UNIONS OF TRIBES.—During the period when the Greek population was dispersing itself in the districts which its different fractions occupied in the historic ages, there arose unions among tribes near one another, for religious purposes. They preceded treaties and alliances of the ordinary kind. Such tribes agreed to celebrate, in common, certain solemn festivals. Deputies of these tribes met at stated intervals to look after the temple and the lands pertaining to it. Out of these unions, there grew stipulations relative to the mode of conducting war and other matters of common interest. Treaties of peace and of mutual defense might follow. Thus arose combinations of states, in which one state, the strongest, would have the hegemony, or lead. This became an established characteristic of Greek political life. It was a system of federal unions under the headship of the most powerful member of the confederacy. When such a union was formed, it established a common worship or festival.
THE DELPHIC AMPHICTYONY.—In the north of Greece, there was formed, in early times, a great religious union. It was composed of twelve tribes banded together for the worship of Apollo at Delphi, and to guard his temple. It was called the Delphic Amphictyony, or "League of Neighbors." The members of this body agreed not to destroy one another's towns in war, and not to cut off running water from a town which they were besieging.
THE DELPHIC ORACLE.—The sanctuary at Delphi, where the Amphictyonic Council met, became the most famous temple in Greece. Here the oracle of Apollo gave answers to those who came to consult that divinity. The priests who managed the temple kept themselves well informed in regard to occurrences in distant places. Their answers were often discreet and wholesome, but not unfrequently obscure and ambiguous, and thus misleading. In early times their moral influence in the nation promoted justice and fraternal feeling. In later times they lost their reputation for honesty and impartiality. In civil wars the priests were sometimes bribed to support one of the contending parties.
THE HOMERIC POEMS.—Within the last century, there has been much discussion about the authorship of the two poems, the Iliad and the Odyssey. The place where they were composed, whether among the Ionians in Greece proper or in Asia Minor, is still a matter of debate. It was probably Asia Minor. Seven places contended for the honor of having given birth to the blind bard. But nothing is known of Homer's birthplace or history. It is doubtful whether the art of writing was much, if at all, in use among the Greeks at the time of the composition of the Iliad and Odyssey. We know that the custom existed of repeating poems orally by minstrels or rhapsodists at popular festivals. This may have been the mode in which for a time the Homeric poems were preserved and transmitted. The Odyssey has more unity than the Iliad, and seems to be of a somewhat later date. The nucleus of the Iliad is thought by some scholars to be embedded in the group of poems which, it is supposed, constitute the work at present; but there is no evidence making it possible to identify any portion as the work of Homer. Whatever may be the truth on these questions, the Iliad and Odyssey present an invaluable picture of Greek life in the period when they were composed, which was probably as early as 900 B.C.
SOCIAL LIFE IN THE HOMERIC AGE.—(1) Government. In the Homeric portraiture of Greek life, there are towns; but the tribe is predominant over the town. The tribe is ruled by a king, who is not like an Eastern despot, but has about him a council of chiefs, and is bound by the themistes, the traditional customs. There is, besides, the agora, or popular assembly, where debates take place among the chiefs, and to which their decisions, or rather the decision of the king, on whom it devolves finally to determine every thing, are communicated. Public speaking, it is seen, is practiced in the infancy of Greek society. (2) Customs. People live in hill-villages, surrounded by walls. Life is patriarchal, and, as regards the domestic circle, humane. Polygamy, the plague of Oriental society, does not exist. Women are held in high regard. Slavery is everywhere established. Side by side with piracy and constant war, and the supreme honor given to military prowess, there is a fine and bountiful hospitality which is held to be a religious duty. In the Homeric poems, there is often exhibited a noble refinement of thought and sentiment, and a gentle courtesy. (3) Arts and Industry. In war, the chariot is the engine: cavalry are unknown. The useful arts are in a rudimental stage. Spinning and weaving are the constant occupation of women. All garments are made at home: noble women join with their slaves in washing them in the river. The condition of the common freeman who took one temporary job after another, was miserable. Of the condition of those who pursued special occupations,—as the carpenter, the leather-dresser, the fisherman, etc.,—we have no adequate information. The principal metals were in use, and the art of forging them. There was no coined money: payment was made in oxen. But there is hereditary individual property in land, cultivated vineyards, temples of the gods, and splendid palaces of the chiefs. (4) Geographical Knowledge. In Homer, there is a knowledge of Greece, of the neighboring islands, and western Asia Minor. References to other lands are vague. The earth is a sort of flat oval, with the River Oceanus flowing round it. Hesiod is better informed about places: he knows something of the Nile and of the Scythians, and of some places as far west as Syracuse.
RELIGION IN THE HOMERIC AGE.—The Homeric poems give us a full idea of the early religious ideas and practices, (I) The Nature of the Gods.—The gods in Homer are human beings with greatly magnified powers. Their dwelling is in the sky above us: their special abode is Mount Olympus. They experience hunger, but feed on ambrosia and nectar. They travel with miraculous speed. Their prime blessing is exemption from mortality. Among themselves they are often discordant and deceitful. (2) Relation of the Gods to Men. They are the rulers and guides of nations. Though they act often from mere caprice or favoritism, their sway is, on the whole, promotive of justice. Zeus is supreme: none can contend with him successfully. The gods hold communication with men. They also make known their will and intentions by signs and portents,—such as thunder and lightning, or the sudden passing of a great bird of prey. They teach men through dreams. (3) Service of the Gods. Sacrifice and supplication are the chief forms of devotion. There is no dominant hierarchy. The temple has its priest, but the father is priest in his own household. (4) Morals and Religion. Morality is interwoven with religion. Above all, oaths are sacred, and oath-breakers abhorred by gods as well as by men. In the conduct of the divinities, there are found abundant examples of unbridled anger and savage retaliation. Yet gentle sentiments, counsels to forbearance and mercy, are not wanting. The wrath of the gods is most provoked by lawless self-assertion and insolence. (5) Propitiation: the Dead. The sense of sin leads to the appeasing of the deities by offerings, attended with prayer. The offerings are gifts to the god, tokens of the honor due to him. The dead live as flitting shadows in Hades. Achilles is made to say that he would rather be a miserable laborer on earth than to reign over all the dead in the abodes below.
GREEK LITERATURE.—The chief types, both of poetry and of prose, originated with the Greeks. Their writings are the fountainhead of the literature of Europe. They prized simplicity: they always had an intense disrelish for obscurity and bombast. The earliest poetry of the Greeks consisted of hymns to the gods. It was lyrical, an outpouring of personal feeling. The lyrical type was followed by the epic, where heroic deeds, or other events of thrilling interest, are the theme of song, and the personal emotion of the bard is out of sight through his absorption in the subject. Description flows on, the narrator himself being in the background. This epic poetry culminates in the Iliad and Odyssey (900-700 B.C.). Their verse is the hexameter. These poems move on in a swift current, yet without abruptness or monotony. They are marked by a simplicity and a nobleness, a refinement and a pathos, which have charmed all subsequent ages. Homer, far more than any other author, was the educator of the Greeks. There was a class called Homeridae, in Chios; but whether they were themselves poets, or reciters of Homer, or what else may have been their peculiar work, is not ascertained. There was, however, a class of Cyclic poets, who took up the legends of Troy, and carried out farther the Homeric tales. Hesiod was the founder of a more didactic sort of poetry. He is about a century later than the Iliad. Besides the Theogony, which treats of the origin of the gods and of nature, his Works and Days relates to the works which a farmer has to do, and the lucky or unlucky days for doing them. It contains doctrines and precepts relative to agriculture, navigation, civil and family life. Hesiod was the first of a Boeotian school of poets. He lacks the poetic genius of Homer, and the vivacity and cheerfulness which pervade the Iliad and the Odyssey.
CHAPTER II. THE FORMATION OF THE PRINCIPAL STATES.
ARISTOCRATIC GOVERNMENT.—The early kings were obeyed as much for their personal qualities, such as valor and strength of body, as for their hereditary title. By degrees the noble families about the king took control, and the kingship thus gave way to the rule of an aristocracy. The priestly office, which required special knowledge, remained in particular families, as the Eumolpidaee at Athens,—families to whom was ascribed the gift of the seer, and to whom were known the Eleusinian mysteries. The nobles were landholders, with dependent farmers who paid rent. The nobles held sway over tillers of the soil, artisans and seamen, who constituted the people (the "demos"), and who had no share in political power. This state of things continued until the lower class gained more property and more knowledge; and the example of the colonial settlements, where there was greater equality, re-acted on the parent state. The struggle of the lower ranks for freedom was of long continuance. In all Greek cities, there were Metoeci, or resident foreigners without political rights, and also slaves from abroad. Free-born Greeks busied themselves with occupations connected with the fine arts, or with trade and commerce on an extended scale. They commonly eschewed all other employments, and especially menial labor.
