PLUTARCH'S LIVES, VOLUME I
Translated from the Greek with Notes and a Life of Plutarch
AUBREY STEWART, M.A., Late Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge
and the late
GEORGE LONG, M.A., Formerly Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge
IN FOUR VOLUMES.
George Bell & Sons, York St., Covent Garden, and New York
Reprinted from Stereotype Plates by Wm. Clowes & Sons, Ltd., Stamford Street and Charing Cross
No apologies are needed for a new edition of so favourite an author as Plutarch. From the period of the revival of classical literature in Europe down to our own times, his writings have done more than those of any other single author to familiarise us with the greatest men and the greatest events of the ancient world.
The great Duke of Marlborough, it is said, confessed that his only knowledge of English history was derived from Shakespeare's historical plays, and it would not be too much to say that a very large proportion of educated men, in our own as well as in Marlborough's times, have owed much of their knowledge of classical antiquity to the study of Plutarch's Lives. Other writers may be read with profit, with admiration, and with interest; but few, like Plutarch, can gossip pleasantly while instructing solidly; can breathe life into the dry skeleton of history, and show that the life of a Greek or Roman worthy, when rightly dealt with, can prove as entertaining as a modern novel. No one is so well able as Plutarch to dispel the doubt which all schoolboys feel as to whether the names about which they read ever belonged to men who were really alive; his characters are so intensely human and lifelike in their faults and failings as well as in their virtues, that we begin to think of them as of people whom we have ourselves personally known.
His biographies are numerous and short. By this, he avoids one of the greatest faults of modern biographers, that namely of identifying himself with some one particular personage, and endeavouring to prove that all his actions were equally laudable. Light and shade are as necessary to a character as to a picture, but a man who devotes his energies for years to the study of any single person's life, is insensibly led into palliating or explaining away his faults and exaggerating his excellencies until at last he represents him as an impossible monster of virtue. Another advantage which we obtain by his method is that we are not given a complete chronicle of each person's life, but only of the remarkable events in it, and such incidents as will enable us to judge of his character. This also avoids what is the dreariest part of all modern biographies, those chapters I mean which describe the slow decay of their hero's powers, his last illness, and finally his death. This subject, which so many writers of our own time seem to linger lovingly upon, is dismissed by Plutarch in a few lines, unless any circumstance of note attended the death of the person described.
Without denying that Plutarch is often inaccurate and often diffuse; that his anecdotes are sometimes absurd, and his metaphysical speculations not unfrequently ridiculous, he is nevertheless generally admitted to be one of the most readable authors of antiquity, while all agree that his morality is of the purest and loftiest type.
The first edition of the Greek text of Plutarch's Lives appeared at Florence in the year 1517, and two years afterwards it was republished by Aldus. Before this, however, about the year 1470, a magnificent Latin version by various hands appeared at Rome. From this, from the Greek text, and also from certain MSS. to which he had access, Amyot in the year 1559 composed his excellent translation, of which it has been well said: "Quoique en vieux Gaulois, elle a un air de fraicheur qui la fait rejeunir de jour en jour."
Amyot's spirited French version was no less spiritedly translated by Sir Thomas North. His translation was much read and admired in its day; a modern reviewer even goes so far as to say that it is "still beyond comparison the best version of Parallel Lives which the English tongue affords." Be this as it may, the world will ever be deeply indebted to North's translation, for it is to Shakespeare's perusal of that work that we owe 'Coriolanus,' 'Antony and Cleopatra,' and 'Julius Caesar.'
North's translation was followed by that known as Dryden's. This work, performed by many different hands, is of unequal merit. Some Lives are rendered into a racy and idiomatic, although somewhat archaic English, while others fall far short of the standard of Sir Thomas North's work. Dryden's version has during the last few years been re-edited by A.H. Clough, Fellow of Oriel College, Oxford.
The translation by which Plutarch is best known at the present day is that of the Langhornes. Their style is certainly dull and commonplace, and is in many instances deserving of the harsh epithets which have been lavished upon it. We must remember, however, before unsparingly condemning their translation, that the taste of the age for which they wrote differed materially from that of our own, and that people who could read the 'Letters of Theodosius and Constantia' with interest, would certainly prefer Plutarch in the translation of the Langhornes to the simpler phrases of North's or Dryden's version. All events, comic or tragic, important or commonplace, are described with the same inflated monotony which was mistaken by them for the dignity of History. Yet their work is in many cases far more correct as a translation, and the author's meaning is sometimes much more clearly expressed, than in Dryden's earlier version. Langhorne's Plutarch was re-edited by Archdeacon Wrangham in the year 1819.
In 1844, thirteen Lives were translated by that eminent scholar the late Mr. George Long; and it is by way of complement to these Lives that the present version was undertaken with his consent and his approval.
Those translated by Mr. Long were selected by him as illustrating a period of Roman history in which he was especially interested, and will therefore be found to be more fully annotated than the others. It has seemed to me unnecessary to give information in the notes which can at the present day be obtained in a more convenient form in Dr. Smith's Classical Dictionary and Dictionary of Antiquities, many of the articles in which are written by Mr. Long himself. The student of classical literature will naturally prefer the exhaustive essays to be found in these works to any notes appended to Plutarch's text, while to those who read merely "for the story," the notes prove both troublesome and useless.
In deciding on the spelling of the Greek proper names, I have felt great hesitation. To make a Greek speak of Juno or Minerva seems as absurd as to make a Roman swear by Herakles or Ares. Yet both Greek and Roman divinities are constantly mentioned. The only course that seemed to avoid absolute absurdity appeared to me to be that which I have adopted, namely to speak of the Greek divinities by their Greek, and the Latin ones by their Latin names. In substituting a k for the more usual c, I have followed the example of Grote, who in his History spells all Greek names exactly as they are written, with the exception of those with which we are so familiar in their Latin form as to render this practically impossible; as for instance in the case of Cyprus or Corinth, or of a name like Thucydides, where a return to the Greek k would be both pedantic and unmeaning.
The text, which I have followed throughout, is that of C. Sintenis, Leipsic, 1873.
PREFACE TO THE CIVIL WARS OF ROME.[A]
[Footnote A: It has been thought desirable to give here Mr. Long's preface to the lives published by him, under the title of "Civil Wars of Rome." The lives will be found in subsequent volumes.]
Among the extant Lives of Plutarch there are thirteen Lives of Romans which belong to the most eventful period of Roman history. They are the lives of the brothers Tiberius and Caius Sempronius Gracchus, of Caius Marius, Lucius Cornelius Sulla, Quintus Sertorius, Marcus Licinius Crassus, Cneius Pompeius Magnus, Marcus Porcius Cato the Younger, Marcus Tullius Cicero, Lucius Licinius Lucullus, Caius Julius Caesar, Marcus Junius Brutus, and Marcus Antonius. From the year of the death of Tiberius Gracchus, B.C. 133, to the death of Marcus Antonius, B.C. 30, a period of about one hundred years, the Roman State was convulsed by revolutions which grew out of the contest between the People and the Nobility, or rather, out of the contests between the leaders of these two bodies. This period is the subject of Appian's History of the Civil Wars of the Romans, in Five Books. Appian begins with the Tribunate and legislation of Tiberius Gracchus, from which he proceeds to the Dictatorship of Sulla, and then to the quarrels between Pompeius and Caesar, and Caesar's Dictatorship and assassination. He then proceeds to the history of the Triumvirate formed after Caesar's death by his great nephew Caius Julius Caesar Octavianus, Marcus Antonius, and Lepidus, the quarrels of the Triumviri, the downfall of Lepidus, who was reduced to the condition of a private person, and the death of Sextus Pompeius, the last support of the party in whose cause his father, Cneius Pompeius, lost his life. The remainder of this History, which is lost, carried the narration down to the quarrels of Octavianus and Marcus Antonius, which ended in the defeat of Antonius in the battle of Actium, B.C. 31, and his death in Egypt, B.C. 30. The victory over Antonius placed all the power in the hands of Octavianus, who, in the year B.C. 27, received from the Roman Senate the title of Augustus, or the Sacred, by which name he is commonly known as the first of the long series of Roman Emperors. "He made himself," says Appian (Civil Wars, i. 5), "like Caius Julius Caesar, and still more than Caesar, governor of his country and of all the nations under it, without needing either election or the popular votes, or any show of such things. After his government had subsisted for a long time, and been maintained with vigour, fortunate in all his measures, and feared, he left behind him descendants and successors who kept the power that he transmitted to them. In this way, after various civil commotions, the Roman State was restored to tranquillity, and the government became a Monarchy. And how this came about I have explained, and brought together all the events, which are well worth the study of those who wish to become acquainted with ambition of men unbounded, love of power excessive, endurance unwearied, and forms of suffering infinite." Thus, the historian's object was to trace the establishment of the Imperial power in Rome back to its origin, to show that the contests of the rival heads of parties involved the State in endless calamities, which resulted in a dissolution of all the bonds that held society together, and rendered the assumption of supreme power by one man a healing and a necessary event.
As already observed, it happens that thirteen of Plutarch's extant Lives are the lives of the most distinguished of the Romans who lived during this eventful period; and though Plutarch's Lives severally are not histories of the times to which they respectively refer, nor collectively form a History of any given time, yet they are valuable as portraits of illustrious men, and help us to form a better judgment of those who make so conspicuous a figure in History.
