Imágenes de páginas

One of the chief endeavours of Pericles also was, to study the thoroughly the genius and disposition of the Athenians, that i he might discover the secret springs which were to be emeployed in order to set them in motion ; and the manner in

which it was proper to act for acquiring their confidence ; e for it was in that principally that the great men among the

ancients used to make their skill and politics consist. He į found by the reflections he had made on several transactions

of his time, that the predominant passions of this people were, a violent aversion to tyranny, and a strong love of liberty, which inspired them with sentiments of fear, jealousy, and suspicion, of all such citizens as were too conspicuous for their birth, their personal merit, their own credit and authority, or that of their friends. He not only was very like Pisistratus, with regard to the sweetness of his voice, and Auency of expression, but he also resembled him very much in the features of his face, and his whole air and manner; and he observed, that the oldest of the Athenians who had seen the tyrant, were prodigiously struck at the resemblance. Besides, he was very rich, was descended from an illustrious family, and had very powerful friends. To prevent therefore his being obnoxious to the suspicion and jealousy of the people, he at first shunned public business ; which required a constant attendance in the city ; and was solely intent upon distinguishing himself in war and dangers.

But when he saw Aristides dead, Themistocles banished, and Cimon engaged almost continually in foreign wars, and absent from Greece ; he began to appear in public with greater confidence than before, and entirely devoted himself to the party of the people, but not out of inclination, for he was far from affecting popular power, but to remove all suspicions of his aspiring to the tyranny, and still more, to raise a strong bulwark against the influence and authority of Cimon who had joined with the nobles.

At the same time, he quite changed his conduct and way of life; and assumed, in all things, the character of a statesman, wholly busied in affairs of government, and entirely devoted to the service of his country. He was never seen in the streets, except when he was going either to the assembly of the people, or to the council. He on a sudden left off going to banquets, assemblies, and other diversions of that kind which he had used to frequent; and during the many years that he presided in the administration, he was never seen to go to supper with his friends, except once at the nuptials of a near relation.

a Olim noscenda vulgi natura, & quibus modis temperanter haberetur: Se. matusque & optimatium ingenia qui maxime perdidicerant, eallid temporuin & sapientes habebantur. Tacit. Annal. lib. iv. cap. 33.

I 2

a He o knew that the people, who are naturally fickle and inconstant, commonly disregard those who are always in their sight ; and that too strong a desire to please them, grows at last tiresome and importunate; and it was observa ed that such a behaviour was very prejudicial to Themisto cles. To avoid this error, he used to go very rarely to the assemblies; and never appeared before the people but at intervals, in order to make himself desired ; and to preserve such an ascendant over their minds as might be always new, and not worn and in a manner withered by an over-great assiduity ; wisely reserving himself for great and important occasions. c Hence it was said that he imitated Jupiter, who, in the government of the world, according to some philosophers, busied himself in great events alone; and left the direction of those of less importance to subaltern deities. And indeed, Pericles used to transact all petty affairs by his friends, and by certain orators that were entirely devoted to him, among whom was Ephialtes.

d Pericles employed his whole industry and application to gain the favour

and esteem of the people, in order to counterbalance the fame and influence of Cimon. However, he could not equal the magnificence and liberality of his rival, whose immense riches gave him an opportunity of bestowing such largesses as appear to us almost incredible, so much do they differ from our behaviour in that respect. Finding it impossible for him to rival Cimon in this particular, he had recourse to another expedient (in order to gain the love of the populace) no less effectual perhaps, but certainly not so legitimate and honourable. He was the first who caused the conquered lands to be divided among the citizens; who distributed among them the public revenues for the expense of their games and shows, and annexed pensions to all public employments; so that certain sums were bestowed on them regularly, as well to procure them a place at the games, as for their presence in the courts of justice, and the public assemblies. It is impossible to say, how fatal this unhappy policy was to the republic, and how many evils it drew after it. For these new regulations, besides draining the public treasury, gave the people a fondness for expense and a dissolute turn of mind; whereas they before were sober and modest, and contented themselves with getting a livelihood by their sweat and labour.

By e such arts as these Pericles had gained so great an asa Plut. de sui laude, p. 441.

6 Ista nostra assiduitas. Servi, nescis quantum interdum afferat hominibus fastidii. quantum satietatis-Utrique nostrum desiderium nihil obfuisset. Cic. pro Mur. n. 21

c Plut. de ger, rep. p. 811. u Plut. in Perici po 156. e Pericles felicissimis naturæ incrementis, sab Adaxagora pro ceptore summo

cendant over the minds of the people, that he may be said to have attained a monarchical power under a republican form of government; moulding the citizens into what shape he pleased, and presiding with unlimited authority in all their assemblies. And indeed, Valerius Maxiinus makes scarce any other difference between Pisistratus and Pericles, than that the one exercised a tyrannical power by force of arins, and the other by the strength of his eloquence, in which he had made a very great progress under Anaxagoras.

This credit and authority, however enormous, could not yet restrain the comic writers from throwing out against him many very severe strokes of satire in the theatres ; and it does not appear that any of the poets who censured Pericles with so much boldness, were ever punished, or even called to account for it by the people. Perhaps it was through prudence and policy that he did not attempt to curb this licentiousness of the stage; nor to silence the poets, that he he might amuse and content the people by this vain shadow of liberty, and prevent their discovering that they really were enslaved.

a But Pericles did not stop here. He boldly resolved, if possible, to weaken the authority of the tribunal of the Areopagus, of which he was not a member, because he had never been elected either - Archon, Thesmotheta, king of the sacrifices, nor Polemarch. These were different employments in the republic, which from time immemorial had been given by lot; and none but those who had behaved uprightly in them, were allowed a seat in the Areopagus. Pericles, taking advantage of Cimon's absence, set Ephialtes, who was his creature, at work clandestinely; and at last lessened the power of that illustrious body, in which the chief strength of the nobility consisted. The people, emboldened and supported by so powerful a faction, subverted all the fundamental laws and ancient customs; took from the senate of the Areopagus the cognizance of the greater part of the causes that used to be brought before it, leaving it very few, and such only as were of little consequence, and made themselves absolute masters of all the tribunals.