THE CONSTITUTION OF THE LYCURGUS.—According to the legend, disorders in Sparta following the Dorian conquest, and strife between the victors and the conquered, moved Lycurgus, a man of regal descent, to retire to Crete, where the old Dorian customs were still observed. On his return he gave to the citizens a constitution, which was held in reverence by the generations after him. To him, also, laws and customs which were really of later date, came to be ascribed. The Spartan population consisted (1) of the Spartiatae, who had full rights, and those of less means,—both comprising the Dorian conquerors. They were divided into three Phylae, or tribes, each composed of ten divisions (Obae); (2) the Periaeci, Achaeans who paid tribute on the land which they held, were bound to military service, but had no political rights; (3) the Helots, serfs of the State, who were divided among the Spartiatae by lot, and cultivated their lands, paying to them a certain fraction of the harvest. The form of government established by Lycurgus was an aristocratic republic. The Council of Elders, twenty-eight in number, chosen for life by the Phylae, were presided over by two hereditary kings, who had little power in time of peace, but unlimited command of the forces in war. The popular assembly, composed of all Spartiatae of thirty years of age or upwards, could only decide questions without debate. Five Ephors, chosen yearly by the Phylae, acquired more and more authority. Lycurgus is said to have divided the land into nine thousand equal lots for the families of the Spartiatae, and thirty thousand for the Periceci. To keep down the helots required constant vigilance, and often occasioned measures of extreme cruelty. The Crypteia was an organized guard of young Spartans, whose business it was to prevent insurrection.
LAWS AND CUSTOMS.—The Spartan state was thus aristocratic and military. It took into its own hands the education of the young. Weak and deformed children were left to perish in a ravine of Taygetus, or thrust down among the Periceci. Healthy children at the age of seven were taken from their homes, to be reared under the supervision of the State. They had some literary instruction, but their chief training was in gymnastics. They were exercised in hunting and in drills; took their meals together in the syssitia (the public mess), where the fare was rough and scanty; slept in dormitories together; and by every means were disciplined for a soldier's life. The Spartan men likewise fed at public tables, and slept in barracks, only making occasional visits to their own houses. No money was in circulation except iron: no one was permitted to possess gold or silver. Girls were separately drilled in gymnastic exercises and made to be as hardy as boys. Marriage was regulated by the State. There was more purity, and women had a higher standing, in Sparta than in other parts of Greece. The strength of the Spartan army was in the hoplites, or heavy-armed infantry. In battle, messmates stood together. Cowardice was treated with the utmost contempt. The rigorous subordination of the young to their elders was maintained in war as in peace. The legend held, that after this constitution of Lycurgus had been approved by the Delphian oracle, he made the citizens swear to observe it until he should return from a projected journey. He then went to Crete, and stayed there until his death.
HEGEMONY OF SPARTA.—Having thus organized the body politic, Sparta took the steps which gave it the hegemony in Peloponnesus and over all Greece. First, it conquered the neighboring state of Messenia in two great wars, the first ending about 725 B.C., and the second about 650 B.C. In the first of these wars, the Messenians submitted to become tributary to Sparta, after their citadel, Ithome, had been captured, and their defeated hero, Aristodemus, had slain himself. Many of the vanquished Messenians escaped from their country to Arcadia and Argolis. Some of them fled farther, and founded Rhegium in Lower Italy. In the second war, the Messenians revolted against the tyrannical rule of Sparta, and at first, under Aristomenes, were successful, but were afterwards defeated by the Spartans, who were inspirited for the conflict by the war-songs of the Athenian poet, Tyrtaeus. Aristomenes fled to Rhodes. Most of his people were made helots. The Arcadians, after long resistance, succumbed, and came under the Spartan hegemony (about 600 B.C.). Argos, too, was obliged to renounce its claim to this position in favor of its Spartan antagonist, after its defeat by Cleomenes, the Lacedaemonian king, at Thyrea (549 B.C.). The Argive League was dissolved, and Sparta gained the right to command in every war that should be waged in common by the Peloponnesian states, the right, also, to determine the contingent of troops which each should furnish, and to preside in the council of the confederacy. She now began to spread her power beyond Peloponnesus, entered into negotiations with Lydia (555 B.C.), and actually sent an expedition to the coast of Asia (525 B.C.). Moreover as early as 510 B.C., by interfering in the affairs of the states north of the Corinthian isthmus, and with Attica in particular, she sowed among the Athenians the seeds of a lasting enmity.
GOVERNMENT IN ATHENS: DRACO.—According to the legend, Codrus, who died about 1068 B.C., was the last of the Athenian kings. The Eupatrids, the noble families, abolished monarchy, and substituted for the king an Archon, chosen for life by them out of the family of Codrus. The Eupatrids stood in a sort of patriarchal relation to the common people. The inhabitants were divided into four tribes. These were subdivided, first into Brotherhoods and Clans, and secondly, into classes based on consanguinity, and classes arranged for taxation, military service, etc. The entire community comprised the Nobles,—in whose hands the political power was lodged,—the Farmers, and the Artisans. The farmers and the artisans might gather in the Agora, and express assent to public measures, or dissent. In process of time the archons came to be chosen not from the family of Codrus exclusively, but from the Eupatrids generally. From 682 B.C. they were nine in number, and they served but for one year. The administration of justice was in the hands of the nobles, who were not restrained by a body of written laws. The archon Draco, about 621 B.C., in order to check this evil, framed a code which seemed harsh, though milder than the laws previously enforced. Later it was said of his laws that they were written in blood. This legislation was a concession to which the nobles were driven by an uprising. Their hard treatment of debtors, many of whom were deprived of their liberty, had stirred up a serious conflict between the people and their masters. A rebellion, led by Cylon, one of the Eupatrids, was put down, and punished by means involving treachery and sacrilege. The insurgents were slain clinging to the altars of the gods, where they had taken refuge. Not long after it became necessary to introduce other reforms at the advice of Solon, one of "the seven wise men of Greece." He had acquired popularity by recovering Salamis from the Megarians, and in a sacred war against towns which had robbed the temple of Apollo at Delphi.
LEGISLATION OF SOLON—The design of Solon was to substitute a better system for the tyrannical oligarchy, but, at the same time, to keep power mainly in the hands of the upper class. He divided the people into four classes, according to the amount of their income. To the richest of these the archonship, and admission into the Areopagus, were confined. A new council was established, which had the right to initiate legislation, composed of one hundred from each of the four old tribes, and annually elected by the body of the citizens. The Ecclesia, or assembly of the whole people, having the right to choose the archons and councilors, was revived. Courts of Appeal, with jury trials, were instituted. The old council of the Areopagus was clothed with high judicial and executive powers. There were laws to relieve a portion of the debtors from their burdens, and to abolish servitude for debt. Every father was required to teach his son a handicraft.
PARTIES IN ATHENS.—The legislation of Solon was a measure of compromise. It satisfied neither party. After journeys abroad, he passed his old age in Athens, and was a spectator of the rising contests between the discordant factions, which his constitution was only able for a time to curb. There were three parties,—a re-actionary party under Lycurgus, a progressive party led by Pisistratus, and a moderate or middle party under Megacles.
THE TYRANTS.—At this time, in almost all of the Grecian states, monarchy had given place to aristocracy. The reign of an oligarchy, the unbridled sway of a few, was commonly the next step. Against this the people in different states,—the demos,—rose in revolt. The popular leader, or "demagogue," was some conspicuous and wealthy noble, who thus acquired supreme authority. In this way, in the seventh and sixth centuries, most of the states were ruled by "tyrants,"—a term signifying absolute rulers, whether their administration was unjust and cruel, or fair and mild. They endeavored to fortify their rule by collecting poets, artists, and musicians about them, for their own pleasure and for the diversion of the populace. Occasionally they gave the people employment in the erection of costly buildings. They formed alliances with one another and with foreign kings. Not unfrequently they practiced violence and extortion. The oligarchies sought to dethrone them. Their overthrow often had for its result the introduction of popular sovereignty. Among the most noted tyrants were Periander of Corinth (625-585 B.C.), Pittacus in Lesbos (589-579 B.C.), and Polycrates in Samos (535-522 B.C.).
