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Title: Mosaics of Grecian History

Author: Marcius Willson
        Robert Pierpont Willson

Posting Date: October 12, 2014 [EBook #6841]
Release Date: November, 2004
First Posted: January 31, 2003

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1


Produced by Robert J. Hall




The leading object had in view in the preparation of the present volume has been to produce, within a moderate compass, a History of Greece that shall not only be trustworthy, but interesting to all classes of readers.

It must be acknowledged that our standard historical works, with all their worth, do not command a perusal by the people at large; and it is equally plain that our ordinary School Manuals--the abridgments and outlines of more voluminous works--do not meet with any greater favor. The mere outline system of historical study usually pursued in the schools is interesting to those only to whom it is suggestive of the details on which it is based; and we have long been satisfied that it is not the best for beginners and for popular use; that it inverts the natural order of acquisition; that for the young to master it is drudgery; that its statistical enumeration, if ever learned by them, is soon forgotten; that it tends to create a prejudice against the study of history; that it does not lay the proper foundation for future historical reading; and that, outside of the enforced study of the school-room, it is seldom made use of. The people in general--the masses--do not read such works, while they do read with avidity historical legends, historical romances, historical poems and dramas, and biographical sketches. And we do not hesitate to assert that from Shakspeare's historical plays the reading public have acquired (together with much other valuable information) a hundred-fold more knowledge of certain portions of English history than from all the ponderous tomes of formal history that have ever been written. It may be said that people ought to read Hume, and Lingard, and Mackintosh, and Hallam, and Froude, and Freeman, instead of Shakspeare's "King John," and "Richard II.," and "Henry IV.," and "Henry VIII.," etc. It is a sufficient reply to say they do not.

Historical works, therefore, to be read by the masses, must be adapted to the popular taste. It was an acknowledgment of this truth that led Macaulay, the most brilliant of historians, to remark, "We are not certain that the best histories are not those in which a little of the exaggeration of fictitious narrative is judiciously employed. Something is lost in accuracy, but much is gained in effect. The fainter lines are neglected, but the great characteristic features are imprinted on the mind forever." If the result to which Macaulay refers be once attained by an introductory work so interesting that it shall come into general use, it will, we believe, naturally lead to the reading of some of the best standard works in the same historical field. In our attempt to make this a work of such a preparatory character, we have borne in mind the demand that has arisen for poetic illustration in the reading and teaching of history, and have given this delightful aid to historical study a prominent place--ofttimes making it the sole means of imparting information. And yet we have introduced nothing that is not strictly consistent with our ideal of what history should be; for although some of the poetic selections are avowedly wholly legendary, and others, still, in a greater or less degree fictitious in their minor details--like the by-plays in Shakspeare's historic dramas--we believe they do no violence to historical verity, as they are faithful pictures of the times, scenes, incidents, principles, and beliefs which they are employed to illustrate. Aside, too, from their historic interest, they have a literary value. Many prose selections from the best historians are also introduced, giving to the narrative a pleasing variety of style that can be found in no one writer, even if he be a Grote, a Gibbon, or a Macaulay.


Believing that it may be of some advantage to the general reader, we give herewith a brief sketch of the principal histories of Greece now before the public. We may mention, among those of a comprehensive character, the works of Goldsmith, Gillies, Mitford, Thirlwall, Grote, and Curtius:

OLIVER GOLDSMITH, "the popular poet, the charming novelist, the successful dramatist, and the witty essayist," wrote a popular history of Greece, in two volumes, 8vo, 1774, embracing a period from the earliest date down to the death of Alexander the Great. It is an attractive work, elegantly written, but is superficial and inaccurate.

In 1786 was published a history of ancient Greece, in several volumes, by DR. JOHN GILLIES, who succeeded Dr. Robertson as historiographer of Scotland. This is a work of considerable merit but it is written in a spirit of decidedly monarchical tendencies, although the author evidently aimed at great fairness in his political views.

He says: "The history of Greece exposes the dangerous turbulence of democracy, and arraigns the despotism of tyrants. By describing the incurable evils inherent in every republican policy, it evinces the inestimable benefits resulting to liberty itself from the lawful dominion of hereditary kings, and the steady operation of well-regulated monarchy."

In the year 1784 appeared the first volume of WILLIAM MITFORD'S History of Greece, subsequently extended to eight and ten volumes, 8vo. It is the first history of Greece that combines extensive research and profound philosophical reflection; but it is "a monarchical" history, by a writer of very strong anti-republican principles. "It was composed," says Alison, the distinguished historian of modern Europe, "during, or shortly after, the French Revolution; and it was mainly intended to counteract the visionary ideas in regard to the blessings of Grecian democracy, which had spread so far in the world, from the magic of Athenian genius." Says Chancellor Kent: "Mitford does not scruple to tell the truth, and the whole truth, and to paint the stormy democracies of Greece in all their grandeur and in all their wretchedness." Lord Byron said of the author: "His great pleasure consists in praising tyrants, abusing Plutarch, spelling oddly, and writing quaintly; and--what is strange, after all--his is the best modern history of Greece in any language." But this was penned before Thirlwall's and Grote's histories were published. Lord Macaulay says of Mitford: "Whenever this historian mentions Demosthenes he violates all the laws of candor and even of decency: he weighs no authorities, he makes no allowances, he forgets the best authenticated facts in the history of the times, and the most generally recognized principles of human nature." The North British Review, after calling Mitford "a bad scholar, a bad historian, and a bad writer of English," says, farther, that "he was the first writer of any note who found out that Grecian history was a living thing with a practical bearing."

The next truly important and comprehensive Grecian history, published from 1835 to 1840, in eight volumes, 8vo, was written by CONNOP THIRLWALL, D. D., Bishop of St. David's. It is a scholarly, elaborate, and philosophical work evincing a thorough knowledge of Greek literature and of the German commentators. The historian Grote said that, if it had appeared a few years earlier, he should probably never have undertaken his own history of Greece. "I should certainly," he says, "not have been prompted to the task by any deficiencies such as those I felt and regretted in Mitford."

In comparing Thirlwall's history with Grote's, the North British Review has the following judicious remarks: "Many persons, probably, who have no special devotion to Grecian history wish to study its main outlines in something higher than a mere school-book. To such readers we should certainly recommend Thirlwall rather than Grote. The comparative brevity, the greater clearness and terseness of the narrative, the freedom from diversions and digressions, all render it far better suited for such a purpose. But for the political thinker, who regards Grecian history chiefly in its practical bearing, Mr. Grote's work is far better adapted. The one is the work of a scholar, an enlarged and practical scholar indeed, but still one in whom the character of the scholar is the primary one. The other is the work of a politician and man of business, a London banker, a Radical M. P., whose devotion to ancient history and literature forms the most illustrious confutation of the charges brought against such studies as being useless and impractical."

"The style of Thirlwall," says Dr. Samuel Warren of England, in his Introduction to Law Studies, "is dry, terse, and exact--not fitted, perhaps, for the historical tyro, but most acceptable to the advanced student who is in quest of things."

GEORGE GROTE, Member of Parliament, and a London banker, who wrote a history of Greece in twelve volumes, published from 1846 to 1855, has been styled, by way of eminence, the historian of Greece, because his work is universally admitted by critics to be the best for the advanced student that has yet been written. The London Athenæum styles his history "a great literary undertaking, equally notable whether we regard it as an accession of standard value in our language, or as an honorable monument of what English scholarship can do." The London Quarterly Review says: "Errors the most inveterate, that have been handed down without misgiving from generation to generation, have been for the first time corrected by Mr. Grote; facts the most familiar have been presented in new aspects and relations; things dimly seen, and only partially apprehended previously, have now assumed their true proportions and real significance; while numerous traits of Grecian character; and new veins of Grecian thought and feeling, have been revealed to the eyes of scholars by Mr. Grote's searching criticism, like new forms of animated nature by the microscope."

The general character of the work has been farther well summed up by Sir Archibald Alison. He says: "A decided liberal, perhaps even a republican, in politics, Mr. Grote has labored to counteract the influence of Mitford in Grecian history, and construct a history of Greece from authentic materials, which should illustrate the animating influence of democratic freedom upon the exertions of the human mind. In the prosecution of this attempt he has displayed an extent of learning, a variety of research, a power of combination, which are worthy of the very highest praise, and have secured for him a lasting place among the historians of modern Europe."

We may also mention, in this connection, the valuable and scholarly work of the German professor, Ernst Curtius (1857-'67), in five volumes, translated by A. Ward (1871-'74). His sympathies are monarchical, and his views more nearly accord with those of Mitford and Thirlwall than with those of Grote.

The work by William Smith, in one volume, 1865, is an excellent summary of Grecian history, as is also that of George W. Cox, 1876. The former work, which to a considerable extent is an abridgment of Grote, has been brought down, in a Boston edition, from the Roman Conquest to the middle of the present century, by Dr. Felton, late President of Harvard College. President Felton has also published two volumes of scholarly lectures on Ancient and Modern Greece (1867).

The works devoted to limited periods of Grecian history and special departments of research are very numerous. Among the most valuable of the former is the History of the Peloponnesian War, by the Greek historian Thucydides, of which there are several English versions. He was born in Athens, about the year 471 B.C. His is one of the ablest histories ever written.

Herodotus, the earliest and best of the romantic historians, sometimes called the "Father of History," was contemporary with Thucydides. He wrote, in a charming style, an elaborate work on the Persian and Grecian wars, most of the scenes of which he visited in person; and in numerous episodes and digressions he interweaves the most valuable history that we have of the early Asiatic nations and the Egyptians; but he indulges too much in the marvelous to be altogether reliable."

Of the numerous works of Xenophon, an Athenian who is sometimes called the "Attic Muse," from the simplicity and beauty of his style, the best known and the most pleasing are the Anab'asis, the Memorabil'ia of Socrates, and the Cyropedi'a, a political romance. He was born about 443 B.C. The best English translation of his works is by Watson, in Harper's "New Classical Library."

The work of the Greek historian, Polybius, originally in forty volumes, of which only five remain entire covered a period from the downfall of the Macedonian power to the subversion of Grecian liberty by the Romans, 146 B.C. It is a work of great accuracy, but of little rhetorical polish, and embraces much of Roman history from which Livy derived most of the materials for his account of the wars with Carthage.

In the first century of our era, Plutarch, a Greek biographer, wrote the "Parallel Lives" of forty-six distinguished Greeks and Romans--a charming and instructive work, translated by John and William Langhorne in 1771, and by Arthur Hugh Clough in 1858.

A history of Greece, in seven volumes, by George Finlay, a British historian, long resident at Athens, is noted for a thorough knowledge of Greek topography, art, and antiquity. The completed work embraces a period from the conquest of Greece by the Romans to the middle of the present century.

A History of Greek Literature, by J. P. Mahaffy, is the most polished descriptive work in the department which it embraces. It is happily supplemented by J. Addington Symonds' Studies of the Greek Poets. Mr. Mahaffy, in common with many German scholars, is an unbeliever in the unity of the Iliad.


[The names of authors from whom illustrative prose selections are taken in SMALL CAPITALS; those from whom poetic selections are taken are in italics.]



  1. Introductory.-- Olympus.-- Hemans.-- Pi'e-rus.-- Pope.

  2. Thessaly.-- Tem'pe.-- Hemans.
  3. Epi'rus.-- Cocy'tus, Ach'eron, Dodo'na.-- Milton: Haygarth: Byron.
  4. Acarna'nia.
  5. Æto'lia.
  6. Lo'cris.
  7. Do'ris.
  8. Pho'cis.-- Parnassus.-- Byron.-- Delphi.-- Hemans.
  9. Boeo'tia.-- Thebes.-- Schiller.
  10. Attica.-- Byron.
  11. Corinth.-- Byron: Haygarth.
  12. Acha'ia.
  13. Arca'dia.
  14. Ar'golis.-- Myce'næ.-- Hemans.
  15. Laco'nia.
  16. Messe'nia.
  17. E'lis.
  18. The Isles of Greece.-- Byron.
  19. Lemnos.-- Euboe'a.-- Cyc'la-des.-- De'los.-- Spor'a-des.-- Crete.-- Rhodes.-- Sal'amis.-- Ægi'na.-- Cyth'-era.-- "Venus Rising from the Sea."-- Woolner.
    Stroph'a-des.-- Virgil.-- Paxos.-- Zacyn'thus.-- Cephalo'nia.-- Ith'aca.-- Leu'cas or Leuca'dia.-- Corcy'ra or Cor'fu.-- "Gardens of Alcin'o-us."



  1. Grecian Mythology.
  2. Value of the Grecian Fables.-- J. Stuart Blackie
    The Battle of the Giants.-- He'siod
    Hymn to Jupiter.-- Clean'thes
    The god Apollo.-- Ov'id.
    Fancies of the Greek Mind.-- Wordsworth: LIDDELL: Blackie.
    The Poet's Lament.-- Schiller.
    The Creation.-- Ovid.
    The Origin of Evil.-- Hesiod.
    What Prome'theus Personified.-- Blackie.
    The Punishment of Prometheus.-- Æs'chylus: Shelley
    Deluge of Deuca'lion.-- Ovid.
    Moral Characteristics of the Gods, etc.-- MAHAFFY: GLADSTONE: Homer: Æschylus: Hesiod.
    Oaths.-- Homer: Æschylus: Soph'ocles: Virgil.
    The Future State.-- Homer.
    1. Story of Tan'talus.-- Blackie
    2. The Descent of Or'pheus.-- Ovid: Homer.
    3. The Elys'ium.-- Homer: Pindar.
    Hindu and Greek Skepticism.-- (Cornhill Magazine).
  3. The Earliest Inhabitants of Greece.
  4. The Founding of Athens.-- Blackie.
  5. The Heroic Age.
  6. Heroic Times foretold to Adam.-- Milton
    Twelve Labors of Hercules.-- Homer.
    Fable of Hercules and Antæ'us.-- Collins.
    The Argonautic Expedition.-- Pindar.
    Legend of Hy'las.-- Bayard Taylor.
    The Trojan War.
    1. The Greek Armament.-- Eurip'ides.
    2. The name Helen.-- Æschylus.
    3. Ulysses and Thersi'tes.-- Homer. (Pope).
    4. Combat of Menela'us and Paris.-- Homer. (Pope).
    5. Parting of Hector and Androm'a-che.-- Homer. (Pope).
    6. Hector's Exploits and Death of Patro'clus.-- Homer. (Pope).
    7. The Shield of Achilles.-- Homer. (Sotheby).
    8. Address of Achilles to his Horses.-- Homer. (Pope).
    9. The Death of Hector.-- Homer. (Bryant).
    10. Priam Begging for Hector's Body.-- Homer. (Cowper).
    11. Lamentations of Andromache and Helen.-- Homer. (Pope).
    The Fate of Troy.-- Virgil: Schiller.
    Beacon Fires from Troy to Argos.-- Æschlus.
    Remarks on the Trojan War.-- THIRLWALL: GROTE.
    Fate of the Actors in the Conflict.-- Ennius: Landor: Lang.
  7. Arts and Civilization in the Heroic Age.
  8. Political Life of the Greeks.-- MAHAFFY: HEEREN.
    Domestic Life and Character.-- MAHAFFY: Homer.
    The Raft of Ulysses.-- Homer.
  9. The Conquest of Peloponnesus, and Colonies in Asia Minor.
  10. Return of the Heracli'dæ.-- Lucan.



  1. Ionian Language and Culture.--FELTON.
  2. Homer and his Poems.-- Antip'ater: FELTON: TALFOURD: Pope: COLERIDGE.
  3. Some Causes of Greek Unity.
  4. The Grecian Festivals.
    1. Chariot Race and Death of Ores'tes.-- Sophocles.
    2. Apollo's Conflict with the Python.-- Ovid.
    3. The Apollo Belvedere.-- Thomson.
    National Councils.



  1. Description of Sparta.-- Thomson.
  2. The Constitution of Lycurgus.
  3. Spartan Patriotic Virtue.-- Tymnoe'us.
  4. Spartan Poetry and Music.
  5. Spartan March.-- CAMPBELL.: Hemans.
    Songs of the Spartans.-- PLUTARCH: Terpan'der: Pindar: Ion
  6. Sparta's Conquests.
  7. War-song.-- Tyrtoe'us.



  1. Introductory.--THIRLWALL: LEG'ARÉ.
  2. Changes from Aristocracies to Oligarchies.--HEEREN.
  3. Changes from Oligarchies to Despotisms.--THIRLWALL: HEEREN: BULWER: Theog'nis.



  1. The Legislation of Dra'co.
  2. The Legislation of So'lon.--PLUTARCH: A'kenside: Solon: Thomson: Solon.
  3. The Usurpation of Pisis'tratus.
  4. The Usurper and his Stratagem.--Akenside.
    Solon's Appeal to the Athenians.--Akenside.
    Character of Pisistratus.--THIRLWALL.
    Conspiracy of Harmodius and Aristogi'ton.--Callis'tratus.
  5. Birth of Democracy.--THIRLWALL.



The Cave of the Cumæ'an Sibyl.--Virgil: GROTE.
The'ron of Agrigen'tum.--Pindat.
Increase among the Sicilian Greeks.--GROTE.



  1. The Poems of Hesiod.--"Winter."--FELTON: MURE: THIRLWALL: MAHAFFY.
  2. Lyric Poetry.
  3. Calli'nus of Ephesus.--"War Elegy".
    Archil'ochus of Pa'ros--SYMONDS: MAHAFFY.
    Alc'man.--"Sleep, or Night."--MURE.
    Ari'on.--Stesich'orus.--MAHAFFY. --"Spoils of War."--Akenside. --"Defence of."--SYMONDS: Antip'ater.
    Anac'reon.--"The Grasshopper."--Akenside.
  4. Early Grecian Philosophy.
  5. The Seven Sages.--(Maxims).--GROTE.
    Tha'les, Anaxim'enes, Heracli'tus, Diog'enes, Anaximan'der, and Xenoph'anes.
    Pythag'oras and his Doctrines.--Blackie: Thomson: Coleridge: Lowell.
    The Eleusin'ian Mysteries.--Virgil.
  6. Architecture.
  7. The Cyclo'pean Walls.--Lord Houghton.
    Dor'ic, Ion'ic, and Corinthian Orders.--Thomson.
    Cher'siphron, and the Temple of Diana.--Story.
    Temples at Pæs'tum.--Cranch.
  8. Sculpture.
  9. Glaucus, Rhoe'cus, Theodo'rus, Dipæ'nus, Scyllis.
    Cause of the Progress of Sculpture.--THIRLWALL.



  1. The Ionic Revolt.
  2. The First Persian War.
  3. The Battle of Marathon.
    Legends of the Battle.--Hemans: Blackie.
    The Death of Milti'ades: his Character.--GROTE: GILLIES.
    Aristi'des and Themis'tocles:--Thomson: PLUTARCH: THIRLWALL.
  4. The Second Persian Invasion.
  5. Xerxes at Aby'dos.--HEROD'OTUS.
    Bridging of the Hellespont.--Juvenal: Milton.
    The Battle of Thermop'ylæ.
    1. Invincibility of the Spartans.--Haygarth.
    2. Description of the Contest.--Haygarth.
    3. Epitaphs on those who fell.--Simon'ides.
    4. The Tomb of Leon'idas.--Anon.
    5. Eulogy on the Fallen.--Byron
    Naval Conflict at Artemis'ium.--PLUTARCH: Pindar.
    The Abandonment of Athens.
    The Battle of Salamis.
    1. Xerxes Views the Conflict.--Byron.
    2. Flight of Xerxes.--Juvenal: Alamanni.
    3. Celebrated Description of the Battle.--MITFORD: Æschylus.
    4. Another Account.--Blackie.
    The Battle of Platæ'a.
    1. Description of the Battle.--BULWER.
    2. Importance of the Victory.--Southey: BULWER.
    3. Victory at Myc'a-le.--BULWER.
    4. "The Wasps."--Aristophanes.



  1. The Disgrace and Death of Themistocles.
  2. Tributes to his Memory.--Plato: Geminus: THIRLWALL.
  3. The Rise and Fall of Cimon.
  4. Character of Cimon--Thomson.
    Battle of Eurym'edon.--Simonides.
    Earthquake at Sparta, and Revolt of the Helots.--BULWER: ALISON.
  5. The Accession of Pericles to Power.
  6. Changes in the Athenian Constitution.--BULWER.
    Tribute to Pericles.--Croly.
    Picture of Athens in Peace.--Haygarth.



  1. Speech of Pericles for War.--THUCYD'IDES.
  2. The First Peloponnesian War.
  3. Funeral Oration of Pericles.--THUCYDIDES.
    Comments on the Oration.--CURTIUS.
    The Plague at Athens.--Lucretius.
    Death of Pericles.--Croly: THIRLWALL: BULWER.
    Character of Pericles.--MITFORD.
  4. The Athenian Demagogues.
  5. Cleon, the Demagogue.--GILLIES: ARISTOPH'ANES.
    The Peace of Ni'cias.
  6. The Sicilian Expedition.
  7. Treatment of the Athenian Prisoners.--Byron.
  8. The Second Peloponnesian War.
  9. Humiliation of Athens.
    Barbarities of the Contest.--MAHAFFY.




  1. Introductory.
    The Era of Athenian Greatness.--SYMONDS.
  2. Lyric Poetry.
  3. Simonides.--"Lamentation of Dan'a-ë."--MAHAFFY.
    Pindar.--"Threnos."--THIRLWALL: Prior: SYMONDS: Gray: Pope: Horace.
  4. The Drama.--BULWER.
    1. Tragedy.--Melpom'ene.--Akenside.
      Æschylus.--"Death of Agamemnon."--PLUMPTRE: LAWRENCE: VAN SCHLEGEL: Byron: MAHAFFY.
      Sophocles.--OEd'ipus Tyran'nus."--TALFOURD: Phryn'ichus: Sim'mias.
      Euripides.--"Alcestis Preparing for Death."--SYMONDS: Milton: MAHAFFY.
      The Transitions of Tragedy.--GROTE.
    2. Comedy.
    3. Characterization of.
      Aristophanes.--Extracts from "The Cloud." "Choral Song from The Birds."--Plato: GROTE: SEWELL: Milton: RUSKIN.
  5. History.
  6. Hecatæ'ns.--MAHAFFY: NIEBUHR.
    Herodotus.--"Introduction to History."--LAWRENCE.
    Herodotus and his Writings.--MACAULAY.
    Thucydides and Herodotus.--BROWNE.
  7. Philosophy.
  8. Anaxag'oras: his Death.--William Canton.
    The Sophists.--MAHAFFY.
    Socrates.--"Defence of Socrates."--"Socrates' Views of a Future State."--MAHAFFY: Thomson: SMITH: TYLER: GROTE.


  1. Sculpture and Painting.
  2. Phid'ias.--LÜBKE: GILLIES: LÜBKE.
    Polygno'tus.--Apollodo'rus.--Zeux'is.--Parrha'sius. --Timan'thes.
    Parrhasius and his Captive.--SENECA: Willis.
  3. Architecture.
  4. Introductory.--Thomson.
    The Adornment of Athens.--BULWER.
    1. The Acrop'olis and its Splendors.
    2. The Parthenon.--Hemans.
    3. Other Architectural Monuments of Athens.
    4. The Temple of The'seus.--Haygarth.
      Athenian Enthusiasm for Art.--BULWER.
      The Glory of Athens.--Talfourd.



  1. The Expedition of Cyrus, and the Retreat of the Ten Thousand.--Thomson: CURTIUS.
  2. The Supremacy of Sparta.
  3. The Rise and Fall of Thebes.
  4. Pelop'idas and Epaminon'das.--Thomson: CURTIUS.



The Founding of Ætna.--Pindar.
Hi'ero's Victory at Cu'mæ.--Pindar.
Admonitions to Hiero.--Pindar.
Dionysius the Elder.--PLUTARCH.
Damon and Pythias.--The Hostage.--Schiller.
Visit of Cicero to the Grave of Archimedes.--WINTHROP.



  1. The Sacred War.--THIRLWALL.
  2. Sketch of Macedonia.
  3. Interference of Philip of Macedon.
  4. Demosthenes.--"The First Philippic."--GROTE.
    Pho'cion.--His Influence at Athens.--GROTE.
  5. War with Macedon.
  6. Accession of Alexander the Great.
  7. Alexander Invades Asia.
  8. The Battle of Arbe'la.--Flight and Death of Dari'us.-- GROTE: ÆS'CHINES.
  9. Alexander's Feast at Persep'olis.--Dryden.
  10. The Death of Alexander.
  11. His Career and his Character.--Lu'can.
    Reflections on his Life, etc.--Juvenal: Byron.



  1. A Retrospective Glance at Greece.
  2. Oration of Æschines against Ctes'iphon.
    Oration of Demosthenes on the Crown.
  3. The Wars that followed Alexander's Death.
  4. Character of Ptolemy Philadelphus--Theoc'ritus
  5. The Celtic Invasion, and the War with Pyrrhus.
  6. Queen Archidami'a.--Anon.

  7. The Achæ'an League.--Philip V. of Macedon.
  8. Epigrams on Philip and the Macedonians.--Alcoe'us.
  9. Greece Conquered by Rome.
  10. "The Liberty of Greece."--Wordsworth.
    Desolation of Corinth.--Antipater.
    Last Struggles of Greece.--THIRLWALL: Horace.




  1. The Drama.--MAHAFFY.
  2. Phile'mon.--"Faith in God."
    Menander.--"Human Existence."--SYMONDS: LAWRENCE.
  3. Oratory.--Milton: CICERO.
  4. Æs'chines and Demosthenes.--LEGARÉ: BROUGHAM: HUME.
  5. Philosophy.
  6. Plato.--Haygarth: BROUGHAM: KENDRICK: MITCHELL.
    Epicu'rus and Ze'no.--Lucretius.
  7. History.
  8. Xen'ophon.--MITCHELL.


  1. Architecture and Sculpture.
  2. Changes in Statuary.--WEYMAN.
    The Dying Gladiator.--LÜBKE: Thomson.
    The La-oc'o-on.--Thomson: Holland.
  3. Painting.
  4. Venus Rising from the Sea.--Antipater.
    Apel'les and Protog'enes.--ANTHON.
    Protogenes' Picture at Rhodes.--Thomson.

    Concluding Reflections.

    The Image of Athens.--Shelley.
    Immortal Influence of Athens.--MACAULAY: Haygarth.



  1. Greece under the Romans.
  2. The Revolt.--FINLAY.
    Christianity in Greece.--FELTON.
  3. Changes down to the Fourteenth Century.
  4. Courts of the Crusading Chieftains.--EDINBURGH REVIEW.
    The Duchy of Athens.--FELTON.
    The Turkish Invasion.--Hemans.
  5. Contests between the Turks and Venetians.
  6. Past and Present of the Acropolis of Athens.
    The Siege and Fall of Corinth.--Byron.
  7. Final Conquest of Greece by Turkey.
  8. Turkish Oppressions.--TENNENT.
    The Slavery of Greece.--Canning: Byron.
    First Steps to Secure Liberty.--The Klephts.--FELTON.
    Greek War-Songs.--Rhigas: Polyzois.
  9. The Greek Revolution.
  10. A Prophetic Vision of the Struggle.--Shelley's "Hellas".
    Song of the Greeks.--Campbell.
    American Sympathy with Greece.--TUCKERMAN: WEBSTER.
    The Sortie at Missolon'ghi.--WARBURTON.
    A Visit to Missolonghi.--STEPHENS.
    Marco Bozzar'is.--Halleck.
    Battle of Navari'no.--Campbell.
  11. Greece under a Constitutional Monarchy.
  12. Revolution against King Otho.--BENJAMIN.
    The Deposition of King Otho: Greece under his Rule. --TUCKERMAN: BRITISH QUARTERLY.
    Accession of King George.--His Government.--TUCKERMAN.
    Progress in Modern Greece.--COOK.




The country called HELLAS by the Helle'nes, its native inhabitants, and known to us by the name of Greece, forms the southern part of the most easterly of the three great peninsulas of Southern Europe, extending into the Mediterranean between the Æge'an Sea, or Grecian Archipelago, on the east, and the Ionian Sea on the west. The whole area of this country, so renowned in history, is only about twenty thousand square miles; which is considerably less than that of Portugal, and less than half that of the State of Pennsylvania.

The mainland of ancient Greece was naturally divided into Northern Greece, which embraced Thessaly and Epi'rus; Central Greece, comprising the divisions of Acarna'nia, Æto'lia, Lo'cris, Do'ris, Pho'cis, Breo'tia, and At'tica (the latter forming the eastern extremity of the whole peninsula); and Southern Greece, which the ancients called Pel-o-pon-ne'sus, or the Island of Pe'lops, which would be an island were it not for the narrow Isthmus of Corinth, which connects it on the north with Central Greece. Its modern name, the Mo-re'a, was bestowed upon it from its resemblance to the leaf of the mulberry. The chief political divisions of Peloponnesus were Corinth and Acha'ia on the north, Ar'golis on the east, Laco'nia and Messe'nia at the southern extremity of the peninsula, E'lis on the west, and the central region of Arca'dia.

Greece proper is separated from Macedonia on the north by the Ceraunian and Cambunian chain of mountains, extending in irregular outline from the Ionian Sea on the west to the Therma'ic Gulf on the east, terminating, on the eastern coast, in the lofty summit of Mount Olympus, the fabled residence of the gods, where, in the early dawn of history, Jupiter (called "the father of gods and men") was said to hold his court, and where he reigned supreme over heaven and earth. Olympus rises abruptly, in colossal magnificence, to a height of more than six thousand feet, lifting its snowy head far above the belt of clouds that nearly always hangs upon the sides of the mountain.

Wild and august in consecrated pride,
There through the deep-blue heaven Olympus towers,
Girdled with mists, light-floating as to hide
The rock-built palace of immortal powers.

In the Olympian range, also, was Mount Pie'rus, where was the Pierian fountain, one of the sacred resorts of the Muses, so often mentioned by the poets, and to which POPE, with gentle sarcasm, refers when he says,

A little learning is a dangerous thing:
Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring.

1. Thessaly.--From the northern chain of mountains, the central Pindus range, running south, separates Thessaly on the east from Epi'rus on the west. The former region, enclosed by mountain ranges broken only on the east, and watered by the Pene'us and its numerous tributaries, embraced the largest and most fertile plain in all Greece. On the Thessalian coast, south of Olympus, were the celebrated mounts Ossa and Pe'lion, which the giants, in their wars against the gods, as the poets fable, piled upon Olympus in their daring attempt to scale the heavens and dethrone the gods. Between those mounts lay the celebrated vale of Tem'pe, through which the Pene'us flowed to the sea.

Romantic Tempe! thou art yet the same--
Wild as when sung by bards of elder time:
Years, that have changed thy river's classic name,
[Footnote: The modern name of the Pene'us is Selembria or Salamvria.]
Have left thee still in savage pomp sublime.

Farther south, having the sea on one side and the lofty cliffs of Mount OE'ta on the other, was the celebrated narrow pass of Thermop'ylæ, leading from Thessaly into Central Greece.

2. Epi'rus.--The country of Epirus, on the west of Thessaly, was mostly a wild and mountainous region, but with fertile intervening valleys. Among the localities of Epirus celebrated in fable and in song was the river Cocy'tus, which the poets, on account of its nauseous waters, described as one of the rivers of the lower world--

Cocytus, named of lamentation loud
Heard on the rueful stream.

The Ach'eron was another of the rivers--

Sad Acheron of sorrow, black and deep--

which was assigned by the poets to the lower world, and over which the souls of the dead were said to be first conveyed, before they were borne the Le'the, or "stream of oblivion," beyond. The true Acheron of Epirus has been thus described:

Yonder rolls Acheron his dismal stream,
Sunk in a narrow bed: cypress and fir
Wave their dim foliage on his rugged banks;
And underneath their boughs the parched ground,
Strewed o'er with juniper and withered leaves,
Seems blasted by no mortal tread.

As the Acheron falls into the lake Acheru'sia, and after rising from it flows underground for some distance, this lake also has been connected by the poets with the gloomy legend of its fountain stream.

                   This is the place
Sung by the ancient masters of the lyre,
Where disembodied spirits, ere they left
Their earthly mansions, lingered for a time
Upon the confines of eternal night,
Mourning their doom; and oft the astonished hind,
As home he journeyed at the fall of eve,
Viewed unknown forms flitting across his path,
And in the breeze that waved the sighing boughs
Heard shrieks of woe.

In Epirus was also situated the celebrated city of Dodo'na, with the temple of that name, where was the most ancient oracle in Greece, whose fame extended even to Asia. But in the wide waste of centuries even the site of this once famous oracle is forgotten.

Where, now, Dodona! is thine aged grove,
Prophetic fount, and oracle divine?
What valley echoes the response of Jove?
What trace remaineth of the Thunderer's shrine?
All, all forgotten!

3. Acarna'nia.--Coming now to Central Greece, lying northward of the Corinthian Gulf, we find Acarnania on the far west, for the most part a productive country with good harbors: but the Acarnanians, a rude and warlike people, were little inclined to Commercial pursuits; they remained far behind the rest of the Greeks in culture, and scarcely one city of importance was embraced within their territory.

4. Æto'lia, generally a rough and mountainous country, separated, on the west, from Acarnania by the river Ach-e-lo'us, the largest of the rivers of Greece, was inhabited, like Acarnania, by a hardy and warlike race, who long preserved the wild and uncivilized habits of a barbarous age. The river Achelous was intimately connected with the religion and mythology of the Greeks. The hero Hercules contended with the river-god for the hand of De-i-a-ni'ra, the most beautiful woman of his time; and so famous was the stream itself that the Oracle of Dodona gave frequent directions "to sacrifice to the Achelous," whose very name was used, in the language of poetry, as an appellation for the element of water and for rivers.

5. Lo'cris, lying along the Corinthian Gulf east of Ætolia, was inhabited by a wild, uncivilized race, scarcely Hellen'ic in character, and said to have been addicted, from the earliest period, to theft and rapine. Their two principal towns were Amphis'sa and Naupac'tus, the latter now called Lepanto. There was another settlement of the Locri north of Pho'cis and Boeo'tia.

6. Do'ris, a small territory in the north-eastern angle of Ætolia proper--a rough but fertile country--was the early seat of the Dorians, the most enterprising and the most powerful of the Hellenic tribes, if we take into account their numerous migrations, colonies and conquests. Their colonies in Asia Minor founded six independent republics, which were confined within the bounds of as many cities. From this people the Doric order of architecture--a style typical of majesty and imposing grandeur, and the one the most employed by the Greeks in the construction of their temples--derived its origin.

7. Pho'cis.--On the east of Locris, Ætolia, and Doris was Phocis, a mountainous region, bordered on the south by the Corinthian Gulf. In the northern central part of its territory was the famed Mount Parnassus, covered the greater part of the year with snow, with its sacred cave, and its Castalian fount gushing forth between two of its lofty rocks. The waters were said to inspire those who drank of them with the gift of poetry. Hence both mountain and fount were sacred to the Muses, and their names have come down to our own times as synonymous with poetry and song. BYRON thus writes of Parnassus, in lines almost of veneration, as he first viewed it from Delphi, on the southern base of the mountain:

Oh, thou Parnassus! whom I now survey,
Not in the frenzy of a dreamer's eye,
Not in the fabled landscape of a lay,
But soaring snow-clad through thy native sky
In the wild pomp of mountain majesty!

Oft have I dreamed of thee! whose glorious name
Who knows not, knows not man's divinest lore:
And now I view thee, 'tis, alas! with shame
That I in feeblest accents must adore.
When I recount thy worshippers of yore
I tremble, and can only bend the knee;
Nor raise my voice, nor vainly dare to soar,
But gaze beneath thy cloudy canopy
In silent joy to think at last I look on thee!

The city of Delphi was the seat of the celebrated temple and oracle of that name. Here the Pythia, the priestess of Apollo, pronounced the prophetic responses, in extempore prose or verse; and here the Pythian Games were celebrated in honor of Apollo.

   Here, thought-entranced, we wander, where of old
   From Delphi's chasm the mystic vapor rose,
   And trembling nations heard their doom foretold
   By the dread spirit throned 'midst rocks and snows.
   Though its rich fanes be blended with the dust,
   And silence now the hallowed haunt possess,
   Still is the scene of ancient rites august,
   Magnificent in mountain loneliness;
   Still Inspiration hovers o'er the ground,
Where Greece her councils held, her Pythian victors crowned.

8. Boeo'tia.--Boeotia, lying to the east of Phocis, bordering on the Euri'pus, or "Euboe'an Sea," a narrow strait which separates it from the Island of Euboe'a, and touching the Corinthian Gulf on the south-west, is mostly one large basin enclosed by mountain ranges, and having a soil exceedingly fertile. It was the most thickly settled part of Greece; it abounded in cities of historic interest, of which Thebes, the capital, was the chief--whose walls were built, according to the fable, to the sound of the Muses:

With their ninefold symphonies
  There the chiming Muses throng;
Stone on stone the walls arise
  To the choral Music-song.

Boeotia was the scene of many of the legends celebrated by the poets, and especially of those upon which were founded the plays of the Greek tragedians. Near a fountain on Mount Cithæ'ron, on its southern border, the hunter Actæ'on, having been changed into a stag by the goddess Diana, was hunted down and killed by his own hounds. Pen'theus, an early king of Thebes, having ascended Cithæron to witness the orgies of the Bacchanals, was torn in pieces by his own mother and aunts, to whom Bacchus made him appear as a wild beast. On this same mountain range also occurred the exposure of OEd'ipus, the hero of the most famous tragedy of Sophocles. Near the Corinthian Gulf was Mount Hel'icon, sacred to Apollo and the Muses. Its slopes and valleys were renowned for their fertility; it had its sacred grove, and near it was the famous fountain of Aganip'pe, which was believed to inspire with oracular powers those who drank of its waters. Nearer the summit was the fountain Hippocre'ne, which is said to have burst forth when the winged horse Peg'asus, the favorite of the Muses, struck the ground with his hoofs, and which Venus, accompanied by her constant attendants, the doves, delighted to visit. Here, we are told,

Her darling doves, light-hovering round their Queen,
Dipped their red beaks in rills from Hippocrene.
[Footnote: Always Hip-po-cre'ne in prose; but it is allowable to contract it into three syllables in poetry, as in the example above.]

It was here, also--

                 near this fresh fount,
On pleasant Helicon's umbrageous mount--

that occurred the celebrated contest between the nine daughters of Pie'rus, king of E-ma'thi-a (the ancient name of Macedonia), and the nine Muses. It is said that "at the song of the daughters of Pierus the sky became dark, and all nature was put out of harmony; but at that of the Muses the heavens themselves, the stars, the sea, and the rivers stood motionless, and Helicon swelled up with delight, so that its summit reached the sky." The Muses then, having turned the presumptuous maidens into chattering magpies, first took the name of Pi-er'i-des, from Pieria, their natal region.

9. Attica.--Bordering Boeotia on the south-east was the district of Attica, nearly in the form of a triangle, having two of its sides washed by the sea, and the other--the northern--shut off from the east of Central Greece by the mountain range of Cithæron on the north-west, and Par'nes on the east. Its other noted mountains were Pentel'icus (sometimes called Mende'li), so celebrated for its quarries of beautiful marble, and Hymet'tus, celebrated for its excellent honey, and the broad belt of flowers at its base, which scented the air with their delicious perfume. It could boast of its chief city, the favored seat of the goddess Minerva--

Athens, the eye of Greece, mother of arts
And eloquence--

as surpassing all other cities in beauty and magnificence, and in the great number of its illustrious citizens. Yet the soil of Attica was, on the whole, exceedingly barren, with the exception of a few very fertile spots; but olive groves abounded, and the olive was the most valuable product.

The general sterility of Attica was the great safety of her people in their early history. "It drove them abroad; it filled them with a spirit of activity, which loved to grapple with danger and difficulty; it told them that, if they would maintain themselves in the dignity which became them, they must regard the resources of their own land as nothing, and those of other countries as their own." Added to this, the situation of Attica marked it out in an eminent manner for a commercial country; and it became distinguished beyond all the other states of Greece for its extensive commercial relations, while its climate was deemed the most favorable of all the regions of the civilized world for the physical and intellectual development of man. It was called "a sunny land," and, notwithstanding the infertility of its soil, it was full of picturesque beauty. The poet BYRON, in his apostrophe to Greece, makes many striking and beautiful allusions to the Attica of his own time:

  Yet are thy skies as blue, thy crags as wild;
  Sweet are thy groves, and verdant are thy fields,
  Thine olive ripe as when Minerva smiled,
  And still its honeyed wealth Hymettus yields.
  There the blithe bee his fragrant fortress builds,
  The freeborn wanderer of thy mountain air;
  Apollo still thy long, long summer gilds,
  Still in his beam Mendeli's marbles glare;
Art, Glory, Freedom fail, but Nature still is fair.

10. Entering now upon the isthmus which leads into Southern Greece, we find the little state of Corinth, with its famous city of the same name, keeping guard over the narrow pass, with one foot on the Corinthian Gulf and the other on the Saron'ic, thereby commanding both the Ionian and Æge'an seas, controlling the commerce that passed between them, and holding the keys of Peloponnesus. It was a mountainous and barren region, with the exception of a small plain north-west of the city. Thus situated, Corinth early became the seat of opulence and the arts, which rendered her the ornament of Greece. On a lofty eminence overhanging the city, forming a conspicuous object at a great distance, was her famous citadel--so important as to be styled by Philip of Macedon "the fetters of Greece." Rising abruptly nearly two thousand feet above the surrounding plain, the hill itself, in its natural defences, is the strongest mountain fortress in Europe.

The whirlwind's wrath, the earthquake's shock,
Have left untouched her hoary rock,
The key-stone of a land which still,
Though fallen, looks proudly on that hill,
The landmark to the double tide
That purpling rolls on either side,
As if their waters chafed to meet,
Yet pause and crouch beneath her feet.

The ascent to the citadel, in the days of Corinthian glory, was lined on both sides with temples and altars; but temples and altars are gone, and citadel and city alike are now in ruins. Antip'ater of Sidon describes the city as a scene of desolation after it had been conquered, plundered, and its walls thrown down by the Romans, 146 B.C. Although the city was partially rebuilt, the description is fully applicable to its present condition. A modern traveller thus describes the site of the ancient city:

The hoarse wind sighs around the mouldering walls
Of the vast theatre, like the deep roar
Of distant waves, or the tumultuous rush
Of multitudes: the lichen creeps along
Each yawning crevice, and the wild-flower hangs
Its long festoons around each crumbling stone.
The window's arch and massive buttress glow
With time's deep tints, whilst cypress shadows wave
On high, and spread a melancholy gloom.
  Silent forever is the voice
Of Tragedy and Eloquence. In climes
Far distant, and beneath a cloudy sky,
The echo of their harps is heard; but all
The soul-subduing energy is fled.

11. Adjoining the Corinthian territory on the west, and extending about sixty-five miles along the southern coast of the Corinthian Gulf, was Acha'ia, mountainous in the interior; but its coast region for the most part was level, exposed to inundations, and without a single harbor of any size. Hence the Achæ'ans were never famous for maritime enterprise. Of the eleven Achæan cities that formed the celebrated Achæan league, Pal'træ (now Patras') alone survives. Si'çy-on, on the eastern border of Achaia, was at times an independent state.

12. South of Achaia was the central region of Arcadia, surrounded by a ring of mountains, and completely encompassed by the other states of the Peloponnesus. Next to Laconia it was the largest of the ancient divisions of Greece, and the most picturesque and beautiful portion (not unlike Switzerland in its mountain character), and without either seaports or navigable rivers. It was inhabited by a people simple in their habits and manners, noted for their fondness for music and dancing, their hospitality, and pastoral customs. With the poets Arcadia was a land of peace, of simple pleasures, and untroubled quiet; and it was natural that the pipe-playing Pan should first appear here, where musical shepherds led their flocks along the woody vales of impetuous streams.

13. Ar'golis, east of Arcadia, was mostly a rocky peninsula lying between the Saron'ic and Argol'ic gulfs. It was in great part a barren region, with the exception of the plain adjoining its capital city, Argos, and in early times was divided into a number of small but independent kingdoms, that afterward became republics. The whole region is rich in historic associations of the Heroic Age. Here was Tir'yns, whose massive walls were built by the one-eyed Cy'clops, and whence Hercules departed at the commencement of his twelve labors. Here, also, was the Lernæ'an Lake, where the hero slew the many-headed hydra; Ne'mea, the haunt of the lion slain by Hercules, and the seat of the celebrated Ne'mean games; and Myce'næ, the royal city of Agamemnon, who commanded the Greeks in the Trojan War--now known, only by its ruins and its legends of by-gone ages.

And still have legends marked the lonely spot
  Where low the dust of Agamemnon lies;
And shades of kings and leaders unforgot,
  Hovering around, to fancy's vision rise.

14. At the south-eastern extremity of the Peloponnesus was Laconia, the fertile portions of which consisted mostly of a long, narrow valley, shut in on three sides by the mountain ranges of Ta-yg'etus on the west and Parnon on the north and east, and open only on the south to the sea. Through this valley flows the river Euro'tas, on whose banks, about twenty miles from the sea, stood the capital city, Lacedæ'mon, or Sparta, which was unwalled and unfortified during its most flourishing period, as the Spartans held that the real defence of a town consists solely in the valor of its citizens. The sea-coast of Laconia was lined with towns, and furnished with numerous ports and commodious harbors. While Sparta was equaled by few other Greek cities in the magnificence of its temples and statues, the private houses, and even the palace of the king, were always simple and unadorned.

15. West of Laconia was Messe'nia, the south-western division of Greece, a mountainous country, but with many fertile intervening valleys, the whole renowned for the mildness and salubrity of its climate. Its principal river, the Pami'sus, rising in the mountains of Arcadia, flows southward to the Messenian Gulf through a beautiful plain, the lower portion of which was so celebrated for its fertility that it was called Maca'ria, or "the blessed;" and even to this day it is covered with plantations of the vine, the fig, and the mulberry, and is "as rich in cultivation as can be well imagined."

16. One district more--that of E'lis, north of Messenia and west of Arcadia, and embracing the western slopes of the Achaian and Arcadian mountains--makes up the complement of the ancient Peloponnesian states. Though hilly and mountainous, like Messenia, it had many valleys and hill-sides of great fertility. The river Alphe'us, which the poets have made the most celebrated of the rivers of Greece, flows westward through Elis to the Ionian Sea, and on its banks was Olympia, the renowned seat of the Olympian games. Here, also, was the sacred grove of olive and plane trees, within which were temples, monuments, and statues, erected in honor of gods, heroes, and conquerors. In the very midst stood the great temple of Jupiter, which contained the colossal gold and ivory statue of the god, the masterpiece of the sculptor Phidias. Hence, by the common law of Greece Elis was deemed a sacred territory, and its cities were unwalled, as they were thought to be sufficiently protected by the sanctity of the country; and it was only when the ancient faith began to give way that the sacred character of Elis was disregarded.

17. The Isles of Greece.--

The Isles of Greece! the Isles of Greece!
  Where burning Sappho loved and sung--
Where grew the arts of war and peace,
  Where Delos rose and Phoebus sprung!
Eternal summer gilds them yet,
But all except their sun is set.

The main-land of Greece was deeply indented by gulfs and almost land-locked bays, and the shores were lined with numerous islands, which were occupied by the Grecian race. Beginning our survey of these in the northern Æge'an, we find, off the coast of Thessaly, the Island of Lemnos, which is fabled as the spot on which the fire-god Vulcan--the Lucifer of heathen mythology--fell, after being hurled down from Olympus. Under a volcano of the island be established his workshop, and there forged the thunder-bolts of Jupiter and the arms of the gods and of godlike heroes.

Of the Grecian islands proper, the largest is Euboe'a, a long and narrow island lying east of Central Greece, from which it is separated by the narrow channel of the Euri'pus, or Euboe'an Sea. South-east of Euboea are the Cyc'la-des, [Footnote: From the Greek word kuklos, a circle.] a large group that kept guard around the sacred Island of Delos, which is said to have risen unexpectedly out of the sea. The Spor'a-des [Footnote: From the Greek word speiro, to sow; scattered, like seed, so numerous were they. Hence our word spores.] were another group, scattered over the sea farther east, toward the coast of Asia Minor. The large islands of Crete and Rhodes were south-east of these groups. In the Saron'ic Gulf, between Attica and Ar'golis, were the islands of Sal'amis and Ægi'na, the former the scene of the great naval conflict between the Greeks on the one side and the Persians, under Xerxes, on the other, and the latter long the maritime rival of Athens.

Cyth'era, now Cer'igo, an island of great importance to the Spartans, was separated by a narrow channel from the southern extremity of Laconia. It was on the coast of this island that the goddess Venus is fabled to have first appeared to mortals as she arose out of the foam of the sea, having a beautifully enameled shell for her chariot, drawn by dolphins, as some paintings represent; but others picture her as borne on a shining seahorse. She was first called Cyth-er-e'a, from the name of the island. The nymphs of ocean, of the land, and the streams, the fishes and monsters of the deep, and the birds of heaven, with rapturous delight greeted her coming, and did homage to the beauty of the Queen of Love. The following fine description of the scene, truly Grecian in spirit, is by a modern poet:

Uprisen from the sea when Cytherea,
Shining in primal beauty, paled the day,
The wondering waters hushed, They yearned in sighs
That shook the world--tumultuously heaved
To a great throne of azure laced with light
And canopied in foam to grace their queen.
Shrieking for joy came O-ce-an'i-des,
And swift Ner-e'i-des rushed from afar,
Or clove the waters by. Came eager-eyed
Even shy Na-i'a-des from inland streams,
With wild cries headlong darting through the waves;
And Dryads from the shore stretched their long arms,
While, hoarsely sounding, heard was Triton's shell;
Shoutings uncouth, bewildered sounds,
And innumerable splashing feet
Of monsters gambolling around their god,
Forth shining on a sea-horse, fierce and finned.
Some bestrode fishes glinting dusky gold,
Or angry crimson, or chill silver bright;
Others jerked fast on their own scanty tails;
And sea-birds, screaming upward either side,
Wove a vast arch above the Queen of Love,
Who, gazing on this multitudinous
Homaging to her beauty, laughed. She laughed
The soft, delicious laughter that makes mad;
Low warblings in the throat, that clinch man's life
Tighter than prison bars.

Off the coast of Elis were the two small islands called the Stroph'a-des, noted as the place of habitation of those fabled winged monsters, the Harpies. Here Æne'as landed in his flight from the ruins of Troy, but no pleasant greetings met him there.

"At length I land upon the Strophades,
Safe from the dangers of the stormy seas.
Those isles are compassed by th' Ionian main,
The dire abode where the foul Harpies reign:
Monsters more fierce offended Heaven ne'er sent
From hell's abyss for human punishment.
We spread the tables on the greensward ground;
We feed with hunger, and the bowls go round;
When from the mountain-tops, with hideous cry
And clattering wings, the hungry Harpies fly:
They snatch the meat, defiling all they find,
And, parting, leave a loathsome stench behind."
  --VIRGIL'S Æneid, B. III.

North of the Strophades, along the western coast of Greece, were the six Ionian islands known in Grecian history as Paxos, Zacyn'thus, Cephalo'nia, Ith'aca (the native island of Ulysses), Leu'cas (or Leuca'dia), and Corcy'ra (now Corfu), which latter island Homer calls Phæa'cia, and where he places the fabled gardens of Alcin'o-us. It was King Alcinous who kindly entertained Ulysses in his island home when the latter was shipwrecked on his coast. He is highly praised in Grecian legends for his love of agriculture; and his gardens, so beautifully described by Homer, have afforded a favorite theme for poets of succeeding ages. HOMER'S description is as follows:

  Close to the gates a spacious garden lies,
From storms defended and inclement skies;
Four acres was the allotted space of ground,
Fenced with a green enclosure all around;
Tall thriving trees confessed the fruitful mould,
And reddening apples ripen here to gold.
Here the blue fig with luscious juice o'erflows;
With deeper red the full pomegranate glows;
The branch here bends beneath the weighty pear,
And verdant olives flourish round the year.
The balmy spirit of the western gale
Eternal breathes on fruits untaught to fail;
Each dropping pear a following pear supplies;
On apples apples, figs on figs arise:
The same mild season gives the blooms to blow,
The buds to harden, and the fruits to grow.

  Here ordered vines in equal ranks appear,
With all the united labors of the year;
Some to unload the fertile branches run,
Some dry the blackening clusters in the sun,
Others to tread the liquid harvest join,
The groaning presses foam with floods of wine.
Here are the vines in early flower descried,
Here grapes discolored on the sunny side,
And there in Autumn's richest purple dyed.
Beds of all various herbs, forever green,
In beauteous order terminate the scene.

  Two plenteous fountains the whole prospect crowned:
This through the garden leads its streams around,
Visits each plant, and waters all the ground;
While that in pipes beneath the palace flows,
And thence its current on the town bestows.
To various use their various streams they bring;
The people one, and one supplies the king.
  --Odyssey, B. VII. POPE'S Trans.




As the Greeks, in common with the Egyptians and other Eastern nations, placed the reign of the gods anterior to the race of mortals, Grecian mythology--which is a system of myths, or fabulous opinions and doctrines respecting the universe and the deities who were supposed to preside over it--forms the most natural and appropriate introduction to Grecian history.

Our principal knowledge of this system is derived from the works of Homer, He'si-od, and other ancient writers, who have gathered the floating legends of which it consists into tales and epic poems, many of them of great power and beauty. Some of these legends are exceedingly natural and pleasing, while others shock and disgust us by the gross impossibilities and hideous deformities which they reveal. Yet these legends are the spontaneous and the earliest growth of the Grecian mind, and were long accepted by the people as serious realities. They are, therefore, to be viewed as exponents of early Grecian philosophy,--of all that the early Greeks believed, and felt, and conjectured, respecting the universe and its government, and respecting the social relations, duties, and destiny of mankind,--and their influence upon national character was great. As a Scotch poet and scholar of our own day well remarks,

Old fables these, and fancies old!
  But not with hasty pride
Let logic cold and reason bold
  Cast these old dreams aside.
Dreams are not false in all their scope:
  Oft from the sleepy lair
Start giant shapes of fear and hope
  That, aptly read, declare
Our deepest nature. God in dreams
  Hath spoken to the wise;
And in a people's mythic themes
  A people's wisdom lies.


According to Grecian philosophy, first in the order of time came Cha'os, a heterogeneous mass, containing all the seeds of nature. This was formed by the hand of an unknown god, into "broad-breasted Earth" (the mother of the gods), who produced U'ranus, or Heaven. Then Earth married Uranus, or Heaven; and from this union came a numerous and powerful brood--the Ti'tans, and the Cyclo'pes, and the gods of the wintry season Kot'-tos, Bria're-us, and Gy'ges, who had each a hundred hands), supposed to be personifications of the hail, the rain, and the snow.

The Titans made war upon their father, Uranus, who was wounded by Chro'nos, or Saturn, the youngest and bravest of his sons. From the drops of blood which flowed from the wound and fell upon the earth sprung the Furies, the Giants, and the Me'lian nymphs; and from those which fell into the sea sprang Venus, the goddess of love and beauty. Uranus being dethroned, Saturn was permitted by his brethren to reign, on condition that he would destroy all his male children. But Rhe'a (his wife), unwilling to see her children perish, concealed from him the birth of Zeus' (or Jupiter), Pos-ei'don (or Neptune), and Pluto.


The Titans, informed that Saturn had saved his children, made war upon him and dethroned him; but he was soon restored by his son Jupiter. Yet Jupiter soon afterward conspired against his father, and after a long war with him and his giant progeny, that lasted full ten years, he drove Saturn from the kingdom, which he held against the repeated assaults of all the gods, who were finally destroyed or imprisoned by his overmastering power. This contest is termed "the Battle of the Giants," and is very celebrated in Grecian mythology. The description of it which HESIOD has given in his Theogony is considered "one of the most sublime passages in classical poetry, conceived with great boldness, and executed with a power and force which show a masterly though rugged genius. It will bear a favorable comparison with Milton's 'Battle of the Angels,' in Paradise Lost." We subjoin the following extracts from it:

The immeasurable sea tremendous dashed
With roaring, earth resounded, the broad heaven
Groaned, shattering; huge Olympus reeled throughout,
Down to its rooted base, beneath the rush
Of those immortals. The dark chasm of hell
Was shaken with the trembling, with the tramp
Of hollow footsteps and strong battle-strokes,
And measureless uproar of wild pursuit.
So they against each other through the air
Hurled intermixed their weapons, scattering groans
Where'er they fell.

                      The voice of armies rose
With rallying shout through the starred firmament,
And with a mighty war-cry both the hosts
Encountering closed. Nor longer then did Jove
Curb down his force, but sudden in his soul
There grew dilated strength, and it was filled
With his omnipotence; his whole of might
Broke from him, and the godhead rushed abroad.
The vaulted sky, the Mount Olympus, flashed
With his continual presence, for he passed
Incessant forth, and lightened where he trod.

Thrown from his nervous grasp the lightnings flew,
Reiterated swift; the whirling flash,
Cast sacred splendor, and the thunder-bolt
Fell. Then on every side the foodful earth
Roared in the burning flame, and far and near
The trackless depth of forests crashed with fire;
Yea, the broad earth burned red, the floods of Nile
Glowed, and the desert waters of the sea.

Round and round the Titans' earthy forms
Rolled the hot vapor, and on fiery surge
Streamed upward, swathing in one boundless blaze
The purer air of heaven. Keen rushed the light
In quivering splendor from the writhen flash;
Strong though they were, intolerable smote
Their orbs of sight, and with bedimming glare
Scorched up their blasted vision. Through the gulf
Of yawning chaos the supernal flame
Spread, mingling fire with darkness.

The whirlwinds were abroad, and hollow aroused
A shaking and a gathering dark of dust,
Crushing the thunders from the clouds of air,
Hot thunder-bolts and flames, the fiery darts
Of Jove; and in the midst of either host
They bore upon their blast the cry confused
Of battle, and the shouting. For the din
Tumultuous of that sight-appalling strife
Rose without bound. Stern strength of hardy proof
Wreaked there its deeds, till weary sank the war.
  --Trans. by ELTON.

Thus Jupiter, or Jove, became the head of the universe; and to him is ascribed the creation of the subsequent gods, of man, and of all animal life, and the supreme control and government of all. His supremacy is beautifully sung in the following hymn by the Greek philosopher CLE-AN'THES, said to be the only one of his numerous writings that has been preserved. Like many others of the ancient hymns of adoration, it presents us with high spiritual conceptions of the unity and attributes of Deity; and had it been addressed to Jehovah it would have been deemed a grand tribute to his majesty and a noble specimen of deep devotional feeling.

Hymn to Jupiter.

Most glorious of th' immortal powers above--
O thou of many names--mysterious Jove!
For evermore almighty! Nature's source,
That govern'st all things in their ordered course,
All hail to thee! Since, innocent of blame,
E'en mortal creatures may address thy name--
For all that breathe and creep the lowly earth
Echo thy being with reflected birth--
Thee will I sing, thy strength for aye resound!
The universe that rolls this globe around
Moves wheresoe'er thy plastic influence guides,
And, ductile, owns the god whose arm presides.

The lightnings are thy ministers of ire,
The double-forked and ever-living fire;
In thy unconquerable hand they glow,
And at the flash all nature quakes below.
Thus, thunder-armed, thou dost creation draw
To one immense, inevitable law;
And with the various mass of breathing souls
Thy power is mingled and thy spirit rolls.
Dread genius of creation! all things bow
To thee! the universal monarch thou!
Nor aught is done without thy wise control
On earth, or sea, or round the ethereal pole,
Save when the wicked, in their frenzy blind,
Act o'er the follies of a senseless mind.

Thou curb'st th' excess; confusion to thy sight
Moves regular; th' unlovely scene is bright.
Thy hand, educing good from evil, brings
To one apt harmony the strife of things.
One ever-during law still binds the whole,
Though shunned, resisted, by the sinner's soul.
Wretches! while still they course the glittering prize,
The law of God eludes their ears and eyes.
Life then were virtue, did they this obey;
But wide from life's chief good they headlong stray.

Now glory's arduous toils the breast inflame;
Now avarice thirsts, insensible of shame;
Now sloth unnerves them in voluptuous ease,
And the sweet pleasures of the body please.
With eager haste they rush the gulf within,
And their whole souls are centred in their sin.
But oh, great Jove! by whom all good is given--
Dweller with lightnings and the clouds of heaven--
Save from their dreadful error lost mankind!
Father, disperse these shadows of the mind!
Give them thy pure and righteous law to know,
Wherewith thy justice governs all below.
Thus honored by the knowledge of thy way,
Shall men that honor to thyself repay,
And bid thy mighty works in praises ring,
As well befits a mortal's lips to sing;
More blest nor men nor heavenly powers can be
Than when their songs are of thy law and thee.
  --Trans. by ELTON.

Jupiter is said to have divided the dominion of the universe between himself and his two brothers, Neptune and Pluto, taking heaven as his own portion, and having his throne and holding his court on Mount Olympus, in Thessaly, while he assigned the dominion of the sea to Neptune, and to Pluto the lower regions--the abodes of the dead. Jupiter had several wives, both goddesses and mortals; but last of all he married his sister Juno, who maintained permanently the dignity of queen of the gods. The offspring of Jupiter were numerous, comprising both celestial and terrestrial divinities. The most noted of the former were Mars, the god of war; Vulcan, the god of fire (the Olympian artist who forged the thunder-bolts of Jupiter and the arms of all the gods); and Apollo, the god of archery, prophecy, music, and medicine.

"Mine is the invention of the charming lyre;
Sweet notes, and heavenly numbers I inspire.
Med'cine is mine: what herbs and simples grow
In fields and forests, all their powers I know,
And am the great physician called below."
  --Apollo to Daphne, in OVID'S Metam. PRYDEN'S Trans.

Then come Mercury, the winged messenger, interpreter and ambassador of the gods; Diana, queen of the woods and goddess of hunting, and hence the counterpart of her brother Apollo; and finally, Minerva, the goddess of wisdom and skill, who is said to have Sprung full-armed from the brain of Jupiter.

Besides these divinities there were many others--as Ceres, the goddess of grain and harvests; and Vesta, the goddess of home joys and comforts, who presided over the sanctity of the domestic hearth. There were also inferior gods and goddesses innumerable--such as deities of the woods and the mountains, the meadows and the rivers--some terrestrial, others celestial, according to the places over which they were supposed to preside, and rising in importance in proportion to the powers they manifested. Even the Muses, the Fates, and the Graces were numbered among Grecian deities.

But while, undoubtedly, the great mass of the Grecian people believed that their divinities were real persons, who presided over the affairs of men, their philosophers, while encouraging this belief as the best adapted to the understanding of the people, took quite a different view of them, and explained the mythological legends as allegorical representations of general physical and moral truths. Thus, while Jupiter, to the vulgar mind, was the god or the upper regions, "who dwelt on the Summits of the highest mountains, gathered the clouds about him, shook the air with his thunder, and wielded the lightning as the instrument of his wrath," yet in all this he was but the symbol of the ether or atmosphere which surrounds the earth; and hence, the numerous fables of this monarch of the gods may be considered merely as "allegories which typify the great generative power of the universe, displaying itself in a variety of ways, and under the greatest diversity of forms." So, also, Apollo was, in all likelihood, originally the sun-god of the Asiatic nations; displaying all the attributes of that luminary; and because fire is "the great agent in reducing and working the metals, Vulcan, the fire-god, naturally became an artist, and is represented as working with hammer and tongs at his anvil. Thus the Greeks, instead of worshipping Nature, worshipped the Powers of Nature, as personified in the almost infinite number of their deities.

The process by which the beings of Grecian mythology came into existence, among an ardent and superstitious people, is beautifully described by the poet WORDSWORTH as very naturally arising out of the

Teeming Fancies of the Greek Mind.

The lively Grecian, in a land of hills,
Rivers, and fertile plains, and sounding shores,
Under a copse of variegated sky,
Could find commodious place for every god.
In that fair clime the lonely herdsman, stretched
On the soft grass through half a summer's day,
With music lulled his indolent repose;
And in some fit of weariness, if he,
When his own breath was silent, chanced to hear
A distant strain, far sweeter than the sounds
Which his poor skill could make, his fancy fetch'd
Even from the blazing chariot of the sun
A beardless youth, who touched a golden lute,
And filled the illumined groves with ravishment.

The night hunter, lifting a bright eye
Up toward the crescent moon, with grateful heart
Called on the lovely wanderer who bestow'd
That timely light to share his joyous sport.
And hence a beaming goddess, with her nymphs,
Across the lawn, and through the darksome grove
(Not unaccompanied with tuneful notes,
By echo multiplied from rock or cave),
Swept in the storm of chase, as moon and stars
Glance rapidly along the clouded heaven
When winds are blowing strong. The traveller slacked
His thirst from rill or gushing fount, and thank'd
The Naiad. Sunbeams, upon distant hills
Gliding apace, with shadows in their train,
Might, with small help from fancy, be transformed
Into fleet Oreads sporting visibly.

The Zephyrs fanning, as they passed, their wings,
Lacked not for love fair objects, whom they wooed
With gentle whisper. Withered boughs grotesque,
Stripped of their leaves and twigs by hoary age,
From depth of shaggy covert peeping forth
In the low vale, or on steep mountain side--
And sometimes intermixed with stirring horns
Of the live deer, or goat's depending beard--
These were the lurking Satyrs, a wild brood
Of gamesome deities; or Pan himself,
The simple shepherd's awe-inspiring god.

Similar ideas are expressed in an article on the Nature of Early History, by a celebrated English scholar, [Footnote: Henry George Liddell, D. D., Dean of Christchurch College, Oxford.] who says: "The legends, or mythic fables, of the Greeks are chiefly connected with religious ideas, and may mostly be traced to that sort of awe or wonder with which simple and uneducated minds regard the changes and movements of the natural world. The direct and easy way in which the imagination of such persons accounts for marvelous phenomena, is to refer them to the operation of Persons. When the attention is excited by the regular movements of sun, and moon, and stars, by the alternations of day and night, by the recurrence of the seasons, by the rising and falling of the seas, by the ceaseless flow of rivers, by the gathering of clouds, the rolling of thunder, and the flashing of lightning, by the operations of life in the vegetable and animal worlds--in short, by any exhibition of an active and motive power--it is natural for uninstructed minds to consider such changes and movements as the work of divine Persons. In this manner the early Greek legends associate themselves with personifications of the powers of Nature. All attempts to account for the marvels which surround us are foregone; everything is referred to the immediate operation of a god. 'Cloud-compelling Zeus' is the author of the phenomenon of the air; 'Earth-shaking Pos-ei'don,' of all that happens in the water under the earth; Nymphs are attached to every spring or tree; De-me'ter, or Mother Earth, for six months rejoices in the presence of Proserpine, [Footnote: In some legends Proserpine is regarded as the daughter of Mother Earth, or Ceres, and a personification of the growing corn.] the green herb, her daughter, and for six months regrets her absence in dark abodes beneath the earth.

"This tendency to deify the powers of Nature is due partly to a clear atmosphere and sunny climate, which incline a people to live much in the open air in close communion with all that Nature offers to charm the senses and excite the imagination; partly to the character of the people, and partly to the poets who in early times wrought these legendary tales into works which are read with increased delight in ages when science and method have banished the simple faith which procured acceptance for these legends.

"Among the Greeks all these conditions were found existing. They lived, so to say, out-of-doors; their powers of observation were extremely quick, and their imagination singularly vivid; and their ancient poems are the most noble specimens of the old legendary tales that have been preserved in any country."

This tendency of the Grecian mind is also very happily set forth in the following lines by PROFESSOR BLACKIE:

The old Greek men, the old Greek men--
  No blinking fools were they,
But with a free and broad-eyed ken
  Looked forth on glorious day.
They looked on the sun in their cloudless sky,
  And they saw that his light was fair;
And they said that the round, full-beaming eye
  Of a blazing GOD was there!

They looked on the vast spread Earth, and saw
The various fashioned forms, with awe
  Of green and creeping life,
And said, "In every moving form,
With buoyant breath and pulses warm,
In flowery crowns and veined leaves,
A GODDESS dwells, whose bosom heaves
    With organizing strife."

They looked and saw the billowy sea,
With its boundless rush of water's free,
Belting the firm earth, far and wide,
With the flow of its deep, untainted tide;
And wondering viewed, in its clear blue flood,
A quick and scaly-glancing brood,
Sporting innumerous in the deep
With dart, and plunge, and airy leap;
And said, "Full sure a GOD doth reign
King of this watery, wide domain,
And rides in a car of cerulean hue
O'er bounding billows of green and blue;
And in one hand a three-pronged spear
He holds, the sceptre of his fear,
And with the other shakes the reins
Of his steeds, with foamy, flowing manes,
    And coures o'er the brine;
And when he lifts his trident mace,
Broad Ocean crisps his darkling face,
    And mutters wrath divine;
The big waves rush with hissing crest,
And beat the shore with ample breast,
    And shake the toppling cliff:

A wrathful god has roused the wave--
Vain is all pilot's skill to save,
And lo! a deep, black-throated grave
    Ingulfs the reeling skiff."
Anon the flood less fiercely flows,
The rifted cloud blue ether shows,
    The windy buffets cease;
Poseidon chafes his heart no more,
His voice constrains the billows' roar,
    And men may sail in peace.

[Footnote: Pos-ei'don, another name for Neptune, the sea-god.]

In the old oak a Dryad dwelt;
The fingers of a nymph were felt
    In the fine-rippled flood;
At drowsy noon, when all was still,
Faunus lay sleeping on the hill,
And strange and bright-eyed gamesome creatures,
With hairy limbs and goat-like features,
    Peered from the prickly wood.

[Footnote: The Sa'tyrs.]

Thus every power that zones the sphere
With forms of beauty and of fear,
In starry sky, on grassy ground,
And in the fishy brine profound,
Were, to the hoar Pelasgic men
That peopled erst each Grecian glen,
GODS--or the actions of a god:
Gods were in every sight and sound
And every spot was hallowed ground
Where these far-wandering patriarchs trod.

But all this fairy world has passed away, to live only as shadows in the realms of fancy and of song. SCHILLER gives expression to the poet's lament in the following lines:

Art thou, fair world, no more?
  Return, thou virgin-bloom on Nature's face!
Ah, only on the minstrel's magic shore
  Can we the footsteps of sweet Fable trace!
The meadows mourn for the old hallowing life;
  Vainly we search the earth, of gods bereft;
Where once the warm and living shapes were rife
  Shadows alone are left.

The Latin poet OV'ID, who lived at the time of the Christian era, has collected from the fictions of the early Greeks and Oriental nations, and woven into one continuous history, the pagan accounts of the Creation, embracing a description of the primeval world, and the early changes it underwent, followed by a history of the four eras or ages of primitive mankind, the deluge of Deuca'lion, and then onward down to the time of Augustus Cæsar. This great work of the pagan poet, called The Metamorphoses, is not only the most curious and valuable record extant of ancient mythology, but some have thought they discovered, in every story it contains, a moral allegory; while others have attempted to trace in it the whole history of the Old Testament, and types of the miracles and sufferings of our Savior. But, however little of truth there may be in the last of these suppositions, the beautiful and impressive account of the Creation given by this poet, of the Four Ages of man's history which followed, and of the Deluge, coincides in so many remarkable respects with the Bible narrative, and with geological and other records, that we give it here as a specimen of Grecian fable that contains some traces of true history. The translation is by Dryden:

Account of the Creation.

Before the seas, and this terrestrial ball,
And heaven's high canopy, that covers all,
One was the face of Nature--if a face--
Rather, a rude and indigested mass;
A lifeless lump, unfashioned and unframed,
Of jarring elements, and CHAOS named.

No sun was lighted up the world to view,
Nor moon did yet her blunted horns renew,
Nor yet was earth suspended in the sky,
Nor, poised, did on her own foundations lie,
Nor seas about the shores their arms had thrown;
But earth, and air, and water were in one.
Thus air was void of light, and earth unstable,
And water's dark abyss unnavigable.
No certain form on any was impressed;
All were confused, and each disturbed the rest.

Thus disembroiled they take their proper place;
The next of kin contiguously embrace,
And foes are sundered by a larger space.
The force of fire ascended first on high,
And took its dwelling in the vaulted sky;
Then air succeeds, in lightness next to fire,
Whose atoms from inactive earth retire;
Earth sinks beneath and draws a numerous throng
Of ponderous, thick, unwieldy seeds along.
About her coasts unruly waters roar,
And, rising on a ridge, insult the shore.
Thus when the god--whatever god was he--
Had formed the whole, and made the parts agree,
That no unequal portions might be found,
He moulded earth into a spacious round;
Then, with a breath, he gave the winds to blow,
And bade the congregated waters flow.
He adds the running springs and standing lakes,
And bounding banks for winding rivers makes.
Some parts in earth are swallowed up; the most,
In ample oceans disembogued, are lost.
He shades the woods, the valleys he restrains
With rocky mountains, and extends the plains.

Then, every void of nature to supply,
With forms of gods Jove fills the vacant sky;
New herds of beasts sends the plains to share;
New colonies of birds to people air;
And to their cozy beds the finny fish repair.
A creature of a more exalted kind
Was wanting yet, and then was Man designed;
Conscious of thought, of more capacious breast,
For empire formed and fit to rule the rest;
Whether with particles of heavenly fire
The God of nature did his soul inspire,
Or earth, but new divided from the sky,
And pliant, still retained the ethereal energy.
Thus while the mute creation downward bend
Their sight, and to their earthly mother tend,
Man looks aloft, and with erected eyes
Beholds his own hereditary skies.


The poet now describes the Ages, or various epochs in the civilization of the human race. The first is the Golden Age, a period of patriarchal simplicity, when Earth yielded her fruits spontaneously, and spring was eternal.

The GOLDEN AGE was first, when man, yet new,
No rule but uncorrupted reason knew,
And, with a native bent, did good pursue.
Unforced by punishment, unawed by fear.
His words were simple and his soul sincere;
Needless were written laws where none oppressed;
The law of man was written on his breast.
No suppliant crowds before the judge appeared,
No court erected yet, nor cause was heard,
But all was safe, for conscience was their guard.

No walls were yet, nor fence, nor moat, nor mound;
Nor drum was heard, nor trumpet's angry sound;
Nor swords were forged; but, void of care and crime,
The soft creation slept away their time.
The teeming earth, yet guiltless of the plough,
And unprovoked, did fruitful stores allow;
The flowers, unsown, in fields and meadows reigned,
And western winds immortal spring maintained.

The next; or the Silver Age, was marked by the change of seasons, and the division and cultivation of lands.

Succeeding times a SILVER AGE behold,
Excelling brass, but more excelled by gold.
Then summer, autumn, winter did appear,
And spring was but a season of the year;
The sun his annual course obliquely made,
Good days contracted, and enlarged the bad.
Then air with sultry heats began to glow,
The wings of wind were clogged with ice and snow;
And shivering mortals, into houses driven,
Sought shelter from the inclemency of heaven.
Those houses then were caves or homely sheds,
With twining osiers fenced, and moss their beds.
Then ploughs for seed the fruitful furrows broke,
And oxen labored first beneath the yoke.

Then followed the Brazen Age, which was an epoch of war and violence.

To this came next in course the BRAZEN AGE;
A warlike offspring, prompt to bloody rage,
Not impious yet.

According to He'siod, the next age is the Heroic, in which the world began to aspire toward better things; but OVID omits this altogether, and gives, as the fourth and last, the Iron Age, also called the Plutonian Age, full of all sorts of hardships and wickedness. His description of it is as follows:

           Hard steel succeeded then,
And stubborn as the metal were the men.
Truth, Modesty, and Shame the world forsook;
Fraud, Avarice, and Force their places took.
Then sails were spread to every wind that blew;
Raw were the sailors, and the depths were new:
Trees rudely hollowed did the waves sustain,
Ere ships in triumph plough'd the watery plain.
    Then landmarks limited to each his right;
For all before was common as the light.
Nor was the ground alone required to bear
Her annual income to the crooked share;
But greedy mortals, rummaging her store,
Digged from her entrails first the precious ore;
(Which next to hell the prudent gods had laid),
And that alluring ill to sight displayed:
Thus cursed steel, and more accursed gold,
Gave mischief birth, and made that mischief bold;
And double death did wretched man invade,
By steel assaulted, and by gold betrayed.
Now (brandished weapons glittering in their hands)
Mankind is broken loose from moral bands:
No rights of hospitality remain;
The guest by him who harbored him is slain;
The son-in-law pursues the father's life;
The wife her husband murders, he the wife;
The step-dame poison for the son prepares,
The son inquires into his father's years.
Faith flies, and Piety in exile mourns;
And Justice, here oppressed, to heaven returns.

The Scriptures assert that the wickedness of mankind was the cause of the Noachian flood, or deluge. So, also, we find that, in Grecian mythology, like causes led to the deluge of Deuca'lion. Therefore, before giving Ovid's account of this latter event, we give, from Hesiod, a curious account of


It appears from the legend that, during a controversy between the gods and men, Pro-me'theus, [Footnote: In most Greek proper names ending in eus, the eus is pronounced in one syllable; as Or'pheus, pronounced Or'phuse.] who is said to have surpassed all his fellow-men in intellectual vigor and sagacity, stole fire from the skies, and, concealing it in a hollow staff, brought it to man. Jupiter, angry at the theft of that which had been reserved from mortals for wise purposes, resolved to punish Prometheus, and through him all mankind, to show that it was not given to man to elude the wisdom of the gods. He therefore caused Vulcan to form an image of air and water, to give it human voice and strength, and make it assume the form of a beautiful woman, like the immortal goddesses themselves. Minerva endowed this new creation with artistic skill, Venus gave her the witchery of beauty, Mercury inspired her with an artful disposition, and the Graces added all their charms. But we append the following extracts from the beautifully written account by Hesiod, beginning with the command which Jupiter gave to Vulcan, the fire-god:

Thus spoke the sire, whom heaven and earth obey,
And bade the fire-god mould his plastic clay;
In-breathe the human voice within her breast;
With firm-strung nerves th'elastic limbs invest;
Her aspect fair as goddesses above--
A virgin's likeness, with the brows of love.

He bade Minerva teach the skill that dyes
The wool with color's as the shuttle flies:
He called the magic of Love's charming queen
To breathe around a witchery of mien;
Then plant the rankling stings of keen desire
And cares that trick the limbs with pranked attire:
Bade Her'mes [Footnote: Mercury.] last impart the Craft refined
Of thievish manners, and a shameless mind.

He gives command--the inferior powers obey--
The crippled artist [Footnote: Vulcan.] moulds the tempered clay:
A maid's coy image rose at Jove's behest;
Minerva clasped the zone, diffused too vest;
Adored Persuasion and the Graces young
Her tapered limbs with golden jewels hung;
Round her smooth brow the beauteous-tressed Hours
A garland twined of Spring's purpureal flowers.

The whole attire Minerva's graceful art
Disposed, adjusted, formed to every part;
And last, the winged herald [Footnote: Mercury.] of the skies,
Slayers of Argus, gave the gift of lies--
Gave trickish manners, honeyed words instilled,
As he that rolls the deepening thunder willed:
Then by the feathered messenger of Heaven
The name PANDO'RA to the maid was given;
For all the gods conferred a gifted grace
To crown this mischief of the mortal race.

Thus furnished, Pandora was brought as a gift from Jupiter to the dwelling of Ep-i-me'theus, the brother of Prometheus; and the former, dazzled by her charms, received her in spite of the warnings of his sagacious brother, and made her his wife.

The sire commands the winged herald bear
The finished nymph, th' inextricable snare.
To Epimetheus was the present brought:
Prometheus' warning vanished from his thought--
That he disdain each offering of the skies,
And straight restore, lest ill to man arise.
But he received, and, conscious, knew too late
Th' insidious gift, and felt the curse of fate.

In the dwelling of Epimetheus stood a closed casket, which he had been forbidden to open; but Pandora, disregarding the injunction, raised the lid; when lo! to her consternation, all the evils hitherto unknown to mortals poured out, and spread themselves over the earth. In terror at the sight of these monsters, Pandora shut down the lid just in time to prevent the escape of Hope, which thus remained to man, his chief support and consolation amid the trials of his pilgrimage.

On earth, of yore, the sons of men abode
From evil free, and labor's galling load;
Free from diseases that; with racking rage,
Precipitate the pale decline of age.
Now swift the days of manhood haste away,
And misery's pressure turns the temples gray.
The Woman's hands an ample casket bear;
She lifts the lid--she scatters ill in air.

Hope sole remained within, nor took her flight--
Beneath the vessel's verge concealed from light;
Issued the rest, in quick dispersion buried,
And woes innumerous roamed the breathing world:
With ills the land is full, with ills the sea;
Diseases haunt our frail humanity;
Self-wandering through the noon, at night they glide
Voiceless--a voice the power all-wise denied:
Know, then, this awful truth: it is not given
To elude the wisdom of omniscient Heaven.
  --Trans. by ELTON.

PROFESSOR BLACKIE has made this legend the subject of a pleasing poem, from which we take the following extracts, beginning with the acceptance by Epimetheus of the gift from Jupiter. The deluded mortal exclaims--

"Bless thee, bless thee, gentle Hermes!
  Once I sinned, and strove
Vainly with my haughty brother
  'Gainst Olympian Jove.
Now my doubts his love hath vanquished;
  Evil knows not he,
Whose free-streaming grace prepared
  Such gift of gods for me.
Henceforth I and fair Pandora,
  Joined in holy love,
Only one in heaven will worship--
  Cloud-compelling Jove."
Thus he; and from the god received
  The glorious gift of Jove,
And with fond embracement clasped her,
  Thrilled by potent love;
And in loving dalliance with her
  Lived from day to day,
While her bounteous smiles diffusive
  Scared pale care away.

By the mountain, by the river,
  'Neath the shaggy pine,
By the cool and grassy fountain
  Where clear waters shine,
He with her did lightly stray,
  Or softly did recline,
Drinking sweet intoxication
  From that form divine.

One day, when the moon had wheeled
  Four honeyed weeks away,
From her chamber came Pandora
  Decked with trappings gay,
And before fond Epimetheus
  Fondly she did stand,
A box all bright with lucid opal
  Holding in her hand.

"Dainty box!" cried Epimetheus.
  "Dainty well may't be,"
Quoth Pandora--"curious Vulcan
  Framed it cunningly;
Jove bestowed it in my dowry:
  Like bright Phoebus' ray
It shines without; within, what wealth
  I know not to this day."

It will be observed in what follows that the poet does not strictly adhere to the legend as given by Hesiod, in which it is stated that Pandora, probably under the influence of curiosity, herself raised the lid of the mysterious casket. The poet, instead, attributes the act to Epimetheus, and so relieves Pandora of the odium and the guilt.

"Let me see," quoth Epimetheus,
  "What my touch can do!"
And swiftly to his finger's call
  The box wide open flew.
O heaven! O hell! What Pandemonium
  In the pouncet dwells!
How it quakes, and how it quivers;
  How it seethes and swells!
Misty steams from it upwreathing,
  Wave on wave is spread!
Like a charnel-vault, 'tis breathing
  Vapors of the dead!
Fumes on fumes as from a throat
  Of sooty Vulcan rise,
Clouds of red and blue and yellow
  Blotting the fair skies!
And the air, with noisome stenches,
  As from things that rot,
Chokes the breather--exhalation
  From the infernal pot.
And amid the thick-curled vapors
  Ghastly shapes I see
Of dire diseases, Epimetheus,
  Launched on earth by thee.
A horrid crew! Some lean and dwindled,
  Some with boils and blains
Blistered, some with tumors swollen,
  And water in the veins;
Some with purple blotches bloated,
  Some with humors flowing
Putrid, some with creeping tetter
  Like a lichen growing
O'er the dry skin scaly-crusted;
  Some with twisted spine
Dwarfing low with torture slow
  The human form divine;
Limping some, some limbless lying;
  Fever, with frantic air,
And pale consumption veiling death
  With looks serenely fair.

All the troop of cureless evils,
  Rushing reinless forth
From thy damned box, Pandora,
  Seize the tainted earth!
And to lay the marshalled legions
  Of our fiendish pains,
Hope alone, a sorry charmer,
  In the box remains.
Epimetheus knew the dolors,
  But he knew too late;
Jealous Jove himself, now vainly,
  Would revoke the fate.
And he cursed the fair Pandora,
  But he cursed in vain;
Still, to fools, the fleeting pleasure
  Buys the lasting pain!


PROFESSOR BLACKIE says, regarding Prometheus, that the common conception of him is, that he was the representative of freedom in contest with despotism. He thinks, however, that Goethe is nearer the depth of the myth when, in his beautiful lyric, he represents Prometheus as the impersonation of that indefatigable endurance in man which conquers the earth by skilful labor, in opposition to and despite; those terrible influences of the wild, elemental forces of Nature which the Greeks supposed were concentrated in the person of Jove. Accordingly, PROFESSOR BLACKIE, in his Legend of Prometheus; represents him as proclaiming, in the following language, his empire on the earth, in opposition to the powers above:

"Jove rules above: Fate willed it so.
'Tis well; Prometheus rules below.
Their gusty games let wild winds play,
And clouds on clouds in thick array
Muster dark armies in the sky:
Be mine a harsher trade to ply--
This solid Earth, this rocky frame
To mould, to conquer, and to tame--
And to achieve the toilsome plan
    My workman shall be MAN.

"The Earth is young. Even with these eyes
I saw the molten mountains rise
From out the seething deep, while Earth
Shook at the portent of their birth.
I saw from out the primal mud
The reptiles crawl, of dull, cold blood,
While winged lizards, with broad stare,
Peered through the raw and misty air.
Where then was Cretan Jove? Where then
    This king of gods and men?

"When, naked from his mother Earth,
Weak and defenceless, man crept forth,
And on mis-tempered solitude
Of unploughed field and unclipped wood
Gazed rudely; when; with brutes, he fed
On acorns, and his stony bed
In dark, unwholesome caverns found,
No skill was then to tame the ground,
No help came then from him above--
    This tyrannous, blustering Jove.

"The Earth is young. Her latest birth,
This weakling man, my craft shall girth
With cunning strength. Him I will take,
And in stern arts my scholar make.
This smoking reed, in which hold
The empyrean spark, shall mould
Rock and hard steel to use of man:
He shall be as a god to plan
And forge all things to his desire
    By alchemy of fire.

"These jagged cliffs that flout the air,
Harsh granite rocks, so rudely bare,
Wise Vulcan's art and mine shall own
To piles of shapeliest beauty grown.
The steam that snorts vain strength away
Shall serve the workman's curious sway,
Like a wise child; as clouds that sail
White-winged before the summer gale,
The smoking chariot o'er the land
    Shall roll at his command.

"'Blow, winds, and crack your checks!' my home
Stands firm beneath Jove's rattling dome,
This stable Earth. Here let me work!
The busy spirits that eager lurk
Within a thousand laboring breasts
Here let me rouse; and whoso rests
From labor, let him rest from life.
To 'live's to strive;' and in the strife
To move the rock and stir the clod
    Man makes himself a god!"


Regarding the punishment of Prometheus for his daring act, the legend states that Jupiter bound him with chains to a rock or pillar, supposed to be in Scythia, and sent an eagle to prey without ceasing on his liver, which grew every night as much as it had lost during the day. After an interval of thirty thousand years Hercules, a hero of great strength and courage, slew the eagle and set the sufferer free. The Greek poet ÆS'CHYLUS, justly styled the father of Grecian tragedy, has made the punishment of Prometheus the basis of a drama, entitled Prometheus Bound, which many think is this poet's masterpiece, and of which it has been remarked:

"Nothing can be grander than the scenery in which the poet has made his hero suffer. He is chained to a desolate and stupendous rock at the extremity of earth's remotest wilds, frowning over old ocean. The daughters of O-ce'a-nus, who constitute the chorus of the tragedy, come to comfort and calm him; and even the aged Oceanus himself, and afterward Mercury, do all they can to persuade him to submit to his oppressor, Jupiter. But all to no purpose; he sternly and triumphantly refuses. Meanwhile, the tempest rages, the lightnings flash upon the rock, the sands are torn up by whirlwinds, the seas are dashed against the sky, and all the artillery of heaven is leveled against his bosom, while he proudly defies the vengeance of his tyrant, and sinks into the earth to the lower regions, calling on the Powers of Justice to avenge his wrongs."

In trying to persuade the defiant Prometheus to relent, Æschylus represents Mercury as thus addressing him:

"I have indeed, methinks, said much in vain,
For still thy heart, beneath my showers of prayers,
Lies dry and hard! nay, leaps like a young horse
Who bites against the new bit in his teeth,
And tugs and struggles against the new-tried rein,
Still fiercest in the weakest thing of all,
Which sophism is--for absolute will alone,
When left to its motions in perverted minds,
Is worse than null for strength! Behold and see,
Unless my words persuade thee, what a blast
And whirlwind of inevitable woe
Must sweep persuasion through thee! For at first
The Father will split up this jut of rock
With the great thunder and the bolted flame,
And hide thy body where the hinge of stone
Shall catch it like an arm! and when thou hast passed
A long black time within, thou shalt come out
To front the sun; and Zeus's winged hound,
The strong, carnivorous eagle, shall wheel down
To meet thee--self-called to a daily feast--
And set his fierce beak in thee, and tear off
The long rags of thy flesh, and batten deep
Upon thy dusky liver!

                          "Do not look
For any end, moreover, to this curse,
Or ere some god appear to bear thy pangs
On his own head vicarious, and descend
With unreluctant step the darks of hell,
And the deep glooms enringing Tartarus!
Then ponder this: the threat is not growth
Of vain invention--it is spoken and meant!
For Zeus's mouth is impotent to lie,
And doth complete the utterance in the act.
So, look to it, thou! take heed! and nevermore
Forget good counsel to indulge self-will!

To which Prometheus answers as follows:

"Unto me, the foreknower, this mandate of power,
    He cries, to reveal it!
And scarce strange is my fate, if I suffer from hate
    At the hour that I feel it!
Let the rocks of the lightning, all bristling and whitening,
    Flash, coiling me round!
While the ether goes surging 'neath thunder and scourging
    Of wild winds unbound!
Let the blast of the firmament whirl from its place
    The earth rooted below--
And the brine of the ocean, in rapid emotion,
    Be it driven in the face
Of the stars up in heaven, as they walk to and fro!
Let him hurl me anon into Tartarus--on--
    To the blackest degree,
With necessity's vortices strangling me down!
But he cannot join death to a fate meant for me!"


We close this subject with a brief extract from the Prometheus Bound of the English poet SHELLEY, in which the sufferings of the defiant captive are vividly portrayed:

"No change, no pause, no hope! yet I endure.
I ask the Earth, have not the mountains felt?
I ask yon Heaven, the all-beholding Sun,
Has it not seen? The Sea, in storm or calm,
Heaven's ever-changing shadow, spread below,
Have its deaf waves not heard my agony?
Ah me! alas, pain, pain ever, forever!

The crawling glaciers pierce me with the spears
Of their moon-freezing crystals; the bright chains
Eat with their burning gold into my bones.
Heaven's winged hound, polluting from thy lips
His beak in poison not his own, tears up
My heart; and shapeless sights come wandering by--
The ghastly people of the realm of dream
Mocking me; and the Earthquake fiends are charged
To wrench the rivets from my quivering wounds
When the rocks split and close again behind;
While from their loud abysses howling throng
The genii of the storm."

Returning now to the poet Ovid, we present the account which he gives of the Deluge, or the destruction of mankind by a flood, called by the Greeks,


Deucalion is represented as the son of Prometheus, and is styled the father of the Greek nation of post-diluvian times. When Jupiter determined to destroy the human race on account of its impiety, it was his first design, OVID tells us, to accomplish it with fire. But his own safety demanded the employment of a less dangerous agency.

Already had Jove tossed the flaming brand,
And rolled the thunder in his spacious hand,
Preparing to discharge on seas and land;
But stopped, for fear, thus violently driven,
The sparks should catch his axle-tree of heaven--
Remembering, in the Fates, a time when fire
Should to the battlements of heaven aspire,
And all his blazing worlds above should burn,
And all the inferior globe to cinders turn.
His dire artillery thus dismissed, he bent
His thoughts to some securer punishment;
Concludes to pour a watery deluge down,
And what he durst not burn resolves to drown.

In all this myth, it will be seen, Jupiter may very properly be considered as a personification of the elemental strife that drowned a guilty world. Deucalion, warned, by his father, of the coming deluge, thereupon made himself an ark or skiff, and, putting provisions into it, entered it with his wife, Pyrrha. The whole earth is then overspread with the flood of waters, and all animal life perishes, except Deucalion and his wife.

  The northern breath that freezes floods, Jove binds,
With all the race of cloud-dispelling winds:
The south he loosed, who night and horror brings,
And fogs are shaken from his flaggy wings.
From his divided beard two streams he pours;
His head and rheumy eyes distil in showers.
The skies, from pole to pole, with peals resound;
And showers enlarged come pouring on the ground.

Nor from his patrimonial heaven alone
Is Jove content to pour his vengeance down:
Aid from his brother of the seas he craves,
To help him with auxiliary waves.
The watery tyrant calls his brooks and floods,
Who roll from mossy caves, their moist abodes,
And with perpetual urns his palace fill;
To whom, in brief, he thus imparts his will:

  "Small exhortation needs; your powers employ,
And this bad world (so Jove requires) destroy.
Let loose the reins to all your watery store;
Bear down the dams and open every door."

  The floods, by nature enemies to land,
And proudly swelling with their new command,
Remove the living stones that stopped their way,
And, gushing from their source, augment the sea.
Then with his mace their monarch struck the ground:
With inward trembling Earth received the wound,
And rising stream a ready passage found.
The expanded waters gather on the plain,
They float the fields and overtop the grain;
Then, rushing onward, with a sweepy sway,
Bear flocks and folds and laboring hinds away.
Nor safe their dwellings were; for, sapped by floods,
Their houses fell upon their household gods.
The solid hills, too strongly built to fall,
High o'er their heads behold a watery wall.
Now seas and earth were in confusion lost--
A world of waters, and without a coast.

One climbs a cliff; one in his boat is borne,
And ploughs above where late he sowed his corn.
Others o'er chimney-tops and turrets row,
And drop their anchors on the meads below;
Or, downward driven, they bruise the tender vine,
Or, tossed aloft, are hurled against a pine.
And where of late the kids had cropped the grass,
The monsters of the deep now take their place.
Insulting Ner'e-ids on the cities ride,
And wondering dolphins o'er the palace glide.
On leaves and masts of mighty oaks they browse,
And their broad fins entangle in the boughs.

The frighted wolf now swims among the sheep,
The yellow lion wanders in the deep;
His rapid force no longer helps the boar,
The stag swims faster than he ran before.
The fowls, long beating on their wings in vain,
Despair of land, and drop into the main.
Now hills and vales no more distinction know,
And levelled nature lies oppressed below.
The most of mortals perished in the flood,
The small remainder dies for want of food.

Deucalion and Pyrrha were conveyed to the summit of Mount Parnassus, the highest mountain in Central Greece. According to Ovid, Deucalion now consulted the ancient oracle of Themis respecting the restoration of mankind, and received the following response: "Depart from the temple, veil your heads, loosen your girded vestments, and cast behind you the great bones of your parent." At length Deucalion discovered the meaning of the oracle--the bones being, by a very natural figure, the stones, or rocky heights, of the earth. The poet then gives the following account of the abatement of the waters, and of the appearance of the earth:

  "When Jupiter, surveying earth from high,
Beheld it in a lake of water lie--
That, where so many millions lately lived,
But two, the best of either sex, survived--
He loosed the northern wind: fierce Boreas flies
To puff away the clouds and purge the skies:
Serenely, while he blows, the vapors driven
Discover heaven to earth and earth to heaven;
The billows fall while Neptune lays his mace
On the rough sea, and smooths its furrowed face.
Already Triton [Footnote: Son of Neptune.] at his call appears
Above the waves: a Tyrian robe he wears,
And in his hands a crooked trumpet bears.
The sovereign bids him peaceful sounds inspire,
And give the waves the signal to retire.
The waters, listening to the trumpet's roar,
Obey the summons, and forsake the shore.
A thin circumference of land appears,
And Earth, but not at once, her visage rears,
And peeps upon the seas from upper grounds:
The streams, but just contained within their bounds,
By slow degrees into their channels crawl,
And earth increases as the waters fall:
In longer time the tops of trees appear,
Which mud on their dishonored branches bear.
  At length the world was all restored to view,
But desolate, and of a sickly hue:
Nature beheld herself, and stood aghast,
A dismal desert and a silent waste.

When the waters had abated Deucalion left the rocky heights behind him, in obedience to the direction of the oracle, and went to dwell in the plains below.


