ePub 版


other to the most valiant among the Greeks, they accordingly set up two 11 the "Comitium,” representing Pythagoras and Themistocles. * Historians are not agreed with respect to the time and place of the death of Pythagoras.

11. Crotona. Sybaris. THURIUM. Crotona was founded by Myscellus, chief of the Achaians, the third year of the seventeenth Olympiad. This Myscellus having gone to Delphos to consult the oracle of Apollo, about the spot on which be should build his city, met Archias the Corinthian there, who had come upon a similar errand. The god gave them a favourable audience; and, after having deterinined them with regard to the place that would best suit their new settlements, he proposed different advantages to them; and left them, among other particulars, the choice of riches or health. The offer of riches struck Archias, but Myscellus desired health ; and if history is to be credited, Apollo perforined his promise faithfully to both. Archias founded Syracuse, which soon becaine the inost opulent city of Greece. Myscellus laid the foundations of Crotona, which became so famous for the long life and innate strength of its inhabitants, that its name was used proverbially to signify a very healthy spot, whose air was extremely pure. The people of it signalized ihemselves in a great number of victories in the Grecian games, and Strabo relates, that in the same Olympiad, seven Crotonians were crowned in the Olympic games, and carried off all the prizes of the stadium.

Sybaris was ten leagues, two hundred stadia, from Crotona, and had also been founded by the Achaians, but before the other. This city became afterwards very powerful. Four neighbouring states and twenty-five cities were subject to it, so that it was, alone, able to raise an army of three hundred thousand men. The opulence of Sybaris was soon followed by luxury, and such a dissoluteness as is scarcely credible. The citizens employed themselves in nothing but banquets, games, shows, parties of pleasure, and carousals. Public rewards and marks of distinction were bestowed on those who gave the most magnificent entertainments; and even to such cooks as were best skilled in the important art of making new discoveries and dressing dishes, and inventing new refinements to please the palate. The Sybarites carried their delicacy and effeminacy to such a height, that they carefully removed from their city all artificers whose work was noisy; and would not suffer any cocks in it, lest their shrill piercing crow should disturb their balmy slumbers.

All these evils were heightened by dissension and discord, which at last proved their ruin. Five hundred of the wealthiest in the city, baving been expelled by the faction of one Telys, fed to Crotona. Telys demanded to have them surrendered to him ; and on the refusal of the Crotonians, to deliver them up, prompted to this generous resolution by Pythagoras, who then lived among them, war was declared. The Sybarites marched three hundred thousand inen into the field, and the Crotonians only one hundred thousand; but they were headed by Milo, the famous champion, of whoin we shall soon have occasion to speak, and over whose shoulders a lion's skin was thrown, and himself armed with a club, like another Hercules. The latter gained a complete victory, and made a dreadful havoc of those who fled, so that very few escaped, and their city was depopulated. About sixty years after, some Thessalians came and settled in it; they did not, however, long enjoy peace, being driven out by the Crotonians. Being thus reduced to the most fatal extremity, they implored the succour of the Lacedæmonians and Athenians. The latter moved to compassion at their deplorable condition, after causing proclamation to be made in Peloponnesus, that all who were willing to assist that colony were at liberty to do it, sent the Sybarites a fleet of ten ships under the command of Lampon and Xenocrates.ll



* Plin. l. xxxiv. c. 6. A. M. 3295.' Anl, J. C. 709. Strab. I. vi. p. 262, et 269. Dionys. Halicarn. Antiq. Rom. I. ü. p. 121

+ Κρότωνος υγιέτερος»
Strab. I. vi. p. 283. Athen. l. xii. p. 518-520.
1 A, M. 3474. Ant. J. C. 530. Diod. I. xii. p. 76mimas.


They built a city near the ancient Sybaris, and called it Thurium. Two men, greatly renowned for their learning, the one an orator, and the other a historian, settled in this colony. The first was Lysias, at that time but fifteen years of age. He lived in Thurium, until the Athenians became unfortunate in Sicily, and then went to Athens. The second was Herodotus. Though he was born in Halicarnassus, a city of Caria, he was, however, considered as a native of Thurium, because he settled there with that colony. I will speak more largely of him hereafter.*

Divisions soon broke out in the city, on account of the new inhabitants, whom the rest would exclude from all public employments and privileges. But as these were much more numerous, they repulsed all the ancient Sybarites, and got the sole possession of the city Being supported by the alliance they made with the people of Crotona, they soon grew very powerful; and having established a popular form of governnient in their city, they divided the citizens into ten tribes, which they called by the names of the different nations whence they sprang.

