網頁圖片
PDF
ePub 版

us sufficiently? When their generals laid down their arms, and surrendered, did they not do this in the hopes of having their lives spared ? And, if we put them to death, will it be possible for us to avoid the just reproach of our having violated the law of nations, and dishonoured our victory by an unheard: of cruelty ? How! Will you suffer your glory to be thus sullied in the face of the whole world, and have it said, that a nation, who first dedicated a temple in their city to clemency, had not found any in yours ? Surely victories and triumphs do not give immortal glory to a city ; but the exercising mercy towards a vanquisered enemy, the using moderation in the greatest prosperity, and fearing to offend the gods by a haughty and insolent pride. You doubtless have not forgot, that this Nicias, whose fate you are going to pronounce, was the very man who pleaded your cause in the assembly of the Athenians; and employed all his influence, and the whole power of his eloquence, to dissuade his country from embarking in this war. Should you therefore pronounce sentence of death on this worthy general, would it be a just reward for the zeal he showed for your interest ? With regard to myself, death would be less grievous to me, than the sight of so horrid an injustice, committed by my country. men and fellow-citizens."*

The people seemed moved to compassion, at this speech, especially as, when this venerable old man first rose up, they expected to hear him cry alcud for vengeance on those who had brought all bis calamities upon him, instead of suing for their pardon. But the enemies of the Athenians having expatiated with vehemence, on the unheard-of cruelties which their republic had exercised on several cities belonging to their enemies, and even to their ancient allies, the inveteracy which their commanders had shown against Syracuse, and the evils they would have made it suffer, had they been victorious ; the afflictions and groans of infinite numbers of Syracusans, who bewailed the death of their children and near relations, whose manes could be appeased no other way than by the blood of their niurderers : on these representations, the people returned to their sanguinary resolution, and followed the advice of Diocles in every respect. Gylippus used his utmost endeavours, but in vain, to have Nicias and Demosthenes given up to him, especially as he had taken them, in order to carry them to Lacedæmon. But his demand was rejected with a haughty scorn, and the two generals were put to death.

All wise and compassionate men could not forbear shedding tears, for the tragical fate of two such illustrious personages, and particularly for Nicias, who, of all men of his time, seemed least to merit so ignominious and untimely an end. When people recollected the speeches and remonstrances be bad made, to prevent this war; and, on the other side, when they considered how high a regard he had always retained for things relating to religion; the greater part of them were tempted to exclaim against Providence, in seeing that the man, who had ever shown the highest reverence for the gods, and had always exerted himself to the utmost for their honour and worship, should be so ill rewarded by them, and meet with no better fate than the most abandoned wretches. But it is no wonder that the calamities of good men should inspire the heathens with such thoughts, and make them murmur and despond ; since they did not know the holiness of the Divine Being, nor the corruption of buman nature.

The prisoners were shut up in the mines, "prisons of Syracuse," where, crowded one upon the other, they suffered incredible torments for eight months. Here they were for ever exposed to the inclemencies of the weather ; scorched in the day-time by the burning says of the sun, or frozen in the night by the colds of autumn ; poisoned by the stench of their own excrements, by the car. cases of those who died of their wounds and sickness ; in fine, worn out by hunger and thirst, for the daily allowance to each was but a small measure of water, and two of meal. Those who were taken out of this place two months

[ocr errors]

* Diod, 1. xiii.p. 149-181.

a

after, in order to be sold as slaves, many of whom were citizens who bad concealed their condition, found a less rigorous fate. Their wisdom, their patience, and a certain air of probity and modesty, were of great advantage to Them, for they were soon restored to their liberty, or met with the kindest and most generous treatment from their masters. Several of them even owed the good usage they met with to Euripides, the finest scenes of whose tragedies they repeated to the Sicilians, who were extremely fond of them ; so that when they returned to their own country, they went and saluted that poet as their deliverer, and informed him of the admirable effects wrought in their favour by his verses.