It is a prominent feature of the polytheistic system of the Greeks that the gods are represented as subject to all the passions and frailties of human nature. There were, indeed, among them personifications of good and of evil, as we see in A'te, the goddess of revenge or punishment, and in the Erin'nys (or Furies), who avenge violations of filial duty, punish perjury, and are the maintainers of order both in the moral and the natural world; yet while these moral ideas restrained and checked men, the gods seem to have been almost wholly free from such control. "The society of Olympus, therefore," says MAHAFFY, "is only an ideal Greek society in the lowest sense--the ideal of the school-boy who thinks all control irksome, and its absence the greatest good--the ideal of a voluptuous man, who has strong passions, and longs for the power to indulge them without unpleasant consequences. It appears, therefore, that the Homeric picture of Olympus is very valuable, as disclosing to us the poet's notion of a society freed from the restraints of religion; for the rhapsodists [Footnote: Rhapsodist, a term applied to the reciters of Greek verse.] were dealing a death-blow (perhaps unconsciously) to the received religious belief by these very pictures of sin and crime among the gods. Their idea is a sort of semi-monarchical aristocracy, where a number of persons have the power to help favorites, and thwart the general progress of affairs; where love of faction overpowers every other consideration, and justifies violence or deceit. [Footnote: "Social Life in Greece," by J. P. Mahaffy.]

MR. GLADSTONE has given us, in the following extract, his views of what he calls the "intense humanity" of the Olympian system, drawn from what its great expounder has set forth in the Iliad and the Odyssey. "That system," he says, "exhibits a kind of royal or palace life of man, but on the one hand more splendid and powerful, on the other more intense and free. It is a wonderful and a gorgeous creation. It is eminently in accordance with the signification of the English epithet--rather a favorite, apparently, with our old writers--the epithet jovial, which is derived from the Latin name of its head. It is a life of all the pleasures of mind and body, of banquet and of revel, of music and of song; a life in which solemn grandeur alternates with jest and gibe; a life of childish willfulness and of fretfulness, combined with serious, manly, and imperial cares; for the Olympus of Homer has at least this one recommendation to esteem--that it is not peopled with the merely lazy and selfish gods of Epicurus, but its inhabitants busily deliberate on the government of man, and in their debates the cause of justice wins.

"I do not now discuss the moral titles of the Olympian scheme; what I dwell upon is its intense humanity, alike in its greatness and its littleness, its glory and its shame. As the cares and joys of human life, so the structure of society below is reflected, by the wayward wit of man, on heaven above. Though the names and fundamental traditions of the several deities were wholly or in great part imported from abroad, their characters, relations, and attributes passed under a Hellenizing process, which gradually marked off for them special provinces and functions, according to laws which appear to have been mainly original and indigenous, and to have been taken by analogy from the division of labor in political society. The Olympian society has its complement of officers and servants, with their proper functions. He-phæs'tus (or Vulcan) moulds the twenty golden thrones which move automatically to form the circle of the council of the gods, and builds for each of his brother deities a separate palace in the deep-folded recesses of the mighty mountain. Music and song are supplied by Apollo and the Muses; Gan-y-me'de and He'be are the cup-bearers, Hermes and Iris are the messengers; but Themis, in whom is impersonated the idea of deliberation and of relative rights, is the summoner of the Great Assembly of the gods in the Twentieth Iliad, when the great issue of the Trojan war is to be determined." [Footnote: Address to the Edinburgh University, November 3, 1865.]

But, however prone the gods were to evil passions, and subject to human frailties, they were not believed to approve (in men) of the vices in which they themselves indulged, but were, on the contrary, supposed to punish violations of justice and humanity, and to reward the brave and virtuous. We learn that they were to be appeased by libations and sacrifice; and their aid, not only in great undertakings, but in the common affairs of life, was to be obtained by prayer and supplication. For instance, in the Ninth Book of HOMER'S Iliad the aged Phoe'nix--warrior and sage--in a beautiful allegory personifying "Offence" and "Prayers," represents the former as robust and fleet of limb, outstripping the latter, and hence roaming over the earth and doing immense injury to mankind; but the Prayers, following after, intercede with Jupiter, and, if we avail ourselves of them, repair the evil; but if we neglect them we are told that the vengeance of the wrong shall overtake us. Thus, Phoenix says of the gods,

                   "If a mortal man
Offend them by transgression of their laws,
Libation, incense, sacrifice, and prayer,
In meekness offered, turn their wrath away.
                 Prayers are Jove's daughters,
Which, though far distant, yet with constant pace
Follow Offence. Offence, robust of limb,
And treading firm the ground, outstrips them all,
And over all the earth before them runs,
Hurtful to man. They, following, heal the hurt.
Received respectfully when they approach,
They yield us aid and listen when we pray;
But if we slight, and with obdurate heart
Resist them, to Saturinian Jove they cry.
Against us, supplicating that Offence
May cleave to us for vengeance of the wrong."
  --COWPER'S Trans.

In the Seventeenth Book, Men-e-la'us is represented going into battle, "supplicating, first, the sire of all"--that is, Jupiter, the king of the gods. In the Twenty-third Book, Antil'ochus attributes the ill-success of Eu-me'lus in the chariot-race to his neglect of prayer. He says,

  "He should have offered prayer; then had be not
Arrived, as now, the hindmost of us all."

Numerous other instances might be given, from the works of the Grecian poets, of the supposed efficacy of prayer to the gods.

The views of the early Greeks respecting the dispensations of an overruling Providence, as shown in their belief in retributive justice, are especially prominent in some of the sublime choruses of the Greek tragedians, and in the Works and Days of Hesiod. For instance, Æschylus says,

The ruthless and oppressive power
May triumph for its little hour;
    But soon, with all their vengeful train,
        The sullen Furies rise,
    Break his full force, and whirl him down
Thro' life's dark paths, unpitied and unknown.
  --POTTER'S Trans.

The following extracts from Hesiod illustrate the certainty with which Justice was believed to overtake and punish those who pervert her ways, while the good are followed by blessings. They also show that the crimes of one are often "visited on all."

Earth's crooked judges--lo! the oath's dread god
Avenging runs, and tracks them where they trod.
Rough are the ways of Justice as the sea,
Dragged to and fro by men's corrupt decree;
Bribe-pampered men! whose hands, perverting, draw
The right aside, and warp the wrested law.

Though while Corruption on their sentence waits
They thrust pale Justice from their haughty gates,
Invisible their steps the Virgin treads,
And musters evil o'er their sinful heads.
She with the dark of air her form arrays,
And walks in awful grief the city ways:
Her wail is heard; her tear, upbraiding, falls
O'er their stained manners and devoted walls.

But they who never from the right have strayed--
Who as the citizen the stranger aid--
They and their cities flourish: genial peace
Dwells in their borders, and their youth increase;
Nor Jove, whose radiant eyes behold afar,
Hangs forth in heaven the signs of grievous war;
Nor scath, nor famine; on the righteous prey--
Peace crowns the night, and plenty cheers the day.
Rich are their mountain oaks: the topmost tree
The acorns fill, its trunk the hiving bee;
Their sheep with fleeces pant; their women's race
Reflect both parents in the infant face:
Still flourish they, nor tempt with ships the main;
The fruits of earth are poured from every plain.

But o'er the wicked race, to whom belong
The thought of evil and the deed of wrong,
Saturnian Jove, of wide-beholding eyes,
Bids the dark signs of retribution rise;
And oft the deeds of one destructive fall--
The crimes of one--are visited on all.
The god sends down his angry plagues from high--
Famine and pestilence--in heaps they die!
Again, in vengeance of his wrath, he falls
On their great hosts, and breaks their tottering walls;
Scatters their ships of war; and where the sea
Heaves high its mountain billows, there is he!

Ponder, O Judges! in your inmost thought
The retribution by his vengeance wrought.
Invisible, the gods are ever nigh,
Pass through the midst, and bend th' all-seeing eye.
The man who grinds the poor, who wrests the right,
Aweless of Heaven, stands naked to their sight:
For thrice ten thousand holy spirits rove
This breathing world, the delegates of Jove;
Guardians of man, their glance alike surveys
The upright judgments and the unrighteous ways.

A virgin pure is Justice, and her birth
August from him who rules the heavens and earth--
A creature glorious to the gods on high,
Whose mansion is yon everlasting sky.
Driven by despiteful wrong she takes her seat,
In lowly grief, at Jove's eternal feet.
There of the soul unjust her plaints ascend:
So rue the nations when their kings offend--
When, uttering wiles and brooding thoughts of ill,
They bend the laws, and wrest them to their will.
Oh! gorged with gold, ye kingly judges, hear!
Make straight your paths, your crooked judgments fear,
That the foul record may no more be seen--
Erased, forgot, as though it ne'er had been.
  --Trans. by ELTON.


As in the beginning of the foregoing extract, so the poets frequently refer to the oaths that were taken by those who entered into important compacts, showing that then as now, and as in Old Testament times, some overruling deity was invoked to witness the agreement or promise, and punish its violation. Sometimes the person touched the altar of the god by whom he swore, or the blood that was shed in the ceremonial sacrifice, while some walked through the fire to sanctify their oaths. When Abraham swore unto the King of Sodom that he would not enrich himself with any of the king's goods, he lifted up his hand to heaven, pointing to the supposed residence of the Deity, as if calling on him to witness the oath. When he requires his servant to take an oath unto him he says, "Put, I pray thee, thy hand under my thigh: and I will make thee swear by the Lord, the God of heaven and earth;" and Jacob requires the same ceremony from Joseph when the latter promises to carry his father's bones up out of Egypt.

When the goddess Vesta swore an oath in the very presence of Jupiter, as represented in Homer's hymn, she touched his head, as the most fitting ceremonial.

Touching the head of Ægis-bearing Jove,
A mighty oath she swore, and hath fulfilled,
That she among the goddesses of heaven
Would still a virgin be.

We find a military oath described by Æschylus in the drama of The Seven Chiefs against Thebes:

O'er the hollow of a brazen shield
A bull they slew, and, touching with their hands
The sacrificial stream, they called aloud
On Mars, Eny'o, and blood-thirsty Fear,
And swore an oath or in the dust to lay
These walls, and give our people to the sword,
Or, perishing, to steep the land in blood!

That there was sometimes a fire ordeal to sanctify the oath, we learn from the Antig'o-ne of SOPHOCLES. The Messenger who brought tidings of the burial of Polyni'ces says,

"Ready were we to grasp the burning steel,
To pass through fire, and by the gods to swear
The deed was none of ours, nor aught we knew
Of living man by whom 'twas planned or done."

In the Twelfth Book of VIRGIL'S Æne'id, when King Turnus enters into a treaty with the Trojans, he touches the altars of his gods and the flames, as part of the ceremony:

"I touch the sacred altars, touch the flames,
And all these powers attest, and all their names,
Whatever chance befall on either side,
No term of time this union shall divide;
No force nor fortune shall my vows unbind,
To shake the steadfast tenor of my mind."

The ancient poets and orators denounce perjury in the strongest terms, and speak of the offence as one of a most odious character.


The future state in which the Greeks believed was to some extent one of rewards and punishments. The souls of most of the dead, however, were supposed to descend to the realms of Ha'des, where they remained, joyless phantoms, the mere shadows of their former selves, destitute of mental vigor, and, like the spectres of the North American Indians, pursuing, with dreamlike vacancy, the empty images of their past occupations and enjoyments. So cheerless is the twilight of the nether world that the ghost of Achilles informs Ulysses that it would rather live the meanest hireling on earth than be doomed to continue in the shades below, even though as sovereign ruler there. Thus Achilles asks him--

"How hast thou dared descend into the gloom
Of Hades, where the shadows of the dead,
Forms without intellect, alone reside?"

And when Ulysses tries to console him by reminding him that he was even there supreme over all his fellow-shades, he receives this reply:

"Renowned Ulysses! think not death a theme
Of consolation: I would rather live
The servile hind for hire, and eat the bread
Of some man scantily himself sustained,
Than sovereign empire hold o'er all the shades."
  --Odyssey, by COWPER, B. XI.

But even in Hades a distinction is made between the good and the bad, for there Ulysses finds Mi'nos, the early law-giver of Crete, advanced to the position of judge over the assembled shades-- absolving the just, and condemning the guilty.

High on a throne, tremendous to behold,
Stern Minos waves a mace of burnished gold;
Around, ten thousand thousand spectres stand,
Through the wide dome of Dis, a trembling band;
Whilst, as they plead, the fatal lots he rolls,
Absolves the just, and dooms the guilty souls.
  --Odyssey, by POPE, B. XI.

The kinds of punishment inflicted here are, as might be expected, wholly earthly in their nature, and may be regarded rather as the reflection of human passions than as moral retributions by the gods. Thus, Tan'talus, placed up to his chin in water, which ever flowed away from his lips, was tormented with unquenchable thirst, while the fruits hanging around him constantly eluded his grasp. The story of Tantalus is well told by PROFESSOR BLACKIE, as follows:


O Tantalus! thou wert a man
More blest than all since earth began
  Its weary round to travel;
But, placed in Paradise, like Eve,
Thine own damnation thou didst weave,
  Without help from the devil.
Alas! I fear thy tale to tell;
Thou'rt in the deepest pool of hell,
  And shalt be there forever.
For why? When thou on lofty seat
Didst sit, and eat immortal meat
  With Jove, the bounteous Giver,
The gods before thee loosed their tongue,
And many a mirthful ballad sung,
And all their secrets open flung
  Into thy mortal ear.

The poet then goes on to describe the gossip, and pleasures, and jealousies, and scandals of Olympus which Tantalus heard and witnessed, and then proceeds as follows:

But witless he such grace to prize;
  And, with licentious babble,
He blazed the secrets of the skies
  Through all the human rabble,
And fed the greed of tattlers vain
  With high celestial scandal,
And lent to every eager brain
  And wanton tongue a handle
Against the gods. For which great sin,
  By righteous Jove's command,
In hell's black pool up to the chin
  The thirsty king doth stand:
With-parched throat he longs to drink,
  But when he bends to sip,
The envious waves receding sink,
  And cheat his pining lip.

Like in character was the punishment inflicted upon Sis'y-phus, "the most crafty of men," as Homer calls him. Being condemned to roll a huge stone up a hill, it proved to be a never-ending, still-beginning toil, for as soon as the stone reached the summit it rolled down again into the plain. So, also, Ix-i'on, "the Cain of Greece," as he is expressly called--the first shedder of kindred blood--was doomed to be fastened, with brazen bands, to an ever-revolving fiery wheel. But the very refinement of torment, similar to that inflicted upon Prometheus, was that suffered by the giant Tit'y-us, who was placed on his back, while vultures constantly fed upon his liver, which grew again as fast as it was eaten.


Only once do we learn that these torments ceased, and that was when the musician Orpheus, lyre in hand, descended to the lower world to reclaim his beloved wife, the lost Eu-ryd'i-ce. At the music of his "golden shell" Tantalus forgot his thirst, Sisyphus rested from his toil, the wheel of Ixion stood still, and Tityus ceased his moaning. The poet OVID thus describes the wonderful effects of the musician's skill:

The very bloodless shades attention keep,
And, silent, seem compassionate to weep;
Even Tantalus his flood unthirsty views,
Nor flies the stream, nor he the stream pursues:
Ixion's wondrous wheel its whirl suspends,
And the voracious vulture, charmed, attends;
No more the Bel'i-des their toil bemoan,
And Sisyphus, reclined, sits listening on the stone.
  --Trans. by CONGREVE.

Pope's translation of this scene from the Iliad is peculiarly melodious:

But when, through all the infernal bounds
Which flaming Phleg'e-thon surrounds,
Love, strong as death, the poet led
To the pale nations of the dead,
What sounds were heard,
What scenes appeared,
O'er all the dreary coasts!
Dreadful gleams,
Dismal screams,
Fires that glow,
Shrieks of woe,
Sullen moans,
Hollow groans,
And cries of tortured ghost!!!

But hark! he strikes the golden lyre;
And see! the tortured ghosts respire!
See! shady forms advance!
Thy stone, O Sisyphus, stands still,
Ixion rests upon his wheel,
And the pale spectres dance;
The Furies sink upon their iron beds,
And snakes uncurled hang listening round their heads.

The Greeks also believed in an Elys'ium--some distant island of the ocean, ever cooled by refreshing breezes, and where spring perpetual reigned--to which, after death, the blessed were conveyed, and where they were permitted to enjoy it happy destiny. In the Fourth Book of the Odyssey the sea god Pro'teus, in predicting for Menelaus a happier lot than that of Hades, thus describes the Elysian plains:

But oh! beloved of Heaven! reserved for thee
A happier lot the smiling Fates decree:
Free from that law beneath whose mortal sway
Matter is changed and varying forms decay,
Elysium shall be thine--the blissful plains
Of utmost earth, where Rhadaman'thus reigns.
Joys ever young, unmixed with pain or fear,
Fill the wide circle of the eternal year.
Stern Winter smiles on that auspicious clime;
The fields are florid with unfading prime;
From the bleak pole no winds inclement blow,
Mould the round hail, or flake the fleecy snow;
But from the breezy deep the blest inhale
The fragrant murmurs of the western gale.
  --POPE'S Trans.

Similar views are expressed by the lyric poet PINDAR in the following lines:

All whose steadfast virtue thrice
  Each side the grave unchanged hath stood,
Still unseduced, unstained with vice--
  They, by Jove's mysterious road,
Pass to Saturn's realm of rest--
Happy isle, that holds the blest;
Where sea-born breezes gently blow
O'er blooms of gold that round them glow,
Which Nature, boon from stream or strand
  Or goodly tree, profusely showers;
Whence pluck they many a fragrant band,
  And braid their locks with never-fading flowers.
  --Trans. by A. MOORE.

There is so much similarity between the mythology of the early Greeks and that of many of the Asiatic nations, that we give place here to the supposed meditations of a Hindu prince and skeptic on the great subject of a future state of existence, as a fitting close of our brief review of the religious beliefs of the ancients. Among the Asiatic nations are to be found accounts of the Creation, and of multitudes of gods, good and evil, all quite as pronounced as those that are derived from the Grecian myths; and while the wildest and grossest of superstitious fancies have prevailed among the common people, skepticism and atheistic doubt are known to have been nearly universal among the learned. The poem which we give in this connection, therefore, though professedly a Hindu creation, may be accepted not only as portraying Hindu doubt and despondency, but also as a faithful picture of the anxiety, doubt, and almost utter despair, not only of the ancient Greeks; but of the entire heathen world, concerning the destiny of mankind.

The Hindu skeptic tells us that ever since mankind began their race on this earth they have been seeking for the "signs and steps of a God;" and that in mystical India, where the deities hover and swarm, and a million shrines stand open, with their myriad idols and, legions of muttering priests, mankind are still groping in darkness; still listening, and as yet vainly hoping for a message that shall tell what the wonders of creation mean, and whither they tend; ever vainly seeking for a refuge from the ills of life, and a rest beyond for the weary and heavy-laden, He turns to the deified heroes of his race, and though long he watches and worships for a solution of the mysteries of life, he waits in vain for an answer, for their marble features never relax in response to his prayers and entreaties; and he says, mournfully, "Alas! for the gods are dumb." The darts of death still fall as surely as ever, hurled by a Power unseen and a hand unknown; and beyond the veil all is obscurity and gloom.


All the world over, I wonder, in lands that I never have trod,
Are the people eternally seeking for the signs and steps of a God?
Westward across the ocean, and northward beyond the snow,
Do they all stand gazing, as ever? and what do the wisest know?


Here, in this mystical India, the deities hover and swarm
Like the wild bees heard in the tree-tops, or the gusts of a gathering storm;
In the air men hear their voices, their feet on the rocks are seen,
Yet we all say, "Whence is the message--and what may the
    wonders mean?"


A million shrines stand open, and ever the censer swings,
As they bow to a mystic symbol or the figures of ancient kings;
And the incense rises ever, and rises the endless cry
Of those who are heavy-laden, and of cowards loath to die.


For the destiny drives us together like deer in a pass of the hills:
Above is the sky, and around us the sound and the shot that kills.
Pushed by a Power we see not, and struck by a hand unknown,
We pray to the trees for shelter, and press our lips to a stone.


The trees wave a shadowy answer, and the rock frowns hollow and grim,
And the form and the nod of the demon are caught in the twilight dim;
And we look to the sunlight falling afar on the mountain crest--
Is there never a path runs upward to a refuge there and a rest?


The path--ah, who has shown it, and which is the faithful guide?
The haven--ah, who has known it? for steep is the mountain-side.
For ever the shot strikes surely, and ever the wasted breath
Of the praying multitude rises, whose answer is only death!


Here are the tombs of my kinsfolk, the first of an ancient name--
Chiefs who were slain on the war-field, and women who died in flame.
They are gods, these kings of the foretime, they are spirits who guard our race:
Ever I watch and worship--they sit with a marble face.


And the myriad idols around me, and the legion of muttering priests--
The revels and rites unholy, the dark, unspeakable feasts--
What have they wrung from the silence? Hath even a Whisper come
Of the secret--whence and whither? Alas! for the gods are dumb.

Getting no light from the religious guides of his own country, he turns to the land where the English--the present rulers of India--dwell, and asks,


Shall I list to the word of the English, who come from the uttermost sea?
"The secret, hath it been told you? and what is your message to me?
It is naught but the wide-world story, how the earth and the heavens began--
How the gods are glad and angry, and a deity once was man.

And so he gathers around him the mantle of doubt and despondency; he asks if life is, after all, but a dream and delusion, while ever and ever is forced upon him that other question, "Where shall the dreamer awake?"


I had thought, "Perchance in the cities where the rulers of India dwell,
Whose orders flash from the far land, who girdle the earth with a spell,
They have fathomed the depths we float on, or measured the unknown main--"
Sadly they turn from the venture, and say that the quest is vain.


Is life, then, a dream and delusion? and where shall the dreamer awake?
Is the world seen like shadows on water? and what if the mirror break?
Shall it pass as a camp that is struck, as a tent that is gathered and gone
From the sands that were lamp-lit at eve, and at morning are level and lone?


Is there naught in the heaven above, whence the hail and the levin are hurled,
But the wind that is swept around us by the rush of the rolling world--
The wind that shall scatter my ashes, and bear me to silence and sleep,
With the dirge and the sounds of lamenting, and voices of women who weep?
  --The Cornhill Magazine.

What a commentary on all this doubt and despondency are the meditations of the Christian, who, "sustained and soothed by an unfaltering trust," approaches his grave

Like one who wraps the drapery of his couch
About him, and lies down to pleasant dreams!


The earliest reliable information that we possess of the country called Greece represents it in the possession of a number of rude tribes, of which the Pelas'gians were the most numerous and powerful, and probably the most ancient. Of the early character of the Pelasgians, and of the degree of civilization to which they had attained before the reputed founding of Argos, we have unsatisfactory and conflicting accounts. On the one hand, they are represented as no better than the rudest barbarians, dwelling in caves, subsisting on reptiles, herbs, and wild fruits, and strangers to the simplest arts of civilized life. Other and more reliable traditions, however, attribute to them a knowledge of agriculture, and some little acquaintance with navigation; while there is a strong probability that they were the authors of those huge structures commonly called Cyclopean, remains of which are still visible in many parts of Greece and Italy, and on the western coast of Asia Minor.

Argos, the capital of Ar'golis, is generally considered the most ancient city of Greece; and its reputed founding by In'achus, a son of the god O-ce'anus, 1856 years before the Christian era, is usually assigned as the period of the commencement of Grecian history. But the massive Cyclopean walls of Argos evidently show the Pelasgic origin of the place, in opposition to the traditionary Phoenician origin of Inachus, whose very existence is quite problematical. Indeed, although many of the traditions of the Greeks point to a contrary conclusion, the accounts usually given of early foreign settlers in Greece, who planted colonies there, founded dynasties, built cities, and introduced a knowledge of the arts unknown to the ruder natives, must be taken with a great degree of abatement. The civilization of the Greeks and the development of their language bear all the marks of home growth, and probably were little affected by foreign influence. Still, many of these traditions are exceedingly interesting, and have attained great celebrity. One of the most celebrated is that which describes the founding of Athens, one of the renowned Grecian cities.


Ce'crops, an Egyptian, is said to have led a colony from the Delta to Greece, about the year 1556 B.C. Two years later he proceeded to Attica, which had been desolated by a deluge a century before, and there he is said to have founded, on the Cecropian rock--the Acrop'olis--a city which, under the following circumstances, he called Athens, in honor of the Grecian goddess Athe'na, whom the Romans called Minerva.

It is an ancient Attic legend that about this time the gods had begun to choose favorite spots among the dwellings of man for their own residence; and whatever city a god chose, he gave to that city protection, and there that particular deity was worshipped with special homage. Now, it happened that both Neptune and Minerva contended for the supremacy over this new city founded by Cecrops; and Cecrops was greatly troubled by the contest, as he knew not to which deity to render homage. So Jove summoned a council of the gods, and they decided that the supremacy should be given to the one who should confer the greatest gift upon the favored city. The story of the contest is told by PROFESSOR BLACKIE in the following verses.

Mercury, the messenger of the gods, being sent to Cecrops, thus announces to him the decision of the Council:

"On the peaks of Olympus, the bright snowy-crested,
  The gods are assembled in council to-day,
The wrath of Pos-ei'don, the mighty broad-breasted,
  'Gainst Pallas, the spear-shaking maid, to allay.
And thus they decree--that Poseidon offended
  And Pallas shall bring forth a gift to the place:
On the hill of Erech'theus the strife shall be ended,
  When she with her spear, and the god with his mace,
Shall strike the quick rock; and the gods shall deliver
  The sentence as Justice shall order; and thou
Shalt see thy loved city established forever,
  With Jove for a judge, and the Styx for a vow."

So the gods assembled, in the presence of Cecrops himself, on the "hill of Erechtheus"--afterward known as the Athenian Acropolis--to witness the trial between the rival deities, as described in the following language. First; Neptune strikes the rock with his trident:

Lo! at the touch of his trident a wonder!
  Virtue to earth from his deity flows;
From the rift of the flinty rock, cloven asunder,
  A dark-watered fountain ebullient rose.
Inly elastic, with airiest lightness
  It leapt, till it cheated the eyesight; and, lo!
It showed in the sun, with a various brightness,
  The fine-woven hues of the heavenly bow.
"WATER IS BEST!" cried the mighty, broad-breasted
  Poseidon; "O Cecrops, I offer to thee
To ride on the back of the steeds foamy-crested
  That toss their wild manes on the huge-heaving sea.
The globe thou shalt mete on the path of the waters,
  To thy ships shall the ports of far ocean be free;
The isles of the sea shall be counted thy daughters,
  The pearls of the East shall be gathered for thee!"

Thus Neptune offered, as his gift--symbolized in the salt spring that he caused to issue from the rock--the dominion of the sea, with all the wealth and renown that flow from unrestricted commerce with foreign lands.

But Minerva was now to make her trial:

Then the gods, with a high-sounding pæan,
  Applauded; but Jove hushed the many-voiced tide;
"For now with the lord of the briny Æge'an
  Athe'na shall strive for the city," he cried.
"See where she comes!" and she came, like Apollo,
  Serene with the beauty ripe wisdom confers;
The clear-scanning eye, and the sure hand to follow
  The mark of the far-sighted purpose, were hers.
Strong in the mail of her father she standeth,
  And firmly she holds the strong spear in her hand;
But the wild hounds of war with calm power she commandeth,
  And fights but to pledge surer peace to the land.
Chastely the blue-eyed approached, and, surveying
  The council of wise-judging gods without fear,
The nod of her lofty-throned father obeying,
  She struck the gray rock with her nice-tempered spear.
Lo! from the touch of the virgin a wonder!
  Virtue to earth from her deity flows:
From the rift of the flinty rock, cloven asunder,
  An olive-tree, greenly luxuriant, rose--
Green but yet pale, like an eye-drooping maiden,
  Gentle, from full-blooded lustihood far;
No broad-staring hues for rude pride to parade in,
  No crimson to blazon the banners of war.

Mutely the gods, with a calm consultation,
  Pondered the fountain and pondered the tree;
And the heart of Poseidon, with high expectation,
  Throbbed till great Jove thus pronounced the decree:
"Son of my father, thou mighty, broad-breasted
  Poseidon, the doom that I utter is true;
Great is the might of thy waves foamy-crested
  When they beat the white walls of the screaming sea-mew;
Great is the pride of the keel when it danceth,
  Laden with wealth, o'er the light-heaving wave--
When the East to the West, gayly floated, advanceth,
  With a word from the wise and a help from the brave.
But earth--solid earth--is the home of the mortal
  That toileth to live, and that liveth to toil;
And the green olive-tree twines the wreath of his portal
  Who peacefully wins his sure bread from the soil,"
Thus Jove: and to heaven the council celestial
  Rose, and the sea-god rolled back to the sea;
But Athena gave Athens her name, and terrestrial
  Joy from the oil of the green olive-tree.

Thus Jove decided in favor of the peaceful pursuits of industry on the land, as against the more alluring promises but uncertain results of commerce, thereby teaching this lesson in political economy--that a people consisting of mere merchants, and neglecting the cultivation of the soil, never can become a great and powerful nation. So Minerva, the goddess of wisdom, and patroness of all the liberal arts and sciences, became the tutelary deity of Athens. The contest between her and Neptune was represented on one of the pediments of the Parthenon.

Of the history of Athens for many centuries subsequent to its alleged founding by Cecrops we have no certain information; but it is probable that down to about 683 B.C. it was ruled by kings, like all the other Grecian states. Of these kings the names of The'seus and Co'drus are the most noted. To the former is ascribed the union of the twelve states of Attica into one political body, with Athens as the capital, and other important acts of government which won for him the love of the Athenian people. Consulting the oracle of Delphi concerning his new government, he is said to have received the following answer:

From royal stems thy honor, Theseus, springs;
By Jove beloved, the sire supreme of kings.
See rising towns, see wide-extended states,
On thee dependent, ask their future fates!
Hence, hence with fear! Thy favored bark shall ride
Safe o'er the surges of the foamy tide.

About half a century after the time of Cecrops another Egyptian, named Dan'a-us, is said to have fled to Greece, with a family of fifty daughters, and to have established a second Egyptian colony in the vicinity of Argos. He subsequently became king of Argos, and the inhabitants were called Dan'a-i. About the same time Cadmus, a Phoenician, is reported to have led a colony into Boeo'tia, bringing with him the Phoenician alphabet, the basis of the Grecian; and to have founded Cadme'a, which afterward became the citadel of Thebes. Another colony is said to have been led from Asia by Pe'lops, from whom the southern peninsula of Greece derived its name of Peloponne'sus, and of whom Agamemnon, King of Myce'næ, was a lineal descendant. About this time a people called the Helle'nes--but whether a Pelasgic tribe or otherwise is uncertain--first appeared in the south of Thessaly, and, gradually diffusing themselves over the whole country, became, by their martial spirit and active, enterprising genius, the ruling class, and impressed new features upon the Grecian character. The Hellenes gave their name to the population of the whole peninsula, although the term Grecians was subsequently applied to them by the Romans.

In accordance with the Greek custom of attributing the origin of their tribes or nations to some remote mythical ancestor, Hel'len, a son of the fabulous Deuca'lion and Pyrrha, is represented as the father of the Hellen'ic nation. His three sons were Æ'o-lus, Do'rus, and Xu'thus, from the two former of whom are represented to have descended the Æo'lians and Do'rians; and from Achæ'us and I'on, sons of Xuthus, the Achæ'ans and Io'nians. These four Hellen'ic or Grecian tribes were distinguished from one another by many peculiarities of language and institutions. Hellen is said to have left his kingdom to Æolus, his eldest son; and the Æolian tribe spread the most widely, and long exerted the most influence in the affairs of the nation; but at a later period it was surpassed by the fame and the power of the Dorians and Ionians.


The period from the time of the first appearance of the Hellenes in Thessaly to the return of the Greeks from the expedition against Troy--a period of about two hundred years--is usually called the Heroic Age. It is a period abounding in splendid fictions of heroes and demi-gods, embracing, among others, the twelve wonderful labors of Hercules; the exploits of the Athenian king The'seus, and of Mi'nos, King of Crete, the founder of Grecian law and civilization; the events of the Argonautic expedition; the Theban and Argol'ic wars; the adventures of Beller'ophon, Per'seus, and many others; and concluding with the Trojan war and the supposed fall of Troy. These seem to have been the times which the archangel Michael foretold to Adam when he said,

For in those days might only shall be admired,
And valor and heroic virtue called:
To overcome in battle, and subdue
Nations, and bring home spoils with infinite
Manslaughter, shall be held the highest pitch
Of human glory; and, for glory done,
Of triumph to be styled great conquerors,
Patrons of mankind, gods, and sons of gods--
Destroyers rightly called, and plagues of men.
  --Paradise Lost, B. XI.


The twelve arduous labors of the celebrated hero Hercules, who was a son of Jupiter by the daughter of an early king of Mycenæ, are said to have been imposed upon him by an enemy--Eurys'theus--to whose will Jupiter, induced by a fraud of Juno and the fury-goddess A'te, and unwittingly bound by an oath, had made the hero subservient for twelve years. Jupiter grieved for his son, but, unable to recall the oath which he had sworn, he punished Ate by hurling her from Olympus down to the nether world.

Grief seized the Thunderer, by his oath engaged;
Stung to the soul, he sorrowed and he raged.
From his ambrosial head, where perched she sate,
He snatched the fury-goddess of debate:
The dread, the irrevocable oath he swore,
The immortal seats should ne'er behold her more;
And whirled her headlong down, forever driven
From bright Olympus and the starry heaven:
Thence on the nether world the fury fell,
Ordained with man's contentious race to dwell.
Full oft the god his son's hard toils bemoaned,
Cursed the dire folly, and in secret groaned.
  --HOMER'S Iliad, B. XIX. POPE'S Trans.

The following, in brief, are the twelve labors attributed to Hercules: 1. He strangled the Ne'mean lion, and ever after wore his skin. 2. He destroyed the Lernæ'an hydra, which had nine heads, eight of them mortal and one immortal. 3. He brought into the presence of Eurystheus a stag famous for its incredible swiftness and golden horns. 4. He brought to Mycenæ the wild boar of Eryman'thus, and slew two of the Centaurs, monsters who were half men and half horses. 5. He cleansed the Auge'an stables in one day by changing the courses of the rivers Alphe'us and Pene'us. 6. He destroyed the carnivorous birds of the lake Stympha'lus, in Arcadia. 7. He brought into Peloponnesus the prodigious wild bull which ravaged Crete. 8. He brought from Thrace the mares of Diome'de, which fed on human flesh. 9. He obtained the famous girdle of Hippol'y-te, queen of the Amazons. 10. He slew the monster Ge'ry-on, who had the bodies of three men united. 11. He brought from the garden of the Hesper'i-des the golden apples, and slew the dragon which guarded them. 12. He went down to the lower regions and brought upon earth the three-headed dog Cer'berus.

The favor of the gods had completely armed Hercules for his undertakings, and his great strength enabled him to perform them. This entire fable of Hercules is generally believed to be merely a fanciful representation of the sun in its passage through the twelve signs of the zodiac, in accordance with Phoenician mythology, from which the legend is supposed to be derived. Thus Hercules is the sun-god. In the first month of the year the sun passes through the constellation Leo, the lion; and in his first labor the hero slays the Nemean lion. In the second month, when the sun enters the sign Virgo, the long-extended constellation of the Hydra sets--the stars of which, like so many heads, rise one after another; and, therefore, in his second labor, Hercules destroys the Lernæan hydra with its nine heads. In like manner the legend is explained throughout. Besides these twelve labors, however, Hercules is said to have achieved others on his own account; and one of these is told in the fable of Hercules and Antæ'us, in which the powers of art and nature are supposed to be personified.


Antæ'us--a son of Neptune and Terra, who reigned over Libya, or Africa, and dwelt in a forest cave--was so famed for his Titanic strength and skill in wrestling that he was emboldened to leave his woodland retreat and engage in a contest with the renowned hero Hercules. So long as Antæus stood upon the ground he could not be overcome, whereupon Hercules lifted him up in the air, and, having apparently squeezed him to death in his arms, threw him down; but when Antæus touched his mother Earth and lay at rest upon her bosom, renewed life and fresh power were given him.

In this fable Antæus, who personifies the woodland solitude and the desert African waste, is easily overcome by his adversary, who represents the river Nile, which, divided into a thousand arms, or irrigating canals, prevents the arid sand from being borne away and then back again by the winds to desolate the fertile valley. Thus the legend is nothing more than the triumph of art and labor, and their reclaiming power over the woodland solitudes and the encroaching sands of the desert. An English poet has very happily versified the spirit of the legend, to which he has appended a fitting moral, doubtless suggested by the warning of his own approaching sad fate.[Footnote: This gifted poet, Mortimer Collins, died in 1876, at the age of forty-nine, a victim to excessive literary labor and anxiety.]

Deep were the meanings of that fable. Men
Looked upon earth with clearer eyesight then,
Beheld in solitude the immortal Powers,
And marked the traces of the swift-winged Hours.
Because it never varies, all can bear
The burden of the circumambient air;
Because it never ceases, none can hear
The music of the ever-rolling sphere--
None, save the poet, who, in moor and wood,
Holds converse with the spirit of Solitude.

And I remember how Antæus heard,
Deep in great oak-woods, the mysterious word
Which said, "Go forth across the unshaven leas
To meet unconquerable Hercules."
Leaving his cavern by the cedar-glen,
This Titan of the primal race of men,
Whom the swart lions feared, and who could tear
Huge oaks asunder, to the combat bare
Courage undaunted. Full of giant grace,
Built up, as 'twere, from earth's own granite base.
Colossal, iron-sinewed, firm he trod
The lawns. How vain against a demi-god!
Oh, sorrow of defeat! He plunges far
Into his forests, where deep shadows are,
And the wind's murmur comes not, and the gloom
Of pine and cedar seems to make a tomb
For fallen ambition. Prone the mortal lies
Who dared mad warfare with the unpitying skies,
But lo! as buried in the waving ferns,
The baffled giant for oblivion yearns,
Cursing his human feebleness, he feels
A sudden impulse of new strength, which heals
His angry wounds; his vigor he regains--
His blood is dancing gayly through his veins.
Fresh power, fresh life is his who lay at rest
On bounteous Hertha's kind creative breast.
[Footnote: Hertha, a goddess of the ancient Germans,
the same as Terra, or the Earth. Her favorite retreat
was a sacred grove in an island of the ocean.

Even so, O poet, by the world subdued,
Regain thy health 'mid perfect solitude.
In noisy cities, far from hills and trees,
The brawling demi-god, harsh Hercules,
Has power to hurt thy placid spirit--power
To crush thy joyous instincts every hour,
To weary thee with woes for mortals stored,
Red gold (coined hatred) and the tyrant's sword.

Then--then, O sad Antæus, wilt thou yearn
For dense green woodlands and the fragrant fern;
Then stretch thy form upon the sward, and rest
From worldly toil on Hertha's gracious breast;
Plunge in the foaming river, or divide
With happy arms gray ocean's murmuring tide,
And drinking thence each solitary hour
Immortal beauty and immortal power,
Thou may'st the buffets of the world efface
And live a Titan of earth's earliest race.


From what was probably a maritime adventure that plundered some wealthy country at a period when navigation was in its infancy among the Greeks, we get the fable of the Argonautic Expedition. The generally accepted story of this expedition is as follows: Pe'lias, a descendant of Æ'o-lus, the mystic progenitor of the Great Æol'ic race, had deprived his half-brother Æ'son of the kingdom of Iol'cus in Thessaly. When Jason, son of Æson, had attained to manhood, he appeared before his uncle and demanded the throne. Pelias consented only on condition that Jason should first capture and bring to him the golden fleece of the ram which had carried Phrix'us and Hel'le when they fled from their stepmother I'no. Helle dropped into the sea between Sigæ'um and the Cher'sonese, which was named from her Hellespon'tus; but Phrixus succeeded in reaching Col'chis, a country at the eastern extremity of the Euxine, or Black Sea. Here he sacrificed the ram, and nailed the fleece to an oak in the grove of Mars, where it was guarded by a sleepless dragon.

Joined by the principal heroes of Greece, Hercules among the number, Jason set sail from Iolcus in the ship Argo, after first invoking the favor of Jupiter, the winds, and the waves, for the success of the expedition. The ceremony on this occasion, as descried by the poets, reads like an account of the "christening of the ship" in modern times, but we seem to have lost the full significance of the act.

And soon as by the vessel's bow
The anchor was hung up,
Then took the leader on the prow
In hands a golden cup,
And on great father Jove did call;
And on the winds and waters all
Swept by the hurrying blast,
And on the nights, and ocean ways,
And on the fair auspicious days,
And sweet return at last.

From out the clouds, in answer kind,
A voice of thunder came,
And, shook in glistening beams around,
Burst out the lightning flame.
The chiefs breathed free, and, at the sign,
Trusted in the power divine.
Hinting sweet hopes, the seer cried
Forthwith their oars to ply,
And swift went backward from rough hands
The rowing ceaselessly.
  --PINDAR. Trans. by Rev. H. F. CARY.

After many adventures Jason reached Col'chis, where, by the aid of magic and supernatural arts, and through the favor of Me-de'a, daughter of the King of Colchis, he succeeded in capturing the fleece. After four months of continued danger and innumerable hardships, Jason returned to Iolcus with the prize, accompanied by Medea, whom he afterward deserted, and whose subsequent history is told by the poet Euripides in his celebrated tragedy entitled Medea.

Growing out of the Argonautic legend is one concerning the youth Hy'las, a member of the expedition, and a son of the King of Mys'ia, a country of Asia Minor. Hylas was greatly beloved by Hercules. On the coast of Mysia the Argonauts stopped to obtain a supply of water, and Hylas, having gone from the vessel alone with an urn for the same purpose, takes the opportunity to bathe in the river Scaman'der, under the shadows of Mount Ida. He throws his purple chlamys, or cloak, over the urn, and passes down into the water, where he is seized by the nymphs of the stream, and, in spite of his struggles and entreaties, he is borne by them "down from the noonday brightness to their dark caves in the depths below." Hercules went in search of Hylas, and the ship sailed from its anchorage without him. We have a faithful and beautiful reproduction of this Greek legend, both in theme and spirit, in a poem by BAYARD TAYLOR, from which the following extracts are taken:


Storm-wearied Argo slept upon the water.
No cloud was seen: on blue and craggy Ida
The hot noon lay, and on the plains enamel;
Cool in his bed, alone, the swift Scamander.
"Why should I haste?" said young and rosy Hylas;
The seas are rough, and long the way from Colchis.
Beneath the snow-white awning slumbers Jason,
Pillowed upon his tame Thessalian panther;
The shields are piled, the listless oars suspended
On the black thwarts, and all the hairy bondsmen
Doze on the benches. They may wait for water
Till I have bathed in mountain-born Scamander."

He saw his glorious limbs reversely mirrored
In the still wave, and stretched his foot to press it
On the smooth sole that answered at the surface:
Alas! the shape dissolved in glittering fragments.
Then, timidly at first, he dipped, and catching
Quick breath, with tingling shudder, as the waters
Swirled round his limbs, and deeper, slowly deeper,
Till on his breast the river's cheek was pillowed;
And deeper still, till every shoreward ripple
Talked in his ear, and like a cygnet's bosom
His white, round shoulder shed the dripping crystal.

There, as he floated with a rapturous motion,
The lucid coolness folding close around him,
The lily-cradling ripples murmured, "Hylas!"
He shook from off his ears the hyacinthine
Curls that had lain unwet upon the water,
And still the ripples murmured, "Hylas! Hylas!"
He thought--"The voices are but ear-born music.
Pan dwells not here, and Echo still is calling
From some high cliff that tops a Thracian valley;
So long mine ears, on tumbling Hellespontus,
Have heard the sea-waves hammer Argo's forehead,
That I misdeem the fluting of this current
For some lost nymph"--again the murmur, "Hylas!"

The sound that seemed to come from the lilies was the voice of the sea-nymphs, calling to him to go with them where they wander--

"Down beneath the green translucent ceiling--
Where, on the sandy bed of old Scamander,
With cool white buds we braid our purple tresses,
Lulled by the bubbling waves around us stealing."

To all their entreaties Hylas exclaims:

                            "Leave me, naiads!
Leave me!" he cried. "The day to me is dearer
Than all your caves deep-spread in ocean's quiet.
I would not change this flexile, warm existence,
Though swept by storms, and shocked by Jove's dread thunder,
To be a king beneath the dark-green waters.
Let me return! the wind comes down from Ida,
And soon the galley, stirring from her slumber,
Will fret to ride where Pelion's twilight shadow
Falls o'er the towers of Jason's sea-girt city.
I am not yours--I cannot braid the lilies
In your wet hair, nor on your argent bosoms
Close my drowsed eyes to hear your rippling voices.
Hateful to me your sweet, cold, crystal being--
Your world of watery quiet. Help, Apollo!"

But the remonstrances and struggles of Hylas unavailing:

The boy's blue eyes, upturned, looked through the water
Pleading for help; but heaven's immortal archer;
Was swathed in cloud. The ripples hid his forehead;
And last, the thick, bright curls a moment floated,
So warm and silky that the stream upbore them,
Closing reluctant as he sank forever.
The sunset died behind the crags of Imbros.
Argo was tugging at her chain; for freshly
Blew the swift breeze, and leaped the restless billows.
The voice of Jason roused the dozing sailors,
And up the mast was heaved the snowy canvas.
But mighty Hercules, the Jove-begotten,
Unmindful stood beside the cool Scamander,
Leaning upon his club. A purple chlamys
Tossed o'er an urn was all that lay before him;
And when he called, expectant, "Hylas! Hylas!"
The empty echoes made him answer--"Hylas!"


Of all the events of the Heroic period, however, the Trojan war has been rendered the most celebrated, through the genius of Homer. The alleged causes of the war, briefly stated, are these: Helen, the most beautiful woman of the age, and the daughter of Tyn'darus, King of Sparta, was sought in marriage by all the Princes of Greece. Tyndarus, perplexed with the difficulty of choosing one of the suitors without displeasing all the rest, being advised by the sage Ulysses, bound all of them by an oath that they would approve of the uninfluenced choice of Helen, and would unite to restore her to her husband, and to avenge the outrage, if ever she was carried off. Menela'us became the choice of Helen, and soon after, on the death of Tyndarus, succeeded to the vacant throne of Sparta.

Three years subsequently, Paris, son of Priam, King of Ilium, or Troy, visited the court of Menelaus, where he was hospitably received; but during the temporary absence of the latter he corrupted the fidelity of Helen, and induced her to flee with him to Troy. When Menelaus returned he assembled the Grecian princes, and prepared to avenge the outrage. Combining their forces under the command of Agamem'non, King of Myce'næ, a brother of Menelaus, they sailed with a great army for Troy. The imagination of the poet EURIPIDES describes this armament as follows:

                    With eager haste
The sea-girt Aulis strand I paced,
Till to my view appeared the embattled train
Of Hellas, armed for mighty enterprise,
And galleys of majestic size,
To bear the heroes o'er the main;
  A thousand ships for Ilion steer,
  And round the two Atridæ's spear
The warriors swear fair Helen to regain.

After a siege of ten years Troy was taken by stratagem, and the fair Helen was recovered. On the fanciful etymology of the word Helen, from a Greek verb signifying to take or seize, the poet ÆCHYLUS indulges in the following reflections descriptive of the character and the history of this "spear-wooed maid of Greece:"

    Who gave her a name
    So true to her fame?
Does a Providence rule in the fate of a word?
Sways there in heaven a viewless power
O'er the chance of the tongue in the naming hour?
    Who gave her a name,
This daughter of strife, this daughter of shame,
  The spear-wooed maid of Greece!
  Helen the taker! 'tis plain to see,
  A taker of ships, a taker of men,
    A taker of cities is she!
From the soft-curtained chamber of Hymen she fled,
    By the breath of giant Zephyr sped,
And shield-bearing throngs in marshalled array
Hounded her flight o'er the printless way,
    Where the swift-flashing oar
    The fair booty bore
    To swirling Sim'o-is' leafy shore,
And stirred the crimson fray.
  --Trans. by BLACKIE.

According to Homer, the principal Greek heroes engaged in the siege of Troy, aside from Agamemnon, were Menelaus, Achilles, Ulysses, Ajax (the son of Tel'amon), Di'omed, Patro'clus, and Palame'des; while among the bravest of the defenders of Troy were Hector, Sarpe'don, and Æne'as.

The poet's story opens, in the tenth year of the siege, with an account of a contentious scene between two of the Grecian chiefs --Achilles and Agamemnon--which resulted in the withdrawal of Achilles and his forces from the Grecian army. The aid of the gods was invoked in behalf of Achilles, and Jupiter sent a deceitful vision to Agamemnon, seeking to persuade him to lead his forces to battle, in order that the Greeks might realize their need of Achilles. Agamemnon first desired to ascertain the feeling or disposition of the army regarding the expedition it had undertaken, and so proposed a return to Greece, which was unanimously and unexpectedly agreed to, and an advance was made toward the ships. But through the efforts of the valiant and sagacious Ulysses all discontent on the part of the troops was suppressed, and they returned to the plains of Troy.

Among those in the Grecian camp who had complained of their leaders, and of the folly of the expedition itself, was a brawling, turbulent, and tumultuous character named Thersi'tes, whose insolence Ulysses sternly and effectively rebuked. The following sketch of Thersites reads like a picture drawn from modern life; while the merited reproof administered by Ulysses is in the happiest vein of just and patriotic indignation:

Ulysses and Thersites.

Thersites only clamored in the throng,
Loquacious, loud, and turbulent of tongue;
Awed by no shame, by no respect controlled,
In scandal busy, in reproaches bold;
With witty malice, studious to defame;
Scorn all his joy, and censure all his aim;
But chief he gloried, with licentious style,
To lash the great, and monarchs to revile.

His figure such as might his soul proclaim:
One eye was blinking, and one leg was lame;
His mountain shoulders half his breast o'erspread,
Thin hairs bestrew'd his long misshapen head;
Spleen to mankind his envious heart possessed,
And much he hated all--but most, the best.
Ulysses or Achilles still his theme;
But royal scandal his delight supreme.
Long had he lived the scorn of every Greek,
Vext when he spoke, yet still they heard him speak:
Sharp was his voice; which, in the shrillest tone,
Thus with injurious taunts attacked the throne.

Ulysses, in his tent, listens awhile to the complaints, and censures, and scandals against the chiefs, with which Thersites addresses the throng gathered around him, and at length--

With indignation sparkling in his eyes,
He views the wretch, and sternly thus replies:
  "Peace, factious monster, born to vex the state
With wrangling talents formed for foul debate,
Curb that impetuous tongue, nor, rashly vain,
And singly mad, asperse the sovereign reign.

"Have we not known thee, slave! of all our host
The man who acts the least, upbraids the most?
Think not the Greeks to shameful flight to bring;
Nor let those lips profane the name of King.
For our return we trust the heavenly powers;
Be that their care; to fight like men be ours.

"But grant the host, with wealth our chieftain load;
Except detraction, what hast thou bestowed?
Suppose some hero should his spoil resign,
Art thou that hero? Could those spoils be thine?
Gods! let me perish on this hateful shore,
And let these eyes behold my son no more,
If on thy next offence this hand forbear
To strip those arms thou ill deserv'st to wear,
Expel the council where our princes meet,
And send thee scourged and howling through the fleet."
  --B. II. POPE'S Trans.


The opposing armies being ready to engage, a single combat is agreed upon between Menelaus, and Paris son of Priam, for the determination of the war. Paris is soon vanquished, but is rescued from death by Venus; and, according to the terms on which the combat took place, Agamemnon demands the restoration of Helen. But the gods declare that the war shall go on. So the conflict begins, and Diomed, assisted by the goddess Pallas (or Minerva), performs wonders in this day's battle, wounding and putting to flight Pan'darus, Æneas, and the goddess Venus, even wounding the war-god Mars, who had challenged him to combat, and sending him groaning back to heaven.

Hector, the eldest son of Priam King of Troy, and the chief hero of the Trojans, leaves the field for a brief space, to request prayers to Minerva for assistance, and especially for the removal of Diomed from the fight. This done, he seeks a momentary interview with his wife, the fair and virtuous Androm'a-che, whose touching appeal to him, and his reply, are both, perhaps, without a parallel in tender, natural solicitude.

Parting of Hector and Andromache.

  "Too daring prince! ah, whither dost thou run?
Ah, too forgetful of thy wife and son!
And think'st thou not how wretched we shall be,
A widow I, a helpless orphan he?
For sure such courage length of life denies,
And thou must fall, thy virtue's sacrifice.
Greece in her single heroes strove in vain;
Now hosts oppose thee, and thou must be slain!
Oh grant me, gods! ere Hector meets his doom,
All I can ask of heaven, an early tomb!
So shall my days in one sad tenor run,
And end with sorrows as they first begun.

"No parent now remains my griefs to share,
No father's aid, no mother's tender care.
The fierce Achilles wrapp'd our walls in fire,
Laid The'be waste, and slew my warlike sire!
By the same arm my seven brave brothers fell;
In one sad day beheld the gates of hell.
My mother lived to bear the victor's bands,
The queen of Hippopla'cia's sylvan lands.

  "Yet, while my Hector still survives, I see
My father, mother, brethren, all in thee:
Alas! my parents, brothers, kindred, all
Once more will perish, if my Hector fall.
Thy wife, thy infant, in thy danger share:
Oh, prove a husband's and a father's care!
That quarter most the skilful Greeks annoy,
Where yon wild fig-trees join the walls of Troy;
Thou from this tower defend the important post;
There Agamemnon points his dreadful host,
That pass Tydi'des, Ajax, strive to gain,
And there the vengeful Spartan fires his train.
Thrice our bold foes the fierce attack have given,
Or led by hopes, or dictated from heaven.
Let others in the field their arms employ,
But stay my Hector here, and guard his Troy."

  The chief replied: "That post shall be my care,
Nor that alone, but all the works of war.
How would the sons of Troy, in arms renown'd,
And Troy's proud dames, whose garments sweep the ground,
Attaint the lustre of my former name,
Should Hector basely quit the field of fame!
My early youth was bred to martial pains,
My soul impels me to the embattled plains:
Let me be foremost to defend the throne,
And guard my father's glories and my own.

"Yet come it will, the day decreed by fates;
(How my heart trembles while my tongue relates!)
The day when thou, imperial Troy! must bend,
Must see thy warriors fall, thy glories end.
And yet no dire presage so wounds my mind,
My mother's death, the ruin of my kind,
Not Priam's hoary hairs defiled with gore,
Not all my brothel's gasping on the shore,
As thine, Andromache! thy griefs I dread.

  "I see thee trembling, weeping, captive led!
In Argive looms our battles to design,
And woes, of which so large a part was thine!
To bear the victor's hard commands, or bring
The weight of waters from Hype'ria's spring.
There, while you groan beneath the load of life,
They cry: 'Behold the mighty Hector's wife!'
Some haughty Greek, who lives thy tears to see,
Embitters all thy woes by naming me.
The thoughts of glory past, and present shame,
A thousand griefs shall waken at the name!
May I lie cold before that dreadful day,
Pressed with a load of monumental clay!
Thy Hector, wrapt in everlasting sleep,
Shall neither hear thee sigh, nor see thee weep."

  Thus having spoke, the illustrious chief of Troy
Stretched his fond arms to clasp the lovely boy.
The babe clung crying to his nurse's breast,
Scared at the dazzling helm and nodding crest.
With secret pleasure each fond parent smiled,
And Hector hasted to relieve his child;
The glittering terrors from his brows unbound,
And placed the beaming helmet on the ground.
Then kissed the child, and, lifting high in air,
Thus to the gods preferred a father's prayer:

  "O thou! whose glory fills the ethereal throne,
And all ye deathless powers! protect my son!
Grant him, like me, to purchase just renown,
To guard the Trojans, to defend the crown,
Against his country's foes the war to wage,
And rise the Hector of the future age!
So when triumphant from successful toils,
Of heroes slain he bears the reeking spoils,
Whole hosts may hail him with deserved acclaim,
And say, 'This chief transcends his father's fame;'
While pleased, amidst the general shouts of Troy,
His mother's conscious heart o'erflows with joy."

  He spoke, and fondly gazing on her charms,
Restored the pleasing burden to her arms;
Soft on her fragrant breast the babe he laid,
Hush'd to repose, and with a smile survey'd.
The troubled pleasure soon chastised by fear,
She mingled with the smile a tender tear.
The soften'd chief with kind compassion view'd,
And dried the falling drops, and thus pursued:

  "Andromache, my soul's far better part,
Why with untimely sorrows heaves thy heart?
No hostile hand can antedate my doom,
Till fate condemns me to the silent tomb.
Fix'd is the term to all the race of earth;
And such the hard condition of our birth,
No force can then resist, no flight can save--
All sink alike, the fearful and the brave.
No more--but hasten to thy tasks at home,
There guide the spindle and direct the loom:
Me, glory summons to the martial scene--
The field of combat is the sphere of men;
Where heroes war, the foremost place I claim,
The first in danger, as the first in fame."

  Thus having said, the glorious chief resumes
His towery helmet black with shading plumes.
His princess parts with a prophetic sigh,
Unwilling parts, and oft reverts her eye,
That stream'd at every look; then, moving slow,
Sought her own palace and indulged her woe.
There, while her tears deplored the godlike man,
Through all her train the soft infection ran:
The pious maids their mingled sorrows shed,
And mourn the living Hector as the dead.
  --B. VI. POPE'S. Trans.


Hector hastened to the field, and there his exploits aroused the enthusiasm and courage of his countrymen; who drove back the Grecian hosts. Disheartened, the Greeks sent Ulysses and Ajax to Achilles to plead with that warrior for his return with his forces to the Grecian camp. But Achilles obstinately refused to take part in the conflict, which was continued with varying success, until the Trojans succeeded in breaking through the Grecian wall, and attempted to fire the Greek ships, which were saved by the valor of Ajax. In compliance with the request of the aged Nestor, however, of whom the poet YOUNG tells us that--

When Nestor spoke, none asked if he prevailed;
That god of sweet persuasion never failed--

Achilles now placed his own armor on Patroclus, and, giving him also his shield, sent him to the aid of the Greeks. The Trojans, supposing Patroclus to be the famous Achilles, became panic-stricken, and were pursued with great slaughter to the walls of Troy.

Apollo now goes to the aid of the Trojans, smites Patroclus, whose armor is strewn on the plain, and then the hero is killed by Hector, who proudly places the plume of Achilles on his own helmet.

  His spear in shivers falls; his ample shield
Drops from his arm; his baldric strews the field;
The corslet his astonished breast forsakes;
Loose is each joint; each nerve with horror shakes;
Stupid he stares, and all assistless stands:
Such is the force of more than mortal hands.
  Achilles' plume is stained with dust and gore:
That plume which never stooped to earth before,
Long used, untouched, in fighting fields to shine,
And shade the temples of the mad divine.
Jove dooms it now on Hector's helm to nod;
Not long--for fate pursues him, and the god.
  --B. XVI.

Then ensued a most terrific conflict for the body of the slain warrior, in which Ajax, Glaucus, Hector, Æneas, and Menelaus participated, the latter finally succeeding in bearing it off to the ships. The grief of Achilles over the body of his friend, and at the loss of his wonderful armor, is represented as being intense; and so great a blow to the Greeks was the loss of the armor considered, that Vulcan formed for Achilles a new one, and also a new shield. Homer's description of the latter piece of marvelous workmanship--which is often referred to as a truthful picture of the times, and especially of the advanced condition of some of the arts and sciences in the Heroic, or post-Heroic, age--is too long for insertion here entire; but we proceed to give sufficient extracts from it to show at least the magnificent conception of the poet.

How Vulcan Formed the Shield of Achilles.

  He first a vast and massive buckler made;
There all the wonders of his work displayed,
With silver belt adorned, and triply wound,
Orb within orb, the border beaming round.
Five plates composed the shield; these Vulcan's art
Charged with his skilful mind each varied part.

  There earth, there heaven appeared; there ocean flowed;
There the orbed moon and sun unwearied glowed;
There every star that gems the brow of night--
Ple'iads and Hy'ads, and O-ri'on's might;
The Bear, that, watchful in his ceaseless roll
Around the star whose light illumes the pole,
Still eyes Orion, nor e'er stoops to lave
His beams unconscious of the ocean wave.

  There, by the god's creative power revealed,
Two stately cities filled with life the shield.
Here nuptials--solemn rites--and throngs of gay
Assembled guests; forth issuing filled the way.
Bright blazed the torches as they swept along
Through streets that rung with hymeneal song;
And while gay youths, swift circling round and round,
Danced to the pipe and harp's harmonious sound,
The women thronged, and wondering as they viewed,
Stood in each portal and the pomp pursued.

  Next on the shield a forum met the view;
Two men, contending, there a concourse drew:
A citizen was slain; keen rose the strife--
'Twas compensation claim'd for loss of life.
This swore, the mulct for blood was strictly paid:
This, that the fine long due was yet delayed.
Both claim'd th' award and bade the laws decide;
And partial numbers, ranged on either side,
With eager clamors for decision call,
Till the feared heralds seat and silence all.
There the hoar elders, in their sacred place,
On seats of polished stone the circle grace;
Rise with a herald's sceptre, weigh the cause,
And speak in turn the sentence of the laws;
While, in the midst, for him to bear away
Who rightliest spoke, two golden talents lay.

  The other city on the shield displayed
Two hosts that girt it, in bright mail arrayed;
Diverse their counsel: these to burn decide,
And those to seize, and all its wealth divide.
The town their summons scorned, resistance dared,
And secretly for ambush arms prepared.
Wife, grandsire, child, one soul alike in all,
Stand on the battlements and guard the wall.
Mars, Pallas, led their host: gold either god,
A golden radiance from their armor flowed.

Next, described as displayed on the shield, is a picture of spies at a distance, an ambuscade, and a battle; the scene then changes to ploughing and sowing, and the incidents connected with the gathering of a bountiful harvest; then are introduced a vineyard, the gathering of the grapes, and a merrymaking by the youths at the close of the day; then we have a wild outlying scene of herdsmen with their cattle, the latter attacked by two famished lions, and the tumult that followed. The description closes as follows:

  Now the god's changeful artifice displayed
Fair flocks at pasture in a lovely glade;
And folds and sheltering stalls peeped up between,
And shepherd-huts diversified the scene.

  Now on the shield a choir appear'd to move,
Whose flying feet the tuneful labyrinth wove;
Youths and fair girls there, hand in hand, advanced,
Timed to the song their steps, and gayly danced.
Round every maid light robes of linen flowed;
Round every youth a glossy tunic glowed;
Those wreathed with flowers, while from their partners hung
Swords that, all gold, from belts of silver swung.

  Train'd by nice art each flexile limb to wind,
Their twinkling feet the measured maze entwined,
Fleet as the wheel whose use the potter tries,
When, twirl'd beneath his hand, its axle flies.
Now all at once their graceful ranks combine,
Each rang'd against the other, line with line.

  The crowd flock'd round, and, wondering as they view'd,
Thro' every change the varying dance pursued;
The while two tumblers, as they led the song,
Turned in the midst and rolled themselves along.
Then, last, the god the force of Ocean bound,
And poured its waves the buckler's orb around.
  --B. XVIII. SOTHEBY'S Trans.

Achilles Engages in the Fight.

Desire to avenge the death of Patroclus proves more powerful in the breast of Achilles than anger against Agamemnon, and, clad in his new armor, he is with difficulty restrained from rushing alone into the fight while his comrades are resting. Turning and addressing his horses, he reproaches them with the death of Patroclus. One of them is represented as being Miraculously endowed with voice, and, replying to Achilles, prophesies his death in the near future; but, with unabated rage, the intrepid chief replies:

                          "So let it be!
Portents and prodigies are lost on me.
I know my fate: to die, to see no more
My much-loved parents and my native shore.
Enough--when Heaven ordains I sink in night.
Now perish Troy!" he said, and rushed to fight.

Jupiter now assembles the gods in council, and permits them to assist either party. The poet vividly describes the terrors of the combat and the tumult that arose when "the powers descending swelled the fight." Achilles first encounters Æne'as, who is preserved by Neptune; he then meets Hector, whom he is on the point of killing, when Apollo rescues him and carries him away in a cloud. The Trojans, defeated with terrible slaughter, are driven into the river Scamander, where Achilles receives the aid of Neptune and Pallas.

This Death of Hector.

Vulcan having dried up the Scamander in aid of the Trojans, all those who survive, save Hector, seek refuge in Troy. This hero alone remains without the walls to oppose Achilles. At the latter's advance, however, Hector's resolution and courage fail him, and he flees, pursued by Achilles three times around the city; At length he turns upon his pursuer, determined to meet his fate; and the account of the meeting and contest with Achilles, as translated by BRYANT, is as follows:

He spake, and drew the keen-edged sword that hung,
Massive and finely tempered, at his side,
And sprang--as when an eagle high in heaven
Through the thick cloud darts downward to the plain,
To clutch some tender lamb or timid hare.
So Hector, brandishing that keen-edged sword,
Sprang forward, while Achilles opposite
Leaped toward him, all on fire with savage hate,
And holding his bright buckler, nobly wrought,
Before him. As in the still hours of night
Hesper goes forth among the host of stars,
The fairest light of heaven, so brightly shone,
Brandished in the right hand of Pe'leus' son,
The spear's keen blade, as, confident to slay
The noble Hector, o'er his glorious form
His quick eye ran, exploring where to plant
The surest wound. The glittering mail of brass
Won from the slain Patroclus guarded well
Each part, save only where the collar-bones
Divide the shoulder from the neck, and there
Appeared the throat, the spot where life is most
In peril. Through that part the noble son
Of Peleus drave his spear; it went quite through
The tender neck, and yet the brazen blade
Cleft not the windpipe, and the power to speak

  And then the crested Hector faintly said:
"I pray thee, by thy life, and by thy knees,
And by thy parents, suffer not the dogs
To tear me at the galleys of the Greeks.
Accept abundant store of brass and gold,
Which gladly will my father and the queen,
My mother, give in ransom. Send to them
My body, that the warriors and the dames
Of Troy may light for me the funeral pile."

  The swift Achilles answered, with a frown:
"Nay, by my knees entreat me not, thou cur,
Nor by my parents. I could even wish
My fury prompted me to cut thy flesh
In fragments and devour it, such the wrong
That I have had from thee. There will be none
To drive away the dogs about thy head,
Not though thy Trojan friends should bring to me
Tenfold and twentyfold the offered gifts,
And promise others--not though Priam, sprung
From Dar'danus, should send thy weight in gold.
Thy mother shall not lay thee on thy bier,
To sorrow over thee whom she brought forth;
But dogs and birds of prey shall mangle thee."

  And then the crested Hector, dying, said:
"I know thee, and too clearly I foresaw
I should not move thee, for thou hast a heart
Of iron. Yet reflect that for my sake
The anger of the gods may fall on thee
When Paris and Apollo strike thee down,
Strong as thou art, before the Scæ'an gates."

  Thus Hector spake, and straightway o'er him closed
The light of death; the soul forsook his limbs,
And flew to Hades, grieving for its fate,
So soon divorced from youth and youthful might.

The great achievement of Achilles was followed by funeral games in honor of Patroclus, and by the institution of various other festivities. At their close Jupiter sends The'tis to Achilles to influence him to restore the dead body of Hector to his family, and sends Iris to Priam to encourage him to go in person to treat for it. Priam thereupon sets out upon his journey, and, having arrived at the camp of Achilles, thus appeals to his compassion:

Priam Begging for the Body of Hector.

  "Think, O Achilles, semblance of the gods,
On thine own father, full of days like me,
And trembling on the gloomy verge of life.
Some neighbor chief, it may be, even now
Oppresses him, and there is none at hand,
No friend, to succor him in his distress.
Yet, doubtless, hearing that Achilles lives,
He still rejoices, hoping day by day
That one day he shall see the face again
Of his own son, from distant Troy returned.
But me no comfort cheers, whose bravest sons,
So late the flowers of Ilium, are all slain.

  "When, Greece came hither I had fifty sons;
But fiery Mars hath thinned them. One I had--
One, more than all my sons, the strength of Troy,
Whom, standing for his country, thou hast slain--
Hector. His body to redeem I come
Into Achaia's fleet, bringing, myself,
Ransom inestimable to thy tent.
Rev'rence the gods, Achilles! recollect
Thy father; for his sake compassion show
To me, more pitiable still, who draw
Home to my lips (humiliation yet
Unseen on earth) his hand who slew my son!"
  --COWPER'S Trans.

Achilles, moved with compassion, granted the request of the grief-stricken father, and sent him home with the body of his son. First to the corse the weeping Androm'ache flew, and thus spoke:

Lamentation of Andromache.

  "And oh, my Hector! Oh, my lord! (she cries)
Snatched in thy bloom from these desiring eyes!
Thou to the dismal realms forever gone!
And I abandoned, desolate, alone!
An only son, once comfort of our pains,
Sad product now of hapless love, remains!
Never to manly age that son shall rise,
Or with increasing graces glad my eyes;
For Ilion now (her great defender slain)
Shall sink a smoking ruin on the plain.

  "Who now protects her wives with guardian care?
Who saves her infants from the rage of war?
Now hostile fleets must waft those infants o'er
(Those wives must wait them) to a foreign shore:
Thou too, my son, to barbarous climes shalt go,
The sad companion of thy mother's woe;
Or else some Greek whose father pressed the plain,
Or son, or brother, by great Hector slain,
In Hector's blood his vengeance shall enjoy,
And hurl thee headlong from the towers of Troy."
[Footnote: Such was the fate of Astyanax, Hector's
son, when Troy was taken:

"Here, from the tower by stem Ulysses thrown,
Andromache bewailed her infant son."
  --MERRICK'S Tryphiodo'rus.

The death of Hector was also lamented by Helen, and her lamentation is thus spoken of by COLERIDGE: "I have always thought the following speech, in which Helen laments Hector, and hints at her own invidious and unprotected situation in Troy, as almost the sweetest passage in the poem. It is another striking instance of that refinement of feeling and softness of tone which so generally distinguish the last book of the Iliad from the rest."

Helen's Lamentation.

  "Ah, dearest friend! in whom the gods had joined
The mildest manners with the bravest mind,
Now twice ten years (unhappy years) are o'er
Since Paris brought me to the Trojan shore;
(Oh, had I perished ere that form divine
Seduced this soft, this easy heart of mine!)
Yet was it ne'er my fate from thee to find
A deed ungentle, or a word unkind:
When others cursed the authoress of their woe,
Thy pity checked my sorrows in their flow:
If some proud brother eyed me with disdain,
Or scornful sister, with her sweeping train,
Thy gentle accents softened all my pain.
For thee I mourn; and mourn myself in thee,
The wretched source of all this misery.
The fate I caused forever I bemoan;
Sad Helen has no friend, now thou art gone!
Through Troy's wide streets abandoned shall I roam!
In Troy deserted, as abhorred at home!"
  --POPE'S Trans.


Homer's Iliad ends with the burial of Hector, and gives no account of the result of the war and the fate of the chief actors in the conflict. But in VIRGIL'S Æne'id, which gives an account of the escape of Æne'as, from the flames of Troy, and of his wanderings until he reaches the shores of Italy, the way in which Troy is taken, soon after the death of Hector, is told by Æneas to Dido, the Queen of Carthage. By the advice of Ulysses a huge wooden horse was constructed in the Greek camp, in which he and other Grecian warriors concealed themselves, while the remainder burned their tents and sailed away to the island of Ten'edos, behind which they secreted their vessels. Æneas begins his account as follows:

  "By destiny compelled, and in despair,
The Greeks grew weary of the tedious war,
And by Minerva's aid a fabric reared
Which like a steed of monstrous height appeared.
The sides were planked with pine: they feigned it made
For their return, and this the vow they paid.
Thus they pretend, but in the hollow side
Selected numbers of their soldiers hide;
With inward arms the dire machine they load,
And iron bowels stuff the dark abode.

  "In sight of Troy lies Tenedos, an isle
(While Fortune did on Priam's empire smile)
Renowned for wealth; but since, a faithless bay,
Where ships exposed to wind and weather lay.
There was their fleet concealed. We thought for Greece
Their sails were hoisted, and our fears release.
The Trojans, cooped within their walls so long,
Unbar their gates, and issue in a throng,
Like swarming bees, and with delight survey
The camp deserted where the Grecians lay.
The quarters of the sev'ral chiefs they showed--
Here Phoenix, here Achilles, made abode;
Here joined the battles; there the navy rode.

  "Part on the pile their wond'ring eyes employ--
The pile by Pallas raised to ruin Troy.
Thymoe'tes first ('tis doubtful whether hired,
Or so the Trojan destiny required)
Moved that the ramparts might be broken down
To lodge the monster fabric in the town.
But Ca'pys, and the rest of sounder mind,
The fatal present to the flames designed,
Or to the wat'ry deep; at least to bore
The hollow sides, and hidden frauds explore.

  "The giddy vulgar, as their fancies guide,
With noise say nothing, and in parts divide.
La-oc'o-on, followed by a num'rous crowd,
Ran from the fort, and cried, from far, aloud:
'O wretched countrymen! what fury reigns?
What more than madness has possessed your brains?
Think you the Grecians from your coasts are gone?
And are Ulysses' arts no better known?
This hollow fabric either must enclose,
Within its blind recess, our hidden foes;
Or 'tis an engine raised above the town
T' o'erlook the walls, and then to batter down.
Somewhat is sure designed by fraud or force--
Trust not their presents, nor admit the horse.'

  "Thus having said, against the steed he threw
His forceful spear, which, hissing as it flew,
Pierced through the yielding planks of jointed wood,
And trembling in the hollow belly stood.
The sides, transpierced, return a rattling sound,
And groans of Greeks enclosed came issuing through the wound;
And, had not Heaven the fall of Troy designed,
Or had not men been fated to be blind,
Enough was said and done t' inspire a better mind.
Then had our lances pierced the treacherous wood,
And Ilion's towers and Priam's empire stood."

Deceived by the treachery of Sinon, a captive Greek, who represents that the wooden horse was built and dedicated to Minerva to secure the aid that the goddess had hitherto refused the Greeks, and that, if it were admitted within the walls of Troy, the Grecian hopes would be forever lost, the infatuated Trojans break down a portion of the city's wall, and, drawing in the horse, give themselves up to festivity and rejoicing. Æneas continues the story as follows:

  "With such deceits he gained their easy hearts,
Too prone to credit his perfidious arts.
What Di'omed, nor Thetis' greater son,
A thousand ships, nor ten years' siege, had done--
False tears and fawning words the city won.
       *       *       *       *       *

  "A spacious breach is made; the town lies bare;
Some hoisting levers, some the wheels prepare,
And fasten to the horse's feet; the rest
With cables haul along th' unwieldy beast:
Each on his fellow for assistance calls.
At length the fatal fabric mounts the walls,
Big with destruction. Boys with chaplets crowned,
And choirs of virgins, sing and dance around.
Thus raised aloft, and then descending down,
It enters o'er our heads, and threats the town.
O sacred city, built by hands divine!
O valiant heroes of the Trojan line!
Four times he struck; as oft the clashing sound
Of arms was heard, and inward groans rebound.
Yet, mad with zeal, and blinded with our fate,
We haul along the horse in solemn state,
Then place the dire portent within the tower.
Cassandra cried and cursed th' unhappy hour,
Foretold our fate; but, by the gods' decree,
All heard, and none believed the prophecy.
With branches we the fane adorn, and waste
In jollity the day ordained to be the last."
  --The Æneid. Book II.--DRYDEN.

In the dead of night Sinon unlocked the horse, the Greeks rushed out, opened the gates of the city, and raised torches as a signal to those at Tenedos, who returned, and Troy was soon captured and given over to fire and the sword. Then followed the rejoicings of the victors, and the weeping and wailing of the Trojan women about to be carried away captive into distant lands, according to the usages of war.

The stately walls of Troy had sunken,
  Her towers and temples strewed the soil;
The sons of Hellas, victory-drunken,
  Richly laden with the spoil,
Are on their lofty barks reclined
  Along the Hellespontine strand;
A gleesome freight the favoring wind
  Shall bear to Greece's glorious land;
  And gleesome chant the choral strain,
    As toward the household altars now
    Each bark inclines the painted prow--
  For Home shall smile again!

And there the Trojan women, weeping,
  Sit ranged in many a length'ning row;
Their heedless locks, dishevelled, sweeping
  Adown the wan cheeks worn with woe.
  No festive sounds that peal along,
Their mournful dirge can overwhelm;
  Through hymns of joy one sorrowing song,
Commingled, wails the ruined realm.
  "Farewell, beloved shores!" it said:
    "From home afar behold us torn,
    By foreign lords as captives borne--
  Ah, happy are the dead!"

For ten long years the Greeks at Argos had watched nightly for the beacon fires, lighted from point to point, that should announce the doom of Troy. When, in the Agamemnon of ÆSCHYLUS, Clytemnes'tra declares that Troy has fallen, and the chorus, half incredulous, demands what messenger had brought the intelligence, she replies:

"A gleam--a gleam--from Ida's height
  By the fire-god sent, it came;
From watch to watch it leaped, that light;
  As a rider rode the flame!
    It shot through the startled sky,
      And the torch of that blazing glory
    Old Lemnos caught on high
      On its holy promontory,
    And sent it on, the jocund sign,
    To Athos, mount of Jove divine.
  Wildly the while it rose from the isle,
So that the might of the journeying light
Skimmed over the back of the gleaming brine!
  Farther and faster speeds it on,
Till the watch that keep Macis'tus steep
  See it burst like a blazing sun!
    Doth Macistus sleep
    On his tower-clad steep?
No! rapid and red doth the wildfire sweep:
  It flashes afar on the wayward stream
  Of the wild Euri'pus, the rushing beam!
It rouses the light on Messa'pion's height,
And they feed its breath with the withered heath.
    But it may not stay!
    And away--away--
  It bounds in its fresh'ning might.

      "Silent and soon
      Like a broadened moon
  It passes in sheen Aso'pus green,
And bursts in Cithæ'ron gray.
The warden wakes to the signal rays,
And it swoops from the hills with a broader blaze:
  On--on the fiery glory rode--
  Thy lonely lake, Gorgo'pis, glowed--
  To Meg'ara's mount it came;
      They feed it again,
      And it streams amain--
      A giant beard of flame!
The headland cliffs that darkly down
O'er the Saron'ic waters frown,
Are passed with the swift one's lurid stride,
And the huge rock glares on the glaring tide.
With mightier march and fiercer power
It gained Arach'ne's neighboring tower--
Thence on our Ar'give roof its rest it won,
Of Ida's fire the long-descended son!
  Bright harbinger of glory and of joy!
So first and last with equal honor crowned,
In solemn feasts the race-torch circles round.
And these my heralds, this my sign of Peace!
Lo! while we breathe, the victor lords of Greece
  Stalk, in stern tumult through the halls of Troy."
  --Trans. by BULWER.

Such, in brief, is the commonly received account of the Trojan war, as we find it in Homer and other ancient writers. Concerning it the historian THIRLWALL remarks: "We consider it necessary to admit the reality of the Trojan war as a general fact, but beyond this we scarcely venture to proceed a single step. We find it impossible to adopt the poetical story of Helen, partly on account of its inherent improbability, and partly because we are convinced that Helen is a merely mythological person." GROTE says:[Footnote: "History of Greece." Chap. XV.] "In the eyes of modern inquiry the Trojan war is essentially a legend and nothing more. If we are asked if it be not a legend embodying portions of historical matter, and raised upon a basis of truth--whether there may not really have occurred at the foot of the hill of Ilium a war purely human and political, without gods, without heroes, without Helen, without Amazons, without Ethiopians under the beautiful son of Eos, without the wooden horse, without the characteristic and expressive features of the old epic war--if we are asked if there was not really some such historical Trojan war as this, our answer must be, that as the possibility of it cannot be denied, so neither can the reality of it be affirmed." In this connection it is interesting to note that the discoveries of the German explorer, Schliemann, upon the site of ancient Troy, indicate that Homer "followed actual occurrences more closely than an over-skeptical historical criticism was once willing to allow."


Of the fate of some of the principal actors in the Trojan war it may be stated that, of the prominent Trojans, Æneas alone escaped. After many years of wanderings he landed in Italy with a small company of Trojans; and the Roman writers trace to him the origin of their nation. Priam was killed by Pyrrhus, the son of Achilles, during the burning of Troy; while Achilles himself fell some time before, shot with an arrow in the heel by Paris, as Hector had prophesied would be the manner of his death. Ajax, after the death of Achilles, had a contest with Ulysses for the armor of the dead hero, but was unsuccessful, and died by his own hand. The poet EN'NIUS ascribes the following declaration to Tel'amon, the father of Ajax, when he heard of his son's death:

I knew, when I begat him, he must die,
And trained him to no other destiny--
Knew, when I sent him to the Trojan shore,
'Twas not to halls of feast, but fields of gore.
  --Trans. by PETERS.

Agamemnon, on his return to Greece, was barbarously murdered by his unfaithful queen, Clytemnestra. Diomed was driven from Greece, and barely escaped with his life. It is uncertain where or how he died. Ulysses, after almost innumerable troubles and hardships by sea and land, at last returned in safety to Ithaca. His wanderings are the subject of Homer's Odyssey.

But it may be asked, what became of Helen, the primary cause of the Trojan war, disastrous alike to victors and vanquished? According to Virgil, [Footnote: Æneid, B. VI.] after the death of Paris she married the Trojan hero, De-iph'o-bus, and on the night after the city was taken betrayed him to Menela'us, to whom she became reconciled, and whom she accompanied, as Homer relates, [Footnote: Odyssey B. IV.] during the eight years of his wandering, on his return to Greece. LANDOR, in one of his Hellen'ics, represents Menelaus, after the fall of Troy, as pursuing Helen up the steps of the palace, and threatening her with death. He thus addresses her:

            "Stand, traitress, on that stair--
Thou mountest not another, by the gods!
Now take the death thou meritest, the death,
Zeus, who presides over hospitality--
And every other god whom thou has left,
And every other who abandons thee
In this accursed city--sends at last.
Turn, vilest of vile slaves! turn, paramour
Of what all other women hate, of cowards;
Turn, lest this hand wrench back thy head, and toss
It and its odors to the dust and flames."

Helen penitently receives his reproaches, and welcomes the threatened death; and when he speaks of their daughter, Hermi'o-ne, whom, an infant, she had so cruelly deserted, she exclaims:

                            "O my child!
My only one! thou livest: 'tis enough;
Hate me, abhor me, curse me--these are duties--
Call me but mother in the shades of death!
She now is twelve years old, when the bud swells,
And the first colors of uncertain life
Begin to tinge it."

Menelaus turns aside to say,

              "Can she think of home?
Hers once, mine yet, and sweet Hermione's!
Is there one spark that cheered my hearth, one left
For thee, my last of love?"

When she beseeches him to delay not her merited fate, her words greatly move him, and he exclaims (aside),

               "Her voice is musical
As the young maids who sing to Artemis:
How glossy is that yellow braid my grasp
Seized and let loose! Ah, can ten years have passed
Since--but the children of the gods, like them,
Suffer not age.[Footnote: Jupiter was fabled to be
the father of Helen.
  (Then turning to Helen.) Helen! speak honestly,
And thus escape my vengeance--was it force
That bore thee off?"

Her words and grief move him to pity, if not to love, and he again turns aside to say,

"The true alone and loving sob like her.
Come, Helen!" (He takes her hand.)
  Helen.     Oh, let never Greek see this!
Hide me from Argos, from Amy'clæ [Footnote: A town
of Laconia, where was a temple of Apollo. It was a
short distance to the south-west of Sparta.
] hide me,
Hide me from all.
  Menelaus.  Thy anguish is too strong
For me to strive with.
  Helen.     Leave it all to me.
  Menelaus.  Peace! peace! The wind, I hope, is fair for Sparta.

The intimation, by Landor and others who have sought to exculpate Helen, that she was unwillingly borne away by Paris, has been amplified, with much poetic skill and beauty, by a recent poet,[Footnote: A. Lang, in his "Helen of Troy."] into the story that the goddess Venus appeared to her, and, while Helen was shrinking with apprehension and fear of her power, told her that she should fall into a deep slumber, and on awaking should be oblivious of her past life, "ignorant of shame, and blameless of those evil deeds that the goddess should thrust upon her." Venus declares to her:

"Thou art the toy of gods, an instrument
  Wherewith all mortals shall be plagued or blest,
Even at my pleasure; yea, thou shalt be bent
  This way and that, howe'er it like me best:
  And following thee, as tides the moon, the West
Shall flood the Eastern coasts with waves of war,
  And thy vexed soul shall scarcely be at rest,
Even in the havens where the deathless are.

"The instruments of men are blind and dumb,
  And this one gift I give thee, to be blind
And heedless of the thing that is to come,
  And ignorant of that which is behind;
  Bearing an innocent, forgetful mind
In each new fortune till I visit thee
  And stir thy heart, as lightning and the wind
Bear fire and tumult through a sleeping sea.

"Thou shalt forget Hermione! forget,
  Forget thy lord, thy lofty palace, and thy kin;
Thy hand within a stranger's shalt thou set,
  And follow him, nor deem it any sin;
  And many a strange land wand'ring shalt thou win;
And thou shalt come to an unhappy town,
  And twenty long years shalt thou dwell therein,
Before the Argives mar its towery crown.

"And of thine end I speak not, but thy name--
  Thy name which thou lamentest--that shall be
A song in all men's speech, a tongue of flame
  Between the burning lips of Poesy;
  And the nine daughters of Mnemos'y-ne,
With Prince Apollo, leader of the nine,
  Shall make thee deathless in their minstrelsy!
Yea, for thou shalt outlive the race divine."

As the goddess had declared, so it came to pass, for when Helen awoke from her long slumber,

She had no memory of unhappy things,
  She knew not of the evil days to come,
Forgotten were her ancient wanderings;
  And as Lethæ'an waters wholly numb
  The sense of spirits in Elysium,
That no remembrance may their bliss alloy,
  Even so the rumor of her days was dumb,
And all her heart was ready for new joy.

The reconciliation of Menelaus with Helen is easily effected by the same kind of artifice; for when, on the taking of Troy, he meets her and draws his sword to slay her, the goddess, again appearing, throws her witching spell over him also:

Then fell the ruthless sword that never fell
  When spear bit harness in the battle din,
For Aphrodi'te spake, and like a spell
  Wrought her sweet voice persuasive, till within
  His heart there lived no memory of sin;
No thirst for vengeance more, but all grew plain,
  And wrath was molten in desire to win
The golden heart of Helen once again.

It is said that after the death of Menelaus Helen was driven from the Peloponnesus by the indignant Spartans.


Although but little confidence can be placed in the reality of the persons and events mentioned in the poems of Homer, yet there is one kind of truth from which the poet can hardly have deviated, or his writings would not have been so acceptable as they evidently were to his contemporaries--and that is, a faithful portraiture of the government, usages, institutions, manners, and general condition of the Greeks during the age in which he lived, and which undoubtedly differed little from the manners and customs of the Heroic Age. The pictures of life and character that he had drawn must have had a reality of existence, and they unquestionably give us, to a considerable extent, a true insight into the condition of Grecian society at that early period of the world's history.

And yet we must bear in mind that epics such as those of Homer, describing the manners and customs of a half-barbarous age, and intended to honor chieftains by extolling the deeds and lives of their ancestors, and to be recited in the courts of kings and princes, would, very naturally, be accommodated to the wishes, partialities, and prejudices of their noble hearers. And this leads us to consider how far even the great epic of Homer is to be relied on for a faithful picture of the political life of the Greeks during the Heroic Age. We quote the following suggestive remarks on this subject from a recent writer and able Greek critic:


"Although, in the Greek epics, the rank and file of the army are to be marshaled by the kings, and to raise the shout of battle, they actually disappear from the action, and leave the field perfectly clear for the chiefs to perform their deeds of valor. There is not, perhaps, an example in all the Iliad of a chief falling, or even being wounded, by an ignoble hand. Amid the cloud of missiles that were flying on the plains of Troy, amid the crowd of chiefs and kings that were marshaled on either side, we never hear how a 'certain man drew a bow at a venture, and smote a king between the joints of the harness.' Yet this must necessarily have occurred in any prolonged combats such as those about the walls of Troy.

"Here, then, is a plain departure from truth, and even from reasonable probability. It is indeed a mere omission which does not offend the reader; but such inaccuracies suggest serious reflections. If the epic poets ignore the importance of the masses on the battlefield, is it not likely that they underrate it in the public assemblies? Is it not possible that here too, to please their patrons, they describe the glorious ages of the past as the days when the assembled people would not question the superior wisdom of their betters, but merely assembled to be taught and to applaud? I cannot, therefore, as Mr. Grote does, accept the political condition of things in the Homeric poems, especially in the Iliad, as a safe guide to the political life of Greece in the poet's own day.

"The figure of Thersites seems drawn with special spite and venom, as a satire upon the first critics that rose up among the assembled people to question the divine right of kings to do wrong. We may be sure the real Thersites, from whom the poet drew his picture, was a very different and a far more serious power in debate than the misshapen buffoon of the Iliad. But the king who had been thwarted and exposed by him in the day would, over his cups in the evening, enjoy the poet's travesty, and long for the good old times when he could put down all impertinent criticism by the stroke of his knotty sceptre. The Homeric Agora could hardly have existed had it been so idle a form as the poets represent. But as the lower classes were carefully marshaled on the battle-field, from a full sense of the importance which the poet denies them, so they were marshaled in the public assembly, where we may be sure their weight told with equal effect, though the poet neglected it for the greater glory of the counseling chiefs." [Footnote: "Social Life in Greece, from Homer to Menander," by Rev. J. P. Mahaffy.] Notwithstanding all this, as HEEREN says, "Homer is the best source of information that we possess respecting the Heroic Age."

The form of government that prevailed among the early Greeks, especially after the Pelasgic race had yielded to the more warlike and adventurous Hellenes, was evidently that of the kingly order, on a democratic basis, although it is difficult to ascertain the precise extent of the royal prerogatives. In all the Grecian states there appears to have been an hereditary class of chiefs or nobles, distinguished from the common freemen or people by titles of honor, superior wealth, dignity, valor, and noble birth; which latter implied no less than a descent from the gods themselves, to whom every princely house seems to have traced its origin.

But the kings, although generally hereditary, were not always so, nor were they absolute monarchs; they were rather the most eminent of the nobility, having the command in war, and the chief seat in the administration of justice; and their authority was more or less extended in proportion to the noble qualities they possessed, and particularly to their valor in battle. Unless distinguished by courage and strength, kings could not even command in time of war; and during peace they were bound to consult the people in all important matters. Among their pecuniary advantages were the profits of an extensive domain which seems to have been attached to the royal office, and not to have been the private property of the individual. Thus, Homer represents Telem'achus as in danger not only of losing his throne by the adverse choice of the people, but also, among the rights of the crown, the domains of Ulysses, his father, should he not be permitted to succeed him.[Footnote: See the Odyssey (Cowper's Trans.), xi., 207-223.]

During the Heroic Age the Greeks appear to have had no fixed laws established by legislation. Public opinion and usage, confirmed and expounded by judicial decisions, were the only sources to which the weak and injured could look for protection and redress. Private differences were most often settled by private means, and in these cases the weak and deserving were generally plundered and maltreated by the powerful and guilty; but in quarrels that threatened to disturb the peace of the community the public compelled the injured party to accept, and the aggressor to pay, a stipulated compensation. As among the savage tribes of America, and even among our early Saxon ancestors, the murderer was often allowed to pay a stipulated compensation, which stayed the spirit of revenge, and was received as a full expiation of his guilt. The mutual dealings of the several independent Grecian states with one another were regulated by no established principles, and international law had no existence at this early period.


In the domestic relations of life there was much in the conduct of the Greeks that was meritorious. Children were treated with affection, and much care was bestowed on their education; and, on the other hand, the respect which they showed their parents, even after the period of youth and dependence, approached almost to veneration. As evidence of a rude age, however, the father disposed of his daughter's hand in marriage with absolute authority; and although we meet with many models of conjugal affection, as in the noble characters of Andromache and Penelope, yet the story of Helen, and other similar ones, suggest too plainly that the faithlessness of the wife was not regarded as a very great offence. The wife, however, occupied a station of as much, if not more influence in the family than was the case in the historical period; but she was not the equal of her husband, and even Homer portrays none of those feelings of love which result from a higher regard for the female sex.

We gather from Homer that there was a low sense of truth among the Greeks of the Homeric Age, but that the people were better than might be expected from the examples set them by the gods in whom they professed to believe. Says MAHAFFY: "At no period did the nation attain to that high standard which is the great feature in Germanic civilization. Even the Romans, with all their coarseness and vulgarity, stood higher in this respect. But neither in the Iliad nor the Odyssey is there, except in phrases, any reprobation of deceit as such. To deceive an enemy is meritorious; to deceive a stranger, innocent; to deceive even a friend, perfectly unobjectionable, if any object is to be gained. So it is remarked of Menelaus--as it were, exceptionally--that he will tell the truth if you press him, for he is very considerate. But the really leading characters in the Odyssey and Iliad (except Achilles) do not hesitate at all manner of lying. Ulysses is perpetually inventing, and so is his patroness, Pallas Athe'ne; and she actually mentions this quality of wily deceit as her special ground of love and affection for him." Thus, we read in the Odyssey that when Ulysses, in response to what the goddess--then disguised and unknown to him--had said,

With unembarrassed readiness returned
Not truth, but figments to truth opposite,
For guile, in him, stood never at a pause--

the goddess, seemingly well pleased with his "tricks of speech delusive," thus replied:

"Who passes thee in artifice well-framed;
And in impostures various, need shall find
Of all his policy, although a god.
Canst thou not cease, inventive as thou art
And subtle, from the wiles which thou hast loved
Since thou wast infant, and from tricks of speech
Delusive, even in thy native land?
But come; dismiss we these ingenious shifts
From our discourse, in which we both excel;
For thou of all men in expedients most
Abound'st and eloquence, and I throughout
All heaven have praise for wisdom and for art."
  --COWPER'S Trans.

To the foregoing it may be added that "Zeus deceives both gods and men; the other gods deceive Zeus; in fact, the whole Homeric society is full of guile and falsehood. There is still, however, an expectation that if the gods are called to witness a transaction by means of an oath, they will punish deceit. The poets clearly held that the gods, if they were under no restraint or fear of punishment from Zeus, were at liberty to deceive as they liked. One safeguard yet remained--the oath by the Styx, [Footnote: see the index at the end of the volume.] the penalties of violating which are enumerated in Hesiod's Theogony, and consist of nine years' transportation, with solitary confinement and hard labor. As for oaths, the Hymn to Hermes shows that in succeeding generations their solemnity was openly ridiculed. Among the Homeric gods, as well as among the heroes, there were, indeed, old-fashioned characters who adhered to probity. The character of Apollo is unstained by deceit. So is that of Menelaus."

The Greeks in the Heroic Age were divided into the three classes--nobles, freemen, and slaves. Of the first we have already spoken. The condition of the freemen it is difficult to fully ascertain; but the majority possessed portions of land which they cultivated. There was another class of freemen who possessed no property, and who worked for hire on the property of others. "Among the freemen," says one writer, "we find certain professional persons whose acquirements and knowledge raised them above their class, and procured for them the respect and society of the nobles. Such were the seer, the bard, the herald, and likewise the smith and the carpenter." The slaves were owned by the nobles alone, and were treated with far more kindness and consideration than were the slaves of republican Greece.

During this period the Greeks had but little knowledge of geography beyond the confines of Greece and its islands and the coasts of the Ægean Sea. The habitable world was supposed to be surrounded by an ocean-like river, like that which Homer describes as bordering the shield of Achilles, beyond which were realms of darkness, dreams, and death. Legitimate commerce appears to have been deemed of little importance. The largest ships were slender, half-decked row-boats, capable of carrying, at most, only about a hundred men, and having a movable mast, which was hoisted, and a sail attached, only to take advantage of a favorable wind. Most of the navigation at this early period was undertaken for the purposes of plunder, and piracy was not deemed dishonorable. When Mentor and Telemachus came to the court of Nestor, that prince, after entertaining them kindly, asked them, as a matter of curiosity, whether they were travelers or robbers!

But the Heroic Age was not one essentially rude and barbarous. Greece was then a populous and well-cultivated country, with numerous and large cities surrounded by walls and adorned with palaces and temples. Homer describes the different branches of agriculture, and the various labors of farming, the culture of the grape, and the duties of the herdsmen. The weaving of woolen and of linen fabrics was the chief occupation of the women, and was carried to a high degree of perfection. While Homer may have drawn largely upon his imagination for his brilliant pictures, still their main features were undoubtedly taken from life, and many ancient remains of Grecian art attest the general fidelity of his representations: In the wonderful description of the shield of Achilles we get some insight into the progress which the arts of metallurgy and engraving had made, and in the following description, in the Fifth Book of the Odyssey, of the raft of Ulysses, on which this wandering hero floated after leaving Calypso's isle, we learn to what degree the art of ship-building had attained in the Heroic Age. Calypso furnishes him the material for constructing his raft.

