« 上一頁繼續 »
as the fomenter of the Peloponnesian war, merely for private views of interest; whereas the whole tenor of bis past conduct ought to have convinced every body, that it was wholly from reasons of state, and for the good of the public, that he at last acquiesced in an opinion, which he bad bitherto thought it incumbent on him to oppose.*
While this affair was carrying on at Athens, the Lacedæmonians sent several embassies thither, one after another, to make the various demands above mentioned. At last the affair was debated in the assembly of the people, and it was resolved that they should first deliberate upon all the articles, before they gave a positive answer. Opinions, as is usual in these cases were divided; and some were for abolishing the decree enacted against Megara which seemed the chief obstacle to the peace.
Pericles spoke on this occasion with the utmost force of eloquence, which his view to the public welfare, and the honour of his country rendered more vehement and triumphant than it had ever appeared before. He showed, in the first place, that the decree relating to Megara, on which the greatest stress was laid, was not of so little consequence as they imagined: that the demand made by the Lacedæmonians on that head, was merely to sound the disposition of the Athenians, and to try whether it would be possible to frighten them out of their design ; that should they recede on this occasion, it would betray fear and weakness; that the affair was of no less importance than the giving up to the Lacedæmonians the empire which the Athenians had possessed during so many years, by their courage and resolution : that should the Athenians submit on this occasion, the Lacedæmonians would immediately prescribe new laws to them, as to a people seized with dread; whereas, if they made a vigorous resistance, their opponents would be obliged to treat them, at least as equals : that with regard to the present matters in dispute, arbiters might be chosen, in order to adjust them in an amicable way ; but that it did not become the Lacedæmonians to command the Athenians, in an imperious way, to quit Potidæa, to free Ægina, and to revoke the decree relating to Megara : that such imperious behaviour was directly contrary to the treaty, which declared in express terms, “ that should any disputes arise among the allies, they should be decided by pacific means, AND WITHOUT ANY PARTY'S BEING OBLIGED TO GIVE UP ANY PART OF WHAT THEY POSSESSED:” that the surest way to prevent a government from perpetually contesting its possessions, is to take up arms and dispute its rights by the sword : that the Athenians had just reason to believe they would gain their cause this way; and to give them a stronger idea of this truth, he set before them in the most pompous light, the present state of Athens, giving a very particular account of its treasures, revenues, fleets, land as well as sea forces, and those of its allies ; contrasting these several things with the poverty of the Lacedæmonians, who, he said, had no money, which is the sinews of war, not to mention the poor condition of their navy, on which they most depended. And indeed it appeared by the treasury, that the Athenians had brought from Delos to their city nine thousand six hundred talents, which amount to more than five millions, three hundred thousand dol. lars. The annual contributions of the allies amounted to four hundred and sixty talents. I. In cases of necessity, the Athenians would find infinite resources from the ornaments of the temples, since those of the statue of Mi. nerva alone amounted to fifty talents of gold, which might be taken from the statue without spoiling it in any manner, and be afterwards fixed on again in more auspicious times. With regard to the land-forces, they amounted to very near thirty thousand men, and the fleet consisted of three hundred galleys. Above all, he advised them not to venture a battle in their own country against the Peloponnesians, whose troops were superior in number to theirs; not to regard the laying waste of their lands, as they might easily be restored to
• Plul de Herod. Malign. p. 855, 856.
1 Thucyd. 1 i. p. 98-99. Diod. l. xii p. 95-97. + $ 262,500,
their former condition ; but to consider the loss of their men as highly impor. tant, because irretrievable; to make their whole policy consist in defending their city, and preserving the empire of the sea, which would certainly one day give them the superiority over their enemies. He laid down the plan for carrying on the war, not for a single campaign, but during the whole time it might last; and enumerated the evils they had to fear, if they deviated from that system. After adding other considerations, taken from the genius or character, and the internal government of the two republics; the one uncertain and fluctuating in its deliberations, and rendered still slower in the execution, from its being obliged to wait for the consent of its allies ; the other speedy, determinale, independent, and mistress of its resolutions, which is no indifferent circumstance with regard to the success of enterprises, Pericles concluded his speech, and gave his opinion as follows: “ we have no more to do but to dismiss the ambassadors, and to give them this answer, that we permit those of Megara to trade with Athens, upon condition that the Lacedæmonians do not prohibit either us, or our allies, to trade with them. With regard to the cities of Greece, we shall leave those free who were so at the time of our agreement, provided they shall do the same with regard to those dependent on them. We do not refuse to submit the decision of our differences to arbitration, and will not commit the first hostilities ; however, in case of being attacked, we shall make a vigorous defence."*
The ambassadors were answered as Pericles had dictated. They returned home, and never came again to Athens ; soon after which the Peloponnesian war broke out.
