemies in Asia Minor, which he knew
the Jews would do their best to preserve, and this policy he carried out
with noble generosity, and returned to the Jews the captured vessels of
silver and gold which Nebuchadnezzar had carried away; and for more than
two centuries Persia had no warmer friends and allies than the obedient
and loyal subjects of Judea.

(M189) Cyrus fell in battle while fighting a tribe of Scythians at the
east of the Caspian Sea, B.C. 529, He was the greatest general that the
Oriental world ever produced, and well may rank with Alexander himself.
His reign of twenty-nine years was one constant succession of wars, in
which he was uniformly successful, and in which success was only equaled
by his magnanimity. His empire extended from the Indus to the Hellespont
and the Syrian coast, far greater than that of either Assyria or

(M190) The result of the Persian conquest on the conquerors themselves was
to produce habits of excessive luxury, a wide and vast departure from
their original mode of life, which enfeebled the empire, and prepared the
way for a rapid decline.

(M191) Cambyses, however, the son and successor of Cyrus, carried out his
policy and conquests. He was, unlike his father, a tyrant and a
sensualist, but possessed considerable military genius. He conquered
Phœnicia, and thus became master of the sea as well as of the land. He
then quarreled with Amasis, the king of Egypt, and subdued his kingdom.

(M192) Like an eastern despot, he had, while in Egypt, in an hour of
madness and caprice, killed his brother, Smerdis. It happened there was a
Magian who bore a striking resemblance to the murdered prince. With the
help of his brother, whom the king had left governor of his household,
this Magian usurped the throne of Persia, while Cambyses was absent, the
death of the true Smerdis having been carefully concealed.

(M193) The news of the usurpation reached Cambyses while returning from an
expedition to Syria. An accidental wound from the point of his sword
proved mortal, B.C. 522. But Cambyses, about to die, called his nobles
around him, and revealed the murder of his brother, and exhorted them to
prevent the kingdom falling into the hands of the Medes. He left no

(M194) The usurper proved a tyrant. A conspiracy of Persians followed,
headed by the descendants of Cyrus; and Darius, the chief of these—the son
of Hystaspes, became king of Persia, after Smerdis had reigned seven
months. But this reign, brief as it was, had restored the old Magian
priests to power, who had, by their magical arts, great popularity with
the people, not only Medes, but Persians.

(M195) Darius restored the temples and the worship which the Magian
priests had overthrown, and established the religion of Zoroaster. The
early years of his reign were disturbed by rebellions in Babylonia and
Media, but these were suppressed, and Darius prosecuted the conquests
which Cyrus had begun. He invaded both India and Scythia, while his
general, Megabazus, subdued Thrace and the Greek cities of the Hellespont.

(M196) The king of Macedonia acknowledged the supremacy of the great
monarch of Asia, and gave the customary present of earth and water. Darius
returned at length to Susa to enjoy the fruit of his victories, and the
pleasures which his great empire afforded. For twenty years his glories
were unparalleled in the East, and his life was tranquil.

(M197) But in the year B.C. 500, a great revolt of the Ionian cities took
place. It was suppressed, at first, but the Atticans, at Marathon,
defeated the Persian warriors, B.C. 490, and the great victory changed the
whole course of Asiatic conquest. Darius made vast preparations for a new
invasion of Greece, but died before they were completed, after a reign of
thirty-six years, B.C. 485, leaving a name greater than that of any
Oriental sovereign, except Cyrus.

(M198) Unfortunately for him and his dynasty, he challenged the spirit of
western liberty, then at its height among the cities of Greece. His
successor, Xerxes, inherited his power, but not his genius, and rashly
provoked Europe by new invasions, while he lived ingloriously in his
seraglio. He was murdered in his palace, the fate of the great tyrants of
eastern monarchies, for in no other way than by the assassin’s dagger
could a change of administration take place—a poor remedy, perhaps, but
not worse than the disease itself. This tyrant was the Ahasuerus of the

(M199) We need not follow the fortunes of the imbecile princes who
succeeded Xerxes, for the Persian monarchy was now degenerate and
weakened, and easily fell under the dominion of Alexander, who finally
overthrew the power of Persia, B.C. 330.

(M200) And this was well. The Persian monarchy was an absolute despotism,
like that of Turkey, and the monarch not only controlled the actions of
his subjects, but was the owner even of their soil. He delegated his power
to satraps, who ruled during his pleasure, but whose rule was disgraced by
every form of extortion—sometimes punished, however, when it became
outrageous and notorious. The satraps, like pashas, were virtually
independent princes, and exercised all the rights of sovereigns so long as
they secured the confidence of the supreme monarch, and regularly remitted
to him the tribute which was imposed. The satrapies were generally given
to members of the royal family, or to great nobles connected with it by
marriage. The monarch governed by no council, and the laws centered in the
principle that the will of the king was supreme. The only check which he
feared was assassination, and he generally spent his life in the
retirement of his seraglio, at Susa, Babylon, or Ecbatana.

The Persian empire was the last of the great monarchies of the Oriental
world, and these flourished for a period of two thousand years. When
nations became wicked or extended over a large territory, the patriarchal
rule of the primitive ages no longer proved an efficient government. Men
must be ruled, however, in some way, and the irresponsible despotism of
the East, over all the different races, Semitic, Hamite, and Japhetic, was
the government which Providence provided, in a state of general rudeness,
or pastoral simplicity, or oligarchal usurpations. The last great monarchy
was the best; it was that which was exercised by the descendants of
Japhet, according to the prediction that he should dwell in the tents of
Shem, and Canaan should be his servant.

Before we follow the progress of the descendants of Japhet in Greece,
among whom a new civilization arose, designed to improve the condition of
society by the free agency displayed in art, science, literature, and
government—the rise, in short, of free institutions—we will glance at the
nations in Asia Minor which were brought in contact with the powers we
have so briefly considered.

                                CHAPTER X.


(M201) Concerning the original inhabitants of Asia Minor our information
is very scanty. The works of Strabo shed an indefinite light, and the
author of the Iliad seems to have been but imperfectly acquainted with
either the geography or the people of that extensive country. According to
Herodotus, the river Halys was the most important geographical limit; nor
does he mention the great chain of Taurus, which begins from the southern
coast of Lycia, and strikes northeastward as far as Armenia—the most
important boundary line in the time of the Romans. Northward of Mount
Taurus, on the upper portion of the river Halys, was situated the spacious
plain of Asia Minor. The northeast and south of this plain was
mountainous, and was bounded by the Euxine, the Ægean, and the Pamphylian
seas. The northwestern part included the mountainous region of Ida,
Temnus, and Olympus. The peninsula was fruitful in grains, wine, fruit,
cattle, and oil.

(M202) Along the western shores of this great peninsula were Pelasgians,
Mysians, Bythinians, Phrygians, Lydians, and other nations, before the
Greeks established their colonies. Further eastward were Lycians,
Pisidians, Phrygians, Cappadocians, Paphlagonians, and others. The
Phrygians, Mysians, and Teucrians were on the northwest. These various
nations were not formed into large kingdoms or confederacies, nor even
into large cities, but were inconsiderable tribes, that presented no
formidable resistance to external enemies. The most powerful people were
the Lydians, whose capital was Sardis, who were ruled by Gyges, 700 B.C.
This monarchy extinguished the independence of the Greek cities on the
coast, without impeding their development in wealth and civilization. All
the nations west of the river Halys were kindred in language and habits.
East of the Halys dwelt Semitic races, Assyrians, Syrians, Cappadocians,
and Cilicians. Along the coast of the Euxine dwelt Bythinians,
Marandynians, and Paphlagonians—branches of the Thracian race. Along the
southern coast of the Propontis were the Doliones and Pelasgians. In the
region of Mount Ida were the Teucrians and Mysians. All these races had a
certain affinity with the Thracians, and all modified the institutions of
the Greeks who settled on the coast for purposes of traffic or
colonization. The music of the Greeks was borrowed from the Phrygians and
Lydians. The flute is known to have been invented, or used by the
Phrygians, and from them to have passed to Greek composers.

(M203) The ancient Phrygians were celebrated chiefly for their flocks and
agricultural produce, while the Lydians, dwelling in cities, possessed
much gold and and silver. But there are few great historical facts
connected with either nation. There is an interesting legend connected
with the Phrygian town of Gordium. The primitive king, Gordius, was
originally a poor husbandman, upon the yoke of whose team, as he tilled
the field, an eagle perched. He consulted the augurs to explain the
curious portent, and was told that the kingdom was destined for his
family. His son was Midas, offspring of a maiden of prophetic family. Soon
after, dissensions breaking out among the Phrygians, they were directed by
an oracle to choose a king, whom they should first see approaching in a
wagon. Gordius and his son Midas were the first they saw approaching the
town, and the crown was conferred upon them. The wagon was consecrated,
and became celebrated for a knot which no one could untie. Whosoever
should untie that knot was promised the kingdom of Asia. It remained
untied until Alexander the Great cut it with his sword.

(M204) The Lydians became celebrated for their music, of which the chief
instruments were the flute and the harp. Their capital, Sardis, was
situated on a precipitous rock, and was deemed impregnable. Among their
kings was Crœsus, whose great wealth was derived from the gold found in
the sands of the river Pactolus, which flowed toward the Hermus from Mount
Tmolus, and also from the industry of his subjects. They were the first on
record to coin gold and silver. The antiquity of the Lydian monarchy is
very great, and was traced to Heracles. The Heracleid dynasty lasted five
hundred and five years, and ended with Myrsus, or Kandaules. His wife was
of exceeding beauty, and the vanity of her husband led him to expose her
person to Gyges, commander of his guard. The affronted wife, in revenge,
caused her husband to be assassinated, and married Gyges. A strong party
opposed his ascent to the throne, and a civil war ensued, which was
terminated by a consultation of the oracle, which decided in favor of
Gyges, the first historical king of Lydia, about the year 715 B.C.

(M205) With this king commenced the aggressions from Sardis on the Asiatic
Greeks, which ended in their subjection. How far the Lydian kingdom of
Sardis extended during the reign of Gyges is not known, but probably over
the whole Troad, to Abydus, on the Hellespont. Gyges reigned thirty-eight
years, and was succeeded by his son Ardys, during whose reign was an
extensive invasion of the Cimmerians, and a collision between the
inhabitants of Lydia and those of Upper Asia, under the Median kings, who
first acquired importance about the year 656 B.C. under a king called, by
the Greeks, Phraortes, son of Deioces, who built the city of Ecbatana.

(M206) Phraortes greatly extended the empire of the Medes, and conquered
the Persians, but was defeated and slain by the Assyrians of Nineveh. His
son, Cyaxares (636-595 B.C.) continued the Median conquests to the river
Halys, which was the boundary between the Lydian and Median kingdoms. A
war between these two powers was terminated by the marriage of the
daughter of the Lydian king with the son of the Median monarch, Cyaxares,
who shortly after laid siege to Nineveh, but was obliged to desist by a
sudden inroad of Scythians.

(M207) This inroad of the Scythians in Media took place about the same
time that the Cimmerians invaded Lydia, a nomad race which probably
inhabited the Tauric Chersonessus (Crimea), and had once before desolated
Asia Minor before the time of Homer. The Cimmerians may have been urged
forward into Asia Minor by an invasion of the Scythians themselves, a
nomadic people who neither planted nor reaped, but lived on food derived
from animals—prototypes of the Huns, and also progenitors—a formidable
race of barbarians, in the northern section of Central Asia, east of the
Caspian Sea. The Cimmerians fled before this more warlike race, abandoned
their country on the northern coast of the Euxine, and invaded Asia Minor.
They occupied Sardis, and threatened Ephesus, and finally were overwhelmed
in the mountainous regions of Cilicia. Some, however, effected a
settlement in the territory where the Greek city of Sinope was afterward

(M208) Ardys was succeeded by his son Tadyattes, who reigned twelve years;
and his son and successor, Alyattes, expelled the Cimmerians from Asia
Minor. But the Scythians, who invaded Media, defeated the king, Cyaxares,
and became masters of the country, and spread as far as Palestine, and
enjoyed their dominion twenty-eight years, until they were finally driven
away by Cyaxares. These nomadic tribes from Tartary were the precursors of
Huns, Avars, Bulgarians, Magyars, Turks, Mongols, and Tartars, who, at
different periods, invaded the civilized portions of Asia and Europe, and
established a dominion more or less durable.

(M209) Cyaxares, after the expulsion of the Scythians, took Nineveh, and
reduced the Assyrian empire, while Alyattes, the king of Lydia, after the
Cimmerians were subdued, made war on the Greet city of Miletus, and
reduced the Milesians to great distress, and also took Smyrna. He reigned
fifty-seven years with great prosperity, and transmitted his kingdom to
Crœsus, his son by an Ionian wife. His tomb was one of the architectural
wonders of that day, and only surpassed by the edifices of Egypt and

(M210) Crœsus made war on the Asiatic Greeks, and as the twelve Ionian
cities did not co-operate with any effect, they were subdued. He extended
his conquests over Asia Minor, until he had conquered the Phrygians,
Mysians, and other nations, and created a great empire, of which Sardia
was the capital. The treasures lie amassed exceeded any thing before known
to the Greeks, though inferior to the treasures accumulated at Susa and
other Persian capitals when Alexander conquered the East.

But the Lydian monarchy under Crœsus was soon absorbed in the Persian
empire, together with the cities of the Ionian Greeks, as has been

(M211) But there was another power intimately connected with the kingdom
of Judea,—the Phœnician, which furnished Solomon artists and timber for
his famous temple. We close this chapter with a brief notice of the
greatest merchants of the ancient world, the Phœnicians.

(M212) They belonged, as well as the Assyrians, to the Semitic or
Syro-Arabian family, comprising, besides, the Syrians, Jews, Arabians, and
in part the Abyssinians. They were at a very early period a trading and
mercantile nation, and the variegated robes and golden ornaments
fabricated at Sidon were prized by the Homeric heroes. They habitually
traversed the Ægean Sea, and formed settlements on its islands.

(M213) The Phœnician towns occupied a narrow slip of the coast of Syria
and Palestine, about one hundred and twenty miles in length, and generally
about twenty in breadth—between Mount Libanus and the sea, Aradus was the
northernmost, and Tyre the southernmost city. Between these were situated
Sidon, Berytus, Tripolis, and Byblus. Within this confined territory was
concentrated a greater degree of commercial wealth and enterprise, also of
manufacturing skill, than could be found in the other parts of the world
at the time. Each town was an independent community, having its own
surrounding territory, and political constitution and hereditary prince.
Tyre was a sort of presiding city, having a controlling political power
over the other cities. Mount Libanus, or Lebanon, touched the sea along
the Phœnician coast, and furnished abundant supplies for ship-building.

(M214) The great Phœnician deity was Melkarth, whom the Greeks called
Hercules, to whom a splendid temple was erected at Tyre, coeval, perhaps,
with the foundation of the city two thousand three hundred years before
the time of Herodotus. In the year 700 B.C., the Phœnicians seemed to have
reached their culminating power, and they had colonies in Africa, Sicily,
Sardinia, and Spain. Carthage, Utica, and Gades were all flourishing
cities before the first Olympiad. The commerce of the Phœnicians extended
through the Red Sea and the coast of Arabia in the time of Solomon. They
furnished the Egyptians, Assyrians, and Persians with the varied
productions of other countries at a very remote period.

(M215) The most ancient colonies were Utica and Carthage, built in what is
now called the gulf of Tunis; and Cades, now Cadiz, was prosperous one
thousand years before the Christian era. The enterprising mariners of Tyre
coasted beyond the pillars of Hercules without ever losing sight of land.
The extreme productiveness of the southern region of Spain in the precious
metals tempted the merchants to that distant country. But Carthage was by
far the most important centre for Tyrian trade, and became the mistress of
a large number of dependent cities.

When Psammetichus relaxed the jealous exclusion of ships from the mouth of
the Nile, the incitements to traffic were greatly increased, and the
Phœnicians, as well as Ionian merchants, visited Egypt. But the Phœnicians
were jealous of rivals in profitable commerce, and concealed their tracks,
and magnified the dangers of the sea. About the year 600 B.C., they had
circumnavigated Africa, starting from the Red Sea, and going round the
Cape of Good Hope to Gades, and from thence returning by the Nile.

(M216) It would seem that Nechos, king of Egypt, anxious to procure a
water communication between the Red Sea and the Mediterranean, began
digging a canal from one to the other. In the prosecution of this project
he dispatched Phœnicians on an experimental voyage round Libya, which was
accomplished, in three years. The mariners landed in the autumn, and
remained long enough to plant corn and raise a crop for their supplies.
They reached Egypt through the Straits of Gibraltar, and recounted a tale,
which, says Herodotus, “others may believe it if they choose, but I can
not believe, that in sailing round Libya, they had the sun on their right
and—to the north.” In going round Africa they had no occasion to lose
sight of land, and their vessels were amply stored. The voyage, however,
was regarded as desperate and unprofitable, and was not repeated.

Besides the trade which the Phœnicians carried on along the coasts, they
had an extensive commerce in the interior of Asia. But we do not read of
any great characters who arrested the attention of their own age or
succeeding ages, Phœnician history is barren in political changes and
great historical characters, as is that of Carthage till the Roman wars.

(M217) Between the years 700 and 530 B.C., there was a great decline of
Phœnician power, which was succeeded by the rise of the Greek maritime
cities. Nebuchadnezzar reduced the Phœnician cities to the same dependence
that the Ionian cities were reduced by Crœsus and Cyrus. The opening of
the Nile to the Grecian commerce contributed to the decline of Phœnicia.
But to this country the Greeks owed the alphabet and the first standard of
weights and measures.

(M218) Carthage, founded 819 B.C., by Dido, had a flourishing commerce in
the sixth century before Christ, and also commenced, at this time, their
encroachments in Sicily, which led to wars for two hundred and fifty years
with the Greek settlements. It contained, it is said, at one time, seven
hundred thousand people. But a further notice of their great city is
reserved until allusion is made to the Punic wars which the Romans waged
with this powerful State.

                               CHAPTER XI.


(M219) We have seen how the ten tribes were carried captive to Assyria, on
the fall of Samaria, by Shalmanezer, B.C., 721. From that time history
loses sight of the ten tribes, as a distinct people. They were probably
absorbed with the nations among whom they settled, although imagination
has loved to follow them into inaccessible regions where they await their
final restoration. But there are no reliable facts which justify this
conclusion. They may have been the ancestors of the Christian converts
afterward found among the Nestorians. They may have retained in the East,
to a certain extent, some of their old institutions. But nothing is known
with certainty. All is vain conjecture respecting their ultimate fortunes.

(M220) The Jews of the tribes of Judah and Benjamin never entirely
departed from their ancient faith, and their monarchs reigned in regular
succession till the captivity of the family of David. They were not
carried to Babylon for one hundred and twenty-three years after the
dispersion of the ten tribes, B.C. 598.

(M221) During the captivity, the Jews still remained a separate people,
governed by their own law and religion. It is supposed that they were
rather colonists than captives, and were allowed to dwell together in
considerable bodies—that they were not sold as slaves, and by degrees
became possessed of considerable wealth. What region, from time
immemorial, has not witnessed their thrift and their love of money? Well
may a Jew say, as well as a Greek, “_Quæ __ regio in terris nostri non
plena laboris._” Taking the advice of Jeremiah they built houses, planted
gardens, and submitted to their fate, even if they bewailed it “by the
rivers of Babylon,” in such sad contrast to their old mountain homes. They
had the free enjoyment of their religion, and were subjected to no general
and grievous religious persecutions. And some of their noble youth, like
Daniel, were treated with great distinction during the captivity. Daniel
had been transported to Babylon before Jerusalem fell, as a hostage, among
others, of the fidelity of their king. These young men, from the highest
Jewish families, were educated in all the knowledge of the Babylonians, as
Joseph had been in Egyptian wisdom. They were the equals of the Chaldean
priests in knowledge of astronomy, divination, and the interpretation of
dreams. And though these young hostages were maintained at the public
expense, and perhaps in the royal palaces, they remembered their
distressed countrymen, and lived on the simplest fare. It was as an
interpreter of dreams that Daniel maintained his influence in the
Babylonian court. Twice was he summoned by Nebuchadnezzar, and once by
Belshazzar to interpret the handwriting on the wall. And under the Persian
monarch, when Babylon fell, Daniel became a vizier, or satrap, with great
dignity and power.

(M222) When the seventy years’ captivity, which Jeremiah had predicted,
came to an end, the empire of the Medes and Persians was in the hands of
Cyrus, under whose sway he enjoyed the same favor and rank that he did
under Darius, or any of the Babylonian princes. The miraculous deliverance
of this great man from the lion’s den, into which he had been thrown from
the intrigues of his enemies and the unalterable law of the Medes,
resulted in a renewed exaltation. Josephus ascribes to Daniel one of the
noblest and most interesting characters in Jewish history, a great skill
in architecture, and it is to him that the splendid mausoleum at Ecbatana
is attributed. But Daniel, with all his honors, was not corrupted, and it
was probably through his influence, as a grand vizier, that the exiled
Jews obtained from Cyrus the decree which restored them to their beloved

(M223) The number of the returned Jews, under Zerubbabel, a descendant of
the kings of Judah, were forty-two thousand three hundred and sixty men—a
great and joyful caravan—but small in number compared with the Israelites
who departed from Egypt with Moses. On their arrival in their native land,
they were joined by great numbers of the common people who had remained.
They bore with them the sacred vessels of the temple, which Cyrus
generously restored. They arrived in the spring of the year B.C. 536, and
immediately made preparations for the restoration of the temple; not under
those circumstances which enabled Solomon to concentrate the wealth of
Western Asia, but under great discouragements and the pressure of poverty.
The temple was built on the old foundation, but was not completed till the
sixth year of Darius Hystaspes, B.C. 515, and then without the ancient

(M224) It was dedicated with great joy and magnificence, but the sacrifice
of one hundred bullocks, two hundred rams, four hundred lambs, and twelve
goats, formed a sad contrast to the hecatombs which Solomon had offered.

Nothing else of importance marked the history of the dependent,
impoverished, and humiliated Jews, who had returned to the country of
their ancestors during the reign of Darius Hystaspes.

(M225) It was under his successor, Xerxes, he who commanded the Hellespont
to be scourged—that mad, luxurious, effeminated monarch, who is called in
Scripture Ahasuerus,—that Mordecai figured in the court of Persia, and
Esther was exalted to the throne itself. It was in the seventh year of his
reign that this inglorious king returned, discomfited, from the invasion
of Greece. Abandoning himself to the pleasures of his harem, he marries
the Jewess maiden, who is the instrument, under Providence, of averting
the greatest calamity with which the Jews were ever threatened. Haman, a
descendant of the Amalekitish kings, is the favorite minister and grand
vizier of the Persian monarch. Offended with Mordecai, his rival in
imperial favor, the cousin of the queen, he intrigues for the wholesale
slaughter of the Jews wherever they were to be found, promising the king
ten thousand talents of silver from the confiscation of Jewish property,
and which the king needed, impoverished by his unsuccessful expedition
into Greece. He thus obtains a decree from Ahasuerus for the general
massacre of the Jewish nation, in all the provinces of the empire, of
which Judea was one. The Jews are in the utmost consternation, and look to
Mordecai. His hope is based on Esther, the queen, who might soften, by her
fascinations, the heart of the king. She assumes the responsibility of
saving her nation at the peril of her own life—a deed of not extraordinary
self-devotion, but requiring extraordinary tact. What anxiety must have
pressed the soul of that Jewish woman in the task she undertook! What a
responsibility on her unaided shoulders? But she dissembles her grief, her
fear, her anxiety, and appears before the king radiant in beauty and
loveliness. The golden sceptre is extended to her by her weak and cruel
husband, though arrayed in the pomp and power of an Oriental monarch,
before whom all bent the knee, and to whom, even in his folly, he appears
as demigod. She does not venture to tell the king her wishes. The stake is
too great. She merely invites him to a grand banquet, with his minister
Haman. Both king and minister are ensnared by the cautious queen, and the
result is the disgrace of Haman, the elevation of Mordecai, and the
deliverance of the Jews from the fatal sentence—not a perfect deliverance,
for the decree could not be changed, but the Jews were warned and allowed
to defend themselves, and they slew seventy-five thousand of their
enemies. The act of vengeance was followed by the execution of the ten
sons of Haman, and Mordecai became the real governor of Persia. We see in
this story the caprice which governed the actions, in general, of Oriental
kings, and their own slavery to their favorite wives. The charms of a
woman effect, for evil or good, what conscience, and reason, and policy,
and wisdom united can not do. Esther is justly a favorite with the
Christian and Jewish world; but Vashti, the proud queen who, with true
woman’s dignity, refuses to grace with her presence the saturnalia of an
intoxicated monarch, is also entitled to our esteem, although she paid the
penalty of disobedience; and the foolish edict which the king promulgated,
that all women should implicitly obey their husbands, seems to indicate
that unconditional obedience was not the custom of the Persian women.

(M226) The reign of Artaxerxes, the successor of Xerxes, was favorable to
the Jews, for Judea was a province of the Persian empire. In the seventh
year of his reign, B.C. 458, a new migration of Jews from Babylonia took
place, headed by Ezra, a man of high rank at the Persian court. He was
empowered to make a collection among the Jews of Babylonia for the
adornment of the temple, and he came to Jerusalem laden with treasures. He
was, however, affected by the sight of a custom which had grown up, of
intermarriage of the Jews with adjacent tribes. He succeeded in causing
the foreign wives to be repudiated, and the old laws to be enforced which
separated the Jews from all other nations. And it is probably this stern
law, which prevents the Jews from marriage with foreigners, that has
preserved their nationality, in all their wanderings and misfortunes, more
than any other one cause.

(M227) A renewed commission granted to Nehemiah, B.C. 445, resulted in a
fresh immigration of Jews to Palestine, in spite of all the opposition
which the Samaritan and other nations made. Nehemiah was cup-bearer to the
Persian king, and devoted to the Persian interests. At that time Persia
had suffered a fatal blow at the battle of Cindus, and among the
humiliating articles of peace with the Athenian admiral was the
stipulation that the Persians should not advance within three days’
journey of the sea. Jerusalem being at this distance, was an important
post to hold, and the Persian court saw the wisdom of intrusting its
defense to faithful allies. In spite of all obstacles, Nehemiah succeeded,
in fifty-two days, in restoring the old walls and fortifications; the
whole population, of every rank and order having devoted themselves to the
work. Moreover, contributions for the temple continued to flow into the
treasury of a once opulent, but now impoverished and decimated people.
After providing for the security of the capital and the adornment of the
temple, the leaders of the nation turned their attention to the
compilation of the sacred books and the restoration of religion. Many
important literary works had been lost during their captivity, including
the work of Solomon on national history, and the ancient book of Jasher.
But the books on the law, the historical books, the prophetic writings,
the Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and the Songs of Solomon, were
collected and copied. The law, revised and corrected, was publicly read by
Ezra; the Feast of Tabernacles was celebrated with considerable splendor;
and a renewed covenant was made by the people to keep the law, to observe
the Sabbath, to avoid idolatry, and abstain from intermarriage with
strangers. The Jewish constitution was restored, and Nehemiah, a Persian
satrap in reality, lived in a state of considerable magnificence,
entertaining the chief leaders of the nation, and reforming all disorders.
Jerusalem gradually regained political importance, while the country of
the ten tribes, though filled with people, continued to be the seat of

(M228) On the death of Nehemiah, B.C. 415, the history of the Jews becomes
obscure, and we catch only scattered glimpses of the state of the country,
till the accession of Antiochus Epiphanes, B.C. 175, when the Syrian
monarch had erected a new kingdom on the ruins of the Persian empire. For
more than two centuries, when the Greeks and Romans flourished, Jewish
history is a blank, with here and there some scattered notices and
traditions which Josephus has recorded. The Jews, living in vassalage to
the successors of Alexander during this interval, had become animated by a
martial spirit, and the Maccabaic wars elevated them into sufficient
importance to become allies of Rome—the new conquering power, destined to
subdue the world. During this period the Jewish character assumed the
hard, stubborn, exclusive cast which it has ever since maintained—an
intense hostility to polytheism and all Gentile influences. The Jewish
Scriptures took their present shape, and the Apocryphal books came to
light. The sects of the Jews arose, like Pharisees and Sadducees, and
religious and political parties exhibited an unwonted fierceness and
intolerance. While the Greeks and Romans were absorbed in wars, the Jews
perfected their peculiar economy, and grew again into political
importance. The country, by means of irrigation and cultivation, became
populous and fertile, and poetry and the arts regained their sway. The
people took but little interest in the political convulsions of
neighboring nations, and devoted themselves quietly to the development of
their own resources. The captivity had cured them of war, of idolatry, and
warlike expeditions.

(M229) During this two hundred years of obscurity, but real growth,
unnoticed and unknown by other nations, a new capital had arisen in Egypt;
Alexandria became a great mart of commerce, and the seat of revived
Grecian learning. The sway of the Ptolemaic kings, Grecian in origin, was
favorable to letters, and to arts. The Jews settled in their magnificent
city, translated their Scriptures into Greek, and cultivated the Greek

(M230) Meanwhile the internal government of the Jews fell into the hands
of the high priests—the Persian governors exercising only a general
superintendence. At length the country, once again favored, was subjected
to the invasion of Alexander. After the fall of Tyre, the conqueror
advanced to Gaza, and totally destroyed it. He then approached Jerusalem,
in fealty to Persia. The high priest made no resistance, but went forth in
his pontifical robes, followed by the people in white garments, to meet
the mighty warrior. Alexander, probably encouraged by the prophesies of
Daniel, as explained by the high priest, did no harm to the city or
nation, but offered gifts, and, as tradition asserts, even worshiped the
God of the Jews. On the conquest of Persia, Judea came into the possession
of Laomedon, one of the generals of Alexander, B.C. 321. On his defeat by
Ptolemy, another general, to whom Egypt had fallen as his share, one
hundred thousand Jews were carried captive to Alexandria, where they
settled and learned the Greek language. The country continued to be
convulsed by the wars between the generals of Alexander, and fell into the
hands, alternately, of the Syrian and Egyptian kings—successors of the
generals of the great conqueror.

(M231) On the establishment of the Syro-Grecian kingdom by Seleucus,
Antioch, the capital, became a great city, and the rival of Alexandria.
Syria, no longer a satrapy of Persia, became a powerful monarchy, and
Judea became a prey to the armies of this ambitious State in its warfare
with Egypt, and was alternately the vassal of each—Syria and Egypt. Under
the government of the first three Ptolemies—those enlightened and
magnificent princes, Soter, Philadelphus, and Evergetes, the Jews were
protected, both at home and in Alexandria, and their country enjoyed peace
and prosperity, until the ambition of Antiochus the Great again plunged
the nation in difficulties. He had seized Judea, which was then a province
of the Egyptian kings, but was defeated by Ptolemy Philopator. This
monarch made sumptuous presents to the temple, and even ventured to enter
the sanctuary, but was prevented by the high priest. Although filled with
fear in view of the tumult which this act provoked, he henceforth hated
and persecuted the Jews. Under his successor, Judea was again invaded by
Antiochus, and again was Jerusalem wrested from his grasp by Scopas, the
Egyptian general. Defeated, however, near the source of the Jordan, the
country fell into the hands of Antiochus, who was regarded as a deliverer.
And it continued to be subject to the kings of Syria, until, with
Jerusalem, it suffered calamities scarcely inferior to those inflicted by
the Babylonians.

(M232) It is difficult to trace, with any satisfaction, the internal
government of the Jews during the two hundred years when the chief power
was in the hands of the high priests—this period marked by the wars
between Syria and Egypt, or rather between the successors of the generals
of Alexander. The government of the high priests at Jerusalem was not
exempt from those disgraceful outrages which occasionally have marked all
the governments of the world—whether in the hands of kings, or in an
oligarchy of nobles and priests. Nehemiah had expelled from Jerusalem,
Manasseh, the son of Jehoiada, who succeeded Eliashib in the high
priesthood, on account of his unlawful marriage with a stranger. Manasseh,
invited to Samaria by the father of the woman he had married, became high
priest of the temple on Mount Gerizim, and thus perpetuated the schism
between the two nations. Before the conquests of Alexander, while the
country was under the dominion of Persia, a high priest by the name of
John murdered his brother Jesus within the precincts of the sanctuary,
which crime was punished by the Persian governor, by a heavy fine imposed
upon the whole nation. Jaddua was the high priest in the time of
Alexander, and by his dignity and tact won over the conqueror of Asia.
Onias succeeded Jaddua, and ruled for twenty-one years, and he was
succeeded by Simon the Just, a pontiff on whose administration Jewish
tradition dwells with delight. Simon was succeeded by his uncles, Eleazar
and Manasseh, and they by Onias II., son of Simon, through whose
misconduct, or indolence, in omitting the customary tribute to the
Egyptian king, came near involving the country in fresh
calamities—averted, however, by his nephew Joseph, who pacified the
Egyptian court, and obtained the former generalship of the revenues of
Judea, Samaria, and Phœnicia, which he enjoyed to the time of Antiochus
the Great. Onias II. was succeeded by his son Simon, under whose
pontificate the Egyptian monarch was prevented from entering the temple,
and he by Onias III., under whose rule a feud took place with the sons of
Joseph, disgraced by murders, which called for the interposition of the
Syrian king, who then possessed Judea. Joshua, or Jason, by bribery,
obtained the pontificate, but he allowed the temple worship to fall into
disuse, and was even alienated from the Jewish faith by his intimacy with
the Syrian court. He was outbidden in his high office by Onias, his
brother, who was disgraced by savage passions, and who robbed the temple
of its golden vessels. The people, indignant, rose in a tumult, and slew
his brother, Lysimachus. Meanwhile, Jason, the dispossessed high priest,
recovered his authority, and shut up Onias, or Menelaus, as he called
himself, in a castle. This was interpreted by Antiochus as an
insurrection, and he visited on Jerusalem a terrible penalty—slaughtering
forty thousand of the people, and seizing as many more for slaves. He then
abolished the temple services, seized all the sacred vessels, collected
spoil to the amount of eighteen hundred talents, defiled the altar by the
sacrifice of a sow, and suppressed every sign of Jewish independence. He
meditated the complete extirpation of the Jewish religion, dismantled the
capitol, harassed the country people, and inflicted unprecedented
barbarities. The temple itself was dedicated to Jupiter Olympius, and the
reluctant and miserable Jews were forced to join in all the rites of pagan
worship, including the bacchanalia, which mocked the virtue of the older

(M233) From this degradation and slavery the Jews were rescued by a line
of heroes whom God raised up—the Asmoneans, or Maccabees. The head of this
heroic family was Mattathias, a man of priestly origin, living in the town
of Modin, commanding a view of the sea—an old man of wealth and influence
who refused to depart from the faith of his fathers, while most of the
nation had relapsed into the paganism of the Greeks. He slew with his own
hand an apostate Jew, who offered sacrifice to a pagan deity, and then
killed the royal commissioner, Apelles, whom Antiochus had sent to enforce
his edicts. The heroic old man, who resembled William Tell, in his mission
and character, summoned his countrymen, who adhered to the old faith, and
intrenched himself in the mountains, and headed a vigorous revolt against
the Syrian power, even fighting on the Sabbath day. The ranks of the
insurrectionists were gradually filled with those who were still zealous
for the law, or inspired with patriotic desires for independence.
Mattathias was prospered, making successful raids from his mountain
fastnesses, destroying heathen altars, and punishing apostate Jews. Two
sects joined his standard with peculiar ardor—the Zadikim, who observed
the written law of Moses, from whom the Sadducees of later times sprang,
and the more zealous and austere Chasidim, who added to the law the
traditions of the elders, from whom the Pharisees came.

Old men are ill suited to conduct military expeditions when great fatigue
and privation are required, and the aged Mattathias sank under the weight
which he had so nobly supported, and bequeathed his power to Judas, the
most valiant of his sons.

(M234) This remarkable man, scarcely inferior to Joshua and David in
military genius and heroic qualities, added prudence and discretion to
personal bravery. When his followers had gained experience and courage by
various gallant adventures, he led them openly against his enemies. The
governor of Samaria, Apollonius, was the first whom he encountered, and
whom he routed and slew. Seron, the deputy governor of Cœlesyria, sought
to redeem the disgrace of the Syrian arms; but he also was defeated at the
pass of Bethoron. At the urgent solicitation of Philip, governor of
Jerusalem, Antiochus then sent a strong force of forty thousand foot and
seven thousand horse to subdue the insurgents, under the command of
Ptolemy Macron. Judas, to resist these forces, had six thousand men; but
he relied on the God of Israel, as his fathers had done in the early ages
of Jewish history, and in a sudden attack he totally routed a large
detachment of the main army, under Gorgias, and spoiled their camp. He
then defeated another force beyond the Jordan, and the general fled in the
disguise of a slave, to Antioch. Thus closed a triumphant campaign.

(M235) The next year, Lysias, the lieutenant-general of Antiochus, invaded
Judea with a large force of sixty-five thousand men. Judas met it with ten
thousand, and gained a brilliant victory, which proved decisive, and which
led to the re-establishment of the Jewish power at Jerusalem. Judas
fortified the city and the temple, and assumed the offensive, and
recovered, one after another, the cities which had fallen under the
dominion of Syria. In the mean time, Antiochus, the bitterest enemy which
the Jews ever had, died miserably in Persia—the most powerful of all the
Syrian kings.

(M236) On the accession of Antiochus Eupater, Lysias again attempted the
subjugation of Judea, This time he advanced with one hundred thousand
foot, twenty thousand horse, and thirty-two elephants. But this large
force wasted away in an unsuccessful attack on Jerusalem, harassed by the
soldiers of the Maccabees. A treaty of peace was concluded, by which full
liberty of worship was granted to the Jews, with permission to be ruled by
their own laws.

(M237) Demetrius, the lawful heir of Antiochus the Great, had been
detained at Rome as a hostage, in consequence of which Antiochus Eupater
had usurped his throne. Escaping from Rome, he overpowered his enemies and
recovered his kingdom. But he was even more hostile to the Jews than his
predecessor, and succeeded in imposing a high priest on the nation
friendly to his interests. His cruelties and crimes once more aroused the
Jews to resistance, and Judas gained another decisive victory, and
Nicanor, the Syrian general, was slain.

(M238) Judas then adopted a policy which was pregnant with important
consequences. He formed a league with the Romans, then bent on the
conquest of the East. The Roman senate readily entered into a coalition
with the weaker State, in accordance with its uniform custom of protecting
those whom they ultimately absorbed in their vast empire: but scarcely was
the treaty ratified when the gallant Judas died, leaving the defense of
his country to his brothers, B.C. 161.

(M239) Jonathan, on whom the leadership fell, found the forces under his
control disheartened by the tyranny of the high priest, Alcimus, whom the
nation had accepted. Leagued with Bacchides, the Syrian general, the high
priest had every thing his own way, until Jonathan, emerging from his
retreat, delivered his countrymen once again, and another peace was made.
Several years then passed in tranquillity, Jonathan being master of Judea.
A revolution in Syria added to his power, and his brother Simon was made
captain-general of all the country from Tyre to Egypt. Jonathan,
unfortunately, was taken in siege, and the leadership of the nation
devolved upon Simon, the last of this heroic family. He ruled with great
wisdom, consolidated his power, strengthened his alliance with Rome,
repaired Jerusalem, and restored the peace of the country. He was, on a
present of one thousand pounds of gold to the Romans, decreed to be prince
of Judea, and taken under the protection of his powerful ally. But the
peace with Syria, from the new complications to which that kingdom was
subjected from rival aspirants to the throne, was broken in the old age of
Simon, and he was treacherously murdered, with his oldest son, Judas, at a
banquet in Jerusalem. The youngest son, John Hyrcanus, inherited the vigor
of his family, and was declared high priest, and sought to revenge the
murder of his father and brother. Still, a Syrian army overran the
country, and John Hyrcanus, shut up in Jerusalem, was reduced to great
extremities. A peace was finally made between him and the Syrian monarch,
Antiochus, by which Judea submitted to vassalage to the king of Syria. An
unfortunate expedition of Antiochus into Parthia enabled Hyrcanus once
again to throw off the Syrian yoke, and Judea regained its independence,
which it maintained until compelled to acknowledge the Roman power.
Hyrcanus was prospered in his reign, and destroyed the rival temple on
Mount Gerizim, while the temple of Jerusalem resumed its ancient dignity
and splendor.

(M240) At this period the Jews, who had settled in Alexandria, devoted
themselves to literature and philosophy in that liberal and elegant city,
and were allowed liberty of worship. But they became entangled in the
mazes of Grecian speculation, and lost much of their ancient spirit. By
compliance with the opinions and customs of the Greeks, they reached great
honors and distinction, and even high posts in the army.

(M241) Hyrcanus, supreme in Judea, now reduced Samaria and Idumea, and was
only troubled by the conflicting parties of Pharisees and Sadducees, whose
quarrels agitated the State. He joined the party of the Sadducees, who
asserted free will, and denied the more orthodox doctrines of the
Pharisees, a kind of epicureans, opposed to severities and the authority
of traditions. It is one proof of the advance of the Hebrew mind over the
simplicity of former ages, that the State could be agitated by theological
and philosophical questions, like the States of Greece in their highest

(M242) Hyrcanus reigned twenty-nine years, and was succeeded by his son,
Aristobulus, B.C. 106. His brief and inglorious reign was disgraced by his
starving to death his mother in a dungeon, and imprisoning his three
brothers, and assassinating a fourth, Antigonus, who was a victorious
general. This prince died in an agony of remorse and horror on the spot
where his brother was assassinated.

Alexander Jannaus succeeded to the throne of the Asmonean princes, who
possessed the whole region of Palestine, except the port of Ptolemais, and
the city of Gaza. In an attempt to recover the former he was signally
defeated, and came near losing his throne. He was more successful in his
attack on Gaza, which finally surrendered, after Alexander had incurred
immense losses.

(M243) While this priest-king was celebrating the Feast of Tabernacles, a
meeting, incited by the Pharisaic party, broke out, which resulted in the
slaughter of ten thousand people. While invading the country to the east
of the Jordan, the rebellion was renewed, and the nation, for six years,
suffered all the evils of civil war. Routed in a battle with the Syrian
monarch, whose aid the insurgents had invoked, he was obliged to flee to
the mountains; but recovering his authority, at the head of sixty thousand
men,—which shows the power of Judea at this period,—he marched upon
Jerusalem, and inflicted a terrible vengeance, eight hundred men being
publicly crucified, and eight thousand more forced to abandon the city.
Under his iron sway, the country recovered its political importance, for
his kingdom comprised the greater part of Palestine. He died, after a
turbulent reign of twenty-seven years, B.C. 77, invoking his queen to
throw herself into the arms of the Pharisaic party, which advice she
followed, as it was the most powerful and popular.

(M244) The high priesthood devolved on his eldest son, Hyrcanus II., while
the reins of government were held by his queen, Alexandra. She reigned
vigorously and prosperously for nine years, punishing the murderers of the
eight hundred Pharisees who had been executed.

Hyrcanus was not equal to his task amid the bitterness of party strife.
His brother Aristobulus, belonging to the party of the Sadducees, and who
had taken Damascus, was popular with the people, and compelled his elder
brother to abdicate in his favor, and an end came to Pharisaic rule.

(M245) But now another family appears upon the stage, which ultimately
wrested the crown from the Asmodean princes. Antipater, a noble Idumean,
was the chief minister of the feeble Hyrcanus. He incited, from motives of
ambition, the deposed prince to reassert his rights, and influenced by his
counsels, he fled to Aretas, the king of Arabia, whose capital, Petra, had
become a great commercial emporium. Aretas, Antipater, and Hyrcanus,
marched with an army of fifty thousand men against Aristobulus, who was
defeated, and fled to Jerusalem.

(M246) At this time Pompey was pursuing his career of conquests in the
East, and both parties invoked his interference, and both offered enormous
bribes. This powerful Roman was then at Damascus, receiving the homage and
tribute of Oriental kings. The Egyptian monarch sent as a present a crown
worth four thousand pieces of gold. Aristobulus, in command of the riches
of the temple, sent a golden vine worth five hundred talents. Pompey,
intent on the conquest of Arabia, made no decision; but, having succeeded
in his object, assumed a tone of haughtiness irreconcilable with the
independence of Judea. Aristobulus, patriotic yet vacillating,—“too
high-minded to yield, too weak to resist,”—fled to Jerusalem and prepared
for resistance.

(M247) Pompey approached the capital, weakened by those everlasting
divisions to which the latter Jews were subjected by the zeal of their
religious disputes. The city fell, after a brave defense of three months,
and might not have fallen had the Jews been willing to abate from the
rigid observance of the Sabbath, during which the Romans prepared for
assault. Pompey demolished the fortifications of the city, and exacted
tribute, but spared the treasures of the temple which he profaned by his
heathen presence. He nominated Hyrcanus to the priesthood, but withheld
the royal diadem, and limited the dominions of Hyrcanus to Judea. He took
Aristobulus to Rome to grace his triumph.

(M248) But he contrived to escape, and, with his son Alexander, again
renewed the civil strife; but taken prisoner, he was again sent as a
captive to the “eternal city.” Gabinius, the Roman general—for Hyrcanus
had invoked the aid of the Romans—now deprived the high priest of the
royal authority, and reorganized the whole government of Judea;
establishing five independent Sanhedrims in the principal cities, after
the form of the great Sanhedrim, which had existed since the captivity.
This form lasted until Julius Cæsar reinvested Hyrcanus with the supreme

(M249) Jerusalem was now exposed to the rapacity of the Roman generals who
really governed the country. Crassus plundered all that Pompey spared. He
took from the temple ten thousand talents—about ten million dollars when
gold and silver had vastly greater value than in our times. These vast
sums had been accumulated from the contributions of Jews scattered over
the world—some of whom were immensely wealthy.

(M250) Aristobulus and his son Alexander were assassinated during the
great civil war between the partisans of Cæsar and Pompey. After the fall
of the latter. Cæsar confirmed Hyrcanus in the high priesthood, and
allowed him to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. But Antipater, presuming on
the incapacity of Hyrcanus, renewed his ambitious intrigues, and contrived
to make his son, Phasael, governor of Jerusalem, and Herod, a second son,
governor of Galilee.

(M251) Herod developed great talents, and waited for his time. After the
battle of Philippi Herod made acceptable offerings to the conquering
party, and received the crown of Judea, which had been recently ravaged by
the Parthians, through the intrigues of Antigonas, the surviving son of
Aristobulus. By his marriage with Mariamne, of the royal line of the
Asmoneans, he cemented the power he had won by the sword and the favor of
Rome. He was the last of the independent sovereigns of Palestine. He
reigned tyrannically, and was guilty of great crimes, having caused the
death of the aged Hyrcanus, and the imprisonment and execution of his wife
on a foul suspicion. He paid the same court to Augustus that he did to
Antony, and was confirmed in the possession of his kingdom. The last of
the line of the Asmonæans had perished on the scaffold, beautiful,
innocent, and proud, the object of a boundless passion to a tyrant who
sacrificed her to a still greater one—suspicion. Alternating between his
love and resentment, Herod sank into a violent fit of remorse, for he had
more or less concern in the murder of the father, the grandfather, the
brother, and the uncle of his beautiful and imperious wife. At all times,
even amid the glories of his palace, he was haunted with the image of the
wife he had destroyed, and loved with passionate ardor. He burst forth in
tears, he tried every diversion, banquets and revels, solitude and
labor—still the murdered Mariamne is ever present to his excited
imagination. He settles down in a fixed and indelible gloom, and his stern
nature sought cruelty and bloodshed. His public administration was, on the
whole, favorable to the peace and happiness of the country, although he
introduced the games and the theatres in which the Romans sought their
greatest pleasures. For these innovations he was exposed to incessant
dangers; but he surmounted them all by his vigilance and energy. He
rebuilt Samaria, and erected palaces. But his greatest work was the
building of Cæsarea—a city of palaces and theatres. His policy of reducing
Judea to a mere province of Rome was not pleasing to his subjects, and he
was suspected of a design of heathenizing the nation. Neither his
munificence nor severities could suppress the murmurs of an indignant
people. The undisguised hostility of the nation prompted him to an act of
policy by which he hoped to conciliate it forever. The pride and glory of
the Jews was their temple. This Herod determined to rebuild with
extraordinary splendor, so as to approach its magnificence in the time of
Solomon. He removed the old structure, dilapidated by the sieges, and
violence, and wear of five hundred years; and the new edifice gradually
arose, glittering with gold, and imposing with marble pinnacles.

(M252) But in spite of all his magnificent public works, whether to
gratify the pride of his people, or his own vanity—in spite of his efforts
to develop the resources of the country over which he ruled by the favor
of Rome—in spite of his talents and energies—one of the most able of the
monarchs who had sat on the throne of Judea, he was obnoxious to his
subjects for his cruelties, and his sympathy with paganism, and he was
visited in his latter days by a terrible disorder which racked his body
with pain, and inflamed his soul with suspicions, while his court was
distracted with cabals from his own family, which poisoned his life, and
led him to perpetrate unnatural cruelties. He had already executed two
favorite sons, by Mariamne whom he loved, all from court intrigues and
jealousy, and he then executed his son and heir, by Doris, his first wife,
whom he had divorced to marry Mariamne, and under circumstances so cruel
that Augustus remarked that he had rather be one of his swine than one of
his sons. Among other atrocities, he had ordered the massacre of the
Innocents to prevent any one to be born “as king of the Jews.” His last
act was to give the fatal mandate for the execution of his son Antipater,
whom he hoped to make his heir, and then almost immediately expired in
agonies, detested by the nation, and leaving a name as infamous as that of
Ahab, B.C. 4.

(M253) Herod had married ten wives, and left a numerous family. By his
will, he designated the sons of Malthace, his sixth wife, and a Samaritan,
as his successors. These were Archelaus, Antipas, and Olympias. The first
inherited Idumea, Samaria, and Judea; to the second were assigned Galilee
and Peræa. Archelaus at once assumed the government at Jerusalem; and
after he had given his father a magnificent funeral, and the people a
funeral banquet, he entered the temple, seated himself on a golden throne,
and made, as is usual with monarchs, a conciliatory speech, promising
reform and alleviations from taxes and oppression. But even this did not
prevent one of those disgraceful seditions which have ever marked the
people of Jerusalem, in which three thousand were slain, caused by
religious animosities. After quelling the tumult by the military, he set
out for Rome, to secure his confirmation to the throne. He encountered
opposition from various intrigues by his own family, and the caprice of
the emperor. His younger brother, Antipas, also went to Rome to support
his claim to the throne by virtue of a former will. While the cause of the
royal litigants was being settled in the supreme tribunal of the civilized
world, new disturbances broke out in Judea, caused by the rapacities of
Sabinus, the Roman procurator of Syria. The whole country was in a state
of anarchy, and adventurers flocked from all quarters to assert their
claims in a nation that ardently looked forward to national independence,
or the rise of some conqueror who should restore the predicted glory of
the land now rent with civil feuds, and stained with fratricidal blood.
Varus, the prefect of Syria, attempted to restore order, and crucified
some two thousand ringleaders of the tumults. Five hundred Jews went to
Rome to petition for the restoration of their ancient constitution, and
the abolition of kingly rule.

(M254) At length the imperial edict confirmed the will of Herod, and
Archelaus was appointed to the sovereignty of Jerusalem, Idumea, and
Samaria, under the title of ethnarch; Herod Antipas obtained Galilee and
Peræa; Philip, the son of Herod and Cleopatra of Jerusalem, was made
tetrarch of Ituræa. Archelaus governed his dominions with such injustice
and cruelty, that he was deposed by the emperor, and Judea became a Roman
province. The sceptre departed finally from the family of David, of the
Asmonæans, and of Herod, and the kingdom sank into a district dependent on
the prefecture of Syria, though administered by a Roman governor.

                               CHAPTER XII.


(M255) The history of the Jews after the death of Herod is marked by the
greatest event in human annals. In four years after he expired in agonies
of pain and remorse, Jesus Christ was born in Bethlehem, whose teachings
have changed the whole condition of the world, and will continue to change
all institutions and governments until the seed of the woman shall have
completely triumphed over all the wiles of the serpent. We can not,
however, enter upon the life or mission of the Saviour, or the feeble
beginnings of the early and persecuted Church which he founded, and which
is destined to go on from conquering to conquer. We return to the more
direct history of the Jewish nation until their capital fell into the
hands of Titus, and their political existence was annihilated.

(M256) They were now to be ruled by Roman governors—or by mere vassal
kings whom the Romans tolerated and protected. The first of these rulers
was P. Sulpicius Quirinus—a man of consular rank, who, as proconsul of
Syria, was responsible for the government of Judea, which was intrusted to
Coponius. He was succeeded by M. Ambivius, and he again by Annius Rufus. A
rapid succession of governors took place till Tiberius appointed Valerius
Gratus, who was kept in power eleven years, on the principle that a rapid
succession of rulers increased the oppression of the people, since every
new governor sought to be enriched. Tiberius was a tyrant, but a wise
emperor, and the affairs of the Roman world were never better administered
than during his reign. These provincial governors, like the Herodian
kings, appointed and removed the high priests, and left the internal
management of the city of Jerusalem to them. They generally resided
themselves at Cæsarea, to avoid the disputes of the Jewish sects, and the
tumults of the people.

(M257) Pontius Pilate succeeded Gratus A.D. 27,—under whose memorable rule
Jesus Christ was crucified and slain—a man cruel, stern, and reckless of
human life, but regardful of the peace and tranquillity of the province.
He sought to transfer the innocent criminal to the tribunal of Herod, to
whose jurisdiction he belonged as a Galilean, but yielded to the
importunities of the people, and left him at the mercy of the Jewish

The vigilant jealousy of popular commotion, and the reckless disregard of
human life, led to the recall of Pilate; but during the forty years which
had elapsed since the death of Herod, his sons had quietly reigned over
their respective provinces. Antipas at Sepphoris, the capital of Galilee,
and Philip beyond the Jordan. The latter prince was humane and just, and
died without issue, and his territory was annexed to Syria.

(M258) Herod Antipas was a different man. He seduced and married his niece
Herodias, wife of Herod Philip, daughter of Aristobolus, and granddaughter
of Mariamne, whom Herod the Great had sacrificed in jealousy—the last
scion of the Asmonæan princes. It was for her that John the Baptist was
put to death. But this marriage proved unfortunate, since it involved him
in difficulties with Aretas, king of Arabia, father of his first and
repudiated wife. He ended his days in exile at Lyons, having provoked the
jealousy or enmity of Caligula, the Roman emperor, through the intrigues
of Herod Agrippa, the brother of Herodias, and consequently, a grandson of
Herod the Great and Mariamne. The Herodian family, of Idumean origin,
never was free from disgraceful quarrels and jealousies and rivalries.

(M259) The dominions of Herod Antipas were transferred to Herod Agrippa,
who had already obtained from Caligula the tetrarchate of Ituræa, on the
death of Philip, with the title of king. The fortunes of this prince, in
whose veins flowed the blood of the Asmonæans and the Herodians, surpassed
in romance and vicissitude any recorded of Eastern princes; alternately a
fugitive and a favorite, a vagabond and a courtier, a pauper and a
spendthrift—according to the varied hatred and favor of the imperial
family at Rome. He had the good luck to be a friend of Caligula before the
death of Tiberius. When he ascended the throne of the Roman world, he took
his friend from prison and disgrace, and gave him a royal title and part
of the dominions of his ancestors.

(M260) Agrippa did all he could to avert the mad designs of Caligula of
securing religious worship as a deity from the Jews, and he was moderate
in his government and policy. On the death of the Roman tyrant, he
received from his successor Claudius the investiture of all the dominions
which belonged to Herod the Great. He reigned in great splendor,
respecting the national religion, observing the Mosaic law with great
exactness, and aiming at the favor of the people. He inherited the taste
of his great progenitor for palace building, and theatrical
representations. He greatly improved Jerusalem, and strengthened its
fortifications, and yet he was only a vassal king. He reigned by the favor
of Rome, on whom he was dependent, and whom he feared, like other kings
and princes of the earth, for the emperor was alone supreme.

(M261) Agrippa sullied his fair fame by being a persecutor of the
Christians, and died in the forty-fourth year of his age, having reigned
seven years over part of his dominions, and three over the whole of
Palestine. He died in extreme agony from internal pains, being “eaten of
worms.” He left one son, Agrippa, and three daughters, Drusilla, Berenice,
and Mariamne, the two first of whom married princes.

(M262) On his death Judea relapsed into a Roman province, his son,
Agrippa, being only seventeen years of age, and too young to manage such a
turbulent, unreasonable, and stiff-necked people as the Jews, rent by
perpetual feuds and party animosities, and which seem to have
characterized them ever since the captivity, when they renounced idolatry

(M263) What were these parties? For their opinions and struggles and
quarrels form no inconsiderable part of the internal history of the Jews,
both under the Asmonæan and Idumean dynasties.

(M264) The most powerful and numerous were the Pharisees, and most popular
with the nation. The origin of this famous sect is involved in obscurity,
but probably arose not long after the captivity. They were the orthodox
party. They clung to the Law of Moses in its most minute observances, and
to all the traditions of their religion. They were earnest, fierce,
intolerant, and proud. They believed in angels, and in immortality. They
were bold and heroic in war, and intractable and domineering in peace.
They were great zealots, devoted to proselytism. They were austere in
life, and despised all who were not. They were learned and decorous, and
pragmatical. Their dogmatism knew no respite or palliation. They were
predestinarians, and believed in the servitude of the will. They were seen
in public with ostentatious piety. They made long prayers, fasted with
rigor, scrupulously observed the Sabbath, and paid tithes to the cheapest
herbs. They assumed superiority in social circles, and always took the
uppermost seats in the synagogue. They displayed on their foreheads and
the hem of their garments, slips of parchment inscribed with sentences
from the law. They were regarded as models of virtue and excellence, but
were hypocrites in the observance of the weightier matters of justice and
equity. They were, of course, the most bitter adversaries of the faith
which Christ revealed, and were ever in the ranks of persecution. They
resembled the most austere of the Dominican monks in the Middle Ages. They
were the favorite teachers and guides of the people, whom they incited in
their various seditions. They were theologians who stood at the summit of
legal Judaism. “They fenced round their law hedges whereby its precepts
were guarded against any possible infringement.” And they contrived, by an
artful and technical interpretation, to find statutes which favored their
ends. They wrought out asceticism into a system, and observed the most
painful ceremonials—the ancestors of rigid monks; and they united a
specious casuistry, not unlike the Jesuits, to excuse the violation of the
_spirit_ of the law. They were a hierarchical caste, whose ambition was to
govern, and to govern by legal technicalities. They were utterly deficient
in the virtues of humility and toleration, and as such, peculiarly
offensive to the Great Teacher when he propounded the higher code of love
and forgiveness. Outwardly, however, they were the most respectable as
well as honorable men of the nation—dignified, decorous, and studious of

(M265) The next great party was that of the Sadducees, who aimed to
restore the original Mosaic religion in its purity, and expunge every
thing which had been added by tradition. But they were deficient in a
profound sense of religion, denied the doctrine of immortality, and hence
all punishment in a future life. They made up for their denial of the
future by a rigid punishment of all crimes. They inculcated a belief of
Divine Providence by whom all crime was supposed to be avenged in this
world. The party was not so popular as that of their rivals, but embraced
men of high rank. In common with the Pharisees, they maintained the
strictness of the Jewish code, and professed great uprightness of morals.
They had, however, no true, deep religious life, and were cold and
heartless in their dispositions. They were mostly men of ease and wealth,
and satisfied with earthly enjoyments, and inclined to the epicureanism
which marked many of the Greek philosophers. Nor did they escape the
hypocrisy which disgraced the Pharisees, and their bitter opposition to
the truths of Christianity.

(M266) In addition to these two great parties which controlled the people,
were the Essenes. But they lived apart from men, in the deserts round the
Dead Sea, and dreaded cities as nurseries of vice. They allowed no women
to come within their settlements. They were recruited by strangers and
proselytes, who thought all pleasure to be a sin. They established a
community of goods, and prosecuted the desire of riches. They were clothed
in white garments which they never changed, and regulated their lives by
the severest forms. They abstained from animal food, and lived on roots
and bread. They worked and ate in silence, and observed the Sabbath with
great precision. They were great students, and were rigid in morals, and
believed in immortality. They abhorred oaths, and slavery, and idolatry.
They embraced the philosophy of the Orientals, and supposed that matter
was evil, and that mind was divine. They were mystics who reveled in the
pleasures of abstract contemplation. Their theosophy was sublime, but
Brahminical. Practically they were industrious, ascetic, and devout—the
precursors of those monks who fled from the abodes of man, and filled the
solitudes of Upper Egypt and Arabia and Palestine, the loftiest and most
misguided of the Christian sects in the second and third centuries, But
the Essenes had no direct influence over the people of Judea like the
Pharisees and Sadducees, except in encouraging obedience and charity.

(M267) All these sects were in a flourishing state on the death of
Agrippa. Judea was henceforth to be ruled directly by Roman governors.
Cuspius Fadus, Tiberius Alexander, Ventidius Cumanus, Felix Portius,
Festus Albinus, and Gessius Florus successively administered the affairs
of a discontented province. Their brief administrations were marked by
famines and tumults. King Agrippa, meanwhile, with mere nominal power,
resided in Jerusalem, in the palace of the Asmonæan princes, which stood
on Mount Zion, toward the temple. Robbers infested the country, and
murders and robbery were of constant occurrence. High priests were set up,
and dethroned. The people were oppressed by taxation and irritated by
pillage. Prodigies, wild and awful, filled the land with dread of
approaching calamities. Fanatics alarmed the people. The Christians
predicted the ruin of the State. Never was a population of three millions
of people more discontented and oppressed. Outrage, and injustice, and
tumults, and insurrections, marked the doomed people. The governors were
insulted, and massacred the people in retaliation. Florus, at one time,
destroyed three thousand six hundred people, A.D. 66. Open war was
apparent to the more discerning, Agrippa in vain counseled moderation and
reconciliation, showing the people how vain resistance would be to the
overwhelming power of Rome, which had subdued the world; and that the
refusal of tribute, and the demolition of Roman fortifications, were overt
acts of war. But he talked to people doomed. Every day new causes of
discord arose. Some of the higher orders were disposed to be prudent, but
the people generally were filled with bigotry and fanaticism. Some of the
boldest of the war party one day seized the fortress of Masada, near the
Dead Sea, built by Jonathan the Maccabean, and fortified by Herod. The
Roman garrison was put to the sword, and the banner of revolt was
unfolded. In the city of Jerusalem, the blinded people refused to receive,
as was customary, the gifts and sacrifices of foreign potentates offered
in the temple to the God of the Jews. This was an insult and a declaration
of war, which the chief priests and Pharisees attempted in vain to
prevent. The insurgents, urged by zealots and assassins, even set fire to
the palace of the high priest and of Agrippa and Berenice, and also to the
public archives, where the bonds of creditors were deposited, which
destroyed the power of the rich. They then carried the important citadel
of Antonia, and stormed the palace. A fanatic, by the name of Manahem, son
of Judas of Galilee, openly proclaimed the doctrine that it was impious to
own any king but God, and treason to pay tribute to Cæsar. He became the
leader of the war party because he was the most unscrupulous and zealous,
as is always the case in times of excitement and passion. He entered the
city, in the pomp of a conqueror, and became the captain of the forces,
which took the palace and killed the defenders. The high priest, Ananias,
striving to secure order, was stoned. Then followed dissensions between
the insurgents themselves, during which Manahem was killed. Eleazar,
another chieftain, pressed the siege of the towers, defended by Roman
soldiers, which were taken, and the defenders massacred. Meanwhile, twenty
thousand Jews were slain by the Greeks in Cæsarea, which drove the nation
to madness, and led to a general insurrection in Syria, and a bloody
strife between the Greco-Syrians and Jews, There were commotions in all
quarters—wars and rumors of wars, so that men fled to the mountains,
Wherever the Jews had settled were commotions and massacres, especially at
Alexandria, when fifty thousand bodies were heaped up for burial.

(M268) Nero was now on the imperial throne, and stringent measures were
adopted to suppress the revolt of the Jews, now goaded to desperation by
the remembrance of their oppressions, and the conviction that every man’s
hand was against them. Certius, the prefect of Syria, advanced with ten
thousand Roman troops and thirteen hundred allies, and desperate war
seemed now inevitable. Agrippa, knowing how fatal it would be to the
Jewish nation, attempted to avert it. He argued to infatuated men. Certius
undertook to storm Jerusalem, the head-quarters of the insurrection, but
failed, and was obliged to retreat, with loss of a great part of his
army—a defeat such as the Romans had not received since Varus was
overpowered in the forests of Germany.

(M269) Judea was now in open rebellion against the whole power of Rome—a
mad and desperate revolt, which could not end but in the political ruin of
the nation. Great preparations were made for the approaching contest, in
which the Jews were to fight single-handed and unassisted by allies. The
fortified posts were in the hands of the insurgents, but they had no
organized and disciplined forces, and were divided among themselves.
Agrippa, the representative of the Herodian kings, openly espoused the
cause of Rome. The only hope of the Jews was in their stern fanaticism,
their stubborn patience, and their daring valor. They were to be justified
for their insurrection by all those principles which animate oppressed
people striving to be free, and they had glorious precedents in the
victories of the Maccabees; but it was their misfortune to contend against
the armies of the masters of the world. They were not strong enough for

(M270) The news of the insurrection, and the defeat of a Roman prefect,
made a profound sensation at Rome. Although Nero affected to treat the
affair with levity, he selected, however, the ablest general of the
empire, Vespasian, and sent him to Syria. The storm broke out in Galilee,
whose mountain fastnesses were intrusted by the Jews to Joseph, the son of
Matthias—lineally descended from an illustrious priestly family, with the
blood of the Asmonæan running in his veins—a man of culture and learning—a
Pharisee who had at first opposed the insurrection, but drawn into it
after the defeat of Certius. He is better known to us as the historian
Josephus. His measures of defence were prudent and vigorous, and he
endeavored to unite the various parties in the contest which he knew was
desperate. He raised an army of one hundred thousand men, and introduced
the Roman discipline, but was impeded in his measures by party dissensions
and by treachery. In the city of Jerusalem, Ananias, the high priest, took
the lead, but had to contend with fanatics and secret enemies.

(M271) The first memorable event of the war was the unsuccessful
expedition against Ascalon, sixty-five miles from Jerusalem, in which
Roman discipline prevailed against numbers. This was soon followed by the
advance of Vespasian to Ptolemais, while Titus, his lieutenant and son,
sailed from Alexandria to join him. Vespasian had an army of sixty
thousand veterans. Josephus could not openly contend against this force,
but strengthened his fortified cities. Vespasian advanced cautiously in
battle array, and halted on the frontiers of Galilee. The Jews, under
Josephus, fled in despair. Gabaia was the first city which fell, and its
inhabitants were put to the sword—a stern vengeance which the Romans often
exercised, to awe their insurgent enemies. Josephus retired to Tiberius,
hopeless and discouraged, and exhorted the people of Jerusalem either to
re-enforce him with a powerful army, or make submission to the Romans.
They did neither. He then threw himself into Jotaphata, where the
strongest of the Galilean warriors had intrenched themselves. Vespasian
advanced against the city with his whole army, and drew a line of
circumvallation around it, and then commenced the attack. The city stood
on the top of a lofty hill, and was difficult of access, and well supplied
with provisions. As the works of the Romans arose around the city, its
walls were raised thirty-five feet by the defenders, while they issued out
in sallies and fought with the courage of despair. The city could not be
taken by assault, and the siege was converted into a blockade. The
besieged, supplied with provisions, issued out from behind their
fortifications, and destroyed the works of the Romans. The fearful
battering-rams of the besiegers were destroyed by the arts and inventions
of the besieged. The catapults and scorpions swept the walls, and the huge
stones began to tell upon the turrets and the towers. The whole city was
surrounded by triple lines of heavy armed soldiers, ready for assault. The
Jews resorted to all kinds of expedients, even to the pouring of boiling
oil on the heads of their assailants. The Roman general was exasperated at
the obstinate resistance, and proceeded by more cautious measures. He
raised the embankments, and fortified them with towers, in which he placed
slingers and archers, whose missiles told with terrible effect on those
who defended the walls. Forty-seven days did the gallant defenders resist
all the resources of Vespasian, But they were at length exhausted, and
their ranks were thinned, Once again a furious assault was made by the
whole army, and Titus scaled the walls. The city fell with the loss of
forty thousand men on both sides, and Josephus surrendered to the will of
God, but was himself spared by the victors by adroit flatteries, in which
he predicted the elevation of Vespasian to the throne of Nero.

(M272) It would be interesting to detail the progress of the war, but our
limits forbid. The reader is referred to Josephus. City after city
gradually fell into the hands of Vespasian, who now established himself in
Cæsarea. Joppa shared the fate of Jotaphata; the city was razed, but the
citadel was fortified by the Romans.

(M273) The intelligence of these disasters filled Jerusalem with
consternation and mourning, for scarcely a family had not to deplore the
loss of some of its members. Tiberius and Tarichea, on the banks of the
beautiful lake of Galilee, were the next which fell, followed by atrocious
massacres, after the fashion of war in those days. Galilee stood appalled,
and all its cities but three surrendered. Of these Gamala, the capital,
was the strongest, and more inaccessible than Jotaphata. It was built upon
a precipice, and was crowded with fugitives, and well provisioned. But it
was finally taken, as well as Gischala and Itabyriun, and all Galilee was
in the hands of the Romans.

(M274) Jerusalem, meanwhile, was the scene of factions and dissensions. It
might have re-enforced the strongholds of Galilee, but gave itself up to
party animosities, which weakened its strength. Had the Jews been united,
they might have offered a more successful resistance. But their fate was
sealed. I can not describe the various intrigues and factions which
paralyzed the national arm, and forewarned the inhabitants of their doom.

Meanwhile, Nero was assassinated, and Vespasian was elevated to the
imperial throne. He sent his son Titus to complete the subjugation which
had hitherto resisted his conquering legions.

(M275) Jerusalem, in those days of danger and anxiety, was still rent by
factions, and neglected her last chance of organizing her forces to resist
the common enemy. Never was a city more insensible of its doom. Three
distinct parties were at war with each other, shedding each others’ blood,
reckless of all consequences, callous, fierce, desperate. At length the
army of Titus advanced to the siege of the sacred city, still strong and
well provisioned. Four legions, with mercenary troops and allies, burning
to avenge the past, encamped beneath the walls, destroying the orchards
and olive-grounds and gardens which everywhere gladdened the beautiful
environs. The city was fortified with three walls where not surrounded by
impassable ravines, not one within the other, but inclosing distinct
quarters; and these were of great strength, the stones of which were in
some parts thirty-five feet long, and so thick that even the heaviest
battering-rams could make no impression. One hundred and sixty-four towers
surmounted these heavy walls, one of which was one hundred and forty feet
high, and forty-three feet square; another, of white marble, seventy-six
feet in height, was built of stones thirty-five feet long, and seventeen
and a half wide, and eight and a half high, joined together with the most
perfect masonry. Within these walls and towers was the royal palace,
surrounded by walls and towers of equal strength. The fortress of Antonia,
seventy feet high, stood on a rock of ninety feet elevation, with
precipitous sides. High above all these towers and hills, and fortresses,
stood the temple, on an esplanade covering a square of a furlong on each
side. The walls which surrounded this fortress-temple were built of vast
stones, and were of great height; and within these walls, on each side,
was a spacious double portico fifty-two and a half feet broad, with a
ceiling of cedar exquisitely carved, supported by marble columns
forty-three and three-quarters feet high, hewn out of single stones. There
were one hundred and sixty-two of these beautiful columns. Within this
quadrangle was an inner wall, seventy feet in height, inclosing the inner
court, around which, in the interior, was another still more splendid
portico, entered by brazen gates adorned with gold. These doors, or gates,
were fifty-two and a half feet high and twenty-six and a quarter wide.
Each gateway had two lofty pillars, twenty-one feet in circumference. The
gate called Beautiful was eighty-seven and a half feet high, made of
Corinthian brass, and plated with gold. The quadrangle, entered by nine of
these gates, inclosed still another, within which was the temple itself,
with its glittering façade. This third and inner quadrangle was entered by
a gateway tower one hundred and thirty-two and a half feet high and
forty-three and a half wide. “At a distance the temple looked like a
mountain of snow fretted with golden pinnacles.” With what emotions Titus
must have surveyed this glorious edifice, as the sun rising above Mount
Moriah gilded its gates and pinnacles—soon to be so utterly demolished
that not one stone should be left upon another.

(M276) Around the devoted city Titus erected towers which overlooked the
walls, from which he discharged his destructive missiles, while the
battering-rams played against the walls, where they were weakest. The
first wall was soon abandoned, and five days after the second was
penetrated, after a furious combat, and Titus took possession of the lower
city, where most of the people lived.

The precipitous heights of Zion, the tower of Antonia and the temple still
remained, and although the cause was hopeless, the Jews would hear of no
terms of surrender. Titus used every means. So did Josephus, who harangued
the people at a safe distance. The most obstinate fury was added to
presumptuous, vain confidence, perhaps allied with utter distrust of the
promises of enemies whom they had offended past forgiveness.

(M277) At length famine pressed. No grain was to be bought. The wealthy
secreted their food. All kind feelings were lost in the general misery.
Wives snatched the last morsel from their family and weary husbands, and
children from their parents. The houses were full of dying and the dead, a
heavy silence oppressed every one, yet no complaints were made. They
suffered in sullen gloom, and despair. From the 14th of April to the 19th
of July, A.D. 70, from one hundred thousand to five hundred thousand,
according to different estimates, were buried or thrown from the walls. A
measure of wheat sold for a talent, and the dunghills were raked for

(M278) When all was ready, the assault on the places which remained
commenced. On the 5th of July the fortress of Antonia was taken, and the
siege of the temple was pressed. Titus made one more attempt to persuade
its defenders to surrender, wishing to save the sacred edifice, but they
were deaf and obstinate. They continued to fight, inch by inch, exhausted
by famine, and reduced to despair. They gnawed their leathern belts, and
ate their very children. On the 8th of August the wall inclosing the
portico, or cloisters, was scaled. On the 10th the temple itself, a
powerful fortress, fell, with all its treasures, into the hands of the
victors. The soldiers gazed with admiration on the plates of gold, and the
curious workmanship of the sacred vessels. All that could be destroyed by
fire was burned, and all who guarded the precincts were killed.

(M279) Still the palace and the upper city held out. Titus promised to
spare the lives of the defenders if they would instantly surrender. But
they still demanded terms. Titus, in a fury, swore that the whole
surviving population should be exterminated. It was not till the 7th of
September that this last bulwark was captured, so obstinately did the
starving Jews defend themselves. A miscellaneous slaughter commenced, till
the Romans were weary of their work of vengeance. During the whole siege
one million one hundred thousand were killed, and ninety-seven thousand
made prisoners, since a large part of the population of Judea had taken
refuge within the walls. During the whole war one million three hundred
and fifty-six thousand were killed.

Thus fell Jerusalem, after a siege of five months, the most desperate
defense of a capital in the history of war. It fell never to rise again as
a Jewish metropolis. Never had a city greater misfortunes. Never was
heroism accompanied with greater fanaticism. Never was a prophecy more
signally fulfilled.

(M280) The fall of Jerusalem was succeeded by bloody combats before the
whole country was finally subdued. With the final conquest the Jews were
dispersed among the nations, and their nationality was at an end. Their
political existence was annihilated. The capital was destroyed, the temple
demolished, and the royal house extinguished, and the high priesthood
buried amid the ruins of the sacred places.

With the occupation of Palestine by strangers, and the final dispersion of
the Jews over all nations, who, without a country, and without friends,
maintained their institutions, their religion, their name, their
peculiarities, and their associations, we leave the subject—so full of
mournful interest, and of impressive lessons. The student of history
should see in their prosperity and misfortunes the overruling Providence
vindicating his promises, and the awful majesty of eternal laws.

                                 BOOK II.


                              CHAPTER XIII.


(M281) We have seen that the Oriental-world, so favored by nature, so rich
in fields, in flocks, and fruits, failed to realize the higher destiny of
man. In spite of all the advantages of nature, he was degraded by debasing
superstitions, and by the degeneracy which wealth and ease produced. He
was enslaved by vices and by despots. The Assyrian and Babylonian kingdom,
that “head of gold,” as seen in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, became inferior to
the “breast and arms of silver,” as represented by the Persian Empire, and
this, in turn, became subject to the Grecian States, “the belly and the
thighs of brass.” It is the nobler Hellenic race, with its original
genius, its enterprise, its stern and rugged nature, strengthened by toil,
and enterprise, and war, that we are now to contemplate. It is Greece—the
land of song, of art, of philosophy—the land of heroes and freemen, to
which we now turn our eyes—the most interesting, and the most famous of
the countries of antiquity.

(M282) Let us first survey that country in all its stern ruggedness and
picturesque beauty. It was small compared with Assyria or Persia. Its
original name was Hellas, designated by a little district of Thessaly,
which lay on the southeast verge of Europe, and extended in length from
the thirty-sixth to the fortieth degree of latitude. It contained, with
its islands, only twenty-one thousand two hundred and ninety square
miles—less than Portugal or Ireland, but its coasts exceeded the whole
Pyrenean peninsula. Hellas is itself a peninsula, bounded on the north by
the Cambunian and Ceraunian mountains, which separated it from Macedonia;
on the east by the Ægean Sea, (Archipelago), which separated it from Asia
Minor; on the south by the Cretan Sea, and on the west by the Ionian Sea.

(M283) The northern part of this country of the Hellenes is traversed by a
range of mountains, commencing at Acra Ceraunia, on the Adriatic, and
tending southeast above Dodona, in Epirus, till they join the Cambunian
mountains, near Mount Olympus, which run along the coast of the Ægean till
they terminate in the southeastern part of Thessaly, under the names of
Ossa, Pelion, and Tisæus. The great range of Pindus enters Greece at the
sources of the Peneus, where it crosses the Cambunian mountains, and
extends at first south, and then east to the sea, nearly inclosing
Thessaly, and dividing it from the rest of Greece. After throwing out the
various spurs of Othrys, Œta, and Corax, it loses itself in those famous
haunts of the Muses—the heights of Parnassus and Helicon, in Phocis and
Bœotia, In the southern part of Greece are the mountains which intersect
the Peloponnesus in almost every part, the principal of which are Scollis,
Aroanii, and Taygetus. We can not enumerate the names of all these
mountains; it is enough to say that no part of Europe, except Switzerland,
is so covered with mountains as Greece, some of which attain the altitude
of perpetual snow. Only a small part of the country is level.

(M284) The rivers, again, are numerous, but more famous for associations
than for navigable importance. The Peneus which empties itself into the
Ægean, a little below Tempe; the Achelous, which flows into the Ionian
Sea; the Alpheus, flowing into the Ionian Sea; and the Eurotas, which
enters the Laconican Gulf, are among the most considerable. The lakes are
numerous, but not large. The coasts are lined by bays and promontories,
favorable to navigation in its infancy, and for fishing. The adjacent seas
are full of islands, memorable in Grecian history, some of which are of
considerable size.

(M285) Thus intersected in all parts with mountains, and deeply indented
by the sea, Greece was both mountainous and maritime. The mountains, the
rivers, the valleys, the sea, the islands contributed to make the people
enterprising and poetical, and as each State was divided from every other
State by mountains, or valleys, or gulfs, political liberty was
engendered. The difficulties of cultivating a barren soil on the highlands
inured the inhabitants to industry and economy, as in Scotland and New
England, while the configuration of the country strengthened the powers of
defense, and shut the people up from those invasions which have so often
subjugated a plain and level country. These natural divisions also kept
the States from political union, and fostered a principle of repulsion,
and led to an indefinite multiplication of self-governing towns, and to
great individuality of character.

(M286) Situated in the same parallels of latitude as Asia Minor, and the
south of Italy and Spain, Greece produced wheat, barley, flax, wine, oil,
in the earliest times. The cultivation of the vine and the olive was
peculiarly careful. Barley cakes were more eaten than wheaten. All
vegetables and fish were abundant and cheap. But little fresh meat was
eaten. Corn also was imported in considerable quantities by the maritime
States in exchange for figs, olives, and oil. The climate, clear and
beautiful to modern Europeans, was less genial than that of Asia Minor,
but more bracing and variable. It also varied in various sections.

These various sections, or provinces, or states, into which Greece was
divided, claim a short notice.

(M287) The largest and most northerly State was Epirus, containing four
thousand two hundred and sixty square miles, bounded on the north by
Macedonia, on the east by Thessaly, on the south by Acarnania, and on the
west by the Ionian Sea. Though mountainous, it was fertile, and produced
excellent cattle and horses. Of the interesting places of Epirus,
memorable in history, ranks first Dodona, celebrated for its oracle, the
most ancient in Greece, and only inferior to that of Delphi. It was
founded by the Pelasgi before the Trojan war and was dedicated to Jupiter.
The temple was surrounded by a grove of oak, but the oracles were latterly
delivered by the murmuring of fountains. On the west of Epirus is the
island of Corcyra (Corfu), famous for the shipwreck of Ulysses, and for
the gardens of Aleinous, and for having given rise to the Peloponnesian
war. Epirus is also distinguished as the country over which Pyrrhus ruled.
The Acheron, supposed to communicate with the infernal regions, was one of
its rivers.

(M288) West of Epirus was Thessaly, and next to it in size, containing
four thousand two hundred and sixty square miles. It was a plain inclosed
by mountains; next to Bœotia, the most fertile of all the States of
Greece, abounding in oil, wine, and corn, and yet one of the weakest and
most insignificant politically. The people were rich, but perfidious. The
river Peneus flowed through the entire extent of the country, and near its
mouth was the vale of Tempe, the most beautiful valley in Greece, guarded
by four strong fortresses.

(M289) At some distance from the mouth of the Peneus was Larissa, the city
of Achilles, and the general capital of the Pelasgi. At the southern
extremity of the lake Cælas, the largest in Thessaly, was Pheræ, one of
the most ancient cities in Greece, and near it was the fountain of
Hyperia. In the southern part of Thessaly was Pharsalia, the battle-ground
between Cæsar and Pompey, and near it was Pyrrha, formerly called Hellas,
where was the tomb of Hellen, son of Deucalion, whose descendants, Æolus,
Dorus and Ion, are said to have given name to the three nations, Æolians,
Dorians, and Ionians, Still further south, between the inaccessible cliffs
of Mount Œta and the marshes which skirt the Maliaeus Bay, were the
defiles of Thermopylæ, where Leonidas and three hundred heroes died
defending the pass, against the army of Xerxes, and which in one place was
only twenty-five feet wide, so that, in so narrow a defile, the Spartans
were able to withstand for three days the whole power of Persia. In this
famous pass the Amphictyonic council met annually to deliberate on the
common affairs of all the States.

(M290) South of Epirus, on the Ionian Sea, and west of Ætolia, was
Acarnania, occupied by a barbarous people before the Pelasgi settled in
it. It had no historic fame, except as furnishing on its waters a place
for the decisive battle which Augustus gained over Antony, at Actium, and
for the islands on the coast, one of which, Ithaca, a rugged and
mountainous island, was the residence of Ulysses.

(M291) Ætolia, to the east of Acarnania, and south of Thessaly, and
separated from Achaia by the Corinthian Gulf, contained nine hundred and
thirty square miles. Its principal city was Thermon, considered
impregnable, at which were held splendid games and festivals. The Ætolians
were little known in the palmy days of Athens and Sparta, except as a
hardy race, but covetous and faithless.

(M292) Doris was a small tract to the east of Ætolia, inhabited by one of
the most ancient of the Greek tribes—the Dorians, called so from Dorus,
son of Deucalion, and originally inhabited that part of Thessaly in which
were the mountains of Olympus and Ossa. From this section they were driven
by the Cadmeans. Doris was the abode of the Heraclidæ when exiled from the
Peloponnesus, and which was given to Hyllas, the son of Hercules, in
gratitude by Ægiminius, the king, who was reinstated by the hero in his
dispossessed dominion.

(M293) Locri Ozolæ was another small State, south of Doris, from which it
is separated by the range of the Parnassus situated on the Corinthian
Gulf, the most important city of which was Salona, surrounded on all sides
by hills. Naupactus was also a considerable place, known in the Middle
Ages as Lepanto, where was fought one of the decisive naval battles of the
world, in which the Turks were defeated by the Venetians. It contained
three hundred and fifty square miles.

(M294) Phocis was directly to the east, bounded on the north by Doris and
the Locri Epicnemidii, and south by the Corinthian Gulf. This State
embraced six hundred and ten square miles. The Phocians are known in
history from the sacred or Phocian war, which broke out in 357 B.C., in
consequence of refusing to pay a fine imposed by the Amphictyonic council.
The Thebans and Locrians carried on this war successfully, joined by
Philip of Macedon, who thus paved the way for the sovereignty of Greece.
One among the most noted places was Crissa, famed for the Pythian games,
and Delphi, renowned for its oracle sacred to Apollo. The priestess,
Pythia, sat on a sacred tripod over the mouth of a cave, and pronounced
her oracles in verse or prose. Those who consulted her made rich presents,
from which Delphi became vastly enriched. Above Delphi towers Parnassus,
the highest mountain in central Greece, near whose summit was the supposed
residence of Deucalion.

(M295) Bœotia was the richest State in Greece, so far as fertility of soil
can make a State rich. It was bounded on the north by the territory of the
Locri, on the west by Phocis, on the south by Attica, and on the east by
the Eubœan Sea. It contained about one thousand square miles. Its
inhabitants were famed for their stolidity, and yet it furnished Hesiod,
Pindar, Corinna, and Plutarch to the immortal catalogue of names. Its men,
if stupid, were brave, and its women were handsome. It was originally
inhabited by barbarous tribes, all connected with the Leleges. In its
southwestern part was the famous Helicon, famed as the seat of Apollo and
the Muses, and on the southern border was Mount Cithæron, to the north of
which was Platea, where the Persians were defeated by the confederate
Greeks under Pausanias. Bœotia contained the largest lake in
Greece—Copaias, famed for eels. On the borders of this lake was Coronea,
where the Thebans were defeated by the Spartans. To the north of Coronea
was Chæronea, where was fought the great battle with Philip, which
subverted the liberties of Greece. To the north of the river Æsopus, a
sluggish stream, was Thebes, the capital of Bœotia, founded by Cadmus,
whose great generals, Epaminondas and Pelopidas, made it, for a time, one
of the great powers of Greece.

(M296) The most famous province of Greece was Attica, bounded on the north
by the mountains Cithæron and Parnes, on the west by the bay of Saronicus,
on the east by the Myrtoum Sea. It contained but seven hundred square
miles. It derived its name from Atthis, a daughter of Cranaus; but its
earliest name was Cecropia, from its king, Cecrops. It was divided, in the
time of Cecrops, into four tribes. On its western extremity, on the shores
of the Saronic Gulf, stood Eleusis, the scene of the Eleusinian mysteries,
the most famous of all the religious ceremonials of Greece, sacred to
Ceres, and celebrated every four years, and lasting for nine days.
Opposite to Eleusis was Salamis, the birthplace of Ajax, Teucer, and
Solon. There the Persian fleet of Xerxes was defeated by the Athenians.
The capital, Athens, founded by Cecrops, 1556 B.C., received its name from
the goddess Neith, an Egyptian deity, known by the Greeks as Athena, or
Minerva. Its population, in the time of Pericles, was one hundred and
twenty thousand. The southernmost point of Attica was Sunium, sacred to
Minerva; Marathon, the scene of the most brilliant victory which the
Athenians ever fought, was in the eastern part of Attica. To the southeast
of Athens was Mount Hymettus, celebrated for its flowers and honey.
Between Hymettus and Marathon was Mount Pentelicus, famed for its marbles.

(M297) Megaris, another small State, was at the west of Attica, between
the Corinthian and the Saronican gulfs. Its chief city, Megara, was a
considerable place, defended by two citadels on the hills above it. It was
celebrated as the seat of the Megaric school of philosophy, founded by

(M298) The largest of the Grecian States was the famous peninsula known as
the Peloponnesus, entirely surrounded by water, except the isthmus of
Corinth, four geographical miles wide. On the west was the Ionian Sea; on
the east the Saronic Gulf and the Myrtoum Sea; on the north the Corinthian
Gulf. It contained six thousand seven hundred and forty-five square miles.
It was divided into several States. It was said to be left by Hercules on
his death to the Heraclidæ, which they, with the assistance of the
Dorians, ultimately succeeded in regaining, about eighty years after the
Trojan war.

Of the six States into which the Peloponnesus was divided, Achaia was the
northernmost, and was celebrated for the Achæan league, composed of its
principal cities, as well us Corinth, Sicyon, Phlius, Arcadia, Argolis,
Laconia, Megaris, and other cities and States.

