The Project Gutenberg eBook of History of Greece, Volume 03 (of 12)

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Title: History of Greece, Volume 03 (of 12)

Author: George Grote

Release date: December 29, 2018 [eBook #58565]

Language: English

Credits: Produced by Henry Flower, Adrian Mastronardi, Ramon Pajares
Box and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at (This file was produced from images
generously made available by The Internet Archive/American


Transcriber's note

Table of Contents

Book cover

[p. iii]






[p. v]






Early commerce and enterprise of the Corinthians. — Oligarchy of the Bacchiadæ. — Early condition of Megara. — Early condition of Sikyôn. — Rise of the despots. — Earliest changes of government in Greece. — Peculiarity of Sparta. — Discontinuance of kingship in Greece generally. — Comparison with the Middle Ages of Europe. — Anti-monarchical sentiment of Greece — Mr. Mitford. — Causes which led to the growth of that sentiment. — Change to oligarchical government. — Such change indicates an advance in the Greek mind. — Dissatisfaction with the oligarchies — modes by which the despots acquired power. — Examples. — Tendency towards a better organized citizenship. — Character and working of the despots. — The demagogue-despot of the earlier times compared with the demagogue of later times. — Contrast between the despot and the early heroic king. — Position of the despot. — Good government impossible to him. — Conflict between oligarchy and despotism preceded that between oligarchy and democracy. — Early oligarchies included a multiplicity of different sections and associations. — Government of the Geomori — a close order of present or past proprietors. — Classes of the people. — Military force of the early oligarchies consisted of cavalry. — Rise of the heavy-armed infantry and of the free military marine — both unfavorable to oligarchy. — Dorian states — Dorian and non-Dorian inhabitants. — Dynasty of despots at Sikyôn — the Orthagoridæ. — Violent proceedings of Kleisthenês. — Classes of the Sikyonian population. — Fall of the Orthagoridæ — state of Sikyôn after it. — The Sikyonian despots not put down by Sparta. — Despots at Corinth — Kypselus. — Periander. — Great power of Corinth under Periander. — Fall of the Kypselid dynasty. — Megara — Theagenês the despot. — Disturbed government at Megara — The poet Theognis. — Analogy of Corinth, Sikyôn, and Megara.

pages 1-47

[p. vi]CHAPTER X.


History of Athens before Drako — only a list of names. — No king after Kodrus. — Life archons. — Decennial archons. — Annual archons, nine in number. — Archonship of Kreôn. B. C. 683 — commencement of Attic chronology. — Obscurity of the civil condition of Attica before Solon. — Alleged duodecimal division of Attica in early times. — Four Ionic tribes — Geleontes, Hoplêtes, Ægikoreis, Argadeis. — These names are not names of castes or professions. — Component portions of the four tribes. — The Trittys and the Naukrary. — The Phratry and the Gens. — What constituted the gens or gentile communion. — Artificial enlargement of the primitive family association. Ideas of worship and ancestry coalesce. — Belief in a common divine ancestor. — This ancestry fabulous, yet still accredited. — Analogies from other nations. — Roman and Grecian gentes. — Rights and obligations of the gentile and phratric brethren. — The gens and phratry after the revolution of Kleisthenês became extra-political. — Many distinct political communities originally in Athens. — Theseus. — Long continuance of the cantonal feeling. — What demes were originally independent of Athens. — Eleusis. — Eupatridæ, Geômori, and Demiurgi. — Eupatridæ originally held all political power. — Senate of Areopagus. — The nine archons — their functions. — Drako and his laws. — Different tribunals for homicide at Athens. — Regulations of Drako about the Ephetæ. — Local superstitions at Athens about trial of homicide. — Attempted usurpation by Kylôn. — His failure, and massacre of his partisans by order of the Alkmæônids. — Trial and condemnation of the Alkmæônids. — Pestilence and suffering at Athens. — Mystic sects and brotherhoods in the sixth century B. C. — Epimenidês of Krete. — Epimenidês visits and purifies Athens. — His life and character. — Contrast of his age with that of Plato.




Life, character, and poems of Solon. — War between Athens and Megara about Salamis. — Acquisition of Salamis by Athens. — Settlement of the dispute by Spartan arbitration in favor of Athens. — State of Athens immediately before the legislation of Solon. — Internal dissension — misery of the poorer population. — Slavery of the debtors — law of debtor and creditor. — Injustice and rapacity of the rich. — General mutiny, and necessity for a large reform. — Solon made archon, and invested with full powers of legislation. — He refuses to make himself despot. — His seisachtheia, or relief-law for the poorer debtors. — Debasing of the money standard. — General popularity of the measure after partial dissatisfaction. — Different statements afterwards as to the nature and extent of the seisachtheia. — Necessity of the measure — mischievous contracts to which the previous law had given rise. — Solon’s law finally settled the question — no subsequent complaint as to private debts — respect for[p. vii] contracts unbroken under the democracy. — Distinction made in an early society between the principal and the interest of a loan — interest disapproved of in toto. — This opinion was retained by the philosophers after it had ceased to prevail in the community generally. — Solonian seisachtheia never imitated at Athens — money-standard honestly maintained afterwards. — Solon is empowered to modify the political constitution. — His census — four scales of property. — Graduated liability to income-tax, of the three richest classes, one compared with the other. — Admeasurement of political rights and franchises according to this scale — a Timocracy. — Fourth or poorest class — exercised powers only in assembly — chose magistrates and held them to accountability. — Pro-bouleutic or pre-considering Senate of Four Hundred. — Senate of Areopagus — its powers enlarged. — Confusion frequently seen between Solonian and post-Solonian institutions. — Loose language of the Athenian orators on this point. — Solon never contemplated the future change or revision of his own laws. — Solon laid the foundation of the Athenian democracy, but his institutions are not democratical. — The real Athenian democracy begins with Kleisthenês. — Athenian government after Solon still oligarchical, but mitigated. — The archons still continue to be judges until after the time of Kleisthenês. — After-changes in the Athenian constitution overlooked by the orators, but understood by Aristotle, and strongly felt at Athens during the time of Periklês. — Gentes and Phratries under the Solonian constitution — status of persons not included in them. — Laws of Solon. — The Drakonian laws about homicide retained; the rest abrogated. — Multifarious character of the laws of Solon: no appearance of classification. — He prohibits the export of landed produce from Attica, except oil. — The prohibition of little or no effect. — Encouragement to artisans and industry. — Power of testamentary bequest — first sanctioned by Solon. — Laws relating to women. — Regulations about funerals. — About evil-speaking and abusive language. — Rewards to the victors at the sacred games. — Theft. — Censure pronounced by Solon upon citizens neutral in a sedition. — Necessity, under the Grecian city-governments, of some positive sentiment on the part of the citizens. — Contrast in this respect between the age of Solon and the subsequent democracy. — The same idea followed out in the subsequent Ostracism. — Sentiment of Solon towards the Homeric poems and the drama. — Difficulties of Solon after the enactment of the laws. — He retires from Attica. — Visits Egypt and Cyprus. — Alleged interview and conversation of Solon with Crœsus at Sardis. — Moral lesson arising out of the narrative. — State of Attica after the Solonian legislation. — Return of Solon to Athens. — Rise of Peisistratus. — His memorable stratagem to procure a guard from the people. — Peisistratus seizes the Akropolis and becomes despot — courageous resistance of Solon. — Death of Solon — his character. — Appendix, on the procedure of the Roman law respecting principal and interest in a loan of money.




The islands called Cyclades. — Eubœa. — Its six or seven towns — Chalkis, Eretria, etc. — How peopled. — Early power of Chalkis, Eretria, Naxos[p. viii] etc. — Early Ionic festival at Dêlos; crowded and wealthy. — Its decline about 560 B. C. — causes thereof. — Homeric Hymn to the Delian Apollo — evidence as to early Ionic life. — War between Chalkis and Eretria in early times — extensive alliances of each. — Commerce and colonies of Chalkis and Eretria — Euboic scale of money and weight. — Three different Grecian scales — Æginæan, Euboic, and Attic — their ratio to each other.




Twelve Ionic cities in Asia. — Legendary event called the Ionic migration. — Emigrants to these cities — diverse Greeks. — Great differences of dialect among the twelve cities. — Ionic cities really founded by different migrations. — Consequences of the mixture of inhabitants in these colonies — more activity — more instability. — Mobility ascribed to the Ionic race as compared with the Doric — arises from this cause. — Ionic cities in Asia — mixed with indigenous inhabitants. — Worship of Apollo and Artemis — existed on the Asiatic coast prior to the Greek emigrants — adopted by them. — Pan-Ionic festival and Amphiktyony on the promontory of Mykalê. — Situation of Milêtus — of the other Ionic cities. — Territories interspersed with Asiatic villages. — Magnêsia on the Mæander — Magnêsia on Mount Sipylus. — Ephesus — Androklus the Œkist — first settlement and distribution. — Increase and acquisitions of Ephesus. — Kolophôn, its origin and history. — Temple of Apollo at Klarus, near Kolophôn — its legends. — Lebedus, Teôs, Klazomenæ, etc. — Internal distribution of the inhabitants of Teôs. — Erythræ and Chios. — Klazomenæ — Phôkæa. — Smyrna.




Twelve cities of Æolic Greeks. — Their situation — eleven near together on the Elæitic gulf. — Legendary Æolic migration. — Kymê — the earliest as well as the most powerful of the twelve. — Magnêsia ad Sipylum. — Lesbos. — Early inhabitants of Lesbos before the Æolians. — Æolic establishments in the region of Mount Ida. — Continental settlements of Lesbos and Tenedos. — Ante-Hellenic inhabitants in the region of Mount Ida — Mysians and Teukrians. — Teukrians of Gergis. — Mitylênê — its political dissensions — its poets. — Power and merit of Pittakus. — Alkæus the poet — his flight from battle. — Bitter opposition of Pittakus and Alkæus in internal politics. — Pittakus is created Æsymnete, or Dictator of Mitylênê.


[p. ix]CHAPTER XV.


Asiatic Dorians — their Hexapolis. — Other Dorians, not included in the Hexapolis. — Exclusion of Halikarnassus from the Hexapolis.




Indigenous nations of Asia Minor — Homeric geography. — Features of the country. — Names and situations of the different people. — Not originally aggregated into large kingdoms or cities. — River Halys — the ethnographical boundary — Syro-Arabians eastward of that river. — Thracian race — in the north of Asia Minor. — Ethnical affinities and migrations. — Partial identity of legends. — Phrygians. — Their influence upon the early Greek colonists. — Greek musical scale — partly borrowed from the Phrygians. — Phrygian music and worship among the Greeks in Asia Minor. — Character of Phrygians, Lydians, and Mysians. — Primitive Phrygian king or hero Gordius — Midas.




Lydians — their music and instruments. — They and their capital Sardis unknown to Homer. — Early Lydian kings. — Kandaulês and Gygês. — The Mermnad dynasty succeeds to the Herakleid. — Legend of Gygês in Plato. — Feminine influence running through the legends of Asia Minor. — Distribution of Lydia into two parts — Lydia and Torrhêbia. — Proceedings of Gygês. — His son and successor Ardys. — Assyrians and Medes. — First Median king — Dêïokês. — His history composed of Grecian materials, not Oriental. — Phraortês — Kyaxarês. — Siege of Nineveh — invasion of the Scythians and Cimmerians. — The Cimmerians. — The Scythians. — Grecian settlements on the coast of the Euxine. — Scythia as described by Herodotus. — Tribes of Scythians. — Manners and worship. — Scythians formidable from numbers and courage. — Sarmatians. — Tribes east and north of the Palus Mæotis. — Tauri in the Crimea — Massagetæ. — Invasion of Asia by Scythians and Cimmerians. — Cimmerians driven out of their country by the Scythians. — Difficulties in the narrative of Herodotus. — Cimmerians in Asia Minor. — Scythians in Upper Asia. — Expulsion of these Nomads, after a temporary occupation. — Lydian kings Sadyattês and Alyattês — war against Milêtus. — Sacrilege committed by Alyattês — oracle — he makes peace with Milêtus. — Long reign — death — and sepulchre, of Alyattês. — Crœsus. — He attacks and conquers the Asiatic Greeks. — Want of coöperation among[p. x] the Ionic cities. — Unavailing suggestion of Thalês — to merge the twelve Ionic cities into one Pan-Ionic city at Teôs. — Capture of Ephesus. — Crœsus becomes king of all Asia westward of the Halys. — New and important era for the Hellenic world — commencing with the conquests of Crœsus. — Action of the Lydian empire continued on a still larger scale by the Persians.




Phenicians and Assyrians — members of the Semitic family of the human race. — Early presence of Phenician ships in the Grecian seas — in the Homeric times. — Situation and cities of Phenicia. — Phenician commerce flourished more in the earlier than in the later times of Greece. — Phenician colonies — Utica, Carthage, Gadês, etc. — Commerce of the Phenicians of Gadês — towards Africa on one side and Britain on the other. — Productive region round Gadês, called Tartêssus. — Phenicians and Carthaginians — the establishments of the latter combined views of empire with views of commerce. — Phenicians and Greeks in Sicily and Cyprus — the latter partially supplant the former. — Iberia and Tartêssus — unvisited by the Greeks before about 630 B. C. — Memorable voyage of the Samian Kôlæus to Tartêssus. — Exploring voyages of the Phôkæans, between 630-570 B. C. — Important addition to Grecian geographical knowledge, and stimulus to Grecian fancy, thus communicated. — Circumnavigation of Africa by the Phenicians. — This circumnavigation was really accomplished — doubts of critics, ancient and modern, examined. — Caravan-trade by land carried on by the Phenicians.




Assyrians — their name rests chiefly on Nineveh and Babylon. — Chaldæans at Babylon — order of priests. — Their astronomical observations. — Babylonia — its laborious cultivation and fertility. — City of Babylon — its dimensions and walls. — Babylon — only known during the time of its degradation — yet even then the first city in Western Asia. — Immense command of human labor possessed by the Babylonian kings. — Collective civilization in Asia, without individual freedom or development. — Graduated contrast between Egyptians, Assyrians, Phenicians, and Greeks. — Deserts and predatory tribes surrounding the Babylonians. — Appendix, “Nineveh and its Remains,” by Mr. Layard.




Phenicians — the link of commerce between Egypt and Assyria. — Herodotus — earliest Grecian informant about Egypt. — The Nile in the time of[p. xi] Herodotus. — Thebes and Upper Egypt — of more importance in early times than Lower Egypt, but not so in the days of Herodotus. — Egyptian castes or hereditary professions. — Priests. — The military order. — Different statements about the castes. — Large town population of Egypt. — Profound submission of the people. — Destructive toil imposed by the great monuments. — Worship of animals. — Egyptian kings — taken from different parts of the country. — Relations of Egypt with Assyria. — Egyptian history not known before Psammetichus. — First introduction of Greeks into Egypt under Psammetichus — stories connected with it. — Importance of Grecian mercenaries to the Egyptian kings — caste of interpreters. — Opening of the Kanôpic branch of the Nile to Greek commerce — Greek establishment at Naukratis. — Discontents and mutiny of the Egyptian military order. — Nekôs son of Psammetichus — his active operations. — Defeated by Nebuchadnezzar at Carchemisch. — Psammis, the son of Nekôs. — Apriês. — Amasis — dethrones Apriês by means of the native soldiers. — He encourages Grecian commerce. — Important factory and religious establishment for the Greeks at Naukratis. — Prosperity of Egypt under Amasis. — Appendix, on the Egyptian chronology given by Manetho, as explained by M. Boeckh.




Decline of the Phenicians — growth of Grecian marine and commerce. — Effect of Phenicians, Assyrians, and Egyptians on the Greek mind. — The alphabet. — The scale of money and weight. — The gnomon — and the division of the day. — Carthage. — Era of Carthage. — Dominion of Carthage. — Dido. — First known collision of Greeks and Carthaginians — Massalia. — Amicable relations between Tyre and Carthage.




Early unauthenticated emigration from Greece. — Ante-Hellenic population of Sicily — Sikels — Sikans — Elymi — Phenicians. — Œnotria — Italia. — Pelasgi in Italy. — Latins — Œnotrians — Epirots — ethnically cognate. — Analogy of languages — Greek, Latin, and Oscan. — Grecian colonization of ascertained date in Sicily — commences in 735 B. C. — Cumæ in Campania — earlier — date unknown. — Prosperity of Cumæ between 700-500 B. C. — Decline of Cumæ from 500 B. C. — Revolution — despotism of Aristodêmus. — Invasion of Cumæ by Tuscans and Samnites from the interior. — Rapid multiplication of Grecian colonies in Sicily and Italy, beginning with 735 B. C. — Foundation of Naxos in Sicily by Theoklês. — Spot where the Greeks first landed in Sicily — memorable afterwards. — Ante-Hellenic distribution of Sicily. — Foundation of Syracuse. — Leontini and Katana. — Megara in Sicily. — Gela. — Zanklê, afterwards Messênê (Messina). — Sub-colonies — Akræ, Kasmenæ, Kamarina, etc. — Agrigentum, Selinûs, Himera, etc. — Prosperity of the Sicilian Greeks. — Mixed character of the population. — Peculiarity of the monetary and statical system, among the Sicilian and Italian[p. xii] Greeks. — Sikels and Sikans gradually Hellenized. — Difference between the Greeks in Sicily and those in Greece proper. — Native population in Sicily not numerous enough to become formidable to the Greek settlers. — Sikel prince Duketius. — Grecian colonies in southern Italy. — Native population and territory. — Sybaris and Krotôn. — Territory and colonies of Sybaris and Krotôn. — Epizephyrian Lokri. — Original settlers of Lokri — their character and circumstances. — Treachery towards the indigenous Sikels. — Mixture of Sikels in their territory — Sikel customs adopted. — Lokrian lawgiver Zaleukus. — Rigor of his laws — government of Lokri. — Rhêgium. — Chalkidic settlements in Italy and Sicily — Rhêgium, Zanklê, Naxos, Katana, Leontini. — Kaulônia and Skyllêtium. — Siris or Hêrakleia. — Metapontium. — Tarentum — circumstances of its foundation. — The Partheniæ — Phalanthus the œkist. — Situation and territory of Tarentum. — Iapygians. — Messapians. — Prosperity of the Italian Greeks between 700-500 B. C. — Ascendency over the Œnotrian population. — Krotôn and Sybaris — at their maximum from 560-510 B. C. — The Sybarites — their luxury — their organization, industry, and power. — Grecian world about 560 B. C. — Ionic and Italic Greeks are then the most prominent among Greeks. — Consequences of the fall of Sybaris. — Krotoniates — their salubrity, strength, success in the Olympic games, etc. — Massalia.




Korkyra. — Early foundation of Korkyra from Corinth. — Relations of Korkyra with Corinth. — Relations with Epirus. — Ambrakia founded by Corinth. — Joint settlements by Corinth and Korkyra. — Leukas and Anaktorium. — Apollonia and Epidamnus. — Relations between these colonies — Commerce.




Akarnanians. — Their social and political condition. — Epirots — comprising different tribes, with little or no ethnical kindred. — Some of these tribes ethnically connected with those of southern Italy; — others, with the Macedonians — impossible to mark the boundaries. — Territory distributed into villages — no considerable cities. — Coast of Epirus discouraging to Grecian colonization. — Some Epirotic tribes governed by kings, others not.


[p. 1]




The preceding volume brought down the history of Sparta to the period marked by the reign of Peisistratus at Athens; at which time she had attained her maximum of territory, was confessedly the most powerful state in Greece, and enjoyed a proportionate degree of deference from the rest. I now proceed to touch upon the three Dorian cities on and near to the Isthmus,—Corinth, Sikyôn, and Megara, as they existed at this same period.

Even amidst the scanty information which has reached us, we trace the marks of considerable maritime energy and commerce among the Corinthians, as far back as the eighth century B. C. The foundation of Korkyra and Syracuse, in the 11th Olympiad, or 734 B. C. (of which I shall speak farther in connection with Grecian colonization generally), by expeditions from Corinth, affords a good proof that they knew how to turn to account the excellent situation which connected them with the sea on both sides of Peloponnesus: and Thucydides,[1] while he notices them as the chief liberators of the sea, in early times, from pirates, also[p. 2] tells us that the first great improvement in ship-building,—the construction of the trireme, or ship of war, with a full deck and triple banks for the rowers,—was the fruit of Corinthian ingenuity. It was in the year 703 B. C., that the Corinthian Ameinoklês built four triremes for the Samians, the first which those islanders had ever possessed: the notice of this fact attests as well the importance attached to the new invention, as the humble scale on which the naval force in those early days was equipped. And it is a fact of not less moment, in proof of the maritime vigor of Corinth in the seventh century B. C., that the earliest naval battle known to Thucydides was one which took place between the Corinthians and the Korkyræans, B. C. 664.[2]

It has already been stated, in the preceding volume, that the line of Herakleid kings in Corinth subsides gradually, through a series of empty names, into the oligarchy denominated Bacchiadæ, or Bacchiads, under whom our first historical knowledge of the city begins. The persons so named were all accounted descendants of Hêraklês, and formed the governing caste in the city; intermarrying usually among themselves, and choosing from their own number an annual prytanis, or president, for the administration of affairs. Of their internal government we have no accounts, except the tale respecting Archias the founder of Syracuse,[3] one of their number, who had made himself so detested by an act of brutal violence terminating in the death of the beautiful youth Aktæôn, as to be forced to expatriate. That such a man should have been placed in the distinguished post of œkist of the colony of Syracuse, gives us no favorable idea of the Bacchiad oligarchy: we do not, however, know upon what original authority the story depends, nor can we be sure that it is accurately recounted. But Corinth, under their government, was already a powerful commercial and maritime city, as has already been stated.

Megara, the last Dorian state in this direction eastward, and[p. 3] conterminous with Attica at the point where the mountains called Kerāta descend to Eleusis and the Thracian plain, is affirmed to have been originally settled by the Dorians of Corinth, and to have remained for some time a dependency of that city. It is farther said to have been at first merely one of five separate villages,—Megara, Heræa, Peiræa, Kynosura, Tripodiskus,—inhabited by a kindred population, and generally on friendly terms, yet sometimes distracted by quarrels, and on those occasions carrying on war with a degree of lenity and chivalrous confidence which reverses the proverbial affirmation respecting the sanguinary character of enmities between kindred. Both these two statements are transmitted to us (we know not from what primitive source) as explanatory of certain current phrases:[4] the author of the latter cannot have agreed with the author of the former in considering the Corinthians as masters of the Megarid, because he represents them as fomenting wars among these five villages for the purpose of acquiring that territory. Whatever may be the truth respecting this alleged early subjection of Megara, we know it[5] in the historical age, and that too as early as the 14th Olympiad, only as an independent Dorian city,[p. 4] maintaining the integrity of its territory under its leader Orsippus, the famous Olympic runner, against some powerful enemies, probably the Corinthians. It was of no mean consideration, possessing a territory which extended across Mount Geraneia to the Corinthian gulf, on which the fortified town and port of Pêgæ, belonging to the Megarians, was situated; it was mother of early and distant colonies,—and competent, during the time of Solon, to carry on a protracted contest with the Athenians, for the possession of Salamis, wherein, although the latter were at last victorious, it was not without an intermediate period of ill-success and despair.

Of the early history of Sikyôn, from the period when it became Dorian down to the seventh century B. C., we know nothing. Our first information respecting it, concerns the establishment of the despotism of Orthagoras, about 680-670 B. C. And it is a point deserving of notice, that all the three above-mentioned towns,—Corinth, Sikyôn, and Megara,—underwent during the course of this same century a similar change of government. In each of them a despot established himself; Orthagoras in Sikyôn; Kypselus in Corinth; Theagenês in Megara.

Unfortunately, we have too little evidence as to the state of things by which this change of government was preceded and brought about, to be able to appreciate fully its bearing. But what draws our attention to it more particularly is, that the like phenomenon seems to have occurred contemporaneously throughout a large number of cities, continental, insular, and colonial, in many different parts of the Grecian world. The period between 650 and 500 B. C., witnessed the rise and downfall of many despots and despotic dynasties, each in its own separate city. During the succeeding interval between 500 and 350 B. C., new despots, though occasionally springing up, become more rare; political dispute takes another turn, and the question is raised directly and ostensibly between the many and the few,—the people and the oligarchy. But in the still later times which follow the battle of Chæroneia, in proportion as Greece, declining in civic not less than in military spirit, is driven to the constant employment of mercenary troops, and humbled by the overruling interference of foreigners,—the despot with his standing foreign body-guard becomes again a characteristic of the time; a tendency[p. 5] partially counteracted, but never wholly subdued, by Aratus, and the Achæan league of the third century B. C.

It would have been instructive if we had possessed a faithful record of these changes of government in some of the more considerable of the Grecian towns; but in the absence of such evidence we can do little more than collect the brief sentences of Aristotle and others respecting the causes which produced them. For as the like change of government was common, near about the same time, to cities very different in locality, in race of inhabitants, in tastes and habits, and in wealth, it must partly have depended upon certain general causes which admit of being assigned and explained.

In the preceding volume, I tried to elucidate the heroic government of Greece, so far as it could be known from the epic poems,—a government founded (if we may employ modern phraseology) upon divine right as opposed to the sovereignty of the people, but requiring, as an essential condition, that the king shall possess force, both of body and mind, not unworthy of the exalted breed to which he belongs.[6] In this government, the authority which pervades the whole society, all resides in the king; but on important occasions it is exercised through the forms of publicity; he consults, and even discusses, with the council of chiefs or elders,—he communicates after such consultation with the assembled agora,—who hear and approve, perhaps hear and murmur, but are not understood to exercise an option or to reject. In giving an account of the Lykurgean system, I remarked that the old primitive Rhetræ, or charters of compact, indicated the existence of these same elements; a king of superhuman lineage (in this particular case two coördinate kings),—a senate of twenty-eight old men, besides the kings who sat in it,—and an ekklesia, or public assembly of citizens, convened for the purpose of approving or rejecting propositions submitted to them, with little or no liberty of discussion. The elements of the heroic government of Greece are thus found to be substantially the same as those existing in the primitive Lykurgean constitution: in both cases the predominant force residing in the kings,—and the func[p. 6]tions of the senate, still more those of the public assembly, being comparatively narrow and restricted; in both cases the regal authority being upheld by a certain religious sentiment, which tended to exclude rivalry and to insure submission in the people up to a certain point, in spite of misconduct or deficiency in the reigning individual. Among the principal Epirotic tribes, this government subsisted down to the third century B. C.[7], though some of them had passed out of it, and were in the habit of electing annually a president out of the gens to which the king belonged. Starting from these points, common to the Grecian heroic government, and to the original Lykurgean system, we find that in the Grecian cities generally, the king is replaced by an oligarchy, consisting of a limited number of families,—while at Sparta, the kingly authority, though greatly curtailed, is never abolished. And the different turn of events at Sparta admits of being partially explained. It so happened that, for five centuries, neither of the two coördinate lines of Spartan kings was ever without some male representatives, so that the sentiment of divine right, upon which their preëminence was founded, always proceeded in an undeviating channel. That sentiment never wholly died out in the tenacious mind of Sparta, but it became sufficiently enfeebled to occasion a demand for guarantees against abuse. If the senate had been a more numerous body, composed of a few principal families, and comprising men of all ages, it might, perhaps, have extended its powers so much as to absorb those of the king: but a council of twenty-eight very old men, chosen indiscriminately from all Spartan families, was essentially an adjunct and secondary force. It was insufficient even as a restraint upon the king,—still less was it competent to become his rival; and it served indirectly even as a support to him, by preventing the formation of any other privileged order powerful enough to be an overmatch for his authority. This insufficiency on the part of the senate was one of the causes which occasioned the formation of the annually-renewed Council of Five, called the Ephors; originally a defensive board, like the Roman Tribunes, intended as a restraint upon abuse of power in the kings, but afterwards expanding into a paramount and[p. 7] unresponsible Executive Directory. Assisted by endless dissensions between the two coördinate kings, the ephors encroached upon their power on every side, limited them to certain special functions, and even rendered them accountable and liable to punishment, but never aspired to abolish the dignity. That which the regal authority lost in extent (to borrow the just remark of king Theopompus)[8] it gained in durability: the descendants of the twins Eurysthenês and Proklês continued in possession of their double sceptre from the earliest historical times down to the revolutions of Agis the Third, and Kleomenês the Third,—generals of the military force, growing richer and richer, and reverenced as well as influential in the state, though the directory of ephors were their superiors. And the ephors became, in time, quite as despotic, in reference to internal affairs, as the kings could ever have been before them; for the Spartan mind, deeply possessed with the feelings of command and obedience, remained comparatively insensible to the ideas of control and responsibility, and even averse to that open discussion and censure of public measures, or officers, which such ideas imply. We must recollect that the Spartan political constitution was both simplified in its character, and aided in its working, by the comprehensive range of the Lykurgean discipline, with its rigorous equal pressure upon rich and poor, which averted many of the causes elsewhere productive of sedition,—habituating the proudest and most refractory citizen to a life of undeviating obedience,—satisfying such demand as existed for system and regularity,—rendering Spartan personal habits of life much more equal than even democratical Athens could parallel; but contributing, at the same time, to engender a contempt for talkers, and a dislike of methodical and prolonged speech, which of itself sufficed to exclude all regular interference of the collective citizens, either in political or judicial affairs.

Such were the facts at Sparta; but in the rest of Greece the primitive heroic government was modified in a very different manner: the people outgrew, much more decidedly, that feeling of divine right and personal reverence which originally gave authority to the king. Willing submission ceased on the part[p. 8] of the people, and still more on the part of the inferior chiefs, and with it ceased the heroic royalty. Something like a system or constitution came to be demanded.

Of this discontinuance of kingship, so universal in the political march of Hellas, the prime cause is, doubtless, to be sought in the smallness and concentrated residence of each distinct Hellenic society. A single chief, perpetual and unresponsible, was noway essential for the maintenance of union. In modern Europe, for the most part, the different political societies which grew up out of the extinction of the Roman empire embraced each a considerable population and a wide extent of territory and the monarchical form presented itself as the only known means of union between the parts, the only visible and imposing symbol of a national identity. Both the military character of the Teutonic invaders, as well as the traditions of the Roman empire which they dismembered, tended towards the establishment of a monarchical chief, the abolition of whose dignity would have been looked upon as equivalent, and would really have been equivalent, to the breaking up of the nation, since the maintenance of a collective union by means of general assemblies was so burdensome, that the kings themselves vainly tried to exact it by force, and representative government was then unknown.

The history of the Middle Ages, though exhibiting constant resistance on the part of powerful subjects, frequent deposition of individual kings, and occasional changes of dynasty, contains few instances of any attempt to maintain a large political aggregate united without a king, either hereditary or elective. Even towards the close of the last century, at the period when the federal constitution of the United States of America was first formed, many reasoners regarded[9] as an impossibility the application of any other system than the monarchical to a territory of large size and population, so as to combine union of the whole[p. 9] with equal privileges and securities to each of the parts. And it might, perhaps, be a real impossibility among any rude people, with strong local peculiarities, difficult means of communication, and habits of representative government not yet acquired. Hence, throughout all the larger nations of mediæval and modern Europe, with few exceptions, the prevailing sentiment has been favorable to monarchy; but wherever any single city, or district, or cluster of villages, whether in the plains of Lombardy, or in the mountains of Switzerland, has acquired independence,—wherever any small fraction has severed itself from the aggregate,—the opposite sentiment has been found, and the natural tendency has been towards some modification of republican government;[10] out of which, indeed, as in Greece, a despot has often been engendered, but always through some unnatural mixture of force and fraud. The feudal system, evolved out of the disordered state of Europe between the eleventh and thirteenth centuries, always presumed a permanent suzerain, vested with large rights of a mixed personal and proprietary character over his[p. 10] vassals, though subject, also, to certain obligations towards them the immediate vassals of the king had subordinate vassals of their own, to whom they stood in the same relation: and in this hierarchy[11] of power, property, and territory blended together, the rights of the chief, whether king, duke, or baron, were always conceived as constituting a status apart, and neither conferred originally by the grant, nor revocable at the pleasure, of those over whom they were exercised. This view of the essential nature of political authority was a point in which the three great elements of modern European society,—the Teutonic, the Roman, and the Christian,—all concurred, though each in a different way and with different modifications; and the result was, a variety of attempts on the part of subjects to compromise with their chief, without any idea of substituting a delegated executive in his place. On particular points of these feudal monarchies there grew up, gradually, towns with a concentrated population, among whom was seen the remarkable combination of a republican feeling, demanding collective and responsible management in their own local affairs, with a necessity of union and subordination towards the great monarchical whole; and hence again arose a new force tending both to maintain the form, and to predetermine the march, of kingly government.[12] And it has been found in[p. 11] practice possible to attain this latter object,—to combine regal government with fixity of administration, equal law impartially executed, security to person and property, and freedom of discussion under representative forms,—in a degree which the wisest ancient Greek would have deemed hopeless.[13] Such an improvement in the practical working of this species of government, speaking always comparatively with the kings of ancient times in Syria, Egypt, Judæa, the Grecian cities, and Rome,—coupled with the increased force of all established routine, and the greater durability of all institutions and creeds which have once obtained footing throughout any wide extent of territory and people, has caused the monarchical sentiment to remain predominant in the European mind, though not without vigorous occasional dissent, throughout the increased knowledge and the enlarged political experience of the last two centuries.

It is important to show that the monarchical institutions and monarchical tendencies prevalent throughout mediæval and modern Europe have been both generated and perpetuated by causes peculiar to those societies, whilst in Hellenic societies such causes had no place,—in order that we may approach Hellenic phenomena in the proper spirit, and with an impartial estimate of the feeling universal among Greeks towards the idea of a king. The primitive sentiment entertained towards the heroic king died[p. 12] out, passing first into indifference, next,—after experience of the despots,—into determined antipathy.

To an historian like Mr. Mitford, full of English ideas respecting government, this anti-monarchical feeling appears of the nature of insanity, and the Grecian communities like madmen without a keeper: while the greatest of all benefactors is the hereditary king, who conquers them from without,—the second-best is the home-despot, who seizes the acropolis and puts his fellow-citizens under coercion. There cannot be a more certain way of misinterpreting and distorting Grecian phenomena than to read them in this spirit, which reverses the maxims both of prudence and morality current in the ancient world. The hatred of kings as it stood among the Greeks, whatever may be thought about a similar feeling now, was a prëeminent virtue, flowing directly from the noblest and wisest part of their nature: it was a consequence of their deep conviction of the necessity of universal legal restraint—it was a direct expression of that regulated sociality which required the control of individual passion from every one without exception, and most of all from him to whom power was confided. The conception which the Greeks formed of an unresponsible One, or of a king who could do no wrong, may be expressed in the pregnant words of Herodotus:[14] “He subverts the customs of the country: he violates women: he puts men to death without trial.” No other conception of the probable tendencies of kingship was justified either by a general knowledge of human nature, or by political experience as it stood from Solon downward: no other feeling than abhorrence could be entertained for the character so conceived: no other than a man of unprincipled ambition would ever seek to invest himself with it.

Our larger political experience has taught us to modify this opinion by showing that, under the conditions of monarchy in the best governments of modern Europe, the enormities described by Herodotus do not take place,—and that it is possible, by means of representative constitutions acting under a certain force of manners, customs, and historical recollection, to obviate many of[p. 13] the mischiefs likely to flow from proclaiming the duty of peremptory obedience to an hereditary and unresponsible king, who cannot be changed without extra-constitutional force. But such larger observation was not open to Aristotle, the wisest as well as the most cautious of ancient theorists; nor if it had been open, could he have applied with assurance its lessons to the governments of the single cities of Greece. The theory of a constitutional king, especially as it exists in England, would have appeared to him impracticable: to establish a king who will reign without governing,—in whose name all government is carried on, yet whose personal will is in practice of little or no effect,—exempt from all responsibility, without making use of the exemption,—receiving from every one unmeasured demonstrations of homage, which are never translated into act except within the bounds of a known law,—surrounded with all the paraphernalia of power, yet acting as a passive instrument in the hands of ministers marked out for his choice by indications which he is not at liberty to resist. This remarkable combination of the fiction of superhuman grandeur and license with the reality of an invisible strait-waistcoat, is what an Englishman has in his mind when he speaks of a constitutional king: the events of our history have brought it to pass in England, amidst an aristocracy the most powerful that the world has yet seen,—but we have still to learn whether it can be made to exist elsewhere, or whether the occurrence of a single king, at once able, aggressive, and resolute, may not suffice to break it up. To Aristotle, certainly, it could not have appeared otherwise than unintelligible and impracticable: not likely even in a single case,—but altogether inconceivable as a permanent system and with all the diversities of temper inherent in the successive members of an hereditary dynasty. When the Greeks thought of a man exempt from legal responsibility, they conceived him as really and truly such, in deed as well as in name, with a defenceless community exposed to his oppressions;[15] and their fear and hatred of him was measured by[p. 14] their reverence for a government of equal law and free speech, with the ascendency of which their whole hopes of security were associated,—in the democracy of Athens more perhaps than in any other portion of Greece. And this feeling, as it was one of the best in the Greek mind, so it was also one of the most widely spread,—a point of unanimity highly valuable amidst so many points of dissension. We cannot construe or criticize it by reference to the feelings of modern Europe, still less to the very peculiar feelings of England, respecting kingship: and it is the application, sometimes explicit and sometimes tacit, of this unsuitable standard, which renders Mr. Mitford’s appreciation of Greek politics so often incorrect and unfair.

When we try to explain the course of Grecian affairs, not from the circumstances of other societies, but from those of the Greeks themselves, we shall see good reason for the discontinuance as well as for the dislike of kingship. Had the Greek mind been as stationary and unimproving as that of the Orientals, the discontent with individual kings might have led to no other change than the deposition of a bad king in favor of one who promised to be better, without ever extending the views of the people to any higher conception than that of a personal government. But the Greek mind was of a progressive character, capable of conceiving and gradually of realizing amended social combinations. Moreover, it is in the nature of things that any government,—regal, oligarchical, or democratical,—which comprises only a single city, is far less stable than if it embraced a wider surface and a larger population: and when that semi-religious and mechanical submission, which made up for the personal deficiencies of the heroic king, became too feeble to serve as a working[p. 15] principle, the petty prince was in too close contact with his people, and too humbly furnished out in every way, to get up a prestige or delusion of any other kind: he had no means of overawing their imaginations by that combination of pomp, seclusion, and mystery, which Herodotus and Xenophon so well appreciate among the artifices of kingcraft.[16] As there was no new feeling upon which a perpetual chief could rest his power, so there was nothing in the circumstances of the community which rendered the maintenance of such a dignity necessary for visible and effective union:[17] in a single city, and a small circumjacent community, collective deliberation and general rules, with temporary and responsible magistrates, were practicable without difficulty.

To maintain an unresponsible king, and then to contrive accompaniments which shall extract from him the benefits of responsible government, is in reality a highly complicated system, though, as has been remarked, we have become familiar with it in modern Europe: the more simple and obvious change is, to substitute one or more temporary and responsible magistrates in place of the king himself. Such was the course which affairs took in Greece. The inferior chiefs, who had originally served as council to the king, found it possible to supersede him, and to alternate the functions of administration among themselves; retaining probably the occasional convocation of the general assembly, as it had existed before, and with as little practical efficacy. Such was in substance the character of that mutation which occurred generally throughout the Grecian states, with the exception of Sparta: kingship was abolished, and an oligarchy took its place,—a council deliberating collectively, deciding general matters by the majority of voices, and selecting some individuals of their own body as temporary and accountable adminis[p. 16]trators. It was always an oligarchy which arose on the defeasance of the heroic kingdom: the age of democratical movement was yet far distant, and the condition of the people—the general body of freemen—was not immediately altered, either for better or worse, by the revolution; the small number of privileged persons, among whom the kingly attributes were distributed and put in rotation, being those nearest in rank to the king himself, perhaps members of the same large gens with him, and pretending to a common divine or heroic descent. As far as we can make out, this change seems to have taken place in the natural course of events and without violence. Sometimes the kingly lineage died out and was not replaced; sometimes, on the death of a king, his son and successor was acknowledged[18] only as archon, or perhaps set aside altogether to make room for a prytanis, or president, out of the men of rank around.

At Athens, we are told that Kodrus was the last king, and that his descendants were recognized only as archons for life; after some years, the archons for life were replaced by archons for ten years, taken from the body of Eupatridæ, or nobles; subsequently, the duration of the archonship was farther shortened to one year. At Corinth, the ancient kings are said to have passed in like manner into the oligarchy of the Bacchiadæ, out of whom an annual prytanis was chosen. We are only able to make out the general fact of such a change, without knowing how it was brought about,—our first historical acquaintance with the Grecian cities beginning with these oligarchies.

[p. 17]Such oligarchical governments, varying in their details but analogous in general features, were common throughout the cities of Greece proper as well as of the colonies, throughout the seventh century B. C. Though they had little immediate tendency to benefit the mass of the freemen, yet when we compare them with the antecedent heroic government, they indicate an important advance,—the first adoption of a deliberate and preconceived system in the management of public affairs.[19] They exhibit the first evidences of new and important political ideas in the Greek mind,—the separation of legislative and executive powers; the former vested in a collective body, not merely deliberating but also finally deciding,—while the latter is confided to temporary individual magistrates, responsible to that body at the end of their period of office. We are first introduced to a community of citizens, according to the definition of Aristotle,—men qualified, and thinking themselves qualified, to take turns in command and obedience: the collective sovereign, called The City, is thus constituted. It is true that this first community of citizens comprised only a small proportion of the men personally free, but the ideas upon which it was founded began gradually to dawn upon the minds of all. Political power had lost its heaven-appointed character, and had become an attribute legally communicable as well as determined to certain definite ends; and the ground was thus laid for those thousand questions which agitated so many of the Grecian cities during the ensuing three centuries, partly respecting its apportionment, partly respecting its employment,—questions sometimes raised among the members of the privileged oligarchy itself, sometimes between that order as a whole and the non-privileged Many. The seeds of those popular movements, which called forth so much profound emotion, so much bitter antipathy, so much energy and talent, throughout the Grecian world, with different modifications in each particular city, may thus be traced[p. 18] back to that early revolution which erected the primitive oligarchy upon the ruins of the heroic kingdom.

How these first oligarchies were administered we have no direct information; but the narrow and anti-popular interests naturally belonging to a privileged few, together with the general violence of private manners and passions, leave us no ground for presuming favorably respecting either their prudence or their good feeling; and the facts which we learn respecting the condition of Attica prior to the Solonian legislation (to be recounted in the next chapter) raise inferences all of an unfavorable character.

The first shock which they received, and by which so many of them were subverted, arose from the usurpers called Despots, who employed the prevalent discontents both as pretexts and as aids for their own personal ambition, while their very frequent success seems to imply that such discontents were wide-spread as well as serious. These despots arose out of the bosom of the oligarchies, but not all in the same manner.[20] Sometimes the executive magistrate, upon whom the oligarchy themselves had devolved important administrative powers for a certain temporary period, became unfaithful to his choosers, and acquired sufficient ascendency to retain his dignity permanently in spite of them,—perhaps even to transmit it to his son. In other places, and seemingly more often, there arose that noted character called the Demagogue, of whom historians both ancient and modern commonly draw so repulsive a picture:[21] a man of energy and ambition, sometimes even a member of the oligarchy itself, who stood forward as champion of the grievances and sufferings of the non-privileged Many, acquired their favor, and employed their[p. 19] strength so effectively as to put down the oligarchy by force, and constitute himself despot. A third form of despot, some presumptuous wealthy man, like Kylôn at Athens, without even the pretence of popularity, was occasionally emboldened by the success of similar adventures in other places to hire a troop of retainers and seize the acropolis; and there were examples, though rare, of a fourth variety,—the lineal descendant of the ancient kings,—who, instead of suffering himself to be restricted or placed under control by the oligarchy, found means to subjugate them, and to extort by force an ascendency as great as that which his forefathers had enjoyed by consent. To these must be added, in several Grecian states, the Æsymnête, or Dictator, a citizen formally invested with supreme and unresponsible power, placed in command of the military force, and armed with a standing body-guard, but only for a time named, and in order to deal with some urgent peril or ruinous internal dissension.[22] The person thus exalted, always enjoying a large measure of confidence, and generally a man of ability, was sometimes so successful, or made himself so essential to the community, that the term of his office was prolonged, and he became practically despot for life; or, even if the community were not disposed to concede to him this permanent ascendency, he was often strong enough to keep it against their will.

Such were the different modes in which the numerous Greek despots of the seventh and sixth centuries B. C. acquired their power. Though we know thus much in general terms from the brief statements of Aristotle, yet, unhappily, we have no contemporary picture of any one of these communities, so as to give us the means of appreciating the change in detail. Of those persons who, possessing inherited kingly dignity, stretched their paternal power so far as to become despots, Aristotle gives us Pheidôn of Argos as an example, whose reign has been already narrated in the preceding volume: of those who made themselves[p. 20] despots by means of official power previously held under an oligarchy, he names Phalaris, at Agrigentum, and the despots at Miletus and other cities of the Ionic Greeks: of those who raised themselves by becoming demagogues, he specifies Panætius in the Sicilian town of Leontini, Kypselus at Corinth, and Peisistratus at Athens;[23] of Æsymnêtes, or chosen despots, Pittakus of Mitylênê is the prominent instance. The military and aggressive demagogue, subverting an oligarchy which had degraded and ill-used him, governing as a cruel despot for several years, and at last dethroned and slain, is farther depicted by Dionysius of Halikarnassus, in the history of Aristodêmus of the Italian Cumæ.[24]

From the general statement of Thucydides as well as of Aristotle, we learn that the seventh and sixth centuries B. C. were centuries of progress for the Greek cities generally, in wealth, in power, and in population; and the numerous colonies founded during this period, of which I shall speak in a future chapter, will furnish farther illustration of such progressive tendencies. Now the changes just mentioned in the Grecian governments, imperfectly as we know them, are on the whole decided evidences of advancing citizenship. For the heroic government, with which Grecian communities begin, is the rudest and most infantine of all governments; destitute even of the pretence of system or security, incapable of being in any way foreknown, and depending only upon the accidental variations in the character of the reigning individual, who, in most cases, far from serving as a protection to the poor against the rich and great, was likely to indulge his passions in the same unrestrained way as the latter, and with still greater impunity.

The despots, who in so many towns succeeded and supplanted this oligarchical government, though they governed on principles usually narrow and selfish, and often oppressively cruel, “taking no thought—to use the emphatic words of Thucydides—except for their own body and their own family,”—yet since they were[p. 21] not strong enough to crush the Greek mind, imprinted upon it a painful but improving political lesson, and contributed much to enlarge the range of experience as well as to determine the subsequent cast of feeling.[25] They partly broke down the wall of distinction between the people—properly so called, the general mass of freemen—and the oligarchy; indeed, the demagogue-despots are interesting, as the first evidence of the growing importance of the people in political affairs. The demagogue stood forward as representing the feelings and interests of the people against the governing few, probably availing himself of some special cases of ill-usage, and taking pains to be conciliatory and generous in his own personal behavior; and when the people, by their armed aid, had enabled him to overthrow the existing rulers, they had thus the satisfaction of seeing their own chief in possession of the supreme power, but they acquired no political rights and no increased securities for themselves. What measure of positive advantage they may have reaped, beyond that of seeing their previous oppressors humiliated, we know too little to determine;[26] but even the worst of despots was more formidable to the rich than to the poor, and the latter may perhaps have gained by the change, in comparative importance, notwithstanding their share in the rigors and exactions of a government which had no other permanent foundation than naked fear.

A remark made by Aristotle deserves especial notice here, as illustrating the political advance and education of the Grecian communities. He draws a marked distinction between the early demagogue of the seventh and sixth centuries, and the later demagogue, such as he himself and the generations immediately preceding had witnessed: the former was a military chief, daring and full of resource, who took arms at the head of a body of pop[p. 22]ular insurgents, put down the government by force, and made himself the master both of those whom he deposed and of those by whose aid he deposed them; while the latter was a speaker, possessed of all the talents necessary for moving an audience, but neither inclined to, nor qualified for, armed attack,—accomplishing all his purposes by pacific and constitutional methods. This valuable change,—substituting discussion and the vote of an assembly in place of an appeal to arms, and procuring for the pronounced decision of the assembly such an influence over men’s minds as to render it final and respected even by dissentients,—arose from the continued practical working of democratical institutions. I shall have occasion, at a later period of this history, to estimate the value of that unmeasured obloquy which has been heaped on the Athenian demagogues of the Peloponnesian war,—Kleôn and Hyperbolus; but, assuming the whole to be well-founded, it will not be the less true that these men were a material improvement on the earlier demagogues, such as Kypselus and Peisistratus, who employed the armed agency of the people for the purpose of subverting the established government and acquiring despotic authority for themselves. The demagogue was essentially a leader of opposition, who gained his influence by denouncing the men in real ascendency, and in actual executive functions. Now, under the early oligarchies, his opposition could be shown only by armed insurrection, and it conducted him either to personal sovereignty or to destruction; but the growth of democratical institutions insured both to him and to his political opponents full liberty of speech, and a paramount assembly to determine between them; whilst it both limited the range of his ambition, and set aside the appeal to armed force. The railing demagogue of Athens, at the time of the Peloponnesian war (even if we accept literally the representations of his worst enemies), was thus a far less mischievous and dangerous person than the fighting demagogue of the earlier centuries; and the “growth of habits of public speaking,”[27] to use Aristotle’s expression, was[p. 23] the cause of the difference: the opposition of the tongue was a beneficial substitute for the opposition of the sword.

The rise of these despots on the ruins of the previous oligarchies was, in appearance, a return to the principles of the heroic age,—the restoration of a government of personal will in place of that systematic arrangement known as the City. But the Greek mind had so far outgrown those early principles, that no new government founded thereupon could meet with willing acquiescence, except under some temporary excitement. At first, doubtless, the popularity of the usurper,—combined with the fervor of his partizans and the expulsion or intimidation of opponents, and farther enhanced by the punishment of rich oppressors,—was sufficient to procure for him obedience; and prudence on his part might prolong this undisputed rule for a considerable period, perhaps even throughout his whole life. But Aristotle intimates that these governments, even when they began well, had a constant tendency to become worse and worse: discontent manifested itself, and was aggravated rather than repressed by the violence employed against it, until at length the despot became a prey to mistrustful and malevolent anxiety, losing any measure of equity or benevolent sympathy which might once have animated him. If he was fortunate enough to bequeathe his authority to his son, the latter, educated in a corrupt atmosphere and surrounded by parasites, contracted dispositions yet more noxious and unsocial: his youthful appetites were more ungovernable, while he was deficient in the prudence and vigor which had been indispensable to the self-accomplished rise of his father.[28] For such a position, mercenary guards and a fortified acropolis were the only stay,—guards fed at the expense of the citizens, and thus requiring constant exactions on behalf of that which was nothing better than a hostile garrison. It was essential to the security of the despot that he should keep down the spirit[p. 24] of the free people whom he governed; that he should isolate them from each other, and prevent those meetings and mutual communications which Grecian cities habitually presented in the school, the leschê, or the palæstra; that he should strike off the overtopping ears of corn in the field (to use the Greek locution) or crush the exalted and enterprising minds.[29] Nay, he had even to a certain extent an interest in degrading and impoverishing them, or at least in debarring them from the acquisition either of wealth or leisure: and the extensive constructions undertaken by Polykratês at Samos, as well as the rich donations of Periander to the temple at Olympia, are considered by Aristotle to have been extorted by these despots with the express view of engrossing the time and exhausting the means of their subjects.

It is not to be imagined that all were alike cruel or unprincipled; but the perpetual supremacy of one man and one family had become so offensive to the jealousy of those who felt themselves to be his equals, and to the general feeling of the people, that repression and severity were inevitable, whether originally intended or not. And even if an usurper, having once entered upon this career of violence, grew sick and averse to its continuance, abdication only left him in imminent peril, exposed to the[p. 25] vengeance[30] of those whom he had injured,—unless, indeed, he could clothe himself with the mantle of religion, and stipulate with the people to become priest of some temple and deity; in which case his new function protected him, just as the tonsure and the monastery sheltered a dethroned prince in the Middle Ages.[31] Several of the despots were patrons of music and poetry, and courted the good-will of contemporary intellectual men by invitation as well as by reward; and there were some cases, such as that of Peisistratus and his sons at Athens, in which an attempt was made (analogous to that of Augustus at Rome) to reconcile the reality of personal omnipotence with a certain respect for preëxisting forms.[32] In such instances the administration, though[p. 26] not unstained by guilt, never otherwise than unpopular, and carried on by means of foreign mercenaries, was doubtless practically milder. But cases of this character were rare, and the maxims usual with Grecian despots were personified in Periander, the Kypselid of Corinth,—a harsh and brutal person, but not destitute either of vigor or intelligence.

The position of a Grecian despot, as depicted by Plato, by Xenophon and by Aristotle,[33] and farther sustained by the indications in Herodotus, Thucydides, and Isokrates, though always coveted by ambitious men, reveals clearly enough “those wounds[p. 27] and lacerations of mind,” whereby the internal Erinnys avenged the community upon the usurper who trampled them down. Far from considering success in usurpation as a justification of the attempt (according to the theories now prevalent respecting Cromwell and Bonaparte, who are often blamed because they kept out a legitimate king, but never because they seized an unauthorized power over the people), these philosophers regard the despot as among the greatest of criminals: the man who assassinated him was an object of public honor and reward, and a virtuous Greek would seldom have scrupled to carry his sword concealed in myrtle branches, like Harmodius and Aristogeiton, for the execution of the deed.[34] A station which overtopped the restraints and obligations involved in citizenship, was understood at the same time to forfeit all title to the common sympathy and protection,[35] so that it was unsafe for the despot to visit in person those great Pan-Hellenic games in which his own chariot might perhaps have gained the prize, and in which the theors, or sacred envoys, whom he sent as representatives of his Hellenic city, appeared with ostentatious pomp. A government carried on under these unpropitious circumstances could never[p. 28] be otherwise than short-lived. Though the individual daring enough to seize it, often found means to preserve it for the term of his own life, yet the sight of a despot living to old age was rare, and the transmission of his power to his son still more so.[36]

Amidst the numerous points of contention in Grecian political morality, this rooted antipathy to a permanent hereditary ruler stood apart as a sentiment almost unanimous, in which the thirst for preëminence felt by the wealthy few, and the love of equal freedom in the bosoms of the many, alike concurred. It first began among the oligarchies of the seventh and sixth centuries B. C., a complete reversal of that pronounced monarchical sentiment which we now read in the Iliad; and it was transmitted by them to the democracies, which did not arise until a later period. The conflict between oligarchy and despotism preceded that between oligarchy and democracy, the Lacedæmonians standing forward actively on both occasions to uphold the oligarchical principle: a mingled sentiment of fear and repugnance led them to put down despotism in several cities of Greece during the sixth century B. C., just as, during their contest with Athens in[p. 29] the following century, they assisted the oligarchical party, where-ever they could, to overthrow democracy. And it was thus that the demagogue-despot of these earlier times, bringing out the name of the people as a pretext, and the arms of the people as a means of accomplishment, for his own ambitious designs, served as a preface to the reality of democracy, which manifested itself at Athens a short time before the Persian war, as a development of the seed planted by Solon.

As far as our imperfect information enables us to trace, the early oligarchies of the Grecian states, against which the first usurping despots contended, contained in themselves far more repulsive elements of inequality, and more mischievous barriers between the component parts of the population, than the oligarchies of later days. What was true of Hellas as an aggregate, was true, though in a less degree, of each separate community which went to compose that aggregate: each included a variety of clans, orders, religious brotherhoods, and local or professional sections, which were very imperfectly cemented together: and the oligarchy was not, like the government so denominated in subsequent times, the government of a rich few over the less rich and the poor, but that of a peculiar order, sometimes a patrician order, over all the remaining society. In such a case, the subject Many might number opulent and substantial proprietors as well as the governing Few; but these subject Many would themselves be broken into different heterogeneous fractions, not heartily sympathizing with each other, perhaps not intermarrying together, nor partaking of the same religious rites. The country-population, or villagers, who tilled the land, seem in these early times to have been held to a painful dependence on the proprietors who lived in the fortified town, and to have been distinguished by a dress and habits of their own, which often drew upon them an unfriendly nickname. These town proprietors seem to have often composed the governing class in early Grecian states, while their subjects consisted,—1. Of the dependent cultivators living in the district around, by whom their lands were tilled. 2. Of a certain number of small self-working proprietors (αὐτουργοὶ), whose possessions were too scanty to maintain more than themselves by the labor of their own hands on their own plot of ground—residing either in the country or the town, as the case[p. 30] might be. 3. Of those who lived in the town, having no land but exercising handicraft, arts, or commerce.

The governing proprietors went by the name of the Gamori, or Geomori, according as the Doric or Ionic dialect might be used in describing them, since they were found in states belonging to one race as well as to the other. They appear to have constituted a close order, transmitting their privileges to their children, but admitting no new members to a participation,—for the principle called by Greek thinkers a timocracy, the appointment of political rights and privileges according to comparative property, appears to have been little, if at all, applied in the earlier times, and we know no example of it earlier than Solon. So that, by the natural multiplication of families and mutation of property, there would come to be many individual gamori possessing no land at all, and perhaps worse off than those small freeholders who did not belong to the order; while some of these latter freeholders, and some of the artisans and traders in the towns, might at the same time be rising in wealth and importance. Under a political classification such as this, of which the repulsive inequality was aggravated by a rude state of manners, and which had no flexibility to meet the changes in relative position amongst individual inhabitants, discontent and outbreaks were unavoidable, and the earliest despot, usually a wealthy man of the disfranchised class, became champion and leader of the malcontents.[37] However oppressive his rule might be, at least it was an oppression which bore with indiscriminate severity upon all the fractions of the population; and when the hour of reaction against him or against his successor arrived, so that the common enemy was expelled by the united efforts of all, it was hardly possible to revive the preëxisting system of exclusion and inequality without some considerable abatements.

As a general rule, every Greek city-community included in its population, independent of bought slaves, the three elements above noticed,—considerable land proprietors with rustic dependents, small self-working proprietors, and town-artisans,—the three elements being found everywhere in different proportions. But the progress of events in Greece, from the seventh century[p. 31] B. C. downwards, tended continually to elevate the comparative importance of the two latter, while in those early days the ascendency of the former was at its maximum, and altered only to decline. The military force of most of the cities was at first in the hands of the great proprietors, and formed by them; it consisted of cavalry, themselves and their retainers, with horses fed upon their lands. Such was the primitive oligarchical militia, as it was constituted in the seventh and sixth centuries B. C.,[38] at Chalkis and Eretria in Eubœa, as well as at Kolophôn and other cities in Ionia, and as it continued in Thessaly down to the fourth century B. C.; but the gradual rise of the small proprietors and town-artisans was marked by the substitution of heavy-armed infantry in place of cavalry; and a farther change not less important took place when the resistance to Persia led to the great multiplication of Grecian ships of war, manned by a host of seamen who dwelt congregated in the maritime towns. All the changes which we are able to trace in the Grecian communities tended to break up the close and exclusive oligarchies with which our first historical knowledge commences, and to conduct them either to oligarchies rather more open, embracing all men of a certain amount of property, or else to democracies. But the transition in both cases was usually attained through the interlude of the despot.

In enumerating the distinct and unharmonious elements of which the population of these early Grecian communities was made up, we must not forget one farther element which was to be found in the Dorian states generally,—men of Dorian, as contrasted with men of non-Dorian race. The Dorians were in all cases emigrants and conquerors, establishing themselves along with and at the expense of the prior inhabitants. Upon what terms the cohabitation was established, and in what proportions invaders and invaded came together, we are without information; and important as this circumstance is in the history of these Dorian communities, we know it only as a general fact, and are unable to follow its results in detail. But we see enough to satisfy ourselves that in those revolutions which overthrew the[p. 32] oligarchies both at Corinth and Sikyon,—perhaps also at Megara,—the Dorian and non-Dorian elements of the community came into conflict more or less direct.

The despots of Sikyon are the earliest of whom we have any distinct mention: their dynasty lasted one hundred years, a longer period than any other Grecian despots known to Aristotle; they are said,[39] moreover, to have governed with mildness and with much practical respect to the preëxisting laws. Orthagoras,[40] the beginner of the dynasty, raised himself to the position of despot about 676 B. C., subverting the preëxisting Dorian oligarchy; but the cause and circumstances of this revolution are not preserved. He is said to have been originally a cook. In his line of successors we find mention of Andreas, Myrôn, Aristônymus, and Kleisthenês; but we know nothing of any of them until the last, except that Myrôn gained a chariot victory at Olympia in the 33d Olympiad (648 B. C.), and built, at the same holy place, a thesaurus containing two ornamented alcoves of copper for the reception of commemorative offerings from himself and his family.[41] Respecting Kleisthenês (whose[p. 33] age must be placed between 600-560 B. C., but can hardly be determined accurately,) some facts are reported to us highly curious, but of a nature not altogether easy to follow or verify.

We learn from the narrative of Herodotus that the tribe to which Kleisthenês[42] himself (and of course his progenitors Orthagoras and the other Orthagoridæ also) belonged, was distinct from the three Dorian tribes, who have been already named in my previous chapter respecting the Lykurgean constitution at Sparta,—the Hylleis, Pamphyli, and Dymanes. We also learn that these tribes were common to the Sikyonians and the Argeians; and Kleisthenês, being in a state of bitter hostility with Argos, tried in several ways to abolish the points of community between the two. Sikyôn, originally Dorized by settlers from Argos, was included in the “lot of Temenus,” or among the towns of the Argeian confederacy: the coherence of this confederacy had become weaker and weaker, partly without doubt through the influence of the predecessors of Kleisthenês; but the Argeians may perhaps have tried to revive it, thus placing themselves in a state of war with the latter, and inducing him to disconnect, palpably and violently, Sikyôn from Argos. There were two anchors by which the connection held,—first, legendary and religious sympathy; next, the civil rites and denominations current among the Sikyonian Dorians: both of them were torn up by Kleisthenês. He changed the names both of the three Dorian tribes, and of that non-Dorian tribe to which he himself belonged: the last he called by the complimentary title of archelai (commanders of the people); the first three he styled by the insulting names of hyatæ, oneatæ, and chœreatæ, from the three Greek words signifying a boar, an ass, and a little pig. The extreme bitterness of this insult can only be appreciated when we fancy to ourselves the reverence with which the tribes[p. 34] in a Grecian city regarded the hero from whom their name was borrowed. That these new denominations, given by Kleisthenês, involved an intentional degradation of the Dorian tribes as well as an assumption of superiority for his own, is affirmed by Herodotus, and seems well-deserving of credit.