The PISISTRATIDS.—The government of Athens, framed by Solon, was in effect a "timocracy," or rule of the rich. At the head of the popular party stood Pisistratus, a rich nobleman of high descent. He succeeded, by means of his armed guard, in making himself master of the citadel. Twice driven out of the city, he at length returned (538 B.C.), and gained permanent control by force of arms. He managed his government with shrewdness and energy. Industry and trade flourished. He decorated Athens with buildings and statues. Religious festivals he caused to be celebrated with splendor. He ruled under the legal forms by having archons chosen to suit him. He died 527 B.C. Hippias, his son, governed with mildness until his younger brother and colleague in power, Hipparchus, was slain by the two friends, Harmodius and Aristogiton. Then he gave the rein to revengeful passion, and laid upon the people burdensome taxes. Hippias was driven out of the city by the Alcmaeonidae and other exiled nobles, assisted by the Spartan king, Cleomenes (510 B.C.). He fled to Asia Minor in order to secure Persian help.
THE ATHENIAN DEMOCRACY.—Clisthenes, a brilliant man, the head of the Alcmaeonid family, connected himself with the popular party, and introduced such changes in the constitution as to render him the founder of the Athenian Democracy. The power of the archons was reduced. All of the free inhabitants of Attica were admitted to citizenship. New tribes, ten in number, each comprising ten denes, or hamlets, with their adjacent districts, superseded the old tribes. A council of five hundred, fifty from each tribe, supplanted Solon's council of four hundred. The courts of law were newly organized. The Ostracism was introduced; that is, the prerogative of the popular assembly to decree by secret ballot, without trial, the banishment of a person who should be deemed to be dangerous to the public weal. Certain officers were designated by lot. Ten Strategi, one from each tribe, by turns, took the place of the archon polemarchus in command of the army.
EFFECT OF DEMOCRACY.—Under this system of free government, the energy of the Athenian people was developed with amazing rapidity. The spirit of patriotism, of zeal for the honor and welfare of Athens, rose to a high pitch. The power and resources of the city increased in a proportionate degree. Culture kept pace with prosperity.
LYRICAL POETRY.—In the eighth century, when monarchy was declining, and the tendency to democracy began to manifest itself, a new style of poetry, different from the epic, arose. The narrative poems of minstrels were heard at the great religious festivals. But there was a craving for the expression of individual feeling. Hence, lyrical poetry re-appeared, not in the shape of religious songs, as in the old time, but in a form to touch all the chords of sentiment. Two new types of verse appeared,—the Elegiac and the Iambic. At first the elegy was probably a lament for the dead. It was accompanied by the soft music of the Lydian flute. The instruments which the Greeks had used were string-instruments. The early Greek elegies related to a variety of themes,—as war, love, preceptive wisdom. The iambic meter was first used in satire. Its earliest master of distinction was Arckilochus of Paros (670 B.C.). It was employed, however, in fables, and elsewhere when pointed or intense expression was craved. The earliest of the Greek elegists, Callinus and Tyrtaus, composed war-songs. Mimnermus, Solon, Theognis, Simonides of Ceos, are among the most famous elegists. Music developed in connection with lyric poetry. The Greeks at first used the four-stringed lyre. Terpander made an epoch (660 B.C.) by adding three strings. Olympus and Thaletas made further improvements. Greek lyric poetry flourished, especially from 670 to 440 B.C. The Aeolian lyrists of Lesbos founded a school of their own. The two great representatives are Alcaus, who sang of war and of love, and Sappho, who sang of love. "Probably no poet ever surpassed Sappho as an interpreter of passion in exquisitely subtle harmonies of form and sound." Anacreon, an Ionian, resembled in his style the Aeolian lyrists. He was most often referred to by the ancients as the poet of sensuous feeling of every sort. The Dorian lyric poetry was mostly choral and historic in its topics. Greek lyric poetry reaches the climax in Simonides and Pindar. The latter was a Boeotian, but of Dorian descent. Simonides was tender and polished; Pindar, fervid and sublime The extant works of Pindar are the Epinicia, or odes of victory.
HISTORICAL WRITING.—This age witnesses the beginnings of historical writing. But the logographers, as they were called, only wrote prose epics. They told the story of the foundation of families and cities, reconciling as best they could the myths, so far as they clashed with one another.
PHILOSOPHY: THE IONIAN SCHOOL.—The Greeks were the first to investigate rationally the causes of things, and to try to comprehend the world as a complete system. The earliest phase of this movement was on the side of physics, or natural philosophy. Homer and Hesiod had accounted for the operations of nature by referring them to the direct personal action of different divinities. The earliest philosophers brought in the conception of some kind of matter as the foundation and source of all things. The Ionian School led the way in this direction. Thales of Miletus (about 600 B.C.) made this primary substance to be water. Anaximander (611-? B.C.) made all things spring out of a primitive stuff, without definite qualities, and without bounds. He taught that the earth is round, invented the sun-dial, engraved a map on a brass tablet, and made some astronomical calculations. Anaximenes (first half, 6th C.) derived all things from air, which he made to be eternal and infinite.
THE ELEATIC SCHOOL.—The Eleatic School conceived of the world as one in substance, and held that the natural phenomena which we behold, in all their variety and change, are unreal. Xenophanes (who flourished from 572 to 478 B.C.) asserted this. Parmenides (504-460 B.C.) taught that succession, change, the manifold forms of things, are only relative; that is, are only our way of regarding the one universal essence. Zeno sought to vindicate this theory logically by disproving the possibility of motion.
OTHER PHILOSOPHERS.—Another set of philosophers attempted definitely to explain the appearances of things, the changing phenomena, which had been called unreal. Heraclitus made the world to be nothing but these: There is no substratum of things: there is only an endless flux, a cycle. All things begin and end in fire, the symbol of what is real. Empedocles ascribed all things to fire, air, earth, and water, which are wrought into different bodies by "love" and "hate;" or, as we should say, attraction and repulsion. Democritus was the founder of the Atomists, who made all things spring out of the motions and combinations of primitive atoms. Anaxagoras brought in intelligence, or reason, as giving the start to the development of matter,—this principle doing nothing more, however, and being inherent in matter itself.
PYTHAGORAS.—A different spirit in philosophy belonged to Pythagoras (580-500 B.C.), who was born in Samos, traveled extensively, and settled in Croton, in southern Italy. His theory was, that the inner substance of all things is number. Discipline of character was a prime object. Pythagoras was sparing in his diet, promoted an earnest culture, in which music was prominent, and gave rise to a mystical school, in which moral reform and religious fueling were connected with an ascetic method of living.
COLONIES.—It was during the era of the oligarchies and tyrannies that the colonizing spirit was most active among the Greeks. Most of the colonies were established between 800 and 550 B.C. Their names alone would make a very long catalogue. They were of two classes: first, independent communities, connected, however, with the parent city by close ties of friendship; and secondly, kleruchies, which were of the nature of garrisons, where the settlers retained their former rights as citizens, and the mother city its full authority over them. In Sicily, on the eastern side, were the Ionian communities,—Naxos, Catana, etc. Syracuse (founded by Corinth 734 B.C.), Gela, and Agrigentum, which were among the chief Dorian settlements, lay on the south-eastern and south-western coasts. The oldest Greek town in Italy was Cumae (not far from Naples), said to have been founded in 1050 B.C. Tarentum (Dorian), Sybaris, and Croton (Aeolic) were settled in the latter part of the eighth century. Locri (Aeolic) and Rhegium (Ionic) were on the south. The south-western portion of Italy was termed Magna Graecia. Massilia (Marseilles) was founded by the Phocaean Ionians (about 600 B.C.). In the western Mediterranean the Greeks were hindered from making their settlements as numerous as they would have done, by the fact that Carthage and her colonies stood in the way. Cyrene, on the coast of Africa, was a Dorian colony (630 B.C.), planted from Thera, an earlier Spartan settlement. Cyrene founded Barca. Corcyra was colonized by Corinth (about 700 B.C.). Along the coast of Epirus were other Corinthian and Corcyrasan settlements. Chalcis planted towns in the peninsula of Chalcidice, and from thence to Selymbria (or Byzantium), which was founded by Megara (657 B.C.). The northern shores of the AEgean and the Propontis, and the whole coast of the Euxine were strewn with Greek settlements. The Greek towns, especially Miletus, on the western coast of Asia Minor, themselves sent out colonies,—as Cyzicus and Sinope, south of the Propontis and the Euxine. The foregoing statements give only a general idea of the wide extent of Greek colonization.