The news of the defeat being carried to Athens, the citizens would not be. lieve it at first; and were so far from giving credit to it, that they sentenced that man to death who had first published it. But when it was confirmed, all the Athenians were seized with the utmost consternation; and, as if themselves had not decreed the war, they vented their rage and resentment against the orators wbo had promoted the enterprise, as well as against the soothsayers, who by their oracles, or supposed prodigies, had flattered them with the hopes of success. They had never been reduced to so deplorable a condition as now; having neither horse, foot, money, galleys, nor mariners ; in a word, they were in the deepest despair, expecting every moment that the enemy elate with so great a victory, and strengthened by the revolt of the allies, would come and invade Athens, both by sea and land, with all the forces of Peloponessus. Cicero had reason to observe, speaking of the battles in the harbour of Syracuse, that it was there the troops of Athens, as well as their galleys, were ruined and sunk; and that, in this harbour, the power and glory of the Athenians were miserably shipwrecked.

The Athenians, however, did not suffer themselves to be wholly dejected, but resumed courage. They now resolved to raise money on all sides, and to import timber for building of ships, in order to awe the allies, and particularly the inhabitants of the island of Eubea. They retrenched all superfluous expenses, and established a new council of aged men, who were to weigh and examine all affairs before they should be proposed to the people. In fine, they omitted nothing which might be of service in the present conjuncture; the alarm which they were in, and their common danger, obliging every individual to be attentive to the necessities of the state, and submissive to all ad. vice that might promote its interest:

The defeat of the army under Nicias was followed by the taking of Athens, of which the ancient form of government was entirely changed by Lysander.

CHAPTER II. This chapter is the sequel of the preceding book, and contains the last eight years of the Peloponessian war, during as many years of the reign of Darius Nothus. SECTION 1.-CONSEQUENCES OF THE DEFEAT OF THE ATHENIANS IN SICILY, &c.

The defeat of the Athenians before Syracuse gave occasion for great movements throughout all Greece. The people, who had not yet joined either side, and waited to be determined by the event, resolved to declare against them. The allies of the Lacedæmonians believed, that the time was come to deliver them for ever from the expenses of war, which lay very heavy upon them, by the speedy and final ruin of Athens. Those of Athens, who followed them only out of constraint, seeing no appearance of any future resource for that republic, after the dreadful blow it had received, thought it best to take the advantage of so favourable a conjuncture, for throwing off the yoke of dependence, and resuming their liberty. Dispositions of this kind

* Thucyd. I. viii. p. 551-553. Plut. de Garrulit.

P.

509. Hic priinum opes illius civitatis victæ, comminutæ, depressæque sunt; in hoc portu, Atheniensum nao bilitatis imperii, gloriæ naufragium factum existimatur, --Cic, Verr. 7. n. 97.

[ocr errors]

nes.

inspired the Lacedæmonians with great'views, which were supported by the hopes they had conceived that their Sicilian allies would join them in the spring, with a naval force, augmented by the ruins of the Athenian fleet.*

In fact the people of Eubea, Chio, and Lesbos, with several others, gave the Lacedæmonians to understand, that they were ready to quit the party of the Athenians, if they would take them under their protection. At the same time came deputies from Tissaphernes and Pharnabasus. The first was governor of Lydia and lonia, the latter of the Hellespont. These viceroys of Darius wanied neither application nor zeal for the interest of their master. Tissaphernes, pronising the Lacedæmonians all the necessary expenses for their troops, pressed them to arm directly, and to join him ; because the Athenian fleet prevented him from levying the usual contributions in his province, and had put it out of his power to remit those of preceding years to the king. He hoped besides, with that powerful aid, to get into his hands, with more ease, a certain nobleman, who had revolted, and whom he had the king's orders to send to him dead or alive. This was Amorges, the bastard of Pisuth

Pharnabasus, at the same time, demanded ships to reduce the cities of the Hellespont from their subjection to the Athenians, who also prevented bim from levying the tributes of his government.

The Lacedæmonians thought it proper to begin by satisfying Tissaphernes; and the influence of Alcibiades contributed very much to the taking that resolution. He embarked with Calcidæus for Chio, which took arms upon their arrival, and declared for the Lacedæmonians. Upon the news of this revolt, the Athenians resolved to take the thousand talentst out of the treasury, which had been deposited there from the beginning of the war, after having repealed the decree which prohibited it. Miletus also revolted soon after. Tissaphernes, having joined his troops with those of Sparta, attacked and took the city, of Íasus, in which Amorges had shut himself up, who was taken alive and sent into Persia.s That governor gave a month's pay to the whole army, atą drachm, or ten pence a day to each soldier, observing that he had orders to give them only half that sum for the future.