But the violence of which Kleisthenês was capable in his anti-Argeian antipathy, is manifested still more plainly in his proceedings with respect to the hero Adrastus and to the legendary sentiment of the people. Something has already been said, in my former volume,[43] about this remarkable incident, which must, however, be here again briefly noticed. The hero Adrastus, whose chapel Herodotus himself saw in the Sikyonian agora, was common both to Argos and to Sikyôn, and was the object of special reverence at both: he figures in the legend as king of Argos, and as the grandson and heir of Polybus, king of Sikyôn. He was the unhappy leader of the two sieges of Thebes, so famous in the ancient epic,—and the Sikyonians listened with delight both to the exploits of the Argeians against Thebes, as celebrated in the recitations of the epical rhapsodes, and to the mournful tale of Adrastus and his family misfortunes, as sung in the tragic chorus. Kleisthenês not only forbade the rhapsodes to come to Sikyôn, but farther resolved to expel Adrastus himself from the country,—such is the literal Greek expression,[44] the hero himself being believed to be actually present and domiciled among the people. He first applied to the Delphian oracle for permission to carry this banishment into direct effect, but the Pythian priestess returned an answer of indignant refusal,—“Adrastus is king of the Sikyonians, but thou art a ruffian.” Thus baffled, he put in practice a stratagem calculated to induce Adrastus to depart of his own accord.[45] He sent to Thebes to beg that he might be allowed to introduce into Sikyôn the hero Melanippus, and the permission was granted. Now Melanippus was celebrated in the legend as the puissant champion of Thebes against Adrastus and the Argeian besiegers, and as having slain[p. 35] both Mêkisteus the brother, and Tydeus the son-in-law, of Adrastus; and he was therefore preëminently odious to the latter. Kleisthenês brought this anti-national hero into Sikyôn, assigning to him consecrated ground in the prytaneium, or government-house, and even in that part which was most strongly fortified[46] (for it seems that Adrastus was conceived as likely to assail and do battle with the intruder);—moreover, he took away both the tragic choruses and the sacrifice from Adrastus, assigning the former to the god Dionysus, and the latter to Melanippus.

The religious manifestations of Sikyôn being thus transferred from Adrastus to his mortal foe, and from the cause of the Argeians in the siege of Thebes to that of the Thebans, Adrastus was presumed to have voluntarily retired from the place, and the purpose which Kleisthenês contemplated, of breaking the community of feeling between Sikyôn and Argos, was in part accomplished.

A ruler who could do such violence to the religious and legendary sentiment of his community may well be supposed capable of inflicting that deliberate insult upon the Dorian tribes which is implied in their new appellations. As we are uninformed, however, of the state of things which preceded, we know not how far it might have been a retaliation for previous insult in the opposite direction. It is plain that the Dorians of Sikyôn maintained themselves and their ancient tribes quite apart from the remaining community, though what the other constituent portions of the population were, or in what relation they stood to these Dorians, we are not enabled to make out. We hear, indeed, of a dependent rural population in the territory of Sikyôn, as well as in that of Argos and Epidaurus, analogous to the Helots in Laconia. In Sikyôn, this class was termed the Korynêphori (club men), or the Katônakophori, from the thick woollen mantle which they wore, with a sheepskin sewn on to the skirt: in Argos, they were called Gymnêsii, from their not possessing the military panoply or the use of regular arms: in Epidaurus, Konipodes, or the dusty-footed.[47] We may conclude that a similar class existed in Cor[p. 36]inth, in Megara, and in each of the Dorian towns of the Argolic Aktê. But besides the Dorian tribes and these rustics, there must probably have existed non-Dorian proprietors and town residents, and upon them we may suppose that the power of the Orthagoridæ and of Kleisthenês was founded, perhaps more friendly and indulgent to the rustic serfs than that of the Dorians had been previously. The moderation, which Aristotle ascribes to the Orthagoridæ generally, is belied by the proceedings of Kleisthenês: but we may probably believe that his predecessors, content with maintaining the real predominance of the non-Dorian over the Dorian population, meddled very little with the separate position and civil habits of the latter,—while Kleisthenês, provoked or alarmed by some attempt on their part to strengthen alliance with the Argeians, resorted both to repressive measures and to that offensive nomenclature which has been above cited. The preservation of the power of Kleisthenês was due to his military energy (according to Aristotle) even more than to his moderation and popular conduct; it was aided, probably, by his magnificent displays at the public games, for he was victor in the chariot-race at the Pythian games 582 B. C., as well as at the Olympic games besides. Moreover, he was in fact the last of the race, nor did he transmit his power to any successor.[48]

The reigns of the early Orthagoridæ, then, may be considered as marking a predominance, newly acquired but quietly exercised, of the non-Dorians over the Dorians in Sikyôn: the reign of Kleisthenês, as displaying a strong explosion of antipathy from the former towards the latter; and though this antipathy, and the application of those opprobrious tribe-names in which it was conveyed, stand ascribed to Kleisthenês personally, we may see that the non-Dorians in Sikyôn shared it generally, because these same tribe-names continued to be applied not only during the reign of that despot, but also for sixty years longer, after his death. Of course, it is needless to remark that such denomina[p. 37]tions could never have been acknowledged or employed among the Dorians themselves. After the lapse of sixty years from the death of Kleisthenês, the Sikyonians came to an amicable adjustment of the feud, and placed the tribe-names on a footing satisfactory to all parties; the old Dorian denominations (Hylleis, Pamphyli, and Dymanes) were reëstablished, and the name of the fourth tribe, or non-Dorians, was changed from Archelai to Ægialeis,—Ægialeus son of Adrastus being constituted their eponymus.[49] This choice of the son of Adrastus for an eponymus, seems to show that the worship of Adrastus himself was then revived in Sikyôn, since it existed in the time of Herodotus.

Of the war which Kleisthenês helped to conduct against Kirrha, for the protection of the Delphian temple, I shall speak in another place. His death and the cessation of his dynasty seem to have occurred about 650 B. C., as far as the chronology can be made out.[50] That he was put down by the Spartans, as K. F.[p. 38] Hermann, O. Müller, and Dr. Thirlwall suppose,[51] can be hardly admitted consistently with the narrative of Herodotus, who mentions the continuance of the insulting names imposed by him upon the Dorian tribes for many years after his death. Now, had the Spartans forcibly interfered for the suppression of his dynasty, we may reasonably presume that, even if they did not restore the decided preponderance of the Dorians in Sikyôn, they would at least have rescued the Dorian tribes from this obvious ignominy. But it seems doubtful whether Kleisthenês had any son: and the extraordinary importance attached to the marriage of his daughter, Agaristê, whom he bestowed upon the Athenian Megaklês of the great family of Alkmæônidæ, seems rather to evince that she was an heiress,—not to his power, but to his wealth. There can be no doubt as to the fact of that marriage, from which was born the Athenian leader Kleisthenês, afterwards the author of the great democratical revolution at Athens after the expulsion of the Peisistratidæ; but the lively and amusing details with which Herodotus has surrounded it, bear much more the stamp of romance than of reality. Dressed up, apparently, by some ingenious Athenian, as a compliment to the Alkmæonid lineage of his city, which comprised both Kleisthenês and Periklês, the narrative commemorates a marriage-rivalry between that lineage and another noble Athenian house, and at the same[p. 39] time gives a mythical explanation of a phrase seemingly proverbial at Athens—“Hippokleides don’t care.[52]

Plutarch numbers Æschinês of Sikyôn[53] among the despots put down by Sparta: at what period this took place, or how it is to be connected with the history of Kleisthenês as given in Herodotus, we are unable to say.

Contemporaneous with the Orthagoridæ at Sikyôn,—but beginning a little later and closing somewhat earlier,—we find the despots Kypselus and Periander at Corinth. The former appears as the subverter of the oligarchy called the Bacchiadæ. Of the manner in which he accomplished his object we find no information: and this historical blank is inadequately filled up by[p. 40] various religious prognostics and oracles, foreshadowing the rise, the harsh rule, and the dethronement, after two generations, of these powerful despots.

According to an idea deeply seated in the Greek mind, the destruction of a great prince or of a great power is usually signified to him by the gods beforehand, though either through hardness of heart or inadvertence, no heed is taken of the warning. In reference to Kypselus and the Bacchiadæ, we are informed that Melas, the ancestor of the former, was one of the original settlers at Corinth who accompanied the first Dorian chief Alêtês, and that Alêtês was in vain warned by an oracle not to admit him;[54] again, too, immediately before Kypselus was born, the Bacchiadæ received notice that his mother was about to give birth to one who would prove their ruin: the dangerous infant escaped destruction only by a hair’s breadth, being preserved from the intent of his destroyers by lucky concealment in a chest. Labba, the mother of Kypselus, was daughter of Amphion, who belonged to the gens, or sept, of the Bacchiadæ; but she was lame, and none of the gens would consent to marry her with that deformity. Eetion, son of Echekratês, who became her husband, belonged to a different, yet hardly less distinguished heroic genealogy: he was of the Lapithæ, descended from Kæneus, and dwelling in the Corinthian deme called Petra. We see thus that Kypselus was not only a high-born man in the city, but a Bacchiad by half-birth; both of these circumstances were likely to make exclusion from the government intolerable to him. He rendered himself highly popular with the people, and by their aid overthrew and expelled the Bacchiadæ, continuing as despot at Corinth for thirty years until his death (B. C. 655-625). According to Aristotle, he maintained throughout life the same conciliatory behavior by which his power had first been acquired; and his popularity was so effectually sustained that he had never any occasion for a body-guard. But the Corinthian oligarchy of the century of Herodotus,—whose tale that historian has embodied in the oration of the Corinthian envoy Sosiklês[55] to the Spartans,[p. 41]—gave a very different description, and depicted Kypselus as a cruel ruler, who banished, robbed, and murdered by wholesale.

His son and successor Periander, though energetic as a warrior, distinguished as an encourager of poetry and music, and even numbered by some among the seven wise men of Greece,—is, nevertheless, uniformly represented as oppressive and inhuman in his treatment of subjects. The revolting stories which are told respecting his private life, and his relations with his mother and his wife, may for the most part be regarded as calumnies suggested by odious associations with his memory; but there seems good reason for imputing to him tyranny of the worst character, and the sanguinary maxims of precaution so often acted upon by Grecian despots were traced back in ordinary belief to Periander,[56] and his contemporary Thrasybulus, despot of Milêtus. He maintained a powerful body-guard, shed much blood, and was exorbitant in his exactions, a part of which was employed in votive offerings at Olympia; and this munificence to the gods was considered by Aristotle and others as part of a deliberate system, with the view of keeping his subjects both hard at work and poor. On one occasion, we are told that he invited the women of Corinth to assemble for the celebration of a religious festival, and then stripped them of their rich attire and ornaments. By some later writers, he is painted as the stern foe of everything like luxury and dissolute habits,—enforcing industry, compelling every man to render account of his means of livelihood, and causing the procuresses of Corinth to be thrown into the sea.[57] Though the general features of his character, his cruel tyranny no less than his vigor and ability, may be sufficiently relied on, yet the particular incidents connected with his name are all extremely dubious: the most credible of all seems to be the tale of his inexpiable quarrel with his son, and his brutal treatment of many noble Korkyræan youths, as related in Herodotus. Peri[p. 42]ander is said to have put to death his wife, Melissa, daughter of Proklês, despot of Epidaurus; and his son Lykophrôn, informed of this deed, contracted an incurable antipathy against him. After vainly trying, both by rigor and by conciliation, to conquer this feeling on the part of his son, Periander sent him to reside at Korkyra, then dependent upon his rule; but when he found himself growing old and disabled, he recalled him to Corinth, in order to insure the continuance of the dynasty. Lykophrôn still obstinately declined all personal communication with his father, upon which the latter desired him to come to Corinth, and engaged himself to go over to Korkyra. So terrified were the Korkyræans at the idea of a visit from this formidable old man, that they put Lykophrôn to death,—a deed which Periander avenged by seizing three hundred youths of their noblest families, and sending them over to the Lydian king, Alyattês at Sardis, in order that they might be castrated and made to serve as eunuchs. The Corinthian vessels in which the youths were dispatched fortunately touched at Samos in the way; where the Samians and Knidians, shocked at a proceeding which outraged all Hellenic sentiment, contrived to rescue the youths from the miserable fate intended for them, and, after the death of Periander, sent them back to their native island.[58]

While we turn with displeasure from the political life of this man, we are at the same time made acquainted with the great extent of his power,—greater than that which was ever possessed by Corinth after the extinction of his dynasty. Korkyra, Ambrakia, Leukas, and Anaktorium, all Corinthian colonies, but in the next century independent states, appear in his time dependencies of Corinth. Ambrakia is said to have been under the rule of another despot named Periander, probably also a Kypselid by birth. It seems, indeed, that the towns of Anaktorium, Leukas, and Apollonia in the Ionian gulf, were either founded by the Kypselids, or received reinforcements of Corinthian colonists, during their dynasty, though Korkyra was established considerably earlier.[59]

[p. 43]The reign of Periander lasted for forty years (B. C. 625-585): Psammetichus son of Gordius, who succeeded him, reigned three years, and the Kypselid dynasty is then said to have closed, after having continued for seventy-three years.[60] In respect of power, magnificent display, and wide-spread connections both in Asia and in Italy, they evidently stood high among the Greeks of their time. Their offerings consecrated at Olympia excited great admiration, especially the gilt colossal statue of Zeus, and the large chest of cedar-wood dedicated in the temple of Hêrê, overlaid with various figures in gold and ivory: the figures were borrowed from mythical and legendary story, and the chest was a commemoration both of the name of Kypselus and of the tale of his marvellous preservation in infancy.[61] If Plutarch is correct, this powerful dynasty is to be numbered among the despots put down by Sparta;[62] yet such intervention of the Spartans, granting it to have been matter of fact, can hardly have been known to Herodotus.

Coincident in point of time with the commencement of Perian[p. 44]der’s reign at Corinth, we find Theagenês despot at Megara, who is also said to have acquired his power by demagogic arts, as well as by violent aggressions against the rich proprietors, whose cattle he destroyed in their pastures by the side of the river. We are not told by what previous conduct on the part of the rich this hatred of the people had been earned, but Theagenês carried the popular feeling completely along with him, obtained by public vote a body of guards ostensibly for his personal safety, and employed them to overthrow the oligarchy.[63] But he did not maintain his power, even for his own life: a second revolution dethroned and expelled him; on which occasion, after a short interval of temperate government, the people are said to have renewed in a still more marked way their antipathies against the rich; banishing some of them with confiscation of property, intruding into the houses of others with demands for forced hospitality, and even passing a formal palintokia, or decree, to require from the rich who had lent money on interest, the refunding of all past interest paid to them by their debtors.[64] To appreciate correctly such a demand, we must recollect that the practice of taking interest for money lent was regarded by a large proportion of early ancient society with feelings of unqualified reprobation; and it will be seen, when we come to the legislation of Solon, how much such violent reactionary feeling against the creditor was provoked by the antecedent working of the harsh law determining his rights.

We hear in general terms of more than one revolution in the government of Megara,—a disorderly democracy, subverted by returning oligarchical exiles, and these again unable long to maintain themselves;[65] but we are alike uninformed as to dates and details. And in respect to one of these struggles, we are admitted to the outpourings of a contemporary and a sufferer,—the Megarian poet Theognis. Unfortunately, his elegiac verses, as we possess them, are in a state so broken, incoherent, and interpolated, that we make out no distinct conception of the events which call them forth,—still less, can we discover in the verses of Theognis[p. 45] that strength and peculiarity of pure Dorian feeling, which, since the publication of O. Müller’s History of the Dorians, it has been the fashion to look for so extensively. But we see that the poet was connected with an oligarchy, of birth and not of wealth, which had recently been subverted by the breaking in of the rustic population previously subject and degraded,—that these subjects were contented to submit to a single-headed despot, in order to escape from their former rulers,—and that Theognis had himself been betrayed by his own friends and companions, stripped of his property, and exiled, through the wrong doing “of enemies whose blood he hopes one day to be permitted to drink.”[66] The condition of the subject cultivators previous to this revolution he depicts in sad colors;—they “dwelt without the city, clad in goatskins, and ignorant of judicial sanctions or laws:”[67] after it, they had become citizens, and their importance had been immensely enhanced. And thus, according to his impression, the vile breed has trodden down the noble,—the bad have become masters, and the good are no longer of any account. The bitterness and humiliation which attend upon poverty, and the undue ascendency which wealth confers even upon the most worthless of mankind,[68] are among the prominent subjects of his complaint, and his keen personal feeling on this point would be alone sufficient to show that the recent revolution had no way overthrown the influence of property; in contradiction to the opinion of Welcker, who infers without ground, from a passage of uncertain meaning, that the land of the state had been formally redivided.[69][p. 46] The Megarian revolution, so far as we apprehend it from Theognis, appears to have improved materially the condition of the cultivators around the town, and to have strengthened a certain class whom he considers “the bad rich,”—while it extinguished the privileges of that governing order, to which he himself belonged, denominated in his language “the good and the virtuous,” with ruinous effect upon his own individual fortunes. How far this governing order was exclusively Dorian, we have no means of determining. The political change by which Theog[p. 47]nis suffered, and the new despot whom he indicates as either actually installed or nearly impending, must have come considerably after the despotism of Theagenês; for the life of the poet seems to fall between 570-490 B. C., while Theagenês must have ruled about 630-600 B. C. From the unfavorable picture, therefore, which the poet gives as his own early experience of the condition of the rural cultivators, it is evident that the despot Theagenês had neither conferred upon them any permanent benefit, nor given them access to the judicial protection of the city.

It is thus that the despots of Corinth, Sikyôn, and Megara serve as samples of those revolutionary influences, which towards the beginning of the sixth century B. C., seem to have shaken or overturned the oligarchical governments in very many cities throughout the Grecian world. There existed a certain sympathy and alliance between the despots of Corinth and Sikyôn:[70] how far such feeling was farther extended to Megara, we do not know. The latter city seems evidently to have been more populous and powerful during the seventh and sixth centuries B. C., than we shall afterwards find her throughout the two brilliant centuries of Grecian history: her colonies, found as far distant as Bithynia and the Thracian Bosphorus on one side, and as Sicily on the other, argue an extent of trade as well as naval force once not inferior to Athens: so that we shall be the less surprised when we approach the life of Solon, to find her in possession of the island of Salamis, and long maintaining it, at one time with every promise of triumph, against the entire force of the Athenians.

[p. 48]


Having traced in the preceding chapters the scanty stream of Peloponnesian history, from the first commencement of an authentic chronology in 776 B. C. to the maximum of Spartan territorial acquisition, and the general acknowledgment of Spartan primacy, prior to 547 B. C., I proceed to state as much as can be made out respecting the Ionic portion of Hellas during the same period. This portion comprehends Athens and Eubœa,—the Cyclades Islands,—and the Ionic cities on the coast of Asia Minor, with their different colonies.

In the case of Peloponnesus, we have been enabled to discern something like an order of real facts in the period alluded to,—Sparta makes great strides, while Argos falls. In the case of Athens, unfortunately, our materials are less instructive. The number of historical facts, anterior to the Solonian legislation, is very few indeed;—the interval between 776 B. C. and 624 B. C., the epoch of Drako’s legislation a short time prior to Kylôn’s attempted usurpation, gives us merely a list of archons, denuded of all incident.

In compliment to the heroism of Kodrus, who had sacrificed his life for the safety of his country, we are told that no person after him was permitted to bear the title of king:[71] his son Medôn, and twelve successors,—Akastus, Archippus, Thersippus, Phorbas, Megaklês, Diognêtus, Phereklês, Ariphrôn, Thespieus, Agamestôr, Æschylus, and Alkmæôn,—were all archons for life. In the second year of Alkmæôn (752 B. C.), the dignity of archon was restricted to a duration of ten years: and seven of these decennial archons are numbered,—Charops, Æsimidês, Kleidikus, Hippomenês, Leokratês, Apsandrus, Eryxias. With Kreôn, who succeeded Eryxias, the archonship was not only made an[p. 49]nual, but put into commission and distributed among nine persons and these nine archons, annually changed, continue throughout all the historical period, interrupted only by the few intervals of political disturbance and foreign compression. Down to Kleidikus and Hippomenês (714 B. C.), the dignity of archon had continued to belong exclusively to the Medontidæ or descendants of Medôn and Kodrus:[72] at that period it was thrown open to all the Eupatrids, or order of nobility in the state.

Such is the series of names by which we step down from the level of legend to that of history. All our historical knowledge of Athens is confined to the period of the annual archons; which series of eponymous archons, from Kreôn downwards, is perfectly trustworthy.[73] Above 683 B. C., the Attic antiquaries have provided us with a string of names, which we must take as we find them, without being able either to warrant the whole or to separate the false from the true. There is no reason to doubt the general fact, that Athens, like so many other communities of Greece, was in its primitive times governed by an hereditary line of kings, and that it passed from that form of government into a commonwealth, first oligarchical, afterwards democratical.

We are in no condition to determine the civil classification and political constitution of Attica, even at the period of the archonship of Kreôn, 683 B. C., when authentic Athenian chronology first commences,—much less can we pretend to any knowledge of the anterior centuries. Great political changes were introduced first by Solon (about 594 B. C.), next by Kleisthenês (509 B. C.), afterwards by Aristeidês, Periklês, and Ephialtês, between the Persian and Peloponnesian wars: so that the old ante-Solonian,—nay, even the real Solonian,—polity was thus put more and more out of date and out of knowledge. But all the information which we possess respecting that old polity, is derived from authors who lived after all or most of these great changes,—and[p. 50] who, finding no records, nor anything better than current legends, explained the foretime as well as they could by guesses more or less ingenious, generally attached to the dominant legendary names. They were sometimes able to found their conclusions upon religious usages, periodical ceremonies, or common sacrifices, still subsisting in their own time; and these were doubtless the best evidences to be found respecting Athenian antiquity, since such practices often continued unaltered throughout all the political changes. It is in this way alone that we arrive at some partial knowledge of the ante-Solonian condition of Attica, though as a whole it still remains dark and unintelligible, even after the many illustrations of modern commentators.

Philochorus, writing in the third century before the Christian era, stated that Kekrops had originally distributed Attica into twelve districts,—Kekropia, Tetrapolis, Epakria, Dekeleia, Eleusis, Aphidnæ, Thorikus, Braurôn, Kythêrus, Sphêttus, Kêphisia, Phalêrus,—and that these twelve were consolidated into one political society by Theseus.[74] This partition does not comprise the Megarid, which, according to other statements, is represented as united with Attica, and as having formed part of the distribution made by king Pandiôn among his four sons, Nisus, Ægeus, Pallas, and Lykus,—a story as old as Sophoklês, at least.[75] In other accounts, again, a quadruple division is applied to the tribes, which are stated to have been four in number, beginning from Kekrops,—called in his time Kekrŏpis, Autochthon, Aktæa, and Paralia. Under king Kranaus, these tribes, we are told, received the names of Kranaïs, Atthis, Mesogæa, and Diakria,[76]—under Erichthonius, those of Dias, Athenaïs, Poseidonias, Hephæstias: at last, shortly after Erechtheus, they were denominated after the four sons of Iôn (son of Kreusa, daughter of Erechtheus, by Apollo), Geleontes, Hoplêtes, Ægikoreis, Argadeis. The four Attic or Ionic tribes, under these last-mentioned names,[p. 51] continued to form the classification of the citizens until the revolution of Kleisthenês in 509 B. C. by which the ten tribes were introduced, as we find them down to the period of Macedonian ascendency. It is affirmed, and with some etymological plausibility, that the denominations of these four tribes must originally have had reference to the occupations of those who bore them,—the Hoplêtes being the warrior-class, the Ægikoreis goatherds, the Argadeis artisans, and the Geleontes (Teleontes, or Gedeontes) cultivators: and hence some authors have ascribed to the ancient inhabitants of Attica[77] an actual primitive distribution into hereditary professions, or castes, similar to that which prevailed in India and Egypt. If we should even grant that such a division into castes might originally have prevailed, it must have grown obsolete long before the time of Solon: but there seem no sufficient grounds for believing that it ever did prevail. The names of the tribes may have been originally borrowed from certain professions, but it does not necessarily follow that the reality corresponded to this derivation, or that every individual who belonged to any tribe was a member of the profession from whence the name had originally been derived. From the etymology of the names, be it ever so clear, we cannot safely assume the historical reality of a classification according to professions. And this objection (which would be weighty, even if the etymology had been clear) becomes irresistible, when we add that even the etymology is not beyond dispute;[78] that the names themselves are written with a diversity which cannot be reconciled: and that the four professions named by Strabo omit the goatherds and[p. 52] include the priests; while those specified by Plutarch leave out the latter and include the former.[79]

All that seems certain is, that these were the four ancient Ionic tribes—analogous to the Hylleis, Pamphyli, and Dymanes among the Dorians—which prevailed not only at Athens, but among several of the Ionic cities derived from Athens. The Geleontes are mentioned in inscriptions now remaining belonging to Teôs in Ionia, and all the four are named in those of Kyzikus in the Propontis, which was a foundation from the Ionic Miletus.[80] The four tribes, and the four names (allowing for some variations of reading), are therefore historically verified; but neither the time of their introduction nor their primitive import are ascertainable matters, nor can any faith be put in the various constructions of the legends of Iôn, Erechtheus, and Kekrops, by modern commentators.

These four tribes may be looked at either as religious and social aggregates, in which capacity each of them comprised three phratries and ninety gentes; or as political aggregates, in which point of view each included three trittyes and twelve naukraries. Each phratry contained thirty gentes; each trittys comprised four naukraries: the total numbers were thus three hundred and sixty gentes and forty-eight naukraries. Moreover, each gens is said to have contained thirty heads of families, of whom therefore there would be a total of ten thousand eight hundred.

Comparing these two distributions one with the other, we may remark that they are distinct in their nature and proceed in opposite directions. The trittys and the naukrary are essentially fractional subdivisions of the tribe, and resting upon the tribe as their higher unity; the naukrary is a local circumscription, com[p. 53]posed of the naukrars, or principal householders (so the etymology seems to indicate), who levy in each respective district the quota of public contributions which belongs to it, and superintend the disbursement,—provide the military force incumbent upon the district, being for each naukrary two horsemen and one ship,—and furnish the chief district-officers, the prytanes of the naukrari.[81] A certain number of foot soldiers, varying according to the demand, must probably be understood as accompanying these horsemen, but the quota is not specified, as it was perhaps thought unnecessary to limit precisely the obligations of any except the wealthier men who served on horseback,—at a period when oligarchical ascendency was paramount, and when the bulk of the people was in a state of comparative subjection. The forty-eight naukraries are thus a systematic subdivision of the four tribes, embracing altogether the whole territory, population, contributions, and military force of Attica,—a subdivision framed exclusively for purposes connected with the entire state.

But the phratries and gentes are a distribution completely different from this. They seem aggregations of small primitive unities into larger; they are independent of, and do not presuppose, the tribe; they arise separately and spontaneously, without preconcerted uniformity, and without reference to a common political pur[p. 54]pose; the legislator finds them preëxisting, and adapts or modifies them to answer some national scheme. We must distinguish the general fact of the classification, and the successive subordination in the scale, of the families to the gens, of the gentes to the phratry, and of the phratries to the tribe,—from the precise numerical symmetry with which this subordination is invested, as we read it,—thirty families to a gens, thirty gentes to a phratry, three phratries to each tribe. If such nice equality of numbers could ever have been procured, by legislative constraint[82] operating upon preëxistent natural elements, the proportions could not have been permanently maintained. But we may reasonably doubt whether it did ever so exist: it appears more like the fancy of an author who pleased himself by supposing an original systematic creation in times anterior to records, by multiplying together the number of days in the month and of months in the year. That every phratry contained an equal number of gentes, and every gens an equal number of families, is a supposition hardly admissible without better evidence than we possess. But apart from this questionable precision of numerical scale, the phratries and gentes themselves were real, ancient, and durable associations among the Athenian people, highly important to be understood.[83] The basis of the whole was the house, hearth, or family,—a number of which,[p. 55] greater or less, composed the gens, or genos. This gens was therefore a clan, sept, or enlarged, and partly factitious, brotherhood, bound together by,—1. Common religious ceremonies, and exclusive privilege of priesthood, in honor of the same god, supposed to be the primitive ancestor, and characterized by a special surname. 2. By a common burial-place. 3. By mutual rights of succession to property. 4. By reciprocal obligations of help, defence, and redress of injuries. 5. By mutual right and obligation to intermarry in certain determinate cases, especially where there was an orphan daughter or heiress. 6. By possession, in some cases at least, of common property, an archon and a treasurer of their own. Such were the rights and obligations characterizing the gentile union:[84] the phratric union, binding together several gentes, was less intimate, but still included some mutual rights and obligations of an analogous character, and especially a communion of particular sacred rites and mutual privileges of prosecution in the event of a phrator being slain. Each phratry was considered as belonging to one of the four tribes, and all the phratries of the same tribe enjoyed a certain periodical communion of sacred rites, under the presidency of a magistrate called the phylo-basileus, or tribe-king, selected from the Eupatrids; Zeus Geleôn was in this manner the patron-god of the tribe Geleontes. Lastly, all the four tribes were linked together by the common worship of Apollo Patrôus, as their divine father and guardian; for Apollo was the father of Iôn, and the eponyms of all the four tribes were reputed sons of Iôn.

Such was the primitive religious and social union of the population of Attica in its gradually ascending scale,—as distinguished from the political union, probably of later introduction, represented at first by the trittyes and naukraries, and in after times by the ten Kleisthenean tribes, subdivided into trittyes and demes. The religious and family bond of aggregation is the earlier of the two: but the political bond, though beginning later,[p. 56] will be found to acquire constantly increasing influence throughout the greater part of this history. In the former, personal relation is the essential and predominant characteristic,[85]—local relation being subordinate: in the latter, property and residence become the chief considerations, and the personal element counts only as measured by these accompaniments. All these phratric and gentile associations, the larger as well as the smaller, were founded upon the same principles and tendencies of the Grecian mind,[86]—a coalescence of the idea of worship with that of ancestry, or of communion in certain special religious rites with communion of blood, real or supposed. The god, or hero, to whom the assembled members offered their sacrifices, was conceived as the primitive ancestor, to whom they owed their origin; often through a long list of intermediate names, as in the case of the Milesian Hekatæus, so often before adverted to.[87] Each family[p. 57] had its own sacred rites and funereal commemoration of ancestors, celebrated by the master of the house, to which none but members of the family were admissible: the extinction of a family, carrying with it the suspension of these religious rites, was held by the Greeks to be a misfortune, not merely from the loss of the citizens composing it, but also because the family gods and the manes of deceased citizens were thus deprived of their honors,[88] and might visit the country with displeasure. The larger associations, called gens, phratry, tribe, were formed by an extension of the same principle,—of the family considered as a religious brotherhood, worshipping some common god or hero with an appropriate surname, and recognizing him as their joint ancestor; and the festivals Theoenia and Apaturia[89]—the first Attic, the[p. 58] second common to all the Ionic race,—annually brought together the members of these phratries and gentes for worship, festivity, and maintenance of special sympathies; thus strengthening the larger ties without effacing the smaller.

Such were the manifestations of Grecian sociality, as we read them in the early constitution, not merely of Attica, but of other Grecian states besides. To Aristotle and Dikæarchus, it was an interesting inquiry to trace back all political society into certain assumed elementary atoms, and to show by what motives and means the original families, each having its separate meal-bin and fireplace,[90] had been brought together into larger aggregates. But the historian must accept as an ultimate fact the earliest state of things which his witnesses make known to him; and in the case now before us, the gentile and phratric unions are matters into the beginning of which we cannot pretend to penetrate.

Pollux—probably from Aristotle’s lost work on the Constitutions of Greece—informs us, distinctly, that the members of the same gens at Athens were not commonly related by blood,—and even without any express testimony we might have concluded such to be fact: to what extent the gens, at the unknown epoch of its first formation, was based upon actual relationship, we have no means of determining, either with regard to the Athenian or the Roman gentes, which were in all main points analogous. Gentilism is a tie by itself; distinct from the family ties, but presupposing their existence and extending them by an artificial analogy, partly founded on religious belief and partly on positive compact, so as to comprehend strangers in blood. All the members of one gens, or even of one phratry, believed themselves to be sprung, not, indeed, from the same grandfather or great[p. 59]grandfather, but from the same divine or heroic ancestor: all the contemporary members of the phratry of Hekatæus had a common god for their ancestor in the sixteenth degree; and this fundamental belief, into which the Greek mind passed with so much facility, was adopted and converted by positive compact into the gentile and phratric principle of union. It is because such a transfusion, not recognized by Christianity, is at variance with modern habits of thought, and because we do not readily understand how such a legal and religious fiction can have sunk deep into the Greek feelings, that the phratries and gentes appear to us mysterious: but they are in harmony with all the legendary genealogies which have been set forth in the preceding volume. Doubtless Niebuhr, in his valuable discussion of the ancient Roman gentes, is right in supposing that they were not real families, procreated from any common historical ancestor: but it is not the less true, though he seems to suppose otherwise, that the idea of the gens involved the belief in a common first father, divine or heroic,—a genealogy which we may properly call fabulous, but which was consecrated and accredited among the members of the gens itself, and served as one important bond of union between them.[91] And though an analytical mind[p. 60] like Aristotle might discern the difference between the gens and the family, so as to distinguish the former as the offspring of some special compact, still, this is no fair test of the feelings usual among early Greeks; nor is it certain that Aristotle himself, son of the physician Nikomachus, who belonged to the gens of the Asklepiads,[92] would have consented to disallow the procreative origin of all these religious families without any exception. The natural families of course changed from generation to generation, some extending themselves while others diminished or died out; but the gens received no alterations, except through the procreation, extinction, or subdivision of these component families; accordingly, the relations of the families with the gens were in perpetual course of fluctuation, and the gentile ancestorial genealogy, adapted as it doubtless was to the early condition of the gens, became in process of time partially obsolete and unsuitable. We hear of this genealogy but rarely, because it is only brought before the public in certain cases preëminent and venerable. But the humbler gentes had their common rites, and common superhuman ancestor and genealogy, as well as the more celebrated: the scheme and ideal basis was the same in all.

Analogies, borrowed from very different people and parts of the world, prove how readily these enlarged and factitious family unions assort with the ideas of an early stage of society. The Highland clan, the Irish sept,[93] the ancient legally constituted[p. 61] families in Friesland and Dithmarsch, the phis, or phara, among the Albanians, are examples of a similar practice:[94] and the[p. 62] adoption of prisoners by the North American Indians, as well as the universal prevalence and efficacy of the ceremony of adoption in the Grecian and Roman world, exhibit to us a solemn formality under certain circumstances, originating an union and affections similar to those of kindred. Of this same nature were the phratries and gentes at Athens, the curiæ and gentes at Rome, but they were peculiarly modified by the religious imagination of the ancient world, which always traced back the past time to gods and heroes: and religion thus supplied both the common genealogy as their basis, and the privileged communion of special sacred rites as means of commemoration and perpetuity. The gentes, both at Athens and in other parts of Greece, bore a patronymic name, the stamp of their believed common paternity: we find the Asklepiadæ in many parts of Greece,—the Aleuadæ in Thessaly,—the Midylidæ, Psalychidæ, Blepsiadæ, Euxenidæ, at Ægina,—the Branchidæ at Miletus,—the Nebridæ at Kôs,—the Iamidæ and Klytiadæ at Olympia,—the Akestoridæ at Argos,—the Kinyradæ in Cyprus,—the Penthilidæ at Mitylene,[95]—the Talthybiadæ at Sparta,—not less than the Kodridæ, Eumolpidæ, Phytalidæ, Lykomêdæ, Butadæ, Euneidæ, Hesychidæ, Brytiadæ, &c., in Attica.[96] To each of these corre[p. 63]sponded a mythical ancestor more or less known, and passing for the first father as well as the eponymous hero of the gens,—Kodrus, Eumolpus, Butes, Phytalus, Hesychus, &c.

The revolution of Kleisthenês in 509 B. C. abolished the old tribes for civil purposes, and created ten new tribes,—leaving the phratries and gentes unaltered, but introducing the local distribution according to demes, or cantons, as the foundation of his new political tribes. A certain number of demes belonged to each of the ten Kleisthenean tribes (the demes in the same tribes were not usually contiguous, so that the tribe was not coincident with a definite circumscription), and the deme, in which every individual was then registered, continued to be that in which his descendants were also registered. But the gentes had no connection, as such, with these new tribes, and the members of the same gens might belong to different demes.[97] It deserves to be remarked, however, that to a certain extent, in the old arrangement of Attica, the division into gentes coincided with the division into demes; that is, it happened not unfrequently that the gennêtes or members of the same gens lived in the same canton, so that the name of the gens and the name of the deme was the same: moreover, it seems that Kleisthenês recognized a certain number of new demes, to which he gave names derived from some important gens resident near the spot. It is thus that we are to explain the large number of the Kleisthenean demes which bear patronymic names.[98]

[p. 64]There is one remarkable difference between the Roman and the Grecian gens, arising from the different practice in regard to naming. A Roman patrician bore habitually three names,—the gentile name, with one name following it to denote his family, and another preceding it peculiar to himself in that family. But in Athens, at least after the revolution of Kleisthenês, the gentile name was not employed: a man was described by his own single name, followed first by the name of his father, and next by that of the deme to which he belonged,—as Æschinês, son of Atrom[p. 65]êtus, a Kothôkid. Such a difference in the habitual system of naming, tended to make the gentile tie more present to every one’s mind at Rome than in the Greek cities.

Before the pecuniary classification of the Atticans introduced by Solon, the phratries and gentes, and the trittyes and naukraries, were the only recognized bonds among them, and the only basis of legal rights and obligations, over and above the natural family. The gens constituted a close incorporation, both as to property and as to persons. Until the time of Solon, no man had any power of testamentary disposition: if he died without children, his gennêtes succeeded to his property,[99] and so they continued to do even after Solon, if he died intestate. An orphan girl might be claimed in marriage of right by any member of the gens, the nearest agnates being preferred;[100] if she was poor, and he did not choose to marry her himself, the law of Solon compelled him to provide her with a dowry proportional to his enrolled scale of property, and to give her out in marriage to another; and the magnitude of the dowry required to be given,—large, even as fixed by Solon, and afterwards doubled,—seems a proof that the lawgiver intended indirectly to enforce actual marriage.[101] If a man was murdered, first his near relations, next his gennêtes and phrators, were both allowed and required to prosecute the crime at law;[102] his fellow demots, or[p. 66] inhabitants of the same deme, did not possess the like right of prosecuting. All that we hear of the most ancient Athenian laws is based upon the gentile and phratric divisions, which are treated throughout as extensions of the family. It is to be observed that this division is completely independent of any property qualification,—rich men as well as poor being comprehended in the same gens.[103] Moreover, the different gentes were very unequal in dignity, arising chiefly from the religious ceremonies of which each possessed the hereditary and exclusive administration, and which, being in some cases considered as of preëminent sanctity in reference to the whole city, were therefore nationalized. Thus the Eumolpidæ and Kêrȳkes, who supplied the Hierophant, and superintended the mysteries of the Eleusinian Dêmêtêr,—and the Butadæ, who furnished the priestess of Athênê Polias as well as the priest of Poseidôn Erechtheus in the acropolis,—seem to have been reverenced above all the other gentes.[104] When the name Butadæ was[p. 67] adopted in the Kleisthenean arrangement as the name of a deme, the holy gens so called adopted the distinctive denomination of Eteobutadæ, or “The True Butadæ.”[105]

A great many of the ancient gentes of Attica are known to us by name; but there is only one phratry (the Achniadæ) whose title has come down to us.[106] These phratries and gentes probably never at any time included the whole population of the country,—and the proportion not included in them tended to become larger and larger, in the times anterior to Kleisthenês,[107] as well as afterwards. They remained, under his constitution, and throughout the subsequent history, as religious quasi-families, or corporations, conferring rights and imposing liabilities which were enforced in the regular dikasteries, but not directly connected with the citizenship or with political functions: a man[p. 68] might be a citizen without being enrolled in any gens. The forty-eight naukraries ceased to exist, for any important purposes, under his constitution: the deme, instead of the naukrary, became the elementary political division, for military and financial objects, and the demarch became the working local president, in place of the chief of the naukrars. The deme, however, was not coincident with a naukrary, nor the demarch with the previous chief of the naukrary, though they were analogous and constituted for the like purpose.[108] While the naukraries had been only forty-eight in number, the demes formed smaller subdivisions, and, in later times at least, amounted to a hundred and seventy-four.[109]

But though this early quadruple division into tribes is tolerably intelligible in itself, there is much difficulty in reconciling it with that severalty of government which we learn to have originally prevailed among the inhabitants of Attica. From Kekrops down to Theseus, says Thucydidês, there were many different cities in Attica, each of them autonomous and self-governing, with its own prytaneium and its own archons; and it was only on occasions of some common danger that these distinct communities took counsel together under the authority of the Athenian kings, whose city at that time comprised merely the holy rock of Athênê on the plain,[110]—afterwards so conspicuous as the acropolis of the enlarged Athens,—together with a narrow area under it[p. 69] on the southern side. It was Theseus, he states, who effected that great revolution whereby the whole of Attica was consolidated into one government, all the local magistracies and councils being made to centre in the prytaneium and senate of Athens: his combined sagacity and power enforced upon all the inhabitants of Attica the necessity of recognizing Athens as the one city in the country, and of occupying their own abodes simply as constituent portions of Athenian territory. This important move, which naturally produced a great extension of the central city, was commemorated throughout the historical times by the Athenians in the periodical festival called Synœkia, in honor of the goddess Athênê.[111]

Such is the account which Thucydidês gives of the original severalty and subsequent consolidation of the different portions of Attica. Of the general fact there is no reason to doubt, though the operative cause assigned by the historian,—the power and sagacity of Theseus,—belongs to legend and not to history. Nor can we pretend to determine either the real steps by which such a change was brought about, or its date, or the number of portions which went to constitute the full-grown Athens,—farther enlarged at some early period, though we do not know when, by voluntary junction of the Bœotian, or semi-Bœotian, town Eleutheræ, situated among the valleys of Kithærôn between Eleusis and Platæa. It was the standing habit of the population of Attica, even down to the Peloponnesian war,[112] to reside in their several cantons, where their ancient festivals and temples yet continued as relics of a state of previous autonomy: their visits to the city were made only at special times, for purposes[p. 70] religious or political, and they yet looked upon the country residence as their real home. How deep-seated this cantonal feeling was among them, we may see by the fact that it survived the temporary exile forced upon them by the Persian invasion, and was resumed when the expulsion of that destroying host enabled them to rebuild their ruined dwellings in Attica.[113]

How many of the demes recognized by Kleisthenês had originally separate governments, or in what local aggregates they stood combined, we cannot now make out; it will be recollected that the city of Athens itself contained several demes, and Peiræeus also formed a deme apart. Some of the twelve divisions, which Philochorus ascribes to Kekrops, present probable marks of an ancient substantive existence,—Kekropia, or the region surrounding and including the city and acropolis; the tetrapolis, composed of Œnoê, Trikorythus, Probalinthus, and Marathon;[114] Eleusis; Aphidnæ and Dekeleia,[115] both distinguished by their peculiar mythical connection with Sparta and the Dioskuri. But it is difficult to imagine that Phalêrum, which is one of the separate divisions named by Philochorus, can ever have enjoyed an autonomy apart from Athens. Moreover, we find among some of the demes which Philochorus does not notice, evidences of[p. 71] standing antipathies, and prohibitions of intermarriage, which might seem to indicate that these had once been separate little states.[116] Though in most cases we can infer little from the legends and religious ceremonies which nearly every deme[117] had peculiar to itself, yet those of Eleusis are so remarkable, as to establish the probable autonomy of that township down to a comparatively late period. The Homeric Hymn to Dêmêtêr, recounting the visit of that goddess to Eleusis after the abduction of her daughter, and the first establishment of the Eleusinian ceremonies, specifies the eponymous prince Eleusis, and the various chiefs of the place,—Keleos, Triptolemus, Dioklês, and Eumolpus; it also notices the Rharian plain in the neighborhood of Eleusis, but not the least allusion is made to Athens or to any concern of the Athenians in the presence or worship of the goddess. There is reason to believe that at the time when this Hymn was composed, Eleusis was an independent town: what that time was we have no means of settling, though Voss puts it as low as the 30th Olympiad.[118] And the proof hence derived is so much the more valuable, because the Hymn to Dêmêtêr presents a coloring strictly special and local; moreover, the story told by Solon to Crœsus, respecting Tellus the Athenian, who perished in battle against the neighboring townsmen of Eleusis,[119] assumes, in like manner, the independence of the latter in earlier times. Nor is it unimportant to notice that, even so low as 300 B. C., the observant visitor Dikæarchus professes to detect a difference between the native[p. 72] Athenians and the Atticans, as well in physiognomy as in character and taste.[120]

In the history set forth to us of the proceedings of Theseus, no mention is made of these four Ionic tribes; but another and a totally different distribution of the people into eupatridæ, geômori, and demiurgi, which he is said to have first introduced, is brought to our notice; Dionysius of Halikarnassus gives only a double division,—eupatridæ and dependent cultivators; corresponding to his idea of the patricians and clients in early Rome.[121] As far as we can understand this triple distinction, it seems to be disparate and unconnected with the four tribes above mentioned. The eupatridæ are the wealthy and powerful men, belonging to the most distinguished families in all the various gentes, and principally living in the city of Athens, after the consolidation of Attica: from them are distinguished the middling and lower people, roughly classified into husbandmen and artisans. To the eupatridæ, is ascribed a religious as well as a political and social ascendency; they are represented as the source of all authority on matters both sacred and profane;[122] they doubtless comprised those gentes, such as the Butadæ, whose sacred ceremonies were looked upon with the greatest reverence by the people: and we may conceive Eumolpus, Keleos, Dioklês, etc., as they are described in the Homeric Hymn to Dêmêtêr, in the character of eupatridæ of Eleusis. The humbler gentes, and the humbler members of each gens, would appear in this classification confounded with that portion of the people who belonged to no gens at all.

From these eupatridæ exclusively, and doubtless by their selection, the nine annual archons—probably also the prytanes[p. 73] of the naukrari—were taken. That the senate of areopagus was formed of members of the same order, we may naturally presume: the nine archons all passed into it at the expiration of their year of office, subject only to the condition of having duly passed the test of accountability; and they remained members for life. These are the only political authorities of whom we hear in the earliest imperfectly known period of the Athenian government, after the discontinuance of the king, and the adoption of the annual change of archons. The senate of areopagus seems to represent the Homeric council of old men;[123] and there were doubtless, on particular occasions, general assemblies of the people, with the same formal and passive character as the Homeric agora,—at least, we shall observe traces of such assemblies anterior to the Solonian legislation. Some of the writers of antiquity ascribed the first establishment of the senate of areopagus to Solon, just as there were also some who considered Lykurgus as having first brought together the Spartan gerusia. But there can be little doubt that this is a mistake, and that the senate of areopagus is a primordial institution, of immemorial antiquity, though its constitution as well as its functions underwent many changes. It stood at first alone as a permanent and collegiate authority, originally by the side of the kings and afterwards by the side of the archons: it would then of course be known by the title of The Boulê,—The Senate, or council; its distinctive title, “Senate of Areopagus,” borrowed from the place where its sittings were held, would not be bestowed until the formation by Solon of the second senate, or council, from which there was need to discriminate it.

This seems to explain the reason why it was never mentioned in the ordinances of Drako, whose silence supplied one argument in favor of the opinion that it did not exist in his time, and that it was first constituted by Solon.[124] We hear of the senate of areopagus chiefly as a judicial tribunal, because it acted in this character constantly throughout Athenian history, and because[p. 74] the orators have most frequent occasion to allude to its decisions on matters of trial. But its functions were originally of the widest senatorial character, directive generally as well as judicial. And although the gradual increase of democracy at Athens, as will be hereafter explained, both abridged its powers and contributed still farther comparatively to lower it, by enlarging the direct working of the people in assembly and judicature, as well as that of the senate of Five Hundred, which was a permanent adjunct and adminicle of the public assembly,—yet it seems to have been, even down to the time of Periklês, the most important body in the state. And after it had been cast into the background by the political reforms of that great man, we still find it on particular occasions stepping forward to reassert its ancient powers, and to assume for the moment that undefined interference which it had enjoyed without dispute in antiquity. The attachment of the Athenians to their ancient institutions gave to the senate of areopagus a constant and powerful hold on their minds, and this feeling was rather strengthened than weakened when it ceased to be an object of popular jealousy,—when it could no longer be employed as an auxiliary of oligarchical pretensions.

Of the nine archons, whose number continued unaltered from 638 B. C. to the end of the free democracy, three bore special titles,—the archon eponymus, from whose name the designation of the year was derived, and who was spoken of as The Archon; the archon basileus (king), or more frequently, the basileus; and the polemarch. The remaining six passed by the general title of Thesmothetæ. Of the first three, each possessed exclusive judicial competence in regard to certain special matters: the thesmothetæ were in this respect all on a par, acting sometimes as a board, sometimes individually. The archon eponymus determined all disputes relative to the family, the gentile, and the phratric relations: he was the legal protector of orphans and widows.[125] The archon basileus, or king archon, enjoyed competence in complaints respecting offences against the religious sentiment and respecting homicide. The polemarch, speaking of times anterior to Kleisthenês, was the leader of the military[p. 75] force and judge in disputes between citizens and non-citizens. Moreover, each of these three archons had particular religious festivals assigned to him, which it was his duty to superintend and conduct. The six thesmothetæ seem to have been judges in disputes and complaints, generally, against citizens, saving the special matters reserved for the cognizance of the first two archons. According to the proper sense of the word thesmothetæ, all the nine archons were entitled to be so called,[126] though the first three had especial designations of their own: the word thesmoi, analogous to the themistes[127] of Homer, includes in its meaning both general laws and particular sentences,—the two ideas not being yet discriminated, and the general law being conceived only in its application to some particular case. Drako was the first thesmothet who was called upon to set down his thesmoi in writing, and thus to invest them essentially with a character of more or less generality.

In the later and better-known times of Athenian law, we find these archons deprived in great measure of their powers of[p. 76] judging and deciding, and restricted to the task of first hearing the parties and collecting the evidence, next, of introducing the matter for trial into the appropriate dikastery, over which they presided. Originally, there was no separation of powers: the archons both judged and administered, sharing among themselves those privileges which had once been united in the hands of the king, and probably accountable at the end of their year of office to the senate of areopagus. It is probable also, that the functions of that senate, and those of the prytanes of the naukrars, were of the same double and confused nature. All of these functionaries belonged to the eupatrids, and all of them doubtless acted more or less in the narrow interest of their order: moreover, there was ample room for favoritism, in the way of connivance as well as antipathy, on the part of the archons. That such was decidedly the case, and that discontent began to be serious, we may infer from the duty imposed on the thesmothet Drako, B. C. 624, to put in writing the thesmoi, or ordinances, so that they might be “shown publicly,” and known beforehand.[128] He did not meddle with the political constitution, and in his ordinances Aristotle finds little worthy of remark except the extreme severity[129] of the punishments awarded: petty thefts, or even proved idleness of life, being visited with death or disfranchisement.

But we are not to construe this remark as demonstrating any special inhumanity in the character of Drako, who was not invested with the large power which Solon afterwards enjoyed, and cannot be imagined to have imposed upon the community severe laws of his own invention. Himself of course an eupatrid, he set forth in writing such ordinances as the eupatrid archons had before been accustomed to enforce without writing, in the particular cases which came before them; and the general spirit of[p. 77] penal legislation had become so much milder, during the two centuries which followed, that these old ordinances appeared to Aristotle intolerably rigorous. Probably neither Drako, nor the Lokrian Zaleukus, who somewhat preceded him in date, were more rigorous than the sentiment of the age: indeed, the few fragments of the Drakonian tables which have reached us, far from exhibiting indiscriminate cruelty, introduce, for the first time, into the Athenian law, mitigating distinctions in respect to homicide;[130] founded on the variety of concomitant circumstances. He is said to have constituted the judges called Ephetæ, fifty-one elders belonging to some respected gens or possessing an exalted position, who held their sittings for trial of homicide in three different spots, according to the difference of the cases submitted to them. If the accused party, admitting the fact, denied any culpable intention and pleaded accident, the case was tried at the place called the palladium; when found guilty of accidental homicide, he was condemned to a temporary exile, unless he could appease the relatives of the deceased, but his property was left untouched. If, again, admitting the fact, he defended himself by some valid ground of justification, such as self-defence, or flagrant adultery with his wife on the part of the deceased, the trial took place on ground consecrated to Apollo and Artemis, called the Delphinium. A particular spot called the Phreattys, close to the sea-shore, was also named for the trial of a person, who, while under sentence of exile for an unintentional homicide, might be charged with a second homicide, committed of course without the limits of the territory: being considered as impure from the effects of the former sentence, he was not permitted to set foot on the soil, but stood his trial on a boat hauled close in shore. At the prytaneium, or government-house itself, sittings were held by the four phylo-basileis, or tribe-kings, to try any inanimate object (a piece of wood or stone, etc.) which had caused death to any one, without the proved intervention of a human hand: the wood or stone, when the fact was verified, was[p. 78] formally cast beyond the border.[131] All these distinctions of course imply the preliminary investigation of the case, called anakrisis, by the king-archon, in order that it might be known what was the issue, and where the sittings of the ephetæ were to be held.

So intimately was the mode of dealing with homicide connect[p. 79]ed with the religious feelings of the Athenians, that these old regulations were never formally abrogated throughout the historical times, and were read engraved on their column by the contemporaries of Dêmosthenês.[132] The areopagus continued in judicial operation, and the ephetæ are spoken of as if they were so, even through the age of Dêmosthenês; though their functions were tacitly usurped or narrowed, and their dignity impaired,[133] by the more popular dikasteries afterwards created. It is in this way that they have become known to us, while the other Drakonian institutions have perished: but there is much obscurity respecting them, particularly in regard to the relation between the ephetæ and the areopagites. Indeed, so little was known on the subject, even by the historical inquirers of Athens, that most of them supposed the council of areopagus to have received its first origin from Solon: and even Aristotle, though he contradicts this view, expresses himself in no very positive language.[134] That judges sat at the areopagus for the trial of homicide, previous to Drako, seems implied in the arrangements of that lawgiver respecting the ephetæ, inasmuch as he makes no new provision for trying the direct issue of intentional homicide, which, according to all accounts, fell within the cognizance of the areopagus: but whether the ephetæ and the areopagites were the same persons, wholly or partially, our information is not sufficient to discover. Before Drako, there existed no tribunal for trying homicide, except the senate, sitting at the areopagus, and we may conjecture that there was something connected with that spot,—legends,[p. 80] ceremonies, or religious feelings,—which compelled judges there sitting to condemn every man proved guilty of homicide, and forbade them to take account of extenuating or justifying circumstances.[135] Drako appointed the ephetæ to sit at different places; and these places are so pointedly marked, and were so unalterably maintained, that we may see in how peculiar a manner those special issues, of homicide under particular circumstances, which he assigned to each, were adapted, in Athenian belief, to the new sacred localities chosen,[136] each having its own distinct ceremonial and procedure appointed by the gods themselves. That the religious feelings of the Greeks were associated in the most intimate manner with particular localities, has already been often remarked; and Drako proceeded agreeably to them in his arrangements for mitigating the indiscriminate condemnation of every man found guilty of homicide, which was unavoidable so long as the areopagus remained the only place of trial. The man who either confessed, or was proved to have shed the blood of another, could not be acquitted, or condemned to less than the full penalty (of death or perpetual exile, with confiscation of property) by the judges on the hill of Arês, whatever excuse he might have to offer: but the judges at the palladium and delphinium might hear him, and even admit his plea, without contracting the taint of irreligion. Drako did not directly meddle with, nor indeed ever mention, the judges sitting in areopagus.

In respect to homicide, then, the Drakonian ordinances were partly a reform of the narrowness, partly a mitigation of the rigor, of the old procedure; and these are all that have come down to us, having been preserved unchanged from the religious respect of the Athenians for antiquity on this peculiar matter. The rest of his ordinances are said to have been repealed by Solon, on account of their intolerable severity. So they doubtless appeared, to the Athenians of a later day, who had come to[p. 81] measure offences by a different scale; and even to Solon, who had to calm the wrath of a suffering people in actual mutiny.

That under this eupatrid oligarchy and severe legislation the people of Attica were sufficiently miserable, we shall presently see, when I recount the proceedings of Solon: but the age of democracy had not yet begun, and the government received its first shock from the hands of an ambitious eupatrid who aspired to the despotism. Such was the phase, as has been remarked in the preceding chapter, through which, during the century now under consideration, a large proportion of the Grecian governments passed.

Kylôn, an Athenian patrician, who superadded to a great family position the personal celebrity of a victory at Olympia, as runner in the double stadium, conceived the design of seizing the acropolis and constituting himself despot. Whether any special event had occurred at home to stimulate this project, we do not know: but he obtained both encouragement and valuable aid from his father-in-law Theagenês of Megara, who, by means of his popularity with the people, had already subverted the Megarian oligarchy, and become despot of his native city. Previous to so hazardous an attempt, however, Kylôn consulted the Delphian oracle, and was advised by the god in reply, to take the opportunity of “the greatest festival of Zeus” for seizing the acropolis. Such expressions, in the natural interpretation put upon them by every Greek, designated the Olympic games in Peloponnesus,—to Kylôn, moreover himself an Olympic victor, that interpretation came recommended by an apparent peculiar propriety. But Thucydidês, not indifferent to the credit of the oracle, reminds his readers that no question was asked nor any express direction given, where the intended “greatest festival of Zeus” was to be sought,—whether in Attica or elsewhere,—and that the public festival of the Diasia, celebrated periodically and solemnly in the neighborhood of Athens, was also denominated the “greatest festival of Zeus Meilichius.” Probably no such exegetical scruples presented themselves to any one, until after the miserable failure of the conspiracy; least of all to Kylôn himself, who, at the recurrence of the next ensuing Olympic games, put himself at the head of a force, partly furnished by Theagenês, partly[p. 82] composed of his friends at home, and took sudden possession of the sacred rock of Athens. But the attempt excited general indignation among the Athenian people, who crowded in from the country to assist the archons and the prytanes of the naukrari in putting it down. Kylôn and his companions were blockaded in the acropolis, where they soon found themselves in straits for want of water and provisions; and though many of the Athenians went back to their homes, a sufficient besieging force was left to reduce the conspirators to the last extremity. After Kylôn himself had escaped by stealth, and several of his companions had died of hunger, the remainder, renouncing all hope of defence, sat down as suppliants at the altar. The archon Megaklês, on regaining the citadel, found these suppliants on the point of expiring with hunger on the sacred ground, and to prevent such a pollution, engaged them to quit the spot by a promise of sparing their lives. No sooner, however, had they been removed into profane ground, than the promise was violated and they were put to death: some even, who, seeing the fate with which they were menaced, contrived to throw themselves upon the altar of the venerable goddesses, or eumenides, near the areopagus, received their death-wounds in spite of that inviolable protection.[137]

Though the conspiracy was thus put down, and the government upheld, these deplorable incidents left behind them a long train of calamity,—profound religious remorse mingled with exasperated political antipathies. There still remained, if not a considerable Kylonian party, at least a large body of persons who resented the way in which the Kylonians had been put to death, and who became in consequence bitter enemies of Megaklês the archon, and of the great family of the Alkmæônidæ, to which he belonged. Not only Megaklês himself and his personal assistants were denounced as smitten with a curse, but the taint was supposed to be transmitted to his descendants, and we shall hereafter find the wound reopened, not only in the second and third generation, but also two centuries after the original event.[138] When we see that the impression left by the proceeding was so very serious,[p. 83] even after the length of time which had elapsed, we may well believe that it was sufficient, immediately afterwards, to poison altogether the tranquillity of the state. The Alkmæônids and their partisans long defied their opponents, resisting any public trial,—and the dissensions continued without hope of termination, until Solon, then enjoying a lofty reputation for sagacity and patriotism, as well as for bravery, persuaded them to submit to judicial cognizance,—at a moment so far distant from the event, that several of the actors were dead. They were accordingly tried before a special judicature of three hundred eupatrids, Myrôn, of the deme Phlyeis, being their accuser. In defending themselves against the charge that they had sinned against the reverence due to the gods and the consecrated right of asylum, they alleged that the Kylonian suppliants, when persuaded to quit the holy ground, had tied a cord round the statue of the goddess and clung to it for protection in their march; but on approaching the altar of the eumenides, the cord accidentally broke,—and this critical event, so the accused persons argued, proved that the goddess had herself withdrawn from them her protecting hand and abandoned them to their fate.[139] Their argument, remarkable as an illustration of the feelings of the time, was not, however, accepted as an excuse: they were found guilty, and while such of them as were alive retired into banishment, those who had already died were disinterred and cast beyond the borders. Yet their exile, continuing as it did only for a time, was not held sufficient to expiate the impiety for which they had been condemned. The Alkmæônids, one of the most powerful families in Attica, long continued to be looked upon as a tainted race,[140] and in[p. 84] cases of public calamity were liable to be singled out as having by their sacrilege drawn down the judgment of the gods upon their countrymen.[141]

Nor was the banishment of the guilty parties adequate in other respects to restore tranquillity. Not only did pestilential disorders prevail, but the religious susceptibilities and apprehensions of the Athenian community also remained deplorably excited: they were oppressed with sorrow and despondency, saw phantoms and heard supernatural menaces, and felt the curse of the gods upon them without abatement.[142] In particular, it appears that the minds of the women—whose religious impulses were recognized generally by the ancient legislators as requiring watchful control—were thus disturbed and frantic. The sacrifices offered at Athens did not succeed in dissipating the epidemic, nor could the prophets at home, though they recognized that special purifications were required, discover what were the new ceremonies capable of appeasing the divine wrath. The Delphian oracle directed them to invite a higher spiritual influence from abroad, and this produced the memorable visit of the Kretan prophet and sage Epimenidês to Athens.