Plutarch was a native of the town of Chaeroneia, in Boeotia; the times of his birth and death are not exactly known, but we learn from his own works that he was a young student at Delphi, in the thirteenth year of the reign of the Emperor Nero, A.D. 66. He visited both Italy and Rome, and probably resided at Rome for some time. He wrote his Life of Demosthenes, at least after his return to Chaeroneia: he says (Life of Demosthenes, c. 2), that he had not time to exercise himself in the Latin Language during his residence at Rome, being much occupied with public business, and giving lessons in philosophy. Accordingly it was late before he began to read the Latin writers; and we may infer from his own words that he never acquired a very exact knowledge of the language. He observes that it happened in his case, that in his study of the Latin writers he did not so much learn and understand the facts from the words, as acquire the meaning of the words from the facts, of which he had already some knowledge. We may perhaps conclude from this, that Plutarch wrote all his Roman lives in Chaeroneia, after he had returned there from Rome. The statement that Plutarch was the preceptor of the Emperor Trajan, and was raised to the consular rank by him, is not supported by sufficient evidence. Plutarch addressed to Trajan his Book of Apophthegms, or Sayings of Kings and Commanders; but this is all that is satisfactorily ascertained as to the connection between the Emperor and Philosopher. Trajan died A.D. 117.
"The plan of Plutarch's Biographies is briefly explained by himself in the introduction to the Life of Alexander the Great, where he makes an apology for the brevity with which he is compelled to treat of the numerous events in the Lives of Alexander and Caesar. 'For,' he says, 'I do not write Histories, but Lives; nor do the most conspicuous acts of necessity exhibit a man's virtue or his vice, but oftentimes some slight circumstance, a word, or a jest, shows a man's character better than battles with the slaughter of tens of thousands, and the greatest arrays of armies and sieges of cities. Now, as painters produce a likeness by a representation of the countenance and the expression of the eyes, without troubling themselves about the other parts of the body, so I must be allowed to look rather into the signs of a man's character, and thus give a portrait of his life, leaving others to describe great events and battles.' The object then of Plutarch in his Biographies was a moral end, and the exhibition of the principal events in a man's life was subordinate to this his main design; and though he may not always have adhered to the principle which he laid down, it cannot be denied that his view of what biography should be, is much more exact than that of most persons who have attempted this style of composition. The life of a statesman or of a general, when written with a view of giving a complete history of all the public events in which he was engaged, is not biography, but history. This extract from Plutarch will also in some measure be an apology for the want of historical order observable in many of his Lives. Though altogether deficient in that critical sagacity which discerns truth from falsehood, and distinguishes the intricacies of confused and conflicting statements, Plutarch has preserved in his Lives a vast number of facts which would otherwise have been unknown to us. He was a great reader, and must have had access to large libraries. It is said that he quotes two hundred and fifty writers, a great part of whose works are now entirely lost." (Penny Cyclopaedia, art. "Plutarch," by the writer of this Preface.)
The lively portraitures of men drawn in Plutarch's Lives have made them favourite reading in all ages. Whether Plutarch has succeeded in drawing the portraits true, we cannot always determine, because the materials for such a judgment are sometimes wanting. But when we can compare his Lives with other extant authorities, we must admit, that though he is by no means free from error as to his facts, he has generally selected those events in a man's life which most clearly show his temper, and that on the whole, if we judge of a man by Plutarch's measure, we shall form a just estimate of him. He generally wrote without any predilections or any prejudices. He tells us of a man's good and bad acts, of his good and bad qualities; he makes no attempt to conceal the one or the other; he both praises and blames as the occasion may arise; and the reader leaves off with a mixed opinion about Plutarch's Greeks and Romans, though the favourable or the unfavourable side always predominates. The benevolent disposition of Plutarch, and his noble and elevated character, have stamped themselves on all that he has written. A man cannot read these Lives without being the better for it: his detestation of all that is mean and disingenuous will be increased; his admiration of whatever is truthful and generous will be strengthened and exalted.
The translation of these Lives is difficult. Plutarch's text is occasionally corrupted; and where it is not corrupted, his meaning is sometimes obscure. Many of the sentences are long and ill-constructed; the metaphors often extravagant; and the just connection of the parts is sometimes difficult to discover. Many single words which are or ought to be pertinent in Plutarch, and which go towards a description of character in general or of some particular act, can hardly be rendered by any English equivalent; and a translator often searches in vain for something which shall convey to the reader the exact notion of the original. Yet Plutarch's narrative is lively and animated; his anecdotes are appropriately introduced and well told; and if his taste is sometimes not the purest, which in his age we could not expect it to be, he makes amends for this by the fulness and vigour of his expression. He is fond of poetical words, and they are often used with striking effect. His moral reflections, which are numerous, have the merit of not being unmeaning and tiresome, because he is always in earnest and has got something to say, and does not deal in commonplaces. When the reflection is not very profound, it is at least true; and some of his remarks show a deep insight into men's character.
I have attempted to give Plutarch's meaning in plain language; to give all his meaning, and neither more nor less. If I have failed in any case, it is because I could do no better. But, though I have not always succeeded in expressing exactly what I conceive to be the meaning of the original, I have not intentionally added to it or detracted from it. It may be that there are passages in which I have mistaken the original; and those who have made the experiment of rendering from one language into another, know that this will sometimes happen even in an easy passage. A difficult passage attracts more than usual of a translator's attention, and if he fails there, it is either because the difficulty cannot be overcome, or because he cannot overcome it. Mere inadvertence or sleepiness may sometimes cause a translator to blunder, when he would not have blundered if any friend had been by to keep him awake.
The best thing that a man can do to avoid these and other errors is to compare his translation, when he has finished it, with some other. The translation which I have compared with mine is the German translation of Kaltwasser, Magdeburg, 1799, which is generally correct. Kaltwasser in his Preface speaks of the way in which he used the German translations of two of his predecessors, J. Christopher Kind, Leipzig, 1745-1754, and H. v. Schirach, 1776-1780, and some others. He says, "These two translations, with the French translations above mentioned, I have duly used, for it is the duty of a translator to compare himself with his predecessors; but I lay my labour before the eyes of the public, without fearing that I shall be accused of copying or of close imitation. First of all, I carefully studied the text of my author and translated him as well as I could: then, and not before, I compared the labour of my predecessors, and where I found a more suitable expression or a happier turn, I made use of it without hesitation. In this way, every fault, every deviation of the old translators must be apparent; the most striking of them I have remarked on in the notes, but I have more frequently amended such things silently, as a comparison will show the reader." The translator has not compared his version with any English version. The translation of North, which has great merit in point of expression, is a version of Amyot's French version, from which, however, it differs in some passages, where it is decidedly wrong and Amyot's version is right. Indeed, it is surprising to find how correct this old French translation generally is. The translation of 'Plutarch's Lives from the Greek by several hands,' was published at London in 1683-86. It was dedicated by Dryden to James Butler, the first Duke of Ormond, in a fulsome panegyric. It is said that forty-one translators laboured at the work. Dryden did not translate any of the Lives; but he wrote the Life of Plutarch which is prefixed to this translation. The advertisement prefixed to the translation passes under the name and character of the bookseller (Jacob Tonson), but, as Malone observes, it may from internal evidence be safely attributed to Dryden. The bookseller says, "You have here the first volume of Plutarch's Lives turned from the Greek into English; and give me leave to say, the first attempt of doing it from the originals." This is aimed at North's version, of which Dryden remarks in his Life of Plutarch: "As that translation was only from the French, so it suffered this double disadvantage; first, that it was but a copy of a copy, and that too but lamely taken from the Greek original; secondly, that the English language was then unpolished, and far from the perfection which it has since attained; so that the first version is not only ungrammatical and ungraceful, but in many places almost unintelligible." There is another English version, by the Langhornes, which has often been reprinted; there is an edition of it with notes by Wrangham. I have compared my translation carefully with the German of Kaltwasser, and sometimes with the French of Amyot, and I have thus avoided some errors into which I should have fallen. There are errors both in the versions of Amyot and Kaltwasser which I have avoided; but I may have fallen into others.
The translation of Kaltwasser contains some useful notes. Those which I have added to this translation are intended to explain so much as needs explanation to a person who is not much acquainted with Roman history and Roman usages; but they will also be useful to others. The notes of Kaltwasser have often reminded me of the passages where some note would be useful, and have occasionally furnished materials also. But as I have always referred to the original authorities, I do not consider it necessary to make more than this general acknowledgment. The notes added to this translation are all my own, and contain my own opinions and observations.
This translation has been made from the edition of C. Sintenis, Leipzig, 1839, and I have compared the text of Sintenis with that of G.H. Schaefer, Leipzig, 1826, which has been severely criticized: this edition contains, however, some useful notes. I have very seldom made any remarks on the Greek text, as such kind of remark would not have suited the plan and design of this version, which is not intended for verbal critics.
I shall explain by two brief extracts what is my main design in this version and in the notes, which must be my apology for not affecting a learned commentary, and my excuse to those who shall not find here the kind of remarks that are suitable to a critical edition of an ancient author. I have had another object than to discuss the niceties of words and the forms of phrases, a labour which is well in its place, if it be done well, but is not what needs to be done to such an author as Plutarch to render him useful. A man who was a great reader of Plutarch, a just and solid thinker above the measure of his age, and not surpassed in his way by any writer in our own, Montaigne, observes in his 'Essay of the Education of Children'—"Let him enquire into the manners, revenues, and alliances of princes, things in themselves very pleasant to learn, and very useful to know. In this conversing with men, I mean, and principally those who only live in the records of history, he shall by reading those books, converse with those great and heroic souls of former and better ages. 'Tis an idle and vain study, I confess, to those who make it so, by doing it after a negligent manner, but to those who do it with care and observation, 'tis a study of inestimable fruit and value; and the only one, as Plato reports, the Lacedaemonians reserved to themselves. What profit shall he not reap as to the business of men, by reading the Lives of Plutarch? But withal, let my governor remember to what end his instructions are principally directed, and that he do not so much imprint in his pupil's memory the date of the ruin of Carthage, as the manners of Hannibal and Scipio; not so much where Marcellus died, as why it was unworthy of his duty that he died there. That he do not teach him so much the narrative part, as the business of history. The reading of which, in my opinion, is a thing that of all others we apply ourselves unto with the most differing and uncertain measures."[A] North, in his address to the Reader, says: "The profit of stories, and the praise of the Author, are sufficiently declared by Amiot, in his Epistle to the Reader: so that I shall not need to make many words thereof. And indeed if you will supply the defects of this translation, with your own diligence and good understanding: you shall not need to trust him, you may prove yourselves, that there is no prophane study better than Plutarch. All other learning is private, fitter for Universities than Cities, fuller of contemplation than experience, more commendable in students themselves, than profitable unto others. Whereas stories are fit for every place, reach to all persons, serve for all times, teach the living, revive the dead, so far excelling all other books, as it is better to see learning in Noblemen's lives, than to read it in Philosophers' writings."