An exhaustive statement of the Greek colonies is given in Rawlinson's Manual of Ancient History, p. 148 seq. See also Abbott, A History of Greece, I. 333 seq.
PERIOD II. THE FLOURISHING ERA OF GREECE.
CHAPTER I. THE PERSIAN WARS.
THE IONIAN REVOLT.—Hardly were the Greeks in possession of liberty when they were compelled to measure their strength with the mighty Persian Empire. The cities of Asia Minor groaned under the tyranny of their Persian rulers, and sighed for freedom. At length, under propitious circumstances, Miletus rose in revolt under the lead of Aristagoras. Alone of the Grecian cities, Athens, and Eretria on the island of Euboea, sent help. The insurrection was extinguished in blood: its leaders perished. Miletus was destroyed by the enemy 495 B.C.; and the Ionian towns were again brought under the Persian yoke, which was made heavier than before. The Persian monarch, Darius, swore vengeance upon those who had aided the rebellion.
THE BATTLE OF MARATHON.—Mardonius, the son-in-law of Darius, moved with a fleet and an army along the AEgean coast. A storm shattered the fleet upon the rocky promontory of Athos, and the land force was partly destroyed by the Thracians. Mardonius retreated homeward. The heralds who came to demand, according to the Persian custom, "water and earth" of Athens and Sparta, were put to death. Enraged at these events, Darius sent a stronger fleet under Datis and Artaphernes. They forced Naxos and the other Cyclades to submission, captured and destroyed Eretria, and sent off its inhabitants as slaves to the interior of Asia. Guided on their path of destruction by the Athenian refugee, Hippias, the Persians landed on the coast of Attica, and encamped on the shore adjacent to the plain of Marathon. The Athenians sent Philippides, one of the swiftest of couriers, to Sparta for assistance, who reached that city, a hundred and thirty-five or a hundred and forty miles distant, the next day after he started. He brought back for answer that the Spartans were deterred by religious scruples from marching to war before the full moon, which would be ten days later. There was a Greek, as well as a Judaic, Pharisaism. Left to themselves, the Athenians were fortunate in having for their leader Miltiades, an able and experienced soldier, who had been with the Persians in the Scythian campaign. At the head of the Athenian infantry, ten thousand in number, whose hearts were cheered before the onset by the arrival of a re-inforcement of one thousand men, comprising the whole fighting population of the little town of Plataea, Miltiades attacked the Persian army, ten times as large as his own. The Athenians ran down the gentle slope at Marathon, shouting their war-cry, or paean, and, after a fierce conflict, drove the Persians back to their ships, capturing their camp with all its treasures (Sept. 12, 490 B.C.). This brilliant victory was not the end of danger. The Greek watchmen saw a treacherous signal, a glistening shield, on Mount Pentelicus, put there to signify to the Persians that Athens was open to their attack. In that direction, round Cape Sunium, the Persian fleet sailed. But Miltiades, by a rapid march of twenty-three miles, reached the city in season to prevent the landing. Datis and Artaphernes sailed away. The traitor, Hippias, died on the return voyage. The patriotic exultation of the Athenians was well warranted. Never did they look back upon that victory without a thrill of joyful pride. It proved what a united free people were capable of achieving. More than that, MARATHON was one of the decisive battles which form turning-points in the world's history. It was a mortal conflict between the East and the West, between Asia and Europe,—the coarse despotism under which individual energy is stifled, and the dawning liberty which was to furnish the atmosphere required for the full development and culture of the human mind.
ARISTIDES AND THEMISTOCLES.—Miltiades subsequently failed in an attempt against Paros, one of the AEgean islands which had submitted to the Persians, and which he sought to conquer. Accused of making false promises to the people, he was fined fifty talents, but died before the sum could be collected (489 B.C.). His son Cimon paid the fine. The two leading men in Athens at that time were Aristides and Themistocles. The former, from his uprightness, was styled "the just." Themistocles was a man of genius, of an ambitious spirit, whom the laurels of Miltiades robbed of sleep. Devoted to Athens, he was not scrupulous in regard to the means of advancing her prosperity and glory. Duplicity and intrigue were weapons in the use of which he was not less willing than expert. He aspired to make Athens a great naval and maritime power. Aristides believed that the strength of the country lay in the landholders and in the land forces. In the attainment of public ends, he would not deviate from a straightforward course. Themistocles was by far the more captivating of the two men; and, in 484 B.C., Aristides was ostracised. Themistocles was thus left free to build up a powerful fleet.
THE WAR WITH XERXES: THERMOPYLAE.—Darius died while he was preparing another grand expedition against Greece. He left his successor, Xerxes (485 B.C.), to complete and carry out the plan. This proud monarch drew together from his immense dominions an army which tradition, as given in Herodotus, made to number one million seven hundred thousand men and a fleet of twelve hundred large vessels. He had for a counselor, Demaratus, a fugitive king of Sparta. The vast array of troops was assembled near Sardes, and thence marched to the Hellespont. Seven days were spent by this mighty gathering of nations in passing over the two bridges of boats. They marched through Thrace, Macedonia, and Thessaly, the Persian fleet proceeding along the coast. Baeotia and several smaller states yielded without resistance. The most of the other Greek states, inspired by Themistocles, joined hands for defense under the hegemony of Sparta. In July, 480, the Persian army arrived at the narrow pass of Thermopylae. There the Lacedaeemonian king, Leonidas, with his three hundred Spartans and some thousands of allies, had taken his stand, to stem the vast current that was pouring down to overwhelm Greece. To the Persian command to give up their weapons, the "laconic" reply was given by Leonidas, "Come and get them." For several days the band of Spartans defended the pass, beating back the Persians, thousands of whom were slain, and repulsing, even, the ten thousand "immortals," who constituted the royal guard. At length a treacherous Greek showed the enemy a by-path, which enabled them to fall on the rear of the gallant troops, every one of whom fell, bravely fighting, with his weapon in his hand. A lion made of iron was afterwards placed on the spot where the heroes had died, "obedient to the commands of Sparta." The Persians pushed forward to Athens, and burned the city. All citizens capable of bearing arms were on board the fleet: the women, children, and movable property had been conveyed to Salamis, AEgina, and Traezcne.
SALAMIS.—The Greek fleet, under the Spartan Eurybiades, had come from victory at Artemisium into the Gulf of Salamis. By means of a device of Themistocles, the Spartans were prevented from withdrawing their forces to the Corinthian isthmus, where they had built a wall for their own protection; and a sea-fight was brought on, of which the Athenians in Salamis, and Xerxes himself from a hill on the mainland, were anxious spectators (Sept. 27, 480). Once more the cause of civilization was staked on the issue of a conflict. The Greeks were completely victorious, and their land was saved. Xerxes hastily marched towards home, thousands of his army perishing on the way from hunger, cold, and fatigue. The Spartiatae gave to Eurybiades the prize of valor, to Themistocles an olive crown for his wisdom and sagacity.
PLATAEA: MYCALE: EURYMEDON.—Xerxes left three hundred thousand men behind in Thessaly, under the command of Mardonius. In the spring, incensed at the proud rejection of his overtures, he marched to Athens, whose people again took refuge in Salamis. In the great battle of Plataea (479 B.C.), the Greeks, led by the Spartan Pausanias, inflicted on him such a defeat that only forty thousand Persians escaped to the Hellespont. On the same day at Mycale, the Persian fleet was vanquished in a sharp encounter where a Spartan commanded, but where the Athenians were the most efficient combatants. Sestos, Lemnos, Imbros, and Byzantium were taken by the Greeks; and a double victory of Cimon, the son of Miltiades, at the Pamphylian river, Eurymedon, over both the land and naval forces of the Persians, brought the war to an end (467 B.C.).
CHAPTER II. THE ASCENDENCY OF ATHENS.
PAUSANIAS AND THEMISTOCLES.—Both of the generals by whom the Persians had been overcome, fell under the displeasure of the states to which they belonged. Pausanias was so far misled by ambition as to engage in a negotiation with the Persians for the elevation of himself, by their aid, to supreme power in Greece. His plots were discovered, and he was compelled by his countrymen to starve to death in a temple to which he had fled for refuge. Themistocles caused Athens to be surrounded by a wall, and built long walls from the city to the Piraeus. This provoked the hatred of the Spartans, so jealous were they of the power of Athens. In conjunction with his Athenian enemies, they contrived to procure his banishment for ten years (471 B.C.). Themistocles fled to Persia, where he was treated with honor and favor. Artaxerxes I. gave him a princely domain in Asia Minor where he died (458 B.C.). Grave as his faults were, Themistocles was the founder of the historical greatness of Athens.
