ePub 版
[ocr errors]

Immediately after the attempt on Platææ, the Lacedæmonians had ordered forces to be levied both within and without Peloponnesus; and made all the preparations necessary for entering the enemy's country. All things being ready, two-thirds of the troops marched to the isthmus of Corinth, and the rest were left to guard the country. Archidamus, king of Lacedæmon, who commanded the army, assembled the generals and chief officers, and calling up the remembrance of the great actions performed by their ancestors, and those they themselves had done or been eye-witnesses to, he exhorted them to support, with the utmost efforts of their valour, the pristine glory of their respective cities, as well as their own fare. He declared, that the eyes of all Greece were upon them; and that, in expectation of the issue of a war which would determine its fate, they were incessantly addressing Heaven in favour of a people, who were as dear to them as the Athenians were become odious ; that, however, he could not deny that they were going to march against enemies, who though greatly inferior to themselves in numbers and strength, were nevertheless very powerful, warlike, and daring; and whose courage would be still more inflamed by the sight of danger, and the laying waste of their territories; that therefore they must exert themselves to the utmost, to spread an immediate terror in the country they were going to enter, and to inspire the allies with new vigour.* The whole army answered with the loudest acclamations of joy, and assured their generals that they would do their duty.

The assembly breaking up, Archidamus, still zealous for the welfare of Greece, and meditating how he might best prevent a rupture, the dreadful consequences of which he foresaw, sent a Spartan to Athens, to endeavour, before they should come to hostilities, to prevail if possible with the Athenians to lay aside their designs, or otherwise an army would soon march into Attica. But ihe Athenians, so far from admitting him to an audience or hearing his reasons, would not so much as suffer him to come into their city : Pericles having prevailed with the people to make an order, that no herald or ambas. sador should be received from the Lacedæmonians, till they had first laid down their arms. In consequence of this, The Spartan was commanded to leave the country that very day; and an escort was sent to guard him to the frontiers, and to prevent his speaking to any person by the way. At his taking leave of the Athenians, he told them that from that day, great calamities would ensue to all Greece. Archidamus, seeing no hopes of a reconciliation, marched to Attica, at the head of sixty thousand chosen forces.

Pericles, before the Lacedæmonians had entered his country, declared to the Athenians, that should Archidamus, when he was laying waste their territories, spare his (Pericles) lands, either on account of the right of hospitality which subsisted between them, or to furnish his enemies and those who envied him, with a pretext to slander him, as holding intelligence with him, he from that day should make over all his lands and houses to the city of Athens. He remonstrated to the Athenians, that it was their interest to consume the enemy's troops by protracting the war; and that, for this purpose, they must immediately remove all their effects out of the country, retire to the city, and shut themselves up in it, without ever hazarding a battle. The Athenians, indeed, had not forces enough to take the field and oppose the enemy. Their troops, including those in garrison, amounted but to thirteen thousand beavy-armed soldiers, and sixteen thousand inhabitants, including the young and old, the citizens as well as others, who were appointed to defend Athens : and besides these, twelve hundred horsemen, including the archers who rode on horseback, and sixteen hundred foot archers. This was the whole army of the Athenians, But their chief strength consisted in a fleet of three hundred galleys, part of which were ordered to lay waste the enemy's country, and the rest to awe the allies, on whom contributions were levied, without which the Athenians could not defray the expenses of the war.


* Gnarus primis eventibus meture at fiduciam gigni.- Tacit Ann. 1. viii. 31. VOL. II.



[ocr errors]

The Athenians, animated by the warm exhortations of Pericles, brought from the country their wives, their children, their moveables, and all their effects, after which they pulled down their bouses, and even carried off the timber of them. With regard to the cattle of all kinds, they conveyed them into the island of Eubea and the neighbouring isles. However, they were deeply afflicted at the sad and precipitate migration, and it even forced tears from their eyes. From the time the Persians left their country, that is, for nearly fifty years, they had enjoyed the sweets of peace, wholly employed in cultivating their lands, and feeding their flocks. But now, sad fate of war! they were obliged to abandon every thing. They took up their habitation in the city, as conveniently as they could, in the midst of much confusion ; retiring either to their relations or friends, and some withdrew even to the temples and other public places.