The Raft of Ulysses.

She gave him, fitted to the grasp, an axe
Of iron, ponderous, double-edged, with haft
Of olive-wood inserted firm, and wrought
With curious art. Then placing in his hand
A polished adze, she led herself the way
To her isle's utmost verge, where loftiest stood
The alder, poplar, and cloud-piercing fir,
Though sapless, sound, and fittest for his use,
As buoyant most. To that most verdant grove
His steps the beauteous nymph Calypso led,
And sought her home again. Then slept not he,
But, swinging with both hands the axe, his task
Soon finished; trees full twenty to the ground
He cast; which, dexterous, with his adze he smoothed,
The knotted surface chipping by a line.
Meantime the lovely goddess to his aid
Sharp augers brought, with which he bored the beams,
Then placed them side by side, adapting each
To other, and the seams with wadding closed.

Broad as an artist, skilled in naval works,
The bottom of a ship of burden spreads,
Such breadth Ulysses to his raft assigned.
He decked her over with long planks, upborne
On massy beams; he made the mast, to which
He added suitable the yard; he framed
Rudder and helm to regulate her course;
With wicker-work he bordered all her length
For safety, and much ballast stowed within.
Meantime Calypso brought him for a sail
Fittest materials, which he also shaped,
And to his sail due furniture annexed
Of cordage strong, foot-ropes and ropes aloft,
Then heaved her down with levers to the deep.
  --Odyssey, B. V. COWPER'S Trans.

We notice in this description the use of the adze--of the double-edged axe; of augers for boring the beams; the caulking of the hull; the decking made of planks; the single mast; the yard from which the sail was spread; the use of the rudder and the helm; "foot-ropes and ropes aloft;" while, for safety, a wicker-work of cordage surrounds the deck, and much "ballast" is stowed within.

To what extent the higher orders of art--those which became in later times the highest glory of Greece, and in which she will always stand unrivalled--were cultivated before the time of Homer, is a subject of much uncertainty. It is clear, however, that poetry and music, which were almost inseparably united, were early made prominent instruments of the religious, martial, and political education of the people. The aid of poetical song was called in to enliven and adorn the banquets of the great public assemblies, the Olympic and other games, and scarcely a social or public gathering can be mentioned that would not have appeared to the ardent Grecians cold and spiritless without this accompaniment.

It is not equally clear, however, whether architecture, in Homer's time, had arrived at such a stage as to deserve a place among the fine arts. But it is probable that while the private dwellings which the poet describes were strong and convenient rather than ornamental and elegant in design, the public buildings--the temples, palaces, etc.--were elegant in design and in architectural decoration. Statuary was cultivated in this age, as appears from the remains of many of the Greek cities; and, although no paintings are spoken of in Homer, yet his descriptions prove that his contemporaries must have been acquainted with the art of design. Whether the Greeks were acquainted at this early period with the art of writing is, perhaps, the most important of all the questions connected with the progress of art and knowledge at this time, as it has received the most attention. The prevalent opinion is that the art of writing was then unknown, and that no written compositions were extant until many years after the time of Homer.


Although not yet fully out of the fabulous era of Grecian history, we now enter upon a period when the crude fictions of more than mortal heroes begin to give place to the realities of human existence; but still the vague, disputed, and often contradictory annals on which we are obliged to rely shed only an uncertain light around us; and even what we can gather as the most reliable cannot be taken wholly as undoubted historic truth.

The immediate consequences of the Trojan war, as represented by Greek historians, were scarcely less disastrous to the victors than to the vanquished. The return of the Grecian heroes to their homes is represented, as we have seen, to have been full of tragic adventures, and their long absence encouraged usurpers to seize many of their thrones. Hence arose fierce wars and intestine commotions, which greatly retarded the progress of Grecian civilization. Among these petty revolutions, however, no events of general interest occurred until about sixty years after the fall of Troy, when a people from Epi'rus, passing over the mountain-chain of Pindus, descended into the rich plains which lie along the banks of the Pene'us, and finally conquered the country, to which they gave the name of Thessaly. The fugitives from Thessaly, driven from their own country, passed over into Boeo'tia, which they subdued after a long struggle, in their turn driving out the ancient inhabitants of the land. This event is supposed to have occurred in 1124 B.C.

The unsettled state of society caused by the Thessalian and Boeotian conquests occasioned what is known as the "Æo'lian Migration," so-called from the race that took the principal share in it. These people passed over into Asia Minor, and established their settlements in the vicinity of the ruins of Troy. This became known as the Æolian Confederacy.


About twenty years after the Thessalian conquest, the Dorians, who had frequently changed their homes, and had finally settled in a mountainous region on the south of Thessaly, commenced a migration to the Peloponnesus, accompanied by portions of other tribes, and led, as was asserted, by descendants of Hercules, who had been deprived of their dominions in the latter country, and who had hitherto made several unsuccessful attempts to recover them. This important event in Grecian history is therefore called the "Return of the Heraclidæ." The Dorians could muster about twenty thousand fighting men; and although they were greatly inferior in numbers to the inhabitants of the country they invaded, the whole of Peloponnesus, except a few districts, was subdued and apportioned among the conquerors. Of the Heraclidæ, Tem'enus received Argos, the sons of Aristode'mus obtained Sparta, and Cresphon'tes was given Messe'nia. Some of the unconquered tribes of the southern part of the peninsula seized upon the province of Acha'ia, and expelled its Ionian inhabitants. The latter sought a retreat on the western coast of Asia Minor, south of the Æolian cities, and the settlements thus formed received the name of Ionia. At a still later period, bands of the Dorians, not content with their conquest of the Peloponnesus, thronged to Asia Minor, where they peopled several cities south of Ionia; so that the Ægean Sea was finally circled by Grecian settlements, and its islands covered with them.

The Dorians did not become undisputed masters of the Peloponnesus until they had conquered Corinth in the next generation. The capture of Corinth was attended by another expedition which drew the Dorians north of the Isthmus. They invaded Attica, and encamped before the walls of Athens. Before proceeding to attack the city they consulted the oracle at Delphi--the most remarkable oracle of the ancient world, of which the poet LU'CAN thus writes:

The listening god, still ready with replies,
To none his aid or oracle denies;
Yet wise, and righteous ever, scorns to hear
The fool's fond wishes, or the guilty's prayer;
Though vainly in repeated vows they trust,
None e'er find grace before him but the just.
Oft to a banished, wandering, houseless race
The sacred dictates have assigned a place:
Oft from the strong he saves the weak in war,
And heals the barren land, and pestilential air.

The Dorians were told by the oracle that they would be successful as long as the Athenian king, Co'drus, was uninjured. The latter, being informed of the answer of the oracle, disguised himself as a peasant, and, going forth from the city, was met and slain by a Dorian soldier, thus sacrificing himself for his country's good. The superstitious Dorians, now deeming the war hopeless, withdrew from Attica; and the Athenians, out of respect for Codrus, declared that no one was worthy to succeed him, and abolished the form of royalty altogether. Magistrates called Archons were first appointed for life from the family of Codrus, and these were finally exchanged for others appointed for ten years. These and other successive encroachments on the royal prerogatives resulted in the establishment of an aristocratic government of the nobility, and are almost the only events that fill the meager annals of Athens for several centuries.

The foundation of the Greek colonies in Asia Minor may be said to form the conclusion of the Mythical Period of Grecian history, and likewise to furnish the basis for the earlier forms of authentic Greek literature. Before proceeding, therefore, to the general events that distinguish the authentic period of Greek history, we will give, first, a brief sketch of this early literature as embodied chiefly in the poems of Homer; and, second, will point out some of the causes that tended to unite the Greeks as a people, notwithstanding their separation into so many independent communities or states.



The earliest written compositions of the Greeks, of which tradition or history has preserved any record, were poetical; a circumstance which, noticed in other nations also, has led to the assertion that poetry is preeminently the language of Nature. But the first poetical compositions of the Greeks were not written. The earliest of them were undoubtedly the religious teachings of the priests and seers; and these were soon followed by others founded on the legends and genealogies of the Grecian heroes, which were addressed, by their authors, to the ear and feelings of a sympathizing audience, and were then taken up by professional reciters, called Rhapsodists, who traveled from place to place, rehearsing them before private companies or at the public festivals.

Of the Greek colonists of Asia the Ionians possessed the highest culture, and with them we find the first development of Greek poetry. Drawing from the common language a richer tone and a clearness and graphic power that their neighbors never equaled, they early unfolded the ancient legends and genealogies of the race into new and enlarged forms of poetical beauty. Says DR. C. C. FELTON,[Footnote: "Lectures on Ancient and Modern Greece," vol. i., p. 78.] "In Ionia the popular enthusiasm took a poetical turn, and the genius of that richly gifted race responded nobly to the call. The poets--singers as they were first called--found in the Orally transmitted ballads the richest mines of legendary lore, which they wrought into new forms of rhythmical beauty and splendor. Instead of short ballads, pieces of great length, with more fully developed characters and more of dramatic action, were required by a beauty loving and pleasure seeking race; and the leisure of peace and the demands of refined luxury furnished the occasion and the impelling motive to this more extended species of epic song." From the highly esteemed work of Dr. Felton we transcribe some observations on the beauties of the Ionian dialect, and on the poetical taste and ingenuity that finally developed the immortal epics of Homer:

Ionian Language and Culture.

"The Ionian dialect, remoulded from the Asiatic forms and elements which had traveled through the North and recrossed the Ægean Sea, under the happy influences of a serene and beautiful heaven, amid the most varied and lovely scenery in nature, by a people of manly vigor and exquisite mental and physical organization--of the keenest susceptibility to beauty of sound as well as of form, of the most vivid and creative imagination, combined with a childlike impulsiveness and simplicity--this Ionian language, so sprung and so nurtured, attained a descriptive force, a copiousness and harmony, which made it the most admirable instrument on which poet ever played. For every mood of mind, every shade of passion, every affection of the heart, every form and aspect of the outward world, it had its graphic phrase, its clear, appropriate, and rich expression. Its pictured words and sentences placed the things described, and thoughts that breathe, in living form before the reader's eye and mind. It was vivid, rich, melodious; in its general character strikingly concrete and objective; a charm to the ear, a delight to the imagination; copious and infinitely flexible; free and graceful in movement and structure, having at the beginning passed over the chords of the lyre, and been modulated by the living voice of the singer; obeying the impulse of thought and feeling, rather than the formal principles of grammar.

"It expressed the passions of robust manhood with artless and unconscious truth. Its freedom, its voluble minuteness of delineation, its rapid changes of construction, its breaks, pauses, significant and sudden transitions, its easy irregularities, exhibit the intellectual play of national youth; while in boldness and splendor it meets the demands of highest invention and the most majestic sweep of the imagination, and bears the impress of genius in the full strength of its maturity. Frederic Jacobs says, fancifully yet truly, that 'the language of Ionia resembles the smooth mirror of a broad and silent lake, from whose depth a serene sky, with its soft and sunny vault, and the varied nature along its smiling shores are reflected in transfigured beauty.' In Ionia, to borrow the expressions of the same eloquent writer, the mind of man 'enjoyed a life exempt from drudgery, among fair festivals and solemn assemblies, full of sensibility and frolic joy, innocent curiosity and childlike faith. Surrendered to the outer world, and inclined to all that was attractive by novelty, beauty, and greatness, it was here that the people listened, with greatest eagerness, to the history of the men and heroes whose deeds, adventures, and wanderings filled a former age with their renown, and, when they were echoed in song, moved to ecstasy the breasts of the hearers.

"The Ionians had from the beginning a superior natural endowment for literature and art; and when this most gifted race came into contact with the antique culture and boundless commercial wealth of Asia and Africa, the loveliest and most fragrant flowers of the intellect shot forth in every direction. Carrying with them the traditions of their race and the war-songs of their bards to the very scenes where the famous deeds of their forefathers had been performed, these local circumstances awakened a fresh interest in the old legends, and epic poetry took a new start, a bolder character, a loftier sweep, a wider range. A general expansion of the intellectual powers and the poetical spirit suddenly took place in the midst of the new prosperity and the unaccustomed luxuries of the East--in the midst of the gay and festive life which succeeded the ages of wandering, toil, hardship, and conflict, like the Sabbath repose following the weary warfare of the week. The loveliness of nature on the Ionian shores, and in the isles that crown the Ægean deep, was soon embellished by the genius of art. Stately processions, hymns chanted in honor of the gods, graceful dances before the altars, statues, and shrines, assemblies for festal or solemn purposes in the open air under the soft sky of Ionia, or within the halls of princes and nobles--these fill up the moments of the new and dazzling existence which the excitable Hellenic race are invited here and now to enjoy.

"Their first and deepest want--that which, in the foregoing periods of their existence, had been the first supplied--was the longing of the heart, the demand of the imagination, for poetry and song; and it would have been surprising if the bright genius of Ionia, under all these favoring circumstances, had not broken upon the world with a splendor which outshone all its former achievements. Poets sprang up, obedient to the call, and a new school of poetical composition rapidly developed itself, embodying the Hellenic traditions of the Trojan story, and the legends handed down by the Trojans themselves. Troops or companies of these poets--singers, as they were called--were formed, and their pieces were the delight of the listening multitudes that thronged around them. At last, among these minstrels who consecrated the flower of their lives to the service of the Muses, appeared a man whose genius was to eclipse them all. This man was Homer."


Not only was Homer the greatest of the poets of antiquity, but he is generally admitted to be distinguished before all competitors by a clear and even a vast superiority. The circumstances of his life are but little known, except that he was a wandering poet, and, in his later years at least, was blind. He is supposed to have lived nearly one thousand years before the Christian era; but, strange as it may seem, nothing is known, with certainty, of his parentage or his birthplace. Although he was probably a native of the island of Chi'os, yet seven Grecian cities contended for the honor of his birth. In view of this controversy, and of the real doubt that hung over the subject, the poet ANTIP'ATER, of Sidon, who flourished just before the Christian era, as if he could not give to his great predecessor too high an exaltation, attributes his birthplace to heaven, and he ascribes to the goddess Calli'o-pe, one of the Muses, who presided over epic poetry and eloquence, the distinction of being his mother.

From Col'ophon some deem thee sprung;
  From Smyrna some, and some from Chios;
These noble Sal'amis have sung,
  While those proclaim thee born in Ios;
And others cry up Thessaly,
The mother of the Lap'ithæ.
Thus each to Homer has assigned
The birthplace just which suits his mind.

But if I read the volume right,
  By Phoebus to his followers given,
I'd say they're all mistaken quite,
  And that his real country's heaven;
While, for his mother, she can be
No other than Calliope.
  --Trans. by MERIVALE.

The principal works of Homer, and, in fact, the only ones that have not been declared spurious, are the Iliad and the Odyssey. The former, as we have seen, relates some of the circumstances of the closing year of the Trojan war; and the latter tells the story of the wanderings of the Grecian prince Ulysses after the fall of Troy. The ancients, to whom the writings of Homer were so familiar, fully believed that he was the author of the two great epics attributed to him. It was left to modern critics to maintain the contrary. In 1795 Professor F. A. Wolf, of Germany, published his Prolegomena, or prefatory essay to the Iliad, in which he advanced the hypothesis that both the Iliad and the Odyssey were a collection of separate lays by different authors, for the first time reduced to writing and formed into the two great poems by the despot Pisis'tratus, of Athens, and his friends. [Footnote: Nearly all the modern German writers follow the views of Wolf against the Homeric authorship of this poem, but among the English critics there is more diversity of opinion. Colonel Mure, Mr. Gladstone, and others oppose the German view, while Grote, Professor Geddes, Professor Mahaffy and others of note adopt it, so far at least as to believe that Homer was not the sole author of the poems.] We cannot here enter into the details of the controversy to which this theory has given rise, nor can we undertake to say on which side the weight of authority is to be found. The following extracts well express the views of those who adhere to the common theory on the subject. PROFESSOR FELTON thus remarks, in the preface to his edition of the Iliad: "For my own part I prefer to consider it, as we have received it from ancient editors, as one poem--the work of one author, and that author Homer, the first and greatest of minstrels. As I understand the Iliad, there is a unity of plan, a harmony of parts, a consistency among the different situations of the same character, which mark it as the production of one mind; but of a mind as versatile as the forms of nature, the aspects of life, and the combinations of powers, propensities, and passions in man are various."

On the same subject, the English author and critic, THOMAS NOON TALFOURD, makes these interesting observations: "The hypothesis to which the antagonists of Homer's personality must resort, implies something far more wonderful than the theory which they impugn. They profess to cherish the deepest veneration for the genius displayed in the poems. They agree, also, in the antiquity usually assigned to them, and they make this genius and this antiquity the arguments to prove that one man could not have composed them. They suppose, then, that in a barbarous age, instead of one being marvelously gifted, there were many: a mighty race of bards, such as the world has never since seen--a number of miracles instead of one. All experience is against this opinion. In various periods of the world great men have arisen, under very different circumstances, to astonish and delight it; but that the intuitive power should be so strangely diffused, at any one period, among a great number, who should leave no successors behind them, is unworthy of credit. And we are requested to believe this to have occurred in an age which those who maintain the theory regard as unfavorable to poetic art! The common theory, independent of other proofs, is the most probable. Since the early existence of the works cannot be doubted, it is easier to believe in one than in twenty Homers."

Very numerous and varied are the characterizations of Homer and the writings ascribed to him. POPE, in his Temple of Fame, pays this tribute to the ancient bard:

High on the list the mighty Homer shone;
Eternal adamant composed his throne;
Father of verse! in holy fillets dressed,
His silver beard waved gently o'er his breast;
Though blind, a boldness in his look appears;
In years he seemed, but not impaired by years.
The wars of Troy were round the pillars seen:
Here fierce Tydi'des wounds the Cyprian queen;
Here Hector, glorious from Patro'clus' fall;
Here, dragged in triumph round the Trojan wall.
Motion and life did every part inspire,
Bold was the work, and proud the master's fire:
A strong expression most he seemed to affect,
And here and there disclosed a brave neglect.

It is admitted by all that the Homeric characters are drawn, each in its way, by a master's hand. "The most pervading merit of the Iliad," says one, "is its fidelity and vividness as a mirror of man, and of the visible sphere in which he lived, with its infinitely varied imagery, both actual and ideal; and the task which the great poet set for himself was perfectly accomplished." "The mind of Homer," says another, "is like an Æolian harp, so finely strung that it answers to the faintest movement of the air by a proportionate vibration. With every stronger current its music rises along an almost immeasurable scale, which begins with the lowest and softest whisper, and ends in the full swell of the organ."

The "lofty march" of the Iliad is also often spoken of as characteristic of the style in which that great epic is written. And yet, as has been said, "though its versification is always appropriate, and therefore never mean, it only rises into stateliness, or into a terrible sublimity, when Homer has occasion to brace his energies for an effort. Thus he ushers in with true grandeur the marshalling of the Greek army, in the Second Book, partly by the invocation of the Muses, and partly by an assemblage of no less than six consecutive similes, which describe, respectively--1st, the flash of the Greek arms and the splendor of the Grecian hosts; 2d, the swarming numbers; 3d, the resounding tramp; 4th, the settling down of the ranks as they form the line; 5th, the busy marshalling by the commanders; 6th, the majesty of the great chief Agamemnon, 'like Mars or Neptune, such as Jove ordained him, eminent above all his fellow-chiefs.'"

These similes are brought in with great effect as introductory to a catalogue of the ships and forces of the Greeks; thus pouring, from a single point, a broad stream of splendor over the whole; and although the enumeration which follows is only a plain matter of business, it is not without its poetical embellishment, and is occasionally relieved by short legends of the countries and noted warriors of the different tribes. We introduce these striking similes here as marked characteristics of the art of Homer, from whom, it is little exaggeration to say, a very large proportion of the similes of all subsequent writers have been, more or less directly, either copied or paraphrased.

When it has been decided to lead the army to battle, the aged Nestor thus addresses Agamemnon:

"Now bid thy heralds sound the loud alarms,
And call the squadrons sheathed in brazen arms;
Now seize the occasion, now the troops survey,
And lead to war when heaven directs the way."
He said: the monarch issued his commands;
Straight the loud heralds call the gathering bands:
The chiefs enclose their king; the hosts divide,
In tribes and nations ranked on either side.

The appearance of the gathering hosts is then described in the following

(1.)  As on some mountain, through the lofty grove,
The crackling flames ascend, and blaze above;
The fires expanding, as the winds arise,
Shoot their long beams, and kindle half the skies;
So from the polished arms and brazen shields
A gleamy splendor flashed along the fields.
(2.)  Not less their number than the embodied cranes,
Or milk-white swans on A'sius' watery plains,
That, o'er the windings of Ca-ys'ter's springs,
Stretch their long necks, and clap their rustling wings;
Now tower aloft, and course in airy rounds,
Now light with noise; with noise the field resounds.
(3.)  Thus numerous and confused, extending wide,
The legions crowd Scamander's flowery side;
With rushing troops the plains are covered o'er,
And thundering footsteps shake the sounding shore.'
(4.)  Along the river's level meads they stand,
Thick as in spring the flowers adorn the land,
Or leaves the trees; or thick as insects play,
The wandering nation of a summer's day,
That, drawn by milky streams, at evening hours,
In gathered swarms surround the rural bowers;
From pail to pail with busy murmur run
The gilded legions, glittering in the sun.
So thronged, so close the Grecian squadrons stood
In radiant arms, athirst for Trojan blood.
(5.)  Each leader now his scattered force conjoins
In close array, and forms the deepening lines.
Not with more ease the skilful shepherd swain
Collects his flocks from thousands on the plain.
(6.)  The king of kings, majestically tall,
Towers o'er his armies, and outshines them all;
Like some proud bull, that round the pastures leads
His subject herds, the monarch of the meads,
Great as the gods, the exalted chief was seen,
His chest like Neptune, and like Mars his mien;
Jove o'er his eyes celestial glories spread,
And dawning conquest played around his head.
--POPE'S Trans.

Similes abound on nearly every page of the Iliad, and they are always appropriate to the subject. We select from them the following additional specimen, in which the brightness and number of the fires of the Trojans, in their encampment, are likened to the moon and stars in their glory--when, as Cowper translates the fourth line, "not a vapor streaks the boundless blue."

As when the moon, refulgent lamp of night,
O'er heaven's blue azure spreads her sacred light,
When not a breath disturbs the deep serene,
And not a cloud o'ercasts the solemn scene;
Around her throne the vivid planets roll,
And stars unnumbered gild the glowing pole,
O'er the dark trees a yellow verdure shed,
And tip with silver every mountain head;
Then shine the vales, the rocks in prospect rise,
A flood of glory bursts from all the skies;
The conscious swains, rejoicing in the sight,
Eye the blue vault, and bless the useful light;
So many fires before proud Ilion blaze,
And lighten glimmering Xanthus with their rays.
--Iliad, B. VIII. POPE'S Trans.

Sheffield, Duke of Buckingham, is said to have declared of the two great epics of Homer:

Read Homer once, and you can read no more,
For all books else appear so mean, so poor;
Verse will seem prose; but still persist to read,
And Homer will be all the books you need.

The following characterization, from the pen of HENRY NELSON COLERIDGE, is both true and pleasing:

"There are many hearts and minds to which one of these matchless poems will be more delightful than the other; there are many to which both will give equal pleasure, though of different kinds; but there can hardly be a person, not utterly averse to the Muses, who will be quite insensible to the manifold charms of one or the other. The dramatic action of the Iliad may command attention where the diffused narrative of the Odyssey would fail to do so; but how can anyone, who loves poetry under any shape, help yielding up his soul to the virtuous siren-singing of Genius and Truth, which is forever resounding from the pages of either of These marvelous and truly immortal poems? In the Iliad will be found the sterner lessons of public justice or public expedience, and the examples are for statesmen and generals; in the Odyssey we are taught the maxims of private prudence and individual virtue, and the instances are applicable to all mankind: in both, Honesty, Veracity, and Fortitude are commended, and set up for imitation; in both, Treachery, Falsehood, and Cowardice are condemned, and exposed for our scorn and avoidance.

"Born, like the river of Egypt, in secret light, these poems yet roll on their great collateral streams, wherein a thousand poets have bathed their sacred heads, and thence drunk beauty and truth, and all sweet and noble harmonies. Known to no man is the time or place of their gushing forth from the earth's bosom, but their course has been among the fields and by the dwellings of men, and our children now sport on their banks and quaff their salutary waters. Of all the Greek poetry, I, for one, have no hesitation in saying that the Iliad and the Odyssey are the most delightful, and have been the most instructive works to me; there is a freshness about them both which never fades, a truth and sweetness which charmed me as a boy and a youth, and on which, if I attain to it, I count largely for a soothing recreation in my old age."


The natural causes which tended to unite the Greeks as a people were a common descent, a common language, and a common religion. Greek genius led the nation to trace its origin, where historical memory failed, to fabulous persons sprung from the earth or the gods; and under the legends of primitive and heroic ancestors lie the actual migrations and conquests of rude bands sprung from related or allied tribes. These poetical tales, accepted throughout Hellas as historical, convinced the people of a common origin. Thus the Greeks had a common share in the renown of their ancient heroes, upon whose achievements or lineage the claims of families to hereditary authority, and of states to the leadership of confederacies, were grounded. The pride or the ambition of political rivals led to the gradual embellishment of these traditions, and ended in ancestral worship. Thus Attica had a temple to Theseus, the Ionian hero; the shrine of Æsculapius at Epidau'rus was famous throughout the classic world; and the exploits of Hercules were commemorated by the Dorians at the tomb of a Ne'mean king. When the bard and the playwright clothed these tales in verse, all Greece hearkened; and when the painter or the sculptor took these subjects for his skill, all Greece applauded. Thus was strengthened the national sense of fraternal blood.

The possession of a common speech is so great a means of union, that the Romans imposed the Latin tongue on all public business and official records, even where Greek was the more familiar language; and the Mediæval Church displayed her unity by the use of Latin in every bishopric on all occasions of public worship. A language not only makes the literature embodied in it the heritage of all who speak it, but it diffuses among them the subtle genius which has shaped its growth. The lofty regard in which the Greeks held their own musical and flexible language is illustrated by an anecdote of Themis'tocles, who put to death the interpreter of a Persian embassy to Athens because he dared "to use the Greek tongue to utter the demands of the barbarian king." From Col'chis to Spain some Grecian dialect attested the extent and the unity of the Hellenic race.

The Greek institutions of religion were still more powerful instruments of unity. It was the genius of a race destitute of an organized priesthood, and not the fancy of the poet, which animated nature by personifying its forces. Zeus was the all-embracing heavens, the father of gods and men; Neptune presided over the seas; Deme'ter gave the harvest; Juno was the goddess of reproduction, and Aphrodi'te the patroness of Jove; while Apollo represented the joy-inspiring orb of day. The same imagination raised the earth to sentient life by assigning Dryads to the trees, Naiads to the fountains and brooks, O're-ads to the hills, Ner'e-ids to the seas, and Satyrs to the fields; and in this many-sided and devout sympathy with nature the imagination and reverence of all Greece found expression. But Greek religion in its temples, its oracles, its games, and its councils, provided more tangible bonds of union than those of sentiment. Each city had its tutelary deity, whose temple was usually the most beautiful building in it, and to which any Greek might have access to make his offering or prayer. The sacred precincts were not to be profaned by those who were polluted with unexpiated crime, nor by blood, nor by the presence of the dead: Hence the temples of Greece were places of refuge for those who would escape from private or judicial vengeance. The more famous oracles of Greece were at Dodo'na, at Delphi, at Lebade'a in Boeotia, and at Epidaurus in Ar'golis. They were consulted by those who wished to penetrate the future. To this superstition the Greeks were greatly addicted, and they allowed the gravest business to wait for the omens of the diviner. A people thus disposed demanded and secured unmolested access to the oracle. The city in whose custody it was must be inviolable, and the roads thereto unobstructed. The oracle was a national possession, and its keepers were national servants.


The public games or festivals of the Greeks were probably of greater efficacy in promoting a spirit of union than any other outgrowth of the religions sentiment of Greece. The Greeks exhibited a passionate fondness for festivals and games, which were occasionally celebrated in every state for the amusement of the people. These, however, were far less interesting than the four great public games, sacred to the gods, which were--the Pythian, at Delphos, sacred to Apollo; the Isth'mian, at Corinth, to Neptune; the Nemean, at Nemea, to Hercules; and the Olympic, at Olympia in E'lis, to Jupiter. To these cities flocked the young and the aged, the private citizen and the statesman, the trader and the artist, to witness or engage in the spectacles. The games were open to all citizens who could prove their Hellenic origin; and prizes were awarded for the best exhibitions of skill in poetry--and in running, wrestling, boxing, leaping, pitching the discus, or quoit, throwing the javelin, and chariot-racing.

The most important of these games was the Olympic, though it involved many principles common to the others. Its origin is obscure; and, though it appears that during the Heroic Age some Grecian chiefs celebrated their victories in public games at Olympia, yet it was not until the time of Lycurgus, in 776 B.C., that the games at Olympia were brought under certain rules, and performed at certain periods. At that time they were revived, so to speak, and were celebrated at the close of every fourth year. From their quadrennial occurrence all Hellas computed its chronology, the interval that elapsed between one celebration and the next being called an Olympiad. During the month that the games continued there was a complete suspension of all hostilities, to enable every Greek to attend them without hindrance or danger.

One of the most popular and celebrated of all the matches held at these games was chariot-racing, with four horses. The following description of one of these races is taken from a tragedy of SOPHOCLES--the Electra--translated by Bulwer. Orestes, son of Agamemnon, had gained five victories on the first day of the trial; and on the second, of which the account is here given, he starts with nine competitors--an Achæan, a Spartan, two Libyans, an Ætolian, a Magnesian; an Æ'ni-an, an Athenian, and a Boeotian --and meets his death in the moment of triumph.

The Chariot-race, and the Death of Orestes.

They took their stand where the appointed judges
Had cast their lots and ranged the rival cars.
Rang out the brazen trump! Away they bound!
Cheer the hot steeds and shake the slackened reins;
As with a body the large space is filled
With the huge clangor of the rattling cars;
High whirl aloft the dust-clouds; blent together
Each presses each, and the lash rings, and loud
Snort the wild steeds, and from their fiery breath,
Along their manes, and down the circling wheels,
Scatter the flaking foam.

                           Orestes still,
Aye, as he swept around the perilous pillar
Last in the course, wheeled in the rushing axle,
The left rein curbed--that on the outer hand
Flung loose. So on erect the chariots rolled!
Sudden the Ænian's fierce and headlong steeds
Broke from the bit, and, as the seventh time now
The course was circled, on the Libyan car
Dashed their wild fronts: then order changed to ruin;
Car dashed on car; the wide Crissæ'an plain
Was, sea-like, strewn with wrecks: the Athenian saw,
Slackened his speed, and, wheeling round the marge,
Unscathed and skilful, in the midmost space,
Left the wild tumult of that tossing storm.

Behind, Orestes, hitherto the last,
Had kept back his coursers for the close;
Now one sole rival left--on, on he flew,
And the sharp sound of the impelling scourge
Rang in the keen ears of the flying steeds.
He nears--he reaches--they are side by side;
Now one--now th' other--by a length the victor.
The courses all are past, the wheels erect--
All safe--when, as the hurrying coursers round
The fatal pillar dashed, the wretched boy
Slackened the left rein. On the column's edge
Crashed the frail axle--headlong from the car,
Caught and all mesh'd within the reins, he fell;
And! masterless, the mad steeds raged along!

Loud from that mighty multitude arose
A shriek--a shout! But yesterday such deeds--
To-day such doom! Now whirled upon the earth,
Now his limbs dashed aloft, they dragged him, those
Wild horses, till, all gory, from the wheels
Released--and no man, not his nearest friends,
Could in that mangled corpse have traced Orestes.
They laid the body on the funeral pyre,
And, while we speak, the Phocian strangers bear,
In a small, brazen, melancholy urn,
That handful of cold ashes to which all
The grandeur of the beautiful hath shrunk.
Within they bore him--in his father's land
To find that heritage, a tomb.

The Pythian games are said to have been established in honor of the victory that Apollo gained at Delphi over the serpent Py'thon, on setting out to erect his temple. This monster, said to have sprung from the stagnant waters of the deluge of Deucalion, may have been none other than the malaria which laid waste the surrounding country, and which some early benefactor of the race overcame by draining the marshes; or, perhaps, as the English writer, Dodwell, suggests, the true explanation of the allegorical fiction is that the serpent was the river Cephis'sus, which, after the deluge had overflowed the plains, surrounded Parnassus with its serpentine involutions, and was at length reduced, by the rays of the sun-god, within its due limits. The poet OVID gives the following relation of the fable:

Apollo's Conflict with Python.

From hence the surface of the ground, with mud
And slime besmeared (the refuse of the flood),
Received the rays of heaven, and sucking in
The seeds of heat, new creatures did begin.
Some were of several sorts produced before;
But, of new monsters, earth created more.
Unwillingly, but yet she brought to light
Thee, Python, too, the wondering world to fright,
And the new nations, with so dire a sight,
So monstrous was his bulk; so large a space
Did his vast body and long train embrace;
Whom Phoebus, basking on a bank, espied.
Ere now the god his arrows had not tried
But on the trembling deer or mountain-goat:
At this new quarry he prepares to shoot.

Though every shaft took place, he spent the store
Of his full quiver; and 'twas long before
The expiring serpent wallowed in his gore.
Then, to preserve the fame of such a deed,
For Python slain he Pythian games decreed,
Where noble youths for mastership should strive--
To quoit, to run, and steeds and chariots drive.
The prize was fame; in witness of renown,
An oaken garland did the victor crown.
The laurel was not yet for triumphs born,
But every green, alike by Phoebus worn,
Did, with promiscuous grace, his flowing locks adorn.
  --Metamorphoses. Trans. by DRYDEN.

The victory of Apollo over the Python is represented by a statue called Apollo Belvedere, perhaps the greatest existing work of ancient art. It was found in 1503, among the ruins of ancient Antium, and it derives its name from its position in the belvedere, or open gallery, of the Vatican at Rome, where it was placed by Pope Julius II. It shows the conception which the ancients had of this benign deity, and also the high degree of perfection to which they had attained in sculpture. A modern writer gives the following account of it:

"The statue is of heroic size, and shows the very perfection of manly beauty. The god stands with the left arm extended, still holding the bow, while the right hand, which has just left the string, is near his hip. This right hand and part of the right arm, as well as the left hand, were wanting in the statue when found, and were restored by Angelo da Montor'soli, a pupil of Michael Angelo. The figure is nude; only a short cloak hangs over the left shoulder. The breast is full and dilated; the muscles are conspicuous, though not exaggerated; the body seems a little thin about the hips, but is poised with such singular grace as to impart to the whole a beauty hardly possessed by any other statue. The sculptor is not known: many attribute the statue to He-ge'si-as, the Ephesian, others to Praxit'e-les or Cal'amis; but its origin and date must remain a matter of conjecture."

The following poetical description of this wonderful statue is given us by THOMSON:

All conquest-flushed, from prostrate Python came
The quivered god. In graceful act he stands,
His arm extended with the slackened bow:
Light flows his easy robe, and fair displays
A manly, softened form. The bloom of gods
Seems youthful o'er the bearded cheek to wave;
His features yet heroic ardor warms;
And, sweet subsiding to a native smile,
Mixed with the joy elating conquest gives,
A scattered frown exalts his matchless air.


While the elements of union we have been considering produced a decided effect in forming Greek national character--serving to strengthen, in the mind of the Greek, the feelings which bound him to his country by keeping alive his national love and pride, and exerting an important influence over his physical education and discipline--they possessed little or no efficacy as a bond of political union--what Greece so much needed. It was probably a recognition of this need that led, at an early period, to the formation of national councils, the primary object of which was the regulation of mutual intercourse between the several states.

Of these early councils we have an example in the several associations known as the Amphicty'o-nes, of which the only one that approached a national senate received the distinctive title of the "Amphictyon'ic Council." This is said to have been instituted by Amphic'tyon, a son of Deucalion, King of Thessaly; but he was probably a fictitious personage, invented to account for the origin of the institution attributed to him. The council is said to have been composed, originally, of deputies from twelve tribes or nations--two from each tribe. But, as independent states or cities grew up, each of these also was entitled to the same representation; and no state, however powerful, was entitled to more. The council met twice every year; in the spring at Delphi, and in the autumn at Anthe'la, a village near Thermopylæ.

While the objects of this council, so far as they can be learned, were praiseworthy, and its action tended to produce the happiest political effects, it was, after all, more especially a religious association. It had no right of interference in ordinary wars between the communities represented in it, and could not turn aside schemes of ambition and conquest, or subdue the jealousies of rival states. The oath taken by its members ran thus: "We will not destroy any Amphictyonic town, nor cut it off from running water in war or peace; if anyone shall do so, we will march against him and destroy his city. If anyone shall plunder the property of the god, or shall take treacherous counsel against the things in his temple at Delphi, we will punish him with foot, and hand, and voice, and by every means in our power." Its chief functions, as we see, were to guard the temple of Delphi and the interests of religion; and it was only in cases of a violation of these, or under that pretence, that it could call for the cooperation of all its members. Inefficient as it had proved to be in many instances, yet Philip of Macedon, by placing himself at its head, overturned the independence of Greece; but its use ceased altogether when the Delphic oracle lost its influence, a considerable time before the reign of Constantine the Great.

Aside from the causes already assigned, the want of political union among the Greeks may be ascribed to a natural and mutual jealousy, which, in the language of Mr. Thirlwall, "stifled even the thought of a confederacy" that might have prevented internal wars and saved Greece from foreign dominion. This jealousy the institutions to which we have referred could not remove; and it was heightened by the great diversity of the forms of government that existed in the Grecian states. As another writer has well observed, "The independent sovereignty of each city was a fundamental notion in the Greek mind. The patriotism of a Greek was confined to his city, and rarely kindled into any general love for the welfare of Hellas. So complete was the political division between the Greek cities, that the citizen of one was an alien and a stranger in the territory of another. He was not merely debarred from all share in the government, but he could not acquire property in land or houses, nor contract a marriage with a native woman, nor sue in the courts except through the medium of a friendly citizen. The cities thus repelling each other, the sympathies and feelings of a Greek became more central in his own."

In view of these conditions it is not surprising that Greece never enjoyed political unity; and just here was her great and suicidal weakness. The Romans reduced various races, in habitual war with one another and marked by variations of dialect and customs, into a single government, and kept them there; but the Greeks, though possessing a common inheritance, a common language, a common religion, and a common type of character, of manners, and of aspirations, allowed all these common interests, that might have created an indissoluble political union, to be subordinated to mutual jealousies--to an "exclusive patriotism" that rendered it difficult for them to unite even under circumstances of common and terrible danger. "It was this political disunion that always led them to turn their arms against one another, and eventually subjected them to the power of Macedon and of Rome."



              Spread on Eurotas' bank,
Amid a circle of soft rising hills,
The patient Sparta stood; the sober, hard,
And man-subduing city; which no shape
Of pain could conquer, nor of pleasure charm.
Lycurgus there built, on the solid base
Of equal life, so well a tempered state,
That firm for ages, and unmoved, it stood
The fort of Greece!

Returning to the Dorians of Peloponnesus, we find, in early historical times, that Sparta was gradually acquiring an ascendancy over the other Dorian states, and extending her dominions throughout the southern portion of the peninsula. This result was greatly aided by her geographical position. On a table-land environed by hills, and with arduous descents to the sea, her natural state was one of great strength, while her sterile soil promoted frugality, hardihood, and simplicity among her citizens.

Some time in the ninth century Polydec'tes, one of the Spartan kings, died without children, and the reins of government fell into the hands of his brother Lycurgus, who became celebrated as the "Spartan law-giver." But Lycurgus soon resigned the crown to the posthumous son of Polydectes, and went into voluntary exile. He is said to have visited many foreign lands, observing their institutions and manners, conversing with their sages, and employing his time in maturing a plan for remedying the many disorders which afflicted his native country. On his return he applied himself to the work of framing a new Constitution, having first consulted the Delphic oracle, which assured him that "the Constitution he should establish would be the most excellent in the world."


Having enlisted the aid of most of the prominent citizens, who took up arms to support him, Lycurgus procured the enactment of a code of laws founded on the institutions of the Cretan Minos, by which the form of government, the military discipline of the people, the distribution of property, the education of the citizens, and the rules of domestic life were to be established on a new and immutable basis. The account which Plutarch gives of these regulations asserts that Lycurgus first established a senate of thirty members, chosen for life, the two kings being of the number, and that the former shared the power of the latter. There were also to be assemblies of the people, who were to have no right to propose any subject of debate, but were only authorized to ratify or reject what might be proposed to them by the senate and the kings. Lycurgus next made a division of the lands, for here he found great inequality existing, as there were many indigent persons who had no lands, and the wealth was centered in the hands of a few.

In order farther to remove inequalities among the citizens, Lycurgus next attempted to divide the movable property; but as this measure met with great opposition, he had recourse to another method for accomplishing the same object. He stopped the currency of gold and silver coin, and permitted iron money only to be used; and to a great quantity and weight of this he assigned but a small value, so that to remove one or two hundred dollars of this money would require a yoke of oxen. This regulation is said to have put an end to many kinds of injustice; for "who," says Plutarch, "would steal or take a bribe; who would defraud or rob when he could not conceal the booty--when he could neither be dignified by the possession of it nor be served by its use?" Unprofitable and superfluous arts were also excluded, trade with foreign states was abandoned, and luxury, losing its sources of support, died away of itself.

Through the efforts of Lycurgus, Sparta was delivered from the evils of anarchy and misrule, and began a long period of tranquillity and order. Its progress was mainly due, however, to that part of the legislation of Lycurgus which related to the military discipline and education of its citizens. The position of Sparta, an unfortified city surrounded by numerous enemies, compelled the Spartans to be a nation of soldiers. From his birth every Spartan belonged to the state; sickly and deformed children were destroyed, those only being thought worthy to live who promised to become useful members of society. The principal object of Spartan education, therefore, was to render the Spartan youth expert in manly exercises, hardy, and courageous; and at seven years of age he began a course of physical training of great hardship and even torture. Manhood was not reached until the thirtieth year, and thenceforth, until his sixtieth year, the Spartan remained under public discipline and in the service of the state. The women, also, were subjected to a course of training almost as rigorous as that of the men, and they took as great an interest in the welfare of their country and in the success of its arms. "Return, either with your shield or upon it," was their exhortation to their sons when the latter were going to battle. The following lines, supposed to be addressed by a Spartan mother to the dead body of her son, whom she had slain because he had ingloriously fled from the battle-field, will illustrate the Spartan idea of patriotic virtue which was so sedulously instilled into every Spartan:

Deme'trius, when he basely fled the field,
A Spartan born, his Spartan mother killed;
Then, stretching forth his bloody sword, she cried
(Her teeth fierce gnashing with disdainful pride),
"Fly, cursed offspring, to the shades below,
Where proud Euro'tas shall no longer flow
For timid hinds like thee! Fly, trembling slave,
Abandoned wretch, to Pluto's darkest cave!
For I so vile a monster never bore:
Disowned by Sparta, thou'rt my son no more."

There were three classes among the population of Laconia--the Dorians, of Sparta; their serfs, the He'lots; and the people of the provincial districts. The former, properly called Spartans, were the ruling caste, who neither employed themselves in agriculture nor practiced any mechanical art. The Helots were slaves, who, as is generally believed, on account of their obstinate resistance in some early wars, and subsequent conquest, had been reduced to the most degrading servitude. The people of the provincial districts were a mixed race, composed partly of strangers who had accompanied the Dorians and aided them in their conquest, and partly of the old inhabitants of the country who had submitted to the conquerors. The provincials were under the control of the Spartan government, in the administration of which they had no share, and the lands which they held were tributary to the state; they formed an important part of the military force of the country, and had little to complain of but the want of political independence.


With all her devotion to the pursuit of arms, the bard, the sculptor, and the architect found profitable employment in Sparta. While the Spartans never exhibited many of those qualities of mind and heart which were cultivated at Athens with such wonderful success, they were not strangers to the influences of poetry and music. Says the poet CAMPBELL, "The Spartans used not the trumpet in their march into battle, because they wished not to excite the rage of their warriors. Their charging step was made to the 'Dorian mood of flute and soft recorder.' The valor of a Spartan was too highly tempered to require a stunning or rousing impulse. His spirit was like a steed too proud for the spur."

They marched not with the trumpet's blast,
  Nor bade the horn peal out,
And the laurel-groves, as on they passed,
  Rung with no battle-shout!

They asked no clarion's voice to fire
  Their souls with an impulse high;
But the Dorian reed and the Spartan lyre
  For the sons of liberty!

And still sweet flutes, their path around,
  Sent forth Eolian breath;
They needed not a sterner sound
  To marshal them for death!

"The songs of the Spartans," says PLUTARCH, "had a spirit which could rouse the soul, and impel it in an enthusiastic manner to action. They consisted chiefly of the praises of heroes that had died for Sparta, or else of expressions of detestation for such wretches as had declined the glorious opportunity. Nor did they forget to express an ambition for glory suitable to their respective ages. Of this it may not be amiss to give an instance. There were three choirs in their festivals, corresponding with the three ages of man. The old men began,

'Once in battle bold we shone;'

the young men answered,

'Try us; our vigor is not gone;'

and the boys concluded,

'The palm remains for us alone.'

Indeed, if we consider with some attention such of the Lacedæmonian poems as are still extant, and enter into the spirit of those airs which were played upon the flute when marching to battle, we must agree that Terpan'der and Pindar have very fitly joined valor and music together. The former thus speaks of Lacedæmon:

Then gleams the youth's bright falchion; then the Muse
Lifts her sweet voice; then awful Justice opes
Her wide pavilion.

And Pindar sings,

Then in grave council sits the sage:
Then burns the youth's resistless rage
  To hurl the quiv'ring lance;
The Muse with glory crowns their arms,
And Melody exerts her charms,
  And Pleasure leads the dance.

Thus we are informed not only of their warlike turn, but of their skill in music."

The poet ION, of Chios, gives us the following elegant description of the power of Sparta:

The town of Sparta is not walled with words;
But when young A'res falls upon her men,
Then reason rules, and the hand does the deed.


Under the constitution of Lycurgus Sparta began her career of conquest. Of the death of the great law-giver we have no reliable account; but it is stated that, having bound the Spartans to make no change in the laws until his return, he voluntarily banished himself forever from his country and died in a foreign land. During a century or more subsequent to the time of Lycurgus, the Spartans remained at peace with their neighbors; but jealousies arose between them and the Messe'nians, a people west of Laconia, which, stimulated by insults and injuries on both sides, gave rise to the FIRST MESSENIAN WAR, 743 years before the Christian era. For the first four years the Spartans made little progress; but in the fifth year of the war a great battle was fought, and, although its result was indecisive, the Messenians deemed it prudent to retire to the strongly fortified mountain of Itho'me. In the eighteenth year of the conflict the Spartans suffered a severe defeat, and were driven back into their own territory; but at the close of the twentieth year the Messenians were obliged to abandon their fortress of Ithome, and leave their rich fields in the undisturbed possession of their conquerors. Many of the inhabitants fled into Arcadia and other friendly territories, while those who remained were treated with great severity, and reduced to the condition of the Helots.

The war thus closed developed the warlike spirit that the institutions of Lycurgus were so well calculated to encourage; and the Spartans were so stern and unyielding in their exactions, that they drove the Messenians to revolt thirty-nine years later, 685 B.C. The Messenians found an able leader in Aristom'enes, whose valor in the first battle struck fear into his enemies, and inspired his countrymen with confidence. In this struggle the Argives, Arcadians, Si-çy-o'nians, and Pisa'tans aided Messenia, while the Corinthians assisted Sparta. In alarm the Spartans sought the advice of the Delphic oracle, and received the mortifying response that they must seek a leader from the Athenians, between whose country and Laconia there had been no intercourse for several centuries. Fearing to disobey the oracle, but reluctant to further the cause of the Spartans, the Athenians sent to the latter the poet TYRTÆ'US, who had no distinction as a warrior. His patriotic and martial odes, however, roused the spirit of the Spartans, and animated them to new efforts against the foe. He appears as the great hero of Sparta during the SECOND MESSENIAN WAR, and of his songs that have come down to us we give the following as a specimen:

To the field, to the field, gallant Spartan band,
Worthy sons, like your sires, of our warlike land!
Let each arm be prepared for its part in the fight,
Fix the shield on the left, poise the spear with the right;
Let no care for your lives in your bosoms find place,
No such care knew the heroes of old Spartan race.
[Footnote: Mure's "History of Greek Literature,"
vol. iii., p. 195.

But the Spartans were not immediately successful. In the first battle that ensued they were defeated with severe loss; but in the third year of the war the Messenians suffered a signal defeat, owing to the treachery of Aristoc'rates, the king of their Arcadian allies, who deserted them in the heat of battle, and Aristomenes retired to the mountain fortress of Ira. The war continued, with varying success, seventeen years in all; throughout the whole of which period Aristomenes distinguished himself by many noble exploits; but all his efforts to save his country were ineffectual. A second time Sparta conquered (668 B.C.), and the yoke appeared to be fixed on Messenia forever. Thenceforward the growing power of Sparta seemed destined to undisputed pre-eminence, not only in the Peloponnesus, but throughout all Greece. Before 600 B.C. Sparta had conquered the upper valley of the Eurotas from the Arcadians, and, forty years later, compelled Te'gea, the capital of Arcadia, to acknowledge her supremacy. Still later, in 524 B.C., a long struggle with the Argives was terminated in favor of Sparta, and she was now the most powerful of the Grecian states.



Although Greek political writers taught that there were, primarily, but three forms of government--monarchy, or the rule of one; aristocracy, that of the few; and democracy, that of the many--the latter always limited by the Greeks to the freemen--yet it appears that when anyone of these degenerated from its supposed legitimate object, the welfare of the state, it was marked by a peculiar name. Thus a monarchy in which selfish aims predominated became a tyranny; and in later Grecian history, such was the prevailing sentiment in opposition to kingly rule that all kings were called tyrants: an aristocracy which directed its measures chiefly to the preservation of its power became an oligarchy; and a democracy that departed from the civil and political equality which was its supposed basis, and gave ascendancy to a faction, was sometimes designated by the term ochlocracy, or the dominion of the rabble. "A democracy thus corrupted," says THIRLWALL, "exhibited many features of a tyranny. It was jealous of all who were eminently distinguished by birth, fortune, or reputation; it encouraged flatterers and sycophants; was insatiable in its demands on the property of the rich, and readily listened to charges which exposed them to death or confiscation. The class which suffered such oppression, commonly ill satisfied with the principle of the Constitution itself, was inflamed with the most furious animosity by the mode in which it was applied, and it regarded the great mass of its fellow-citizens as its mortal enemies."

As in all the Greek states there was a large class of people not entitled to the full rights of citizenship, including, among others, persons reduced to slavery as prisoners of war, and foreign settlers and their descendants, so there was no such form of government as that which the moderns understand by a complete democracy. Of a republic also, in the modern acceptation of the term--that is, a representative democracy--the Greeks knew nothing. As an American statesman remarks, "Certain it is that the greatest philosophers among them would have regarded as something monstrous a republic spreading over half a continent and embracing twenty-six states, each of which would have itself been an empire, and not a commonwealth, in their sense of the word."[Footnote: Hugh S. Legaré's Writings, vol. i., p.440.]


During several centuries succeeding the period of the supposed Trojan war, a gradual change occurred in the political history of the Grecian states, the results of which were an abandonment of much of the kingly authority that prevailed through the Heroic Age. At a still later period this change was followed by the introduction and establishment, at first, of aristocracies, and, finally, of democratic forms of government; which latter decided the whole future character of the public life of the Grecians. The three causes, more prominent than the rest, that are assigned by most writers for these changes, and the final adoption of democratic forms, are, first, the more enlarged views occasioned by the Trojan war, and the dissensions which followed the return of those engaged in it; second, the great convulsions that attended the Thessalian, Boeotian, and Dorian migrations; and, third, the free principles which intercourse and trade with the Grecian colonies naturally engendered.

But of these causes the third tended, more than any other one, to change the political condition of the Grecians. Whether the migrations of the Greek colonists were occasioned, as they generally were, by conquests that drove so many from their homes to seek an asylum in foreign lands, or were undertaken, as was the case in some instances, with the consent and encouragement of the parent states, there was seldom any feeling of dependence on the one side, and little or no claim of authority on the other. This was especially the case with the Ionians, who had scarcely established themselves in Asia Minor when they shook off the authority of the princes who conducted them to their new settlements, and established a form of government more democratic than any which then existed in Greece.

With the rapid progress of mercantile industry and maritime discovery, on which the prosperity of the colonies depended, a spirit of independence grew up, which erelong exerted an influence on the parent states of Greece, and encouraged the growth of free principles there. "Freedom," says an eloquent author,[Footnote: Heeren, "Polities of Ancient Greece," p. 103.] "ripens in colonies. Ancient usage cannot be preserved, cannot altogether be renewed, as at home. The former bonds of attachment to the soil, and ancient customs, are broken by the voyage; the spirit feels itself to be more free in the new country; new strength is required for the necessary exertions; and those exertions are animated by success. When every man lives by the labor of his hands, equality arises, even if it did not exist before. Each day is fraught with new experience; the necessity of common defence is more felt in lands where the new settlers find ancient inhabitants desirous of being free from them. Need we wonder, then, if the authority of the founders of the Grecian colonies, even where it had originally existed, soon gave way to liberty?"

But the changes in the political principles of the Grecian states were necessarily slow, and were usually attended with domestic quarrels and convulsions. Monarchy, in most instances, was abolished by first taking away its title, and substituting that of archon, or chief magistrate, a term less offensive than that of king; next, by making the office of chief ruler elective, first in one family, then in more--first for life, then for a term of years; and, finally, by dividing the power among several of the nobility, thus forming an aristocracy or oligarchy. At the time in Grecian history to which we have come democracy was as yet unknown; but the principal Grecian states, with the exception of Sparta, which always retained the kingly form of government, had abolished royalty and substituted oligarchy. This change did not better the condition of the people, who, increasing in numbers and intelligence, while the ruling class declined in numbers and wealth, became conscious of their resources, and put forward their claims to a representation in the government.


The fall of the oligarchies was not accomplished, however, by the people. "The commonalty," says THIRLWALL, "even when really superior in strength, could not all at once shake off the awe with which it was impressed by years of subjection. It needed a leader to animate, unite, and direct it; and it was seldom that one capable of inspiring it with confidence could be found in its own ranks," Hence this leader was generally found in an ambitions citizen, perhaps a noble or a member of the oligarchy, who, by artifice and violence, would make himself the supreme ruler of the state. Under such circumstances the overthrow of an oligarchy was not a triumph of the people, but only the triumph of a then popular leader. To such a one was given the name of tyrant, but not in the sense that we use the term. HEEREN says, "The Grecians connected with this word the idea of an illegitimate, but not necessarily of a cruel, government." As the word therefore signifies simply the irresponsible rule of a single person, such person may be more correctly designated by the term despot, or usurper; although, in point of fact, the government was frequently of the most cruel and tyrannical character.

"The merits of this race of rulers," says BULWER, "and the unconscious benefits they produced, have not been justly appreciated, either by ancient or modern historians. Without her tyrants Greece might never have established her democracies. The wiser and more celebrated tyrants were characterized by an extreme modesty of deportment: they assumed no extraordinary pomp, no lofty titles--they left untouched, or rendered yet more popular, the outward forms and institutions of the government--they were not exacting in taxation--they affected to link themselves with the lowest orders and their ascendancy was usually productive of immediate benefit to the working-classes, whom they employed in new fortifications or new public buildings--dazzling the citizens by a splendor that seemed less the ostentation of an individual than the prosperity of a state. It was against the aristocracy, not against the people, that they directed their acute sagacities and unsparing energies. Every politic tyrant was a Louis the Eleventh, weakening the nobles, creating a middle class. He effected his former object by violent and unscrupulous means. He swept away by death or banishment all who opposed his authority or excited his fears. He thus left nothing between the state and a democracy but himself; and, himself removed, democracy naturally and of course ensued."[Footnote: "Athens: Its Rise and Fall," vol. i., pp. 148, 149.]

From the middle of the seventh century B.C., and during a period of over one hundred and fifty years, there were few Grecian cities that escaped a despotic government. While the history of Athens affords, perhaps, the most striking example of it, the longest tyranny in Greece was that in the city of Si'çyon, which lasted a hundred years under Orthag'orus and his sons. Their dynasty was founded about 676 B.C., and its long duration is ascribed to its mildness and moderation. The last of this dynasty was Clis'thenes, whose daughter became the mother of the Athenian Clisthenes, the founder of democracy at Athens on the expulsion of the Pisistrat'idæ. The despots of Corinth were more celebrated. Their dynasty endured seventy-four years, having been founded in the year 655. Under Perian'der, who succeeded to power in 625, and whose government was cruel and oppressive, Corinth reached her highest prosperity. His reign lasted upward of forty years, and soon after his death the dynasty ended, being overpowered by Sparta.

Across the isthmus from Corinth was the city of Meg'ara, of which, in 630 B.C., Theag'enes, a bold and ambitious man, made himself despot. Like many other usurpers of his time, he adorned the city with splendid and useful buildings. But he was overthrown after a rule of thirty years, and a violent struggle then ensued between the oligarchy and the people. At first the latter were successful; they banished many of the nobles, and confiscated their property, but the exiles returned, and by force of arms recovered their power. Still the struggle continued, and it was not until after many years that an oligarchical government was firmly established. Much interest is added to these revolutions in Megara by the writings of THEOG'NIS, a contemporary poet, and a member of the oligarchical party. "His writings," says THIRLWALL, "are interesting, not so much for the historical facts contained in them as for the light they throw on the character and feelings of the parties which divided his native city and so many others."

In the poems of THEOGNIS "his keen sense of his personal sufferings is almost absorbed in the vehement grief and indignation with which he contemplates the state of Megara, the triumph of the bad [his usual term for the people], and the degradation of the good [the members of the old aristocracy]." Some of the social changes which the popular revolution had effected are thus described:

Our commonwealth preserves its former fame:
Our common people are no more the same.
They that in skins and hides were rudely dressed,
Nor dreamed of law, nor sought to be redressed
By rules of right, but in the days of old
Lived on the land like cattle in the fold,
Are now the Brave and Good; and we, the rest,
Are now the Mean and Bad, though once the best.

It appears, also, that some of the aristocracy by birth had so far forgotten their leading position as to inter-marry with those who had become possessed of much wealth; and of this condition of things the poet complains as follows:

But in the daily matches that we make
The price is everything; for money's sake
Men marry--women are in marriage given;
The Bad or Coward, that in wealth has thriven,
May match his offspring with the proudest race:
Thus everything is mixed, noble and base.

The usurpations in Sicyon, Corinth, and Megara furnish illustrations of what occurred in nearly all of the Grecian states during the seventh and sixth centuries before the Christian era. Some of those of a later period will be noticed in a subsequent chapter.




As we have already stated, the successive encroachments on the royal prerogatives that followed the death of Co'drus, and that finally resulted in the establishment of an oligarchy, are almost the only events that fill the meager annals of Athens for several centuries, or down to 683 B.C. "Here, as elsewhere," says a distinguished historian, "a wonderful stillness suddenly follows the varied stir of enterprise and adventure, and the throng of interesting characters that present themselves to our view in the Heroic Age. Life seems no longer to offer anything for poetry to celebrate, or for history to record." The history of Athens, therefore, may be said to begin with the institution of the nine annual archons in 683 B.C. These possessed all authority, religious, civil, and military. The Athenian populace not only enjoyed no political rights, but were reduced to a condition only a little above servitude; and it appears to have been owing to the anarchy that arose from the ruinous extortions of the nobles on the one hand, and the resistance of the people on the other, that Dra'co, the most eminent of the nobility, was chosen to prepare the first written code of laws for the government of the state (624 B.C.).

Draco prepared his code in conformity to the spirit and the interest of the ruling class, and the severity of his laws has made his name proverbial. It has been said of them that they were written, not in ink, but in blood. He attached the same penalty to petty thefts as to sacrilege and murder, saying that the former offences deserved death, and he had no greater punishment for the latter. Of course, the legislation of Draco failed to calm the prevailing discontent, and human nature soon revolted against such legalized butchery. Says an English author, "The first symptoms in Athens of the political crisis which, as in other of the Grecian states, marked the transition of power from the oligarchic to the popular party, now showed itself." Cy'lon, an Athenian of wealth and good, family, had married the daughter of Theagenes, the despot of Megara. Encouraged by his father-in-law's success, he conceived the design of seizing the Acropolis at the next Olympic festival and making himself master of Athens. Accordingly, at that time he seized the Acropolis with a considerable force; but not having the support of the mass of the people the conspiracy failed, and most of those engaged in it were put to death.


The Commonwealth was finally reduced to complete anarchy, without law, or order, or system in the administration of justice, when Solon, who was descended from Codrus, was raised to the office of first magistrate (594 B.C.). Solon was born in Salamis, about 638 B.C., and his first appearance in public life at Athens occurred in this wise: A few years prior to the year 600 the Island of Salamis had revolted from Athens to Megara. The Athenians had repeatedly failed in their attempts to recover it, and, finally, the odium of defeat was such that a law was passed forbidding, upon pain of death, any proposition for the renewal of the enterprise. Indignant at this pusillanimous policy, Solon devised a plan for rousing his countrymen to action. Having some poetical talent, he composed a poem on the loss of Salamis, and, feigning madness in order to evade the penalty of the law, he rushed into the market-place. PLUTARCH says, "A great number of people flocking about him there, he got up on the herald's stone, and sang the elegy which begins thus:

'Hear and attend; from Salamis I came
To show your error.'"

The stratagem was successful: the law was repealed, an expedition against Salamis was intrusted to the command of Solon, and in one campaign he drove the Megarians from the island.

Solon the poet, orator, and soldier, became the judicious law-giver, whose fame reached the remotest parts of the then known world, and whose laws became the basis of those of the Twelve Tables of Rome. Says an English poet,

Who knows not Solon, last, and wisest far,
Of those whom Greece, triumphant in the height
Of glory, styled her father? him whose voice
Through Athens hushed the storm of civil wrath;
Taught envious Want and cruel Wealth to join
In friendship, and with sweet compulsion tamed
Minerva's eager people to his laws,
Which their own goddess in his breast inspired?

Having been raised, as stated, to the office of first archon, Solon was chosen, by the consent or an parties, as the arbiter of their differences, and invested with full authority to frame a new Constitution and a new code of laws. He might easily have perverted this almost unlimited power to dangerous uses, and his friends urged him to make himself supreme ruler of Athens. But he told them, "Tyranny is a fair field, but it has no outlet;" and his stern integrity was proof against all temptations to swerve from the path of honor and betray the trust reposed in him.

The ridicule to which he was exposed for rejecting a usurper's power he has described as follows

Nor wisdom's palm, nor deep-laid policy
Can Solon boast. For when its noblest blessings
Heaven poured into his lap, he spurned them from him;
Where was his sense and spirit when enclosed
He found the choicest prey, nor deigned to draw it?
Who, to command fair Athens but one day,
Would not himself, with all his race, have fallen
Contented on the morrow?

The grievous exactions of the ruling orders had already reduced the laboring classes to poverty and abject dependence; and all whom bad times or casual disasters had compelled to borrow had been impoverished by the high rates of interest; while thousands of insolvent debtors had been sold into slavery, to satisfy the demands of relentless creditors. In this situation of affairs the most violent or needy demanded a new distribution of property; while the rich would have held on to all the fruits of their extortion and tyranny. Pursuing a middle course between these extremes, Solon relieved the debtor by reducing the rate of interest and enhancing the value of the currency: he also relieved the lands of the poor from all encumbrances; he abolished imprisonment for debt; he restored to liberty those whom poverty had placed in bondage; and he repealed all the laws of Draco except those against murder. He next arranged all the citizens in four classes, according to their landed property; the first class alone being eligible to the highest civil offices and the highest commands in the army, while only a few of the lower offices were open to the second and third classes. The latter classes, however, were partially relieved from taxation; but in war they were required to do duty, the one as cavalry, and the other as heavy-armed infantry.

Individuals of the fourth class were excluded from all offices, but in return they were wholly exempt from taxation; and yet they had a share in the government, for they were permitted to take part in the popular assemblies, which had the right of confirming or rejecting new laws, and of electing the magistrates; and here their votes counted the same as those of the wealthiest of the nobles. In war they served only as light troops or manned the fleets. Thus the system of Solon, being based primarily on property qualifications, provided for all the freemen; and its aim was to bestow upon the commonalty such a share in the government as would enable it to protect itself, and to give to the wealthy what was necessary for retaining their dignity--throwing the burdens of government on the latter, and not excluding the former from its benefits.

Solon retained the magistracy of the nine archons, but with abridged powers; and, as a guard against democratical extravagance on the one hand, and a check to undue assumptions of power on the other, he instituted a Senate of Four Hundred, and founded or remodeled the court of the Areop'agus. The Senate consisted of members selected by lot from the first three classes; but none could be appointed to this honor until they had undergone a strict examination into their past lives, characters, and qualifications. The Senate was to be consulted by the archons in all important matters, and was to prepare all new laws and regulations, which were to be submitted to the votes of the assembly of the people. The court of the Areopagus, which held its sittings on an eminence on the western side of the Athenian Acropolis, was composed of persons who had held the office of archon, and was the supreme tribunal in all capital cases. It exercised, also, a general superintendence over education, morals, and religion; and it could suspend a resolution of the public assembly, which it deemed foolish or unjust, until it had undergone a reconsideration. It was this court that condemned the philosopher Socrates to death; and before this same venerable tribunal the apostle Paul, six hundred years later, made his memorable defence of Christianity.

Such is a brief outline of the institutions of Solon, which exhibit a mingling of aristocracy and democracy well adapted to the character of the age and the circumstances of the people. They evidently exercised much less control over the pursuits and domestic habits of individuals than the Spartan code, but at the same time they show a far greater regard for the public morals. The success of Solon is well summed up in the following brief tribute to his virtues and genius, by the poet THOMSON:

       He built his commonweal
On equity's wide base: by tender laws
A lively people curbing, yet undamped;
Preserving still that quick, peculiar fire,
Whence in the laurelled field of finer arts
And of bold freedom they unequalled shone,
The pride of smiling Greece, and of mankind.

Solon is said to have declared that his laws were not the best which he could devise, but were the best that the Athenians could receive. In the following lines we have his own estimate of the services he rendered in behalf of his distracted state:

"The force of snow and furious hail is sent
From swelling clouds that load the firmament.
Thence the loud thunders roar, and lightnings glare
Along the darkness of the troubled air.
Unmoved by storms, old Ocean peaceful sleeps
Till the loud tempest swells the angry deeps.
And thus the State, in full distraction toss'd,
Oft by its noblest citizen is lost;
And oft a people once secure and free,
Their own imprudence dooms to tyranny.
My laws have armed the crowd with useful might,
Have banished honors and unequal right,
Have taught the proud in wealth, and high in place,
To reverence justice and abhor disgrace;
And given to both a shield, their guardian tower,
Against ambition's aims and lawless power."


The legislation of Solon was not followed by the total extinction of party-spirit, and, while he was absent from Athens on a visit to Egypt and other Eastern countries, the three prominent factions in the state renewed their ancient feuds. Pisistratus, a wealthy kinsman of Solon, who had supported the measures of the latter by his eloquence and military talents, had the art to gain the favor of the mass of the people and constitute himself their leader. AKENSIDE thus happily describes him as--

The great Pisistratus! that chief renowned,
Whom Hermes and the Ida'lian queen had trained,
Even from his birth, to every powerful art
Of pleasing and persuading; from whose lips
Flowed eloquence which, like the vows of love,
Could steal away suspicion from the hearts
Of all who listened. Thus, from day to day
He won the general suffrage, and beheld
Each rival overshadowed and depressed
Beneath his ampler state; yet oft complained
As one less kindly treated, who had hoped
To merit favor, but submits perforce
To find another's services preferred,
Nor yet relaxeth aught of faith or zeal.
Then tales were scattered of his envious foes,
Of snares that watched his fame, of daggers aimed
Against his life.

When his schemes were ripe for execution, Pisistratus one day drove into the public square of Athens, his mules and himself disfigured with recent wounds inflicted by his own hands, but which he induced the multitude to believe had been received from a band of assassins, whom his enemies, the nobility, had hired to murder "the friend of the people." Of this scene the same poet says:

              At last, with trembling limbs,
His hair diffused and wild, his garments loose,
And stained with blood from self-inflicted wounds,
He burst into the public place, as there,
There only were his refuge; and declared
In broken words, with sighs of deep regret,
The mortal danger he had scarce repelled.

The ruse was successful. An assembly was at once convoked by his partisans, and the indignant crowd immediately voted him a guard of fifty citizens to protect his person, although Solon, who had returned to Athens and was present, warned them of the pernicious consequences of such a measure.

Pisistratus soon took advantage of the favor he had gained, and, arming a large body of his adherents, he threw off the mask and seized the Acropolis. Solon alone, firm and undaunted, publicly presented himself in the market-place, and called upon the people to resist the usurpation.

         Solon, with swift indignant strides
The assembled people seeks; proclaims aloud
It was no time for counsel; in their spears
Lay all their prudence now: the tyrant yet
Was not so firmly seated on his throne,
But that one shock of their united force
Would dash him from the summit of his pride
Headlong and grovelling in the dust.

But his appeal was in vain, and Pisistratus, without opposition, made himself master of Athens. The usurper made no change in the Constitution, and suffered the laws to take their course. He left Solon undisturbed; and it is said that the aged patriot, rejecting all offers of favor, went into voluntary exile, and soon after died at Salamis. Twice was Pisistratus driven from Athens by a coalition of the opposing factions, but he regained the sovereignty and succeeded in holding it until his death (527 B.C.). Although he tightened the reins of government, he ruled with equity and mildness, and adorned Athens with many magnificent and useful works, among them the Lyceum, that subsequently became the famous resort of philosophers and poets. He is also said to have been the first person in Greece who collected a library, which he threw open to the public; and to him posterity is indebted for the collection of Homer's poems. THIRLWALL says: "On the whole, though we cannot approve of the steps by which Pisistratus mounted to power, we must own that he made a princely use of it; and may believe that, though under his dynasty Athens could never have risen to the greatness she afterward attained, she was indebted to his rule for a season of repose, during which she gained much of that strength which she finally unfolded."


On the death of Pisistratus his sons Hippias, Hippar'chus, and Thes'salus succeeded to his power, and for some years trod in his steps and carried out his plans, only taking care to fill the most important offices with their friends, and keeping a standing force of foreign mercenaries to secure themselves from hostile factions and popular outbreaks. After a joint reign of fourteen years, a conspiracy was formed to free Attica from their rule, at the head of which were two young Athenians, Harmo'dius and Aristogi'ton, whose personal resentment had been provoked by an atrocious insult to the family of the former. One of the brothers was killed, but the two young Athenians also lost their lives in the struggle. Hippias, the elder of the rulers, now became a cruel tyrant, and soon alienated the affections of the people, who obtained the aid of the Spartans, and the family of the Pisistratids was driven from Athens, never to regain its former ascendancy (510 B.C.). Hippias fled to the court of Artapher'nes, governor of Lydia, then a part of the Persian dominion of Dari'us, where his intrigues largely contributed to the opening of a war between Persia and Greece.

The names of Harmodius and Aristogiton have been immortalized by what some writers term "the ignorant or prejudiced gratitude of the Athenians." DR. ANTHON considers them cowardly conspirators, entitled to no heroic honors. But, as he says, statues were erected to them at the public expense; and when an orator wished to suggest the idea of the highest merit and of the noblest services to the cause of liberty, he never failed to remind his hearers of Harmodius and Aristogiton. Their names never ceased to be repeated with affectionate admiration in the convivial songs of Athens, which assigned them a place in the islands of the "blessed," by the side of Achilles and Tydi'des. From one of the most famous and popular of these songs, by CALLIS'TRATUS, we give the following verses:

Harmodius, hail! Though 'reft of breath,
Thou ne'er shalt feel the stroke of death;
The heroes' happy isles shall be
The bright abode allotted thee.
       *       *       *       *       *
While freedom's name is understood
You shall delight the wise and good;
You dared to set your country free,
And gave her laws equality.


On the expulsion of Hippias, Clis'thenes, to whom Athens was mainly indebted for its liberation from the Pisistratids, aspired to the political leadership of the state. But he was opposed by Isag'oras, who was supported by the nobility. In order to make his cause popular, Clisthenes planned, and succeeded in executing, a change in the Constitution of Solon, which gave to the people a greater share in the government. He divided the people into ten tribes, instead of the old Ionic four tribes, and these in turn were subdivided into districts or townships called de'mes. He increased the powers and duties of the Senate, giving to it five hundred members, with fifty from each tribe; and he placed the administration of the military service in the hands of ten generals, one being taken from each tribe. The reforms of Clisthenes gave birth to the Athenian democracy. As THIRLWALL observes, "They had the effect of transforming the commonalty into a new body, furnished with new organs, and breathing a new spirit, which was no longer subject to the slightest control from any influence, save that of wealth and personal qualities, in the old nobility. The whole frame of the state was reorganized to correspond with the new division of the country."

On the application of Isagoras and his party, Sparta, jealous of the growing strength of Athens, made three unsuccessful attempts to overthrow the Athenian democracy, and reinstate Hippias in supreme command. She finally abandoned the project, as she could find no allies to assist in the enterprise. "Athens had now entered upon her glorious career. The institutions of Clisthenes had given her citizens a personal interest in the welfare and the grandeur of their country, and a spirit of the warmest patriotism rapidly sprung up among them. The Persian wars, which followed almost immediately, exhibit a striking proof of the heroic sacrifices which they were prepared to make for the liberty and the independence of their state."



An important part of the history of Greece is that which embraces the age of Grecian colonization, and the extension of the commerce of the Greeks to nearly all the coasts of the Mediterranean. Of the various circumstances that led to the planting of the Greek colonies, and especially of the Ionic, Æolian, and Dorian colonies on the coast of Asia Minor and the islands of the Ægean Sea, we have already spoken. These latter were ever intimately connected with Greece proper, in whose general history theirs is embraced; but the cities of Italy, Sicily, and Cyrena'ica were too far removed from the drama that was enacted around the shores of the Ægean to be more than occasionally and temporarily affected by the changing fortunes of the parent states. A brief notice, therefore, of some of those distant settlements, that eventually rivaled even Athens and Sparta in power and resources, cannot be uninteresting, while it will serve to give more accurate views of the extent and importance of the field of Grecian history.

At an early period the shores of Southern Italy and Sicily were peopled by Greeks; and so numerous and powerful did the Grecian cities become that the whole were comprised by Strabo and others under the appellation Magna Græcia, or Great Greece. The earliest of these distant settlements appear to have been made at Cu'mæ and Neap'olis, on the western coast of Italy, about the middle of the eleventh century. Cumæ was built on a rocky hill washed by the sea; and the same name is still applied to the ruins that lie scattered around its base. Some of the most splendid fictions of Virgil's Æneid relate to the Cumæan Sibyl, whose supposed cave, hewn out of the solid rock, actually existed under the city:

A spacious cave, within its farmost part,
Was hewed and fashioned by laborious art,
Through the hill's hollow sides; before the place
A hundred doors a hundred entries grace;
As many voices issue, and the sound
Of Sibyl's words as many times rebound.
  --Æneid B. VI.

GROTE says: "The myth of the Sibyl passed from the Cymæ'ans in Æ'olis, along with the other circumstances of the tale of Æne'as, to their brethren, the inhabitants of Cumæ in Italy. In the hollow rock under the very walls of the town was situated the cavern of the Sibyl; and in the immediate neighborhood stood the wild woods and dark lake of Avernus, consecrated to the subterranean gods, and offering an establishment of priests, with ceremonies evoking the dead, for purposes of prophecy or for solving doubts and mysteries. It was here that Grecian imagination localized the Cimme'rians and the fable of O-dys'seus."[Footnote: The voyage of Ulysses (Odysseus) to the infernal regions. Odyssey, B. XI.]

The extraordinary fertility of Sicily was a great attraction to the Greek colonists. Naxos, on the eastern coast of the island, was founded about the year 735 B.C.; and in the following year some Corinthians laid the foundations of Syracuse. Ge'la, on the western coast of the island, and Messa'na, now Messï'na, on the strait between Italy and Sicily, were founded soon after. Agrigen'tum, on the south-western coast, was founded about a century later, and became celebrated for the magnificence of its public buildings. Pindar called it "the fairest of mortal cities," and to The'ron, its ruler from 488 to 472, the poet thus refers in the second Olympic ode:

Come, now, my soul! now draw the string;
Bend at the mark the bow:
To whom shall now the glorious arrow wing
The praise of mild benignity?
To Agrigentum fly,
Arrow of song, and there thy praise bestow;
For I shall swear an oath: a hundred years are flown,
But the city ne'er has known
A hand more liberal, a more loving heart,
Than, Theron, thine! for such thou art.

Yet wrong hath risen to blast his praise;
Breath of injustice, breathed from men insane,
Who seek in brawling strain
The echo of his virtues mild to drown,
And with their violent deeds eclipse the days
Of his serene renown.
Unnumbered are the sands of th' ocean shore;
And who shall number o'er
Those joys in others' breasts which Theron's hand hath sown?
  --Trans. by ELTON.

In the mean time the Greek cities Syb'aris, Croto'na, and Taren'tum had been planted on the south-eastern coast of Italy, and had rapidly grown to power and opulence. The territorial dominions of Sybaris and Crotona extended across the peninsula from sea to sea. The former possessed twenty-five dependent towns, and ruled over four distinct tribes or nations. The territories of Crotona were still more extensive. These two Grecian states were at the maximum of their power about the year 560 B.C.--the time of the accession of Pisistratus at Athens--but they quarreled with each other, and the result of the contest was the ruin of Sybaris, in 510 B.C. Tarentum was settled by a colony of Spartans about the year 707 B.C., soon after the first Messenian war. No details of its history during the first two hundred and thirty years of its existence are known to us; but in the fourth century B.C. the Tar'entines stood foremost among the Italian Greeks, and they maintained their power down to the time of Roman supremacy.

During the first two centuries after the founding of Naxos, in Sicily, Grecian settlements were extended over the eastern, southern, and western sides of the island, while Him'era was the only Grecian town on the northern coast. These two hundred years were a period of prosperity among the Sicilian Greeks, who dwelt chiefly in fortified towns, and exercised authority over the surrounding native population, which gradually became assimilated in manners, language, and religion to the higher civilization of the Greeks. "It cannot be doubted," says GROTE, "that these first two centuries were periods of steady increase among the Sicilian Greeks, undisturbed by those distractions and calamities which supervened afterward, and which led indeed to the extraordinary aggrandizement of some of their communities, but also to the ruin of several others; moreover, it seems that the Carthaginians in Sicily gave them no trouble until the time of Ge'lon. Their position will seem singularly advantageous, if we consider the extraordinary fertility of the soil in this fine island, especially near the sea; its capacity for corn, wine, and oil, the species of cultivation to which the Greek husbandman had been accustomed under less favorable circumstances; its abundant fisheries on the coast, so important in Grecian diet, and continuing undiminished even at the present day--together with sheep, cattle, hides, wool, and timber from the native population in the interior."[Footnote: "History of Greece," vol. iii., p. 367.]

During the sixth century before the Christian era the Greek cities in Sicily and Southern Italy were among the most powerful and flourishing that bore the Hellenic name. Ge'la and Agrigentum, on the south side of Sicily, had then become the most prominent of the Sicilian governments; and at the beginning of the fifth century we find Gelon, a despot of the former city, subjecting other towns to his authority. Finally obtaining possession of Syracuse, he made it the seat of his empire (485 B.C.), leaving Gela to be governed by his brother Hi'ero, the first Sicilian ruler of that name.

Gelon strengthened the fortifications and greatly enlarged the limits of Syracuse, while to occupy the enlarged space he dismantled many of the surrounding towns and transported their inhabitants to his new capital, which now became not only the first city in Sicily, but, according to Herodotus, superior to any other Hellenic power. When, in 480 B.C., a formidable Carthaginian force under Hamil'-car invaded Sicily at the instigation of Xerxes, King of Persia, who had overrun Greece proper and captured Athens, Gelon, at the head of fifty-five thousand men, engaged the Carthaginians in battle at Himera, and defeated them with terrible slaughter, Hamilcar himself being numbered among the slain. The victory at Himera procured for Sicily immunity from foreign war, while the defeat of Xerxes at Salamis, on the very same day, dispelled the terrific cloud that overhung the Greeks in that quarter.

Syracuse continued a flourishing city for several centuries later; but the subsequent events of interest in her history will be related in a later chapter. Another Greek colony of importance was that of Cyre'ne, on the northern coast of Africa, between the territories of Egypt and Carthage. It was founded about 630 B.C., and, having the advantages of a fertile soil and fine climate, it rapidly grew in wealth and power. For eight generations it was governed by kings; but about 460 B.C. royalty was abolished and a democratic government was established: Cyrene finally fell under the power of the Carthaginians, and thus remained until Carthage was destroyed by the Romans. We have mentioned only the most important of the Grecian colonies, and even the history that we have of these, the best known, is unconnected and fragmentary.




The rapid development of literature and the arts is one of the most pleasing and striking features of Grecian history. As one writer has well said, "There was an uninterrupted progress in the development of the Grecian mind from the earliest dawn of the history of the people to the downfall of their political independence; and each succeeding age saw the production of some of those master-works of genius which have been the models and the admiration of all subsequent time." The first period of Grecian literature, ending about 776 B.C., may be termed the period of epic poetry. Its chief monuments are the epics of Homer and of Hesiod. The former are essentially heroic, concerning the deeds of warriors and demi-gods; while the latter present to us the different phases of domestic life, and are more of an ethical and religious character. Homer represents the poetry, or school of poetry, belonging chiefly to Ionia, in Asia Minor. Of his poems we have already given some account, and, passing over the minor intervening poets, called Cyclic, of whose works we have scarcely any knowledge, we will here give a brief sketch of the poems ascribed to Hesiod.

Hesiod is the representative of a school of bards which first developed in Boeotia, and then spread over Phocis and Euboea. The works purporting to be his, that have come down to us, are three in number--the Works and Days, the Theogony, and the Shield of Hercules. The latter, however, is now generally considered the production of some other poet. From DR. FELTON we have the following general characterization of these poems: "Aside from their intrinsic merit as poetical compositions, these poems are of high value for the light they throw on the mythological conceptions of those early times, and for the vivid pictures presented, by the Works and Days, of the hardships and pleasures of daily life, the superstitious observances, the homely wisdom of common experience, and the proverbial philosophy into which that experience had been wrought. For the truthfulness of the delineation generally all antiquity vouched; and there is in the style of expression and tone of thought a racy freshness redolent of the native soil." Of the poet himself we learn, from his writings, that he was a native of As'cra, a village at the foot of Mount Hel'icon, in Boeotia. Of the time of his birth we have no account, but it is probable that he flourished from half a century to a century later than Homer. But few incidents of his life are related, and these he gives us in his works, from which we learn that be was engaged in pastoral pursuits, and that he was deprived of the greater part of his inheritance by the decision of judges whom his brother Per'ses had bribed. This brother subsequently became much reduced in circumstances, and applied to Hesiod for relief. The poet assisted him, and then addressed to him the Works and Days, in which he lays down certain rules for the regulation and conduct of his life.

The design of Hesiod, as a prominent writer observes, was "to communicate to his brother in emphatic language, and in the order, or it might be the disorder, which his excited feelings suggested, his opinions or counsels on a variety of matters of deep interest to both, and to the social circle in which they moved. The Works and Days may be more appropriately entitled 'A Letter of Remonstrance or Advice' to a brother; of remonstrance on the folly of his past conduct, of advice as to the future. Upon these two fundamental data every fact, doctrine, and illustration of the poem depends, as essentially as the plot of the Iliad on the anger of Achilles." [Footnote: Mure's "Language and Literature of Ancient Greece," vol. ii., p.384.] The whole work has been well characterized by another writer as "the most ancient specimen of didactic poetry, consisting of ethical, political, and minute economical precepts. It is in a homely and unimaginative style, but is impressed throughout with a lofty and solemn feeling, founded on the idea that the gods have ordained justice among men, have made labor the only road to prosperity, and have so ordered the year that every work has its appointed season, the sign of which may be discerned."

There are three remarkable episodes in the Works and Days. The first is the tale of Prome'theus, which is continued in the Theogony; and the second is that of the Four Ages of Man. Both of these are types of certain stages or vicissitudes of human destiny. The third episode is a description of Winter, a poem not so much in keeping with the spirit of the work, but "one in which there is much fine and vigorous painting." The following extract from it furnishes a specimen of the poet's descriptive powers:


Beware the January month, beware
Those hurtful days, that keenly-piercing air
Which flays the herds; when icicles are cast
O'er frozen earth, and sheathe the nipping blast.
From courser-breeding Thrace comes rushing forth
O'er the broad sea the whirlwind of the north,
And moves it with his breath: the ocean floods
Heave, and earth bellows through her wild of woods.
Full many an oak of lofty leaf he fells,
And strews with thick-branch'd pines the mountain dells:
He stoops to earth; the crash is heard around;
The depth of forest rolls the roar of sound.
The beasts their cowering tails with trembling fold,
And shrink and shudder at the gusty cold;
Thick is the hairy coat, the shaggy skin,
But that all-chilling breath shall pierce within.
Not his rough hide can then the ox avail;
The long-hair'd goat, defenceless, feels the gale:
Yet vain the north wind's rushing strength to wound
The flock with sheltering fleeces fenced around.
He bows the old man crook'd beneath the storm,
But spares the soft-skinn'd virgin's tender form.
Screened by her mother's roof on wintry nights,
And strange to golden Venus' mystic rites,
The suppling waters of the bath she swims,
With shiny ointment sleeks her dainty limbs;
Within her chamber laid on downy bed,
While winter howls in tempest o'er her head.

  Now gnaws the boneless polypus his feet,
Starved 'midst bleak rocks, his desolate retreat;
For now no more the sun, with gleaming ray,
Through seas transparent lights him to his prey.
And now the hornéd and unhornéd kind,
Whose lair is in the wood, sore-famished, grind
Their sounding jaws, and, chilled and quaking, fly
Where oaks the mountain dells embranch on high:
They seek to conch in thickets of the glen,
Or lurk, deep sheltered, in some rocky den.
Like aged men, who, propp'd on crutches, tread
Tottering, with broken strength and stooping head,
So move the beasts of earth, and, creeping low,
Shun the white flakes and dread the drifting snow.
  --Trans. by ELTON.

The Theogony embraces subjects of a higher order than the Works and Days. "It ascends," says THIRLWALL, "to the birth of the gods and the origin of nature, and unfolds the whole order of the world in a series of genealogies, which personify the beings of every kind contained in it." A late writer of prominence says that "it was of greater value to the Greeks than the Works and Days, as it contained an authorized version of the genealogy of their gods and heroes--an inspired dictionary of mythology--from which to deviate was hazardous." [Footnote: "The Greek Poets," by John Addington Symonds.] This work, however, has not the poetical merit of the other, although there are some passages in it of fascinating power and beauty. "The famous passage describing the Styx," says PROFESSOR MAHAFFY, "shows the poet to have known and appreciated the wild scenery of the river Styx in Arcadia; and the description of Sleep and Death, which immediately precedes it, is likewise of great beauty. The conflict of the gods and Titans has a splendid crash and thunder about it, and is far superior in conception, though inferior in execution, to the battle of the gods in the Iliad." [Footnote: Mahaffy's "History of Classical Greek Literature," vol. i., p. 111.] The poems of Hesiod early became popular with the country population of Greece; but in the cities, and especially in Sparta, where war was considered the only worthy pursuit, they were long cast aside for the more heroic lines of Homer.


From the time of Homer, down to about 560 B.C., many kinds of composition for which the Greeks were subsequently distinguished were practically unknown. We are told that the drama was in its infancy, and that prose writing, although more or less practiced during this period for purposes of utility or necessity, was not cultivated as a branch of popular literature. There was another kind of composition, however, which was carried to its highest perfection in the last stage of the epic period, and that was lyric poetry. But of the masterpieces of lyric poetry only a few fragments remain.


The first representative of this school that we may mention was Callinus, an Ephesian of the latter part of the eighth century B.C., to whom the invention of the elegiac distich, the characteristic form of the Ionian poetry, is attributed. Among the few fragments from this poet is the following fine war elegy, occasioned, probably, by a Persian invasion of Asia Minor:

How long will ye slumber! when will ye take heart,
  And fear the reproach of your neighbors at hand?
Fie! comrades, to think ye have peace for your part,
  While the sword and the arrow are wasting our land!
Shame! Grasp the shield close! cover well the bold breast!
  Aloft raise the spear as ye march on the foe!
With no thought of retreat, with no terror confessed,
  Hurl your last dart in dying, or strike your last blow.
Oh, 'tis noble and glorious to fight for our all--
  For our country, our children, the wife of our love!
Death comes not the sooner; no soldier shall fall
  Ere his thread is spun out by the sisters above.
Once to die is man's doom: rush, rush to the fight!
  He cannot escape though his blood were Jove's own.
For a while let him cheat the shrill arrow by flight;
  Fate will catch him at last in his chamber alone.
Unlamented he dies--unregretted? Not so
  When, the tower of his country, in death falls the brave;
Thrice hallowed his name among all, high or low,
  As with blessings alive, so with tears in the grave.
  --Trans. by H. N. COLERIDGE.

[Footnote: The "sisters" here alluded to were the
Par'coe, or Fates--three goddesses who presided over
the destinies of mortals: 1st, Clo'tho, who held the
distaff; 2d, Lach'esis, who spun each one's portion
of the thread of life; and, 3d, At'ropos, who cut off
the thread with her scissors.

Clotho and Lachesis, whose boundless sway,
With Atropos, both men and gods obey. --HESIOD.


Next in point of time comes Archilochus of Pa'ros, a satirist who flourished between 714 and 676 B.C. He is generally considered to be the first Greek poet who wrote in the Iambic measure; but there are evidences that this measure existed before his time. This poet was betrothed to the daughter of a noble of Paros; but the father, probably tempted by the alluring offers of a richer suitor, forbade the nuptials. Archilochus thereupon composed so bitter a lampoon upon the family that the daughters of the nobleman are said to have hanged themselves. Says SYMONDS, "He made Iambic metre his own, and sharpened it into a terrible weapon of attack. Each verse he wrote was polished, and pointed like an arrow-head. Each line was steeped in the poison of hideous charges against his sweetheart, her sisters, and her father." [Footnote: "The Greek Poets;" First Series, p. 108.]

Thenceforth Archilochus led a wandering life, full of vicissitudes, but replete with evidences of his merit. "While Hesiod was in the poor and backward parts of central Greece, modifying with timid hand the tone and style of epic poetry, without abandoning its form, Archilochus, storm-tossed amid wealth and poverty, amid commerce and war, amid love and hate, ever in exile and yet everywhere at home--Archilochus broke altogether with the traditions of literature, and colonized new territories with his genius." [Footnote: "Classical Greek Literature," vol. i., p.157.] He is said to have returned to Paros a short time before his death, where, on account of a victory he had won at the Olympic festival, the resentment and hatred formerly entertained against him were turned into gratitude and admiration. His death, which occurred on the field of battle, could not extinguish his fame, and his memory was celebrated by a festival established by his countrymen, during which his verses were sung alternately with the poems of Homer. "Thus," says an old historian, "by a fatality frequently attending men of genius, he spent a life of misery, and acquired honor after death. Reproach, ignominy, contempt, poverty, and persecution were the ordinary companions of his person; admiration, glory, respect, splendor, and magnificence were the attendants of his shade." With the exception of Homer, no poet of classical antiquity acquired so high a celebrity. Among the Greeks and Romans he was equally esteemed. Cicero classed him with Sophocles, Pindar, and even Homer; Plato called him the "wisest of poets;" and Longinus "speaks with rapture of the torrent of his divine inspiration."


Passing over Simonides of Amorgos, who is chiefly celebrated for a very ungallant but ingenious and smooth satire on women, and over Tyrtæ'us, whose animating and patriotic odes, as we have seen, proved the safety of Sparta in one of the Messenian wars, we come to the first truly lyric poet of Greece--Alcman-- originally a Lydian slave in a Spartan family, but emancipated by his master on account of his genius. He flourished after the second Messenian war, and his poems partake of the character of this period, which was one of pleasure and peace. They are chiefly erotic, or amatory, or in celebration of the enjoyments of social life. He successfully cultivated choral poetry, and his Parthenia, made up of a variety of subjects, was composed to be sung by the maidens of Tayge'tus. "His excellence," says MURE, "appears to have lain in his descriptive powers. The best, and one of the longest extant passages of his works is a description of sleep, or rather of night; a description unsurpassed, perhaps unrivalled, by any similar passage in the Greek or any other language, and which has been imitated or paraphrased by many distinguished poets." [Footnote: "History of Greek Literature," vol. iii., p. 205.] The following is this author's translation of it:

Now o'er the drowsy earth still night prevails.
Calm sleep the mountain tops and shady vales,
The rugged cliffs and hollow glens;
The wild beasts slumber in their dens,
The cattle on the hill. Deep in the sea
The countless finny race and monster brood
Tranquil repose. Even the busy bee
Forgets her daily toil. The silent wood
No more with noisy hum of insect rings;
And all the feathered tribes, by gentle sleep subdued,
Roost in the glade and hang their drooping wings.


Arion, the greater part of whose life was spent at the court of Periander, despot of Corinth, and Stesichorus, of Himera, in Sicily, who flourished about 608 B.C., were two Greek poets especially noted for the improvements they made in choral poetry. The former invented the wild, irregular, and impetuous dithyramb, [Footnote: From Dithyrambus, one of the appellations of Bacchus.] originally a species of lyric poetry in honor of Bacchus; but of his works there is not a single fragment extant. The latter's original name was Tis'ias, and he was called Stesichorus, which signifies a "leader of choruses." A late historian characterizes him as "the first to break the monotony of the choral song, which had consisted previously of nothing more than one uniform stanza, by dividing it into the Strophe, the Antistrophe, and the Epodus--the turn, the return, and the rest." PROFESSOR MAHAFFY observes of him as follows: "Finding the taste for epic recitation decaying, he undertook to reproduce epic stories in lyric dress, and present the substance of the old epics in rich and varied metres, and with the measured movements of a trained chorus. This was a direct step to the drama, for when anyone member of the chorus came to stand apart and address the rest of the choir, we have already the essence of Greek tragedy before us." [Footnote: "Classical Greek Literature," vol. i., p. 203.] The works of Stesichorus comprised hymns in honor of the gods and in praise of heroes, love-songs, and songs of revelry.


Among the lyric poets of Greece some writers assign the very first place to Alcæus, a native of Lesbos, who flourished about 610 B.C., and who has been styled the ardent friend and defender of liberty, more because he talked so well of patriotism than because of his deeds in its behalf. The poet AKENSIDE, however, calls him "the Lesbian patriot," and thus contrasts his style with that of Anac'reon:

Broke from the fetters of his native land,
  Devoting shame and vengeance to her lords,
With louder impulse and a threat'ning hand
  The Lesbian patriot smites the sounding chords:
      "Ye wretches, ye perfidious train!
      Ye cursed of gods and free-born men!
Ye murderers of the laws!
      Though now ye glory in your lust,
      Though now ye tread the feeble neck in dust,
Yet Time and righteous Jove will judge your dreadful cause."

The poems of Alcæus were principally war and drinking songs of great beauty, and it is said that they furnished to the Latin poet Horace "not only a metrical model, but also the subject-matter of some of his most beautiful odes." The poet fought in the war between Athens and Mityle'ne (606 B.C.), and enjoyed the reputation of being a brave and skilful warrior, although on one occasion he is said to have fled from the field of battle leaving his arms behind him. Of his warlike odes we have a specimen in the following description of the martial embellishment of his own house:

The Spoils of War.

Glitters with brass my mansion wide;
The roof is decked on every side,
    In martial pride,
With helmets ranged in order bright,
And plumes of horse-hair nodding white,
    A gallant sight!
Fit ornament for warrior's brow--
And round the walls in goodly row
    Refulgent glow
Stout greaves of brass, like burnished gold,
And corselets there in many a fold
    Of linen foiled;
And shields that, in the battle fray,
The routed losers of the day
    Have cast away.
Euboean falchions too are seen,
With rich-embroidered belts between
    Of dazzling sheen:
And gaudy surcoats piled around,
The spoils of chiefs in war renowned,
    May there be found:
These, and all else that here you see,
Are fruits of glorious victory
    Achieved by me.
  --Trans. by MERIVALE.