(M299) Southwest of Achaia was Elis, on the Ionian Sea, in which stood
Olympia, where the Olympic games were celebrated every four years,
instituted by Hercules.

(M300) Arcadia occupied the centre of the Peloponnesus, surrounded on all
sides by lofty mountains—a rich and pastoral country, producing fine
horses and asses. It was the favorite residence of Pan, the god of
shepherds, and its people were famed for their love of liberty and music.

(M301) Argolis was the eastern portion of the Peloponnesus, watered by the
Saronic Gulf, whose original inhabitants were Pelasgi. It boasted of the
cities of Argos and Mycenæ, the former of which was the oldest city of
Greece. Agamemnon reigned at Mycenæ, the most powerful of the kings of
Greece during the Trojan war.

(M302) Laconia, at the southeastern extremity of the peninsula, was the
largest and most important of the States of the Peloponnesus. It was
rugged and mountainous, but its people were brave and noble. Its largest
city, Sparta, for several generations controlled the fortune of Greece,
the most warlike of the Grecian cities.

(M303) Messenia was the southwestern part of the peninsula—mountainous,
but well watered, and abounding in pasture. It was early coveted by the
Lacedæmonians, inhabitants of Laconia, and was subjugated in a series of
famous wars, called the Messenian.

Such were the principal States of Greece. But in connection with these
were the islands in the seas which surrounded it, and these are nearly as
famous as the States on the main land.

(M304) The most important of these was Crete, at the southern extremity of
the Ægean Sea. It was the fabled birthplace of Jupiter. To the south of
Thrace were Thasos, remarkable for fertility, and for mines of gold and
silver; Samothrace, celebrated for the mysteries of Cybele; Imbros, sacred
to Ceres and Mercury. Lemnos, in latitude forty, equidistant from Mount
Athos and the Hellespont, rendered infamous by the massacre of all the
male inhabitants of the island by the women. The island of Eubœa stretched
along the coast of Attica, Locris, and Bœotia, and was exceedingly
fertile, and from this island the Athenians drew large supplies of
corn—the largest island in the Archipelago, next to Crete. Its principal
city was Chalcis, one of the strongest in Greece.

(M305) To the southeast of Eubœa are the Cyclades—a group of islands of
which Delos, Andros, Tenos, Myeonos, Naxos, Paros, Olearos, Siphnos,
Melos, and Syros, were the most important. All these islands are famous
for temples and the birthplace of celebrated men.

(M306) The islands called the Sporades lie to the south and east of the
Cyclades, among which are Amorgo, Ios, Sicinos, Thera, and Anaphe—some of
which are barren, and others favorable to the vine.

(M307) Besides these islands, which belong to the continent of Europe, are
those which belong to Asia—Tenedos, small but fertile; Lesbos, celebrated
for wine, the fourth in size of all the islands of the Ægean; Chios, also
famed for wine; Samos, famous for the worship of Juno, and the birthplace
of Pythagoras; Patmos, used as a place of banishment; Cos, the birthplace
of Apelles and Hippocrates, exceedingly fertile; and south of all, Rhodes,
the largest island of the Ægean, after Crete and Eubœa. It was famous for
the brazen and colossal statue of the sun, seventy cubits high. Its people
were great navigators, and their maritime laws were ultimately adopted by
all the Greeks and Romans. It was also famous for its schools of art.

Such were the States and islands of Greece, mountainous, in many parts
sterile, but filled with a hardy, bold, and adventurous race, whose
exploits and arts were the glory of the ancient world.

(M308) The various tribes and nations all belonged to that branch of the
Indo-European race to which ethnographers have given the name of
Pelasgian. They were a people of savage manners, but sufficiently
civilised to till the earth, and build walled cities. Their religion was
polytheistic—a personification of the elemental powers and the heavenly
bodies. The Pelasgians occupied insulated points, but were generally
diffused throughout Greece; and they were probably a wandering people
before they settled in Greece. The Greek traditions about their migration
rests on no certain ground. Besides this race, concerning which we have no
authentic history, were the Leleges and Carians. But all of them were
barbarous, and have left no written records. Argos and Sicyon are said to
be Pelasgian cities, founded as far back as one thousand eight hundred and
fifty-six years before Christ. It is also thought that Oriental elements
entered into the early population of Greece. Cecrops imported into Attica
Egyptian arts. Cadmus, the Phœnician, colonized Bœotia, and introduced
weights and measures. Danaus, driven out of Egypt, gave his name to the
warlike Danai, and instructed the Pelasgian women of Argos in the mystic
rites of Demetus. Pelope is supposed to have passed from Asia into Greece,
with great treasures, and his descendants occupied the throne of Argos.

(M309) At a period before written history commences, the early inhabitants
of Greece, whatever may have been their origin, which is involved in
obscurity, were driven from their settlements by a warlike race, akin,
however, to the Pelasgians. These conquerors were the Hellenes, who were
believed to have issued from the district of Thessaly, north of Mount
Othrys. They gave their name ultimately to the whole country. Divided into
small settlements, they yet were bound together by language and customs,
and cherished the idea of national unity. There were four chief divisions
of this nation, the Dorians, Æolians, Achæans, and Ionians, traditionally
supposed to be descended from the three sons of Hellen, the son of
Deucalion, Dorus, Æolus, and Xuthus, the last the father of Achæus, and
Jon. So the Greek poets represented the origin of the Hellenes—a people
fond of adventure, and endowed by nature with vast capacities,
subsequently developed by education.

(M310) Of these four divisions of the Hellenic race, the Æolians spread
over northern Greece, and also occupied the western coast of the
Peloponnesus and the Ionian islands. It continued, to the latest times, to
occupy the greater part of Greece. The Achæans were the most celebrated in
epic poetry, their name being used by Homer to denote all the Hellenic
tribes which fought at Troy. They were the dominant people of the
Peloponnesus, occupying the south and east, and the Arcadians the centre.
The Dorians and Ionians were of later celebrity; the former occupying a
small patch of territory on the slopes of Mount Œta, north of Delphi; the
latter living on a narrow slip of the country along the northern coast of
the Peloponnesus, and extending eastward into Attica.

(M311) The principal settlements of the Æolians lay around the Pagasæan
Gulf, and were blended with the Minyans, a race of Pelasgian adventurers
known in the Argonautic expedition, under Æolian leaders. In the north of
Bœotia arose the city of Orchomenus, whose treasures were compared by
Homer to those of the Egyptian Thebes. Another seat of the Æolians was
Ephyra, afterward known as Corinth, where the “wily Sisyphus” ruled. He
was the father of Phocus, who gave his name to Phocis. The descendants of
Æolus led also a colony to Elis, and another to Pylus. In general, the
Æolians sought maritime settlements in northern Greece, and the western
side of the Peloponnesus.

(M312) The Achæans were the dominant race, in very early times, of the
south of Thessaly, and the eastern side of the Peloponnesus, whose chief
seats were Phthia, where Achilles reigned, and Argolis. Thirlwall seems to
think they were a Pelasgian, rather than an Hellenic people. The ancient
traditions represent the sons of Achæus as migrating to Argos, where they
married the daughters of Danaus the king, but did not mount the throne.

(M313) The early fortunes of the Dorians are involved in great obscurity,
nor is there much that is satisfactory in the early history of any of the
Hellenic tribes. Our information is chiefly traditional, derived from the
poets. Dorus, the son of Deucalion, occupied the country over against
Peloponnesus, on the opposite side of the Corinthian Gulf, comprising
Ætolia, Phocis, and the Ozolian Locrians. Nor can the conquests of the
Dorians on the Peloponnesus be reconciled upon any other ground than that
they occupied a considerable tract of country.

(M314) The early history of the Ionians is still more obscure. Ion, the
son of Xuthus, is supposed to have led his followers from Thessaly to
Attica, and to have conquered the Pelasgians, or effected peaceable
settlements with them. Then follows a series of legends which have more
poetical than historical interest, but which will be briefly noticed in
the next chapter.

                               CHAPTER XIV.


(M315) The Greeks possessed no authentic written history of that period
which included the first appearance of the Hellenes in Thessaly to the
first Olympiad, B.C. 776. This is called the heroic age, and is known to
us only by legends and traditions, called myths. They pertain both to gods
and men, and are connected with what we call mythology, which possesses no
historical importance, although it is full of interest for its poetic
life. And as mythology is interwoven with the literature and the art of
the ancients, furnishing inexhaustible subjects for poets, painters, and
sculptors, it can not be omitted wholly in the history of that classic
people, whose songs and arts have been the admiration of the world.

(M316) We have space, however, only for those legends which are of
universal interest, and will first allude to those which pertain to gods,
such as appear most prominent in the poems of Hesiod and Homer.

(M317) Zeus, or Jupiter, is the most important personage in the mythology
of Greece. Although, chronologically, he comes after Kronos and Uranos, he
was called the “father of gods and men,” whose power it was impossible to
resist, and which power was universal. He was supposed to be the
superintending providence, whose seat was on Mount Olympus, enthroned in
majesty and might, to whom the lesser deities were obedient. With his two
brothers, Poseidon, or Neptune, and Hades, or Pluto, he reigned over the
heavens, the earth, the sea, and hell. Mythology represents him as born in
Crete; and when he had gained sufficient mental and bodily force, he
summoned the gods to Mount Olympus, and resolved to wrest the supreme
power from his father, Kronos, and the Titans. Ten years were spent in the
mighty combat, in which all nature was convulsed, before victory was
obtained, and the Titans hurled into Tartarus. With Zeus now began a
different order of beings. He is represented as having many wives and a
numerous offspring. From his own head came Athene, fully armed, the
goddess of wisdom, the patron deity of Athens. By Themis he begat the
Horæ; by Eurynome, the three Graces; by Mnemosyne, the Muses; by Leto
(Latona), Apollo, and Artemis (Diana); by Demeter (Ceres), Persephone; by
Here (Juno), Hebe, Ares (Mars), and Eileithyia; by Maia, Hermes (Mercury).

(M318) Under the presidency of Zeus were the twelve great gods and
goddesses of Olympus—Poseidon (Neptune), who presided over the sea;
Apollo, who was the patron of art; Ares, the god of war; Hephaestos
(Vulcan), who forged the thunderbolts; Hermes, who was the messenger of
omnipotence and the protector of merchants; Here, the queen of heaven, and
general protector of the female sex; Athene (Minerva), the goddess of
wisdom and letters; Artemis (Diana), the protectress of hunters and
shepherds; Aphrodite (Venus), the goddess of beauty and love; Hertia
(Vesta), the goddess of the hearth and altar, whose fire never went out;
Demeter (Ceres), mother earth, the goddess of agriculture.

Scarcely inferior to these Olympian deities were Hades (Pluto), who
presided over the infernal regions; Helios, the sun; Hecate, the goddess
of expiation; Dionysus (Bacchus), the god of the vine; Leto (Latona), the
goddess of the concealed powers; Eos (Aurora), goddess of the morn;
Nemesis, god of vengeance; Æolus, the god of winds; Harmonia; the Graces,
the Muses, the Nymphs, the Nereids, marine nymphs—these were all invested
with great power and dignity.

Besides these were deities who performed special services to the greater
gods, like the Horæ; and monsters, offspring of gods, like the gorgons,
chimera, the dragon of the Hesperides, the Lernæan hydra, the Nemean lion,
Scylla and Charybdis, the centaurs, the sphinx, and others.

(M319) It will be seen that these gods and goddesses represent the powers
of nature, and the great attributes of wisdom, purity, courage, fidelity,
truth, which belong to man’s higher nature, and which are associated with
the divine. It was these powers and attributes which were
worshiped—superhuman and adorable. Homer and Hesiod are the great
authorities of the theogonies of the pagan world, and we can not tell how
much of this was of their invention, and how much was implanted in the
common mind of the Greeks, at an age earlier than 700 B.C. The Orphic
theogony belongs to a later date, but acquired even greater popular
veneration than the Hesiodic.

(M320) The worship of these divinities was attended by rites more or less
elevated, but sometimes by impurities and follies, like those of Bacchus
and Venus. Sometimes this worship was veiled in mysteries, like those of
Eleusis. To all these deities temples were erected, and offerings made,
sometimes of fruits and flowers, and then of animals. Of all these deities
there were legends—sometimes absurd, and these were interwoven with
literature and religious solemnities. The details of these fill many a
large dictionary, and are to be read in dictionaries, or in poems. Those
which pertain to Ceres, to Apollo, to Juno, to Venus, to Minerva, to
Mercury, are full of poetic beauty and fascination. They arose in an age
of fertile imagination and ardent feeling, and became the faith of the

(M321) Besides the legends pertaining to gods and goddesses, are those
which relate the heroic actions of men. Grote describes the different
races of men as they appear in the Hesiodic theogony—the offspring of
gods. First, the golden race: first created, good and happy, like the gods
themselves, and honored after death by being made the unseen guardians of
men—“terrestrial demons.” Second, the silver race, inferior in body and
mind, was next created, and being disobedient, are buried in the earth.
Third, the brazen race, hard, pugnacious, terrible, strong, which was
continually at war, and ultimately destroyed itself, and descended into
Hades, unhonored and without privilege. Fourth, the race of heroes, or
demigods, such as fought at Thebes and Troy, virtuous but warlike, which
also perished in battle, but were removed to a happier state. And finally,
the iron race, doomed to perpetual guilt, care, toil, suffering—unjust,
dishonest, ungrateful, thoughtless—such is the present race of men, with a
small admixture of good, which will also end in due time. Such are the
races which Hesiod describes in his poem of the “Works and
Days,”—penetrated with a profound sense of the wickedness and degeneracy
of human life, yet of the ultimate rewards of virtue and truth. His demons
are not gods, nor men, but intermediate agents, essentially good—angels,
whose province was to guard and to benefit the world. But the notions of
demons gradually changed, until they were regarded as both good and bad,
as viewed by Plato, and finally they were regarded as the causes of evil,
as in the time of the Christian writers. Hesiod, who lived, it is
supposed, four hundred years before Herodotus, is a great ethical poet,
and embodied the views of his age respecting the great mysteries of nature
and life.

The legends which Hesiod, Homer, and other poets made so attractive by
their genius, have a perpetual interest, since they are invested with all
the fascinations of song and romance. We will not enter upon those which
relate to gods, but confine ourselves to those which relate to men—the
early heroes of the classic land and age; nor can we allude to all—only a
few—those which are most memorable and impressive.

(M322) Among the most ancient was the legend relating to the Danaides,
which invest the early history of Argos with peculiar interest. Inachus,
who reigned 1986 B.C., according to ancient chronology, is also the name
of the river flowing beneath the walls of the ancient city, situated in
the eastern part of the Peloponnesus. In the reign of Krotopos, one of his
descendants, Danaus came with his fifty daughters from Egypt to Argos in a
vessel of fifty oars, in order to escape the solicitations of the fifty
sons of Ægyptos, his brother, who wished to make them their wives. Ægyptos
and the sons followed in pursuit, and Danaus was compelled to assent to
their desires, but furnished each of his daughters with a dagger, on the
wedding night, who thus slew their husbands, except one, whose husband,
Lynceus, ultimately became king of Argos. From Danaus was derived the name
of Danai, applied to the people of the Argeian territory, and to the
Homeric Greeks generally. We hence infer that Argos—one of the oldest
cities of Greece, was settled in part by Egyptians, probably in the era of
the shepherd kings, who introduced not only the arts, but the religious
rites of that ancient country. Among the regal descendants of Lynceus was
Danae, whose son Perseus performed marvelous deeds, by the special favor
of Athene, among which he brought from Libya the terrific head of the
Gorgon Medusa, which had the marvelous property of turning every one to
stone who looked at her. Stung with remorse for the accidental murder of
his grandfather, the king, he retired from Argos, and founded the city of
Mycenæ, the ruins of whose massive walls are still to be seen—Cyclopean
works, which seem to show that the old Pelasgians derived their
architectural ideas from the Egyptian Danauns. The Perseids of Mycenæ thus
boasted of an illustrious descent, which continued down to the last
sovereign of Sparta.

(M323) The grand-daughter of Perseus was Alcmena, whom mythology
represents as the mother of Hercules by Jupiter. The labors of Hercules
are among the most interesting legends of pagan antiquity, since they are
types of the endless toils of a noble soul, doomed to labor for others,
and obey the commands of worthless persecutors. But the hero is finally
rewarded by admission to the family of the gods, and his descendants are
ultimately restored to the inheritance from which they were deprived by
the wrath and jealousy of Juno. A younger branch of the Perseid family
reigned in Lacedæmon—Eurystheus, to whom Hercules was subject; but he,
with all his sons, lost their lives in battle, so that the Perseid family
was represented only by the sons of Hercules—the Heracleids, or Heraclidæ.
They endeavored to regain their possessions, and invaded the Peloponnesus,
from which they had been expelled. Hyllos, the oldest son, proposed to the
army of Ionians, Achæans, and Arcadians, which met them in defense, that
the combat should be decided between himself and any champion of the
invading army, and that, if he were victorious, the Heracleids should be
restored to their sovereignty, but if defeated, should forego their claim
for three generations. Hyllos was vanquished, and the Heracleids retired
and resided with the Dorians. When the stipulated period had ended, they,
assisted by the Dorians, gained possession of the Peloponnesus. Hence the
great Dorian settlement of Argos, Sparta, and Messenia, effected by the
return of the Heracleids.

(M324) Another important legend is that which relates to Deucalion and the
deluge, as it is supposed to shed light on the different races that
colonized Greece. The wickedness of the world induced Zeus to punish it by
a deluge; a terrible rain laid the whole of Greece under water, except a
few mountain tops. Deucalion was saved in an ark, or chest, which he had
been forewarned to construct. After floating nine days, he landed on the
summit of Mount Parnassus. Issuing from his ark, he found no inhabitants,
they having been destroyed by the deluge. Instructed, however, by Zeus, he
and his wife, Pyrrha, threw stones over their heads, and those which he
threw became men, and those thrown by his wife became women. Thus does
mythology account for the new settlement of the country—a tradition
doubtless derived from the remote ages through the children of Japhet,
from whom the Greeks descended, and who, after many wanderings and
migrations, settled in Greece.

(M325) Deucalion and Pyrrha had two sons, Hellen and Amphictyon. The
eldest, Hellen, by a nymph was the father of Dorus, Æolus, and Xuthus, and
he gave his name to the nation—Hellenas. In dividing the country among his
sons, Æolus received Thessaly; Xuthus, Peloponnesus; and Dorus, the
country lying opposite, on the northern side of the Corinthian Gulf, as
has been already mentioned in the preceding chapter. Substitute Deucalion
for Noah, Greece for Armenia, and Dorus, Æolus, and Xuthus for Shem, Ham,
and Japhet, and we see a reproduction of the Mosaic account of the second
settlement of mankind.

As it is natural for men to trace their origin to illustrious progenitors,
so the Greeks, in their various settlements, cherished the legends which
represented themselves as sprung from gods and heroes—those great
benefactors, whose exploits occupy the heroic ages. As Hercules was the
Argine hero of the Peloponnesus, so Æolus was the father of heroes sacred
in the history of the Æolians, who inhabited the largest part of Greece.
Æolus reigned in Thessaly, the original seat of the Hellenes.

(M326) Among his sons was Salmoneus, whose daughter, Tyro, became enamored
of the river Eneipus, and frequenting its banks, the god Poseidon fell in
love with her. The fruits of this alliance were the twin brothers, Pelias
and Neleus, who quarreled respecting the possession of Iolchos, situated
at the foot of Mount Pelion, celebrated afterward as the residence of
Jason. Pelias prevailed, and Neleus returned into Peloponnesus and founded
the kingdom of Pylos. His beautiful daughter, Pero, was sought in marriage
by princes from all the neighboring countries, but he refused to entertain
the pretensions of any of them, declaring that she should only wed the man
who brought him the famous oxen of Iphiklos, in Thessaly. Melampus, the
nephew of Neleus, obtained the oxen for his brother Bias, who thus
obtained the hand of Pero. Of the twelve sons of Neleus, Nestor was the
most celebrated. It was he who assembled the various chieftains for the
siege of Troy, and was pre-eminent over all for wisdom.

(M327) Another descendant of Æolus was the subject of a beautiful legend.
Admetus, who married a daughter of Pelias, and whose horses were tended by
Apollo, for a time incarnated as a slave in punishment for the murder of
the Cyclopes. Apollo, in gratitude, obtained from the Fates the privilege
that the life of Admetus should be prolonged if any one could be found to
die voluntarily for him. His wife, Alkestes, made the sacrifice, but was
released from the grasp of death (Thanatos) by Hercules, the ancient
friend of Admetus.

(M328) But a still more beautiful legend is associated with Jason, a great
grandson of Æolus. Pelias, still reigning at Iolchos, was informed by the
oracle to beware of the man who should appear before him with only one
sandal. He was celebrating a festival in honor of Poseidon when Jason
appeared, having lost one of his sandals in crossing a river. As a means
of averting the danger, he imposed upon Jason the task, deemed desperate,
of bringing back to Iolchos the “Golden Fleece.” The result was the
memorable Argonautic expedition of the ship Argo, to the distant land of
Colchis, on the eastern coast of the Black Sea. Jason invited the noblest
youth of Greece to join him in this voyage of danger and glory. Fifty
illustrious persons joined him, including Hercules and Theseus, Castor and
Pollux, Mopsus, and Orpheus. They proceeded along the coast of Thrace, up
the Hellespont, past the southern coast of the Propontis, through the
Bosphorus, onward past Bithynia and Pontus, and arrived at the river
Phasis, south of the Caucasian mountains, where dwelt Æetes, whom they
sought. But he refused to surrender the golden fleece except on conditions
which were almost impossible. Medea, however, his daughter, fell in love
with Jason, and by her means, assisted by Hecate, he succeeded in yoking
the ferocious bulls and plowing the field, and sowing it with dragons’
teeth. Still Æetes refused the reward, and meditated the murder of the
Argonauts; but Medea lulled to sleep the dragon which guarded the fleece,
and fled with her lover and his companions on board the Argo. The
adventurers returned to Iolchos in safety, after innumerable perils, and
by courses irreconcilable with all geographical truths. But Jason could
avenge himself on Pelias only through the stratagem of his wife, and by
her magical arts she induced the daughters of Pelias to cut up their
father, and to cast his limbs into a cauldron, believing that by this
method he would be restored to the vigor of youth, and Jason was thus
revenged, and obtained possession of the kingdom, which he surrendered to
a son of Pelias, and retired with his wife to Corinth. Here he lived ten
years in prosperity, but repudiated Medea in order to marry Glance, the
daughter of the king of Corinth; Medea avenged the insult by the poisoned
robe she sent to Glance as a marriage present, while Jason perished, while
asleep, from a fragment of his ship Argo, which fell upon him. Such is the
legend of the Argonauts, which is typical of the naval adventures of the
maritime Greeks, and their restless enterprises.

(M329) The legend of Sisyphus is connected with the early history of
Corinth. Sisyphus was the son of Æolus, and founded this wealthy city. He
was distinguished for cunning and deceit. He detected Antolycus, the son
of Hermes, by marking his sheep under the foot, so that the arch-thief was
obliged to acknowledge the superior craft of the Æolid, and restore the
plunder. He discovered the amour of Zeus with the nymph Ægina, and told
her mother where she was carried, which so incensed the “father of gods
and men,” that he doomed Sisyphus, in Hades, to the perpetual punishment
of rolling up a hill a heavy stone, which, as soon as it reached the
summit, rolled back again in spite of all his efforts. This legend
illustrates the never ending toils and disappointments of men.

(M330) Sisyphus was the grandfather of Bellerophon, whose beauty made him
the object of a violent passion on the part of Antea, the wife of a king
of Argos. He rejected her advances, and became as violently hated. She
made false accusations, and persuaded her husband to kill him. Not wishing
to commit the murder directly, he sent him to his son-in-law, the king of
Sykia, in Asia Minor, with a folded tablet full of destructive symbols,
which required him to perform perilous undertakings, which he successfully
performed. He was then recognized as the son of a god, and married the
daughter of the king. This legend reminds us of Joseph in Egypt.

(M331) We are compelled to omit other interesting legends of the Æolids,
the sons and daughters of Æolus, among which are those which record the
feats of Atalanta, and turn to those which relate to the Pelopids, who
gave to the Peloponnesus its early poetic interest. Of this remarkable
race were Tantalus, Pelops, Atreus, Thyestes, Agamemnon, Menelaus, Helen,
and Hermione, all of whom figured in the ancient legendary genealogies.

(M332) Tantalus resided, at a remote antiquity, near Mount Sipylus, in
Lydia, and was a man of immense wealth, and pre-eminently favored both by
gods and men. Intoxicated by prosperity, he stole nectar and ambrosia from
the table of the gods, and revealed their secrets, for which he was
punished in the under world by perpetual hunger and thirst, yet placed
with fruit and water near him, which eluded his grasp when he attempted to
touch them. He had two children, Pelops and Niobe. The latter was blessed
with seven sons and seven daughters, which so inflamed her with pride that
she claimed equality with the goddesses Latona and Diana, who favored her
by their friendship. This presumption so incensed the goddesses, that they
killed all her children, and Niobe wept herself to death, and was turned
into a stone, a striking image of excessive grief.

(M333) Pelops was a Lydian king, but was expelled from Asia by Ilus, king
of Troy, for his impieties. He came to Greece, and beat Hippodamenia,
whose father was king of Pisa, near Olympia, in Elis, in a chariot race,
when death was the penalty of failure. He succeeded by the favor of
Poseidon, and married the princess, and became king of Pisa. He gave his
name to the whole peninsula, which he was enabled to do from the great
wealth he brought from Lydia, thus connecting the early settlements of the
Peloponnesus with Asia Minor. He had numerous children, who became the
sovereigns of different cities and states in Argos, Elis, Laconia, and
Arcadia. One of them, Atreus, was king of Mycenæ, who inherited the
sceptre of Zeus, and whose wealth was proverbial. The sceptre was made by
Hephæstus (Vulcan) and given to Zeus; he gave it to Hermes; Hermes
presented it to Pelops; and Pelops gave it to Atreus, the ruler of men.
Atreus and his brother, Thyestes, bequeathed it to Agamemnon, who ruled at
Mycenæ, while his brother, Menelaus, reigned at Sparta. It was the wife of
Menelaus, Helen, who was carried away by Paris, which occasioned the
Trojan war. Agamemnon was killed on his return from Troy, through the
treachery of his wife Clytemnestra, who was seduced by Ægisthus, the son
of Thyestes. His only son, Orestes, afterward avenged the murder, and
recovered Mycenæ. Hermione, the only daughter of Menelaus and Helen, was
given in marriage to the son of Achilles, Neoptolemas, who reigned in
Thessaly. Mycenæ maintained its independence to the Persian invasion, and
is rendered immortal by the Iliad and Odyssey. On the subsequent
ascendency of Sparta, the bones of Orestes were brought from Tegea, where
they had reposed for generations, in a coffin seven cubits long.

The other States of the Peloponnesus, have also their genealogical
legends, which trace their ancestors to gods and goddesses, which I omit,
and turn to those which belong to Attica.

(M334) The great Deucalian deluge, according to legend, happened during
the reign of Ogyges, 1796 years B.C., and 1020 before the first Olympiad.
After a long interval, Cecrops, half man and half serpent, became king of
the country. By some he is represented as a Pelasgian, by others, as an
Egyptian. He introduced the first elements of civilized life—marriage, the
twelve political divisions of Attica, and a new form of worship,
abolishing the bloody sacrifices to Zeus. He gave to the country the name
of Cecropia. During his reign there ensued a dispute between Athenæ and
Poseidon, respecting the possession of the Acropolis. Poseidon struck the
rocks with his trident, and produced a well of salt water; Athenæ planted
an olive tree. The twelve Olympian gods decided the dispute, and awarded
to Athenæ the coveted possession, and she ever afterward remained the
protecting deity of Athens.

(M335) Among his descendants was Theseus, the great legendary hero of
Attica, who was one of the Argonauts, and also one of those who hunted the
Calidomian boar. He freed Attica from robbers and wild beasts, conquered
the celebrated Minotaur of Crete, and escaped from the labyrinth by the
aid of Ariadne, whom he carried off and abandoned. In the Iliad he is
represented as fighting against the centaurs, and in the Hesiodic poems he
is an amorous knight-errant, misguided by the beautiful Ægle. Among his
other feats, inferior only to those of Hercules, he vanquished the
Amazons—a nation of courageous and hardy women, who came from the country
about Caucasus, and whose principal seats were near the modern Trezibond.
They invaded Thrace, Asia Minor, Greece, Syria, Egypt, and the islands of
the Ægean. The foundation of several towns in Asia Minor is ascribed to
them. In the time of Theseus, this semi-mythical and semi-historical race
of female warriors invaded Attica, and even penetrated to Athens, but were
conquered by the hero king. Allusion is made to their defeat throughout
the literature of Athens. Although Theseus was a purely legendary
personage, the Athenians were accustomed to regard him as a great
political reformer and legislator, who consolidated the Athenian
commonwealth, distributing the people into three classes.

(M336) The legends pertaining to Thebes occupy a prominent place in
Grecian mythology. Cadmus, the son of Agenor, king of Phœnicia, leaves his
country in search of his sister Europa, with whom Zeus, in the form of a
bull, had fallen in love, and carried on his back to Crete. He first goes
to Thrace, and thence to Delphi, to learn tidings of Europa, but the god
directs him not to prosecute his search; he is to follow the guidance of a
cow, and to found a city where the animal should lie down. The cow stops
at the site of Thebes. He marries Harmonia, the daughter of Ares and
Aphrodite, after having killed the dragons which guarded the fountain
Allia, and sowed their teeth. From these armed men sprang up, who killed
each other, except five. From these arose the five great families of
Thebes, called Sparti. One of the Sparti marries a daughter of Cadmus,
whose issue was Pentheus, who became king. It was in his reign that
Dionysus appears as a god in Bœotia, the giver of the vine, and obtains
divine honors in Thebes. Among the descendants of Cadmus was Laius. He is
forewarned by an oracle that any son he should beget would destroy him,
and hence he caused the infant Œdipus to be exposed on Mount Cithanon.
Here the herdsmen of Polybus, king of Corinth, find him, and convey him to
their lord who brings him up as his own child. Distressed by the taunts of
companions as to his unknown parentage, he goes to Delphi, to inquire the
name of his real father. He is told not to return to his own country, for
it was his destiny to kill his father and become the husband of his
mother. Knowing no country but Corinth, he pursues his way to Bœotia, and
meets Laius in a chariot drawn by mules. A quarrel ensues from the
insolence of attendants, and Œdipus kills Laius. The brother of Laius,
Creon, succeeds to the throne of Thebes. The country around is vexed with
a terrible monster, with the face of a woman, the wings of a bird, and the
tail of a lion, called the Sphinx, who has learned from the Muses a
riddle, which she proposed to the Thebans, and on every failure to resolve
it one of them was devoured. But no person can solve the riddle. The king
offers his crown and his sister Jocasta, wife of Laius, in marriage to any
one who would explain the riddle. Œdipus solves it, and is made king of
Thebes, and marries Jocasta. A fatal curse rests upon him. Jocasta,
informed by the gods of her relationship, hangs herself in agony. Œdipus
endures great miseries, as well as his children, whom he curses, and who
quarrel about their inheritance, which quarrel leads to the siege of
Thebes by Adrastus, king of Argos, who seeks to restore Polynices—one of
the sons of Œdipus, to the throne of which he was dispossessed. The
Argetan chieftains readily enter into the enterprise, assisted by numerous
auxiliaries from Arcadia and Messenia. The Cadmeans, assisted by the
Phocians, march out to resist the invaders, who are repulsed, in
consequence of the magnanimity of a generous youth, who offers himself a
victim to Ares. Eteocles then proposed to his brother, Polynices, the
rival claimants, to decide the quarrel by single combat. It resulted in
the death of both, and then in the renewal of the general contest, and the
destruction of the Argeian chiefs, and Adrastus’s return to Argos in shame
and woe.

(M337) But Creon, the father of the self-sacrificing Menæceus, succeeds on
the death of the rival brothers, to the administration of Thebes. A second
siege takes place, conducted by Adrastus, and the sons of those who had
been slain. Thebes now falls, and Thereander, the son of Polynices, is
made king. The legends of Thebes have furnished the great tragedians
Sophocles and Euripides, with their finest subjects. In the fable of the
Sphinx we trace a connection between Thebes and ancient Egypt.

But all the legends of ancient Greece yield in interest to that of Troy,
which Homer chose as the subject of his immortal epic.

(M338) Dardanus, a son of Zeus, is the primitive ancestor of the Trojan
kings, whose seat of power was Mount Ida. His son, Erichthonius, became
the richest of mankind, and had in his pastures three thousand mares. His
son, Tros, was the father of Ilus, Assarcus, and Ganymede. The latter was
stolen by Zeus to be his cup-bearer.

(M339) Ilus was the father of Laomedon, under whom Apollo and Poseidon, in
mortal form, went through a temporary servitude—the former tending his
flocks, the latter building the walls of Ilium. Laomedon was killed by
Hercules, in punishment for his perfidy in giving him mortal horses for
his destruction of a sea monster, instead of the immortal horses, as he
had promised, the gift of Zeus to Tros.

(M340) Among the sons of Laomedon was Priam, who was placed upon the
throne. He was the father of illustrious sons, among whom were Hector and
Paris. The latter was exposed on Mount Ida, to avoid the fulfillment of an
evil prophecy, but grew up beautiful and active among the flocks and
herds. It was to him that the three goddesses, Here, Athenæ, and Aphrodite
(Juno, Minerva, and Venus), presented their respective claims to beauty,
which he awarded to Aphrodite, and by whom he was promised, in recompense,
Helen, wife of the Spartan king, Menelaus, and daughter of Zeus. Aphrodite
caused ships to be built for him, and he safely arrived in Sparta, and was
hospitably entertained by the unsuspecting monarch. In the absence of
Menelaus in Crete, Paris carries away to Troy both Helen, and a large sum
of money belonging to the king. Menelaus hastens home, informed of the
perfidy, and consults his brother, Agamemnon, and the venerable Nestor.
They interest the Argeian chieftains, who resolve to recover Helen. Ten
years are spent in preparations, consisting of one thousand one hundred
and eighty-six ships, and one hundred thousand men, comprised of heroes
from all parts of Greece, among whom are Ajax, Diomedes, Achilles, and
Odysseus. The heroes set sail from Aulis, and after various mistakes,
reach Asia.

(M341) Meanwhile the Trojans assemble, with a large body of allies, to
resist the invaders, who demand the redress of a great wrong. The Trojans
are routed in battle, and return within their walls. After various
fortunes, the city is taken, at the end of ten years, by stratagem, and
the Grecian chieftains who were not killed seek to return to their own
country, with Helen among the spoils. They meet with many misfortunes,
from the anger of the gods, for not having spared the altars of Troy.
Their chieftains quarrel among themselves, and even Agamemnon and Menelaus
lose their fraternal friendship. After long wanderings, and bitter
disappointments, and protracted hopes, the heroes return to their
homes—such as war had spared—to recount their adventures and sufferings,
and reconstruct their shattered States, and mend their broken fortunes—a
type of war in all the ages, calamitous even to conquerors. The wanderings
of Ulysses have a peculiar fascination, since they form the subject of the
Odyssey, one of the noblest poems of antiquity. Nor are the adventures of
Æneas scarcely less interesting, as presented by Virgil, who traces the
first Settlement of Latium to the Trojan exiles. We should like to dwell
on the siege of Troy, and its great results, but the subject is too
extensive and complicated. The student of the great event, whether
historical or mystical, must read the detailed accounts in the immortal
epics of Homer. We have only space for the grand outlines, which can be
scarcely more than allusions.

(M342) Scarcely inferior to the legend of Troy, is that which recounts the
return of the descendants of Hercules to the ancient inheritance on the
Peloponnesus, which, it is supposed, took place three or four hundred
years before authentic history begins, or eighty years after the Trojan

We have briefly described the geographical position of the most important
part of ancient Greece—the Peloponnesus—almost an island, separated from
the continent only by a narrow gulf, resembling in shape a palm-tree,
indented on all sides by bays, and intersected with mountains, and
inhabited by a simple and warlike race.

We have seen that the descendants of Perseus, who was a descendant of
Danaus, reigned at Mycenæ in Argolis—among whom was Amphitryon, who fled
to Thebes, on the murder of his uncle, with Alemena his wife. Then
Hercules, to whom the throne of Mycenæ legitimately belonged, was born,
but deprived of his inheritance by Eurystheus—a younger branch of the
Perseids—in consequence of the anger and jealousy of Juno, and to whom, by
the fates, Hercules was made subject. We have seen how the sons of
Hercules, under Hyllos, attempted to regain their kingdom, but were
defeated, and retreated among the Dorians.

(M343) After three generations, the Heraclidæ set out to regain their
inheritance, assisted by the Dorians. They at length, after five
expeditions, gained possession of the country, and divided it, among the
various chieftains, who established their dominion in Argos, Mycenæ, and
Sparta, which, at the time of the Trojan war, was ruled by Agamemnon and
Menelaus, descendants of Pelops. In the next generation, Corinth was
conquered by the Dorians, under an Heraclide prince.

(M344) The Achæans, thus expelled by the Dorians from the south and east
of the Peloponnesus, fell back upon the northwest coast, and drove away
the Ionians, and formed a confederacy of twelve cities, which in later
times became of considerable importance. The dispossessed Ionians joined
their brethren of the same race in Attica, but the rugged peninsula was
unequal to support the increased population, and a great migration took
place to the Cyclades and the coasts of Lydia. The colonists there built
twelve cities, about one hundred and forty years after the Trojan war.
Another body of Achæans, driven out of the Peloponnesus by the Dorians,
first settled in Bœotia, and afterward, with Æolians, sailed to the isle
of Lesbos, where they founded six cities, and then to the opposite
mainland. At the foot of Mount Ida they founded the twelve Æolian cities,
of which Smyrna was the principal.

(M345) Crete was founded by a body of Dorians and conquered Achæans.
Rhodes received a similar colony. So did the island of Cos. The cities of
Lindus, Ialysus, Camirus, Cos, with Cnidus and Halicarnassus, on the
mainland, formed the Dorian Hexapolis of Caria, inferior, however, to the
Ionian and Æolian colonies.

(M346) At the beginning of the mythical age the dominant Hellenic races
were the Achæans and Æolians; at the close, the Ionians and Dorians were
predominant. The Ionians extended their maritime possessions from Attica
to the Asiatic colonies across the Ægean, and gradually took the lead of
the Asiatic Æolians, and formed a great maritime empire under the
supremacy of Athens. The Hellenic world ultimately was divided and
convulsed by the great contest for supremacy between the Dorians and
Ionians, until the common danger from the Persian invasion united them
together for a time.

(M347) Thus far we have only legend to guide us in the early history of
Greece. The historical period begins with the First Olympiad, B.C. 776.
Before this all is uncertain, yet as probable as the events of English
history in the mythical period between the departure of the Romans and the
establishment of the Anglo-Saxon kingdom. The history is not all myth;
neither is it clearly authenticated.

(M348) The various Hellenic tribes, though separated by political
ambition, were yet kindred in language and institutions. They formed great
leagues, or associations, of neighboring cities, for the performance of
religious rites. The Amphictyonic Council, which became subsequently so
famous, was made up of Thessalians, Bœotians, Dorians, Ionians, Achæans,
Locrians, and Phocians—all Hellenic in race. Their great centre was the
temple of Apollo at Delphi. The different tribes or nations also came
together regularly to take part in the four great religious festivals or
games—the Olympic, Pythian, Isthmian, and Nemæan—the two former of which
were celebrated every four years.

(M349) In the Homeric age the dominant State was Achæa, whose capital was
Mycenæ. The next in power was Lacedæmon. After the Dorian conquest, Argos
was the first, Sparta the second, and Messenia the third State in
importance. Argos, at the head of a large confederacy of cities on the
northeast of the Peloponnesus, was governed by Phidon—an irresponsible
ruler, a descendant of Hercules, to whom is inscribed the coinage of
silver and copper money, and the introduction of weights and measures. He
flourished B.C. 747.

(M350) All these various legends, though unsupported by history, have a
great ethical importance, as well as poetic interest. The passions,
habits, and adventures of a primitive and warlike race are presented by
the poets with transcendent effect, and we read lessons of human nature as
in the dramas of Shakespeare. Hence, one of the most learned and dignified
of the English historians deems it worthy of his pen to devote to these
myths a volume of his noble work. Nor is it misplaced labor. These legends
furnished subjects to the tragic and epic poets of antiquity, as well as
to painters and sculptors, in all the ages of art. They are identified
with the development of Grecian genius, and are as imperishable as history
itself. They were to the Greeks realities, and represent all that is vital
in their associations and worship. They stimulated the poetic faculty, and
taught lessons of moral wisdom which all nations respect and venerate.
They contributed to enrich both literature and art. They make Æschylus,
Euripides, Pindar, Homer, and Hesiod great monumental pillars of the
progress of the human race. Therefore, we will not willingly let those
legends die in our memories or hearts.

(M351) They are particularly important as shedding light on the manners,
customs, and institutions of the ancient Greeks, although they give no
reliable historical facts. They are memorials of the first state of
Grecian society, essentially different from the Oriental world. We see in
them the germs of political constitutions—the rise of liberty—the
pre-eminence of families which forms the foundation for oligarchy, or the
ascendency of nobles. We see also the first beginnings of democratic
influence—the voice of the people asserting a claim to be heard in the
market-place. We see again the existence of slavery—captives taken in war
doomed to attendance in princely palaces, and ultimately to menial labor
on the land. In those primitive times a State was often nothing but a
city, with the lands surrounding it, and therefore it was possible for all
the inhabitants to assemble in the agora with the king and nobles. We
find, in the early condition of Greece, kings, nobles, citizens, and

(M352) The king was seldom distinguished by any impassable barrier between
himself and subjects. He was rather the chief among his nobles, and his
supremacy was based on descent from illustrious ancestors. It passed
generally to the eldest son. In war he was a leader; in peace, a
protector. He offered up prayers and sacrifices for his people to the gods
in whom they all alike believed. He possessed an ample domain, and the
produce of his lands was devoted to a generous but rude hospitality. He
had a large share of the plunder taken from an enemy, and the most
alluring of the female captives. It was, however, difficult for him to
retain ascendency without great personal gifts and virtues, and especially
bravery on the field of battle, and wisdom in council. To the noblest of
these kings the legends ascribe great bodily strength and activity.

(M353) The kings were assisted by a great council of chieftains or nobles,
whose functions were deliberation and consultation; and after having
talked over their intentions with the chiefs, they announced them to the
people, who assembled in the market-place, and who were generally
submissive to the royal authority, although they were regarded as the
source of power. Then the king, and sometimes his nobles, administered
justice and heard complaints. Public speaking was favorable to eloquence,
and stimulated intellectual development, and gave dignity to tho people to
whom the speeches were addressed.

(M354) In those primitive times there was a strong religious feeling,
great reverence for the gods, whose anger was deprecated, and whose favor
was sought. The ties of families were strong. Paternal authority was
recognized and revered. Marriage was a sacred institution. The wife
occupied a position of great dignity and influence. Women were not
secluded in a harem, as were the Asiatics, but employed in useful labors.
Children were obedient, and brothers, sisters, and cousins were united
together by strong attachments. Hospitality was a cherished virtue, and
the stranger was ever cordially welcome, nor questioned even until
refreshed by the bath and the banquet. Feasts were free from extravagance
and luxury, and those who shared in them enlivened the company by a
recital of the adventures of gods and men. But passions were unrestrained,
and homicide was common. The murderer was not punished by the State, but
was left to the vengeance of kindred and friends, appeased sometimes by
costly gifts, as among the ancient Jews.

(M355) There was a rude civilization among the ancient Greeks, reminding
us of the Teutonic tribes, but it was higher than theirs. We observe the
division of the people into various trades and occupations—carpenters,
smiths, leather-dressers, leeches, prophets, bards, and fishermen,
although the main business was agriculture. Cattle were the great staple
of wealth, and the largest part of the land was devoted to pasture. The
land was tilled chiefly by slaves, and women of the servile class were
doomed to severe labor and privations. They brought the water, and they
turned the mills. Spinning and weaving were, however, the occupations of
all, and garments for men and women were alike made at home. There was
only a limited commerce, which was then monopolized by the Phœnicians, who
exaggerated the dangers of the sea. There were walled cities, palaces, and
temples. Armor was curiously wrought, and arms were well made. Rich
garments were worn by princes, and their palaces glittered with the
precious metals. Copper was hardened so as to be employed in weapons of
war. The warriors had chariots and horses, and were armed with sword,
dagger, and spear, and were protected by helmets, breastplates, and
greaves. Fortified cities were built on rocky elevations, although the
people generally lived in unfortified villages. The means of defense were
superior to those of offense, which enabled men to preserve their
acquisitions, for the ancient chieftains resembled the feudal barons of
the Middle Ages in the passion for robbery and adventure. We do not read
of coined money nor the art of writing, nor sculpture, nor ornamental
architecture among the Homeric Greeks; but they were fond of music and
poetry. Before history commences, they had their epics, which, sung by the
bards and minstrels, furnished Homer and Hesiod with materials for their
noble productions. It is supposed by Grote that the Homeric poems were
composed eight hundred and fifty years before Christ, and preserved two
hundred years without the aid of writing—of all poems the most popular and
natural, and addressed to unlettered minds.

Such were the heroic ages with their myths, their heroes, their simple
manners, their credulity, their religious faith, their rude civilization.
We have now to trace their progress through the historical epoch.

                               CHAPTER XV.


We come now to consider those States which grew into importance about the
middle of the eighth century before Christ, at the close of the legendary

(M356) The most important of these was Sparta, which was the leading
State. We have seen how it was conquered by Dorians, under Heraclic
princes. Its first great historic name was Lycurgus, whom some historians,
however, regard as a mythical personage.

(M357) Sparta was in a state of anarchy in consequence of the Dorian
conquest, a contest between the kings, aiming at absolute power, and the
people, desirous of democratic liberty. At this juncture the king,
Polydectes, died, leaving Lycurgus, his brother, guardian of the realm,
and of the infant heir to the throne. The future lawgiver then set out on
his travels, visiting the other States of Greece, Asia Minor, Egypt, and
other countries, and returned to Sparta about the period of the first
Olympiad, B.C. 776, with a rich store of wisdom and knowledge. The State
was full of disorders, but he instituted great reforms, aided by the
authority of the Delphic oracle, and a strong party of influential men.
His great object was to convert the citizens of Sparta into warriors
united by the strongest bonds, and trained to the severest discipline,
governed by an oligarchy under the form of the ancient monarchy. In other
words, his object was to secure the ascendency of the small body of Dorian
invaders that had conquered Laconia.

(M358) The descendants of these invaders, the Spartans, alone possessed
the citizenship, and were equal in political rights. They were the
proprietors of the soil, which was tilled by Helots. The Spartans
disdained any occupation but war and government. They lived within their
city, which was a fortified camp, and ate in common at public tables, and
on the simplest fare. Every virtue and energy were concentrated on
self-discipline and sacrifice, in order to fan the fires of heroism and
self-devotion. They were a sort of stoics—hard, severe, proud, despotic,
and overbearing. They cared nothing for literature, or art, or philosophy.
Even eloquence was disdained, and the only poetry or music they cultivated
were religions hymns and heroic war songs. Commerce was forbidden by the
constitution, and all the luxuries to which it leads. Only iron was
allowed for money, and the precious metals were prohibited. Every
exercise, every motive, every law, contributed to make the Spartans
soldiers, and nothing but soldiers. Their discipline was the severest
known to the ancients. Their habits of life were austere and rigid. They
were trained to suffer any hardship without complaint.

(M359) Besides these Spartan citizens were the _Periœci_—remnants of the
old Achæan population, but mixed with an inferior class of Dorians. They
had no political power, but possessed personal freedom. They were landed
proprietors, and engaged in commerce and manufactures.

(M360) Below this class were the Helots—pure Greeks, but reduced to
dependence by conquest. They were bound to the soil, like serfs, but dwelt
with their families on the farms they tilled. They were not bought and
sold as slaves. They were the body servants of the Spartan citizens, and
were regarded as the property of the State. They were treated with great
haughtiness and injustice by their masters, which bred at last an intense

(M361) All political power was in the hands of the citizen warriors, only
about nine thousand in number in the time of Lycurgus. From them emanated
all delegated authority, except that of kings. This assembly, or
_ecclesia_, of Spartans over thirty years of age, met at stated intervals
to decide on all important matters submitted to them, but they had no
right of amendment—only a simple approval or rejection.

(M362) The body to which the people, it would seem, delegated considerable
power, was the Senate, composed of thirty members, not under sixty years
of age, and elected for life. They were a deliberative body, and judges in
all capital charges against Spartans. They were not chosen for noble birth
or property qualifications, but for merit and wisdom.

(M363) At the head of the State, at least nominally, were two kings, who
were numbered with the thirty senators. They had scarcely more power than
the Roman consuls; they commanded the armies, and offered the public
sacrifices, and were revered as the descendants of Hercules.

(M364) The persons of most importance were the ephors, chosen annually by
the people, who exercised the chief executive power, and without
responsibility. They could even arrest kings, and bring them to trial
before the Senate. Two of the five ephors accompanied the king in war, and
were a check on his authority.

(M365) It would thus seem that the government of Sparta was a republic of
an aristocratic type. There were no others nobler than citizens, but these
citizens composed but a small part of the population. They were Spartans—a
handful of conquerors, in the midst of hostile people—a body of lords
among slaves and subjects. They sympathized with law and order, and
detested the democratical turbulence of Athens. They were trained, by
their military education, to subordination, obedience, and self-sacrifice.
They, as citizens or as soldiers, existed only for the _State_, and to the
State every thing was subordinate. In our times, the State is made for the
people; in Sparta, the people for the State. This generated an intense
patriotism and self-denial. It also permitted a greater interference of
the State in personal matters than would now be tolerated in any despotism
in Europe. It made the citizens submissive to a division of property,
which if not a perfect community of goods, was fatal to all private
fortunes. But the property which the citizens thus shared was virtually
created by the Helots, who alone tilled the ground. The wealth of nations
is in the earth, and it is its cultivation which is the ordinary source of
property. The State, not individual masters, owned the Helots; and they
toiled for the citizens. In the modern sense of liberty, there was very
little in Sparta, except that which was possessed by the aristocratic
citizens—the conquerors of the country—men, whose very occupation was war
and government, and whose very amusement were those which fostered warlike
habits. The Roman citizens did not disdain husbandry, nor the Puritan
settlers of New England, but the Spartan citizens despised both this and
all trade and manufacture. Never was a haughtier class of men than these
Spartan soldiers. They exceeded in pride the feudal chieftain.

(M366) Such an exclusive body of citizens, however, jealous of their
political privileges, constantly declined in numbers, so that, in the time
of Aristotle, there were only one thousand Spartan citizens; and this
decline continued in spite of all the laws by which the citizens were
compelled to marry, and those customs, so abhorrent to our Christian
notions, which permitted the invasion of marital rights for the sake of
healthy children.

(M367) As it was to war that the best energies of the Spartans were
directed, so their armies were the admiration of the ancient world for
discipline and effectiveness. They were the first who reduced war to a
science. The general type of their military organization was the phalanx,
a body of troops in close array, armed with a long spear and short sword.
The strength of an army was in the heavy armed infantry; and this body was
composed almost entirely of citizens, with a small mixture of Periœci.
From the age of twenty to sixty, every Spartan was liable to military
service; and all the citizens formed an army, whether congregated at
Sparta, or absent on foreign service.

Such, in general, were the social, civil, and military institutions of
Sparta, and not peculiar to her alone, but to all the Dorians, even in
Crete; from which we infer that it was not Lycurgus who shaped them, but
that they existed independent of his authority. He may have re-established
the old regulations, and gave his aid to preserve the State from
corruption and decay. And when we remember that the constitution which he
re-established resisted both the usurpations of tyrants and the advances
of democracy, by which other States were revolutionized, we can not
sufficiently admire the wisdom which so early animated the Dorian

(M368) The Spartans became masters of the country after a long struggle,
and it was henceforth called Laconia. The more obstinate Achæans became
Helots. After the conquest, the first memorable event in Spartan history
was the reduction of Messenia, for which it took two great wars.

(M369) Messenia has already been mentioned as the southwestern part of the
Peloponnesus, and resembling Laconia in its general aspects. The river
Parnisus flows through its entire length, as Eurotas does in Laconia,
forming fertile valleys and plains, and producing various kinds of cereals
and fruits, even as it now produces oil, silk, figs, wheat, maize, cotton,
wine, and honey. The area of Messenia is one thousand one hundred and
ninety-two square miles, not so large as one of our counties. The early
inhabitants had been conquered by the Dorians, and it was against the
descendants of these conquerors that the Spartans made war. The murder of
a Spartan king, Teleclus, at a temple on the confines of Laconia and
Messenia, where sacrifices were offered in common, gave occasion for the
first war, which lasted nineteen years, B.C. 743. Other States were
involved in the quarrel—Corinth on the side of Sparta, and Sicyon and
Arcadia on the part of the Messenians. The Spartans having the superiority
in the field, the Messenians retreated to their stronghold of Ithome,
where they defended themselves fifteen years. But at last they were
compelled to abandon it, and the fortress was razed to the ground. The
conquered were reduced to the condition of Helots—compelled to cultivate
the land and pay half of its produce to their new masters. The Spartan
citizens became the absolute owners of the whole soil of Messenia.

(M370) After thirty-nine years of servitude, a hero arose among the
conquered Messenians, Aristomenes, like Judas Maccabeus, or William
Wallace, who incited his countrymen to revolt. The whole of the
Peloponnesus became involved in the new war, and only Corinth became the
ally of Sparta; the remaining States of Argos, Sicyon, Arcadia, and Pisa,
sided with the Messenians. The Athenian poet, Tyrtæus, stimulated the
Spartans by his war-songs. In the first great battle, the Spartans were
worsted; in the second, they gained a signal victory, so that the
Messenians were obliged to leave the open country and retire to the
fortress on Mount Ira. Here they maintained themselves eleven years, the
Spartans being unused to sieges, and trained only to conflict in the open
field. The fortress was finally taken by treachery, and the hero who
sought to revive the martial glories of his State fled to Rhodes. Messenia
became now, B.C. 668, a part of Laconia, and it was three hundred years
before it appeared again in history.

(M371) The Spartans, after the conquest of Messenia, turned their eyes
upon Arcadia—that land of shepherds, free and simple and brave like
themselves. The city of Tegea long withstood the arms of the Spartans, but
finally yielded to superior strength, and became a subject ally, B.C. 560.
Sparta was further increased by a part of Argos, and a great battle, B.C.
547, between the Argives and Spartans, resulted in the complete ascendency
of Sparta in the southern part of the Peloponnesus, about the time that
Cyrus overthrew the Lydian empire. The Ionian Greeks of Asia Minor invoked
their aid against the Persian power, and Sparta proudly rallied in their

(M372) Meanwhile, a great political revolution was going on in the other
States of Greece, in no condition to resist the pre-eminence of Sparta,
The patriarchal monarchies of the heroic ages had gradually been subverted
by the rising importance of the nobility, enriched by conquered lands.
Every conquest, every step to national advancement, brought the nobles
nearer to the crown, and the government passed into the hands of those
nobles who had formerly composed the council of the king. With the growing
power of nobles was a corresponding growth of the political power of the
people or citizens, in consequence of increased wealth and intelligence.
The political changes were rapid. As the nobles had usurped the power of
the kings, so the citizens usurped the power of the nobles. The
everlasting war of classes, where the people are intelligent and free, was
signally illustrated in the Grecian States, and democracy succeeded to the
oligarchy which had prostrated kings. Then, when the people had gained the
ascendency, ambitious and factious demagogues in turn, got the control,
and these adventurers, now called Tyrants, assumed arbitrary powers. Their
power was only maintained by cruelty, injustice, and unscrupulous means,
which caused them finally to be so detested that they were removed by
assassination. These natural changes, from a monarchy, primitive and just
and limited, to an oligarchy of nobles, and the gradual subversion of
their power by wealthy and enlightened citizens, and then the rise of
demagogues, who became tyrants, have been illustrated in all ages of the
world. But the rapidity of these changes in the Grecian States, with the
progress of wealth and corruption, make their history impressive on all
generations. It is these rapid and natural revolutions which give to the
political history of Greece its permanent interest and value. The age of
the Tyrants is generally fixed from B.C. 650 to B.C. 500—about one hundred
and fifty years.

(M373) No State passed through these changes of government more signally
than Corinthia, which, with Megaris, formed the isthmus which connected
the Peloponnesus with Greece Proper. It was a small territory, covered
with the ridges and the spurs of the Geranean and and Oneian mountains,
and useless for purposes of agriculture. Its principal city was Corinth;
was favorably situated for commerce, and rapidly grew in population and
wealth. It also commanded the great roads which led from Greece Proper
through the defiles of the mountains into the Peloponnesus. It rapidly
monopolized the commerce of the Ægean Sea, and the East through the
Saronic Gulf; and through the Corinthian Gulf it commanded the trade of
the Ionian and Sicilian seas.

(M374) Corinth, by some, is supposed have been a Phœnician colony. Before
authentic history begins, it was inhabited by a mixed population of
Æolians and Ionians, the former of whom were dominant. Over them reigned
Sisyphus, according to tradition, the grandfather of Bellerophon who laid
the foundation of mercantile prosperity. The first historical king was
Aletes, B.C. 1074, the leader of Dorian invaders, who subdued the Æolians,
and incorporated them with their own citizens. The descendants of Aletes
reigned twelve generations, when the nobles converted the government into
an oligarchy, under Bacchis, who greatly increased the commercial
importance of the city. In 754, B.C., Corinth began to colonize, and
fitted out a war fleet for the protection of commerce. The oligarchy was
supplanted by Cypselus, B.C. 655, a man of the people, whose mother was of
noble birth, but rejected by her family, of the ruling house of the
Bacchiadæ, on account of lameness. His son Periander reigned forty years
with cruel despotism, but made Corinth the leading commercial city of
Greece, and he subjected to her sway the colonies planted on the islands
of the Ionian Sea, one of which was Corcyra (Corfu), which gained a great
mercantile fame. It was under his reign that the poet Arion, or Lesbos,
flourished, to whom he gave his patronage. In three years after the death
of Periander, 585 B.C., the oligarchal power was restored, and Corinth
allied herself with Sparta in her schemes of aggrandizement.

(M375) The same change of government was seen in Megara, a neighboring
State, situated on the isthmus, between Corinth and Attica, and which
attained great commercial distinction. As a result of commercial opulence,
the people succeeded in overthrowing the government, an oligarchy of
Dorian conquerors, and elevating a demagogue, Theagenes, to the supreme
power, B.C. 630. He ruled tyrannically, in the name of the people, for
thirty years, but was expelled by the oligarchy, which regained power.
During his reign all kinds of popular excesses were perpetrated,
especially the confiscation of the property of the rich.

(M376) Other States are also illustrations of this change of government
from kings to oligarchies, and oligarchies to demagogues and tyrants, as
on the isle of Lesbos, where Pittacus reigned dictator, but with wisdom
and virtue—one of the seven wise men of Greece—and in Samos, where
Polycrates rivaled the fame of Periander, and adorned his capital with
beautiful buildings, and patronized literature and art. One of his friends
was Anacreon, the poet. He was murdered by the Persians, B.C. 522.

But the State which most signally illustrates the revolutions in
government was Athens.

“Where on the Ægean shore a city stands,—
Built nobly; pure the air, and light the soil:
Athena, the eye of Greece, mother of arts
And eloquence, native to famous wits.”

(M377) Every thing interesting or impressive in the history of classical
antiquity clusters round this famous city, so that without Athens there
could be no Greece. Attica, the little State of which it was the capital,
formed a triangular peninsula, of about seven hundred square miles. The
country is hilly and rocky, and unfavorable to agriculture; but such was
the salubrity of the climate, and the industry of the people, all kinds of
plants and animals flourished. The history of the country, like that of
the other States, is mythical, to the period of the first Olympiad. Ogyges
has the reputation of being the first king of a people who claimed to be
indigenous, about one hundred and fifty years before the arrival of
Cecrops, who came, it is supposed, from Egypt, and founded Athens, and
taught the simple but savage natives a new religion, and the elements of
civilized life, 1556 B.C. It received its name from the goddess Neith,
introduced by him from Egypt, under the name of Athena, or Minerva. It was
also called Cecropia, from its founder. Until the time of Theseus it was a
small town, confined to the Acropolis and Mars Hill. This hero is the
great name of ancient Athenian legend, as Hercules is to Greece generally.
He cleared the roads of robbers, and formed an aristocratical
constitution, with a king, who was only the first of his nobles. But he
himself, after having given political unity, was driven away by a
conspiracy of nobles, leaving the throne to Menesthius, a descendant of
the ancient kings. This monarch reigned twenty-four years, and lost his
life at the siege of Troy. The whole period of the monarchy lies within
the mythical age. Tradition makes Codrus the last king, who was slain
during an invasion of the Dorians, B.C. 1045. Resolving to have no future
king, the Athenians substituted the office of archon, or ruler, and made
his son, Medus, the superior magistrate. This office remained hereditary
in the family of Codrus for thirteen generations. In B.C. 752, the
duration of the office was fixed for ten years. It remained in the family
of Codrus thirty-eight years longer, when it was left open for all the
nobles. In 683 B.C. nine archons were annually elected from the nobles,
the first having superior dignity.

(M378) The first of these archons, of whom any thing of importance is
recorded, was Draco, who governed Athens in the year 624 B.C., who
promulgated written laws, exceedingly severe, inflicting capital
punishment for slight offenses. The people grew weary of him and his laws,
and he was banished to Ægina, where he died, from a conspiracy headed by
Cylon, one of the nobles, who seized the Acropolis, B.C. 612. His
insurrection, however, failed, and he was treacherously put to death by
one of the archons, which led to the expulsion of the whole body, and a
change in the constitution.

(M379) This was effected by Solon, the Athenian sage and law-giver—himself
of the race of Codrus, whom the Athenians chose as archon, with full power
to make new laws. Intrusted with absolute power, he abstained from abusing
it—a patriot in the most exalted sense, as well as a poet and philosopher.
Urged by his friends to make himself tyrant, he replied that tyranny might
be a fair country, only there was no way out of it.

(M380) When he commenced his reforms, the nobles, or Eupatridæ, were in
possession of most of the fertile land of Attica, while the poorer
citizens possessed only the sterile highlands. This created an unhappy
jealousy between the rich and poor. Besides, there was another class that
had grown rich by commerce, animated by the spirit of freedom. But their
influence tended to widen the gulf between the rich and poor. The poor got
into debt, and fell in the power of creditors, and sunk to the condition
of serfs, and many were even sold in slavery, for the laws were severe
against debtors, as in ancient Rome. Solon, like Moses in his institution
of the Year of Jubilee, set free all the estates and persons that had
fallen in the power of creditors, and ransomed such as were sold in

(M381) Having removed the chief source of enmity between the rich and
poor, he repealed the bloody laws of Draco, and commenced to remodel the
political constitution. The fundamental principles which he adopted was a
distribution of power to all citizens according to their wealth. But the
nobles were not deprived of their ascendency, only the way was opened to
all citizens to reach political distinction, especially those who were
enriched by commerce. He made an assessment of the landed property of all
the citizens, taking as the medium a standard of value which was
equivalent to a drachma of annual produce. The first class, who had no
aristocratic titles, were called Pentacosio medimni, from possessing five
hundred medimni or upward. They alone were eligible to the archonship and
other high offices, and bore the largest share of the public burdens. The
second class was called Knights, because they were bound to serve as
cavalry. They filled the inferior offices, farmed the revenue, and had the
commerce of the country in their hands.

(M382) The third class was called Zeugitæ (yokesmen), from their ability
to keep a yoke of oxen. They were small farmers, and served in the
heavy-armed infantry, and were subject to a property-tax. All those whose
incomes fell short of two hundred medimni formed the fourth class, and
served in the light-armed troops, and were exempt from property-tax, but
disqualified for public office, and yet they had a vote in popular
elections, and in the judgment passed upon archons at the expiration of
office. “The direct responsibility of all the magistrates to the popular
assembly, was the most democratic of all the institutions of Solon; and
though the government was still in the hands of the oligarchy, Solon
clearly foresaw, if he did not purposely prepare for, the preponderance of
the popular element.” “To guard against hasty measures, he also instituted
the Senate of four hundred, chosen year by year, from the four Ionic
tribes, whose office was to prepare all business for the popular assembly,
and regulate its meetings. The Areopagus retained its ancient functions,
to which Solon added a general oversight over all the public institutions,
and over the private life of the citizens. He also enacted many other laws
for the administration of justice, the regulation of social life, the
encouragement of commerce, and the general prosperity of the State.” His
whole legislation is marked by wisdom and patriotism, and adaptation to
the circumstances of the people who intrusted to him so much power and
dignity. The laws were, however, better than the people, and his
legislative wisdom and justice place him among the great benefactors of
mankind, for who can tell the ultimate influence of his legislation on
Rome and on other nations. The most beautiful feature was the
responsibility of the chief magistrates to the people who elected them,
and from the fact that they could subsequently be punished for bad conduct
was the greatest security against tyranny and peculation.

(M383) After having given this constitution to his countrymen, the
lawgiver took his departure from Athens, for ten years, binding the people
by a solemn oath to make no alteration in his laws. He visited Egypt,
Cyprus, and Asia Minor, and returned to Athens to find his work nearly
subverted by one of his own kinsmen. Pisistratus, of noble origin, but a
demagogue, contrived, by his arts and prodigality, to secure a guard,
which he increased, and succeeded in seizing the Acropolis, B.C. 560, and
in usurping the supreme authority—so soon are good laws perverted, so
easily are constitutions overthrown, when demagogues and usurpers are
sustained by the people. A combination of the rich and poor drove him into
exile; but their divisions and hatreds favored his return. Again he was
exiled by popular dissension, and a third time he regained his power, but
only by a battle. He sustained his usurpation by means of Thracian
mercenaries, and sent the children of all he suspected as hostages to
Naxos. He veiled his despotic power under the forms of the constitution,
and even submitted himself to the judgment of the Areopagus on the charge
of murder. He kept up his popularity by generosity and affability, by
mingling freely with the citizens, by opening to them his gardens, by
adorning the city with beautiful edifices, and by a liberal patronage of
arts and letters. He founded a public library, and collected the Homeric
poems in a single volume. He ruled beneficently, as tyrants often
have,—like Cæsar, like Richelieu, like Napoleon,—identifying his own glory
with the welfare of the State. He died after a successful reign of
thirty-three years, B.C. 527, and his two sons, Hippias and Hipparchus,
succeeded him in the government, ruling, like their father, at first
wisely but despotically, cultivating art and letters and friendship of
great men. But sensual passions led to outrages which resulted in the
assassination of Hipparchus. Hippias, having punished the conspirators,
changed the spirit of the government, imposed arbitrary taxes, surrounded
himself with an armed guard, and ruled tyrannically and cruelly. After
four years of despotic government, Athens was liberated, chiefly by aid of
the Lacedæmonians, now at the highest of their power. Hippias retired to
the court of Persia, and planned and guided the attack of Darius on
Greece—a traitor of the most infamous kind, since he combined tyranny at
home with the coldest treachery to his country. His accursed family were
doomed to perpetual banishment, and never succeeded in securing a pardon.
Their power had lasted fifty years, and had been fatal to the liberties of

(M384) The Lacedæmonians did not retire until their king Cleomenes formed
a close friendship with Isagoras, the leader of the aristocratic party—and
no people were prouder of their birth than the old Athenian nobles.
Opposed to him was Cleisthenes, of the noble family of the Alcmæonids, who
had been banished in the time of Megacles, for the murder of Cylon, who
had been treacherously enticed from the sanctuary at the altar of Athena.
Cleisthenes gained the ear of the people, and prevailed over Isagoras, and
effected another change in the constitution, by which it became still more
democratic. He remodeled the basis of citizenship, heretofore confined to
the four Ionic tribes; and divided the whole country into demes, or
parishes, each of which managed its local affairs. All freemen were
enrolled in the demes, and became members of the tribes, now ten in
number, instead of the old four Ionian tribes. He increased the members of
the senate from four to five hundred, fifty members being elected from
each tribe. To this body was committed the chief functions of executive
government. It sat in permanence, and was divided into ten sections, one
for each tribe, and each section or committee, called _prytany_, had the
presidency of the senate and ecclesia during its term. Each prytany of
fifty members was subdivided into committees of ten, each of which held
the presidency for seven days, and out of these a chairman was chosen by
lot every day, to preside in the senate and assembly, and to keep the keys
of the Acropolis and treasury, and public seal. Nothing shows jealousy of
power more than the brief term of office which the president exercised.

(M385) The ecclesia, or assembly of the people, was the arena for the
debate of all public measures. The archons were chosen according to the
regulations of Solon, but were stripped of their power, which was
transferred to the senate and ecclesia. The generals were elected by the
people annually, one from each tribe. They were called strategi, and had
also the direction of foreign affairs. It was as first strategus that
Pericles governed—“prime minister of the people.”

(M386) In order to guard against the ascendency of tyrants—the great evil
of the ancient States, Cleisthenes devised the institution of _ostracism_,
by which a suspected or obnoxious citizen could be removed from the city
for ten years, though practically abridged to five. It simply involved an
exclusion from political power, without casting a stigma on the character.
It was virtually a retirement, during which his property and rights
remained intact, and attended with no disgrace. The citizens, after the
senate had decreed the vote was needful, were required to write a name in
an oyster shell, and he who had less than six thousand votes was obliged
to withdraw within ten days from the city. The wisdom of this measure is
proved in the fact that no tyrannical usurpation occurred at Athens after
that of Pisistratus. This revolution which Cleisthenes effected was purely
democratic, to which the aristocrats did not submit without a struggle.
The aristocrats called to their aid the Spartans, but without other effect
than creating that long rivalry which existed between democracy and
oligarchy in Greece, in which Sparta and Athens were the representatives.

About this time began the dominion of Athens over the islands of the Ægean
and the system of colonizing conquered States, This was the period which
immediately preceded the Persian wars, when Athens reached the climax of
political glory.

(M387) Next in importance to the States which have been briefly mentioned
was Bœotia, which contained fourteen cities, united in a confederacy, of
which Thebes took the lead. They were governed by magistrates, called
bœtarchs, elected annually. In these cities aristocratic institutions
prevailed. The people were chiefly of Æolian descent, with a strong
mixture of the Dorian element, and were dull and heavy, owing, probably,
to the easy facilities of support, in consequence of the richness of the

(M388) At the west of Bœotia, Phocis, with its small territory, gained
great consideration from the possession of the Delphic oracle; but its
people thus far, of Achæan origin, played no important part in the
politics of Greece.

(M389) North of the isthmus lay the extensive plains of Thessaly, inclosed
by lofty mountains. Nature favored this State more than any other in
Greece for political pre-eminence, but inhabitants of Æolian origin were
any thing but famous. At first they were governed by kings, but
subsequently an aristocratic government prevailed. They were represented
in the Amphictyonic Council.

(M390) The history of Macedonia is obscure till the time of the Persian
wars; but its kings claimed an Heraclid origin. The Doric dialect
predominated in a rude form.

(M391) Epirus, west of Thessaly and Macedonia, was inhabited by various
tribes, under their own princes, until the kings of Molossus, claiming
descent from Achilles, founded the dynasty which was so powerful under

There is but little interest connected with the States of Greece, before
the Persian wars, except Sparta, Athens, and Corinth; and hence a very
brief notice is all that is needed.

(M392) But the Grecian colonies are of more importance. They were numerous
in the islands of the Ægean Sea, in Epirus, and in Asia Minor, and even
extended into Italy, Sicily, and Gaul. They were said to be planted as
early as the Trojan war by the heroes who lived to return—by Agamemnon on
the coast of Asia; by the sons of Theseus in Thrace; by Ialmenus on the
Euxine; by Diomed and others in Italy. But colonization, to any extent,
did not take place until the Æolians invaded Bœotia, and the Dorians, the
Peloponnesus. The Achæans, driven from their homes by the Dorians, sought
new seats in the East, under chieftains who claimed descent from Agamemnon
and other heroes who went to the siege of Troy. They settled, first, on
the Isle of Lesbos, where they founded six cities. Others made settlements
on the mainland, from the Hermes to Mount Ida. But the greatest migration
was made by the Ionians, who, dislodged by Achæans, went first to Attica,
and thence to the Cyclades and the coasts of Asia, afterward called Ionia.
Twelve independent States were gradually formed of divers elements, and
assumed the Ionian name. Among those twelve cities, or States, were
Sarnos, Chios, Miletus, Ephesus, Colophon, and Phocæa. The purest Ionian
blood was found at Miletus, the seat of Neleus. These cities were probably
inhabited by other races before the Ionians came. To these another was
subsequently added—Smyrna, which still retains its ancient name. The
southwest corner of the Asiatic peninsula, about the same time, was
colonized by a body of Dorians, accompanied by conquered Achæans, the
chief seat of which was Halicarnassus. Crete, Rhodes, Cos, and Cnidus,
were colonized also by the same people; but Rhodes is the parent of the
Greek colonies on the south coast of Asia Minor. A century afterward,
Cyprus was founded, and then Sicily was colonized, and then the south of
Italy. They were successively colonized by different Grecian tribes,
Achæan or Æolian, Dorian, and Ionian. But all the colonists had to contend
with races previously established, Iberians, Phœnicians, Sicanians; and
Sicels. Among the Greek cities in Sicily, Syracuse, founded by Dorians,
was the most important, and became, in turn, the founder of other cities.
Sybaris and Croton, in the south of Italy, were of Achæan origin. The
Greeks even penetrated to the northern part of Africa, and founded Cyrene;
while, on the Euxine, along the north coast of Asia Minor, Cyzicus and
Sinope arose. These migrations were generally undertaken with the
approbation and encouragement of the mother States. There was no colonial
jealousy, and no dependence. The colonists, straitened for room at home,
carried the benedictions of their fathers, and were emancipated from their
control. Sometimes the colony became more powerful than the parent State,
but both colonies and parent States were bound together by strong ties of
religion, language, customs, and interests. The colonists uniformly became
conquerors where they settled, but ever retained their connection with the
mother country. And they grew more rapidly than the States from which they
came, and their institutions were more democratic. The Asiatic colonies
especially, made great advances in civilization by their contact with the
East. Music, poetry, and art were cultivated with great enthusiasm. The
Ionians took the lead, and their principal city, Miletus, is said to have
planted no less than eighty colonies. The greatness of Ephesus was of a
later date, owing, in part, to the splendid temple of Artemis, to which
Asiatics as well as Greeks made contributions. One of the most remarkable
of the Greek colonies was Cyrene, on the coast of Africa, which was of
peculiar beauty, and was famous for eight hundred years.

(M393) So the Greeks, although they occupied a small territory, yet, by
their numerous colonies in all those parts watered by the Mediterranean,
formed, if not politically, at least socially, a powerful empire, and
exercised a vast influence on the civilized world. From Cyprus to
Marseilles—from the Crimea to Cyrene, numerous States spoke the same
language, and practiced the same rites, which were observed in Athens and
Sparta. Hence the great extent of country in Asia and Europe to which the
Greek language was familiar, and still more the arts which made Athens the
centre of a new civilization. Some of the most noted philosophers and
artists of antiquity were born in these colonies. The power of Hellas was
not a centralized empire, like Persia, or even Rome, but a domain in the
heart and mind of the world. It was Hellas which worked out, in its
various States and colonies, great problems of government, as well as
social life. Hellas was the parent of arts, of poetry, of philosophy, and
of all æsthetic culture—the pattern of new forms of life, and new modes of
cultivation. It is this Grecian civilization which appeared in full
development as early as five hundred years before the Christian era, which
we now propose, in a short chapter, to present—the era which immediately
preceded the Persian wars.

                               CHAPTER XVI.


Early civilization. We understand by civilization the progress which
nations have made in art, literature, material strength, social culture,
and political institutions, by which habits are softened, the mind
enlarged, the soul elevated, and a wise government, by laws established,
protecting the weak, punishing the wicked, and developing wealth and
national resources.

Such a civilization did exist to a remarkable degree among the Greeks,
which was not only the admiration of their own times, but a wonder to all
succeeding ages, since it was established by the unaided powers of man,
and affected the relations of all the nations of Europe and Asia which
fell under its influence.

It is this which we propose briefly to present in this chapter, not the
highest developments of Grecian culture and genius, but such as existed in
the period immediately preceding the Persian wars.

(M394) One important feature in the civilization of Greece was the
progress made in legislation by Lycurmis and Solon, But as this has been
alluded to, we pass on to consider first those institutions which were
more national and universal.

(M395) The peculiar situations of the various States, independent of each
other, warlike, encroaching, and ambitious, led naturally to numerous
wars, which would have been civil wars had all these petty States been
united under a common government. But incessant wars, growing out of
endless causes of irritation, would have soon ruined these States, and
they could have had no proper development. Something was needed to
restrain passion and heal dissensions without a resort to arms, ever
attended by dire calamities. And something was needed to unite these
various States, in which the same language was spoken, and the same
religion and customs prevailed. This union was partially effected by the
Amphictyonic Council. It was a congress, composed of deputies from the
different States, and deliberating according to rules established from
time immemorial. Its meetings were held in two different places, and were
convened twice a year, once in the spring, at Delphi, the other in the
autumn, near the pass of Thermopylæ. Delphi was probably the original
place of meeting, and was, therefore, in one important sense, the capital
of Greece. Originally, this council or congress was composed of deputies
from twelve States, or tribes—Thessalians, Bœotians, Dorians, Ionians,
Perrhæbians, Magnetes, Locrians, Octæans, Phthiots, Achæans, Melians, and
Phocians. These tribes assembled together before authentic history
commences, before the return of the Heracleids. There were other States
which were not represented in this league—Arcadia, Elis, Æolia, and
Acarnania; but the league was sufficiently powerful to make its decisions
respected by the greater part of Greece. Each tribe, whether powerful or
weak, had two votes in the assembly. Beside those members who had the
exclusive power of voting, there were others, and more numerous, who had
the privilege of deliberation. The object of the council was more for
religious purposes than political, although, on rare occasions and
national crises, subjects of a political nature were discussed. The
council laid down the rules of war, by which each State that was
represented was guaranteed against complete subjection, and the supplies
of war were protected. There was no confederacy against foreign powers.
The functions of the league were confined to matters purely domestic; the
object of the league was the protection of temples against sacrilege. But
the council had no common army to execute its decrees, which were often
disregarded. In particular, the protection of the Delphic oracle, it acted
with dignity and effect, whose responses were universally respected.

(M396) As the Delphic oracle was the object which engrossed the most
important duties of the council, and the responses of this oracle in early
times was a sacred law, the deliberations of the league had considerable
influence, and were often directed to political purposes. But the
immediate management of the oracle was in the hands of the citizens of
Delphi. In process of time the responses of the oracle, by the mouth of a
woman, which were thus controlled by the Delphians, lost much of their
prestige, in consequence of the presents or bribery by which favorable
responses were gained.

(M397) More powerful than this council, as an institution, were the
Olympic games, solemnized every four years, in which all the states of
Greece took part. These games lasted four days, and were of engrossing
interest. They were supposed to be founded by Hercules, and were of very
ancient date. During these celebrations there was a universal truce, and
also during the time it was necessary for the people to assemble and
retire to their homes. Elis, in whose territory Olympia was situated, had
the whole regulation of the festival, the immediate object of which were
various trials of strength and skill. They included chariot races, foot
races, horse races, wrestling, boxing, and leaping. They were open to all,
even to the poorest Greeks; no accidents of birth or condition affected
these honorable contests. The palm of honor was given to the men who had
real merit. A simple garland of leaves was the prize, but this was
sufficient to call out all the energies and ambition of the whole nation.
There were, however, incidental advantages to successful combatants. At
Athens, the citizen who gained a prize was rewarded by five hundred
drachmas, and was entitled to a seat at the table of the magistrates, and
had a conspicuous part on the field of battle. The victors had statues
erected to them, and called forth the praises of the poets, and thus these
primitive sports incidentally gave an impulse to art and poetry. In later
times, poets and historians recited their compositions, and were rewarded
with the garland of leaves. The victors of these games thus acquired a
social pre-eminence, and were held in especial honor, like those heroes in
the Middle Ages who obtained the honor of tournaments and tilts, and, in
modern times, those who receive decoration at the hands of kings.

(M398) The celebrity of the Olympic games, which drew spectators from Asia
as well as all the States of Greece, led to similar institutions or
festivals in other places. The Pythian games, in honor of Apollo, were
celebrated near Delphi every third Olympic year; and various musical
contests, exercises in poetry, exhibitions of works of art were added to
gymnastic exercises and chariot and horse races. The sacrifices,
processions, and other solemnities, resemble those at Olympia in honor of
Zeus. They lasted as long as the Olympic games, down to A.D. 394. Wherever
the worship of Apollo was introduced, there were imitations of these
Pythian games in all the States of Greece.

(M399) The Nemæan and Ithmian games were celebrated each twice in every
Olympiad, the former on the plain of Nemæa, in Argolis; the latter in the
Corinthian Isthmus, under the presidency of Corinth. These also claimed a
high antiquity, and at these were celebrated the same feats of strength as
at Olympia. But the Olympic festival was the representation of all the
rest, and transcended all the rest in national importance. It was viewed
with so much interest, that the Greeks measured time itself by them. It
was Olympiads, and not years, by which the date of all events was
determined. The Romans reckoned their years from the foundation of their
city; modern Christian nations, by the birth of Christ; Mohammedans, by
the flight of the prophet to Medina; and the Greeks, from the first
recorded Olympiad, B.C. 776.

(M400) It was in these festivals, at which no foreigner, however eminent,
was allowed to contend for prizes, that the Greeks buried their quarrels,
and incited each other to heroism. The places in which they were
celebrated became marts of commerce like the mediæval fairs of Germany;
and the vast assemblage of spectators favored that communication of news,
and inventions, and improvements which has been produced by our modern
exhibitions. These games answered all the purposes of our races, our
industrial exhibitions, and our anniversaries, religious, political,
educational, and literary, and thus had a most decided influence on the
development of Grecian thought and enterprise. The exhibition of sculpture
and painting alone made them attractive and intellectual, while the
athletic exercises amused ordinary minds. They were not demoralizing, like
the sports of the amphitheatre, or a modern bull-fight, or even
fashionable races. They were more like tournaments in the martial ages of
Europe, but superior to them vastly, since no woman was allowed to be
present at the Olympic games under pain of death.

(M401) It has already been shown that the form of government in the States
of Ancient Greece, in the Homeric ages, was monarchical. In two or three
hundred years after the Trojan war, the authority of kings had greatly
diminished. The great immigration and convulsions destroyed the line of
the ancient royal houses. The abolition of royalty was in substance rather
than name. First, it was divided among several persons, then it was made
elective, first for life, afterward for a definite period. The nobles or
chieftains gained increasing power with the decline of royalty, and the
government became, in many States, aristocratic. But the nobles abused
their power by making an oligarchy, which is a perverted aristocracy. This
aroused hatred and opposition on the part of the people, especially in the
maritime cities, where the increase of wealth by commerce and the arts
raised up a body of powerful citizens. Then followed popular revolutions
under leaders or demagogues. These leaders in turn became tyrants, and
their exactions gave rise to more hatred than that produced by the
government of powerful families. They gained power by stratagem, and
perverted it by violence. But to amuse the people whom they oppressed, or
to please them, they built temples, theatres, and other public buildings,
in which a liberal patronage was extended to the arts. Thus Athens and
Corinth, before the Persian wars, were beautiful cities, from the lavish
expenditure of the public treasury by the tyrants or despots who had
gained ascendency. In the mean time, those who were most eminent for
wealth, or power, or virtue, were persecuted, for fear they would effect a
revolution. But the parties which the tyrants had trampled upon were
rather exasperated than ruined, and they seized every opportunity to rally
the people under their standard, and effect an overthrow of the tyrants.
Sparta, whose constitution remained aristocratic, generally was ready to
assist any State in throwing off the yoke of the usurpers. In some States,
like Athens, every change favored the rise of the people, who gradually
obtained the ascendency. They instituted the principle of legal equality,
by which every freeman was supposed to exercise the attributes of
sovereignty. But democracy invariably led to the ascendency of factions,
and became itself a tyranny. It became jealous of all who were
distinguished for birth, or wealth, or talents. It encouraged flatterers
and sycophants. It was insatiable in its demands on the property of the
rich, and listened to charges which exposed them to exile and their
estates to confiscation. It increased the public burdens by unwise
expenditures to please the men of the lower classes who possessed
political franchise.

(M402) But different forms of government existed in different States. In
Sparta there was an oligarchy of nobles which made royalty a shadow, and
which kept the people in slavery and degradation. In Athens the democratic
principle prevailed. In Argos kings reigned down to the Persian wars. In
Corinth the government went through mutations as at Athens. In all the
States and cities experiments in the various forms of government were
perpetually made and perpetually failed. They existed for a time, and were
in turn supplanted. The most permanent government was that of Sparta; the
most unstable was that of Athens. The former promoted a lofty patriotism
and public morality and the national virtues; the latter inequalities of
wealth, the rise of obscure individuals, and the progress of arts.

(M403) The fall of the ancient monarchies and aristocracies was closely
connected with commercial enterprise and the increase of a wealthy class
of citizens. In the beginning of the seventh century before Christ, a
great improvement in the art of ship-building was made, especially at
Corinth. Colonial settlements kept pace with maritime enterprise; and both
of these fostered commerce and wealth. The Euxine lost its terrors to
navigators, and the Ægean Sea was filled with ships and colonists. The
Adriatic Sea was penetrated, and all the seas connected with the
Mediterranean. From the mouth of the Po was brought amber, which was
highly valued by the ancients. A great number of people were drawn to
Egypt, by the liberal offers of its kings, who went there for the pursuit
of knowledge and of wealth, and from which they brought back the papyrus
as a cheap material for writing. The productions of Greece were exchanged
for the rich fabrics which only Asia furnished, and the cities to which
these were brought, like Athens and Corinth, rapidly grew rich, like
Venice and Genoa in the Middle Ages.

(M404) Wealth of course introduced art. The origin of art may have been in
religious ideas—in temples and the statues of the gods—in tombs and
monuments of great men. But wealth immeasurably increased the facilities
both for architecture and sculpture. Artists in old times, as in these,
sought a pecuniary reward—patrons who could afford to buy their
productions, and stimulate their genius. Art was cultivated more rapidly
in the Asiatic colonies than in the mother country, both on account of
their wealth, and the objects of interest around them. The Ionian cities,
especially, were distinguished for luxury and refinement. Corinth took the
lead in the early patronage of art, as the most wealthy and luxurious of
the Grecian cities.

(M405) The first great impulse was given to architecture. The Pelasgi had
erected Cyclopean structures fifteen hundred years before Christ. The
Dorians built temples on the severest principles of beauty, and the Doric
column arose, massive and elegant. Long before the Persian wars the
temples were numerous and grand, yet simple and harmonious. The temple of
Here, at Samos, was begun in the eighth century, B.C., and built in the
Doric style, and, soon after, beautiful structures ornamented Athens.

(M406) Sculpture rapidly followed architecture, and passed from the
stiffness of ancient times to that beauty which afterward distinguished
Phidias and Polynotus. Schools of art, in the sixth century, flourished in
all the Grecian cities. We can not enter upon the details, from the use of
wood to brass and marble. The temples were filled with groups from
celebrated masters, and their deep recesses were peopled with colossal
forms. Gold, silver, and ivory were used as well as marble and brass. The
statues of heroes adorned every public place. Art, before the Persian
wars, did not indeed reach the refinement which it subsequently boasted,
but a great progress was made in it, in all its forms. Engraving was also
known, and imperfect pictures were painted. But this art, and indeed any
of the arts, did not culminate until after the Persian wars.

(M407) Literature made equal if not greater progress in the early ages of
Grecian history. Hesiod lived B.C. 735; and lyric poetry flourished in the
sixth and seventh centuries before Christ, especially the elegiac form, or
songs for the dead. Epic poetry was of still earlier date, as seen in the
Homeric poems. The Æolian and Ionic Greeks of Asia were early noted for
celebrated poets. Alcæus and Sappho lived on the Isle of Lesbos, and were
surrounded with admirers. Anacreon of Teos was courted by the rulers of

(M408) Even philosophy was cultivated at this early age. Thales of Miletus
flourished in the middle of the seventh century, and Anaximander, born
B.C. 610—one of the great original mathematicians of the world, speculated
like Thales, on the origin of things. Pythagoras, born in Samos, B.C.
580—a still greater name, grave and majestic, taught the harmony of the
spheres long before the Ionian revolt.

