תמונות בעמוד

One of the chief endeavours of Pericles also was, Artax. to study thoroughly the genius and disposition of Longim. the Athenians, that he might discover the secret springs which were to be employed in order to set them in motion; and the manner it was proper to act for acquiring their confidence; * for it was prin. cipally in that the great men among the ancients used to make their skill and politicks consist. He found by the reflections he had made on several transactions of his time, that the predominant passions of this people were, a violent aversion to tyranny, and a strong love of liberty, which inspired them with sentiments of fear, jealousy, and suspicion, of all such citizens as were too conspicuous for their birth, their personal merit, their own credit and authority, or that of their friends. He not only was very like Pisistratus, with regard to the sweetness of his voice, and fluency of expression, but he also resembled him very much in the features of his face, and his whole air and manner; and he observed, that the most ancient Athenians who had seen the tyrant, were prodigiously struck at the resemblance. Be. sides, he was very rich, was descended from an illustrious family, and had very powerful friends. To prevent therefore his being obnoxious to the suspicion and jealousy of the people, he at first shunned all affairs of government, which require a constant attendance in the city; and was solely intent upon distinguishing himself in war and dangers.

Seeing Aristides dead, Themistocles banished, and Cimon engaged almost continually in foreign wars, and absent from Greece; he began to appear in pub. lick with greater confidence than before, and entirely devoted himself to the party of the people, but not out of inclination, for he was far from af. fecting popular power, but to remove all suspicions

* Olim noscenda vulgi natura, & quibus modis temperanter habere. tur: Senatusque & optimarium ingenia qui maximè perdidicerant, callidi temporum & sapicntes babebantur. Tacit. Annal. lib. iv. cap. 33,

Artax. of his aspiring to the tyranny, and still more, to Longim. raise a strong bulwark against the credit and autho

rity of Cimon, who had joined with the nobles.

At the same time, he quite changed his conduct and way of life; and assumed, in all things, the character of a statesman, wholly busied in affairs of government, and entirely devoted to the service of his country. He was never seen in the streets, except when he was going either to the assembly of the people, or to the council. He left off going to banquets, assemblies; and other diversions of that kind which he had used to frequent; and during the many years that he presided in the administration, he was never seen to go to supper with his friends, except once at the nuptials of a near relation.

4 He * knew that the people, who are naturally fickle and inconstant, commonly increase their disre. gard for those who are always in their sight; and that too strong a desire to please them, grows at last tiresome and importunate; and it was observed that such a behaviour did Themistocles great prejudice. To avoid this error, he used to go very rarely to the assemblies; and never appeared before the people but at intervals, in order to make himself desired; and to preserve such an ascendant over their minds as might be always new, and not worn and in a manner withered by an over-great assiduity; wisely reserving himself for great and important occasions. Hence it was said that he imitated Jupiter, who, in the government of the world, according to some philosophers, busicd himself in great events only; and left the direction of those of less importance to subaltern deities. And indeed, Peri. cles used to transact all petty affairs by his friends, and by certain orators that were entirely devoted to him, among whom was Ephialtes.

4 Plut. de sui laude, p. 441. Plut de ger. rep. p. 811.

* Ista nostra assiduitas, Servi, nescis quantum interdum agerat hoe minibus fastidii, quantum salietatis Utrique nostrúm desiderium nie bil obfuisset. Cic. pro Mur. n. 21.

Pericles employed his whole industry and appli. Artax. çation to gain the favour and esteem of the people, Longima, in order to counterbalance the fame and credit of Cimon. However, he could not equal the magnificence and liberality of his rival, whose immense riches gave him an opportunity of bestowing such largesses as appear to us almost incredible, so much they differ from our behaviour in that respect. Finding it impossible for him to rival Cimon in this particular, he had recourse to another expedient (in order to gain the love of the populace) no less effec. tual perhaps, but certainly not so lawful and ho. nourable. He was the first who divided the con. quered lands among the citizens; who distributed among them the publick revenues for the expence of their games and shows, and annexed pensions to all publick employments; so that certain sums were be. stowed on them regularly, as well to gratify them at the games, as for their presence in the courts of justice, and the publick assemblies. It is impossible to say, how fatal these unhappy politicks were to the republick, and the many evils with which they were attended. For these new regulations, besides their draining the publick treasury, gave the people a lux. urious and dissolute turn of mind; whereas they before were sober and modest, and contented them. selves with getting a livelihood by their sweat and labour.