CONFEDERACY OF DELOS.—It was through the influence of Aristides that the confederacy of Delos was formed, in which the Grecian islands and seaports combined with Athens, and under her leadership, for the further prosecution of the war. By this means, the Athenians, already so efficient on the sea, were enabled still more to strengthen their fleet, and gradually to bring the AEgean islands and smaller maritime states under their sway. Cimon rendered great service as a naval commander. He drove the Persians out of Thrace altogether, and he conquered Scyros. He wrested the Chersonese from the Persians, and freed the Greek cities on the coast. In the single battle on the Eurymedon, he sunk or captured two hundred galleys (467 B.C.).
TO THE PEACE OF PERICLES.—Under the leadership of such men, the Athenian Republic became more and more powerful. AEgina, a rich and prosperous island, was conquered, and planted with Athenian colonists. Megara became a dependency of Athens. Sparta, partly in consequence of a struggle with Argos, a state friendly to the Persians, and still more on account of an earthquake which laid the most of the city in ruins (465 B.C.), was so crippled as not to be able to check the progress of the rival community. She was even obliged to invoke Athenian help against the revolting Messenians and helots; but after the troops of Athens had joined them, the Spartans, jealous and afraid of what they might do, sent them back. This indignity led to the banishment of Cimon, who had favored the sending of the force, and to the granting of aid to the Spartans. The Spartans now did their best to reduce the strength and dominion of Athens by raising Thebes to the hegemony over the Boeotian cities. Everywhere, in all the conflicts, Sparta was the champion of the aristocratic form of government; Athens, of the democratic. The Athenians were defeated at Tanagra (457 B.C.). This induced them to recall Cimon, a great general and a worthy citizen. Two months after her victory, Sparta was defeated by Myronides; and the Athenians became masters of Phocis, Locris, and Boeotia. Cimon brought about a truce between Athens and Sparta. He left his country on a high pinnacle of power and dominion. Nearly all the allies in the confederacy of Delos had fallen into the position of tributaries, whose heavy contributions were carried no longer to the sanctuary at Delos, but to the temple of Athena on the Acropolis, and who had no power to decide on questions of peace and war. The nobles, however, who were driven into exile in all conquered places, were the mortal enemies of Athens. At Coronea (447 B.C.), the Boeotian refugees and aristocrats were so strong that the Athenians experienced a disastrous defeat. The peril of the situation moved Pericles to secure, by astute management, a peace with Sparta, the terms of which were that each of the two cities was to maintain its hegemony within its own circle, and the several states were to attach themselves at their option to either confederacy. In market and harbor, there was to be a free intercourse of trade (445 B.C.).
THE AGE OF PERICLES.—Pericles belonged to one of the principal Athenian families, but was democratic in his politics, and made himself a popular leader. By his influence the Areopagus was stripped of high prerogatives that had belonged to it. He caused it to be enacted, that every citizen, when engaged in the public service, even in attending the popular assembly, should receive a stipend. For fifteen years, as the first citizen of Athens, with none of the trappings of power, he virtually ruled the commonwealth. One of his works was the building the third of the long walls which protected the Piraeus and the neighboring ports on the land side, and connected them with Athens. His patriotism was as sincere as his talents were versatile and brilliant. He was at once a soldier, an orator, a statesman of consummate ability, and a man imbued with the best appreciation of letters and of art. In his hospitable house, where Aspasia from Miletus, a beautiful and cultured woman, was his companion, men of genius found a welcome. Under him, Athens became the metropolis of literature, philosophy, and art for the whole Hellenic race, and, considering the influence of Athens, it might almost be said for mankind in all ages. Magnificent buildings—of which the Parthenon, the temple of Athena that crowned the Acropolis, whose ruins are the model of architectural perfection, was one—gave to the city an unrivaled beauty. Sculpture vied with architecture in this work of adornment. Phidias, who wrought the frieze of the Parthenon, counted among his wonderful creations the colossal sitting statue of Zeus at Olympia. It was the blossoming season of the Greek intellect, as regards literature and the fine arts. The drama reached its perfection in the masterly tragedies of Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides, and in the comedies of Aristophanes. The Athenian community, through its political eminence, its intellectual character, so original and diversified, its culture,—such that almost every citizen was qualified for civil office,—has no parallel in history. It is the elevation, not of a select class of the citizens, but of the whole society, which gives to Athens its unique distinction. Public spirit and enterprise, which made her navy dominant in the Aegean and over the sea-coast of Asia Minor, went hand in hand with delight in eloquence and in the creations of genius. There was not, however, as some have affirmed, in the prevalent absorption in the affairs of state, a neglect of the labors of agriculture and of mechanical industry.
THE ACROPOLIS—It was customary for a Greek town to be built about an acropolis,—an eminence by which it was commanded, and on which stood the citadel. On the acropolis at Athens were the buildings and statues in which the glory of Athenian art was impressively displayed. There were three edifices which excelled all the rest in splendor. On the south side of the elevated area was the Parthenon, built of Pentelic marble, two hundred and twenty-eight feet in length, and of faultless proportions. On the northern edge was the Erechtheum, an Ionic temple of extraordinary beauty. The Propylcea, approached by sixty marble steps, was a noble gateway: it stood on the western end of the acropolis, which it magnificently adorned.
ATHENS—No other description of Athens, in the age of Pericles, equals his own in the Funeral Oration (431 B.C.), as given by Thucydides, for those who had fallen in the war. It shows how an Athenian looked upon his city.
"It is true that we are called a democracy; for the administration is in the hands of the many, and not of the few. But while the law secures equal justice to all alike in their private disputes, the claim of excellence is also recognized; and when a citizen is in any way distinguished, he is preferred to the public service, not as a matter of privilege, but as the reward of merit. Neither is poverty a bar; but a man may benefit his country, whatever be the obscurity of his condition. There is no exclusiveness in our public life; and in our private intercourse we are not suspicious of one another, nor angry with our neighbor if he does what he likes: we do not put on sour looks at him, which, though harmless, are not pleasant. While we are thus unconstrained in our private intercourse, a spirit of reverence pervades our public acts: we are prevented from doing wrong by respect for authority and the laws, having an especial regard to those which are ordained for the protection of the injured, as well as to those unwritten laws which bring upon the transgressor of them the reprobation of the general sentiment.
"And we have not forgotten to provide for our weary spirits many relaxations from toil. We have regular games and sacrifices throughout the year. At home the style of our life is refined, and the delight which we daily feel in all these things helps to banish melancholy. Because of the greatness of our city, the fruits of the whole earth flow in upon us; so that we enjoy the goods of other countries as freely as of our own.
"Then, again, our military training is in many respects superior to that of our adversaries. Our city is thrown open to the world; and we never expel a foreigner, or prevent him from seeing or learning any thing of which the secret, if revealed to an enemy, might profit him. We rely not upon management or trickery, but upon our own hearts and hands. And in the matter of education, whereas they from early youth are always undergoing laborious exercises which are to make them brave, we live at ease, and yet are equally ready to face the perils which they face. And here is the proof,—the Lacedaemonians come into Attica, not by themselves, but with their whole confederacy following; we go alone into a neighbor's country; and, although our opponents are fighting for their homes, and we are on a foreign soil, we have seldom any difficulty in overcoming them. Our enemies have never yet felt our united strength. The care of a navy divides our attention, and on land we are obliged to send our own citizens everywhere. But they, if they meet and defeat a part of our army, are as proud as if they had routed us all; and, when defeated, they pretend to have been vanquished by us all.
