THE GREAT EVENTS BY FAMOUS HISTORIANS
A COMPREHENSIVE AND READABLE ACCOUNT OF THE WORLD'S HISTORY. EMPHASIZING THE MORE IMPORTANT EVENTS, AND PRESENTING THESE AS COMPLETE NARRATIVES IN THE MASTER-WORDS OF THE MOST EMINENT HISTORIANS
NON-SECTARIAN NON-PARTISAN NON-SECTIONAL
ON THE PLAN EVOLVED FROM A CONSENSUS OF OPINIONS GATHERED FROM THE MOST DISTINGUISHED SCHOLARS OF AMERICA AND EUROPE, INCLUDING BRIEF INTRODUCTIONS BY SPECIALISTS TO CONNECT AND EXPLAIN THE CELEBRATED NARRATIVES, ARRANGED CHRONOLOGICALLY, WITH THOROUGH INDICES, BIBLIOGRAPHIES, CHRONOLOGIES, AND COURSES OF READING
ROSSITER JOHNSON, LL.D.
CHARLES F. HORNE, Ph.D. JOHN RUDD, LL.D.
The binding of this volume is a facsimile of the original on exhibition in the Bibliotheque Nationale.
It was executed by the Royal Binder, Clovis Eve, for Marie de' Medicis, Queen Consort of Henry IV of France. She was a great lover of fine arts, and especially of rich bindings. The one here shown was her special pride. It shows her arms—the arms of France and Tuscany—surrounded with the cordeliere, the sign of her widowhood, accompanied by the monogram M.M. (Marie Medicis). She was exiled by Cardinal Richelieu in 1631.
An Outline Narrative of the Great Events, CHARLES F. HORNE
Institution and Fall of the Decemvirate in Rome (B.C. 450), HENRY G. LIDDELL
Pericles Rules in Athens (B.C. 444), PLUTARCH
Great Plague at Athens (B.C. 430), GEORGE GROTE
Defeat of the Athenians at Syracuse (B.C. 413), SIR EDWARD S. CREASY
Retreat of the Ten Thousand Greeks (B.C. 401-399), XENOPHON
Condemnation and Death of Socrates (B.C. 399), PLATO
Brennus Burns Rome (B.C. 388), BARTHOLD GEORG NIEBUHR
Tartar Invasion of China by Meha (B.C. 341), DEMETRIUS CHARLES BOULGER
Alexander Reduces Tyre, Later Founds Alexandria (B.C. 332), OLIVER GOLDSMITH
The Battle of Arbela (B.C. 331), SIR EDWARD S. CREASY
First Battle Between Greeks and Romans (B.C. 280-279), PLUTARCH
The Punic Wars (B.C. 264-219-149), FLORUS
Battle of the Metaurus (B.C. 2O7), SIR EDWARD S. CREASY
Scipio Africanus Crushes Hannibal at Zama and Subjugates Carthage (B.C. 202), LIVY
Judas Maccabaeus Liberates Judea (B.C. 165-141), JOSEPHUS
The Gracchi and Their Reforms (B.C. 133), THEODOR MOMMSEN
Caesar Conquers Gaul (B.C. 58-50), NAPOLEON III
Roman Invasion and Conquest of Britain (B.C. 55-A.D. 79), OLIVER GOLDSMITH
Cleopatra's Conquest of Caesar and Antony (B.C. 51-30), JOHN P. MAHAFFY
Assassination of Caesar (B.C. 44), NIEBUHR PLUTARCH
Rome Becomes a Monarchy Death of Antony and Cleopatra (B.C. 44-30), HENRY GEORGE LIDDELL
Germans under Arminius Revolt Against Rome (A.D. 9), SIR EDWARD S. CREASY
Universal Chronology (B.C. 450-A.D. 12), JOHN RUDD
Blind Appius Claudius led into the Roman Senate Chamber to vote on the proposition of peace or war with Pyrrhus (page 174),
Painting by Prof, A. Maccari.
Oracle of Delphi,
Painting by Claudius Harper.
Death of Alexander the Great after a prolonged debauch,
Painting by Carl von Piloty.
AN OUTLINE NARRATIVE
TRACING BRIEFLY THE CAUSES, CONNECTIONS, AND CONSEQUENCES OF
THE GREAT EVENTS
(FROM THE RISE OF GREECE TO THE CHRISTIAN ERA)
CHARLES F. HORNE, Ph.D.
Earth's upward struggle has been baffled by so many stumbles that critics have not been lacking to suggest that we do not advance at all, but only swing in circles, like a squirrel in its cage. Certain it is that each ancient civilization seemed to bear in itself the seeds of its own destruction. Yet it may be held with equal truth that each new power, rising above the ruins of the last, held something nobler, was borne upward by some truth its rival could not reach.
At no period is this more evident than in the five centuries immediately preceding the Christian era. Persia, Greece, Carthage, Rome, each in turn was with some justice proclaimed lord of the world; each in turn felt the impulse of her glory and advanced rapidly in culture and knowledge of the arts; and each in turn succumbed to the temptations that beset unlimited success. They degenerated not only in physical strength, but in moral honesty.
Let us recognize, however, that the term "world-ruler" as applied to even the greatest of these nations has but a restricted sense. When the Persian monarch called himself lord of the sun and moon, he only meant in a figurative way that he was acquainted with no other king so powerful as himself; that beyond his own dominions he heard only of feeble colonies, and beyond those the wilderness. Alexander, when he sighed for more worlds to conquer, had in reality made himself lord of less than a quarter of Asia and of about one-sixtieth part of Europe.
No man and no nation has ever yet been intrusted with the government of the entire globe. None has proved sufficiently fitted for the giant task. Each empire has been, as it were, but an experiment; and beyond the border line of seas and deserts which ringed each boastful conqueror, there were always other races developing along slower, and it may be surer, lines.
In those old days our world was in truth too big for conquest. Armies marched on foot. Provisions could not be carried in any quantity, unless a general clung to the sea-shore and depended on his ships. What Alexander might with more truth have sighed for, was some modern means of swift transportation, possessed of which he might still have enjoyed many interesting, bloody battles in more distant lands.
THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE GREEKS
Taking the idea "world power" in the restricted sense suggested, Persia lost it to Greece at Salamis. As the Asiatic hordes fled behind their panic-stricken king, the Greeks, looking round their limited horizon, could see no power that might vie with them. The idea of pressing home their success and overthrowing the entire unwieldy Persian empire was at once conceived.
But the Greeks were of all races least like to weld earth into one dominion. They could not even unite among themselves. In short it cannot be too emphatically pointed out that the work of Greece was not to consolidate, but to separate, to teach the value of each individual man. Asia had made monarchies in plenty. King after king had passed in splendid, glittering pomp across her plains, circled by a crowd of obsequious courtiers, trampling on a nameless multitude of slaves. Europe was to make democracies, or at least to try her hand at them.
It has been well said that a democracy is the strongest government for defence, the weakest for attack. Every little Greek city clung jealously to its own freedom, and to its equally obvious right to dominate its neighbors. The supreme danger of the Persian invasion united them for a moment; but as soon as safety was assured, they recommenced their bickering. Sparta with her record of ancient leadership, Athens with her new-won glory against the common foe, each tried to draw the other cities in her train. There was no one man who could dominate them all and concentrate their strength against the enemy. So for a time Persia continued to exist; she even by degrees regained something of her former influence over the divided cities.
Among these Athens held the foremost rank. She was, as we have previously seen, far more truly representative of the Greek spirit than her rival. Sparta was aristocratic and conservative; Athens democratic and progressive. The genius of her leaders gathered the lesser towns into a great naval league, in which she grew ever more powerful. Her allies sank to be dependent and unwilling vassals, forced to contribute large sums to the treasury of their overlord.
This was the age of Pericles. As Athens became wealthy, her citizens became cultured. Statues, temples, theatres made the city beautiful. Dramatists, orators, and poets made her intellectually renowned. A marvellous outburst, this of Athens! Displaying for the first time in history the full capacity of the human mind! Had there been similar flowerings of genius amid forgotten Asiatic times? One doubts it; doubts if such brilliancy could ever anywhere have passed, and left no clearer record of its triumphs.
[Footnote 1: See Pericles Rules in Athens, page 12.]
Amid such splendor it seems captious to point out the flaw. Yet Athenian and all Greek civilization did ultimately decline. It represented intellectual, but not moral culture. The Greeks delighted intensely in the purely physical life about them; they had small conception of anything beyond. To enjoy, to be successful, that was all their goal; the means scarce counted. The Athenians called Aristides the Just; but so little did they honor his high rectitude that they banished him for a decade. His title, or it may have been his insistence on the subject, bored them.