In the mean time the Lacedæmonians, having set out upon their march, entered the country, and encamped at noe, which is the first fortress towards Bæotia. They employed a long time in preparing the attack, and raising the batteries ; for which reason complaints were made against Archidamus, as if he carried on the war indolently, because he had not approved of it. He was accused of being too slow in his marches, and of encamping too long near Corinth. He was also charged with having been too dilatory in raising the army, and having desired to give the Athenians an opportunity to carry off all their effects out of the country ; whereas they said, had he marched speedily into it, all they bad, might have been plundered and destroyed. His design, however, was to engage the Athenians, by these delays, to agree to an accommodation, and to prevent a rupture, the consequences of which he foresaw would be pernicious to all Greece. Finding, after making several assaults, that it would be impossible for him to take the city, he raised the siege, and entered Attica in the midst of the harvest. Having laid waste the whole country, he advanced as far as Acharnæ, one of the largest towns near Athens, and about fifteen hun dred

paces from the city. He there pitched his camp, in hopes that the Athenians, exasperated at seeing him advance so near, would sally out to defend their country, and give him an opportunity of coming to a battle. It was indeed a great mortification to the Athenians, haughty and imperious, to be braved and insulted in this manner by an enemy, whom they did not think superior to themselves in courage. They were eye-witnesses of the dreadful havoc made of their lands, and saw all their houses and farms in a blaze.

This sad spectacle was now so shocking, that they could not bear it any longer, and therefore demanded fiercely to be led out against the Lacedæmonians, be the consequence what it would. Pericles saw plainly, that the Athenians would thereby hazard every thing, and expose their city to certain destruction, should they march out to engage, under the walls of their city, an army of sixty thousand fighting men, composed of the choicest troops at that time in Beotia and Peloponnesus. Besides, he had made it his chief maxim to spare the blood of the citizens, since that was an irreparable loss. Pursuing inflexibly, therefore, the plan he had laid down, and studious of nothing but how he might check the impatience and ardour of the Athenians, he was particularly caresul not to assemble either the senate or the people, lest they should form some fatal resolution, in spite of all the opposition in his power. His friends used all the entreaties imaginable to make him change his conduct. His enemies, on the other side, endeavoured to stagger him by their menaces and slanderous discourses. They strove to rouse him by songs and satires, in which they aspersed him as a man of a cowardly, insensible cast of mind, who basely gave up his country to the sword of the enemy. But no man showed so much rancour against Pericles, as Cleon.* He was the son of a currier, and also followed that trade. He had raised himself by faction, and probably pois is species of merit which those must possess who would rise in popular go



o: Il be whom Aristophanes has ioreighed so much against, o several of his comedies.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

veraments. He had a thundering voice and a specious manner; and besides, he possessed, in a wonderful degree, the art of gaining the people and bring ing them over to his interest. It was be who enacted a law, that three oboli, not two as before, should be given to each of the six thousand judges. The characteristics which more immediately distinguished him were, an insupportably vain opinion of his own abilities; a ridiculous persuasion of his uncommon merits and a boldness of speech, which he carried to so high a pitch of insolence as to spare no man. But none of those things could move Pericles. His great strength of mind raised him above low, vulgar clamours.* As a good pilot in a raging storm, who, after he has given out the proper orders, and taken all the precautions necessary, is studious of nothing but how to make the best use of his art, without suffering himself to be moved by the tears or entreaties of those whom fear has distracted : so Pericles, after having put them city in a good state of defence, and posted guards in all places to prevent a surprise, followed those counsels which his prudence suggested, entirely regardless of the complaints, the taunts, and licentious discourses of the citizens, from a firm persuasion, that he knew much better than they in what manner they were to be governed. “It then appeared evidently," says Plutarch,

that Pericles was absolute master of the minds of the Athenians, since he prevailed so far, at such a juncture as this, as to keep them from sallying out of the city, as if he had kept the keys of the city in his own possession; and fixed on their arms, the seal of his authority, to forbid their making use of them.” Things happened exactly as Pericles had foretold; for the enemy, finding the Athenians determined not to stir out of their city, and having advice that the enemy's fleet carried fire and sword into their territories, raised their camp, and, after making dreadful havoc in the whole country through whick they marched, returned to Peloponnesus, and retired to their several homes.

