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mony to the hold which their peculiar institutions had upon them, in clinging to these as to the surest means of their own maintenance or advancement; and as a firm and orderly aristocracy was everywhere commended and sometimes forcibly introduced by Sparta amongst her allies, so Athens sent, in the train of her fleets or her embassies, the precepts and the samples of her own democracy, that she would have spread in all directions. Instead of one confederacy, there were now two, with room and motive prepared for more. Nor was the jealousy at once, and the quarrel soon afterward, arising between the two, to be deplored simply because of the wars that were thus engendered. Both the one and the other led, as if of course, to increased demands upon the subordinate states, inducing the Spartans to exercise a haughtier control over their neighbours in the Peloponnesus, and encouraging the Athenians to transform, by craftiness or violence, their allies of the AEgean islands into dependent tributaries.” The submission which was hard, at first, to yield, became, at last, a habit only too easy to be observed; while, on the other hand, the love of power, corrupting itself in the love of gold and of oppression, resulted finally in the degradation and servitude of the very people whom it had originally exalted. A few individual names may be mentioned in illustration of the hostilities and dangers that hovered, * Thucydides describes the em- consultation for its statistics as for vulture-like, above the field which seemed to those who fought upon it to be for ever won.
pire of Athens in a passage (I. 19. its principles. 89 et seq.) not so much worthy of
WOL. I. 25
Themistocles cannot be distinguished, in himself, from many who preceded him. He professed the same fondness for liberal, and showed the same passion for selfish, principles that are peculiar to many men; but the circumstances of the war, and of the city after the war, were of a kind to conceal, and even for a time to dissipate, the leaven of his nature. When the urgency of action, magnanimous and devoted in itself, whoever might be its agent, was passed, Themistocles appeared the vain and towering citizen, as he might, perhaps, have been, without appearing so, from the beginning. His countrymen remembered his lowness of birth, and sent him into banishment for the pride that had altered him too suddenly from the upstart to the patriot, and again from the patriot to the would-be sovereign. He was suspected even in his exile, and obliged to fly, at length, to the Persian court, whose bounties he was nothing loath to take and to vaunt before his children.”0
Pausanias, the Spartan leader at Plataea, was guiltier in his aims. He would have made himself master of Greece, with the aid of Persia, and, failing herein, aspired to overthrow or so to alter the government of his native country,” that he might seize upon the supreme authority in Sparta. He was convicted and starved to death.
200 Plut., Them., 29. 201 Thucyd., I. 128–134.
Another Athenian, Cimon, the son of Miltiades, though neither treasonable like Pausanias nor overbearing like Themistocles, but faithful to his fellow citizens of Athens and liberal to his fellow-countrymen of Greece, is nevertheless the representative, in an eminent degree, of the ambition which could gratify itself only in ostentation or warfare. For a long time under the influence of Aristides, he became notable for his leaning to Sparta,” and to the cause of aristocracy that the name of Sparta signified; too notable, indeed, for this, to be of service to the conservative principles which his early friend would undoubtedly have taught him more prudently to uphold. He withstood Ephialtes and Pericles, as will presently be told; but his largesses were not sufficient to win the support of the people, and he was banished. Recalled before five years of exile, he was the peacemaker with Sparta, and then the war-maker in Egypt, where he died, thirty years after the battle at Thermopylae.” These thirty years were the limit to the age defined as that of laws, in the history of Grecian liberty. Even before their close, it seems, whether we turn to Athens or to Sparta, as if we stood where the earthquake was soon to come with crash and ruin. The Spartans were ten years contending with the Helots in Messenia; and though the masters whom Lycurgus had established were once more victorious, it was proved that they must bleed, themselves, in order to preserve their rule. A greater war was lighted between the Athenians, with their allies, on one side, and the Peloponnesians and Boeotians, under the lead of Sparta, on the other; all willing to contend with one another rather than be at peace. Still, likewise, the contest with the Persians continued on the coasts and seas of Asia Minor; but the victories of the Greeks were too easily won and too narrowly enjoyed to satisfy their frenzy for arms and triumphs. The Athenians, contented neither with their enemies at home nor with those they had in Asia, sent out their armaments to support a revolt in Egypt against Persia; but though Cimon was in command of the second expedition, it resulted in nothing of any consequence. Some sort of a treaty appears to have been contracted between Athens and king Artaxerxes;” and the conflict in Greece was also allayed by a five years' truce” between the parties, who had lost much and gained nothing by their suicidal battles. In point, therefore, of dominion or foreign relations, there were but few changes, apparently, to affect the nation or the separate states of Greece; but the worm within was fed upon the evil spirit that might not show itself at once, but would be surely proved at last. In Athens, for instance, the exile of Cimon had followed the humiliation of the Areopagus, which Ephialtes, a zealous and apparently an honest supporter of ardent democracy, was able to effect with the aid, and almost certainly at the suggestion, of Pericles. The tribunal, strong in judicial and, as they might be called, inquisitional powers, was in possession, chiefly, of the richer classes; and it was but yielding to the course prepared, at least as early as in the time of Clisthenes, that the Areopagus was now deprived of all its more important functions.” which went, of course, to increase the already multiplied powers of the assembly. It is only important, at present, to observe the rapidity with which the Athenian democracy was brought forward by its leaders long in advance of the claims or the wishes of its members at large. So, in various cities, there occurred revolutions, more or less sudden and more or less partial, by which, whatever were the immediate consequences, the future turmoils and exhaustions of the nation were indubitably prepared. It was a season of twofold struggle: state with state and principle with principle were everywhere at variance, if not at War. The day of decline seems to be never far removed, when the day of triumph is spent in wars. But there was this additional trial to the freedom of
* The Spartans, indeed, took Cim., 19. Cimon is called by Pluhim for their champion at Athens. tarch 6 ‘EXmwukös #yepidov, “the He named one of his sons Lacedæ- Grecian captain" ; which describes monius. See Plut., Cim., 16. him more vividly than many words 209 About A. C. 449. Plut., would do. Cf. Corn. Nepos, Cim., 2. 204 Diod. Sic., XII. 4. Plut., 205 Plut., Cim., 18. A. C. Cim., 13 ; with which compare 451 – 446. Thirlwall's Greece, Ch. XVII.
* This was in A. C. 461. tion, however, is usually made very Plut., Cim., 15. Cicero tells the complicated. As for the power and whole:– “Athenienses quibusdam character of the assembly at or after temporibus, sublato Areopago, nihil this time, see Schömann's work on nisi populi scitis ac decretis age- the subject, especially Book I. ch. bant.” De Rep., I. 27. The ques- 1.4 ; Book II. ch. 3. 4.