The Spartans were resolved to avenge the repulse they had received; and in the summer of B.C. 378 Agesilaus marched with a large army into Boeotia. He was unable, however, to effect any thing decisive, and subsequent invasions were attended with the like result. The Athenians created a diversion in their favour by a maritime war, and thus for two years Boeotia was free from Spartan invasion, Thebes employed this time in extending her dominion over the neighbouring cities. One of her most important successes during this period was the victory gained by Pelopidas over a Lacedaemonian force near Tegyra, a village dependent upon Orchomenus (B.C. 375). Pelopidas had with him only the Sacred Band and a small body of cavalry when he fell in with the Lacedaemonians, who were nearly twice as numerous. He did not, however, shrink from the conflict on this account; and when one of his men, running up to him, exclaimed, "We are fallen into the midst of the enemy," he replied, "Why so, more than they into the midst of us?" In the battle which ensued the two Spartan commanders fell at the first charge, and their men were put to the rout. So signal a victory inspired the Thebans with new confidence and vigour, as it showed that Sparta was not invincible even in a pitched battle, and with the advantage of numbers on her side. By the year 374 B.C. the Thebans had succeeded in expelling the Lacedaemonians from Boeotia, and revived the Boeotian confederacy. They also destroyed the restored city of Plataea, and obliged its inhabitants once more to seek refuge at Athens.
The successes of the Thebans revived the jealousy and distrust of Athens. Prompted by these feelings, the Athenians opened negotiations for a peace with Sparta; a resolution which was also adopted by the majority of the allies.
A congress was accordingly opened in Sparta in the spring of 371 B.C. The Athenians were represented by Callias and two other envoys; the Thebans by Epaminondas, then one of the polemarchs. The terms of a peace were agreed upon, by which the independence of the various Grecian cities was to be recognised; and the Spartan harmosts and garrisons everywhere dismissed. Sparta ratified the treaty for herself and her allies; but Athens took the oaths only for herself, and was followed separately by her allies. As Epaminondas refused to sign except in the name of the Boeotian confederation, Agesilaus directed the name of the Thebans to be struck out of the treaty, and proclaimed them excluded from it.
The peace concluded between Sparta, Athens, and their respective allies, was called the PEACE OF CALLIAS. The result with regard to Thebes and Sparta will appear in the following chapter.
THE SUPREMACY OF THEBES, B.C. 371-361.
In pursuance of the treaty, the Lacedaemonians withdrew their harmosts and garrisons, whilst the Athenians recalled their fleet from the Ionian sea. Only one feeling prevailed at Sparta—a desire to crush Thebes. This city was regarded as doomed to destruction; and it was not for a moment imagined that, single-handed, she would be able to resist the might of Sparta. At the time when the peace was concluded Cleombrotus happened to be in Phocis at the head of a Lacedaemonian army; and he now received orders to invade Boeotia without delay. The Thebans on their side, were equally determined on resistance. The two armies met on the memorable plain of Leuctra, near Thespiae. The forces on each side are not accurately known, but it seems probable that the Thebans were outnumbered by the Lacedaemonians. The military genius of Epaminondas, however, compensated any inferiority of numbers by novelty of tactics. Up to this time Grecian battles had been uniformly conducted by a general attack in line. Epaminondas now first adopted the manoeuvre, used with such success by Napoleon in modern times, of concentrating heavy masses on a given point of the enemy's array. Having formed his left wing into a dense column of 50 deep, so that its depth was greater than its front, he directed it against the Lacedaemonian right, containing the best troops in their army, drawn up 12 deep, and led by Cleombrotus in person. The shock was terrible. Cleombrotus himself was mortally wounded in the onset, and with difficulty carried off by his comrades. Numbers of his officers, as well as of his men, were slain, and the whole wing was broken and driven back to their camp. The loss of the Thebans was small compared with that of the Lacedaemonians. Out of 700 Spartans in the army of the latter, 400 had fallen; and their king also had been slain, an event which had not occurred since the fatal day of Thermopylae.
The victory of Leuctra was gained within three weeks after the exclusion of the Thebans from the peace of Callias. The effect of it throughout Greece was electrical. It was everywhere felt that a new military power had arisen—that the prestige of the old Spartan discipline and tactics had departed. Yet at Sparta itself though the reverse was the greatest that her arms had ever sustained, the news of it was received with an assumption of indifference characteristic of the people. The Ephors forbade the chorus of men, who were celebrating in the theatre the festival of the Gymnopaedia, to be interrupted. They contented themselves with directing the names of the slain to be communicated to their relatives, and with issuing an order forbidding the women to wail and mourn. Those whose friends had fallen appeared abroad on the morrow with joyful countenances, whilst the relatives of the survivors seemed overwhelmed with grief and shame.
Immediately after the battle the Thebans had sent to Jason of Pherae in Thessaly to solicit his aid against the Lacedaemonians. This despot was one of the most remarkable men of the period. He was Tagus, or Generalissimo, of all Thessaly; and Macedonia was partially dependent on him. He was a man of boundless ambition, and meditated nothing less than extending his dominion over the whole of Greece, for which his central situation seemed to offer many facilities. Upon receiving the invitation of the Thebans, Jason immediately resolved to join them. When he arrived the Thebans were anxious that he should unite with them in an attack upon the Lacedaemonian camp; but Jason dissuaded them from the enterprise, advising them not to drive the Lacedaemonians to despair, and offering his mediation. He accordingly succeeded in effecting a truce, by which the Lacedaemonians were allowed to depart from Boeotia unmolested.
According to Spartan custom, the survivors of a defeat were looked upon as degraded men, and subjected to the penalties of civil infamy. No allowance was made for circumstances. But those who had fled at Leuctra were three hundred in number; all attempt to enforce against them the usual penalties might prove not only inconvenient, but even dangerous; and on the proposal of Agesilaus, they were, for this occasion only, suspended. The loss of material power which Sparta sustained by the defeat was great. The ascendency she had hitherto enjoyed in parts north of the Corinthian gulf fell from her at once, and was divided between Jason of Pherae and the Thebans. Jason was shortly afterwards assassinated. His death was felt as a relief by Greece, and especially by Thebes. He was succeeded by his two brothers, Polyphron and Polydorus; but they possessed neither his ability nor his power.
The Athenians stood aloof from the contending parties. They had not received the news of the battle of Leuctra with any pleasure, for they now dreaded Thebes more than Sparta. But instead of helping the latter, they endeavoured to prevent either from obtaining the supremacy in Greece, and for this purpose called upon the other states to form a new alliance upon the terms of the peace of Antalcidas. Most of the Peloponnesian states joined this new league. Thus even the Peloponnesian cities became independent of Sparta. But this was not all. Never did any state fall with greater rapidity. She not only lost the dominion over states which she had exercised for centuries; but two new political powers sprang up in the peninsula, which threatened her own independence.
In the following year (B.C. 370) Epaminondas marched into Laconia, and threatened Sparta itself. The city, which was wholly unfortified, was filled with confusion and alarm. The women, who had never yet seen the face of an enemy, gave vent to their fears in wailing and lamentation. Agesilaus, however, was undismayed, and saved the state by his vigilance and energy. He repulsed the cavalry of Epaminondas as they advanced towards Sparta; and so vigorous were his measures of defence, that the Theban general abandoned all further attempt upon the city, and proceeded southwards as far as Helos and Gythium on the coast, the latter the port and arsenal of Sparta after laying waste with fire and sword the valley of the Eurotas, he retraced his steps to the frontiers of Arcadia.
Epaminondas now proceeded to carry out the two objects for which his march had been undertaken; namely, the consolidation of the Arcadian confederation, and the establishment of the Messenians as an independent community. In the prosecution of the former of these designs the mutual jealousy of the various Arcadian cities rendered it necessary that a new one should be founded, which should be regarded as the capital of the confederation. Consequently, a new city was built on the banks of the Helisson, called Megalopolis, and peopled by the inhabitants of forty distinct Arcadian townships. Here a synod of deputies from the towns composing the confederation, called "The Ten Thousand" was to meet periodically for the despatch of business. Epaminondas next proceeded to re-establish the Messenian state. The Messenians had formerly lived under a dynasty of their own kings; but for the last three centuries their land had been in the possession of the Lacedaemonians, and they had been fugitives upon the face of the earth. The restoration of these exiles, dispersed in various Hellenic colonies, to their former rights, would plant a bitterly hostile neighbour on the very borders of Laconia. Epaminondas accordingly opened communications with them, and numbers of them flocked to his standard during his march into Peloponnesus. He now founded the town of Messene. Its citadel was placed on the summit of Mount Ithome, which had three centuries before been so bravely defended by the Messenians against the Spartans. The strength of its fortifications was long afterwards a subject of admiration. The territory attached to the new city extended southwards to the Messenian gulf, and northwards to the borders of Arcadia, comprising some of the most fertile land in Peloponnesus.