The century between 620 and 500 B. C. appears to have been remarkable for the first diffusion and potent influence of distinct religious brotherhoods, mystic rites, and expiatory ceremonies, none of which, as I have remarked in a former chapter, find any recognition in the Homeric epic. To this age belong Thalêtas, Aristeas, Abaris, Pythagoras, Onomakritus, and the earliest provable agency of the Orphic sect.[143] Of the class of men here noticed, Epimenidês, a native of Phæstus or Knossus in Krete,[144] was one of the most celebrated,—and the old legendary connection between Athens and Krete, which shows itself in the tales of Theseus and Minos, is here again manifested in the recourse which the Athenians had to this island to supply their spiritual need. Epimenidês seems to have been connected with[p. 85] the worship of the Kretan Zeus, in whose favor he stood so high as to receive the denomination of the new Kurête[145]—the Kurêtes having been the primitive ministers and organizers of that worship. He was said to be the son of the nymph Baltê; to be supplied by the nymphs with constant food, since he was never seen to eat; to have fallen asleep in his youth in a cave, and to have continued in this state without interruption for fifty-seven years; though some asserted that he remained all this time a wanderer in the mountains, collecting and studying medicinal botany in the vocation of an Iatromantis, or leech and prophet combined. Such narratives mark the idea entertained by antiquity of Epimenidês, the Purifier,[146] who was now called in to heal both the epidemic and the mental affliction prevalent among the Athenian people, in the same manner as his countryman and contemporary Thalêtas had been, a few years before, invited to Sparta to appease a pestilence by the effect of his music and religious hymns.[147] The favor of Epimenidês with the gods, his knowledge of propitiatory ceremonies, and his power of working upon the religious feeling, was completely successful in restoring both health and mental tranquillity at Athens. He is said to have turned out some black and white sheep on the areopagus, directing attendants to follow and watch them, and to erect new altars to the appropriate local deities on the spots where the animals lay down.[148] He founded new chapels and established[p. 86] various lustral ceremonies; and more especially, he regulated the worship paid by the women, in such a manner as to calm the violent impulses which had before agitated them. We know hardly anything of the details of his proceeding, but the general fact of his visit, and the salutary effects produced in removing the religious despondency which oppressed the Athenians, are well attested: consoling assurances and new ritual precepts, from the lips of a person supposed to stand high in the favor of Zeus, were the remedy which this unhappy disorder required. Moreover, Epimenidês had the prudence to associate himself with Solon, and while he thus doubtless obtained much valuable advice, he assisted indirectly in exalting the reputation of Solon himself, whose career of constitutional reform was now fast approaching. He remained long enough at Athens to restore completely a more comfortable tone of religious feeling, and then departed, carrying with him universal gratitude and admiration, but refusing all other reward, except a branch from the sacred olive-tree in the acropolis.[149] His life is said to have been prolonged to the unusual period of one hundred and fifty-four years, according to a statement which was current during the time of his younger contemporary Xenophanês of Kolophon;[150] and the Kretans even ventured to affirm that he lived three hundred years. They extolled him not merely as a sage and a spiritual purifier, but also as a poet,—very long compositions on religious and myth[p. 87]ical subjects being ascribed to him; according to some accounts, they even worshipped him as a god. Both Plato and Cicero considered Epimenidês in the same light in which he was regarded by his contemporaries, as a prophet divinely inspired, and foretelling the future under fits of temporary ecstasy: but according to Aristotle, Epimenidês himself professed to have received from the gods no higher gift than that of divining the unknown phenomena of the past.[151]

The religious mission of Epimenidês to Athens, and its efficacious as well as healing influence on the public mind, deserve notice as characteristics of the age in which they occurred.[152] If we transport ourselves two centuries forward, to the Peloponnesian war, when rational influences and positive habits of thought had acquired a durable hold upon the superior minds, and when practical discussions on political and judicial matters were familiar to every Athenian citizen, no such uncontrollable religious misery could well have subdued the entire public; and if it had, no living man could have drawn to himself such universal veneration as to be capable of effecting a cure. Plato,[153] admitting the real healing influence of rites and ceremonies, fully believed in Epimenidês as an inspired prophet during the past; but towards those who preferred claims to supernatural power in his own day, he was not so easy of faith. He, as well as Euripides and Theophrastus, treated with indifference, and even with contempt, the orpheotelestæ of the later times, who advertised themselves as possessing the same patent knowledge of ceremonial rites, and the same means of guiding the will of the gods, as Epimenidês had wielded before them. These orpheotelestæ unquestionably numbered a considerable tribe of believers, and speculated with great effect, as well as with profit to themselves, upon the[p. 88] timorous consciences of rich men:[154] but they enjoyed no respect with the general public, or with those to whose authority the public habitually looked up. Degenerate as they were, however, they were the legitimate representatives of the prophet and purifier from Knossus, to whose presence the Athenians had been so much indebted two centuries before: and their altered position was owing less to any falling off in themselves, than to an improvement in the mass upon whom they sought to operate. Had Epimenidês himself come to Athens in those days, his visit would probably have been as much inoperative to all public purposes as a repetition of the stratagem of Phyê, clothed and equipped as the goddess Athênê, which had succeeded so completely in the days of Peisistratus,—a stratagem which even Herodotus treats as incredibly absurd, although, a century before his time, both the city of Athens and the demes of Attica had obeyed, as a divine mandate, the orders of this magnificent and stately woman, to restore Peisistratus.[155]


We now approach a new era in Grecian history,—the first known example of a genuine and disinterested constitutional reform, and the first foundation-stone of that great fabric, which afterwards became the type of democracy in Greece. The archonship of the eupatrid Solon dates in 594 B. C., thirty years after that of Drako, and about eighteen years after the conspiracy of Kylôn, assuming the latter event to be correctly placed B. C. 612.

The life of Solon by Plutarch and by Diogenês, especially the[p. 89] former, are our principal sources of information respecting this remarkable man; and while we thank them for what they have told us, it is impossible to avoid expressing disappointment that they have not told us more. For Plutarch certainly had before him both the original poems, and the original laws, of Solon, and the few transcripts which he gives from one or the other form the principal charm of his biography: but such valuable materials ought to have been made available to a more instructive result than that which he has brought out. There is hardly anything more to be deplored, amidst the lost treasures of the Grecian mind, than the poems of Solon; for we see by the remaining fragments, that they contained notices of the public and social phenomena before him, which he was compelled attentively to study,—blended with the touching expression of his own personal feelings, in the post, alike honorable and difficult, to which the confidence of his countrymen had exalted him.

Solon, son of Exekestidês, was a eupatrid of middling fortune,[156] but of the purest heroic blood, belonging to the gens or family of the Kodrids and Neleids, and tracing his origin to the god Poseidôn. His father is said to have diminished his substance by prodigality, which compelled Solon in his earlier years to have recourse to trade, and in this pursuit he visited many parts of Greece and Asia. He was thus enabled to enlarge the sphere of his observation, and to provide material for thought as well as for composition: and his poetical talents displayed themselves at a very early age, first on light, afterwards on serious subjects. It will be recollected that there was at that time no Greek prose writing, and that the acquisitions as well as the effusions of an intellectual man, even in their simplest form, adjusted themselves not to the limitations of the period and the semicolon, but to those of the hexameter and pentameter: nor in point of fact do the verses of Solon aspire to any higher effect than we are accustomed to associate with an earnest, touching, and admonitory prose composition. The advice and appeals which he frequently addressed to his countrymen[157] were delivered in this easy metre, doubtless far less difficult than the elaborate prose of subsequent[p. 90] writers or speakers, such as Thucydidês, Isokratês, or Demosthenês. His poetry and his reputation became known throughout many parts of Greece, and he was classed along with Thalês of Milêtus, Bias of Priênê, Pittakus of Mytilênê, Periander of Corinth, Kleobulus of Lindus, Cheilôn of Lacedæmon,—altogether forming the constellation afterwards renowned as the Seven wise men.

The first particular event in respect to which Solon appears as an active politician, is the possession of the island of Salamis, then disputed between Megara and Athens. Megara was at that time able to contest with Athens, and for sometime to contest with success, the occupation of this important island,—a remarkable fact, which perhaps may be explained by supposing that the inhabitants of Athens and its neighborhood carried on the struggle with only partial aid from the rest of Attica. However this may be, it appears that the Megarians had actually established themselves in Salamis, at the time when Solon began his political career, and that the Athenians had experienced so much loss in the struggle, as to have formally prohibited any citizen from ever submitting a proposition for its reconquest. Stung with this dishonorable abnegation, Solon counterfeited a state of ecstatic excitement, rushed into the agora, and there, on the stone usually occupied by the official herald, pronounced to the crowd around a short elegiac poem,[158] which he had previously composed on the subject of Salamis. He enforced upon them the disgrace of abandoning the island, and wrought so powerfully upon their feelings, that they rescinded the prohibitory law: “Rather (he exclaimed) would I forfeit my native city, and become a citizen of Pholegandrus, than be still named an Athenian, branded with the shame of surrendered Salamis!” The Athenians again entered into the war, and conferred upon him the command of it,—partly, as we are told, at the instigation of[p. 91] Peisistratus, though the latter must have been at this time (600-594 B. C.) a very young man, or rather a boy.[159]

The stories in Plutarch, as to the way in which Salamis was recovered, are contradictory as well as apocryphal, ascribing to Solon various stratagems to deceive the Megarian occupiers; unfortunately, no authority is given for any of them. According to that which seems the most plausible, he was directed by the Delphian god, first to propitiate the local heroes of the island; and he accordingly crossed over to it by night, for the purpose of sacrificing to the heroes Periphêmus and Kychreus, on the Salaminian shore. Five hundred Athenian volunteers were then levied for the attack of the island, under the stipulation that if they were victorious they should hold it in property and citizenship.[160] They were safely landed on an outlying promontory, while Solon, having been fortunate enough to seize a ship which the Megarians had sent to watch the proceedings, manned it with Athenians, and sailed straight towards the city of Salamis, to which the five hundred Athenians who had landed also directed their march. The Megarians marched out from the city to repel the latter, and during the heat of the engagement, Solon, with his Megarian ship, and Athenian crew, sailed directly to the city: the Megarians, interpreting this as the return of their own crew, permitted the ship to approach without resistance, and the city was thus taken by surprise. Permission having been given to the[p. 92] Megarians to quit the island, Solon took possession of it for the Athenians, erecting a temple to Enyalius, the god of war, on Cape Skiradium, near the city of Salamis.[161]

The citizens of Megara, however, made various efforts for the recovery of so valuable a possession, so that a war ensued long as well as disastrous to both parties. At last, it was agreed between them to refer the dispute to the arbitration of Sparta, and five Spartans were appointed to decide it,—Kritolaidas, Amompharetus, Hypsêchidas, Anaxilas, and Kleomenês. The verdict in favor of Athens was founded on evidence which it is somewhat curious to trace. Both parties attempted to show that the dead bodies buried in the island conformed to their own peculiar mode of interment, and both parties are said to have cited verses from the catalogue of the Iliad,[162]—each accusing the other of error or interpolation. But the Athenians had the advantage on two points; first, there were oracles from Delphi, wherein Salamis was mentioned with the epithet Ionian; next, Philæus and Eurysakês, sons of the Telamonian Ajax, the great hero of the island, had accepted the citizenship of Athens, made over Salamis to the Athenians, and transferred their own residences to Braurôn and Melitê in Attica, where the deme or gens Philaidæ still worshipped Philæus as its eponymous ancestor. Such a title was held sufficient, and Salamis was adjudged by the five Spartans to Attica,[163] with which it ever afterwards remained incorporated[p. 93] until the days of Macedonian supremacy. Two centuries and a half later, when the orator Æschinês argued the Athenian right to Amphipolis against Philip of Macedon, the legendary elements of the title were indeed put forward, but more in the way of preface or introduction to the substantial political grounds.[164] But in the year 600 B. C., the authority of the legend was more deep-seated and operative, and adequate by itself to determine a favorable verdict.

In addition to the conquest of Salamis, Solon increased his reputation by espousing the cause of the Delphian temple against the extortionate proceedings of the inhabitants of Kirrha, of which more will be said in a coming chapter; and the favor of the oracle was probably not without its effect in procuring for him that encouraging prophecy with which his legislative career opened.

It is on the occasion of Solon’s legislation, that we obtain our first glimpse—unfortunately, but a glimpse—of the actual state of Attica and its inhabitants. It is a sad and repulsive picture, presenting to us political discord and private suffering combined.

Violent dissensions prevailed among the inhabitants of Attica, who were separated into three factions,—the pedieis, or men of the plain, comprising Athens, Eleusis, and the neighboring territory, among whom the greatest number of rich families were included; the mountaineers in the east and north of Attica, called diakrii, who were on the whole the poorest party; and the paralii in the southern portion of Attica, from sea to sea, whose means and social position were intermediate between the two.[165] Upon what particular points these intestine disputes turned we are not distinctly informed; they were not, however, peculiar to the period immediately preceding the archontate of Solon; they had prevailed before, and they reappear afterwards prior to the[p. 94] despotism of Peisistratus, the latter standing forward as the leader of the diakrii, and as champion, real or pretended, of the poorer population.

But in the time of Solon these intestine quarrels were aggravated by something much more difficult to deal with,—a general mutiny of the poorer population against the rich, resulting from misery combined with oppression. The thêtes, whose condition we have already contemplated in the poems of Homer and Hesiod, are now presented to us as forming the bulk of the population of Attica,—the cultivating tenants, metayers, and small proprietors of the country. They are exhibited as weighed down by debts and dependence, and driven in large numbers out of a state of freedom into slavery,—the whole mass of them, we are told, being in debt to the rich, who are proprietors of the greater part of the soil.[166] They had either borrowed money for their own necessities, or they tilled the lands of the rich as dependent tenants, paying a stipulated portion of the produce, and in this capacity they were largely in arrear.

All the calamitous effects were here seen of the old harsh law of debtor and creditor,—once prevalent in Greece, Italy, Asia, and a large portion of the world,—combined with the recognition of slavery as a legitimate status, and of the right of one[p. 95] man to sell himself as well as that of another man to buy him. Every debtor unable to fulfil his contract was liable to be adjudged as the slave of his creditor, until he could find means either of paying it or working it out; and not only he himself, but his minor sons and unmarried daughters and sisters also, whom the law gave him the power of selling.[167] The poor man thus borrowed upon the security of his body, to translate literally the Greek phrase, and upon that of the persons of his family; and so severely had these oppressive contracts been enforced, that many debtors had been reduced from freedom to slavery in Attica itself,—many others had been sold for exportation,—and some had only hitherto preserved their own freedom by selling their children. Moreover, a great number of the smaller properties in Attica were under mortgage, signified,—according to the formality usual in the Attic law, and continued down throughout the historical times,—by a stone pillar erected on the land, inscribed with the name of the lender and the amount of the loan. The proprietors of these mortgaged lands, in case of an unfavorable turn of events, had no other prospect except that of irremediable slavery for themselves and their families, either in their own native country, robbed of all its delights, or in some barbarian region where the Attic accent would never meet their ears. Some had fled the country to escape legal adjudication of their persons, and earned a miserable subsistence in foreign parts by degrading occupations: upon several, too, this deplorable lot had fallen by unjust condemnation and corrupt judges; the conduct of the rich, in regard to money sacred and profane, in regard to matters public as well as private, being thoroughly unprincipled and rapacious.

The manifold and long-continued suffering of the poor under this system, plunged into a state of debasement not more tolerable than that of the Gallic plebs,—and the injustices of the rich, in whom all political power was then vested, are facts well[p. 96] attested by the poems of Solon himself, even in the short fragments preserved to us:[168] and it appears that immediately preceding the time of his archonship, the evils had ripened to such a point,—and the determination of the mass of sufferers, to extort for themselves some mode of relief, had become so pronounced,—that the existing laws could no longer be enforced. According to the profound remark of Aristotle,—that seditions are generated by great causes but out of small incidents,[169]—we may conceive that some recent events had occurred as immediate stimulants to the outbreak of the debtors,—like those which lend so striking an interest to the early Roman annals, as the inflaming sparks of violent popular movements for which the train had long before been laid. Condemnations by the archons, of insolvent debtors, may have been unusually numerous, or the maltreatment of some particular debtor, once a respected freeman, in his condition of slavery, may have been brought to act vividly upon the public sympathies,—like the case of the old plebeian centurion at Rome,[170]—first impoverished by the plunder of the enemy, then reduced to borrow, and lastly adjudged to his credi[p. 97]tor as an insolvent,—who claimed the protection of the people in the forum, rousing their feelings to the highest pitch by the marks of the slave-whip visible on his person. Some such incidents had probably happened, though we have no historians to recount them; moreover, it is not unreasonable to imagine, that that public mental affliction which the purifier Epimenidês had been invoked to appease, as it sprung in part from pestilence, so it had its cause partly in years of sterility, which must of course have aggravated the distress of the small cultivators. However this may be, such was the condition of things in 594 B. C., through mutiny of the poor freemen and thêtes, and uneasiness of the middling citizens, that the governing oligarchy, unable either to enforce their private debts or to maintain their political power, were obliged to invoke the well-known wisdom and integrity of Solon. Though his vigorous protest—which doubtless rendered him acceptable to the mass of the people—against the iniquity of the existing system had already been proclaimed in his poems, they still hoped that he would serve as an auxiliary, to help them over their difficulties, and they therefore chose him, nominally, as archon along with Philombrotus, but with power in substance dictatorial.

It had happened in several Grecian states, that the governing oligarchies, either by quarrels among their own members or by the general bad condition of the people under their government, were deprived of that hold upon the public mind which was essential to their power; and sometimes, as in the case of Pittakus of Mitylênê, anterior to the archonship of Solon, and often in the factions of the Italian republics in the Middle Ages, the collision of opposing forces had rendered society intolerable, and driven all parties to acquiesce in the choice of some reforming dictator. Usually, however, in the early Greek oligarchies, this ultimate crisis was anticipated by some ambitious individual, who availed himself of the public discontent, to overthrow the oligarchy, and usurp the powers of a despot; and so, probably, it might have happened in Athens, had not the recent failure of Kylôn, with all its miserable consequences, operated as a deterring motive. It is curious to read, in the words of Solon himself, the temper in which his appointment was construed by a large portion of the community, but most especially by his own friends: and we are[p. 98] to bear in mind that at this early day, so far as our knowledge goes, democratical government was a thing unknown in Greece,—all Grecian governments were either oligarchical or despotic, the mass of the freemen having not yet tasted of constitutional privilege. His own friends and supporters were the first to urge him, while redressing the prevalent discontents, to multiply partisans for himself personally, and seize the supreme power: they even “chid him as a madman, for declining to haul up the net when the fish were already enmeshed.”[171] The mass of the people, in despair with their lot, would gladly have seconded him in such an attempt, and many even among the oligarchy might have acquiesced in his personal government, from the mere apprehension of something worse, if they resisted it. That Solon might easily have made himself despot, admits of little doubt; and though the position of a Greek despot was always perilous, he would have had greater facility for maintaining himself in it than Peisistratus possessed after him; so that nothing but the combination of prudence and virtue which marks his lofty character, restricted him within the trust specially confided to him. To the surprise of every one,—to the dissatisfaction of his own friends,—under the complaints alike, as he says, of various extreme and dissentient parties, who required him to adopt measures fatal to the peace of society,[172]—he set himself honestly to solve the very difficult and critical problem submitted to him.

Of all grievances, the most urgent was the condition of the poorer class of debtors; and to their relief Solon’s first measure, the memorable seisachtheia, or shaking off of burdens, was[p. 99] directed. The relief which it afforded was complete and immediate. It cancelled at once all those contracts in which the debtor had borrowed on the security of either his person or of his land: it forbade all future loans or contracts in which the person of the debtor was pledged as security: it deprived the creditor in future of all power to imprison, or enslave, or extort work from his debtor, and confined him to an effective judgment at law, authorizing the seizure of the property of the latter. It swept off all the numerous mortgage pillars from the landed properties in Attica, and left the land free from all past claims. It liberated, and restored to their full rights, all those debtors who were actually in slavery under previous legal adjudication; and it even provided the means—we do not know how—of repurchasing in foreign lands, and bringing back to a renewed life of liberty in Attica, many insolvents who had been sold for exportation.[173] And while Solon forbade every Athenian to pledge or sell his own person into slavery, he took a step farther in the same direction, by forbidding him to pledge or sell his son, his daughter, or an unmarried sister under his tutelage,—excepting only the case in which either of the latter might be detected in unchastity.[174][p. 100] Whether this last ordinance was contemporaneous with the seisachtheia, or followed as one of his subsequent reforms, seems doubtful.

By this extensive measure the poor debtors,—the thêtes, small tenants, and proprietors,—together with their families, were rescued from suffering and peril. But these were not the only debtors in the state: the creditors and landlords of the exonerated thêtes were doubtless in their turn debtors to others, and were less able to discharge their obligations in consequence of the loss inflicted upon them by the seisachtheia. It was to assist these wealthier debtors, whose bodies were in no danger,—yet without exonerating them entirely,—that Solon resorted to the additional expedient of debasing the money standard; he lowered the standard of the drachma in a proportion something more than twenty-five per cent., so that one hundred drachmas of the new standard contained no more silver than seventy-three of the old, or one hundred of the old were equivalent to one hundred and thirty-eight of the new. By this change, the creditors of these more substantial debtors were obliged to submit to a loss, while the debtors acquired an exemption, to the extent of about twenty-seven per cent.[175]

[p. 101]Lastly, Solon decreed that all those who had been condemned by the archons to atīmy (civil disfranchisement) should be restored to their full privileges of citizens,—excepting, however, from this indulgence those who had been condemned by the ephetæ, or by the areopagus, or by the phylo-basileis (the four kings of the tribes), after trial in the prytaneium, on charges either of murder or treason.[176] So wholesale a measure of amnesty affords strong grounds for believing that the previous judgments of the archons had been intolerably harsh; and it is to be recollected that the Drakonian ordinances were then in force.

Such were the measures of relief with which Solon met the dangerous discontent then prevalent. That the wealthy men and leaders of the people, whose insolence and iniquity he has himself so sharply denounced in his poems, and whose views in nominating him he had greatly disappointed,[177] should have detested propositions which robbed them without compensation of so many of their legal rites, it is easy to imagine. But the statement of Plutarch, that the poor emancipated debtors were also dissatisfied, from having expected that Solon would not only remit their debts, but also redivide the soil of Attica, seems utterly incredible; nor is it confirmed by any passage now remaining of the Solonian poems.[178] Plutarch conceives the poor debtors as having in their minds the comparison with Lykurgus, and the equality of property at Sparta, which, as I have already endeavored to show,[179] is a fiction; and even had it been true, as matter of history long past and antiquated, would not have been likely to work upon the minds of the multitude of Attica in the forcible way that the biographer supposes. The seisachtheia must have exasperated the feelings and diminished the fortunes of many persons; but it gave to the large body of thêtes and small proprietors all that they could possibly have hoped. And we are[p. 102] told that after a short interval it became eminently acceptable in the general public mind, and procured for Solon a great increase of popularity,—all ranks concurring in a common sacrifice of thanksgiving and harmony.[180] One incident there was which occasioned an outcry of indignation. Three rich friends of Solon, all men of great family in the state, and bearing names which will hereafter reappear in this history as borne by their descendants,—Konôn, Kleinias, and Hipponikus,—having obtained from Solon some previous hint of his designs, profited by it, first, to borrow money, and next, to make purchases of lands; and this selfish breach of confidence would have disgraced Solon himself, had it not been found that he was personally a great loser, having lent money to the extent of five talents. We should have been glad to learn what authority Plutarch had for this anecdote, which could hardly have been recorded in Solon’s own poems.[181]

In regard to the whole measure of the seisachtheia, indeed, though the poems of Solon were open to every one, ancient authors gave different statements, both of its purport and of its extent. Most of them construed it as having cancelled indiscriminately all money contracts; while Androtion, and others, thought that it did nothing more than lower the rate of interest and depreciate the currency to the extent of twenty-seven per cent., leaving the letter of the contracts unchanged. How Androtion came to maintain such an opinion we cannot easily understand, for the fragments now remaining from Solon seem distinctly to refute it, though, on the other hand, they do not go so far as to substantiate the full extent of the opposite view entertained by many writers,—that all money contracts indiscriminately were rescinded:[182] against which there is also a[p. 103] farther reason, that, if the fact had been so, Solon could have had no motive to debase the money standard. Such debasement supposes that there must have been some debtors, at least, whose contracts remained valid, and whom, nevertheless, he desired partially to assist. His poems distinctly mention three things: 1. The removal of the mortgage pillars. 2. The enfranchisement of the land. 3. The protection, liberation, and restoration of the persons of endangered or enslaved debtors. All these expressions point distinctly to the thêtes and small proprietors, whose sufferings and peril were the most urgent, and whose case required a remedy immediate as well as complete: we find that his repudiation of debts was carried far enough to exonerate them, but no farther.

It seems to have been the respect entertained for the character of Solon which partly occasioned these various misconceptions of his ordinances for the relief of debtors: Androtion in ancient, and some eminent critics in modern times, are anxious to make out that he gave relief without loss or injustice to any one. But this opinion is altogether inadmissible: the loss to creditors, by the wholesale abrogation of numerous prëexisting contracts, and by the partial depreciation of the coin, is a fact not to be disguised. The seisachtheia of Solon, unjust so far as it rescinded previous agreements, but highly salutary in its consequences, is to be vindicated by showing that in no other way could the bonds[p. 104] of government have been held together, or the misery of the multitude alleviated. We are to consider, first, the great personal cruelty of these preëxisting contracts, which condemned the body of the free debtor and his family to slavery; next, the profound detestation created by such a system in the large mass of the poor, against both the judges and the creditors by whom it had been enforced, which rendered their feelings unmanageable, so soon as they came together under the sentiment of a common danger, and with the determination to insure to each other mutual protection. Moreover, the law which vests a creditor with power over the person of his debtor, so as to convert him into a slave, is likely to give rise to a class of loans, which inspire nothing but abhorrence,—money lent with the foreknowledge that the borrower will be unable to repay it, but also in the conviction that the value of his person as a slave will make good the loss; thus reducing him to a condition of extreme misery, for the purpose sometimes of aggrandizing, sometimes of enriching, the lender. Now the foundation on which the respect for contracts rests, under a good law of debtor and creditor, is the very reverse of this; it rests on the firm conviction that such contracts are advantageous to both parties as a class, and that to break up the confidence essential to their existence would produce extensive mischief throughout all society. The man whose reverence for the obligation of a contract is now the most profound, would have entertained a very different sentiment if he had witnessed the dealings of lender and borrower at Athens, under the old ante-Solonian law. The oligarchy had tried their best to enforce this law of debtor and creditor, with its disastrous series of contracts, and the only reason why they consented to invoke the aid of Solon, was because they had lost the power of enforcing it any longer, in consequence of the newly awakened courage and combination of the people. That which they could not do for themselves, Solon could not have done for them, even had he been willing; nor had he in his possession the means either of exempting or compensating those creditors, who, separately taken, were open to no reproach; indeed, in following his proceedings, we see plainly that he thought compensation due, not to the creditors, but to the past sufferings of the enslaved debtors, since he redeemed several of them from foreign cap[p. 105]tivity, and brought them back to their home. It is certain that no measure, simply and exclusively prospective, would have sufficed for the emergency: there was an absolute necessity for overruling all that class of preëxisting rights which had produced so violent a social fever. While therefore, to this extent, the seisachtheia cannot be acquitted of injustice, we may confidently affirm that the injustice inflicted was an indispensable price, paid for the maintenance of the peace of society, and for the final abrogation of a disastrous system as regarded insolvents.[183] And the feeling as well as the legislation universal in the modern European world, by interdicting beforehand all contracts for selling a man’s person or that of his children into slavery, goes far to sanction practically the Solonian repudiation.

One thing is never to be forgotten in regard to this measure, combined with the concurrent amendments introduced by Solon in the law,—it settled finally the question to which it referred. Never again do we hear of the law of debtor and creditor as disturbing Athenian tranquillity. The general sentiment which grew up at Athens, under the Solonian money-law, and under the democratical government, was one of high respect for the sanctity of contracts. Not only was there never any demand in the Athenian democracy for new tables or a depreciation of the money standard, but a formal abnegation of any such projects was inserted in the solemn oath taken annually by the numerous diakasts, who formed the popular judicial body, called hêliæa, or the hêliastic jurors,—the same oath which pledged them to[p. 106] uphold the democratical constitution, also bound them to repudiate all proposals either for an abrogation of debts or for a redivision of the lands.[184] There can be little doubt that under the Solonian law, which enabled the creditor to seize the property of his debtor, but gave him no power over the person, the system of money-lending assumed a more beneficial character: the old noxious contracts, mere snares for the liberty of a poor freeman and his children, disappeared, and loans of money took their place, founded on the property and prospective earnings of the debtor, which were in the main useful to both parties, and therefore maintained their place in the moral sentiment of the public. And though Solon had found himself compelled to rescind all the mortgages on land subsisting in his time, we see money freely lent upon this same security, throughout the historical times of[p. 107] Athens, and the evidentiary mortgage pillars remaining ever after undisturbed.

In the sentiment of an early society, as in the old Roman law, a distinction is commonly made between the principal and the interest of a loan, though the creditors have sought to blend them indissolubly together. If the borrower cannot fulfil his promise to repay the principal, the public will regard him as having committed a wrong which he must make good by his person; but there is not the same unanimity as to his promise to pay interest: on the contrary, the very exaction of interest will be regarded by many in the same light in which the English law considers usurious interest, as tainting the whole transaction. But in the modern mind, principal, and interest within a limited rate, have so grown together, that we hardly understand how it can ever have been pronounced unworthy of an honorable citizen to lend money on interest; yet such is the declared opinion of Aristotle, and other superior men of antiquity; while the Roman Cato, the censor, went so far as to denounce the practice as a heinous crime.[185] It was comprehended by them among the worst of the tricks of trade,—and they held that all trade, or profit derived from interchange, was unnatural, as being made by one man at the expense of another: such pursuits, therefore, could not be commended, though they might be tolerated to a certain extent as matter of necessity, but they belonged essentially to an inferior order of citizens.[186] What is remarkable in[p. 108] Greece is, that the antipathy of a very early state of society against traders and money-lenders lasted longer among the philosophers than among the mass of the people,—it harmonized more with the social idéal of the former, than with the practical instincts of the latter.

In a rude condition, such as that of the ancient Germans described by Tacitus, loans on interest are unknown: habitually careless of the future, the Germans were gratified both in giving and receiving presents, but without any idea that they thereby either imposed or contracted an obligation.[187] To a people in this state of feeling, a loan on interest presents the repulsive idea of making profit out of the distress of the borrower; moreover, it is worthy of remark, that the first borrowers must have been for the most part men driven to this necessity by the pressure of want, and contracting debt as a desperate resource, without any fair prospect of ability to repay: debt and famine run together, in the mind of the poet Hesiod.[188] The borrower is, in this un[p. 109]happy state, rather a distressed man soliciting aid, than a solvent man capable of making and fulfilling a contract; and if he cannot find a friend to make him a free gift in the former character, he will not, under the latter character, obtain a loan from a stranger, except by the promise of exorbitant interest,[189] and by the fullest eventual power over his person which he is in a condition to grant. In process of time a new class of borrowers rise up,[p. 110] who demand money for temporary convenience or profit, but with full prospect of repayment,—a relation of lender and borrower quite different from that of the earlier period, when it presented itself in the repulsive form of misery on the one side, set against the prospect of very large profit on the other. If the Germans of the time of Tacitus had looked to the condition of the poor debtors in Gaul, reduced to servitude under a rich creditor, and swelling by hundreds the crowd of his attendants, they would not have been disposed to regret their own ignorance of the practice of money-lending.[190] How much the interest of money was then regarded as an undue profit extorted from distress, is powerfully[p. 111] illustrated by the old Jewish law; the Jew being permitted to take interest from foreigners (whom the lawgiver did not think himself obliged to protect), but not from his own countrymen.[191][p. 112] The Koran follows out this point of view consistently, and prohibits the taking of interest altogether. In most other nations, laws have been made to limit the rate of interest, and at Rome, especially, the legal rate was successively lowered,—though it seems, as might have been expected, that the restrictive ordinances were constantly eluded. All such restrictions have been intended for the protection of debtors; an effect which large experience proves them never to produce, unless it be called protection to render the obtaining of money on loan impracticable for the most distressed borrowers. But there was another effect which they did tend to produce,—they softened down the primitive antipathy against the practice generally, and confined the odious name of usury to loans lent above the fixed legal rate.

In this way alone could they operate beneficially, and their tendency to counterwork the previous feeling was at that time not unimportant, coinciding as it did with other tendencies arising out of the industrial progress of society, which gradually exhibited the relation of lender and borrower in a light more reciprocally beneficial, and less repugnant to the sympathies of the bystander.[192]

At Athens, the more favorable point of view prevailed throughout all the historical times,—the march of industry and commerce, under the mitigated law which prevailed subsequently to Solon, had been sufficient to bring it about at a very early period, and to suppress all public antipathy against lenders at interest.[193] We may remark, too, that this more equitable tone of opinion grew up spontaneously, without any legal restriction on[p. 113] the rate of interest,—no such restriction having ever been imposed, and the rate being expressly declared free by a law ascribed to Solon himself.[194] The same may probably be said of the communities of Greece generally,—at least there is no information to make us suppose the contrary. But the feeling against lending money at interest remained in the bosoms of the philosophical men long after it had ceased to form a part of the practical morality of the citizens, and long after it had ceased to be justified by the appearances of the case as at first it really had been. Plato, Aristotle, Cicero,[195] and Plutarch, treat the practice as a branch of that commercial and money-getting spirit which they are anxious to discourage; and one consequence of this was, that they were less disposed to contend strenuously for the inviolability of existing money-contracts. The conservative feeling on this point was stronger among the mass than among the philosophers. Plato even complains of it as inconveniently preponderant,[196] and as arresting the legislator in all comprehensive projects of reform. For the most part, indeed, schemes of cancelling debts and redividing lands were never thought of except by men of desperate and selfish ambition, who made them stepping-stones to despotic power. Such men were denounced alike by the practical sense of the community and by the speculative thinkers; but when we turn to the case of the Spartan king Agis the Third, who proposed a complete extinction of debts and an equal redivision of[p. 114] the landed property of the state, not with any selfish or personal views, but upon pure ideas of patriotism, well or ill understood, and for the purpose of renovating the lost ascendency of Sparta,—we find Plutarch[197] expressing the most unqualified admiration of this young king and his projects, and treating the opposition made to him as originating in no better feelings than meanness and cupidity. The philosophical thinkers on politics conceived—and to a great degree justly, as I shall show hereafter—that the conditions of security, in the ancient world, imposed upon the citizens generally the absolute necessity of keeping up a military spirit and willingness to brave at all times personal hardship and discomfort; so that increase of wealth, on account of the habits of self-indulgence which it commonly introduces, was regarded by them with more or less of disfavor. If in their estimation any Grecian community had become corrupt, they were willing to sanction great interference with preëxisting rights for the purpose of bringing it back nearer to their ideal standard: and the real security for the maintenance of these rights lay in the conservative feelings of the citizens generally, much more than in the opinions which superior minds imbibe from the philosophers.

Those conservative feelings were in the subsequent Athenian democracy peculiarly deep-rooted: the mass of the Athenian people identified inseparably the maintenance of property, in all its various shapes, with that of their laws and constitution. And it is a remarkable fact, that though the admiration entertained at Athens for Solon, was universal, the principle of his seisachtheia, and of his money-depreciation, was not only never imitated, but found the strongest tacit reprobation; whereas at Rome, as well as in most of the kingdoms of modern Europe, we know that one debasement of the coin succeeded another,—the temptation, of thus partially eluding the pressure of financial embarrassments, proved, after one successful trial, too strong to be resisted, and brought down the coin by successive depreciations from the full pound of twelve ounces to the standard of half an ounce. It is of some importance to take notice of this fact,[p. 115] when we reflect how much “Grecian faith” has been degraded by the Roman writers into a byword for duplicity in pecuniary dealings.[198] The democracy of Athens,—and, indeed, the cities of Greece generally, both oligarchies and democracies,—stands far above the senate of Rome, and far above the modern kingdoms of France and England, until comparatively recent times, in respect of honest dealing with the coinage:[199] moreover, while[p. 116] there occurred at Rome several political changes which brought about new tables,[200] or at least a partial depreciation of contracts, no phenomenon of the same kind ever happened at Athens, during the three centuries between Solon and the end of the free working of the democracy. Doubtless there were fraudulent debtors at Athens, and the administration of private law, though it did not in any way connive at their proceedings, was far too imperfect to repress them as effectually as might have been wished. But the public sentiment on the point was just and decided, and it may be asserted with confidence, that a loan of money at Athens was quite as secure as it ever was at any time or place of the ancient world,—in spite of the great and important superiority of Rome with respect to the accumulation of a body of authoritative legal precedent, the source of what was ultimately shaped into the Roman jurisprudence. Among the various causes of sedition or mischief in the Grecian communities,[201] we hear little of the pressure of private debt.

By the measures of relief above described,[202] Solon had accomplished results surpassing his own best hopes. He had healed the prevailing discontents; and such was the confidence and gratitude which he had inspired, that he was now called upon to draw up a constitution and laws for the better working of the[p. 117] government in future. His constitutional changes were great and valuable: respecting his laws, what we hear is rather curious than important.

It has been already stated that, down to the time of Solon, the classification received in Attica was that of the four Ionic tribes, comprising in one scale the phratries and gentes, and in another scale the three trittyes and forty-eight naukraries,—while the eupatridæ, seemingly a few specially respected gentes, and perhaps a few distinguished families in all the gentes, had in their hands all the powers of government. Solon introduced a new principle of classification, called, in Greek, the timocratic principle. He distributed all the citizens of the tribes, without any reference to their gentes or phratries, into four classes, according to the amount of their property, which he caused to be assessed and entered in a public schedule. Those whose annual income was equal to five hundred medimni of corn (about seven hundred imperial bushels) and upwards,—one medimnus being considered equivalent to one drachma in money,—he placed in the highest class; those who received between three hundred and five hundred medimni, or drachms, formed the second class; and those between two hundred and three hundred, the third.[203] The fourth and most numerous class comprised all those who did not possess land yielding a produce equal to two hundred medimni. The first class, called pentakosiomedimni, were alone eligible to the archonship and to all commands: the second were called the knights or horsemen of the state, as possessing enough to enable them to keep a horse and perform military service in that capacity: the third class, called the zeugitæ, formed the heavy-armed infantry, and were bound to serve, each with his full panoply. Each of these three classes was entered in the public[p. 118] schedule as possessed of a taxable capital, calculated with a certain reference to his annual income, but in a proportion diminishing according to the scale of that income,—and a man paid taxes to the state according to the sum for which he stood rated in the schedule; so that this direct taxation acted really like a graduated income-tax. The ratable property of the citizens belonging to the richest class, the pentakosiomedimnus, was calculated and entered on the state-schedule at a sum of capital equal to twelve times his annual income: that of the hippeus, or knight, at a sum equal to ten times his annual income: that of the zeugite, at a sum equal to five times his annual income. Thus a pentakosiomedimnus, whose income was exactly five hundred drachms, the minimum qualification of his class, stood rated in the schedule for a taxable property of six thousand drachms, or one talent, being twelve times his income,—if his annual income were one thousand drachms, he would stand rated for twelve thousand drachms, or two talents, being the same proportion of income to ratable capital. But when we pass to the second class, or knights, the proportion of the two is changed,—the knight possessing an income of just three hundred drachms, or three hundred medimni, would stand rated for three thousand drachms, or ten times his real income, and so in the same proportion for any income above three hundred and below five hundred. Again, in the third class. or below three hundred, the proportion is a second time altered,—the zeugite possessing exactly two hundred drachms of income, was rated upon a still lower calculation, at one thousand drachms, or a sum equal to five times his income; and all incomes of this class, between two hundred and three hundred drachms, would in like manner be multiplied by five in order to obtain the amount of ratable capital. Upon these respective sums of scheduled capital, all direct taxation was levied: if the state required one per cent, of direct tax, the poorest pentakosiomedimnus would pay (upon six thousand drachms) sixty drachms; the poorest hippeus would pay (upon three thousand drachms) thirty; the poorest zeugite would pay (upon one thousand drachms) ten drachms. And thus this mode of assessment would operate like a graduated income-tax, looking at it in reference to the three different classes,—but as an equal income-tax, looking at it in[p. 119] reference to the different individuals comprised in one and the same class.[204]

All persons in the state whose annual income amounted to less[p. 120] than two hundred medimni, or drachms, were placed in the fourth class, and they must have constituted the large majority of the community. They were not liable to any direct taxation, and, perhaps, were not at first even entered upon the taxable schedule, more especially as we do not know that any taxes were actually levied upon this schedule during the Solonian times. It is said that they were all called thêtes, but this appellation is not well sustained, and cannot be admitted: the fourth compartment in the descending scale was indeed termed the thetic census, because it contained all the thêtes, and because most of its members were of that humble description; but it is not conceivable that a proprietor whose land yielded to him a clear annual return of one hundred, one hundred and twenty, one hundred and forty, or one hundred and eighty drachms, could ever have been designated by that name.[205]

Such were the divisions in the political scale established by Solon, called by Aristotle a timocracy, in which the rights, honors, functions, and liabilities of the citizens were measured out according to the assessed property of each. Though the scale is stated as if nothing but landed property were measured by it, yet we may rather presume that property of other kinds was intended to be included, since it served as the basis of every man’s liability to taxation. The highest honors of the state,—that is, the places of the nine archons annually chosen, as well as those in the senate of areopagus, into which the past archons always entered,—perhaps also the posts of prytanes of the naukrari,—were reserved for the first class: the poor eupatrids became ineligible; while rich men, not eupatrids, were admitted. Other posts of inferior distinction were filled by the second and third classes, who were, moreover, bound to military service, the[p. 121] one on horseback, the other as heavy-armed soldiers on foot. Moreover, the liturgies of the state, as they were called,—unpaid functions, such as the trierarchy, chorêgy, gymnasiarchy, etc., which entailed expense and trouble on the holder of them,—were distributed in some way or other between the members of the three classes, though we do not know how the distribution was made in these early times. On the other hand, the members of the fourth or lowest class were disqualified from holding any individual office of dignity,—performed no liturgies, served in case of war only as light-armed, or with a panoply provided by the state, and paid nothing to the direct property-tax, or eisphora. It would be incorrect to say that they paid no taxes; for indirect taxes, such as duties on imports, fell upon them in common with the rest; and we must recollect that these latter were, throughout a long period of Athenian history, in steady operation, while the direct taxes were only levied on rare occasions.

But though this fourth class, constituting the great numerical majority of the free people, were shut out from individual office, their collective importance was in another way greatly increased. They were invested with the right of choosing the annual archons, out of the class of pentakosiomedimni; and what was of more importance still, the archons and the magistrates generally, after their year of office, instead of being accountable to the senate of areopagus, were made formally accountable to the public assembly sitting in judgment upon their past conduct. They might be impeached and called upon to defend themselves, punished in case of misbehavior, and debarred from the usual honor of a seat in the senate of areopagus.

Had the public assembly been called upon to act alone, without aid or guidance, this accountability would have proved only nominal. But Solon converted it into a reality by another new institution, which will hereafter be found of great moment in the working out of the Athenian democracy. He created the pro-bouleutic or pre-considering senate, with intimate and especial reference to the public assembly,—to prepare matters for its discussion, to convoke and superintend its meetings, and to insure the execution of its decrees. This senate, as first constituted by[p. 122] Solon, comprised four hundred members, taken in equal proportions from the four tribes,—not chosen by lot, as they will be found to be in the more advanced stage of the democracy, but elected by the people, in the same way as the archons then were,—persons of the fourth or poorest class of the census, though contributing to elect, not being themselves eligible.

But while Solon thus created the new pre-considering senate, identified with and subsidiary to the popular assembly, he manifested no jealousy of the preëxisting areopagitic senate: on the contrary, he enlarged its powers, gave to it an ample supervision over the execution of the laws generally, and imposed upon it the censorial duty of inspecting the lives and occupations of the citizens, as well as of punishing men of idle and dissolute habits. He was himself, as past archon, a member of this ancient senate, and he is said to have contemplated that, by means of the two senates, the state would be held fast, as it were with a double anchor, against all shocks and storms.[206]

Such are the only new political institutions, apart from the laws to be noticed presently, which there are grounds for ascribing to Solon, when we take proper care to discriminate what really belongs to Solon and his age, from the Athenian constitution as afterwards remodelled. It has been a practice common with many able expositors of Grecian affairs, and followed partly, even by Dr. Thirlwall,[207] to connect the name of Solon with the whole political and judicial state of Athens as it stood between the age of Periklês and that of Dêmosthenês,—the reg[p. 123]ulations of the senate of five hundred, the numerous public dikasts or jurors taken by lot from the people, as well as the body annually selected for law-revision, and called nomothets, and the prosecution, called the graphê paranomôn, open to be instituted against the proposer of any measure illegal, unconstitutional, or dangerous. There is, indeed, some countenance for this confusion between Solonian and post-Solonian Athens, in the usage of the orators themselves; for Dêmosthenês and Æschinês employ the name of Solon in a very loose manner, and treat him as the author of institutions belonging evidently to a later age for example, the striking and characteristic oath of the heliastic jurors, which Demosthenês[208] ascribes to Solon, proclaims itself in[p. 124] many ways as belonging to the age after Kleisthenês, especially by the mention of the senate of five hundred, and not of four hundred. Among the citizens who served as jurors or dikasts, Solon was venerated generally as the author of the Athenian laws; and the orator, therefore, might well employ his name for the purpose of emphasis, without provoking any critical inquiry whether the particular institution, which he happened to be then impressing upon his audience, belonged really to Solon himself or to the subsequent periods. Many of those institutions, which Dr. Thirlwall mentions in conjunction with the name of Solon, are among the last refinements and elaborations of the democratical mind of Athens,—gradually prepared, doubtless, during the interval between Kleisthenês and Periklês, but not brought into full operation until the period of the latter (460-429 B. C.); for it is hardly possible to conceive these numerous dikasteries and assemblies in regular, frequent, and long-standing operation, without an assured payment to the dikasts who composed them. Now such payment first began to be made about the time of Periklês, if not by his actual proposition;[209] and Dêmosthenês had good reason for contending that, if it were suspended, the judicial as well as the administrative system of Athens would at once[p. 125] fall to pieces.[210] And it would be a marvel, such as nothing short of strong direct evidence would justify us in believing, that in an age when even partial democracy was yet untried, Solon should conceive the idea of such institutions: it would be a marvel still greater, that the half-emancipated thêtes and small proprietors, for whom he legislated,—yet trembling under the rod of the eupatrid archons, and utterly inexperienced in collective business,—should have been found suddenly competent to fulfil these ascendent functions, such as the citizens of conquering Athens in the days of Periklês,—full of the sentiment of force and actively identifying themselves with the dignity of their community,—became gradually competent, and not more than competent, to exercise with effect. To suppose that Solon contemplated and provided for the periodical revision of his laws by establishing a nomothetic jury, or dikastery, such as that which we find in operation during the time of Dêmosthenês, would be at variance, in my judgment, with any reasonable estimate either of the man or of the age. Herodotus says that Solon, having exacted from the Athenians solemn oaths that they would not rescind any of his laws for ten years, quitted Athens for that period, in order that he might not be compelled to rescind them himself: Plutarch informs us that he gave to his laws force for a century absolute.[211] Solon himself, and Drako before him, had been lawgivers, evoked and empowered by the special emergency of the times; the idea of a frequent revision of laws, by a body of lot-selected dikasts, belongs to a far more advanced age, and could not well have been present to the minds of either. The wooden rollers of Solon, like the tables of the Roman decemvirs,[212] were doubtless intended as a permanent “fons omnis publici privatique juris.”

If we examine the facts of the case, we shall see that nothing more than the bare foundation of the democracy of Athens as it stood in the time of Periklês, can reasonably be ascribed to Solon. “I gave to the people,” Solon says, in one of his short[p. 126] remaining fragments,[213] “as much strength as sufficed for their needs, without either enlarging or diminishing their dignity: for those too who possessed power and were noted for wealth, I took care that no unworthy treatment should be reserved. I stood with the strong shield cast over both parties, so as not to allow an unjust triumph to either.” Again, Aristotle tells us that Solon bestowed upon the people no greater measure of power than was barely necessary,[214]—to elect their magistrates and to hold them to accountability: if the people had had less than this, they could not have been expected to remain tranquil,—they would have been in slavery and hostile to the constitution. Not less distinctly does Herodotus speak, when he describes the revolution subsequently operated by Kleisthenês—the latter, he tells us, found[p. 127] “the Athenian people excluded from everything.”[215] These passages seem positively to contradict the supposition, in itself sufficiently improbable, that Solon is the author of the peculiar democratical institutions of Athens, such as the constant and numerous dikasts for judicial trials and revision of laws. The genuine and forward democratical movement of Athens begins only with Kleisthenês, from the moment when that distinguished Alkmæônid, either spontaneously, or from finding himself worsted in his party strife with Isagoras, purchased by large popular concessions the hearty coöperation of the multitude under very dangerous circumstances. While Solon, in his own statement as well as in that of Aristotle, gave to the people as much power as was strictly needful, but no more,—Kleisthenês (to use the significant phrase of Herodotus), “being vanquished in the party contest with his rival, took the people into partnership.”[216] It was thus to the interests of the weaker section, in a strife of contending nobles, that the Athenian people owed their first admission to political ascendency,—in part, at least, to this cause, though the proceedings of Kleisthenês indicate a hearty and spontaneous popular sentiment. But such constitutional admission of the people would not have been so astonishingly fruitful in positive results, if the course of public events for the half-century after Kleisthenês had not been such as to stimulate most powerfully their energy, their self-reliance, their mutual sympathies, and their ambition. I shall recount in a future chapter those historical causes, which, acting upon the Athenian character, gave such efficiency and expansion to the great democratical impulse communicated by Kleisthenês: at present, it is enough to remark that that impulse commences properly with Kleisthenês, and not with Solon.

[p. 128]But the Solonian constitution, though only the foundation, was yet the indispensable foundation, of the subsequent democracy; and if the discontents of the miserable Athenian population, instead of experiencing his disinterested and healing management, had fallen at once into the hands of selfish power-seekers, like Kylôn or Peisistratus, the memorable expansion of the Athenian mind during the ensuing century would never have taken place, and the whole subsequent history of Greece would probably have taken a different course. Solon left the essential powers of the state still in the hands of the oligarchy, and the party combats—to be recounted hereafter—between Peisistratus, Lykurgus, and Megaklês, thirty years after his legislation, which ended in the despotism of Peisistratus, will appear to be of the same purely oligarchical character as they had been before he was appointed archon. But the oligarchy which he established was very different from the unmitigated oligarchy which he found, so teeming with oppression and so destitute of redress, as his own poems testify.

It was he who first gave both to the citizens of middling property and to the general mass, a locus standi against the eupatrids; he enabled the people partially to protect themselves, and familiarized them with the idea of protecting themselves, by the peaceful exercise of a constitutional franchise. The new force, through which this protection was carried into effect, was the public assembly called heliæa,[217] regularized and armed with[p. 129] enlarged prerogatives, and farther strengthened by its indispensable ally,—the pro-bouleutic or pre-considering senate. Under the Solonian constitution, this force was merely secondary and defensive, but after the renovation of Kleisthenês, it became paramount and sovereign; it branched out gradually into those numerous popular dikasteries which so powerfully modified both public and private Athenian life, drew to itself the undivided reverence and submission of the people, and by degrees rendered the single magistracies essentially subordinate functions. The popular assembly as constituted by Solon, appearing in modified efficiency, and trained to the office of reviewing and judging the general conduct of a past magistrate,—forms the intermediate stage between the passive Homeric agora, and those omnipotent assemblies and dikasteries which listened to Periklês or Dêmosthenês. Compared with these last, it has in it but a faint streak of democracy,—and so it naturally appeared to Aristotle, who wrote with a practical experience of Athens in the time of the orators; but compared with the first, or with the ante-Solonian constitution of Attica, it must doubtless have appeared a concession eminently democratical. To impose upon the eupatrid archon the necessity of being elected, or put upon his trial of after-accountability, by the rabble of freemen (such would be the phrase in eupatrid society), would be a bitter humiliation to those among whom it was first introduced; for we must recollect that this was the most extensive scheme of constitutional reform yet propounded in Greece, and that despots and oligarchies shared between them at that time the whole Grecian world. As it appears that Solon, while constituting the popular assembly with its pro-bouleutic senate, had no jealousy of the senate of areopa[p. 130]gus, and indeed even enlarged its powers,—we may infer that his grand object was, not to weaken the oligarchy generally, but to improve the administration and to repress the misconduct and irregularities of the individual archons; and that too, not by diminishing their powers, but by making some degree of popularity the condition both of their entry into office, and of their safety or honor after it.

It is, in my judgment, a mistake to suppose that Solon transferred the judicial power of the archons to a popular dikastery; these magistrates still continued self-acting judges, deciding and condemning without appeal,—not mere presidents of an assembled jury, as they afterwards came to be during the next century.[218] For the general exercise of such power they were accountable after their year of office; and this accountability was the security against abuse,—a very insufficient security, yet not wholly inoperative. It will be seen, however, presently, that these archons, though strong to coerce, and perhaps to oppress, small and poor men,—had no means of keeping down rebellious[p. 131] nobles of their own rank, such as Peisistratus, Lykurgus, and Megaklês, each with his armed followers. When we compare the drawn swords of these ambitious competitors, ending in the despotism of one of them, with the vehement parliamentary strife between Themistoklês and Aristeidês afterwards, peaceably decided by the vote of the sovereign people, and never disturbing the public tranquillity,—we shall see that the democracy of the ensuing century fulfilled the conditions of order, as well as of progress, better than the Solonian constitution.

To distinguish this Solonian constitution from the democracy which followed it, is essential to a due comprehension of the progress of the Greek mind, and especially of Athenian affairs. That democracy was achieved by gradual steps, which will be hereafter described: Dêmosthenês and Æschinês lived under it as a system consummated and in full activity, when the stages of its previous growth were no longer matter of exact memory; and the dikasts then assembled in judgment were pleased to hear the constitution to which they were attached identified with the names either of Solon, or of Theseus, to which they were no less partial. Their inquisitive contemporary Aristotle was not thus misled: but even the most common-place Athenians of the century preceding would have escaped the same delusion. For during the whole course of the democratical movement from the Persian invasion down to the Peloponnesian war, and especially during the changes proposed by Periklês and Ephialtês, there was always a strenuous party of resistance, who would not suffer the people to forget that they had already forsaken, and were on the point of forsaking still more, the orbit marked out by Solon. The illustrious Periklês underwent innumerable attacks both from the orators in the assembly and from the comic writers in the theatre; and among these sarcasms on the political tendencies of the day, we are probably to number the complaint breathed by the poet Kratinus, of the desuetude into which both Solon and Drako had fallen. “I swear,[219] said he, in a fragment[p. 132] of one of his comedies, by Solon and Drako, whose wooden tablets (of laws) are now employed by people to roast their barley.” The laws of Solon respecting penal offences, respecting inheritance and adoption, respecting the private relations generally, etc., remained for the most part in force; his quadripartite census also continued, at least for financial purposes until the archonship of Nausinikus in 377 B. C.; so that Cicero and others might be warranted in affirming that his laws still prevailed at Athens: but his political and judicial arrangements had undergone a revolution[220] not less complete and memorable than the character and spirit of the Athenian people generally. The choice, by way of lot, of archons and other magistrates, and the distribution by lot of the general body of dikasts or jurors into pannels for judicial business, may be decidedly considered as not belonging to Solon, but adopted after the revolution of Kleisthenês;[221] probably, the choice of senators by lot also. The lot was a symptom of pronounced democratical spirit, such as we must not seek in the Solonian institutions.

It is not easy to make out distinctly what was the political position of the ancient gentes and phratries, as Solon left them. The four tribes consisted altogether of gentes and phratries, insomuch that no one could be included in any one of the tribes who was not also a member of some gens and phratry. Now the new pro-bouleutic or pre-considerate senate consisted of four hundred members,—one hundred from each of the tribes: persons not[p. 133] included in any gens or phratry could therefore have had no access to it. The conditions of eligibility were similar, according to ancient custom, for the nine archons,—of course, also, for the senate of areopagus. So that there remained only the public assembly, in which an Athenian not a member of these tribes could take part: yet he was a citizen, since he could give his vote for archons and senators, and could take part in the annual decision of their accountability, besides being entitled to claim redress for wrong from the archons in his own person,—while the alien could only do so through the intervention of an avouching citizen, or prostatês. It seems, therefore, that all persons not included in the four tribes, whatever their grade of fortune might be, were on the same level in respect to political privilege as the fourth and poorest class of the Solonian census. It has already been remarked that, even before the time of Solon, the number of Athenians not included in the gentes or phratries was probably considerable: it tended to become greater and greater, since these bodies were close and unexpansive, while the policy of the new lawgiver tended to invite industrious settlers from other parts of Greece to Athens. Such great and increasing inequality of political privilege helps to explain the weakness of the government in repelling the aggressions of Peisistratus, and exhibits the importance of the revolution afterwards wrought by Kleisthenês, when he abolished (for all political purposes) the four old tribes, and created ten new comprehensive tribes in place of them.

In regard to the regulations of the senate and the assembly of the people, as constituted by Solon, we are altogether without information: nor is it safe to transfer to the Solonian constitution the information, comparatively ample, which we possess respecting these bodies under the later democracy.

The laws of Solon were inscribed on wooden rollers and triangular tablets, in the species of writing called boustrophêdon (lines alternating first from left to right, and next from right to left, like the course of the ploughman), and preserved first in the acropolis, subsequently in the prytaneium. On the tablets, called kyrbeis, were chiefly commemorated the laws respecting sacred rites and sacrifices:[222] on the pillars, or rollers, of which there were[p. 134] at least sixteen, were placed the regulations respecting matters profane. So small are the fragments which have come down to us, and so much has been ascribed to Solon by the orators, which belongs really to the subsequent times, that it is hardly possible to form any critical judgment respecting the legislation as a whole, or to discover by what general principles or purposes he was guided.

He left unchanged all the previous laws and practices respecting the crime of homicide, connected as they were intimately with the religious feelings of the people. The laws of Drako on this subject therefore remained, but on other subjects, according to Plutarch, they were altogether abrogated:[223] there is, however, room for supposing, that the repeal cannot have been so sweeping as this biographer represents.

The Solonian laws seem to have borne more or less upon all the great departments of human interest and duty. We find regulations political and religious, public and private, civil and criminal, commercial, agricultural, sumptuary, and disciplinarian. Solon provides punishment for crimes, restricts the profession and status of the citizen, prescribes detailed rules for marriage as well as for burial, for the common use of springs and wells, and for the mutual interest of conterminous farmers in planting or hedging their properties. As far as we can judge, from the im[p. 135]perfect manner in which his laws come before us, there does not seem to have been any attempt at a systematic order or classification. Some of them are mere general and vague directions, while others again run into the extreme of speciality.

By far the most important of all was the amendment of the law of debtor and creditor which has already been adverted to, and the abolition of the power of fathers and brothers to sell their daughters and sisters into slavery. The prohibition of all contracts on the security of the body, was itself sufficient to produce a vast improvement in the character and condition of the poorer population,—a result which seems to have been so sensibly obtained from the legislation of Solon, that Boeckh and some other eminent authors suppose him to have abolished villenage and conferred upon the poor tenants a property in their lands, annulling the seignorial rights of the landlord. But this opinion rests upon no positive evidence, nor are we warranted in ascribing to him any stronger measure in reference to the land, than the annulment of the previous mortgages.[224]

The first pillar of his laws contained a regulation respecting exportable produce. He forbade the exportation of all produce of the Attic soil, except olive-oil alone, and the sanction employed to enforce observance of this law deserves notice, as an illustration of the ideas of the time;—the archon was bound, on pain of forfeiting one hundred drachms, to pronounce solemn curses against every offender.[225] We are probably to take this prohi[p. 136]bition in conjunction with other objects said to have been contemplated by Solon, especially the encouragement of artisans and manufacturers at Athens. Observing, we are told, that many new emigrants were just then flocking into Attica to seek an establishment, in consequence of its greater security, he was anxious to turn them rather to manufacturing industry than to the cultivation of a soil naturally poor.[226] He forbade the granting of citizenship to any emigrants, except such as had quitted irrevocably their former abodes, and come to Athens for the purpose of carrying on some industrious profession; and in order to prevent idleness, he directed the senate of areopagus to keep watch over the lives of the citizens generally, and punish every one who had no course of regular labor to support him. If a father had not taught his son some art or profession, Solon relieved the son from all obligation to maintain him in his old age. And it was to encourage the multiplication of these artisans, that he insured, or sought to insure, to the residents in Attica a monopoly of all its landed produce except olive-oil, which was raised in abundance more than sufficient for their wants. It was his wish that the trade with foreigners should be carried on by exporting the produce of artisan labor, instead of the produce of land.[227]

This commercial prohibition is founded on principles substantially similar to those which were acted upon in the early history of England, with reference both to corn and to wool, and in other European countries also. In so far as it was at all operative, it tended to lessen the total quantity of produce raised upon the soil of Attica, and thus to keep the price of it from rising,—a purpose less objectionable—if we assume that the legislator is[p. 137] to interfere at all—than that of our late Corn Laws, which were destined to prevent the price of grain from falling. But the law of Solon must have been altogether inoperative, in reference to the great articles of human subsistence; for Attica imported, both largely and constantly, grain and salt provisions,—probably, also, wool and flax for the spinning and weaving of the women, and certainly timber for building. Whether the law was ever enforced with reference to figs and honey, may well be doubted; at least these productions of Attica were in after-times generally consumed and celebrated throughout Greece. Probably also, in the time of Solon, the silver-mines of Laureium had hardly begun to be worked: these afterwards became highly productive, and furnished to Athens a commodity for foreign payments not less convenient than lucrative.[228]

It is interesting to notice the anxiety, both of Solon and of Drako, to enforce among their fellow-citizens industrious and self-maintaining habits;[229] and we shall find the same sentiment proclaimed by Periklês, at the time when Athenian power was at its maximum. Nor ought we to pass over this early manifestation in Attica, of an opinion equitable and tolerant towards sedentary industry, which in most other parts of Greece was regarded as comparatively dishonorable. The general tone of Grecian sentiment recognized no occupations as perfectly worthy of a free citizen except arms, agriculture, and athletic and musical exercises; and the proceedings of the Spartans, who kept aloof even from agriculture, and left it to their Helots, were admired, though they could not be copied throughout most part of the Hellenic world. Even minds like Plato, Aristotle, and Xenophon concurred to a considerable extent in this feeling, which they justified on the ground that the sedentary life and unceasing house-work of the artisan was inconsistent with military aptitude: the town-occupations are usually described by a word which carries with it contemptuous ideas, and though recognized as indispensable to the existence of the city, are held suitable only for an inferior and semi-privileged order of citizens. This, the received sentiment[p. 138] among Greeks, as well as foreigners, found a strong and growing opposition at Athens, as I have already said,—corroborated also by a similar feeling at Corinth.[230] The trade of Corinth, as well as of Chalkis in Eubœa, was extensive, at a time when that of Athens had scarce any existence. But while the despotism of Periander can hardly have failed to operate as a discouragement to industry at Corinth, the contemporaneous legislation of Solon provided for traders and artisans a new home at Athens, giving the first encouragement to that numerous town-population both in the city and in the Peiræeus, which we find actually residing there in the succeeding century. The multiplication of such town-residents, both citizens and metics, or non-freemen, was a capital fact in the onward march of Athens, since it determined not merely the extension of her trade, but also the preëminence of her naval force,—and thus, as a farther consequence, lent extraordinary vigor to her democratical government. It seems, moreover, to have been a departure from the primitive temper of Atticism, which tended both to cantonal residence and rural occupation. We have, therefore, the greater interest in noting the first mention of it as a consequence of the Solonian legislation.

