Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

tence; but their repentance could not restore the dead to life. Callixenes, the orator was put in prison, and was not allowed to be heard. Having found means to make his escape, he fled to Decelia to the enemy, from whence he returned some time after to Athens, where he died of hunger, universally detested and abhorred by all the world, as all false accusers and slanderers ought to be. Diodorus remarks, that the people themselves were justly punished for their crime by the gods, who abandoned them soon after, not to a single master, but to thirty tyrants, that treated them with the utmost rigour and cruelty.

The disposition of the populace is recognized in this account; and Plato, upon the same event, draws in few words their character with much spirit and resemblance. The

populace, says he, is an unconstant, ungrateful, cruel, suspicious animal, incapable of submitting to the government of reason; which is no wonder, adds he, as it is commonly composed of the dregs of a city, and is a monstrous assemblage, without form or order, of all that is worst in it.

The same relation shows what effect fear can have upon the minds of men, even upon those who pass for the wisest, and how few there are, who are capable of supporting inflexibly the view of present danger and disgrace. Though the justness of the accused generals' cause was perfectly known in the senate, at least by the greater part of it: as soon as the people's rage was mentioned, and the terrible menaces they murmured, those grave senators, most of whom had commanded armies, and who all had frequently exposed themselves to the greatest dangers of war, instantly changed sides, and came over to the most notorious calumny, and flagrant injustice, that ever had being. An evident proof that there is a courage, though very rare, which infinitely transcends that valour, which induces so many thousands of men every day to confront the most terrible dangers in battle, Amongst all the judges, one alone, truly worthy of putation, the great Socrates, in this general treason and perfidy, stood firm and immoveable; and though he knew his suffrage and unaided voice would be of little or no consequence to the accused, he thought them a homage due to oppressed innocence, and that it was unworthy an honest man to govern himself by the fury of a blind and frantic people. We see in this instance how far the cause of justice may be abandoned. We may conclude it was not better defended before the people. Of more than 3000 citizens, whe composed the assembly, two only took upon them the defence

re

a Plat in Axioch. p. 368, 369.

ὁ Δήμῳ ἀχαριδον, ἁψορον

βάσκανον, ἀπαιδευίον.

ο Οὐ γὰρ ἐφαίνετό μοι σεμνὸν δήμῳ μαινομένῳ συνεξάρχειν.

[ocr errors]

of their generals, Euriptodemus and Axiochus. Plato has preserved their names, and given that of the latter to the dialogue, from whence part of these reflections are taken.

a The same year that the battle of the Arginusæ was fought, Dionysius possessed himself of the tyranny in Sicily. I shall defer speaking of him till the ensuing volume, in which I shall relate the history of the tyrants of Syracuse at large.

SECT. VI.

Lysander commands the Lacedæmonian fleet. Cyrus is recalled to court by his father. Lysander's celebrated victory over the Athenians at Egospotamos.

After the defeat at the Arginuse, the affairs of the Peloponnesians, declining, the allies, supported by the credit of Cyrus, sent an embassy to Sparta, to demand that the command of the fleet should again be given to Lysander, with the promise of serving with more affection and courage if their request were granted. As it was contrary to the laws of Sparta that the same person should be twice admiral, the Lacedæmonians, to satisfy the allies, gave the title of admiral to one Aracus, and sent Lysander with him, whom in appearance they commissioned only as vice-admiral, though in effect they invested him with all the authority of the su→ preme command.

All those who had the greatest share in the government of the cities, and possessed the most authority in them, saw him arrive with extreme joy; promising themselves, from his influence, the final subversion of the democratic power. His character of complaisance towards his friends, and indulgence to all their faults, suited much better ambitious and injurious views, than the austere equity of Callicratidas. For Lysander was a man of the most corrupt heart, and gloried in having no principles in point of virtue or the most sacred duties. He made no scruple to employ artifice and deceit upon all occasions, and esteemed justice only as far as it served his measures. When it did not promote them, he never failed to prefer the useful, which with him was alone laudable and excellent; from a persuasion that truth had in its own nature no advantage over falsehood, and that the value of both one and the other was to be appreciated by the convenience resulting from them. And for those who represented to him, that it was unworthy the descendants of Hercules to make use of fraud and treachery, he laugh

a A. M. 3598. Ant. J. C. 406,

b A. M. 3599. Ant. J. C. 405 Xenoph. Hellen. 1. ü. p. 454. Plut. in Lys. lix. p. 436, 437. Diod, I, xiji, p. 223.

ed at them; "For," said he, "where the lion's skin is not "long enough, it is necessary to tack the fox's tail to it."

An expression ascribed to him, sufficiently denotes how small an account he made of perjury. He used to say, " a Children are amused with baubles, and men with oaths;" showing by so professed a want of religion, that he cared less for the gods than his enemies. For he who deceives. with a false oath, plainly declares in so doing, that he fears his enemies, but that he despises God.

Here ends the 26th year of the Peloponnesian war. In this year it was, that the younger Cyrus, dazzled with the splendour of supreme authority, to which he had been little accustomed, and jealous of the least omission in point of ceremonial homage, discovered by a remarkable action the secret of his heart. Brought up from his infancy among the reigning family, nurtured under the shade of the throne amidst the submissions and prostrations of the courtiers, entertained long, by the discourses of an ambitious mother that idolized him, in the desire and hope of empire, he began already to exert the rights of sovereignty, and to exact the honours paid to it with surprising haughtiness and rigour. Two Persians of the royal family, his cousin-germans by their mother, sister of his father Darius, had omitted to cover their hands with their sleeves in his presence, according to a ceremonial observed only towards the kings of Persia. Cyrus, resenting that neglect as a capital crime, condemned them both to die, and caused them to be executed at Sardis without mercy. Darius, at whose feet their relations threw themselves to demand justice, was very much affected with the tragical end of his two nephews, and looked upon this action of his son's as an attempt upon himself, to whom alone that honour was due. He resolved therefore to take his government from him, and ordered him to court upon the pretext of being sick, and having a desire to see him.