[Footnote A: Cotton's Translation.]
LIFE OF PLUTARCH xxiii
LIFE OF THESEUS 1
LIFE OF ROMULUS 30
COMPARISON OF THESEUS AND ROMULUS 62
LIFE OF LYKURGUS 67
LIFE OF NUMA 99
COMPARISON OF NUMA WITH LYKURGUS 124
LIFE OF SOLON 130
LIFE OF POPLICOLA 161
COMPARISON OF SOLON AND POPLICOLA 181
LIFE OF THEMISTOKLES 185
LIFE OF CAMILLUS 214
LIFE OF PERIKLES 252
LIFE OF FABIUS MAXIMUS 288
COMPARISON OF PERIKLES AND FABIUS MAXIMIUS 315
LIFE OF ALKIBIADES 318
LIFE OF CAIUS MARCIUS CORIOLANUS 357
COMPARISON BETWEEN ALKIBIADES AND CORIOLANUS 390
LIFE OF TIMOLEON 395
LIFE OF AEMILIUS 428
COMPARISON OF PAULUS AEMILIUS AND TIMOLEON 461
LIFE OF PLUTARCH.
Plutarch was born probably between A.D. 45 and A.D. 50, at the little town of Chaeronea in Boeotia. His family appears to have been long established in this place, the scene of the final destruction of the liberties of Greece, when Philip defeated the Athenians and Boeotian forces there in 338 B.C. It was here also that Sulla defeated Mithridates, and in the great civil wars of Rome we again hear, this time from Plutarch himself, of the sufferings of the citizens of Chaeronea. Nikarchus, Plutarch's great-grandfather, was, with all the other citizens, without any exception, ordered by a lieutenant of Marcus Antonius to transport a quantity of corn from Chaeronea to the coast opposite the island of Antikyra. They were compelled to carry the corn on their shoulders, like slaves, and were threatened with the lash if they were remiss. After they had performed one journey, and were preparing their burdens for a second, the welcome news arrived that Marcus Antonius had lost the battle of Actium, whereupon both the officers and soldiers of his party stationed in Chaeronea at once fled for their own safety, and the provisions thus collected were divided among the inhabitants of the city.
When Plutarch was born, however, no such warlike scenes as these were to be expected. Nothing more than the traditions of war remained on the shores of the Mediterranean. Occasionally some faint echo of strife would make itself heard from the wild tribes on the Danube, or in the far Syrian deserts, but over nearly all the world known to the ancients was established the Pax Romana. Battles were indeed fought, and troops were marched upon Rome, but this was merely to decide who was to be the nominal head of the vast system of the Empire, and what had once been independent cities, countries, and nations submitted unhesitatingly to whoever represented that irresistible power. It might be imagined that a political system which destroyed all national individuality, and rendered patriotism in its highest sense scarcely possible, would have reacted unfavourably on the literary character of the age. Yet nothing of the kind can be urged against the times which produced Epictetus, Dio Chrysostom and Arrian; while at Rome, Pliny the Younger, Tacitus, Martial, and Juvenal were reviving the memories of the Augustan age.
From several passages in Plutarch's writings we gather that he studied under a master named Ammonius, at Athens. For instance, at the end of his Life of Themistokles, he mentions a descendant of that great man who was his fellow-student at the house of Ammonius the philosopher. Again, he tells us that once Ammonius, observing at his afternoon lecture that some of his class had indulged too freely in the pleasures of the table, ordered his own son to be flogged, "because," he said, "the young gentleman cannot eat his dinner without pickles," casting his eye at the same time upon the other offenders so as to make them sensible that the reproof applied to them also.
By way of completing his education he proceeded to visit Egypt. The "wisdom of the Egyptians" always seems to have had a fascination for the Greeks, and at this period Alexandria, with its famous library and its memories of the Ptolemies, of Kallimachus and of Theokritus, was an important centre of Greek intellectual activity. Plutarch's treatise on Isis and Osiris is generally supposed to be a juvenile work suggested by his Egyptian travels. In all the Graeco-Egyptian lore he certainly became well skilled, although we have no evidence as to how long he remained in Egypt. He makes mention indeed of a feast given in his honour by some of his relatives on the occasion of his return home from Alexandria, but we can gather nothing from the passage as to his age at that time.
One anecdote of his early life is as follows:—"I remember," he says, "that when I was still a young man, I was sent with another person on a deputation to the Proconsul; my colleague, as it happened, was unable to proceed, and I saw the Proconsul and performed the commission alone. When I returned I was about to lay down my office and to give a public account of how I had discharged it, when my father rose in the public assembly and enjoined me not to say I went, but we went, nor to say that I said, but we said, throughout my story, giving my colleague his share."
The most important event in the whole of Plutarch's pious and peaceful life is undoubtedly his journey to Italy and to Rome; but here again we know little more than that he knew but little Latin when he went thither, and was too busy when there to acquire much knowledge of that tongue. His occupation at Rome, besides antiquarian researches which were afterwards worked up into his Roman Lives, was the delivery of lectures on philosophical and other subjects, a common practice among the learned Greeks of his day. Many of these lectures, it is conjectured, were afterwards recast by him into the numerous short treatises on various subjects now included under the general name of Moralia. Plutarch's visit to Rome and business there is admirably explained in the following passage of North's 'Life of Plutarch':—"For my part, I think Plutarch was drawn to Rome by meanes of some friends he had there, especially by Sossius Senecio, that had been a Consull, who was of great estimation at that time, and namely under the Empire of Trajan. And that which maketh me think so, is because of Plutarch's own words, who saith in the beginning of his first book of his discourse at the table, that he gathered together all his reasons and discourses made here and there, as well in Rome with Senecio, as in Greece with Plutarch and others. Not being likely that he would have taken the pains to have made so long a voyage, and to have come to such a city where he understood not their vulgar tongue, if he had not been drawn thither by Senecio, and such other men; as also in acknowledgement of the good turnes and honour he had received by such men, he dedicated diverse of his bookes unto them, and among others, the Lives unto Senecio, and the nine volumes of his discourse at the table, with the treaty, How a man may know that he profiteth in vertue. Now for the time, considering what he saith in the end of his book against curiosity, I suppose that he taught in Rome in the time of Titus and of Domitian: for touching this point, he maketh mention of a nobleman called Rusticus, who being one day at his lecture, would not open a letter which was brought him from the Emperor, nor interrupt Plutarch, but attended to the end of his declamation, and until all the hearers were gone away; and addeth also, that Rusticus was afterwards put to death by the commandment of Domitian. Furthermore, about the beginning of the Life of Demosthenes, Plutarch saith, that whilst he remained in Italy and at Rome, he had no leizure to study the Latine tongue; as well for that he was busied at that time with matters he had in hand, as also to satisfie those that were his followers to learne philosophie of him."[A]
[Footnote A: North's 'Plutarch,' 1631, p. 1194.]
A list of all Plutarch's writings would be a very long one. Besides the Lives, which is the work on which his fame chiefly rests, he wrote a book of 'Table Talk,' which may have suggested to Athenaeus the plan of his 'Symposium.'
The most remarkable of his minor works is that 'On the Malignity of Herodotus.' Grote takes this treatise as being intended seriously as an attack upon the historian, and speaks of the "honourable frankness which Plutarch calls his malignity." But it is probably merely a rhetorical exercise, in which Plutarch has endeavoured to see what could be said against so favourite and well-known a writer.
He was probably known as an author before he went to Rome. Large capitals have always had a natural attraction for literary genius, as it is in them alone that it can hope to be appreciated. And if this be the case at the present day, how much more must it have been so before the invention of printing, at a time when it was more usual to listen to books read aloud than to read them oneself? Plutarch journeyed to Rome just as Herodotus went to Athens, or as he is said to have gone to the Olympian festival, in search of an intelligent audience of educated men. Whether his object was merely praise, or whether he was influenced by ideas of gain, we cannot say. No doubt his lectures were not delivered gratis, and that they were well attended seems evident from Plutarch's own notices of them, and from the names which have been preserved of the eminent men who used to frequent them. Moreover, strange though it may appear to us, the demand for books seems to have been very brisk even though they were entirely written by hand.
The epigrams of Martial inform us of the existence of a class of slaves whose occupation was copying books, and innumerable allusions in Horace, Martial, &c., to the Sosii and others prove that the trade of a bookseller at Rome was both extensive and profitable. Towards the end of the Republic it became the fashion for Roman nobles to encourage literature by forming a library, and this taste was given immense encouragement by Augustus, who established a public library in the Temple of Apollo on the Mount Palatine, in imitation of that previously founded by Asinius Pollio. There were other libraries besides these, the most famous of which was the Ulpian library, founded by Trajan, who called it so from his own name, Ulpius. Now Trajan was a contemporary of our author, and this act of his clearly proves that there must have been during Plutarch's lifetime a considerable reading public, and consequent demand for books at Rome.
