Imágenes de páginas

ever were rarely granted, and for that very reason were highly esteemed ; whereas now they are so profusely bestowed, that little or no value is set upon them. The same thing happened, adds he among the Athenians. All the honour that was paid to Miltiades, the great deliverer of Athens, and of all Greece, was, that in a picture of the battle of Marathon, drawn by order of the Athenians, he was represented at the head of the ten commanders, exhorting the soldiers, and setting them an example of their duty. But this same people in later ages, being grown more powerful, and corrupted by the flatteries of their orators, decreed 300 statues to Demetrius Phalereus.

a Plutarch makes the same reflection, and wisely observes, that the b honour which is paid to great men ought not to be looked upon as the reward of their illustrious actions, but only as a mark of the esteem in which they are held, whereof such monunients are intended to perpetuate the remembrance. It is not then the stateliness or magnificence of public monuments which gives them their value, or makes them durable, but the sincere gratitude of those that erect them. The 300 statues of Demetrius Phalereus were all thrown down even in his own lifetime ; but the picture in which Miltiades's courage was represented, was preserved many ages after him.

. This picture was kept at Athens in a gallery, adorned and enriched with different paintings, all excellent in their kind, and done by the greatest masters; which for that reason was called ainian, signifying varied and diversified. The celebrated Polygnotus, a native of the isle of Thasos, and one of the finest painters of his time, painted this picture, or at least the greatest part of it ; and as he valued himself upon his honour, and was more attached to glory than interest, he did it gratuitously, and would not receive any recompense for it. The city of Athens therefore rewarded him with a sort of coin, that was more acceptible to his taste, by procuring an order from the Amphictyons which assigned him a public lodging in the city, where he might live during his own pleareport of the arrival of the enemy's fleet, having raised the siege which he had laid to the capital, wherein he had received a very dangerous wound, he returned to Athens with his fleet ; and was there impeached by a citizen, called Xanthippus, who accused him of having raised the siege through treachery, and in consideration of a great sum of money given him by the king of Persia. Little probability as there was in this accusation, it nevertheless prevailed over the merit and innocence of Miltiades. a He was condemned to lose his life, and to be thrown into the Barathrum; a sentence passed only upon the greatest criminals and malefactors. The magistrate opposed the execution of so unjust a condemnation. All the favour shown to this preserver of iis country, was to have the sentence of death commuted into a penalty of 50 talents, or 50,000 crowns French money, being the sum to which the expenses of the fleet, that had been equipped upon his solicitation and advice, amounted. Not being rich enough to pay the sum, he was put into prison, where he died of the wound he had received at Paros. Cimon, his son, who was at this time very young, signalized his piety on this occasion, as we shall find hereafter he signalized his courage. He purchased the permission of burying his father's body, by paying the fine of 50,000 crowns, in which he had been condemned ; which sum the young man raised, as well as he could, by the assistance of his friends and relations.

d The gratitude of the Athenians towards Miltiades was of no very long duration. After the battle of Marathon, he desired and obtained the command of a fleet of 70 ships, in order to punish and subdue the islands that had favoured the barbarians. Accordingly he reduced several of them : but having had ill success in the island of Paros, and, upon a false a In præc. de ep. ger. p. 820.

και Ου γαρ μισθο είναι δεϊ της πράξεως, αλλά σύμβολον, της τιμήν να και διαμένη πολύν χρόνων d Herud. l. vi. c. 132 & 136. Cor. Nep. in Milt o 7 & 8.


c Plin. I. XXXV. C 9

Cornelius Nepos observes, that what chiefly induced the Athenians to act in this manner, with regard to Miltiades, was only his merit and great reputation, which made the people, who were but lately delivered from the yoke of slavery under Pisistratus, apprehend, that Miltiades, who had formerly been tyrant in the Chersonesus, might effect the same at Athens. They therefore chose rather to punish an innocent person, than to be under perpetual apprehensions of him. To this same principle was the institution of the ostracism at Athens owing. I have elsewhere given an account of the most plausible reasons, upon which the ostracism could be founded : but I do not see how we can fully justify so strange a policy, to which all merit becomes sus. pected, and virtue itself appears criminal.