OF GELON AND
TRANSACTIONS OF THE GRE HKS IN SICILY
AND ITALY. As the Peloponnesian war is a great event of considerable duration, before I enter on the history of it, it may be proper to relate, in few words, the most considerable transactions which had happened in Grecia Major, to the time we now speak of, whether in Sicily or Italy. SECTION I.-THE CARTHAGINIANS DEFEATED IN SICILY.
HIS TWO BROTHERS. I. Geron. We have seen that Xerxes, whose design was no less than the to al extirpation of the Greeks, had prevailed with the Carthaginians to make war against the people of Sicily. They landed in it an army of above three hundred thousand men, and sent thither a fleet of two thousand ships, and upwards of three thousand small vessels for the baggage, &c. Hamilcar, the ablest of the Carthaginian generals at that time, was charged with this expedition. However, the success was not answerable to these mighty preparations; the Carthaginians were entirely defeated by Gelon, who at that time bad the chief authority in Syracuse.f
This Gelon was born in a city of Sicily, situated on the southern coast be tween Agrigentum and Camarina, called Gela, whence perhaps he received his name.
He had signalized himself very much in the wars which Hippocrates, tyrant of Gela, carried on against the neighbouring powers, most of whom he subdued, and was very near taking Syracuse. After the death of Hippocrates, Gelon, upon pretence of defending the rights and possession of the tyrant's children, took up arms against his own citizens, and having over come them in a battle, possessed himself of the government in his own name.
• Diad, 1. xii, p. 96, 97.
A. M. 3520. Ant. J. C. 484. Diod. l. xi. p. 1. 6t 18 3
Some time after, he made himself also master of Syracuse, by the assistance of some exiles, whom he had caused to return into it, and who had engaged the populace to open the gates of that city to him. He then gave Gela to Hiero his brother, and applied himself wholly in extending the limits of the territory of Syracuse, and soon rendered himself very powerful. form a judgment of this from the army which he offered the Grecian ambassadors, who came to desire his aid against the king of Persia; and by his demand of being appointed generalissimo of all their forces, which, however, they refused. The fear he was in at that time of being soon invaded by the Carthaginians, was the chief occasion of his not succouring the Greeks. He was extremely politic in his conduct; and when news was brought him of Xerxes' having crossed the Hellespont, he sent a trusty person with rich presents, with orders for him to wait the issue of the first battle, and in case Ser: xes should be victorious, to pay homage to him in his name, otherwise to bring back the money. I now return to the Carthaginians.
They landed in Sicily at the earnest solicitations of Terillus, formerly ty. rant of Himera, but dethroned by Theron, another tyrant, who reigned at Agrigentum. The family of the latter was one of the most illustrious of all Greece, being descended in a direct line from Cadmus. He married into the family which at that time ruled at Syracuse, and which consisted of four brothers, Gelon, Hiero, Polyzelus, and Thrasybulus He married his daughter to the first, and himself married the daughter of the third.
Hamilcar having landed at Panormus, began by laying siege to Himera. Gelon hastened with a great army to the succour of his father-in-law; and uniting, they defeated the Carthaginians. This perhaps was the most complete victory ever gained.
The battle was fought the same day with that of Thermopylæ, I the circumstances of which I have related in the history of the Carthaginians. One remarkable circumstance in the conditions of the peace which Gelon prescribed to the conquered, was, that they should cease to sacrifice their children to the god Saturn; which shows, at the same time, the cruelty of the Carthaginians, and the piety of Gelon./l
The spoils won on this occasion were of immense value. Gelon allotted the greatest part of them for the ornament of the temples in Syracuse. They also took an incredible number of prisoners. These he shared, with the utmost equity, with his allies, who employed them, after putting irons on their feet, in cultivating their lands, and in building magnificent edifices, as well for the ornament as the utility of the cities. Many of the citizens of Agrigentum had each five hundred for his own share.