But neither art, nor literature, nor philosophy reached their full
development till a later era. It is enough for our purpose to say that,
before the Persian wars, civilization was by no means contemptible, in all
those departments which subsequently made Greece the teacher and the glory
of the world.

                              CHAPTER XVII.


We come now to the most important and interesting of Grecian history—the
great contest with Persia—the age of heroes and of battle-fields, when
military glory was the master passion of a noble race. What inspiration
have all ages gained from that noble contest in behalf of liberty!

(M409) We have seen how Asiatic cities were colonized by Greeks, among
whom the Ionians were pre-eminent. The cities were governed by tyrants,
who were sustained in their usurpation by the power of Persia, then the
great power of the world. Darius, then king, had absurdly invaded Scythia,
with an immense army of six hundred thousand men, to punish the people for
their inroad upon Western Asia, subject to his sway, about a century
before. He was followed by his allies, the tyrants of the Ionian cities,
to whom he intrusted the guardianship of the bridge of boats by which he
had crossed the Danube, B.C. 510. As he did not return within the time
specified—sixty days—the Greeks were left at liberty to return. A body of
Scythians then appeared, who urged the Greeks to destroy the bridge, as
Darius was in full retreat, and thus secure the destruction of the Persian
army and the recovery of their own liberty. Miltiades, who ruled the
Chersonese—the future hero of Marathon, seconded the wise proposal of the
Scythians, but Histiæus, tyrant of Miletus, feared that such an act would
recoil upon themselves, and favor another inroad of Scythians—a fierce
nation of barbarians. The result was that the bridge was not destroyed,
but the further end of it was severed from the shore. Night arrived, and
the Persian hosts appeared upon the banks of the river, but finding no
trace of it, Darius ordered an Egyptian who had a trumpet-voice to summon
to his aid Histiæus, the Milesian. He came forward with a fleet and
restored the bridge, and Darius and his army were saved, and the
opportunity was lost to the Ionians for emancipating themselves from the
Persians. The bridge was preserved, not from honorable fidelity to fulfill
a trust, but selfish regard in the despot of Miletus to maintain his
power. For this service he was rewarded with a principality on the
Strymon. Exciting, however, the suspicion of Darius, by his intrigues, he
was carried captive to the Persian court, but with every mark of honor.
Darius left his brother Artaphernes as governor of all the cities in
Western Asia Minor.

(M410) A few years after this unsuccessful invasion of Scythia by Darius,
a political conflict broke out in Naxos, an island of the Cyclades, B.C.
502, which had not submitted to the Persian yoke, and the oligarchy, which
ruled the island, were expelled. They applied for aid to Aristagoras, the
tyrant of Miletus, the largest of the Ionian cities, who persuaded the
Persian satrap to send an expedition against the island. The expedition
failed, which ruined the credit of Aristagoras, son-in-law to Histiæus,
who was himself incensed at his detention in Susa, and who sent a trusty
slave with a message urging the Ionians to revolt. Aristagoras, as a means
of success, conciliated popular favor throughout Asiatic Greece, by
putting down the various tyrants—the instruments of Persian ascendency.
The flames of revolt were kindled, the despots were expelled, the revolted
towns were put in a state of defense, and Aristagoras visited Sparta to
invoke its aid, inflaming the mind of the king with the untold wealth of
Asia, which would become his spoil. Sparta was then at war with her
neighbors, and unwilling to become involved in so uncertain a contest.
Rejected at Sparta, Aristagoras proceeded to Athens, then the second power
in Greece, and was favorably received, for the Athenians had a powerful
sympathy with the revolted Ionians; they agreed to send a fleet of twenty
ships. When Aristagoras returned, the Persians had commenced the siege of
Miletus. The twenty ships soon crossed the Ægean, and were joined by five
Eretrian ships coming to the succor of Miletus. An unsuccessful attempt of
Aristagoras on Sardis disgusted the Athenians, who abandoned the alliance.
But the accidental burning of the city, including the temple of the
goddess Cybele, encouraged the revolters, and incensed the Persians. Other
Greek cities on the coast took part in the revolt, including the island of
Cyprus. The revolt now assumed a serious character. The Persians rallied
their allies, among whom were the Phœnicians. An armament of Persians and
Phœnicians sailed against Cyprus, and a victory on the land gave the
Persians the control of the island. A large army of Persians and their
allies collected at Sardis, and, under different divisions reconquered all
their principal Ionian cities, except Miletus; but the Ionian fleet kept
its ascendency at sea. Aristagoras as the Persians advanced, lost courage
and fled to Myrkinus, where he shortly afterward perished.

(M411) Meanwhile Histiæus presented himself at the gates of Miletus,
having procured the consent of Darius to proceed thither to quell the
revolt. He was, however, suspected by the satrap, Artaphernes, and fled to
Chios, whose people he gained over, and who carried him back to Miletus.
On his arrival, he found the citizens averse to his reception, and was
obliged to return to Chios, and then to Lesbos, where he abandoned himself
to piracy.

(M412) A vast Persian host, however, had been concentrated near Miletus,
and with the assistance of the Phœnicians, invested the city by sea and
land. The entire force of the confederated cities abandoned the Milesians
to their fate, and took to their ships, three hundred and fifty-three in
number, with a view of fighting the Phœnicians, who had six hundred ships.
But there was a want of union among the Ionian commanders, and the sailors
abandoned themselves to disorder and carelessness; upon which Dionysius,
of Phocæa, which furnished but three ships, rebuked the Ionians for their
neglect of discipline. His rebuke was not thrown away, and the Ionians
having their comfortable tents on shore, submitted themselves to the
nautical labors imposed by Dionysius. At last, after seven days of work,
the Ionian sailors broke out in open mutiny, and refused longer to be
under the discipline of a man whose State furnished the smallest number of
ships. They left their ships, and resumed their pleasures on the shore,
unwilling to endure the discipline so necessary in so great a crisis.
Their camp became a scene of disunion and mistrust. The Samians, in
particular, were discontented, and on the day of battle, which was to
decide the fortunes of Ionia, they deserted with sixty ships, and other
Ionians followed their example. The ships of Chios, one hundred in number,
fought with great fidelity and resolution, and Dionysius captured, with
his three ships, three of the Phœnicians’. But these exceptional examples
of bravery did not compensate the treachery and cowardice of the rest, and
the consequence was a complete defeat of the Ionians at Lade. Dionysius,
seeing the ruin of the Ionian camp, did not return to his own city, and
set sail for the Phœnician coast, doing all he could as a pirate.

(M413) This victory of Lade enabled the Persians to attack Miletus by sea
as well as land; the siege was prosecuted with vigor, and the city shortly
fell. The adult male population was slain, while the women and children
were sent as slaves to Susa. The Milesian territory was devastated and
stripped of its inhabitants. The other States hastened to make their
submission, and the revolt was crushed, B.C. 496, five years after its
commencement. The Persian forces reconquered all the Asiatic Greeks,
insular and continental, and the Athenian Miltiades escaped with
difficulty from his command in the Chersonese, to his native city. All the
threats which were made by the Persians were realized. The most beautiful
virgins were distributed among the Persian nobles; the cities were
destroyed; and Samos alone remained, as a reward for desertion at the
battle of Lade.

(M414) The reconquest of Ionia being completed, the satrap proceeded to
organize the future government, the inhabitants now being composed of a
great number of Persians. Meanwhile, Darius made preparations for the
complete conquest of Greece. The wisdom of the advice of Miltiades, to
destroy the bridge over the Danube, when Darius and his army would have
been annihilated by the Scythians, was now apparent. Mardonius was sent
with a large army into Ionia, who deposed the despots in the various
cities, whom Artaphernes had reinstated, and left the people to govern
themselves, subject to the Persian dominion and tribute. He did not remain
long in Ionia, but passed with his fleet to the Hellespont, and joined his
land forces. He transported his army to Europe, and began his march
through Thrace. Thence marched into Macedonia, and subdued a part of its
inhabitants. He then sent his fleet around Mount Athos, with a view of
joining it with his army at the Gulf of Therma. But a storm overtook his
fleet near Athos, and destroyed three hundred ships, and drowned twenty
thousand men. This disaster compelled a retreat, and he recrossed the
Hellespont with the shame of failure. He was employed no more by the
Persian king.

(M415) Darius, incited by the traitor Hippias, made new preparation for
the invasion of Greece. He sent his heralds in every direction, demanding
the customary token of submission—earth and water. Many of the continental
cities sent in their submission, including the Thebans, Thessalians, and
the island of Ægina, which was on bad terms with Athens. The heralds of
Darius were put to death at Athens and Sparta, which can only be explained
from the fiercest resentment and rage. These two powers made common cause,
and armed all the other States over which they had influence, to resist
the Persian domination. Hellas, headed by Sparta, now resolved to put
forth all its energies, and embarked, in desperate hostility. A war which
Sparta had been waging for several years against Argos crippled that
ancient State, and she was no longer the leading power. The only rival
which Sparta feared was weakened, and full scope was given, for the
prosecution of the Persian war. Ægina, which had submitted to Darius, was
visited by Cleomenes, king of Sparta, and hostages were sent to Athens for
the neutrality of that island. Athens and Sparta suspended their political
jealousies, and acted in concert to resist the common danger.

(M416) By the spring of 490 B.C. the preparations of Darius were
completed, and a vast army collected on a plain upon the Cilician shore. A
fleet of six hundred ships convoyed it to the rendezvous at Samos. The
exiled tyrant Hippias was present to guide the forces to the attack of
Attica. The Mede Datis, and Artaphernes, son of the satrap of Sardis,
nephew to Darius, were the Persian generals. They had orders from Darius
to bring the inhabitants of Athens as slaves to his presence.

(M417) The Persian fleet, fearing a similar disaster as happened near
Mount Athos, struck directly across the Ægean, from Samos to Eubœa,
attacking on the way the intermediate islands. Naxos thus was invaded and
easily subdued. From Naxos, Datis sent his fleet round the other Cyclades
Islands, demanding reinforcements and hostages from all he visited, and
reached the southern extremity of Eubœa in safety. Etruria was first
subdued, unable to resist. After halting a few days at this city, he
crossed to Attica, and landed in the bay of Marathon, on the eastern
coast. The despot Hippias, son of Pisistratus, twenty years after his
expulsion from Athens, pointed out the way.

(M418) But a great change had taken place at Athens since his expulsion.
The city was now under democratic rule, in its best estate. The ten tribes
had become identified with the government and institutions of the city.
The senate of the areopagus, renovated by the annual archons, was in
sympathy with the people. Great men had arisen under the amazing stimulus
of liberty, among whom Miltiades, Themistocles, and Aristides were the
most distinguished. Miltiades, after an absence of six years in the
Chersonesus of Thrace, returned to the city full of patriotic ardor. He
was brought to trial before the popular assembly on the charge of having
misgoverned the Chersonese; but he was honorably acquitted, and was chosen
one of the ten generals of the republic annually elected. He was not,
however, a politician of the democratic stamp, like Themistocles and
Aristides, being a descendant of an illustrious race, which traced their
lineage to the gods; but he was patriotic, brave, and decided. His advice
to burn the bridge over the Danube illustrates his character—bold and
far-seeing. Moreover, he was peculiarly hostile to Darius, whom he had so
grievously offended.

(M419) Themistocles was a man of great native genius and sagacity. He
comprehended all the embarrassments and dangers of the political crisis in
which his city was placed, and saw at a glance the true course to be
pursued. He was also bold and daring. He was not favored by the accidents
of birth, and owed very little to education. He had an unbounded passion
for glory and for display. He had great tact in the management of party,
and was intent on the aggrandizement of his country. His morality was
reckless, but his intelligence was great—a sort of Mirabeau: with his
passion, his eloquence, and his talents. His unfortunate end—a traitor and
an exile—shows how little intellectual pre-eminence will avail, in the
long run, without virtue, although such talents as he exhibited will be
found useful in a crisis.

(M420) Aristides was inferior to both Alcibiades and Themistocles in
genius, in resource, in boldness, and in energy; but superior in virtue,
in public fidelity, and moral elevation. He pursued a consistent course,
was no demagogue, unflinching in the discharge of trusts, just, upright,
unspotted. Such a man, of course, in a corrupt society, would be exposed
to many enmities and jealousies. But he was, on the whole, appreciated,
and died, in a period of war and revolution, a poor man, with unbounded
means of becoming rich—one of the few examples which our world affords of
a man who believed in virtue, in God, and a judgment to come, and who
preferred the future and spiritual to the present and material—a fool in
the eyes of the sordid and bad—a wise man according to the eternal

(M421) Aristides, Miltiades, and perhaps Themistocles, were elected among
the ten generals, by the ten tribes, in the year that Datis led his
expedition to Marathon. Each of the ten generals had the supreme command
of the army for a day. Great alarm was felt at Athens as tidings reached
the city of the advancing and conquering Persians. Couriers were sent in
hot haste to the other cities, especially Sparta, and one was found to
make the journey to Sparta on foot—one hundred and fifty miles—in
forty-eight hours. The Spartans agreed to march, without delay, after the
last quarter of the moon, which custom and superstition dictated. This
delay was fraught with danger, but was insisted upon by the Spartans.

(M422) Meanwhile the dangers multiplied and thickened, that not a moment
should be lost in bringing the Persians into action. Five of the generals
counseled delay. The polemarch, Calimachus, who then had the casting vote,
decided for immediate action. Themistocles and Aristides had seconded the
advice of Miltiades, to whom the other generals surrendered their days of
command—a rare example of patriotic disinterestedness. The Athenians
marched at once to Marathon to meet their foes, and were joined by the
Platæans, one thousand warriors, from a little city—the whole armed
population, which had a great moral effect.

(M423) The Athenians had only ten thousand hoplites, including the one
thousand from Platæa. The Persian army is variously estimated at from one
hundred and ten thousand to six hundred thousand. The Greeks were encamped
upon the higher ground overlooking the plain which their enemies occupied.
The fleet was ranged along the beach. The Greeks advanced to the combat in
rapid movement, urged on by the war-cry, which ever animated their
charges. The wings of the Persian army were put to flight by the audacity
of the charge, but the centre, where the best troops were posted, resisted
the attack until Miltiades returned from the pursuit of the retreating
soldiers on the wings. The defeat of the Persians was the result. They
fled to their ships, and became involved in the marshes. Six thousand four
hundred men fell on the Persian side, and only one hundred and ninety-two
on the Athenian. The Persians, though defeated, still retained their
ships, and sailed toward Cape Sunium, with a view of another descent upon
Attica. Miltiades, the victor in the most glorious battle ever till then
fought in Greece, penetrated the designs of the Persians, and rapidly
retreated to Athens on the very day of battle. Datis arrived at the port
of Phalerum to discover that his plans were baffled, and that the
Athenians were still ready to oppose him. The energy and promptness of
Miltiades had saved the city. Datis, discouraged, set sail, without
landing, to the Cyclades.

(M424) The battle of Marathon, B.C. 490, must be regarded as one of the
great decisive battles of the world, and the first which raised the
political importance of the Greeks in the eyes of foreign powers. It was
fought by Athens twenty years after the expulsion of the tyrants, and as a
democratic State. On the Athenians rest the glory forever. It was not
important for the number of men who fell on either side, but for giving
the first great check to the Persian domination, and preventing their
conquest of Europe. And its moral effect was greater than its political.
It freed the Greeks from that fear of the Persians which was so fatal and
universal, for the tide of Persian conquest had been hitherto
uninterrupted. It animated the Greeks with fresh courage, for the bravery
of the Athenians had been unexampled, as had been the generalship of
Miltiades. Athens was delivered by the almost supernatural bravery of its
warriors, and was then prepared to make those sacrifices which were
necessary in the more desperate struggles which were to come. And it
inspired the people with patriotic ardor, and upheld the new civil
constitution. It gave force and dignity to the democracy, and prepared it
for future and exalted triumphs. It also gave force to the religious
sentiments of the people, for such a victory was regarded as owing to the
special favor of the gods.

The Spartans did not arrive until after the battle had been fought, and
Datis had returned with his Etrurian prisoners to Asia.

(M425) The victory of Marathon raised the military fame of Miltiades to
the most exalted height, and there were no bounds to the enthusiasm of the
Athenians. But the victory turned his head, and he lost both prudence and
patriotism. He persuaded his countrymen, in the full tide of his
popularity, to intrust him with seventy ships, with an adequate force,
with powers to direct an expedition according to his pleasure. The
armament was cheerfully granted. But he disgracefully failed in an attack
on the island of Paros, to gratify a private vindictive animosity. He lost
all his _éclat_ and was impeached. He appealed, wounded and disabled from
a fall he had received, to his previous services. He was found guilty, but
escaped the penalty of death, but not of a fine of fifty talents. He did
not live to pay it, or redeem his fame, but died of the injury he had
received. Thus this great man fell from a pinnacle of glory to the deepest
disgrace and ruin—a fate deserved, for he was not true to himself or
country. The Athenians were not to blame, but judged him rightly. It was
not fickleness, but a change in their opinions, founded on sufficient
grounds, from the deep disappointment in finding that their hero was
unworthy of their regards. No man who had rendered a favor has a claim to
pursue a course of selfishness and unlawful ambition. No services can
offset crimes. The Athenians, in their unbounded admiration, had given
unbounded trust, and that trust was abused. And as the greatest despots
who had mounted to power had earned their success by early services, so
had they abused their power by imposing fetters, and the Athenians, just
escaped from the tyranny of these despots, felt a natural jealousy and a
deep repugnance, in spite of their previous admiration. The Athenians, in
their treatment of Miltiades, were neither ungrateful nor fickle, but
acted from a high sense of public morality, and in a stern regard to
justice, without which the new constitution would soon have been
subverted. On the death of Miltiades Themistocles and Aristides became the
two leading men of Athens, and their rivalries composed the domestic
history of the city, until the renewed and vast preparations of the
Persians caused all dissensions to be suspended for the public good.

(M426) But the jealousies and rivalries of these great men were not
altogether personal. They were both patriotic, but each had different
views respecting the course which Athens should adopt in the greatness of
the dangers which impended. The policy of Aristides was to strengthen the
army—that of Themistocles, the navy. Both foresaw the national dangers,
but Themistocles felt that the hopes of Greece rested on ships rather than
armies to resist the Persians. And his policy was adopted. As the world
can not have two suns, so Athens could not be prospered by the presence of
two such great men, each advocating different views. One or the other must
succumb to the general good, and Aristides was banished by the power of

(M427) The wrath of Darius—a man of great force of character, but haughty
and self-sufficient, was tremendous when he learned the defeat of Datis,
and his retreat into Asia. He resolved to bring the whole force of the
Persian empire together to subdue the Athenians, from whom he had suffered
so great a disgrace. Three years were spent in active preparations for a
new expedition which should be overwhelming. All the allies of Persia were
called upon for men and supplies. Nor was he deterred by a revolt of
Egypt, which broke out about this time, and he was on the point of
carrying two gigantic enterprises—one for the reconquest of Egypt, and the
other for the conquest of Greece—when he died, after a reign of thirty-six
years, B.C. 485.

(M428) He was succeeded by his son Xerxes, who was animated by the
animosities, but not the genius of his father. Though beautiful and tall,
he was faint-hearted, vain, blinded by a sense of power, and enslaved by
women. Yet he continued the preparations which Darius projected. Egypt was
first subdued by his generals, and he then turned his undivided attention
to Greece. He convoked the dignitaries of his empire—the princes and
governors of provinces, and announced his resolution to bridge over the
Hellespont and march to the conquest of Europe. Artabanus, his uncle,
dissuaded him from the enterprise, setting forth especially the
probability that the Greeks, if victorious at sea, would destroy the
bridge, and thus prevent his safe return. Mardonius advised differently,
urging ambition and revenge, motives not lost on the Persian monarch. For
four years the preparations went forward from all parts of the empire,
including even the islands in the Ægean. In the autumn of 481 B.C., the
largest army this world has ever seen assembled at Sardis. Besides this, a
powerful fleet of one thousand two hundred and seven ships of war, besides
transports, was collected at the Hellespont. Large magazines of provisions
were formed along the coast of Asia Minor. A double bridge of boats,
extending from Abydos to Sestos—a mile in length across the Hellespont,
was constructed by Phœnicians and Egyptians; but this was destroyed by a
storm. Xerxes, in a transport of fury, caused the heads of the engineers
to be cut off, and the sea itself scourged with three hundred lashes. This
insane wrath being expended, the monarch caused the work to be at once
reconstructed, this time by the aid of Greek engineers. Two bridges were
built side by side upon more than six hundred large ships, moored with
strong anchors, with their heads toward the Ægean. Over each bridge were
sketched six vast cables, which held the ships together, and over these
were laid planks of wood, upon which a causeway was formed of wood and
earth, with a high palisade on each side. To facilitate his march, Xerxes
also constructed a canal across the isthmus which connects Mount Athos
with the main land, on which were employed Phœnician engineers. The men
employed in digging the canal worked under the whip. Bridges were also
thrown across the river Strymon.

(M429) These works were completed while Xerxes wintered at Sardis. From
that city he dispatched heralds to all the cities of Greece, except Sparta
and Athens, to demand the usual tokens of submission—earth and water. He
also sent orders to the maritime cities of Thrace and Macedonia to prepare
dinner for himself and hosts, as they passed through. Greece was struck
with consternation as the news reached the various cities of the vast
forces which were on the march to subdue them. The army proceeded from
Sardis, in the spring, in two grand columns, between which was the king
and guards and select troops—all native Persians, ten thousand foot and
ten thousand horse. From Sardis the hosts of Xerxes proceeded to Abydos,
through Ilium, where his two bridges across the Hellespont awaited him.
From a marble throne the proud and vainglorious monarch saw his vast army
defile over the bridges, perfumed with frankincense and strewed with
myrtle boughs. One bridge was devoted to the troops, the other to the
beasts and baggage. The first to cross were the ten thousand household
troops, called Immortals, wearing garlands on their heads; then followed
Xerxes himself in his gilded chariot, and then the rest of the army. It
occupied seven days for the vast hosts to cross the bridge. Xerxes then
directed his march to Doriscus, in Thrace, near the mouth of the Hebrus,
where he joined his fleet. There he took a general review, and never,
probably, was so great an army marshaled before or since, and composed of
so many various nations. There were assembled nations from the Indus, from
the Persian Gulf, the Red Sea, the Levant, the Ægean and the
Euxine—Egyptian, Ethiopian, and Lybian. Forty-six nations were
represented—all that were tributary to Persia. From the estimates made by
Herodotus, there were one million seven hundred thousand foot, eighty
thousand horse, besides a large number of chariots. With the men who
manned the fleet and those he pressed into his service on the march, the
aggregate of his forces was two million six hundred and forty thousand.
Scarcely an inferior number attended the soldiers as slaves, sutlers, and
other persons, swelling the amount of the males to five million two
hundred and eighty-three thousand two hundred and twenty—the whole
available force of the Eastern world—Asia against Europe: as in mediæval
times it was Europe against Asia. It is, however, impossible for us to
believe in so large a force, since it could not have been supplied with
provisions. But with every deduction, it was still the largest army the
world ever saw.

(M430) After the grand enumeration of forces, Xerxes passed in his chariot
to survey separately each body of contingents, to which he put questions.
He then embarked in a gilded galley, and sailed past the prows of the
twelve hundred ships moored four hundred feet from the shore. That such a
vast force could be resisted was not even supposed to be conceivable by
the blinded monarch. But Demaratus, the exiled king of Sparta, told him he
would be resisted unto death, a statement which was received with

(M431) After the review, the grand army pursued its course westward in
three divisions and roads along Thrace, levying enormous contributions on
all the Grecian towns, which submitted as the Persian monarch marched
along, for how could they resist? The mere provisioning this great host
for a single day impoverished the country. But there was no help, for to
mortal eyes the success of Xerxes was certain. At Acanthus, Xerxes
separated from his fleet, which was directed to sail round Mount Athos,
while he pursued his march through Pæonia and Crestonia, and rejoin him at
Therma, on the Thermaic Gulf, in Macedonia, within sight of Mount Olympus.

(M432) Meanwhile, the Athenians, fully alive to their danger, strained
every nerve to make preparations to resist the enemy; fortunately, there
was in the treasury a large sum derived from the Lamian mines, and this
they applied, on the urgent representations of Themistocles, to building
ships and refitting their navy. A Panhellenic congress, under the
presidency of Athens and Sparta, assembled at the Isthmus of Corinth.—the
first great league since the Trojan war. The representatives of the
various States buried their dissensions, the most prominent of which were
between Athens and Ægina. In reconciling these feuds, Themistocles took a
pre-eminent part. Indeed, there was need, for the political existence of
Hellas was threatened, and despair was seen in most every city. Even the
Delphic oracle gave out replies discouraging and terrible; intimating,
however, that the safety of Athens lay in the wooden wall, which, with
extraordinary tact, was interpreted by Themistocles to mean that the true
defense lay in the navy. Salamis was the place designated by the oracle
for the retreat, which was now imperative, and thither the Athenians fled,
with their wives and children, guarded by their fleet. It was decided by
the congress that Sparta should command the land forces, and Athens the
united navy of the Greeks; but many States, in deadly fear of the
Persians, persisted in neutrality, among which were Argos, Cretes,
Corcyra. The chief glory of the defense lay with Sparta and Athens. The
united army was sent into Thessaly to defend the defile of Tempe, but
discovering that they were unable to do this, since another pass over
Mount Olympus was open in the summer, they retreated to the isthmus of
Corinth, and left all Greece north of Mount Citheron and the Megarid
territory without defense. Had the Greeks been able to maintain the passes
of Olympus and Ossa, all the northern States would probably have joined in
the confederation against Persia; but, as they were left defenseless, we
can not wonder that they submitted, including even the Achæans, Borotians,
and Dorians.

(M433) The Pass of Thermopylæ was now fixed upon as the most convenient
place of resistance, next to the vale of Tempe. Here the main land was
separated from the island of Eubœa by a narrow strait two miles wide. On
the northern part of the island, near the town of Histiæa, the coast was
called Artemisium, and here the fleet was mustered, to co-operate with the
land forces, and oppose, in a narrow strait, the progress of the Persian
fleet. The defile of Thermopylæ itself, at the south of Thessaly, was
between Mount Œta and an impassable morass on the Maliac Gulf. Nature had
thus provided a double position of defense—a narrow defile on the land,
and a narrow strait on the water, through which the army and the fleet
must need pass if they would co-operate.

(M434) While the congress resolved to avail themselves of the double
position, by sea and land, the Olympic games, and the great Dorian, of the
Carneia, were at hand. These could not be dispensed with, even in the most
extraordinary crisis to which the nation could be exposed. While,
therefore, the Greeks assembled to keep the national festivals, probably
from religious and superstitious motives, auguring no good if they were
disregarded, Leonidas, king of Sparta, with three hundred Spartans, two
thousand one hundred and twenty Arcadians, four hundred Corinthians, two
hundred men from Philius, and eighty from Mycenæ—in all three thousand one
hundred hoplites, besides Helots and light troops, was sent to defend the
pass against the Persian hosts. On the march through Bœotia one thousand
men from Thebes and Thespiæ joined them, though on the point of submission
to Xerxes. The Athenians sent their whole force on board their ships,
joined by the Platæans.

(M435) It was in the summer of 480 B.C. when Xerxes reached Therma, about
which time the Greeks arrived at their allotted posts. Leonidas took his
position in the middle of the Pass—a mile in length, with two narrow
openings. He then repaired the old wall built across the Pass by the
Phocians, and awaited the coming of the enemy, for it was supposed his
force was sufficient to hold it till the games were over. It was also
thought that this narrow pass was the only means of access possible to the
invading army; but it was soon discovered that there was also a narrow
mountain path from the Phocian territory to Thermopylæ. The Phocians
agreed to guard this path, and leave the defense of the main pass to the
Peloponnesian troops. But Leonidas painfully felt that his men were
insufficient in number, and found it necessary to send envoys to the
different States for immediate re-enforcements.

(M436) The Greek fleet, assembled at Artemisium, was composed of two
hundred and seventy-one triremes and nine penteconters, commanded by
Themistocles, but furnished by the different States. A disaster happened
to the Greeks very early; three triremes were captured by the Persians,
which caused great discouragement, and in a panic the Greeks abandoned
their strong naval position, and sailed up the Eubœan Strait to Chalcis.
This was a great misfortune, since the rear of the army of Leonidas was no
longer protected by the fleet. But a destructive storm dispersed the fleet
of the Persians at this imminent crisis, so that it was impossible to lend
aid to their army now arrived at Thermopylæ. Four hundred ships of war,
together with a vast number of transports, were thus destroyed. The storm
lasted three days. After this disaster to the Persians, the Greek fleet
returned to Artemisium. Xerxes encamped within sight of Thermopylæ four
days, without making an attack, on account of the dangers to which his
fleet were exposed. On the fifth day he became wroth at the impudence and
boldness of the petty force which quietly remained to dispute his passage,
for the Spartans amused themselves with athletic sports and combing their
hair. Nor was it altogether presumption on the part of the Greeks, for
there were four or five thousand heavily-armed men, the bravest in the
land, to defend a passage scarcely wider than a carriage-road—with a wall
and other defenses in front.

(M437) The first attack on the Greeks was made by the Medea—the bravest of
the Persian army, but their arrows and short spears were of little avail
against the phalanx which opposed, armed with long spears, and protected
by shields. For two days the attack continued, and was constantly
repulsed, for only a small detachment of Greeks fought at a time. Even the
“Immortals”—the chosen band of Xerxes—were repulsed with a great loss, to
the agony and shame of Xerxes.

(M438) On the third day, a Malian revealed to the Persian king the fact
that a narrow path, leading over the mountains, was defended only by
Phocians, and that this path led to the rear of the Spartans. A strong
detachment of Persians was sent in the night to secure this path, and the
Phocian guardians fled. The Persians descended the path, and attacked the
Greeks in their rear. Leonidas soon became apprised of his danger, but in
time to send away his army. It was now clear that Thermopylæ could no
longer be defended, but the heroic and self-sacrificing general resolved
to remain, and sell his life as dearly as possible, and retard, if he
could not resist, the march of the enemy. Three hundred Spartans, with
seven hundred Thespians and four hundred Thebans joined him, while the
rest retired to fight another day. It required all the efforts of the
Persian generals, assisted by the whip, to force the men to attack this
devoted band. The Greeks fought with the most desperate bravery, till
their spears were broken, and no weapons remained but their swords and
daggers. At last, exhausted, they died, surrounded by vast forces, after
having made the most heroic defence in the history of the war. Only one
man, Aristodemus, returned to his home of all the three hundred Spartans,
but only to receive scorn and infamy. The Theban band alone yielded to the
Persians, but only at the last hour.

(M439) Nothing could exceed the blended anger and admiration of Xerxes as
he beheld this memorable resistance. He now saw, for the first time, the
difficulty of subduing such a people as the Greeks, resolved to resist
unto death. His mind was perplexed, and he did not know what course to
adopt. Had he accepted the advice of Demaratus, to make war on the
southern coast of Laconia, and thus distract the Spartans and prevent
their co-operation with Athens, he would have probably succeeded.

(M440) But he followed other councils. Meanwhile, the Persian fleet
rallied after the storm, and was still formidable, in spite of losses. The
Greeks were disposed to retire and leave the strait open to the enemy. The
Eubœans, seeing the evil which would happen to them if their island was
unprotected, sent to Themistocles a present of thirty talents, if he would
keep his position. This money he spent in bribing the different commanders
who wished to retire, and it was resolved to remain. The Persians,
confident of an easy victory, sent round the island of Eubœa a detachment
of two hundred ships, to cut off all hopes of escape to the ships which
they expected to capture. A deserter revealed the intelligence to
Themistocles, and it was resolved to fight the Persians, thus weakened, at
once, but at the close of the day, so that the battle would not be
decisive. The battle of Artemisium was a sort of skirmish, to accustom the
Greeks to the Phœnician mode of fighting. It was, however, successful, and
thirty ships of the Persians were taken or disabled.

(M441) But the Greeks derived a greater succor than ships and men. Another
storm overtook the Persians, damaged their fleet, and destroyed the
squadron sent round the island of Eubœa. Another sea-fight was the result,
since the Greeks were not only aided by the storm, but new
re-enforcements; but this second fight was indecisive. Themistocles now
felt he could not hold the strait against superior numbers, and the
disaster of Thermopylæ being also now known, he resolved to retreat
farther into Greece, and sailed for Salamis.

(M442) At this period the Greeks generally were filled with consternation
and disappointment. Neither the Pass of Thermopylæ, nor the strait which
connected the Malicas Gulf with the Ægean, had been successfully defended.
The army of Xerxes was advancing through Phocis and Bœotia to the Isthmus
of Corinth, while the navy sailed unobstructed through the Eubœan Sea. On
the part of the Greeks there had been no preparations commensurate with
the greatness of the crisis, while, had they rallied to Thermopylæ,
instead of wasting time at the festivals, they would have saved the pass,
and the army of Xerxes, strained for provisions, would have been compelled
to retreat. The, Lacedæmonians, aroused by the death of their king, at
last made vigorous efforts to fortify the Isthmus of Corinth, too late,
however, to defend Bœotia and Attica. The situation of Athens was now
hopeless, and it was seen what a fatal mistake had been made not to
defend, with the whole force of Greece, the Pass of Thermopylæ. There was
no help from the Spartans, for they had all flocked to the Isthmus of
Corinth, as the last chance of protecting the Peloponnesus. In despair,
the Athenians resolved to abandon Athens, with their families, and take
shelter at Salamis. Themistocles alone was undismayed, and sought to
encourage his countrymen that the “wooden wall” would still be their
salvation. The Athenians, if dismayed, did not lose their energies. The
recall of the exiles was decreed by Themistocles’ suggestion. With
incredible efforts the whole population of Attica was removed to Salamis,
and the hopes of all were centered in the ships. Xerxes took possession of
the deserted city, but found but five hundred captives. He ravaged the
country, and a detachment of Persians even penetrated to Delphi, to rob
the shrine, but were defeated. Athens was, however, sacked.

(M443) The combined fleet of the Greeks now numbered three hundred and
sixty-six ships, more than half of which were Athenian. Many wished to
retreat to the Isthmus of Corinth, and co-operate with the Spartans.
Dissensions came near wrecking the last hopes of Greece, and Themistocles
only prevailed by threatening to withdraw the Athenian ships unless a
battle were at once fought. He resorted to stratagem to compel the fleet
to remain together, with no outlet of escape if conquered. Aristides came
in the night from Ægina, and informed the Greeks that their whole fleet
was surrounded by the Persians—just what Themistocles desired. There was
nothing then left but to fight with desperation, for on the issue of the
battle depended the fortunes of Greece. Both fleets were stationed in the
strait between the bay of Eleusis and the Saronic Gulf, on the west of the
island of Salamis.

(M444) Xerxes, seated upon a throne upon one of the declivities of Mount
Ægaleos, surveyed the armaments and the coming battle. Both parties fought
with bravery; but the space was too narrow for the Persians to engage
their whole fleet, and they had not the discipline of the Greeks, schooled
by severe experience. The Persian fleet became unmanageable, and the
victory was gained by the Greeks. Two hundred ships fell into the hands of
the victors. But a sufficient number remained to the Persians to renew the
battle with better hopes. Xerxes, however, was intimidated, and in a
transport of rage, disappointment, and fear, gave the order to retreat. He
distrusted the fidelity of the allies, and feared for his own personal
safety; he feared that the victors would sail to the Hellespont, and
destroy the bridges. Themistocles, on the retreat of the Persians,
employed his fleet in levying fines and contributions upon the islands
which had supported the Persians, while Xerxes made his way back to the
Hellespont, and crossed to Asia, leaving Mardonius in Thessaly, with a
large army, to pursue the conquest on land.

(M445) Thus Greece was saved by the battle of Salamis, and the
distinguished services of Themistocles, which can not be too highly
estimated. The terrific cloud was dispersed, the Greeks abandoned
themselves to joy. Unparalleled honors were bestowed upon the victor,
especially in Sparta, and his influence, like that of Alcibiades, after
the battle of Marathon, was unbounded. No man ever merited greater reward.

(M446) Though the Persians now abandoned all hopes of any farther maritime
attack, yet still great success was anticipated from the immense army
which Mardonius commanded. The Greeks in the northern parts still adhered
to him, and Thessaly was prostrate at his feet. He sent Alexander, of
Macedon, to Athens to offer honorable terms of peace, which were nobly
rejected, and he was sent back with this message: “Tell Mardonius that as
long as the sun shall continue in his present path we will never contract
alliance with a foe who has shown no reverence to our gods and heroes, and
who has burned their statues and houses.” The league was renewed with
Sparta for mutual defense and offense, in spite of seductive offers from
Mardonius; but the Spartans displayed both indifference and selfishness to
any interests outside the Peloponnesus. They fortified the Isthmus of
Corinth, but left Attica undefended. Mardonius accordingly marched to
Athens, and again the city was the spoil of the Persians. The Athenians
again retreated to Salamis, with bitter feelings against Sparta for her
selfishness and ingratitude. Again Mardonius sought to conciliate the
Athenians, and again his overtures were rejected with wrath and defiance.
The Athenians, distressed, sent envoys to Sparta to remonstrate against
her slackness and selfishness, not without effect, for, at last, a large
Spartan force was collected under Pausanias. Meanwhile Mardonius ravaged
Attica and Bœotia, and then fortified his camp near Platæa, ten furlongs
square. Platæa was a plain favorable to the action of the cavalry, not far
from Thebes; but his army was discouraged after so many disasters—in
modern military language, demoralized—while Artabazus, the second in
command, was filled with jealousy. Nor could much be hoped from the
Grecian allies, who secretly were hostile to the invaders. The Thebans and
Bœotians appeared to be zealous, but were governed by fear merely of a
superior power, and hence were unreliable. It can not be supposed that the
Thebans, who sided with the Persians, by compulsion, preferred their cause
to that of their countrymen, great as may have been national jealousy and

(M447) The total number of Lacedæmonians, Corinthians, Athenians, and
other Greeks, assembled to meet the Persian army, B.C. 479, was
thirty-eight thousand seven hundred men, heavily armed, and seventy-one
thousand three hundred light armed, without defensive armor; but most of
these were simply in attendance on the hoplites. The Persians, about three
hundred thousand in number, occupied the line of the river Asopus, on a
plain; the Greeks stationed themselves on the mountain declivity near
Erythæ. The Persian cavalry charged, to dislodge the Greeks, unwilling to
contend on the plain; but the ground was unfavorable for cavalry
operations, and after a brief success, was driven back, while the general,
Masistias, who commanded it, was slain. His death, and the repulse of the
cavalry, so much encouraged Pausanias, the Spartan general, that he
quitted his ground on the mountain declivity, and took position on the
plain beneath. The Lacedæmonians composed the right wing; the Athenians,
the left; and various other allies, the centre. Mardonius then slightly
changed his position, crossing the Asopus, nearer his own camp, and took
post on the left wing, opposite the right wing of the Greeks, commanded by
Pausanias. Both armies then offered sacrifices to the gods, but Mardonius
was able to give constant annoyance to the Greeks by his cavalry, and the
Thebans gave great assistance. Ten days were thus spent by the two armies,
without coming into general action, until Mardonius, on becoming
impatient, against the advice of Artabazus, second in command, resolved to
commence the attack. The Greeks were forewarned of his intention, by
Alexander of Macedon, who came secretly to the Greek camp at night—a proof
that he, as well as others, were impatient of the Persian yoke. The
Lacedæmonians, posted in the right wing, against the Persians, changed
places with the Athenians, who were more accustomed to Persian warfare;
but this manœuvre being detected, Mardonius made a corresponding change in
his own army—upon which Pausanias led back again his troops to the right
wing, and a second movement of Mardonius placed the armies in the original

(M448) A vigorous attack of the Persian cavalry now followed, which so
annoyed the Greeks, that Pausanias in the night resolved to change once
again his position, and retreated to the hilly ground, north of Platæa,
about twenty furlongs distant, not without confusion and mistrust on the
part of the Athenians. Mardonias, astonished at this movement, pursued,
and a general engagement followed. Both armies fought with desperate
courage, but discipline was on the side of the Greeks, and Mardonius was
slain, fighting gallantly with his guard. Artabazus, with the forty
thousand Persians under his immediate command, had not taken part, and now
gave orders to retreat, and retired from Greece. The main body, however,
of the defeated Persians retired to their fortified camp. This was
attacked by the Lacedæmonians, and carried with immense slaughter, so that
only three thousand men survived out of the army of Mardonius, save the
forty thousand which Artabazus—a more able captain—had led away. The
defeat of the Persians was complete, and the spoils which fell to the
victors was immense—gold and silver, arms, carpets, clothing, horses,
camels, and even the rich tent of Xerxes himself, left with Mardonius. The
booty was distributed among the different contingents of the army. The
real victors were the Lacedæmonians, Athenians, and Tegeans; the
Corinthians did not reach the field till the battle was ended, and thus
missed their share of the spoil.

(M449) There was one ally of the Persians which Pausanias resolved to
punish—the city of Thebes when a merited chastisement was inflicted, and
the customary solemnities were observed, and honors decreed for the
greatest and most decisive victory which the Greeks had ever gained. A
confederacy was held at Platæa, in which a permanent league was made
between the leading Grecian States, not to separate until the common foe
was driven back to Asia.

(M450) While these great events were transpiring in Bœotia, the fleet of
the Greeks, after the battle of Salamis, undertook to rescue Samos from
the Persians, and secure the independence of the Ionian cities in Asia.
The Persian fleet, now disheartened, abandoned Samos and retired to
Mycale, in Ionia. The Greek fleet followed, but the Persians abandoned or
dismissed their fleet, and joined their forces with those of Tigranes,
who, with an army of sixty thousand men, guarded Ionia. The Greeks
disembarked, and prepared to attack the enemy just as the news reached
them of the battle of Platæa. This attack was successful, partly in
consequence of the revolt of the Ionians in the Persian camp, although the
Persians fought with great bravery. The battle of Mycale was as complete
as that of Platæa and Marathon, and the remnants of the Persian army
retired to Sardis. The Ionian cities were thus, for the time, delivered of
the Persians, as well as Greece itself chiefly by means of the Athenians
and Corinthians. The Spartans, with inconceivable narrowness, were
reluctant to receive the continental Ionians as allies, and proposed to
transport them across the Ægean into Western Greece, which proposal was
most honorably rejected by the Athenians. In every thing, except the
defense of Greece Proper, and especially the Peloponnesus, the Spartans
showed themselves inferior to the Athenians in magnanimity and enlarged
views. After the capture of Sestos, B.C. 478, which relieved the Thracian
Chersonese from the Persians, the fleet of Athens returned home. The
capture of this city concludes the narration of Herodotus, which ended
virtually the Persian war, although hostilities were continued in Asia.
The battle of Marathon had given the first effective resistance to Persian
conquests, and created confidence among the Greeks. The battle of Salamis
had destroyed the power of Persia on the sea, and prevented any
co-operation of land and naval forces. The battle of Platæa freed Greece
altogether of the invaders. The battle of Mycale rescued the Ionian

(M451) Athens had, on the whole, most distinguished herself in this great
and glorious contest, and now stood forth as the guardian of Hellenic
interests on the sea and the leader of the Ionian race. Sparta continued
to take the lead of the military States, to which Athens had generously
submitted. But a serious rivalry now was seen between these leading
States, chiefly through the jealousy of Sparta, which ultimately proved
fatal to that supremacy which the Greeks might have maintained overall the
powers of the world. Sparta wished that Athens might remain unfortified,
in common with all the cities of Northern Greece, while the isthmus should
be the centre of all the works of defense. But Athens, under the sagacious
and crafty management of Themistocles, amused the Spartans by delays,
while the whole population were employed upon restoring its

(M452) Although the war against the Persians was virtually concluded by
the capture of Sestos, an expedition was fitted out by Sparta, under
Pausanias, the hero of Platæa, to prosecute hostilities on the shores of
Asia. After liberating most of the cities of Cyprus, and wresting
Byzantium from the Persians, which thus left the Euxine free to Athenian
ships, from which the Greeks derived their chief supplies of foreign corn,
Pausanias, giddy with his victories, unaccountably began a treasonably
correspondence with Xerxes, whose daughter he wished to marry, promising
to bring all Greece again under his sway. He was recalled to Sparta,
before this correspondence was known, having given offense by adopting the
Persian dress, and surrounding himself with Persian and Median guards.
When his treason was at last detected, he attempted to raise a rebellion
among the Helots, but failed, and died miserably by hunger in the temple
in which he had taken sanctuary.

(M453) A fall scarcely less melancholy came to the illustrious
Themistocles. In spite of his great services, his popularity began to
decline. He was hated by the Spartans for the part he took in the
fortification of the city, who brought all their influence against him. He
gave umbrage to the citizens by his personal vanity, continually boasting
of his services. He erected a private chapel in honor of Artemis. He
prostituted his great influence for arbitrary and corrupt purposes. He
accepted bribes without scruple, to the detriment of the State, and in
violation of justice and right. And as the Persians could offer the
highest bribes, he was suspected of secretly favoring their interests. The
old rivalries between him and Aristides were renewed; and as Aristides was
no longer opposed to the policy which Athens adopted, of giving its
supreme attention to naval defenses, and, moreover, constantly had gained
the respect of the city by his integrity and patriotism, especially by his
admirable management at Delos, where he cemented the confederacy of the
maritime States, his influence was perhaps greater than that of
Themistocles, stained with the imputation of _Medism_. Cimon, the son of
Miltiades, also became a strong opponent. Though acquitted of accepting
bribes from Persia, Themistocles was banished by a vote of ostracism, as
Aristides had been before—a kind of exile which was not dishonorable, but
resorted to from regard to public interests, and to which men who became
unpopular were often subjected, whatever may have been their services or
merits. He retired to Argos, and while there the treason of Pausanias was
discovered. Themistocles was involved in it, since the designs of
Pausanias were known by him. Joint envoys from Sparta and Athens were sent
to arrest him, which, when known, he fled to Corcyra, and thence to
Admetus, king of the Molossians. The Epirotic prince shielded him in spite
of his former hostility, and furnished him with guides to Pydna, across
the mountains, from which he succeeded in reaching Ephesus, and then
repaired to the Persian court. At Athens he was proclaimed a traitor, and
his property, amounting to one hundred talents, accumulated by the war,
was confiscated. In Persia, he represented himself as a deserter, and
subsequently acquired influence with Artaxerxes, and devoted his talents
to laying out schemes for the subjugation of Greece. He received the large
sum of fifty talents yearly, and died at sixty-five years of age, with a
blighted reputation, such as no previous services could redeem from

(M454) Aristides died four years after the ostracism of Themistocles,
universally respected, and he died so poor as not to have enough for his
funeral expenses. Nor did any of his descendants ever become rich.

(M455) Xerxes himself, the Ahasuerus of the Scriptures, who commanded the
largest expedition ever recorded in human annals, reached Sardis, eight
months after he had left it, disgusted with active enterprise, and buried
himself amid the intrigues of his court and seraglio, in Susa, as recorded
in the book of Esther. He was not deficient in generous impulses, but
deficient in all those qualities which make men victorious in war. He died
fifteen years after, the victim of a conspiracy, in his palace, B.C.
465—six years after Themistocles had sought his protection.

                              CHAPTER XVIII.


(M456) With the defeat of the Persian armies, Athens and Sparta became,
respectively, the leaders of two great parties in Greece. Athens advocated
maritime interests and democratic institutions; Sparta, was the champion
of the continental and oligarchal powers. The one was Ionian, and
organized the league of Delos, under the management of Aristides; the
other was Dorian, and chief of the Peloponnesian confederacy. The
rivalries between these leading States involved a strife between those
ideas and interests of which each was the recognized representative. Those
States which previously had been severed from each other by geographical
position and diversity of interests, now rallied under the guidance either
of Athens or Sparta. The intrigues of Themistocles and Pausanias had
prevented that Panhellenic union, so necessary for the full development of
political power, and which was for a time promoted by the Persian war.
Athens, in particular, gradually came to regard herself as a pre-eminent
power, to which the other States were to be tributary. Her empire, based
on maritime supremacy, became a tyranny to which it was hard for the old
allies to submit.

(M457) But the rivalry between Sparta and Athens was still more marked.
Sparta had thus far taken the lead among the Grecian States, and Athens
had submitted to it in the Persian invasion. But the consciousness of new
powers, which naval warfare developed, the _éclat_ of the battles of
Marathon and Salamis, and the confederacy of Delos, changed the relative
position of the two States. Moreover, to Athens the highest glory of
resisting the Persians was due, while her patriotic and enlarged spirit
favorably contrasted with the narrow and selfish policy of Sparta.

(M458) And this policy was seen in nothing more signally than in the
oppositions he made to the new fortifications of Athens, so that
Themistocles was obliged to go to Sparta, and cover up by deceit and
falsehood the fact that the Athenians were really repairing their walls,
which they had an undoubted right to do, but which Ægina beheld with fear
and Sparta with jealousy. And this unreasonable meanness and injustice on
the part of Sparta, again reacted on the Athenians, and created great
bitterness and acrimony.

(M459) But in spite of the opposition of Sparta, the new fortifications
arose, to which all citizens, rich and poor, lent their aid, and on a
scale which was not unworthy of the grandeur of a future capital. The
circuit of the walls was fifty stadia or seven miles, and they were of
sufficient strength and height to protect the city against external
enemies. And when they were completed Themistocles—a man of great
foresight and genius, persuaded the citizens to fortify also their harbor,
as a means of securing the ascendency of the city in future maritime
conflicts. He foresaw that the political ascendency of Athens was based on
those “wooden walls” which the Delphic oracle had declared to be her hope
in the Persian invasion. The victory at Salamis had confirmed the wisdom
of the prediction, and given to Athens an imperishable glory. Themistocles
persuaded his countrymen that the open roadstead of Phalerum was insecure,
and induced them to inclose the more spacious harbors of Peireus and
Munychia, by a wall as long as that which encircled Athens itself,—so
thick and high that all assault should be hopeless, while within its
fortifications the combined fleets of Greece could safely he anchored, and
to which the citizens of Athens could also retire in extreme danger.
Peireus accordingly was inclosed at vast expense and labor by a wall
fourteen feet in thickness, which served not merely for a harbor, but a
dock-yard and arsenal. Thither resorted metics or resident foreigners, and
much of the trade of Athens was in their hands, since they were less
frequently employed in foreign service. They became a thrifty population
of traders and handy craftsmen identified with the prosperity of Athens.
These various works, absorbed much of the Athenian force and capital, yet
enough remained to build annually twenty new triremes—equivalent to our
modern ships of the line. Athens now became the acknowledged head and
leader of the allied States, instead of Sparta, whose authority as a
presiding State was now openly renunciated by the Athenians. The
Panhellenic union under Sparta was now broken forever, and two rival
States disputed the supremacy,—the maritime States adhering to Athens, and
the land States, which furnished the larger part of the army at Platæa,
adhering to Sparta. It was then that the confederacy of Delos was formed,
under the presidency of Athens, which Aristides directed. His assessment
was so just and equitable that no jealousies were excited, and the four
hundred and sixty talents which were collected from the maritime States
were kept at Delos for the common benefit of the league, managed by a
board of Athenian officers. It was a common fear which led to this great
contribution, for the Phœnician fleet might at any time reappear, and,
co-operating with a Persian land force, destroy the liberties of Greece.
Although Athens reaped the chief benefit of this league, it was
essentially national. It was afterward indeed turned to aggrandize Athens,
but, when it was originally made, was a means of common defense against a
power as yet unconquered though repulsed.

(M460) During all the time that the fortifications of Athens and the
Peireus were being made, Themistocles was the ruling spirit at Athens,
while Aristides commanded the fleet and organized the confederacy of
Delos. It was thus several years before he became false to his Countrymen,
and the change was only gradually wrought in his character, owing chiefly
to his extravagant habits and the arrogance which so often attends

(M461) During this period, a change was also made in the civil
constitution of Athens. All citizens were rendered admissible to office.
The State became still more democratic. The archons were withdrawn from
military duties, and confined to civil functions. The stategi or generals
gained greater power with the extending political relations, and upon them
was placed the duty of superintending foreign affairs. Athens became more
democratical and more military at the same time.

(M462) From this time, 479 B.C., we date the commencement of the Athenian
empire. It gradually was cemented by circumstances rather than a
long-sighted and calculating ambition. At the head of the confederacy of
Delos, opportunities were constantly presented of centralizing power,
while its rapid increase of population and wealth favored the schemes
which political leaders advanced for its aggrandizement. The first ten
years of the Athenian hegemony or headship were years of active warfare
against the Persians. The capture of Eion, on the Strymon, with its
Persian garrison, by Cimonon, led to the settlement of Amphipolis by the
Athenians; and the fall of the cities which the Persians had occupied in
Thrace and in the various islands of the Ægean increased the power of

(M463) The confederate States at last grew weary of personal military
service, and prevailed upon the Athenians to provide ships and men in
their place, for which they imposed upon themselves a suitable
money-payment. They thus gradually sunk to the condition of tributary
allies, unwarlike and averse to privation, while the Athenians, stimulated
by new and expanding ambition, became more and more enterprising and

(M464) But with the growth of Athens was also the increase of jealousies.
Athens became unpopular, not only because she made the different maritime
States her tributaries, but because she embarked in war against them to
secure a still greater aggrandizement. Naxos revolted, but was conquered,
B.C. 467. The confederate State was stripped of its navy, and its
fortifications were razed to the ground. Next year the island of Thasos
likewise seceded from the alliance, and was subdued with difficulty, and
came near involving Athens in a war with Sparta. The Thasians invoked the
aid of Sparta, which was promised though not fulfilled, which imbittered
the relations between the two leading Grecian States.

(M465) During this period, from the formation of the league at Delos, and
the fall of Thasos, about thirteen years, Athens was occupied in
maintaining expeditions against Persia, being left free from
embarrassments in Attica. The towns of Platæa and Thespiæ were restored
and repeopled under Athenian influence.

(M466) The jealousy of Sparta, in view of the growing power of Athens, at
last gave vent in giving aid to Thebes, against the old policy of the
State, to enable that city to maintain supremacy over the lesser Bœotian
towns. The Spartans even aided in enlarging her circuit and improving her
fortifications, which aid made Thebes a vehement partisan of Sparta. Soon
after, a terrible earthquake happened in Sparta, 464 B.C., which calamity
was seized upon by the Helots as a fitting occasion for revolt. Defeated,
but not subdued, the insurgents retreated to Ithome, the ancient citadel
of their Messenian ancestors, and there intrenched themselves. The
Spartans spent two years in an unsuccessful siege, and were forced to
appeal to their allies for assistance. But even the increased force made
no impression on the fortified hill, so ignorant were the Greeks, at this
period, of the art of attacking walls. And when the Athenians, under
Cimon, still numbered among the allies of Sparta, were not more
successful, their impatience degenerated to mistrust and suspicion, and
summarily dismissed the Athenian contingent. This ungracious and jealous
treatment exasperated the Athenians, whose feelings were worked upon by
Pericles who had opposed the policy of sending troops at all to Laconia.
Cimon here was antagonistic to Pericles, and wished to cement the more
complete union of Greece against Persia, and maintain the union with
Sparta. Cimon, moreover, disliked the democratic policy of Pericles. But
the Athenians rallied under Pericles, and Cimon lost his influence, which
had been paramount since the disgrace of Themistocles. A formal resolution
was passed at Athens to renounce the alliance with Sparta against the
Persians, and to seek alliance with Argos, which had been neutral during
the Persian invasion, but which had regained something of its ancient
prestige and power by the conquest of Mycenæ and other small towns. The
Thessalians became members of this new alliance which was intended to be
antagonistic to Sparta. Megara, shortly after, renounced the protection of
the Peloponnesian capital, and was enrolled among the allies of Athens,—a
great acquisition to Athenian power, since this city secured the passes of
Mount Gerania, so that Attica was protected from invasion by the Isthmus
of Corinth. But the alliance of Megara and Athens gave deep umbrage to
Corinth as well as Sparta, and a war with Corinth was the result, in which
Ægina was involved as the ally of Sparta and Corinth.

(M467) The Athenians were at first defeated on the land; but this defeat
was more than overbalanced by a naval victory over the Dorian seamen, off
the island of Ægina, by which the naval force of _Ægina_ hitherto great,
was forever prostrated. The Athenians captured seventy ships and commenced
the siege of the city itself. Sparta would have come to the rescue, but
was preoccupied in suppressing the insurrection of the Helots. Corinth
sent three hundred hoplites to Ægina and attacked Megara. But the
Athenians prevailed both at Ægina and Megara, which was a great blow to

(M468) Fearing, however, a renewed attack from Corinth and the
Peloponnesian States, now full of rivalry and enmity, the Athenians, under
the leadership of Pericles, resolved to connect their city with the harbor
of Peireus by a long wall—a stupendous undertaking at that time. It
excited the greatest alarm among the enemies of Athens, and was a subject
of contention among different parties in the city. The party which Cimon,
now ostracised, had headed, wished to cement the various Grecian States in
a grand alliance against the Persians, and dreaded to see this long wall
arise as a standing menace against the united power of the Peloponnesus.
Moreover, the aristocrats of Athens disliked a closer amalgamation with
the maritime people of the Peireus, as well as the burdens and taxes which
this undertaking involved. These fortifications doubtless increased the
power of Athens, but weakened the unity of Hellenic patriotism; and
increased those jealousies which ultimately proved the political ruin of

(M469) Under the influence of these rivalries and jealousies the
Lacedæmonians, although the Helots wore not subdued, undertook a hostile
expedition out of the Peloponnesus, with eleven thousand five hundred men,
ostensibly to protect Doris against the Phœcians, but really to prevent
the further aggrandizement of Athens, and this was supposed to be most
easily effected by strengthening Thebes and securing the obedience of the
Bœotian cities. But there was yet another design, to prevent the building
of the long walls, to which the aristocratical party of Athens was
opposed, but which Pericles, with long-sighted views, defended.

(M470) This extraordinary man, with whom the glory and greatness of Athens
are so intimately associated, now had the ascendency over all his rivals.
He is considered the ablest of all the statesmen which Greece produced. He
was of illustrious descent, and spent the early part of his life in
retirement and study, and when he emerged from obscurity his rise was
rapid, until he gained the control of his countrymen, which he retained
until his death. He took the side of the democracy, and, in one sense, was
a demagogue, as well as a statesman, since he appealed to popular passions
and interests. He was very eloquent, and was the idol of the party which
was dominant in the State. His rank and fortune enabled him to avail
himself of every mode of culture and self-improvement known in his day. He
loved music, philosophy, poetry, and art. The great Anaxagoras gave a
noble direction to his studies, so that he became imbued with the
sublimest ideas of Grecian wisdom. And his eloquence is said to have been
of the most lofty kind. His manners partook of the same exalted and
dignified bearing as his philosophy. He never lost his temper, and
maintained the severest self-control. His voice was sweet, and his figure
was graceful and commanding. He early distinguished himself as a soldier,
and so gained upon his countrymen that, when Themistocles and Aristides
were dead, and Cimon engaged in military expeditions, he supplanted all
who had gone before him in popular favor. All his sympathies were with the
democratic party, while his manners and habits and tastes and associations
were those of the aristocracy. His political career lasted forty years
from the year 469 B.C. He was unremitting in his public duties, and was
never seen in the streets unless on his way to the assembly or senate. He
was not fond of convivial pleasures, and was, though affable, reserved and
dignified. He won the favor of the people by a series of measures which
provided the poor with amusement and means of subsistence. He caused those
who served in the courts to be paid for their attendance and services. He
weakened the power of the court of the Areopagus, which was opposed to
popular measures. Assured of his own popularity, he even contrived to
secure the pardon of Cimon, his great rival, when publicly impeached.

(M471) Pericles was thus the leading citizen of his country, when he
advocated the junction of the Peireus with Athens by the long walls which
have been alluded to, and when the Spartan army in Bœotia threatened to
sustain the oligarchal party in the city. The Athenians, in view of this
danger, took decisive measures. They took the field at once against their
old allies, the Lacedæmonians. The unfortunate battle of Tanagra was
decided in favor of the Spartans, chiefly through the desertion of the
Thessalian horse.

(M472) Cimon, though ostracised, appeared in the field of battle, and
requested permission to fight in the ranks. Though the request was
refused, he used all his influence with his friends to fight with bravery
and fidelity to his country’s cause, which noble conduct allayed the
existing jealousies, and through the influence of Pericles, his banishment
of ten years was revoked. He returned to Athens, reconciled with the party
which had defeated him, and so great was the admiration of his magnanimity
that all parties generously united in the common cause. Another battle
with the enemy was fought in Bœotia, this time attended with success, the
result of which was the complete ascendency of the Athenians over all
Bœotia. They became masters of Thebes and all the neighboring towns, and
reversed all the acts of the Spartans, and established democratic
governments, and forced the aristocratical leaders into exile. Phocis and
Locris were added to the list of dependent allies, and the victory
cemented their power from the Corinthian Gulf to the strait of Thermopylæ.

(M473) Then followed the completion of the long walls, B.C. 455, and the
conquest of Ægina. Athens was now mistress of the sea, and her admiral
displayed his strength by sailing round the Peloponnesus, and taking
possession of many cities in the Gulf of Corinth. But the Athenians were
unsuccessful in an expedition into Thessaly, and sustained many losses in
Egypt in the great warfare with Persia.

(M474) After the success of the Lacedæmonians at Tanagra they made no
expeditions out of the Peloponnesus for several years, and allowed Bœotia
and Phocis to be absorbed in the Athenian empire. They even extended the
truce with Athens for five years longer, and this was promoted by Cimon,
who wished to resume offensive operations against the Persians. Cimon was
allowed to equip a fleet of two hundred triremes and set sail to Cyprus,
where he died. The expedition failed under his successor, and this closed
all further aggressive war with the Persians.

(M475) The death of Cimon, whose interest it was to fight the Persians,
and thus by the spoils and honors of war keep up his influence at home,
left Pericles without rivals, and with opportunities to develop his policy
of internal improvements, and the development of national resources, to
enable Athens to maintain her ascendency over the States of Greece. So he
gladly concluded peace with the Persians, by the terms of which they were
excluded from the coasts of Asia Minor and the islands of the Ægean; while
Athens stipulated to make no further aggression on Cyprus, Phœnicia,
Cilicia, and Egypt.

(M476) Athens, at peace with all her enemies, with a large empire of
tributary allies, a great fleet, and large accumulations of treasure,
sought now to make herself supreme in Greece. The fund of the confederacy
of Delos was transferred to the Acropolis. New allies sought her alliance.
It is said the tributary cities amounted to one thousand. She was not only
mistress of the sea, but she was the equal of Sparta on the land. Beside
this political power, a vast treasure was accumulated in the Acropolis.
Such rapid aggrandizement was bitterly felt by Corinth, Sicyon, and
Sparta, and the feeling of enmity expanded until it exploded in the
Peloponnesian war.

(M477) It was while Athena was at this height of power and renown that
further changes were made in the constitution by Pericles. Great authority
was still in the hands of the court of the Areopagus, which was composed
exclusively of ex-archons, sitting for life, and hence of very
aristocratic sentiments. It was indeed a judicial body, but its functions
were mixed; it decided all disputes, inquired into crimes, and inflicted
punishments. And it was enabled to enforce its own mandates, which were
without appeal, and led to great injustice and oppression. The
magistrates, serving without pay, were generally wealthy, and though their
offices were eligible to all the citizens, still, practically, only the
rich became magistrates, as is the case with the British House of Commons.
Hence, magistrates possessing large powers, and the senate sitting for
life, all belonging to the wealthy class, were animated by aristocratic
sympathies. But a rapidly increasing democracy succeeded in securing the
selection of archons by lot, in place of election. This threw more popular
elements into the court of Areopagus. The innovations which Pericles
effected, of causing the jury courts, or Dikasteries, to be regularly
paid, again threw into public life the poorer citizens. But the great
change which he effected was in transferring to the numerous dikasts,
selected from the citizens, a new judicial power, heretofore exercised by
the magistrates, and the senate of the Areopagus. The magistrate, instead
of deciding causes and inflicting punishment beyond the imposition of a
small fine, was constrained to impanel a jury to try the cause. In fact,
the ten dikasts became the leading judicial tribunals, and as these were
composed, each, of five hundred citizens, judgments were virtually made by
the people, instead of the old court. The pay of each man serving as a
juror was determined and punctually paid. The importance of this
revolution will be seen when these dikasts thus became the exclusive
assemblies, of course popular, in which all cases, civil and criminal,
were tried. The magistrates were thus deprived of the judicial functions
which they once enjoyed, and were confined to purely administrative
matters. The commanding functions of the archon were destroyed, and he
only retained power to hear complaints, and fix the day of trial, and
preside over the dikastic assembly. The senate of the Areopagus, which had
exercised an inquisitorial power over the lives and habits of the
citizens, and supervised the meetings of the assembly—a power uncertain
but immense, and sustained by ancient customs,—now became a mere nominal
tribunal. And this change was called for, since the members of the court
were open to bribery and corruption, and had abused their powers, little
short of paternal despotism. And when the great public improvements, the
growth of a new population, the rising importance of the Penæus, the
introduction of nautical people, and the active duties of Athens as the
head of the Delian confederacy—all, together, gave force to the democratic
elements of society, the old and conservative court became stricter, and
more oppressive, instead of more popular and conciliatory.

(M478) But beside this great change in the constitution, Pericles effected
others also. Under his influence, a general power of supervision, over the
magistrates and the assembly, was intrusted to seven men called
Nomophylakes, or Law Guardians, changed every year, who sat with the
president in the senate and assembly, and interposed when any step was
taken contrary to existing laws. Other changes were also effected with a
view to the enforcement of laws, upon which we can not enter. It is enough
to say that it was by means of Pericles that the magistrates were stripped
of judicial power, and the Areopagus of all its jurisdiction, except in
cases of homicide, and numerous and paid and popular dikasts were
substituted to decide judicial cases, and repeal and enact laws; this,
says Grote, was the consummation of the Athenian democracy. And thus it
remained until the time of Demosthenes.

(M479) But the influence of Pericles is still more memorable from the
impulse he gave to the improvements of Athens and his patronage of art and
letters. He conceived the idea of investing his city with intellectual
glory, which is more permanent than any conquests of territory. And since
he could not make Athens the centre of political power, owing to the
jealousies of other States, he resolved to make her the great attraction
to all scholars, artists, and strangers. And his countrymen were prepared
to second his glorious objects, and were in a condition to do so, enriched
by commerce, rendered independent by successes over the Persians, and
jealous Grecian rivals, and stimulated by the poets and philosophers who
flourished in that glorious age. The age of Pericles is justly regarded as
the epoch of the highest creation genius ever exhibited, and gave to
Athens an intellectual supremacy which no military genius could have

(M480) The Persian war despoiled and depopulated Athens. The city was
rebuilt on a more extensive plan, and the streets were made more regular.
The long walls to the Peiræus were completed—a double wall, as it were,
with a space between them large enough to secure the communication between
the city and the port, in case an enemy should gain a footing in the wide
space between the Peiræan and Thaleric walls. The port itself was
ornamented with beautiful public buildings, of which the Agora was the
most considerable. The theatre, called the Odeon, was erected in Athens
for musical and poetical contests. The Acropolis, with its temples, was
rebuilt, and the splendid Propylæa, of Doric architecture, formed a
magnificent approach to them. The temple of Athenæ—the famous
Parthenon—was built of white marble, and adorned with sculptures in the
pediments and frieze by the greatest artists of antiquity, while Phidias
constructed the statue of the goddess of ivory and gold. No Doric temple
ever equaled the severe proportions and chaste beauty of the Parthenon,
and its ruins still are one of the wonders of the world. The Odeon and
Parthenon were finished during the first seven years of the administration
of Pericles, and many other temples were constructed in various parts of
Attica. The genius of Phidias is seen in the numerous sculptures which
ornamented the city, and the general impulse he gave to art. Other great
artists labored in generous competition,—sculptors, painters, and
architects,—to make Athens the most beautiful city in the world.

(M481) “It was under the administration of Pericles that Greek literature
reached its culminating height in the Attic drama, a form of poetry which
Aristotle justly considers as the most perfect; and it shone with
undiminished splendor to the close of the century. It was this branch of
literature which peculiarly marked the age of Pericles—the period between
the Persian and Peloponnesian wars. The first regular comedies were
produced by Epicharmus, who was born in Cos, B.C. 540, and exhibited at
Syracuse. Comedy arose before tragedy, and was at first at the celebration
of Dionysus by rustic revelers in the season of the vintage, in the form
of songs and dances. But these were not so appropriate in cities, and the
songs of the revelers were gradually molded into the regular choral
dithyramb, while the performers still preserved the wild dress and
gestures of the satyrs—half goat and half man—who accompanied Dionysus.”
The prevalence of tales of crime and fate and suffering naturally
impressed spectators with tragic sentiments, and tragedy was thus born and
separated from comedy. Both forms received their earliest development in
the Dorian States, and were particularly cultivated by the Megarians.
“Thespis, a native of Icaria, first gave to tragedy its dramatic
character, in the time of Pisistratus, B.C. 535. He introduced the
dialogue, relieved by choral performances, and the recitation of
mythological and heroic adventures. He traveled about Attica in a wagon,
which served him for a stage; but the art soon found its way to Athens,
where dramatic contests for prizes were established in connection with the
festivals of Dionysus. These became State institutions. Chœrilus, B.C.
523, and Phrynichus followed Thespis, and these ventured from the regions
of mythology to contemporaneous history.”

(M482) It was at this time that Æschylus, the father of tragedy, exhibited
his dramas at Athens, B.C. 500. He added a second actor, and made the
choral odes subordinate to the action. The actors now made use of masks,
and wore lofty head-dresses and magnificent robes. Scenes were painted
according to the rules of perspective, and an elaborate mechanism was
introduced upon the stage. New figures were invented for the dancers of
the chorus. Sophocles still further improved tragedy by adding the third
actor, and snatched from Æschylus the tragic prize. He was not equal to
Æschylus in the boldness and originality of his characters, or the
loftiness of his sentiments, or the colossal grandeur of his figures; but
in the harmony of his composition, and the grace and vigor displayed in
all the parts—the severe unity, the classic elegance of his style, and the
charm of his expressions he is his superior. These two men carried tragedy
to a degree of perfection never afterward attained in Greece. It was not
merely a spectacle to the people, but was applied to moral and religious
purposes. The heroes of Æschylus are raised above the sphere of real life,
and often they are the sport of destiny, or victims of a struggle between
superior beings. The characters of Sophocles are rarely removed beyond the
sphere of mortal sympathy, and they are made to rebuke injustice and give
impressive warnings.

(M483) Comedy also made a great stride during the administration of
Pericles; but it was not till his great ascendency was at its height that
Aristophanes was born, B.C. 444. The comedians of the time were allowed
great license, which they carried even into politics, and which was
directed against Pericles himself.

(M484) The Athenian stage at this epoch was the chief means by which
national life and liberty were sustained. It answered the functions of the
press and the pulpit in our day, and quickened the perceptions of the
people. The great audiences which assembled at the theatres were kindled
into patriotic glow, and were moved by the noble thoughts, and withering
sarcasm, and inexhaustible wit of the poets. “The gods and goddesses who
swept majestically over the tragic stage were the objects of religious and
national faith, real beings, whose actions and sufferings claimed their
deepest sympathy, and whose heroic fortitude served for an example, or
their terrific fate for a warning. So, too, in the old comedy, the
persons, habits, manners, principles held up to ridicule were all familiar
to the audience in their daily lives; and the poet might exhibit in a
humorous light objects which to attack seriously would have been a treason
or a sacrilege, and might recommend measures which he could only have
proposed in the popular assembly with a halter round his neck.” This
susceptibility of the people to grand impressions, and the toleration of
rulers, alike show a great degree of popular intelligence and a great
practical liberty in social life.

(M485) The age of Pericles was also adorned by great historians and
philosophers. Herodotus and Thucydides have never been surpassed as
historians, while the Sophists who succeeded the more earnest philosophers
of a previous age, gave to Athenian youth a severe intellectual training.
Rhetoric, mathematics and natural history supplanted speculation, led to
the practice of eloquence as an art, and gave to society polish and
culture. The Sophists can not indeed be compared with those great men who
preceded or succeeded them in philosophical wisdom, but their influence in
educating the Grecian mind, and creating polished men of society, can not
be disproved. Politics became a profession in the democratic State, which
demanded the highest culture, and an extensive acquaintance with the
principles of moral and political science. This was the age of lectures,
when students voluntarily assembled to learn from the great masters of
thought that knowledge which would enable them to rise in a State where
the common mind was well instructed.

(M486) But it must also be admitted that while the age of Pericles
furnished an extraordinary stimulus to the people, in art, in literature,
in political science, and in popular institutions, the great teachers of
the day inculcated a selfish morality, and sought an æsthetic enjoyment
irrespective of high moral improvement, and the inevitable result was the
rapid degeneracy of Athens, and the decline even in political influence,
and strength, as was seen in the superior power of Sparta in the great
contest to which the two leading States of Greece were hurried by their
jealousies and animosities. The prosperity was delusive and outside; for
no intellectual triumph, no glories of art, no fascinations of literature,
can balance the moral forces which are generated in self-denial and lofty
public virtue.

(M487) It was while the power and glory of Pericles were at their height
that he formed that memorable attachment to Aspasia, a Milesian woman,
which furnished a fruitful subject for the attacks of the comic poets. She
was the most brilliant and intellectual woman of the age, and her house
was the resort of the literary men and philosophers and artists of Athens
until the death of Pericles. He formed as close a union with her as the
law allowed, and her influence in creating a sympathy with intellectual
excellence can not be questioned. But she was charged with pandering to
the vices of Pericles, and corrupting society by her example and

(M488) The latter years of Pericles were marked by the outbreak of that
great war with Sparta, which crippled the power of Athens and tarnished
her glories. He also was afflicted by the death of his children by the
plague which devastated Athens in the early part of the Peloponnesian war,
to which attention is now directed. The probity of Pericles is attested by
the fact that during his long administration he added nothing to his
patrimonial estate. His policy was ambitious, and if it could have been
carried out, it would have been wise. He sought first to develop the
resources of his country—the true aim of all enlightened statesmen—and
then to make Athens the centre of Grecian civilization and political
power, to which all other Stales would be secondary and subservient. But
the rivalries of the Grecian States and inextinguishable jealousies would
not allow this. He made Athens, indeed, the centre of cultivated life; he
could not make it the centre of national unity. In attempting this he
failed, and a disastrous war was the consequence.

Pericles lived long enough to see the commencement of the contest which
ultimately resulted in the political ruin of Athens, and which we now

                               CHAPTER XIX.


(M489) The great and disastrous war between the two leading States of
Greece broke out about two years and a half before the death of Pericles,
but the causes of the war can be traced to a period shortly after the
Persians were driven out of the Ionian cities. It arose primarily from the
rapid growth and power of Athens, when, as the leader of the maritime
States, it excited the envy of Sparta and other republics. A thirty years’
truce was made between Athens and Sparta, B.C. 445, after the revolution
in Bœotia, when the ascendency of Pericles was undisputed, which forced
his rival, Thucydides, a kinsman of Cimon, to go into temporary exile. The
continuance of the truce is identical with the palmy days of Athens, and
the glory of Pericles, during which the vast improvements to the city were
made, and art and literature flourished to a degree unprecedented in the
history of the ancient world.

(M490) After the conquest of Samos the jealousy of Sparta reached a point
which made it obvious that the truce could not much longer be maintained,
though both powers shrunk from open hostilities, foreseeing the calamities
which would result. The storm burst out in an unexpected quarter. The city
of Epidamnus had been founded by colonists from Corcyra, on the eastern
side of the Adriatic. It was, however, the prey of domestic factions, and
in a domestic revolution a part of the inhabitants became exiles. These
appealed to the neighboring barbarians, who invested the city by sea and
land. The city, in distress, invoked the aid of Corcyra, the parent State,
which aid being disregarded, the city transferred its allegiance to
Corinth. The Corinthians, indulging a hatred of Corcyra, took the
distressed city under their protection. This led to a war between Corcyra
and Corinth, in which the Corinthians were defeated. But Corinth, burning
to revenge the disaster, fitted out a still larger force against Corcyra.
The Corcyræans, in alarm, then sent envoys to Athens to come to their
assistance. The Corinthians also sent ambassadors to frustrate their
proposal. Two assemblies were held in Athens in reference to the subject.
The delegates of Corcyra argued that peace could not long be maintained
with Sparta, and that in the coming contest the Corcyræans would prove
useful allies. The envoys of Corinth, on the other hand, maintained that
Athens could not lend aid to Corcyra without violating the treaty with
Corinth. The Athenians decided to assist Corcyra, and ten ships were sent,
under the command of Lacedæmonieus, the son of Cimon. This was considered
a breach of faith by the Corinthians, and a war resulted between Corinth
and Athens. The Corinthians then invited the Lacedæmonians to join them
and make common cause against an aggressive and powerful enemy, that aimed
at the supremacy of Greece. In spite of the influence of Athenian envoys
in Sparta, who attempted to justify the course their countrymen had taken,
the feeling against Athens was bitter and universally hostile. Instant
hostilities were demanded in defense of the allies of Sparta, and war was
decided upon.

Thus commenced the Peloponnesian war, which led to such disastrous
consequences, and which was thus brought about by the Corinthians, B.C.
433, sixteen years before the conclusion of the truce.

(M491) To Athens the coming war was any thing but agreeable. It had no
hopes of gain, and the certainty of prodigious loss. But the Spartans were
not then prepared for the contest, and hostilities did not immediately
commence. They contented themselves, at first, with sending envoys to
Athens to multiply demands and enlarge the grounds of quarrel. The
offensive was plainly with Sparta. The first requisition which Sparta made
was the expulsion of the Alcmæonidæ from Athens, to which family Pericles
belonged—a mere political manœuvre to get rid of so commanding a
statesman. The enemies of Pericles, especially the comic actors at Athens,
seized this occasion to make public attacks upon him, and it was then that
the persecution of Aspasia took place, as well as that against Anaxagoras,
the philosopher, the teacher, and friend of Pericles. He was also accused
of peculation in complicity with Phidias. But he was acquitted of the
various charges made by his enemies. Nor could his services be well
dispensed with in the great crisis of public affairs, even had he been
guilty, as was exceedingly doubtful.

(M492) The reluctance on the part of the Athenians to go to war was very
great, but Pericles strenuously urged his countrymen to resent the
outrageous demands of Sparta, which were nothing less than the virtual
extinction of the Athenian empire. He showed that the Spartans, though
all-powerful on the Peloponnesus, had no means of carrying on an
aggressive war at a distance, neither leaders nor money, nor habits of
concert with allies; while Athens was mistress of the sea, and was
impregnable in defense; that great calamities would indeed happen in
Attica, but even if overrun by Spartan armies, there were other
territories and islands from which a support could be derived. “Mourn not
for the loss of land,” said the orator, “but reserve your mourning for the
men that acquire land.” His eloquence and patriotism prevailed with a
majority of the assembly, and answer was made to Sparta that the Athenians
were prepared to discuss all grounds of complaint pursuant to the truce,
by arbitration, but that they would yield nothing to authoritative
command. This closed the negotiations, which Pericles foresaw would be
vain and useless, since the Spartans were obstinately bent on war. The
first imperious blow was struck by the Thebans—allies of Sparta. They
surprised Platæa in the night. The gates were opened by the oligarchal
party; a party of Thebans were admitted into the agora; but the people
rallied, and the party was overwhelmed. Meanwhile another detachment of
Thebans arrived in the morning, and, discovering what had happened, they
laid waste the Platæan territory without the walls. The Platæans
retaliated by slaughtering their prisoners. Messengers left the city, on
the entrance of the Thebans, to carry the news to Athens, and the
Athenians issued orders to seize all the Bœotians who could be found in
Attica, and sent re-enforcements to Platæa. This aggression of the Thebans
silenced the opponents of Pericles, who now saw that the war had actually
begun, and that active preparations should be made. Athens immediately
sent messengers to her allies, tributary as well as free, and
contributions flowed in from all parts of the Athenian empire. Athens had
soon three hundred triremes fit for service, twelve hundred horsemen,
sixteen hundred bowmen, and twenty-nine thousand hoplites. The Acropolis
was filled with the treasure which had long been accumulating, not less
than six thousand talents—about $7,000,000 of our money—an immense sum at
that time, when gold and silver were worth twenty or thirty times as much
as at present. Moreover, the various temples were rich in votive
offerings, in deposits, plate, and sacred vessels, while the great statue
of the goddess, lately set up in the Parthenon by Phidias, composed of
gold and ivory, was itself valued at four hundred talents. The
contributions of allies swelled the resources of Athens to one thousand
talents, or over $11,000,000.

(M493) Sparta, on the other hand, had but few ships, no funds, and no
powers of combination, and it would seem that success would be on the side
of Athens, with her unrivaled maritime skill, and the unanimity of the
citizens. Pericles did not promise successful engagements on the land, but
a successful resistance, and the maintenance of the empire. His policy was
purely defensive. But if Sparta was weak in money and ships, she was rich
in allies. The entire strength of the Peloponnesus was brought out,
assisted by Megarians, Bœotians, Phocians, Locrians, and other States.
Corinth, Megara, Sicyon, Elis, and other maritime cities furnished ships
while Bœotians, Phocians, and Locrians furnished cavalry. Not even to
resist the Persian hosts was so large a land force collected, as was now
assembled to destroy the supremacy of Athens. And this great force was
animated with savage hopes, while the Athenians were not without
desponding anticipations, for there was little hope of resisting the
Spartans and their allies on the field. The Spartans, moreover, resolved,
by means of their allies, to send a fleet able to cope with that of
Athens, and even were so transported with enmity and jealousy as to lay
schemes for invoking the aid of Persia.

(M494) The invasion of Attica was the primary object of Sparta and her
allies; and at the appointed time the Lacedæmonian forces were mustered on
the Isthmus of Corinth, under the command of Archidamus. Envoys were sent
to Athens to summon a surrender, but Pericles would not receive them, nor
allow them to enter the city, upon which the Lacedæmonian army commenced
its march to Attica. It required all the eloquence and tact of Pericles to
induce the proprietors of Attica to submit to the devastation of their
cultivated territory, and fly with their families and movable property to
Athens or the neighboring islands, without making an effort to resist the
invaders. But this was the policy of Pericles. He knew he could not
contend with superior forces on the land. It was hard for the people to
submit to the cruel necessity of seeing their farms devastated without
opposition. But they made the sacrifice, and intrenched themselves behind
the fortifications of Athens. Then was seen the wisdom of the long walls
which connected Athens with the Piræus.

(M495) Meanwhile the Spartan forces—sixty thousand hoplites, advanced
through Attica, burning and plundering every thing on their way, and
reached Acharnæ, within seven miles of Athens. The Athenians, pent up
behind their walls, and seeing the destruction of their property, were
eager to go forth and fight, but were dissuaded by Pericles. Then came to
him the trying hour. He was denounced as the cause of the existing
sufferings, and was reviled as a coward. But nothing disturbed his
equanimity, and he refused even to convene the assembly. As one of the ten
generals he had this power; but it was a remarkable thing that the people
should have respected the democratic constitution so far as to submit,
when their assembly would have been justified by the exigency of the
crisis. But while the Athenians remained inactive behind their walls, the
cavalry was sent out on skirmishing expeditions, and a large fleet was
sent to the Peloponnesus with orders to devastate the country in
retaliation. The Spartans, after having spent thirty or forty days in
Attica, retired for want of provisions. Ægina was also invaded, and the
inhabitants were expelled and sent to the Peloponnesus. Megara was soon
after invaded by an army under Pericles himself, and its territory was
devastated—a retribution well deserved, for both Megara and Ægina had been
zealous in kindling the war.

(M496) Expecting a prolonged struggle, the Athenians now made arrangements
for putting Attica in permanent defense, both by sea and land, and set
apart one thousand talents, out of the treasure of the Acropolis, which
was not to be used except in certain dangers previously prescribed, and a
law was passed making it a capital offense for any citizen to propose its
use for any other purpose.

(M497) The first year of the war closed without decisive successes on
either side. The Athenians made a more powerful resistance than was
anticipated. It was supposed they could not hold out against the superior
forces of their enemies more than a year. They had the misfortune to see
their territory wasted, and their treasures spent in a war which they
would gladly have avoided. But, on the other hand, they inflicted nearly
equal damages upon the Peloponnesus, and still remained masters of the
sea. Pericles pronounced a funeral oration on those who had fallen and
stimulated his countrymen to continued resistance, and excited their
patriotic sentiments. Thus far the anticipations of the statesman and
orator had been more than realized.

(M498) The second year of the war opened with another invasion of Attica
by the Spartans and their allies. They inflicted even more injury than in
the preceding year, but they found the territory deserted, all the
population having retired within the defenses of Athens.

(M499) But a new and unforeseen calamity now fell upon the Athenians, and
against which they could not guard. A great pestilence broke out in the
city, which had already overrun Western Asia. Its progress was rapid and
destructive, and the overcrowded city was but too favorable for its
ravages. Thucydides has left a graphic and mournful account of this
pestilence, analogous to the plague of modern times. The victims generally
perished on the seventh or ninth day, and no treatment was efficacious.
The sufferings and miseries of the people were intense, and the calamity
by many was regarded as resulting from the anger of the gods. The
pestilence demoralized the population, who lost courage and fortitude. The
sick were left to take care of themselves. The utmost lawlessness
prevailed. The bonds of law and morality were relaxed, and the thoughtless
people abandoned themselves to every species of folly and excess, seeking,
in their despair, to seize some brief moments of joy before the hand of
destiny should fall upon them. For three years did this calamity desolate
Athens, and the loss of life was deplorable, both in the army and among
private citizens. Pericles lost both his children and his sister; four
thousand four hundred hoplites died, and a greater part of the horsemen.

(M500) And yet, amid the devastation which the pestilence inflicted,
Pericles led another expedition against the coasts of the Peloponnesus.
But the soldiers carried infection with them, and a greater part of them
died of the disease at the siege or blockade of Potidæa. The Athenians
were nearly distracted by the double ravages of pestilence and war, and
became incensed against Pericles, and sent messengers to Sparta to
negotiate peace. But the Spartans turned a deaf ear, which added to the
bitterness against their heroic leader, whose fortitude and firmness were
never more effectively manifested. He was accused, and condemned to pay a
fine, and excluded from re-election. Though he was restored to power and
confidence, his affliction bore heavily upon his exalted nature, and he
died, B.C. 430, in the early period of the war. He had, indeed, many
enemies, and was hunted down by the comic writers, whose trade it was to
deride all political characters, yet his wisdom, patriotism, eloquence,
and great services are indisputable, and he died, leaving on the whole,
the greatest name which had ever ennobled the Athenians.

(M501) The war, of course, languished during the prevalence of the
epidemic, and much injury was done to Athenian commerce by Peloponnesian
privateers, who put to death all their prisoners. It was then that Sparta
sent envoys to Persia to solicit money and troops against Athens, which
shows that no warfare is so bitter as civil strife, and that no expedients
are too disgraceful not to be made use of, in order to gratify malignant
passions. But the envoys were seized in Thrace by the allies of Athens,
and delivered up to the Athenians, and by them were put to death.

(M502) In January, B.C. 429, Potidæa surrendered to the Athenian generals,
upon favorable terms, after enduring all the miseries of famine. The fall
of this city cost Athens two thousand talents. The Lacedæmonians, after
two years, had accomplished nothing. They had not even relieved Potidæa.

(M503) On the third year, the Lacedæmonians, instead of ravaging Attica,
marched to the attack of Platæa. The inhabitants resolved to withstand the
whole force of the enemies. Archidemus, the Lacedæmonian general,
commenced the siege, defended only by four hundred native citizens and
eighty Athenians. So unskilled were the Greeks in the attack of fortified
cities, that the besiegers made no progress, and were obliged to resort to
blockade. A wall of circumvallation was built around the city, which was
now left to the operations of famine.

(M504) At the same time the siege was pressed, an Athenian armament was
sent to Thrace, which was defeated; but in the western part of Greece the
Athenian arms were more successful. The Spartans and their allies suffered
a repulse at Stratus, and their fleet was defeated by Phormio, the
Athenian admiral. Nothing could exceed the rage of the Lacedæmonians at
these two disasters. They collected a still larger fleet, and were again
defeated with severe loss near Naupactus, by inferior forces. But the
defeated Lacedæmonians, under the persuasion of the Megarians, undertook
the bold enterprise of surprising the Piræus, during the absence of the
Athenian fleet; but the courage of the assailants failed at the critical
hour, and the port of Athens was saved. The Athenians then had the
precaution to extend a chain across the mouth of the harbor, to guard
against such surprises in the future.

