תמונות בעמוד

the drama, by the wonderful emulation it excited among the tragic poets, whose pieces were represented in it. For Sophocles having, in his youth, brought his first play on the stage, the archon, or chief magistrate who presided at these games, observing there was a strong faction among the spectators, prevailed with Cimon, and the rest of the generals his colleagues, who were ten in number and chosen out of each tribe, to sit as judges, The prize was adjudged to Sophocles, which so deeply afflicted Æschylus, who till then had been considered as the greatest dramatic poet, that Athens became insupportable to him, and he withdrew to Sicily, where he died.

* The confederates had taken a great number of barbarian prisoners in Sestus and Byzantium; and as a proof of the high regard they had for Cimon, intreated him to distribute the booty. Accordingly Cimon placed all the captives stark naked, on one side, and on the other all their riches and spoils. The allies complained of this partition as too unequal; but Cimon giving them the choice, they immediately took the riches which had belonged to the Persians, and left the prisoners for the Athenians. Cimop therefore set out with his portion and was thought a person no ways qualified to settle the distribution of prizes, for the allies carried off a great number of chains, necklaces, and bracelets of gold; a large quantity of rich habits, and fine purple cloaks; whilst the Athenians had only for their share, a multitude of human creatures, quite paked, and unfit for labour, However, the relations and friends of these captives came soon after from Phrygia and Lydia, and purchased them all at a very high price; so that with the monies arising from the ransom of them, Cimon had enough to maintain his fleet four months; besides a great sum of money wbich was put into the exchequer, not to mention what he himself had for his own share. He afterwards used to take exceeding pleasure in relating this adventure to his friends.

† He made the best use of his riches, as Gorgias the rhetor has happily espressed in few, but strong and elegant words : I “Cimon,” says he, s amassed riches only to use them; and he employed them to no other “ use but to acquire esteem and honour." We may here perceive, by the way, what was the scope and aim of the most exalted actions of the heathens; and with what justice Tertullian defined a pagan, how perfect soever he might appear, a vain-glorious animal, animal gloriæ. The gardens and orchards of Cimon were always open, by his order, to the citizens in general; who were allowed to gather whatever fruits they pleased. His table was daily covered in a frugal but polite manner. It was entirely different from those delicate and sumptuous tables, to which only a few persons of great distinction are admitted, and which are covered merely to display a vain magnificence or elegance of taste. Now that of Cimon was plain, but abundant; and all the citizens were received at it without distinction. In thus banishing from his entertainments, whatever had the least air of ostentation and luxury, he reserved to himself an inexhaustible fund, not only for the expences of his house, but for the wants of his friends, his domes, tics, and a very great number of citizens ; demonstrating, by this conduct, that he knew much better than most rich men, the true use and value of riches.

He was always followed by some servants, who were ordered to slip privately some piece of money into the hands of such poor as they met, and

* Plut. in Cim. p. 84.
† Plut. in Cim. 434. Cornel. Nep. in Cim. c. iv. Athen. I. xii. p.

1 Φησι τον Κιμωνα τα χρηματα κτασθαι μεν ως κρατο, κρησθαι οι ως τιμωτο.

to give clothes to those who were in want of them. He often buried such persons as bad not left money enough to defray the expences of their funeral; and what is admirable, and which Plutarch does not fail to observe, he did not act in this manner to gain credit among the people, nor to purchase their voices; since we find him, on all occasions, declaring for the contrary faction, that is, in favour of such citizens as were most considerable for their wealth or authority.

* Although he saw all the rest of the governours of his time enrich themselves by the plunder and oppression of the public, he was always incorruptible, and his hands were never stained with extortion, or the smallest present; and he continued, during his whole life, not only to speak, but to act spontaneously, and without the least view of interest, whatever he thought might be of advantage to the commonwealth.

Besides a great number of other excellent qualities, Cimon had the finest sense, extraordinary prudence, and a profound knowledge of the genius and characters of men. The allies, besides the sums of money in which each of them was taxed, were to furnish a certain number of men and ships. Several among them, who, from the retreat of Xerxes, were studious of nothing but their ease, and applied themselves entirely to tilling and cultivating their lands, to free themselves from the toils and dangers of war, chose to furnish their quota in money rather than in men, and left the Athenians the care of manning with soldiers and rowers the ships they were obliged to furnish. The other generals, who had no forecast and penetration for the future, gave such people some uneasiness at first, and were for obliging them to observe the treaty lịterally. But Cimon, when in power, acted in a quite different manner, and suffered them to enjoy the tranquillity they chose; plainly perceiving that the allies, from being warlike in the field, would insensibly lose their marțial spirit, and be fit for nothing but husbandry and trade; whilst the Athenians, by exercising the oar perpetually, would be more and more inured to hardships, and daily increase in power. What Cimon bad foreseen happened; this very people purchased themselves masters at their own expence; so that they who before had been companions and allies, became in some measure the subjects and tributaries of the Athenians.