To Solon is first owing the admission of a power of testamentary bequest at Athens, in all cases in which a man had no legitimate children. According to the preëxisting custom, we may rather presume that if a deceased person left neither children nor blood relations, his property descended, as at Rome, to his gens and phratry.[231] Throughout most rude states of society, the power of willing is unknown, as among the ancient Germans,—among the Romans prior to the twelve tables,—in the old laws of the Hindus,[232] etc. Society limits a man’s interest or power of[p. 139] enjoyment to his life, and considers his relatives as having joint reversionary claims to his property, which take effect, in certain determinate proportions, after his death; and this view was the more likely to prevail at Athens, inasmuch as the perpetuity of the family sacred rites, in which the children and near relatives partook of right, was considered by the Athenians as a matter of public as well as of private concern. Solon gave permission to every man dying without children to bequeathe his property by will as he should think fit, and the testament was maintained, unless it could be shown to have been procured by some compulsion or improper seduction. Speaking generally, this continued to be the law throughout the historical times of Athens. Sons, wherever there were sons, succeeded to the property of their father in equal shares, with the obligation of giving out their sisters in marriage along with a certain dowry. If there were no sons, then the daughters succeeded, though the father might by will, within certain limits, determine the person to whom they should be married, with their rights of succession attached to them; or might, with the consent of his daughters, make by will certain other arrangements about his property. A person who had no children, or direct lineal descendants, might bequeathe his property at pleasure: if he died without a will, first his father, then his brother or brother’s children, next his sister or sister’s children succeeded: if none such existed, then the cousins by the father’s side, next the cousins by the mother’s side,—the male line of descent having preference over the female. Such was the principle of the Solonian laws of succession, though the particulars are in several ways obscure and doubtful.[233] Solon, it appears, was the first who gave power of superseding by testament the rights of agnates and gentiles to succession,—a proceeding in consonance with his plan of encouraging both industrious occupa[p. 140]tion and the consequent multiplication of individual acquisitions.[234]

It has been already mentioned that Solon forbade the sale of daughters or sisters into slavery, by fathers or brothers,—a prohibition which shows how much females had before been looked upon as articles of property. And it would seem that before his time the violation of a free woman must have been punished at the discretion of the magistrates; for we are told that he was the first who enacted a penalty of one hundred drachms against the offender, and twenty drachms against the seducer of a free woman.[235] Moreover, it is said that he forbade a bride when given in marriage to carry with her any personal ornaments and appurtenances, except to the extent of three robes and certain matters of furniture not very valuable.[236] Solon farther imposed upon women several restraints in regard to proceedings at the obsequies of deceased relatives: he forbade profuse demonstrations of sorrow, singing of composed dirges, and costly sacrifices and contributions; he limited strictly the quantity of meat and drink admissible for the funeral banquet, and prohibited nocturnal exit, except in a car and with a light. It appears that both in Greece and Rome, the feelings of duty and affection on the part of surviving relatives prompted them to ruinous expense in a funeral, as well as to unmeasured effusions both of grief and conviviality; and the general necessity experienced for interference of the law is attested by the remark of Plutarch, that similar prohibitions to those enacted by Solon were likewise in force at his native town of Chæroneia.[237]

[p. 141]Other penal enactments of Solon are yet to be mentioned. He forbade absolutely evil-speaking with respect to the dead: he forbade it likewise with respect to the living, either in a temple or before judges or archons, or at any public festival,—on pain of a forfeit of three drachms to the person aggrieved, and two more to the public treasury. How mild the general character of his punishments was, may be judged by this law against foul language, not less than by the law before mentioned against rape: both the one and the other of these offences were much more severely dealt with under the subsequent law of democratical Athens. The peremptory edict against speaking ill of a deceased person, though doubtless springing in a great degree from disinterested repugnance, is traceable also in part to that fear of the wrath of the departed which strongly possessed the early Greek mind.

It seems generally that Solon determined by law the outlay for the public sacrifices, though we do not know what were his particular directions: we are told that he reckoned a sheep and a medimnus (of wheat or barley?) as equivalent, either of them, to a drachm, and that he also prescribed the prices to be paid for first-rate oxen intended for solemn occasions. But it astonishes us to see the large recompense which he awarded out of the public treasury to a victor at the Olympic or Isthmian games: to the former five hundred drachms, equal to one year’s income of the highest of the four classes on the census; to the latter[p. 142] one hundred drachms. The magnitude of these rewards strikes us the more when we compare them with the fines on rape and evil speaking; and we cannot be surprised that the philosopher Xenophanês noticed, with some degree of severity, the extravagant estimate of this species of excellence, current among the Grecian cities.[238] At the same time, we must remember both that these Pan-Hellenic sacred games presented the chief visible evidence of peace and sympathy among the numerous communities of Greece, and that in the time of Solon, factitious reward was still needful to encourage them. In respect to land and agriculture, Solon proclaimed a public reward of five drachms for every wolf brought in, and one drachm for every wolf’s cub: the extent of wild land has at all times been considerable in Attica. He also provided rules respecting the use of wells between neighbors, and respecting the planting in conterminous olive-grounds. Whether any of these regulations continued in operation during the better-known period of Athenian history cannot be safely affirmed.[239]

In respect to theft, we find it stated that Solon repealed the punishment of death which Drako had annexed to that crime, and enacted as a penalty, compensation to an amount double the value of the property stolen. The simplicity of this law perhaps affords ground for presuming that it really does belong to Solon, but the law which prevailed during the time of the orators respecting theft[240] must have been introduced at some later period, since it[p. 143] enters into distinctions and mentions both places and forms of procedure, which we cannot reasonably refer to the 46th Olympiad. The public dinners at the prytaneium, of which the archons and a select few partook in common, were also either first established, or perhaps only more strictly regulated, by Solon: he ordered barley cakes for their ordinary meals, and wheaten loaves for festival days, prescribing how often each person should dine at the table.[241] The honor of dining at the table of the prytaneium was maintained throughout as a valuable reward at the disposal of the government.

Among the various laws of Solon, there are few which have attracted more notice than that which pronounces the man, who in a sedition stood aloof and took part with neither side, to be dishonored and disfranchised.[242] Strictly speaking, this seems more in the nature of an emphatic moral denunciation, or a religious curse, than a legal sanction capable of being formally applied in an individual case and after judicial trial,—though the sentence of atīmy, under the more elaborated Attic procedure, was both definite in its penal consequences and also judicially delivered. We may, however, follow the course of ideas under which Solon was induced to write this sentence on his tables, and we may trace the influence of similar ideas in later Attic institutions. It is obvious that his denunciation is confined to that special case in which a sedition has already broken out: we must suppose that Kylôn has seized the acropolis, or that Peisistratus, Megaklês, and Lykurgus are in arms at the head of their partisans. Assuming these leaders to be wealthy and powerful men, which[p. 144] would in all probability be the fact, the constituted authority—such as Solon saw before him in Attica, even after his own organic amendments—was not strong enough to maintain the peace; it became, in fact, itself one of the contending parties. Under such given circumstances, the sooner every citizen publicly declared his adherence to some one of them, the earlier this suspension of legal authority was likely to terminate. Nothing was so mischievous as the indifference of the mass, or their disposition to let the combatants fight out the matter among themselves, and then to submit to the victor:[243] nothing was so likely to encourage aggression on the part of an ambitious malcontent, as the conviction that, if he could once overpower the small amount of physical force which surrounded the archons and exhibit himself in armed possession of the prytaneium or the acropolis, he might immediately count upon passive submission on the part of all the freemen without. Under the state of feeling which Solon inculcates, the insurgent leader would have to calculate that every man who was not actively in his favor would be actively against him, and this would render his enterprise much more dangerous; indeed, he could then never hope to succeed except on the double supposition of extraordinary popularity in his own person, and universal detestation of the existing government. He would thus be placed under the influence of powerful deterring motives, and mere ambition would be far less likely to seduce him into a course which threatened nothing but ruin, unless under such encouragements from the preëxisting public opinion as to make his success a result desirable for the community. Among the small political societies of Greece,—and especially in the age of Solon, when the number of despots in other parts of Greece seems to have been at its maximum,—every government, whatever might be its form, was sufficiently weak to make its overthrow a matter of comparative facility. Unless upon the supposition of a band of foreign mercenaries,—which would render it a government of naked force, and which the Athenian lawgiver would of course never contemplate,—there was no other stay for it except a positive and pronounced feeling of attachment on the part of the mass of citizens:[p. 145] indifference on their part would render them a prey to every daring man of wealth who chose to become a conspirator. That they should be ready to come forward not only with voice but with arms,—and that they should be known beforehand to be so,—was essential to the maintenance of every good Grecian government. It was salutary in preventing mere personal attempts at revolution, and pacific in its tendency, even where the revolution had actually broken out,—because, in the greater number of cases, the proportion of partisans would probably be very unequal, and the inferior party would be compelled to renounce their hopes.

It will be observed that in this enactment of Solon, the existing government is ranked merely as one of the contending parties. The virtuous citizen is enjoined not to come forward in its support, but to come forward at all events, either for it or against it: positive and early action is all that is prescribed to him as matter of duty. In the age of Solon, there was no political idea or system yet current which could be assumed as an unquestionable datum,—no conspicuous standard to which the citizens could be pledged under all circumstances to attach themselves. The option lay only between a mitigated oligarchy in possession and a despot in possibility; a contest wherein the affections of the people could rarely be counted upon in favor of the established government. But this neutrality in respect to the constitution was at an end after the revolution of Kleisthenês, when the idea of the sovereign people and the democratical institutions became both familiar and precious to every individual citizen. We shall hereafter find the Athenians binding themselves by the most sincere and solemn oaths to uphold their democracy against all attempts to subvert it; we shall discover in them a sentiment not less positive and uncompromising in its direction, than energetic in its inspirations. But while we notice this very important change in their character, we shall at the same time perceive that the wise precautionary recommendation of Solon, to obviate sedition by an early declaration of the impartial public between two contending leaders, was not lost upon them. Such, in point of fact, was the purpose of that salutary and protective institution which is called Ostracism. When two party-leaders, in the early stages of the Athenian democracy, each powerful in adhe[p. 146]rents and influence, had become passionately embarked in bitter and prolonged opposition to each other, such opposition was likely to conduct one or other to violent measures. Over and above the hopes of party triumph, each might well fear that if he himself continued within the bounds of legality, he might fall a victim to aggressive proceedings on the part of his antagonists. To ward off this formidable danger, a public vote was called for to determine which of the two should go into temporary banishment, retaining his property and unvisited by any disgrace. A number of citizens, not less than six thousand, voting secretly and therefore independently, were required to take part, pronouncing upon one or other of these eminent rivals a sentence of exile for ten years: the one who remained became of course more powerful, yet less in a situation to be driven into anti-constitutional courses, than he was before. I shall in a future chapter speak again of this wise precaution, and vindicate it against some erroneous interpretations to which it has given rise; at present, I merely notice its analogy with the previous Solonian law, and its tendency to accomplish the same purpose of terminating a fierce party-feud by artificially calling in the votes of the mass of impartial citizens against one or other of the leaders,—with this important difference, that while Solon assumed the hostile parties to be actually in arms, the ostracism averted that grave public calamity by applying its remedy to the premonitory symptoms.

I have already considered, in a previous chapter, the directions given by Solon for the more orderly recital of the Homeric poems; and it is curious to contrast his reverence for the old epic with the unqualified repugnance which he manifested towards Thespis and the drama,—then just nascent, and holding out little promise of its subsequent excellence. Tragedy and comedy were now beginning to be grafted on the lyric and choric song. First, one actor was provided to relieve the chorus,—subsequently, two actors were introduced to sustain fictitious characters and carry on a dialogue, in such manner that the songs of the chorus and the interlocution of the actors formed a continuous piece. Solon, after having heard Thespis acting (as all the early composers did, both tragic and comic) in his own comedy, asked him afterwards if he was not ashamed to pronounce such falsehoods before so large an audience. And when Thespis answered[p. 147] that there was no harm in saying and doing such things merely for amusement, Solon indignantly exclaimed, striking the ground with his stick,[244] “If once we come to praise and esteem such amusement as this, we shall quickly find the effects of it in our daily transactions.” For the authenticity of this anecdote it would be rash to vouch, but we may at least treat it as the protest of some early philosopher against the deceptions of the drama; and it is interesting, as marking the incipient struggles of that literature in which Athens afterwards attained such unrivalled excellence.

It would appear that all the laws of Solon were proclaimed, inscribed, and accepted without either discussion or resistance. He is said to have described them, not as the best laws which he could himself have imagined, but as the best which he could have induced the people to accept; he gave them validity for the space of ten years, for which period[245] both the senate collectively and the archons individually swore to observe them with fidelity, under penalty, in case of non-observance, of a golden statue, as large as life, to be erected at Delphi. But though the acceptance of the laws was accomplished without difficulty, it was not found so easy either for the people to understand and obey, or for the framer to explain them. Every day, persons came to Solon either with praise, or criticism, or suggestions of various improvements, or questions as to the construction of particular enactments; until at last he became tired of this endless process of reply and vindication, which was seldom successful either in removing obscurity or in satisfying complainants. Foreseeing that, if he remained, he would be compelled to make changes, he obtained leave of absence from his countrymen for ten years, trusting that before the expiration of that period they would have become accustomed to his laws. He quitted his native city, in the full certainty that his laws would remain unrepealed until his return; for, says Herodotus, “the Athenians could not repeal them, since they were bound by solemn oaths to observe them for ten years.” The unqualified manner in which the historian here speaks of an oath, as if it created a sort of physical necessity, and shut out all[p. 148] possibility of a contrary result, deserves notice as illustrating Grecian sentiment.[246]

On departing from Athens, Solon first visited Egypt, where he communicated largely with Psenôphis of Heliopolis and Sonchis of Saïs, Egyptian priests, who had much to tell respecting their ancient history, and from whom he learned matters, real or pretended, far transcending in alleged antiquity the oldest Grecian genealogies,—especially the history of the vast submerged island of Atlantis, and the war which the ancestors of the Athenians had successfully carried on against it, nine thousand years before. Solon is said to have commenced an epic poem upon this subject, but he did not live to finish it, and nothing of it now remains. From Egypt he went to Cyprus, where he visited the small town of Æreia, said to have been originally founded by Demophôn, son of Theseus; it was then under the dominion of the prince Philokyprus,—each town in Cyprus having its own petty prince. It was situated near the river Klarius, in a position precipitous and secure, but inconvenient and ill-supplied; and Solon persuaded Philokyprus to quit the old site, and establish a new town down in the fertile plain beneath. He himself stayed and became œkist of the new establishment, making all the regulations requisite for its safe and prosperous march, which was indeed so decisively manifested that many new settlers flocked into the new plantation, called by Philokyprus Soli, in honor of Solon. To our deep regret, we are not permitted to know what these regulations were; but the general fact is attested by the poems of Solon himself, and the lines, in which he bade farewell to Philokyprus on quitting the island, are yet before us. On the dispositions of this prince, his poem bestowed unqualified commendation.[247]

[p. 149]Besides his visit to Egypt and Cyprus, a story was also current of his having conversed with the Lydian king Crœsus, at Sardis; and the communication said to have taken place between them, has been woven by Herodotus into a sort of moral tale, which forms one of the most beautiful episodes in his whole history. Though this tale has been told and retold as if it were genuine history, yet, as it now stands, it is irreconcilable with chronology,—although, very possibly, Solon may at some time or other have visited Sardis, and seen Crœsus as hereditary prince.[248]

[p. 150]But even if no chronological objections existed, the moral purpose of the tale is so prominent, and pervades it so systemat[p. 151]ically, from beginning to end, that these internal grounds are of themselves sufficiently strong to impeach its credibility as a matter of fact, unless such doubts happen to be outweighed—which in this case they are not—by good contemporary testimony. The narrative of Solon and Crœsus can be taken for nothing else but an illustrative fiction, borrowed by Herodotus from some philosopher, and clothed in his own peculiar beauty of expression, which on this occasion is more decidedly poetical than is habitual with him. I cannot transcribe, and I hardly dare to abridge it. The vainglorious Crœsus, at the summit of his conquests and his riches, endeavors to win from his visitor Solon an opinion that he is the happiest of mankind. The latter, after having twice preferred to him modest and meritorious Grecian citizens, at length reminds him that his vast wealth and power are of a tenure too precarious to serve as an evidence of happiness,—that the gods are jealous and meddlesome, and often make the show of happiness a mere prelude to extreme disaster,—and that no man’s life can be called happy until the whole of it has been played out, so that it may be seen to be out of the reach of reverses. Crœsus treats this opinion as absurd, but “a great judgment from God fell upon him, after Solon was departed,—probably (observes Herodotus) because he fancied himself the happiest of all men.” First, he lost his favorite son Atys, a brave and intelligent youth,—his only other son being dumb. For the Mysians of Olympus, being ruined by a destructive and[p. 152] formidable wild boar which they were unable to subdue, applied for aid to Crœsus, who sent to the spot a chosen hunting force, and permitted, though with great reluctance, in consequence of an alarming dream,—that his favorite son should accompany them. The young prince was unintentionally slain by the Phrygian exile Adrastus, whom Crœsus had sheltered and protected;[249] and he had hardly recovered from the anguish of this misfortune, when the rapid growth of Cyrus and the Persian power induced him to go to war with them, against the advice of his wisest counsellors. After a struggle of about three years he was completely defeated, his capital Sardis taken by storm, and himself made prisoner. Cyrus ordered a large pile to be prepared, and placed upon it Crœsus in fetters, together with fourteen young Lydians, in the intention of burning them alive, either as a religious offering, or in fulfilment of a vow, “or perhaps (says Herodotus) to see whether some of the gods would not interfere to rescue a man so preëminently pious as the king of Lydia.”[250] In this sad extremity, Crœsus bethought him of the warning which he had before despised, and thrice pronounced, with a deep groan, the name of Solon. Cyrus desired the interpreters to inquire whom he was invoking, and learned in reply the anecdote of the Athenian lawgiver, together with the solemn memento which he had offered to Crœsus during more prosperous days, attesting the frail tenure of all human greatness. The remark sunk deep into the Persian monarch, as a token of what might happen to himself: he repented of his purpose, and directed that the pile, which had already been kindled, should be immediately extinguished. But the orders came too late; in spite of the most zealous efforts[p. 153] of the bystanders, the flame was found unquenchable, and Crœsus would still have been burned, had he not implored with prayers and tears the succor of Apollo, to whose Delphian and Theban temples he had given such munificent presents. His prayers were heard, the fair sky was immediately overcast, and a profuse rain descended, sufficient to extinguish the flames.[251] The life of Crœsus was thus saved, and he became afterwards the confidential friend and adviser of his conqueror.

Such is the brief outline of a narrative which Herodotus has given with full development and with impressive effect. It would have served as a show-lecture to the youth of Athens, not less admirably than the well-known fable of the Choice of Hêraklês, which the philosopher Prodikus,[252] a junior contemporary of Herodotus, delivered with so much popularity. It illustrates forcibly the religious and ethical ideas of antiquity; the deep sense of the jealousy of the gods, who would not endure pride in any one except themselves;[253] the impossibility, for any man, of realizing to himself more than a very moderate share of happiness; the danger from reactionary nemesis, if at any time he had overpassed such limit; and the necessity of calculations taking in the whole of life, as a basis for rational comparison of different individuals; and as a practical consequence from these feelings, a constant protest on the part of the moralists against vehement impulses and unrestrained aspirations. The more valuable this narrative appears, in its illustrative character, the less can we presume to treat it as a history.

It is much to be regretted that we have no information respecting events in Attica immediately after the Solonian laws and constitution, which were promulgated in 594 B. C., so as to understand better the practical effect of these changes. What we next hear respecting Solon in Attica refers to a period immediately preceding the first usurpation of Peisistratus in 560 B. C., and[p. 154] after the return of Solon from his long absence. We are here again introduced to the same oligarchical dissensions as are reported to have prevailed before the Solonian legislation: the pedieis, or opulent proprietors of the plain round Athens, under Lykurgus; the parali of the south of Attica, under Megaklês: and the diakrii, or mountaineers of the eastern cantons, the poorest of the three classes, under Peisistratus, are in a state of violent intestine dispute. The account of Plutarch represents Solon as returning to Athens during the height of this sedition. He was treated with respect by all parties, but his recommendations were no longer obeyed, and he was disqualified by age from acting with effect in public. He employed his best efforts to mitigate party animosities, and applied himself particularly to restrain the ambition of Peisistratus, whose ulterior projects he quickly detected.

The future greatness of Peisistratus is said to have been first portended by a miracle which happened, even before his birth, to his father Hippokratês at the Olympic games. It was realized, partly by his bravery and conduct, which had been displayed in the capture of Nisæa from the Megarians,[254]—partly by his pop[p. 155]ularity of speech and manners, his championship of the poor,[255] and his ostentatious disavowal of all selfish pretensions,—partly by an artful mixture of stratagem and force. Solon, after having addressed fruitless remonstrances to Peisistratus himself, publicly denounced his designs in verses addressed to the people. The deception, whereby Peisistratus finally accomplished his design, is memorable in Grecian tradition.[256] He appeared one day in the agora of Athens in his chariot with a pair of mules: he had intentionally wounded both his person and the mules, and in this condition he threw himself upon the compassion and defence of the people, pretending that his political enemies had violently attacked him. He implored the people to grant him a guard, and at the moment when their sympathies were freshly aroused both in his favor and against his supposed assassins, Aristo pro[p. 156]posed formally to the ekklesia,—the pro-bouleutic senate, being composed of friends of Peisistratus, had previously authorized the proposition,[257]—that a company of fifty club-men should be assigned as a permanent body-guard for the defence of Peisistratus. To this motion Solon opposed a strenuous resistance,[258] but found himself overborne, and even treated as if he had lost his senses. The poor were earnest in favor of it, while the rich were afraid to express their dissent; and he could only comfort himself, after the fatal vote had been passed, by exclaiming that he was wiser than the former and more determined than the latter. Such was one of the first known instances in which this memorable stratagem was played off against the liberty of a Grecian community.

The unbounded popular favor which had procured the passing of this grant, was still farther manifested by the absence of all precautions to prevent the limits of the grant from being exceeded. The number of the body-guard was not long confined to fifty, and probably their clubs were soon exchanged for sharper weapons. Peisistratus thus found himself strong enough to throw off the mask and seize the acropolis. His leading opponents, Megaklês and the Alkmæônids, immediately fled the city, and it was left to the venerable age and undaunted patriotism of Solon to stand forward almost alone in a vain attempt to resist the usurpation. He publicly presented himself in the market-place, employing encouragement, remonstrance, and reproach, in order to rouse the spirit of the people. To prevent this despotism from coming, he told them would have been easy; to shake it off now was more difficult, yet at the same time more glorious.[259] But he spoke in vain; for all who were not actually favorable to Peisistratus listened only to their fears, and remained passive; nor did any one join Solon, when, as a last appeal, he put on his armor and planted himself in military posture before the door of his house. “I have done my duty, he exclaimed at length; I have sustained to the best of my power my country and the[p. 157] laws:” and he then renounced all farther hope of opposition,—though resisting the instances of his friends that he should flee, and returning for answer, when they asked him on what he relied for protection, “On my old age.” Nor did he even think it necessary to repress the inspirations of his Muse: some verses yet remain, composed seemingly at a moment when the strong hand of the new despot had begun to make itself sorely felt, in which he tells his countrymen: “If ye have endured sorrow from your own baseness of soul, impute not the fault of this to the gods. Ye have yourselves put force and dominion into the hands of these men, and have thus drawn upon yourselves wretched slavery.”

It is gratifying to learn that Peisistratus, whose conduct throughout his despotism was comparatively mild, left Solon untouched. How long this distinguished man survived the practical subversion of his own constitution, we cannot certainly determine; but according to the most probable statement he died the very next year, at the advanced age of eighty.

We have only to regret that we are deprived of the means of following more in detail his noble and exemplary character. He represents the best tendencies of his age, combined with much that is personally excellent; the improved ethical sensibility; the thirst for enlarged knowledge and observation, not less potent in old age than in youth; the conception of regularized popular institutions, departing sensibly from the type and spirit of the governments around him, and calculated to found a new character in the Athenian people; a genuine and reflecting sympathy with the mass of the poor, anxious not merely to rescue them from the oppressions of the rich, but also to create in them habits of self-relying industry; lastly, during his temporary possession of a power altogether arbitrary, not merely an absence of all selfish ambition, but a rare discretion in seizing the mean between conflicting exigencies. In reading his poems we must always recollect that what now appears common-place was once new, so that to his comparatively unlettered age, the social pictures which he draws were still fresh, and his exhortations calculated to live in the memory. The poems composed on moral subjects, generally inculcate a spirit of gentleness towards others and moderation in personal objects; they represent the gods as irresistible, retribu[p. 158]tive, favoring the good and punishing the bad, though sometimes very tardily. But his compositions on special and present occasions are usually conceived in a more vigorous spirit; denouncing the oppressions of the rich at one time, and the timid submission to Peisistratus at another,—and expressing, in emphatic language, his own proud consciousness of having stood forward as champion of the mass of the people. Of his early poems hardly anything is preserved; the few lines which remain seem to manifest a jovial temperament, which we may well conceive to have been overlaid by the political difficulties against which he had to contend,—difficulties arising successively out of the Megarian war, the Kylonian sacrilege, the public despondency healed by Epimenidês, and the task of arbiter between a rapacious oligarchy and a suffering people. In one of his elegies, addressed to Mimnermus, he marked out the sixtieth year as the longest desirable period of life, in preference to the eightieth year, which that poet had expressed a wish to attain;[260] but his own life, as far as we can judge, seems to have reached the longer of the two periods, and not the least honorable part of it—the resistance to Peisistratus—occurs immediately before his death.

There prevailed a story, that his ashes were collected and scattered around the island of Salamis, which Plutarch treats as absurd,—though he tells us at the same time that it was believed both by Aristotle, and by many other considerable men: it is at least as ancient as the poet Kratinus, who alluded to it in one of his comedies, and I do not feel inclined to reject it.[261] The inscription on the statue of Solon at Athens described him as a Salaminian: he had been the great means of acquiring the island for his country,—and it seems highly probable that among the new Athenian citizens who went to settle there, he may have received a lot of land and become enrolled among the Salaminian demots. The dispersion of his ashes in various parts of the island connects him with it as in some sort the œkist; and we may construe that[p. 159] incident, if not as the expression of a public vote, at least as a piece of affectionate vanity on the part of his surviving friends.[262]

We have now reached the period of the usurpation of Peisistratus (B. C. 560), whose dynasty governed Athens—with two temporary interruptions during the life of Peisistratus himself—for fifty years. The history of this despotism, milder than Grecian despotism generally, and productive of important consequences to Athens, will be reserved for a succeeding chapter.


The explanation which M. von Savigny gives of the Nexi and Addicti under the old Roman law of debtor and creditor (after he has refuted the elucidation of Niebuhr on the same subject), while it throws great light on the historical changes in Roman legislation on that important subject, sets forth at the same time the marked difference made in the procedure of Rome, between the demand of the creditor for repayment of principal, and the demand for payment of interest.

The primitive Roman law distinguished a debt arising from money lent (pecunia certa credita) from debts arising out of contract, delict, sale, etc., or any other source: the creditor on the former ground had a quick and easy process, by which he acquired the fullest power over the person and property of his debtor. After the debt on loan was either confessed or proved before the magistrate, thirty days were allowed to the debtor for payment: if payment was not made within that time, the creditor laid hold of him (manûs injectio) and carried him before the magistrate again. The debtor was now again required either to pay or to find a surety (vindex); if neither of these demands were complied with, the creditor took possession of him and carried him home, where he kept him in chains for two months; during which interval he brought him before the prætor publicly on three successive nundinæ. If the debt was not paid within these two months, the sentence of addiction was pronounced, and the creditor became empowered either to put his debtor to death, or to sell him for a slave (p. 81), or to keep him at forced work, without any restriction as to the degree of ill usage which might be inflicted upon him. The judgment of the magistrate authorized him, besides, to seize the property of his debtor wherever he could find any, within[p. 160] the limits sufficient for payment: this was one of the points which Niebuhr had denied.

Such was the old law of Rome, with respect to the consequences of an action for money had and received, for more than a century after the Twelve Tables. But the law did not apply this stringent personal execution to any debt except that arising from loan,—and even in that debt only to the principal money, not to the interest,—which latter had to be claimed by a process both more gentle and less efficient, applying to the property only and not to the person of the debtor. Accordingly, it was to the advantage of the creditor to devise some means for bringing his claim of interest under the same stringent process as his claim for the principal; it was also to his advantage, if his claim arose, not out of money lent, but out of sale, compensation for injury, or any other source, to give it the form of an action for money lent. Now the nexum, or nexi obligatio, was an artifice—a fictitious loan—whereby this purpose was accomplished. The severe process which legally belonged only to the recovery of the principal money, was extended by the nexum so as to comprehend the interest; and so as to comprehend, also, claims for money arising from all other sources (as well as from loan), wherein the law gave no direct recourse except against the property of a debtor. The debitor nexus was made liable by this legal artifice to pass into the condition of an addictus, either without having borrowed money at all, or for the interest as well as for the principal of that which he had borrowed.

The Lex Pœtelia, passed about B. C. 325, liberated all the nexi then under liability, and interdicted the nexi obligatio forever afterwards (Cicero, De Republ. ii, 34; Livy, viii, 28). Here, as in the seisachtheia of Solon, the existing contracts were cancelled, at the same time that the whole class of similar contracts were forbidden for the future.

But though the nexi obligatio was thus abolished, the old stringent remedy still continued against the debtor on loan, as far as the principal sum borrowed, apart from interest. Some mitigations were introduced: by a Lex Julia, the still more important provision was added, that the debtor by means of a cessio bonorum might save his person from seizure. But this cessio bonorum was coupled with conditions which could not always be fulfilled, nor was the debtor admitted to the benefit of it, if he had been guilty of carelessness or dishonesty. Accordingly, the old stringent process, and the addiction in which it ended, though it became less frequent, still continued throughout the course of Imperial Rome, and even down to the time of Justinian. The private prison, with adjudicated debtors working in it, was still the appendage to a Roman money-lender’s house, even in the third and fourth centuries after the Christian era, though the practice seems to have become rarer and rarer. The status of the addictus debitor, with its peculiar rights and obligations, is discussed by Quintilian (vii, 3); and Aulus Gellius observes: “Addici namque nunc et vinciri multos videmus, quia vinculorum pœnam deterrimi homines contemnunt,” (xx, 1.)

If the addictus debitor was adjudged to several creditors, they were allowed by the Twelve Tables to divide his body among them. No example[p. 161] was known of this power having been ever carried into effect, but the law was understood to give the power distinctly.

It is useful to have before us the old Roman law of debtor and creditor, partly as a point of comparison with the ante-Solonian practice in Attica, partly to illustrate the difference drawn in an early state of society between the claim for the principal and the claim for the interest.

See the Abhandlung of Von Savigny in the Transactions of the Berlin Academy for 1833, pp. 70-103; the subject is also treated by the same admirable expositor, in his System des heutigen Römischen Rechts, vol. v, sect. 219, and in Beilage xiv, 10-11 of that volume.

The same peculiar stringent process, which was available in the case of an action for pecunia certa credita, was also specially extended to the surety, who had paid down money to liquidate another man’s debt; the debtor, if solvent, became his addictus,—this was the actio depensi. I have already remarked in a former note, that in the Attic law, a case analogous to this was the only one in which the original remedy against the person of the debtor was always maintained. When a man had paid money to redeem a citizen from captivity, the latter, if he did not repay it, became the slave of the party who had advanced the money.

Walter (Geschichte des Römischen Rechts, sects. 583-715, 2d ed.) calls in question the above explanation of Von Savigny, on grounds which do not appear to me sufficient.

How long the feeling continued, that it was immoral and irreligious to receive any interest at all for money lent, may be seen from the following notice respecting the state of the law in France even down to 1789:—

“Avant la Révolution Française (de 1789) le prêt à intérêt n’était pas également admis dans les diverses parties du royaume. Dans les pays de droit écrit, il était permis de stipuler l’intérêt des déniers prêtés: mais la jurisprudence des parlemens resistait souvent à cet usage. Suivant le droit commun des pays coutumiers, on ne pouvait stipuler aucun intérêt pour le prêt appelé en droit mutuum. On tenait pour maxime que l’argent ne produisant rien par lui-même, un tel prêt devait être gratuit: que la perception d’intérêts était une usure: à cet égard, on admettait assez généralement les principes du droit canonique. Du reste, la législation et la jurisprudence variaient suivant les localités et suivant la nature des contrâts et des obligations.” (Carette, Lois Annotées, ou Lois, Décrets, Ordonnances, Paris 1843; Note sur le Décret de l’Assemblée Nationale concernant le Prêt et Intérêt. Août 11, 1789.)

The National Assembly declared the legality of all loans on interest, “suivant le taux déterminé par la loi,” but did not then fix any special rate. “Le décret du 11 Avril, 1793, défendit la vente et l’achat du numéraire.” “La loi du 6 floréal, an III, déclara que l’or et l’argent sont marchandises; mais elle fut rapportée par le décret du 2 prairial suivant. Les articles 1905 et 1907 du Code Civil permettent le prêt à intérêt, mais au taux fixé ou autorisé par la loi. La loi du 3 Sept. 1807 a fixé le taux d’intérêt à 5 per cent. en matière civile et à 6 per cent. en matière commerciale.”

[p. 162]The article on Lending-houses, in Beckmann’s History of Inventions (vol. iii, pp. 9-50), is highly interesting and instructive on the same subject. It traces the gradual calling in question, mitigation, and disappearance, of the ancient antipathy against taking interest for money, an antipathy long sanctioned by the ecclesiastics as well as by the jurists. Lending-houses, or Monts de Piété, were first commenced in Italy about the middle of the fifteenth century, by some Franciscan monks, for the purpose of rescuing poor borrowers from the exorbitant exactions of the Jews: Pope Pius the Second (Æneas Silvius, one of the ablest of the popes, about 1458-1464), was the first who approved of one of them at Perugia, but even the papal sanction was long combated by a large proportion of ecclesiastics. At first, it was to be purely charitable; not only neither giving interest to those who contributed money, nor taking interest from the borrowers,—but not even providing fixed pay to the administrators: interest was tacitly taken, but the popes were a long time before they would formally approve of such a practice. “At Vicenza, in order to avoid the reproach of usury, the artifice was employed of not demanding any interest, but admonishing the borrowers that they should give a remuneration according to their piety and ability,” (p. 31.) The Dominicans, partisans of the old doctrine, called these establishments Montes Impietatis. A Franciscan monk Bernardinus, one of the most active promoters of the Monts de Piété, did not venture to defend, but only to excuse as an unavoidable evil, the payment of wages to the clerks and administrators: “Speciosius et religiosius fatebatur Bernardinus fore, si absque ullo penitus obolo et pretio mutuum daretur et commodaretur libere pecunia, sed pium opus et pauperum subsidium exiguo sic duraturum tempore. Non enim (inquit) tantus est ardor hominum, ut gubernatores et officiales, Montium ministerio necessarii, velint laborem hunc omnem gratis subire: quod si remunerandi sint ex sorte principali, vel ipso deposito, seu exili Montium ærario, brevi exhaurietur, et commodum opportunumque istud pauperum refugium ubique peribit.” (p. 33.)

The Council of Trent, during the following century, pronounced in favor of the legality and usefulness of these lending-houses, and this has since been understood to be the sentiment of the Catholic church generally.

To trace this gradual change of moral feeling is highly instructive,—the more so, as that general basis of sentiment, of which the antipathy against lending money on interest is only a particular case, still prevails largely in society and directs the current of moral approbation and disapprobation. In some nations, as among the ancient Persians before Cyrus, this sentiment has been carried so far as to repudiate and despise all buying and selling (Herodot. i, 153). With many, the principle of reciprocity in human dealings appears, when conceived in theory, odious and contemptible, and goes by some bad name, such as egoism, selfishness, calculation, political economy, etc: the only sentiment which they will admit in theory, is, that the man who has, ought to be ready at all times to give away what he has to him who has not; while the latter is encouraged to expect and require such gratuitous donation.

[p. 163]


Among the Ionic portion of Hellas are to be reckoned (besides Athens) Eubœa, and the numerous group of islands included between the southernmost Eubœan promontory, the eastern coast of Peloponnesus, and the north-western coast of Krête. Of these islands some are to be considered as outlying prolongations, in a south-easterly direction, of the mountain-system of Attica; others, of that of Eubœa; while a certain number of them lie apart from either system, and seem referable to a volcanic origin.[263] To the first class belong Keôs, Kythnus, Serīphus, Pholegandrus, Sikinus, Gyarus, Syra, Paros, and Antiparos; to the second class, Andros, Tênos, Mykonos, Dêlos, Naxos, Amorgos; to the third class, Kimôlus, Mêlos, Thêra. These islands passed amongst the ancients by the general name of the Cyclades and the Sporades; the former denomination being commonly understood to comprise those which immediately surrounded the sacred island of Dêlos,—the latter being given to those which lay more scattered and apart. But the names are not applied with uniformity or steadiness even in ancient times: at present, the whole group are usually known by the title of Cyclades.

The population of these islands was called Ionic,—with the exception of Styra and Karystus in the southern part of Eubœa, and the island of Kythnus, which were peopled by dryopes,[264] the same tribe as those who have been already remarked in the Argolic peninsula; and with the exception also of Mêlos and Thêra, which were colonies from Sparta.

The island of Eubœa, long and narrow like Krête, and exhibiting a continuous backbone of lofty mountains from north-west to south-east, is separated from Bœotia at one point by a strait so narrow (celebrated in antiquity under the name of the Eurīpus),[p. 164] that the two were connected by a bridge for a large portion of the historical period of Greece, erected during the later times of the Peloponnesian war by the inhabitants of Chalkis.[265] Its general want of breadth leaves little room for plains: the area of the island consists principally of mountain, rock, dell, and ravine, suited in many parts for pasture, but rarely convenient for grain-culture or town habitations. Some plains there were, however, of great fertility, especially that of Lelantum,[266] bordering on the sea near Chalkis, and continuing from that city in a southerly direction towards Eretria. Chalkis and Eretria, both situated on the western coast, and both occupying parts of this fertile plain, were the two principal places in the island: the domain of each seems to have extended across the island from sea to sea.[267] Towards the northern end of the island were situated Histiæa, afterwards called Oreus,—as well as Kêrinthus and Dium, Athênæ Diades, Ædêpsus, Ægæ, and Orobiæ, are also mentioned on the north-western coast, over against Lokris. Dystus, Styra, and Karystus are made known to us in the portion of the island south of Eretria,—the two latter opposite to the Attic demes Halæ, Araphênides, and Prasiæ.[268] The large extent of the island of Eubœa was thus distributed between six or seven cities, the larger and central portion belonging to Chalkis and Eretria. But the extensive mountain lands, applicable only for pastures in the summer,—for the most part public lands, let out for pasture to such proprietors as had the means of providing winter sustenance elsewhere for their cattle,—were never visited by any one except the shepherds; and were hardly better known to the citizens[p. 165] resident in Chalkis and Eretria than if they had been situated on the other side of the Ægean.[269]

The towns above enumerated in Eubœa, excepting Athenæ Diades, all find a place in the Iliad. Of their history we know no particulars until considerably after 776 B. C., and they are first introduced to us as Ionic, though in Homer the population are called Abantes. The Greek authors are never at a loss to give us the etymology of a name. While Aristotle tells us that the Abantes were Thracians who had passed over into the island from Abæ in Phokis, Hesiod deduces the name of Eubœa from the cow Iô.[270] Hellopia, a district near Histiæa, was said to have been founded by Hellops, son of Ion: according to others, Æklus and Kothus, two Athenians,[271] were the founders, the former of Eretria, the latter of Chalkis and Kêrinthus: and we are told, that among the demes of Attica, there were two named Histiæa and Eretria, from whence some contended that the appellations of the two Eubœan towns were derived. Though Herodotus represents the population of Styra as Dryopian, there were others[p. 166] who contended that it had originally been peopled from Marathon and the tetrapolis of Attica, partly from the deme called Steireïs. The principal writers whom Strabo consulted seem to trace the population of Eubœa, by one means or other, to an Attic origin, though there were peculiarities in the Eretrian dialect which gave rise to the supposition that they had been joined by settlers from Elis, or from the Triphylian Makistus.

Our earliest historical intimations represent Chalkis and Eretria as the wealthiest, most powerful, and most enterprising Ionic cities in European Greece,—apparently surpassing Athens, and not inferior to Samos or Miletus. Besides the fertility of the plain Lelantum, Chalkis possessed the advantage of copper and iron ore, obtained in immediate proximity both to the city and to the sea,—which her citizens smelted and converted into arms and other implements, with a very profitable result: the Chalkidic sword acquired a distinctive renown.[272] In this mineral source of wealth several of the other islands shared: iron ore is found in Keôs, Kythnus, and Seriphus, and traces are still evident in the latter island of extensive smelting formerly practised.[273] Moreover, in Siphnus, there were in early times veins of silver and gold, by which the inhabitants were greatly enriched; though their large acquisitions, attested by the magnitude of the tithe[274] which they offered at the Delphian temple, were only of temporary duration, and belong particularly to the seventh and sixth centuries before the Christian era. The island of Naxos too, was at an early day wealthy and populous. Andros, Tênos, Keôs, and several other islands, were at one time reduced to[p. 167] dependence upon Eretria:[275] other islands seem to have been in like manner dependent upon Naxos, which at the time immediately preceding the Ionic revolt possessed a considerable maritime force, and could muster eight thousand heavy-armed citizens,[276]—a very large force for any single Grecian city. Nor was the military force of Eretria much inferior; for in the temple of the Amarynthian Artemis, nearly a mile from the city, to which the Eretrians were in the habit of marching in solemn procession to celebrate the festival of the goddess, there stood an ancient column setting forth that the procession had been performed by no less than three thousand hoplites, six hundred horsemen, and sixty chariots.[277] The date of this inscription cannot be known, but it can hardly be earlier than the 45th Olympiad, or 600 B. C.,—near about the time of the Solonian legislation. Chalkis was still more powerful than Eretria; both were in early times governed by an oligarchy, which among the Chalkidians was called hippobotæ, or horse-feeders,—proprietors probably of most part of the plain called Lelantum, and employing the adjoining mountains as summer pasture for their herds. The extent of their property is attested by the large number of four thousand kleruchs, or out-freemen, whom Athens quartered upon their lands, after the victory gained over them when they assisted the expelled Hippias in his efforts to regain the Athenian sceptre.[278]

Confining our attention, as we now do, to the first two centuries of Grecian history, or the interval between 776 B. C. and 560 B. C., there are scarce any facts which we can produce to ascertain the condition of these Ionic islands. Two or three circum[p. 168]stances, however, may be named, which go to confirm our idea of their early wealth and importance.

1. The Homeric Hymn to Apollo presents to us the island of Dêlos as the centre of a great periodical festival in honor of Apollo, celebrated by all the cities, insular and continental, of the Ionic name. What the date of this hymn is, we have no means of determining: Thucydidês quotes it, without hesitation, as the production of Homer, and, doubtless, it was in his time universally accepted as such,—though modern critics concur in regarding both that and the other hymns as much later than the Iliad and Odyssey: it cannot probably be later than 600 B. C. The description of the Ionic visitors presented to us in this hymn is splendid and imposing: the number of their ships, the display of their finery, the beauty of their women, the athletic exhibitions as well as the matches of song and dance,—all these are represented as making an ineffaceable impression on the spectator:[279] “the assembled Ionians look as if they were beyond the reach of old age or death.” Such was the magnificence of which Dêlos was the periodical theatre, and which called forth the voices and poetical genius not merely of itinerant bards, but also of the Delian maidens in the temple of Apollo, during the century preceding 560 B. C. At that time it was the great central festival of the Ionians in Asia and Europe; frequented by the twelve Ionic cities, in and near Asia Minor, as well as by Athens and Chalkis in Europe: it had not yet been superseded by the Ephesia as the exclusive festival of the former, nor had the Panathenæa of Athens reached the importance which afterwards came to belong to them during the plenitude of the Athenian power.

We find both Polykratês of Samos, and Peisistratus of Athens, taking a warm interest in the sanctity of Dêlos and the celebrity of this festival.[280] But it was partly the rise of these two great[p. 169] Ionian despots, partly the conquests of the Persians in Asia Minor, which broke up the independence of the numerous petty Ionian cities, during the last half of the sixth century before the Christian era; hence the great festival at Dêlos gradually declined in importance. Though never wholly intermitted, it was shorn of much of its previous ornaments, and especially of that which constituted the first of all ornaments,—the crowds of joyous visitors. And Thucydidês, when he notices the attempt made by the Athenians during the Peloponnesian war, in the height of their naval supremacy, to revive the Delian festival, quotes the Homeric Hymn to Apollo, as a certificate of its foregone and long-forgotten splendor. We perceive that even he could find no better evidence than this hymn, for Grecian transactions of a century anterior to Peisistratus,—and we may, therefore, judge how imperfectly the history of this period was known to the men who took part in the Peloponnesian war. The hymn is exceedingly precious as an historical document, because it attests to us a transitory glory and extensive association of the Ionic Greeks on both sides of the Ægean sea, which the conquests of the Lydians first, and of the Persians afterwards, overthrew,—a time when the hair of the wealthy Athenian was decorated with golden ornaments, and his tunic made of linen,[281] like that of the Milesians and Ephesians, instead of the more sober costume and woollen clothing which he subsequently copied from Sparta and Peloponnesus,—a time too when the Ionic name had not yet contracted that stain of effeminacy and cowardice, which stood imprinted upon it in the time of Herodotus and Thucydidês, and which grew partly out of the subjugation of the Asiatic Ionians by Persia, partly out of the antipathy of the Peloponnesian Dorians to Athens. The author of the Homeric Hymn, in describing the proud Ionians who thronged, in his day, to the Delian festival, could hardly have anticipated a time to come, when the name Ionian would become a reproach, such as the European Greeks, to whom it really belonged, were desirous of disclaiming.[282]

[p. 170]2. Another illustrative fact, in reference both to the Ionians generally, and to Chalkis and Eretria in particular, during the century anterior to Peisistratus, is to be found in the war between these two cities respecting the fertile plain Lelantum, which lay between them. In general, it appears, these two important towns maintained harmonious relations; but there were some occasions of dispute, and one in particular, wherein a formidable war ensued between them. Several allies joined with each, and it is remarkable that this was the only war known to Thucydidês, anterior to the Persian conquest, which had risen above the dignity of a mere quarrel between neighbors; and in which so many different states manifested a disposition to interfere, as to impart to it a semi-Hellenic character.[283] Of the allies of each party on this occasion we know only that the Milesians lent assistance to Eretria, and the Samians, as well as the Thessalians and the Chalkidic colonies in Thrace, to Chalkis. A column, still visible during the time of Strabo, in the temple of the Amarynthian Artemis near Eretria, recorded the covenant entered into mutually by the two belligerents, to abstain from missiles, and to employ nothing but hand-weapons. The Eretrians are said to have been superior in horse, but they were vanquished in the battle; the tomb of Kleomachus of Pharsalus, a distinguished warrior who had perished in the cause of the Chalkidians, was erected in the agora of Chalkis. We know nothing of the date, the duration, or the particulars of this war;[284] but it seems that[p. 171] the Eretrians were worsted, though their city always maintained its dignity as the second state in the island. Chalkis was decidedly the first, and continued to be flourishing, populous, and commercial, long after it had lost its political importance, throughout all the period of Grecian independent history.[285]

3. Of the importance of Chalkis and Eretria, during the seventh and part of the eighth century before the Christian era, we gather other evidences,—partly in the numerous colonies founded by them, which I shall advert to in a subsequent chapter,—partly in the prevalence throughout a large portion of Greece, of the Euboic scale of weight and money. What the quantities and proportions of this scale were, has been first shown by M. Boeckh in his “Metrologie.” It was of Eastern origin, and the gold collected by Dareius in tribute throughout the vast Persian empire, was ordered to be delivered in Euboic talents. Its divisions,—the talent equal to sixty minæ, the mina equal to one hundred drachms, the drachm equal to six obols,—were the same as those of the scale called Æginæan, introduced by Pheidôn of Argos; but the six obols of the Euboic drachm contained a weight of silver equal only to five Æginæan obols, so that the Euboic denominations,—drachm, mina, and talent,—were equal only to five-sixths of the same denominations in the Æginæan scale. It was the Euboic scale which prevailed at Athens before the debasement introduced by Solon; which debasement,—amounting to about twenty-seven per cent., as has been mentioned in a previous chapter,—created a third scale, called the Attic, distinct both from the Æginæan and Euboic,—standing to the former in the ratio of 3 : 5, and to the latter, in the ratio of 18 : 25. It seems plain that the Euboic scale was adopted by the Ionians through their intercourse with the Lydians,[286] and other Asiatics, and that it became naturalized among their cities under the name of the Euboic, because Chalkis and Eretria were the most actively commercial states in the Ægean,—just as the superior commerce of Ægina among the Dorian states, had given[p. 172] to the scale introduced by Pheidôn of Argos, the name of Æginæan. The fact of its being so called indicates a time when these two Eubœan cities surpassed Athens in maritime power and extended commercial relations, and when they stood among the foremost of the Ionic cities throughout Greece. The Euboic scale, after having been debased by Solon, in reference to coinage and money, still continued in use at Athens for merchandise: the Attic mercantile mina retained its primitive Euboic weight.[287]


There existed at the commencement of historical Greece, in 776 B. C., besides the Ionians in Attica and the Cyclades, twelve Ionian cities of note on or near the coast of Asia Minor, besides a few others less important. Enumerated from south to north, they stand,—Milêtus, Myûs, Priênê, Samos, Ephesus, Kolophôn, Lebedus, Teôs, Erythræ, Chios, Klazomenæ, Phôkæa.

That these cities, the great ornament of the Ionic name, were founded by emigrants from European Greece, there is no reason to doubt. How, or when, they were founded, we have no history to tell us; the legend, which has already been set forth in a preceding chapter, gives us a great event called the Ionic migration, referred by chronologists to one special year, one hundred and forty years after the Trojan war. This massive grouping belongs to the character of legend,—the Æolic and Ionic emigrations, as well as the Dorian conquest of Peloponnesus, are each invested with unity, and imprinted upon the imagination as the results of a single great impulse. But such is not the character of the historical colonies: when we come to relate the Italian and Sicilian emigrations, it will appear that each colony has its own separate nativity and causes of existence. In the case of the Ionic[p. 173] emigration, this large scale of legendary conception is more than usually conspicuous, since to that event is ascribed the foundation or repeopling both of the Cyclades and of the Asiatic Ionian cities.

Euripidês treats Ion,[288] the son of Kreusa by Apollo, as the planter of these latter cities: but the more current form of the legend assigns that honor to the sons of Kodrus, two of whom are especially named, corresponding to the two greatest of the ten continental Ionic cities: Androklus, as founder of Ephesus, Neileus of Milêtus. These two towns are both described as founded directly from Athens. The others seem rather to be separate settlements, neither consisting of Athenians, nor emanating from Athens, but adopting the characteristic Ionic festival of the Apaturia, and, in part at least, the Ionic tribes,—and receiving princes from the Kodrid families at Ephesus or Milêtus, as a condition of being admitted into the Pan-Ionic confederate festival. The poet Mimnermus ascribed the foundation of his native city Kolophôn to emigrants from Pylus, in Peloponnesus, under Andræmôn: Teôs was settled by Minyæ of Orchomenus, under Athamas: Klazomenæ by settlers from Kleônæ and Phlius, Phôkæa, by Phocians, Priênê in large portion by Kadmeians from Thebes. And with regard to the powerful islands of Chios and Samos, it does not appear that their native authors,—the Chian poet Ion, or the Samaian poet Asius,—ascribed to them a population emanating from Athens: Pausanias could not make out from the poems of Ion how it happened that Chios came to form a part of the Ionic federation.[289] Herodotus, especially, dwells upon the number of Grecian tribes and races, who contributed to supply the population of the twelve Ionic cities,—Minyæ, from Orchomenus, Kadmeians, Dryopians, Phocians, Molossians, Arkadian Pelasgians, Dorians from Epidaurus, and “several other sections” of Greeks. Moreover, he particularly[p. 174] singles out the Milesians, as claiming for themselves the truest Ionic blood, and as having started from the prytaneium, at Athens; thus plainly implying his belief that the majority, at least, of the remaining settlers did not take their departure from the same hearth.[290]

But the most striking information which Herodotus conveys to us is, the difference of language, or dialect, which marked these twelve cities. Milêtus, Myûs, and Priênê, all situated on the soil of the Karians, had one dialect: Ephesus, Kolophôn, Lebedus, Teôs, Klazomenæ, and Phôkæa, had a dialect common to all, but distinct from that of the three preceding: Chios and Erythræ exhibited a third dialect, and Samos, by itself, a fourth. Nor does the historian content himself with simply noting such quadruple variety of speech; he employs very strong terms to express the degree of dissimilarity.[291] The testimony of Herodotus as to these dialects is, of course, indisputable.

Instead of one great Ionic emigration, then, the statements[p. 175] above cited conduct us rather to the supposition of many separate and successive settlements, formed by the Greeks of different sections, mingling with and modified by preëxisting Lydians and Karians, and subsequently allying themselves with Milêtus and Ephesus into the so-called Ionic amphiktyony. As a condition of this union, they are induced to adopt among their chiefs princes of the Kodrid gens or family; who are called sons of Kodrus, but who are not for that reason to be supposed necessarily contemporary with Androklus or Neileus.

The chiefs selected by some of the cities are said to have been Lykians,[292] of the heroic family of Glaukus and Bellerophon: in some causes, the Kodrids and the Glaukids were chiefs conjointly. Respecting the dates of these separate settlements, we cannot give any account, for they lie beyond the commencement of authentic history: there is ground for believing that most of them existed for some time previous to 776 B. C., but at what date the federative solemnity uniting the twelve cities was commenced, we do not know.

The account of Herodotus shows us that these colonies were composed of mixed sections of Greeks,—an important circumstance in estimating their character. Such was usually the case more or less in respect to all emigrations, and hence the establishments thus planted contracted at once, generally speaking, both more activity and more instability than was seen among those Greeks who remained at home, and among whom the old habitual routine had not been counterworked by any marked change of place or of social relations. For in a new colony it became necessary to adopt fresh classifications of the citizens, to range them together in fresh military and civil divisions, and to adopt new characteristic sacrifices and religious ceremonies as bonds of union among all the citizens conjointly. At the first outset of a colony, moreover, there were inevitable difficulties to be surmounted, which imposed upon its leading men the necessity of energy and forethought,—more especially in regard to maritime affairs, on which not only their connection with the countrymen whom they had left behind, but also their means of establishing advantageous relations with the population of the interior,[p. 176] depended. At the same time, the new arrangements indispensable among the colonists were far from working always harmoniously: dissension and partial secessions were not unfrequent occurrences. And what has been called the mobility of the Ionic race, as compared with the Doric, is to be ascribed in a great measure to this mixture of races and external stimulus arising out of expatriation: for there is no trace of it in Attica anterior to Solon; and on the other hand, the Doric colonies of Korkyra and Syracuse exhibit a population not less excitable than the Ionic towns generally,[293] and much more so than the Ionic colony of Massalia. The remarkable commercial enterprise, which will be seen to characterize Milêtus, Samos, and Phokæa, belongs but little to anything connected with the Ionic temperament.

All the Ionic towns, except Klazomenæ and Phokæa, are represented to have been founded on some preëxisting settlements of Karians, Lelegians, Kretans, Lydians, or Pelasgians.[294] In some cases these previous inhabitants were overcome, slain, or expelled; in others they were accepted as fellow-residents, and the Grecian cities thus established acquired a considerable tinge of Asiatic customs and feelings. What is related by Herodotus respecting the first establishment of Neileus and his emigrants at Milêtus is in this point of view remarkable. They took out with them no women from Athens (the historian says), but found wives in the Karian women of the place, whose husbands and fathers they overcame and put to death; and the women, thus violently seized, manifested their repugnance by taking a solemn oath among themselves that they would never eat with their new husbands, nor ever call them by their personal names. This same pledge they imposed upon their daughters; but how long the practice lasted, we are not informed: it rather seems from the language of the historian that traces of it were visible even in his day in the family customs of the Milesians. The population of this greatest of the Ionic towns must thus have been half of Karian breed. It is to be presumed that what is true[p. 177] of Neileus and his companions would be found true, also, respecting most of the maritime colonies of Greece, and that the vessels which took them out would be scantily provided with women. But on this point, unfortunately, we are left without information.

The worship of Apollo Didymæus, at Branchidæ, near Milêtus,—that of Artemis, near Ephesus,—and that of the Apollo Klarius, near Kolophôn,—seems to have existed among the native Asiatic population before the establishment of either of these three cities. To maintain these preëxisting local rites was not less congenial to the feelings, than beneficial to the interests, of the Greeks: all the three establishments acquired increased celebrity under Ionic administration, and contributed in their turn to the prosperity of the towns to which they were attached. Milêtus, Myûs, and Priênê were situated on or near the productive plain of the river Mæander; while Ephesus was, in like manner, planted near the mouth of the Kaïster, thus immediately communicating with the productive breadth of land separating Mount Tmôlus on the north from Mount Messôgis on the south, through which that river runs: Kolophôn is only a very few miles north of the same river. Possessing the best means of communication with the interior, these three towns seem to have thriven with greater rapidity than the rest; and they, together with the neighboring island of Samos, constituted in early times the strength of the Pan-Ionic amphiktyony. The situation of the sacred precinct of Poseidôn (where this festival was celebrated), on the north side of the promontory of Mykalê, near Priênê, and between Ephesus and Milêtus, seems to show that these towns formed the primitive centre to which the other Ionian settlements became gradually aggregated. For it was by no means a centrical site with reference to all the twelve; so that Thalês of Milêtus,—who at a subsequent period recommended a more intimate political union between the twelve Ionic towns, and the establishment of a common government to manage their collective affairs,—indicated Teôs,[295] and not Priênê, as the suitable place for it. Moreover, it seems that the Pan-Ionic festival,[296] though still formally continued, had lost its[p. 178] importance before the time of Thucydidês, and had become practically superseded by the more splendid festival of the Ephesia, near Ephesus, where the cities of Ionia found a more attractive place of meeting.

An island close adjoining to the coast, or an outlying tongue of land connected with the continent by a narrow isthmus, and presenting some hill sufficient for an acropolis, seems to have been considered as the most favorable situation for Grecian colonial settlement. To one or other of these descriptions most of the Ionic cities, conform.[297] The city of Milêtus at the height of its power had four separate harbors, formed probably by the aid of the island of Ladê and one or two islets which lay close off against it: the Karian or Kretan establishment, which the Ionic colonists found on their arrival and conquered, was situated on an eminence overhanging the sea, and became afterwards known by the name of Old Milêtus, at a time when the new Ionic town had been extended down to the water-side and rendered maritime.[298] The territory of this important city seems to have comprehended both the southern promontory called Poseidium and the greater part of the northern promontory of Mykalê,[299] reaching on both sides of the river Mæander: the inconsiderable town of Myûs[300] on the southern bank of the Mæander, an offset seemingly formed by the secession of some Milesian malcontents under a member of the Neleid gens named Kydrêlus, maintained for along time its autonomy, but was[p. 179] at length absorbed into the larger unity of Milêtus; its swampy territory having been rendered uninhabitable by a plague of gnats. Priênê acquired an importance greater than naturally belonged to it, by its immediate vicinity to the holy Pan-Ionic temple and its function of administering the sacred rites,[301]—a dignity which it probably was only permitted to enjoy in consequence of the jealousies of its greater neighbors Milêtus, Ephesus, and Samos.[302] The territories of these Grecian cities seem to have been interspersed with Karian villages, probably in the condition of subjects.

