The Project Gutenberg EBook of Athens: Its Rise and Fall, Complete
by Edward Bulwer-Lytton

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Title: Athens: Its Rise and Fall, Complete

Author: Edward Bulwer-Lytton

Release Date: November 21, 2004 [EBook #6156]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ASCII


Produced by Tapio Riikonen and David Widger


by Edward Bulwer Lytton





My Dear Sir,

I am not more sensible of the distinction conferred upon me when you allowed me to inscribe this history with your name, than pleased with an occasion to express my gratitude for the assistance I have derived throughout the progress of my labours from that memorable work, in which you have upheld the celebrity of English learning, and afforded so imperishable a contribution to our knowledge of the Ancient World. To all who in history look for the true connexion between causes and effects, chronology is not a dry and mechanical compilation of barren dates, but the explanation of events and the philosophy of facts. And the publication of the Fasti Hellenici has thrown upon those times, in which an accurate chronological system can best repair what is deficient, and best elucidate what is obscure in the scanty authorities bequeathed to us, all the light of a profound and disciplined intellect, applying the acutest comprehension to the richest erudition, and arriving at its conclusions according to the true spirit of inductive reasoning, which proportions the completeness of the final discovery to the caution of the intermediate process. My obligations to that learning and to those gifts which you have exhibited to the world are shared by all who, in England or in Europe, study the history or cultivate the literature of Greece. But, in the patient kindness with which you have permitted me to consult you during the tedious passage of these volumes through the press—in the careful advice—in the generous encouragement—which have so often smoothed the path and animated the progress—there are obligations peculiar to myself; and in those obligations there is so much that honours me, that, were I to enlarge upon them more, the world might mistake an acknowledgment for a boast.

    With the highest consideration and esteem,
                 Believe me, my dear sir,
             Most sincerely and gratefully yours,
                      EDWARD LYTTON BULWER
    London, March, 1837.


The work, a portion of which is now presented to the reader, has occupied me many years—though often interrupted in its progress, either by more active employment, or by literary undertakings of a character more seductive. These volumes were not only written, but actually in the hands of the publisher before the appearance, and even, I believe, before the announcement of the first volume of Mr. Thirlwall's History of Greece, or I might have declined going over any portion of the ground cultivated by that distinguished scholar 1. As it is, however, the plan I have pursued differs materially from that of Mr. Thirlwall, and I trust that the soil is sufficiently fertile to yield a harvest to either labourer.

Since it is the letters, yet more than the arms or the institutions of Athens, which have rendered her illustrious, it is my object to combine an elaborate view of her literature with a complete and impartial account of her political transactions. The two volumes now published bring the reader, in the one branch of my subject, to the supreme administration of Pericles; in the other, to a critical analysis of the tragedies of Sophocles. Two additional volumes will, I trust, be sufficient to accomplish my task, and close the records of Athens at that period when, with the accession of Augustus, the annals of the world are merged into the chronicle of the Roman empire. In these latter volumes it is my intention to complete the history of the Athenian drama—to include a survey of the Athenian philosophy—to describe the manners, habits, and social life of the people, and to conclude the whole with such a review of the facts and events narrated as may constitute, perhaps, an unprejudiced and intelligible explanation of the causes of the rise and fall of Athens.

As the history of the Greek republics has been too often corruptly pressed into the service of heated political partisans, may I be pardoned the precaution of observing that, whatever my own political code, as applied to England, I have nowhere sought knowingly to pervert the lessons of a past nor analogous time to fugitive interests and party purposes. Whether led sometimes to censure, or more often to vindicate the Athenian people, I am not conscious of any other desire than that of strict, faithful, impartial justice. Restlessly to seek among the ancient institutions for illustrations (rarely apposite) of the modern, is, indeed, to desert the character of a judge for that of an advocate, and to undertake the task of the historian with the ambition of the pamphleteer. Though designing this work not for colleges and cloisters, but for the general and miscellaneous public, it is nevertheless impossible to pass over in silence some matters which, if apparently trifling in themselves, have acquired dignity, and even interest, from brilliant speculations or celebrated disputes. In the history of Greece (and Athenian history necessarily includes nearly all that is valuable in the annals of the whole Hellenic race) the reader must submit to pass through much that is minute, much that is wearisome, if he desire to arrive at last at definite knowledge and comprehensive views. In order, however, to interrupt as little as possible the recital of events, I have endeavoured to confine to the earlier portion of the work such details of an antiquarian or speculative nature as, while they may afford to the general reader, not, indeed, a minute analysis, but perhaps a sufficient notion of the scholastic inquiries which have engaged the attention of some of the subtlest minds of Germany and England, may also prepare him the better to comprehend the peculiar character and circumstances of the people to whose history he is introduced: and it may be well to warn the more impatient that it is not till the second book (vol. i., p. 181) that disquisition is abandoned for narrative. There yet remain various points on which special comment would be incompatible with connected and popular history, but on which I propose to enlarge in a series of supplementary notes, to be appended to the concluding volume. These notes will also comprise criticisms and specimens of Greek writers not so intimately connected with the progress of Athenian literature as to demand lengthened and elaborate notice in the body of the work. Thus, when it is completed, it is my hope that this book will combine, with a full and complete history of Athens, political and moral, a more ample and comprehensive view of the treasures of the Greek literature than has yet been afforded to the English public. I have ventured on these remarks because I thought it due to the reader, no less than to myself, to explain the plan and outline of a design at present only partially developed.