Of Plutarch's travels in Italy we know next to nothing. He mentions incidentally that he had seen the bust or statue of Marius at Ravenna, but never gives us another hint of how far he explored the country about which he wrote so much. No doubt his ignorance of the Latin language must not be taken as a literal statement, and probably means that he was not skilled in it as a spoken tongue, for we can scarcely imagine that he was without some acquaintance with it when he first went to Rome, and he certainly afterwards became well read in the literature of Rome. In some cases he has followed Livy's narrative with a closeness which proves that he must have been acquainted with that author either in the original or in a translation, and the latter alternative is, of the two, the more improbable.
It seems to be now generally thought that his stay at Rome was a short one. Clough, in his excellent Preface, says on this subject, "The fault which runs through all the earlier biographies, from that of Rualdus downwards, is the assumption, wholly untenable, that Plutarch passed many years, as many perhaps as forty, at Rome. The entire character of his life is of course altered by such an impression." He then goes on to say that in consequence of this mistaken idea, it is not worth while for him to quote Dryden's 'Life of Plutarch,' which was originally prefixed to the translations re-edited by himself. Yet I trust I may be excused if I again quote North's 'Life of Plutarch,' as the following passage seems to set vividly before us the quiet literary occupation of his later days.
"For Plutarch, though he tarried a long while in Italy, and in Rome, yet that tooke not away the remembrance of the sweet aire of Greece, and of the little towne where he was borne; but being touched from time to time with a sentence of an ancient poet, who saith that,
"'In whatsoever countrey men are bred (I know not by what sweetnesse of it led), They nourish in their minds a glad desire, Unto their native homes for to retire,'
"he resolved to go back into Greece againe, there to end the rest of his daies in rest and honour among his citizens, of whom he was honourably welcomed home. Some judge that he left Rome after the death of Trajan, being then of great yeares, to leade a more quiet life. So being then at rest, he earnestly took in hand that which he had long thought of before, to wit, the Lives, and tooke great pains with it until he had brought his worke to perfection, as we have done at this present; although that some Lives, as those of Scipio African, of Metellus Numidicus, and some other are not to be found. Now himselfe confesseth in some place, that when he began this worke, at the first it was but to profit others; but that afterwards it was to profit himselfe, looking upon those histories, as if he had looked in a glasse, and seeking to reform his life in some sort, and to forme it in the mould of the vertues of these great men; taking this fashion of searching their manners, and writing the Lives of these noble men, to be a familiar haunting and frequenting of them. Also he thought, [said he himselfe] that he lodged these men one after another in his house, entering into consideration of their qualities, and that which was great in either of them, choosing and principally taking that which was to be noted, and most worthy to be knowne in their sayings and deeds."[A]
[Footnote A: North's 'Plutarch,' 1631, p. 1198.]
Of Plutarch in his domestic relations we gather much information from his own writings. The name of his father has not been preserved, but it was probably Nikarchus, from the common habit of Greek families to repeat a name in alternate generations. His brothers Timon and Lamprias are frequently mentioned in his essays and dialogues, where Timon is spoken of in the most affectionate terms. Rualdus has ingeniously recovered the name of his wife, Timoxena, from internal evidence afforded by his writings. A touching letter is still extant, addressed by Plutarch to his wife, bidding her not give way to excessive grief at the death of their only daughter, who was named Timoxena after her mother. The number of his sons we cannot exactly state. Autobulus and Plutarch are especially spoken of as his sons, since the treatise on the Timaeus of Plato is dedicated to them, and the marriage of his son Autobulus is the occasion of one of the dinner-parties recorded in the 'Table Talk.' Another person, one Soklarus, is spoken of in terms which seem to imply that he was Plutarch's son, but this is nowhere definitely stated. His treatise also on Marriage Questions, addressed to Eurydike and Pollianus, seems to speak of her as having been recently an inmate of his house, but without enabling us to form an opinion whether she was his daughter or not. A modern writer well describes his maturer years by the words: "Plutarch was well born, well taught, well conditioned; a self-respecting amiable man, who knew how to better a good education by travels, by devotion to affairs private and public; a master of ancient culture, he read books with a just criticism: eminently social, he was a king in his own house, surrounded himself with select friends, and knew the high value of good conversation; and declares in a letter written to his wife that 'he finds scarcely an erasure, as in a book well written, in the happiness of his life.'"
He was an active member of the little community of Chaeronea, being archon of that town. Whether this dignity was annual or for life we do not know, but it was probably the former, and very likely he served it more than once. He speaks of his devotion to the duties of his office as causing him to incur the ridicule of some of his fellow-citizens, when they saw him engaged in the humblest duties. "But," he says, in Clough's version, "the story told about Antisthenes comes to my assistance. When some one expressed surprise at his carrying home some pickled fish from market in his own hands, It is, he answered, for myself. Conversely, when I am reproached with standing by and watching while tiles are measured out, and stone and mortar brought up, This service, I say, is not for myself, it is for my country."
Plutarch was for many years a priest of Apollo at Delphi. The scene of some of his 'Table Talk' is laid there, when he in his priestly capacity gives a dinner party in honour of the victor in the poetic contest at the Pythian games. Probably this office was a source of considerable income, and as the journey from Chaeronea to Delphi, across Mount Parnassus, is a very short one, it interfered but little with his literary and municipal business. In his essay on "Whether an old man should continue to take part in public life," he says, "You know, Euphanes, that I have for many Pythiads (that is, periods of four years elapsing between the Pythian festivals), exercised the office of Priest of Apollo: yet I think you would not say to me,'Plutarch, you have sacrificed enough; you have led processions and dances enough; it is time, now that you are old, to lay aside the garland from your head, and to retire as superannuated from the oracle.'"
Thus respected and loved by all, Plutarch's old age passed peacefully away. "Notwithstanding," as North says, "that he was very old, yet he made an end of the Lives.... Furthermore, Plutarch, having lived alwaies honourably even to old age, he died quietly among his children and friends in the city of Chaeronea, leaving his writings, an immortal savour of his name, unto posterity. Besides the honour his citizens did him, there was a statue set up for him by ordinance of the people of Rome, in memory of his virtues. Now furthermore, though time hath devoured some part of the writings of this great man, and minished some other: neverthelesse those which remaine, being a great number, have excellent use to this day among us."
LIFE OF THESEUS.
I. As in books on geography, Sossius Senecio, the writers crowd the countries of which they know nothing into the furthest margins of their maps, and write upon them legends such as, "In this direction lie waterless deserts full of wild beasts;" or, "Unexplored morasses;" or, "Here it is as cold as Scythia;" or, "A frozen sea;" so I, in my writings on Parallel Lives, go through that period of time where history rests on the firm basis of facts, and may truly say, "All beyond this is portentous and fabulous, inhabited by poets and mythologers, and there is nothing true or certain."
When I had written the lives of Lykurgus the lawgiver and Numa the king, it appeared to me natural to go back to Romulus also, as I was engaged on the history of times so close to his. So when I was reflecting, in the words of Aeschylus,
"Against this chieftain, who can best contend? Whom shall I match in fight, what trusty friend?"
it occurred to me to compare the founder of the fair and famous city of Athens with him, and to contrast Theseus with the father of unconquered glorious Rome. Putting aside, then, the mythological element, let us examine his story, and wherever it obstinately defies probability, and cannot be explained by natural agency, let us beg the indulgence of our readers, who will kindly make allowance for tales of antiquity.
II. Theseus appears to have several points of resemblance to Romulus. Both were unacknowledged illegitimate children, and were reputed to descend from the Gods.
"Both warriors, well we all do know,"
and both were wise as well as powerful. The one founded Rome, while the other was the joint founder of Athens; and these are two of the most famous of cities. Both carried off women by violence, and neither of them escaped domestic misfortune and retribution, but towards the end of their lives both were at variance with their countrymen, if we may put any trust in the least extravagant writings upon the subject.
III. Theseus traced his descent on the father's side from Erechtheus and the original Autochthones,[A] while on the mother's side he was descended from Pelops. For Pelops surpassed all the other princes of the Peloponnesus in the number of his children as well as in wealth; and of these he gave many of his daughters in marriage to the chief men of the country, and established many of his sons as rulers in various cities. One of these, Pittheus, the grandfather of Theseus, founded Troezen, which is indeed but a little state, though he had a greater reputation than any man of his time for eloquence and wisdom. The nature of this wisdom of his seems to have been much of the same kind as that which made the reputation of Hesiod, in the collection of maxims known as the 'Works and Days.' One of these maxims is indeed ascribed to Pittheus:
"Let promised pay be truly paid to friends."
At any rate, this is what Aristotle the philosopher has recorded; and also Euripides, when he speaks of Hippolytus as "child of holy Pittheus," shows the prevailing opinion about Pittheus. Now Aegeus desired to have children, and the Oracle at Delphi is said to have given him the well-known response, forbidding him to have intercourse with any woman before he reached Athens, but not appearing to explain this clearly. Consequently, on his way home, he went to Troezen, and asked the advice of Pittheus about the response of the God, which ran thus:
"Great chief, the wine-skin's foot must closed remain, Till thou to Athens art returned again."