(M505) Athens, during the summer, had secured the alliance of the
Odrysians, a barbarous but powerful nation in Thrace. Their king,
Sitalces, with an army of fifteen thousand men, attacked Perdiccas, the
king of Macedonia, and overran his country, and only retired from the
severity of the season and the want of Athenian co-operation. Such were
the chief enterprises and events of the third campaign, and Athens was
still powerful and unhumbled.

(M506) The fourth year of the war was marked by a renewed invasion of
Attica, without any other results than such as had happened before. But it
was a more serious calamity to the Athenians to learn that Mitylene and
most of Lesbos had revolted—one of the most powerful of the Athenian
allies. Nothing was left to Athens but to subjugate the city. A large
force was sent for this purpose, but the inhabitants of Mitylene appealed
to the Spartans for aid, and prepared for a vigorous resistance. But the
treasures of Athens were now nearly consumed, and the Athenians were
obliged to resort to contributions to force the siege, which they did with
vigor. The Lacedæmonians promised succor, and the Mitylenæans held out
till their provisions were exhausted, when they surrendered to the
Athenians. The Lacedæmonians advanced to relieve their allies, but were
too late. The Athenian admiral pursued them, and they returned to the
Peloponnesus without having done any thing. Paches, the Athenian general,
sent home one thousand Mitylenæan prisoners, while it was decreed to
slaughter the whole remaining population—about six thousand—able to carry
arms, and makes slaves of the women and children. This severe measure was
prompted by Cleon. But the Athenians repented, and a second decree of the
assembly, through the influence of Diodotus, prevented the barbarous
revenge; but the Athenians put to death the prisoners which Paches had
sent, razed the fortifications of Mitylene, took possession of all her
ships of war, and confiscated all the land of the island except that which
belonged to one town that had been faithful. So severe was ancient
warfare, even among the most civilized of the Greeks.

(M507) The surrender of Platæa to the Lacedæmonians took place not long
after; but not until one-half of the garrison had sallied from the city,
scaled the wall of circumvallation, and escaped safely to Athens. The
Platæans were sentenced to death by the Spartan judges, and barbarously
slain. The captured women were sold as slaves, and the town and territory
were handed over to the Thebans.

(M508) Scenes not less bloody took place in the western part of Greece, in
the island of Corcyra, before which a naval battle was fought between the
Lacedæmonians and the Athenians. The island had been governed by
oligarchies, under the protection of Sparta, but the retirement of the
Lacedæmonian fleet enabled the Athenian general to wreak his vengeance on
the party which had held supremacy, which was exterminated in the most
cruel manner, which produced a profound sensation, and furnished
Thucydides a theme for the most profound reflections on the acerbity and
ferocity of the political parties, which, it seems, then divided Greece,
and were among the exciting causes of the war itself—the struggle between
the advocates of democratic and aristocratic institutions.

(M509) A new character now appears upon the stage at Athens—Nicias—one of
the ten generals who, in rank and wealth, was the equal of Pericles. He
belonged to the oligarchal party, and succeeded Cimon and Thucydides in
the control of it. But he was moderate in his conduct, and so won the
esteem of his countrymen, that he retained power until his death, although
opposed to the party which had the ascendency. He was incorruptible as to
pecuniary gains, and adopted the conservative views of Pericles, avoiding
new acquisitions at a distance, or creating new enemies. He surrounded
himself, not as Pericles did, with philosophers, but religions men,
avoided all scandals, and employed his large fortune in securing
popularity. Pericles disdained to win the people by such means, cultivated
art, and patronized the wits who surrounded Aspasia. Nicias was zealous in
the worship of the gods, was careful to make no enemies, and conciliated
the poor by presents. Yet he increased his private fortune, so far as he
could, by honorable means, and united thrift and sagacity with honesty and
piety. He was not a man of commanding genius, but his character was above
reproach, and was never assailed by the comic writers. He was the great
opponent of Alcibiades, the oracle of the democracy—one of those memorable
demagogues who made use of the people to forward his ambitious projects.
He was also the opponent of Cleon, whose office it was to supervise
official men for the public conduct—a man of great eloquence, but
fault-finding and denunciatory.

(M510) The fifth year of the war was not signalized by the usual invasion
of Attica, which gave the Athenians leisure to send an expedition under
Nicias against the island of Melos, inhabited by ancient colonists from
Sparta. Demosthenes, another general, was sent around the Peloponnesus to
attack Acarnania, and he ravaged the whole territory of Leueas. He also
attacked Ætolia, but was completely beaten, and obliged to retire with
loss; but this defeat was counterbalanced by a great victory, the next
year, over the enemy at Olpæ, when the Lacedæmonian general was slain. He
returned in triumph to Athens with considerable spoil. The attention of
the Athenians was now directed to Delos, the island sacred to Apollo, and
a complete purification of the island was made, and the old Delian
festivals renewed with peculiar splendor.

(M511) The war had now lasted six years, without any grand or decisive
results on either side. The expeditions of both parties were of the nature
of raids—destructive, cruel, irritating, but without bringing any grand
triumphs. Though the seventh year was marked by the usual enterprise on
the part of the Lacedæmonians—the invasion of Attica—Corcyra promised to
be the principal scene of military operations. Both an Athenian and
Spartan fleet was sent thither. But an unforeseen incident gave a new
character to the war. In the course of the voyage to Corcyra, Demosthenes,
the Athenian general, stopped at Pylus, with the intention of erecting a
fort on the uninhabited promontory, since it protected the spacious basin
now known as the bay of Navarino, and was itself easily defended.
Eurymedon, the admiral, insisted on going directly to Corcyra, but the
fleet was driven by a storm into the very harbor which Demosthenes
proposed to defend. The place was accordingly fortified by Demosthenes,
where he himself remained with a garrison, while the fleet proceeded to
Corcyra. Intelligence of this insult to Sparta—the attempt to plant a
hostile fort on its territory—induced the Lacedæmonians to send their
fleet to Pylus, instead of Corcyra. Forty-three triremes, under
Thrasymelidas, and a powerful land force, advanced to attack Demosthenes,
intrenched with his small army on the rocky promontory. When the news of
this new diversion reached the Athenian fleet at Corcyra, it returned to
Pylus, to succor Demosthenes. Here a naval battle took place, in which the
Lacedæmonians were defeated. This defeat jeopardized the situation of the
Spartan army which had occupied the island of Shacteria, cut off from
supplies from the main land, as well as the existence of the fleet. So
great was this exigency, that the ephors came from Sparta to consult on
operations. They took a desponding view, and sent a herald to the Athenian
generals to propose an armistice, in order to allow time for envoys to go
to Athens and treat for peace. But Athens demanded now her own terms,
elated by the success. Cleon, the organ of the popular mind, excited and
sanguine, gave utterance to the feelings of the people, and insisted on
the restoration of all the territory they had lost during the war. The
Lacedæmonian envoys, unable to resist a vehement speaker like Cleon, which
required qualities they did not possess, and which could only be acquired
from skill in managing popular assemblies, to which they were unused,
returned to Pylus. And it was the object of Cleon to prevent a hearing of
the envoys by a select committee (what they desired) for fear that Nicias
and other conservative politicians would accede to their proposals. Thus
the best opportunity that could be presented for making an honorable peace
and reuniting Greece was lost by the arts of a demagogue, who inflamed and
shared the popular passions. Had Pericles been alive, the treaty would
probably have been made, but Nicias had not sufficient influence to secure

(M512) War therefore recommenced, with fresh irritation. The Athenian
fleet blockaded the island where the Spartan hoplites were posted, and
found in the attempt, which they thought so easy, unexpected obstacles.
Provisions clandestinely continually reached the besieged. Week after week
passed without the expected surrender. Demosthenes, baffled for want of
provisions and water for his own fleet, sent urgently to Athens for
re-enforcements, which caused infinite mortification. The people now began
to regret that they had listened to Cleon, and not to the voice of wisdom.
Cleon himself was sent with the re-enforcements demanded, against his
will, although he was not one of the ten generals. The island of
Sphacteria now contained the bravest of the Lacedæmonian troops—from the
first families of Sparta—a prey which Cleon and Demosthenes were eager to
grasp. They attacked the island with a force double of that of the
defenders, altogether ten thousand men, eight hundred of whom were
hoplites. The besieged could not resist this overwhelming force, and
retreated to their last redoubt, but were surrounded and taken prisoners.
This surrender caused astonishment throughout Greece, since it was
supposed the Spartan hoplites would die, as they did at Thermopylæ, rather
than allow themselves to be taken alive, and this calamity diminished
greatly the lustre of the Spartan arms. A modern army, surrounded with an
overwhelming force, against which all resistance was madness, would have
done the same as the Spartans. But it was a sad blow to them. Cleon,
within twenty days of his departure, arrived at Athens with his three
hundred Lacedæmonian prisoners, amid universal shouts of joy, for it was
the most triumphant success which the Athenians had yet obtained. The war
was prosecuted with renewed vigor, and the Lacedæmonians again made
advances for peace, but without effect. The flushed victors would hear of
no terms but what were disgraceful to the Spartans. The chances were now
most favorable to Athens. Nicias invaded the Corinthian territory with
eighty triremes, two thousand hoplites, and two hundred horsemen, to say
nothing of the large number which supported these, and committed the same
ravages that the Spartans and their allies had inflicted upon Attica.

Among other events, the Athenians this year captured the Persian
ambassador, Artaphernes, on his way to Sparta. He was brought to Athens,
and his dispatches were translated and made public. He was sent back to
Ephesus, with Athenian envoys, to the great king, to counteract the
influence of the Spartans, but Artaerxes had died when they reached Susa.

(M513) The capture of Sphacteria, and the surrender of the whole
Lacedæmonian fleet, not only placed Athens, on the opening of the eighth
year of the war, in a situation more commanding than she had previously
enjoyed, but stimulated her to renewed operations on a grander scale, not
merely against Sparta, but to recover the ascendency in Bœotia, which was
held before the thirty years’ truce. The Lacedæmonians, in concert with
the revolted Chalcidic allies of Athens in Thrace, and Perdiccas, king of
Macedonia, also made great preparations for more decisive measures. The
war had dragged out seven years, and nothing was accomplished which
seriously weakened either of the contending parties.

(M514) The first movement was made by the Athenians on the Laconian coast.
The island of Cythera was captured by an expedition led by Nicias, of
sixty triremes and two thousand hoplites, beside other forces, and the
coast was ravaged. Then Thyrea, an Æginetan settlement, between Laconia
and Argolis, fell into the hands of the Athenians, and all the Æginetans
were either killed in the assault, or put to death as prisoners. These
successive disasters alarmed the Lacedæmonians, and they now began to fear
repeated assaults on their own territory, with a discontented population
of Helots. This fear prompted an act of cruelty and treachery which had no
parallel in the history of the war. Two thousand of the bravest Helots
were entrapped, as if especial honors were to be bestowed upon them, and
barbarously slain. None but the five ephors knew the bloody details. There
was even no public examination of this savage inhumanity, which shows that
Sparta was governed, as Venice was in the Middle Ages, by a small but
exceedingly powerful oligarchy.

After this cruelty was consummated, envoys came from Perdiccas and the
Chalcidians of Thrace, invoking aid against Athens. It was joyfully
granted, and Brasidas, at the request of Perdiccas and the Chalcidians,
was sent with a large force of Peloponnesian hoplites.

(M515) Meanwhile the Athenians formed plans to attack Megara, whose
inhabitants had stimulated the war, and had been the greatest sufferers by
it. A force was sent under Hippocrates and Demosthenes to surprise the
place, and also Nisæa. The long walls of Megara, similar to those of
Athens, were taken by surprise, and the Athenians found themselves at the
gates of the city, which came near falling into their hands by treachery.
Baffled for the moment, the Athenians attacked Clisæa, which lay behind
it, and succeeded.

(M516) But Brasidas, the Lacedæmonian general, learning that the long
walls had fallen into the hands of the Athenians, got together a large
force of six thousand hoplites and six hundred cavalry, and relieved
Megara, and the Athenians were obliged to retire. Ultimately the Megarians
regained possession of the long walls, and instituted an oligarchal

(M517) The Athenians, disappointed in getting possession of Megara, which
failed by one of those accidents ever recurring in war, organized a large
force for the attack of Bœotia, on three sides, under Hippocrates and
Demosthenes. The attack was first made at Siphae, by Demosthenes, on the
Corinthian Gulf, but failed. In spite of this failure by sea, Hippocrates
marched with a land force to Delium, with seven thousand hoplites, and
twenty-five thousand other troops, and occupied the place, which was a
temple consecrated to Apollo, and strongly fortified it. When the work of
fortification was completed, the army prepared to return to Athens.

(M518) Forces from all parts of Bœotia rallied, and met the Athenians.
Among the forces of the Bœotians was the famous Theban band of three
hundred select warriors, accustomed to fight in pairs, each man attached
to his companion by peculiar ties of friendship. At Delium was fought the
great battle of the war, in which the Athenians were routed, and the
general, Hippocrates, with a thousand hoplites, were slain. The victors
refused the Athenians the sacred right of burying their dead, unless they
retired altogether from Delium—the post they had fortified on Bœotian
territory. To this the Athenians refused to submit, the consequence of
which was the siege and capture of Delium.

Among the hoplites who fought in this unfortunate battle, which was a
great discouragement to the Athenian cause, was the philosopher Socrates.
The famous Alcibiades also served in the cavalry, and helped to protect
Socrates in his retreat, after having bravely fought.

(M519) The disasters of the Athenians in Thrace were yet more
considerable. Brasidas, with a large force, including seventeen hundred
hoplites, rapidly marched through Thrace and Thessaly, and arrived in
Macedonia safely, and attacked Acanthus, an ally of Athens. It fell into
his hands, as well as Stageirus, and he was thus enabled to lay plans for
the acquisition of Amphipolis, which was founded by Athenian colonists. He
soon became master of the surrounding territory. He then offered favorable
terms of capitulation to the citizens of the town, which were accepted,
and the city surrendered—the most important of all the foreign possessions
of Athens. The bridge over the Strymon was also opened, by which all the
eastern allies of Athena were approachable by land. This great reverse
sent dismay into the hearts of the Athenians, greater than had before been
felt. The bloody victory at Delium, and the conquests of Brasidas, more
than balanced the capture of Sphacteria. Sparta, under the victorious
banner of Brasidas, a general of great probity, good faith, and
moderation, now proclaimed herself liberator of Greece. Athens,
discouraged and baffled, lost all the prestige she had gained.

(M520) But Amphipolis was lost by the negligence of the Athenian
commanders. Encles and Thucydides, the historian, to whom the defense of
the place was intrusted, had means ample to prevent the capture had they
employed ordinary precaution. The Athenians, indignant, banished
Thucydides for twenty years, and probably Eucles also—a just sentence,
since they did not keep the bridge over the Strymon properly guarded, nor
retained the Athenian squadron at Eion. The banishment of Thucydides gave
him leisure to write the history on which his great fame rests—the most
able and philosophical of all the historical works of antiquity.

(M521) Brasidas, after the fall of Amphipolis, extended his military
operations with success. He took Torone, Lecythus, and other places, and
then went into winter quarters. The campaign had been disastrous to the
Athenians, and a truce of one year was agreed upon by the belligerent
parties—Athens of the one party, and Sparta, Corinth, Sicyon, Epidaurus,
and Megara, of the other.

(M522) The conditions of this truce stipulated that Delphi might be
visited by all Greeks, without distinction; that all violations of the
property of the Delphian god should be promptly punished; that the
Athenian garrisons at Pylus, Cythera, Nisæa, and Methana, should remain
unmolested; that the Lacedæmonians should be free to use the sea for
trading purposes; and that neither side should receive deserters from the
other—important to both parties, since Athens feared the revolt of subject
allies, and Sparta the desertion of Helots.

But two days had elapsed after the treaty was made before Scione in Thrace
revolted to Brasidas—a great cause of exasperation to the Athenians,
although the revolt took place before the treaty was known. Mendes, a
neighboring town, also revolted. Brasidas sent the inhabitants a garrison
to protect themselves, and departed with his forces for an expedition into
the interior of Macedonia, but was soon compelled to retreat before the

(M523) An Athenian force, under Nicias and Nicostratus, however, proceeded
to Thrace to recover the revolted cities. Everywhere else the truce was
observed. It was intended to give terms for more complete negotiations.
This was the policy of Nicias. But Cleon and his party, the democracy, was
opposed to peace, and wished to prosecute the war vigorously in Thrace.
Brasidas, on his part, was equally in favor of continued hostilities. And
this was the great question of the day in Greece.

(M524) The war party triumphed, and Cleon, by no means an able general,
was sent with an expedition to recover Amphipolis, B.C. 422. He succeeded
in taking Torone, but Amphipolis, built on a hill in the peninsula formed
by the river Strymon, as it passes from the Strymonic Gulf to Lake
Kerkernilis, was a strongly fortified place in which Brasidas intrenched.
He was obliged to remain inactive at Eion, at the mouth of the river,
three miles distant from Amphipolis, which excited great discontent in his
army, but which was the wiser course, until his auxiliaries arrived. But
the murmur of the hoplites compelled him to some sort of action, and while
he was reconnoitering, he was attacked by Brasidas. Cleon was killed, and
his army totally defeated. Brasidas, the ablest general of the day,
however, was also mortally wounded, and carried from the field. This
unsuccessful battle compelled the Athenians to return home, deeply
disgusted with their generals. But they embarked in the enterprise
reluctantly, and with no faith in their leader, and this was one cause of
their defeat. The death of Brasidas, however, converted the defeat into a
substantial victory, since there remained no Spartan with sufficient
ability to secure the confidence of the allies. Brasidas, when he died,
was the first man in Greece, and universally admired for his valor,
intelligence, probity, and magnanimity.

(M525) The battle of Amphipolis was decisive; it led to a peace between
the contending parties. It is called the peace of Nicias, made in March,
B.C. 421. By the provisions of this treaty of peace, which was made for
fifty years, Amphipolis was restored to the Athenians, all persons had
full liberty to visit the public temples of Greece, the Athenians restored
the captive Spartans, and the various towns taken during the war were
restored on both sides. This peace was concluded after a ten years’ war,
when the resources of both parties were exhausted. It was a war of
ambition and jealousy, without sufficient reasons, and its consequences
were disastrous to the general welfare of Greece. In some respects it must
be considered, not merely as a war between Sparta and Athens to gain
supremacy, but a war between the partisans of aristocratic and democratic
institutions throughout the various States.

(M526) The peace made by Nicias between Athens and Sparta for fifty years
was not of long continuance. It was a truce rather than a treaty, since
neither party was overthrown—but merely crippled—like Rome and Carthage
after the first Punic war. The same causes which provoked the contest
still remained—an unextinguishable jealousy between States nearly equal in
power, and the desire of ascendency at any cost. But we do not perceive in
either party that persistent and self-sacrificing spirit which marked the
Romans in their conquest of Italy. The Romans abandoned every thing which
interfered with their aggressive policy: the Grecian States were diverted
from political aggrandizement by other objects of pursuit—pleasure, art,

(M527) There was needed only a commanding demagogue, popular, brilliant,
and unprincipled, to embroil Greece once more in war, and such a man was
Alcibiades, who appeared upon the stage at the death of Cleon. And
hostilities were easily kindled, since the allies on both sides were
averse to the treaty which had been made, and the conditions of the peace
were not fulfilled. Athens returned the captive Spartans she had held
since the battle of Sphacteria, but Amphipolis was not restored, from the
continued enmity of the Thracian cities. Both parties were full of
intrigues, and new combinations were constantly being formed. Argos became
the centre of a new Peloponnesian alliance. A change of ephors at Sparta
favored hostile measures, and an alliance was made between the Bœotians
and Lacedæmonians. The Athenians, on their side, captured Scione, and put
to death the prisoners.

(M528) It was in this unsettled state of things, when all the late
contending States were insincere and vacillating, that Alcibiades stood
forth as a party leader. He was thirty-one years of age, belonged to an
ancient and powerful family, possessed vast wealth, had great personal
beauty and attractive manners, but above all, was unboundedly ambitious,
and grossly immoral—the most insolent, unprincipled, licentious, and
selfish man that had thus far scandalized and adorned Athenian society.
The only redeeming feature in his character was his friendship for
Socrates, who, it seems, fascinated him by his talk, and sought to improve
his morals. He had those brilliant qualities, and luxurious habits, and
ostentatious prodigality, which so often dazzle superficial people,
especially young men of fashion and wealth, but more even than they, the
idolatrous rabble. So great was his popularity and social prestige, that
no injured person ever dared to bring him to trial, and he even rescued
his own wife from the hands of the law when she sought to procure a
divorce—a proof that even in democratic Athens all bowed down to the
insolence of wealth and high social position.

(M529) Alcibiades, though luxurious and profligate, saw that a severe
intellectual training was necessary to him if he would take rank as a
politician, for a politician who can not make a speech stands a poor
chance of popular favor. So he sought the instructions of Socrates,
Prodicus, Protagoras, and others—not for love of learning, but as means of
success, although it may be supposed that the intellectual excitement,
which the discourse, cross-examination, and ironical sallies of Socrates
produced, was not without its force on so bright a mind.

(M530) Alcibiades commenced his public life with a sullied reputation, and
with numerous enemies created by his unbearable insolence, but with a
flexibility of character which enabled him to adapt himself to whatever
habits circumstances required. He inspired no confidence, and his
extravagant mode of life was sure to end in ruin, unless he reimbursed
himself out of the public funds; and yet he fascinated the people who
mistrusted and hated him. The great comic poet, Aristophanes, said of him
to the Athenians: “You ought not to keep a lion’s whelp in your city at
all, but if you choose to keep him, you must submit to his behavior.”

(M531) Alcibiades, in commencing his political life, departed from his
family traditions; for he was a relative of Pericles, and became a
partisan of the oligarchal party. But he soon changed his polities, on
receiving a repulse from the Spartans, who despised him, and he became a
violent democrat. His first memorable effort was to bring Argos, then in
league with Sparta, into alliance with Athens, in which he was successful.
He then cheated the Lacedæmonian envoys who were sent to protest against
the alliance and make other terms, and put them in a false position, and
made them appear deceitful, and thus arrayed against them the wrath of the
Athenians. As Alcibiades had prevailed upon these envoys, by false
promises and advice, to act a part different from what they were sent to
perform, Nicias was sent to Sparta to clear up embarrassments, but failed
in his object, upon which Athens concluded an alliance with Argos, Elis,
and Mantinea, which only tended to complicate existing difficulties.

(M532) Shortly after this alliance was concluded, the Olympic games were
celebrated with unusual interest, from which the Athenians had been
excluded during the war. Here Alcibiades appeared with seven chariots,
each with four horses, when the richest Greeks had hitherto possessed but
one, and gained two prizes. He celebrated his success by a magnificent
banquet more stately and expensive than those given by kings. But while
the Athenians thus appeared at the ninetieth Olympiad, the Lacedæmonians
were excluded by the Eleians, who controlled the festival, from an alleged
violation of the Olympic truce, but really from the intrigues of

(M533) The subsequent attack of Argos and Athens on Epidaurus proved that
the peace between Athens and Sparta existed only in name. It was
distinctly violated by the attack of Argos by the Lacedæmonians, Bœotians,
and Corinthians, and the battle of Mantinea opened again the war. This was
decided in favor of the Lacedæmonians, with a great loss to the Athenians
and their allies, including both their generals, Laches and Nicostratus.

(M534) The moral effect of the battle of Mantinea, B.C. 418, was
overwhelming throughout Greece, and re-established the military prestige
of Sparta. It was lost by the withdrawal of three thousand Eleians before
the battle, illustrating the remark of Pericles that numerous and equal
allies could never be kept in harmonious co-operation. One effect of the
battle was a renewed alliance between Sparta and Argos, and the
re-establishment of an oligarchal government in the latter city. Mantinea
submitted to Sparta, and the Achaian towns were obliged to submit to a
remodeling of their political institutions, according to the views of
Sparta. The people of Argos, however, took the first occasion which was
presented for regaining their power, assisted by an Athenian force under
Alcibiades, and Argos once again became an ally of Athens.

(M535) The next important operation of the war was the siege and conquest
of Melos, a Dorian island, by the Athenians, B.C. 416. The inhabitants
were killed, and the women and children were sold as slaves, and an
Athenian colony was settled on the island. But this massacre, exceeding
even the customary cruelty of war in those times, raised a general
indignation among the allies of Sparta.

(M536) But an expedition of far greater importance was now undertaken by
the Athenians—the most gigantic effort which they ever made, but which
terminated disastrously, and led to the ruin and subjugation of their
proud and warlike city, as a political power. This was the invasion of
Sicily and siege of Syracuse.

Before we present this unfortunate expedition, some brief notice is
necessary of the Grecian colonies in Sicily.

(M537) In the eighth century before Christ Sicily was inhabited by two
distinct races of barbarians—the Sikels and Sikans—besides Phœnician
colonies, for purposes of trade. The Sikans were an Iberian tribe, and
were immigrants of an earlier date than the Sikels, by whom they were
invaded. The earliest Grecian colony was (B.C. 735) at Naxos, on the
eastern coast of the island, between the Straits of Messina and Mount
Ætna, founded by Theocles, a Chalcidian mariner, who was cast by storms
upon the coast, and built a fort on a hill called Taurus, to defend
himself against the Sikels, who were in possession of the larger half of
the island. Other colonists followed, chiefly from the Peloponnesus. In
the year following that Naxos was founded, a body of settlers from Corinth
landed on the islet Ortygia, expelled the Sikel inhabitants, and laid the
foundation of Syracuse. Successive settlements were made forty-five years
after at Gela, in the southwestern part of the island. Other settlements
continued to be made, not only from Greece, but from the colonies
themselves; so that the old inhabitants were gradually Hellenized and
merged with Greek colonists, while the Greeks, in their turn, adopted many
of the habits and customs of the Sikels and Sikans. The various races
lived on terms of amity, for the native population was not numerous enough
to become formidable to the Grecian colonists.

(M538) Five hundred years before Christ the most powerful Grecian cities
in Sicily were Agrigentum and Gela, on the south side of the island. The
former, within a few years of its foundation, B.C. 570, fell under the
dominion of one of its rich citizens, Phalasaris, who proved a cruel
despot, but after a reign of sixteen years he was killed in an
insurrection, and an oligarchal government was established, such as then
existed in most of the Grecian cities. Syracuse was governed in this way
by the descendants of the original settlers. Gela was, on the other hand,
ruled by a despot called Gelo, the most powerful man on the island. He got
possession of Syracuse, B.C. 485, and transferred the seat of his power to
this city, by bringing thither the leading people and making slaves of the
rest. Under Gelo Syracuse became the first city on the island, to which
other towns were tributary. When the Greeks confederated against Xerxes,
they sent to solicit his aid as the imperial leader of Sicily, and he
could command, according to Herodotus, twenty thousand hoplites, two
hundred triremes, two thousand cavalry, two thousand archers, and two
thousand light-armed horse. So great was then the power of this despot,
who now sought to expel the Carthaginians and unite all the Hellenic
colonies in Sicily under his sway. But the aid was not given, probably on
account of a Carthaginian invasion simultaneous with the expedition of the
Persian king. The Carthaginians, according to the historian, arrived at
Panormus B.C. 480, with a fleet of three thousand ships and a land force
of three hundred thousand men, besides chariots and horses, under
Hamilcar—a mercenary army, composed of various African nations. Gelo
marched against him with fifty thousand foot and five thousand horse, and
gained a complete victory, so that one hundred and fifty thousand, on the
side of the Carthaginians, were slain, together with their general. The
number of the combatants is doubtless exaggerated, but we may believe that
the force was very great. Gelo was now supreme in Sicily, and the victory
of Himera, which he had gained, enabled him to distribute a large body of
prisoners, as slaves, in all the Grecian colonies. It appears that he was
much respected, but he died shortly after his victory, leaving an infant
son to the guardianship of two of his brothers, Polyzelus and Hiero, who
became the supreme governors of the island. A victory gained by Hiero over
the tyrant of Agrigentum gave him the same supremacy which Gelo had
enjoyed. On his death, B.C. 467, the succession was disputed between his
brother, Thrasybulus, and his nephew, the son of Gelo; but Thrasybulus
contrived to make away with his nephew, and reigned alone, cruelly and
despotically, until a revolution took place, which resulted in his
expulsion and the fall of the Gelonian dynasty. Popular governments were
now established in all the Sicilian cities, but these were distracted by
disputes and confusions. Syracuse became isolated from the other cities,
and a government whose powers were limited by the city. The expulsion of
the Gelonian dynasty left the Grecian cities to reorganize free and
constitutional governments; but Syracuse maintained a proud pre-eminence,
and her power was increased from time to time by conquests in the interior
over the old population. Agrigentum was next in power, and scarcely
inferior in wealth. The temple of Zeus, in this city, was one of the most
magnificent in the world. The population was large, and many were the rich
men who kept chariots and competed at the Olympic games. In these Sicilian
cities the intellectual improvement kept pace with the material, and the
little town of Elea supported the two greatest speculative philosophers of
Greece—Parmenides and Zeno. Empedocles, of Agrigentum, was scarcely less

(M539) Such was the state of the Sicilian cities on the outbreak of the
Peloponnesian war. Being generally of Dorian origin, they sympathized with
Sparta, and great expectations were formed by the Lacedæmonians of
assistance from their Sicilian allies. The cities of Sicily could not
behold the contest between Athens and Sparta without being drawn into the
quarrel, and the result was that the Dorian cities made war on the Ionian
cities, which, of course, sympathized with Athens. As these cities were
weaker than the Dorian, they solicited aid from Athens, and an expedition
was sent to Sicily under Laches, B.C. 426. Another one, under Polydorus,
followed, but without decisive results. The next year still another and
larger expedition, under Eurymedon and Sophocles, arrived in Sicily, while
Athens was jubilant by the possession of the Spartan prisoners, and the
possession of Pylus and Cythera. The Sicilian cities now fearing that
their domestic strife would endanger their independence and make them
subject to Athens, the most ambitious and powerful State in Greece, made a
common league with each other. Eurymedon acceded to the peace and returned
to Athens, much to the displeasure of the war party, which embraced most
of the people, and he and his colleague were banished.

(M540) But wars between the Sicilian cities again led to the intervention
of Athens. Egesta especially sent envoys for help in her struggle against
Selinus, which was assisted by Syracuse. Alcibiades warmly seconded these
envoys, and inflamed the people with his ambitious projects. He, more than
any other man, was the cause of the great Sicilian expedition which proved
the ruin of his country. He was opposed by Nicias, who foretold all the
miserable consequences of so distant an expedition, when so little could
be gained and so much would be jeopardized, and when, on the first
reverse, the enemies of Athens would rally against her. He particularly
cautioned his countrymen not only against the expedition, but against
intrusting the command of it to an unprincipled and selfish man who
squandered his own patrimony in chariot races and other extravagances, and
would be wasteful of the public property—a man without the experience
which became a leader in so great an enterprise. Alcibiades, in reply,
justified his extravagance at the Olympic games, where he contested with
seven chariots, as a means to impress Sparta with the wealth and power of
Athens, after a ten years’ war. He inflamed the ambition of the assembly,
held out specious hopes of a glorious conquest which would add to Athenian
power, and make her not merely pre-eminent, but dominant in Greece. The
assembly, eager for war and glory, sided with the youthful and magnificent
demagogue, and disregarded the counsels of the old patriot, whose wisdom
and experience were second to none in the city.

(M541) Consequently the expedition was fitted out for the attack of
Syracuse—the largest and most powerful which Athens ever sent against an
enemy; for all classes, maddened by military glory, or tempted by love of
gain, eagerly embarked in the enterprise. Nicias, finding he could not
prevent the expedition, demanded more than he thought the people would be
willing to grant. He proposed a gigantic force. But in proposing this
force, he hoped he might thus discourage the Athenians altogether by the
very greatness of the armament which he deemed necessary. But so popular
was the enterprise, that the large force he suggested was voted.
Alcibiades had flattered the people that their city was mistress of the
sea, and entitled to dominion over all the islands, and could easily
prevail over any naval enemy.

(M542) Three years had now elapsed since the peace of Nicias, and Athens
had ample means. The treasury was full, and triremes had accumulated in
the harbor. The confidence of the Athenians was as unbounded as was that
of Xerxes when he crossed the Hellespont, and hence there had been great
zeal and forwardness in preparation.

(M543) When the expedition was at last ready, an event occurred which
filled the city with gloom and anxious forebodings. The half statues of
the god Hermes were distributed in great numbers in Athens in the most
conspicuous situations, beside the doors of private houses and temples,
and in the agora, so that the people were accustomed to regard the god as
domiciled among them for their protection. In one night, at the end of
May, B.C. 415, these statues were nearly all mutilated. The heads, necks,
and busts were all destroyed, leaving the lower part of them—mere
quadrangular pillars, without arms, or legs, or body—alone standing. The
sacrilege sent universal dismay into the city, and was regarded as a most
depressing omen, and was done, doubtless, with a view of ruining
Alcibiades and frustrating the expedition. But all efforts were vain to
discover the guilty parties.

(M544) And this was not the only means adopted to break down the power of
a man whom the more discerning perceived was the evil genius of Athens.
Alcibiades was publicly accused of having profaned and divulged the
Eleusinian mysteries. The charge was denied by Alcibiades, who demanded an
immediate trial. It was eluded by his enemies, who preferred to have the
charge hanging over his head, in case of the failure of the enterprise
which he had projected.

(M545) So the fleet sailed from Piræus amid mingled sentiments of anxiety
and popular enthusiasm. It consisted of one hundred triremes, with a large
body of hoplites. It made straight for Corcyra, where the contingents of
the allies were assembled, which nearly doubled its force. The Syracusans
were well informed as to its destination, and made great exertions to meet
this great armament, under Nicias, Alcibiades, and Lamachus. The latter
commander recommended an immediate attack of Syracuse, as unprepared and

(M546) Alcibiades wished first to open negotiations with the Sikels, of
the interior, to detach them from the aid of Syracuse. His plan was
followed, but before he could carry it into operation he was summoned home
to take his trial. Fearing the result of the accusations against him, for,
in his absence, the popular feeling had changed respecting him—fear and
reason had triumphed over the power of his personal fascination—Alcibiades
made his escape to the Peloponnesus.

(M547) The master spirit of the expedition was now removed, and its
operations were languid and undecided, for Nicias had no heart in it. The
delays which occurred gave the Syracusans time to prepare, and more
confidence in their means of defense. So that when the forces of the
Athenians were landed in the great harbor, they found a powerful army
ready to resist them. In spite of a victory which Nicias gained near
Olympeion, the Syracusans were not dejected, and the Athenian fleet was
obliged to seek winter quarters at Catana, and also send for additional
re-enforcements. Nicias unwisely delayed, but his inexcusable apathy
afforded the enemy leisure to enlarge their fortifications. The Syracusans
constructed an entirely new wall around the inner and outer city, and
which also extended across the whole space from the outer sea to the great
harbor, so that it would be difficult for the Athenians, in the coming
siege, to draw lines of circumvallation around the city. Syracuse also
sent envoys to Corinth and Sparta for aid, while Alcibiades, filled now
with intense hatred of Athens, encouraged the Lacedæmonians to send a
force to the Sicilian capital. He admitted that it was the design of
Athens first to conquer the Sicilian Greeks, and then the Italian Greeks;
then to make an attempt on Carthage, and then, if that was successful, to
bring together all the forces of the subjected States and attack the
Peloponnesus itself, and create a great empire, of which Athens was to be
the capital. Such an avowal was doubtless the aim of the ambitious
Alcibiades when he first stimulated the enterprise, which, if successful,
would have made him the most powerful man in Greece; but he was thwarted
by his enemies at home, and so he turned all his energies against his
native State. His address made a powerful effect on the Lacedæmonians,
who, impelled by hatred and jealousy, now resolved to make use of the
services of the traitor, and send an auxiliary force to Syracuse.

(M548) That city then consisted of two parts—an inner and an outer city.
The outer city was defended on two sides by the sea, and a sea wall. On
the land side a long wall extended from the sea to the fortified high land
of Achradina, so that the city could only be taken by a wall of
circumvallation, so as to cut off supplies by land; at the same time it
was blockaded by sea. But the delay of Nicias had enabled the Syracusans
to construct a new wall, covering both the outer and inner city, and
extending from the great port to the high land near the bay of Magnesi, so
that any attack, except from a single point, was difficult, unless the
wall of circumvallation was made much larger than was originally intended.
Amid incredible difficulties the Athenians constructed their works, and in
an assault from the cliff of Epipolæ, where they were intrenched, their
general, Lamachus, was slain. But the Athenians had gained an advantage,
and the siege was being successfully prosecuted. It was then that the
Lacedæmonians arrived under Gylippus, who was unable to render succor. But
Nicias, despising him, allowed him to land at Himera, from whence he
marched across Sicily to Syracuse. A Corinthian fleet, under Gorgylus,
arrived only just in time to prevent the city from capitulating, and
Gylippus entered Syracuse unopposed. The inaction of Nicias, who could
have prevented this, is unaccountable. But the arrival of Gylippus turned
the scale, and he immediately prosecuted vigorous and aggressive measures.
He surprised an Athenian fort, and began to construct a third counter-wall
on the north side of the Athenian circle. The Athenians, now shut up
within their lines, were obliged to accept battle, and were defeated, and
even forced to seek shelter within their fortified lines. Under this
discouragement, Nicias sent to Athens for another armament, and the
Athenians responded to his call. But Sparta also resolved to send
re-enforcements, and invade Attica besides. Sicilian forces also marched
in aid of Syracuse. The result of all these gathering forces, in which the
whole strength of Greece was employed, was the total defeat of the
Athenian fleet in the Great Harbor, in spite of the powerful fleet which
had sailed from Athens under Demosthenes. The Syracusans pursued their
advantage by blocking up the harbor, and inclosing the whole Athenian
fleet. The Athenians resolved then to force their way out, which led to
another general engagement, in which the Athenians were totally defeated.
Nicias once again attempted to force his way out, with the remainder of
his defeated fleet, but the armament was too much discouraged to obey, and
the Athenians sought to retreat by land. But all the roads were blockaded.
The miserable army, nevertheless, began its hopeless march completely
demoralized, and compelled to abandon the sick and wounded. The retreating
army was harassed on every side, no progress could be made, and the
discouraged army sought in the night to retreat by a different route. The
rear division, under Demosthenes, was overtaken and forced to surrender,
and were carried captives to Syracuse—some six thousand in number. The
next day, the first division, under Nicias, also was overtaken and made
prisoners. No less than forty thousand who had started from the Athenian
camp, six days before, were either killed or made prisoners, with the two
generals who commanded them. The prisoners at first were subjected to the
most cruel and inhuman treatment, and then sold as slaves. Both Nicias and
Demosthenes were put to death, B.C. 413.

(M549) Such was the disastrous close of the Sicilian expedition. Our
limits prevent an extended notice. We can only give the barren outline.
But never in Grecian history had so large a force been arrayed against a
foreign power, and never was ruin more complete. The enterprise was
started at the instance of Alcibiades. It was he who brought this disaster
on his country. But it would have been better to have left the expedition
to his management. Nicias was a lofty and religious man, but was no
general. He grossly mismanaged from first to last. The confidence of the
Athenians was misplaced; and he, after having spent his life in
inculcating a conservative policy, which was the wiser, yet became the
unwilling instrument of untold and unparalleled calamities. His fault was
over-confidence. He was personally brave, religious, incorruptible,
munificent, affable—in all respects honorable and respectable, but he had
no military genius.

(M550) The Lacedæmonians, at the suggestion of Alcibiades, had permanently
occupied Decelea—a fortified post within fifteen miles of Athens, and
instead of spending a few weeks in ravaging Attica, now intrenched
themselves, and issued out in excursions until they had destroyed all that
was valuable in the neighborhood of Athens. The great calamities which the
Athenians had suffered prevented them from expelling the invaders, and the
city itself was now in the condition of a post besieged. All the
accumulations in her treasury were exhausted, and she was compelled to
dismiss even her Thracian mercenaries. They were sent back to their own
country under Dotrephes; but after inflicting great atrocities in Bœotia,
were driven back by the Thebans.

(M551) The Athenian navy was now so crippled that it could no longer
maintain the supremacy of the sea. The Corinthians were formidable rivals
and enemies. A naval battle at Naupactus, at the mouth of the Corinthian
Gulf, between the Athenians and Corinthians, though indecisive, yet really
was to the advantage of the latter.

(M552) The full effects of the terrible catastrophe at Syracuse were not
at first made known to the Athenians, but gradually a settled despair
overspread the public mind. The supremacy of Athens in Greece was at an
end, and the city itself was endangered. The inhabitants now put forth all
the energies that a forlorn hope allowed. The distant garrisons were
recalled; all expenses were curtailed; timber was collected for new ships,
and Capo Sunium was fortified. But the enemies of Athens were also
stimulated to renewed exertions, and subject-allies were induced to
revolt. Persia sent envoys to Sparta. The Eubœans and Chians applied to
the same power for aid in shaking off the yoke of Athens now broken and
defenseless. Although a Peloponnesian fleet was defeated by the Athenians
on its way to assist Chios in revolt, yet new dangers multiplied. The
infamous Alcibiades crossed with a squadron to Chios, and the Athenians
were obliged to make use of their reserved fund of one thousand talents,
which Pericles had set aside for the last extremity, in order to equip a
fleet, under the command of Strombichides. Alcibiades passed over to
Miletus, and induced this city also to revolt. A shameful treaty was made
between Sparta and Persia to carry on war against Athens; and the first
step in the execution of the treaty was to hand Miletus over to a Persian
general. Ionia now became the seat of war, and a victory was gained near
Miletus by the Athenians, but this was balanced by the capture of Iasus by
the Lacedæmonians. The Athenians rallied at Samos, which remained
faithful, and still controlled one hundred and twenty-eight triremes at
this island. Alternate successes and defeats happened to the contending
parties, with no decided result.

(M553) The want of success on the coast of Asia led the Lacedæmonians to
suspect Alcibiades of treachery. Moreover, his intrigue with the wife of
Agis made the king of Sparta his relentless enemy. Agis accordingly
procured a decision of the ephors to send out instructions for his death.
He was warned in time, and made his escape to the satrap Tissaphernes, who
commanded the forces of Persia. He persuaded the Persian not to give a
decisive superiority to either of the contending parties, who followed his
advice, and kept the Peloponnesian fleet inactive, and bribed the Spartan
general. Having now gratified his revenge against Athens and lost the
support of Sparta, Alcibiades now looked to his native country as the best
field for his unprincipled ambition. “He opened negotiations with the
Athenian commanders at Samos, and offered the alliance of Persia as the
price of his restoration, but proposed as a further condition the
overthrow of the democratic government at Athens.”

(M554) Then followed the political revolution which Alcibiades had
planned, in conjunction with oligarchal conspirators. The rally of the
city, threatened with complete ruin, had been energetic and astonishing,
and she was now, a year after the disaster at Syracuse, able to carry on a
purely defensive system, though with crippled resources. But for this
revolution Athens might have secured her independence.

(M555) The proposal of Alcibiades to change the constitution was listened
to by the rich men, on whom the chief burden of the war had fallen. With
the treasures of Persia to help them, they hoped to carry on the war
against Sparta without cost to themselves. It was hence resolved at Samos,
among the Athenians congregated there, to send a deputation to Athens,
under Pisander, to carry out their designs. But they had no other security
than the word of Alcibiades, that restless and unpatriotic schemer, that
they would secure the assistance of Persia. And it is astonishing that
such a man—so faithless—could be believed.

(M556) One of the generals of the fleet at Samos, Phrynichus, strongly
opposed this movement, and gave good reasons; but the tide of opinion
among the oligarchal conspirators ran so violently against him, that
Pisander was at once dispatched to Athens. He laid before the public
assembly the terms which Alcibiades proposed. The people, eager at any
cost to gain the Persian king as an ally, in their extremity listened to
the proposal, though unwilling, and voted to relinquish their political
power. Pisander made them believe it was a choice between utter ruin and
the relinquishment of political privileges, since the Lacedæmonians had an
overwhelming force against them. It was while Chios seemed likely to be
recovered by the Athenians, and while the Peloponnesian fleet was
paralyzed at Rhodes by Persian intrigues, that Pisander returned to Ionia
to open negotiations with Alcibiades and Tissaphernes. But Alcibiades had
promised too much, the satrap having no idea of lending aid to Athens, and
yet he extricated himself by such exaggerated demands, which he knew the
Athenians would never concede to Persia, that negotiations were broken
off, and a reconciliation was made between Persia and Sparta. The
oligarchal conspirators had, however, gone so far that a retreat was
impossible. The democracy of Athens was now subverted. Instead of the
Senate of Five Hundred and the assembled people, an oligarchy of Four
Hundred sat in the Senate house, and all except five thousand were
disfranchised—and these were not convened. The oligarchy was in full power
when Pisander returned to Athens. All democratic magistrates had been
removed, and no civil functionaries were paid. The Four Hundred had
complete control. Thus perished, through the intrigues of Alcibiades, the
democracy of Athens. He had organized the unfortunate expedition to
Sicily; he had served the bitterest enemies of his country; and now, he
had succeeded in overturning the constitution which had lasted one hundred
years, during which Athens had won all her glories. Why should the
Athenians receive back to their confidence so bad a man? But whom God
wishes to destroy, he first makes mad, and Alcibiades, it would seem, was
the instrument by which Athens was humiliated and ruined as a political
power. The revolution was effected in an hour of despair, and by delusive
promises. The character and conduct of the insidious and unscrupulous
intriguer were forgotten in his promises. The Athenians were simply

(M557) The Four Hundred, installed in power, solemnized their installation
by prayer and sacrifice, put to death some political enemies, imprisoned
and banished others, and ruled with great rigor and strictness. They then
sought to make peace with Sparta, which was declined. The army at Samos
heard of these changes with exceeding wrath, especially the cruelties
which were inflicted on all citizens who spoke against the new tyranny. A
democratic demonstration took place at Samos, by which the Samians and the
army were united in the strongest ties, for the Samians had successfully
resisted a like revolution on their island. The army at Samos refused to
obey any orders from the oligarchy, and constituted a democracy by
themselves. Yet the man who had been instrumental in creating this
oligarchy, with characteristic versatility and impudence, joined the
democracy at Samos. He came to Samos by invitation of the armament, and
pledged himself to secure Persian aid, and he was believed and again
trusted. He then launched into a new career, and professed to take up
again the interests of the democracy at Athens. The envoys of the Four
Hundred which were sent to Samos were indignantly sent back, and the
general indignation against the oligarchy was intensified. Envoys from
Argos also appeared at Samos, offering aid to the Athenian democracy.
There was now a strong and organized resistance to the Four Hundred, and
their own divisions placed them further in a precarious situation.
Theramenes demanded that the Five Thousand, which body had been thus far
nominal, should be made a reality. The Four Hundred again solicited aid
from Sparta, and constructed a fort for the admission of a Spartan
garrison, while a Lacedæmonian fleet hovered near the Piræus.

(M558) The long-suppressed energies of the people at length burst forth. A
body of soldiers seized the fortress the oligarchy were constructing for a
Spartan garrison, and demolished it. The Four Hundred made important
concessions, and agreed to renew the public assembly. While these events
occurred a naval battle took place near Eretria between the Lacedæmonians
and the Athenians, in which the latter were defeated. The victory, if they
had pushed their success, would have completed the ruin of Athens, since
her home fleet was destroyed, and that at Samos was detained by
Alcibiades. When it was seen the hostile fleet did not enter the harbor,
the Athenians recovered their dismay and prosecuted their domestic
revolution by deposing the Four Hundred and placing the whole government
in the hands of the Five Thousand, and this body was soon enlarged to that
of universal citizenship. The old constitution was restored, except that
part of it which allowed pay to the judges. Most of the oligarchal leaders
fled, and a few of them were tried and executed—those who had sought
Spartan aid. Thus this selfish movement terminated, after the oligarchy
had enjoyed a brief reign of only a few months.

(M559) While Athens was distracted by changes of government, the war was
conducted on the coasts of Asia between the belligerents with alternate
success and defeat. Abydos, connected with Miletus by colonial ties,
revolted from Athens, and Lampsacus, a neighboring town, followed its
example two days afterward. Byzantium also went over to the Lacedæmonians,
which enabled them to command the strait. Alcibiades pursued still his
double game with Persia and Athens. An Athenian fleet was sent to the
Hellespont to contend with the Lacedæmonian squadron, and gained an
incomplete victory at Cynossema, whose only effect was to encourage the
Athenians. The Persians gave substantial aid to the Lacedæmonians,
withheld for a time by the intrigues of Alcibiades, who returned to Samos,
but was shortly after seized by Tissaphernes and sent to Sardis, from
which he contrived to escape. He partially redeemed his infamy by a
victory over the Peloponnesian fleet at Cyzicus, and captured it entirely,
which disaster induced the Spartans to make overtures of peace, which were
rejected through the influence of Cleophon, the demagogue.

(M560) The Athenian fleet now reigned alone in the Propontis, the
Bosphorus, and the Hellespont, and levied toll on all the ships passing
through the straits, while Chrysopolis, opposite to Byzantium, was
occupied by Alcibiades. Athens now once more became hopeful and energetic.
Thrasyllus was sent with a large force to Ionia, and joined his forces
with the fleet which Alcibiades commanded at Sestos, but the conjoined
forces were unable to retake Abydos, which was relieved by Pharnabazus,
the Persian satrap.

(M561) The absence of the fleet from Athens encouraged the Lacedæmonians,
who retook Pylus, B.C. 409, while the Athenians captured Chalcedon, and
the following year Byzantium itself. Such was the state of the contending
parties when Cyrus the younger was sent by his father Darius as satrap of
Lydia, Phrygia, and Cappadocia, and whose command in Asia Minor was
attended by important consequences. Tissaphernes and Pharnabazus were
still left in command of the coast.

(M562) Cyrus, a man of great ambition and self-control, came to Asia Minor
with a fixed purpose of putting down the Athenian power, which for sixty
years had humbled the pride of the Persian kings. He formed a hearty and
cordial alliance with Lysander, the Spartan admiral, and the most eminent
man, after Brasidas, whom the Lacedæmonians had produced during the war.
He was a man of severe Spartan discipline and virtue, but ambitious and
cruel. He visited Cyrus at Sardis, was welcomed with every mark of favor,
and induced Cyrus to grant additional pay to every Spartan seaman.

(M563) Meanwhile Alcibiades re-entered his native city in triumph, after
eight years’ exile, and was welcomed by all parties as the only man who
had sufficient capacity to restore the fallen fortunes of Athens. His
confiscated property was restored, and he was made captain-general with
ample powers, while all his treasons were apparently forgotten, which had
proved so fatal to his country—the sending of Gylippus to Syracuse, the
revolt of Chios and Miletus, and the conspiracy of the Four Hundred. The
effect of this treatment, so much better than what he deserved,
intoxicated this wayward and unprincipled, but exceedingly able man. His
first exploit was to sail to Andros, now under a Lacedæmonian garrison,
whose fields he devastated, but was unable to take the town. He then went
to Samos, and there learned that all his intrigues with Persia had failed,
and that Persia was allied still more strongly with the Lacedæmonians
under Lysander.

(M564) This great general, now at Ephesus, pursued a cautious policy, and
refused to give battle to the Athenian forces under Alcibiades, who then
retired to Phocæa, leaving his fleet under the command of Antiochus, his
favorite pilot. Antiochus, in the absence of his general, engaged the
Lacedæmonian fleet, but was defeated and slain at Notium. The conduct of
Alcibiades produced great disaffection at Athens. He had sailed with a
fleet not inferior to that which he commanded at Syracuse, and had made
great promises of future achievements, yet in three months he had not
gained a single success. He was therefore dismissed from his command,
which was given to ten generals, of whom Conon was the most eminent, while
he retired to the Chersonese. Lysander, at the same time, was superseded
in the command of the Lacedæmonians by Callicratidas, in accordance with
Spartan custom, his term being expired.

(M565) Callicratidas was not welcomed by Cyrus, and he was also left
without funds by Lysander, who returned to the Persians the sums he had
received. This conduct so much enraged the Spartan admiral that he sailed
with his whole fleet—the largest which had been assembled during the war,
one hundred and forty triremes, of which only ten were Lacedæmonian—the
rest being furnished by allies—to Lesbos, and liberated the Athenian
captives and garrison at Methymna, and seemed animated by that old
Panhellenic patriotism which had united the Greeks half a century before
against the Persian invaders, declaring that not a single Greek should be
reduced to slavery if he could help it. But while he was thus actuated by
these noble sentiments, he also prosecuted the war of his country, which
had been intrusted to him to conduct. He blocked up the Athenian fleet at
Mitylene, which had no provisions to sustain a siege. The Athenians now
made prodigious efforts to relieve Conon, and one hundred and ten triremes
were sent from the Piræus, and sailed to Samos. Callicratidas, apprised of
the approach of the large fleet, went out to meet it. At Arginusæ was
fought a great battle, in which the Spartan admiral was killed, and his
forces completely defeated. Sixty-nine Lacedæmonian ships were destroyed;
the Athenians lost twenty-five, a severe loss to Greece, since, if
Callicratidas had gained the victory, he would, according to Grote, have
closed the Peloponnesian war, and united the Greeks once more against

The battle of Arginusæ now gave the Athenians the control of the Asiatic
seas, and so discouraged were the Lacedæmonians, that they were induced to
make proposals of peace. This is doubted, indeed, by Grote, since no
positive results accrued to Athens.

(M566) The Chians and other allies of Sparta, in conjunction with Cyrus,
now sent envoys to the ephors, to request the restoration of Lysander to
the command of the fleet. They acceded to the request substantially, and
Lysander reached Ephesus, B.C. 405, to renovate the Lacedæmonian power and
turn the fortunes of war.

(M567) The victorious Athenian fleet was now at Ægospotami, in the
Hellespont, opposite Lampsacus, having been inactive for nearly a year.
There the fleet was exposed to imminent danger, which was even seen by
Alcibiades, in his forts opposite, on the Chersonese. He expostulated with
the Athenian admirals, but to no purpose, and urged them to retire to
Sestos. As he feared, the Athenian fleet was surprised, at anchor, on this
open shore, while the crews were on shore in quest of a meal. One hundred
and seventy triremes were thus ingloriously captured, without the loss of
a man—the greatest calamity which had happened to Athens since the
beginning of the war, and decisive as to its result. The captive generals
were slaughtered, together with four thousand Athenian prisoners. Conon,
however, made his escape. So disgraceful and unnecessary was this great
calamity, that it is supposed the fleet was betrayed by its own
commanders; and this supposition is strengthened by its inactivity since
the battle of Arginusæ. This crowning disaster happened in September, B.C.
405, and caused a dismay at Athens such as had never before been felt—not
even when the Persians were marching through Attica. Nothing was now left
to the miserable city but to make what preparation it could for the siege,
which everybody foresaw would soon take place. The walls were put in the
best defense it was possible, and two of the three ports were blocked up.
Not only was Athens deprived of her maritime power, but her very existence
was now jeopardized.

(M568) Lysander was in no haste to march upon Athens, since he knew that
no corn ships could reach the city from the Euxine, and that a famine
would soon set in. The Athenian empire was annihilated, and nothing
remained but Athens herself! The Athenians now saw that nothing but union
between the citizens could give them any hope of success, and they made a
solemn pledge in the Acropolis to bury their dissensions and cultivate
harmonious feelings.

(M569) In November, Lysander, with two hundred triremes, blockaded the
Piræus. The whole force of Sparta, under King Pausanias, went out to meet
him, and encamped at the gates of Athens. The citizens bore the calamity
with fortitude, and, when they began to die of hunger, sent propositions
for capitulation. But no proposition was received which did not include
the demolition of the long walls which Pericles had built. As famine
pressed, and the condition of the people had become intolerable, Athens
was obliged to surrender on the hard conditions that the Piræus should be
destroyed, the long walls demolished, all foreign possessions evacuated,
all ships surrendered, and, most humiliating of all, that Athens should
become the ally of Sparta, and follow her lead upon the sea and upon the

(M570) Thus fell imperial Athens, after a glorious reign of one hundred
years. Lysander entered the city as a conqueror. The ships were
surrendered, all but twelve, which the Athenians were allowed to retain;
the unfinished ships in the dockyards were burned, the fortifications
demolished, and the Piræus dismantled. The constitution of the city was
annulled, and a board of thirty was nominated, under the dictation of
Lysander, for the government of the city. The conqueror then sailed to
Samos, which was easily reduced, and oligarchy was restored on that
island, as at Athens.

(M571) The fall of Athens virtually closed the Peloponnesian war, after a
bitter struggle between the two leading States of Greece for thirty years.
Lysander became the leading man in Greece, and wielded a power greater
than any individual Greek before or after him. Sparta, personified in him,
became supreme, and ruled over all the islands, and over the Asiatic and
Thracian cities. The tyrants whom he placed over Athens exercised their
power with extreme rigor—sending to execution all who were obnoxious,
seizing as spoil the property of the citizens, and disarming the remaining
hoplites in the city. They even forbade intellectual teaching, and shut
the mouth of Socrates. Such was Athens, humbled, deprived of her fleet,
and rendered powerless, with a Spartan garrison occupying the Acropolis,
and discord reigning even among the Thirty Tyrants themselves.

(M572) In considering the downfall of Athens, we perceive that the
unfortunate Sicilian expedition which Alcibiades had stimulated proved the
main cause. Her maritime supremacy might have been maintained but for this
aggression, which Pericles never would have sanctioned, and which Nicias
so earnestly disapproved. After that disaster, the conditions of the State
were totally changed, and it was a bitter and desperate struggle to retain
the fragments of empire. And the catastrophe proved, ultimately, the
political ruin of Greece herself, since there was left no one State
sufficiently powerful to resist foreign attacks. The glory of Athens was
her navy, and this being destroyed, Greece was open to invasion, and to
the corruption brought about by Persian gold. It was Athens which had
resisted Persia, and protected the maritime States and islands. When
Athens was crippled, the decline of the other States was rapid, for they
had all exhausted themselves in the war. And the war itself has few
redeeming features. It was a wicked contest carried on by rivalry and
jealousy. And it produced, as war generally does, a class of unprincipled
men who aggrandize themselves at the expense of their country. Nothing but
war would have developed such men as Alcibiades and Lysander, and it is
difficult to say which of the two brought the greatest dishonor on their
respective States. Both were ambitious, and both hoped to gain an
ascendency incompatible with free institutions. To my mind, Alcibiades is
the worst man in Grecian history, and not only personally disgraced by the
worst vices, but his influence was disastrous on his country. Athens owed
her political degradation more to him than any other man. He was insolent,
lawless, extravagant, and unscrupulous, from his first appearance in
public life. He incited the Sicilian expedition, and caused it to end
disastrously by sending Gylippus to Syracuse. He originated the revolt of
Chios and Miletus, the fortification of Decelea, and the conspiracy of the
Four Hundred. And though he partially redeemed his treason by his three
years’ services, after his exile, yet his vanity, and intrigues, and
prodigality prevented him from accomplishing what he promised. It is true
he was a man of great resources, and was never defeated either by sea or
land; “and he was the first man in every party he espoused—Athenian,
Spartan, or Persian, oligarchial or democratical, but he never inspired
confidence with any party, and all parties successively threw him off.”
The end of such a man proclaims the avenging Nemesis in this world. He
died by the hands of Persian assassins at the instance of both Lysander
and Cyrus, who felt that there could be nothing settled so long as this
restless schemer lived. And he died, unlamented and unhonored, in spite of
his high birth, wealth, talents, and personal accomplishments.

(M573) Lysander was more fortunate; he gained a great ascendency in
Sparta, but his ambition proved ruinous to his country, by involving it in
those desperate wars which are yet to be presented.

                               CHAPTER XX.


(M574) The Peloponnesian war being closed, a large body of Grecian
soldiers were disbanded, but rendered venal and restless by the
excitements and changes of the past thirty years, and ready to embark in
any warlike enterprise that promised money and spoil. They were unfitted,
as is usually the case, for sober and industrial pursuits. They panted for
fresh adventures.

(M575) This restless passion which war ever kindles, found vent and
direction in the enterprise which Cyrus led from Western Asia to dethrone
his brother Artaxerxes from the throne of Persia. Some fourteen thousand
Greeks from different States joined his standard—not with a view of a
march to Babylon and an attack on the great king, but to conquer and root
out the Pisidian mountaineers, who did much mischief from their fastnesses
in the southeast of Asia Minor. This was the ostensible object of Cyrus,
and he found no difficulty in enlisting Grecian mercenaries, under promise
of large rewards. All these Greeks were deceived but one man, to whom
alone Cyrus revealed his real purpose. This was Clearchus, a Lacedæmonian
general of considerable ability and experience, who had been banished for
abuse of authority at Byzantium, which he commanded. He repaired to Sardis
and offered his services to Cyrus, who had been sent thither by his father
Darius to command the Persian forces. Cyrus accepted the overtures of
Clearchus, who secured his confidence so completely that he gave him the
large sum of ten thousand darics, which he employed in hiring Grecian

(M576) Other Greeks of note also joined the army of Cyrus with a view of
being employed against the Pisidians. Among them were Aristippus and
Menon, of a distinguished family in Thessaly; Proxenus, a Bœotian; Agis,
an Arcadian; Socrates, an Achæan, who were employed to collect
mercenaries, and who received large sums of money. A considerable body of
Lacedæmonians were also taken under pay.

The march of these men to Babylon, and their successful retreat, form one
of the most interesting episodes in Grecian history, and it is this march
and retreat which I purpose briefly to present.

(M577) Cyrus was an extraordinary man. The younger son of the Persian
king, he aimed to secure the sovereignty of Persia, which fell to his
elder brother, Artaxerxes, on the death of Darius. During his residence at
Sardis, as satrap or governor, he perceived and felt the great superiority
of the Greeks to his own countrymen, not only intellectually, but as
soldiers. He was brave, generous, frank, and ambitious. Had it been his
fortune to have achieved the object of his ambition, the whole history of
Persia would have been changed, and Alexander would have lived in vain.
Perceiving and appreciating the great qualities of the Greeks, and
learning how to influence them, he sought, by their aid, to conquer his
way to the throne.

(M578) But he dissembled his designs so that they were not suspected, even
in Persia. As has been remarked, he communicated them only to the Spartan
general, Clearchus. Neither Greek nor Persian divined his object as he
collected a great army at Sardis. At first he employed his forces in the
siege of Miletus and other enterprises, which provoked no suspicion of his
real designs.

(M579) When all was ready, he commenced his march from Sardis, in March,
B.C. 401, with about eight thousand Grecian hoplites and one hundred
thousand native troops, while a joint Lacedæmonian and Persian fleet
coasted around the south of Asia Minor to co-operate with the land forces.

(M580) These Greeks who thus joined his standard under promise of large
pay, and were unwittingly about to plunge into unknown perils, were not
outcasts and paupers, but were men of position, reputation, and, in some
cases, of wealth. About half of them were Arcadians. Young men of good
family, ennuied of home, restless and adventurous, formed the greater
part, although many of mature age had been induced by liberal offers to
leave their wives and children. They simply calculated on a year’s
campaign in Pisidia, from which they would return to their homes enriched.
So they were assured by the Greek commanders at Sardis, and so these
commanders believed, for Cyrus stood high in popular estimation for
liberality and good faith.

(M581) Among other illustrious Greeks that were thus to be led so far from
home was Xenophon, the Athenian historian, who was induced by his friend
Proxenus, of Bœotia, to join the expedition. He was of high family, and a
pupil of Socrates, but embarked against the wishes and advice of his

When the siege of Miletus was abandoned, and Cyrus began his march, his
object was divined by the satrap Tissaphernes, who hastened to Persia to
put the king on his guard.

(M582) At Celenæ, or Kelænæ, a Phrygian city, Cyrus halted and reviewed
his army. Grecian re-enforcements here joined him, which swelled the
number of Greeks to thirteen thousand men, of whom eleven thousand were
hoplites. As this city was on the way to Pisidia, no mistrust existed as
to the object of the expedition, not even when the army passed into
Lycaonia, since its inhabitants were of the same predatory character as
the Pisidians. But when it had crossed Mount Taurus, which bounded
Cilicia, and reached Tarsus, the Greeks perceived that they had been
cheated, and refused to advance farther. Clearchus attempted to suppress
the mutiny by severe measures, but failed. He then resorted to stratagem,
and pretended to yield to the wishes of the Greeks, and likewise refused
to march, but sent a secret dispatch to Cyrus that all would be well in
the end, and requested him to send fresh invitations, that he might answer
by fresh refusals. He then, with the characteristic cunning and eloquence
of a Greek, made known to his countrymen the extreme peril of making Cyrus
their enemy in a hostile country, where retreat was beset with so many
dangers, and induced them to proceed. So the army continued its march to
Issus, at the extremity of the Issican Gulf, and near the mountains which
separate Cilicia from Syria. Here Cyrus was further re-enforced, making
the grand total of Greeks in his army fourteen thousand.

(M583) He expected to find the passes over the mountains, a day’s journey
from Issus, defended, but the Persian general Abrocomas fled at his
approach, and Cyrus easily crossed into Syria by the pass of Beilan, over
Mount Amanus. He then proceeded south to Myriandus, a Phœnician maritime
town, where he parted from his fleet. Eight days’ march brought his army
to Thapsacus, on the Euphrates, where he remained five days to refresh his
troops. Here again the Greeks showed a reluctance to proceed, but, on the
promise of five minæ a head, nearly one hundred dollars more than a year’s
pay, they consented to advance. It was here Cyrus crossed the river
unobstructed, and continued his march on the left bank for nine days,
until he came to the river Araxes, which separates Syria from Arabia. Thus
far his army was well supplied with provisions from the numerous villages
through which they passed; but now he entered a desert country, entirely
without cultivation, where the astonished Greeks beheld for the first time
wild asses, antelopes, and ostriches. For eighteen days the army marched
without other provisions than what they brought with them, parched with
thirst and exhausted by heat. At Pylæ they reached the cultivated
territory of Babylonia, and the alluvial plains commenced. Three days’
further march brought them to Cunaxa, about seventy miles from Babylon,
where the army of Artaxerxes was marshaled to meet them. It was an immense
force of more than a million of men, besides six thousand horse-guards and
two hundred chariots. But so confident was Cyrus of the vast superiority
of the Greeks and their warfare, that he did not hesitate to engage the
overwhelming forces of his brother with only ten thousand Greeks and one
hundred thousand Asiatics. The battle of Cunaxa was fatal to Cyrus; he was
slain and his camp was pillaged. The expedition had failed.

(M584) Dismay now seized the Greeks, as well it might—a handful of men in
the midst of innumerable enemies, and in the very centre of the Persian
empire. But such men are not driven to despair. They refused to surrender,
and make up their minds to retreat—to find their way back again to Greece,
since all aggressive measures was madness.

This retreat, amid so many difficulties, and against such powerful and
numerous enemies, is one of the most gallant actions in the history of
war, and has made those ten thousand men immortal.

(M585) Ariæus, who commanded the Asiatic forces on the left wing of the
army at the battle of Cunaxa, joined the Greeks with what force remained,
in retreat, and promised to guide them to the Asiatic coast, not by the
route which Cyrus had taken, for this was now impracticable, but by a
longer one, up the course of the Tigris, through Armenia, to the Euxine
Sea. The Greeks had marched ninety days from Sardis, about fourteen
hundred and sixty-four English miles, and rested ninety-six days in
various places. Six months had been spent on the expedition, and it would
take more than that time to return, considering the new difficulties which
it was necessary to surmount. The condition of the Greeks, to all
appearance, was hopeless. How were they to ford rivers and cross
mountains, with a hostile cavalry in their rear, without supplies, without
a knowledge of roads, without trustworthy guides, through hostile

(M586) The Persians still continued their negotiations, regarding the
advance or retreat of the Greeks alike impossible, and curious to learn
what motives had brought them so far from home. They replied that they had
been deceived, that they had no hostility to the Persian king, that they
had been ashamed to desert Cyrus in the midst of danger, and that they now
desired only to return home peaceably, but were prepared to repel

(M587) It was not pleasant to the Persian monarch to have thirteen
thousand Grecian veterans, whose prestige was immense, and whose power was
really formidable, in the heart of the kingdom. It was not easy to conquer
such brave men, reduced to desperation, without immense losses and
probable humiliation. So the Persians dissembled. It was their object to
get the Greeks out of Babylonia, where they could easily intrench and
support themselves, and then attack them at a disadvantage. So
Tissaphernes agreed to conduct them home by a different route. They
acceded to his proposal, and he led them to the banks of the Tigris, and
advanced on its left bank, north to the Great Zab River, about two hundred
miles from Babylon. The Persians marched in advance, and the Greeks about
three miles in the rear. At the Great Zab they halted three days, and then
Tissaphernes enticed the Greek generals to his tent, ostensibly to feast
them and renew negotiations. There they were seized, sent prisoners to the
Persian court, and treacherously murdered.

(M588) Utter despair now seized the Greeks. They were deprived of their
generals, in the heart of Media, with unscrupulous enemies in the rear,
and the mountains of Armenia in their front, whose passes were defended by
hostile barbarians, and this in the depth of winter, deprived of guides,
and exposed to every kind of hardship, difficulty, and danger. They were
apparently in the hands of their enemies, without any probability of
escape. They were then summoned to surrender to the Persians, but they
resolved to fight their way home, great as were their dangers and
insurmountable the difficulties—a most heroic resolution. And their
retreat, under these circumstances, to the Euxine, is the most
extraordinary march in the whole history of war.

(M589) But a great man appeared, in this crisis, to lead them, whose
prudence, sagacity, moderation, and courage can never be sufficiently
praised, and his successful retreat places him in the ranks of the great
generals of the world. Xenophon, the Athenian historian, now appears upon
the stage with all those noble qualities which inspired the heroes at the
siege of Troy—a man as religious as he was brave and magnanimous, and
eloquent even for a Greek. He summoned together the captains, and
persuaded them to advance, giving the assurance of the protection of Zeus.
He then convened the army, and inspired them by his spirit, with
surpassing eloquence, and acquired the ascendency of a Moses by his
genius, piety, and wisdom. His military rank was not great, but in such an
emergency talents and virtues have more force than rank.

(M590) So, under his leadership, the Greeks crossed the Zab, and resumed
their march to the north, harassed by Persian cavalry, and subjected to
great privations. The army no longer marched, as was usual, in one
undivided hollow square, but in small companies, for they were obliged to
cross mountains and ford rivers. So long as they marched on the banks of
the Tigris, they found well-stocked villages, from which they obtained
supplies; but as they entered the country of the Carducians, they were
obliged to leave the Tigris to their left, and cross the high mountains
which divided it from Armenia. They were also compelled to burn their
baggage, for the roads were nearly impassable, not only on account of the
narrow defiles, but from the vast quantities of snow which fell. Their
situation was full of peril, and fatigue, and privation. Still they
persevered, animated by the example and eloquence of their intrepid
leader. At every new pass they were obliged to fight a battle, but the
enemies they encountered could not withstand their arms in close combat,
and usually fled, contented to harass them by rolling stones down the
mountains on their heads, and discharging their long arrows.

(M591) The march through Armenia was still more difficult, for the
inhabitants were more warlike and hardy, and the passage more difficult.
They also were sorely troubled for lack of guides. The sufferings of the
Greeks were intense from cold and privation. The beasts of burden perished
in the snow, while the soldiers were frost-bitten and famished. It was
their good fortune to find villages, after several days’ march, where they
halted and rested, but assailed all the while by hostile bands. Yet onward
they pressed, wearied and hungry, through the country of the Taochi, of
the Chalybes, of the Scytheni, of the Marones, of the Colchians, and
reached Trapezus (Trebizond) in safety. The sight of the sea filled the
Greeks with indescribable joy after so many perils, for the sea was their
own element, and they could now pursue their way in ships rather than by
perilous marches.

(M592) But the delays were long and dreary. There were no ships to
transport the warriors to Byzantium. They were exposed to new troubles
from the indifference or hostility of the cities on the Euxine, for so
large a force created alarm. And when the most pressing dangers were
passed, the license of the men broke out, so that it was difficult to
preserve order and prevent them from robbing their friends. They were
obliged to resort to marauding expeditions among the Asiatic people, and
it was difficult to support themselves. Not being able to get ships, they
marched along the coast to Cotyora, exposed to incessant hostilities. It
was now the desire of Xenophon to found a new city on the Euxine with the
army; but the army was eager to return home, and did not accede to the
proposal. Clamors arose against the general who had led them so gloriously
from the heart of Media, and his speeches in his defense are among the
most eloquent on Grecian record. He remonstrated against the disorders of
the army, and had sufficient influence to secure reform, and completely
triumphed over faction as he had over danger.

(M593) At last ships were provided, and the army passed by sea to Sinope—a
Grecian colony—where the men were hospitably received, and fed, and
lodged. From thence the army passed by sea to Heracleia, where the
soldiers sought to extort money against the opposition of Xenophon and
Cherisophus, the latter of whom had nobly seconded the plans of Xenophon,
although a Spartan of superior military rank. The army, at this
opposition, divided into three factions, but on suffering new disasters,
reunited. It made a halt at Calpe, where new disorders broke out. Then
Cleander, Spartan governor of Byzantium, arrived with two triremes, who
promised to conduct the army, and took command of it, but subsequently
threw up his command from the unpropitious sacrifices. Nothing proved the
religious character of the Greeks so forcibly as their scrupulous
attention to the rites imposed by their pagan faith. They undertook no
enterprise of importance without sacrifices to the gods, and if the
auguries were unfavorable, they relinquished their most cherished objects.

(M594) From Calpe the army marched to Chalcedon, turning into money the
slaves and plunder which it had collected. There it remained seven days.
But nothing could be done without the consent of the Spartan admiral at
Byzantium, Anaxibius, since the Lacedæmonians were the masters of Greece
both by sea and land. This man was bribed by the Persian satrap
Pharnabazus, who commanded the north-western region of Asia Minor, to
transport the army to the European side of the Bosphorus. It accordingly
crossed to Byzantium, but was not allowed to halt in the city, or even to
enter the gates.

(M595) The wrath of the soldiers was boundless when they were thus
excluded from Byzantium. They rushed into the town and took possession,
which conduct gave grave apprehension to Xenophon, who mustered and
harangued the army, and thus prevented anticipated violence. They at
length consented to leave the city, and accepted the services of the
Theban Coeratidas, who promised to conduct them to the Delta of Thrace,
for purposes of plunder, but he was soon dismissed. After various
misfortunes the soldiers at length were taken under the pay of Seuthes, a
Thracian prince, who sought the recovery of his principality, but who
cheated them out of their pay. A change of policy among the Lacedæmonians
led to the conveyance of the Cyrenian army into Asia in order to make war
on the satraps. Xenophon accordingly conducted his troops, now reduced to
six thousand men, over Mount Ida to Pergamus. He succeeded in capturing
the Persian general Asidates, and securing a valuable booty, B.C. 399. The
soldiers whom he had led were now incorporated with the Lacedæmonian army
in Asia, and Xenophon himself enlisted in the Spartan service. His
subsequent fortunes we have not room to present. An exile from Athens, he
settled in Scillus, near Olympia, with abundant wealth, but ultimately
returned to his native city after the battle of Leuctra.

(M596) The impression produced on the Grecian mind by the successful
retreat of the Ten Thousand was profound and lasting. Its most obvious
effect was to produce contempt for Persian armies and Persian generals,
and to show that Persia was only strong by employing Hellenic strength
against the Hellenic cause. The real weakness of Persia was thus revealed
to the Greeks, and sentiments were fostered which two generations
afterward led to the expeditions of Alexander and the subjection of Asia
to Grecian rule.

                               CHAPTER XXI.


(M597) I have already shown that Sparta, after a battle with the Argives,
B.C. 547, obtained the ascendency in the southern part of the
Peloponnesus, and became the leading military State of Greece. This
prestige and power were not lost. The severe simplicity of Spartan life,
the rigor of political and social institutions, the aristocratic form of
government, and above all the military spirit and ambition, gave
permanence to all conquests, so that in the Persian wars Sparta took the
load of the land forces. The great rival power of Sparta was Athens, but
this was founded on maritime skill and enterprise. It was to the navy of
Athens, next after the hoplites of Sparta, that the successful resistance
to the empire of Persia may be attributed.

(M598) After the Persian wars the rivalship between Athens and Sparta is
the most prominent feature in Grecian history. The confederacy of Delos
gave to Athens supremacy over the sea, and the great commercial prosperity
of Athens under Pericles, and the empire gained over the Ionian colonies
and the islands of the Ægaean, made Athens, perhaps, the leading State. It
was the richest, the most cultivated, and the most influential of the
Grecian States, and threatened to absorb gradually all the other States of
Greece in her empire.

(M599) This ascendency and rapid growth in wealth and power were beheld
with jealous eyes, not only by Sparta, but other States which she
controlled, or with which she was in alliance. The consequence was, the
Peloponnesian war, which lasted half a generation, and which, after
various vicissitudes and fortunes, terminated auspiciously for Sparta, but
disastrously to Greece as a united nation. The Persian wars bound all the
States together by a powerful Hellenic sentiment of patriotism. The
Peloponnesian war dissevered this Panhellenic tie. The disaster at
Syracuse was fatal to Athenian supremacy, and even independence. But for
this Athens might have remained the great power of Greece. The democratic
organization of the government gave great vigor and enterprise to all the
ambitious projects of Athens. If Alcibiades had lent his vast talents to
the building up of his native State, even then the fortunes of Athens
might have been different. But he was a traitor, and threw all his
energies on the side of Sparta, until it was too late for Athens to
recover the prestige she had won. He partially redeemed his honor, but had
he been animated by the spirit of Pericles or Nicias, to say nothing of
the self-devotion of Miltiades, he might have raised the power of Athens
to a height which nothing could have resisted.

(M600) Lysander completed the war which Brasidas had so nobly carried on,
and took possession of Athens, abolished the democratic constitution,
demolished the walls, and set up, as his creatures, a set of tyrants, and
also a Spartan governor in Athens. Under Lysander, the Lacedæmonian rule
was paramount in Greece. At one time, he had more power than any man in
Greece ever enjoyed. He undertook to change the government of the allied
cities, and there was scarcely a city in Greece where the Spartans had not
the ascendency. In most of the Ionian cities, and in all the cities which
had taken the side of Athens, there was a Spartan governor, so that when
Xenophon returned with his Ten Thousand to Asia Minor, he found he could
do nothing without the consent of the Spartan governors. Moreover, the
rule of Sparta was hostile to all democratic governments. She sought to
establish oligarchal institutions everywhere. Perhaps this difference
between Athens and Sparta respecting government was one great cause of tho
Peloponnesian war.

(M601) But the same envy which had once existed among the Grecian States
of the prosperity of Athens, was now turned upon Sparta. Her rule was
arrogant and hard and she in turn had to experience the humiliation of
revolt from her domination. “The allies of Sparta,” says Grote,
“especially Corinth and Thebes, not only relented in their hatred of
Athens, now she had lost her power, but even sympathized with her
suffering exiles, and became disgusted with the self-willed encroachments
of Sparta; while the Spartan king, Pausanias, together with some of the
ephors, were also jealous of the arbitrary and oppressive conduct of
Lysander. He refused to prevent the revival of the democracy. It was in
this manner that Athens, rescued from that sanguinary and rapacious
_régime_ of the Thirty Tyrants, was enabled to reappear as a humble and
dependent member of the Spartan alliance—with nothing but the recollection
of her former power, yet with her democracy again in vigorous action for
internal government.”

(M602) The victory of Ægospotami, which annihilated the Athenian navy,
ushered in the supremacy of Sparta, both on the land and sea, and all
Greece made submission to the ascendant power. Lysander established in
most of the cities an oligarchy of ten citizens, as well as a Spartan
harmost, or governor. Everywhere the Lysandrian dekarchy superseded the
previous governments, and ruled oppressively, like the Thirty at Athens,
with Critias at their head. And no justice could be obtained at Sparta
against the bad conduct of the harmosts who now domineered in every city.
Sparta had embroiled Greece in war to put down the ascendency of Athens,
but exercised a more tyrannical usurpation than Athens ever meditated. The
language of Brasidas, who promised every thing, was in striking contrast
to the conduct of Lysander, who put his foot on the neck of Greece.

(M603) The rule of the Thirty at Athens came to an end by the noble
efforts of Thrasybulus and the Athenian democracy, and the old
constitution was restored because the Spartan king was disgusted with the
usurpations and arrogance of Lysander, and forbore to interfere. Had
Sparta been wise, with this vast accession of power gained by the
victories of Lysander, she would have ruled moderately, and reorganized
the Grecian world on sound principles, and restored a Panhellenic
stability and harmony. She might not have restored, as Brasidas had
promised, a universal autonomy, or the complete independence of all the
cities, but would have bound together all the States under her presidency,
by a just and moderate rule. But Sparta had not this wisdom. She was
narrow, hard, and extortionate. She loved her own, as selfish people
generally do, but nothing outside her territory with any true magnanimity.
And she thus provoked her allies into rebellion, so that her chance was
lost, and her dominion short-lived. Athens would have been more
enlightened, but she never had the power, as Sparta had, of organizing a
general Panhellenic combination. The nearest approach which Athens ever
made was the confederacy of Delos, which did not work well, from the
jealousy of the cities. But Sparta soon made herself more unpopular than
Athens ever was, and her dream of empire was short.

(M604) The first great movement of Sparta, after the establishment of
oligarchy in all the cities which yielded to her, was a renewal of the war
with Persia. The Asiatic Greek cities had been surrendered to Persia
according to treaty, as the price for the assistance which Persia rendered
to Sparta in the war with Athens. But the Persian rule, under the satraps,
especially of Tissaphernes, who had been rewarded by Artaxerxes with more
power than before, became oppressive and intolerable. Nothing but
aggravated slavery impended over them. They therefore sent to Sparta for
aid to throw off the Persian yoke. The ephors, with nothing more to gain
from Persia, and inspired with contempt for the Persian armies—contempt
created by the expedition of the Ten Thousand—readily listened to the
overtures, and sent a considerable force into Asia, under Thimbron. He had
poor success, and was recalled, and Dereyllidas was sent in his stead. He
made a truce with Tissaphernes, in order to attack Pharnabazus, against
whom he had an old grudge, and with whom Tissaphernes himself happened for
the time to be on ill terms. Dereyllidas overrun the satrapy of
Pharnabazus, took immense spoil, and took up winter-quarters in Bythinia.
Making a truce with Pharnabazus, he crossed over into Europe and fortified
the Chersonesus against the Thracians. He then renewed the war both
against Pharnabazus and Tissaphernes upon the Mæander, the result of which
was an agreement, on the part of the satraps, to exempt the Grecian cities
from tribute and political interference, while the Spartan general
promised to withdraw from Asia his army, and the Spartan governors from
the Grecian cities.

(M605) At this point, B.C. 397, Dercyllidas was recalled to Sparta, and
King Agesilaus, who had recently arrived with large re-enforcements,
superseded him in command of the Lacedæmonian army. Agesilaus was the son
of king Archidamus, and half-brother to King Agis. He was about forty when
he became king, through the influence of Lysamler, in preference to his
nephew, and having been brought up without prospects of the throne, had
passed through the unmitigated rigor of the Spartan drill and training. He
was distinguished for all the Spartan virtues—obedience to authority,
extraordinary courage and energy, simplicity and frugality.

(M606) Agesilaus was assisted by large contingents from the allied Greek
cities for his war in Asia; but Athens, Corinth, and Thebes stood aloof.
Lysander accompanied him as one of the generals, but gave so great offense
by his overweening arrogance, that he was sent to command at the
Hellespont. The truce between the Spartans and Persians being broken,
Agesilaus prosecuted the war vigorously against both Tissaphernes and
Pharnabazus. He gained a considerable victory over the Persians near
Sardis, invaded Phrygia, and laid waste the satrapy of Pharnabazus. He
even surprised the camp of the satrap, and gained immense booty. But in
the midst of his victories he was recalled by Sparta, which had need of
his services at home. A rebellion of the allies had broken out, which
seriously threatened the stability of the Spartan empire.

(M607) “The prostration of the power of Athens had removed that common
bond of hatred and alarm which attached the allied cities to the headship
of Sparta; while her subsequent conduct had given positive offense, and
had excited against herself the same fear of unmeasured imperial ambition
which had before run so powerfully against Athens. She had appropriated to
herself nearly the whole of the Athenian maritime empire, with a tribute
of one thousand talents. But while Sparta had gained so much by the war,
not one of her allies had received the smallest remuneration. Even the
four hundred and seventy talents which Lysander brought home out of the
advances made by Cyrus, together with the booty acquired at Decelea, was
all detained by the Lacedæmonians. Hence there arose among the allies not
only a fear of the grasping dominion, but a hatred of the monopolizing
rapacity of Sparta. This was manifested by the Thebans and Corinthians
when they refused to join Pausanias in his march against Thrasybulus and
the Athenian exiles in Piræus. But the Lacedæmonians were strong enough to
despise this alienation of the allies, and even to take revenge on such as
incurred their displeasure. Among these were the Elians, whose territory
they invaded, but which they retreated from, on the appearance of an

The following year the Spartans, under King Agis, again invaded the
territory of Elis, enriched by the offerings made to the temple of
Olympeia. Immense booty in slaves, cattle, and provisions was the result
of this invasion, provoked by the refusal of the Elians to furnish aid in
the war against Athens. The Elians were obliged to submit to hard terms of
peace, and all the enemies of Sparta were rooted out of the Peloponnesus.

(M608) Such was the triumphant position of Sparta at the close of the
Peloponnesian war. And a great change had also taken place in her internal
affairs. The people had become enriched by successful war, and gold and
silver were admitted against the old institution of Lycurgus, which
recognized only iron money. The public men were enriched by bribes. The
strictness of the old rule of Spartan discipline was gradually relaxed.

(M609) It was then, shortly after the accession of Agesilaus to the
throne, on the death of Agis, that a dangerous conspiracy broke out in
Sparta itself, headed by Cinadon, a man of strength and courage, who saw
that men of his class were excluded from the honors and distinctions of
the State by the oligarchy—the ephors and the senate. But the rebellion,
though put down by the energy of Agesilaus, still produced a dangerous
discontent which weakened the power of the State.

(M610) The Lacedæmonian naval power, at this crisis, was seriously
threatened by the union of the Persian and Athenian fleet under Conon.
That remarkable man had escaped from the disaster of Ægospotami with eight
triremes, and sought the shelter of Cyprus, governed by his friend
Evagoras, where he remained until the war between Sparta and the Persians
gave a new direction to his enterprising genius. He joined Pharnabazus,
enraged with the Spartans on account of the invasion of his satrapy by
Lysander and Agesilaus, and by him was intrusted with the command of the
Persian fleet. He succeeded in detaching Rhodes from the Spartan alliance,
and gained, some time after, a decisive victory over Pisander—the Spartan
admiral, off Cnidus, which weakened the power of Sparta on the sea, B.C.
394. More than half of the Spartan ships were captured and destroyed.

(M611) This great success emboldened Thebes and other States to throw off
the Spartan yoke. Lysander was detached from his command at the Hellespont
to act against Bœotia, while Pausanias conducted an army from the
Peloponnesus. The Thebans, threatened by the whole power of Sparta,
applied to Athens, and Athens responded, no longer under the control of
the Thirty Tyrants. Lysander was killed before Haliartus, an irreparable
blow to Sparta, since he was her ablest general. Pausanias was compelled
to evacuate Bœotia, and the enemies of Sparta took courage. An alliance
between Athens, Corinth, Thebes, and Argos was now made to carry on war
against Sparta.

(M612) Thebes at this time steps from the rank of a secondary power, and
gradually rises to the rank of an ascendant city. Her leading citizen was
Ismenias, one of the great organizers of the anti-Spartan movement—the
precursor of Pelopidas and Epaminondas. He conducted successful operations
in the northern part of Bœotia, and captured Heracleia.

(M613) Such successes induced the Lacedæmonians to recall Agesilaus from
Asia, and to concentrate all their forces against this new alliance, of
which Thebes and Corinth were then the most powerful cities. The allied
forces were also considerable—some twenty-four thousand hoplites, besides
light troops and cavalry, and these were mustered at Corinth, where they
took up a defensive position. The Lacedæmonians advanced to attack them,
and gained an indecisive victory, B.C. 394, which secured their ascendency
within the Peloponnesus, but no further. Agesilaus advanced from Asia
through Thrace to co-operate, but learned, on the confines of Bœotia, the
news of the great battle of Cnidus. At Coronæa another battle was fought
between the Spartan and anti-Spartan forces, which was also indecisive,
but in which the Thebans displayed great heroism. This battle compelled
Agesilaus, with the Spartan forces, which he commanded, to retire from

(M614) This battle was a moral defeat to Sparta. Nearly all her maritime
allies deserted her—all but Abydos, which was held by the celebrated
Dercyllidas. Pharnabazus and Conon now sailed with their fleet to Corinth,
but the Persian satrap soon left and Conon remained sole admiral, assisted
with Persian money. With this aid he rebuilt the long walls of Athens,
with the hearty co-operation of those allies which had once been opposed
to Athens.

