THE Author of this Abridgment of Dr. Goldsmith's History of Greece, having long lived in the greatest intimacy with that ingenious Writer, and having thereby had an opportunity to know his sentiments on the subject of historical composition, and particularly on the me­thod of forming Abridgments, has endea­voured, as far as his abilities would admit, to execute the work in such a manner, as, he imagines, the Doctor himself would have done, had he lived to add this, as he certainly intended, to his many other valu­able literary productions.


  • CHAP. I. OF the earliest state of Greece. Argos, Athens, and Sparta founded. The Heraclidae. Cecrops. Co­drus. Helena. Menelaus. Paris. Oedipus. Jo­casta. Periander. Cadmus invents the Greek al­phabet page 1
  • CHAP. II. Of the government of Sparta, and the laws of Ly­curgus. The Helots. The Ephori. Equal divi­sion of lands. Iron money introduced. Public meals. Black broth. Education of youth. Deformed children exposed to perish 5
  • CHAP. III. Of the government of Athens, the laws of Solon, and the history of the republic, from the time of Solon to the commencement of the Persian war. Draco's laws. The seven wise men of Greece. Croesus king of Lydia. Abolition of debts. Division of the peo­ple into four classes. The court of Areopagus. Pi­sistratus. Hippias and Hipparchus. Harmodius and Aristogiton 15
  • [Page vi] CHAP. IV. Hippias dethroned and banished. Ostracism. The Per­sians invade Greece. Miltiades. Themistocles. Aristides. Battle of Marathon. Death of Mil­tiades 23
  • CHAP. V. Xerxes invades Greece with a numerous fleet and an immense army. Leonidas opposes him, with a handful of men, at the straits of Thermopylae. Gloriously falls in the defence of his country. Themistocles chosen generalissimo of the Greek forces. Athens abandoned, and sacked by the Persians. Battle of Salamis. Xerxes retreats out of Greece 32
  • CHAP. VI. Mardenius, the Persian general, who was left behind with an army of three hundred thousand men, endea­vours to corrupt the Athenians, but in vain. Ravages Attica. Is defeated at Plataea. Sea-fight at Mycale 46
  • CHAP. VII. Athens rebuilt. Aristides receives the surname of Just. Pausanias starved to death. Themistocles obliged to abandon his country, and take refuge with the king of Persia. Puts an end to his own life by poison, [Page vii] rather than bear arms against the place of his nati­vity. Death and character of Aristides. Cimon, the son of Miltiades. Desperate conduct of Boges. Cimon defeats the Persians both by sea and land on the same day. Simonides, the poet 52
  • CHAP. VIII. Pericles; his great eloquence. War between the Athe­nians and Lacedaemonians. Battle of Tangara. Death of Cimon. Pericles adorns the city of Athens with public buildings, the remains of some of which are still to be seen. The Peloponnesian war. Battle of Potidaea. Socrates saves the life of Alcibiades. Aspasia, the mistress of Pericles. That general pro­nounces his famous funeral oration. A terrible plague at Athens. Pericles dies of the plague. Plataea besieged by the Lacedaemonians. Gallant defence made by the inhabitants. Part of them escape in a most surprising manner. The place taken, and all the men found in it put to death. Cleon defeats the Lacedaemonians in the island of Sphacteria. Bra­sidas, the Lacedaemonian general, killed in a sally. Gallant answer of his mother upon receiving the news of his death. The peace of Nicias 60
  • CHAP. IX. Alcibiades foments a war between the Athenians and Lacedaemonians. The Athenians attempt the reduc­tion of Sicily. History of Syracuse, the capital of that island. Alcibiades condemned to death for re­fusing to return home in obedience to the commands of his countrymen. Syracuse besieged by the Athenians under Nicias. Gylippus, the Lacedaemonian general, [Page viii] comes to the aid of the Syracusans. Is defeated by Nicias. Defeats that general in his turn. Nicias receives a reinforcement from Athens under the con­duct of Demosthenes, an ancestor of the famous orator of the same name. The Athenians attack the fort of Epipolae. Are repulsed with great slaughter. Re­solve to abandon the island. Delay their departure on account of an eclipse of the moon. Attempt to escape by sea. Prevented by the enemy. Begin their march by land. Lose their way in the night, and separate into two bodies. One of these attacked, and made prisoners. The other likewise attacked. Most of them cut in pieces. The rest taken prisoners. The common men thrown into dungeons. Nicias and Demosthenes put to death. The government of Athens altered. Alcibiades recalled. His great success. Opposed by Lysander, the Spartan. Disgraced, and succeeded by Conon. Battle of Aegos Potamos. End of the Peloponnesian war. Character of Homer, Hesiod, Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, Aristophanes, Herodotus, and Thucydides 78
  • CHAP. X. The thirty tyrants. Death of Alcibiades. The tyrants destroyed, and Athens restored to its liberty by Thra­sybulus. Expedition of Cyrus, who engages in his service a body of Greeks. He is defeated by his bro­ther Artaxerxes. Famous retreat of the ten thou­sand Greeks. Socrates. His character. His trial. His speech on the occasion. Condemned to death. Behaviour after condemnation. Dies by drinking the juice of hemlock. The Athenians repent. Put Melitus, his chief accuser, to death. Banish the rest. Erect a statue of brass to his memory; and dedicate a chapel to him, as to a hero and demigod 119
  • [Page ix] CHAP. XI. Agesilaus, king of Sparta, defeats Tissaphernes. Battle of Coronaea. The Spartans subdue several of the petty states of Greece. Place a garrison in Thebes. The garrison expelled, and Thebes restored to its liberty by Pelopidas. Extraordinory stratagem of Chabrias. Battle of Tegyra. Sacred band of Thebes. Epaminondas; his character. Battle of Leuctra. Pelopidas slain in the battle of Cynoce­phalus. Epaminondas attacks the city of Sparta, but is repulsed. Gallant conduct of Isadas. Battle of Mantinea. Epaminondas mortally wounded. Expires in the arms of victory. Expedition of Agesilaus into Egypt. His character. Extravagant passion of the Athenians for the stage 156
  • CHAP. XII. History of Macedon. Philip begins his reign. Had been educated at Thebes under Epaminondas. Forms the famous Macedonian phalanx. Defeats the Athe­nians at Methone. Farther progress of his arms. Answer given him by the oracle of Delphos. The sacred war. Birth of Alexander the Great. Aristotle appointed his preceptor. Demosthenes the orator. Philip chosen a member of the Amphictyonic-council. Performs a signal act of justice. Phocion; his cha­racter. Speech of Demosthenes against Philip. Another speech of his against the same prince. Battle of Chaeronea. Diogenes's reply to Philip. Famous contest of eloquence between Aeschines and Demost­henes. Philip's domestic uneasiness, occasioned by the bad temper of his queen, Olympias. Attempts to stab his son, Alexander. Is himself assassinated by Pansanias 178
  • [Page x] CHAP. XIII. Anecdotes of Alexander the Great. His ambition. The early maturity of his judgment. His educa­tion. His regard for his master. His veneration for Homer. His passion for literature. His ma­nagement of the horse Bucephalus. Razes Thebes to the ground. Spares the descendants of Pindar. Demosthenes's fable of the wolves and dogs. Alexander chosen generalissimo of the Greek forces. Diogenes's answer to him. Consults the oracle of Delphos. Dis­tributes all his revenues among his friends. Reserves for himself hope only 212
  • CHAP. XIV. Alexander sets out on his expedition into Asia. Crosses the Hellespont. Gains the battle of Granicus. His answer to Ada, queen of Caria. Cuts the Gordian knot. Bathes in the Cydnus. Is seized with a fever. His magnanimity on that occasion. Defeats Darius in the battle of Issus. Is wounded in the thigh. Takes Darius's wife and mother prisoners. His noble behaviour to those captives. Abdolonymus raised to the throne of Sidon. Alexander reduces Tyre. Goes to Jerusalem. Is met by the high-priest. Marches into Egypt. Builds Alexandria. Defeats Darius in the battle of Arbela. Burns the palace of Persepolis, at the instigation of Thais. Finds the dead body of Darius, who had been mur­dered by his own officers. Sends it to his mother, Sysigambis, in order to be interred. Dreadful fate of Bessus. Alexander's cruelty to Parmenio, and his son, Philotas. Kills Clitus. Marries Roxana. Marches into India. Is opposed by Porus. Defeats [Page xi] him. Receives him into favour. His soldiers re­fuse to follow him any farther. Resolves to return into Persia. Attacks the capital of the Oxydraci. His bravery on that occasion. Arrives at Susa. Marries Statira. Enters Babylon. Abandons him­self to intemperance. Is seized with a fever. His last words. His death and character 225
  • CHAP. XV. The Grecian states form a confederacy against Antipater, governor of Macedon. Glorious end of Agis, king of Sparta. Demosthenes banished. Recalled. An­tipater obtains the appellation of father and protector of Greece. Dies. Is succeeded by Polyperchon 276
  • CHAP. XVI. Alexander is succeeded by his only brother, Aridaeus; but his captains usurp supreme power in the pro­vinces they govern, and soon after assume the title of kings. Statira murdered by Roxana. Perdiccas marches into Egypt against Ptolemy. Olympias re­called to Macedon. Antigonus, king of Syria. His great power. A combination formed against him. Falls in battle 284
  • CHAP. XVII. Cassander, king of Macedon. Democratic form of government restored in Greece. Death of Phocion. Cruelty of Olympias. Demetrius Phalereus made governor of Athens. Honours paid him. Death of Olympias 289
  • [Page xii] CHAP. XVIII. The Gauls invade Greece. Stopt at the straits of Thermopylae. Repulsed at the temple of Delphi. Stratagems employed against them. Heroic behaviour of the Spartan women. The Achaean league 296
  • CHAP. XIX. Death of Agis, king of Sparta. Philip, the last king of Macedon of that name, makes a league with Hannibal. The Romans get a footing in Greece. Enter into a treaty with the Aetolians. Reduce the power of Philip to the lowest ebb. Grant him a peace 302
  • CHAP. XX. The Romans, under pretence of defending the public liberty, invade Greece. Defeat the kings of Syria and Macedon. Make themselves masters of the wholy country. Form it into a province. The Greeks, though deprived of their liberty, still re­tain their genius. Civilize and enlighten man­kind 307



THE History of ancient Greece, like that of modern Germany, is not so much the history of any particular kingdom, as of a number of petty independent states, sometimes at war, and sometimes in alliance with one another. Of these different states, therefore, we shall now give an account, with as much brevity as is consistent with perspicuity; and we shall begin our narrative at that period, where real and authentic history com­mences: for as to the more early, that is the fabu­lous times of the Grecian republics, these belong to mythology rather than to history.

Sicyon, then, is said to have been the first king­dom that was established in Greece. The begin­ning of it is placed by historians in the year of the world one thousand nine hundred and fifteen, before Christ two thousand eighty-nine, and before the first Olympiad one thousand three hundred and thirteen. Its first king was Aegialeus. It is said to have last­ed a thousand years.

[Page 2] A. M. 2148. The kingdom of Argos, in Pelo­ponnesus, began a thousand and eighty years before the first Olympiad, in the time of Abra­ham. The first king was Inachus.

This was succeeded by the kingdom of Mycenae, to which place the seat of government was trans­ferred from Argos by Perseus, the grandson of Acri­sius, the king of Argos, whom Perseus unfortunate­ly flew. Eurystheus, the third in succession from him, was expelled by the Heraclidae, or descendants of Hercules, who made themselves masters of Pe­loponnesus.

A. M. 2448. The kingdom of Athens was first formed into a regular government by Cecrops, an Egyptian. This prince having quitted Egypt, and spent some time in travelling through Phoenicia and other parts, came at last into Attica, where he married the daughter of Actaeus, the king of that country, and, upon his death, succeeded to the throne. He taught the people, who had hither­to led a wandering life, the use of fixed habita­tions; restrained all licentious amours, by obliging every man to be content with one wife; and, for the better administration of justice, he instituted the celebrated court of Areopagus. Amphictyon, the third king of Athens, established the famous Amphictyonic Council, which makes so capital a figure in the history of Greece. And Codrus, the last prince of this line, devoted himself for the good of his country. For in a war between the Athe­nians and the Heraclidae, in which the latter had penetrated to the very gates of Athens, Codrus hearing that the Oracle had declared, that that peo­ple should prove conquerors, whose king first fell in the contest, disguised himself in the habit of a pea­sant, and going over to the enemy's camp, pro­voked one of their common soldiers, who instantly flew him. The Heraclidae, being informed of this [Page 3] circumstance, concluded that heaven had declared against them; and they therefore retreated to their own country without striking another blow. Af­ter the death of Codrus, the title of king was abo­lished at Athens, and that of Archon, or chief-go­vernor, substituted in its stead. The duration of this last office was at first for the possessor's life. It was afterwards limited to ten years, and finally to one.

A. M. 2549. Cadmus was the founder of the kingdom of Thebes. To him are attributed sixteen letters of the Greek alphabet; though it is probable he borrowed them from the Phoenician characters, rather than invented them. The adventures of his unhappy posterity, Laius, Jocasta, Oedipus, Eteocles, and Polynices, are well known.

The kingdom of Sparta, or Lacedaemon, is sup­posed to have been first instituted by Lelexa. He­ [...]ena, the tenth in succession from this monarch, is equally famous for her beauty and her infidelity to the marriage-bed. She had not lived above three years with her husband Menelaus, when she was carried off by Paris, the son of Priam king of Troy. In revenge the Greeks invested that city, and took [...]t after a siege of ten years, about the time that Jephtha was judge in Israel.

A. M. 2820. Corinth began to be formed into [...]tate at a later period than any of the kingdoms above-mentioned. Its first sovereign was [...]isyphus, the son of Aeolus, and, upon the expulsion [...]f his descendants, Bacchis assumed the reins of [...]ower. The government after this became aristo­ [...]ratical, a chief magistrate being annually chosen [...]y the name of Prytanis. At last Cypselus usurped [...]e supreme authority, which he transmitted to his [...]n Periander, who was reckoned one of the seven [...]ise men of Greece.

[Page 4]The kingdom of Macedon was first governed by Caranus, descended from Hercules, and subsisted from his time till the defeat of Perseus by the Ro­mans, a space of six hundred and twenty-six years.

Such was the political situation of Greece in the early period of its history, during which we see that kingly government prevailed in all the states; but this was soon changed every where, except in Ma­cedonia, for a republican mode of government, which however was diversified into as many various forms as there were different cities, according to the peculiar character of each respective people.

These different states, though totally indepen­dent, and sometimes at war with one another, were yet united by one common language and one reli­gion; by the celebration of public games, at which they all assisted; and particularly by the famous Am­phictyonic Council, which met twice a year at Ther­mopylae, in order to deliberate about the general interest of those states of whose deputies it was com­posed. The states that sent deputies to this council were twelve, viz. the Thessalians, the Thebans, the Dorians, the Ionians, the Perhaebeans, the Mag­netes, the Locrians, the Oetans, the Phthiotes, the Maleans, the Phocians, and the Dolopians. Each of these states sent two deputies to the council, one of whom was named Hieromnemon, and took care of religion; the other was called Pylagoras, and at­tended to the civil interests of his community. Af­ter offering up sacrifices to Apollo, Diana, Latona, and Minerva, the deputies took an oath, importing, that they would never subvert any city of the Am­phictyons, never stop the course of waters either in war or peace, and that they would oppose any at­tempts to lessen the reverence and authority of the gods, to whom they had paid their adoration.

These different motives to confederacy united the Greeks for a time into a body of great power, and [Page 5] greater renown. By this association a country; not half so large as England, was able to dispute the empire of the world with the greatest monarchs of the earth. By this association they were able not only to oppose, but even to rout and disperse the most numerous armies of Persia, reducing their power to so low an ebb, as to make them submit to the most mortifying conditions of peace. But of all the states of Greece, the two that made the most capital figure, were Athens and Lacedaemon; and of these, therefore, it will be necessary to give a more particular account, than our limits will al­low us to give of the rest.


LACEDAEMON, as we have already observed, was in the beginning governed by kings, of which thirteen in succession held the reins of power, of the race of the Pelopidae. Under the Hera­clidae, who succeeded them, instead of one king, the people admitted two, who governed with equal authority. This change is said to have been owing to the following circumstance: Aristodemus dying, left two sons, Euristhenes and Procles, who were twins, and so very much alike, that it was hardly possible to distinguish the one from the other; and the mother, equally attached to both, and desirous of advancing both to the throne, pretended that she really could not tell which of them was first born, or which had the best claim. The people, therefore, invested both with the sovereign power; and this form of government, however strange, con­tinued to subsist for several centuries.

[Page 6]It was during this latter period, that the Helots, or peasants of Sparta, were inslaved; for these peo­ple having taken up arms, in order to vindicate their right to the same privileges as the citizens en­joyed, which the two first kings had bestowed upon them, and of which Agis had deprived them, they were, after a violent struggle, subdued; and, to punish them for their rebellion, they and their po­sterity were condemned to perpetual slavery; and, to render their condition as disgraceful as it was miserable, all other slaves were called by the general name of Helots.

To prevent the repetition of these and the like disorders, to which this little state was subject, Ly­curgus instituted his celebrated body of laws, which makes so conspicuous a figure in the history of Greece; and which continued, for a long time, to render Lacedaemon at once the terror and the umpire of the neighbouring kingdoms. But before he gave this proof of his patriotism and his abilities as a legis­lator, he gave, if possible, a still more striking proof of his disinterestedness and love of justice. For hav­ing succeeded to the throne by the death of his elder brother, Polydectes, without issue, and the queen-dowager, his sister-in-law, afterwards proving with child, she offered to destroy the birth, provided he would marry her, and admit her into a share of power. Lycurgus dissembled his resentment at so unnatural a proposal, and fearing that she might use means to put her design in execution, assured her that, as soon as the child was born, he would take care to remove it out of the way. Accordingly, she was delivered of a boy, which Lycurgus com­manded to be brought to him, and presenting him to the people, as their lawful sovereign, by the name of Charilaus, he continued thenceforward to act, not as king, but as regent.

[Page 7]The better to qualify himself for the office of a legislator, which he was now about to assume, he travelled into Crete, and afterwards into Asia, where he is said to have made the first discovery of the works of Homer. From thence he went into Egypt; and having thus made himself acquainted with the customs and institutions of the various coun­tries through which he passed, he at length returned home; and being assisted in his designs by some of the leading men of the state, he published his ce­lebrated code of laws, by which it was enacted, that the kings should retain their right of succes­sion as before: but their authority was considerably diminished by the institution of a Senate, consisting of twenty-eight members, chosen from among the principal citizens, into which none were eligible till they were sixty years of age. The kings, how­ever, still enjoyed all their outward marks of dignity and respect. They had the chief seats in every pub­lic assembly; they gave their votes first; they re­ceived ambassadors, and other strangers of distinc­tion; and in time of war they had the command of the army; though upon these occasions they were subject to the controul of the Senate, who some­times obliged them to march against the enemy, or return home, when they had least inclination to do either.

The Senators, too, were the more respectable, as they held their places for life; and besides, being possessed of so considerable a share of the executive, were invested with the whole of the judicial power; and this last part of their duty they executed with such integrity and discretion, that though there lay an appeal from them to the people, yet their de­crees were hardly ever reversed. Their authority, however, was about a century after tempered by the erection of a superior court, called the Court of the Ephori, consisting of but five members, chosen [Page 8] annually into office, and elected from among the people; and these had a power to arrest and im­prison even the persons of their kings, if they acted in a mannner unbecoming their station.

In order to reconcile the people to this mode of go­vernment, in which though they had a nominal, they had no real share, Lycurgus fell upon two expedients, equally bold and decisive. These were to divide all the lands of the state equally among the citizens, and to abolish the use of money. The lands of Laconia he divided into thirty thousand parts, and those of Sparta into nine thousand; and these he portioned out to the respective inhabitants of each district. To abolish the use of money, he did not think it necessary to deprive those, who were pos­sessed of gold and silver, of their property. He thought it sufficient to cry down the value of those metals, and to order that nothing but iron money should pass in exchange for any commodity. This coin also he made so heavy, and fixed at so low a rate, that a cart and two oxen were required to carry home a sum of ten minae, or about twenty pounds sterling. As this coin had no currency among the other states of Greece, it soon fell into contempt even among the Spartans themselves; who despised it so much, that money was at last brought into difuse, and few troubled themselves with more than was necessary to answer their daily expences.

To enforce the practice of temperance and so­briety, Lycurgus further ordained, that all the men should eat in one common hall in public. Every one was obliged to send thither his provisions monthly, consisting of one bushel of flour, eight measures of wine, five pounds of cheese, and two pounds and a half of figs; and this regulation was so rigidly observed, that a long time after, when Agis returned from a successful expedition, he was severely reprimanded for having eaten with his [Page 9] queen in private. Black broth was their favourite dish; of what ingredients it was composed is not known; but, as they used no flesh in their enter­tainments, it probably resembled those lenten soups which are still in use on the continent. Dionysius, the tyrant, found this fare very unpalatable; but, as the cook asserted, the broth was nothing without the seasoning of fatigue and hunger.

To accustom the youth to early habits of disci­pline and obedience, Lycurgus took their education out of the hands of their parents, and committed it to masters appointed by the state. So desirous, indeed, was he of having a hardy and robust race of citizens, that he began the work of education, even from the time of the mother's conception, making it her duty to use such diet and exercise, as might fit her to produce a healthy and vigorous off­spring. Nay, such children as were born with any capital defect, were not suffered to be brought up, but were exposed to perish in a cavern near mount Taygetus; and such as, upon a public view, were deemed to be sound and healthy, were adopted as children of the state, and delivered to their parents to be nursed with rigour and severity. From their tenderest years they were accustomed to make no choice in their eating, not to be afraid in the dark, or when left alone; not to be peevish or fretful; to walk barefoot; to lie hard at nights; to wear the same clothes summer and winter, and to fear no­thing from their equals. At the age of seven they were taken from their parents, and delivered over to the classes for a public education. Their dis­cipline there was still more rigid and severe. They were still obliged to go barefoot, their heads were shaved, and they fought with one another naked.

To enable them the better to endure bodily pain without complaining, they were annually whipt at the altar of Diana; and the boy that bore [Page 10] this punishment with the greatest fortitude, came off victorious. Plutarch tells us, that he has seen several children expire under this cruel treatment; and he makes mention of one, who having stolen a fox, and hid it under his coat, chose rather to let the animal tear out his bowels than discover the theft. In order to prepare them for the stratagems of war, they were permitted to steal from one another; but if they were caught in the fact, they were punished for their want of dexterity. At twelve years of age they were removed into a class of a more advanced kind. There their labour and discipline were increased with their years. They had now their skirmishes between small parties, and their mock fights between larger bodies; and in these they sometimes fought with such obstinacy, that they were seen to lose their eyes, and even their lives, before they gave up the contest. Such was the constant discipline of their minority, which lasted till the age of thirty, before which they were not permitted to marry, to go into the troops, or to bear any office in the state.

The discipline of the virgins was as severe as that of the young men. They were enured to a life of labour and industry till they were twenty years of age, before which time they were not allowed to be marriageable. They had also their peculiar exercises. They ran, wrestled, and pitched the bar; and performed all these feats naked before the whole body of the citizens. Yet this was thought no way indecent, as it was supposed, that the frequent view of the person would tend rather to check than excite every irregular desire. An education so man­like, did not fail to bestow upon the Spartan wo­man equal vigour of body and mind. They were bold, hardy, and patriotic, filled with a sense of ho­nour, and a love of military glory. Some foreign women, in conversation with the wife of Leonidas, [Page 11] saying, that the Spartan women alone knew how to govern the men, she boldly replied, ‘"The Spartan women alone bring forth men."’ A mo­ther was known to give her son, who was going to battle, his shield, with this gallant advice, ‘"Re­turn with it, or return upon it;"’ thereby in ef­fect telling him, that, rather than throw it away in flight, he should be borne home upon it dead. Ano­ther hearing that her son was killed fighting for his country, she answered without any emotion, ‘"It was for that I brought him into the world."’ After the battle of Leuctra, the parents of those who fell in the action, went to the temples to thank the gods that their sons had done their duty, while those whose children survived that dreadful day were over­whelmed with grief.

Besides these general regulations, there were many other subordinate maxims, that, by long and con­stant practice, obtained the force of laws. The Spartans were expressly forbid to exercise any me­chanic art. War was their chief occupation, and in time of peace they employed themselves in hunt­ing, or bodily exercises. The Helots, or slaves, tilled their lands for them, and received for their labour a bare subsistence. Nor was this the only hardship to which these unhappy men were subject. They were in a manner bound to the soil, nor was it even lawful to sell them to strangers, or to make them free. Nay, if at any time their numbers [...]n­creased to such a degree as to excite the suspicion of their cruel masters, there was a C [...]yptia, or secret act, by which it was permitted to dest [...]oy them with­out mercy. Thucydides relates, that two thousand of these slaves disappeared at once, without ever after be­ing heard of. Nor were they only thus wantonly put to death, they were even made a mockery of while living. They were frequently intoxicated on pur­pose, and in that condition exposed before the [Page 12] children, in order to deter them from this kind of debauchery.

As to the citizens themselves being possessed, by means of their slaves, of competence and leisure, they were almost always in company in their large common halls, where they met and conversed with one another. The love of their country was their ruling passion, and all self-interest seemed lost in the general wish for the welfare of the public. Pe­darctus having missed the honour of being chosen one for the three hundred who had a certain rank in the city, converted his disappointment into joy, ‘"that there were three hundred better men in Sparta than he."’

The Spartans were forbid to make frequent war upon the same people, lest they should teach their discipline to others. When they had broken and routed their enemies, they never pursued them far­ther than was necessary to make themselves sure of the victory. This had an excellent effect; for the enemy, knowing that all who resisted were put to the sword, often fled, as they were convinced that this was the most effectual means of ensuring their safety. With the Spartans themselves the case was directly the reverse. For their first and most invio­lable maxim, was never to turn their backs on the enemy, however unequal to them in numbers, nor ever to deliver up their arms till they resigned them with their life. Nay, they would not suffer the contrary notion to be propagated, or even men­tioned among them. For when the poet Archilo­chus came to Sparta, he was obliged to quit the city, for having asserted in one of his poems, that it was better for a man to lose his arms than his life. Thus depending upon their valour alone, their legis­lator would not allow them to wall the city. It was his opinion, that a wall of men was preferable to a wall of brick; and that valour, which is obliged [Page 13] to take shelter within a fortification, is little better than cowardice.

Such was the general purport of the institutions of Lycurgus, which from their tendency gained the esteem and admiration of all the surrounding states. In order to render them as lasting as they were ex­cellent, Lycurgus pretended, that something was still wanting to the completion of his plan, and that it was necessary for him to go and consult the oracle of Delphos. In the mean time, he persuaded his countrymen to take an oath for the strict observance of all his laws till his return, and then left Sparta with a firm resolution of never seeing it more. When he arrived at Delphos, he enquired of the oracle, whether the laws he had made were sufficient to render the Lacedaemonians happy; and being told that they were, he sent this answer to Sparta, and then voluntarily starved himself to death. Others say, that he died in Crete, ordering his body to be burnt, and his ashes to be thrown into the sea. Whichever of these was the case, he equally obliged his countrymen, by the oath they had taken, to ob­serve his laws for ever; which, indeed, they were sufficiently inclined to do, from a conviction of their real and intrinsic merit.

The first opportunity, which the Spartans had, to dis­play the superiority of their power among the neigh­bouring states, was in the war between them and the Messenians. This war lasted twenty years, and is remarkable for two incidents that are well worthy of notice. The Spartans having drained their city of all its male inhabitants in order to carry on the war, and having bound themselves by an oath not to return home till they had conquered the enemy; their women, in the mean time, remonstrated, that from their long absence all posterity would be at an end. To remedy this inconvenience, they detached [Page 14] fifty of their most promising young men from the army to go to Sparta, and to lie promiscuously with all the young women they pleased. The offspring of these virgins were from them called Partheniae, who finding themselves despised by the Spartans, on their return, as a spurious race, joined some years after in an insurrection with the Helots, but were soon sup­pressed. Being expelled the state, they went under the conduct of their Captain Phalantus, and settled at Tarentum in Italy.

The other incident is this. The Messenians having sent to consult the oracle of Delphos, re­ceived for answer, that they must offer a virgin of the family of Aepytus as a sacrifice. The lot fell upon the daughter of Lyciscus; but she being thought to be supposititious, Aristodemus offered his daughter, whom all allowed to be his own. Her lover, however, attempted to avert the blow, by as­serting that she was with child by him; but her father was so enraged at the imputation, that he ripped up her belly with his own hands publicly, in order to vindicate her innocence. The enthu­siasm, produced by this sacrifice, served for a while to give the Messenians the advantage; but being at last overthrown and besieged in the city of I thoe, they were obliged to submit to the Spartans, and Aristodemus slew himself on his daughter's grave.

After a rigorous subjection of thirty-nine years, the Messenians made one effort more for the reco­very of their liberty under the conduct of Aristo­menes, who thrice defeated the Spartan army, and as often merited the Hecatomphonia, a sacrifice due to those who had killed one hundred of the enemy hand to hand in battle. But the Spartans, being headed by the famous Athenian poet and school­master Tyrtaeus, who inflamed their courage by his songs and orations, the Messenians were at last [Page 15] A. M. 3340.obliged to abandon their country, which was added to the territory of Sparta, and thus rendered that kingdom one of the most powerful states in all Greece.


THE happy effects produced at Sparta, by the institutions of Lycurgus, at last in spired the Athenians with a desire of being governed by writ­ten laws; and the first person they pitched upon for a legislator was Draco, a man of equal integrity and wisdom, but rigid and severe in the highest de­gree. 1Draco inflicted death on all crimes without exception, and being asked why he did so, replied, ‘"Small crimes deserve death, and I have no higher punishment even for the greatest."’ His laws, indeed, were so severe, that they were said to be written not with ink, but with blood. Their severity, however, defeated their intention. It was impossible to carry them into execution. They therefore fell into disuse; and the people, from the neglect and contempt of laws, soon grew more licentious than ever they had been before any written laws existed. It was in this dis­tressful state of the Republic, that Solon was applied to for his advice and assistance in regulating the government.

To mention all the proofs he had given of his wisdom, before he was advanced to the office of legi­slator, would be foreign to our purpose. Suffice it to say, that he was one of the seven wise men of [Page 16] Greece. The others were, Thales the Milesian, Chilo of Lacedaemon, Pittacus of Mitylene, Pe­riander of Corinth, and Bias and Cleobulus, whose birth-places are uncertain. One day at the court of Periander, a question was pro­posed, which was the most perfect popular go­vernment? That, said Bias, where the laws have no superior. That, said Thales, where the people are neither too rich nor too poor. That, said Ana­charsis the Scythian, where virtue is honoured and vice detested. That, said Pittacus, where dignities are always conferred upon the virtuous, and never upon the base. That, said Cleobulus, where the citizens fear blame more than punishment. That, said Chilo, where the laws are more regarded than the orators. But Solon's opinion seems to be best founded, who said, where an injury done to the meanest subject is an insult upon the whole community.

Nor must we omit his celebrated interview with Croesus, king of Lydia. That monarch, who was reputed the richest prince of his time, having dis­played before him his immense wealth and treasures, asked, whether he did not think him the happiest of mankind? No, replied Solon; I know one man more happy, a poor peasant of Greece, who, neither in affluence nor poverty, has but few wants, and has learned to supply them by his own labour. But at least, said the vain monarch, do you not think me happy? Alas, cried Solon, what man can be pro­nounced happy before he dies? The sagacity of Solon's replies appeared in the sequel. The king­dom of Lydia was invaded by Cyrus, the empire destroyed, and Croesus himself taken prisoner. When he was led out to execution, according to the barbarous manners of the times, he then recol­lected the maxims of Solon, and could not help cry­ing out, when on the scaffold, upon Solon's name. Cyrus hearing him repeat the name with great ear­nestness, [Page 17] was desirous of knowing the reason; and being informed by Croesus of that philosopher's re­markable observation, he began to fear for himself, pardoned Croesus, and took him for the future into confidence and friendship. Thus Solon had the merit of saving one king's life, and of reforming another.

Such was the man whom the Athenians how raised to the high dignity of Archon, and invested with full power to new-model the government. Solon, however, was sensible that there were cer­tain disorders in the state that were altogether in­curable; and with these therefore he resolved not in the least to meddle. In a word, as he himself de­clared, he gave his countrymen not the best of all possible laws, but the best they were capable of re­ceiving. His first step was in favour of the poor, whose debts he abolished at once, and who had been grievously oppressed by the rich, by the exorbitant interest they exacted from them. But to do this with the least injury he could to the creditor, he raised the value of money a little, and by that means nominally increased their riches. His next step was to repeal all the laws of Draco, except those against murder. He then proceeded to the regulation of offices, employments, and magistracies, all which he left in the hands of the rich. He divided the rich citizens into three classes, ranging them ac­cording to their incomes. Those that had five hun­dred measures yearly, as well in corn as liquids, were placed in the first rank; those that had three hundred were placed in the second; and those that had but two hundred made up the third. All the rest of the citizens, whose income fell short of two hundred measures, were comprised in a fourth and last class, and were considered as incapable of hold­ing any employment whatever. But to compensate for this exclusion, he gave every private citizen a right [Page 18] to vote in the great assembly of the whole body of the people. And this, indeed, was a right of a most important nature. For by the laws of Athens it was permitted, after the decision of the magistrates, to appeal to the general assembly of the people; and thus, in time, all causes of weight and consequence came before them.

To counteract, however, the influence of a po­pular assembly, Solon gave greater weight to the court of Areopagus, and also instituted another council consisting of four hundred. Before his time the Areopagus was composed of such citizens as were most remarkable for their probity and wisdom. But Solon now ordained, that none should be ad­mitted into it, but such as had passed through the office of Archon. By this means the dignity, and consequently the authority, of the court were greatly increased: and such was its reputation for integrity and discernment, that the Romans sometimes refer­red causes, which were too intricate for their own decision, to the determination of this tribunal. The business of the council of four hundred was to judge upon appeals from the Areopagus, and ma­turely to examine every question before it came be­fore the general assembly of the people.

Such was the reformation in the general plan of government; his particular laws for the administra­tion of justice were more numerous, and equally [...]udicious. To promote a spirit of patriotism, and prevent all selfish indifference about the concerns of the Republic, he ordained, that whoever in public dissensions espoused neither party, but remained neuter, should be declared infamous, condemned to perpetual exile, and to have all his estates confis­cated. From a similar motive, he permitted every person to espouse the quarrel of any one that was injured or insulted. He abolished the custom of giving portions with young women, unless they were [Page 19] only children. He wished to render matrimony an honourable connection, and not, as it formerly had too often been, and still continues to be, a mere matter of traffic. He allowed every one that was childless to dispose of his wealth as he pleased, with­out being obliged to leave it to the next of kin. By this means, the natural dependence of the young upon the old was strengthened and increased. He lessened the rewards of the victors at the Olympic and Isthmian games, whom he considered as an useless, and often a dangerous set of citizens, and bestowed the money thus saved upon the widows and children of those who had fallen in the service of their country.

To encourage industry, he empowered the Areo­pagus to enquire into every man's method of pro­curing a livelihood, and to punish such as had no visible way of doing so. With the like view he or dained, that a son should not be obliged to support his father in old age or necessity, if the latter had neglected to give him some trade or calling; and all illegitimate children were exempted from the same duty, as they owed nothing to their parents but the stigma of their birth. No one was allowed to revile another in public; the magistrates were obliged to be particularly circumspect in their behaviour; and it was even death for an Archon to be taken drunk. Against the crime of parricide he made no law, as supposing it could never exist in any society. To preserve the sanctity of the marriage-bed, he per­mitted any one to kill an adulterer, if he was taken in the fact; and though he allowed of public bro­thels, he branded both the women and men who frequented them, with an indelible mark of disgrace.

Such were the chief institutions of this celebrated lawgiver, which he bound the Athenians, by a pub­lic oath, to observe religiously, at least, for the space of a hundred years; and having thus completed the [Page 20] task assigned him, he set out on his travels, leaving his countrymen to become habituated to the new form of government. But it was not easy for a people long torn by civil dissensions to yield implicit obedience to any laws, however wisely framed; their for­mer animosities began to revive, when that authority was removed which alone could hold them in sub­jection. The factions of the state were headed by three different leaders, Pisistratus, Megacles, and Lycurgus. Of these Pisistratus was at once the most powerful, the most artful, and in the end the most successful. He had many virtues, and hardly a single vice, except that of an inordinate ambition. He was learned himself, and an encourager of learn­ing in others. Cicero says, he was the first that made the Athenians acquainted with the works of Homer; that he disposed of them in the order in which we now have them, and first caused them to be read at the feasts called Panathenaea.

By his promises, his professions, his liberality and address, he so far gained upon the affections of his countrymen, that he was just upon the point of making himself master of the government, when he had the mortification to see Solon return, after an absence of ten years, fully apprised of his treacherous designs, and determined, if possible, to prevent their completion. This, however, he could not do for any length of time; for Pisistratus now finding his schemes ripe for execution, gave himself several wounds, which he pretended to have received in the cause of the people; and in that condition, with his body all bloody, he ordered himself to be car­ried in his chariot to the market-place, where, by his complaints and eloquence, he so inflamed the minds of the populace, that he obtained a guard of fifty persons for the security of his person. This was all he aimed at; for having now got the rudiments of a standing army, he soon increased it to such a de­gree, [Page 21] as to enable him to set all opposition at de­fiance. In a little time, therefore, he seized upon the citadel, and in effect usurped the supreme power. Solon did not long survive the liberties of his coun­try. He died about two years after, at the age of eighty, admired and lamented by all the states of Greece, as the greatest legislator, and, excepting Ho­mer, the greatest poet that had hitherto appeared.

By adhering to the same arts by which he had acquired his power, Pisistratus contrived to main­tain himself in the possession of it to his dying day, and transmitted it to his two sons, Hippias and Hipparchus. These young men seemed to tread in the footsteps of their father. They encouraged learning and learned men. They invited to their court Anacreon, Simonides, and other poets, and honoured them with their friendship, and loaded them with presents. They established schools for the improvement of youth, and caused Mercuries to be erected in all the highways, with moral sen­tences written upon them, for the instruction of the lowest vulgar. Their reign, however, lasted but eighteen years, and terminated upon the following occasion.

Harmodius and Aristogiton, two citizens of Athens, had contracted a most sincere and invio­lable friendship, and resolved to consider any insult that should be offered to either as an injury done to both. Hipparchus, being naturally of an amo­rous disposition, debauched the sister of Harmodius, and afterwards published her shame as she was about to walk in one of the sacred processions, alledging that she was not in a condition to assist at the cere­mony. Such an indignity was not to be borne; and they therefore resolved to destroy the tyrant, which, after various efforts, they at last effected, though they themselves fell in the attempt. Hippias naturally wreaked his resentment upon all whom he supposed [Page 22] privy to the conspiracy, and, among others, upon a courtezan of the name of Leona, whose courage and constancy deserve to be mentioned. When put to the torture, she bore all the cruelty of her execu­tioners with invincible fortitude; and lest she should, in the agony of pain, be induced to a confession, she bit off her tongue, and spit it in the tyrant's face. To perpetuate her memory, the Athenians erected a statue, representing a lioness without a tongue.

A. M. 3496. Hippias, dreading the fate of his brother, endea­voured to fortify himself by foreign alliances, and particularly by one with the Lacedaemonians; but in this he was prevented by the family of the Alc­maeonidae, who had been banished from Athens at the beginning of the usurpation, and who having rebuilt the temple of Delphos in a most magni­ficent manner, had secured the priestess in their in­terest. Whenever, therefore, the Spartans came to consult the Oracle, they never received any pro­mise of the God's assistance, but upon condition of setting Athens free. This task, therefore, they re­solved to undertake; and, though unsuccessful in their first attempt, they at last dethroned the tyrant the very same year in which the kings were expelled from Rome. The family of Alcmaeon were chiefly instrumental in this great work; but the people seemed fonder of acknowledging their obligations to the two friends who struck the first blow. The names of Harmo­dius and Aristogiton were ever after held in the highest veneration; and their statues were erected in the market-place, an honour which had never been paid to any one before.


THOUGH Hippias, upon being driven from the throne, was obliged to abandon his native country, he did not, however, abandon all hopes of being able, some time or other, to recover his lost power. He first applied to the Lacedaemonians, and that people seemed sufficiently willing to espouse his cause; and they thought they might the more easily effect his restoration, as Athens was at this time thrown into confusion, by the introduction of the new mode of voting by ostracism, that is of pro­curing the banishment of any citizen for ten years, whose wealth or popularity rendered him dangerous to the state, by allowing every one above sixty years of age to give in the name of the obnoxious person, written upon a tile or oyster-shell. Before they un­dertook, however, to assist Hippias in re-ascending the throne, they thought it prudent to consult the other states of Greece with regard to the propriety of the measure, and finding them all to be totally averse to it, they abandoned the tyrant and his cause for ever.

Hippias, disappointed in his hopes of aid from the Lacedaemonians, had recourse to one whom he con­sidered as a much more powerful patron. This was Artaphernes, governor of Sardis, for the king of Persia. To him he represented the facility with which an entire conquest might be made of Athens; and the Persian court, influenced by the prospect of gaining such an addition of territory, and particu­larly such an extent of sea-coast, readily adopted the proposal. When the Athenians, therefore, sent a messenger into Persia to vindicate their proceed­ings with regard to Hippias, they received for answer, [Page 24] ‘"That if they wished to be safe, they must admit Hippias for their king.’ But these gallant re­publicans had too ardent a passion for liberty, and too rooted an aversion to slavery, patiently to submit to so imperious a mandate. They, there­fore, returned to it a flat and peremptory refusal. And from that time forward the Athenians and Persians began to prepare for commencing hosti­lities against each other.

The gallantry, indeed, of the Athenians, upon this occasion, is the more to be admired, as their numbers and resources bore no proportion to those of the prince whom they thus set at defiance. The Persian monarch was, at that time, the most power­ful sovereign in the universe; whereas the small state of Athens did not contain above twenty thousand citizens, ten thousand strangers, and about fifty or sixty thousand servants. The state of Sparta, which afterwards took such a considerable share, and made so capital a figure in the war against Persia, was still more inconsiderable with respect to numbers. These did not amount to above nine thousand citizens, and about thirty thousand peasants. And yet these two states, with very little assistance from the inferior republics, were able not only to resist, but even to baffle and defeat all the attempts of the Persian monarch; a memorable instance what acts of heroism may be performed by men animated by a love of freedom, and inspired with a passion for military glory.

The restoration of Hippias was not the only cause of quarrel between the Persians and the Athenians. The Greek colonies of lonia, Aeolia, and Caria, that had been settled for above five hundred years in Asia Minor, were at length subdued by Croesus king of Lydia; and he, in turn, sinking under the power of Cyrus, his conquests, of course, fell in with the rest of his dominions. These colonies, [Page 25] however, had not yet lost all memory of the liberty they had formerly enjoyed; and they therefore seiz­ed every opportunity of delivering themselves from the Persian yoke, and recovering their ancient in­dependence. In this they were now encouraged by Histiaeus, the governor, or tyrant as he was called, of Miletus; for all the Persian governors of these provinces were by the Greeks called tyrants. This man, having rendered his fidelity suspected at the Persian court, had no other way of providing for his own safety than by exciting the Ionians to a revolt. By his direction, therefore, Aristagoras, his deputy, first applied to the Lacedaemonians for assistance; and failing of success in that quarter, he next had recourse to the Athenians, where he met with a more favourable reception. The Athenians were at this time inflamed with the highest resentment against the Persian monarch, on account of his naughty mandate with regard to the restoration of Hippias; and they therefore supplied the Ionians with twenty ships, to which the Eretrians and Eu­poeans added five more.

Thus supported, Aristagoras entered the Persian territories, and penetrating into the heart of Lydia, he burned Sardis the capital city; but being soon after deserted by the Athenians, on account of some [...]hecks he received, he found himself altogether un­ [...]ble to make head against the power of Persia; and [...]hough he contrived to maintain the struggle for the [...]pace of six years, yet he was at last obliged to fly [...]nto Thrace, where he was cut off with all his fol­ [...]owers. As to Histiaeus himself, being taken pri­ [...]oner with a few of the insurgents, he was conduct­ [...]d to Artaphernes, and that inhuman tyrant imme­ [...]ediately ordered him to be crucified, and his head [...]o be sent to Darius.

[Page 26]The commencement of this war naturally tended to widen the breach between the Athenians and Persians, and the conclusion of it was no less cal­culated to inflame the pride and presumption of the latter, and to inspire them with the ambitious thoughts of making an entire conquest of Greece. To pave the way for this grand project, Darius, in the twenty-eighth year of his reign, having recalled all his other generals, sent his son-in-law, Mardo­nius, to command throughout the maritime parts of Asia, and particularly to revenge the burning of Sar­dis, which he could neither forgive nor forget. But his fleet being shattered in a storm in doubling the cape of Mount Athos, and his army repulsed, and himself wounded, by the Thracians, who attacked him suddenly by night, Mardonius returned to the Persian court, covered with shame and confusion for having miscarried in his enterprize both by sea and land. Darius, therefore, displaced him, and ap­pointed two older and abler generals, namely, Da­tis, a Mede, and Artaphernes, son of the late go­vernor of Sardis, in his stead. At the same time he exerted himself with unwearied diligence, in fur­nishing them with such an army and navy as might render them morally certain of success.

Previous, however, to his invasion of Greece, he thought it became his dignity and humanity to send heralds into that country to require submission from the different states, or to threaten them with his vengeance in case of refusal. The lesser states, intimidated by his power, readily submitted; but the Athenians and Spartans nobly disdained to acknow­ledge subjection to any earthly sovereign. When, therefore, the heralds demanded earth and water, the usual method of requiring submission from infe­rior states, these spirited republicans threw the one into a well, and the other into a ditch, and taunt­ingly [Page 27] bid them take earth and water from thence. Nay, they went still farther; they resolved to punish [...]he Aeginetans for having basely submitted to the [...]ower of Persia, and by that means betrayed the [...]ommon cause of Greece. These people, indeed, made some resistance. They even carried on a [...]aval war against the Athenians; but these last hav­ [...]g at length overcome them, increased their own [...]avy to such a degree, as to render it almost an equal [...]atch for that of Persia.

In the mean time Darius, having completed his [...]vies, sent away his generals, Datis and Arta­ [...]hernes, to what be considered as a certain con­ [...]est. They were furnished with a fleet of six [...]undred ships, and an army of an hundred and [...]wenty thousand men; and their instructions were [...] give up Athens and Eretria to be plundered, to [...]urn all the houses and temples of both, and to lead [...]way the inhabitants into captivity. The country [...]as to be laid desolate, and the army was provided [...]ith a sufficient number of chains for binding the [...]isoners.

To oppose this formidable invasion, the Athenians [...]d only about ten thousand men, but all of them [...]imated with that invincible spirit which the love [...] liberty ever inspires. They were at this time [...]aded by three of the greatest generals and statesmen [...]eir country ever produced, though no country [...]er produced more. These were Miltiades, The­ [...]istocles, and Aristides. The first was looked [...]on as the ablest commander; the second was so [...]nd of a popular government, and so eager to in­ [...]atiate himself with his fellow-citizens, that he was [...]quently accused of acts of partiality. Indeed, [...] seemed to glory in the charge; for one day, [...]en somebody was talking to him on the subject, [...]d saying that he would make an excellent magis­ [...]te it he had more impartiality; ‘"God forbid, [Page 28] replied he, that I should ever sit upon a tribunal where my friends should find no more favour than strangers."’ As to Aristides, he was so rigidly and inflexibly just, that his name has descended to pos­terity as almost another term for justice itself.

The first brunt of the war fell upon the Eretri­ans, who being utterly unable to oppose so mighty a force in the field, shut themselves up in the town; but though they defended the place with great gal­lantry, yet, after a siege of seven days, it was taken by storm, and reduced to ashes. The inhabitants were put in chains, and sent as the first-fruits of vic­tory to the Persian monarch; but he, contrary to their expectation, treated them with great lenity, and gave them a village in the country of Cissa for their residence, where Apollonius Tyanaeus found their descendants six hundred years after.

Elated with this success, the Persians advanced into the heart of the country, and being directed in their march by Hippias, the expelled tyrant of Athens, they soon arrived in the plains of Mara­thon, about ten miles distant from that city. There, however, it was that the Athenians resolved to op­pose them; but not thinking themselves singly equal to such an undertaking, they first sent to the Spar­tans for assistance, and would certainly have obtain­ed it, had it not been for a foolish superstition which prevailed among that people, and which would not allow them to begin a march before the full moon. They then applied to the other states of Greece; but these were too much intimidated by the power of Persia to venture to move in their defence.

Obliged, therefore, to depend upon their own courage alone, they collected all their forces, to the number of ten thousand men, and entrusted the command of them to ten generals, of whom Mil­tiades was the chief; and each of these was to have the direction of the troops for one day at a time in [Page 29] regular succession. But this arrangement was soon found to be so very inconvenient, that, by the ad­vice of Aristides, the chief command was vested in Miltiades alone, as the ablest and most experienced of all the generals. At the same time it was re­solved in a council of war, though only by a ma­jority of one vote, to meet the enemy in the open field, instead of waiting for them within the walls of the city.

Miltiades, sensible of the inferiority of his num­bers when compared to those of the enemy, endea­voured to make up for this defect by taking posses­sion of an advantageous ground. He, therefore, drew up his army at the foot of a mountain, so that the enemy should not be able to surround him or charge him in the rear. At the same time he for­tified his flanks with a number of large trees, that were cut down for the purpose. Datis saw the ad­vantage which the Athenians must derive from this masterly disposition; but relying on the superiority of his numbers, and unwilling to wait till the Spar­tan succours should arrive, he resolved to begin the engagement. The signal for battle, however, was no sooner given than the Athenians, instead of wait­ing for the onset of the enemy, according to their usual custom, rushed in upon them with irresistible fury. The Persians regarded this first step as the result of madness and despair, rather than of deli­berate courage; but they were soon convinced of their mistake when they found, that the Athenians maintained the charge with the same spirit with which they had begun it. Miltiades had purposely and judiciously made his wings much stronger than his center, which was commanded by Themistocles and Aristides. The Persians, availing themselves of this circumstance, attacked the center with great bravery, and were just upon the point of making it give way, when the two wings, having now become [Page 30] victorious, suddenly wheeled about, and falling up­on the enemy in both flanks at once, threw them into disorder. The rout in a moment became uni­versal, and they fled to their ships with great precipi­tation. The Athenians pursued them as far as the beach, and even set several of their ships on fire. It was on this occasion that Cynaegyrus, the brother of the poet Aeschylus, seized one of the enemy's ships with his right hand, as they were pushing it off from the shore. When his right hand was cut off, he laid hold of the vessel with his left; and that likewise being lopt off, he at last seized it with his teeth, and in that manner expired.

A. M. 3514. Seven of the enemy's ships were taken, and above six thousand of them left dead upon the field of bat­tle, not to mention those who were drowned as they were endeavouring to escape, or were consumed in the ships that were set on fire. Of the Greeks there fell not above two hundred, and among these was Callimachus, who gave the casting vote for fighting the enemy in the field. Hip­pias, who was the chief cause of the war, is thought to have perished in this battle, though some say he escaped, and afterwards died miserably at Lemnos.

Such was the famous battle of Marathon, one of the most important that is to be found in history, as it first taught the Greeks to despise the power of the Persian monarch, and bravely to maintain their own independence; and thus to go on cultivating those arts and sciences, which had so evident a ten­dency to polish and refine their own manners, and have since diffused their benign influence over all the rest of Europe.

Of the marble which the Persians had brought with them to erect a monument in memory of their ex­pected victory, the Athenians now caused a statue to be made by the celebrated sculptor Phidias, to transmit [Page 31] to posterity the remembrance of their defeat. This statue was dedicated to the goddess Nemesis, who had a temple near the place. Monuments were at the same time erected to the memory of all those who had fallen in the battle; and upon these were inscribed their own names, and the name of the tribe to which they belonged. Of these monuments there were three kinds; one for the Athenians, one for the Plataeans their allies, and one for the slaves, who had been enrolled into the troops upon this pressing emergency. To express their gratitude to Miltiades, the Athenians caused a picture to be painted by one of their most eminent artists, named Polygnotus, in which that great commander was represented at the head of the other generals, ani­mating the troops, and setting them an example of bravery.

But their gratitude to this celebrated warrior, however sincere, was by no means lasting. The Athenians, with all their good qualities, were na­turally fickle, and apt to be jealous of such as, either by their merit, their power, or popularity, had, in their opinion, rendered themselves dangerous to the state. Of this Miltiades had very soon after a mor­tifying proof. For having received a wound in an expedition against the Parians, and being thereby prevented from appearing in public to defend himself from a charge of bribery, which was brought against him by one Xanthippus, sentence was of course passed upon him in his absence, and he was con­demned to lose his life. This severe sentence, how­ever, the Athenians had not the effrontery to exe­cute upon one who had done them such essential services, and they therefore changed it into a fine of fifty talents; and as this was a sum which Mil­tiades could not pay, he was thrown into prison, where he soon after died. But the Athenians would not suffer his body to be buried till the fine was [Page 32] paid. His son Cimon, therefore, by exerting all his interest among his friends and relations, was at last able to raise the requisite sum to pay the fine, and to procure his father an honourable interment.


DARIUS, rather enraged than intimidated by the loss he had sustained in the battle of Ma­rathon, was preparing to invade Greece in person, when, happily for the peace of that country, death put an end to his ambitious project. His son Xerxes, however, who succeded him on the throne, was determined to execute the plan which his father had formed. Having just returned from a success­ful expedition he had made into Egypt, he expected to meet with the like good fortune in Europe. Con­fident of victory, he did not chuse, he said, for the future to buy the figs of Attica; he would possess himself of the country, and thus have figs of his own. But before he would engage in so important an enterprize, he thought proper to consult the prin­cipal officers of his court. Mardonius, his brother-in-law, well knowing his secret sentiments, and willing to flatter him in his favourite pursuits, high­ly applauded the resolution he had taken. But Ar­tabanus, his uncle, whom years and experience had rendered wife, used every argument he could think of, in order to divert him from his rash design, and he addressed himself to the king in the following terms:

"Permit me, Sir, said he, to deliver my senti­ments upon this occasion with that liberty which be­comes my age, and my regard for your interest. [Page 33] When Darius, your father, and my brother, first thought of making war upon the Scythians, I used all my endeavours to divert him from it. The people you are going to attack are infinitely more formidable than they. If the Athenians alone could defeat the numerous army commanded by Datis and Artaphernes, what ought we to expect from an op­position of all the states of Greece united? You design to pass from Asia into Europe, by laying a bridge over the sea. But what if the Athenians should advance and destroy this bridge, and so pre­vent our return? Let us not expose ourselves to such dangers, especially as we have no sufficient motives to induce us to run such risks; at least let us take time to reflect upon the matter. When we have maturely considered an affair, whatever happens to be the success of it, we have nothing to regret. Precipitation is imprudent, and is usually unsuc­cessful. Above all, do not suffer yourself, great prince, to be dazzled with the splendor of ima­ginary glory. The highest trees have the most rea­son to dread being struck with the thunder. As for you, Mardonius, who so earnestly urge this ex­pedition, if it must be so, lead it forward. But let the king, whose life is dear to us all, return into Persia. In the mean time, let your children and mine be given up as a pledge to answer for the success of the war. If the issue be favourable, I consent that mine be put to death; but if it be otherwise, as I foresee it will, then I desire that you and your children may receive the reward of rash­ness." The pride of the Persian monarch could not easily bear such a plain but honest speech even from an uncle; and he therefore sternly replied, ‘"Thank the gods that thou art my father's bro­ther; were it not for that, thou shouldst this mo­ment receive the just reward of thy audacious be­haviour. But you shall have your punishment; [Page 34] remain here behind among the women; these you but too much resemble in your cowardice and fear. Stay here, while I march at the head of my troops where my duty and glory call me."’