So low had Sparta sunk, that she was fain to send envoys to beg the assistance of the Athenians. This request was acceded to; and shortly afterwards an alliance was formed between the two states, in which Sparta waived all her claims to superiority and headship. During the next two years the Thebans continued steadily to increase their power and influence in Greece, though no great battle was fought. In B.C. 368 Pelopidas conducted a Theban force into Thessaly and Macedonia. In Thessaly he compelled Alexander, who, by the murder of his two brothers, had become despot of Pherae and Tagus of Thessaly, to relinquish his designs against the independence of Larissa and other Thessalian cities, and to solicit peace. In Macedonia he formed an alliance with the regent Ptolemy: and amongst the hostages given for the observance of this treaty was the youthful Philip, son of Amyntas, afterwards the celebrated king of Macedon, who remained for some years at Thebes.
In the following year Pelopidas and Ismenias proceeded on an embassy to Persia. Ever since the peace of Antalcidas the Great King had become the recognised mediator between the states of Greece; and his fiat seemed indispensable to stamp the claims of that city which pretended to the headship. The recent achievements of Thebes might entitle her to aspire to that position: and at all events the alterations which she had produced in the internal state, of Greece, by the establishment of Megalopolis and Messene, seemed to require for their stability the sanction of a Persian rescript. This was obtained without difficulty, as Thebes was now the strongest state in Greece; and it was evidently easier to exercise Persian ascendency there by her means, than through a weaker power. The Persian rescript pronounced the independence of Messene and Amphipolis; the Athenians were directed to lay up their ships of war in ordinary; and Thebes was declared the head of Greece.
It was, in all probability, during a mission undertaken by Pelopidas and Ismonias, for the purpose of procuring the acknowledgment of the rescript in Thessaly and the northern parts of Greece, that they were seized and imprisoned by Alexander of Pherae. The Thebans immediately despatched an army of 8000 hoplites and 600 cavalry to recover or avenge their favourite citizen. Unfortunately, however, they were no longer commanded by Epaminondas. Their present commanders were utterly incompetent. They were beaten and forced to retreat, and the army was in such danger from the active pursuit of the Thessalians and Athenians, that its destruction seemed inevitable. Luckily, however, Epaminondas was serving as a hoplite in the ranks. By the unanimous voice of the troops he was now called to the command, and succeeded in conducting the army safely back to Thebes. Here the unsuccessful Boeotarchs were disgraced; Epaminondas was restored to the command, and placed at the head of a second Theban army destined to attempt the release of Pelopidas. Directed by his superior skill the enterprise proved successful, and Pelopidas (B.C. 367) returned in safety to Thebes.
In B.C. 364 Pelopidas again marched into Thessaly against Alexander of Pherae. Strong complaints of the tyranny of that despot arrived at Thebes, and Pelopidas, who probably also burned to avenge his private wrongs, prevailed upon the Thebans to send him into Thessaly to punish the tyrant. The battle was fought on the hills of Cynoscephalae; the troops of Alexander were routed: and Pelopidas, observing his hated enemy endeavouring to rally them, was seized with such a transport of rage that, regardless of his duties as a general, he rushed impetuously forwards and challenged him to single combat. Alexander shrunk back within the ranks of his guards, followed impetuously by Pelopidas, who was soon slain, fighting with desperate bravery. Although the army of Alexander was defeated with severe loss, the news of the death of Pelopidas deprived the Thebans and their Thessalian allies of all the joy which they would otherwise have felt at their victory.
Meantime a war had been carried on between Elis and Arcadia which had led to disunion among the Arcadians themselves. The Mantineans supported the Eleans, who were also assisted by the Spartans; whilst the rest of the Arcadians, and especially the Tegeans, favoured Thebes. In B.C. 362 Epaminondas marched into Peloponnesus to support the Theban party in Arcadia, The Spartans sent a powerful force to the assistance of the Mantineans in whose territory the hostile armies met. In the battle which ensued Epaminondas formed his Boeotian troops into a column of extraordinary depth, with which he bore down all before them. The Mantineans and Lacedaemonians turned and fled, and the rest followed their example. The day was won; but Epaminondas, who fought in the foremost ranks, fell pierced with a mortal wound. His fall occasioned such consternation among his troops, that, although the enemy were in full flight, they did not know how to use their advantage, and remained rooted to the spot. Epaminondas was carried off the field with the spear-head still fixed in his breast. Having satisfied himself that his shield was safe, and that the victory was gained, he inquired for Iolaidas and Daiphantus, whom he intended to succeed him in the command. Being informed that both were slain: "Then" he observed "you must make peace." After this he ordered the spear-head to be withdrawn; when the gush of blood which followed soon terminated his life. Thus died this truly great man; and never was there one whose title to that epithet has been less disputed. Antiquity is unanimous in his praise, and some of the first men of Greece subsequently took him for their model. With him the commanding influence of Thebes began and ended. His last advice was adopted, and peace was concluded probably before the Theban army quitted Peloponnesus. Its basis was a recognition of the STATUS QUO—to leave everything as it was, to acknowledge the Arcadian constitution and the independence of Messene. Sparta alone refused to join it on account of the last article, but she was not supported by her allies.
Agesilaus had lived to see the empire of Sparta extinguished by her hated rival. Thus curiously had the prophecy been fulfilled which warned Sparta of the evils awaiting her under a "lame sovereignty." But Agesilaus had not yet abandoned all hope; and he now directed his views towards the east as the quarter from which Spartan power might still be resuscitated. At the age of 80 the indomitable old man proceeded with a force of 1000 hoplites to assist Tachos, king of Egypt, in his revolt against Persia. He died at Cyrene on his return to Greece. His body was embalmed in wax and splendidly buried in Sparta.
HISTORY OF THE SICILIAN GREEKS FROM THE DESTRUCTION OF THE ATHENIAN ARMAMENT TO THE DEATH OF TIMOLEON.
The affairs of the Sicilian Greeks, an important branch of the Hellenic race, deserve a passing notice. A few years after the destruction of the Athenian armament, Dionysius made himself master of Syracuse, and openly seized upon the supreme power (B.C. 405). His reign as tyrant or despot was long and prosperous. After conquering the Carthaginians, who more than once invaded Sicily, he extended his dominion over a great part of the island, and over a considerable portion of Magna Graecia. He raised Syracuse to be one of the chief Grecian states, second in influence, if indeed second, to Sparta alone. Under his sway Syracuse was strengthened and embellished with new fortifications, docks, arsenals, and other public buildings, and became superior even to Athens in extent and population.
Dionysius was a warm patron of literature, and was anxious to gain distinction by his literary compositions. In the midst of his political and military cares he devoted himself assiduously to poetry, and not only caused his poems to be publicly recited at the Olympic games, but repeatedly contended for the prize of tragedy at Athens. In accordance with the same spirit we find him seeking the society of men distinguished in literature and philosophy. Plato, who visited Sicily about the year 389 from a curiosity to see Mount AEtna, was introduced to Dionysius by Dion. The high moral tone of Plato's conversation did not however prove so attractive to Dionysius as it had done to Dion; and the philosopher was not only dismissed with aversion and dislike, but even, it seems through the machinations of Dionysius, seized, bound, and sold for a slave in the island of AEgina. He was, however, repurchased by Anniceris of Cyrene, and sent back to Athens.
Dionysius died in B.C. 367, and was succeeded by his eldest son, commonly called the younger Dionysius, who was about 25 years of age at the time of his father's death. At first he listened to the counsels of Dion, who had always enjoyed the respect and confidence of his father. At the advice of Dion he invited Plato to Syracuse, where the philosopher was received with the greatest honour. His illustrious pupil immediately began to take lessons in geometry; superfluous dishes disappeared from the royal table; and Dionysius even betrayed some symptoms of a wish to mitigate the former rigours of the despotism. But now the old courtiers took the alarm. It was whispered to Dionysius that the whole was a deep-laid scheme on the part of Dion for the purpose of effecting a revolution and placing his own nephews on the throne. [The elder Dionysius had married two wives at the same time: one of these was a Locrian woman named Doris; the other, Aristomache, was a Syracusan, and the sister of Dion. The younger Dionysius was his elder son by Doris; but he also had children by Aristomache.] These accusations had the desired effect on the mind of Dionysius, who shortly afterwards expelled Dion from Sicily. Plato with difficulty obtained permission to return to Greece (B.C. 366). Dionysius now gave way to his vices without restraint, and became an object of contempt to the Syracusans. Dion saw that the time had come for avenging his own wrongs as well as those of his country. Collecting a small force, he sailed to Sicily, and suddenly appeared before the gates of Syracuse during the absence of Dionysius on an expedition to the coasts of Italy. The inhabitants, filled with joy, welcomed Dion as their deliverer: and Dionysius on his return from Italy found himself compelled to quit Syracuse (B.C. 356), leaving Dion undisputed master of the city. The latter was now in a condition to carry out all those exalted notions of political life which he had sought to instil into the mind of Dionysius. He seems to have contemplated some political changes; but his immediate and practical acts were tyrannical, and were rendered still more unpopular by his overbearing manners. His unpopularity continued to increase, till at length one of his bosom friends—the Athenian Callippus—seized the opportunity to mount to power by his murder, and caused him to be assassinated in his own house. This event took place in 353, about three years after the expulsion of the Dionysian dynasty. Callippus contrived to retain the sovereign power only a twelvemonth. A period of anarchy followed, during which Dionysius made himself master of the city by treachery, about B.C. 346. Dionysius, however, was not able to re-establish himself firmly in his former power. Most of the other cities of Sicily had shaken off the yoke of Syracuse, and were governed by petty despots. Meantime the Carthaginians prepared to take advantage of the distracted condition of Sicily. In the extremity of their sufferings, several of the Syracusan exiles appealed for aid to Corinth, their mother-city. The application was granted, and Timoleon was appointed to command an expedition destined for the relief of Syracuse.