(M615) Conon had large plans for the restoration of the Athenian power. He
organized a large mercenary force at Corinth, which had now become the
seat of war. But as many evils resulted from the presence of so many
soldiers in the city, a conspiracy headed by the oligarchal party took
place, with a view of restoring the Lacedæmonian power. Pasimelus, the
head of the conspirators, admitted the enemy within the long walls of the
city, which, as in Athens, secured a communication between the city and
the port. And between these walls a battle took place, in which the
Lacedæmonians were victorious with a severe loss. They pulled down a
portion of the walls between Corinth and the port of Lechæum, sallied
forth, and captured two Corinthian dependencies, but the city of Corinth
remained in the hands of their gallant defenders, under the Athenian
Iphicrates. The long walls were soon restored, by aid of the Athenians,
but were again retaken by Agesilaus and the Spartans, together with
Lechæum. This success alarmed Thebes, which unsuccessfully sued for peace.
The war continued, with the loss, to the Corinthians, of Piræum, an
important island port, which induced the Thebans again to open
negotiations for peace, which were contemptuously rejected.

(M616) In the midst of these successes, tidings came to Agesilaus of a
disaster which was attended with important consequences, and which spoiled
his triumph. This was the destruction of a detachment of six hundred
Lacedæmonian hoplites by the light troops of Iphicrates—an unprecedented
victory—for the hoplites, in their heavy defensive armor, held in contempt
the peltarts with their darts and arrows, even as the knights of mediæval
Europe despised an encounter with the peasantry. This event revived the
courage of the anti-Spartan allies, and intensely humiliated the
Lacedæmonians. It was not only the loss of the aristocratic hoplites, but
the disgrace of being beaten by peltarts. Iphicrates recovered the places
which Agesilaus had taken, and Corinth remained undisturbed.

(M617) Sparta, in view of these great disasters, now sought to detach
Persia from Athens. She sent Antalcidas to Ionia, offering to surrender
the Asiatic Greeks, and promising a universal autonomy throughout the
Grecian world. These overtures were disliked by the allies, who sent Conon
to counteract them. But Antalcidas gained the favor of the Persian satrap
Tiribasus, who had succeeded Tissaphernes, and he privately espoused the
cause of Sparta, and seized Conon and caused his death. Tiribasus,
however, was not sustained by the Persian court, which remained hostile to
Sparta. Struthas, a Persian general, was sent into Ionia, to act more
vigorously against the Lacedæmonians. He gained a victory, B.C. 390, over
the Spartan forces, commanded by Thimbron, who was slain.

(M618) The Lacedæmonians succeeded, after the death of Conon, in
concentrating a considerable fleet near Rhodes. Against this, Thrasybulus
was sent from Athens with a still larger one, and was gaining advantages,
when he was slain near Aspendus, in Pamphylia, in a mutiny, and Athens
lost the restorer of her renovated democracy, and an able general and
honest citizen, without the vindictive animosities which characterized the
great men of his day.

(M619) Rhodes still held out against the Lacedæmonians, who were now
commanded by Anaxibius, in the place of Dercyllidas. He was surprised by
Iphicrates, and was slain, and the Athenians, under this gallant leader,
again became masters of the Hellespont. But this success was balanced by
the defection of Ægina, which island was constrained by the Lacedæmonians
into war with Athens. I need not detail the various enterprises on both
sides, until Antalcidas returned from Susa with the treaty confirmed
between the Spartans and the court of Persia, which closed the war between
the various contending parties, B.C. 387. This treaty was of great
importance, but it indicates the loss of all Hellenic dignity when Sparta,
too, descends so far as to comply with the demands of a Persian satrap.
Athens and Sparta, both, at different times, invoked the aid of Persia
against each other—the most mournful fact in the whole history of Greece,
showing how much more powerful were the rivalries of States than the
sentiment of patriotism, which should have united them against their
common enemy. The sacrifice of Ionia was the price which was paid by
Sparta, in order to retain her supremacy over the rest of Greece, and
Persia ruled over all the Greeks on the Asiatic coast. Sparta became
mistress of Corinth and of the Corinthian Isthmus. She organized
anti-Theban oligarchies in the Bœotian cities, with a Spartan harmost. She
decomposed the Grecian world into small fragments. She crushed Olythus,
and formed a confederacy between the Persian king and the Dionysius of
Syracuse. In short, she ruled with despotic sway over all the different

We have now to show how Sparta lost the ascendency she had gained, and
became involved in a war with Thebes, and how Thebes became, under
Pelopidas and Epaminondas, for a time the dominant State of Greece.

                              CHAPTER XXII.


(M620) After Sparta and Athens, no State of Greece arrived at
pre-eminence, until the Macedonian empire arose, except Thebes, the
capital of Bœotia; and the empire of this city was short, though
memorable, from the extraordinary military genius of Epaminondas.

In the year B.C. 370, Sparta was the ascendant power of Greece, and was
feared, even as Athens was in the time of Pericles. She had formed an
alliance with the Persian king and with Dionysius of Syracuse. All Greece,
within and without the Peloponnesus, except Argos and Attica and some
Thessalian cities, was enrolled in a confederacy under the lead of Sparta,
and Spartan governors and garrisons occupied the principal cities.

(M621) Thebes especially was completely under Spartan influence and
control, and was apparently powerless. Her citadel, the Cadmea, was filled
with Spartan soldiers, and the independence of Greece was at an end.
Confederated with Macedonians, Persians, and Syracusans, nobody dared to
call in question the headship of Sparta, or to provoke her displeasure.

(M622) This destruction of Grecian liberties, with the aid of the old
enemies of Greece, kindled great indignation. The orator Lysias, at
Athens, gave vent to the general feeling, in which he veils his
displeasure under the form of surprise, that Sparta, as the chief of
Greece, should permit the Persians, under Artaxerxes, and the Syracusans,
under Dionysius, to enslave Greece. The orator Isocrates spoke still more
plainly, and denounced the Lacedæmonians as “traitors to the general
security and freedom of Greece, and seconding foreign kings to aggrandize
themselves at the cost of autonomous Grecian cities—all in the interest of
their own selfish ambition.” Even Xenophon, with all his partiality for
Sparta, was still more emphatic, and accused the Lacedæmonians with the
violation of their oaths.

(M623) In Thebes the discontent was most apparent, for their leading
citizens were exiled, and the oligarchal party, headed by Leontiades and
the Spartan garrison, was oppressive and tyrannical. The Theban exiles
found at Athens sympathy and shelter. Among these was Pelopidas, who
resolved to free his country from the Spartan yoke. Holding intimate
correspondence with his friends in Thebes, he looked forward patiently for
the means of effecting deliverance, which could only be effected by the
destruction of Leontiades and his colleagues, who ruled the city.
Philidas, secretary of the polemarchs, entered into the conspiracy, and,
being sent in an embassy to Athens, concocted the way for Pelopidas and
his friends to return to Thebes and effect a revolution. Charon, an
eminent patriot, agreed to shelter the conspirators in his house until
they struck the blow. Epaminondas, then living at Thebes, dissuaded the
enterprise as too hazardous, although all his sympathies were with the

(M624) When all was ready, Philidas gave a banquet at his house to the
polemarchs, agreeing to introduce into the company some women of the first
families of Thebes, distinguished for their beauty. In concert with the
Theban exiles at Athens, Pelopidas, with six companions, crossed Cithæron
and arrived at Thebes, in December, B.C. 379, disguised as hunters, with
no other arms than concealed daggers. By a fortunate accident they entered
the gates and sought shelter in the house of Charon until the night of the
banquet. They were introduced into the banqueting chamber when the
polemarchs were full of wine, disguised in female attire, and, with the
aid of their Theban conspirators, dispatched three of the polemarchs with
their daggers. Leontiades was not present, but the conspirators were
conducted secretly to his house, and effected their purpose. Leontiades
was slain, in the presence of his wife. The conspirators then proceeded to
the prison, slew the jailer, and liberated the prisoners, and then
proclaimed, by heralds, in the streets, at midnight, that the despots were
slain and Thebes was free. But the Spartans still held possession of the
citadel, and, apprised of the _coup d’etat_, sent home for
re-enforcements. But before they could arrive Pelopidas and the
enfranchised citizens stormed the Cadmea, dispersed the garrison, put to
death the oligarchal Thebans, and took full possession of the city.

(M625) This unlooked-for revolution was felt throughout Greece like an
electric shook, and had a powerful moral effect. But the Spartans,
although it was the depth of winter, sent forth an expedition, under King
Cleombrotus—Agesilaus being disabled—to reconquer Thebes. He conducted his
army along the Isthmus of Corinth, through Megara, but did nothing, and
returned, leaving his lieutenant, Sphodrias, to prosecute hostilities.
Sphodrias, learning that the Piræus was undefended, undertook to seize it,
but failed, which outrage so incensed the Athenians, that they dismissed
the Lacedæmonian envoys, and declared war against Sparta. Athens now
exerted herself to form a second maritime confederacy, like that of Delos,
and Thebes enrolled herself a member. As the Athenian envoys, sent to the
islands of the Ægean, promised the most liberal principles, a new
confederacy was formed. The confederates assembled at Athens and
threatened war on an extensive scale. A resolution was passed to equip
twenty thousand hoplites, five hundred horsemen, and two hundred triremes.
A new property-tax was imposed at Athens to carry on the war.

(M626) At Thebes there was great enthusiasm, and Pelopidas, with Charon
and Melon, were named the first bœotrarchs. The Theban government became
democratic in form and spirit, and the military force was put upon a
severe training. A new brigade of three hundred hoplites, called the
Sacred Band, was organized for the special defense of the citadel,
composed of young men from the best families, distinguished for strength
and courage. The Thebans had always been good soldiers, but the popular
enthusiasm raised up the best army for its size in Greece.

(M627) Epaminondas now stands forth as a leader of rare excellence,
destined to achieve the greatest military reputation of any Greek, before
or since his time, with the exception of Alexander the Great—a kind of
Gustavus Adolphus, introducing new tactics into Grecian warfare. He was in
the prime of life, belonging to a poor but honorable family, younger than
Pelopidas, who was rich. He had acquired great reputation for his
gymnastic exercises; and was the most cultivated man in Thebes, a good
musician, and a still greater orator. He learned to play on both the lyre
and flute from the teachings of the best masters, sought the conversation
of the learned, but was especially eloquent in speech, and effective, even
against the best Athenian opponents. He was modest, unambitious,
patriotic, intellectual, contented with poverty, generous, and
disinterested. When the Cadmea was taken, he was undistinguished, and his
rare merits were only known to Pelopidas and his friends. He was among the
first to join the revolutionists, and was placed by Pelopidas among the
organizers of the military force.

(M628) The Spartans now made renewed exertions, and King Agesilaus, the
greatest military man of whom Sparta can boast, marched with a large army,
in the spring of B.C. 378, to attack Thebes. He established his
head-quarters in Thespiæ, from which he issued to devastate the Theban

The Thebans and Athenians, unequal in force, still kept the field against
him, acting on the defensive, declining battle, and occupying strong
positions. After a month of desultory warfare, Agesilaus retired, leaving
Phœbidas in command at Thespiæ, who was slain in an incautious pursuit of
the enemy.

(M629) In the ensuing summer Agesilaus undertook a second expedition into
Bœotia, but gained no decided advantage, while the Thebans acquired
experience, courage, and strength. Agesilaus having strained his lame leg,
was incapacitated for active operation, and returned to Sparta, leaving
Cleombrotus to command the Spartan forces. He was unable to enter Bœotia,
since the passes over Mount Cithæron were held by the Thebans, and he made
an inglorious retreat, without even reaching Bœotia.

(M630) The Spartans now resolved to fit out a large naval force to operate
against Athens, by whose assistance the Thebans had maintained their
ground for two years. The Athenians, on their part, also fitted out a
fleet, assisted by their allies, under the command of Chabrias, which
defeated the Lacedæmonian fleet near Naxos, B.C. 376. This was the first
great victory which Athens had gained since the Peloponnesian war, and
filled her citizens with joy and confidence, and led to a material
enlargement of their maritime confederacy. Phocion, who had charge of a
squadron detached from the fleet of Chabrias, also sailed victorious round
the Ægean, took twenty triremes, three thousand prisoners, with one
hundred and ten talents in money, and annexed seventeen cities to the
confederacy. Timotheus, the son of Conon, was sent with the fleet of
Chabrias, to circumnavigate the Peloponnesus, and alarm the coast of
Laconia. The important island of Corcyra entered into the confederation,
and another Spartan fleet, under Nicolochus, was defeated, so that the
Athenians became once again the masters of the sea. But having regained
their ascendency, Athens became jealous of the growing power of Thebes,
now mistress of Bœotia, and this jealousy, inexcusable after such
reverses, was increased when Pelopidas gained a great victory over the
Lacedæmonians near Tegyra, which led to the expulsion of their enemies
from all parts of Bœotia, except Orchomenus, on the borders of Phocis.
That territory was now attacked by the victorious Thebans, upon which
Athens made peace with the Lacedæmonians.

(M631) It would thus seem that the ancient Grecian States were perpetually
jealous of any ascendant power, and their policy was not dissimilar from
that which was inaugurated in modern Europe since the treaty of
Westphalia—called the balance of power. Greece, thus far, was not
ambitious to extend her rule over foreign nations, but sought an
autonomous independence of the several States of which she was composed.
Had Greece united under the leadership of Sparta or Athens, her foreign
conquests might have been considerable, and her power, centralized and
formidable, might have been a match even for the Romans. But in the
anxiety of each State to secure its independence, there were perpetual and
unworthy jealousies of each rising State, when it had reached a certain
point of prosperity and glory. Hence the various States united under
Sparta, in the Peloponnesian war, to subvert the ascendency of Athens. And
when Sparta became the dominant power of Greece, Athens unites with Thebes
to break her domination. And now Athens becomes jealous of Thebes, and
makes peace with Sparta, in the same way that England in the eighteenth
century united with Holland and other States, to prevent the
aggrandizement of France, as different powers of Europe had previously
united to prevent the ascendency of Austria.

(M632) The Spartan power was now obviously humbled, and one of the
greatest evidences of this was the decline of Sparta to give aid to the
cities of Thessaly, in danger of being conquered by Jason, the despot of
Pheræ, whose formidable strength was now alarming Northern Greece.

(M633) The peace which Sparta had concluded with Athens was of very short
duration. The Lacedæmonians resolved to attack Corcyra, which had joined
the Athenian confederation. An armament collected from the allies, under
Mnasippus, in the spring of B.C. 373, proceeded against Corcyra. The
inhabitants, driven within the walls of the city, were in danger of
famine, and invoked Athenian aid. Before it arrived, however, the
Corcyræans made a successful sally upon the Spartan troops, over-confident
of victory, in which Mnasippus was slain, and the city became supplied
with provisions. After the victory, Iphicrates, in command of the Athenian
fleet, which had been delayed, arrived and captured the ships which
Dionysius of Syracuse had sent to the aid of the Lacedæmonians. These
reverses induced the Spartans to send Antalcidas again to Persia to sue
for fresh intervention, but the satraps, having nothing more to gain from
Sparta, refused aid. But Athens was not averse to peace, since she no
longer was jealous of Sparta, and was jealous of Thebes. In the mean time
Thebes seized Platæa, a town of Bœotia, unfriendly to her ascendency, and
expelled the inhabitants who sought shelter in Athens, and increased the
feeling of disaffection toward the rising power. This event led to renewed
negotiations for peace between Athens and Sparta, which was effected at a
congress held in the latter city. The Athenian orator Callistratus, one of
the envoys, proposed that Sparta and Athens should divide the headship of
Greece between them, the former having the supremacy on land, the latter
on the sea. Peace was concluded on the basis of the autonomy of each city.

(M634) Epaminondas was the Theban deputy to this congress. He insisted on
taking the oath in behalf of the Bœotian confederation, even as Sparta had
done for herself and allies. But Agesilaus required he should take the
oath for Thebes alone, as Athens had done for herself alone. He refused,
and made himself memorable for his eloquent speeches, in which he
protested against the pretensions of Sparta. “Why,” he maintained, “should
not Thebes respond for Bœotia, as well as Sparta for Laconia, since Thebes
had the same ascendency in Bœotia that Sparta had in Laconia?” Agesilaus,
at last, indignantly started from his seat, and said to Epaminondas:
“Speak plainly. Will you, or will you not, leave to each of the Bœotian
cities its separate autonomy?” To which the other replied: “Will you leave
each of the Laconian towns autonomous?” Without saying a word, Agesilaus
struck the name of the Thebans out of the roll, and they were excluded
from the treaty.

(M635) The war now is to be prosecuted between Sparta and Thebes, since
peace was sworn between all the other States. The deputies of Thebes
returned home discouraged, knowing that their city must now encounter,
single-handed, the whole power of the dominant State of Greece. “The
Athenians—friendly with both, yet allies with neither—suffered the dispute
to be fought out without interfering.” The point of it was, whether Thebes
was in the same relation to the Bœotian towns that Sparta was to the
Laconian cities. Agesilaus contended that the relations between Thebes and
other Bœotian cities was the same as what subsisted between Sparta and her
allies. This was opposed by Epaminondas.

(M636) After the congress of B.C. 371, both Sparta and Athens fulfilled
the conditions to which their deputies had sworn. The latter gave orders
to Iphicrates to return home with his fleet, which had threatened the
Lacedæmonian coast; the former recalled her harmosts and garrisons from
all the cities which she occupied, while she made preparations, with all
her energies, to subdue Thebes. It was anticipated that so powerful a
State as Sparta would soon accomplish her object, and few out of Bœotia
doubted her success.

(M637) King Cleombrotus was accordingly ordered to march out of Phocis,
where he was with a powerful force, into Bœotia. Epaminondas, with a body
of Thebans, occupied a narrow pass near Coronea, between a spur of Mount
Helicon and the Lake Copais. But instead of forcing this pass, the Spartan
king turned southward by a mountain road, over Helicon, deemed scarcely
practicable, and defeated a Theban division which guarded it, and marched
to Creusis, on the Gulf of Alcyonis, and captured twelve Theban triremes
in the harbor. He then left a garrison to occupy the post, and proceeded
over a mountainous road in the territory of Thespiæ, on the eastern
declivity of Helicon, to Leuctra, where he encamped. He was now near
Thebes, having a communication with Sparta through the port of Creusis.
The Thebans were dismayed, and it required all the tact and eloquence of
Epaminondas and Pelopidas to rally them. They marched out at length from
Thebes, under their seven bœotrarchs, and posted themselves opposite the
Spartan camp. Epaminondas was one of these generals, and urged immediate
battle, although the Theban forces were inferior.

(M638) It was through him that a change took place in the ordinary Grecian
tactics. It was customary to fight simultaneously along the whole line, in
which the opposing armies were drawn up. Departing from this custom, he
disposed his troops obliquely, or in échelon, placing on his left chosen
Theban hoplites to the depth of fifty, so as to bear with impetuous force
on the Spartan right, while his centre and right were kept back for awhile
from action. Such a combination, so unexpected, was completely successful.
The Spartans could not resist the concentrated and impetuous assault made
on their right, led by the Sacred Band, with fifty shields propelling
behind. Cleombrotus, the Spartan king, was killed, with the most
distinguished of his staff, and the Spartans were driven back to their
camp. The allies, who fought without spirit or heart, could not be
rallied. The victory was decisive, and made an immense impression
throughout Greece; for it was only twenty days since Epaminondas had
departed from Sparta, excluded from the general peace. The Spartans bore
the defeat with their characteristic fortitude, but their prestige was
destroyed. A new general had arisen in Bœotia, who carried every thing
before him. The Athenians heard of the victory with ill-concealed jealousy
of the rising power.

(M639) Jason, the tyrant of Pheræ, now joined the Theban camp and the
Spartan army was obliged to evacuate Bœotia. The great victory of Leuctra
gave immense extension to the Theban power, and broke the Spartan rule
north of the Peloponnesus. All the cities of Bœotia acknowledged the
Theban supremacy, while the harmosts which Sparta had placed in the
Grecian cities were forced to return home. Sparta was now discouraged and
helpless, and even many Peloponnesian cities put themselves under the
presidency of Athens. None were more affected by the Spartan overthrow
than the Arcadians, whose principal cities had been governed by an
oligarchy in the interest of Sparta, such as Tegea and Orchomenus, while
Mantinea was broken up into villages. The Arcadians, free from Spartan
governors, and ceasing to look henceforth for victory and plunder in the
service of Sparta, became hostile, and sought their political
independence. A Pan-Arcadian union was formed.

(M640) Sparta undertook to recover her supremacy over Arcadia, and
Agesilaus was sent to Mantinea with a considerable force, for the city had
rebuilt its walls, and resumed its former consolidation, which was a great
offense in the eyes of Sparta. The Arcadians, invaded by Spartans, first
invoked the aid of Athens, which being refused, they turned to Thebes, and
Epaminondas came to their relief with a great army of
auxiliaries—Argeians, Elians, Phocians, Locrians, as well as Thebans, for
his fame now drew adventurers from every quarter to his standard. These
forces urged him to invade Laconia itself, and his great army, in four
divisions, penetrated the country through different passes. He crossed the
Eurotas and advanced to Sparta, which was in the greatest consternation,
not merely from the near presence of Epaminondas with a powerful army of
seventy thousand men, but from the discontent of the Helots. But Agesilaus
put the city in the best possible defense, while every means were used to
secure auxiliaries from other cities. Epaminondas dared not to attempt to
take the city by storm, and after ravaging Laconia, returned into Arcadia.
This insult to Sparta was of great moral force, and was an intense
humiliation, greater even than that felt after the battle of Leuctra.

(M641) This expedition, though powerless against Sparta herself, prepared
Epaminondas to execute the real object which led to the assistance of the
Arcadians. This was the re-establishment of Messenia, which had been
conquered by Sparta two hundred years before. The new city of Messenia was
built on the site of Mount Ithome, where the Messenians had defended
themselves in their long war against the Laconians, and the best masons
and architects were invited from all Greece to lay out the streets, and
erect the public edifices, while Epaminondas superintended the
fortifications. All the territory westward and south of Ithome—the
southwestern corner of the Peloponnesus, richest on the peninsula, was now
subtracted from Sparta, while the country to the east was protected by the
new city in Arcadia, Megalopolis, which the Arcadians built. This wide
area, the best half of the Spartan territory, was thus severed from
Sparta, and was settled by Helots, who became free men, with
inextinguishable hatred of their old masters. But these Helots were
probably the descendants of the old Messenians whom Sparta had conquered.
This renovation of Messenia, and the building of the two cities, Messenia
and Megalopolis, was the work of Epaminondas, and were the most important
events of the day. The latter city was designed as the centre of a new
confederacy, comprising all Arcadia.

(M642) Sparta being thus crippled, dismembered, and humbled, Epaminondas
evacuated the Peloponnesus, filled, however, with undiminished hostility.
Sparta condescends to solicit aid from Athens, so completely was its power
broken by the Theban State, and Athens consents to assist her, in the
growing fear and jealousy of Thebes, thereby showing that the animosities
of the Grecian States grew out of political jealousy rather than from
revenge or injury. To rescue Sparta was a wise policy, if it were
necessary to maintain a counterpoise against the ascendency of Thebes. An
army was raised, and Iphicrates was appointed general. He first marched to
Corinth, and from thence into Arcadia, but made war with no important

(M643) Such were the great political changes which occurred within two
years under the influence of such a hero as Epaminondas. Laconia had been
invaded and devastated, the Spartans were confined within their walls,
Messenia had been liberated from Spartan rule, two important cities had
been built, to serve as great fortresses to depress Sparta, Helots were
converted into freemen, and Greece generally had been emancipated from the
Spartan yoke. Such were the consequences of the battle of Leuctra.

And this battle, which thus destroyed the prestige of Sparta, also led to
renewed hopes on the part of the Athenians to regain the power they had
lost. Athens already had regained the ascendency on the sea, and looked
for increased maritime aggrandizement. On the land she could only remain a
second class power, and serve as a bulwark against Theban ascendency.

(M644) Athens sought also to recover Amphipolis—a maritime city, colonized
by Athenians, at the head of the Strymonican Gulf, in Macedonia, which was
taken from her in the Peloponnesian war, by Brasidas. Amyntas, the king of
Macedonia, seeking aid against Jason of Pheræ, whose Thessalian dominion
and personal talents and ambition combined to make him a powerful
potentate, consented to the right of Athens to this city. But Amyntas died
not long after the assassination of Jason, and both Thessaly and Macedonia
were ruled by new kings, and new complications took place. Many Thessalian
cities, hostile to Alexander, the son of Jason, invoked the aid of Thebes,
and Pelopidas was sent into Thessaly with an army, who took Larissa and
various other cities under his protection. A large part of Thessaly thus
came under the protection of Thebes. On the other hand, Alexander, who
succeeded Amyntas in Macedonia, found it difficult to maintain his own
dominion without holding Thessalian towns in garrison. He was also
harassed by interior commotions, headed by Pausanias, and was slain.
Ptolemy, of Alorus, now became regent, and administered the kingdom in the
name of the minor children of Amyntas—Perdiccas and Philip. The mother of
these children, Eurydice, presented herself, with her children, to
Iphicrates, and invoked protection. He declared in her favor, and expelled
Pausanias, and secured the sceptre of Amyntas, who had been friendly to
the Athenians, to his children, under Ptolemy as regent. The younger of
these children lived to overthrow the liberties of Greece.

(M645) But Iphicrates did not recover Amphipolis, which was a free city,
and had become attached to the Spartans after Brasidas had taken it.
Iphicrates was afterward sent to assist Sparta in the desperate contest
with Thebes. The Spartan allied army occupied Corinth, and guarded the
passes which prevented the Thebans from penetrating into the Peloponnesus.
Epaminondas broke through the defenses of the Spartans, and opened a
communication with his Peloponnesian allies, and with these increased
forces was more than a match for the Spartans and Athenians. He ravaged
the country, induced Sicyon to abandon Sparta, and visited Arcadia to
superintend the building of Megalopolis. Meanwhile Pelopidas, B.C. 368,
conducted an expedition into Thessaly, to protect Larissa against
Alexander of Pheræ, and to counterwork the projects of that despot, who
was in league with Athens. He was successful, and then proceeded to
Macedonia, and made peace with Ptolemy, who was not strong enough to
resist him, taking, among other hostages to Thebes, Philip, the son of
Amyntas. The Thebans and Macedonians now united to protect the freedom of
Amphipolis against Athens. Pelopidas returned to Thebes, having extended
her ascendency over both Thessaly and Macedonia.

(M646) Thebes, now ambitious for the headship of Greece, sent Pelopidas on
a mission to the Persian king at Susa, who obtained a favorable rescript.
The States which were summoned to Thebes to hear the rescript read refused
to accept it; and even the Arcadian deputies protested against the
headship of Thebes. So powerful were the sentiments of all the Grecian
States, from first to last, against the complete ascendency of any one
power, either Athens, or Sparta, or Thebes. The rescript was also rejected
at Corinth. Pelopidas was now sent to Thessaly to secure the recognition
of the headship of Thebes; but in the execution of his mission he was
seized and detained by Alexander of Pheræ.

The Thebans then sent an army into Thessaly to rescue Pelopidas.
Unfortunately, Epaminondas did not command it. Having given offense to his
countrymen, he was not elected that year as bœotrarch, and served in the
ranks as a private hoplite. Alexander, assisted by the Athenians,
triumphed in his act of treachery, and treated his illustrious captive
with harshness and cruelty, and the Theban army, unsuccessful, returned

(M647) The Thebans then sent another army, under Epaminondas, into
Thessaly for the rescue of Pelopidas, and such was the terror of his name,
that Alexander surrendered his prisoner, and sought to make peace. But the
rescue of Pelopidas disabled Thebes from prosecuting the war in the
Peloponnesus. As soon, however, as this was effected, Epaminondas was sent
as an envoy into Arcadia to dissuade her from a proposed alliance with
Athens, and there had to contend with the Athenian orator Callistratus.
The complicated relations of the different Grecian States now became so
complicated, that it is useless, in a book like this, to attempt to
unravel them. Negotiations between Athens and Persia, the efforts of
Corinth and other cities to secure peace, the ambition of Athens to
maintain ascendency on the sea, the creation of a Theban navy—these and
other events must be passed by.

But we can not omit to notice the death of Pelopidas.

(M648) He had been sent with an army into Thessaly against Alexander of
Pheræ, who was at the height of his power, holding in dependence a
considerable part of Thessaly, and having Athens for an ally. In a battle
which took place between Pelopidas and Alexander, near Pharsalus, the
Thessalians were routed. Pelopidas, seeing his enemy apparently within his
reach, and remembering only his injuries, sallied forth, unsupported, like
Cyrus, on the field of Cunaxa, at the sight of his brother, to attack him
when surrounded by his guards, and fell while fighting bravely. Nothing
could exceed the grief of the victorious Thebans in view of this disaster,
which was the result of inexcusable rashness. He was endeared by
uninterrupted services from the day he slew the Spartan governors and
recovered the independence of his city. He had taken a prominent part in
all the struggles which had raised Thebes to unexpected glory, and was
second in abilities to Epaminondas alone, whom he ever cherished with more
than fraternal friendship, without envy and without reproach. All that
Thebes could do was to revenge his death. Alexander was stripped of all
his Thessalian dependencies, and confined to his own city, with its
territory, near the Gulf of Pegasæ.

(M649) It was while Pelopidas was engaged in his Thessalian campaign, that
a conspiracy against the power of Thebes took place in the second city of
Bœotia—Orchomenus, on Lake Copais. This city was always disaffected, and
in the absence of Pelopidas in Thessaly, and Epaminondas with a fleet on
the Hellespont, some three hundred of the richest citizens undertook to
overthrow the existing government. The plot was discovered before it was
ripe for execution, the conspirators were executed, the town itself was
destroyed, the male adults were killed, and the women and children were
sold into slavery. This barbarous act was but the result of long pent up
Theban hatred, but it kindled a great excitement against Thebes throughout
Greece. The city, indeed, sympathized with the Spartan cause, and would
have been destroyed before but for the intercession of Epaminondas, whose
policy was ever lenient and magnanimous. It was a matter of profound grief
to this general, now re-elected as one of the bœotarchs, that Thebes had
stained her name by this cruel vengeance, since he knew it would intensify
the increasing animosity against the power which had arrived so suddenly
to greatness.

(M650) Hostilities, as he feared, soon broke out with increased bitterness
between Sparta and Thebes. And these were precipitated by difficulties in
Arcadia, then at war with Elis, and the appropriation of the treasures of
Olympia by the Arcadians. Sparta, Elis, and Achaia formed an alliance, and
Arcadia invoked the aid of Thebes. The result was that Epaminondas marched
with a large army into the Peloponnesus, and mustered his forces at Tegea,
which was under the protection of Thebes. His army comprised, besides
Thebans and Bœotians, Eubœans, Thessalians, Locrians, and other allies
from Northern Greece. The Spartans, allied with Elians, Achæans, and
Athenians, united at Mantinea, under the command of Agesilaus, now an old
man of eighty, but still vigorous and strong. Tegea lay in the direct road
from Sparta to Mantinea, and while Agesilaus was moving by a more
circuitous route to the westward, Epaminondas resolved to attempt a
surprise on Sparta. This movement was unexpected, and nothing saved Sparta
except the accidental information which Agesilaus received of the movement
from a runner, in time to turn back to Sparta and put it in a condition of
defense before Epaminondas arrived, for Tegea was only about thirty miles
from Sparta. The Theban general was in no condition to assault the city,
and his enterprise failed, from no fault of his. Seeing that Sparta was
defended, he marched back immediately to Tegea, and dispatched his cavalry
to surprise Mantinea, about fifteen miles distant. The surprise was
baffled by the unexpected arrival of Athenian cavalry. An encounter took
place between these two bodies of cavalry, in which the Athenians gained
an advantage. Epaminondas saw then no chance left for striking a blow but
by a pitched battle, with all his forces. He therefore marched from Tegea
toward the enemy, who did not expect to be attacked, and was unprepared.
He adopted the same tactics that gave him success at Leuctra, and posted
himself, with his Theban phalanx on the left, against the opposing right,
and bore down with irresistible force, both of infantry and cavalry, while
he kept back the centre and right, composed of his trustworthy troops,
until the battle should be decided. His column, not far from fifty shields
in depth, pressed upon the opposing column of only eight shields in depth,
like the prow of a trireme impelled against the midships of an antagonist
in a sea-fight. This mode of attack was completely successful. Epaminondas
broke through the Lacedæmonian line, which turned and fled, but he
himself, pressing on to the attack, at the head of his column, was
mortally wounded. He was pierced with a spear—the handle broke, leaving
the head sticking in his breast. He at once fell, and his own troops
gathered around his bleeding body, giving full expression to their grief
and lamentations.

(M651) Thebes gained, by the battle of Mantinea, the preservation of her
Arcadian allies and of her anti-Spartan frontier; while Sparta lost,
beyond hope, her ancient prestige and power. But the victory was dearly
purchased by the death of Epaminondas, who has received, and probably
deserves, more unmingled admiration than any hero whom Greece ever
produced. He was a great military genius, and introduced new tactics into
the art of war. He was a true patriot, thinking more of the glory of his
country than his own exaltation. He was a man of great political insight,
and merits the praise of being a great statesman. He was, above all,
unsullied by vices, generous, devoted, merciful in war, magnanimous in
victory, and laborious in peace. He was also learned, eloquent, and wise,
ruling by moral wisdom as well as by genius. His death was an irreparable
loss—one of those great men whom his country could not spare, and whose
services no other man could render. Of modern heroes he most resembles
Gustavus Adolphus. And as the Thirty Years in Germany loses all its
interest after the battle of Leutzen, when the Swedish hero laid down his
life in defense of his Protestant brethren, so the Theban contest with
Sparta has no great significance after the battle of Mantinea. The only
great blunder which Epaminondas made was to encourage his countrymen to
compete with Athens for the sovereignty of the seas. That sovereignty was
the natural empire of Athens, even as the empire of the land was the glory
of Sparta. If these two powers had been contented with their own peculiar
sphere, and joined in a true alliance with each other, the empire of
Greece might have resisted the encroachments of Philip and Alexander, and
defied the growing ascendency of Rome.

(M652) Shortly after the death of Epaminondas, B.C. 362, the greatest man
of Spartan annals disappeared from the stage of history. Agesilaus died in
Egypt, having gone there to assist the king in his revolt from Persia. He
also possessed all the great qualities of a prince, a soldier, a statesman
and a man. He, too, was ambitious, but only to perpetuate the power of
Sparta. It was his misfortune to contend with a greater man, but he did
all that was in the power of a king of Sparta to retrieve her fortunes,
and died deeply lamented and honored. Artaxerxes died B.C. 358, after
having subdued the revolt of his satraps and of Egypt, having reigned
forty-five years, and Ochus succeeded to his throne, taking his father’s

(M653) Athens recovered, during the wars between Sparta and Thebes, much
of her former maritime power, and succeeded in retaking the Chersonese.
But another great character now arises to our view—Philip of Macedon, who
succeeded in overturning the liberties of Greece. But before we present
his career, that of Dionysius of Syracuse, demands a brief notice, and the
great power of Sicily, as a Grecian State, during his life.

                              CHAPTER XXIII.


We have already seen how the Athenian fleet was destroyed at the siege of
Syracuse, where Nicias and Demosthenes were so lamentably defeated, which
defeat resulted in the humiliation of Athens and the loss of her power as
the leading State of Greece.

The destruction of this great Athenian armament in September, B.C. 413,
created an intoxication of triumph in the Sicilian cities. Nearly all of
them had joined Syracuse, except Naxos and Catana, which sided with
Athens. Agrigentum was neutral.

(M654) The Syracusans were too much exhausted by the contest to push their
victory to the loss of the independence of these cities, but they assisted
their allies, the Lacedæmonians, with twenty triremes against Athens,
under Hermocrates, while Rhodes furnished a still further re-enforcement,
under Dorieus. But the Peloponnesian war was not finished as soon as the
Syracusans anticipated. Even the combined Peloponnesian and Syracusan
fleets sustained two defeats in the Hellespont. The battle of Cyxicus was
even still more calamitous, since the Spartan admiral Mindarus was slain,
and the whole of his fleet was captured and destroyed. The Syracusans
suffered much by this latter defeat, and all their triremes were burned to
prevent them falling into the hands of their enemies, and the seamen were
left destitute on the Propontis, in the satrapy of Pharnabazus. These
adverse events led to the disgrace of Hermocrates, who stimulated the
movement and promised what he could not perform. But his conduct had been
good, and his treatment was unjust and harsh. War recognizes only success,
whatever may be the virtues and talents of the commanders; and this is one
of the worst phases of war, when accident and circumstances contribute
more to military rewards than genius itself.

(M655) The banishment of Hermocrates was followed by the triumph of the
democratical party, and Diocles, an influential citizen, was named, with a
commission of ten, to revise the constitution and the laws. The laws of
Diocles did not remain in force long, and were exceeding severe in their
penalties. But they were afterward revived, and copied by other Sicilian
cities, and remained in force to the Grecian conquest of the island.

(M656) The Syracusans then prosecuted war with vigor against Naxos, which
sided with Athens, until it was brought to a sudden close by an invasion
of the Carthaginians, the ancient foes of Greece. As far back as the year
480 B.C.—that year which witnessed the invasion of Greece by Xerxes—the
Carthaginians had invaded Sicily, with a mercenary army under Hamilcar,
for the purpose of reinstating the tyrant of Himera, expelled by Theron of
Agrigentum. The Carthaginian army was routed, and Hamilcar was slain by
Gelon, the tyrant of Syracuse. This defeat was so signal, that it was
seventy years before the Carthaginians again invaded Sicily, shortly after
the destruction of Athenian power at Syracuse. No sooner was the
protecting naval power of Athens withdrawn from Greece, than the Persians
and the Carthaginians pressed upon the Hellenic world.

(M657) It is singular that so little is known of the early history of
Carthage, which became the great rival of Rome. It was founded by the
Phœnicians, and became a considerable commercial city before Athens had
reached the naval supremacy of Greece. Her possessions were extensive on
the coast of Africa, both east and west, comprehending Sardinia and the
Balearic isles. At the maximum of her power, before the first Punic war,
the population was nearly a million of people. It was built on a fortified
peninsula of about twenty miles in circumference, with the isthmus. Upon
this isthmus was the citadel Byrsa, surrounded with a triple wall, and
crowned at its summit by a magnificent temple of Æsculapius. It possessed
three hundred tributary cities in Libya, which was but a small part of the
great empire which belonged to it in the fourth century before Christ. All
the towns on the coast, even those founded by the Phœnicians, like Hippo
and Utica, were tributary, with the exception of Utica. Although the
Carthaginians were averse to land service, yet no less than forty thousand
hoplites, with one thousand cavalry and two thousand war chariots, marched
out from the gates to resist an enemy. But the Carthaginian armies were
mostly composed of mercenaries—Gauls, Iberians, and Libyans, and forming a
discordant host in language and custom.

(M658) The political constitution of Carthage was oligarchal. Two kings
were elected annually, and presided over the Senate, of three hundred
persons, made up from the principal families. The great families divided
between them, as in Rome, the offices and influence of the State, and
maintained an insolent distinction from the people. It was an aristocracy,
based on wealth, and created by commerce, as in Venice, in the Middle
Ages. There was a demos, or people, at Carthage, who were consulted on
particular occasions; but, whether numerous or not, they were kept in
dependence to the rich families by banquets and lucrative employments. The
government was stable and well conducted, both for internal tranquillity
and commercial aggrandizement.

(M659) The first eminent historical personage was Mago, B.C. 500, who
greatly extended the dominions of Carthage. Of his two sons, Hamilcar was
defeated and slain by Gelon of Syracuse. The other son, Hasdrubal,
perished in Sardinia. His sons remained the most powerful citizens of the
State, carrying on war against the Moors and other African tribes.
Hannibal, grandson of Hamilcar, distinguished himself in an invasion of
Sicily, B.C. 410, and with a large army, of one hundred thousand men,
stormed and took Selinus, and killed one hundred and sixty thousand of the
inhabitants, and carried away captive five thousand more. He then laid
siege to Himera, which he also took, and slaughtered three thousand of the
inhabitants, in expiation of the memory of his grandfather. These were
Grecian cities, and the alarm throughout Greece was profound for this new
enemy. These events look place about the time that Hermocrates was
banished for an unsuccessful maritime war. Hermocrates afterward attempted
to enter Syracuse, but was defeated and slain.

(M660) At this period Dionysius appears upon the stage—for the next
generation the most formidable name in the Grecian world. He had none of
the advantages of family or wealth—but was well educated, and espoused the
cause of Hermocrates, and rose to distinction during the intestine
commotions which resulted from the death of Hermocrates and the banishment
of Diocles, the lawgiver.

(M661) In 406 B.C., Sicily was again invaded by a large force from
Carthage, estimated by some writers as high as three hundred thousand men,
who were chiefly mercenaries. Hannibal was the leader of these forces. All
the Greek cities now prepared for vigorous war. The Syracusans sent to
Sparta and the Italian Greek cities for aid. Agrigentum was most in
danger, and most alarmed of the Greek Sicilian cities. It was second only
to Syracuse in numbers and wealth, having a population of eight hundred
thousand people, though this is probably an exaggeration. It was rich in
temples and villas and palaces; its citizens were wealthy, luxurious, and

(M662) The army of Hannibal advanced against this city, which was strongly
fortified, and re-enforced by a strong body of troops from Syracuse, under
Daphneus. He defeated the Iberian mercenaries, but did not preserve his
victory, so that the Carthaginians were enabled to take and plunder
Agrigentum. There was, of course, bitter complaint against the Syracusan
generals, who might have prevented this calamity. In the discontent which
succeeded, Dionysius was elevated to the command. He procured a vote to
restore the Hermocratean exiles, and procured, also, a body of paid
guards, and established himself as despot of Syracuse; and he arrived at
this power by demagogic arts, allying himself with the ultra democratic

(M663) Soon after his elevation, the Carthaginians advanced, under Imoleo,
to attack Gela, which was relieved by Dionysius with a force of fifty
thousand men. Intrenching himself between Gela and the sea, opposite the
Carthaginians, he resolved to attack the invaders, but was defeated and
obliged to retreat, so that Gela fell into the hands of the Carthaginians,
who perpetrated their usual cruelties. This defeat occasioned a mutiny at
Syracuse, and his house was plundered of the silver and gold and valuables
which he had already collected. But he rapidly returned to Syracuse, and
punished the mutineers, and became master of the city, driving away the
rich citizens who had vainly obstructed his elevation. He abolished every
remnant of freedom, and ruled despotically with the aid of his
mercenaries, and the common people who rallied to his standard.

(M664) It was fortunate for him that the Carthaginians, although victors
at Gela, made proposals of peace, which were accepted. Dionysius accepted
a peace, the terms of which were favorable to Carthage, in order to secure
his own power. He betrayed the interests of Sicily to an enemy from
selfish and unworthy motives. The whole south of Sicily was consigned to
the Carthaginians, and Syracuse to Dionysius.

(M665) Dionysius now concentrated all his efforts to centralize and
maintain his power. He greatly strengthened the fortifications of
Syracuse. He constructed a new wall, with lofty towers and elaborate
defenses, outside the mole which connected the islet Ortygia with Sicily.
He also erected a citadel. He then had an impregnable stronghold, powerful
for attack and defense. The fortress he erected in the islet of Ortygia he
filled with his devoted adherents, consisting mostly of foreigners, to
whom he assigned a permanent support and residence. He distributed anew
the Syracusan territory, reserving the best lands for his friends, who
thus became citizens. By this wholesale confiscation he was enabled to
support ten thousand mercenary troops, devoted to him and his tyranny. The
contributions he extorted were enormous, so that in five years twenty per
cent of the whole property of Syracuse was paid into his hands.

(M666) Having thus strengthened his power in Syracuse, he marched against
the Sikels, in the interior of the island. But his absence was taken
advantage of by the discontented citizens, who attempted to regain their
freedom. He returned at once to Syracuse, and intrenched himself in his
fortress, where he was besieged by the insurgents. The tyrant was now
driven to desperation, and nothing saved him but the impregnable
fortifications which he had erected. But his situation was so desperate
that his adherents melted away, and he began to abandon all hope of
retaining his position. As a last resource, he purchased the aid of a body
of Campanian cavalry, in the Carthaginian service, which was stationed at
Gela, while he amused the Syracusans, to gain time, by a pretended
submission. They agreed to allow him to depart with five triremes, and
relaxed the siege, supposing him already subdued. Meanwhile the
Carthaginian mercenaries arrived and defeated the Syracusans, already
dispersed and divided. Dionysius, finding himself rescued and
re-established in his dominions, strengthened the fortifications of
Ortygia, and employed his forces, now that Syracuse was subdued, in
conquering the Grecian cities of Naxos, Catana, and Leontini. Strengthened
at home and in the interior, Dionysius then prepared to attack the
Carthaginians, but previously took measures to insure the defensibility of
Syracuse. Six thousand persons were employed on a wall three and a half
miles in length, from the fort of Trogilus to Euryalus, the summit of the
slope of Epipolæ, a high cliff, which commanded the roads to the city. Six
thousand teams of oxen were employed in drawing the stones from the
quarries. This wall was not like Ortygia, a guard-house against the people
of Syracuse, but a defense against external enemies. As it was a great
public work of defense, the citizens worked with cheerfulness and vigor,
and so enthusiastically did they labor, that the work was completed in
twenty days. The city being now impregnable, he commenced preparations for
offensive war, and changed his course toward the citizens, pursuing a
mild, and conciliatory policy. He made peace with Messene and Rhegium, and
married a lady from Locri. He collected all the best engineers, mechanics,
and artisans from Sicily and Italy, constructed immense machines, provided
arms from every nation around the Mediterranean, so that he collected or
fabricated one hundred and forty thousand shields and fourteen thousand
breastplates, destined for his body-guard and officers, together with a
vast number of helmets, spears, and daggers. All these were accumulated in
his impregnable fortress of Ortygia. His naval preparations were equally
stupendous. The docks of Syracuse were filled with workmen, and two
hundred triremes were added to the one hundred and ten which already were
housed in the docks. The trireme was the largest ship of war which for
three hundred years had sailed in the Grecian or Mediterranean waters. But
Dionysius constructed triremes with five banks of oars, and had a navy
vastly superior to what Athens ever possessed. He now hired soldiers from
every quarter, enlisting Syracusans and the inhabitants of the cities
depending upon her. He sent envoys to Italy and the Peloponnesus for
recruits, offering the most liberal pay.

(M667) When all his preparations were completed, he married, on the same
day, two wives—the Locrian (Doris), and the Syracusan (Aristomache), and
both of these women lived with him at the same table in equal dignity. He
had three children by Doris, the oldest of whom was Dionysius the Younger,
and four by Aristomache. When his nuptials had been celebrated with
extraordinary magnificence, and banquets, and fetes, in which the whole
population shared, he convoked a public assembly, and exhorted the
citizens to war against Carthage, as the common enemy of Greece, B.C. 397.
He then granted permission to plunder the Carthaginian ships in the
harbor, and shortly after marched out from Syracuse with an army against
the Carthaginians in Sicily, consisting of eighty thousand men, while a
fleet of two hundred triremes and five hundred transports accompanied his
march along the coast—the largest military force hitherto assembled under
Grecian command.

(M668) The first place he attacked was Motya, north of Cape Lilybæum, in
the western extremity of the island, all the Grecian cities under
Carthaginian leadership having revolted. This city was both populous and
wealthy, built on an islet, which was separated from Sicily by a narrow
strait two-thirds of a mile in width, bridged over by a narrow mole. The
Motyans, seeing the approach of so formidable an army, broke up their
mole, and insulated themselves from Sicily. The Carthaginians sent a large
fleet to assist Motya, under Imilco, but being inferior to that of
Dionysius, it could not venture on a pitched battle. Motya made a
desperate defense, but a road across the strait being built by the
besiegers, the new engines of war carried over it were irresistible, the
town was at length carried and plundered, and the inhabitants slaughtered
or sold as slaves.

(M669) The siege occupied the summer, and Dionysius, triumphant, returned
to Syracuse. But Imilco being elevated to the chief magistracy of
Carthage, brought over to Sicily an overwhelming force, collected from all
Africa and Iberia, amounting to one hundred thousand men, afterward
re-enforced by thirty thousand more, at the lowest estimate, with four
hundred ships and six hundred transports. This army disembarked at
Panormus, on the northwestern side of the island (Palermo) retook Motya,
regained Eryx, then marched east and captured Messene, at the extreme
eastern part of the island near Italy, which prevented Dionysius from
getting aid from Italy. The Sikels also rebelled, and Dionysius, greatly
disquieted by the loss of all his conquests, and by approaching dangers,
strengthened the fortifications of Syracuse, to which he had retired, and
made preparations to resist the enemy. He had still a force of thirty
thousand foot and three thousand horse, and one hundred and eighty ships
of war. He sent also to Sparta for aid. He then advanced to Catana. A
naval battle took place off this city, gained by the Carthaginians, from
superior numbers. One hundred of the Syracusan ships were destroyed, with
twenty thousand men, B.C. 395.

(M670) After this defeat, Dionysius retreated to Syracuse with his land
forces, amid great discontent, and invoked the aid of Sparta and Corinth.
Imilco advanced also to Syracuse, while his victorious fleet occupied the
great harbor—a much more imposing armament than that the Athenians had at
the close of the Persian war. The total number of vessels was two
thousand. Imilco established his head-quarters at the temple of Zeus
Olympius, one mile and a half from the city, and allowed his troops thirty
days for plunder over the Syracusan territory; then he established
fortified posts, and encircled his camp with a wall, and set down in
earnest to reduce the city to famine. But as he was not master of Epipolæ,
as Nicias was, Syracuse was able to communicate with the country around,
both west and north, and also found means to secure supplies by sea.

(M671) Meanwhile the Syracusans defeated a portion of the Carthaginian
fleet, and a terrific pestilence overtook the army before the city. The
military strength of the Carthaginians was prostrated by the terrible
malady, which swept away one hundred and fifty thousand persons in the
camp. When thus weakened and demoralized, the Carthaginians were attacked
by the Syracusans, and were completely routed. The fleet was also defeated
and set on fire, and the conflagration reached the camp, which was thus
attacked by pestilence, fire, and sword. The disaster was fatal to the
Carthaginians, and retreat was necessary. Imilco dispatched a secret envoy
to Dionysius, offering three hundred talents if the fleet was allowed to
sail away unmolested to Africa. This could not be permitted, but Imilco
and the native Carthaginians were allowed to retire. The remaining part of
the army, deprived of their head, was destroyed, with the exception of the
Sikels, who knew the roads, and made good their escape.

(M672) This immense disaster, greater than that the Athenians had suffered
under Nicias, produced universal mourning and distress at Carthage, while
the miserable Imilco vainly endeavoring to disarm the wrath of his
countrymen, shut himself up in his house, and starved himself to death.
This misfortune led also to a revolt of the African allies, which was
subdued with difficulty, while the power of Carthage in Sicily was reduced
to the lowest ebb. Dionysius was now left to push his conquests in other
directions, and Syracuse was rescued from impending ruin.

(M673) Dionysius had now reigned eleven years, with absolute power. The
pestilence, and the treachery of Imilco, had freed him of the
Carthaginians. But a difficulty arose as to the payment of his
mercenaries, which he compromised by giving them the rich territory of
Leontini, so that ten thousand quitted Syracuse, and took up their
residence in the town. The cost of maintaining a large standing army was
exceeding burdensome, and we only wonder how the tyrant found means to pay
it, and prosecute at the same time such great improvements.

(M674) He now directed his attention to the Sikels, in the interior of the
island, and took several of their towns, but from one of them he met with
desperate resistance, find came near losing his life from a wound by a
spear which penetrated his cuirass. This repulse caused the Carthaginians
to rally in the west of the island, under Magon, with an army of eighty
thousand. But he was repulsed by Dionysius, and concluded a truce with
him, which gave the latter leisure to make himself master of Messene and
Taurominium—the two most important maritime posts on the Italian side of
Sicily, and thus prepare for the invasion of the Greek cities in the south
of Italy, B.C. 391.

(M675) Dionysius departed from Syracuse, B.C. 389, with a powerful force,
to subdue the Italiot Greeks, and laid siege to Caulonia. He defeated
their army, and slew their general. The victor treated the defeated Greeks
with lenity, and then laid siege to Rhegium, to which he granted peace on
severe terms. Caulonia and Hipponeum, two cities whose territory occupied
the breadth of the Calabrian peninsula, fell into his hands. Rhegium
surrendered after a desperate defense, and Phyton, who commanded the town,
was treated with brutal inhumanity. The town was dismantled, and all the
territory of Southern Calabria was united to Locri. It was at this time
that the peace of Antalcidas took place, which put an end to the Spartan
wars in Asia Minor. The ascendant powers of Greece were now Sparta and
Syracuse, each fortified by alliance with the other.

(M676) Croton, the largest city in Magna Grecia, was now conquered by
Dionysius, who plundered the temple of Ilere, near Cape Lacinium, and
among its treasure was a splendid robe, decorated in the most costly
manner, which the conqueror sold to the Carthaginians, which long remained
one of the ornaments of their city. The value and beauty of the robe may
be estimated at the price paid for it—one hundred and twenty talents, more
than one hundred thousand dollars.

(M677) He now undertook a maritime expedition along the coast of Latium
and Etruria, and pillaged the rich temple at Agylla, stripping it of gold
and ornaments to the value of one thousand talents. So great was the
celebrity he acquired, that the Gauls of Northern Italy, who had recently
sacked Rome, proffered their alliance and aid. Master of Sicily and
Southern Italy, he inspired, by his unscrupulous plundering of temples,
the greatest terror and dislike throughout Central Greece. He then entered
as competitor at the festivals of Greece for the prize of tragic poetry.
But so contemptible were his poems, they were disgracefully hissed and
ridiculed. Especially those poems which were recited at Olympeia—where he
sent legations decked in the richest garments, furnished with gold and
silver, and provided with splendid tents—were received with a storm of
hisses, which plunged him in an agony of shame and grief, and drove him
nearly mad, and made him conscious of the deep hatred which everywhere
existed toward him. All his rich displays, which surpassed every thing
that had ever before been seen in that holy plain, were worse than a
failure—because they came from him. Not all his grandeur in Syracuse could
save him from the disgrace and insults which he had received in Olympeia.

(M678) It was at this time, B.C. 387, that Plato visited Sicily on a
voyage of inquiry and curiosity, chiefly to see Mount Ætna, and was
introduced to Dion, then a young man in Syracuse, and brother-in-law to
Dionysius. Dion was so impressed with the conversation of Plato, that he
invited the tyrant to talk with him also. Plato discoursed on virtue and
justice, showing that happiness belonged only to the virtuous, and that
despots could not lay claim even to the merit of true courage—most
unpalatable doctrine to the tyrant, who became bitterly hostile to the
philosopher. He even caused Plato to be exposed in the market as a slave,
and sold for twenty minæ, which his friends paid and released him. On his
voyage home, through the influence of the tyrant, he was again sold at
Egina, and again repurchased, and set at liberty. So bitter are tyrants of
the virtues which contrast with their misdeeds; and so vindictive
especially was the despot who reigned at Syracuse.

(M679) Dionysius was now occupied, by the new defenses and fortifications
of his capital, so that the whole slope of Epipolæ was bordered and
protected by massive walls and towers, and five divisions of the city had
each its separate fortifications, so that it was the largest fortified
city in all Greece—larger than Athens herself.

(M680) The plunder the tyrant had accumulated enabled him to make new
preparations for a war with Carthage. But he was defeated in a great
battle at Cronium, with terrible loss, by the youthful son of Magon, which
compelled him to make peace, and cede to Carthage all the territory of
Sicily west of the river Halycus, and pay a tribute of one thousand

(M681) Very little is recorded of Dionysius after this peace, B.C. 382,
for thirteen years, during which the Spartans had made themselves master
of Thebes, and placed a garrison in Cadmea. In the year 368 he made war
again with Carthage, but was defeated near Lilybæum, and forced to return
to Syracuse. In the year 367 it would seem that he was at last successful
with his poems, for he gained the prize of tragedy at the Lenæan festival
at Athens, which so intoxicated him with joy, that he invited his friends
to a splendid banquet, and died from the effects of excess and wine, after
a reign of thirty-eight years. He was a man of restless energy and
unscrupulous ambition. His personal bravery was great, and he was vigilant
and long sighted—a man of great abilities, sullied by cruelty and
jealousy. In his spare time he composed tragedies to compete for prizes.
No other Greek had ever arrived at so great power from a humble position,
or achieved so striking exploits abroad, or preserved his grandeur so
unimpaired at his death. But he was greatly favored by fortune, especially
when the pestilence destroyed the hosts of Imilco. He maintained his power
by intimidation of his subjects, careful organization, and liberal pay to
his mercenaries. He cared nothing for money excepting as a means to secure
dominion. His exactions were exorbitant, and his rapacity boundless. He
trusted no one, and his suspicion was extended even to his wives. He
allowed no one to shave him, and searched his most intimate friends for
concealed weapons before they were allowed in his presence. He made
Syracuse a great fortress, to the injury of Sicily and Italy, and fancied
that he left his dominions fastened by chains of adamant. He could point
to Ortygia with its impregnable fortifications, to a large army of
mercenaries—to four hundred ships of war, and to vast magazines of arms
and military stores.

(M682) He left no successor competent to rivet the chains he had forged.
His son Dionysius succeeded to his throne at the age of twenty-five. His
brother-in-law Dion was the next prominent member of his family, and
possessed a fortune of one hundred talents—a man of great capacity,
ambitious, luxurious, but fond of literature and philosophy. He was,
however, so much influenced by Plato, whose Socratic talk and democratic
principles enchained and fascinated him, that his character became
essentially modified, and he learned to hate the despotism under which he
grew up, and formed large schemes for political reform. He aspired to
cleanse Syracuse of slavery, and clothe her in the dignity of freedom, by
establishing an improved constitutional polity, with laws which secured
individual rights. He exchanged his luxurious habits for the simple fare
of a philosopher. Never before had Plato met with a pupil who so
profoundly and earnestly profited from his instructions. The harsh
treatment which Plato received from the tyrant was a salutary warning to
Dion. He saw that patience was imperatively necessary, and he so conducted
as to maintain the favor of Dionysius.

(M683) Dionysius II. was twenty-five years old when his father died, and
though he possessed generous impulses, was both weak and vain, given to
caprice, and insatiate of praise. He had been kept from business from the
excessive jealousy of his father, and his life had been passed in idleness
and luxury at the palace of Ortygia. His father’s taste for poetry had
introduced guests to his table whose conversation opened his mind to
generous sentiments, but the indecision of his character prevented his
profiting from any serious studies. Dion supported this feeble novice on
the throne of his father, and tried to gain influence over him, and
frankly suggested the measures to be adopted, and Dionysius listened at
first to his wise counsels. Dion wished to make Syracuse a free city, with
good laws, to expel the Carthaginians from Sicily, and replant the
semi-barbarian Hellenic cities. He also endeavored to reform the life of
Dionysius as well as Syracuse, and actually wrought a signal change in his
royal pupil, so that he desired to see and converse with the great sage
who had so completely changed the life of Dion, and inspired him with
patriotic enthusiasm. Accordingly, Plato was sent for, who reluctantly
consented to visit Syracuse. He had no great faith in the despot who
sought his wisdom, and he did not wish, at sixty-one, to leave his
favorite grove, with admiring disciples from every part of Greece, where
he reigned as monarch of the mind. He went to Syracuse, not with the hope
so much of converting a weak tyrant, as from unwillingness to desert his
friend, and be taunted with the impotence of his philosophy. He was
received with great distinction at court, and a royal carriage conveyed
him to his lodgings. The banquets of the Acropolis became distinguished
for simplicity, and the royal pupil commenced at once in taking lessons in
geometry. The old courtiers were alarmed, and disgusted. “A single
Athenian sophist,” they said, “with no force but his tongue and
reputation, has achieved the conquest of Syracuse.” Dionysius seemed to
have abdicated in favor of Plato, and the noble objects for which Dion
labored seemed to be on the way of fulfillment. But Plato acted
injudiciously, and spoiled his influence by unreasonable vigor. It was
absurd to expect that the despot would go to school like a boy, and insist
upon a mental regeneration before he gave him lessons of practical wisdom
in politics. All the necessary reforms were postponed on the ground that
the royal pupil was not yet ripe for them, and every influence was exerted
to show him his own unworthiness—that his whole past life had been
vicious—delicate ground for any teacher to assume, since he irritated
rather than reformed. He was even averse to any political changes until
Dionysius had gone through his schooling. Plato also maintained a proud,
philosophical dignity, showing no respect to persons, and refusing to the
defects of his pupil any more indulgence than he granted to those who
listened to his teachings at home.

(M684) Such a mistake was attended soon with difficulties. The old
courtiers recovered their influence. Dion was calumniated and slandered,
as seeking to usurp the sovereign powers, and that Plato was brought to
Syracuse as an agent in the conspiracy. Plato tried to counterwork this
mischief, but in vain. Dionysius lost all inclination to reform, and Dion
was hated, for he was superior to his nephew in dignity and ability, and
was haughty and austere in his manners. He was accordingly banished from
Syracuse, and Plato was retained _in the Acropolis_, but was otherwise
well treated, and entreated to remain. The tyrant, however, refused to
recall Dion, but consented to the departure of Plato. Another visit to
Syracuse, which he made with the hope of securing the recall of Dion, was
a splendid captivity, and although he was treated with extraordinary
deference, he was not at rest until he obtained permission to depart. He
had failed in his mission of benevolence and friendship. All the vast
possessions of Dion were confiscated, and Plato had the mortification to
hear of this injury in the very palace to which he went as a reformer.

(M685) Incensed at the seizure of his property, and hopeless of permission
to return, and of all those reforms which he had projected, Dion now
meditated the overthrow of the power of Dionysius, and his own restoration
at the point of the sword. During his exile he had chiefly resided in
Athens, enjoying the teaching of his friend Plato, and dispensing his vast
wealth in generous charities. Nor did Plato fully approve of his plans for
the overthrow of Dionysius, anticipating little good from such violence,
although he fully admitted his wrongs. But other friends, less judicious
and more interested, warmly seconded his projects. With aid from various
sources, he at last could muster eight hundred veterans, with which he
ventured to attack the most powerful despot in Greece, and in his own
stronghold. And so enthusiastic was Dion, all disparity of forces was a
matter of indifference. Moreover, he accounted it glory and honor to
perish in so just and noble a cause as the liberation of Sicily from a
weak and cruel despot, every way inferior to his father in character,
though as strong in resources.

(M686) But the friends of Dion did not dream of throwing away their lives.
They calculated on a rising of the Syracusans to throw off an
insupportable yoke, and they had utter contempt for the tyrant himself,
knowing his drunken habits, and effeminate character, and personal
incompetency. So, after ten years’ exile, Dion, with his followers, landed
in Sicily, at Heracleia, also in the absence of Dionysius, who had quitted
Syracuse for Italy, with eighty triremes, so that the city was easy of

(M687) This unaccountable mistake of the tyrant in leaving his capital at
such a crisis, was regarded with great joy by the small army of Dion,
which marched out at once from Heracleia, and was joined in the
Agrigentian territory with two hundred horsemen. As he approached
Syracuse, other bands joined him, so that he had five thousand men as he
approached the capital. Timocrates, the husband of Dion’s late wife, for
his wife was taken away from him, was left in command at Syracuse with a
large force of mercenaries. But as Dion advanced to the city, there was a
general rising of the citizens, and Timocrates was obliged to return,
leaving the fortresses garrisoned. Dion entered the city by the principal
street, which was decorated as on a day of jubilee, and proclaimed liberty
to all. He was also chosen general, with his brother Megacles, and
approached Ortygia, and challenged the garrison to come out and fight. He
then succeeded in capturing Epipolæ and Eurylæ, those fortified quarters,
and erected a cross wall from sea to sea to block up Ortygia.

(M688) At the end of seven days, when all these results had been
accomplished, Dionysius returned to Syracuse, but Ortygia was the only
place which remained to him, and that, too, shut up on the land side by a
blockading wall. The rest of the city was in possession of his enemies,
though those enemies were subjects. His abdication was imperatively
demanded by Dion, who refused all conciliation and promises of reform.
Rallying, then, his soldiers, he made a sally to surprise the blockading
wall, and was nearly successful, but Dion, at length, repulsed his forces,
and recovered the wall. Ortygia was again blockaded, but as Dionysius was
still master of the sea, he ravaged the coasts for provisions, and
maintained his position, until the arrival of Heraclides, with a
Peloponnesian fleet, gave the Syracusans a tolerable naval force.
Philistus commanded the fleet of Dionysius, but in a battle with
Heraclides, he lost his life.

(M689) Dionysius now lost all hope of recovering his power by force, and
resorted to intrigues, stimulating the rivalry of Heraclides, and exposing
the defeats of Dion, whose arrogance and severity were far from making him
popular. Calumnies now began to assail Dion, and he was mistrusted by the
Syracusans, who feared only an exchange of tyrants. There was also an
unhappy dissension between Dion and Heraclides, which resulted in the
deposition of Dion, and he was forced to retreat from Syracuse, and seek
shelter with the people of Leontini, who stood by him. Dionysius again had
left Ortygia for Italy, leaving his son in command, and succeeded in
sending re-enforcements from Locri, under Nypsius, so that the garrison of
Ortygia was increased to ten thousand men, with ample stores. Nypsius
sallied from the fortress, mastered the blockading wall, and entered
Neapolis and Achradina, fortified quarters of the city. The Syracusans, in
distress, then sent to Leontini to invoke the aid of Dion, who returned as
victor, drove Nypsius into his fortress, and saved Syracuse. He also
magnanimously pardoned Heraclides, and prosecuted the blockade of Ortygia,
and was again named general. Still Heraclides, who was allowed to command
the fleet, continued his intrigues, and frustrated the operations against
Dionysius. At last, Ortygia surrendered to Dion, who entered the fortress,
where he found his wife and sister, from whom he had been separated twelve
years. At first, Arete, his wife, who had consented to marry Timocrates,
was afraid to approach him, but he received her with the tenderest emotion
and affection. His son, however, soon after died, having fallen into the
drunken habits of Dionysius.

(M690) Dion was now master of Syracuse, and on the pinnacle of power. His
enterprise had succeeded against all probabilities. But prosperity, which
the Greeks were never able to bear, poisoned all his good qualities and
exaggerated his bad ones. He did not fall into the luxury of his
predecessors. He still wore the habit of a philosopher, and lived with
simplicity, but he made public mistakes. His manners, always haughty,
became repulsive. He despised popularity. He conferred no real liberty. He
retained his dictatorial power. He preserved the fortifications of
Ortygia. He did not meditate a permanent despotism, but meant to make
himself king, with a modified constitution, like that of Sparta. He had no
popular sympathies, and sought to make Syracuse, like Corinth, completely
oligarchial. He took no step to realize any measure of popular freedom,
and, above all, refused to demolish the fortress, behind whose
fortifications the tyrants of Syracuse had intrenched themselves in
danger. He also caused Heraclides to be privately assassinated, so that
the Syracusans began to hate him as cordially as they had hated Dionysius.
This unpopularity made him irritable, and suspicious and disquieted. A
conspiracy, headed by Callippus, put an end to his reign. He was slain by
the daggers of assassins. Thus perished one of the noblest of the Greeks,
but without sufficient virtue to bear success. His great defect was
inexperience in government, and it may be doubted whether Plato himself
could have preserved liberty in so corrupt a city as Syracuse. The
character of Dion also changed greatly by his banishment, since vindictive
sentiments were paramount in his soul. He had a splendid opportunity of
becoming a benefactor to his country, but this was thrown away, and
instead of giving liberty he only ruled by force, and moved from bad to
worse, until he made a martyr of the man whom once he magnanimously
forgave. Had he lived longer, he probably would have proved a remorseless
tyrant like Tiberius. So rare is it for men to be temperate in the use of
power, and so much easier is it to give expression to grand sentiments
than practice the self-restraint which has immortalized the few
Washingtons of the world.

(M691) The Athenian Callippus, who overturned Dion, remained master of
Syracuse for more than a year, but its condition was miserable and
deplorable, convulsed by passions and hostile interests. In the midst of
the anarchy which prevailed, Dionysius contrived to recover Ortygia, and
establish himself as despot. The Syracusans endured more evil than before,
for the returned tyrant had animosities to gratify. There was also fresh
danger from Carthage, so that the Syracusans appealed to their mother
city, Corinth, for aid. Timoleon was chosen as the general of the forces
to be sent—an illustrious citizen of Corinth, then fifty years of age,
devoted to the cause of liberty, with hatred of tyrants and wrongs, who
had even slain his brother when he trampled on the liberties of
Corinth—and a brother whom he loved. But he was forced to choose between
him and his country, and he chose his country, securing the gratitude of
Corinth, but the curses of his mother and the agonies of self-reproach, so
that he left for years the haunts of men, and buried himself in the
severest solitude. Twenty years elapsed from the fratricide to his command
of a force to relieve the Syracusans from their tyrant Dionysius.

(M692) Timoleon commenced his preparations of ships and soldiers with
alacrity, but his means were scanty, not equal even to those of Dion when
he embarked on his expedition. He was prevented with his small force from
reaching Sicily by a Carthaginian fleet of superior force, but he effected
his purpose by stratagem, and landed at Taurominium under great
discouragements. He defeated Hicetas, who had invoked the aid of Carthage,
at Adranum, and marched unimpeded to the walls of Syracuse. Dionysius,
blocked up at Ortygia, despaired of his position, and resolved to
surrender the fortress, stipulating for a safe conveyance and shelter at
Corinth. This tyrant, broken by his drunken habits, did not care to fight,
as his father did, for a sceptre so difficult to be maintained, and only
sought his ease and self-indulgence. So he passed into the camp of
Timoleon with what money he could raise, and the fortress was surrendered.
A re-enforcement from Corinth enabled Timoleon to maintain his ground.

(M693) The appearance of the fallen tyrant in Corinth produced a great
sensation. Some from curiosity, others from sympathy, and still more from
derision, went to see a man who had enjoyed so long despotic power, now
suing only for a humble domicile. But his conduct, considering his drunken
habits, was marked by more dignity than was to be expected from so weak a
man. He is said to have even opened a school to teach boys to read, and to
have instructed the public singers in reciting poetry. His career, at
least, was an impressive commentary on the mutability of fortune, to which
the Greeks were fully alive.

(M694) Timoleon, in possession of Ortygia, with its numerous stores, found
himself able to organize a considerable force to oppose the Carthaginians
who sought to get possession of the fortress. Hicetas, now assisted by a
Carthaginian force under Magon, attacked Ortygia, but was defeated by the
Corinthian Neon, who acquired Achradina, and joined it by a wall to
Ortygia. But Magon now distrusted Hicetas, and suddenly withdrew his army.
Timoleon thus became master of Syracuse, and Hicetas was obliged to retire
to Leontini. Timoleon ascribed his good fortune to the gods, but purchased
a greater hold on men’s minds than fortune gave him by his moderation in
the hour of success—a striking contrast to Dion and the elder Dionysius.
He invited the Syracusans to demolish the stronghold of tyranny, where the
despots had so long intrenched themselves. He erected courts of justice on
its site. He recalled the exiles, and invited new colonists to the
impoverished city, so that sixty thousand immigrants arrived. He relieved
the poverty and distress of the people by selling the public lands, and
employed his forces to expel remaining despots from the island.

(M695) But Hicetas again invited the Carthaginians to Sicily. They came,
with a vast army of seventy thousand men and twelve hundred ships, under
Hasdrubal and Hamilcar, B.C. 340. Timoleon could only assemble twelve
thousand to meet this overwhelming force, but with these he marched
against the Carthaginians, and gained a great victory, by the aid of a
terrible storm which pelted the Carthaginians in the face. No victory was
ever more complete than this at Crimisus. Ten thousand of the invaders
were slain, and fifteen thousand made prisoners, together with an enormous

(M696) Timoleon had now to deal with two Grecian enemies—Hicetas and
Mamercus—tyrants of Leontini and Catana. Over these he gained a complete
victory, and put them to death. He then, after having delivered Syracuse,
and defeated his enemies, laid down his power, and became a private
citizen. But his influence remained, as it ought to have been, as great as
ever, for he was a patriot of most exalted virtue, a counselor whom all
could trust—a friend who sacrificed his own interests. And he exerted his
influence for the restoration of Syracuse, for the introduction of
colonists, and the enforcement of wise laws. The city was born anew, and
the gratitude and admiration of the citizens were unbounded. In his latter
years he became blind, but his presence could not then even be spared when
any serious difficulty arose—ruling by the moral power of wisdom and
sanctity—one of the best and loftiest characters of all antiquity. And
nothing was more remarkable than his patience under contradiction, and his
eagerness to insure freedom of speech, even against himself.

(M697) Thus, by the virtues and wisdom of this remarkable man, were
freedom and comfort diffused throughout Sicily for twenty-four years,
until the despotism of Agathocles. Timoleon died B.C. 337—a father and
benefactor—and the Syracusans solemnized his funeral with lavish honors,
which was attended by a countless procession, and passed a vote to honor
him for all future time with festive matches, in music and chariot-races,
and such gymnastics as were practiced at the Grecian games. A magnificent
monument was erected to his memory. “The mournful letters written by Plato
after the death of Dion contrasts strikingly with the enviable end of
Timoleon, and with the grateful inscription of the Syracusans on his

                              CHAPTER XXIV.


(M698) No one would have supposed, B.C. 400, that the destruction of
Grecian liberties would come from Macedonia—a semi-barbarous kingdom
which, during the ascendency of Sparta, had so little political
importance. And if any new power threatened to rise over the ruins of the
Spartan State, and become paramount in Greece, it was Thebes. The
successes of Pelopidas and Epaminondas had effectually weakened the power
of Sparta. She no longer enjoyed the headship of Greece. She no longer was
the leader of dependent allies, submitting to her dictation in all
external politics, serving under the officers she appointed, administering
their internal affairs by oligarchies devoted to her purposes, and even
submitting to be ruled by governors whom she put over them. She had lost
her foreign auxiliary force and dignity, and even half of her territory in
Laconia. The Peloponnesians, who once rallied around her were disunited,
and Megalopolis and Messene were hostile. Corinth, Sicyon, Epidaurus, and
other cities, formerly allies, stood aloof, and the grand forces of Hellas
now resided outside of the Peloponnesus. Athens and Thebes were the new
seats of power. Athens had regained her maritime supremacy, and Thebes was
formidable on the land, having absorbed one-third of the Bœotian
territory, and destroyed three or four autonomous cities, and secured
powerful allies in Thessaly.

(M699) When the battle of Mantinea was fought, at which Epaminondas lost
his life, Perdiccas, son of Amyntas, was the king of Macedonia. He was
slain, in the flower of his life, in a battle with the Illyrians, B.C.
359. On the advice of Plato, who had been his teacher, he was induced to
bestow upon his brother Philip a portion of territory in Macedonia, who
for three years preceding had been living in Thebes as a hostage, carried
there by Pelopidas at fifteen years of age, when he had reduced Macedonia
to partial submission.

(M700) At Thebes the young prince was treated with courtesy, and resided
with one of the principal citizens, and received a good education. He was
also favored with the society of Pelopidas and Epaminondas, and witnessed
with great interest the training of the Theban forces by these two
remarkable men—one the greatest organizer, and the other the greatest
tactician of the age. When transferred from Thebes to a subordinate
government of a district in his brother’s kingdom, he organized a military
force on the principles he had learned in Thebes. The unexpected death of
Perdiccas, leaving an infant son, opened to him the prospect of succeeding
to the throne. He first assumed the government as guardian of his young
nephew Amyntas, but the difficulties with which he was surrounded, having
many competitors from other princes of the family of Amyntas, his father,
that he assumed the crown, putting to death one of his half brothers,
while the other two fled into exile.

(M701) His first proceeding as king was to buy the Thracians, his enemies,
by presents and promises, so that only the Athenians and the Illyrians
remained formidable. But he made peace with Athens by yielding up
Amphipolis, for the possession of which the Athenians had made war in

(M702) The Athenians, however, neglected to take possession of Amphipolis,
being engaged in a struggle to regain the island of Eubœa, then under the
dominion of Thebes. It also happened that a revolt of a large number of
the islands of the Ægean, which belonged to the confederacy of which
Athens was chief, took place—Lesbos, Chios, Samos, Cos, and Rhodes,
including Byzantium. This revolt is called the social war, caused by the
selfishness of Athens in acting more for her own interest than that of her
allies, and neglecting to pay the mercenaries in her service. The revolt
was also stimulated by the intrigues of the Carian prince, Mausolus. But
it was a serious blow to the foreign ascendency of Athens, and in a battle
to recover these islands, the Athenians, under Chabrias, were defeated at
Chios. They were also unsuccessful on the Hellespont from quarrels among
their generals—Timotheus, Iphicrates, and Chares. The popular voice at
Athens laid the blame of defeat on the two former unjustly, in consequence
of which Timotheus was fined one hundred talents, the largest fine ever
imposed at Athens, and shortly after died in exile—a distinguished man,
who had signally maintained the honor and glory of his country. Iphicrates
also was never employed again. The loss of these two generals could
scarcely be repaired. Soon after, peace was made with the revolted cities,
by which their independence and autonomy were guaranteed. This was an
inglorious result of the war to Athens, and fatally impaired her power and
dignity, so that she was unable to make a stand against the aggressions of

(M703) One of the first things he did after defeating the Illyrians was to
lay siege to Amphipolis, although he had ceded the city to Athens. For
this treachery there was no other reason than ambition and the weakened
power of Athens. Amphipolis had long remained free, and was not disposed
to give up its liberties, and sent to Athens for aid. Philip, an arch
politician, contrived by his intrigues to prevent Athens from giving
assistance. The neglect of Athens was a great mistake, for Amphipolis
commanded the passage over the Strymon, and shut up Macedonia from the
east, and was, moreover, easily defensible by sea. Deprived of aid from
Athens, the city fell into the hands of Philip, and was an acquisition of
great importance. It was the most convenient maritime station in Thrace,
and threw open to him all the country east of the Strymon, and especially
the gold region near Mount Pangreus. This place henceforward became one of
the bulwarks of Macedonia, until the Roman conquest.

(M704) Having obtained this place, he commenced, without a declaration of
war against Athens, a series of hostile measures, while he professed to be
her friend. He deprived her of her hold upon the Thermaic Gulf, conquered
Pydna and Potidæa, and conciliated Olynthus. His power was thus so far
increased that he founded a new city, called Philippi, in the regions
where his gold mines yielded one thousand talents yearly. He then married
Olympias, daughter of a prince of the Molossi, who gave birth, in the year
B.C. 356, to a son destined to conquer the world.

(M705) The capture of Amphipolis by Philip was, of course, followed by war
with Athens, which lasted twelve years. And this war commenced at a time
Athens was in great embarrassments, owing to the social war.

(M706) But he was aided by another event of still greater importance—the
sacred war, which for a time convulsed the Hellenic world, and which grew
out of the accusation of Thebes, before the Amphictyonic Council, that
Sparta had seized her citadel in time of profound peace. The sentence of
the council, that Sparta should pay a fine of five hundred talents, was a
departure of Grecian custom, and Sparta refused to pay it, which refusal
led to her exclusion from the council, the Delphic temple, and the Pythian
games, and this exclusion again arrayed the different States of Greece
against each other, as to the guardianship of the Oracle itself.

Philip of Macedon seized this opportunity, when so many States were
engaged in war, to prosecute his schemes. He attacked Methone, the last
remaining possession of Athens on the Macedonian coast, and captured the
city, and then advanced into Thessaly against the despots of Pheræ, who
invoked the aid of Onomarchus, now very powerful.

(M707) It was at this time, B.C. 353, that Demosthenes, the orator,
appeared before the Athenian people. He was about twenty-seven years of
age, and the wealth of his father secured him great advantages in
education. His father died while he was young, and his property was
confided to the care of guardians, named in his father’s will. But they
administered the property with such negligence, that only a small sum came
to Demosthenes when he attained his civil majority, at the age of sixteen.
After repeated complaints, he brought a judicial action against one of the
guardians, and obtained verdict against him to the extent of ten talents.
But the guardian delayed the payment, and Demosthenes lost nearly all his
patrimony. He had, however, received a good education, and in spite of a
feeble constitution, he mastered all the learning of the age. His family
influence enabled him to get an early introduction to public affairs, and
he proceeded to train himself as a speaker, and a writer of speeches for
others. He put himself under the teaching of a famous rhetorician, Iænus,
and profited by the discourses of Plato and Isocrates then in the height
of their fame. He also was a great student of Thucydides, and copied his
whole history, with his own hand, eight times. He still had to contend
against a poor voice, and an ungraceful gesticulation; but by unwearied
labor he overcame his natural difficulties so as to satisfy the most
critical Athenian audience. But this conquest in self-education was only
made by repeated trials and humiliations, and it is said he even spoke
with pebbles in his mouth, and prepared himself to overcome the noise of
the Assembly by declaiming in stormy weather on the sea-shore. He
sometimes passed two or three mouths in a subterranean chamber, practicing
by day and by night, both in composition and declamation, such pains did
those old Greeks take to perfect themselves in art; for public speaking is
an art, as well as literary composition. He learned Sophocles by heart,
and took lessons from actors even to get the true accent. It was several
years before he was rewarded with success, and then his delivery was full
of vehemence and energy, but elaborate and artificial. But it was not more
labor which made Demosthenes the greatest orator of antiquity, and
perhaps, of all ages and nations, but also natural genius. His
self-training merely developed the great qualities of which he was
conscious, as was Disraeli when he made his early failures in Parliament.
Without natural gifts of eloquence, he might have worked till doomsday
without producing the extraordinary effect which is ascribed to him, for
his speeches show great insight, genius, and natural force, as well as
learning, culture, and practice; so that they could be read like the
speeches of Burke and Webster, with great effect. He had great political
sagacity, moral wisdom, elevation of sentiment, and patriotic ardor, as
well as art. He would have been great, if he had stammered all his life.
He composed speeches for other great orators before he had confidence in
his own eloquence.

(M708) In contrast with Demosthenes, who was rich, was Phocion, who
remained poor, and would receive neither money nor gifts. He went
barefoot, like Socrates, and had only one female slave in his household,
was personally incorruptible, and also brave in battle, so that he was
elected to the office of strategus, or general, forty-five times, without
ever having solicited place or been present at the election. He had great
contempt of fine speeches, yet was most effective as an orator for his
brevity, good sense, and patriotism, and despised the “warlike eloquence,
un-warlike despotism, paid speech-writing, and delicate habits of

(M709) This Athenian, with Spartan character and habits, was opposed to
the war with Philip, and was therefore the leading opponent of
Demosthenes, whose foresight and sagacity led him to penetrate the schemes
of the Macedonian king. But the Athenians were generally induced to a
peace policy in degenerate times, and did not sympathize with the lofty
principles which Demosthenes declared, and hence the influence of Phocion,
though of commanding patriotism and morality, was mischievous, while that
of Demosthenes was good. The citizens of Athens, enriched by commerce and
enervated by leisure, were at this time averse to the burdens of military
service, and formed a striking contrast to their ancestors one hundred
years earlier, in the time of Pericles. In the time of Demosthenes, they
sought home pleasures, the refinements of art, and the enjoyments of
cultivated life, not warlike enterprises. And this decline in military
spirit was equally noticeable in the cities of the Peloponnesus. And hence
the cities of Greece resorted to mercenaries, like Carthage, and intrusted
to them the defense of their liberties. The warlike spirit of ancient
Sparta and Athens now was pre-eminent in Macedonia, where the people were
poor, hardy, adventurous and bold.

It was against these warlike Macedonians, rude and hardy, that the refined
Athenians were now to contend, led by a prince of uncommon military
talents and insatiable ambition, and who joined craft to bravery and
genius. Demosthenes in vain invoked the ancient spirit which had inspired
the heroes of Marathon.

(M710) In the year 383 B.C., Philip attacked Lyeophron, of Pheræ, in
Thessaly. Onomarchus, then victorious over the Thebans, advanced against
Philip, and defeated him in two battles, so that the Macedonian army
withdrew from Thessaly. But Philip repaired his losses, marched again into
Thessaly, defeated the Phocians, and slew Onomarchus. His conquest of
Pheræ was now easy, and he rapidly made himself master of all Thessaly,
and expelled Lycophron. He then marched to Thermopylæ, to the great alarm
of Athens, which sent a force to resist him, which force succeeded in
defending the pass, and keeping Philip, for a time, from entering Southern
Greece. The Phocians also rallied, again availed themselves of the
treasure of Delphi, and melted down the golden ornaments and vessels which
Crœsus, the Lydian king, had given one hundred years before, among which
were three hundred and sixty golden goblets, from the proceeds of which a
new army of mercenaries was raised.

(M711) The power of Philip was now exceedingly formidable, and his
successes inspired great alarm throughout Greece, as would appear from the
first Philippic of Demosthenes, delivered in B.C. 352. But the Grecian
States had no general able to cope with him on the land, while he created
a navy to annoy the Athenians at sea.

(M712) For a time, however, the efforts of Philip were diverted from
Southern and Central Greece, in order to conquer the Olynthians. They were
his neighbors, and had been his allies; but the expulsion of the Athenians
from the coast of Thrace and Macedonia now alarmed the Olynthians,
together with the increasing power of Philip, so that they concluded a
treaty of peace with Athens. Hostilities broke out in the year 350 B.C.,
and Demosthenes put forward all his eloquence to excite his countrymen to
vigorous war. Athens, partially aroused, sent a body of mercenaries to the
assistance of Olynthus, one of the most flourishing of the cities of
Chalcidia, southeast of Macedonia. But before effective aid could he
rendered, the island of Eubœa, through the intrigues of Philip, revolted
from Athens. It was in an expedition to recover that island that
Demosthenes served as a hoplite in the army, under Phocion as general. It
was not till the summer of B.C. 348 that this territory was recovered by
Athens. In the year following, Athens made great exertions in behalf of
Olynthus, and amid great financial embarrassments. Three expeditions were
sent into Chalcidia, under the command of Chares, numbering altogether
four thousand Athenians and ten thousand mercenaries. But they were
powerless against the conquering arms of Philip, who completely overran
and devastated the peninsula, taking thirty-two cities, and selling the
people for slaves. At last Olynthus fell, B.C. 347, and the spoils of this
old Hellenic city were divided among the soldiers of the conqueror, who
celebrated his victories by a splendid festival.

No such calamity had befallen Greece for a century as the conquest of
Chalcidia, and it filled Athens with unspeakable alarms. Æschines, the
rival of Demosthenes as an orator, now joined with him in denouncing
Philip as the common enemy of Greece. Aristodemus was sent to him with
propositions of peace, and Philip professed to entertain them favorably,
with his characteristic duplicity.

(M713) Meanwhile the sacred war had impoverished the Phocians, and there
were dissensions among themselves. Their temple of Delphi had already been
stripped of the enormous sum of ten thousand talents, eleven million five
hundred thousand dollars, probably equal in our times to two hundred and
thirty million dollars; so that it must have been richer, when the
relative value of gold and silver is considered, than any church in
Christendom. The treasures of the temple, enriched for three hundred years
by offerings from all parts of the world, still enabled the Phocians to
maintain war with Thebes. At last the Thebans invoked the aid of Philip,
and a Macedonian army, under Parmenio, advanced as far as Thessaly. But
the Phocians, in alarm, entreated both Sparta and Athens for assistance.
The crisis was great, for if Philip should once secure the Pass of
Thermopylæ, all Southern Greece was in imminent danger. The whole defense
of Greece now turned upon this Pass, of as much importance to Philip as to
Athens and Sparta, for it was the only road into Greece. Envoys were again
sent from Athens to Philip, to learn on what conditions peace could be
secured, among whom were Demosthenes and Æschines. But he would grant no
better terms than that each party should retain what they already
possessed, and the Athenians consented. Philip reaped all the advantages
of a peace, which gave him the possession of the cities and territory he
had taken. The Phocians were left out in the negotiations, a fatal step,
since it required the united forces of Greece from preventing the further
encroachments of the Macedonian king. He had now leisure for the
completion of the conquest of Thrace. When this was completed, he marched
toward Thermopylæ, which was held by the Phocians, carefully veiling his
real intentions, and even pretending that his advance to the south was for
the purpose of reconstituting the Bœotian cities and putting down Thebes.
His real object was to surprise the Pass, for he was a man who had very
little respect to treaties, promises, or oaths. All this while he
contrived to deceive Athens and the Phocians, with the connivance of
Æschines, whom he had bribed or cheated. But he did not deceive
Demosthenes, who entreated his countrymen to make a stand against him,
even at the eleventh hour, for he was then within three days’ march of the
Pass. But the eloquence and warnings of Demosthenes were in vain. The
people went with Æschines, who persuaded them that Philip was friendly to
Athens and only hostile to Thebes. It was the design of Philip to detach
Athens from the Phocians, and thus make his conquest easier; and he
succeeded by his falsehoods and intrigues. Under these circumstances, the
Phocians surrendered to Philip the pass, which they ought to have defended
at all hazard, and the king retired to Phocis, but still professed the
greatest friendship for Athens, with whom he made peace.