London, March, 1837.




     I  Situation and Soil of Attica.—The Pelasgians its earliest
          Inhabitants.—Their Race and Language akin to the Grecian.—
          Their varying Civilization and Architectural Remains.—
          Cecrops.—Were the earliest Civilizers of Greece foreigners
          or Greeks?—The Foundation of Athens.—The Improvements
          attributed to Cecrops.—The Religion of the Greeks cannot
          be reduced to a simple System.—Its Influence upon their
          Character and Morals, Arts and Poetry.—The Origin of
          Slavery and Aristocracy.

    II  The unimportant consequences to be deduced from the admission
          that Cecrops might be Egyptian.—Attic Kings before
          Theseus.—The Hellenes.—Their Genealogy.—Ionians and
          Achaeans Pelasgic.—Contrast between Dorians and Ionians.—
          Amphictyonic League.

   III  The Heroic Age.—Theseus.—His legislative Influence upon
          Athens.—Qualities of the Greek Heroes.—Effect of a
          Traditional Age upon the Character of a People.

    IV  The Successors of Theseus.—The Fate of Codrus.—The
          Emigration of Nileus.—The Archons.—Draco.

     V  A General Survey of Greece and the East previous to the
          Time of Solon.—The Grecian Colonies.—The Isles.—Brief
          account of the States on the Continent.—Elis and the
          Olympic Games.

    VI  Return of the Heraclidae.—The Spartan Constitution and
          Habits.—The first and second Messenian War.

   VII  Governments in Greece.

  VIII  Brief Survey of Arts, Letters, and Philosophy in Greece,
          prior to the Legislation of Solon.


     I  The Conspiracy of Cylon.—Loss of Salamis.—First Appearance
          of Solon.—Success against the Megarians in the Struggle for
          Salamis.—Cirrhaean War.—Epimenides.—Political State of
          Athens.—Character of Solon.—His Legislation.—General View
          of the Athenian Constitution.

    II  The Departure of Solon from Athens.—The Rise of Pisistratus.
          —Return of Solon.—His Conduct and Death.—The Second and
          Third Tyranny of Pisistratus.—Capture of Sigeum.—Colony
          In the Chersonesus founded by the first Miltiades.—Death of

   III  The Administration of Hippias.—The Conspiracy of Harmodius
          and Aristogiton.—The Death of Hipparchus.—Cruelties of
          Hippias.—The young Miltiades sent to the Chersonesus.—The
          Spartans Combine with the Alcmaeonidae against Hippias.—The
          fall of the Tyranny.—The Innovations of Clisthenes.—His
          Expulsion and Restoration.—Embassy to the Satrap of Sardis.
          —Retrospective View of the Lydian, Medean, and Persian
          Monarchies.—Result of the Athenian Embassy to Sardis.—
          Conduct of Cleomenes.—Victory of the Athenians against the
          Boeotians and Chalcidians.—Hippias arrives at Sparta.—The
          Speech of Sosicles the Corinthian.—Hippias retires to

    IV  Histiaeus, Tyrant of Miletus, removed to Persia.—The
          Government of that City deputed to Aristagoras, who invades
          Naxos with the aid of the Persians.—Ill Success of that
          Expedition.—Aristagoras resolves upon Revolting from the
          Persians.—Repairs to Sparta and to Athens.—The Athenians
          and Eretrians induced to assist the Ionians.—Burning of
          Sardis.—The Ionian War.—The Fate of Aristagoras.—Naval
          Battle of Lade.—Fall of Miletus.—Reduction of Ionia.—
          Miltiades.—His Character.—Mardonius replaces Artaphernes
          in the Lydian Satrapy.—Hostilities between Aegina and
          Athens.—Conduct of Cleomenes.—Demaratus deposed.—Death
          Of Cleomenes.—New Persian Expedition.