"If, then, we prefer to meet danger with a light heart, but without laborious training, and with a courage which is gained by habit, and not enforced by law, are we not greatly the gainers? since we do not anticipate the pain, although, when the hour comes, we can be as brave as those who never allow themselves to rest. And thus, too, our city is equally admirable in peace and war; for we are lovers of the beautiful, yet simple in our tastes, and we cultivate the mind without loss of manliness. Wealth we employ, not for talk and ostentation, but when there is real use for it. To avow poverty with us is no disgrace: the true disgrace is in doing nothing to avoid it. An Athenian citizen does not neglect the State because he takes care of his own household, and even those of us who are engaged in business have a very fair idea of politics. We alone regard a man who takes no interest in public affairs, not as harmless, but as a useless character; and, if few of us are originators, we are all sound judges of policy. The great impediment to action is, in our opinion, not discussion, but the want of that knowledge which is gained by discussion preparatory to action. For we have a peculiar power of thinking before we act, and of acting too; whereas other men are courageous from ignorance, but hesitate upon reflection. And they are surely to be esteemed the bravest spirits who, having the clearest sense both of the pains and pleasures of life, do not on that account shrink from danger. In doing good, again, we are unlike others: we make our friends by conferring, not by receiving, favors. Now, he who confers a favor is the firmer friend, because he would fain by kindness keep alive the memory of an obligation; but the recipient is colder in his feelings, because he knows that in requiting another's generosity he will not be winning gratitude, but only paying a debt. We alone do good to our neighbors, not upon a calculation of interest, but in the confidence of freedom, and in a frank and fearless spirit. To sum up, I say that Athens is the school of Hellas, and that the individual Athenian in his own person seems to have the power of adapting himself to the most varied forms of action with the utmost versatility and grace. This is no passing and idle word, but truth and fact; and the assertion is verified by the position to which these qualities have raised the State. For in the hour of trial Athens alone among her contemporaries is superior to the report of her. No enemy who comes against her is indignant at the reverses which he sustains at the hands of such a city: no subject complains that his masters are unworthy of him. And we shall assuredly not be without witnesses; there are mighty monuments of our power, which will make us the wonder of this and of succeeding ages. We shall not need the praises of Homer or of any other panegyrist, whose poetry may please for the moment, although his representation of the facts will not bear the light of day; for we have compelled every land and every sea to open a path for our valor, and have everywhere planted eternal memorials of our friendship and of our enmity. Such is the city for whose sake these men nobly fought and died: they could not bear the thought that she might be taken from them, and every one of us who survive should gladly toil on her behalf."
RELIGION.—We find in Sophocles a much purer tone of moral and religious feeling than in Homer. Greek thought upon divine things is expanded and purified, (i) Higher Conception of the Gods. The gods are still conceived of as in bodily form. Their images abide in their temples. Take them away, and the god leaves his abode. The divinities need not be present, as in Homer, in order to exert their power. The monotheistic tendency is manifest. The "gods" are referred to as if a single agency were in the writer's mind. The regal sway of Zeus is emphasized. He is less subject to Fate. (2) Divine Government. The gods, especially Zeus, are the fountain of law. The righteousness of the divine government is especially evinced in the punishment of evil-doers. Transgressors generally, and not those of the worst class alone, as in Homer, are punished in Hades. Pride and insolence call down the vengeance of the gods. Unsleeping justice pursues the criminal. The theory of Nemesis, which pursues the prosperous, if they are proud, to their hurt and ruin, is held. (3) Number of the Gods. The number of divinities is multiplied as time advances. The worship of the heroes, children of the gods or goddesses, grows in importance. (4) Revelation. There was direct revelation, it was believed, by prophecy, uttered now in an ecstatic, and now in a tranquil, mood. Oracles acquired a new and vast importance. (5) Rites. Visible objects of devotion were multiplied; religious ceremonies ramified in all directions; sacred processions, festivals, amusements involving religious observances, abounded. (6) Morality. Moral excellence centered in moderation and self-government, through which the individual keeps both his own nature as to its parts, and himself in relation to others, within due limits. This spirit includes temperance and justice. The stern spirit of law prevails: the requital of injuries is approved. Yet feelings of compassion find a beautiful expression. At Athens, there was public provision for orphans and for the help of the poor. (7) Domestic Life: Patriotism. The wife lived in retirement, and in submission to her husband. When he entertained friends at his table, she was absent; yet domestic affection was evidently strong. Every other duty merged in patriotism. The Greek placed a great gulf between himself and the "barbarian." He was conscious of higher intellectual gifts, superior culture, better customs. (8) Sin. The Future Life. There was a deeper sense of sin than in the Homeric era. There was a pathetic consciousness of the trouble and sorrow that beset human life. Hades was regarded as a scene of trial and judgment, and of rewards as well as sufferings. The soul was not so closely identified with the body. Death was an object of gloomy anticipation. Pericles, in his funeral oration for the fallen patriots, is silent as to a future life. In the tragic poets, it is only the select few whose lot is blessed. As concerns the mass of the people, it is probable that the Homeric notions respecting the state of the dead still prevailed. Generally speaking, we are not warranted in ascribing the more elevated views of religion entertained by the best minds to the mass of the people.
THE TRAGIC DRAMA.—The songs which were sung in the worship of Dionysus (dithyrambs) were accompanied with dance and pantomime. The custom followed of mingling speeches and dramatic action with these lyrics. The change is ascribed to Thespis (about 536 B.C.), a little later than Solon. Thespis is said to have brought in the stage for the performers. The Greek theaters were large, open to the sky, and sometimes on sites which commanded fine views. There was the amphitheater, with graded seats for spectators, and the stage, together with the orchestra where the choir in song or musical recitation reflected the sympathies and views of the spectators of the play. At first there was only one actor, and, of course, a monologue. Aeschylus is said to have brought in a second actor, and Sophocles a third. These, with Euripides, were the three great dramatists of Greece. The choral song, which had been the chief thing, was made secondary to the dialogue. Aeschylus, at the age of forty-five, fought in the battle of Salamis; Sophocles, then fifteen years old, took part in the festival in honor of the victory; and Euripides was born, it was supposed, on the very day of the battle. These three brought the tragic drama to perfection. Of the productions of Aeschylus (525-456 B.C.), seven remain. They are inspired with the heroic and elevated mood which was engendered by the great struggle against the Persians. Of the numerous plays of Sophocles (495-406 B.C.), the number of those extant is also seven. They so combine vigor and force with refinement of thought and style that they are surpassed, if indeed they are equaled, by the literary products of no age or country. In Euripides (480-406 B.C.), while there is an insight into the workings of the heart, and the antique nobleness of sentiment, there is less simplicity, and there is manifest the less earnest and believing tone of the later day. In the dramas, the "unities" of time, place, and action are observed. The acts together seldom stretch over a single day.
COMEDY—Comedy, in which Aristophanes (452-388 B.C.), a great poet as well as a great wit, was the principal author, dealt largely in satire. Conspicuous men, and those active in public affairs, were represented on the stage in satirical pieces, so that they were at once identified. The spirit of the "old comedy" was patriotic, although it might be unjust, as in the case of Socrates, who was a target for the wit of Aristophanes. The "middle comedy" was nothing really distinct from the "new comedy." The "new comedy," in which Menander (342-290 B.C.) was an eminent author, ceased to present actual persons, and dealt with imaginary characters alone. Among the Greeks in Lower Italy and Sicily, mimes were much in vogue.
GREEK ART: ARCHITECTURE—The Greeks more and more broke away in a free and joyous spirit from the stiff and conventional styles of Egyptian and Oriental art. In the room of the somber, massive edifices of Egypt, they combined symmetry and beauty with grandeur in the temples which they erected. The temples were originally colored within and without. Three styles were developed,—the Doric, the Ionic, and the Corinthian. In the Doric, the column and entablature have the most solid and simple form. The column has no other base than the common platform on which the pillars rest, and the capital that surmounts it is a plain slab.
In the Ionic style, the column has a distinct base, is more tall and slender, and its capital has two volutes, or spiral moldings. The capital of the Corinthian column is peculiar, representing flower calices and leaves, "pointing upwards, and curving like natural plants." The acanthus, on account of its graceful form, was generally copied. The most ancient Doric temples, of a date prior to the Persian war, of which the ruined temple of Neptune at Paestum is one, are, in comparison with later edifices, of a severe and massive style. In the period extending from the Persian war to the Macedonian rule, the stern simplicity of the Doric is modified by the softer and more graceful character of the Ionic. The temple of Theseus at Athens is an example. The Parthenon was the most beautiful specimen of the Doric, which has appropriated the grace of the Ionic column without losing its own distinctive character. In the later period, after freedom was lost, there was much more ornamentation. It was then that the more decorated Corinthian style flourished.
