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the most important services to his country on future occasions.
a But Themistocles carried off almost all the honour of this victory, which was the most signal that ever the Grecians obtained over the Persians. The force of truth obliged even those, who were most envious of his glory, to render him this testimony. It was a custom in Greece, that after a battle, the comanding officer should declare who had distinguished themselves most, by writing in a paper the names of the the man who had merited the first prize, and of him who had merited the second. On this occasion by a decision which shows the good opinion it is natural for every man to have of himself, each officer adjudged the first rank to himself and allowed the second to Themistocles; which was indeed giving him the preference to them all.
The Lacedæmonians having carried him to Sparta, in order to pay him the honours due to his merit, decreed to their general Eurybiades the prize of valour, and to Themistocles that of wisdom, which was a crown of olive for both of them. They also made a present to Themistocles of the finest chariot in the city ; and on his departure sent 300 young men of the most considerable families to wait upon him to the frontiers : an honour they had never shown to any person whatsoever before.
But that which gave him a still more sensible pleasure, were the public acclamations he received at the first Olympic games that were celebrated after the battle of Salamis, where all the people of Greece were met together. As soon as he appeared, the whole assembly rose up to do him honour : nobody regarded either the games or the combats; Themistocles was the only spectacle. The eyes of all the company were fixed upon him, and every body was eager to show him and point him out with the hand to the strangers that did not know him. He acknowledged afterwards to his friends, that he looked upon that day as the happiest of his life ; that he had never tasted any joy so sweet and so transporting; and that this reward, the genuine fruit of his labours, exceeded all his desires.
The reader has undoubtedly observed in Themistocles two or three principle strokes of his character, which entitle him to be ranked amongst the greatest men. The design which he formed and executed, of making the whole force of Athens maritime, showed him to have a superior genius, capable of the highest views, penetrating into futurity, and judicious in seizing the decisive point in great affairs. As the territory belonging to Athens was barren and of small extent, he rightly conceived, that the only way that
n Plut. in Then ist. p, 120.
city had to enrich and aggrandize herself was by sea. And indeed that scheme may justly be looked upon as the source and cause of all those great events, which raised the republic of Athens in the sequel to so flourishing a condition.
But, in my opinion, this wisdom and foresight is infinitely less meritorious than that uncommon temper and moderation, which Themistocles showed on two critical occasions, when Greece had been utterly undone, if he had listened to the dictates of an ill-judged ambition, and had piqued himself upon a false point of honour, as is usual among persons of his age and profession. The first of these occasions was, when, notwithstanding the flagrant injustice that was committed, both in reference to the republic, of which he was a member, and to his own person, in appointing a Lacedæmonian generalissimo of the fleet, he exhorted and prevailed with the Athenians to desist from their pretensions, though never so justly founded, in order to prevent the fatal effects with which a division among the confederates must have been necessarily attended. And how worthy of admiration was that presence of mind and coolness of temper which he displayed, when the same Eurybiades not only affronted him with harsh and offensive language, but lifted up his cane at him with a menacing gesture! Let it be remembered at the same time, that Themistocles was then but young; that he was full of an ardent ambition for glory ; that he was commander of a numerous fleet; and that he had right and reason on his side. How would our young officers behave an a similar occasion ? Themistocles took all patiently, and the victory of Salamis was the fruit of his patience.
As to Aristides, I shall have occasion in the sequel to. speak more extensively upon his character and merit. He was, properly speaking, the man of the commonwealth: provided that was well and faithfully served, he was very little concerned by whom it was done. The merit of others so far from offending him, became his own by the approbation and encouragement which he gave to it. We have seen him make his way through the enemy's fleet, at the peril of his life, in order to give Themistocles some intelligence and good advice: and , Plutarch takes notice, that during all the time the latter had the command, Aristides assisted him on all occasions with his counsel and credit, notwithstanding he had reason to look upon him not only as his rival, but his enemy. Let us compare this nobleness and greatness of soul with the little-spiritedness and meanness of those men, who are so nice, punctilious, and jealous on the point of command; who are incapable of acting in con
« Πάντα συνέπραττε και συνεξέλευεν, ένδοξότατον επί σωτηρία κοινήσει" toy ixchisov. In vit, Arjst. D. 323.
cert with their colleagues, and solely intent upon engrossing the glory of every thing to themselves ; always ready to sacrifice the welfare of the public to their own private interests, or to suffer their rivals to commit blunders, that they themselves may reap advantage from them.
. On the very same day that the action of Thermopylæ happened, the formidable army of Carthaginians, which consisted of 300,000 men, was entirely defeated by Gelon, tyrant of Syracuse. Herodotus places this battle on the same day with that of Salamis. The circumstances of that victory in Sicily I have related in the history of the Carthaginians.
6 After the battle of Salamis, the Grecians being returned from pursuing the Persians, Themistocles sailed to all the islands that had declared for them, to levy contributions and exact money from them. The first he began with was that of Andros, from whose inhabitants he required a considerable sum, speaking to them in this manner: “I come "to you accompanied with two powerful divinities, Persua“sion and Force.” The answer they made him was: “We “ also have two other divinities on our side, no less power“ful than your's, and which do not permit us to give the
money you demand of us, Poverty and Impotence.” Upon this refusal he made a feint of besieging them, and threatened that he would entirely ruin their city He dealt in the same manner with several other islands which durst not resist him as Andros had done, and drew great sums of money from them without the privity of the other commanders; for he was esteemed a lover of money, and desirous of enriching himself.
