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those kind of exercises. « One day at an entertainment, when, according to the usual custom, a lyre was presented to each of the guests ; when it was Gelon's turn, instead of touching the instrument as the rest had done, he caused his horse to be brought, mounted him with wonderful agility and grace, and showed that he had learnt a nobler exercise than playing on the lyre.
Since the defeat of the Carthaginians in Sicily, the several cities of it enjoyed a profound peace, and Syracuse was particularly happy in its tranquillity, under the auspicious government of Gelon. He was not born in Syracuse, and yet all the inhabitants of that city, though so extremely jealous of their liberty, had forced him in a manner to be their king. Though an alien, the supreme power went in search of him, not courted on his part with any art or inducement but those of merit. Gelon was thoroughly acquainted with all the duties of the regal office, as well as its great weight; and he accepted it with no other view but the good of his people. He thought himself king only for the defence of the state, to preserve the good order of society, to protect innocence and justice, and to exhibit to all his subjects, in his simple, modest, active, and regular life, a pattern of every civil virtue. The whole of royalty that he assumed was the toils and cares of it, a zeal for the public welfare, and the sweet satisfaction which results from making millions happy by his cares : in a word, he considered the sovereignty as an obligation, and a means to procure the felicity of a greater number of men. He banished from it pomp, ostentation, licenţiousness, and impunity for crimes. He did not affect the appearance of reigning, but contented himself with making the laws reign. He never made his inferiors feel that he was their master, but only inculcated into them that both himself and they ought to submit to reason and justice. To induce their obedience, he employed no other methods but persuasion and a good example, which are the weapons of virtue, and alone produce a sincere and uninterrupted obedience.
A revered old age, a name highly dear to all his subjects, a reputation equally diffused within and without his kingdoms ; these were the fruits of that wisdom which he retained on the throne to the last gasp. His reign was short, and only just showed him in a manner to Sicily, to exhibit in his person an example of a great, good, and true king. He died, after having reigned only seven years, to the infinite regret of all his subjects. Every family imagined itself deprived of its best friend, its protector and father. The people erected, in the place where his wife Damarata had been buried, a splendid mausolæum, surrounded with nine towers a Plat. in Apophthegm. p. 175
b Diod. L. xi. po 49, 30.
of a surprising height and magnificence; and decreed those honours to him, which were then paid to the demi-gods or heroes. The Carthaginians afterwards demolished the mausolæum, and Agathocles the towers : but, says the historian, neither violence, envy, nor time, which destroys all grosser things, could destroy the glory of his name, or abolish the memory of his exalted virtues and noble actions, which love and gratitude had engraved in the hearts of the Sicilians.
After Gelon's death, the sceptre continued near 12 years in his family. He was succeeded by Hiero, his eldest brother.
It will be necessary for us, in order to reconcile the authors who have written concerning this prince, some of whom declare him to have been a good king, and others a detestable tyrant ; it will be necessary, I say, to distinguish the periods. It is very probable that Hiero, dazzled, in the beginning of his reign, by the glitter of sovereign power, and corrupted by the flattery of his courtiers, studiously endeavoured to deviate from that path which his predecessor had pointed out to him, and in which he had found himself so happy:
This young prince was avaricious, headstrong, unjust, and studious of nothing but the gratification of his passions, without ever endeavouring to acquire the esteem and affection of the people ; who, on the other side, had the utmost aversion for a prince, whom they looked upon as a tyrant over them, rather than as a king ; and nothing but the veneration they had for Gelon's memory, prevented it from breaking out.
• Some time after he had ascended the throne, he had violent suspicions of Polyzelus, his brother, whose great influence among the citizens made him fear that he had a design to depose him. However, in order to rid himself without noise of an enemy whom he fancied very dangerous, he resolved to put him at the head of some forces he was going to send to the succour of the Sybarites against the Crotonienses, hoping that he would perish in the expedition. His brother's refusal to accept this command made him the more violent against him. Theron, who had married Polyzelus's daughter, joined with his father-in-law. This gave rise to meat differences of long duration between the kings of Syracuse and Agrigentum ; however, they at last were reconciled by the wise mediation of Simonides d the poet ; and to make their reconciliation lasting, they cemented it by a new alliance, Hiero marrying Theron's sister ; after which the, two kings always lived in good intelligence with each other.
1 A. M. 352%. Ant. J. C. 472. d Schol ip Pind.
6 Diod. l. xi. p. 51.
c Id l. xi. p. 563
a At first, an infirm state of health, which was increased by repeated illnesses, gave Hiero an opportunity of thinking seriously; after which he resolved to draw around him men of learning, who might converse agreeably with him, and furnish him with useful instructions. The most famous poets of the age came to his court, as Simonides, Pindar, Bacchylides and Epicharmus; and it is affirmed, that their delightful conversation did not a little contribute to soften the cruel and savage disposition of Hiero.
• Plutarch relates a noble saying of his, which shows an excellent disposition in a prince. He declared that his palace and his ears should be always open to every man who would tell him the truth, and that without disguise or reserve.
The poets above mentioned not only excelled in poetry, but were also possessed of a great fund of learning in other branches, and considered and consulted as the sages of their times. This is what c Cicero says particularly of Simonides. He had a great ascendant over the king; and the only use he made of it was, to incline him to virtue.
d They often used to converse on philosophical subjects. I observed, on another occasion, that Hiero in one of these conversations, asked Simonides his opinion with regard to the nature and attributes of the Deity. The latter desired one day's time to consider of it ; the next day he asked two, and went on increasing in the same proportion. The prince pressing him to give his reasons for these delays; he confessed, that the subject was above his comprehension, and that the more he reflected, the more obsure it appeared to him.