Gelon, after so glorious a victory, so far from growing more proud and haughty, behaved with greater affability and humanity than ever towards the citizens and his allies. T On his return from the campaign, he convened the assembly of the Syracusans, who were ordered to come armed. He however, came unarmed thither; declared to the assembly every step of his conduct; the uses to which he had applied the several suns with which he had been intrusted, and in what manner he had employed his authority; adding, that if they had any complaints to make against him, his person and life were at their disposal. All the people, struck with so unexpected a speech, and still more with the unusual confidence he reposed in them, answered by acclamations of joy, praise, and gratitude; and immediately, with one consent, invested bim with the supreme authority, and the title of king. And to preserve to the latest
* He promised to furnish two hundred ships, and thirty thousand men. + Herod. l. vii. c. 153-167,
# Herodotus says, that this battle was fought on the same day with that of Salamin, which does not appear so probable. For the Greeks, informed of Gelon's successes, entreated him to succour them against Xerxes, which they would not have done after the battle of Salamin, which exalted their courage so much that after this battle, they imagined themselves strong enough to resist their enemies, and to put an end to the war, to their own advantage, without the assistance of any other power. Vol. I.
ll Plut. in Apopth. p. 175. 'T A. M. 3525. Ant. J C. 479. Plut. in Timol.
247 Ælian. l. xiii. c. 37:
posterity, the remembrance of Gelon's memorable action, who bad come into the assembly, and put his life into the hands of the Syracusans, they erected a statue in honour of him, wherein he was represented in the ordinary habit of a citizen, ungirded, and unarmed. This statue afterwards met with a very singular fate, and worthy of the motives which had occasioned its being set up. Timoleon, above a bundred and thirty years after, having restored the Syracusans to their liberty, thought it adviseable, in order to erase from it all traces of tyrannical government, and at the same time to assist the wants of the people, to sell publicly all the statues of those princes and tyrants who had governed it till that time. But first he brought them to a trial, as so many criminals; hearing the depositions and witnesses upon each of them. They all were condemned unanimously, the statue of Gelon only excepted, which found an eloquent advocate and defender, in the warm and sincere gratitude which the citizens retained for that great man, whose virtue they revered as if he had been still alive.
The Syracusans had no cause to repent their having intrusted Gelon with unlimited power and authority. This did not add to his known zeal for their interests, but only enabled him to do them more important services. For, by a change till then unbeard of, and of which Tacitus found no example, except in Vespasian, he was the first whom sovereignty made a better man. made upwards of ten thousand foreigners, who had served under him, deni
His views were, to people the capital, to increase the power of the state, to reward the services of his brave and faithful soldiers; and to attach them more strongly to Syracuse, from the sense of the advantageous settlement they had obtained in being incorporated with the citizens.
He was particularly famous for his inviolable sincerity, truth, and fidelity to his engagements; a quality very essential to a prince, the only one capable of gaining him the love and confidence of his subjects and of foreigners, and which therefore ought to be considered as the basis of all just policy and good government. Having occasion for money to carry on an expedition he meditated, which, very probably was before he had triumphed over the Carthaginians, he addressed the people, in order to obtain a contribution from them; but finding the Syracusans unwilling to be at that expense, be told them, that he asked nothing but a loan, and that he would engage to repay it as soon as the war should be over. The money was advanced, and repaid punctually at the promised time. I How happy is that government where such justice and equity are exercised! and how mistaken are those ministers and princes, who violate them in the slightest degree!