III. CHARONDAS, the legislator. They now bent all their thoughts to the strengthening of their government by wholesome laws; for which purpose they made choice of Charondas, who had been educated in the school of Pythagoras, to digest and draw them up. I will quote some of them in this place.

1. He excluded from the senate, and all public employments, all such as should marry a second wife, in case any children by their first wife were living ; being persuaded that any man who was so regardless of his children's interest, would be equally so of his country's, and be as worthless a magistrate as he had been a father.

2. He sentenced all false accusers to be carried through every part of the city, crowned with heath or broom, as the vilest of men; an ignominy which most of them were not able to survive. The city, thus delivered from those pests of society, was restored to its former tranquillity. And indeed from calumniators generally arise all feuds and contests, whether of a public or private nature; and yet, according to the observation of Tacitus they are too much tolerated in most governments.t

3. He enacted a new kind of law against another species of pests, which in a state generally first occasions depravity of manners; directing all those to be prosecuted who should form a correspondence, or contract a friendship with wicked men, and by laying a heavy fine upon them.

4. He required all the children of the citizens to be educated in the Belles Lettres; the effect of which is to polish and civilize the minds of men, inspiring them with gentleness of manners, and inclining them to virtue; all which constitute the felicity of a state, and are equally necessary to citizens of all conditions. In this view he appointed salaries (paid by the state) for masters and preceptors, in order that learning, by being communicated gratis, might be acquired by all. He considered ignorance as the greatest of evils, and the source whence all vices flowed.

5. He made a law with respect to orphans, which appears sufficiently judicious, by intrusting the care of their education to their relations by the mother's side, as their lives would not be in danger from them; and the management of their estates to their paternal relations, it being the interest of these to make 15,2 greatest advantage of them, since they would inherit them, in case of the demise of their wards.

6. Instead of putting to death deserters, and those who quitted their ranks and fled in battle, he only sentenced them to make their appearance during three days in the city, dressed in the habit of women , imagining, that the dread of so ignominious a punishment would produce the same effect as putting to


* A. M. 3560. Ant. J. C. 444. Dionys. Halicarn. in Vit. Lys. p. 82. Strab. 1 xiv. p. 658. | Delatores, genus homiaum publico exitio reperum, et pænis quidem, nunquam satis coërritum.--Tacit Annal. l. iv. c. 30.

[ocr errors]



death, and being, at the same time desirous of giving such cowardly citizens an opportunity of atoning for their fault.

7. To prevent his laws from being too rashly or easily abrogated, he imposed a very severe and hazardous condition on all persons who should propose to alter or amend them in any manner. These were sentenced to appear in the public assembly with a balter about their neck; and in case the alteration proposed did not pass, they were to be immediately strangled. There were but three amendments ever proposed, and all of them admitted.

Charondas did not long survive his own laws. Returning one day from pursuing some thieves, and finding a tumult in the city, he came armed into the assembly, though he himself had prohibited this by an express law. A certain person objected to him in severe terms, that he violated his own laws; "I do not violate them,” said he, " but thus seal them

with my blood ;" and instantly plunged bis sword into his bosom, and expired.

IV. ŽALEUCUS, another lawgiver. At the same time, there arose among the Locrians, another famous legislator, Zaleucus, who, as well as Charondas, had been the disciple of Pythagoras.* There is now scarcely any thing extant of his, except a kind of preamble to his laws, which gives a most advantageous idea of them. He requires, above all things, of the citizens, to believe and be firmly persuaded, that there are gods; and adds, that the bare casting up, our eyes to the heavens, and contemplating their order and beauty, is sufficient to convince us that it is impossible so wonderful a fabric could have been formed by mere chance or human power. As the natural consequence of this belief, he exhorts men to honour and revere the gods, as the authors of whatever is good and just among mortals; and to honour them, not merely by sacrifices and splendid gifts, but by a sage conduct, and by purity and innocence of manners; these being more grateful to the immortals, than any sacrifice that can be offered.

