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the allies, as to the jealousy of the Athenian power, which had already subjected a considerable part of Greece.
a Accordingly the allies were convened a second time. They all gave their votes, in their several turns, from the greatest city to the least, and war was resolved by general consent. However, as they had not yet made any prepárations, it was judged advisable to begin them immediately ; and while this was doing, in order to gain time, and observe the necessary formalities, to send ambassadors to Athens, to complain of the violation of the treaty.
The first who were sent thither, reviving an old complaint, required of the Athenians to expel out of their city the descendants of those who had profaned the temple of Minerva in the affair of 6 Cylon. As Pericles was of that family by the mother's side, the view of the Lacedæmonians, in their making this demand, was, either to procure his banishment or lessen his authority. However, it was not complied with. The second ambassadors required, that the siege of Potidæa should be raised, and the liberty of Ægina restored, and above all, that the decree against the Megarians should be repealed ; declaring, that otherwise no accommodation could take place. In fine, a third embassy came, who took no notice of any of these particulars, but only said, thät the Lacedæmonians were for peace; but that this could never be, except the Athenians should cease to infringe the liberties of Greece.
Sect. XIV. Troubles cxcited against Pericles. He determines the Athe
nians to engage in war against the Lacedæmonians. c Pericles opposed all these demands with great vigour, and especially that relating to the Megarians. He had great influence in Athens, and at the same time had many
enemies. Not daring to attack him at first in person, they cited his most intimate friends, and those for whom he had the greatest esteem, as Phidias, Aspasia, and Anaxagoras, before the people; and their design in this was, to sound how the people stood affected towards Pericles himself.
Phidias was accused of having embezzled considerable sums in the forming the statue of Minerva, which was his master-piece. The prosecution having been carried on with the usual forms, before the assembly of the people, not a single proof of Phidias's pretended embezzlement appeared: for that artist, from the time of his beginning that statue, had, by Pericles's advice, contrived the workmanship of the gold in such a manner, that all of it might be taken off and weighed; which accordingly Pericles bid the informers do in presence of all the spectators. But Phidias had witnesses against him, the truth of whose evidence he could neither dispute nor silence; these were the fame and beauty of his works, the ever-existing causes of the envy which attacked him. The circumstance which they could least forgive in him was, his having represented to the life in the battle of the Amazons, engraved on the the shield of the goddess) his own person, and that of Pericles a: and, by an imperceptible art, he had so blended and incorporated these figures with the whole work, that it was impossible to erase them, without disfiguring and taking to pieces the whole statue. Phidias was therefore dragged to prison, where he came to his end, either by the common course of nature, or by poison. Other authors say, that he was only banished and that after his exile he made the famous statue of Jupiter at Olympia. It is not possible to excuse, in any manner, the ingratitude of the Athenians, in thus making a prison or death the reward of a master-piece of art; nor their excessive rigour, in punishing, as a capital crime, an action that appears innocent in itself; or which to make the worst of it, was a vanity very pardonable in so great an artist.
a Thucyd. 1 i. p. 77–84, and 93
6 This Cyion had seizerl on the citadel of Athens above an hundred years be fore. Those who followed him being besieged in it, and reduced to extreme famine, fled for shelter to the temple of Minerva, from whence they afterwards were taken out by force and cut to pieces. Those who advised this murder were deciared guilty of impiety and sacrilege, and as such banished. However they were recalled some time after § Plut. in Peric), p. 168, 169.
Aspasia, a native of Miletus in Asia, had settled in Athens, where she was become very famous, not so much for the charms of her person, as for her vivacity and solidity of wit, and her great knowledge. All the illustrious men in the city thought it an honour to frequent her house. 6 Socrates himself used to visit her constantly; and was not ashamed to pass for her pupil, and to own that he had learnt rhetoric from her. Pericles declared also, that he was obliged to Aspasia for his eloquence, which so greatly distinguished him in Athens; and that it was from her conversation he had imbibed the principles of the art of policy, for she was exceedingly well versed in the maxims of government. Their intimacy was owing to still stronger motives. Pericles did not love his wife; he resigned her very freely to another man, and supplied her place with Aspasia whom he loved passionately, though her reputation was more than suspicious. Aspasia was accused of impiety and a dissolute Aristot. in trastat. do mund. p. 613.
6 Plut. in Menex, p. 235.
conduct; and it was with the utmost difficulty that Pericles saved her, by his intreaties and by the compassion he raised in the judges, by shedding abundance of tears whilst her cause was pleading, a behaviour little consistent with the dignity of his character, and the rank of supreme head of the most powerful state of Greece.
A decree had passed, by which informations were ordered to be laid against all such a persons as denied what was ascribed to the ministry of the gods; or those philosophers and others who gave lessons on the more abstruse points of physics, and the motions of the heavens, doctrines on this occasion considered injurious to the established religion. The scope and aim of this decree was, to make Pericles suspected with regard to these matters, because Anaxagoras had been his master. This philosopher taught, that one only intelligence had modified the chaos, and disposed the universe in the beautiful order in which we now see it; which tended directly to depreciate the gods of the pagan system. Pericles thinking it would be impossible for him to save his life sent him out of the city to a place of safety.