Xerxes having thus resolved upon his expedition into Greece, began to make preparations for carry­ing it forward; and the greatness of these shewed the high sense he entertained of the power and bravery of the enemy. Sardis was the place of ge­neral rendezvous for his land forces; and the fleet was ordered to advance along the coasts of Asia Minor, towards the Hellespont. In its way thither, in order to shorten its passage, he cut a canal through the neck of land that joined Mount Athos to the continent; and while this was doing, he addressed the mountain with all that pomp and ostentation for which the Eastern princes have ever been so remarkable. ‘"Athos," said he, "thou proud as­piring mountain, that liftest up thy head unto the heavens, be not so audacious to put obstacles in my way. If thou dost, I will cut thee level with the plain, and throw thee headlong into the sea."’

In his march to Sardis, he gave a shocking proof of the extreme acts of cruelty he was capable of committing whenever his authority was called in question. Having required the eldest son of Py­thias, a Lydian prince, to attend him in the war, the father offered him all his treasure, amounting to about four millions sterling, to purchase his exemp­tion; and as the young man seemed desirous of staying at home, Xerxes commanded him imme­diately to be put to death before his father's eyes. Then causing the body to be cut in two, and one part of it to be placed on the right, and the other on the left, he made his whole army pass between them, a terrible example of what every one had to expect that dared to dispute his orders.

[Page 35]His army was composed not merely of Persians, but of Medes, Lydians, Bactrians, Assyrians, Hyr­canians, in a word, of every people that either ac­knowledged his authority, dreaded his power, or courted his alliance. It is said to have amounted to above two millions of men. His fleet consisted of fourteen hundred and twenty-seven ships, besides a thousand lesser vessels that were employed in carry­ing provisions. On board of these were six hundred thousand men; so that the whole army might be said to amount to above two millions and a half; which, with the women, slaves, and sutlers, always attending a Persian camp, might make the whole about five millions of souls: a force which, if rightly conducted, might have given law to the universe; but being commanded by ignorance and presump­tion, was soon after repulsed, and finally defeated by the small but gallant states of Greece.

With this mighty armament Xerxes set out on his expedition into Greece, ten years after the battle of Marathon.A. M. 3523. Upon review­ing his forces his heart was naturally elated with joy, from a consciousness of his superior power: but this soon gave place to the feelings of humanity, and he burst into tears when he reflected that, a hundred years hence, not one of so many thousands would be alive. He had previously given orders for building a bridge of boats across the Hel­lespont, or, as it is now called, the Dardanelles, which separates Asia from Europe, and is about an English mile over. But this bridge, when com­pleted, being carried away by the current, Xerxes, like a tyrant, wreaked his vengeance upon the workmen, and, like a lunatic, upon the sea. He caused the heads of the former to be struck off, and a certain number of lashes to be inflicted upon the latter, to punish it for its insolence; and fetters to be thrown into it, to teach it, for the future, obedi­ence [Page 36] to his will: a striking proof how much the possession of despotic power tends not only to corrupt the heart, but even to weaken and blind the under­standing. Another and a stronger bridge was soon after built, and over this the army passed; though, such was its immense number, the whole could not cross in less than seven days.

Xerxes having thus reached Europe, began his march directly for Greece, receiving every where the submission of the countries through which he passed. Even the smaller states of Greece, over­awed by his power, submitted at the first summons. Athens and Sparta alone, those glorious republics, nobly disdained such pusillanimous conduct. They gallantly resolved to oppose the invader of their country, and either to preserve their liberties entire, or to perish in the attempt. From the moment that Xerxes began his preparations, they had received intelligence of his designs; and they, in their turn, began to take measures for rendering them abortive. They had also sent spies to Sardis, in order to bring them an exact account of the number and quality of the enemy's forces. The spies, indeed, were seized; but Xerxes, instead of punishing, or even detaining them, ordered them to be conducted through his camp, and then dismissed, desiring them at the same time, on their return home, to give a faithful rela­tion of what they had seen. The Athenians and Spartans, however, neither intimidated by the mighty force that now came against them, nor by the base submission of the inferior states, nobly resolved to face the common danger with joint forces. These forces did not amount to above eleven thousand two hundred men; and yet with this handful of troops, they determined to oppose the almost innumerable army of Xerxes.

Their first care was to appoint a general; and they wisely made choice of Themistocles, the ablest [Page 37] commander that had appeared in Greece since the death of Miltiades. They likewise recalled Aristi­des, who had been driven into banishment by the faction of his enemies; at the head of which, in­deed, was Themistocles; such is the jealousy that sometimes prevails between great men, though equally attached to the interest of their country! It was upon the occasion of his banishment that a peasant, who could not write, and did not know Aristides personally, applied to him, and desired him to write the name of that citizen upon the shell, by which his vote was given against him. ‘"Has he done you any wrong," said Aristides, "that you are for condemning him in this manner?"’ ‘"No," replied the peasant, "but I hate to hear him always praised for his justice."’ Aristides, without saying a word more, calmly took the shell, wrote down his name upon it, and contentedly retired into exile. Themistocles, however, convinced of his uncom­mon merit, and willing to have the benefit of his counsels, was now as desirous of having him re­called, as ever he had been to see him banished; and these two great men, generously forgetting all their private feuds and animosities, resolved to exert their joint efforts in promoting the good of the public.

Themistocles saw that the enemy must be op­posed by sea as well as by land; and to enable him to do this with the greater effect, he had lately caused an hundred gallies to be built, and turned all his thoughts towards the improvement of the navy. The oracle had declared some time before, that Athens should only defend herself with wooden walls; and he took the advantage of this ambiguity to persuade his countrymen, that by such walls was only meant her shipping. The Lacedaemonians used no less industry in improving their navy, so that, upon the approach of Xerxes, the confederates [Page 38] found themselves possessed of a squadron of two hun­dred and eighty sail, the command of which was conferred upon Eurybiades, a Spartan.

The next point to be determined was, which was the most proper place for making the first stand against the enemy; and, after some deliberation, the straits of Thermopylae were pitched upon for the purpose. This was a narrow pass of twenty-five feet broad, between Thessaly and Phocis, defended by the remains of an old wall, with gates to it, and remarkable for some hot baths, from whence the place had its name. The command of this im­portant pass was given to Leonidas, one of the kings of Sparta, who led thither a body of six thousand men. Of these three hundred only were Spartans; the rest consisted of Boeotians, Corinthians, Pho­cians, and other allies. This chosen band were taught from the beginning to look upon themselves as a forlorn hope, only placed there to check the progress of the enemy, and give them a foretaste of the desperate valour of Greece; nor were even ora­cles wanting to inspire them with enthusiastic ar­dour. It had been declared, that to procure the safety of Greece, it was necessary that a king, one of the descendants of Hercules, should die; and this task was now cheerfully undertaken by Leonidas, who, when he marched out of Lacedaemon, consi­dered himself as a willing sacrifice offered up for the good of his country.

In the mean time Xerxes advanced with his im­mense army, the very sight of which, he thought, would terrify the Greeks into submission, without his being obliged to strike a single blow. Great, therefore, was his surprize, when he found that a few desperate men were determined to dispute his passage through the straits of Thermopylae. At first be could not believe they would persevere in their resolution; and he therefore gave them four days [Page 39] to reflect on their danger, hoping they would at last think it most prudent to retire. But when he found them remain immoveable in their post, he sent them a summons to deliver up their arms. Leonidas, with a true Spartan contempt, desired him ‘"to come and take them."’ And when some people said that the Persian forces were so numerous that their very darts would darken the sun, ‘"Then," replied Dieneces, a Spartan, "we shall fight in the shade."’

Xerxes, provoked at these sarcasms, resolved to begin the attack immediately. The first assault was made by a body of Medes, but these were instantly repulsed with great slaughter. A body of ten thou­sand Persians, commonly known by the name of the immortal band, made another attempt to dislodge the Grecians, but with no better success than the former. In a word, the Greeks maintained their ground against the whole power of the Persian army for two days together; and would probably have maintained it much longer, had it not been for the treachery of Epialtes, a Trachinian, who, having deserted to the enemy, conducted a body of twenty thousand Persians through a by-path to the top of a mountain that overhung the straits.

Leonidas seeing the enemy in this situation, plain­ly perceived that his post was no longer tenable. He therefore advised his allies to retire, and reserve themselves for better times, and the future safety of Greece. As for himself and his fellow-Spartans, they were obliged by their laws not to fly; that he owed a life to his country, and that it was now his duty to fall in its defence. Thus, having dis­missed all but his three hundred Spartans, with some Thespians and Thebans, in all not a thousand men, he exhorted his followers in the most cheerful man­ner to prepare for death. ‘"Come, my fellow sol­diers," says he, "let us dine cheerfully here, for to­night we shall sup with Pluto."’ His men, upon [Page 40] hearing his determined purpose, set up a loud shout, as if they had been invited to a banquet, and re­solved every man to sell his life as dearly as he could. The night now began to advance, and this was thought the most glorious opportunity of meeting death in the enemy's camp, where darkness, by hiding the smallness of their numbers, would fill the Persians with greater consternation. Thus re­solved, they made directly to the Persian tents, and, in the silence of the night, had almost penetrated to the royal pavilion, with hopes of surprising the king. The obscurity added much to the horror of the scene; and the Persians, incapable of distinguishing friend from foe, fell furiously upon each other, and rather assisted than opposed the Greeks. Thus suc­cess seemed to crown the rashness of their enter­prize, until the morning beginning to dawn, the light soon discovered the smallness of their numbers. They were soon, therefore, surrounded by the Per­sian forces, who fearing to fall in upon them, flung their javelins from every quarter, till the Greeks, not so much conquered, as tired with conquering, fell amidst heaps of the slaughtered enemy, leaving be­hind them an example of courage, to which there is no parallel to be found in history. Leonidas was one of the first that fell; and the endeavours of the Lacedaemonians to defend his dead body were in­credible. It was found, after the battle, buried un­der a mountain of the dead, and was nailed to a cross, by way of infamy, by the brutal victor. Of all the train two only escaped, whose names were Aristodemus and Panites. The latter was treated with such contempt on his return to Sparta, that he killed himself in despair. Aristodemus recovered his lost honour by his gallant behaviour at the battle of Plataea. The loss of the Persians on this occasion is supposed to have amounted to twenty thousand men, among which were two of the king's brothers.

[Page 41]The very day on which the battle of Thermo­pylae was fought, there was a naval engagement be­tween the fleets of Greece and Persia, in which the former took or sunk thirty of the enemy's ships, and forced a hundred and seventy of them to sea, where, by stress of weather, they were all soon after either sunk or stranded.

Xerxes, however, having now passed the straits, found nothing capable of opposing his progress in the open country, and he therefore directed his march towards Athens, on which he was determined to take a signal vengeance. Themistocles, seeing the impossibility of defending this place, used all his eloquence and address in persuading his countrymen to abandon it for the present; and this he was at last able, though with no little difficulty, to effect. A decree was therefore passed, by which it was or­dained, that Athens for awhile should be given up in trust to the Gods, and that all the inhabitants, whether in freedom or slavery, should go on board the fleet. The young and adventurous set sail for Salamis; the old, the women, and children took shelter at Trezene, the inhabitants of which gene­rously offered them an asylum. But in this general desertion of the city, that which raised the com­passion of all was, the great number of old men they were obliged to leave in the place, on account of their age and infirmities. Many also voluntarily remained behind, believing that the citadel, which they had fortified with wooden walls, was what the oracle pointed out for general safety. To heighten this scene of distress, the matrons were seen cling­ [...]ng with fond affection to the places where they had [...]o long resided; the women filled the streets with [...]amentations, and even the poor domestic animals [...]eemed to take a part in the general concern. It was impossible to see these poor creatures run howl­ [...]ng and crying after their masters, who were going [Page 42] on shipboard, without being strongly affected. Among these the faithfulness of a particular dog is recorded, who jumped into the sea after his master, and continued swimming as near as he could to the vessel, till he landed at Salamis, and died the mo­ment after upon the shore.

Those few inhabitants that remained behind re­tired into the citadel, where, literally interpreting the oracle, they fortified it as well as they could, and patiently awaited the approach of the invader. Nor was it long before they saw him arrive at their gates, and summon them to surrender. This, how­ever, they refused to do, or even to listen to any terms he proposed to them. The place was there­fore taken by assault; all who were found in it were put to the sword, and the citadel was reduced to ashes.

But though the confederates had been thus obliged to abandon Athens to the fury of the enemy, they were by no means disposed to let them over-run the whole country. They took possession of Peloponne­sus, built a wall across the isthmus that joined it to the continent, and committed the defence of that important post to Cleombrotus, the brother of Leonidas. In adopting this measure they were all of them unanimous, as being the most prudent that could be embraced. The case was not the same with regard to the operations of the fleet. Eury­biades was for bringing it into the neighbourhood of the isthmus, that so the sea and land forces might act in conjunction. Themistocles was of a quite different opinion, and maintained, that it would be the height of folly to abandon so advantageous a post as that of Salamis, where they were now sta­tioned. They were now, he said, in possession of the narrow seas, where the number of the enemy's ships could never avail them; that the only hope now left the Athenians was their fleet, and that [Page 43] this must not capriciously be given up by ignorance to the enemy. Eurybiades, who considered him­self as glanced at, could not contain his resentment, but was going to strike Themistocles for his inso­lence. ‘"Strike me," cried the Athenian, "strike me, but hear me."’ His moderation, and his rea­soning prevailed; and it was therefore resolved to await the enemy's fleet at Salamis. Fearful, how­ever, that the confederates might change their mind, Themistocles had recourse to one of those strata­gems which mark superior genius. He contrived to have it privately intimated to Xerxes that the confederates were now assembled at Salamis, pre­paring for flight, and that it would be an easy mat­ter to attack and destroy them. The artifice suc­ceeded. Xerxes gave orders to his fleet to block up Salamis by night, in order to prevent an escape, that would have baffled his views of vengeance.

Even Themistocles himself was not sensible, for some time, of the success of his scheme, and of his seemingly dangerous situation. Aristides, who then commanded a small body of troops at Egina, no sooner heard it, than, ignorant of the real cause of all these manoeuvres, and actually thinking Themis­tocles in danger, he ventured in a small boat by night through the whole fleet of the enemy. Upon landing he made up to the tent of Themistocles, and addressed him in the following manner: ‘"If we are wise, Themistocles, we shall henceforth lay aside all those frivolous and puerile dissensions which have hitherto divided us. One strife, and a noble one it is, now remains for us, which of us shall be most serviceable to our country. It is your's to command as a general; it is mine to obey as a subject; and happy shall I be, if my advice can any way contri­bute to your and my country's glory."’ He then informed him of the fleet's real situation, and warm­ly exhorted him to give battle without delay. [Page 44] Themistocles felt all that gratitude, which so ge­nerous and disinterested a conduct deserved; and eager to make a proper return, he immediately let him into all his schemes and projects, particularly this last, of suffering himself to be blocked up. After this they exerted their joint influence with the other commanders to persuade them to engage; and accordingly both fleets prepared themselves for battle.

The Grecian fleet consisted of three hundred and eighty ships, the Persian fleet was much more nu­merous. But whatever advantage they had in numbers, and the size of their ships, they fell in­finitely short of the Greeks in their naval skill, and their acquaintance with the seas where they fought; but it was chiefly on the superior abilities of their commanders that the Greeks placed their hopes of success. Eurybiades had nominally the command of the fleet, but Themistocles directed all its operations. He knowing that a periodical wind, which would be favourable, would soon set in, de­layed the attack till that time; and this had no sooner arisen, than the signal was given for battle, and the Grecian fleet sailed forward in exact order.

As the Persians now fought under the eye of their sovereign, who beheld the action from a neighbour­ing promontory, they exerted themselves for some time with great spirit; but their courage abated when they came to a closer engagement. The nu­merous disadvantages of their circumstances and si­tuation then began to appear. The wind blew direct­ly in their faces; the height and heaviness of their vessels rendered them unwieldy and useless; and even the number of their ships in the narrow sea only served to embarrass and perplex them. The Ionians were the first that fled; the Phoenicians and Cyprians were soon after driven on shore; and [Page 45] in a little time their whole fleet was thrown into confusion. In the general consternation which this occasioned, Artemisia, queen of Halicarnassus, who had come to the assistance of Xerxes with five ships, exerted herself with so much spirit, that that mo­narch was heard to say, that his soldiers behaved like women in the conflict, and the women like soldiers. Nothing, however, could repair the disorder that had now taken place in the Persian fleet. They instantly fled on all sides; some of them were sunk, and more taken; above two hundred were burnt, and all the rest were entirely dispersed.

Such was the issue of the battle of Salamis, in which the Persians received a more severe blow than any they had hitherto experienced from Greece. Themistocles is said to have been so elated with this victory, that he proposed breaking down the bridge on the Hellespont, and thus cutting off the retreat of the enemy; but from this he was dissuaded by Aristides, who represented the great danger of re­ducing so powerful an army to despair. Xerxes, however, seems to have been so apprehensive of some such step being taken, that, after leaving about three hundred thousand of his best troops behind him under Mardonius, not so much with a view of conquering Greece, as in order to prevent a pursuit, he hastened back with the rest to the Hellespont, where finding the bridge broken down by the vio­lence of the waves, he was obliged to pass over in a small boat; and this manner of leaving Europe, when compared to his ostentatious method of enter­ing it, rendered his disgrace the more poignant and afflicting.


A. M. 3524.NOTHING could exceed the joy of the Greeks upon the victory they had obtained at Salamis. It was a custom among them, after a battle, for the commanding officers to declare who had distinguished themselves most, by writing the names of such as merited the first and second rewards. On this occasion, each officer concerned adjudged the first rank to himself, but all allowed the second to Themistocles, which was in fact allowing him a tacit superiority. This was farther confirmed by the Lacedaemonians, who carried him in triumph to Sparta; and who having adjudged the reward of valour to their own countryman, Eurybiades, adjudged that of wisdom to Themistocles. They crowned him with olive, presented him with a rich chariot, and conducted him with three hundred horse to the confines of their state. But there was an homage paid him that flattered his pride yet more; when he appeared at the Olympic games, that is before all the states of Greece assembled, the spectators received him with uncommon acclamations. As soon as he appeared the whole assembly rose up to do him honour; no­body regarded either the games or the combatants; Themistocles was the only object worth their at­tention. Struck with such flattering honours, he could not help crying out, that he that day reaped the fruits of all his labours.

Mardonius, having passed the winter in Thessaly, led his forces in the spring into the province of Boeotia, and from thence sent Alexander, king of [Page 47] Macedonia, with very tempting proposals to the Athenians, hoping by that means to detach them from the general interests of Greece. He offered to rebuild their city, to present them with a consi­derable sum of money, to allow them to enjoy their laws and liberties, and to bestow upon them the government of all Greece. The Spartans were afraid that the Athenians might be apt to accept of these proposals, and they therefore sent ambassadors to Athens, in order to dissuade them from so base a conduct. But Aristides, who was then chief Ar­chon of Athens, needed no other monitor than the dictates of his own heart. Receiving Alexander and the ambassadors at the same time, he addressed them in the following terms: ‘"For men," said he, "bred up in pleasure and ignorance, it is natu­ral to proffer great rewards, and to hope by bribes to undermine virtue. Barbarians, who make silver and gold the chief object of their esteem, may be excused for thinking to corrupt the fidelity of a free people; but that the Lacedaemonians, who came to remonstrate against these offers, should suppose they could prevail, is indeed surprising. The Athenians have the common liberty of Greece en­trusted to their care, and mountains of gold are not able to shake their fidelity. No, so long as that [...]un, which the Persians adore, continues to shine with wonted splendor, so long shall the Athenians be mortal enemies to the Persians; so long shall they continue to pursue them for ravaging their [...]ands, for burning their houses, and polluting their temples.—Such is the answer we return to the Per­sian proposal.—And you," continued he, addressing himself to Alexander, "if you are really their friend, refrain for the future from being the bearer of such proposals; your honour, and perhaps even your safety demands it."’

[Page 48]Mardonius, provoked at the rejection of hi [...] offers, invaded Attica, which the Athenians, unabl [...] to resist the torrent, were once more obliged to abandon to his fury. Nothing, however, could reconcile that people to any terms of accommoda­tion. They even stoned Lycidas, a senator, to death, for proposing a submission; and his wife and children met with the same fate from the women▪ In the mean time the Spartans were in danger of falling into the same error from which they had been so anxious to preserve the Athenians, I mean that of consulting their own private safety, without regarding the general interests of Greece. They proposed to fortify the isthmus of Peloponnesus. But the Athenians remonstrating against so partial and ungenerous a proceeding, the Spartans readily gave up the point.

The Grecian army was now assembled to the number of seventy thousand men. Of these five thousand were Spartans, attended by thirty-five thou­sand Helots. The Athenians amounted to eight thousand, and the troops of the allies made up the rest. With this army the Greeks resolved to oppose Mardonius, though at the head of no less than three hundred thousand men. That general, fearing to be attacked in the hilly country of Attica, where he could not avail himself of his great superiority of numbers, had lately returned into Boeotia, and en­camped his troops on the banks of the river Asopus. Thither he was pursued by the Grecians; but as nei­ther side could begin the attack without encounter­ing great disadvantages, the two armies continued in sight of each other for the space of ten days, both of them equally eager for a battle, and yet both afraid to strike the first blow.

It was during this interval that a mutiny had like to have arisen in the Grecian army about the post of honour. All parties allowed the Spartans [Page 49] [...]he command of the right wing; but the Tegaeans [...]lledged that they were better entitled, by their past [...]ervices, to the command of the left, than the Athe­ [...]ians, who now occupied it. This dissension might [...]ave produced very fatal effects, had it not been for [...]he moderation and magnanimity of Aristides, who [...]ommanded the Athenians, and who addressed him­ [...]lf to the Spartans and the rest of the confederates [...]n the following manner: ‘"It is not now a time, my friends, to dispute about the merit of past ser­ [...]ioes; for all boasting is vain in the day of danger. [...]et it be the brave man's pride to own, that it is [...]ot the post or station which gives courage, or which can take it away. I head the Athenians; whatever post you shall assign us, we will maintain [...], and will endeavour to make our station, wherever [...]e are placed, the post of true honour and military [...]ory. We are come hither not to contend with [...]ur friends, but to fight with our enemies; not to [...]oast of our ancestors, but to imitate them. This [...]attle will distinguish the merit of each city, each [...]ommander, and the lowest sentinel will share the [...]onour of the day."’ This speech determined the [...]ouncil of war in favour of the Athenians, who [...]ereupon were allowed to maintain their former [...]ation.

Meanwhile the Grecians, beginning to be [...]raitened for want of water, resolved to retreat to a [...]ace where they might be more plentifully supplied [...]ith that necessary article. As their removal was [...]ade in the night, much disorder ensued; and in [...]e morning, Mardonius construing their retreat [...]to a flight, immediately pursued them, and com­ [...]g up with them near the little city of Plataea, he [...]tacked them with great impetuosity. His ardour, [...]owever, was soon checked by the Spartans, who [...]ought up the rear of the Grecian army, and who, [...]rowing themselves into a phalanx, stood impene­trable [Page 50] and immoveable to all the assaults of the enemy. At the same time, the Athenians being in­formed of the attack, quickly turned back, and, after defeating a body of Greeks in Persian pay, they came to the assistance of the Spartans, just as these last had completed the overthrow of the enemy. For Mardonius, enraged at seeing his men give way, rushed into the thickest of the ranks, in order to restore the battle; and while he was doing so, he was killed by Aimnestus, a Spartan. Upon this the whole army betook themselves to flight. Artabazis, with a body of forty thousand men, fled towards the Hellespont; the rest retreated to their camp, and there endeavoured to defend themselves with wooden ramparts. But these being quickly broken down, the confederates rushed in upon them with irresistible fury; and eager to rid their coun­try of such terrible invaders, they sternly refused them all quarter, and put upwards of a hundred thousand of them to the sword. Thus ended the invasion of the Persians into Greece; nor ever after was an army from Persia seen to cross the Helle­spont. We have already observed, that Aristides commanded the Athenians in this important action. The Spartans were headed by Cleombrotus, and Pausanias, a Lacedaemonian, was the chief com­mander.

The battle was no sooner over, than the Greeks, to testify their gratitude to heaven, caused a statue of Jupiter to be m [...]d [...] at the public expence, and placed it in his t [...]mple at Olympia. On the right side of the pedes [...]l were engraved the names of the several nations of Greece that were present in the engagement. The Spartans had the first place, the Athenians the second, and all the rest succeeded in order.

The successes of the Greeks were as rapid as they were important. On the very evening of the day, [Page 51] on which the victory at Plataea was won, another, equally glorious, was obtained at Mycale on the coast of Ionia. After the defeat at Salamis, the re­mains of the Persian fleet retired to Samos; but the Greeks were not long in pursuing them. The con­federates, on this occasion, were headed by Leo­cychides, the Spartan, and Xanthippus, the Athenian. The Persians were no sooner informed of their ap­proach, than, conscious of their own inferiority by sea, they drew up their ships upon dry land at My­ [...]ale, and fortified them with a wall and a deep [...]rench, while they were at the same time protected by an army of sixty thousand men, under the com­mand of Tigranes. But nothing could secure them from the fury of the Grecians, who immediately [...]oming on shore, and dividing themselves into two [...]odies, the Athenians and Corinthians advanced di­ [...]ectly on the plain, while the Lacedaemonians fetch­ [...]d a compass over hills and precipices, in order to [...]ake possession of a rising ground. But before these [...]t arrived, the former had entirely put the enemy [...]o flight; and now being joined by the Spartans, [...]hey soon forced their way through the Persian ram­ [...]arts, and set all their ships on fire; so that nothing [...]ould be more complete than the victory now ob­ [...]i [...]ed. Tigranes, the Persian general, with forty [...]housand of his men, lay dead upon the field of [...]a [...]ie; the fleet was destroyed; and of the great [...]my which Xerxes brought into Europe, scarce a [...]ng [...]e man remained to carry back to him the news [...]f its defeat.


A. M. 3526.NO sooner were the Greeks freed from the apprehensions of a fo­reign foe, than they began to entertain jealousies of each other; and the first symptoms of this dange­rous spirit appeared in a misunderstanding that took place between the Athenians and Spartans. The former, with their families, being returned to their own country, began to think of rebuilding the city; and as its late state of weakness had rendered it so easy a prey to the Persians, they now formed a plan for strengthening and extending the walls, and giv­ing it, for the future, a greater degree of security. This excited the jealousy of the Lacedaemonians, who could not bear to see any of the other states of Greece upon an equal footing with themselves. They therefore sent ambassadors to dissuade the Athenians from this undertaking; but being ashamed to avow thei [...] real motive, they alledged the great detriment which these fortifications would be of to the general interests of Greece, if ever they should fall into the hands of the enemy. Themistocles, who then guided all the councils of Athens, at once saw through their design, and resolved to meet their duplicity with equal dissimulation. He therefore told them that the Athenians would soon send an embassy to Sparta, and fully satisfy all their scruples; and having procured himself to be chosen for this purpose, he accordingly went thither, and by stu­died delays kept the Spartans in suspence until the works were completely finished. He then boldly [Page 53] threw off the mask, and declared that Athens was now in a condition to keep out any enemy, either foreign or domestic; and that what she had done was perfectly consistent with the laws of nations, and the common interests of Greece. He further added, that if any violence were offered to his per­son, the Athenians would retaliate upon the Spartan ambassadors, who were now in their hands; in con­sequence of which the ambassadors on both sides were suffered quietly [...] depart, and Themistocles, upon his arrival in [...]ns, was received as if he had been returning from a triumph.

Encouraged by his success in this undertaking, Themistocles projected another scheme, far less jus­tifiable indeed, for increasing the power and impor­tance of his country. This scheme, however, he declared in a full assembly of the people, would not admit of being publicly mentioned, as its execution required secrecy and dispatch. He therefore begged that some person might be appointed, to whom he might communicate his design, one who was quali­fied to judge at once of the utility and the practi­cability of the project. Aristides was pitched upon for this purpose. To him Themistocles privately signified his intention of burning the fleet belonging to the rest of the Grecian states, which then lay in a neighbouring port, and thus rendering Athens the undisputed sovereign of the sea. Aristides, shocked at so base a proposal, made no answer, but returning to the assembly, informed them, that nothing could be more advantageous to Athens than what The­mistocles proposed, but that nothing, at the same time, could be more unjust. The people, adopting the magnanimous sentiments of their magistrate, unanimously rejected the proposal, without knowing its contents, and bestowed upon Aristides the sur­name of Just, which he so well deserved.

The confederates being thus left at liberty to turn their arms against their foreign foes, instead of [Page 54] drawing their swords against one another, fitted out a powerful fleet. Pausanias commanded the Spar­tans; the Athenians were conducted by Aristides and Cimon, the son of Miltiades. They first di­rected their course to the isle of Cyprus, where they set all the cities free. Then steering towards the Hellespont, they attacked the city of Byzantium, of which they made themselves masters; and, besides the vast quantity of plunder which they found in it, they took a great number of prisoners, many of whom were of the richest and most considerable fami­lies of Persia.

But whatever the Greeks gained upon this occa­sion in fame and authority, they lost in the purity and simplicity of their manners. The deluge of wealth poured in upon them from this quarter, naturally tended to corrupt their morals; and from this time forward, neither the magistrates nor the people valued themselves, as formerly, on their per­sonal merit, but merely on account of their riches and possessions. The Athenians, being a polite people, bore this change for some time with tolera­ble moderation; but the contagion▪ immediately broke out among the Spartans with all its native virulence. It seems to have inspired Pausanias, who was naturally of a haughty and imperious temper, and who had forfeited the good opinion not only of the neighbouring states, but also of his own subjects, with the ambitious hopes of raising himself to a still higher rank than he had yet attained. He offered to deliver up Sparta, and even all Greece, to Xerxes, provided that prince would give him his daughter in marriage. How long this conspiracy was carried on is uncertain. Pausanias was twice t [...]ied, and twice acquitted for want of sufficient evi­dence against him. His guilt, however, became at length too apparent to be any longer concealed; but just as the Ephon were upon the point of seizing [Page 55] him, he took refuge in the temple of Minerva, where the sanctity of the place preventing his being dragged forth, the people blocked up the entry with large stones, and tearing off the roof, left him in that manner to die of cold and hunger. This he in a little time did; and thus perished the man who had led on the victorious troops of Greece in the battle of Plataea.

The fate of Pausanias soon after involved that of Themistocles, who had some time before been ba­nished, and lived in great esteem at Argos. The occasion of his banishment was this. He had built near his house a temple in honour of Diana, with this inscription, ‘"To Diana, the goddess of good counsel;"’ thereby insinuating the benefit his own counsels had been of to his country, and the little gratitude his fellow-citizens had shewn in rewarding them. He was now accused, not only of having been privy to the designs of Pausanias, without re­vealing them to the state, which part of the charge indeed seems to have been well founded, but like­wise of having approved and favoured those de­signs, a crime, it would appear, of which he was altogether guiltless. The Spartans, however, who had always been his enemies, now declared them­selves his accusers before the assembly of the people of Athens; and all those of his countrymen, who had formerly either dreaded his power, or envied his popularity, joined in the general charge against him. In a word, the people were wrought up to such a degree of rage, that they clamoured for his death with great vehemence; and persons were actually sent to seize and bring him before the general coun­cil of Greece. Fortunately, however, he had no­tice of their design, and saved himself by a precipi­tate flight. He first took refuge in the island of Corcyra. From thence he repaired to the court of Admetus, king of the Molossians; but that prince [Page 56] not being able to afford him any long or certain protection, he at last went over to Sardis, where, throwing himself prostrate before the Persian mo­narch, he boldly declared his name, his country, and his misfortunes. ‘"I have done," cried he, "my ungrateful country services more than once, and I am now come to offer those services to you. My life is in your hands: you may now exert your clemency, or display your vengeance. By the for­mer you will preserve a faithful suppliant; by the latter you will destroy the greatest enemy of Greece."’ The king made him no answer at this audience, though he was struck with admiration at his elo­quence and intrepidity; but he soon gave a loose to his joy for the event. He told his courtiers, that he considered the arrival of Themistocles as a very happy incident, and wished that his enemies would always pursue the same destructive policy of banish­ing from among them the good and wise. His joys were continued in a dream. In the night he was seen to start from his sleep, and three times to cry out, ‘"I have got Themistocles the Athenian."’ He even gave him three cities for his support, and had him maintained in the utmost affluence and splendor. It is said, that such was his interest at the Persian court, and so great was the estimation in which he was held by all ranks of people, that one day at table he was heard to cry out to his wife and children, who sat near him, ‘"Children, we should certainly have been ruined, if we had not formerly been undone."’

But nothing could eraze from the breast of The­mistocles the love he entertained for his country. Indeed, the spirit of patriotism appears to have pre­vailed among the Greeks in a higher degree than ever it did among any other people. This was no doubt owing to the many violent struggles they had been obliged to make in defence of their country. [Page 57] And perhaps it will be found, that the value we set upon any thing, is always in proportion to the pains we have taken in acquiring or preserving it. When Xerxes, therefore, proposed fitting out an expedi­tion against Athens, and entrusting the command of it to Themistocles, that patriot, rather than carry arms against the place of his nativity, put an end to his own life by poison.

In the mean time Aristides, instead of incurring the jealousy of his countrymen by his ambitious and interested views, continued every day to acquire a larger share of their esteem and veneration by his integrity and love of justice. So great, indeed, was his character in this respect, that when it was deliberated among the states of Greece who was the most proper person to be intrusted with the care of the public treasure for carrying on the war, all eyes were fixed upon him as the most upright man to be found in the country; and his discharge of this important office, to which he was immediately ap­pointed, only served to confirm the high opinion the world already entertained of him. His merit, besides, in this particular was so much the greater, as he himself was extremely poor; but it appeared from the following incident that he was voluntarily poor, and might have been richer, if he had chosen it. Callias, an intimate friend and relation of his, being summoned before the judges for some offence, one of the chief objections urged against him was, that while he rolled in affluence and luxury, he suf­fered his friend and relation, Aristides, to remain in poverty and want. But Callias appealing to Aristi­des himself, it appeared that he had generously offer­ed to share his fortune with him, which the other had absolutely refused to accept; asserting, that he only might be said to want, who permitted his ap­petites to transgress the bounds of his income; and that he who could dispense with a few things, [Page 58] thus rendered himself more like the gods, that want for nothing.

In this manner he lived, just in his public, and independent in his private capacity, and universally esteemed and beloved by all that knew him. His­tory does not acquaint us with the time or place of his death; but it bears the most glorious testi­mony to his character, in telling us that he who had had the absolute disposal of the public treasures, died poor. It is even asserted, that he did not leave money enough behind him to defray the expence of his funeral, but that the government was obliged to bear the charge of it, and to maintain his family. His daughters were portioned, and his son subsisted at the expence of the public; and some of his grand­children were supported by a pension equal to that bestowed upon those who had been victorious at the Olympic games.

The first man that began to make a figure at Athens after the death of Themistocles and Aristides, was Cimon, the son or Miltiades. In his earlier years he had led a very dissolute life; but Aristides perceiving in him, amidst all his dissipation, the seeds of many great and good qualities, advised him to change his conduct, and to raise his mind, from the pursuit of low and ignoble pleasures, to the ambition of directing the affairs of the state. He did so, and, in a little time, became equal to his father in courage, to Themistocles in sagacity, and even not much inferior to his instructor himself in integrity. The first specimen he gave of his mili­tary talents was in scouring the Asiatic seas, and delivering all the Greek cities on the coasts of Asia Minor from their dependence upon the Persian crown, and making them join in the general confe­deracy of Greece against that very power to which they had formerly acknowledged allegiance. Some of these, however, that were strongly garrisoned by [Page 59] Persian troops, made a desperate defence. The city of Eion deserves to be particularly mentioned. Boges, the governor, resolved either to preserve it, or to perish in the attempt. He accordingly de­fended the place with incredible fury, till finding his station no longer tenable, he killed his wife and children, and laying them on a funeral pile, which he had erected for the purpose, he immediately set it on fire, and rushing into the midst of the flames, in that manner expired.

While Cimon was employed in these operations, he received intelligence that the whole Persian fleet was anchored at the mouth of the river Eurymidon. He accordingly sailed thither, and pursuing the ene­my up the stream, where they endeavoured to take shelter, he destroyed all their ships; and his men, jumping on shore in pursuit of the Persian mariners, who had abandonded their vessels, they soon put them to flight, thus obtaining a complete victory both by sea and land on the same occasion. This severe blow at last compelled the Persians to agree to a peace, the terms of which were as mortifying to them, as they were honourable to the Grecians. It was stipulated that the Greek cities in Asia should be left in quiet possession of their liberty, and that neither the sea nor land forces of Persia should approach so near the Grecian coasts, as to give the least occasion for any kind of jealousy.

The treasures taken in this expedition Cimon laid out in beautifying his native city; and the Athenians gave examples in the art of architecture, that con­tinue to be admired to this very day. About the same time lived the poet Simonides, some of whose works still remain; and these only leave us room to regret that the rest are long since irretrievably lost.


THOUGH Cimon was for some time, after the death of Aristides, the most considerable man at Athens, he did not remain long without a rival. He was soon opposed by Pericles, who was much younger than he, and was a man of a very different character. Pericles was descended from the great­est and most illustrious families of Athens: his fa­ther, Xanthippus, defeated the Persians at Mycale; and his mother Agarista was niece to Calisthenes, who expelled the tyrants, and established a popular government in Athens. In the earlier part of his life he applied himself with success to all the differ­ent branches of philosophy; but the chief bent of his mind was directed to the study of eloquence, in which he is said to have outshone all his contempo­raries. Even his great opponent, Thucydides, was often heard to say, that though he had frequently overthrown him, the power of his eloquence was such, that the audience could never perceive him fallen. He resembled the tyrant Pisistratus, not only in the sweetness of his voice, but the features of his face, and his whole air and manner. To these na­tural and acquired endowments he added those of fortune; he was very rich, and intimately connect­ed with all the most powerful families of the state.

The established reputation of Cimon, however, was for some time a bar to the rise of Pericles; but as the former was generally abroad, commanding the fleets or armies of the country, and the latter was always at home, haranguing and making inte­rest [Page 61] with the people, he soon found means to over­come this obstacle. The first use he made of his popu­larity was to lessen the power, and consequently the character of the court of Areopagus. This he did chiefly by the assistance of one Ephialtes, another popular leader, who contrived to take away the decision of almost all causes from that celebrated tribunal, and to bring them before the assembly of the people. Cimon's interest, however, was still able to counter­act, and even to overpower that of Pericles in a very important question. This was whether the Athe­nians should assist the Lacedaemonians in suppressing an insurrection of their Helots, or slaves, who had taken up arms to rescue themselves from bondage. Cimon gave his opinion in the affirmative; Pericles in the negative. But Cimon's opinion, as being the most generous, was for this time adopted, and he was allowed to conduct a large body of troops to Sparta, with which he effectually quelled the insur­rection. But the Helots taking up arms a second time, and possessing themselves of the strong fortress of Ithome, the Spartans were once more obliged to apply to Athens for assistance. The influence, however, of Pericles now prevailed in its turn, and all kind of aid was denied them. Thus left to finish the war by themselves, they besieged Ithome, which held out for ten years; at the end of which, how­ever, they made themselves masters of it, though they spared the lives of those who defended it, upon condition of their leaving Peloponnesus for ever.

The conduct of the Athenians upon this occasion, and some insults they pretended to have received from the Lacedaemonians, revived a jealousy that had long subsisted between these rival states, and which continued thenceforward to operate with greater or less influence, till both of them were re­duced to such a low ebb of power, that neither of them was able to withstand the slightest invasion [Page 62] from abroad. The first instance the Athenians gave of their resentment, was to banish Cimon, who had been a favourer of the Spartan cause, for ten years, from the city. They next dissolved their alliance with Sparta, and entered into a treaty with the Argives, the professed enemies of the former. The slaves banished from Peloponnesus were taken under the protection of Athens, and settled with their families at Naupactus: and all the privileges or Spartan subjects were demanded in behalf of those Athenians that resided in Lacedaemon. But what contributed to widen the breach still more, the city of Megara, breaking off its alliance with Sparta, was protected and garrisoned by the Athenians; and thus was laid the foundation of an inveterate hatred, that terminated in the destruction of both these states.

The chief motive to this insolent and treacherous conduct of the Athenians, was the high opinion they entertained of themselves ever since the battle of Plataea. That victory had raised them to the same national eminence with the Lacedaemonians. But they were nor satisfied with being their equals; they wanted to be their superiors. They, there­fore, called themselves the Protectors of Greece; they desired that the convention of the states should be held at Athens, and they resolved to declare open war against any power that should dare to insult them.

Exasperated, however, as these two states were against each other, they did not immediately come to rupture. They first endeavoured to strengthen themselves by leagues and alliances with the neigh­bouring states. At last the armies of the two re­publics came to an engagement near Tangara; and though Cimon, forgetting the injury he had receiv­ed fr [...]m his country, came to its assistance, yet the Athenians suffered a defeat. A month or two after [Page 63] another action happened, and the Athenians were, in their turn, victorious. The conduct of Cimon upon this occasion re-established him in the public favour; he was restored to his country, after a ba­nishment of five years; and his rival Pericles was the first that proposed the decree for his recall.

Cimon's first care, after his return, was to com­promise all differences between the rival states; and this was so far outwardly effected, that a truce was concluded for the space of five years. This furnish­ed an opportunity for exerting the power of the state upon a more distant enemy. A fleet of two hundred sail was fitted out, and the command of it given to Cimon, for conquering the island of Cyprus. He accordingly sailed thither, over-ran the island, and laid siege to the capital, Citium. But being ei­ther wounded by some of the defendants, or wasted by sickness, he began to perceive the approaches of death. Still mindful, however, of his duty, he or­dered his attendants to conceal his decease till their schemes were crowned with success. They did so; and thirty days after he was dead, the army, which still supposed itself under his command, obliged the place to surrender. Thus he not only died in the arms of victory, but he even gained battles by the terror of his name. In so great awe, indeed, did the Persians stand of him, that they universally de­serted the sea-coasts, and would not come within four hundred leagues of any place where he could possibly be expected.

Pericles being now freed from the opposition of so powerful a rival, resolved to complete the work of ambition he had begun; and by dividing the con­quered lands among the people, amusing them with shows, and adorning the city with public buildings, be at last acquired such an ascendancy over the minds of the populace, that he may actually be said to have been possessed of sovereign power in a free state. [Page 64] The buildings, indeed, which he raised, have en­deared his memory to all the lovers of the fine arts. Some small remains of them are still to be seen; and these are allowed by the best judges to be so perfect in their kind, that they have never since been excelled, and hardly ever equalled. True it is, that, to complete these works, he was guilty, in some measure of injustice; for he applied to this pur­pose part of the money that had been raised by the different states of Greece for carrying on the war against Persia: but when any of these states com­plained of this embezzlement of the public treasure, Pericles boldly replied, that the Athenians were not accountable to any for their conduct, and that they had the best right to the treasures of the confederate states, who took the greatest care to defend them. He added, that it was fit that ingenious artizans should have their share of the public money, since there was still enough left for carrying on the war.

These arguments, however, were by no means sufficient to satisfy the other states of Greece, and least of all the Spartans, who beheld the present prosperity of Athens with envy, and the insolence of Pericles with indignation. And these passions were still further inflamed by an expedition which the Athenians undertook against Samos, in favour of the Milesians, who had craved their assistance. It is said, that Pericles fomented this war, to please a famous courtezan named Aspasia, of whom he was particularly enamoured. After several skirmishes not worth mentioning, Pericles besieged the capi­tal of Samos with tortoises and battering rams, which was the first time these military engines had been employed in sieges. The Samians, after sus­taining a nine months siege, surrendered. Pericles razed their walls, dispossessed them of their ships, and exacted immense sums for defraying the expences [Page 65] of the war. Elated with this success, he returned to Athens, buried all those who had fallen in the most splendid manner, and pronounced their funeral oration.

Though the jealousy and rivalship that subsisted between Athens and Sparta was the true cause of the Peloponnesian war, yet neither of them was willing to avow their real motive; a petty quarrel among the inferior states of Greece, their allies, furnished them with an ostensible reason. The Corcyreans, resenting the conduct of the Corinthians with regard to one of their dependent colonies, named Epidamnus, took up arms to revenge the affront; but being worsted in some naval engage­ments, they had recourse to the Athenians for sup­port, who sent them some naval succours, which, however, were of no great service. From this war arose another; for Potidaea, a city belonging to Athens, declaring for Corinth, these two states im­mediately came to a rupture, and drawing their forces into the field near Potidaea, a battle ensued, in which the Athenians gained the victory. It was in this battle that Socrates saved the life of Alcibia­des, his pupil; and after the battle was over, pro­cured him the prize of valour, which he himself more justly deserved. The city of Potidaea was soon after besieged in consequence of this victory, and the Corinthians complained to the states of Greece against the Athenians, as having infringed the arti­cles of peace. The Lacedaemonians gave them an audience, and after hearing what the Athenians had to urge in reply, they came to a resolution, that the Athenians were the aggressors, and ought to be re­duced to a sense of their duty.

To give a colour of justice, however, to their pro­ceedings, they began by sending ambassadors to Athens; and while they made preparations for act­ing with vigour, they still kept up a shew of seek­ing [Page 66] redress by treaty. They required the Athenian to expel from their city some persons that had bee [...] guilty of profaning the temple of Minerva at Ceylon; they demanded that the siege of Potidaea shoul [...] be raised, and that the Athenians should cease fo [...] the future to encroach upon the liberties of Greece.

Pericles now saw, that as he had drawn his courtrymen into a war, he ought to inspire them wit [...] courage to support it. He accordingly shews them, that even trifles extorted from them with a air of command, were in themselves a sufficien [...] ground for war; that they might hope to deriv [...] considerable advantage from the divided councils o [...] their opponents; that they had shipping to invad [...] the enemy's coasts; and that their city being wel [...] fortified, could not easily be taken. The people, influenced by the force of his eloquence, naturally fon [...] of change, and unterrified by distant dangers, readil [...] came into his opinion; but, in order to meet th [...] duplicity of the Spartans with equal address, they returned an evasive answer, declaring that they wished for nothing more than to settle all differences i [...] an amicable manner; but that, if they were attacked, they would defend themselves with their wonted valour.

Pericles is thought to have had a personal interest in hurrying his countrymen into this unhapp [...] quarrel. He was deeply indebted to the state, an [...] knew that a time of peace was the only opportunit [...] in which he could be called upon to account for hi [...] management of the public treasure. It is said th [...] Alcibiades, his nephew, seeing him one day ver [...] pensive, and asking the reason, was answered, th [...] he was considering how to make up his accounts ‘"You had better," said he, "consider how t [...] avoid being accountable."’ Besides this, Pericle [...] finding no happiness in domestic society, gave him­self up to the allurements of his mistress Aspasia [Page 67] whose wit and vivacity had captivated all the poets and philosophers of the age, Socrates himself not ex­cepted. She was inclined to oppose the Spartan state; and he, in some measure, is thought to have been guided by her counsels.

A. M. 3572.A war between the two principal states of Greece, naturally drew all the inferior ones into the quarrel; and these chose their party, as interest, inclination, or ideas of jus­tice led them. The majority declared in favour of the Lacedaemonians, who were considered as the deliverers of Greece. On their side were ranged the Achaians, the inhabitants of Pellene excepted, the people of Megara, Locris, Boeotia, Phocis, Ambracia, Leucadia, and Anactorium. On the side of Athens were the people of Chios, Lesbos, Plataea, many of the islands, and several maritime tributary states, including those of Thrace, Potidaea excepted.

The Lacedaemonians were not long in taking the field. Their army, including their allies, amounted to sixty thousand men, and was commanded by Archidamus, one of their kings. The forces of the Athenians were not near so numerous. These did not exceed thirteen thousand heavy-armed soldiers, sixteen thousand inhabitants, twelve hundred horse, and about double that number of archers. Unable, therefore, to meet the enemy in the field, Pericles advised them to shut themselves up in the city, which could not easily be stormed. This advice at first was but very ill relished; but at last necessity compelled them to adopt it. Removing, therefore, all their valuable effects out of the open country, which they abandoned to the mercy of the enemy, they took refuge within their walls, where they seemed determined to defend themselves to the last extremity. To compensate, however, for the weakness of the land army, they had a great supe­riority [Page 68] over the Spartans in their naval force. This consisted of three hundred ships, and with these they continually infested and plundered the enemy's coasts, and raised contributions sufficient for defray­ing the expences of the war.

In the mean time the Lacedaemonians entered the country of Attica at Oenone, and meeting with no opposition, marched forward to Acharne, within seven miles of Athens. The Athenians, enraged at the mortification to which they were now exposed, turned the edge of their resentment from the enemy, and directed it against Pericles, whom they regarded as the author of their disgrace. They, therefore, insisted upon being led out into the open field, where, notwithstanding the inferiority of their numbers, they said they would boldly face the enemy. But Pericles chose the wiser part. He shut up the city gates, placed sufficient guards at all the posts a­round, sent out parties of horse to keep the enemy employed, and at the same time dispatched a fleet of an hundred sail to infest the coasts of Peloponnesus. These expedients had the desired effect. The La­cedaemonians, finding the place to be altogether impregnable, gave up the siege, after laying waste the country around, and insulting the defenders by their numbers and reproaches. To revenge this in­jury, the Athenians, in their turn, invaded the enemy's country with their whole force, and re­duced Nisaea, a strong sea-port, with walls reaching as far as Megara. Elated with this success, they expressed their joy, by celebrating funeral games in honour of those who had fallen in battle. It was upon this occasion that Pericles delivered his famous funeral oration, which has come down to our times, and is generally considered as a proof at once of his eloquence and his gratitude.

In the beginning of the next year the Lacedaemo­nians invaded Attica with the same number of forces [Page 69] as before, and the Athenians were once more obliged to take refuge within their walls. But a more dreadful calamity, than even that of war, now began to visit the unhappy Athenians. A plague, and one of the most terrible that is record­ed in history, now broke out among them. It is said to have begun in Ethiopia, whence it descended into Egypt, from thence travelled into Libya and Persia, and at last broke like a flood upon Athens. This pestilence baffled the utmost efforts of art; the most robust constitutions were unable to withstand its attacks; no skill could obviate, nor no remedy dispel the infection. The instant a person was seized, he was struck with despair, which quite dis­abled him from attempting a cure. The humanity of friends was as fatal to themselves, as it was use­less to the unhappy sufferers. The prodigious quan­tity of baggage which had been removed out of the country into the city, increased the calamity. Most of the inhabitants, for want of better lodging, lived in little cottages, in which they could scarce breathe, while the burning heat of the summer inflamed the malignity of the distemper. They were seen con­fusedly huddled together, the dead as well as the living; some crawling through the streets, some lying along by the sides of fountains, whither they had endeavoured to repair to quench the raging thirst which consumed them. Their very temples were filled with dead bodies, and every part of the city exhibited a dreadful scene of mortality, without the least remedy for the present, or the least hopes with regard to futurity. It seized the people with such violence, that they fell one upon another as they passed along the streets. It was also attended with such uncommon pestilential vapours, that the very beasts and birds of prey, though perishing with hunger round the walls of the city, would not touch the bodies of those who died of it. Even those who [Page 70] recovered, received such a terrible shock from it, as affected not only their senses, but the very facul­ties of their mind. It effaced the memory of all the occurrences of their past lives, and they knew nei­ther themselves not their nearest relations. The effects of this disease are described at large by Thu­cydides, who was sick of it himself; and he observes, among other things, that it introduced into the city a more licentious way of living. For the peo­ple at first had recourse to their gods to avert this judgment; but finding they were all equally infect­ed, whether they worshipped them or not, and that the disease was generally mortal, they abandoned themselves at once to despair and riot; for since they held their lives but as it were by the day, they were resolved to make the most of their time and money. The cause of it was generally imputed to Pericles, who, by drawing such numbers into the city, was thought to have corrupted the very air. Yet, though this was raging within, and the enemy wasting the country without, he still continued of the same mind as before, that they ought not to risk all their fortunes on the event of a battle. In the mean time, the Lacedaemonians advancing towards the coast, laid waste the whole country, and return­ed, after having insulted the wretched Athenians, already thinned by pestilence and famine.

It is not to be supposed that Pericles, the reputed author of all these calamities, could long escape the popular resentment. In fact, he began to be as much hated by the people as ever he had been be­loved by them, and they had actually deposed him from the command of the army; though, actuated by that fickleness for which they were remarkable, they soon re-instated him with more than former authority. But he did not live long to enjoy his honours. He was seized with the plague, and in a [Page 71] [...]ittle time died of it; a man certainly possessed of many great and amiable qualities, and hardly addicted to a single vice, except that of an inordinate ambition.

The most memorable transaction of the follow­ing years was the siege of Plataea, one of the most famous that is to be found in antiquity, on account of the vigorous efforts of both parties, but chiefly for the glorious resistance made by the besieged, and the stratagems they employed to elude the fury of the assailants. The Lacedaemonians besieged this place in the beginning of the third campaign, and surrounded it with a strong wall, on which to erect their battering-engines. The besieged seeing the works begin to rise round them, threw up a wooden wall upon the walls of the city, in order that they might always out-top the besiegers. Thus both walls seemed to vie with each other for supe­riority, till at last the besieged, without amusing themselves at this work any longer, built another within, in the form of a half moon, behind which they might retire in case their other works were forced. In the mean time the besiegers, having mounted their engines of war, shook the city wall in a very terrible manner; which, though it alarm­ed the citizens, did not however discourage them; they employed every art that fortification could suggest against the enemy's batteries. They caught with ropes the heads of the battering-rams that were played against them, and deadened their force with [...]evers. The besiegers finding their attack did not go on successfully, and that a new wall was raised against their platform, despaired of being able to [...]ake the place by storm; and therefore changed the [...]iege into a blockade, after having in vain attempt­ [...]d to set fire to the city, which was suddenly quench­ [...]d by a shower. The city was now surrounded by [...] brick wall, suddenly erected, strengthened on each [...]ide by a deep ditch. The whole army was suc­cessively [Page 72] engaged upon this wall, and when it was finished, they left a guard over half of it, the Boeo­tians offering to guard the other half, while the rest of the army returned to Sparta.