After this religious exordium, in which he describes the Supreme Being as the source whence all laws flow, as the chief authority which commands obedience to them, as the most powerful motive for our faithful observance of them, and as the perfect model to which mankind ought to conform ; he descends to the particulars of those duties which men owe to one another; and lays down a precept which is very well adapted to preserve peace and unity in society, by enjoining the individuals of it out to make their hatred and dissensions perpetual, which would argue an unsocial and savage disposition, but to treat their enemies as men who would soon be their friends. This is carrying morality to as great a perfection as could be expected from heathens.

With regard to the duty of judges and magistrates, after representing to them, that, in pronouncing sentence, they ought never to suffer themselves to be biassed by friendship, hatred, or any other passion; he only exhorts them not to behave with the least haughtiness or severity towards the parties engaged in law, since such are but too unhappy in being obliged to undergo all the toils and fatigues inseparable from law-suits. The office indeed of judges, however laborious it may be, is far from giving them a right to use the contending parties with ill nature; the very form and nature of their employment requiring them to behave with impartiality, and to do justice on all or casions; and when they distribute this even with mildness and humanity, it is only a debt they pay, and not a favour they grant.

To banish luxury from his republic, which he looked-upon as the certain destruction of a government, he did not follow the practice established in some nations, where it is thought sufficient, for restraining of it, to punish, by pe. cuniary mulcts, such as infringe the laws made on that occasion; but he acted, says the historian, in a more artful and ingenious, and at the same time more effectual manner. He prohibited women from wearing rich and costly stuffs, embroidered robes, precious stones, ear-rings, necklaces, bracelets, gold rings,

[ocr errors]

• Diod. do xii.

P 79-85.


[ocr errors][ocr errors]

and such like ornaments ; excepting none from this law but common prostitutes. He enacted a like law with regard to the men; excepting, in the same manner, from the observance of it, such only as were willing to pass for debauchees and infamous wretches. By these regulations he easily, and without violence, preserved the citizens from the least approaches to luxury and effeminacy. For no person was so abandoned to all sense of honour, as to be wil. ling to wear the badges of his shame, under the eye, as it were, of all the citizens ; since this would make him the public laughing-stock, and reflect eternal infamy on his family.

V. Milo, the champion. We have seen him at the head of an army obtain a great victory. He was still more renowned for his athletic strength, than for his military bravery. He was surnamed Crotoniensis, from Crotona the place of his birth. It was hjı daughter, whom, as was before related, Democedes the famous physician, and Milo's countryman, married, after he had fled from the court of Darius, to Greece, his native country.

Pausanias relates, that Milo, when liut a boy was seven times victorious in one day at the Pythian games; that he won six victories, at wrestling, in the Olympic games; one of which was also gained in his childhood ; and that challenging a seventh time, in Olympia, any person to wrestle with him, he could not engage for want of an opponent. He would hold a pomegranate in such a manner, that without breaking it, he would grasp it so fast in his hand, that no one, however strong, could possibly wrest it from him. He would stand so firm on a discus, which had been oiled to make it the more slippery, that it was impossible to push him off. He would bind bis head with a cord, after which, holding his breath strongly, the veins of his head would swell so prodigiously as to break the rope. When Milo, fixing his elbow on his side, stretched forth his right hand quite open, with his fingers held close, one to another, his thumb excepted, which he raised, the utmost strength of man could not separate his little finger from the other three.

All this was only a vain and puerile ostentation of his strength. Chance, however, gave him an opportunity of making a much more laudable use of it. One day, as he was attending the lectures of Pythagoras, for he was one of his most constant disciples, the pillar which supported the ceiling of the school in which the pupils were assembled, being shaken by some accident, Milo supported it by his single strength, gave the auditors some time to get away, and afterwards escaped himself.

What is related of the voracious appetite of the athletæ is almost incredible.

Milo's appetite was scarcely satiated with twenty minæ (pounds) of meat, the same quantity of bread, and three “congii”ll of wine every day. I Athenæus relates that this champion, having run the whole length of the stadium with a buil of four years old on his shoulder, he afterwards knocked him down with one stroke of his fist, and eat the whole beast that very day. I will take it for granted, that all the other particulars related of Milo are true; but is it proba ble, that one man could devour a whole ox in so short a time?