(M714) Master now of Phocis, with a triumphant army, he openly joined the
Thebans and restored the Temple of Delphi to its inhabitants, and convoked
the Amphictyonic Council, which dispossessed the Phocians of their place
in the assembly, and conferred it upon Philip. The unhappy Phocians were
now reduced to a state of utter ruin. Their towns were dismantled, and
their villages were not allowed to contain over fifty houses each. They
were stripped, and slain, and their fields laid waste. Philip was now
master of the keys of Greece, and the recognized leader of the
Amphictyonic Council. Athens had secured an inglorious peace with her
enemy, through the corruption of her own envoys, B.C. 346, and was soon to
reap the penalty of her credulity and indolence. She allowed herself to be
deceived, and Philip, in co-operation with Thebes, the enemy of Athens,
presently threw off the mask and disgracefully renewed the war with
Athens, He had gained his object by bribery and falsehood. It is mournful
that the Athenians should not have listened to the warnings of the most
sagacious patriot who adorned those degenerate times, but the influence of
Æschines was then paramount, and he was sold to Philip. He cried peace,
when there was no peace. The great error of Athens was in not rendering
timely assistance to the Phocians, who possessed the Pass of Thermopylæ,
although they had brought upon themselves the indignation of Greece by the
seizure of the Delphic treasures.

(M715) The victories and encroachments of Philip, within the line of
common Grecian defense, were profoundly lamented by Demosthenes, and he
now felt that it was expedient to keep on terms of peace with so powerful
and unscrupulous and cunning a man. Isocrates wished Philip to reconcile
the four great cities of Greece, Sparta, Athens, Thebes, and Argos, put
himself at the head of their united forces, and Greece generally, invade
Persia, and liberate the Asiatic Greeks. But this was putting the Hellenic
world under one man, and renouncing the independence of States and the
autonomy of cities—the great principles of Grecian policy from the
earliest historic times, and therefore a complete subversion of Grecian
liberties, and the establishment of a centralized power under Philip,
whose patrimonial kingdom was among the least civilized in Greece.

(M716) The peace between Philip and Athens lasted, without any formal
renunciation, for six years, during which the Macedonian king pursued his
aggressive policy and his intrigues in all the States of Greece. His
policy was precisely that of Rome when it meditated the conquest of the
world, only his schemes were confined chiefly to Greece. Every year his
power increased, while the States of Greece remained inactive and
uncombined—a proof of the degeneracy of the times—certainly in regard to
self-sacrifices to secure their independence. Demosthenes plainly saw the
approaching absorption of Greece in the Macedonian dominion, unless the
States should unite for common defense; and he took every occasion to
denounce Philip, not only in Athens, but to the envoys of the different
States. The counsels of the orator were a bitter annoyance to the despot,
who sent to Athens letters of remonstrance.

(M717) At last an occasion was presented for hostilities by the refusal of
the Athenians to allow Philip to take possession of the island of
Halicarnassus, claiming the island as their own. Reprisals took place, and
Philip demanded the possession of the Hellespont and Bosphorus, and the
Greek cities on their coast, of the greatest value to Athens, since she
relied upon the possession of the straits for the unobstructed importation
of corn. The Athenians now began to realize the encroaching ambition of
Philip, and to listen to Demosthenes, who, about this time, B.C. 341,
delivered his third Philippic. From this time to the battle of Chæronea,
the influence of Demosthenes was greater than that of any other man in
Athens, which too late listened to his warning voice. Through his
influence, Eubœa was detached from Philip, and also Byzantium, and they
were brought into alliance with Athens. Philip was so much chagrined that
he laid siege to Perinthus, and marched through the Chersonese, which was
part of the Athenian territory, upon which Athens declared war. Philip, on
his side, issued a manifesto declaring his wrongs, as is usual with
conquerors, and announced his intention of revenge. The Athenians fitted
out a fleet and sent it under Chares to the Hellespont. Philip prosecuted,
on his part, the siege of Perinthus, on the Propontis, with an army of
thirty thousand men, with a great number of military engines. One of his
movable towers was one hundred and twenty feet high, so that he was able
to drive away the defenders of the walls by missiles. He succeeded in
driving the citizens of this strong town into the city, and it would have
shared the fate of Olynthus, had it not been relieved by the Byzantine and
Grecian mercenaries. Philip was baffled, after a siege of three months,
and turned his forces against Byzantium, but this town was also relieved
by the Athenians, and the inhabitants from the islands of the Ægean. These
operations lasted six mouths, and were the greatest adverses which Philip
had as yet met with. A vote of thanks was decreed by the Athenians to
Demosthenes, who had stimulated these enterprises. Philip was obliged to
withdraw from Byzantium, and retreated to attack the Scythians. An
important reform in the administration of the marine was effected by
Demosthenes, although opposed by the rich citizens and by Æschines.

(M718) While these events transpired, a new sacred war was declared by the
Amphictyonic Council against the Locrians of Amphissa, kindled by
Æschines, which more than compensated Philip for his repulse at Byzantium,
bringing advantage to him and ruin to Grecian liberty. But the Athenians
stood aloof from this suicidal war, when all the energies of Greece were
demanded to put down the encroachments of Philip. As was usual in these
intestine troubles, the weaker party invoked the aid of a foreign power,
and the Amphictyonic Assembly, intent on punishing Amphissa, sought
assistance from Philip. He, of course, accepted the invitation, and
marched south through Thermopylæ, proclaiming his intention to avenge the
Delphian god. In his march he took Nicæa from the Thebans, and entered
Phocis, and converted Elatea into a permanent garrison. Hitherto he had
only proclaimed himself as a general acting under the Amphictyonic vote to
avenge the Delphian god,—now he constructed a military post in the heart
of Greece.

(M719) Thebes, ever since the battle of Leuctra, had been opposed to
Athens, and even now unfriendly relations existed between the two cities,
and Philip hoped that Thebes would act in concert with him against Athens.
But this last outrage of Philip exceedingly alarmed Athens, and
Demosthenes stood up in the Assembly to propose an embassy to Thebes with
offers of alliance. His advice was adopted, and he was dispatched with
other envoys to Thebes. The Athenian orator, in spite of the influence of
the Macedonian envoys, carried his point with the Theban Assembly, and an
alliance was formed between Thebes and Athens. The Athenian army marched
at once to Thebes, and vigorous measures were made at Athens for the
defensive war which so seriously threatened the loss of Grecian liberty.
The alliance was a great disappointment to Philip, who remained at Phocis,
and sent envoys to Sparta, inviting the Peloponnesians to join him against
Amphissa. But the Thebans and Athenians maintained their ground against
him, and even gained some advantages. Among other things, they
reconstituted the Phocian towns. The Athenians and their allies had a
force of fifteen thousand infantry and two thousand cavalry, and
Demosthenes was the war minister by whom these forces were collected.
These efforts on the part of Thebes and Athens led to renewed preparations
on the part of Philip. He defeated a large body of mercenaries, and took
Amphissa. Unfortunately, the Athenians had no general able to cope with
him, and it was the work of Demosthenes merely to keep up the courage of
his countrymen and incite them to effort.

(M720) At last, in the month of August, Philip, with thirty thousand foot
and two thousand horse, met the allied Greeks at Chæronea, the last
Bœotian town on the frontiers of Phocis. The command of the armies of the
allies was shared between the Thebans and Athenians, but their movements
were determined by a council of civilians and generals, of which
Demosthenes was the leading spirit. Philip, in this battle, which decided
the fortunes of Greece, commanded the right wing, opposed to the
Athenians, and his son Alexander, the left wing, opposed to the Thebans.
The Macedonian phalanx, organized by Philip, was sixteen deep, with
veteran soldiers in the front. The Theban “Sacred Band” was overpowered
and broken by its tremendous force, much increased by the long pikes which
projected in front of the foremost soldiers. But the battle was not gained
by the phalanx alone. The organization of the Macedonian army was perfect,
with many other sorts of troops, bodyguards, light hoplites, light
cavalry, bowmen, and slingers. One thousand Athenians were slain, and two
thousand more were made captives. The Theban loss was still greater.

(M721) Unspeakable was the grief and consternation of Athens, when the
intelligence reached her of this decisive victory. A resolution was at
once taken for a vigorous defense of the city. All citizens sent in their
contributions, and every hand was employed on the fortifications. The
temples were stripped of arms, and envoys were sent to various places for

(M722) Thebes was unable to rally, and fell into the hands of the victors,
and a Macedonian garrison was placed in the Cadmea, or citadel. From
Athens, envoys were sent to Philip for peace, which was granted on the
condition that he should be recognized as the chief of the Hellenic world.
It was a great humiliation to Athens to concede this, after having
defeated the Persian hosts, and keeping out so long all foreign
domination. But times had changed, and the military spirit had fled.

Athens was not prostrated by the battle of Chæronea. She still retained
her navy, and her civic rights. Thebes was utterly prostrated, and never
rallied again.

(M723) Philip, having now subjugated Thebes, and constrained Athens into
submission, next proceeded to carry his arms into the Peloponnesus. He
found but little resistance, except in Laconia. The Corinthians, Argeians,
Messenians, Elians, and Arcadians submitted to his power. Even Sparta
could make but feeble resistance. He laid waste Laconia, and then convened
a congress of Grecian cities at Corinth, and announced his purpose to
undertake an expedition against the king of Persia, avenge the invasion of
Greece by Xerxes, and liberate the Asiatic Greeks. A large force of two
hundred thousand foot and fifteen thousand horse was promised him, and all
the States of Greece concurred, except Sparta, which held aloof from the
congress. Athens was required to furnish a well equipped fleet. All the
States, and all the islands, and all the cities of Greece, were now
subservient to Philip, and no one State could exercise control over its
former territories.

(M724) It was in the year B.C. 337, that this great scheme for the
invasion of Persia was concerted, which created no general enthusiasm,
since Persia was no longer a power to be feared. The only power to be
feared now was Macedonia. While preparations were going on for this
foolish and unnecessary expedition, the prime mover of it was
assassinated, and his career, so disastrous to Grecian liberty, came to an
end. It seems that he had repudiated his wife, Olympias, disgusted with
the savage impulses of her character, and married, for his last wife, for
he had several, Cleopatra, which provoked bitter dissensions among the
partisans of the two queens, and also led to a separation between himself
and his son Alexander, although a reconciliation afterward took place. It
was while celebrating the marriage of his daughter by Olympias, with
Alexander, king of Epirus, and also the birth of a son by Cleopatra, that
Pausanias, one of the royal body-guard, who nourished an implacable hatred
of Philip, chose his opportunity, and stabbed him with a short sword he
had concealed under his garment.

(M725) Alexander, the son of Philip by Olympias, was at once declared
king, whose prosecution of the schemes of his father are to be recounted
in the next chapter. Philip perished at the age of forty-seven, after a
most successful reign of twenty-three years. On his accession he found his
kingdom a narrow territory around Pella, excluded from the sea-coast. At
his death the Macedonian kingdom was the most powerful in Greece, and all
the States and cities, except Sparta, recognized its ascendency. He had
gained this great power, more from the weakness and dissensions of the
Grecian States, than from his own strength, great as were his talents. He
became the arbiter of Greece by unscrupulous perjury and perpetual
intrigues. But he was a great organizer, and created a most efficient
army. Without many accomplishments, he affected to be a patron of both
letters and religion. His private life was stained by character or
drunkenness, gambling, perfidy, and wantonness. His wives and mistresses
were as numerous as those of an Oriental despot. He was a successful man,
but it must be borne in mind that he had no opponents like Epaminondas, or
Agesilaus, or Iphicrates. Demosthenes was his great opponent, but only in
counsels and speech. The generals of Athens, and Sparta, and Thebes had
passed away, and with the decline of military spirit, it is not remarkable
that Philip should have ascended to a height from which he saw the Grecian
world suppliant at his feet.

                               CHAPTER XXV.


(M726) We come now to consider briefly the career of Alexander, the son of
Philip—the most successful, fortunate, and brilliant hero of antiquity. I
do not admire either his character or his work. He does not compare the
with Cæsar or Napoleon in comprehensiveness of genius, or magnanimity, or
variety of attainments, or posthumous influences. He was a meteor—a star
of surprising magnitude, which blazed over the whole Oriental world with
unprecedented brilliancy. His military genius was doubtless great—even
transcendent, and his fame is greater than his genius. His prestige is
wonderful. He conquered the world more by his name than by his power. Only
two men, among military heroes, dispute his pre-eminence in the history of
nations. After more than two thousand years, his glory shines with
undiminished brightness. His conquests extended over a period of only
twelve years, yet they were greater and more dazzling than any man ever
made before in a long reign. Had he lived to be fifty, he might have
subdued the whole world, and created a universal empire equal to that of
the Cæsars—which was the result of five hundred years’ uninterrupted
conquests by the greatest generals of a military nation. Though we neither
love nor reverence Alexander, we can not withhold our admiration, for his
almost superhuman energy, courage, and force of will. He looms up as one
of the prodigies of earth—yet sent by Providence as an avenger—an
instrument of punishment on those effeminated nations, or rather
dynasties, which had triumphed over human misery. I look upon his career,
as the Christians of the fifth century looked upon that of Alaric or
Attila, whom they called the scourge of God.

(M727) His conquests and dominions were, however, prepared by one perhaps
greater than himself in creative genius, and as unscrupulous and cruel as
he. Philip found his kingdom a little brook; he left it a river—broad,
deep, and grand. Under Alexander, this river became an irresistible
torrent, sweeping every thing away which impeded its course. Philip
created an army, and a military system, and generals, all so striking,
that Greece succumbed before him, and yielded up her liberties. Alexander
had only to follow out his policy, which was to subdue the Persians. The
Persian empire extended over all the East—Asia Minor, Syria, Egypt,
Parthia, Babylonia, Mesopotamia, Armenia, Bactria, and other countries—the
one hundred and twenty provinces of Nebuchadnezzar and Cyrus, from the
Mediterranean to India, from the Euxine and Caspian Seas to Arabia and the
Persian Gulf—a monstrous empire, whose possession was calculated to
inflame the monarchs who reigned at Susa and Babylon with more than mortal
pride and self-sufficiency. It had been gradually won by successive
conquerors, from Nimrod to Darius. It was the gradual absorption of all
the kingdoms of the East in the successive Assyrian, Babylonian, and
Persian empires—for these three empires were really one under different
dynasties, and were ruled by the same precedents and principles. The
various kingdoms which composed this empire, once independent, yielded to
the conquerors who reigned at Babylon, or Nineveh, or Persepolis, and
formed satrapies paying tribute to the great king. The satraps of Cyrus
were like the satraps of Nebuchadnezzar, members or friends of the
imperial house, who ruled the various provinces in the name of the king of
Babylon, or Persia, without much interference with the manners, or
language, or customs, or laws, or religion of the conquered, contented to
receive tribute merely, and troops in case of war. And so great was the
accumulation of treasure in the various royal cities where the king
resided part of the year, that Darius left behind him on his flight, in
Ecbatana alone, one hundred and eighty thousand talents, or two hundred
million dollars. It was by this treasure that the kings of Persia lived in
such royal magnificence, and with it they were able to subsidize armies to
maintain their power throughout their vast dominions, and even gain allies
like the Greeks, when they had need of their services. Their treasures
were inexhaustible—and were accumulated with the purpose of maintaining
empire, and hence were not spent, but remained as a sacred deposit.

(M728) It was to overthrow this empire that Philip aspired, after he had
conquered Greece, in part to revenge the injuries inflicted by the Persian
invasions, but more from personal ambition. And had he lived, he would
have succeeded, and his name would have been handed down as the great
conqueror, rather than that of his more fortunate son. Philip knew what a
rope of sand the Persian military power was. Xenophon had enlightened the
Greeks as to the inefficiency of the Persian armies, if they needed any
additional instruction after the defeat of Xerxes and his generals. The
vast armies of the Persians made a grand show, and looked formidable when
reviewed by the king in his gilded chariot, surrounded by his nobles, the
princes of his family, and the women of his harem. And these armies were
sufficient to keep the empire together. The mighty prestige attending
victories for one thousand years, and all the pomp of millions in battle
array, was adequate to keep the province together, for the system of
warfare and the character of the forces were similar in all the provinces.
It was external enemies, with a different system of warfare, that the
Persian kings had to dread—not the revolt of enervated States, and
unwarlike cities. The Orientals were never warlike in the sense that
Greece and Rome were. The armies of Greece and Rome were small, but
efficient. It was seldom that any Grecian or Roman army exceeded fifty
thousand men, but they were veterans, and they had military science and
skill and discipline. The hosts of Xerxes or Darius were undisciplined,
and they were mercenaries, unlike the original troops of Cyrus.

(M729) Now it was the mission of Alexander to overturn the dynasties which
reigned so ingloriously on the banks of the Euphrates—to overrun the
Persian empire from north to south and east to west—to cut it up, and form
new kingdoms of the dismembered provinces, and distribute the hoarded
treasures of Susa, Persepolis, and Ecbatana—to introduce Greek satraps
instead of Persian—to favor the spread of the Greek language and
institutions—to found new cities where Greeks might reign, from which they
might diffuse their spirit and culture. Alexander spent only one year of
his reign in Greece, all the rest of his life was spent in the various
provinces of Persia. He was the conqueror of the Oriental world. He had no
hard battles to fight, like Cæsar or Napoleon. All he had to do was to
appear with his troops, and the enemy fled. Cities were surrendered as he
approached. The two great battles which decided the fate of Persia—Issus
and Arbela—were gained at the first shock of his cavalry. Darius fled from
the field, in both instances, at the very beginning of the battle, and
made no real resistance. The greater the number of Persian soldiers, the
more disorderly was the rout. The Macedonian soldiers fought retreating
armies in headlong flight. The slaughter of the Persians was mere
butchery. It was something like collecting a vast number of birds in a
small space, and shooting them when collected in a corner, and dignifying
the slaughter with a grand name—not like chasing the deer over rocks and

(M730) The military genius of Alexander was seen in the siege of the few
towns which _did_ resist, like Tyre and Gaza; in his rapid marches; in the
combination of his forces; in the system, foresight, and sagacity he
displayed, conquering at the light time, marching upon the right place,
husbanding his energies, wasting no time in expeditions which did not bear
on the main issue, and concentrating his men on points which were vital
and important. Philip, if he had lived, might have conquered the Persian
empire; but he would not have conquered so rapidly as Alexander, who knew
no rest, and advanced from conquering to conquer, in some cases without
ulterior objects, as in the Indian campaigns—simply from the love and
excitement of conquest. He only needed time. He met no enemies who could
oppose him—more, I apprehend, from the want of discipline among his
enemies, than from any irresistible strength of his soldiers, for he
embodied the conquered soldiers in his own army, and they fought like his
own troops, when once disciplined. Nor did he dream of reconstruction, or
building up a great central power. He would, if he had lived, have overrun
Arabia, and then Italy, and Gaul. But he did not live to measure his
strength with the Romans. His mission was ended when he had subdued the
Persian world. And he left no successor. His empire was divided among his
generals, and new kingdoms arose on the ruins of the Persian empire.

(M731) “Alexander was born B.C. 356, and like his father, Philip, was not
Greek, but a Macedonian and Epirot, only partially imbued with Grecian
sentiment and intelligence.” He inherited the ambition of Philip, and the
violent and headstrong temperament of his furious mother, Olympias. His
education was good, and he was instructed by his Greek tutors in the
learning common to Grecian princes. His taste inclined him to poetry and
literature, rather than to science and philosophy. At thirteen he was
intrusted to the care of the great Aristotle, and remained under his
teaching three years. At sixteen he was left regent of the Macedonian
kingdom, whose capital was Pella, while his father was absent in the siege
of Byzantium. At eighteen he commanded one of the wings of the army at the
battle of Chæronea. His prospects were uncertain up to the very day when
Philip was assassinated, on account of family dissensions, and the wrath
of his father, whom he had displeased. But he was proclaimed king on the
death of Philip, B.C., 336 and celebrated his funeral with great
magnificence, and slew many of his murderers. The death of Philip had
excited aspirations of freedom in the Grecian States, but there was no
combination to throw off the Macedonian yoke. Alexander well understood
the discontent of Greece, and his first object was to bring it to abject
submission. With the army of his father he marched from State to State,
compelling submission, and punishing with unscrupulous cruelty all who
resisted. After displaying his forces in various portions of the
Peloponnesus, he repaired to Corinth and convened the deputies from the
Grecian cities, and was chosen to the headship of Greece, as his father,
Philip, had been. He was appointed the keeper of the peace of Greece. Each
Hellenic city was declared free, and in each the existing institutions
were recognized, but no new despot was to be established, and each city
was forbidden to send armed vessels to the harbor of any other, or build
vessels, or engage seamen there. Such was the melancholy degradation of
the Grecian world. Its freedom was extinguished, and there was no hope of
escaping the despotism of Macedonia, but by invoking aid from the Persian
king. Had he been wise, he would have subsidized the Greeks with a part of
his vast treasures, and raised a force in Greece able to cope with
Alexander. But he was doomed, and the Macedonian king was left free to
complete the conquest of all the States. He first marched across Mount
Hæmus, and subdued the Illyrians, Pæonians, and Thracians. He even crossed
the Danube, and defeated the Gætæ.

(M732) Just as he had completed the conquest of the barbarians north of
Macedonia, he heard that the Thebans had declared their independence,
being encouraged by his long absence in Thrace, and by reports of his
death. But he suddenly appeared with his victorious army, and as the
Thebans had no generals equal to Pelopidas and Epaminondas, they were
easily subdued. Thebes was taken by assault, and the population was
massacred—even women and children, whether in their houses or in temples.
Thirty thousand captives were reserved for sale. The city was razed to the
ground, and the Cadmea alone was preserved for a Macedonian garrison. The
Theban territory was partitioned among the reconstructed cities of
Orchomenus and Platæa. This severity was unparalleled in the history of
Greece, but the remorseless conqueror wished to strike with terror all
other cities, and prevent rebellion. He produced the effect he desired.
All the cities of Greece hastened to make peace with so terrible an enemy.
He threatened a like doom on Athens because she refused to surrender the
anti-Macedonian leaders, including Demosthenes, but was finally appeased
through the influence of Phocion, since he did not wish to drive Athens to
desperate courses, which might have impeded his contemplated conquest of
Persia, for the city was still strong in naval defenses, and might unite
with the Persian king. So Athens was spared, but the empire of Thebes was
utterly destroyed. He then repaired to Corinth to make arrangements for
his Persian campaign, and while in that city he visited the cynical
philosopher, Diogenes, who lived in a tub. It is said that when the
philosopher was asked by Alexander if he wished any thing, he replied:
“Nothing, except that you would stand a little out of my sunshine”—a reply
which extorted from the conqueror the remark: “If I were not Alexander, I
would be Diogenes.”

(M733) It took Alexander a year and a few months to crush out what little
remained of Grecian freedom, subdue the Thracians, and collect forces for
his expedition into Persia. In the spring of 334 B.C., his army was
mustered between Pella and Amphipolis, while his fleet was at hand to
render assistance. In April he crossed the strait from Sestos to Abydos,
and never returned to his own capital—Pella—or to Europe. The remainder of
his life, eleven years and two months, was spent in Asia, in continued and
increasing conquests; and these were on such a gigantic scale that Greece
dwindled into insignificance.

(M734) When marshalled on the Asiatic shore, the army of Alexander
presented a total of thirty thousand infantry, and four thousand five
hundred cavalry—a small force, apparently, to overthrow the most venerable
and extensive empire in the world. But these troops were veterans, trained
by Philip, and commanded by able generals. Of these troops twelve thousand
were Macedonians, armed with the sarissa, a long pike, which made the
phalanx, sixteen deep, so formidable. The sarissa was twenty-one feet in
length, and so held by both hands as to project fifteen feet before the
body of the pikeman. The soldier of the phalanx was also provided with a
short sword, a circular shield, a breastplate, leggings, and broad-brimmed
hat. But, besides the phalanx of heavy armed men, there were hoplites
lightly armed, hypaspists for the assault of walled places, and troops
with javelins and with bows. The cavalry was admirable, distributed into
squadrons, among whom were the body-guards—all promoted out of royal pages
and the picked men of the army, sons of the chief people in Macedonia, and
these were heavily armed.

(M735) The generals who served under Alexander were all Macedonians, and
had been trained by Philip. Among these were Hephæstion, the intimate
personal friend of Alexander, Ptolemy, Perdiccas, Antipater, Clitus,
Parmenio, Philotas, Nicanor, Seleucus, Amyntas, Phillipes, Lysimachus,
Antigonas, most of whom reached great power. Parmenio and Antipater were
the highest in rank, the latter of whom was left as viceroy of Macedonia,
Eumenes was the private secretary of Alexander, the most long-headed man
in his army.

(M736) Alexander had landed, unopposed, against the advice of Memnon and
Mentor—two Rhodians, in the service of Darius, the king—descendants of one
of the brothers of Artaxerxes Mnemon—the children of King Ochus, after his
assassination, having all been murdered by the eunuch Bagoas. As the
Persians were superior by sea to the Macedonians, it was an imprudence to
allow Alexander to cross the Hellespont without opposition; but Memnon was
overruled by the Persian satraps, who supposed that they were more than a
match for Alexander on the land, and hoped to defeat him. Arsites, the
Phrygian satrap, commanded the Persian forces, assisted by other satraps,
and Persians of high rank, among whom were Spithridates, satrap of Lydia
and Ionia. The cavalry of the Persians greatly outnumbered that of the
Macedonians, but the infantry was inferior. Memnon advised the satraps to
avoid fighting on the land, and to employ the fleet for aggressive
movements in Macedonia and Greece, but Arsites rejected his advice. The
Persians took post on the river Granicus, near the town of Parium, on one
of the declivities of Mount Ida. Alexander at once resolved to force the
passage of the river, taking the command of the right wing, and giving the
left to Parmenio. The battle was fought by the cavalry, in which Alexander
showed great personal courage. At one time he was in imminent danger of
his life, from the cimeter of Spithridates, but Clitus saved him by
severing the uplifted arm of the satrap from his body with his sword. The
victory was complete, and great numbers of the satraps were slain. There
remained no force in Asia Minor to resist the conqueror, and the Asiatics
submitted in terror and alarm. Alexander then sent Parmenio to subdue
Dascyleum, the stronghold of the satrap of Phrygia, while he advanced to
Sardis, the capital of Lydia, and the main station of the Persians in Asia
Minor. The citadel was considered impregnable, yet such was the terror of
the Persians, that both city and citadel surrendered without a blow.
Phrygia and Lydia then fell into his hands, with immense treasure, of
which he stood in need. He then marched to Ephesus, and entered the city
without resistance, and thus was placed in communication with his fleet,
under the command of Nicanor. He found no opposition until he reached
Miletus, which was encouraged to resist him from the approach of the
Persian fleet, four hundred sail, chiefly of Phœnician and Cyprian ships,
which, a few weeks earlier, might have prevented his crossing into Asia.
But the Persian fleet did not arrive until the city was invested, and the
Macedonian fleet, of one hundred and sixty sail, had occupied the harbor.
Alexander declined to fight on the sea, but pressed the siege on the land,
so that the Persian fleet, unable to render assistance, withdrew to
Halicarnassus. The city fell, and Alexander took the resolution of
disbanding his own fleet altogether, and concentrating all his operations
on the land—doubtless a wise, but desperate measure. He supposed, and
rightly, that after he had taken the cities on the coast, the Persian
fleet would be useless, and the country would be insured to his army.

(M737) Alexander found some difficulty at the siege of Halicarnassus, from
the bravery of the garrison, commanded by Memnon, and the strength of the
defenses, aided by the Persian fleet. But his soldiers, “protected from
missiles by movable pent-houses, called tortoises, gradually filled up the
deep and wide ditch round the town, so as to open a level road for his
engines (rolling towers of wood) to come up close to the walls.” Then the
battering-rams overthrew the towers of the city wall, and made a breach in
them, so that the city was taken by assault. Memnon, forced to abandon his
defenses, withdrew the garrison by sea, and Alexander entered the city.
The ensuing winter months were employed in the conquest of Lydia,
Pamphylia, and Pisidia, which was effected easily, since the terror of his
arms led to submission wherever he appeared. At Gordium, in Phrygia, he
performed the exploit familiarly known as the cutting of the Gordian knot,
which was a cord so twisted and entangled, that no one could untie it. The
oracle had pronounced that to the person who should untie it, the empire
of Persia was destined. Alexander, after many futile attempts to
disentangle the knot, in a fit of impatience, cut it with his sword, and
this was accepted as the solution of the problem.

(M738) Meanwhile Memnon, to whom Darius had intrusted the guardianship of
the whole coast of Asia Minor, with a large Phœnician fleet and a
considerable body of Grecian mercenaries, acquired the important island of
Chios, and a large part of Lesbos. But in the midst of his successes, he
died of sickness, and no one was left able to take his place. Had his
advice been taken, Alexander could not have landed in Asia. His death was
an irreparable loss to Persian cause, and with his death vanished all hope
of employing the Persian force with wisdom and effect. Darius now changed
his policy, and resolved to carry on offensive measures on the land. He
therefore summoned a vast army, from all parts of his empire, of five
hundred thousand infantry, and one hundred thousand cavalry. An eminent
Athenian, Charidemus, advised the Persian king to employ his great
treasure in subsidizing the Greeks, and not to dream, with his
undisciplined Asiatics, to oppose the Macedonians in battle. But the
advice was so unpalatable to the proud and self-reliant king, in the midst
of his vast forces, that he looked upon Charidemus as a traitor, and sent
him to execution.

(M739) It would not have been difficult for Darius to defend his kingdom,
had he properly guarded the mountain passes through which Alexander must
needs march to invade Persia. Here again Darius was infatuated, and he, in
his self-confidence, left the passes over Mount Taurus and Mount Amanus
undefended. Alexander, with re-enforcements from Macedonia, now marched
from Gordium through Paphlagonia and Cappadocia, whose inhabitants made
instant submission, and advanced to the Cilician Gates—an impregnable pass
in the Taurus range, which opened the way to Cilicia. It had been
traversed seventy years before by Cyrus the Younger, with the ten thousand
Greeks, and was the main road from Asia Minor into Cilicia and Syria. The
narrowest part of this defile allowed only four soldiers abreast, and here
Darius should have taken his stand, even as the Greeks took possession of
Thermopylæ in the invasion of Xerxes. But the pass was utterly undefended,
and Alexander marched through unobstructed without the loss of a man. He
then found himself at Tarsus, where he made a long halt, from a dangerous
illness which he got by bathing in the river Cydnus. When he recovered, he
sent Parmenio to secure the pass over Mount Amanus, six days’ march from
Tarsus, called the Cilician Gates. These were defended, but the guard fled
at the approach of the Macedonians, and this important defile was secured.
Alexander then marched through Issus to Myriandrus, to the south of the
Cilician Gates, which he had passed. The Persians now advanced from Sochi
and appeared in his rear at Issus—a vast host, in the midst of which was
Darius with his mother, his wife, his harem, and children, who accompanied
him to witness his anticipated triumph, for it seemed to him an easy
matter to overwhelm and crush the invaders, who numbered only about forty
thousand men. So impatient was Darius to attack Alexander that he
imprudently advanced into Cilicia by the northern pass, now called Beylan,
with all his army, so that in the narrow defiles of that country his
cavalry was nearly useless. He encamped near Issus, on the river Pinarus.
Alexander, learning that Darius was in his rear, retraced his steps,
passed north through the Gates of Cilicia, through which he had marched
two days before, and advanced to the river Pinarus, on the north bank of
which Darius was encamped. And here Darius resolved to fight. He threw
across the river thirty thousand cavalry and twenty thousand infantry, to
insure the undisturbed formation of his main force. His main line was
composed of ninety thousand hoplites, of which thirty thousand were Greek
in the centre. On the mountain to his left, he posted twenty thousand, to
act against the right wing of the Macedonian army. He then recalled the
thirty thousand cavalry and twenty thousand infantry, which he had sent
across the river, and awaited the onset of Alexander, Darius was in his
chariot, in the centre, behind the Grecian hoplites. But the ground was so
uneven, that only a part of his army could fight. A large proportion of it
were mere spectators.

(M740) Alexander advanced to the attack. The left-wing was commanded by
Parmenio, and the right by himself, on which were placed the Macedonian
cavalry. The divisions of the phalanx were in the centre, and the
Peloponnesian cavalry and Thracian light infantry on the left. The whole
front extended only one and a half mile. Crossing the river rapidly,
Alexander, at the head of his cavalry, light infantry, and some divisions
of the phalanx, fell suddenly upon the Asiatic hoplites which were
stationed on the Persian left. So impetuous and unexpected was the charge,
that the troops instantly fled, vigorously pressed by the Macedonian
right. Darius, from his chariot, saw the flight of his left wing, and,
seized with sudden panic, caused his chariot to be turned, and fled also
among the foremost fugitives. In his terror he cast away his bow, shield,
and regal mantle. He did not give a single order, nor did he remain a
moment after the defeat of his left, as he ought, for he was behind thirty
thousand Grecian hoplites, in the centre, but abandoned himself to
inglorious flight, and this was the signal for a general flight also of
all his troops, who turned and trampled each other down in their efforts
to get beyond the reach of the enemy.

(M741) Thus the battle was lost by the giving way of the Asiatic hoplites
on the left, and the flight of Darius in a few minutes after. The Persian
right showed some bravery, till Alexander, having completed the rout of
the left, turned to attack the Grecian mercenaries in the flank and rear,
when all fled in terror. The slaughter of the fugitives was prodigious.
The camp of Darius was taken, with his mother, wife, sister, and children.
One hundred thousand Persians were slain, not in _fight_, but in _flight_,
and among them were several eminent satraps and grandees. The Persian
hosts were completely dispersed, and Darius did not stop till he had
crossed the Euphrates. The booty acquired was immense, in gold, silver,
and captives.

(M742) Such was the decisive battle of Issus, where the cowardice and
incompetency of Darius were more marked than the generalship of Alexander
himself. No victory was ever followed by more important consequences. It
dispersed the Persian hosts, and opened Persia to a victorious enemy, and
gave an irresistible prestige to the conqueror. The fall of the empire was
rendered probable, and insured successive triumphs to Alexander.

(M743) But before he proceeded to the complete conquest of the Persian
empire, Alexander, like a prudent and far-reaching general, impetuous as
he was, concluded to subdue first all the provinces which lay on the
coast, and thus make the Persian fleet useless, and ultimately capture it,
and leave his rear without an enemy. Accordingly he sent Parmenio to
capture Damascus, where were collected immense treasures. It was
surrendered without resistance though it was capable of sustaining a
siege. There were captured vast treasures, with prodigious numbers of
Persians of high rank, and many illustrious Greek exiles. Master of
Damascus, Alexander, in the winter of B.C. 331, advanced upon Phœnicia,
the cities of which mostly sent letters of submission. While at Maranthus,
Darius wrote to Alexander, asking for the restitution of his wife, mother,
sister, and daughter, and tendering friendship, to which Alexander replied
in a haughty letter, demanding to be addressed, not as an equal, but as
lord of Asia.

(M744) The last hope of Darius was in the Phœnicians, who furnished him
ships; and one city remained firm in its allegiance—Tyre—the strongest and
most important place in Phœnicia. But even this city would have yielded on
fair and honorable conditions. This did not accord with Alexander’s views,
who made exorbitant demands, which could not be accepted by the Tyrians
without hazarding their all. Accordingly they prepared for a siege,
trusting to the impregnable defenses of the city. It was situated on an
islet, half a mile from the main land, surrounded by lofty walls and
towers of immense strength and thickness. But nothing discouraged
Alexander, who loved to surmount difficulties. He constructed a mole from
the main land to the islet, two hundred feet wide, of stone and timber,
which was destroyed by a storm and by the efforts of the Tyrians. Nothing
daunted, he built another, still wider and stronger, and repaired to
Sidon, where he collected a great fleet, with which he invested the city
by sea, as well as land. The doom of the city was now sealed, and the
Tyrians could offer no more serious obstructions. The engines were then
rolled along the mole to the walls, and a breach was at last made, and the
city was taken by assault. The citizens then barricaded the streets, and
fought desperately until they were slain. The surviving soldiers were
hanged, and the women and children sold as slaves. Still the city resisted
for seven months, and its capture was really the greatest effort of genius
that Alexander had shown, and furnished an example to Richelieu in the
siege of La Rochelle.

(M745) On the fall of this ancient and wealthy capital, whose pride and
wealth are spoken of in the Scriptures, Alexander received a second letter
from Darius, offering ten thousand talents, his daughter in marriage, with
the cession of all the provinces of his empire west of the Euphrates, for
the surrender of his family. To which the haughty and insolent conqueror
replied: “I want neither your money nor your cession. All your money and
territory are mine already, and you are tendering me a part instead of the
whole. If I choose to marry your daughter I _shall_ marry her, whether you
give her to me or not. Come hither to me, if you wish for friendship.”

(M746) Darius now saw that he must risk another desperate battle, and
summoned all his hosts. Yet Alexander did not immediately march against
him, but undertook first the conquest of Egypt. Syria, Phœnicia, and
Palestine were now his, as well as Asia Minor. He had also defeated the
Persian fleet, and was master of all the islands of the Ægean. He stopped
on his way to Egypt to take Gaza, which held out against him, built on a
lofty artificial mound two hundred and fifty feet high, and encircled with
a lofty wall. The Macedonian engineers pronounced the place impregnable,
but the greater the difficulty the greater the eagerness of Alexander to
surmount it. He accordingly built a mound all around the city, as high as
that on which Gaza was built, and then rolled his engines to the wall,
effected a breach, and stormed the city, slew all the garrison, and sold
all the women and children for slaves. As for Batis, the defender of the
city, he was dragged by a chariot around the town, as Achilles, whom
Alexander imitated, had done to the dead body of Hector. The siege of
these two cities, Tyre and Gaza, occupied nine months, and was the hardest
fighting that Alexander ever encountered.

(M747) He entered and occupied Egypt without resistance, and resolved to
found a new city, near the mouth of the Nile, not as a future capital of
the commercial world, but as a depot for his ships. While he was preparing
for this great work, he visited the temple of Jupiter Ammon in the desert,
and was addressed by the priests as the Son of God, not as a mortal, which
flattery was agreeable to him, so that ever afterward he claimed divinity,
in the arrogance of his character, and the splendor of his successes, and
even slew the man who saved his life at the Granicus, because he denied
his divine claims—the most signal instance of self-exaggeration and pride
recorded in history, transcending both Nebuchadnezzar and Napoleon.

(M748) After arranging his affairs in Egypt, and obtaining re-enforcements
of Greeks and Thracians, he set out for the Euphrates, which he crossed at
Thapsacus, unobstructed—another error of the Persians. But Darius was
paralyzed by the greatness of his misfortunes, and by the capture of his
family, and could not act with energy or wisdom. He collected his vast
hosts on a plain near Arbela, east of the Tigris, and waited for the
approach of the enemy. He had one million of infantry, forty thousand
cavalry, and two hundred scythed chariots, besides a number of elephants.
He placed himself in the centre, with his choice troops, including the
horse and foot-guards, and mercenary Greeks. In the rear stood deep masses
of Babylonians, and on the left, and right, Bactrians, Cadusians, Medes,
Albanians, and troops from the remote provinces. In the front of Darius,
were the scythed chariots with advanced bodies of cavalry.

(M749) Alexander, as he approached, ranged his forces with great care and
skill, forty thousand foot and seven thousand horse. His main line was
composed, on the right, of choice cavalry; then, toward the left, of
hypaspists; then the phalanx, in six divisions, which formed the centre;
then Greek cavalry on the extreme left. Behind the main line was a body of
reserves, intended to guard against attack on the flanks and rear. In
front of the main line were advanced squadrons of cavalry and light
troops. The Thracian infantry guarded the baggage and camp. He himself
commanded the right, and Parmenio the left.

(M750) Darius, at the commencement of the attack, ordered his chariots to
charge, and the main line to follow, calculating on disorder. But the
horses of the chariots were terrified and wounded by the Grecian archers
and darters in front, and most turned round, or were stopped. Those that
pressed on were let through the Macedonian lines without mischief. As at
Issus, Alexander did not attack the centre, where Darius was surrounded
with the choicest troops of the army, but advanced impetuously upon the
left wing, turned it, and advanced by a flank movement toward the centre,
where Darius was posted. The Persian king, seeing the failure of the
chariots, and the advancing troops of Alexander, lost his self-possession,
turned his chariot, and fled, as at Issus. Such folly and cowardice led,
of course, to instant defeat and rout; and nothing was left for the
victor, but to pursue and destroy the disorderly fugitives, so that the
slaughter was immense. But while the left and centre of the Persians were
put to flight, the right fought vigorously, and might have changed the
fortune of the day, had not Alexander seasonably returned from the
pursuit, and attacked the left in the rear and flank. Then all was lost,
and headlong flight marked the Persian hosts. The battle was lost by the
cowardice of Darius, who insisted, with strange presumption, on commanding
in person. Half the troops, under an able general, would have overwhelmed
the Macedonian army, even with Alexander at the head. But the Persians had
no leader of courage and skill, and were a mere rabble. According to some
accounts, three hundred thousand Persians were slain, and not more than
one hundred Macedonians. There was no attempt on the part of Darius to
rally or collect a new army. His cause and throne were irretrievably lost,
and he was obliged to fly to his farthest provinces, pursued by the
conqueror. The battle of Arbela was the death-blow to the Persian empire.
We can not help feeling sentiments of indignation in view of such wretched
management on the part of the Persians, thus throwing away an empire. But,
on the other hand, we are also compelled to admit the extraordinary
generalship of Alexander, who brought into action every part of his army,
while at least three-quarters of the Persians were mere spectators, so
that his available force was really great. His sagacious combinations, his
perception of the weak points of his adversary, and the instant advantage
which he seized—his insight, rapidity of movement, and splendid
organization, made him irresistible against any Persian array of numbers,
without skill. Indeed, the Persian army was too large, since it could not
be commanded by one man with any effect, and all became confusion and ruin
on the first misfortune. The great generals of antiquity, Greek and Roman,
rarely commanded over fifty thousand men on the field of battle; and fifty
thousand, under Alexander’s circumstances, were more effective, perhaps,
than two hundred thousand. In modern times, when battles are not decided
by personal bravery, but by the number and disposition of cannon, and the
excellence of firearms, an army of one hundred thousand can generally
overwhelm an army of fifty thousand, with the same destructive weapons.
But in ancient times, the impetuous charge of twenty thousand men on a
single point, followed by success, would produce a panic, and then a rout,
when even flight is obstructed by numbers. Thus Alexander succeeded both
at Issus and Arbela. He concentrated forces upon a weak point, which, when
carried, produced a panic, and especially sent dismay into the mind of
Darius, who had no nerve or self-control. Had he remained firm, and only
fought on the defensive, the Macedonians might not have prevailed. But he
fled; and confusion seized, of course, his hosts.

(M751) Both Babylon and Susa, the two great capitals of the empire,
immediately surrendered after the decisive battle of Arbela, and Alexander
became the great king and Darius a fugitive. The treasure found at Susa
was even greater than that which Babylon furnished—about fifty thousand
talents, or fifty million dollars, one-fifth of which, three years before,
would have been sufficient to subsidize Greece, and present a barrier to
the conquests of both Philip and Alexander.

(M752) The victor spent a month in Babylon, sacrificing to the Babylonian
deities, feasting his troops, and organizing his new empire. He then
marched into Persia proper, subdued the inhabitants, and entered
Persepolis. Though it was the strongest place in the empire, it made no
resistance. Here were hoarded the chief treasures of the Persian kings, no
less than one hundred and twenty thousand talents, or about one hundred
and twenty million dollars of our money—an immense sum in gold and silver
in that age, a tenth of which, judiciously spent, would have secured the
throne to Darius against any exterior enemy. He was now a fugitive in
Media, and thither Alexander went at once in pursuit, giving himself no
rest. He established himself at Ecbatana, the capital, without resistance,
and made preparations for the invasion of the eastern part of the Persian
empire, beyond the Parthian desert, even to the Oxus and the Indus,
inhabited by warlike barbarians, from which were chiefly recruited the
Persian armies.

(M753) It would be tedious to describe the successive conquests of
Sogdiana, Margiana, Bactriana, and even some territory beyond the Indus.
Alexander never met from these nations the resistance which Cæsar found in
Gaul, nor were his battles in these eastern countries remarkable. He only
had to appear, and he was master. At last his troops were wearied of these
continual marchings and easy victories, when their real enemies were heat,
hunger, thirst, fatigue, and toil. They refused to follow their general
and king any further to the east, and he was obliged to return. Yet some
seven years were consumed in marches and conquests in these remote
countries, for he penetrated to Scythia at the north, and the mouth of the
Indus to the south.

(M754) It was in the expeditions among these barbarians that some of the
most disgraceful events of his life took place. He seldom rested, but when
he had leisure he indulged in great excesses at the festive board. His
revelries with his officers were prolonged often during the night, and
when intoxicated, he did things which gave him afterward the deepest
remorse and shame. Thus he killed, with his own hand, Clitus, at a feast,
because Clitus ventured to utter some truths which were in opposition to
his notions of omnipotence. But the agony of remorse was so great, that he
remained in bed three whole days and nights immediately after, refusing
all food and drink. He also killed Philotas, one of his most trusted
generals, and commander of his body-guard, on suspicion of treachery, and
then, without other cause than fear of the anger of his father, Parmenio,
he caused that old general to be assassinated at Ecbatana, in command of
the post—the most important in his dominions—where his treasures were
deposited. He savagely mutilated Bessus, the satrap, who stood out against
him in Bactria. Callisthenes, one of the greatest philosophers of the age,
was tortured and assassinated for alleged complexity in a conspiracy, but
he really incurred the hatred of the monarch for denying his claim to

(M755) In the spring of B.C. 326, Alexander crossed the Indus, but met
with no resistance until he reached the river Hydaspes (Jhylum) on the
other side of which, Porus, an Indian prince, disputed his passage, with a
formidable force and many trained elephants—animals which the Macedonians
had never before encountered. By a series of masterly combinations
Alexander succeeded in crossing the river, and the combat commenced. But
the Indians could not long withstand the long pikes and close combats of
the Greeks, and were defeated with great loss. Porus himself, a prince of
gigantic stature, mounted on an elephant, was taken, after having fought
with great courage. Carried into the presence of the conqueror, Alexander
asked him what, he wished to be done for him, for his gallantry and
physical strength excited admiration. Porus replied that he wished to be
treated as a king, which answer still more excited the admiration of the
Greeks. He was accordingly treated with the utmost courtesy and
generosity, and retained as an ally. Alexander was capable of great
magnanimity, when he was not opposed. He was kind to the family of Darius,
both before and after his assassination by the satrap Bessus. And his
munificence to his soldiers was great, and he never lost their affections.
But he was cruel and sanguinary in his treatment of captives who had made
him trouble, putting thousands to the sword in cold blood.

(M756) As before mentioned, the soldiers were wearied with victories and
hardships, without enjoyments, and longed to return to Europe. Hence
Sangala, in India, was the easternmost point to which he penetrated. On
returning to the river Hydaspes, he constructed a fleet of two thousand
boats, in which a part of his army descended the river with himself, while
another part marched along its banks. He sailed slowly down the river to
its junction with the Indus, and then to the Indian ocean. This voyage
occupied nine months, but most of the time was employed in subduing the
various people who opposed his march. On reaching the ocean, he was
astonished and interested by the ebbing and flowing of the tide—a new
phenomenon to him. The fleet was conducted from the mouth of the Indus,
round by the Persian Gulf to the mouth of the Tigris—a great nautical
achievement in those days; but he himself, with the army, marched westward
through deserts, undergoing great fatigues and sufferings, and with a
great loss of men, horses, and baggage. At Carmania he halted, and the
army for seven days was abandoned to drunken festivities.

(M757) On returning to Persepolis, in Persia, he visited and repaired the
tomb of Cyrus, the greatest conqueror the world had seen before himself.
In February, B.C. 324, he marched to Susa, where he spent several months
in festivities and in organizing his great government, since he no longer
had armies to oppose. He now surrounded himself with the pomp of the
Persian kings, wore their dress, and affected their habits, much to the
disgust of his Macedonian generals. He had married a beautiful
captive—Roxana, in Bactria, and he now took two additional wives, Statira,
daughter of Darius, and Parysatis, daughter of King Ochus. He also caused
his principal officers to marry the daughters of the old Persian grandees,
and seemed to forget the country from which he came, and which he was
destined never again to see. Here also he gave a donation to his soldiers
of twenty thousand talents—about five hundred dollars to each man. But
even this did not satisfy them, and when new re-enforcements arrived, the
old soldiers mutinied. He disbanded the whole of them in anger, and gave
them leave to return to their homes, but they were filled with shame and
regret, and a reconciliation took place.

(M758) It was while he made a visit to Ecbatana, in the summer of B.C.
324, that his favorite, Hephæstion, died. His sorrow and grief were
unbounded. He cast himself upon the ground, cut his hair close, and
refused food and drink for two days. This was the most violent grief he
ever manifested, and it was sincere. He refused to be comforted, yet
sought for a distraction from his grief in festivals and ostentation of

(M759) In the spring of B.C. 323, he marched to Babylon, where were
assembled envoys from all the nations of the known world to congratulate
him for his prodigious and unprecedented successes, and invoke his
friendship, which fact indicates his wide-spread fame. At Babylon he laid
plans and made preparations for the circumnavigation and conquest of
Arabia, and to found a great maritime city in the interior of the Persian
Gulf. But before setting out, he resolved to celebrate the funeral
obsequies of Hephæstion with unprecedented splendor. The funeral pile was
two hundred feet high, loaded with costly decorations, in which all the
invention of artists was exhausted. It cost twelve thousand talents, or
twelve million dollars of our money. The funeral ceremonies were succeeded
by a general banquet, in which he shared, passing a whole night in
drinking with his friend Medius. This last feast was fatal. His heated
blood furnished fuel for the raging fever which seized him, and which
carried him off in a few days, at the age of thirty-two, and after a reign
of twelve years and eight months, June, B.C. 323.

(M760) He indicated no successor. Nor could one man have governed so vast
an empire with so little machinery of government. His achievements threw
into the shade those of all previous conquerors, and he was, most
emphatically, the Great King—the type of all worldly power. “He had
mastered, in defiance of fatigue, hardship, and combat, not merely all the
eastern half of the Persian empire, but unknown Indian regions beyond.
Besides Macedon, Greece, and Thrace, he possessed all the treasures and
forces which rendered the Persian king so formidable,” and he was exalted
to all this power and grandeur by conquest at an age when a citizen of
Athens was intrusted with important commands, and ten years less than the
age for a Roman consul. But he was unsatisfied, and is said to have wept
that there were no more worlds to conquer. He would, had he lived,
doubtless have encountered the Romans, and all their foes, and added Italy
and Spain and Carthage to his empire. But there is a limit to human
successes, and when his work of chastisement of the nations was done, he
died. But he left a fame never since surpassed, and “he overawes the
imagination more than any personage of antiquity.” He had transcendent
merits as a general, but he was much indebted to fortunate circumstances.
He thought of new conquests, rather than of consolidating what he had
made, so that his empire must naturally be divided and subdivided at his
death. Though divided and subdivided, the effect of those conquests
remained to future generations, and had no small effect on civilization,
and yet, instead of Hellenizing Asia, he rather Asiatized Hellas. That
process, so far as it was carried out, is due to his generals—the
Diadochi—Antigonas, Ptolemy, Seleucus, Lysimachus, &c., who divided
between them the empire. But Hellenism in reality never to a great extent
passed into Asia. The old Oriental habits and sentiments and intellectual
qualities remained, and have survived all succeeding conquests. Oriental
habits and opinions rather invaded the western world with the progress of
wealth and luxury. Asia, by the insidious influences of effeminated
habits, undermined Greece, and even Rome, rather than received from Europe
new impulses or sentiments, or institutions. A new and barbarous country
may prevail, by the aid of hardy warriors, adventurous and needy, over the
civilized nations which have been famous for a thousand years, but the
conquered country almost invariably has transmitted its habits and
institutions among the conquerors, so much more majestic are ideas than
any display of victorious brute forces. Dynasties are succeeded by
dynasties, but civilization survives, when any material exists on which it
can work.

Athens was never a greater power in the world than at the time her
political ruin was consummated. Hence the political changes of nations,
which form the bulk of all histories, are insignificant in comparison with
those ideas and institutions which gradually transform the habits and
opinions of ordinary life. Yet it is these silent and gradual changes
which escape the notice of historians, and are the most difficult to be
understood and explained, for lack of sufficient and definite knowledge.
Moreover, it is the feats of extraordinary individuals in stirring
enterprise and heroism which have thus far proved the great attraction of
past ages to ordinary minds. No history, truly philosophical, would be
extensively read by any people, in any age, and least of all by the young,
in the process of education.

The remaining history of Greece has little interest until the Roman
conquests, which will be presented in the next book.

                                BOOK III.


                              CHAPTER XXVI.


In presenting the growth of that great power which gradually absorbed all
other States and monarchies so as to form the largest empire ever known on
earth, I shall omit a notice of all other States, in Italy and Europe,
until they were brought into direct collision with Rome herself.

(M761) The early history of Rome is involved in obscurity, and although
many great writers have expended vast learning and ingenuity in tracing
the origin of the city and its inhabitants, still but little has been
established on an incontrovertible basis. We look to poetry and legends
for the foundation of the “Eternal City.”

(M762) These legends are of peculiar interest. Æneas, in his flight from
Troy, after many adventures, reaches Italy, marries the daughter of
Latinus, king of the people, who then lived in Latium, and builds a city,
which he names Lavinium, and unites his Trojan followers with the
aboriginal inhabitants.

(M763) Latium was a small country, bounded on the north by the Tiber, on
the East by the Liris and Vinius, and on the south and west by the Tuscan
Sea. It was immediately surrounded by the Etruscans, Sabines, Equi, and
Marsi. When Latium was originally settled we do not know, but the people
doubtless belonged to the Indo-European race, kindred to the early
settlers of Europe. Latium was a plain, inclosed by mountains and
traversed by the Tiber, of about seven hundred square miles. Between the
Alban Lake and the Alban Mount, was Alba—the original seat of the Latin
race, and the mother city of Rome. Here, according to tradition, reigned
Ascanius, the son of Æneas, and his descendants for three hundred years
were the Latin tribes. After eleven generations of kings, Amulius usurps
the throne, which belonged to Numitor, the elder brother, and dooms his
only daughter, Silvia, to perpetual virginity as a Vestal. Silvia, visited
by a god, gives birth to twins, Romulus and Remus. The twins, exposed by
the order of Amulius, are suckled by a she-wolf, and brought up by one of
the king’s herdsmen. They feed their flocks on the Palatine, but a quarrel
ensuing between them and the herdsmen of Numitor on the Aventine, their
royal origin is discovered, and the restoration of Numitor is effected.
But the twins resolve to found a city, and Rome arises on the Palatine, an
asylum for outlaws and slaves, who are provided with wives by the “rape of
the Sabine women.”

(M764) Thus, according to the legends, was the foundation of Rome, on a
hill about fourteen miles from the mouth of the Tiber, and on a site less
healthy than the old Latin towns, B.C. 751, or 753. According to the
speculations of Mommsen, it would seem that Rome was at a very early
period the resort of a lawless band of men, who fortified themselves on
the Palatine, and perhaps other hills, and robbed the small merchants, who
sailed up and down the Tiber, as well as the neighboring rural population,
even as the feudal barons intrenched themselves on hills overlooking
plains and rivers. But all theories relating to the foundation of Rome are
based either on legend or speculation. Until we arrive at certain facts, I
prefer those based on legend, such as have been accepted for more than two
thousand years. It is but little consequence whether Romulus and Remus are
real characters, or poetic names. This is probable, that the situation of
Rome was favorable in ancient times for rapine, even if it were not a
healthy locality. The first beginnings of Rome were violence and robbery,
and the murder of Remus by Romulus is a type of its early history, and
whole subsequent career.

(M765) Romulus and his associate outlaws, now intrenched on the Palatine,
organize a city and government, and extend the limits. The rape of the
Sabines leads to war, and Titus Tatius, king of the Sabines, obtains
possession of the Capitoline Hill—the smallest but most famous of the
seven hills on which Rome was subsequently built. In the valley between,
on which the forum was afterward built, the combatants are separated by
the Sabine wives of the outlaws, and the tribes or nations are united
under the name of Ramnes and Tities, the Sabines retaining the capitol and
the Quirinal, and the Romans the Palatine. Some Etruscans, in possession
of the Cælian Hill, are incorporated as a third tribe, called Luceres. But
it is probable that the Sabine element prevailed. Each tribe contains ten
curiæ of a hundred citizens, which, with the three hundred horsemen, form
a body of three thousand three hundred citizens, who alone enjoyed
political rights.

(M766) The government, though monarchical, was limited. The king was bound
to lay all questions of moment before the assembly of the thirty curiæ,
called the _Comitia Curiata_. But the king had a council called the
_Senate_, composed of one hundred members, who were called _Patres_, or
Fathers, and doubtless were the heads of clans called _Gentes_. The Gentes
were divided into _Familiæ_, or families. These _Patres_ were the heads of
the patrician houses—that class who alone had political rights, and who
were Roman citizens.

(M767) Romulus is said to have reigned justly and ably for thirty-seven
years, and no one could be found worthy to succeed him. At length the
Roman tribe, the Ramnes, elected Numa Pompilius, from the Sabines, a man
of wisdom and piety, and said to have acquired his learning from
Pythagoras. This king instituted the religious and civil legislation of
Rome, and built the temple of Janus in the midst of the Forum, whose doors
were shut in peace and opened in war, but were never closed from his death
to the reign of Augustus, but a brief period after the first Punic war.

(M768) He established the College of Pontiffs, who directed all the
ceremonies of religion and regulated festivals and the system of weights
and measures; also the College of Augurs, who interpreted by various omens
the will of the gods; and also the College of Heralds, who guarded the
public faith. He fixed the boundaries of fields, divided the territory of
Rome into districts, called _pagi_, and regulated the calendar.

(M769) According to the legends, Tullus Hostilius was the third king of
Rome, elected by the curiæ. He assigned the Cælian Mount for the poor, and
the strangers who flocked to Rome, and was a warlike sovereign. The great
event of his reign was the destruction of Alba. The growing power of Rome
provoked the jealousy of this ancient seat of Latin power, and war ensued.
The armies of the two States were drawn up in battle array, when it was
determined that the quarrel should be settled by three champions, chosen
from each side. Hence the beautiful story of the Curiatii and the Horatii,
three brothers on each side. Two of the Horatii were slain, and the three
Curiatii were wounded. The third of the Horatii affected to fly, and was
pursued by the Curiatii, but as they were wounded, the third Roman subdued
them in detail, and so the Albans became subjects of the Romans. The
conqueror met his sister at one of the gates, who, being betrothed to one
of the Curiatii, reproached him for the death of her lover, which so
incensed him that he slew her. Thus early does patriotism surmount natural
affections among the Romans. But Horatius was nevertheless tried for his
life by two judges and condemned. He appealed to the people, who reversed
the judgment—the first instance on record of an appeal in a capital case
to the people, which subsequently was the right of Roman citizens.

(M770) Hostilities again breaking out between Alba and Rome, the former
city was demolished and the inhabitants removed to the Cæilian Mount and
enrolled among the citizens. By the destruction of Alba, Rome obtained the
presidency over the thirty cities of the Latin confederacy. Tullus, it
would seem, was an unscrupulous king, but able, and to him is ascribed the
erection of the Curia Hostilia, where the Senate had its meetings.

(M771) The Sabine Ancus Martius was the fourth king, B.C. 640, who pursued
the warlike policy of his predecessor, conquering many Latin towns, and
incorporating their inhabitants with the Romans, whom he settled on Mount
Aventine. They were freemen, but not citizens. They were called plebeians,
with modified civil, but not political rights, and were the origin of that
great middle class which afterward became so formidable. The plebeians,
though of the same race as the Romans, were a conquered people, and yet
were not reduced to slavery like most conquered people among the ancients.
They had their Gentes and Familiæ, but they could not intermarry with the
patricians. Though they were not citizens, they were bound to fight for
the State, for which, as a compensation, they retained their lands, that
is, their old possessions.

(M772) On the death, B.C. 616, of Ancus Marlius, Lucius Tarquinius, of an
Etruscan family, became king, best known as Tarquinius Priscus. He had
been guardian of the two sons of Ancus, but offered himself as candidate
for the throne, from which it would appear that the monarchs were elected
by the people.

(M773) He carried on successful war against the Latins and Sabines, and
introduced from Etruria, by permission of the Senate, a golden crown, an
ivory chain, a sceptre topped with an eagle, and a crimson robe studded
with gold—emblems of royalty. But he is best known for various public
works of great magnificence at the time, as well as of public utility.
Among these was the Cloaca Maxima, to drain the marshy land between the
Palatine and the Tiber—a work so great, that Niebuhr ranks it with the
pyramids. It has lasted, without the displacement of a stone, for more
than two thousand years. It shows that the use of the arch was known at
that period. The masonry of the stones is perfect, joined together without
cement. Tarquin also instituted public games, and reigned with more
splendor than we usually associate with an infant State.

(M774) This king, who excited the jealousy of the patricians, was
assassinated B.C. 578, and Servius Tullius reigned in his stead. He was
the greatest of the Roman kings, and arose to his position by eminent
merit, being originally obscure. He married the daughter of Tarquin, and
shared all his political plans.

(M775) He is most celebrated for remodeling the constitution. He left the
old institutions untouched, but added new ones. He made a new territorial
division of the State, and created a popular assembly. He divided the
whole population into thirty tribes, at the head of each of which was a
tribune. Each tribe managed its own local affairs, and held public
meetings. These tribes included both patricians and plebeians. This was
the commencement of the power of the plebs, which was seen with great
jealousy by the patricians.

(M776) The basis or principle of the new organization of Servius was the
possession of property. All free citizens, whether patricians or
plebeians, were called to defend the State, and were enrolled in the army.
The equites, or cavalry, took the precedence in the army, and was composed
of the wealthy citizens. There were eighteen centuries of these knights,
six patrician and twelve plebeian, all having more than one hundred
thousand ases. They were armed with sword, spear, helmet, shield, greaves,
and cuirass. The infantry was composed of the classes, variously armed, of
which, including equites, there were one hundred and ninety-four
centuries, one hundred of whom were of the first rank, heavily armed—all
men possessing one hundred thousand ases. Each class was divided into
seniores—men between forty-five and sixty, and juniores—from seventeen to
forty-five. The former were liable to be called out only in emergencies.
This division of the citizens was a purely military one, and each century
had one vote. But as the first class numbered one hundred centuries, each
man of which was worth land valued at one hundred thousand ases, it could
cast a larger vote than all the other classes, which numbered only
ninety-four together. Thus the rich controlled all public affairs.

(M777) To this military body of men, in which the rich preponderated,
Servius committed all the highest functions of the State, for the Comitia
Centuriata possessed elective, judicial, and legislative functions.
Servius also rendered many other benefits to the plebeians, He divided
among them the lands gained from the Etruscans. He inclosed the city with
a wall, which remained for centuries, embracing the seven hills on which
Rome was built. But it is as the hero of the plebeian order that he is
famous, and paid the penalty for being such. He was assassinated, probably
by the instigation of the patricians, by his son-in-law, Lucius
Tarquinius, who mounted his throne as Tarquinius Superbus, the last king
of Rome, B.C. 534. The daughter of the murdered king, Tullia, who rode in
her chariot over his bleeding body, is enrolled among the infamous women
of antiquity.

(M778) Tarquinius Superbus, a usurper and murderer, abrogated the popular
laws of Servius Tullius, and set aside even the assembly of the Curiæ, and
degraded and decimated the Senate, and appropriated the confiscated
estates of those whom he destroyed. He reigned as a despot, making
treaties without consulting the Senate, and living for his pleasure alone.
But he ornamented the city with magnificent edifices, and completed the
Circus Maximus as well as the Capitoline Temple, which stood five hundred
years. He was also successful in war, and exalted the glory of the Roman

(M779) An end came to his tyranny by one of those events on which poetry
and history have alike exhausted all their fascinations. It was while
Tarquin was conducting a war against Ardea, and the army was idly encamped
before the town, that the sons of Tarquin, with their kinsmen, were
supping in the tent of Sextus, that conversation turned upon the
comparative virtue of their wives. By a simultaneous impulse, they took
horse to see the manner in which these ladies were at the time employed.
The wives of Tarquin’s sons at Rome were found in luxurious banquets with
other women. Lucretia, the wife of Collatinus, was discovered carding wool
in the midst of her maidens. The boast of Collatinus that his wife was the
most virtuous was confirmed. But her charms or virtues made a deep
impression on the heart or passions of Sextus, and he returned to her
dwelling in Collatia to propose infamous overtures. They were proudly
rejected, but the disappointed lover, by threats and force, accomplished
his purpose. Lucretia, stung with shame, made known the crime of Sextus to
her husband and father, who hastened to her house, accompanied with
Brutus. They found the ravished beauty in agonies of shame and revenge,
and after she had revealed the scandalous facts, she plunged a dagger in
her own bosom and died, invoking revenge. Her relatives and friends
carried her corpse to the market-place, revealed the atrocity of the crime
of Sextus, and demanded vengeance. The people rallied in the Forum at
Rome, and the assembled Curiæ deprived Tarquin of his throne, and decreed
the banishment of his accursed family. On the news of the insurrection,
the tyrant started for the city with a band of chosen followers, but
Brutus reached the army after the king had left, recounted the wrongs, and
marched to Rome, whose gates were already shut against Tarquin. He fled to
Etruria, with two of his sons, but Sextus was murdered by the people of

(M780) Thus were the kings driven out of Rome, never to return. In the
revolution which followed, the patricians recovered their power, and a new
form of government was instituted, republican in name, but oligarchal and
aristocratic in reality, two hundred and forty-five years after the
foundation of the city, B.C. 510. Historical criticism throws doubt on the
chronology which assigns two hundred and forty-five years to seven
elective kings, and some critics think that a longer period elapsed from
the reign of Romulus to that of Tarquin than legend narrates, and that
there must have been a great number of kings whose names are unknown. As
the city advanced in wealth and numbers, the popular influence increased.
The admission of commons favored the establishment of despotism, and its
excesses led to its overthrow. It would have been better for the commons
had Brutus established a monarchy with more limited powers, for the
plebeians were now subjected to the tyranny of a proud and grasping
oligarchy, and lost a powerful protector in the king, and the whole
internal history of Rome, for nearly two centuries, were the conflicts
between the plebeians and their aristocratic masters for the privileges
they were said to possess under the reign of Tullius. Under the patricians
the growth of the city was slow, and it was not till the voices of the
tribunes were heard that Rome advanced in civilization and liberty. Under
the kings, the progress in arts and culture had been rapid.

(M781) Mommsen, in his learned and profound history of Rome, enumerates
the various forms of civilization that existed on the expulsion of the
Tarquins, a summary of which I present. Law and justice were already
enforced on some of the elemental principles which marked the Roman
jurisprudence. The punishment of offenses against order was severe, and
compensation for crime, where injuries to person and property were slight,
was somewhat similar to the penalties of the Mosaic code. The idea of
property was associated with estate in slaves and cattle, and all property
passed freely from hand to hand; but it was not in the power of the father
arbitrarily to deprive his children of their hereditary rights. Contracts
between the State and a citizen were valid without formalities, but those
between private persons were difficult to be enforced. A purchase only
founded an action in the event of its being a transaction for ready money,
and this was attested by witnesses. Protection was afforded to minors and
for the estate of persons not capable of bearing arms. After a man’s
death, his property descended to his nearest heirs. The emancipation of
slaves was difficult, and that of a son was attended with even greater
difficulties. Burgesses and clients were equally free in their private
rights, but foreigners were beyond the pale of the law. The laws indicated
a great progress in agriculture and commerce, but the foundation of law
was the State. The greatest liberality in the permission of commerce, and
the most rigorous procedure in execution, went hand in hand. Women were
placed on a legal capacity with men, though restricted in the
administration of their property. Personal credit was extravagant and
easy, but the creditor could treat the debtor like a thief. A freeman
could not, indeed, be tortured, but he could be imprisoned for debt with
merciless severity. From the first, the laws of property were stringent
and inexorable.

(M782) In religion, the ancient Romans, like the Greeks, personified the
powers of nature, and also abstractions, like sowing, field labor, war,
boundary, youth, health, harmony, fidelity. The profoundest worship was
that of the tutelary deities, who presided over the household. Next to the
deities of the house and forest, held in the greatest veneration, was
Hercules, the god of the inclosed homestead, and, therefore, of property
and gain. The souls of departed mortals were supposed to haunt the spot
where the bodies reposed, but dwelt in the depths below. The hero worship
of the Greeks was uncommon, and even Numa was never worshiped as a god.
The central object of worship was Mars, the god of war, and this was
conducted by imposing ceremonies and rites. The worship of Vesta was held
with peculiar sacredness, and the vestal virgins were the last to yield to
Christianity. The worshipers of the gods often consulted priests and
augurs, who had great colleges, but little power in the State. The Latin
worship was grounded on man’s enjoyment of earthly pleasures, and not on
his fear of the wild forces of nature, and it gradually sunk into a dreary
round of ceremonies. The Italian god was simply an instrument for the
attainment of worldly ends, and not an object of profound awe or love, and
hence the Latin worship was unfavorable to poetry, as well as
philosophical speculation.

(M783) Agriculture is ever a distinguishing mark of civilization, and
forms the main support of a people. It early occupied the time of the
Latins, and was their chief pursuit. In the earliest ages arable land was
cultivated in common, and was not distributed among the people as their
special property, but in the time of Servius there was a distribution.
Attention was chiefly given to cereals, but roots and vegetables were also
diligently cultivated. Vineyards were introduced before the Greeks made
settlements in Italy, but the olive was brought to Italy by the Greeks.
The fig-tree is a native of Italy. The plow was drawn by oxen, while
horses, asses, and mules were used as beasts of burden. The farm was
stocked with swine and poultry, especially geese. The plow was a rude
instrument, but no field was reckoned perfectly tilled unless the furrows
were so close that harrowing was deemed unnecessary. Farming on a large
scale was not usual, and the proprietor of land worked on the soil with
his sons. The use of slaves was a later custom, when large estates arose.

(M784) Trades scarcely kept pace with agriculture, although in the time of
Numa eight guilds of craftsmen were numbered among the institutions of
Rome—flute-blowers, goldsmiths, coppersmiths, carpenters, fullers, dyers,
potters, and shoemakers. There was no yield for workers in iron, which
shows that iron was a later introduction than copper.

(M785) Commerce was limited to the mutual dealings of the Italians
themselves. Fairs are of great antiquity, distinguished from ordinary
markets, and barter and traffic were carried on in them, especially that
of Soracte, being before Greek or Phœnicians entered from the sea. Oxen
and sheep, grain and slaves, were the common mediums of exchange. Latium
was, however, deficient of articles of export, and was pre-eminently an
agricultural country.

(M786) The use of measures and weights was earlier than the art of
writing, although the latter is of high antiquity. Latin poetry began in
the lyrical form. Dancing was a common trade, and this was accompanied
with pipers, and religious litanies were sung from the remotest antiquity.
Comic songs were sung in Saturnian metre, accompanied by the pipe. The art
of dancing was a public care, and a powerful impulse was early given by
Hellenic games. But in all the arts of music and poetry there was not the
easy development as in Greece. Architecture owed its first impulse to the
Etruscans, who borrowed from the Greeks, and was not of much account till
the reigns of the Tuscan kings.

                              CHAPTER XXVII.


(M787) The Tarquins being expelled, political power fell into the hands of
the patricians, under whose government the city slowly increased in wealth
and population, but it was the heroic period of Roman history, and the
legends of patriotic bravery are of great interest.

(M788) The despotism of Tarquinius Superbus inflamed all classes with
detestation of the very name of king—the wealthy classes, because they
were deprived of their ancient powers; the poorer classes, because they
were oppressed with burdens. The executive power of the State was
transferred to two men, called consuls, annually elected from the
patrician ranks. But they ruled with restricted powers, and were shorn of
the trappings of royalty. They could not nominate priests, and they were
amenable to the laws after their term of office expired. They were elected
by the Comitia Centuriata, in which the patrician power predominated. They
convened the Senate, introduced ambassadors, and commanded the armies. In
public, they were attended by lictors, and wore, as a badge of authority,
a purple border on the toga.

(M789) The Senate, a great power, still retained its dignity. The members
were elected for life, and were the advisers of the consuls. They were
elected by the consuls; but, as the consuls were practically chosen by the
wealthy classes, men were chosen to the Senate who belonged to powerful
families. The Senate was a judicial and legislative body, and numbered
three hundred men. All men who had held curule magistracies became
members. Their decisions, called Senatus Consulta, became laws—_leges_.

The Roman government at this time was purely oligarchic. The
aristocratical clement prevailed. Nobles virtually controlled the State.

(M790) Brutus, on the overthrow of the monarchy, was elected the first
consul B.C. 507 with L. Tarquinius Colatinus; but the latter was not
allowed to possess his office, from hatred of his family, and he withdrew
peaceably to Lavinium, and Publius Valerius was elected consul in his
stead—a harsh measure, prompted by necessity.

(M791) The history of Rome at this period is legendary. The story goes
that Tarquin, at the head of the armies of Veii and Tarquinii, seeking to
recover his throne, marched against Rome, and that for thirteen years he
struggled with various success, assisted by Porsenna, king of Etruria. The
legends say Horatius Cocles defended a bridge, single-handed, against the
whole Etrurian army—that Mamillus, the ruler of Tuscalum, fought a battle
at Lake Regillus, in which the cause of Tarquin was lost—the subject of
the most beautiful of Macaulay’s lays—and that Mutius Scævola attempted to
assassinate Porsenna, and, as a proof of his fortitude, held his hand in
the fire until it was consumed, which act converted Porsenna into a
friend. Another interesting legend is related in reference to Brutus, who
slew his own sons for their sympathy with, and treasonable aid, to the
banished king. These stories are not history, but still shed light on the
spirit of the time. It is probable that Tarquin made desperate efforts to
recover his dominion, aided by the Etruscans, and that the first wars of
the republic were against them.

(M792) The Etruscans were then in the height of their power, and were in
close alliance with the Carthaginians. Etruria was a larger State than
Latium, from which it was separated by the Tiber. It was bounded on the
west by the Tyrrhenian Sea, on the north by the Appenines, and the east by
Umbria. Among the cities were Veii and Tarquinii, the latter the
birthplace of Tarquinius Priscus, and the former the powerful rival of

(M793) In the war with the Etruscans, the Romans were worsted, and they
lost all their territory on the right bank of the Tiber, won by the kings,
and were thrown back on their original limits. But the Etruscans were
driven back, by the aid of the Latin cities, beyond the Tiber. It took
Rome one hundred and fifty years to recover what she had lost.

(M794) It was in those wars with the Etruscans that we first read of
dictators, extraordinary magistrates, appointed in great political
exigencies. The dictator, or commander, was chosen by one of the consuls,
and his authority was supreme, but lasted only for six months. He had all
the powers of the ancient kings.

(M795) The misfortunes of the Romans, in the contest with the Etruscans,
led to other political changes, and internal troubles. The strife between
the patricians and the plebeians now began, and lasted two centuries
before the latter were admitted to a full equality of civil rights. The
cause of the conflict, it would appear, was the unequal and burdensome
taxation to which the plebeians were subjected, and especially vexations
from the devastations which war produced. They were small land-owners, and
their little farms were overrun by the enemy, and they were in no
condition to bear the burdens imposed upon them: and this inequality of
taxation was the more oppressive, since they had no political power. They
necessarily incurred debts, which were rigorously exacted, and they thus
became the property of their creditors.

(M796) In their despair, they broke out in open rebellion, in the
fifteenth year of the republic, during the consulship of Publius Servilius
and Appius Claudius—the latter a proud Sabine nobleman, who had lately
settled in Rome. They took position on a hill between the Anio and Tiber,
commanding the most fertile part of the Roman territory. The patrician and
wealthy classes, abandoned by the farmers, who tilled the lands, were
compelled to treat, in spite of the opposition of Appius Claudius. And the
result was, that the plebeians gained a remission of their debts, and the
appointment of two magistrates, as protectors, under the name of tribunes.

(M797) This new office introduced the first great change in the condition
of the plebeians. The tribunes had the power of putting a stop to the
execution of the law which condemned debtors to imprisonment or a military
levy. Their jurisdiction extended over every citizen, even over the
consul. There was no appeal from their decisions, except in the Comitia
Tributa, where the plebeian interest predominated—an assembly representing
the thirty Roman tribes, according to the Servian constitution, but which,
at first, had insignificant powers. The persons of the tribunes were
inviolable, but their power was negative. They could not originate laws;
they could insure the equitable administration of the laws, and prevent
wrongs. They had a constitutional veto, of great use at the time, but
which ended in a series of dangerous encroachments.

(M798) The office of ædiles followed that of tribunes. There were at first
two, selected from plebeians, whose duty it was to guard the law creating
tribunes, which was deposited in the temple of Vesta, They were afterward
the keepers of the resolutions of the Senate as well as of the plebs, and
had the care of public buildings, and the sanitary police of the city, the
distribution of corn, and of the public lands, the superintendence of
markets and measures, the ordering of festivals, and the duty to see that
no new deities or rites were introduced.

(M799) One year after the victory of the plebeians, a distinguished man
appeared, who was their bitter enemy. This was Caius Marcius, called
Coriolanus, from his bravery at the capture of a Volscian town, Corioli.
When a famine pressed the city, a supply of corn was sent by a Sicilian
prince, but the proud patrician proposed to the Senate to withhold it from
the plebeians until they surrendered their privileges. The rage of the
plebeians was intense, and he was impeached by the tribunes, and condemned
by the popular assembly to exile. He went over, in indignation, to the
Volscians, became their general, defeated the Romans, and marched against
their city. In this emergency, the city was saved by the intercession of
his mother, Volumnia, who went to seek him in his camp, accompanied by
other Roman matrons.

(M800) A greater man than he, was Spurius Cassius, who rendered public
services of the greatest magnitude, yet a man whose illustrious deeds no
poet sang. He lived in a great crisis, when the Etruscan war had destroyed
the Roman dominions on the right bank of the Tiber, and where the
Volscians and Acquians were advancing with superior forces. Rome was in
danger of being conquered, and not only conquered, but reduced to
servitude. But he concluded a league with the Latins, and also with the
Hernicians—a Sabine people, who dwelt in one of the valleys of the
Appenines, by which the power of Rome was threatened. He is also known as
the first who proposed an agrarian law. It seems that the patricians had
occupied the public lands to the exclusion of the plebeians. Spurius
Cassius proposed to the Comitia Centuriata that the public domain—land
obtained by conquest—should be measured, and a part reserved for the use
of the State, and another portion distributed among the needy citizens—a
just proposition, since no property held by individuals was meddled with.
This popular measure was carried against violent opposition, but when the
term of office of Cassius as consul expired, he was accused before the
curiæ, who assumed the right to judge a patrician, and he lost his life.
He was accused of seeking to usurp regal power, because he had sought to
protect the commons against his own order. “His law was buried with him,
but its spectre haunted the rich, and again and again it arose from its
tomb, till the conflicts to which it led destroyed the commonwealth.”

(M801) The following seven years was a period of incessant war with the
Acquians and Veientines, as well as dissensions in the city, during which
the great house of the Fabii arose to power, for Fabius was chosen consul
seven successive years, and even proposed the execution of the agrarian
law of Cassius, for which he was scorned by the patricians, and left Rome
in disgust, with his family, and all were afterward massacred by the
Veientines. But one of the tribunes accused the consuls for their
opposition of the tribunes for the execution of the agrarian law. He was
assassinated. This violation of the sacred person of a tribune created
great indignation among the commons, and Volero, a tribune, proposed the
celebrated “Publilian Law,” that the tribunes henceforth, as well as the
plebeian ædiles, should be elected by the plebeians themselves in the
Comitia Tributa. Great disorders followed, but the commons prevailed, and
the Senate adopted the plebiscitum, and proposed it to the Comitia
Curiata, and it became a law. This step raised the authority of the
tribunes, and added to Roman liberties.

(M802) The critical condition of Rome, from the renewed assaults of the
Acquians and Volscians, led to the appointment of another very remarkable
man to the dictatorship—L. Quintius Cincinnatus, a patrician, who
maintained the virtues of better days. He cultivated a little farm of four
jugera with his own hands, and lived with great simplicity. He summoned
every man of military age to meet him in the Campus Martius, and these
were provided with rations for five days. He then marched against the
triumphant enemy, surrounded them, and compelled them to surrender. He
made no use of his political power, and after sixteen days, laid down the
dictatorship, and retired to his farm, B.C. 458. All subsequent ages and
nations have embalmed the memory of this true patriot, who preferred the
quiet labors of his small farm of three and a half acres to the enjoyment
of absolute power.

But his victory was not decisive, and the Romans continued to be harassed
by the neighboring nations, and they, moreover, suffered all the evils of
pestilence. It was at this time, in the three hundredth year of the city,
that they sought to make improvements in their laws—at least, to embody
laws in a written form. Greece was then in the height of her glory, in the
interval between the Persian and Peloponnesian wars, and thither a
commission was sent to examine her laws, especially those of Solon, at
Athens. On the return of the three commissioners, a new commission of ten
was appointed to draw up a new code, composed wholly of patricians, at the
head of which was Appius Claudius, consul elect, a man of commanding
influence and talents, but ill-regulated passions and unscrupulous
ambition. The new code was engraved upon ten tables, and subsequently two
more tables were added, and these twelve tables are the foundation of the
Roman jurisprudence, that branch of science which the Romans carried to
considerable perfection, and for which they are most celebrated. The
jurisprudence of Rome has survived all her conquests, and is the most
valuable contribution to civilization which she ever made.

(M803) The decemvirs—those who codified the laws—came into supreme power,
and suspended the other great magistracies, and ruled, under the direction
of Appius Claudius, in an arbitrary and tyrannical manner. Their power
came to an end in a signal manner, and the history of their fall is
identified with one of the most beautiful legends of this heroic age,
which is also the subject of one of Macaulay’s lays.

(M804) Appius Claudius, who perhaps aspired to regal power, became
enamored of the daughter of a centurion, L. Virginius. In order to gratify
his passions, Claudius suborned a false accuser, one of his clients, who
was to pretend that the mother of Virginia had been his slave. Appius sat
in judgment, and against his own laws, and also the entreaties of the
people, declared her to be the slave of the accuser. Her father returned
from the army, and in his indignation plunged a dagger in her breast,
preferring her death to shame. The people and soldiers rallied around the
courageous soldier, took the capitol, and compelled the decemvirs to lay
down their office. The result of this insurrection was the creation of ten
tribunes instead of the old number, and ten continued to be the regular
number of tribunes till the fall of the republic. It was further decreed
that the votes of the plebs, passed in the Comitia Tributa, should be
binding on the whole people, provided they were confirmed by the Senate
and the assemblies of the curias and centuries. The persons of the
tribunes were declared to be inviolable, under the sanctions of religion,
and they, moreover, were admitted to the deliberations of the Senate,
though without a vote. Thus did the commons ascend another step in
political influence, B.C. 449. The next movement of the commons was to
take vengeance on Appius Claudius, who ended his life in prison.

(M805) The plebs, now strengthened by the plebeian nobles, who sought
power through the tribunate, insisted on the abrogation of the law which
prevented the marriage of plebeians with patricians. This was effected
four years later, B.C. 445. These then attempted to secure the higher
magistracies, but this was prevented for a time, although they acquired
the right of plebeians to become military tribunes, or chief officer of
the legions, but none of the plebeians arose to that rank for several

(M806) A new office of great dignity was now created, that of censors, who
were chosen from men who had been consuls, and therefore had higher rank
than they. It was their duty to superintend the public morals, take the
census, and administer the finances. They could brand with ignominy the
highest officers of the State, could elect to the Senate, and control,
with the ædiles, the public buildings and works. There were two elected to
this high office, and were chosen from the patrician ranks till the year
B.C. 421, when plebeians were admitted. They were even held in great
reverence, and enjoyed a larger term of office than the consuls, even of
five years.

(M807) The commons gained additional importance by the opening of the
quæstorship to the plebeians, which took place about this time. The
quæstors virtually had charge of the public money, and were the paymasters
of the army. As these were curule officers, they had, by their office,
admission to the Senate. Another great increase of power among the
plebeians, about twenty years after the decemviral legislature, was the
right, transferred from the curiæ to the centuries, of determining peace
and war.

(M808) While these internal changes were in progress, the State was in
almost constant war with the Volscians and Acquians, and also with the
Etruscans. The former were kept at bay by the aid of the Latin and
Hernican allies. The latter were more formidable foes, and especially the
inhabitants of Veii—a powerful city in the plain of Southern Etruria, and
the largest of the confederated Etruscan cities, equal in size to Athens,
defended by a strong citadel on a hill. The Veientines, not willing to
contend with the Romans in the field, shut themselves up in their strong
city, to which the Romans laid siege. They drew around it a double line of
circumvallation, the inner one to prevent egress from the city, the outer
one to defend themselves against external attacks. The siege lasted ten
years, as long as that of Troy, but was finally taken by the great
Camillus, by means of a mine under the citadel. The fall of this strong
place was followed by the submission of all the Etruscan cities south of
the Ciminian forest, and the lands of the people of Veii were distributed
among the whole Roman people, at the rate of seven jugera to each
landholder, B.C. 396.

(M809) But this event was soon followed by a great calamity to Rome—the
greatest she had ever suffered. The city fell into the hands of the
Gauls—a Celtic race. They were rather pastoral than agricultural, and
reared great numbers of swine. They had little attachment to the soil,
like the Italians and Germans, and delighted in towns. Their chief
qualities were personal bravery, an impetuous temper, boundless vanity,
and want of perseverance. They were good soldiers and bad citizens. They
were fond of a roving life, and given to pillage. They loved ornaments and
splendid dresses, and wore a gold collar round the neck. After an
expedition, they abandoned themselves to carousals. They sprung from the
same cradle as the Hellenic, Italian, and German people. Their first great
migration flowed past the Alps, and we find them in Gaul, Britain, and
Spain. From these settlements, they proceeded westward across the Alps. In
successive waves they invaded Italy. It was at the height of Etruscan
power, that they assumed a hostile attitude. From Etruria they proceeded
to the Roman territories.

(M810) The first battle with these terrible foes resulted disastrously to
the Romans, who regarded them as half-disciplined barbarians, and
underrated their strength. Their defeat was complete, and their losses
immense. The flower of the Roman youth perished, B.C. 390.

(M811) The victors entered Rome without resistance, while the Romans
retreated to their citadel, such as were capable of bearing arms. The rest
of the population dispersed. The fathers of the city, aged citizens, and
priests, seated themselves in the porches of their patrician houses, and
awaited the enemy. At first, they were mistaken for gods, so venerable and
calm their appearance; but the profanation of the sacred person of
Papirius dissolved the charm, and they were massacred.

(M812) The Gauls then attempted to assault the capital, but failed. But a
youth, Pontius Cominius, having climbed the hill in the night with safety,
and opened communication with the Romans at Veii, the marks of his passage
suggested to the Gauls the means of taking the citadel. In the dead of the
following night a party of Gauls scaled the cliff, and were about to
surprise the citadel, when some geese, sacred to Juno, cried out and
flapped their wings, which noise awakened M. Manlius, who rushed to the
cliff and overpowered the foremost Gaul. A panic seized the rest, and the
capitol was saved. At length, when the siege had lasted seven months, and
famine pressed, the invaders were bought off by a ransom of one thousand
pounds weight of gold. “The iron of the barbarians had conquered; but they
sold their victory, and by selling, lost it.” They were subsequently
defeated by Camillus, and Manlius, surnamed Torquatus, from the gold
collar he took from a gigantic Gaul, and also by other generals.

