« AnteriorContinuar »
loponnesians, whose troops were superior in number to
theirs; not to regard the laying waste of their lands, as they á might easily be restored to their former condition; but to * consider the loss of their men as highly important, because s: irretrievable; to make their whole policy consist in defending , their city, and preserving the empire of the sea, which
would certainly one day give them the superiority over their
enemies. He laid down the plan for carrying on the war, o not for a single campaign, but during the whole time it might #last; and enumerated the evils they had to fear, if they de* viated from that system. Pericles, after adding other consi
derations, taken from the genius or character, and the internal government of the two republics; the one uncertain and fluctuating in its deliberations, and rendered still slower in the execution, from its being obliged to wait for the consent of its allies; the other speedy, determinate, independent, and mistress of its resolutions, which is no indifferent circumstance with regard to the success of enterprises ; Pericles, I say, concluded his speech, and gave his opinion as follows; “We have no more to do but to dismiss the am"bassadors, and to give them this answer: that we permit " those of Megara to trade with Athens, upon condition " that the Lacedæmonians do not prohibit either us, or our " allies, to trade with them. With regard to the cities of
“ Greece, we shall leave those free, who were so at the time 要
“ of our agreement, provided they shall do the same with “regard to those dependent on them. We do not refuse to " submit the decision of our differences to arbitration, and “ will not commit the first hostilities; however, in case of being attacked, we shall make a vigorous defence."
The ambassadors were answered as Pericles had dictated. They returned home, and never came again to Athens; soon after which the Peloponnesian war broke out.
TRANSACTIONS OF THE GREEKS IN SICILY AND ITALY.
S the Peloponnesian war is a great event, of considerabe proper to relate, in few words, the most considerable transactions which had happened in Græcia Major, to the time We now speak of, whether in Sicily or Italy.
Sect. I. The Carthaginians are defeated in Sicily. Theron, Tyrant
of Agrigentum. Reign of Gelon in Syracuse, and his two Brothers. Liberty is restored.
1. GELON. . We have seen that 6 Xerxes, whose project tended to no less than the total extirpation of the Greeks, had prevailed with the Carthaginians to make war against the people of Sicily. They crossed over thither with an army of above three hundred thousand men, and a fleet of two thousand ships, and upwards of three thousand transports. Hamilcar, the ablest of the Carthaginian generals at that time, was charged with this expedition. However, the success was not answerable to these mighty preparations; the Carthaginians were entirely defeated by Gelon, who at that time had the chief authority in Syracuse.
c This Gelon was born in a city of Sicily, situated on the southern coast between Agrigentum and Camarina, called Gelas, whence perhaps he received his name. He had sig. nalized himself very much in the wars which Hippocrates, Tyrant of Gela, carried on against the neighbouring powers, most of whom he subdued, and was very near taking Syracuse. After the death of Hippocrates, Gelon, upon pretence of defending the rights and succession of the tyrant's children, took up arms against his own citizens, and having overcome them in a battle, possessed himself of the government in his own name.
Some time after he made himself master also of Syracuse, by the assistance of some exiles whom he had caused to return into it, and who had engaged the populace to open the gates of that city to him. He then gave Gela to Hiero his brother, and applied himself wholly in extending the limits of the territory of Syracuse, and sooli rendered himself very powerful, We may form a judg. ment of this d from the army which he offered the Grecian ambassadors, who came to desire his aid against the king of Persia; and by his demand of being appointed generalissimo of all their forces, which however they refused. The fear he was in at that time, of being soon invaded by the Carthaginians, was the chief occasion of his not succouring the Greeks. He showed himself to be a crafty politician by his conduct; and when news was brought
him of Xerxes's having crossed the Hellespont, he sent a trusty person with rich presents, and ordered him to wait the issue of the first battie, and in case Xerxes should be victorious, to pay homage
b Diod. 1. ri p. 1 & 16–22. d He promised to furuish two hundred ships and thirty thousand pack
a A M. 3520. Ant. J. C. 484. c Herod. I. vii. c 153-167
to him in his name, otherwise to bring back the money. I now return to the Carthaginians. They had landed
in Sicily at the earnest solicitations of Terillus, formerly Tyrant of Himera, but dethroned by Theron, another tyrant, who reigned at Agrigentum. The family of the latter was one of the most illustrious of all Greece, being descended in a direct line from Cadmus. He married into the family which at that time ruled at Syracuse, and which consisted of four brothers, Gelon, Hiero, Polyzelus, and Thrasybulus. He married his daughter to the first, and himself married the daughter of the third.
Hamilcar having landed at Panormus, began by laying siege to Himera. Gelon hasted with a great army to the succour of his father-in-law; when uniting they defeated the
Carthaginians. This was perhaps the most complete victory i ever gained.
The battle was fought the same day with that of a Thermopylæ, the circumstances of which I have related in the
history of the Carthaginians. One remarkable circumEcstance in the conditions of the peace, which Gelon prescribsised to the conquered, was, that they should cease to sacricfice their children to the God Saturn; which shows, at the e same time, the cruelty of the Carthaginians, and the piety of Gelon.
The spoils won on this occasion were of immense value. Gelon allotted the greatest part of them for the ornament of the temples in Syracuse. They also took an incredible number of prisoners. These he shared, with the utmost equity, with his allies, who employed them, after putting irons on their feet, in cultivating their lands, and in building magnificent edifices, as well for the ornament as the utility of the cities. Several of the citizens of Agrigentum had each five hundred for his own share.