It might here be asked, why Pericles acted, on this occasion, in a quite different manner from what Themistocles had done about fifty years before, when, at the approach of Xerxes, he made the Athenians march out of their city, and abandon it to the enemy. But a little reflection will show, that the circumstances differed widely. Themistocles being invaded by all the forces of the East, justly concluded that it would be impossible for him to withstand, in a single city, those millions of barbarians who would have poured upon it like a deluge, and deprive him of all hopes of being succoured by the allies. This is the reason given by Cicero. Fluctum enim totius barbaria ferre urbs una non poterat. It was therefore prudent in him to retire for some time, and to let the confused multitude of barbarians consume and destroy one another. But Pericles was not engaged in so formidable and oppressive a war. The odds were not very great, and he foresaw it would allow him time to breathe Thus, like a judicious man and an able politician, he kept close in Athens, and could not be moved either by the remonstrances or murmurs of the citizens. Cicero, writing to his friend Atticus, condemns absolutely the resolution which Pompey formed and executed, of abandoning Rome to Cæsar; whereas, he ought in imitation of Pericles, to have shut himself up in it with the senate, the magistrates, and the worthiest of the citizens who had declared in his favour. I

After the Lacedæmonians were retired, the Athenians placed forces in all the important posts both by land and sea, pursuant to the plan they intended to follow as long as the war continued. They also came to a resolution, to keep always a thousand talents g in reserve and a hundred galleys; and never to use them, except the enemy shonld invade Attica by sea; at the same time making it death for any man to propose the employing them any other way.

The galleys which had been sent into Peloponnesus committed dreadful depredations there, which consoled the Athenians in some measure for the losses :


[ocr errors]

• Spernendis rumoribus validus.Tacit.

Lib. vii. Epist. 11

† Plut. an Sepi.ger. sit. Resp. p. 784.

| More than $600,000.


[ocr errors]

they had sustained. One day, as the forces were going on board, and Perio cles was entering his own ship, a sudden and total eclipse of the sun took place, and the earth was overspread with the deepest gloom. This phefiomenon filled the minds of the Athenians with the utmost terror ; superstition and the ignorance of natural causes making them consider such events as fatal omens. Pericles seeing the pilot who was on board his ship astonished, and incapable of managing the helm, threw his cloak over his face, and asked him whether he could see: the pilot answering, that the cloak took away all objects from his sight, Pericles then gave him to understand that the like cause, viz. the interposition of the vast body of the moon between his eyes and the sun, prevented his seeing its splendour.

The first year of the war of Peloponnesus being now elapsed, the Athenians, during the winter, solemnized public funerals, according to ancient custom, a practice truly humane, and expressive of a just gratitude, in honour of those who had lost their lives in that campaign ; a ceremony they observed during the whole course of that war. For this purpose they set up, three days before, a tent, in which the bones of the deceased citizens, were exposed, and every person strewed Aowers, incense, perfumes, and things of the same kind, upon those remains. They afterwards were put on a kind of chariots, in coffins made of cypress wood, every tribe having its particular coffin and chariot; but in one of the latter a large empty coffin* was carried, in honour of those wbose bodies had not been found. The procession marched with a grave, majestic, and religious pomp; a great number of inhabitants, both citizens and foreigners, assisted at this mournful solemnity. The relations of the deceased officers and soldiers stood weeping at the sepulchre. These bones were carried to a public monument, in the finest suburb of the city, called the Ceramicus; where were buried in all ages, those who had lost their lives in the field, except the warriors of Marathon, who, to immortalize their extraordinary valour, were interred in the field of battle. Earth was afterwards laid over them, and then one of the citizens of the greatest distinction pronounced their funeral oration. Pericles was now appointed to perform this honourable office. When the ceremony was ended, he went from the sepulchre to the tribunal, in order to be the better heard, and spoke the oration, the whole of which Thucydides has transmitted to us. Whether it was really composed by Pericles, or by the historian, we may affirm that it is truly worthy the reputation of both those great men, as well for the noble simplicity of the style, as for the just beauty of the thoughts, and the greatness of the sentiments which shine in every part of it. After having paid, in so solemn a manner, this double tribute of tears and applauses, to the memory of those brave soldiers wbo had sacrificed their lives to defend the liberties of their country, the public who did not confine their gratitude to empty ceremonies and tears, maintained their widows and their infant orphans. This was a powerful incentive to animate the courage of the citizens; for great men are formed where merit is best rewarded.