The enemies of Pericles seeing that the people approved and received with pleasure all these accusations, impeached that great man himself, and charged him with embezzling the public monies during his administration. A decree was made, by which Pericles was obliged to give in immediately his accounts; was to be tried for oppression and rapine'; and the cause to be adjudged by fifteen hundred judgesa Pericles had no real cause for fear, because in the administration of the public affairs his conduct had always been irreproachable, especially on the side of interest: he could not however but be under some apprehensions from the ill will of the people, when he considered their great levity and inconstancy: _One day when Alcibiades (then very young) went to visit Pericles, he was told that he was not to be spoken with, because of some affairs of great consequence in which he was then engaged. Alcibiades inquiring what these mighty affairs were, was answered, that Pericles was prea paring to give in his accounts. (He ought rather, says Alcibiades, not to give them in :) and indeed this was what Pericles at last resolved. To allay the storm, he made a resolution to oppose the inclination the per : discovered for the Peloponnesian war no longer, prep ons for which had been long carrying on, firmly persuauru chat this would soon silence all complaints against him; that envy would
α Τα θεία μη νομίζοντας, ή λόγος περί των μεταρσίων διδάσκονται Apax: agoras teaching that the divine intelligence alone gave a regular motion to all the parts of nature, and presided in the government of the universe ; destroyed, by that system, the plurality of gods, their powers, and all the peculiar funetions which were ascribed to them.
yield to a more powerful motive; and that the citizens, when in such imminent danger, would not fail of throwing themselves into his arms, and submit implicitly to his conduct, from his great power and exalted reputation.
a This is what some historians have related; and the comic poets, in the lifetime, and under the eye as it were, of Pericles, spread such a report in public, to sully, if possible, his reputation and merit, which drew upon him the envý and enmity of many. Plutarch, on this occasion, makes a reflection, which may be of great service not only to those in the administration of public affairs, but to all sorts of persons, as well as of advantage in the ordinary intercourse of life. He thinks it strange, when actions are good in themselves, and manifestly laudable in all respects, that men, purely to discredit illustrious personages, should pretend to dive into their hearts; and from a spirit of the vilest and most abject malice, should ascribe such views and intentions to them, as they probably never so much as imagined. He, on the contrary, wishes, when the motive is obscure, and the same action may be considered in different lights, that men would always view it in the most favourable, and incline to judge candidly of it. He applies this maxim to the reports which had been spread concerning Pericles, as the fomenter of the Peloponnesian war, merely for private and interested views; whereas, the whole tenor of his past conduct ought to have convinced every body, that it was wholly from reasons of state, and for the good of the public, that he at last acquiesced in an opinion, which he had hitherto thought it incumbent on him to oppose.
• Whilst this affair was carrying on at Athens, the Lacedæmonians sent several embassies thither, one after another, to make the various demands above mentioned. At last the affair was debated in the assembly of the people, and it was resolved they should first deliberate upon all the articles, before they gave a positive answer. Opinions, as is usual in these cases, were divided; and some were for abolishing the decree enacted against Megara, which seemed the chief obstacle to a peace.
Pericles spoke on this occasion with the utmost force of eloquence, which his view to the public welfare, and the honour of his country, rendered more vehement and triumphant than it had ever appeared before. He showed, in the first place that the decree relating to Megara, on which the greatest stress was laid, was not of so little consequence as they imagined: that the demand made by the Lacedæmonians on that head, was merely to sound the disposition of a Plut, de Herod. malign. p. 855, 856. | Thucyd. 1. i. p. 93-99. Diod. l. xij. p. 95-97.
the Athenians, and to try whether it would be possible to incroach upon them by frightening them out of their determination ; that should they recede on this occasion, it would betray fear and weakness; that the affair was of no less importance than the giving up to the Lacedæmonians the empire which the Athenians had possessed during so many years, by their courage and resolution: that should the Athenians give way on this point, the Lacedæmonians would immediately prescribe new laws to them, as to a people seized with dread; whereas, if they made a vigorous resista 'ance, their opponents would be obliged to treat them, at least, on the foot of equals; that with regard to the present mats ters in dispute, arbiters might be chosen, in order to adjust them in an amicable way; but that it did not become the Lacedæmonians to command the Athenians with a magisterial air, to quit Potidæa, to free Ægina, and revoke the decree relating to Megara: that such imperious behaviour was directly contrary to the treaty, which declared in express terms, “That should any disputes arise among the allies,
they should be decided by pacific methods, AND WITHOUT ANY PARTY'S BEING OBLIGED TO GIVE UP ANY PART OF
WHAT THEY POSSESSED:" that the surest way to prevent a government from being eternally contesting about its possessions, is to take up arms, and dispute its rights sword in hand: that the Athenians had just reason to believe they would gain their cause this way, and to give them a stronger idea of this truth, he set before them a most brilliant description of the present state of Athens, giving a very particular account of its treasures, revenues, fleets, land as well as sea-forces, and those of its allies; contrasting these several resources with the poverty ofthe Lacedæmonians, who (he said) had no money, which is the sinews of war, not to mention the poor condition of their navy, on which success in war most depended. a And indeed, it appeared by the treasury, that the Athenians had brought from Delos to their city 9,600 talents, which amounted to about 1,200,000 1. sterling. The annual contributions of the allies amounted to 460 talents, that is, to near 1,400,000 French livres. In cases of necessity, the Athenians would find infinite resources from the ornaments of the temples, since those of the statue of Minerva alone amounted to 50 talents of gold, that is, 1,500,000 French livres, which might be taken from the statue without spoiling it in any manner, and be afterwards fixed on again in more auspicious times. With regard to the land-forces, they amounted to very near 30,000 men, and the fleet consisted of 300 gallies. Above all, he advised them not to venture a battle in their own country against the Pea
a Diod. 1. xii. p. 96, 97.