Xenophon has left us an excellent treatise on the art of governing well, entitled Hiero, and written in the form of a dialogue between this prince and Simonides. Hiero undertakes to prove to the poet, that tyrants and kings are not se happy as is generally imagined. Among the great number of proofs alleged by him, he insists chiefly on their unhappiness in being deprived of the greatest comfort and blessing in this life, viz. the enjoyment of a true friend, to whose bosom they may safely confide their secrets and afflictions; who may share with them in their joy and sorrow; in e word, a second self, who may form but one heart, one soul with them. Simonides, on the other side, lays down admirable maxims with respect to the duties of a sovereign. He represents to him, that a king is not so for himself but for others : that his grandeur consists, not in building magnificent palaces for his own residence, but in erectc Simonides, non poeta solum suavis, verum etian cæteroqth decim sapiens ing temples, and fortifying and embellishing his cities: that his glory consists not in his people's fearing him, but in their being afraid for him ; that a truly royal care is, not to enter the lists with the first comer at the Olympic games, (for, the princes of that age were passionately fond of them, and especially a Hiero) but to contend with the neighbouring kings, who should succeed best in diffusing wealth and abundance throughout his dominions, and in endeavouring to secure the felicity of his people.
6 In Apophth. p. 175. que traditur. Lib. i. de Nat. Deor. n. 6.
Cic. 1. i. de Nat. Deor. n. O,
a Æljan iv. e 15.
Nevertheless, another Poet (Pindar) praises Hiero for the victory he had won in the horse-race. “This prince, (says he, “ in his ode) who governs with equity the inhabitants of opu“ lent Sicily, has gathered the fairest flower of every virtue. “ He takes a noble delight in the most exquisite perform “ ances of poetry and music. He loves melodious airs, such as “it is customary for us to play at the banquets given us by “ our dearest friends. Rouse then thyself, take thy lyre, and “ raise it to the Doric pitch. If thou feelest thyself animat“ed by a glorious fire in favour of Pisa and Pherenice; if "they have waked the sweetest transports in thy breast, “ when that generous courser (without being quickened by “ the spur) flew along the banks of the Alpheus, and carried “ his royal rider to glorious victory : 0 sing the king of Sy
racuse, the ornament of the Olympic course!" The whole ode, translated by the late Mr. Massieu, is in the sixth volume of the Memoirs of the Academy of Inscriptions and Belles-Lettres, from which I have made the short extract above. I was very glad to give the reader some idea of Pindar, from this little specimen.
The next ode to this was composed in honour of Theron king of Agrigentum, victorious in the chariot-race. The diction of it is so sublime, the thoughts so noble, and the moral so pure, that many look upon it as Pindar's master-piece.
I cannot say how far we may depend on the rest of the praises which Pindar gives to Hiero, for poets are not always very sincere in the eulogiums they bestow on princes: however, it is certain that Hiero had made his court the resort of all persons of wit and genius; and that he had invited them to it by his affability and engaging behaviourand much more by his liberality, which is a great merit in a king,
We cannot bestow on Hiero's court the eulogium which Horace gives the house of Mecænas, in which a charac
a It is said that Themistocles, seeing him arrive at the Olympic games with a splendid equipage, would have had him forbidden them, because he had not suocoured the Greeks against the eommon enemy, any more than Gelon bis brother; which motion did honour to the Athenian general. Ælian 1. ix. c. 5.
6 Pisa was the city, near to wbich the Olympic games were soleminized: and Pherepice was the name of Hiero's courser signifying the gainer of victory.
Non iso vivimus illic,
ter prevailed rarely found among scholars, and nevertheless infinitely preferable to all their erudition. This amiable house, says Horace, was an utter stranger to the mean and groveling sentiments of envy and jealousy; and men saw, in those who shared in the master's favour, a superior merit or credit, without taking the least umbrage at it. a But it was far otherwise in the court of Hiero or of Theron. It is said that Simonides, and Bacchylides his nephew, employed all kinds of criticism, to lessen the esteem which chose princes had for Pindar's works. The latter, by way of reprisal, ridicules them very strongly in his od to The ron, in comparing “ them to ravens, who croak in vain against the divine bird of Jove." But modesty was not the virtue which distinguished Pindar.
6 Hiero, having driven the ancient inhabitants of Catana and Naxos from their country, settled a colony of 10,000 men there, half of whom were Syracusans, and the rest Peloponnesians. This induced the inhabitants of those two cities to appoint, after his death, the same solemnities in his honour, as were bestowed on heroes or demi-gods, because they considered him as their founder.
He showed great favour to the children of Anaxilaus, formerly tyrant of Zancle, and a great friend to Gelon his brother. As they were arrived at years of maturity, he exhorted them to take the government into their own hands; after Micythus, their tutor, should have perfectly informed them of the state of it, and how he himself had behaved in the administration. The latter, having assembled the nearest relations and most intimate friends of the young princes, gave, in their presence, so good an account of his guardianship, that the whole assembly (in perfect admiration) bestowed the highest encomiums on his prudence, integrity, and justice. Matters were carried so far, that the young princes were extremely urgent with him to continue to preside in the administration, as he had hitherto done. However, the wise tutor preferring the sweets of ease to the splendour of authority, and persuaded, at the same time, that it would be for the interest of the state if the young princes took the government into their own hands, resolved to retire from business. Hiero died, after having reigned eleven years.
6. THRASYBULUS. d He was succeeded by Thrasybulus his brother, who, big Hec magis his aliena malis. Nil mi officit unquam, Ditior hic, aut est quia doctior.
Est lucus unieCuique suus. a Scholiast. Pind.
Hor. lib Sat. 9. e Diod. 1. xi. p, 50,
b Diod. I. xi. p. 37.