a This appears plainly in the banishinent of Aristides. His inviolable attachment to justice obliged him on many occasions to oppose Themistocles; who did not pique himself upon his delicacy in that respect, and who spared no intrigues and cabals to engage the suffrages of the people, for

a Plat in Georg. p 516. + 6 Hæc populus respiciens, maluit eum innocentein plecti, quam se diutius

cManner of Stad. vol. ii. p. 407, d Plut, in Arist. p. 322, 323.

esse in tinore.

upon his shell.

removing a rival who always opposed his ambitious designs. a This is a strange instance, that a person may be superior in merit and virtue, without being so in influence. The impetuous eloquence of Themistocles bore down the justice of Aristides, and occasioned his banishment. In this kind of trial the citizens gave their suffrages by writing the name of the accused person upon a shell, called in Greek ósgano), from whence came the term Ostracism. On this occasion, a peasant, who could not write, and did not know Aristides, applied to him, and desired him to put the name of Aristides

“ Has he done you any wrong,” said Aristides, that you are for condemning him in this manner?" “ No," replied the other, “I do not so much as know him; “ but I am quite tired and angry with hearing every body « call him the Just." Aristides, without saying a word more, calmly took the shell, wrote his name in it, and returned it. He set out for his banishment, imploring the gods that no accident might befall his country to make it regret him. The great Camillus , in a like case, did not imitate his generosity, and prayed to a quite different effect, desiring the gods to force his ungrateful country, by some misfortune, to have occasion for his aid, and recall him as soon as possible.

co fortunate republic, cries out Valerius Maximus, speaking of Aristides's banishment, which, after having so basely treated the most virtuous man it ever produced, was yet able to find citizens zealously and faithfully attached to her service! Felices Athenas, quæ, post illius exilium invenire “ aliquem aut virum bonum, aut amantem sui civem potue“runt; cum quo tunc ipsa sanctitas migravit!”

SECT. VIII. Dariús resolves to make war in person against Egypt, and

against Greece ; is prevented by death. Dispute between two of his sons, concerning the succession to the crown. Xerxes is chosen king.

When Darius d received the news of the defeat of his army at Marathon, he was violently enraged; and that bad success was so far from discouraging or diverting him from carrying on the war against Greece, that it only served to


a In his cognitum est, quanto antistaret eloquentia innocentiæ Quanquam enim adeo excellebat Aristides abstint ntia, ut unus post bominum memoriam, quod quidem nos audierimus, cognomine Justus sit appellatus ; tamen a The mistocle collabetactus testula illa exilio decern annorum multatus est. Cor. Nep. in Arist.

6 In exilium abiit, precatus ab diis immortalibus, si exilio sibi ea injuria fie ret, primo quoque tempore desiderium sui civitati ingrate facerent. Liv. I. y, N, 22,

c Val. Max. I. v. c. 3. d Herod, l. vii. A

[merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]

animate him to pursue it with the greater vigour, in order to be revenged at the same time for the burning of Sardis, and for the dishonour incurred at Marathon. Being thus determined to march in person with all his forces, he dispatched orders to all his subjects in the several provinces of his empire to arm themselves for this expedition.

After having spent three years in making the necessary preparations, he had another war to carry on, occasioned by the revolt of Egypt. It seems, from what we read in « Diodorus Siculus, that Darius went thither himself to quell it, and that he succeeded. That historian relates, that upon this prince's desiring to have his statue placed before thať of Sesostris, the chief priest of the Egyptians told him," he “had not yet equalled the glory of that conqueror :" and that the king, without being offended at the Egyptian priests freedom, made answer, that he would endeavour to surpass it. Diodorus adds farther, that Darius, detesting the impious cruelty which his predecessor Cambyses had exercised in that country, expressed great reverence for their gods and temples; that he had several conversations with the Egyptian priests upon matters of religion and government; and that having learnt of them, with what gentleness their ancient kings used to treat their subjects, he endeavoured, after his return into Persia, to form himself upon their model. But Herodotus, more worthy of belief in this particular than Diodorus, only observes, that this pruce resolving at once to chastise his revolted subjects, and to be avenged of his ancient enemies, determined to make war against both at the same time, and to attack Greece in person with the main body of his army, whilst the rest of it was employed in the reduction of Egypt.