His rival, Themistocles, was more suited to their taste, a clever scamp, who must always be dealing with both sides in every quarrel, and outwitting both. Athens was driven to banish him also at last, at his too flagrant treachery. But he was not dismissed with the scathing scorn our modern age would heap upon a traitor. He was sent regretfully, as one turns from a charming but too persistently lawless friend. The banishment was only for ten years, and he had his nest already prepared with the Persian King. If you would understand the Greek spirit in its fullest perfection, study Themistocles. Rampant individualism, seeking personal pleasure, clamorous for the admiration of its fellows, but not restrained from secret falsity by any strong moral sense—that was what the Greeks developed in the end.
Neither must Athens be regarded as a democracy in the modern sense. She was only so by contrast with Persia or with Sparta. Not every man in the beautiful city voted, or enjoyed the riches that flowed into her coffers, and could thus afford, free from pecuniary care, to devote himself to art. Athens probably had never more than thirty thousand "citizens." The rest of the adult male population, vastly outnumbering these, were slaves, or foreigners attracted by the city's splendor.
But those thirty thousand were certainly men. "There were giants in those days." One sometimes stands in wonder at their boldness. What all Greece could not do, what Persia had completely failed in, they undertook. Athens alone should conquer the world. By force of arms they would found an empire of intellect. They fought Persia and Sparta, both at once. Plague swept their city, yet they would not yield. Their own subject allies turned against them; and they fought those too. They sent fleets and armies against Syracuse, the mightiest power of the West. It was Athens against all mankind!
[Footnote 2: See Great Plague at Athens, page 34.]
She was unequal to the task, superbly unequal to it. The destruction of her army at Syracuse was only the foremost of a series of inevitable disasters, which left her helpless. After that, Sparta, and then Thebes, became the leading city of Greece. Athens slowly regained her fighting strength; her intellectual supremacy she had not lost. Socrates, greatest of her sons, endeavored to teach a morality higher than earth had yet received, higher than his contemporaries could grasp. Plato gave to thought a scientific basis.
[Footnote 3: See Defeat of the Athenians at Syracuse, page 48.]
[Footnote 4: See Condemnation and Death of Socrates, page 87.]
Then Macedonia, a border kingdom of ancient kinship to the Greeks, but not recognized as belonging among them, began to obtrude herself in their affairs, and at length won that leadership for which they had all contended. A hundred and fifty years had elapsed since the Greeks had stood united against Persia. During all that time their strength had been turned against themselves. Now at last the internecine wars were checked, and all the power of the sturdy race was directed by one man, Alexander, King of Macedon. Democracy had made the Greeks intellectually glorious, but politically weak. Monarchy rose from the ruin they had wrought.
As though that ancient invasion of Xerxes had been a crime of yesterday, Alexander proclaimed his intention of avenging it; and the Greeks applauded. They understood Persia now far better than in the elder days; they saw what a feeble mass the huge heterogeneous empire had become. Its people were slaves, its soldiers mercenaries. The Greeks themselves had been hired to suppress more than one Persian rebellion, and to foment these also. They had learned the enormous advantage their stronger personality gave them against the masses of sheeplike Asiatics.
[Footnote 5: See Retreat of the Ten Thousand Greeks, page 68.]
So it was in holiday mood that they followed Alexander, and in schoolboy roughness that they trampled on the civilization of the East. In fact, it is worth noting that the most vigorous resistance they encountered was not from the Persians, but from a remnant of the Semites, the merchants of the Phoenician city of Tyre. In less than eight years, B.C. 331-323, Alexander overran the whole known world of the East, only stopping when, on the border of India, his soldiers broke into open revolt, not against fighting, but against further wandering.
[Footnote 6: See Alexander Reduces Tyre, page 133.]
[Footnote 7: See The Battle of Arbela, page 141.]
If this invasion had been the mere outcome of one man's ambition, it might scarce be worth recording. But Alexander was only the topmost wave in the surging of a long imminent, inevitable racial movement. Its effect upon civilization, upon the world, was incalculably vast. Alexander and his successors were city-builders, administrators. As such they spread Greek culture, the Greek idea of individualism, over all their world.
How deep was the change, made upon the imbruted Asiatics, we may perhaps question. Our own age has seen how much of education may be lavished on an inferior race without materially altering the brute instincts within. The building-up of the soul in man is not a matter of individuals, but of centuries. Yet in at least a superficial way Greek thought became the thought of all mankind. We may dismiss Alexander's savage conquests with a sigh of pity; but we cannot deny him recognition as a most potent teacher of the world.
His empire did not last. It was in too obvious opposition to all that we have recognized as the Grecian spirit. At his death the same impulse seems to have stirred each one of his subordinates, to snatch for himself a kingdom from the confusion. Instead of one there were soon three, four, and then a dozen semi-Grecian states in Asia. The Greek element in each grew very faint.
From this time onward Asia takes a less prominent place in world affairs. Her ancient leadership in the march of civilization had long been yielded to the Greeks. Now her semblance of military power disappeared as well. Only two further happenings in all Asia seem worth noting, down to the birth of Christ. One of these was the Tartar conquest of China, an event which coalesced the Tartars, helped make them a nation. It was thus fraught with most disastrous consequences for the Europe of the future. The other was the revolt of the Hebrews under Judas Maccabaeus, against their Grecian rulers. This was a religious revolt, a religious war. Here for the first time we find a people who will believe, who can believe, in no god but their own, who will die sooner than give worship to another. We approach the borders of an age where the spirit is more valued than the body, where the mental is stronger than the physical, where facts are dominated by ideas.
[Footnote 8: See Tartar Invasion of China, page 126.]
[Footnote 9: See Judas Maccabaeus Liberates Judea, page 245.]
Had Alexander even at the moment of his greatest strength directed his forces westward instead of east, he would have found a different world and encountered a sturdier resistance. He himself recognized this, and during his last years was gathering all the resources of his unwieldy empire, to hurl them against Carthage and against Italy. What the issue might have been no man can say. Alexander's death ended forever the impossible attempt to unite his race. Once more and until the end, Grecian strength was wasted against itself.
This gave opportunity to the growing powers of the West. Alexander is scarce gone ere we hear Carthage boasting that the Mediterranean is but a private lake in her possession. She rules all Western Africa and Spain, Sardinia and Corsica. She masters the Greeks of Sicily, against whom Athens failed. Rome is compelled to sign treaties with her as an inferior.
THE GROWTH OF ROME
Rome was only husbanding her strength; the little republic of B.C. 510 had grown much during the two centuries of Grecian splendor. Her people had become far better fitted for conquest than their eastern kinsmen. It is presumable that here too it was the difference of surroundings which had differentiated the race. The ancient Etrurian (non-Aryan) civilization on which the Latins intruded, was apparently more advanced than their own. For centuries their utmost prowess scarce sufficed to maintain their independence. Thus it was not possible for them to become too self-satisfied, to stand afar off and look down on their neighbors with Grecian scorn. The ego was less prominently developed; the necessity of mutual dependence and united action was more deeply taught. Their records display less of brilliancy, but more of patient persistency, than those of Greece, less of spectacular individualism, more of truly patriotic self-suppression. In Rome, even more than in Sparta, the "State" was everything. During the early days men found their highest glory in making their city glorious; their proudest boast was to be "citizens of Rome."
To trace the slow steps by which the tiny republic grew to be mistress of all Italy would take too long. She settled her internal difficulties as all such difficulties must be settled, if the race is to progress; that is, she became more democratic. As the lower classes advanced in knowledge and intelligence they insisted on a share of the government. They fought their way to it. They united Rome, mastered the other Latin cities, and admitted them to partnership in her power. She conquered the Etruscans and the Samnites. For a moment we find her almost overwhelmed by an inroad of the wild Celtic tribes from the forests of Central Europe; but, fortunately for her, the other Italian states were equally crushed. It was weakness against weakness, and the Romans retained their foremost place.
[Footnote 10: See Institution and Fall of the Decemvirate in Rome, page 1.]
[Footnote 11: See Brennus Burns Rome, page 110.]
Not till more than a century later were they brought into serious conflict with the Greeks. In the year B.C. 280, Pyrrhus, King of Epirus, who had won a temporary leadership over a portion of the Grecian land, undertook the conquest of the West. Fifty years before, Alexander with far greater power might have been victorious over a feebler Rome. Pyrrhus failed completely. If the Romans had less dash and a less wide experience of varied warfare than his followers, they had far more of true, heroic endurance. The Greeks had reached that stage of individual culture where they were much too selfishly intelligent to be willing to die in battle. Pyrrhus withdrew from Italy. Grecian brilliancy was helpless against Roman strength of union.
[Footnote 12: See First Battle between Greeks and Romans, page 166.]