Contemporary with Alcæus was the poetess Sappho, the only female of Greece who ever ranked with the illustrious poets of the other sex, and whom Alcæus called "the dark-haired, spotless, sweetly smiling Sappho." Lesbos was the center of Æolian culture, and Sappho was the center of a society of Lesbian ladies who applied themselves successfully to literature. Says SYMONDS: "They formed clubs for the cultivation of poetry and music. They studied the arts of beauty, and sought to refine metrical forms and diction. Nor did they confine themselves to the scientific side of art. Unrestrained by public opinion, and passionate for the beautiful, they cultivated their senses and emotions, and indulged their wildest passions." Sappho devoted her whole genius to the subject of Love, and her poems express her feelings with great freedom. Hence arose the charges of a later age, that were made against her character. But whatever difference of view may exist on this point, there is only one opinion as to her poetic genius. She was undoubtedly the greatest erotic poet of antiquity. Plato called her the tenth Muse, and Solon, hearing one of her poems, prayed that he might not die until he had committed it to memory. We cannot forbear introducing the following eloquent characterization of her writings:

"Nowhere is a hint whispered that the poetry of Sappho is aught but perfect. Of all the poets of the world, of all the illustrious artists of all literatures, Sappho is the one whose every word has a peculiar and unmistakable perfume, a seal of absolute perfection and inimitable grace. In her art she was unerring. Even Archilochus seems commonplace when compared with her exquisite rarity of phrase. Whether addressing the maidens whom, even in Elysium, as Horace says, Sappho could not forget, or embodying the profounder yearnings of an intense soul after beauty which has never on earth existed, but which inflames the hearts of noblest poets, robbing the eyes of sleep and giving them the bitterness of tears to drink--these dazzling fragments,

'Which still, like sparkles of Greek fire,
Burn on through time and ne'er expire,'

are the ultimate and finished forms of passionate utterance--diamonds, topazes, and blazing rubies--in which the fire of the soul is crystallized forever." [Footnote: Symond's "Greek Poets," First Series, p. 189.]

It is related that an associate of Sappho once derided her talents, or stigmatized her poetical labors as unsuited to her sex and condition. The poetess, burning with indignation, thus replied to her traducer:

Whenever Death shall seize thy mortal frame,
Oblivion's pen shall blot thy worthless name;
For thy rude hand ne'er plucked the beauteous rose
That on Pie'ria's sky-clad summit blows:
[Symond's "Greek Poets," First Series, p. 139.]
Thy paltry soul with vilest souls shall go
To Pluto's kingdom--scenes of endless woe;
While I on golden wings ascend to fame,
And leave behind a muse-enamored, deathless name.

The memory of this poetess of Love rouses the following strain of celebration in ANTIP'ATER of Sidon:

Does Sappho, then, beneath thy bosom rest,
Æolian earth? that mortal Muse confessed
Inferior only to the choir above,
That foster-child of Venus and of Love;
Warm from whose lips divine Persuasion came,
Greece to delight, and raise the Lesbian name?
O ye, who ever twine the threefold thread,
Ye Fates, why number with the silent dead
That mighty songstress, whose unrivalled powers
Weave for the Muse a crown of deathless flowers?
  --Trans. by FRANCIS HODGSON.


The last lyric poet of this period that we shall notice was Anacreon, a native of Teos, in Ionia, who flourished about 530 B.C. He was a voluptuary, who sang beautifully of love, and wine, and nature, and who has been called the courtier and laureate of tyrants, in whose society, and especially in that of Polyc'rates and Hippar'chus, his days were spent. The poet AKENSIDE thus characterizes him:

I see Anacreon smile and sing,
  His silver tresses breathe perfume;
His cheeks display a second spring,
  Of roses taught by wine to bloom.
Away, deceitful cares, away,
And let me listen to his lay;
  Let me the wanton pomp enjoy,
While in smooth dance the light-winged hours
Lead round his lyre its patron powers,
  Kind laughter and convivial joy.

The following is Cowper's translation of a pretty little poem by Anacreon on the grasshopper:

Happy songster, perched above,
On the summit of the grove,
Whom a dew-drop cheers to sing
With the freedom of a king,
From thy perch survey the fields,
Where prolific Nature yields
Naught that, willingly as she,
Man surrenders not to thee.
For hostility or hate,
None thy pleasures can create.
Thee it satisfies to sing
Sweetly the return of spring,
Herald of the genial hours,
Harming neither herbs nor flowers.
Therefore man thy voice attends,
Gladly; thou and he are friends.
Nor thy never-ceasing strains
Phoebus and the Muse disdains
As too simple or too long,
For themselves inspire the song.
Earth-born, bloodless; undecaying,
Ever singing, sporting, playing,
What has Nature else to show
Godlike in its kind as thou?


We now enter upon a new phase of Greek literature. While the first use of prose in writing may be assigned to a date earlier than 700 B.C., it was not until the early part of the sixth century B.C. that use was made of prose for literary purposes; and even then prose compositions were either mythological, or collections of local legends, whether sacred or profane. The importance and the practical uses of genuine history were neither known nor suspected until after the Persian wars. But Grecian philosophy had an earlier dawn, and was coeval with the poetical compositions of Hesiod, although it was in the sixth century that it began to be separated from poetry and religion, and to be cultivated by men who were neither bards, priests, nor seers. This is the era when the practical maxims and precepts of the Seven Grecian sages began to be collected by the chroniclers, and disseminated among the people.


Concerning these sages, otherwise called the "Seven Wise Men of Greece," the accounts are confused and contradictory, and their names are variously given; but those most generally admitted to the honor are Solon (the Athenian legislator); Bias, of Ionia; Chi'lo (Ephor of Sparta); Cleobu'lus (despot of Lindos, in the Island of Rhodes); Perian'der (despot of Corinth); Pit'tacus (ruler of Mityle'ne); and Tha'les, of Mile'tus, in accordance with the following enumeration:

"First Solon, who made the Athenian laws;
While Chilo, in Sparta, was famed for his saws;
In Miletus did Thales astronomy teach;
Bias used in Prie'ne his morals to preach;
Cleobulus of Lindus was handsome and wise;
Mitylene 'gainst thraldom saw Pittacus rise;
Periander is said to have gained, through his court,
The title that Myson, the Chenian, ought."
[Footnote: It is Plato who says that Periander,
tyrant of Corinth; should give place to Myson.

The seven wise men were distinguished for their witty sayings, many of which have grown into maxims that are in current use even at the present day. Out of the number the following seven were inscribed as mottoes, in later days, in the temple at Delphi: "Know thyself," Solon; "Consider the end," Chilo; "Suretyship is the forerunner of ruin" (He that hateth suretyship is sure; Prov. xi. 15), Thales; "Most men are bad" (There is none that doeth good, no, not one, Psalm xiv. 3), Bias; "Avoid extremes" (the golden mean), Cleobulus; "Know thy opportunity" (Seize time by the forelock), Pittacus; "Nothing is impossible to industry" (Patience and perseverance overcome mountains), Periander. GROTE says of the seven sages: "Their appearance forms an epoch in Grecian history, inasmuch as they are the first persons who ever acquired an Hellenic reputation grounded on mental competency apart from poetical genius or effect--a proof that political and social prudence was beginning to be appreciated and admired on its own account."

The eldest school of Greek philosophy, called the Ionian, was founded by Thales of Miletus, about the middle of the sixth century B.C. In the investigation of natural causes and effects he taught, as a distinguishing tenet of his philosophy, that water, or some other fluid, is the primary element of all things--a theory which probably arose from observations on the uses of moisture in the nourishment of animal and vegetable life. A similar process of reasoning led Anaxim'enes, of Miletus, half a century later, to substitute air for water; and by analogous reasoning Heracli'tus, of Ephesus, surnamed "the naturalist," was led to regard the basis of fire or flame as the fundamental principle of all things, both spiritual and material. Diog'enes, the Cretan, was led to regard the universe as issuing from an intelligent principle--a rational as well as sensitive soul--but without recognizing any distinction between mind and matter; while Anaximan'der conceived the primitive state of the universe to have been a vast chaos or infinity, containing the elements from which the world was constructed by inherent or self-moving processes of separation and combination. This doctrine was revived by Anaxag'oras, an Ionian, a century later, who combined it with the philosophy of Diogenes, and taught the existence of one supreme mind.


Two widely different schools of philosophy now arose in the western Greek colonies of lower Italy. Xenophanes, a native of Ionia, who had fled to E'lea, was the founder of one, and Pythagoras, of Samos, of the other. The former, known as the Eleat'ic philosophy, admitted a supreme intelligence, eternal and incorporeal, pervading all things, and, like the universe itself, spherical in form. This system was developed in the following century by Parmen'ides and Zeno, who exercised a great influence upon the Greek mind. Pythagoras was the first Grecian to assume the title of philosopher, although he was more of a religious teacher. Having traveled extensively in the East, he returned to Samos about 540 B.C.; but, finding the condition of his country, which was then ruled by the despot Polycrates, unfavorable to the progress of his doctrines, he moved to Croto'na, in Italy, and established his school of philosophy there.

Vexed with the Samian despot's lawless sway
(For tyrants ne'er loved wisdom), crossed the seas,
And found a home on the Hesperian shore,
Time when the Tarquin arched the infant Rome
With vaults, the germ of Cæsar's golden hall.
There, in Crotona's state, he held a school
Of wisdom and of virtue, teaching men
The harmony of aptly portioned powers,
And of well-numbered days: whence, as a god,
Men honored him; and, from his wells refreshed,
The master-builder of pure intellect,
Imperial Plato, piled the palace where
All great, true thoughts have found a home forever.

Pythagoras made some important discoveries in geometry, music, and astronomy. The demonstration of the forty-seventh proposition of Euclid is attributed to him. He also discovered the chords in music, which led him to conceive that the planets, striking upon the ether through which they move in their celestial orbits; produce harmonious sounds, varying according to the differences of the magnitudes, velocities, and relative distances of the planets, in a manner corresponding to the proportion of the notes in a musical scale. Hence the "music of the spheres." From what can be gathered of the astronomical doctrine of Pythagoras, it has been inferred that he was possessed of the true idea of the solar system, which was revived by Coper'nicus and fully established by Newton. With respect to God, Pythagoras appears to have taught that he is the universal, ever-existent mind, the first principle of the universe, the source and cause of all animal life and motion, in substance similar to light, in nature like truth, incapable of pain, invisible, incorruptible, and only to be comprehended by the mind. His philosophy and teachings are thus pictured by the poet THOMSON:

Here dwelt the Samian sage; to him belongs
The brightest witness of recording fame.
He sought Crotona's pure, salubrious air,
And through great Greece his gentle wisdom taught.
His mental eye first launched into the deeps
Of boundless ether; where unnumbered orbs,
Myriads on myriads, through the pathless sky
Unerring roll, and wind their steady way.
There he the full consenting choir beheld;
There first discerned the secret band of love,
The kind attraction, that to central suns
Binds circling earths, and world with world unites.
Instructed thence, he great ideas formed
Of the whole-moving, all-informing God,
The Sun of Beings! beaming unconfined--
Light, life, and love, and ever active power:
Whom naught can image, and who best approves
The silent worship of the moral heart,
That joys in bounteous Heaven and spreads the joy.

Pythagoras also taught the doctrine of the transmigration of souls, which he probably derived from the Egyptians; and he professed to preserve a distinct remembrance of several states of existence through which his soul had passed. It is related of him that on one occasion, seeing a dog beaten, he interceded in its behalf, saying, "It is the soul of a friend of mine, whom I recognize by its voice." It would seem as if the poet COLERIDGE had at times been dimly conscious of the reality of this Pythagorean doctrine, for he says:

Oft o'er my brain does that strange fancy roll
  Which makes the present (while the flash doth last)
  Seem a mere semblance of some unknown past,
Mixed with such feelings as perplex the soul
Self-questioned in her sleep: and some have said
  We lived ere yet this robe of flesh we wore.

One of our favorite American poets; LOWELL, indulges in a like fancy in the following lines from that dream, like, exquisite fantasy, "In the Twilight," found in the Biglow Papers:

Sometimes a breath floats by me,
  An odor from Dream-land sent,
That makes the ghost seem nigh me
  Of a splendor that came and went,
Of a life lived somewhere, I know not
    In what diviner sphere--
Of memories that stay not and go not,
    Like music once heard by an ear
That cannot forget or reclaim it--
A something so shy, it would shame it
    To make it a show--
A something too vague, could I name it,
    For others to know,
As if I had lived it or dreamed it,
As if I had acted or schemed it,
        Long ago!

And yet, could I live it over,
  This life that stirs in my brain--
Could I be both maiden and lover,
Moon and tide, bee and clover,
  As I seem to have been, once again--
Could I but speak and show it,
  This pleasure, more sharp than pain,
      That baffles and lures me so,
The world should not lack a poet,
    Such as it had
    In the ages glad
        Long ago.

On the whole, the system of Pythagoras, with many excellencies, contained some gross absurdities and superstitions, which were dignified with the name of philosophy, and which exerted a pernicious influence over the opinions of many succeeding generations.


Closely connected with the public and private instruction that the philosophers gave in their various systems, were certain national institutions of a secret character, which combined the mysteries of both philosophy and religion. The most celebrated of these, the great festival of Eleusinia, sacred to Ce'res and Pros'erpine, was observed every fourth year in different parts of Greece, but more particularly by the people of Athens every fifth year, at Eleu'sis, in Attica.

What is known of the rites performed at Eleusis has been gathered from occasional incidental allusions found in the pages of nearly all the classical authorities; and although the penalty of a sudden and ignominious death impended over anyone who divulged these symbolic ceremonies, yet enough is now known to describe them with much minuteness of detail. We have not the space to give that detailed description here, but the ceremonies occupied nine days, from the 15th to the 23d of September, inclusive. The first day was that on which the worshippers merely assembled; the second, that on which they purified themselves by bathing in the sea; the third, the day of sacrifices; the fourth, the day of offerings to the goddess; the fifth, the day of torches, when the multitude roamed over the meadows at nightfall carrying flambeaus, in imitation of Ceres searching for her daughter; the sixth, the day of Bacchus, the god of Vintage; the seventh, the day of athletic pastimes; the eighth, the day devoted to the lesser mysteries and celestial revelations; and the ninth, the day of libations.

The language that Virgil puts into the mouth of Anchi'ses, in the Sixth Book of the Æneid, is regarded as a condensed definition of the secrets of Eleusis and the creed of Pythagoras. The same book, moreover, is believed to represent several of the scenes of the mysteries. In the following words the shade of Anchises answers the inquiries of "his godlike son:"

"Know, first, that heav'n, and earth's contracted frame,
And flowing waters, and the starry flame,
And both the radiant lights, one common soul
Inspires and feeds--and animates the whole.
This active mind, infused through all the space,
Unites and mingles with the mighty mass.
Hence men and beasts the breath of life obtain,
And birds of air, and monsters of the main.
Th' ethereal vigor is in all the same;
And ev'ry soul is fill'd with equal flame--
As much as earthy limbs, and gross allay
Of mortal members subject to decay,
Blunt not the beams of heav'n and edge of day.
From this coarse mixture of terrestrial parts,
Desire and fear by turns possess their hearts,
And grief and joy: nor can the grovelling mind,
In the dark dungeon of the limbs confined,
Assert the native skies, or own its heav'nly kind:
Nor death itself can wholly wash their stains;
But long-contracted filth ev'n in the soul remains.

"The relics of invet'rate vice they wear
And spots of sin obscene in ev'ry face appear.
For this are various penances enjoin'd;
And some are hung to bleach upon the wind,
Some plunged in waters, others purged in fires,
Till all the dregs are drain'd, and all the rust expires.
All have their ma'nes, and those manes bear:
The few, so cleansed, to these abodes repair,
And breathe, in ample fields, the soft Elysian air.
Then are they happy, when by length of time
The scurf is worn away of each committed crime;
No speck is left of their habitual stains,
But the pure ether of the soul remains.
But, when a thousand rolling years are past
(So long their punishments and penance last),
Whole droves of minds are, by the driving god,
Compell'd to drink the deep Lethe'an flood,
In large forgetful draughts to steep the cares
Of their past labors and their irksome years,
That, unrememb'ring of its former pain,
The soul may suffer mortal flesh again."
  --Trans. by DRYDEN.


In architecture and sculpture Greece stands pre-eminently above all other nations. The first evidences of the former art that we discover are in the gigantic walls of Tiryns, Mycenæ, and other Greek cities, constructed for purposes of defence in the very earliest periods of Greek history, and generally known by the name of Cyclo'pean, because supposed by the early Greeks to have been built by those fabled giants, the Cyclo'pes.

Ye cliffs of masonry, enormous piles,
  Which no rude censure of familiar time
Nor record of our puny race defiles,
  In dateless mystery ye stand sublime,
Memorials of an age of which we see
Only the types in things that once were ye.

Whether ye rest upon some bosky knoll,
  Your feet by ancient myrtles beautified,
Or seem, like fabled dragons, to unroll
  Your swarthy grandeurs down a bleak hill-side,
Still on your savage features is a spell
That makes ye half divine, ineffable.

With joy upon your height I stand alone,
  As on a precipice, or lie within
Your shadow wide, or leap from stone to stone,
  Pointing my steps with careful discipline,
And think of those grand limbs whose nerve could bear
These masses to their places in mid-air:

Of Anakim, and Titans, and of days
  Saturnian, when the spirit of man was knit
So close to Nature that his best essays
  At Art were but in all to follow it,
In all--dimension, dignity, degree;
And thus these mighty things were made to be.

It was in the erection of the temples of the gods, however, that Grecian architecture had its ornamental origin, and also made its most rapid progress. The primeval altar, differing but little from a common hearth, was supplanted by the wooden habitation of the god, and the latter in turn gave way to the temple of stone. Then rapidly rose the three famed orders of architecture --the Doric, the Ionic, and the Corinthian--the first solemn, massive, and imposing, while the others exhibit, in their ornamental features, a gradual advance to perfection.

                    First, unadorned,
And nobly plain, the manly Doric rose;
The Ionic then, with decent matron grace,
Her airy pillar heaved; luxuriant last,
The rich Corinthian spread her wanton wreath.

Passing over the earlier structures devoted to purposes of worship, we find at the beginning of the sixth century several magnificent temples in course of erection. Among these the most celebrated were the Temple of He'ra (Juno), at Samos, and the Temple of Ar'temis (Diana), at Ephesus. The order of architecture adopted in the first was Doric, and in the second Ionic. Both were built of white marble. The former was 346 feet in length and 189 feet in breadth; while the latter was 425 feet long and 220 feet broad. Its columns were 127 in number, and 60 feet in height; and the blocks of marble composing the architrave, or chief beams resting immediately on the columns, were 30 feet in length.


The great Temple of Diana was commenced under the supervision of Chersiphron, an architect of Crete, but it occupied over two hundred years in building. It is related of Chersiphron that, having erected the jambs of the great door to the temple, he failed, after repeated efforts, continued for many days, to bring the massive lintel to its place in line with the jambs. He finally sank down in despair, and fell asleep. In his dreams he saw the divine form of the goddess, who assured him that those who labored for the gods should not go unrewarded. On awaking he beheld the massive lintel in its proper place, laid there by the hand of the goddess herself. An American sculptor and poet relates the incident, and gives its moral in the following poem:

When to the utmost we have tasked our powers,
And Nem'esis still frowns and shakes her head;
When, wearied out and baffled, we confess
Our utter weakness, and the tired hand drops,
And Hope flees from us, and in blank despair
We sink to earth, the face, so stern before,
August will smile--the hand before withdrawn
Reach out the help we vainly pleaded for,
Take up our task, and in a moment do
What all our strength was powerless to achieve.

Unless the gods smile, human toil is vain.
The crowning blessing of all work is drawn
Not from ourselves, but from the powers above.
And this none better knew than Chersiphron,
When on the plains of Ephesus he reared
The splendid temple built to Artemis.
With patient labor he had placed at last
The solid jambs on either side the door,
And now for many a weary day he strove
With many a plan and many a fresh device,
Still seeking and still failing, on the jambs
Level to lay the lintel's massive weight:
Still it defied him; and, worn out at last,
Along the steps he laid him down at night.
Sleep would not come. With dull distracting pain
The problem hunted through his feverish thoughts,
Till in his dark despair he longed for death,
And threatened his own life with his own hand.

Peace came at last upon him, and he slept;
And in his sleep, before his dreaming eyes
He saw the form divine of Artemis:
O'er him she bent and smiled, and softly said,
"Live, Chersiphron! Who labor for the gods
The gods reward. Behold, your work is done!"
Then, like a mist that melts into the sky,
She vanished; and awaking, he beheld,
Laid by her hand above the entrance-door,
The ponderous lintel level on the jambs.
  --W. W. STORY.

Another celebrated temple of this period was that of Delphi, which was rebuilt, after its destruction by fire in 548 B.C., at a cost equivalent to more than half a million of dollars. It was in the Doric style, and was faced with Parian marble. About the same time the Temple of Olympian Jove was commenced or restored at Athens by Pisistratus. All the temples mentioned have nearly disappeared. That of Diana, at Ephesus, was burned by Heros'tratus, in order to immortalize his name, on the night that Alexander the Great was born (356 B.C.). It was subsequently rebuilt with greater magnificence, and enriched by the genius of Sco'pas, Praxit'eles, Parrha'sius, Apel'les, and other celebrated sculptors and painters. A few of its columns support the dome of the Church of St. Sophia at Constantinople, two of its pillars are in the great church at Pi'sa, and recent excavations have brought to light portions of its foundation. Other temples, however, erected as far back as the fourth and fifth centuries, have more successfully resisted the ravages of time. Among these are the six, of the Doric order, whose ruins appear at Selinus, in Sicily; while at Pæstum, in Southern Italy, are the celebrated ruins of two temples, which, with the exception of the temple of Corinth, are the most massive examples of Doric architecture extant. "It was in the larger of these two temples," says a visitor, "during the moonlight of a troubled sky, that we experienced the emotions of the awful and sublime, such as impress a testimony, never to be forgotten, of the power of art over the affections."

There, down Salerno's bay,
In deserts far away,
Over whose solitudes
The dread malaria broods,
No labor tills the land--
Only the fierce brigand,
Or shepherd, wan and lean,
O'er the wide plains is seen.
Yet there, a lovely dream,
There Grecian temples gleam,
Whose form and mellowed tone
Rival the Parthenon.
The Sybarite no more
Comes hither to adore,
With perfumed offering,
The ocean god and king.
The deity is fled
Long-since, but, in his stead,
The smiling sea is seen,
The Doric shafts between;
And round the time-worn base
Climb vines of tender grace,
And Pæstum's roses still
The air with fragrance fill.


Like architecture, sculpture, or, more properly speaking, statuary, owed its origin to religion, and was introduced into Greece from Egypt. With the Egyptians the art never advanced beyond the types established at its birth; but the Greeks, led on, as a recent writer well says, "by an intuitive sense of beauty which was with them almost a religious principle, aimed at an ideal perfection, and, by making Nature in her most perfect forms their model, acquired a facility and a power of representing every class of form unattained by any other people, and which have rendered the terms Greek and perfection, with reference to art, almost synonymous." The first specimens of Greek sculpture were rough, unhewn wooden representations of the gods. These were followed, a little later, by wooden images having some resemblance to life, and clothed and decorated with ornaments of various kinds. While this branch of the art long remained in a rude state, sculptured figures on architectural monuments were executed in a superior style as early as the age of Homer.

Long before the period of authentic history, other materials than wood were used in making statues; and as early as 700 B.C. a statue was executed of Zeus, or Jupiter, in bronze. The art of soldering metals is attributed to Glaucus of Chios, about 690 B.C.; while to Rhoe'cus and his son Theodo'rus, of Samos, is ascribed the invention of modeling and casting figures of bronze in a mould. The use of marble, also, for statues, was introduced in the early part of the sixth century by Dipoe'nus and Scyl'lis of Crete, who are the first artists celebrated for works in this material. But, while these improvements were important, they did not necessarily involve any change in style; and it was the removal of the restraints imposed by religion and hereditary cultivation that laid the foundation for the rapid progress of the art and its subsequent perfection. These changes, and the results produced by them, are well summed up in the following extract from THIRLWALL:

"The principal cause of the progress of sculpture was the enlargement which it experienced in the range of its subjects, and the consequent multiplicity of its productions. As long as statues were confined to the interior of the temples, and no more were seen in each sanctuary than the idol of its worship, there was little room and motive for innovation; and, on the other hand, there were strong inducements for adhering to the practice of antiquity. But, insensibly, piety or ostentation began to fill the temples with groups of gods and heroes, strangers to the place, and guests of the power who was properly invoked there. The deep recesses of their pediments were peopled with colossal forms, exhibiting some legendary scene appropriate to the place or the occasion of the building. The custom of honoring the victors at the public games with a statue--an honor afterward extended to other distinguished persons--contributed, perhaps, still more to the same effect; for, whatever restraints may have been imposed on the artists in the representation of sacred subjects, either by usage or by a religious scruple, these were removed when the artists were employed in exhibiting the images of mere mortals. As the field of the art was widened to embrace new objects, the number of masters increased; they were no longer limited, where this had before been the case, to families or guilds; their industry was sharpened by a more active competition and by richer rewards. As the study of nature became more earnest, the sense of beauty grew quicker and steadier; and so rapid was the march of the art, that the last vestiges of the arbitrary forms which had been hallowed by time or religion had not yet everywhere disappeared when the final union of truth and beauty, which we sometimes endeavor to express by the term ideal, was accomplished in the school of Phid'ias." [Footnote: Thirlwall's "History of Greece," vol. i., p. 206.]

We cannot attempt to give here the names of the masters of sculpture who flourished prior to 500 B.C., or trace the still extant remains of their genius; but their works were numerous, and the beauty and grandeur of many of them caused them to be highly valued in all succeeding ages. In fact, before the Persian wars had commenced, the branch of sculpture termed statuary had attained nearly the summit of its perfection.



Returning now to the political and military history of Greece, we find that, about the year 550 B.C., the independence of the Grecian colonies on the coast of Asia Minor was crushed by Croe'sus, King of Lydia, who conquered their territories. Thus the Asiatic Greeks became subject to a barbarian power; but Croesus ruled them with great mildness, leaving their political institutions undisturbed, and requiring of them little more than the payment of a moderate tribute. A few years later they experienced a change of masters, and, together with Lydia, fell by conquest under the dominion of Persia, of which Cyrus the elder was then king. Under Darius Hystas'pes, the second king after Cyrus, the Persian empire attained its greatest extent-- embracing, in Asia, all that at a later period was contained in Persia proper and Turkey; in Africa taking in Egypt as far as Nubia, and the coast of the Mediterranean as far as Barca; thus stretching from the Ægean Sea to the Indus, and from the plains of Tartary to the cataracts of the Nile. Such was the empire against whose united strength a few Grecian communities were soon to contend for the preservation of their very name and existence.


Like the Lydians, the Persians ruled the Greek colonies with a degree of moderation, and permitted them to retain their own form of government by paying tribute; yet the Greeks seized every opportunity to deliver themselves from this species of thraldom, and in 502 B.C. an insurrection broke out in one of the Ionian states, which soon assumed a formidable character. Before the Persians could collect sufficient forces to quell the revolt, the Ionians sought the aid of their Grecian countrymen, making application first to Sparta, but in vain, and then to Athens and the islands of the Ægean Sea. The Athenians, regarding Darius as an avowed enemy, gladly took part with the Ionians, and, in connection with Euboe'a, furnished them a fleet of twenty-five vessels. The allied Grecians, though at first successful, were defeated near Ephesus with great loss. Their commanders then quarreled, and the Athenians sailed for home, leaving the Asiatic Greeks (divided among themselves) to contend alone against the whole power of Persia. Still, the revolt attained to considerable proportions, and was protracted during a period of six years. It was terminated by the capture of Miletus, the capital of the Ionian Confederacy, in 495 B.C. The inhabitants of this city who escaped the sword were carried into captivity by the conquerors, and the subjugation of Ionia was complete.

The principal achievement of the allied Grecians during this war was the burning of Sardis, the capital of the old Lydian monarchy. When Darius was informed of it he burst into a paroxysm of rage, directing his wrath chiefly against the Athenians and Euboeans who had dared to invade his dominions. "The Athenians!" he exclaimed, "who are they?" Upon being told, he took his bow and shot an arrow high into the air, saying, "Grant me, Jove, to take vengeance upon the Athenians." He also charged one of his attendants to call aloud to him thrice every day at dinner, "Sire, remember the Athenians!" As soon, therefore, as Darius had satisfied his vengeance against the Greek cities and islands of Asia, he turned his attention to the Athenians and Euboeans, in pursuance of his vow. He meditated, however, nothing less than the conquest of all Greece; but the Persian fleet that was to aid in carrying out his plans was checked in its progress, off Mount Athos, by a storm so violent that it is said to have destroyed three hundred vessels and over twenty thousand lives; and his son-in-law, Mardo'nius, who had entered Thrace and Macedon at the head of a large army, abruptly terminated his campaign and recrossed the Hellespont to Asia.


Darius, having renewed his preparations for the conquest of Greece, sent heralds through the Grecian cities, demanding earth and water as tokens of submission. Some of the smaller states, intimidated by his power, submitted; but Athens and Sparta haughtily rejected the demands of the Eastern monarch, and put his heralds to death with cruel mockery, throwing one into a pit and another into a well, and bidding them take thence their earth and water.

In the spring of 490 B.C. a Persian fleet of six hundred ships, conveying an army of 120,000 men, and guided by the aged tyrant Hippias, directed its course toward the shores of Greece. Several islands of the Ægean submitted without a struggle. Euboea was severely punished; and with but little opposition the Persian host landed and advanced to the plains of Marathon, within twenty miles of Athens. The Athenians called on the Platæans and the Spartans for aid, and the former sent their entire force of one thousand men; but the Spartans refused to give the much-needed help, because it lacked a few days of the full moon, and it was contrary to their religious customs to begin a march during this interval. Meantime the Athenians had marched to Marathon, and were encamped on the hills that surrounded the plain. Their army numbered ten thousand men, and was commanded by Callim'achus, the Pol'emarch or third Archon, and ten generals, among whom were Milti'ades, Themis'tocles, and Aristi'des, who subsequently acquired immortal fame. Five of the ten generals were afraid to hazard a battle without the aid of the Spartans; but the arguments of Miltiades finally prevailed upon Callimachus to give his casting vote in favor of immediate action. Although the ten generals were to command the whole army successively, each for one day, it was agreed to invest Miltiades with the command at once, and intrust to his military skill the fortunes of Athens. He immediately drew up the little army in order of battle.


The Persians were extended in a line across the middle of the plain, having their best troops in the center, while their fleet was ranged behind them along the beach. The Athenians were drawn up in a line opposite, but having their main strength in the extreme wings of their army. Miltiades quickly advanced his force across the mile of plain that separated it from the foe, and fell upon the immense army of the Persians. As he had foreseen, the center of his line was soon broken, while the extremities of the enemy's line, made up of motley and undisciplined bands of all nations, were routed and driven toward the shore, and into the adjoining morasses. Miltiades now hastily concentrated his two wings and directed their united force against the Persian center, which, deeming itself victorious, was taken completely by surprise. The Persians, defeated, fled in disorder to their ships, but many perished in the marshes; the shore was strewn with their dead, and seven of their ships were destroyed. Their loss was six thousand four hundred; that of the Athenians, not including the Platæans, only one hundred and ninety two. Such, in brief, was the famous battle of Marathon. The Persians were strong in the terror of their name, and in the renown of their conquests; and it required a most heroic resolution in the Athenians to face a danger that they had not yet learned to despise.


The victory at Marathon was viewed by the people as a deliverance by the gods themselves. It is fabled that before the battle the voice of the god Pan was heard in the mountains, uttering warnings and threatenings to the Persians, and inspiring the Greeks with courage. Hence the wonderful legends of the battle, in which Theseus, Hercules, and other local heroes are represented as engaging in the combat, and dealing death among the flying barbarians. In the following lines MRS. HEMANS has embraced the description which the Greeks gave of the appearance and deeds of Theseus on that occasion:

There was one, a leader crowned,
  And armed for Greece that day;
But the falchions made no sound
  On his gleaming war array.
In the battle's front he stood,
  With his tall and shadowy crest;
But the arrows drew no blood,
  Though their path was through his vest.

His sword was seen to flash
  Where the boldest deeds were done;
But it smote without a clash;
  The stroke was heard by none!
His voice was not of those
  Who swelled the rolling blast,
And his steps fell hushed like snows--
  'Twas the shade of Theseus passed!

Far sweeping through the foe
  With a fiery charge he bore;
And the Mede left many a bow
  On the sounding ocean-shore.
And the foaming waves grew red,
  And the sails were crowded fast,
When the sons of Asia fled,
  As the shade of Theseus passed!
    When banners caught the breeze,
      When helms in sunlight shone,
    When masts were on the seas,
      And spears on Marathon.

It is said that to this day the peasant believes the field of Marathon to be haunted with spectral warriors, whose shouts are heard at midnight, borne on the wind, and rising above the din of battle. Viewed in the light of such legends, the following poem on Marathon, by PROFESSOR BLACKIE, is full of interest and poetic beauty:

From Pentel'icus' pine-clad height
[Footnote: Pentelicus overhangs the south side of the plain of
    A voice of warning came,
That shook the silent autumn night
    With fear to Media's name.
[Footnote: After the absorption of the Median kingdom into that
of Persia, the terms Mede and Persian were interchangeably used,
with little distinction.
Pan, from his Marathonian cave,
[Footnote: Pan was said to have a famous cave near Marathon. For
the somewhat prominent part which Pan played in the great Persian
war, see Herodotus, vi. p.105.
    Sent screams of midnight terror.

And darkling horror curled the wave
  On the broad sea's moonlit mirror.
    Woe, Persia, woe! thou liest low--low!
      Let the golden palaces groan!
    Ye mothers weep for sons that shall sleep
      In gore on Marathon.

Where Indus and Hydaspes roll,
    Where treeless deserts glow,
Where Scythians roam beneath the pole,
    O'er hills of hardened snow,
The great Darius rules: and now,
    Thou little Greece, to thee
He comes: thou thin-soiled Athens, how
    Shalt thou dare to be free?
      There is a God that wields the rod
        Above: by him alone
      The Greek shall be free, when the Mede shall flee
        In shame from Marathon.

He comes; and o'er the bright Ægean,
    Where his masted army came,
The subject isles uplift the pæan
    Of glory to his name.
Strong Naxos, strong Ere'tria yield;
    His captains near the shore
Of Marathon's fair and fateful field,
    Where a tyrant marched before.
      And a traitor guide, the sea beside,
        Now marks the land for his own,
      Where the marshes red shall soon be the bed
        Of the Mede in Marathon.

Who shall number the host of the Mede?
    Their high-tiered galleys ride,
Like locust-bands with darkening speed,
    Across the groaning tide.
Who shall tell the many hoofed tramp
    That shakes the dusty plain?
Where the pride of his horse is the strength of his camp,
    Shall the Mede forget to gain?
      O fair is the pride of the cohorts that ride,
        To the eye of the morning shown!
      But a god in the sky hath doomed them to lie
        In dust on Marathon.

Dauntless, beside the sounding sea,
    The Athenian men reveal
Their steady strength. That they are free
    They know; and inly feel
Their high election, on that day,
    In foremost fight to stand,
And dash the enslaving yoke away
    From all the Grecian land.
      Their praise shall sound the world around,
        Who shook the Persian throne,
      When the shout of the free travelled over the sea
        From famous Marathon.

From dark Cithæ'ron's sacred slope
    The small Platæan band
Bring hearts that swell with patriot hope,
    To wield a common brand
With Theseus' sons, at danger's gates,
    While spellbound Sparta stands,
And for the pale moon's changes waits
    With stiff and stolid hands;
      And hath no share in the glory rare,
        That Athens shall make her own,
      When the long-haired Mede with fearful speed
        Falls back from Marathon.

"On, sons of the Greeks!" the war-cry rolls;
    "The land that gave you birth,
Your wives, and all the dearest souls
    That circle round each hearth;
The shrines upon a thousand hills,
    The memory of your sires,
Nerve now with brass your resolute wills,
    And fan your valorous fires!"
      And on like a wave came the rush of the brave--
        "Ye sons of the Greeks, on, on!"
      And the Mede stepped back from the eager attack
        Of the Greek in Marathon.

Hear'st thou the rattling of spears on the right?
    Seest thou the gleam in the sky?
The gods come to aid the Greeks in the fight,
    And the favoring heroes are nigh.
The lion's hide I see in the sky,
    And the knotted club so fell,
And kingly Theseus's conquering eye,
    And Maca'ria, nymph of the well.
[Footnote: The nymph Macaria, daughter of Hercules, was said
to have a fountain on the field of Marathon. There is a well
near the north end of the plain, where the fountain is supposed
to have been.
      Purely, purely, the fount did flow,
        When the morn's first radiance shone;
      But eve shall know the crimson flow
        Of its wave, by Marathon.

On, son of Cimon, bravely on!
[Footnote: Milti'ades, the general in command, whose father's
name was Cimon.
    And Aristides the just!
Your names have made the field your own,
    Your foes are in the dust!
The Lydian satrap spurs his steed,
    The Persian's bow is broken:
His purple pales; the vanquished Mede
    Beholds the angry token
      Of thundering Jove, who rules above;
        And the bubbling marshes moan
[Footnote: There are two extensive marshes on the plain of
Marathon, one at each extremity. The Persians were driven back
into the marsh at the north end.
      With the trampled dead that have found their bed
        In gore, at Marathon.

The ships have sailed from Marathon
    On swift disaster's wings;
And an evil dream hath fetched a groan
    From the heart of the king of kings.
An eagle he saw, in the shades of night,
    With a dove that bloodily strove;
And the weak hath vanquished the strong in fight,
    The eagle hath fled from the dove.
[Footnote: Reference is here made to A-tos'sa's dream, as
given by Æschylus in his tragedy of The Persians.
      Great Jove, that reigns in the starry plains,
        To the heart of the king hath shown
      That the boastful parade of his pride was laid
        In dust at Marathon.

But through Pentelicus' winding vales
    The hymn triumphal runs,
And high-shrined Athens proudly hails
    Her free-returning sons.
And Pallas, from her ancient rock,
[Footnote: Pallas, or Minerva.]
    With her shield's refulgent round,
Blazes; her frequent worshippers flock,
    And high the pæans sound,
      How in deathless glory the famous story
        Shall on the winds be blown,
      That the long-haired Mede was driven with speed
        By the Greeks, from Marathon.

And Greece shall be a hallowed name,
    While the sun shall climb the pole,
And Marathon fan strong freedom's flame
    In many a pilgrim soul.
And o'er that mound where heroes sleep,
[Footnote: This famous mound is still to be seen on the
    By the waste and reedy shore,
Full many a patriot eye shall weep,
    Till Time shall be no more.
      And the bard shall brim with a holier hymn,
        When he stands by that mound alone,
      And feel no shrine on earth more divine
        Than the dust of Marathon.


Soon after the Persian defeat, Miltiades, who at first received all the honors that a grateful people could bestow, met a fate that casts a melancholy gloom over his history, and that has often been cited in proof of the assertion that "republics are fickle and ungrateful." History shows, however, that the Athenians were not greatly in the wrong in their treatment of Miltiades. He obtained of them the command of an expedition whose destination was known to himself alone; assuring them of the honorableness and the success of the enterprise. But much treasure was spent, many lives were lost, and through the seeming treachery of Miltiades the expedition terminated in disaster and disgrace. It was found, upon investigation, that the motive of the expedition was private resentment against a prominent citizen of Paros. Miltiades was therefore condemned to death; but gratitude for his previous valuable services mitigated the penalty to a fine of fifty talents. His death occurred soon after, from a wound that he received in a fall while at Paros, and the fine was paid by his son Cimon.

As GROTE well observes, "The fate of Miltiades, so far from illustrating either the fickleness or the ingratitude of his countrymen, attests their just appreciation of deserts. It also illustrates another moral of no small importance to the right comprehension of Grecian affairs; it teaches us the painful lesson how perfectly maddening were the effects of a copious draught of glory on the temperament of an enterprising and ambitious Greek. There can be no doubt that the rapid transition, in the course of about one week, from Athenian terror before the battle to Athenian exultation after it, must have produced demonstrations toward Miltiades such as were never paid to any other man in the whole history of the commonwealth. Such unmeasured admiration unseated his rational judgment, so that his mind became abandoned to the reckless impulses of insolence, antipathy, and rapacity-- that distempered state for which (according to Grecian morality) the retributive Nemesis was ever on the watch, and which, in his case, she visited with a judgment startling in its rapidity, as well as terrible in its amount." [Footnote: "History of Greece," Chap. xxxvi.]

But, as GILLIES remarks, "The glory of Miltiades survived him. At the distance of half a century, when the battle of Marathon was painted by order of the state, it was ordered that the figure of Miltiades be placed in the foreground, animating the troops to victory--a reward which, during the virtuous simplicity of the ancient commonwealth, conferred more real honor than all that magnificent profusion of crowns and statues which, in the later times of the republic, were rather extorted by general fees than bestowed by public admiration." [See Oration of Æsehines, pp. 424-426.]


After the death of Miltiades, Themistocles and Aristides became the most prominent men among the Athenians. The former, a most able statesman, but influenced by ambitious motives, aimed to make Athens great and powerful that he himself might rise to greater eminence; while the later was a pure patriot, wholly destitute of selfish ambition, and knew no cause but that of justice and the public welfare. The poet THOMSON thus characterizes him:

Then Aristides lifts his honest front;
Spotless of heart, to whom the unflattering voice
Of Freedom gave the name of Just.
In pure majestic poverty revered;
Who, e'en his glory to his country's weal
Submitting, swelled a haughty rival's fame.

But the very integrity of Aristides made for him secret enemies, who, although they charged him with no crimes, were yet able to procure his banishment by the process of ostracism, in which his great rival, Themistocles, took a leading part. This kind of condemnation was not inflicted as a punishment, but as a precautionary measure against a degree of personal popularity that might be deemed dangerous to the public welfare. The process was as follows: In an assembly of the people each man was at liberty to write on a shell the name of the person whom he wished to have banished, and if six thousand votes or more were recorded, that person against whom the greatest number of votes had been given was banished for ten years, but with leave to enjoy his estate, and return after that period. PLUTARCH relates the following incident connected with the banishment of Aristides: "An illiterate burgher coming to Aristides, whom he took for some ordinary person, and giving him his shell, desired him to write 'Aristides' upon it. The good man, surprised at the adventure, asked him 'Whether Aristides had ever injured him?' 'No,' said he, 'nor do I even know him; but it vexes me to hear him everywhere called the Just.' Aristides made no answer, but took the shell, and, having written his own name upon it, returned it to the man. When he quitted Athens, he lifted up his hands toward heaven, and, agreeably to his character, made a prayer, very different from that of Achilles; namely, 'that the people of Athens might never see the day which should force them to remember Aristides.'"

But it was, perhaps, fortunate for the liberties of Greece that Themistocles, instead of Aristides, was left in full power at Athens. "The peculiar faculty of his mind," says THIRLWALL, "which Thucydides contemplated with admiration, was the quickness with which it seized every object that came in its way, perceived the course of action required by new situations and sudden junctures, and penetrated into remote consequences. Such were the abilities which were most needed at this period for the service of Athens." Soon after the battle of Marathon a war had broken out between Athens and Ægina, which still continued, and which gave Themistocles an opportunity to exercise his powers of ready invention and prompt execution. Ægina was one of the wealthiest of the Grecian islands, and possessed the most powerful navy in all Greece. Themistocles soon saw that to successfully cope with this formidable rival, as well as rise to a higher rank among the Grecian states, Athens must become a great maritime power. He therefore obtained the consent of the Athenians to devote a large surplus then in the public treasury, but which belonged to individual citizens, to the building of a hundred galleys; and, by this sacrifice of individual emolument to the general good, the Athenian navy was increased to two hundred ships. But the foresight of Themistocles extended still farther, and it was no less his design, in making Athens a first-class maritime power, to protect her against Persia, which, as he well knew, was preparing for another and still more formidable attack on Greece.


For three years subsequent to the battle of Marathon Darius made great preparations for a second invasion of Greece, intending to lead his forces in person; but death put an end to his plans. Xerxes, his son and successor, was urged by many advisers to carry out his father's intentions. His uncle Artaba'nus alone endeavored to divert him from the enterprise; but Xerxes, having spent four years in collecting a large fleet and a vast body of troops from all quarters of his extensive dominions, set out from Sardis with great ostentation, in the spring of the year 480, to avenge the disgrace of Marathon. HERODOTUS relates that, on reaching Aby'dos, on the Hellespont, Xerxes reviewed his vast host, and wept when he thought of the shortness of human life, and considered that of all his immense host not one man would be alive when a hundred years had passed away. The historian's account is as follows:

Xerxes at Abydos.

"Arrived here, Xerxes wished to look upon his host; so, as there was a throne of white marble upon a hill near the city, which they of Abydos had prepared beforehand, by the king's bidding, for his especial use, Xerxes took his seat on it, and, gazing thence upon the shore below, beheld at one view all his land forces and all his ships. As he looked and saw the whole Hellespont covered with the vessels of his fleet, and all the shore and every plain about Abydos as full as could be of men, Xerxes congratulated himself on his good-fortune; but, after a little while, he wept. Then Artabanus, the king's uncle (the same who at the first so freely spake his mind to the king, and advised him not to lead his army against Greece), when he heard that Xerxes was in tears, went to him, and said:

"'How different, sire, is what thou art now doing from what thou didst a little while ago! Then thou didst congratulate thyself, and now, behold! thou weepest.'

"'There came upon me,' replied he, 'a sudden pity when I thought of the shortness of man's life, and considered that of all this host, so numerous as it is, not one will be alive when a hundred years are gone by.'

"'And yet there are sadder things in life than that,' returned the other. 'Short. as our time is, there is no man, whether it be here among this multitude or elsewhere, who is so happy as not to have felt the wish--I will not say once, but full many a time--that he were dead rather than alive. Calamities fall upon us, sicknesses vex and harass us, and make life, short though it be, to appear long. So death, through the wretchedness of our life, is a most sweet refuge to our race; and God, who gives us the tastes we enjoy of pleasant times, is seen, in his very gift, to be envious.'"
  --Trans. by RAWLINSON.

Much that is told about Xerxes--how he cut off Mount Athos from the main-land by a canal; how he made a bridge of boats across the Hellespont, where it is three miles wide, and ordered the waters to be scourged because they destroyed the bridge; how he constructed new bridges, over which his vast army crossed the Hellespont as along a royal road; and how his army drank a whole river dry--all of which is gravely related by Herodotus as fact, is discredited by the Latin poet JUVENAL, who attributes these stories to the imaginations of "browsy poets."

Old Greece a tale of Athos would make out,
Cut from the continent and sailed about;
Seas bid with navies, chariots passing o'er
The channel on a bridge from shore to shore;
Rivers, whose depths no sharp beholder sees,
Drunk, at an army's dinner, to the lees;
With a long legend of romantic things,
Which, in his cups, the browsy poet sings.
  --Tenth Satire.  Trans. by DRYDEN.

That Xerxes bridged the Hellespont, however, in the manner related by Herodotus, is an accepted fact of history. As MILTON says,

Xerxes, the liberty of Greece to yoke,
From Susa, his Memnonian palace high,
Came to the sea, and over Hellespont
Bridging his way, Europe with Asia joined.
  --Paradise Regained.

He crossed to Ses'tus, a city of Thrace, and entered Europe at the head of an army the greatest the world has ever seen, and whose numbers have been estimated at over two millions of fighting men. Having marched along the coast through Thrace and Macedonia, this immense force passed through Thessaly, and arrived, without opposition, at the Pass of Thermop'ylæ, a narrow defile on the western shore of the gulf that lies between Thessaly and Euboea, and almost the only road by which Greece proper, or ancient Greece, could be entered on the north-east by way of Thessaly. In the mean time the Greeks had not been idle. The winter before Xerxes left Asia a general congress of the Grecian states was held at the isthmus of Corinth, at which the differences between Athens and Ægina were first settled, and then a vigorous effort was made by Athens and Sparta to unite the states and cities in one great league against the power of Persia. But, notwithstanding the common danger, only a few of the states responded to the call, and the only people north and east of the isthmus who joined the league were the Athenians, Phocians, Platæans, and Thespians. The command of both the land and naval forces was relinquished by Athens to the Spartans; and it was resolved to make the first stand against Persia at the Pass of Thermopylæ.


When the Persian monarch reached Thermopylæ, he found a body of but eight thousand men, commanded by the Spartan king Leonidas, prepared to dispute his passage. A herald was sent to the Greeks commanding them to lay down their arms; but Leonidas replied, with true Spartan brevity, "Come and take them!" When it was remarked that the Persians were so numerous that their darts would darken the sun, "Then," replied Dien'eces, a Spartan, "we shall fight in the shade." Trained from youth to the endurance of all hardships, and forbidden by their laws ever to flee from an enemy, the sons of Sparta were indeed formidable antagonists for the Persians to encounter.

Stern were her sons. Upon Euro'tas' bank,
Where black Ta-yg'etus o'er cliff and peak
Waves his dark pines, and spreads his glistening snows,
On five low hills their city rose: no walls,
No ramparts closed it round; its battlements
And towers of strength were men--high-minded men,
Who heard the cry of danger with more joy
Than softer natures listen to the voice
Of pleasure; who, with unremitting toil
In chase, in battle, or athletic course,
To fierceness steeled their native hardihood;
Who sunk in death as tranquil as in sleep,
And, hemmed by hostile myriads, never turned
To flight, but closer drew before their breasts
The massy buckler, firmer fixed the foot,
Bit the writhed lip, and, where they struggled, fell.

Xerxes, astonished that the Greeks did not disperse at the sight of his vast army, waited four days, and then ordered a body of his troops to attack them, and lead them captive before him; but the barbarians fell in heaps in the very presence of the king, and blocked the narrow pass with their dead. Xerxes now thought the contest worthy of the superior prowess of his own guards, the ten thousand Immortals. These were led up as to a certain victory; but the Greeks stood their ground as before. The combat lasted a whole day, and the slaughter of the enemy was terrible. Another day of combat followed, with like results, and the confidence of the Persian monarch was changed into despondence and perplexity.

While in the uncertainty caused by these repeated failures to force a passage, Xerxes learned, from a Greek traitor, of a secret path over the mountains, by which he was able to throw a force of twenty thousand men into the rear of the brave defenders of the pass. Leonidas, seeing that his post was no longer tenable, now dismissed all his allies that desired to retire, and retained only three hundred fellow-Spartans, with some Thespians and Thebans--in all about one thousand men. He would have saved two of his kinsmen, by sending them with messages to Sparta; but the one said he had come to bear arms, not to carry letters, and the other that his deeds would tell all that Sparta desired to know. Leonidas did not wait for an attack, but sallying forth from the pass, and falling suddenly upon the Persians, he penetrated to the very center of their host, where the battle raged furiously, and two of the brothers of Xerxes were slain. Then the surviving Greeks, with the exception of the Thebans, fell back within the pass and took their final stand upon a hillock, where they fought with the valor of desperation until every man was slain. The Thebans, however, who from the first had been distrusted by Leonidas, threw down their arms early in the fight, and begged for quarter.

The conflict itself, and the glory of the struggle on the part of the Spartans, have been favorite themes with the poets of succeeding ages. The following description is by HAYGARTH:

Long and doubtful was the fight;
Day after day the hostile army poured
Its choicest warriors, but in vain; they fell,
Or fled inglorious. Foul treachery
At last prevailed; a steep and dangerous path,
Known only to the wandering mountaineers,
By difficult ascent led to the rear
Of the heroic Greeks. The morning dawned,
And the brave chieftain, when he raised his head
From the cold rock on which he rested, viewed
Banner and helmet, and the waving fire
From lance and buckler, glancing high amidst
Each pointed cliff and copse which stretch along
Yon mountain's bosom. Then he saw his fate;
But saw it with an unaverted eye:
Around his spear he called his countrymen,
And with a smile that o'er his rugged cheek
Pass'd transient, like the momentary flash
Streaking a thunder-cloud--"But we will die"
(He cried) "like Grecians; we will leave our sons
A bright example. Let each warrior bind
Firmly his mail, and grasp his lance, and scowl
From underneath his helm a frown of death
Upon his shrinking foe; then let him fix
His firm, unbending knee, and where he fights
There fall." They heard, and, on their shields
Clashing the war-song with a noble rage,
Rushed headlong in the conflict of the fight,
And died, as they had lived, triumphantly.

The Greek historian Diodorus, followed by the biographer Plutarch and the Latin historian Justin, states that Leonidas made the attack on the Persian camp during the night, and in the darkness and in the confusion of the struggle nearly penetrated to the royal tent of Xerxes. On this basis of supposed facts the poet CROLY wrote his stirring poem descriptive of the conflict; but the statement of Diodorus, which is irreconcilable with Herodotus, is generally discredited by modern writers.

Monuments to the memory of the Greeks who fell were erected on the battle-ground, and many were the epitaphs written to commemorate the heroism of the famous three hundred; but the oldest, best, and most celebrated of these is the inscription that was placed on their altar-tomb, written by the poet SIMON'IDES, of Ce'os. It consists of only two lines in the Original Greek. [Footnote: The following is the original Greek of the epitaph: "O xeiu hangeddeiy Dakedaimouiois hoti taede keimetha, tois keiuoy hraemasi peithomeuoi."] All Greece for centuries had them by heart; but in the lapse of time she forgot them, and then, in the language of "Christopher North," "Greece was living Greece no more." There have been no less than three Latin and eighteen English versions of this epitaph; and herewith we give three of the latter:

Go, stranger, and to Laç-e-dæ'mon tell
That here, obedient to her laws, we fell.

Stranger, to Sparta say that here we rest
In death, obedient to her high behest.

Go, tell the Spartans, thou who passest by,
That here, obedient to their laws, we lie.

Another inscription, said to have been written by Simonides for the tombs of the heroes of Thermopylæ, is as follows:

Happy they, the chosen brave,
  Whom Destiny, whom Valor led
To their consecrated grave
  'Mid Thessalia's mountains dread.
    Their sepulchre's a holy shrine,
    Their epitaph, the engraven line
    Recording former deeds divine;
      And Pity's melancholy wail
Is changed to hymns of praise that load the evening gale.

Entombed in noble deed's they're laid--
  Nor silent rust, nor Time's inexorable hour,
  Shall e'er have power
To rend that shroud which veils their hallowed shade.
  Hellas mourns the dead
      Sunk in their narrow grave;
  But thou, dark Sparta's chief, whose bosom bled
      First in the battle's wave,
Bear witness that they fell as best beseems the brave.

Leonidas himself fell in the plain, and his body was carried into the defile by his followers. He was buried at the north entrance to the pass, and over his grave was erected a mound, on which was placed the figure of a lion sculptured in stone. The sculptured lion marked the grave of the hero down to the time Of Herodotus.

On Phocis' shores the cavern's gloom
Imbrowns yon solitary tomb:
There, in the sad and silent grave
Repose the ashes of the brave
Who, when the Persian from afar
On Hellas poured the stream of war,
At Freedom's call, with martial pride,
For his loved country fought and died.
Seek'st thou the place where, 'midst the dead
The hero of the battle bled?
Yon sculptured lion, frowning near,
Points out Leonidas's bier.

The poet BYRON, who was peculiarly the friend of Greece, and an earnest admirer of both the genius and the heroic deeds of her sons, has written the following lines commemorating the glory of those who fell at Thermopylæ:

They fell devoted, but undying;
The very gale their names seemed sighing:
The waters murmured of their name;
The woods were peopled with their fame;
The silent pillar, lone and gray,
Claimed kindred with their sacred clay:
Their spirits wrapped the dusky mountain,
Their memory sparkled o'er the fountain;
The meanest rill, the mightiest river
Rolled mingling with their fame forever.


While fighting was in progress at Thermopylæ, a Greek fleet, under the command of the Spartan Eurybi'ades, that had been sent to guard the Euboean Sea, encountered the Persian ships at Artemis'ium. In several engagements that occurred, the Athenian vessels, commanded by Themistocles, were especially distinguished; and although the contests with the enemy were not decisive, yet, says PLUTARCH, "they were of great advantage to the Greeks, who learned by experience that neither the number of ships, nor the beauty and splendor of their ornaments, nor the vaunting shouts and songs of the Persians, were anything dreadful to men who know how to fight hand-to-hand, and are determined to behave gallantly. These things they were taught to despise when they came to close action and grappled with the foe. Hence in this respect, and for this reason, Pindar's sentiments appear just, when he says of the fight at Artemisium,

"'Twas then that Athens the foundation laid
     Of Liberty's fair structure.'"

Although the Greeks were virtually the victors in these engagements, at least one-half of their vessels were disabled; and, hearing of the defeat of Leonidas at Thermopylæ, they resolved to retreat. Having sailed through the Euboean Sea, the fleet kept on its way until it reached the Island of Salamis, in the Saron'ic Gulf. Here Themistocles learned that no friendly force was guarding the frontier of Attica, although the Peloponnesian states had promised to send an army into Boeotia; and he saw that there was nothing to prevent the Persians from marching on Athens. He therefore advised the Athenians to abandon the city to the mercy of the Persians, and commit their safety and their hopes of victory to the navy. The advice was adopted, though not without a hard struggle; and those of the inhabitants who were able to bear arms retired to the Island of Salamis, while the old and infirm, the women and children, found shelter in a city of Argolis.


Xerxes pursued his march through Greece unopposed except by Thespiæ and Platæa, which towns he reduced, and spread desolation over Attica until he arrived at the foot of the Cecropian hill, which he found guarded by a handful of desperate citizens who refused to surrender. But the brave defenders were soon put to the sword, and Athens was plundered and then burned to the ground. About this time the Persian fleet arrived in the Bay of Phale'rum, and Xerxes immediately dispatched it to block up that of the Greeks in the narrow strait of Salamis. Eurybiades, the Spartan, who still commanded the Grecian fleet, was urged by Themistocles, and also by Aristides, who had been recalled from exile, to hazard an engagement at once in the narrow strait, where the superior numbers of the Persians would be of little avail. The Peloponnesian commanders, however, wished to move the fleet to the Isthmus of Corinth, where it would have the aid of the land forces. At last the counsel of Themistocles prevailed, and the Greeks made the attack. The engagement was a courageous and persistent one on both sides, but the Greeks came off victorious. Xerxes had caused a royal throne to be erected on one of the neighboring heights, where, surrounded by his army, he might witness the naval conflict in which he was so confident of victory. But he had the misfortune to see his magnificent navy almost utterly annihilated. Among the slain was the brother of Xerxes, who commanded the navy, and many other Persians of the highest rank.

A king sate on the rocky brow
  Which looks o'er sea-born Salamis;
And ships, by thousands, lay below,
  And men in nations--all were his!
He counted them at break of day--
  And when the sun set, where were they?

Anxious now for his own personal safety, the Persian monarch's whole care centered on securing his retreat by land. He passed rapidly into Thessaly, and, after a march of forty-five days, reached the shores of the Hellespont to find his bridges washed away.

But how returned he? Say; this soul of fire,
This proud barbarian, whose impatient ire
Chastised the winds that disobeyed his nod
With stripes ne'er suffered by the Æolian god--
But how returned he? say; his navy lost,
In a small bark he fled the hostile coast,
And, urged by terror, drove his laboring prore
Through floating carcasses and fields of gore.
So Xerxes sped; so sped the conquering race:
They catch at glory, and they clasp disgrace.
  --JUVENAL, Satire X.  Trans. by GIFFORD.

The ignominious retreat of Xerxes was in marked contrast to the pomp and magnificence of his advance into Greece. Death from famine and distress spread its ravages among his troops, and the remnant that returned with him to Asia was but "a wreck, or fragment, rather than a part of his huge host."

O'er Hellespont and Athos' marble head,
More than a god he came, less than a man he fled.

A Celebrated Description of the Battle.

Among the Athenians who nobly fought at Marathon, and who also took part in the battle of Salamis, was the tragedian Æschylus; and so much did he distinguish himself in the capacity of soldier, that, in the picture which the Athenians caused to be painted representing the former battle, the figure of Æschylus held so prominent a place as to be at once recognized, even by a casual observer. Eight years after the latter battle Æschylus composed his tragedy of The Persians, which portrays, in vivid colors, the defeat of Xerxes, and gives a fuller, and, indeed, better account of that memorable sea-fight than is found even in the pages of Herodotus.

Says MITFORD, "It is matter of regret, not indeed that Æschylus was a poet; but that prose-writing was yet in his age so little common that his poetical sketch of this great transaction is the most authoritative, the clearest, and the most consistent of any that has passed to posterity." In the famous tragedy of Æschylus the account of the destruction of the Persian fleet is supposed to be given by a Persian messenger, escaped from the fight, to Atos'sa, the mother of Xerxes. The scene is laid at Susa, the Persian capital, near the tomb of Darius. The whole drama may be considered as a proud triumphal song in favor of Liberty.

Atossa, appearing with her attendants, and anxious for news of her son, first inquires in what clime are the towers of Athens-- the conquest of which her son had willed--and what mighty armies, what arms, and what treasures the Athenians boast, and what mighty monarch rules over them; and is told, to her surprise, that instead of the strong bow, like the Persians, they have stout spears and massy bucklers; and although their rich earth is a copious fount of silver, yet the people, "slaves to no lord, own no kingly power." Then enters the messenger, who exclaims:

Woe to the towns of Asia's peopled realms!
Woe to the land of Persia, once the port
Of boundless wealth! All, at a blow, has perished!
Ah me! How sad his task who brings ill tidings!
But, to my tale of woe--I needs must tell it.
Persians--the whole barbaric host has fallen!

At this astounding news the chorus breaks out in, concert:

Oh horror, horror, what a train of ills!
Alas! Is Hellas then unscathed? And has
Our arrowy tempest spent its force in vain?
Raise the funereal cry--with dismal notes
Wailing the wretched Persians. Oh, how ill
They planned their measures! All their army perished!

Then the messenger exclaims:

I speak not from report; but these mine eyes
Beheld the ruin which my tongue would utter.
In heaps the unhappy dead lie on the strand
Of Salamis, and all the neighboring shores.
Oh, Salamis--how hateful is thy name!
Oh, how my heart groans but to think of Athens!

Atossa at length finds words to say:

Astonished with these ills, my voice thus long
Hath wanted utterance: griefs like these exceed
The power of speech or question: yet e'en such,
Inflicted by the gods, must mortal man,
Constrained by loud necessity endure.
But tell me all: without distraction, tell me
All this calamity, though many a groan
Burst from thy laboring heart. Who is not fallen?
What leader must we wail? What sceptred chief,
Dying, hath left his troops without a lord?

The messenger tells her that Xerxes himself lives, and still beholds the light, and then gives her a general summary of the disasters that befell the Persians, the names of the chiefs that were slain, the numbers of the horsemen, and the spearmen, and the seamen that lay "slaughtered on the rocks," "buried in the waters," or "mouldering on the dreary shore." At the request of Atossa he then proceeds to give the following more detailed account, which, as we have said, is the best history that we have of this memorable naval conflict:

Our evil genius, lady, or some god
Hostile to Persia, led to every ill.
Forth from the troops of Athens came a Greek,
And thus addressed thy son, the imperial Xerxes:
"Soon as the shades of night descend, the Grecians
Shall quit their station: rushing to their oars,
They mean to separate, and in secret flight
Seek safety." At these words the royal chief,
Little dreaming of the wiles of Greece,
And gods averse, to all the naval leaders
Gave his high charge: "Soon as yon sun shall cease
To dart his radiant beams, and dark'ning night
Ascends the temple of the sky, arrange
In three divisions your well-ordered ships,
And guard each pass, each outlet of the seas:
Others enring around this rocky isle
Of Salamis. Should Greece escape her fate,
And work her way by secret flight, your heads
Shall answer the neglect." This harsh command
He gave, exulting in his mind, nor knew
What Fate designed. With martial discipline
And prompt obedience, snatching a repast,
Each manner fixed well his ready oar.

Soon as the golden sun was set, and night
Advanced, each, trained to ply the dashing oar,
Assumed his seat; in arms each warrior stood,
Troop cheering troop through all the ships of war.
Each to the appointed station steers his course,
And through the night his naval force each chief
Fix'd to secure the passes. Night advanced,
But not by secret flight did Greece attempt
To escape. The morn, all beauteous to behold,
Drawn by white steeds, bounds o'er the enlighten'd earth:

At once from every Greek, with glad acclaim,
Burst forth the song of war, whose lofty notes
The echo of the island rocks returned,
Spreading dismay through Persia's host, thus fallen
From their high hopes; no flight this solemn strain
Portended, but deliberate valor bent
On daring battle; while the trumpet's sound
Kindled the flames of war. But when their oars
(The pæan ended) with impetuous force
Dash'd the surrounding surges, instant all
Rush'd on in view; in orderly array
The squadron of the right first led, behind
Rode their whole fleet; and now distinct was heard
From every part this voice of exhortation:

"Advance, ye sons of Greece, from thraldom save
Your country--save your wives, your children save,
The temples of your gods, the sacred tomb
Where rest your honor'd ancestors; this day
The common cause of all demands your valor."
Meantime from Persia's hosts the deep'ning shout
Answer'd their shout; no time for cold delay;
But ship 'gainst ship its brazen beak impell'd.

First to the charge a Grecian galley rush'd;
Ill the Phoenician bore the rough attack--
Its sculptured prow all shatter'd. Each advanced,
Daring an opposite. The deep array
Of Persia at the first sustain'd the encounter;
But their throng'd numbers, in the narrow seas
Confined, want room for action; and deprived
Of mutual aid, beaks clash with beaks, and each
Breaks all the other's oars: with skill disposed,
The Grecian navy circled them around
In fierce assault; and, rushing from its height,
The inverted vessel sinks.

                            The sea no more
Wears its accustomed aspect, with foul wrecks
And blood disfigured; floating carcasses
Roll on the rocky shores; the poor remains
Of the barbaric armament to flight
Ply every oar inglorious: onward rush
The Greeks amid the ruins of the fleet,
As through a shoal of fish caught in the net,
Spreading destruction; the wide ocean o'er
Wailings are heard, and loud laments, till night,
With darkness on her brow, brought grateful truce.
Should I recount each circumstance of woe,
Ten times on my unfinished tale the sun
Would set; for be assured that not one day
Could close the ruin of so vast a host.

After some farther account, by the messenger, of the magnitude of the ruin that had overwhelmed the Persian host, the mother of Xerxes thus apostrophizes and laments that "invidious fortune" which had pulled down this ruin on her son's devoted head:

  Invidious fortune, how thy baleful power
Hath sunk the hopes of Persia! Bitter fruit
My son hath tasted from his purposed vengeance
On Athens, famed for arms; the fatal field
Of Marathon, red with barbaric blood,
Sufficed not: that defeat he thought to avenge,
And pulled this hideous ruin on his head!
  Ah me! what sorrows for our ruined host
Oppress my soul! Ye visions of the night,
Haunting my dreams, how plainly did you show
These ills! You set them in too fair a light.

In the Epode, or closing portion of the tragedy, the following "Lament" may be considered as expressing the feelings with which the Persians bewailed this defeat, with reference to its effects upon Persian authority over the Asiatic nations:

              With sacred awe
              The Persian law
    No more shall Asia's realm revere:
              To their lord's hand,
              At his command,
    No more the exacted tribute bear.
Who now falls prostrate at the monarch's throne?
    His regal greatness is no more.
Now no restraint the wanton tongue shall own,
    Free from the golden curb of power;
For on the rocks, washed by the beating flood,
His awe-commanding nobles lie in blood.
  --POTTER'S trans.

Among the modern poems on Xerxes and the battle of Salamis, is one by the Scotch poet and translator, JOHN STUART BLACKIE, from which we take the following extracts:

Seest thou where, sublimely seated on a silver-footed throne,
With a high tiara crested, belted with a jewelled zone,
Sits the king of kings, and, looking from the rocky mountain-side,
Scans, with masted armies studded far, the fair Saronic tide?
Looks he not with high hope beaming? looks he not with pride elate?
Seems he not a god? The words he speaks are big with instant fate.

He hath come from far Euphrates, and from Tigris' rushing tide,
To subdue the strength of Athens, to chastise the Spartan's pride;
He hath come with countless armies, gathered slowly from afar,
From the plain, and from the mountain, marshalled ranks of motley war;
From the land and from the ocean, that the burdened billows groan,
That the air is black with banners, which great Xerxes calls his own.

Soothly he hath nobly ridden o'er the fair fields, o'er the waste,
As the earth might bear the burden, with a weighty-footed haste;
He hath cut in twain the mountain, he hath bridged the rolling main,
He hath lashed the flood of Hel'le, bound the billow with a chain;
And the rivers shrink before him, and the sheeted lakes are dry,
From his burden-bearing oxen, and his hordes of cavalry;
And the gates of Greece stand open; Ossa and Olympus fail;
And the mountain-girt Æmo'nia spreads the river and the gale.

Stood nor man nor god before him; he hath scoured the Attic land,
Chased the valiant sons of Athens to a barren island's strand;
He hath hedged them round with triremes, lines on lines of bristling war;
He hath doomed the prey for capture; he hath spread his meshes far;
And he sits sublimely seated on a throne with pride elate,
To behold the victim fall beneath the sudden swooping Fate.

Then follows an account of the nations which formed the Persian hosts, their arrangement to entrap the Greeks, who were thought to be meditating flight, the patriotic enthusiasm of the latter, the naval battle which followed, and the disastrous defeat of the Persians, the poem closing with the following satirical address to Xerxes:

Wake thee! wake thee! blinded Xerxes! God hath found thee out at last;
Snaps thy pride beneath his judgment, as the tree before the blast.
Haste thee! haste thee! speed thy couriers--Persian couriers travel lightly--
To declare thy stranded navy, that by cruel death unsightly
Dimmed thy glory. Hie thee! hie thee! hence, even by what way thou camest,
Dwarfed to whoso saw thee mightiest, and where thou wert fiercest, tamest!

Frost and fire shall league together, angry heaven to earth respond,
Strong Poseidon with his trident break thy impious-vaunted bond;
Where thou passed, with mouths uncounted, eating up the famished land,
With few men a boat shall ferry Xerxes to the Asian strand.
Haste thee! haste thee! they are waiting by the palace gates for thee;
By the golden gates of Susa eager mourners wait for thee.
Haste thee! where the guardian elders wait, a hoary-bearded train;
They shall see their king, but never see the sons they loved, again.

Where thy weeping mother waits thee, Queen Atossa waits to see
Dire fulfilment of her troublous, vision-haunted sleep in thee.
She hath dreamt, and she shall see it, how an eagle, cowed with awe,
Gave his kingly crest to pluck before a puny falcon's claw.
Haste thee! where the mighty shade of great Darius through the gloom
Rises dread, to teach thee wisdom, couldst thou learn it, from the tomb.
There begin the sad rehearsal, and, while streaming tears are shed,
To the thousand tongues that ask thee, tell the myriads of thy dead!


When Xerxes returned to his own dominions he left his general, Mardo'nius, with three hundred thousand men, to complete, if possible, the conquest of Greece. Mardonius passed the winter in Thessaly, but in the following summer his army was totally defeated, and himself slain, in the battle of Platæa. Two hundred thousand Persians fell here, and only a small remnant escaped across the Hellespont. We extract from BULWER'S Athens the following eloquent description of this battle, both for the sake of its beauty and to show the effect of the religion of the Greeks upon the military character of the people. Mardonius had advanced to the neighbor-hood of Platæa, when he encountered that part of the Grecian army composed mostly of Spartans and Lacedæmonians, commanded by Pausa'nias, and numbering about fifty thousand men. The Athenians had previously fallen back to a more secure position, where the entire army had been ordered to concentrate; and Pausanias had but just commenced the retrograde movement when the Persians made their appearance.

BULWER says: "As the troops of Mardonius advanced, the rest of the Persian armament, deeming the task was now not to fight but to pursue, raised their standards and poured forward tumultuously, without discipline or order. Pausanias, pressed by the Persian line, lost no time in sending to the Athenians for succor. But when the latter were on their march with the required aid, they were suddenly intercepted by the Greeks in the Persian service, and cut off from the rescue of the Spartans.

"The Spartans beheld themselves thus unsupported with considerable alarm. Committing himself to the gods, Pausanias ordained a solemn sacrifice, his whole army awaiting the result, while the shafts of the Persians poured on them near and fast. But the entrails presented discouraging omens, and the sacrifice was again renewed. Meanwhile the Spartans evinced their characteristic fortitude and discipline--not one man stirring from the ranks until the auguries should assume a more favoring aspect; all harassed, and some wounded by the Persian arrows, they yet, seeking protection only beneath their broad bucklers, waited with a stern patience the time of their leader and of Heaven. Then fell Callic'rates, the stateliest and strongest soldier in the whole army, lamenting not death, but that his sword was as yet undrawn against the invader.

"And still sacrifice after sacrifice seemed to forbid the battle, when Pausanias, lifting his eyes, that streamed with tears, to the Temple of Juno, that stood hard by, supplicated the goddess that, if the fates forbade the Greeks to conquer, they might at least fall like warriors; and, while uttering this prayer, the tokens waited for became suddenly visible in the victims, and the augurs announced the promise of coming victory. Therewith the order of battle ran instantly through the army, and, to use the poetical comparison of Plutarch, the Spartan phalanx suddenly stood forth in its strength like some fierce animal, erecting its bristles, and preparing its vengeance for the foe. The ground, broken into many steep and precipitous ridges, and intersected by the Aso'pus, whose sluggish stream winds over a broad and rushy bed, was unfavorable to the movements of cavalry, and the Persian foot advanced therefore on the Greeks.

"Drawn up in their massive phalanx, the Lacedæmonians presented an almost impenetrable body--sweeping slowly on, compact and serried--while the hot and undisciplined valor of the Persians, more fortunate in the skirmish than the battle, broke itself in a thousand waves upon that moving rock. Pouring on in small numbers at a time, they fell fast round the progress of the Greeks --their armor slight against the strong pikes of Sparta--their courage without skill, their numbers without discipline; still they fought gallantly, even when on the ground seizing the pikes with their naked hands, and, with the wonderful agility that still characterizes the Oriental swordsmen, springing to their feet and regaining their arms when seemingly overcome, wresting away their enemies' shields, and grappling with them desperately hand to hand.

"Foremost of a band of a thousand chosen Persians, conspicuous by his white charger, and still more by his daring valor, rode Mardonius, directing the attack--fiercer wherever his armor blazed. Inspired by his presence the Persians fought worthily of their warlike fame, and, even in falling, thinned the Spartan ranks. At length the rash but gallant leader of the Asiatic armies received a mortal wound--his skull was crushed in by a stone from the hand of a Spartan. His chosen band, the boast of the army, fell fighting around him, but his death was the general signal of defeat and flight. Encumbered by their long robes, and pressed by the relentless conquerors, the Persians fled in disorder toward their camp, which was secured by wooden intrenchments, by gates, and towers, and walls. Here, fortifying themselves as they best might, they contended successfully, and with advantage, against the Lacedæmonians, who were ill skilled in assault and siege.

"Meanwhile the Athenians gained the victory on the plains over the Greek allies of Mardonius, and now joined the Spartans at the camp. The Athenians are said to have been better skilled in the art of siege than the Spartans; yet at that time their experience could scarcely have been greater. The Athenians were at all times, however, of a more impetuous temper; and the men who had 'run to the charge' at Marathon were not to be baffled by the desperate remnant of their ancient foe. They scaled the walls; they effected a breach through which the Tege'ans were the first to rush; the Greeks poured fast and fierce into the camp. Appalled, dismayed, stupefied by the suddenness and greatness of their loss, the Persians no longer sustained their fame; they dispersed in all directions, falling, as they fled, with a prodigious slaughter, so that out of that mighty armament scarce three thousand effected an escape."

But the final overthrow of the Persian hosts on the battle-field of Platæa has an importance far greater than that of the deliverance of the Greeks from immediate danger. Perhaps no other event in ancient history has been so momentous in its consequences; for what would have been the condition of Greece had she then become a province of the Persian empire? The greatness which she subsequently attained, and the glory and renown with which she has filled the earth, would never have had an existence. Little Greece sat at the gates of a continent, and denied an entrance to the gorgeous barbarism of Asia. She determined that Europe should not be Asiatic; that civilization should not sink into the abyss of unmitigated despotism. She turned the tide of Persian encroachment back across the Hellespont, and Alexander only followed the refluent wave to the Indus.

"'Twas then," as SOUTHEY says,

                           "The fate
Of unborn ages hung upon the fray:
T'was at Platæa, in that awful hour
When Greece united smote the Persian's power.
For, had the Persian triumphed, then the spring
  Of knowledge from that living source had ceased;
All would have fallen before the barbarous king--
  Art, Science, Freedom: the despotic East,
Setting her mark upon the race subdued,
Had stamped them in the mould of sensual servitude."

Furthermore, on this subject we subjoin the following reflections from the author previously quoted:

"When the deluge of the Persian arms rolled back to its Eastern bed, and the world was once more comparatively at rest, the continent of Greece rose visibly and majestically above the rest of the civilized earth. Afar in the Latian plains the infant state of Rome was silently and obscurely struggling into strength against the neighboring and petty states in which the old Etrurian civilization was rapidly passing into decay. The genius of Gaul and Germany, yet unredeemed from barbarism, lay scarce known, save where colonized by Greeks, in the gloom of its woods and wastes.

"The ambition of Persia, still the great monarchy of the world, was permanently checked and crippled; the strength of generations had been wasted, and the immense extent of the empire only served yet more to sustain the general peace, from the exhaustion of its forces. The defeat of Xerxes paralyzed the East. Thus Greece was left secure, and at liberty to enjoy the tranquillity it had acquired, and to direct to the arts of peace the novel and amazing energies which had been prompted by the dangers and exalted by the victories of war."

On the very day of the battle of Platæa the remains of the Persian fleet which had escaped at Salamis, and which had been drawn up on shore at Myc'a-le, on the coast of Ionia, were burned by the Grecians; and Tigra'nes, the Persian commander of the land forces, and forty thousand of his men, were slain. This was the first signal blow struck by the Greek at the power of Persia on the continent. "Lingering at Sardis," says BULWER, "Xerxes beheld the scanty and exhausted remnants of his mighty force, the fugitives of the fatal days of Mycale and Platæa. The army over which he had wept in the zenith of his power had fulfilled the prediction of his tears; and the armed might of Media and Egypt, of Lydia and Assyria, was now no more!"

In one of the comedies of the Greek poet ARISTOPH'ANES, entitled The Wasps, which is designed principally to satirize the passion of the Athenians for the excitement of the law courts, there occurs the following episode, that has for its basis the activity of the Athenians at the battle of Platæa. We learn from this episode that the appellation, the "Attic Wasp," had its origin in the venomous persistence with which the Athenians, swarming like wasps, stung the Persians in their retreat, after the defeat of Mardonius. Occurring in a popular satirical comedy, it also shows how readily any allusion to the famous victories of Greece could be made to do service on popular occasions--an allusion that the dramatist knew would awaken in the popular heart great admiration for him and his work:

With torch and brand the Persian horde swept on from east to west,
To storm the hives that we had stored, and smoke us from our nest;
Then we laid our hand to spear and targe, and met him on his path;
Shoulder to shoulder, close we stood, and bit our lips for wrath.
So fast and thick the arrows flew, that none might see the heaven,
But the gods were on our side that day, and we bore them back at even.
High o'er our heads, an omen good, we saw the owlet wheel,
And the Persian trousers in their backs felt the good Attic steel.
Still as they fled we followed close, a swarm of vengeful foes,
And stung them where we chanced to light, on cheek, and lip, and nose.
So to this day, barbarians say, when whispered far or near,
More than all else the ATTIC WASP is still a name of fear.
  --Trans. by W. LUCAS COLLINS.




Six years after the battle of Platæa the career of Xerxes was terminated by assassination, and his son, Artaxerxes Longim'anus, succeeded to the throne. In the mean time Athens had been rebuilt and fortified by Themistocles, and the Piræus (the port of Athens) enclosed within a wall as large in extent as that of Athens, but of greater height and thickness. But Themistocles, by his selfish and arbitrary use of power, provoked the enmity of a large body of his countrymen; and although he was acquitted of the charge of treasonable inclinations toward Persia, popular feeling soon after became so strong against him that he was condemned to exile by the same process of ostracism that he had directed against Aristides, and he retired to Argos (471 B.C.) Some time before this a Grecian force, composed of Athenians under Aristides, and Cimon the son of Miltiades, and Spartans under Pausanias the victor of Platæa, waged a successful war upon the Persian dependencies of the Ægean, and the coasts of Asia Minor. The Ionian cities were aided in a successful revolt, and Cyprus and Byzantium--the latter now Constantinople--fell into the hands of the Grecians. Pausanias, who was at the head of the whole armament, now began to show signs of treasonable conduct, which was more fully unfolded by a communication that he addressed to the Persian court, seeking the daughter of Xerxes in marriage, and promising to bring Sparta and the whole of Greece under Persian dominion.

When news of the treason of Pausanias reached Sparta, he was immediately recalled, and, though no definite proof was at first furnished against him, his guilt was subsequently established, and he perished from starvation in the Temple of Minerva, whither he had fled for refuge, and where he was immured by the eph'ors. The fate of Pausanias involved that of Themistocles. In searching for farther traces of the former's plot some correspondence was discovered that furnished sufficient evidence of the complicity of Themistocles in the crime, and he was immediately accused by the Spartans, who insisted upon his being punished. The Athenians sent ambassadors to arrest him and bring him to Athens; but Themistocles fled from Argos, and finally sought refuge at the court of Persia. He died at Magne'sia, in Asia Minor, which had been appointed his place of residence by Artaxerxes, and a splendid monument was raised to his memory; but in the time of the Roman empire a tomb was pointed out by the sea-side, within the port of Piræus, which was generally believed to contain his remains, and of which the comic poet PLATO thus wrote:

By the sea's margin, on the watery strand,
Thy monument, Themistocles, shall stand.
By this directed to thy native shore,
The merchant shall convey his freighted store;
And when our fleets are summoned to the fight
Athens shall conquer with thy tomb in sight.
  --Trans. by CUMBERLAND.

Although "the genius of Themistocles did not secure him from the seductions of avarice and pride, which led him to sacrifice both his honor and his country for the tinsel of Eastern pomp," yet, as THIRLWALL says, "No Greek had then rendered services such as those of Themistocles to the common country; and no Athenian, except Solon, had conferred equal benefits on Athens. He had first delivered her from the most imminent danger, and then raised her to the pre-eminence on which she now stood. He might claim her greatness; and even her being, as his work." The following tribute to his memory is from the pen of TULLIUS GEM'INUS, a Latin poet:

Greece be thy monument; around her throw
  The broken trophies of the Persian fleet;
Inscribe the gods that led the insulting foe,
  And mighty Xerxes, at the tablet's feet.
There lay Themistocles; to spread his fame
  A lasting column Salamis shall be;
Raise not, weak man, to that immortal name
  The little records of mortality.
  --Trans. by MERIVALE.


Foremost among the rivals of Themistocles in ability and influence, was Cimon, the son of Miltiades. In his youth he was inordinately fond of pleasure, and revealed none of those characteristics for which he subsequently became distinguished. But his friends encouraged him to follow in his father's footsteps, and Aristides soon discovered in him a capacity and disposition that he could use to advantage in his own antagonism to Themistocles. To Aristides, therefore, Cimon was largely indebted for his influence and success, as well as for his mild temper and gentle manners.

Reared by his care, of softer ray appears
Cimon, sweet-souled; whose genius, rising strong,
Shook off the load of young debauch; abroad
The scourge of Persian pride, at home the friend
Of every worth and every splendid art;
Modest and simple in the pomp of wealth.

On the banishment of Themistocles Aristides became the undisputed leader of the aristocratical party at Athens, and on his death, four years subsequently, Cimon succeeded him. The later was already distinguished for his military successes, and was undoubtedly the greatest commander of his time. He continued the successful war against Persia for many years, and among his notable victories was one obtained on both sea and land, in Pamphyl'ia, in Asia Minor, and called


After dispersing a fleet of two hundred ships Cimon landed his troops, flushed with victory, and completely routed a large Persian army. The poet SIMONIDES praises this double victory in the following verse:

Ne'er since that olden time, when Asia stood
First torn from Europe by the ocean flood,
Since horrid Mars first poured on either shore
The storm of battle and its wild uproar,
Hath man by land and sea such glory won
As by the mighty deed this day was done.
By land, the Medes in myriads press the ground;
By sea, a hundred Tyrian ships are drowned,
With all their martial host; while Asia stands
Deep groaning by, and wrings her helpless hands.
  --Trans. by MERIVALE.

The same poet pays the following tribute to the Greeks who fell in this conflict:

These, by the streams of famed Eurymedon,
There, envied youth's short brilliant race have run:
In swift-winged ships, and on the embattled field,
Alike they forced the Median bows to yield,
Breaking their foremost ranks. Now here they lie,
Their names inscribed on rolls of victory.
  --Trans. by MERIVALE.

On the recall of Pausanias from Asia Minor Sparta lost, and Athens acquired, the command in the war against Persia. Athens was now rapidly approaching the summit of her military renown. The war with Persia did not prevent her from extending her possessions in Greece by force of arms; and island after island of the Ægean yielded to her sway, while her colonies peopled the winding shores of Thrace and Macedon. The other states and cities of Greece could not behold her rapid, and apparently permanent, growth in power without great dissatisfaction and anxiety. When the Persian war was at its height, a sense of common danger had caused many of them to seek an alliance with Athens, the result of what is known as the Confederacy of Delos; but, now that the danger was virtually passed, long existing jealousies broke out, which led to political dissensions, and, finally, to the civil wars that caused the ruin of the Grecian republics. Sparta, especially, had long viewed with indignation the growing resources of Athens and was preparing to check them by an invasion of Attica, when sudden and complicated disasters forced her to abandon her designs, and turn her attention to her own dominions. In 464 B.C. the city was visited by an earthquake that laid it in ruins and buried not less than twenty thousand of its chosen citizens; and this calamity was immediately followed by a general revolt of the Helots. BULWER'S description of this terrible earthquake, and of the memorable conduct of the Laconian government in opposing, under such trying circumstances, the dreadful revolt that occurred, has been greatly admired for its eloquence and its strict adherence to facts.

The Earthquake at Sparta and the Revolt of the Helots.

"An earthquake, unprecedented in its violence, occurred in Sparta. In many places throughout Laconia the rocky soil was rent asunder. From Mount Ta-yg'e-tus, which overhung the city, and on which the women of Lacedæmon were wont to hold their bacchanalian orgies, huge fragments rolled into the suburbs. The greater portion of the city was absolutely overthrown; and it is said, probably with exaggeration, that only five houses wholly escaped disaster from the shock. This terrible calamity did not cease suddenly as it came; its concussions were repeated; it buried alike men and treasure: could we credit Diodorus, no less than twenty thousand persons perished in the shock. Thus depopulated, impoverished, and distressed, the enemies whom the cruelty of Sparta nursed within her bosom resolved to seize the moment to execute their vengeance and consummate her destruction. Under Pausanias the Helots were ready for revolt; and the death of that conspirator checked, but did not crush, their designs of freedom. Now was the moment, when Sparta lay in ruins--now was the moment to realize their dreams. From field to field, from village to village, the news of the earthquake became the watchword of revolt. Up rose the Helots--they armed themselves, they poured on--a wild and gathering and relentless multitude resolved to slay, by the wrath of man, all whom that of nature had yet spared. The earthquake that leveled Sparta rent their chains; nor did the shock create one chasm so dark and wide as that between the master and the slave.

"It is one of the sublimest and most awful spectacles in history--that city in ruins--the earth still trembling, the grim and dauntless soldiery collected amid piles of death and ruin; and in such a time, and such a scene, the multitude sensible not of danger, but of wrong, and rising not to succor, but to revenge--all that should have disarmed a feebler enmity giving fire to theirs; the dreadest calamity their blessing--dismay their hope. It was as if the Great Mother herself had summoned her children to vindicate the long-abused, the all-inalienable heritage derived from her; and the stir of the angry elements was but the announcement of an armed and solemn union between nature and the oppressed.

"Fortunately for Sparta, the danger was not altogether unforeseen. After the confusion and the horror of the earthquake, and while the people, dispersed, were seeking to save their effects, Archida'mus, who, four years before, had succeeded to the throne of Lacedæmon, ordered the trumpets to sound as to arms. That wonderful superiority of man over matter which habit and discipline can effect, and which was ever so visible among the Spartans, constituted their safety at that hour. Forsaking the care of their property, the Spartans seized their arms, flocked around their king, and drew up in disciplined array. In her most imminent crisis Sparta was thus saved. The Helots approached, wild, disorderly, and tumultuous; they came intent only to plunder and to slay; they expected to find scattered and affrighted foes --they found a formidable army; their tyrants were still their lords. They saw, paused, and fled, scattering themselves over the country, exciting all they met to rebellion, and soon joined with the Messenians, kindred to them by blood and ancient reminiscences of heroic struggles; they seized that same Ithome which their hereditary Aristodemus had before occupied with unforgotten valor. This they fortified, and, occupying also the neighboring lands, declared open war upon their lords." [Footnote: "Athens: Its Rise and Fall," pp. 176, 177.]

"The incident here related of the King of Sparta," says ALISON, "amid the yawning of the earthquake and the ruin of his capital, sounding the trumpets to arms, and the Lacedæmonians assembling in disciplined array around him, is one of the sublimest recorded in history. We need not wonder that a people capable of such conduct in such a moment, and trained by discipline and habit to such docility in danger, should subsequently acquire and maintain supreme dominion in Greece." The general insurrection of the Helots is known in history as the THIRD MESSENIAN WAR. After two or three years had passed in vain attempts to capture Ithome, the Spartans were obliged to call for aid on the Athenians, with whom they were still in avowed alliance. The friends of Pericles, the rival of Cimon and the leader of the democratic party at Athens, opposed granting the desired relief; but Cimon, after some difficulty, persuaded his countrymen to assist the Lacedæmonians, and he himself marched with four thousand men to Ithome. The aid of the Athenians was solicited on account of their acknowledged skill in capturing fortified places; but as Cimon did not succeed in taking Ithome, the Spartans became suspicious of his designs, and summarily sent him back to Athens.


The ill success of the expedition of Cimon gave Pericles the opportunity to place himself and the popular party in power at Athens; for the constitutional reforms that had been gradually weakening the power of the aristocracy were now made available to sweep it almost entirely away. The following extract from BULWER'S Athens briefly yet fully tells what was accomplished in this direction:

"The Constitution previous to Solon was an oligarchy of birth. Solon rendered it an aristocracy of property. Clisthenes widened its basis from property to population; and it was also Clisthenes, in all probability, who weakened the more illicit and oppressive influences of wealth by establishing the ballot of secret suffrage, instead of the open voting which was common in the time of Solon. The Areop'agus was designed by Solon as the aristocratic balance to the popular assembly. This constitutional bulwark of the aristocratic party of Athens became more and more invidious to the people, and when Cimon resisted every innovation on that assembly he only insured his own destruction, while he expedited the policy he denounced. Ephial'tes, the friend and spokesman of Pericles, directed all the force of the popular opinion against this venerable senate; and at length, though not openly assisted by Pericles, who took no prominent part in the contention, that influential statesman succeeded in crippling its functions and limiting its authority."

With regard to the nature of the constitutional changes effected, the same writer adds: "It appears to me most probable that the Areopagus retained the right of adjudging cases of homicide, and little besides of its ancient constitutional authority; that it lost altogether its most dangerous power in the indefinite police it had formerly exercised over the habits and morals of the people; that any control of the finances was wisely transferred to the popular senate; that its irresponsible character was abolished, and that it was henceforth rendered accountable to the people." The struggle between the contending parties was long and bitter, and the fall of Cimon was one of the necessary consequences of the political change. Charged, among other things, with too great friendship for Sparta, he was driven into exile. Pericles now persuaded the Athenians to renounce the alliance with Sparta, and he increased the power of Athens by alliances with Argos and other cities. He also continued the construction of the long walls from Athens to the Piræus and Phalerum--a project that Themistocles had advised and that Cimon had commenced.

The long existing jealousy of Sparta at last broke out in open hostilities. While the siege of Ithome was in progress, Sparta, still powerful in her alliances, sent her allied forces into Boeotia to counteract the growing influence of the Athenians in that quarter. The indignant Athenians, led by Pericles, marched out to meet them, but were worsted in the battle of Tan'agra. Before this conflict began, Cimon, the banished commander, appeared in the Athenian camp and begged permission to enter the ranks against the enemy. His request being refused, he left his armor with his friends, of whom there were one hundred among the Athenians, with the charge to refute, by their valor, the accusation that he and they were the friends of Sparta. Everyone of the one hundred fell in the conflict. About two months after, in the early part of the year 456 B.C., the Athenians wiped off the stain of their defeat at Tanagra by a victory over the combined Theban and Boeotian forces, then in alliance with Sparta; whereby the authority and influence of Sparta were again confined to the Peloponnesus.

The Athenians were now masters of Greece, from the Gulf of Corinth to the Pass of Thermopylæ, and in the following year they sent an expedition round the Peloponnesus, which captured, among other cities, Naupactus, on the Corinthian Gulf. The third and last Messenian war had just been concluded by the surrender of Ithome, on terms which permitted the Messenians and their families to retire from the Peloponnesus, and they joined the colony which Athens planted at Naupactus. But the successes of Athens in Greece were counterbalanced, in the same year, by reverses in Egypt, where the Athenians were fighting Persia in aid of In'arus, a Libyan prince. These, with some other minor disasters, and the state of bitter feeling that existed between the two parties at Athens, induced Pericles to recall Cimon from exile and put him in command of an expedition against Cyprus and Egypt. In 449, however, Cimon was taken ill, and he died in the harbor of Ci'tium, to which place he was laying siege.

Before the death of Cimon, and through his intervention, a five years' truce had been concluded with Sparta, and soon after his death peace was made with Persia. From this time the empire of Athens began to decline. In the year 447 B.C. a revolt in Boeotia resulted in the overthrow of Athenian supremacy there, while the expulsion of the Athenians from Pho'cis and Lo'cris, and the revolt of Euboea and Megara, followed soon after. The revolt of Euboea was soon quelled, but this was the only success that Athens achieved. Meanwhile a Spartan army invaded Attica and marched to the neighborhood of Eleusis. Having lost much of her empire, with a fair prospect of losing all of it if hostilities continued, Athens concluded a thirty years' truce with Sparta and her allies, by the terms of which she abandoned her conquests in the Peloponnesus, and Megara became an ally of Sparta (445 B.C.)


With the close of the Persian contest, and the beginning of the Thirty Years' truce, properly begins what has been termed the "Age of Pericles"--the inauguration of a new and important era of Athenian greatness and renown. Having won the highest military honors and political ascendancy, Athens now took the lead in intellectual progress. Themistocles and Cimon had restored to Athens all that of which Xerxes had despoiled it--the former having rebuilt its ruins, and the latter having given to its public buildings a degree of magnificence previously unknown. But Pericles surpassed them both:

He was the ruler of the land
  When Athens was the land of fame;
He was the light that led the band
  When each was like a living flame;
The centre of earth's noblest ring,
Of more than men the more than king.

Yet not by fetter nor by spear
  His sovereignty was held or won:
Feared--but alone as freemen fear;
  Loved--but as freemen love alone;
He waved the sceptre o'er his kind
By nature's first great title--mind!

Orator and philosopher, as well as statesman and general, Pericles had the most lofty views. "Athens," says a modern writer, "was to become not only the capital of Greece, but the center of art and refinement, and, at the same time, of those democratical theories which formed the beau ideal of the Athenian notions of government." Athens became the center and capital of the most polished communities of Greece; she drew into a focus all the Grecian intellect, and she obtained from her dependents the wealth to administer the arts, which universal traffic and intercourse taught her to appreciate. The treasury of the state being placed in the hands of Pericles, he knew no limit to expenditure but the popular will, which, fortunately for the glories of Grecian art, kept pace with the vast conceptions of the master designer. Most of those famous structures that crowned the Athenian Acropolis, or surrounded its base, were either built or adorned by his direction, under the superintendence of the great sculptor, Phidias. The Parthenon, the Ode'um, the gold and ivory statue of the goddess Minerva, and the Olympian Jupiter--the latter two the work of the great sculptor himself--were alone sufficient to immortalize the "Age of Pericles." Of these miracles of sculpture and of architecture, as well as of the literature of this period, we shall speak farther in a subsequent place.