It is rare to find a genuine Greek colony established at any distance from the sea; but the two Asiatic towns called Magnêsia form exceptions to this position,—one situated on the south side of the Mæander, or rather on the river Lethæus, which runs into the Mæander; the other more northerly, adjoining to the Æolic Greeks, on the northern declivity of Mount Sipylus, and near to the plain of the river Harmus. The settlement of both these towns dates before the period of history: the tale[303] which we read affirms them to be settlements from the Magnêtes in Thessaly, formed by emigrants who had first passed into Krête, under the orders of the Delphian oracle, and next into Asia, where they are said to have extricated the Ionic and Æolic colonists, then recently arrived, from a position of danger and calamity. By the side of this story, which can neither be verified nor contradicted, it is proper to mention the opinion of Niebuhr, that both these towns of Magnêsia are remnants of a primitive Pelasgic population, akin to, but not emigrants from, the Magnêtes of Thessaly,—Pelasgians whom he supposes to have occupied both the valley of the Hermus and that of the Kaïster, anterior to the Æolic and Ionic migrations. In support of this opinion, it may be stated that there were towns bearing the Pelasgic name of Larissa, both near the Hermus and near the Mæander: Menekratês of Elæa considered the Pelasgians as having once occupied most part of that coast;[p. 180] and O. Müller even conceives the Tyrrhenians to have been Pelasgians from Tyrrha, a town in the interior of Lydia south of Tmôlus. The point is one upon which we have not sufficient evidence to advance beyond conjecture.[304]

Of the Ionic towns, with which our real knowledge of Asia Minor begins, Milêtus[305] was the most powerful; and its celebrity was derived not merely from its own wealth and population, but also from the extraordinary number of its colonies, established principally in the Propontis and Euxine, and amounting, as we are told by some authors, to not less than seventy-five or eighty. Respecting these colonies I shall speak presently, in treating of the general colonial expansion of Greece during the eighth and seventh centuries B. C.: at present, it is sufficient to notice that the islands of Ikarus and Lerus,[306] not far from Samos and the Ionic coast generally, were among the places planted with Milesian settlers.

The colonization of Ephesus by Androklus appears to be connected with the Ionic occupation of Samos, so far as the confused statements which we find enable us to discern. Androklus is said[p. 181] to have lingered upon that island for a long time, until the oracle vouchsafed to indicate to him what particular spot to occupy on the continent; at length the indication was given, and he planted his colonists at the fountain of Hypelæon and on a portion of the hill of Korêssus, within a short distance of the temple and sanctuary of Artemis; whose immediate inhabitants he respected and received as brethren, while he drove away for the most part the surrounding Lelegians and Lydians. The population of the new town of Ephesus was divided into three tribes,—the pre-existing inhabitants, or Ephesians proper, the Bennians, and the Euônymeis, so named (we are told) from the deme Euonymus in Attica.[307] So much did the power of Androklus increase, that he was enabled to conquer Samos, and to expel from it the prince Leôgorus: of the retiring Samians, a part are said to have gone to Samothrace and there established themselves, while another portion acquired possession of Marathêsium near Ephesus, on the adjoining continent of Asia Minor, from whence, after a short time, they recovered their island, compelling Androklus to return to Ephesus. It seems, however, that in the compromise and treaty which ensued, they yielded possession of Marathêsium to Androklus,[308] and confined themselves to Anæa, a more southerly district farther removed from the Ephesian settlement, and immediately opposite to the island of Samos. Androklus is said to have perished in a battle fought for the defence of Priênê, which town he had come to aid against an attack of the Karians. His dead body was brought from the field and buried near the gates of Ephesus, where the tomb was yet shown during the days of Pausanias; but a sedition broke out against his sons after him, and the malcontents strengthened their party by inviting reinforcements from Teôs and Karina. The struggle which ensued terminated in the discontinuance of the kingly race and the establishment of a republican government,—the descendants of Androklus being allowed to retain both considerable honorary privileges and the hereditary priesthood of the Eleusinian Dêmêtêr. The newly-received inhabitants were enrolled in two new tribes, making in[p. 182] all five tribes, which appear to have existed throughout the historical times at Ephesus.[309] It appears too that a certain number of fugitive proprietors from Samos found admission among the Ephesians and received the freedom of the city; and the part of the city in which they resided acquired the name of Samorna, or Smyrna, by which name it was still known in the time of the satirical poet Hippônax, about 530 B. C.[310]

Such are the stories which we find respecting the infancy of the Ionic Ephesus. The fact of its increase and of its considerable acquisitions of territory, at the expense of the neighboring Lydians,[311] is at least indisputable. It does not appear to have been ever very powerful or enterprising at sea, and few maritime colonies owed their origin to its citizens; but its situation near the mouth and the fertile plain of the Kaïster was favorable both to the multiplication of its inland dependencies and to its trade with the interior. A despot named Pythagoras is said to have subverted by stratagem the previous government of the town, at some period before Cyrus, and to have exercised power for a certain time with great cruelty.[312] It is worthy of remark, that we find no trace of the existence of the four Ionic tribes at Ephesus; and this, when coupled with the fact that neither Ephesus nor Kolophôn solemnized the peculiar Ionic festival of the Apaturia, is one among other indications that the Ephesian population had little[p. 183] community of race with Athens, though the œkist may have been of heroic Athenian family. Guhl attempts to show, on mistaken grounds, that the Greek settlers at Ephesus were mostly of Arkadian origin.[313]

Kolophôn, about fifteen miles north of Ephesus, and divided from the territory of the latter by the precipitous mountain range called Gallêsium, though a member of the Pan-Ionic amphiktyony, seems to have had no Ionic origin: it recognized neither an Athenian œkist nor Athenian inhabitants. The Kolophonian poet Mimnermus tells us that the œkist of the place was the Pylian Andræmôn, and that the settlers were Pylians from Peloponnesus. “We quitted (he says) Pylus, the city of Neleus, and passed in our vessels to the much-desired Asia. There with the insolence of superior force, and employing from the beginning cruel violence, we planted ourselves in the tempting Kolophôn.”[314] This description of the primitive Kolophonian settlers, given with Homeric simplicity, forcibly illustrates the account given by Herodotus of the proceedings of Neileus at Milêtus. The establishment of Andræmôn must have been effected by force, and by the dispossession of previous inhabitants, leaving probably their wives and daughters as a prey to the victors. The city of Kolophôn seems to have been situated about two miles inland, but it had a fortified port called Notium, not joined to it by long walls as the Peiræeus was to Athens, but completely distinct. There were[p. 184] times in which this port served the Kolophonians as a refuge, when their upper town was assailed by Persians from the interior; but the inhabitants of Notium occasionally manifested inclinations to act as a separate community, and dissensions thus occurred between them and the people in Kolophôn,[315]—so difficult was it in the Greek mind to keep up a permanent feeling of political amalgamation beyond the circle of the town walls.

It is much to be regretted that nothing beyond a few lines of Mimnermus, and nothing at all of the long poem of Xenophanês (composed seemingly near a century after Mimnermus) on the foundation of Kolophôn, has reached us. The short statements of Pausanias omit all notice of that violence which the native Kolophonian poet so emphatically signalizes in his ancestors: they are derived more from the temple legends of the adjoining Klarian Apollo and from morsels of epic poetry referring to that holy place, which connected itself with the worship of Apollo in Krête, at Delphi, and at Thebes. The old Homeric poem, called Thebaïs, reported that Mantô, daughter of the Theban prophet Teiresias, had been presented to Apollo at Delphi as a votive offering by the victorious epigoni: the god directed her to migrate to Asia, and she thus arrived at Klarus, where she married the Kretan Rhakius. The offspring of this marriage was the celebrated prophet Mopsus, whom the Hesiodic epic described as having gained a victory in prophetic skill over Kalchas; the latter having come to Klarus after the Trojan war in company with Amphilochus son of Amphiaraus.[316] Such tales evince the early importance of the temple and oracle of Apollo at Klarus, which appears to have been in some sort an emanation from the great sanctuary of Branchidæ near Milêtus; for we are told that the high priest of Klarus was named by the Milesians.[317] Pausanias states that Mopsus expelled the indigenous Karians, and established the city of Kolophôn; and that the Ionic settlers under Promêthus and Damasichthôn, sons of Kodrus, were admitted amicably as additional inhabitants:[318] a story probably emanating from the temple,[p. 185] and very different from that of the Kolophonian townsmen in the time of Mimnermus. It seems evident that not only the Apollinic sanctuary at Klarus, but also the analogous establishments on the south of Asia Minor at Phasêlis, Mallus, etc., had their own foundation legends (apart from those of the various bands of emigrant settlers), in which they connected themselves by the best thread which they could devise with the epic glories of Greece.[319]

Passing along the Ionian coast in a north-westerly direction from Kolophôn, we come first to the small but independent Ionic settlement of Lebedus—next, to Teôs, which occupies the southern face of a narrow isthmus, Klazomenæ being placed on the northern: this isthmus, a low narrow valley of about six miles across, forms the eastern boundary of a very considerable peninsula, containing the mountainous and woody regions called Mimas and Kôrykus. Teôs is said to have been first founded by Orchomenian Minyæ under Athamas, and to have received afterwards by consent various swarms of settlers, Orchomenians and others, under the Kodrid leaders Apœkus, Nauklus, and Damasus.[320] The valuable Teian inscriptions published in the large collection of Boeckh, while they mention certain names and titles of honor which connect themselves with this Orchomenian origin, reveal to us at the same time some particulars respecting the internal distribution of the Teian citizens. The territory of the town was distributed amongst a certain number of towers, to each of which corresponded a symmory or section of the citizens, having its common altar and sacred rites, and often its heroic eponymus. How many in number the tribes of Teôs were, we do not know: the name of the Geleontes, one of the four old Ionic tribes, is preserved in an inscription; but the rest, both as to names and number, are unknown. The symmories or tower-fellowships of Teôs seem to be analogous to the phratries of ancient Athens,—forming each a factitious kindred, recognizing a common mythical ancestor, and bound together by a communion at once religious and political. The individual name attached to each tower is in some cases Asiatic rather than Hellenic, indicating in Teôs the mixture not[p. 186] merely of Ionic and Æolic, but also of Karian or Lydian inhabitants, of which Pausanias speaks.[321] Gerrhæidæ, or Cherræidæ,[p. 187] the port on the west side of the town of Teôs, had for its eponymous hero Gerês the Bœotian, who was said to have accompanied the Kodrids in their settlement.

The worship of Athênê Polias at Erythræ may probably be traceable to Athens, and that of the Tyrian Hêraklês (of which Pausanias recounts a singular legend) would seem to indicate an intermixture of Phœnician inhabitants. But the close neighborhood of Erythræ to the island of Chios, and the marked analogy of dialect which Herodotus[322] attests between them, show that the elements of the population must have been much the same in both. The Chian poet Iôn mentioned the establishment of Abantes from Eubœa in his native island, under Amphiklus, intermixed with the preëxisting Karians: Hektor, the fourth descendant from Amphiklus, was said to have incorporated this island in the Pan-Ionic amphiktyony. It is to Pherekydês that we owe the mention of the name of Egertius, as having conducted a miscellaneous colony into Chios; and it is through Egertius (though Iôn, the native poet, does not appear to have noticed him) that this logographer made out the connection between the Chians and the other group of Kodrid settlements.[323] In Erythræ, Knôpus or Kleopus is noted as the Kodrid œkist, and as having procured for himself, partly by force, partly by consent, the sovereignty of the preëxisting settlement of mixed inhabitants. The Erythræan historian Hippias recounted how Knôpus had been treacherously put to death on ship-board, by Ortygês and some other false adherents; who, obtaining some auxiliaries from the Chian king Amphiklus, made themselves masters of Erythræ and established in it an oppressive oligarchy. They maintained the government, with a temper at once licentious and cruel, for some time, admitting none but a chosen few of the population within the walls of the town; until at length Hippotês the brother of Knôpus, arriving from without at the head of some troops, found sufficient support from the discontents of the Erythræans to enable him to overthrow the tyranny. Overpowered in the midst of a public festival,[p. 188] Ortygês and his companions were put to death with cruel tortures and the same tortures were inflicted upon their innocent wives and children,[324]—a degree of cruelty which would at no time have found place amidst a community of European Greeks: even in the murderous party dissensions of Korkyra during the Peloponnesian war, death was not aggravated by preliminary tortures. Aristotle[325] mentions the oligarchy of the Basilids as having existed in Erythræ, and as having been overthrown by a democratical revolution, although prudently managed: to what period this is to be referred we do not know.

Klazomenæ is said to have been founded by a wandering party, either of Ionians or of inhabitants from Kleonæ and Phlius, under Parphorus or Paralus: and Phôkæa by a band of Phokians under Philogenês and Damon. This last-mentioned town was built at the end of a peninsula which formed part of the territory of the Æolic Kymê: the Kymæans were induced to cede it amicably, and to permit the building of the new town. The Phokians asked and obtained permission to enrol themselves in the Pan-Ionic amphiktyony; but the permission is said to have been granted only on condition that they should adopt members of the Kodrid family as their œkists; and they accordingly invited from Erythræ and Teôs three chiefs belonging to that family or gens,—Deœtês, Periklus, and Abartus.[326]

Smyrna, originally an Æolic colony, established from Kymê fell subsequently into the hands of the Ionians of Kolophôn. A party of exiles from the latter city, expelled during an intestine dispute, were admitted by the Smyrnæans into their city,—a favor which they repaid by shutting the gates and seizing the[p. 189] place for themselves, at a moment when the Smyrnæans had gone forth in a body to celebrate a religious festival. The other Æolic towns sent auxiliaries for the purpose of reëstablishing their dispossessed brethren; but they were compelled to submit to an accommodation, whereby the Ionians retained possession of the town, restoring to the prior inhabitants all their movables. These exiles were distributed as citizens among the other Æolic cities.[327]

Smyrna after this became wholly Ionian; and the inhabitants in later times, if we may judge by Aristeidês the rhetor, appear to have forgotten the Æolic origin of their town, though the fact is attested both by Herodotus and by Mimnermus.[328] At what time the change took place, we do not know; but Smyrna appears to have become Ionian before the celebration of the 23d Olympiad, when Onomastus the Smyrnæan gained the prize.[329] Nor have we information as to the period at which the city was received as a member into the Pan-Ionic amphiktyony, for the assertion of Vitruvius is obviously inadmissible, that it was admitted at the instance of Attalus, king of Pergamus, in place of a previous town called Melitê, excluded by the rest for misbehavior.[330] As little can we credit the statement of Strabo, that the city of Smyrna was destroyed by the Lydian kings, and that the inhabitants were compelled to live in dispersed villages until its restoration by Antigonus. A fragment of Pindar, which speaks of “the elegant city of the Smyrnæans,” indicates that it must have existed in his time.[331] The town of Eræ, near Lebedus, though seemingly autonomous,[332] was not among the contributors to the Pan-Ionian: Myonnêsus seems to have been a dependency of Teôs, as Pygela and Marathêsium were of Ephesus. Notium, after its recolonization by the Athenians during the Peloponnesian war, seems to have remained separate from and independent of Kolophôn: at least the two are noticed by Skylax as distinct towns.[333]

[p. 190]


On the coast of Asia Minor to the north of the twelve Ionic confederated cities, were situated the twelve Æolic cities, apparently united in a similar manner. Besides Smyrna, the fate of which has already been described, the eleven others were,—Têmnos, Larissa, Neon-Teichos, Kymê, Ægæ, Myrina, Gryneium, Killa, Notium, Ægiroëssa, Pitanê. These twelve are especially noted by Herodotus as the twelve ancient continental Æolic cities, and distinguished on the one hand from the insular Æolic Greeks, in Lesbos, Tenedos, and Hekatonnesoi,—and on the other hand from the Æolic establishments in and about Mount Ida, which seem to have been subsequently formed and derived from Lesbos and Kymê.[334]

Of these twelve Æolic towns, eleven were situated very near together, clustered round the Elæitic gulf: their territories, all of moderate extent, seem also to have been conterminous with each other. Smyrna, the twelfth, was situated to the south of Mount Sipylus, and at a greater distance from the remainder,—one reason why it was so soon lost to its primitive inhabitants. These towns occupied chiefly a narrow but fertile strip of territory lying between the base of the woody mountain-range called Sardênê and the sea.[335] Gryneium, like Kolophôn and Milêtus, possessed a venerated sanctuary of Apollo, of older date than the Æolic emigration. Larissa, Têmnos, and Ægæ were at some little distance from the sea: the first at a short distance north of the Hermus, by which its territory was watered and occasionally inundated, so as to render embankments necessary;[336] the last two[p. 191] upon rocky mountain-sites, so inaccessible to attack that the inhabitants were enabled, even during the height of the Persian power, to maintain constantly a substantial independence.[337] Elæa, situated at the mouth of the river Kaïkus, became in later times the port of the strong and flourishing city of Pergamus; while Pitana, the northernmost of the twelve, was placed between the mouth of the Kaïkus and the lofty promontory of Kanê, which closes in the Elæitic gulf to the northward. A small town Kanæ, close to that promontory is said to have once existed.[338]

It has already been stated that the legend ascribes the origin of these colonies to a certain special event called the Æolic emigration, of which chronologers profess to know the precise date, telling us how many years it happened after the Trojan war, considerably before the Ionic emigration.[339] That the Æolic as well as Ionic inhabitants of Asia were emigrants from Greece, we may reasonably believe, but as to the time or circumstances of their emigration we can pretend to no certain knowledge. The name of the town Larissa, and perhaps that of Magnêsia on Mount[p. 192] Sipylus (according to what has been observed in the preceding passage), has given rise to the supposition that the anterior inhabitants were Pelasgians, who, having once occupied the fertile banks of the Hermus, as well as those of the Kaïster near Ephesus, employed their industry in the work of embankment.[340] Kymê was the earliest as well as the most powerful of the twelve Æolic towns, Neon-Teichos having been originally established by the Kymæans as a fortress for the purpose of capturing the Pelasgic Larissa. Both Kymê and Larissa were designated by the epithet of Phrikônis: by some this was traced to the mountain Phrikium in Lokris, from whence it was alleged that the Æolic emigrants had started to cross the Ægean; by others it seems to have been connected with an eponymous hero Phrikôn.[341]

It was probably from Kymê and its sister cities on the Elæitic gulf that Hellenic inhabitants penetrated into the smaller towns in the inland plain of the Kaïkus,—Pergamus, Halisarna, Gambreion, etc.[342] In the more southerly plain of the Hermus, on the northern declivity of Mount Sipylus, was situated the city of Magnêsia, called Magnêsia ad Sipylum, in order to distinguish it from Magnêsia on the river Mæander. Both these towns called Magnêsia were inland,—the one bordering upon the Ionic Greeks, the other upon the Æolic, but seemingly not included in any amphiktyony either with the one or the other. Each is referred to a separate and early emigration either from the Magnêtes in Thessaly or from Krête. Like many other of the early towns, Magnêsia ad Sipylum appears to have been originally established higher up on the mountain,—in a situation nearer to Smyrna, from which it was separated by the Sipylene range,—and to have been subsequently brought down nearer to the plain on the north side as well as to the river Hermus. The original site, Palæ-Magnêsia,[343] was still occupied as a dependent township, even[p. 193] during the times of the Attalid and Seleukid kings. A like transfer of situation, from a height difficult of access to some lower and more convenient position, took place with other towns in and near this region; such as Gambreion and Skêpsis, which had their Palæ-Gambreion and Palæ-Skêpsis not far distant.

Of these twelve Æolic towns, it appears that all except Kymê were small and unimportant. Thucydidês, in recapitulating the dependent allies of Athens at the commencement of the Peloponnesian war, does not account them worthy of being enumerated.[344] Nor are we authorized to conclude, because they bear the general name of Æolians, that the inhabitants were all of kindred race, though a large proportion of them are said to have been Bœotians, and the feeling of fraternity between Bœotians and Lesbians was maintained throughout the historical times; one etymology of the name is, indeed, founded upon the supposition that they were of miscellaneous origin.[345] We do not hear, moreover, of any considerable poets produced by the Æolic continental towns; in this respect Lesbos stood alone,—an island said to have been the earliest of all the Æolic settlements, anterior even to Kymê. Six towns were originally established in Lesbos,—Mitylêne, Mêthymna, Eresus, Pyrrha, Antissa, and Arisbê: the last-mentioned town was subsequently enslaved and destroyed by the Methymnæans, so that there remained only five towns in all.[346] According to the political subdivision usual in Greece, the island had thus, first six, afterwards five, independent governments, of which, however, Mitylênê, situated in the south-eastern quarter and facing the promontory of Kanê, was by far the first, while Mêthymna, on the north of the island over against[p. 194] Cape Lekton, was the second. Like so many other Grecian colonies, the original city of Mitylênê was founded upon an islet divided from Lesbos by a narrow strait; it was subsequently extended on to Lesbos itself, so that the harbor presented two distinct entrances.[347]

It appears that the native poets and fabulists who professed to deliver the archæology of Lesbos, dwelt less upon the Æolic settlers than upon the various heroes and tribes who were alleged to have had possession of the island anterior to that settlement, from the deluge of Deukalion downwards,—just as the Chian and Samian poets seem to have dwelt principally upon the ante-Ionic antiquities of their respective islands. After the Pelasgian Xanthus son of Triopas, comes Makar son of Krinakus, the great native hero of the island, supposed by Plehn to be the eponym of an occupying race called the Makares: the Homeric Hymn to Apollo brings Makar into connection with the Æolic inhabitants by calling him son of Æolus, and the native historian Myrsilus also seems to have treated him as an Æolian.[348] To dwell upon such narratives suited the disposition of the Greeks; but when we come to inquire for the history of Lesbos, we find ourselves destitute of any genuine materials, not only for the period prior to the Æolic occupation, but also for a long time after it: nor can we pretend to determine at what date that occupation took place. We may reasonably believe it to have occurred before 776 B. C., and it therefore becomes a part of the earliest manifestations of real Grecian history: both Kymê, with its eleven sister towns on the continent, and the islands Lesbos and Tenedos, were then Æolic; and I have already remarked that the migration of the father of Hesiod the poet, from the Æolic Kymê to Askra in Bœotia, is the earliest authentic fact known to us on contemporary testimony,—seemingly between 776 and 700 B. C.

[p. 195]But besides these islands, and the strip of the continent between Kymê and Pitanê (which constituted the territory properly called Æolis), there were many other Æolic establishments in the region near Mount Ida, the Troad, and the Hellespont, and even in European Thrace. All these establishments seem to have emanated from Lesbos, Kymê, and Tenedos, but at what time they were formed we have no information. Thirty different towns are said to have been established by these cities,[349] and nearly all the region of Mount Ida (meaning by that term the territory west of a line drawn from the town of Adramyttion northward to Priapos on the Propontis) came to be Æolized. A new Æolis[350] was thus formed, quite distinct from the Æolis near the Elæitic gulf, and severed from it partly by the territory of Atarneus, partly by the portion of Mysia and Lydia, between Atarneus and Adramyttium, including the fertile plain of Thêbê: a portion of the lands on this coast seem indeed to have been occupied by Lesbos, but the far larger part of it was never Æolic. Nor was Ephorus accurate when he talked of the whole territory between Kymê and Abydos as known under the name of Æolis.[351]

The inhabitants of Tenedos possessed themselves of the strip of the Troad opposite to their island, northward of Cape Lekton,—those of Lesbos founded Assus, Gargara, Lampônia, Antandrus,[352] etc., between Lekton and the north-eastern corner of the Adramyttian gulf,—while the Kymæans seem to have established themselves at Kebrên and other places in the inland Idæan dis[p. 196]trict.[353] As far as we can make out, this north-western corner (west of a line drawn from Smyrna to the eastern corner of the Propontis) seems to have been occupied, anterior to the Hellenic settlements, by Mysians and Teukrians,—who are mentioned together, in such manner as to show that there was no great ethnical difference between them.[354] The elegiac poet Kallinus, in the middle of the seventh century B. C., was the first who mentioned the Teukrians: he treated them as emigrants from Krête, though other authors represented them as indigenous, or as having come from Attica: however the fact may stand as to their origin, we may gather that, in the time of Kallinus, they were still the great occupants of the Troad.[355] Gradually, the south and west coasts, as well as the interior of this region, became penetrated by successive colonies of Æolic Greeks, to whom the iron and ship timber of Mount Ida were valuable acquisitions; and thus the small Teukrian townships (for there were no considerable cities) became Æolized; while on the coast northward of Ida, along the Hellespont and Propontis, Ionic establishments were formed from Milêtus and Phôkæa, and Milesian colonists were received into the inland town of Skêpsis.[356] In the time of Kallinus, the Teukrians seem to have been in possession of Hamaxitus and Kolônæ, with the worship of the Sminthian Apollo, in the south-western region of the Troad: a century and a half afterwards, at the time of the Ionic revolt, Herodotus notices the inhabitants of Gergis, occupying a portion of the northern region of Ida in the line eastward from Dardanus and Ophrynion, as “the remnant of the ancient Teukrians.”[357] We also find the Mityleneans and Athenians con[p. 197]tending by arms about 600-580 B. C., for the possession of Sigeium at the entrance of the Hellespont:[358] probably the Lesbian settlements on the southern coast of the Troad, lying as they do so much nearer to the island, as well as the Tenedian settlements on the western coast opposite Tenedos, had been formed at some time prior to this epoch. We farther read of Æolic inhabitants as possessing Sestos on the European side of the Hellespont.[359] The name Teukrians gradually vanished out of present use, and came to belong only to the legends of the past; preserved either in connection with the worship of the Sminthian Apollo, or by writers such as Hellanikus and Kephalôn of Gergis, from whence it passed to the later poets and to the Latin epic. It appears that the native place of Kephalôn was a town called Gergis or Gergithes near Kymê: there was also another place called Gergêtha on the river Kaïkus, near its sources, and therefore higher up in Mysia. It was from Gergithes near Kymê (according to Strabo), that the place called Gergis in Mount Ida was settled:[360] probably the non-Hellenic inhabitants, both near Kymê and in the region of Ida, were of kindred race, but the settlers who went from Kymê to Gergis in Ida were doubtless Greeks, and contributed in this manner to the conversion of that place from a Teukrian to an Hellenic settlement. In one of those violent dislocations of inhabitants, which were so frequent afterwards among the successors of Alexander in Asia Minor, the Teukro-Hellenic population of the Idæan Gergis is said to have been carried away by Attalus of Pergamus, in order to people the village of Gergêtha near the river Kaïkus.

We are to regard the Æolic Greeks as occupying not only their twelve cities on the continent round the Elæitic gulf, and the neighboring islands, of which the chief were Lesbos and Tenedos,—but also as gradually penetrating and Hellenizing the Idæan region and the Troad. This last process belongs probably to a period subsequent to 776 B. C., but Kymê and Lesbos doubtless count as Æolic from an earlier period.

[p. 198]Of Mitylênê, the chief city of Lesbos, we hear some facts between the 40th and 50th Olympiad (620-580 B. C.), which unfortunately reach us only in a faint echo. That city then numbered as its own the distinguished names of Pittakus, Sappho, and Alkæus: like many other Grecian communities of that time, it suffered much from intestine commotion, and experienced more than one violent revolution. The old oligarchy called the Penthilids (seemingly a gens with heroic origin), rendered themselves intolerably obnoxious by misrule of the most reckless character; their brutal use of the bludgeon in the public streets was avenged by Megaklês and his friends, who slew them and put down their government.[361] About the 42d Olympiad (612 B. C.) we hear of Melanchrus, as despot of Mitylênê, who was slain by the conspiracy of Pittakus, Kikis, and Antimenidês,—the last two being brothers of Alkæus the poet. Other despots, Myrsilus, Megalagyrus, and the Kleanaktidæ, whom we know only by name, and who appear to have been immortalized chiefly by the bitter stanzas of Alkæus, acquired afterwards the sovereignty of Mitylênê. Among all the citizens of the town, however, the most fortunate, and the most deserving, was Pittakus the son of Hyrrhadus,—a champion trusted by his countrymen alike in foreign war and in intestine broils.[362]

The foreign war in which the Mityleneans were engaged, and in which Pittakus commanded them, was against the Athenians on the continental coast opposite to Lesbos, in the Troad, near Sigeium. The Mityleneans had already established various settlements along the Troad, the northernmost of which was Achilleium: they laid claim to the possession of this line of coast, and when Athens (about the 43d Olympiad, as it is said[363]) attempted to plant[p. 199] a settlement at Sigeium, they resisted the establishment by force. At the head of the Mitylenean troops, Pittakus engaged in single combat with the Athenian commander Phrynôn, and had the good fortune to kill him. The general struggle was, however, carried on with no very decisive result. On one memorable occasion the Mityleneans fled, and Alkæus the poet, serving as an hoplite in their ranks, commemorated in one of his odes both his flight and the humiliating loss of his shield, which the victorious Athenians suspended as a trophy in the temple of Athênê at Sigeium. His predecessor Archilochus, and his imitator Horace, have both been frank enough to confess a similar misfortune, which Tyrtæus perhaps would not have endured to survive.[364] It was at length agreed by Mitylênê and Athens to refer the dispute to Periander of Corinth. While the Mityleneans laid claim to the whole line of coast, the Athenians alleged that inasmuch as a contingent from Athens had served in the host of Agamemnôn against Troy, their descendants had as good a right as any other Greeks to share in the conquered ground. It appears that Periander felt unwilling to decide this delicate question of legendary law. He directed that each party should retain what they possessed, and his verdict[365] was still remembered and appealed to even in the time of Aristotle, by the inhabitants of Tenedos against those of Sigeium.

Though Pittakus and Alkæus were both found in the same line of hoplites against the Athenians at Sigeium, yet in the domestic politics of their native city, their bearing was that of bitter enemies. Alkæus and Antimenidas his brother were worsted in this party-feud, and banished: but even as exiles they were strong[p. 200] enough seriously to alarm and afflict their fellow-citizens, while their party at home, and the general dissension within the walls, reduced Mitylênê to despair. In this calamitous condition, the Mityleneans had recourse to Pittakus, who with his great rank in the state (his wife belonged to the old gens of the Penthilids), courage in the field, and reputation for wisdom, inspired greater confidence than any other citizen of his time. He was by universal consent named Æsymnete or dictator for ten years, with unlimited powers:[366] and the appointment proved eminently successful. How effectually he repelled the exiles, and maintained domestic tranquillity, is best shown by the angry effusions of Alkæus, whose songs (unfortunately lost) gave vent to the political hostility of the time, in the same manner as the speeches of the Athenian orators two centuries afterwards, and who in his vigorous invectives against Pittakus did not spare even the coarsest nicknames, founded on alleged personal deformities.[367] Respecting the proceedings of this eminent dictator, the contemporary and reported friend of Solon, we know only in a general way, that he succeeded in reëstablishing security and peace, and that at the end of his term he voluntarily laid down his authority,[368]—an evidence not only of probity superior to the lures of ambition, but also of that conscious moderation during the period of his dictatorship which left him without fear as a private citizen afterwards. He enacted various laws for Mitylênê, one of which was sufficiently curious to cause it to be preserved and commented on,—for it prescribed double penalties against offences committed by men in a state of intoxication.[369] But he did not (like Solon at Athens)[p. 201] introduce any constitutional changes, nor provide any new formal securities for public liberty and good government:[370] which illustrates the remark previously made, that Solon in doing this was beyond his age, and struck out new lights for his successors,—since on the score of personal disinterestedness Pittakus and he are equally unimpeachable. What was the condition of Mitylênê afterwards, we have no authorities to tell us. Pittakus is said, if the chronological computers of a later age can be trusted, to have died in the 52d Olympiad (B. C. 572-568). Both he and Solon are numbered among the Seven Wise Men of Greece, respecting whom something will be said in a future chapter. The various anecdotes current about him are little better than uncertified exemplifications of a spirit of equal and generous civism: but his songs and his elegiac compositions were familiar to literary Greeks in the age of Plato.


The islands of Rhodes, Kôs, Symê, Nisyros, Kasus, and Karpathus, are represented in the Homeric Catalogue as furnishing troops to the Grecian armament before Troy. Historical Rhodes, and historical Kôs, are occupied by Dorians, the former with its three separate cities of Lindus, Jalysus, and Kameirus. Two other Dorian cities, both on the adjacent continent, are joined with these four so as to constitute an amphiktyony on the Triopian promontory or south-western corner of Asia Minor,—thus constituting an hexapolis, including Halikarnassus, Knidus, Kôs, Lindus, Jalysus, and Kameirus. Knidus was situated on the[p. 202] Triopian promontory itself; Halikarnassus more to the northward, on the northern coast of the Keramic gulf: neither of the two are named in Homer.

The legendary account of the origin of these Asiatic Dorians has already been given, and we are compelled to accept their hexapolis as a portion of the earliest Grecian history, of which no previous account can be rendered. The circumstance of Rhodes and Kôs being included in the Catalogue of the Iliad leads us to suppose that they were Greek at an earlier period than the Ionic or Æolic settlements. It may be remarked that both the brothers Antiphus and Pheidippus from Kôs, and Tlêpolemus from Rhodes, are Herakleids,—the only Herakleids who figure in the Iliad: and the deadly combat between Tlêpolemus and Sarpêdôn may perhaps be an heroic copy drawn from real contests, which doubtless often took place between the Rhodians and their neighbors the Lykians. That Rhodes and Kôs were already Dorian at the period of the Homeric Catalogue, I see no reason for doubting. They are not called Dorian in that Catalogue, but we may well suppose that the name Dorian had not at that early period come to be employed as a great distinctive class-name, as it was afterwards used in contrast with Ionian and Æolian. In relating the history of Pheidôn of Argos, I have mentioned various reasons for suspecting that the trade of the Dorians on the eastern coast of the Peloponnesus was considerable at an early period, and there may well have been Doric migrations by sea to Krête and Rhodes, anterior to the time of the Iliad.

Herodotus tells us that the six Dorian towns, which had established their amphiktyony on the Triopian promontory, were careful to admit none of the neighboring Dorians to partake of it. Of these neighboring Dorians, we make out the islands of Astypalæ, and Kalymnæ,[371] Nisyrus, Karpathus, Symê, Têlus, Kasus, and Chalkia,—on the continental coast, Myndus, situated on the same peninsula with Halikarnassus,—Phasêlis, on the eastern coast of Lykia towards Pamphylia. The strong coast-rock of Iasus, midway between Milêtus and Halikarnassus, is said to have been[p. 203] originally founded by Argeians, but was compelled in consequence of destructive wars with the Karians to admit fresh settlers and a Neleid œkist from Milêtus.[372] Bargylia and Karyanda seem to have been Karian settlements more or less Hellenized. There probably were other Dorian towns, not specially known to us, upon whom this exclusion from the Triopian solemnities was brought to operate. The six amphiktyonized cities were in course of time reduced to five, by the exclusion of Halikarnassus: the reason for which (as we are told) was, that a citizen of Halikarnassus, who had gained a tripod as prize, violated the regulation which required that the tripod should always be consecrated as an offering in the Triopian temple, in order that he might carry it off to decorate his own house.[373] The Dorian amphiktyony was thus contracted into a pentapolis: at what time this incident took place, we do not know, nor is it perhaps unreasonable to conjecture that the increasing predominance of the Karian element at Halikarnassus had some effect in producing the exclusion, as well as the individual misbehavior of the victor Agasiklês.


From the Grecian settlements on the coast of Asia Minor, and on the adjacent islands, our attention must now be turned to those non-Hellenic kingdoms and people with whom they there came in contact.

Our information with respect to all of them is unhappily very scanty. Nor shall we improve our narrative by taking the catalogue, presented in the Iliad, of allies of Troy, and construing it as if it were a chapter of geography: if any proof were wanting[p. 204] of the unpromising results of such a proceeding, we may find it in the confusion which darkens so much of the work of Strabo,—who perpetually turns aside from the actual and ascertainable condition of the countries which he is describing, to conjectures on Homeric antiquity, often announced as if they were unquestionable facts. Where the Homeric geography is confirmed by other evidence, we note the fact with satisfaction; where it stands unsupported or difficult to reconcile with other statements, we cannot venture to reason upon it as in itself a substantial testimony. The author of the Iliad, as he has congregated together a vast body of the different sections of Greeks for the attack of the consecrated hill of Ilium, so he has also summoned all the various inhabitants of Asia Minor to coöperate in its defence, and he has planted portions of the Kilikians and Lykians, whose historical existence is on the southern coast, in the immediate vicinity of the Troad. Those only will complain of this who have accustomed themselves to regard him as an historian or geographer: if we are content to read him only as the first of poets, we shall no more quarrel with him for a geographical misplacement, than with his successor Arktinus for bringing on the battle-field of Ilium the Amazons or the Æthiopians.

The geography of Asia Minor is even now very imperfectly known,[374] and the matters ascertained respecting its ancient divisions and boundaries relate almost entirely either to the later periods of the Persian empire, or to times after the Macedonian and even after the Roman conquest. To state them as they stood in the time of Crœsus king of Lydia, before the arrival of the conquering Cyrus, is a task in which we find little evidence to sustain us. The great mountain chain of Taurus, which begins from the Chelidonian promontory on the southern coast of Lykia, and strikes [p. 205]north-eastward as far as Armenia, formed the most noted boundary-line during the Roman times,—but Herodotus does not once mention it; the river Halys is in his view the most important geographical limit. Northward of Taurus, on the upper portions of the rivers Halys and Sangarius, was situated the spacious and lofty central plain of Asia Minor. To the north, west, and south of this central plain, the region is chiefly mountainous, as it approaches all the three seas, the Euxine, the Ægean, and the Pamphylian,—most mountainous in the case of the latter, permitting no rivers of long course. The mountains Kadmus, Messôgis, Tmôlus, stretch westward towards the Ægean sea, but leaving extensive spaces of plain and long valleys, so that the course of the Mæander, the Kaïster, and the Hermus is of considerable length. The north-western part includes the mountainous regions of Ida, Têmnus, and the Mysian Olympus, yet with much admixture of fertile and productive ground. The elevated tracts near the Euxine appear to have been the most wooded,—especially Kytôrus: the Parthenius, the Sangarius, the Halys, and the Iris, are all considerable streams flowing northward towards that sea. Nevertheless, the plain land interspersed through these numerous elevations was often of the greatest fertility; and as a whole, the peninsula of Asia Minor was considered as highly productive by the ancients, in grain, wine, fruit, cattle, and in many parts, oil; though the cold central plain did not carry the olive.[375]

Along the western shores of this peninsula, where the various bands of Greek emigrants settled, we hear of Pelasgians, Teukrians, Mysians, Bithynians, Phrygians, Lydians or Mæonians, Karians, Lelegians. Farther eastward are Lykians, Pisidians, Kilikians, Phrygians, Kapadokians, Paphlagonians, Mariandynians, etc. Speaking generally, we may say that the Phrygians, Teukrians, and Mysians appear in the north-western portion, between the river Hermus and the Propontis,—the Karians and Lelegians south of the river Mæander,—and the Lydians in the central region between the two. Pelasgians are found here and[p. 206] there, seemingly both in the valley of the Hermus and in that of the Kaïster: even in the time of Herodotus, there were Pelasgian settlements at Plakia and Skylakê on the Propontis, westward of Kyzikus: and O. Müller would even trace the Tyrrhenian Pelasgians to Tyrrha, an inland town of Lydia, from whence he imagines, though without much probability, the name Tyrrhenian to be derived.

One important fact to remark, in respect to the native population of Asia Minor at the first opening of this history, is, that they were not aggregated into great kingdoms or confederations, nor even into any large or populous cities,—but distributed into many inconsiderable tribes, so as to present no overwhelming resistance, and threaten no formidable danger, to the successive bodies of Greek emigrants. The only exception to this is, the Lydian monarchy of Sardis, the real strength of which begins with Gygês and the dynasty of the Mermnadæ, about 700 B. C. Though the increasing force of this kingdom ultimately extinguished the independence of the Greeks in Asia, it seems to have noway impeded their development, as it stood when they first arrived, and for a long time afterwards. Nor were either Karians or Mysians united under any one king, so as to possess facilities for aggression or conquest.

As far as can be made out from our scanty data, it appears that all the nations of Asia Minor west of the river Halys, were, in a large sense, of kindred race with each other, as well as with the Thracians on the European side of the Bosphorus and Hellespont. East of the Halys dwelt the people of Syro-Arabian or Semitic race,—Assyrians, Syrians, and Kappadokians,—as well as Kilikians, Pamphylians, and Solymi, along its upper course and farther southward to the Pamphylian sea. Westward of the Halys, the languages were not Semitic, but belonging to a totally different family,[376]—cognate, yet distinct one from an[p. 207]other, perhaps not mutually intelligible. The Karians, Lydians, and Mysians recognized a certain degree of brotherhood with each other, attested by common religious sacrifices in the temple of Zeus Karios, at Mylasa.[377] But it is by no means certain that each of these nations mutually comprehended each other’s speech; and Herodotus, from whom we derive the knowledge of these common sacrifices, acquaints us at the same time that the Kaunians in the south-western corner of the peninsula had no share in them, though speaking the same language as the Karians; he does not, however, seem to consider identity or difference of language as a test of national affinity.

Along the coast of the Euxine, from the Thracian Bosphorus eastward to the river Halys, dwelt Bithynians or Thynians, Mariandynians and Paphlagonians,—all recognized branches of the widely-extended Thracian race. The Bithynians especially, in the north-western portion of this territory, and reaching from the Euxine to the Propontis, are often spoken of as Asiatic Thracians,—while on the other hand various tribes among the Thracians of Europe, are denominated Thyni, or Thynians,[378]—so little difference was there in the population on the two sides of the Bosphorus, alike brave, predatory, and sanguinary. The Bithynians of Asia are also sometimes called Bebrykians, under which denomination they extend as far southward as the gulf of Kios in the Propontis.[379] They here come in contact with Myg[p. 208]donians, Mysians, and Phrygians. Along the southern coast of the Propontis, between the rivers Rhyndakus and Æsêpus, in immediate neighborhood with the powerful Greek colony of Kyzikus, appear the Doliones; next, Pelasgians at Plakia and Skylakê; then again, along the coast of the Hellespont near Abydus and Lampsakus, and occupying a portion of the Troad, we find mention made of other Bebrykians.[380] In the interior of the Troad, or the region of Ida, are Teukrians and Mysians: the latter seem to extend southward down to Pergamus and the region of Mount Sipylus, and eastward to the mountainous region called the Mysian Olympus, south of the lake Askanius, near which they join with the Phrygians.[381]

As far as any positive opinion can be formed respecting nations of whom we know so little, it would appear that the Mysians and Phrygians are a sort of connecting link between Lydians and Karians on one side, and Thracians (European as well as Asiatic) on the other,—a remote ethnical affinity pervading the whole. Ancient migrations are spoken of in both directions across the Hellespont and the Thracian Bosphorus. It was the opinion of some that Phrygians, Mysians, and Thracians had emigrated into Asia from Europe, and the Lydian historian Xanthus referred the arrival of the Phrygians to an epoch subsequent to the Trojan war.[382] On the other hand, Herodotus speaks of a vast body of Teukrians and Mysians, who, before the Trojan war, had crossed the strait from Asia into Europe, expelled many of the European Thracians from their seats, crossed the Strymôn and the Macedonian rivers, and penetrated as far southward as the river Peneus in Thessaly,—as far westward as the Ionic[p. 209] gulf. This Teukro-Mysian migration, he tells us, brought about two consequences: first, the establishment near the river Strymôn of the Pæonians, who called themselves Teukrian colonists;[383] next, the crossing into Asia of many of the dispossessed Thracian tribes from the neighborhood of the Strymôn, into the north-western region of Asia Minor, by which the Bithynian or Asiatic Thracian people was formed. The Phrygians also are supposed by some to have originally occupied an European soil on the borders of Macedonia, near the snow-clad Mount Bermion, at which time they were called Briges,—an appellative name in the Lydian language equivalent to freemen, or Franks:[384] while the Mysians are said to have come from the north-eastern portions of European Thrace south of the Danube, known under the Roman empire by the name of Mœsia.[385] But with respect to the Mysians there was also another story, according to which they were described as colonists emanating from the Lydians; put forth according to that system of devoting by solemn vow a tenth of the inhabitants, chosen by lot, to seek settlements elsewhere, which recurs not unfrequently among the stories of early emigrations, as the consequence of distress and famine. And this last opinion was supported by the character of the Mysian language, half Lydian and half Phrygian, of which both the Lydian historian Xanthus, and Menekratês of Elæa,[386]—by whom the opinion was announced,—must have been very competent judges.

From such tales of early migration both ways across the Hellespont and the Bosphorus, all that we can with any certainty infer is, a certain measure of affinity among the population of Thrace and Asia Minor,—especially visible in the case of the Phrygians and Mysians. The name and legends of the Phrygian hero Midas are connected with different towns throughout the[p. 210] extensive region of Asiatic Phrygia,—Kelænæ, Pessinûs, Ankyra,[387] Gordium,—as well as with the neighborhood of Mount Bermion in Macedonia: the adventure whereby Midas got possession of Silenus, mixing wine with the spring of which he drank, was localized at the latter place as well as at the town of Thymbrion, nearly at the eastern extremity of Asiatic Phrygia.[388] The name Mygdonia, and the eponymous hero Mygdôn, belong not less to the European territory near the river Axius,—afterwards a part of Macedonia,—than to the Asiatic coast of the eastern Propontis, between Kios and the river Rhyndakus.[389] Otreus and Mygdôn are the commanders of the Phrygians in the Iliad; and the river Odrysês, which flowed through the territory of the Asiatic Mygdonians, into the Rhyndakus, affords another example of homonymy with the Odrysian Thracians[390] in Europe. And as these coincidences of names and legends conduct us to the idea of analogy and affinity between Thracians and Phrygians, so we find Archilochus, the earliest poet remaining to us who mentions them as contemporaries, coupling the two in the same simile.[391] To this early Parian Iambist, the population on[p. 211] the two sides of the Hellespont appears to have presented similarity of feature and customs.

To settle with any accuracy the extent and condition of these Asiatic nations during the early days of Grecian settlement among them is impracticable; the problem was not to be solved even by the ancient geographers, with their superior means of knowledge. The early indigenous distribution of the Phrygian population is unknown to us, and the division into the Greater and Lesser Phrygia belongs to a period at least subsequent to the Persian conquest, like most of the recognized divisions of Asia Minor; it cannot, therefore, be applied with reference to the period earlier than Crœsus. It appears that the name Phrygians, like that of Thracians, was a generic designation, and comprehended tribes or separate communities who had also specific names of their own. We trace Phrygians at wide distances: on the western bank of the river Halys,—at Kelænæ, in the interior of Asia Minor, towards the rise of the river Mæander,—and on the coast of the Propontis near Kios;—in both of these latter localities there is a salt lake called Askanius, which is the name both of the leader of the Phrygian allies of Troy, and of the country from whence they are said to come, in the Iliad.[392] They thus occupy a territory bounded on the south by the Pisidian mountains, on the west by the Lydians (indicated by a terminal pillar set up by Crœsus at Kydrara),[393]—on the east by the river Halys, on the other side of which were Kappadokians or Syrians, on the north by Paphlagonians and Mariandynians. But it seems, besides this, that they must have extended farther to the west, so as to occupy a great portion of the region of Mount Ida and the Troad. For Apollodôrus considered that[p. 212] both the Doliones and the Bebrykians were included in the great Phrygian name;[394] and even in the ancient poem called “Phorônis,” which can hardly be placed later than 600 B. C., the Daktyls of Mount Ida, the great discoverers of metallurgy, are expressly named Phrygian.[395] The custom of the Attic tragic poets to call the inhabitants of the Troad Phrygians, does not necessarily imply any translation of inhabitants, but an employment of the general name, as better known to the audience whom they addressed, in preference to the less notorious specific name,—just as the inhabitants of Bithynia might be described either as Bithynians or as Asiatic Thracians.

If, as the language of Herodotus and Ephorus[396] would seem to imply, we suppose the Phrygians to be at a considerable distance from the coast and dwelling only in the interior, it will be difficult to explain to ourselves how or where the early Greek colonists came to be so much influenced by them; whereas the supposition that the tribes occupying the Troad and the region of Ida were Phrygians elucidates this point. And the fact is incontestable, that both Phrygians and Lydians did not only modify the religious manifestations of the Asiatic Greeks, and through them of the Grecian world generally,—but also rendered important aid towards the first creation of the Grecian musical scale. Of this the denominations of the scale afford a proof.

Three primitive musical modes were employed by the Greek poets, in the earliest times of which later authors could find any account,—the Lydian, which was the most acute,—the Dorian, which was the most grave,—and the Phrygian, intermediate between the two; the highest note of the Lydian being one tone higher, that of the Dorian one tone lower, than the highest note of the Phrygian scale.[397] Such were the three modes or scales,[p. 213] each including only a tetrachord, upon which the earliest Greek masters worked: many other scales, both higher and lower, were subsequently added. It thus appears that the earliest Greek music was, in large proportion, borrowed from Phrygia and Lydia: and when we consider that, in the eighth and seventh centuries before the Christian era, music and poetry conjoined—often also with dancing or rhythmical gesticulation—was the only intellectual manifestation known among the Greeks,—and moreover that, in the belief of all the ancient writers, every musical mode had its own peculiar emotional influences, powerfully modified the temper of hearers, and was intimately connected with the national worship,—we shall see that this transmission of the musical modes implies much both of communication and interchange between the Asiatic Greeks and the indigenous population of the continent. Now the fact of communication between the Ionic and Æolic Greeks, and their eastern neighbors, the Lydians, is easy to comprehend generally, though we have no details as to the way in which it took place; but we do not distinctly see where it was that the Greeks came so much into contact with the Phrygians except in the region of Ida, the Troad, and the southern coast of the Propontis. To this region belonged those early Phrygian musicians (under the heroic names of Olympus, Hyagnis, Marsyas), from whom the Greeks borrowed.[398] And we may remark that the analogy between Thracians and Phrygians seems partially to hold in respect both to music and religion, since the old mythe in the Iliad,[p. 214] wherein the Thracian bard Thamyris, rashly contending in song with the Muses, is conquered, blinded, and stripped of his art, seems to be the prototype of the very similar story respecting the contention of Apollo with the Phrygian Marsyas,[399]—the cithara against the flute; while the Phrygian Midas is farther characterized as the religious disciple of Thracian Orpheus.

In my previous chapter relating to the legend of Troy,[400] mention has been already made of the early fusion of the Æolic Greeks with the indigenous population of the Troad; and it is from hence probably that the Phrygian music with the flute as its instrument,—employed in the orgiastic rites and worship of the Great Mother in Mount Ida, in the Mysian Olympus, and other mountain regions of the country, and even in the Greek city of Lampsakus,[401]—passed to the Greek composers. Its introduction is coeval with the earliest facts respecting Grecian music, and must have taken place during the first century of the recorded Olympiads. In the Homeric poems we find no allusion to it, but it may probably have contributed to stimulate that development of lyric and elegiac composition which grew up among the post-Homeric Æolians and Ionians, to the gradual displacement of the old epic. Another instance of the fusion of Phrygians with Greeks is to be found in the religious ceremonies of Kyzikus, Kius, and Prusa, on the southern and south-eastern coasts of the Propontis; at the first of the three places, the worship of the Great Mother of the gods was celebrated with much solemnity on the hill of Dindymon, bearing the same name as that mountain in the interior, near Pessinus, from whence Cybelê derived her[p. 215] principal surname of Dindymênê.[402] The analogy between the Kretan and Phrygian religious practices has been often noticed, and confusion occurs not unfrequently between Mount Ida in Krête and the mountain of the same name in the Troad; while the Teukrians of Gergis in the Troad,—who were not yet Hellenized even at the time of the Persian invasion, and who were affirmed by the elegiac poet Kallinus to have emigrated from Krêtê,—if they were not really Phrygians,—differed so little from them as to be called such by the poets.

The Phrygians are celebrated by Herodotus for the abundance both of their flocks and their agricultural produce:[403] the excellent wool for which Milêtus was always renowned came in part from the upper valley of the river Mæander, which they inhabited. He contrasts them in this respect with the Lydians, among whom the attributes and capacities of persons dwelling in cities are chiefly brought to our view: much gold and silver, retail trade, indigenous games, unchastity of young women, yet combined with thrift and industry.[404] Phrygian cheese and salt-provisions, Lydian unguents,[405] carpets and colored shoes, acquired notoriety. Both Phrygians and Lydians are noticed by Greek authors subsequent to the establishment of the Persian empire as a people timid, submissive, industrious, and useful as slaves,—an attribute not ascribed to the Mysians,[406] who are usually described as brave and hardy mountaineers, difficult to hold in subjection: nor even true respecting the Lydians, during the earlier times anterior to the complete overthrow of Crœsus by Cyrus; for they were then esteemed for their warlike prowess. Nor was the different char[p. 216]acter of these two Asiatic people yet effaced even in the second century after the Christian era. For the same Mysians, who in the time of Herodotus and Xenophon gave so much trouble to the Persian satraps, are described by the rhetor Aristeidês as seizing and plundering his property at Laneion near Hadriani,—while on the contrary he mentions the Phrygians as habitually coming from the interior towards the coast-regions to do the work of the olive-gathering.[407] During the times of Grecian autonomy and ascendency, in the fifth century B. C., the conception of a Phrygian or a Lydian was associated in the Greek mind with ideas of contempt and servitude,[408] to which unquestionably these Asiatics became fashioned, since it was habitual with them under the Roman empire to sell their own children into slavery,[409]—a practice certainly very rare among the Greeks, even when they too had become confounded among the mass of subjects of imperial Rome. But we may fairly assume that this association of contempt with the name of a Phrygian or a Lydian did not prevail during the early period of Grecian Asiatic settlement, or even in the time of Alkman, Mimnermus, or Sappho, down to 600 B. C. We first trace evidence of it in a fragment of Hippônax, and it began with the subjection of Asia Minor generally,[p. 217] first under Crœsus[410] and then under Cyrus, and with the sentiment of comparative pride which grew up afterwards in the minds of European Greeks. The native Phrygian tribes along the Propontis, with whom the Greek colonists came in contact,—Bebrykians, Doliones, Mygdonians, etc,—seem to have been agricultural, cattle-breeding and horse-breeding, yet more vehement and warlike than the Phrygians of the interior, as far at least as can be made out by their legends. The brutal but gigantic Amykus son of Poseidôn, chief of the Bebrykians, with whom Pollux contends in boxing, and his brother Mygdôn to whom Hêraklês is opposed, are samples of a people whom the Greek poets considered ferocious, and not submissive;[411] while the celebrity of the horses of Erichthonius, Laomedôn, and Asius of Arisbê, in the Iliad, shows that horse-breeding was a distinguishing attribute of the region of Ida, not less in the mind of Homer than in that of Virgil.[412]

According to the legend of the Phrygian town of Gordium on the river Sangarius, the primitive Phrygian king Gordius was originally a poor husbandman, upon the yoke of whose team, as he one day tilled his field, an eagle perched and posted himself. Astonished at this portent, he consulted the Telmissean augurs to know what it meant, and a maiden of the prophetic breed acquainted him that the kingdom was destined to his family. He espoused her, and the offspring of the marriage was Midas. Seditions afterwards breaking out among the Phrygians, they were directed by an oracle, as the only means of tranquillity, to choose for themselves as king the man whom they should first[p. 218] see approaching in a wagon. Gordius and Midas happened to be then coming into the town in their wagon, and the crown was conferred upon them: their wagon was consecrated in the citadel of Gordium to Zeus Basileus, and became celebrated from the insoluble knot whereby the yoke was attached, and the severance of it afterwards by the sword of Alexander the Great. Whosoever could untie the knot, to him the kingdom of Asia was portended, and Alexander was the first whose sword both fulfilled the condition and realized the prophecy.[413]

Of these legendary Phrygian names and anecdotes we can make no use for historical purposes. We know nothing of any Phrygian kings, during the historical times,—but Herodotus tells us of a certain Midas son of Gordius, king of Phrygia, who was the first foreign sovereign that ever sent offerings to the Delphian temple, anterior to Gygês of Lydia. This Midas dedicated to the Delphian god the throne on which he was in the habit of sitting to administer justice. Chronologers have referred the incident to a Phrygian king Midas placed by Eusebius in the 10th Olympiad,—a supposition which there are no means of verifying.[414] There may have been a real Midas king of Gordium; but that there was ever any great united Phrygian monarchy, we have not the least ground for supposing. The name Gordius son of Midas again appears in the legend of Crœsus and Solon told by Herodotus, as part of the genealogy of the ill-fated prince Adrastus: here too it seems to represent a legendary rather than a real person.[415]

Of the Lydians, I shall speak in the following chapter.

[p. 219]


The early relations between the Lydians and the Asiatic Greeks, anterior to the reign of Gygês, are not better known to us than those of the Phrygians. Their native music became partly incorporated with the Greek, as the Phrygian music was; to which it was very analogous, both in instruments and in character, though the Lydian mode was considered by the ancients as more effeminate and enervating. The flute was used alike by Phrygians and Lydians, passing from both of them to the Greeks; but the magadis or pectis (a harp with sometimes as many as twenty strings, sounded two together in octave) is said to have been borrowed by the Lesbian Terpander from the Lydian banquets.[416] The flute-players who acquired esteem among the early Asiatic Greeks were often Phrygian or Lydian slaves; and even the poet Alkman, who gained for himself permanent renown among the Greek lyric poets, though not a slave born at Sardis, as is sometimes said, was probably of Lydian extraction.

It has been already mentioned that Homer knows nothing of Lydia or Lydians. He names Mæonians in juxtaposition with Karians, and we are told by Herodotus that the people once called Mæonian received the new appellation of Lydian from Lydus son of Atys. Sardis, whose almost inexpugnable citadel was situated on a precipitous rock on the northern side of the ridge of Tmôlus, overhanging the plain of the river Hermus, was the capital of the Lydian kings: it is not named by Homer, though he mentions both Tmôlus and the neighboring Gygæan lake: the fortification of it was ascribed to an old Lydian king named Mêlês, and strange legends were told concerning it.[417] Its possessors were enriched by the neighborhood of the river Paktôlus,[p. 220] which flowed down from Mount Tmôlus towards the Hermus, and brought with it considerable quantities of gold in its sands. To this cause historians often ascribe the abundant treasure belonging to Crœsus and his predecessors; but Crœsus possessed, besides, other mines near Pergamus;[418] and another cause of wealth is also to be found in the general industry of the Lydian people, which the circumstances mentioned respecting them seem to attest. They were the first people, according to Herodotus, who ever carried on retail trade; and the first to coin money of gold and silver.[419]

The archæologists of Sardis in the time of Herodotus, a century after the Persian conquest, carried very far back the antiquity of the Lydian monarchy, by means of a series of names which are in great part, if not altogether, divine and heroic. Herodotus gives us first, Manês, Atys, and Lydus,—next, a line of kings beginning with Hêraklês, twenty-two in number, succeeding each other from father to son and lasting for 505 years. The first of this line of Herakleid kings was Agrôn, descended from Hêraklês in the fourth generation,—Hêraklês, Alkæus, Ninus, Bêlus, and Agrôn. The twenty-second prince of this Herakleid family, after an uninterrupted succession of father and son during 505 years, was Kandaulês, called by the Greeks Myrsilus the son of Myrsus: with him the dynasty ended, and ended by one of those curious incidents which Herodotus has narrated with his usual dramatic, yet unaffected, emphasis. It was the divine will that Kandaulês should be destroyed, and he lost his rational judgment: having a wife the most beautiful woman in Lydia, his vanity could not be satisfied without exhibiting her naked person to Gygês son of Daskylus, his principal confidant and the commander of his guards. In spite of the vehement repugnance of Gygês, this resolution was executed; but the wife became aware of the inexpiable affront, and took her measures to avenge it. Surrounded by her most faithful domestics, she sent for Gygês, and addressed him: “Two ways are now open to thee, Gygês: take which thou wilt. Either kill Kandaulês, wed me, and acquire the kingdom of Lydia,—or else thou must at once perish. For thou hast seen forbidden things, and either thou, or the man who contrived it for thee must[p. 221] die.” Gygês in vain entreated to be spared so terrible an alternative: he was driven to the option, and he chose that which promised safety to himself.[420] The queen planted him in ambush behind the bed-chamber door, in the very spot where Kandaulês had placed him as a spectator, and armed him with a dagger, which he plunged into the heart of the sleeping king.

Thus ended the dynasty of the Herakleids; but there was a large party in Lydia who indignantly resented the death of Kandaulês, and took arms against Gygês. A civil war ensued, which both parties at length consented to terminate by reference to the Delphian oracle. The decision of that holy referee was given in favor of Gygês, and the kingdom of Lydia thus passed to his dynasty, called the Mermnadæ. But the oracle accompanied its verdict with an intimation, that in the person of the fifth descendant of Gygês, the murder of Kandaulês would be avenged,—a warning of which, Herodotus innocently remarks, no one took any notice, until it was actually fulfilled in the person of Crœsus.[421]

In this curious legend, which marks the commencement of the dynasty called Mermnadæ, the historical kings of Lydia,—we cannot determine how much, or whether any part, is historical. Gygês was probably a real man, contemporary with the youth of the poet Archilochus; but the name Gygês is also an heroic name in Lydian archæology. He is the eponymus of the Gygæan lake near Sardis; and of the many legends told respecting him, Plato has preserved one, according to which Gygês is a mere herdsman of the king of Lydia: after a terrible storm and earthquake, he sees near him a chasm in the earth, into which he descends and finds a vast horse of brass, hollow and partly open, wherein there lies a gigantic corpse with a golden ring. This ring he carries away, and discovers unexpectedly that it possesses the miraculous property of rendering him invisible at pleasure. Being sent on a message to the king, he makes the magic ring available to his ambition: he first possesses himself of the person[p. 222] of the queen, then with her aid assassinates the king, and finally seizes the sceptre.[422]

The legend thus recounted by Plato, different in almost all points from the Herodotean, has this one circumstance in common, that the adventurer Gygês, through the favor and help of the queen, destroys the king and becomes his successor. Feminine preference and patronage is the cause of his prosperity. Klausen has shown[423] that this “aphrodisiac influence” runs in a peculiar manner through many of the Asiatic legends, both divine and heroic. The Phrygian Midas, or Gordius, as before recounted, acquires the throne by marriage with a divinely privileged maiden: the favor shown by Aphroditê to Anchisês, confers upon the Æneadæ sovereignty in the Troad: moreover, the great Phrygian and Lydian goddess Rhea or Cybelê has always her favored and self-devoting youth Atys, who is worshipped along with her, and who serves as a sort of mediator between her and mankind. The feminine element appears predominant in Asiatic mythes: Midas, Sardanapalus, Sandôn, and even Hêraklês,[424] are described as clothed in women’s attire and working at the loom; while on the other hand the Amazons and Semiramis achieve great conquests.