-About the close of the same campaign, the Athenians concluded an alliance with Sitalces, king of the Odrysians in Thrace; and, in consequence of this treaty, his son was admitted a citizen of Athens. They also came to an accommodation with Perdiccas, king of Macedonia, by restoring to him the city of Thermæ ; after which they united their forces, in order to carry on the war in Chalcis. SECTION II.-THE PLAGUE MAKES DREADFUL HAVOC IN ATTICA, &c. SECOND


In the beginning of the second campaign, the enemy made an incursion into the country as before, and laid it waste. But the plague made a much greater

• These are called Cenotaphia.

† Thucyd. I. ii. p. 122-130.

Thucyd. I. ii.


180. Αθλα γάς οδε κείται αρετής μέγισα, τοτε δε και άνδρες αρισοι πολιτεύονσι


[ocr errors]

devastation in Athens ; the like having never been known. It is related, that it began in Ethiopia, whence it descended into Egypt, from thence spread over Libya, and a great part of Persia; and at last broke at once like a flood upon Athens.* Thucydides, who himself was seized with that deadly disease, has described very minutely the several circumstances and symptoms of it; in order, says he, that a faithful and exact relation of this calamity may serve as an instruction to posterity, in case the like should ever happen. Hippocrates, who was employed to visit the sick, has also described it in a medical, and Lucretius in a poetical way. I This pestilence baffled the utmost efforts of art; the most robust constitutions were unable to withstand its attack; and the greatest care and skill of the physicians were a feeble help to those who were infected. The instant a person was seized, he was struck with despair, which quite disabled him from attempting a cure. The assistance that was given them was ineffectual, and proved mortal to all such of their relations as had the courage to approach them. The prodigious quantity of baggage, which had been removed out of the country into the city, proved very noxious. Most of the inhabitants, for want of lodging, lived in little cottages, where they could scarcely breathe, during the raging beat of the summer, so that they were seen either piled one upon the other, the dead as well as those who were dying, or else crawling through the streets, or lying along by the side of fountains, to which they had dragged themselves, to quench the raging thirst which consumed them. The very temples were filled with dead bodies, and every part of the city exhibited a dreadful image of death ; without the least remedy for the present, or the least hopes with regard to futurity.

The plague, before it spread into Attica had been very destructive in Persia. Artaxerxes, who had been informed of the great reputation of Hippocrates of Cos, the greatest physician of that or any other age, caused bis governors to write to him, to invite him into his dominions, in order that he might prescribe to those who were infected. The king made him the most advantageous offers ; setting no bounds to his reward on the side of interest, and, with regard to honour, promising to make bim equal with the most considerable persons in his court. The reader has already been told, the high regard which was shown to the Grecian physicians in Persia ; and indeed, was it possible that so useful a man as Hippocrates could be too well rewarded ? However, all the glitter of the Persian riches and dignities were not capable of corrupting him, nor of stilling the hatred and aversion for the Persians, which was become natural to the Greeks ever since the former had invaded them. This great physician, therefore, sent no other answer but this, that he was free from either wants or desires ; that he owed all his cares to his fellow-citizens and countrymen; and was under no obligation to barbarians, the declared enemies of Greece. Kings are not used to denials. Artaxerxes, therefore, in the highest transports of rage, sent to the city of Cos, the native place of Hippocrates, and where he was at the time, commanding them to deliver up to him that insolent wretch, in order that he might be brought to condign punishment; and threatening, in case they refused, to lay waste their city and island in such a manner, that not the least trace of it should remain. However, the inhabitants of Cos were not under the least terror. They made answer, that the menaces of Darius and Xerxes had not been able to prevail with them to give them earth and water, or to obey their orders; that the threats of Artaxerxes would be equally impotent; that, let what would be the consequence, they would never give up their fellow-citizen; and that they depended upon the protection of the gods.

Hippocrates had said in one of his letters, that he owed his services entirely to his country. And indeed, the instant he was sent for to Athens, he went thither, and did not once stir out of the city, till the plague had quite ceased. He devoted himself entirely to the service of the sick; and to multiply bimself, as it were, he sent several of his disciples into all parts of the country, after having

Ant. J. C. 430. Thucyd. I. ii. p. 130-147. Diod, p. 101, 102.
Epidem. l. iii. p. 3.

Lib. vi

Hippocrat, in Epist.

# A. M.3574.

Plut. in Pericl. p. 171.

« 上一頁繼續 »