Timoleon was distinguished for gentleness as well as for courage, but towards traitors and despots his hatred was intense. He had once saved the life of his elder brother Timophanes in battle at the imminent peril of his own; but when Timophanes, availing himself of his situation as commander of the garrison in the Acrocorinthus, endeavoured to enslave his country, Timoleon did not hesitate to consent to his death. Twice before had Timoleon pleaded with his brother, beseeching him not to destroy the liberties of his country; but when Timophanes turned a deaf ear to those appeals, Timoleon connived at the action of his friends, who put him to death, whilst he himself, bathed in a flood of tears, stood a little way aloof. The great body of the citizens regarded the conduct of Timoleon with love and admiration. In the mind of Timoleon, however, their approving verdict was far more than outweighed by the reproaches and execrations of his mother. For many years nothing could prevail upon him to return to public life. He buried, himself in the country far from the haunts of men, till a chance voice in the Corinthian assembly nominated him as the leader of the expedition against Dionysius.
Roused by the nature of the cause, and the exhortations of his friends, Timoleon accepted the post thus offered to him. His success exceeded his hopes. As soon as he appeared before Syracuse, Dionysius, who appears to have abandoned all hope of ultimate success, surrendered the citadel into his hands, on condition of being allowed to depart in safety to Corinth (B.C. 343). Dionysius passed the remainder of his life at Corinth, where he is said to have displayed some remnants of his former luxury by the fastidious taste which he showed in the choice of his viands, unguents, dress, and furniture; whilst his literary inclinations manifested themselves in teaching the public singers and actors, and in opening a school for boys.
Timoleon also expelled the other tyrants from the Sicilian cities, and gained a great victory over the Carthaginians at the river Crimesus (or Crimissus). He restored a republican constitution to Syracuse; and his first public act was to destroy the impregnable fortifications of the citadel of Ortygia, the stronghold of the elder and the younger Dionysius. All the rewards which Timoleon received for his great services were a house in Syracuse, and some landed property in the neighbourhood of the city. He now sent for his family from Corinth, and became a Syracusan citizen. He continued, however, to retain, though in a private station, the greatest influence in the state. During the latter part of his life, though he was totally deprived of sight, yet, when important affairs were discussed in the assembly, it was customary to send for Timoleon, who was drawn in a car into the middle of the theatre amid the shouts and affectionate greetings of the assembled citizens. When the tumult of his reception had subsided he listened patiently to the debate. The opinion which he pronounced was usually ratified by the vote of the assembly; and he then left the theatre amidst the same cheers which had greeted his arrival. In this happy and honoured condition he breathed his last in B.C. 336, a few years after the battle of Crimesus. He was splendidly interred at the public cost, whilst the tears of the whole Syracusan population followed him to the grave.
PHILIP OF MACEDON, B.C. 359-336.
The internal dissensions of Greece produced their natural fruits; and we shall have now to relate the downfall of her independence and her subjugation by a foreign power. This power was Macedonia, an obscure state to the north of Thessaly, hitherto overlooked and despised, and considered as altogether barbarous, and without the pale of Grecian civilization. But though the Macedonians were not Greeks, their sovereigns claimed to be descended from an Hellenic race, namely, that of Temenus of Argos; and it is said that Alexander I. proved his Argive descent previously to contending at the Olympic games. Perdiccas is commonly regarded as the founder of the monarchy; of the history of which, however, little is known till the reign of Amyntas I., his fifth successor, who was contemporary with the Pisistratidae at Athens. Under Amyntas, who submitted to the satrap Megabyzus, Macedonia became subject to Persia, and remained so till after the battle of Plataea. The reigns of the succeeding sovereigns present little that is remarkable, with the exception of that of Archelaus (B.C. 413). This monarch transferred his residence from AEgae to Pella, which thus became the capital. He entertained many literary men at his court, such as Euripides, who ended his days at Pella. Archelaus was assassinated in B.C. 399, and the crown devolved upon Amyntas II., a representative of the ancient line. Amyntas left three sons, the youngest being the celebrated Philip, of whom we have now to speak.
It has been already mentioned that the youthful Philip was one of the hostages delivered to the Thebans as security for the peace effected by Pelopidas. His residence at Thebes gave him some tincture of Grecian philosophy and literature; but the most important lesson which he learned at that city was the art of war, with all the improved tactics introduced by Epaminondas. Philip succeeded to the throne at the age of 23 (B.C. 359), and displayed at the beginning of his reign his extraordinary energy and abilities. After defeating the Illyrians he established a standing army, in which discipline was preserved by the severest punishments. He introduced the far-famed Macedonian phalanx, which was 16 men deep, armed with long projecting spears.
Philip's views were first turned towards the eastern frontiers of his dominions, where his interests clashed with those of the Athenians. A few years before the Athenians had made various unavailing attempts to obtain possession of Amphipolis, once the jewel of their empire, but which they had never recovered since its capture by Brasidas in the eighth year of the Peloponnesian war. Its situation at the mouth of the Strymon rendered it also valuable to Macedonia, not only as a commercial port, but as opening a passage into Thrace. The Olynthians were likewise anxious to enrol Amphipolis as a member of their confederacy, and accordingly proposed to the Athenians to form an alliance for the purpose of defending Amphipolis against their mutual enemy. An alliance between these two powerful states would have proved an insurmountable obstacle to Philip's views: and it was therefore absolutely necessary to prevent this coalition. Here we have the first instance of Philip's skill and duplicity in negotiation. By secretly promising the Athenians that he would put Amphipolis into their hands if they would give him possession of Pydna, he induced them to reject the overtures of the Olynthians; and by ceding to the latter the town of Anthemus, he bought off their opposition. He now laid siege to Amphipolis, which, being thus left unaided, fell into his hands (B.C. 358). He then forthwith marched against Pydna, which surrendered to him; but on the ground that it was not the Athenians who had put him in possession of this town, he refused to give up Amphipolis to them.
Philip had now just reason to dread the enmity of the Athenians, and accordingly it was his policy to court the favour of the Olynthians, and to prevent them from renewing their negotiations with the Athenians. In order to separate them more effectually, he assisted the Olynthians in recovering Potidaea, which had formerly belonged to their confederacy, but was now in the hands of the Athenians. On the capture of the town he handed it over to the Olynthians. Plutarch relates that the capture of Potidaea was accompanied with three other fortunate events in the life of Philip, namely, the prize gained by his chariot at the Olympic games, a victory of his general Parmenio over the Illyrians, and the birth of his son Alexander. These events happened in B.C. 356.
Philip now crossed the Strymon, on the left bank of which lay Pangaeus, a range of mountains abounding in gold-mines. He conquered the district, and founded there a new town called Philippi, on the site of the ancient Thracian town of Crenides. By improved methods of working the mines he made them yield an annual revenue of 1000 talents, nearly 250,000l.
Meanwhile Athens was engaged in a war with her allies, which has been called the SOCIAL WAR; and which was, perhaps, the reason why she was obliged to look quietly on whilst Philip was thus aggrandizing himself at her expense. This war broke out in B.C. 357. The chief causes of it seem to have been the contributions levied upon the allies by the Athenian generals. The war lasted three years; and as Artaxerxes, the Persian king, threatened to support the allies with a fleet of 300 ships, the Athenians were obliged to consent to a disadvantageous peace, which secured the independence of the more important allies (B.C. 355).
Another war, which had been raging during the same time, tended still further to exhaust the Grecian states, and thus pave the way for Philip's progress to the supremacy. This was the SACRED WAR, which broke out between Thebes and Phocis in the same year as the Social War (B.C. 357). An ill-feeling had long subsisted between those two countries. The Thebans now availed themselves of the influence which they possessed in the Amphictyonic council to take vengeance upon the Phocians and accordingly induced this body to impose a heavy fine upon the latter people, because they had cultivated a portion of the Cirrhaean plain, which had been consecrated to the Delphian god, and was to lie waste for ever. The Phocians pleaded that the payment of the fine would ruin them; but instead of listening to their remonstrances, the Amphictyons doubled the amount, and threatened, in case of their continued refusal to reduce them to the condition of serfs. Thus driven to desperation, the Phocians resolved to complete the sacrilege with which they had been branded, by seizing the very temple of Delphi itself. The leader and counsellor of this enterprise was Philomelus, who, with a force of no more than 2000 men, surprised and took Delphi. At first, however, he carefully abstained from touching the sacred treasure; but being hard pressed by the Thebans and their allies, he threw off the scruples which he had hitherto assumed, and announced that the sacred treasures should be converted into a fund for the payment of mercenaries. On the death of Philomelus, who fell in battle, the command was assumed by his brother Onomarchus, who carried on the war with vigour and success. But he was checked in his career by Philip, who had previously been extending his dominion over Thessaly, and who now assumed the character of a champion of the Delphic god, and made his soldiers wear wreaths of laurel plucked in the groves of Tempe. He penetrated into Thessaly, and encountered the Phocians near the gulf of Pagassae. In the battle which ensued, Onomarchus was slain, and his army totally defeated (B.C. 352). This victory made Philip master of Thessaly. He now directed his march southwards with the view of subduing the Phocians; but upon reaching Thermopylae he found the pass guarded by a strong Athenian force, and was compelled, or considered it more prudent, to retreat.