Gelon after so glorious a victory, so far from growing more proud and haughty, behaved with greater affability and humanity than ever towards the citizens and his allies. Being returned from the campaign, he convened the assembly of the Syracusans, who were ordered to come armed into it
. However, he himself came unarmed thither: declared to the assembly every circumstance of his conduct; the uses to which he had applied the several sums with
Herodotus says, that this battle was fought the same day with that of Salamis, which does not appear so probable. For the Greeks, informed o Gelor's successes, intreated him to succour them against Xerxes, which they would not have done after the battle of Salamis, which exalted their courage so much, that after this battle they
imagined themselves strong enough to resist their eneunies , and to put an end to the war, to their own advantage, without the assist
c Plut in Apoplath, p. 175. A. M, 3525, Ant. J, C. 479
ance of any other power: 6 Vol. I. VOL. III,
which he had been intrusted, and in what manner he had employed his authority; adding, that if they had any complaints to make against him, his person and life were at their disposal. All the people, struck with so unexpected a speech, and still more with the unusual confidence he reposed in them, answered by acclamations of joy, praise and gratitude; and immediately, with one consent, invested him with the supreme authority, and the title of king. 2 And to preserve to latest posterity the remembrance of Gelon's memorable action, who had come into the assembly, and put his life into the hands of the Syracusans, they erected a statue in honour of him, wherein he was represented in the ordinary habit of a citizen, ungirded, and unarmed. This statue met afterwards with a very singular fate, and worthy of the motives which had occasioned its being set up. T'imoleon, above a hundred and thirty years after, having restored the Syracusans to their liberty, thought it advisable, in order to erase all traces of tyrannical government, and at the same time to assist the wants of the people, to sell publicly by auction all the statues of those princes and tyrants who had governed it till that time. But first he brought them to a trial, as so many criminals; hearing the depositions and witnesses upon each of them. They all were condemned unanimously, the statue of Gelon only excepted, which found an eloquent advocate and defender, in the warm and sincere gratitude which the citizens retained for that great man, whose virtue they revered as if he had been still alive.
The Syracusans had no cause to repent their having intrusted Ġelon with unlimited power and authority. This made no addition to his known zeal for their interests, but only enabled him to do them more important services. 6 For, by a change till then unheard of, and of which c Tacitus found no example except in Vespasian, he was the first man whom the sovereignty made the better man. He made upwards of ten thousand foreigners, who had served under him, denizens. His views were, to people the capital, to increase the power of the state, to reward the services of these brave and faithful soldiers ; and to attach them more strongly to Syracuse, from the sense of the advantageous settlement they had obtained in being incorporated with the citizens.
d He prided himself particularly upon his inviolable since. rity, truth and fidelity to his engagements; a quality very essential to a prince, the only one capable of gaining him the
4 Plut. in Timol. p. 247. Æljan. 1 xiji c. 37. 6 Diod. l. xi. p. 55.
c Solus omnium ante se principum in Belius mutatus este. Hift. l. i. c. 50. d Plut, in Apophth. p. 175.
love and confidence of his subjects and of foreigners, and which therefore ought to be considered as the basis of all just policy and good government. Having occasion for money to carry on an expedition he meditated, (this, very probably, was before he had triumphed over the Carthaginians) he addressed the people, in order to obtain a contribution from them ; but finding the Syracusans unwilling to be at that expense, he told them, that he asked nothing but a loan, and that he would engage to repay it as soon as the war should be over. The money was advanced, and repaid punctually at the promised time. How happy is that government where such justice and equity are exercised ; and how mistaken are those ministers and princes, who violate them in the slightest degree.
a One of the chief objects of his attention, and in which his successor imitated him, was to make the cultivation of the lands be considered as an honourable employment. It is well known how fruitful Sicily was in corn; and the immense revenues which might be produced from so rich a soil when industriously cultivated. He animated the husbandmen by his presence, and delighted in appearing sometimes at their head, in the same manner as on other occasions he had marched at the head of arinies. His intention, says Plutarch, was not merely to make the country rich and fruitful, but also to exercise his subjects, to accustom and inure them to toils, and by that means to preserve them from a thousand disorders, which inevitably follow a soft and indolent life. There are few maxims (in point of policy) on which the ancients have insisted more strongly, than on that relating to the cultivation of their lands; a manifest proof of their great wisdom, and the profound knowledge they had of what constitutes the strength and solid happiness of a state. 6 Xenophon, in a dialogue, the subject of which is government, entitled Hiero, shows the great advantage it would be to a state, were the king studious to reward those who should excel in husbandry, and in whatever relates to the cultivation of lands. He says the same of war, of trade, and of all the arts; on which occasion, if honours were paid to all those who should distinguish themselves in them, it would give universal life and motion ; would excite a noble and laudable emulation among the citizens, and give rise to a thousand inventions for the improvement and perfection of those arts.
It does not appear that Gelon had been educated in the. same manner as the children of the rich among the Greeks, who were taught music and the art of playing on instruments with great care. Possibly this was a consequence of his mean birth, or rather was owing to the little value he set on a Plut. in Apophth. p. 175.
b P. 916, 917,