Of the general condition and appearance of Athens during the fourteen years that the Thirty Years' Truce was observed, HAYGARTH gives us the following poetical description:

                  All the din of war
Was hushed to rest. Within a city's walls,
Beneath a marble portico, were seen
Statesmen and orators, in robes of peace,
Holding discourse. The assembled multitude
Sat in the crowded theatre, and bent
To hear the voice of gorgeous Tragedy
Breathing, in solemn verse, or ode sublime,
Her noble precepts. The broad city's gates
Poured forth a mingled throng--impatient steeds
Champing their bits, and neighing for the course:
Merchants slow driving to the busy port
Their ponderous wains: Religion's holy priests
Leading her red-robed votaries to the steps
Of some vast temple: young and old, with hands
Crossed on their breasts, hastening to walks and shades
Suburban, where some moralist explained
The laws of mind and virtue. On a rock
A varied group appeared: some dragged along
The rough-hewn block; some shaped it into form;
Some reared the column, or with chisel traced
Forms more than human; while Content sat near,
And cheered with songs the toil of Industry.

But, as the poet adds,

Soon passed this peaceful pageant: War again
Brandished his bloody lance--

and then began that dismal period between the "Age of Pericles" and the interference of the Romans--embracing the three Peloponnesian wars, the rising power of Macedonia under Philip of Macedon, the wars of Alexander and the contentions that followed--known as the period of the civil convulsions of Greece.




The various successful schemes of Pericles for enriching and extending the power of Athens were regarded with fear and jealousy by Sparta and her allies, who were only waiting for a reasonable excuse to renew hostilities. The opportunity came in 435 B.C. Corinth, the ally of Sparta, had become involved in a war with Corcy'ra, one of her colonies, when the latter applied to Athens for assistance. Pericles persuaded the Athenians to grant the assistance, and a small fleet was dispatched to Corcyra. The engagement that ensued, in which the Athenian ships bore a part --the greatest contest, Thucydides observes, that had taken place between Greeks to that day--was favorable to the Corinthians; but the sight of a larger Athenian squadron advancing toward the scene of action caused the Corinthians to retreat. This first breach of the truce was soon followed by another. Potidæ'a, a Corinthian colony, but tributary to Athens, revolted, on account of some unjust demands that the Athenians had enforced against it, and claimed and obtained the assistance of the Corinthians. Thus, in two instances, were Athens and Corinth, though nominally at peace, brought into conflict as open enemies.


The Lacedæmonians meanwhile called a meeting of the Peloponnesian Confederacy at Sparta, at which Ægina, Meg'ara, and other states made their complaints against Athens. It was also attended by envoys from Athens, who seriously warned it not to force Athens into a struggle that would be waged for its very existence. But a majority of the Confederacy were of the opinion that Athens had violated her treaties, and the result of the deliberations was a declaration of war against her. Not with any real desire for peace, but in order to gain time for her preparations before the declaration was made public, Sparta opened negotiations with Athens; but her preliminary demands were of course refused, while her ultimatum, that Athens should restore to the latter's allies their independence, was met with a like demand by the Athenians --that no state in Peloponnesus should be forced to accommodate itself to the principles in vogue at Sparta, "Let this be our answer," said Pericles, in closing his speech in the Athenian assembly: "We have no wish to begin war, but whosoever attacks us, him we mean to repel; for our guiding principle ought to be no other than this: that the power of that state which our fathers made great we will hand down undiminished to our posterity." The advice of Pericles was adopted, all farther negotiations were thereupon concluded, and Athens prepared for war.

Although the political authority of Pericles was now at its height, and his services were receiving unwonted public recognition, he had many enemies among all classes of citizens, who made his position for a time extremely hazardous. These at first attacked his friends--Phidias, Anaxagoras, Aspasia, and others--who were prominent representatives of his opinions and designs. The former was falsely accused of theft, in having retained for himself a part of the gold furnished to him for the golden robe of Athene Par'thenos, and of impiety for having reproduced his own features in one of the numerous figures on the shield of the goddess. He was cast into prison, where he died before his trial was concluded. Anaxagoras, having exposed himself to the penalties of a decree by which all who abjured the current religious views were to be indicted and tried as state criminals, barely escaped with his life; while Aspasia, the mistress of Pericles, charged with impiety and base immorality, was only saved by the eloquence and tears of the great statesman, which flowed freely and successfully in her behalf before the jury. Finally, Pericles was attacked in person. He was accused of a waste of the public moneys, and was commanded to render an exact account of his expenditures. Although he came forth victorious from this and all other attacks, it is evident, as one historian observes, that "the endeavors of his enemies did not fail to exercise a certain influence upon the masses; and this led Pericles, who believed that war was in any case inevitable, to welcome its speedy commencement, as he hoped that the common danger would divert public attention from home affairs, render harmless the power of his adversaries, strengthen patriotic feeling, and make manifest to the Athenians their need of his services."


On the side of Sparta was arrayed the whole of Peloponnesus, except Argos and Acha'ia, together with the Megarians, Phocians, Locrians, Thebans, and some others; while the allies of Athens were the Thessalians, Acarnanians, Messenians, Platæans, Chi'ans, Lesbians, her tributary towns in Thrace and Asia Minor, and all the islands north of Crete with two exceptions--Me'los and The'ra. Hostilities were precipitated by a treacherous attack of the Thebans upon Platæa in 431 B.C.; and before the close of the same year a Spartan army of sixty thousand ravaged Attica, and sat down before the very gates of Athens, while the naval forces of the Athenians desolated the coasts of the Peloponnesus. The Spartans were soon called from Attica to protect their homes, and Pericles himself, at the lead of a large force, spread desolation over the little territory of Megaris. This expedition closed the hostilities for the year, and, on his return to Athens, Pericles was intrusted with the duty of pronouncing the oration at the public funeral which, in accordance with the custom of the country, was solemnized for those who had fallen in the war.

This occasion afforded Pericles an opportunity to animate the courage and the hopes of his countrymen, by such a description of the glories and the possibilities of Athens as he alone could give. Commencing his address with a eulogy on the ancestors and immediate forefathers of the Athenians, he proceeds to show the latter "by what form of civil polity, what dispositions and habits of life," they have attained their greatness; graphically contrasting their institutions with those of other states, and especially with those of the Spartans, their present enemies.

The Oration of Pericles.

[Footnote: From "History of Thucydides," translated by S. T. Bloomfield, D. D., vol. I., p. 366.]

"We enjoy a form of government not framed on an imitation of the institutions of neighboring states, but, are ourselves rather a model to, than imitative of, others; and which, from the government being administered not for the few but for the many, is denominated a democracy. According to its laws, all participate in an equality of rights as to the determination of private suits, and everyone is preferred to public offices with a regard to the reputation he holds, and according as each is in estimation for anything; not so much for being of a particular class as for his personal merit. Nor is any person who can, in whatever way, render service to the state kept back on account of poverty or obscurity of station. Thus liberally are our public affairs administered, and thus liberally, too, do we conduct ourselves as to mutual suspicions in our private and every-day intercourse; not bearing animosity toward our neighbor for following his own humor, nor darkening our countenance with the scowl of censure, which pains though it cannot punish. While, too, we thus mix together in private intercourse without irascibility or moroseness, we are, in our public and political capacity, cautiously studious not to offend; yielding a prompt obedience to the authorities for the time being, and to the established laws; especially those which are enacted for the benefit of the injured, and such as, though unwritten, reflect a confessed disgrace on the transgressors."

Having referred to the recreation provided for the public mind by the exhibition of games and sacrifices throughout the whole year, as well as to some points in military matters in which the Athenians excel, Pericles proceeds as follows: "In these respects, then, is our city worthy of admiration, and in others also; for we study elegance combined with frugality, and cultivate philosophy without effeminacy. Riches we employ at opportunities for action, rather than as a subject of wordy boast. To confess poverty with us brings no disgrace; not to endeavor to escape it by exertion is disgrace indeed. There exists, moreover, in the same persons an attention both to their domestic concerns and to public affairs; and even among such others as are engaged in agricultural occupations or handicraft labor there is found a tolerable portion of political knowledge. We are the only people who account him that takes no share in politics, not as an intermeddler in nothing, but one who is good for nothing. We are, too, persons who examine aright, or, at least, fully revolve in mind our measures, not thinking that words are any hindrance to deeds, but that the hindrance rather consists in the not being informed by words previously to setting about in deed what is to be done. For we possess this point of superiority over others, that we execute a bold promptitude in what we undertake, and yet a cautious prudence in taking forethought; whereas with others it is ignorance alone that makes them daring, while reflection makes them dastardly.

"In short, I may affirm that the city at large is the instructress of Greece, and that individually each person among us seems to possess the most ready versatility in adapting himself, and that not ungracefully, to the greatest variety of circumstances and situations that diversify human life. That all this is not a mere boast of words for the present purpose, but rather the actual truth, this very power of the state, unto which by these habits and dispositions we have attained, clearly attests; for ours is the only one of the states now existing which, on trial, approves itself greater than report; it alone occasions neither to an invading enemy ground for chagrin at being worsted by such, nor to a subject state aught of self-reproach, as being under the power of those unworthy of empire. A power do we display not unwitnessed, but attested by signs illustrious, which will make us the theme of admiration both to the present and future ages; nor need we either a Homer, or any such panegyrist, who might, indeed, for the present delight with his verses, but any idea of our actions thence formed the actual truth of them might destroy: nay, every sea and every land have we compelled to become accessible to our adventurous courage; and everywhere have we planted eternal monuments both of good and of evil. For such a state, then, these our departed heroes (unwilling to be deprived of it) magnanimously fought and fell; and in such a cause it is right that everyone of us, the survivors, should readily encounter toils and dangers."

After paying a handsome tribute to the memory of the departed warriors whose virtues, he says, helped to adorn Athens with all that makes it the theme of his encomiums, Pericles exhorts his hearers to emulate the spirit of those who contributed to their country the noblest sacrifice. "They bestowed," he adds, "their persons and their lives upon the public; and therefore, as their private recompense, they receive a deathless renown and the noblest of sepulchres, [Footnote:

While kings, in dusty darkness hid,
Have left a nameless pyramid,
Thy heroes, though the general doom
Hath swept the column from their tomb,
A mightier monument command--
The mountains of their native land!
These, points thy muse, to stranger's eye--
The graves of those that cannot die!

not so much that wherein their bones are entombed as in which their glory is preserved--to be had in everlasting remembrance on all occasions, whether of speech or action. For to the illustrious the whole earth is a sepulchre; nor do monumental inscriptions in their own country alone point it out, but an unwritten and mental memorial in foreign lands, which, more durable than any monument, is deeply seated in the breast of everyone. Imitating, then, these illustrious models--accounting that happiness is liberty, and that liberty is valor--be not backward to encounter the perils of war. [Footnote: It was a kindred spirit that led our own great statesman, Webster, in quoting from this oration, to ask: "Is it Athens or America? Is Athens or America the theme of these immortal strains? Was Pericles speaking of his own country as he saw it or knew it? or was he gazing upon a bright vision, then two thousand years before him, which we see in reality as he saw it in prospect?"] For the unfortunate and hopeless are not those who have most reason to be lavish of their lives, but rather such as, while they live, have to hazard a chance to the opposite, and who have most at stake; since great would be the reverse should they fall into adversity. For to the high-minded, at least, more grievous is misfortune overwhelming them amid the blandishments of prosperity; than the stroke of death overtaking them in the full pulse of vigor and common hope, and, moreover, almost unfelt."

Says the historian from whose work the speech of Pericles is taken: "Such was the funeral solemnity which took place this winter, with the expiration of which the first year of the war was brought to a close." DR. ERNST CURTIUS comments as follows on the oration: "With lofty simplicity Pericles extols the Athenian Constitution, popular in the fullest sense through having for its object the welfare of the entire people, and offering equal rights to all the citizens; but at the same time, and in virtue of this its character, adapted for raising the best among them to the first positions in the state. He lauds the high spiritual advantages offered by the city, the liberal love of virtue and wisdom on the part of her sons, their universal sympathy in the common weal, their generous hospitality, their temperance and vigor, which peace and the love of the beautiful had not weakened, so that the city of the Athenians must, in any event, be an object of well-deserved admiration both for the present and for future ages. Such were the points of view from which Pericles displayed to the citizens the character of their state, and described to them the people of Athens, as it ought to be. He showed them their better selves, in order to raise them above themselves and arouse them to self-denial, to endurance, and to calm resolution. Full of a new vital ardor they returned home from the graves, and with perfect confidence confronted the destinies awaiting them in the future." [Footnote: "The History of Greece," vol. iii., p. 66; by Dr. Ernst Curtius.]


In the spring of 430 B.C. the Spartans again invaded Attica, and the Athenians shut themselves up in Athens. But here the plague, a calamity more dreadful than war, attacked them and swept away multitudes. This plague, which not only devastated Athens, but other Grecian cities also, is described at considerable length, with a harrowing minuteness of detail, by the Latin poet LUCRETIUS. His description is based upon the account given by Thucydides. We give here only the beginning and the close of it:

A plague like this, a tempest big with fate,
Once ravaged Athens and her sad domains;
Unpeopled all the city, and her paths
Swept with destruction. For amid the realms
Begot of Egypt, many a mighty tract
Of ether traversed, many a flood o'erpassed,
At length here fixed it; o'er the hapless realm
Of Cecrops hovering, and the astonished race
Dooming by thousands to disease and death.

       *       *       *       *       *

Thus seized the dread, unmitigated pest
Man after man, and day succeeding day,
With taint voracious; like the herds they fell
Of bellowing beeves, or flocks of timorous sheep:
On funeral, funeral hence forever piled.
E'en he who fled the afflicted, urged by love
Of life too fond, and trembling for his fate,
Repented soon severely, and himself
Sunk in his guilty solitude, devoid
Of friends, of succor, hopeless and forlorn;
While those who nursed them, to the pious task
Roused by their prayers, with piteous moans commixt,
Fell irretrievable: the best by far,
The worthiest, thus most frequent met their doom.
  --Trans. by J. MASON GOOD.


Oppressed by both war and pestilence, the Athenians were seized with rage and despair, and accused Pericles of being the author of their misfortunes. But that determined man still adhered to his plans, and endeavored to soothe the popular mind by an expedition against Peloponnesus, which he commanded in person. After committing devastations upon various parts of the enemy's coasts, Pericles returned to find the people still more impatient of the war and clamorous for peace. An embassy was sent to Sparta with proposals for a cessation of hostilities, but it was dismissed without a hearing. This repulse increased the popular exasperation, and, although at an assembly that he called for the purpose Pericles succeeded, by his power of speech, in quieting the people, and convincing them of the justice and patriotism of his course, his political enemies charged him with peculation, of which he was convicted, and his nomination as general was cancelled. He retired to private life, but his successors in office were incompetent and irresolute, and it was not long before he was re-elected general. He appeared to recover his ascendancy; but in the middle of the third year of the war he died, a victim to the plague.

He perished, but his wreath was won;
  He perished in his height of fame:
Then sunk the cloud on Athens' sun,
  Yet still she conquered in his name.
Filled with his soul, she could not die;
Her conquest was Posterity!

Thucydides relates that when Pericles was near his end, and apparently insensible, the friends who had gathered round his bed relieved their sorrow by recalling the remembrance of his military exploits, and of the trophies which he had raised. He interrupted them, observing that they had omitted the most glorious praise which he could claim: "Other generals have been as fortunate, but I have never caused the Athenians to put on mourning"-- referring, doubtless, to his success in achieving important advantages with but little loss of life; and which THIRLWALL considers "a singular ground of satisfaction, if Pericles had been conscious of having involved his country in the bloodiest war it had ever waged."

The success of Pericles in retaining, for so many years, his great influence over the Athenian people, must be attributed, in large part, to his wonderful powers of persuasion. Cicero is said to have regarded him as the first example of an almost perfect orator; and Bulwer says that "the diction of his speeches, and that consecutive logic which preparation alone can impart to language, became irresistible to a people that had itself become a Pericles." Whatever may be said of Pericles as a politician, his intellectual superiority cannot be questioned. As the accomplished man of genius, and the liberal patron of literature and art, he is worthy of the highest admiration; for "by these qualities he has justly given name to the most brilliant intellectual epoch that the world has ever seen." The following extract from MITFORD'S History of Greece, may be considered a correct sketch of the great democratic ruler:

The Character of Pericles.

"No other man seems to have been held in so high estimation by most of the ablest writers of Greece and Rome, for universal superiority of talents, as Pericles. The accounts remaining of his actions hardly support his renown, which was yet, perhaps, more fairly earned than that of many, the merit of whose achievements has been, in a great degree, due to others acting under them, whose very names have perished. The philosophy of Pericles taught him not to be vain-glorious, but to rest his fame upon essentially great and good rather than upon brilliant actions. It is observed by Plutarch that, often as he commanded the Athenian forces, he never was defeated; yet, though he won many trophies, he never gained a splendid victory. A battle, according to a great modern authority, is the resource of ignorant generals; when they know not what to do they fight a battle. It was almost universally the resource of the age of Pericles; little conception was entertained of military operations beyond ravage and a battle. His genius led him to a superior system, which the wealth of his country enabled him to carry into practice. His favorite maxim was to spare the lives of his soldiers; and scarcely any general ever gained so many important advantages with so little bloodshed.

"This splendid character, however, perhaps may seem to receive some tarnish from the political conduct of Pericles; the concurrence, at least, which is imputed to him, in depraving the Athenian Constitution, to favor that popular power by which he ruled, and the revival and confirmation of that pernicious hostility between the democratical and aristocratical interests, first in Athens and then by the Peloponnesian war throughout the nation. But the high respect with which he is always spoken of by three men in successive ages, Thucydides, Xenophon, and Isoc'rates, all friendly to the aristocratical interest, and all anxious for concord with Lacedæmon, strongly indicates that what may appear exceptionable in his conduct was, in their opinion, the result, not of choice, but of necessity. By no other conduct, probably, could the independence of Athens have been preserved; and yet that, as the event showed, was indispensable for the liberty of Greece."


Soon after the death of Pericles the results of the political changes introduced by him, as well as of the moral and social changes that had taken place in the people from various causes, became apparent in the raising to power of men from the lower walks of life, whose popularity was achieved and maintained mainly by intrigue and flattery. Chief among these rose Cle'on, a tanner, who has been characterized as "the violent demagogue whose arrogant presumption so unworthily succeeded the enlightened magnanimity of Pericles." In the year 428 Mityle'ne, the capital of the Island of Lesbos, revolted against the supremacy of Athens, but was speedily reduced to subjection, and one thousand or more Mityleneans were sent as prisoners to Athens, to be disposed of as the Athenian assembly should direct. Cleon first prominently appears in public in connection with the disposal of these prisoners. With the capacity to transact business in a popular manner, and possessing a stentorian voice and unbounded audacity, he had become "by far the most persuasive speaker in the eyes of the people;" and now, taking the lead in the assembly debate, he succeeded in having the unfortunate prisoners cruelly put to death. From this period his influence steadily increased, and in the year 425 he was elected commander of the Athenian forces. For several years circumstances favored him. With the aid of his general, Demosthenes, he captured Py'lus from the Spartans, and on his return to Athens he was received with demonstrations of great favor; but his military incompetence lost him both the victory and his life in the battle of Amphip'olis, 422 B.C.

What we know of the political conduct of Cleon comes from measurably unreliable sources. Aristoph'anes, the chief of the comic poets, describes him as "a noisy brawler, loud in his criminations, violent in his gestures, corrupt and venal in his principles, a persecutor of rank and merit, and a base flatterer and sycophant of the people." Thucydides also calls him "a dishonest politician, a wrongful accuser of others, and the most violent of all the citizens." Both these writers, however, had personal grievances. Of course Cleon very naturally became a target for the invective of the poet. "The taking of Pylus," says GILLIES, "and the triumphant return of Cleon, a notorious coward transformed by caprice and accident into a brave and successful commander, were topics well suiting the comic vein of Aristophanes; and in the comedy first represented in the seventh year of the war--The Knights--he attacks him in the moment of victory, when fortune had rendered him the idol of a licentious multitude, when no comedian was so daring as to play his character, and no painter so bold as to design his mask." The poet himself, therefore, appeared on the stage, "only disguising his face, the better to represent the part of Cleon." As another writer has said, "Of all the productions of Aristophanes, so replete with comic genius throughout, The Knights is the most consummate and irresistible; and it presents a portrait of Cleon drawn in colors broad and glaring, most impressive to the imagination, and hardly effaceable from the memory." The following extract from the play will show the license indulged in on the stage in democratic Athens, the boldness of the poet's attacks, and will serve, also, as a sample of his style:

Cleon the Demagogue.

The chorus come upon the stage; and thus commence their attack upon Cleon:

  Chorus. Close around him, and confound him, the confounder of us all;
Pelt him, pummel him, and maul him; rummage, ransack, overhaul him;
Overbear him and outbawl him; bear him down, and bring him under.
Bellow, like a burst of thunder, robber! harpy! sink of plunder!
Rogue and villain! rogue and cheat! rogue and villain, I repeat!
Oftener than I can repeat it has the rogue and villain cheated.
Close around him, left and right; spit upon him, spurn and smite:
Spit upon him as you see; spurn and spit at him like me.
But beware, or he'll evade you! for he knows the private track
Where En'crates was seen escaping with his mill-dust on his back.

  Cleon. Worthy veterans of the jury, you that, either right or wrong,
With my threepenny provision I've maintained and cherished long,
Come to my aid! I'm here waylaid--assassinated and betrayed"!

  Chorus. Rightly served! we serve you rightly, for your hungry love of pelf;
For your gross and greedy rapine, gormandizing by yourself--
You that, ere the figs are gathered, pilfer with a privy twitch
Fat delinquents and defaulters, pulpy, luscious, plump, and rich;
Pinching, fingering, and pulling--tempering, selecting, culling;
With a nice survey discerning which are green and which are turning,
Which are ripe for accusation, forfeiture, and confiscation.
Him, besides, the wealthy man, retired upon an easy rent,
Hating and avoiding party, noble-minded, indolent,
Fearful of official snares; intrigues, and intricate affairs--
Him you mark; you fix and hook him, while he's gaping unawares;
At a fling, at once you bring him hither from the Chersonese;
Down you cast him, roast and baste him, and devour him at your ease.

  Cleon. Yes; assault, insult, abuse me! This is the return I find
For the noble testimony, the memorial I designed:
Meaning to propose proposals for a monument of stone,
On the which your late achievements should be carved and neatly done.

  Chorus. Out, away with him! the slave! the pompous, empty, fawning knave!
Does he think with idle speeches to delude and cheat us all,
As he does the doting elders that attend his daily call?
Pelt him here, and bang him there; and here, and there, and

  Cleon. Save me, neighbors! Oh, the monsters! Oh, my side, my back, my breast!

  Chorus. What! you're forced to call for help? you brutal, overpowering pest!

[Clean is pelted off the stage, pursued by the Chorus.]


The struggle between Sparta and Athens continued ten years without intermission, and without any successes of a decisive character on either side. In the eleventh year of the struggle (421 B.C.) a treaty for a term of fifty years was concluded--called the Peace of Nicias, in honor of the Athenian general of that name --by which the towns captured during the war were to be restored, and both Athens and Sparta placed in much the same state as when hostilities commenced. But this proved to be a hollow truce; for the war was a virtual triumph for Athens--and interest, inclination, and the ambitious views of her party leaders were not long in finding plausible pretexts for renewing the struggle. Again, the Boeotian, Megarian, and Corinthian allies of Sparta refused to carry out the terms of the treaty by making the required surrenders, and Sparta had no power to compel them, while Athens would accept no less than she had bargained for.

The Athenian general Nicias, through whose influence the Fifty Years' Truce had been concluded, endeavored to carry out its terms; but through the artifices of Alcibi'ades, a nephew of Pericles, a wealthy Athenian, and an artful demagogue, the treaty was soon dishonored on the part of Athens. Alcibi'ades also managed to involve the Spartans in a war with their recent allies, the Ar'gives, during which was fought the battle of Mantine'a, 418 B.C., in which the Spartans were victorious; and he induced the Athenians to send an armament against the Dorian island of Me'los, which had provoked the enmity of Athens by its attachment to Sparta, and which was compelled, after a vigorous siege, to surrender at discretion. Meanwhile the feeble resistance of Sparta, and her apparent timidity, encouraged Athens to resume a project of aggrandizement which she had once before undertaken, but had been obliged to relinquish. This was no less than the virtual conquest of Sicily, whose important cities, under the leadership of Syracuse, had some years before joined the Peloponnesian confederacy.


Although opposed by Nicias, Socrates, and a few of the wiser heads at Athens, the counsels of Alcibiades prevailed, and, after three months of great preparation, an expedition sailed from Athens for Sicily, under the plea of delivering the town of Eges'ta from the tyranny of Syracuse (415 B.C.). The armament fitted out on this occasion, the most powerful that had ever left a Grecian port, was intrusted to the joint command of Alcibiades, Nicias, and Lam'achus. The expedition captured the city of Cat'ana, which was made the headquarters of the armament; but here Alcibiades was summoned to Athens on the absurd charge of impiety and sacrilege, connected with the mutilation of the statues of the god Her'mes, that had taken place just before he left Athens. He was also charged with having profaned the Eleusinian mysteries by giving a representation of them in his own house. Fearing to trust himself to the giddy multitude in a trial for life, Alcibiades at once threw himself upon the generosity of his open enemies, and sought refuge at Sparta. When, soon after, he heard that the Athenians had condemned him to death, he answered, "I will show them that I am still alive."

By the death of Lamachus, Nicias was soon after left in sole command of the Athenians. He succeeded in landing near Syracuse and defeating the Syracusans in a well-fought engagement; but he wasted his time in fortifying his camp, and in useless negotiations, until his enemies, having received aid from Corinth and Sparta, under the Spartan general Gylip'pus, were able to bid him defiance. Although new forces were sent from Athens, under the Athenian general Demosthenes, the Athenians were defeated in several engagements, and their entire force was nearly destroyed (413 B.C.). "Never, in Grecian history," says THUCYDIDES, "had ruin so complete and sweeping, or victory so glorious and unexpected, been witnessed." Both Nicias and Demosthenes were captured and put to death, and the Syracusans also captured seven thousand prisoners and sold them as slaves. Some of the latter, however, are said to have received milder treatment than the others, owing, it is supposed, to their familiarity with the works of the then popular poet, Eurip'ides, which in Sicily, historians tell us, were more celebrated than known. It is to this incident, probably, that reference is made by BYRON in the following lines:

When Athens' armies fell at Syracuse,
And fettered thousands bore the yoke of war,
Redemption rose up in the Attic Muse--
Her voice their only ransom from afar.
See! as they chant the tragic hymn, the car
Of the o'ermastered victor stops; the reins
Fall from his hands--his idle scimitar
Starts from its belt--he rends his captive's chains,
And bids him thank the bard for freedom and his strains.
  --Childe Harold, IV., 16.


The aid which Gylippus had rendered the Syracusans now brought Sparta and Athens in direct conflict. The result of the Athenian expedition was the greatest calamity that had befallen Athens, and the city was filled with affliction and dismay. The Spartans made frequent forays into Attica, and Athens was almost in a state of siege, while several of her allies, instigated by Alcibiades, who was active in the Spartan councils, revolted and joined the Spartans. It was not long, however, before Athens regained her wonted determination and began to repair her wasted energies. Samos still remained faithful to her interests, and, with her help, a new flee was built, with which Lesbos was recovered, and a victory was obtained over the Peloponnesians at Miletus. Soon after this defeat Alcibiades, who had forfeited the confidence of the Spartans by his conduct, was denounced as a traitor and condemned to death. He escaped to the court of Tissapher'nes, the most powerful Persian satrap in Asia Minor. By his intrigues Alcibiades, who now sought a reconciliation with his countrymen, partially detached Tissaphernes from the interests of Sparta, and offered the Athenians a Persian alliance as the price of his restoration to his country. But, as he feared and hated the Athenian democracy, he insisted that an oligarchy should be established in its place.

The Athenian generals accepted the proposal as the only means of salvation for Athens; and, although they subsequently discovered that Alcibiades could not perform what he had undertaken, a change of government was effected, after much opposition from the people, from a democracy to an aristocracy of four hundred of the nobility; but the new government, dreading the ambition of Alcibiades, refused to recall him. Another change soon followed. The defeat of the Athenian navy at Ere'tria, and the revolt of Euboea, produced a new revolution at Athens, by which the government of the four hundred was overthrown, and democracy restored. Alcibiades was now recalled; but before his return he aided in destroying the Peloponnesian fleet in the battle of Cys'icus (411 B.C.). He was welcomed at Athens with great enthusiasm, a golden crown was decreed him, and he was appointed commander-in-chief of all the forces of the commonwealth both by land and by sea.


Alcibiades was still destined to experience the instability of fortune. He sailed from Athens in September, 407, and proceeded to Samos. While he was absent from the main body of his fleet on a predatory excursion, one of his subordinates, contrary to instructions, attacked a Spartan fleet and was defeated with a loss of fifteen ships. Although in command of a splendid force, Alcibiades had accomplished really nothing, and had now lost a part of his fleet. An unjust suspicion of treachery fell upon him, the former charges against him were revived, and he was deprived of his command and again banished. In the year 406 the Athenians defeated a large Spartan fleet under Callicrat'idas, but their victory secured them no permanent advantages. Lysander, a general whose abilities the Athenians could not match since they had deprived themselves of the services of Alcibiades, was now in command of the Spartan forces. He obtained the favor of Cyrus, the youngest son of the King of Persia, who had been invested with authority over the whole maritime region of Asia Minor, and, aided by Persian gold, he manned a numerous fleet with which he met the Athenians at Æ'gos-pot'ami, on the Hellespont, destroyed most of their ships, and captured three thousand prisoners (405 B.C.). The maritime allies of Athens immediately submitted to Lysander, who directed the Athenians throughout Greece to repair at once to Athens, with threats of death to all whom he found elsewhere; and when famine began to prey upon the collected multitude in the city, he appeared before the Piræus with his fleet, while a large Spartan army blockaded Athens by land.

The Athenians had no hopes of effectual resistance, and only delayed the surrender of their city to plead for the best terms that could be obtained. Compelled at last to submit to whatever terms were dictated to them, they agreed to destroy their long walls and fortifications; to surrender all their ships but twelve; to restore their exiles; to relinquish their conquests; to become a member of the Peloponnesian Confederacy; and to serve Sparta in all her expeditions, whether by land or by sea. Thus fell imperial Athens (404 B.C. ), in the seventy-third year after the formation of the Confederacy of Delos, the origin of her subsequent empire. Soon after this event, and in the same year, Alcibiades, who had been honored by both Athens and Sparta, and was now the dread of both, met his fate in a foreign land. While living in Phrygia he was murdered by the Persian satrap at the instance of Sparta. It has been said of him that, "with qualities which, if properly applied, might have rendered him the greatest benefactor of Athens, he contrived to attain the infamous distinction of being that citizen who had inflicted upon her the most signal amount of damage."

The war just closed was characterized by many instances of cruelty and heartlessness, in marked contrast with the boasted clemency and culture of the age, of which two prominent illustrations may be given. The first occurred at Platæa in the year 427, soon after the execution by the Athenians of the Mitylene'an prisoners. After a long and heroic defence against the Spartans under King Archida'mus himself, and after a solemn promise had been given that no harm should be illegally done to any person within its walls, Platæa surrendered. But a Spartan court soon after decreed that the Platæan alliance with Athens was a treasonable offence, and punishable, of course, with death. Thereupon all those who had surrendered (two hundred Platæans and twenty-five Athenians) were barbarously murdered. The other instance occurred at Lamp'sacus, where the three thousand prisoners taken by Lysander at Ægospotami were tried by court-martial and put to death.

Referring to these barbarities, MAHAFFY observes, in his Social Life in Greece, that, "though seldom paralleled in human history, they appear to have called forth no cry of horror in Greece. Phil'ocles, the unfortunate Athenian general at Ægospotami, according to Theophrastus, submitted with dignified resignation to a fate which he confessed would have attended the Lacedæmonians had they been vanquished. [Footnote: Plutarch relates that when Lysander asked Philocles what punishment he thought he deserved, undismayed by his misfortunes, he answered, "Do not start a question where there is no judge to decide it; but, now you are a conqueror, proceed as you would have been proceeded with had you been conquered." After this he bathed, dressed himself in a rich robe, and then led his countrymen to execution, being the first to offer his neck to the axe.] The barbarity of the Greeks is but one evidence out of a thousand that, hitherto in the world's history, no culture, no education, no political training, has been able to rival the mature and ultimate effects of Christianity in humanizing society."


The change of government which followed the Spartan occupation of Athens conformed to the aristocratic character of the Spartan institutions. All authority was placed by Lysander in the hands of thirty archons, who became known as the Thirty Tyrants, and whose power was supported by a Spartan garrison. Their cruelty and rapacity knew no bounds, and filled Athens with universal dismay. The streets of Athens flowed with blood, and while many of the best men of the city fell, others more fortunate succeeded in escaping to the territory of the friendly Thebans, who, groaning under Spartan supremacy, sympathized with Athens, and regarded the Thirty as mere instruments for maintaining the Spartan dominion. A large band of exiles soon assembled, and choosing one Thrasybu'lus for their leader, they resolved to strike a blow for the deliverance of their country.

They first seized a small fortress on the frontier of Attica, when, their numbers rapidly increasing, they were able to seize the Piræus, where they entrenched themselves and defeated the force that was brought against them, killing, among others, Cri'ti-as, the chief of the tyrants. The loss of Critias threw the majority into the hands of a party who resolved to depose the Thirty and constitute a new oligarchy of Ten. The rule of the Thirty was overthrown; but the change in government was simply a reduction in the number of tyrants, as the Ten emulated the wickedness of their predecessors, and when the populace turned against them, applied to Sparta for assistance. Lysander again entered Athens at the head of a large force; but the Spartan councils became divided, Lysander was deposed from command, and eventually, by the aid of Sparta herself, the Ten were overthrown. The Spartans now withdrew their forces from Attica, and Athens again became a democracy (403 B.C.). Freed from foreign domination, she soon obtained internal peace; but her empire had vanished.




In a former chapter we briefly traced the growth of Grecian literature and art from their beginnings down to the time of the Persian wars. Within this period, as we noticed, their progress was the greatest in the Grecian colonies, while, of the cities of central Greece, the one destined to become pre-eminent in literature and the fine arts--Athens--contributed less than several others to intellectual advancement. "She produced no artists to be compared with those of Argos, Corinth, Si'cy-on, and of many other cities, while she could boast of no poets as celebrated as those of the Ionian and Æolian schools." But at the opening of the Persian wars the artistic and literary talent of Greece began to center in Athens, and with the close of that contest properly begins the era of Athenian greatness. Athens, hitherto inferior in magnitude and political importance, having borne the brunt and won the highest martial honor of the conflict with Persia, now took the lead, as well in intellectual progress as in political ascendancy. To this era PROFESSOR SYMONDS refers, as follows:

"It was the struggle with Xerxes which developed all the latent energies of the Greeks, which intensified their national existence, and which secured for Athens, as the central power on which the scattered forces of the race converged, the intellectual dictatorship of Hellas. It was a struggle of spiritual energy against brute force, of liberty against oppression, of intellectual freedom against superstitious ignorance, of civilization against barbarism; and Athens, who had fought and won this battle of the Spirit--by spirit we mean the greatness of the soul, liberty, intelligence, and everything which raises men above brutes and slaves, and makes them free beneath the arch of heaven--became immediately the recognized impersonation of the spirit itself. Whatever was superb in human nature found its natural home and sphere in Athens. We hear no more of the colonies. All great works of art and literature are now produced in Athens, and it is to Athens that the sages come to teach and to be taught." [Footnote: "The Greek Poets." First Series, p. 19.]



The rapid progress made in the cultivation of lyric poetry preceding the Persian wars found its culmination, during those wars, in Simonides of Ceos, the most brilliant period of whose life was spent at Athens; and in Pindar, a native of Thebes, who is considered the greatest lyric poet of all ages. The life of Simonides was a long one, reaching from 556 to 469 B.C. "Coming forward at a time," says MAHAFFY, "when the tyrants had made poetry a matter of culture, and dissociated it from politics, we find him a professional artist, free from all party struggles, alike welcome at the courts of tyrants and among the citizens of free states; he was respected throughout all the Greek world, and knew well how to suit himself, socially and artistically, to his patrons. The great national struggle with Persia gave him the opportunity of becoming the spokesman of the nation in celebrating the glories of the victors and the heroism of the fallen patriots; and this exceptional opportunity made him quite the foremost poet of his day, and decidedly better known and more admired than Pindar, who has so completely eclipsed him in the attention of posterity." [Footnote: "Classical Greek Literature," vol. i., p. 207.]

Simonides was the intimate friend of Miltiades and Themistocles at Athens, of Pausanias at Sparta, and of the tyrants of Sicily. In the first named city he composed his epigrams on Marathon, Thermopylæ, Salamis, and Platæa--"poems not destined to be merely sung or consigned to parchment, but to be carved in marble or engraved in letters of imperishable bronze upon the works of the noblest architects and statuaries." In his elegy upon Marathon he carried away the prize from Æschylus. He was a most prolific poet, and his writings, comprising all the subjects that human life, with its joys and sorrows, its hopes and disappointments, could furnish, are noted for their sweetness and pure and exquisite polish. He particularly excelled in the pathetic; and the most celebrated of the existing fragments of his muse, the "Lamentation of Dan'a-ë," is a piece of this character. The poem is based upon a tradition concerning Danaë, the daughter of Acris'ius, King of Argos, and her infant son, the offspring of Jove. Acrisius had been told by the oracle that his life would be taken by a son that his daughter should bear, and, for his own preservation, when the boy had reached the age of four years, Acrisius threw both him and his mother into a chest and set them adrift on the sea. But they were rescued by Dictys, a fisherman of the Island of Seri'phus, whose brother Polydec'tes, king of the country, received and protected them. The boy grew up to manhood, and became the famous hero Per'seus, who accidentally killed Acrisius at the funeral games of Polydectes. The following is the

Lamentation of Dan'a-ë.

While, around her lone ark sweeping,
  Wailed the winds and waters wild,
Her young cheeks all wan with weeping,
  Danae clasped her sleeping child;
And "Alas!" cried she, "my dearest,
  What deep wrongs, what woes are mine;
But nor wrongs nor woes thou fearest
  In that sinless rest of thine.
Faint the moonbeams break above thee,
  And within here all is gloom;
But, fast wrapped in arms that love thee,
  Little reck'st thou of our doom.
Not the rude spray, round thee flying,
  Has e'en damped thy clustering hair;
On thy purple mantlet lying,
  O mine Innocent, my Fair!
Yet, to thee were sorrow sorrow,
  Thou wouldst lend thy little ear;
And this heart of thine might borrow,
  Haply, yet a moment's cheer.
But no: slumber on, babe, slumber;
  Slumber, ocean's waves; and you,
My dark troubles, without number--
  Oh, that ye would slumber too!
Though with wrongs they've brimmed my chalice,
  Grant, Jove, that, in future years,
This boy may defeat their malice,
  And avenge his mother's tears!"
  --Trans. by W. PETER.

Simonides was nearly eighty years old when he gained his last poetical prize at Athens, making the fiftieth that he had won. He then retired to Syracuse, at the invitation of Hi'ero, where he spent the remaining ten years of his life. He was a philosopher as well as poet, and his wise sayings made him a special favorite with the accomplished Hiero. When inquired of by that monarch concerning the nature of God, Simonides requested one day for deliberating on the subject; and when Hiero repeated the question the next day, the poet asked for two days more. As he still went on doubling the number of days, the monarch, lost in wonder, asked him why he did so. "Because," replied Simonides, "the longer I reflect on the subject, the more obscure does it appear to me to be."

Pindar, the most celebrated of all the lyric poets of Greece, was born about 520 B.C. At an early age he was sent to Athens to receive instruction in the art of poetry: returning to Thebes at twenty, his youthful genius was quickened and guided by the influence of Myr'tis and Corin'na, two poetesses who then enjoyed great celebrity in Boeotia. At a later period "he undoubtedly experienced," says THIRLWALL, "the animating influence of that joyful and stirring time which followed the defeat of the barbarian invader, though, as a Theban patriot, he could not heartily enjoy a triumph by which Thebes as well as Persia was humbled." But his enthusiasm for Athens, which he calls "the buttress of Hellas," is apparent in one of his compositions; and the Athenians specially honored him with a valuable present, and, after his death, erected a bronze statue to his memory. It is probable, however, that while he was sincerely anxious for the success of Greece in the great contest, he avoided as much as possible offending his own people, whose sympathies and hopes lay the other way.

The reputation of Pindar early became so great that he was employed, by various states and princes, to compose choral songs for special occasions. Like Simonides, he "loved to bask in the sunshine of courts;" but he was frank, sincere, and manly, assuming a lofty and dignified position toward princes and others in authority with whom he came in contact. He was especially courted by Hiero, despot of Syracuse, but remained with him only a few years, his manly disposition creating a love for an independent life that the courtly arts of his patron could not furnish. As his poems show, he was a reserved man, learned in the myths and ceremonies of the times, and specially devoted to the worship of the gods. "The old myths," says a Greek biographer, "were for the most part realities to him, and he accepted them with implicit credence, except when they exhibited the gods in a point of view which was repugnant to his moral feelings; and he accordingly rejects some tales, and changes others, because they are inconsistent with his moral conceptions." As a poet correctly describes him, using one of the names commonly applied to him,

Pindar, that eagle, mounts the skies,
While virtue leads the noble way.

The poems of Pindar were numerous, and comprised triumphal odes, hymns to the gods, pæans, dirges, and songs of various kinds. His triumphal odes alone have come down to us entire; but of some of his other compositions there are a few sublime and beautiful fragments. The poet and his writings cannot be better described than in the following general characterization by SYMONDS:

"By the force of his originality Pindar gave lyrical poetry a wholly new direction, and, coming last of the great Dorian lyrists, taught posterity what sort of thing an ode should be. His grand pre-eminence as an artist was due, in great measure, to his personality. Frigid, austere, and splendid; not genial like that of Simonides, not passionate like that of Sappho, not acrid like that of Archil'ochus; hard as adamant, rigid in moral firmness, glittering with the strong, keen light of snow; haughty, aristocratic, magnificent--the unique personality of the man Pindar, so irresistible in its influence, so hard to characterize, is felt in every strophe of his odes. In his isolation and elevation Pindar stands like some fabled heaven-aspiring peak, conspicuous from afar, girdled at the base with ice and snow, beaten by winds, wreathed round with steam and vapor, jutting a sharp and dazzling outline into cold blue ether. Few things that have life dare to visit him at his grand altitude. Glorious with sunlight and with stars, touched by rise and set of day with splendor, he shines when other lesser lights are dulled. Pindar among his peers is solitary. He had no communion with the poets of his day. He is the eagle; Simonides and Bacchyl'ides are jackdaws. He soars to the empyrean; they haunt the valley mists. Noticing this rocky, barren, severe, glittering solitude of Pindar's soul, critics have not infrequently complained that his poems are devoid of individual interest. Possibly they have failed to comprehend and appreciate the nature of this sublime and distant genius, whose character, in truth, is just as marked as that of Dante or of Michael Angelo."

After giving some illustrations of the impression produced upon the imagination by a study of Pindar's odes, the writer proceeds with his characterization, in the following language: "He who has watched a sunset attended by the passing of a thunder-storm in the outskirts of the Alps--who has seen the distant ranges of the mountains alternately obscured by cloud and blazing with the concentrated brightness of the sinking sun, while drifting scuds of hail and rain, tawny with sunlight, glistening with broken rainbows, clothe peak and precipice and forest in the golden veil of flame-irradiated vapor--he who has heard the thunder bellow in the thwarting folds of hills, and watched the lightning, like a snakes tongue, flicker at intervals amid gloom and glory --knows, in Nature's language, what Pindar teaches with the voice of Art. It is only by a metaphor like this that any attempt to realize the Sturm and Drang of Pindar's style can be communicated. As an artist he combines the strong flight of the eagle, the irresistible force of the torrent, the richness of Greek wine, and the majestic pageantry of Nature in one of her sublimer moods." [Footnote: "The Greek Poets." First Series, pp. 171, 174.]

Pindar, as we have seen, was compared to an eagle, because of the daring flights and lofty character of his poetry--a simile which has been beautifully expressed in the following lines by GRAY:

The pride and ample pinion
That the Theban eagle bare,
Sailing with supreme dominion,
Through the azure deeps of air.

Another image, also, has been employed to show these features of his poetry. The poet POPE represents him riding in a gorgeous chariot sustained by four swans:

Four swans sustain a car of silver bright,
With heads advanced and pinions stretched for flight;
Here, like some furious prophet, Pindar rode,
And seemed to labor with th' inspiring god.

A third image, given to us by HORACE, represents another characteristic of Pindar, which may be called "the stormy violence of his song:"

As when a river, swollen by sudden showers,
O'er its known banks from some steep mountain pours;
So, in profound, unmeasurable song,
The deep-mouthed Pindar, foaming, pours along.
  --Trans. by FRANCIS.

As a sample of the religious sentiment of Pindar we give the following fragment of a threnos translated by MR. SYMONDS, which, he says, "sounds like a trumpet blast for immortality, and, trampling underfoot the glories of this world, reveals the gladness of the souls that have attained Elysium:"

    For them, the night all through,
    In that broad realm below,
The splendor of the sun spreads endless light;
    'Mid rosy meadows bright,
Their city of the tombs, with incense-trees
    And golden chalices
    Of flowers, and fruitage fair,
    Scenting the breezy air,
Is laden. There, with horses and with play,
With games and lyres, they while the hours away.

    On every side around
    Pure happiness is found,
With all the blooming beauty of the world;
    There fragrant smoke, upcurled
From altars where the blazing fire is dense
    With perfumed frankincense,
    Burned unto gods in heaven,
    Through all the land is driven,
Making its pleasant place odorous
With scented gales, and sweet airs amorous.


One of the most striking proofs that we possess of the rapid growth and expansion of the Greek mind, is found in the rise of the Drama, a new kind of poetical composition, which united the leading features of every species before cultivated, in a new whole "breathing a rhetorical, dialectical, and ethical spirit" --a branch of literature that peculiarly characterized the era of Athenian greatness. Its elements were found in the religious festivals celebrated in Greece from the earliest ages, and especially in the feast of Bacchus, where sacred odes of a grave and serious character, intermixed with episodes of mythological story recited by an actor, were sung by a chorus that danced around the altar. A goat was either the principal sacrifice on these occasions, or the participants, disguised as Satyrs, had a goat-like appearance; and from the two Greek words representing "goat" and "song" we get our word tragedy, [Footnote: From the Greek tragos, "a goat," and o'de, "a song."] or goat-song. At some of the more rustic festivals in honor of the same god the performance was of a more jocose or satirical character; and hence arose the term comedy, [Footnote: From the Greek ko'me, "a village," and o'de, "a song."] from the two Greek words signifying "village" and "song"--village-song. In the teller of mythological legends we find the first germ of dialogue, as the chorus soon came to assist him by occasional question and remark. This feature was introduced by Thespis, a native of Ica'ria, in 535 B.C., under whose direction, and that of Phryn'icus, his pupil, the first feeble rudiments of the drama were established. In this condition it was found by Æschylus, in 500 B.C., who brought a second actor upon the scene; whence arose the increased prominence of the dialogue, and the limitation and subsidiary character of the chorus. Æschylus also added more expressive masks, and various machinery and scenes calculated to improve and enlarge dramatic representation. Of the effect of this new creation upon all kinds of poetical genius we have the following fine illustration from the pen of BULWER:

"It was in the very nature of the Athenian drama that, when once established, it should concentrate and absorb almost every variety of poetical genius. The old lyrical poetry, never much cultivated in Athens, ceased in a great measure when tragedy arose; or, rather, tragedy was the complete development, the new and perfected consummation, of the dithyrambic ode. Lyrical poetry transmigrated into the choral song as the epic merged into the dialogue and plot of the drama. Thus, when we speak of Athenian poetry we speak of dramatic poetry--they were one and the same. In Athens, where audiences were numerous and readers few, every man who felt within himself the inspiration of the poet would necessarily desire to see his poetry put into action--assisted with all the pomp of spectacle and music, hallowed by the solemnity of a religious festival, and breathed by artists elaborately trained to heighten the eloquence of words into the reverent ear of assembled Greece. Hence the multitude of dramatic poets; hence the mighty fertility of each; hence the life and activity of this--the comparative torpor and barrenness of every other-- species of poetry."


MELPOM'ENE, one of the nine Muses, whose name signifies "To represent in song," is said to have been the inventress of tragedy, over which she presided, always veiled, bearing in one hand the lyre, as the emblem of her vocation, and in the other a tragic mask. As queen of the lyre, every poet was supposed to proclaim the marvels of her song, and to invoke her aid.

    Queen of the lyre, in thy retreat
    The fairest flowers of Pindus glow,
    The vine aspires to crown thy seat,
    And myrtles round thy laurel grow:
    Thy strings adapt their varied strain
    To every pleasure, every pain,
    Which mortal tribes were born to prove;
    And straight our passions rise or fall,
    As, at the wind's imperious call,
    The ocean swells, the billows move.

When midnight listens o'er the slumbering earth,
Let me, O Muse, thy solemn whispers hear:
When morning sends her fragrant breezes forth,
With airy murmurs touch my opening ear,


Æschylus, the first poet who rendered the drama illustrious, and into whose character and writings the severe and ascetic doctrines of Pythagoras entered largely, was born at Eleu'sis, in Attica, in 525 B.C. He fought, as will be remembered, in the combats of Marathon and Salamis, and also in the battle of Platæa. He therefore flourished at the time when the freedom of Greece, rescued from foreign enemies, was exulting in its first strength; and his writings are characteristic of the boldness and vigor of the age. In his works we find the fundamental idea of the Greek drama--retributive justice. The sterner passions alone are appealed to, and the language is replete with bold metaphor and gigantic hyperbole. Venus and her inspirations are excluded; the charms of love are unknown: but the gods--vast, majestic, in shadowy outline, and in the awful sublimity of power-pass before and awe the beholder. [Footnote: see Grote's "History of Greece," Chap. lxvii.] Says a prominent reviewer: "The conceptions of the imagination of Æschylus are remarkable for a sort of colossal sublimity and power, resembling the poetry of the Book of Job; and those poems of his which embody a connected story may be said to resemble the stupendous avenues of the Temple of Elora, [Footnote: See Index.] with the vast scenes and vistas; its strange, daring, though rude sculptures; its awful, shadowy, impending horrors. Like the architecture, the poems, too, seem hewn out of some massy region of mountain rock. Æschylus appears as an austere poet-soul, brooding among the grand, awful, and terrible myths which have floated from a primeval world, in which traditions of the Deluge, of the early, rudimental struggle between barbaric power and nascent civilization, were still vital."

"The personal temperament of the man," says DR. PLUMPTRE, [Footnote: "The Tragedies of Æschylus," by E. H. Plumptre, D.D.] seems to have been in harmony with the characteristics of his genius. Vehement, passionate, irascible; writing his tragedies, as later critics judged, as if half drunk; doing (as Sophocles said of him) what was right in his art without knowing why; following the impulses that led him to strange themes and dark problems, rather than aiming at the perfection of a complete, all-sided culture; frowning with shaggy brows, like a wild bull, glaring fiercely, and bursting into a storm of wrath when annoyed by critics or rival poets; a Marlowe rather than a Shakspeare: this is the portrait sketched by one who must have painted a figure still fresh in the minds of the Athenians. [Footnote: Aristophanes, in The Frogs.] Such a man, both by birth and disposition, was likely to attach himself to the aristocratic party, and to look with scorn on the claims of the demos to a larger share of power; and there is hardly a play in which some political bias in that direction may not be traced."

Æschylus wrote his plays in trilogies, or three successive dramas connected. Of the eighty tragedies that he wrote, only seven have been preserved. From three of these, The Persians, Prome'theus, and Agamemnon, we have given extracts descriptive of historical and mythological events. The latter is the first of three plays on the fortunes of the house of A'treus, of Myce'næ; and these three, of which the Choëph'oroe and Eumenides are the other two, are the only extant specimen of a trilogy. The Agamemnon is the longest, and by some considered the grandest, play left us by Æschylus. "In the Agamemnon," says VON SCHLEGEL, "it was the intention of Æschylus to exhibit to us a sudden fall from the highest pinnacle of prosperity and renown into the abyss of ruin. The prince, the hero, the general of the combined forces of the Greeks, in the very moment of success and the glorious achievement of the destruction of Troy, the fame of which is to be re-echoed from the mouths of the greatest poets of all ages, in the very act of crossing the threshold of his home, after which he had so long sighed, and amidst the fearless security of preparations for a festival, is butchered, according to the expression of Homer, 'like an ox in the stall,' slain by his faithless wife, his throne usurped by her worthless seducer, and his children consigned to banishment or to hopeless servitude." [Footnote: "Lectures on Dramatic Art and Literature," by Augustus William on Schlegel. Black's translation.]

Among the fine passages of this play, the death of Agamemnon, at the hand of Clytemnes'tra, is a scene that the poet paints with terrible effect. Says MR. EUGENE LAWRENCE, [Footnote: "A Primer of Greek Literature," by Eugene Lawrence, p.55.] "Mr. E. C. Stedman's version of the death of Agamemnon is an excellent one. A horror rests upon the palace at Mycenæ; there is a scent of blood, the exhalations of the tomb. The queen, Clytemnestra, enters the inner room, terrible as Lady Macbeth. A cry is heard:

"'Agam. Woe's me! I'm stricken a deadly blow within!'
"'Chor. Hark! who is't cries "a blow?" Who meets his death?'
"'Agam. Woe's me! Again! again! a second time I'm stricken!'
"'Chor. The deed, methinks, from the king's cry, is done.'

At length the queen appears, standing at her full height, terrible, holding her bloody weapon in her hand. She seeks no concealment. She proclaims her guilt:

"'I smote him! nor deny that thus I did it;
So that he could not flee or ward off doom.
A seamless net, as round a fish, I cast
About him, yea, a deadly wealth of robe,
Then smote him twice; and with a double cry
He loosed his limbs; and to him fallen I gave
Yet a third thrust, a grace to Hades, lord
Of the under-world and guardian of the dead.'"

But the most finished of the tragedies of Æschylus is Choëphoroe, which is made the subject of the revenge of Ores'tes, son of Agamemnon, who avenges the murder of his father by putting his mother to death. For this crime the Eumenides represents him as being driven insane by the Furies; but his reason was subsequently restored. It is the chief object of the poet, in this tragedy, to display the distress of Orestes at the necessity he feels of avenging his father's death upon his mother. To this BYRON refers in Childe Harold:

O thou! who never yet of human wrong
Left the unbalanced scale--great Nem'esis!
Thou who didst call the Furies from the abyss,
And round Orestes bade them howl and hiss
For that unnatural retribution--just,
Had it but been from hands less near--in this,
Thy former realm, I call thee from the dust!

At the close of an interesting characterization of Æschylus and his works--much too long for a full quotation here--PROFESSOR MAHAFFY observes as follows:

"We always feel that Æschylus thought more than he expressed, that his desperate compounds are never affected or unnecessary. Although, therefore, he violated the rules that bound weaker men, it is false to say that be was less an artist than they. His art was of a different kind, despising what they prized, and attempting what they did not dare, but not the less a conscious and thorough art. Though the drawing of character was not his main object, his characters are truer and deeper than those of poets who attempted nothing else. Though lyrical sweetness had little place in the gloom and terror of his Titanic stage, yet here too, when he chooses, he equals the masters of lyric song. So long as a single Homer was deemed the author of the Iliad and the Odyssey, we might well concede to him the first place, and say that Æschylus was the second poet of the Greeks. But by the light of nearer criticism, and with a closer insight into the structure of the epic poems, we must retract this judgment, and assert that no other poet among the Greeks, either in grandeur of conception or splendor of execution, equals the untranslatable, unapproachable, inimitable Æschylus." [Footnote: "Classical Greek Literature," vol. i., p.275.]


Æschylus was succeeded, as master of the drama, by Sophocles--the Raffaelle of the drama, as Bulwer calls him--who was also one of the generals of the Athenian expedition against Samos in the year 440 B.C. He brought the drama to the greatest perfection of which it was susceptible. In him we find a greater range of emotions than in Æschylus--figures more distinctly seen, a more expanded dialogue, simplicity of speech mixed with rhetorical declamation, and the highest degree of poetic beauty. Says a late writer: "The artist and the man were one in Sophocles. We cannot but think of him as specially created to represent Greek art in its most refined and exquisitely balanced perfection. It is impossible to imagine a more plastic nature, a genius more adapted to its special function, more fittingly provided with all things needful to its full development, born at a happier moment in the history of the world, and more nobly endowed with physical qualities suited to its intellectual capacity."

Sophocles composed one hundred and thirteen plays, but only seven of them are extant. Of these the most familiar is the tragedy of OEd'ipus Tyran'nus--"King OEdipus." It is not only considered his masterpiece, but also, as regards the choice and disposition of the fable on which it is founded, the finest tragedy of antiquity. A new interest has been given to it in this country by its recent representation in the original Greek. Of its many translations, it is conceded that none have done, and none can do it justice; they can do little more than give its plan and general character. The following, in brief, is the story of this famous tragedy:

OEdipus Tyrannus.

La'i-us, King of Thebes, was told by the Delphic oracle that if a son should be born to him, by the hand of that son he should surely die. When, therefore, his queen, Jocasta, bare him a son, the parents gave the child to a shepherd, with orders to cast it out, bound, on the hill Cithæ'ron to perish. But the shepherd, moved to compassion, deceived the parents, and intrusted the babe to a herdsman of Pol'ybus, King of Corinth; and the wife of Polybus, being childless, named the foundling OEdipus, and reared it as her own.

Thirty years later, OEdipus, ignorant of his birth, and being directed by the oracle to shun his native country, fled from Corinth; and it happened at the same time that his father (Laius) was on his way to consult the oracle at Delphi, for the purpose of ascertaining whether the child that had been exposed had perished or not. As father and son, strangers to each other, met in a narrow path in the mountains, a dispute arose for the right of way, and in the contest that ensued the father was slain.

Immediately after this event the goddess Juno, always hostile to Thebes, sent a monster, called the sphinx, to propound a riddle to the Thebans, and to ravage their territory until some one should solve the riddle--the purport of which was, "What animal is that which goes on four feet in the morning, on two at noon, and on three at evening?" OEdipus, the supposed son of Polybus, of Corinth, coming to Thebes, solved the riddle, by answering the sphinx that it was man, who, when an infant, creeps on all fours, in manhood goes on two feet, and when old uses a staff. The sphinx then threw herself down to the earth and perished; whereupon the Thebans, in their joy, chose OEdipus as king, and he married the widowed queen Jocasta, by whom he had two sons and two daughters. Although everything prospered with him--as he loved the Theban people, and was beloved by them in turn for his many virtues--soon the wrath of the gods fell upon the city, which was visited by a sore pestilence. Creon, brother of the queen, is now sent to consult the oracle for the cause of the evil; and it is at the point of his return that the drama opens. He brings back the response

"That guilt of blood is blasting all the state;"

that this guilt is connected with the death of Laius, and that

"Now the god clearly bids us, he being dead,
To take revenge on those who shed his blood,"

OEdipus engages earnestly in the business of unraveling the mystery connected with the death of Laius, the cause of all the Theban woes. Ignorant that he himself bears the load of guilt, he charges the Thebans to be vigilant and unremitting in their efforts,--

"And for the man who did the guilty deed,
Whether alone he lurks, or leagued with more,
I pray that he may waste his life away,
For vile deeds vilely dying; and for me,
If in my house, I knowing it, he dwells,
May every curse I spake on my head fall."

A blind and aged priest and prophet, Tire'sias, is brought before OEdipus, and, being implored to lend the aid of prophecy to "save the city from the curse" that had fallen on it, he at first refuses to exert his prophetic power.

  Tiresias. Ah! Reason fails you an, but ne'er will I
Say what thou bidd'st, lest I thy troubles show.
I will not pain myself nor thee. Why, then,
All vainly question? Thou shalt never know.

But, urged and threatened by the king, he at length exclaims:

  Tier. And has it come to this? I charge thee, hold
To thy late edict, and from this day forth
Speak not to me, nor yet to these, for thou--
Thou art the accursed plague-spot of the land!

OEdipus at first believes that the aged prophet is merely the tool of others, who are engaged in a conspiracy to expel him from the throne; but when Jocasta, in her innocence, informs him of the death of Laius, names the mountain pass in which he fell, slain, as was supposed, by a robber band, and describes his dress and person, OEdipus is startled at the thought that he himself was the slayer, and he exclaims,

"Great Zeus! what fate hast thou decreed for me?
Woe! woe! 'tis all too clear."

Yet there is one hope left. The man whom he slew in that same mountain pass fell by no robber band, and, therefore, could not have been Laius. Soon even this hope deserts him, when the story is truly told. He learns, moreover, that he is not the son of Polybus, the Corinthian king, but a foundling adopted by his queen. Connecting this with the story now told him by Jocasta, of her infant son, whom she supposed to have perished on the mountain, the horrid truth begins to dawn upon all. Jocasta rushes from the presence of OEdipus, exclaiming,

"Woe! woe! ill-fated one! my last word this,
This only, and no more for evermore."

When the old shepherd, forced to declare the truth, tells how he saved the life of the infant, and gave it into the keeping of the herdsman of Polybus, the evil-starred OEdipus exclaims, in agony of spirit:

"Woe! woe! woe! all cometh clear at last.
O light! may this my last glance be on thee,
Who now am seen owing my birth to those
To whom I ought not, and with whom I ought not
In wedlock living, whom I ought not slaying."

Horrors still thicken in this terrible tragedy. Word is brought to OEdipus that Jocasta is dead--dead by her own hand! He rushes in:

                     Then came a sight
Most fearful. Tearing from her robe the clasps,
All chased with gold, with which she decked herself,
He with them struck the pupils of his eyes,
With words like these--"Because they had not seen
What ills he suffered and what ills he did,
They in the dark should look, in time to come,
On those whom they ought never to have seen,
Nor know the dear ones whom he fain had known."
With such-like wails, not once or twice alone,
Raising his eyes, he smote them; and the balls,
All bleeding, stained his cheek, nor poured they forth
Gore drops slow trickling, but the purple shower
Fell fast and full, a pelting storm of blood.

The now blind and wretched OEdipus, bewailing his fate and the evils he had so unwittingly brought upon Thebes, begs to be cast forth with all speed from out the land.

OEdipus. Lead me away, my friends, with utmost speed
Lead me away; the foul, polluted one,
    Of all men most accursed,
    Most hateful to the gods.
Chorus. Ah, wretched one, alike in soul and doom,
I fain could wish that I had never known thee.
OEdipus. Ill fate be his who from the fetters freed
      The child upon the hills,
And rescued me from death,
      And saved me--thankless boon!
      Ah! had I died but then,
Nor to my friends nor me had been such woe.

A touching picture is presented in the farewell of OEdipus, on departing from Thebes to wander an outcast upon the earth. The tragedy concludes with the following moral by the chorus:

  Chorus. Ye men of Thebes, behold this OEdipus,
Who knew the famous riddle, and was noblest.
Whose fortune who saw not with envious glances?
And lo! in what a sea of direst trouble
He now is plunged! From hence the lesson learn ye,
To reckon no man happy till ye witness
The closing day; until he pass the border
Which Severs life from death unscathed by sorrow.
  --Trans. by E. H. PLUMPTRE.

Character of the Works of Sophocles.

The character of the works of Sophocles is well described in the following extract from an Essay on Greek Poetry, by THOMAS NOON TALFOURD: "The great and distinguishing excellence of Sophocles will be found in his excellent sense of the beautiful, and the perfect harmony of all his powers. His conceptions are not on so gigantic a scale as those of Æschylus; but in the circle which he prescribes to himself to fill, not a place is left unadorned; not a niche without its appropriate figure; not the smallest ornament which is incomplete in the minutest graces. His judgment seems absolutely perfect, for he never fails; he is always fully master of himself and his subject; he knows the precise measure of his own capacities; and while he never attempts a flight beyond his reach, he never debases himself nor his art by anything beneath him.

"Sophocles was undoubtedly the first philosophical poet of the ancient world. With his pure taste for the graceful he perceived, amidst the sensible forms around him, one universal spirit of Jove pervading all things. Virtue and justice, to his mind, did not appear the mere creatures of convenience, or the means of gratifying the refined selfishness of man; he saw them, having deep root in eternity, unchanging and imperishable as their divine author. In a single stanza he has impressed this sentiment with a plenitude of inspiration before which the philosophy of expediency vanishes--a passage that has neither a parallel nor equal of its kind, that we recollect, in the whole compass of heathen poetry, and which may be rendered thus: 'Oh for a spotless purity of action and of speech, according to those sublime laws of right which have the heavens for their birthplace, and God alone for their author--which the decays of mortal nature cannot vary, nor time cover with oblivion, for the divinity is mighty within them and waxes not old!'"

Sophocles died in extreme old age, "without disease and without suffering, and was mourned with such a sincerity and depth of grief as were exhibited at the death of no other citizen of Athens."

Thrice happy Sophocles! in good old age,
Blessed as a man, and as a craftsman blessed,
He died: his many tragedies were fair,
And fair his end, nor knew be any sorrow.

Wind, gentle evergreen, to form a shade
Around the tomb where Sophocles is laid;
Sweet ivy wind thy boughs, and intertwine
With blushing roses and the clustering vine.
Thus will thy lasting leaves, with beauties hung,
Prove grateful emblems of the lays he sung,
Whose soul, exalted by the god of wit,
Among the Muses and the Graces writ.
  --SIM'MIAS, the Theban.


Contemporary with Sophocles was Euripides, born in 480 B.C., the last of the three great masters of the drama--the three being embraced within the limits of a single century. Under Sophocles the principal changes effected in the outward form of the drama were the introduction of a third actor, and a consequent limitation of the functions of the chorus. Euripides, however, changed the mode of handling tragedy. Unlike Sophocles, who only limited the activity of the chorus, he disconnected it from the tragic interest of the drama by giving but little attention to the character of its songs. He also made some other changes; and, as one writer expresses it, his innovations "disintegrated the drama by destroying its artistic unity." But although perhaps inferior, in all artistic point of view, to his predecessors, the genius of Euripides supplied a want that they did not meet. Although his plays are all connected with the history and mythology of Greece, in them rhetoric is more prominent than in the plays of either Æschylus or Sophocles; the legendary characters assume more the garb of humanity; the tender sentiments--love, pity, compassion--are invoked to a greater degree, and an air of exquisite delicacy and refinement embellishes the whole. These were the qualities in the plays of Euripides that endeared him to the Greeks of succeeding ages, and that gave to his works such an influence on the Roman and modern drama.

Of Euripides MR. SYMONDS remarks: "His lasting title to fame consists in his having dealt with the deeper problems of life in a spirit which became permanent among the Greeks, so that his poems never lost their value as expressions of current philosophy. Nothing strikes the student of later Greek literature more strongly than this prolongation of the Euripidean tone of thought and feeling. In the decline of tragic poetry the literary sceptre was transferred to comedy; and the comic playwrights may be described as the true successors of Euripides. The dialectic method, which he affected, was indeed dropped, and a more harmonious form of art than the Euripidean was created for comedy by Menan'der, when the Athenians, after passing through their disputatious period, had settled down into a tranquil acceptation of the facts of life. Yet this return to harmony of form and purity of perception did not abate the influence of Euripides. Here and there throughout his tragedies he had said, and well said, what the Greeks were bound to think and feel upon important matters; and his sensitive, susceptible temperament repeated itself over and over again among his literary successors. The exclamation of Phile'mon that, if he could believe in immortality, he would hang himself to see Euripides, is characteristic not only of Philemon, but also of the whole Macedonian period of Greek literature." [Footnote: "The Greek Poets." Second Series, p. 300.]

Euripides wrote about seventy-five plays, of which eighteen have come down to us. The Me-de'a, which is thought to be his best piece, is occupied with the circumstances of the vengeance taken by Medea on the ungrateful Jason, the hero of the Argonautic expedition, for whom she had sacrificed all, and who, after his return, abandoned her for a royal Corinthian bride. [Footnote: See Argonautic Expedition, p. 81.] But the most touching of the plays of Euripides is the Alces'tis, founded on the fable of Alcestis dying for her husband, Adme'tus. MILTON thus alludes to the story, in his sonnet on his deceased wife:

Methought I saw my late espoused saint
  Brought to me, like Alcestis, from the grave,
  Whom Jove's great son to her glad husband gave,
Rescued from death by force, though pale and faint.

The substance of the story is as follows:

Admetus, King of Phe'ræ, in Thessaly, married Alcestis, who became noted for her conjugal virtues. Apollo, when banished from heaven, received so kind treatment from Admetus that he induced the Fates to prolong the latter's life beyond the ordinary limit, on condition that one of his own family should die in his stead. Alcestis at once consented to die for her husband, and when the appointed time came she heroically and composedly gave herself to death. Soon after her departure, however, the hero Hercules visited Admetus, and, pained with the profound grief of the household, he rescued Alcestis from the grim tyrant Death and restored her to her family. The whole play abounds in touching scenes and descriptions; and the best modern critics concede that there is no female character in either Æschylus or Sophocles, not even excepting Antig'one, that is so great and noble, and at the same time so purely tender and womanly, as Alcestis. "Where has either Greek or modern literature," says MAHAFFY, "produced a nobler ideal than the Alcestis of Euripides? Devoted to her husband and children, beloved and happy in her palace, she sacrifices her life calmly and resignedly--a life which is not encompassed with afflictions, but of all the worth that life can be, and of all the usefulness which makes it precious to noble natures." [Footnote: "Social Life in Greece, p. 189.] We give the following short extract from the poet's account of the preparations made by Alcestis for her approaching end:

Alcestis Preparing for Death.

                       When she knew
The destined day was come, in fountain water
She bathed her lily-tinctured limbs, then took
From her rich chests, of odorous cedar formed,
A splendid robe, and her most radiant dress.
Thus gorgeously arrayed, she stood before
The hallowed flames, and thus addressed her prayer:
"O queen, I go to the infernal shades;
Yet, ere I go, with reverence let me breathe
My last request: protect my orphan children;
Make my son happy with the wife he loves,
And wed my daughter to a noble husband;
Nor let them, like their mother, to the tomb
Untimely sink, but in their native land
Be blessed through lengthened life to honored age."

Then to each altar in the royal house
She went, and crowned it, and addressed her vows,
Plucking the myrtle bough: nor tear, nor sigh
Came from her; neither did the approaching ill
Change the fresh beauties of her vermeil cheek.
Her chamber then she visits, and her bed;
There her tears flowed, and thus she spoke: "O bed
To which my wedded lord, for whom I die,
Led me a virgin bride, farewell! to thee
No blame do I impute, for me alone
Hast thou destroyed: disdaining to betray
Thee, and my lord, I die: to thee shall come
Some other woman, not more chaste, perchance
More happy." As she lay she kissed the couch,
And bathed it with a flood of tears: that passed,
She left her chamber, then returned, and oft
She left it, oft returned, and on the couch
Fondly, each time she entered, cast herself.
Her children, as they hung upon her robes,
Weeping, she raised, and clasped them to her breast
Each after each, as now about to die.
  --Trans. by POTTER.

Euripides died in the year 406 B.C., in Macedon, to which country he had been compelled to go on account of domestic troubles; and the then king, Archela'us honored his remains with a sumptuous funeral, and erected a monument over them.

Divine Euripides, this tomb we see
So fair is not a monument for thee,
So much as thou for it; since all will own
That thy immortal fame adorns the stone.

We have now observed the transitions through which Grecian tragedy passed in the hands of its three great masters, Æschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides. As GROTE says, "The differences between these three poets are doubtless referable to the working of Athenian politics and Athenian philosophy on the minds of the two latter. In Sophocles we may trace the companion of Herodotus; in Euripides the hearer of Anaxag'oras, Socrates, and Prod'icus; in both, the familiarity with that wide-spread popularity of speech, and real, serious debate of politicians and competitors before the dikastery, which both had ever before their eyes, but which the genius of Sophocles knew how to keep in subordination to his grand poetical purpose." To properly estimate the influence which the tragedies exerted upon the Athenians, we must remember that a large number of them was presented on the stage every year; that it was rare to repeat anyone of them; that the theatre of Bacchus, in which they were represented, accommodated thirty thousand persons; that, as religious observances, they formed part of the civil establishment; and that admission to them was virtually free to every Athenian citizen. Taking these things into consideration, GROTE adds: "If we conceive of the entire population of a large city listening almost daily to those immortal compositions whose beauty first stamped tragedy as a separate department of poetry, we shall be satisfied that such powerful poetic influences were never brought to act upon any other people; and that the tastes, the sentiments, and the intellectual standard of the Athenians must have been sensibly improved and exalted by such lessons." [Footnote: "History of Greece," Chap, lxvii.]


Another marked feature of Athenian life, and one but little less influential than tragedy in its effects upon the Athenian character, was comedy. It had its origin, as we have seen, in the vintage festivals of Bacchus, where the wild songs of the participants were frequently interspersed with coarse witticisms against the spectators. Like tragedy, it was a Dorian invention, and Sicily seems to have early become the seat of the comic writers. Epichar'mus, a Dorian poet and philosopher, was the first of these to put the Bacchic songs and dances into dramatic form. The place of his nativity is uncertain, but he passed the greater part of his life at Syracuse, in the society of the greatest literary men of the age, and there he is supposed to have written his comedies some years prior to the Persian war. It seems, however, that comedy was introduced into Attica by Susa'rion, a native of Meg'ara, long before the time of Epichar'mus (578 B.C.). But the former's plays were so largely made up of rude and abusive personalities that they were not tolerated by the Pisistrati'dæ, and for over a century we bear nothing farther of comedy in Attica--not until it was revived by Chion'ides, about 488 B.C., or, according to some authorities, twenty years later.

Under the contemporaries or successors of Chionides comedy became an important agent in the political warfare of Athens, although it was frequently the subject of prohibitory or restrictive legal enactments. "Only a nation," says a recent writer, "in the plenitude of self-contentment, conscious of vigor, and satisfied with its own energy, could have tolerated the kind of censorship the comic poets dared to exercise."

Characterization of the Old Comedy.

In the preliminary discourse to his translation of the Comedies of Aristophanes, MR. THOMAS MITCHELL, an English critic of note, makes these observations upon the character of the Old Comedy: "The Old Comedy, as it is called, in contradistinction to what was afterward named the Middle and the New, stood in the extreme relation of contrariety and parody to the tragedy of the Greeks --it was directed chiefly to the lower orders of society at Athens; it served in some measure the purposes of the modern journal, in which public measures and the topics of the day might be fully discussed; and in consequence the dramatis personæ were generally the poet's own contemporaries, speaking in their own names and acting in masks, which, as they bore only a caricature resemblance of their own faces, showed that the poet, in his observations, did not mean to be taken literally. Like tragedy, comedy constituted part of a religious ceremony; and the character of the deity to whom it was more particularly dedicated was stamped at times pretty visibly upon the work which was composed in his honor. The Dionysian festivals were the great carnivals of antiquity--they celebrated the returns of vernal festivity or the joyous vintage, and were in consequence the great holidays of Athens--the seasons of universal relaxation.

"The comic poet was the high-priest of the festival; and if the orgies of his divinity (the god of wine) sometimes demanded a style of poetry which a Father of our Church probably had in his eye when he called all poetry the devil's wine, the organ of their utterance (however strange it may seem to us) no doubt considered himself as perfectly absolved from the censure which we should bestow on such productions: in his compositions he was discharging the same pious office as the painter, whose duty it was to fill the temples of the same deity with pictures which our imaginations would consider equally ill-suited to the habitations of divinity. What religion therefore forbids among us, the religion of the Greeks did not merely tolerate but enjoin. Nor was the extreme and even profane gayety of the comedy without its excuse. To unite extravagant mirth with a solemn seriousness was enjoined by law, even in the sacred festival of Ceres.

"While the philosophers, therefore, querulously maintained that man was the joke and plaything of the gods, the comic poet reversed the picture, and made the gods the playthings of men; in his hands, indeed, everything was upon the broad grin: the gods laughed, men laughed, and animals laughed. Nature was considered as a sort of fantastic being, with a turn for the humorous; and the world was treated as a sort of extended jest-book, where the poet pointed out the bon-mots [Footnote: French; pronounced bong-mos.] and acted in some degree as corrector of the Press. If he discharged this office sometimes in the sarcastic spirit of a Mephistopheles, this, too, was considered as part of his functions. He was the Ter'roe Fil'ius [Footnote: Terroe Filius, son of the earth; that is, a human being.] of the day; and lenity would have been considered, not as an act of discretion, but as a cowardly dereliction of duty."

It was in the time of Pericles that the comedy just described first dealt with men and subjects under their real names; and in one of the plays of Crati'nus--under whom comedy received its full development--Cimon is highly eulogized, and his rival, Pericles, is bitterly derided. With unmeasured and unsparing license comedy attacked, under the veil of satire, not only all that was really ludicrous or base, but often cast scorn and derision on that which was innocent, or even meritorious. For the reason that the comic writers were so indiscriminate in their attacks, frequently making transcendent genius and noble personality, as well as demagogism and personal vice, the butt of comic scorn; their writings have but little historical value except in the few instances in which they are corroborated by higher authority.


Among the contemporaries of Cratinus were Eu'polis and Aristophanes, the latter of whom became the chief of what is known as the Old Attic Comedy. Of his life little is known; but he was a member of the conservative or aristocratic party at Athens, directing his attacks chiefly against the democratic or popular party of Pericles, and continuing to write comedies until about 392 B.C. While his comedies are replete with coarse wit, they are wonderfully brilliant, and contain much, also, that is pure and beautiful. As a late writer has well said, "Beauty and deformity came to him with equal abundance, and his wonderful pieces are made up of all that is low and all that is pure and lovely."

The Muses, seeking for a shrine
  Whose glories ne'er should cease,
Found, as they strayed, the soul divine
  Of Aristophanes.
  --PLATO, trans. by MERIVALE.

MR. GROTE characterizes the comedies of Aristophanes as follows: "Never probably will the full and unshackled force of comedy be so exhibited again. Without having Aristophanes actually before us it would have been impossible to imagine the unmeasured and unsparing license of attack assumed by the old comedy upon the gods, the institutions, the politicians, philosophers, poets, private citizens, specially named--and even the women, whose life was entirely domestic--of Athens. With this universal liberty in respect of subject there is combined a poignancy of derision and satire, a fecundity of imagination and variety of turns, and a richness of poetical expression such as cannot be surpassed, and such as fully explains the admiration expressed for him by the philosopher Plato, who in other respects must have regarded him with unquestionable disapprobation. His comedies are popular in the largest sense of the word, addressed to the entire body of male citizens on a day consecrated to festivity, and providing for their amusement or derision, with a sort of drunken abundance, out of all persons or things standing in any way prominent before the public eye." [Footnote: "History or Greece," Chap. lxvii.]

In his introduction to the Dialogues of Plato, REV. WILLIAM SEWELL, an English clergyman and author, observes that "Men smile when they hear the anecdote of Chrys'ostom, one of the most venerable fathers of the Church, who never went to bed without something from Aristophanes under his pillow." He adds: "But the noble tone of morals, the elevated taste, the sound political wisdom, the boldness and acuteness of the satire, the grand object, which is seen throughout, of correcting the follies of the day, and improving the condition of his country--all these are features in Aristophanes which, however disguised, as they intentionally are, by coarseness and buffoonery, entitle him to the highest respect from every reader of antiquity." Yet, while the purposes of Aristophanes were in the main praiseworthy, and the persons and things he attacked generally deserving of censure, he spared the vices of his own party and associates; and, like all satirists, for effect he often traduced character, as in the case of the virtuous Socrates. In an attack on the Sophists, in his play of the Clouds, he gives to Socrates the character of a vulgar Sophist, and holds him up to the derision of the Athenian people. But, as another has said, "Time has set all even; and 'poor Socrates,' as Aristophanes called him--as a far loftier bard has sung--

                        'Poor Socrates,
By what he taught, and suffered for so doing,
For truth's sake suffering death unjust, lives now,
Equal in fame to proudest conquerors.'"

The Comedy of the "Clouds."

It is curious to observe in the Clouds of Aristophanes that while the main object of the poet is to ridicule Socrates, and through him to expose what he considers the corrupt state of education in Athens, he does not disdain to mingle with his low buffoonery the loftiest flights of the imagination--reminding us of the not unlike anomaly of Shakspeare's sublime simile of the "cloud-capp'd towers," in the Tempest. In one part of the play, Strepsi'ades, who has been nearly ruined in fortune by his spendthrift son, goes to Socrates to learn from him the logic that will enable him "to talk unjustly and--prevail," so that he may shirk his debts! He finds the master teacher suspended in air, in a basket, that he may be above earthly influences, and there "contemplating the sun," and endeavoring to search out "celestial matters." To the appeal of Strepsiades, Socrates, interrupted in his reveries, thus answers:

Socrates. Old man, sit you still, and attend to my will, and
    hearken in peace to my prayer. (He then addresses the Air.)
O master and king, holding earth in your swing, O measureless infinite Air;
And thou, glowing Ether, and Clouds who enwreathe her with thunder and lightning and storms,
Arise ye and shine, bright ladies divine, to your student, in bodily forms.

Then we have the farther prayer of Socrates to the Clouds, in which is pictured a series of the most sublime images, colored with all the rainbow hues of the poet's fancy. We are led, in imagination, to behold the dread Clouds, at first sitting, in glorious majesty, upon the time-honored crest of snowy Olympus --then in the soft dance beguiling the nymphs "'mid the stately advance of old Ocean"--then bearing away, in their pitchers of sunlight and gold, "the mystical waves of the Nile," to refresh and fertilize other lands; at one time sporting on the foam of Lake Mæo'tis, and at another playing around the wintry summits of Mi'mas, a mountain range of Ionia, The farther invocation of the Clouds is thus continued:

Socrates. Come forth, come forth, ye dread Clouds, and to earth your glorious majesty show;
Whether lightly ye rest on the time-honored crest of Olympus, environed in snow,
Or tread the soft dance 'mid the stately advance of old Ocean, the nymphs to beguile,
Or stoop to enfold, with your pitchers of gold, the mystical waves of the Nile,
Or around the white foam of Mæotis ye roam, or Mimas all wintry and bare,
O hear while we pray, and turn not away from the rites which your servants prepare.

Then the chorus comes forward and answers, as if the Clouds were speaking:

Chorus.                    Clouds of all hue,
Now rise we aloft with our garments of dew,
We come from old Ocean's unchangeable bed,
We come till the mountains' green summits we tread,
We come to the peaks with their landscapes untold,
We gaze on the earth with her harvests of gold,
We gaze on the rivers in majesty streaming,
  We gaze on the lordly, invisible sea;
We come, for the eye of the Ether is beaming,
  We come, for all Nature is flashing and free.
    Let us shake off this close-clinging dew
    From our members eternally new,
    And sail upward the wide world to view,
        Come away! Come away!

Socr. O goddesses mine, great Clouds and divine, ye have heeded and answered my prayer.
Heard ye their sound, and the thunder around, as it thrilled through the petrified air?

Streps. Yes, by Zeus! and I shake, and I'm all of a quake, and I fear I must sound a reply,
Their thunders have made my soul so afraid, and those terrible voices so nigh--

Socr. Don't act in our schools like those comedy-fools, with their scurrilous, scandalous ways.
Deep silence be thine, while these Clusters divine their soul-stirring melody raise.

To which the chorus again responds. But we have not room for farther extracts. The description of the floating-cloud character of the scene is acknowledged by critics to be inimitable. There is one passage, in particular, in which Socrates, pointing to the clouds that have taken a sudden slanting downward motion, says:

              "They are drifting, an infinite throng,
And their long shadows quake over valley and brake"--

which, MR. RUSKIN declares, "could have been written by none but an ardent lover of the hill scenery--one who had watched hour after hour the peculiar, oblique, sidelong action of descending clouds, as they form along the hollows and ravines of the hills. [Footnote: The line in Greek, which is so vividly descriptive of this peculiar appearance and motion of the clouds--

dia toy koiloy kai toy daseoy autai plagiai--

loses so much in the rendering, that the beauty of the passage can be fully appreciated only by the Greek scholar.] There are no lumpish solidities, no billowy protuberances here. All is melting, drifting, evanescent, full of air, and light as dew."

Choral Song from "The Birds."

In the following extract from the comedy of The Birds, Aristophanes ridicules the popular belief of the Greeks in signs and omens drawn from the birds of the air. Though undoubtedly an exaggeration, it may nevertheless be taken as a fair exposition of the superstitious notions of an age that had its world-renowned "oracles," and as a good example of the poet's comic style. The extract is from the Choral Song in the comedy, and is a true poetic gem.

Ye children of man! whose life is a span,
Protracted with sorrow from day to day;
Naked and featherless, feeble and querulous,
Sickly, calamitous creatures of clay!
Attend to the words of the sovereign birds,
Immortal, illustrious lords of the air,
Who survey from on high, with a merciful eye,
Your struggles of misery, labor, and care.
Whence you may learn and clearly discern
Such truths as attract your inquisitive turn--
Which is busied of late with a mighty debate,
A profound speculation about the creation,
And organical life and chaotical strife--
With various notions of heavenly motions,
And rivers and oceans, and valleys and mountains,
And sources of fountains, and meteors on high,
And stars in the sky.... We propose by-and-by
(If you'll listen and hear) to make it all clear.

All lessons of primary daily concern
You have learned from the birds (and continue to learn),
Your best benefactors and early instructors.
We give you the warnings of seasons returning:
When the cranes are arranged, and muster afloat
In the middle air, with a creaking note,

Steering away to the Libyan sand,
Then careful farmers sow their lands;
The craggy vessel is hauled ashore;
The sail, the ropes, the rudder, and oar
Are all unshipped and housed in store.
The shepherd is warned, by the kite re-appearing,
To muster his flock and be ready for shearing.
You quit your old cloak at the swallow's behest,
In assurance of summer, and purchase a vest.

  For Delphi, for Ammon, Dodo'na--in fine,
For every oracular temple and shrine--
The birds are a substitute, equal and fair;
For on us you depend, and to us you repair
For counsel and aid when a marriage is made--
A purchase, a bargain, or venture in trade:
Unlucky or lucky, whatever has struck ye--
A voice in the street, or a slave that you meet,
A name or a word by chance overheard--
If you deem it an omen you call it a bird;
And if birds are your omens, it clearly will follow
That birds are a proper prophetic Apollo.
  --Trans. by FRERE.


As we have stated in a former chapter, literary compositions in prose first appeared among the Greeks in the sixth century B.C., and were either mythological, or collections of local legends, whether sacred or profane, of particular districts. It was not until a still later period that the Grecian prose writers, becoming more positive in their habits of thought, broke away from speculative and mystical tendencies, and began to record their observations of the events daily occurring about them. In the writings of Hecatæ'us of Mile'tus, who flourished about 500 B.C., we find the first elements of history; and yet some modern writers think he can lay no claim whatever to the title of historian, while others regard him as the first historical writer of any importance. He visited Greece proper and many of the surrounding countries, and recorded his observations and experiences in a work of a geographical character, entitled Periodus. He also wrote another work relating to the mythical history of Greece, and died about 467 B.C.


MAHAFFY considers Hecatæ'us "the forerunner of Herodotus in his mode of life and his conception of setting down his experiences;" while NIE'BUHR, the great German historian, absolutely denies the existence of any Grecian histories before Herodotus gave to the world the first of those illustrious productions that form another bright link in the literary chain of Grecian glory. Born in Halicarnas'sus about the year 484, of an illustrious family, Herodotus was driven from his native land at an early age by a revolution, after which he traveled extensively over the then known world, collecting much of the material that he subsequently used in his writings. After a short residence at Samos he removed to Athens, leaving there, however, about the year 440 to take up his abode at Thu'rii, a new Athenian colony near the site of the former Syb'aris. Here he lived the rest of his life, dying about the year 420. Lucian relates that, on completing his work, Herodotus went to Olympia during the celebration of the Olympic games, and there recited to his countrymen the nine books of which his history was composed. His hearers were delighted, and immediately honored the books with the title of the Nine Muses. A later account of this scene says that Thucydides, then a young man, stood at the side of Herodotus, and was affected to tears by his recitations.

Herodotus modestly states the object of his history in the following paragraph, which is all the introduction that he makes to his great work: "These are the researches of Herodotus of Halicarnassus, which he publishes in the hope of thereby preserving from decay the remembrance of what men have done, and of preventing the great and wonderful actions of the Greeks and the barbarians from losing their due meed of glory; and, withal, to put on record what were their grounds of feud." [Footnote: Rawlinson's translation.] But while he portrays the military ambition of the Persian rulers, the struggles of the Greeks for liberty, and their final triumph over the Persian power, he also gives us a history of almost all the then known world. "His work begins," says MR. LAWRENCE, "with the causes of the hostility between Persia and Greece, describes the power of Croe'sus, the wonders of Egypt, the expedition of Darius into Scythia, and closes with the immortal war between the allied Greeks and the Persian hosts. To his countrymen the story must have had the intense interest of a national ode or epic. Athens, particularly, must have read with touching ardor the graceful narrative of its early glory; for when Herodotus finished his work the brief period had already passed away. What Æschylus and the other dramatists painted in brief and striking pictures on the stage, Herodotus described with laborious but never tedious minuteness. His pure Ionic diction never wearies, his easy and simple narrative has never lost its interest, and all succeeding ages have united in calling him 'the Father of History.' His fame has advanced with the progress of letters, and has spread over mankind."

The following admirable description of Herodotus and of his writings is from an essay on "History," by LORD MACAULAY:

Herodotus and his Writings.

"Of the romantic historians, Herodotus is the earliest and the best. His animation, his simple-hearted tenderness, his wonderful talent for description and dialogue, and the pure, sweet flow of his language, place him at the head of narrators. He reminds us of a delightful child. There is a grace beyond the reach of affectation in his awkwardness, a malice in his innocence, an intelligence in his nonsense, and an insinuating eloquence in his lisp. We know of no other writer who makes such interest for himself and his book in the heart of the reader. He has written an incomparable book. He has written something better, perhaps, than the best history; but he has not written a really good history; for he is, from the first to the last chapter, an inventor. We do not here refer merely to those gross fictions with which he has been reproached by the critics of later times, but we speak of that coloring which is equally diffused over his whole narrative, and which perpetually leaves the most sagacious reader in doubt what to reject and what to receive. The great events are, no doubt, faithfully related; so, probably, are many of the slighter circumstances, but which of them it is impossible to ascertain. We know there is truth, but we cannot exactly decide where it lies.

"If we may trust to a report not sanctioned, indeed, by writers of high authority, but in itself not improbable, the work of Herodotus was composed not to be read, but to be heard. It was not to the slow circulation of a few copies, which the rich only could possess, that the aspiring author looked for his reward. The great Olympian festival was to witness his triumph. The interest of the narrative and the beauty of the style were aided by the imposing effect of recitation--by the splendor of the spectacle, by the powerful influence of sympathy. A critic who could have asked for authorities in the midst of such a scene must have been of a cold and skeptical nature, and few such critics were there. As was the historian, such were the auditors--inquisitive, credulous, easily moved by the religious awe of patriotic enthusiasm. They were the very men to hear with delight of strange beasts, and birds, and trees; of dwarfs, and giants, and cannibals; of gods whose very names it was impiety to utter; of ancient dynasties which had left behind them monuments surpassing all the works of later times; of towns like provinces; of rivers like seas; of stupendous walls, and temples, and pyramids; of the rites which the Magi performed at daybreak on the tops of the mountains; of the secrets inscribed on the eternal obelisks of Memphis. With equal delight they would have listened to the graceful romances of their own country. They now heard of the exact accomplishment of obscure predictions; of the punishment of climes over which the justice of Heaven had seemed to slumber; of dreams, omens, warnings from the dead; of princesses for whom noble suitors contended in every generous exercise of strength and skill; and of infants strangely preserved from the dagger of the assassin to fulfil high destinies.

"As the narrative approached their own times the interest became still more absorbing. The chronicler had now to tell the story of that great conflict from which Europe dates its intellectual and political supremacy--a story which, even at this distance of time, is the most marvelous and the most touching in the annals of the human race--a story abounding with all that is wild and wonderful; with all that is pathetic and animating; with the gigantic caprices of infinite wealth and despotic power; with the mightier miracles of wisdom, of virtue, and of courage. He told them of rivers dried up in a day, of provinces famished for a meal; of a passage for ships hewn through the mountains; of a road for armies spread upon the waves; of monarchies and commonwealths swept away; of anxiety, of terror, of confusion, of despair! and then of proud and stubborn hearts tried in that extremity of evil and not found wanting; of resistance long maintained against desperate odds; of lives dearly sold when resistance could be maintained no more; of signal deliverance, and of unsparing revenge. Whatever gave a stronger air of reality to a narrative so well calculated to inflame the passions and to flatter national pride, was certain to be favorably received."


Greater even than Herodotus, in some respects, but entirely different in his style of composition, was the historian Thucydides, who was born in Athens about 471 B.C. In early life he studied in the rhetorical and sophistical schools of his native city; and he seems to have taken some part in the political agitations of the period. In his forty-seventh year he commanded an Athenian fleet that was sent to the relief of Amphip'olis, then besieged by Bras'idas the Spartan. But Thucydides was too late; on his arrival the city had surrendered. His failure to reach there sooner appears to have been caused by circumstances entirely beyond his control, although some English scholars, including GROTE, declare that he was remiss and dilatory, and therefore Deserving of the punishment he received--banishment from Athens. He retired to Scaptes'y-le, a small town in Thrace; and in this secluded spot, removed from the shifting scenes of Grecian life, he devoted himself to the composition of his great work. Tradition asserts that he was assassinated when about eighty years of age, either at Athens or in Thrace.

The history of Thucydides, unfinished at his death, gives an account of nearly twenty-one years of the Peloponnesian war. The author's style is polished, vigorous, philosophical, and sometimes so concise as to be obscure. We are told that even Cicero found some of his sentences almost unintelligible. But, as MAHAFFY says: "Whatever faults of style, whatever transient fashion of involving his thoughts, may be due to a Sophistic education and to the desire of exhibiting depth and acuteness, there cannot be the smallest doubt that in the hands of Thucydides the art of writing history made an extraordinary stride, and attained a degree of perfection which no subsequent Hellenic (and few modern) writers have equaled. If the subject which he selected was really a narrow one, and many of the details trivial, it was nevertheless compassed with extreme difficulty, for it is at all times a hard task to write contemporary history, and more especially so in an age when published documents were scarce, and the art of printing unknown. Moreover, however trivial may be the details of petty military raids, of which an account was yet necessary to the completeness of his record, we cannot but wonder at the lofty dignity with which he has handled every part of the subject. There is not a touch of comedy, not a point of satire, not a word of familiarity throughout the whole book, and we stand face to face with a man who strikes us as strangely un-Attic in his solemn and severe temper." [Footnote: "History of Greek Literature," vol. ii., p. 117.]

The following comparison, evidently a just one, has been made between Thucydides and Herodotus:

Thucydides and Herodotus.

"In comparing the two great historians, it is plain that the mind and talents of each were admirably suited to the work which he took in hand. The extensive field in which Herodotus labored afforded an opportunity for embellishing and illustrating his history with the marvels of foreign lands; while the glorious exploits of a great and free people stemming a tide of barbarian invaders and finally triumphing over them, and the customs and histories of the barbarians with whom they had been at war, and of all other nations whose names were connected with Persia, either by lineage or conquest, were subjects which required the talents of a simple narrator who had such love of truth as not willfully to exaggerate, and such judgment as to select what was best worthy of attention. But Thucydides had a narrower field. The mind of Greece was the subject of his study, as displayed in a single war which was, in its rise, progress, and consequences, the most important which Greece had ever seen. It did not in itself possess that heart-stirring interest which characterizes the Persian war. In it united Greece was not struggling for her liberties against a foreign foe, animated by one common patriotism, inspired by an enthusiastic Jove of liberty; but it presented the sad spectacle of Greece divided against herself, torn by the jealousies of race, and distracted by the animosities of faction.

"The task of Thucydides, therefore, was that of studying the warring passions and antagonistic workings of one mind; and it was one which, in order to become interesting and profitable, demanded that there should be brought to bear upon it the powers of a keen, analytical intellect. To separate history from the traditions and falsehoods with which it had been overlaid, and to give the early history of Greece in its most truthful form; to trace Athenian supremacy from its rise to its ruin, and the growing jealousy of other states, whether inferiors or rivals, to which that supremacy gave rise; to show its connection with the enmities of race and the opposition of politics; to point out what causes led to such wide results; how the insatiable ambitions of Athens, gratifying itself in direct disobedience to the advice of her wise statesman, Pericles, led step by step to her ultimate ruin,--required not a mere narrator of events, however brilliant, but a moral philosopher and a statesman. Such was Thucydides. Although his work shows an advance, in the science of historical composition, over that of Herodotus, and his mind is of a higher, because of a more thoughtful order, yet his fame by no means obscures the glory which belongs to the Father of History. Their walks are different; they can never be considered as rivals, and therefore neither can claim superiority." [Footnote: "Greek and Roman Classical Literature," by Professor R. W. Browne, King's College, London.]