In this manner the wretched Plataeans were cooped up by a strong wall, without any hopes of relief, and only awaited the mercy of the conquerors. There were now in Plataea but four hundred na­tives, and fourscore Athenians, with an hundred and ten women to dress their victuals, and no other person, whether freeman or slave, all the rest having been sent to Athens before the siege. At last, the inhabitants of Plataea, having lost all hopes of suc­cour, and being in the utmost want of provisions, formed a resolution to cut their way through the enemy. Half of them, however, struck with the greatness of the danger, and the boldness of the en­terprize, entirely lost courage when they came to the execution; but the rest, who were about two hundred and twenty soldiers, persisted in their reso­lution, and effected their escape in the following manner. Having taken the height of the wall, by counting the rows of bricks that composed it, and having made a sufficient number of ladders of a proper length, they set out in the middle of a dark night, and during a violent storm of wind and rain, so that it was hardly possible either to see or hear them. Having crossed the first ditch, which they did with one of their legs bare, in order to prevent their sliding in the mud, they advanced to the bottom of the wall, and fixing their ladders to it, in a place where they knew it to be unguarded, a party of them ascended, and instantly made themselves masters of the two next towers by killing those that defended them. This gave an opportunity to their comrades to follow them undisturbed; and as soon as they came up on one side, they went down on the other, and actually crossed the outer ditch without being [Page 73] attacked, though not entirely without being disco­vered. For while they were coming over the wall, one of them happened to throw down a tile from the parapet, which alarmed the enemy, and their whole army advanced towards the place; but the night was so very dark, that it was absolutely im­possible to distinguish one object from another. Nay, before they crossed the outer ditch, a corps de reserve of three hundred men, that were kept for any unforesenn accident, came up to them with lighted torches; but these, instead of discovering them, served only to render the enemy visible. After passing the ditch, they directed their course for some time towards Thebes, well knowing the ene­my would never pursue them that way, as not thinking it possible they should march towards a hostile city; but after proceeding about six or seven stadia, they turned short towards the mountains, and struck into the road to Athens, where two hundred and twelve of them actually arrived, the rest having returned to the city through fear, one archer ex­cepted, who was taken on the side of the outer ditch.

In the mean time, the Plataeans, who remained in the city, supposing that all their companions had been killed, because those who returned, to justify themselves, affirmed they were, sent a herald to de­mand their dead bodies; but being told the true state of the affair, he withdrew. At the end of the following campaign, the Plataeans being in absolute want of provisions, and unable to make any farther [...]esistance, surrendered upon condition that they [...]hould not be punished till they had the benefit of a re­ [...]ular trial. Five commissioners came for this purpose [...]rom Sparta; and these, without charging them with [...]ny crime, barely asked them whether they had done [...]ny service to the Lacedaemonians and the allies in this [...]ar? The Plataeans were much surprized, as well [Page 74] as puzzled at this question, and knew it must have been suggested by the Thebans, their professed ene­mies, who had vowed their destruction. They, therefore, put the Lacedaemonians in mind of the services they had done to Greece in general, both at the battle of Artemisium and that of Plataea; and particularly in Lacedaemonia, at the time of the earthquake, which was followed by the revolt of their slaves. The only reason they assigned for their having joined the Athenians afterwards, was to de­fend themselves from the hostilities of the Thebans, against whom they had implored the assistance of the Lacedaemonians to no purpose. That if that was imputed to them as a crime, which was only their misfortune, it ought not, however, entirely to obliterate the memory of their former services. ‘"Cast your eyes, said they, on the monuments of your ancestors which you see here, to whom we annually pay all the honours which can be rendered to the manes of the dead. You thought fit to in­trust their bodies with us, as we were eye-witnesses of their bravery. And yet you will now give up their ashes to their murderers, in abandoning us to the Thebans, who fought against them at the battle of Plataea. Will you enslave a province where Greece recovered its Liberty? Will you destroy the temples of those gods to whom you owed the vic­tory? On this occasion, we may venture to say, our interest is inseparable from your glory, and you cannot deliver up your ancient friends and benefac­tors to the unjust hatred of the Thebans, without eternal infamy to yourselves."’ One would imagine that these arguments would have had a proper effect upon the Lacedaemonians; but they were biassed by the answer which the Thebans made, and which was expressed in the most haughty and bitter terms and besides, they had brought their instructions from Lacedaemon. They stood, therefore, to their firs [...] [Page 75] question, whether the Plataeans had done them any service in this war? and making them pass one after another, as they severally answered no, each was immediately butchered, and not one escaped: about two hundred were killed in this manner; and twenty-five Athenians, who were among them, met with the same unhappy fate. Their wives, who had been taken prisoners, were made slaves. The Thebans afterwards peopled their city with exiles from Me­gara and Thebes, but the next year they demolished it entirely. It was in this manner the Lacedaemo­nians, in hopes of reaping great advantages from the Thebans, sacrificed the Plataeans to their fury, ninety-three years after their first alliance with the Athenians.

The Lacedaemonians, however, were not so elated with this success, as to make them unwilling to agree to a peace, provided it could be obtained upon honourable terms; and several overtures for this purpose were made by their ambassadors, but with­out effect; for Cleon, who now guided the coun­cils of the Athenians, boasted, that he would take all the Spartans in the island of Sphacteria within twenty days. He accordingly sailed thither in com­pany with Demosthenes, the Athenian admiral (whose courage and conduct his eloquent descen­dant, of the same name, afterwards celebrated) and having landed their troops, they attacked the enemy with great vigour, drove them from post to post, and gaining ground perpetually, at last forced them to the extremity of the island. The Lacedaemo­nians had stormed a fort that was thought inacces­sible. There they drew up in order of battle, and facing about to that side where alone, they ima­gined, they could be attacked, they defended them­selves like so many lions. But a body of troops having clambered over some steep rocks, and come upon their rear, they were soon obliged to surrender [Page 76] at discretion. They were carried to Athens, where they were told they should be allowed to remain in safety till a peace was concluded, provided the La­cedaemonians did not invade the Athenian terri­tories; for in that case, they were informed, they should all be put to death. This tended greatly to pave the way for a general pacification; as the La­cedaemonians were extremely desirous of procuring the release of these men, who were some of the chief of the city. The war, however, continued for two or three years longer, though without being productive of any remarkable event. The Athe­nians, indeed, took the island of Cythera; but, in their turn, were defeated by the Lacedaemonians at Dellion. At last both nations began to grow weary of a contest, that put them to so great an expence, without procuring them any solid advantage. A truce for a year was, therefore, concluded between them, which afterwards terminated in a more last­ing reconciliation. This happy event was consi­derably facilitated, by the death of the two generals that commanded their armies, and who had hitherto opposed a peace, though from very different motives. Brasidas, the Lacedaemonian, was killed in a sally, which he was conducting when besieged in Amphi­polis; and Cleon, the Athenian, despising an enemy, to whom he knew himself superior, was set upon unawares, and flying for safety, was killed by a soldier who happened to meet him. Bransidas was possessed of courage and conduct, of moderation and integrity; and his opposition to a peace seems to have proceeded merely from a true Spartan zeal for the honour of his country. Courage, indeed, seems to have been hereditary in his family, as it no doubt was in the whole Spartan nation: for when his mother received the news of his death, she asked the persons who brought her the intelligence, whe­ther he died honourably; and when they began to [Page 77] launch out into encomiums on his gallantry and heroism, and to prefer him to all the generals of his time; ‘"yes, said she, my son was a brave man, but Sparta has still many citizens braver than he."’

Cleon was a man of a very different character. He was rash, arrogant, obstinate and contentious; and though he succeeded in his expedition to Sphac­teria, he was by no means fitted for war. He only made use of it as a cloak for his ill practices, and because he could not carry on his other views with­out it. He had, indeed, a readiness of wit, with a kind of law drollery that took with the populace, though with better judges it only passed for impu­dence and buffoonery. But what he chiefly de­pended upon was his eloquence; yet even this was of the noisy and boisterous kind, and consisted more in the vehemence of his utterance, and the violence of his action and gesture, than in the elegance of his style, or the strength of his reasoning.

Matters being now brought into this happy train, a peace was concluded in the tenth year of the war, between the two states and their confederates, for fifty years. The chief articles of it were, that the sorts should be evacuated, and the towns and pri­soners restored on both sides. This was called the Nician peace, because Nicias, who was just the re­verse of his rival, Cleon, was the chief instrument in effecting it. Besides the tender concern he al­ways entertained for his country, he had more par­ticular ends in view in bringing it about. He wished by this means to secure his reputation. For though he had succeeded in most of the expeditions in which he had been engaged, he well knew how much he owed to his good fortune and his cautious management, and he did not chuse to risk the fame he had already acquired, by any attempts to procure more.


TREATIES of peace, however solemn or sin­cere, are but feeble barriers against the in­terests, the inclinations, or the prejudices of rival states, or even against the ambitious views of those that have the chief direction of their councils. This was fatally experienced in the war, that, not­withstanding their late agreement, soon after broke out between the Athenians and Spartans, not to promote the welfare, or advance the power of either people, but merely to gratify the pride and vanity of Alcibiades, who was now become the most popular man in Athens. Many things contributed to make him so. He was as remarkable for the beauty of his person, as the endowments of his mind. He was descended from one of the greatest families in Athens; he was the richest man in the place; and his style and manner of living was equal to his in­come. Add to this, that though he was frequently drawn into irregularities by the pernicious advice of flatterers, with whom he was naturally sur­rounded, and the violence of his own passions, which were ever in the extreme, yet he was as often recalled from these vicious courses, and brought back into the paths of virtue, by the salutary coun­sels of Socrates, for whose character he had con­ceived the highest regard, and to whose lessons he always gave the greatest attention.

Nor was the philosopher less fond of him, that he was of the philosopher. For perceiving in him amidst all his irregularties, the feeds of many grea [...] and amiable quailies, he was extremely desirou [...] [Page 79] of cultivating these, and bringing them to maturity, that so, when he grew up, instead of being a curse and disgrace, he might prove an honour and a bles­sing to his country. And so fully was he convinced of the ascendant he had acquired over the mind of this young man, that whenever he heard he was in­dulging himself in any low or vicious pleasures, he would pursue him as a master does a fugitive slave, and severely reprimand him for his folly; and the other would listen to him with all the submission of a dutiful son to the best of fathers. Hence pro­ceeded the inequality of his conduct, which was sometimes agreeable to the most rigid rules of mo­rality, and at others was marked with all the extra­vagance of the wildest passions.

His ruling passion, indeed, seems to have been the love of power, and a desire of superiority; and of this he is said to have given several striking in­stances, even while a boy. One day being rather over-matched in wrestling, and fearing to be thrown down, he got the hand of his antagonist in his mouth, and bit it with all his force; upon which the other let go is hold, and said, ‘"Alcibiades, you bite like a woman."’‘"No, replied he, I bite like a lion."’ At another time when he was playing in the street at some game of chance, a loaded cart happenend to come that way when it was his turn to throw. At first he called out to the driver to stop, because he was going to throw in the road, over which the cart was to pass. But the fellow did not seem to mind him, but still drove on, upon which all the rest of the boys divided and made way; but Alcibiades throwing himself on his face before the cart, and stretching out his limbs, bid the car­ter drive on if he would; at which the man was so startled, that he put back his horses, and Alcibiades was allowed to have his throw before the cart passed. His ambition naturally increased with his years, and [Page 80] when he came to be a man, like Pompey in later times, instead of being able to bear a superior, he could not even endure an equal. For this reason it was, that he set himself in opposition to Nicias, who was as much respected by his own countrymen, and much more by the Lacedaemonians, who esteem­ed him for his moderation and love of justice. And on the same account, he conceived an incurable prejudice against the Lacedaemonians themselves for this preference given to his rival, and did every thing in his power to excite a quarrel between them and the Athenians.

The first step he took for this purpose was, to instigate the people of Argos to break with the Lacedaemonians; assuring them, that, if they did so, they should soon be supported by the whole power of Athens; and the fact is, every thing was in a fair way for a treaty between the Athenians and Argives, when the Lacedaemonians, informed of these negotiations, sent ambassadors to Athens, in order to remonstrate, and invested them with full power to settle all matters in dispute in an ami­cable manner. This commission seemed to satisfy the council, to whom it was first communicated; and the people were to assemble the next day, to give the ambassadors an audience. Alcibiades, fearing that this would mar his schemes, had re­course to the following artifice. He contrived to have a private conference with the ambassadors, and persuaded them, under colour of friendship, not to let the people know at first what full powers they possessed, but merely to intimate that they came to treat and make proposals; for that otherwise the people would grow exorbitant in their demands, and endeavour to extort from them such unreasonable terms as they could not with honour consent to. The stratagem succeeded. The ambassadors be­lieving him sincere, withdrew their confidence from [Page 81] Nicias, and reposed it in him; and the next day, when the people were assembled, and the ambassadors introduced, Alcibiades, with a very obliging air, demanded of them with what powers they were come. They made answer, that they were not come as plenipotentiaries. Upon which he instant­ly changed his voice and countenance, and ex­claiming against them as notorious liars, bid the people take care how they transacted any thing with men, on whose veracity they could have so little de­pendence. The people dismissed the ambassadors in a rage; and Nicias, knowing nothing of the deceit, was confounded and in disgrace. To re­deem his credit, he proposed being sent once more to Sparta; but not being able to obtain such terms as the Athenians demanded, they immediately upon his return struck up a league with the Argives for an hundred years, including the Eleans and Man­tenaeans; which yet did not in terms cancel that with the Lacedaemonians, though it is plain, that the whole scope of it was levelled against them. Upon this new alliance Alcibiades was declared general; and though even his best friends could not commend the method by which he had accomplished his designs, yet it was looked upon as a great stroke in politics thus to divide and shake almost all Pelo­ponnesus, and to remove the war so far from the Athenian frontier, that even success would profit the enemy but little, should they be conquerors; whereas, if they were defeated, Sparta itself would hardly be safe.

The Spartans, however, were determined to crush the evil in the bud; and accordingly drawing [...]ut their whole force, both of citizens and slaves, and being joined by their allies, they encamped al­most under the walls of Argos. The Argives were not slow in meeting them; they immediately marched out, and offered them battle. But just as [Page 82] the two armies were going to engage, a truce was concluded for four months, as a previous step to­wards an amicable settlement of all differences.

The Athenians thinking they had now found the Spartans sufficient employment by the troubles they had excited in Peloponnesus, began to extend their views to more distant objects, and they actually formed a design of adding the island of Sicily to their empire. The people of Egesta supplied them with a plausible pretext for executing this project. They applied to the Athenians, in quality of their allies, craving their aid against the inhabitants of Selinuta, who were assisted by the Syracusans. This opportunity was greedily laid hold of; but not to engage in a war without being sure of the means of carrying it on with spirit, the Athenians sent deputies to Egesta, to inquire into the state of affairs, and see whether there was money enough in the treasury to defray the expence of so great an un­dertaking. The people of that city had lately bor­rowed from the neighbouring states a great num­ber of gold and silver vases, of an immense value; and of these they now made a splendid display to the Athenian deputies. Upon the return, therefore, of these last, a resolution was immediately taken to comply with the request of the Egestans; and Al­cibiades, Nicias, and Lamachus were appointed to command the fleet, with full power not only to suc­cour Egesta, and restore the inhabitants of Leon­tium to their city, of which they had been deprived by the Syracusans, but also to regulate the affairs of Sicily in such a manner, as might best suit the in­terests of the republic.

Nicias was extremely uneasy at his being appointed to this command, partly because he disap­proved of the war itself, but chiefly because he was joined in commission with Alcibiades. Bu [...] the Athenians thought it necessary to temper th [...] [Page 83] ardour and impetuosity of the one with the coolness and deliberation of the other. Nicias, therefore, not daring to oppose the war openly, endeavoured to do it indirectly, by representing the great number of difficulties with which it would be attended. He said, that a fleet would not be sufficient; that a land army must likewise be raised, and subsisted at an immense expence; for as to the pompous promises made them by the Egestans, these might probably fail them at a time when they stood most in need of pecu­niary aid: that they ought to weigh well the great dis­parity between them and the enemy, with regard to the conveniencies they would respectively enjoy: that the Syracusans would be in their own country, in the midst of powerful allies, disposed by inclina­tion, as well as engaged by interest, to assist them with men, money, horses, and provisions; whereas the Athenians would carry on the war in a remote country, possessed by their enemies, where, in win­ter, news could not be brought them from home in less than four months; a country where all things would oppose the Athenians, and nothing be procured but by force of arms: that, even if the expedition succeeded, it would not be productive of the mighty advantages expected from it; and, if it failed, it would reflect eternal disgrace upon the Athenian name: and that, for his own part, he was deter­mined not to go, unless he was supplied with every thing necessary for carrying on the war, as he would not depend upon the caprice or precarious promises of allies. This speech, however, instead of cool­ing the ardour of the Athenians, as Nicias expected, served only to inflame it more: and orders were immediately given for raising as many troops, and fitting out as many gallies as the generals thought necessary; and the levies accordingly were carried on in Athens, and other places, with incredible spirit.

[Page 84]Before we enter upon the narration of the im­portant events that took place in the expedition to Sicily, it will be proper to say a few words re­specting Syracuse, the capital of that island. About the year of the world 2920, Corinth had acquired considerable reputation as a maritime power. As the improvement of navigation generally leads to discovery, so it leads to commerce also, and to colonization. It had this effect on the Corinthians. They had not been long acquainted with Sicily, before they projected the scheme of peopling part of it with the natives of Peloponnesus. Ar­chias, therefore, a descendant of Hercules, was sent thither with a fleet, furnished with every thing necessary for such an enterprize. He built and peopled Syracuse, which, from the peculiar advan­tages it derived from its rich soil and capacious har­bour, soon became the most flourishing city in Sicily: in size, indeed, and beauty, it yielded not to any city in Greece. It was long subject to Corinth, and governed by nearly the same laws. But as it in­creased in power, it aimed at independence, and by degrees renounced its allegiance to Corinth. To its emancipation are owing the occurrences which we are now to recite.

The levies being by this time completed, the generals resolved to set sail immediately, after hav­ing appointed Corcyra as the place of rendezvous for most of the allies, and such ships as were to carry the provisions and warlike stores. All the citizens, as well as foreigners, in Athens, flocked by day­break to the port of Pyraeus, in order to behold this magnificent sight. It was, indeed, a spectacle well worth their curiosity; for neither Athens, nor any other city had ever fitted out such a grand and gal­lant fleet as the present. True it is, that those which had been sent against Epidaurus and Potidaea, were as considerable with respect to the number of [Page 85] soldiers and ships; but then they were not equipped with so much magnificence, neither was their voyage so long, nor the enterprize so important. The city had furnished an hundred empty gallies, that is, threescore light ones, and forty to transport the heavy-armed soldiers. Every mariner received daily a drachma, or ten pence English, for his pay, exclusive of what the captains of ships gave the rowers of the first bench. When the ships were loaded, and the troops got on board, the trumpet sounded, and solemn prayers were offered up for the success of the expediton. Gold and silver cups were filling every where with wine, and the accus­tomed libations were poured out; the people, who lined the shore, shouting at the same time, and lift­ing up their hands to heaven, to wish their fellow-citizens a good voyage and success. And now the hymn being sung, and the ceremonies ended, the ships sailed one after another out of the harbour, after which they strove to outsail one another, till they all arrived at Aegina. From thence they made to Corcyra; where the army of the allies was assem­bled with the rest of the fleet.

Upon their arrival at Sicily, the generals were divided in their opinions with regard to the place where they should make a descent. Lamachus was for sailing directly to Syracuse, and attacking the town, before the inhabitants had time to recover from their first consternation. But his proposal was rejected, and it was thought more expedient to reduce the smaller cities first. Detaching, therefore, ten gallies to take a view of the harbour and situa­tion of Syracuse, they landed with the rest of their forces, and surprized Catana.

In the mean time, the enemies of Alcibiades took advantage of his absence to traduce his cha­racter, which, indeed, was sufficiently open to at­tack. They accused him of having neglected the [Page 86] proper method of invading Sicily, and they further charged him with impiety in profaning the myste­ries of Ceres. This was sufficient to induce the giddy multitude to recal their general; but for fear of exciting a tumult in the army, they only sent him orders to return to Athens, that so he might pacify the people by his presence. Alcibiades pre­tended to obey the order with great submission; but reflecting on the inconstancy and caprice of his judges, he no sooner reached Thurium than he disappeared, and the galley, therefore, returned without him. For this act of contumacy he was condemned to death, his whole estate was confis­cated, and all the orders of religion were com­manded to curse him. Some time after upon news being brought him that the Athenians had con­demned him to death, ‘"I hope one day, said he, to make them sensible that I am still alive."’

The Syracusans had by this time put themselves in a posture of defence, and finding that Nicias did not advance towards them, they talked of attacking him in his camp; and some of them asked, in a scoffing way, whether he was come into Sicily to settle at Catana? He was rouzed by this insult, and determined to shew them that he was deficient neither in courage nor conduct. He was afraid, however, of attacking the place by land for want of cavalry; and it was almost equally hazardous to make a descent by sea: nevertheless, he chose the latter method, and succeeded in it by a stratagem. He had gained a citizen of Catana to go as a de­serter to the Syracusans, and to inform them, that the Athenians lay every night in the town without their arms; and that early in the morning, on a certain day appointed, they might surprize them, seize on their camp with all their arms and bag­gage, burn their fleet in the harbour, and destroy their whole army. The Syracusans gave credit to [Page 87] this intelligence, and marched with all their forces towards Catana, which Nicias was no sooner in­formed of, than he embarked his troops, and steer­ing away for Syracuse, landed them there the next morning, and fortified himself in the outskirts of the town. The Syracusans were so provoked at this trick being put upon them, that they immedi­ately returned to Syracuse, and presented themselves without the walls in order of battle. Nicias marched out of his trenches to meet them, and a very sharp action ensued, in which the Athenians, at length, got the better, and forced the enemy back to the city, after having killed two hundred and sixty of them and their allies, with the loss of fifty of their own men. They were not, however, yet in a condition to attack the city, and they, therefore, took up their winter quarters at Naxus and Catana.

Next spring, having received a supply of horse from Athens, together with provisions and other warlike stores, Nicias resolved to block up the place both by sea and land. The first thing he did for this purpose was to take possession of Epipolae, a high hill which commanded the city, and could only be ascended by one very steep and craggy passage. The Syracusans were so sensible of the importance of this post, that they did every thing in their power to prevent his seizing it; but Nicias landed his troops so secretly and so suddenly, that he made himself master of it before they were aware. He even repulsed a body of seven hundred men who were coming to dislodge him, having killed three hundred of them together with their leader. Here he built a fort, and began to invest the town in such a manner, as to cut off all communication between it and the country. In the course of this work several skirmishes happened, in one of which Lamachus was slain, so that the sole command [Page 88] now devolved upon Nicias. The Syracusans made another attempt to regain this post. Nicias was then sick in the fort, and in bed, with only his ser­vants about him. But when he found the enemy were forcing his intrenchments, he got up, and set fire to the engines, and other wood that lay scat­tered about the sort; which had so good an effect, that it served as a signal to his own troops to come up to his relief; and so terrified and confounded those of the enemy, that they retreated into the city.

From this time Nicias began to conceive great hopes of taking the place, the rather as several of the other cities of Sicily came over to his interest, and supplied his troops with all kinds of provisions. The Syracusans, on their side, seeing themselves blocked up both by sea and land, and despairing of being able to hold out much longer, were already beginning to think of a surrender. Nay, they had actually summoned a council to settle the terms of a capitulation, when, to their great joy and sur­prize, because contrary to their expectation, they saw Gylippus, the Lacedaemonian general, arrive with a force, that soon relieved them from all their fears, and in a little time reduced the Athenians to a more deplorable situation than that in which they themselves were now placed. Gylippus, conscious of his own strength, and perhaps a little actuated by Spartan pride, sent a herald to the Athenians to acquaint them, that he would allow them five days to leave Sicily. Nicias did not deign to give any answer to this proposal, and both sides therefore prepared themselves for battle.

In the first engagement the Spartans were de­feated, chiefly on account of the narrowness of ground where they fought, which was between the two walls, which the Athenians had raised to invest the city; and as this prevented Gylippus from ex­tending [Page 89] his lines, or making use of his horse, the Athenians got the better. Gylippus, however, had the magnanimity, or rather indeed good policy, to take the whole blame of the miscarriage upon him­self. He declared, that he, and not his men were in fault; and that he would soon give them an op­portunity of recovering his honour and their own; and accordingly the very next day attacking the enemy in a more advantageous spot, he obtained over them a more complete victory than they had done over him: so much does the event of a battle depend upon the nature of the ground where it is fought.

Nicias being by this means obliged to act upon the defensive, took possession of Plemmyrium near the great harbour, where he built three forts, and almost shut himself up in garrison. Besides, the Lacedaemonians were now considerably strengthened by a reinforcement they received from Corinth. In this state of affairs, Nicias wrote home a most melancholy account of his present situation. He told his countrymen, that, instead of besieging the Syracusans, he himself was now besieged by them and their allies: that the towns revolted from him, the slaves and mercenaries deserted, and his troops were employed in guarding the forts and bringing in provisions, in which last service many of them were cut off by the enemy's horse. He added, that unless a reinforcement was sent him, equal to that with which he had originally set out, it was in vain to think of attempting any thing farther: and, in any event, he begged, that he himself might be recalled, as his health was so much impaired as to render him incapable of going on with the service. This last part of his request, however, the Athenians would by no means con­sent to: but they resolved to send out Eurymedon and Demosthenes with fresh supplies; the former [Page 90] immediately with ten gallies, and the other early in the spring with a stronger force. At the same time they appointed Menander and Euthydemus as assist­ants to Nicias; and these immediately joined him.

But Gylippus was determined to be beforehand with the Athenians, and to crush, if possible, the force they now had in Sicily, before the succours should arrive. For this purpose he persuaded the Syracusans to hazard a battle by sea, while he should endeavour to storm the forts of Plemmyrium. The former part of the scheme failed; the latter suc­ceeded. The Athenians had only sixty ships to oppose to eighty of the Syracusans; but as they were greatly superior to them in naval skill, they at last got the better, though victory seemed at first to incline to the side of the enemy. The Athe­nians lost three ships in this engagement; but the Syracusans had nine sunk, and three taken. In the mean time, Gylippus attacking the forts at Plem­myrium, while many of those, who defended them, were gone to the shore in order to view the sea-fight, he carried the greatest of them by storm; and this so intimidated the garrisons of the other two, that they abandoned them in a moment.

Encouraged by this success, he resolved to repeat his blow before the arrival of the Athenian suc­cours. He therefore persuaded the Syracusans to venture another battle by sea. They did so, and with a greater degree of good fortune than had at­tended them on the former occasion. Nicias would willingly have declined this engagement; but he was over-ruled, or rather over-persuaded, by his two colleagues, Menander and Euthydemus. The Athenians had seventy-five gallies, the Syracusans eighty. The first day the two fleets continued in sight of each other, without coming to a general engagement, and only a few skirmishes passed be­tween them. The Syracusans did not make the [Page 91] least motion the second day. But on the third they came up much sooner than usual, when a great part of the day was spent in skirmishing, after which they retired. The Athenians not imagining they would return again that day, did not keep themselves in readiness to receive them. But the Syracusans hav­ing refreshed themselves in great haste, and gone on board their gallies, attacked the Athenians un­awares, and in a little time threw them into irre­trievable confusion. These last, indeed, would have received a much more severe blow, had they not taken shelter behind their transports, which had been previously drawn up in a line to protect them. They lost, however, on this occasion seven gallies; and a great number of their soldiers were either killed or taken prisoners.

While Nicias was reflecting with grief upon his present unhappy situation, and looking forward with terror to the still more melancholy prospect that lay before him, he was relieved from all his uneasiness, by the arrival of Demosthenes's fleet, which now came forward in great pomp and splen­dour. It consisted of seventy-three gallies, on board of which were five thousand fighting men, and above three thousand archers, slingers, and bowmen. This was a force, which, if properly managed, might have turned the scale of victory yet once more in favour of the Athenians; but, by the precipitancy of Demosthenes, and the other ge­nerals, in oppositition to the more cautious mea­sures recommended by Nicias, it only served to heighten their disgrace and the enemy's triumph.

It was resolved, in a council of war, to attack the town immediately; and, as a previous step to it, to make themselves masters of Epipolae. In their first assault upon this latter place, which was made by night, they stormed the outer entrenchment; but as they were advancing towards the second, [Page 92] they were suddenly attacked by the forces of the city, which had marched under arms out of their lines, and were supported by Gylippus. These, however, being seized with astonishment, which the darkness increased, were soon put to flight; but a body of Boeotians, who followed them, made a more vigorous stand, and marching against the Athenians with their pikes presented, repulsed them with great shouts, and committed a most dreadful slaughter. This spread an universal terror through the rest of the army. Those, who fled, either forced along such as were advancing to their assist­ance, or else mistaking them for enemies, turned their arms against them. They were now all mixed indiscriminately, it being impossible, amidst the horrors of so dark a night, to distinguish friend from foe; and death was frequently inflicted by that hand, from which, in the day-time, protection would have been received. The Athenians sought for one another to no purpose; and from their often asking the word, by which only they were able to know one another, a strange confusion of sounds was heard, which occasioned no little disorder; not to mention that they by this means divulged their watch-word to the enemy, and could not learn theirs; because, by their being together, and in a body, they had no occasion to repeat it. In the mean time, those who were pursued, threw them­selves from the top of the rocks, and many were dashed to pieces by the fall; and as most of those, who es­caped, straggled from one another up and down the fields and woods, they were cut to pieces the next day by the enemy's horse who pursued them. Two thousand Athenians were slain in this engage­ment, and a great quantity of arms was taken; those who fled having thrown them away, that they might be the better able to escape over the preci­pices.

[Page 93]Thus were at once blasted all the flattering hopes which the Athenians had conceived on the arrival of Demosthenes; and Gylippus having soon after made the tour of Sicily, and brought in with him a great number of fresh troops, acquired by that means such an indisputed superiority over the Athe­nians, that these last, convinced of their utter in­ability to make any further head against him, re­solved immediately to abandon the island, and re­turn to their own country. But just as they were upon the point of embarking, (wholly unsuspected by the enemy, who never supposed they would quit the island so soon) the moon was suddenly eclipsed: and as this was a phaenomenon, with the real cause of which they were utterly unacquainted, they con­cluded it to be a prodigy or portent, and therefore dreaded the consequences of it. It had been cus­tomary, upon former occasions, to suspend the ex­ecution of any enterprize for three days after such an accident happened. But the soothsayers, being now consulted, said, that the Athenians must not sail till nine times three days were past (these are Thucydides's words) which doubtless was a myste­rious number in the opinion of the people. Nicias, scrupulous to a fault, and full of a mistaken vene­ration for those blind interpreters of the will of the gods, declared that he would wait a whole revo­lution of the moon, and not set sail till the same day of the next month, as if he had not seen the planet shine with her usual brightness the moment she emerged from the shadow of the earth by which she had been darkened.

The Syracusans, however, being informed of the intended departure of the Athenians, were deter­mined not to let them retire in peace, and, if pos­sible, not even retire at all; but either to cut them off entirely, or oblige them to surrender as prisoners of war. For this purpose, they attacked [Page 94] the entrenchments immediately, and gained a slight advantage over them. The next day they made a second attack, and at the same time sailed with seventy-six gallies against eighty-six of the Athe­nians. After an obstinate dispute, the Athenians were defeated with the loss of eighteen of their ships, which were taken by the enemy, and their crews cut to pieces. Eurymedon too, their com­mander, lost his life in the engagement.

In order to prevent their escaping by sea, the enemy shut up the mouth of the great harbour, which was about five hundred paces wide, with gallies placed cross-wise, and other vessels, fixed with anchors and iron chains, and at the same time made the re­quisite preparations for a battle, in case they should have courage to engage again. The Athenians seeing themselves cooped up in this manner, and having no other means of procuring provisions but by being masters of the sea, were obliged to hazard another engagement upon that element. Both commanders exerted all their eloquence to animate their men, and none could be actuated by stronger motives than now influenced them; for upon the issue of the battle, which was going to be fought, depended not only their own lives and liberties, but even the fate of their native country. This battle was more obstinate and bloody than any of the preceding ones. The Athenians being arrived at the mouth of the port, easily took the first ships they came to; but when they attempted to break the chain of the rest, the enemy poured in upon them from all quarters. As near two hundred gal­lies came rushing on each side into a narrow place, there must necessarily be very great confusion, and the vessels could not easily advance, or retire, or turn about to renew the attack. The beaks of the gallies, for this reason, did little execution; but there were very furious and frequent discharges. [Page 95] The Athenians were overwhelmed with a shower of stones, which always did execution from what­ever place they were thrown; whereas they de­fended themselves only by shooting darts and arrows, which, by the motion of the ships, were diverted from their aim, and seldom hit the mark at which they were levelled. Ariston, the Corinthian, had given the Syracusans this counsel. These dis­charges being over, the heavy-armed soldiers at­tempted to board the enemy's ships, in order to fight hand to hand: and it frequently happened, that while they were climbing up one side of these, their own ships were entered on the other, so that two or three ships were sometime grappled toge­ther, which occasioned great confusion. Add to this, that the noise of the ships which dashed against one another, and the different cries of the victors and vanquished, prevented the orders of the officers from being distinctly heard. The Athenians wanted to force a passage, whatever might be the consequence, in order to secure their return to their own country; and this the enemy endeavoured to prevent, that they might thereby gain a more com­plete victory. The two land armies, which were drawn up on the highest part of the shore, were spectators of the action, while the inhabitants of the city ran to the walls in order to behold it. All these saw clearly, because of their little distance from the fleets, every thing that passed, and con­templated the battle as from an amphitheatre, but not without great anxiety and terror. Attentive to, and shuddering at every movement, and the several changes of fortune that happened, they discovered the concern they had in the battle, their fears, their hopes, their grief, their joy, by different cries and different gestures; stretching out their hands some­times towards the combatants to animate them, at other times towards heaven, to implore the suc­cour [Page 96] and protection of the gods. At last the Athe­nian fleet, after making a long and vigorous resist­ance, was put to flight, and driven against the shore. The Syracusans on the walls, seeing their countrymen victorious, conveyed the news to the whole city by an universal shout. The victors im­mediately sailed towards Syracuse, where they erected a trophy, while the Athenians were so much dejected, that they did not even request the dead bodies of their fellow soldiers to be delivered to them, in order to honour them with the rites of burial.

There now remained but two methods for them to chuse; either to attempt the passage a second time, for which they had still ships and soldiers suf­ficient; or to abandon their fleet to the enemy, and retire by land. Demosthenes recommended the former plan; but the soldiers were so much inti­midated by their late defeat, that they had not cou­rage to undertake it. The second method was therefore adopted; and they accordingly prepared to set out in the night, the better to conceal their march from the enemy. Hermocrates, however, the Syracusan general, was extremely unwilling, that so large a body of men (amounting to near forty thousand) should be suffered to depart, lest they should fortify themselves in some corner of the island, and renew the war. At the same time he knew it would be impossible to persuade the Syracusans to oppose their march that evening, as they were then engaged in celebrating their late victory, and solemnizing the festival of Hercules. He therefore fell upon another expedient. He sent out a few horsemen, who were to pass for friends of the Athenians, and ordered them to tell Nicias not to retire till day-light, as the Syracusans lay in ambush for him, and had seized on all the passes.

Nicias was so weak as to believe this intelli­gence, and accordingly delayed his departure not [Page 97] only that evening but the whole next day, in order that the soldiers might have more time to prepare for their march, and carry off whatever might be necessary for their subsistence. But this delay after­wards proved fatal to them. For early next morn­ing the enemy took possession of all the difficult avenues, fortified the banks of the rivers in those parts where they were fordable, broke down the bridges, and spread detachments of horse up and down the plain, so that there was not one place which the Athenians could pass without fighting.

They set out upon their march the third day after the battle, with a design to retire to Catana. Their army was divided into two bodies, both drawn up in the form of a phalanx, the first being commanded by Nicias, and the second by Demosthenes, with the baggage in the centre. In this manner they proceeded for several days, during which they were terribly harrassed by the enemy, who hung upon their rear, and overwhelmed them with showers of darts and arrows, but never would stand a general engagement, when the Athenians wheeled about.

Finding, therefore, their numbers daily decrease, and being at the same time in extreme want of pro­visions, they altered their plan, and, instead of con­tinuing their march to Catana, they directed their route towards Camerina and Gela. As this scheme was executed in the night, it was attended with so much confusion, that the rear-guard under De­mosthenes soon parted from the main body, and lost their way. Next day the Syracusans came up with them, and surrounded them in a narrow place; and though they defended themselves for some time with incredible bravery, yet finding it impossible to effect their escape, they were at last obliged to surrender [...]risoners of war, which they did upon condition, [...]hat they should not be put to death, nor con­demned [Page 98] to perpetual imprisonment. About six thousand men surrendered upon these terms.

In the mean time Nicias procceeded on his march, and crossing the river Erineus, encamped on a mountain, where the enemy overtook him the next day, and summoned him to surrender, as Demosthenes had done. Nicias at first could not believe what they told him concerning De­mosthenes, and therefore begged leave to send some horse to inquire into the truth; and when he found that matters really were so, he offered to defray all the expences of the war, provided they would suffer him to quit the island with his forces. But this pro­posal was rejected by the enemy, who immediately renewed the attack; and though Nicias defended himself during the whole night, and even conti­nued his march next day to the river Asinarus, yet he was quickly pursued thither by the Syracusans, who threw most of the Athenians into the stream, the rest having already thrown themselves into it, in order to quench their burning thirst. Here the most terrible havock was committed; so that Nicias finding all things desperate, was obliged to surren­der upon this single condition, that Gylippus should discontinue the fight, and spare the lives of his men. The lives of the men, indeed, were spared; but Nicias and Demosthenes, after being scourged with rods, were cruelly put to death, a striking proof of the barbarity of the age. By this savage act the Syracusans tarnished the glory they had acquired by the gallant defence of their city, and the signal victory they had won.

It must be owned, indeed, that Gylippus, and even many of the Syracusans themselves, did all they could to save the lives of the Athenian gene­rals; but the great body of the people, egged on by their orators, and particularly by Diocles, one of their most popular leaders, could be satisfied [Page 99] with nothing less than the blood of these two illustri­ous men. The fate of Nicias is the more to be la­mented, as no man was ever more remarkable for humanity and good-nature; and though he headed this expedition in obedience to the commands of his countrymen, yet he did every thing in his power to prevent them from undertaking it. Demost­henes too was a man of so respectable a character, that the famous orator of the same name, many years after, valued himself on account of his being of the same family.

As to the prisoners, they were shut up in the dungeons of Syracuse, where many of them perish­ed through want and bad treatment: and those that survived being afterwards sold for slaves, recom­mended themselves so strongly to their masters by their modest, prudent, and ingenuous behaviour, that many of them soon obtained their liberty; and some of them even owed that favour, to their being able to repeat the finest scenes of Euripides's tra­gedies, of which the Sicilians were passionately fond: so that when they returned to their own country, they went and saluted the poet as their de­liverer, and informed him of the great advantage they had derived from their being acquainted with his verses.

The Athenians were so little prepared to receive the news of this defeat, or rather, indeed, they were so confident of receiving news of a contrary nature, that they condemned to death the man that first brought the intelligence; but when they found, that matters were really worse than fame had reported, they were at once overwhelmed with grief and despair. They had never, indeed, been reduced to so deplorable a condition as they were now, having neither horse, foot, money, ships, nor mariners: in a word, they sunk into the deepest despondency, and expected every moment, that the [Page 100] enemy, elate with so great a victory, and strength­ened by the junction of the allies, would come and invade Athens both by sea and land with all the forces of Peloponnesus. Cicero therefore had rea­son to say, when speaking of the battles in the har­bour of Syracuse, that it was there the troops of Athens, as well as their gallies, were ruined and sunk, and that in this harbour the power and glory of the Athenians were miserably shipwrecked.

The Athenians, however, did not suffer them­selves to be wholly dejected, but assumed courage from despair. They raised money on every side for building new ships; they retrenched all superfluous expences; and they established a council of old men, to examine every matter before it was brought into the assembly of the people. In a word, they took every step that could possibly tend to retrieve their ruined affairs, or at least prevent them from growing worse than they were. But nothing could restore them to their former splendid condition; for from this time forward, the Athenians present us with a very different picture from what they have hitherto done. We are no longer to behold them making a figure in arts and arms, giving lessons in politeness, humanity, philosophy, and war, to all the nations around, and aiming at the erection of an empire, which, if once thoroughly established, would have bid defiance to all the neighbouring states. Instead of aspiring to the conquest of their neighbours, they are now content with defending their own territories at home: instead of directing the councils, and conducing the confederate armies of Greece, they now confine all their attention to their own private affairs; they in a manner become annihilated; they fade from the eye of the historian; and other nations, whose names have hitherto been scarcely mentioned, emerge from obscurity.

[Page 101]It was in this deplorable state of the Athenian af­fairs, that Alcibiades made proposals of returning home, provided the administration of the republic were put into the hands of the great and powerful, and not left to the populace, who had expelled him. In or­der to induce his countrymen to agree to these terms, he offered to procure them not only the favour of Tissaphernes, the king of Persia's lieutenant, with whom he had taken refuge, but even that of the king himself, upon condition they would abolish the democracy or popular government; because the king, he said, would place more confidence in the engagements of the nobility, than in those of the giddy and capricious multitude. The chief man who opposed his return was Phrynicus, one of the generals; who, in order to accomplish his purpose, sent word to Astyochus, the Lacedaemonian general, that Alcibiades was using his utmost endeavours to engage Tissaphernes in the Athenian interest. He offered, further, to betray to him the whole army and navy of the Athenians. But his treasonable practices being all detected by the good understanding between Alcibiades and Astyochus, he was stript of his office, and afterwards stabbed in the market­place.

In the mean time the Athenians proceeded to com­plete that change of government which had been proposed to them by Alcibiades; the democracy be­gan to be abolished in several of the smaller cities, and soon after the scheme was carried boldly into execution in Athens itself by Pysander, who had the chief hand in this transaction. To give a new form to the government, he caused ten commissaries, with absolute power, to be appointed, who were, how­ever, at a certain fixed time, to give the people an account of what they had done. At the expiration of that term the general assembly was summoned, in which the first resolution was, that every one [Page 102] should be admitted to make such proposals as he thought fit, without being liable to any accusation, or consequent penalty, for infringing the law. It was afterwards decreed, that a new council should be formed, with full power to administer the public affairs, and to elect new magistrates. For this pur­pose five presidents were established, who nominated one hundred persons, including themselves. Each of these chose and associated three more at his own pleasure, which made in all four hundred, in whom an absolute power was lodged. But to amuse the people, and gratify them with the shadow of a po­pular government, whilst they instituted a real oli­garchy, it was said, that the four hundred would call a council of five thousand citizens to assist them, whenever they should find it necessary. The assem­blies of the people, indeed, were still held as usual; but nothing was done in them but by order of the four hundred. In this manner were the Athenians deprived of their liberty, after having enjoyed it almost a hundred years, from the time of destroying the tyranny of the Pisistratidae.

This decree having passed without opposition, after the breaking up of the assembly, the four hundred, armed with daggers, and attended by an hundred and twenty young men, whom they made use of when any emergency required it, entered the senate, and compelled the senators to retire, after having paid them the arrears of their salaries that were still due. They elected new magistrates out of their own body, observing the usual ceremonies upon such occasions. They did not think proper to re­call those who had been banished, lest they should authorize the return of Alcibiades, whose uncon­troulable spirit they dreaded, and who would soon have made himself master of the government. Abu­sing their power in a tyrannical manner, they put some to death; others they banished, and confiscated [Page 103] their estates with impunity. All who ventured to oppose this change, or even to complain of it, were butchered upon false pretexts, and those were inti­midated who demanded justice of the murderers. The four hundred, soon after their establishment, sent ten deputies to Samos for the army's approba­tion of their conduct.

The army, in the mean time, which was at Samos, protested against these proceedings in the city; and, by the persuasion of Thrasybulus, recalled Alcibi­ades, and created him general, with full power to fa [...]l directly to the Pyraeus, and crush this new ty­ranny. Alcibiades, however, would not give way to this rash opinion, but went first to shew himself to Tissaphernes, and let him know, that it was now in his power to treat with him, either as a friend or an enemy. By which means he awed the Athenians with Tissaphernes, and Tissaphernes with the Athe­nians. When, afterwards, the four hundred sent to Samos to vindicate their proceedings, the army was for putting the messengers to death, and persisted in the design upon the Pyraeus; but Alcibiades, by opposing it, manifestly saved the commonwealth.

Mean while the innovation in Athens had occa­sioned such factions and tumults, that the four hun­dred were more intent upon providing for their own safety, than carrying on the war: and, the better to accomplish this purpose, they fortified that part of the Pyraeus which commands the mouth of the haven, and resolved, in case of extremity, rather to let in the Lacedaemonians, than expose their persons to the fury of their fellow-citizens. The Spartans took occasion, from these disturbances, to hover about with forty-two gallies, under the conduct of Hegesandrides; and the Athenians, with thirty-six under Timochares, were forced to engage them, but lost part of their fleet, and the rest were dis­persed. [Page 104] To add to which, all Euboea, except Oreus, revolted to the Peloponnesians.

This failure of success gave the finishing blow to the power of the four hundred. The Athenians, without delay, deposed them, as the authors of all the calamities under which they groaned. Alcibiades was recalled by unanimous consent, and earnestly solicited to make all possible haste to the assistance of the city. But judging that if he returned imme­diately to Athens, he should owe his recall to the compassion and favour of the people, he resolved to render his return glorious and triumphant, and to deserve it by some considerable exploit.

For this purpose, leaving Samos with a small number of ships, he cruized about the islands of Cos and Onidos; and having learnt that Mindarus, the Spartan admiral, had sailed to the Hellespont with his whole fleet, and that the Athenians were in pur­suit of him, he steered that way with the utmost ex­pedition to support them, and arrived happily with his eighteen vessels at the time the fleets were en­gaged near Abydos, in a battle which lasted till night, without any advantage on either side. His arrival gave new courage to the Spartans at first, [...]o believed he was still their friend; but Alcibiades [...] out the Athenian flag in the admiral's gal­ [...] [...] [...]curately [...]e [...] upon them, and put them to [...]; and pursuing his blow, sunk many of their vessels, and made a great slaughter of their soldiers, who had leaped into the sea, to save themselves by swimming. The Athenians, after having captured [...] of their gallies, and retaken those they had [...] erected a trophy.

Alcibiades, after this victory, went to visit Tissa­phernes, who was so far from receiving him as he expected, that he immediately caused him to be seized, and sent away to Sardis, telling him that he had orders from the king to make war upon the [Page 105] Athenians; but the truth is, he was afraid of being accused to his master by the Peloponnesians, and thought, by this act of injustice, to purge himself from all former imputations. Alcibiades, after thirty days, made his escape to Clazomenae, and soon after bore down upon the Peloponnesian fleet, which rode at anchor before the port of Cyzicus. With twenty of his best ships he broke through the enemy, pur­sued those who abandoned their vessels and fled to land, and made a great slaughter. The Athenians took the enemy's whole fleet, and made themselves masters of Cyzicus, while Mingimis, the Lacedae­monian general, was found among the number of the slain.

Alcibiades well knew how to make use of the ad­vantage he had gained; and, at the head of his vic­torious troops, took, several cities which had revolted from the Athenians. Calcedon, Salymbria, and Byzantium, were among the number. Thus flushed with success, he seemed to desire nothing more than to be once more seen by his countrymen, as his presence would be a triumph to his friends, and an insult to his enemies. He accordingly set sail for Athens. Besides the ships covered with bucklers and spoils of all sorts, in the manner of trophies, a great number of vessels were also towed after him by way of triumph: he displayed likewise the ensigns and ornaments of those he had burnt, which were more than the others, the whole amounting to about two hundred ships.

It is said, that reflecting on what had been done against him, upon approaching the port, he was strack with some apprehensions, and was afraid to quit his vessel, till he saw from the deck a great number of his friends and relations, who were come to the shore to receive him, and earnestly entreated him to land. As soon as he was landed, the multi­tude, who came out to meet him, fixed their eyes [Page 106] upon him, thronged about him, saluted him with loud acclamations, and crowned him with garlands. He received their congratulations with great satisfaction; he desired to be discharged from his former condem­nation, and obtained from the priests an absolution from all their former denunciations.

Yet, notwithstanding these triumphs, the real power of Athens was now no more; the strength of the state was gone; and even the passion for liberty was lost in the common degeneracy of the times. Many of the meaner sort of people earnestly de­sired Alcibiades to take upon him the sovereign power, and to set himself above the reach of envy, by securing all authority in his own person. But the great were neither so warm nor so injudicious in their expressions of gratitude. They contented themselves with appointing him generalissimo of all their forces; they granted him whatever he de­manded, and gave him for colleagues the generals most agreeable to him. He set sail accordingly with an hundred ships, and steered for the island of Andros that had revolted, where having defeated the inhabitants, he went from thence to Samos, intending to make that the seat of war. In the mean time the Lacedaemonians, alarmed at his suc­cess, made choice of a general every way qualified to make head against him. This was Lysander, who, though born of the highest family, had been enured to hardships from his earliest youth, and was strongly attached to the manners and discipline of his country. He was brave, ambitious, cir­cumspect, but, at the same time, cunning, crafty and deceitful; and these latter qualities ran so much through his whole life, that it was usually said of him, that he cheated children with foul play, and men with oaths: and it is reported to have been a maxim of his, that when the lion's strength fails, we must make use of the subtilty of the fox.

[Page 107]Lysander having brought his army to Ephesus, gave orders for assembling ships of burden from all parts, and erected a dock for the building of gal­lies; he made the ports free for merchants, and by encouraging trade of every kind, he laid the founda­tion of that splendour and magnificence, to which Ephesus afterwards attained. Meanwhile receiving advice that Cyrus, the king of Persia's son, was ar­rived at Sardis, he went thither to pay him a visit, and at the same time to complain to him of the conduct of Tissaphernes, whose duplicity, he said, had proved fatal to their common cause. Cyrus was sufficiently disposed to listen to any complaints against Tissaphernes, to whom he himself had a per­sonal enmity, and he therefore came readily into the views of Lysander, and at his request increased the pay of the seamen. This last circumstance had a sur­prising effect. It instantly almost unmanned the gallies of the Athenians, and supplied the Lacedae­monian fleet with plenty of sailors, who, without enquiring into the justice of the cause on either side, went over to that party which gave the best pay.

Nor was this the only misfortune which the Athe­nians now met with. For Alcibiades being obliged to leave the fleet, in order to raise the supplies, gave the command of it to Antiochus with strict orders not to attack, or engage the enemy in his absence. But Antiochus desirous of distinguishing himself by some great action before the return of Alcibiades, sailed away directly for Ephesus, and used every art to provoke the enemy to an engage­ment. Lysander at first contented himself with sending out a few ships to repel his insults; but the Athenian gallies advancing to support their com­mander, other Lacedaemonian vessels likewise came on, till at last both fleets arrived, and the engage­ment became general. After a sharp struggle, Ly­sander [Page 108] obtained the victory, having killed Antiochus, and taken fifteen of the Athenian gallies. It was in vain that Alcibiades soon after came up to the relief of his friends; it was in vain that he offered to renew the combat; Lysander was too wise to hazard the advantage he had gained by venturing on a second engagement.

This misfortune proved fatal to the reputation of Alcibiades, though indeed it was his own glory that ruined him; for the people, from his unin­terrupted success, had conceived such a high opi­nion of his abilites, that they thought it impossible for him to fail in any thing he seriously undertook: and they therefore now began to question his in­tegrity, and deprived him of the command of the army.

About the same time Callicratidas was appointed to succeed Lysander, whose year was expired. This man was equal to his predecessor in courage, and greatly superior in probity and justice, being as open and ingenuous as the other was cunning and crafty. His first attempt was against Methymna in Lesbos, which he took by storm. He then threatened Conon, who had succeeded Alcibiades, that he would make him leave off debauching the sea; and accordingly soon after pursued him into the port of Mitylene with an hundred and seventy sail, took thirty of his ships, and besieged him in the town, from which he cut off all provisions. He soon after took ten ships more out of twelve, that were coming to the relief of Conon. Then hearing that the Athenians had fitted out their whole strength, consisting of an hundred and fifty sail, he left fifty of his ships under Etonicus, to carry on the siege of Mitylene, and with an hundred and twenty more met the Athenians at Arginusae, over-against Lesbos. His pilot advising him to retreat because the enemy were superior in number, [Page 109] "Sparta," replied he, ‘"will be never the worse inhabited though I should be slain."’ The fight ac­cordingly was immediately begun, and was main­tained for a long time with equal bravery on both sides, till at last the ship of Callicratidas, charging through the midst of the enemy, was sunk, and the rest fled. The Peloponnesians lost about seventy sail, and the Athenians twenty-five, with most of the men in them.

The Athenian admirials, instead of being re­warded for the victory they had gained, were se­verely punished for a supposed neglect of duty. They were accused of not having done their utmost to save their men who had been shipwrecked; and they were accordingly sent home in irons, to an­swer for their conduct. They alledged in their de­fence, that they were pursuing the enemy; and, at the same time, gave orders about taking up the men to those whose business it more peculiarly was; par­ticularly to Theramenes, who now appeared against them; but yet that their orders could not be exe­cuted, on account of a violent storm which hap­pened at that time. This plea seemed so satisfactory, that several stood up and offered to bail them: but, in another assembly, the popular incendiaries de­manded justice, and so awed the judges, that So­crates was the only man who had courage enough to declare, that he would do nothing contrary to law, and accordingly refused to act. After a long debate, eight of the ten were condemned, and six of them were put to death; among whom was Pericles, son of the great statesman of the same name. He maintained, that they had failed in no­thing of their duty, as they had given orders for we dead bodies being taken up; that if any one were guilty, it was Theramenes himself, who being charged with these orders, had neglected to put them in execution: but that he accused nobody, [Page 110] and that the tempest, which came on unexpectedly at the very instant, was a sufficient apology, and entirely freed the accused from all kind of guilt. He demanded, that a whole day should be allowed them to make their defence, a favour not denied to the most criminal, and that they should be tried separately. He represented, that they were not in the least obliged to precipitate a sentence, in which the lives of the most illustrious citizens were con­cerned; that it was in some measure attacking the gods, to make them responsible for the winds and weather; that they could not, without the most flagrant ingratitude and injustice, inflict death upon the conquerors, to whom they ought rather to decree crowns and honours, or give up the de­fenders of their country to the rage of those who envied them; that if they did so, their unjust judg­ment will be followed by a sudden, but vain repen­tance, which would leave behind it the sharpest re­morse, and cover them with eternal infamy.

Among the number also was Diomedon, a per­son equally eminent for his valour and his probity: as he was carrying to execution he demanded to be heard,—‘"Athenians," said he,"I wish the sen­tence you have passed upon us may not prove the misfortune of the republic; but I have one fav [...]ur to ask of you in behalf of my colleagues and myself, which is, to acquit us before the gods of the vows we made to them for you and ourselves, as we are not in a condition to discharge them; for it is to their aid, invoked before the battle, we acknow­ledge, that we are indebted for the victory gained by us over the enemy."’ There was not a good citizen that did not melt into tears at this discourse, so full of piety and religion, and behold with sur­prize the moderation of a person, who seeing him­self unjustly condemned, did not however, express the least resentment, nor even utter a complaint [Page 111] against his judges, but was solely intent, in favour of an ungrateful country which had doomed them to perish, upon what it owed to the gods in com­mon with them for the victory they had lately ob­tained.