SCULPTURE.—Before the Persian wars, in the earliest sculpture the restraint of Egyptian and Oriental styles is perceptible in the sculptors, of whom Daedalus is the mythical representative. The oldest statues were of wood, which was subsequently covered with gold and ivory, or painted. The lofty style of Phidias (488-432 B.C.), and of Polycletus of Argos, became prevalent in the flourishing period of Greek liberty. Myron, to whom we owe the Discobolus (Disk-Thrower), belongs to the school of Aegina. Statues were now made in brass and marble. They were everywhere to be seen. The pediments and friezes of the temples were covered with exquisitely wrought sculptures. The most beautiful sculptures that have come down from antiquity are the marbles of the Parthenon. The Greeks appreciated to the full the beauty of nature. They gave to their gods ideal human forms, in which were blended every attribute of majesty and grace which are conceived to belong to perfected humanity. Sculpture in Greece, as elsewhere, was ally to religion; "but whilst the religion of the Egyptians was a religion of the tomb, and their ideal world a gloomy spot peopled by sleeping lions, dreamy sphinxes, or weird unearthly monsters, the mythology of the Greeks, rightly understood, is an exquisite poem, the joint creation of the master-minds of infant Greece; and their art is a translation of that poem into visible forms of beauty." In the third period, which may be made to terminate with the death of Alexander the Great (323 B.C.), there were masters in sculpture, among whom Praxiteles and Scopas are at the head. More and more, as we come down to the Roman period, while extraordinary technical perfection is still manifested, the loftier qualities of art tend to disappear.
PAINTING.—In Greece, painting first ceased to be subordinate to architecture, and became independent. In early days, there was skill in the ornamentation of vases and in mural painting. Yet, with much spirit and feeling, there was a conventional treatment. The earliest artist of whom we know much is Polygnotus (about 420 B.C.), whose groups of profile figures were described as remarkable for their life-like character and fine coloring. Apollodorus of Athens was distinguished, but Zeuxis of Heraclea is said to have been the first to paint movable pictures. He is famed for his marvelous power of imitation: the birds pecked at a bunch of grapes which he painted. But even he was outdone by Parrhasius. Zeuxis, however, had far higher qualities than those of a literal copyist. The most successful of the Greek painters was Apelles. Among his masterpieces was a painting of Venus rising from the waves, and a portrait of Alexander the Great. We have not in painting, as in sculpture, a store of monuments of Greek art; but the skill of the Greeks in painting fell behind their unequaled genius in molding the human form in bronze and marble.
CHAPTER III. THE PELOPONNESIAN WAR.
I. TO THE PEACE OF NICIAS (421 B.C.).
TO THE DEATH OF PERICLES.—Wonderful as was the growth of Athens under Pericles, it is obvious that she stood exposed to two principal sources of danger. Her allies and dependants, the stay of that naval power in which her strength lay, were discontented with her spirit of domination and of extortion. The Peloponnesian Alliance, which was led by Sparta, the bulwark of the aristocratic interest, comprised, with the Dorian, most of the Aeolian states,—as Boeotia, Phocis, Locris, etc. Its military strength lay mainly in its heavy-armed infantry. Thus Sparta had the advantage of strong allies. The motive at the bottom of this alliance was what Thucydides tells was the real cause of the Peloponnesian war,—the jealousy which the growth of Athens excited in other states. This feeling really involved a conviction of the need of maintaining in Greece that which in modern times is called a "balance of power." When Greece was no longer one, as in the best days of the wars with Persia, but was divided into two opposite camps, watchful and jealous of one another, an occasion of conflict could not fail to arise. It was complained that Athens gave help to Corcyra in a war with Corinth, its mother city, made war upon Potidaea in Macedonia, a Corinthian colony, and also shut out Megara from the harbors of Attica.
The demands made by Sparta, which included the granting of independence to Aegina, were rejected. Attica was ravaged by Spartan troops, and the coast of Peloponnesus by the Athenian fleet (431 B.C.). This desolating warfare was kept up until a frightful pestilence broke out at Athens,—a plague having its origin in Egypt, and passing thence over Asia and the Greek islands. Two of the sons of Pericles died, and an accumulation of public burdens and private sorrows brought on his own death (Sept., 429).
THE PESTILENCE.—The horrors of the pestilence are thus described in a celebrated passage of the best of the Greek historians, Thucydides: "The crowding of the people out of the country into the city aggravated the misery, and the newly arrived suffered most. For, haying no houses of their own, but inhabiting, in the height of summer, stifling huts, the mortality among them was dreadful, and they perished in wild disorder. The dead lay as they had died, one upon another; while others, hardly alive, wallowed in the streets, and crawled about every fountain, craving for water. The temples in which they lodged were full of the corpses of those who died in them; for the violence of the calamity was such that men, not knowing where to turn, grew reckless of all law, human and divine. The customs which had hitherto been observed at funerals were universally violated, and they buried their dead, each one as best he could. Many, having no proper appliances, because the deaths in their household had been so frequent, made no scruple of using the burial-place of others. When one man had raised a funeral-pile, others would come, and, throwing on their dead first, set fire to it; or, when some other corpse was already burning, before they could be stopped, would throw their own dead upon it, and depart.
"There were other and worse forms of lawlessness which the plague introduced at Athens. Men who had hitherto concealed their indulgence in pleasure, now grew bolder. For, seeing the sudden change,—how the rich died in a moment, and those who had nothing, immediately inherited their property,—they reflected that life and riches were alike transitory, and they resolved to enjoy themselves while they could, and to think only of pleasure. Who would be willing to sacrifice himself to the law of honor when he knew not whether he would ever live to be held in honor? The pleasure of the moment, and any sort of thing which conduced to it, took the place both of honor and of expediency: no fear of God or law of man deterred a criminal. Those who saw all perishing alike, thought that the worship or neglect of the gods made no difference. For offenses against human law, no punishment was to be feared: no one would live long enough to be called to account. Already a far heavier sentence had been passed, and was hanging over a man's head: before that fell, why should he not take a little pleasure?"
TO THE TRUCE WITH SPARTA.—The loss of Pericles, coupled with the terrible calamities which had befallen Athens, let loose the winds of party passion. New leaders of the democracy, of whom Cleon was the most noted, who lacked the refinement and self-restraint of Pericles, took his place. The Athenians were not able to save Plataea, to which they owed so much, from destruction at the hands of the Spartans and Boeotians (427 B.C.); but Lesbos they recovered, and captured Mytilene, the bulk of whose citizens, against the will of Cleon, they spared. To the cruelties of war, which the revengeful temper of the Spartans promoted, there was added another plague at Athens, besides an earthquake, and tremendous rain-storms, alternating with drought.
Demosthenes, a brave and enterprising Athenian general, took possession of Pylos in Messenia. The Spartans, under Brasidas, were on the island of Sphacteria opposite; and their retreat was cut off by the fleet under Nicias, who was the leader of the more aristocratic faction at Athens. Cleon, made strategus in the room of Nicias, took Sphacteria by storm, contrary to general expectation, and brought home nearly three hundred Spartan prisoners. Athens had other successes; but when her forces had been defeated by the Boeotians at Delium, and Brasidas had captured Amphipolis, and when in a battle there (422 B.C.) Brasidas was victorious over Cleon, who fell during the flight, the aristocratic party, which was desirous of peace, gained the upper hand. Nicias concluded a truce with Sparta for fifty years. Each party was to restore its conquests and prisoners.
II. THE INFLUENCE OF ALCIBIADES.
THE SICILIAN EXPEDITION.—From this time, Alcibiades, a relative of Pericles, but lacking his sobriety and disinterested spirit, plays an active part. Beautiful in person, rich, a graceful and effective orator, but restless and ambitious, he quickly acquired great influence. Three years after the peace of Nicias, he persuaded Athens to join a league of disaffected Peloponnesian allies of Sparta; but in the battle of Mantinea (418 B.C.) the Spartans regained their supremacy. It was at the suggestion of Alcibiades that the Athenians undertook the great Sicilian Expedition, which resulted in the worst disasters they ever suffered. This expedition was aimed at the Dorian city of Syracuse, and the hope was that all Sicily might be conquered. It consisted of about forty thousand men, besides the sailors. The commanders were Alcibiades, Nicias, and Lamachus. Alcibiades was recalled to answer a charge of sacrilege. At Thurii he managed to escape and went over to the side of Sparta. Gylippus went with a small Spartan fleet to aid Syracuse. The Athenians were repulsed in their attack on the city. Although re-inforced by land and naval forces under a gallant and worthy general, Demosthenes, they fought under great disadvantages, so that their fleet was destroyed in the Syracusan harbor. Their retreating forces on land were cut to pieces or captured. Nicias and Demosthenes died either at the hands of the executioner or by a self-inflicted death.