The most illustrious of the Ionic philosophers, and the first distinguished philosopher of this period of Grecian history, was Anaxagoras, who was born at Clazom'enæ in the year 499 B.C. At the age of twenty he went to Athens, where he remained thirty years, teaching philosophy, and having for his hearers Pericles, Socrates, Euripides, and other celebrated characters. While the pantheistic systems of Tha'les, Heracli'tus, and other early philosophers admitted, in accordance with the fictions of the received mythology, that the universe is full of gods, the doctrine of Anaxagoras led to the belief of but one supreme mind or intelligence, distinct from the chaos to which it imparts motion, form, and order. Hence he also taught that the sun is an inanimate, fiery mass, and therefore not a proper object of worship. He asserted that the moon shines by reflected light, and he rightly explained solar and lunar eclipses. He gave allegorical explanations of the names of the Grecian gods, and struck a blow at the popular religion by attributing the miraculous appearances at sacrifices to natural causes. For these innovations he was stoned by the populace, and, as a penalty for what was considered his impiety, he was condemned to death; but through the influence of Pericles his sentence was commuted to banishment. He retired to Lamp'sacus, on the Hellespont, where he died at the age of seventy-two.

A short time before his death the senate of Lampsacus sent to Anaxagoras to ask what commemoration of his life and character would be most acceptable to him. He answered, "Let all the boys and girls have a play-day on the anniversary of my death." The suggestion was observed, and his memory was honored by the people of Lampsacus for many centuries with a yearly festival. The amiable disposition of Anaxagoras, and the general character of his teachings, are pleasantly and very correctly set forth in the following poem, which is a supposed letter from the poet Cleon, of Lampsacus, to Pericles, giving an account of the philosopher's death:

The Death of Anaxagoras.

Cleon of Lampsacus, to Pericles:
Of him she banished now let Athens boast;
Let now th' Athenian raise to him they stoned
A statue. Anaxagoras is dead!
To you who mourn the master, called him friend,
Beat back th' Athenian wolves who fanged his throat,
And risked your own to save him--Pericles--
I now unfold the manner of his end:

The aged man, who found in sixty years
Scant cause for laughter, laughed before he died,
And died still smiling: Athens vexed him not!
Not he, but your Athenians, he would say,
Were banished in his exile!

                               When the dawn
First glimmers white o'er Lesser Asia,
And little birds are twittering in the grass,
And all the sea lies hollow and gray with mist,
And in the streets the ancient watchmen doze,
The master woke with cold. His feet were chill,
And reft of sense; and we who watched him knew
The fever had not wholly left his brain,
For he was wandering, seeking nests of birds,
An urchin from the green Ionian town
Where he was born. We chafed his clay-cold limbs;
And so he dozed, nor dreamed, until the sun
Laughed out--broad day--and flushed the garden gods
Who bless our fruits and vines in Lampsacus.

Feeble, but sane and cheerful, he awoke,
And took our hands and asked to feel the sun;
And where the ilex spreads a gracious shade
We placed him, wrapped and pillowed; and he heard
The charm of birds, the whisper of the vines,
The ripple of the blue Propontic sea.
Placid and pleased he lay; but we were sad
To see the snowy hair and silver beard
Like withering mosses on a fallen oak,
And feel that he, whose vast philosophy
Had cast such sacred branches o'er the fields
Where Athens pastures her dull sheep, lay fallen,
And never more should know the spring! Confess
You too had grieved to see it, Pericles!

But Anaxagoras owned no sense of wrong;
And when we called the plagues of all your gods
On your ungrateful city, he but smiled:
"Be patient, children! Where would be the gain
Of wisdom and divine astronomy,
Could we not school our fretful minds to bear
The ills all life inherits? I can smile
To think of Athens! Were they much to blame?
Had I not slain Apollo? plucked the beard
Of Jove himself? Poor rabble, who have yet
Outgrown so little the green grasshoppers
From whom they boast descent, are they to blame?
[Footnote: The Athenians claimed to be of indigenous origin--
Autoch'tho-nes, that is, Aborigines, sprung from the earth
itself. As emblematic of this origin they wore in their hair
the golden forms of the cicada, or locust, often improperly
called grasshopper, which was believed to spring from the
earth. So it was said that the Athenians boasted descent
from grasshoppers.

"How could they dream--or how believe when taught--
The sun a red-hot iron ball, in bulk
Not less than Peloponnesus? How believe
The moon no silver goddess girt for chase,
But earth and stones, with caverns, hills, and vales?
Poor grasshoppers! who deem the gods absorbed
In all their babble, shrilling in the grass!
What wonder if they rage, should one but hint
That thunder and lightning, born of clashing clouds,
Might happen even with Jove in pleasant mood,
Not thinking of Athenians at all!"

He paused; and, blowing softly from the sea,
The fresh wind stirred the ilex, shaking down
Through chinks of sunny leaves blue gems of sky;
And lying in the shadow, all his mind
O'ershadowed by our grief, once more he spoke:
"Let not your hearts be troubled! All my days
Hath all my care been fixed on this vast blue,
So still above us; now my days are done,
Let it have care of me! Be patient, meek,
Not puffed with doctrine! Nothing can be known;
Naught grasped for certain: sense is circumscribed;
The intellect is weak, and life is short!"

He ceased, and mused a little while we wept.
"And yet be nowise downcast; seek, pursue!
The lover's rapture and the sage's gain
Less in attainment lie than in approach.
Look forward to the time which is to come!
All things are mutable, and change alone
Unchangeable. But knowledge grows! The gods
Are drifting from the earth like morning mist;
The days are surely at the doors when men
Shall see but human actions in the world!
Yea, even these hills of Lampsacus shall be
The isles of some new sea, if time fail not!"

And now the reverend fathers of our town
Had heard the master's end was very near,
And come to do him homage at the close,
And ask what wish of his they might fulfil.
But he, divining that they thought his heart
Might yearn to Athens for a resting-place,
Said gently, "Nay; from everywhere the way
To that dark land you wot of is the same.
I feel no care; I have no wish. The Greeks
Will never quite forget my Pericles,
And when they think of him will say of me,
'Twas Anaxagoras taught him!"

                            Loath to go,
No kindly office done, yet once again
The reverend fathers pressed him for a wish.
Then laughed the master: "Nay, if still you urge,
And since 'twere churlish to reject good-will,
I pray you, every year, when time brings back
The day on which I left you, let the boys--
All boys and girls in this your happy town--
Be free of task and school for that one day."

He lay back smiling, and the reverend men
Departed, heavy at heart. He spoke no more,
But, haply musing on his truant days,
Passed from us, and was smiling when he died.
  --WILLIAM CANTON, in The Contemporary Review.

The teachings of Anaxagoras were destined to attain to wide-spread power over the Grecian mind. As auguries, omens, and prodigies exercised a great influence on the public affairs of Greece, a philosophical explanation of natural phenomena had a tendency to diminish respect for the popular religion in the eyes of the multitude, and to leave the minds of rulers and statesmen open to the influences of reason, and to the rejection of the follies of superstition. The doctrines taught by Anaxagoras were the commencement of the contest between the old philosophy and the new; and the varying phases of the struggle appear throughout all subsequent Grecian history.


In the fifth century there sprang up in Greece a set of teachers who traveled about from city to city, giving instruction (for money) in philosophy and rhetoric; under which heads were included political and moral education. These men were called "Sophists" (a term early applied to wise men, such as the seven sages), and though they did not form a sect or school, they resembled one another in many respects, exerting an important, and, barring their skeptical tendencies, a healthful influence in the formation of character. Among the most eminent of these teachers were Protag'oras of Abde'ra, Gor'gias of Leontini, and Prod'icus of Ce'os. That great philosopher of a later age, Plato, while condemning the superficiality of their philosophy, characterized these men as important and respectable thinkers; but their successors, by their ignorance, brought reproach upon their calling, and, in the time of Socrates, the Sophists--so-called--had lost their influence and had fallen into contempt. "Before Plato had composed his later Dialogues," says MAHAFFY, "they had become too insignificant to merit refutation; and in the following generation they completely disappear as a class." This author thus proceeds to give the causes of their fall:

"It is, of course, to be attributed not only to the opposition of Socrates at Athens, but to the subdivision of the profession of education. Its most popular and prominent branch--that of Rhetoric--was taken up by special men, like the orator An'tiphon, and developed into a strictly defined science. The Philosophy which they had touched without sounding its depths was taken up by the Socratic schools, and made the rule and practice of a life. The Politics which they had taught were found too general; nor were these wandering men, without fixed home, or familiarity with the intricacies of special constitutions, likely to give practical lessons to Greece citizens in the art of state-craft. Thus they disappear almost as rapidly as they rose--a sudden phase of spiritual awakening in Greece, like the Encyclopædists of the French." [Footnote: "History of Classical Greek literature," vol. ii., p. 63.]


The greatest teacher of this age was Socrates, who was born near Athens in 469 B.C. His father was a sculptor, and the son for some time practiced the same profession at Athens, meanwhile aspiring toward higher things, and pursuing the study of philosophy under Anaxagoras and others. He served his country in the field in the severe struggle between Sparta and Athens, where he was distinguished for his bravery and endurance; and when upward of sixty years of age he was chosen to represent his district in the Senate of Five Hundred. Here, and under the subsequent tyranny, his integrity remained unshaken; and his boldness in denouncing the cruelties of the Thirty Tyrants nearly cost him his life. As a teacher, Socrates assumed the character of a moral philosopher, and he seized every occasion to communicate moral wisdom to his fellow-citizens. Although often classed with the Sophists, and unjustly selected by Aristophanes as their representative, the whole spirit of his teachings was directly opposed to that class. Says MAHAFFY, "The Sophists were brilliant and superficial, he was homely and thorough; they rested in skepticism, he advanced through it to deeper and sounder faith; they were wandering and irresponsible, he was fixed at Athens, and showed forth by his life the doctrines he preached." GROTE, however, while denying that the Sophists were intellectual and moral corrupters, as generally charged, also denies that the reputation of Socrates properly rests upon his having rescued the Athenian mind from their influences. He admires Socrates for "combining with the qualities of a good man a force of character and an originality of speculation as well as of method, and a power of intellectually working on others, generically different from that of any professional teacher, without parallel either among contemporaries or successors." [Footnote: "History of Greece," Chap. lxviii.]

Socrates taught without fee or reward, and communicated his instructions freely to high and low, rich and poor. His chief method of instruction was derived from the style of Zeno, of the Eleatic school, and consisted of attacking the opinions of his opponents and pulling them to pieces by a series of questions and answers. [Footnote: A fine example of the Socratic mode of disputation may be seen In "Alciphron; or, the Minute Philosopher," by George Berkeley, D.D., Bishop of Cloyne, Ireland. It is a defence of the Christian religion, and an exposé of the weakness of infidelity and skepticism, and is considered one of the most ingenious and excellent performances of the kind in the English tongue.] He made this system "the most powerful instrument of philosophic teaching ever known in the history of the human intellect." The philosopher was an enthusiastic lover of Athens, and he looked upon the whole city as his school. There alone he found instruction and occupation, and through its streets he would wander, standing motionless for hours in deep meditation, or charming all classes and ages by his conversation. Alcibiades declared of him that, "as he talks, the hearts of all who hear leap up, and their tears are poured out." The poet THOMSON, musing over the sages of ancient time, thus describes him:

O'er all shone out the great Athenian sage,
And father of Philosophy!
Tutor of Athens! he, in every street,
Dealt priceless treasure; goodness his delight,
Wisdom his wealth, and glory his reward.
Deep through the human heart, with playful art,
His simple question stole, as into truth
And serious deeds he led the laughing race;
Taught moral life; and what he taught he was.

Of the unjust attack made upon Socrates by the poet Aristophanes we have already spoken. That occurred in 423 B.C., and, as a writer has well said, "evaporated with the laugh"--having nothing to do with the sad fate of the guiltless philosopher twenty-four years after. Soon after the restoration of the democracy in Athens (403 B.C.) Socrates was tried for his life on the absurd charges of impiety and of corrupting the morals of the young. His accusers appear to have been instigated by personal resentment, which he had innocently provoked, and by envy of his many virtues; and the result shows not only the instability but the moral obliquity of the Athenian character. He approached his trial with no special preparation for defence, as he had no expectation of an acquittal; but he maintained a calm, brave, and haughty bearing, and addressed the court in a bold and uncompromising tone, demanding rewards instead of punishment. It was the strong religious persuasion (or belief) of Socrates that he was acting under a divine mission. This consciousness had been the controlling principle of his life; and in the following extracts which we have taken from his Apology, or Defence, in which he explains his conduct, we see plain evidences of this striking characteristic of the great philosopher:

The Defence of Socrates.

[Footnote: From the translation by Professor Jowett, of Oxford University.]

"Strange, indeed, would be my conduct, O men of Athens, if now, when, as I conceive and imagine, God orders me to fulfil the philosopher's mission of searching into myself and other men, I were to desert my post through fear of death, or any other fear: that would indeed be strange, and I might justly be arraigned in court for denying the existence of the gods, if I disobeyed the oracle because I was afraid of death: then I should be fancying I was wise when I was not wise. For this fear of death is indeed the pretence of wisdom, and not real wisdom, being the appearance of knowing the unknown; since no one knows whether death, which he in his fear apprehends to be the greatest evil, may not be the greatest good. Is there not here conceit of knowledge which is a disgraceful sort of ignorance? And this is the point in which, as I think, I am superior to men in general, and in which I might, perhaps, fancy myself wiser than other men--that whereas I know but little of the world below, I do not suppose that I know; but I do know that injustice and disobedience to a better, whether God or man, is evil and dishonorable, and I will never fear or avoid a possible good rather than a certain evil. And therefore should you say to me, 'Socrates, this time we will not mind An'ytus, and will let you off, but upon one condition, that you are not to inquire and speculate in this way any more, and that if you are caught doing this again you shall die'--if this were the condition on which you let me go, I should reply, 'Men of Athens, I honor and love you; but I shall obey God rather than you, and while I have life and strength I shall never cease from the practice and teaching of philosophy, and exhorting, after my manner, any one whom I meet.' I do nothing but go about persuading you all, old and young alike, not to take thought for your persons or your properties, but first and chiefly to care about the greatest improvement of the soul. I tell you that virtue is not given by money, but that from virtue come money and every other good of man, public as well as private. This is my teaching; and if this is the doctrine which corrupts the youth, my influence is ruinous indeed. But if anyone says that this is not my teaching, he is speaking an untruth. Wherefore, O men of Athens, I say to you, do as Anytus bids or not as Anytus bids, and either acquit me or not; but whatever you do, know that I shall never alter my ways, not even if I have to die many times."

Socrates next refers to the indignation that he may have occasioned because he has not wept, begged, and entreated for his life, and has not brought forward his children and relatives to plead for him, as others would have done on so serious an occasion. He says that he has relatives, and three children; but he declares that not one of them shall appear in court for any such purpose --not from any insolent disposition on his part, but because he believes that such a course would be degrading to the reputation which he enjoys, as well as a disgrace to the state. He then closes his defence as follows:

"But, setting aside the question of dishonor, there seems to be something wrong in petitioning a judge, and thus procuring an acquittal, instead of informing and convincing him. For his duty is not to make a present of justice, but to give judgment; and he has Sworn that he will adjudge according to the law, and not according to his own good pleasure; and neither he nor we should get into the habit of perjuring ourselves--there can be no piety in that. Do not, then, require me to do what I consider dishonorable, and impious, and wrong, especially now, when I am being tried for impiety. For if, O men of Athens, by force of persuasion and entreaty, I could overpower your oaths, then I should be teaching you to believe that there are no gods, and convict myself, in my own defence, of not believing in them. But that is not the case; for I do believe that there are gods, and in a far higher sense than that in which any of my accusers believe in them. And to you and to God I commit my cause, to be determined by you as is best for you and me."

As he had expected, and as the tenor of his speech had assured his friends would be the case, Socrates was found guilty--but by a majority of only five or six in a body of over five hundred. He would make no proposition, as was his right, for a mitigation of punishment; and after sentence of death had been passed upon him he spent the remaining thirty days of his life in impressing on the minds of his friends the most sublime lessons in philosophy and virtue. Many of these lessons have been preserved to us in the works of Plato, in whose Phoe'do, which pictures the last hours of the prison life of Socrates, we find a sublime conversation on the immortality of the soul. The following is an extract from this work:

Socrates' Views of a Future State.

"When the dead arrive at the place to which their demon leads them severally, first of all they are judged, as well those who have lived well and piously as those who have not. And those who appear to have passed a middle kind of life, proceeding to Ach'eron, and embarking in the vessels they have, on these arrive at the lake, and there dwell; and when they are purified, and have suffered punishment for the iniquities they may have committed, they are set free, and each receives the reward of his good deeds according to his deserts; but those who appear to be incurable, through the magnitude of their offences, either from having committed many and great sacrileges, or many unjust and lawless murders, or other similar crimes, these a suitable destiny hurls into Tartarus, whence they never come forth. But those who appear to have been guilty of curable yet great offences, such as those who through anger have committed any violence against father or mother, and have lived the remainder of their life in a state of penitence, or they who have become homicides in a similar manner--these must, of necessity, fall into Tartarus; but after they have fallen, and have been there a year, the wave casts them forth, the homicide into Cocy'tus, [Footnote: Co-cy'tus] but the parricides and matricides into Pyriphleg'ethon; [Footnote: Pyr-i-phlege-thon, "fire-blazing;" one of the rivers of hell] but when, being borne along, they arrive at the Acheru'sian lake, [Footnote: Ach'e-ron. Cocytus signifies the river of wailing; Pyriphlegethon, the river that burns with fire; Acheron, the river of woe; and the Styx, another river of the lower world, the river of hatred. Thus Homer, in describing "Pluto's murky abode," says:

There, into Acheron runs not alone
Dread Pyriphlegethon, but Cocytus loud,
From Styx derived; there also stands a rock,
At whose broad base the roaring rivers meet.
Odyssey. B. X.

there they cry out to and invoke, some, those whom they slew, others, those whom they injured; and, invoking them, they entreat and implore them to suffer them to go out into the lake and to receive them; and if they persuade them, they go out, and are freed from their sufferings; but if not, they are borne back to Tartarus, and thence again to the rivers, and they do not cease from suffering this until they have persuaded those whom they have injured--for this sentence was imposed on them by the judges. But those who are found to have lived an eminently holy life--these are they who, being freed and set at large from these regions in the earth as from a prison--arrive at the pure abode above, and dwell on the upper parts of the earth. And among these, those who have sufficiently purified themselves by philosophy shall live without bodies throughout all future time, and shall arrive at habitations yet more beautiful than these, which it is neither easy to describe, nor at present is there sufficient time for the purpose.

"For the sake of these things which we have described we should use every endeavor to acquire virtue and wisdom in this life, for the reward is noble and the hope great. To affirm positively, however, that these things are exactly as I have described them, does not become a man of sense; but that either this, or something of the kind, takes place with respect to our souls and their habitations--since our soul is certainly immortal--appears to me most fitting to be believed, and worthy the hazard for one who trusts in its reality; for the hazard is noble, and it is right to allure ourselves with such things, as with enchantments; for which reason I have prolonged my story to such length. On account of these things, then, a man ought to be confident about his soul, who during this life has disregarded all the pleasures and ornaments of the body as foreign from his nature, and who, having thought that they do more harm than good, has zealously applied himself to the acquirement of knowledge, and who, having adorned his soul not with a foreign but with its own proper ornaments--temperance, justice, fortitude, freedom, and truth-- thus waits for his passage to Hades as one who is ready to depart whenever destiny shall summon him."

After some farther conversation with his friends respecting the disposition to be made of his body, and having said farewell to his family, Socrates drank the fatal hemlock with as much composure as if it had been the last draught at a cheerful banquet, and quietly laid himself down and died. "Thus perished," says DR. SMITH, "the greatest and most original of Grecian philosophers, whose uninspired wisdom made the nearest approach to the divine morality of the Gospel." As observed by PROFESSOR TYLER of Amherst College, "The consciousness of a divine mission was the leading trait in his character and the main secret of his power. This directed his conversations, shaped his philosophy, imbued his very person, and controlled his life. This was the power that sustained him in view of approaching death, inspired him with more that human fortitude in his last days, and invested his dying words with a moral grandeur that 'has less of earth in it than heaven.'" [Footnote: Preface to "Plato's Apology and Crito."] There was a more special and personal influence, however, to which Socrates deemed himself subject through life, and which probably moved him to view death with such calmness.

With all his practical wisdom, the great philosopher was not free from the control of superstitious fancies. He not only always gave careful heed to divinations, dreams, and oracular intimations, but he believed that he was warned and restrained, from childhood, by a familiar spirit, or demon, which he was accustomed to speak of familiarly and to obey implicitly. A writer, in alluding to this subject, says: "There is no more curious chapter in Grecian biography than the story of Socrates and his familiar demon, which, sometimes unseen, and at other times, as he asserted, assuming human shape, acted as his mentor; which preserved his life after the disastrous battle of De'lium, by pointing out to him the only secure line of retreat, while the lives of his friends, who disregarded his entreaties to accompany him, were sacrificed; and which, again, when the crisis of his fate approached, twice dissuaded him from defending himself before his accusers, and in the end encouraged him to quaff the poisoned cup presented to his lips by an ungrateful people."


Having briefly traced the history of Grecian literature in its best period, it remains to notice some of the monuments of art, "with which," as ALISON says, "the Athenians have overspread the world, and which still form the standard of taste in every civilized nation on earth."


Grecian sculpture, as we have seen, had attained nearly the summit of its perfection at the commencement of the Persian wars. Among those who now gave to it a wider range may be mentioned Pythagoras, of Rhegium, and Myron, a native of Eleu'theræ. The former executed works in bronze representing contests of heroes and athletes; but he was excelled in this field by Myron, who was also distinguished for his representations of animals. The energies of sculpture, however, were to be still more directly concentrated and perfected in a new school. That school was at Athens, and its master was Phid'ias, an Athenian painter, sculptor, and architect, who flourished about 460 B.C. "At this point," observes LÜBKE, [Footnote: "Outlines of the History of Art," by Wilhelm Lübke; Clarence Cook's edition.] "begins the period of that wonderful elevation of Hellenic life which was ushered in by the glorious victory over the Persians. Now, for the first time, the national Hellenic mind rose to the highest consciousness of noble independence and dignity. Athens concentrated within herself, as in a focus, the whole exuberance and many-sidedness of Greek life, and glorified it into beautiful unity. Now, for the first time, the deepest thoughts of the Hellenic mind were embodied in sculpture, and the figures of the gods rose to that solemn sublimity in which art embodied the idea of divinity in purely human form. This victory of the new time over the old was effected by the power of Phidias, one of the most wonderful artist-minds of all time."

Phidias was intrusted by Pericles with the superintendence of the public works erected or adorned by that lavish ruler, and his own hands added to them their most valuable ornaments. But before he was called to this employment his statues had adorned the most celebrated temples of Greece. "These inimitable works," says GILLIES, [Footnote: Gillies's "History of Ancient Greece," p. 178.] "silenced the voice of envy; and the most distinguished artists of Greece--sculptors, painters, and architects--were ambitious to receive the directions, and to second the labors of Phidias, which were uninterruptedly employed, during fifteen years, in the embellishment of his native city." The chief characteristic of Phidias was ideal beauty of the sublimest order in the representation of divinities and their worship; and he substituted ivory for marble in those parts of statues that were uncovered, such as the face, hands, and feet, while for the covered portion he substituted solid gold in place of wood concealed with real drapery. The style and character of his work are well described by LÜBKE, as follows:

"That Phidias especially excelled in creating images of the gods, and that he preferred, as subjects for his art, those among the divinities the essence of whose nature was spiritual majesty, marks the fundamental characteristic of his art, and explains its superiority, not only to all that had been produced before his time, but to all that was contemporary with him, and to all that came after him. Possessed of that unsurpassable masterly power in the representation of the physical form to which Greek art, shortly before his time, had attained by unceasing endeavor, his lofty genius was called upon to apply these results to the embodiment of the highest ideas, and thus to invest art with the character of sublimity, as well as with the attributes of perfect beauty. Hence it is said of him, that he alone had seen images of the gods, and he alone had made them visible to others. Even in the story that, in emulation with other masters, he made an Amazon, and was defeated in the contest by his great contemporary Polycle'tus, we see a confirmation of the ideal tendency of his art. But that his works realized the highest conceptions of the people, and embodied the ideal of the Hellenic conception of the divinity, is proved by the universal admiration of the ancient world. This sublimity of conception was combined in him with an inexhaustible exuberance of creative fancy, an incomparable care in the completion of his work, and a masterly power in overcoming every difficulty, both in the technical execution and in the material."

Probably the first important work executed by Phidias at Athens was the colossal bronze image of Minerva, which stood on the Acropolis. It was nearly seventy feet in height, and was visible twenty miles out at sea. It was erected by the Athenians, in memory of their victory over the Persians, with the spoils of Marathon. A smaller bronze statue, on the same model, was also erected on the Acropolis. But the greatest of the works of Phidias at Athens was the ivory and gold statue of Minerva in the Parthenon, erected with the booty taken at Salamis. It was forty feet high, representing the goddess, "not with her shield raised as the vigorous champion of her people, but as a peaceful, protecting, and victory-giving divinity." Phidias was now called to Elis, and there he executed his crowning work, the gold and ivory statue of Jupiter at Olympia. "The father of the gods and of men was seated on a splendid throne in the cella of his Olympic temple, his head encircled with a golden olive-wreath; in his right hand he held Nikè, who bore a fillet of victory in her hands and a golden wreath on her head; in his left hand rested the richly-decorated sceptre." The throne was adorned with gold and precious stones, and on it were represented many celebrated scenes. "From this immeasurable exuberance of figures," says LÜBKE, "rose the form of the highest Hellenic divinity, grand and solemn and wonderful in majesty. Phidias had represented him as the kindly father of gods and men, and also as the mighty ruler in Olympus. As he conceived his subject he must have had in his mind those lines of Homer, in which Jupiter graciously grants the request of Thetis:

'As thus he spake, the son of Saturn gave
The nod with his dark brows. The ambrosial curls
Upon the sovereign one's immortal head
Were shaken, and with them the mighty Mount
Olympus trembled.'" [Footnote: Iliad, I., 528-580.
Bryant's translation.

While the art of painting was early developed in Greece, certainly as far back as 718 B.C., the first painter of renown was Polygno'tus, of Tha'sos, who went to Athens about 463 B.C., and established there what was called "the Athenian school" of painting. Aristotle called him "the painter of character," as he was the first to give variety to the expression of the countenance, and ease and grace to the outlines of figures or the flow of drapery. He painted many battle scenes, and with his contemporaries, Diony'sius of Col'oplon, Mi'con, and others, he embellished many of the public buildings in Athens, and notably the Temple of Theseus, with representations of figures similar to those of the sculptor. About 404 B.C. painting reached a farther degree of excellence in the hands of Apollodo'rus, a native of Athens, who developed the principles of light and shade and gave to the art a more dramatic range. Of this school Zeux'is, Parrha'sius, and Timan'thes became the chief masters.


Of the artists of this period it has been asserted by some authorities that Parrhasius was the most celebrated, as he is said to have "raised the art of painting to perfection in all that is exalted and essential;" uniting in his works "the classic invention of Polygnotus, the magic tone of Apollodorus, and the exquisite design of Zeuxis." He was a native of Ephesus, but became a citizen of Athens, where he won many victories over his contemporaries. One of these is recorded by Pliny as having been achieved in a public contest with Zeuxis. The latter displayed a painting of some grapes, which were so natural as to deceive the birds, that came and pecked at them. Zeuxis then requested that the curtain which was supposed to screen the picture of Parrhasius be withdrawn, when it was found that the painting of Parrhasius was merely the representation of a curtain thrown over a picture-frame. The award of merit was therefore given to Parrhasius, on the ground that while Zeuxis had deceived the birds, Parrhasius had deceived Zeuxis himself.

The Roman philosopher Seneca also tells a story of Parrhasius as follows: While engaged in making a painting of "Prometheus Bound," he took an old Olynthian captive and put him to the torture, that he might catch, and transfer to canvas, the natural expression of the most terrible of mortal sufferings. This story, we may hope, is a fiction; but the incident is often alluded to by the poets, and the American poet WILLIS has painted the alleged scene in lines scarcely less terrible in their coloring than those pallid hues of death-like agony which we may suppose the painter-artist to have employed.

Parrhasius and his Captive.

Parrhasius stood gazing forgetfully
Upon his canvas. There Prometheus lay,
Chained to the cold rocks of Mount Cau'casus--
The vulture at his vitals, and the links
Of the lame Lemnian festering in his flesh;
[Footnote: Vulcan; the Olympian artist, who,
when hurled from heaven, fell upon the Island
of Lemnos, in the Ægean. He forged the chain
with which Prometheus was bound.
And, as the painter's mind felt through the dim,
Rapt mystery, and plucked the shadows forth
With its far-reaching fancy, and with form
And color clad them, his fine, earnest eye
Flashed with a passionate fire; and the quick curl
Of his thin nostril, and his quivering lip,
Were like the wing'd god's, breathing from his flight.
[Footnote: The winged god Mercury.]

      "Bring me the captive now!
My bands feel skilful, and the shadows lift
From my waked spirit airily and swift,
      And I could paint the bow.
Upon the bended heavens, around me play
Colors of such divinity to-day.

      "Ha! bind him on his back!
Look! as Prometheus in my picture here!
Quick, or he faints! stand with the cordial near!
      Now--bend him to the rack!
Press down the poisoned links into his flesh,
And tear agape that healing wound afresh!

      "So, let him writhe! How long
Will he live thus? Quick, my good pencil, now!
What a fine agony works upon his brow!
      Ha! gray-haired, and so strong!
How fearfully he stifles that short moan!
Gods! if I could but paint a dying groan!

      "'Pity' thee! So I do.
I pity the dumb victim at the altar;
But does the robed priest for his pity falter?
      I'd rack thee though I knew
A thousand lives were perishing in thine!
What were ten thousand to a fame like mine?

      "Yet there's a deathless name!
A spirit that the smothering vault shall spurn,
And like a steadfast planet mount and burn;
      And, though its crown of flame
Consumed my brain to ashes as it shone,
By all the fiery stars I'd bind it on!

      "Ay, though it bid me rifle
My heart's last fount for its insatiate thirst;
Though every life-strung nerve be maddened first;
      Though it should bid me stifle
The yearning in my throat for my sweet child,
And taunt its mother till my brain went wild--

      "All--I would do it all
Sooner than die, like a dull worm, to rot--
Thrust foully into earth to be forgot!
      O heavens! but I appall
Your heart, old man! Forgive--ha! on your lives
Let him not faint!--rack him till he revives!

      "Vain--vain--give o'er. His eye
Glazes apace. He does not feel you now;
Stand back! I'll paint the death-dew on his brow.
      Gods I if he do not die
But for one moment--one--till I eclipse
Conception with the scorn of those calm lips!

      "Shivering! Hark! he mutters
Brokenly now: that was a difficult breath--
Another? Wilt thou never come, O Death?
      Look how his temple flutters!
Is his heart still? Aha! lift up his head!
He shudders--gasps--Jove help him! So--he's dead!"

       *       *       *       *       *

How like a mounting devil in the heart
Rules the unreined ambition! Let it once
But play the monarch, and its haughty brow
Glows with a beauty that bewilders thought,
And unthrones peace forever. Putting on
The very pomp of Lucifer, it turns
The heart to ashes, and with not a spring
Left in the bosom for the spirit's lip,
We look upon our splendor and forget
The thirst of which we perish!


In Architecture, too, thy rank supreme!
That art where most magnificent appears
The little builder, man; by thee refined,
And smiling high, to full perfection brought.

We have already referred, in general terms, to the monuments of art for which the era of Athenian greatness was distinguished, and have stated that it was more particularly in the "Age of Pericles" that Athenian genius and enthusiasm found their full development, in the erection or adornment of those miracles of architecture that crowned the Athenian Acropolis or surrounded its base. The following eloquent description, from the pen of BULWER, will convey a vivid idea of the magnitude and the brilliancy of the labors performed for

The Adornment of Athens.

"Then rapidly progressed those glorious fabrics which seemed, as Plutarch gracefully express it, endowed with the bloom of a perennial youth. Still the houses of private citizens remained simple and unadorned; still were the streets narrow and irregular; and, even centuries afterward, a stranger entering Athens would not at first have recognized the claims of the mistress of Grecian art. But to the homeliness of her common thoroughfares and private mansions the magnificence of her public edifices now made a dazzling contrast. The Acropolis, that towered above the homes and thoroughfares of men--a spot too sacred for human habitation-- became, to use a proverbial phrase, 'a city of the gods.' The citizen was everywhere to be reminded of the majesty of the state --his patriotism was to be increased by the pride in her beauty-- his taste to be elevated by the spectacle of her splendor.

"Thus flocked to Athens all who throughout Greece were eminent in art. Sculptors and architects vied with one another in adorning the young empress of the seas: then rose the masterpieces of Phidias, of Callic'rates, of Mnesicles, which, either in their broken remains, or in the feeble copies of imitators less inspired, still command so intense a wonder, and furnish models so immortal. And if, so to speak, their bones and relics excite our awe and envy, as testifying of a lovelier and grander race, which the deluge of time has swept away, what, in that day, must have been their brilliant effect, unmutilated in their fair proportions-- fresh in all their lineaments and hues? For their beauty was not limited to the symmetry of arch and column, nor their materials confined to the marbles of Pentel'icus and Pa'ros. Even the exterior of the temples glowed with the richest harmony of colors, and was decorated with the purest gold: an atmosphere peculiarly favorable to the display and the preservation of art, permitted to external pediments and friezes all the minuteness of ornament --the brilliancy of colors, such as in the interior of Italian churches may yet be seen--vitiated, in the last, by a gaudy and barbarous taste. Nor did the Athenians spare any cost upon the works that were, like the tombs and tripods of their heroes, to be the monuments of a nation to distant ages, and to transmit the most irrefragable proof 'that the power of ancient Greece was not an idle legend.'" [Footnote: "Athens: Its Rise and Fall," pp. 256, 257.]


The Acropolis, the fortress of Athens, was the center of its architectural splendor. It is a rocky height rising abruptly out of the Attic plain, and was accessible only on the western side, where stood the Propylæ'a, a magnificent structure of the Doric order, constructed under the direction of Pericles by the architect Mnesicles, and which served as the gate as well as the defence of the Acropolis. But the latter's chief glory was the Parthenon, or Temple of Minerva, built in the time of Pericles by Icti'nus and Callic'rates, and which stood on the highest point, near the center. It was constructed entirely of the most beautiful white marble from Mount Pentelicus, and its dimensions were two hundred and twenty-eight feet by one hundred and two --having eight Doric columns in each of the two fronts, and seventeen in each of the sides, and also an interior range of six columns in each end. The ceiling of the western part of the main building was supported by four interior columns, and of the eastern end by sixteen. The entire height of the building above its platform was sixty-five feet. The whole was enriched within and without with matchless works of art by various artists under the direction of Phidias--its chief wonder, however, being the gold and ivory statue of the Virgin Goddess, the work of Phidias himself, elsewhere described.

This magnificent structure remained entire until the year 1687, when, during a siege of Athens by the Venetians, a bomb fell on the devoted Parthenon, and, setting fire to the powder that the Turks had stored there, entirely destroyed the roof and reduced the whole building almost to ruins. The eight columns of the eastern front, however, and several of the lateral colonnades, are still standing; and the whole, dilapidated as it is, retains an air of inexpressible grandeur and sublimity.

The Parthenon.

Fair Parthenon! yet still must fancy weep
  For thee, thou work of nobler spirits flown.
Bright as of old the sunbeams o'er thee sleep
  In all their beauty still--and thine is gone!
Empires have sunk since thou wast first revered,
  And varying rites have sanctified thy shrine.
The dust is round thee of the race that reared
  Thy walls, and thou--their fate must still be thine!
But when shall earth again exult to see
Visions divine like theirs renewed in aught like thee?

Lone are thy pillars now--each passing gale
  Sighs o'er them as a spirit's voice, which moaned
That loneliness, and told the plaintive tale
  Of the bright synod once above them throned.
Mourn, graceful ruin! on thy sacred hill
  Thy gods, thy rites, a kindred fate have shared:
Yet art thou honored in each fragment still
  That wasting years and barbarous hands have spared;
Each hallowed stone, from rapine's fury borne,
Shall wake bright dreams of thee in ages yet unborn.

Yes; in those fragments, though by time defaced,
  And rude, insensate conquerors, yet remains
All that may charm th' enlightened eye of taste,
  On shores where still inspiring freedom reigns.
As vital fragrance breathes from every part
  Of the crushed myrtle, or the bruised rose,
E'en thus th' essential energy of art
  There in each wreck imperishably glows!
The soul of Athens lives in every line,
Pervading brightly still the ruins of her shrine.

North of the Parthenon stood the Erechthe'um, an irregular but beautiful structure of the Ionic order, dedicated to the worship of Neptune and Minerva. Considerable remains of it are still standing. In addition to the great edifices of the Acropolis referred to, which were adorned with the most finished paintings and sculptures, the entire platform of the hill appears to have been covered with a vast composition of architecture and sculpture, consisting of temples, monuments, and statues of gods and heroes. The whole Acropolis was at once the fortress, the sacred enclosure, and the treasury of the Athenian people--forming the noblest museum of sculpture, the richest gallery of painting, and the best school of architecture in the world.


Beneath the southern wall of the Acropolis was the Theatre of Bacchus, capable of seating thirty thousand persons, and the seats of which, rising one above another, were cut out of the sloping rock. Adjoining this on the east was the Ode'um, a smaller covered theatre, built by Pericles, and so constructed as to imitate the form of Xerxes's tent. On the north-east side was the Prytane'um, where were many statues, and where citizens who had rendered service to the state were maintained at the public expense. A short distance to the north-west of the Acropolis, and separated from it only by some hollow ground, was the small eminence called Areop'agus, or Hill of Mars, at the eastern extremity of which was situated the celebrated court of Areopagus. About a quarter of a mile south-west stood the Pnyx, the place where the public assemblies of Athens were held in its palmy days, and a spot that will ever be associated with the renown of Demosthenes and other famed orators. The steps by which the speaker mounted the rostrum, and a tier of three seats for the audience, hewn in the solid rock, are still visible.

The only other monument of art to which we shall refer in this connection is the celebrated Temple of Theseus, built of marble by Cimon as a resting-place for the bones of the distinguished hero. [Footnote: Cimon conquered the island of Scy'ros, the haunt of pirates, and brought thence to Athens what were supposed to be the bones of Theseus.] It is of the Doric order, one hundred and four feet by forty-five, and surrounded by columns, of which there are six at each front and thirteen at the sides. The roof, friezes, and cornices of this temple have been but little impaired by time, and the whole is one of the most noble remains of the ancient magnificence of Athens, and the most nearly perfect, if not the most beautiful, existing specimen of Grecian architecture.

The Temple of Theseus.

Here let us pause, e'en at the vestibule
Of Theseus' fame. With what stern majesty
It rears its ponderous and eternal strength,
Still perfect, still unchanged, as on the day
When the assembled throng of multitudes
With shouts proclaimed the accomplished work, and fell
Prostrate upon their faces to adore
Its marble splendor!

                       How the golden gleam
Of noonday floats upon its graceful form,
Tinging each grooved shaft, and storied frieze,
And Doric triglyph! How the rays amid
The opening columns, glanced from point to point,
Stream down the gloom of the long portico!

       *       *       *       *       *
                       How the long pediment,
Embrowned with shadows, frowns above, and spreads
Solemnity and reverential awe!

  Proud monument of old magnificence!
Still thou survivest; nor has envious Time
Impaired thy beauty, save that it has spread
A deeper tint, and dimmed the polished glare
Of thy refulgent whiteness.

So much for some of the architectural wonders of Athens. As BULWER says, "It was the great characteristic of these works that they were entirely the creation of the people. Without the people Pericles could not have built a temple nor engaged a sculptor. The miracles of that day resulted from the enthusiasm of a population yet young--full of the first ardor for the beautiful-- dedicating to the state, as to a mistress, the trophies honorably won, or the treasures injuriously extorted, and uniting the resources of a nation with the energy of an individual, because the toil, the cost, were borne by those who succeeded to the enjoyment and arrogated the glory." TALFOURD, in his Athenian Captive, calls all that went to make up Athens in the days of her glory

             An opening world,
Diviner than the soul of man hath yet
Been gifted to imagine--truths serene
Made visible in beauty, that shall glow
In everlasting freshness, unapproached
By mortal passion, pure amid the blood
And dust of conquests, never waxing old,
But on the stream of time, from age to age,
Casting bright images of heavenly youth
To make the world less mournful.




The aid given by Cyrus the Persian to Sparta in her contest with Athens, as related in a preceding chapter, was bestowed with the understanding that Sparta should give him her assistance against his elder brother, Artaxerxes Mne'mon, should he ever require it. Accordingly, when the latter succeeded to the Persian throne, on the death of his father, Cyrus, still governor of the maritime region of Asia Minor, prepared to usurp his brother's regal power. For this purpose he raised an army of one hundred thousand Persians, which he strengthened with an auxiliary force of thirteen thousand Greeks, drawn principally from the cities of Asia under the dominion of Sparta. On the Grecian force, commanded by Cle-ar'chus, a Spartan, Cyrus placed his main reliance for success.

With these forces Cyrus marched from Sardis, in the spring of 401, to within seventy miles of Babylon without the least opposition. Here, however, he was met by Artaxerxes, it the head of nine hundred thousand men. This immense force was at first driven back; but in the conflict that ensued Cyrus rashly charged the guards that surrounded his brother, and was slain. His Persian troops immediately fled, leaving the Greeks almost alone, in the presence of an immense hostile force, and more than a thousand miles from any friendly territory. The victorious enemy proposed to the Grecians terms of accommodation, but, having invited Clearchus and other leaders to a conference, they treacherously put them to death. No alternative now remained to the Greeks but to submit to the Persians or fight their way back to their own land. They bravely chose the latter course--and, selecting Xenophon, a young Athenian, for their leader, after a four months' march, attended with great suffering and almost constant battling with brave and warlike tribes, ten thousand of their number succeeded in reaching the Grecian settlements on the Black Sea. Proclaiming their joy by loud shouts of "The sea! the sea!" The Greek heroes gave vent to their exultation in tears and mutual embraces.

Hence, through the continent, ten thousand Greeks
Urged a retreat, whose glory not the prime
Of victories can reach. Deserts in vain
Opposed their course; and hostile lands, unknown;
And deep, rapacious floods, dire banked with death;
And mountains, in whose jaws destruction grinned;
Hunger and toil; Armenian snows and storms;
And circling myriads still of barbarous foes.
Greece in their view, and glory yet untouched,
Their steady column pierced the scattering herds
Which a whole empire poured; and held its way
Triumphant, by the sage, exalted chief
Fired and sustained.

                      O light, and force of mind,
Almost mighty in severe extremes!
The sea at last from Colchian mountains seen,
Kind-hearted transport round their captains threw
The soldiers' fond embrace; o'erflowed their eyes
With tender floods, and loosed the general voice
To cries resounding loud--"The sea! the sea!"

Xenophon, who afterward became an historian of his country, has left an admirable narrative of this expedition, and "The Retreat of the Ten Thousand," in his Anab'asis, written with great clearness and singular modesty. Referring to the expedition, and to the historian's account of it, DR. CURTIUS makes the following interesting observations:

"Although this military expedition possesses no immediate significance for political history, yet it is of high importance, not only for our knowledge of the East, but also for that of the Greek character; and the accurate description which we owe to Xenophon is, therefore, one of the most valuable documents of antiquity. We see a band of Greeks of the most various origin, torn out of all their ordinary spheres of life, in a strange quarter of the globe, in a long complication of incessant movements, and of situations ever-varying and full of peril, in which the real nature of these men could not but display itself with the most perfect truthfulness. This army is a typical chart, in many colors, of the Greek population--a picture, on a small scale, of the whole people, with all its virtues and faults, its qualities of strength and of weakness--a wandering political community, which, according to home usage, holds its assemblies and passes its resolutions, and at the same time a wild and not easily manageable band of free-lances. They are men in full measure agitated by the unquiet spirit of the times, which had destroyed in them their affection for their native land; and yet how closely they cling to its most ancient traditions! Visions in dream and omens, sent by the gods, decide the most important resolutions, just as in the Homeric camp before Troy: most assiduously the sacrifices are lit, the pæans sung, altars erected, and games celebrated, in honor of the savior gods, when at last the aspect of the longed-for sea animates afresh their vigor and their courage.

"This multitude has been brought together by love of lucre and quest of adventure; and yet in the critical moment there manifest themselves a lively sense of honor and duty, a lofty heroic spirit, and a sure tact in perceiving what counsels are the best. Here, too, is visible the mutual jealousy existing among the several tribes of the nation; but the feeling of their belonging together, the consciousness of national unity, prevail over all; and the great mass is capable of sufficient good-sense and self-denial to subordinate itself to those who, by experience, intelligence, and moral courage, attest themselves as fitted for command. And how very remarkable it is that in this mixed multitude of Greeks it is an Athenian who by his qualities towers above all the rest, and becomes the real preserver of the entire army! Xenophon had only accompanied the army as a volunteer; yet it was he who, obeying an inner call, re-awakened a higher, a Hellenic consciousness, courage, and prudence among his comrades, and who brought about the first salutary resolutions. Possessing the Athenian superiority of culture which enabled him to serve these warriors as spokesman, negotiator, and general, to him it was essentially due that, in spite of unspeakable trials, they finally reached the coast." [Footnote: "History of Greece," vol. iv., pp. 191, 192.]


On the fall of Athens, Sparta became the mistress of Greece. Her power and his own wealth induced Lysander to appear again in public life. He first attempted to overthrow the two regal families of Sparta, and, by making the crown an elective office, secure his own accession to it. But he failed in this, although, on the death of A'gis, King of Sparta, he succeeded in setting aside Leo-tych'i-des, the son and rightful successor of Agis, and giving the office to Agesila'us, the late king's brother. The government of Sparta now became far more oppressive than that of Athens had been, and it was not long before some of the Grecian states under her sway united in a league against her.

The part which the Greek cities of Asia took in the expedition of Cyrus involved them in a war with Persia, in which they were aided by the Spartans. Agesila'us entered Asia with a considerable force (396 B.C.), and in the following year he defeated the Persians in a great battle on the plains of Sardis, in Lydia. But in 394 the Spartan king was called home to avert the dangers which threatened his country in a war that had been fomented by the Persian king in order to save his dominions from the ravages of the Spartans. The King of Persia had supplied Athens with a fleet which defeated the Spartan navy at Cni'dus, and Persian gold rebuilt the walls of Athens. A battle soon followed between the Spartans on one side and the Thebans and Athenians on the other, in which the former were defeated and Lysander was slain. On the other hand, Athens and her allies were defeated, in the same year, in the vicinity of Corinth, and on the plains of Corone'a. Finally, after the war had continued eight years, and Sparta had virtually lost her maritime power, the peace of Antal'cidas, as it is called, was concluded with Persia, at the instance of Sparta, and was ratified by all the states engaged in the contest (387 B.C.).

By the treaty with Persia, Athens regained three of the islands she had been obliged to relinquish to Sparta under Lysander; but the Greek cities in Asia were given up to Persia, and both Athens and Sparta lost their former allies. It was the unworthy jealousy of the Grecians, which the Persian king knew how to stimulate, that prompted them to give up to a barbarian the free cities of Asia; and this is the darkest shade in the picture. Though Sparta was the most strongly in favor of the terms of the treaty, yet Athens was the greatest gainer, for she once more became an independent and powerful state.

It was not long before ambition, and the resentment of past injuries, involved Sparta in new wars. When her thirty years' truce with Mantine'a had expired, she compelled that city, which had formerly been an unwilling ally, to throw down her walls, and dismember her territory into the four or five villages out of which it had been formed. Each of these divisions was now left unfortified, and placed under a separate oligarchical government. Sparta did this under the pretext that the Mantine'ans had supplied one of her enemies with provisions during the preceding war, and had evaded their share of service in the Spartan army. The jealousy of Sparta was next aroused against the rising power of Olynthus, a powerful confederacy in the south-eastern part of Macedonia, which had become engaged in hostilities with some rival cities; and the Spartans readily accepted an invitation of one of the latter to send an army to its aid.

The expedition against Olynthus led to an affair of much importance. As one of the divisions of the Spartan army was marching through the Theban territories it turned aside, and the Spartan general treacherously seized upon the Cadme'a, or Theban citadel, although a state of peace existed between Thebes and Sparta (382 B.C.). The political morality of Sparta is clearly exhibited in the arguments by which the Spartan king justified this palpable and treacherous breach of the treaty of Antal'cidas. He declared that the only question for the Spartan people to consider was, whether they were gainers or losers by the transaction. The assertion made by the Athenians on a prior occasion was confirmed--that, "of all states, Sparta had most glaringly shown by her conduct that in her political transactions she measured honor by inclination, and justice by expediency."

On the seizure of the Theban citadel the most patriotic of the citizens fled to Athens, while a faction upheld by a Spartan garrison ruled the place. Thebes now became a member of the Spartan alliance, and furnished a force for the war against Olynthus. After a struggle of four years Olynthus capitulated, the Olynthian Confederacy was thereby dissolved, and the cities belonging to it were compelled to join the Spartan alliance. As a modern historian observes, "Sparta thus inflicted a great blow upon Hellas; for the Olynthian Confederacy might have served as a counterpoise to the growing power of Macedon, destined soon to overwhelm the rest of Greece." The power of Sparta had now attained its greatest height, but, as she was leagued on all sides with the enemies of Grecian freedom, her unpopularity was great, and her supremacy was doomed to a rapid decline.


Thebes had been nearly four years in the hands of the Spartans when a few determined residents of the city rose against their tyrants, and, aided by the exiles who had taken refuge at Athens, and by some Athenian volunteers, they compelled the Spartan garrison to capitulate (379 B.C.). At the head of the revolution were two Theban citizens, Pelop'idas and Epaminon'das, young men of noble birth and fortune, already distinguished for their patriotism and private virtues. They are characterized by the poet THOMSON, as

Equal to the best; the Theban Pair
Whose virtues, in heroic concord joined,
Their country raised to freedom, empire, fame.

By their abilities they raised Thebes, hitherto of but little political importance, to the first rank in power among the Grecian states. They have been thus described by the historian CURTIUS: "Pelopidas was the heroic champion and pioneer who, like Miltiades and Cimon, with full energy accomplished the tasks immediately at hand; while Epaminondas was a statesman whose glance took a wider range, who organized the state at home, and established its foreign relations upon a thoroughly thought-out plan. He created the bases of the power of Thebes, as Themistocles and Aristides had those of the power of Athens; and he maintained them, so long as he lived, by the vigor of his mind, like another Pericles. And, indeed, it would be difficult to find in the entire course of Greek history any other two great statesmen who, in spite of differences of character and of outward conditions of life, resembled each other so greatly, and were, as men, so truly the peers of each other, as Pericles and Epaminondas."

The successes of Thebes revived the jealousy and distrust of Athens, which concluded a peace with Sparta, and subsequently formed an alliance with her. But the Thebans continued to be successful, and at Teg'yra Pelopidas defeated a greatly superior force and killed the two Spartan generals; while at Leuc'tra Epaminondas, with a force of six thousand Thebans, defeated the Lacedæmonian army of more than double that number (371 B.C.). Leuctra has been called "the Marathon of the Thebans," as their defensive war was turned by it into a war of conquest. Aided now by the Arca'dians, Ar'gives, and E'leans, Epaminondas invaded Laconia, appearing before the gates of Sparta, where a hostile force had not been seen in five hundred years; but he made no attempt upon the city, and, after laying waste with fire and sword the valley of the Euro'tas, he retraced his steps to the frontiers of Arcadia. Another expedition was undertaken against the Peloponnesus in 367 B.C., and the cities of Achaia immediately submitted, becoming the allies of Thebes. In 362 the Peloponnesus was invaded for the last time, and at Mantinea Epaminondas defeated the Spartans in the most sanguinary contest ever fought among Grecians; but he fell in the moment of victory, and the glory of Thebes departed with him. Before his death, having been told that those whom he intended to be his successors in command had been slain, he directed the Thebans to make peace. His advice was followed, and a general peace was soon after established, on the condition that each state should retain its respective possessions.



Before proceeding to the history of the downfall of Greece, and her subjugation by a foreign power--a result that soon followed the events just narrated--we turn aside to notice the affairs of the Sicilian Greeks, as more especially presented in the history of Syracuse, in all respects the strongest and most prominent of the Sicilian cities.


On the death of Ge'lon, despot of Syracuse, a year after the battle of Him'era, the government fell into the hands of his brother Hi'ero, a man of great energy and determination. He founded the city of Ætna, of which PINDAR says:

That city, founded strong
In liberty divine,
Measured by the Spartan line,
Has Hiero 'stablish'd for his heritage;
To whose firm-planted colony belong
Their mother-country's laws,
From many a distant age.

He also added many cities to his government, and his power was not inferior to that of Gelon. The city of Cu'mæ, on the Italian coast, being harassed by the Carthaginians, the aid of Hiero was solicited by its citizens, and he sent a fleet which severely defeated and almost destroyed the squadron of their enemies. Says PINDAR of this event:

That leader of the Syracusan host,
With gallies swiftly-rushing, them pursued;
And they his onset rued,
When on the Cuman coast
He dashed their youth in gulfy waves below,
And rescued Greece from heavy servitude.

Hiero was likewise a liberal patron of literature and the arts, inviting to his court many of the eminent poets and philosophers of his time, including Pindar, Simon'ides, Epichar'mus, Æs'chylus, and others; but his many great and noble qualities were alloyed by insatiable cupidity and ambition, and he became noted for "his cruel and rapacious government, and as the organizer of that systematic espionage which broke up all freedom of speech among his subjects." Although the eminent men who visited his court have much to say in praise of Hiero, Pindar, especially, was too honest and independent to ignore his faults. As GROTE says, "Pindar's indirect admonitions and hints sufficiently attest the real character of Hiero." Of these, the following lines from the Pythian ode may be taken as a sample:

The lightest word that falls from thee, O King!
Becomes a mighty and momentous thing:
O'er many placed as arbiter on high,
Many thy goings watchful see.
Thy ways on every side
A host of faithful witnesses descry;
Then let thy liberal temper be thy guide.
If ever to thine ear
Fame's softest whisper yet was dear,
Stint not thy bounty's flowing tide:
Stand at the helm of state; full to the gale
Spread thy wind-gathering sail.
Friend! let not plausive avarice spread
Its lures, to tempt thee from the path of fame:
For know, the glory of a name
Follows the mighty dead.
  --Trans. by ELTON.

Hiero was succeeded on his death, in 467 B.C., by his brother Thrasybu'lus; but the latter's tyranny caused a popular revolt, and after being defeated in a battle with his subjects he was expelled from the country. His expulsion was followed by the extinction of the Gelonian dynasty at Syracuse, and the institution of a popular government there and in other Sicilian cities. These free governments, however, gave rise to internal revolts and wars that continued many months; and finally a general congress of the different cities was held, which succeeded in adjusting the difficulties that had disturbed the peace of all Sicily. The various cities now became independent--though it is probable that the governments of all of them continued to be more or less disturbed--and were soon distinguished for their material and intellectual prosperity. Syracuse maintained herself as the first city in power; and in this condition of prosperity the Sicilian cities were found at the breaking out of the Peloponnesian war.


Of the Athenian league and expedition against Syracuse we have already given some account. Soon after the termination of this contest the Constitution of Syracuse was rendered still more democratic by the adoption of a new code of laws, prepared by Di'ocles, an eminent citizen, who became the director of the government. But the Carthaginians now again invaded Sicily, and established themselves over its entire western half. Taking advantage of the popular alarm at these aggressions, and of the ill success of Diocles and the Syracusan generals in opposing them, Diony'sius the Elder, then a young man, of low birth, but brave, determined, and talented, having been raised by popular favor to the generalship of the Syracusan army, subsequently made himself despot of the city (405 B.C.). Dionysius ruled vigorously, but with extreme tyranny, for thirty-eight years. By the year 384 he had extended his power over nearly all Sicily and a part of Magna Grecia, and under his sway Syracuse became one of the most powerful empires on earth. PLUTARCH relates that Dionysius boasted that he bequeathed to his son an empire "fastened by chains of adamant." Like Hiero, Dionysius was a lover of literature, and sought to gain distinction by his poetical compositions, some of which won prizes at Athens. He also invited Plato to his court; but the philosopher's moral conversations were distasteful to the tyrant, who finally sold him into slavery, from which he was redeemed by a friend.

It was during the reign of Dionysius the Elder that occurred that memorable incident in the lives of Damon and Pythias by which Dionysius himself is best remembered, and which has passed into history as illustrative of the truest and noblest friendship. Damon and Pythias were distinguished Syracusans, and both were Pythagore'ans. Pythias, a strong republican, having been seized for calling Dionysius a tyrant, and being condemned to death for attempting to stab him, requested a brief respite in order to arrange his affairs, promising to procure a friend to take his place and suffer death if he should not return. Damon gave himself up as surety, and Pythias was allowed to depart. Just as Damon was about to be led to execution, Pythias, who had been detained by unforeseen circumstances, returned to accept his fate and save his friend. Dionysius was so struck by these proofs of virtue and magnanimity on the part of the two friends that he set both of them free, and requested to be admitted into their friendship. The subject has been repeatedly dramatized, and has formed the theme of numerous separate poems. Schiller has a ballad on the subject; but he amplifies the incidents of the original story, and substitutes other names in place of Damon and Pythias. The following are the first three and the last three verses from SCHILLER:

The Hostage.

The tyrant Di'onys to seek,
  Stern Moe'rus with his poniard crept;
  The watchful guards upon him swept;
The grim King marked his changeless cheek:
"What wouldst thou with thy poniard? Speak!"
"The city from the tyrant free!"
"The death-cross shall thy guerdon be."

"I am prepared for death, nor pray,"
  Replied that haughty man, "to live;
  Enough if thou one grace wilt give:
For three brief suns the death delay,
To wed my sister--leagues away;
I boast one friend whose life for mine,
If I should fail the cross, is thine."

The tyrant mused, and smiled, and said,
  With gloomy craft, "So let it be;
  Three days I will vouchsafe to thee.
But mark--if, when the time be sped,
Thou fail'st, thy surety dies instead.

His life shall buy thine own release;
Thy guilt atoned, my wrath shall cease."

       *       *       *       *       *
The sun sinks down--the gate's in view,
  The cross looms dismal on the ground--
  The eager crowd gape murmuring round.
His friend is bound the cross unto.
Crowd--guards--all--bursts he through;
"Me! Doomsman, me," he shouts, "alone!
His life is rescued--lo, mine own!"

Amazement seized the circling ring!
  Linked in each other's arms the pair--
  Weeping for joy, yet anguish there!
Moist every eye that gazed: they bring
The wondrous tidings to the King--
His breast man's heart at last hath known,
And the Friends stand before his throne.

Long silent he, and wondering long,
  Gazed on the pair. "In peace depart,
  Victors, ye have subdued my heart!
Truth is no dream! its power is strong.
Give grace to him who owns his wrong!
'Tis mine your suppliant now to be:
Ah, let the band of Love--be THREE!"
  --Trans. by BULWER.

Dionysius the Younger succeeded to the government of Syracuse in 367, but he was incompetent to the task; and his tyranny and debauchery brought about his temporary overthrow, ten years later, by Dion, his father's brother-in-law. Dion had enjoyed unusual favors under Dionysius the Elder, and was now a man of wealth and high position, as well as of great energy and marked mental capacities. For his talents he was largely indebted to Plato, under whose teachings he became imbued "with that sense of regulated polity, and submission of individual will to fixed laws, which floated in the atmosphere of Grecian talk and literature, and stood so high in Grecian morality." In one of his letters Plato says, "When I explained the principles of philosophy and humanity to Dion, I little thought that I was insensibly opening a way to the subversion of tyranny!"

Long before the death of Dionysius the Elder, Dion had conceived the idea of liberating Syracuse from despotism and establishing an improved constitutional policy, originated by himself; and, on becoming the chief adviser of the young Dionysius, he tried to convince the latter of the necessity of reforming himself and his government. Although at first favorably impressed with the plans of Dion, the young monarch subsequently became jealous of his adviser and expelled him from the country. Gathering a few troops from various quarters, Dion returned to Sicily ten years after, and, aided by a revolt in Syracuse, he soon made himself master of the city. Dionysius had meanwhile retired to Ortyg'ia, and soon left Sicily for Italy. But the success of Dion was short-lived. "Too good for a despot, and yet unfit for a popular leader, he could not remain long in the precarious position he occupied." Both his dictatorship and his life came to an end in 354. He became the victim of a conspiracy originating with his most intimate friend, and was assassinated in his own dwelling.

Dionysius soon after returned to Syracuse, from the government of which he was finally expelled by Timo'leon, a Corinthian, who had been sent from Corinth, at the request of some exiled Syracusans, to the relief of their native city (343 B.C.). Timoleon made himself master of the almost deserted Syracuse, restored it to some degree of its former glory, checked the aspiring power of Carthage by defeating one of its largest armies, crushed the petty despots of Sicily, and restored nearly the whole island to a state of liberty and order. The restoration of liberty to Syracuse by Timoleon was followed by many years of unexampled prosperity. Having achieved the purpose with which he left Corinth, Timoleon at once resigned his command and became a private citizen of Syracuse. But he became the adviser of the Syracusans in their government, and the arbitrator of their differences, enjoying to a good age "what Xenophon calls 'that good, not human, but divine command over willing men, given manifestly to persons of genuine and highly-trained temperance of character.'"


In 317, Agath'ocles, a bold adventurer of Syracuse, usurped its authority by the murder of several thousand citizens, and for twenty-eight years maintained his power, extending his dominion over a large portion of Sicily, and even gaining successes in Africa. After his death, in 289, successive tyrants ruled, until, in 270, Hiero II., a descendant of Gelon, and commander of the Syracusan army, obtained the supreme power. Meantime the Carthaginians had gained a decided ascendancy in Sicily, and in 265 the Romans, alarmed by the movements of so powerful a neighbor, and being invited to Sicily to assist a portion of the people of Messa'na, commenced what is known in history as the first Punic war. Hiero allied himself with the Carthaginians, and the combined armies proceeded to lay siege to Messana; but they were attacked and defeated by Ap'pius Clau'dius, the Roman consul, and Hiero, panic-stricken, fled to Syracuse. Seeing his territory laid waste by the Romans, he prudently made a treaty with them, in 263. He remained their steadfast ally; and when the Romans became sole masters of Sicily they gave him the government of a large part of the island. His administration was mild, yet firm and judicious, lasting in all fifty-four years. With him ended the prosperity and independence of Syracuse.


It was during the reign of Hiero II. that Archimedes, a native of Syracuse, and a supposed distant relation of the king, made the scientific discoveries and inventions that have secured for him the honor of being the most celebrated mathematician of antiquity. He was equally skilled in astronomy, geometry, mechanics, hydrostatics, and optics. His discovery of the principle of specific gravity is related in the following well-known story: Hiero, suspecting that his golden crown had been fraudulently alloyed with silver, put it into the hands of Archimedes for examination. The latter, entering a bath-tub one day, and noticing that he displaced a quantity of water equal in bulk to that of his body, saw that this discovery would give him a mode of determining the bulk and specific gravity of King Hiero's crown. Leaping out of the tub in his delight, he ran home, crying, "Eure'ka! eureka!" I have found it! I have found it!

To show Hiero the wonderful effects of mechanical power, Archimedes is said to have drawn some distance toward him, by the use of ropes and pulleys, a large galley that lay on the shore; and during the siege of his native city by the Romans, his great mechanical skill was displayed in the invention and manufacture of stupendous engines of defence. Later historians than Polybius, Livy, and Plutarch say that on this occasion, also, he burnt many Roman ships by concentrating upon them the sun's rays from numerous mirrors. SCHILLER gives the following poetic account of a visit, to Archimedes, by a young scholar who asked to be taught the art that had won the great master's fame:

To Archimedes once a scholar came:
"Teach me;" he said, "the Art that won thy fame;
The godlike Art which gives such boons to toil,
And showers such fruit upon thy native soil;
The godlike Art that girt the town when all
Rome's vengeance burst in thunder on the wall!"
"Thou call'st Art godlike--it is so, in truth,
And was," replied the master to the youth,
"Ere yet its secrets were applied to use--
Ere yet it served beleaguered Syracuse.
Ask'st thou from Art but what the Art is worth?
The fruit? For fruit go cultivate the Earth.
He who the goddess would aspire unto
Must not the goddess as the woman woo!"
  --Trans. by BULWER.

Among the discoveries of Archimedes was that of the ratio between the cylinder and the inscribed sphere, and he requested his friends to place the figures of a sphere and cylinder on his tomb. This was done, and, one hundred and thirty-six years after, it enabled Cicero, the Roman orator, to find the resting-place of the illustrious inventor. The story of his visit to Syracuse, and his search for the tomb of Archimedes, is told by the HON. R C. WINTHROP in a lecture entitled Archimedes and Franklin, from which we quote as follows:

Visit of Cicero to the Grave of Archimedes.

"While Cicero was quæstor in Sicily--the first public office which he ever held, and the only one to which he was then eligible, being but just thirty years old--he paid a visit to Syracuse, then among the greatest cities of the world. The magistrates of the city of course waited on him at once, to offer their services in showing him the lions of the place, and requested him to specify anything which he would like particularly to see. Doubtless they supposed that he would ask immediately to be conducted to some one of their magnificent temples, that he might behold and admire those splendid works of art with which --notwithstanding that Marcellus had made it his glory to carry not a few of them away with him for the decoration of the Imperial City--Syracuse still abounded, and which soon after tempted the cupidity, and fell a prey to the rapacity, of the infamous Verres.

"Or, haply, they may have thought that he would be curious to see and examine the Ear of Dionysius, as it was called--a huge cavern, cut out of the solid rock in the shape of a human ear, two hundred and fifty feet long and eighty feet high, in which that execrable tyrant confined all persons who came within the range of his suspicion, and which was so ingeniously contrived and constructed that Dionysius, by applying his ear to a small hole, where the sounds were collected as upon a tympanum, could catch every syllable that was uttered in the cavern below, and could deal out his proscription and his vengeance accordingly upon all who might dare to dispute his authority or to complain of his cruelty. Or they may have imagined, perhaps, that he would be impatient to visit at once the sacred fountain of Arethusa; and the seat of those Sicilian Muses whom Virgil so soon after invoked in commencing that most inspired of all uninspired compositions, which Pope has so nobly paraphrased in his glowing and glorious Eclogue--the 'Messiah.'

"To their great astonishment, however, Cicero's first request was that they would take him to see the tomb of Archimedes. To his own still greater astonishment, as we may well believe, they told him in reply that they knew nothing about the tomb of Archimedes, and had no idea where it was to be found, and they even denied that any such tomb was still remaining among them. But Cicero understood perfectly well what he was talking about. He remembered the exact description of the tomb. He remembered the very verses which had been inscribed on it. He remembered the sphere and the cylinder which Archimedes had himself requested to have wrought upon it, as the chosen emblems of his eventful life. And the great orator forthwith resolved to make search for it himself. Accordingly, he rambled out into the place of their ancient sepulchres, and, after a careful investigation, he came at last to a spot overgrown with shrubs and bushes, where presently he descried the top of a small column just rising above the branches. Upon this little column the sphere and the cylinder were at length found carved, the inscription was painfully deciphered, and the tomb of Archimedes stood revealed to the reverent homage of the illustrious Roman quæstor.

"This was in the year 76 before the birth of our Savior. Archimedes died about the year 212 before Christ. One hundred and thirty six years only had thus elapsed since the death of this celebrated person, before his tombstone was buried beneath briers and brambles; and before the place and even the existence of it were forgotten by the magistrates of the very city of which he was so long the proudest ornament in peace, and the most effective defender in war. What a lesson to human pride, what a commentary on human gratitude was here! It is an incident almost precisely like that which the admirable and venerable DR. WATTS imagined or imitated, as the topic of one of his most striking and familiar Lyrics:

"'Theron, among his travels, found
A broken statue on the ground;
And searching onward as he went,
He traced a ruined monument.
Mould, moss, and shades had overgrown
The sculpture of the crumbling stone;
Yet ere he passed, with much ado,
He guessed and spelled out, Sci-pi-o.
"Enough," he cried; "I'll drudge no more
In turning the dull Stoics o'er;
       *       *       *       *       *
For when I feel my virtue fail,
And my ambitious thoughts prevail,
I'll take a turn among the tombs,
And see whereto all glory comes."

I do not learn, however, that Cicero was cured of his eager vanity and his insatiate love of fame by this "turn" among the Syracusan tombs. He was then only just at the threshold of his proud career, and he went back to pursue it to its bloody end with unabated zeal, and with an ambition only extinguishable with his life.'"




Four years after the battle of Mantine'a the Grecian states again became involved in domestic hostilities, known as the Sacred War, the second in Grecian history to which that title was applied, the first having been carried on against the inhabitants of Crissa, on the northern shore of the Corinthian Gulf, in the time of Solon. The causes of this second Sacred War were briefly these: The Pho'cians, allies of Sparta against Thebes, had taken into cultivation a portion of the plain of Delphos, sacred to Apollo; and the Thebans caused them to be accused of sacrilege before the Amphictyonic Council, which condemned them to pay a heavy fine. The Phocians refused obedience, and, encouraged by the Spartans, on whom a similar penalty had been imposed for their wrongful occupation of the Theban capital, they took up arms to resist the decree, and plundered the sacred Temple of Delphos to obtain means for carrying on the war.

The Thebans, Thessa'lians, and nearly all the states of northern Greece leagued against the Phocians, while Athens and Sparta declared in their favor. After the war had continued five years a new power was brought forward on the theatre of Grecian history, in the person of Philip, who had recently established himself on the throne of Maç'edon, and to whom some of the Thessalians applied for aid against the Phocians. The interference of Philip forms an important epoch in Grecian affairs. "The most desirable of all conditions for Greece would have been," says THIRLWALL, "to be united in a confederacy strong enough to prevent intestine warfare among its members, and so constituted as to guard against all unnecessary encroachment on their independence. But the time had passed by when the supremacy of any state could either have been willingly acknowledged by the rest, or imposed upon them by force; and the hope of any favorable change in the general condition of Greece was now become fainter than ever." Wasted by her internal dissensions, Greece was now about to suffer their natural results, and we interrupt our narrative to briefly trace the growth of that foreign power which, unexpectedly to Greece, became its master.


Maçedon--or Macedo'nia--whose boundaries varied greatly at different times, had its south-eastern borders on the Ægean Sea, while farther north it was bounded by the river Strymon, which separated it from Thrace, and on the south by Thessaly and Epirus. On the west Macedonia embraced, at times, many of the Illyrian tribes which bordered on the Adriatic. On the north the natural boundary was the mountain chain of Hæ'mus. The principal river of Macedonia was the Ax'ius (now the Vardar), which fell into the Thermaic Gulf, now called the Gulf of Salonica.

The history of Macedonia down to the time of Philip, the father of Alexander the Great, is involved in much obscurity. The early Macedonians appear to have been an Illyrian tribe, different in race and language from the Hellenes or Greeks; but Herodotus states that the Macedonian monarchy was founded by Greeks from Argos; and, according to Greek writers, twelve or fifteen Grecian princes reigned there before the accession of Philip, who took charge of the government about the year 360 B.C., not as monarch, but as guardian of the infant son of his elder brother.

Philip had previously passed several years at Thebes as a hostage, where he eagerly availed himself of the excellent opportunities which that city afforded for the acquisition of various kinds of knowledge. He successfully cultivated the study of the Greek language; and in the society of such generals and statesmen as Epaminondas, Pelopidas, and their friends, became acquainted with the details of the military tactics of the Greeks, and learned the nature and working of their democratical institutions. Thus, with the superior mental and physical endowments which nature had given him, he became eminently fitted for the part which he afterward bore in the intricate game of Grecian politics.

After Philip had successfully defended the throne of Maçedon during several years, in behalf of his nephew, his military successes enabled him to assume the kingly title, probably with the unanimous consent of both the army and the nation. He annexed several Thracian towns to his dominions, reduced the Illyrians and other nations on his northern and western borders, and was at times an ally, and at others an enemy, of Athens. At length, during the Sacred War against the Phocians, the invitation which he received from the Thessalian allies of Thebes, as already noticed, afforded him a pretext, which he had long coveted, for a more active interference in the affairs of his southern neighbors.


Of all the Grecian states, Athens alone had succeeded in regaining some of her former power, and she now became the leader in the struggle with Macedonia. In response to the invitation extended to him, Philip entered Thessaly on his southern march, but was at first repulsed by the Phocians and their allies, and obliged to retire to his own territory. He soon returned, however, at the head of a more numerous army, defeated the enemy in a decisive engagement near the Gulf of Pag'asæ, and would have marched upon Phocis at once to terminate the war, but he found the Pass of Thermopylæ strongly guarded by the Athenians, and thought it prudent to withdraw his forces.

The Sacred War still lingered, although the Phocians desired peace; but the revengeful spirit of the Thebans was not allayed, and Philip was again urged to crush the profaners of the national religion. It was at this period that the great Athenian orator, Demosthenes, came forward with the first of those orations against Philip and his supposed policy, which, from their subject, received the name of "the Philippics"--a title since commonly given to any discourse or declamation abounding in acrimonious invective. The penetration of Demosthenes enabled him easily to divine the ambitious plans of Philip, and as he considered him the enemy of the liberties of Athens and of Greece, he sought to rouse his countrymen against him. His discourse was essentially practical. As a writer has said, "He alarms, but encourages his countrymen; Points out both their weakness and their strength; rouses them to a sense of danger, and shows the way to meet it; recommends not any extraordinary efforts, for which at this moment there was no urgent necessity, but unfolds a scheme, simple and feasible, suiting the occasion, and calculated to lay the foundation of better things."

In the following language he censures the indolence and supineness of the Athenians:

The First Philippic of Demosthenes.

"When, O my countrymen I will you exert your vigor? When roused by some event? When forced by some necessity? What, then, are we to think of our present condition? To freemen, the disgrace attending our misconduct is, in my opinion, the most urgent necessity. Or, say, is it your sole ambition to wander through the public places, each inquiring of the other, 'What new advices?' Can anything be more new than that a man of Maçedon should conquer the Athenians and give law to Greece? 'Is Philip dead? No, but he is sick.' [Footnote: Philip had received a severe wound, which was followed by a fit of sickness; hence these rumors and inquiries of the Athenians. "Longinus quotes this whole passage as a beautiful instance of those pathetic figures which give life and force and energy to an oration."] How are you concerned in these rumors? Suppose he should meet some fatal stroke; you would soon raise up another Philip, if your interests are thus regarded. For it is not to his own strength that he so much owes his elevation as to our supineness. And should some accident affect him--should Fortune, who hath ever been more careful of the state than we ourselves, now repeat her favors (and may she thus crown them!) --be assured of this, that by being on the spot, ready to take advantage of the confusion, you will everywhere be absolute masters; but in your present disposition, even if a favorable juncture should present you with Amphip'olis, [Footnote: Amphipolis, a city of Thrace founded by the Athenians, had fallen into the hands of Philip after a siege, and the Athenians had nothing more at heart than its recovery.] you could not take possession of it while this suspense prevails in your councils.

"Some of you wander about crying, 'Philip hath joined with the Lacedæmonians, and they are concerting the destruction of Thebes, and the dissolution of some free states.' Others assure us that he has sent an embassy to the king; [Footnote: The King of Persia, generally called the king by the Greeks.] others, that he is fortifying places in Illyria. Thus we all go about framing our several stories. I do believe, indeed, Athenians, that he is intoxicated with his greatness, and does entertain his imagination with many such visionary prospects, as he sees no power rising to oppose him, and is elated with his success. But I cannot be persuaded that he hath so taken his measures that the weakest among us know what he is next to do--for the silliest are those who spread these rumors. Let us dismiss such talk, and remember only that Philip is our enemy--that he has spoiled us of our dominions, that we have long been subject to his insolence, that whatever we expected to be done for us by others has proved against us, that all the resource left us is in ourselves, and that, if we are not inclined to carry our arms abroad, we may be forced to engage at home. Let us be persuaded of this, and then we shall come to a proper determination; then we shall be freed from idle conjectures. We need not be solicitous to know what particular events will happen; we need but be convinced that nothing good can happen unless you attend to your duty, and are willing to act as becomes you.

"As for me, never have I courted favor by speaking what I am not convinced is for your good; and now I have spoken my whole mind frankly and unreservedly. I could have wished, knowing the advantage of good counsel to you, that I were equally certain of its advantage to the counselor; so should I have spoken with more satisfaction. Now, with an uncertainty of the consequence to myself, but with a conviction that you will benefit by following my advice, I freely proffer it. And, of all those opinions which are offered for your acceptance, may that be chosen which will best advance the general weal."   --LELAND'S trans.

The most prominent of the particular acts specified by Demosthenes as indispensable to the Athenian welfare, were the fitting out of a fleet of fifty vessels, to be kept ready to sail, at a moment's notice, to any exposed portion of the Athenian sea-coast; and the establishment of a permanent land force of twenty-two hundred men, one-fourth to be citizens of Athens. The expense was to be met by taxation, a system of which he also presented for adoption. MR. GROTE says of the first Philippic of Demosthenes:

"It is not merely a splendid piece of oratory, emphatic and forcible in its appeal to the emotions; bringing the audience, by many different roads, to the main conviction which the orator seeks to impress; profoundly animated with genuine Pan-hellenic patriotism, and with the dignity of that pre-Grecian world now threatened by a monarch from without. It has other merits besides, not less important in themselves, and lying more immediately within the scope of the historian. We find Demosthenes, yet only thirty years old--young in political life--and thirteen years before the battle of Chærone'a, taking accurate measure of the political relations between Athens and Philip; examining those relations during the past, pointing out how they had become every year more unfavorable, and foretelling the dangerous contingencies of the future, unless better precautions were taken; exposing with courageous frankness not only the past mismanagement of public men, but also those defective dispositions of the people themselves wherein such mismanagement had its root; lastly, after fault found, adventuring on his own responsibility to propose specific measures of correction, and urging upon reluctant citizens a painful imposition of personal hardship as well as of taxation."

Of course Demosthenes and his policy were opposed by a strong party, and his warnings and exhortations produced but little effect. The latter result was largely due to the position of the Athenian general and statesman Pho'cion--the last Athenian in whom these two functions were united--who generally acted with the peace-party. Unlike many prominent members of that party, however, Phocion was pure and patriotic in his motives, and a man of the strictest integrity. It was his unquestioned probity and his peculiar disinterestedness that gave him such influence with the people. As an orator, too, he commanded attention by his striking and pithy brevity. "He knew so well," says GROTE, "on what points to strike, that his telling brevity, strengthened by the weight of character and position, cut through the fine oratory of Demosthenes more effectively than any counter oratory from men like Æsehines." Demosthenes was once heard to remark, on seeing Phocion rise to speak, "Here comes the pruner of my periods."

As MR. GROTE elsewhere adds: "The influence of Phocion as a public adviser was eminently mischievous to Athens. All depended upon her will; upon the question whether her citizens were prepared in their own minds to incur the expense and fatigue of a vigorous foreign policy--whether they would handle their pikes, open their purses, and forego the comforts of home, for the maintenance of Grecian and Athenian liberty against a growing but not as yet irresistible destroyer. Now, it was precisely at such a moment, and when such a question was pending, that the influence of the peace-loving Phocion was most ruinous. His anxiety that the citizens should be buried at home in their own sepulchres--his despair, mingled with contempt, of his countrymen and their refined habits--his hatred of the orators who might profit by an increased war expenditure--all contributed to make him discourage public effort, and await passively the preponderance of the Macedonian arms; thus playing the game of Philip, and siding, though himself incorruptible, with the orators in Philip's pay." [Footnote: "History of Greece," vol. xi., p. 278.]

As no measures of importance were taken to check the growing power of Philip, in the year 349 he attacked the Olynthians, who were in alliance with Athens. They sent embassies to Athens, seeking aid, and Demosthenes supported their cause in the three "Olynthiac Orations," which roused the Athenians to more vigorous efforts. But the latter were divided in their counsels, and the aid they gave the Olynthians was inefficient. In 347 Olynthus fell into the hands of Philip, who, having somewhat lulled the suspicions of the Athenians by proposals of an advantageous peace, marched into Phocis in 346, and compelled the enemy to surrender at discretion. The Amphictyonic Council, with the power of Philip to enforce its decrees, doomed Phocis to lose her independence forever, to have her cities leveled with the ground, her population to be distributed in villages of not more than fifty dwellings, and to pay a yearly tribute of sixty talents to the temple until the full amount of the plundered treasure should be restored. Finally, the two votes that the Phocians had possessed in the council were transferred to the King of Maçedon and his successors.


From an early period of his career Philip had aspired to the sovereignty of all Greece, as a secondary object that should prepare the way for the conquest of Persia, the great aim and end of all his ambitious projects. The accession of power he had just acquired now induced him to exert himself, by negotiation and conquest, to extend his influence on every side of his dominions. Demosthenes had been sent by the Athenians into the Peloponnesus to counteract the intrigues of Philip there, and had openly accused him of perfidy. To repel this charge, as well as to secure farther influence, if possible, Philip sent an embassy to Athens, headed by the orator Py'thon. It was on this occasion that Demosthenes delivered his second "Philippic" (344 B.C.), addressing himself principally to the Athenian sympathizers with Philip, of whom the orator Æsehines was the leader.

In his military operations Philip ravaged Illyria, reduced Thessaly more nearly to a Macedonian province, conquered a part of the Thracian territory, extended his power into Epi'rus and Acarna'nia, and would have gained a footing in E'lis and Acha'ia, on the western coast of Peloponnesus, had it not been for the watchful jealousy of Athens which Demosthenes finally succeeded in arousing. The first open rupture with the Athenians occurred while Philip was subduing the Grecian cities on the Thracian coast of the Hellespont, in what was called the Thracian Chersone'sus. As yet Macedon and Athens were nominally at peace, and Philip complained that the Athenians were attempting to precipitate a conflict. He sent an embassy to Athens, which gave occasion to the speech of Demosthenes, "On the Chersonese" (341 B.C.). The rupture in the Chersonesus was followed by Athenian successes in Euboe'a, whither Demosthenes had succeeded in having an expedition sent, and, finally, by the expulsion of Philip's forces from the Chersonesus. Soon after this (339 B.C.) the Amphictyonic Council, through the influence of the orator Æsehines, appointed Phillip to conduct a war against Amphis'sa, a Lo'crian town, that had been convicted of a sacrilege similar to that of the Phocians.


It was now that Philip first threw off the mask, and revealed his designs against the liberties of Greece. Hastily passing through Thrace at the head of a powerful army, he suddenly seized and commenced fortifying Elate'a, the capital of Phocis, which was conveniently situated for commanding the entrance into Boeotia. Intelligence of this event reached Athens at night, and caused great alarm. At daybreak on the following morning the Senate of Five Hundred met, and the people assembled in the Pnyx. Suddenly waking, at last, from their dream of security, from which all the eloquent appeals of Demosthenes had hitherto been unable fully to arouse them, the Athenians began to realize their danger. At the instance of the great orator they formed a treaty with the Thebans, and the two states prepared to defend themselves from invasion; but most of the Peloponnesian states kept aloof through indifference, rather than through fear.

When the Athenian and Theban forces marched forth to give Philip battle, dissensions pervaded their ranks; for the spirit of Grecian liberty had already been extinguished. They gained a minor advantage, however, in two engagements that followed; but the decisive battle was fought in August of the year 338, in the plain of Chærone'a, in Boeotia. The hostile armies were nearly equal in numbers; but there was no Pericles, or Epaminondas, to match the warlike abilities of Philip and the young prince Alexander, the latter of whom commanded a wing of the Macedonian army. The Grecian army was completely routed, and the event broke up the feeble combination against Philip, leaving each of the allied states at his mercy. He treated the Thebans with much severity, but he exercised a degree of leniency toward the Athenians which excited general surprise--offering them terms of peace which they would scarcely have ventured to propose to him. Now virtually master of Greece, he assembled a Congress of the Grecian states at Corinth, at which all his proposals were adopted; war was declared against Persia, and Philip was appointed commander-in-chief of the Grecian and Macedonian forces. But while he was preparing for his great enterprise he was assassinated, during the festivities attending the marriage of his daughter, by a young Macedonian of noble birth, in revenge for some private wrong.


Alexander, the son of Philip, then at the age of twenty years, succeeded his father on the throne of Macedon. At once the Illyrians, Thracians, and other northern tribes took up arms to recover their independence; but Alexander quelled the revolt in a single campaign. On the death of Philip, Demosthenes, who had been informed of the event by a special messenger, immediately took steps to incite Athens to shake off the Macedonian yoke. In the words of a modern historian, "He resolved to avail himself of the superstition of his fellow-citizens, by a pious fraud. He went to the senate-house and declared to the Five Hundred that Jove and Athe'na had forewarned him in a dream of some great blessing that was in store for the Commonwealth. Shortly afterward public couriers arrived with the news of Philip's death. Demosthenes, although in mourning for the recent loss of an only daughter, now came abroad dressed in white, and crowned with a chaplet, in which attire he was seen sacrificing at one of the public altars." He made vigorous preparations for action, and sent envoys to the principal Grecian states to excite them against Macedon. Several of the states, headed by the Athenians and the Thebans, rose against the dominant oligarchy; but Alexander, whose marches were unparalleled for their rapidity, suddenly appeared in their midst. Thebes was taken by assault; six thousand of her warriors were slain; the city was leveled with the ground, and thirty thousand prisoners were condemned to slavery. The other Grecian states hastily renewed their submission; and Athens, with servile homage, sent an embassy to congratulate the young king on his recent successes. Alexander accepted the excuses of all, and having intrusted the government of Greece and Macedon to Antip'ater, one of his generals, he set out on his career of Eastern conquest with only thirty-five thousand men, and a treasury of only seventy talents of silver. He had distributed nearly all the remaining property of his crown among his friends; and when he was asked what he had reserved for himself, he answered, "My hopes."


Early in the spring of 334 Alexander crossed the Hellespont, and a few days later defeated a large Persian army on the eastern bank of the Grani'cus, with the loss on his part of only eighty-five horsemen and thirty light infantry. The gates of Sardis and Ephesus were next thrown open to him, and he was soon undisputed master of all Asia Minor. Early in the following year he directed his march farther eastward, and on the coast of Cili'cia, near Issus, again met the Persian or barbarian army, numbering over seven hundred thousand men, and commanded by Dari'us, the Persian king. Alexander, as usual, led his army in person, and achieved a splendid victory. The wife, daughters, and an infant son of Darius fell into the hands of the conqueror, and were treated by him with the greatest kindness and respect, Some time after, and just before his death, when Darius heard of the generous treatment of his wife, who was accounted the most beautiful woman in Asia --of her death from sudden illness, and of the magnificent burial she had received from the conqueror--he lifted up his hands to heaven and prayed that if his kingdom were to pass from himself, it might be transferred to Alexander.

The conqueror now directed his march southward through northern Syria and Palestine, conquering Tyre after a vigorous siege of seven months. This was perhaps the greatest of Alexander's military achievements; but it was tarnished by his cruelty toward the conquered. Exasperated by the long and desperate resistance of the besieged, he gave them no quarter. Eight thousand of the inhabitants are said to have been massacred, and thirty thousand were sold into slavery. After the fall of Tyre Alexander proceeded into Egypt, which he easily brought under subjection. After having founded the present city of Alexandria, at the mouth of the Nile, he returned to Palestine, crossed the Euphrates, and marched into the very heart of the Persian empire, declaring, "The world can no more admit two masters than two suns."


On a beautiful plain, twenty miles distant from the town of Arbela, the Persian monarch, surrounded by all the pomp and luxury of Eastern magnificence, had collected the remaining strength of his empire, consisting of an army of more than a million of infantry and forty thousand cavalry, besides two hundred scythed chariots, and fifteen elephants brought from the west of India. To oppose this immense force Alexander had only forty thousand infantry and seven thousand cavalry. But his forces were well armed and disciplined, and were led by an able general who had never known defeat. Darius sustained the conflict with better judgment and more courage than at Issus; but the cool intrepidity of the Macedonians was irresistible, and the field of battle soon became a scene of slaughter, in which some say forty thousand, and others three hundred thousand, of the barbarians were slain, while the loss of Alexander did not exceed five hundred men. Although Darius escaped with a portion of his body-guard, the whole of the royal baggage and treasure was captured at Arbela.

Now simply a fugitive, "with merely the title of king," Darius crossed the mountains into Media, where he remained six or seven months, and until the advance of Alexander in pursuit compelled him to pass through the Caspian Gates into Parthia. Here, on the near approach of the enemy, he was murdered by Bessus, satrap of Bactria, because he refused to fly farther. "Within four years and three months from the time Alexander crossed the Hellespont," says GROTE, "by one stupendous defeat after another Darius had lost all his Western empire, and had become a fugitive eastward of the Caspian Gates, escaping captivity at the hand of Alexander only to perish by that of the satrap Bessus. All antecedent historical parallels--the ruin and captivity of the Lydian Croe'sus, the expulsion and mean life of the Syracusan Dionysius, both of them impressive examples of the mutability of human condition--sink into trifles compared with the overthrow of this towering Persian colossus. The orator Æschines expressed the genuine sentiment of a Grecian spectator when he exclaimed (in a speech delivered at Athens shortly before the death of Darius):

"'What is there among the list of strange and unexpected events which has not occurred in our time? Our lives have transcended the limits of humanity; we are born to serve as a theme for incredible tales to posterity. Is not the Persian king--who dug through Athos and bridged the Hellespont, who demanded earth and water from the Greeks, who dared to proclaim himself, in public epistles, master of all mankind from the rising to the setting sun--is not he now struggling to the last, not for dominion over others, but for the safety of his own person?' [Footnote: He speaks of both Xerxes and Darius as the Persian king.] Such were the sentiments excited by Alexander's career even in the middle of 330 B.C., more than seven years before his death."

Babylon and Susa, where the riches of the East lay accumulated, had meanwhile opened their gates to Alexander, and thence he directed his march to Persepolis, the capital of Persia, which he entered in triumph. Here he celebrated his victories by a magnificent feast, at which the great musician Timo'theus, of Thebes, performed on the flute and the lyre, accompanied by a chorus of singers. Such was the wonderful power of his music that the whole company are said to have been swayed by it to feelings of love, or hate, or revenge, as if by the wand of a magician. The poet DRYDEN has given us a description of this feast in a poem that has been called by some "the lyric masterpiece of English poetry," and by others "an inspired ode." Though designed especially to illustrate the power of music, it is based on historic facts. Only partial extracts from it can here be given.

Alexander's Feast.

'Twas at the royal feast, for Persia won
    By Philip's warlike son:
        Aloft in awful state
        The godlike hero sate
    On his imperial throne:
His valiant peers were placed around,
Their brows with roses and with myrtles bound
    (So should desert in arms be crowned).
The lovely Thais, by his side
Sat, like a blooming Eastern bride,
In flower of youth and beauty's pride.
    Happy, happy, happy pair!
        None but the brave,
        None but the brave,
    None but the brave deserve the fair.

In the second division of the poem Timo'theus is represented as singing the praises of Jupiter, when the crowd, carried away by the enthusiasm with which the music had inspired them, proclaim Alexander a deity! The monarch accepts the adoration of his subjects, and "assumes the god."

The list'ning crowd admire the lofty sound:
"A present deity!" they shout around:
"A present deity!" the vaulted roofs rebound.
    With ravished ears
    The monarch hears,
    Assumes the god,
    Affects to nod,
And seems to shake the spheres.

The praises of Bacchus and the joys of wine being next sung, the effects upon the king are described; and when the strains had fired his soul almost to madness, Timotheus adroitly changes the spirit and measure of his song, and as successfully allays the tempest of passion that his skill had raised. The effects of this change are thus described:

        Soothed with the sound, the king grew vain;
        Fought all his battles o'er again;
And thrice he routed all his foes; and thrice he slew the slain.
        The master saw the madness rise;
        His glowing cheeks, his ardent eyes;
        And, while he Heaven and Earth defied,
        Changed his hand, and checked his pride.
            He chose a mournful Muse,
            Soft pity to infuse;
        He sung Darius, great and good,
            By too severe a fate,
        Fallen, fallen, fallen, fallen,
        Fallen from his high estate,
            And weltering in his blood;
        Deserted at his utmost need,
        By those his former bounty fed;
        On the bare earth exposed he lies,
        With not a friend to close his eyes.
    With downcast looks the joyless victor sat,
        Revolving in his altered soul
          The various turns of chance below;
        And, now and then a sigh he stole,
          And tear's began to flow.

Under the soothing influence of the next theme, which is Love, Alexander sinks into a slumber, from which, however, a change in the music to discordant strains arouses him to feelings of revenge, as the singer draws a picture of the Furies, and of the Greeks "that in battle were slain." Then it was that Alexander, instigated by Thais, a celebrated Athenian beauty who accompanied him on his expedition, set fire to the palace of Persepolis, intending to burn the whole city--"the wonder of the world." The poet compares Thais to Helen, whose fatal beauty caused the downfall of Troy, 852 years before.

    Now strike the golden lyre again;
    A louder yet, and yet a louder strain.
    Break his bands of sleep asunder,
    And rouse him, like a rattling peal of thunder.
        Hark! hark! the horrid sound
            Has raised up his head,
            As awaked from the dead,
        And, amazed, he stares around.
    Revenge! revenge! Timotheus cries,
            See the Furies arise!
        See the snakes that they rear!
        How they hiss in their hair,
    And the sparkles that flash from their eyes!
            Behold a ghastly band,
            Each a torch in his hand!
These are the Grecian ghosts, that in battle were slain,
            And unburied remain,
            Inglorious on the plain:
            Give the vengeance due
            To the valiant crew,
    Behold how they toss their torches on high!
        How they point to the Persian abodes,
        And glittering temples of their hostile gods!
The princes applaud with a furious joy;
And the king seized a flambeau with zeal to destroy;
            Thais led the way,
            To light him to his prey,
    And, like another Helen, fired another Troy!

During four years Alexander remained in the heart of Persia, reducing to subjection the chiefs who still struggled for independence, and regulating the government of the conquered provinces. Ambitious of farther conquests, he passed the Indus, and invaded the country of the Indian king Po'rus, whom he defeated in a sanguinary engagement, and took prisoner. Alexander continued his march eastward until he reached the Hyph'asis, the most eastern tributary of the Indus, when his troops, seeing no end of their toils, refused to follow him farther, and he was reluctantly forced to abandon the career of conquest, which he had marked out for himself, to the Eastern ocean. He descended the Indus to the sea, whence, after sending a fleet with a portion of his forces around through the Persian Gulf to the Euphrates, he marched with the remainder of his army through the barren wastes of Gedro'sia, and after much suffering and loss once more reached the fertile provinces of Persia.


For some time after his return Alexander's attention was engrossed with plans for organizing, on a permanent basis, the government of the mighty empire that he had won. Aiming to unite the conquerors and the conquered, so as to form out of both a nation independent alike of Macedonian and Persian prejudices, he married Stati'ra, the oldest daughter of Darius, and united his principal officers with Persian and Median women of the noblest families, while ten thousand of his soldiers were induced to follow the example of their superiors. But while he was occupied with these cares, and with dreams of future conquests, his career was suddenly terminated by death. On setting out to visit Babylon, in the spring of 324, soon after the decease of an intimate friend --Hephæs'tion--whose loss caused a great depression of his spirits, he was warned by the magicians that Babylon would be fatal to him; but he proceeded to the city to conclude his preparations for his next ambitious scheme--the subjugation of Arabia. Babylon was now to witness the consummation of his triumphs and of his life. "As in the last scene of some well-ordered drama," says a modern historian, "all the results and tokens of his great achievements seemed to be collected there to do honor to his final exit." Although his mind was actively occupied in plans of conquest, he was haunted by gloomy forebodings and superstitious fancies, and endeavored to dispel his melancholy by indulging freely in the pleasures of the table. Excessive drinking at last brought to a crisis a fever which he had probably contracted in the marshes of Assyria, and which suddenly terminated his life in the thirty-third year of his age, and the thirteenth of his reign (323 B.C.). He was buried in Babylon. From the Latin poet LUCAN we take the following estimate of

His Career and His Character.

Here the vain youth, who made the world his prize,
That prosperous robber, Alexander, lies:
When pitying Death at length had freed mankind,
To sacred rest his bones were here consigned:
His bones, that better had been tossed and hurled,
With just contempt, around the injured world.
But fortune spared the dead; and partial fate,
For ages fixed his Pha'rian empire's date.
[Footnote: Pharian. An allusion to the famous light-house,
the Pharos of Alexandria, built by Ptolemy Philadelphus,
son of Ptolemy Soter, who succeeded Alexander in Egypt.