Then came the far more serious contest between Rome and Carthage. Carthage was a Phoenician, a Semite state; and hers was the last, the most gigantic struggle made by Semitism to recover its waning superiority, to dominate the ancient world. Three times in three tremendous wars did she and Rome put forth their utmost strength against each other. Hannibal, perhaps the greatest military genius who ever lived, fought upon the side of Carthage. At one time Rome seemed crushed, helpless before him. Yet in the end Rome won. It was not by the brilliancy of her commanders, not by the superiority of her resources. It was the grim, cool courage of the Aryan mind, showing strongest and calmest when face to face with ruin.
[Footnote 13: See The Punic Wars, page 179.]
[Footnote 14: See Battle of the Metaurus, page 195.]
[Footnote 15: See Scipio Africanus Crushes Hannibal at Zama and Subjugates Carthage, page 224.]
Our modern philosophers, being Aryan, assure us that the victory of Carthage would have been an irretrievable disaster to mankind; that her falsity, her narrow selfishness, her bloody inhumanity, would have stifled all progress; that her dominion would have been the tyranny of a few heartless masters over a world of tortured slaves. On the other hand, Rome up to this point had certainly been a generous mistress to her subjects. She had left them peace and prosperity among themselves; she had given them as much political freedom as was consistent with her sovereignty; she had wellnigh succeeded in welding all Italy into a Roman nation. It is noteworthy that the large majority of the Italian cities clung to her, even in the darkest straits to which she was reduced by Hannibal.
Yet when the fall of her last great rival left Rome irresistible abroad, her methods changed. It is hard to see how even Carthaginians could have been more cruel, more grasping, more corrupt than the Roman rulers of the provinces. Having conquered the governments of the world, Rome had to face outbreak after outbreak from the unarmed, unsheltered masses of the people. Her barbarity drove them to mad despair. "Servile" wars, slave outbreaks are dotted over all the last century of the Roman Republic.
The good, if there was any good, that Roman dominion brought the world at that period was the spreading of Greek culture across the western half of the world. As Rome mastered the Greek states one by one, their genius won a subtler triumph over the conqueror. Her generals recognized and admired a culture superior to their own. They carried off the statues of Greece for the adornment of their villas, and with equal eagerness they appropriated her manners and her thought, her literature and her gods.
But this superficial culture could not save the Roman Republic from the dry-rot that sapped her vitals from within. As a mere matter of numbers, the actual citizens of Rome or even of the semi-Roman districts close around her were too few to continue fighting over all the vast empire they controlled. The sturdy peasant population of Italy slowly disappeared. The actual inhabitants of the capital came to consist of a few thousand vastly wealthy families, who held all the power, a few thousand more of poorer citizens dependent on the rich, and then a vast swarm of slaves and foreigners, feeders on the crumbs of the Roman table.
In the battles against Carthage, the mass of Rome's armies had consisted of her own citizens or of allies closely united to them in blood and fortune. Her later victories were won by hired troops, men gathered from every clime and every race. Roman generals still might lead them, Roman laws environ them, Roman gold employ them. Yet the fact remained, that in these armies lay the strength of the Republic, no longer within her own walls, no longer in the stout hearts of her citizens.
Perhaps the world itself was slow in seeing this degeneration. The Gracchi brothers tried to stem the tide, and they were slain, sacrificed by the nation they sought to save. Cornelius Sulla was the man who completed, and at the same time made plain to all, the change that had been growing up. Having bitter grievances against his enemies in the capital, he appealed for redress, not to the Roman senate, not to the votes of the populace, but to the swords of the legions he commanded. Twice he marched his soldiers against Rome. He brushed aside the feeble resistance that was offered, and entered the city like a conqueror. The blood of those who had opposed his wishes flowed in streams. Three thousand senators and knights, the flower of the Roman aristocracy, were slain at his nod. Of the common folk and of the Italians throughout the peninsula, the slaughter was immeasurable. And when his bloody vengeance was at last glutted, Sulla ruled as an extravagant, conscienceless, licentious dictator. Rome had found a fitting master.
[Footnote 16: See The Gracchi and Their Reforms, page 259.]
THE STRUGGLE OF INDIVIDUALS FOR SUPREMACY
The Roman people, the mighty race who had defied a Hannibal at their gates, were clearly come to an end. Sulla had proved the power of the Republic to be an empty shell. After his death, men used the empty forms awhile; but the surviving aristocrats had learned their awful lesson. They put no further faith in the strength of the city; they watched the armies and the generals; they intrigued for the various commands. It was an exciting game. Life and fortune were the stakes they risked; the prize—the mastery of a helpless world, waiting to be plundered.
Pompey and Caesar proved the ablest players. Pompey overthrew what was left of the Greek Asiatic kingdoms and returned to Rome the idol of his troops, wellnigh as powerful as had been Sulla. Caesar, looking in his turn for a place to build up an army devoted to himself, selected Gaul and spent eight years in subduing and civilizing what was in a way the most important of all Rome's conquests. In Gaul he came in contact with another, fresher Aryan race. Rome received new soldiers for her legions, new brains fitted to understand and carry on the work of civilizing the world.
[Footnote 17: See Caesar Conquers Gaul, page 267.]
When Caesar, turning away from Britain, marched these new-formed legions back against Rome, even as Sulla had done, it was almost like another Gallic invasion of the South. Pompey fled. He gathered his legions from Asia; and the world resounded once more to the clash of arms.
[Footnote 18: See Roman Invasion and Conquest of Britain, page 285.]
This, then, was the third and final stage of the huge struggle for empire. War was still the business of the world. Rome had first defeated foreign nations; then she had to defeat the uprisings of the subject peoples; now her chiefs, finding her exhausted, fought among themselves for the supreme power. Armies of Asiatics, armies of Gauls, each claiming to represent Rome, battled over her helpless body.
Caesar was victorious. But when the conquering power which had once belonged to the united nation became embodied in a single man, there was a new way by which it might be checked. The government of Rome, like that of the Greek and Asiatic tyrannies, became a "despotism tempered by assassination"; and Caesar was its foremost victim.
[Footnote 19: See Assassination of Caesar, page 313.]
His death did not stop the fascinating gamble for empire. It only added one more move to the possible complexities of the game. The lesser players had their chance. They intrigued and they fought. Egypt, the last remaining civilized state outside of Rome, was drawn into the whirlpool also. Cleopatra and Antony acted their reckless parts, and at length out of the world-wide tumult emerged "young Octavius," to assume his role as "Augustus Caesar," acknowledged emperor of the world.
[Footnote 20: See Cleopatra's Conquest of Caesar and Antony, page 295.]
[Footnote 21: See Rome Becomes a Monarchy, page 333.]
Note, however, that the term "world" is still one of boast, not truth. Emperor over many men, Augustus was; but the powers of nature still shut many races safe beyond his mastery. The ocean bounded his dominion on the west; the deserts to the south and east; the German forests to the north. These last he did essay to conquer, but they proved beyond him. The wild German tribes having no cities, which they must defend at any cost, could afford to flee or hide. Choosing their own time and place they rose suddenly, smote the legions of Augustus, and melted into the wilderness again.
[Footnote 22: See Germans Under Arminius Revolt against Rome, page 362.]
Rome was checked at last. No civilized nation had been able to stand against her; but the wild tribes of the Germans and the Parthians did. Barbarism had still by far the larger portion of the world wherein to live and develop, and gather brain and brawn. Rome could not conquer the wilderness.
(For the next section of this general survey see Volume III.)
INSTITUTION AND FALL OF THE DECEMVIRATE IN ROME
HENRY G. LIDDELL
(When wars and pestilence had laid a heavy burden upon the Roman people, there appears to have been a period in which internal commotions and civil strife were stilled, and the quarrels of patricians and plebeians gave way to temporary truce. On the inevitable renewal of the old struggle the college of tribunes adopted a measure favorable to the plebeians in so far as it provided means for checking the abuse of power on the part of consuls in punishing members of that class in connection with the prosecution of suits against them.
The passage of this measure had the effect of reopening former conflicts, the patrician elements becoming greatly alarmed at what they regarded as a fresh encroachment upon their hereditary rights. The contest was long and bitter, each side either bringing forward or rejecting again and again the same measures or the same representatives.
Finally, compromises were made, and in the year B.C. 452 a commission of ten men, called decemvirs, constituting the Decemvirate, was chosen, consisting wholly of patricians, who entered with great efficiency upon the discharge of legislative duties which resulted in the production of a new code. This was approved by the senate and by the popular representatives, and was published in the form of ten copper plates or tables, which were affixed to the speaker's pulpit in the Forum. Among the new decemvirs appointed in the year B.C. 450 were several plebeians, the first official representatives of the entire people who were chosen from that class.)