By * such arts as these Pericles had gained so great an ascendant over the minds of the people, that he may be said to have attained a monarchical

power under a republican form of government; moulding the citizens into what shape he pleased, and presiding with unlimited authority in all their assemblies.

s Plut. in Pericl. p. 156. * Pericles felicissimis naturæ incrementis, sub Anaxagora præceptore summo studio perpolitus & instrucius, liberis Athenarum cerv cibus jugum servitulis imposuit: egit enim ille urbem & versavit arbitrio suoQuid inter Pisistratum & Periclem interfuit, nisi quod ille armature bic sine armis, tyrannidem exercuit? Val. Max. l. viii. c. .



Artax. And indeed, Valerius Maximus makes scarce any Longim. other difference between Pisistratus and Pericles,

except that the one exercised a tyrannical power by force of arms, and the other by the strength of his eloquence, in which he had made a very great progress under Anaxagoras.

This credit and authority, however enormous, could not yet restrain the comick writers from lashing him very severely in the theatres; and it does not appear that any of the poets who censured Peri. cles with so much boldness, were ever punished, or even called to account for it by the people. Perhaps it was out of prudence and policy that he did not attempt to curb this licentiousness of the stage; nor to silence the poets, that he might amuse and con. tent the people by this vain shadow of liberty, and prevent their discovering that they really were enslaved.

? But Pericles did not stop here. He boldly resolved, if possible, to weaken the authority of the tribunal of the Areopagus, of which he was not a member, because he had never been elected either

Archon, Thesmotheta, king of the sacrifices, nor Polemarch. These were different employments in the republick, which from time immemorial had been given by lot; and none but those who had be. haved uprightly in them, were allowed a seat in the Areopagus. Pericles, taking advantage of Cimon's absence, set Ephialtes, who was his creature, at work clandestinely; and at last lessened the power of that illustrious body, in which the chief strength of the nobility consisted. The people, emboldened and

+ Plut. in Pericl. p. 157. In Cim. p. 488. * After some changes had been made in the form of the Athenian government, the supreme authority was at last invested in nine magistrates, called Årchons, and lasted but one year. One was called Rex, another Polemarchus, a third Archon, and this magistrate was properly at the head of the rest, and gave his name to the year; and six Thesmothetæ, who presided immediately over the laws and decrees.

supported by so powerful a faction, subverted all Artax. the fundamental laws and ancient customs; took Longim: from the senate of the Areopagus the cognizance of most causes that used to be brought before it, leaving it very few, and such only as

were of little consequence, and made themselves absolute masters of all the tribunals.

Cimon being returned to Athens, was afflicted to see the dignity of the senate trampled under foot, and therefore set every engine at work to restore it to its pristine authority, and to revive the aristocracy, in the same form as it had been established under Clisthenes. But now his enemies began to exclaim and excite the people against him; reproaching him, among many other things, for his strong attachment to the Lacedæmonians. Cimon had himself given some room for this reproach, by his not paying sufficient regard to the Athenian delicacy: For, in speaking to them, he would for ever extol Lacedæmonia ; and whenever he censured their conduct on any occasion, he used to cry, The Spartans do not act in this manner. Such expressions as these drew upon him the envy and hatred of his fellowcitizens ; but an event, in which he nevertheless had no share, made him the object of their utmost detestation.

Sect. VIII. An earthquake in Sparta. Insurrection

of the Helots. Seeds of division arise between the Athenians and Spartans. Cimon is sent into banish


"In the fourth year of the reign of Archidamus, A. M. there happened the most dreadful earthquake in 3534. Sparta that had ever been known. In several places the country was entirely swallowed up; Taygetus and other mountains were shaken to their founda. tions; many of their summits being torn away,

Ant. J.c.


u Plut. in Cim. p. 488; 489.

« הקודםהמשך »