If e'er our long-lost liberty return,
That carcass is reserved for public scorn;
Now it remains a monument confessed,
How one proud man could lord it o'er the rest.
To Maçedon, a corner of the earth,
The vast ambitious spoiler owed his birth:
There, soon, he scorned his father's humbler reign,
And viewed his vanquished Athens with disdain.

Driven headlong on, by fate's resistless force,
Through Asia's realms he took his dreadful course;
His ruthless sword laid human nature waste,
And desolation followed where he passed.
Red Ganges blushed, and famed Euphrates' flood,
With Persian this, and that with Indian blood.

Such is the bolt which angry Jove employs,
When, undistinguishing, his wrath destroys:
Such to mankind, portentous meteors rise,
Trouble the gazing earth, and blast the skies.
Nor flame nor flood his restless rage withstand,
Nor Syrts unfaithful, nor the Libyan sand:
[Footnote: Syrts. Two gulfs--Syrtis Minor and Syrtis
Major--on the northern coast of Africa, abounding in
quicksands, and dangerous to navigation.
O'er waves unknown he meditates his way,
And seeks the boundless empire of the sea.

E'en to the utmost west he would have gone,
Where Te'thys' lap receives the setting sun;
[Footnote: Tethys, the fabled wife of Ocean, and
daughter of Heaven and Earth.
Around each pole his circuit would have made,
And drunk from secret Nile's remotest head,
When Nature's hand his wild ambition stayed;
With him, that power his pride had loved so well,
His monstrous universal empire, fell;
No heir, no just successor left behind,
Eternal wars he to his friends assigned,
To tear the world, and scramble for mankind.
  --LUCAN. Trans. by ROWE.

The poet JUVENAL, moralizing on the death of Alexander, tells us that, notwithstanding his illimitable ambition, the narrow tomb that be found in Babylon was sufficiently ample for the small body that had contained his mighty soul.

One world sufficed not Alexander's mind;
Cooped up, he seemed in earth and seas confined,
And, struggling, stretched his restless limbs about
The narrow globe, to find a passage out!
Yet, entered in the brick-built town, he tried
The tomb, and found the straight dimensions wide.
Death only this mysterious truth unfolds:
The mighty soul, how small a body holds!
  --Tenth Satire.  Trans. by DRYDEN.

The body of Alexander was removed from Babylon to Alexandria by Ptolemy Soter, one of his generals, subsequently King of Egypt, and was interred in a golden coffin. The sarcophagus in which the coffin was enclosed has been in the British Museum since 1802--a circumstance to which BYRON makes a happy allusion in the closing lines of the following verse:

  How vain, how worse than vain, at length appear
The madman's wish, the Macedonian's tear!
He wept for worlds to conquer; half the earth
Knows not his name, or but his death and birth,
And desolation; while his native Greece
Hath all of desolation, save its peace.
He "wept for worlds to conquer!" he who ne'er
Conceived the globe he panted not to spare!
With even the busy Northern Isle unknown,
Which holds his urn, and never knew his throne.





Turning now to the affairs of Greece, we find that, three years after Alexander entered Asia, the Spartans made a determined effort to throw off the Macedonian yoke. They were joined by most of the Peloponnesian states, but Athens took no part in the revolt. Although meeting with some successes at first, the Spartans were finally defeated with great slaughter by Antip'ater (331 B.C.), who had been left by Alexander in command of Greece and Macedonia. This victory, and Alexander's successes in the East, gave rise to active measures by the Macedonian party in Athens against Demosthenes, who was holding two public offices, and, by his ability and patriotism, was still doing great service to the state. The occasion of this prosecution was as follows:

Soon after the disastrous battle of Chærone'a, Ctes'iphon, an Athenian citizen, proposed that a golden crown [Footnote: It was customary with the Athenians, and some other Greeks also, to honor their most meritorious citizens with a chaplet of olive interwoven with gold, and this was called a "golden crown."] should be bestowed upon Demosthenes, in the public theatre, on the occasion of the Dionysiac festival, as a reward for his patriotism and public services. The special service for which the reward was proposed was the rebuilding of the walls of Athens by Demosthenes, partially at his own expense. After the Athenian Senate had acquiesced in the measure, Æschines, the rival of Demosthenes, brought an accusation against Ctesiphon for a violation of the law, in that, among other things charged, it was illegal to crown an official intrusted with the public moneys before he had rendered an account of his office--a proceeding which prevented the carrying of Ctesiphon's proposal to the people for a final decision. Thus the matter slumbered during a period of six years, when it was revived by Æschines, who thought he saw, in the success of the Macedonian arms--on which all his personal and political hopes were staked--a grand opportunity to crush his great rival. He now, therefore, brought the charges against Ctesiphon to trial. Although the latter was the nominal defendant in the case, and Demosthenes was only his counsel, it was well understood that the real object of attack was Demosthenes himself, his whole policy and administration; and a vast concourse of people flocked to Athens to hear the two most celebrated orators in the world. A jury of not less than five hundred, chosen from the citizens at large, was impaneled by the archon; and before a dense and breathless audience the pleadings began.

The Oration of Æschines against Ctesiphon.

Æschines introduces his oration with the following brief exordium: "You see, Athenians, what forces are prepared, what numbers gathered and arrayed, what soliciting through the assembly, by a certain party--and all this to oppose the fair and ordinary course of justice in the state. As to me, I stand here in firm reliance, first on the immortal gods, next on the laws and you, convinced that faction never can have greater weight with you than law and justice."

After Æschines had dwelt at length, and with great ability, upon the nature of the offence with which Ctesiphon is charged, the laws applicable to it, and the supposed evasions of Demosthenes in his reply, he reads the decree of the senate in favor of the bestowment of the crown, in the following words:

"And the herald shall make proclamation in the theatre, in presence of the Greeks, that the community of Athens hath crowned him, on account of his virtue and magnanimity, and for his constant and inviolable attachment to the interests of the state, through the course of all his counsels and administration."

This gives the orator the opportunity to enter upon an extended review of the public life and character of Demosthenes, in which he boldly charges him with cowardice in the battle of Chæronea, with bribery and fraud in his public administration, and declares him to have been the prime cause of innumerable calamities that had befallen his country. He says:

"It is my part, as the prosecutor, to satisfy you on this point, that the praises bestowed on Demosthenes are false; that there never was a time in which he even began as a faithful counselor, far from persevering in any course of conduct advantageous to the state.

"It remains that I produce some instances of his abandoned flattery. For one whole year did Demosthenes enjoy the honor of a senator; and yet in all that time it never appears that he moved to grant precedency to any ministers; for the first time--the only time--he conferred this distinction on the ministers of Philip; he servilely attended, to accommodate them with his cushions and his carpets; by the dawn of day he conducted them to the theatre, and, by his indecent and abandoned adulation, raised a universal uproar of derision. When they were on their departure toward Thebes, he hired three teams of mules, and conducted them in state into that city. Thus did he expose his country to ridicule.

"And yet this abject, this enormous flatterer, when he had been the first that received advice of Philip's death from the emissaries of Charide'mus, pretended a divine vision, and, with a shameless lie, declared that this intelligence had been conveyed to him, not by Charidemus, but by Jupiter and Minerva. Thus he dared to boast that these divinities, by whom he had sworn falsely in the day, had descended to hold communication with him in the night, and to inform him of futurity. Seven days had now scarcely elapsed since the death of his daughter when this wretch, before he had performed the usual rites of mourning--before he had duly paid her funeral honors--crowned his head with a chaplet, put on his white robe, made a solemn sacrifice in despite of law and decency; and this when he had lost his child, the first, the only child that had ever called him by the tender name of father. I say not this to insult his misfortunes; I mean but to display his real character. For he who hates his children, he who is a bad parent, cannot possibly prove a good minister. He who is insensible to that natural affection which should engage his heart to those who are most intimate and near to him, can never feel a greater regard to your welfare than to that of strangers. He who acts wickedly in private life cannot prove excellent in his public conduct; he who is base at home, can never acquit himself with honor when sent to a strange country in a public character. For it is not the man, but the scene that changes.

"Is not this, our state, the common refuge of the Greeks, once the great resort of all the ambassadors from the several cities sent to implore our protection as their sure resource, now obliged to contend, not for sovereign authority, but for our native land? And to these circumstances have we been gradually reduced, from that time when Demosthenes first assumed the administration. Well doth the poet Hesiod refer to such men, in one part of his works, where he points out the duty of citizens, and warns all societies to guard effectually against evil ministers. I shall repeat his words; for I presume we treasured up the sayings of poets in our memory when young, that in our riper years we might apply them to advantage.

"'When one man's crimes the wrath of Heaven provoke,
Oft hath a nation felt the fatal stroke.
Contagion's blast destroys at Jove's command,
And wasteful famine desolates the land.
Or, in the field of war, her boasted powers
Are lost, and earth receives her prostrate towers.
In vain in gorgeous state her navies ride,
Dashed, wrecked, and buried in the boist'rous tide.'

"Take away the measure of these verses, consider only the sentiment, and you will fancy that you hear, not some part of Hesiod, but a prophecy of the administration of Demosthenes; for true it is, that both fleets and armies, and whole cities, have been completely destroyed by his administration.

"Which, think ye, was the more worthy citizen--Themistocles, who commanded your fleet when you defeated the Persian in the sea-fight at Salamis, or this Demosthenes, who deserted from his post? Miltiades, who conquered the barbarians at Marathon, or this man? The chiefs who led back the people from Phy'le; Aristides, surnamed the Just, or Demosthenes? No; by the powers of heaven, I deem the names of these heroes too noble to be mentioned in the same day with that of this savage! And let Demosthenes show, when he comes to his reply, if ever decree was made for granting a golden crown to them. Was then the state ungrateful? No; but she thought highly of her own dignity. And these citizens, who were not thus honored, appear to have been truly worthy of such a state; for they imagined that they were not to be honored by public records, but by the memories of those they had obliged; and their honors have there remained, from that time down to this day, in characters indelible and immortal. There were citizens in those days who, being stationed at the river Strymon, there patiently endured a long series of toils and dangers, and at length gained a victory over the Medes. At their return they petitioned the people for a reward; and a reward was conferred upon them (then deemed of great importance) by erecting three memorials of stone in the usual portico, on which, however, their names were not inscribed, lest this might seem a monument erected to the honor of the commanders, not to that of the people. For the truth of this I appeal to the inscriptions. That on the first statue was expressed thus:

"'Great souls! who fought near Strymon's rapid tide,
And braved the invader's arm, and quelled his pride,
Ei'on's high towers confess'd the glorious deed,
And saw dire famine waste the vanquished Mede.
Such was our vengeance on the barb'rous host,
And such the generous toils our heroes boast.'

"This was the inscription on the second:

"'This the reward which grateful Athens gives!
Here still the patriot and the hero lives!
Here let the rising age with rapture gaze,
And emulate the glorious deeds they praise.'

"On the third was the inscription:

"'Mnes'the-us hence led forth his chosen train,
And poured the war o'er hapless Ilion's plain.
'Twas his (so speaks the bard's immortal lay)
To form the embodied host in firm array.
Such were our sons! Nor yet shall Athens yield
The first bright honors of the sanguine field.
Still, nurse of heroes! still the praise is thine,
Of every glorious toil, of every art divine.'

"In these do we find the name of the general? No; but that of the people. Fancy yourselves transported to the grand portico; for, in this your place of assembling, the monuments of all great actions are erected in full view. There we find a picture of the battle of Marathon. Who was the general in this battle? To this question you will all answer--Miltiades. And yet his name is not inscribed. How? Did he not petition for such an honor? He did petition; but the people refused to grant it. Instead of inscribing his name, they consented that he should be drawn in the foreground, encouraging his soldiers. In like manner, in the temple of the great Mother adjoining the senate-house, you may see the honors paid to those who brought our exiles back from Phyle; nor were even these granted precipitately, but after an exact previous examination by the senate into the numbers of those who maintained their post there, when the Lacedæmonians and the Thirty marched to attack them--not of those who fled from their post at Chæronea on the first appearance of an enemy." Æschines closes his very able and brilliant oration with the following words:

"And now bear witness for me, thou Earth, thou Sun, O Virtue
and Intelligence, and thou, O Erudition, which teachest us the
just distinction between vice and goodness, that I have stood
up, that I have spoken in the cause of justice. If I have supported
my prosecution with a dignity befitting its importance, I have
spoken as my wishes dictated; if too deficiently, as my abilities
admitted. Let what hath now been offered, and what your own
thoughts must supply, be duly weighed, and pronounce such a
sentence as justice and the interests of the state demand."
  --Trans. by THOMAS LELAND, D.D.

Æschines was immediately followed by Demosthenes in a reply which has been considered "the greatest speech of the greatest orator in the world." The historian GROTE speaks of "the encomiums which have been pronounced upon it with one voice, both in ancient and modern times, as the unapproachable masterpiece of Grecian oratory." It has been styled, from the occasion on which it was delivered,

The Oration of Demosthenes on the Crown.

The orator opens his defence against the charges brought forward by his adversary with the following exordium, which Quintil'ian commends for its modesty:

"I begin, men of Athens, by praying to every god and goddess that the same good-will which I have ever cherished toward the Commonwealth, and all of you, may be requited to me on the present trial. I pray likewise--and this specially concerns yourselves, your religion, and your honor--that the gods may put it in your minds, not to take counsel of my opponent touching the manner in which I am to be heard [Footnote: Æschines had requested that Demosthenes should be "confined to the same method in his defence" which he, Æschines, had pursued in his charges against him.]--that would indeed be cruel!--but of the laws and of your oath; wherein (besides the other obligations) it is prescribed that you shall hear both sides alike. This means, not only that you must pass no pre-condemnation, not only that you must extend your good-will equally to both, but also that you must allow the parties to adopt such order and course of defence as they severally choose and prefer.

"Many advantages hath Æschines over me on this trial; and two especially, men of Athens. First, our risk in the contest is not the same. It is assuredly not the same for me to forfeit your regard as for my adversary not to succeed in his indictment. To me--but I will say nothing untoward at the outset of my address. The prosecution, however, is play to him. My second disadvantage is the natural disposition of mankind to take pleasure in hearing invective and accusation, and to be annoyed by them who praise themselves. To Æschines is assigned the part which gives pleasure; that which is (I may fairly say) offensive to all, is left for me. And if, to escape from this, I make no mention of what I have done, I shall appear to be without defence against his charges, without proof of my claims to honor; whereas, if I proceed to give an account of my conduct and measures, I shall be forced to speak frequently of myself. I will endeavor, then, to do so with becoming modesty. What I am driven to by the necessity of the case will be fairly chargeable to my opponent, who has instituted such a prosecution.

"I think, men of the jury, you will all agree that I, as well as Ctesiphon, am a party to this proceeding, and that it is a matter of no less concern to me than to him. It is painful and grievous to be deprived of anything, especially by the act of one's enemy; but your good-will and affection are the heaviest loss precisely as they are the greatest prize to gain.

"Had Æschines confined his charge to the subject of the prosecution, I too would have proceeded at once to my justification of the decree. [Footnote: The decree of the senate procured by Ctesiphon in favor of Demosthenes.] But since he has wasted no fewer words in the discussion, in most of them calumniating me, I deem it both necessary and just, men of Athens, to begin by shortly adverting to these points, that none of you may be induced by extraneous arguments to shut your ears against my defence to the indictment.

"To all his scandalous abuse about my private life observe my plain and obvious answer. If you know me to be such as he alleged--for I have lived nowhere else but among you--let not my voice be heard, however transcendent my statesmanship. Rise up this instant and condemn me. But if, in your opinion and judgment, I am far better and of better descent than my adversary; if (to speak without offence) I am not inferior, I or mine, to any respectable citizens, then give no credit to him for his other statements; it is plain they were all equally fictions; but to me let the same good-will which you have uniformly exhibited upon many former trials be manifested now. With all your malice, Æschines, it was very simple to suppose that I should turn from the discussion of measures and policy to notice your scandal. I will do no such thing. I am not so crazed. Your lies and calumnies about my political life I will examine forthwith. For that loose ribaldry I shall have a word hereafter, if the jury desire to hear it.

"If the crimes which Æschines saw me committing against the state were as heinous as he so tragically gave out, he ought to have enforced the penalties of the law against them at the time; if he saw me guilty of an impeachable offence, by impeaching and so bringing me to trial before you; if moving illegal decrees, by indicting me for them. For surely, if he can indict Ctesiphon on my account, he would not have forborne to indict me myself had he thought he could convict me. In short, whatever else he saw me doing to your prejudice, whether mentioned or not mentioned in his catalogue of slander, there are laws for such things, and trials, and judgments, with sharp and severe penalties, all of which he might have enforced against me; and, had he done so--had he thus pursued the proper method with me--his charges would have been consistent with his conduct. But now he has declined the straightforward and just course, avoided all proofs of guilt at the time, and after this long interval gets up to play his part withal--a heap of accusation, ribaldry, and scandal. Then he arraigns me, but prosecutes the defendant. His hatred of me he makes the prominent part of the whole contest; yet, without having ever met me upon that ground, he openly seeks to deprive a third party of his privileges. Now, men of Athens, besides all the other arguments that may be urged in Ctesiphon's behalf, this, methinks, may very fairly be alleged--that we should try our quarrel by ourselves; not leave our private dispute and look what third party we can damage. That, surely, were the height of injustice."

Demosthenes now enters upon an elaborate review of the history of Athens from the beginning of the Phocian war, his own relations thereto, and the charges of Æschines in connection therewith, fortifying his defence with numerous citations from public documents, and boldly arraigning the political principles and policy of his opponent, whom he accuses of being in frequent communication with the emissaries of Philip--"a spy by nature, and an enemy to his country." In the following terms he speaks of his own public services, and reminds Æschines that the people do not forget them:

"Many great and glorious enterprises has the Commonwealth, Æschines, undertaken and succeeded in through me; and she did not forget them. Here is the proof. On the election of a person to speak the funeral oration immediately after the event, you were proposed; but the people would not have you, notwithstanding your fine voice; nor Dema'des, though he had just made the peace; nor He-ge'mon, nor any other of your party--but me. And when you and Pyth'ocles came forward in a brutal and shameful manner (oh, merciful Heaven!) and urged the same accusations against me which you now do, and abused me, they elected me all the more. The reason--you are not ignorant of it, yet I will tell you. The Athenians knew as well the loyalty and zeal with which I conducted their affairs as the dishonesty of you and your party; for what you denied upon oath in our prosperity you confessed in the misfortunes of the republic. They considered, therefore, that men who got security for their politics by the public disasters had been their enemies long before, and were then avowedly such. They thought it right, also, that the person who was to speak in honor of the fallen, and celebrate their valor, should not have sat under the same roof or at the same table with their antagonists; that he should not revel there and sing a pæan over the calamities of Greece in company with their murderers, and then come here and receive distinction; that he should not with his voice act the mourner of their fate, but that he should lament over them with his heart. And such sincerity they found in themselves and me, but not in any of you: therefore they elected me, and not you. Nor, while the people felt thus, did the fathers and brothers of the deceased, who were chosen by the people to perform their obsequies, feel differently. For having to order the funeral (according to custom) at the house of the nearest relative of the deceased, they ordered it at mine --and with reason: because, though each to his own was nearer of kin than I was, no one was so near to them all collectively. He that had the deepest interest in their safety and success must surely feel the deepest sorrow at their unhappy and unmerited misfortune. Read the epitaph inscribed upon their monument by public authority. In this, Æschines, you will find a proof of your absurdity, your malice, your abandoned baseness. Read!

The Epitaph.

"'These are the patriot brave who, side by side,
Stood to their arms and dashed the foeman's pride:
Firm in their valor, prodigal of life,
Hades they chose the arbiter of strife;
That Greeks might ne'er to haughty victors bow,
Nor thraldom's yoke, nor dire oppression know,
They, fought, they bled, and on their country's breast
(Such was the doom of Heaven) these warriors rest:
Gods never lack success, nor strive in vain,
But man must suffer what the Fates ordain.'

"Do you hear, Æschines, in this very inscription, that 'the gods never lack success, nor strive in vain?' Not to the statesman does it ascribe the power of giving victory in battle, but to the gods. But one thing, O Athenians, surprised me more than all--that, when Æschines mentioned the late misfortunes of the country, he felt not as became a well-disposed and upright citizen; he shed no tear, experienced no such emotion: with a loud voice, exulting and straining his throat, he imagined apparently that he was accusing me, while he was giving proof against himself that our distresses touched him not.

"Two things, men of Athens, are characteristic of a well-disposed citizen; so may I speak of myself and give the least offence. In authority his constant aim should be the dignity and pre-eminence of the Commonwealth; in all times and circumstances his spirit should be loyal. This depends upon nature; power and might upon other things. Such a spirit, you will find, I have ever sincerely cherished. Only see! When my person was demanded--when they brought Amphictyonic suits against me--when they menaced--when they promised--when they set these miscreants like wild beasts upon me--never in any way have I abandoned my affection for you. From the very beginning I chose an honest and straightforward course in politics, to support the honor, the power, the glory of my fatherland; these to exalt, in these to have my being. I do not walk about the market-place gay and cheerful because the stranger has prospered, holding out my right hand and congratulating those who I think will report it yonder, and on any news of our own success shudder and groan and stoop to the earth like these impious men who rail at Athens, as if in so doing they did not rail at themselves; who look abroad, and if the foreigner thrives by the distresses of Greece, are thankful for it, and say we should keep him so thriving to all time.

"Never, O ye gods, may those wishes be confirmed by you! If possible, inspire even in these men a better sense and feeling! But if they are indeed incurable, destroy them by themselves; exterminate them on land and sea; and for the rest of us, grant that we may speedily be released from our present fears, and enjoy a lasting deliverance." [Footnote: Lord Brougham says that "the music of this closing passage (in the original) is almost as fine as the sense is impressive and grand, and the manner dignified and calm," and he admits the difficulty of preserving this in a translation. His own translation of the passage is as follows: "Let not, O gracious God, let not such conduct receive any measure of sanction from thee! Rather plant even in these men a better spirit and better feelings! But if they are wholly incurable, then pursue them, yea, themselves by themselves, to utter and untimely perdition, by land and by sea; and to us who are spared, vouchsafe to grant the speediest rescue from our impending alarms, and an unshaken security."]

Æschines lost his case, and, not having obtained a fifth part of the votes, became himself liable to a penalty, and soon left the country in disgrace.


When the intelligence of Alexander's death reached Greece the country was already on the eve of a revolution against Antip'ater. Athens found little difficulty in uniting several of the states with herself in a confederacy against him, and met with some successes in what is known as the La'mian war. But the movement was short-lived, as Antipater completely annihilated the confederate army in the battle of Cran'non (322 B.C.). Athens was directed to abolish her democratic form of government, pay the expenses of the war, and surrender a number of her most famous men, including Demosthenes. The latter, however, escaped from Athens, and sought refuge in the Temple of Poseidon, in the island of Calaure'a. Here he took poison, and expired as he was being led from the temple by a satellite of Antipater.

The sudden death of Alexander left the government in a very unsettled condition. As he had appointed no successor, immediately following his death a council of his generals was held, and the following division of his conquests was agreed upon: Ptolemy Soter was to have Egypt and the adjacent countries; Macedonia and Greece were divided between Antipater and Crat'erus; Antig'onus was given Phrygia, Lycia, and Pamphyl'ia; Lysim'achus was granted Thrace; and Eume'nes was given Cappadocia and Paphlagonia. Soon after this division Perdic'cas, then the most powerful of the generals who retained control in the East, and had the custody of the infant Alexander, proclaimed himself regent, and at once set out on a career of conquest. Antigonus, Antipater, Craterus, and Ptolemy leagued against him, however, and in 321, after an unsuccessful campaign in Egypt, Perdiccas was murdered by his own officers.

Antipater died in 318, and shortly after his death his son Cassander made himself master of Greece and Macedon, and caused the surviving members of Alexander's family to be put to death. Antigonus had, before this time, conquered Eumenes, and overrun Syria and Asia Minor; but his increasing power led Ptolemy, Seleu'cus, Lysimachus, and Cassander to unite against him; and they fought with him the famous battle of Ipsus, in Phrygia, that ended in the death of Antigonus and the dissolution of his empire (301 B.C.). A new partition of the country was now made into four independent kingdoms: Ptolemy was given Egypt and Libya; Seleucus received the countries embraced in the eastern conquests of Alexander, and the whole region between the coast of Syria and the river Euphrates; Lysimachus received the northern and western portions of Asia Minor, and Cassander retained the sovereignty of Greece and Macedon.

Of these kingdoms the most powerful were Syria and Egypt; the former of which continued under the dynasty of the Seleucidæ, and the latter under that of the Ptolemies, until both were absorbed by the Roman empire. Of all the Ptolemies, Ptolemy Philadelphus was the most eminent. He was not only a sovereign of ability, but was also distinguished for his amiable qualities of mind, for his encouragement of the arts and commerce, and he was called the richest and most powerful monarch of his age. He was born in 309 B.C. and died in 247. The Greek poet THEOCRITUS, who lived much at his court, thus characterizes him:

What is his character? A royal spirit
To point out genius and encourage merit;
The poet's friend, humane and good and kind;
Of manners gentle, and of generous mind.
He marks his friend, but more he marks his foe;
His hand is ever ready to bestow:
Request with reason, and he'll grant the thing,
And what be gives, he gives it like a king.

The poet then sings the praises of the king, and describes the strength, the wealth, and the magnificence of his kingdom, in the following striking lines:

Here, too, O Ptolemy, beneath thy sway
What cities glitter to the beams of day!
Lo! with thy statelier pomp no kingdom vies,
While round thee thrice ten thousand cities rise.
Struck by the terror of thy flashing sword,
Syria bowed down, Arabia called thee Lord;
Phoenicia trembled, and the Libyan plain,
With the black Ethiop, owned thy wide domain:
E'en Lesser Asia and her isles grew pale
As o'er the billows passed thy crowd of sail.

Earth feels thy nod, and all the subject sea;
And each resounding river rolls for thee.
And while, around, thy thick battalions flash,
Thy proud steeds neighing for the warlike clash--
Through all thy marts the tide of commerce flows,
And wealth beyond a monarch's grandeur glows.
Such gold-haired Ptolemy! whose easy port
Speaks the soft polish of the mannered court;
And whose severer aspect, as he wields
The spear, dire-blazing, frowns in tented fields.

And though he guards, while other kingdoms own
His conquering arms, the hereditary throne,
Yet in vast heaps no useless treasure stored
Lies, like the riches of an emmet's hoard;
To mighty kings his bounty he extends,
To states confederate and illustrious friends.
No bard at Bacchus' festival appears,
Whose lyre has power to charm the ravished ears,
But he bright honors and rewards imparts,
Due to his merits, equal to his arts;
And poets hence, for deathless song renowned,
The generous fame of Ptolemy resound.
At what more glorious can the wealthy aim
Than thus to purchase fair and lasting fame?
  --Trans. by FAWKES.

Cassander survived the establishment of his power in Greece only four years, and as his sons quarreled over the succession; Demetrius, son of Antigonus, seized the opportunity to interfere in their disputes, cut off the brother who had invited his aid, and made himself master of the throne of Macedon, which was held by him and his posterity, except during a brief interruption after his death, down to the time of the Roman Conquest. For a number of years succeeding the death of Demetrius, Macedon, Greece, and western Asia were harassed with the wars excited by the various aspirants to power; and in this situation of affairs a storm, unseen in the distance, but that had long been gathering, suddenly burst upon Macedon, threatening to convert, by its ravages, the whole Grecian peninsula into a scene of desolation.


A vast horde of Celtic barbarians had for some time been collecting around the head-waters of the Adriatic. Influenced by hopes of plunder they now overran Macedon to the borders of Thessaly, defeating Ptolemy Ceraunus, then King of Macedonia, in a great battle. The walled towns alone held out until the storm had spent its fury, when the Celts gradually withdrew from a country in which there was but little left to tempt their cupidity. But in the following year (279 B.C.) another band of them, estimated at over two hundred thousand men, overran Macedonia, passed through Thessaly, defeated the allied Grecians at Thermopylæ, and then marched into Phocis, for the purpose of plundering the treasures of Delphi. But their atrocities aroused against them the whole population, and only a remnant of them gained their original seats on the Adriatic.

The throne of Macedon now found an enemy in Pyrrhus, King of Epirus, a connection of the royal family of Macedon, and of whose exploits Roman history furnishes a full account. A desultory contest was maintained for several years between Pyrrhus and Antigonus II., the son of Demetrius, and then King of Macedon. While Pyrrhus was engaged in this war, Cleon'ymus, of the blood royal of Sparta, who had been excluded from the throne by the Spartan people, to give place to A'reus, invited Pyrrhus to his aid. Pyrrhus marched to Sparta, and, supposing that he should not meet with any resistance, ordered his tents to be pitched, and sat quietly down before the city. Night coming on, the Spartans in consternation met in council, and resolved to send their women to Crete for safety. Thereupon the women assembled and remonstrated against it; and the queen, Archidami'a, being appointed to speak for the rest, went into the council-hall with a sword in her hand, and boldly upbraiding the men, told them they did their wives great wrong if they thought them so faint-hearted as to live after Sparta was destroyed. The women then rushed to the defences of the city, and spent the night aiding the men in digging trenches; and when Pyrrhus attacked on the morrow, he was so severely repulsed that he soon abandoned the siege and retired from Laconia. The patriotic spirit and heroism of the Spartan women on this occasion are well characterized in the following lines:

Queen Archidami'a.

The chiefs were met in the council-hall;
  Their words were sad and few,
They were ready to fight, and ready to fall,
  As the sons of heroes do.

And moored in the harbor of Gyth'e-um lay
  The last of the Spartan fleet,
That should bear the Spartan women away
  To the sunny shores of Crete.

Their hearts went back to the days of old;
  They thought of the world-wide shock,
When the Persian hosts like an ocean rolled
  To the foot of the Grecian rock;

And they turned their faces, eager and pale,
  To the rising roar in the street,
As if the clank of the Spartan mail
  Were the tramp of the conqueror's feet.

It was Archidamia, the Spartan queen,
  Brave as her father's steel;
She stood like the silence that comes between
  The flash and the thunder-peal.

She looked in the eyes of the startled crowd;
  Calmly she gazed around;
Her voice was neither low nor loud,
  But it rang like her sword on the ground.

"Spartans!" she said--and her woman's face
  Flushed out both pride and shame--
"I ask, by the memory of your race,
  Are ye worthy of the name?

"Ye have bidden us seek new hearths and graves,
  Beyond the reach of the foe;
And now, by the dash of the blue sea-waves,
  We swear that we will not go!

"Is the name of Pyrrhus to blanch your cheeks?
  Shall he burn, and kill, and destroy?
Are ye not sons of the deathless Greeks
  Who fired the gates of Troy?

"What though his feet have scathless stood
  In the rush of the Punic foam?
Though his sword be red to its hilt with the blood
  That has beat at the heart of Rome?

"Brothers and sons! we have reared you men:
  Our walls are the ocean swell;
Our winds blew keen down the rocky glen
  Where the staunch Three Hundred fell.

"Our hearts are drenched in the wild sea-flow,
  In the light of the hills and the sky;
And the Spartan women, if need be so,
  Will teach the men to die.

"We are brave men's mothers, and brave men's wives:
  We are ready to do and dare;
We are ready to man your walls with our lives,
  And string your bows with our hair.

"Let the young and brave lie down to-night,
  And dream of the brave old dead,
Their broad shields bright for to-morrow's fight,
  Their swords beneath their head.

"Our breasts are better than bolts and bars;
  We neither wail nor weep;
We will light our torches at the stars,
  And work while our warriors sleep.

"We hold not the iron in our blood
  Viler than strangers' gold;
The memory of our motherhood
  Is not to be bought and sold.

"Shame to the traitor heart that springs
  To the faint soft arms of Peace,
If the Roman eagle shook his wings
  At the very gates of Greece!

"Ask not the mothers who gave you birth
  To bid you turn and flee;
When Sparta is trampled from the earth
  Her women can die, and be free."

Soon after the repulse at Sparta, Pyrrhus again marched against Antig'onus; but having attacked Argos on the way, and after having entered within the walls, he was killed by a tile thrown by a poor woman from a house-top. The death of Pyrrhus forms an important epoch in Grecian history, as it put an end to the struggle for power among Alexander's successors in the West, and left the field clear for the final contest between the liberties of Greece and the power of Macedon. Antigonus now made himself master of the greater part of Peloponnesus, and then sought to reduce Athens, the defence of which was aided by an Egyptian fleet and a Spartan army. Athens was at length taken (262 B.C.), and all Greece, with the exception of Sparta, seemed to lie helpless at the feet of Antigonus, who little dreamed that the league of a few Achæan cities was to become a formidable adversary to him and his house.


The Achæan League at first comprised twelve towns of Acha'ia, which were associated together for mutual safety, forming a little federal republic. But about twenty years after the death of Pyrrhus other cities gave in their adherence, until the confederacy embraced nearly the whole of the Peloponnesus. Athens had been reduced to great misery by Antigonus, and was in no condition to aid the League, while Sparta vigorously opposed it, and finally succeeded in inducing Corinth and Argos to withdraw from it. Sparta subsequently made war against the Achæans, and by her successes compelled them to call in the aid of the Macedonians, their former enemies. Antigonus readily embraced this opportunity to restore the influence of his family in southern Greece, and, marching against the Lacedæmonians, he obtained a decisive victory which placed Sparta at his mercy; but he used his victory moderately, and granted the Spartans peace on liberal terms (221 B.C.). Antigonus died soon after this success, and was succeeded by his nephew and adopted son, Philip V., a youth of only seventeen. The Æto'lians, a confederacy of rude Grecian tribes, aided by the Spartans, now began a series of unprovoked aggressions on some of the Peloponnesian states. The Messenians, whose territory they had invaded by way of the western coast of Peloponnesus, called upon the Achæans for assistance; and the youthful Philip having been placed at the head of the Achæan League, a general war began between the Macedonians and Achæans on the one side, and the Ætolians and their allies on the other, that continued with great severity and obstinacy for four years. Philip was on the whole successful, but new and more ambitious designs led him to put an end to the unprofitable contest. The great struggle going on between Rome and Carthage attracted his attention, and he thought that an alliance with the latter would open to himself prospects of future conquest and glory. So a treaty was concluded with the Ætolians, which left all the parties to the war in the enjoyment of their respective possessions (217 B.C.), and Philip prepared to enter the field against Rome.

After the battle between Carthage and Rome at Can'næ (216 B.C.), which seemed to have extinguished the last hopes of Rome, Philip sent envoys to Hannibal, the Carthaginian general, and concluded with him a treaty of strict alliance. He next sailed with a fleet up the Adriatic, to assist Deme'trius of Pharos, who had been driven from his Illyrian dominions by the Romans; but while besieging Apollo'nia, a small town in Illyria, he was met and defeated by the Roman prætor M. Vale'rius Lævi'nus, and was forced to burn his ships and retreat overland to Macedon. Such was the issue of his first encounter with the Romans. The latter now turned their attention to Greece (211 B.C.), and contrived to keep Philip busy at home by inciting a violation of the recent treaty with the Ætolians, and by inducing Sparta and Elis to unite in a war against Macedon. Philip was for a time supported by the Achæans, under their renowned leader Philopoe'men; but Athens, which Philip had besieged, called in the aid of a Roman fleet (199 B.C.), and finally the Achæans themselves, being divided into factions, accepted terms of peace with the Romans. Philip continued to struggle against his increasing enemies until his defeat in the great battle of Cynoceph'alæ (197 B.C.), by the Roman consul Titus Flamin'ius, when he purchased peace by the sacrifice of his navy, the payment of a tribute, and the resignation of his supremacy over the Grecian states.

At this time there was a Grecian epigrammatic poet, ALCÆ'US, of Messe'ne, who was an ardent partisan of the Roman consul Flaminius, and who celebrated the defeat of Philip in some of his epigrams. He wrote the following on the expedition of Flaminius:

Xerxes from Persia led his mighty host,
And Titus his from fair Italia's coast.
Both warred with Greece; but here the difference see:
That brought a yoke--this gives us liberty.

He also wrote the following sarcastic epigram on the Macedonians of Philip's army who were slain at Cynocephalæ:

Unmourned, unburied, passenger, we lie,
Three myriad sons of fruitful Thessaly,
In this wide field of monumental clay.
Ætolian Mars had marked us for his prey;
Or he who, bursting from the Ausonian fold,
In Titus' form the waves of battle rolled;
And taught Æma'thia's boastful lord to run
So swift that swiftest stags were by his speed outdone.

Philip is said to have retorted this insult by the following inscription on a tree, in which he pretty plainly states the chastisement Alcæus would receive were he to fall into the hands of his enemy:

Unbarked, and leafless, passenger, you see,
Fixed in this mound Alcæus' gallows-tree.
  --Trans. by J. H. MERIVALE.


At the Isthmian games, held at Corinth the year after the downfall of Philip, the Roman consul Flaminius, a true friend of Greece, under the authority of the Roman Senate caused proclamation to be made, that Rome "took off all impositions and withdrew all garrisons from Greece, and restored liberty, and their own laws and privileges, to the several states" (196 B.C.). The deluded Greeks received this announcement with exultation, and the highest honors which a grateful people could bestow were showered upon Flaminius. [Footnote: See a more full account of the events connected with this proclamation, in Mosaics of Roman History.]

A Roman master stands on Grecian ground,
And to the concourse of the Isthmian games
He, by his herald's voice, aloud proclaims
"The liberty of Greece!" The words rebound
Until all voices in one voice are drowned;
Glad acclamation by which the air was rent!
And birds, high flying in the element,
Dropped to the earth, astonished at the sound!
A melancholy echo of that noise
Doth sometimes hang on musing Fancy's ear.
Ah! that a conqueror's words should be so dear;
Ah! that a boon should shed such rapturous joys!
A gift of that which is not to be given
By all the blended powers of earth and heaven.

The Greeks soon realized that the freedom which Rome affected to bestow was tendered by a power that could withdraw it at pleasure. First, the Ætolians were reduced to poverty and deprived of their independence, for having espoused the cause of Anti'ochus of Syria, the enemy of Rome. At a later period Perseus, the successor of Philip on the throne of Macedon, being driven into a war by Roman ambition, finally lost his kingdom in the battle of Pydna (168 B.C.); and then the Achæans were charged with having aided Macedon in her war with Rome, and, without a shadow of proof against them, one thousand of their worthiest citizens were seized and sent to Rome for trial (167 B.C.). Here they were kept seventeen years without a hearing, when three hundred of their number, all who survived, were restored to their country. These and other acts of cruelty aroused a spirit of vengeance against the Romans, that soon culminated in war. But the Achæans and their allies were defeated by the consul Mum'mius, near Corinth (146 B.C.), and that city, then the richest in Greece, was plundered of its treasures and consigned to the flames. Corinth was specially distinguished for its perfection in the arts of painting and sculpture, and the poet ANTIP'ATER, of Sidon, thus describes the desolation of the city after its destruction by the Romans:

Where, Corinth, are thy glories now--
Thy ancient wealth, thy castled brow,
Thy solemn fanes, thy halls of state,
Thy high-born dames, thy crowded gate?
There's not a ruin left to tell
Where Corinth stood, how Corinth fell.
The Nereids of thy double sea
Alone remain to wail for thee.
  --Trans. by GOLDWIN SMITH.

The last blow to the liberties of the Hellenic race had now been struck, and all Greece, as far as Epi'rus and Macedonia, became a Roman province under the name of Achaia. Says THIRLWALL, "The end of the Achæan war was the last stage of the lingering process by which Rome enclosed her victim in the coils of her insidious diplomacy, covered it with the slime of her sycophants and hirelings, crushed it when it began to struggle, and then calmly preyed upon its vitals." But although Greece had lost her independence, and many of her cities were desolate, or had sunk into insignificance, she still retained her renown for philosophy and the arts, and became the instructor of her conquerors. In the well-known words of HORACE,

When conquered Greece brought in her captive arts,
She triumphed o'er her savage conquerors' hearts.
  -Bk. II. Epistle 1.

As another has said, "She still retained a sovereignty which the Romans could not take from her, and to which they were obliged to pay homage." In whatever quarter Rome turned her victorious arms she encountered Greek colonies speaking the Greek language, and enjoying the arts of civilization. All these were absorbed by her, but they were not lost. They diffused Greek customs, thought, speech, and art over the Latin world, and Hellas survived in the intellectual life of a new empire.





As we have seen in a former chapter, Greek tragedy attained its zenith with the three great masters--Æschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides. As MAHAFFY well says, "Its later annals are but a history of decay; and of the vast herd of latter tragedians two only, and two of the earliest--Ion of Chi'os, and Ag'athon--can be called living figures in a history of Greek literature." Even these, it seems, wrote before Sophocles and Euripides had closed their careers. But few fragments of their genius have come down to us. Longi'nus said of Ion, that he was fluent and polished, rather than bold or sublime; while Agathon has been characterized as "the creator of a new tragic style, combining the verbal elegancies and ethical niceties of the Sophists with artistic claims of a luxurious kind."

While tragedy declined, with comedy the case was different, for its changes were progressive. Most writers divide Greek comedy into the Old, the Middle, and the New; and although the boundary lines between the three orders are very indistinct, each has certain well-defined characteristics. It is asserted, as we have elsewhere noted, that the chief subjects of the first were the politics of the day and the characters and deeds of leading persons; that the chief peculiarity of the second, in which the action of the chorus was much curtailed, was the exclusion of personal and political criticism, and the adoption of parodies of the gods and ridicule of certain types of character; and that the New Comedy, in which the chorus disappeared, aimed to paint scenes and characters of domestic life. The Middle Comedy, however, still continued to be in some degree personal and political, and even in the New Comedy these features of the Old are frequently apparent.

Aristoph'anes, the leader of the Old Comedy, toward the close of his life produced The Frogs--a work that signalized the transition from the Old to the Middle Comedy. The latter school, however, took its rise in Sicily, and its most distinguished authors were Antiph'anes, probably of Athens, born in 404, and Alex'is of Thu'rii, born about 394. The New Comedy arose after Athens had fallen under Macedonian supremacy, and as many as sixty-four poets belong to this period, the later of whom composed their plays in Alexandria, in the time of Alexander's successors. The founder of this school was Phile'mon of Soli, in Cilicia, born about 360 B.C. Of his ninety plays fragments of fifty-six remain. The majority of these have been described as "elegant but not profound reflections on the 'changes and chances of this mortal life.'" A late critic chooses the following fragment as illustrative of Philemon, and at the same time favorable to his reputation:

Have faith in God, and fear; seek not to know him;
For thou wilt gain naught else beyond thy search;
Whether he is or is not, shun to ask:
As one who is, and sees thee, always fear him.
  --Trans. by J. A. SYMONDS.


The acknowledged master and representative of this period, however, and the last of the classical poets of Greece, was Menan'der, an Athenian, son of Diopi'thes, the general whom Demosthenes defended in his speech "On the Chersonese," and a nephew of the poet Alexis. Menander was born in 342 B.C.; and although only fragments of his writings exist, he was so closely copied or imitated by the Roman comic poets that his style and character can be very clearly traced. MR. SYMONDS thus describes him: "His personal beauty, the love of refined pleasure that distinguished him in life, the serene and genial temper of his wisdom, the polish of his verse, and the harmony of parts he observed in composition, justify us in calling Menander the Sophocles of comedy. If we were to judge by the fragments transmitted to us, we should have to say that Menander's comedy was ethical philosophy in verse; so mature is its wisdom, so weighty its language, so grave its tone. The brightness of the beautiful Greek spirit is sobered down in him almost to sadness. Yet the fact that Stobæ'us found him a fruitful source of sententious quotations, and that alphabetical anthologies were made of his proverbial sayings, ought not to obscure his fame for drollery and humor. If old men appreciated his genial or pungent worldly wisdom, boys and girls read him, we are told, for his love-stories."

Menander was an intimate friend of Epicu'rus, the philosopher, and is supposed to have adopted his teachings. On this point, however, MR. SYMONDS thus remarks: "Speaking broadly, the philosophy in vogue at Athens during the period of the New Comedy was what in modern days is known as Epicureanism. Yet it would be unjust to confound the grave and genial wisdom of Menander with so trivial a philosophy as that which may be summed up in the sentence 'eat and drink, for to-morrow we die.' A fragment from an unknown play of his expresses the pathos of human existence with a depth of feeling that is inconsistent with mere pleasure-seeking:

"'When thou would'st know thyself, what man thou art,
Look at the tombstones as thou passest by:
Within those monuments lie bones and dust
Of monarchs, tyrants, sages, men whose pride
Rose high because of wealth, or noble blood,
Or haughty soul, or loveliness of limb;
Yet none of these things strove for them 'gainst time;
One common death hath ta'en all mortal men.
See thou to this, and know thee who thou art.'"

As EUGENE LAWRENCE says: "Most modern comedies are founded on those of Menander. They revive their characters, repeat their jokes, transplant their humor; and the wit of Molière, Shakspeare, or Sheridan is often the same that once awoke shouts of laughter on the Attic stage."


Thence to the famous orators repair,
Those ancient, whose resistless eloquence
Wielded at will that fierce democracy,
Shook the arsenal, and fulmined over Greece
To Macedon and Artaxerxes' throne.

Eloquence, or oratory, which Cicero calls "the friend of peace and the companion of tranquillity, requiring for her cradle a commonwealth already well-established and flourishing," was fostered and developed in Greece by the democratic character of her institutions. It was scarcely known there until the time of Themistocles, the first orator of note; and in the time of Pericles it suddenly rose, in Athens, to a great height of perfection. Pericles himself, whose great aim was to sway the assemblies of the people to his will, cultivated oratory with such application and success, that the poets of his day said of him that on some occasions the goddess of persuasion, with all her charms, seemed to dwell on his lips; and that, at other times, his discourse had all the vehemence of thunder to move the souls of his hearers. The golden age of Grecian eloquence is embraced in a period of one hundred and thirty years from the time of Pericles, and during this period Athens bore the palm alone.

Of the many Athenian orators the most distinguished were Lys'ias, Isoc'rates, Æschines, and Demosthenes. The first was born about 435 B.C., and was admired for the perspicuity, purity, sweetness, and delicacy of his style. Having become a resident of Thurii in early life, on his return to Athens he was not allowed to speak in the assemblies, or courts of justice, and therefore wrote orations for others to deliver. Many of these are characterized by great energy and power. Dionysius, the Roman historian and critic, praises Lysias for his grace; Cicero commends him for his subtlety; and Quintilian esteems him for his truthfulness. Isocrates was born at Athens in 436. Having received the instructions of some of the most celebrated Sophists of his time, he opened a school of rhetoric, and was equally esteemed for the excellence of his compositions--mostly political orations--and for his success in teaching. His style was more philosophic, smooth, and elegant than that of Lysias. "Cicero," says a modern critic, "whose style is exceedingly like that of Isocrates, appears to have especially used him as a model--as indeed did Demosthenes; and through these two orators he has moulded all the prose of modern Europe." Isocrates lived to the advanced age of ninety-eight, and then died, it is said, by voluntary starvation, in grief for the fatal battle of Chæronea.

            "That dishonest victory.
At Chæronea, fatal to liberty,
Killed with report that old man eloquent."


The orator Æschines was born in 398 B.C. He is regarded as the father of extemporaneous speaking among the Greeks, but is chiefly distinguished as the rival of Demosthenes, rather than for his few orations (but three in number) that have come down to us, although he was endowed by nature with extraordinary rhetorical powers, and his orations are characterized by ease, order, clearness, and precision. "The eloquence of Æschines," says an American scholar and statesman, [Footnote: Hugh S. Legaré, of Charleston, South Carolina, in an article on "Demosthenes" in the New York Review.] "is of a brilliant and showy character, running occasionally, though very rarely, into a Ciceronean declamation. In general his taste is unexceptionable; he is clear in statement, close and cogent in argument, lucid in arrangement, remarkably graphic and animated in style, and full of spirit and pleasantry, without the least appearance of emphasis or effort. He is particularly successful in description and the portraiture of character. That his powers were appreciated by his great rival is evident from the latter's frequent admonitions to the assembly to remember that their debates are no theatrical exhibitions of voice and oratory, but deliberations involving the safety of their country."

On leaving Athens, after his defeat in the celebrated contest with Demosthenes, Æschines went to Rhodes, where he established a school of rhetoric. It is stated that on one occasion he began his instruction by reading the two orations that had been the cause of his banishment. His hearers loudly applauded his own speech, but when he read that of Demosthenes they were wild with delight. "If you thus praise it from my reading it," exclaimed Æschines, "what would you have said if you had heard Demosthenes himself deliver it?"

By the common consent of ancient and modern times, Demosthenes stands pre-eminent for his eloquence, his patriotism, and his influence over the Athenian people. He was born about 383 B.C. On attaining his majority, his first speech was directed against a cousin to whom his inheritance had been intrusted, and who refused to surrender to him what was left of it. Demosthenes won his case, and his victory brought him into such prominent notice that he was soon engaged to write pleadings for litigants in the courts. He devoted himself to incessant study and practice in oratory, and, overcoming by various means a weakly body and an impediment in his speech, he became the chief of orators. Of his public life we have already seen something in the history of Athens. With all his moral and intellectual force, the closing years of his life were shaded with misery and disgrace. Fifty years after his death the Athenians erected a bronze statue to his memory, and upon the pedestal placed this inscription:

Divine in speech, in judgment, too, divine,
Had valor's wreath, Demosthenes, been thine,
Fair Greece had still her freedom's ensign borne,
And held the scourge of Macedon in scorn!

With regard to the character of the orations of Demosthenes, it must be confessed that somewhat conflicting views have been entertained by the moderns. LORD BROUGHAM, while admitting that Demosthenes "never wanders from the subject, that each remark tells upon the matter in hand, that all his illustrations are brought to bear upon the point, and that he is never found making a step in any direction which does not advance his main object, and lead toward the conclusion to which he is striving to bring his hearers," still denies that he is distinguished for those "chains of reasoning," and that "fine argumentation" which are the chief merit of our greatest modern orators. While he admits that Demosthenes abounds in the most "appropriate topics, and such happy hits--to use a homely but expressive phrase--as have a magical effect upon a popular assembly, and that he clothes them in the choicest language, arranges them in the most perfect order, and captivates the ear with a music that is fitted, at his will, to provoke or to soothe, and even to charm the sense," he regards all this as better suited to great popular assemblies than to a more refined, and a more select audience--such as one composed of learned senators and judges. But this is admitting that he adapted himself, with admirable tact and judgment, to the subject and the occasion. But while the character thus attributed to the orations of the great Athenian orator may be the true one, as regards the Philippics, the speech against Æschines, and the one on the Crown, it is not thought to be applicable to the many pleas which he made on occasions more strictly judicial.

"That which distinguishes the eloquence of Demosthenes above all others, ancient or modern," says the American writer already quoted, "is earnestness, conviction, and the power to persuade that belongs to a strong and deep persuasion felt by the speaker. It is what Milton defines true eloquence to be, 'none but the serious and hearty love of truth'--or, more properly, what the speaker believes to be truth. This advantage Demosthenes had over Æschines. He had faith in his country, faith in her people (if they could be roused up), faith in her institutions. He is mad at the bare thought that a man of Macedon, a barbarian, should be beating Athenians in the field, and giving laws to Greece. The Roman historian and critic, Dionysius, said of his oratory, that its highest attribute was the spirit of life that pervades it. Other remarkable features were its amazing flexibility and variety, its condensation and perfect logical unity, its elaborate and exquisite finish of details, to which must be added that polished harmony and rhythm which cannot be attained, to a like degree, in any modern language. Moreover, however elaborately composed these speeches were, they were still speeches, and had the appearance of being the spontaneous effusions of the moment. No extemporaneous harangues were ever more free and natural."

The historian HUME says of the style of Demosthenes: "It was rapid harmony adjusted to the sense; vehement reasoning without any appearance of art; disdain, anger, boldness, and freedom, involved in a continued strain of argument." Another writer says: "It was his undeviating firmness, his disdain of all compromise, that made him the first of statesmen and orators; in this lay the substance of his power, the primary foundation of his superiority; the rest was merely secondary. The mystery of his mighty influence, then, lay in his honesty; and it is this that gave warmth and tone to his feelings, an energy to his language, and an impression to his manner before which every imputation of insincerity must have immediately vanished."



While oratory was thus attaining perfection in Greece, philosophy was making equal progress in the direction marked out by Socrates. Among the philosophers of the brighter period of Grecian history are the names of Plato and Aristotle, names that will ever be cherished and venerated while genius and worth continue to be held in admiration. Of the pupils of Socrates, Plato, born in Athens in 429 B.C., was by far the most distinguished, and the only one who fully appreciated the intellectual greatness and seized the profound conceptions of his master. In fact, he came to surpass Socrates in the profoundness of his views, and in the correctness and eloquence with which he expressed them. On the death of his teacher, Plato left Athens and passed twelve years in visiting different countries, engaged in philosophic investigation. Returning to Athens, he founded his school of philosophy in the Acade'mia, a beautiful spot in the suburbs of the city, adorned with groves, walks, and fountains, and which his name has immortalized.

                       Here Philosophy
With Plato dwelt, and burst the chains of mind;
Here, with his stole across his shoulders flung,
His homely garments with a leathern zone
Confined, his snowy beard low clust'ring down
Upon his ample chest, his keen dark eye
Glancing from underneath the arched brow,
He fixed his sandaled foot, and on his staff
Leaned, while to his disciples he declared
How all creation's mighty fabric rose
From the abyss of chaos: next he traced
The bounds of virtue and of vice; the source
Of good and evil; sketched the ideal form
Of beauty, and unfolded all the powers
Of mind by which it ranges uncontrolled,
And soars from earth to immortality.

To Plato, as the poet intimates in his closing lines, we owe the first formal development of the Socratic doctrine of the spirituality of the soul, and the first attempt toward demonstrating its immortality. As a late writer has well said, "It is the genius of Socrates that fills all Plato's philosophy, and their two minds have flowed out over the world together." Of his doctrine on this subject, as expressed in the Phoe'do, LORD BROUGHAM thus wrote: "The whole tenor of it refers to a renewal or continuation of the soul as a separate and individual existence after the dissolution of the body, and with a complete consciousness of personal identity: in short, to a continuance of the same rational being's existence after death. The liberation from the body is treated as the beginning of a new and more perfect life." Plato's only work on physical science is the Timoe'us. His works are all called "Dialogues," which the critics divide into two classes--those of search, and those of exposition. Among the latter, the Republic and the Laws give us the author's political views; and, on the former, More's Uto'pia and other works of like character in modern times are founded.

"Plato, of all authors," says DR. A. C. KENDRICK, [Footnote: Article "Plato," in Appleton's American Cyclipoedia.] "is the one to whom the least justice can be done by any formal analysis. In the spirit which pervades his writings, in their untiring freshness, in their purity, love of truth and of virtue, their perpetual aspiring to the loftiest height of knowledge and of excellence, much more than in their positive doctrines, lies the secret of their charm and of their unfailing power. Plato is often styled an idealist. But this is true of the spirit rather than of the form of his doctrine; for strictly he is an intense realist, and differs from his great pupil, Aristotle, far less in his mere philosophical method than in his lofty moral and religious aspirations, which were perpetually winging his spirit toward the beautiful and the good. His formal errors are abundant; but even in his errors the truth is often deeper than the error; and when that has been discredited, the language adjusts itself to the deeper truth of which it was rather an inadequate expression than a direct contradiction." Concerning the style of Plato's writings, a distinguished English scholar and translator observes as follows: "Nor is the language in which his thoughts are conveyed less remarkable than the thoughts themselves. In his more elevated passages he rises, like his own Prometheus, to heaven, and brings down from thence the noblest of all thefts, [Footnote: See the story of Prometheus.] Wisdom with Fire; but, in general, calm, pure, and unaffected, his style flows like a stream which gurgles its own music as it runs; and his works rise, like the great fabric of Grecian literature, of which they are the best model, in calm and noiseless majesty." [Footnote: Thomas Mitchell.]

Plato died at the advanced age of eighty-one, his mental powers unimpaired, and he was buried in the Academe. On his tomb was placed the following inscription:

Here, first of all men for pure justice famed,
  Aris'tocles, the moral teacher, lies:
  [Footnote: The proper name of Plato was Aristocles:
  but in his youth he was surnamed Plato by his companions
  in the gymnasium, on account of his broad shoulders.
  (From the Greek word platus, "broad.")
  And if there ere has lived one truly wise,
This man was wiser still: too great for envy.


Aristotle was born in 384 B.C., at Stagi'ra, in Macedonia. Hence he is frequently called the "Stag'i-rite;" as POPE calls him in the following tribute found in his Temple of Fame:

Here, in a shrine that cast a dazzing light,
Sat, fixed in thought, the mighty Stagirite;
His sacred head a radiant zodiac crowned,
And various animals his sides surround;
His piercing eyes, erect, appear to view
Superior worlds, and look all nature through.

He repaired to Athens at the age of seventeen, and soon after became a pupil of Plato. His uncommon acuteness of apprehension, and his indefatigable industry, early won the notice and applause of his master, who called him the "mind" of the school, and said, when he was absent, "Intellect is not here." On the death of Plato, Aristotle left Athens, and in 343 he repaired to Macedonia, on the invitation of Philip, and became the instructor of the young prince Alexander. In after years Alexander aided him in his scientific pursuits by sending to him many objects of natural history, and giving him large sums of money, estimated in all at two millions of dollars.

In the year 335 Aristotle returned to Athens, and opened his school in the Lyce'um. He walked with his scholars up and down the shady avenues, conversing on philosophy, and hence his school was called the peripatetic. Aristotle nowhere exhibits the merits of Plato in the service of metaphysics, yet he was the most learned and most productive of the writers of Greece. He had neither the poetical imagination nor the genius of his teacher, but he mastered the whole philosophical and historical science of his age, and, more than Plato, his intellect has influenced the course of modern civilization. He was eminently a practical philosopher--a cold inquirer, whose mind did not reach the high and lofty teaching of Plato, concerning Deity and the destiny of mankind. We find the following just estimate of him in BROWNE'S Greek Classical Literature: "One cannot set too high a value on the practical nature of Aristotle's mind. He never forgot the bearing of all philosophy upon the happiness of man, and he never lost sight of man's wants and requirements. He saw the inadequacy of all knowledge, unless he could trace in it a visible practical tendency. But, beyond this one single point, he falls grievously short of his great master, Plato. All his ideas of man's good are limited to the consideration of this life alone. It is impossible to trace in his writings any belief in a future state or immortality."

For many centuries succeeding the Middle Ages, especially from the eleventh to the fifteenth, the metaphysical teachings of Aristotle held a tyrannic sway over the public mind; but they have been gradually yielding to the more lofty and sublime teachings of Plato. His investigations in natural science, however, and his work as a logician and political philosopher, constitute his greatness, and create the enormous influence that he has wielded in the world. "Science owes to him its earliest impulse," says MR. LAWRENCE. "He perfected and brought into form," says DR. WILLIAM SMITH, "those elements of the dialectic art which had been struck out by Socrates and Plato, and wrought them by his additions into so complete a system that he may be regarded as at once the founder and perfecter of logic as an art." Says MAHAFFY, "He has built his politics upon so sound a philosophic basis, and upon the evidence of so large and varied a political experience, that his lessons on the rise and fall of governments will never grow old, and will be perpetually receiving fresh corroborations, so long as human nature remains the same." Aristotle was a friend of the Macedonians, and, on the death of Alexander, he fled, from Athens to Chal'cis, in Euboea, to escape a trial for impiety. There he died in 322 B.C. In the lives of the three great philosophers of Greece--Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle--is embraced what is commonly called "The Philosophical Era of Athens." To this era MILTON has beautifully alluded in his well-known description of the famous city; and for the Academe, or Academia, the beautiful garden that was the resort of the philosophers, EDWIN ARNOLD expresses these sentiments of veneration:

Pleasanter than the hills of Thessaly,
Nearer and dearer to the poet's heart
Than the blue ripple belting Salamis,
Or long grass waving over Marathon,
Fair Academe, most holy Academe,
Thou art, and hast been, and shalt ever be.
I would be numbered now with things that were,
Changing the wasting fever of to-day
For the dear quietness of yesterday:
I would be ashes, underneath the grass,
So I had wandered in thy platane walks
One happy summer twilight--even one.
Was it not grand, and beautiful, and rare,
The music and the wisdom and the shade,
The music of the pebble-paven rills,
And olive boughs, and bowered nightingales,
Chorusing joyously the joyous things
Told by the gray Silenus of the grove,
Low-fronted and large-hearted Socrates!
Oh, to have seen under the olive blossoms
But once--only once in a mortal life,
The marble majesties of ancient gods!
And to have watched the ring of listeners--
The Grecian boys gone mad for love of truth,
The Grecian girls gone pale for love of him
Who taught the truth, who battled for the truth;
And girls and boys, women and bearded men,
Crowding to hear and treasure in their hearts
Matter to make their lives a happiness,
And death a happy ending.


What is known as the Epicure'an school of philosophy was founded by Epicurus, a native of Samos, born in 342, who went to Athens in early youth, and, at the age of thirty, established himself as a philosophical teacher. He met with great success. He did not believe in the soul's immortality, and taught the pursuit of mental pleasure and happiness as the highest good. While his learning was not great, he was a man of unsullied morality, respected and loved by his followers to a wonderful degree. Although he wrote books in advocacy of piety, and the reverence due to the gods on account of the excellence of their nature, he maintained that they had no concern in human affairs. Hence the Roman poet LUCRETIUS, who lived when the old belief in the gods and goddesses of the heathen world had nearly faded away, attributes to the teachings of Epicurus the triumph of philosophy over superstition.

On earth in bondage base existence lay,
Bent down by Superstition's iron sway.
She from the heavens disclosed her monstrous head,
And dark with grisly aspect, scowling dread,
Hung o'er the sons of men; but toward the skies
A man of Greece dared lift his mortal eyes,
And first resisting stood. Not him the fame
Of deities, the lightning's forky flame,
Or muttering murmurs of the threat'ning sky
Repressed; but roused his soul's great energy
To break the bars that interposing lay,
And through the gates of nature burst his way.

That vivid force of soul a passage found;
The flaming walls that close the world around
He far o'erleaped; his spirit soared on high
Through the vast whole, the one infinity.
Victor, he brought the tidings from the skies
What things in nature may, or may not, rise;
What stated laws a power finite assign,
And still with bounds impassable confine.
Thus trod beneath our feet the phantom lies;
We mount o'er Superstition to the skies.
  --Trans. By ELTON.

The school of the Stoics was founded by Zeno, a native of Cyprus, who went to Athens about 299 B.C., and opened a school in the Poi'ki-le Sto'a, or painted porch, whence the name of his sect arose. As is well known, the chief tenets of the Stoics were temperance and self-denial, which Zeno himself practiced by living on uncooked food, wearing very thin garments in winter, and refusing the comforts of life generally. To the Stoics pleasure was irrational, and pain a visitation to be borne with ease. Both Stoicism and Epicureanism flourished among the Romans. The teachings of Epictetus, the Roman Stoic philosopher, are summed up in the formula, "Bear and forbear;" and he is said to have observed that "Man is but a pilot; observe the star, hold the rudder, and be not distracted on thy way." Both these schools of philosophy, however, passed into skepticism. Epicureanism became a material fatalism and a search for pleasure; while Stoicism ended in spiritual fatalism. But when the Gospel awakened the human heart to life, it was the Greek mind which gave mankind a Christian theology.



The most distinguished Greek historian of this period was Xenophon, of whom we have already seen something as the leader of the famous "Retreat of the Ten Thousand," and as the author of a delightful and instructive account of that achievement. He was born in Athens about 443 B.C., and at an early age became the pupil of Socrates, to whose principles he strictly adhered through life, in practice as well as in theory. Seemingly on account of his philosophical views he was banished by the Athenians, before his return from the expedition into Asia; but the Spartans, with whom he fought against Athens at Coronea, gave him an estate at Scil'lus, in Elis, and here he lived, engaging in literary pursuits, that were diversified by domestic enjoyments and active field-sports. He died either at Scillus or at Corinth--to which latter place some authorities think he removed in the later years of his life--in the ninetieth year of his age.

Among the works of Xenophon is the Anab'asis, considered his best, descriptive of the advance into Persia and the masterly retreat; the Hellen'ica, a history of Greece, in seven books, from the time of Thucydides to the battle of Mantine'a, in 362 B.C.; the Cyropoedi'a, a political romance, based on the history of Cyrus the Great; a treatise on the horse, and the duties of a cavalry commander; a treatise on hunting; a picture of an Athenian banquet, and of the amusement and conversation with which it was diversified; and, the most pleasing of all, the Memorabil'ia, devoted to the defence of the life and principles of Socrates. Concerning the remarkable miscellany of Xenophon, MR. MITCHELL says: "The writer who has thrown equal interest into an account of a retreating army and the description of a scene of coursing; who has described with the same fidelity a common groom and a perfect pattern of conjugal faithfulness--such a man had seen life under aspects which taught him to know that there were things of infinitely more importance than the turn of a phrase, the music of a cadence, and the other niceties which are wanted by a luxurious and opulent metropolis. The virtuous feelings that were necessary in a mind constituted as his was, took into their comprehensive bosom the welfare of the world."

Although the genius of Xenophon was not of the highest order, his writings have afforded, to all succeeding ages, one of the best models of purity, simplicity, and harmony of language: By some of his contemporaries he has been styled "The Attic Muse;" by others, "The Athenian Bee;" while his manners and personal appearance have been described by Diog'enes Laer'tius, in his Lives of the Philosophers, in the following brief but comprehensive sentence: "Modest in deportment, and beautiful in person to a remarkable degree."


Of the prominent Greek historians, Polybius was the last. Born about 204 B.C., he lived and wrote in the closing period of Grecian history. Having been carried a prisoner to Rome with the one thousand prominent citizens of Achaia, his accomplishments secured for him the friendship of Scip'io Africa'nus Mi'nor, and of his father, Æmil'ius Pau'lus, at whose house he resided. He spent his time in collecting materials for his works, and in giving instruction to Scipio. In the year 150 B.C. he returned to his native country with the surviving exiles, and actively exerted himself to induce the Greeks to keep peace with the Romans, but, as we know, without success. After the Roman conquest the Greeks seem to have awakened to the wisdom of his advice, for on a statue erected to his memory was the inscription, "Hellas would have been saved had the advice of Polybius been followed." Polybius wrote a history in forty books, embracing the time between the commencement of the Second Punic War, in 218 B.C., and the destruction of Carthage and Corinth by the Romans, in 146 B.C. It is the most trustworthy history we possess of this period, and has been closely copied by subsequent writers. A correct estimate of its character and worth will be found in the following summary:

"The greater part of the valuable and laborious work of Polybius has perished. We have only the first five books entire, and fragments and extracts of the rest. As it is, however, it is one of the most valuable historical works that has come down to us. His style, indeed, will not bear a comparison with the great masters of Greek literature: he is not eloquent, like Thucydides; nor practical, like Herodotus; nor perspicuous and elegant, like Xenophon. He lived at a time when the Greek language had lost much of its purity by an intermixture of foreign elements, and he did not attempt to imitate the language of the Attic writers. He wrote as he spoke: he gives us the first rough draft of his thoughts, and seldom imposes on himself the trouble to arrange or methodize them; hence, they are often meager and desultory, and not infrequently deviate entirely from the subject.

"But in the highest quality of an historian--the love of truth--Polybius has no superior. This always predominates in his writings. He has judgment to trace effects to their causes, a full knowledge of his subjects, and an impartiality that forbids him to conceal it to favor any party or cause. In his geographical descriptions he is not always clear, but his descriptions of battles have never been surpassed. 'His writings have been admired by the warrior, copied by the politician, and imitated by the historian. Brutus had him ever in his hands, Tully transcribed him, and many of the finest passages of Livy are the property of the Greek historian.'"



After the close of the Peloponnesian war the perfection and application of the several orders of Grecian architecture were displayed in the laying out of cities on a grander scale, and by an increase of splendor in private residences, rather than by any marked change in the style of public buildings and temples. Alexandria in Egypt, and Antioch in Syria, were the finest examples of Grecian genius in this direction, both in the regularity and size of their public and private buildings, and in their external and internal adornment. This period was also distinguished for its splendid sepulchral and other monuments. Of these, probably the most exquisite gem of architectural taste is the circular building at Athens, the Cho-rag'ic Monument, or "Lantern of Demosthenes," erected in honor of a victory gained by the chorus of Lysic'rates in 334 B.C. "It is the purest specimen of the Corinthian order," says a writer on architecture, "that has reached our time, whose minuteness and unobtrusive beauty have preserved it almost entire among the ruins of the mightiest piles of Athenian art." Other celebrated monuments of this period were the one erected at Halicarnas'sus by the Ca'rian queen Artemi'sia to the memory of her husband Mauso'lus, adorned with sculptural decorations by Sco'pas and others, and considered one of the seven wonders of the world; and the octagonal edifice, the Horolo'gium of Androni'cus Cyrrhes'tes, at Athens.

In sculpture, Athens still asserted its pre-eminence, but the style and character of its later school were materially different from those of the preceding one of Phid'ias. "Toward the close of the Peloponnesian war," says a recent writer, "a change took place in the habits and feelings of the Athenian people, under the influence of which a new school of statuary was developed. The people, spoiled by luxury, and craving the pleasures and excitements which the prosperity of the age of Pericles had opened to them, regarded the severe forms of the older masters with even less patience than the austere virtues of the generation which had driven the Persians out of Greece. The sculptors, giving a reflex of the times in their productions, instead of the grand and sublime cultivated the soft, the graceful, and the flowing, and aimed at an expression of stronger passion and more dramatic action. Jupiter, Juno, and Minerva, the favorite subjects of the Phidian era, gave place to such deities as Venus, Bacchus, and Amor; and with the departure of the older gods departed also the serene and composed majesty which had marked the representations of them." [Footnote: C. S. Weyman.]

The first great artist of this school was Scopas, born at Paros, and who flourished in the first half of the fourth century B.C. Although famous in architectural sculpture, he excelled in single figures and groups, "combining strength of expression with grace." The celebrated group of Ni'o-be and her children slain by Ar'temis and Apollo, a copy of which is preserved in the museum of Florence, and the statue of the victorious Venus in the Louvre at Paris, are attributed to Scopas. The most esteemed of his works, according to Pliny, was a group representing Achilles conducted to the Island of Leu'ce by sea deities. The only other artist of this school that we will refer to is Praxit'eles, a contemporary of Scopas. He excelled in representing the female figure, his masterpiece being the Cnid'ian Aphrodi'te, a naked statue, in Parian marble, modeled from life, representing Venus just leaving the bath. This statue was afterward taken to Constantinople, where it was burned during the reign of Justinian.

This Athenian school of sculpture was followed, in the time of Alexander the Great, by what was called the Si-çy-o'ni-an school, of which Euphra'nor, of Corinth, and Lysip'pus, of Si'çy-on, were the leading representatives. The former was a painter as well as sculptor. His statues were executed in bronze and marble, and were admired for their dignity. Lysippus worked only in bronze, and was the only sculptor that Alexander the Great permitted to represent him in statues. His works were very numerous, including the colossal statue of Jupiter at Tarentum, sixty feet high, several of Hercules, and many others. The succeeding and later Greek sculptors made no attempt to open a new path of design, but they steadily maintained the reputation of the art. Many works of great excellence were produced in Rhodes, Alexandria, Ephesus, and elsewhere in the East. Among these was the famous Colossus, a statue of the sun, designed and executed by Cha'res of Rhodes, that reared its huge form one hundred and five feet in height at the entrance to Rhodes harbor; the Farnese Bull, at Naples, found in the Baths of Caracalla at Rome, also the work of a Rhodian artist; and the Apollo Belvedere, in the Vatican.

Two works of this late age deserve special mention. One is the statue of the Dying Gladiator, in the Capitoline Museum at Rome, supposed to have come from Pergamus. Says LÜBKE, "It undoubtedly represents a Gaul who, in battle, seeing the foe approach in overwhelming force, has fallen upon his own sword to escape a shameful slavery. Overcome by the faintness of approaching death, he has fallen upon his shield; his right arm with difficulty prevents his sinking to the ground; his life ebbs rapidly away with the blood streaming from the deep wound beneath his breast; his broad head droops heavily forward; the mists of death already cloud his eyes; his brows are knit with pain; and his lips are parted in a last sigh. There is, perhaps, no other statue in which the bitter necessity of death is expressed with such terrible truth--all the more terrible because the hardy body is so full of strength."

Supported on his shortened arm he leans,
Prone agonizing; with incumbent fate
Heavy declines his head, yet dark beneath
The suffering feature sullen vengeance lowers,
Shame, indignation, unaccomplished rage;
And still the cheated eye expects his fall.

The other statue is that masterpiece of art, the group of the La-oc'o-on, now in the Vatican at Rome, the work of the three Rhodian sculptors, Agesan'dros, Polydo'rus, and Athenodo'rus. It represents a scene, in connection with the fall of Troy, that Virgil describes in the Second Book of the Æneid. A Trojan priest, named Laocoon, endeavored to propitiate Neptune by sacrifice, and to dissuade the Trojans from admitting within the walls the fatal wooden horse, whereupon the goddess Minerva, ever favorable to the Greeks, punished him by sending two enormous serpents from the sea to destroy him and his two sons. The poet THOMSON well describes the agony and despair that the statue portrays:

                       Such passion here!
Such agonies! such bitterness of pain
Seem so to tremble through the tortured stone
That the touched heart engrosses all the view.
Almost unmarked the best proportions pass
That ever Greece beheld; and, seen alone,
On the rapt eye the imperious passions seize:
The father's double pangs, both for himself
And sons, convulsed; to Heaven his rueful look,
Imploring aid, and half-accusing, cast;
His fell despair with indignation mixed
As the strong-curling monsters from his side
His full-extended fury cannot tear.
More tender touched, with varied art, his sons
All the soft rage of younger passions show:
In a boy's helpless fate one sinks oppressed,
While, yet unpierced, the frighted other tries
His foot to steal out of the horrid twine.

An American writer thus apostrophizes this grand representation:

Laocoon! thou great embodiment
Of human life and human history!
Thou record of the past, thou prophecy
Of the sad future! thou majestic voice,
Pealing along the ages from old time!
Thou wail of agonized humanity!
There lives no thought in marble like to thee!
Thou hast no kindred in the Vatican,
But standest separate among the dreams
Of old mythologies-alone-alone!
  --J. G. HOLLAND.


In painting, the Asiatic school of Zeuxis and Parrhasius was also followed by a "Si-çy-o'ni-an school"--the third and last phase of Greek painting, founded by Eupom'pus, of Si'çy-on. The characteristics of this school were great ease, accuracy, and refinement. Among its chief masters were Pam'philus, Apel'les, Protog'enes, Ni'cias, and Aristides. Of these the most famous was Apelles, a native of Col'ophon, in Ionia, who flourished in the time of Alexander the Great, with whom he was a great favorite. Of his many fine productions the finest was his painting of Venus rising from the Sea, and concerning which ANTIPATER, the poet of Sidon, wrote the following epigram:

Graceful as from her native sea she springs,
  Venus, the labor of Apelles, view:
With pressing hands her humid locks she wrings,
  While from her tresses drips the frothy dew:
Ev'n Juno and Minerva now declare,
No longer we contend whose form's most fair.


A very pleasing story is told, by Pliny, of Apelles and his brother-artist, Protogenes, which DR. ANTHON relates as follows:

"Apelles, having come to Rhodes, where Protogenes was then residing, paid a visit to the artist, but, not finding him at home, obtained permission from a domestic in waiting to enter his studio. Finding here a piece of canvas ready on the frame for the artist's pencil, Apelles drew upon it a line (according to some, a figure in outline) with wonderful precision, and then retired without disclosing his name. Protogenes, on returning home, and discovering what had been done, exclaimed that Apelles alone could have executed such a sketch. However, he drew another himself--a line more nearly perfect than that of Apelles--and left directions with his domestic that, when the stranger should call again, he should be shown what had been done by him. Apelles came, accordingly, and, perceiving that his line had been excelled by Protogenes, drew a third one, much better than the other two, and cutting both. Protogenes now confessed himself vanquished; he ran to the harbor, sought for Apelles, and the two artists became the warmest friends. The canvas containing this famous trial of skill became highly prized, and at a later day was placed in the palace of the Cæsars at Rome. Here it was burned in a conflagration that destroyed the palace itself."

Protogenes was noted for his minute and scrupulous care in the preparation of his works. He carried this peculiarity to such excess that Apelles was moved to make the following comparison: "Protogenes equals or surpasses me in all things but one--the knowing when to remove his hand from a painting." Protogenes survived Apelles, and became a very eminent painter. It is stated that when Demetrius besieged Rhodes, and could have reduced it by setting fire to a quarter of the city that contained one of the finest productions of Protogenes, he refused to do so lest he should destroy the masterpiece of art. It is to this incident that the poet THOMSON undoubtedly refers when he says,

E'en such enchantment then thy pencil poured,
That cruel-thoughted War the impatient torch
Dashed to the ground; and, rather than destroy
The patriot picture, let the city 'scape.

From the time of Alexander the art of painting rapidly deteriorated, and at the period of the Roman conquest it had scarcely an existence. Grecian art, like Grecian liberty, had lost its spirit and vitality, and the spoliation of public buildings and galleries, to adorn the porticos and temples of Rome, hastened its extinction. We have now reached the close of the history of ancient Greece. But Hellas still lives in her thousand hallowed associations of historic interest, and in the numerous ruins of ancient art and splendor which cover her soil--recalling a glorious Past, upon which we love to dwell as upon the memory of departed friends or the scenes of a happy childhood--"sweet, but mournful to the soul." And although the ashes of her generals, her poets, her scholars, and her artists are scattered from their urns, and her statuary and her temples are mutilated and discolored ruins, ancient Greece lives also in the song, the art, and the research of modern times. In contemplating the influence of her genius, the mind is naturally fixed upon the chief repository of her taste and talent--Athens, "the eye of Greece"--from which have sprung "all the strength, the wisdom, the freedom, and the glory of the western world."

Within the surface of Time's fleeting river
  Its wrinkled image lies, as then it lay,
Immovably unquiet, and forever
  It trembles, but it cannot pass away!
The voices of thy bards and sages thunder
      With an earth-awaking blast
      Through the caverns of the past;
Religion veils her eyes; Oppression shrinks aghast;
  A wingèd sound of joy, and love, and wonder,
    Which soars where Expectation never flew,
  Rending the veil of space and time asunder!
    One ocean feeds the clouds, and streams, and dew;
One sun illumines heaven; one spirit vast
  With life and love makes chaos ever new,
  As Athens doth the world with her delight renew.

Of the splendid literature of Athens LORD MACAULAY says, "It is a subject in which I love to forget the accuracy of a judge in the veneration of a worshipper and the gratitude of a child." To Hellenic thought, as embodied and exemplified in the great works of Athenian genius, he rightly ascribes the establishment of an intellectual empire that is imperishable; and from one of his valuable historical "Essays" we quote the following graphic delineation of what may be termed

The Immortal Influence of Athens.

"If we consider merely the subtlety of disquisition, the force of imagination, the perfect energy and elegance of expression, which characterize the great works of Athenian genius, we must pronounce them intrinsically most valuable; but what shall we say when we reflect that from hence have sprung, directly or indirectly, all the noblest creations of the human intellect? That from hence were the vast accomplishments and the brilliant fancy of Cicero, the withering fire of Juvenal, the plastic imagination of Dante, the humor of Cervantes, the comprehension of Bacon, the wit of Butler, the supreme and universal excellence of Shakspeare? All the triumphs of truth and genius over prejudice and power, in every country and in every age, have been the triumphs of Athens. Whatever a few great minds have made a stand against violence and fraud, in the cause of liberty and reason, there has been her spirit in the midst of them, inspiring, encouraging, consoling--the lonely lamp of Erasmus; by the restless bed of Pascal; in the tribune of Mirabeau; in the cell of Galileo, and on the scaffold of Sidney. But who shall estimate her influence on private happiness? Who shall say how many thousands have been made wiser, happier, and better, by those pursuits in which she has taught mankind to engage? to how many the studies which took their rise from her have been wealth in poverty, liberty in bondage, health in sickness, society in solitude? Her power is indeed manifested at the bar, in the senate, on the field of battle, in the schools of philosophy. But these are not her glory. Wherever literature consoles sorrow or assuages pain--wherever it brings gladness to eyes which fail with wakefulness and tears, and ache for the dark house and the long sleep--there is exhibited, in its noblest form, the immortal influence of Athens.

"The dervis, in the Arabian tale, did not hesitate to abandon to his comrade the camels with their load of jewels and gold, while he retained the casket of that mysterious juice which enabled him to behold at one glance all the hidden riches of the universe. Surely it is no exaggeration to say that no external advantage is to be compared with that purification of the intellectual eye which gives us to contemplate the infinite wealth of the mental world; all the hoarded treasures of the primeval dynasties, and all the shapeless ore of its yet unexplored mines. This is the gift of Athens to man. Her freedom and her power have been annihilated for more than twenty centuries; her people have degenerated into timid slaves; [Footnote: But this is not the character of the Athenians of the present day.] her language into a barbarous jargon; her temples have been given up to the successive depredations of Romans, Turks, and Scotchmen; but her intellectual empire is imperishable. And, when those who have rivaled her greatness shall have shared her fate; when civilization and knowledge shall have fixed their abode in distant continents; when the sceptre shall have passed away from England; when, perhaps, travelers from distant regions shall in vain labor to decipher on some mouldering pedestal the name of our proudest chief--shall hear savage hymns chanted to some misshapen idol over the ruined dome of our proudest temple, and shall see a single naked fisherman wash his nets in the river of the ten thousand masts--the influence and glory of Athens will still survive, fresh in eternal youth, exempt from mutability and decay, immortal as the intellectual principle from which they derived their origin, and over which they exercise their control."

  Genius of Greece! thou livest; though thy domes
Are fallen; here, in this thy loved abode,
Thine Athens, as I breathe the clear pure air
Which thou hast breathed, climb the dark mountain's side
Which thou hast trod, or in the temple's porch
Pause on the sculptured beauties which thine eye
Has often viewed delighted, I confess
Thy nearer influence; I feel thy power
Exalting every wish to virtuous hope;
I hear thy solemn voice amid the crash
Of fanes hurled prostrate by barbarian hands,
Calling me forth to tread with thee the paths
Of wisdom, or to listen to thy harp
Hymning immortal strains.

Greece! though deserted are thy ports, and all
Thy pomp and thy magnificence are shrunk
Into a narrow circuit; though thy gates
Pour forth no more thy crested sons to war;
Though thy capacious theatres resound
No longer with the replicated shouts
Of multitudes; although Philosophy
Is silent 'mid thy porticos and groves;
Though Commerce heaves no more the pond'rous load,
Or, thund'ring with her thousand cars, imprints
Her footsteps on thy rocks; though near thy fanes
And marble monuments the peasant's hut
Rears its low roof in bitter mockery
Of faded splendor--yet shalt thou survive,
Nor yield till time yields to eternity.




The Romans conducted their administration of Greece with much wisdom and moderation, treating both its religion and municipal institutions with great respect. As MR. FINLAY says, "Under these circumstances prudence and local interests would everywhere favor submission to Rome; national vanity alone would whisper incitements to venture on a struggle for independence." [Footnote: "History of Greece from 146 B.C. to A.D. 1864;" by George Finlay, LL.D.] But the latter induced the Greeks to attempt to regain their liberties at the time of the first Mithridatic war, about 87 B.C. Sylla, the Roman general, marched into Greece at the head of a powerful army, and laid siege to Athens, which made a desperate defence. At last, their resources exhausted, the Athenians sent a deputation of orators to negotiate with the old Roman; and it is stated that "their spokesman began to remind him of their past glory, and was proceeding to touch upon Marathon, when the surly soldier fiercely replied, 'I was sent here to punish rebels, not to study history.' And he did punish them. Breaking down the wall, his soldiers poured into the city, and with drawn swords they swept through the streets." The severe losses sustained by Greece in this rebellion were never repaired. The same historian adds that both parties--Greeks and Romans-- "inflicted severe injuries on Greece, plundered the country, and destroyed property most wantonly. The foundations of national prosperity were undermined; and it henceforward became impossible to save from the annual consumption of the inhabitants, the sums necessary to replace the accumulated capital of ages which this short war had annihilated. In some cases the wealth of the communities became insufficient to keep the existing public works in repair."

Cilician pirates soon after commenced their depredations, and ravaged both the main-land and the islands until expelled by Pompey the Great. The civil wars that overthrew the Roman republic next added to the desolation of Greece; but on the establishment of the Roman empire the country entered upon a career of peace and comparative prosperity. Says a late compiler, [Footnote: Edward L. Burlingame, Ph.D.] "Augustus and his successors generally treated Greece with respect, and some of them distinguished her by splendid imperial favors. Trajan greatly improved her condition by his wise and liberal administration. Hadrian and the Antonines venerated her for her past achievements, and showed their good-will by the care they extended to her works of art, and their patronage of the schools." It was at this time, also, that the Christian religion was gaining great victories 'over the indifference of the people to their ancient rites,' and was thus essentially changing the moral and intellectual condition of Greece. Aside from its power to fill the void in the heart that philosophy, though strengthening the intellect, could not reach, Christianity bore certain relations to the ancient principles of government, that commended it to the acceptance of the Greeks. These relations, and their effects, are thus explained by DR. FELTON and a writer that he quotes: [Footnote: "Lecture on "Greece under the Romans."]

"Besides the peculiar consolations afforded by Christianity to the afflicted of all ranks and classes, there were popular elements in its early forms which could not fail to commend it to the regards of common men. It borrowed the designation ecclesia from the old popular assembly, and liturgy from the services required by law of the richer citizens in the popular festivities. It taught the equality of all men in the sight of God; and this doctrine could not fail to be affectionately welcomed by a conquered people. The Christian congregations were organized upon democratic principles, at least in Greece, and presented a semblance of the free assemblies of former times; and the daily business of communities was, equally with their spiritual affairs, transacted under these popular forms. 'From the moment a people,' says a recent writer, 'in the state of intellectual civilization in which the Greeks were, could listen to the preachers, it was certain they would adopt the religion. They might alter, modify, or corrupt it, but it was impossible they should reject it. The existence of an assembly in which the dearest interests of all human beings were expounded and discussed in the language of truth, and with the most earnest expressions of persuasion, must have lent an irresistible charm to the investigation of the new doctrine among a people possessing the institutions and the feelings of the Greeks. Sincerity, truth, and a desire to persuade others, will soon create eloquence where numbers are gathered together. Christianity revived oratory, and with oratory it awakened many of the characteristics which had slept for ages. The discussions of Christianity gave also new vigor to the commercial and municipal institutions, as they improved the intellectual qualities of the people.'"

Among the imperial friends of Greece, whose reign has been characterized by some writers as "the last fortunate period in the sad annals of that country," was the Emperor Julian, known as "The Apostate." He ascended the throne in 361 A.D.; and, although he sought to overthrow Christianity and re-establish the pagan religion, "he founded charities, aimed at the suppression of vice and profligacy, and was distinguished for his devotion to the happiness of the people." Well educated in early life, he became an accomplished and cultured sovereign, "and in many ways manifested his passionate attachment to Greece, her literature, her institutions, and her arts."


On the establishment of the Eastern empire of the Romans, with Byzantium for its capital, the Greeks began to exert a greater influence in the affairs of government, and, outside of the metropolis itself, the Roman spirit of the administration was gradually destroyed. In the third and fourth centuries Greece suffered from invasions by the Goths and Huns, and all apparent progress was stopped; but during the long reign of Justinian, from 527 to 565, many of its cities were embellished and fortified, and the pagan schools of Athens were closed. No farther events of importance affecting the condition of Greece occurred until the immigrations of the Slavonians and other barbarous races, in the sixth and eighth centuries. The population of Greece had dwindled rapidly, and its revenues were so small that the Eastern emperors cared little to defend it. Hence these northern migratory hordes rapidly acquired possession of its soil. Finally this great body of settlers broke up into a number of tribes and disappeared as a people, leaving behind them, however, still existing evidences of their influence upon the country and its inhabitants.


The next important changes in the affairs of Greece were wrought by warriors from the West. In 1081 the Norman, Robert Guiscard, and in 1146 Roger, King of Sicily, conquered portions of the country, including Corinth, Thebes, and Athens; and in the time of the fourth Crusade to the Holy Land (1203), when Constantinople was captured by Latin princes (1204), Greece became a prize for some of the most powerful crusading chieftains, under whose rule the courts of Thessaloni'ca, Athens, and the Peloponnesus attained to considerable celebrity even throughout Europe. "But their magnificence," says a writer in the Edinburgh Review, "was entirely modern. It centered wholly round their own persons and interests; and although the condition of the people was in no respects worse, in some respects palpably better, still they did but minister to the glory of the houses of Neri or Acciajuoli, or De la Roche or Brienne. The beautiful structures of Athens and the Acropolis were prized, not as heirlooms of departed greatness, but as the ornaments of a feudal court, and the rewards of successful valor."

The Duchy of Athens was the most interesting and renowned of these Frankish kingdoms; and in one of his lectures PRESIDENT FELTON [Footnote: Lecture on "Turkish Conquest of Constantinople."] points out the traces which this duchy has left here and there in modern literature. "The fame of the brilliant court of Athens," he says, "resounded through the west of Europe, and many a chapter of old romance is filled with gorgeous pictures of its splendors. One of the heroines of Boccacio's Decameron, in the course of her adventurous life, is found at Athens, inspiring the duke by her charms. Dan'te was a contemporary of Guy II. and Walter de Brienne; and in his Divina Commedia he applies to Theseus, King of ancient Athens, the title so familiar to him, borne by the princely rulers in his own day. Chaucer, too--the bright herald of English poetry--had often heard of the dukes of Athens; and he too, like Dante, gives the title to Theseus. Finally, in the age of Elizabeth, when Italian poetry was much studied by scholars and courtiers, Shakspeare, in the delightful scenes of the Midsummer Night's Dream, introduces Theseus, Duke of Athens, as the conqueror and the lover of Hippol'yta, the warrior-queen of the Amazons."

  Theseus. Hippolyta, I wooed thee with my sword,
And won thy love, doing thee injuries;
But I will wed thee in another key,
With pomp, with triumph, and with revelling.
  --Act I. Scene I.


Some of these Latin principalities and dukedoms existed until they were swept away by the Turks, who, after the fall of Constantinople and the Byzantine Empire in 1453, by degrees obtained possession of Greece.

  Then, Greece, the tempest rose that burst on thee,
  Land of the bard, the warrior, and the sage!
  Oh, where were then thy sons, the great, the free,
  Whose deeds are guiding stars from age to age?
  Though firm thy battlements of crags and snows,
  And bright the memory of thy days of pride,
  In mountain might though Corinth's fortress rose,
  On, unresisted, rolled th' invading tide!
  Oh! vain the rock, the rampart, and the tower,
If Freedom guard them not with Mind's unconquered power.

  Where were th' avengers then, whose viewless might
  Preserved inviolate their awful fane,
  When through the steep defiles to Delphi's height
  In martial splendor poured the Persian's train?
  Then did those mighty and mysterious Powers,
  Armed with the elements, to vengeance wake,
  Call the dread storms to darken round their towers,
  Hurl down the rocks, and bid the thunders break;
  Till far around, with deep and fearful clang,
Sounds of unearthly war through wild Parnassus rang.

  Where was the spirit of the victor-throng,
  Whose tombs are glorious by Scamander's tide,
  Whose names are bright in everlasting song,
  The lords of war, the praised, the deified?
  Where he, the hero of a thousand lays,
  Who from the dead at Marathon arose
  All armed, and, beaming on th' Athenian's gaze,
  A battle-meteor, guided to their foes?
  Or they whose forms, to Alaric's awe-struck eye,
[Footnote: GIBBON says: "From Thermopylæ to Sparta the leader
of the Goths (Alaric) pursued his victorious march without
encountering any mortal antagonist; but one of the advocates of
expiring paganism has confidently asserted that the walls of
Athens were guarded by the goddess Minerva with her formidable
ægis, and by the angry phantom of Achilles; and that the
conqueror was dismayed by the presence of the hostile deities
of Greece." But Gibbon characteristically adds, "The Christian
faith which Alaric had devotedly embraced taught him to despise
the imaginary deities of Rome and Athens."--Milman's "Gibbon's
Rome," vol. ii., p. 215.
Hovering o'er Athens, blazed in airy panoply?

  Ye slept, oh heroes! chief ones of the earth--
  High demi-gods of ancient day--ye slept.
  There lived no spark of your ascendant worth,
  When o'er your land the victor Moslem swept;
  No patriot then the sons of freedom led,
  In mountain-pass devotedly to die;
  The martyr-spirit of resolve was fled,
  And the high soul's unconquered buoyancy;
  And by your graves, and on your battle-plains,
Warriors, your children knelt, to wear the stranger's chains.


Greece was long the scene of severe contests between the Turks and the Venetians. Athens was first captured by the Turks in 1456, but they were driven from it in 1467 by the Venetians, who were in turn expelled from the city by the Turks in 1470. But Venice, as a French historian--COMTE DE LABOURDE--has observed, "Alone of the states of Europe could feel, from a merely material point of view, the force of the blow struck at Europe and her own commerce by the submission of almost the whole of Greece to Turkish rule;" and this feeling survived many centuries. In 1670 the Turks conquered Crete from the Venetians, and in 1684 the latter retaliated by offensive operations against the Peloponnesus, which was soon reconquered by the Venetian admiral Morosini. In 1687 Morosini crowned his successes by the capture of Athens. The Turkish garrison had retired to the Acropolis, and the victory is principally of interest on account of the irreparable injury done to the works of art on that "rock-shrine of Athens." Although he subsequently sought to evade all responsibility for the desolation that ensued, it was Morosini who directed his batteries to hurl their fatal burdens against the Acropolis, and it was he who afterward robbed it of many of its treasures. Hitherto the alterations made for military purposes, and the slight injuries inflicted at various times, had not marred the general beauty and effect of its buildings; but when the troops of Venice entered Athens, the Parthenon and others of that gorgeous assemblage of structures were in ruins, and the glory of the Athenian Acropolis survived only in the past. Contrasting its past glory and its present decay, a writer in a recent Review makes these interesting observations:

"No other fortress has embraced so much beauty and splendor within its walls, and none has witnessed a series of more startling and momentous changes in the fortunes of its possessors. Wave after wave of war and conquest has beaten against it. The city which lies at its feet has fallen beneath the assaults of the Persian, the Spartan, the Macedonian, the Roman, the Goth, the Crusader, and the Turk. Through all these and other vicissitudes the Acropolis passed, changing only in the character of its occupants, unchanged in its loveliness and splendor. With a few blemishes and losses, whether from the decaying taste of later times or the occasional robberies of a foreign conqueror, but unaffected in its general aspect, it presented to the eyes of the victorious Ottoman the same front of unparalleled beauty which it had displayed in the days of Pericles. To him who looks upon it now, however, the scene is changed indeed--changed not only in the loss of its treasures of decorative art (for of many of these it had been robbed before), but with its loveliest fabrics shattered, many reduced to hopeless ruin, and not a few utterly obliterated. Less than two centuries sufficed to bring about all this dilapidation: less than three months sufficed to complete the ruin. If the Venetian, by his abortive conquest, inflicted not more injury on the fair heritage of Athenian art than it had undergone from all preceding spoliations, he left it, not merely from the havoc of war, but by wanton subsequent mutilation, in that state which rendered the recovery of its ancient grace and majesty impossible."

The Venetians evacuated Athens in 1688, and a few years subsequently the Peloponnesus was their only possession in Greece. In 1715 a Turkish army of one hundred thousand men under Al'i Coumour'gi, the Grand Vizier of Ach'met III., invaded the Peloponnesus, and first attacked Corinth. Historians tell us that the garrison, weakened by several unsuccessful attacks, opened negotiations for a surrender; but, while these were in progress, the accidental firing of a magazine in the Turkish camp so enraged the infidels that they at once broke off the negotiations, stormed and captured the city, and put most of the garrison, with Signor Minotti, the commander, to the sword. Those taken prisoners were reserved for execution under the walls of Nauplia, within sight of the Venetians.

In BYRON'S Siege of Corinth, founded on the historical narrative; a poetical license is taken, and the death of Minotti and the remnant of his followers is attributed to the explosion of a powder-magazine fired by Minotti himself. From the fine descriptions which this poem contains we extract the following verses:

The Siege and Fall of Corinth.