The patrician burgesses endeavored to wrest independence from the "plebs" after the battle of Lake Regillus; and the latter, ruined by constant wars with the neighboring nations, being compelled to make good their losses by borrowing money from patrician creditors, and liable to become bondsmen in default of payment, at length deserted the city, and only returned on condition of being protected by tribunes of their own; they then, by the firmness of Publilius Volero and Laetorius, obtained the right of electing these tribunes at their own assembly, the "Comitia of the Tribes." Finally the great consul Spurius Cassius endeavored to relieve the commonalty by an agrarian law, so as to better their condition permanently.
The execution of the Agrarian law was constantly evaded. But on the conquest of Antium from the Volscians, in the year B.C. 468, a colony was sent thither, and this was one of the first examples of a distribution of public land to poorer citizens; which answered two purposes—the improvement of their condition, and the defence of the place against the enemy.
Nor did the tribunes, now made altogether independent of the patricians, fail to assert their power. One of the first persons who felt the force of their arm was the second Appius Claudius. This Sabine noble, following his father's example, had, after the departure of the Fabii, led the opposition to the Publilian law. When he took the field against the Volscians, his soldiers would not fight, and the stern commander put to death every tenth man in his legions. For the acts of his consulship he was brought to trial by the tribunes M. Duillius and C. Sicinius. Seeing that conviction was certain, the proud patrician avoided humiliation by suicide.
Nevertheless the border wars still continued, and the plebeians suffered much. To the evils of debt and want were added about this time the horrors of pestilential disease, which visited the Roman territory several times at that period. In one year (B.C. 464) the two consuls, two of the four augurs, and the curio Maximus, who was the head of all the patricians, were swept off—a fact which implies the death of a vast number of less distinguished persons. The government was administered by the plebeian aediles, under the control of senatorial interreges. The Volscians and Aequians ravaged the country up to the walls of Rome; and the safety of the city must be attributed to the Latins and Hernici, not to the men of Rome.
Meantime the tribunes had in vain demanded a full execution of the Agrarian law. But in the year B.C. 462, one of the Sacred College, by name C. Terentilius Harsa, came forward with a bill, the object of which was to give the plebeians a surer footing in the state. This man perceived that as long as the consuls retained their almost despotic power, and were elected by the influence of the patricians, this order had it in its power to thwart all measures, even after they were passed, which tended to advance the interests of the plebeians. He therefore no longer demanded the execution of the Agrarian law, but proposed that a commission of ten men (decemviri) should be appointed to draw up constitutional laws for regulating the future relations of the patricians and plebeians.
The Reform Bill of Terentilius was, as might be supposed, vehemently resisted by the patrician burgesses. But the plebeians supported their champion no less warmly. For five consecutive years the same tribunes were reelected and in vain endeavored to carry the bill. This was the time which least fulfils the character which we have claimed for the Roman people—patience and temperance, combined with firmness in their demands. To prevent the tribunes from carrying their law, the younger patricians thronged to the assemblies and interfered with all proceedings; Terentilius, they said, was endeavoring to confound all distinction between the orders. Some scenes occurred which seem to show that both sides were prepared for civil war.
In the year B.C. 460 the city was alarmed by hearing that the Capitol had been seized by a band of Sabines and exiled Romans, under the command of one Herdonius. Who these exiles were is uncertain. But we know, by the legend of Cincinnatus, that Caeso Quinctius, the son of that old hero, was an exile. It has been inferred, therefore, that he was among them, that the tribunes had succeeded in banishing from the city the most violent of their opponents, and that these persons had not scrupled to associate themselves with Sabines to recover their homes. The consul Valerius, aided by the Latins of Tusculum, levied an army to attack the insurgents, on condition that after success the law should be fully considered. The exiles were driven out and Herdonius was killed. But the consul fell in the assault, and the patricians, led by old Cincinnatus, refused to fulfil his promises.
Then followed the danger of the AEquian invasion, to which the legend of Cincinnatus, as given above, refers. The stern old man used his dictatorial power quite as much to crush the tribunes at home as to conquer the enemies abroad.
One of the historians tells us that in this period of seditious violence many of the leading plebeians were assassinated (as the tribune Genucius had been), and to this time only can be attributed the horrible story, mentioned by more than one writer, that nine tribunes were burned alive at the instance of their colleague Mucius. Society was utterly disorganized. The two orders were on the brink of civil war. It seemed as if Rome was to become the city of discord, not of law. Happily, there were moderate men in both orders. Now, as at the time of the secession, their voices prevailed, and a compromise was arranged.
In the eighth year after the first promulgation of the Terentilian law, this compromise was made (B.C. 454). The law itself was no longer pressed by the tribunes. The patricians, on the other hand, so far gave way as to allow three men (triumviri) to be appointed, who were to travel into Greece, and bring back a copy of the laws of Solon, as well as the laws and institutes of any other Greek states which they might deem good and useful. These were to be the groundwork of a new code of laws, such as should give fair and equal rights to both orders and restrain the arbitrary power of the patrician magistrates.
Another concession made by the patrician lords was a small installment of the Agrarian law. L. Icilius, tribune of the plebs, proposed that all the Aventine hill, being public land, should be made over to the plebs, to be their quarter forever, as the other hills were occupied by the patricians and their clients. This hill, it will be remembered, was consecrated to the goddess Diana (Jana), and though included in the walls of Servius, was yet not within the sacred limits (pomoerium) of the patrician city. After some opposition the patricians suffered this Icilian law to pass, in hopes of soothing the anger of the plebeians. The land was parcelled out into building-sites. But as there was not enough to give a separate plot to every plebeian householder that wished to live in the city, one allotment was assigned to several persons, who built a joint house flats or stories, each of which was inhabited—as in Edinburgh and in most foreign towns—by a separate family.
The three men who had been sent into Greece returned in the third year (B.C. 452). They found the city free from domestic strife, partly from the concessions already made, partly from expectation of what was now to follow, and partly from the effect of a pestilence which had broken out anew.
So far did moderate counsels now prevail among the patricians, that after some little delay they agreed to suspend the ordinary government by the consuls and other officers, and in their stead to appoint a council of ten, who were, during their existence, to be intrusted with all the functions of government. But they were to have a double duty: they were not only an administrative, but also a legislative council. On the one hand, they were to conduct the government, administer justice, and command the armies. On the other, they were to draw up a code of laws by which equal justice was to be dealt out to the whole Roman people, to patricians and plebeians alike, and by which especially the authority to be exercised by the consuls, or chief magistrates, was to be clearly determined and settled.
This supreme council of ten, or decemvirs, was first appointed in the year B.C. 450. They were all patricians. At their head stood Appius Claudius and T. Genucius, who had already been chosen consuls for this memorable year. This Appius Claudius (the third of his name) was son and grandson of those two patrician chiefs who had opposed the leaders of the plebeians so vehemently in the matter of the tribunate. But he affected a different conduct from his sires. He was the most popular man of the whole council, and became in fact the sovereign of Rome. At first he used his great power well, and the first year's government of the decemvirs was famed for justice and moderation.
They also applied themselves diligently to their great work of law-making, and before the end of the year had drawn up a code of ten tables, which were posted in the Forum, that all citizens might examine them and suggest amendments to the decemvirs. After due time thus spent, the ten tables were confirmed and made law at the Comitia of the Centuries. By this code equal justice was to be administered to both orders without distinction of persons.
At the close of the year the first decemvirs laid down their office, just as the consuls and other officers of state had been accustomed to do before. They were succeeded by a second set of ten, who, for the next year at least, were to conduct the government like their predecessors. The only one of the old decemvirs reelected was Appius Claudius. The patricians, indeed, endeavored to prevent even this, and to this end he was himself appointed to preside at the new elections; for it was held impossible for a chief magistrate to return his own name, when he was himself presiding. But Appius scorned precedents. He returned himself as elected, together with nine others, men of no name, while two of the great Quinctian gens, who offered themselves, were rejected.
Of the new decemvirs, it is certain that three—and it is probable that five—were plebeians. Appius, with the plebeian Oppius, held the judicial office, and remained in the city; and these two seem to have been regarded as the chiefs. The other six commanded the armies and discharged the duties previously assigned to the quaestors and aediles.
The first decemvirs had earned the respect and esteem of their fellow-citizens. The new Council of Ten deserved the hatred which has ever since cloven to their name. Appius now threw off the mask which he had so long worn, and assumed his natural character—the same as had distinguished his sire and grandsire, of unhappy memory. He became an absolute despot. His brethren in the council offered no hinderance to his will; even the plebeian decemvirs, bribed by power, fell into his way of action and supported his tyranny. They each had twelve lictors, who carried fasces with the axes in them the symbol of absolute power, as in the times of the kings; so that it was said, "Rome had now twelve Tarquins instead of one, and one hundred and twenty armed lictors instead of twelve!" All freedom of speech ceased. The senate was seldom called together. The leading men, patricians and plebeians, left the city. The outward aspect of things was that of perfect calm and peace, but an opportunity only was wanting for the discontent which was smouldering in all men's hearts to break out and show itself.