Cimon on his return to Athens, was afflicted to see the

studio perpolitus & instructus, liberis Athenarum cervicibus jugum servitutis impusuit: egit enim ille urbem & versavit arbitrio suo. Quid inter Pisistra. tuin & Periclem interfuit, nisi quod ille armatus, hic sine armis tyrannidem exercuit? Val. Max l. viii. e. 9.

Plut. in Pericl. p. 157. In Cim. p. 488. • After some changes had bero nade in the form of the Athenian government, the sapreme authority was at last invested in nine magistrates, called Archons, and lasted but one year. One was called Rex. another Polemarchus, a third Archon, and this magistrate was properly at the head of the rest, and gave his name to the year; and six Thesmothetäe, who presided immediately over the laws and decrees.

dignity of the senate trampled under foot and therefore set every engine at work to restore it to its pristine authority, and to revive the aristocracy, in the same form as it had been established under Clisthenes. But now his enemies began to exclaim and excite the people against him ; reproaching him, among many other things, for his strong attachment to the Lacedæmoniáns. Cimon had himself given some room for this reproach, by his not paying sufficient regard to the Athenian delicacy : for in speaking to them, he would for ever extol Lacedæmonia ; and whenever he censured their conduct on any occasion, he used to cry, “the Spartans do “ not act in this manner.” Such expressions as these drew upon him the envy and hatred of his fellow-citizens ; but an event, in which he nevertheless had no share, made him the object of their utmost detestation.

Sect. VIII. An Earthquake in Sparta. Insurrection of the Helots.

Seeds of Division between the Athenians and Spartans. Cimon is sent into Banishment.

a In the fourth year of the reign of Archidamus, there happened the most dreadful earthquake in Sparta that had ever been known. In several places the country was entirely swallowed up; Taygetus and other mountains were shaken to their foundations; many of their summits being torn away, came tumbling down; and the whole city was laid in ruins five houses only excepted. To heighten the calamity, the Helots, who were slaves to the Lacedæmonians, looking upon this as a favourable opportunity to recover their liberty, few up and down every part of the city, to murder such as had escaped the earthquake: but finding them under arms, and drawn up in order of battle, by the prudent foresight of Archidamus, who had assembled them round him, they retired into the neighbouring cities, and commenced that very day open war, having entered into alliance with several of the neighbouring nations, and being strengthened by the Messenians, who at that time were engaged in a war with the Spartans.

The Lacedæmonians in this extremity sent to Athens to implore succours; but this was opposed by Ephialtes, whe declared that it would be no way advisable to assist them, nor to rebuild a city that was the rival of Athens, which, he said, ought to be left in its ruins, and the pride of Sparta thereby humbled for ever. But, Cimon being struck with horror at these politics, did not hesitate a moment to prefer

O A. M. 5534. Ant. J. C. 470. Plat. in Gim. p. 458,489.

the welfare of the Lacedæmonians to the aggrandizing of his country ; declaring, in the strong st terms, “that it was

absolutely improper to leave Greece lame of one of its legs, “ and Athens with out a counterpoise;" the people came into his opinion, and accordingly a succour was voted. Sparta and Athens might indeed be considered as the two limbs on which Greece stood; so that if one of them was destroyed, Greece would be inevitably crippled. It is also certain, that the Athenians were so elate with their grandeur, and were become so proud and enterprising, that they wanted a curb; for which none was so proper as Sparta, that state being the only one that was capable of being a counterpoise to the headstrong disposition of the Athenians. Ciuon therefore marched to the aid of the Lacedæmonians with 4,000 men.

We have here an example of the prodigious influence which a man of fine talents and abilities has in a state, when a great fund of merit is united in his person with a wellestablished reputation for probity, disinterestedness, and zeal for the good of his country. Cimon, with very little difficulty, succeeds in inspiring the Athenians with noble and magnanimous sentiments, which in outward appearance interfered with their interest; and this in spite of the suggestions of a secret jealousy, which never fails to show itseif in the most sensible manner on these occasions. By the ascendant and authority which his virtue gives him, he raises them above the groveling and unjust (though too common) political views, that prompt a people to consider the calamities of their neighbours as an advantage, which the interest of their own country permits, and even enjoins the n to lay hold of. The counsels of Cimon were perfectly wise and equitable; but it is surprising, how he could prevali so far as to make a whole people approve them, since this is all that could be expected froin an assembly of the wisest and gravest senators.

Some time after, the Lacedæmonians again implored the aid of the Athenians against the Messenians and Helots, who had seized upon (tho:na. But these forces being arriva ed under the con nand of Cimon, the Spartans began to dread their intrepidity, their power, and great fame; and affronted them so far, as to send them back, upon the suspicion of their harbouring ill designs, and of intending to turn their arins against them.

The Athenians being returned full of anger and resentment, they declared theinselves from that very day, enemies to all wnó should favour the Lacedæmonian interest; for which reason they buished Cimon by the ostracism, on the first opportunity that presented itself for that purpose. This

a Plut. in Cim. Thucyd. l. i. p. 67, 68.

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