After his return from Thessaly Philip's views were directed towards Thrace and the Chersonese. It was at this juncture that Demosthenes stepped forwards as the proclaimed opponent of Philip, and delivered the first of those celebrated orations which from their subject have been called "the Philippics." This most famous of all the Grecian orators was born in B.C. 382-381. Having lost his father at the early age of seven, his guardians abused their trust, and defrauded him of the greater part of his paternal inheritance. This misfortune, however, proved one of the causes which tended to make him an orator. Demosthenes, as he advanced towards manhood, perceived with indignation the conduct of his guardians, for which he resolved to make them answerable when the proper opportunity should arrive, by accusing them himself. His first attempt to speak in public proved a failure, and he retired from the bema amidst the hootings and laughter of the citizens. The more judicious and candid among his auditors perceived, however, marks of genius in his speech, and rightly attributed his failure to timidity and want of due preparation. Eunomus, an aged citizen, who met him wandering about the Piraeus in a state of dejection at his ill success, bade him take courage and persevere. Demosthenes now withdrew awhile from public life, and devoted himself perseveringly to remedy his defects. They were such as might be lessened, if not removed, by practice, and consisted chiefly of a weak voice, imperfect articulation, and ungraceful and inappropriate action. He derived much assistance from Satyrus the actor, who exercised him in reciting passages from Sophocles and Euripides. He studied the best rhetorical treatises and orations, and is said to have copied the work of Thucydides with his own hand no fewer than eight times. He shut himself up for two or three months together in a subterranean chamber in order to practise composition and declamation. His perseverance was crowned with success; and he who on the first attempt had descended from the bema amid the ridicule of the crowd, became at last the most perfect orator the world has ever seen.
Demosthenes had established himself as a public speaker before the period which we have now reached; but it is chiefly in connexion with Philip that we are to view him as a statesman as well as an orator. Philip had shown his ambition by the conquest of Thessaly, and by the part he had taken in the Sacred War; and Demosthenes now began to regard him as the enemy of the liberties of Athens and of Greece. In his first "Philippic" Demosthenes tried to rouse his countrymen to energetic measures against this formidable enemy; but his warnings and exhortations produced little effect, for the Athenians were no longer distinguished by the same spirit of enterprise which had characterized them in the days of their supremacy. No important step was taken to curb the growing power of Philip; and it was the danger of Olynthus which first induced the Athenians to prosecute the war with a little more energy. In 350 B.C., Philip having captured a town in Chalcidice, Olynthus began to tremble for her own safety, and sent envoys to Athens to crave assistance. Olynthus was still at the head of thirty-two Greek towns, and the confederacy was a sort of counterpoise to the power of Philip. It was on this occasion that Demosthenes delivered his three Olynthaic orations, in which he warmly advocated an alliance with Olynthus.
Demosthenes was opposed by a strong party, with which Phocion commonly acted. Phocion is one of the most singular and original characters in Grecian history. He viewed the multitude and their affairs with a scorn which he was at no pains to disguise; receiving their anger with indifference, and their praises with contempt. His known probity also gave him weight with the assembly. He was the only statesman of whom Demosthenes stood in awe; who was accustomed to say, when Phocion rose, "Here comes the pruner of my periods." But Phocion's desponding views, and his mistrust of the Athenian people, made him an ill statesman at a period which demanded the most active patriotism. He doubtless injured his country by contributing to check the more enlarged and patriotic views of Demosthenes; and though his own conduct was pure and disinterested, he unintentionally threw his weight on the side of those who, like Demades and others, were actuated by the basest motives. This division of opinion rendered the operations of the Athenians for the aid of the Olynthians languid and desultory. Town after town of the confederacy fell before Philip; and in 347 Olynthus itself was taken. The whole of the Chalcidian peninsula thus became a Macedonian province.
The prospects of Athens now became alarming, her possessions in the Chersonese were threatened, as well as the freedom of the Greek towns upon the Hellespont. The Athenians had supported the Phocians in the Sacred War, and were thus at war with Thebes. In order to resist Philip the attention of the Athenians was now directed towards a reconciliation with Thebes, especially since the treasures of Delphi were nearly exhausted, and on the other hand the war was becoming every year more and more burthensome to the Thebans. Nor did it seem improbable that a peace might be concluded not only between those two cities, but among the Grecian states generally. It seems to have been this aspect of affairs that induced Philip to make several indirect overtures to the Athenians in the summer of B.C. 347. In spite of subsidies from Delphi the war had been very onerous to them, and they received these advances with joy, and eventually agreed to the terms of a peace. Having thus gained over the Athenians, Philip marched through Thermopylae, and entered Phocis, which surrendered unconditionally at his approach. He then occupied Delphi, where he assembled the Amphictyons to pronounce sentence upon those who bad been concerned in the sacrilege committed there. The council decreed that all the cities of Phocia, except Abae, should be destroyed, and their inhabitants scattered into villages containing not more than fifty houses each. Sparta was deprived of her share in the Amphictyonic privileges; the two votes in the council possessed by the Phocians were transferred to the kings of Macedonia; and Philip was to share with the Thebans and Thessalians the honour of presiding at the Pythian games (B.C. 346).
The result of the Sacred War rendered Macedon the leading state in Greece. Philip at once acquired by it military glory, a reputation for piety, and an accession of power. His ambitious designs were now too plain to be mistaken. The eyes of the blindest among the Athenians were at last opened; the promoters of the peace which had been concluded with Philip incurred the hatred and suspicion of the people; whilst on the other hand Demosthenes rose higher than ever in public favour.
Philip was now busy with preparations for the vast projects which he contemplated, and which embraced an attack upon the Athenian colonies, as well as upon the Persian empire. For this purpose he had organized a considerable naval force as well as an army; and in the spring of 342 B.C. he set out on an expedition against Thrace. His progress soon appeared to menace the Chersonese and the Athenian possessions in that quarter; and at length the Athenian troops under Diopithes came into actual collision with the Macedonians. In the following year Philip began to attack the Greek cities north of the Hellespont. He first besieged and captured Selymbria on the Propontis, and then turned his arms against Perinthus and Byzantium. This roused the Athenians to more vigorous action. War was formally declared against Philip, and a fleet equipped for the immediate relief of Byzantium. Philip was forced to raise the siege not only of that town but of Perinthus also, and finally to evacuate the Chersonesus altogether. For these acceptable services the grateful Byzantians erected a colossal statue in honour of Athens.
After this check Philip undertook an expedition against the Thracians; but meantime his partisans procured for him an opportunity of marching again into the very heart of Greece.
Amphissa, a Locrian town, having been declared by the Amphictyonic council guilty of sacrilege, Philip was appointed by the council as their general to inflict punishment on the inhabitants of the guilty town. Accordingly he marched southwards early in B.C. 338; but instead of proceeding in the direction of Amphissa, he suddenly seized Elatea, the chief town in the eastern part of Phocis, thus showing clearly enough that his real design was against Boeotia and Attica. Intelligence of this event reached Athens at night, and caused extraordinary alarm, In the following morning Demosthenes pressed upon the assembly the necessity for making the most vigorous preparations for defence, and especially recommended them to send an embassy to Thebes, in order to persuade the Thebans to unite with them against the common enemy.
The details of the war that followed are exceedingly obscure. Philip appears to have again opened negotiations with the Thebans, which failed; and we then find the combined Theban and Athenian armies marching out to meet the Macedonians. The decisive battle was fought on the 7th of August, in the plain of Chaeronea in Boeotia, near the frontier of Phocis (B.C. 338). In the Macedonian army was Philip's son, the youthful Alexander, who was intrusted with the command of one of the wings; and it was a charge made by him on the Theban sacred band that decided the fortune of the day. The sacred band was cut to pieces, without flinching from the ground which it occupied, and the remainder of the combined army was completely routed. Demosthenes, who was serving as a foot-soldier in the Athenian ranks, has been absurdly reproached with cowardice because he participated in the general flight.
The battle of Chaeronea crushed the liberties of Greece, and made it in reality a province of the Macedonian monarchy. To Athens herself the blow was almost as fatal as that of AEgospotami. But the manner in which Philip used his victory excited universal surprise. He dismissed the Athenian prisoners without ransom, and voluntarily offered a peace on terms more advantageous than the Athenians themselves would have ventured to propose. Philip, indeed, seems to have regarded Athens with a sort of love and respect, as the centre of art and refinement, for his treatment of the Thebans was very different, and marked by great harshness and severity. They were compelled to recall their exiles, in whose hands the government was placed, whilst a Macedonian garrison was established in the Cadmea.