This complication of injustice and ingratitude gave the finishing blow to the affairs of the Athe­nians: they struggled for a while after the defeat at Syracuse, but from this time forward they ra­pidly declined, though seemingly in the arms of victory. The enemy, after their defeat, had once more recourse to Lysander, who had so often led them to conquest; in him they placed their chief confidence, and earnestly solicited his return. The Lacedaemonians therefore, to gratify their allies, and yet to observe their laws, which forbade that honour being twice conferred on the same person, sent him with an inferior title, but with the power of admiral. Thus appointed, Lysander sailed to­wards the Hellespont, and laid siege to Lampsacus, which he took by storm, and abandoned it to the mercy of the soldiers. The Athenians, who fol­lowed him close, upon the news of his success, steered forward towards Olestus, and from thence sailing along the coast, halted over against the enemy at Aegos Potamos, a place fatal to the Athenians.

The Hellespont is not above two thousand paces broad in that place. The two fleets seeing them­selves so near each other, expected only to rest that day, and hoped to come to an engagement on the next. But Lysander had another design in view. He commanded the seamen and pilots to go on board their gallies, and hold themselves in readiness, as if they were really to fight next morning. He likewise commanded the land army to be drawn up in battle-array upon the coast, and to wait his or­ders in profound silence. On the morning, as soon [Page 112] as the sun was risen, the Athenians rowed towards them with their whole fleet, and offered them bat­tle. This, however, Lysander did not think pro­per to accept, even though his ships were ranged in perfect order, with their heads towards the enemy. The Athenians, ascribing this conduct to fear or cowardice, retired in the evening, and, thinking they were in no danger, went ashore to amuse and regale themselves, as if no enemy had been nigh. Of this last circumstance Lysander was fully in­formed, by some gallies he sent out to observe their motions. To throw them, therefore, into still greater security, and put them more off their guard, he allowed the three following days to pass in the same manner, during each of which the Athenians came regularly up, and offered him battle, which he as regularly persisted to decline.

In the mean time Alcibiades, who since his dis­grace had lived in Thrace, and was much better acquainted with the character of the Lacedaemonians, and particularly with that of Lysander, than the present Athenian generals, came and warned them of their danger: he even offered, with a body of Thracian troops, to attack the enemy by land, and thus force them to a battle. But the Athenian ge­nerals, jealous of their honour, and thinking, that, if the event proved successful, Alcibiades would en­joy all the glory, and, if otherwise, the whole blame would fall upon them, not only refused his assistance, but even rejected his salutary advice. The consequence was, that, on the evening of the fifth day, when they had retired as usual, and their men were all gone on shore, and dispersed up and down the country, Lysander came suddenly upon them with his whole force, and attacking them in this unprepared and defenceless condition, he easily made a capture of their whole fleet, except nine gallies, (including the sacred ship) with which [Page 113] Conon contrived to escape to Cyprus, where he took refuge with Evagoras. This was one of the most masterly strokes of generalship that ever was performed in ancient, or perhaps even in modern times; for by it Lysander, in the space of an hour, put end to a war, that had already lasted twenty-seven years, and but for him would probably have lasted much longer.

The number of prisoners amounted to three thousand, and the fate of these is a shocking proof of the barbarous manners of the age; for it cannot be denied that, with all their attainments in elo­quence and poetry, and the other arts that depend upon the imagination, the Greeks and Romans were greatly inferior to the moderns, not merely in their knowledge of nature, but in civility, politeness, and in every thing that tends to humanize the mind of man. The fact is, these unhappy men were in­stantly put to death, though this was said to be only by way of retaliation; for that the Athenians had caused to be thrown down a precipice all the men that were taken in two Lacedaemonian gallies, and had likewise made a decree for cutting off the thumb of the right hand of all the prisoners of war, in order to disable them from handling the pike, and that they might be fit only to serve at the oar. Philocles, the chief author both of this barbarous act and this severe decree, was now called upon to shew what he could urge in his defence, when he haughtily re­plied,—"Accuse not people of crimes who have no judges; but as you are victors, use your right, and do by us as we had done by you if we had con­quered." The only person that was saved out of the whole number was Adamantus, who had op­posed the decree.

The Athenians were no sooner informed of the entire defeat of their army, than they were over­wh [...]lmed with consternation. They already thought [Page 114] they saw Lysander at their gates, nor was it long be­fore he came there. But before he did so, he com­manded all the Athenians, that were scattered up and down in different parts of Greece, to take shelter in Athens on pain of death. This he did with a design so to croud the city, that he might be able soon to reduce it by famine. And indeed, in a little time, he actually so reduced it. For Agis and Pausanias, the two kings of Sparta, having besieged it by land, and Lysander himself blocking it up by sea, the wretched Athenians, after undergoing the most in­tolerable hardships, were driven to such extremity, that they sent deputies to Agis, with offers of aban­doning all their possessions, their city and port only excepted. The haughty Lacedaemonian referred their deputies to the state itself, and when these suppliants made known their commission to the Ephori, they were ordered to depart, and come again with other proposals if they expected peace.

At length Theramenes, an Athenian, undertook to manage the treaty with Lysander; and, after a conference which lasted three months, he received full powers to treat at Lacedaemon. When he, attended by nine others, arrived before the Ephori, some of the confederates represented the necessity of destroying Athens entirely, without listening to any further proposals. But the Lace­daemonians told them, that they would not con­sent to the destruction of a city, which had pre­served the general independence of Greece in the most critical juncture, and they therefore agreed to a peace upon these conditions: that the long walls and fortifications of the Piraeus should be demo­lished; that they should deliver up all their ships but twelve; that they should restore their exiles; that they should make a league offensive and de­fensive with the Lacedaemonians, and serve them in all their expeditions both by sea and land.

[Page 115]Theramenes being returned with the articles to Athens, was asked why he acted in a manner so contrary to the intentions of Themistocles, and gave those walls into the hands of the Lacedaemo­nians, which he built in defiance of them? ‘"I have my eye," said he, "upon Themistocles's de­sign; he raised these walls for the preservation of the city, and I for the very same reason would have them destroyed; for, if walls only secure a city, Sparta, which has none, is in a very bad con­dition."’ Such an answer would not have satisfied the Athenians at any other time; but being now reduced to the last extremity, it did not admit of a long debate whether they should accept the treaty. At last Lysander, coming to the Piraeus, demolished the walls with great solemnity, and all the insulting triumphs of music; and thus was a period put to the famous Peleponnesian war, the longest, the most expensive, and the most bloody, in which Greece had ever been engaged.

It would be unpardonable in us not to pay that tribute of gratitude and respect, which is due to the memory of those exalted geniuses, whose labours adorned the nations of their own time, and have polished and humanized all succeeding ages. Wars and political contests serve but to de­populate the earth, or to fill the minds of men with animosity and hate; while the labours of the historian, the fancies of the poet, and the discove­ries of the philosopher, enlighten the understanding, meliorate the heart, and teach us fortitude and re­signation. Such peaceful and improving arts well deserve our notice. More especially does the cul­tivation of them in Greece deserve our attention, as many of the writers of that country were re­nowned for military and political, as as well as li­terary accomplishments.

[Page 116]Of Homer it were unnecessary to say much, his merit being well known. It is not probable, that he was the first of the Grecian poets. There seem to have been authors prior to him, from whom he has borrowed in the execution of his Iliad; but as he was the first poet of note, it was not unnatural to place him at the head of all ancient bards. Seven different places contended for the honour of giving him birth, but Smyrna seems to have the best claim. He is supposed to have been born about two hundred and forty years after the destruc­tion of Troy.

Hesiod was either contemporary with Homer, or lived immediately after him. Their works will not bear a comparison. Homer is stately and sub­lime, while Hesiod is plain and agreeable. But when we say so, we do not mean to detract in the least from the reputation of Hesiod. To write with ease and propriety was all he aimed at, and this he certainly attained.

About the beginning of the war which preceded the peace concluded between the Athenians and Lacedaemonians for fifty years, died Aeschylus, the Athenian dramatic writer. He has the same claim to the title of father of tragedy, which Homer has to that of epic poetry. For though he was not the first who attempted that sort of composition, yet he was the first who reduced it to any kind of re­gularity or method. In the days of Solon, Thes­pis made a considerable improvement, by intro­ducing a single person, whose business was to relieve the chorus, by the recital of some extraordinary adventure. It was Aeschylus who exchanged the cart of Thespis for a theatre; who introduced a variety of performers, each taking a part in the re­presentation of some great action, and dressed in a manner suited to his character. The style of Aes­chylus is pompous, and sometimes sublime, but far [Page 117] from being harmonious. He is frequently too so very obscure, that it is no easy matter to find out his meaning. The chief object of his pieces is terror; and, to do him justice, it must be acknow­ledged, that few dramatic writers have surpassed him in exciting that passion.

During that period, in which Greece was so much distracted by the Peloponnesian war, there flourished Sophocles, Euripedes, Aristophanes, &c. among the poets; Herodotus and Thucydides among the historians; and Socrates among the philosophers.

Sophocles had applied so intensely to the study of tragedy, when a young man, that his first piece was judged not inferior to the very best of those of Aeschylus. Both these poets were stately in their manner, but Aeschylus was the more sublime. That advantage, however, was more than coun­terbalanced by the versatility of Sophocles's genius, and by his superior perspicuity and eloquence. He was also more successful than his master in his ap­peal to the passions; and though he did not harrow up the breast by terror, he softened it more by pity, and acquired, of course, the reputation of being a more amiable and polite writer. Sophocles was likewise much more happy than his predecessor in the conduct of his plots. He made them more inter­esting by being more artful. He also contrived to make the performances of the chorus bear a rela­tion to the main action, and so rendered the whole entire. He wrote a hundred and twenty tragedies, of which seven only remain. He lived to the age of 85, and then is said to have died of joy for the success of his last piece, as Aeschylus is reported to have done of grief for being foiled by him in his first.

Euripides, the rival of Sophocles, aimed not at the lofty strains of Aeschylus, or of his great com­petitor. [Page 118] He is more sententious and moral than either of them, and seemed to have as strong a de­sire to instruct mankind, as to obtain their applause. Correctness and elegance were the qualities of style which he appears to have admired. He is less artful and magnificent than Sophocles, but then he is more natural and more useful. We have already mentioned a circumstance much to his honour, the emancipation of many of the Athenians who were made prisoners at Syracuse, because they were able to repeat some of his beautiful verses.

While tragedy was improving in the hands of Sophocles and Euripedes, comedy was advancing under the guidance of Eupolis, Cratinus, and Aristophanes. But the most distinguished of this kind was Aristophanes. At the same time that he entertained the Athenians with his pleasantry, he lashed them with his satire. True it is, he did not possess much of that fine raillery, which has given so smooth, and yet so sharp an edge to modern comedy: but then he had fire and strength; and as he introduced his characters by their real names, occupations, &c. his performances were of­ten more relished, and, very probably, more useful than those of the tragedians.

As to history, Herodotus is considered as the fa­ther of that species of composition in Greece. He wrote the history of the wars between the Greeks and Persians, and gave a detail of the affairs of al­most all other nations, from the reign of Cyrus to that of Xerxes. His work consists of nine books. It is clothed in the Ionic dialect, and is a perfect model of simplicity and elegance.

Thucydides is esteemed a more able writer than even Herodotus. He wants, indeed, that native elegance for which his predecessor is admired, but then he is more judicious and energetic. He wrote the history of the Peloponnesian war.

[Page 119]Of Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Demosthenes, and other illustrious Grecian writers and philosophers, mention is made in the different parts of this work. There is a circumstance that merits our attention here; the discovery of the Metonic, or golden number, by Meton. That philosopher flourished a little be­fore the commencement of the Peloponnesian war, and was much esteemed by the Athenians. Pin­dar was a native of Thebes, and contemporary with Meton.


THOUGH the Lacedaemonians would not con­sent to the entire destruction of Athens, as they would not be guilty, they said, of putting out one of the eyes of Greece, yet they not only re­duced it to the lowest condition in point of politi­cal consequence, but even altered the form of its government; for they compelled the people to abolish the democracy, and submit to the govern­ment of thirty men, who were commonly known by the name of the thirty tyrants. The Greeks, indeed, were sufficiently disposed to give that name to men of virtuous characters; but these rulers of Athens, who were the mere creatures of Lysan­der, appear to have deserved, in every respect, the most opprobrious appellation. Instead of com­piling and publishing a more perfect body of laws, which was the pretence for their being chosen, they began to exercise their power of life and death; and though they appointed a senate, and other magistrates, they made no farther use of them than to confirm their own authority, and see their [Page 120] commands executed. At first, it is true, they pro­ceeded with some caution, and condemned only the most profligate sort of citizens, viz. such as lived by informing and giving evidence against their neighbours; but this was only to blind the eyes of the populace; their real design was to make themselves absolute; and as they well knew, that this could not be done without a foreign power, they next contrived to have a guard sent them from Sparta. This guard was commanded by one Callibius, whom they soon won over to their de­signs; and from this time forward they proceeded to act without controul, filling the city with the blood of those, who, on account of their riches, interest, or good qualities, were most likely to op­pose them.

One of their first acts of cruelty was to procure the death of Alcibiades, who had taken refuge in the dominions of Persia. This man, though driven from his country, did not cease to interest himself in [...] welfare; and the tyrants dreading, that, by his popularity at Athens, where he was still much beloved, he would thwart all their schemes, en­treated the Lacedaemonians to rid them of so for­midable an opponent. This request the Lacedae­monians had the meanness to comply with, and ac­cordingly wrote to Pharnabasus the Persian gover­nor, for that purpose; and he, in his turn, was no less base and unprincipled, for, without having re­ceived any personal injury from Alcibiades, he rea­dily promised to take him out of the way. The man­ner of this great man's death did not disgrace the high character for courage he had maintained during life. The assassins, sent against him, were afraid to at­tack him openly. They, therefore, surrounded the house in which he was, and set it on fire. Alci­biades forced his way through the flames, sword in hand, and drove the barbarians before him, not one [Page 121] of whom had the courage to oppose him; but all of them discharging their darts and javelins upon him from a distance, he at last fell covered with wounds, and instantly expired. Timandra, his mistress, took up his body, and having covered and adorned it with the finest robes she had, she made as mag­nificent a funeral for it as her present circumstances would allow. To what we have already said of Alcibiades it may not be improper to add, that his great popularity, wherever he resided, was princi­pally owing to the extreme versatility of his genius, and the surprising facility with which he accommo­dated himself to the manners and customs of dif­ferent people; for in this respect no man ever ex­ceeded, or perhaps even equalled him. Plutarch says, that at Sparta he was hardy, frugal, and re­served; in Ionia luxurious, indolent, and gay; and when transacting affairs with the king of Persia's lieutenants, he surpassed even these men themselves in pomp and magnificence.

The tyrants, though eased of their apprehensions from this quarter, began to dread an opposition from another, that is from the general body of the people, whom they well knew to be dissatisfied with their conduct; and they therefore invested three thousand citizens with some part of their power, and by their assistance kept the rest in awe. En­couraged now by such an accession of strength, they soon proceeded to still greater extremities than any they had hitherto ventured on; they agreed to single out every one his man, to put him to death, and seize their estates for the maintenance of their guard. Theramenes, one of their number, was the only man that was struck with horror at their proceed­ings: Critias, therefore, the principal author of this detestable resolution, thought it necessary to [...]ake him out of the way, and he accordingly ac­cused him to the senate of endeavouring to subvert [Page 122] the government. Sentence of death was immediately passed upon him, and he was obliged to drink the juice of hemlock, the usual mode of execution at that time in Athens. Socrates, whose disciple he had been, was the only person of the senate who ventured to appear in his defence; he made an at­tempt to rescue him out of the hands of the officer of justice, and, after his execution, went about as it were in defiance of the thirty, exhorting and ani­mating the senators and citizens against them.

The tyrants thus freed from the opposition of a [...] colleague, whose presence alone was a continua [...] reproach to them, set no longer any bounds to their cruelty and rapacity. Nothing was now heard o [...] but imprisonments, confiscations and murders▪ every one trembled for himself or his friends▪ and amidst the general consternation, which had seized the citizens on account of their personal danger, all hope seems to have been lost of recovering public liberty.

The Lacedaemonians, not content with supporting the thirty tyrants in the exercise of their cruelty, were unwilling to let any of the Athenian [...] escape from their hands. They published an edi [...] to prohibit the cities of Greece from giving the [...] refuge, decreed that such of them as fled should b [...] delivered up to the thirty, and condemned all tho [...] who contravened this edict to pay a fine of five talent▪ Two cities only, Megara and Thebes, rejecte [...] with disdain so unjust an ordinance. The latt [...] went still further, and published a decree, th [...] every house and city in Boeotia should be open a [...] free for any Athenian that desired protection; a [...] that whoever did not assist a fugitive Athenian [...] was seized, should be fined a talent. Thrasybu [...] a man of an admirable character, who had [...] deplored the miseries of his country, was now [...] first to relieve it. At Thebes he held a cons [...] tation [Page 123] with his fellow-citizens, and the result was, that some attempt, with whatever danger it might be attended, should certainly be made for restoring the public liberty. Accordingly with a party of thirty men only, as Nepos says, but, as Xenophon more probably relates, of near seventy, he seized upon Phyle, a strong castle on the frontiers of At­tica. This enterprize alarmed the tyrants, who immediately marched out of Athens with their three thousand followers, and their Spartan guard, and attempted the recovery of the place, but were repulsed with loss. Finding they could not carry it by a sudden assault, they resolved upon a siege; but not being sufficiently provided for that purpose, and a great snow falling in the night, they were forced to retire the next day into the city, leaving only part of their guard to prevent any farther in­cursions into the country.

Encouraged by this success, Thrasybulus no lon­ger kept upon the defensive, but marching out of P [...]ple by night at the head of a thousand men, made himself master of Pyraeus. The thirty flew thither with their troops, and a battle sufficiently warm en­sued; but as the soldiers, on one side, fought with spirit and ardour for their liberty, and, on the other, with indolence and neglect for the power of their oppressors, the victory was not long doubtful, [...]ut followed the better cause; the tyrants were [...]ove [...]thrown; Critias was killed upon the spot; and, [...]s the rest of the army were taking to flight, Thra­ [...]ybulus cried out, ‘"Wherefore do you fly from me [...]s from a victor, rather than assist me as the avenger [...]f your liberty? we are not enemies but fellow- [...]itizens; neither have we declared war against the [...]ty, but against the thirty tyrants."’ He entreated [...]em to remember, that they had the same origin, [...]ountry, laws, and religion; he exhorted them to [...]ty their exiled brethren, to restore to them their [Page 124] country, and resume their liberty themselves. This discourse had the desired effect. The army, upon their return to Athens, expelled the thirty, and sub­stituted ten persons to govern in their room, but whose conduct proved no better than that of their predecessors.

Though the government was thus altered, and the thirty deprived of their power, they still had hopes of being re-instated in their former authority, and sent deputies to Sparta to demand aid. Lysan­der was for granting it to them; but Pausanias who then reigned in Sparta, moved with compas­sion at the deplorable condition of the Athenians favoured them in private, and obtained a peace fo [...] them: it was sealed with the blood of the tyrants who having taken arms to restore themselves to power, were put to the sword, and Athens left i [...] full possession of its liberty. Thrasybulus the [...] proposed an amnesty, by which the citizens engage [...] upon oath that all past actions should be buried i [...] oblivion. The government was re-established upo [...] its ancient footing, the laws recovered their forme [...] vigour, the magistrates were elected with the usua [...] ceremonies, and democracy was once more restore [...] to this unfortunate people. Xenophon says, tha [...] this intestine commotion consumed as many i [...] eight months, as the Peloponnesian war had done i [...] ten years.

From Europe we must now pass over into As [...] which was the scene of the next great action, i [...] which the Greeks were concerned. This was [...] other than the famous expedition of Cyrus, [...] younger son of Darius Nothus, late king of Pers [...] who had long entertained hopes of being [...] day able to dethrone his elder brother, Artaxerx [...] ▪ He had, indeed, made several attempts for this pu [...] pose already, and had as often been pardoned by [...] brother at the earnest entreaty of their mother [...] rysatis. [Page 125] Artaxerxes carried his generosity to a still greater, and even to an imprudent length; for he bestowed upon Cyrus the absolute command of all those provinces that had been left him by the will of his father. Cyrus no sooner found himself in this exalted situation, than he began to use every art for the accomplishment of his ambitious project; and with this view he engaged in his service a body of thirteen thousand Greeks under the command of Clearchus, an able Lacedaemonian officer, who had been banished his native country, and for some time resided at the court of Cyrus. These were joined by a great number of Persians from the provinces which Cyrus himself commanded, as well as from those under the government of Tissaphernes, where several cities had revolted in his favour. The com­mon Grecians, however, were entire strangers to the purpose for which they were enlisted, nor was any one let into Cyrus's design but Clearchus him­self. When the troops, therefore, began their march, and had advanced as far as Tarsus, the Greeks refused to proceed any farther, rightly sus­specting that they were intended against the king, and loudly exclaiming that they had not entered into the service upon that condition. Clearchus had need of all his dexterity and address to stifle this commotion in its birth. At first he made use of authority and force; but finding these had little effect, he desisted from an open opposition to the sentiments of the soldiers: he even affected to enter into their views, and to support them with his ap­probation and credit. By this artful evasion he appeased the tumult, and made the men easy for the present; and they chose him and some others for their deputies. Cyrus, whom he had secretly apprized of every thing, made answer, that he was going to attack Abrocomas, his enemy, at twelve days march from thence, upon the Euphrates. [Page 126] When this answer was reported to them, though they plainly saw against whom they were going, they resolved to proceed, and only demanded an augmentation of their pay. Cyrus, instead of one daric a month to each soldier, promised to give them one and a half. And the more to ingratiate himself, when he was told, that two officers had deserted from the army, and was advised to pursue and put them to death, he publickly declared, that it should never be said had detained any one per­son in his service against his will; and he therefore ordered their wives and children, who had been left as hostages in his army, to be sent after them. A conduct so wise, and apparently generous, had a surprizing effect in gaining the affections of the soldiers, and made even those his firm adherents who before were averse to his cause.

As Cyrus advanced by long marches, he received intelligence from all quarters, that the king did not intend to come to a battle with him directly, but had resolved to wait in the interior parts of Persia till all his forces were assembled; and that, to stop his progress, he had ordered an intrench­ment to be thrown up on the plains of Babylon, with a ditch of five fathoms broad, and three deep, extending the length of twelve parasangs, or leagues, from the Euphrates to the wall of Media. Between the Euphrates and the ditch, a way had been left of twenty feet in breadth, by which Cyrus passed with his whole army, having reviewed it the day before. The king had neglected to dispute this pass with him, and suffered him to continue his march to­wards Babylon.

As Cyrus expected to engage every moment, he took care to proceed in order of battle, giving the command of the right wing of the Greeks to Clearchus, and that of the left to Menon. At length he discovered his brother's army, amounting to [Page 127] twelve hundred thousand men, besides a select body of six thousand horse, approaching and preparing to attack him.

The place where the battle was fought was called Cunaxa, about twenty-five leagues from Babylon. Cyrus getting on horseback, with his javelin in his hand, commanded his troops to stand to their arms, and proceed in order of battle. The enemy, in the mean time, who were headed by Artaxerxes in person, advanced slowly and in good order. This sight extremely surprized the Greeks, who expected to have found nothing but tumult and confusion in so great a multitude, and to have seen them rushing on with strange and hideous outcries.

The armies were not distant above four or five hundred paces, when the Greeks began to sing the hymn of battle, and to march on softly at first, and with silence. When they came near the ene­my, they set up great cries, striking their darts up­on their shields to frighten the horse; and then moving altogether, they sprung forward upon the barbarians with all their force, who did not wait their charge, but took to their heels, and fled uni­versally, except Tissaphernes, who stood his ground with a small part of his troops.

Cyrus saw with pleasure the enemy routed by the Greeks, and was proclaimed king by those around him; but he did not give himself up to vain joy, nor as yet reckoned himself sure of the victory. He peceived that Artaxerxes was wheeling his right wing to attack him in flank, and marched directly against him with six hundred horse. Discovering his brother, he cried out, with eyes sparkling with rage, I see him, and spurred against him, followed only by his principal officers; for his troops had quitted their ranks, to pursue the fugitives, which was a capital blunder. The battle then became, in some measure, a single combat between Artaxerxes [Page 128] and Cyrus; and the two brothers were seen tran­sported with rage and fury, endeavouring, like Eteocles and Polynices, to plunge their swords into each others hearts, to assure themselves of the throne by the death of their rival.

Cyrus having forced his way through those who were drawn up before his brother, joined him, and killed his horse, that fell with him to the ground: he rose, and was remounted upon another, when Cyrus attacked him again, gave him a second wound, and was preparing to give him a third, in hopes that it would prove his last. The king, like a lion wounded by the huntsman, was only more furious from the smart, and sprung forward, impe­tuously pushing his horse against Cyrus, who running headlong, and without regard to his person, threw himself into the midst of a flight of darts aimed at him from all sides, and received a wound from the king's javelin, at the same time that all the rest dis­charged upon him. Cyrus fell dead; some say by the wound given him by the king; others affirm, that he was killed by a Carian soldier, to whom, as a reward, Artaxerxes granted the privilege of bear­ing a golden cock on the point of his spear at the head of the army. The principal officers of his court, resolving not to survive so good a master, were all killed around him: a certain proof, says Xe­nophon, that he well knew how to chuse his friends, and that he was truly beloved by them. Ariaeus, who ought to have been the firmest of all his ad­herents, fled with his right wing, as soon as he heard of his death.

Artaxerxes, after having caused the head and right hand of his brother to be cut off, pursued the enemy into their camp. Ariaeus had not stopped there, but having passed through it, continued his retreat to the place where the army had encamped [Page 129] the day before, which was about four leagues dis­tant.

Tissaphernes, after the defeat of the greatest part of his left wing by the Greeks, led on the rest against them, and by the side of the river, passed through the light-armed infantry of the Greeks, who opened to give him a passage, and made their discharges upon him as he passed, without losing a man. They were commanded by Episthenes of Amphipolis, who was esteemed an able captain. Tissaphernes kept on without returning to the charge, because he perceived he was too weak, and went forward to Cyrus's camp, where he found the king who was plundering it, but had not been able to force the quarter defended by the Greeks, who saved their baggage.

The Greeks on their side, and Artaxerxes on his, who did not know what had passed elsewhere, be­lieved each of them that they had gained the vic­tory: the first, because they had put the enemy to flight, and pursued them; and the king, because he had killed his brother, beat the troops he had fought, and plundered their camp. The matter was soon cleared up on both sides. Tissaphernes, upon his arrival at the camp, informed the king, that the Greeks had defeated his left wing, and pursued it to a great distance; and the Greeks, on their side, learnt, that the king, in pursuing Cy­rus's left, had penetrated into the camp. Upon this advice the king rallied his troops, and marched in quest of the enemy; and Clearchus, being re­turned from pursuing the Persians, advanced to op­pose him.

The two armies were very soon near each other, when, after several movements on both sides in order to gain the advantage of the ground, they at last came to a battle, and the Greeks routed the barbarians with the same facility as before. They [Page 130] even pursued them to a hill at a considerable dis­tance where the enemy ventured to halt, and were preparing to attack them a second time, when the Persians dreading another overthrow, betook them­selves again to flight in the utmost disorder.

As it was almost night, the Greeks laid down their arms to rest themselves, much surprized that neither Cyrus, or any from him, appeared; and imagining, that he was either engaged in the pur­suit of the enemy, or was making himself master of some important place (for they were still igno­rant of his death, and the defeat of the left wing of the army) they determined to return to their camp, and found the greatest part of the baggage taken, with all the provisions, and four hundred waggons laden with corn and wine, which Cyrus had expressly caused to be carried along with the army for the Greeks, in case of any pressing ne­cessity. They passed the night in the camp, the greatest part of them without any refreshment, con­cluding that Cyrus was alive and victorious. But when they heard of his death, they sent to Ariaeus, as conqueror and commander in chief, to offer him the Persian crown. Meanwhile the king also con­sidering himself as conqueror, sent to them to sur­render their arms, and implore his mercy; repre­senting to them, at the same time, that as they were in the heart of his dominions, surrounded with vast rivers and numberless nations, it would be impossible for them to escape his vengeance, and therefore they had no other choice left but to sub­mit to the present necessity.

Upon debating among themselves what answer they should return, Proxenus desired to know of the heralds, upon what terms the king demanded their arms: if as a conqueror, it was in his power to take them; if upon any other footing, what would he give them in return. He was seconded by Xe­nophon, who said, that they had nothing left but [Page 131] their arms and their liberty, and that they could not preserve the one without the other. Clearchus observed to the same effect, that if the king was disposed to be their friend, they should be better able to serve him with their arms than without; if their enemy, they should have need of them for their defence. Some, indeed, spoke a milder language; that as they had served Cyrus faithfully, they would also serve Artaxerxes, if he would employ them; and provided he would, at the same time, put them in possession of Egypt. At last it was agreed, that they should remain in their present situation, without either advancing or retreating; and that if they did either, it should be looked upon as a de­claration of war: so that the treaty seems to have been managed in such a manner as to avoid giving a direct answer, and merely to amuse the king and gain time.

While this affair was in agitation, they received Ariaeus's answer, that there were too many great men in Persia to let him quietly possess the throne, for which reason he intended to set out early the next morning on his return to Greece; and that, it they had a mind to accompany him, they must join him that night in his camp; which they ac­cordingly all did, except Milthocytus, a Thracian, who went over with a party of three hundred men and forty horse to the king. The rest, in conjunc­tion with Ariaeus's forces, decamped by break of day, and continued their march until sun-set, when they discovered from the neighbouring villages, that the king was in pursuit of them.

Clearchus who had the command of the Greeks, or­dered his men to halt, and prepared for an engagement. The king of Persia, intimidated by so resolute a conduct, sent heralds, not to demand their surren­der, but to propose terms of accommodation. When Clearchus was informed of their arrival, he [Page 132] ordered his attendants to bid them wait, and to tell them that he was not yet at leisure to hear them. He purposely put on an air of haughtiness and grandeur, to denote his intrepedity, and, at the same time, to shew the fine appearance and good condition of his troops. When he advanced with the most shewy of his officers, expressly chosen for the purpose, and had heard what the heralds had to say, he made answer, that they must begin with giving battle, because his men being in want of provisions, they had no time to lose. The heralds having carried back this message to their master, re­turned immediately; which shewed that the king, or whoever spoke in his name, was not far off. They said they had orders to conduct them to vil­lages where they would find plenty of provisions, and conducted them thither accordingly.

After three days stay, Tissaphernes arrived, and insinuated to them the good offices he had done them with his master. Clearchus vindicated him­self and his men by alledging, that they were en­gaged in this expedition without knowing the enemy against whom they were to fight; that they were free from all engagements, and would commit no act of hostility against the Persian king, if he would allow them to return quietly. Tissaphernes assured them, that they should meet with no obstruction: on the contrary, that they should be supplied with all kinds of provisions in their march; and, the more effectually to ensure their safety, that he himself would accompany them on the way. But this satrap's duplicity was equal to his cruelty. For the barbarian army always encamping at about a league's distance from the Grecians, left some room for suspicion; and when they were arrived on the banks of the river Zabatus, Tissaphernes pretended that some of Clearchus's principal officers had en­deavoured to sow jealousies between the two armies; [Page 133] and that if he would bring them to his tent the next day, he would point out the persons he had in his eye. Clearchus was so weak as to agree to this proposal; and accordingly he, together with Menon, Proxenes, Agis, and Socrates, went to the Persian general's tent, where they had no sooner arrived, than, on a signal given, they were instantly seized, their attendants put to the sword, and themselves, after being sent bound to the king, were beheaded in his presence.

The consternation of the Greeks, upon being informed of this massacre of their generals, may be more easily conceived than described. They were now near two thousand miles from home, sur­rounded with great rivers, extensive forests, and inimical nations, without any supplies of provi­sions. In this forlorn condition they were almost overwhelmed with despair, and could think of taking neither refreshment nor repose; but they recovered some faint hopes, when they began to reflect upon the abilities of Xenophon, a young Athenian, who had accompanied Proxenes into Asia, and had hitherto served as a volunteer in the army. This was that Xenophon, afterwards so famous as an historian; and his conduct seemed equal to his elo­quence, in which he surpassed all the rest of man­kind. This young soldier went to some of the Greek officers in the middle of the night, and represented to them that they had no time to lose; that it was of the last importance to prevent the bad designs of the enemy; that, however small their number, they would render themselves formidable, if they be­haved with boldness and resolution; that valour, and not multitudes, determines the event of bat­tles; and that it was necessary, above all things, to nominate generals immediately, because an army without commanders is like a body without a soul. A council was immediately held, at which an hun­dred [Page 134] officers were present; and Xenophon being desired to speak, explained at large the reasons he had at first but slightly touched upon; and, by his advice, commanders were appointed. They were Timasion for Clearchus, Xanthicles for Socrates, Cleanor for Agis, Philesius for Menon, and Xeno­phon for Proxenes.

Before break of day they assembled the army. The generals made speeches to animate the men, and Xenophon among the rest. ‘"Fellow soldiers, said he, the loss of so many brave men by vile trea­chery, and the being abandoned by our friends, is very deplorable; but we must not sink under our misfortunes; and, if we cannot conquer, let us resolve rather to perish gloriously, than fall into the hands of barbarians, who would inflict upon us the greatest miseries: let us call to mind the glorious battles of Plataea, Thermopylae, Salamis, and many others, wherein our ancestors, though with a small number, have fought and defeated the innu­merable armies of the Persians, and thereby ren­dered the name alone of Greeks for ever formid­able. It is to their invincible valour we owe the honour we possess, of acknowledging no masters upon earth but the gods, nor any happiness but what consists with liberty. Those gods, the avengers of perjury, and witnesses of the enemy's treason, will be favourable to us; and as they are offended by the violation of treaties, and take plea­sure in humbling the proud, and exalting the humble, they will also follow us to battle, and combat for us. For the rest fellow-soldiers, we have no refuge but in victory, which must be our hope, and will make us ample amends for whatever it costs us to attain it. And I should think, if it were your opinion, that, for the making a more ready and less difficult retreat, it would be proper to rid ourselves of all the useless baggage, and to keep only what is ab­solutely [Page 135] necessary in our march."’ All the soldiers that moment lifted up their hands, to signify their approbation of what had been said, and without loss of time set fire to their tents and baggage; such of them as had too much equipage, giving it to others who had too little, and destroying the rest.

The van was led by Cherisophus, the Spartan general, and Xenophon, with Timasion, brought up the rear. They directed their march towards the heads of the great rivers, in order to pass them where they where fordable. But they had not ad­vanced far, before they were overtaken by a party of the enemy's archers and slingers, commanded by Mithridates, which galled their rear, and wounded several of them, who being heavy armed, and with­out cavalry, could make no resistance. To pre­vent the like inconvenience, Xenophon furnished two hundred Rhodians with slings, and mounted fifty more of his men upon baggage horses; so that when Mithridates came up with them a second time, and with a much greater body, he was repulsed with loss, and the Greeks made good their retreat to the city of Larissa on the banks of the Tigris. From thence they marched to another desolate city, called Mepsila; and about four leagues from that place, Tissaphernes came up to them with his whole army, but after several skirmishes was obliged to retire. They afterwards met with some obstruction in pass­ing an eminence which the enemy had seized, but from this they soon found means to dislodge them, and descended into the plain on the other side.

Their difficulties, however, seemed to multiply as they advanced; for they were now hemmed in on the one hand by the river Tigris, and on the other by almost impassable mountains, inhabited by the Carduci, a fierce and warlike people, who, as Xenophon says, had, in these dangerous passes, en­tirely destroyed an army of an hundred and twenty [Page 136] thousand Persians. But as they had no boats to cross the river, and as the road through the moun­tains led into the rich plains of Armenia, they re­solved to pursue their march that way. The Car­duci soon took the alarm; but not being prepared to oppose the Greeks in a body, they possessed them­selves of the tops of the rocks and mountains, and from thence annoyed them with darts and great stones, which they threw down upon them as they passed through the defiles, where they were likewise attacked by several other parties: and though their loss was not considerable, yet, what with storms and famine, besides seven days tedious march, and being continually forced to fight their way, they underwent here much greater hardships than any they had hitherto suffered.

Not far from the foot of the mountain, they met with a fresh obstruction. The river Centrites, about two hundred feet in breadth, presented itself before them. Twice did they attempt to cross it; at first without success, on account of the depth of the water; but the second time they were more fortunate, and at length got to the other side.

They now proceeded with less interruption, passed the Tigris near its source, and arrived at the little river Teleboa, which is the boundary of the Western Armenia. This province was governed by Tiri­basus, a great favourite of the king, and who had the honour to help him to mount on horseback when at Court. He offered to let the army pass, and to furnish the men with the necessary provisions, pro­vided they abstained from all acts of hostility; and this proposal was accepted and ratified on both sides. Tiribasus, however, kept a flying camp at a small distance from the army. There fell, at the same time, a great quantity of snow, which put the troops to some inconvenience; and they learnt from a prisoner, that Tiribasus intended to attack [Page 137] them in a defile of the mountains, through which they must necessarily pass. They took care, how­ever, to prevent him, by seizing that post, after having routed the enemy. After some days march through the desert, they passed the Euphrates near its head, not having the water above their middle.

They were afterwards incommoded by a north wind, which blew in their faces, and prevented re­spiration, so that it was thought necessary to sacri­fice to the wind; upon which, we are told, it began to abate. They proceeded through the snow five or six feet deep, which killed several servants and beasts of burden, besides thirty soldiers. They made fires in the night, for they found plenty of wood. All the next day they continued their march through the snow, when many of them, from long fasting, followed with languor, or fainting, fell down upon the ground through weakness and want of spirits; but when something had been given them to eat, they found themselves relieved, and resumed their march.

After a march of seven days they arrived at the river Araxes, otherwise called the Phasus, which is about one hundred feet in breadth. Two days after, they discovered the Phasians, the Chalybes, and the Taochians, who had seized the pass of the mountains, to prevent their descending into the plain. Xenophon, however, observed, that they defended only the ordinary passage; and by his ad­vice, therefore, a party was sent to take possession of the heights, which commanded that passage; by which means the enemy were soon dislodged, and the road effectually cleared. Thus, after a march of twelve or fifteen days more, they arrived at a very high mountain, called Tecqua, from whence they descried the sea. The first who perceived it raised great shouts of joy for a considerable time, which made Xenophon imagine the vanguard was [Page 138] attacked, and he therefore advanced to support it with the utmost expedition. As he approached nearer, the cry of the sea! the sea! was distinctly heard, and the alarm changed into joy and exulta­tion: and when they came to the top, nothing was heard but a confused noise, of the whole army cry­ing out together, the sea! the sea! whilst they could not refrain from tears, nor from embracing their generals and officers: and then, without waiting for orders, they heaped up a pile of stones, and erected a trophy with broken bucklers and other arms.

From thence they advanced to the mountains of Colchis, one of which was higher than the rest, and of that the people of the country had taken possession. As the ground in this pass was extremely unequal, the Greeks marched in files, instead of line of bat­tle; and attacking the enemy with great spirit, they soon put them to flight, and descended into the plain on the other side of the mountains. Here a very singular accident befel them, which at first threw them into some consternation: for finding a number of bee-hives in the place, and eating greedily of the honey, they were suddenly seized with violent vomitings and fluxes; so that those who were least ill seemed like drunken men, and the rest either furiously mad or dying. The earth was strewed with their bodies as after a defeat; not one of them, however, died, and the distemper ceased the next day about the same hour it began. The third or fourth day the soldiers got up, but in that condition which people are usually in after taking a violent medicine.

Two days after, the army arrived near Trebisond, a Greek colony of Sinopians, situated upon the Euxine, or Black sea, in the province of Colchis. Here they lay encamped for thirty days, and acquit­ted themselves of the vows they had made to [Page 139] Jupiter, Hercules, and the other deities, to obtain a happy return into their own country. They also celebrated the games of horse and foot races, and wrestling and boxing, or the pancratium, the whole attended with the greatest joy and solemnity. Here Xenophon formed a project of settling them in those parts, and founding a Grecian colony, which was approved of by some; but his enemies repre­senting it to the army as only a more honourable way of abandoning them, and to the inhabitants as a design to subdue and enslave the country, he was obliged to give over the enterprize. The noise of it, however, had this good effect, that the natives did what they could in a friendly manner to hasten their departure, advising to go by sea as the safest way, and furnished them with a sufficient number of transports for that purpose.

Accordingly, they set sail with a fair wind, and the next day got into the harbour of Sinope, where Cherisophus met them with some gallies; but instead of the money he had promised to pay them, he only told them they should recieve their arrears as soon as they got out of the Euxine sea. This an­swer gave them so much disgust, that they resolved to put themselves under one general; and they de­s [...]red Xenophon, in the most pressing and affec­t [...]onate terms, to accept of that command, which be modestly declined, and procured the appoint­ment to fall upon Cherisophus. But he did not enjoy it above six or seven days; for they were no [...]ner arrived at Heraclea, than they deposed him its refusing to exhort a sum of money from the [...]b [...]tants of that city; and as this was a Greek colony, Xenophon likewise refused to have any concern in the affair: so that the army, being dis­appointed in their hopes of plunder, broke out into a mutiny, and divided into three bodies. In a little time, however, they were happily re-united, [Page 140] and encamped at the port of Calpe, where they set­tled the command as before, substituting Neon in the room of Cherisophus, who died here, and making it death for any one hereafter to propose the divid­ing of the army. But being straitened for provi­sions, they were obliged to disperse themselves up and down the country, where Pharnabazus's horse, being joined by the inhabitants, cut five hundred of them in pieces: the rest escaping to a hill were rescued and brought off by Xenophon, who led them first to Chrysopolis of Chalcedon, and after­wards to Byzantium.

From thence he conducted them to Salmydessa, to enable Seuthes, prince of Thrace, to recover his father's dominions, of which his enemies had deprived him. This prince had made great pro­mises to Xenophon and his men, if they would assist him in this important undertaking; but when they had done him the service he wanted, he was so far from keeping his word, that he did not even give them the pay agreed on. Xenophon re­proached him severely with this breach of faith, which, however, he attributed to the ill advice of his minister, Heraclides, who thought to make his court to his master, by saving him a sum of money at the expence of every thing that ought to be dear to a prince.

In the mean time, Charminus and Polynices ar­rived as ambassador from Lacedaemon, with advice, that the republic had declared war against Tissa­phernes and Pharnabazus; that Thimbron had al­ready embarked with the troops; and that the Spar­tans would give a daric a month to every soldier, two to each officer, and four to the colonels, who should engage in the service. Xenophon accepted the offer, and having obtained from Seuthes, by the mediation of the ambassadors, part of the pay due to him, he went by sea to Lampsacus with the [Page 141] army, which amounted still, after all its losses, to about six thousand men. From thence he advanced to Pergamus, a city in the province of Troas. Having met, near Parthenia, a great nobleman re­turning into Persia, he took him, his wife and chil­dren, with all their equipage, and by that means was enabled to distribute among the soldiers very handsome gratuities, and to make them ample amends for all the losses they had sustained. Thim­bron at length arrived, and having assumed the command of the troops, and united them with his own, he marched against Tissaphernes and Pharnabazus.

Such was the end of Cyrus's expedition. Xeno­phon, who himself has written a most elegant his­tory of it, computes, from the first setting out of that prince's army from the city of Ephesus, to their arrival at the place where the battle was fought, five hundred and thirty parasangs, or leagues, and four­score and thirteen days march; and in their retreat from the field of battle to Corcyra, a city upon the coast of the Euxine, or Black sea, six hundred and twenty parasangs, or leagues, and one hundred and twenty days march: and, adding both together, he says, the way going and coming was eleven hundred and fifty-five parasangs, or leagues, and two hundred and fifteen days march; and that the whole time the army took to perform that journey, including the days of rest, was fifteen months.

We come now to an affair of a more private and domestic, but not of a less interesting nature; we mean the death of Socrates, one of the most ami­able and exalted characters that ever appeared in the world, either in ancient or modern times. We have already seen this great man, who was the son of a stone-cutter at Athens, emerging from the obscu­rity of his birth, and giving examples of courage, moderation, and wisdom; we have seen him saying the life of Alcibiades in battle, refusing to concur in the edict which unjustly doomed the six Athenian [Page 142] generals to death, withstanding the proceedings o [...] the thirty tyrants, and in a word, expressing his de­testation of every thing which he deemed incon­sistent with the principles of honour and justice. Possessed, as he always was, of the most unbounded philanthropy, he was ready to forgive those vices in others, from which he himself was in a great mea­sure free. He seemed, says Libanius, the common father of the republic, so attentive was he to the happiness and welfare of every individual of the state. But knowing how difficult it is to reform the old, and to make people change those prin­ciples, which from their earliest infancy they have been accustomed to hold sacred, he applied himself chiefly to the instruction of youth, in order to sow the seeds of virtue in a soil more likely to produce the fruits of it. He had, however, no open school like the rest of the philosophers, nor set times for his lessons; he had no benches prepared, nor ever mounted a professor's chair; he was the philosopher of all times and seasons; he taught in all places, and upon all occasions; in walking, conversation, at meals, in the army, in the midst of the camp, and in the public assemblies of the people.

Such was the man whom a faction in the city had long devoted to destruction; he had been, for many years before his death, the object of their satire and ridicule. Aristophanes, the comic poet, was engaged to expose him upon the stage. He com­posed a play, called the Clouds, in which he intro­duced the philosopher in a basket, uttering the most ridiculous absurdities. Socrates, who was present at the exhibition of his own character, seemed not to feel the least emotion; and as some strangers were present who desired to know the original for whom the play was intended, he rose from his seat, and shewed himself during the whole representa­tion. This was the first blow struck at him, and it was not till twenty years after, that Melitus ap­peared [Page 143] in a more formal manner as his accuser, and entered a regular process against him. The two chief crimes of which he accused him, were, that he did not admit the gods acknowledged by the republic, and introduced new divinities; and that he corrupted the youth of Athens: and he therefore concluded with inferring, that sentence of death ought to be passed upon him.

The second charge was evidently groundless. How far the first was founded in truth, we cannot, at this distance of time, pretend to determine. It is not likely, indeed, that amidst so much zeal and superstition as then prevailed in Athens, he would venture openly to oppose the received religion; but it is very probable, from the discourses he frequently held with his friends, that in his heart he despised and laughed at their monstrous opinions and ridi­culous mysteries, as having no other foundation than the fables of the poets, and that he had at­tained to the notion of the one true God, the cre­ator and preserver of the universe.

As soon as the conspiracy broke out, the friends of Socrat [...]s prepared for his defence. Lysias, the most able orator of his time, brought him an ela­borate discourse of his own composing, in which he vindicated the conduct of Socrates with great fo [...]ce of reasoning, and interspersed the whole with tender and pathetic str [...]kes, capable of moving the most occurate hearts. Socrates read it with pleasure, and approved of it very much; but as it was more c [...]nf [...]m [...]le to the rules of rhetoric, than the senti­ments and fortitude of a philosopher, he told him plainly, tha [...] [...] n [...]t suit him. Lysias asked him how it was possible for it to be well done, and not to suit h [...]m. In the s [...]me manner, said he, using, accord­ing to his c [...]t [...]m, a vulgar comparison, that an ex­ce [...]lent w [...]rkman might brin [...] [...]me magnificent ap­par [...], or shoes embroidered [...]ith gold, to which [Page 144] nothing would be wanting on his part, but which however, would not suit me. He persisted, there­fore, inflexibly in the resolution not to demean him­self, by begging suffrages in the low abject manne [...] common at that time. He employed neither arti­fice not the glitter of eloquence; he had recours [...] to no entreaties; he brought neither his wife no [...] children to incline the judges in his favour by their sighs and tears. Nevertheless, though he refused to make use of any other voice but his own in his defence, or to appear before his judges in the sub­missive posture of a suppliant, he did not behave in that manner out of pride, or contempt of the tri­bunal: it was from a noble and intrepid assurance resulting from greatness of soul, and a consciousness of his own innocence; so that his defence had no­thing weak or timorous in it: his discourse was bold, manly, generous, without passion, without emotion, full of the noble sentiments of a philo­sopher, with no other ornament than that of truth, and brightened throughout with the character and language of innocence. Plato, who was present, transcribed it afterwards, and, without any addi­tion, formed from it the work which he calls the apology of Socrates, one of the most masterly compositions of Antiquity. I shall here make an extract from it.

Upon the day appointed, the proceedings began in the usual form; the parties appeared before the judges, and Melitus spoke: the worse his cause, and the less provided it was with proofs, the more occasion had he for art and address to cover its weakness; he omitted nothing that might render the adverse party odious; and instead of reasons, which he could not produce, he substituted the glitter of a pompous declamation. Socrates, in observing that he could not tell what impression the discourse of his accuser had made upon the judges, [Page 145] owns, that, for his own part, he scarce knew how it had affected himself. Melitus had given such artful colouring and likelihood to his arguments, though there was not one word of truth in all he had advanced.

"I am accused, said he, of corrupting the youth, and of instilling dangerous maxims into them, as well in regard to the worship of the gods, as the rules of government. You know, Athenians, that I never made it my profession to teach, nor can envy, however violent against me, reproach me with ever having sold my instructions. I have an undeniable evidence for me in this respect, which is my poverty. Always equally ready to communi­cate my thoughts to the rich and poor, and to give them leisure to question or answer me, I lend my­self to every one who is desirous of becoming vir­tuous; and if, amongst those who hear me, there are any that prove either good or bad, neither the virtues of the one, nor the vices of the other, to which I have not contributed, are to be ascribed to me. My whole employment is to persuade the young and old against too much love for the body, for riches, and all other precarious things, of what­ever nature they be, and against too little regard for the soul, which ought to be the object of their affections. For I incessantly urge upon you, that virtue does not proceed from riches, but, on the contrary, riches from virtue; and that all the other goods of human life, as well public as private, have their source in the same principle.

"If to speak in this manner be to corrupt youth, I confess, Athenians, that I am guilty, and deserve to be punished. If what I say be not true, it is most easy to convict me of falshood. I see here a great number of my disciples; they have only to appear. But, perhaps, their regard for a master, who was instructed them, will prevent them from [Page 146] declaring against me: at least their fathers, bro­thers, and uncles cannot, as good relations and good citizens, dispense with their standing forth against me, and demanding vengeance upon the corrupter of their sons, brothers, and nephews. But these are the persons who take upon them my defence, and interest themselves in the success of my cause.

"Pass on me, Athenians, what sentence you please; but I can neither repent nor change my conduct; I must not abandon or suspend a function which God himself has imposed on me. Now he has charged me with the care of instructing my fellow-citizens. If, after having faithfully kept all the posts wherein I was placed by our generals at Potidaea, Amphipolis, and Delium, the fear of death should at this time make me abandon that in which the divine providence has placed me, by command­ing me to pass my life in the study of philosophy, for the instruction of myself and others; this would be a most criminal desertion indeed, and make me highly worthy of being cited before this tribunal as an impious man, who does not believe the gods.

"Should you resolve to acquit me; for the fu­ture, I should not hesitate to make answer, Athe­nians, I honour and love you; but I shall chuse ra­ther to obey God than you; and to my latest breath shall never renounce my philosophy, nor cease to exhort and reprove you according to my custom, by saying to each of you when you come in my way, ‘"My good friend, and citizen of the most famous city in the world for wisdom and valour, are you not ashamed to have no other thought than that of amassing wealth and acquiring glory, credit, and dignities, whilst you neglect the treasures of pru­dence, truth, and wisdom, and take no pains in rendering your soul as good and perfect as it is ca­pable of being."’

[Page 147]"I am reproached with abject fear and meanness of spirit, for being so busy in imparting my advice to every one in private, and for having always avoided to be present in your assemblies, to give my coun­sels to my country. I think I have sufficiently proved my courage and fortitude, both in the field, where I have borne arms with you, and in the senate, where I opposed the unjust sentence you pro­nounced against the ten captains, who had not taken up and interred the bodies of those who were kill­ed or drowned in the sea-fight near the island of Arginusae; and when, upon more than one occasion, I opposed the violent and cruel orders of the thirty tyrants.

"What is it then, that has prevented me from appearing in your assemblies? It is that daemon, that voice divine, which you have so often heard me mention, and Melitus has taken so much pains to ridicule. That spirit has attached itself to me from my infancy: it is a voice which I never hear, but when it would prevent me from persisting in something I have resolved on; for it never exhorts me to undertake any thing: it is the same being that has always opposed me when I would have in­termeddled in the affairs of the republic, and that with the greatest reason; for I should have been amongst the dead long ago, had I been concerned in the measures of the state, without effecting any thing to the advantage of my country.

"Do not take it ill, I beseech you, if I speak my thoughts without disguise, and with truth and free­dom. Every man, who would generously oppose a whole people, either amongst us or elsewhere, and who inflexibly applies himself to prevent the vio­lation of the laws, and the commission of iniquity in a government, will never do so long with impunity. It is absolutey necessary for him, who would con­tend for justice, if he has any thoughts of living, [Page 148] to remain in a private station, and never to have any concern in public affairs.

"For the rest, Athenians, if, in the extreme danger I am now in, I do not imitate the behaviour of those, who upon less emergencies have implored and supplicated their judges with tears, and have brought forth their children, relations, and friends; it is not through pride and obstinacy, or any con­tempt for you, but solely for your honour, and for that of the whole city. You should know, that there are amongst our citizens those who do not re­gard death as an evil, and who give that name only to injustice and infamy. At my age, and with the reputation, true or false, which I have, would it be consistent for me, after all the lessons I have given upon the contempt of death, to be afraid of it my­self, and to belie, in my last action, all the prin­ciples and sentiments of my past life?

"But without speaking of my fame, which I should extremly injure by such a conduct, I do not think it allowable to entreat a judge, nor to be absolv­ed by supplications. He ought to be persuaded and convinced. The judge does not sit upon the bench to shew favour by violating the laws, but to do jus­tice, in conforming to them. He does not swear to discharge with impunity whom he pleases, but to do justice where it is due. We ought not, therefore, to accustom you to perjury, nor you to suffer yourselves to be accustomed to it; for, in so doing, both the one and the other of us equally injure justice and religion, and both are criminals.

‘"Do not, therefore, expect from me, Athe­nians, that I should have recourse amongst you to means which I believe to be neither honest nor lawful, especially upon this occasion, wherein I am ac­cused of impiety by Melitus; for if I should in­fluence you by my prayers, and thereby induce you to violate your oaths, it would be undeniably evi­dent, [Page 149] that I teach you not to believe in the gods; and, even in defending and justifying myself, should furnish my adversaries with arms against me, and prove that I believe no divinity. But I am very far from such bad thoughts: I am more con [...]inced of the existence of God than my accusers; and so convinced, that I abandon myself to God and yet▪ that you may judge of me as you may deem best for yourselves."’

Socrates pronounced this discourse with a firm and intrepid tone: his air, his action, his visage, expressed nothing of the accused; he seemed the master of his judges, from the assurance and great­ness of soul with which he spoke, without however losing any thing of the modesty natural to him. But how slight soever the proofs were against him, the faction was powerful enough to find him guilty. By his first sentence, however, he was only con­victed of the crimes laid to his charge: but when, by his answer, he seemed to appeal from their tribunal to that of justice and posterity; when, instead of confessing himself guilty, he demanded rewards and honours from the state, the judges were so highly offended, that they condemned him to drink the juice of hemlock, the usual method of execution at that time in Athens.

Socrates received this sentence with the utmost composure. Apollodorus, one of his disciples, breaking out into invectives and lamentations that his master should die innocent: ‘"What, replied Socrates, with a smile, would you have me die guilty? Melitus and Anytus may kill, but they cannot hurt me."’