† No Grecian general ever gave so great a blow to the pride and haughtiness of the Persian monarch as Cimon. After the barbarians had been driven out of Greece, he did not give them time to take breath ; but sailed immediately after them with a fleet of upwards of 200 ships, took their strongest cities, and brought over all their allies; so that the king of Persia had not one soldier left in Asia, from lonia to Pamphylia. Still pursuing bis point, he bravely attacked the enemy's fleet, though much stronger than his own. It lay near the mouth of the river Eurymedon, and consisted of 350 sail of ships, supported by the land army on the coast.

It was Boon put to flight; and 200 sail were taken, besides those that were sunk. A great number of Persians had left their ships, and leaped into the sea, in order to join their land army, which lay on the shore. It was very hazardous to attempt a descent in the sight of the enemy, and to lead on troops, which were already fatigued by their late battle, against fresh forces much superior in number. However, Cimon, finding that the whole army was eager to engage the barbarians, thought proper to take advantage of the

p. 485.

* Plut in Cim.

+ A. M. 3554. Ant. J. C. 470. Plut.in Cim. p. 485--487. Thucyd. 1. i. p. 66. Biod. l. xi. p. 45-47.

ardour of the soldiers, who were greatly animated with their first success. Accordingly he landed, * and marched them directly against the barbarians, who waited resolutely for their coming up, and sustained the first onset with prodigious valour; however, being at last obliged to give way, they broke and fed. A great slaughter ensued, and an infinite number of prisoners and immensely rich spoils were taken. Cimon having, in one day, gained two victories which almost equalled those of Salamin and Platæa, to crown all, sailed out to meet a reinforcement of 14 Phoenician ships, which were come from Cyprus, to join the Persian fleet, and knew nothing of what bad passed. They were all either taken or sunk, and most of the soldiers were killed or drowned.

Cimon having achieved such glorious exploits, returned in triumph to Athens; and employed part of the spoils in fortifying the harbour, and in beautifying the city. The riches which a general amasses in the field, are applied to the noblest uses when they are disposed of in this manner ; and must reflect infinitely greater honour upon him, than if he expended them in building magnificent palaces for himself, which must one tiine or other devolve to strangers; whereas, works built for public use, are his property in some measure for ever, and transmit his name to the latest posterity. † It is well known that such embellishments in a city, give infinite pleasure to the people, who are always struck with works of this kind ; and this, as Plutarch observes in the life of Cimon, is one of the surest and at the same time, the most lawful method of acquiring their friendship and esteem.

| The year following, this general sailed towards the Hellespont; and having driven the Persians out of the Thracian Chersonesus, of which they had possessed themselves, he conquered it in the name of the Athenians, though he himself had more right to it, as Miltiades his father had been its sovereign. He afterwards attacked the people of the island of Thasus, who had revolted from the Athenians, and defeated their fleet. These maintained their revolt with an almost unparalleled obstinacy and fury. || As if they had been in arms against the worst of evils to fear, they made a law, that the first man who should only mention the concluding a treaty with the Athenians, should be put to death. The siege was carried on three years, during which the inhabitants suffered all the calamities of war with the same obstinacy. $ The women were no less inflexible than the men ; for the besieged wanting ropes for the military engines, all the women cut off their hair in a seeming transport; and when the city was in the utmost distress by famine, which swept away a great number of the inhabitants, Hegetorides the Thasian, deeply afflicted with seeing such multitudes of his fellow-citizens perish, resolutely determined to sacrifice bis life for the preservation of his country. Accordingly he put a halter round his neck, and presenting himself to the assembly, “ Countrymen," says he, “ do with me as you please, and do not spare me if you judge "proper ; but let my death save the rest of the people, and prevail with " you to abolish the cruel law you have enacted, so contrary to your wel“ fare.” The Thasians, struck with these words, abolished the law, but would not suffer it to cost so generous a citizen his life; for they surrendered

* We do not find the ancients made use of long boats in making descents ; the reason of which perhaps was, that, as their galleys were flat bottomed, they were brought to shore without any difficulty. + Plut. de gerend. rep. p. 818.

Plut. in Cim. p. 487. Thucyd. 1. i. p. 66, 67, Diod, l. xi. p. 53.

# Polyæn. Str. I. ii.

Polgæn. I. viii,

themselves to the Athenians, who spared their lives, and only dismantled their city.

After Cimon had landed his troops on the shore opposite to Thrace, he seized on all the gold mines of those coasts, and subdued every part of that country as far as Macedonia. He might have attempted the conquest of that kingdom, and in all probability could have easily possessed himself of part of it, had he improved the occasion. And indeed, for his neglect in this point, at his return to Athens, he was prosecuted, as having been bribed by the money of the Macedonians, and of Alexander their king. But Cimon had a soul superior to all temptations of that kind, and proved his innocence in the clearest light.

* The conquests of Cimon and the power of the Athenians, which increased every day, gave Artaxerxes great uneasiness. To prevent the consequences of it, he resolved to send Themistocles into Attica with a great army, and accordingly proposed it to him.