By the end of the year the decemvirs had added two more tables to the code, so that there were now twelve tables. But these two last were of a most oppressive and arbitrary kind, devoted chiefly to restore the ancient privileges of the patrician caste. Of these tables, it should be observed that they were made laws not by the vote of the people, but by the simple edict of the decemvirs.
It was, no doubt, expected that the second decemvirs also would have held comitia for the election of successors. But Appius and his colleagues showed no such intention, and when the year came to a close they continued to hold office as if they had been reelected. So firmly did their power seem to be established that we hear of no endeavor being made to induce them to resign.
In the course of this next year (B.C. 449), the border wars were renewed. On the north the Sabines, and the AEquians on the northeast, invaded the Roman country at the same time. The latter penetrated as far as Mount Algidus, as in B.C. 458, when they were routed by old Cincinnatus. The decemvirs probably, like the patrician burgesses in former times, regarded these inroads not without satisfaction; for they turned away the mind of the people from their sufferings at home. Yet from these very wars sprung the events which overturned their power and destroyed themselves.
Two armies were levied, one to check the Sabines, the other to oppose the AEquians, and these were commanded by the six military decemvirs. Appius and Oppius remained to administer affairs at home. But there was no spirit in the armies. Both were defeated; and that which was opposed to the AEquians was compelled to take refuge within the walls of Tusculum.
Then followed two events which were preserved in well-known legends, and which give the popular narrative of the manner in which the power of the decemvirs was at last overthrown.
LEGEND OF SICCIUS DENTATUS
In the army sent against the Sabines, Siccius Dentatus was known as the bravest man. He was then serving as a centurion; he had fought in one hundred and twenty battles; he had slain eight champions in single combat; had saved the lives of fourteen citizens; had received forty wounds, all in front; had followed in nine triumphal processions, and had won crowns and decorations without number. This gallant veteran had taken an active part in the civil contests between the two orders, and was now suspected, by the decemvirs commanding the Sabine army, of plotting against them. Accordingly they determined to get rid of him; and for this end they sent him out as if to reconnoitre, with a party of soldiers, who were secretly instructed to murder him. Having discovered their design, he set his back against a rock and resolved to sell his life dearly. More than one of his assailants fell and the rest stood at bay around him, not venturing to come within sword's length, when one wretch climbed up the rock behind and crushed the brave old man with a massive stone. But the manner of his death could not be hidden from the army, and the generals only prevented an outbreak by honoring him with a magnificent funeral.
Such was the state of things in the Sabine army.
LEGEND OF VIRGINIA
[Footnote 23: Dionysius is the authority for this legend.]
The other army had a still grosser outrage to complain of. In this there was a notable centurion, Virginius by name. His daughter Virginia, just ripening into womanhood, beautiful as the day, was betrothed to L. Icilius, the tribune who had carried the law for allotting the Aventine hill to the plebeians. Appius Claudius, the decemvir, saw her and lusted to make her his own. And with this intent he ordered one of his clients, M. Claudius by name, to lay hands upon her as she was going to her school in the Forum, and to claim her as his slave. The man did so; and when the cries of her nurse brought a crowd round them, M. Claudius insisted on taking her before the decemvir, in order, as he said, to have the case fairly tried. Her friends consented; and no sooner had Appius heard the matter than he gave judgment that the maiden should be delivered up to the claimant, who should be bound to produce her in case her alleged father appeared to gainsay the claim. Now this judgment was directly against one of the laws of the twelve tables, which Appius himself had framed; for therein it was provided that any person being at freedom should continue free till it was proved that such person was a slave. Icilius, therefore, with Numitorius, the uncle of the maiden, boldly argued against the legality of the judgment, and at length Appius, fearing a tumult, agreed to leave the girl in their hands on condition of their giving bail to bring her before him next morning; and then, if Virginius did not appear, he would at once, he said, give her up to her pretended master. To this Icilius consented, but he delayed giving bail, pretending that he could not procure it readily; and in the mean time he sent off a secret message to the camp on Algidus, to inform Virginius of what had happened. As soon as the bail was given, Appius also sent a message to the decemvirs in command of that army, ordering them to refuse leave of absence to Virginius. But when this last message arrived, Virginius was already halfway on his road to Rome; for the distance was not more than twenty miles, and he had started at nightfall.
Next morning, early, Virginius entered the Forum, leading his daughter by the hand, both clad in mean attire. A great number of friends and matrons attended him, and he went about among the people entreating them to support him against the tyranny of Appius. So when Appius came to take his place on the judgment seat he found the Forum full of people, all friendly to Virginius and his cause. But he inherited the boldness as well as the vices of his sires, and though he saw Virginius standing there ready to prove that he was the maiden's father, he at once gave judgment, against his own law, that Virginia should be given up to M. Claudius till it should be proved that she was free. The wretch came up to seize her, and the lictors kept the people from him. Virginius, now despairing of deliverance, begged Appius to allow him to ask the maiden whether she were indeed his daughter or not. "If," said he, "I find I am not her father, I shall bear her loss the lighter." Under this pretence he drew her aside to a spot upon the northern side of the Forum, afterward called the "Nova Tabernce" and here, snatching up a knife from a butcher's stall, he cried: "In this way only can I keep thee free!"—and so saying, stabbed her to the heart. Then he turned to the tribunal and said, "On thee, Appius, and on thy head be this blood!" Appius cried out to seize "the murderer," but the crowd made way for Virginius, and he passed through them holding up the bloody knife, and went out at the gate and made straight for the army. There, when the soldiers had heard his tale, they at once abandoned their decemviral generals and marched to Rome. They were soon followed by the other army from the Sabine frontier; for to them Icilius had gone, and Numitorius; and they found willing ears among men who were already enraged by the murder of old Siccius Dentatus. So the two armies joined their banners, elected new generals, and encamped upon the Aventine hill, the quarter of the plebeians.
Meantime the people at home had risen against Appius, and after driving him from the Forum they joined their armed fellow-citizens upon the Aventine. There the whole body of the commons, armed and unarmed, hung like a dark cloud ready to burst upon the city.
Whatever may be the truth of the legends of Siccius and Virginia, there can be no doubt that the conduct of the decemvirs had brought matters to the verge of civil war. At this juncture the senate met, and the moderate party so far prevailed as to send their own leaders, M. Horatius Barbatus and L. Valerius Potitus, to negotiate with the insurgents. The plebeians were ready to listen to the voices of these men; for they remembered that the consuls of the first year of the Republic, when the patrician burgesses were friends to the plebeians, were named Valerius and Horatius; and so they appointed M. Duillius, a former tribune, to be their spokesman. But no good came of it; and Duillius persuaded the plebeians to leave the city, and once more to occupy the Sacred Mount.
Then remembrances of the great secession came back upon the minds of the patricians, and the senate, observing the calm and resolute bearing of the plebeian leaders, compelled the decemvirs to resign, and sent back Valerius and Horatius to negotiate anew.
The leaders of the plebeians demanded: First, that the tribuneship should be restored, and the Comitia Tributa recognized; secondly, that a right of appeal to the people against the power of the supreme magistrate should be secured; thirdly, that full indemnity should be granted to the movers and promoters of the late secession; fourthly, that the decemvirs should be burnt alive.
Of these demands the deputies of the senate agreed to the three first; but the fourth, they said, was unworthy of a free people; it was a piece of tyranny, as bad as any of the worst acts of the late government; and it was needless, because anyone who had reason of complaint against the late decemvirs might proceed against them according to law. The plebeians listened to these words of wisdom, and withdrew their savage demand. The other three were confirmed by the fathers, and the plebeians returned to their quarters on the Aventine. Here they held an assembly according to their tribes, in which the pontifex Maximus presided; and they now, for the first time, elected ten tribunes—first Virginius, Numitorius, and Icilius, then Duillius and six others: so full were their minds of the wrong done to the daughter of Virginius; so entirely was it the blood of young Virginia that overthrew the decemvirs, even as that of Lucretia had driven out the Tarquins.
The plebeians had now returned to the city, headed by their ten tribunes, a number which was never again altered so long as the tribunate continued in existence. It remained for the patricians to redeem the pledges given by their agents Valerius and Horatius on the other demands of the plebeian leaders.
The first thing to settle was the election of the supreme magistrates. The decemvirs had fallen, and the state was without any executive government.