Admitting therefore the historical character of the Lydian kings called Mermnadæ, beginning with Gygês about 715-690 B. C., and ending with Crœsus, we find nothing but legend to explain to us the circumstances which led to their accession. Still less can we make out anything respecting the preceding kings, or determine whether Lydia was ever in former times connected with or dependent upon the kingdom of Assyria, as Ktêsias affirmed.[425] Nor can we certify the reality or dates of the old Lydian kings named by the native historian Xanthus,—Alkimus, Kamblês, Adramytês.[426] One piece of valuable information,[p. 223] however, we acquire from Xanthus,—the distribution of Lydia into two parts, Lydia proper and Torrhêbia, which he traces to the two sons of Atys,—Lydus and Torrhêbus; he states that the dialect of the Lydians and Torrhebians differed much in the same degree as that of Doric and Ionic Greeks.[427] Torrhêbia appears to have included the valley of the Kaïster, south of Tmôlus, and near to the frontiers of Karia.

With Gygês, the Mermnad king, commences the series of aggressions from Sardis upon the Asiatic Greeks, which ultimately ended in their subjection. Gygês invaded the territories of Milêtus and Smyrna, and even took the city, probably not the citadel, of Kolophôn. Though he thus, however, made war upon the Asiatic Greeks, he was munificent in his donations to the Grecian god of Delphi, and his numerous as well as costly offerings were seen in the temple by Herodotus. Elegiac compositions of the poet Mimnermus celebrated the valor of the Smyrnæans in their battle with Gygês.[428] We hear also, in a story which bears the impress of Lydian more than of Grecian fancy, of a beautiful youth of Smyrna named Magnês, to whom Gygês was attached, and who incurred the displeasure of his countrymen for having composed verses in celebration of the victories of the Lydians over the Amazons. To avenge the ill-treatment received by this youth, Gygês attacked the territory of Magnêsia (probably Magnêsia on Sipylus) and after a considerable struggle took the city.[429]

How far the Lydian kingdom of Sardis extended during the reign of Gygês, we have no means of ascertaining. Strabo alleges that the whole Troad[430] belonged to him, and that the Greek settlement of Abydus on the Hellespont was established by the Milesians only under his auspices. On what authority this statement is made, we are not told, and it appears doubtful, especially as so many legendary anecdotes are connected with the name of Gygês. This prince reigned (according to Herodotus) thirty-eight years, and was succeeded by his son Ardys, who reigned forty-nine years (about B. C. 678-629). We learn that he[p. 224] attacked the Milesians, and took the Ionic city of Priênê, but this possession cannot have been maintained, for the city appears afterwards as autonomous.[431] His long reign, however, was signalized by two events, both of considerable moment to the Asiatic Greeks; the invasion of the Cimmerians,—and the first approach to collision, at least the first of which we have any historical knowledge, between the inhabitants of Lydia and those of Upper Asia under the Median kings.

It is affirmed by all authors that the Medes were originally numbered among the subjects of the great Assyrian empire, of which Nineveh—or Ninos, as the Greeks call it—was the chief town, and Babylon one of the principal portions. That the population and power of these two great cities, as well as of several others which the Ten Thousand Greeks in their march found ruined and deserted in those same regions, is of high antiquity,[432] there is no room for doubting; but it is noway incumbent upon a historian of Greece to entangle himself in the mazes of Assyrian chronology, or to weigh the degree of credit to which the conflicting statements of Herodotus, Ktêsias, Berosus, Abydênus, etc. are entitled. With the Assyrian empire,[433]—which lasted, according to Herodotus, five hundred and twenty years, according to Ktêsias, thirteen hundred and sixty years,—the Greeks have no ascertainable connection: the city of Nineveh appears to have been taken by the Medes a little before the year 600 B. C. (in so far as the chronology can be made out), and exercised no influence[p. 225] upon Grecian affairs. Those inhabitants of Upper Asia, with whom the early Greeks had relation, were the Medes, and the Assyrians or Chaldæans of Babylon,—both originally subject to the Assyrians of Nineveh,—both afterwards acquiring independence,—and both ultimately embodied in the Persian empire. At what time either of them became first independent, we do not know:[434] the astronomical canon which gives a list of kings of[p. 226] Babylon, beginning with what is called the era of Nabonassar, or 747 B. C., does not prove at what epoch these Babylonian[p. 227] chiefs became independent of Nineveh: and the catalogue of Median kings, which Herodotus begins with Dêïokês, about 709-711 B. C., is commenced by Ktêsias more than a century earlier,—moreover, the names in the two lists are different almost from first to last.

For the historian of Greece, the Medes first begin to acquire importance about 656 B. C., under a king whom Herodotus calls Phraortês, son of Dêïokês. Respecting Dêïokês himself, Herodotus recounts to us how he came to be first chosen king.[435] The seven tribes of Medes dwelt dispersed in separate villages, without any common authority, and the mischiefs of anarchy were painfully felt among them: Dêïokês having acquired great reputation in his own village as a just man, was invoked gradually by all the adjoining villages to settle their disputes. As soon as his efficiency in this vocation, and the improvement which he brought about, had become felt throughout all the tribes, he artfully threw up his post and retired again into privacy,—upon which the evils of anarchy revived in a manner more intolerable than before. The Medes had now no choice except to elect a king,—the friends of Dêïokês expatiated warmly upon his virtues, and he was the person chosen.[436] The first step of the[p. 228] new king was to exact from the people a body of guards selected by himself; next, he commanded them to build the city of Ekbatana, upon a hill surrounded with seven concentric circles of walls, his own palace being at the top and in the innermost. He farther organized the scheme of Median despotism; the king, though his person was constantly secluded in his fortified palace, inviting written communications from all aggrieved persons, and administering to each the decision or the redress which it required,—informing himself, moreover, of passing events by means of ubiquitous spies and officials, who seized all wrong-doers and brought them to the palace for condign punishment. Dêïokês farther constrained the Medes to abandon their separate abodes and concentrate themselves in Ekbatana, from whence all the powers of government branched out; and the seven distinct fortified circles in the town, coinciding as they do with the number of the Median tribes, were probably conceived by Herodotus as intended each for one distinct tribe,—the tribe of Dêïokês occupying the innermost along with himself.[437]

Except the successive steps of this well-laid political plan, we hear of no other acts ascribed to Dêïokês: he is said to have held the government for fifty-three years, and then dying, was succeeded by his son Phraortês. Of the real history of Dêïokês, we cannot be said to know anything. For the interesting narrative of Herodotus, of which the above is an abridgment, presents to us in all its points Grecian society and ideas, not Oriental: it is like the discussion which the historian ascribes to the seven Persian conspirators, previous to the accession of Darius,—whether they shall adopt an oligarchical, a democratical, or a monarchical form of government;[438] or it may be compared, perhaps more aptly still, to the Cyropædia of Xenophon, who beautifully and elaborately works out an ideal which Herodotus[p. 229] exhibits in brief outline. The story of Dêïokês describes what may be called the despot’s progress, first as candidate, and afterwards as fully established. Amidst the active political discussion carried on by intelligent Greeks in the days of Herodotus, there were doubtless many stories of the successful arts of ambitious despots, and much remark as to the probable means conducive to their success, of a nature similar to those in the Politics of Aristotle: one of these tales Herodotus has employed to decorate the birth and infancy of the Median monarchy. His Dêïokês begins like a clever Greek among other Greeks, equal, free, and disorderly. He is athirst for despotism from the beginning, and is forward in manifesting his rectitude and justice, “as beseems a candidate for command;”[439] he passes into a despot by the public vote, and receives what to the Greeks was the great symbol and instrument of such transition, a personal body-guard; he ends by organizing both the machinery and the etiquette of a despotism in the Oriental fashion, like the Cyrus of Xenophon,[440] only that both these authors maintain the superiority of their Grecian ideal over Oriental reality by ascribing both to Dêïokês and Cy[p. 230]rus a just, systematic, and laborious administration, such as their own experience did not present to them in Asia. Probably Herodotus had visited Ekbatana (which he describes and measures like an eye-witness, comparing its circuit to that of Athens), and there heard that Dêïokês was the builder of the city, the earliest known Median king, and the first author of those public customs which struck him as peculiar, after the revolt from Assyria: the interval might then be easily filled up, between Median autonomy and Median despotism, by intermediate incidents, such as would have accompanied that transition in the longitude of Greece. The features of these inhabitants of Upper Asia, for a thousand years forward from the time at which we are now arrived,—under the descendants of Dêïokês, of Cyrus, of Arsakês, and of Ardshir,—are so unvarying,[441] that we are much assisted in detecting those occasions in which Herodotus or others infuse into their history indigenous Grecian ideas.

Phraortês (658-636 B. C.), having extended the dominion of the Medes over a large portion of Upper Asia, and conquered both the Persians and several other nations, was ultimately defeated and slain in a war against the Assyrians of Nineveh: who, though deprived of their external dependencies, were yet brave and powerful by themselves. His son Kyaxarês (636-595 B. C.) followed up with still greater energy the same plans of conquest, and is said to have been the first who introduced any organization into the military force;—before his time, archers, spearmen, and cavalry had been confounded together indiscriminately, until this monarch established separate divisions for each. He extended the Median dominion to the eastern bank of the Halys, which river afterwards, by the conquests of the Lydian king Crœsus, became the boundary between the Lydian and Median empires; and he carried on war for six years with Alyattês king of Lydia, in consequence of the refusal of the latter to give up a[p. 231] band of Scythian nomads, who, having quitted the territory of Kyaxarês in order to escape severities with which they were menaced, had sought refuge as suppliants in Lydia.[442] The war, indecisive as respects success, was brought to its close by a remarkable incident: in the midst of a battle between the Median and Lydian armies, there happened a total eclipse of the sun, which occasioned equal alarm to both parties, and induced them immediately to cease hostilities.[443] The Kilikian prince Syennesis, and the Babylonian prince Labynêtus, interposed their mediation, and effected a reconciliation between Kyaxarês and Alyattês, one of the conditions of which was, that Alyattês gave his daughter Aryênis in marriage to Astyagês son of Kyaxarês. In this manner began the connection between the Lydian and Median kings which afterwards proved so ruinous to Crœsus. It is affirmed that the Greek philosopher Thalês foretold this eclipse; but we may reasonably consider the supposed prediction as not less apocryphal than some others ascribed to him, and doubt whether at that time any living Greek possessed either knowledge or scientific capacity sufficient for such a calculation.[444] The eclipse itself, and[p. 232] its terrific working upon the minds of the combatants, are facts not to be called in question; though the diversity of opinion among chronologists, respecting the date of it, is astonishing.[445]

[p. 233]It was after this peace with Alyattês, as far as we can make out the series of events in Herodotus, that Kyaxarês collected all his forces and laid siege to Nineveh, but was obliged to desist by the unexpected inroad of the Scythians. Nearly at the same time that Upper Asia was desolated by these formidable nomads, Asia Minor too was overrun by other nomads,—the Cimmerians,—Ardys being then king of Lydia; and the two invasions, both spreading extreme disaster, are presented to us as indirectly connected together in the way of cause and effect.

The name Cimmerians appears in the Odyssey,—the fable describes them as dwelling beyond the ocean-stream, immersed in darkness and unblessed by the rays of Helios. Of this people as existent we can render no account, for they had passed away, or lost their identity and become subject, previous to the commencement of trustworthy authorities: but they seem to have been the chief occupants of the Tauric Chersonesus (Crimea) and of the territory between that peninsula and the river Tyras (Dniester), at the time when the Greeks first commenced their permanent settlements on those coasts in the seventh century B. C. The[p. 234] numerous localities which bore their name, even in the time of Herodotus,[446] after they had ceased to exist as a nation,—as well as the tombs of the Cimmerian kings then shown near the Tyras,—sufficiently attest this fact; and there is reason to believe that they were—like their conquerors and successors the Scythians—a nomadic people, mare-milkers, moving about with their tents and herds, suitably to the nature of those unbroken steppes which their territory presented, and which offered little except herbage in profusion. Strabo tells us[447]—on what authority we do not know—that they, as well as the Trêres and other Thracians, had desolated Asia Minor more than once before the time of Ardys, and even earlier than Homer.

The Cimmerians thus belong partly to legend partly to history; but the Scythians formed for several centuries an important section of the Grecian contemporary world. Their name, unnoticed by Homer, occurs for the first time in the Hesiodic poems. When the Homeric Zeus in the Iliad turns his eye away from Troy towards Thrace, he sees, besides the Thracians and Mysians, other tribes, whose names cannot be made out, but whom the poet knows as milk-eaters and mare-milkers;[448] and the same characteristic attributes, coupled with that of “having wagons for their dwelling-houses,” appear in Hesiod connected with the name of the Scythians.[449] The navigation of the Greeks into the Euxine, gradually became more and more frequent, and during the last half of the seventh century B. C. their first settlements on its coasts were established. The foundation of Byzantium, as[p. 235] well as of the Pontic Herakleia, at a short distance to the east of the Thracian Bosphorus, by the Megarians, is assigned to the 30th Olympiad, or 658 B. C.;[450] and the succession of colonies founded by the enterprise of Milesian citizens on the western coast of the Euxine, seem to fall not very long after this date,—at least within the following century. Istria, Tyras, and Olbia, or Borysthenes, were planted respectively near the mouths of the three great rivers Danube, Dniester, and Bog: Kruni, Odêssus, Tomi, Kallatis, and Apollonia, were also planted on the south-western or Thracian coast, northward of the dangerous land of Salmydessus, so frequent in wrecks, but south of the Danube.[451] According to the turn of Grecian religious faith, the colonists took out with them the worship of the hero Achilles (from whom, perhaps, the œkist and some of the expatriating chiefs professed to be descended), which they established with great solemnity both in the various towns and on the small adjoining islands: and the earliest proof which we find of Scythia, as a territory familiar to Grecian ideas and feeling, is found in a fragment of the poet Alkæus (about B. C. 600), wherein he addresses Achilles[452] as “sovereign of Scythia.” There were, besides, several other Milesian foundations on or near the Tauric Chersonese (Crimea) which brought the Greeks into conjunction with the Scythians,[p. 236]—Herakleia, Chersonêsus, and Theodosia, on the southern coast and south-western corner of the peninsula,—Pantikapæum and the Teian colony of Phanagoria (these two on the European and Asiatic sides of the Cimmerian Bosphorus respectively), and Kêpi, Hermônassa, etc. not far from Phanagoria, on the Asiatic coast of the Euxine: last of all, there was, even at the extremity of the Palus Mæotis (Sea of Azof), the Grecian settlement of Tanais.[453] All or most of these seem to have been founded during the course of the sixth century B. C., though the precise dates of most of them cannot be named; probably several of them anterior to the time of the mystic poet Aristeas of Prokonnêsus, about 540 B. C. His long voyage from the Palus Mæotis (Sea of Azof) into the interior of Asia as far as the country of the Issêdones (described in a poem, now lost, called the Arimaspian verses), implies an habitual intercourse between Scythians and Greeks which could not well have existed without Grecian establishments on the Cimmerian Bosphorus.

Hekatæus of Milêtus,[454] appears to have given much geographical information respecting the Scythian tribes; but Herodotus, who personally visited the town of Olbia, together with the inland regions adjoining to it, and probably other Grecian settlements in the Euxine (at a time which we may presume to have been about 450-440 B. C.),—and who conversed with both Scythians and Greeks competent to give him information,—has left[p. 237] us far more valuable statements respecting the Scythian people, dominion, and manners, as they stood in his day. His conception of the Scythians, as well as that of Hippokratês, is precise and well-defined,—very different from that of the later authors, who use the word almost indiscriminately to denote all barbarous nomads. His territory, called Scythia, is a square area, twenty days’ journey or four thousand stadia (somewhat less than five hundred English miles) in each direction,—bounded by the Danube (the course of which river he conceives in a direction from N. W. to S. E.), the Euxine, and the Palus Mæotis with the river Tanais, on three sides respectively,—and on the fourth or north side by the nations called Agathyrsi, Neuri, Androphagi, and Melanchlæni.[455] However imperfect his idea of the figure of this territory may be found, if we compare it with a good modern map, the limits which he gives us are beyond dispute: from the lower Danube and the mountains eastward of Transylvania to the lower Tanais, the whole area was either occupied by or subject to the Scythians. And this name comprised tribes differing materially in habits and civilization. The great mass of the people who bore it, strictly nomadic in their habits,—neither sowing nor planting, but living only on food derived from animals, especially mare’s milk and cheese,—moved from place to place, carrying their families in wagons covered with wicker and leather, themselves always on horseback with their flocks and herds, between the Borysthenês and the Palus Mæotis; they hardly even reached so far westward as the Borysthenês, since a river (not[p. 238] easily identified) which Herodotus calls Pantikapês, flowing into the Borysthenês from the eastward, formed their boundary. These nomads were the genuine Scythians, possessing the marked attributes of the race, and including among their number the regal Scythians,[456]—hordes so much more populous and more effective in war than the rest, as to maintain undisputed ascendency, and to account all other Scythians no better than their slaves. It was to these that the Scythian kings belonged, by whom the religious and political unity of the name was maintained,—each horde having its separate chief, and to a certain extent separate worship and customs. But besides these nomads, there were also agricultural Scythians, with fixed abodes, living more or less upon bread, and raising corn for exportation, along the banks of the Borysthenês and the Hypanis.[457] And such had[p. 239] been the influence of the Grecian settlement of Olbia at the mouth of the latter river in creating new tastes and habits, that two tribes on its western banks, the Kallippidæ and the Alazônes, had become completely accustomed both to tillage and to vegetable food, and had in other respects so much departed from their Scythian rudeness as to be called Hellenic-Scythians, many Greeks being seemingly domiciled among them. Northward of the Alazônes, lay those called the agricultural Scythians, who sowed corn, not for food but for sale.[458]

Such stationary cultivators were doubtless regarded by the predominant mass of the Scythians as degenerate brethren; and some historians maintain that they belonged to a foreign race, standing to the Scythians merely in the relation of subjects,[459]—an[p. 240] hypothesis contradicted implicitly, if not directly, by the words of Herodotus, and no way necessary in the present case. It is not from them, however, that Herodotus draws his vivid picture of the people, with their inhuman rites and repulsive personal features. It is the purely nomadic Scythians whom he depicts, the earliest specimens of the Mongolian race (so it seems probable)[460] known to history, and prototypes of the Huns and Bulga[p. 241]rians of later centuries. The sword, in the literal sense of the word, was their chief god,[461]—an iron scymetar solemnly elevated upon a wide and lofty platform, which was supported on masses of fagots piled underneath,—to whom sheep, horses, and a portion of their prisoners taken in war, were offered up in sacrifice: Herodotus treats this sword as the image of the god Arês, thus putting an Hellenic interpretation upon that which he describes literally as a barbaric rite. The scalps and the skins of slain enemies, and sometimes the skull formed into a drinking-cup, constituted the decoration of a Scythian warrior: whoever had not slain an enemy, was excluded from participation in the annual festival and bowl of wine prepared by the chief of each separate horde. The ceremonies which took place during the sickness and funeral obsequies of the Scythian kings (who were buried at Gerrhi, at the extreme point to which navigation extended up the Borysthenês), partook of the same sanguinary disposition. It was the Scythian practice to put out the eyes of all their slaves; and the awkwardness of the Scythian frame, often overloaded with fat, together with extreme dirt of body, and the absence of all discriminating feature between one man and another, complete the brutish portrait.[462] Mare’s milk (with cheese made from it)[p. 242] seems to have been their chief luxury, and probably served the same purpose of procuring the intoxicating drink called kumiss, as at present among the Bashkirs and the Kalmucks.[463]

If the habits of the Scythians were such as to create in the near observer no other feeling than repugnance, their force at least inspired terror. They appeared in the eyes of Thucydidês so numerous and so formidable, that he pronounces them irresistible, if they could but unite, by any other nation within his knowledge. Herodotus, too, conceived the same idea of a race among whom every man was a warrior and a practised horse-bowman, and who were placed by their mode of life out of all reach of an enemy’s attack.[464] Moreover, Herodotus does not speak meanly of their intelligence, contrasting them in favorable terms with the general stupidity of the other nations bordering on the Euxine. In this respect Thucydidês seems to differ from him.

On the east, the Scythians of the time of Herodotus were separated only by the river Tanais from the Sarmatians, who occupied the territory for several days’ journey north-east of the Palus Mæôtis: on the south, they were divided by the Danube from the section of Thracians called Getæ. Both these nations were nomadic, analogous to the Scythians in habits, military efficiency, and fierceness: indeed, Herodotus and Hippokratês distinctly intimate that the Sarmatians were nothing but a branch of Scythians,[465] speaking a Scythian dialect, and distinguished[p. 243] from their neighbors on the other side of the Tanais, chiefly by this peculiarity,—that the women among them were warriors hardly less daring and expert than the men. This attribute of Sarmatian women, as a matter of fact, is well attested,—though Herodotus has thrown over it an air of suspicion not properly belonging to it, by his explanatory genealogical mythe, deducing the Sarmatians from a mixed breed between the Scythians and the Amazons.

The wide extent of steppe eastward and north-eastward of the Tanais, between the Ural mountains and the Caspian, and beyond the possessions of the Sarmatians, was traversed by Grecian traders, even to a good distance in the direction of the Altai mountains,—the rich produce of gold, both in Altai and Ural, being the great temptation. First, according to Herodotus, came the indigenous nomadic nation called Budini, who dwelt to the northward of the Sarmatians,[466] and among whom were es[p. 244]tablished a colony of Pontic Greeks, intermixed with natives, and called Gelôni; these latter inhabited a spacious town built entirely of wood. Beyond the Budini eastward dwelt the Thys[p. 245]sagetæ and the Jurkæ, tribes of hunters, and even a body of Scythians who had migrated from the territories of the regal Scythians. The Issêdones were the easternmost people respecting whom any definite information reached the Greeks; beyond them we find nothing but fable,[467]—the one-eyed Arimaspians, the gold-guarding Grypes, or Griffins, and the bald-headed Argippæi. It is impossible to fix with precision the geography of these different tribes, or to do more than comprehend approximatively their local bearings and relations to each other.

But the best known of all is the situation of the Tauri (perhaps a remnant of the expelled Cimmerians), who dwelt in the southern portion of the Tauric Chersonesus (or Crimea), and who immolated human sacrifices to their native virgin goddess,—identified by the Greeks with Artemis, and serving as a basis for the affecting legend of Iphigeneia. The Tauri are distinguished by Herodotus from Scythians,[468] but their manners and state of civilization seem to have been very analogous. It appears also that the powerful and numerous Massagetæ, who dwelt in Asia on the plains eastward of the Caspian and southward of the Issêdones, were so analogous to the Scythians as to be reckoned as members of the same race by many of the contemporaries of Herodotus.[469]

This short enumeration of the various tribes near the Euxine and the Caspian, as well as we can make them out, from the seventh to the fifth century B. C., is necessary for the comprehension of that double invasion of Scythians and Cimmerians which laid waste Asia between 630 and 610 B. C. We are not to expect from Herodotus, born a century and a half afterwards, any very clear explanations of this event, nor were all his informants unanimous respecting the causes which brought it about. But it is a fact perfectly within the range of historical analogy, that accidental aggregations of number, development of aggressive[p. 246] spirit, or failure in the means of subsistence, among the nomadic tribes of the Asiatic plains, have brought on the civilized nations of southern Europe calamitous invasions, of which the prime moving cause was remote and unknown. Sometimes a weaker tribe, flying before a stronger, has been in this manner precipitated upon the territory of a richer and less military population, so that an impulse originating in the distant plains of Central Tartary has been propagated until it reached the southern extremity of Europe, through successive intermediate tribes, a phenomenon especially exhibited during the fourth and fifth centuries of the Christian era, in the declining years of the Roman empire. A pressure so transmitted onward is said to have brought down the Cimmerians and Scythians upon the more southerly regions of Asia. The most ancient story in explanation of this incident seems to have been contained in the epic poem (now lost) called Arimaspia, of the mystic Aristeas of Prokonnêsus, composed apparently about 540 B. C. This poet, under the inspiration of Apollo,[470] undertook a pilgrimage to visit the sacred Hyperboreans (especial votaries of that god) in their elysium beyond the Rhipæan mountains; but he did not reach farther than the Issêdones. According to him, the movement, whereby the Cimmerians had been expelled from their possessions on the Euxine sea, began with the Grypes or Griffins in the extreme north,—the sacred character of the Hyperboreans beyond was incompatible with aggression or bloodshed. The Grypes invaded the Arimaspians, who on their part assailed their neighbors the Issêdones;[471] these latter moved southward or westward and drove the Scythians across the Tanais, while the Scythians, carried forward by this onset, expelled the Cimmerians from their territories along the Palus Mæotis and the Euxine.

We see thus that Aristeas referred the attack of the Scythians upon the Cimmerians to a distant impulse proceeding in the first instance from the Grypes or Griffins; but Herodotus had heard it explained in another way, which he seems to think more correct,—the Scythians, originally occupants of Asia, or the regions east of the Caspian, had been driven across the Araxês, in[p. 247] consequence of an unsuccessful war with the Massagetæ, and precipitated upon the Cimmerians in Europe.[472]

When the Scythian host approached, the Cimmerians were not agreed among themselves whether to resist or retire: the majority of the people were dismayed and wished to evacuate the territory, while the kings of the different tribes resolved to fight and perish at home. Those who were animated with this fierce despair, divided themselves along with the kings into two equal bodies and perished by each other’s hands near the river Tyras, where the sepulchres of the kings were yet shown in the time of Herodotus.[473] The mass of the Cimmerians fled and abandoned their country to the Scythians; who, however, not content with possession of the country, followed the fugitives across the Cimmerian Bosphorus from west to east, under the command of their prince Madyês son of Protothyês. The Cimmerians, coasting along the east of the Euxine sea and passing to the west of Mount Caucasus, made their way first into Kolchis, and next into Asia Minor, where they established themselves on the peninsula on the northern coast, near the site of the subsequent Grecian city of Sinôpê. But the Scythian pursuers, mistaking the course taken by the fugitives, followed the more circuitous route east of Mount Caucasus near to the Caspian sea;[474] which brought them, not into Asia Minor, but into Media. Both Asia Minor and Media became thus exposed nearly at the same time to the ravages of northern nomades.

These two stories, representing the belief of Herodotus and Aristeas, involve the assumption that the Scythians were comparatively recent emigrants into the territory between the Ister and the Palus Mæotis. But the legends of the Scythians themselves, as well as those of the Pontic Greeks, imply the contrary of this assumption; and describe the Scythians as primitive and indigenous inhabitants of the country. Both legends are so framed as to explain a triple division, which probably may have prevailed, of the Scythian aggregate nationality, traced up to three heroic brothers: both also agree in awarding the predomi[p. 248]nance to the youngest brother of the three,[475] though in other respects, the names and incidents of the two are altogether different, The Scythians call themselves Skoloti.

Such material differences, in the various accounts given to Herodotus of the Scythian and Cimmerian invasions of Asia, are by no means wonderful, seeing that nearly two centuries had elapsed between that event and his visit to the Pontus. That the Cimmerians—perhaps the northernmost portion of the great Thracian name, and conterminous with the Getæ on the Danube—were the previous tenants of much of the territory between the Ister and the Palus Mæotis, and that they were expelled in the seventh century B. C., by the Scythians, we may follow Herodotus in believing; but Niebuhr has shown that there is great intrinsic improbability in his narrative of the march of the Cimmerians into Asia Minor, and in the pursuit of these fugitives by the Scythians. That the latter would pursue at all, when an extensive territory was abandoned to them without resistance, is hardly supposable: that they should pursue and mistake their way, is still more difficult to believe: nor can we overlook the great difficulties of the road and the Caucasian passes, in the route ascribed to the Cimmerians.[476] Niebuhr supposes the latter[p. 249] to have marched into Asia Minor by the western side of the Euxine, and across the Thracian Bosphorus, after having been defeated in a decisive battle by the Scythians near the river Tyras, where their last kings fell and were interred.[477] Though this is both an easier route, and more in accordance with the analogy of other occupants expelled from the same territory, we must, in the absence of positive evidence, treat the point as unauthenticated.

The inroad of the Cimmerians into Asia Minor was doubtless connected with their expulsion from the northern coast of the Euxine by the Scythians, but we may well doubt whether it was at all connected, as Herodotus had been told that it was, with the invasion of Media by the Scythians, except as happening near about the same time. The same great evolution of Scythian power, or propulsion by other tribes behind, may have occasioned both events,—brought about by different bodies of Scythians, but nearly contemporaneous.

Herodotus tells us two facts respecting the Cimmerian emigrants into Asia Minor. They committed destructive, though transient, ravages in many parts of Paphlagonia, Phrygia, Lydia, and Ionia,—and they occupied permanently the northern peninsula,[478] whereon the Greek city of Sinôpê was afterwards planted. Had the elegies of the contemporary Ephesian poet Kallinus been preserved, we should have known better how to appreciate these trying times: he strove to keep alive the energy of his countrymen against the formidable invaders.[479] From later au[p. 250]thors, who probably, had these poems before them, we learn that the Cimmerian host, having occupied the Lydian chief town[p. 251] Sardis (its inaccessible acropolis defied them), poured with their wagons into the fertile valley of the Kaïster, took and sacked Magnêsia on the Mæander, and even threatened the temple of Artemis at Ephesus. But the goddess so well protected her own town and sanctuary,[480] that Lygdamis the leader of the Cimme[p. 252]rians, whose name marks him for a Greek, after a season of prosperous depredation in Lydia and Ionia, conducting his host into the mountainous regions of Kilikia, was there overwhelmed and slain. But though these marauders perished, the Cimmerian settlers in the territory near Sinôpê remained; and Ambrôn, the first Milesian œkist who tried to colonize that spot, was slain by them, if we may believe Skymnus. They are not mentioned afterwards, but it seems not unreasonable to believe that they appear under the name of the Chalybes, whom Herodotus mentions along that coast between the Mariandynians and Paphlagonians, and whom Mela notices as adjacent to Sinôpê and Amisus.[481] Other authors place the Chalybes on several different points, more to the east, though along the same parallel of latitude,—between the Mosynœki and Tibarêni,—near the river Thermôdôn,—and on the northern boundary of Armenia, near the sources of the Araxês; but it is only Herodotus and Mela who recognize Chalybes westward of the river Halys and the Paphlagonians, near to Sinôpê. These Chalybes were brave mountaineers, though savage in manners; distinguished as producers and workers of the iron which their mountains afforded. In the conceptions of the Greeks, as manifested in a variety of fabulous notices, they are plainly connected with Scythians or Cimmerians; whence it seems probable that this connection was present to the mind of Herodotus in regard to the inland population near Sinôpê.[482]

[p. 253]Herodotus seems to have conceived only one invasion of Asia by the Cimmerians, during the reign of Ardys in Lydia. Ardys was succeeded by his son Sadyattês, who reigned twelve years; and it was Alyattês, son and successor of Sadyattês, according to Herodotus, who expelled the Cimmerians from Asia.[483] But Strabo seems to speak of several invasions, in which the Trêres, a Thracian tribe, were concerned, and which are not clearly discriminated; while Kallisthenês affirmed that Sardis had been taken by the Trêres and Lykians.[484] We see only that a large and fair portion of Asia Minor was for much of this seventh century B. C. in possession of these destroying nomads, who, while on the one hand they afflicted the Ionic Greeks, on the other hand indirectly befriended them by retarding the growth of the Lydian monarchy.

The invasion of Upper Asia by the Scythians appears to have been nearly simultaneous with that of Asia Minor by the Cimmerians, but more ruinous and longer protracted. The Median[p. 254] king Kyaxarês, called away from the siege of Nineveh to oppose them, was totally defeated; and the Scythians became full masters of the country. They spread themselves over the whole of Upper Asia, as far as Palestine and the borders of Egypt, where Psammetichus the Egyptian king met them, and only redeemed his kingdom from invasion by prayers and costly presents. In their return, a detachment of them sacked the temple of Aphroditê at Askalon; an act of sacrilege which the goddess avenged both upon the plunderers and their descendants, to the third and fourth generation. Twenty-eight years did their dominion in Upper Asia continue,[485] with intolerable cruelty and oppression; until, at length, Kyaxarês and the Medes found means to entrap the chiefs into a banquet, and slew them in the hour of intoxication. The Scythian host once expelled, the Medes resumed their empire. Herodotus tells us that these Scythians returned to the Tauric Chersonese, where they found that, during their long absence, their wives had intermarried with the slaves, while the new offspring which had grown up refused to readmit them. A deep trench had been drawn across a line[486] over which their march lay, and the new-grown youth defended it with bravery, until at length,—so the story runs,—the returning masters took up their whips instead of arms, and scourged the rebellious slaves into submission.

Little as we know about the particulars of these Cimmerian and Scythian inroads, they deserve notice as the first—at least the first historically known—among the numerous invasions of cultivated Asia and Europe by the nomads of Tartary. Huns, Avars, Bulgarians, Magyars, Turks, Mongols, Tartars, etc., are[p. 255] found in subsequent centuries repeating the same infliction, and establishing a dominion both more durable, and not less destructive, than the transient scourge of the Scythians during the reign of Kyaxarês.

After the expulsion of the Scythians from Asia, the full extent and power of the Median empire was reëstablished; and Kyaxarês was enabled again to besiege Nineveh. He took that great city, and reduced under his dominion all the Assyrians except those who formed the kingdom of Babylon. This conquest was achieved towards the close of his reign, and he bequeathed the Median empire, at the maximum of its grandeur, to his son Astyagês, in 595 B. C.[487]

As the dominion of the Scythians in Upper Asia lasted twenty eight years before they were expelled by Kyaxarês, so also the inroads of the Cimmerians through Asia Minor, which had begun during the reign of the Lydian king Ardys, continued through the twelve years of the reign of his son Sadyattês (629-617 B. C.), and were finally terminated by Alyattês, son of the latter.[488] Notwithstanding the Cimmerians, however, Sadyattês was in a condition to prosecute a war against the Grecian city of Milêtus, which continued during the last seven years of his reign, and which he bequeathed to his son and successor. Alyattês continued the war for five years longer. So feeble was the sentiment of union among the various Grecian towns on the Asiatic coast, that none of them would lend any aid to Milêtus except the Chians, who were under special obligations to Milêtus for previous aid in a contest against Erythræ: and the Milesians unassisted were no match for the Lydian army in the field, though their great naval strength placed them out of all danger of a blockade; and we must presume that the erection of those mounds of earth against the walls, whereby the Persian Harpagus vanquished the Ionian cities half a century afterwards, was[p. 256] then unknown to the Lydians. For twelve successive years the Milesian territory was annually overrun and ravaged, previous to the gathering in of the crop. The inhabitants, after having been defeated in two ruinous battles, gave up all hope of resisting the devastation, so that the task of the invaders became easy, and the Lydian army pursued their destructive march to the sound of flutes and harps. They ruined the crops and the fruit-trees, but Alyattês would not allow the farm-buildings or country-houses to be burnt, in order that the means of production might still be preserved, to be again destroyed during the following season. By such unremitting devastation the Milesians were reduced to distress and famine, in spite of their command of the sea; and the fate which afterwards overtook them during the reign of Crœsus, of becoming tributary subjects to the throne of Sardis, would have begun half a century earlier, had not Alyattês unintentionally committed a profanation against the goddess Athênê. Her temple at Assêssus accidentally took fire, and was consumed, when his soldiers on a windy day were burning the Milesian standing corn. Though no one took notice of this incident at the time, yet Alyattês on his return to Sardis was smitten with prolonged sickness. Unable to obtain relief, he despatched envoys to seek humble advice from the god at Delphi; but the Pythian priestess refused to furnish any healing suggestions until he should have rebuilt the burnt temple of Athênê,—and Periander, at that time despot of Corinth, having learned the tenor of this reply, transmitted private information of it to Thrasybulus, despot of Milêtus, with whom he was intimately allied. Presently there arrived at Milêtus a herald on the part of Alyattês, proposing a truce for the special purpose of enabling him to rebuild the destroyed temple,—the Lydian monarch believing the Milesians to be so poorly furnished with subsistence that they would gladly embrace this temporary relief. But the herald on his arrival found abundance of corn heaped up in the agora, and the citizens engaged in feasting and enjoyment: for Thrasybulus had caused all the provision in the town, both public and private, to be brought out, in order that the herald might see the Milesians in a condition of apparent plenty, and carry the news of it to his master. The stratagem succeeded. Alyattês, under the persuasion that his repeated devastations inflicted upon the Milesians no[p. 257] sensible privations, abandoned his hostile designs, and concluded with them a treaty of amity and alliance. It was his first proceeding to build two temples to Athênê, in place of the one which had been destroyed, and he then, forthwith, recovered from his protracted malady. His gratitude for the cure was testified by the transmission of a large silver bowl, with an iron footstand welded together by the Chian artist Glaukus,—the inventor of the art of thus joining together pieces of iron.[489]

Alyattês is said to have carried on other operations against some of the Ionic Greeks: he took Smyrna, but was defeated in an inroad on the territory of Klazomenæ.[490] But on the whole, his long reign of fifty-seven years was one of tranquillity to the Grecian cities on the coast, though we hear of an expedition which he undertook against Karia.[491] He is reported to have been during youth of overweening insolence, but to have acquired afterwards a just and improved character. By an Ionian wife he became father of Crœsus, whom, even during his lifetime, he appointed satrap of the town of Adramyttium, and the neighboring plain of Thêbê. But he had also other wives and other sons, and one of the latter, Adramytus, is reported as the founder of Adramyttium.[492] How far his dominion in the interior of Asia Minor extended, we do not know, but very probably his long and comparatively inactive reign may have favored the accumulation of those treasures which afterwards rendered the wealth of Crœsus so proverbial. His monument, an enormous pyramidal mound upon a stone base, erected near Sardis, by the joint efforts of the whole Sardian population, was the most memorable curiosity in Lydia during the time of Herodotus; it was inferior only to the gigantic edifices of Egypt and Babylon.[493]

[p. 258]Crœsus obtained the throne, at the death of his father, by appointment from the latter. But there was a party among the Lydians who had favored the pretensions of his brother Pantaleon; one of the richest chiefs of which party was put to death afterwards by the new king, under the cruel torture of a spiked carding-machine,—his property confiscated.[494] The aggressive reign of Crœsus, lasting fourteen years (559-545 B. C.), formed a marked contrast to the long quiescence of his father during a reign of fifty-seven years.

Pretences being easily found for war against the Asiatic Greeks, Crœsus attacked them one after the other. Unfortunately, we know neither the particulars of these successive aggressions, nor the previous history of the Ionic cities, so as to be able to explain how it was that the fifth of the Mermnad kings of Sardis met with such unqualified success, in an enterprise which his predecessors had attempted in vain. Milêtus alone, with the aid of Chios, had resisted Alyattês and Sadyattês for eleven years,—and Crœsus possessed no naval force, any more than his father and grandfather. But on this occasion, not one of the towns can have displayed the like individual energy. In regard to the Milesians, we may perhaps suspect that the period now under consideration was comprised in that long duration of intestine conflict which Herodotus represents (though without defining exactly when) to have crippled the forces of the city for two generations, and which was at length appeased by a memorable decision of some arbitrators invited from Paros. These latter, called in by mutual consent of the exhausted antagonist parties at Milêtus, found both the city and her territory in a state of general neglect and ruin. But on surveying the lands, they discovered some which still appeared to be tilled with undiminished diligence and skill; to the proprietors of these lands they consigned the government of the town, in the belief that they would manage the public affairs with as much success as their own.[495] Such a state[p. 259] of intestine weakness would partly explain the easy subjugation of the Milesians by Crœsus; while there was little in the habits of the Ionic cities to present the chance of united efforts against a common enemy. These cities, far from keeping up any effective political confederation, were in a state of habitual jealousy of each other, and not unfrequently in actual war.[496] The common religious festivals,—the Deliac festival as well as the Pan-Ionia, and afterwards the Ephesia in place of the Delia,—seem to have been regularly frequented by all the cities throughout the worst of times. But these assemblies had no direct political function, nor were they permitted to control that sentiment of separate city-autonomy which was paramount in the Greek mind,—though their influence was extremely precious in calling forth social sympathies. Apart from the periodical festival, meetings for special emergencies were held at the Pan-Ionic temple; but from such meetings any city, not directly implicated, kept aloof.[497] As in this case, so in others not less critical throughout the historical period, the incapacity of large political combination was the source of constant danger, and ultimately proved the cause of ruin, to the independence of all the Grecian states. Herodotus warmly commends the advice given by Thalês to his Ionic countrymen,—and given, to use his remarkable expression, “before the ruin of Ionia,”[498]—that a common senate, invested with authority over all the twelve cities, should be formed within the walls of Teôs, as the most central in position; and that all the other cities should account themselves mere demes of this aggre[p. 260]gate commonwealth, or polis. Nor can we doubt that such was the unavailing aspiration of many a patriot of Milêtus or Ephesus, even before the final operations of Crœsus were opened against them.

That prince attacked the Greek cities successively, finding or making different pretences for hostility against each. He began with Ephesus, which is said to have been then governed by a despot of harsh and oppressive character, named Pindarus, whose father Melas had married a daughter of Alyattês, and who was, therefore, himself nephew of Crœsus.[499] The latter, having in vain invited Pindarus and the Ephesians to surrender the town, brought up his forces and attacked the walls: one of the towers being overthrown, the Ephesians abandoned all hope of defending their town, and sought safety by placing it under the guardianship of Artemis, to whose temple they carried a rope from the walls,—a distance not less than seven furlongs. They at the same time sent a message of supplication to Crœsus, who is said to have granted them the preservation of their liberties, out of reverence to the protection of Artemis; exacting at the same time that Pindarus should quit the place. Such is the tale of which we find a confused mention in Ælian and Polyænus; but Herodotus, while he notices the fact of the long rope whereby the Ephesians sought to place themselves in contact with their divine protectress, does not indicate that Crœsus was induced to treat them more favorably. Ephesus, like all the other Grecian towns on the coast, was brought under subjection and tribute to him.[500] How he dealt with them, and what degree of coercive[p. 261] precaution he employed either to insure subjection or collect tribute, the brevity of the historian does not acquaint us. But they were required partially at least, if not entirely, to raze their fortifications; for on occasion of the danger which supervened a few years afterwards from Cyrus, they are found practically unfortified.[501]

Thus completely successful in his aggressions on the continental Asiatic Greeks, Crœsus conceived the idea of assembling a fleet, for the purpose of attacking the islanders of Chios and Samos, but was convinced,—as some said, by the sarcastic remark of one of the seven Greek sages, Bias or Pittakus—of the impracticability of the project. He carried his arms, however, with full success, over other parts of the continent of Asia Minor, until he had subdued the whole territory within the river Halys, excepting only the Kilikians and the Lykians. The Lydian empire thus reached the maximum of its power, comprehending, besides the Æolic, Ionic, and Doric Greeks on the coast of Asia Minor, the Phrygians, Mysians, Mariandynians, Chalybes, Paphlagonians, Thynian and Bithynian Thracians, Karians, and Pamphylians. And the treasures amassed by Crœsus at Sardis, derived partly from this great number of tributaries, partly from mines in various places as well as the auriferous sands of the Paktôlus, exceeded anything which the Greeks had ever before known.

We learn, from the brief but valuable observations of Herodotus, to appreciate the great importance of these conquests of Crœsus, with reference not merely to the Grecian cities actually subjected, but also indirectly to the whole Grecian world.

“Before the reign of Crœsus, observes the historian, all the Greeks were free; it was by him first that Greeks were subdued into tribute.” And he treats this event as the initial phenomenon of the series, out of which grew the hostile relations[p. 262] between the Greeks on one side, and Asia as represented by the Persians on the other, which were uppermost in the minds of himself and his contemporaries.

It was in the case of Crœsus that the Greeks were first called upon to deal with a tolerably large barbaric aggregate under a warlike and enterprising prince, and the result was such as to manifest the inherent weakness of their political system, from its incapacity of large combination. The separated autonomous cities could only maintain their independence either through similar disunion on the part of barbaric adversaries, or by superiority on their own side of military organization as well as of geographical position. The situation of Greece proper and of the islands was favorable to the maintenance of such a system,—not so the shores of Asia with a wide interior country behind. The Ionic Greeks were at this time different from what they became during the ensuing century, little inferior in energy to Athens or to the general body of European Greeks, and could doubtless have maintained their independence, had they cordially combined. But it will be seen hereafter that the Greek colonies,—planted as isolated settlements, and indisposed to political union, even when neighbors,—all of them fell into dependence so soon as attack from the interior came to be powerfully organized; especially if that organization was conducted by leaders partially improved through contact with the Greeks themselves. Small autonomous cities maintain themselves so long as they have only enemies of the like strength to deal with: but to resist larger aggregates requires such a concurrence of favorable circumstances as can hardly remain long without interruption. And the ultimate subjection of entire Greece, under the kings of Macedon, was only an exemplification on the widest scale of this same principle.

The Lydian monarchy under Crœsus, the largest with which the Greeks had come into contact down to that moment, was very soon absorbed into a still larger,—the Persian; of which the Ionic Greeks, after unavailing resistance, became the subjects. The partial sympathy and aid which they obtained from the independent or European Greeks, their western neighbors, followed by the fruitless attempt on the part of the Persian king to add these latter to his empire, gave an entirely new turn to Gre[p. 263]cian history and proceedings. First, it necessitated a degree of central action against the Persians which was foreign to Greek political instinct; next it opened to the noblest and most enterprising section of the Hellenic name,—the Athenians,—an opportunity of placing themselves at the head of this centralizing tendency: while a concurrence of circumstances, foreign and domestic, imparted to them at the same time that extraordinary and many-sided impulse, combining action with organization, which gave such brilliancy to the period of Herodotus and Thucydidês. It is thus that most of the splendid phenomena of Grecian history grew, directly or indirectly, out of the reluctant dependence in which the Asiatic Greeks were held by the inland barbaric powers, beginning with Crœsus.

These few observations will suffice to intimate that a new phase of Grecian history is now on the point of opening. Down to the time of Crœsus, almost everything which is done or suffered by the Grecian cities bears only upon one or other of them separately: the instinct of the Greeks repudiates even the modified forms of political centralization, and there are no circumstances in operation to force it upon them. Relation of power and subjection exist, between a strong and a weak state, but no tendency to standing political coördination. From this time forward, we shall see partial causes at work, tending in this direction, and not without considerable influence; though always at war with the indestructible instinct of the nation, and frequently counteracted by selfishness and misconduct on the part of the leading cities.

[p. 264]


Of the Phenicians, Assyrians, and Egyptians, it is necessary for me to speak so far as they acted upon the condition, or occupied the thoughts, of the early Greeks, without undertaking to investigate thoroughly their previous history. Like the Lydians, all three became absorbed into the vast mass of the Persian empire, retaining, however, to a great degree, their social character and peculiarities after having been robbed of their political independence.

The Persians and Medes,—portions of the Arian race, and members of what has been classified, in respect of language, as the great Indo-European family,—occupied a part of the vast space comprehended between the Indus on the east, and the line of Mount Zagros (running eastward of the Tigris and nearly parallel with that river) on the west. The Phenicians as well as the Assyrians belonged to the Semitic, Aramæan, or Syro-Arabian family; comprising, besides, the Syrians, Jews, Arabians, and in part the Abyssinians. To what established family of the human race the swarthy and curly-haired Egyptians are to be assigned, has been much disputed; we cannot reckon them as members of either of the two preceding, and the most careful inquiries render it probable that their physical type was something purely African, approximating in many points to that of the negro.[502]

[p. 265]It has already been remarked that the Phenician merchant and trading vessel figures in the Homeric poems as a well-known visitor, and that the variegated robes and golden ornaments fabricated at Sidon are prized among the valuable ornaments belonging to the chiefs.[503] We have reason to conclude generally, that in these early times, the Phenicians traversed the Ægean sea habitually, and even formed settlements for trading and mining purposes upon some of its islands: on Thasos, especially, near the coast of Thrace, traces of their abandoned gold-mines were visible even in the days of Herodotus, indicating both persevering labor and considerable length of occupation. But at the time when the historical era opens, they seem to have been in course of gradual retirement from these regions,[504] and their commerce had taken a different direction. Of this change we can[p. 266] furnish no particulars; but we may easily understand that the increase of the Grecian marine, both warlike and commercial, would render it inconvenient for the Phenicians to encounter such enterprising rivals,—piracy (or private war at sea) being then an habitual proceeding, especially with regard to foreigners.

The Phenician towns occupied a narrow strip of the coast of Syria and Palestine, about one hundred and twenty miles in length, never more, and generally much less, than twenty miles in breadth,—between Mount Libanus and the sea. Aradus—on an islet, with Antaradus and Marathus over against it on the main land—was the northernmost, and Tyre the southernmost (also upon a little island, with Palæ-Tyrus and a fertile adjacent plain over against it). Between the two were situated Sidon, Berytus, Tripolis, and Byblus, besides some smaller towns[505] at[p. 267]tached to one or other of these last mentioned, and several islands close to the coast occupied in like manner; while the colony of Myriandrus lay farther north, near the borders of Kilikia. Whether Sidon or Tyre was the most ancient, seems not determinable: if it be true as some authorities affirmed, that Tyre was originally planted from Sidon, the colony must have grown so[p. 268] rapidly as to surpass its metropolis in power and consideration, for it became the chief of all the Phenician towns.[506] Aradus, the next in importance after these two, was founded by exiles from Sidon, and all the rest either by Tyrian or Sidonian settlers. Within this confined territory was concentrated a greater degree of commercial wealth and enterprise, and manufacturing ingenuity, than could be found in any other portion of the contemporary world. Each town was an independent community, having its own surrounding territory and political constitution and its own hereditary prince,[507] though the annals of Tyre display many instances of princes assassinated by men who succeeded them on the throne. Tyre appears to have enjoyed a certain presiding, perhaps a controlling authority, over all of them, which was not always willingly submitted to; and examples occur in which the inferior towns, when Tyre was pressed by a foreign enemy,[508] took the opportunity of revolting, or at least stood aloof. The same difficulty of managing satisfactorily the relations between a presiding town and its confederates, which Grecian history manifests, is found also to prevail in Phenicia, and will be hereafter remarked in regard to Carthage; while the same effects are also perceived, of the autonomous city polity, in keeping alive the individual energies and regulated aspirations of the inhabitants. The predominant sentiment of jealous town-isolation is forcibly illustrated by the circumstances of Tripolis, established jointly by Tyre, Sidon, and Aradus. It consisted of three distinct towns, each one furlong apart from the other two, and each with its own separate walls; though probably constituting to a certain extent one political community, and serving as a place of common meeting and deliberation for the entire Phenician name.[509] The outlying[p. 269] promontories of Libanus and Anti-Libanus touched the sea along the Phenician coast, and those mountainous ranges, while they rendered a large portion of the very confined area unfit for cultivation of corn, furnished what was perhaps yet more indispensable,—abundant supplies of timber for ship-building: the entire want of all wood in Babylonia, except the date-palm, restricted the Assyrians of that territory from maritime traffic on the Persian gulf. It appears, however, that the mountains of Lebanon also afforded shelter to tribes of predatory Arabs, who continually infested both the Phenician territory and the rich neighboring plain of Cœle-Syria.[510]

The splendid temple of that great Phenician god (Melkarth) whom the Greeks called Hêraklês,[511] was situated in Tyre, and the Tyrians affirmed that its establishment had been coeval with the first foundation of the city, two thousand three hundred years before the time of Herodotus. This god is the companion and protector of their colonial settlements, and the ancestor of the Phœnico-Libyan kings: we find him especially at Carthage, Gadês, and Thasos.[512] Some supposed that they had migrated to their site on the Mediterranean coast, from previous abodes near the mouth of the Euphrates,[513] or on islands (named Tylus and Aradus) of the[p. 270] Persian gulf, while others treated the Mediterranean Phenicians as original, and the others as colonists. Whether such be the fact or not, history knows them in no other portion of Asia earlier than in Phenicia proper.

Though the invincible industry and enterprise of the Phenicians maintained them as a people of importance down to the period of the Roman empire, yet the period of their widest range and greatest efficiency is to be sought much earlier,—anterior to 700 B. C. In these remote times they and their colonists were the exclusive navigators of the Mediterranean: the rise of the Greek maritime settlements banished their commerce to a great degree from the Ægean sea, and embarrassed it even in the more westerly waters. Their colonial establishments were formed in Africa, Sicily, Sardinia, the Balearic Isles, and Spain: the greatness as well as the antiquity of Carthage, Utica, and Gadês, attest the long-sighted plans of Phenician traders, even in days anterior to the 1st Olympiad. We trace the wealth and industry[p. 271] of Tyre, and the distant navigation of her vessels through the Red sea and along the coast of Arabia, back to the days of David and Solomon. And as neither Egyptians, Assyrians, Persians, nor Indians, addressed themselves to a seafaring life, so it seems that both the importation and the distribution of the products of India and Arabia into Western Asia and Europe, was performed by the Idumæan Arabs, between Petra and the Red sea,—by the Arabs of Gerrha on the Persian gulf, joined as they were in later times by a body of Chaldæan exiles from Babylonia,—and by the more enterprising Phenicians of Tyre and Sidon in these two seas as well as in the Mediterranean.[514]

The most ancient Phenician colonies were Utica, nearly on the northernmost point of the coast of Africa, and in the same gulf, (now known as the gulf of Tunis) as Carthage, over against cape Lilybæum in Sicily,—and Gadês, or Gadeira, on the south-western coast of Spain; a town which, founded perhaps near one thousand years before the Christian era,[515] has maintained a continuous prosperity, and a name (Cadiz) substantially unaltered, longer than any town in Europe. How well the site of Utica was suited to the circumstances of Phenician colonists may be inferred from the fact that Carthage was afterwards established in the same gulf and near to the same spot, and that both the two cities reached a high pitch of prosperity. The distance of Gadês from Tyre seems surprising, and if we calculate by time instead of by space, the Tyrians were separated from their Tartêssian colonists by an interval greater than that which now divides an Englishman from Bombay; for the ancient navigator always coasted along the land, and Skylax reckons seventy-five days[516] of voyage[p. 272] from the Kanôpic (westernmost) mouth of the Nile to the Pillars of Hêraklês (strait of Gibraltar); to which some more days must be added to represent the full distance between Tyre and Gadês. But the enterprise of these early mariners surmounted all difficulties consistent with the principle of never losing sight of the coast. Proceeding along the northern coast of Libya, at a time when the mouths of the Nile were still closed by Egyptian jealousy against all foreign ships, they appear to have found little temptation to colonize[517] on the dangerous coast near to the two gulfs called the great and little Syrtis,—in a territory for the most part destitute of water, and occupied by rude Libyan nomades, who were thinly spread over the wide space between the western Nile[518] and cape Hermæa, now called cape Bona. The subsequent Grecian towns of Kyrênê and Barka, whose well-chosen site formed an exception to the general character of the region, were not planted with any view to commerce,[519] and the Phenician town of Leptis, near the gulf called the great Syrtis, was founded by exiles from Sidon, and not by deliberate colonization. The site of Utica and Carthage, in the gulf im[p. 273]mediately westward of cape Bona, was convenient for commerce with Sicily, Italy, and Sardinia; and the other Phenician colonies, Adrumêtum, Neapolis, Hippo (two towns so called), the lesser Leptis, etc., were settled on the coast not far distant from the eastern or western promontories which included the gulf of Tunis, common to Carthage and Utica.

These early Phenician settlements were planted thus in the territory now known as the kingdom of Tunis and the western portion of the French province of Constantine. From thence to the Pillars of Hêraklês (strait of Gibraltar), we do not hear of any others; but the colony of Gadês, outside of the strait, formed the centre of a flourishing and extensive commerce, which reached on one side far to the south, not less than thirty days’ sail along the western coast of Africa,[520]—and on the other side to Britain and the Scilly Islands. There were numerous Phenician factories and small trading-towns along the western coast of what is now the empire of Morocco; and the island of Kernê, twelve days’ sail along the coast from the strait of Gibraltar, formed an established dépôt for Phenician merchandise in trading with the interior. There were, moreover, towns not far distant from the coast, of Libyans or Ethiopians, to which the inhabitants of the central regions resorted, and where they brought their leopard skins and elephants’ teeth, to be exchanged against the unguents of Tyre and the pottery of Athens.[521] So distant a trade,[p. 274] with the limited navigation of that day, could not be made to embrace very bulky goods.

But this trade, though seemingly a valuable one, constituted only a small part of the sources of wealth open to the Phenicians of Gadês. The Turditanians and Turduli, who occupied the south-western portion of Spain, between the Anas river (Guadiana) and the Mediterranean, seem to have been the most civilized and improvable section of the Iberian tribes, well suited for commercial relations with the settlers who occupied the isle of Leon, and who established the temple, afterwards so rich and frequented, of the Tyrian Hêraklês. And the extreme productiveness of the southern region of Spain, in corn, fish, cattle, and wine, as well as in silver and iron, is a topic upon which we find but one language among ancient writers. The territory round Gadês, Carteia, and the other Phenician settlements in this district, was known to the Greeks in the sixth century B. C. by the name of Tartêssus, and regarded by them somewhat in the same light as Mexico and Peru appeared to the Spaniards of the sixteenth century. For three or four centuries the Phenicians had possessed the entire monopoly of this Tartêssian trade, without any rivalry on the part of the Greeks; probably, the metals there procured were in those days their most precious acquisition, and the tribes who occupied the mining regions of the interior found a new market and valuable demand, for produce then obtained with a degree of facility exaggerated into fable.[522] It was from Gadês as a centre that these enterprising traders, pushing their coasting voyage yet farther, established relations with the tin-mines of Cornwall, perhaps also with amber-gatherers from the coasts of the Baltic. It requires some effort to carry back our imaginations to the time when, along all this vast length of country, from Tyre and Sidon to the coast of Cornwall, there was no merchant-ship to buy or sell goods except these Phenicians. The rudest tribes find advantage in such visitors; and we cannot doubt, that the men, whose resolute love of gain braved so many hazards and dif[p. 275]ficulties, must have been rewarded with profits on the largest scale of monopoly.

The Phenician settlers on the coast of Spain became gradually more and more numerous, and appear to have been distributed, either in separate townships or intermingled with the native population, between the mouth of the Anas (Guadiana) and the town of Malaka (Malaga) on the Mediterranean. Unfortunately, we are very little informed about their precise localities and details, but we find no information of Phenician settlements on the Mediterranean coast of Spain northward of Malaka; for Carthagena, or New Carthage, was a Carthaginian settlement, founded only in the third century B. C., after the first Punic war.[523] The Greek word Phenicians being used to signify as well the inhabitants of Carthage as those of Tyre and Sidon, it is not easy to distinguish what belongs to each of them; nevertheless, we can discern a great and important difference in the character of their establishments, especially in Iberia. The Carthaginians combined with their commercial projects large schemes of conquest and empire: it is thus that the independent Phenician establishments in and near the gulf of Tunis, in Africa, were reduced to dependence upon them,—while many new small townships, direct from Carthage itself, were planted on the Mediterranean coast of Africa, and the whole of that coast from the great Syrtis westward to the Pillars of Hêraklês (strait of Gibraltar) is described as their territory in the Periplus of Skylax (B. C. 360). In Iberia, during the third century B. C., they maintained large armies,[524] constrained the inland tribes to subjection, and acquired a dominion which nothing but the superior force of Rome prevented from being durable: in Sicily, also, the resistance of the Greeks prevented a similar consummation. But the foreign settlements of Tyre and Sidon were formed with views purely commercial. In the region of Tartêssus as well as in the western coast of Africa outside of the strait of Gibraltar, we hear only of pacific interchange and metallurgy; and the number of Phenicians who acquired gradually settlements in the interior was so great, that Strabo describes these towns—not less than two hundred in number—as altogether[p. 276] Phenicized.[525] In his time, the circumstances favorable to new Phenician emigrations had been long past and gone, and there can be little hesitation in ascribing the preponderance, which this foreign element had then acquired, to a period several centuries earlier, beginning at a time when Tyre and Sidon enjoyed both undisputed autonomy at home, and the entire monopoly of Iberian commerce, without interference from the Greeks.

The earliest Grecian colony founded in Sicily was that of Naxos, planted by the Chalkidians in 735 B. C.: Syracuse followed in the next year, and during the succeeding century many flourishing Greek cities took root on the island. These Greeks found the Phenicians already in possession of many outlying islets and promontories all around the island, which served them in their trade with the Sikels and Sikans who occupied the interior. The safety and facilities of this established trade were to so great a degree broken up by the new-comers, that the Phenicians, relinquishing their numerous petty settlements round the island, concentrated themselves in three considerable towns at the south-western angle near Lilybæum,[526]—Motyê, Soloeis, and Panormus,—and in the island of Malta, where they were least widely separated from Utica and Carthage. The Tyrians of that day were hard-pressed by the Assyrians under Salmaneser, and the power of Carthage had not yet reached its height; otherwise probably this retreat of the Sicilian Phenicians before the Greeks would not have taken place without a struggle. But the early Phenicians, superior to the Greeks in mercantile activity, and not disposed to contend, except under circumstances of very superior force, with warlike adventurers bent on permanent settlement, took the prudent course of circumscribing their sphere of operations. A similar change appears to have taken place in Cyprus, the other island in which Greeks and Phenicians came into close contact. If we may trust the Tyrian annals consulted by the historian Menander, Cyprus was subject to the Tyrians even in the time of Solomon.[527] We do not know the dates of the establish[p. 277]ment of Paphos, Salamis, Kitium, and the other Grecian cities there planted,—but there can be no doubt that they were posterior to this period, and that a considerable portion of the soil and trade of Cyprus thus passed from Phenicians to Greeks; who on their part partially embraced and diffused the rites, sometimes cruel, sometimes voluptuous, embodied in the Phenician religion.[528] In Cilicia, too, especially at Tarsus, the intrusion of Greek settlers appears to have gradually Hellenized a town originally Phenician and Assyrian; contributing, along with the other Grecian settlements—Phasêlis, Aspendus, and Sidê—on the southern coast of Asia Minor, to narrow the Phenician range of adventure in that direction.[529]

Such was the manner in which the Phenicians found themselves affected by the spread of Greek settlements; and if the Ionians of Asia Minor, when first conquered by Harpagus and the Persians, had followed the advice of the Prienean Bias to emigrate in a body, and found one great Pan-Ionic colony in the island of Sardinia, these early merchants would have experienced the like hindrance[530] carried still farther westward,—perhaps, indeed, the whole subsequent history of Carthage might have been sensibly modified. But Iberia, and the golden region of Tartêssus, remained comparatively little visited, and still less colonized, by the Greeks; nor did it even become known to them until more than a century after their first settlements had been formed in Sicily. Easy as the voyage from Corinth to Cadiz may now appear to us, to a Greek of the seventh or sixth centuries B. C. it was a formidable undertaking. He was under the[p. 278] necessity of first coasting along Akarnania and Epirus, then crossing, first to the island of Korkyra, and next to the gulf of Tarentum; he then doubled the southernmost cape of Italy and followed the sinuosities of the Mediterranean coast, by Tyrrhenia, Liguria, southern Gaul, and eastern Iberia, to the Pillars of Hêraklês or strait of Gibraltar: or if he did not do this, he had the alternative of crossing the open sea from Krête or Peloponnesus to Libya, and then coasting westward along the perilous coast of the Syrtes until he arrived at the same point. Both voyages presented difficulties hard to be encountered; but the most serious hazard of all, was the direct transit across the open sea from Krête to Libya. It was about the year 630 B. C. that the inhabitants of the island of Thêra, starved out by a seven years’ drought, were enjoined by the Delphian god to found a colony in Libya. Nothing short of the divine command would have induced them to obey so terrific a sentence of banishment; for not only was the region named quite unknown to them, but they could not discover, by the most careful inquiries among practised Greek navigators, a single man who had ever intentionally made the voyage to Libya.[531] One Kretan only could they find,—a fisherman named Korôbius,—who had been driven thither accidentally by violent gales, and he served them as guide.