On dim Cithæron's ridge appears
The gleam of twice ten thousand spears;
And downward to the Isthmian plain,
From shore to shore of either main,
The tent is pitched, the crescent shines
Along the Moslem's leaguering lines;
And the dusk Spä'hi's bands advance
Beneath each bearded pä'sha's glance;
And far and wide as eye can reach
The turbaned cohorts throng the beach;
And there the Arab's camel kneels,
And there his steed the Tartar wheels;
The Turcoman has left his herd,
The sabre round his loins to gird;
And there the volleying thunders pour,
Till waves grow smoother to the roar.
The trench is dug, the cannon's breath
Wings the far hissing globe of death;
Fast whirl the fragments from the wall,
Which crumbles with the ponderous ball;
And from that wall the foe replies,
O'er dusty plain and smoky skies,
With fires that answer fast and well.
The summons of the Infidel.

The walls grew weak; and fast and hot
Against them poured the ceaseless shot,
With unabating fury sent
From battery to battlement;
And thunder-like the pealing din
Rose from each heated culverin;
And here and there some crackling dome
Was fired before the exploding bomb;
And as the fabric sank beneath
The shattering shell's volcanic breath,
In red and wreathing columns flashed
The flame, as loud the ruin crashed,
Or into countless meteors driven,
Its earth-stars melted into heaven--
Whose clouds that day grew doubly dun,
Impervious to the hidden sun,
With volumed smoke that slowly grew
To one wide sky of sulphurous hue.

Having made a breach in the walls, as morning dawns the Turks form in line, and wait for the word to storm the intrenchments. Coumourgi addresses them--the command is given, and with the irresistible force of an avalanche the infidels pour into Corinth.

Tartar, and Spähi, and Turcoman,
Strike your tents and throng to the van;
Mount ye, spur ye, skirr the plain,
That the fugitive may flee in vain
When he breaks from the town; and none escape,
Aged or young, in the Christian shape;
While your fellows on foot, in a fiery mass,
Bloodstain the breach through which they pass.
The steeds are all bridled, and snort to the rein;
Curved is each neck, and flowing each mane;
White is the foam of their champ on the bit:
The spears are uplifted, the matches are lit,
The cannon are pointed, and ready to roar,
And crush the wall they have crumbled before:
The khan and the päshas are all at their post;
The vizier himself at the head of the host.
When the culverin's signal is fired, then on;
Leave not in Corinth a living one--
A priest at her altars, a chief in her halls,
A hearth in her mansions, a stone on her walls.
God and the prophet-Ala Hu!
Up to the skies with that wild halloo!
"There the breach lies for passage, the ladder to scale;
And your hands on your sabres, and how should ye fail?
He who first downs with the red cross may crave
His heart's dearest wish; let him ask it, and have!"
Thus uttered Coumourgi, the dauntless vizier;
The reply was the brandish of sabre and spear,
And the shout of fierce thousands in joyous ire;
Silence--hark to the signal--fire!
       *       *       *       *       *
As the spring-tides, with heavy plash,
From the cliffs invading, dash
Huge fragments, sapped by the ceaseless flow,
Till white and thundering down they go,
Like the avalanche's snow,
On the Alpine vales below;
Thus at length, outbreathed and worn,
Corinth's sons were downward borne
By the long and oft renewed
Charge of the Moslem multitude.
In firmness they stood, and in masses they fell,
Heaped, by the host of the infidel,
Hand to hand, and foot to foot:
Nothing there, save death, was mute;
Stroke, and thrust, and flash, and cry
For quarter, or for victory,
Mingle there with the volleying thunder,
Which makes the distant cities wonder
How the sounding battle goes,
If with them or for their foes.

From the point of encountering blades to the hilt
Sabres and swords with blood were gilt;
But the rampart is won, and the spoil begun,
And all but the after-carnage done.
Shriller shrieks now mingling come
From within the plundered dome:
Hark to the haste of flying feet,
That splash in the blood of the slippery street;
But here and there, where 'vantage ground
Against the foe may still be found,
Desperate groups of twelve or ten
Make a pause, and turn again--
With banded backs against the wall
Fiercely stand, or fighting fall.

Minotti, though an old man, has an "arm full of might," and he disputes, foot by foot, the successful and deadly onslaughts of the Turks. He finally retires, with the remnant of his gallant band, to the fortified church, where lie the last and richest spoils sought by the infidels, and in the vaults beneath which, lined with the dead of ages gone, was also "the Christians' chiefest magazine." To the latter a train had been laid, and, seizing a blazing torch, his "last and stern resource,"

Darkly, sternly, and all alone,
Minotti stands o'er the altar-stone,

and awaits the last attack of his foes. It soon comes.

So near they came, the nearest stretched
To grasp the spoil he almost reached,
      When old Minotti's hand
Touched with the torch the train--
      'Tis fired!
Spire, vaults, the shrine, the spoil, the slain,
The turbaned victors, the Christian band,
All that of living or dead remain,
Hurled on high with the shivered fane,
      In one wild roar expired!
The shattered town, the walls thrown down,
The waves a moment backward bent--
The hills that shake, although unrent,
      As if an earthquake passed--
The thousand shapeless things all driven
In cloud and flame athwart the heaven,
      By that tremendous blast--
Proclaimed the desperate conflict o'er
On that too long afflicted shore:
Up to the sky like rockets go
All that mingled there below:
Many a tall and goodly man,
Scorched and shrivelled to a span,
When he fell to earth again
Like a cinder strewed the plain:
Down the ashes shower like rain;
Some fell in the gulf, which received the sprinkles
With a thousand circling wrinkles;
Some fell on the shore, but, far away,
Scattered o'er the isthmus lay.
       *       *       *       *       *
All the living things that heard
That deadly earth-shock disappeared;
The wild birds flew; the wild dogs fled,
And howling left the unburied dead;
The camels from their keepers broke,
The distant steer forsook the yoke--
The nearer steed plunged o'er the plain,
And burst his girth, and tore his rein;
The bull-frog's note, from out the marsh,
Deep-mouthed arose, and doubly harsh
The wolves yelled on the caverned hill,
Where echo rolled in thunder still;
The jackal's troop, in gathered cry,
Bayed from afar complainingly,
With a mixed and mournful sound,
Like crying babe, and beaten hound:
With sudden wing and ruffled breast
The eagle left his rocky nest,
And mounted nearer to the sun,
The clouds beneath him seemed so dun;
Their smoke assailed his startled beak,
And made him higher soar and shriek.
      Thus was Corinth lost and won!


The fall of Corinth opened the way to a successful advance of the Turkish forces through the Peloponnesus, and the Venetians were soon compelled to abandon it. By the peace of Passä'rowitz, in 1718, the whole of Greece was again surrendered to Turkey, and under her rule the country, divided into military districts called Pasha'lics, sunk into a deplorable condition which the progress of time did nothing to ameliorate. The Greeks, being virtually reduced to bondage, suffered untold miseries from the rapacity and barbarism of their masters. Says the historian, SIR EMERSON TENNENT, "So undefined was the system of extortion, and so uncontrolled the power of those to whose execution it was intrusted, that the evil spread over the whole system of administration, and insinuated itself with a polypous fertility into every relation and ordinance of society, till there were few actions or occupations of the Greeks that were not burdened with the scrutiny and interference of their masters, and none that did not suffer, in a greater or less degree, from their heartless rapine." For four centuries and over the Greeks suffered under this despotism, which stamped out industry and education, and tended to the extinction of every manly trait in the people, while it also developed the native vices of the Hellenic character.

In a poem written in 1786 by the afterward celebrated British statesman, GEORGE CANNING, the writer, after paying a handsome tribute to the greatness and glory of the Greece of olden time, draws the following truthful picture of her degeneracy in his own day:

The Slavery of Greece.

                 Oh, how changed thy fame,
And all thy glories fading into shame!
What! that thy bold, thy freedom-breathing land
Should crouch beneath a tyrant's stern command!
That servitude should bind in galling chain
Whom Asia's millions once opposed in vain,
Who could have thought? Who sees without a groan
Thy cities mouldering and thy walls o'erthrown;
That where once towered the stately, solemn fane,
Now moss-grown ruins strew the ravaged plain;
And, unobserved but by the traveller's eye,
Proud, vaulted domes in fretted fragments lie;
And the fallen column, on the dusty ground,
Pale ivy throws its sluggish arms around?

Thy sons (sad change!) in abject bondage sigh;
Unpitied toil, and unlamented die;
Groan at the labors of the galling oar,
Or the dark caverns of the mine explore.
The glittering tyranny of Othman's sons,
The pomp of horror which surrounds their thrones,
Have awed their servile spirits into fear;
Spurned by the foot, they tremble and revere.
The day of labor, night's sad, sleepless hour,
The inflictive scourge of arbitrary power,
The bloody terror of the pointed steel,
The murderous stake, the agonizing wheel,
And (dreadful choice!) the bowstring or the bowl,
Damps their faint vigor and unmans the soul.
Disastrous fate! Still tears will fill the eye,
Still recollection prompt the mournful sigh,
When to the mind recurs thy former fame,
And all the horrors of thy present shame.

In 1810-'11 the poet BYRON spent considerable time in Greece, visiting its many scenes of historic interest, and noting the condition of its people. Here he wrote the second canto of Childe Harold, in which the following fine apostrophe and appeal to Greece, still under Moslem rule, are found:

  Fair Greece! sad relic of departed worth!
  Immortal, though no more; though fallen, great!
  Who now shall lead thy scattered children forth,
  And long accustomed bondage uncreate?
  Not such thy sons who whilom did await,
  The hopeless warriors of a willing doom,
  In bleak Thermopylæ's sepulchral strait--
  Oh, who that gallant spirit shall resume,
Leap from Euro'ta's banks, and call thee from the tomb?

  Spirit of Freedom! when on Phy'le's brow
  Thou sat'st with Thrasybu'lus and his train,
  Couldst thou forebode the dismal hour which now
  Dims the green beauties of thine Attic plain?
  Not thirty tyrants now enforce the chain,
  But every carle can lord it o'er thy land;
  Nor rise thy sons, but idly rail in vain,
  Trembling beneath the scourge of Turkish hand,
From birth till death enslaved; in word, in deed, unmanned.

  In all, save form alone, how changed! and who
  That marks the fire still sparkling in each eye,
  Who but would deem their bosoms burned anew
  With thy unquenched beam, lost Liberty!
  And many dream withal the hour is nigh
  That gives them back their father's heritage:
  For foreign arms and aid they fondly sigh,
  Nor solely dare encounter hostile rage,
Or tear their name defiled from Slavery's mournful page.

  Hereditary bondsmen! know ye not
  Who would be free themselves must strike the blow?
  By their right arms the conquest must be wrought?
  Will Gaul or Muscovite redress thee? No!
  True, they may lay your proud despoilers low,
  But not for you will Freedom's altars flame.
  Shades of the Helots! triumph o'er your foe!
  Greece! change thy lords, thy state is still the same;
Thy glorious day is o'er, but not thy years of shame.

       *       *       *       *       *
  When riseth Lacedæmon's hardihood,
  When Thebes Epaminondas rears again,
  When Athens' children are with hearts endued,
  When Grecian mothers shall give birth to men,
  Then may'st thou be restored; but not till then.
  A thousand years scarce serve to form a state;
  An hour may lay it in the dust: and when
  Can man, in shattered splendor renovate,
Recall its virtues back, and vanquish Time and Fate?


Although the oppressive domination of the Turks was tamely submitted to for so many centuries, the Greeks did not entirely lose their national spirit, nor their devotion to their religion and their domestic institutions; and long before Byron wrote, Greece began preparations to break the Turkish yoke. The preservation of the national spirit was largely due to the warlike inhabitants of the mountainous regions of the north, who maintained their independence against the bloody tyranny of the Turks, and continually harassed their camps and villages. These mountaineers were known as Klephts; and though they were literally robbers, ofttimes plundering the Greeks as well as the Turks, yet, on the decline of the Armato'li--the Christian local militia which the Turks attempted to crush out--the Klephts acquired political and social importance as a permanent class in the Greek nation; and, as DR. FELTON says, "When the Revolution broke out, the courage, temperance, and hardihood of these bands were among the most effective agencies in rescuing Greece from the blighting tyranny of the Turks." This writer characterizes the ballads of the Klephts as "full of fire, and redolent of the mountain life, which had an irresistible charm for young and adventurous spirits chafing under the domination of the Turks in the lowlands;" and to him we are indebted for a literal version of one of these ballads, representing the feelings of a young man who had resolved to leave his mother's home and betake himself to the mountains, and "illustrating at once the impatient spirit of rebellion against the Turks, and the sweet flow of natural poetry which was ever welling up in the hearts of the people." [Footnote: This ballad is taken from "a collection published by Zampelios, a Greek gentleman, and a native of Leucadia."]

"Mother, I can no longer be a slave to the Turks; I cannot--my heart fights against it. I will take my gun and go and become a Klepht; to dwell on the mountains, among the lofty ridges; to have the woods for my companions, and my converse with the beasts; to have the snow for my covering, the rocks for my bed; with sons of the Klephts to have my daily habitation. I will go, mother, and do not weep, but give me thy prayer. And we will pray, my dear mother, that I may slaughter many a Turk. Plant the rose, and plant the dark carnation, and give them sugar and musk to drink; and as long, O mother mine, as the flowers blossom and put forth, thy son is not dead, but is warring with the Turks. But if a day of sorrow come, a day of woe, and the plants fade away, and the flowers fall, then I too shall have been slain, and thou must clothe thyself in black.'

"Twelve years passed, and five months, while the roses blossomed and the buds bloomed; and one spring morning, the first of May, when the birds were singing and heaven was smiling, at once it thundered and lightened, and grew dark. The carnation sighed, the rose wept, both withered away together, and the flowers fell; and with them the hapless mother became a lifeless heap of earth."

The last half of the eighteenth century witnessed, in Greece, the first general desire for liberty. Secret societies were formed to aid in the emancipation of the country, and "eminent writers, at home and abroad, appealed to the glorious recollections of Greece in order to excite a universal enthusiasm for freedom." Among the latter may be mentioned CONSTANTINOS RHIGAS, a native of Thessaly, born in 1753, a man of fine accomplishments and an ardent patriot, whose lyric ballads are said to have "rung through Greece like a trumpet," and who has been styled "the Tyrtæ'us of modern Greece." One of his war-songs has been thus translated:

Sons of the Greeks, arise!
  The glorious hour's gone forth,
And, worthy of such ties,
  Display who gave us birth.
       *       *       *       *       *
Then manfully despising
  The Turkish tyrant's yoke,
Let your country see you rising,
  And all her chains are broke.
Brave shades of chiefs and sages,
  Behold the coming strife!
Hellenes of past ages,
  Oh start again to life!
At the sound of my trumpet, breaking
  Your sleep, oh join with me!
And the seven-hilled city [Footnote: Constantinople] seeking,
  Fight, conquer, till we're free.

Sparta, Sparta, why in slumbers
  Lethargic dost thou lie?
Awake, and join thy numbers
  With Athens, old ally!
Leonidas recalling,
  That chief of ancient song,
Who saved ye once from falling--
  The terrible! the strong!
Who made that bold diversion
  In old Thermopylæ,
And warring with the Persian
  To keep his country free;
With his three hundred waging
  The battle, long he stood,
And, like a lion raging,
Expired in seas of blood.
  --Trans. by BYRON.

Another poet, POLYZOIS, writes in a similar vein:

Friends and countrymen, shall we
Slaves of Moslems ever be,
Of the old barbaric band,
Tyrants o'er Hellenic land?
Draws the hour of vengeance nigh--
Vengeance! be our battle-cry.

It may be stated that Rhigas, having visited Vienna with the hope of rousing the wealthy Greek residents of that city to immediate action, was barbarously surrendered to the Turks by the Austrian government. On the way to execution he broke from his guards and killed two of them, but was overpowered and immediately beheaded.


The various efforts made by the Greeks in behalf of freedom, or, as more comprehensively stated by a recent writer, "The constancy with which they clung to the Christian Church during four centuries of misery and political annihilation; their immovable faithfulness to their nationality under intolerable oppression; the intellectual superiority they never failed to exhibit over their tyrants; the love of humane letters which they never, in all their sorrows, lost; and the wise preparation they made for the struggle by means of schools, and by the circulation of editions of their own ancient authors, and translations of the most instructive works in modern literature" --these were the influences which finally impelled the Greeks to seek their restoration in armed insurrection, that first broke out in the spring of 1821, and that ushered in the great Greek Revolution. On the 7th of March Alexander Ypsilanti, a Greek, who had been a major-general in the Russian army, proclaimed from Moldavia the independence of Greece, and assured his countrymen of the aid of Russia in the approaching contest. But the Russian emperor declined intervention; and the Porte took the most vigorous measures against the Greeks, calling upon all Mussulmen to arm against the rebels for the protection of Islamism. The wildest fanaticism raged in Constantinople, where thousands of resident Greeks were remorselessly murdered; and in Moldavia the bloody struggle was terminated by the annihilation of the patriot army, and the flight of Ypsilanti to Trieste, where the Austrian government seized and imprisoned him.

In southern Greece, however, no cruelties could quench the fire of liberty; and sixteen days after the proclamation of Ypsilanti the revolution of the Morea began at Suda, a large village in the northern part of Acha'ia, and spread over Achaia and the islands of the Æge'an. The ancient names were revived; and on the 6th of April the Messenian senate, assembled at Kalamä'ta, proclaimed that Greece had shaken off the Turkish yoke to preserve the Christian faith and restore the ancient character of the country. A formal address was made by that body to the people of the United States, and was forwarded to this country. It declared that, "having deliberately resolved to live or die for freedom, the Greeks were drawn by an irresistible impulse to the people of the United States." In that early stage of the struggle, however, the address failed to excite that sympathy which, as we shall see farther on, the progress of events and a better understanding of the situation finally awakened.

During the summer months the Turks committed great depredations among the Greek towns on the coast of Asia Minor; the inhabitants of the Island of Candia, who had taken no part in the insurrection, were disarmed, and their archbishop and other prelates were murdered. The most barbarous atrocities were also committed at Rhodes and other islands of the Grecian Archipelago, where the villages were burned and the country desolated. But in August the Greeks captured the strong Turkish fortresses of Monembasi'a and Navarï'no, and in October that of Tripolit'za, and took a terrible revenge upon their enemies. In Tripolitza alone eight thousand Turks were put to death. The excesses of the Turks showed to the Greeks that their struggle was one of life and death; and it is not surprising, therefore, that they often retaliated when the power was in their hands. In September of the same year the Greek general Ulysses defeated a large Turkish army near the Pass of Thermopylæ; but, on the other hand, the peninsula of Cassandra, the ancient Pelle'ne, was taken by the Turks, and over three thousand Greeks were put to the sword. The Athenian Acropolis was seized and garrisoned by the Turks, and the people of Athens, as in olden time, fled to Sal'amis for safety; but in general, throughout all southern Greece, the close of the year saw the Turks driven from the country districts and shut up in the principal cities.


When the revolution of the Greeks broke out the English poet SHELLEY was residing in Italy. It was during the first year of the war that Shelley, filled with enthusiasm for the Greek cause, wrote, from the scanty materials that were then accessible, his beautiful dramatic poem of Hellas; and although he could at that time narrate but few events of the struggle, yet his prophecies of the final result came true in their general import. Forming his poem on the basis of the Persians of Æschylus, the scene opens with a chorus of Greek captive women, who thus sing of the course of Freedom, from the earliest ages until the light of her glory returns to rest upon and renovate their benighted land:

In the great morning of the world
The Spirit of God with might unfurled
The flag of Freedom over Chaos,
  And all its banded anarchs fled,
Like vultures frightened from Ima'us,
[Footnote: A Scythian mountain-range.]
  Before an earthquake's tread,

So from Time's tempestuous dawn
  Freedom's splendor burst and shone:
Thermopylæ and Marathon
Caught, like mountains beacon-lighted,
  The springing fire, The winged glory
On Philippi half alighted
[Footnote: The republican Romans, under Brutus and Cassius,
were defeated here by Octavius and Mark Antony, 42 B.C.
  Like an eagle on a promontory.

Its unwearied wings could fan
The quenchless ashes of Milan.
[Footnote: Milan was the center of the resistance of the
Lombard league against the Austrian tyrant Frederic Barbarossa.
The latter, in 1162, burned the city to the ground; but liberty
lived in its ashes, and it rose, like an exhalation, from its
From age to age, from man to man
  It lived; and lit, from land to land,
  Florence, Albion, Switzerland.
[Footnote: Florence freed itself from the power of the
Ghibelline nobles, and became a free republic in 1250.
Albion--England: Magna Charta wrested from King John:
the Commonwealth. Switzerland: the great victory of
Mogarten, in 1315, led to the compact of the three cantons,
thus forming the nucleus of the Swiss Confederation.

Then night fell; and, as from night,
Re-assuring fiery flight
  From the West swift Freedom came,
[Footnote: The American Revolution.]
  Against the course of heaven and doom,
A second sun, arrayed in flame,
  To burn, to kindle, to illume.
From far Atlantis its young beams
[Footnote: The fabled Atlantis of Plato; here used for America.]
Chased the shadows and the dreams.

France, with all her sanguine streams,
Hid, but quenched it not; again,
[Footnote: Referring to the French Revolution.]
Through clouds, its shafts of glory rain
From utmost Germany to Spain.
[Footnote: Referring to the revolutions that broke out about
the year 1820.
As an eagle, fed with morning,
Scorns the embattled tempest's warning,
When she seeks her aerie hanging
  In the mountain cedar's hair,
And her brood expect the clanging
  Of her wings through the wild air,
Sick with famine; Freedom, so,
To what of Greece remaineth, now
Returns; her hoary ruins glow
Like orient mountains lost in day;
  Beneath the safety of her wings
Her renovated nurslings play,
  And in the naked lightnings
Of truth they purge their dazzled eyes.
Let Freedom leave, where'er she flies,
A desert, or a paradise;
  Let the beautiful and the brave
  Share her glory or a grave.

In the farther prosecution of his narrative, the poet represents the Turkish Sultan, Mahmoud, as being strongly moved by dreams of the threatened overthrow of his power; and he accordingly sends for Ahasuerus, an aged Jew, to interpret them. In the mean time the chorus of women sings the final triumph of the Cross over the crescent, and the fleeing away of the dark "powers of earth and air" before the advancing light of the "Star of Bethlehem:"

A power from the unknown God,
  A Promethean conqueror came;
Like a triumphal path he trod
  The thorns of death and shame.
    A mortal shape to him
    Was like the vapor dim
Which the orient planet animates with light;
  Hell, sin, and slavery came,
  Like bloodhounds mild and tame,
Nor preyed until their lord had taken flight.
  The moon of Ma'homet
  Arose, and it shall set;
While, blazoned as on heaven's immortal noon,
  The Cross leads generations on.

Swift as the radiant shapes of sleep,
  From one whose dreams are paradise,
Fly, when the fond wretch wakes to weep,
  And day peers forth with her black eyes;
    So fleet, so faint, so fair,
    The powers of earth and air
Fled from the rising Star of Bethlehem.
    Apollo, Pan, and Love,
    And even Olympian Jove
Grew weak, for killing Truth had glared on them.
    Our hills, and seas, and streams,
    Dispeopled of their dreams--
Their waters turned to blood, their dew to tears--
    Wailed for the golden years.

In the language of Hassan, an attendant of Mahmoud, the poet then summarizes the events attending the opening of the struggle, giving a picture of the course of European politics--Egypt sending her armies and fleets to aid the Sultan against the rebel world; England, Queen of Ocean, upon her island throne, holding herself aloof from the contest; Russia, indifferent whether Greece or Turkey conquers, but watching to stoop upon the victor; and Austria, while hating freedom, yet fearing the success of freedom's enemies. The poet could not foresee that change in English politics which subsequently permitted England, aided by France and Russia, to interfere in behalf of Greece. Hassan says:

"The anarchies of Africa unleash
Their tempest-winged cities of the sea,
To speak in thunder to the rebel world.
Like sulphurous clouds, half shattered by the storm,
They sweep the pale Ægean, while the Queen
Of Ocean, bound upon her island throne,
Far in the West, sits mourning that her sons,
Who frown on Freedom, spare a smile for thee:
Russia still hovers, as an eagle might
Within a cloud, near which a kite and crane
Hang tangled in inextricable fight,
To stoop upon the victor; for she fears
The name of Freedom, even as she hates thine;
But recreant Austria loves thee as the grave
Loves pestilence; and her slow dogs of war,
Fleshed with the chase, come up from Italy,
And howl upon their limits; for they see
The panther Freedom fled to her old cover
Amid seas and mountains, and a mightier brood
Crouch around."

Although Hassan recounts the numbers of the Sultan's armies, and the strength of his forts and arsenals, yet the desponding Mahmoud, watching the declining moon, thus symbolizes it as the wan emblem of his fading power:

"Look, Hassan, on yon crescent moon, emblazoned
Upon that shattered flag of fiery cloud
Which leads the rear of the departing day,
Wan emblem of an empire fading now!
See how it trembles in the blood-red air,
And, like a mighty lamp whose oil is spent,
Shrinks on the horizon's edge--while, from above,
One star, with insolent and victorious light
Hovers above its fall, and with keen beams,
Like arrows through a fainting antelope,
Strikes its weak form to death."

As messenger after messenger approaches, and informs the Sultan of the revolutionary risings in different parts of his empire, he refuses to hear more, and takes refuge in that fatalistic philosophy which is an unfailing resource of the followers of the Prophet in all their reverses:

              "I'll hear no more! too long
We gaze on danger through the mist of fear,
And multiply upon our shattered hopes
The images of ruin. Come what will!
To-morrow and to-morrow are as lamps
Set in our path to light us to the edge,
Through rough and smooth; nor can we suffer aught
Which He inflicts not, in whose hands we are."

When the Jew, Ahasuerus, at length arrives, he speaks in oracular terms, and calls up visions which increase the Sultan's fears; and when the latter hears shouts of transient victory over the Greeks, he regards it but as the expiring gleam which serves to make the coming darkness the more terrible. He thus soliloquizes:

"Weak lightning before darkness! poor faint smile
Of dying Islam! Voice which art the response
Of hollow weakness! Do I wake, and live,
Were there such things? or may the unquiet brain,
Vexed by the wise mad talk of the old Jew,
Have shaped itself these shadows of its fear?
It matters not! for naught we see, or dream,
Possess or lose, or grasp at, can be worth
More than it gives or teaches. Come what may,
The future must become the past, and I
As they were, to whom once the present hour,
This gloomy crag of time to which I cling,
Seemed an Elysian isle of peace and joy
Never to be attained."

Although the poet predicts series of disasters and periods of gloom for struggling Greece, yet, at the close of the poem, a brighter age than any she has known is represented as gleaming upon her "through the sunset of hope."

The year 1822 opened with the assembling of the first Greek congress at Epidau'rus, the proclaiming of a provisional constitution on the 13th of January, and the issuing, on the 27th, of a declaration that announced the union of all Greece, with an independent federative government under the presidency of Alexander Mavrocordä'to. But the Greeks, unaccustomed to exercise the rights of freemen, were unable at once to establish a wise and firm government: they often quarreled among themselves; and those who had exercised an independent authority under the government of the Turks were with difficulty induced to submit to the control of the central government. The few men of intelligence and liberal views among them had a difficult task to perform; but the wretchedly undisciplined state of the Turkish armies aided its successful accomplishment. The principal military events of the year were the terrible massacre of the inhabitants of the Island of Scio by the Turks in April; the defeat of the latter in the Morea, where more than twenty thousand of them were slain; the successes of the Greek fire-ships, by which many Turkish vessels were destroyed; and the surrender to the Greeks of Nap'oli di Roma'nia, the ancient Nauplia, the port of Argos. By the destruction of the Island of Scio a paradise was changed into a scene of desolation, and more than forty thousand persons were killed or sold into slavery. Soon after, one hundred and fifty villages in southern Macedonia experienced the fate of Scio; and the pasha of Saloni'ca boasted that he had destroyed, in one day, fifteen hundred women and children.

Goaded to desperation, rather than disheartened by their reverses and the remorseless cruelties of the Turks, the Greeks struggled bravely on, and during the year 1823 the results of the contest were generally in their favor. They often proved themselves worthy sons of those who fell

"In bleak Thermopylæ's strait,"

or on the plains of Marathon. Their patriotic determination to be free, or die in the attempt, is happily reflected in the following lines by the poet CAMPBELL, whose heart beat in sympathy with their efforts for liberty.

Song of the Greeks.

Again to the battle, Achaians!
Our hearts bid the tyrants defiance!
Our land--the first garden of Liberty's tree--
It hath been, and shall yet be, the land of the free;
For the Cross of our faith is replanted,
The pale, dying crescent is daunted,
And we march that the footprints of Mahomet's slaves
May be washed out in blood from our forefathers' graves.
Their spirits are hovering o'er us,
And the sword shall to glory restore us.

Ah! what though no succor advances,
Nor Christendom's chivalrous lances
Are stretched in our aid? Be the combat our own!
And we'll perish or conquer more proudly alone!
For we've sworn by our country's assaulters,
By the virgins they've dragged from our altars,
By our massacred patriots, our children in chains,
By our heroes of old, and their blood in our veins,
That, living, we shall be victorious,
Or that, dying, our deaths shall be glorious!

A breath of submission we breathe not:
The sword that we've drawn we will sheathe not;
Its scabbard is left where our martyrs are laid,
And the vengeance of ages has whetted its blade.
Earth may hide, waves ingulf, fire consume us;
But they shall not to slavery doom us.
If they rule, it shall be o'er our ashes and graves:
But we've smote them already with fire on the waves,
And new triumphs on land are before us--
To the charge!--Heaven's banner is o'er us.

This day shall ye blush for its story,
Or brighten your lives with its glory.
Our women--oh say, shall they shriek in despair,
Or embrace us from conquest, with wreaths in their hair?
Accursed may his memory blacken,
If a coward there be who would slacken
Till we've trampled the turban, and shown ourselves worth
Being sprung from, and named for, the godlike of earth.
Strike home! and the world shall revere us
As heroes descended from heroes.

Old Greece lightens up with emotion!
Her inlands, her isles of the ocean,
Fanes rebuilt, and fair towns, shall with jubilee ring,
And the Nine shall new hallow their Helicon's spring.
Our hearths shall be kindled in gladness,
That were cold and extinguished in sadness;
While our maidens shall dance, with their white waving arms,
Singing joy to the brave that delivered their charms,
When the blood of yon Mussulman cravens
Shall have crimsoned the beaks of our ravens!


The progress of events in 1822 and 1823 made friends for the Greeks wherever free principles were cherished; and from England and America large contributions of money, clothing, and provisions, were forwarded to relieve the sufferings inflicted by the wanton cruelties of the Turks. It was the United States, however, as the first American Minister to Greece, MR. TUCKERMAN, says, that first responded, "in the words of President Monroe, Webster, Clay, Everett, Dwight, and hosts of other lights," to the appeal of the Greek senate at Kalamäta, made in 1821. When Congress assembled in December, 1823, President Monroe made the revolution in Greece the subject of a paragraph in his annual message, in which he expressed the hope of success to the Greeks and disaster to the Turks; and Mr. Webster subsequently introduced a resolution in the House of Representatives providing for the appointment of an agent or commissioner to Greece. These were the first official expressions favorable to the struggling country uttered by any government; and in speaking to his resolution in January, 1824, Mr. Webster began his remarks as follows:

"An occasion which calls the attention to a spot so distinguished, so connected with interesting recollections, as Greece, may naturally create something of warmth and enthusiasm. In a grave political discussion, however, it is necessary that those feelings should be chastened. I shall endeavor properly to repress them, although it is impossible that they should be altogether extinguished. We must, indeed, fly beyond the civilized world; we must pass the dominion of law and the boundaries of knowledge; we must, more especially, withdraw ourselves from this place, and the scenes and objects which here surround us, if we would separate ourselves entirely from the influence of all those memorials of herself which ancient Greece has transmitted for the admiration and the benefit of mankind. This free form of government, this popular assembly--the common council for the common good--where have we contemplated its earliest models? This practice of free debate and public discussion, the contest of mind with mind, and that popular eloquence which, if it were now here, on a subject like this, would move the stones of the Capitol--whose was the language in which all these were first exhibited? Even the edifice in which we assemble, these proportioned columns, this ornamented architecture, all remind us that Greece has existed, and that we, like the rest of mankind, are greatly her debtors.

"But I have not introduced this motion in the vain hope of discharging anything of this accumulated debt of centuries. I have not acted upon the expectation that we who have inherited this obligation from our ancestors should now attempt to pay it to those who may seem to have inherited from their ancestors a right to receive payment. My object is nearer and more immediate. I wish to take occasion of the struggle of an interesting and gallant people in the cause of liberty and Christianity, to draw the attention of the House to the circumstances which have accompanied that struggle, and to the principles which appear to have governed the conduct of the great states of Europe in regard to it, and to the effects and consequences of these principles upon the independence of nations, and especially upon the institutions of free governments. What I have to say of Greece, therefore, concerns the modern, not the ancient--the living, and not the dead. It regards her, not as she exists in history, triumphant over time, and tyranny, and ignorance, but as she now is, contending against fearful odds for being, and for the common privileges of human nature."

In an argument of some length Mr. Webster forcibly condemns the then existing policy of the European Powers, who, holding that all changes in legislation and administration "ought to proceed from kings alone," were therefore "wholly inexorable to the sufferings of the Greeks, and entirely hostile to their success." He demands that the protest of this government shall be made against this policy, both as it is laid down in principle and as it is applied in practice; and he closes his address with the following references to the determination of the Greeks and the sympathy their struggle should receive:

"Constantinople and the northern provinces have sent forth thousands of troops; they have been defeated. Tripoli, and Algiers, and Egypt have contributed their marine contingents; they have not kept the ocean. Hordes of Tartars have crossed the Bosphorus; they have died where the Persians died. The powerful monarchies in the neighborhood have denounced the Greek cause, and admonished the Greeks to abandon it and submit to their fate. They have answered that, although two hundred thousand of their countrymen have offered up their lives, there yet remain lives to offer; and that it is the determination of all--'yes, of ALL'--to persevere until they shall have established their liberty, or until the power of their oppressors shall have relieved them from the burden of existence. It may now be asked, perhaps, whether the expression of our own sympathy, and that of the country, may do them good? I hope it may. It may give them courage and spirit; it may assure them of public regard, teach them that they are not wholly forgotten by the civilized world, and inspire them with constancy in the pursuit of their great end. At any rate, it appears to me that the measure which I have proposed is due to our own character, and called for by our own duty. When we have discharged that duty we may leave the rest to the disposition of Providence. I am not of those who would, in the hour of utmost peril, withhold such encouragement as might be properly and lawfully given, and, when the crisis should be past, overwhelm the rescued sufferer with kindness and caresses. The Greeks address the civilized world with a pathos not easy to be resisted. They invoke our favor by more moving considerations than can well belong to the condition of any other people. They stretch out their arms to the Christian communities of the earth, beseeching them, by a generous recollection of their ancestors, by the consideration of their desolated and ruined cities and villages, by their wives and children sold into an accursed slavery, by their blood, which they seem willing to pour out like water, by the common faith and in the name which unites all Christians, that they would extend to them at least some token of compassionate regard."


One of the noted exploits of the Greeks in 1823, and one that has been commemorated in many ways, occurred at Missolon'ghi, the capital of Acarnania and Ætolia, while that town was besieged by a Turkish army; and the name of Marco Boz-zar'is, the commander of the garrison, has ever since been classed with that of Leonidas and other heroes of ancient Greece who fell in the moment of victory. In his Crescent and the Cross; or, Romance and Realities of Eastern Travel, the English author WARBURTON thus tells the story of the well-known deed that saved Missolonghi to the Greeks and hastened the delivery of their country:

"When Missolonghi was beleaguered by the Turkish forces, Marco Bozzaris commanded a garrison of about twelve hundred men, who had barely fortifications enough to form breastworks. Intelligence reached him that an Egyptian army was about to form a junction with the formidable besieging host. A parade was ordered of the garrison, 'faint and few, but fearless still.' Bozzaris told them of the destruction that impended over Missolonghi, proposed a sortie, and announced that it should consist only of volunteers. Volunteers! The whole garrison stepped forward as one man, and demanded the post of honor and of death. 'I will only take the Thermopylæ number,' said their leader; and he selected the three hundred from his true and trusty Suliotes. In the dead of night this devoted band marched out in six divisions, which were placed, in profound silence, around the Turkish camp. Their orders were simply, 'When you hear my bugle blow seek me in the pasha's tent.'

"Marco Bozzaris, disguised as an Albanian bearing dispatches to the pasha from the Egyptian army, passed unquestioned through the Turkish camp, and was only arrested by the sentinels around the pasha's tent, who informed him that he must wait till morning. Then wildly through the stillness of the night that bugle blew; faithfully it was echoed from without; and the war-cry of the avenging Greek broke upon the Moslem's ear. From every side that terrible storm seemed to break at once; shrieks of agony and terror swelled the tumult. The Turks fled in all directions, and the Grecian leader was soon surrounded by his comrades. Struck to the ground by a musket-ball, he had himself raised on the shoulders of two Greeks; and, thus supported, he pressed on the flying enemy. Another bullet pierced his brain in the hour of his triumph, and he was borne dead from the field of his glory." But Missolonghi was saved, and under Constantine and Noto Bozzaris, brothers of the dead hero, it withstood repeated assaults of the Turks, until, in 1826, after having been besieged for over a year by a very large naval and military force, it was finally taken. Those left of the small garrison who were able to fight, placing the women in the center, sallied forth at midnight of the 22d of April, and cut their way through the Turkish camp; while those who were too feeble to attempt an escape assembled in a large mill that was used as a powder-magazine, and blew themselves and many of the incoming Turks to atoms.

Some fifteen years after the death of Marco Bozzaris, the American traveller and author, Mr. John L. Stephens, visited Greece, and, at Missolonghi, was presented to Constantine Bozzaris and the widow and children of his deceased brother. In the account which the author gives of this interview, in his Incidents of Travel in Greece, he describes Constantine Bozzaris, then a colonel in the service of King Otho, as a man of about fifty years of age, of middle height and spare build, who, immediately after the formal introduction, expressed his gratitude as a Greek for the services rendered his country by America; and added, "with sparkling eye and flushed cheek, that when the Greek revolutionary flag sailed into the port of Napoli di Romania, among hundreds of vessels of all nations, an American captain was the first to recognize and salute it." Mr. Stephens thus describes the widow of the Greek hero: "She was under forty, tall and stately in person, and habited in deep black. She looked the widow of a hero; as one worthy of those Grecian mothers who gave their hair for bow-strings and their girdles for sword-belts, and, while their heartstrings were cracking, sent their husbands to fight and perish for their country. Perhaps it was she who led Marco Bozzaris from the wild guerilla warfare in which he had passed his early life, and fired him with the high and holy ambition of freeing his country. I am certain that no man could look her in the face without finding his wavering purposes fixed, and without treading more firmly in the path of high and honorable ambition."

Mr. Stephens closes the account of his interview with the widow and family as follows: "At parting I told them that the name of Marco Bozzaris was as familiar in America as that of a hero of our own Revolution, and that it had been hallowed by the inspiration of an American poet. I added that, if it would not be unacceptable, on my return to my native country I would send the tribute referred to, as an evidence of the feeling existing in America toward the memory of Marco Bozzaris." The promised tribute was the following Beautiful and stirring poem by FITZ-GREENE HALLECK:

Marco Bozzaris.

At midnight, in his guarded tent,
  The Turk was dreaming of the hour
When Greece, her knee in suppliance bent,
  Should tremble at his power:
In dreams, through camp and court, he bore
The trophies of a conqueror;
  In dreams his song of triumph heard;
Then wore his monarch's signet-ring;
Then pressed that monarch's throne--a king;
As wild his thoughts, and gay of wing,
  As Eden's garden-bird.

At midnight, in the forest shades,
  Bozzaris ranged his Suliote band,
True as the steel of their tried blades,
  Heroes in heart and hand.
There had the Persian's thousands stood,
There had the glad earth drunk their blood
  On old Platæa's day;
And now there breathed that haunted air
The sons of sires who conquered there,
With arm to strike, and soul to dare,
  As quick, as far as they.

An hour passed on--the Turk awoke;
  That bright dream was his last;
He woke to hear his sentries shriek
"To arms! they come! the Greek! the Greek!"
He woke, to die 'mid flame and smoke,
And shout, and groan, and sabre-stroke,
  And death-shots falling thick and fast
As lightnings from the mountain-cloud,
And heard, with voice as trumpet loud,
  Bozzaris cheer his band:
"Strike! till the last armed foe expires;
Strike! for your altars and your fires;
Strike! for the green graves of your sires,
  God, and your native land!"

They fought like brave men, long and well;
  They piled that ground with Moslem slain;
They conquered; but Bozzaris fell,
  Bleeding at every vein.
His few surviving comrades saw
His smile when rang their proud hurrah,
  And the red field was won,
Then saw in death his eyelids close,
Calmly as to a night's repose--
  Like flowers at set of sun.

Come to the bridal chamber, Death!
  Come to the mother, when she feels,
For the first time, her first-born's breath;
  Come when the blessed seals
That close the pestilence are broke,
And crowded cities wail its stroke;
Come in consumption's ghastly form,
The earthquake shock, the ocean storm;
Come when the heart beats high and warm
  With banquet song, and dance, and wine;
And thou art terrible: the tear,
The groan, the knell, the pall, the bier,
And all we know, or dream, or fear
  Of agony, are thine.

But to the hero, when his sword
  Has won the battle for the free,
Thy voice sounds like a prophet's word,
And in its hollow tones are heard
  Thanks of millions yet to be.
Come, when his task of fame is wrought;
Come, with her laurel-leaf, blood-bought;
  Come, in her crowning hour--and then
Thy sunken eye's unearthly light
To him is welcome as the sight
  Of sky and stars to prisoned men;
Thy grasp is welcome as the hand
Of brother in a foreign land;
Thy summons welcome as the cry
That told the Indian isles were nigh
  To the world-seeking Genoese,
When the land-wind, from woods of palm,
And orange-groves, and fields of balm,
  Blew o'er the Haytien seas.

Bozzaris! with the storied brave
  Greece nurtured in her glory's time,
Rest thee--there is no prouder grave,
  Even in her own proud clime.
She wore no funeral weeds for thee,
  Nor bade the dark hearse wave its plume,
Like torn branch from death's leafless tree,
In sorrow's pomp and pageantry,
  The heartless luxury of the tomb;
But she remembers thee as one
Long loved, and for a season gone:
For thee her poet's lyre is wreathed,
Her marble wrought, her music breathed;
For thee she rings the birthday bells;
Of thee her babes' first lisping tells;
For thine her evening prayer is said
At palace couch and cottage bed;
Her soldier, closing with the foe,
Gives for thy sake a deadlier blow;
His plighted maiden, when she fears
For him, the joy of her young years,
Thinks of thy fate and checks her tears.
  And she, the mother of thy boys,
Though in her eye and faded cheek
Is read the grief she will not speak,
  The memory of her buried joys,
And even she who gave thee birth,
Will, by their pilgrim-circled hearth,
Talk of thy doom without a sigh:
For thou art Freedom's now, and Fame's--
One of the few, the immortal names
  That were not born to die!

About the time of the exploit of Bozzaris, Lord Byron arrived in Greece, to take an active part in aid of Greek independence, and proceeded to Missolonghi in January, 1824. No warmer friend of the Greeks than Byron ever lived; but while he sympathized with, and was anxious to aid in every way possible, those who, in his own words, "suffered all the moral and physical ills that could afflict humanity," it was evidently his honest belief that the only salvation for Greece lay in her becoming a British dependency. In his notes to Childe Harold, penned before the revolution broke out, but while all Greece was ablaze with the desire for liberty, he wrote as follows: "The Greeks will never be independent; they will never be sovereigns, as heretofore, and God forbid they ever should! but they may be subjects without being slaves. Our colonies are not independent, but they are free and industrious, and such may Greece be hereafter." These words show that he considered Greece incapable of self-government, should she ever regain her liberty; and he therefore deprecated a return to her ancient sovereignty. That this was his view, and that he subsequently designed to give it effect in his own person, we are assured from the well-founded belief, derived from his own declarations, that when he joined the Greek cause he had a mind to place himself at its head, hoping and perhaps believing that he might become King of Hellas, under the protection of Great Britain. But whatever his plans may have been, they were cut short by his death, at Missolonghi, on the 19th of April following his arrival there.


In the campaign of 1824, while the Greeks lost Candia and the strongly fortified rocky isle of Ip'sara, a Turkish fleet was repulsed off Samos, and a large Egyptian fleet, sent to attack the Morea, was frustrated in all its designs. The campaign of 1825, however, was opened by the landing, in the Morea, of a large Egyptian army, under Ibrahim Päsha, son of the Viceroy of Egypt. Navarï'no soon fell into his power; and at the time of the fall of Missolonghi, in the following year, be was in possession of most of southern Greece, and many of the islands of the Archipelago. The foundation of an Egyptian military and slave-holding state now seemed to be laid in Europe; and this danger, combined with the noble defence and sufferings at Missolonghi and elsewhere, attracted the serious attention of the European governments and people; numerous philanthropic societies were formed to aid the Greeks, and finally three of the great European powers were moved to interfere in their behalf. On the 6th of July, 1827, a treaty was concluded at London between England, Russia, and France, stipulating that the Greeks should govern themselves, but that they should pay tribute to the Porte.

To enforce this treaty a combined English, French, and Russian squadron sailed to the Grecian Archipelago; but the Turkish Sultan haughtily rejected the intervention of the three powers, and the troops of Ibrahim Pasha continued their devastations in the Morea. On the 20th of October the allied squadron, under the command of the English admiral, Edward Codrington, entered the harbor of Navarino, where the Turkish-Egyptian fleet lay at anchor; and a sanguinary naval battle followed, in which the allies nearly destroyed the fleet of the enemy. Although this action was spoken of by the British government as an "untoward event," Admiral Codrington was rewarded both by England and Russia; and the poet CAMPBELL, in the following lines on the battle, naturally praises him for planning and striking this decisive blow for Grecian liberty:

The Battle of Nava'rino.

Hearts of Oak, that have bravely delivered the brave,
And uplifted old Greece from the brink of the grave!
'Twas the helpless to help, and the hopeless to save,
  That your thunderbolts swept o'er the brine;
And as long as yon sun shall look down on the wave
  The light of your glory shall shine.

For the guerdon ye sought with your bloodshed and toil,
Was it slaves, or dominion, or rapine, or spoil?
No! your lofty emprise was to fetter and foil
  The uprooter of Greece's domain,
When he tore the last remnant of food from her soil,
  Till her famished sank pale as the slain!

Yet, Navarï'no's heroes! does Christendom breed
The base hearts that will question the fame of your deed?
Are they men?--let ineffable scorn be their meed,
  And oblivion shadow their graves!
Are they women?--to Turkish sérails let them speed,
  And be mothers of Mussulmen slaves!

Abettors of massacre! dare ye deplore
That the death-shriek is silenced on Hellas' shore?
That the mother aghast sees her offspring no more
  By the hand of Infanticide grasped?
And that stretched on yon billows distained by their gore
  Missolonghi's assassins have gasped?

Prouder scene never hallowed war's pomp to the mind
Than when Christendom's pennons wooed social the wind,
And the flower of her brave for the combat combined--
  Their watchword, humanity's vow:
Not a sea-boy that fought in that cause but mankind
  Owes a garland to bon or his brow!
No grudge, by our side, that to conquer or fall
Came the hardy, rude Russ, and the high-mettled Gaul:
For whose was the genius that planned, at its call,
  When the whirlwind of battle should roll?
All were brave! but the star of success over all
  Was the light of our Codrington's soul.

That star of thy day-spring, regenerate Greek!
Dimmed the Saracen's moon, and struck pallid his cheek:
In its fast flushing morning thy Muses shall speak,
  When their love and their lutes they reclaim;
And the first of their songs from Parnassus's peak
  Shall be "Glory to Codrington's name!"

The result of the conflict at Navarino so enraged the Turks that they stopped all communication with the allied powers, and prepared for war. In the following year (1828) France and England sent an army to the Morea: Russia declared war for violations of treaties, and depredations upon her commerce; and on the 7th of May a Russian army of one hundred and fifteen thousand men, under Count Witt'genstein, crossed the Pruth, and by the 2d of July had taken seven fortresses from the Turks. In August a convention was concluded with Ibrahim Päsha, who agreed to evacuate the Morea, and set his Greek prisoners at liberty. In the mean time the Greeks continued the war, drove the Turks from the country north of the Corinthian Gulf, and fitted out numerous privateers to prey upon the commerce of their enemy. In January, 1829, the Sultan received a protocol from the three allied powers, declaring that they took the Morea and the Cyc'lades under their protection, and that the entry of any military force into Greece would be regarded as an attack upon themselves. The danger of open war with France and England, as well as the successes and alarming advances of the Russians, now commanded by Marshal Die'bitsch, who had meantime taken Adrianople, within one hundred and thirty miles of the Turkish capital, induced the Sultan to listen to overtures of peace; and on the 14th of September "the peace of Adrianople" was signed by Turkey and Russia, by which the former recognized the independence of Greece.


Though freed from her Turkish oppressors, Greece was severely agitated by domestic discontents, jealousies, and even manifest turbulence. Count Cä'po d'Is'tria, a Greek in the service of Russia, who had been chosen, in 1828, president of the provisional government, aroused suspicions that he designed to establish a despotism in his own person, and he was assassinated in 1831. A period of anarchy followed. The great powers had previously determined to erect Greece into a monarchy, and had first offered the crown to Prince Leopold, afterward King of Belgium, who, having accepted the offer, soon after declined it on account of the unwillingness of the Greeks to receive him, and their dissatisfaction with the territorial boundaries prescribed for them. Finally, the boundaries of the kingdom having been more satisfactorily determined by a treaty between Turkey and the powers in 1832, the crown was conferred on Otho, a Bavarian prince, who arrived at Nauplia, the then capital of Greece, in 1833. Athens became the seat of government in 1835. Says a writer in the British Quarterly, "The Greeks neither elected their own sovereign nor chose their national polity. In a spirit of generous confidence they allowed the three protecting powers to name a king for them, and the powers rewarded them by making the worst selection they could. They gave the Greeks a boy of seventeen, with neither a character to form nor an intellect to develop."

The treaty by which Otho was placed on the throne made no provision for a constitution, but one was expected; and, after ten years of oppressive subjection by the king and his Bavarian minions, both the people and a revolted soldiery surrounded the palace, and demanded a constitution. The king acquiesced, a national assembly was held, and a constitution was framed which received the king's approval in March, 1844. In this bloodless revolution we have an instance both of the determination, and peaceable, orderly, and well-disposed tendencies of the Greek people. An eye-witness of the scene has thus described it:

"I well recollect the uprising of 1843. Exasperated by the miserable rule of Otho, a plot was hatched to wrench a constitution from him, and when everything was ripe the Athenians arose. At midnight the hoofs of horses were heard clanging on the pavements, and the flash of torches gleamed in the streets, as the populace and military hurried toward the palace; and when the amber-colored dawn lighted the Acropolis and the plain of Athens, the king found himself surrounded by his happy subjects, and discovered two field-pieces pointing into the entrance of the royal residence. A constitution was demanded in firm but respectful terms--it being suggested at the same time that, if the request were not granted by four o'clock in the afternoon, fire would be opened on the palace. In the mean while all Athens was gathered in the open space around the palace, chatting, cracking jokes, taking snuff, and smoking, as if they had assembled to witness a show or hear the reading of a will. Not a shot was fired; no violence was offered or received; and precisely as the limiting hour arrived, the obstinate king succumbed to his besiegers, and the multitude quietly dispersed to their homes." [Footnote: B. G. W. Benjamin, in "The Turk and the Greek."]

The Constitution which the Greeks secured contained no real guarantee for the legislative rights of the people, and the minor benefits it gave them were ignored by the government. A continuance of the severe contests between the national party and foreign intriguers materially interfered with the prosperity of the country. Other events, also, now occurred to disturb it. In 1847 a diplomatic difficulty with Turkey, and, in 1848, a difference with England, that arose from various claims of English subjects, and that continued for several years, assumed threatening proportions, and were only terminated by the submission of Greece to the demands made upon her. When the Crimean war broke out, Greece took a decided stand in favor of Russia; but England and France soon compelled her to assume and maintain a strictly neutral position. In 1859 the residents of the Ionian Islands, which were under the protectorate of England, sought annexation to Greece, and manifested their intentions in great popular demonstrations, and even insurrections; but Greece, though sympathizing with them, was too feeble to aid them, and no change was then made in their relations.


While these events were transpiring, the feeling of hostility toward King Otho and the royal family was taking deeper root with the Greek people, and open demonstrations of violence were frequently made. The king promised more liberal measures of government; but these fell short of the popular demand, and the Greeks resolved to dethrone the dynasty. In October, 1862, after several violent demonstrations elsewhere, matters culminated in a successful revolution at Athens. A provisional government was established by the leaders of the popular party, who decreed the deposition of the king. Otho, who was absent from Athens at the time, on a visit to Napoli, finding himself without a throne did not return to Athens, but issued a proclamation taking leave of Greece, and sailed for Germany in an English frigate. He had occupied the throne just thirty years. MR. TUCKERMAN thus describes him: "An honest-hearted man, but without intellectual strength, dressed in the Greek fustinella, he endeavored to be Greek in spirit; but under his braided jacket his heart beat to foreign measures, and his ear inclined to foreign counsels. But for the quicker-witted Amelia, the queen, his follies would have worn out the patience of the people sooner than they did." The condition of Greece under his government is thus described by the writer in the British Quarterly, who wrote immediately after the coup d'état:

"To outward appearance, the Greece which the Philhel'lenists of the days of Canning declared to be re-animated and restored, has presented, during thirty years of settled government, the aspect of a country corrupt, intriguing, venal, and poor. The government has kept faith neither with its subjects nor with its creditors; it has endeavored, by all means in its power, to crush the constitutional liberties of its subjects; and by refusing, throughout this period, to pay a single drachma of its public debt, it has stamped itself either hopelessly bankrupt or scandalously fraudulent. The people, meanwhile, crushed by the incubus of a dishonest and extravagant foreign rule, remain in nearly the situation they held on the first establishment of their kingdom. In a word, Greece was thirty years ago transferred from one despotism to another. The Bavarian rule was no appreciable mitigation of the Turkish rule. If the Christian monarch hated his Hellenic subjects less than the Mussulman monarch, he was still more ignorant of the conditions of prosperous government."


If it has ever had an existence, Greek independence may be properly dated from the deposition of the Bavarian dynasty. In December, 1862, a committee appointed by the provisional government ordered the election of a new king. The national assembly shortly after met at Athens, and, having first confirmed the deposition of Otho, of those proposed as candidates for the vacant throne by the European powers, Prince Alfred of England was elected by an immense majority on the first ballot. This choice of a scion of the freest and most stable of the constitutional monarchies of Europe, was an expression of the desire and the resolve of the Greek people to secure as full political and civil liberties as was possible for them under a monarchical government. But Prince Alfred was held ineligible in consequence of a clause in the protocol of the protecting powers, which declared that the government of Greece should not be confided to a prince chosen from the reigning families of those states. Thereupon, in March, 1863, Prince George of Denmark, the present king, was unanimously elected by the assembly, and his election was confirmed by the great powers in the following July. There is every reason to suppose that England assumed the honor of choosing Prince George. On the withdrawal of Prince Alfred she expressed her willingness to abandon her protectorate of the Ionian Islands, and cede them to Greece, provided a king were chosen to whom the English government could not object. The Ionian Islands were ceded to Greece within two months after the accession of King George; and Mr. Tuckerman relates that, "when Prince Christian, King of Denmark, was in London, attending the marriage of his daughter to the Prince of Wales, Lord John Russell discovered the second son of Prince Christian in the uniform of a midshipman, and suggested his name as the successor of Otho."

King George took the constitutional oath in October, 1863. In 1866 the revolution in Crete, or Candia, broke out, and, owing to Greek sympathy with the insurrectionists, thousands of whom found an asylum in Greece, grave complications arose between Greece and Turkey, which were only settled by a conference of the great powers in 1869. By the treaty with the Porte in 1832 the boundary line of Greece had been settled in an arbitrary manner, by running it from the Gulf of Volo along the chain of the Othrys Mountains to the Gulf of Arta--by which Greece was deprived of the high fertile plains of Thessaly and Epirus, the largest and richest of classical Greece. At the close of the late Russian-Turkish war, however, the boundary line was changed by the powers so as to include within the kingdom a large portion of those ancient possessions; but this change occasioned serious conflicts between the government and the people of the annexed districts, and difficulties also arose with Turkey in consequence. But these were finally settled by an amendment to the treaty, passed in 1881."

With the exceptions just noted, no important events have disturbed the peace of Greece since the accession of King George. In him the country has a ruler of capacity, who is in great measure his own adviser, and who comprehends the chief wish of his subjects, "that Greece shall govern Greece." As MR. TUCKERMAN has said of him, "Unlike his predecessor, he is a Greek by sympathy of language and ideas. He feels the popular pulse and tries to keep time with it, not more as a matter of policy than from national sympathy; and his hands are comparatively free of the impediment of those foreign ministerial counselors who, each struggling for supremacy, united only in checking the political advancement of the kingdom." It was no fault of the Greek people that, under King Otho, Greece failed to make the internal advancement that was expected of her on her escape from Moslem tyranny. It was the fault of the government; for, when a better government came, there was a corresponding change in the inner life of the people; and at the present time, with the freest of constitutional monarchies, and under the guidance of a ruler so sympathetic, competent, and popular, redeemed Greece is making rapid strides in intellectual and material progress. Of this progress we have the following account by a prominent American divine, a recent visitor to that country:

Progress in Modern Greece.

[Footnote: Rev. Joseph Cook, in the New York Independent, February, 1883.]

"You lean over the parapet of the Acropolis, on the side toward the modern city, and look in vain for the print of that Venetian leprous scandal and that Turkish hoof which for six hundred years trod Greece into the slime. In the long bondage to the barbarian, the Hellenic spirit was weakened, but not broken. The Greek, with his fine texture, loathes the stolid, opaque temperament of the polygamistic Turk. Intermarriages between the races are very few. The Greek race is not extinct. In many rural populations in Greece the modern Hellenic blood is as pure as the ancient. Only Hellenic blood explains Hellenic countenances, yet easily found; the Hellenic language, yet wonderfully incorrupt; and the Hellenic spirit, omnipresent in liberated Greece. Fifty years ago not a book could be bought at Athens. To-day one in eighteen of the whole population of Greece is in school. In 1881 thirteen very tall factory chimney-stacks could be counted in the Piræ'us, not one of which was there in 1873. It is pathetic to find Greece at last opening, on the Acropolis and in the heart of Athens, national museums for the sacred remnants of her own ancient art, which have been pillaged hitherto for the enrichment of the museums of all Western Europe. During sixty years of independence the Hellenic spirit has doubled the population of Greece, increased her revenues five hundred per cent., extended telegraphic communication over the kingdom, enlarged the fleet from four hundred and forty to five thousand vessels, opened eight ports, founded eleven new cities, restored forty ruined towns, changed Athens from a hamlet of hovels to a city of seventy thousand inhabitants, and planted there a royal palace, a legislative chamber, ten type-foundries, forty printing establishments, twenty newspapers, an astronomical observatory, and a university with eighty professors and fifteen hundred students. After little more than half a century of independence, the Hellenic spirit devotes a larger percentage of public revenue to purposes of instruction than France, Italy, England, Germany, or even the United States. Modern Greece, sixty years ago a slave and a beggar, to-day, by the confession of the most merciless statisticians, stands at the head of the list of self-educated nations."


[Names in CAPITALS denote authors to whom prominent reference is made, or from whom selections are taken.]

Aby'dos. Xerxes and his army at.
Acade'mla, or Ac-a-deme'. A public garden or grove, the resort of the philosophers at Athens.
Acarna'ni-a, description of; aids Athens.
Achæ'ans, the; origin of.
Achæ'an League, the.
Achæ'us, son of Xuthus, and ancestor of the Achæans.
Acha'ia, description of. Name given to Greece by the Romans.
Achelo'us, the river, described.
Ach'eron, the river; described.
Acheru'sia (she-a), the lake, described.
Achil'les, accompanies expedition to Troy; contends with Agamemnon, and withdrawn; refuses to enter the contest, puts his armor on Patroclus, and the armor is lost; description of his new armor; he enters the fight; encounters Æneas, who escapes; kills Hector; delivers the body to Priam; death of.
Acri'si-us (she-us), King of Argos.
Acrop'olis, the Athenian; seizure of, by Cylon; by Pisistratus; by the Persians; famous structures of; its splendors in the time of Pericles; injury to, inflicted by the Venetians.
Actæ'on, the fable of.
Adme'tus, King of Pheræ.
Æge'an Sea.
Ægi'na, island of; war of, with Athens.
Æ'gos-pot'ami. Defeat of Athenians at.
Æmo'nia, same as Hæmonia, an early name of Thessaly.
Æne'as, a Trojan hero, and subject of Virgil's Æne'id; wounded, and put to flight by Diomed; fights for the body of Patroclus; encounters Achilles, and is preserved by Neptune; account of his escape from Troy.
Æne'id, the.
Æo'lians, the; colonies of.
Æ'olus, progenitor of the Æolians.
ÆS'CHI-NES, the orator; prosecutes Demosthenes; exile of; oratory of. Extracts from: The Death of Darius; Oration against Ctesiphon.
ÆS'CHYLUS, poet and tragedian. Life and works of. Extracts from: Punishment of Prometheus; Retributive justice of the gods; The taking of an oath; The name "Helen"; Beacon fires from Troy to Argos; Battle of Salamis; Murder of Agamemnon.
Æscula'pius, god of the healing art. Shrine of.
Æ'son, King of Iolcus.
Æt'na, a city in Sicily, founded by Hiero.
Agamem'non, King of Mycenæ; commands the expedition against Troy; contends with Achilles; demands restoration of Helen; return to Greece and is murdered.
Agamemnon, the. Extracts from.
Aganip'pe, fountain of.
Ag'athon, a tragedian.
Agesan'dros, a Rhodian sculptor.
Agesila'us, King of Sparta. Defeats the Persians at Sardis.
A'gis, King of Sparta.
Agrigen'tum, in Sicily.
A'jax. Goes with the Greeks to Troy; fights for the body of Patroclus; his death.
AKENSIDE, MARK.--Character of Solon; of Pisistratus, and his usurpation; Alcræs; Anacreon; Melpomene.
ALAMANNI, LUIGI.--Flight of Xerxes.
ALCÆ'US, a lyric poet.--Life and writings of. Extracts from: The spoils of war; Sappho.
ALCÆ'US, of Messene.--Epigrams of, on Philip V.
Alcestis, the.
Alcibi'ades. Artifices of; retires to Sparta; intrigues of, against Athens; is condemned to death, but escapes; is recalled to Athens; is banished; death of.
Alcin'o-us, King. Gardens of.
"Al'ciphron, or the Minute Philosopher".
ALC'MAN, a lyric poet.--Life and writings of.
Alexander the Great. Quells revolt of the Grecian states; invades Asia; defeats Darius; further conquests of; feast of, at Persepolis; invades India; dies at Babylon; career, character, and burial of; wars that followed his death.
Alexandria, in Egypt. Founded by Alexander.
Alex'is, a comic poet.
ALISON, ARCHIBALD.-Earthquake at Sparta, and Spartan heroism.
Alphe'us, river. Legends of.
A'mor, son of Venus, and god of love.
Amphic'tyon, Amphicty'ones, and Amphictyon'ic Council.
Amphip'olis, in Thrace.
Amphis'sa, town of.
Amy'clæ, town of.
Anab'asis, the.
ANAC'REON, a lyric poet.--Life and writings of.
An'akim, a giant of Palestine.
Anaxag'oras, the philosopher; attacks upon, at Athens; life, works, and death of.
Anaximan'der, the philosopher.
Anaxim'enes, the philosopher.
Anchi'ses, father of Æne'as.
Androm'a-che, wife of Hector. Lamentation of, over Hector's body.
An'gelo, Michael.
ANONYMOUS.--Tomb of Leonidas; Queen Archidamia.
Antæ'us, son of Neptune and Terra. Encounter with Hercules.
Antal'cidas, the peace of.
Anthe'la, village of.
ANTHON, CHARLES, LL.D.--Apelles and Protogenes.
Antig'o-ne, the.
Antig'onus, one of Alexander's generals; conquests and death of.
Antig'onus II., a king of Macedon.--War of, with Phyrrus; becomes master of Greece, and death of.
Antil'ochus (in the Iliad).
Anti'ochus, King of Syria.
ANTIP'ATER, of Sidon.--Extracts from: The birthplace of Homer; Sappho; Desolation of Corinth; The painting of Venus rising from the sea.
Antip'ater, one of Alexander's generals. Is given command of Macedon and Greece; suppresses a Spartan revolt; the Athenian revolt; is given part of Macedonia and Greece; death of.
Antiph'anes, a comic poet.
An'tiphon, orator and rhetorician.
An'tium (an'she-um); a city of Italy.
An'tonines, the. Treatment of Greece by.
An'ytus, the accuser of Socrates.
Apel'les, an Ionian painter; anecdote of.
Aphrodi'te. (See Venus.)
Apollo, the god of archery, etc.; aids the Trojans; character of; conflict of, with Python.
Apollo Bel've-dere, statue of.
Apollodo'rus, of Athens, a painter.
Apollo'nia, town in Illyria.
Ap'pius Claudius, the Roman consul.
Arach'ne, tower of.
Arbe'la. Battle of.
Arca'dia and Arcadians. Arcadians assist Messenia; assist Thebes in war with Sparta.
Archidami'a, Queen of Sparta.
Archela'us, King of Macedon.
Archida'mus, King of Sparta.
Archil'ochus, lyric poet.
Archime'des, the Syracusan; Cicero visits the tomb of.
Architecture.--First period. Second period. Third period.
Ar'chons. Institution of, in Athens.
Areop'agus, or Hill of Mars. Court of; changes in power of.
A'res (same as Mars).
Arethu'sa, fountain of.
A're-us, King of Sparta.
Ar'gives, the.
Ar'go, the ship.
Argol'ic Gulf.
Argonau'tic expedition, the.
Ar'gos, city of.
Ari'on, the poet.
Aristi'des, the Athenian general and statesman. At Marathon; rise of, in Athenian affairs; banishment of, and return to fight at Salamis; leadership and death of.
Aristi'des, a painter.
Aristoc'rates, King of Arcadia.
Aristode'mus, one of the Heraclidæ.
Aristogi'ton. Conspiracy of, against the Pisistratidæ, and death of; tribute to.
Aristom'enes, a Messenian leader.
ARISTOPH'ANES, the comic poet. Life and works of. Extracts from: The Wasps; Cleon the Demagogue; The Clouds; The Birds.
Aristot'le, the philosopher. Life and works of.
ARNOLD, EDWIN.--The Academia.
Ar'ta, Gulf of.
Artaba'nus, uncle of Xerxes.
Artapher'nes, Persian governor of Lydia.
Artaxerx'es Longim'anus.
Artaxerxes Mne'mon.
Ar'temis. (See Diana.)
Artemis'ia (she-a), Queen of Carin.
Artemis'ium. Naval conflict at.
Arts. (See Literature.)
As'cra. Birthplace of Hesiod.
A'sius (a'she-us). A marshy place near the river Ca-ys'ter, in Asia Minor.
Aso'pus, the river, in Boeotia.
Aspa'sia (she-a). Attacks upon.
Asty'anax, Hector's son. Fate of.
A'te, goddess of revenge.
Athe'na. (See Minerva.)
Athenodo'rus, a Rhodian sculptor.
Athens, and the Athenians; founding of the city; early history of; legislation of Draco and Solon; usurpation of Pisistratus; birth of democracy at; battle of Marathon; affairs of, under Aristides and Themistocles; war of, with Ægina, and settlement of; abandonment of city; successes of, at Artemisium and Salamis; at Platæa; empire of Athens; Athens rebuilt; affairs of, under Cimon; at battle of Eurymedon; jealousy of Sparta against; affairs of, under Pericles; changes in Constitution of; war of, with Sparta; reverses of, in Egypt, decline of, and thirty years' truce of, with Sparta; the "Age of Pericles"; war of, with Sparta; the plague at; violates the Peace of Nicias; Sicilian expedition of; war of, with Sparta, and revolt of allies; reverses and humiliation of; fall of Athens; the rule of the Tyrants; lead of, in intellectual progress; literature and art of; adornment of; glory of; alliance of, with Sparta; engages in the Sacred War; leads against Macedon; censured by Demosthenes; allies of, defeated by Philip; first open rupture with Macedon; alliance of, with Thebes, and defeat at Chæronea; revolt of, against Alexander; captured by Antigonus; late architecture, sculpture, and painting of; immortal influence of; the Duchy of Athens; captured by Turks and Venetians; revolution at, against Otho.
A'thos, Mount, in Macedonia.
Atos'sa, mother of Xerxes.
Atri'dæ, the. A term meaning "sons of Atreus," and applied by Homer to Agamemnon and Menelaus.
"Attic Wasp," the.
Augustus, the Roman emperor.
Au'lis, on the Euripus.
Auso'nian, or Au'sones. An ancient race of Italy.
Aver'nus, lake of.

Bacchus, god of vintage or wine; theatre of.
Bel'i-des, a surname given to daughters of Belus.
Beller'ophon, son of Glaucus.
BENJAMIN, S. G. W.--Revolution against Otho.
Bes'sus, satrap of Bactria.
Bias, one of the Seven Sages.
Birds, the.
BLACKIE, J. STUART.--Value of Greek fables. Fancies of the Greek mind. Legend of Pandora. Prometheus. Story of Tantalus. The founding of Athens. Pythagoras. Legends of Marathon. Xerxes and the battle of Salamis.
Boz-zar'ls, Marco.--Bravery and death of. Constantine Bozzaris, and Noto Bozzaris.
Bras'idas, the Spartan.
Brazen Age, the.
British Quarterly Review.--The choice of Otho; and Greece under his rule.
Bria're-us (or Bri'a-reus).
BROUGHAM, LORD.--Demosthenes' Oration on the Crown. The style of Demosthenes. The doctrine of Plato.
BROWNE, R. W.--Thucydides and Herodotus. Aristotle.
BULWER, EDW. LYTTON.--Merits of a "Tyranny." The battle of Platæa, and importance of. Xerxes at Sardis. Earthquake, and revolt of Helots at Sparta. Changes in Athenian Constitution, Oratory of Pericles. The Drama. Adornment of Athens.
BURLINGAME, EDW. L.--Roman treatment of Greece.
BYRON, LORD.--Dodona. Parnassus. Allusions to Attica. The Corinthian rock. The Isles of Greece. The dead at Thermopylæ. Xerxes at Salamis. Deathless renown of Greek heroes. The Athenian prisoners at Syracuse. The revenge of Orestes. Alexander's career. Siege and fall of Corinth. Greece under Moslem rule. Views of Greek independence.
Byzan'tium (she-um).

Cadmus, founder of Cadme'a.
Cadmea, citadel of Thebes.
Cal'amis, the sculptor.
Calaure'a, island of.
Callic'ra-tes, a Spartan soldier.
Callicrates, an architect.
Callicrat'i-das, a Spartan officer.
Callim'achus, the Pol'emarch.
CALLI'NUS, a lyric poet.--Writings of.
Calli'o-pe, the goddess of epic poetry.
CALLIS'TRATUS.--Tribute to Harmodius.
Calyp'so, the nymph, island of.
Cambunian mountains.
CAMPBELL, THOMAS.--Music of the Spartans. Song of the Greeks. Battle of Navari'no.
Can'dla, island of (Crete).
Can'næ, in Apulia. Battle at.
CANNING, GEORGE.--The Slavery of Greece.
CANTON, WILLIAM.--Death of Anaxagoras.
Capo d'Istria, Count.
Capys, a Trojan.
Carthaginians, the.
Caspian Gates, the.
Cassan'der, son of Antipater.--Master of Greece and Macedon; death of.
Cassan'dra, daughter of Priam.
Castalian Fount, the.
Cat'ana, in Sicily.
Cau'casus, Mount.
Ca-ys'ter, the river, in Asia Minor.
Cecro'plan hill (Acropolis).
Celts, the.
Cephalo'nia, island of.
Cephis'sus, the river.
Ceraunian mountains.
Ce'res, goddess of grain, etc.
Chærone'a, in Boeotia; battle of.
Chal'cis, in Euboea.
Cha'res, a Rhodian sculptor.
Cher'siphron, a Cretan architect. Story of.
Chersone'sus. the Thracian.
Chi'lo, one of the Seven Sages.
Chion'i-des, a comic poet.
Chi'os, island of.
Choëph'oroe, the.
Christianity in Greece.
Chro'nos, or Saturn.
Cicero, the Roman orator. Visits tomb of Archime'des.
Cili'cia (she-a).
Ci'mon (meaning Milti'a-des).
Cimon, son of Miltiades, and an Athenian general and statesman; successes and rise of, at Athens; wins battle of Eurym'edon; aids Sparta; the fall and banishment of; recall of, expedition to Cyprus, and death of.
Cithæ'ron, Mount.
Ci'tium (she-um), in Cyprus.
Clazom'enæ, on an island off the Dorian coast.
CLE-AN'THES.--Hymn to Jupiter.
Cle-ar'chus, a Spartan general.
Cleo-bu'lus, one of the Seven Sages.
Cle'on, the Athenian.--Causes the Mityleneans to be put to death; conduct and character of, and attacks upon, by Aristoph'anes.
Cle'on of Lampsacus.
Cleon'ymus of Sparta.
Clouds, the.
Clis'thenes (eze), last despot of Si'çyon.
Clisthenes, founder of democracy at Athens; reforms of.
Clytemnes'tra, wife of Agamemnon.
Cocy'tus, the river.
Codrington, Admiral.
Co'drus, early King of Athens.
COLERIDGE, HENRY N.--The poems of Homer.
COLERIDGE, SAMUEL T.--Pythagore'an influences.
COLLINS, MORTIMER.--Fable of Hercules and Antæ'us.
Colonies, the Greek. In Asia Minor; history of, in Magna Groeca, etc.; in Sicily, Italy, Africa, etc.
Col'ophon, in Ionia.
Comedy. The Old; the New.
COOK, REV. JOSEPH.--Progress in Modern Greece.
Corcy'ra, or Corfu, island of.
Corinna, a Boeotian poetess.
Corinth, and the Corinthians; conquest of; despotisms of; war of, with Corcyra; aids Syracuse; destruction of; capture of, by the Turks.
Corinthian Architecture.
Corinthian Gulf, the.
Corone'a, plains of. Athenian defeat at.
Coumour'gi, Äl'i, the Turkish Grand Vizier. Successes of.
Councils, the National.
CRANCH, CHRISTOPHER P.--Temples at Pæstum.
Cran'non, battle of.
Crat'erus, one of Alexander's generals.
Crati'nus, a comic poet.
Creation, the. Account of.
Cresphon'tes, of the Heraclidæ.
Crete, island of; conquered by the Turks; revolution in.
Cris'sa, town of.
Crissæ'an plain.
Cri'ti-as (cri'she-as), chief of the Thirty Tyrants.
Croe'sus, King of Lydia.
CROLY, GEORGE.--Pericles. Death of Pericles.
Croto'na, in Italy.
Crusaders, the. Courts of, in Greece.
Ctes'iphon, who proposed a crown for Demosthenes.
Cu'mæ, in Italy.
Cumæ'an Sibyl, the. Myth of.
CURTIUS, ERNST.--The Oration of Pericles. Retreat of the Ten Thousand. Pelopidas and Epaminondas.
Cyc'la-des, the (islands).
Cyc'lic poets, the.
Cy'clops, or Cyclo'pes, the.
Cy'lon, the Athenian.
Cynoceph'alæ, In Thessaly. Battle of.
Cyprian queen (Venus).
Cyprus, Island of.
Cyrena'ica, colony of.
Cy-re'ne, colony of.
Cyropoedi'a, the.
Cyrus the Elder. Conquers Lydia.
Cyrus the Younger.
Cys'icus, Island of. Victory of Alcibiades at.
Cyth'era, island of.
Cytheræ'a, name given to Venus.

Damon and Pythias.
Dan'a-ë, Lamentation of.
Dan'a-i, the.
Dan'a-us, founder of Argos.
Dar'danus, son of Jupiter and Electra.
Dari'us I. (Hystas'pes), King of Persia; dominion of; he suppresses the Ionic revolt; invades Greece; death of.
Darius III., King of Persia. Defeated at Issus, and at Arbe'la; Flight and death of.
De-iph'obus, a Trojan hero.
De'lium, in Boeotia. Battle of.
Del'phi, or Delphos. City, temple, and oracle of.
De'los, island of; Confederacy of States at.
Deme'ter. (See Ceres.)
Deme'trius, son of Antigonus. Seizes the throne of Macedon.
Demos'the-nes, the Athenian general. Captures Pylus; defeat and death of, at Syracuse.
DEMOS'THE'NES, the orator; pious fraud of; measures against, at Athens, and attack upon, by Æschines; death of; oratory of.--Extracts from: The First Philippic. Oration on the Crown.
Deuca'lion, son of Prometheus. Deluge of.
Diana, or Ar'temis, temple to, at Ephesus.
Die'bitsch, Marshal.
Di'o-cles, of Syracuse.
Diodo'rus, the historian.
Diog'enes, the Cretan.
Di'omed, a Greek hero in the Trojan war; valor of; fate of.
Di'on, of Syracuse.
Dionysian Festivals, the.
Dionysius of Col'ophon, a painter.
Dionysius the Elder, of Syracuse.
Dionysius the Younger, of Syracuse.
Dionysius, the Roman historian.
Diopi'thes, the general.
Dipoe'nus, the sculptor.
Dis, a name given to Pluto.
Dodo'na, city and temple of.
Do'rians, the, migrations and colonies of.
Dor'ic architecture.
Do'rus, progenitor of the Dorians.
Dra'co, the Athenian legislator.
Drama, the. Before Peloponnesian wars; characterization of; influence of; the drama after Peloponnesian war.
Dry'ads, or Dry'a-des, the. Wood-nymph.
DRYDEN, JOHN.--Alexander's feast at Persep'olis.

Edinburgh Review. Courts of Crusaders.
Eges'ta, in Sicily.
E'lea, in Lucania. Eleatic philosophy.
Elec'tra, the.
Eleu'sis, and the Eleusinian Mysteries.
Eleu'therre, in Attica.
E'lis and E'leans.
Elo'ra, temple of. Elora is a town in south-western Hindostan, noted for its splendid cave-temples, cut from a hill of red granite, black basalt, and quartz rock. Of these, that called "Paradise," to which reference is here made, is 100 feet high, 401 feet deep, and 185 feet in greatest breadth. It is "a perfect pantheon of the gods of India."
Elysium, the.
Ema'thia, or Macedon.
En'nius. The Fate of Ajax.
Eny'o, a war-goddess.
E'os, The same as Aurora, a term applied to the eastern parts of the world.
Epaminon'das, the Theban. Character of, and his successes against Sparta.
Epicu'rus, Life and works of.
Epidau'rus, in Argolis.
Epime'theus (thuse).
Er-ech'the-um, the.
Erech'theus (thuse).
Erin'nys. (See Furies.)
Euboe'a, island of.
Euboe'an Sea.
Eu'menes, Alexander's general.
Eumen'i-des, the.
Euphra'nor, a sculptor.
Eu'polis, a comic poet.
Eupom'pus, a Siçyonian painter.
EURIP'IDES. Life and works of. Extracts from: The Greek Armament. Alcestis preparing for death.
Euri'pus, or Euboean Sea.
Eurybi'ades, a Spartan general.
Eurym'edon, in Pamphylia.

Farnese Bull, the. Sculpture of.
Fates, the.
FELTON, C. C., D.D.--Ionian language and culture, Unity of the Iliad. Works of Hesiod. Christianity in Greece. The Duchy of Athens. The Klephts.
Festivals, the Grecian.
FINLAY, GEORGE, LL.D.--The Revolt against Rome.
Flamin'ius, Titus, Roman consul.
Frogs, the.
Furies, the.
Future State, the. Greek views of.

Gan-y-me'de, Jove's cup-bearer.
Gedro'sia (she-a), in Persia.
Ge'la, in Sicily.
Ge'lon, despot of Gela. Becomes despot of Syracuse; dynasty of, extinguished.
GEM'INUS, TULLIUS.--Themistocles.
George, Prince of Denmark. Is chosen King of Greece; progress of Greece under.
Giants, the; battle with Jupiter.
GILLIES, JOHN, LL.D.--Memorial to Miltiades. Aristophanes and Cleon. The works of Phidias.
Gladiator, the Dying.
GLADSTONE, WM. EWART.--The humanity of the gods.
Glau'cus, a Trojan hero.
Glaucus, a sculptor.
Gods, the. Personifications and deifications of; moral characteristics of; deceptions of.
Golden Age, the.
Gor'gias, the Sophist.
Gorgo'pis, lake, near Corinth.
Goths, the. Overrun Greece.
Government, forms of, and changes in.
Graces, the.
Grani'cus, the river. Battle at.
GRAY, THOMAS.--Pindar.
GROTE, GEORGE.--The Trojan war. The Cumæan Sibyl. Increase of power among Sicilian Greeks. The Seven Sages. Lesson from the fate of Miltiades. Transitions of tragedy. Aristophanes. The Sophists and Socrates. Demosthenes' first Philippic. The Influence of Phocion. Conquests of Alexander. The Oration on the Crown.
Guiscard (ges-kar'), Robert. Conquests of.
Gy'ges, the.
Gylip'pus, a Spartan general.
Gyth'e-um (or Gy-the'-nm), port of Sparta.

Ha'drian, the Roman emperor.
Hæ'mus, mountain chain of.
Halicarnas'sus, in Caria.
HALLECK, FITZ-GREENE.--Marco Bozzaris.
Hamil'car, a Carthaginian general.
Hannibal, a Carthaginian general.
Harmo'dius, an Athenian.
Harpies, the. Winged monsters with female faces and the bodies, claws, and wings of birds.
HAYGARTH, WILLIAM.--Acheron and Acherusia. Ancient Corinth. Sparta's invincibility. Battle of Thermopylæ. Athens in time of peace. Temple of Theseus. The Academia. Immortality of Grecian genius.
He'be, goddess of youth.
Hecatæ'us, the historian.
Hec'tor, eldest son of Priam, King of Troy; parting of, with Androma-che; exploits of; encounters Achilles, is slain, and his body given up to Priam; lamentation over, by Andromache and Helen.
HEE'REN (ha'ren).--Authority of Homer. Freedom in colonies. Character of a "tyranny".
He-ge'sias (she-as), the sculptor.
Helen of Troy. Abduction of; the name of; laments Hectors death; supposed career of, after the Trojan war.
Hel'icon, Mount, in Boeotia.
Hel'las, or Greece; survival.
Hellas, the.
Helle'nes, and Hellen'ic (Hellen). Spirit of, in modern Greece.
Hellen'ica, the.
Hellen'ics, the.
Hel'lespont, the.
He'lots, the. The revolt of.
HEMANS, FELICIA.--Mount Olympus, 2. Vale of Tempe, 3. City and temple of Delphi, T. Mycenæ. Spartan march to battle. Legend of Marathon. The Parthenon. The Turkish invasion.
Hephæs'tus, or Vulcan, M.
He'ra. (See Juno.)
Her-a-cli'dæ, the return of the.
Heracli'tus, the philosopher.
Hercules, frees Prometheus; twelve labors, &c., of; fable of; encounter of, with Antæ'ns; sails with Argonautic expedition; legends of, at Marathon; statue of.
Hermes. (See Mercury.)
HEROD'OTUS, the historian. Life and writings of; compared with Thucydides.--Extracts from: Xerxes at Abydos. Introduction to history.
Heroic Age, the. Some events of; arts and civilization in.
Hertha, goddess of the earth.
HE'SI-OD. Life and works of.--Extracts from: Battle of the Giants. Origin of Evil, etc. The justice of the gods. Winter.
Hi'ero I. Despot of Gela; becomes despot of Syracuse.
Hiero II. Despot of Syracuse.
Him'era, in Sicily.
Hip'pias, son and successor of Pisistratus. Is driven from Athens; leads the Persians against Greece.
Hippocre'ne (or crene' in poetry), fountain of.
Hippopla'çia (also Hypopla'kia). Same as The'be, in Mysia, and so called because supposed to lie at the foot of or under Mount Plakos.
History. To close of Peloponnesian wars; subsequent period of.
HOLLAND. J. G.--The La-oc'o-on.
HOMER. Life and works of.--Extracts from: The gardens of Alcin'o-us, Prayer to the gods. The taking of an oath. The Future State. The descent of Orpheus. The Elysium. Punishment of Ate. Ulysses and Thersites. Parting of Hector and Andromache. Death of Patroclus. The shield of Achilles. Death of Hector. Priam begging for Hector's body. Lamentation of Andromache; of Helen. Artifice of Ulysses. The Raft of Ulysses. Similes of Homer. Jupiter grants the request of Thetis.
HORACE.--Description of Pindar. Greece the conqueror of Rome.
Horolo'gium, the, at Athens.
HOUGHTON, LORD.--The Cyclopean walls.
HUME, DAVID.--The style of Demosthenes.
Huns, the. Overrun Greece.
Hy'las, legend of.
Hymet'tus, Mount.
Hype'ria's Spring, in Thessaly.

Ib'rahim Pä'sha (or pa-shä').
Ica'ria, island of.
Ictinus, the architect.
I'da, Mount.
Idalian queen (same as Venus).
Il'i-um, or Troy. Grecian expedition against; the fate of; fall of, announced to the Greeks; discoveries on site of.
Im'bros, island of.
In'achus, son of Oceanus.
In'arus, a Libyan prince.
Iol'cus, in Thessaly.
I'on, son of Xuthus.
ION, of Chios. The power or Sparta.
Io'nia, and Ionians; language and culture of. Colonies of.
Ionian Sea.
Ion'ic Architecture.
Ionic Revolt, the.
I'os, island of.
Ip'sara, isle of.
I'ra, fortress of, in Messenia.
I'ris, the rainbow goddess.
Isag'oras, the Athenian.
Isles of Greece, the.
Isoc'ra-tes, an Athenian orator.
Is'sus, in Cilicia. Battle of.
Isthmian Games, the.
Italy, Greek colonies in.
Ithaca, island of.
Itho'me, fortress of.
Ixi'on. The punishment of.

Jove. (See Jupiter.)
Julian, the Roman emperor.
Juno, or Hera, temple of, at Samos; temple of, near Platæa.
Jupiter, Jove, or Zeus. Court of; temple of, and games sacred to; hymn to; divides dominion of the universe; statue of, at Tarentum.
Justin, the Latin historian.
JUVENAL.--Stories about Xerxes. Flight of Xerxes from Salamis. Alexander's tomb.

KENDRICK, A. C., LL.D.--Plato and his writings.
Klephts, the.
Knights, the.

Laç-e-dæ'mon, or Sparta.
Lævi'nus, M. Valerius.
Lam'achus, an Athenian general.
Lamp'sacus, on the Hellespont.
LANDOR, WALTER SAVAGE.--Reconciliation of Helen and Menelaus.
LANG, A.--Venus visits Helen of Troy. Reconciliation of Helen and Menelaus.
La-oc'o-on, a priest of Apollo. Statuary group of the Laocoon.
Lap'ithæ, a people of Thessaly.
LAWRENCE, EUGENE.--The murder of Agamemnon. Herodotus. Menander. Aristotle.
Lebade'a, temple and oracle of.
LEGARÉ (le-gre'), HUGH S.--Character of a Greek democracy. The eloquence of Æschines. The eloquence of Demosthenes.
Lem'nian (relating to Vulcan).
Lem'nos, island of.
Leon'idas, a Spartan king. Bravery and death of, at Thermopylæ; the tomb of.
Lernæ'an Lake.
Les'bos, island of.
Leu'cas, or Leucadia.
Leu'ce, in the Euxine Sea.
Leuc'tra, in Boeotia. Battle of.
LIDDELL, HENRY G., D.D.--Legends of the Greeks.
Literature and the Arts. In the Ionian colonies; the poems of Homer. 1. Progress of, before the Persian wars; poems of Hesiod; lyric poetry; philosophy; early architecture; early sculpture. 2. Progress of, from the Persian to close of Peloponnesian wars; lyric poetry; the Drama-tragedy; old comedy; early history; philosophy; sculpture and painting; architecture. 3. Progress of, after Peloponnesian wars; the drama; oratory; philosophy; history; architecture and sculpture; painting.
Livy, the Roman historian.
Lo'cris, and Locrians.
LOWELL, JAMES RUSSELL.--A Pythagorean fantasy.
LÜB'KE, WILHELM.--Art at Athene. Phidias and his work. The Dying Gladiator.
LU'CAN.--The Delphic oracle. Alexander's career and character.
LUCRE'TIUS (she-us).--The plague at Athens. Epicurus.
Lyce'um, the, at Athens.
Lycur'gus, the Spartan law-giver; legislation of.
Lyric Poetry. Before the Persian wars; from Persian to close of Peloponnesian wars.
Lysan'der, a Spartan general. Acts of.
Ly'si-as (she-as), an Athenian orator.
Lysic'rates, monument to.
Lysim'achus, Alexander's general.
Lysip'pus, of Sicyon. Works of.

Maca'ria, plain of.
MACAULAY, LORD.--Herodotus. Literature of Athens, and her immortal influence.
Maç'edon, or Maçedo'nia. Invasion of, by the Persians; by Xerxes; Athenian colonies in; supremacy of; sketch of; interference of, in affairs of Greece; war of, with Greece; with Persia; revolt of Sparta against; invasion of, by Celts, and war with Pyrrhus; conquest of, by Rome.
Macis'tus, Mount, in Euboea, near Eretria.
Mæ-o'tis, same as Sea of Azof.
MAHAFFY, J. P.--The society of Olympus. Political life of the Greeks. Domestic life in the Heroic Age. Hesiod's description of the Styx. Archilochus. Stesich'orus. Barbarities in the Peloponnesian wars. Simonides. Æschylus. The "Alcestis" of Euripides. Thucydides. The Sophists. Socrates. Late Greek tragedy. Aristotle.
Magne'sia (she-a).
Mah'moud, the Sultan.
Mantine'a, in Arcadia.
Mar'athon, the plains of; battle of, and legends connected with.
Mardo'nius, Persian general. First invasion of Greece; his second Invasion and defeat at Marathon; defeated at Platæa, and is slain.
Mavrocordä'to, Alexander.
Medea, the.
Me'lian nymphs. They watched over gardens and flocks of sheep.
Me'los, island of.
Melpom'e-ne, inventress of tragedy.
Memno'nian Palace. So called because said to have been founded by the father of Memnon.
Memorabil'ia, the.
MENAN'DER, the comic poet. Life and works of. Fragment from.
Men'tor, a friend of Ulysses.
Mercury, or Her'mes.
Messa'na, in Sicily.
Messa'pion, Mount, in Boeotia.
Messe'nia, and Messe'nians, wars of, with Sparta.
Messenian Gulf.
Messenian wars, the.
Metamorphoses, the.
Mi'con, a painter.
Mile'tus, in Ionia.
Milti'a-des, the Athenian general, etc. Commands at Marathon; disgrace and death of; lesson of.
MILTON, JOHN.--Cocytus and Acheron. Heroic times foretold. Xerxes crosses the Hellespont. Reference to Alcestis. Socrates. Oratory.
Mi'mas, a mountain-range of Ionia.
Minerva, temple of; statue of, at Athens.
Mi'nos, Cretan law-giver.
Minot'ti. Story of.
Missolon'ghi. The sortie at.
MITCHELL, THOMAS.--The Old Comedy. Style of Plato. Xenophon.
MITFORD, WILLIAM.--Æschylus's account of Salamis. Character of Pericles.
Mnemos'y-ne, mother of the Nine Muses.
Mnes'icles, a sculptor.
Mnes'theus.--A great-grandson of Erechtheus, who deprived Theseus of the throne of Athens, and led the Athenians in the Trojan war.
Monembasï'a. On the south-east coast of Laconia.
Morosi'ni, a Venetian admiral.
Mum'mius, a Roman consul.
MURE, WILLIAM.--The "Works and Days" of Hesiod. Alcman.
Muses, the Nine.
Mye'a-le. Defeat of Persians at.
My'ron, a painter.
Myr'tis, a poetess.
Mys'ia (she-a).
Mythology, Grecian.

Na-i'a-des, or Nai'ads, the.
Nap'oli di Roma'nia.
Navarï'no; battle of.
Nax'os, in Sicily.
Ne-ap'olis, in Italy.
Ne'mea, city of.
Ne'mean games.
Ne'mean lion.
Nem'esis, a female avenging deity.
Neptune, or Posei'don; temple of.
Ner-e'i-des, or Ner'e-ids.
Nestor, a Greek hero and sage.
Niçi-as (she-as), the Peace of.
Niçi-as, the Athenian general.
Niçi-as, a painter.
Ni'o-be, and her children.

Oaths, of the gods, etc.
O-ce-an'i-des, the.--Ocean-nymphs and sisters of the rivers; supposed personifications of the various qualities and appearances of water.
O-ce'anus, god of the ocean.
O-de'um, the.
Ody'ssey, the.
OEd'ipus Tyran'nus, the.
OE'ta, Mount.
Olym'pia, in E'lis; statue of Jupiter at.
Olym'pian Jove. Temple of; statue of.
Olym'pus, Mount; society of.
Olyn'thus, in Macedonia.
O're-ads, the.
Ores'tes, son of Agamemnon.
Or'pheus (pheus), the musician.
Orthag'oras of Sicyon.
Ortyg'ia, in Sicily.
Os'sa, Mount.
Otho, King of Greece; revolution against and deposition of.
O'thrys Mountains.
OV'ID.--Apollo. The Creation. Deluge of Deucalion. The Descent of Orpheus. Apollo's Conflict with Python.

Pæs'tum. Ruins of temples at.
Pagasæ, Gulf of.
Palame'des, a Greek hero.
Pal'las (same as Minerva).
Pami'sus, the river.
Pam'philus, a painter.
Pan; legend of.--The god of shepherds, in form both man and beast, having a horned head and the thighs, legs, and feet of a goat.
Pan'darus, a Trojan hero.
Pando'ra, legend of.
Paradise Lost, the.
Par'çæ, or Fates.
Paris, of Troy. Abducts Helen; combat of, with Menelaus; kills Achilles.
Parnas'sus, Mount.
Par'nes, mountains of.
Par'non, mountains of.
Pa'ros, an island of the Cyclades group.
Parrha'sius (she-us). Anecdotes of.
Par'thenon, the; glories of; destruction of.
Passä'rowitz, in Servia. The peace of. Concluded between Austria and Venice on the one side, and Turkey on the other.
Patro'cius, a Greek hero.
Pausa'nias, a Spartan general. At Platæa; treason, punishment, and death of.
Pax'os, island of.
Pegasus, the winged horse.
Pelas'gians, the.
Pe'li-on, Mount.
Pelle'ne, or Cassandra, in Achaia.
Pelop'idas, the Theban.
Peloponne'sus, the.
Peloponnesian wars, the; the first war; the second war.
Penel'o-pe, wife of Odysseus.
Pene'us, the river.
Pentel'icus, or Mende'li, Mount.
Pen'theus, King of Thebes.
Perdic'cas, Alexander's general.
Perian'der, despot of Corinth; one of the Seven Sages.
Per'icles, the Athenian general, etc. Accedes to power in place of Cimon; constitutional changes made by, at Athens; measures of, for war with Sparta; defeat of, at Tanagra; recalls Cimon; progress under his rule; attacks upon, at Athens; declares war against Sparta; oration of; death and character of.
Persep'olis. Alexander's feast at.
Per'seus (or se'us).
Per'seus, King of Macedon.
Persians, the.
Persian wars, the. Account of.
Phoe'do, the.
Phale'rum, bay of.
Phe'ræ, in Thessaly.
Phid'ias, the sculptor; the work and masterpieces of.
PHILE'MON, the comic poet. Life and works or.
Philip of Macedon; interference of, in Grecian affairs; invades Thessaly; attacks of Demosthenes against; captures Olynthus; reveals his designs against Greece, and defeats Athens and Thebes at Chæronea; is invested with supreme command, and declares war against Persia; death of.
Philip V. of Macedon; defeat of, at Apollonia and Cynocephalæ.
Philippics, the.
Phil'ocles, bravery of.
Philosophy. Before the Persian wars; to close of Peloponnesian wars; subsequent to Peloponnesian wars.
Phleg'ethon, or Pyr-iphleg'ethon.
Pho'cion (she-on), Athenian statesman. Opposes the policy of Demosthenes.
Pho'cis and Phocians, sacrilege of, and war with.
Phoe'bus, the sun-god (Apollo).
Phoe'nix, warrior and sage