SECT. IX.-The Battle of Platæa. MARDONIUS, who staid in Greece with a body of 300, 000 men, let his troops pass the winter in Thessaly, and in the spring following led them into Baotia. There was a very famous oracle in this country, the oracle of Lebadia, which he thought proper to consult, in order to know what would be the success of the war. The priest in his enthusiastic fit answered in a language which nobody that was present understood, as much as to insinuate that the oracle would not deign to speak intelligibly to a Barbarian. At the same time Mardonius sent Alexander king of Macedonia, with several Persian noblemen to Athens, and by them, in the name of his master, made very advantageous
a Heroil. l. vii. c. 165, 167.
CA. M. $525. Ant. J. C 479. Herod. l. viii. c. 113-131, 136-140, 141, Plut. in Arist. p. 324, Diod, lo xi. p. 22, 23, Plat de Orac, Defec. p. 41%.
proposals to the Athenian people, to detach them from the rest of their allies. The offers he made them were, to rebuild their city which had been burnt down, to give them a considerable sum of money, to suffer them to live according to their own laws and customs, and to give them the government and command of all Greece. Alexander, as their ancient friend, exhorted them in his own name to lay hold on so favourable an opportunity for re-establishing their affairs, alleging, that they were not in a condition to withstand a power so formidable as that of the Persians, and so much superior to that of Greece. On the first intelligence of this embassy, the Spartans also on their part sent deputies to Athens, in order to hinder it from taking effect. These were present when the others had their audience; where, as soon as Alexander had finished his speech, they began in their turn to address themselves to the Athenians, and strongly exhorted them not to separate themselves from their allies, nor to desert the common interest of their country; representing to them, at the same time, that union in the present situation of their affairs formed their whole strength, and would render Greece invincible. They added further, that the Spartan commonwealth was very sensibly moved with the melancholy state which the Athenians were in, who were destitute both of houses and retreat, and who for two years together had lost all their harvests; that in consideration of that calamity, she would engage herself, during the continuance of the war, to maintain and support their wives, their children, and their old men, and to furnish a plentiful supply for all their wants. They concluded by animadverting on the conduct of Alexander, whose discourse, they said, was such, as might be expected from one tyrant, who spoke in favour of another; but that he seemed to have forgotten, that the people to whom he addressed himself, had showed themselves on all occasions the most zealous defenders of the common liberty of their country.
Aristides was at this time in office, that is to say, the principal of the Archons. As it was therefore his business to answer, he said, that as to the Barbarians, who made silver and gold the chief objects of their esteem, he forgave them for thinking they could corrupt the fidelity of a nation by large promises : but that he could not help being surprised and affected with some sort of indignation, to see that the · Lacedæmonians, regarding only the present distress and necessity of the Athenians, and forgetting their courage and magnanimity, should come to pursuade them to persist in fighting nobly for the common safety of Greece by arguments and motives of gain, and by proposing to give them victuals and provision: he desired them to acquaint their republic,
that all the gold in the world was not capable of tempting the Athenians, or of making them desert the defence of the common liberty: that they were duly sensible of the kind offers which Lacedæmon had made them ; but that they would endeavour to manage their affairs so, as not to be a burden to any of their allies. Then turning himself towards the ambassadors of Mardonius, and pointing with his hand to the sun : “ Be assured,” says he to them, “ that as long as that “ luminary shall continue his course, the Athenians will be “ mortal enemies to the Persians, and will not cease to take
vengeance of them for ravaging their lands and burning " their houses and temples.” After which, he desired the king of Macedonia, if he was inclined to be truly their friend, not to make himself any more the bearer of such proposals to them, which would only serve to reflect dishonour upon him, without ever producing any other effect.
Aristides, not withstanding his having made this plain and peremptory declaration, did not stop there. But that he might excite a still greater horror for such proposals, and for ever prohibit all manner of intercourse with the Barbarians, through a principle of religion, he ordained, that the priests should denounce curses and execrations upon any person whatsoever, that should presume to propose the making of an alliance with the Persians, or the breaking of their alliance with the rest of the Grecians.
a When Mardonius had learnt, by the answer which the Athenians had sent him, that they were not to be prevailed upon by any proposals or advantages whatsoever to sell their liberty, he marched with his whole army towards Attica, wasting and destroying whatever he found in his way. The Athenians not being in a condition to withstand such a torrent, had retired to Salamis, and a second time abandoned their city. Mardonius, still entertaining hopes of bringing them to some terms of accommodation, sent another deputy to them to make
same proposals as before. A certain Athenian, called Lycidas, being of opinion that they should hearken to what he had to offer, was immediately stoned, and the Athenian women running at the same time to his house, did the same execution upon his wife and children; so detestable a crime did it appear to them to propose any peace with the Persians. But notwithstanding this, they paid respect to the character wherewith the deputy was invested, and sent him back without offering him any indignity or ill treatment. Mardonius now found that there was no peace to be expected with them. He therefore entered Athens,
a Herod. 1. ix. C. 1-11. Plut. in Arist. p. 324. Diod. lib. xi. p. 23. 6 Posteaquam nullo pretio libertatem his videt venalem &c. Justin. l. jj. c.