A congress of the Grecian states was now summoned at Corinth, in which war was declared against Persia, and Philip was appointed generalissimo of the expedition.
In the spring of B.C. 336 Philip sent some forces into Asia, under the command of Attalus, Parmenio, and Amyntas, which were designed to engage the Greek cities of Asia in the expedition. But before quitting Macedonia, Philip determined to provide for the safety of his dominions by celebrating the marriage of his daughter with Alexander of Epirus. It was solemnized at AEgae, the ancient capital of Macedonia, with much pomp, including banquets, and musical and theatrical entertainments. The day after the nuptials was dedicated to theatrical entertainments. The festival was opened with a procession of the images of the twelve Olympian deities, with which was associated that of Philip himself. The monarch took part in the procession, dressed in white robes, and crowned with a chaplet. Whilst thus proceeding through the city, a youth suddenly rushed out of the crowd, and, drawing a long sword which he had concealed under his clothes, plunged it into Philip's side, who fell dead upon the spot. The assassin was pursued by some of the royal guards, and, having stumbled in his flight, was despatched before he could reach the place where horses had been provided for his escape. His name was Pausanias. He was a youth of noble birth, and we are told that his motive for taking Philip's life was that the king had refused to punish an outrage which Attalus had committed against him.
Thus fell Philip of Macedon in the twenty-fourth year of his reign and forty-seventh of his age (B.C. 336). When we reflect upon his achievements, and how, partly by policy and partly by arms, he converted his originally poor and distracted kingdom into the mistress of Greece, we must acknowledge him to have been an extraordinary, if not a great man, in the better sense of that term. His views and his ambition were certainly as large as those of his son Alexander, but he was prevented by a premature death from carrying them out; nor would Alexander himself have been able to perform his great achievements had not Philip handed down to him all the means and instruments which they required.
ALEXANDER THE GREAT, B.C. 336-323.
Alexander, at the time of his father's death, was in his twentieth year, having been born in B.C. 356. His early education was entrusted to Leonidas, a kinsman of his mother, a man of severe and parsimonious character, who trained him with Spartan simplicity and hardihood; whilst Lysimachus, a sort of under-governor, early inspired the young prince with ambitious notions, by teaching him to love and emulate the heroes of the Iliad. According to the traditions of his family, the blood of Achilles actually ran in the veins of Alexander; [His mother Olympias was the daughter of Neoptolemus, king of Epirus who claimed descent from Pyrrhus, the son of Achilles.] and Lysimachus nourished the feeling which that circumstance was calculated to awaken by giving him the name of that hero, whilst he called Philip Peleus, and himself Phoenix. But the most striking feature in Alexander's education was, that he had Aristotle for his teacher, and that thus the greatest conqueror of the material world received the instructions of him who has exercised the most extensive empire over the human intellect. It was probably at about the age of thirteen that he first received the lessons of Aristotle, and they can hardly have continued more than three years, for Alexander soon left the schools for the employments of active life. At the age of sixteen we find him regent of Macedonia during Philip's absence; and at eighteen we have seen him filling a prominent military post at the battle of Chaeronea.
On succeeding to the throne Alexander announced his intention of prosecuting his father's expedition into Asia; but it was first necessary for him to settle the affairs of Greece, where the news of Philip's assassination, and the accession of so young a prince, had excited in several states a hope of shaking off the Macedonian yoke. Athens was the centre of these movements. Demosthenes, although in mourning for the recent loss of an only daughter, now came abroad dressed in white, and crowned with a chaplet, in which attire he was seen sacrificing at one of the public altars. He also moved a decree that Philip's death should be celebrated by a public thanksgiving, and that religious honours should be paid to the memory of Pausanias. At the same time he made vigorous preparations for action. He despatched envoys to the principal Grecian states for the purpose of inciting them against Macedon. Sparta, and the whole Peloponnesus, with the exception of Megalopolis and Messenia, seemed inclined to shake off their compulsory alliance. Even the Thebans rose against the dominant oligarchy, although the Cadmea was in the hands of the Macedonians.
The activity of Alexander disconcerted all these movements. Having marched through Thessaly, he assembled the Amphictyonic council at Thermopylae, who conferred upon him the command with which they had invested his father during the Sacred War. He then advanced rapidly upon Thebes, and thus prevented the meditated revolution, The Athenians sent ambassadors to deprecate his wrath, who were graciously accepted. He then convened a general congress at Corinth, where he was appointed generalissimo for the Persian war in place of his father. Most of the philosophers and persons of note near Corinth came to congratulate him on this occasion; but Diognes of Sinope who was then living in one of the suburbs of Corinth, did not make his appearance. Alexander therefore resolved to pay a visit to the eccentric cynic, whom he found basking in the sun. On the approach of Alexander with a numerous retinue, Diogenes raised himself up a little, and the monarch affably inquired how he could serve him? "By standing out of my sunshine," replied the churlish philosopher. Alexander was stung with surprise at a behaviour to which he was so little accustomed; but whilst his courtiers were ridiculing the manners of the cynic, he turned to them and said, "Were I not Alexander, I should like to be Diogenes."
The result of the Congress might be considered a settlement of the affairs of Greece. Alexander then returned to Macedonia in the hope of being able to begin his Persian expedition in the spring of B.C. 335; but reports of disturbances among the Thracians and Triballians diverted his attention to that quarter. He therefore crossed Mount Haemus (the Balkan) and marched into the territory of the Triballians, defeated their forces, and pursued them to the Danube, which he crossed. After acquiring a large booty he regained the banks of the Danube, and thence marched against the Illyrians and Taulantians, whom he speedily reduced to obedience.
During Alexander's absence on these expeditions no tidings were heard of him for a considerable time, and a report of his death was industriously spread in Southern Greece. The Thebans rose and besieged the Macedonian garrison in the Cadmea, at the same time inviting other states to declare their independence. Demosthenes was active in aiding the movement. He persuaded the Athenians to furnish the Thebans with subsidies and to assure them of their support and alliance. But the rapidity of Alexander again crushed the insurrection in the bud. Before the Thebans discovered that the report of his death was false he had already arrived at Onchestus in Boeotia. Alexander was willing to afford them an opportunity for repentance, and marched slowly to the foot of the Cadmea. But the leaders of the insurrection, believing themselves irretrievably compromised, replied with taunts to Alexander's proposals for peace, and excited the people to the most desperate resistance. An engagement was prematurely brought on by one of the generals of Alexander, in which some of the Macedonian troops were put to the rout; but Alexander, coming up with the phalanx, whilst the Thebans were in the disorder of pursuit, drove them back in turn and entered the gates along with them, when a fearful massacre ensued committed principally by the Thracians in Alexander's service. Six thousand Thebans are said to have been slain, and thirty thousand were made prisoners. The doom of the conquered city was referred to the allies, who decreed her destruction. The grounds of the verdict bear the impress of a tyrannical hypocrisy. They rested on the conduct of the Thebans during the Persian war, on their treatment of Plataea, and on their enmity to Athens. The inhabitants were sold as slaves, and all the houses, except that of Pindar, were levelled with the ground. The Cadmea was preserved to be occupied by a Macedonian garrison. Thebes seems to have been thus harshly treated as an example to the rest of Greece, for towards the other states, which were now eager to make their excuses and submission, Alexander showed much forbearance and lenity. The conduct of the Athenians exhibits them deeply sunk in degradation. When they heard of the chastisement indicted upon Thebes, they immediately voted, on the motion of Demosthenes, that ambassadors should be sent to congratulate Alexander on his safe return from his northern expeditions, and on his recent success. Alexander in reply wrote a letter, demanding that eight or ten of the leading Athenian orators should be delivered up to him. At the head of the list was Demosthenes. In this dilemma, Phocion, who did not wish to speak upon such a question, was loudly called upon by the people for his opinion; when he rose and said that the persons whom Alexander demanded had brought the state into such a miserable plight that they deserved to be surrendered, and that for his own part he should be very happy to die for the commonwealth. At the same time he advised them to try the effect of intercession with Alexander; and it was at last only by his own personal application to that monarch with whom he was a great favourite, that the orators were spared. According to another account, however, the wrath of Alexander was appeased by the orator Demades, who received from the Athenians a reward of five talents for his services. It was at this time that Alexander is said to have sent a present of 100 talents to Phocion. But Phocion asked the persons who brought the money—"Why he should be selected for such a bounty?" "Because," they replied, "Alexander considers you the only just and honest man." "Then," said Phocion, "let him suffer me to be what I seem, and to retain that character." And when the envoys went to his house and beheld the frugality with which he lived, they perceived that the man who refused such a gift was wealthier than he who offered it.