Themistocles was in great perplexity on this occasion. On one side, the remembrance of the favours the king had heaped upon him; the positive assurances he had given thạt monarch, to serve him with the utmost zeal on all occasions; the instances of the king who claimed his promise ; all these considerations would not permit him to refuse the commission. On the other side, the love of his country, which the injustice and illtreatment of bis fellow-citizens could not banish from his mind; his strong reluctance to sully the glory of bis former laurels and mighty achievments by so ignominious à step ; perhaps too, the fear of being unsuccessful in a war, in which he should be opposed by excellent generals, and particularly Cimon, who seemed to be as successful as valiant ; these different reflections would not suffer him to declare against his country, in an enterprise wbich, whether successful or not, would reflect shame on him. sell.

To rid himself at once of all these inward struggles, he resolved to put an end to his life, as the only method for him not to be wanting in the duty he owed bis country, nor to the promises he had made that prince. He therefore prepared a solemn sacrifice, to which he invited all his friends, when, after embracing them all, and taking a last farewell of them, he drank bull's blood, or according to others, swallowed a dose of poison, and died in this manner at Magnesia, aged 65 years, the greatest part of which he had spent either in the government of the republic, or the command of the armies.

| When the king was told the cause and manner of his death, he esteemed and admired him still inore, and continued his favour to his friends and domestics. But the unexpected death of Themistocles proved an obstacle to the design he meditated of attacking the Greeks. The Magnesians erected a splendid monument to the memory of that general in the public square, and granted peculiar privileges and honours to his descendants. They continued to enjoy them in Plutarch's time, that is, near 600 years after, and his tomb was still standing.

Atticus, in the beautiful dialogue of Cicero, entitled Brutus, refutes in an agreeable and ingenious manner, the tragical end which some writers ascribe to Themistocles, as related above, pretending that the whole is a

* A. M. 3538. Ant. J. C. 466. Thucyd. I. i. p. 32. Plut. in Themist. p. 127.

† The wisest heathens did not think that a man was allowed to lay violent hands on himself. | Cic. de Senec. n. 72.

Brut. n. 42, 43.


fiction, invented by rhetoricians, who, on the bare rumour that this great man had poisoned himself, had added all the other particulars to embellish the story, which otherwise would have been very dry and unaffecting. He appeals for this to Thucydides, that judicious historian, who was an Athenian, and almost contemporary with Themistocles. This author indeed owns, that a report had prevailed that this general had poisoned himself; however, his opinion was, that he died a natural death, and that his friends conveyed bis bones secretly to Athens, where, in * Pausanias' time, his mausolæum was standing near the great harbour. This accouot seems much more probable than the other.

Themistocles was certainly one of the greatest men that Greece ever produced. He had a great soul, and invincible courage, which danger even inflamed; was fired with an incredible thirst for glory, which sometimes his country's love would temper and allay, but which sometimes carried him too far; † his presence of mind was such, that it immediately suggested whatever it was most necessary to act: in fine, he had a sagacity and penetration with regard to futurity, that revealed to him, in the clearest light, the most secret designs of his enemies, pointing out to him at a distance the several measures he should take to disconcert them, and inspiring him with great, noble, bold, extensive views with regard to the honour of his country. The most essential qualities of the mind were, however, wanting in him, I mean sincerity, integrity, and fidelity; nor was he altogether free from suspicions of avarice, which is a great blemish in such as are charged with public affairs.

Nevertheless, a noble Sentiment as well as action is related of him, which speaks a great and disinterested soul. His daughter being asked of him in marriage, he preferred an honest poor man, to a rich one of a different character, and gave for his reason, " That in the choice of a son “ in law, he would much rather have merit without riches, than riches 6 without merit."



ABOUT this time the Egyptians, $ to free themselves from a foreign yoke, which was insupportable to them, revolted from Artaxerxes, and made Inarus, prince of the Lybians, their king. They demanded aid of the Athenians, who, having at that time a fleet of 200 ships at the Island of Cyprus, accepted the invitation with pleasure, and immediately set sail for Egypt, judging this a very favourable opportunity to weaken the power of the Persians, by driving them out of so great a kingdom.

Advice being brought Artaxerxes of this revolt, he raised an army of 300,000 men, and resolved to march in person against the rebels. But his friends advising him not to venture himself in that expedition, he gave the command of it to Archæmenes, one of his brothers. The latter be

* Lib. i. p. 1.

*De instantibus, ut nit Thucydides, verissime judicabat, et de futuris callidissime conjiciebat. Cor. Nep. in Themist. c. 1.

1 Plut. in 'Themist. p. 121.

| Themistocles, cum consuleretur utrum bono viro pauperi, ne minus probato diviti filiam collocaret : Ego vero, inquit, malo virum qui pecunia egeat, quam pecuniam quæ viro. Cic. de offic. l. ii. c. 71.

A. M. 3558. Ant. J. C. 466. Thucyd. 1. i. p. 68. & 71, 72. Ctes. C. 32-35. Diod. I. xi. p. 54-59.

SA. M. 3515. Ant. J. C. 459.

« הקודםהמשך »