After his sentence, he still continued with the same serene and intrepid aspect, with which he had long enforced virtue, and kept tyrants in awe. When he entered the prison, which now became the residence of probity and virtue, his friends fol­lowed him thither, and continued to visit him [Page 150] during the interval between his condemnation and death, which lasted for thirty days. This long de­lay was owing to the following circumstance: the Athenians sent every year a ship to the isle of Delos, to offer certain sacrifices; and it was not permitted to put any person to death in the city, from the time that the priest of Apollo had crowned the poop of this vessel as a signal of her departure, till she re­turned home: so that sentence having been passed upon Socrates the day after this ceremony was performed, it became necessary to defer the execution of it till the ship should arrive at Athens.

In this long interval, death had sufficient oppor­tunities to present itself before his eyes in all its terrors, and to put his fortitude to proof, not only by the severe rigour of a dungeon, and the irons upon his legs, but by the continual prospect and cruel expectation of an event at which nature al­ways recoils. In this sad condition he did not cease to enjoy that profound tranquillity of mind, which his friends had always admired in him. He entertained them with the same cheerfulness he had always pre­served; and Crito says, that the evening before his death, he slept as quietly as at any other time. He composed also an hymn in honour of Apollo and Diana, and turned one of Aesop's fables into verse.

So little, indeed, was he apprehensive of death, that he absolutely refused to escape from prison, when it was in his power. For the day before, or the same day that the ship arrived, Crito, his intimate friend, came to him, and told him, that it now depended upon himself to quit the prison; that the jailer was gained; that he would find the doors open; and that he might, if he pleased, enjoy a safe retreat in Thessaly. Socrates laughed at this proposal, and asked him, whether he knew any place out of Attica where people did not die? Crito urged every argument he could think of to [Page 151] induce him to accept of his proffered deliverance. Socrates heard him with great attention, com­mended his zeal, and thanked him for his kindness. But, before he would give into his opinion, he was for examining whether it was just for him to de­part out of prison without the consent of the Athe­nians. The question therefore here was, whether a man condemned to die, though unjustly, could, without a crime, elude the execution of the sen­tence that had been passed upon him. Socrates held that he could not; and, therefore, nobly re­fused to escape out of prison. He reverenced the laws of his country, and resolved to obey them in all things, even in death itself.

At length the fatal ship returned to Athens, which was as it were the signal for the death of Socrates. The next day all his friends, except Plato, who was sick, repaired to the prison early in the morn­ing. The jailer desired them to wait a little, be­cause the eleven magistrates, who had the superin­tendence of the prisons, were at that time acquaint­ing the prisoner, that he was to die the same day. Presently after they entered, and found Socrates, whose chains had been taken off, sitting by Xantippe his wife, who held one of his children in her arms. As soon as she perceived them, setting up great cries, sobbing, and tearing her face and hair, she made the prison resound with her lamentations, ex­claiming, ‘"Oh, my dear Socrates! your friends are come to see you this day for the last time!"’ He desired she might be taken way, and she was immediately carried home.

Socrates passed the rest of the day in conversing with his friends, with great cheerfulness, upon one of most important topics that can engage the atten­tion of the human mind, and one at the same time the best adapted to the occasion: it was upon the immortality of the soul. What gave rise to this [Page 152] conversation was a question introduced in a manner by chance, whether a true philosopher ought not to desire, and take pains to die? This proposition, taken too literally, implies an opinion, that a phi­losopher may kill himself. Socrates shews, that nothing can be more unjust than this notion; and that man appertaining to God, who formed and placed him with his own hand in the post he oc­cupies, cannot abandon it without his permission, nor depart from life without his order. What is it then that can induce a philosopher to be desirous to die? It can be only the hope of that happiness which he expects in ano [...]her life; and that hope can be founded only upon the belief of the soul's im­mortality.

Socrates employed the last day of his life in en­tertaining his friends upon this great and important subject; from which conversation Plato's admirable dialogue, intitled the Thaedon, is wholly taken. He explains to his friends all the arguments for believing the soul immortal, and refutes all the ob­jections against it, which are very nearly the same that are made at this day.

When Socrates had done speaking, Crito begged he would give him, and the rest of his friends, his last instructions with regard to his children and other affairs, that, by executing them, they might have the consolation of shewing their respect for his memory. ‘"I shall recommend nothing to you this day, replied Socrates, more than I have al­ready done, which is, to take care of yourselves; you cannot give [...]e and my family a greater satis­faction."’ Crito having asked him afterwards in what manner he would wish to be buried: ‘"As you please, said Socrates, if you can lay hold of me, and I escape not out of your hands."’ At the same time, looking on his friends with a smile, ‘"I can never, added he, persuade Crito, that So­crates [Page 153] is he who converses with you, and arranges the several parts of his discourse; for he always imagines, that I am what he is going to see dead in a little time: he confounds me with my carcase, and therefore asks me how I would be interred."’ On finishing these words, he rose up, and went to bathe himself in a chamber adjoining. After he came out of the bath, his children were brought to him; for he had three, two very little, and the other grown up. He spoke to them for some time, gave his orders to the women who took care of them, and then dismissed them. Being returned into his chamber, he laid himself down upon his bed.

The servant of the eleven entered at the same instant, and having informed him that the time for drinking the juice of hemlock was come (which was at sun-set) the servant was so deeply afflicted, that he turned his back, and fell a weeping. ‘"See, said Socrates, the good heart of this man; since my imprisonment he has often come to see me, and to converse with me; he is more worthy than all his fellows: how heartily the poor man weeps for me!"’ The fatal cup was now brought. So­crates asked what it was necessary for him to do? ‘"Nothing more, replied the servant, than, as soon as you have drunk off the whole draught, to walk about till you find your legs grow weary, and afterwards lie down upon your bed."’ He took the cup without any emotion, or change in his colour or countenance; and regarding the man with a steady and assured look: ‘"Well, said he, what say you of this drink; may one make a libation of it?"’ Upon being told there was only enough for one dose: ‘"At least, continued he, we may say our prayers to the gods, as it is our duty, and implore them to make our exit from this world, and our last stage happy, which is what I most ardently beg of them."’ After having spoke these words, he [Page 154] kept silence for some time, and then drank off the whole draught, with an amazing tranquillity, and serenity of aspect not to be expressed, or hardly even conceived.

Till then his friends had been able, though with great difficulty, to refrain from tears; but after he had drunk the potion, they were no longer masters of themselves, but wept abundantly. Apol­lodorus in particular, who had been in tears almost during the whole day, began then to make such loud and bitter lamentations, as pierced the hearts of all that were present. Socrates alone remained un­moved, and even reproved his friends, though with his usual mildness and good-nature. ‘"What are you doing? said he to them; I wonder at you! Oh! what is become of your virtue? Was it not for this I sent away the women, that they might not fall into these weaknesses; for I have always heard you say that we ought to die peaceably, and blessing the gods. Be at ease, I beg you, and shew more con­stancy and resolution."’ He then obliged them to restrain their tears.

In the mean time he kept walking to and fro; and when he found his legs grow weary, he lay down upon his back, as he had been directed. The poison then operated more and more. When Socrates found it begin to gain upon the heart, un­covering his face, which had been covered, no doubt, to prevent any thing from disturbing him in his last moments, ‘"Crito, said he, we owe a cock to Aesculapius; discharge that vow for me, and pray do not forget it."’ Soon after which he breathed his last. Crito went to his body, and closed his mouth and eyes. Such was the end of Socrates in the first year of the ninety-fifth olympiad, and the seventieth of his age.

It was not till some time after the death of this great man, that the people of Athens perceived [...] [Page 159] as favoured the Spartan cause, had taken refuge in the citadel; and till these were reduced, Thebes could not be said to be free. But a party of five thousand foot, and two thousand horse, arriving next morning from Athens, and several bodies of troops coming in at the same time from different parts of Boeotia, Pelopidas soon found himself at the head of so powerful an army, that he compelled the garrison to surrender at discretion.

The Spartans, though mortified, were by no means dispirited with this reverse of fortune. They sent an army of near twenty thousand men, under Agesilaus, to re-establish their power at Thebes. The name of the general alone struck terror into the enemy, who were afraid to meet him in the open field, and they therefore took possession of a hill in the neighbourhood of the city. Agesilaus sent a party to provoke them to come down, and give him battle; and when he saw they declined this, he drew out his whole army in order to attack them. But Chabrias, who commanded the Theban mercenaries, ordered his men to present themselves, and keep their ranks close together, with their shields laid down at their feet, their spears advanced, one leg forward, and the knee upon the half bend. Agesilaus finding them prepared in this manner to receive him, and that they stood as it were in defi­ance of him, thought fit to withdraw his army, and contented himself with ravaging the country. This was looked upon as an extraordinary stra­tagem; and Chabrias valued himself so much upon it, that he procured his statue to be erected in that posture.

The Spartans had hitherto been deemed unequalled in military prowess; but they now began to be rival­led, and even excelled, in that noble quality, by the Thebans. This particularly appeared in the battle of Tegyra. Pelopidas, the Theban general, had [Page 160] resolved to attack Orchomenus, which was garri­soned by the Spartans, and he therefore marched against it with a small party of three hundred foot, and forty horse; but hearing that a large body of Spartans were hastening to its relief, he thought it best to retire. In his retreat he fell in with this reinforcement near Tegyra, and finding it impos­sible to avoid a battle, he resolutely prepared to en­gage. After a violent struggle, which was main­tained with equal bravery on both sides, Gorgoleon and Theopompus, the two Spartan generals, fell; and this so intimidated their men, that they imme­diately retired on either hand, and opened a way for the Thebans to pass. But a safe retreat could not satisfy Pelopidas. Encouraged by his late success, he drew up his men afresh, and renewed the battle; and after committing a most terrible havock among the enemy, he put them to an entire rout.

This was the most signal disgrace the Spartans had ever met with. They had never before been known to yield even to an equal number; but here they were beat by a force not one third of their own. It must be acknowledged, however, that these three hundred foot were the flower of the Theban army. They were distinguished by the name of the sacred band. They were as remark­able for their fidelity to each other, as for their strength and courage; they were linked together by the bonds of common friendship, and were sworn to stand by each other to the very last ex­tremity. Thus united they became invincible, and generally turned the scale of victory in their favour for a number of years; till at length they were cut down as one man, by the Macedonian phalanx under Philip.

Pelopidas was not the only, nor even the greatest general that Thebes produced. Epaminondas, his contemporary and colleague in command, was every [Page 161] way his equal, and, if possible, his superior. These two great men lived in the strictest intimacy and friendship; and the only cause of rivalship between them was, which of them should distinguish him­self most in promoting the interest, or advancing the glory of their native country. Epaminondas had spent the earlier part of his life in the study of philosophy, remote from the management of public affairs, either of a civil or military nature, in nei­ther of which he would ever engage, until he was overcome by the importunites of his countrymen, who thought they perceived in him, amidst all his diffidence and self-denial, the seeds of many great and excellent qualities. Nor were they deceived in their opinion; for when he was placed as it were by force, and against his will, at the head of an army, he shewed the world, that an application to the polite arts, so far from d squalifying a man for a public station, only renders him capable of filling it with more distinguished lustre.

Under these two excellent generals, therefore, Thebes was able not only to maintain its own in­dependence, but even to threaten the rest of Greece with subjection: and it was probably the apprehen­sion of this last event, that had made the Athe­nians break off their alliance with the Thebans, and join in a confederacy with the Spartans against their former allies. The Spartans had long con­sidered themselves as the umpires and arbitrators of Greece, and could ill bear a rival in this boasted pre-eminence. They, therefore, resolved to hum­ble the pride of Thebes, and with this view their general, Cleombrotus, marched towards the fron­tiers of Boeotia with a numerous army. But in order to give an air of justice to their hostilities, they first sent to demand of the Thebans, that they should restore the cities they had seized to their liberties; that they should rebuild those they had [Page 162] demolished, and make reparation for all the wrongs they had done. To this it was replied, ‘"That the Thebans were accountable to none but heaven for their conduct."’ Nothing now remained on either side, but to prepare for action. Epaminondas immediately raised all the troops he could, and began his march; his army did not amount to six thousand men, and the enemy had above four times that number. As several bad omens were urged to prevent his setting out, he replied only by repeating a verse from Homer, importing, that there is but one good omen to fight for one's country. However, to reassure the soldiers, by nature superstitious, and whom he per­ceived to be discouraged, he instructed several per­sons to come from different places, and report au­guries and omens in his favour, which revived the spirit and hopes of his troops.

Epaminondas had wisely taken care to secure a pass, which would have shortened Cleombrotus's march considerably. The latter, after having taken a large compass, arrived at Leuctra, a small town of Boeotia, between Plataea and Thespiae. Both parties consulted whether they should give battle; which Cleombrotus resolved to do by the advice of his officers, who said, that if he declined fighting with such a superiority of troops, it would confirm the current report, that he secretly favoured the Thebans. And these last, on their side, had an essential reason for hastening a battle before the arrival of the troops, which the enemy daily ex­pected. However, the six generals, who formed the council of war, being equally divided in their sentiments, the seventh, who was Pelopidas, came in very good time to join the three that were for fighting: and his opinion carrying the question, it was at last determined to engage.

The two armies, as we have already said, were very unequal in number. The Lacedaemonians [Page 163] amounted to twenty-four thousand foot, and sixteen hundred horse. The Thebans had only six thousand foot and four hundred horse; but all of them choice troops, animated by the love of glory, and resolved either to conquer or die. The Lacedaemonian cavalry, composed of men picked up by chance, without valour, and ill disciplined, were as much inferior to their enemies in courage, as superior in number. The infantry could not be depended on, except the Lacedaemonians; the allies having en­gaged in the war with reluctance, because they did not approve the motive of it, and being besides dissatisfied with the Spartans. The ability of the generals alone supplied the place of great armies, especially that of the Theban commander, who was the most accomplished soldier of his time; and he was nobly supported by Pelopidas, who was then at the head of the sacred band.

Upon the day of battle, the two armies drew up on a plain. Cleombrotus was upon the right, at the head of the Lacedaemonians, in whom he most confided, and whose files were twelve feet deep. The left wing, consisting of the allies, was com­manded by Archidamus, the son of Agesilaus. Epaminondas took post in the left of his army, and was opposed to Cleombrotus, whom he was determined to attack, convinced that if once he could break the Lacedaemonian phalanx, the rest of the army would soon be put to flight.

The action began with the cavalry, which were p [...]sted on both sides in the front of the left wing. As the Thebans were better mounted, and braver troops than the Lacedaemonian horse, the latter were soon broke, and driven upon the infantry, which they put into some confusion. Epaminondas, following his horse close, marched swiftly up to Cleombrotus, and fell upon his phalanx with all the weight of his heavy battalion. The latter, to make [Page 164] a diversion, detached a body of troops, with orders to take Epaminondas in flank, and to surround him▪ Pelopidas, upon sight of that movement, advanced with incredible speed and boldness, at the head of the sacred band, to prevent the enemy's design, and flanked Cleombrotus himself; who, by that sudden and unexpected attack, was put into disorder▪ The battle was very fierce and obstinate; and while Cleombrotus could act, the victory continued in suspence, and declared for neither party. But when he fell dead with his wounds, the Thebans to complete the victory, and the Lacedaemonians, to avoid the shame of abandoning the body of their king, redoubled their efforts, and a great slaughter ensued on both sides. The Spartans fought with so much fury about the body, that at length they gained their point, and carried it off. Animated by so glorious an advantage, they proposed to return to the charge, which would perhaps have proved suc­cessful, had the allies seconded their ardour: but these last, seeing the Lacedaemonian phalanx broken, and believing all lost, especially when they heard that the king was dead, took to flight, and drew the rest of the army after them. The Thebans re­mained masters of the field, erected a trophy, and permitted the enemy to bury their dead.

The Lacedaemonians had never received such a terrible blow. The most bloody defeat, till then, had scarce ever cost them more than four or five hundred of their citizens. Here they lost four thousand men, of whom one thousand were Lace­daemonians, and four hundred Spartans, out of seven hundred who were in the battle. The Thebans had only three hundred men killed, among whom were four of their citizens.

It is remarkable, that when the news of this de­feat was brought to Sparta, the Ephori would not suffer the public games, which were then celebrating, [Page 165] to be interrupted. Whether this proceeded from an affectation of indifference as if they wished to represent their loss as but trifling, and were desirous of concealing the real greatness of it from the peo­ple; or that luxury and dissipation had then made a considerable progress even in Sparta itself; it is dif­ficult, at this distance of time, to determine. Next day, however, the loss of each particular family being known, the fathers and relations of those who had fallen in battle, went to the temples to thank the gods, and congratulated each other upon their glory and good fortune, whilst the rela­tions of those, who had escaped, were overwhelmed with grief and affliction.

But there was another point to be determined with regard to these last. They were, by the law, to be degraded from all honour, and rendered in­famous; insomuch, that it was a disgrace to inter­marry with them: they were to appear publicly in mean and dirty habits, with patched and party-coloured garments, and to go half shaved; and whoever met them in the streets, might insult and beat them, without their daring to make any re­sistance. This was so severe a law, and such num­bers had on this occasion incurred the penalties of it, many of whom were of great families and in­terest, that they apprehended the execution of it might excite some public commotion; besides that these citizens, such as they were, could very ill be spar [...]d at this time, when they wanted to recruit the army. Under this difficulty, they gave Age­silaus a power even over the laws, to dispense with them, to abrogate them, or to enact such new ones as the present emergency required. He would not abolish or alter the law. He only made a public de­claration, that it should lie dormant for that single day, but revive and be in full force again on the morrow; and, by that expedient, he saved the ci­tizens from infamy.

[Page 166]It was not long before the Spartans felt the consequences of this dreadful overthrow. Num­bers of Greek cities, that had hitherto remained neuter, now declared in favour of the Thebans, and increased their army to the amount of seventy thousand men. With this mighty force Epami­nondas entered Laconia, and over-ran the open country. He did not, however, attempt any thing against Sparta itself; but he re-instated the Ar­cadians in all their ancient rights and privileges, of which they had been deprived by the Spartans, and he enabled them to build a new city, which, from the name of the old one, was called Messenia.

So jealous were the ancient Greeks of every the least encroachment on their liberty, that no action, however great or meritorious in other respects, was sufficient to atone for it. This was signally ex­emplified in the case of Pelopidas and Epaminondas, who, upon their return home, instead of being re­cieved as heroes and conquerors, were summoned as criminals before a court of justice, to answer for their conduct in having retained their command four months beyond the time limited by law. This offence was capital by the laws of Thebes; and those, who stood up for the constitution, were zeal­ous for having it adhered to on the present occa­sion. Pelopidas was the first cited before the tri­bunal. He defended himself with less strength and greatness of mind, than was expected from a man of his character, by nature warm and fiery. That valour, which was haughty and intrepid in fight, forsook him before his judges. His air and dis­course, which had something timid and low in it, denoted a man who was afraid of death, and did not in the least incline the judges in his favour, who, nevertheless, acquitted him, though not without difficulty.

[Page 167]Epaminondas, on the contrary, appeared with all the confidence of conscious innocence. Instead of justifying himself, he enumerated his actions: he related, in haughty terms, in what manner he had ravaged Laconia, re-established Messenia, and de­livered the Arcadians. He concluded with saying, that he should die with pleasure, if the Thebans would relinquish the sole glory of those actions to him, and declare that he had done them by his own authority, and without their participation. All the voices were in his favour, and he returned from his trial as he used to do from battle, with glory and universal applause. Such dignity has true valour, that it in a manner seizes the admira­tion of mankind by force. This bold and manly deportment had so good an effect, that his enemies declined any further prosecution; and he and his colleague were honourably acquitted. His enemies, however, jealous of his glory, were determined to mortify him, and with this view, procured him to be elected the city scavenger; but he accepted the place with thanks, and declared, that, instead of thinking himself disgraced by the office, he would render it honourable by his manner of discharging it.

In the mean time, the Spartans, struck with consternation at their late defeat, applied to the Athenians for succour; and that people, notwith­standing their jealousy of their old rivals, engaged to assist them with all their forces. They likewise had recourse to the Persian king for the same purpose; but Pelopidas, undertaking an embassay to the court of that prince, prevailed upon him to re­main neuter.

Soon after Pelopidas was sent with an army against Alexander, king of Pherae, one of the most blood-thirsty tyrants that ever existed, and who had, for some time, given great disturbance to the [Page 168] whole country of Thessaly. This savage had caused several people to be buried alive, and others to be dressed in bears and boars skins, and then baited them with dogs, or shot at them for diver­sion. This monster, however, Pelopidas compelled to submission, and even endeavoured, by mild usage, to reform the natural brutality of his temper; but Alexander, instead of being grateful for the salu­tary counsels that were given him, resolved to take the first opportunity of being revenged on his be­nefactor. Nor was it long before such an occasion offered; for Pelopidas being appointed ambassador to Alexander, was treacherously seized upon, and made prisoner, contrary to all the laws of nations and humanity. It was in vain that the Thebans com­plained of this violation of laws; it was in vain they sent a powerful army, but headed by indifferent generals, to revenge the insult: their army returned without effect, and Alexander treated his prisoner with great severity. It was reserved for Epami­nondas to bring the tyrant to reason. Entering Thessalia at the head of a powerful army, his name spread such terror, that the tyrant offered terms of submission, and delivered up Pelopidas from prison.

Pelopidas was scarce set at liberty, when he re­solved to punish the tyrant for his perfidy and breach of faith. He led a body of troops against him to a place called Cynocephalus, where a bloody battle ensued, in which the Thebans were victorious, but Pelopidas was unfortunately slain; and his countrymen considered those successes as very dearly earned, which were purchased at the expence of his life. His death was equally lamented by the Thebans and Thessalians, who begged and obtained the honour of performing his funeral rites, which were very grand and magnificent. Alexander him­self was soon after killed by his wife Thebe, and her three brothers, who, long shocked at his cruel­ties, [Page 169] had resolved to rid the world of such a monster. It is said, that his whole palace was every night filled with guards, except his bed-chamber, which was an upper room, guarded by a dog, and ascended by a ladder. Thebe allured away the dog, and covered the steps of the ladder with wool, to pre­vent noise; and then her three brothers ascending, one of them seized him by the feet, and another by the hair, and the third stabbed him to the heart.

In the mean time, the war between the Thebans and Spartans was carried on with unabated vigour. The Theban troops were commanded by their fa­vourite general Epaminondas; Agesilaus, the only man in Greece, then capable of opposing him, was at the head of the Spartans. The first attempt of Epaminondas in this campaign shewed his great abilities, and his skill in the art of war. Hearing that Agesilaus had begun his march for Mantinea, and had left but few citizens to defend Sparta at home, he marched directly thither by night, with a design to take the city by surprize, as it had neither walls nor troops to protect it. But luckily Agesi­laus had got scent of his design, and dispatched one of his horse to apprize the city of its danger; soon after which he himself arrived with a powerful succour: and he had scarce entered the town, when the Thebans were seen crossing the Eurotas, and ad­vancing against the city. Epaminondas, finding that his design was discovered, thought it below his character to retire without making some attempt. He therefore employed valour instead of stratagem, and attacking the city at several quarters, penetrated as far as the public place, and made himself master of that part of Sparta, which lay upon the hither side of the river. Agesilaus exerted himself with greater activity than could have been expected from one of his years. He saw well that it was not now a time, as before, to spare himself, and to [Page 170] act only upon the defensive; but that he had need of all his courage and intrepidity to repel such an assailant. His son, Archidamus, at the head of the Spartan youth, behaved with incredible bravery wherever the danger was greatest; and, with his small troop, stopped the enemy, and made head against them on all sides.

A Spartan youth, named Isadas, filled not only his countrymen, but even the enemy with admiration of his valour. He had a beautiful face, an elegant shape, an advantageous stature, and was just in the prime of youth; he had neither armour nor clothes upon his body, which shone with oil. Upon the first alarm he ran out of his house with a spear in one hand, and a sword in the other, and rushing into the thickest of the enemy, he bore down all before him, laying numbers dead at his feet, with­out himself receiving the least wound. Whether the enemy were confounded at the sight, as think­ing him something more than human, or whether, says Plutarch, the gods took pleasure in preserving him on account of his extraordinary valour, re­mains a question. His gallantry, however, was so much admired, that the Ephori decreed him a gar­land; but they afterwards fined him a thousand drach­mas, for having gone out to battle without armour.

Epaminondas having failed in his design upon Sparta, was determined to strike some other blow that might compensate for his miscarriage. Hear­ing, therefore, that, in order to protect Sparta, al [...] the troops had been withdrawn from Mantinea, hi [...] resolved to march thither without delay. But a [...] he intended to attack the town, he dispatched [...] troop of horse, to view its situation, and to clea [...] the fields of stragglers. A little, however, befor [...] they reached Mantinea, an army of six thousan [...] Athenian auxiliaries arrived by sea; who, withou [...] allowing either themselves or their horses any refreshment, [Page 171] rushed out of the city, and attacked and defeated the Theban horse. In the mean time, Epaminondas was advancing with his whole army, with the enemy close upon his rear. Finding it impossible to accomplish his purpose, before he was overtaken, he determined to halt and give them battle. He had now got within a short way of the town, which has had the honour of giving its name to the conflict of that day; a conflict the most splendid, and the best contested, that is to be found in the history of Greece, or perhaps in that of any other country. The Greeks had never fought among themselves with more numerous armies: the Lacedaemonians amounted to above twenty thousand foot, and two thousand horse; the Thebans to thirty thousand foot, and three thousand horse.

Epaminondas marched in the same order of battle in which he intended to fight, that he might not be obliged, when he came up with the enemy, to lose, in disposing of his army, a precious time which cannot be recovered. He did not march directly, and with his front to the enemy, but in a column upon the hills, with his left wing foremost, as if he did not intend to fight that day. When he was over against them, at a quarter of a league's distance, he made the troops halt, and lay down their arms, as if he designed to encamp there. The enemy, in effect, were deceived by this step; and reckoning no longer upon a battle, they quitted their arms, dispersed themselves about the camp, and suffered that ardour to cool, which the near approach of a battle is wont to kindle in the hearts of soldiers.

Epaminondas took advantage of this supine con­duct of the enemy. By suddenly wheeling his troops to the right, he changed his column into a line; and having drawn out his choice troops, he made them double their files upon the front of his [Page 172] left wing, in order to add to its strength, and ena­ble it to attack in a point the Lacedaemonian pha­lanx, which, by the movement he had made, faced it directly. He ordered the center and right wing of his army to move very slow, and to halt before they came up with the enemy, that he might not hazard the event of the battle upon troops of which he had no great opinion.

He expected to decide the victory with that body of chosen troops which he commanded in person, and which he had disposed in a column to attack the enemy in the form of a wedge. He was persuaded, that if he could penetrate the Lacedaemonian pha­lanx, in which the enemy's chief strength lay, he should find it no difficult matter to rout the rest of the army, by charging upon the right and left with his victorious troops.

To prevent the Athenians in the left wing from coming to the support of their right against his in­tended attack, he made a detachment of his horse and foot advance out of the line, and posted them upon a rising ground, in readiness to flank the Athe­nians, if they should venture to advance to sustain their right.

After having drawn up his army in this manner, he moved on to charge the enemy with the whole weight of his column. They were greatly sur­prized when they saw Epaminondas advancing to­wards them in this order, and immediately flew to their arms, bridled their horses, and made all the haste they could to their ranks.

While Epaminondas was marching against the enemy, the cavalry, that covered his flank on the left, the best at that time in Greece, consisting en­tirely of Thebans and Thessalians, had orders to attack the enemy's horse. The contest here was violent, but not long. The Lacedaemonian horse were soon repulsed, and obliged to take refuge be­hind [Page 173] their infantry. In the mean time, Epami­nondas, with his body of foot, had charged the Lacedaemonian phalanx. The troops fought on both sides with incredible ardour▪ both the Thebans and Lacedaemonians being resolved to perish, rather than yield the glory of arms to their rivals. They began fighting with their spears; but these being soon broken in the fury of the combat, they charged each other sword in hand. The resistance was equally obstinate, and the slaughter very great on both sides. Despising danger, and desirous only of distinguishing themselves by the gallantry of their conduct, the men chose rather to die in their ranks, than lose a step of their ground.

This terrible slaughter having continued for some time, without the victory inclining to either side, Epaminondas, to turn the scale in his own favour, determined to make an extraordinary effort in per­son, without regard to the danger of his own life. He formed, therefore, a troop of the bravest and most resolute about him; and putting himself at the head of them, made a vigorous charge upon the enemy, where the fight was hottest, and wounded the general of the Lacedaemonians with the first javelin he threw. The troops, by his example, having wounded or killed all that stood in their way, broke and penetrated the phalanx. The Lacedae­monians, dismayed by the presence of Epaminondas, and overpowered by the weight of that intrepid party, were obliged to give ground. The bulk of the Theban army, animated by their general's ex­ample and success, drove back the enemy upon their right and left, and made great havoc among them. But some troops of the Spartans, perceiv­ing that Epaminondas was carried away by his ardour, suddenly rallied, and returning to the charge, overwhelmed him with a shower of javelins. While he kept off part of those darts, shunned some of [Page 174] them, fenced off others, and was fighting with the most heroic valour, a Spartan, named Calli­crates, gave him a mortal wound with a javelin in his breast, across his cuirass. The wood of the javelin being broke off, and the iron head remain­ing in the wound, the torment was intolerable, and he fell immediately. The battle began around him with redoubled fury; the one side exerting their utmost efforts to take him alive, and the other to save him. The Thebans at last gained their point, and carried him off, after having put the enemy to flight.

After several different movements, and alternate losses and advantages, the troops on both sides stood still, and rested upon their arms; and the trumpets of the two armies, as if by mutual consent, sounded the retreat at the same time. Each party pretended to the victory, and erected a trophy; the Thebans, because they had defeated the right wing, and re­mained masters of the field; the Athenians, because they had cut the general's detachment in pieces: and from this point of honour, both sides at first refused to ask leave to bury their dead; which, with the ancients, was confessing their defeat. The Lacedaemonians, however, sent first to demand that permission; after which, the rest had no thoughts but of paying the last duties to the slain.

In the mean time, Epaminondas had been car­ried into the camp. The surgeons, after having examined the wound, declared, that he would ex­pire as soon as the head of the dart was drawn out of it. These words filled all that were present with the deepest affliction, who were inconsolable on seeing so great a man upon the point of expiring. For him, the only concern he expressed was about his arms, and the fate of the battle. When they shewed him his shield, and assured him that the Thebans had gained the victory, turning towards [Page 175] his friends with a calm and serene air, ‘"All then is well,"’ said he; and soon after, upon drawing the head of the javelin out of his body, he expired in the arms of victory.

As the glory of Thebes rose with Epaminondas, so it fell with him; and he is, perhaps, the only instance of one man's being able to inspire his countrymen with a love of military fame, without having had a predecessor, or leaving an imitator of his example.

The battle of Mantinea was followed by a peace, which was ratified by all the states of Greece, ex­cept Sparta; the conditions of it were, that every state should retain what they possessed, and hold it independent of any other power. Nothing remark­able happened for some time after this, except an expedition of Agesilaus into Egypt, whither he went to assist Tachos, who had usurped the throne of that kingdom. Upon his arrival in Egypt, every one was eager to see a man, who had ac­quired so splendid a reputation. Accordingly great multitudes of people flocked to the place where he was; but how much were they surprized, when, instead of an elegant, portly figure, they found a little old man, lying on the grass, with his clothes thread-bare, and his hair uncombed! They were still more astonished, upon their offering him pre­sents of perfumes, and other Egyptian luxuries: ‘"Give these things," said he, "to my helots; Spartan freemen know not how to use them."’ Being ill used by Tachos, whom he found very un­grateful, he joined Nectanebus, his nephew, and raised him to the throne: and when he, in his turn, was opposed by another competitor, Agesilaus found means to defeat all the attempts of this last, and left Nectanebus in possession of the supreme power. As a reward of his services, he received a present of two hundred and thirty talents of silver; and was [Page 176] treated, besides, with every mark of gratitude and respect. In returning home he was driven into the haven of Menelaus, which lies upon the coast of Africa, where he was attacked with an acute dis­ease, and carried off, being then upwards of eighty years of age, forty of which he had been king.

The character of Agesilaus was a compound of very different and even opposite qualities. He was of a little stature, and lame of a leg; and indeed, he was so fully convinced of the meanness of his appearance, that he would never suffer any statue of him to be erected during his life; and he strictly prohibited the Spartans from erecting any after his death. He always paid the utmost deference to the senate and the Ephori, by which means he had it in his power to execute all his designs without any opposition. A rigid observer of the old Spartan plainness and frugality, he was capable of enduring the greatest labour and fatigue. The love of his chil­dren was a distinguished feature in his character. One day, when a friend found him riding with them on a hobby-horse, and expressed some surprize, ‘"Don't," said he, "say one word of this, till you yourself become a father."’ His generosity to his enemies was only exceeded by his partiality to his friends; of the latter of which he gave a remark­able proof in his request to Idrieus, prince of Caria, in favour of Nicias: ‘"If Nicias, said he, be innocent, acquit him on his own account; if guilty, acquit him on mine; in any event, acquit him."’ He had a very singular way of deceiving his enemies. When about to enter upon a march, he took care to publish the true account of his in­tended route, and time of marching; by which he generally had the pleasure of hearing, that they had moved on a different day, and taken a different road from that which they wished to take. So high was his reputation both for courage and con­duct, [Page 177] that the Spartans appointed him not only their general, but likewise their admiral; a mark of honour never conferred upon any one before.

Of all the Greeks, the Athenians were the most remarkable for their love of the polite arts, and particularly for their attachment to the stage. This last passion, indeed, they now carried to such an extravagant length, that, according to Plutarch, it cost more to represent some of the famous pieces of Sophocles and Euripides, than it had done to carry on the war against the Barbarians. And, in order to support this charge, they seized upon the fund which had been set apart for the war, with a pro­hibition, upon pain of death, ever to advise the ap­plying of it to any other purpose. They not only reversed this decree, but went as far the other way, making it death to propose the restoring this fund to the uses for which it had been originally raised. It is not to be supposed, that the other states of Greece would pay much respect to a people that were thus immersed in luxury and dissipation; and accordingly many of those, who had hitherto been in alliance with the Athenians, now commenced hostilities against them. [A. J. C. 358.This war, however, which was soon ter­minated, was not attended with any remarkable event, except that Chabrias, the Athenian general, at the siege of Chio, preferred his honour to his life, and chose to perish in his vessel rather than abandon her. In the mean time, a power was growing up in Greece, hitherto unobserved, but now too conspicuous and formidable to be over­looked in the general picture: this was that of the Macedonians, a people hitherto obscure, and in a manner barbarous; and who, though warlike and hardy, had never yet presumed to intermeddle in the affairs of Greece: but now several circum­stances concurred to raise them from that obscurity, [Page 178] and to involve them in measures, which, by de­grees, wrought a thorough change in the state of Greece. It will be necessary, therefore, to begin with a short account of their power and origin, before we enter into a detail of that conspicuous part, which they afterwards performed on the theatre of the world.


THE first king, who is mentioned, with any degree of certainty, to have reigned in Mace­donia, was Caranus, by birth an Argive, and said to be the sixteenth in descent from Hercules. It was upon this foundation, that Philip afterwards grounded his pretensions to be of the race of Hercules, and assumed to himself divine honours. Caranus is commonly supposed to have led forth a body of his countrymen, by the advice of the oracle, into those parts where he settled, and to have made himself king. Caranus having, accord­ing to the general account, reigned twenty-eight years, the succession was continued after him to the times we are now treating of. But there is very little worth notice recorded of these kings, who were generally employed in defending them­selves against the incursions of their neighbours. And as to their domestic affairs, they were re­markable only for the frequent murders and usur­pations which happened in the royal family.

Amyntas, the father of Philip, left two elder sons, Alexander and Perdiccas, both of whom pos­sessed the throne in their turn. The second of these left a son, named Amyntas, who, while yet an [Page 179] infant, succeeded his father; but the state of public affairs requiring a prince of mature years, Amyntas was soon deposed, and his uncle Philip advanced in his room.

Philip began his reign in the twenty-fourth year of his age, and the first year of the 105th olympiad. He had received a considerable part of his educa­tion at Thebes, whither he had been carried, in his youth, as a hostage; and he there acquired, under Epaminondas, that intimate acquaintance with the art of war, as it was then conducted, which he afterwards displayed so signally during the whole course of his reign. He had now, indeed, oc­casion for all his activity and address, for he was surrounded with almost as many enemies as he had neighbours. The Illyrians, who had seized a part of his dominions, were preparing to attack him with a great army; the Paeonians were making daily incursions into his territories: and he had, at the same time, the misfortune to have two pre­tenders to his crown; Pausanias, the Lacedaemo­nian, who was supported by the Thracians; and Argaeus, whom the Athenians had undertaken to assist.

Under these circumstances, with so many ene­mies on his hands at once, and that before he was well settled on the throne, his first care was to make sure of his own people, to gain their affections, and to raise their spirits; for they were very much disheartened, having lost above four thousand men in a battle they had lately fought with the Illyrians. He succeeded in these points by his dexterity and address, and still more by the force of his elo­quence, of which he was a great master. His next step was to train and exercise them, and reform their discipline; and it was at this time, that he in­stituted the famous Macedonian phalanx, which did so much execution. It was an improvement upon [Page 180] the ancient method of fighting among the Grecians, who generally drew upon their foot so close, as to stand the shock of the enemy without being broken.

The complete phalanx was thought to contain above sixteen thousand men; though it was also taken in general for any company or party of sol­diers, and frequently for the whole body of foot. But this of Philip's invention is described by Poly­bius to be an oblong square, consisting of eight thousand pike men, sixteen deep, and five hundred in front; the men standing so close together, that the pikes of the fifth rank were extended three feet beyond the line of the front. The rest, whose dis­tance from the front made their pikes useless, rested upon the shoulders of those who stood before them, and so looking them together in file, pressed forward to support and push on the former ranks, by which means the assault was rendered more violent, and almost irresistible.

Philip having settled his affairs at home, and compromised all differences with such of his enemies as lay nearest to him, turned his arms against the Athenians, who were marched up to Methone, to assist Argaeus. He gave them battle, and defeated them; and the death of Argaeus, who was killed in the action, put an end to that dispute: for he permitted the Athenians, when they were in his power, to return home. This instance of his mo­deration gained so far upon them, that they soon after concluded a peace with him; which yet he observed no longer, than was necessary for securing the other part of his dominions.

Accordingly, he marched northward, and sub­dued first the Paeonians, and afterwards the Illy­rians, the latter of whom he likewise compelled to restore all the conquests they had made in Mace­donia. He next made himself master of Amphi­polis, which lay upon the river Strymon, and was [Page 181] the key of his dominions on that quarter. This place he had seized in the beginning of his reign, but afterwards abandoned it in compliment to the Athenians, to whom it originally belonged; but now being less apprehensive of the displeasure of that people, he made an entire conquest of it, and added it to his dominions. The Athenians, how­ever, themselves, he always treated with great re­spect, whenever they fell into his hands, as he par­ticularly did upon his taking possession of Pydna and Potidaea; for this last place being garrisoned by the Athenians, he sent them home safe with many marks of civility.

Proceeding still in his encroachments upon his neighbours, he seized the city of Crenides, which had been built only two years before, and he now called it Philippi, from his own name. It was here that he discovered a gold mine, which every year produced an hundred and forty four-thousand pounds sterling. This, which was an immense sum for that age, was much more serviceable than fleets and armies in fighting his battles; and he seldom failed to make use of it in every negocia­tion. It is said, that consulting the oracle of Del­p [...]os, concerning the success or an intended expe­dition, he received for answer, ‘"That with silver spears he should conquer all things."’ He took the [...]int, and, by his success, verified the prediction of the oracle: indeed, he was less proud of the success of a battle, than of a negociation; well knowing, that his soldiers and generals shared in the former, whereas the honour of the latter was all his own.

But a larger field was now opening to his ambi­tion. The mutual divisions of the states of Greece were at no time wholly cemented, and they now [...]r [...]ke out upon a very particular occasion. The first cause of the rupture (which was afterwards called the sacred war) arose from the Phocians hav­ing [Page 182] ploughed up a piece of ground belonging to the temple of Apollo at Delphos. Against this all the neighbouring states exclaimed as a sacrilege: they were cited before the council of the Amphictyons, who had the care of sacred matters; and they were cast, and fined in a very heavy sum. This the Pho­cians were unable to pay; they refused to submit to the decree; they alledged, that the care and pa­tronage of the temple anciently belonged to them; and to prove this, they quoted a precedent from Homer.

Philomelus, one of their citizens, had the chief hand in exciting them to take up arms; he raised their ardour, and was appointed their general. He first applied himself to the Spartans, who had like­wise been fined by the Amphictyons, for having seized the Cadmea after the battle of Leuctra. For this reason they were very well disposed to join him, but did not yet think proper to declare themselves openly: nevertheless, they encouraged him secretly, and supplied him with money; by which means he raised troops, and, without much difficulty, got possession of the temple. The principal opposition he met with in the neighbourhood was from the Locrians; but having defeated them, he erased the decree of the Amphictyons, which was inscribed on the pillars of the temple. Willing, however, to give a colour to his proceedings, he thought it convenient to consult the oracle, and to procure an answer in his favour. But when he applied to the priestess for that purpose, she refused to officiate, until being intimidated by his threats, she told him, the God left him at liberty to act as he pleased; which he looked upon as a good answer, and as such took care to publish it.

The Amphictyons meeting a second time, a re­solution was taken to declare war against the Pho­cians. Most of the states of Greece engaged in [Page 183] this quarrel, and espoused the cause of the one party or the other. The Thebans, the Locrians, the Thessalians, and several other neighbouring states, declared in favour of the God; whilst Athens, Sparta, and some other cities of Peloponnesus, joined with the Phocians. This war, which lasted for some time, was not remarkable for any thing else, except that which distinguishes, or rather dis­graces all religious wars, I mean, the cruelties exer­cised by both parties. The Thebans, having taken some prisoners, condemned them all to die, as sacrilegious wretches; and the Phocians in their turn, by way of reprisal, inflicted the same punish­ment on their captives. Nay, Philomelus, their leader, being attacked on an eminence, and finding it impossible to escape, threw himself headlong from a rock, rather than fall alive into the hands of his enemies. He was succeeded by Oenomar­chus.

Philip did not chuse to interfere in this quarrel, which it was rather his interest to encourage than suppress; being well pleased to see the different states of Greece weaken one another, and thus render them all an easier prey to him when he should be at leisure to attack them.

It was just on the conclusion of this sacred war, that Alexander the Great was born. In his earlier years he had several masters to teach him music, and other superficial accomplishments: but when he grew up, his father wrote to Aristotle, the most celebrated philosopher of his time, begging he would come, and undertake the education of his son, and inspire him with those sentiments of mag­nanimity and justice, which every great man ought to possess, and which no other person was so ca­pable of inculcating. He added, ‘"I return thanks to the gods, not so much for having given me a [Page 184] son, as for having given him to me, in the age in in which Aristotle lives."’

Being desirous of reducing Thrace under his dominion, he determined to make himself master of Methone, which obstructed his designs in that quar­ter. He accordingly besieged it, obliged it to surrender, and levelled it with the ground. He lost one of his eyes before this place by a very sin­gular accident. After of Amphipolis had offered him his services, telling him that he was so excel­lent a marksman, that he could bring down birds in their most rapid flight. ‘"Well," said Philip, "I will take you into my service, when I make war upon starlings;"’ which answer stung the archer to the quick. He immediately threw himself into the town, and let fly an arrow, on which was written, ‘"To Philip's right eye."’ This carried a most cruel proof of his skill as an archer, for he hit Philip in the right eye; and that prince sent him back the same arrow, with this inscrip­tion, ‘"If Philip takes the city, he will hang up After;"’ and accordingly he was as good as his word.

After this Philip marched to the relief of the Thessalians, who had implored his assistance against their tyrant Lycophron, the successor of Alexander of Pherae. This man, after having acted the part of a deliverer for some time, renewed all the cruel­ties and barbarities of his predecessor; and being supported by a large body of Phocians under Oeno­marchus, he thought himself secure from all opposi­tion. Philip, however, attacked him boldly; routed his army; killed six thousand men upon the field of battle; and three thousand Phocians, who were taken prisoners, were by his order thrown into the sea, as sacrilegious wretches, the professed enemies of religion.

[Page 185]Having thus freed the Thessalians, he resolved to carry his arms into Phocis, and with this view was going to take possession of Thermopylae, the key of Greece, and especially of Attica on that side: but the Athenians being informed of his intention, took care to be beforehand with him, and sent a body of troops to occupy that pass; and Philip being un­willing to come as yet to an open rupture with them, thought proper for the present to relinquish his design. The Athenians were roused to this ex­ertion of spirit by the persuasion of Demosthenes, the celebrated orator, who, from the beginning, foresaw the ambitious views of Philip, and the power he had of carrying them into effect.

This illustrious orator and statesman, whom we shall hereafter find acting so considerable a part in the course of this history, was born in the last year of the ninety-ninth olympiad. He was the son not of a mean and obscure mechanic, as Juvenal has represented him, but of an eminent Athenian citi­zen, who had raised a considerable fortune by the making of arms. At the age of seven years he lost his father; and, to add to this misfortune, the guar­dians, to whom he was entrusted, wasted and em­bezzled a considerable part of his inheritance. The first specimen he gave of his abilities as a speaker, was in pleading against these corrupt guardians; though here the goodness of his cause was of more avail than the force of his eloquence; for his early attempts were unpromising, and soon convinced him of the necessity of a graceful and manly pronunciation. In this respect, indeed, he laboured under impediments, that, at first sight, might appear to be altogether insurmountable. He had a stammering in his speech; but this he cor­rected by pronouncing orations with pebbles in his mouth. He had a weak and effeminate voice; but th [...]s he strengthened, by repeating speeches or verses [Page 186] when he was out of breath either with running, or with walking up hill. He had an awkward and ungraceful gesture; but this he regulated and im­proved, by declaiming privately before a looking-glass. And conscious of the natural aversion of the human mind to submit to severe study, he com­pelled himself, as it were, to perform this part of his duty; for having built a closet under ground for the express purpose of his improvement, he some­times confined himself there for two or three months together; and, in order cut off all possibi­lity of his coming abroad, shaved one half of his head while he left the other unshaved.

But even all these preparations would not have been sufficient, had it not been for the salutary ad­vice and instructions of the player, Satyrus. This man, having one day met Demosthenes over­whelmed with shame and confusion on account of his having been hissed in a public assembly of the people, for his awkward and uncouth delivery, desired him to repeat some verses of Sophocles, which he ac­cordingly did: the other repeated them after him, but with such a different tone and accent, as fully convinced him that he knew very little of elocution. But by the instructions of Satyrus, and his own perseverance, he at last attained to such perfection in the art of delivery, that he surpassed all his contemporaries as much in this, as he did in the more noble and sublime parts of his profession. In a word, he soon began to be looked upon as the standard of true eloquence; insomuch that people flocked from all parts of Greece to hear him, and none of his countrymen have been put in competi­tion with him; nor, even among the Romans, any but Cicero. And though it has been made a ques­tion by the ancient writers, to which of the two they should give the preference, they have not ven­tured to decide it, but have contented themselves [Page 187] with describing their different beauties, and shew­ing that they were both perfect in their kind.

His eloquence was grave and austere, like his temper; masculine and sublime, bold, forcible and impetuous; abounding with metaphors, apostro­phes and interrogations; which, with his solemn way of invoking and appealing to the gods, the planets, the elements, and the manes of those who fell at Salamis and Marathon, had such a wonder­ful effect upon his hearers, that they thought him inspired. In a word, the councils and conduct of his countrymen were so much under his controul, and he had it so much in his power to lead them into any measures he thought proper to recom­mend, that Philip used to say, he was more afraid of him than of all the fleets and armies of the Athe­nians, and that he had no enemy but Demosthenes.

Philip, not chusing to attack the Athenians at present, turned his arms against their allies, par­ticularly the Olynthians, whom he easily subdued, notwithstanding a reinforcement sent them from Athens; and having taken their city, he plundered it, and sold the inhabitants among the rest of the spoil. His two bastard brothers, who were among the captives, he put to death, as he had formerly done the other. Justin says, that the protection which the Olynthians had given his brothers, was the plea which he used for attacking them.

In the mean time, the Thebans being unable alone to terminate the war, which they had so long carried on against the Phocians, addressed them­selves to Philip, and solicited his assistance. This he readily granted them, being glad of so plausible a pretext for interfering in the affairs of Greece; and desiring, at the same time, to acquire the character of a religious prince; which he knew he should easily do, by waging war against those who were convicted of sacrilege. And in order to pre­vent [Page 188] the Athenians from thwarting his design by sending aid to the Phocians, he took care to amuse them with proposals of peace; which had so good an effect, that they actually sent ten ambassadors, among whom were Aeschines and Demosthenes, into Macedon, to carry on the treaty. All of these, however, Philip found means to corrupt, except Demosthenes: and he thus continued to pro­tract the negociation, until he had marched into Phocis, and compelled the enemy, by the terror of his name, to surrender at discretion.

As to the allies of the Phocians, and particu­larly eight thousand mercenaries from Peloponnesus, he allowed them to return home without molesta­tion, but the Phocians themselves were left entirely at his mercy. As this, however, was an affair, in which the Greeks in general were concerned, he did not think proper to act in it by his own pri­vate authority, but referred it to the Amphictyons, whom he caused to be assembled for that purpose. But they were so much under his influence, that they served only to give a sanction to his determi­nation. They decreed, that all the cities of Phocis should be be demolished; that they who had fled, as being principally concerned in the sacrilege, should be stigmatized as accursed, and proscribed as outlaws; that they who remained in the towns, should be dispersed in villages, and obliged to pay out of their lands a yearly tribute of sixty talents, until the whole of what had been taken out of the temple should be restored (for it is to be observed, that Philomelus, their first leader, had plundered the temple.) To add to their punishment, they were adjudged to lose their seat in the council of the Amphictyons, in which they had a double voice. This Philip got transferred to himself, which was a very material point, and may be looked upon as the principal step towards his gaining that authority [Page 189] which he afterwards exercised in the affairs of Greece. At the same time he gained, in conjunc­tion with the Thebans, the superintendency of the Pythian games, which the Corinthians had forfeited for their having taken part with the Phocians. Philip having in this manner accomplished his pro­fessed design, did not think it prudent as yet to dis­close his secret views of ambition, and he therefore returned in triumph into his own country.

It was about this time that he performed an act of private justice, which, in the eye of a philoso­pher, ennobles his character more than all his public victories. A certain soldier in the Macedonian army had, in many instances, distinguished himself by extraordinary acts of valour, and had received many marks of Philip's favour and approbation. On some occasion he embarked on board a vessel, which was wrecked in a violent storm, and he him­self cast on the shore naked and helpless, and scarcely with any signs of life. A Macedonian, whose lands were contiguous to the sea, came opportunely to be witness of his distress, and, with all possible tender­ness, flew to the relief of the unhappy stranger. He bore him to his house, laid him in his own bed, revived, cherished, comforted, and for forty days supplied him freely with all the necessaries and con­veniencies which his languishing condition could re­quire. The soldier, thus happily rescued from death, was incessant in the warmest expressions of gratitude to his benefactor, and assured him of his interest with the king, and of his power and reso­lution of obtaining for him, from the royal bounty, the noble returns which such extraordinary bene­volence deserved. He was now completely reco­vered, and his kind host supplied him with money to pursue his journey. Some time after, he pre­sented himself before the king; he recounted his misfortunes, magnified his services, and having [Page 190] looked with an eye of envy on the possessions of the man who had preserved his life, was so abandoned to every sense of gratitude, as to request the king to bestow upon him the house and lands where he had been so kindly and tenderly entertained. Un­happily Philip, without examination, inconsiderately granted his infamous request; and this soldier now returned to his preserver, and repaid his kindness by driving him from his settlement, and taking imme­diate possession of all the fruits of his honest industry. The poor man, stung with this instance of unparal­leled ingratitude, boldly determined to seek relief; and, in a letter addressed to Philip, represented his own and the soldier's conduct, in a lively and affecting manner. The king was instantly fired with indig­nation; he ordered that justice should be done with­out delay; that the possessions should be immedi­ately restored to the man, whose charitable offices had been thus horribly repaid; and having seized the soldier, caused these words to be branded on his forehead, The Ungrateful Guest: a character infa­mous in every age, and among all nations, but par­ticularly among the Greeks, who, from the earliest times, were most scrupulously observant of the laws of hospitality.

The next military operation which Philip un­dertook, was against the Chersonese. This penin­sula had for many years belonged to the Athenians; and though Cotys, as king of the country, had lately wrested it from them, and left it to his son Chersopleptes, yet he being unable to defend him­self against Philip, restored it to its former masters, and reserved only to himself the capital city, Cardia. But the Cardians, afraid of falling back under the dominion of the Athenians, implored the protection of Philip, which he readily granted them. Diopi­thes, who was the chief of the Athenian colony [Page 191] lately sent to the Chersonese, considered this pro­ceeding of Philip as an act of hostility against A­thens; and he therefore, by way of retaliation, in­vaded the maritime parts of Thrace, which Philip had lately conquered. Philip sent a letter to Athens, complaining of this conduct of Diopithes, which he represented as an infraction of the peace; and his creatures there were at great pains to shew that his complaints were well founded, and that Diopi­thes had acted very improperly: but Demosthenes, in a speech which he made upon the occasion, and which may be considered as the foundation of all the other orations that go by the name of Philippics, proved that Diopithes had done no more than his duty; and that, instead of incurring the censure, he c [...]ght to receive the thanks of his country.

Philip, however, was no way intimidated by the wordy resistance of his eloquent antagonist; but proceeding still to extend his influence among the different states of Greece, he offered his protection to the Messenians and Argives, who had been op­pressed by the Spartans; and these being soon men joined by the Thebans, formed all together a very powerful confederacy. The natural balance against it was an union between Athens and Sparta, [...]ch the Spartans pressed with great eagerness, [...] Philip and the Thebans did all they could to [...]ent. But Demosthenes exerting himself with great spirit, roused up the Athenians, and put them so [...] their guard, that, without coming to an open [...] with Philip, they obliged him for the pre­se [...]t to remain quiet.

Q [...]et, however, he could not long continue. He restless and enterprising spirit was ever at work. He [...]ad long fixed his eye upon the Island of Euboea, [...] being very conveniently situated for favouring the resign he had formed against Greece; and he now [...]ntrived, upon pretence of an invitation from [Page 192] some of the inhabitants, to send a body of troops thither; by which means he possessed himself of se­veral strong places, dismantled Porthmos, and esta­blished three tyrants, or kings, over the country. The Athenians were conjured, in this distressful situation, by Plutarch of Eretria, to come to the relief of the inhabitants; and they accordingly dis­patched a few troops thither under the command of Phocion, a general of whom great hopes were enter­tained, and whose conduct justified the high opinion the public had of him.