Pittheus clearly perceived what the oracle must mean, and persuaded or cheated Aegeus into an intrigue with Aethra. Afterwards, when he discovered that he had conversed with the daughter of Pittheus, as he imagined that she might prove with child, he left behind him his sword and sandals hidden under a great stone, which had a hollow inside it exactly fitting them. This he told to Aethra alone, and charged her if a son of his should be born, and on growing to man's estate should be able to lift the stone and take from under it the deposit, that she should send him at once with these things to himself, in all secrecy, and as far as possible concealing his journey from observation. For he greatly feared the sons of Pallas, who plotted against him, and despised him on account of his childlessness, they themselves being fifty brothers, all the sons of Pallas.
[Footnote A: Autochthones was the name by which the original citizens of Athens called themselves, meaning that they were sprung from the soil itself, not immigrants from some other country.]
IV. When Aethra's child was born, some writers say that he was at once named Theseus, from the tokens placed under the stone; others say that he was afterwards so named at Athens, when Aegeus acknowledged him as his son. He was brought up by his grandfather Pittheus, and had a master and tutor, Konnidas, to whom even to the present day, the Athenians sacrifice a ram on the day before the feast of Theseus, a mark of respect which is much more justly due to him, than those which they pay to Silanion and Parrhasius, who have only made pictures and statues of Theseus.
V. As it was at that period still the custom for those who were coming to man's estate to go to Delphi and offer to the god the first-fruits of their hair (which was then cut for the first time),[A] Theseus went to Delphi, and they say that a place there is even to this day named after him. But he only cut the front part of his hair, as Homer tells us the Abantes did, and this fashion of cutting the hair was called Theseus's fashion because of him. The Abantes first began to cut their hair in this manner, not having, as some say, been taught to do so by the Arabians, nor yet from any wish to imitate the Mysians, but because they were a warlike race, and met their foes in close combat, and studied above all to come to a hand-to-hand fight with their enemy, as Archilochus bears witness in his verses:
"They use no slings nor bows, Euboea's martial lords, But hand to hand they close And conquer with their swords."
So they cut their hair short in front, that their enemies might not grasp it. And they say that Alexander of Macedon for the same reason ordered his generals to have the beards of the Macedonians shaved, because they were a convenient handle for the enemy to grasp.
[Footnote A: The first cutting of the hair was always an occasion of solemnity among the Greeks, the hair being dedicated to some god. The first instance of this is in Homer's Iliad, where Achilles speaks of having dedicated his hair to the river Spercheius. The Athenian youth offered their hair to Herakles. The Roman emperor Nero, in later times, imitated this custom.]
VI. Now while he was yet a child, Aethra concealed the real parentage of Theseus, and a story was circulated by Pittheus that his father was Poseidon. For the people of Troezen have an especial reverence for Poseidon; he is their tutelar deity; to him they offer first-fruits of their harvest, and they stamp their money with the trident as their badge. But when he was grown into a youth, and proved both strong in body and of good sound sense, then Aethra led him to the stone, told him the truth about his father, and bade him take the tokens from beneath it and sail to Athens with them. He easily lifted the stone, but determined not to go to Athens by sea, though the voyage was a safe and easy one, and though his mother and his grandfather implored him to go that way. By land it was a difficult matter to reach Athens, as the whole way was infested with robbers and bandits. That time, it seems, produced men of great and unwearied strength and swiftness, who made no good use of these powers, but treated all men with overbearing insolence, taking advantage of their strength to overpower and slay all who fell into their hands, and disregarding justice and right and kindly feeling, which they said were only approved of by those who dared not do injury to others, or feared to be injured themselves, while men who could get the upper hand by force might disregard them. Of these ruffians, Herakles in his wanderings cut off a good many, but others had escaped him by concealing themselves, or had been contemptuously spared by him on account of their insignificance. But Herakles had the misfortune to kill Iphitus, and thereupon sailed to Lydia and was for a long time a slave in that country under Omphale, which condition he had imposed upon himself as a penance for the murder of his friend. During this period the country of Lydia enjoyed peace and repose; but in Greece the old plague of brigandage broke out afresh, as there was now no one to put it down. So that the journey overland to Athens from Peloponnesus was full of peril; and Pittheus, by relating to Theseus who each of these evildoers was, and how they treated strangers, tried to prevail upon him to go by sea. But it appears that Theseus had for a long time in his heart been excited by the renown of Herakles for courage: he thought more of him than of any one else, and loved above all to listen to those who talked of him, especially if they had seen and spoken to him. Now he could no longer conceal that he was in the same condition as Themistokles in later times, when he said that the trophy of Miltiades would not let him sleep. Just so did the admiration which Theseus conceived for Herakles make him dream by night of his great exploits, and by day determine to equal them by similar achievements of his own.
VII. As it happened, they were connected, being second cousins; for Aethra was the daughter of Pittheus, and Alkmena the daughter of Lysidike, and Lysidike and Pittheus were brother and sister, being the children of Pelops and Hippodameia. So Theseus thought that it would be a great and unbearable disgrace to him that his cousin should go everywhere and clear the sea and land of the brigands who infested them, and he should refuse to undertake the adventures that came in his way; throwing discredit upon his reputed father by a pusillanimous flight by sea, and upon his real father by bringing him only the sandals and an unfleshed sword, and not proving his noble birth by the evidence of some brave deed accomplished by him. In this spirit he set out on his journey, with the intention of doing wrong to no one, but of avenging himself on any one who offered wrong to him.
VIII. And first in Epidaurus he slew Periphetes, who used a club as his weapon, and on this account was called the club-bearer, because he laid hands upon him and forbade him to proceed farther on his way. The club took his fancy, and he adopted it as a weapon, and always used it, just as Herakles used his lion's skin; for the skin was a proof of how huge a beast the wearer had overcome, while the club, invincible in the hands of Theseus, had yet been worsted when used against him. At the Isthmus he destroyed Sinis the Pine-bender by the very device by which he had slain so many people, and that too without having ever practised the art, proving that true valour is better than practice and training. Sinis had a daughter, a tall and beautiful girl, named Perigoune. When her father fell she ran and hid herself. Theseus sought her everywhere, but she fled into a place where wild asparagus grew thick, and with a simple child-like faith besought the plants to conceal her, as if they could understand her words, promising that if they did so she never would destroy or burn them. However, when Theseus called to her, pledging himself to take care of her and do her no hurt, she came out, and afterwards bore Theseus a son, named Melanippus. She afterwards was given by Theseus in marriage to Deioneus, the son of Eurytus of Oechalia. Ioxus, a son of Melanippus, and Theseus's grandchild, took part in Ornytus's settlement in Caria; and for this reason the descendants of Ioxus have a family custom not to burn the asparagus plant, but to reverence and worship it.
IX. Now the wild sow of Krommyon, whom they called Phaia, was no ordinary beast, but a fierce creature and hard to conquer. This animal he turned out of his way to destroy, that it might not be thought that he performed his exploits of necessity. Besides, he said, a brave man need only punish wicked men when they came in his way, but that in the case of wild beasts he must himself seek them out and attack them. Some say that Phaia was a murderous and licentious woman who carried on brigandage at Krommyon, and was called a sow from her life and habits, and that Theseus put her to death.
X. Before coming to Megara he slew Skeiron by flinging him down a precipice into the sea, so the story runs, because he was a robber, but some say that from arrogance he used to hold out his feet to strangers and bid them wash them, and that then he kicked the washers into the sea. But Megarian writers, in opposition to common tradition, and, as Simonides says, "warring with all antiquity," say that Skeiron was not an arrogant brigand, but repressed brigandage, loved those who were good and just, and was related to them. For, they point out, Aeakus is thought to have been the most righteous of all the Greeks, and Kychreus of Salamis was worshipped as a god, and the virtue of Peleus and Telamon is known to all. Yet Skeiron was the son-in-law of Kychreus, and father-in-law of Aeakus, and grandfather of Peleus and Telamon, who were both of them sons of Endeis, the daughter of Skeiron and his wife Chariklo. It is not then reasonable to suppose that these, the noblest men of their time, would make alliances with a malefactor, and give and receive from him what they prized most dearly. But they say that Theseus slew Skeiron, not when he first went to Athens, but that afterwards he took the town of Eleusis which belonged to the Megarians, by dealing treacherously with Diokles, who was the chief magistrate there, and that on that occasion he killed Skeiron. This is what tradition says on both sides.
XI. At Eleusis Theseus overcame Kerkyon of Arcadia in wrestling and killed him, and after journeying a little farther he killed Damastes, who was surnamed Prokroustes, by compelling him to fit his own body to his bed, just as he used to fit the bodies of strangers to it. This he did in imitation of Herakles; for he used to retort upon his aggressors the same treatment which they intended for him. Thus Herakles offered up Busiris as a sacrifice, and overcame Antaeus in wrestling, and Kyknus in single combat, and killed Termerus by breaking his skull. This is, they say, the origin of the proverb, "A Termerian mischief," for Termerus, it seems, struck passers-by with his head, and so killed them. So also did Theseus sally forth and chastise evildoers, making them undergo the same cruelties which they practised on others, thus justly punishing them for their crimes in their own wicked fashion.
XII. As he proceeded on his way, and reached the river Kephisus, men of the Phytalid race were the first to meet and greet him. He demanded to be purified from the guilt of bloodshed, and they purified him, made propitiatory offerings, and also entertained him in their houses, being the first persons from whom he had received any kindness on his journey. It is said to have been on the eighth day of the month Kronion, which is now called Hekatombeion, that he came to his own city. On entering it he found public affairs disturbed by factions, and the house of Aegeus in great disorder; for Medea, who had been banished from Corinth, was living with Aegeus, and had engaged by her drugs to enable Aegeus to have children. She was the first to discover who Theseus was, while Aegeus, who was an old man, and feared every one because of the disturbed state of society, did not recognise him. Consequently she advised Aegeus to invite him to a feast, that she might poison him. Theseus accordingly came to Aegeus's table. He did not wish to be the first to tell his name, but, to give his father an opportunity of recognising him, he drew his sword, as if he meant to cut some of the meat with it, and showed it to Aegeus. Aegeus at once recognised it, overset the cup of poison, looked closely at his son and embraced him. He then called a public meeting and made Theseus known as his son to the citizens, with whom he was already very popular because of his bravery. It is said that when the cup was overset the poison was spilt in the place where now there is the enclosure in the Delphinium, for there Aegeus dwelt; and the Hermes to the east of the temple there they call the one who is "at the door of Aegeus."