     V  The Persian Generals enter Europe.—Invasion of Naxos,
          Carystus, Eretria.—The Athenians Demand the Aid of Sparta.
          —The Result of their Mission and the Adventure of their
          Messenger.—The Persians advance to Marathon.—The Plain
          Described.—Division of Opinion in the Athenian Camp.—The
          Advice of Miltiades prevails.—The Drear of Hippias.—The
          Battle of Marathon.


     I  The Character and Popularity of Miltiades.—Naval expedition.
          —Siege of Paros.—Conduct of Miltiades.—He is Accused and
          Sentenced.—His Death.

    II  The Athenian Tragedy.—Its Origin.—Thespis.—Phrynichus.—
          Aeschylus.—Analysis of the Tragedies of Aeschylus.

   III  Aristides.—His Character and Position.—The Rise of
          Themistocles.—Aristides is Ostracised.—The Ostracism
          examined.—The Influence of Themistocles increases.—The
          Silver—mines of Laurion.—Their Product applied by
          Themistocles to the Increase of the Navy.—New Direction
          given to the National Character.

    IV  The Preparations of Darius.—Revolt of Egypt.—Dispute for
          The Succession to the Persian Throne.—Death of Darius.—
          Brief Review of the leading Events and Characteristics of
          his Reign.

     V  Xerxes conducts an Expedition into Egypt.—He finally resolves
          on the Invasion of Greece.—Vast Preparations for the
          Conquest of Europe.—Xerxes arrives at Sardis.—Despatches
          Envoys to the Greek States, demanding Tribute.—The Bridge
          of the Hellespont.—Review of the Persian Armament at
          Abydos.—Xerxes encamps at Therme.

    VI  The Conduct of the Greeks.—The Oracle relating to Salamis.—
          Art of Themistocles.—The Isthmian Congress.—Embassies to
          Argos, Crete, Corcyra, and Syracuse.—Their ill Success.—
          The Thessalians send Envoys to the Isthmus.—The Greeks
          advance to Tempe, but retreat.—The Fleet despatched to
          Artemisium, and the Pass of Thermopylae occupied.—Numbers
          of the Grecian Fleet.—Battle of Thermopylae.

   VII  The Advice of Demaratus to Xerxes.—Themistocles.—Actions off
          Artemisium.—The Greeks retreat.—The Persians invade
          Delphi, and are repulsed with great Loss.—The Athenians,
          unaided by their Allies, abandon Athens, and embark for
          Salamis.—The irresolute and selfish Policy of the
          Peloponnesians.—Dexterity and Firmness of Themistocles.—
          Battle of Salamis.—Andros and Carystus besieged by the
          Greeks.—Anecdotes of Themistocles.—Honours awarded to him
          in Sparta.—Xerxes returns to Asia.—Olynthus and Potidaea
          besieged by Artabazus.—The Athenians return Home.—The
          Ostracism of Aristides is repealed.

  VIII  Embassy of Alexander of Macedon to Athens.—The Result of his
          Proposals.—Athenians retreat to Salamis.—Mardonius
          occupies Athens.—The Athenians send Envoys to Sparta.—
          Pausanias succeeds Cleombrotus as Regent of Sparta.—Battle
          of Plataea.—Thebes besieged by the Athenians.—Battle of
          Mycale.—Siege of Sestos.—Conclusion of the Persian War.


     I  Remarks on the Effects of War.—State of Athens.—Interference
          of Sparta with respect to the Fortifications of Athens.—
          Dexterous Conduct of Themistocles.—The New Harbour of the
          Piraeus.—Proposition of the Spartans in the Amphictyonic
          Council defeated by Themistocles.—Allied Fleet at Cyprus
          and Byzantium.—Pausanias.—Alteration in his Character.—
          His ambitious Views and Treason.—The Revolt of the Ionians
          from the Spartan Command.—Pausanias recalled.—Dorcis
          replaces him.—The Athenians rise to the Head of the Ionian
          League.—Delos made the Senate and Treasury of the Allies.—
          Able and prudent Management of Aristides.—Cimon succeeds
          To the Command of the Fleet.—Character of Cimon.—Eion
          besieged.—Scyros colonized by Atticans.—Supposed Discovery
          of the Bones of Theseus.—Declining Power of Themistocles.
          —Democratic Change in the Constitution.—Themistocles
          ostracised.—Death of Aristides.