This man would have done honour to the earliest and most uncorrupt times of the Athenian state. His manners were formed in the academy, accord­ing to the rules of the purest and most rigid virtue. It is said, that no one ever saw him laugh, or weep, or deviate in the least from the most settled gravity and composure. He learned the art of war under Chabrias, and frequently moderated the excesses, and corrected the errors of that general: his humanity he admired and imitated, and taught him to ex­ercise it in a more liberal and extensive manner. When he had received his directions to sail, with twenty ships, to collect the contributions of the allies and dependent cities, ‘"Why this force?" said Phocion; or if I am to meet them as enemies, it is insufficient; if as friends and allies, a single vessel will serve."’ He bore the hardships of a mi­litary life with so much ease, that if ever he appeared warmly clothed, the soldiers at once pronounced it the sign of a cold season. His outward appearance was forbidding, and his enemies taking advantage of this circumstance, sometimes reproached him with his supercilious aspect; and one day when Chares did so, and the Athenians seemed pleased with the sarcasm, Phocion quickly replied, ‘"The sternness of my countenance never made any of you sad, but the mirth of these sneerers has cost you [Page 193] many a tear."’ In popular assemblies, his lively, close, and natural manner of speaking seemed, as it were, the echo of the simplicity and integrity of his mind, and had frequently a greater effect, than even the dignity and energy of Demosthenes, who called him the pruning-hook of his periods. He studied only good sense and plain reasoning, and despised every adventitious ornament. He was sen­sible of the depravity of his countrymen, and ever treated them with the utmost severity. He defied their censures; and so far did he affect to despise their applause, that once, when his sentiments ex­torted their approbation, he turned about in surprise, and asked a friend, If any thing weak or imperti­nent had escaped him? His fondness for pacific measures arose from a thorough persuasion of the degeneracy of his countrymen. He saw the designs of Philip, but imagined that the state was too cor­rupted to give him any effectual opposition; so that he was, according to Demosthenes in his third Philippic, of the number of those men, who gave up the interests of the republic, not ignorantly or corruptly, but from a melancholy conviction of the indispensable necessity of yielding to the fatality of the times, and of submitting to an event which could not be avoided. He was, of consequence, ever of the party opposite to Demosthenes; and having been taught, by experience, to suspect the popular leaders, considered his earnestness to rouse the Athenians to arms, only as an artifice to embroil the state, and by that means to gain an ascendant in the public assemblies. ‘"Phocion," said De­mosthenes, "the people, in some mad fit, will sacri­fice you to their fury."’ ‘"Yes," replied he, "and you will be their victim, if ever they come to their senses."’ Yet they often prevailed on him to act against his judgment, though never to speak against his con­science. He never refused or declined the com­mand, whatever might be his opinion of the expe­dition. [Page 194] Forty-five times was he chosen to lead their armies, generally in his absence, and ever without the least application. They knew his merit; and, in the hour of danger, forgot that severity with which he usually treated their inclinations and opi­nions.

It was to him the Athenians gave the command of the forces they sent to the assistance of Plutarch. But this traitor repaid his benefactors with ingrati­tude; he set up his standard against them, and en­deavoured openly to repulse the very army he had requested. Phocion, however, was not at a loss how to behave to such a renegado; he pursued his enterprise, won a battle, and drove Plutarch from Eretria.

Philip, disappointed in his designs upon Euboea, endeavoured to distress the Athenians in another quarter. He well knew, that they had most of their supplies of corn from Thrace; and he, there­fore, resolved to shut up the ports of that country against them, and particularly to make himsel [...] master of Perinthus and Byzantium. Unwilling, however, still to break with them entirely, he took care to amuse them with professions of his regard, and of his extreme reluctance to give them the least offence. Nay, he wrote them a letter, upon the present occasion, in which he strongly insinuated that they, and not he, were the violators of the peace. ‘"In the times of great enmity," says he [...] "the most you did was to fit out ships of wa [...] against me, and to seize and sell the merchant [...] that come to trade in my dominions; but now yo [...] carry your hatred and injustice to such prodigiou [...] lengths, as even to send ambassadors to the king o [...] Persia, to make him declare against me."’

This letter gave such of the orators, as were i [...] Philip's interest, a fine opportunity of justifyin [...] his conduct. Demosthenes alone stood firm, an [...] [Page 195] still continued to expose his artful designs; and, in or­der to remove the first impressions which the perusal of this letter might make, he immediately ascended the tribunal, and from thence harangued the people with all the thunder of his eloquence. He told them, the letter was written in a style not suitable to the people of Athens; that it was a plain decla­ration of war against them; that Philip had long since made the same declaration by his actions; and [...]hat, by the peace he had concluded with them, he meant nothing more than a bare cessation of arms, and to fall upon them afresh when they were more unprepared. From thence he proceeded to his usual topic, of reproving them for their sloth, and suffer­ing themselves to be deluded by their orators who were in Philip's pay. ‘"Convinced of these truths," continued he, "O Athenians, and strongly per­suaded, that we can no longer say with propriety that we enjoy peace (for Philip has now declared war against us by his letter, as he has long since done by his conduct) you ought not to spare either the public treasure, or the possessions of private per­sons, but, when occasion shall require, haste to your respective standards, and set abler generals at your head, than those you have hitherto employed: for no one among you ought to imagine, that the same men who have ruined your affairs, will have abilities to restore them to their former happy situation. Think how infamous it is, that a man from Ma­cedon should contemn dangers to such a degree, that, merely to aggrandize his empire, he should rush into the midst of combats, and return from battle covered with wounds; and that the Athe­nians, whose hereditary right it is to obey no man, but to impose law on others, sword in hand; that the Athenians, I say, merely through dejection of spirit and indolence, should degenerate from the [Page 196] glory of their ancestors, and abandon the interest of their country!"’

Though Phocion seldom agreed with Demost­henes in any thing, he heartily assented to what he had now said. He further urged the incapacity of the generals already chosen; and these being rejected, he himself was appointed to command the troops that were to go against Philip, who was still be­sieging Byzantium.

Phocion's conduct, on this occasion, did not de­tract from the high character he had already acquir­ed; and he was nobly supported by his officers and soldiers, who had an entire confidence in his gal­lantry and good fortune. He obliged Philip to give over the siege; he drove him out of the Hel­lespont; he took some of his ships; he recovered many fortresses which he had seized; and having made several descents upon different parts of his ter­ritories, he plundered all the open country, till a body of forces assembling to oppose him, he thought proper to retire.

Philip having met with so severe a check in Greece, turned his arms against the Scythians, whom he easily defeated; but, in his return from Scythia, he was obliged to come to an engagement with the Triballi, when he received a wound in his thigh, and had his horse killed under him. Alex­ander, who accompanied him in this expedition immediately flew to his father's relief, and cover­ing him with his shield, killed or put to flight al [...] who attacked him.

The Athenians considered the siege of Byzan­tium as an open declaration of war; and therefore in order to retaliate upon Philip, they blocked u [...] his ports by sea, and put an entire stop to his commerce. Philip at first endeavoured to appease them by offering them terms of peace, which Phocion with his usual moderation, advised them to accep [...] [Page 197] but Demosthenes persuaded them to reject with in­dignation. Philip, therefore, began to form new alliances against them, particularly with the The­bans and Thessalians; but knowing how difficult it would be to persuade these powers to act directly against Athens, merely on account of his personal quarrels, he took care to supply them with a more plausible pretext for embracing such a measure. He found means, by his artifice and intrigues, to sow dissensions between the Locrians of Amphissa and their capital city. They were accused of im­piety, in having ploughed up a spot of sacred ground which lay near the temple of Apollo, in the same manner as the Phocians had done upon a former occasion. This spark, which at first might easily have been extinguished, Aeschines, the most cele­brated orator of his time next to Demosthenes, and who was entirely in the interest of Philip, contrived to blow up into a flame; and, by his advice, a re­solution was taken to send a solemn deputation to Philip, inviting him to assist Apollo and the Am­phictyons, and to repel the outrages of the impious Amphissaeans; and further to declare, that he was constituted, by the Greeks, a member of the coun­cil of Amphictyons, and general and commander of their forces, with full and unlimited powers.

This was the very station which Philip had long aspired to, and now thought himself supremely happy in having attained. Most of the inferior states of Greece approved of the conduct of the Amphictyons, in giving the command of their forces to a man, so eminent and illustrious for his piety, and so capable of executing the vengeance of hea­ven. The Athenians and Spartans, however, con­sidered the matter in a very different light. They saw, that while Philip openly affected to vindicate the honour of Apollo, he was secretly promoting the views of his own ambition; and that under pre­tence [Page 198] of aiding one part of the Greeks against the other, he was in reality forging chains for the whole. Nor was it long before their suspicions were justi­fied by the event; for Philip had no sooner assembled his forces, than instead of marching, as he had pro­mised, against the irreverent Locrians, he made himself master of Elatea, a capital city of Phocis, which was very conveniently situated for awing the Thebans, of whom he began to grow jealous, and for opening to him a way into the heart of Attica. By so extraordinary and unexpected a step he fairly threw off the mask, and bade defiance, as it were, to the whole body of Grecians.

The news of this transaction quickly spread into the neighbouring countries, and, wherever it came, filled the minds of the people with terror and consternation. They now plainly perceived the designs of Philip, which his artifice and their own stupidity had hitherto concealed from their eyes; but they were at a loss to know what steps they ought to take, in order to ren­der them abortive. Nay, even the Athenians themselves, though they had long apprehended some such event, were as much confounded and alarmed as their neighbours. For when they met in a ge­neral assembly, in order to deliberate upon the pre­sent critical situation of affairs, and the herald, as usual, demanded with a loud voice, ‘"which among them would ascend the tribunal,"’ not one of them had the courage to rise, or open his mouth; till at last Demosthenes, animated with the greatness of the approaching danger, and fired with that noble spi­rit of indignation, which he had ever cherished and avowed against the insidious designs of Philip, arose, and addressed the people in the following terms. ‘"Athenians! permit me to explain the circum­stances of that state which Philip has seized upon. Those of its citizens, whom his gold could cor­rupt, or his artifice deceive, are all at his devotion. [Page 199] What then is his design? By drawing up his forces, and displaying his powers on the borders of Thebes, he hopes to inspire his adherents with courage and assurance, and to terrify and controul his adversaries, that fear or force may drive them into those mea­sures which they have hitherto opposed. If then we are resolved, in this conjuncture, to cherish the remembrance of every act of unkindness which the Thebans have done to Athens; if we regard them with suspicion, as men who have ranged them­selves on the side of our enemy; in the first place we shall act agreeably to Philip's warmest wishes; and then I am apprehensive, that the party, who now oppose him, may be brought over to his in­terest; the whole city submit unanimously to his direction; and Thebes and Macedon fall, with their united force, on Attica. Grant the due atten­tion to what I now propose; let it be calmly weigh­ed without dispute or cavil, and I doubt not but my counsels may direct you to the best and most salutary measures, and dispel the dangers now im­pending over the state. What then do I recom­mend? First, shake off that terror which hath pos­sessed your minds; and, instead of fearing for your­selves, let the Thebans be the objects of your ap­prehensions: they are more immediately affected; they are the first to feel the dangers. In the next place, all those of the age for military service, both infantry and cavalry, should march instantly to Eleusis, that Greece may see, that you also are assembled in arms; and your friends in Thebes be emboldened to assert their rights, when they are assured, that as they, who have sold their country to the Macedonians, have a force at Elatea to sup­port them, so you are ready to assist the men who bravely contend for liberty. In the last place, I recommend to you to nominate ten ambassadors, who, with the generals, may have full authority to [Page 200] determine the time, and all other circumstances of this march. When these ambassadors arrive at Thebes, how are they to conduct this great affair? This is a point worthy of your most serious atten­tion. Make no demands on the Thebans; at this conjuncture it would be dishonourable: assure them that your assistance is ready for their acceptance, as you are deeply concerned for their danger, and have been so happy as to foresee and to guard against it. It they approve of your sentiments, and em­brace your overtures, we shall effect one great pur­pose, and act with a dignity worthy of our state. But should it happen that we are not so successful, whatever misfortunes may befal them, to themselves alone they shall be imputed; while your conduct shall appear, in no one instance, inconsistent with the honour and renown of Athens."’

This speech, dictated by the feelings of a patri­otic heart, and delivered with all that fire and vehe­mence for which the orator was so remarkable, im­mediately produced the desired effect. The Athe­nians determined to follow the advice that had been now given them; they appointed Demosthenes him­self to head the embassy to be sent to Thebes; and they resolved to fit out a fleet of two hundred sail, to cruize near Thermopylae.

Upon his arrival at Thebes, Demosthenes found himself opposed by one Python, a man of consider­able abilties, whom Philip had purposely sent thither to counteract the designs of the Athenian orator. This, however, he was not able to effect. The masculine eloquence of Demosthenes carried all be­fore it, and inspired the Thebans with so strong a passion for liberty, that they resolved to join their forces with those of the Athenians, in preventing the further progress of the Macedonian arms.

Philip, disconcerted by the union of two such powerful states, sent ambassadors to the Athenians, re­questing [Page 201] them to desist from their warlike prepara­tions; but finding them determined to adhere to their engagements with Thebes, he endeavoured to intimidate both them and and their allies with omens and predictions, which he took care to pro­cure from the priestess of Apollo. Demosthenes, however, persuaded them to pay no regard to these ridiculous oracles. He told them, the priestess Philipized, thereby insinuating, that it was Philip's money that inspired her, and that opened her mouth, and made her draw from Apollo whatever answers she thought proper. He bade the Thebans remember their Epaminondas, and the Athenians their Pericles, who considered these oracles and pre­dictions as idle scarecrows, and consulted only their reason. The Athenian army set out immedi­ately, and marched to Eleusis; and the Thebans, surprised at the diligence of their confederates, joined them, and waited the approach of the enemy.

Philip, conscious of his own abilities, and at the same time convinced of the extreme weakness of those who commanded the allied army, determined to bring on a general engagement as soon as pos­sible; and with this view advanced into the plain of Chaeronea, a place rendered famous by the event of this important contest. His army amounted to about thirty-two thousand men; that of the con­sederates did not exceed thirty thousand.

On the eve of the day on which this decisive battle was fought, Diogenes, the cynic, who had long looked with equal contempt on either party, was led by curiosity to visit the camps, as an un­concerned spectator. In the Macedonian camp, where his person and character were not known, he was stopped by the guards, and conducted to Phi­lip's tent. The king asked him sternly whether he came as a spy: ‘"Yes, said Diogenes, I am [Page 202] come to spy upon your folly and ambition, in thus setting your life and kingdom to the hazard of an hour."’

And now the fatal morning appeared, which was for ever to decide the cause of liberty and the em­pire of Greece. Before the rising of the sun both armies were ranged in order of battle. The The­bans, with the sacred band in front, occupied the right wing of the confederate Greeks; the Athe­nians, commanded by Lysicles and Chares, formed the left; and the Corinthians and Peloponnesians were posted in the centre. On the left of the Ma­cedonian army stood Alexander, at the head of a chosen body of noble Macedonians, supported by the famous cavalry of Thessaly. In the centre were placed those Greeks who had united with Phi­lip, and on whose courage he could least depend; while the king himself commanded on the right, where his renowned phalanx stood, to oppose the mpetuosity with which the Athenians were well known to begin their onset.

The charge began on each side with all the cou­rage and violence, which ambition, revenge, the love of glory, and the love of liberty, could excite in the several combatants. Alexander, at the head of the Macedonian nobles, first fell, with all the fury of youthful courage, on the sacred band of Thebes; which sustained the attack with a bravery and vigour worthy of its former fame. The gallant youths who composed this body, not being timely, or duly supported by their countrymen, bore up for a while against the torrent of the enemy; till at length, oppressed and overpowered by superior num­bers, without yielding or turning their backs on their assailants, they sunk down on that ground where they had been originally stationed, each by the side of his darling friend, raising up a bulwark by their bodies against the progress of the enemy. [Page 203] But the young prince and his forces, in all the en­thusiastic ardour of valour, animated by success, pushed on through all the carnage, and over all the heaps of slain, and fell furiously on the main body of the Thebans; where they were opposed with ob­stinate and deliberate courage, and the contest was, for some time, supported with equal resolution on both sides.

In the mean time the Athenians, on the left wing, fought with a spirit and intrepidity worthy of the character which they boasted, and of the cause by which they were animated. Many gal­lant efforts were made by either party, and success was for some time doubtful; till at length part of the centre, and the right wing of the Macedonians (except the phalanx) yielded to the impetuous attack of the Athenians, and fled with some precipitation. Happy had it been that day for Greece, if the con­duct and abilities of the Grecian generals had been equal to the valour of their soldiers! But those brave champions of liberty were led on by the des­picable creatures of intrigue and cabal. Tran­sported by the advantage now obtained, the pre­sumptuous Lysicles cried out, ‘"Come on, my gal­lant countrymen; the victory is ours; let us pursue these cowards, and drive them back to Macedon;"’ and thus, instead of improving the happy opportu­nity, by charging the phalanx in flank, and so breaking this formidable body, the Athenians wildly and precipitately pressed forward, in pursuit of the flying enemy, themselves in all the tumult and dis­order of a rout.

Philip saw this fatal error with all the contempt of a skilful general, and the secret exultation arising from the assurance of approaching victory. He coolly observed to those officers that stood round him, that the Athenians knew not how to conquer; and ordered his phalanx to change its position, and, by [Page 204] a sudden evolution, to gain possession of an adja­cent eminence. From thence they marched deli­berately down, firm and collected, and fell, with their united force, on the Athenians, now confi­dent of success, and blind to their danger. The shock was irresistible; they were at once over­whelmed; many of them lay crushed by the weight of the enemy, and expiring of their wounds; while the rest escaped from the dreadful slaughter, by a shameful and precipitate flight; bearing down, and hurrying along with them, those troops which had been stationed for their support. And here it was, that the great orator and statesman, who had excited his countrymen to make this glorious struggle in defence of their liberty, tarnished all the honours he had acquired in the senate by his pusillanimity in the field. He took to flight the very first onset; and throwing away his shield, on which were inscribed these words To Good For­tune, he appeared among the foremost in the ge­neral rout. The ridicule and malice of his enemies related, or perhaps invented, another shameful cir­cumstance; that being impeded in his flight by some brambles, his imagination was so possessed by the presence of the enemy, that he loudly cried out for quarter.

While Philip was thus triumphant on his side, Alexander continued the conflict on the other wing, and at length broke the Thebans, in spite of all their acts of valour, who now fled from the field, and were pursued with great carnage. The center of the confederates was thus totally abandoned to the fury of a victorious enemy. But enough of slaughter had already been made: more than one thousand of the Athenians lay dead on the field of battle, two thousand were made prisoners, and the loss of the Thebans was not inferior. Phi­lip, therefore, determined to conclude his impor­tant [Page 205] victory by an act of apparent clemency, which his policy and ambition really dictated. He gave orders that the Greeks should be spared, carefully locking up in his own breast the design he had formed against their liberties, and hoping one day to march at their head to accomplish the conquest of the Persian monarchy.

Philip's behaviour, upon obtaining this victory, is differently represented by different historians. Some say, that he expressed his joy in so extrava­gant and even ludicrous a manner, as to extort from Demades, one of the Athenian prisoners, the following severe reprimand—"Fortune," said that orator to him, ‘"has given you the part of Aga­memnon, but you are acting that of Thersites."’ Justin, however, represents his conduct in a more amiable and engaging light. He says, that he was at great pains to dissemble his joy; that he affected extreme mo­desty, and the utmost compassion for the prisoners; that he was not even seen to laugh; that he would have no sacrifice, no crowns, no perfumes; that he forbade all kinds of sports; and did nothing that might make him appear to the conquerors to be elated, nor to the conquered to be insolent. Cer­tain it is, that he immediately concluded a peace with the Athenians; and though he treated the Thebans, as unfaithful allies, with greater severity, yet, after compelling them to pay a ransom for their prisoners, and a large sum of money for leave to bury their dead, and after placing a garrison in their citadel, he agreed to make a peace with them also.

It is said, that Isocrates, the celebrated rhetori­cian, was so deeply affected when he heard of the loss of the battle of Chaeronea, that unable to sur­vive the disgrace which that event had brought upon his country, he hastened his end by abstaining from [Page 206] all kind of food: he was then in the ninety-eighth year of his age.

Lysicles, who had the chief command of the Athenians in this engagement, and by whose mis­conduct the battle had been lost, was soon after summoned before an assembly of the people, and was condemned to die at the instance of Lycurgus, who had great credit and influence in the city, but was a severe judge, and a most bitter accuser. ‘"You, Lysicles," said he, "were general of the army; a thousand citizens were slain, two thousand taken prisoners; a trophy has been erected to the dishonour of this city, and all Greece is enslaved. You had the command when all these things hap­pened; and yet you dare to live, and view the light of the sun, and blush not to appear publicly in the Forum; you, Lysicles, who are born the mo­nument of your country's shame."’ This Lycurgus, who did not disgrace the name which he bore, was one of the first orators of the age, and was still more remarkable for the integrity of his life than the force of his eloquence. For, after having managed the public treasure for the space of twelve years, he caused an exact register of every thing he had done during his whole administration to be fixed up on a pillar, that every body might see it, and censure it if they pleased. Nay, he carried this point so far, that, in his last illness, he ordered himself to be carried to the senate-house, to give a public ac­count of all his actions; and, after having refuted one who accused him there, he went home and died. Though naturally grave and even austere in his temper, he was a great encourager of the stage; and, as a proof of his regard for dramatic writers, he erected the statues of Aeschylus, So­phocles, and Euripides.

Chares, who was probably as guilty as Lysicles, appears to have escaped merely through the insig­nificance [Page 207] of his character. Indeed, his abilities were so contemptible, that, according to Timo­theus, ‘"he was much fitter to carry the general's baggage, than to be a general himself."’

Many people thought, that Demosthenes might, on account of his speeches, be considered as the real cause of the terrible blow which Athens had now sustained, and that upon him therefore would certainly fall the principal weight of the natural re­sentment. But in this they were disappointed. The Athenians were so fully conviced of his in­tegrity and patriotism, that, at the very moment they were smarting under the wound they had just re­ceived, they submitted entirely to his counsels and direction. Indeed, he appears to have been highly deserving of all the confidence they reposed in him. For being appointed, at this time, to supply the city with provisions, and to repair the walls, he ex­ecuted the latter commission with so much genero­sity, that as the public treasure was unequal to the expence, he made up the deficiency out of his own private fortune.

It was for this instance of public spirit, that his friend Ctesiphon proposed in an assembly of the people, that a crown of gold should be bestowed upon him; and this gave rise to the celebrated con­test between Aeschines and Demosthenes, one of the most remarkable that is to be found in history. Aeschines, the declared rival of Demosthenes, not only in eloquence but in politics, brought an accu­sation against Ctesiphon for the proposal he had made in favour of his friend, who naturally defended the equity of the measure, in which he thought his own honour so essentially concerned.

No cause ever excited so much curiosity, or was pleaded with so much ability. People flocked to it from all parts, and they had good reason for so doing; for what sight could be nobler, than a con­flict [Page 208] between two orators, each of them excellent in his way, both formed by nature, improved by art, and animated by perpetual dissensions, and an implacable animosity against each other. The junc­ture seemed to favour Aeschines very much; for the Macedonian party, whom he always befriended, was very powerful in Athens, especially since the ruin of Thebes. Nevertheless, he lost his cause, and was justly sentenced to banishment for his rash ac­cusation. He thereupon went and settled himself at Rhodes, where he opened a school of eloquence, the fame and glory of which continued for many ages. He began his lectures with the two orations that had occasioned his banishment. Great enco­miums were passed upon that of Aeschines; but when he repeated the speech of Demosthenes, the plaudits and acclamations were redoubled. And it was then he uttered these words, so highly praise-worthy in the mouth of a rival: ‘"Alas, what un­bounded applauses would you have bestowed on this speech, had you heard Demosthenes deliver it himself?"’

Demosthenes, thus become victor, made a good use of his conquest. For the instant Aeschines left Athens, in order to embark for Rhodes, Demost­henes ran after him, and forced him to accept of a purse of money. On this occasion, Aeschines cried out, ‘"How will it be possible for me not to regret a country, in which I leave an enemy more generous, than I can hope to find friends in any other part of the world?"’

In the mean time, Philip had his ambition pleased, but not satisfied, with his last victory. The sove­reignty of Greece, even if he had acquired it, he always considered but as a secondary object, and only as the means of preparing his way for the con­quest of Persia, which he had long planned in his mind, and hoped to be able one day to accomplish. [Page 209] But this he knew he could not do without the assist­ance of the Greeks, which, however, he thought he could the more easily procure for such an under­taking, as they had long burned with an ardent de­sire of revenging upon Persia the injuries they had received from it, and of working the total distruc­tion of that empire. Philip, therefore, now pro­posing to lead them to such a glorious gratification of their revenge, they readily chose him generalissimo of their forces; and he, accordingly, began to make preparations for invading the dominions of the Persian monarch.

But while Philip was thus successful in his pub­lic undertakings, the violent dissensions, that reigned in his family, destroyed all his private peace, and at last brought him to an untimely end. He had married Olympias, the daughter of the king of Epirus, and the early part of their union was crowned with happiness; but as she was naturally of a peevish and vindictive disposition, a coldness first, and afterwards a rooted aversion took place between them. This was probably hastened by the passion which Philip had conceived for Cleopatra, niece to Attalus, one of his principal officers. In a word, his love to this lady, and his aversion to Olympias, grew at last so strong, that he resolved to espouse the former, after having divorced the latter. In vain did Alexander his son remonstrate, that by divorcing Olympias, and engaging in a se­cond marriage, he exposed him to the danger of contending with a number of competitors for the crown, and rendered his succession precarious. ‘"My son, said the king, if I create you a number of competitors, you will have the glorious opportunity of exerting yourself to surpass them all in merit: thus shall their rivalship only render you more worthy of the throne."’

[Page 210]His marriage with Cleopatra was now declared in form, and celebrated with all the pomp and magni­ficence which the occasion required. The young prince, however dissatisfied, was yet obliged to at­tend on these solemnities, and sat in silent indigna­tion at that feast which proclaimed the disgrace of his mother. In such circumstances, his youthful and impetuous mind could not fail to take fire at any the least shadow of insult. Attalus, uncle to the new queen, was so unguarded as, in the midst of the entertainment, to call aloud upon the Macedo­nian nobles, to pour out their libations to the gods, that they might grant the king the happy fruits of the present nuptials, and legitimate heirs to his throne. ‘"Wretch! cried Alexander, with his eyes sparkling with that indignation which he had till now suppressed, dost thou then call me bastard?"’ And instantly darted his goblet at Attalus, who re­turned the outrage with double violence. Clamour and confusion arose, and the king, in a sudden fit of rage, snatched his sword, and flew directly to­wards his son. His precipitation, his lameness (for he had been wounded in the battle with the Triballi) and the quantity of wine in which he had indulged, happily disappointed his rash purpose: he stumbled and fell on the floor, while Alexander, with an un­pardonable insolence, cried out, ‘"Behold, ye Ma­cedonians! this is the king who is preparing to lead you into Asia; see where, in passing from one table to another, he is fallen to the ground."’

Philip, however, did not lose sight of the con­quest of Asia. Full of the mighty project, he con­sulted the gods, to know what would be the event of it; and the priestess replied, ‘"The victim is already crowned, his end draws nigh, and he will soon be sacrificed."’ Philip interpreted this oracle in his own favour; though the ambiguity of it might have made him suspect its meaning, and that it was [Page 211] as applicable to some other event as to the conquest of Asia. The fact is, it soon after appeared, that it was more applicable to himself than to the Persian monarch. For while he was celebrating the nup­tials of his daughter Cleopatra, with Alexander, king of Epirus, and brother to his queen Olympias, he was suddenly stabbed in the height of the solem­nity, and in the midst of his guards, by one Pau­sanias, a noble Macedonian, whom Attalus, his favourite general, had cruelly abused, and who having repeatedly demanded reparation of the king in vain, at last turned the edge of his resentment from the author of his wrong to his sovereign him­self, and took this dreadful method of satiating his revenge.

Olympias is supposed to have instigated Pausanias to this desperate act. Certain it is, that when his dead body (for he was instantly dispatched by the guards) was hung up on a gibbet, it appeared next morning crowned with a golden diadem; a mark of respect, which no one could have ventured to shew to it but Olympias. In a few days after, she took a further occasion of publishing her triumph and exultation in her husband's fall, by paying the same funeral honours to Pausanias, that were paid to Philip: both bodies were burned on the same pile, and the ashes of both deposited in the same tomb. She is even said to have prevailed on the Macedonians to pay annual honours to Pausanias; as if she feared, that the share, which he had in the death of Philip, should not be known to the whole world. She consecrated to Apollo the dagger which had been the instru­ment of the fatal deed, inscribed with the name of Myrtalis, the name which she bore when their loves first began.

Thus died Philip, a prince possessed of great abi­lities both in peace and war, but much fonder of gaining his ends by dexterity and address than by [...] [Page 212] of arms. The news of his death was a joyful sur­prise in Greece, and particularly at Athens, where the people crowned themselves with garlands, and decreed a crown to Pausanias. They sacrificed to the gods for their deliverance, and sung songs of triumph, as if Philip had been slain by them in battle. But this excess of joy very ill became them, because it was altogether inconsistent with their late behaviour to that prince; for when he was chosen generalissimo of the Greeks, and still more when he celebrated the nuptials of his daughter, the Athe­nians were the most forward and the most fulsome in their compliments to him, and carried their adu­lation so far, as almost to exalt him to the rank of a God.


ALEXANDER, the son of Philip, ascended the throne upon the death of his father, and took possession of a kingdom rendered flourishing and powerful by the policy of the preceding reign.

He came into the world the very day the cele­brated temple of Diana at Ephesus was burnt, which gave occasion to Hegesias the historian to say, ‘"that it was no wonder the temple was burnt, as Diana was that day employed at the delivery of Olympias, to facilitate the birth of Alexander."’

The passion, by which Alexander was most pow­erfully actuated, even in his tender years, was ambi­tion, and a love of glory, but not of every kind of glory. Philip, like a sophist, valued himself upon his eloquence, and the beauty of his style; and had the vanity to have engraved, on his coins, the [Page 213] several victories he had won in the chariot-race at the Olympic games. But it was not after such empty honours that his son aspired. When his friends one day asked him, whether he would con­tend at these games, ‘"Yes, said he, I readily will, provided I may have kings to contend with me."’

Every time news was brought him that his father had taken some city, or gained some great battle, Alexander, so far from sharing in the general joy, used to say, in a plaintive tone of voice, to the young persons that were brought up with him, ‘"Friends, my father will possess himself of every thing, and leave nothing for me to do."’

Some ambassadors from the king of Persia having one day arrived at court in his father's absence, and Alexander being obliged to entertain them, he not only charmed them with the politeness of his beha­viour, but he filled them with astonishment at his common good sense and the sagacity of his remarks. For, instead of asking them questions about such trifling circumstances as are commonly the objects of curiosity to people of his years; such as the so much boasted gardens suspended in the air; the riches and magnificence of the palace and court of the king of Persia, which excited the admiration of the whole world; the famous golden plantain-tree; and that golden vine, the grapes of which were emeralds, carbuncles, rubies, and all sorts of precious stones, under which the Persian monarch was said frequently to give audience—instead, I say, of asking such frivolous questions as these, Alex­ander enquired which was the road to Upper Asia; what was the distance of the several places; in what the real strength of the king of Persia con­sisted; in what part of the battle he fought; how he behaved towards his enemies; and in what man­ner he governed his subjects. The ambassadors, surprised to see him discover a sagacity so greatly be­yond [Page 214] his years, could not help exclaiming, ‘"This young prince is great, and ours is rich; that man must be extremely insignificant, who has no other merit than his riches."’

So ripe a judgment in this young prince, was as much owing to the good education which had been given him, as to the strength of his natural parts. Several preceptors, as we have already observed, were employed to teach him music and other su­perficial accomplishments; but the tutor, from whom he received all his real and useful knowledge, was Aristotle, the most famous and most learned philosopher of the age: it was he that was en­trusted with the chief care of Alexander's educa­tion. One of the reasons which prompted Philip to give him a master of so much eminence and merit, was, as he himself tells us, that his son might avoid committing a great many faults, of which he himself had been guilty.

Philip was sufficiently sensible of Aristotle's merit, and he rewarded it with the liberality and munifi­cence of a prince. He not only settled a genteel salary upon him, but he afterwards expressed his re­gard for him in a more public and conspicuous manner; for having formerly stormed and sacked Stagira, the native city of Aristotle, he now re­built it, and reinstated the inhabitants who had fled from it, or were made slaves; giving them besides, a fine park in the neighbourhood as a place for their studies and exercises. Plutarch tells us, that, even in his time, the people of Stagira shewed the stone-seats of Aristotle, as also the shady walks which he used to frequent.

Alexander likewise discovered no less esteem for his master, whom he believed himself bound to love as much as if he had been his father; declaring, that he was indebted to the one for living, and to the other for living well. The progress of the [Page 215] pupil was equal to the care and abilities of the pre­ceptor. He grew extremely fond of philosophy, and learned the several parts of it. But his favourite study was morality, which is properly the science of kings, because it is the knowledge of mankind, and of their duties. To this he applied himself with unwearied attention, and considered it even at that time as the foundation of prudence and wise policy.

Nor was Aristotle less careful to instruct him in the art of speaking, than in that of thinking and reasoning; and for this purpose he wrote his cele­brated treatise on rhetoric, in the beginning of which he proves the vast advantages a prince may derive from eloquence, as it gives him the greatest ascendant over the minds of men, which he ought to acquire, as well by his wisdom as authority. Some answers and letters of Alexander, which are still extant, shew that he possessed, in its greatest perfection, that strong, that manly eloquence, which abounds with sense and ideas, and which is so entirely free from superfluous expressions, that every single word has its meaning, which, properly speak­ing, is the eloquence of kings.

His esteem, or rather his veneration for Homer is well known. When a golden box, enriched with precious stones, was found in the Persian camp after the battle of Arbela, and it was deliberated to what purpose it should be applied, Alexander said, that there was nothing so worthy of being put into it as Homer's Poems, which he believed to be the most per­fect, and most complete production of the human mind. He admired particularly the Iliad, which he consider­ed as a treasure of military knowledge. He always had with him that copy of it which had been revised and corrected by Aristotle, and to which he gave the name of the casket-copy; and he laid it with his sword every night under his pillow.

[Page 216]Fond, even to excess, of every kind of glory, he was displeased with Aristotle, his master, for having published, in his absence, certain metaphysical pieces which he himself desired to possess exclusively of all others; and even at the time when he was em­ployed in the conquest of Asia, and the pursuit of Darius, he wrote him a letter, which is still extant, wherein he complains upon that very account. Alexander says in it, that he had much rather surpass others in the knowledge of the sublimer sciences, than in the greatness of his power or the extent of his dominion.

He had also a taste for the whole circle of the arts, but in such a manner as became a prince; that is, he knew the value and utility of them. Music, painting, sculpture, architecture, flourished in his reign; because they found him both a judge and a generous protector; who was able to distinguish and to reward merit. But he despised certain trifling feats of dexterity, that were of no use. One day some Macedonians expressing their surprise at the in­genuity of a man, that excelled in throwing small peas through the eye of a needle, Alexander said, that he would make him a present suitable to his employment, and he accordingly sent him a basket of peas.

The first instance Alexander gave of his bold and daring spirit, was in his management of the fa­mous horse Bucephalus, which had been brought to his father's court by Philonicus, the Thessalian, who refused to sell him for less than thirteen talents. The king went into the plains, attended by his courtiers, in order to make a trial of this horse; but they found him so very wild and unmanageable, that no one would venture to mount him. Philip being angry that so furious and ungovernable a crea­ture had been brought to him, gave orders for their carrying him back again. Alexander, who was [Page 217] present at this time, cried out, ‘"What a noble horse we are going to lose, for want of address and boldness to back him!"’ Philip at first considered these words as the effect of folly and rashness, so common to young men; but as Alexander still in­sisted upon what he had said, and was very uneasy to see so noble a creature just going to be sent home again, his father at last gave him leave to try what he could do. The young prince, overjoyed at this permission, goes up to Bucephalus, takes hold of the bridle, and turns his head to the sun, having observed that the thing which frightened him was his own shadow. Alexander, therefore, first stroked him gently with his hand, and soothed him with his voice; then seeing his fierceness abate, he softly let fall his cloak, and springing upon his back at one leap, he first slightly tightened the rein, without striking or vexing him; and when he perceived that his fire was cooled, that he was no longer so furi­ous and violent, and that he wanted only to move forward, he gave him the rein, and spurring him with great vigour, animated him with his voice to his full speed. While this was doing, Philip and his whole court trembled for fear, and did not once open their lips: but when the prince, after hav­ing run his first heat, returned with pride and triumph, at having thus broke a horse that was deemed absolutely ungovernable, the courtiers in general burst out into acclamations of applause, while Philip, with tears of joy in his eyes, em­braced Alexander, as he alighted, and said, ‘"My son, seek a kingdom more worthy of thee, for Ma­cedon is below thy merit."’

Alexander, upon his accession to the throne, saw himself surrounded with danger on every side; not only from the barbarous nations, with whom Philip had contended during his whole reign, and who were impatient of the yoke he had imposed upon [Page 218] them; but likewise from the Greeks themselves, who resolved to lay hold of this opportunity to reco­ver their liberties, of which Philip had deprived them in reality, though not in appearance. The danger, indeed, from both these quarters was so great and so imminent, that the more prudent among the Ma­cedonians advised their sovereign to ward them off by policy and address, rather than repel them by force of arms. But these timorous counsels were by no means agreeable to the bold and enterprising spirit of Alexander. He plainly saw, that if his enemies perceived him betraying the least symptom of fear, they would be all upon him at once, would strip him of his father's conquests, and reduce his dominions to the narrow limits of Macedon.

He therefore marched first against the Barbarians; and crossing the Danube in one night, he defeated the king of the Triballi in a great battle, and struck such terror into the neighbouring nations, as obliged them for the present to remain quiet. Returning thence, in a little time, he turned his arms against the Greeks, and particularly the Thebans, who upon a false report of his death, had cut to pieces a great number of the Macedonian garrison in thei [...] citadel. To this they were chiefly instigated by th [...] harangues of Demosthenes, who is likewise said to have invented the report of Alexander's death; and in so doing, seems not to have acted with his usua [...] prudence: for the falsity of this report could no [...] be long concealed, and when it was discovered, i [...] must not only have defeated the end it was in tended to serve, but must have rendered the veracit [...] of the reporter for ever after suspicious. Alexande [...] however, soon convinced them, that he was neithe [...] dead, nor even indisposed; for his arrival in Greec [...] was so sudden and so unexpected, that the Theban [...] cou [...]d scarce believe their own eyes when the [...] [...]. Being come before their walls, he wa [...] [Page 219] willing to allow them time to repent; and only de­manded to have Phoenix and Prothules, the two chief ringleaders of the revolt, delivered up to him; and published, by sound of trumpet, a general pardon to all who should come over to him. But the Thebans, by way of insult, demanded to have Philotas and Antipater delivered to them, and in­vited, by proclamation, all who were solicitous for the liberty of Greece to join them in its defence.

Alexander, finding it impossible to prevail upon them by gentle means, was obliged to employ more powerful arguments, and to decide the matter by force of arms. A great battle was accordingly fought, in which the Thebans behaved with a spirit and intrepidity much beyond their strength, for the enemy exceeded them vastly in numbers. But after a long and obstinate dispute, the Macedonian garrison coming down from the citadel, and attacking them in the rear, the Thebans were surrounded on all sides, the greatest part of them were cut in pieces, and the city was taken and plundered.

The calamities which they suffered on this oc­casion, may be more easily conceived than expressed. Some Thracians having pulled down the house of a virtuous lady of quality, Timoclea by name, car­ried off all her goods and treasures; and their cap­tain naming forcibly violated her chastity, enquired of her afterwards whether she had not concealed gold and silver. Timoclea, animated by an ardent desire of revenge, said that she had hid some, and taking him with her alone into the garden, and shewing him a well, told him, that there lay her concealed treasure. The Barbarian stooping down to look into the well, Timoclea, who was behind him, pushed him forward with all her might, threw him in, and afterwards killed him with great stones, which she heaped upon him. She was instantly seized by the Thracians, and being put in chains [Page 220] was carried before Alexander. The prince imme­diately perceived by her mien, that she was a woman of quality and of a lofty spirit; for she followed those brutal wretches with an undaunted air, and without discovering the least sign of fear. Alex­ander asking her who she was, Timoclea replied, ‘"I am sister to Theagenes, who fought against Philip for the liberty of Greece, and was killed in the battle of Chaeronea, where he commanded."’ The prince, admiring her magnanimous answer, and the punishment she had inflicted on her cruel ravisher, gave orders that she should have leave to retire wherever she pleased with her children.

Alexander considered for some time with himself how he should act with regard to Thebes. His own resentment carried him to the most violent measures; and this was still farther inflamed by the representa­tions of the Phocians, and the people of Plataea, Thespiae, and Orchomenus, who were all of them mortal enemies to the Thebans. Transported therefore by his own furious passions, and still further instigated by their cruel advice, he unhappily adopted the most severe resolution, and the city was in­stantly razed to the ground. But he did not wreak his vengeance upon all the inhabitants indiscrimi­nately. He set the priests at liberty; as also all such as had a right of hospitality with the Macedonians; the descendants of Pindar, the famous poet, who had done so much honour to Greece; and such likewise as bad opposed the revolt. But all the rest, in number about thirty thousand he sold; and up­wards of six thousand had been killed in battle. The Athenians were so deeply affected on hearing of the sad catastrophe of Thebes, that they put off the celebration of the Great Mysteries, which they were about to solemnize; and they received, with the greatest humanity, all those who had escaped [Page 221] from the battle, and the sacking of Thebes, and made Athens their asylum.

The Athenians had not only encouraged the Thebans to set Alexander at defiance; they had even formed a league with them and the Lacedae­monians to check the progress of his arms: but his sudden arrival in Greece, and the example he had now given, of the dreadful consequences of incurring his displeasure, made them begin to abate considerably of their wonted pride, and, instead of presuming to oppose his power, they judged it, for the present, the most eligible course to implore his clemency. They therefore sent a deputation to him, in which Demosthenes was included; but he had no sooner arrived at mount Cytheron, than, dreading the anger of the Macedonian prince, he quitted the embassy, and returned home.

Alexander well knew, that it was the orators chiefly that kept alive the love of liberty and the spirit of independence among the people of Athens, and consequently formed the greatest obstacle to the completion of his designs. He therefore now de­manded, that ten of these orators should be put in­to his hands. It was on this occasion that De­mosthenes related to the people the fable of the wolves and the dogs; in which it is supposed, that the wolves one day told the sheep, that in case they desired to be at peace with them, they must deliver up to them the dogs who were their guard. The application was easy and natural; especially with re­spect to the orators, who were justly compared to dogs, whose duty it is to watch, to bark, and to fight, in order to save the lives of the flock.

In this afflicting dilemma of the Athenians, who could not think of delivering up their orators to what they considered as certain death, though they had no other way to save their city, Demades, whom Alexander had honoured with his friendship, [Page 222] offered to undertake the embassy alone, and intercede for them. He did so, and succeeded; whether it was, that the king had already satiated his revenge, and that he was willing, by some act of clemency, to wipe out the remembrance of the cruelties he had lately committed, or perhaps was desirous of conciliating the affections of the Greeks in general, before he set out on his Asiatic expedition. Cer­tain it is, that he waved his demand with regard to the delivery of the Athenian orators, and was pa­cified by their sending into banishment Caridemus, who, being a native of Oraea, had been presented by the Athenians with the freedom of the city.

As for the Athenians themselves, he not only for­gave them the several injuries he pretended to have received from them, but he even flattered their pride, by advising them to give particular attention to public affairs, because, in case of his death, he said, they were likely to give law to the rest of Greece. Historians relate, that, many years after this expedition, he was seized with remorse for the cruel punishment he had inflicted on the Thebans, and that this softened his temper, and made him be­have with greater humanity towards other nations.

Being now freed from all apprehensions of any further opposition from Greece, he summoned at Corinth an assembly of the several states and free cities of that country, in order to obtain from them the supreme command against the Persians, which had been granted to his father a little before his death. No assembly ever deliberated upon a more important subject. It was the western world de­ciding upon the fate of the east; and concerting methods for executing a revenge, which had been suspended for more than an age. The assembly held at this time gave rise to events, the relation of which appears astonishing and almost incredible; and to [Page 223] revolutions, which contributed to change the dis­position of most things in the political world.

To accomplish such a scheme required a prince of Alexander's bold and enterprising spirit, and a people like the Greeks, brave, hardy, and active, animated by a love of military glory, and inspired with an implacable resentment against the nation they were going to attack. The Greeks, indeed, had long wished for an opportunity to revenge upon Persia the injuries they had sustained from that em­pire; and they now therefore accepted with pleasure the offer of Alexander to lead them against their old and irreconcileable enemies, whose destruction they had repeatedly sworn, and whom they hoped in a little time to be able to extirpate. The Lacedaemonians were the only people that made any objections to this proposal. They said, ‘"they had always been accustomed to point out the way to glorious deeds, and not to be directed by others."’ But they were obliged to submit to the prevailing sense of the as­sembly; and Alexander was, of course, appointed generalissimo against the Persians.

He was no sooner raised to this high rank, than he received congratulations from the philosophers, the governors of cities, and other great men; and he expected the same compliment from Diogenes of Sy­nope, who was then at Corinth. But as Diogenes did not think proper to come to him, he went attended by his whole court, to visit that philosopher. He found him lying on the ground, and basking him­self in the sun; and being surprised to see a man of so much reputation living in such extreme poverty, he naturally asked him whether he wanted any thing? ‘"Only, said Diogenes, that you would stand from between me and the sun."’ This answer excited the contempt of all the courtiers; but the king was so struck with the philosopher's greatness [Page 224] of soul, that he could not help exclaiming, ‘"Were I not Alexander, I would be Diogenes."’

Before he set out for Asia, he resolved to consult the oracle of Apollo. He therefore went to Delphos, where he happened to arrive in those days which are called unlucky, that is, at a time when it was un­lawful to give responses; and accordingly the priestess refused to go to the temple. But Alexander, who could not bear any contradiction to his will, took her forcibly by the arm, and as he was leading her to the temple, she cried out, ‘"My son, thou art invincible."’ Alexander, catching hold of these words as the answer of the oracle, declared that it was needless to consult the God any further, and he therefore returned to Macedon, in order to prepare for his great expedition.

Some of his friends advised him, before he em­barked in this undertaking, to make choice of a consort, in order to secure himself a successor to his throne. But the king, who was of an impetuous temper, disapproved of this advice, and said, that after he had been nominated generalissimo of the Greeks, and that his father had left him so gallant an army, it would be a shame for him to lose time in celebrating his marriage, and waiting for the fruits of it; and that therefore he was determined to set out immediately.

Before he did so, however, he thought proper to settle the affairs of Macedon. He appointed An­tipater to be viceroy of that kingdom, with an army of twelve thousand shot, and near the same num­ber of horse. He then enquired into the private circumstances of his friends, giving to one an estate in land, to another a village, to a third the revenues of a town, and to a fourth the toll of an harbour. As all the revenues of his crown were already employed, or exhausted by his donations, Perdiccas said to him, ‘"My Lord, what is it you [Page 225] reserve for yourself?"’ Alexander replied, ‘Hope:’ upon which Perdiccas said, ‘"the same hope ought therefore to satisfy us;"’ and so refused very gene­rously to accept of what the king had allotted him.


ALEXANDER, having taken the necessary precautions for securing the tranquillity of Ma­cedon in his absence, set out for Asia in the begin­ning of the spring. His army consisted of little more than thirty thousand foot, and four or five thousand horse; but then they were all brave men, well disciplined, and enured to fatigue. They had made several campaigns under Philip, and were each of them, in case of necessity, capable of com­manding: most of the officers were near threescore years of age, and the common men fifty; and when they were either assembled, or drawn up at the h [...]d of a camp, they had the appearance of a ve­nerable senate. Parmenio commanded the infantry; P [...]lotas, his son, had eighteen hundred horse under him; and Callas, the son of Harpalus, the same na [...]ger of Thessalian cavalry. The rest of the horse, consisting of natives of the several states, were under the direction of a separate commander. And the Thracians and Poeonians, who were always in front, were headed by Cassandra. Such was the army, which was to decide the fortune, not only of Greece, but of all the eastern world. Alexander be­gan his march along the lake Cercinum; and after passing the rivers Strymon and Hebrus, he came to the shore of the Hellespont, which he crossed in an hundred and sixty gallies, and several flat-bottomed [Page 226] vessels, himself steering his own galley; and upon his arrival at the opposite coast, as if to take pos­session of the continent, he leaped from his ship in complete armour, and expressed the greatest tran­sports of joy.

It has frequently been thought strange, that the Persians took no step to check the progress of the Macedonians at the Hellespont, where they might certainly have been opposed with the greatest ease; especially as the former were possessed of a large and powerful fleet, and that of the latter was very inconsiderable. Whether this proceeded from supineness and inattention, or from a contempt of the enemy, it is difficult to determine. What­ever was the cause, the event proved equally fatal to the Persians.

Alexander being arrived at Lampsacus, was going to destroy it, in order to punish the rebellion of the inhabitants; and Anaximenes therefore, a native of the place, came to him with a view of diverting him from his cruel resolution. This man, who was a famous historian, had been very intimate with Philip his father; and Alexander himself had a great esteem for him, having been his pupil. The king, suspecting the purport of his errand, and will­ing to be beforehand with him, swore, that he would never grant his request. ‘"The favour I have to desire of you, says Anaximenes, is that you would destroy Lampsacus."’ By this witty evasion the historian saved his country.

From thence Alexander went to Troy, where he paid great honours to the memory of the heroes who had fallen there, and particularly to that of Achilles, at whose tomb he caused funeral games to be performed. He declared that he looked upon Achilles as one of the happiest of men, in having had, during his life, so faithful a friend as a Patro­clus, [Page 227] and, after his death, so famous a poet as Homer to celebrate his actions.

When Darius was informed of Alexander's ar­rival in Asia, he expressed the utmost contempt for the Macedonian army, and indignation at the pre­sumption of their general. He wrote letters to the governors of his different provinces, com­manding them, if they took Alexander alive, to whip him with rods, to make prisoners of his whole army, and to send them as slaves to one of the re­motest and most desert parts of his dominions. It was not long, however, before he had reason to entertain more just and more modest sentiments. Alexander being arrived on the banks of the Gra­nicus, a river of Phrygia, found the Persians to the number of a hundred and ten thousand men, drawn up on the other side, and ready to dispute his pas­sage. Memnon, who command all the sea-coast of Asia under Darius, gave it as his opinion, that the wisest course would be to lay waste the adjacent country, and thus to oblige the Macedonian army either to retreat, or to surrender at discretion for want of provisions. But this prudent advice was over-ruled by Arsites, a Phrygian Satrap, who said, that he would never suffer the Grecians to make such havock in the territories he governed.

Nor was Alexander, on his side, without those who advised him to proceed with caution, and to refrain from crossing the river the same day on which he reached it. This, in particular, was the opi­nion of Parmenio, a brave and experienced officer, who observed, that the troops were already too much fatigued with their march, to be equal to the additional labour of crossing a river, especially one which was so deep, and whose banks were so craggy, and that too in the face of such an immense body of the enemy, who were perfectly fresh, and were ready to oppose him. But these arguments made no im­pression [Page 228] on Alexander, who declared, that it would be a shame for him, after crossing the Hellespont, to suffer his progress to be interrupted by a rivulet, for so he called the Granicus by way of contempt: that, on the contrary, they ought to take advantage of the terror which the suddenness of his arrival, and the boldness of his attempt, had spread among the Persians, and answer the high opinion the world had conceived of his courage, and the valour of the Macedonians.

The two armies, however, continued for some time on the opposite banks of the river, the one looking out for a proper place to ford it, and the other narrowly watching their motions, and deter­mined, if possible, to prevent their passage. At last Alexander ordered his horse to be brought; and commanding the nobleman of his court to follow him, and behave gallantly, he caused a strong de­tachment to march into the river, himself following it with the right wing of his army, as Parmenio did with the [...]t. The Persians, seeing the detachment advance, began to let fly their arrows, and march to a place where the bank was not so steep, in order to keep the Macedonians from landing. But now the horse engaged with great fury, one part endea­vouring to land, and the other striving to prevent them. The Macedonians, whose cavalry were vastly inferior in number, besides the disadvantage of the ground, were overwhelmed with the showers of darts that were poured from the eminence; not to mention that the flower of the Persian horse were drawn together here, and were headed by Memnon, the ablest and most resolute of all the Persian ge­nerals. The Macedonians, therefore, at last gave way, after having performed many signal acts of valour. But Alexander coming up, restored the battle; he reinforced them with his best troops; he headed them himself; he animated them by his pre­sence; [Page 229] he pushed the Persians, and at last routed them; upon which the whole army followed after, crossed the river, and attacked the enemy on all sides.

Alexander first charged the thickest part of the enemy's horse, in which the generals fought. He himself was particularly conspicuous by his shield, and the plume of feathers that overshadowed his helmet, so that he was easily distinguished from the rest of the army. The charge, therefore, was very furious about his person; and though only the horse engaged, they fought like foot, man to man, with­out giving way on either side. Spithridates, lieu­tenant-governor of Ionia, and son-in-law to Darius, distinguished himself above the rest of the generals by his superior bravery. Surrounded by forty Per­sian lords, all of them his relations, of experienced valour, and who never moved from his side, he carried terror wherever he came. Alexander ob­serving in how gallant a manner he signalized him­self, clapt spurs to his horse and advanced towards him. Immediately they engaged, and each having thrown a javelin, wounded the other slightly. Spithridates falls furiously sword in hand upon Alex­ander, who, being prepared for him, thrusts his p [...]ke into his face, and laid him dead at his feet. At that very moment Rhaesaces, brother to that nobleman, charging him on the side, gave him a furious blow on the head with his battle-axe, which beat off his plume, but went no deeper than his hair. As he was going to repeat the blow on his head, which now appeared through the broken hel­met, Clytus cut off Rhaesaces's hand with one stroke of his scimitar, and by that means saved his sove­reign's life. The danger, to which Alexander had exposed himself, added fresh courage to his soldiers, who now performed prodigies of valour. The Persians, therefore, unable any longer to sustain the assault of [Page 230] the Macedonians, immediately gave way, and were put to a total rout. Alexander did not pursue them far, but wheeling about suddenly, began in an instant to make an attack upon the foot.

The contest here was neither long nor violent; for the enemy seeing the Macedonian phalanx, which had now crossed the river, and was regu­larly formed, advancing against them, they imme­diately took to flight, all but the Grecian infantry in Darius's pay. This body of foot, retiring to a hill, demanded permission to march away unmolested; but Alexander, guided by passion rather than reason, rushed furiously into the midst of them, and had his horse killed under him by the thrust of a sword. The battle here for some time was so hot, that more of the Macedonians tell in this encounter than in all the preceding action; for they fought against a body of men, who were well disciplined, had been enured to war, and were actuated by despair. They were all cut to pieces, two thousand excepted, who were taken prisoners.

A great number of the Persian commanders lay dead on the spot. Arsites fled into Phrygia, where he is said to have laid violent hands on himself, for having advised his countrymen to come to an imme­diate engagement. In this action twenty thousand foot, and two thousand five hundred horse were killed on the side of the barbarians; and of the Macedonians twenty-five of the royal horse were killed in the first attack. Alexander ordered Lysip­pus to make their statues of brass, all of which were set up in a city of Macedon, called Dia, from whence they were many years after carried to Rome by Metelius. About threescore of the other horse were killed, and near thirty foot, who, the next day, were all laid with their arms and equipage in one grave; and the king granted an exemption to their [Page 231] fathers and children from every kind of tribute and service.