One of the chief subjects of his attention, and in which his successor imitated bim, was to make the cultivation of the lands be considered as an honourable employment. It is well known how friul Sicily was in corn, and the immense revenues which might be prodoved from so rich a soil when industriously cultivated. He animated the husbandmen by his presence, and delighted sometimes in appearing at their head, in the same manner as on other occasions he had marched at the head of armies. “His intention,” says Plu
was not merely to make the country rich and fruitful, but also to exercise his subjects, to accustom and inure them to toils, and by these means to preserve them from a thousand disorders, which inevitably follow a soft and indolent life.” There are few maxims, in point of policy, on which the ancients bave insisted more strongly, than on that relating to the cultivation of their lands; a manifest proof of their great wisdom, and the profound knowledge they had of what constitutes the strength and solid happiness of a state. Xenophon, in a dialogue, entitled Hiero, the subject of which is government, shows the great advantage it would be to a state, were the king studious to reward those who should excel in husbandry, and what relates to the cultivation of lands. He says the same of war, of trade, and of all the arts; on which occa
* Solus onnium ante se principum in mclius mutatus est.-Hist. I. i. c. 50. Diod. l. xi. p. 55. Plut. in jpophth. B. 175.
Piut. in Apo; bth. p. 175.
sion, if honours were paid to all those who should distinguish themselves in them, it would give universal life and motion ; would excite a noble and laudable emulation among the citizens, and give rise to a thousand inventions for the improvement of those arts.*
It does not appear that Gelon had been educated in the same manner as the children of the rich among the Grecians, who were taught music and the art of playing on instruments very carefully. Possibly this was because of his mean birth, or rather of the little value he set on those kinds of exercises. One day at an entertainment, according to the usual custom, a lyre was presented to each of the guests; when it was Gelon's turn, instead of touching the instrument as the rest had done, be caused bis horse to be brought, mounted him with wonderful agility and grace, and showed that he had learned a nobler exercise than playing on the lyre.
From ihe defeat of the Carthaginians in Sicily, the several cities of it enjoyed a profound peace, and Syracuse was particularly happy in its tranquillity, under the auspicious government of Gelon. He was not born in Syracuse, and yet all the inhabitants of that city, though so extremely jealous of their liberty, had forced bim in a manner to be their king. Though an alien, the supreme power was conferred on him, unsought by any art or inducement other than that of merit. Gelon was thoroughly acquainted with all the duties of the regal office, as well as its great weight; and he accepted it with no other view than the good of his people. He thought himself only king for the defence of the state, to preserve the good order of society, to protect innocence and justice, and to exhibit to all his subjects, in his simple, modest, active, and regular life, a pattern of every civil virtue. The whole of royalty that he assumed were the toils and cares of it, a zeal for the public welfare, and the great satisfaction which results from making millions happy by his cares : in a word, he considered the sovereignty as an obligation, and a means to procure the felicity of a greater number of men. He banished from it pomp, ostentation, licentious. ness, and impunity for crimes. He did not affect the appearance of reigning, but contented himself with making the laws to govern. He never made his inferiors feel that he was their master, but only inculcated on them, that both himself and they ought to submit to reason and justice. To induce their obedience, he employed no other methods than persuasion and a good example, which are the weapons of virtue, and alone produce a sincere and uninterrupted obedience.
A revered old age, a name highly dear to all his subjects, a reputation extended through the world, were the fruits of that wisdom which he retained on the throne through life. His reign was short, and only just showed him in a manner to Sicily, to exhibit in his person an example of a great, good, and true king: To the infinite regret of all his subjects, he left the world, after having reigned only seven years. Every family imagined itself deprived of its best friend, its protector and father. The people erected, in the place where his wife Demarata had been buried, a splendid mausoleum, surrounded with nine towers of a surprising height and magnificence; and decreed those honours to him, which were then paid to the demi-gods or heroes. The Carthaginians afterwards demolished the mausoleum, and Agathocles the towers:
but,” says the historian, “neither violence, envy, nor time, which destroys all grosser things, could destroy the glory of his name, or abolish the memory of his exalted virtues and noble actions, which love and gratitude had engraved on the hearts ot' the Sicilians."
II. HIERO. After Gelon's death, the sceptre continued nearly twelve years in his family: he was succeeded by Hiero, his eldest brother.
It will be necessary for us, in order to reconcile the authors who have written about this prince, some of whom declare him to have been a good king, and others a detestable tyrant, to distinguish the periods. It is very probable that
* Xenoph. p. 916, 917.
Plut. in Apophth. p. 175.