It has been supposed, as we have said above, that the government of the decemvirs was intended to be perpetual. The patricians gave up their consuls, and the plebeians their tribunes, on condition that each order was to be admitted to an equal share in the new decemviral college. But the tribunes were now restored in augmented number, and it was but natural that the patricians should insist on again occupying all places in the supreme magistracy. By common consent, as it would seem, the Comitia of the Centuries met and elected to the consulate the two patricians who had shown themselves the friends of both orders: L. Valerius Potitus and M. Horatius Barbatus. Thus ended the government of the decemvirate.
PERICLES RULES IN ATHENS
(Under the sway of Pericles many changes occurred in the civil affairs of Athens affecting the constitution of the state and the character and administration of its laws. Events of magnitude marked the struggles of the Athenians with other powers. The development of art and learning was carried to an unprecedented height, and the Age of Pericles is the most illustrious in ancient history.
Pericles began his career by opposing the aristocratic party of Athens, led by Cimon. In this policy he was aided by complications arising with Sparta and Argos. Directing his attack particularly against the Areopagus, he succeeded in greatly modifying the composition of that body and diminishing its powers. The exile of Cimon, the strengthening of Athens by new alliances, and the vigorous prosecution of wars against Persia and Corinth combined to establish his supremacy, which was still further confirmed by the building of the long walls connecting Athens with the sea, and by the acquisition of neighboring territory.
A favorable convention was concluded with Persia, Athens resumed a state of general peace, and Pericles found himself at the head of a powerful empire formed out of a confederacy previously existing. The strength of this empire was indeed soon impaired by ill-judged military movements, against the advice of Pericles himself, but during six years of peace which followed he succeeded in perfecting a state whose preeminence in intellectual, political, and artistic development has had no rival.
In the later wars of Athens the renown of Pericles was still further enhanced; but his chief glory arose from the architectural adornment of the city, and especially from the building of the Parthenon and the splendid decoration of the Acropolis; while his work of judicial reform remains an added monument to his fame, and among the masters of eloquence his orations preserve for him a foremost place.)
Pericles was of the tribe Acamantis, and of the township of Cholargos, and was descended from the noblest families in Athens, on both his father's and mother's side. His father, Xanthippus, defeated the Persian generals at Mycale, while his mother, Agariste, was a descendant of Clisthenes, who drove the sons of Pisistratus out of Athens, put an end to their despotic rule, and established a new constitution admirably calculated to reconcile all parties and save the country. She dreamed that she had brought forth a lion, and a few days afterward was delivered of Pericles. His body was symmetrical, but his head was long, out of all proportion; for which reason, in nearly all his statues he is represented wearing a helmet, as the sculptors did not wish, I suppose, to reproach him with this blemish. The Attic poets called him squill-head, and the comic poet Cratinus, in his play Chirones, says;
"From Chronos old and faction Is sprung a tyrant dread, And all Olympus calls him The man-compelling head."
And again in the play of Nemesis:
"Come, hospitable Zeus, with lofty head."
Teleclides, too, speaks of him as sitting
"Bowed down With a dreadful frown, Because matters of state have gone wrong, Until at last, From his head so vast, His ideas burst forth in a throng."
And Eupolis, in his play of Demoi, asking questions about each of the great orators as they come up from the other world one after the other, when at last Pericles ascends, says:
"The great headpiece of those below."
Most writers tell us that his tutor in music was Damon, whose name they say should be pronounced with the first syllable short. Aristotle, however, says that he studied under Pythoclides. This Damon, it seems, was a sophist of the highest order, who used the name of music to conceal this accomplishment from the world, but who really trained Pericles for his political contests just as a trainer prepares an athlete for the games. However, Damon's use of music as a pretext did not impose upon the Athenians, who banished him by ostracism, as a busybody and lover of despotism.
Pericles greatly admired Anaxagoras, and became deeply interested in grand speculations, which gave him a haughty spirit and a lofty style of oratory far removed from vulgarity and low buffoonery, and also an imperturbable gravity of countenance and a calmness of demeanor and appearance which no incident could disturb as he was speaking, while the tone of his voice never showed that he heeded any interruption. These advantages greatly impressed the people. The poet Ion, however, says that Pericles was overbearing and insolent in conversation, and that his pride had in it a great deal of contempt for others, while he praises Cimon's civil, sensible, and polished address. But we may disregard Ion as a mere dramatic poet who always sees in great men something upon which to exercise his satiric vein; whereas Zeno used to invite those who called the haughtiness of Pericles a mere courting of popularity and affectation of grandeur, to court popularity themselves in the same fashion, since the acting of such a part might insensibly mould their dispositions until they resembled that of their model.
Pericles when young greatly feared the people. He had a certain personal likeness to the despot Pisistratus; and as his own voice was sweet, and he was ready and fluent in speech, old men who had known Pisistratus were struck by his resemblance to him. He was also rich, of noble birth, and had powerful friends, so that he feared he might be banished by ostracism, and consequently held aloof from politics, but proved himself a brave and daring soldier in the wars. But when Aristides was dead, Themistocles banished, and Cimon generally absent on distant campaigns, Pericles engaged in public affairs, taking the popular side, that of the poor and many, against that of the rich and few; quite contrary to his own feelings, which were entirely aristocratic. He feared, it seems, that he might be suspected of a design to make himself despot, and seeing that Cimon took the side of the nobility, and was much beloved by them, he betook himself to the people, as a means of obtaining safety for himself, and a strong party to combat that of Cimon. He immediately altered his mode of life; was never seen in any street except that which led to the market-place and the national assembly, and declined all invitations to dinner and such like social gatherings. But Pericles feared to make himself too common even with the people, and only addressed them after long intervals; not speaking upon every subject, and not constantly addressing them, but, as Critolaus says, keeping himself like the Salaminian trireme for great crises, and allowing his friends and the other orators to manage matters of less moment.
Wishing to adopt a style of speaking consonant with his haughty manner and lofty spirit, Pericles made free use of the instrument which Anaxagoras, as it were, put into his hand, and often tinged his oratory with natural philosophy. He far surpassed all others by using this "lofty intelligence and power of universal consummation," as the divine Plato calls it; in addition to his natural advantages, adorning his oratory with apt illustrations drawn from physical science. For this reason some think that he was nicknamed the Olympian; though some refer this to his improvement of the city by new and beautiful buildings, and others from his power both as a politician and a general. It is not by any means unlikely that these causes all combined to produce the name.
Pericles was very cautious about his words, and, whenever he ascended the tribune to speak, used first to pray to the gods that nothing unfitted for the present occasion might fall from his lips. He left no writings, except the measures which he brought forward, and very few of his sayings are recorded.
Thucydides represents the constitution under Pericles as a democracy in name, but really an aristocracy, because the government was all in the hands of one leading citizen. But as many other writers tell us that, during his administration, the people received grants of land abroad, and were indulged with dramatic entertainments, and payments for their services, in consequence of which they fell into bad habits, and became extravagant and licentious, instead of sober hard-working people as they had been before, let us consider the history of this change, viewing it by the light of the facts themselves. First of all, Pericles had to measure himself with Cimon, and to transfer the affections of the people from Cimon to himself. As he was not so rich a man as Cimon, who used from his own ample means to give a dinner daily to any poor Athenian who required it, clothe aged persons, and take away the fences round his property, so that anyone might gather the fruit, Pericles, unable to vie with him in this, turned his attention to a distribution of the public funds among the people, at the suggestion, we are told by Aristotle, of Damonides of Oia. By the money paid for public spectacles, for citizens acting as jurymen, and other paid offices, and largesses, he soon won over the people to his side, so that he was able to use them in his attack upon the senate of the Areopagus, of which he himself was not a member, never having been chosen archon, or thesmothete, or king archon, or polemarch. These offices had from ancient times been obtained by lot, and it was only through them that those who had approved themselves in the discharge of them were advanced to the Areopagus. For this reason it was that Pericles, when he gained strength with the populace, destroyed this senate, making Ephialtes bring forward a bill which restricted its judicial powers, while he himself succeeded in getting Cimon banished by ostracism, as a friend of Sparta and a hater of the people, although he was second to no Athenian in birth or fortune, and won most brilliant victories over the Persians, and had filled Athens with plunder and spoils of war. So great was the power of Pericles with the common people.