XIII. But the sons of Pallas, who had previously to this expected that they would inherit the kingdom on the death of Aegeus without issue, now that Theseus was declared the heir, were much enraged, first that Aegeus should be king, a man who was merely an adopted child of Pandion, and had no blood relationship to Erechtheus, and next that Theseus, a stranger and a foreigner, should inherit the kingdom. They consequently declared war. Dividing themselves into two bodies, the one proceeded to march openly upon the city from Sphettus, under the command of Pallas their father, while the other lay in ambush at Gargettus, in order that they might fall upon their opponents on two sides at once. But there was a herald among them named Leos, of the township of Agnus, who betrayed the plans of the sons of Pallas to Theseus. He suddenly attacked those who were in ambush, and killed them all, hearing which the other body under Pallas dispersed. From this time forth they say that the township of Pallene has never intermarried with that of Agnus, and that it is not customary amongst them for heralds to begin a proclamation with the words "Acouete Leo," (Oyez) for they hate the name of Leo[A] because of the treachery of that man.
[Footnote A: The Greek word leos signifies people.]
XIV. Now Theseus, who wished for employment and also to make himself popular with the people, went to attack the bull of Marathon, who had caused no little trouble to the inhabitants of Tetrapolis. He overcame the beast, and drove it alive through the city for all men to see, and then sacrificed it to Apollo of Delphi. Hekale, too, and the legend of her having entertained Theseus, does not seem altogether without foundation in fact; for the people of the neighbouring townships used to assemble and perform what was called the Hekalesian sacrifice to Zeus Hekalus, and they also used to honour Hekale, calling her by the affectionate diminutive Hekaline, because she also, when feasting Theseus, who was very young, embraced him in a motherly way, and used such like endearing diminutives. She also made a vow on Theseus's behalf, when he was going forth to battle, that if he returned safe she would sacrifice to Zeus; but as she died before he returned, she had the above-mentioned honours instituted by command of Theseus, as a grateful return for her hospitality. This is the legend as told by Philochorus.
XV. Shortly after this the ship from Crete arrived for the third time to collect the customary tribute. Most writers agree that the origin of this was, that on the death of Androgeus, in Attica, which was ascribed to treachery, his father Minos went to war, and wrought much evil to the country, which at the same time was afflicted by scourges from Heaven (for the land did not bear fruit, and there was a great pestilence and the rivers sank into the earth). So that as the oracle told the Athenians that, if they propitiated Minos and came to terms with him, the anger of Heaven would cease and they should have a respite from their sufferings, they sent an embassy to Minos and prevailed on him to make peace, on the condition that every nine years they should send him a tribute of seven youths and seven maidens. The most tragic of the legends states these poor children when they reached Crete were thrown into the Labyrinth, and there either were devoured by the Minotaur or else perished with hunger, being unable to find the way out. The Minotaur, as Euripides tells us, was
"A form commingled, and a monstrous birth, Half man, half bull, in twofold shape combined."
XVI. Philochorus says that the Cretans do not recognise this story, but say that the Labyrinth was merely a prison, like any other, from which escape was impossible, and that Minos instituted gymnastic games in honour of Androgeus, in which the prizes for the victors were these children, who till then were kept in the Labyrinth. Also they say that the victor in the first contest was a man of great power in the state, a general of the name of Taurus, who was of harsh and savage temper, and ill-treated the Athenian children. And Aristotle himself, in his treatise on the constitution of the Bottiaeans, evidently does not believe that the children were put to death by Minos, but that they lived in Crete as slaves, until extreme old age; and that one day the Cretans, in performance of an ancient vow, sent first-fruits of their population to Delphi. Among those who were thus sent were the descendants of the Athenians, and, as they could not maintain themselves there, they first passed over to Italy, and there settled near Iapygium, and from thence again removed to Thrace, and took the name of Bottiaeans. For this reason, the Bottiaean maidens when performing a certain sacrifice sing "Let us go to Athens." Thus it seems to be a terrible thing to incur the hatred of a city powerful in speech and song; for on the Attic stage Minos is always vilified and traduced, and though he was called "Most Kingly" by Hesiod, and "Friend of Zeus" by Homer, it gained him no credit, but the playwrights overwhelmed him with abuse, styling him cruel and violent. And yet Minos is said to have been a king and a lawgiver, and Rhadamanthus to have been a judge under him, carrying out his decrees.
XVII. So when the time of the third payment of the tribute arrived, and those fathers who had sons not yet grown up had to submit to draw lots, the unhappy people began to revile Aegeus, complaining that he, although the author of this calamity, yet took no share in their affliction, but endured to see them left childless, robbed of their own legitimate offspring, while he made a foreigner and a bastard the heir to his kingdom. This vexed Theseus, and determining not to hold aloof, but to share the fortunes of the people, he came forward and offered himself without being drawn by lot. The people all admired his courage and patriotism, and Aegeus finding that his prayers and entreaties had no effect on his unalterable resolution, proceeded to choose the rest by lot. Hellanikus says that the city did not select the youths and maidens by lot, but that Minos himself came thither and chose them, and that he picked out Theseus first of all, upon the usual conditions, which were that the Athenians should furnish a ship, and that the youths should embark in it and sail with him, not carrying with them any weapon of war; and that when the Minotaur was slain, the tribute should cease. Formerly, no one had any hope of safety; so they used to send out the ship with a black sail, as if it were going to a certain doom; but now Theseus so encouraged his father, and boasted that he would overcome the Minotaur, that he gave a second sail, a white one, to the steersman, and charged him on his return, if Theseus were safe, to hoist the white one, if not, the black one as a sign of mourning. But Simonides says that it was not a white sail which was given by Aegeus, but "a scarlet sail embrued in holm oak's juice," and that this was agreed on by him as the signal of safety. The ship was steered by Phereklus the son of Amarsyas, according to Simonides.
But Philochorus says that Theseus had one Nausithous sent him from Skirus of Salamis, to steer the ship, and Phaeax to act as look-out, as the Athenians had not yet turned their attention to the sea.
One of the youths chosen by lot was Menestheos the son of Skirus's daughter. The truth of this account is attested by the shrines of Nausithous and Phaeax, which Theseus built at Phalerum, and by the feast called the Kybernesia or pilot's festival, which is held in their honour.
XVIII. When the lots were drawn Theseus brought the chosen youths from the Prytaneum, and proceeding to the temple of the Delphian Apollo, offered the suppliants' bough to Apollo on their behalf. This was a bough of the sacred olive-tree bound with fillets of white wool. And after praying he went to sea on the sixth day of the month Munychion, on which day even now they send maidens as suppliants to the temple of the Delphian Apollo. And there is a legend that the Delphian oracle told him that Aphrodite would be his guide and fellow-traveller, and that when he was sacrificing a she-goat to her by the seaside, it became a he-goat; wherefore the goddess is called Epitragia.
XIX. When they reached Crete, according to most historians and poets, Ariadne fell in love with him, and from her he received the clue of string, and was taught how to thread the mazes of the Labyrinth. He slew the Minotaur, and, taking with him Ariadne and the youths, sailed away. Pherekydes also says that Theseus also knocked out the bottoms of the Cretan ships, to prevent pursuit. But Demon says that Taurus, Minos's general, was slain in a sea-fight in the harbour, when Theseus sailed away. But according to Philochorus, when Minos instituted his games, Taurus was expected to win every prize, and was grudged this honour; for his great influence and his unpopular manners made him disliked, and scandal said, that he was too intimate with Pasiphae. On this account, when Theseus offered to contend with him, Minos agreed. And, as it was the custom in Crete for women as well as men to be spectators of the games, Ariadne was present, and was struck with the appearance of Theseus, and his strength, as he conquered all competitors. Minos was especially pleased, in the wrestling match, at Taurus's defeat and shame, and, restoring the children to Theseus, remitted the tribute for the future. Kleidemus tells the story in his own fashion and at unnecessary length, beginning much farther back. There was, he says, a decree passed by all the Greeks, that no ship should sail from any post with more than five hands on board, but Jason alone, the master of the great ship Argo, should cruise about, and keep the sea free of pirates. Now when Daedalus fled to Athens, Minos, contrary to the decree, pursued him in long war galleys, and being driven to Sicily by a storm, died there. When his son Deukalion sent a warlike message to the Athenians, bidding them give up Daedalus to him, or else threatening that he would put to death the children whom Minos had taken as hostages, Theseus returned him a gentle answer, begging for the life of Daedalus, who was his own cousin and blood relation, being the son of Merope, the daughter of Erechtheus. But he busied himself with building a fleet, some of it in Attica, in the country of the Thymaitadae, far from any place of resort of strangers, and some in Troezen, under the management of Pittheus, as he did not wish his preparations to be known. But when the ships were ready to set sail, having with him as pilots, Daedalus himself and some Cretan exiles, as no one knew that he was coming, and the Cretans thought that it was a friendly fleet that was advancing, he seized the harbour, and marched at once to Knossus before his arrival was known. Then he fought a battle at the gates of the Labyrinth, and slew Deukalion and his body-guard. As Ariadne now succeeded to the throne, he made peace with her, took back the youths, and formed an alliance between the Cretans and the Athenians, in which each nation swore that it would not begin a war against the other.