He also took the utmost care of the wounded, visited them, and saw their wounds dressed. He enquired very particularly into their adventures, and permitted every one of them to relate his actions in the battle, and boast of his bravery. He also granted the rites of sepulture to the principal Persians, and did not even refuse it to such Greeks as died in the Persian service; but all those whom he took pri­soners, he put in chains, and sent to work as slaves in Macedonia, for having fought under the barba­rian standard against their country, contrary to the express prohibition made by Greece on that head.

Alexander thought it his duty, and made it his pleasure, to share the honour of his victory with the Greeks. He sent to the Athenians three hundred shields, being part of the plunder taken from the enemy, and caused this glorious inscription to be put upon the rest of the spoils: ‘"Alexander, son of Philip, with the Greeks (the Lacedaemonians excepted) gained these spoils from the barbarians, who inhabit Asia."’ The greatest part of the gold and silver plate, the purple carpets, and other ar­ticles of Persian luxury, he sent to his mother.

The terrible defeat, which the Persians had now sustained, struck such a terror into their minds, that they could not be brought, for a long time, to oppose Alexander in the field; and he therefore proceeded, without interruption, to make himself master of one town after another; some, indeed, with more, and others with less difficulty. Sardis and Ephesus he easily reduced. The inhabitants of the former he took under his protection, and per­mitted them to be governed by their own laws; observing to his friends, at the same time, that such as lay the foundation of a new empire should al­ways endeavour to have the fame of being merci­ful. [Page 232] At Ephesus he assigned to the temple of Diana, the tributes which had been paid to the Persian kings.

He next laid siege to Miletus, and afterwards to Halicarnassus, both of which he compelled to sur­render, though not till after a sharp and obstinate resistance, as both of them were defended by Mem­non, the bravest and most experienced of all Da­rius's generals. The Milesians he treated with great humanity, but Halicarnassus he thought proper to raze to the ground. Soon after this, he restored Ada, queen of Caria, to her kingdom, of which she had been lately dispossessed; and she, in order to testify her gratitude, sent him meats dressed in the most exquisite manner, and the most excellent cooks of every kind. Alexander thanked her for her po­liteness, but at the same time told her, that he had much better cooks of his own, whom his governor Leonidas had given him, one of whom prepared him a good dinner, and the other an excellent supper; and these were temperance and exercise.

Advancing still further into the country, he re­ceived the voluntary submission of several of the kings of Lesser Asia, and, among others, that of Mithridates, king of Pontus, who afterwards ad­hered to him with unshaken fidelity, and accompa­nied him in his expedition. This man was the pre­decessor of the famous Mithridates, who so long employed the armies of Rome, and makes so capi­tal a figure in the history of that republic.

Next year Alexander resolved to open the cam­paign very early. But, previous to his beginning his operations, he held a consultation with his prin­cipal officers, whether he should march directly in quest of Darius, or first subdue the other maritime provinces. The latter opinion appeared the most prudent, as by that means he would be freed from all apprehensions of being molested in his rear, and would leave every thing quiet and secure behind [Page 233] him. Proceeding, therefore, through a narrow de­file near the sea-shore, where the water was so high, that his men were up to the middle in passing it, he advanced to Coelenoe, a city of Phrygia, situated on the banks of the river Marsyas, which the fic­tions of the poets have rendered so famous. This place he immediately invested. The garrison at first made some show of resistance. But finding them­selves unable to withstand the vigorous and repeated assaults of the Grecians, they promised to surrender at the end of sixty days, provided they were not re­lieved within that period; and as no aid arrived within the stipulated time, the place was delivered up according to agreement.

From thence Alexander marched to Gordium, the supposed residence of the celebrated king Midas. Here he was desirous of seeing the famous chariot, to which the Gordian knot was tied. This knot, which fastened the yoke to the beam, was tied with so much intri­cacy, that it was impossible to discover where the involutions began, or where the cords terminated. According to an ancient tradition of the country, an oracle had declared, that the man who could untie it should possess the empire of Asia. Alex­ander being firmly persuaded that the oracle was meant for him, after many fruitless trials, instead of attempting to untie it in the usual manner, drew his sword and cut it in pieces, crying out, that that was the only way to untie. The priest hailed the omen, and declared that Alexander had fulfilled the oracle.

In the mean time Darius, who now began to be seriously alarmed for the safety of his empire, re­solved to raise an army that might enable him to stop the further progress of the enemy. Alexander, however, still continued to advance; and having subdued Paphlagonia and Cappadocia, he passed the straits of Cilicia, where he might easily have been [Page 234] opposed by a handful of men; but the enemy aban­doned them as soon as he approached. From thence he marched his whole army to the city of Tarsus, where he arrived just in time to save it from de­struction, as the Persians had set fire to it, to pre­vent his becoming master of the treasures it con­tained. And here he gave an instance of that mag­nanimity and elevation of mind, which formed so distinguished a part of his character. For having thrown himself into the river Cydnus, which runs through this city, in order to bathe, he was in­stantly seized with such a violent shivering, as seemed likely in a little time to put an end to his life. At first all his physicians were afraid to administer the necessary medicines, knowing they must be an­swerable for the consequences that ensued. But at last one of them, whose name was Philip, who had always attended upon Alenxander from his youth, and loved him with the utmost tenderness, not only as his sovereign but his child, raising himself above all prudential considerations, and being more con­cerned for the life of his prince than his own safety, offered to give him a dose, which, though not vio­lent, would be speedy in its effects, and desired three days to prepare it. At this proposal every one trembled, except Alexander himself, who was af­flicted on no other account, than because it would keep him so long from appearing at the head of his army.

In the mean time he received a letter from Par­menio, who had been left behind in Cappadocia, advising him to beware of Philip, his physician; for that Darius had bribed him by the promise of a thousand talents, and his sister in marriage. This letter at first gave him some uneasiness, as he could not believe that Parmenio had wrote it without having received some such intelligence. But con­fidence in a physician, whose unshaken fidelity and [Page 235] attachment he had experienced from his youth, at last removed all suspicion. He therefore put the letter under his bolster without acquainting anyone with the contents; and when Philip entered with the medicine, he readily took it from him, and holding the letter in one hand and the cup in the other, he delivered the former to Philip, while he himself drank off the draught without discovering the least sign of fear. This was a very singular and affecting scene, Alexander looking at Philip with all the marks of the most perfect confidence and assurance, while Philip in perusing the letter, seemed astonished at the accusation, and called upon the gods to witness his innocence; sometimes lifting up his hands to heaven, and then throwing himself down by the bedside, and beseeching Alexander to lay aside all suspicion, and rely on his fidelity. At first the medicine worked so violently, and brought Alexander so low, as seemed to favour Parmenio's accusation; but at length it produced the desired effect, and the king in a few days recovered his wonted vigour.

Meanwhile Darius was advancing against him at the head of an immense army, of which, however, he did not know how to avail himself; for, instead of remaining in the open country, where he might have extended his forces, and surrounded the enemy, he foolishly marched into the narrow passes, where his great superiority of numbers could be of very little service. The reason he assigned for taking this precipitate step was, that he was afraid Alex­ander would escape him. But this was a needless fear. Alexander was as desirous of meeting him, as he was of meeting Alexander. His courtiers, however, encouraged him in the opinion, that Alexander was endeavouring to avoid him; and that if once he could bring this invader of his em­pire to an engagement, he might depend upon ob­taining [Page 236] a complete victory. There was one man, indeed, in his army, who had the courage and the honesty to tell him the truth. This was Cari­demus, the Athenian, of whom when Darius asked whether he thought him strong enough to defeat the enemy, Caridemus replied in the following terms: ‘"Permit me, Sir, to speak truth now, when only my sincerity can be of service; your present splen­dour, your prodigious numbers which have drained the east, may be terrible indeed to your effeminate neighbours, but can be no way dreadful to a Ma­cedonian army. Discipline, close combat, courage, is all their care; every single man among them is almost himself a general. These men are not to be repulsed by the stones of slingers, or stakes burnt at the end; none but troops armed like themselves can stop their career; let therefore the gold and silver, which glitters in your camp, be exchanged for soldiers and steel, for weapons for and hearts that are able to defend you."’ Darius, though naturally of a mild disposition, had all his passions rouzed at the freedom of this man's advice; he ordered him at once to be executed; Caridemus all the time cry­ing out, that his avenger was at hand. Darius had soon reason to repent his rashness, and experienced, when it was too late, the truth of all that had been told him.

That prince now advanced towards the river Euphrates, but with a parade that more resembled the triumphal entry of a sovereign into his capital after some important victory, than the march of a warrior who was going to put every thing to hazard of the sword. Over his tent was exhibited the image of the sun in jewels, while wealth and mag­nificence shone in every quarter of the army.

First they carried before him silver altars, on which lay fire, called by them sacred and eternal; and these were followed by the Magi, singing hymns [Page 237] after the manner of their country: they were accom­panied by three hundred and sixty-five youths (equal­ling the number of days in a year) clothed in purple robes. Afterwards came a chariot consecrated to Ju­piter, drawn by white horses, and followed by a courser of prodigious size, to whom they gave the name of the Sun's horse; and the equerries were dressed in white, each having a golden rod in his hand.

Ten chariots, adorned with sculptures in gold and silver, followed. Then marched a body of horse, composed of twelve nations, whose manners and customs were various, and all armed in a dif­ferent manner. Next advanced those whom the Persians called The Immortals, amounting to ten thousand, who surpassed the rest of the barbarians in the sumptuousness of their apparel. They all wore golden collars, and were clothed in robes of gold tissue, with vestments having sleeves to them quite covered with precious stones.

Thirty paces from them followed those called the king's relations, to the number of fifteen thousand, in habits very much resembling those of women; and more remarkable for the vain pomp of their dress, than the glitter of their arms.

Those called the Doriphori came after: they car­ried the king's cloak, and walked before his chariot, in which he seemed to sit as on a high throne. This chariot was enriched on both sides with images of the gods, in gold and silver; and from the middle of the yoke, which was covered with jewels, rose two statues, a cubit in height, the one repre­senting war, the other peace, having a golden eagle, with wings extended, as ready to take flight.

But nothing could equal the magnificence of the king: he was clothed in a vest of purple, striped with silver, and over it a long robe, glittering all over with precious stones, that represented two fal­cons, rushing from the clouds, and pecking at one [Page 238] another. Around his waist he wore a golden gir­dle, after the manner of women, whence his sci­mitar hung, the scabbard of which flamed all over with gems; on his head he wore a tiara, or mitre, round which was a fillet of blue mixed with white.

On each side of him walked two hundred of his nearest relations, followed by two thousand pikemen, whose pikes were adorned with silver, and tipped with gold; and lastly thirty thousand infantry, who composed the rear-guard. These were followed by the king's horses, four hundred in number, all which were led.

About one hundred, or a hundred and twenty paces from thence, came Sysigambis, Darius's mo­ther, seated on a throne, and his consort on ano­ther; with the several female attendants of both queens, riding on horseback. Afterwards came fifteen large chariots, in which were the king's children, and those who had the care of their edu­cation, with a band of eunuchs, who are to this day in great esteem in the east. Then marched the concubines, to the number of three hundred and sixty, in the equipage of queens, followed by six hundred mules, and three hundred camels, which carried the king's treasure, and guarded by a grea [...] body of archers. After these came the wives of the crown-officers and of the greatest lords of the court seated also in chariots; and then the suttlers, ser­vants, and other followers of the army. In the rea [...] were a body of light-armed troops, with their com­manders, who closed the whole march.

Such was the splendor of this pageant monarch who, while, he excited the admiration of his own barbarous subjects, inspired the Macedonians with nothing but contempt for his military skill, and [...] strong desire to make themselves masters of those riches, of which he made so vain and pompous a display.

[Page 239]Alexander and Darius, being equally eager to come to an engagement, were now advancing against each other; and, after various marches and counter-marches, they at last met in the neighbour­hood of Issus.

The spot where the battle was fought, and which lay near this city, was bounded on one side by the mountains, and on the other by the sea. The plain, that was situated between them, must have been of considerable extent, as the two armies en­camped in it; and Darius's army, as we have al­ready observed, was vastly numerous. The river Pinarus ran through the middle of this plain, from the mountain to the sea, and divided it nearly into two equal parts.

Alexander drew up his army in the following order. He posted at the extremity of the right wing, which stood near the mountains, the Argyra­spides, commanded by Nicanor; then the phalanx of Coenus, and afterwards that of Perdiccas, which terminated in the center of the main army. On the extremity of the left wing he posted the pha­lanx of Amyntas, then that of Ptolemy, and lastly that of Meleager. Thus the famous Macedonian pha­lanx was formed, which we find was composed of six distinct bodies. Each of these were headed by able generals; but Alexander, being always gene­ralissimo, had consequently the command of the whole army. The horse were placed on the two wings; the Macedonians with the Thessalians on the right, and the Peloponnesians with the other allies on the left. Parmenio commanded the left wing; Alexander himself conducted the right; while the Agrians (led on by Attalus) and some other troops lately arrived from Greece, were destined to oppose those whom Darius had posted on the mountains.

As for Darius's army, it was drawn up in the following order. Having heard that Alexander was [Page 240] advancing against him in battle array, he com­manded thirty thousand horse, and twenty thousand bowmen, to cross the river Pinarus, to keep the enemy in awe, and give him time to draw up his army on the hither side without interruption. In the center he posted the thirty thousand Greeks in his service, who doubtless were the flower and chie strength of his army, and were not at all inferior in bravery to the Macedonian phalanx, with thirty thousand barbarians on their right, and as many or their left. The field of battle not being able to contain a greater number, these were all that were placed in the front line, the rest being ranged behind them, and no doubt to a very great depth, considering the multitude of the Persian forces. On the mountain which lay to the left, against Alex­ander's right wing, Darius posted twenty thousand men, who were so disposed in the several windings of the mountains, that some of them were before Alexander's army, and others behind it.

Darius having put his army in battle array, and appointed commanders to the different parts of it, took post himself in the center, according to the custom of the Persian monarchs. He was deter­mined to keep on the hither side of the river, that so, if the Macedonians attempted to cross it, he might attack them while in the middle of the stream, and oblige them to fight in that disadvan­tageous situation.

This, however, was not sufficient to damp the spirit, nor to check the progress of Alexander. He boldly advanced to the side of the river, and plung­ing into it with great impetuosity, notwithstanding the showers of arrows that were poured upon him by the Persians, he soon gained the opposite shore where attacking the enemy sword in hand, he threw them, in a little time, into confusion. Eagerly de­siring to engage Darius, and to have the glory o [...] [Page 241] killing him with his own hand, he was just upon the point of charging that monarch, when Oxathres, Darius's brother, observing the danger to which he was exposed, rushed before his chariot with the horse he commanded. This, though it saved Da­rius's life, was the immediate cause of the loss of the battle. The horses, that drew his chariot, be­came so unruly, and shook the yoke with so much violence, that they almost overturned the king; who seeing himself going to fall alive into the hands of his enemies, leaped down, and mounted another chariot. The rest, observing this, fled as fast as possible, and throwing down their arms made the best of their way. Alexander received a slight wound in his thigh, but it was not attended with any bad consequences.

In the mean time, while the Macedonians under their king had routed the Persians under Darius, the rest of them, who were engaged with the Greeks, met with a stouter and more obstinate resistance; but Alexander, having pursued the fugitives a short way, returned immediately to the field of battle, and attacking the Grecians vigorously in flank, he gave them a total and complete overthrow. The enemy now made no further resistance, but fled pre­c [...]pitately on all sides. Some of them struck into the high road, which led directly to Persia; others ran into woods and lonely mountains; and a small number returned to their camp, which the victori­ous army had already taken and plundered. In this battle sixty thousand of the Persian infantry, and ten thousand horsemen were slain; forty thousand were taken prisoners; while of Alexander's army were fell but two hundred and eighty in all.

With regard to Darius, the instant he saw his left wing broke, he was one of the first who fled in [...]s chariot; but getting afterwards into craggy, [...]gged places, he mounted on horseback, throwing [Page 242] away his bow, shield, and royal mantle; and had it not been for the necessity Alexander was under of desisting from the pursuit, in order to return and complete the overthrow of the Greeks, he would probably have fallen alive into the hands of the conqueror.

Sysigambis, Darius's mother, and that monarch's queen (who was also his sister) were found remain­ing in the camp, with two of the king's daughters, his son (yet a child) and some Persian ladies; for the rest had been carried to Damascus, with part of Darius's treasure, and all such things as contributed only to the luxury and magnificence of his court. No more than three thousand talents were found in his camp; but the rest of the treasure fell after­wards into the hands of Parmenio, at the taking of the city of Damascus.

The evening after the engagement Alexander in­vited his chief officers to a feast, at which himself presided, notwithstanding the wound he had that day received in battle. The festivity however had scarce begun, when they were interrupted by sad la­mentations from a neighbouring tent, which at first they considered as a fresh alarm; but they were soon informed, that the noise came from the tent in which the wife and mother of Darius were kept, who were expressing their sorrow for the sup­posed death of that monarch. An eunuch, who had seen his cloak in the hands of a soldier, imagin­ing he was killed, brought them these dreadfu [...] tidings. Alexander immediately sent Leonatas, one of his principal officers, to undeceive them; and next day he himself paid them a visit, when he did every thing in his power to comfort and solace them. He told them that no part of their former state should be withheld from them; but that they should enjoy every convenience and accommodation as in the court of Darius. Observing the infant son o [...] [Page 243] Darius standing by his mother, he took him in his arms. The child, without discovering the least sign of terror, stretched out his arms to the con­queror, who being affected with its confidence, said to Hephaestion, who attended him, Oh! that Darius had some share, some portion of this infant's generosity. That he might prevent every suspicion of design on the chastity of Darius's consort, and, at the same time, remove every cause of fear or anxiety from her mind, he resolved never to visit her tent more, although she was one of the most beautiful women of her time. This moderation, so becoming in a royal conqueror, gave occasion to that noted observation of Plutarch, ‘"That the princesses of Persia lived in an enemy's camp, as if they had been in some sacred temple, unseen, un­approached, and unmolested."’

Sysigambis was distinguished by extraordinary marks of Alexander's favour; Darius himself [...]ould not have treated her with greater respect than [...]d that generous prince. He allowed her to regulate the funerals of all the Persians of the royal family, who had fallen in battle; and at her intercession he pardoned several of Darius's nobles, who had justly [...]ncurred his displeasure. This magnanimous con­tact has done more honour to Alexander's character, [...]an all his splendid victories. The gentleness of [...]s manners to the suppliant captives, his chastity and continence, when he had it in his power to en­ [...]ce obedience, were setting an example to he­ [...]oes, which it has been the pride of many since to [...]tate.

The victory at Issus was soon followed by a va­ [...]ty of other successes. All Phoenicia, except [...]re, the capital city, submitted to Alexander. [...] the same time Aristodemus, the Persian ad­ [...]al, was defeated at sea, and a great part of his [...]eet taken. The city of Damascus too, in which [Page 244] Darius's treasures were deposited, surrendered t [...] Parmenio. This place might have made a vigorou [...] defence; but, by the treachery of the governor, i [...] was yielded up without making the least resistance [...] Parmenio found in it, besides an immense sum o [...] money and a vast quantity of plate and baggage [...] three hundred and twenty-nine of Darius's concubines, and a multitude of officers, whose busines [...] it was to regulate every thing relating to that monarch's entertainments.

In the mean time, Darius having travelled a [...] night on horseback arrived in the morning at Sochus, where he assembled the remains of his army Dejected, as he was, with his late misfortune, stil [...] however, his pride did not desert him. He wrote letter to Alexander, in which he rather treated him as an inferior. He commanded, rather than requested him to deliver up his wife, mother, an [...] children, upon receiving a proper ransom. Wit [...] regard to the empire, he would fight with him so it upon equal terms, and bring an equal number o [...] troops into the field. To this Alexander replied that he scorned to hold any correspondence with [...] man whom he had already overcome; that if he appeared before him in a suppliant posture, he wou [...] give up his wife and mother without ransom; tha [...] he knew how to conquer, and to oblige th [...] conquered.

This proposal having produced no effect, Alexander proceeded to receive the submission of th [...] neighbouring states and people. The Sidonia [...] were the first that made him a tender of their all [...] giance, in opposition to Strato their king, who ha [...] declared in favour of Darius. Alexander dethron [...] him, and permitted Hephaestion (his principal f [...] vourite) to elect, in his stead, whomsoever of t [...] Sidonians he should judge most worthy of that exalted station.

[Page 245]Hephaestion was quartered at the house of two brothers who were young, and of the most consi­derable family in the city, and to these he offered the crown. But they refused it, telling him, that, according to the laws of their country, no person could ascend the throne, unless he were of the blood royal. Hephaestion admiring this greatness of soul, which could contemn what others strive to obtain by fire and sword, ‘"continue," says he to them, "in this way of thinking, you who seem sensible that it is much more glorious to refuse a diadem than to accept it. However, name me some person of the royal family, who may remember when he is king, that it was you that set the crown on his head."’ The brothers observing that several, through excessive ambition, aspired to this high station, and, to obtain it, paid a servile court to Alexander's fa­vourites, declared, that they did not know any per­son more worthy of the diadem than one Abdolony­mus, descended, though in a remote degree, from the royal family; but who, at the same time, was so poor, that he was obliged to earn his bread by manual labour in a garden without the city. His honesty and integrity had reduced him, like many more, to such extreme poverty. Wholly busied about his humble occupation, he did not hear the clashing of the arms which had shaken all Asia.

Hephaestion approving of their choice, the two brothers went in quest of Abdolonymus, whom they found weeding in his garden. When they sa­luted him king, he began at first to stare at them, and thinking they were in jest, not in earnest, asked them, whether they were not ashamed to offer him such an insult. But as he made a greater re­sistance than suited their inclinations, they them­selves washed him, and throwing over his shoulders a purple robe, richly embroidered with gold, they [Page 246] repeatedly assured him that he was now king Sidon, and conducted him to the palace.

The news of this were immediately sprea [...] over the whole city. Most of the inhabitan [...] were overjoyed at it; but some murmure [...] especially the rich, who despising Abdolonymus's former abject state, could not help expre [...] sing their resentment at his present elevation. Alexander, therefore, commanded the new-electe [...] prince to be sent for, and after surveying him ve [...] attentively, said, ‘"Thy air and mien do not contradict what is related of thy extraction; but I shoul [...] be glad to know with what frame of mind the borest thy poverty."’ ‘"Would to the gods (r [...] piled he) that I may bear this crown with equ [...] patience. These hands have procured me all I d [...] sired; and whilst I possessed nothing, I wanted nothing."’ This answer gave Alexander an high ide [...] of Abdolonymus's virtue; so that he not only pr [...] sented him with the rich furniture which had b [...] longed to Strato, and part of the Persian plunde [...] but likewise annexed one of the neighbouring provinces to his dominions.

All Phoenicia, as we have already observed, wa [...] now subdued, except Tyre the capital city. Th [...] city was justly entitled the queen of the sea, the element bringing to it the tribute of all nation [...] She boasted her having first invented navigation and taught mankind the art of braving the wind and waves by the assistance of a frail bark. Th [...] happy situation of Tyre, at the upper end of the Mediterranean; the conveniency of its ports which were both safe and capacious; and the cha­racter of its inhabitants, who were industrious, ha­borious, patient, and extremely courteous to strangers, invited thither merchants from all parts of the globe; so that it might be considered, not [...] [Page 247] much as a city belonging to any particular nation, as the common city of all nations, and the centre of their commerce.

Alexander thought it necessary both for his glory and his interest to take this city. The spring was now coming on. Tyre was at that time seated in an island of the sea, about a quarter of a league from the continent. It was surrounded with a strong wall, an hundred and fifty feet high, which the waves of the sea washed; and the Carthaginians, a colony from Tyre, a mighty people, and sove­reigns of the ocean, promised to come to the assist­ance of their parent state. Encouraged, therefore, by these favourable circumstances, the Tyrians de­termined not to surrender, but to hold out the place to the last extremity. This resolution, however imprudent, was certainly magnanimous; but it was soon after followed by an act, which was as blame­able as the other was praise-worthy. Alexander was desirous of gaining the place rather by treaty than by force of arms, and with this view he sent heralds into the town with offers of peace; but the inha­bitants were so far from listening to his proposals, or endeavouring to avert his resentment by any kind of concession, that they actually killed his am­bassadors, and threw their bodies from the top of the walls into the sea. It is easy to imagine what effect so shocking an outrage must produce in a mind like Alexander's. He instantly resolved to besiege the place, and not to desist till he had made himself master of it, and razed it to the ground.

As Tyre was divided from the continent by an arm of the sea, there was necessity for filling up the intermediate space with a bank or pier, before the p [...]ace could be closely invested. This work, ac­cordingly, was immediately undertaken, and in a great measure completed, when all the wood, of which it was principally composed, was unexpect­edly [Page 248] burned by means of a fire-ship sent in by the enemy. The damage, however, was very soon re­paired, and the mole rendered more perfect than formerly, and carried nearer to the town, when all of a sudden a furious tempest arose, which under­mining the stone-work that supported the wood, laid the whole at once in the bottom of the sea.

Two such disasters, following so close on the heels of each other, would have cooled the ardour of almost any man except Alexander; but nothing could daunt his invincible spirit, or make him re­linquish an enterprize he had once undertaken. He therefore resolved to prosecute the siege; and in order to encourage his men to second his views, he took care to inspire them with a belief that heaven was on their side, and would soon crown their labours with the wished-for success. At one time he gave out, that Apollo was about to abandon the Tyrians to their doom; and that, to prevent his flight, they had bound him to his pedestal with a golden chain: at another he pretended, that Her­cules, the tutelar deity of Macedon, had appeared to him, and, having opened prospects of the most glorious kind, had invited him to proceed to take possession of Tyre. These favourable circum­stances were announced by the augurs, as intimations from above; and every heart was, of consequence, cheered. The soldiers, as if but that moment ar­rived before the city, now forgetting all the toils they had undergone, and the disappointments they had suffered, began to raise a new mole, at which they worked incessantly.

To protect them from being annoyed by the ships of the enemy, Alexander fitted out a fleet, with which he not only secured his own men, but offered the Tyrians battle; which, however, they thought proper to decline, and withdrew all their gallies into the harbour.

[Page 249]The besiegers, now allowed to proceed unmo­lested, went on with the work with the utmost vi­gour, and in a little time completed it, and brought it close to the walls. A general attack was there­fore resolved on, both by sea and land; and with this view the king having manned his gallies, and joined them together with strong cables, ordered them to approach the walls about midnight, and attack the city with resolution. But just as the assault was going to begin, a dreadful storm arose, which not only shook the ships asunder, but even shattered them in a terrible manner, so that they were all of them obliged to be towed towards the shore, without having made the least impression on the city.

The Tyrians were elated with this gleam of good fortune: but their joy was but of short duration; for in a little time after they received intelligence from Carthage, that they must expect no assistance from that quarter, as the Carthaginians themselves were then overawed by a powerful army of Syra­cusans, who had invaded their country. Reduced, therefore, to the hard necessity of depending en­tirely upon their own strength and their own re­sources, the Tyrians sent all their women and chil­dren to Carthage, and prepared to encounter the very last extremities. For now the enemy were attacking the place with greater spirit and activity than ever. And, to do the Tyrians justice, it must be acknowledged, that they employed a num­ber of methods of defence, which, considering the rude state of the art of war at that early period, were really astonishing. They warded off the darts discharged from the balistas against them, by the assistance of turning-wheels, which either broke them to pieces, or carried them another way. They deadened the violence of the stones that were hu [...]led at them, by setting up sails and curtains, made of a soft substance, which easily gave way. [Page 250] To annoy the ships which advanced against their walls, they fixed grappling irons and scythes to joists or beams; then straining their catapultas (an enormous kind of cross-bow) they laid those great pieces of timber upon them instead of arrows, and shot them off on a sudden at the enemy: these crushed some of their ships by their great weight, and, by means of the hooks or hanging scythes, tore others to pieces. They also had brazen shields, which they drew red-hot out of the fire; and fill­ing these with burning sand, hurled them in an in­stant from the top of the wall upon the enemy. There was nothing the Macedonians dreaded so much as this fatal instrument; for the moment the burning sand got to the flesh through the crevices of the armour, it penetrated to the very bone, and stuck so close that there was no pulling it off; so that the soldiers throwing down their arms, and tearing their clothes to pieces, were in this man­ner exposed, naked and defenceless, to the shot of the enemy.

Alexander finding the resources, and even the courage of the Tyrians increased, in proportion as the siege continued, resolved to make a last effort, and attack them at once both by sea and land, in order, if possible, to overwhelm them with the multiplicity of dangers to which they would be thus exposed. With this view having manned his gal­lies with some of the bravest of his troops, he com­manded them to advance against the enemy's fleet, while he himself took post at the head of his men on the mole. And now the attack began on all sides with irresistible and unremitting fury. Where­ever the battering-rams had beat down any part of the wall, and the bridges were thrown out, instantly the Argyraspides mounted the breach with the ut­most valour, being led on by Admetus, one of the bravest officers in the army, who was killed by [Page 251] the thrust of a spear, as he was encouraging his soldiers.

The presence of the king, and the example he set, fired his troops with unusual bravery. He himself ascended one of the towers on the mole, which was of a prodigious height, and there was exposed to the greatest dangers he had ever yet en­countered; for being immediately known by his insignia, and the richness of his armour, he served as a mark for all the arrows of the enemy. On this occasion he performed wonders, killing with javelins several of those who defended the wall; then advancing nearer to them, he forced some with his sword, and others with his shield, either into the city, or the sea, the tower on which he fought almost touching the wall. He soon ascended the wall, followed by his principal officers, and pos­sessed himself of two towers, and the space between them. The battering-rams had already made se­veral breaches; the fleet had forced its way into the harbour; and some of the Macedonians had possessed themselves of the towers which were aban­doned. The Tyrians seeing the enemy masters of their rampart, retired towards an open place, called Agenor, and there stood their ground; but Alex­ander marching up with his regiment of body­guards, killed part of them, and obliged the rest to fly. At the same time Tyre being taken on that side which lay towards the harbour, a general car­nage of the citizens ensued, and none were spared, except the few that fell into the hands of the Sido­nians in Alexander's army, who considering the Ty­rians as countrymen, granted them protection, and carried them privately on board their ships. The numbers that were slaughtered on this occasion are almost incredible: even after conquest the victor's resentment did not subside; he ordered no less than two thousand men, who were taken in the storm, [Page 252] to be nailed to crosses along the the shore. The number of prisoners amounted to thirty thousand, and were all sold as slaves in different parts of the world. Thus fell Tyre, that had been for many ages the most flourishing city in the world, and had spread the arts of commerce into the remotest regions.

While Alexander was employed in the siege of Tyre, he received a second letter from Darius, in which that monarch treated him with greater re­spect than before. He now gave him the title of king; he offered him ten thousand talents as a ran­som for his captive mother and queen; and he pro­mised him his daughter Statira in marriage, with all the country he had conquered as far as the river Euphrates, provided he would agree to a peace. These terms were so advantageous, that when the king debated upon them in council, Parmenio, one of his generals, could not help observing, that he would certainly accept of them, were he Alex­ander. ‘"And so would I," replied the king, "were I Parmenio."’ But deeming it inconsistent with his dignity to listen to any proposals from a man whom he had so lately overcome, he haughtily rejected them, and scorned to accept of that as a favour which he already considered as his own by conquest.

From Tyre Alexander marched to Jerusalem, fully determined to punish that city for having re­fused to supply his army with provisions during the siege; but his resentment was mollified by a depu­tation of the citizens coming out to meet him, with their high-priest, Jaddua, before them, dressed in white, and having a mitre on his head, on the front of which the name of God was written. The moment the king perceived the high-priest, he ad­vanced towards him with an air of the most profound respect, bowed his body, adored the august name upon [Page 253] his front, and saluted him who wore it with religious veneration. And when some of his courtiers ex­pressed their surprise, that he, who was adored by every one, should adore the high-priest of the Jews, ‘"I do not," said he, "adore the high-priest, but the God whose minister he is; for whilst I was at Dium in Macedonia, my mind wholly fixed on the great design of the Persian war, as I was revolving the methods how to conquer Asia, this very man, dressed in the same robes, appeared to me in a dream, exhorted me to banish my fear, bade me cross the Hellespont boldly, and assured me that God would march at the head of my army, and give me the victory over the Persians."’ This speech, delivered with an air of sincerity, no doubt had its effect in encouraging the army, and establishing an opinion that his mission was from heaven.

From Jerusalem he went to Gaza, where having met with a more obstinate resistance than he ex­pected, he cut the whole garrison, consisting of ten thousand men, to pieces; and not satisfied with this act of cruelty, he caused holes to be bored through the heels of Boetis, the governor, and tying him with cords to the back of his chariot, he dragged him in this manner round the walls of the city. This he did in imitation of Achilles, whom Homer describes as having dragged Hector round the walls of Troy in the same manner; but it was reading the poet to very little, or rather indeed to very bad purpose, to imitate his hero in the most unworthy part of his character.

Alexander, having left a garrison in Gaza, turned his arms towards Egypt, of which he made himself master without opposition. Here he formed the de­sign of visiting the temple of Jupiter, which was situated in the sandy deserts of Lybia, at the distance of twelve days journey from Memphis, the capital of Egypt. His chief view in going thither was to [Page 254] get himself acknowledged the son of Jupiter, an honour he had long aspired to. In this journey he founded the city of Alexandria, which soon be­came one of the most capital towns in the world for commerce. Nothing could be more dreary than the desert through which he passed, nor any thing more charming, according to the fabulous accounts of the poets, than the particular spot where the temple was situated. It was a perfect paradise in the midst of an immeasurable wild. At last having reached the place, and appeared before the altar of the deity, the priest, who was no stranger to Alexander's wishes, declared him to be the son of Jupiter. The conqueror, elated with this high compliment, asked, whether he should have success in his expedition: the priest answered, that he should be monarch of the world. The conqueror enquired, if his father's murderers were punished: the priest replied, that his father Jupiter was immortal, but that the murderers of Philip had been all extirpated.

From this time forward Alexander supposed him­self, or would have it supposed by others, that he was the son of Jupiter. Transported however, as he was, with the idea of being of divine origin, he never forgot the duties of humanity, nor even those of generosity, to his female captives. For Statira, Darius's consort, dying in child-bed about this period, he honoured her with as grand and mag­nificent a funeral as she could have received, had she expired in her husband's palace. Darius was so deeply affected with this act of magnanimity in his enemy, that, upon receiving the first intelligence of it, he is said to have lift up his eyes to heaven, and to have expressed himself thus: ‘"Ye Gods, the guardians of our births, and who decree the fate of nations, grant that I may be enabled to leave the Persian state as rich and flourishing as I sound [Page 255] it, that I may have it in my power to make Alex­ander a proper return for his generosity to the dearest objects of my affection. But if the duration of this empire is near at an end, and the greatness of Persia about to be forgotten, may none but Alex­ander be permitted to sit on the throne of Cyrus."’

Generous, however, as Alexander was to the wife and mother of Darius, he still refused to listen to any terms of accommodation from that monarch himself, who was therefore obliged to assemble ano­ther army, in order, at least, to make one effort more for the preservation of his crown and empire. He accordingly exerted himself with great spirit and activity, and in a little time was able to raise a second army half as numerous again as the former; and with this he now advanced towards the Tigris, in order, if possible, to prevent Alexander from passing that river. This, however, he was not able to effect. Alexander passed the Tigris with greater ease and rapidity than he had passed the Granicus; and drawing up his army, on the farther bank, he continued there encamped for two days in expecta­tion of the enemy. But finding that Darius was not disposed to come in search of him, he resolved to go in quest of Darius. The minds of his men, however, were considerably damped by an eclipse of the moon, which happened about that time; for as the cause of this phaenomenon was not then known, it was always supposed to be the prognostic of some great calamity. But Alexander who was as good a politician as a soldier, immediately produced some Egyptian soothsayers, who declared, that the eclipse portended calamities not to the Greeks, but to the Persians. And having, by this artful con­trivance, revived the spirits of his men, he led them on to meet the enemy, and began his march at midnight.

[Page 256]At break of day he received intelligence, that Darius was but twenty miles distant; and at the same time a messenger arrived from that monarch with fresh proposals of peace, which were still more advantageous than the former. But Alexander re­jected all his offers; proudly replying, that the world would not admit of two suns, nor of two sovereigns. All hopes of accommodation, there­fore, being now cut off, both sides prepared them­selves for battle, equally irritated, and equally am­bitious. Darius pitched his camp in a plain near the village of Gangamela, and at some distance from the city of Arbela, from which last place the battle that ensued is usually denominated.

Alexander being informed of this, continued his march till he arrived within a few miles of the enemy. He there encamped, and having rested four days, in order to refresh his army, he set out on the evening of the fifth, with a view of attack­ing Darius at day-break; but upon his arrival at the mountains, where he could discover the enemy's army, he made a halt, and having assembled his general officers, he held a consultation with them whether they should engage immediately, or pitch their camp in that place. The latter expedient was deemed the most eligible, as it would give them an opportunity of viewing the field of battle, and the manner in which the enemy were drawn up. They therefore encamped in the same order in which they marched; and, in the mean time, Alexander, at the head of his light armed infan­try, and his royal regiments, marched round the plain in which the battle was to be fought.

Parmento advised him to attack the enemy by night, and take them by surprize, as by this means he would be sure of giving them a complete over­throw; but Alexander replied, that he scorned to steal a victory, and that he was determined to fight [Page 257] and conquer in broad day-light. So confident, indeed, was he of success, that the night imme­diately preceding the action he slept more soundly than he commonly was wont to do, so that Parmenio was obliged to awake him in the morning; and upon that general's expressing some surprise at his calmness and composure on the eve of a battle, in which his whole fortune lay at stake, ‘"How can I, replied he, be otherwise than calm, when I see that the enemy is come to deliver himself into my hands?"’ So saying, he took up his arms, mounted his horse, and rode up and down the ranks, exhort­ing his men to behave gallantly, and, if possible, to surpass their former fame, and the glory they had al­ready acquired.

The issue of this battle was such as might natu­rally be expected from the character of the comba­tants. On the one side was a middling army of forty thousand foot, and about seven or eight thou­sand horse; but these were the bravest and best dis­ciplined troops at that time in the world: on the other was a vast and almost innumerable assemblage of men, rather than of soldiers, without order, without discipline, and consequently without any common or well directed courage. The Greeks, indeed, in Darius's pay, formed an exception to this general character of his forces; and they behaved on this, as on every other occasion, with a spirit worthy of their former fame. But nothing could resist the ardour and impetuosity of Alexander at the head of his gallant Macedonians, especially as he had taken care, with his usual address, to rein­force their native courage with the aid of supersti­tion. For in the very heat of the action, Aristander, the soothsayer, clothed in his white robes, and hold­ing a branch of laurel in his hand, advanced into the thickest of the fight, according to the orders he had received from the king; and crying out, [Page 258] that he saw an eagle hovering over Alexander's head (a sure omen of victory) he shewed, with his finger, the pretended bird to the soldiers; who re­lying on the veracity of the soothsayer, imagined that they saw it also, and now believing themselves invincible, they renewed the attack with greater spirit than ever, and in a little time carried all be­fore them.

Alexander exposed himself to danger like the meanest soldier in his army. He wounded Darius's equerry with a javelin; and had not that prince saved himself by a precipitate flight, he would pro­bably have wounded or killed him likewise. Alex­ander pursued the fugitives for a conderable way, but was obliged to return, in order to assist Par­menio, who commanded the left wing, and had not yet been able to break the Persian horse that op­posed him. These, however, he discomfited be­fore the arrival of Alexander, who met the enemy retiring from the field of battle, and put them al­most all to the sword. And now the Persians being defeated every where, betook themselves to flight, and were hotly pursued by the Macedonians, who committed terrible havock among them. Alex­ander rode after Darius as far as Arbela, hoping every moment to overtake him; and he had almost done so, for he reached that city just as Darius had quitted it; but though the latter was thus able to save his person, he was obliged to leave his treasure behind him, which now fell into the hands of the enemy.

Such was the issue of this famous battle, which gave to Alexander the empire of Asia. The loss of the Persians on this occasion was incredible. It amounted, according to Arrian, to three hundred thousand men, besides those who were taken pri­soners; whereas the loss of the Macedonians was, comparatively speaking, very inconsiderable, it not [Page 259] exceeding, according to the same author, twelve hundred men, and most of these were cavalry.

The dreadful defeat, which Darius had now sus­tained, struck such a terror into the neighbouring provinces, that Alexander met with little or no more opposition, in making himself master of the whole kingdom of Persia. Babylon surrendered to him without striking a blow, as did also Susa; and in both these places he found immense treasures. Leaving the mother and children of Darius in Susa, he advanced into the country of the Uxii, where he met with some slight resistance from Madathes, the governor, but this he soon overcame, and pardoned Madathes at the intercession of Sysigambis, to whom that satrap was nearly related. Thence he continued his march towards Persepolis, which he did with the greater expedition, as he had received in­telligence from Tiridates, who commanded in that city, that the inhabitants were preparing to plunder Darius's treasures: but Alexander took care to prevent them by his unexpected arrival, and dis­tributed all the wealth he found there, as well as in other places, among the bravest and most deserving of his soldiers.

As he approached this city, he was met by a large body of men, who exhibited a striking ex­ample of the exquisite misery, which human beings are sometimes doomed to suffer. These were about four thousand Greeks, very far advanced in years, who, having been made prisoners of war, had un­dergone all the torments which the Persian tyranny could inflict. The hands of some had been cut off, the feet of others; and others again had lost their noses and ears. They appeared like so many spectres, rather than like men; speech being almost the only thing by which they were known to be such. Alexander could not refrain from tears at this sight; and as they irresistibly moved him to [Page 260] commiserate their condition, he bade them, with the utmost tenderness, not to despond, and assured them, that they should again see their wives and country. They chose, however, to remain in a place where misfortune was now became habitual: he therefore rewarded them liberally for their suf­ferings, and commanded the governor of the pro­vince to treat them with mildness and respect.

Alexander, upon his first entry into Persepolis, was satisfied with the treasures he found there, and seems not to have thought of wreaking his resent­ment upon any part of the city itself. But one day having drank to excess at a public banquet, and the conversation turning upon the cruelties com­mitted by the Persians in Greece, and particularly at Athens, Thais, an Athenian courtezan, who was present, seized this opportunity of saying, that it was mean and pusillanimous, in the highest de­gree, not to take revenge for such repeated slaughters. ‘"This day, cried she, has fully repaid all my wan­derings and troubles in Asia, by putting it in my power, to humble the pride of the Persian mo­narchs. To insult over the palace of Persepolis will be a noble deed; but how much more glorious would it be to fire the palace of that Xerxes, who laid the city of Athens in ruins; and to have it told in future times, that a single woman, of Alexander's train, had taken more signal vengeance on the ene­mies of Greece, than all her former generals had been able to do!"’ All the guests applauded the dis­course; when immediately the king, in a fit of phrenzy, rose from table (his head being crowned with flowers) and taking a torch in his hand, he advanced forward, to execute his mad exploit. The whole company followed him, breaking out into shouts of joy, and in a riotous manner with singing and dancing, surrounded the palace. All the rest of the Macedonians, at this noise, ran in [Page 261] crowds, with lighted torches, and set fire to every part of it. However, Alexander soon repented of what he had done, and thereupon gave orders for extinguishing the fire; but it was now too late.

In the mean time Darius continued his flight, and at length arrived at Ecbatana, the capital of Media. But though he was able to escape the pur­suit of his natural enemies, he could not secure himself from the secret designs of his treacherous subjects. Two of them in particular, Nabarzanes and Bessus, the one the general of the horse, the other the commander of the Bactrians, had entered into a plot to seize his person; and either deliver him alive into the hands of Alexander, if they were overtaken; or, if they escaped, to put him to death, and afterwards usurp his crown, and begin a new war. They even found means to draw over to their party all the forces of Darius, except the Greeks in that monarch's pay; who, shocked at the baseness of his natural-born subjects, generously offered to protect his person at the hazard of their own lives. But Darius was of too noble a spirit to accept of such a proposal, and he therefore re­plied, that if his own subjects would not grant him protection, he could not think of receiving it from the hands of strangers. The Greeks seeing they could be of no further service to him, immediately threw themselves on the mercy of Alexander, who, in consideration of their gallant spirit, not only forgave them, but enrolled them among his own forces.

Darius, being thus left destitute of all kind of resource, was seized by the traitors, who put him in chains, and carried him along with them for some time; but finding that the Macedonians were in close pursuit of them, and that it was impossible for them either to conciliate the friendship of Alex­ander, [Page 262] or to secure a crown for themselves, they again set him at liberty, and advised him to accom­pany them in their flight. This, however, he re­fused to do; and calling upon heaven to revenge the indignities they had already offered him, he openly declared, that he would rather trust to the mercy of Alexander, than continue any longer in the hands of traitors. At these words they fell into a furious passion, and thrusting him through with their darts and spears, they left him, in that manner, to linger out the remains of his wretched life. The traitors then made their escape different ways; while the victorious Macedonians, at length coming up, found Darius in a lonely place, lying in his chariot, and drawing near his end. However, he had strength enough, before he died, to call for drink; which a Ma­cedonian, named Polystratus, brought him. The generosity of the unfortunate monarch shone forth, on this melancholy occasion, in the address he made to this stranger: ‘"Now indeed, said he, I suffer the extremity of misery, since it is not in my power to reward thee for this act of humanity."’ He had a Persian prisoner, whom he employed as his inter­preter. Darius, after drinking the liquor that had been given him, turned to the Macedonian, and said, that in the deplorable state to which he was reduced, he however, should have the comfort to speak to one who could understand him, and that h [...]s last words would not be lost. He therefore charged him to tell Alexander, that he had died in his debt; that he gave him many thanks for the great humanity he had exercised towards his mother, his wife, and his children, whose lives he had not only spared, but restored them to their former splendor; that he besought the gods to give victory to his arms, and make him sovereign of the uni­verse; and that he thought he need not entreat him [Page 263] to revenge the execrable murder committed on his person, as this was the common cause of kings.

After this, taking Polystratus by the hand, ‘"give him," said he, thy hand, as I give thee mine; and carry him, in my name, the only pledge I am able to give of my gratitude and affection."’ Saying these words, he breathed his last.

Alexander, upon coming up, and viewing the dead body of Darius, was deeply affected; he ge­nerously paid it the tribute of a tear; he caused it to be embalmed, and inclosed in a magnificent coffin; and he sent it to Sysigambis, in order to be interred with the honours usually paid to the Persian monarchs. At the same time he pur­sued the traitor Bessus, and having taken him pri­soner, and cut off his nose and ears, he caused him to be conveyed to Ecbatana, there to suffer what­ever punishment Darius's mother should think pro­per to inflict upon him. He was accordingly put to death in the following manner. Four trees were bent by main force, all towards the same point, and to each of these one of the limbs of this traitor's b [...]dy was fastened; and then the trees being suffered t [...] return to their natural position, they flew back with so much violence, that each tore away the [...]mb that was fixed to it, and so quartered him.

It was about this time that Alexander is said to have received a visit from Thalestris, queen of the Amazons; but this circumstance, though related as a fact by some historians, is considered as a fable by the most judicious writers.

Among the many good qualities of Alexander, his gallantry and generosity to the female sex was not the least remarkable. Of this he now gave a striking instance in his behaviour to a Persian fe­male captive, whom having discovered, by her modest and reserved air while she was singing at [Page 264] one of his public banquets, to be a princess of the blood-royal, he not only set her at liberty, but re­turned her all her possessions, and even caused her husband, Hystaspes, to be sought for, in order that she might be restored to him.

The grandeur and elevation of Alexander's mind appears in nothing more conspicuous than this, that he always accustomed his men to consider their pre­sent possessions, however great, as nothing in com­parison of what he would one day bestow upon them. Perceiving that they were now so encumbered with booty, as to be incapable of marching with their usual celerity and dispatch, he commanded them to carry all their baggage (excepting only such things as were indispensably necessary) into a large plain, and there to commit it to the flames.

We have hitherto beheld the fair side of Alex­ander's character. We must now reverse the pic­ture, and take a view of his bad, as well as his good qualities; for no man ever had a more mixed character, or united, in a more eminent degree, the extremes both of virtue and of vice. Hearing that Philotas, one of his chief favourites (and who was likewise the son of Parmenio) had received in­telligence of a plot formed against him, and had neglected to inform him of it, he immediately concluded that that nobleman himself was concerned in the conspiracy; and he accordingly had him first put to the rack, and afterwards stoned to death. Philotas, in the agony of pain, had acknowledged himself guilty, and named several of his accomplices, and, among others, his own father. The conse­quence was, that Parmenio, though entirely in­nocent, was likewise put to death; and in this act Alexander was at once guilty of injustice, cruelty, and ingratitude; for Parmenio had contributed more to the success of his arms than perhaps any of his other generals.

[Page 265]In order to prevent the ill humour that might have been excited in the army by these acts of seve­rity, Alexander set out in quest of new nations whom he might subdue. He totally extirpated the Branchiae, merely on account of their being de­scended from some traiterous Greeks, that had de­livered up the treasures of a temple, with which they had been entrusted. The success of his arms against the Scythians is very problematical. Ac­cording to Arrian and Quintus Curtius, he was able to make little or no impression on the bold and un­tractable spirit of these barbarians. Curtius even says, that the Scythians gave the Greeks so terrible a de­feat, that Alexander made it death for any one, who had escaped from the battle, to make the least men­tion of it. He adds, that they sent ambassadors to Alexander, who had the courage to tell him to his face, that he, who pretended to have no other view in all his military enterprises than the extirpation of robbers, was himself the greatest robber that ex­isted. It appears, however, that after taking and plundering the city of Cyropolis, and crossing the river Jaxerthes, he defeated a body of thirty thou­sand Scythians who were posted in a strong hold called Petra Oxiani, and having met with a more obstinate resistance than he expected, he redu­ced the common men to slavery, and caused their leaders to be fixed to crosses at the bottom of the rock that formed the pass.

Having thus opened to himself a way into the heart of the country, he advanced first into the province of Barsaria, and afterwards into that of Maracanda, of which last he appointed Clitus go­vernor. But it was not long before this brave and deserving officer met with the same fate as Par­menio. For having taken upon him, at a public entertainment, where he had drank too freely, to depreciate the king's achievements in comparison of [Page 266] those of his father Philip, Alexander, who was likewise very much intoxicated, was so transported with passion, that taking up a javelin, he laid Cli­tus dead at his feet. He had no sooner committed this barbarous action, than he was seized with the deepest and most bitter affliction. He threw him­self upon the dead body; he forced out the javelin, and had he not been prevented by the by-standers, he would instantly have plunged it in his own breast. For some time he continued in a state of the deepest melancholy: but at last having reco­vered his usual serenity, he set out in quest of new adventures, and entering the country of the Sacae, he was met by Axertes, one of its kings, whose daughter, Roxana, he married.

Having now subdued all the Persian provinces, he resolved to carry his arms as far as India, a country deemed at that time, as well as at present, one of the richest and most desirable in the world. This country, on both sides of the Ganges, was then inhabited by a people, not very unlike the pre­sent Gentoos, or native Indians. They were divided into seven casts or classes, which always kept sepa­rate and distinct from each other, no person of one class being permitted to intermarry with one of another; nor any one being allowed to belong to two or more classes, or to quit one class for another. The first class consisted of the guardians of religion; the second of husbandmen; the third of shepherds; the fourth of merchants and tradesmen, including pilots and seamen; the fifth of soldiers; the sixth of magistrates; and the seventh of persons employed in the public councils, and who assisted the sovereign in the government of the state.

Upon entering this country, Alexander received the voluntary submission of most of the petty princes that reigned in it. Having reduced Hagosa, he attacked the rock of Aornos, which was considered [Page 267] as impregnable, and was said to have foiled the prowess even of Hercules himself; but the garrison, struck with the vastness of his military preparations, delivered it up after a very faint resistance. This helped to inflame his natural pride and vanity, in having been able so easily to make himself master of a fortress, that had bid defiance to the might of the great founder of his race.

From thence he proceeded towards the river Indus, and continued his march to the banks of the Hy­daspes, receiving every where, as he passed, the submission of the neighbouring princes, and, among others, that of Omphis, who made him a present of fifty-six elephants. There was one of them, however, (named Porus) who disdained to relinquish his independent situation without a struggle; and Alexander, therefore, resolved to compel him by force of arms. A bloody battle accordingly was fought between them; and though Porus behaved with extraordinary valour, and performed both the duty of an able commander and a gallant soldier, being as remarkable for his great strength and sta­ture, as for his uncommon abilities, he was yet obliged, however unwillingly, to resign the victory to his antagonist. The loss of the Indians on this occasion was great, amounting to no less than twenty thousand foot, and three thousand horse; whereas that of the Macedonians did not exceed two hundred and eighty foot, and between thirty and forty horsemen.

Alexander was so charmed with the extraordi­nary merit of Porus, that he was extremely desirous of saving him from the general carnage that fol­lowed the battle. He therefore sent a messenger after him entreating him to return, which with some difficulty he was prevailed upon to do; and when he came into the king's presence, who, the nearer he viewed him, admired him the more, [Page 268] Alexander asked him how he wished to be treated [...] ‘"Like a king,"’ replied Porus. ‘"But," con­tinued Alexander, "do you ask nothing more?"’ ‘"No," replied Porus, "all things are included in that single word."’ Alexander, struck with this greatness of soul, the magnanimity of which seemed heightened by distress, did not only restore him his kingdom, but annexed other provinces to it, and treated him ever after with the highest marks of esteem and regard. Porus continued faithful to him till his death. It is hard to say whether the victor or the vanquished deserved most praise upon this occasion.

Alexander built a city on the spot where the bat­tle was fought; and another in the place where he had crossed the Hydaspes. He called the one Nicaea, from his victory; and the other Bucephalus, in honour of his horse, who died there, not of wounds, but of old age.

Having now conquered Porus, he advanced into the interior parts of India, and as the people of that country were never remarkable for their mili­tary spirit, he easily added it to his former domi­nions. Passing by a place, where there were several Brachmans or Indian Priests, he was seized with a desire of conversing with them, and of learning, if possible, something of the nature of their religion. But hearing that these priests never made visits, and thinking it below his dignity to visit them, he sent Onesicritus, the philosopher, to wait upon them. This man met, in the neighbourhood of the city, fifteen Brachmans, who from morning till evening always stood naked, in the same posture in which they had at first placed themselves, and afterwards returned to the city at night. He addressed himself first to Calanus an Indian, reputed the wisest man of his country, who, though he professed the prac­tice of the most severe philosophy, had however [Page 269] been persuaded in his extreme old age to attend upon the court, and to him he told the occasion of his coming. The latter gazing upon Onesicritus's clothes and shoes, could not forbear laughing; after which he told him, ‘"That anciently the earth had been covered with barley and wheat, as it was at that time with dust; that, besides water, the rivers used to flow with milk, honey, oil and wine; that man's guilt had occasioned a change of this happy condition; and that Jupiter, to punish their ingra­titude, had sentenced them to a long and painful labour: that their repentance afterwards moving him to compassion, he had restored them their for­mer abundance; however that, by the course of things, they seemed to be returning to their ancient confusion."’ All nations, even in the very lowest stages of society, seem to have some notion of a happier state that preceded the present.