One of the provisions of ostracism was that the person banished should remain in exile for ten years. But during this period the Lacedaemonians with a great force invaded the territory of Tanagra, and, as the Athenians at once marched out to attack them, Cimon came back from exile, took his place in full armor among the ranks of his own tribe, and hoped by distinguishing himself in the battle among his fellow-citizens to prove the falsehood of the Laconian sympathies with which he had been charged. However, the friends of Pericles drove him away, as an exile. On the other hand, Pericles fought more bravely in that battle than he had ever fought before, and surpassed everyone in reckless daring. The friends of Cimon also, whom Pericles had accused of Laconian leanings, fell, all together, in their ranks; and the Athenians felt great sorrow for their treatment of Cimon, and a great longing for his restoration, now that they had lost a great battle on the frontier, and expected to be hard pressed during the summer by the Lacedaemonians. Pericles, perceiving this, lost no time in gratifying the popular wish, but himself proposed the decree for his recall; and Cimon on his return reconciled the two states, for he was on familiar terms with the Spartans, who were hated by Pericles and the other leaders of the common people. Some say that, before Cimon's recall by Pericles, a secret compact was made with him by Elpinice, Cimon's sister, that Cimon was to proceed on foreign service against the Persians with a fleet of two hundred ships, while Pericles was to retain his power in the city. It is also said that, when Cimon was being tried for his life, Elpinice softened the resentment of Pericles, who was one of those appointed to impeach him. When Elpinice came to beg her brother's life of him, he answered with a smile, "Elpinice, you are too old to meddle in affairs of this sort." But, for all that, he spoke only once, for form's sake, and pressed Cimon less than any of his other prosecutors. How, then, can one put any faith in Idomeneus, when he accuses Pericles of procuring the assassination of his friend and colleague Ephialtes, because he was jealous of his reputation? This seems an ignoble calumny which Idomeneus has drawn from some obscure source to fling at a man who, no doubt, was not faultless, but of a generous spirit and noble mind, incapable of entertaining so savage and brutal a design. Ephialtes was disliked and feared by the nobles, and was inexorable in punishing those who wronged the people; wherefore his enemies had him assassinated by means of Aristodicus of Tanagra. This we are told by Aristotle. Cimon died in Cyprus while in command of the Athenian forces.
The nobles now perceived that Pericles was the most important man in the state, and far more powerful than any other citizen; wherefore, as they still hoped to check his authority, and not allow him to be omnipotent, they set up Thucydides, of the township of Alopecae, as his rival, a man of good sense and a relative of Cimon, but less of a warrior and more of a politician, who, by watching his opportunities, and opposing Pericles in debate, soon brought about a balance of power. He did not allow the nobles to mix themselves up with the people in the public assembly as they had been wont to do, so that their dignity was lost among the masses; but he collected them into a separate body, and by thus concentrating their strength was able to use it to counterbalance that of the other party. From the beginning these two factions had been but imperfectly welded together, because their tendencies were different; but now the struggle for power between Pericles and Thucydides drew a sharp line of demarcation between them, and one was called the party of the Many, the other that of the Few. Pericles now courted the people in every way, constantly arranging public spectacles, festivals, and processions in the city, by which he educated the Athenians to take pleasure in refined amusements; and also he sent out sixty triremes to cruise every year, in which many of the people served for hire for eight months, learning and practising seamanship. Besides this he sent a thousand settlers to the Chersonese, five hundred to Naxos, half as many to Andros, a thousand to dwell among the Thracian tribe of the Bisaltae, and others to the new colony in Italy founded by the city of Sybaris, which was named Thurii. By this means he relieved the state of numerous idle agitators, assisted the necessitous, and overawed the allies of Athens by placing his colonists near them to watch their behavior.
The building of the temples, by which Athens was adorned, the people delighted, and the rest of the world astonished, and which now alone prove that the tales of the ancient power and glory of Greece are no fables, was what particularly excited the spleen of the opposite faction, who inveighed against him in the public assembly, declaring that the Athenians had disgraced themselves by transferring the common treasury of the Greeks from the island of Delos to their own custody. "Pericles himself," they urged, "has taken away the only possible excuse for such an act—the fear that it might be exposed to the attacks of the Persians when at Delos, whereas it would be safe at Athens. Greece has been outraged, and feels itself openly tyrannized over, when it sees us using the funds—which we extorted from it for the war against the Persians—for gilding and beautifying our city as if it were a vain woman, and adorning it with precious marbles and statues and temples worth a thousand talents." To this Pericles replied that the allies had no right to consider how their money was spent, so long as Athens defended them from the Persians; while they supplied neither horses, ships, nor men, but merely money, which the Athenians had a right to spend as they pleased, provided they afforded them that security which it purchased. It was right, he argued, that after the city had provided all that was necessary for war, it should devote its surplus money to the erection of buildings which would be a glory to it for all ages, while these works would create plenty by leaving no man unemployed, and encouraging all sorts of handicraft, so that nearly the whole city would earn wages, and thus derive both its beauty and its profit from itself. For those who were in the flower of their age, military service offered a means of earning money from the common stock; while, as he did not wish the mechanics and lower classes to be without their share, nor yet to see them receive it without doing work for it, he had laid the foundations of great edifices which would require industries of every kind to complete them; and he had done this in the interests of the lower classes, who thus, although they remained at home, would have just as good a claim to their share of the public funds as those who were serving at sea, in garrison, or in the field. The different materials used, such as stone, brass, ivory, gold, ebony, cypress-wood, and so forth, would require special artisans for each, such as carpenters, modelers, smiths, stone-masons, dyers, melters and moulders of gold, and ivory painters, embroiderers, workers in relief; and also men to bring them to the city, such as sailors and captains of ships and pilots for such as came by sea; and, for those who came by land, carriage builders, horse breeders, drivers, ropemakers, linen manufacturers, shoemakers, road menders, and miners. Each trade, moreover, employed a number of unskilled laborers, so that, in a word, there would be work for persons of every age and every class, and general prosperity would be the result.
These buildings were of immense size, and unequalled in beauty and grace, as the workmen endeavored to make the execution surpass the design in beauty; but what was most remarkable was the speed with which they were built. All these edifices, each of which one would have thought it would have taken many generations to complete, were all finished during the most brilliant period of one man's administration. In beauty each of them at once appeared venerable as soon as it was built; but even at the present day the work looks as fresh as ever, for they bloom with an eternal freshness which defies time, and seems to make the work instinct with an unfading spirit of youth.
The overseer and manager of the whole was Phidias, although there were other excellent architects and workmen, such as Callicrates and Ictinus, who built the Parthenon on the site of the old Hecatompedon, which had been destroyed by the Persians, and Coroebus, who began to build the Temple of Initiation at Eleusis, but who only lived to see the columns erected and the architraves placed upon them. On his death, Metagenes, of Xypete, added the frieze and the upper row of columns, and Xenocles, of Cholargos, crowned it with the domed roof over the shrine. As to the long wall, about which Socrates says that he heard Pericles bring forward a motion, Callicrates undertook to build it. The Odeum, which internally consisted of many rows of seats and many columns, and externally of a roof sloping on all sides from a central point, was said to have been built in imitation of the king of Persia's tent, and was built under Pericles' direction.
The Propylaea, before the Acropolis, were finished in five years by Mnesicles the architect; and a miraculous incident during the work seemed to show that the goddess did not disapprove, but rather encouraged and assisted the building. The most energetic and active of the workmen fell from a great height, and lay in a dangerous condition, given over by his doctors. Pericles grieved much for him; but the goddess appeared to him in a dream, and suggested a course of treatment by which Pericles quickly healed the workman. In consequence of this, he set up the brazen statue of Athene the Healer, near the old altar in the Acropolis. The golden statue of the goddess was made by Phidias, and his name appears upon the basement in the inscription. Almost everything was in his hands, and he gave his orders to all the workmen—as has been said before—because of his friendship with Pericles.
When the speakers of Thucydides' party complained that Pericles had wasted the public money, and destroyed the revenue, he asked the people in the assembly whether they thought he had spent much. When they answered, "Very much indeed," he said in reply; "Do not, then, put it down to the public account, but to mine; and I will inscribe my name upon all the public buildings." When Pericles said this, the people, either in admiration of his magnificence of manner, or being eager to bear their share in the glory of the new buildings, shouted to him with one accord to take what money he pleased from the treasury, and spend it as he pleased, without stint. And finally, he underwent the trial of ostracism with Thucydides, and not only succeeded in driving him into exile, but broke up his party.