NAVAL CONTESTS.—No such calamity had ever overtaken a Grecian army. The news of it brought anguish into almost every family in Athens. The Spartans had fortified the village of Decelea in Attica, and sought on the sea, with Persian help, to annihilate the Athenian navy. The allies of Athens, Chios, Miletus, etc., revolted. The oligarchs at Athens overthrew the democratic constitution, and placed the Government in the hands of a Council of Four Hundred. The popular assembly was limited to five thousand members, and was never called together. The object was to make peace with Sparta. But the army before Samos, of which Thrasybulus, a patriotic man, was the leader, refused to accept this change of government. Alcibiades, who had left the Spartans out of anger on account of their treatment of him, was recalled, and assumed command. The oligarchical rule was overturned in four months after its establishment, and the democracy restored,—the assembly being still limited, however, to five thousand citizens. Three brilliant naval victories, the last at Cyzicus (410 B.C.), were won over the Spartans by Alcibiades who came back to Athens in triumph (408 B.C.). Lysander was the commander of the Spartan fleet on the coast of Asia Minor, and (407 B.C.) gained a victory over the Athenian ships during a temporary absence of Alcibiades. Alcibiades was not reelected general. He now withdrew, and, three years later, died. The new Spartan admiral, Callicratidas, surrounded the Athenian fleet under Conon at Mitylene. By very strenuous exertions of the Athenians, a new fleet was dispatched to the help of Conon; and in the battle of Arginusae (406 B.C.), the Peloponnesians were completely vanquished. The public spirit of Athens and the resources of a free people were never more impressively shown than in the prodigious efforts made by the Athenians to rise from the effect of the crushing disaster which befell the Sicilian expedition on which their hopes were centered. But these exertions only availed to furnish to coming generations an example of the heroic energy and love of country which are possible under free government.
III. THE FALL OF ATHENS.
Lysander once more took command of the Spartan fleet. Shrewd in diplomacy, as well as skillful in battle, he strengthened his naval force by the aid of Cyrus the Younger, the Persian governor in Asia Minor. Watching his opportunity, he attacked the Athenians at AEgospotami, opposite Lampsacus, when soldiers and sailors were off their guard (405 B.C.). Three thousand of them, who had not been slain in the assault, were slaughtered after they had been taken captive. Conon escaped to Cyprus with only eight ships. One fast-sailing trireme carried the news of the overwhelming defeat to Athens. Lysander followed up his success cautiously, but with energy. Islands and seaports surrendered to him, and in them he established the aristocratic rule. The Athenians were shut in by land and by sea. A treacherous aristocratic faction within the walls was working in the interest of the Spartans. Famine conspired with other agencies to destroy the multitude of homeless and destitute people who had crowded into the city. Starvation compelled a surrender to the Spartan general. The long walls and fortifications were demolished by the ruthless conqueror, the work of destruction being carried on to the sound of the flute. All but twelve vessels were given up to the captors. The democratic system was subverted, and thirty men—the "Thirty Tyrants"—of the oligarchical party were established in power, with Critias, a depraved and passionate, though able, man, at their head (404-403 B.C.). They put a Spartan garrison in the citadel, and sought to confirm their authority by murdering or banishing all whom they suspected of opposition. Thrasybulus, a patriot, collected the democratic fugitives at Phyle, defeated the Thirty, and seized the Piraeus. Critias was slain. Ten oligarchs of a more moderate temper were installed in power. In co-operation with the Spartan king, Pausanias, the two parties at Athens were reconciled. An amnesty was proclaimed, and democracy in a moderate form was restored, with a revision of the laws, under the archonship of Euclides (403 B.C.). It was shortly after this change that the trial and death of Socrates occurred, the wisest and most virtuous man of ancient times (399 B.C.).
PHILOSOPHY: SOCRATES.—At the head of the Greek philosophers is the illustrious name of Socrates. He was the son of Sophroniscus, a sculptor, and was born 469 B.C., just as Pericles was assuming the leadership at Athens. Socrates was the founder of moral philosophy. He was original, being indebted for his ideas to no previous school. He was as sound in body as in mind. His appearance was unique. His forehead was massive, but his flat nose gave to his countenance an aspect quite at variance with the Greek ideal of beauty. He looked, it was said, like a satyr. He taught, in opposition to the Sophists, a class of men (including Gorgias, Protagoras, and others) who instructed young men in logic and grammar, taking fees,—which was contrary to the custom of the Greek philosophers,—and cultivating intellectual keenness and dexterity, often at the expense of depth and sincerity. Their work as thinkers was negative, being confined mainly to pointing out fallacies in existing systems, but providing nothing positive in the room of them. Socrates had been called by the oracle at Delphi the wisest of men. He could only account for this by the fact, that, in contrast with others, he did not erroneously deem himself to be knowing. "Know thyself" was his maxim. His daily occupation was to converse with different classes, especially young men, on subjects of highest moment to the individual and to the state. By a method of quiet cross-examination, the "Socratic irony," he made them aware of their lack of clear ideas and tenable, consistent opinions, and endeavored to guide them aright. The soul and its moral improvement was his principal subject. He asserted Theism and the spiritual nature and obligations of religion, without calling in question the existence of the various divinities. He taught the doctrine of a universal Providence. Absolute loyalty to conscience, the preference of virtue to any possible advantage without it, he solemnly inculcated. He believed, perhaps not without a mingling of doubt, in the immortality of the soul. Taking no part in public affairs, he devoted his time to this kind of familiar instruction,—to teaching by dialogue, in compliance with what he believed to be an inward call of God. An impulse within him, which he called a divine "voice," checked him when he was about to take a wrong step. He was charged with corrupting the youth by his teaching, and with heresy in religion. His rebukes of the shallow and the self-seeking had stung them, and had made him many enemies. Such men as Alcibiades and Critias, who had been among his hearers, but for whose misconduct he was really not in the least responsible, added to his unpopularity. The Apology, as given by Plato, contains the substance of his most impressive defense before his judges. He took no pains to placate them or his accusers, or to escape after he was convicted. Conversing with his disciples in the same genial, tranquil tone which he had always maintained, he drank the cup of hemlock, and expired (May, 399 B.C.). An account of his teaching and of his method of life is given by his loving scholar, Xenophon, in the Memorabilia. The dialogues of Plato, in which Socrates is the principal interlocutor, mingle with the master's doctrine the pupil's own thoughts and speculations.
PLATO.—Plato (427-347 B.C.), the foremost of the disciples of Socrates, founded the philosophical school known as the Academy from the place where his pupils were wont to meet him. One of his prominent tenets was the doctrine of ideas which he regarded as spiritual realities, intermediate between God and the world, of which all visible things are the manifestation. They are the shadow, so to speak, of which ideas are the substance. He defined virtue in man to be resemblance to God according to the measure of our ability. In the Republic, he sets forth his political views, and sketches the ideal state. More speculative than Socrates, Plato, from the wide range of his discussions, from their poetic spirit as well as their depth of thought, not less than their beauty of style, is one of the most inspiring and instructive of all authors. No other heathen writer presents so many points of affinity with Christian teaching.
ARISTOTLE.—Aristotle (384-322 B.C.) studied under Plato, but elaborated a system of his own, which was on some points dissonant from that of his instructor. His investigations extended over the field of material nature, as well as over the field of mind and morals. With less of poetry and of lofty sentiment than Plato, he has never been excelled in intellectual clearness and grasp. He was possessed of a wonderful power to observe facts, and an equally wonderful talent for systemizing them, and reasoning upon them. He is the founder of the science of Logic. His treatises on Rhetoric and on Ethics have been hardly less important in their influence. His Politics is a masterly discussion of political science, based on a diligent examination of the various systems of government. In truth, in all departments of research he exhibits the same capacity for scientific observation and discussion. In religion he was a theist; but he is less spiritual in his vein of thought, and more reserved in his utterances on this theme, than Plato. The names of these two philosophers have been very frequently coupled. Their influence, like their fame, is imperishable.
LATER SCHOOLS: THE CYNICS.—The impulse given by Socrates gave rise to still other schools of philosophers. Aristippus of Cyrene (about 380 B.C.) founded a sect which held that happiness is the chief end, the goal of rational effort. Antisthenes, who was born 422 B.C., and especially Diogenes, went to the opposite extreme, and founded the school of Cynics, who looked with disdain, not only on luxuries, but on the ordinary comforts of life, and inured themselves to do without them. Their manners were often as savage as their mode of living.
HISTORICAL WRITINGS.—The three principal historical writers were Herodotus (c. 484-0.425 B.C.), the charming but uncritical chronicler of what he heard and saw, by whom the interference of the gods in human affairs is devoutly credited; Thucydides, who himself took part in the Peloponnesian war, the history of which he wrote with a candor, a profound perception of character, an insight into the causes of events, a skill in arrangement, and a condensation and eloquence of style, which are truly admirable; and Xenophon, an author characterized by naturalness, simplicity, and a religious spirit.