Calcidæus ihen made a treaty with Tissaphernes, in the name of the Lacedæimonians, one of the principal articles of which was, that all the country which had been subject to the king or his predecessors, should remain in his hands. It was renewed some time after by Theramenes, another general of the Lacedæmonians, with some small alterations. But, when this treaty came to be examined at Sparta, it was found that too great concessions had been made to the king of Persia, in giving up all the places held by himself or his ancestors, which was to make him master of the greatest part of Greece, Thessaly, Locris, and the whole country as far as Bæotia, without mentioning the islands; from whence the Lacedæmonians would appear rather to have enslaved Greece, than re-establisheu its liberty. It was therefore necessary to make farther alterations in it, with which Tissaphernes and the other governors made great difficulties to comply. A new treaty was, however, concluded, as we shall see in the sequel.ll

In the mean time, several cities of lonia declared for Lacedæmon, to which Alcibiades contributed very much. Agis, who was already his enemy on account of the injury be had done him, could not suffer the glory he acquired : for nothing was done without the advice. of Alcibiades, and it was generally said, that the success of all enterprises was owing to him. The most powerful and ambitious of the Spartans, from the same sentiments of jealousy, looked upon him with an evil eye, and at length, by their intrigues, obliged the principal magistrates to send orders into lonia for putting him to death. Alcibiades, being secretly apprised of this order, did not discontinue his services to the Lacedæmonians, but kept himself so well upon his guard, that he avoided all the snares which were laid for him. I

* A. M. 3591. Ant. J. C. 413. Thucyd. I. vii. p. 553.

| Thucyd. I. viii.

P:

555-558. # About five hundred and sixty two thousand dollars.

Thucyd. I. viii. p. 568. Q Idem. p. 501-571, 572–576, T Thucyd. d. viii. p. 577579. Plut. in Alcib. p. 164, 168.

For his better security he threw himself into the protection of Tissaphernes, the great king's governor at Sardis, and was not long without seeing himself in the highest degree of influence and authority in the court of the barbarian. For the Persian, who was full of fraud and artifice, a great friend to knaves and bad men, and set no value upon simplicity and integrity, infinitely admired the smooth address of Alcibiades, the ease with which he assumed all kinds of manners and characters, and his great ability in the conduct of affairs. And indeed, there was no heart so hard, nor temper so untractable, as to hold out against the graces and charms of his conversation and intimacy. Even those who teared and envied him most, enchanted in a manner by his affable air and engaging behaviour, could not dissemble the infinite satisfaction they felt in seeing and conversing with him.*

Tissaphernes, therefore, though otherwise very haughty and brutal, and who of all the Persians hated the Greeks most, was so much taken with the complacency and insinuations of Alcibiades, that he gave himself wholly up to him, and flattered him more than he was flattered by him: insomuch that he gave the name of Alcibiades to the finest and most delightful of bis gardens, as well from the abundance of its fountains and canals, and the verdure of its groves, as the surprising beauty of its retreats and solitudes, which art and nature seemed to vie in embellishing, and wherein a more than royal magnificence was displayed.

Alcibiades, who found there was no longer any safety for him in the party of the Spartans, and who always apprehended the resentment of Agis, began to do them ill offices with Tissaphernes, to prevent his aiding them with all his forces, and ruining the Athenians entirely. He had no difficulty in bringing the Persians into his views, which were conformable to bis master's interests, and to the orders be had received from him. For after the famous treaty concluded under Cimon, the kings of Persia, not daring to attack the Greeks with open force, took other measures to ruin them. They endeavoured secretly to excite divisions among them, and to foment troubles by considerable sums of money, which they found means to convey soinetimes to Athens, and sometimes to Sparta. They applied themselves so successfully to keep up a balance of power between those two republics, that the ore could never entirely reduce the other. They granted them only slight aids, that could effect nothing decisive, in order to undermine them insensibly, and exhaust both parties gradually, by weakening them upon one another.

It is in this kind of conduct, that policy makes the ability of ministers consist; who, from the recess of their cabinets, without noise or emotion, without any great expenses, or setting numerous armies on foot, effect the reduction of the states whose power gives them umbrage, either by sowing domestic divisions among them, or by promoting the jealousy of their neighbours, in order to set them at variance with each other.