As now there was no opposition to encounter in the city, and all parties had been blended into one, Pericles undertook the sole administration of the home and foreign affairs of Athens, dealing with the public revenue, the army, the navy, the islands and maritime affairs, and the great sources of strength which Athens derived from her alliances, as well with Greek as with foreign princes and states. Henceforth he became quite a different man: he no longer gave way to the people, and ceased to watch the breath of popular favor; but he changed the loose and licentious democracy which had hitherto existed, into a stricter aristocratic, or rather monarchical, form of government. This he used honorably and unswervingly for the public benefit, finding the people, as a rule, willing to second the measures which he explained to them to be necessary and to which he asked their consent, but occasionally having to use violence, and to force them, much against their will, to do what was expedient; like a physician dealing with some complicated disorder, who at one time allows his patient innocent recreation, and at another inflicts upon him sharp pains and bitter though salutary draughts. Every possible kind of disorder was to be found among a people possessing so great an empire as the Athenians, and he alone was able to bring them into harmony by playing alternately upon their hopes and fears, checking them when overconfident, and raising their spirits when they were cast down and disheartened. Thus, as Plato says, he was able to prove that oratory is the art of influencing men's minds, and to use it in its highest application, when it deals with men's passions and characters, which, like certain strings of a musical instrument, require a skilful and delicate touch. The secret of his power is to be found, however, as Thucydides says, not so much in his mere oratory as in his pure and blameless life, because he was so well known to be incorruptible, and indifferent to money; for though he made the city, which was a great one, into the greatest and richest city of Greece, and though he himself became more powerful than many independent sovereigns, who were able to leave their kingdoms to their sons, yet Pericles did not increase by one single drachma the estate which he received from his father. For forty years he held the first place among such men as Ephialtes, Leocrates, Myronides, Cimon, Tolmides, and Thucydides; and, after the fall and banishment of Thucydides by ostracism, he united in himself for five-and-twenty years all the various offices of state, which were supposed to last only for one year; and yet during the whole of that period proved himself incorruptible by bribes.
As the Lacedaemonians began to be jealous of the prosperity of the Athenians, Pericles, wishing to raise the spirit of the people and to make them feel capable of immense operations, passed a decree, inviting all the Greeks, whether inhabiting Europe or Asia, whether living in large cities or small ones, to send representatives to a meeting at Athens to deliberate about the restoration of the Greek temples which had been burned by the barbarians, about the sacrifices which were due in consequence of the vows which they had made to the gods on behalf of Greece before joining battle, and about the sea, that all men might be able to sail upon it in peace and without fear. To carry out this decree twenty men, selected from the citizens over fifty years of age, were sent out, five of whom invited the Ionian and Dorian Greeks in Asia and the islands as far as Lesbos and Rhodes, five went to the inhabitants of the Hellespont and Thrace as far as Byzantium, and five more proceeded to Boeotia, Phocis, and Peloponnesus, passing from thence through Locris to the neighboring continent as far as Acarnania and Ambracia; while the remainder journeyed through Euboea to the Oetaeans and the Malian Gulf, and to the Achaeans of Phthia and the Thessalians, urging them to join the assembly and take part in the deliberations concerning the peace and well-being of Greece. However, nothing was effected, and the cities never assembled, in consequence it is said of the covert hostility of the Lacedaemonians, and because the attempt was first made in Peloponnesus and failed there: yet I have inserted an account of it in order to show the lofty spirit and the magnificent designs of Pericles.
In his campaigns he was chiefly remarkable for caution, for he would not, if he could help it, begin a battle of which the issue was doubtful; nor did he wish to emulate those generals who have won themselves a great reputation by running risks and trusting to good luck. But he ever used to say to his countrymen, that none of them should come by their deaths through any act of his. Observing that Tolmides, the son of Tolmaeus, elated by previous successes and by the credit which he had gained as a general, was about to invade Boeotia in a reckless manner, and had persuaded a thousand young men to follow him without any support whatever, he endeavored to stop him, and made that memorable saying in the public assembly, that if Tolmides would not take the advice of Pericles, he would at any rate do well to consult that best of advisers, Time. This speech had but little success at the time; but when, a few days afterward, the news came that Tolmides had fallen in action at Coronea, and many noble citizens with him, Pericles was greatly respected and admired as a wise and patriotic man.
His most successful campaign was that in the Chersonesus, which proved the salvation of the Greeks residing there: for he not only settled a thousand colonists there, and thus increased the available force of the cities, but built a continuous line of fortifications reaching across the isthmus from one sea to the other, by which he shut off the Thracians, who had previously ravaged the peninsula, and put an end to a constant and harassing border warfare to which the settlers were exposed, as they had for neighbors tribes of wild plundering barbarians.
But that by which he obtained most glory and renown was when he started from Pegae, in the Megarian territory, and sailed round the Peloponnesus with a fleet of a hundred triremes; for he not only laid waste much of the country near the coast, as Tolmides had previously done, but he proceeded far inland, away from his ships, leading the troops who were on board, and terrified the inhabitants so much that they shut themselves up in their strongholds. The men of Sicyon alone ventured to meet him at Nemea, and them he overthrew in a pitched battle, and erected a trophy. Next he took on board troops from the friendly district of Achaia, and, crossing over to the opposite side of the Corinthian Gulf, coasted along past the mouth of the river Achelous, overran Acarnania, drove the people of Oeneadae to the shelter of their city walls, and after ravaging the country returned home, having made himself a terror to his enemies, and done good service to Athens; for not the least casualty, even by accident, befell the troops under his command.
When he sailed into the Black Sea with a great and splendidly equipped fleet, he assisted the Greek cities there, and treated them with consideration, and showed the neighboring savage tribes and their chiefs the greatness of his force, and his confidence in his power, by sailing where he pleased, and taking complete control over that sea. He left at Sinope thirteen ships, and a land force under the command of Lamachus, to act against Timesileon, who had made himself despot of that city. When he and his party were driven out, Pericles passed a decree that six hundred Athenian volunteers should sail to Sinope, and become citizens there, receiving the houses and lands which had formerly been in the possession of the despot and his party. But in other cases he would not agree to the impulsive proposals of the Athenians, and he opposed them when, elated by their power and good fortune, they talked of recovering Egypt and attacking the seaboard of the Persian empire. Many, too, were inflamed with that ill-starred notion of an attempt on Sicily, which was afterward blown into a flame by Alcibiades and other orators. Some even dreamed of the conquest of Etruria and Carthage, in consequence of the greatness which the Athenian empire had already reached, and the full tide of success which seemed to attend it.
Pericles, however, restrained these outbursts, and would not allow the people to meddle with foreign states, but used the power of Athens chiefly to preserve and guard her already existing empire, thinking it to be of paramount importance to oppose the Lacedaemonians, a task to which he bent all his energies, as is proved by many of his acts, especially in connection with the Sacred War. In this war the Lacedaemonians sent a force to Delphi, and made the Phocians, who held it, give it up to the people of Delphi: but as soon as they were gone Pericles made an expedition into the country, and restored the temple to the Phocians; and as the Lacedaemonians had scratched the oracle which the Delphians had given them, on the forehead of the brazen wolf there, Pericles got a response from the oracle for the Athenians, and carved it on the right side of the same wolf.
Events proved that Pericles was right in confining the Athenian empire to Greece. First of all Euboea revolted, and he was obliged to lead an army to subdue that island. Shortly after this, news came that the Megarians had become hostile, and that an army, under the command of Plistoanax, king of the Lacedaemonians, was menacing the frontier of Attica. Pericles now in all haste withdrew his troops from Euboea, to meet the invader. He did not venture on an engagement with the numerous and warlike forces of the enemy, although repeatedly invited by them to fight: but, observing that Plistoanax was a very young man, and entirely under the influence of Cleandrides, whom the ephors had sent to act as his tutor and counsellor because of his tender years, he opened secret negotiations with the latter, who at once, for a bribe, agreed to withdraw the Peloponnesians from Attica. When their army returned and dispersed, the Lacedaemonians were so incensed that they imposed a fine on their king, and condemned Cleandrides, who fled the country, to be put to death. This Cleandrides was the father of Gylippus, who caused the ruin of the Athenian expedition in Sicily. Avarice seems to have been hereditary in the family, for Gylippus himself, after brilliant exploits in war, was convicted of taking bribes, and banished from Sparta in disgrace.
When Pericles submitted the accounts of the campaign to the people, there was an item of ten talents, "for a necessary purpose," which the people passed without any questioning, or any curiosity to learn the secret. Some historians, among whom is Theophrastus the philosopher, say that Pericles sent ten talents annually to Sparta, by means of which he bribed the chief magistrates to defer the war, thus not buying peace, but time to make preparations for a better defence. He immediately turned his attention to the insurgents in Euboea, and proceeding thither with a fleet of fifty sail, and five thousand heavy armed troops, he reduced their cities to submission. He banished from Chalcis the "equestrian order," as it was called, consisting of men of wealth and station; and he drove all the inhabitants of Hestiaea out of their country, replacing them by Athenian settlers. He treated these people with this pitiless severity, because they had captured an Athenian ship, and put its crew to the sword. After this, as the Athenians and Lacedaemonians made a truce for thirty years, Pericles decreed the expedition against Samos, on the pretext that they had disregarded the commands of the Athenians to cease from their war with the Milesians.