Cyrus before his departure sent for Lysander to Sardis, and put into his hands great sums of money for the payment of his fleet, promising him still more for the future. And, with the ostentation of a young man, to let him see how much he desired to oblige him, he assured him, that though the king his father should cease to afford him any supplies, he would furnish him the more willingly out of his own coffers, and that rather than he should want the necessary provisions, he would even cause the throne of massy gold and silver, upon which he sat in judgment, to be melted down.

a The Greek text admits of another sense, which is perhaps equally good: "Children may use art, and cheat one another in their games, and men in their eaths.” Εκέλευε τὰς μὲν παῖδας ἀςραγάλοις, τὰς δ' ἄνδρας ὅρκοις ἐξαπατά.

b Xenoph. Hellen. 1, ii. p. 454.

At length, when he was upon the point of setting out, he empowered him to receive the tributes and revenues of the cities, confided the government of his provinces to him, and embracing him conjured him not to give battle in his absence, unless superior in force; because the king neither wanted the will nor the power to give him that superiority over the enemy; promising at the same time, with the strongest assurances of affection, to bring him a great number of ships from Phoenicia and Cilicia.

• After that prince's departure, Lysander sailed towards the Hellespont, and laid siege to Lampsacus. Torax, having marched thither with his land-forces at the same time, assaulted the city on his side. The place was carried by storm, and abandoned by Lysander to the soldiers. The Athenians, who followed him close, came to an anchor in the port of Eleontum in the Chersonesus, with 180 gallies. But upon the news of the taking of Lampsacus, they immediately steered for Sestos, and after having taken in provisions, they stood away from thence, sailing along the coast to a place called gospotamos, where they halted over against the enemy, who were then at anchor before Lampsacus. The Hellespont is not above 2000 paces broad in that place. The two armies, seeing themselves so near each other, expected only to rest that day, and were in hopes of coming to a battle on the next.

But Lysander had another design in view. He commanded the seamen and pilots to go on board their gallies, as if they were in reality to fight the next morning at break of day, to hold themselves in readiness, and to wait his order with profound silence. He ordered the land-army in like manner to draw up in battle upon the coast, and to wait the day without any noise. On the morrow, as soon as the sun was risen, the Athenians began to row towards them with their whole fleet in one line, and to bid them defiance. Lysander, though his ships were ranged in order of battle, with their heads towards the enemy, lay still without making any movement. In the evening, when the Athenians withdrew, he did not suffer his soldiers to go ashore, till two or three gallies, which he had sent out to observe them, were returned with advice, that they had seen the enemy land. The next day passed in the same manner, as did the third and fourth. Such a conduct, which argued reserve and apprehension, extremely augmented the security and boldness of the Athenians, and inspired them with a sovereign contempt

a Xenoph. Hellen. 1. ii. p. 455-458.

Plut. in Lys. p 437 and 440. Id. in Alcib. p. 212 Diod. 1. xiii. p. 225, c The river of the goat.

$26.

VOL, MI,

CC

for an army, which fear, in their opinion, prevented from showing themselves, and attempting any thing.

Whilst this passed, Alcibiades, who was near the fleet, took horse, and came to the Athenian generals; to whom he represented, that they kept upon a very disadvantageous coast, where there were neither ports nor cities in the neighbourhood; that they were obliged to bring their provisions from Sestos with great danger and difficulty; and that they were very much in the wrong to suffer the soldiers and mariners of the fleet, as soon as they were ashore, to straggle and disperse themselves wherever they pleased, whilst they saw an enemy's fleet facing them, accustomed to execute the orders of their general with instant obedience, and upon the slightest signal. He offered also to attack the enemy by land with a strong body of Thracian troops, and to force them to a battle. The generals, especially Tydeus and Menander, jealous of their command, did not content themselves with refusing his offers, from the opinion, that if the event proved unfortunate, the whole blame would fall on them, and if favourable, that Alcibiades would engross the honour of it; but rejected also with insult his wise and salutary counsel, as if a man in disgrace lost his sense and abilities with the favour of the commonwealth. Alcibiades withdrew.

The fifth day the Athenians presented themselves again, and offered him battle; retiring in the evening according to custom with more insulting airs than the days before. Lysander, as usual, detached some gallies to observe them, with orders to return with the utmost diligence, as soon as they saw the Athenians landed, and to put a brazen buckler at each ship's head as soon as they reached the middle of the channel. Himself in the mean time ran through the whole line in his galley, exhorting the pilots and officers to hold the seamen and soldiers in readiness to row and fight on the first signal.

As soon as the bucklers were put up in the ships' heads, and the admiral galley had given the signal by the sound of trumpet, the whole fleet set forwards in good order. The land-army at the same time made all possible haste to the top of the promontory to see the battle. The streight that separates the two continents in this place, is about fifteen stadia ", or three quarters of a league in breadth, which space was presently cleared through the activity and diligence of the rowers. Conon, the Athenian general, was the first who perceived, from shore, the enemy's Heet advancing in good order to attack him; upon which he immediately cried out for the troops to embark. In the height of sorrow and perplexity, some he called to by their names, some he conjured,

a 1875 paces

« AnteriorContinuar »