At this juncture, Egypt had only been recently opened to Greek commerce,—Psammetichus having been the first king who partially relaxed the jealous exclusion of ships from the entrance of the Nile, enforced by all his predecessors; and the incitement of so profitable a traffic emboldened some Ionian traders to make the direct voyage from Krête to the mouth of that river. It was in the prosecution of one of these voyages, and in connection with the foundation of Kyrênê (to be recounted in a future chapter), that we are made acquainted with the memorable adventure of the Samian merchant Kôlæus. While bound for Egypt, he had been driven out of his course by contrary winds, and had found shelter on an uninhabited islet called Platea, off the coast of Libya,—the spot where the emigrants intended for Kyrênê first established themselves, not long afterwards. From hence he again started to proceed to Egypt, but again without[p. 279] success; violent and continuous east winds drove him continually to the westward, until he at length passed the Pillars of Hêraklês, and found himself, under the providential guidance of the gods,[532] an unexpected visitor among the Phenicians and Iberians of Tartêssus. What the cargo was which he was transporting to Egypt, we are not told; but it sold in this yet virgin market for the most exorbitant prices: he and his crew (says Herodotus)[533] “realized a profit larger than ever fell to the lot of any known Greek except Sostratus the Æginetan, with whom no one else can compete.” The magnitude of their profits may be gathered from the votive offering which they erected on their return, in the sacred precinct of Hêrê at Samos, in gratitude for the protection of that goddess during their voyage,—a large bronze vase, ornamented with projecting griffins’ heads, and supported by three bronze kneeling figures of colossal stature: it cost six talents, and represented the tithe of their gains. The aggregate of sixty talents[534] (about sixteen thousand pounds, speaking roughly), corresponding to this tithe, was a sum which not many even of the rich men of Athens in her richest time, could boast of possessing.

To the lucky accident of this enormous vase and the inscription doubtless attached to it, which Herodotus saw in the Hêræon at Samos, and to the impression which such miraculous enrich[p. 280]ment made upon his imagination,—we are indebted for our knowledge of the precise period at which the secret of Phenician commerce at Tartêssus first became known to the Greeks. The voyage of Kôlæus opened to the Greeks of that day a new world hardly less important—regard being had to their previous aggregate of knowledge—than the discovery of America to the Europeans of the last half of the fifteenth century. But Kôlæus did little more than make known the existence of this distant and lucrative region: he cannot be said to have shown the way to it: nor do we find, in spite of the foundation of Kyrênê and Barka, which made the Greeks so much more familiar with the coast of Libya than they had been before, that the route by which he had been carried against his own will was ever deliberately pursued by Greek traders.

Probably the Carthaginians, altogether unscrupulous in proceedings against commercial rivals,[535] would have aggravated its natural maritime difficulties by false information and hostile proceedings. The simple report of such gains, however, was well calculated to act as a stimulus to other enterprising navigators; and the Phôkæans, during the course of the next half-century, pushing their exploring voyages both along the Adriatic and along the Tyrrhenian coast, and founding Massalia in the year 600 B. C., at length reached the Pillars of Hêraklês and Tartêssus along the eastern coast of Spain. These men were the most adventurous mariners[536] that Greece had yet produced, creating a jealous uneasiness even among their Ionian neighbors:[537] their voyages were made, not with round and bulky merchant-ships, calculated only for the maximum of cargo, but with armed pentekonters,—and they were thus enabled to defy the privateers of the Tyrrhenian cities on the Mediterranean, which had long deterred the Greek trader from any habitual traffic near the strait[p. 281] of Messina.[538] There can be little doubt that the progress of the Phôkæans was very slow, and the foundation of Massalia (Marseilles), one of the most remote of all Greek colonies, may for a time have absorbed their attention: moreover, they had to pick up information as they went on, and the voyage was one of discovery in the strict sense of the word. The time at which they reached Tartêssus may seemingly be placed between 570-560 B. C. They made themselves so acceptable to Arganthônius,—king of Tartêssus, or at least king of part of that region,—that he urged them to relinquish their city of Phôkæa and establish themselves in his territory, offering to them any site which they chose to occupy. Though they declined this tempting offer, yet he still continued anxious to aid them against dangers at home, and gave them a large donation of money,—whereby they were enabled at a critical moment to complete their fortifications. Arganthônius died shortly afterwards, having lived, we are told, to the extraordinary age of one hundred and twenty years, of which he had reigned eighty. The Phôkæans had probably reason to repent of their refusal, since in no very long time their town was taken by the Persians, half their citizens became exiles, and were obliged to seek a precarious abode in Corsica, in place of the advantageous settlement which old Arganthônius had offered to them in Tartêssus.[539]

By such steps did the Greeks gradually track out the lines of Phenician commerce in the Mediterranean, and accomplish that vast improvement in their geographical knowledge,—the circumnavigation of what Eratosthenes and Strabo termed “our sea,” as distinguished from the external ocean.[540] Little practical advantage, however, was derived from the discovery, which was only made during the last years of Ionian independence. The Ionian cities became subjects of Persia, and Phôkæa especially, was crippled and half-depopulated in the struggle. Had the period of Ionian enterprise been prolonged, we should probably have heard of other Greek settlements in Iberia and Tartêssus, over and above Emporia and Rhodus, formed by the Massaliots[p. 282] between the Pyrenees and the Ebro,—as well as of increasing Grecian traffic with those regions. The misfortunes of Phôkæa and the other Ionic towns saved the Phenicians of Tartêssus from Grecian interference and competition, such as that which their fellow-countrymen in Sicily had been experiencing for a century and a half.

But though the Ephesian Artemis, the divine protectress of Phôkæan emigration, was thus prevented from becoming consecrated in Tartêssus along with the Tyrian Hêraklês, an impulse not the less powerful was given to the imaginations of philosophers like Thalês and poets like Stesichorus,—whose lives cover the interval between the supernatural transport of Kôlæus on the wings of the wind, and the persevering, well-planned exploration which emanated from Phôkæa. While, on the one hand, the Tyrian Hêraklês with his venerated temple at Gadês furnished a new locality and details for mythes respecting the Grecian Hêraklês,—on the other hand, intelligent Greeks learned for the first time that the waters surrounding their islands and the Peloponnesus formed part of a sea circumscribed by assignable boundaries; continuous navigation of the Phôkæans round the coasts, first of the Adriatic, next of the gulf of Lyons to the Pillars of Hêraklês and Tartêssus, first brought to light this important fact. The hearers of Archilochus, Simonidês of Amorgus, and Kallinus, living before or contemporary with the voyage of Kôlæus, had known no sea-limit either north of Korkyra or west of Sicily: those of Anakreon and Hippônax, a century afterwards, found the Euxine, the Palus Mæotis, the Adriatic, the western Mediterranean, and the Libyan Syrtes, all so far surveyed as to present to the mind a definite conception, and to admit of being visibly represented by Anaximander on a map. However familiar such knowledge has now become to us, at the time now under discussion it was a prodigious advance. The Pillars of Hêraklês, especially, remained deeply fixed in the Greek mind, as a terminus of human adventure and aspiration: of the ocean beyond, men were for the most part content to remain ignorant.

It has already been stated, that the Phenicians, as coast explorers, were even more enterprising than the Phôkæans; but their jealous commercial spirit induced them to conceal their[p. 283] track,—to give information designedly false,[541] respecting dangers and difficulties,—and even to drown any commercial rivals when they could do so with safety.[542] One remarkable Phenician achievement, however, contemporary with the period of Phôkæan exploration, must not be passed over. It was somewhere about 600 B. C. that they circumnavigated Africa; starting from the Red sea, by direction of the Egyptian king Nekôs, son of Psammetichus,—going round the cape of Good Hope to Gadês,—and from thence returning to the Nile.

It appears that Nekôs, anxious to procure a water communication between the Red sea and the Mediterranean, began digging a canal from the former to the Nile, but desisted from the undertaking after having made considerable progress. In prosecution of the same object, he despatched these Phenicians on an experimental voyage round Libya, which was successfully accomplished, though in a time not less than three years; for during each autumn, the mariners landed and remained on shore a sufficient time to sow their seed and raise a crop of corn. They reached Egypt again, through the strait of Gibraltar, in the course of the third year, and recounted a tale,—“which (says Herodotus) others may believe if they choose, but I cannot believe,”—that, in sailing round Libya, they had the sun on their right hand, i. e. to the north.[543]

The reality of this circumnavigation was confirmed to Herodotus by various Carthaginian informants,[544] and he himself fully[p. 284] believes it. There seems good reason for sharing in his belief, though several able critics reject the tale as incredible. The Phenicians were expert and daring masters of coast navigation, and in going round Africa they had no occasion ever to lose sight of land: we may presume that their vessels were amply stored, so that they could take their own time, and lie by in bad weather; we may also take for granted that the reward consequent upon success was considerable. For any other mariners then existing, indeed, the undertaking might have been too hard, but it was not so for them, and that was the reason why Nekôs chose them. To such reasons, which show the story to present no intrinsic incredibility (that, indeed, is hardly alleged even by Mannert and others who disbelieve it), we may add one other, which goes far to prove it positively true. They stated that, in the course of their circuit, they had the sun on their right hand (i. e. to the northward); and this phenomenon, observable according to the season even when they were within the tropics, could not fail to force itself on their attention as constant, after they had reached the southern temperate zone. But Herodotus at once pronounces this part of the story to be incredible, and so it would probably appear to every Greek[545], Phenician, or Egyptian, not only of the age of Nekôs, but even of the time of Herodotus, who heard it; since none of them possessed either actual experience of the phenomenon of a southern latitude, or a sufficiently correct theory of the relation between sun and earth, to understand the varying direction of the shadows; and few men would consent to set aside the received ideas with reference to the solar motions, from pure confidence in the veracity of these Phenician narrators. Now that under such circumstances the latter should invent the tale, is highly improbable; and if they were not in[p. 285]ventors, they must have experienced the phenomenon during the southern portion of their transit.

Some critics disbelieve this circumnavigation, from supposing that if so remarkable an achievement had really taken place once, it must have been repeated, and practical application must have been made of it. But though such a suspicion is not unnatural, with those who recollect how great a revolution was operated when the passage was rediscovered during the fifteenth century,—yet the reasoning will not be found applicable to the sixth century before the Christian era.

Pure scientific curiosity, in that age, counted for nothing: the motive of Nekôs for directing this enterprise was the same as that which had prompted him to dig his canal,—in order that he might procure the best communication between the Mediterranean and the Red sea. But, as it has been with the north-west passage in our time, so it was with the circumnavigation of Africa in his,—the proof of its practicability at the same time showed that it was not available for purposes of traffic or communication, looking to the resources then at the command of navigators,—a fact, however, which could not be known until the experiment was made. To pass from the Mediterranean to the Red sea by means of the Nile still continued to be the easiest way; either by aid of the land-journey, which in the times of the Ptolemies was usually made from Koptos on the Nile to Berenikê on the Red sea,—or by means of the canal of Nekôs, which Darius afterwards finished, though it seems to have been neglected during the Persian rule in Egypt, and was subsequently repaired and put to service under the Ptolemies. Without any doubt the successful Phenician mariners underwent both severe hardship and great real perils, besides those still greater supposed perils, the apprehension of which so constantly unnerved the minds even of experienced and resolute men in the unknown ocean. Such was the force of these terrors and difficulties, to which there was no known termination, upon the mind of the Achæmenid Sataspês (upon whom the circumnavigation of Africa was imposed as a penalty “worse than death” by Xerxes, in commutation of a capital sentence), that he returned without having finished the circuit, though by so doing he forfeited his life. He affirmed that he had sailed “until his vessel stuck fast, and could move[p. 286] on no farther,”—a persuasion not uncommon in ancient times, and even down to Columbus, that there was a point, beyond which the ocean,—either from mud, sands, shallows, fogs, or accumulations of sea-weed,—was no longer navigable.[546]

[p. 287]Now we learn from hence that the enterprise, even by those who believed the narrative of Nekôs’s captains, was regarded as[p. 288] at once desperate and unprofitable; but doubtless many persons treated it as a mere “Phenician lie,”[547] (to use an expression pro[p. 289]verbial in ancient times). The circumnavigation of Libya is said to have been one of the projects conceived by Alexander the Great,[548] and we may readily believe that if he had lived longer, it would have been confided to Nearchus, or some other officer of the like competence: nor can there be any reason why it should not have succeeded, especially since it would have been undertaken from the eastward, to the great profit of geographical knowledge among the ancients, but with little advantage to their commerce. There is then adequate reason for admitting that these Phenicians rounded the cape of Good Hope from the East about 600 B. C., more than two thousand years earlier than Vasco de Gama did the same thing from the West: though the discovery was in the first instance of no avail, either for commerce or for geographical science.

Besides the maritime range of Tyre and Sidon, their trade by land in the interior of Asia was of great value and importance. They were the speculative merchants who directed the march of the caravans laden with Assyrian and Egyptian products across the deserts which separated them from inner Asia,[549]—an operation which presented hardly less difficulties, considering the Arabian depredators whom they were obliged to conciliate and even to employ as carriers, than the longest coast-voyage. They seem to have stood alone in antiquity in their willingness to brave, and their ability to surmount, the perils of a distant land-traffic;[550] and their descendants at Carthage and Utica were not less active in pushing caravans far into the interior of Africa.

[p. 290]


The name of the Assyrians, who formed one wing of this early system of intercourse and commerce, rests chiefly upon the great cities of Nineveh and Babylon. To the Assyrians of Nineveh (as has been already mentioned) is ascribed in early times a very extensive empire, covering much of Upper Asia, as well as Mesopotamia or the country between the Euphrates and the Tigris. Respecting this empire,—its commencement, its extent, or even the mode in which it was put down,—nothing certain can be affirmed; but it seems unquestionable that many great and flourishing cities,—and a population inferior in enterprise, but not in industry, to the Phenicians,—were to be found on the Euphrates and Tigris, in times anterior to the first Olympiad. Of these cities, Nineveh on the Tigris and Babylon on the Euphrates were the chief;[551] the latter being in some sort of dependence, probably, on the sovereigns of Nineveh, yet governed by kings or chiefs of its own, and comprehending an hereditary order of priests named Chaldæans, masters of all the science and literature as well as of the religious ceremonies current among the people, and devoted, from very early times, to that habit of astronomical observation which their brilliant sky so much favored.

The people called Assyrians or Syrians—for among the Greek authors no constant distinction is maintained between the two[552][p. 291]— were distributed over the wide territory bounded on the east by Mount Zagros and its north-westerly continuation toward Mount Ararat, by which they were separated from the Medes,—and extending from thence westward and southward to the Euxine sea, the river Halys, the Mediterranean sea, and the Persian gulf,—thus covering the whole course of the Tigris and Euphrates south of Armenia, as well as Syria and Syria-Palæstine, and the territory eastward of the Halys called Kappadokia. But the Chaldæan order of priests appear to have been peculiar to Babylon and other towns in its territory, especially between that city and the Persian gulf. The vast, rich, and lofty temple of Bêlus in that city, served them at once as a place of worship and an astronomical observatory; and it was the paramount ascendency of this order which seems to have caused the Babylonian people generally to be spoken of as Chaldæans,—though some writers have supposed, without any good proof, a conquest of Assyrian Babylon by barbarians called Chaldæans from the mountains near the Euxine.[553]

[p. 292]There were exaggerated statements respecting the antiquity of their astronomical observations, which cannot be traced as of definite and recorded date higher than the era of Nabonassar[554][p. 293] (747 B. C.), as well as respecting the extent of their acquired knowledge, so largely blended with astrological fancies and occult influences of the heavenly bodies on human affairs. But however incomplete their knowledge may appear when judged by the standard of after-times, there can be no doubt, that compared with any of their contemporaries of the sixth century B. C.—either Egyptians, Greeks, or Asiatics—they stood preëminent, and had much to teach, not only to Thalês and Pythagoras, but[p. 294] even to later inquirers, such as Eudoxus and Aristotle. The conception of the revolving celestial sphere, the gnomon, and the division of the day into twelve parts, are affirmed by Herodotus[555] to have been first taught to the Greeks by the Babylonians; and the continuous observation of the heavens both by the Egyptian and Chaldæan priests, had determined with considerable exactness both the duration of the solar year and other longer periods of astronomical recurrence; thus impressing upon intelligent Greeks the imperfection of their own calendars, and furnishing them with a basis not only for enlarged observations of their own, but also for the discovery and application of those mathematical theories whereby astronomy first became a science.

Nor was it only the astronomical acquisitions of the priestly caste which distinguished the early Babylonians. The social condition, the fertility of the country, the dense population, and the persevering industry of the inhabitants, were not less remarkable. Respecting Nineveh,[556] once the greatest of the Assyrian[p. 295] cities, we have no good information, nor can we safely reason from the analogy of Babylon, inasmuch as the peculiarities of the latter were altogether determined by the Euphrates, while Nineveh was seated considerably farther north, and on the east bank of the Tigris: but Herodotus gives us valuable particulars respecting Babylon as an eye-witness, and we may judge by his account respecting its condition after much suffering from the Persian conquest, what it had been a century earlier in the days of its full splendor.

The neighboring territory receiving but little rain,[557] owed its fertility altogether to the annual overflowing of the Euphrates, on which the labor bestowed, for the purpose of limiting, regularizing, and diffusing its supply of water, was stupendous. Embankments along the river,—artificial reservoirs in connection with it, to receive an excessive increase,—new curvilinear channels, dug for the water in places where the stream was too straight and rapid,—broad and deep canals crossing the whole space between the Euphrates and the Tigris, and feeding numerous rivulets[558] or ditches which enabled the whole breadth of land to be irrigated,—all these toilsome applications were requisite to insure due moisture for the Babylonian soil; but they were rewarded with an exuberance of produce, in the various descriptions of grain,[p. 296] such as Herodotus hardly dares to particularize. The country produced no trees except the date-palm, which was turned to account in many different ways, and from the fruit of which, both copious and of extraordinary size, wine as well as bread were made.[559] Moreover, Babylonia was still more barren of stone than of wood, so that buildings as well as walls were constructed almost entirely of brick, for which the earth was well adapted; while a flow of mineral bitumen, found near the town and river of Is, higher up the Euphrates, served for cement. Such persevering and systematic labor, applied for the purpose of irrigation, excites our astonishment; yet the description of what was done for defence is still more imposing. Babylon, traversed in the middle by the Euphrates, was surrounded by walls three hundred feet in height, seventy-five feet in thickness, and composing a square of which each side was one hundred and twenty stadia (or nearly fifteen English miles) in length: around the outside of the walls was a broad and deep moat from whence the material for the bricks composing them had been excavated; while one hundred brazen gates served for ingress and egress. Besides, there was an interior wall less thick, but still very strong; and as a still farther obstruction to invaders from the north and north-east, another high and thick wall was built at some miles from the city, across much of the space between the Euphrates and the Tigris,—called the wall of Media, seemingly a little to the north of that point where the two rivers most nearly approach to each other, and joining the Tigris on its west bank. Of the houses many were three or four stories high, and the broad and straight streets, unknown in a Greek town until the distribution[p. 297] of the peiræeus by Hippodamus, near the time of the Peloponnesian war, were well calculated to heighten the astonishment raised by the whole spectacle in a visitor like Herodotus. The royal palace, with its memorable terraces or hanging gardens, formed the central and commanding edifice in one half of the city,—the temple of Bêlus in the other half.

That celebrated temple, standing upon a basis of one square stadium, and inclosed in a precinct of two square stadia in dimension, was composed of eight solid towers, built one above the other, and is alleged by Strabo to have been as much as a stadium or furlong high (the height is not specified by Herodotus):[560] it was full of costly decorations, and possessed an extensive landed property. Along the banks of the river, in its passage through the city, were built spacious quays, and a bridge on stone piles, for the placing of which—as Herodotus was told—Semiramis had caused the river Euphrates to be drained off into the large side reservoir and lake constructed higher up its course.[561]

[p. 298]Besides this great town of Babylon itself, there were throughout the neighborhood, between the canals which united the Eu[p. 299]phrates and the Tigris, many rich and populous villages, while Borsippa and other considerable towns were situated lower down[p. 300] on the Euphrates itself. And the industry, agricultural as well as manufacturing, of the collective population, was not less persevering than productive: their linen, cotton, and woollen fabrics, and their richly ornamented carpets, were celebrated throughout all the Eastern regions. Their cotton was brought in part from islands in the Persian gulf, while the flocks of sheep tended by the Arabian nomads supplied them with wool finer even than that of Milêtus or Tarentum. Besides the Chaldæan order of priests, there seem to have been among them certain other tribes with peculiar hereditary customs: thus there were three tribes, probably near the mouth of the river, who restricted themselves to the eating of fish alone; but we have no evidences of a military caste (like that in Egypt) nor any other hereditary profession.

[p. 301]In order to present any conception of what Assyria was, in the early days of Grecian history, and during the two centuries preceding the conquest of Babylon by Cyrus in 536 B. C., we unfortunately have no witness earlier than Herodotus, who did not see Babylon until near a century after that event,—about seventy years after its still more disastrous revolt and second subjugation by Darius, Babylonia had become one of the twenty satrapies of the Persian empire, and besides paying a larger regular tribute than any of the other nineteen, supplied from its exuberant soil provision for the Great King and his countless host of attendants during one-third part of the year.[562] Yet it was then in a state of comparative degradation, having had its immense walls breached by Darius, and having afterwards undergone the ill usage of Xerxês, who, since he stripped its temples, and especially the venerated temple of Bêlus, of some of their richest ornaments, would probably be still more reckless in his mode of dealing with the civil edifices.[563] If in spite of such inflictions, and in spite of that manifest evidence of poverty and suffering in the people which Herodotus expressly notices, it continued to be what he describes, still counted as almost the chief city of the Persian empire, both in the time of the younger Cyrus and in that of Alexander,[564]—we may judge what it must once have been, without either foreign satrap or foreign tribute,[565] under its Assyrian kings and Chaldæan priests, during the last of the two centuries which intervened between the era of Nabonassar and the capture of the city by Cyrus the Great. Though several of the kings, during the first of these two centuries, had contributed much to the great works of Babylon, yet it was during the second century of the two, after the capture of Nineveh by the Medes, and under Nebuchadnezzar and Nitôkris, that the kings attained the maximum of their power, and the city its greatest enlargement. It was Nebuchadnezzar who constructed[p. 302] the seaport Terêdon, at the mouth of the Euphrates, and who probably excavated the long ship canal of near four hundred miles, which joined it,—which was perhaps formed partly from a natural western branch of the Euphrates.[566] The brother of the poet Alkæus,—Antimenidas, who served in the Babylonian army, and distinguished himself by his personal valor (600-580 B. C.),—would have seen it in its full glory:[567] he is the earliest Greek of whom we hear individually in connection with the Babylonians. It marks[568] strikingly the contrast between the Persian kings and the Babylonian kings, on whose ruin they rose, that while the latter incurred immense expense to facilitate the communication between Babylon and the sea, the former artificially impeded the lower course of the Tigris, in order that their residence at Susa might be out of the reach of assailants.

That which strikes us most, and which must have struck the first Grecian visitors much more, both in Assyria and Egypt, is the unbounded command of naked human strength possessed by these early kings, and the effect of mere mass and indefatigable perseverance, unaided either by theory or by artifice, in the ac[p. 303]complishment of gigantic results.[569] In Assyria, the results were in great part exaggerations of enterprises in themselves useful to the people for irrigation and defence: religious worship was ministered to in the like manner, as well as the personal fancies and pomp of their kings: while in Egypt the latter class predominates more over the former. We scarcely trace in either of them the higher sentiment of art, which owes its first marked development to Grecian susceptibility and genius. But the human mind is in every stage of its progress, and most of all in its rude and unreflecting period, strongly impressed by visible and tangible magnitude, and awe-struck by the evidences of great power. To this feeling, for what exceeded the demands of practical convenience and security, the wonders both in Egypt and Assyria chiefly appealed; while the execution of such colossal works demonstrates habits of regular industry, a concentrated population under one government, and above all, an implicit submission to the regal and priestly sway,—contrasting forcibly with the small autonomous communities of Greece and western Europe, wherein the will of the individual citizen was so much more energetic and uncontrolled. The acquisition of habits of regular industry, so foreign to the natural temper of man, was brought about in Egypt and Assyria, in China and Hindostan, before it had acquired any footing in Europe; but it was purchased either by prostrate obedience to a despotic rule, or by imprisonment within the chain of a consecrated institution of caste. Even during the Homeric period of Greece, these countries had attained a certain civilization in mass, without the acquisition of any high mental qualities or the development of any individual genius: the religious and political sanction, sometimes combined and sometimes separate, determined for every one his mode of life, his creed, his duties, and his place in society, without leaving any scope for the will or reason of the agent himself. Now the Phenicians and Carthaginians manifest a degree of individual impulse and energy which puts them greatly above this type of civilization, though in their tastes, social feelings, and religion, they are still Asiatic.[p. 304] And even the Babylonian community, though their Chaldæan priests are the parallel of the Egyptian priests, with a less measure of ascendency, combine with their industrial aptitude and constancy of purpose something of that strenuous ferocity of character which marks so many people of the Semitic race,—Jews, Phenicians, and Carthaginians. These Semitic people stand distinguished as well from the Egyptian life,—enslaved by childish caprices and antipathies, and by endless frivolities of ceremonial detail,—as from the flexible, many-sided, and self-organizing Greek; not only capable of opening both for himself and for the human race the highest walks of intellect, and the full creative agency of art, but also gentler by far in his private sympathies and dealings than his contemporaries on the Euphrates, the Jordan, or the Nile,—for we are not of course to compare him with the exigencies of western Europe in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

Both in Babylonia and in Egypt, the vast monuments, embankments, and canals, executed by collective industry, appeared the more remarkable to an ancient traveller by contrast with the desert regions and predatory tribes immediately surrounding them. West of the Euphrates, the sands of Arabia extended northward, with little interruption, to the latitude of the gulf of Issus; they even covered the greater part of Mesopotamia,[570] or the country between the Euphrates and the Tigris, beginning a few days’ journey northward of the wall called the wall of Media above mentioned, which—extending westward from the Tigris to one of the canals joining the Euphrates—had been erected to protect Babylon, against the incursion of the Medes.[571][p. 305] Eastward of the Tigris again, along the range of Mount Zagros, but at no great distance from the river, were found the Elymæi, Kossæi, Uxii, Parætakêni, etc.,—tribes which, to use the expression of Strabo,[572] “as inhabiting a poor country, were under the necessity of living by the plunder of their neighbors.” Such rude bands of depredators on the one side, and such wide tracts of sand on the two others, without vegetation or water, contrasted powerfully with the industry and productiveness of Babylonia. Babylon itself is to be considered, not as one continuous city, but as a city together with its surrounding district inclosed within immense walls, the height and thickness of which were in themselves a sufficient defence, so that the place was assailable only at its gates. In case of need, it would serve as shelter for the persons and property of the village inhabitants in Babylonia; and we shall see hereafter how useful under trying circumstances such a resource was, when we come to review the invasions of Attica by the Peloponnesians, and the mischiefs occasioned by a temporary crowd pouring in from the country, so as to overcharge the intra-mural accommodations of Athens. Spacious as Babylon was, however, it is affirmed by Strabo that Ninus or Nineveh was considerably larger.


Since the first edition of these volumes, the interesting work of Mr. Layard,—“Nineveh and its Remains,” together with his illustrative Drawings,—“The Monuments of Nineveh,”—have been published. And through his unremitting valuable exertions in surmounting all the difficulties connected with excavations on the spot, the British Museum has been enriched with a valuable collection of real Assyrian sculptures and other monuments. A[p. 306] number of similar relics of Assyrian antiquity, obtained by M. Botta and others, have also been deposited in the museum of the Louvre at Paris.

In respect to Assyrian art, indeed to the history of art in general, a new world has thus been opened, which promises to be fruitful of instruction especially when we consider that the ground out of which the recent acquisitions have been obtained, has been yet most imperfectly examined, and may be expected to yield a much ampler harvest hereafter, assuming circumstances tolerably favorable to investigation. The sculptures to which we are now introduced, with all their remarkable peculiarities of style and idea, must undoubtedly date from the eighth or seventh century B. C., at the latest,—and may be much earlier. The style which they display forms a parallel and subject of comparison, though in many points extremely different, to that of early Egypt,—at a time when the ideal combinations of the Greeks were, as far as we know, embodied only in epic and lyric poetry.

But in respect to early Assyrian history, we have yet to find out whether much new information can be safely deduced from these interesting monuments. The cuneiform inscriptions now brought to light are indeed very numerous: and if they can be deciphered, on rational and trustworthy principles, we can hardly fail to acquire more or less of positive knowledge respecting a period now plunged in total darkness. But from the monuments of art alone, it would be unsafe to draw historical inferences. For example, when we find sculptures representing a king taking a city by assault, or receiving captives brought to him, etc., we are not to conclude that this commemorates any real and positive conquest recently made by the Assyrians. Our knowledge of the subjects of Greek sculpture on temples is quite sufficient to make us disallow any such inference, unless there be some corroborative proof. Some means must first be discovered, of discriminating historical from mythical subjects: a distinction which I here notice, the rather, because Mr. Layard shows occasional tendency to overlook it in his interesting remarks and explanations: see, especially, vol. ii, ch. vi, p. 409.

From the rich and abundant discoveries made at Nimroud, combined with those at Kouyunjik and Khorsabad, Mr. Layard is inclined to comprehend all these three within the circuit of ancient Nineveh; admitting for that circuit the prodigious space alleged by Diodorus out of Ktêsias, four hundred and eighty stadia or near sixty English miles. (See Nineveh and its Remains, vol. ii, ch. ii, pp. 242-253.) Mr. Layard considers that the north-west portion of Nimroud exhibits monuments more ancient, and at the same time better in style and execution, than the south-west portion,—or than Kouyunjik and Khorsabad (vol. ii, ch. i, p. 204; ch. iii, p. 305). If this hypothesis, as to the ground covered by Nineveh, be correct, probably future excavations will confirm it—or, if incorrect, refute it. But I do not at all reject the supposition on the simple ground of excessive magnitude: on the contrary, I should at once believe the statement, if it were reported by Herodotus after a visit to the spot, like the magnitude of Babylon. The testimony of Ktêsias is, indeed, very inferior in value to that of Herodotus: yet it ought[p. 307] hardly to be outweighed by the supposed improbability of so great a walled space, when we consider how little we know where to set bounds to the power of the Assyrian kings in respect to command of human labor for any process merely simple and toilsome, with materials both near and inexhaustible. Not to mention the great wall of China, we have only to look at the Picts Wall, and other walls built by the Romans in Britain, to satisfy ourselves that a great length of fortification, under circumstances much less favorable than the position of the ancient Assyrian kings, is noway incredible in itself. Though the walls of Nineveh and Babylon were much larger than those of Paris as it now stands, yet when we compare the two not merely in size, but in respect of costliness, elaboration, and contrivance, the latter will be found to represent an infinitely greater amount of work.

Larissa and Mespila, those deserted towns and walls which Xenophon saw in the retreat of the Ten Thousand (Anabas. iii, 4, 6-10), coincide in point of distance and situation with Nimroud and Kouyunjik, according to Mr. Layard’s remark. Nor is his supposition improbable, that both of them were formed by the Medes out of the ruins of the conquered city of Nineveh. Neither of them singly seems at all adequate to the reputation of that ancient city, or rather walled circuit. According to the account of Herodotus, Phraortes the second Median king had attacked Nineveh, but had been himself slain in the attempt, and lost nearly all his army. It was partly to revenge this disgrace that Kyaxarês, son of Phraortes assailed Nineveh (Herod. i, 102-103): we may thus see a special reason, in addition to his own violence of temper (i, 73), why he destroyed the city after having taken it (Νίνου ἀναστάτου γενομένης, i, 178). It is easy to conceive that this vast walled space may have been broken up and converted into two Median towns, both on the Tigris. In the subsequent change from Median to Persian dominion, these towns also became depopulated, as far as the strange tales which Xenophon heard in his retreat can be trusted. The interposition of these two Median towns doubtless contributed, for the time, to put out of sight the traditions respecting the old Ninus which had before stood upon their site. But these traditions were never extinct, and a new town bearing the old name of Ninus must have subsequently arisen on the spot. This second Ninus is recognized by Tacitus, Ptolemy, and Ammianus, not only as existing, but as pretending to uninterrupted continuity of succession from the ancient “caput Assyriæ.”

Mr. Layard remarks on the facility with which edifices, such as those in Assyria, built of sunburnt bricks, perish when neglected, and crumble away into earth, leaving little or no trace.

[p. 308]


If, on one side, the Phenicians were separated from the productive Babylonia by the Arabian desert; on the other side, the western portion of the same desert divided them from the no less productive valley of the Nile. In those early times which preceded the rise of Greek civilization, their land trade embraced both regions, and they served as the sole agents of international traffic between the two. Conveniently as their towns were situated for maritime commerce with the Nile, Egyptian jealousy had excluded Phenician vessels not less than those of the Greeks from the mouths of that river, until the reign of Psammetichus (672-618 B. C.); and thus even the merchants of Tyre could then reach Memphis only by means of caravans, employing as their instruments, as I have already observed, the Arabian tribes,[573] alternately plunderers and carriers. Respecting Egypt, as respecting Assyria, since the works of Hekatæus are unfortunately lost, our earliest information is derived from Herodotus, who visited Egypt about two centuries after the reign of Psammetichus, when it formed part of one of the twenty Persian satrapies. The Egyptian marvels and peculiarities which he recounts, are more numerous, as well as more diversified, than the Assyrian, and had the vestiges been effaced as completely in the former as in the latter, his narrative would probably have met with an equal degree of suspicion. But the hard stone, combined with the dry climate of Upper Egypt (where a shower of rain counted[p. 309] as a prodigy), have given such permanence to the monuments in the valley of the Nile, that enough has remained to bear out the father of Grecian history, and to show that, in describing what he professes to have seen, he is a guide perfectly trustworthy. For that which he heard, he appears only in the character of a reporter, and often an incredulous reporter; but though this distinction between his hearsay and his ocular evidence is not only obvious, but of the most capital moment,[574]—it has been too often neglected by those who depreciate him as a witness.

The mysterious river Nile, a god[575] in the eyes of ancient Egyptians, and still preserving both its volume and its usefulness undiminished amidst the general degradation of the country, reached the sea in the time of Herodotus by five natural mouths, besides two others artificially dug;—the Pelusiac branch formed the eastern boundary of Egypt, the Kanôpic branch—one hundred and seventy miles distant—the western; while the Sebennytic branch was a continuation of the straight line of the upper river: from this latter branched off the Saitic and the Mendesian arms.[576] Its overflowings are far more fertilizing than those of[p. 310] the Euphrates in Assyria,—partly from their more uniform recurrence both in time and quantity, partly from the rich silt which it brings down and deposits, whereas the Euphrates served only as a moisture. The patience of the Egyptians had excavated, in middle Egypt, the vast reservoir—partly, it seems, natural and preëxisting—called the lake of Mœris: and in the Delta, a network of numerous canals; yet on the whole the hand of man had been less tasked than in Babylonia; whilst the soil annually enriched, yielded its abundant produce without either plough or spade to assist the seed cast in by the husbandman.[577] That under[p. 311] these circumstances a dense and regularly organized population should have been concentrated in fixed abodes along the valley occupied by this remarkable river, is no matter of wonder; the marked peculiarities of the locality seem to have brought about such a result, in the earliest periods to which human society can be traced. Along the five hundred and fifty miles of its undivided course from Syênê to Memphis, where for the most part the mountains leave only a comparatively narrow strip on each bank, as well as in the broad expanse between Memphis and the Mediterranean, there prevailed a peculiar form of theocratic civilization, from a date which even in the time of Herodotus was immemorially ancient. But when we seek for some measure of this antiquity (earlier than the time when Greeks were first admitted into Egypt in the reign of Psammetichus), we find only the computations of the priests, reaching back for many thousand years, first, of government by immediate and present gods, next, of human kings. Such computations have been transmitted to us by Herodotus, Manetho, and Diodorus,[578]—agreeing in their essential conception of the foretime, with gods in the first part of the series, and men in the second, but differing materially in events, names, and epochs: probably, if we possessed lists from other Egyptian temples, besides those which Manetho drew up at Heliopolis, or which Herodotus learned at Memphis, we should find discrepancies from both these two. To compare these lists, and to reconcile them as far as they admit of being reconciled, is interesting, as enabling us to understand the Egyptian mind, but conducts to no trustworthy chronological results, and forms no part of the task of an historian of Greece.

To the Greeks, Egypt was a closed world before the reign of Psammetichus, though after that time it gradually became an important part of their field both of observation and action. The astonishment which the country created in the mind of the earliest Grecian visitors may be learned even from the narrative of Herodotus, who doubtless knew it by report long before he went there. Both the physical and moral features of Egypt stood in strong contrast with Grecian experience: “not only (says Herodotus) does the climate differ from all other climates,[p. 312] and the river from all other rivers, but Egyptian laws and customs are opposed on almost all points to those of other men.”[579] The delta was at that time full of large and populous cities,[580] built on artificial elevations of ground, and seemingly not much inferior to Memphis itself, which was situated on the left bank of the Nile (opposite to the site of the modern Cairo), a little higher up than the spot where the delta begins. From the time when the Greeks first became cognizant of Egypt, to the building of Alexandria and the reign of the Ptolemies, Memphis was the first city in Egypt, but it seems not to have been always so,—there had been an earlier period when Thebes was the seat of Egyptian power, and upper Egypt of far more consequence than middle Egypt. Vicinity to the delta, which must always have contained the largest number of cities and the widest surface of productive territory, probably enabled Memphis to usurp this honor from Thebes, and the predominance of lower Egypt was still farther confirmed when Psammetichus introduced Ionian and Karian troops as his auxiliaries in the government of the country. But the stupendous magnitude of the temples and palaces, the profusion of ornamental sculpture and painting, the immeasurable range of sculptures hewn in the rocks still remaining as attestations of the grandeur of Thebes,—not to mention Ombi, Edfu, and Elephantinê,—show that upper Egypt was once the place to which the land-tax from the productive delta was paid, and where the kings and priests who employed it resided. It has been even contended that Thebes itself was originally settled by emigrants from still higher regions of the river, and the remains yet[p. 313] found along the Nile in Nubia are analogous, both in style and in grandeur, to those in Thebais.[581] What is remarkable is, that both the one and the other are strikingly distinguished from the Pyramids, which alone remain to illustrate the site of the ancient Memphis. There are no pyramids either in upper Egypt or in Nubia; but on the Nile, above Nubia, near the Ethiopian Meroê, pyramids in great number, though of inferior dimensions, are again found. From whence, or in what manner, Egyptian institutions first took their rise, we have no means of determining: but there seems little to bear out the supposition of Heeren,[582][p. 314] and other eminent authors, that they were transmitted down the Nile by Ethiopian colonists from Meroê. Herodotus certainly conceived Egyptians and Ethiopians (who in his time jointly occupied the border island of Elephantinê, which he had himself visited) as completely distinct from each other, in race and customs not less than in language,—the latter being generally of the rudest habits, of great stature, and still greater physical strength,—the chief part of them subsisting on meat and milk, and blest with unusual longevity. He knew of Meroê, as the Ethiopian metropolis and a considerable city, fifty-two days’ journey higher up the river than Elephantinê, but his informants had given him no idea of analogy between its institutions and those of Egypt;[583] it was the migration of a large number of the Egyptian military caste, during the reign of Psammetichus, into Ethiopia, which first communicated civilized customs, in his judgment, to these southern barbarians. If there be really any connection between the social phenomena of Egypt and those of Meroê, it seems more reasonable to treat the latter as derivative from the former.[584]

The population of Egypt was classified into certain castes or hereditary professions, of which the number was not exactly defined, and is represented differently by different authors. The priests stand clearly marked out, as the order richest, most pow[p. 315]erful, and most venerated,—distributed all over the country, and possessing exclusively the means of reading and writing,[585] besides a vast amount of narrative matter treasured up in the memory, the whole stock of medical and physical knowledge then attainable, and those rudiments of geometry, or rather land-measuring, which were so often called into use in a country annually inundated. To each god, and to each temple, throughout Egypt, lands and other properties belonged, whereby the numerous band of priests attached to him were maintained: it seems, too, that a farther portion of the lands of the kingdom was set apart for them in individual property, though on this point no certainty is attainable. Their ascendency, both direct and indirect, over the minds of the people, was immense; they prescribed that minute ritual under which the life of every Egyptian, not excepting the king himself,[586] was passed, and which was for themselves more full of harassing particularities than for any one else.[587] Every day in the year belonged to some particular god, and the priests alone knew to which. There were different gods in every nome, though Isis and Osiris were common to all,—and the priests of each god constituted a society apart, more or less important, according to the comparative celebrity of the temple: the high[p. 316] priests of Hephæstos, whose dignity was said to have been transmitted from father to son through a series of three hundred and forty-one generations[588] (commemorated by the like number of colossal statues, which Herodotus himself saw), were second in importance only to the king. The property of each temple included troops of dependents and slaves, who were stamped with “holy marks,”[589] and who must have been numerous in order to suffice for the large buildings and their constant visitors.

Next in importance to the sacerdotal caste were the military caste or order, whose native name[590] indicated that they stood on the left hand of the king, while the priests occupied the right. They were classified into Kalasiries and Hermotybii, who occupied lands in eighteen particular nomes or provinces, principally in lower Egypt. The kalasiries had once amounted to one hundred and sixty thousand men, the hermotybii to two hundred and fifty thousand, when at the maximum of their population; but the highest point had long been past in the time of Herodotus. To each man of this soldier caste was assigned a portion of land equal to about six and a half English acres, free from any tax; what measures were taken to keep the lots of land in suitable harmony with a fluctuating number of holders, we know not. The statement of Herodotus relates to a time long past and gone, and describes what was believed, by the priests with whom he talked, to have been the primitive constitution of their country anterior to the Persian conquest: the like is still more true respecting the statement of Diodorus.[591] The latter says that the territory of Egypt was divided into three parts,—one part belonging to the king, another to the priests, and the remainder to the soldiers;[592] his language seems to intimate that every nome was so divided, and even that the three portions were equal, though he does not expressly say so. The result of these statements, combined with the history of Joseph in the book of Genesis, seems to be, that the lands of the priests and the soldiers were regarded as privileged property and exempt from all burdens, while the remaining soil was considered as the property of the king, who,[p. 317] however, received from it a fixed proportion, one-fifth of the total produce, leaving the rest in the hands of the cultivators.[593] We are told that Sethos, priest of the god Phtha (or Hephæstos) at Memphis, and afterwards named king, oppressed the military caste and deprived them of their lands, in revenge for which they withheld from him their aid when Egypt was invaded by Sennacherib,—and also that, in the reign of Psammetichus, a large number (two hundred and forty thousand) of these soldiers migrated into Ethiopia from a feeling of discontent, leaving their wives and children behind them.[594] It was Psammetichus who first introduced Ionian and Karian mercenaries into the country, and began innovations on the ancient Egyptian constitution; so that the disaffection towards him, on the part of the native soldiers, no longer permitted to serve as exclusive guards to the king, is not difficult to explain. The kalasiries and hermotybii were interdicted from every description of art or trade. There can be little doubt that under the Persians their lands were made subject to the tribute, and this may partly explain the frequent revolts which they maintained, with very considerable bravery, against the Persian kings.

Herodotus enumerates five other races (so he calls them), or castes, besides priests and soldiers,[595]—herdsmen, swineherds, tradesmen, interpreters, and pilots; an enumeration which perplexes us, inasmuch as it takes no account of the husbandmen, who must always have constituted the majority of the population. It is, perhaps, for this very reason that they are not comprised in the list,—not standing out specially marked or congregated together, like the five above named, and therefore not seeming to constitute a race apart. The distribution of Diodorus, who specifies (over and above priests and soldiers) husbandmen, herdsmen, and artificers, embraces much more completely the whole popula[p. 318]tion.[596] It seems more the statement of a reflecting man, pushing out the principle of hereditary occupations to its consequences; (and the comments which the historian so abundantly interweaves with his narrative show that such was the character of the authorities which he followed);—while the list given by Herodotus comprises that which struck his observation. It seems that a certain proportion of the soil of the delta consisted of marsh land, including pieces of habitable ground, but impenetrable to an invading enemy, and favorable only to the growth of papyrus and other aquatic plants: other portions of the delta, as well as the upper valley, in parts where it widened to the eastward, were too wet for the culture of grain, though producing the richest herbage, and eminently suitable to the race of Egyptian herdsmen, who thus divided the soil with the husbandmen.[597] Herdsmen generally were held reputable, but the race of swineherds were hated and despised, from the extreme antipathy of all other Egyptians to the pig,—which animal yet could not be altogether proscribed, because there were certain peculiar occasions on which it was imperative to offer him in sacrifice to Selênê or Dionysus. Herodotus acquaints us that the swineherds were interdicted from all the temples, and that they always intermarried among themselves, other Egyptians disdaining such an alliance,—a statement which indirectly intimates that there was no standing objection against intermarriage of the remaining castes with each other. The caste or race of interpreters began only with the reign of Psammetichus, from the admission of Greek settlers, then for the first time tolerated in the country. Though they were half Greeks, the historian does not note them as of inferior account, except as compared with the two ascendant castes of soldiers and priests; moreover, the creation of a new caste shows that there was no consecrated or unchangeable total number.

[p. 319]Those whom Herodotus denominates tradesmen (καπήλοι) are doubtless identical with the artisans (τεχνῖται) specified by Diodorus,—the town population generally as distinguished from that of the country. During the three months of the year when Egypt was covered with water, festival days were numerous,—the people thronging by hundreds of thousands, in vast barges, to one or other of the many holy places, combining worship and enjoyment.[598] In Egypt, weaving was a trade, whereas in Greece it was the domestic occupation of females; and Herodotus treats it as one of those reversals of the order of nature which were seen only in Egypt,[599] that the weaver stayed at home plying his web while his wife went to market. The process of embalming bodies was elaborate and universal, giving employment to a large special class of men: the profusion of edifices, obelisks, sculpture and painting, all executed by native workmen, required a large body of trained sculptors,[600] who in the mechanical branch of their business attained a high excellence. Most of the animals in Egypt were objects of religious reverence, and many of them were identified in the closest manner with particular gods. The order of priests included a large number of hereditary feeders[p. 320] and tenders of these sacred animals.[601] Among the sacerdotal order were also found the computers of genealogies, the infinitely subdivided practitioners in the art of healing, etc.,[602] who enjoyed good reputation, and were sent for as surgeons to Cyrus and Darius. The Egyptian city population was thus exceedingly numerous, so that king Sethon, when called upon to resist an invasion without the aid of the military caste, might well be supposed to have formed an army out of “the tradesmen, the artisans, and the market-people:”[603] and Alexandria, at the commencement of the dynasty of the Ptolemies, acquired its numerous and active inhabitants at the expense of Memphis and the ancient towns of lower Egypt.

The mechanical obedience and fixed habits of the mass of the Egyptian population (not priests or soldiers) was a point which made much impression upon Grecian observers; so that Solon is said to have introduced at Athens a custom prevalent in Egypt, whereby the nomarch or chief of each nome was required to investigate every man’s means of living, and to punish with death those who did not furnish evidence of some recognized occupation.[604] It does not seem that the institution of caste in Egypt, though insuring unapproachable ascendency to the priests and much consideration to the soldiers, was attended with any such profound debasement to the rest as that which falls upon the lowest caste or sudras in India,—no such gulf between them as that between the twice-born and the once-born in the religion of Brahma. Yet those stupendous works, which form the permanent memorials of the country, remain at the same time as proofs of the oppressive exactions of the kings, and of the reckless caprice with which the lives as well as the contributions of the people were lavished. One hundred and twenty thousand Egyptians were said to have perished in the digging of the canal, which king Nekôs began but[p. 321] did not finish, between the Pelusian arm of the Nile and the Red sea;[605] while the construction of the two great pyramids, attributed to the kings Cheops and Chephrên, was described to Herodotus by the priests as a period of exhausting labor and extreme suffering to the whole Egyptian people,—and yet the great Labyrinth,[606] said to have been built by the dodekarchs, appeared to him a more stupendous work than the Pyramids, so that the toil employed upon it cannot have been less destructive. The moving of such vast masses of stone as were seen in the ancient edifices both of upper and lower Egypt, with the imperfect mechanical resources then existing, must have tasked the efforts of the people yet more severely than the excavation of the half-finished canal of Nekôs. Indeed, the associations with which the Pyramids were connected, in the minds of those with whom Herodotus conversed, were of the most odious character. Such vast works, Aristotle observes, are suitable to princes who desire to consume the strength and break the spirit of their people. With Greek despots, perhaps, such an intention may have been sometimes deliberately conceived; but the Egyptian kings may be presumed to have followed chiefly caprice, or love of pomp,—sometimes[p. 322] views of a permanent benefit to be achieved,—as in the canal of Nekôs and the vast reservoir of Mœris,[607] with its channel joining the river,—when they thus expended the physical strength and even the lives of their subjects.

Sanctity of animal life generally, veneration for particular animals in particular nomes, and abstinence on religious grounds from certain vegetables, were among the marked features of Egyptian life, and served preëminently to impress upon the country that air of singularity which foreigners like Herodotus remarked in it. The two specially marked bulls, called apis at Memphis, and mnevis at Heliopolis, seem to have enjoyed a sort of national worship:[608] the ibis, the cat, and the dog were throughout most of the nomes venerated during life, embalmed like men after death, and if killed, avenged by the severest punishment of the offending party: but the veneration of the crocodile was confined to the neighborhood of Thebes and the lake of Mœris. Such veins of religious sentiment, which distinguished Egypt from Phenicia and Assyria, not less than from Greece, were explained by the native priests after their manner to Herodotus, though he declines from pious scruples to communicate what was told to him.[609] They seem remnants continued from a very early[p. 323] stage of Fetichism,—and the attempts of different persons, noticed in Diodorus and Plutarch, to account for their origin, partly by legends, partly by theory, will give little satisfaction to any one.[610]

Though Thebes first, and Memphis afterwards, were undoubtedly the principal cities of Egypt, yet if the dynasties of Manetho are at all trustworthy, even in their general outline, the Egyptian kings were not taken uniformly either from one or the other. Manetho enumerates on the whole twenty-six different dynasties or families of kings, anterior to the conquest of the country by Kambysês,—the Persian kings between Kambysês and the revolt of the Egyptian Amyrtæus, in 405 B. C. constituting his twenty-seventh dynasty. Of these twenty-six dynasties, beginning with the year 5702 B. C., the first two are Thinites,—the third and fourth, Memphites,—the fifth, from the island of Elephantinê,—the sixth, seventh, and eighth, again Memphites,—the ninth and tenth, Herakleopolites,—the eleventh, twelfth, and thirteenth, Diospolites or Thebans,—the fourteenth, Choïtes,—the fifteenth and sixteenth, Hyksos, or shepherd kings,—the seventeenth, shepherd kings, overthrown and succeeded by Diospolites,—the eighteenth (B. C. 1655-1327, in which is included Rameses, the great Egyptian conqueror, identified by many authors with Sesostris, 1411 B. C.), nineteenth, and twentieth, Diospolites,—the twenty-first, Tanites,—the twenty-second, Bubastites,—the twenty-third, again Tanites,—the twenty-fourth, Saïtes,—the twenty-fifth, Ethiopians, beginning with Sabakôn, whom Herodotus also mentions,—the twenty-sixth, Saïtes, including Psammetichus, Nekôs, Apries or Uaphris, and Amasis or Amosis. We see by these lists, that, according to the manner in which Manetho construed the antiquities of his country, several other cities of Egypt, besides Thebes and Memphis, furnished kings to the whole territory; but we cannot trace any correspondence between the nomes which furnished kings, and those which Herodotus mentions to have been exclusively occupied by the military caste. Many of the separate nomes were of considerable substantive importance, and had a marked local character each to itself, religious as well as political; though[p. 324] the whole of Egypt, from Elephantinê to Pelasium and Kanôpus, is said to have always constituted one kingdom, from the earliest times which the native priests could conceive.

We are to consider this kingdom as engaged, long before the time when Greeks were admitted into it,[611] in a standing caravan-commerce with Phenicia, Palestine, Arabia, and Assyria. Ancient Egypt having neither vines nor olives, imported both wine and oil,[612] while it also needed especially the frankincense and aromatic products peculiar to Arabia, for its elaborate religious ceremonies. Towards the last quarter of the eighth century B. C. (a little before the time when the dynasty of the Mermnadæ in Lydia was commencing in the person of Gygês), we trace events tending to alter the relation which previously subsisted between these countries, by continued aggressions on the part of the Assyrian monarchs of Nineveh,—Salmaneser and Sennacherib. The former having conquered and led into captivity the ten tribes of Israel, also attacked the Phenician towns on the adjoining coast: Sidon, Palæ-Tyrus, and Akê yielded to him, but Tyre itself resisted, and having endured for five years the hardships of a blockade with partial obstruction of its continental aqueducts, was enabled by means of its insular position to maintain independence. It was just at this period that the Grecian establishments in Sicily were forming, and I have already remarked that the pressure of the Assyrians upon Phenicia, probably had some effect in determining that contraction of the Phenician occupations in Sicily, which really took place (B. C. 730-720). Respecting Sennacherib, we are informed by the Old Testament, that he invaded Judæa, and by Herodotus (who calls him king of the Assyrians and Arabians), that he assailed the pious king Sethos in Egypt: in both cases his army experienced a miraculous repulse and destruction. After this, the Assyrians of Nine[p. 325]veh, either torn by intestine dissension, or shaken by the attacks of the Medes, appear no longer active; but about the year 630 B. C. the Assyrians or Chaldæans of Babylon manifest a formidable and increasing power. It is, moreover, during this century that the old routine of the Egyptian kings was broken through, and a new policy displayed towards foreigners by Psammetichus,—which, while it rendered Egypt more formidable to Judæa and Phenicia, opened to Grecian ships and settlers the hitherto inaccessible Nile.

Herodotus draws a marked distinction between the history of Egypt before Psammetichus and the following period: the former he gives as the narration of the priests, without professing to guarantee it,—the latter he evidently believes to be well ascertained.[613] And we find that, from Psammetichus downward, Herodotus and Manetho are in tolerable harmony, whereas even for the sovereigns occupying the last fifty years before Psammetichus, there are many and irreconcilable discrepancies between them;[614] but they both agree in stating that Psammetichus reigned fifty-four years. So important an event as the first admission of the Greeks into Egypt, was made, by the informants of Herodotus, to turn upon two prophecies. After the death of Sethos, king and priest of Hephæstos, who left no son, Egypt became divided among twelve kings, of whom Psammetichus was one: it was under this dodekarchy, according to Herodotus, that the marvellous labyrinth near the lake of Mœris was constructed. The twelve lived and reigned for some time in perfect harmony, but a prophecy had been made known to them, that the one who should make libations in the temple of Hephæstos out of a brazen goblet would reign over all Egypt. Now it happened that one day, when they all appeared armed in that temple to offer sacrifice, the high priest brought out by mistake only eleven golden goblets instead of twelve, and Psammetichus, left without a goblet, made use of his brass helmet as a substitute. Being thus con[p. 326]sidered, though unintentionally, to have fulfilled the condition of the prophecy, by making libations in a brazen goblet, he became an object of terror to his eleven colleagues, who united to despoil him of his dignity, and drove him into the inaccessible marshes. In this extremity, he sent to seek counsel from the oracle of Lêtô at Butô, and received for answer an assurance, that “vengeance would come to him by the hands of brazen men showing themselves from the seaward.” His faith was for the moment shaken by so startling a conception as that of brazen men for his allies: but the prophetic veracity of the priest at Butô was speedily shown, when an astonished attendant came to acquaint him, in his lurking-place, that brazen men were ravaging the sea-coast of the delta. It was a body of Ionian and Karian soldiers, who had landed for pillage, and the messenger who came to inform Psammetichus had never before seen men in an entire suit of brazen armor. That prince, satisfied that these were the allies whom the oracle had marked out for him, immediately entered into negotiation with the Ionians and Karians, enlisted them in his service, and by their aid in conjunction with his other partisans overpowered the other eleven kings,—thus making himself the one ruler of Egypt.[615]

Such was the tale by which the original alliance of an Egyptian king with Grecian mercenaries, and the first introduction of Greeks into Egypt, was accounted for and dignified. What followed is more authentic and more important. Psammetichus provided a settlement and lands for his new allies, on the Pelusiac or eastern branch of the Nile, a little below Bubastis. The Ionians were planted on one side of the river, the Karians on[p. 327] the other; and the place was made to serve as a military position, not only for the defence of the eastern border, but also for the support of the king himself against malcontents at home: it was called the Stratopěda, or the Camps.[616] He took pains, moreover, to facilitate the intercourse between them and the neighboring inhabitants, by causing a number of Egyptian children to be domiciled with them, in order to learn the Greek language; and hence sprung the interpreters; who, in the time of Herodotus, constituted a permanent hereditary caste or breed.

Though the chief purpose of this first foreign settlement in Egypt, between Pelusium and Bubastis, was to create an independent military force, and with it a fleet for the king, yet it was of course an opening both for communication and traffic to all Greeks and to all Phenicians, such as had never before been available. And it was speedily followed by the throwing open of the Kanôpic or westernmost branch of the river for the purposes of trade specially. According to a statement of Strabo, it was in the reign of Psammetichus that the Milesians with a fleet of thirty ships made a descent on that part of the coast, first built a fort in the immediate neighborhood, and then presently founded the town of Naukratis, on the right bank of the Kanôpic Nile. There is much that is perplexing in this affirmation of Strabo; but on the whole I am inclined to think that the establishment of the Greek factories and merchants at Naukratis may be considered as dating in the reign of Psammetichus,[617]—Naukratis being[p. 328] a city of Egyptian origin, in which these foreigners were permitted to take up their abode,—not a Greek colony, as Strabo would have us believe. The language of Herodotus seems rather to imply that it was king Amasis—between whom and the death of Psammetichus there intervened nearly half a century—who first allowed Greeks to settle at Naukratis; but on comparing what the historian tells us respecting the courtezan Rhodôpis and the brother of Sapphô the Poetess, it is evident that there must have been both Greek trade and Greek establishments in that town long before Amasis came to the throne. We may consider, then, that both the eastern and western mouths of the Nile became open to the Greeks in the days of Psammetichus; the former as leading to the head-quarters of the mercenary Greek troops in Egyptian pay,—the latter for purposes of trade.

While this event afforded to the Greeks a valuable enlargement both of their traffic and of their field of observation, it seems to have occasioned an internal revolution in Egypt. The nome of Bubastis, in which the new military settlement of foreigners was planted, is numbered among those occupied by the Egyptian military caste:[618] whether their lands were in part taken away from them, we do not know; but the mere introduction of such foreigners must have appeared an abomination, to the strong conservative feeling of ancient Egypt. And Psammetichus[p. 329] treated the native soldiers in a manner which showed of how much less account they had become since the “brazen helmets” had got footing in the land. It had hitherto been the practice to distribute such portions of the military as were on actual service in three different posts: at Daphnê, near Pelusium, on the north-eastern frontier,—at Marea, on the north-western frontier, near the spot where Alexandria was afterwards built,—and at Elephantinê, on the southern or Ethiopian boundary. Psammetichus, having no longer occasion for their services on the eastern frontier, since the formation of the mercenary camp, accumulated them in greater number and detained them for an unusual time at the two other stations, especially at Elephantinê. Here, as Herodotus tells us, they remained for three years unrelieved, and Diodorus adds that Psammetichus assigned to those native troops who fought conjointly with the mercenaries, the least honorable post in the line; until at length discontent impelled them to emigrate in a body of two hundred and forty thousand men into Ethiopia, leaving their wives and children behind in Egypt,—nor could they be induced by any instances on the part of Psammetichus to return. This memorable incident,[619] which is said to have given rise to a settlement in the southernmost regions of Ethiopia, called by the Greeks the Automoli (though the emigrant soldiers still called themselves by their old Egyptian name), attests the effect produced by the introduction of the foreign mercenaries in lowering the position of the native military. The number of the emigrants, however, is a point noway to be relied upon: we shall presently see that there were enough of them left behind to renew effectively the struggle for their lost dignity.