© According to an ancient custom among the Persians, their king was not allowed to go to war, without having first named the person that should succeed him in the throne ; a custom wisely established to prevent the state's being exposed to the troubles which generally attend the uncertainty of a successor ; to the inconveniencies of anarchy, and to the cabals of various pretenders. Darius, before he undertook his expedition against Greece, thought himself the more obliged to observe this rule, as he was already advanced in years, and as there was a dispute between two of his sons, upon the point of succeeding to the empire; which might occasion a civil war after his death, if he left it undetermined. Darius had three sons by his first wife, the daughter of Gobryas, all three born before their father came to the crown: and four more by. Atossa, the daughter of Cyrus, who were all born ter their father's accession to the throne; a Herod, 1. i. p. 54 & 85.

cnid. c. 2, 3.

5 Ibid. 1. vi. c. 2.

Artabazanes, called by Justin Artemenes, was the eldest of the former, and Xerxes of the latter. Artabazanes alleged in his own behalf, that, as he was the eldest of all the brothers, the right of succession, according to the custom and practice of all nations, belonged to him preferably to all the rest. Xerxes's argument was, that as he was the son of Darius by Atossa, the daughter of Cyrus, who founded the Persian empire, it was more just that the crown of Cyrus should devolve upon one of his descendants, than upon one that was not. Demaratus, the Spartan king, unjustly deposed by his subjects, and at that time in exile at the court of Persia, secretly suggested to Xerxes another argument to support his pretensions: that Artabazanes was indeed the eldest son of Darius, but he, Xerxes, was the eldest son of the king ; and therefore, Artabazanes being born when his father was but a private person, all he could pretend to, on account of his seniority, was only to inherit his private estate; but that he, Xerxes, being the firstborn son of the king, had the best right to succeed to the crown. He further supported this argument by the example of the Lacedæmonians, who admitted none to inherit the kingdom but those children that were born after their father's accession. The right of sucCession was accordingly determined in favour of Xerxes.

Justin and Plutarch place this dispute after Darius's decease. They both take notice of the prudent conduct of these two brothers in a point of so much delicacy. According to their manner of relating this fact, Artabazanes was absent when the king died; and Xerxes immediately assumed all the marks, and exercised all the functions of the sovereignty. But upon his brother's return, he quitted the diadem and the tiara, which he wore in such a manner as only suited the king, went out to meet him, and showed him all imaginable respect. They agreed to make their uncle Artabanes the arbitrator of their difference, and without any further appeal, to acquiesce in his decision. All the while this dispute lasted, the two brothers showed one another all the demonstrations of a truly fraternal friendship, by keeping up a continual intercourse of presents and entertainments, from whence their mutual esteem and confidence for each other banished all fears and suspicions on both sides, and introduced an unconstrained cheerfulness, and a perfect security. This is a spectacle, says Justin, highly worthy of our admiration: to see, whilst most brothers are at daggersdrawing with one another about a small patrimony, with

a Adeo fraterna contentio fuit, ut'nee victor insultarerit, nec victus doluerit, ipsoque litis tempore invicem munera miserint , jucunda quoque inter se non solum, sed credula convivia habuerint: judicium quoque ipsum sine arbitris,

Tanto moderatius tüm fratres inter se regna maxima divi debant quam nuno exigua patrimonia partiuntur. Justin

b Justin. l. ij. c. 10. Plut. de frat. amore, p. 488

sine convitio fuerit.

« AnteriorContinuar »