Having thus put the affairs of Greece on a satisfactory footing, Alexander marched for the Hellespont in the spring of B.C. 334, leaving Antipater regent of Macedonia in his absence, with a force of 12,000 foot and 1500 horse. Alexander's own army consisted of only about 50,000 foot and 5000 horse. Of the infantry about 12,000 were Macedonians, and these composed the pith of the celebrated Macedonian phalanx. Such was the force with which he proposed to attack the immense but ill-cemented empire of Persia, which, like the empires of Turkey or Austria in modern times, consisted of various nations and races with different religions and manners, and speaking different languages; the only bond of union being the dominant military power of the ruling nation, which itself formed only a small numerical portion of the empire. The remote provinces, like those of Asia Minor, were administered by satraps and military governors who enjoyed an almost independent authority. Before Alexander departed he distributed most of the crown property among his friends, and when Perdiccas asked him what he had reserved for himself he replied, "My hopes."
A march of sixteen days brought Alexander to Sestos, where a large fleet and a number of transports had been collected for the embarkation of his army. He steered with his own hand the vessel in which he sailed towards the very spot where the Achaeans were said to have landed when proceeding to the Trojan war. He was, as we have said, a great admirer of Homer, a copy of whose works he always carried with him; and on landing on the Asiatic coast he made it his first business to visit the plain of Troy. He then proceeded to Sigeum, where he crowned with a garland the pillar said to mark the tumulus of his mythical ancestor Achilles, and, according to custom, ran round it naked with his friends.
Alexander then marched northwards along the coast of the Propontis. The satraps of Lydia and Ionia, together with other Persian generals, were encamped on the river Granicus, with a force of 20,000 Greek mercenaries, and about an equal number of native cavalry, with which they prepared to dispute the passage of the river. A Rhodian, named Memnon, had the chief command. The veteran general Parmenio advised Alexander to delay the attack till the following morning; to which he replied, that it would be a bad omen at the beginning of his expedition, if, after passing the Hellespont, he should be stopped by a paltry stream. Thereupon he directed his cavalry to cross the river, and followed himself at the head of the phalanx. The passage, however, was by no means easy. The stream was in many parts so deep as to be hardly fordable, and the opposite bank was steep and rugged. The cavalry had great difficulty in maintaining their ground till Alexander came up to their relief. He immediately charged into the thickest of the fray, and exposed himself so much that his life was often in imminent danger, and on one occasion was saved only by the interposition of his friend Clitus. Having routed the Persians, he next attacked the Greek mercenaries, 2000 of whom were made prisoners, and the rest nearly all cut to pieces, In this engagement he killed two Persian officers with his own hand.
Alexander now marched southwards towards Sardis, which surrendered before he came within sight of its walls. Having left a garrison in that city, he arrived after a four days' march before Ephesus, which likewise capitulated on his approach. Magnesia, Tralles, and Miletus next fell into his hands, the last after a short siege. Halicarnassus made more resistance. It was obliged to be regularly approached; but at length Memnon, finding it no longer tenable, set fire to it in the night, and crossed over to Cos. Alexander caused it to be razed to the ground, and pursued his march along the southern coast of Asia Minor, with the view of seizing those towns which might afford shelter to a Persian fleet. The winter was now approaching, and Alexander sent a considerable part of his army under Parmenio into winter-quarters at Sardis. He also sent back to Macedonia such officers and soldiers as had been recently married, on condition that they should return in the spring with what reinforcements they could raise; and with the same view he despatched an officer to recruit in the Peloponnesus. Meanwhile he himself with a chosen body proceeded along the coasts of Lycia and Pamphylia, having instructed Parmenio to rejoin him in Phrygia in the spring, with the main body. After he had crossed the Xanthus most of the Lycian towns tendered their submission. On the borders of Lycia and Pamphylia, Mount Climax, a branch of the Taurus range, runs abruptly into the sea, leaving only a narrow passage at its foot, which is frequently overflowed. This was the case at the time of Alexander's approach. He therefore sent his main body by a long and difficult road across the mountains to Perge; but he himself who loved danger for its own sake, proceeded with a chosen band along the shore, wading through water that was breast-high for nearly a whole day. Then forcing his way northwards through the barbarous tribes which inhabited the mountains of Pisidia, he encamped in the neighbourhood of Gordium in Phrygia. Here he was rejoined by Parmenio and by the new levies from Greece. Gordium had been the capital of the early Phrygian kings, and in it was preserved with superstitious veneration the chariot or waggon in which the celebrated Midas, the son of Gordius, together with his parents, had entered the town, and in conformity with an oracle had been elevated to the monarchy. An ancient prophecy promised the sovereignty of Asia to him who should untie the knot of bark which fastened the yoke of the waggon to the pole. Alexander repaired to the Acropolis, where the waggon was preserved, to attempt this adventure. Whether he undid the knot by drawing out a peg, or cut it through with his sword, is a matter of doubt; but that he had fulfilled the prediction was placed beyond dispute that very night by a great storm of thunder and lightning.
In the spring of 333 Alexander pursued his march eastwards, and on arriving at Ancyra received the submission of the Paphlagonians. He then advanced through Cappadocia without resistance; and forcing his way through the passes of Mount Taurus (the PYLAE CILICIAE), he descended into the plains of Cilicia. Hence he pushed on rapidly to Tarsus, which he found abandoned by the enemy. Whilst still heated with the march Alexander plunged into the clear but cold stream of the Cydnus, which runs by the town. The result was a fever, which soon became so violent as to threaten his life. An Acarnanian physician, named Philip, who accompanied him, prescribed a remedy; but at the same time Alexander received a letter informing him that Philip had been bribed by Darius, the Persian king, to poison him. He had however, too much confidence in the trusty Philip to believe the accusation and handed him the letter whilst he drank the draught. Either the medicine, or Alexander's youthful constitution, at length triumphed over the disorder. After remaining some time at Tarsus, he continued his march along the coast to Mallus, where he first received certain tidings of the great Persian army, commanded by Darius in person. It is said to have consisted of 600,000 fighting men, besides all that train of attendants which usually accompanied the march of a Persian monarch. Alexander found Darius encamped near Issus on the right bank of the little river Pinarus. The Persian king could hardly have been caught in a more unfavourable position, since the narrow and rugged plain between Mount Amanus and the sea afforded no scope for the evolutions of large bodies, and thus entirely deprived him of the advantage of his numerical superiority. Alexander occupied the pass between Syria and Cilicia at midnight, and at daybreak began to descend into the plain of the Pinarus, ordering his troops to deploy into line as the ground expanded and thus to arrive in battle-array before the Persians. Darius had thrown 30,000 cavalry and 20,000 infantry across the river, to check the advance of the Macedonians; whilst on the right bank were drawn up his choicest Persian troops to the number of 60,000, together with 30,000 Greek mercenaries, who formed the centre, and on whom he chiefly relied. These, it appears, were all that the breadth of the plain allowed to be drawn up in line. The remainder of the vast host were posted in separate bodies in the farther parts of the plain, and were unable to take any share in the combat. Darius placed himself in the centre of the line in a magnificent state chariot. The banks of the Pinarus were in many parts steep, and where they were level Darius had caused them to be intrenched. As Alexander advanced, the Persian cavalry which had been thrown across the river were recalled; but the 20,000 infantry had been driven into the mountains, where Alexander held them in check with a small body of horse. The left wing of the Macedonians, under the command of Parmenio, was ordered to keep near the sea, to prevent being outflanked. The right wing was led by Alexander in person, who rushed impetuously into the water, and was soon engaged in close combat with the Persians. The latter were immediately routed; but what chiefly decided the fortune of the day was the timidity of Darius himself, who, on beholding the defeat of his left wing, immediately took to flight. His example was followed by his whole army. One hundred thousand Persians are said to have been left upon the field. On reaching the hills Darius threw aside his royal robes his bow and shield, and, mounting a fleet courser, was soon out of reach of pursuit. The Persian camp became the spoil of the Macedonians; but the tent of Darius, together with his chariot, robes, and arms, was reserved for Alexander himself. It was now that the Macedonian king first had ocular proof of the nature of Eastern royalty. One compartment of the tent of Darius had been fitted up as a bath, which steamed with the richest odours; whilst another presented a magnificent pavilion, containing a table richly spread for the banquet of Darius. But from an adjoining tent issued the wail of female voices, where Sisygambis the mother, and Statira the wife of Darius, were lamenting the supposed death of the Persian monarch. Alexander sent to assure them of his safety, and ordered them to be treated with the most delicate and respectful attention.
Such was the memorable battle of Issus, fought in November, B.C. 333. A large treasure which Parmenio was sent forward with a detachment to seize, fell into the hands of the Macedonians at Damascus. Another favourable result of the victory was that it suppressed some attempts at revolt from the Macedonian power, which with the support of Persia, had been manifested in Greece. But, in order to put a complete stop to all such intrigues, which chiefly depended on the assistance of a Persian fleet, Alexander resolved to seize Phoenicia and Egypt, and thus to strike at the root of the Persian maritime power.