The destruction of Rome was not a permanent calamity; it was a misfortune.
The period which followed was one of distress, but the energy of Camillus
reorganized the military force, and new alliances were made with the Latin
cities. Etruria, humbled and restricted within narrower limits, and
moreover enervated by luxury, was in no condition to oppose a people
inured to danger and sobered by adversity.

(M813) The subsequent fate of Manlius, who saved the city, suggests the
fickleness and ingratitude of a republican State. The distress of the
lower classes, in consequence of the Gaulish invasion, became intolerable.
They became involved in debt, and thus were in the power of their
creditors. Manlius undertook to be their defender, but the envy of the
patricians caused him to be accused of aspiring to the supreme power, and
he was, in spite of his great services, sentenced to death and hurled from
the Tarpeian rock. His error was in premature reform. But, in the year 367
B.C., the tribunes Licinius and L. Sextius secured the passage of three
memorable laws in the Curiata Tributa—the abolition of the military
tribunate, which had increased the power of the patricians, and the
restoration of the consulate, on the condition that one of the consuls
should be a plebeian; the second, that no citizen should possess more than
five hundred jugera of the public lands; and the third, that all interest
thus paid on loans should be deducted from the principal. These were
called the _Licinian Rogations_. But a new curule magistracy was created,
as a sort of compensation to the patricians, that of prætors, to be held
by them, exclusively. These political changes were made peaceably, and
with them the old gentile aristocracy ceased to be a political
institution. The remaining patrician offices were not long withheld from
the plebeians. But these political changes did not much ameliorate the
social condition of the poorer classes. The strictness of the Licinian
laws, the oppression of the rich, the high rate of interest, and the
existence of slavery, made the poor poorer, and the rich richer, and
prevented the expansion of industry. The plebeians had gained political
privileges, but not till great plebeian families had arisen. Power was
virtually in the hands of nobles, whether patrician or plebeian, and
aristocratic distinctions still remained. The plebeian noble sympathized
with patricians rather than with the poorer classes. Debt, usury, and
slavery began to bear fruits before the conquest of Italy.

                             CHAPTER XXVIII.


Hitherto, the Romans, after the expulsion of the kings, were involved in
wars with their immediate neighbors, and exposed to great calamities. All
they could do for one hundred and fifty years was to recover the
possessions they had lost. During this period great prodigies of valor
were performed, and great virtues were generated. It was the heroic period
of their history, when adversity taught them patience, endurance, and
public virtue.

(M814) But a new period opens, when the plebeians had obtained political
power, and the immediate enemies were subdued. This was a period of
conquest over the various Italian States. The period is still heroic, but
historical. Great men arose, of talent and patriotism. The ambition of the
Romans now prominently appears. They had been struggling for
existence—they now fought for conquest. “The great achievement of the
regal period was the establishment,” says Mommsen, “of the sovereignty of
Rome over Latium.” That was shaken by the expulsion of Tarquin, but was
re-established in the wars which subsequently followed. After the fall of
Veii, all the Latin cities became subject to the Romans. On the overthrow
of the Volscians, the Roman armies reached the Samnite territory.

(M815) The next memorable struggle of Rome was with Samnium, for the
supremacy of Italy. Samnium was a hilly country on the east of the
Volscians, and its people were brave and hardy. The Samnites had, at the
fall of Veii, an ascendency over Lower Italy, with the exception of the
Grecian colonies. Tarentum, Croton, Metapontum, Heraclea, Neapolis, and
other Grecian cities, maintained a precarious independence, but were
weakened by the successes of the Samnites. Capua, the capital of Campania,
where the Etruscan influence predominated, was taken by them, and Cumæ was
wrested from the Greeks.

But in the year B.C. 343, the Samnites came in collision with Rome, from
an application of Capua to Rome for assistance against them. The victories
of Valerius Corvus, and Cornelius Cossus gave Campania to the Romans.

(M816) In the mean time the Latins had recovered strength, and determined
to shake off the Roman yoke, and the Romans made peace with the Samnites
and formed a close alliance, B.C. 341. The Romans and Samnites were ranged
against the Latins and Campanians. The hostile forces came in sight of
each other before Capua, and the first great battle was fought at the foot
of Mount Vesuvius. It was here that Titus Manlius, the son of the consul,
was beheaded by him for disobedience of orders, for the consuls issued
strict injunctions against all skirmishing, and Manlius, disregarding
them, slew an enemy in single combat. “The consul’s cruelty was execrated,
but the discipline of the army was saved.”

(M817) This engagement furnishes another legend of the heroic and
patriotic self-devotion of those early Romans. The consuls, before the
battle, dreamed that the general on the one side should fall, and the army
on the other side should be beaten. Decius, the plebeian consul, when he
found his troops wavering, called the chief pontiff, and after invoking
the gods to assist his cause, rushed into the thickest of the Latin
armies, and was slain. The other consul, Torquatus, by a masterly use of
his reserve, gained the battle. Three-fourths of the Latin army were
slain. The Latin cities, after this decisive victory, lost their
independence, and the Latin confederacy was dissolved, and Latin
nationality was fused into one powerful State, and all Latium became
Roman. Roman citizens settled on the forfeited lands of the conquered

(M818) The subjugation of Latium and the progress of Rome in Campania
filled the Samnites with jealousy, and it is surprising that they should
have formed an alliance with Rome, when Rome was conquering Campania. They
were the most considerable power in Italy, next to Rome, and to them fell
the burden of maintaining the independence of the Italian States against
the encroachments of the Romans.

(M819) The Greek cities of Palæapolis and Neapolis, the only communities
in Campania not yet reduced by the Romans, gave occasion to the outbreak
of the inevitable war between the Samnites and Romans. The Tarentines and
Samnites, informed of the intention of the Romans to seize these cities,
anticipated the seizure, upon which the Romans declared war, and commenced
the siege of Palæapolis, which soon submitted, on the offer of favorable
terms. An alliance of the Romans with the Lucanians, left the Samnites
unsupported, except by tribes on the eastern mountain district. The Romans
invaded the Samnite territories, pillaging and destroying as far as
Apulia, on which the Samnites sent back the Roman prisoners and sought for
peace. But peace was refused by the inexorable enemy, and the Samnites
prepared for desperate resistance. They posted themselves in ambush at an
important pass in the mountains, and shut up the Romans, who offered to
capitulate. Instead of accepting the capitulation and making prisoners of
the whole army, the Samnite general, Gaius Pontius, granted an equitable
peace. But the Roman Senate, regardless of the oaths of their generals,
and regardless of the six hundred equites who were left as hostages,
canceled the agreement, and the war was renewed with increased
exasperation on the part of the Samnites, who, however, were sufficiently
magnanimous not to sacrifice the hostages they held. Rome sent a new army,
under Lucius Papirius Cursor, and laid siege to Lucania, where the Roman
equites lay in captivity. The city surrendered, and Papirius liberated his
comrades, and retaliated on the Samnite garrison. The war continued, like
all wars at that period between people of equal courage and resources,
with various success—sometimes gained by one party and sometimes by
another, until, in the fifteenth year of the war, the Romans established
themselves in Apulia, on one sea, and Campania, on the other.

The people of Northern and Central Italy, perceiving that the Romans aimed
at the complete subjugation of the whole peninsula, now turned to the
assistance of the Samnites. The Etruscans joined their coalition, but were
at length subdued by Papirius Cursor. The Samnites found allies in the
Umbrians of Northern, and the Marsi and Pieligni of Central Italy, But
these people were easily subdued, and a peace was made with Samnium, after
twenty-two years’ war, when Bovianum, its strongest city, was taken by
storm, B.C. 298.

(M820) The defeated nations would not, however, submit to Rome without one
more final struggle, and the third Samnite war was renewed the following
year, for which the Samnites called to their aid the Gauls. This war
lasted nine years, and was virtually closed by the great victory of
Seutinum—a fiercely contested battle, where the Romans, though victorious,
lost nine thousand men. Umbria submitted, the Gauls dispersed, and the
Etruscans made a truce for four hundred months. The Samnites still made
desperate resistance, but were finally subdued in a decisive battle, where
twenty thousand were slain, and their great general, Pontius, was taken
prisoner, with four thousand Samnites. This misfortune closed the war, but
the Samnites were not subjected to humiliating terms. The Romans, however,
sullied their victories by the execution of C. Pontius, the Samnite
general, who had once spared the lives of two Roman armies, B.C. 291. Rome
now became the ruling State of Italy, but there were still two great
nations unsubdued—the Etruscans in the north, and the Lucanians in the

(M821) A new coalition arose against Rome, soon after the Samnites were
subdued, composed of Etruscans, Bruttians, and Lucanians. The war began in
Etruria, B.C. 283, and continued with alternate successes, until the
decisive victory at the Vadimonian Lake, gained by G. Domitius Calvinus,
destroyed forever the power of the Etruscans. The attention of Rome was
now given to Tarentum, a Greek city, at the bottom of the gulf of that
name, adjacent to the fertile plain of Lucania. This city, which was
pre-eminent among the States of Magna Grecia, had grown rich by commerce,
and was sufficiently powerful to defend herself against the Etruscans and
the Syracusans. It was a Dorian colony, but had abandoned the Lacedæmonian
simplicity, and was given over to pleasure and luxury; but, luxurious as
it was, it was the only obstacle to the supremacy of Rome over Italy.

(M822) This thoughtless and enervated, but great city, ruled by
demagogues, had insulted Rome—burning and destroying some of her ships. It
was a reckless insult which Rome could not forget, prompted by fear as
well as hatred. When the Samnite war closed, the Tarentines, fearing the
vengeance of the most powerful State in Italy, sent to Pyrrhus, king of
Epirus, a soldier of fortune, for aid. They offered the supreme command of
their forces, with the right to keep a garrison in their city, till the
independence of Italy was secured.

(M823) Pyrrhus, who was compared with Alexander of Macedon, aspired to
found an Hellenic empire in the West, as Alexander did in the East, and
responded to the call of the Tarentines. Rome was not now to contend with
barbarians, but with Hellenes—with phalanxes and cohorts instead of a
militia—with a military monarchy and sustained by military science. He
landed, B.C. 281, on the Italian shores, with an army of twenty thousand
veterans in phalanx, two thousand archers, three thousand cavalry, and
twenty elephants. The Tarentine allies promised three hundred and fifty
thousand infantry and twenty thousand cavalry to support him. The Romans
strained every nerve to meet him before these forces could be collected
and organized. They marched with a force of fifty thousand men, larger
than a consular army, under Lævinius and Æmilius. They met the enemy on
the plain of Heraclea. Seven times did the legion and phalanx drive one or
the other back. But the reserves of Pyrrhus, with his elephants, to which
the Romans were unaccustomed, decided the battle. Seven thousand Romans
were left dead on the field, and an immense number were wounded or taken
prisoners. But the battle cost Pyrrhus four thousand of his veterans,
which led him to say that another such victory would be his ruin. The
Romans retreated into Apulia, but the whole south of Italy, Lucania,
Samnium, the Bruttii, and the Greek cities were the prizes which the
conqueror won.

(M824) Pyrrhus then offered peace, since he only aimed to establish a
Greek power in Southern Italy. The Senate was disposed to accept it, but
the old and blind Appius Claudius was carried in his litter through the
crowded forum—as Chatham, in after times, bowed with infirmities and age,
was carried to the parliament—and in a vehement speech denounced the
peace, and infused a new spirit into the Senate. The Romans refused to
treat with a foreign enemy on the soil of Italy. The ambassador of
Pyrrhus, the orator Cineas, returned to tell the conqueror that to fight
the Romans was to fight a hydra—that their city was a temple, and their
senators were kings.

(M825) Two new legions were forthwith raised to re-enforce Lævinius, while
Pyrrhus marched direct to Rome. But when he arrived within eighteen miles,
he found an enemy in his front, while Lævinius harassed his rear. He was
obliged to retreat, and retired to Tarentum with an immense booty. The
next year he opened the campaign in Apulia; but he found an enemy of
seventy thousand infantry and eight thousand horse—a force equal to his
own. The first battle was lost by the Romans, who could not penetrate the
Grecian phalanx, and were trodden down by the elephants. But he could not
prosecute his victory, his troops melted away, and he again retired to
Tarentum for winter quarters.

(M826) Like a military adventurer, he then, for two years, turned his
forces against the Carthaginians, and relieved Syracuse. But he did not
avail himself of his victories, being led by a generous nature into
political mistakes. He then returned to Italy to renew his warfare with
the Romans. The battle of Beneventum, gained by Carius, the Roman general,
decided the fate of Pyrrhus. The flower of his Epirot troops was
destroyed, and his camp fell, with all its riches, into the hands of the
Romans. The king of Epirus retired to his own country, and was
assassinated by a woman at Argos, after he had wrested the crown of
Macedonia from Antigonus, B.C. 272. He had left, however, to garrison,
under Milo, at Tarentum. The city fell into the hands of the Romans the
year that Pyrrhus died.

(M827) With the fall of Tarentum, the conquest of Italy was complete. The
Romans found no longer any enemies to resist them on the peninsula. A
great State was organized for the future subjection of the world. The
conquest of Italy greatly enriched the Romans. Both rich and poor became
possessed of large grants of land from the conquered territories. The
conquered cities were incorporated with the Roman State, and their
inhabitants became Roman citizens or allies. The growth of great plebeian
families re-enforced the aristocracy, which was based on wealth. Italy
became Latinized, and Rome was now acknowledged as one of the great powers
of the world.

(M828) The great man at Rome during the period of the Samnite wars was
Appius Claudius—great grandson of the decemvir, and the proudest
aristocrat that had yet appeared. He enjoyed all the great offices of
State. To him we date many improvements in the city, also the highway
which bears his name. He was the patron of art, of eloquence, and poetry.
But, at this period, all individual greatness was lost in the State.

                              CHAPTER XXIX.


A contest greater than with Pyrrhus and the Greek cities, more memorable
in its incidents, and more important in its consequences, now awaited the
Romans. This was with Carthage, the greatest power, next to Rome, in the
world at that time—a commercial State which had been gradually aggrandized
for three hundred years. It was a rich and powerful city at the close of
the Persian wars. It had succeeded Tyre as the mistress of the sea.

(M829) We have seen, in the second book, how the Carthaginians were
involved in wars with Syracuse, when that city had reached the acme of its
power under Dionysius. We have also alluded to the early history and power
of Carthage. At the time Pyrrhus landed in Sicily, it contained nearly a
million of people, and controlled the northern coast of Africa, and the
western part of the Mediterranean. Carthage was strictly a naval power,
although her colonies were numerous, and her dependencies large. The land
forces were not proportionate to the naval; but large armies were
necessary to protect her dependencies in the constant wars in which she
was engaged. These armies were chiefly mercenaries, and their main
strength consisted in light cavalry.

(M830) The territories of Carthage lay chiefly in the islands which were
protected by her navy and enriched by her commerce. Among these insular
possessions, Sardinia was the largest and most important, and was the
commercial depot of Southern Europe. A part of Sicily, also, as we have
seen (Book ii., chap. 24), was colonized and held by her, and she aimed at
the sovereignty of the whole island. Hence the various wars with Syracuse.
The Carthaginians and Greeks were the rivals for the sovereignty of this
fruitful island, the centre of the oil and wine trade, the store-house for
all sorts of cereals. Had Carthage possessed the whole of Sicily, her
fleets would have controlled the Mediterranean.

(M831) The embroilment of Carthage with the Grecian States on this island
was the occasion of the first rupture with Rome. Messina, the seat of the
pirate republic of the Mamertines, was in close alliance with Rhegium, a
city which had grown into importance during the war with Pyrrhus. Rhegium,
situated on the Italian side of the strait, solicited the protection of
Rome, and a body of Campanian troops was sent to its assistance. These
troops expelled or massacred the citizens for whose protection they had
been sent, and established a tumultuary government. On the fall of
Tarentum, the Romans sought to punish this outrage, and also to embrace
the opportunity to possess a town which would facilitate a passage to
Sicily, for Sicily as truly belonged to Italy as the Peloponnesus to
Greece, being separated only by a narrow strait. A Roman army was
accordingly sent to take possession of Rhegium, but the defenders made a
desperate resistance. It was finally taken by storm, and the original
citizens obtained repossession, as dependents and allies of Rome. The fall
of Rhegium robbed the pirate city of Messina of the only ally on which it
could count, and subjected it to the vengeance of both the Carthaginians
and the Syracusans. The latter were then under the sway of Hiero, who, for
fifty years, had reigned without despotism, and had quietly developed both
the resources and the freedom of the city. He collected an army of
citizens, devoted to him, who expelled the Mamertines from many of their
towns, and gained a decisive victory over them, not far from Messina.

(M832) The Mamertines, in danger of subjection by the Syracusans, then
looked for foreign aid. One party looked to Carthage, and another to Rome.
The Carthaginian party prevailed on the Mamertines to receive a Punic
garrison. The Romans, seeking a pretext for a war with Carthage, sent an
army ostensibly to protect Messina against Hiero. But the strait which
afforded a passage to Sicily was barred by a Carthaginian fleet. The
Romans, unaccustomed to the sea, were defeated. Not discouraged, however,
they finally succeeded in landing at Messina, and although Carthage and
Rome were at peace, seized Hanno, the Carthaginian general, who had the
weakness to command the evacuation of the citadel as a ransom for his

(M833) On this violation of international law, Hiero, who feared the
Romans more than the Carthaginians, made an alliance with Carthage, and
the combined forces of Syracuse and Carthage marched to the liberation of
Messina. The Romans, under Appius, the consul, then made overtures of
peace to the Carthaginians, and bent their energies against Hiero. But
Hiero, suspecting the Carthaginians of treachery, for their whole course
with the Syracusans for centuries had been treacherous, retired to
Syracuse. Upon which the Romans attacked the Carthaginians singly, and
routed them, and spread devastation over the whole island.

This was the commencement of the first Punic war, in which the Romans were
plainly the aggressors. Two consular armies now threatened Syracuse, when
Hiero sought peace, which was accepted on condition of provisioning the
Roman armies, and paying one hundred talents to liberate prisoners.

The first Punic war began B.C. 264, and lasted twenty-four years. Before
we present the leading events of that memorable struggle, let us glance at
the power of Carthage—the formidable rival of Rome.

(M834) As has been narrated, Carthage was founded upon a peninsula, or
rocky promontory, sixty-five years before the foundation of Rome. The
inhabitants of Carthage, descendants of Phœnicians, were therefore of
Semitic origin. The African farmer was a Canaanite, and all the Canaanites
lacked the instinct of political life. The Phœnicians thought of commerce
and wealth, and not political aggrandizement. With half their power, the
Hellenic cities achieved their independence. Carthage was a colony of
Phœnicians, and had their ideas. It lived to traffic and get rich. It was
washed on all sides, except the west, by the sea, and above the city, on
the western heights, was the citadel Byrsa, called so from the word βύρσα,
a hide, according to the legend that Dido, when she came to Africa, bought
of the inhabitants as much land as could be encompassed by a bull’s hide,
which she cut into thongs, and inclosed the territory on which she built
the citadel. The city grew to be twenty-three miles in circuit, and
contained seven hundred thousand people. It had two harbors, an outer and
inner, the latter being surrounded by a lofty wall. A triple wall was
erected across the peninsula, to protect it from the west, three miles
long, and between the walls were stables for three hundred elephants, four
thousand horses, and barracks for two thousand infantry, with magazines
and stores. In the centre of the inner harbor was an island, called
Cothon, the shores of which were lined with quays and docks for two
hundred and twenty ships. The citadel, Byrsa, was two miles in circuit,
and when it finally surrendered to the Romans, fifty thousand people
marched out of it. On its summit was the famous temple of Æsculapius. At
the northwestern angle of the city were twenty immense reservoirs, each
four hundred feet by twenty-eight, filled with water, brought by an
aqueduct at a distance of fifty-two miles. The suburb Megara, beyond the
city walls, but within those that defended the peninsula, was the site of
magnificent gardens and villas, which were adorned with every kind of
Grecian art, for the Carthaginians were rich before Rome had conquered
even Latium. This great city controlled the other Phœnician cities, part
of Sicily, Numidia, Mauritania, Lybia—in short, the northern part of
Africa, and colonies in Spain and the islands of the western part of the
Mediterranean. The city alone could furnish in an exigency forty thousand
heavy infantry, one thousand cavalry, and twenty thousand war chariots.
The garrison of the city amounted to twenty thousand foot and four
thousand horse, and the total force which the city could command was more
than one hundred thousand men. The navy was the largest in the world, for,
in the sea-fight with Regulus, it numbered three hundred and fifty ships,
carrying one hundred and fifty thousand men.

Such was this great power against which the Romans were resolved to
contend. It would seem that Carthage was willing that Rome should have the
sovereignty of Italy, provided it had itself the possession of Sicily. But
this was what the Romans were determined to prevent. The object of
contention, then, between these two rivals, the one all-powerful by land
and the other by sea, was the possession of Sicily.

(M835) During the first three years of the war, the Romans made themselves
masters of all the island, except the maritime fortresses at its western
extremity, Eryx and Panormus. Meanwhile the Carthaginians ravaged the
coasts of Italy, and destroyed its commerce. The Romans then saw that
Sicily could not be held without a navy as powerful as that of their
rivals, and it was resolved to build at once one hundred and twenty ships.
A Carthaginian quinquereme, wrecked on the Bruttian shore, furnished the
model, the forests of Silo the timber, and the maritime cities of Italy
and Greece, the sailors. In sixty days a fleet of one hundred and twenty
ships was built and ready for sea. The superior seamanship of the
Carthaginians was neutralized by converting the decks into a battle-field
for soldiers. Each ship was provided with a long boarding-bridge, hinged
up against the mast, to be let down on the prow, and fixed to the hostile
deck by a long spike, which projected from its end. The bridge was wide
enough for two soldiers to pass abreast, and its sides were protected by

(M836) The first encounter of the Romans with the Carthaginians resulted
in the capture of the whole force, a squadron of seventeen ships. The
second encounter ended in the capture of more ships than the Roman
admiral, Cn. Scipio, had lost. The next battle, that of Mylæ, in which the
whole Roman fleet was engaged, again turned in favor of the Romans, whose
bad seamanship provoked the contempt of their foes, and led to
self-confidence. The battle was gained by grappling the enemy’s ships one
by one. The Carthaginians lost fourteen ships, and only saved the rest by
inglorious flight.

(M837) For six years no decided victories were won by either side, but in
the year B.C. 256, nine years from the commencement of hostilities, M.
Atilius Regulus, a noble of the same class and habits as Cincinnatus and
Fabricius, with a fleet of three hundred and thirty ships, manned by one
hundred thousand sailors, encountered the Carthaginian fleet of three
hundred and fifty ships on the southern coast of Sicily, and gained a
memorable victory. It was gained on the same principle as Epaminondas and
Alexander won their battles, by concentrating all the forces upon a single
point, and breaking the line. The Romans advanced in the shape of a wedge,
with the two consuls’ ships at the apex. The Carthaginian admirals allowed
the centre to give way before the advancing squadron. The right wing made
a circuit out in the open sea, and took the Roman reserve in the rear,
while the left wing attacked the vessels that were towing the horse
transports, and forced them to the shore. But the Carthaginian centre,
being thus left weak, was no match for the best ships of the Romans, and
the consuls, victorious in the centre, turned to the relief of the two
rear divisions. The Carthaginians lost sixty-four ships, which were taken,
besides twenty-four which were sunk, and retreated with the remainder to
the Gulf of Carthage, to defend the shores against the anticipated attack.

(M838) The Romans, however, made for another point, and landed in the
harbor of Aspis, intrenched a camp to protect their ships, and ravaged the
country. Twenty thousand captives were sent to Rome and sold as slaves,
besides an immense booty—a number equal to a fifth part of the free
population of the city. A footing in Africa was thus made, and so secure
were the Romans, that a large part of the army was recalled, leaving
Regulus with only forty ships, fifteen thousand infantry, and five hundred
cavalry. Yet with this small army he defeated the Carthaginians, and
became master of the country to within ten miles of Carthage. The
Carthaginians, shut up in the city, sued for peace; but it was granted
only on condition of the cession of Sicily and Sardinia, the surrender of
the fleet, and the reduction of Carthage to the condition of a dependent
city. Such a proposal was rejected, and despair gave courage to the
defeated Carthaginians.

(M839) They made one grand effort while Regulus lay inactive in winter
quarters. The return of Hamilcar from Sicily with veteran troops, which
furnished a nucleus for a new army, inspired the Carthaginians with hope,
and assisted by a Lacedæmonian general, Xanthippus, with a band of Greek
mercenaries, the Carthaginians marched unexpectedly upon Regulus, and so
signally defeated him at Tunis, that only two thousand Romans escaped.
Regulus, with five hundred of the legionary force, was taken captive and
carried to Carthage.

(M840) The Carthaginians now assumed the offensive, and Sicily became the
battle-field. Hasdrubal, son of Hanno, landed on the island with one
hundred and forty elephants, while the Roman fleet of three hundred ships
suffered a great disaster off the Lucanian promontory. A storm arose,
which wrecked one hundred and fifty ships—a disaster equal to the one
which it suffered two years before, when two-thirds of the large fleet
which was sent to relieve the two thousand troops at Clupea was destroyed
by a similar storm. In spite of these calamities, the Romans took Panormus
and Thermæ, and gained a victory under the walls of the former city which
cost the Carthaginians twenty thousand men and the capture of one hundred
and twenty elephants. This success, gained by Metellus, was the greatest
yet obtained in Sicily, and the victorious general adorned his triumph
with thirteen captured generals and one hundred and four elephants.

(M841) The two maritime fortresses which still held out at the west of the
island, Drepanum and Lilybæum, were now invested, and the Carthaginians,
shut up in these fortresses, sent an embassy to Rome to ask an exchange of
prisoners, and sue for peace. Regulus, now five years a prisoner, was
allowed to accompany the embassy, on his promise to return if the mission
was unsuccessful. As his condition was now that of a Carthaginian slave,
he was reluctant to enter the city, and still more the Senate, of which he
was no longer a member. But when this reluctance was overcome, he
denounced both the peace and the exchange of prisoners. The Romans wished
to retain this noble patriot, but he was true to his oath, and returned
voluntarily to Carthage, after having defeated the object of the
ambassadors, knowing that a cruel death awaited him. The Carthaginians,
indignant and filled with revenge, it is said, exposed the hero to a
burning sun, with his eyelids cut off, and rolled him in a barrel lined
with iron spikes.

(M842) The embassy having thus failed, the attack on the fortresses, which
alone linked Africa with Sicily, was renewed. The siege of Lilybæum lasted
till the end of the war, which, from the mutual exhaustion of the parties,
now languished for six years. The Romans had lost four great fleets, three
of which had arms on board, and the census of the city, in the seventeenth
year, showed a decrease of forty thousand citizens. During this interval
of stagnation, when petty warfare alone existed, Hamilcar Burca was
appointed general of Carthage, and in the same year his son Hannibal was
born, B.C. 247.

(M843) The Romans, disgusted with the apathy of the government, fitted out
a fleet of privateers of two hundred ships, manned by sixty thousand
sailors, and this fleet gained a victory over the Carthaginians,
unprepared for such a force, so that fifty ships were sunk, and seventy
more were carried by the victors into port. This victory gave Sicily to
the Romans, and ended the war. The Roman prisoners were surrendered by
Hamilcar, who had full powers for peace, and Carthage engaged to pay three
thousand two hundred talents for the expenses of the war.

(M844) The Romans were gainers by this war. They acquired the richest
island in the world, fertile in all the fruits of the earth, with splendid
harbors, cities, and a great accumulation of wealth. The long war of
twenty-four years, nearly a whole generation, was not conducted on such a
scale as essentially to impoverish the contending parties. There were no
debts contracted for future generations to pay. It was the most absorbing
object of public interest, indeed; but many other events and subjects must
also have occupied the Roman mind. It was a foreign war, the first that
Rome had waged. It was a war of ambition, the commencement of those
unscrupulous and aggressive measures that finally resulted in the
political annihilation of all the other great powers of the world.

But this war, compared with those foreign wars which Rome subsequently
conducted, was carried on without science and skill. It was carried on in
the transition period of Roman warfare, when tactics were more highly
prized than strategy. It was by a militia, and agricultural generals, and
tactics, and personal bravery, that the various Italian nations were
subdued, when war had not ripened into a science, such as was conducted
even by the Greeks. There was no skill or experience in the conduct of
sieges. The navy was managed by Greek mercenaries.

(M845) The great improvement in the science of war which this first
contest with a foreign power led to, was the creation of a navy, and the
necessity of employing veteran troops, led by experienced generals. A
deliberative assembly, like the Senate, it was found could not conduct a
foreign war. It was left to generals, who were to learn marches and
countermarches, sieges, and a strategical system. The withdrawal of half
the army of Regulus by the Senate proved nearly fatal. Carthage could not
be subdued by that rustic warfare which had sufficed for the conquest of
Etruria or Samnium. The new system of war demanded generals who had
military training and a military eye, and not citizen admirals. The final
success was owing to the errors of the Carthaginians rather than military

                               CHAPTER XXX.


The peace between the Carthaginians and Romans was a mere truce. Though it
lasted twenty-one years, new sources of quarrel were accumulating, and
forces were being prepared for a more decisive encounter.

Before we trace the progress of this still more memorable war, let us
glance at the events which transpired in the interval between it and the
first contest.

(M846) That interval is memorable for the military career of Hamilcar, and
his great ascendency at Carthage. That city paid dearly for the peace it
had secured, for the tribute of Sicily flowed into the treasury of the
Romans. Its commercial policy was broken up, and the commerce of Italy
flowed in new channels. This change was bitterly felt by the Phœnician
city, and a party was soon organized for the further prosecution of
hostilities. There was also a strong peace party, made up of the indolent
and cowardly money-worshipers of that mercantile State. The war party was
headed by Hamilcar, the peace party by Hanno, which at first had the
ascendency. It drove the army into mutiny by haggling about pay. The
Libyan mercenaries joined the revolt, and Carthage found herself alone in
the midst of anarchies. In this emergency the government solicited
Hamilcar to save it from the effect of its blunders and selfishness.

(M847) This government, as at Rome, was oligarchic, but the nobles were
merely mercantile grandees, without ability—jealous, exclusive, and
selfish. The great body of the people whom they ruled were poor and
dependent. In intrusting power to Hamilcar, the government of wealthy
citizens only gave him military control. The army which he commanded was
not a citizen militia, it was made up of mercenaries. Hamilcar was obliged
to construct a force from these, to whom the State looked for its

He was a young man, a little over thirty, and foreboding that he would not
live to complete his plans, enjoined his son Hannibal, nine years of age,
when he was about to leave Carthage, to swear at the altar of the Eternal
God hatred of the Roman name.

(M848) He left Carthage for Spain, taking with him his sons, to be reared
in the camp. He marched along the coast, accompanied by the fleet, which
was commanded by Hasdrubal. He crossed the sea at the Pillars of Hercules,
with the view of organizing a Spanish kingdom to assist the Carthaginians
in their future warfare. But he died prematurely, B.C. 229, leaving his
son-in-law, Hasdrubal, to carry out his designs, and the southern and
eastern provinces of Spain became Carthaginian provinces. Carthagena arose
as the capital of this new Spanish kingdom, in the territory of the
Contestana. Here agriculture flourished, and still more, mining, from the
silver mines, which produced, a century afterward, thirty-six millions of
sesterces—nearly two million dollars—yearly. Carthage thus acquired in
Spain a market for its commerce and manufactures, and the New Carthage
ruled as far as the Ebro. But the greatest advantage of this new
acquisition to Carthage was the new class of mercenary soldiers which were
incorporated with the army. At first, the Romans were not alarmed by the
rise of this new Spanish power, and saw only a compensation for the
tribute and traffic which Carthage had lost in Sicily. And while the
Carthaginians were creating armies in Spain, the Romans were engaged in
conquering Cisalpine Gaul, and consolidating the Italian conquests.

(M849) Hasdrubal was assassinated after eight years of successful
administration, and Hannibal was hailed as his successor by the army, and
the choice was confirmed by the Carthaginians, B.C. 221. He was now
twenty-nine, trained to all the fatigue and dangers of the camp, and with
a native genius for war, which made him, according to the estimation of
modern critics, the greatest general of antiquity. He combined courage
with discretion, and prudence with energy. He had an inventive craftiness,
which led him to take unexpected routes. He profoundly studied the
character of antagonists, and kept himself informed of the projects of his
enemies. He had his spies at Rome, and was frequently seen in disguises in
order to get important information.

(M850) This crafty and able general resolved, on his nomination, to make
war at once upon the Romans, whom he regarded as the deadly foe of his
country. His first great exploit was the reduction of Saguntum, an Iberian
city on the coast, in alliance with the Romans. It defended itself with
desperate energy for eight months, and its siege is memorable. The
inhabitants were treated with savage cruelty, and the spoil was sent to

(M851) This act of Hannibal was the occasion, though not the cause, of the
second Punic war. The Romans, indignant, demanded of Carthage the
surrender of the general who had broken the peace. On the fall of
Saguntum, Hannibal retired to Carthagena for winter quarters, and to make
preparations for the invasion of Italy. He collected an army of one
hundred and twenty thousand infantry, sixteen thousand cavalry, and
fifty-eight elephants, assisted by a naval force. But the whole of this
great army was not designed for the Italian expedition. A part of it was
sent for the protection of Carthage, and a part was reserved for the
protection of Spain, the government of which he intrusted to his brother

(M852) The nations of the earth, two thousand years ago, would scarcely
appreciate the magnitude of the events which were to follow from the
invasion of Italy, and the war which followed—perhaps “the most memorable
of all the wars ever waged,” certainly one of the most memorable in human
annals. The question at issue was, whether the world was to be governed by
a commercial oligarchy, with all the superstitions of the East, or by the
laws of a free and patriotic State. It was a war waged between the genius
of a mighty general and the resources of the Roman people, for Hannibal
did not look for aid so much to his own State, as to those hardy Spaniards
who followed his standard.

(M853) In the spring, B.C. 218, Hannibal set out from New Carthage with an
army of ninety thousand infantry and twelve thousand cavalry. He
encountered at the Ebro the first serious resistance, but this was from
the natives, and not the Romans. It took four months to surmount their
resistance, during which he lost one-fourth of his army. As it was his
great object to gain time before the Romans could occupy the passes of the
Alps, he made this sacrifice of his men. When he readied the Pyrenees, he
sent home a part of his army, and crossed those mountains with only fifty
thousand infantry and nine thousand cavalry; but these were veteran
troops. He took the coast route by Narbonne and Nimes, through the Celtic
territory, and encountered no serious resistance till he reached the
Rhone, opposite to Avignon, about the end of July. The passage was
disputed by Scipio, assisted by friendly Gauls, but Hannibal outflanked
his enemies by sending a detachment across the river, on rafts, two days’
march higher up, and thus easily forced the passage, and was three days’
march beyond the river before Scipio was aware that he had crossed. Scipio
then sailed back to Pisa, and aided his colleague to meet the invader in
Cisalpine Gaul.

(M854) Hannibal, now on Celtic territory on the Roman side of the Rhone,
could not be prevented from reaching the Alps. Two passes then led from
the lower Rhone across the Alps—the one by the Cottian Alps (Mount
Geneva); and the other, the higher pass of the Grain Alps (Mount St.
Bernard), and this was selected by Hannibal. The task of transporting a
large army over even this easier pass was a work of great difficulty, with
baggage, cavalry, and elephants, when the autumn snows were falling,
resisted by the mountaineers, against whom they had to fight to the very
summit of the pass. The descent, though free from enemies, was still more
dangerous, and it required, at one place, three days’ labor to make the
road practicable for the elephants. The army arrived, the middle of
September, in the plain of Ivrea, where his exhausted troops were
quartered in friendly villages. Had the Romans met him near Turin with
only thirty thousand men, and at once forced a battle, the prospects of
Hannibal would have been doubtful. But no army appeared; the object was
attained, but with the loss of half his troops, and the rest so
demoralized by fatigue, that a long rest was required.

(M855) The great talents by which Scipio atoned for his previous errors
now extricated his army from destruction. He retreated across the Ticinio
and the Po, refusing a pitched battle on the plains, and fell back upon a
strong position on the hills. The united consular armies, forty thousand
men, were so posted as to compel Hannibal to attack in front with inferior
force, or go into winter quarters, trusting to the doubtful fidelity of
the Gauls.

(M856) It has been well said, “that it was the misfortune of Rome’s double
magistracy when both consuls were present on the field.” Owing to a wound
which Scipio had received, the command devolved upon Sempronius, who,
eager for distinction, could not resist the provocations of Hannibal to
bring on a battle. In one of the skirmishes the Roman cavalry and light
infantry were enticed by the flying Numidians across a swollen stream, and
suddenly found themselves before the entire Punic army. The whole Roman
force hurried across the stream to support the vanguard. A battle took
place on the Trasimene Lake, in which the Romans were sorely beaten, but
ten thousand infantry cut their way through the masses of the enemy, and
reached the fortress of Placentia, where they were joined by other bands.
After this success, which gave Hannibal all of Northern Italy, his army,
suffering from fatigue and disease, retired into winter quarters. He now
had lost all his elephants but one. The remains of the Roman army passed
the winter in the fortresses of Placentia and Cremona.

(M857) The next spring, the Romans, under Flaminius, took the field, with
four legions, to command the great northern and eastern roads, and the
passes of the Appenines. But Hannibal, knowing that Rome was only
vulnerable at the heart, rapidly changed his base, crossed the Appenines
at an undefended pass, and advanced, by the lower Arno, into Etruria,
while Flaminius was watching by the upper course of that stream. Flaminius
was a mere party leader and demagogue, and was not the man for such a
crisis, for Hannibal was allowed to pass by him, and reach Fæsulæ
unobstructed. The Romans prepared themselves for the worst, broke down the
bridges over the Tiber, and nominated Quintus Fabius Maximus dictator.

(M858) Pyrrhus would have marched direct upon Rome, but Hannibal was more
far-sighted. His army needed a new organization, and rest, and recruits,
so he marched unexpectedly through Umbria, devastated the country, and
halted on the shores of the Adriatic. Here he rested, reorganized his
Libyan cavalry, and resumed his communication with Carthage. He then broke
up his camp, and marched into Southern Italy, hoping to break up the
confederacy. But not a single Italian town entered into alliance with the

(M859) Fabius, the dictator, a man of great prudence, advanced in years,
and a tactitian of the old Roman school, determined to avoid a pitched
battle, and starve or weary out his enemy. Hannibal adjusted his plans in
accordance with the character of the man he opposed. So he passed the
Roman army, crossed the Appenines, took Telesia, and turned against Capua,
the most important of all the Italian dependent cities, hoping for a
revolt among the Campanian towns. Here again he was disappointed. So,
retracing his steps, he took the road to Apulia, the dictator following
him along the heights. So the summer was consumed by marchings and
counter-marchings, the lands of the Hispanians, Campamans, Samnites,
Pælignians, and other provinces, being successively devastated. But no
important battle was fought. He selected then the rich lands of Apulia for
winter quarters, and intrenched his camp at Gerenium. The Romans formed a
camp in the territory of the Larinates, and harassed the enemy’s foragers.
This defensive policy of Fabius wounded the Roman pride, and the dictator
became unpopular. The Senate resolved to depart from a policy which was
slowly but surely ruining the State, and an army was equipped larger than
Rome ever before sent into the field, composed of eight legions, under the
command of the two consuls, L. Æmilius Paulus, and M. Terentius Varro. The
former, a patrician, had conducted successfully the Illyrian war; the
latter, the popular candidate, incapable, conceited, and presumptuous.

(M860) As soon as the season allowed him to leave his winter-quarters,
Hannibal, assuming the offensive, marched out of Gerenium, passed Luceria,
crossed the Aufidus, and took the citadel of Cannæ, which commanded the
plain of Canusium. The Roman consuls arrived in Apulia in the beginning of
the summer, with eighty thousand infantry and six thousand cavalry.
Hannibal’s force was forty thousand infantry and ten thousand cavalry,
inured to regular warfare. The Romans made up their minds to fight, and
confronted the Carthaginians on the right bank of the Aufidus. According
to a foolish custom, the command devolved on one of the consuls every
other day, and Varro determined to avail himself of the first opportunity
for a battle. The forces met on the plain west of Cannæ, more favorable to
the Carthaginians than the Romans, on account of the superiority of the
cavalry. It is difficult, without a long description, to give clear
conceptions of this famous battle. Hannibal, it would seem, like
Epaminondas and Alexander, brought to bear his heavy cavalry, under
Hasdrubal, upon the weakest point of the enemy, after the conflict had
continued awhile without decisive results. The weaker right of the Roman
army, led by Paulus, after bravely fighting, were cut down and driven
across the river. Paulus, wounded, then rode to the centre, composed of
infantry in close lines, which had gained an advantage over the Spanish
and Gaulish troops that encountered them. In order to follow up this
advantage, the legions pressed forward in the form of a wedge. In this
position the Libyan infantry, wheeling upon them right and left, warmly
assailed both sides of the Roman infantry, which checked its advance. By
this double flank attack the Roman infantry became crowded, and were not
free. Meanwhile, Hasdrubal, after defeating the right wing, which had been
led by Paulus, led his cavalry behind the Roman centre and attacked the
left wing, led by Varro. The cavalry of Varro, opposed by the Numidian
cavalry, was in no condition to meet this double attack, and was
scattered. Hasdrubal again rallied his cavalry, and led it to the rear of
the Roman centre, already in close fight with the Spanish and Gaulish
infantry. This last charge decided the battle. Flight was impossible, for
the river was in the rear, and in front was a victorious enemy. No quarter
was given. Seventy thousand Romans were slain, including the consul Paulus
and eighty men of senatorial rank. Varro was saved by the speed of his
horse. The Carthaginians lost not quite six thousand.

(M861) This immense disaster was the signal for the revolt of the allies,
which Hannibal before in vain had sought to procure. Capua opened her
gates to the conqueror. Nearly all the people of Southern Italy rose
against Rome. But the Greek cities of the coast were held by Roman
garrisons, as well as the fortresses in Apulia, Campania, and Samnium. The
news of the battle of Cannæ, B.C. 216, induced the Macedonian king to
promise aid to Hannibal. The death of Hiero at Syracuse made Sicily an
enemy to Rome, while Carthage, now elated, sent considerable

(M862) Many critics have expressed surprise that Hannibal, after this
great victory, did not at once march upon Rome. Had he conquered, as
Alexander did, a Persian, Oriental, effeminate people, this might have
been his true policy. But Rome was still capable of a strong defense, and
would not have succumbed under any pressure of adverse circumstances, and
she also was still strong in allies. And more, Hannibal had not perfected
his political combinations. He was not ready to strike the final blow. He
had to keep his eye on Macedonia, Africa, Sicily, and Spain. Alexander did
not march to Babylon, until he had subdued Phœnicia and Egypt. Even the
capture of Rome would not prevent a long war with the States of Italy.

(M863) Nor did the Romans lose courage when they learned the greatest
calamity which had ever befallen them. They made new and immense
preparations. All the reserve forces were called out—all men capable of
bearing arms—young or old. Even the slaves were armed, after being
purchased by the State, and made soldiers. Spoils were taken down from the
temples. The Latin cities sent in contingents, and the Senate refused to
receive even the envoy of the conqueror.

(M864) Such courage and fortitude and energy were not without effect,
while the enervating influence of Capua, the following winter, demoralized
the Carthaginians. The turning point of the war was the winter which
followed the defeat at Cannæ. The great aim of Hannibal, in his expedition
to Italy, had been to break up the Italian confederacy. After three
campaigns, that object was only imperfectly accomplished, in spite of his
victories, and he had a great frontier to protect. With only forty
thousand men, he could not leave it uncovered, and advance to Rome. The
Romans, too, learning wisdom, now appointed only generals of experience,
and continued them in command.

(M865) The animating soul of the new warfare was Marcus Claudius
Marcellus, a man fifty years of age, who had received a severe military
training, and performed acts of signal heroism. He was not a general to be
a mere spectator of the movements of the enemy from the hills, but to take
his position in fortified camps under the walls of fortresses. With the
two legions saved from Cannæ, and the troops raised from Rome and Ostia,
he followed Hannibal to Campania, while other Roman armies were posted in
other quarters.

Hannibal now saw that without great re-enforcements from Carthage, Spain,
Macedonia, and Syracuse, he would be obliged to fight on the defensive.
But the Carthaginians sent only congratulations; the king of Macedonia
failed in courage; while the Romans intercepted supplies from Syracuse and
Spain. Hannibal was left to his own resources.

(M866) Scipio, meanwhile, in Spain, attacked the real base of Hannibal,
overran the country of the Ebro, secured the passes of the Pyrenees, and
defeated Hasdrubal while attempting to lead succor to his brother. The
capture of Saguntum gave the Romans a strong fortress between the Ebro and
Carthagena. Scipio even meditated an attack on Africa, and induced Syphax,
king of one of the Numidian nations, to desert Carthage, which caused the
recall of Hasdrubal from Spain. His departure left Scipio master of the
peninsula; but Hasdrubal, after punishing the disaffected Numidians,
returned to Spain, and with overwhelming numbers regained their
ascendency, and Scipio was slain, as well as his brother, and their army

(M867) It has been mentioned that on the death of Hiero, who had been the
long-tried friend of Rome, Syracuse threw her influence in favor of
Carthage, being ruled by factions. Against this revolted city the consul
Marcellus now advanced, and invested the city by land and sea. He was
foiled by the celebrated mathematician Archimedes, who constructed engines
which destroyed the Roman ships. This very great man advanced the science
of geometry, and made discoveries which rank him among the lights of the
ancient world. His theory of the lever was the foundation of statics till
the time of Newton. His discovery of the method of determining specific
gravities by immersion in a fluid was equally memorable. He was not only
the greatest mathematician of the old world, but he applied science to
practical affairs, and compelled Marcellus to convert the siege of
Syracuse into a blockade. He is said to have launched a ship by the
pressure of the screw, which, reversed in its operation, has
revolutionized naval and commercial marines.

(M868) The time gained by this eminent engineer, as well as geometer,
enabled the Carthaginians to send an army to relieve Syracuse. The
situation of Marcellus was critical, when, by a fortunate escalade of the
walls, left unguarded at a festival, the Romans were enabled to take
possession of a strong position within the walls. A pestilence carried off
most of the African army encamped in the valley of Anapus, with the
general Himilco. Bomilcar, the Carthaginian admiral, retreated, rather
than fight the Roman fleet. Marcellus obtained, by the treachery of a
Sicilian captain, possession of the island of Ortygia, where Dionysius had
once intrenched himself, the key to the port and the city, and Syracuse
fell. The city was given up to plunder and massacre, and Archimedes was
one of the victims. Marcellus honored the illustrious defender with a
stately funeral, and he was buried outside the gate of Aeradina. One
hundred and fifty years later, the Syracusans had forgotten even where he
was buried, and his tomb was discovered by Cicero.

(M869) While these events took place in Spain and Sicily, Hannibal bent
his efforts to capture Tarentum, and the Romans were equally resolved to
recover Capua. The fall of Tarentum enabled Hannibal to break up the siege
of Capua, and foiled in his attempts to bring on a decisive battle before
that city, he advanced to Rome, and encamped within five miles of the
city, after having led his troops with consummate skill between the armies
and fortresses of the enemy. But Rome was well defended by two legions,
under Fabius, who refused to fight a pitched battle. Hannibal was,
therefore, compelled to retreat in order to save Capua, which, however, in
his absence, had surrendered to the Romans, after a two years’ siege, and
was savagely punished for its defection from the Roman cause. The fall of
Capua gave a renewed confidence to the Roman government, which sent
re-enforcements to Spain. But it imprudently reduced its other forces, so
that Marcellus was left to face Hannibal with an inadequate army. The war
was now carried on with alternate successes, in the course of which
Tarentum again fell into Roman hands. Thirty thousand Tarentines were sold
as slaves, B.C. 209.

(M870) This great war had now lasted ten years, and both parties were
sinking from exhaustion. In this posture of affairs the Romans were
startled with the intelligence that Hasdrubal had crossed the Pyrenees,
and was advancing to join his brother in Italy. The Romans, in this
exigency, made prodigious exertions. Twenty-three legions were enrolled;
but before preparations were completed, Hasdrubal crossed the Alps,
re-enforced by eight thousand Ligurian mercenaries. It was the aim of the
two Carthaginian generals to form a juncture of their forces, and of the
Romans to prevent it. Gaining intelligence of the intended movements of
Hannibal and Hasdrubal by an intercepted dispatch, the Roman consul, Nero,
advanced to meet Hasdrubal, and encountered him on the banks of the
Metaurus. Here a battle ensued, in which the Carthaginians were defeated
and Hasdrubal slain. Hannibal was waiting in suspense for the dispatch of
his brother in his Apulian camp, when the victor returned from his march
of five hundred miles, and threw the head of Hasdrubal within his
outposts, On the sight of his brothers head, he exclaimed; “I recognize
the doom of Carthage.” Abandoning Apulia and Lucania, he retired to the
Bruttian peninsula, and the victor of Cannæ retained only a few posts to
re-embark for Africa.

And yet this great general was able to keep the field four years longer,
nor could the superiority of his opponents compel him to shut himself up
in a fortress or re-embark, a proof of his strategic talents.

(M871) In the mean time a brilliant career was opened in Spain to the
young Publius Scipio, known as the elder Africanus. He was only
twenty-four when selected to lead the armies of Rome in Spain; for it was
necessary to subdue that country in order to foil the Carthaginians in
Italy. Publius Scipio was an enthusiast, who won the hearts of soldiers
and women. He was kingly in his bearing, confident of his greatness,
graceful in his manners, and eloquent in his speech—popular with all
classes, and inspiring the enthusiasm which he felt.

(M872) He landed in Spain with an army of thirty thousand, and at once
marched to New Carthage, before the distant armies of the Carthaginians
could come to its relief. In a single day the schemes of Hamilcar and his
sons were dissolved, and this great capital fell into the hands of the
youthful general, not yet eligible for a single curule magistracy. Ten
thousand captives were taken and six hundred talents, with great stores of
corn and munitions of war. Spain seemed to be an easy conquest; but the
following year the Carthaginians made a desperate effort, and sent to
Spain a new army of seventy thousand infantry, four thousand horse, and
thirty-two elephants. Yet this great force, united with that which
remained under Hasdrubal and Mago, was signally defeated by Scipio. This
grand victory, which made Scipio master of Spain, left him free to carry
the war into Africa itself, assisted by his ally Masinassa. Gades alone
remained to the Carthaginians, the original colony of the Phœnicians, and
even this last tie was severed when Mago was recalled to assist Hannibal.

(M873) Scipio, ambitious to finish the war, and seeking to employ the
whole resources of the empire, returned to Italy and offered himself for
the consulship, B.C. 205, and was unanimously chosen by the centuries,
though not of legal age. His colleague was the chief pontiff P. Licinius
Crassus, whose office prevented him from leaving Italy, and he was thus
left unobstructed in the sole conduct of the war. Sicily was assigned to
him as his province, where he was to build a fleet and make preparations
for passing over to Africa, although a party, headed by old Fabius
Maximus, wished him to remain in Italy to drive away Hannibal. The Senate
withheld the usual power of the consul to make a new levy, but permitted
Scipio to enroll volunteers throughout Italy. In the state of
disorganization and demoralization which ever attend a long war, this
enrollment was easily effected, and money was raised by contributions on
disaffected States.

(M874) Hannibal was still pent up among the Bruttii, unwilling to let go
his last hold on Italy. Mago, in cisalpine Gaul, was too far off to render
aid. The defense of Africa depended on him alone, and he was recalled. He
would probably have anticipated the order. Rome breathed more freely when
the “Libyan Lion” had departed. For fifteen years he had been an incubus
or a terror, and the Romans, in various conflicts, had lost three hundred
thousand men. Two of the Scipios, Paulus Gracchus and Marcellus, had
yielded up their lives in battle. Only Fabius, among the experienced
generals at the beginning of the war, was alive, and he, at the age of
ninety, was now crowned with a chaplet of the grass of Italy, as the most
honorable reward which could be given him.

(M875) Hannibal now sought a conference with Scipio, for both parties were
anxious for peace, but was unable to obtain any better terms than the
cession of Spain, as well as the Mediterranean islands, the surrender of
the Carthaginian fleet, the payment of four thousand talents, and the
confirmation of Masinissa in the kingdom of Syphax. Such terms could not
be accepted, and both parties prepared for one more decisive conflict.

(M876) The battle was fought at Zama. “Hannibal arranged his infantry in
three lines. The first division contained the Carthaginian mercenaries;
the second, the African allies, and the militia of Carriage; the third,
the veterans who followed him from Italy. In the front of the lines were
stationed eighty elephants; the cavalry was placed on the wings. Scipio
likewise disposed the legions in three divisions. The infantry fought hand
to hand in the first division, and both parties falling into confusion,
sought aid in the second division. The Romans were supported, but the
Carthaginian militia was wavering. Upon seeing this, Hannibal hastily
withdrew what remained of the two first lines to the flanks, and pushed
forward his choice Italian troops along the whole line. Scipio gathered
together in the centre all that were able to fight of the first line, and
made the second and third divisions close up on the right and left of the
first. Once again the conflict was renewed with more desperate fighting,
till the cavalry of the Romans and of Masinassa, returning from pursuit of
the beaten cavalry of the enemy, surrounded them on all sides. This
movement annihilated the Punic army. All was lost, and Hannibal was only
able to escape with a handful of men.”

(M877) It was now in the power of Scipio to march upon Carthage and lay
siege to the city, neither protected nor provisioned. But he made no
extravagant use of his victory. He granted peace on the terms previously
rejected, with the addition of an annual tribute of two hundred talents
for fifty years. He had no object to destroy a city after its political
power was annihilated, and wickedly overthrow the primitive seat of
commerce, which was still one of the main pillars of civilization. He was
too great and wise a statesman to take such a revenge as the Romans sought
fifty years afterward. He was contented to end the war gloriously, and see
Carthage, the old rival, a tributary and broken power, with no possibility
of reviving its former schemes, B.C. 201.

(M878) This ended the Hannibalic war, which had lasted seventeen years,
and which gave to Rome the undisputed sovereignty of Italy, the conversion
of Spain into two Roman provinces, the union of Syracuse with the Roman
province of Sicily, the establishment of a Roman protectorate over the
Numidian chiefs, and the reduction of Carthage to a defenseless mercantile
city. The hegemony of Rome was established over the western region of the
Mediterranean. These results were great, but were obtained by the loss of
one quarter of the burgesses of Rome, the ruin of four hundred towns, the
waste of the accumulated capital of years, and the general demoralization
of the people. It might seem that the Romans could have lived side by side
with other nations in amity, as modern nations do. But, in ancient times,
“it was necessary to be either anvil or hammer.” Either Rome or Carthage
was to become the great power of the world.

                              CHAPTER XXXI.


Scarcely was Rome left to recover from the exhaustion of the long and
desperate war with Hannibal, before she was involved in a new war with
Macedonia, which led to very important consequences.

The Greeks had retained the sovereignty which Alexander had won, and their
civilization extended rapidly into the East. There were three great
monarchies which arose, however, from the dismemberment of the empire
which Alexander had founded—Macedonia, Asia, and Egypt—and each of them,
in turn, was destined to become provinces of Rome.

(M879) Macedonia was then ruled by Philip V., and was much such a monarchy
as the first Philip had consolidated. The Macedonian rule embraced Greece
and Thessaly, and strong garrisons were maintained at Demetrias in
Maguesia, Calchis in the island of Eubœa, and in Corinth, “the three
fetters of the Hellenes.” But the strength of the kingdom lay in
Macedonia. In Greece proper all moral and political energy had fled, and
the degenerate, but still intellectual inhabitants spent their time in
bacchanalian pleasures, in fencing, and in study of the midnight lamp. The
Greeks, diffused over the East, disseminated their culture, but were only
in sufficient numbers to supply officers, statesmen, and schoolmasters.
All the real warlike vigor remained among the nations of the North, where
Philip reigned, a genuine king, proud of his purple, and proud of his
accomplishments, lawless and ungodly, indifferent to the lives and
sufferings of others, stubborn and tyrannical. He saw with regret the
subjugation of Carthage, but did not come to her relief when his aid might
have turned the scale, ten years before. His eyes were turned to another
quarter, to possess himself of part of the territories of Egypt, assisted
by Antiochus of Asia. In this attempt he arrayed against himself all the
Greek mercantile cities whose interests were identified with Alexandria,
now, on the fall of Carthage, the greatest commercial city of the world.
He was opposed by Pergamus and the Rhodian league, while the Romans gave
serious attention to their Eastern complications, not so much with a view
of conquering the East, as to protect their newly-acquired possessions. A
Macedonian war, then, became inevitable, but was entered into reluctantly,
and was one of the most righteous, according to Mommsen, which Rome ever

(M880) The pretext for war—the _casus belli_—was furnished by an attack on
Athens by the Macedonian general, to avenge the murder of two Arcanians
for intruding upon the Eleusinan Mysteries, B.C. 201. Athens was an ally
of Rome. Two legions, under Publius Sulpicius Galba, embarked at
Brundusium for Macedonia, with one thousand Numidian cavalry and a number
of elephants. Nothing was accomplished this year of any historical
importance. The next spring Galba led his troops into Macedonia, and
encountered the enemy, under Philip, on a marshy plain on the northwest
frontier. But the Macedonians avoided battle, and after repeated
skirmishes and marches the Romans returned to Apollonia. Philip did not
disturb the army in its retreat, but turned against the Ætolians, who had
joined the league against him. At the end of the campaign the Romans stood
as they were in the spring, but would have been routed had not the
Ætolians interposed. The successes of Philip filled him with arrogance and
self-confidence, and the following spring he assumed the offensive. The
Romans, meantime, had been re-enforced by new troops, under the command of
Flaminius, who attacked Philip in his intrenched camp. The Macedonian king
lost his camp and two thousand men, and retreated to the Pass of Tempe,
the gate of Macedonia proper, deserted by many of his allies. The Achæans
entered into alliance with Rome. The winter came on, and Philip sought
terms of peace. All he could obtain from Flaminius was an armistice of two
months. The Roman Senate refused all terms unless Philip would renounce
all Greece, especially Corinth, Chalcis, and Demetrias. These were
rejected, and Philip strained all his energies to meet his enemy in a
pitched battle. He brought into the field twenty-six thousand men, an
equal force to the Romans, and encountered them at Cynocephalæ. The Romans
were victorious, and a great number of prisoners fell into their hands.
Philip escaped to Larissa, burned his papers, evacuated Thessaly, and
returned home. He was completely vanquished, and was obliged to accept
such a peace as the Romans were disposed to grant. But the Romans did not
abuse their power, but treated Philip with respect, and granted to him
such terms as had been given to Carthage. He lost all his foreign
possessions in Asia Minor, Thrace, Greece, and the islands of the Ægean,
but retained Macedonia. He was also bound not to conclude foreign
alliances without the consent of the Romans, nor send garrisons abroad,
nor maintain an army of over five thousand men, nor possess a navy beyond
five ships of war. He was also required to pay a contribution of one
thousand talents. He was thus left in possession only of as much power as
was necessary to guard the frontiers of Hellas against the barbarians. All
the States of Greece were declared free, and most of them were
incorporated with the Achæan League, a confederation of the old cities,
which were famous before the Dorian migration, to resist the Macedonian
domination. This famous league was the last struggle of Greece for
federation to resist overpowering foes. As the Achæan cities were the
dominant States of Greece at the Trojan war, so the expiring fires of
Grecian liberty went out the last among that ancient race.

(M881) The liberator of Greece, as Flaminius may be called, assembled the
deputies of all the Greek communities at Corinth, exhorted them to use the
freedom which he had conferred upon them with moderation, and requested,
as the sole return for the kindness which the Romans had shown, that they
would send back all the Italian captives sold in Greece during the war
with Hannibal, and then he evacuated the last fortresses which he held,
and returned to Rome with his troops and liberated captives. Rome really
desired the liberation and independence of Greece, now that all fears of
her political power were removed, and that glorious liberty which is
associated with the struggles of the Greeks with the Persians might have
been secured, had not the Hellenic nations been completely demoralized.
There was left among them no foundation and no material for liberty, and
nothing but the magic charm of the Hellenic name could have prevented
Flaminius from establishing a Roman government in that degenerate land. It
was an injudicious generosity which animated the Romans, but for which the
war with Antiochus might not have arisen.

(M882) Antiochus III., the great-great-grandson of the general of
Alexander who founded the dynasty of the Seleucidæ, then reigned in Asia.
On the fall of Philip, who was his ally, he took possession of those
districts in Asia Minor that formerly belonged to Egypt, but had fallen to
Philip. He also sought to recover the Greek cities of Asia Minor as a part
of his empire. This enterprise embroiled him with the Romans, who claimed
a protectorate over all the Hellenic cities. And he was further
complicated by the arrival at Ephesus, his capital, of Hannibal, to whom
he gave an honorable reception. A rupture with Rome could not be avoided.

(M883) To strengthen himself in Asia for the approaching conflict,
Antiochus married one of his daughters to Ptolemy, king of Egypt, another
to the king of Cappadocia, a third to the king of Pergamus, while the
Grecian cities were amused by promises and presents. He was also assured
of the aid of the Ætolians, who intrigued against the Romans as soon as
Flaminius had left. Then was seen the error of that general for
withdrawing garrisons from Greece, which was to be the theatre of the war.

(M884) Antiochus collected an army and started for Greece, hoping to be
joined by Philip, who, however, placed all his forces at the disposal of
the Romans. The Achæan League also was firm to the Roman cause. The Roman
armies sent against him, commanded by Maninius Acilius Glabrio, numbered
forty thousand men. Instead of retiring before this superior force,
Antiochus intrenched himself in Thermopylæ, but his army was dispersed,
and he fled to Chalcis, and there embarked for Ephesus. The war was now to
be carried to Asia.

(M885) Both parties, during the winter, vigorously prepared for the next
campaign, and the conqueror of Zama was selected by Rome to conduct her
armies in Asia. It was a long and weary march for the Roman armies to the
Hellespont, which was crossed, however, without serious obstacles, from
the mismanagement of Antiochus, who offered terms of peace when the army
had safely landed in Asia. He offered to pay half the expenses of the war
and the cession of his European possessions, as well as of the Greek
cities of Asia Minor that had gone over to the Romans. But Scipio demanded
the whole cost of the war and the cession of Asia Minor. These terms were
rejected, and the Syrian king hastened to decide the fate of Asia by a
pitched battle.

(M886) This fight was fought at Magnesia, B.C. 190, not far from Smyrna,
in the valley of the Hermus. The forces of Antiochus were eighty thousand,
including twelve thousand cavalry, but were undisciplined and unwieldy.
Those of Scipio were about half as numerous. The Romans were completely
successful, losing only twenty-four horsemen and three hundred infantry,
whereas the loss of Antiochus was fifty thousand—a victory as brilliant as
that of Alexander at Issus. Asia Minor was surrendered to the Romans, and
Antiochus was compelled to pay three thousand talents (little more than
three million dollars) at once, and the same contribution for twelve
years, so that he retained nothing but Cilicia. His power was broken
utterly, and he was prohibited from making aggressive war against the
States of the West, or from navigating the sea west of the mouth of the
Calycadnus, in Cilicia, with armed ships, or from taming elephants, or
even receiving political fugitives. The province of Syria never again made
a second appeal to the decision of arms—a proof of the feeble organization
of the kingdom of the Seleucidæ.

(M887) The king of Cappadocia escaped with a fine of six hundred talents.
All the Greek cities which had joined the Romans had their liberties
confirmed. The Ætolians lost all cities and territories which were in the
hands of their adversaries. But Philip and the Achæans were disgusted with
the small share of the spoil granted to them.

(M888) Thus the protectorate of Rome now embraced all the States from the
eastern to the western end of the Mediterranean. And Rome, about this
time, was delivered of the last enemy whom she feared—the homeless and
fugitive Carthaginian, who lived long enough to see the West subdued, as
well as the armies of the East overpowered. At the age of seventy six he
took poison, on seeing his house beset with assassins. For fifty years he
kept the oath he had sworn as a boy. About the same time that he killed
himself in Bithynia, Scipio, on whom fortune had lavished all her honors
and successes—who had added Spain, Africa, and Asia to the empire, died in
voluntary banishment, little over fifty years of age, leaving orders not
to bury his remains in the city for which he had lived, and where his
ancestors reposed. He died in bitter vexation from the false charges made
against him of corruption and embezzlement, with hardly any other fault
than that overweening arrogance which usually attends unprecedented
success, and which corrodes the heart when the _èclat_ of prosperity is
dimmed by time. The career and death of both these great men—the greatest
of their age—shows impressively the vanity of all worldly greatness, and
is an additional confirmation of the fact that the latter years of
illustrious men are generally sad and gloomy, and certain to be so when
their lives are not animated by a greater sentiment than that of ambition.

(M889) Philip of Macedon died, B.C. 179, in the fifty-ninth year of his
age and the forty-second of his reign, and his son Perseus succeeded to
his throne at the age of thirty-one. Macedonia had been humbled rather
than weakened by the Romans, and after eighteen years of peace, had
renewed her resources. This kingdom chafed against the foreign power of
Rome, as did the whole Hellenic world. A profound sentiment of discontent
existed in both Asia and Europe. Perseus made alliances with the
discontented cities—with the Byzantines, the Ætolians, and the Bœotians.
But so prudently did he conduct his intrigues, that it was not till the
seventh year of his reign that Rome declared war against him.

(M890) The resources of Macedonia were still considerable. The army
consisted of thirty thousand men, without considering mercenaries or
contingents, and great quantities of military stores had been collected in
the magazines. And Perseus himself was a monarch of great ability, trained
and disciplined to war. He collected an army of forty-three thousand men,
while the whole Roman force in Greece was scarcely more. Crassus conducted
the Roman army, and in the first engagement at Ossa, was decidedly beaten.
Perseus then sought peace, but the Romans never made peace after a defeat.
The war continued, but the military result of two campaigns was null,
while the political result was a disgrace to the Romans. The third
campaign, conducted by Quintus Marcius Philippus, was equally undecisive,
and had Perseus been willing to part with his money, he could have
obtained the aid of twenty thousand Celts who would have given much
trouble. At last, in the fourth year of the war, the Romans sent to
Macedonia Lucius Æmilius Paulus, son of the consul that fell at Cannæ—an
excellent general and incorruptible; a man sixty years of age, cultivated
in Hellenic literature and art. Soon after his arrival at the camp at
Heracleum, he brought about the battle of Pydna, which settled the fate of
Macedonia. The overthrow of the Macedonians was fearful. Twenty thousand
were killed and eleven thousand made prisoners. All Macedonia submitted in
two days, and the king fled with his gold, some six thousand talents he
had hoarded, to Samothrace, accompanied with only a few followers. The
Persian monarch might have presented a more effectual resistance to
Alexander had he scattered his treasures among the mercenary Greeks. So
Perseus could have prolonged his contest had he employed the Celts. When a
man is struggling desperately for his life or his crown, his treasures are
of secondary importance. Perseus was soon after taken prisoner by the
Romans, with all his treasures, and died a few years later at Alba.

(M891) “Thus perished the empire of Alexander, which had subdued and
Hellenized the East, one hundred and forty-four years from his death.” The
kingdom of Macedonia was stricken out of the list of States, and the whole
land was disarmed, and the fortress of Demetrias was razed. Illyria was
treated in a similar way, and became a Roman province. All the Hellenic
States were reduced to dependence upon Rome. Pergamus was humiliated.
Rhodes was deprived of all possessions on the main land, although the
Rhodians had not offended. Egypt voluntarily submitted to the Roman
protectorate, and the whole empire of Alexander the Great fell to the
Roman commonwealth. The universal empire of the Romans dates from the
battle of Pydna—“the last battle in which a civilized State confronted
Rome in the field on the footing of equality as a great power.” All
subsequent struggles were with barbarians. Mithridates, of Pontus, made
subsequently a desperate effort to rid the Oriental world of the dominion
of Rome, but the battle of Pydna marks the real supremacy of the Romans in
the civilized world. Mommsen asserts that it is a superficial view which
sees in the wars of the Romans with tribes, cities, and kings, an
insatiable longing after dominion and riches, and that it was only a
desire to secure the complete sovereignty of Italy, unmolested by enemies,
which prompted, to this period, the Roman wars—that the Romans earnestly
opposed the introduction of Africa, Greece, and Asia into the pale of
protectorship, till circumstances compelled the extension of that
pale—that, in fact, they were driven to all their great wars, with the
exception of that concerning Sicily, even those with Hannibal and
Antiochus, either by direct aggression or disturbance of settled political
relations. “The policy of Rome was that of a narrow-minded but very able
deliberate assembly, which had far too little power of grand combination,
and far too much instinctive desire for the preservation of its own
commonwealth, to devise projects in the spirit of a Cæsar or a Napoleon.”
Nor did the ancient world know of a balance of power among nations, and
hence every nation strove to subdue its neighbors, or render them
powerless, like the Grecian States. Had the Greeks combined for a great
political unity, they might have defied even the Roman power, or had they
been willing to see the growth of equal States without envy, like the
modern nations of Europe, without destructive conflicts, the States of
Sparta, Corinth, and Athens might have grown simultaneously, and united,
would have been too powerful to be subdued. But they did not understand
the balance of power, and they were inflamed with rival animosities, and
thus destroyed each other.

                              CHAPTER XXXII.


The peace between Carthage and Rome, after the second Punic war, lasted
fifty years, during which the Carthaginians gave the Romans no cause of
complaint. Carthage, in the enjoyment of peace, devoted itself to commerce
and industrial arts, and grew very rich and populous. The government alone
was weak, from the anarchical ascendency of the people, who were lawless
and extravagant.

(M892) Their renewed miseries can be traced to Masinissa, who was in close
alliance with the Romans. The Carthaginians endured everything rather than
provoke the hostility of Rome, which watched the first opportunity to
effect their ruin. Having resigned themselves to political degradation,
general cowardice and demoralization were the result.

(M893) Masinissa, king of Numidia, made insolent claims on those Phœnician
settlements on the coast of Byzacene, which the Carthaginians possessed
from the earliest times. Scipio was sent to Carthage, to arrange the
difficulty, as arbitrator, and the circumstances were so aggravated that
he could not, with any justice, decide in favor of the king, but declined
to pronounce a verdict, so that Masinissa and Carthage should remain on
terms of hostility. And as Masinissa reigned for fifty years after the
peace, Carthage was subjected to continual vexations. At last a war broke
out between them. Masinissa was stronger than Carthage, but the city
raised a considerable army, and placed it under the conduct of Hasdrubal,
who marched against the perfidious enemy with fifty thousand mercenaries.
The battle was not decisive, but Hasdrubal retreated without securing his
communication with Carthage. His army was cut off, and he sought terms of
peace, which were haughtily rejected, and he then gave hostages for
keeping the peace, and agreed to pay five thousand talents within fifty
years, and acknowledge Masinissa’s usurpation. The Romans, instead of
settling the difficulties, instigated secretly Masinissa. And the Roman
commissioners sent to the Senate exaggerated accounts of the resources of
Carthage. The Romans compelled the Carthaginians to destroy their timber
and the materials they had in abundance for building a new fleet. Still
the Senate, having the control of the foreign relations, and having become
a mere assembly of kings, with the great power which the government of
provinces gave to it, was filled with renewed jealousy. Cato never made a
speech without closing with these words: “_Carthago est delenda._” A blind
hatred animated that vindictive and narrow old patrician, who headed a
party with the avowed object of the destruction of Carthage. And it was
finally determined to destroy the city.

(M894) The Romans took the Carthaginians to account for the war with
Masinissa, and not contented with the humiliation of their old rival,
aimed at her absolute ruin, though she had broken no treaties. The
Carthaginians, broken-hearted, sent embassy after embassy, imploring the
Senate to preserve peace, to whom the senators gave equivocal answers. The
situation of Carthage was hopeless and miserable—stripped by Masinissa of
the rich towns of Emporia, and on the eve of another conflict with the
mistress of the world.

(M895) Had the city been animated by the spirit which Hannibal had sought
to infuse, she was still capable of a noble defense. She ruled over three
hundred Libyan cities, and had a population of seven hundred thousand. She
had accumulated two hundred thousand stand of arms, and two thousand
catapults. And she had the means to manufacture a still greater amount.
But she had, unfortunately, on the first demand of the Romans, surrendered
these means of defense.

(M896) At last Rome declared war, B.C. 149—the wickedest war in which she
ever engaged—and Cato had the satisfaction of seeing, at the age of
eighty-five, his policy indorsed against every principle of justice and
honor. A Roman army landed in Africa unopposed, and the Carthaginians were
weak enough to surrender, not only three hundred hostages from the noblest
families, but the arms already enumerated. Nothing but infatuation can
account for this miserable concession of weakness to strength, all from a
blind confidence in the tender mercies of an unpitying and unscrupulous
foe. Then, when the city was defenseless, the hostages in the hands of the
Romans, and they almost at the gates, it was coolly announced that it was
the will of the Senate that the city should be destroyed.

(M897) Too late, the doomed city prepared to make a last stand against an
inexorable enemy. The most violent feelings of hatred and rage, added to
those of despair, at last animated the people of Carthage. It was the same
passion which arrayed Tyre against Alexander, and Jerusalem against Titus.
It was a wild patriotic frenzy which knew no bounds, inspired by the
instinct of self-preservation, and aside from all calculation of success
or failure. As the fall of the city was inevitable, wisdom might have
counseled an unreserved submission. Resistance should have been thought of
before. In fact, Carthage should not have yielded to the first Africanus.
And when she had again become rich and populous, she should have defied
the Romans when their spirit was perceived—should have made a more gallant
defense against Masinissa, and concentrated all her energies for a last
stand upon her own territories. But why should we thus speculate? The doom
of Carthage had been pronounced by the decrees of fate. The fall has all
the mystery and solemnity of a providential event, like the fall of all
empires, like the defeat of Darius by Alexander, like the ruin of
Jerusalem, like the melting away of North American Indians, like the final
overthrow of the “Eternal City” itself.

(M898) The desperation of the city in her last conflict proves, however,
that, with proper foresight and patriotism, her fall might have been
delayed, for it took the Romans three years to subdue her. The disarmed
city withstood the attack of the Romans for a period five times as long as
it required Vespasian and Titus to capture Jerusalem. The city resounded
day and night with the labors of men and women on arms and catapults. One
hundred and forty shields, three hundred swords, five hundred spears, and
one thousand missiles were manufactured daily, and even a fleet of one
hundred and fifty ships was built during the siege. The land side of the
city was protected by a triple wall, and the rocks of Cape Camast and Cape
Carthage sheltered it from all attacks by sea, except one side protected
by fortified harbors and quays. Hasdrubal, with the remnant of his army,
was still in the field, and took up his station at Nephesis, on the
opposite side of the lake of Tunis, to harass the besiegers. Masinissa
died at the age of ninety, soon after hostilities began.

(M899) The first attack on Carthage was a failure, and the army of the
Consuls Censorinus and Manius Manilius would have been cut to pieces, had
it not been for the the reserve led by Scipio Æmilianus, a grandson of
Africanus, who was then serving as military tribune. He also performed
many gallant actions when Censorinus retired to Rome, leaving the army in
the hands of his incompetent colleague.

(M900) The second campaign was equally unsuccessful, under L. Calpurnius
Fiso and L. Mancinus. The slow progress of the war excited astonishment
throughout the world. The suspense of the campaign was intolerable to the
proud spirit of the Romans, who had never dreamed of such resistance. The
eyes of the Romans were then turned to the young hero who alone had thus
far distinguished himself. Although he had not reached the proper age, he
was chosen consul, and the province of Africa was assigned to him. He
sailed with his friends Polybius and Lælius. He was by no means equal to
the elder Scipio, although he was an able general and an accomplished man.
He was ostentatious, envious, and proud, and had cultivation rather than

(M901) When he arrived at Utica, he found the campaign of B.C. 147 opened
in such a way that his arrival saved a great disaster. The admiral
Mancinus had attempted an attack on an undefended quarter, but a desperate
sally of the besieged had exposed him to imminent danger, and he was only
relieved by the timely arrival of Scipio.

(M902) The new general then continued the siege with new vigor. His
headquarters were fixed on an isthmus uniting the peninsula of Carthage
with the main-land, from which he attacked the suburb called Megara, and
took it, and shut up the Carthaginians in the old town and ports. The
garrison of the suburb and the army of Hasdrubal retreated within the
fortifications of the city. The Carthaginian leader, to cut off all
retreat, inflicted inhuman barbarities and tortures on all the Roman
prisoners they took. Scipio, meanwhile, intrenched and fortified in the
suburb, cut off all communication between the city and main-land by
parallel trenches, three miles in length, drawn across the whole isthmus.
The communication with the sea being still open, from which the besieged
received supplies, the port was blocked up by a mole of stone ninety-six
feet wide. The besieged worked night and day, and cut a new channel to the
sea, and, had they known how to improve their opportunity, might, with the
new fleet they had constructed, have destroyed that of their enemies,
unprepared for action.

(M903) Scipio now resolved to make himself master of the ports, which were
separated from the sea by quays and a weak wall. His battering-rams were
at once destroyed by the Carthaginians. He then built a wall or rampart
upon the quay, to the height of the city wall, and placed upon it four
thousand men to harass the besieged. As the winter rains then set in,
making his camp unhealthy, and the city was now closely invested by sea
and land, he turned his attention to the fortified camp of the enemy at
Nephesis, which was taken by storm, and seventy thousand persons put to
the sword. The Carthaginian army was annihilated.

(M904) Meanwhile famine pressed within the besieged city, and Hasdrubal
would not surrender. An attack, led by Lælius, on the market-place, gave
the Romans a foothold within the city, and a great quantity of spoil. One
thousand talents were taken from the temple of Apollo. Preparations were
then made for the attack of the citadel, and for six days there was a
hand-to-hand fight between the combatants amid the narrow streets which
led to the Byrsa. The tall Oriental houses were only taken one by one and
burned, and the streets were cumbered with the dead. The miserable people,
crowded within the citadel, certain now of destruction, then sent a
deputation to Scipio to beg the lives of those who had sought a retreat in
the Byrsa. The request was granted to all but Roman deserters. But out of
the great population of seven hundred thousand, only thirty thousand men
and twenty-five thousand women marched from the burning ruins. Hasdrubal
and the three hundred Roman deserters, certain of no mercy, retired to the
temple of Æsculapius, the heart of the citadel. But the Carthaginian,
uniting pusillanimity with cruelty, no sooner found the temple on fire,
than he rushed out in Scipio’s presence, with an olive-branch in his
hands, and abjectly begged for his life, which Scipio granted, after he
had prostrated himself at his feet in sight of his followers, who loaded
him with the bitterest execrations. The wife of Hasdrubal, deserted by the
abject wretch, called down the curses of the gods on the man who had
betrayed his country and deserted at last his family. She then cut the
throats of her children and threw them into the flames, and then leaped
into them herself. The Roman deserters in the same manner perished. The
city was given up to plunder, the inhabitants whose lives were spared were
sold as slaves, and the gold and works of art were carried to Rome and
deposited in the temples.

(M905) Such was the fate of Carthage—a doom so awful, that we can not but
feel that it was sent as a chastisement for crimes which had long cried to
Heaven for vengeance. Carthage always was supremely a wicked city. All the
luxurious and wealthy capitals of ancient times were wicked, especially
Oriental cities, as Carthage properly, though not technically, was—founded
by Phœnicians, and a worshiper of the gods of Tyre and Sidon. The Roman
Senate decreed that not only the city, but even the villas of the nobles
in the suburb of Megara, should be leveled with the ground, and the
plowshare driven over the soil devoted to perpetual desolation, and a
curse to the man who should dare to cultivate it or build upon it. For
fourteen days, the fires raged in this once populous and wealthy city, and
the destruction was complete, B.C. 146. So deep-seated was the Roman
hatred of rivals, or States that had been rivals; so dreadful was the
punishment of a wicked city, of which Scipio was made the instrument, not
merely of the Romans, but of Divine providence.

(M906) All the great cities of antiquity, which had been seats of luxury
and pride, had now been utterly destroyed—Nineveh, Babylon, Tyre, and
Carthage. Corinth was already sacked by Mummius, and Jerusalem was to be
by Titus, and Rome herself was finally to receive a still direr
chastisement at the hands of Goths and Vandals. So Providence moves on in
his mysterious power to bring to naught the grandeur and power of
rebellious nations—rebellious to those mighty moral laws which are as
inexorable as the laws of nature.

The territory on the coast of Zeugitana and Byzantium, which formed the
last possession of Carthage, was erected into the province of Africa, and
the rich plain of that fertile province became more important to Rome for
supplies of corn than even Sicily, which had been the granary of Rome.

(M907) Scipio returned to Rome, and enjoyed a triumph more gorgeous than
the great Africanus. He also lived to enjoy another triumph for brilliant
successes in Spain, yet to be enumerated, but was also doomed to lose his
popularity, and to perish by the dagger of assassins.

(M908) Rome had now acquired the undisputed dominion of the civilized
world, and with it, the vices of the nations she subdued. A great decline
in Roman morals succeeded these brilliant conquests. Great internal
changes took place. The old distinction of patricians and plebeians had
vanished, and a new nobility had arisen, composed of rich men and of those
whose ancestors had enjoyed curule magistracies. They possessed the
Senate, and had control of the Comitia Centuriata, by the prerogative vote
of the equestrian centuries. A base rabble had grown up, fed with corn and
oil, by the government, and amused by games and spectacles. The old
republican aristocracy was supplanted by a family oligarchy. The vast
wealth which poured into Rome from the conquered countries created
disproportionate fortunes. The votes of the people were bought by the rich
candidates for popular favor. The superstitions of the East were
transferred to the capitol of the world, and the decay in faith was as
marked as the decay in virtue. Chaldæan astrologers were scattered over
Italy, and the gods of all the conquered peoples of the earth were
worshiped at Rome. The bonds of society were loosed, and a state was
prepared for the civil wars which proved even more destructive than the

                             CHAPTER XXXIII.


Although the Roman domination now extended in some form or other over most
of the countries around the Mediterranean, still several States remained
to be subdued, in the East and in the West.

The subjugation of Spain first deserves attention, commenced before the
close of the third Punic war, and which I have omitted to notice for the
sake of clearness of connection.

After the Hannibalic war, we have seen how Rome planted her armies in
Spain, and added two provinces to her empire. But the various tribes were
far from being subdued, and Spain was inhabited by different races.

(M909) This great peninsula, bounded on the north by the ocean
Cantabricus, now called the Bay of Biscay, and the Pyrenees, on the east
and south by the Mediterranean, and on the west by the Atlantic Ocean, was
called Iberia, by the Greeks, from the river Iberus, or Ebro. The term
Hispania was derived from the Phœnicians, who planted colonies on the
southern shores. The Carthaginians invaded it next, and founded several
cities, the chief of which was New Carthage. At the end of the second
Punic war, it was wrested from them by the Romans, who divided it into two
provinces, Citerior and Ulterior. In the time of Augustus, Ulterior Spain
was divided into two provinces, called Lusitania and Bætica, while the
Citerior province, by far the larger, occupying the whole northern country
from the Atlantic to the Mediterranean, was called Tanagona. It included
three-fifths of the peninsula, or about one hundred and seven thousand
three hundred square miles. It embraced the modern provinces of Catalonia,
Aragon, Navarre, Biscay, Asturias, Galicia, Northern Leon, old and new
Castile, Murcia, and Valentia, and a part of Portugal. Bætica nearly
corresponded with Andalusia, and embraced Granada, Jaen, Cordova, Seville,
and half of Spanish Estremadura. Lusitania corresponds nearly with

(M910) The Tanaconneusis was inhabited by numerous tribes, and the chief
ancient cities were Barcelona, Tanagona the metropolis, Pampeluna, Oporto,
Numantia, Saguntum, Saragossa, and Cartagena. In Bætica were Cordova,
Castile, Gades, and Seville. In Lusitania were Olisipo (Lisbon), and

(M911) Among the inhabitants of these various provinces were Iberians,
Celts, Phœnicians, and Hellenes. In the year 154 B.C., the Lusitanians,
under a chieftain called Punicus, invaded the Roman territory which the
elder Scipio had conquered, and defeated two Roman governors. The Romans
then sent a consular army, under Q. Fulvius Nobilior, which was ultimately
defeated by the Lusitanians under Cæsarus. This success kindled the flames
of war far and near, and the Celtiberians joined in the warfare against
the Roman invaders. Again the Romans were defeated with heavy loss. The
Senate then sent considerable re-enforcements, under Claudius Marcellus,
who soon changed the aspect of affairs. The nation of the Arevacæ
surrendered to the Romans—a people living on the branches of the Darius,
near Numantia—and their western neighbors, the Vaccæi, were also subdued,
and barbarously dealt with. On the outbreak of the third Punic war the
affairs of Spain were left to the ordinary governors, and a new
insurrection of the Lusitanians took place. Viriathus, a Spanish
chieftain, signally defeated the Romans, and was recognized as king of all
the Lusitanians. He was distinguished, not only for bravery, but for
temperance and art, and was a sort of Homeric hero, whose name and
exploits were sounded throughout the peninsula. He gained great victories
over the Roman generals, and destroyed their armies. General after general
was successively defeated. For five years this gallant Spaniard kept the
whole Roman power at bay, and he was only destroyed by treachery.

(M912) While the Lusitanians at the South were thus prevailing over the
Roman armies on the bunks of the Tagus, another war broke out in the North
among the Celtiberian natives. Against these people Quintus Cæcilius
Metellus, the consul, was sent. He showed great ability, and in two years
reduced the whole northern province, except the two cities of Termantia
and Numantia. These cities, wearied at last with war, agreed to submit to
the Romans, and delivered up hostages and deserters, with a sum of money.
But the Senate, with its usual policy, refused to confirm the treaty of
its general, which perfectly aroused the Numantines to resentment and
despair. These brave people obtained successes against the Roman general
Lænas and his successors, Mancinus and M. Æmilius Lepides, as well as
Philus and Piso.

(M913) The Romans, aroused at last to this inglorious war, which had
lasted nearly ten years, resolved to take the city of the Numantines at
any cost, and intrusted the work to Scipio Æmilianus, their best general.
He spent the summer (B.C. 134) in extensive preparations, and it was not
till winter that he drew his army round the walls of Numantia, defended by
only eight thousand citizens. Scipio even declined a battle, and fought
with mattock and spade. A double wall of circumvallation, surmounted with
towers, was built around the city, and closed the access to it by the
Douro, by which the besieged relied upon for provisions. The city
sustained a memorable siege of nearly a year, and was only reduced by
famine. The inhabitants were sold as slaves, and the city was leveled with
the ground. The fall of this fortress struck at the root of opposition to
Rome, and a senatorial commission was sent to Spain, in order to organize
with Scipio the newly-won territories, and became henceforth the
best-regulated country of all the provinces of Rome.

(M914) But a graver difficulty existed with the African, Greek, and
Asiatic States that had been brought under the influence of the Roman
hegemony, which was neither formal sovereignty nor actual subjection. The
client States had neither independence nor peace. The Senate,
nevertheless, perpetually interfered with the course of African, Hellenic,
Asiatic, and Egyptian affairs. Commissioners were constantly going to
Alexandria, to the Achæan diet, and to the courts of the Asiatic princes,
and the government of Rome deprived the nations of the blessings of
freedom and the blessings of order.

(M915) It was time to put a stop to this state of things, and the only way
to do so was to convert the client States into Roman provinces. After the
destruction of Carthage, the children of Masinissa retained in substance
their former territories, but were not allowed to make Carthage their
capital. Her territories became a Roman province, whose capital was Utica.

(M916) Macedonia also disappeared, like Carthage, from the ranks of
nations. But the four small States into which the kingdom was parceled
could not live in peace. Neither Roman commissioners nor foreign arbiters
could restore order. At this crisis a young man appeared in Thrace, who
called himself the son of Perseus. This pseudo-Philip, for such was his
name, strikingly resembled the son of Perseus. Unable to obtain
recognition in his native country, he went to Demetrius Sotor, king of
Syria. By him he was sent to Rome. The Senate attached so little
importance to the man, that he was left, imperfectly guarded, in an
Italian town, and fled to Miletus. Again arrested, and again contriving to
escape, he went to Thrace, and obtained a recognition from Teres, the
chief of the Thracian barbarians. With his support he invaded Macedonia,
and obtained several successes over the Macedonian militia. The Roman
commissioner Nasica, without troops, was obliged to call to his aid the
Achæan and Pergamene soldiers, until defended by a Roman legion under the
prætor Juventius. Juventius was slain by the pretender, and his army cut
to pieces. And it was not until a stronger Roman array, under Quintus
Cæcilius Metellus, appeared, that he was subdued. The four States into
which Macedonia had been divided were now converted into a Roman province,
B.C. 148, and Macedonia became, not a united kingdom, but a united
province, with nearly the former limits.