XX. There are many more stories about these events, and about Ariadne, none of which agree in any particulars. Some say that she hanged herself when deserted by Theseus, and some, that she was taken to Naxos by his sailors, and there dwelt with Oenarus, the priest of Dionysus, having been deserted by Theseus, who was in love with another.
"For Aegle's love disturbed his breast."
This line, we are told by Hereas of Megara, was struck out of Hesiod's poems by Peisistratus; and again he says that he inserted into Homer's description of the Shades,
"Peirithous and Theseus, born of gods,"
to please the Athenians. Some writers say that Theseus had by Ariadne two sons, Staphylus and Oenopion, whom Ion of Chios follows when he speaks of his own native city as that
"Which erst Oenopion stablished, Theseus' son."
The pleasantest of these legends are in nearly every one's mouth. But Paeon of Amathus gives an account peculiar to himself, that Theseus was driven by a storm to Cyprus, and that Ariadne, who was pregnant, suffered much from the motion of the ship, and became so ill, that she was set on shore, but Theseus had to return to take charge of the ship, and was blown off to sea. The women of the country took care of Ariadne, and comforted her in her bereavement, even bringing forged letters to her as if from Theseus, and rendering her assistance during her confinement; and when she died in childbirth, they buried her. Theseus, on his return, grieved much, and left money to the people of the country, bidding them sacrifice to Ariadne; he also set up two little statues, one of silver, and the other of brass. And at this sacrifice, which takes place on the second day of the month Gorpiaeus, one of the young men lies down on the ground, and imitates the cries of a woman in travail; and the people of Amathus call that the grove of Ariadne Aphrodite, in which they show her tomb.
But some writers of Naxos tell a different story, peculiar to themselves, that there were two Minoses and two Ariadnes, of whom one, they say, was married to Dionysus in Naxos, and was the mother of Staphylus and his brother, while the younger was carried off by Theseus, and came to Naxos after he deserted her; and a nurse called Korkyne came with her, whose tomb they point out. Then Naxians also says that this Ariadne died there, and is honoured, but not so much as the elder; for at the feast in honour of the elder, there are merriment and revelry, but at that of the younger gloomy rites are mingled with mirth.
XXI. Theseus, when he sailed away from Crete, touched at Delos; here he sacrificed to the god and offered up the statue of Aphrodite, which Ariadne had given him; and besides this, he and the youths with him danced a measure which they say is still practised by the people of Delos to this day, being an imitation of the turnings and windings of the Labyrinth expressed by complicated evolutions performed in regular order. This kind of dance is called by the Delians "the crane dance," according to Dikaearchus. It was danced round the altar of the Horns, which is all formed of horns from the left side. They also say that he instituted games at Delos, and that then for the first time a palm was given by him to the victor.
XXII. As he approached Attica, both he and his steersman in their delight forgot to hoist the sail which was to be a signal of their safety to Aegeus; and he in his despair flung himself down the cliffs and perished. Theseus, as soon as he reached the harbour, performed at Phalerum the sacrifices which he had vowed to the gods if he returned safe, and sent off a herald to the city with the news of his safe return. This man met with many who were lamenting the death of the king, and, as was natural, with others who were delighted at the news of their safety, and who congratulated him and wished to crown him with garlands. These he received, but placed them on his herald's staff, and when he came back to the seashore, finding that Theseus had not completed his libation, he waited outside the temple, not wishing to disturb the sacrifice. When the libation was finished he announced the death of Aegeus, and then they all hurried up to the city with loud lamentations: wherefore to this day, at the Oschophoria, they say that it is not the herald that is crowned, but his staff, and that at the libations the bystanders cry out, "Eleleu, Iou, Iou;" of which cries the first is used by men in haste, or raising the paean for battle, while the second is used by persons in surprise and trouble.
Theseus, after burying his father, paid his vow to Apollo, on the seventh day of the month Pyanepsion; for on this day it was that the rescued youths went up into the city. The boiling of pulse, which is customary on this anniversary, is said to be done because the rescued youths put what remained of their pulse together into one pot, boiled it all, and merrily feasted on it together. And on this day also, the Athenians carry about the Eiresione, a bough of the olive tree garlanded with wool, just as Theseus had before carried the suppliants' bough, and covered with first-fruits of all sorts of produce, because the barrenness of the land ceased on that day; and they sing,
"Eiresione, bring us figs And wheaten loaves, and oil, And wine to quaff, that we may all Host merrily from toil."
However, some say that these ceremonies are performed in memory of the Herakleidae, who were thus entertained by the Athenians; but most writers tell the tale as I have told it.
XXIII. Now the thirty-oared ship, in which Theseus sailed with the youths, and came back safe, was kept by the Athenians up to the time of Demetrius Phalereus. They constantly removed the decayed part of her timbers, and renewed them with sound wood, so that the ship became an illustration to philosophers of the doctrine of growth and change, as some argued that it remained the same, and others, that it did not remain the same. The feast of the Oschophoria, or of carrying boughs, which to this day the Athenians celebrate, was instituted by Theseus. For he did not take with him all the maidens who were drawn by lot, but he chose two youths, his intimate friends, who were feminine and fair to look upon, but of manly spirit; these by warm baths and avoiding the heat of the sun and careful tending of their hair and skin he completely metamorphosed, teaching them to imitate the voice and carriage and walk of maidens. These two were then substituted in the place of two of the girls, and deceived every one; and when they returned, he and these two youths walked in procession, dressed as now those who carry boughs at the Oschophoria are dressed. They carry them in honour of Dionysus and Ariadne, because of the legend, or rather because they returned home when the harvest was being gathered in. And the women called supper-carriers join in carrying them and partake of the sacrifice, in imitation of the mothers of those who were drawn by lot; for they used continually to bring their children food. Also, old tales are told, because these women used to tell their children such ones, to encourage and amuse them.
These things are related by the historian Demus. Moreover, a sacred enclosure was dedicated to Theseus, and those families out of whom the tribute of the children had been gathered were bidden to contribute to sacrifices to him. These sacrifices were presided over by the Phytalidae, which post Theseus bestowed upon them as a recompense for their hospitality towards him.
XXIV. After the death of Aegeus, Theseus conceived a great and important design. He gathered together all the inhabitants of Attica and made them citizens of one city, whereas before they had lived dispersed, so as to be hard to assemble together for the common weal, and at times even fighting with one another.
He visited all the villages and tribes, and won their consent; the poor and lower classes gladly accepting his proposals, while he gained over the more powerful by promising that the new constitution should not include a king, but that it should be a pure commonwealth, with himself merely acting as general of its army and guardian of its laws, while in other respects it would allow perfect freedom and equality to every one. By these arguments he convinced some of them, and the rest knowing his power and courage chose rather to be persuaded than forced into compliance. He therefore destroyed the prytaneia, the senate house, and the magistracy of each individual township, built one common prytaneum and senate house for them all on the site of the present acropolis, called the city Athens, and instituted the Panathenaic festival common to all of them. He also instituted a festival for the resident aliens, on the sixteenth of the month, Hekatombeion, which is still kept up. And having, according to his promise, laid down his sovereign power, he arranged the new constitution under the auspices of the gods; for he made inquiry at Delphi as to how he should deal with the city, and received the following answer:
"Thou son of Aegeus and of Pittheus' maid, My father hath within thy city laid The bounds of many cities; weigh not down Thy soul with thought; the bladder cannot drown."
The same thing they say was afterwards prophesied by the Sibyl concerning the city, in these words:
"The bladder may be dipped, but cannot drown."
XXV. Wishing still further to increase the number of his citizens, he invited all strangers to come and share equal privileges, and they say that the words now used, "Come hither all ye peoples," was the proclamation then used by Theseus, establishing as it were a commonwealth of all nations. But he did not permit his state to fall into the disorder which this influx of all kinds of people would probably have produced, but divided the people into three classes, of Eupatridae or nobles, Geomori or farmers, Demiurgi or artisans. To the Eupatridae he assigned the care of religious rites, the supply of magistrates for the city, and the interpretation of the laws and customs sacred or profane, yet he placed them on an equality with the other citizens, thinking that the nobles would always excel in dignity, the farmers in usefulness, and the artisans in numbers. Aristotle tells us that he was the first who inclined to democracy, and gave up the title of king; and Homer seems to confirm this view by speaking of the people of the Athenians alone of all the states mentioned in his catalogue of ships. Theseus also struck money with the figure of a bull, either alluding to the bull of Marathon, or Taurus, Minos' general, or else to encourage farming among the citizens. Hence they say came the words, "worth ten," or "worth a hundred oxen." He permanently annexed Megara to Attica, and set up the famous pillar on the Isthmus, on which he wrote the distinction between the countries in two trimeter lines, of which the one looking east says,
"This is not Peloponnesus, but Ionia,"
and the one looking west says,
"This is Peloponnesus, not Ionia."
And also he instituted games there, in emulation of Herakles; that, just as Herakles had ordained that the Greeks should celebrate the Olympic games in honour of Zeus, so by Theseus's appointment they should celebrate the Isthmian games in honour of Poseidon.
The festival which was previously established there in honour of Melikerta used to be celebrated by night, and to be more like a religious mystery than a great spectacle and gathering. Some writers assert that the Isthmian games were established in honour of Skeiron, and that Theseus wished to make them an atonement for the murder of his kinsman; for Skeiron was the son of Kanethus and of Henioche the daughter of Pittheus. Others say that this festival was established in honour of Sinis, not of Skeiron. Be this as it may, Theseus established it, and stipulated with the Corinthians that visitors from Athens who came to the games should have a seat of honour in as large a space as could be covered by a sail of the public ship which carried them, when stretched out on the ground. This we are told by Hellanikus and Andron of Halikarnassus.