    II  Popularity and Policy of Cimon.—Naxos revolts from the
          Ionian League.—Is besieged by Cimon.—Conspiracy and
          Fate of Pausanias.—Flight and Adventures of Themistocles.
          —His Death.

   III  Reduction of Naxos.—Actions off Cyprus.—Manners of
          Cimon.—Improvements in Athens.—Colony at the Nine Ways.
          —Siege of Thasos.—Earthquake in Sparta.—Revolt of Helots,
          Occupation of Ithome, and Third Messenian War.—Rise and
          Character of Pericles.—Prosecution and Acquittal of Cimon.
          —The Athenians assist the Spartans at Ithome.—Thasos
          Surrenders.—Breach between the Athenians and Spartans.—
          Constitutional Innovations at Athens.—Ostracism of Cimon.

    IV  War between Megara and Corinth.—Megara and Pegae garrisoned
          by Athenians.—Review of Affairs at the Persian Court.—
          Accession of Artaxerxes.—Revolt of Egypt under Inarus.—
          Athenian Expedition to assist Inarus.—Aegina besieged.—The
          Corinthians defeated.—Spartan Conspiracy with the Athenian
          Oligarchy.—Battle of Tanagra.—Campaign and Successes of
          Myronides.—Plot of the Oligarchy against the Republic.—
          Recall of Cimon.—Long Walls completed.—Aegina reduced.—
          Expedition under Tolmides.—Ithome surrenders.—The
          Insurgents are settled at Naupactus.—Disastrous Termination
          of the Egyptian Expedition.—The Athenians march into
          Thessaly to restore Orestes the Tagus.—Campaign under
          Pericles.—Truce of five Years with the Peloponnesians.—
          Cimon sets sail for Cyprus.—Pretended Treaty of Peace with
          Persia.—Death of Cimon.

     V  Change of Manners in Athens.—Begun under the Pisistratidae.—
          Effects of the Persian War, and the intimate Connexion with
          Ionia.—The Hetaerae.—The Political Eminence lately
          acquired by Athens.—The Transfer of the Treasury from Delos
          to Athens.—Latent Dangers and Evils.—First, the Artificial
          Greatness of Athens not supported by Natural Strength.—
          Secondly, her pernicious Reliance on Tribute.—Thirdly,
          Deterioration of National Spirit commenced by Cimon in the
          Use of Bribes and Public Tables.—Fourthly, Defects in
          Popular Courts of Law.—Progress of General Education.—
          History.—Its Ionian Origin.—Early Historians.—Acusilaus.
          of the Life and Writings of Herodotus.—Progress of
          Philosophy since Thales.—Philosophers of the Ionian and
          Eleatic Schools.—Pythagoras.—His Philosophical Tenets and
          Political Influence.—Effect of these Philosophers on
          Athens.—School of Political Philosophy continued in Athens
          from the Time of Solon.—Anaxagoras.—Archelaus.—Philosophy
          not a thing apart from the ordinary Life of the Athenians.


     I  Thucydides chosen by the Aristocratic Party to oppose
          Pericles.—His Policy.—Munificence of Pericles.—Sacred
          War.—Battle of Coronea.—Revolt of Euboea and Megara—
          Invasion and Retreat of the Peloponnesians.—Reduction of
          Euboea.—Punishment of Histiaea.—A Thirty Years' Truce
          concluded with the Peloponnesians.—Ostracism of Thucydides.

    II  Causes of the Power of Pericles.—Judicial Courts of the
          dependant Allies transferred to Athens.—Sketch of the
          Athenian Revenues.—Public Buildings the Work of the People
          rather than of Pericles.—Vices and Greatness of Athens had
          the same Sources.—Principle of Payment characterizes the
          Policy of the Period.—It is the Policy of Civilization.—
          Colonization, Cleruchia.

   III  Revision of the Census.—Samian War.—Sketch of the Rise and
          Progress of the Athenian Comedy to the Time of Aristophanes.

    IV  The Tragedies of Sophocles.



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