Meanwhile, Darius, attended by a body of only 4000 fugitives, had crossed the Euphrates at Thapsacus. Before he had set out from Babylon the whole forces of the empire had been summoned; but he had not thought it worth while to wait for what he deemed a merely useless encumbrance; and the more distant levies, which comprised some of the best troops of the empire, were still hastening towards Babylon. In a short time, therefore, he would be at the head of a still more numerous host than that which had fought at Issus; yet he thought it safer to open negotiations with Alexander than to trust to the chance of arms. With this view he sent a letter to Alexander, who was now at Marathus in Phoenicia, proposing to become his friend and ally; but Alexander rejected all his overtures, and told him that he must in future be addressed not in the language of an equal, but of a subject.
As Alexander advanced southwards, all the towns of Phoenicia hastened to open their gates; the inhabitants of Sidon even hailed him as their deliverer. Tyre, also, sent to tender her submission; but coupled with reservations by no means acceptable to a youthful conqueror in the full tide of success. Alexander affected to receive their offer as an unconditional surrender, and told them that he would visit their city and offer sacrifices to Melcart, a Tyrian deity, who was considered as identical with the Grecian Hercules. This brought the matter to an issue. The Tyrians now informed him that they could not admit any foreigners within their walls, and that, if he wished to sacrifice to Melcart, he would find another and more ancient shrine in Old Tyre, on the mainland. Alexander indignantly dismissed the Tyrian ambassadors, and announced his intention of laying siege to their city. The Tyrians probably deemed it impregnable. It was by nature a place of great strength, and had been rendered still stronger by art. The island on which it stood was half a mile distant from the mainland; and though the channel was shallow near the coast, it deepened to three fathoms near the island. The shores of the island were rocky and precipitous, and the walls rose from the cliffs to the height of 150 feet in solid masonry. As Alexander possessed no ships, the only method by which he could approach the town was by constructing a causeway, the materials for which were collected from the forests of Libanus and the ruins of Old Tyre. After overcoming many difficulties the mole was at length pushed to the foot of the walls; and as soon as Alexander had effected a practicable breach, he ordered a general assault both by land and sea. The breach was stormed under the immediate inspection of Alexander himself; and though the Tyrians made a desperate resistance, they were at length overpowered, when the city became one wide scene of indiscriminate carnage and plunder. The siege had lasted seven months, and the Macedonians were so exasperated by the difficulties and dangers they had undergone that they granted no quarter. Eight thousand of the citizens are said to have been massacred; and the remainder, with the exception of the king and some of the principal men, who had taken refuge in the temple of Melcart, were sold into slavery to the number of 30,000. Tyre was taken in the month of July in 332.
Whilst Alexander was engaged in the siege of Tyre, Darius made him further and more advantageous proposals. He now offered 10,000 talents as the ransom of his family, together with all the Provinces west of the Euphrates, and his daughter Barsine in marriage, as the conditions of a peace. When these offers were submitted to the council Parmenio was not unnaturally struck with their magnificence, and observed, that were he Alexander he would accept them. "And so would I," replied the king, "were I Parmenio." Darius, therefore, prepared himself for a desperate resistance.
After the fall of Tyre, Alexander marched with his army towards Egypt, whilst his fleet proceeded along the coast. Gaza, a strong fortress on the sea-shore, obstinately held out, and delayed his progress three or four months. After the capture of this city Alexander met his fleet at Pelusium, and ordered it to sail up the Nile as far as Memphis, whither he himself marched with his army across the desert. He conciliated the affection of the Egyptians by the respect with which he treated their national superstitions, whilst the Persians by an opposite line of conduct had incurred their deadliest hatred. He then sailed down the western branch of the Nile, and at its mouth traced the plan of the new city of Alexandria, which for many centuries continued to be not only the grand emporium of Europe, Africa, and India, but also the principal centre of intellectual life. Being now on the confines of Libya, Alexander resolved to visit the celebrated oracle of Zeus (Jupiter) Ammon, which lay in the bosom of the Libyan wilderness. The conqueror was received by the priests with all the honours of sacred pomp. He consulted the oracle in secret, and is said never to have disclosed the answer which he received; though that it was an answer that contented him appeared from the magnificence of the offerings which he made to the god. Some say that Ammon saluted him as the son of Zeus.
Alexander returned to Phoenicia in the spring of 331. He then directed his march through Samaria, and arrived at Thapsacus on the Euphrates about the end of August. After crossing the river he struck to the north-east through a fertile and well-supplied country. On his march he was told that Darius was posted with an immense force on the left bank of the Tigris; but on arriving at that river he found nobody to dispute his passage. He then proceeded southwards along its banks, and after four days' march fell in with a few squadrons of the enemy's cavalry. From some of these who were made prisoners Alexander learned that Darius was encamped with his host on one of the extensive plains between the Tigris and the mountains of Kurdistan, near a village called Gaugamela (the Camel's House). The town of Arbela, after which the battle that ensued is commonly named, lay at about twenty miles distance, and there Darius had deposited his baggage and treasure. That monarch had been easily persuaded that his former defeat was owing solely to the nature of the ground; and, therefore, he now selected a wide plain for an engagement, where there was abundant room for his multitudinous infantry, and for the evolutions of his horsemen and charioteers. Alexander, after giving his army a few days' rest, set out to meet the enemy soon after midnight, in order that he might come up with them about daybreak. On ascending some sand-hills the whole array of the Persians suddenly burst upon the view of the Macedonians, at the distance of three or four miles. Darius, as usual, occupied the centre, surrounded by his body-guard and chosen troops. In front of the royal position were ranged the war-chariots and elephants, and on either side the Greek mercenaries, to the number, it is said, of 50,000. Alexander spent the first day in surveying the ground and preparing for the attack; he also addressed his troops, pointing out to them that the prize of victory would not be a mere province, but the dominion of all Asia. Yet so great was the tranquillity with which he contemplated the result, that at daybreak on the following morning, when the officers came to receive his final instructions, they found him in a deep slumber. His army, which consisted only of 40,000 foot and 7000 horse, was drawn up in the order which he usually observed, namely, with the phalanx in the centre in six divisions, and the Macedonian cavalry on the right, where Alexander himself took his station. The Persians, fearful of being surprised, had stood under arms the whole night, so that the morning found them exhausted and dispirited. Some of them, however, fought with considerable bravery; but when Alexander had succeeded in breaking their line by an impetuous charge, Darius mounted a fleet horse and took to flight, as at Issus, though the fortune of the day was yet far from having been decided. At length, however, the rout became general. Whilst daylight lasted Alexander pursued the flying enemy as far as the banks of the Lycus, or Greater Zab, where thousands of the Persians perished in the attempt to pass the river. After resting his men a few hours Alexander continued the pursuit at midnight in the hope of overtaking Darius at Arbela. The Persian monarch, however, had continued his flight without stopping; but the whole of the royal baggage and treasure was captured.
Finding any further pursuit of Darius hopeless, Alexander now directed his march towards Babylon. At a little distance from the city the greater part of the population came out to meet him, headed by their priests and magistrates, tendering their submission and bearing with them magnificent presents. Alexander then made his triumphant entry into Babylon, riding in a chariot at the head of his army. The streets were strewed with flowers, incense smoked on either hand on silver altars, and the priests celebrated his entry with hymns. Nor was this a mere display of a compulsory obedience. Under the Persian sway the Chaldaean religion had been oppressed and persecuted; the temple of Belus had been destroyed and still lay in ruins; and both priests and people consequently rejoiced at the downfall of a dynasty from which they had suffered so much wrong. Alexander observed here the same politic conduct which he had adopted in Egypt. He caused the ruined temples to be restored, and proposed to offer personally, but under the direction of the priests, a sacrifice to Belus. Alexander contemplated making Babylon the capital of his future empire. His army was rewarded with a large donative from the Persian treasury; and after being allowed to indulge for some time in the luxury of Babylon, was again put in motion, towards the middle of November, for Susa. It was there that the Persian treasures were chiefly accumulated, and Alexander had despatched one of his generals to take possession of the city immediately after the battle of Arbela. It was surrendered without a blow by the satrap Abulites. The treasure found there amounted to 40,000 talents in gold and silver bullion, and 9000 in gold Darics. But among all these riches the interest of the Greeks must have been excited in a lively manner by the discovery of the spoils carried off from Greece by Xerxes. Among them were the bronze statues of Harmodius and Aristogiton, which Alexander now sent back to Athens, and which were long afterwards preserved in the Ceramicus.
At Susa Alexander received reinforcements of about 15,000 men from Greece. He then directed his march south-eastwards towards Persepolis. His road lay through the mountainous territory of the Uxians, who refused him a passage unless he paid the usual tribute which they were in the habit of extorting even from the Persian kings. But Alexander routed them with great slaughter. He then advanced rapidly to Persepolis, whose magnificent ruins still attest its ancient splendour. It was the real capital of the Persian kings, though they generally resided at Susa during the winter, and at Ecbatana in summer. The treasure found there exceeded that both of Babylon and Susa, and is said to have amounted to 120,000 talents or nearly 30,000,000l. sterling. It was here that Alexander is related to have committed an act of senseless folly, by firing with his own hand the ancient and magnificent palace of the Persian kings; of which the most charitable version is that he committed the act when heated with wine at the instigation of Thais, an Athenian courtezan. By some writers, however, the story is altogether disbelieved, and the real destruction of Persepolis referred to the Mahommedan epoch. Whilst at Persepolis, Alexander visited the tomb of Cyrus, the founder of the Persian monarchy, which was situated at a little distance, at a city called Pasargadae.