We are told that Milo, when advanced to a very great age, seeing the rest of the champions wrestling, and gazing upon his own arms, which once were so vigorous and robust, but were then very much enfeebled by time, he burst into tears, and cried, “ Alas! these arms are now dead."**

And yet he either forgot or concealed his weakness from bimself, the strong persuasion he entertained of his own strength, which he maintained to the last, proving fatal to him. Happening to meet, as he was travelling, an old oak which had been opened by some wedges that were forced into it, he undertook to split it in two by his bare strength. But after forcing out the wedges, his


* More inter veteres recepto, qui satis pænarum adversus impudicas in ipsa professione Aagitii credebant. Tacit. Annal. l. ii. c. 85, | Pausao. I. vi p. 369-370. This discus was a kind of quoit, flat and round. Strab. I. vi. p. 269.

1 Thirty pounds, or fifteen quarts. | Athen. I. X. p. 412. ** Cic. de Senect. n. 77

arms were caught in the trunk of the tree, by the violence with which it closed, so that, being unable to disengage his hands, he was devoured by wolves.*

An author has judiciously observed, that this surprisingly robust champion, who prided himself so much in his bodily strength, was the weakest of men with regard to a passion, which often subdues and captivates the strongest ; a courtezan having gained so strong an influence over Milo that she tyrannized over him in the most imperious manner, and made him obey whatever commands she laid upon him.t


THE WAR OF PELOPONNESUS. THE Peloponnesian war, which I am now entering upon, began about the end of the first year of the eighty-seventh Olympiad, and lasted twenty-seven years. I. Thucydides has written the history of it to the twenty-first year inclusively. He gives us an accurate account of the several transactions of every year, which he divides into campaigns and winter-quarters. However I shall not be so minute, and shall only extract such parts of it as appear most entertaining and instructive. Plutarch and Diodorus Siculus will also be of great assistance to me on this occasion. SECTION. 1.-THE SIEGE OF PLATEE BY THE THEBANS, &c. &c. THE FIRST


The first act of hostility by which the war began, was committed by the Thebans, who besieged Platææ, a city of Bæotia, in alliance with Athens. They were introduced into it by treachery; but the citizens falling upon them in the night, killed them, except about two hundred, who were taken prisoners, and shortly after put to death. The Athenians as soon as the news was brought of the action at Platææ, sent succours and provisions thither, and cleared the city of all persons who were incapable of bearing arms.

The truce being evidently broken, both sides prepared openly for war, and ambassadors were sent to all places to strengthen themselves by the alliance of the Greeks and barbarians. Every part of Greece was in motion, some few states and cities excepted, which continued neutral, till they should see the event of the war. The majority were for the Lacedæmonians, as being the deliverers of Greece, and espoused their interest very warmly, because the Achenians, forgetting that the moderation and gentleness with which they comnianded over others, had procured them many allies, had afterwards alienated the greatest part of them by their pride and the severity of their government, and incurred the hatred, not only of those who were then subject to them, but of all such as were apprehensive of becoming their dependants. Such was the state of public feeling at that time among the Greeks. The confederates of each of those states were as follow.

All Peloponnesus, Argos excepted, which stood neutral, had declared for Lacedæmon. The Achaians, the inhabitants of Pellene excepted, were neutrul at first, but at length insensibly engaged in the war, Out of Peloponne, Sus, the people of Megara, Locris, Breotia, Phocis, Ambracia, Leucadia, and Anactorium, were on the side of the Lacedæmonians.

The confederates of the Athenians were, the people of Chios, Lesbos, Platææ, the Messenians of Naupactus; the greatest part of the Acarnanians, Corcyrans, Cephalenians, and Zacynthians ; besides the several tributary countries, as maritime Caria, Doria, which lies near it, Jonia, the Hellespont; and the cities of 'Thrace, except Chalcis and Po:idæa, all the islands between Crete and Peloponnesus, eastward : and the Cyclades, except Melos and Thera.

* Pausan. I. vi. p. 370.

† Alian. l. ii. c. 24.
Thucyd. 1. ii. n. 92-122. Diod. l. xii. . 97-100

A. M. 3579. Ant. J. C. 431
Plut. in Pericl, n. 170.

« 上一頁繼續 »