The defense of the Hellenic civilization now devolved on the Romans, but
was not conducted with adequate forces or befitting energy, and the petty
States were therefore exposed to social disorganization, and the Greeks
evidently sought to pick a quarrel with Rome.

(M917) Hence the Achæan war, B.C. 149. It is not of much historical
importance. It was commenced under Metellus, and continued under Mummius,
who reduced the noisy belligerents to terms, and entered Corinth, the seat
of rebellion, and the first commercial city of Greece. By order of the
Senate, the Corinthian citizens were sold into slavery, the fortifications
of the city leveled with the ground, and the city itself was sacked. The
mock sovereignty of leagues was abolished, and all remains of Grecian
liberty fled.

(M918) In Asia Minor, after the Seleucidæ were driven away, Pergamus
became the first power. But even this State did not escape the jealousy of
the Romans, and with Attalus III. the house of Attalids became extinct.

(M919) He, however, had bequeathed his kingdom to the Romans, and his
testament kindled a civil war. Aristonicus, a natural son of Eumenes II.,
made his appearance at Lecuæ, a small sea-port near Smyrna, as a pretender
to the crown. He was defeated by the Ephesians, who saw the necessity of
the protection and friendship of the Roman government. But he again
appeared with new troops, and the struggle was serious, since there were
no Roman troops in Asia. But, B.C. 131, a Roman army was sent under the
consul Publius Licinius Crassus Mucianus, one of the wealthiest men of
Rome, distinguished as an orator and jurist. This distinguished general
was about to lay siege to Leucæ, when he was surprised and taken captive,
and put to death. His successor, Marcus Perpenua, was fortunate in his
warfare, and the pretender was taken prisoner, and executed at Rome. The
remaining cities yielded to the conqueror, and Asia Minor became a Roman

(M920) In other States the Romans set up kings as they chose. In Syria,
Antiochus Eupater was recognized over the claims of Demetrius Sotor, then
a hostage in Rome. But he contrived to escape, and seized the government
of his ancestral kingdom. But it would seem that the Romans, at this
period, did not take a very lively interest in the affairs of remote
Asiatic States, and the decrees of the Senate were often disregarded with
impunity. A great reaction of the East took place against the West, and,
under Mithridates, a renewed struggle again gave dignity to the Eastern
kingdoms, which had not raised their heads since the conquests of
Alexander. That memorable struggle will be alluded to in the proper place.
It was a difficult problem which Rome undertook when she undertook to
govern the Asiatic world. It was easy to conquer; it was difficult to
rule, when degeneracy and luxury became the vices of the Romans
themselves. We are now to trace those domestic dissensions and civil wars
which indicate the decline of the Roman republic. But before we describe
those wars, we will take a brief survey of the social and political
changes in Rome at this period.

                              CHAPTER XXXIV.


(M921) Rome was now the unrivaled mistress of the world. She had conquered
all the civilized States around the Mediterranean, or had established a
protectorate over them. She had no fears of foreign enemies. Her empire
was established.

Before we proceed to present subsequent conquests or domestic revolutions,
it would be well to glance at the political and social structure of the
State, as it was two hundred years before the Christian era, and also at
the progress which had been made in literature and art.

(M922) One of the most noticeable features of the Roman State at this
period was the rise of a new nobility. The patricians, when they lost the
exclusive control of the government, did not cease to be a powerful
aristocracy. But another class of nobles arose in the fifth century of the
city, and shared their power—those who had held curule offices and were
members of the Senate. Their descendants, plebeian as well as patrician,
had the privilege of placing the wax images of their ancestors in the
family hall, and to have them carried in funeral processions. They also
wore a stripe of purple on the tunic, and a gold ring on the finger. These
were trifling insignia of rank, still they were emblems and signs by which
the nobility were distinguished. The plebeian families, ennobled by their
curule ancestors, were united into one body with the patrician families,
and became a sort of hereditary nobility. This body of exclusive families
really possessed the political power of the State. The Senate was made up
from their members, and was the mainstay of Roman nobility. The equites,
or equestrian order, was also composed of the patricians and wealthy
plebeians. Noble youths gradually withdrew from serving in the infantry,
and the legionary cavalry became a closed aristocratic corps. Not only
were the nobles the possessors of senatorial privileges, and enrolled
among the equites, but they had separate seats from the people at the
games and at the theatres. The censorship also became a prop to the
stability of the aristocratic class.

(M923) We have some idea of the influence of the aristocracy from the
families which furnished the higher offices of the State. For three
centuries the consuls were chiefly chosen from powerful families. The
Cornelii gentes furnished fifteen consuls in one hundred and twelve years,
and the Valerii, ten. And, what is more remarkable, for the following one
hundred and fifty years these two families furnished nearly the same
number. In one hundred and twelve years fifteen families gave seventy
consuls to the State: the Cornelii, fifteen; the Valerii, ten; the
Claudii, four; the Æmilii, nine; the Fabii, six; the Manilii, four; the
Postumii, two; the Servilii, three; the Sulpicii, six; and also about the
same number the following one hundred and fifty years, thereby showing
that old families, whether patrician or plebeian, were long kept in sight,
and monopolized political power. This was also seen in the elevation of
young men of these ranks to high office before they had reached the lawful
age. M. Valerius Corvus was consul at twenty-three, Scipio at thirty, and
Flaminius at twenty-nine.

(M924) The control of Rome over conquered provinces introduced a new class
of magistrates, selected by the Senate, and chosen from the aristocratic
circles. These were the provincial governors or prætors, who had great
power, and who sometimes appeared in all the pomp of kings. They resided
in the ancient palaces of the kings, and had great opportunities for
accumulating fortunes. Nor could the governors be called to account, until
after their term of office expired, which rarely happened. The governors
were, virtually, sovereigns while they continued in office—were satraps,
who conducted a legalized tyranny abroad, and returned home arrogant and
accustomed to adulation—a class of men who proved dangerous to the old
institutions, those which recognized equality within the aristocracy and
the subordination of power to the senatorial college.

(M925) The burgesses, or citizens, before this period, were a very
respectable body, patriotic and sagacious. They occupied chiefly Latium, a
part of Campania, and the maritime colonies. But gradually, a rabble of
clients grew up on footing equality with these independent burgesses.
These clients, as the aristocracy increased in wealth and power, became
parasites and beggars, and undermined the burgess class, and controlled
the Comitia. This class rapidly increased, and were clamorous for games,
festivals, and cheap bread, for corn was distributed to them by those who
wished to gain their favor at elections, at less than cost. Hence,
festivals and popular amusements became rapidly a great feature of the
times. For five hundred years the people had been contented with one
festival in a year, and one circus. Flaminius added another festival, and
another circus. In the year 550 of the city, there were five festivals.
The candidates for the consulship spent large sums on these games, the
splendor of which became the standard by which the electoral body measured
the fitness of candidates. A gladiatorial show cost seven hundred and
twenty thousand sesterces, or thirty-six thousand dollars.

(M926) And corruption extended to the army. The old burgess militia were
contented to return home with some trifling gift as a memorial of victory,
but the troops of Scipio, and the veterans of the Macedonian and Asiatic
wars, came back enriched with spoils. A decay of a warlike spirit was
observable from the time the burgesses converted war into a traffic in
plunder. A great passion also arose for titles and insignia, which
appeared under different forms, especially for the honors of a triumph,
originally granted only to the supreme magistrate who had signally
augmented the power of the State. Statues and monuments were often erected
at the expense of the person whom they purported to honor. And finally,
the ring, the robe, and the amulet case distinguished not only the
burgesses from the foreigners and slaves, but also the person who was born
free from one who had been a slave, the son of the free-born from the son
of the manumitted, the son of a knight from a common burgess, the
descendant of a curule house from the common senators. These distinctions
in rank kept pace with the extension of conquests, until, at last, there
was as complete a net work of aristocratic distinctions as in England at
the present day.

(M927) All these distinctions and changes were bitterly deplored by Marcus
Portius Cato—the last great statesman of the older school—a genuine Roman
of the antique stamp. He was also averse to schemes of universal empire.
He was a patrician, brought up at the plow, and in love with his Sabine
farm. Yet he rose to the consulship, and even the censorship. He served in
war under Marcellus, Fabius, and Scipio, and showed great ability as a
soldier. He was as distinguished in the forum as in the camp and
battle-field, having a bold address, pungent wit, and great knowledge of
the Roman laws. He was the most influential political orator of his day.
He was narrow in his political ideas, conservative, austere, and upright;
an enemy to all corruption and villainy, also to genius, and culture, and
innovation. He was the protector of the Roman farmer, plain, homely in
person, disdained by the ruling nobles, but fearless in exposing
corruption from any quarter, and irreconcilably at war with aristocratic
coteries, like the Scipios and Flaminii. He was publicly accused
twenty-four times, but he was always backed by the farmers,
notwithstanding the opposition of the nobles. He erased, while censor, the
name of the brother of Flaminius from the roll of senators, and the
brother of Scipio from that of the equites. He attempted a vigorous
reform, but the current of corruption could only be stemmed for awhile.
The effect of the sumptuary laws, which were passed through his influence,
was temporary and unsatisfactory. No legislation has proved of avail
against a deep-seated corruption of morals, for the laws will be avoided,
even if they are not defied. In vain was the eloquence of the hard,
arbitrary, narrow, worldly wise, but patriotic and stern old censor. The
age of Grecian culture, of wealth, of banquets, of palaces, of games, of
effeminate manners, had set in with the conquest of Greece and Asia. The
divisions of society widened, and the seeds of luxury and pride were to
produce violence and decay.

(M928) Still some political changes were effected at this time. The
Comitia Centuriata was remodeled. The equites no longer voted first. The
five classes obtained an equal number of votes, and the freedmen were
placed on an equal footing with free-born. Thus terminated the long
conflict between patricians and plebeians. But although the right of
precedence in voting was withdrawn from the equites, still the patrician
order was powerful enough to fill, frequently, the second consulship and
the second censorship, which were open to patricians and plebeians alike,
with men of their own order. At this time the office of dictator went into
abeyance, and was practically abolished; the priests were elected by the
whole community; the public assemblies interfered with the administration
of the public property—the exclusive prerogative of the Senate in former
times—and thus transferred the public domains to their own pockets. These
were changes which showed the disorganization of the government rather
than healthy reform. To this period we date the rise of demagogues, for a
minority in the Senate had the right to appeal to the Comitia, which
opened the way for wealthy or popular men to thwart the wisest actions and
select incompetent magistrates and generals. Even Publius Scipio was not
more distinguished for his arrogance and title-hunting than for the army
of clients he supported, and for the favor which he courted, of both
legions and people, by his largesses of grain.

(M929) At this period, agriculture had reached considerable perfection,
but Cato declared that his fancy farm was not profitable. Figs, apples,
pears were cultivated, as well as olives and grapes—also shade-trees. The
rearing of cattle was not of much account, as the people lived chiefly on
vegetables, and fruits and corn. Large cattle were kept only for tillage.
Considerable use was made of poultry and pigeons—kept in the farm-yard.
Fish-ponds and hare-preserves were also common. The labor of the fields
was performed by oxen, and asses for carriage and the turning of mills.
The human labor on farms was done by slaves. Vineyards required more
expenditure of labor than ordinary tillage. An estate of one hundred
jugera, with vine plantations, required one plowman, eleven slaves, and
two herdsmen. The slaves were not bred on the estate, but were purchased.
They lived in the farm-buildings, among cattle and produce. A separate
house was erected for the master. A steward had the care of the slaves.
The stewardess attended to the baking and cooking, and all had the same
fare, delivered from the produce of the farm on which they lived. Great
unscrupulousness pervaded the management of these estates. Slaves and
cattle were placed on the same level, and both were fed as long as they
could work, and sold when they were incapacitated by age or sickness. A
slave had no recreations or holidays. His time was spent between working
and sleeping. And when we remember that these slaves were white as well as
black, and had once been free, their condition was hard and inhuman. No
negro slavery ever was so cruel as slavery among the Romans. Great labors
and responsibilities were imposed upon the steward. He was the first to
rise in the morning, and the last to go to bed at night; but he was not
doomed to constant labor, like the slaves whom he superintended. He also
had few pleasures, and was obsequious to the landlord, who performed no
work, except in the earlier ages. The small farmer worked himself with the
slaves and his children. He more frequently cultivated flowers and
vegetables for the market of Rome. Pastoral husbandry was practiced on a
great scale, and at least eight hundred jugera were required. On such
estates, horses, oxen, mules, and asses were raised, also herds of swine
and goats. The breeding of sheep was an object of great attention and
interest, since all clothing was made of wool. The shepherd-slaves lived
in the open air, remote from human habitations, under sheds and

(M930) The prices of all produce were very small in comparison with
present rates, and this was owing, in part, to the immense quantities of
corn and other produce delivered by provincials to the Roman government,
sometimes gratuitously. The armies were supported by transmarine corn. The
government regulated prices. In the time of Scipio, African wheat was sold
as low as twelve ases for six _modii_—(one and a half bushel)—about
sixpence. At one time two hundred and forty thousand bushels of Sicilian
grain were distributed at this price. The rise of demagogism promoted
these distributions, which kept prices down, so that the farmers received
but a small reward for labors, which made, of course, the condition of
laborers but little above that of brutes: when the people of the capital
paid but sixpence sterling for a bushel and a half of wheat, or one
hundred and eighty pounds of dried figs, or sixty pounds of oil, or
seventy-two pounds of meat, or four and a half gallons of wine sold only
for fivepence, or three-fifths of a denarius. In the time of Polybius, the
traveler was charged for victuals and lodgings at an inn only about two
farthings a day, and a bushel of wheat sold for fourpence. At such prices
there was very little market for the farmer. Sicily and Sardinia were the
real granaries of Rome. Thus were all the best interests of the country
sacrificed to the unproductive population of the city. Such was the golden
age of the republic—a state of utter misery and hardship among the
productive classes, and idleness among the Roman people—a state of society
which could but lead to ruin. The farmers, without substantial returns,
lost energy and spirit, and dwindled away. Their estates fell into the
hands of great proprietors, who owned great numbers of slaves. They
themselves were ruined, and sunk into an ignoble class. The cultivation of
grain in Italy was gradually neglected, and attention was given chiefly to
vines, and olives, and wool. The rearing of cattle became more profitable
than tillage, and small farms were absorbed in great estates.

(M931) The monetary transactions of the Romans were preeminently
conspicuous. No branch of commercial industry was prosecuted with more
zeal than money-lending. The bankers of Rome were a great class, and were
generally rich. They speculated in corn and all articles of produce. Usury
was not disdained even by the nobles. Money-lending became a great system,
and all the laws operated in favor of capitalists.

Industrial art did not keep pace with usurious calculations, and trades
were concentrated in the capital. Mechanical skill was neglected in all
the rural districts.

(M932) Business operations were usually conducted by slaves. Even
money-lenders and bankers made use of them. Every one who took contracts
for building, bought architect slaves. Every one who provided spectacles
purchased a band of serfs expert in the art of fighting. The merchants
imported wares in vessels managed by slaves. Mines were worked by slaves.
Manufactories were conducted by slaves. Everywhere were slaves.

(M933) While the farmer obtained only fourpence a bushel for his wheat, a
penny a gallon for his wine, and fivepence for sixty pounds of oil, the
capitalists, centered in Rome, possessed fortunes which were vastly
disproportionate to those which are seen in modern capitals. Paulus was
not reckoned wealthy for a senator, but his estate was valued at sixty
talents, nearly £15,000, or $75,000. In other words, the daily interest of
his capital was fifteen dollars, enough to purchase one hundred and eighty
bushels of wheat—as much as a farmer could raise in a year on eight
jugera—a farm as large as that of Cincinnatus. Each of the daughters of
Scipio received as a dowry fifty talents, or $60,000. The value of this
sum, in our money, when measured by the scale of wheat, or oil, or
wine—allowing wheat now to be worth five shillings sterling a
bushel—against fivepence in those times, would make gold twelve times more
valuable then than now. And hence, Scipio left each of his daughters a sum
equal to $720,000 of our money. In estimating the fortune of a Roman, by
the prices charged at an inn per day, a penny would go further then than a
dollar would now. But I think that gold and silver, in the time of Scipio,
were about the same value as in England at the time of Henry VII., about
twenty times our present standard.

(M934) Every law at Rome tended in its operation to the benefit of the
creditor, and to vast accumulations of property; for the government being
in the hands of the rich, as in England a century since, and in France
before the Revolution, favored the rich at the expense of the poor. It
became disgraceful at Rome to perform manual labor, and a wall separated
the laboring classes from the capitalists, which could not be passed.
Industrial art took the lowest place in the scale of labor, and was in the
hands of slaves. The traffic in money, and the farming of the revenue
formed the mainstay and stronghold of the Roman economy. The free
population of Italy declined, while the city of Rome increased. The loss
was supplied by slaves. In the year 502 of the city, the Roman burgesses
in Italy numbered two hundred and ninety-eight thousand men capable of
bearing arms. Fifty years later, the number was only two hundred and
fourteen thousand. The nation visibly diminished, and the community was
resolved into masters and slaves. And this decline of citizens and
increase of slaves were beheld with indifference, for pride, and cruelty,
and heartlessness were the characteristics of the higher classes.

(M935) With the progress of luxury, and the decline of the rural
population, and the growth of disproportionate fortunes, residence in the
capital became more and more coveted, and more and more costly. Rents rose
to an unexampled height. Extravagant prices were paid for luxuries. When a
bushel of corn sold for fivepence, a barrel of anchovies from the Black
Sea cost £14, and a beautiful boy twenty-four thousand sesterces (£246),
more than a farmer’s homestead. Money came to be prized as the end of
life, and all kinds of shifts and devices were made to secure it.
Marriage, on both sides, became an object of mercantile speculation.

(M936) In regard to education, there was a higher development than is
usually supposed, and literature and art were cultivated, even while the
nation declined in real virtue and strength. By means of the Greek slaves,
the Greek language and literature reached even the lower ranks, to a
certain extent. “The comedies indicate that the humblest classes were
familiar with a sort of Latin, which could no more be understood without a
knowledge of Greek, than Wieland’s German without a knowledge of French.”
Greek was undoubtedly spoken by the higher classes, as French is spoken in
all the courts of Europe. In the rudiments of education, the lowest people
were instructed, and even slaves were schoolmasters. At the close of the
Punic wars, both comedy and tragedy were among the great amusements of the
Romans, and great writers arose, who wrote, however, from the Greek
models. Livius translated Homer, and Nævius popularized the Greek drama.
Plautus, it is said, wrote one hundred and thirty plays. The tragedies of
Ennius were recited to the latter days of the empire. The Romans did not,
indeed, make such advance in literature as the Greeks, at a comparatively
early period of their history, but their attainments were respectable when
Carthage was destroyed.

                              CHAPTER XXXV.


A new era in the history of Rome now commences, a period of glory and
shame, when a great change took place in the internal structure of the
State, now corrupted by the introduction of Greek and Asiatic refinements,
and the vast wealth which rolled into the capital of the world.

(M937) “For a whole generation after the battle of Pydna, the Roman State
enjoyed a profound calm, scarcely varied by a ripple here and there upon
the surface. Its dominion extended over three continents; all eyes rested
on Italy; all talents and all riches flowed thither; it seemed as if a
golden age of peaceful prosperity and intellectual enjoyment of life had
begun. The Orientals of this period told each other with astonishment of
the mighty republic of the West. And such was the glory of the Romans,
that no one usurped the crown, and no one glittered in purple dress; but
they obeyed whomsoever from year to year they made their master, and there
was among them neither envy nor discord.”

(M938) So things seemed at a distance. But this splendid external was
deceptive. The government of the aristocracy was hastening to its ruin.
There was a profound meaning, says Mommsen, in the question of Cato: “What
was to become of Rome when she should no longer have any State to fear?”
All her neighbors were now politically annihilated, and the single thought
of the aristocracy was how they should perpetuate their privileges. A
government of aristocratic nobodies was now inaugurated, which kept new
men of merit from doing any thing, for fear they should belong to their
exclusive ranks. Even an aristocratic conqueror was inconvenient.

(M939) Still opposition existed to this aristocratic régime, and some
reforms had been carried out. The administration of justice was improved.
The senatorial commissions to the provinces were found inadequate. An
effort was made to emancipate the Comitia from the prepondering influence
of the aristocracy. The senators were compelled to renounce their public
horse on admission to the Senate, and also the privilege of voting in the
eighteen equestrian centimes. But there was the semblance of increased
democratic power rather than the reality. All the great questions of the
day turned upon the election of the curule magistracies, and there was
sufficient influence among the nobles to secure these offices. Young men
from noble families crowded into the political arena, and claimed what
once was the reward of distinguished merit. Powerful connections were
indispensable for the enjoyment of political power, as in England at the
time of Burke. A large body of clients waited on their patron early every
morning, and the candidates for office used all those arts which are
customary when votes were to be bought. The government no longer disposed
of the property of burgesses for the public good, nor favored the idea
among them that they were exempted from taxes. Political corruption
reached through all grades and classes. Capitalists absorbed the small
farms, and great fortunes were the scandal of the times. Capital was more
valued than labor. Italian farms depreciated from the conversion of
tillage into pasture lands and parks, as in England in the present day.
Slavery inordinately increased from the captives taken in war. Western
Asia furnished the greatest number of this miserable population, and
Cretan and Cilician slave-hunters were found on all the coasts of Syria
and Greece. Delos was the great slave-market of the world, where the
slave-dealers of Asia Minor disposed of their wares to Italian
speculators. In one day as many as ten thousand slaves were disembarked
and sold. Farms, and trades, and mines were alike carried on by these
slaves from Asia, and their sufferings and hardships were vastly greater
than ever endured by negroes on the South Carolinian and Cuban
plantations. But they were of a different race—men who had seen better
days, and accustomed to civilization—and hence they often rose upon their
masters. Servile wars were of common occurrence, Sicily at one time had
seventy thousand slaves in arms, and when consular armies were sent to
suppress the revolt, the most outrageous cruelties were inflicted. Twenty
thousand men, at one time, were crucified in Sicily by Publius Rupilius.

(M940) At this crisis, when disproportionate wealth and slavery were the
great social evils, Tiberius Gracchus arose—a young man of high rank,
chivalrous, noble, and eloquent. His mother, Cornelia, was the daughter of
Scipio Africanus, and therefore belonged to the most exclusive of the
aristocratic circles. Tiberius Gracchus was therefore the cousin of Scipio
Æmilianus, under whom he served with distinction in Africa. He was
seconded in his views of reform by some stern old patriots and
aristocrats, who had not utterly forgotten the interests of the State, now
being undermined. Appius Claudius, his father-in-law, who had been both
consul and censor; Publius Mucius Scævola, the great lawyer and founder of
scientific jurisprudence; his brother, Publius Crassus Mucianus; the
Pontifex Maximus; Quintus Metellus, the conqueror of Macedonia—all men of
the highest rank and universally respected, entered into his schemes of

(M941) This patriotic patrician was elected tribune B.C. 134, at a time
when political mismanagement, moral decay, the decline of burgesses, and
the increase of slaves, were most apparent. So Gracchus, after entering
upon his office, proposed the enaction of an agrarian law, by which all
State lands, occupied by the possessors, without remuneration, should
revert to the State, except five hundred jugera for himself, and two
hundred and fifty for each son. The domain land thus resumed was to be
divided into lots of thirty jugera, and these distributed to burgesses and
Italian allies, not as free property, but inalienable leaseholds, for
which they paid rent to the State. This was a declaration of war upon the
great landholders. The proposal of Gracchus was paralyzed by the vote of
his colleague, Marcus Octavius. Gracchus then, in his turn, suspended the
business of the State and the administration of justice, and placed his
seal on the public chest. The government was obliged to acquiesce.
Gracchus, also, as the year was drawing to a close, brought his law to the
vote a second time. Again it was vetoed by Octavius. Gracchus then, at the
invitation of the consuls, discussed the matter in the Senate; but the
Senate, composed of great proprietors, would not yield. All constitutional
means were now exhausted, and Gracchus must renounce his reform or begin a

(M942) He chose the latter. Before the assembled people he demanded that
his colleague should be deposed, which was against all the customs, and
laws, and precedents of the past. The assembly, composed chiefly of the
proletarians who had come from the country—the Comitia Tributa—voted
according to his proposal, and Octavius was removed by the lictors from
the tribune bench, and then the agrarian law was passed by acclamation.
The Commissioners chosen to confiscate and redistribute the lands were
Tiberius Gracchus, his brother Gaius, and his father-in-law Appius
Claudius, which family selection vastly increased the indignation of the
Senate, who threw every obstacle in the way.

(M943) The author of the law, fearing for his personal safety, no longer
appeared in the forum without a retinue of three or four thousand men,
another cause of bitter hatred on the part of the aristocracy. He also
sought to be re-elected tribune, but the Assembly broke up without a
choice. The next day the election terminated in the same manner, and it
was rumored in the city that Tiberius had deposed all the tribunes, and
was resolved to continue in office without re-election. A tumult,
originating with the Senate, was the result. A mob of senators rushed
through the streets, with fury in their eyes and clubs in their hands. The
people gave way, and Gracchus was slain on the slope of the capitol. The
Senate officially sanctioned the outrage, on the ground that Tiberius
meditated the usurpation of supreme power.

(M944) In regard to the author of this agrarian law, there is no doubt he
was patriotic in his intentions, was public-spirited, and wished to revive
the older and better days of the republic. I do not believe he
contemplated the usurpation of supreme power. I doubt if he was ambitious,
as Cæsar was. But he did not comprehend the issues at stake, and the shock
he was giving to the constitution of his country. He was like Mirabeau,
that other aristocratic reformer, who voted for the spoliation of the
church property of France, on the ground, which that leveling
sentimentalist Rousseau had advanced, that the church property belonged to
the nation. But this plea, in both cases, was sophistical. It was,
doubtless, a great evil that the property of the State had fallen into the
hands of wealthy proprietors, as it was an evil that half the landed
property of France was in possession of the clergy. But, in both cases,
this property had been enjoyed uninterruptedly for centuries by the
possessors, and, to all intents and purposes, was _private_ property. And
this law of confiscation was therefore an encroachment on the rights of
property, in all its practical bearings. It appeared to the jurists of
that age to be an ejection of the great landholders for the benefit of the
proletarians. The measure itself was therefore not without injustice,
desirable as a division of property might be. But the mode to effect this
division was incompatible with civilization itself. It was an appeal to
revolutionary forces. It was setting aside all constitutional checks and
usages. It was a defiance of the Senate, the great ruling body of the
State. It was an appeal to the people to overturn the laws. It was like
assembling the citizens of London to override the Parliament. It was like
the French revolution, when the Assembly was dictated to by the clubs.
Robespierre may have been sincere and patriotic, but he was a fanatic,
fierce and uncompromising. So was Gracchus. In setting aside his
colleagues, to accomplish what he deemed a good end, he did evil. When
this rich patrician collected the proletarian burgesses to decree against
the veto of the tribune that the public property should be distributed
among them, he struck a vital blow on the constitution of his country, and
made a step toward monarchy, for monarchy was only reached through the
democracy—was only brought about by powerful demagogues. And hence the
verdict of the wise and judicious will be precisely that, of the leading
men of Rome at the time, even that of Cornelia herself: “Shall then our
house have no end of madness? Have we not enough to be ashamed of in the
disorganization of the State?”

(M945) The law of Tiberius Gracchus survived its author. The Senate had
not power to annul it, though it might slay its author. The work of
redistribution continued, even as the National Assembly of France
sanctioned the legislation of preceding revolutionists. And in consequence
of the law, there was, in six years, an increase of burgesses capable of
bearing arms, of seventy-six thousand. But so many evils attended the
confiscation and redistribution of the public domain—so many acts of
injustice were perpetrated—there was such gross mismanagement, that the
consul Scipio Æmilianus intervened, and by a decree of the people, through
his influence, the commission was withdrawn, and the matter was left to
the consuls to adjudicate, which was virtually the suspension of the law
itself. For this intervention Scipio lost his popularity, unbounded as it
had been, even as Daniel Webster lost his prestige and influence when he
made his 7th of March speech—the fate of all great men, however great,
when they oppose popular feelings and interests, whether they are right or
wrong. Scipio, the hero of three wars, not only lost his popularity, but
his life. He was found murdered in his bed at the age of fifty-six.
“Scipio’s assassination was the democratic reply to the aristocratic
massacre of Tiberius Gracchus.” The greatest general of the age, a man of
unspotted moral purity, and political unselfishness, and generous
patriotism, could not escape the vengeance of a baffled populace, B.C.

(M946) The distribution of land ceased, but the revolution did not stop.
The soul of Tiberius Gracchus “was marching on.” A new hero appeared in
his brother, Gaius Gracchus, nine years younger—a man who had no relish
for vulgar pleasures,—brave, cultivated, talented, energetic, vehement. A
master of eloquence, he drew the people; consumed with a passion for
revenge, he led them on to revolutionary measures. He was elected tribune
in the year 123, and at once declared war on the aristocratic party, to
which by birth he belonged.

He inaugurated revolutionary measures, by proposing to the people a law
which should allow the tribune to solicit a re-election. He then, to gain
the people and secure material power, enacted that every burgess should be
allowed, monthly, a definite quantity of corn from the public stores at
about half the average price. And he caused a law to be passed that the
existing order of voting in the Comitia Centuriata, according to which the
five property classes voted first, should be done away with, and that all
the centuries should vote in the order to be determined by lot. He also
caused a law to be passed that no citizen should enlist in the army till
seventeen, nor be compelled to serve in the army more than twenty years.
These measures all had the effect to elevate the democracy.

(M947) He also sought to depress the aristocracy, by dividing its ranks.
The old aristocracy embraced chiefly the governing class, and were the
chief possessors of landed property. But a new aristocracy of the rich had
grown up, composed of speculators, who managed the mercantile transactions
of the Roman world. The old senatorial aristocracy were debarred by the
Claudian ordinance from mercantile pursuits, and were merely sleeping
partners in the great companies, managed by the speculators. But the new
aristocracy, under the name of the equestrian order, began at this time to
have political influence. Originally, the equestrians were a burgess
cavalry; but gradually all who possessed estates of four hundred thousand
sesterces were liable to cavalry service, and became enrolled in the
order, which thus comprehended the whole senatorial and non-senatorial
noble society of Rome. In process of time, the senators were exempted from
cavalry service, and were thus marked off from the list of those liable to
do cavalry service. The equestrian order then, at last, comprehended the
aristocracy of rich men, in contradistinction from the Senate. And a
natural antipathy accordingly grew up between the old senatorial
aristocracy and the men to whom money had given rank. The ruling lords
stood aloof from the speculators; and were better friends of the people
than the new moneyed aristocrats, since they, brought directly in contact
with the people, oppressed them, and their greediness and injustice were
not usually countenanced by the Senate. The two classes of nobles had
united to put down Tiberius Gracchus; but a deep gulf still yawned between
them, for no class of aristocrats was ever more exclusive than the
governing class at Rome, confined chiefly to the Senate. The Roman Senate
was like the House of Peers in England, when the peers had a
preponderating political power, and whose property lay in landed estates.

(M948) Gracchus raised the power of the equestrians by a law which
provided that the farming of the taxes raised in the provinces should be
sold at auction at Rome. A gold mine was thus opened for the speculators.
He also caused a law to be passed which required the judges of civil and
criminal cases to be taken from the equestrians, a privilege before
enjoyed by the Senate. And thus a senator, impeached for his conduct as
provincial governor, was now tried, not as before, by his peer, but by
merchants and bankers.

(M949) Gracchus, by the aid of the proletarians and the mercantile class,
then proceeded to the overthrow of the ruling aristocracy, especially in
the functions of legislation, which had belonged to the Senate. By means
of comitial laws and tribunician dictation, he restricted the business of
the Senate. He meddled with the public chest by distributing corn at half
its value; he meddled with the domains by sending colonies by decrees of
the people; he meddled with provincial administration by overturning the
regulations which had been made by the Senate. He also sought to
re-enforce the Senate by three hundred new members from the equestrians
elected by the comitia, a creation of peers which would have reduced the
Senate to dependence on the chief of the State. But this he did not
succeed in effecting.

(M950) It is singular that he could have carried these measures during his
term of office, two years, for he was re-elected, with so little
opposition—a proof of the power of the moneyed classes, such, perhaps, as
are now represented by the Commons of England. The great change he sought
to effect was the re-election of magistrates—an unlimited tribuneship,
which was truly Napoleonic. And he knew what he was doing. He was not a
fanatic, but a Statesman of great ability, seeking to break the oligarchy,
and transfer its powers to the tribunes of the people. He desired a firm
administration, but resting on continuous individual usurpations. He was a
political incendiary, like Mirabeau. He was the true founder of that
terrible civic proletariate, which, flattered by the classes above it, led
to the usurpations of Sulla and Cæsar. He is the author of the great
change, which in one hundred years was effected, of transferring power
from the Senate to an emperor. He furnished the tactics for all succeeding

(M951) Great revolutionists are doomed to experience the loss of
popularity, and Gracchus lost his by an attempt to extend the Roman
franchise to the people of the provinces. The Senate and the mob here
united to prevent what was ultimately effected. The Senate seized the
advantage by inciting a rival demagogue, in the person of Marcus Livius
Drusus, to propose laws which gave still greater privileges to the
equestrians. The Senate bid for popularity, as English prime ministers
have retained place, by granting more to the people than their rivals
would have granted. The Livian laws, which released the proletarians from
paying rent for their lands, were ratified by the people as readily as the
Sempronian laws had been. The foundation of the despotism of Gracchus was
thus assailed by the Senate uniting with the proletarians. An opportunity
was only wanted to effect his complete overthrow.

(M952) On the expiration of two years, Gracchus ceased to be tribune, and
his enemy, Lucius Opimius, a stanch aristocrat, entered upon his office.
The attack on the ex-tribune was made by prohibiting the restoration of
Carthage, which Gracchus had sought to effect, and which was a popular
measure. On the day when the burgesses assembled with a view to reject the
measure which Gracchus had previously secured, he appeared with a large
body of adherents. An attendant on the consul demanded their dispersion,
on which he was cut down by a zealous Gracchian. On this, a tumult arose.
Gracchus in vain sought to be heard, and even interrupted a tribune in the
act of speaking, which was against an obsolete law. This offense furnished
a pretense for the Senate and the citizens to arm. Gracchus retired to the
temple of Castor, and passed the night, while the capitol was filled with
armed men. The next day, he fled beyond the Tiber, but the Senate placed a
price upon his head, and he was overtaken and slain. Three thousand of his
adherents were strangled in prison, and the memory of the Gracchi remained
officially proscribed. But Cornelia put on mourning for her last son, and
his name became embalmed in the hearts of the democracy.

(M953) Thus perished Gaius Gracchus, a wiser man than his brother—a man
who attempted greater changes, and did not defy the constitutional forms.
He was, undoubtedly, patriotic in his intentions, but the reforms which he
projected were radical, and would have changed the whole structure of
government. It was the consummation of the war against the patrician
oligarchy. Whether wise or foolish, it is not for me to give an opinion,
since such an opinion is of no account, and would imply equally a judgment
as to the relative value of an aristocratical or democratic form of
government, in a corrupt age of Roman society. This is a mooted point, and
I am not capable of settling it. The efforts of the Gracchi to weaken the
power of the ruling noble houses formed a precedent for subsequent
reforms, or usurpations, as they are differently regarded, and led the way
to the rule of demagogues, to be supplanted in time by that of emperors,
with unbounded military authority.

                              CHAPTER XXXVI.


The fall of the Gracchi restored Rome to the rule of the oligarchy. The
government of the Senate was resumed, and a war of prosecution was carried
on against the followers of Gracchus. His measures were allowed to drop.
The claims of the Italian allies were disregarded, the noblest of all the
schemes of the late tribune, that of securing legal equality between the
Roman burgesses and their Italian allies. The restoration of Carthage was
set aside. Italian colonies were broken up. The allotment commission was
abolished, and a fixed rent was imposed on the occupants of the public
domains, but the proletariate of the capital continued to have a
distribution of corn, and jurymen or judges (_judices_) were still
selected from the mercantile classes. The Senate continued to be composed
of effeminated nobles, and insignificant persons were raised to the
highest offices.

The administration, under the restoration, was feeble and unpopular.
Social evils spread with alarming rapidity. Both slavery and great
fortunes increased. The provinces were miserably governed, while pirates
and robbers pillaged the countries around the Mediterranean. There was a
great revolt of slaves in Sicily, who gained, for a time, the mastery of
the island.

(M954) While public affairs were thus disgracefully managed, a war broke
out between Numidia and Rome. That African kingdom extended from the river
Molochath to the great Syrtis on the one hand, and to Cyrene and Egypt on
the other, and included the greatest part of the ancient Carthaginian
territories. Numidia, next to Egypt, was the most important of the Roman
client States. On the fall of Carthage, it was ruled by the eldest son of
Masinassa, Micipsa, a feeble old man, who devoted himself to the study of
philosophy, rather than affairs of State. The government was really in the
hands of his nephew, Jugurtha, courageous, sagacious, and able. He was
adopted by Micipsa, to rule in conjunction with his two sons, Adherbal and
Hiempsal. In the year B.C. 118 Micipsa died, and a collision arose, as was
to be expected, among his heirs. Hiempsal was assassinated, and the
struggle for the Numidian crown lay between Adherbal and Jugurtha. The
latter seized the whole territory, and Adherbal escaped to Rome, and laid
his complaint before the Senate. Jugurtha’s envoys also appeared, and the
Senate decreed that the two heirs should have the kingdom equally divided
between them, but Jugurtha obtained the more fertile western half.

Then war arose between the two kings, and Adherbal was defeated, and
retired to his capital, Aita, where he was besieged by Jugurtha. Adherbal
made his complaints to Rome, and a commission of aristocratic but
inexperienced young men came to the camp of Jugurtha to arrange the
difficulties. Jugurtha rejected their demands, and the young men returned
home. Adherbal sent again messengers to Rome, being closely pressed,
demanding intervention. The Senate then sent Marcus Scaurus, who held
endless debates with Jugurtha, at Utica, to which place he was summoned.
These were not attended with any results. Scaurus returned to Rome, and
Jugurtha pressed the siege of Aita, which soon capitulated. Adherbal was
executed with cruel torture, and the adult population was put to the

A cry of indignation arose in Italy. The envoys of Jugurtha were summarily
dismissed, and Scaurus was sent to Africa with an army, but a peace with
Rome was purchased by the African prince through the bribery of the
generals. The legal validity of the peace was violently assailed in the
Senate, and Massiva, a grandson of Masinissa, then in Rome, laid claim to
the Numidian throne. But this prince was assassinated by one of the
confidants of Jugurtha, which outrage, perpetrated under the eyes of the
Roman government, led to a renewed declaration of war, and Spurius Albinus
was intrusted with the command of an army. But Jugurtha bribed the Roman
general into inaction, and captured the Roman camp. This resulted in the
evacuation of Numidia, and a second treaty of peace.

(M955) Such an ignoble war created intense dissatisfaction at Rome, and
the Senate was obliged to cancel the treaty, and renewed the war in
earnest, intrusting the conduct of it to Quintus Metellus, an aristocrat,
of course, but a man of great ability. Selecting for his lieutenants able
generals, he led over his army to Africa. Jugurtha made proposals of
peace, which were refused, and he prepared for a desperate defense.
Intrenched on a ridge of hills in the wide plain of Muthul, he awaited the
attack of his enemies, but was signally defeated by Metellus, assisted by
Marius, a brave plebeian, who had arisen from the common soldiers. After
this battle Jugurtha contented himself with a guerrilla warfare, while his
kingdom was occupied by the conquerors. Metellus even intrigued to secure
the assassination of the king.

(M956) The war continued to be prosecuted without decisive results, as is
so frequently the case when civilized nations fight with barbarians. Like
the war of Charlemagne against the Saxons, victories were easily obtained,
but the victors gained unsubstantial advantages. Jugurtha retired to
inaccessible deserts with his children, his treasures, and his best
troops, to await better times. Numidia was seemingly reduced, but its king
remained in arms.

(M957) It was then, in the third year of the renewed war, that Metellus
was recalled, and Marius, chosen consul, was left with the supreme
command. But even he did not find it easy, with a conquering army, to
seize Jugurtha, and he was restricted to a desultory war. At last Bocchus,
king of Mauritania, slighted by the Romans, but in alliance with Jugurtha,
effected by treachery what could not be gained by arms. He entered into
negotiations with Marius to deliver up the king of Numidia, who had
married his daughter, and had sought his protection. Marius sent Sulla to
consummate the treachery. Jugurtha, the traitor, was thus in turn
sacrificed, and became a Roman prisoner.

(M958) This miserable war lasted seven years, and its successful
termination secured to Marius a splendid triumph, at which the conquered
king, with his two sons, appeared in chains before the triumphal car, and
was then executed in the subterranean prison on the Capitoline Hill.

(M959) Numidia was not converted into a Roman province, but into a client
State, because the country could not be held without an army on the
frontiers. The Jugurthan war was important in its consequences, since it
brought to light the venality of the governing lords, and made it evident
that Rome must be governed by a degenerate and selfish oligarchy, or by a
tyrant, whether in the form of a demagogue, like Gracchus, or a military
chieftain, like Marius.

(M960) But a more difficult war than that waged against the barbarians of
the African deserts was now to be conducted against the barbarians of
European forests. The war with the Cimbri was also more important in its
political results. There had been several encounters with the northern
nations of Spain, Gaul, and Italy, under different names, with different
successes, which it would be tedious to describe. But the contest with the
Cimbri has a great and historic interest, since they were the first of the
Germanic tribes with which the Romans contended. Mommsen thinks these
barbarians were Teutonic, although, among older historians, they were
supposed to be Celts. The Cimbri were a migratory people, who left their
northern homes with their wives and children, goods and chattels, to seek
more congenial settlements than they had found in the Scandinavian
forests. The wagon was their house. They were tall, fair-haired, with
bright blue eyes. They were well armed with sword, spear, shield, and
helmet. They were brave warriors, careless of danger, and willing to die.
They were accompanied by priestesses, whose warnings were regarded as
voices from heaven.

(M961) This homeless people of the Cimbri, prevented from advancing south
on the Danube by the barrier raised by the Celts, advanced to the passes
of the Carnian Alps, B.C. 113, protected by Gnæus Papirius Carbo, not far
from Aquileia. An engagement took place not far from the modern Corinthia,
where Carbo was defeated. Some years after, they proceeded westward to the
left bank of the Rhine, and over the Jura, and again threatened the Roman
territory. Again was a Roman army defeated under Silanus in Southern Gaul,
and the Cimbri sent envoys to Rome, with the request that they might be
allowed peaceful settlements. The Helvetii, stimulated by the successes of
the Cimbri, also sought more fertile settlements in Western Gaul, and
formed an alliance with the Cimbri. They crossed the Jura, the western
barrier of Switzerland, succeeded in decoying the Roman army under
Longinus into an ambush, and gained a victory.

(M962) In the year B.C., 105 the Cimbrians, under their king Boiorix,
advanced to the invasion of Italy. They were opposed on the right bank of
the Rhone by the proconsul Cæpio, and on the left by the consul Gnæus
Mallius Maximus, and the consular Marcus Aurelius Scaurus. The first
attack fell on the latter general, who was taken prisoner and his corps
routed. Maximus then ordered his colleague to bring his army across the
Rhone, where the Roman force stood confronting the whole Cimbrian army,
but Cæpio refused. The mutual jealousy of these generals, and refusal to
co-operate, led to one of the most disastrous defeats which the Romans
ever suffered. No less than eighty thousand soldiers, and half as many
more camp followers, perished. The battle of Aransio (Orange) filled Rome
with alarm and fear, and had the Cimbrians immediately advanced through
the passes of the Alps to Italy, overwhelming disasters might have ensued.

(M963) In this crisis, Marius was called to the supreme command, hated as
he was by the aristocracy, which still ruled, and in defiance of the law
which prohibited the holding of the consulship more than once. He was
accompanied by a still greater man, Lucius Sulla, destined to acquire
great distinction. Marius maintained a strictly defensive attitude within
the Roman territories, training and disciplining his troops for the
contest which was yet to come with the most formidable antagonists the
Romans had ever encountered, and who were destined in after times to
subvert the empire.

(M964) The Cimbri formed a confederation with the Helvetii and the
Teutons, and after an unsuccessful attempt to sweep away the Belgæ, who
resisted them, concluded to invade Italy, through Roman Gaul and the
Western passes of the Alps. They crossed the Rhone without difficulty, and
resumed the struggle with the Romans. Marius awaited them in a well-chosen
camp, well fortified and provisioned, at the confluence of the Rhone and
the Isère, by which he intercepted the passage of the barbarians, either
over the Little St. Barnard—the route Hannibal had taken—or along the
coast. The barbarians attacked the camp, but were repulsed. They then
resolved to pass the camp, leaving an enemy in the rear, and march to
Italy. Marius, for six days, permitted them to defile with their immense
baggage, and when their march was over, followed in the steps of the
enemy, who took the coast road. At Aquæ Sextiæ the contending parties came
into collision, and the barbarians were signally defeated; the whole horde
was scattered, killed, or taken prisoners. It would seem that these
barbarians were Teutons or Germans; but on the south side of the Alps, the
Cimbri and Helvetii crossed the Alps by the Brenner Pass, and descended
upon the plains of Italy. The passes had been left unguarded, and the
Roman army, under Catulus, on the banks of the Adige, suffered a defeat,
and retreated to the right bank of the Po. The whole plain between the Po
and the Alps was in the hands of the barbarians, who did not press
forward, as they should have done, but retired into winter quarters, where
they became demoralized by the warm baths and abundant stores of that
fertile and lovely region. Thus the Romans gained time, and the victorious
Marius, relinquishing all attempts at the conquest of Gaul, conducted his
army to the banks of the Po, and formed a junction with Catulus.

(M965) The two armies met at Vercillæ, not far from the place where
Hannibal had fought his first battle on the Italian soil. The day of the
battle was fixed beforehand by the barbaric general and Marius, on the
30th of June, B.C. 101. A complete victory was gained by the Romans, and
the Cimbri were annihilated. The victory of the rough plebeian farmer was
not merely over the barbarians, but over the aristocracy. He became, in
consequence, the leading man in Rome. He had fought his way from the ranks
to the consulship, and had distinguished himself in all the campaigns in
which he fought. In Spain, he had arisen to the grade of an officer. In
the Numantine war he attracted, at twenty-three, the notice of Scipio. On
his return to Rome, with his honorable scars and military _éclat_, he
married a lady of the great patrician house of the Julii. At forty, he
obtained the prætorship; at forty-eight, he was made consul, and
terminated the African war, and his victories over the Cimbri and Teutons
enabled him to secure his re-election five consecutive years, which was
unexampled in the history of the republic. As consul he administered
justice impartially, organized the military system, and maintained in the
army the strictest discipline. He had but little culture; his voice was
harsh, and his look wild. But he was simple, economical, and
incorruptible. He stood aloof from society and from political parties,
exposed to the sarcasms of the aristocrats into whose ranks he had

(M966) He made great military reforms, changing the burgess levy into a
system of enlistments, and allowing every free-born citizen to enlist. He
abolished the aristocratic classification, reduced the infantry of the
line to a level, and raised the number of the legion from four thousand
two hundred to six thousand, to which he gave a new standard—the silver
eagle, which proclaims the advent of emperors. The army was changed from a
militia to a band of mercenaries.

After effecting these military changes, he sought political supremacy by
taking upon himself the constitutional magistracies. In effecting this he
was supported by the popular, or democratic party, which now regained its
political importance. He, therefore, obtained the consulship for the sixth
time, while his friends among the popular party were made tribunes and
prætors. He was also supported at the election by his old soldiers who had
been discharged.

But the whole aristocracy rallied, and Marius was not sufficiently a
politician to cope with experienced demagogues. He made numerous blunders,
and lost his political influence. But he accepted his position, and waited
for his time. Not in the field of politics was he to arise to power, but
in the strife and din of arms. An opportunity was soon afforded in the
convulsions which arose from the revolt of the Roman allies in Italy, soon
followed by civil wars. It is these wars which next claim our notice.

                             CHAPTER XXXVII.


Great discontent had long existed among the Italian subjects of Rome. They
were not only oppressed, but they enjoyed no political privileges. They
did not belong to the class of burgesses.

With the view of extending the Roman franchise, a movement was made by the
tribune, M. Livius Drusus, an aristocrat of great wealth and popular
sympathies. He had, also, projected other reforms, which made him
obnoxious to all parties; but this was peculiarly offensive to the order
to which he belonged, and he lost his life while attempting to effect the
same reforms which were fatal to Gracchus.

On his assassination, the allies, who outnumbered the Roman burgesses, and
who had vainly been seeking citizenship, found that they must continue
without political rights, or fight, and they made accordingly vast
preparations for war. Had all the Italian States been united, they would,
probably, have obtained their desire without a conflict in the field, but
in those parts where the moneyed classes preponderated, the people
remained loyal to Rome. But the insurgents embraced most of the people in
Central and Southern Italy, who were chiefly farmers.

(M967) The insurrection broke out in Asculum in Picenum, and spread
rapidly through Samnium, Apulia, and Lucania. All Southern and Central
Italy was soon in arms against Rome. The Etruscans and Umbrians remained
in allegiance as they had before taken part with the equestrians, now a
most powerful body, against Drusus. Italy was divided into two great
military camps. The insurgents sent envoys to Rome, with the proposal to
lay down their arms if citizenship were granted them, but this was
refused. Both sides now made extensive preparations, and the forces were
nearly balanced. One hundred thousand men were in arms, in two divisions,
on either side, the Romans commanded by the consul, Publius Rutilius
Lupus, and the Italians by Quintus Silo and Gaius Papius Mutilus. Gaius
Marius served as a lieutenant-commander. The war was carried on with
various successes, for “Greek met Greek.” The first campaign proved, on
the whole, to the disadvantage of the Romans, who suffered several
defeats. In a political point of view, also, the insurgents were the
gainers. Great despondency reigned in the capital, for the war had become
serious. At length, it was resolved to grant the political franchise to
such Italians as had remained faithful, or who had submitted. This
concession, great as it was, did not include the actual insurgents, but it
operated in strengthening wavering communities on the side of Rome.
Etruria and Umbria were tranquilized.

(M968) The second campaign, B.C. 89, was opened in Bicenum. Marius was not
in the field. His conduct in the previous campaign was not satisfactory,
and the conqueror of the Cimbri, at sixty-six, was thought to be in his
dotage. Asculum was besieged and taken by the Romans, who had seventy-five
thousand troops under the walls. The Sabellians and Marsians were next
subjugated, and all Campania was lost to the insurgents, as far as Nola.
The Southern army was under the command of the consul, Lucius Sulla, whose
great career had commenced in Africa, under Marius. Sulla advanced into
the Samnite country and took its capital, Bovianum. Under his able
generalship, the position of affairs greatly changed. At the close of the
campaign, most of the insurgent regions were subdued. The Samnites were
almost the only people which held out.

(M969) It was fortunate for Rome that the rebellion was so far suppressed
when the flames of war were rekindled in the East. A great reaction
against the Roman domination had taken place, and the eastern nations
seemed determined to rally once more for independent dominion. This was
the last great Asiatic rising till the fall of the Roman empire. The
potentate under whom the Oriental forces rallied, was Mithridates, king of

(M970) The army of Sulla, in Campania, was destined to embark for Asia as
soon as the state of things in Southern Italy should allow his departure.
So the third campaign of the Social war, as it is called, began favorably
for Rome, when events transpired in the capital which gave fresh life to
the almost extinguished insurrection. The attack of Drusus on the
equestrian courts, and his sudden downfall, had sown the bitterest discord
between the aristocracy and the burgess class. The Italian communities,
received into Roman citizenship, were fettered by restrictions which had
an odious stigma, which led to great irritation, for the aristocracy had
conferred the franchise grudgingly. And this franchise was moreover
withheld from the insurgent communities which had again submitted. A deep
indignation also settled in the breast of Marius, on his return from the
first campaign, to find himself neglected and forgotten. To these
discontents were added the distress of debtors, who, amid the financial
troubles of the war, were unable to pay the interest on their debts, and
were yet inexorably pressed by creditors.

(M971) It was then, in this state of fermentation and demoralization, that
the tribune Publius Sulpicius Rufus proposed that every senator who owed
more than two thousand denarii (£82) should forfeit his seat in the
Senate; that burgesses condemned by non-free jury courts should have
liberty to return home; and that the new burgesses should be distributed
among all the tribes, in which the freed men should also have the
privilege of voting. These proposals, although made by a patrician, met
with the greatest opposition from the Senate, but were passed amid riots
and tumults. Sulla was on the best terms with the Senate, and Sulpicius
feared that he might return from his camp at Nola, and take vengeance for
these popular measures. The tribune, therefore, conceived the plan of
taking the command from Sulla, who was then consul, and transfer it upon
Marius, who was also to conduct the war against Mithridates, in Asia.

(M972) Sulla disobeyed the mandate, and marched to Rome with his
army—little more than a body of mercenaries devoted to him. In his eyes,
the sovereign Roman citizens were a rabble, and Rome itself a city without
a garrison. Sulla had an army of thirty-five thousand men, and before the
Romans could organize resistance he appeared at the gate, and crossed the
sacred boundary which the law had forbidden war to enter. In a few hours
Sulla was the absolute master of Rome. Marius and Sulpicius fled. It was
the conservative party which exchanged the bludgeon for the sword. Sulla
at once made null the Sulpician laws, punished their author and his
adherents, as Sulpicius had feared. The gray-haired conqueror of the
Cimbri fled, and found his way to the coast and embarked on a
trading-vessel, but the timid mariners put him ashore, and Marius stole
along the beach with his pursuers in the rear. He was found in a marsh
concealed in reeds and mud, seized and imprisoned by the people of
Minturnæ, and a Cimbrian slave was sent to put him to death, The ax,
however, fell from his hands when the old hero demanded in a stern voice
if he dared to kill Gaius Marius. The magistrates of the town, ashamed,
then loosed his fetters, gave him a vessel, and sent him to Ænaria
(Ischia). There, in those waters, the proscribed met, and escaped to
Numidia, and Sulla was spared the odium of putting to death his old
commander, who had delivered Rome from the Cimbrians.

(M973) Sulla, master of Rome, did not destroy her liberties. He suggested
a new series of legislative enactments in the interests of the
aristocracy. He created three hundred new senators, and brought back the
old Servian rule of voting in the Comitia Centuriata. The poorer classes
were thus virtually again disfranchised. He also abolished the power of
the tribune to propose laws to the people, and the initiatory of
legislation was submitted to the Senate. The absurd custom by which a
consul, prætor, or tribune, could propose to the burgesses any measure he
pleased, and carry it without debate, was in itself enough to overturn any

Having settled these difficulties, and made way with his enemies, Sulla,
still consul, embarked with his legion for the East, where the presence of
a Roman army was imperatively needed. But before he left, he extorted a
solemn oath from Cinna, consul elect, that he would attempt no alteration
in the recent changes which had been made. Cinna took the oath, but Sulla
had scarcely left before he created new disturbances.

                             CHAPTER XXXVIII.


There reigned at this time in Pontus, the northeastern State of Asia
Minor, bordered on the south by Cappadocia, on the east by Armenia, and
the north by the Euxine, a powerful prince, Mithridates VI., surnamed
Eupator, who traced an unbroken lineage to Darius, the son of the
Hystaspes, and also to the Seleucidæ. He was a great eastern hero, whose
deeds excited the admiration of his age. He could, on foot, overtake the
swiftest deer; he accomplished journeys on horseback of one hundred and
twenty miles a day; he drove sixteen horses in hand at the chariot races;
he never missed his aim in hunting; he drank his boon companions under the
table; he had as many mistresses as Solomon; he was fond of music and
poetry; he collected precious works of art; he had philosophers and poets
in his train; he was the greatest jester and wit of his court. His
activity was boundless; he learned the antidotes for all poisons; he
administered justice in twenty-two languages; and yet he was coarse,
tyrannical, cruel, superstitious, and unscrupulous. Such was this
extraordinary man who led the great reaction of the Asiatics against the

(M974) The resources of this Oriental king were immense, since he bore
rule over the shores of the Euxine to the interior of Asia Minor. His
field for recruits to his armies stretched from the mouth of the Danube to
the Caspian Sea. Thracians, Scythians, Colchians, Iberians, crowded under
his banners. When he marched into Cappadocia, he had six hundred scythed
chariots, ten thousand horse, and eighty thousand foot. A series of
aggressions and conquests made this monarch the greatest and most
formidable Eastern foe the Romans ever encountered. The Romans, engrossed
with the war with the Cimbri and the insurrection of their Italian
subjects, allowed his empire to be silently aggrandized.

(M975) The Roman Senate, at last, disturbed and jealous, sent Lucius Sulla
to Cappadocia with a handful of troops to defend its interests. On his
return, Mithridates continued his aggressions, and formed an alliance with
his father-in-law, Tigranes, king of Armenia, but avoided a direct
encounter with the great Occidental power which had conquered the world.
Things continued for awhile between war and peace, but, at last, it was
evident that only war could prevent the aggrandizement of Mithridates, and
it was resolved upon by the Romans.

(M976) The king of Pontus made immense preparations to resist his powerful
enemies. He strengthened his alliance with Tigranes. He made overtures to
the Greek cities. He attempted to excite a revolt in Thrace, in Numidia,
and in Syria. He encouraged pirates on the Mediterranean. He organized a
foreign corps after the Roman fashion, and took the field with two hundred
and fifty thousand infantry and forty thousand cavalry—the largest army
seen since the Persian wars. He then occupied Asia Minor, and the Roman
generals retreated as he advanced. He made Ephesus his head-quarters, and
issued orders to all the governors dependent upon him to massacre, on the
same day, all Italians, free or enslaved—men, women, and children, found
in their cities. One hundred and fifty thousand were thus barbarously
slaughtered in one day. The States of Cappadocia, Sinope, Phrygia, and
Bithynia were organized as Pontic satrapies. The confiscation of the
property of the murdered Italians replenished his treasury, as well as the
contributions of Asia Minor. He not only occupied the Asiatic provinces of
the Romans, but meditated the invasion of Europe. Thrace and Macedonia
were occupied by his armies, and his fleet appeared in the Ægean Sea.
Delos, the emporium of Roman commerce, was taken, and twenty thousand
Italians massacred. Most of the small free States of Greece entered into
alliance with him—the Achæans, Laconians, and Bœotians. So commanding was
his position, that an embassy of Italian insurgents invited him to land in

The position of the Roman government was critical. Asia Minor, Hellas, and
Macedonia were in the hands of Mithridates, while his fleet sailed without
a rival. The Italian insurrection was not subdued, and political parties
divided the capital.

(M977) At this crisis Sulla landed on the coast of Epirus, but with an
army of only thirty thousand men, and without a single vessel of war. He
landed with an empty military chest. But he was a second Alexander—the
greatest general that Rome had yet produced. He soon made himself master
of Greece, with the exception of the fortresses of Athens and the Piræus,
into which the generals of Mithridates had thrown themselves. He
intrenched himself at Eleusis and Megara, from which he commanded Greece
and the Peloponnesus, and commenced the siege of Athena. This was attended
with great difficulties, and the city only fell, after a protracted
defense, when provisions were exhausted. The conqueror, after allowing his
soldiers to pillage the city, gave back her liberties, in honor of her
illustrious dead.

(M978) But a year was wasted, and without ships it was impossible for
Sulla to secure his communications. He sent one of his best officers,
Lucullus, to Alexandria, to raise a fleet, but the Egyptian court evaded
the request. To add to his embarrassments, the Roman general was without
money, although he had rifled the treasures which still remained in the
Grecian temples. Moreover, what was still more serious, a revolution at
Rome overturned his work, and he had been deposed, and his Asiatic command
given to M. Valerius Flaccus.

Sulla was unexpectedly relieved by the resolution of Mithridates to carry
on the offensive in Greece. Taxiles, one of the lieutenants of the Pontic
king, was sent to combat Sulla with an army of one hundred thousand
infantry and ten thousand cavalry.

(M979) Then was fought the battle of Chæronea, B.C. 86, against the advice
of Archelaus, in which the Romans were the victors. But Sulla could not
reap the fruits of victory without a fleet, since the sea was covered with
Pontic ships. In the following year a second army was sent into Greece by
Mithridates, and the Romans and Asiatics met once more in the plain of the
Cephissus, near Orchomenus. The Romans were the victors, who speedily
cleared the European continent of its eastern invaders. At the end of the
third year of the war, Sulla took up his winter quarters in Thessaly, and
commenced to build ships.

(M980) Meanwhile a reaction against Mithridates took place in Asia Minor.
His rule was found to be more oppressive than that of the Romans. The
great mercantile cities of Smyrna, Colophon, Ephesus, and Sardis were in
revolt, and closed their gates against his governors. The Hellenic cities
of Asia Minor had hoped to gain civil independence and a remission of
taxes, and were disappointed. And those cities which were supposed to be
secretly in favor of the Romans were heavily fined. The Chians were
compelled to pay two thousand talents. Great cruelties were also added to
fines and confiscations. Lucullus, unable to obtain the help of an
Alexandrian fleet, was more fortunate in the Syrian ports, and soon was
able to commence offensive operations. Flaccus, too, had arrived with a
Roman army, but this incapable general was put to death by a mob-orator,
Fimbria, more able than he, who defeated a Pontic army at Miletopolis. The
situation of Mithridates then became perilous. Europe was lost; Asia Minor
was in rebellion; and Roman armies were pressing upon him.

(M981) He therefore negotiated for peace. Sulla required the restoration
of all the conquests he had made: Cappadocia, Paphlagonia, Galatia,
Bithynia, the Hellenic cities, the islands of the sea, and a contribution
of three thousand talents. These conditions were not accepted, and Sulla
proceeded to Asia, upon which Mithridates reluctantly acceded to his

(M982) Sulla then turned against Fimbria, who commanded the Roman army
sent to supplant him, which, as was to be expected, deserted to his
standard. Fimbria fled to Pergamus, and fell on his own sword. Sulla
intrusted the two legions which had been sent from Rome under Flaccus to
the command of his best officer, Murena, and turned his attention to
arrange the affairs of Asia. He levied contributions to the amount of
twenty thousand talents, reduced Mithridates to the rank of a client king,
richly compensated his soldiers, and embarked for Italy, leaving Lucullus
behind to collect the contributions.

(M983) Thus was the Mithridatic war ended by the genius of a Roman
general, who had no equal in Roman history, with the exception of Pompey
and Julius Cæsar. He had distinguished himself in Africa, in Spain, in
Italy, and in Greece. He had defeated the barbarians of the West, the old
Italian foes of Rome, and the armies of the most powerful Oriental monarch
since the fall of Persia. He had triumphed over Roman factions, and
supplanted the great Marius himself. He was now to contend with one more
able foe, Lucius Cornelius Cinna, who represented the revolutionary forces
which had rallied under the Gracchi and Marius—the democratic elements of
Roman society.

When Sulla embarked for the Mithridatic war, Cinna, supported by a
majority of the College of Tribunes, concerted a reaction against the rule
which Sulla had re-established—the rule of the aristocracy. But Cinna, a
mere tool of the revolutionary party,—a man without ability,—was driven
out of the city by the aristocratic party, and outlawed, and L. Cornelia
Mesula was made consul in his stead. The outlaws fled to the camp before
Nola. The Campanian army, democratic and revolutionary, recognized Cinna
as the leader of the republic. Gaius Marius, then an exile in Numidia,
brought six thousand men, whom he had rallied to his standard, to the
disposal of the consul, and was placed by Cinna in supreme command at
Etruria. A storm gathered around the capitol. Cinna was overshadowed by
the greatness of that plebeian general who had defeated the Cimbrians, and
who was bent upon revenge for the mortification and insults he had
received from the Roman aristocracy. Famine and desertion soon made the
city indefensible, and Rome capitulated to an army of her own citizens.

(M984) Marius, now master of Rome, entered the city, and a reign of terror
commenced. The gates were closed, and the slaughter of the aristocratic
party commenced. The consul Octavius was the first victim, and with him
the most illustrious of his party. The executioners of Marius fulfilled
his orders, and his revenge was complete. He entered upon a new consulate,
execrated by all the leading citizens. But in the midst of his victories
he was seized with a burning fever, and died in agonies, at the age of
seventy, in the full possession of honor and power. Cinna succeeded him in
the consulship and Rome was under the government of a detested tyrant. For
four years his reign was absolute, and was a reign of terror, during which
the senators were struck down, as the French nobles were in the time of
Robespierre. Cinna, like Robespierre, reigned with the mightiest plenitude
of power, united with incapacity.

In this state of anarchy Sulla’s wife and children escaped with
difficulty, and Sulla himself was deprived of his command against
Mithridates. But Cinna, B.C. 84, was killed in a mutiny, and the command
of the revolutionists devolved on Carbo. The situation of Sulla was
critical, even at the head of his veteran forces. In the spring of the
year following the death of Cinna, he landed in Brundusium, where he was
re-enforced by partisans and deserters. The Senate made advances to Sulla,
and many patricians joined his ranks, including Cneius Pompeius, then
twenty-three years of age.

(M985) Civil war was now inaugurated between Sulla and the revolutionary
party, at the head of which were now the consul Carbo and the younger
Marius. Carbo was charged with Upper Italy, while Marius guarded Rome at
the fortress of Præneste. At Sacriportus Sulla defeated Marius, and
entered Rome. But the insurgent Italians united with the revolutionary
forces of Rome, and seventy thousand Samnites and Lucanians approached the
capital. At the Colline gate a battle was fought, in which Sulla was
victorious. This ended the Social war, and the subjugation of the
revolutionists soon followed.

(M986) Sulla was now made dictator, and the ten years of revolution and
insurrection were at an end in both West and East. The first use which
Sulla made of his absolute power was to outlaw all his enemies. Lists of
the proscribed were posted at Rome and in the Italian cities. It was a
fearful visitation. A second reign of terror took place, more fearful and
systematic than that of Marius. Four thousand seven hundred persons were
slaughtered, among whom were forty senators, and one thousand six hundred

(M987) The next year Sulla celebrated his magnificent triumph over
Mithridates, and was saluted by the name of Felix. The despotism at which
the Gracchi were accused of aiming was introduced by a military conqueror,
aided by the aristocracy.

(M988) Sulla then devoted himself to the reorganization of the State. He
conferred citizenship upon all the Italians but freedmen, and bestowed the
sequestered estates of those who had taken side against him or his
soldiers. The office of judices was restored to the Senate, and the
equites were deprived of their separate seats at festivals. The Senate was
restored to its ancient dignity and power, and three hundred new members
appointed. The number of prætors was increased to eight. The government
still rested on the basis of popular election, but was made more
aristocratic than before. The Comitia Centuriata was left in possession of
the nominal power of legislation, but it could only be exercised upon the
initiation of a decree of the Senate. The Comitia Tributa was stripped of
the powers by which it had so long controlled the Senate and the State.
Tribunes of the people were selected from the Senate. The College of
Pontiffs was no longer filled by popular election, but by the choice of
their own members. A new criminal code was made, and the several courts
were presided over by the prætors. Such, in substance, were the Cornelian
laws to restore the old powers of the aristocracy.

(M989) Having effected this labor, Sulla, in the plenitude of power,
retired into private life. He retired, not like Charles V., wearied of the
toils of war, and disgusted with the vanity of glory and fame, nor like
Washington, from lofty patriotic motives, but to bury himself in epicurean
pleasures. In the luxury of his Cumænon villa he divided his time between
hunting and fishing, and the enjoyments of literature, until, worn out
with sensuality, he died in his sixtieth year, B.C. 78. A grand procession
of the Senate he had saved, the equites, the magistrates, the vestal
virgins, and his disbanded soldiers, bore his body to the funeral pyre,
and his ashes were deposited beside the tombs of the kings. A splendid
monument was raised to his memory, on which was inscribed his own epitaph,
that no friend ever did him a kindness, and no enemy a wrong, without
receiving a full requital.

                              CHAPTER XXXIX.


On the death of Sulla, the Roman government was once more in the hands of
the aristocracy, and for several years the consuls were elected from the
great ruling families. But, in spite of all the conquests of Sulla and all
his laws, the State was tumbling into anarchy, and was convulsed with
fresh wars.

(M990) Sulla was alive when M. Lepidus came forward as the leader of the
democratic party against C. Lutatius Catulus—a man without character or
ability, who had deserted from the optimates to the popular party, to
escape prosecution for the plunder of Sicily. The fortune he acquired in
his government of that province enabled Lepidus to secure his election as
consul, B.C. 78, and he even attempted to deprive Sulla of his funeral
honors. A conspiracy was organized in Etruria, where the Sullan
confiscation had been most severe. Lepidus came forward as an avenger of
the old Romans whose fortunes had been ruined. The Senate, fearing
convulsions, made Lepidus and Catulus, the consuls, swear not to take up
arms against each other; but at the expiration of the consulship of
Lepidus, went, as was usual, to the province assigned to him. This was
Gaul, and here the war first broke out. An attempt on Rome was frustrated
by Catulus, who defeated Lepidus, and the latter soon died in Sardinia,
whither he had retired.

(M991) Sertorius was then in command of the army in Spain,—a man who had
risen from an obscure position, but who possessed the hardy virtues of the
old Sabine farmers. He served under Marius in Gaul, and was prætor when
Sulla returned to Italy. When the cause of Marius was lost in Africa, he
organized a resistance to Sulla in Spain. His army was re-enforced by
Marian refugees, and he was aided by the Iberian tribes, among whom he was
a favorite. For eight years this celebrated hero baffled the armies which
Rome, under the lead of the aristocracy, sent against him, for he
undertook to restore the cause of the democracy.

(M992) Against Sertorius was sent the man who, next to Cæsar, was destined
to play the most important part in the history of those times—Cn.
Pompeius, born the same year as Cicero, B.C. 106, who had enlisted in the
cause of Sulla, and early distinguished himself against the generals of
Marius. He gained great successes in Sicily and Africa, and was, on his
return to Rome, saluted by the dictator Sulla himself with the name of
_Magnus_, which title he ever afterward bore. He was then a simple
equestrian, and had not risen to the rank of quæstor, or prætor, or
consul. Yet he had, at the early age of twenty-four, without enjoying any
curule office, the honor of a triumph, even against the opposition of

(M993) Pompey was sent to Spain with the title of proconsul, and with an
army of thirty thousand men. He crossed the Alps between the sources of
the Rhone and Po, and advanced to the southern coast of Spain. Here he was
met by Sertorius, and at first was worsted. I need not detail the varied
events of this war in Spain. The Spaniards at length grew weary of a
contest which was not to their benefit, but which was carried on in behalf
of rival factions at the capital. Dissensions broke out among the officers
of Sertorius, and he was killed at a banquet by Perpenna, his lieutenant.
On the death of the only man capable of resisting the aristocracy of Rome,
and whose virtues were worthy of the ancient heroes, the progress of
Pompey was easy. Perpenna was taken prisoner and his army was dispersed,
and Spain was reduced to obedience.

(M994) In the mean time, while Pompey was fighting Sertorius in Spain, a
servile war broke out in Italy, produced in part by the immense demand of
slaves for the gladiatorial shows. One of these slaves, Spartacus, once a
Thracian captain of banditti, escaped with seventy comrades to the crater
of Vesuvius, and organized an insurrection, and he was soon at the head of
one hundred thousand of those wretched captives whose condition was
unendurable. Italy was ravaged from the Alps to the Straits of Messina. No
Roman general, then in Italy, was equal to the task of subduing them. But,
in the second year of the war, Crassus, who was a great proprietor of
slaves, and who had ably served under Sulla, undertook the task of
subduing the insurrectionary slaves. With six legions he drove them to the
extremity of the Bruttian peninsula, and shut them up in Rhegium by strong
lines of circumvallation. Spartacus was killed, after having broken
through the lines, and most of his followers were destroyed; but six
thousand escaped into Cisalpine Gaul, as the northern part of Italy was
then called, and met Pompey on his victorious return from Spain, by whom
they were utterly annihilated. Pompey claimed the merit of ending the
servile war, and sought the honor of the consulship, although ineligible.
Crassus, also ineligible, also demanded the consulship, and both these
lieutenants of Sulla obtained their ends. But both, in order to obtain the
consulship, made great promises. Pompey, in particular, promised to
restore the tribunitian power. Pompey now broke with the aristocracy,
whose champion he had been, and even carried another law by which the
judices were taken from the equites as well as the Senate. Thus was the
constitution of Sulla subverted within ten years. In this movement Pompey
was supported by Julius Cæsar, who was a young man of thirty years of age.

(M995) On the expiration of his consulship, Pompey remained inactive,
refusing a province, until the troubles with the Mediterranean pirates
again called him into active military service. These pirates swarmed on
every coast, plundering cities, and cutting off communication between Rome
and the provinces. They especially attacked the corn vessels, so that the
price of provisions rose inordinately. The people, in distress, turned
their eyes to Pompey; but he was not willing to accept any ordinary
command, and through his intrigues, his tool, the tribune Gabinius,
proposed that the people should elect a man for this service of consular
rank, who should have absolute power for three years over the whole of the
Mediterranean, and to a distance of fifty miles inward from the coast, and
who should command a fleet of two hundred ships. He did not name Pompey,
but everybody knew who was meant. The people, furious at the price of
corn, and full of admiration for the victories of Pompey, were ready to
appoint him; the Senate, alarmed and jealous, was equally determined to
prevent his appointment. Tumults and riots were the consequence. Pompey
affected to desire some other person for the command but himself; but the
law passed, in spite of the opposition of the Senate, and Pompey was
commissioned to prepare five hundred ships, enlist one hundred and twenty
thousand sailors and soldiers, and also to take from the public treasury
whatever sum he needed.

In the following spring his preparations were made, and in forty days he
cleared the western half of the Mediterranean from the pirates, and drove
them to the Cilician coast. Here he gained a great victory over their
united fleets, and took twenty thousand prisoners, whom he settled at
various points on the coasts, and returned home in forty-nine days after
he had sailed from Brundusium. In less than three months he had ended the

(M996) This great success led to his command against Mithridates, who had
again rallied his forces for one more decisive and desperate struggle with
the Romans. Asia rallied against Europe, as Europe rallied against Asia in
the crusades. Mithridates, after his defeat by Sulla, had retired to
Armenia to the court of his son-in-law, Tigranes, whose power was greater
than that of any other Oriental potentate. Tigranes was not at first
inclined to break with Rome, but (B.C. 70) he consented to the war, which
continued for seven years without decisive results. The Romans were
commanded by Lucullus, the old lieutenant of Sulla, and although his
labors were not appreciated at Rome, he broke really the power of
Mithridates. But, through the intrigues of Pompey and his friends, he was
recalled, and Pompey was commissioned, with the extraordinary power of
unlimited control of the Eastern army and fleet, and the rights of
proconsul over the whole of Asia. He already had the dominion of the
Mediterranean. The Senate opposed this dangerous precedent, but it was
carried by the people, who could not heap too many honors on their
favorite. Cicero, then forty years of age, with Cæsar, supported the
measure, which was opposed by Hortensius and Catulus.

(M997) Lucullus retired to his luxurious villa to squander the riches he
had accumulated in Asia, and to study the academic philosophy, while
Pompey pursued his conquests in the East over foes already broken and
humiliated. He showed considerable ability, and drove Mithridates from
post to post in the heart of his dominion. The Eastern monarch made
overtures of peace, which were rejected. Nothing but unconditional
surrender would be accepted. His army was finally cut to pieces, and the
old man escaped only with a few horsemen. Rejected by Tigranes, he made
his way to the Cimmerian Bosphorus, which was his last retreat. Pompey
then turned his attention to Armenia, and Tigranes threw himself upon his
mercy, at the cost of all his territories but Armenia Proper. Pompey then
resumed the pursuit of Mithridates, fighting his way though the mountains
of Iberia and Albania, but he did not pursue his foe over the Caucasus.
Mithridates, secure in the Crimea, then planned a daring attempt on Rome
herself, which was to march round the Euxine and up the Danube, collecting
in his train the Sarmatians, Gætæ, and other barbarians, cross the Alps,
and descend upon Italy. _His_ kingdom of Pontus was already lost, and had
been made a Roman province. His followers, however, became disaffected,
his son Pharnaces rebelled, and he had no other remedy than suicide to
escape capture. He died B.C. 63, after a reign of fifty-three years, in
the sixty-ninth year of his age—the greatest Eastern prince since Cyrus.
Racine has painted him in one of his dramas as one of the most heroic men
of the world. But it was his misfortune to contend with Rome in the
plenitude of her power.

(M998) Pompey, before the death of Mithridates, went to Syria to regulate
its affairs, it being ceded to Rome by Tigranes. After the defeat of
Tigranes by Lucullus, that kingdom, however, had been recovered by
Antiochus XIII., the last of the Seleucidæ, who held a doubtful
sovereignty. He was, however, reduced by a legate of Pompey, and Syria
became a Roman province. The next year, Pompey advanced south, and
established the Roman supremacy in Phœnicia and Palestine, the latter
country being the seat of civil war between Hyrcanus and Aristobulus. It
was then that Jerusalem was taken by the Roman general, after a siege of
three months, and the conqueror entered the most sacred precincts of the
temple, to the horror of the priesthood. He established Hyrcanus as high
priest, as has been already related, and then retired to Pontus, settled
its affairs, and departed with his army for Italy, having won a succession
of victories never equaled in the East, except by Alexander. And never did
victories receive such great _éclat_, which, however, were easily won, as
those of Alexander had been. No Asiatic foe was a match for either Greeks
or Romans in the field. The real difficulties were in marches, in
penetrating mountain passes, in crossing arid plains.

(M999) But before the conqueror of Asia received the reward of his great
services to the State—the most splendid triumph which had as yet been seen
on the Via Sacra—Rome was brought to the verge of ruin by the conspiracy
of Catiline. The departure of Pompey to punish the pirates of the
Mediterranean and conquer Mithridates, left the field clear to the two
greatest men of their age, Cicero and Cæsar. It was while Cicero was
consul that the conspiracy was detected.

(M1000) Marcus Tullius Cicero, the most accomplished man, on the whole, in
Roman annals, and as immortal as Cæsar himself, was born B.C. 106, near
Arpinum, of an equestrian, but not senatorial family. He received a good
education, received the manly gown at sixteen, and entered the forum to
hear the debates, but pursued his studies with great assiduity. He was
intrusted by his wealthy father to the care of the augur, Q. Mucius
Scævola, an old lawyer deeply read in the constitution of his country and
the principles of jurisprudence. At eighteen he served his first and only
campaign under the father of the great Pompey, in the social war. He was
twenty-four before he made a figure in the eye of the public, keeping
aloof from the fierce struggles of Marius and Sulla, identifying himself
with neither party, and devoted only to the cultivation of his mind,
studying philosophy and rhetoric as well as law, traveling over Sicily and
Greece, and preparing himself for a forensic orator. At twenty-five he
appeared in the forum as a public pleader, and boldly defended the
oppressed and injured, and even braved the anger of Sulla, then
all-powerful as dictator. At twenty-seven he again repaired to Athens for
greater culture, and extensively traveled in Asia Minor, holding converse
with the most eminent scholars and philosophers in the Grecian cities. At
twenty-nine he returned to Rome, improved in health as well as in those
arts which contributed to his unrivaled fame as an orator—a rival with
Hortensius and Cotta, the leaders of the Roman bar. At thirty he was
elected quæstor, not, as was usually the case, by family interest, but
from his great reputation as a lawyer. The duties of his office called him
to Sicily, under the prætor of Lilybæum, which he admirably discharged,
showing not only executive ability, but rare virtue and impartiality. The
vanity which dimmed the lustre of his glorious name, and which he never
exorcised, received a severe wound on his return to Italy. He imagined he
was the observed of all observers, but soon discovered that his gay and
fashionable friends were ignorant, not only of what he had done in Sicily
but of his administration at all.

(M1001) For the next four years he was absorbed in private studies, and in
the courts of law, at the end of which he became ædile, the year that
Verres was impeached for misgovernment in Sicily. This was the most
celebrated State trial for impeachment on record, with the exception,
perhaps, of that of Warren Hastings. But Cicero, who was the public
accuser and prosecutor, was more fortunate than Burke. He collected such
an overwhelming mass of evidence against this corrupt governor, that he
went into exile without making a defense, although defended by Hortensius,
consul elect. The speech which the orator _was to have_ made at the trial
was subsequently published by Cicero, and is one of the most eloquent
tirades against public corruption ever composed or uttered.

(M1002) Nothing of especial interest marked the career of this great man
for three more years, until B.C. 67 he was elected first prætor, or
supreme judge, an office for which he was supremely qualified. But it was
not merely civic cases which he decided. He appeared as a political
speaker, and delivered from the rostrum his celebrated speech on the
Manilian laws, maintaining the cause of Pompey when he departed from the
policy of the aristocracy. He had now gained by pure merit, in a corrupt
age, without family influence, the highest offices of the State, even as
Burke became the leader of the House of Commons without aristocratic
connections, and now naturally aspired to the consulship,—the great prize
which every ambitious man sought, but which, in the aristocratic age of
Roman history, was rarely conferred except on members of the ruling
houses, or very eminent success in war. By the friendship of Pompey, and
also from the general admiration which his splendid talents and
attainments commanded, this great prize was also secured. He had six
illustrious competitors, among whom were Antonius and Catiline, who were
assisted by Crassus and Cæsar. As consul, all the energies of his mind and
character were absorbed in baffling the treason of this eminent patrician
demagogue. L. Sergius Catiline was one of those wicked, unscrupulous,
intriguing, popular, abandoned and intellectual scoundrels that a corrupt
age and patrician misrule brought to the surface of society, aided by the
degenerate nobles to whose class he belonged. In the bitterness of his
political disappointments, headed off by Cicero at every turn, he
meditated the complete overthrow of the Roman constitution, and his own
elevation as chief of the State, and absolutely inaugurated rebellion.
Cicero, who was in danger of assassination, boldly laid the conspiracy
before the Senate, and secured the arrest of many of his chief
confederates. Catiline fled and assembled his followers, which numbered
twelve thousand desperate men, and fought with the courage of despair, but
was defeated and slain.

Had it not been for the vigilance, energy, and patriotism of Cicero, it is
possible this atrocious conspiracy would have succeeded. The state of
society was completely demoralized; the disbanded soldiers of the Eastern
wars had spent their money and wanted spoils; the Senate was timid and
inefficient, and an unscrupulous and able leader, at the head of
discontented factions, on the assassination of the consuls and the
virtuous men who remained in power, might have bid defiance to any force
which could then, in the absence of Pompey in the East, have been
marshaled against him.

(M1003) But the State was saved, and saved by a patriotic statesman who
had arisen by force of genius and character to the supreme power. The
gratitude of the people was unbounded. Men of all ranks hailed him as the
savior of his country; thanksgivings to the gods were voted in his name,
and all Italy joined in enthusiastic praises.

(M1004) But he had now reached the culminating height of his political
greatness, and his subsequent career was one of sorrow and disappointment.
Intoxicated by his elevation,—for it was unprecedented at Rome, in his
day, for a man to rise so high by mere force of eloquence and learning,
without fortune, or family, or military exploits,—he became conceited and
vain. In the civil troubles which succeeded the return of Pompey, he was
banished from the country he had saved, and there is nothing more pitiful
than his lamentations and miseries while in exile. His fall was natural.
He had opposed the demoralising current which swept every thing before it.
When his office of consul was ended, he was exposed to the hatred of the
senators whom he had humiliated, of the equites whose unreasonable demands
he had opposed, of the people whom he disdained to flatter, and of the
triumvirs whose usurpation he detested. No one was powerful enough to
screen him from these combined hostilities, except the very men who aimed
at the subversion of Roman liberties, and who wished him out of the way;
his friend Pompey showed a mean, pusillanimous, and calculating
selfishness, and neither Crassus nor Cæsar liked him. But in his latter
days, part of which were passed in exile, and all without political
consideration, he found time to compose those eloquent treatises on almost
every subject, for which his memory will be held in reverence. Unlike
Bacon, he committed no crime against the laws; yet, like him, fell from
his high estate in the convulsions of a revolutionary age, and as Bacon
soothed his declining years with the charms of literature and philosophy,
so did Cicero display in his writings the result of long years of study,
and unfold for remotest generations the treasures of Greek and Roman
wisdom, ornamented, too, by that exquisite style, which, of itself, would
have given him immortality as one of the great artists of the world. He
lived to see the utter wreck of Roman liberties, and was ultimately
executed by order of Antonius, in revenge for those bitter philippics
which the orator had launched against him before the descending sun of his
political glory had finally disappeared in the gloom and darkness of
revolutionary miseries.

(M1005) But we resume the thread of political history in those tangled
times. Cicero was at the highest of his fame and power when Pompey
returned from his Asiatic conquests, the great hero of his age, on whom
all eyes were fixed, and to whom all bent the knee of homage and
admiration. His triumph, at the age of forty-five, was the grandest ever
seen. It lasted two days. Three hundred and twenty-four captive princes
walked before his triumphal car, followed by spoils and emblems of a war
which saw the reduction of one thousand fortresses. The enormous sum of
twenty thousand talents was added to the public treasury.

(M1006) Pompey was, however, greater in war than in peace. Had he known
how to make use of his prestige and his advantages, he might have
henceforth reigned without a rival. He was not sufficiently noble and
generous to live without making grave mistakes and alienating some of his
greatest friends, nor was he sufficiently bad and unscrupulous to abuse
his military supremacy. He pursued a middle course, envious of all talent,
absorbed in his own greatness, vain, pompous, and vacillating. His
quarrels with Crassus and Lucullus severed him from the aristocratic
party, whose leader he properly was. His haughtiness and coldness
alienated the affections of the people, through whom he could only advance
to supreme dominion. He had neither the arts of a demagogue, nor the
magnanimity of a conqueror.

(M1007) It was at this crisis that Cæsar returned from Spain as the
conqueror of the Lusitanians. Caius Julius Cæsar belonged to the ancient
patrician family of the Julii, and was born B.C. 100, and was six years
younger than Pompey and Cicero. But he was closely connected with the
popular party by the marriage of his aunt Julia with the great Marius, and
his marriage with Cornelia, the daughter of Cinna, one of the chief
opponents of Sulla. He early served in the army of the East, but devoted
his earliest years to the art of oratory. His affable manners and
unbounded liberality made him popular with the people. He obtained the
quæstorship at thirty-two, the year he lost his wife, and went as quæstor
to Antistius Vetus, into the province of Further Spain. On his return, the
following year, he married Pompeia, the granddaughter of Sulla, of the
Cornelia gens, and formed a union with Pompey. By his family connections
he obtained the curule ædileship at the age of thirty-five, and surpassed
his predecessors in the extravagance of his shows and entertainments, the
money for which he borrowed. At thirty-seven he was elected Pontifex
Maximus, so great was his popularity, and the following year he obtained
the prætorship, B.C. 62, and on the expiration of his office he obtained
the province of Further Spain. His debts were so enormous that he applied
for aid to Crassus, the richest man in Rome, and readily obtained the loan
he sought. In Spain, with an army at his command, he gained brilliant
victories over the Lusitanians, and returned to Rome enriched, and sought
the consulship. To obtain this, he relinquished the customary triumph,
and, with the aid of Pompey, secured his election, and entered into that
close alliance with Pompey and Crassus which historians call the first
triumvirate. It was merely a private agreement between the three most
powerful men of Rome to support each other, and not a distinct magistracy.

(M1008) As consul, Cæsar threw his influence against the aristocracy, to
whose ranks he belonged, both by birth and office, and caused an agrarian
law to be passed, against the fiercest opposition of the Senate, by which
the rich Campanian lands were divided for the benefit of the poorest
citizens—a good measure, perhaps, but which brought him forward as the
champion of the people. He next gained over the equites, by relieving
them, by a law which he caused to be passed, of one-third of the sum they
had agreed to pay for the farming of the taxes of Asia. He secured the
favor of Pompey by causing all his acts in the East to be confirmed. At
the expiration of his consulship he obtained the province of Gaul, as the
fullest field for the development of his military talents, and the surest
way to climb to subsequent greatness. At this period Cicero went into
exile without waiting for his trial—that miserable period made memorable
for aristocratic broils and intrigues, and when Clodius, a reckless young
noble, entered into the house of the Pontifex Maximus, disguised as a
woman, in pursuit of a vile intrigue with Cæsar’s wife.

(M1009) The succeeding nine years of Cæsar’s life were occupied by the
subjugation of Gaul. In the first campaign he subdued the Helvetii, and
conquered Ariovistus, a