XXVI. Besides this, according to Philochorus and other writers, he sailed with Herakles to the Euxine, took part in the campaign against the Amazons, and received Antiope as the reward for his valour; but most historians, among whom are Pherekydes, Hellanikus, and Herodorus, say that Theseus made an expedition of his own later than that of Herakles, and that he took the Amazon captive, which is a more reasonable story. For no one of his companions is said to have captured an Amazon; while Bion relates that he caught this one by treachery and carried her off; for the Amazons, he says, were not averse to men, and did not avoid Theseus when he touched at their coast, but even offered him presents. He invited the bearer of these on board his ship; and when she had embarked he set sail. But one, Menekrates, who has written a history of the town of Nikaea in Bithynia, states that Theseus spent a long time in that country with Antiope, and that there were three young Athenians, brothers, who were his companions in arms, by name Euneon, Thoas, and Soloeis. Soloeis fell in love with Antiope, and, without telling his brothers, confided his passion to one of his comrades. This man laid the matter before Antiope, who firmly rejected his pretensions, but treated him quietly and discreetly, telling Theseus nothing about it. Soloeis, in despair at his rejection, leaped into a river and perished; and Theseus then at length learned the cause of the young man's death. In his sorrow he remembered and applied to himself an oracle he had received from Delphi. It had been enjoined upon him by the Pythia that whenever he should be struck down with special sorrow in a foreign land, he should found a city in that place and leave some of his companions there as its chiefs. In consequence of this the city which he founded was called Pythopolis, in honour of the Pythian Apollo, and the neighbouring river was called Soloeis, after the youth who died in it. He left there the brothers of Soloeis as the chiefs and lawgivers of the new city, and together, with them one Hermus, an Athenian Eupatrid. In consequence of this, the people of Pythopolis call a certain place in their city the house of Hermes, by a mistaken accentuation transferring the honour due to their founder, to their god Hermes.
XXVII. This was the origin of the war with the Amazons; and it seems to have been carried on in no feeble or womanish spirit, for they never could have encamped in the city nor have fought a battle close to the Pnyx and the Museum unless they had conquered the rest of the country, so as to be able to approach the city safely. It is hard to believe, as Hellanikus relates, that they crossed the Cimmerian Bosphorus on the ice; but that they encamped almost in the city is borne witness to by the local names, and by the tombs of the fallen. For a long time both parties held aloof, unwilling to engage; but at last Theseus, after sacrificing to Phobos (Fear), attacked them. The battle took place in the month Boedromion, on the day on which the Athenians celebrate the feast Boedromia. Kleidemus gives us accurate details, stating that the left wing of the Amazons stood at the place now called the Amazoneum, while the right reached up to the Pnyx, at the place where the gilded figure of Victory now stands. The Athenians attacked them on this side, issuing from the Museum, and the tombs of the fallen are to be seen along the street which leads to the gate near the shrine of the hero Chalkodus, which is called the Peiraeic gate. On this side the women forced them back as far as the temple of the Eumenides, but on the other side those who assailed them from the temple of Pallas, Ardettus, and the Lyceum, drove their right wing in confusion back to their camp with great slaughter. In the fourth month of the war a peace was brought about by Hippolyte; for this writer names the wife of Theseus Hippolyte, not Antiope. Some relate that she was slain fighting by the side of Theseus by a javelin hurled by one Molpadia, and that the column which stands beside the temple of Olympian Earth is sacred to her memory. It is not to be wondered at that history should be at fault when dealing with such ancient events as these, for there is another story at variance with this, to the effect that Antiope caused the wounded Amazons to be secretly transported to Chalkis, where they were taken care of, and some of them were buried there, at what is now called the Amazoneum. However, it is a proof of the war having ended in a treaty of peace, that the place near the temple of Theseus where they swore to observe it, is still called Horeomosium, and that the sacrifice to the Amazons always has taken place before the festival of Theseus. The people of Megara also show a burying-place of the Amazons, as one goes from the market-place to what they call Rhus, where the lozenge-shaped building stands. It is said that some others died at Chaeronea, and were buried by the little stream which it seems was anciently called Thermodon, but now is called Haemon, about which we have treated in the life of Demosthenes. It would appear that the Amazons did not even get across Thessaly without trouble, for graves of them are shown to this day at Skotussa and Kynoskephalae.
XXVIII. The above is all that is worthy of mention about the Amazons; for, as to the story which the author of the 'Theseid' relates about this attack of the Amazons being brought about by Antiope to revenge herself upon Theseus for his marriage with Phaedra, and how she and her Amazons fought, and how Herakles slew them, all this is clearly fabulous. After the death of Antiope, Theseus married Phaedra, having a son by Antiope named Hippolytus, or Demophoon, according to Pindar. As for his misfortunes with this wife and son, as the account given by historians does not differ from that which appears in the plays of the tragic poets, we must believe them to have happened as all these writers say.
XXIX. However, there are certain other legends about Theseus' marriage which have never appeared on the stage, which have neither a creditable beginning nor a prosperous termination: for it is said that he carried off one Anaxo, a Troezenian girl, and after slaying Sinis and Kerkyon he forced their daughters, and that he married Periboea the mother of Ajax and also Phereboea and Iope the daughter of Iphikles: and, as has been told already, it was on account of his love for Aegle the daughter of Panopeus that he deserted Ariadne, which was a shameful and discreditable action. And in addition to all this he is charged with carrying off Helen, which brought war upon Attica, and exile and destruction on himself; about which we shall speak presently. But, though many adventures were undertaken by the heroes of those times, Herodorus is of opinion that Theseus took no part in any of them, except with the Lapithae in their fight with the Centaurs; though other writers say that he went to Kolchis with Jason and took part with Meleager in the hunt of the Kalydonian boar.
From these legends arises the proverb, "Not without Theseus;" also he by himself without any comrades performed many glorious deeds, from which the saying came into vogue, "This is another Herakles."
Theseus, together with Adrastus, effected the recovery of the bodies of those who fell under the walls of the Cadmea at Thebes, not after conquering the Thebans, as Euripides puts it in his play, but by a truce and convention, according to most writers. Philochorus even states that this was the first occasion on which a truce was made for the recovery of those slain in battle. But we have shown in our 'Life of Herakles' that he was the first to restore the corpses of the slain to the enemy. The tombs of the rank and file are to be seen at Eleutherae, but those of the chiefs at Eleusis, by favour of Theseus to Adrastus. Euripides's play of the 'Suppliants' is contradicted by that of Aeschylus, the 'Eleusinians,' in which Theseus is introduced giving orders for this to be done.
XXX. His friendship for Peirithous is said to have arisen in the following manner: He had a great reputation for strength and courage; Peirithous, wishing to make trial of these, drove his cattle away from the plain of Marathon, and when he learned that Theseus was pursuing them, armed, he did not retire, but turned and faced him. Each man then admiring the beauty and courage of his opponent, refrained from battle, and first Peirithous holding out his hand bade Theseus himself assess the damages of his raid upon the cattle, saying that he himself would willingly submit to whatever penalty the other might inflict. Theseus thought no more of their quarrel, and invited him to become his friend and comrade; and they ratified their compact of friendship by an oath. Hereupon, Peirithous, who was about to marry Deidameia, begged Theseus to come and visit his country and meet the Lapithae. He also had invited the Centaurs to the banquet; and as they in their drunken insolence laid hands upon the women, the Lapithae attacked them. Some of them they slew, and the rest they overcame, and afterwards, with the assistance of Theseus, banished from their country. Herodorus, however, says that this is not how these events took place, but that the war was going on, and that Theseus went to help the Lapithae and while on his way thither first beheld Herakles, whom he made a point of visiting at Trachis, where he was resting after his labours and wanderings; and that they met with many compliments and much good feeling on both sides. But one would more incline to those writers who tell us that they often met, and that Herakles was initiated by Theseus's desire, and was also purified before initiation at his instance, which ceremony was necessary because of some reckless action.
XXXI. Theseus was fifty years old, according to Hellanikus, when he carried off Helen, who was a mere child. For this reason some who wish to clear him of this, the heaviest of all the charges against him, say that it was not he who carried off Helen, but that Idas and Lynkeus carried her off and deposited her in his keeping. Afterwards the Twin Brethren came and demanded her back, but he would not give her up; or even it is said that Tyndareus himself handed her over to him, because he feared that Enarsphorus the son of Hippocoon would take her by force, she being only a child at the time. But the most probable story and that which most writers agree in is the following: The two friends, Theseus and Peirithous, came to Sparta, seized the maiden, who was dancing in the temple of Artemis Orthia, and carried her off. As the pursuers followed no farther than Tegea, they felt no alarm, but leisurely travelled through Peloponnesus, and made a compact that whichever of them should win Helen by lot was to have her to wife, but must help the other to a marriage. They cast lots on this understanding, and Theseus won. As the maiden was not yet ripe for marriage he took her with him to Aphidnae, and there placing his mother with her gave her into the charge of his friend Aphidnus, bidding him watch over her and keep her presence secret. He himself in order to repay his obligation to Peirithous went on a journey with him to Epirus to obtain the daughter of Aidoneus the king of the Molossians, who called his wife Persephone, his daughter Kore, and his dog Cerberus. All the suitors of his daughter were bidden by him to fight this dog, and the victor was to receive her hand. However, as he learned that Peirithous and his friend were come, not as wooers, but as ravishers, he cast them into prison. He put an end to Peirithous at once, by means of his dog, but only guarded Theseus strictly.