We must confess, however, that this kind of policy gives us no very favourable idea of the kings of Persia. To reduce themselves, powerful as they were, to such mean, obscure, and indirect measures, was to confess their weakness, and how unable they believed themselves to attack their enemies with open force, and to reduce them by honourable means. Besides, does it consist with justice to employ such methods in regard to people, against whom there is no foundation of complaint, who live in peace under the faith of treaties, and whose sole crime is the apprehension of their being one day in a condition to do injury? And is it lawful by secret corruptions to ensnare the fidelity

of subjects, and to be the accomplice of their treasons, by putting arms into | their hands against their native country?

What glory and renown would not the kings of Persia have acquired, if, content with the vast and rich dominions which Providence had given them, they had applied their good offices, power, and even treasures, to conciliate

* A. M. 3593.

Ant. J. C. 411.

the neighbouring people with each other, to remove their jealousies, to prevent injustice and oppression; and if, feared and honoured by them all, they had made themselves the mediators of their differences, the security of their peace, and the guarantee of their treaties? Can any conquest, however great, be compared with such glory?

Tissaphernes acted upon other principles, and had no thought but of preventing the Greeks from being in a condition to attack the Persians, their common enemy. He entered freely therefore into the views of Alcibiades, and at the same time that he declared himself openly for the Lacedæmonians, did not fail u assist the Athenians privately, and by a thousand secret methods ; such as deferring the payment of the Lacedæmonian fleet, and retarding the arrival of the Phoenician ships, of which he had long kept them in hopes. He omitted no occasion of giving Alcibiades new marks of his friendship and esteem, which rendered that general equally considerable to both parties. The Athenians, who had sadly experienced the effects of having drawn his anger upon them, were not now to repent their passing sentence of condemnation upon bim. Alcibiades also, on his side, who was extremely sorry to see the Athenians in so mournful a situation, began to fear, that the city of Athens being entirely ruined, he might fall into the hands of the Spartans, who mortally hated him.

SECTION II.ALCIBIADES RETURNS TO ATHENS. TISSAPHERNES CONCLUDES

A NEW TREATY WITH THE LACEDÆMONIANS.

[ocr errors]

The Athenians were intent upon nothing so much as Samos, where they had all their forces.* From thence, with their feet they brought back to their obedience, all the cities that had abandoned them, kept the rest in their duty, and found themselves still in a condition to make head against their enemies, over whom they had obtained several advantages. But, they were afraid of Tis saphernes and the hundred and fifty Phænician ships which he hourly expect ed; and rightly perceived, that if so powerful a fleet should join the enemy, there was no longer any safety for their city. Alcibiades, who was well informed of all that passed among the Athenians, sent directly to the principal of them at Samos, to sound their sentiments, and to let them know, that he was not averse to returning to Athens, provided the administration of the republic were put into the hands of the great and powerful, and not left to the populace, who had expelled him. Some of the principal officers went from Samos, in order to concert with him on the proper measures for the success of that undertaking. He promised to procure the Athenians not only the favour of Tissaphernes, but of the king himself, upon condition that they would abolish the democracy or popular government ; because the king would place more confidence in the engagements of the nobility, than upon those of the inconstant and capricious multitude.

The deputies lent a willing ear to these proposals, and conceived great hopes of discharging themselves from part of the public impositions, because, being the richest of the people, the burthen lay heaviest upon them, and of making their country triumph after having possessed themselves of the government.

At their return, they began by bringing over such as were most proper to share in their design : after which they caused a report to be spread among the troops, that the king was inclined to declare in favour of the Athenians, upon condition that Alcibiades should be reinstated, and the popular government abolished. That proposal surprised the soldiers, and was generally rejected at first; but the charm of gain, and the hope of a change to their advantage, soon softened what was harsh and shocking in it, and even made them ardently desire the recall of Alcibiades.

Phrynicus, one of their generals, rightly judging that Alcibiades affected an oligarchy no more than he did the democracy, and that in decrying the people's conduct, he had no other view than to acquire the favour and confi

:

• Thucyd. I viji. D 579_587.

| Plut. in Alcib. p. 204, 206.

:

« 上一頁繼續 »