Oneficritus endeavoured to persuade two of them, named Mandanis and Calodanus, to accompany him to Alexander, telling them they would find him a generous benefactor. The former haughtily rejected the proposal: it was however accepted by the latter. Alexander's chief ambition was to imi­tate Bacchus and Hercules in their expeditions into the east, and he therefore resolved to penetrate, like them, as far as he could meet with new nations to con­quer. But now the Macedonians refused to follow him, satiated, as they were, with spoil, and worn out with repeated encounters; and though he used every argument he could think of to overcome their obstinacy, he yet could succeed no farther than to obtain their consent to attend him towards the south, in order to discover the nearest ocean, and to take the course of the river Indus for their guide.

In his voyage down this river, he gave a signal proof of that personal intrepidity, for which he was so to remarkable; for having landed his troops, and [Page 270] attacked the capital of the Oxydraci and the Mallis, he seized a scaling-ladder, and was the first that mounted the wall. His attendants, seeing his dan­ger, endeavoured to follow him; but the ladder breaking, he left alone; upon which, sword in hand, he boldly leaped from the wall into the city, which was crowded with enemies. He re­pulsed such as were nearest him, and he even killed the governor of the place who advanced in the throng. Thus with his back to a tree that hap­pened to be near, he received all the darts of the enemy in his shield, and kept even the boldest at a distance. At last an Indian discharging an arrow of three feet in length, it pierced his coat of mail and his right breast; and so great a quantity of blood issued from the wound, that he dropped his arms and lay as dead. The Indian came to strip him, supposing him really what he appeared; but Alexander that instant recovered his spirits, and plunged a dagger in his side. By this time a part of the king's attendants had come to his succour, and forming themselves round his body, till the sol­diers without found means to break the gates, they thus saved him, and put all the inhabitants without distinction to the sword.

Having recovered of his wound, in a few days, he continued his voyage down the river, subduing the country on each side as he passed along; and at last having reached the shore, he was struck with surprise at the high tides of the Indian ocean, espe­cially as he had never beheld any thing of the kind but the gentle floods of the Mediterranean, where there can hardly be said to be any tides at all. Here he put an end to his expedition; and casting his eyes wistfully on the broad expanse of waters be­fore him, he is said to have wept at there being no more worlds left for him to conquer. He now therefore resolved to direct his march homewards; [Page 271] and having appointed Nearchus admiral of his fleet, with orders to proceed along the Indian shore as far as the Persian gulph, he set out with his army for Babylon.

The first part of this journey was attended with the greatest difficulties on account of the poverty of the country through which they passed, and the consequent want of provisions; but upon their ar­rival in the province of Gedrosia, the richest dis­trict in that part of the world, they found themselves surrounded with all the necessaries, and conveni­encies, and even the luxuries of life, nor were they backward in enjoying them. The fact is, like true soldiers, they gave themselves up to every species of intemperance and excess. Alexander, still wishing to imitate Bacchus, was drawn by eight horses, on a scaffold in the form of a square stage, where he passed the days and nights in feasting; and his men, at humble distance, did not fail to follow his exam­ple. Here he put Cleander to death, whom he had left behind him as the governor of some provinces, and who had grossly abused his authority during his master's absence. As this man had the chief hand in cutting off the unhappy Parmenio, this act of ri­gorous justice gave great satisfaction. He likewise inflicted the same punishment upon six hundred sol­diers, whom Cleander had employed as the instru­ments of his extortion.

In his way to Babylon he stopped at Pasargada, in order to visit the tomb of Cyrus, upon which was this humble but significant inscription.—"O man, whosoever thou art, or whencesoever thou comest, I am Cyrus, the founder of the Persian em­pire; do not envy me this little quantity of earth which covers my body." Here Orsines a Persian prince being accused (though falsely) of having robbed this tomb, was condemned to suffer a capital punishment. Here, too, Calanus, the Indian, [Page 272] having completed his eighty-third year, without dis­ease or sickness, and now feeling the approaches of old age, resolved to put himself to a voluntary death, agreeable to the strange superstition of the enthu­siasts of his country. A funeral pile accordingly was erected for him: this, after taking leave of his friends, he boldly ascended, and laying himself down upon it, and covering his face, he continued im­moveably in that posture till he expired in the flames.

From Pasargada Alexander proceeded to Susa, where he married Statira, the eldest daughter of Darius; and at the same time gave her youngest sister in wedlock to his favourite Hephaestion, and fourscore Persian ladies of rank to as many of his principal officers.

But while he was thus amusing himself in Persia, a commotion had like to have been excited in Greece. Harpalus, governor of Babylon, having amassed immense riches, and wishing to acquire an independent authority, had gone over to Athens, and endeavoured to engage the leading men in his interest, and, among others, the illustrious Phocion, whom we have already mentioned. But this man lent a deaf ear to all his tempting offers, and shewed himself to be as much proof against the seductions of Harpalus, as he had formerly been against those of Philip and Alexander. When Philip pressed him to accept of a large sum, if not for himself, at least for his family: ‘"if my children," said Phocion, "resemble me, the little spot of ground, upon the produce of which I have hitherto lived, will be sufficient to maintain them; if they do not, I would not wish to leave them wealth, merely to inflame their luxury and ambition."’ And when Alexander sent him a hundred talents, Phocion asked those who brought it, why their master had presented him with so great a sum, and did not remit any to the rest of the Athenians; ‘"it is, replied they, be­cause [Page 273] he looks upon you as the only just and vir­tuous man in the state."’ ‘"Then, rejoined Pho­cion, let him suffer me still to enjoy that character, and be really what I am taken for."’ Harpalus, disappointed in his hopes of success from this quarter, was obliged to abandon the enterprize.

This commotion was scarcely suppressed when another ensued, and seemingly of a more dangerous nature. Alexander had published a declaration, by which all the Macedonians, who from their age or infirmities were incapable of bearing the fatigues of war, were ordered to return to Greece. This they considered, not only as the highest affront, but even as the greatest injustice. They therefore, with seditious cries, unanimously demanded to be entirely discharged from his service, murmuring against him as a despiser of his bravest troops, and as a cruel king, who wanted their destruction and not their absence. Alexander, however, on this trying occasion, acted with that resolution, which always marked his character. Being seated on his tribunal of justice, he rushed among the principal mutineers, seized thirteen, and ordered them to be immediately punished. The soldiers amazed at his intrepidity, withheld their complaints, and with down-cast eyes seemed to beg for mercy. ‘"You desired a discharge," said he, "go then, and pub­lish to the world, that you have left your prince to the mercy of strangers; from henceforth, the Per­sians shall be my guards."’ This menace was ac­tually executed, and filled the soldiers with such grief and consternation, that they never ceased soli­citing his forgiveness, till at last he was prevailed upon to restore them to his favour.

Being now secure from insurrection, he gave him­self up to mirth and jollity; he spent whole days and nights in immoderate drinking; and in one of those bacchanalian entertainments Hephaestion lost [Page 274] his life. As this was the greatest of all Alexander's favourites, his death made a deep impression on his mind. He seemed absolutely incapable of receiving consolation; he even put to death the physician who attended him; and, on his arrival in Babylon, he celebrated his funeral rites with the greatest pomp and magnificence.

As he drew near to that city, many sinister omens were observed; on which account the Chaldeans, who pretended to foresee future events, endeavoured to dissuade him from entering it. But the Greek philosophers displayed the futility of these predictions, and advised him to pursue the course which his glory pointed out. Babylon, they told him, was a proper theatre, on which to display the greatness of his power, as ambassadors were there expecting his arrival from all the nations he had lately conquered. Accordingly, after making a most magnificent entry, he gave audience to the ambassadors with a grandeur and dignity suitable to his royal character, yet with all the affability and politeness of a private courtier.

As he intended to make Babylon the seat of his empire, he began to form schemes for beautifying and improving that city. But, amidst all his amuse­ments of this kind, and though he had now at­tained to the height of his ambition, he was far from being happy. The recent loss of Hephaestion, and the sad remembrance he still had of the murder of Clitus, and of the barbarities exercised on Parmenio, and his son Philotas; the recollection, I say, of these shocking events festered in his mind, and threw a gloom upon his spirits; to dissipate which it was necessary to have recourse to some powerful remedy. The remedy he employed was intemperance. In consequence of this, he was often invited to enter­tainments, at which he drank immoderately. On a particular occasion, having spent the whole night in a debauch, he was pressed to engage in a [Page 275] second, which he unhappily did, and drank to such excess, that he fell upon the floor, in appearance dead; and in this lifeless condition was carried, a sad spectacle of debauchery, to his palace. The fever continued, with some intervals, in which he gave the necessary orders for the sailing of the fleet, and the marching of his land forces, being persuaded he should recover. But at last finding himself past all hopes, and his voice beginning to fail, he gave his ring to Perdiccas, with orders to convey his body to the temple of Ammon. He struggled, however, with death for some time, and raising himself upon his elbow, he gave his hand to the soldiers who pressed in to kiss it. Being then asked to whom he would leave his empire, he answered, ‘"To the most worthy."’ Perdiccas inquiring at what time he should pay him divine honours, he replied, when you are happy. With these words he expired, being then upwards of thirty-two years old, of which he had reigned twelve with a glory and renown that no prince, either before or since, has ever been able to equal.

As to his character, it may be summed up in a few words. Personal courage, military skin, un­bounded generosity, unexampled continence, con­sidering his youth, his rank, and the powerful temp­tations to which he was exposed; such were his chief and most distinguished virtues: but these were more than counterbalanced by his intemperance, his cruelty, his vanity, and, above all, by his wild and insatiable ambition. His victories, however, had one good effect. They served to shew in how high a degree the arts of peace can promote those of war. In this picture we becold a combination of petty states, by the arts of refinement, growing more than a match for the rest of the world united; and leaving mankind an example of the superiority of intellect over brutal force. Alexander left one son behind him; he was named Hercules, and was born [Page 276] of Barsine, the daughter of Artabazus, and widow of Memnon. Both Roxana and Statira are said to have been pregnant at the time of his death.


WE now return to the affairs of Greece, with which Alexander's expedition is, in a great measure, unconnected; and hardly, indeed, bears any other relation to them, than that it was carried on by Grecian forces. When the general conven­tion of the States of Greece declared Alexander their generalissimo against the Persians, the Lacedae­monians were the only people that refused to concur in this appointment. With a sagacity and penetra­tion, which did them honour, they plainly foresaw, that if that prince should succeed in his ambitious scheme of subduing the East, it would not be long before he put a period to the small remains of Gre­cian liberty. They therefore did every thing in their power to counteract his views; they even entered into an alliance, for this purpose, with the Persian monarch; and Agis, at that time their king, a brave, active, and enterprising prince, son to Archidamus, and grandson of the renowned Agesilaus, exerted himself so strenuously upon this occasion, that he actually brought over a good number of the other states of Greece to join in the confederacy against Macedon. By this means he was enabled to raise an army of twenty thousand foot and two thousand horse, with which he attacked Megalopolis, the only city in Peloponnesus that had acknowledged Alexander for its sovereign. Anti­pater, [Page 277] Alexander's viceroy in Macedon, was not long in meeting him, and that too with an army amounting to above double the number. Agis, however, did not endeavour to avoid the contest; a general action ensued; and though the Macedo­nians gained the victory, yet was it with the loss of three thousand five hundred of their best troops. The same number fell on the other side, and, among, the rest, Agis, the Spartan king, one of the most illustrious characters to be found in antiquity. His end was as glorious as his life had been virtuous. Having received several wounds in the course of the action, his soldiers endeavoured, when the rout be­came general, to carry him off on their shoulders; but Agis seeing they were in danger of being sur­rounded, commanded them to set him down, and preserve themselves by flight for the future service of their country. They did so: he was accordingly left alone; and on his knees he fought and killed several of the Macedonians, whom he continued to engage till he was run through the body with a dart.

The subsequent reigns of the Spartan kings were productive of few events that are worthy of notice. Eudemidas, the son of Agis, succeeded him on the throne; and happily, at least for the tranquillity of his country, his mind was as much turned to the arts of peace, as his father's had been to those of war. While the whole nation was burning with resentment at the loss of Agis, and calling out for a renewal of hostilities against the Macedonians, in order to revenge it, Eudemidas alone restrained their military ardour. And when a certain citi­zen asked him, why he should recommend the continuance of peace, when all his subjects were for war, ‘"Because," replied the king, "I wish to convince them, that what they desire would be in­jurious to them."’ When another of his subjects [Page 278] was magnifying, in his presence, the victories which their ancestors had won from the Persians, and was, from thence, drawing arguments for recommencing hostilities against Macedon, ‘"You perhaps, think," said Eudemidas, "that it is the same thing to make war against a thousand sheep, as against fifty wolves."’ Going one day, by chance, into the school of Xe­nocrates the philosopher, and observing that he was very old, he asked those who stood next to him, what was the old man's profession. Upon being an­swered, that he was a wise man, who sought after virtue, ‘"Alas," said he, "is he seeking it at these years! When, then, will he make use of it?"’ And when, as we shall see afterwards, Alexander caused the return of all the Greek exiles, those of Thebes excepted, to be proclaimed at the Olympic games; ‘"'Tis a hard case, O ye Thebans," said Eude­midas, "but, at the same time, very honourable; for it is evident, that, of all the Greeks, Alexander fears you only."’

Antipater having succeeded to his wish in crushing the insurrection in Peloponnesus, and having cut off Agis, who was the chief author of that insurrection, resolved, if possible, to take out of the way every other person that was likely to dispute his master's authority; and the first he pitched upon with this view was the celebrated Demosthenes, whom he contrived to bring under a suspicion of having proved false to the interests of his country. For though Harpalus, as we have already observed, could not corrupt Phocion, he is said to have been more suc­cessful with Demosthenes, who was now accused of having accepted a bribe of a golden cup and twenty talents. Certain it is, that when he was to have given his opinion with regard to the propriety of granting protection to a Macedonian culprit, he appeared with his throat bound round with several rollers. This was probably owing to a real cold he [Page 279] had caught, though his enemies alledged it was only a pretended one; and a wit observed on the occasion, ‘"that the orator had got a golden quinsey."’ Be this as it will, he was tried for bribery in the court of Areopagus; and being found guilty, was con­demned in a fine of fifty talents: and as this was a sum he was unable to pay, he was therefore obliged to go into banishment. But from this charge of bribery and corruption Demosthenes is fully vindi­cated both by Plutarch and Pausanias, two of the most respectable authors of antiquity.

Antipater having now rid himself of almost the only man in Greece that dared to question his master's authority, Alexander resolved to try how far the minds of the people were prepared to submit to that yoke of slavery which he was determined to impose upon them. With this view he caused it to be proclaimed at the Olympic games, ‘"That all the Grecian exiles (those only excepted who had been guilty of atrocious crimes) should be forthwith restored to their respective cities; and that those cities which should refuse to admit them, should be compelled to it by force of arms."’ This step, how­ever, seems to have been rather premature. Cowed is the minds of the people were by the repeated acts of oppression they had suffered, they were not yet [...]posed to comply with an order, which was a direct [...]version not only of all free, but of all regular go­vernment. They therefore began to make prepara­t [...]ons for a bold and vigorous resistance; and being [...]e [...]ded by Leosthenes, the Athenian, who had al­ready collected a good body of his countrymen, they [...]n found themselves sufficiently strong to set Antipater at defiance.

Such was the situation of affairs in Greece, when the news of Alexander's death reached that country; [...]ws which added greatly to the spirit and activity [...]f the insurgents. It was at this time too, that [Page 280] Demosthenes was recalled from banishment, as his eloquence and patriotism would be of the greatest service in uniting the different states of Greece in a general confederacy against the Macedonians. He was chiefly opposed, on this occasion by Pytheas, a creature of Alexander's. ‘"The Athenians," said Pytheas, "may be likened unto ass's milk, which is a certain indication of sickness being in any house into which it is brought; for when they appear in any city, we may with certainty pronounce that city to be distempered."’ ‘"True," answered De­mosthenes, "but as ass's milk is a restorative of health, so are Athenian counsels of distempered states."’

Antipater, though greatly inferior to the con­federates in number, had the courage to give them battle; but being defeated, he took refuge in La­mia a city of Thessaly, where he resolved to hold out till a reinforcement should arrive. The Athenians were so elated with this success, that some of them proposed declaring war in form against the Macedonians; but from this they were dissuaded by Phocion, who well knew their inability to main­tain such a contest. ‘"When do you think," said one of the principal citizens to him, "will be the most proper time for going to war?"’ ‘"When the young men," replied he, "keep within the bounds of regularity; when the rich are liberal in their donations; and the orators cease to rob the state."’

It was not long before Antipater received the supply of troops he expected; and now thinking himself more than a match for the enemy, he set out in quest of them, and coming up with them in the neighbourhood of Cranon, a city of Thessaly, he there gave them a complete overthrow. En­raged, as he was, at the Athenians, more than at any of the other states of Greece, on account of their having been the original authors, and chief con­ductors [Page 281] of this insurrection, he refused to grant them peace upon any other terms than their deliver­ing up Demosthenes, and receiving into their city a Macedonian garrison.

Demosthenes, well knowing that he had incurred the resentment of Antipater beyond the possibility of forgiveness, fled immediately to Calauria, a small island in the neighbourhood, and there took refuge in the temple of Neptune. He was followed thither by Archias, a player, whom Antipater sent after him, in order to bring him back. Archias used every argument he could think of to persuade him to return, telling him that Antipater would treat him humanely. But Demosthenes, who knew better than Archias, what were the disposi­tions of Antipater, said, ‘"O, Archias, I was never much moved with you as a player, and now I am as little moved with you as a negociator."’ When Archias began to press him hard, he begged leave to withdraw a little farther into the temple, in order to write a few lines to his family. When he had got to the place where he was to write, he put a poisoned quill into his mouth, and chewed it, as he usually did other quills, when he was very thoughtful. The poison beginning to operate, he turned towards the tragedian, and said, ‘"Now, sir, you may act the part of Creon, in the tragedy, and cast out this body of mine unburried."’ He de­sired to be supported to the door of the temple, that he might not pollute it by his death; but as he passed by the altar he expired.

By the death of this great man, and that of Agis, Antipater established his authority in Athens, and in most of the other states, upon a firm foundation; and even so far gained upon the affections of the people, by the mild use he made of his power, that he re­ceived from them the honourable appellation of. The father and protector of Greece. With the [Page 282] Aetolians, however, he was not equally successful. That people were so dissatisfied with the terms granted them at the late pacification, that they were determined either to obtain better, or to risk every thing in the field. With this view they raised a large army, with which they invaded the territories of Macedon; but though they gained at first some petty advantages (especially during Antipater's absence in Asia, whither he had been obliged to go in order to counteract the designs of Perdiccas, who was plan­ning an insurrection in that part of the world) yet were they finally defeated, and compelled to submit to their former masters.

Even the Athenians, though less displeased, than any of the other states of Greece, with the conduct of Antipater, yet felt their pride hurt at their city's being defended by a Macedonian garrison; and they therefore wished to free themselves from this badge of slavery. They first entreated Phocion to use his good offices with Antipater for this purpose; but that patriot declined the commission, well knowing that his countrymen were now become too effeminate to be left entirely to their own protec­tion. They therefore deputed the orator Demades, to wait upon Antipater, and solicit the recal of the garrison. This is the same Demades we have al­ready mentioned as the enemy of Demosthenes. He was a man of some abilities, but of more vanity, and of a most venal disposition. Antipater used to say, that he had two friends at Athens; Phocion, who would never accept of any reward for his ser­vices; and Demades, who never thought he had received enough. Whether Antipater had discon­tinued his largesses to Demades, or whether De­mades expected to be more liberally rewarded by Perdiccas, we cannot say; but he had entered into a correspondence with that commander, and had recommended to him to come over, and assume the [Page 283] government of Macedon and Greece. A letter of his to Perdiccas was found, in which were these words: ‘"Come, and be the support of Macedon and Greece, which, at present, lean on an old rotten staff,"’ meaning Antipater. This discovery was made at the very time that he and his son were en­deavouring to obtain the recal of the garrison. Antipater immediately caused the son of Demades to be slain in his father's presence; and the moment he had expired, the father himself underwent the same fate.

Antipater did not long survive this incident. He had how attained to a great age; and the anxiety of his mind, co-operating with an enfeebled and declining habit of body, at last produced a violent disease, that soon left him but little room to hope for a recovery. His end was not unworthy of the high character he had maintained through life. Preferring, as he had always done, the interest of the nation at large to that of his own family, he contented himself with appointing his son, Cassander, to be merely a chiliarch, or commander of a thou­sand men, while he left the goverment of Mace­don and Greece to Polyperchon, the eldest of Alexander's captains at that time in Europe. This noble and disinterested act raised him still higher, if possible, in the opinion of his countrymen, and made them consider his death, which happened soon after, not only as a national, but almost as an irreparable loss.


THE expression which Alexander made use of on his death-bed, of leaving his empire ‘"To the most worthy,"’ would probably have produced a war among his principal officers, each of whom thought himself the most deserving, had it not been, that, happily for the country, the ambition of every one of them was restrained by the no less ardent ambition of the rest. All of them, therefore, being thus obliged to relinquish for themselves every pre­tension to the crown, they placed it, and that too with general consent, on the head of Alexander's only brother, who was named Aridaeus, or more com­monly Philip Aridaeus. This was a prince of very weak intellects; indeed he is said to have been ab­solutely insane: and to this circumstance probably, more than to his being the son of Philip, did he owe his ready admission to the throne.

As to Hercules, the son of Alexander by Barsine, his right was easily set aside, as his mother was not of royal extraction. A share, however, of the supreme power was reserved for the child, with which Roxana was then big, should it prove a boy; and as it actually did so, and was named by its mo­ther Alexander, the empire thenceforth may be said to have had two kings instead of one. Indeed, in a little time, it might probably have had a third, as Statira, Alexander's other queen, was then pregnant; but Roxana, a cruel and ambitious wo­man, took care to obviate this inconvenience by secretly making away with Statira, as she soon [Page 285] after did with her sister, Parysatis, the widow of Hephaestion.

Perdiccas, to whom on his death-bed, Alexander had bequeathed his royal signet, and who was sup­posed to be his greatest favourite, after the death of Hephaestion, was the chief author of these, and of every other public measure. For though, in the outward distribution of power, he contented him­self with the humble station of captain of the houshold troops, yet was he possessed of more real influence than any other man at court, or even than any of those who were appointed governors of the different provinces. As to these last, they were disposed of in the following manner. To Antipater and Cra­terus was assigned the government of Macedon and of all Greece. Lysimachus was set over the Cher­sonese and Thrace. Eumenes had Paphlagonia and Cappadocia. Ptolemy had Egypt, and Antigonus Phrygia the greater, Lycia and Pamphylia.

Though none of Alexander's captains had been able to raise themselves to sovereign sway, yet were they, most of them, by far too powerful to continue long as peaceable subjects. In a little time, ac­cordingly, a civil war broke out, and it then ap­peared that there were no less than three parties in the empire. One of these was headed by Perdiccas, and supported by Eumenes; another was headed by Ptolemy, and supported by Antipater and Craterus; and the third, which ultimately proved the most formidable of all, was raised and maintained by Antigonus alone. The events, produced by the violent contentions of these different parties, the narrow limits, to which we are confined, will not allow us to relate at any length: nor indeed, were we to do so, would the detail, after all, be very interesting. Let it, therefore, suffice to lay before the reader the most material circumstances.

[Page 286]Perdiccas marched into Egypt with a large army, in order to crush the insurrection of Ptolemy, but was there slain by his own soldiers. Antipater likewise assembled an army; and having divided it into two bodies, he put one of them under the com­mand of Craterus, who had orders to watch the motions of Eumenes, whilst himself, with the other, went over to Cilicia, for the purpose of giving as­sistance to Ptolemy, in case there should be need. In his absence, Eumenes, seizing a favourable op­portunity, attacked Craterus, who was not only de­feated, but lost his life in the action. For this loss, however, Antipater, found some consolation in being unamimously chosen protector of the kings, in the room of Perdiccas. This last appointment made it necessary for him to revisit Macedon, and he therefore left the prosecution of the war against Eumenes to Antigonus, and to his son Cassander, whom he privately instructed to keep a watchful eye on the proceedings of the former, as he well knew his bold and enterprizing character.

Antigonus, though an excellent soldier, had to cope with a man, who was but little, if at all his inferior. A battle ensued between him and Eu­menes; and though the latter was worsted, chiefly through the treachery of his officers, yet had he the address to retire with a handful of men to the castle of Nora, where, without any other provisions than corn, salt, and water, he defended himself for a whole year, and at last obliged the enemy to give over the siege.

Antipater died soon after his return to Mace­don, and, as we have already observed, he ap­pointed Polyperchon for his successor. This was a weak, and vain-glorious man; and he now gave a signal proof of his imprudence in re­calling Olympias to Macedon, from which the policy of Antipater had always kept her at a dis­tance. [Page 287] On the present occasion, however, she did not give way to those cruel and vindictive disposi­tions, which had formerly marked her character, and which afterwards rendered her equally infamous and miserable; on the contrary she discovered the greatest political sagacity and discernment. By her advice umenes was appointed to the chief com­mand in the east, and was ordered to make head against Antigonus, who was every day rising into a dangerous degree of power. Eumenes executed this commission with great ability, and even with considerable success. Being much inferior to An­tigonus in number of soldiers, he drew over to his own party some of the most powerful officers in that general's interest, and even the whole body of the Argyraspidae, a set of hardy Macedonian veterans, who derived their name from the silver shields which they wore, and with which they had been presented by Alexander the Great on account of their extra­ordinary valour. By these and various other means he contrived to thwart all the designs of Antigonus for the space of three years, till at last the other, seizing a favourable opportunity, fell suddenly upon him in his winter-quarters, and not only discom­fited his forces, but took himself prisoner, and in­stantly put him to death.

Being now freed from such a formidable enemy, Antigonus began to execute those ambitious projects, which he had long been meditating in private, but had never dared hitherto openly to avow. He first advanced to Babylon, of which he made himself master, Seleucus, the governor, having fled into Egypt, and thrown himself upon the protection of Ptolemy. He next invaded the provinces of Coelosyria and Phoenicia, which he compelled to sumbit; and having built a fleet of five hundred sail in less than a twelvemonth, he attacked and reduced the city of Tyre.

[Page 288]In the mean time, a league was formed between Ptolemy, Lysimachus, Seleucus, and Cassander, for checking the progress of Antigonus's arms. Ptolemy advanced with a large army to Gaza, where he attacked and defeated Demetrius, the son of Antigonus, who had been left to command in his father's absence. But Demetrius soon recovered the honour he had lost, by attacking, in his turn, one of Ptolemy's generals, and giving him a com­plete overthrow. Ptolemy, however, was enabled, by his victory at Gaza, to furnish Seleucus with a small body of forces, with which he returned to Babylon, and resumed the government of that city, which he continued to enjoy till his death.

Though not only Antigonus, but even Ptolemy, Lysimachus, and Cassander, had for some time acted as independent princes, still they affected to acknow­ledge a kind of submission to Alexander the young king of Macedon. But this was a mere pretence to blind the eyes of the people; and that pretence being now no longer thought necessary, they all of them threw off the mask, and openly assumed a title to that sovereign power, of which they were really possessed. Antigonus and his son were pro­claimed kings of Syria; Ptolemy was declared king of Egypt; Cassander, king of Macedon; and Lysimachus and Seleucus took the same badge of royalty in the provinces they governed.

It is not to be supposed, that such restless and ambitious spirits would long live in harmony and concord among themselves. The Syrian kings in­vaded Egypt, of which they hoped to make a con­quest; but in this they were disappointed. They next turned their arms against Rhodes; but though Demetrius, who, on account of his wonderful suc­cess in storming cities, was called Poliorcetes, em­ployed against it the utmost efforts of his military skill, yet was he obliged to abandon the enterprize. [Page 289] For this, indeed, he was furnished with a plausible pretext, in consequence of an embassy from the Athenians, entreating him to come and free them from the oppression of Cassander, who was now be­sieging their city. Demetrius readily complied with their request, and not only compelled Cassander to give over the siege of Athens, but even to retreat with precipitation into Macedon.

By this time the power of the Syrian kings was become so formidable, as to threaten the indepen­dence of all the neighbouring states, and a general combination was therefore formed against them. It consisted chiefly of the Macedonians, Thracians, and Egyptians, who assembled a large body of forces, amounting, in the whole, to about seventy-four thousand men. The kings of Syria were not long in meeting them with a still superior army, and a battle ensued in the neighbourhood of Ipsus, a small town in Phrygia. Both sides behaved with un­common gallantry; but, after a fierce and obstinate struggle, the Syrians were completely defeated, and their king Antigonus left dead upon the spot. Demetrius escaped with about nine thousand men.


CASSANDER, as we have already observed, had usurped the throne of Macedon. The steps, by which he attained to that high dignity, it may not be improper here a little more particularly to relate. Alarmed, as he justly was, at the con­duct of Polyperchon, in recalling Olympias to court, and intrusting her, not only with the care [Page 290] of the young king, but even with the direction of the public councils, he began, in concert with his friends, to adopt such measures, as appeared to be the most proper for securing themselves against the effects of that woman's resentment; for he well knew, that she bore an implacable hatred to the memory of his father, and to all that were either descended from, or had been connected with him.

One of the first steps, which Polyperchon took by her advice, was to issue an edict, abolishing, throughout all the states of Greece, the aristocratic form of government which Antipater had revived, and restoring the democratic mode, which had ex­isted a little before it. His ostensible reason for embracing this measure, was the bestowing upon the people a greater degree of liberty than they then enjoyed; but his real motive was the displacing those governors whom Antipater had appointed, and thereby weakening the interest of Cassander. The more intelligent part of the citizens easily saw through the deceit; but the people in general were caught by it, and clamoured loudly against all those who dared to oppose the execution of the edict, and, among others, against the virtuous Pho­cion, who fell a sacrifice to their prejudices on this occasion. Being brought to a trial for this pre­tended crime, he asked whether he was to be pro­ceeded against, according to the regular forms of law; and being told that he was, he replied, ‘"How is that possible, if no hearing is to be allowed me?"’ Perceiving, from the violence of the popular re­sentment, that no opportunity of defence would be granted him, he exclaimed, ‘"As for myself, I confess the crime of which I am accused, and sub­mit chearfully to the sentence of the law; but consider, O ye Athenians, what it is that these men have done, that they should thus be involved in the same calamity with me."’ The people called [Page 291] out vehemently, ‘"They are your accomplices, and we need no farther proof of their guilt."’ A de­cree was then drawn up, and read, by which Pho­cion and several others were condemned to death. As they were leading this great man to the place of execution, a friend asked him if he had any commands to leave for his son: ‘"Only this," replied he very coolly, "that he forget how ill the Athenians treated his father."’

The revenge of his enemies was not satiated even with his death. They passed a decree, by which his body was banished the Athenian territories, and a penalty was denounced against any person, who should furnish fire for his funeral pile. One Cono­pion conveyed the corpse a little beyond Eleusina, where he borrowed fire of a Megarian woman, and burned it. A Megarian matron, who attended on that occasion, raised an humble monument on the spot, in memory of the unfortunate orator; and having carried home his ashes, which she had pre­viously collected with great care, she buried them under her hearth; putting up, at the same time, this prayer to her houshold gods: ‘"To you, O ye deities, who protect this place, do I commit the precious remains of the most excellent Phocion: protect them, I beseech you, from every insult, and deliver them one day to be deposited in the sepulchre of his ancestors, when the Athenians shall have become wiser."’

A short time only had intervened, when the prayer of the pious matron was fulfilled. The Athenians, as in former instances of a similar kind, began to abate of their fury, and to have their eyes opened to the truth. They recollected the many services which the state had derived from the supe­rior wisdom of Phocion's counsels: and on that recollection, they could not but wonder at the part they had acted. They decreed, for the victim of [Page 992] their rage, a statue of brass; they ordered his ashes to be brought back to Athens at the public expence; and passed an act, by which all his ac­cusers were to be put to death. Agnonides, who had a capital hand in carrying on the prosecution against Phocion, was seized and executed. Epicurus and Demophilus fled; but Phocion's son overtook them, and revenged the death of his father.

Polyperchon having thus freed himself from so pow­erful an opponent as Phocion, proceeded to execute his decree with unrelenting severity; and whoever dared to thwart his will in this particular, was in­stantly condemned to death. Olympias too, now thinking she might gratify her revenge without con­troul, and without the fear of future retribution, be­gan to wreak her resentment upon all those who were either the objects of her jealously or hatred. King Aridaeus, the son of Philip by a concubine, naturally fell under this predicament. She had already deprived him of his understanding by means of a potion she had given him; and she now had the cruelty to deprive him of his life, and even to inflict the same punishment on his queen Eurydice, who was likewise his niece, and grand-daughter to Philip. She had, indeed, some shadow of reason for proceeding to such extremities against them. They had not only disapproved of her return to Macedon, but even raised an army to prevent it; but being deserted by their troops, they were both taken prisoners, and put in confinement. Aridaeus was soon after murdered in prison by a party of Thracians, whom Olympias sent thither for the purpose; and in a little time she dispatched a mes­senger to the queen, with a poniard, a rope, and a cup of poison, desiring her to chuse which she pleased. This message Eurydice received with the greatest composure; and after praying the gods, ‘"that Olympias herself might be rewarded with [Page 293] the like presents,"’ she took the rope, and strangled herself. Cynane, her mother, had some time before been cut off by the arts of the same vindictive woman.

Olympias's thirst of blood seems not to have been quenched by the numerous murders she had com­mitted. She now caused Nicanor, the brother of Cassander, to be put to death. The body of Iolas, another brother of Cassander's, which had long rested in the tomb, she ordered to be brought forth, and exposed on the highway; and an hundred Ma­cedonians of noble birth were seized and executed, on suspicion of having been in the interest of Cas­sander. She had, indeed, great reason to hate, or at least to dread that illustrious commander; but had she been as cunning as she was cruel, she would have endeavoured to soften, rather than inflame his resentment.

Cassander, sensible of his utter inability to make head against her and Polyperchon by any force he could raise in Europe, had applied for assistance to An­tigonus in Asia; and having received a small supply of men from that quarter, he returned with them to Athens, where he was gladly received by Nicanor, the governor, who had opposed the execution of Polyperchon's decree with great zeal and activity. Their forces being thus joined, gained several ad­vantages over those of Polypherchon and Olympias: they defeated their fleet near Byzantium, and they rendered all their enterprizes by land perfectly ineffectual.

Cassander, however, with all his good qualitites, seems to have been as much transported with the lust of power, as any of the other great men of the age; and to this he was always ready to sacrifice every tie of justice, of honour, and of gratitude. Hearing that Nicanor was beginning to form a se­parate interest of his own, and aimed at no less [Page 294] than the sovereignty of Attica, he contrived to draw him, under pretence of an interview, into an empty house, where he had him murdered by some assassins he had prepared for the purpose.

For this barbarous act, indeed, he made the best amends in his power, by appointing, for his suc­cessor, a man of a most excellent character. This was no other than Demetrius Phalereus, the cele­brated disciple of Theophrastus. Demetrius was at once a philosopher, an orator, and a man of virtue. Cicero makes mention of his oratory in a very favourable manner; but then he says, he was the first of all the Greeks who changed the bold, nervous, and resistless eloquence of the earlier orators, into the mild and pathetic species of elo­quence; which he thinks is as much inferior, in point of merit, to the former, ‘"as the power of the gently-gliding stream, is inferior to that of the rough thundering torrent."’ Demetrius, however, executed his important trust with so much justice and equity, and with such an invariable attention to the happiness of the people he governed, that the Athenians erected no less than three hundred statues to his honour, and many of these were equestrian.

Matters were now tending fast towards a crisis between Cassander on the one hand, and Polyperchon and Olympias on the other. Cassander having di­vided his army into two bodies, gave the command of the one to Callas, with orders to march against Polyperchon, whose troops had been separated from those of Olympias. With the other he himself set out in pursuit of that woman, who after trying vari­ous arts to stir up the Macedonians in her favour, was at last obliged to take refuge in the city of Pydna, which was strongly fortified. There she was immediately besieged by Cassander, who reduced her at length to such difficulties for want of provisions, that she [Page 295] was forced to surrender both herself and her army. In taking this mortifying step, however, she had the precaution to stipulate for her life; but the kin­dred of those whom she had murdered, insisting on her death, Cassander pretended, that the stipulation related only to military execution, and he therefore gave her up to the civil laws of her country. The friends of those whom she had slain, assembled, and accused her before the people, by whom she was condemned without being heard. On this occasion Cassander offered her a ship to convey her to Athens, but she rejected the offer. She insisted upon being heard before the Macedonians; and said, she was not afraid to answer for all she had done. Cas­sander was unwilling to abide the issue of such a trial as she demanded: he therefore sent a band of two hundred soldiers to put her to death. When the soldiers entered the prison, they were struck with awe at her majestic appearance, and refused to ex­ecute their orders; but the relations of those, who had fallen by her resentment, rushed forward, and cut her throat. She is said to have behaved with much fortitude on that trying occasion. Cassander suffered her body to lie, for some time, unburied; to revenge, perhaps, the insult which she had offered to the remains of his brother Iolas. Roxana and her son (as we have already observed) were soon after murdered; and the same was the fate of Her­cules, Alexander's other son whom he had by Barsine.

Not more than twenty-eight years had elapsed since the death of that conqueror, and not a single branch of his house remained to enjoy a portion of the empire, which he and his father had acquired at the price of the greatest policy, dangers, and blood­shed. Such, to the royal family of Macedon, were the effects of that ambition, which had lighted up the flames of war in Europe, Asia, and Africa.


THOUGH Cassander had now established himself on the throne of Macedon, he did not enjoy all that tranquillity which he thought he had reason to expect. He found that Polyperchon and his son Alexander were forming a party against him in Greece; and therefore, in order to counteract their designs, he marched into Boeotia, where he not only defeated all their machinations, but likewise rebuilt the city of Thebes, about twenty years after it had been destroyed by Alexander the Great. This transaction he did not long survive. He died in a little time after, leaving behind him two sons, Antipater and Alexander, who, as usually happens in such cases, soon began to quarrel about their respective right to the throne; and the latter calling in the aid of Demetrius Poliorcetes, this last con­trived to make away with the man he pretended to assist, and himself got possession of the sovereign power. Of this, however, he was soon deprived by the joint efforts of Lysimachus, and Pyrrhus, king of Epire; the former of whom, partly by open force, and partly by secret artifices, found means to make himself sole king of Macedon. But neither did he enjoy his newly acquired power for any length of time, his army being routed, and himself slain, in a great battle, which he fought with Seleucus, king of Babylon. Seleucus, upon this victory▪ resigned his Asiatic dominions to his [Page 297] son Antiochus, and came over to Macedon, in the fond hope of passing the remainder of his days in the quiet enjoyment of his native country. But he was treacherously murdered, about seven months after, by Ptolemy Ceraunus *, the brother of Cas­sander; who, to add to his guilt, prevailed upon the widow of Lysimachus to marry him; but he had no sooner got her and her children into his power, than he put the young princes to death, and banished the mother into Samothrace.

Crimes so atrocious did not long go unpunished. His kingdom (for he had now seized on the throne of Macedon) was soon over-run by a body of Gauls, who suddenly attacked and defeated her forces, and having cut off the head of the king himself, they fixed it to the end of a long pole, and thus carried it in triumph through their ranks.

The progress, however, of these barbarians was at last put a stop to by the united states of Greece. They several times attempted to force the straits of Thermopylae, but were always repulsed with con­siderable loss. At length they found a passage into the interior parts of Greece by the way of mount Oeta, and directed their march towards the temple of Delphi, which they intended to plunder. But the inhabitants of that sacred city, inspired by re­ligious enthusiasm, made a desperate sally upon the barbarians, who, struck with a panic, fled with pre­cipitation. The pursuit was continued for a whole day and night; and a violent storm and piercing cold co-operating with the fury of the victorious Greeks, most of the enemy perished either by the sword or the severity of the weather. Brennus, their leader, unable to bear the smart of the wounds he had received, and distracted at the same time with religious horror, put an end to his own life. The few that survived, having assembled together, [Page 298] endeavoured to effect a retreat from so fatal a country. But the different nations rose upon them as they passed; and of all those multitudes, which had poured out of Macedon into Greece, not one returned to his native land. Justin says they were all cut off; though other historians alledge, that a remnant of them made their escape into Thrace and Asia.

The Delphians did not depend entirely on their courage in repelling the barbarians; they employed two very ingenious and successful stratagems against them. They procured an order from the oracle, commanding the inhabitants of the adjacent villages to abandon their dwellings, and to leave them well stored with wines and all kinds of provisions. The consequence was, that the Gauls, who, like all other barbarians, were naturally voracious, and had their appetites sharpened by a long want of sustenance, fell ravenously upon these dainties, and thus through intemperance lost much of that vigour, which had hitherto been the principal cause of the success of their arms. The other stratagem was this; mount Parnassus, which stood close by the city of Delphos, was furnished with many caves and hollow wind­ings. In these numbers of people were stationed, with instructions, on proper occasions, to set up loud shouts, and to make the most frightful yellings and screams. These issuing forth without any visible cause filled the barbarians with terror, as if they proceeded from something more than human; and therefore believing they were warring with superior beings, not with men, they betook themselves to a pre­cipitate retreat, even almost before they were attack­ed. This body of Gauls formed only a part of that immense shoal, which to the number, it is said, of no less than three hundred thousand, poured out of their own country in quest of new settlements; and though they were defeated and cut off in Greece, [Page 299] yet they had the courage to take and plunder Rome.

The Macedonian throne, after the death of Pto­lemy Ceraunus, was filled by Antigonus, the son of Demetrius Poliorcetes; he was deposed and succeeded Pyrrhus, king of Epire: but, upon the death of this last prince, Antigonus once more assumed the sove­reign sway. Nothing remarkable happened during the reign of either of these kings, except that Pyrrhus, the most warlike prince of his time, and, in the opinion of Hannibal, the greatest general that ever lived, made an attempt upon the liberty of Sparta; and advancing to the gates of the city with a powerful army, the inhabitants were struck with so much terror, that they proposed sending off their women to a place of safety. But Archidamia who was delegated by the Spartan ladies, entered the senate-house with a sword in her hand, and de­livered their sentiments and her own in these words: ‘"Think not, O men of Sparta! so meanly of your country-women, as to imagine that we will survive the ruin of the state. Deliberate not then whither we are to fly, but what we are to do."’ In consequence of this, the whole body of citizens exerted themselves with such undaunted courage, that they repulsed Pyrrhus in all his at­tempts to destroy the city. They even pursued him in his retreat, and slew Ptolemy his son, who was bringing up the rear of his army. Pyrrhus himself soon after perished in a like attempt upon Argos.

Antigonus, upon his re-ascending the throne, defeated a body of Gauls, who had made a fresh ir­ruption into Macedon; and encouraged by this suc­cess, he began to entertain thoughts of making himself absolute master of Greece. He even pro­ceeded so far, as to compel the Athenians to re­ceive a Macedonian garrison; and he would pro­bably [Page 300] have imposed the same badge of slavery on the other states of Greece, had not death put an end to all his ambitious projects. He was succeeded by his son Demetrius, and this last by his kinsman Antigonus, neither of whose reigns were dis­tinguished by any remarkable events.

About this time the republic of Achaia began to make a capital figure, and bade fair for restoring that spirit of liberty in Greece, which had in a great measure been extinguished, partly by the dis­sensions of the different states among themselves, but chiefly by the encroachments of the Macedo­nian monarchs. This republic consisted originally of twelve towns, that were associated together for their mutual defence. They had the same friend­ships and the same enmities; the same coins, weights and measures; the same laws, and the same magis­trates. These magistrates were elected annually, by a majority of voices throughout the whole com­munity. Twice in the year, or oftener if necessary, a general assembly, consisting of deputies from the different cities, was held for the great purposes of legislation and government. The magistrates, who were invested with the supreme executive power, were styled generals of the states of Achaia. They commanded the military force of the republic, and possessed the right of presiding in the national as­sembly. Their number was originally two; but from the inconveniencies attendant on a divided government, was at last reduced to one. A council of ten, called Demiurgi, assisted the general with their advice, and examined all matters intended to be brought before the national assembly, and pro­posed or rejected them at pleasure. The power of the Demiurgi, in this last respect, was exactly the same as that of the lords of articles in the ancient government of Scotland. Besides these superior magistrates, every town had also its municipal ma­gistracy, [Page 301] consisting also, as is generally supposed, like the national constitution, of a popular assembly, a council, and a presiding magistrate. With re­spect to the laws of the Achaeans, the most material object in the history of any people, our knowledge is extremely imperfect. Such of them, however, as have come down to us, are proofs of their political wisdom.

It was enacted, that whatever individual or town, belonging to the Achaean confederacy, should ac­cept of any gratification whatsoever, in its public or private capacity, from prince or people, should be cut off from the commonwealth of Achaia: that no member of the Achaean league should send any embassy, or contract any alliance or friendship with any prince or people, without the privity and approbation of the whole Achaean confederacy. The unanimous consent of the whole confederacy was necessary for the admission into it of any prince, state, or city. A convention of the national as­sembly was not to be granted at the request of any foreign prince, unless the matters to be offered to their consideration were first delivered, in writing, to the general of Achaia, and the council of ten, and pronounced by them to be of sufficient impor­tance. The deliberations of every assembly were to be wholly confined to the matters on account of which they had been convened. In all debates, those who spoke were to deliver a short sketch of the arguments they employed, in order to their be­ing considered the ensuing day; and within three days, at farthest, was the business before them to be finally determined.

The general tendency of the Achaean league was so favourable to the liberties of mankind, that most of the neighbouring states associated themselves with it; but when the power of Macedon became para­mount to that of all Greece, many of the mem­bers [Page 302] deserted the confederacy, and fell under the dominion of various tyrants. From this state of slavery, however, they were, in a little time, freed by the spirit and activity of Aratus, a native of Si­cyon, who having first delivered his own country from the tyranny of Nicocles, its sovereign, and being in consequence of this chosen general of Achaia, proceeded to attack one petty tyrant after another, till at last he re-established all the states of Greece in the possession of their ancient freedom. But this happy situation of affairs was not of long continuance: it was soon overturned by the jealousy and ambition of those very parties, from whose love of liberty it had originally sprung.


THE Aetolians were the first that began to look, with a jealous eye, on the superiority of the Achaeans over the other states of Greece; and they laboured, and that with but too much success, to in­fuse the like prejudices into the Spartans. The man­ners of this last people were now totally altered. They had exchanged poverty and hardy discipline for opulence and a luxurious stile of living. The lands, which were formerly divided, in equal por­tions, among the whole body of the people, were now engrossed by a few families, who lived in the greatest splendour and magnificence, while the rest of the citizens were plunged in the utmost poverty and distress. Agis, one of their most virtuous [Page 303] kings, was put to death, for attempting to restore the agrarian and sumptuary laws of Lycurgus. Cleo­menes, however, his successor, was more fortunate. He actually did restore these laws, though not till he had acquired sufficient popularity to set all op­position at defiance. This popularity he owed chiefly to the success of his arms against the Achaeans and their allies, several of whose towns he attacked and subdued; and he even defeated their army in two pitched battles, the one at Leuctra, and the other at Hecatombaeum.

Aratus, provoked at the conduct of Cleomenes in thus making war upon the Achaeans without any visible cause, threw himself on the protection of Antigonus, king of Macedon; and in order to induce him to grant the aid he requested, he en­tered into a compact with that monarch, the con­ditions of which were: That the citadel of Corinth should be delivered into the hands of the king; that he should be at the head of the Achaean confederacy, superintend their councils, and direct their opera­tions; that his army should be supported at their expence; that neither embassy nor letter should be sent to any power without his approbation; and that no city, state, or people, should be, from that time, admitted into the Achaean league without his consent. From these articles it is evident, that the liberties of Achaia were now no more, and that the real sovereign of that country was Antigonus.

The conduct of Aratus in making this treaty, was more unpopular than that of Cleomenes in attack­ing the Achaeans: the consequence was, that most of the states of Greece abandoned the cause of the former, and espoused that of the latter, whom they now considered as the only protector of their liberties. But Antigonus, besides being an excel­lent general, was possessed of greater resources than any Cleomenes could command; and thus having [Page 304] contrived, after various manoeuvres, to bring him to an engagement, he not only gave him a complete overthrow, but compelled him to fly into Egypt, where being suspected of forming de­signs against the government, he was cruelly put to death.

Antigonus himself died soon after, and was suc­ceeded by Philip, the son of Demetrius, the last of the Macedonian kings of that name. This prince, treading in the steps of his predecessor, resolved to give effectual aid to the Achaeans; which he accordingly did, by carrying the war into Aetolia itself, and reducing a great number of its strong holds. Though naturally possessed of great mo­deration, he now began to entertain the hope of making himself master of all Greece, by forming a junction with Hannibal, who was then carrying on war against the Romans. He sent ambassadors to the Carthaginian general, and a treaty was con­cluded between them, importing that Philip should furnish a fleet and army, to assist Hannibal in making a conquest of Italy; after which, Hannibal should pass into Epire, and having completed the reduc­tion of the whole country, should yield up to Philip such places as lay convenient for Macedon. Philip performed his part of the agreement. He entered the Ionian gulf with a large fleet, and took Oricum, a sea-port on the coast of Epire; but being sur­prized and defeated by the Romans, he was obliged to return disgracefully into his own country.

The Romans had their hands too full of the war with Hannibal, to think of carrying their arms into Macedon; but they took care to find employ­ment for Philip, by encouraging his enemies in Greece to attack him. For this purpose they entered into a treaty with the Aetolians, of which the following were the principal conditions: That the Aetolians should immediately commence hostilities against [Page 305] Philip by land, which the Romans were to sup­port by a fleet of twenty gallies; that whatever conquests might be made, from the confines of Aetolia to Corcyra, the cities, buildings, and ter­ritory should belong to the Aetolians, but every other kind of plunder to the Romans. The Spar­tans and Eleans, with other states, were included in this alliance; and the war commenced with the reduction of the island of Zacynthus, which, as an earnest of Roman generosity and good faith, was immediately annexed to the dominions of Aetolia. These things happened about two hundred and eight years before the birth of Christ.

The Romans having thus obtained a footing in Greece, soon extended and established their power throughout the whole of that renowned country. Agreeably to their usual policy, they availed them­selves of the credulity, the dissensions, the ambition, and the avarice of the different chiefs; ever vigilant to support the weaker against the stronger party, that the diminished strength of each individual state might lead the way to the conquest of the whole.

Mean while the war continued to be carried on between Philip and the Aetolians with equal vigour, and almost with equal success on both sides, till at last the former was obliged to return into his own kingdom, to suppress a rebellion which had there broke out. The Achaeans, however, though de­prived of the aid of so powerful a monarch, were still able to make head against their enemies. They were now commanded by Philopaemen in the room of Aratus, whom Philip had poisoned, on account of his opposing the ambitious design which the latter had formed of subduing all Greece. They even de­feated the armies of Aetolia and Elis in a great battle; but after the war had continued for the space of six years, it was at length terminated by a [Page 306] peace between the Romans on the one hand, and Philip on the other.

This peace, however, was but of short duration. For Philip having invaded the dominions of the king of Egypt, as also the territories of several of the states of Greece, complaints were brought against him, on that account, before the Roman senate, who immediately dispatched an ambassador to him, strictly charging him, in the name of the republic, to desist from all hostilities against those powers, and to refer the matters in dispute between him and them to a fair arbitration. Marcus Aemilius, who carried this order, delivered it with all that dignity and firmness which distinguished the Roman cha­racter. ‘"The boastful inexperience of youth," said the king to him, "thy gracefulness of person, and still more, the name of Roman, inspire thee with this haughtiness. It is my wish that Rome may observe the faith of treaties; but should she be in­clined again to hazard an appeal to arms, I trust, that, with the protection of the gods, I shall render the Macedonian name as formidable as that of the Roman."’ These events happened about one hun­dred and ninety-nine years before the birth of Christ.

Philip soon found, that the stile of the Roman ambassadors was not more imperious, than their power was irresistible; for Titus Quintus Flaminius, be­ing appointed to command against him, reduced him, in a little time, to the hard necessity of ac­cepting a peace on the following conditions: ‘"That all the Greek cities, both in Asia and Europe, should be free, and restored to the enjoyment of their own laws: that Philip, before the next Isth­mian games, should deliver up to the Romans all the Greeks he had in any part of his dominions, and evacuate all the places he possessed either in Greece or in Asia: that he should give up all pri­soners and deserters: that he should surrender all [Page 307] his decked ships of every kind, five small vessels, and his own galley of sixteen banks of oars, excepted; that he should pay the Romans a thousand talents, one half down, and the rest at ten equal annual payments; and that, as a security for the perform­ance of these article, he should gives hostages, his son Demetrius being one.’ This event happened an hundred and ninety-three years before Christ.


THOUGH the Romans, by their treaty with Philip, pretended to re-establish the Greeks in the possession of their ancient freedom, yet no­thing was farther from their intention. On the contrary, they meant to reduce them under their own dominion. The question was not whether the Greeks should be enslaved, but who should be their masters; and the Romans thought, and it must be owned with some shadow of justice, that there was no people in the world better intitled to such a dis­tinction than themselves. They therefore sought for a plausible pretext of carrying their arms a second time into Greece; and it was not long before this was afforded them by Antiochus, king of Syria. For that prince having invaded Greece, under pre­tence of supporting his own rights, was opposed by the Romans on the specious plea of defending the public liberty; and who not only defeated his forces, but compelled him to retire into his Asiatic domi­nions. The Aetolians, too, though they formerly co-operated with the Romans as allies, could not think of enduring them as masters; and they [Page 308] therefore endeavoured to thwart their design of usurping the sovereignty of the Grecian republics; but the consul Acilius Glabrio soon reduced their power to so low an ebb, that they were glad to ac­cept of a peace upon any terms, and even virtually to give up their independence, by promising to pay observance to the empire and majesty of the Roman people.

The efforts of the Achaeans to prevent the esta­blishment of the Roman empire in Greece were not more successful. Above a thousand of their leading men were transported to Rome, in order to answer for the pretended crime of having secretly abetted the king of Macedon, who had had the courage or temerity to oppose the Romans in the field. But that prince, whose name was Perseus, and who was son and successor to Philip, was not only defeated in a great battle; but being taken prisoner, was carried to Rome, and thrown into a dungeon, where he starved himself to death. His only sur­viving son, Alexander, became a clerk to one of the Roman magistrates. Macedon was immediately formed into a Roman province, as were likewise, in a little time after, all the different states of Greece. These things fell out about an hundred and sixty-three years before the birth of Christ.

From this time forward few events of any great con­sequence happened in Greece, and those that occurred belong more properly to Roman than to Grecian history. We shall therefore pursue them no farther at present, but conclude with observing, that de­pressed as the Greeks now unhappily were under a foreign yoke, and consequently deprived of their national character as a free and independent people, they yet retained, amidst all their calamities, that strength of genius and delicacy of taste, that quick­ness of invention and acuteness of discernment, for which they had ever been remarkable: that they [Page 309] helped to polish their haughty and as yet but half-civilized conquerors; that, upon the destruction of the western empire, they successfully cultivated the arts and sciences, while all the rest of the world was sunk in the grossest ignorance and barbarism; and that, upon the taking of Constantinople by the Turks, they carried those arts and sciences with them into Italy, and there paved the way for the revival of that learning, which has ever since enlightened, and still continues to enlighten mankind.


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The above six Articles by Charles Vyse.

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