Thus in between three and four years after crossing the Hellespont Alexander had established himself on the Persian throne. But Darius was not yet in his power. After the battle of Arbela that monarch had fled to Ecbatana. It was not till about four months after the battle of Arbela, and consequently early in 330, that Alexander quitted Persepolis to resume the pursuit of Darius. On approaching Ecbatana he learned that the Persian monarch had already fled with the little army which still adhered to him. Alexander, with his main body, then pursued Darius through Media by forced marches and reached Rhagae, a distance of three hundred miles from Ecbatana, in eleven days. Such was the rapidity of the march that many men and horses died of fatigue. At Rhagae he heard that Darius had already passed the defile called the "Caspian Gates," leading into the Bactrian provinces; and, as that pass was fifty miles distant, urgent pursuit was evidently useless. He therefore allowed his troops five days' rest, and then resumed his march. Soon after passing the Gates he learned that Darius had been seized and loaded with chains by his own satrap Bessus, who entertained the design of establishing himself in Bactria as an independent sovereign. This intelligence stimulated Alexander to make still further haste with part of his cavalry and a chosen body of foot. On the fourth day he succeeded in overtaking the fugitives with his cavalry, having been obliged to leave the infantry behind, with directions to follow more at leisure. The enemy, who did not know his real strength, were struck with consternation at his appearance, and fled precipitately. Bessus and his adherents now endeavoured to persuade Darius to fly with them, and provided a fleet horse for that purpose. But the Persian monarch, who had already experienced the generosity of Alexander in the treatment of his captive family, preferred to fall into his hands, whereupon the conspirators mortally wounded him in the chariot in which they kept him confined, and then took to flight. Darius expired before Alexander could come up, who threw his own cloak over the body. He then ordered him to be magnificently buried in the tomb of his ancestors, and provided for the fitting education of his children.
The next three years were employed by Alexander in subduing Hyrcania, Drangiana, Bactria, and Sogdiana, and the other northern provinces of the Persian empire. In these distant regions he founded several cities, one of which in Aria, called after him (Alexandria Ariorum), is still, under the name of HERAT, one of the chief cities in central Asia. Alexander's stay in Prophthasia, the capital of Drangiana, was signalized by a supposed conspiracy against his life, formed by Philotas, the son of Parmenio. Alexander had long entertained suspicions of Philotas. But the immediate subject of accusation against him was that he had not revealed a conspiracy which was reported to be forming against Alexander's life, and which he had deemed too contemptible to notice. He was consequently suspected of being implicated in it; and on being put to the torture he not only confessed his own guilt in his agonies, but also implicated his father. Philotas was executed, and an order was sent to Ecbatana, where Parmenio then was, directing that veteran general to be put to death. A letter, purporting to be from his son, was handed to him; and whilst the old man was engaged in reading it, Polydamus, his intimate friend, together with some others of Alexander's principal officers, fell upon and slew him. His head was carried to Alexander.
Meantime Bessus had assumed the royal dignity in Bactria; but upon Alexander's approach he fled across the Oxus into Sogdiana. Early in the summer of 329 Alexander followed him across the Oxus; and shortly afterwards Bessus was betrayed by two of his own officers into the hands of Alexander. Bessus was carried to Zariaspa, the capital of Bactria, where he was brought before a Persian court, and put to death in a cruel and barbarous manner.
Alexander even crossed the river Jaxartes (SIR), and defeated the Scythians. Sogdiana alone of the northern provinces offered any serious resistance to his arms. Accordingly in 328 he again crossed the Oxus. He divided his army into five bodies, ordering them to scour the country in different directions. With the troops under his own command he marched against the fortress called the Sogdian Rock, seated on an isolated hill, so precipitous as to be deemed inaccessible, and so well supplied with provisions as to defy a blockade. The summons to surrender was treated with derision by the commander, who inquired whether the Macedonians had wings? But a small body of Macedonians having succeeded in scaling some heights which overhung the fortress, the garrison became so alarmed that they immediately surrendered. To this place a Bactrian named Oxyartes, an adherent of Bessus, had sent his daughters for safety. One of them, named Roxana, was of surpassing beauty, and Alexander made her the partner of his throne (B.C. 328).
At Maracanda (now SAMARCAND) he appointed his friend Clitus satrap of Bactria. On the eve of the parting of the two friends Alexander celebrated a festival in honour of the Dioscuri (Castor and Pollux), though the day was sacred to Dionysus (Bacchus). The banquet was attended by several parasites and literary flatterers, who magnified the praises of Alexander with extravagant and nauseous flattery. Clitus, whom wine had released from all prudent reserve, sternly rebuked their fulsome adulation; and, as the conversation turned on the comparative merits of the exploits of Alexander and his father Philip, he did not hesitate to prefer the exploits of the latter. He reminded Alexander of his former services, and, stretching forth his hand, exclaimed, "It was this hand Alexander, which saved your life at the battle of the Granicus!" The king, who was also flushed with wine, was so enraged by these remarks, that he rushed at Clitus with the intention of killing him on the spot, but he was held back by his friends, whilst Clitus was at the same time hurried out of the room. Alexander, however, was no sooner released than, snatching a spear, he sprang to the door, and meeting Clitus, who was returning in equal fury to brave his anger, ran him through the body. But when the deed was done he was seized with repentance and remorse. He flung himself on his couch and remained for three whole days in an agony of grief, refusing all sustenance, and calling on the names of Clitus and of his sister Lanice who had been his nurse. It was not till his bodily strength began to fail through protracted abstinence that he at last became more composed, and consented to listen to the consolations of his friends, and the words of the soothsayers, who ascribed the murder of Clitus to a temporary frenzy with which Dionysus had visited him as a punishment for neglecting the celebration of his festival.
After reducing Sogdiana, Alexander returned into Bactria in 327, and began to prepare far his projected expedition into India. While he was thus employed a plot was formed against his life by the royal pages, incited by Hermolaus, one of their number, who had been punished with stripes for anticipating the king during a hunting party in slaying a wild boar. Hermolaus and his associates, among whom was Callisthenes, a pupil of Aristotle, were first tortured, and then put to death. It seems certain that a conspiracy existed; but no less certain that the growing pride and haughtiness of Alexander were gradually alienating from him the hearts of his followers.
Alexander did not leave Bactria till late in the spring. He crossed the Indus by a bridge of boats near Taxila, the present ATTOCK, where the river is about 1000 feet broad, and very deep. He now found himself in the district at present called the PENJ-AB (or the FIVE RIVERS). Taxiles, the sovereign of the district, at once surrendered Taxila, his capital and joined the Macedonian force with 5000 men. Hence Alexander proceeded with little resistance to the river Haydaspes (BEHUT or JELUM). On the opposite bank, Porus, a powerful Indian king, prepared to dispute his progress with a numerous and well-appointed force. Alexander, however, by a skilful stratagem conveyed his army safely across the river. An obstinate battle then ensued. In the army of Porus were many elephants, the sight and smell of which frightened the horses of Alexander's cavalry. But these unwieldy animals ultimately proved as dangerous to the Indians as to the Greeks; for when driven into a narrow space they became unmanageable, and created great confusion in the ranks of Porus. By a few vigorous charges the Indians were completely routed, with the loss of 12,000 slain and 9000 prisoners. Among the latter was Porus himself, who was conducted into the presence of Alexander. The courage which he had displayed in the battle had excited the admiration of the Macedonian king. Mounted on an enormous elephant, he retreated leisurely when the day was lost, and long rejected every summons to surrender; till at length, overcome by thirst and fatigue, he permitted himself to be taken. Even in this situation Porus still retained his majestic bearing, the effect of which was increased by the extraordinary height of his stature. On Alexander's inquiring how he wished to be treated, he replied, "Like a king." "And have you no other request?" asked Alexander. "No," answered Porus; "everything is comprehended in the word king." Struck by his magnanimity, Alexander not only restored him to his dominions, but also considerably enlarged them; seeking by these means to retain him as an obedient and faithful vassal.
Alexander rested a month on the banks of the Hydaspes, where he celebrated his victory by games and sacrifices, and founded two towns one of which he named Nicaea, and the other Bucephala, in honour of his gallant charger Bucephalus, which is said to have died there. He then overran the whole of the PENJ-AB, as far as the Hyphasis (GHARRA), its southern boundary. Upon reaching this river, the army, worn out by fatigues and dangers, positively refused to proceed any farther; although Alexander passionately desired to attack a monarch still more powerful than Porus, whose dominions lay beyond the Hyphasis. All his attempts to induce his soldiers to proceed proving ineffectual, he returned to the Hydaspes, when he ordered part of his army to descend the river on its opposite banks; whilst he himself at the head of 8000 men, embarked on board a fleet of about 2000 vessels, which he had ordered to be prepared with the view of sailing down the Indus to its mouth.