It was probably with his Ionian and Karian troops that Psammetichus carried on those warlike operations in Syria which filled so large a proportion of his long and prosperous reign of fifty-four years.[620] He besieged the city of Azôtus in Syria for twenty-nine years, until he took it,—the longest blockade which the historian had ever heard of: moreover, he was in that country when the destroying Scythian nomads, who had defeated the[p. 330] Median king Kyaxarês and possessed themselves of Upper Asia, advanced to invade Egypt,—an undertaking which Psammetichus, by large presents, induced them to abandon.[621]

There were, however, more powerful enemies than the Scythians, against whom he and his son Nekôs—who succeeded him, seemingly about 604 B. C.[622]—had to contend in Syria and the lands adjoining. It is just at this period, during the reigns of[p. 331] Nabopolassar and his son Nebuchadnezzar (B. C. 625-561) that the Chaldæans or Assyrians of Babylon appear at the maximum of their power and aggressive disposition, while the Assyrians of Ninus or Nineveh lose their substantive position through the taking of that town by Kyaxarês (about B. C. 600),—the greatest height which the Median power ever reached. Between the Egyptian Nekôs and his grandson Apriês—Pharaoh Necho and Pharaoh Hophra of the Old Testament—on the one side, and the Babylonian Nebuchadnezzar on the other, Judæa and Phenicia form the intermediate subject of quarrel: and the political independence of the Phenician towns is extinguished never again to be recovered. At the commencement of his reign, it appears, Nekôs was chiefly anxious to extend the Egyptian commerce, for which purpose he undertook two measures, both of astonishing boldness for that age,—a canal between the lower part of the eastern or Pelusiac Nile, and the inmost corner of the Red sea,—and the circumnavigation of Africa; his great object being to procure a water-communication between the Mediterranean and the Red sea. He began the canal—much about the same time as Nebuchadnezzar executed his canal from Babylon to Terêdon—with such reckless determination, that one hundred and twenty thousand Egyptians are said to have perished in the work; but either from this disastrous proof of the difficulty, or, as Herodotus represents, from the terrors of a menacing prophecy which reached him, he was compelled to desist. Next, he accomplished the circumnavigation of Africa, already above alluded to; but in this way too he found it impracticable to procure any available communication such as he wished.[623] It is plain that in both these enterprises he was acting under Phenician and Greek instigation; and we may remark that the point of the Nile from whence the canal took its departure, was close upon the mercenary camps or stratopeda. Being unable to connect the two seas together, he built and equipped an armed naval force both upon the one and the other, and entered upon aggressive enterprises, naval as well as military. His army, on march[p. 332]ing into Syria, was met at Megiddo—Herodotus says Magdolum—by Josiah king of Judah, who was himself slain and so completely worsted, that Jerusalem fell into the power of the conqueror, and became tributary to Egypt. It deserves to be noted that Nekôs sent the raiment which he had worn on the day of his victory, as an offering to the holy temple of Apollo at Branchidæ near Milêtus,[624]—the first recorded instance of a donation from an Egyptian king to a Grecian temple, and a proof that Hellenic affinities were beginning to take effect upon him: probably we may conclude that a large proportion of his troops were Milesians.

But the victorious career of Nekôs was completely checked by the defeat which he experienced at Carchemisch, or Circesium, on the Euphrates, from Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonians, who not only drove him out of Judæa and Syria, but also took Jerusalem, and carried away the king and the principal Jews into captivity.[625] Nebuchadnezzar farther attacked the Phenician cities, and the siege of Tyre alone cost him severe toil for thirteen years. After this long and gallant resistance, the Tyrians were forced to submit, and underwent the same fate as the Jews: their princes and chiefs were dragged captive into the Babylonian territory, and the Phenician cities became numbered among the tributaries of Nebuchadnezzar. So they seemed to have remained, until the overthrow of Babylon by Cyrus: for we find among those extracts, unhappily, very brief, which Josephus has pre[p. 333]served out of the Tyrian annals, that during this interval there were disputes and irregularities in the government of Tyre,[626]—judges being for a time substituted in the place of kings; while Merbal and Hirom, two princes of the regal Tyrian line, detained captive in Babylonia, were successively sent down on the special petition of the Tyrians, and reigned at Tyre; the former four years, the latter twenty years, until the conquest of Babylon by Cyrus. The Egyptian king Apriês, indeed, the son of Psammis, and grandson of Nekôs, attacked Sidon and Tyre both by land and sea, but seemingly without any result.[627] To the Persian empire, as soon as Cyrus had conquered Babylon, they cheerfully and spontaneously submitted,[628] whereby the restoration of the captive Tyrians to their home was probably conceded to them, like that of the captive Jews.

Nekôs in Egypt was succeeded by his son Psammis, and he again, after a reign of six years, by his son Apriês; of whose power and prosperity Herodotus speaks in very high general[p. 334] terms, though the few particulars which he recounts are of a contrary tenor. It was not till after a reign of twenty-five years, that Apriês undertook that expedition against the Greek colonies in Libya,—Kyrênê and Barka,—which proved his ruin. The native Libyan tribes near those cities, having sent to surrender themselves to him, and entreat his aid against the Greek settlers, Apriês despatched to them a large force composed of native Egyptians; who, as has been before mentioned, were stationed on the north-western frontier of Egypt, and were, therefore, most available for the march against Kyrênê. The Kyrenean citizens advanced to oppose them, and a battle ensued in which the Egyptians were completely routed with severe loss. It is affirmed that they were thrown into disorder from want of practical knowledge of Grecian warfare,[629]—a remarkable proof of the entire isolation of the Grecian mercenaries (who had now been long in the service of Psammetichus and his successors) from the native Egyptians.

This disastrous reverse provoked a mutiny in Egypt against Apriês, the soldiers contending that he had despatched them on the enterprise with a deliberate view to their destruction, in order to assure his rule over the remaining Egyptians. The malcontents found so much sympathy among the general population, that Amasis, a Saïtic Egyptian of low birth, but of considerable intelligence, whom Apriês had sent to conciliate them, was either persuaded or constrained to become their leader, and prepared to march immediately against the king at Saïs. Unbounded and reverential submission to the royal authority was a habit so deeply rooted in the Egyptian mind, that Apriês could not believe the resistance to be serious. He sent an officer of consideration named Patarbêmis to bring Amasis before him, and when the former returned, bringing back from the rebel nothing better than a contemptuous refusal to appear except at the head of an army, the exasperated king ordered his nose and ears to be cut off. This act of atrocity caused such indignation among the Egyptians round him, that most of them deserted and joined the revolters, who thus became irresistibly formidable in point of numbers. There yet remained to Apriês the foreign mercenaries,—thirty[p. 335] thousand Ionians and Karians,—whom he summoned from their stratopeda on the Pelusiac Nile to his residence at Saïs; and this force, the creation of his ancestor Psammetichus, and the main reliance of his family, still inspired him with such unabated confidence, that he marched to attack the far superior numbers under Amasis at Momemphis. Though his troops behaved with bravery, the disparity of numbers, combined with the excited feeling of the insurgents, overpowered him: he was defeated and carried prisoner to Saïs, where at first Amasis not only spared his life, but treated him with generosity.[630] Such, however, was the antipathy of the Egyptians, that they forced Amasis to surrender his prisoner into their hands, and immediately strangled him.

It is not difficult to trace in these proceedings the outbreak of a long-suppressed hatred on the part of the Egyptian soldier-caste towards the dynasty of Psammetichus, to whom they owed their comparative degradation, and by whom that stream of Hellenism had been let in upon Egypt, which doubtless was not witnessed without great repugnance. It might seem, also, that this dynasty had too little of pure Egyptianism in them to find favor with the priests. At least Herodotus does not mention any religious edifices erected either by Nekôs or Psammis or Apriês, though he describes much of such outlay on the part of Psammetichus,—who built magnificent propylæa to the temple of Hephæstos at Memphis,[631] and a splendid new chamber or stable for the sacred bull Apis,—and more still on the part of Amasis.

Nevertheless, Amasis, though he had acquired the crown by this explosion of native antipathy, found the foreign adjuncts both already existing and eminently advantageous. He not only countenanced, but extended them; and Egypt enjoyed under him a degree of power and consideration such as it neither before possessed, nor afterwards retained,—for his long reign of forty-four years (570-526 B. C.) closed just six months before the Persian conquest of the country. He was eminently phil-Hellenic, and the Greek merchants at Naukratis,—the permanent settlers, as well as the occasional visitors,—obtained from him valuable en[p. 336]largement of their privileges. Besides granting permission to various Grecian towns, to erect religious establishments for such of their citizens as visited the place, he also sanctioned the constitution of a formal and organized emporium or factory, invested with commercial privileges, and armed with authority exercised by presiding officers regularly chosen. This factory was connected with, and probably grew out of, a large religious edifice and precinct, built at the joint cost of nine Grecian cities: four of them Ionic,—Chios, Teôs, Phôkæa, and Klazomenæ; four Doric,—Rhodes, Knidus, Halikarnassus, and Phasêlis; and one Æolic,—Mitylênê. By these nine cities the joint temple and factory was kept up and its presiding magistrates chosen; but its destination, for the convenience of Grecian commerce generally, seems revealed by the imposing title of The Hellênion. Samos, Milêtus, and Ægina had each founded a separate temple at Naukratis, for the worship of such of their citizens as went there; probably connected—as the Hellênion was—with protection and facilities for commercial purposes. But though these three powerful cities had thus constituted each a factory for itself, as guarantee to the merchandise, and as responsible for the conduct, of its own citizens separately,—the corporation of the Hellênion served both as protection and control to all other Greek merchants. And such was the usefulness, the celebrity, and probably the pecuniary profit, of the corporation, that other Grecian cities set up claims to a share in it, and falsely pretended to have contributed to the original foundation.[632]

Naukratis was for a long time the privileged port for Grecian commerce with Egypt. No Greek merchant was permitted to deliver goods in any other part, or to enter any other of the[p. 337] mouths of the Nile except the Kanôpic. If forced into any of them by stress of weather, he was compelled to make oath that his arrival was a matter of necessity, and to convey his goods round by sea into the Kanôpic branch to Naukratis; and if the weather still forbade such a proceeding, the merchandise was put into barges and conveyed round to Naukratis by the internal canals of the delta. Such a monopoly, which made Naukratis in Egypt, something like Canton in China, or Nangasaki in Japan, no longer subsisted in the time of Herodotus.[633] But the factory of the Hellênion was in full operation and dignity, and very probably he himself, as a native of one of the contributing cities, Halikarnassus, may have profited by its advantages. At what precise time Naukratis first became licensed for Grecian trade, we cannot directly make out; but there seems reason to believe that it was the port to which the Greek merchants first went, so soon as the general liberty of trading with the country was conceded to them; and this would put it at least as far back as the foundation of Kyrênê, and the voyage of the fortunate Kôlæus, who was on his way with a cargo to Egypt, when the storms overtook him,—about 630 B. C., during the reign of Psammetichus. And in the time of the poetess Sapphô, and her brother Charaxus, it seems evident that Greeks had been some time established at Naukratis.[634] But Amasis, though his predecessors[p. 338] had permitted such establishment, may doubtless be regarded as having given organization to the factories, and as having placed the Greeks on a more comfortable footing of security than they had ever enjoyed before.

This Egyptian king manifested several other evidences of his phil-Hellenic disposition, by donations to Delphi and other Grecian temples, and he even married a Grecian wife from the city of Kyrênê.[635] Moreover, he was in intimate alliance and relations of hospitality both with Polykratês despot of Samos, and with Crœsus king of Lydia.[636] He conquered the island of Cyprus, and rendered it tributary to the Egyptian throne: his fleet and army were maintained in good condition, and the foreign mercenaries, the great strength of the dynasty which he had supplanted, were not only preserved, but even removed from their camp near Pelusium to the chief town Memphis, where they served as the special guards of Amasis.[637] Egypt enjoyed under him a degree of power abroad, and prosperity at home—the river having been abundant in its overflowing—which was the more tenaciously remembered on account of the period of disaster and subjugation immediately following his death. And his contributions, in architecture and sculpture, to the temples of Saïs[638] and Memphis, were on a scale of vastness surpassing everything before known in lower Egypt.

[p. 339]APPENDIX.

The archæology of Egypt, as given in the first book of Diodorus, is so much blended with Grecian mythes, and so much colored over with Grecian motive, philosophy, and sentiment, as to serve little purpose in illustrating the native Egyptian turn of thought. Even in Herodotus, though his stories are in the main genuine Egyptian, we find a certain infusion of Hellenism which the priests themselves had in his day acquired, and which probably would not have been found in their communications with Solon, or with the poet Alkæus, a century and a half earlier. Still, his stories (for the tenor of which Diodorus unduly censures him, i, 69) are really illustrative of the national mind; but the narratives coined by Grecian fancy out of Egyptian materials, and idealizing Egyptian kings and priests so as to form a pleasing picture for the Grecian reader, are mere romance, which has rarely even the merit of amusing. Most of the intellectual Greeks had some tendency thus to dress up Egyptian history, and Plato manifests it considerably; but the Greeks who crowded into Egypt under the Ptolemies carried it still further. Hekatæus of Abdêra, from whom Diodorus greatly copied (i, 46), is to be numbered among them, and from him, perhaps, come the eponymous kings Ægyptus (i, 51) and Neileus (i, 63), the latter of whom was said to have given to the river its name of Nile, whereas it had before been called Ægyptus (this to save the credit of Homer, who calls it Αἴγυπτος ποταμὸς, Odyss. xiv, 258): also Macedon, Prometheus, Triptolemus, etc., largely blended with Egyptian antiquities, in Diodorus, (i, 18, 19, etc.). It appears that the name of king Neilos occurred in the list of Egyptian kings in Dikæarchus (ap. Schol. Apoll. Rhod. iv, 272; Dikæarch. Fragment, p. 100, ed. Fuhr).

That the ἀναγραφαὶ in the temples of Egypt reached to a vast antiquity and contained a list of names, human, semi-divine, and divine, very long indeed,—there is no reason to doubt. Herodotus, in giving the number of years between Dionysus and Amasis as 1500, expressly says that “the priests told him they knew this accurately, since they always kept an account, and always wrote down the number of years,”—καὶ ταῦτα Αἰγύπτιοι ἀτρεκέως φασὶν ἐπίστασθαι, αἰεί τε λογιζόμενοι καὶ αἰεὶ ἀπογραφόμενοι τὰ ἔτεα (ii. 145): compare Diodor. i, 44. He tells us that the priests read to him out of a manuscript of papyrus (ἔκ βύβλου, ii, 100) the names of the 330 successive kings from father to son, between Mên or Menês and Mœris; and the 341 colossal statues of chief priests, each succeeding his father, down to Sethos priest of Hephæstos and king (ii, 142), which were shown to him in the temple of Hephæstos at Memphis, afford a sort of monumental evidence analogous in its nature to a written list. So also the long period of 23,000 years given by Diodorus, from the rule of Hêlios down to the expedition of Alexander against Asia, 18,000 of which were occupied by the government of gods and demigods (i, 26, 24, 44,—his numbers do not all agree with one another), may probably be drawn from an ἀναγραφή. Many temples in[p. 340] Egypt probably had such tablets or inscriptions, some differing from others. But this only shows us that such ἀναγραφαὶ or other temple monuments do not of themselves carry any authority, unless in cases where there is fair reason to presume them nearly contemporary with the facts or persons which they are produced to avouch. It is plain that the temple inscriptions represent the ideas of Egyptian priests (of some unknown date anterior to Herodotus) respecting the entire range of Egyptian past history and chronology.

What the proportion of historical items may be, included in this aggregate, we have no means of testing, nor are the monuments in Egyptian temples in themselves a proof of the reality of the persons or events which they are placed to commemorate, any more than the Centauromachia or Amazonomachia on the frieze of a Grecian temple proves that there really existed Centaurs or Amazons. But it is interesting to penetrate, so far as we are enabled, into the scheme upon which the Egyptians themselves conceived and constructed their own past history, of which the gods form quite as essential an element as the human kings; for we depart from the Egyptian point of view when we treat the gods as belonging to Egyptian religion and the human kings to Egyptian history,—both are parts of the same series.

It is difficult to trace the information which Herodotus received from the Egyptian priests to any intelligible scheme of chronology; but this may be done in regard to Manetho with much plausibility, as the recent valuable and elaborate analysis of Boeckh (Manetho und die Hundssternperiode, Berlin, 1845) has shown. He gives good reason for believing that the dynasties of Manetho have been so arranged as to fill up an exact number of Sothiac cycles (or periods of the star Sirius, each comprehending 1460 Julian years = 1461 Egyptian years). The Egyptian calender recognized a year of 365 days exactly, taking no note of the six hours additional which go to make up the solar year: they had twelve months of thirty days, with five epagomens or additional days, and their year always began with the first of the month Thoth (Soth, Sothis). Their year being thus six hours shorter (or one day for every four years) than the Julian year with its recurrent leap-year, the first of the Egyptian month Thoth fell back every four years one day in the Julian calender, and in the course of 1460 years it fell successively on every day of the Julian year, coming back again to the same day from which it had started. This period of 1460 years was called a Sothiac period, and was reckoned from the year in which the first of the Egyptian month Thoth coincided with the heliacal rising of Sirius in Egypt; that is, (for an interval from 2700 B. C. down to the Christian era) on the 20th July of the Julian year. We know from Censorinus that the particular revolution of the Sothiac period, in which both Herodotus and Manetho were included, ended in the year 139 after the Christian era, in which year the first of the Egyptian month Thoth fell on the 20th July, or coincided with the heliacal rising of Sirius in Egypt: knowing in what year this period ended, we also know that it must have begun in 1322 B. C., and that the period immediately preceding it must have begun in 2782 B. C. (Censorinus, De Die[p. 341] Natali, c. 21; Ideler, Handbuch der Chronologie, vol. i, Abschn. 1, pp. 125-138.) The name Sothis, or Thoth, was the Egyptian name for Sirius or the Dog-star, the heliacal rising of which was an important phenomenon in that country, as coinciding nearly with the commencement of the overflowing of the Nile.

Boeckh has analyzed, with great care and ability, the fragmentary, partial, and in many particulars conflicting, versions of the dynasties of Manetho which have come down to us: after all, we know them very imperfectly, and it is clear that they have been much falsified and interpolated. He prefers, for the most part, the version reported as that of Africanus. The number of years included in the Egyptian chronology has been always a difficulty with critics, some of whom have eluded it by the supposition that the dynasties mentioned as successive were really simultaneous,—while others have supposed that the years enumerated were not full years, but years of one month or three months; nor have there been wanting other efforts of ingenuity to reconcile Manetho with the biblical chronology.

Manetho constructs his history of the past upon views purely Egyptian, applying to past time the measure of the Sothiac period or 1460 Julian years (= 1461 Egyptian years), and beginning both the divine history of Egypt, and the human history which succeeds it, each at the beginning of one of these Sothiac periods. Knowing as we do from Censorinus that a Sothiac period ended in 139 A. D., and, of course, began in 1322 B. C.—we also know that the third preceding Sothiac period must have begun in 5702 B. C. (1322 + 1460 + 1460 + 1460 = 5702). Now the year 5702 B. C. coincides with that in which Manetho places Menês, the first human king of Egypt; for his thirty-one dynasties end with the first year of Alexander the Great, 332 B. C., and include 5366 years in the aggregate, giving for the beginning of the series of dynasties, or accession of Menês, the date 5702 B. C. Prior to Menês he gives a long series of years as the time of the government of gods and demigods; this long time comprehends 24,837 years, or seventeen Sothiac periods of 1461 Egyptian years each. We see, therefore, that Manetho (or perhaps the sacerdotal ἀναγραφαὶ which he followed) constructed a system of Egyptian history and chronology out of twenty full Sothiac periods, in addition to that fraction of the twenty-first which had elapsed down to the time of Alexander,—about three-quarters of a century anterior to Manetho himself, if we suppose him to have lived during the time of Ptolemy Philadelphus, which, though not certain, is yet probable (Boeckh, p. 11). These results have not been brought out without some corrections of Manetho’s figures,—corrections which are, for the most part, justified on reasonable grounds, and, where not so justified, are unimportant in amount; so that the approximation is quite sufficient to give a high degree of plausibility to Boeckh’s hypothesis: see pp. 142-145.

Though there is no doubt that in the time of Manetho the Sothiac period was familiar to the Egyptian priests, yet as to the time at which it first became known we have no certain information: we do not know the time at which they first began to take notice of the fact that their year of 365 days[p. 342] was six hours too short. According to the statement of Herodotus (ii, 4), the priests of Heliopolis represented the year of 365 days (which they said that the Egyptians had first discovered) as if it were an exact recurrence of the seasons, without any reference to the remaining six hours. This passage of Herodotus, our oldest informant, is perplexing. Geminus (Isagogê in Arati Phænomena, c. 6) says that the Egyptians intentionally refrained from putting in the six hours by any intercalation, because they preferred that their months, and the religious ceremonies connected with them, should from time to time come round at different seasons,—which has much more the air of an ingenious after-thought, than of a determining reason.

Respecting the principle on which the Egyptian chronology of Herodotus is put together, see the remarks of M. Bunsen, Ægyptens Stellung in der Welt-geschichte, vol. i, p. 145.


The preceding sketch of that important system of foreign nations,—Phenicians, Assyrians, and Egyptians,—who occupied the south-eastern portion of the (οἰκουμένη) inhabited world of an early Greek, brings them down nearly to the time at which they were all absorbed into the mighty Persian empire. In tracing the series of events which intervened between 700 B. C., and 530 B. C., we observe a material increase of power both in the Chaldæans and Egyptians, and an immense extension of Grecian maritime activity and commerce,—but we at the same time notice the decline of Tyre and Sidon, both in power and traffic. The arms of Nebuchadnezzar reduced the Phenician cities to the same state of dependence as that which the Ionian cities underwent half a century later from Crœsus and Cyrus, while the ships of Milêtus, Phôkæa, and Samos gradually spread over all those waters of the Levant which had once been exclusively Phenician. In the year 704 B. C., the Samians did not yet possess a single trireme,[639] down to the year 630 B. C. not a single[p. 343] Greek vessel had yet visited Libya; but when we reach 550 B. C., we find the Ionic ships predominant in the Ægean, and those of Corinth and Korkyra in force to the west of Peloponnesus,—we see the flourishing cities of Kyrênê and Barka already rooted in Libya, and the port of Naukratis a busy emporium of Grecian commerce with Egypt. The trade by land, which is all that Egypt had enjoyed prior to Psammetichus, and which was exclusively conducted by Phenicians, is exchanged for a trade by sea, of which the Phenicians have only a share, and seemingly a smaller share than the Greeks; and the conquest by Amasis of the island of Cyprus, half-filled with Phenician settlements and once the tributary dependence of Tyre, affords one mark of the comparative decline of that great city. In her commerce with the Red sea and the Persian gulf she still remained without a competitor, the schemes of the Egyptian king Nekôs having proved abortive; and even in the time of Herodotus, the spices and frankincense of Arabia were still brought and distributed only by the Phenician merchant.[640] But on the whole, both her political and industrial development are now cramped by impediments, and kept down by rivals, not before in operation; and the part which she will be found to play in the Mediterranean, throughout the whole course of this history, is one subordinate and of reduced importance.

The course of Grecian history is not directly affected by these countries, yet their effect upon the Greek mind was very considerable, and the opening of the Nile by Psammetichus constitutes an epoch in Hellenic thought. It supplied their observation with a large and diversified field of present reality, while it was at the same time one great source of those mysticizing tendencies which corrupted so many of their speculative minds. But to Phenicia and Assyria, the Greeks owe two acquisitions well deserving special mention,—the alphabet, and the first standard and scale of weight, as well as coined money. Of neither of these acquisitions can we trace the precise date. That the Greek alphabet is derived from the Phenician, the analogy of the two proves beyond dispute, though we know not how or where the inestimable present was handed over, of which no traces are to be found[p. 344] in the Homeric poems.[641] The Latin alphabet, which is nearly identical with the most ancient Doric variety of the Greek, was derived from the same source,—also the Etruscan alphabet, though—if O. Müller is correct in his conjecture—only at second-hand, through the intervention of the Greek.[642] If we cannot make out at what time the Phenicians made this valuable communication to the Greeks, much less can we determine when or how they acquired it themselves,—whether it be of Semitic invention, or derived from improvement upon the phonetic hieroglyphics of the Egyptians.[643]

Besides the letters of the alphabet, the scale of weight and that of coined money passed from Phenicia and Assyria into Greece. It has been shown by Boeckh, in his “Metrologie,” that[p. 345] the Æginæan scale,[644]—with its divisions, talent, mna, and obolus,—is identical with the Babylonian and Phenician: and that the word mna, which forms the central point of the scale, is of Chaldæan origin. On this I have already touched in a former chapter, while relating the history of Pheidôn of Argos, by whom what is called the Æginæan scale was first promulgated.

In tracing, therefore, the effect upon the Greek mind of early intercourse with the various Asiatic nations, we find that, as the Greeks made up their musical scale, so important an element of their early mental culture, in part by borrowing from Lydians and Phrygians,—so also their monetary and statical system, their alphabetical writing, and their duodecimal division of the day, measured by the gnomon and the shadow, were all derived from Assyrians and Phenicians. The early industry and commerce of these countries was thus in many ways available to Grecian advance, and would probably have become more so, if the great and rapid rise of the more barbarous Persians had not reduced them all to servitude. The Phenicians, though unkind rivals, were at the same time examples and stimulants to Greek maritime aspiration; and the Phenician worship of that goddess whom the Greeks knew under the name of Aphroditê, became communicated to the latter in Cyprus, in Kythêra, in Sicily,—perhaps also in Corinth.

The sixth century B. C., though a period of decline for Tyre and Sidon, was a period of growth for their African colony Carthage, which appears during this century in considerable traffic with the Tyrrhenian towns on the southern coast of Italy, and as thrusting out the Phôkæan settlers from Alalia in Corsica. The wars of the Carthaginians with the Grecian colonies in Sicily, so far as they are known to us, commence shortly after 500 B. C., and continue at intervals, with fluctuating success, for two centuries and a half.

The foundation of Carthage by the Tyrians is placed at different dates, the lowest of which, however, is 819 B. C.: other authorities place it in 878 B. C., and we have no means of deciding between them. I have already remarked that it is by no[p. 346] means the oldest of the Tyrian colonies; but though Utica and Gadês may have been more ancient than Carthage,[645] the latter greatly outstripped them in wealth and power, and acquired a sort of federal preëminence over all the Phenician colonies on the coast of Africa. In those later times when the dominion of the Carthaginians had reached its maximum, it comprised the towns of Utica, Hippo, Adrumêtum, and Leptis,—all original Phenician foundations, and enjoying probably, even as dependents of Carthage, a certain qualified autonomy,—besides a great number of smaller towns planted by themselves, and inhabited by a mixed population called Liby-Phenicians. Three hundred such towns,—a dependent territory covering half the space between the lesser and the greater Syrtis, and in many parts remarkably fertile,—a city said to contain seven hundred thousand inhabitants, active, wealthy, and seemingly homogeneous,—and foreign dependencies in Sicily, Sardinia, the Balearic isles, and Spain,—all this aggregate of power, under one political management, was sufficient to render the contest of Carthage even with Rome for some time doubtful.

But by what steps the Carthaginians raised themselves to such a pitch of greatness we have no information, and we are even left to guess how much of it had already been acquired in the sixth century B. C. As in the case of so many other cities,[p. 347] we have a foundation-legend, decorating the moment of birth, and then nothing farther. The Tyrian princess Dido or Elisa, daughter of Belus, sister of Pygmalion king of Tyre, and wife of the wealthy Sichæus priest of Hêraklês in that city,—is said to have been left a widow in consequence of the murder of Sichæus by Pygmalion, who seized the treasures belonging to his victim. But Dido found means to disappoint him of his booty, possessed herself of the gold which had tempted Pygmalion, and secretly emigrated, carrying with her the sacred insignia of Hêraklês: a considerable body of Tyrians followed her. She settled at Carthage on a small hilly peninsula joined by a narrow tongue of land to the continent, purchasing from the natives as much land as could be surrounded by an ox’s hide, which she caused to be cut into the thinnest strip, and thus made it sufficient for the site of her first citadel, Byrsa, which afterwards grew up into the great city of Carthage. As soon as her new settlement had acquired footing, she was solicited in marriage by several princes of the native tribes, especially by the Gætulian Jarbas, who threatened war if he were refused. Thus pressed by the clamors of her own people, who desired to come into alliance with the natives, yet irrevocably determined to maintain exclusive fidelity to her first husband, she escaped the conflict by putting an end to her life. She pretended to acquiesce in the proposition of a second marriage, requiring only delay sufficient to offer an expiatory sacrifice to the manes of Sichæus: a vast funeral pile was erected, and many victims slain upon it, in the midst of which Dido pierced her own bosom with a sword, and perished in the flames. Such is the legend to which Virgil has given a new color by interweaving the adventures of Æneas, and thus connecting the foundation legends of Carthage and Rome, careless of his deviation from the received mythical chronology. Dido was worshipped as a goddess at Carthage until the destruction of the city:[646] and it[p. 348] has been imagined with some probability that she is identical with Astartê, the divine patroness under whose auspices the colony was originally established, as Gadês and Tarsus were founded under those of Hêraklês,—the tale of the funeral pile and self-burning appearing in the religious ceremonies of other Cilician and Syrian towns.[647] Phenician religion and worship was diffused along with the Phenician colonies throughout the larger portion of the Mediterranean.

The Phôkæans of Ionia, who amidst their adventurous voyages westward established the colony of Massalia, (as early as 600 B. C.) were only enabled to accomplish this by a naval victory over the Carthaginians,—the earliest example of Greek and Carthaginian collision which has been preserved to us. The Carthaginians were jealous of commercial rivalry, and their traffic with the Tuscans and Latins in Italy, as well as their lucrative mine-working in Spain, dates from a period when Greek commerce in those regions was hardly known. In Greek authors, the denomination Phenicians is often used to designate the Carthaginians, as well as the inhabitants of Tyre and Sidon, so that we cannot always distinguish which of the two is meant; but it is remarkable that the distant establishment of Gadês, and the numerous settlements planted for commercial purposes along the western coast of Africa, and without the strait of Gibraltar, are expressly ascribed to the Tyrians.[648] Many of the other Phenician establishments on the southern coast of Spain seemed to have owed their origin to Carthage rather than to Tyre. But the relations between the two, so far as we know them, were constantly amicable, and Carthage, even at the period of her highest glory, sent Theôri with a tribute of religious recognition to the Tyrian Hêraklês: the visit of these envoys coincided with the siege of the town by Alexander the Great. On that critical occasion, the wives and children of the Tyrians were sent to find shelter at Carthage: two centuries before, when the Persian empire was in its age of growth and expansion, the Tyrians had refused to aid Kambysês with their fleet in his plans for conquering Carthage, and thus probably preserved their colony from subjugation.[649]

[p. 349]


The stream of Grecian colonization to the westward, as far as we can be said to know it authentically, with names and dates, begins from the 11th Olympiad. But it is reasonable to believe that there were other attempts earlier than this, though we must content ourselves with recognizing them as generally probable. There were doubtless detached bands of volunteer emigrants or marauders, who, fixing themselves in some situation favorable to commerce or piracy, either became mingled with the native tribes, or grew up by successive reinforcements into an acknowledged town. Not being able to boast of any filiation from the prytaneium of a known Grecian city, these adventurers were often disposed to fasten upon the inexhaustible legend of the Trojan war, and ascribe their origin to one of the victorious heroes in the host of Agamemnôn, alike distinguished for their valor and for their ubiquitous dispersion after the siege. Of such alleged settlements by fugitive Grecian or Trojan heroes, there were a great number, on various points throughout the shores of the Mediterranean; and the same honorable origin was claimed even by many non-Hellenic towns.

In the eighth century B. C., when this westerly stream of Grecian colonization begins to assume an authentic shape (735 B. C.), the population of Sicily—as far as our scanty information permits us to determine it—consisted of two races completely distinct from each other—Sikels and Sikans—besides the Elymi, a mixed race apparently distinct from both, and occupying Eryx and Egesta, near the westernmost corner of the island,—and the Phenician colonies and coast establishments formed for purposes of trade. According to the belief both of Thucydidês and Philistus, these Sikans, though they gave themselves out as indigen[p. 350]ous, were yet of Iberian origin[650] and emigrants of earlier date than the Sikels,—by whom they had been invaded and restricted to the smaller western half of the island, and who were said to have crossed over originally from the south-western corner of the Calabrian peninsula, where a portion of the nation still dwelt in the time of Thucydidês. The territory known to Greek writers of the fifth century B. C. by the names of Œnotria on the coast of the Mediterranean, and Italia on that of the gulfs of Tarentum and Squillace, included all that lies south of a line drawn across the breadth of the country, from the gulf of Poseidônia (Pæstum) and the river Silarus on the Mediterranean sea, to the north-west corner of the gulf of Tarentum; it was also bounded northwards by the Iapygians and Messapians, who occupied the Salentine peninsula, and the country immediately adjoining to Tarentum, and by the Peuketians on the Ionic gulf. According to the logographers Pherekydês and Hellanikus,[651] Œnotrus and Peuketius were sons of Lykaôn, grandsons of Pelasgus, and emigrants in very early times from Arcadia to this territory. An important statement in Stephanus Byzantinus[652] acquaints us that the serf-population, whom the great Hellenic cities in this portion of Italy employed in the cultivation of their lands, were called Pelasgi, seemingly even in the historical times: it is upon this name, probably, that the mythical genealogy of Pherekydês is constructed. This Œnotrian or Pelasgian race were the population whom the Greek colonists found there on their arrival. They were known apparently under other names, such as the Sikels,—mentioned even in the Odyssey, though their exact locality in that poem cannot be ascertained—the Italians, or Itali, properly so called,—the Morgêtes,—and the Chaones,[p. 351]— all of them names of tribes either cognate or subdivisional.[653] The Chaones or Chaonians are also found, not only in Italy, but in Epirus, as one of the most considerable of the Epirotic tribes,—while Pandosia, the ancient residence of the Œnotrian kings in the southern corner of Italy,[654] was also the name of a township or locality in Epirus, with a neighboring river Acheron in both: from hence, and from some other similarities of name, it has been imagined that Epirots, Œnotrians, Sikels, etc., were all names of cognate people, and all entitled to be comprehended under the generic appellation of Pelasgi. That they belonged to the same ethnical kindred, there seems fair reason to presume, and also that in point of language, manners, and character, they were not very widely separated from the ruder branches of the Hellenic race.

It would appear too, as far as any judgment can be formed on a point essentially obscure, that the Œnotrians were ethnically akin to the primitive population of Rome and Latium on one side,[655] as they were to the Epirots on the other; and that tribes[p. 352] of this race, comprising Sikels, and Itali properly so called, as sections, had at one time occupied most of the territory from the left bank of the river Tiber southward between the Apennines and the Mediterranean. Both Herodotus and his junior contemporary, the Syracusan Antiochus, extend Œnotria as far northward as the river Silarus,[656] and Sophoklês includes the whole coast of the Mediterranean, from the strait of Messina to the gulf of Genoa, under the three successive names of Œnotria, the Tyrrhenian gulf, and Liguria.[657] Before or during the fifth century B. C., however, a different population, called Opicians, Oscans, or Ausonians, had descended from their original seats on or north of the Apennines,[658] and had conquered the ter[p. 353]ritory between Latium and the Silarus, expelling or subjugating the Œnotrian inhabitants, and planting outlying settlements even down to the strait of Messina and the Liparæan isles. Hence the more precise Thucydidês designates the Campanian territory, in which Cumæ stood, as the country of the Opici; a denomination which Aristotle extends to the river Tiber, so as to comprehend within it Rome and Latium.[659] Not merely Campania, but in earlier times even Latium, originally occupied by a Sikel or Œnotrian population, appears to have been partially overrun and subdued by fiercer tribes from the Apennines, and had thus received a certain intermixture of Oscan race. But in the regions south of Latium, these Oscan conquests were still more overwhelming; and to this cause (in the belief of inquiring Greeks of the fifth century B. C.)[660] were owing the first migrations of the Œnotrian[p. 354] race out of southern Italy, which wrested the larger portion of Sicily from the preëxisting Sikanians.

This imperfect account, representing the ideas of Greeks of the fifth century B. C. as to the early population of southern Italy, is borne out by the fullest comparison which can be made between the Greek, Latin, and Oscan language,—the first two certainly, and the third probably, sisters of the same Indo-European family of languages. While the analogy, structural and radical, between Greek and Latin, establishes completely such community of family—and while comparative philology proves that on many points the Latin departs less from the supposed common type and mother-language than the Greek—there exists also in the former a non-Grecian element, and non-Grecian classes of words, which appear to imply a confluence of two or more different people with distinct tongues; and the same non-Grecian element, thus traceable in the Latin, seems to present itself still more largely developed in the scanty remains of the Oscan.[661] Moreover, the Greek colonies in Italy and Sicily[p. 355] caught several peculiar words from their association with the Sikels, which words approach in most cases very nearly to the Latin,—so that a resemblance thus appears between the language of Latium on the one side, and that of Œnotrians and Sikels (in southern Italy and Sicily) on the other, prior to the establishments of the Greeks. These are the two extremities of the Sikel population; between them appear, in the intermediate country, the Oscan or Ausonian tribes and language; and these latter seem to have been in a great measure conquerors and intruders from the central mountains. Such analogies of language countenance the supposition of Thucydidês and Antiochus, that these Sikels had once been spread over a still larger portion of southern Italy, and had migrated from thence into Sicily in consequence of Oscan invasions. The element of affinity existing between Latins, Œnotrians, and Sikels—to a certain degree also between all of them together and the Greeks, but not extending[p. 356] to the Opicians or Oscans, or to the Iapygians—may be called Pelasgic, for want of a better name; but, by whatever name it be called, the recognition of its existence connects and explains many isolated circumstances in the early history of Rome as well as in that of the Italian and Sicilian Greeks.

The earliest Grecian colony in Italy or Sicily, of which we know the precise date, is placed about 735 B. C., eighteen years subsequent to the Varronian era of Rome; so that the causes, tending to subject and Hellenize the Sikel population in the southern region, begin their operation nearly at the same time as those which tended gradually to exalt and aggrandize the modified variety of it which existed in Latium. At that time, according to the information given to Thucydidês, the Sikels had been established for three centuries in Sicily: Hellanikus and Philistus—who both recognized a similar migration into that island out of Italy, though they give different names, both to the emigrants and to those who expelled them—assign to the migration a date three generations before the Trojan war.[662] Earlier than 735 B. C., however, though we do not know the precise era of its commencement, there existed one solitary Grecian establishment in the Tyrrhenian sea,—the Campanian Cumæ, near cape Misenum; which the more common opinion of chronologists supposed to have been founded in 1050 B. C., and which has even been carried back by some authors to 1139 B. C.[663] Without reposing any faith in this early chronology, we may at least feel certain that it is the most ancient Grecian establishment in any part of Italy, and that a considerable time elapsed before any other Greek colonists were bold enough to cut themselves off from the Hellenic world by occupying seats on the other side of[p. 357] the strait of Messina,[664] with all the hazards of Tyrrhenian piracy as well as of Scylla and Charybdis. The Campanian Cumæ—known almost entirely by this its Latin designation—received its name and a portion of its inhabitants from the Æolic Kymê in Asia Minor. A joint band of settlers, partly from this latter town, partly from Chalkis in Eubœa,—the former under the Kymæan Hippoklês, the latter under the Chalkidian Megasthenês,—having combined to form the new town, it was settled by agreement that Kymê should bestow the name, and that Chalkis should enjoy the title and honors of the mother-city.[665]

Cumæ, situated on the neck of the peninsula which terminates in cape Misenum, occupied a lofty and rocky hill overhanging the sea,[666] and difficult of access on the land side. The unexampled fertility of the Phlegræan plains in the immediate vicinity of the city, the copious supply of fish in the Lucrine lake,[667] and the gold mines in the neighboring island of Pithekusæ,—both subsisted and enriched the colonists. They were joined by fresh settlers from Chalkis, from Eretria, and even from Samos; and became numerous enough to form distinct towns at Dikæarchia and Neapolis, thus spreading over a large portion of the bay of Naples. In the hollow rock under the very walls of the town was situated the cavern of the prophetic Sibyl,—a parallel and reproduction of the Gergithian Sibyl, near Kymê in Æolis: in the immediate neighborhood, too, 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 Cimmerians and the fable of Odysseus; and the Cumæans derived gains from the nu[p. 358]merous visitors to this holy spot,[668] perhaps hardly less than those of the inhabitants of Krissa from the vicinity of Delphi. Of the relations of these Cumæans with the Hellenic world generally, we unfortunately know nothing; but they seem to have been in intimate connection with Rome during the time of the kings, and especially during that of the last king Tarquin,[669]—forming the intermediate link between the Greek and Latin world, whereby the feelings of the Teukrians and Gergithians near the Æolic Kymê, and the legendary stories of Trojan as well as Grecian heroes—Æneas and Odysseus—passed into the antiquarian imagination of Rome and Latium.[670] The writers of the Augustan age knew Cumæ only in its decline, and wondered at the vast extent of its ancient walls, yet remaining in their time. But during the two centuries prior to 500 B. C., these walls inclosed a full and thriving population, in the plenitude of prosperity,—with a surrounding territory extensive as well as fertile,[671] resorted to by purchasers of corn from Rome in years of scarcity, and unassailed as yet by formidable neighbors,—and with a coast and harbors well suited to maritime commerce. At that period, the town of Capua, if indeed it existed at all, was of very inferior importance, and the chief part of the rich plain around it was in[p. 359]cluded in the possessions of Cumæ[672]—not unworthy probably, in the sixth century B. C., to be numbered with Sybaris and Krotôn.

The decline of Cumæ begins in the first half of the fifth century B. C. (500-450 B. C.), first, from the growth of hostile powers in the interior,—the Tuscans and Samnites,—next, from violent intestine dissensions and a destructive despotism. The town was assailed by a formidable host of invaders from the interior, Tuscans reinforced by Umbrian and Daunian allies; which Dionysius refers to the 64th Olympiad (524-520 B. C.), though upon what chronological authority we do not know, and though this same time is marked by Eusebius as the date of the foundation of Dikæarchia from Cumæ. The invaders, in spite of great disparity of number, were bravely repelled by the Cumæans, chiefly through the heroic example of a citizen then first known and distinguished,—Aristodêmus Malakus. The government of the city was oligarchical, and the oligarchy from that day became jealous of Aristodêmus; who, on his part, acquired extraordinary popularity and influence among the people. Twenty years afterwards, the Latin city of Aricia, an ancient ally of Cumæ was attacked by a Tuscan host, and intreated succor from the Cumæans. The oligarchy of the latter thought this a good opportunity to rid themselves of Aristodêmus, whom they despatched by sea to Aricia, with rotten vessels and an insufficient body of troops. But their stratagem failed and proved their ruin; for the skill and intrepidity of Aristodêmus sufficed for the rescue of Aricia, and he brought back his troops victorious and devoted to himself personally. Partly by force, partly by stratagem, he subverted the oligarchy, put to death the principal rulers, and constituted himself despot: by a jealous energy, by disarming the people, and by a body of mercenaries, he maintained himself in this authority for twenty years, running his career of lust and iniquity until old age. At length a conspiracy of the oppressed population proved successful against him; he was slain, with all his family and many of his chief partisans, and the former government was restored.[673]

[p. 360]The despotism of Aristodêmus falls during the exile of the expelled Tarquin[674] (to whom he gave shelter) from Rome, and during the government of Gelôn at Syracuse; and this calamitous period of dissension and misrule was one of the great causes of the decline of Cumæ. Nearly at the same time, the Tuscan power, both by land and sea, appears at its maximum, and the Tuscan establishment at Capua begins, if we adopt the era of the town as given by Cato.[675] There was thus created at the expense of Cumæ a powerful city, which was still farther aggrandized afterwards when conquered and occupied by the Samnites; whose invading tribes, under their own name or that of Lucanians, extended themselves during the fifth and fourth centuries B. C., even to the shores of the gulf of Tarentum.[676] Cumæ was also exposed to formidable dangers from the sea-side: a fleet, either of Tuscans alone, or of Tuscans and Carthaginians united, assailed it in 474 B. C., and it was only rescued by the active interposition of Hiero, despot of Syracuse; by whose naval force the invaders were repelled with slaughter.[677] These incidents go partly to indicate, partly to explain, the decline of the most ancient Hellenic settlement in Italy,—a decline from which it never recovered.

After briefly sketching the history of Cumæ, we pass naturally to that series of powerful colonies which were established in Sicily and Italy, beginning with 735 B. C.—enterprises in which Chalkis, Corinth, Megara, Sparta, the Achæans in Peloponnesus, and the Lokrians out of Peloponnesus, were all concerned. Chalkis, the metropolis of Cumæ, became also the metropolis of Naxos, the most ancient Grecian colony in Sicily, on the eastern coast of the island, between the strait of Messina and Mount Ætna.

The great number of Grecian settlements, from different colonizing towns, which appear to have taken effect within a few years upon the eastern coast of Italy and Sicily—from the Iapygian cape to cape Pachynus—leads us to suppose that the ex[p. 361]traordinary capacities of the country for receiving new settlers had become known only suddenly. The colonies follow so close upon each other, that the example of the first cannot have been the single determining motive to those which followed. I shall have occasion to point out, even a century later (on the occasion of the settlement of Kyrênê), the narrow range of Grecian navigation; so that the previous supposed ignorance would not be at all incredible, were it not for the fact of the preëxisting colony of Cumæ. According to the practice universal with Grecian ships—which rarely permitted themselves to lose sight of the coast except in cases of absolute necessity—every man, who navigated from Greece to Italy or Sicily, first coasted along the shores of Akarnania and Epirus until he reached the latitude of Korkyra; he then struck across first to that island, next to the Iapygian promontory, from whence he proceeded along the eastern coast of Italy (the gulfs of Tarentum and Squillace) to the southern promontory of Calabria and the Sicilian strait; he would then sail, still coastwise, either to Syracuse or to Cumæ, according to his destination. So different are nautical habits now, that this fact requires special notice; we must recollect, moreover, that in 735 B. C., there were yet no Grecian settlements either in Epirus or in Korkyra: outside of the gulf of Corinth, the world was non-Hellenic, with the single exception of the remote Cumæ. A little before the last-mentioned period, Theoklês (an Athenian or a Chalkidian—probably the latter) was cast by storms on the coast of Sicily, and became acquainted with the tempting character of the soil, as well as the dispersed and half-organized condition of the petty Sikel communities who occupied it.[678] The oligarchy of Chalkis, acting upon the information which he brought back, sent out under his guidance settlers,[679] Chalkidian and Naxian, who founded the Sicilian Naxos. Theoklês and his companions on landing first occupied the eminence of Taurus, im[p. 362]mediately overhanging the sea (whereon was established four centuries afterwards the town of Tauromenium, after Naxos had been destroyed by the Syracusan despot Dionysius); for they had to make good their position against the Sikels, who were in occupation of the neighborhood, and whom it was requisite either to dispossess or to subjugate. After they had acquired secure possession of the territory, the site of the city was transferred to a convenient spot adjoining; but the hill first occupied remained ever memorable, both to Greeks and to Sikels. On it was erected the altar of Apollo Archêgetês, the divine patron who (through his oracle at Delphi) had sanctioned and determined Hellenic colonization in the island. The altar remained permanently as a sanctuary common to all the Sicilian Greeks, and the Theôrs or sacred envoys from their various cities, when they visited the Olympic and other festivals of Greece, were always in the habit of offering sacrifice upon it immediately before their departure. To the autonomous Sikels, on the other hand, the hill was an object of durable but odious recollection, as the spot in which Grecian conquest and intrusion had first begun; and at the distance of three centuries and a half from the event, we find them still animated by this sentiment in obstructing the foundation of Tauromenium.[680]

At the time when Theoklês landed, the Sikels were in possession of the larger half of the island, lying chiefly to the east of the Heræan mountains,[681]—a chain of hills stretching in a southerly direction from that principal chain, called the Neurode or Nebrode mountains, which runs from east to west for the most part parallel with the northern shore. West of the Heræan hills were situated the Sikans; and west of these latter, Eryx and Egesta, the possessions of the Elymi: along the western portion of the northern coast, also, were placed Motyê, Soloêis, and Panormus (now Palermo), the Phenician or Carthaginian seaports. The formation, or at least the extension, of these three last-mentioned ports, however, was a consequence of the multiplied[p. 363] Grecian colonies; for the Phenicians down to this time had not founded any territorial or permanent establishments, but had contented themselves with occupying in a temporary way various capes or circumjacent islets, for the purpose of trade with the interior. The arrival of formidable Greek settlers, maritime like themselves, induced them to abandon these outlying factories, and to concentrate their strength in the three considerable towns above named, all near to that corner of the island which approached most closely to Carthage. The east side of Sicily, and most part of the south, were left open to the Greeks, with no other opposition than that of the indigenous Sikels and Sikans, who were gradually expelled from all contact with the sea-shore, except on part of the north side of the island,—and who were indeed, so unpractised at sea as well as destitute of shipping, that in the tale of their old migration out of Italy into Sicily, the Sikels were affirmed to have crossed the narrow strait upon rafts at a moment of favorable wind.[682]

In the very next year[683] to the foundation of Naxos, Corinth began her part in the colonization of the island. A body of settlers, under the œkist Archias, landed in the islet Ortygia, farther southward on the eastern coast, expelled the Sikel occupants, and laid the first stone of the mighty Syracuse. Ortygia, two English miles in circumference, was separated from the main island only by a narrow channel, which was bridged over when the city was occupied and enlarged by Gelôn in the 72d Olympiad, if not earlier. It formed only a small part, though the most secure and best-fortified part, of the vast space which the city afterwards occupied; but it sufficed alone for the inhabitants during a considerable time, and the present city in its modern decline has again reverted to the same modest limits. Moreover, Ortygia offered another advantage of not less value; it lay across the entrance of a spacious harbor, approached by a narrow mouth, and its fountain of Arethusa was memorable in antiquity both for the abundance and goodness of its water. We should have been glad to learn something respecting the numbers, char[p. 364]acter, position, nativity, etc. of these primitive emigrants, the founders of a city which we shall hereafter find comprising a vast walled circuit, which Strabo reckons at one hundred and eighty stadia, but which the modern observations of Colonel Leake announce as fourteen English miles,[684] or about one hundred and twenty-two stadia. We are told only that many of them came from the Corinthian village of Tenea, and that one of them sold to a comrade on the voyage his lot of land in prospective, for the price of a honey-cake: the little which we hear about the determining motives[685] of the colony refers to the personal character of the œkist. Archias son of Euagêtus, one of the governing gens of the Bacchiadæ at Corinth, in the violent prosecution of unbridled lust, had caused, though unintentionally, the death of a free youth named Aktæon, whose father Melissus, after having vainly endeavored to procure redress, slew himself at the Isthmian games, invoking the vengeance of Poseidôn against the aggressor.[686] Such were the destructive effects of this paternal curse, that Archias was compelled to expatriate, and the Bacchiadæ placed him at the head of the emigrants to Ortygia, in 734 B. C.: at that time, probably, this was a sentence of banishment to which no man of commanding station would submit except under the pressure of necessity.

There yet remained room for new settlements between Naxos and Syracuse: and Theoklês, the œkist of Naxos, found himself in a situation to occupy part of this space only five years after the foundation of Syracuse: perhaps he may have been joined by fresh settlers. He attacked and expelled the Sikels[687] from the fertile spot called Leontini, seemingly about half-way down on the eastern coast between Mount Ætna and Syracuse; and also from Katana, immediately adjoining to Mount Ætna, which still retains both its name and its importance. Two new Chalkidic colonies were thus founded,—Theoklês himself becoming œkist of Leontini, and Euarchus chosen by the Katanæan settlers themselves, of Katana.

[p. 365]The city of Megara was not behind Corinth and Chalkis in furnishing emigrants to Sicily. Lamis the Megarian, having now arrived with a body of colonists, took possession first of a new spot called Trotilus, but afterwards joined the recent Chalkidian settlement at Leontini. The two bodies of settlers, however, could not live in harmony, and Lamis, with his companions, was soon expelled; he then occupied Thapsus,[688] at a little distance to the northward of Ortygia or Syracuse, and shortly afterwards died. His followers made an alliance with Hyblôn, king of a neighboring tribe of Sikels, who invited them to settle in his territory; they accepted the proposition, relinquished Thapsus, and founded, in conjunction with Hyblôn, the city called the Hyblæan Megara, between Leontini and Syracuse. This incident is the more worthy of notice, because it is one of the instances which we find of a Grecian colony beginning by amicable fusion with the preëxisting residents: Thucydidês seems to conceive the prince Hyblôn as betraying his people against their wishes to the Greeks.[689]

It was thus that, during the space of five years, several distinct bodies of Greek emigrants had rapidly succeeded each other in Sicily: for the next forty years, we do not hear of any fresh arrivals, which is the more easy to understand as there were during that interval several considerable foundations on the coast of Italy, which probably took off the disposable Greek settlers. At length, forty-five years after the foundation of Syracuse, a fresh body of settlers arrived, partly from Rhodes under Antiphêmus, partly from Krête under Entimus, and founded the city of Gela on the south-western front of the island, between cape Pachynus and Lilybæum (B. C. 690)—still on the territory of the Sikels, though extending ultimately to a portion of that of the Sikans.[690] The name of the city was given from that of the neighboring river Gela.

One other fresh migration from Greece to Sicily remains to[p. 366] be mentioned, though we cannot assign the exact date of it. The town of Zanklê (now Messina), on the strait between Italy and Sicily, was at first occupied by certain privateers or pirates from Cumæ,—the situation being eminently convenient for their operations. But the success of the other Chalkidic settlements imparted to this nest of pirates a more enlarged and honorable character: a body of new settlers joined them from Chalkis and other towns of Eubœa, the land was regularly divided, and two joint œkists were provided to qualify the town as a member of the Hellenic communion—Periêrês from Chalkis, and Kratæmenês from Cumæ. The name Zanklê had been given by the primitive Sikel occupants of the place, meaning in their language a sickle; but it was afterwards changed to Messênê by Anaxilas, despot of Rhegium, who, when he conquered the town, introduced new inhabitants, in a manner hereafter to be noticed.[691]

Besides these emigrations direct from Greece, the Hellenic colonies in Sicily became themselves the founders of sub-colonies. Thus the Syracusans, seventy years after their own settlement (B. C. 664), founded Akræ—Kasmenæ, twenty years afterwards (B. C. 644), and Kamarina forty-five years after Kasmenæ (B. C. 599): Daskôn and Menekôlus were the œkists of the latter, which became in process of time an independent and considerable town, while Akræ and Kasmenæ seem to have remained subject to Syracuse. Kamarina was on the south-western side of the island, forming the boundary of the Syracusan territory towards Gela. Kallipolis was established from Naxos, and Eubœa (a town so called) from Leontini.[692]

Hitherto, the Greeks had colonized altogether on the territory of the Sikels; the three towns which remain to be mentioned were all founded in that of the Sikans,[693]—Agrigentum or Akragas, Selinûs, and Himera. The two former were both on the south-western coast,—Agrigentum bordering upon Gela on the one side, and upon Selinûs on the other. Himera was situated[p. 367] on the westerly portion of the northern coast,—the single Hellenic establishment in the time of Thucydidês which that long line of coast presented. The inhabitants of the Hyblæan Megara were founders of Selinûs, about 630 B. C., a century after their own establishment: the œkist Pamillus, according to the usual Hellenic practice, was invited from their metropolis Megara in Greece proper, but we are not told how many fresh settlers came with him: the language of Thucydidês leads us to suppose that the new town was peopled chiefly from the Hyblæan Megarians themselves. The town of Akragas, or Agrigentum, called after the neighboring river of the former name, was founded from Gela in B. C. 582. Its œkists were Aristonous and Pystilus, and it received the statutes and religious characteristics of Gela. Himera, on the other hand, was founded from Zanklê, under three œkists, Eukleidês, Simus, and Sakôn. The chief part of its inhabitants were of Chalkidic race, and its legal and religious characteristics were Chalkidic; but a portion of the settlers were Syracusan exiles, called Mylêtidæ, who had been expelled from home by a sedition, so that the Himeræan dialect was a mixture of Doric and Chalkidic. Himera was situated not far from the towns of the Elymi,—Eyrx and Egesta.

Such were the chief establishments founded by the Greeks in Sicily during the two centuries after their first settlement in 735 B. C. The few particulars just stated respecting them are worthy of all confidence,—for they come to us from Thucydidês,—but they are unfortunately too few to afford the least satisfaction to our curiosity. It cannot be doubted that these first two centuries were periods of steady increase and prosperity among the Sicilian Greeks, undisturbed by those distractions and calamities which supervened afterwards, 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 Gelôn. Their position will indeed 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[p. 368] continuing undiminished even at the present day, together with sheep, cattle, hides, wool, and timber from the native population in the interior. These natives seem to have been of rude pastoral habits, dispersed either among petty hill-villages, or in caverns hewn out of the rock, like the primitive inhabitants of the Balearic islands and Sardinia; so that Sicily, like New Zealand in our century, was now for the first time approached by organized industry and tillage.[694] Their progress, though very great, during this most prosperous interval (between the foundation of Naxos, in 735 B. C. to the reign of Gelôn at Syracuse in 485 B. C.), is not to be compared to that of the English colonies in America; but it was nevertheless very great, and appears greater from being concentrated as it was in and around a few cities. Individual spreading and separation of residence were rare, nor did they consist either with the security or the social feelings of a Grecian colonist. The city to which he belonged was the central point of his existence, where the produce which he raised was brought home to be stored or sold, and where alone his active life, political, domestic, religious, recreative, etc., was carried on. There were dispersed throughout the territory of the city small fortified places and garrisons,[695] serving as temporary protection to the cultivators in case of sudden inroad; but there was no permanent residence for the free citizen except the town itself. This was, perhaps, even more the case in a colonial settlement, where everything began and spread from one central point, than in Attica, where the separate villages had once nourished a population[p. 369] politically independent. It was in the town, therefore, that the aggregate increase of the colony palpably concentrated itself,—property as well as population,—private comfort and luxury not less than public force and grandeur. Such growth and improvement was of course sustained by the cultivation of the territory, but the evidences of it were manifested in the town; and the large population which we shall have occasion to notice as belonging to Agrigentum, Sybaris, and other cities, will illustrate this position.

There is another point of some importance to mention in regard to the Sicilian and Italian cities. The population of the town itself may have been principally, though not wholly, Greek; but the population of the territory belonging to the town, or of the dependent villages which covered it, must have been in a great measure Sikel or Sikan. The proof of this is found in a circumstance common to all the Sicilian and Italian Greeks,—the peculiarity of their weights, measures, monetary system, and language. The pound and ounce are divisions and denominations belonging altogether to Italy and Sicily, and unknown originally to the Greeks, whose scale consisted of the obolus, the drachma, the mina, and the talent: among the Greeks, too, the metal first and most commonly employed for money was silver, while in Italy and Sicily copper was the primitive metal made use of. Now among all the Italian and Sicilian Greeks, a scale of weight and money arose quite different from that of the Greeks at home, and formed by a combination and adjustment of the one of these systems to the other; it is in many points complex and difficult to understand, but in the final result the native system seems to be predominant, and the Grecian system subordinate.[696] Such a conse[p. 370]quence as this could not have ensued, if the Greek settlers in Italy and Sicily had kept themselves apart as communities, and had merely carried on commerce and barter with communities of Sikels: it implies a fusion of the two races in the same community, though doubtless in the relation of superior and subject, and not in that of equals. The Greeks on arriving in the country expelled the natives from the town, perhaps also from the lands immediately round the town; but when they gradually extended their territory, this was probably accomplished, not by the expulsion, but by the subjugation of those Sikel tribes and villages, much subdivided and each individually petty, whom their aggressions successively touched.

At the time when Theoklês landed on the hill near Naxos, and Archias in the islet of Ortygia, and when each of them expelled the Sikels from that particular spot, there were Sikel villages or little communities spread through all the neighboring country. By the gradual encroachments of the colony, some of these might be dispossessed and driven out of the plains near the coast into the more mountainous regions of the interior, but many of them doubtless found it convenient to submit, to surrender a portion of their lands, and to hold the rest as subordinate villagers of an Hellenic city-community:[697] and we find even at the time of the Athenian invasion (414 B. C.) villages existing in distinct identity as Sikels, yet subject and tributary to Syracuse. Moreover, the influence which the Greeks exercised, though in the first instance essentially compulsory, became also in part self-operating,—the ascendency of a higher over a lower civilization. It was the working of concentrated townsmen, safe among one another by their walls and by mutual confidence, and surrounded by more or less of ornament, public as well as private,—upon dispersed, unprotected, artless villagers, who could not be insensible to the charm of that superior intellect, imagination, and or[p. 371]ganization, which wrought so powerfully upon the whole contemporaneous world. To understand the action of these superior emigrants upon the native but inferior Sikels, during those three earliest centuries (730-430 B. C.) which followed the arrival of Archias and Theoklês, we have only to study the continuance of the same action during the three succeeding centuries which preceded the age of Cicero. At the period when Athens undertook the siege of Syracuse (B. C. 415), the interior of the island was occupied by Sikel and Sikan communities, autonomous, and retaining their native customs and language;[698] but in the time of Verres and Cicero (three centuries and a half afterwards) the interior of the island, as well as the maritime regions had become Hellenized: the towns in the interior were then hardly less Greek than those on the coast. Cicero contrasts favorably the character of the Sicilians with that of the Greeks generally (i. e. the Greeks out of Sicily), but he nowhere distinguishes Greeks in Sicily from native Sikels;[699] nor Enna and Centuripi from Katana and Agrigentum. The little Sikel villages became gradually semi-Hellenized and merged into subjects of a Grecian town during the first three centuries, this change took place in the regions of the coast,—during the following three centuries, in the regions of the interior; and probably with greater rapidity and effect in the earlier period, not only because the action of the Grecian communities was then closer, more concentrated, and[p. 372] more compulsory, but because also the obstinate tribes could then retire into the interior.

The Greeks in Sicily are thus not to be considered as purely Greeks, but as modified by a mixture of Sikel and Sikan language, customs, and character. Each town included in its non-privileged population a number of semi-Hellenized Sikels (or Sikans, as the case might be), who, though in a state of dependence, contributed to mix the breed and influence the entire mass. We have no reason to suppose that the Sikel or Œnotrian language ever became written, like Latin, Oscan, or Umbrian:[700] the inscriptions of Segesta and Halesus are all in Doric Greek, which supplanted the native tongue for public purposes as a separate language, but not without becoming itself modified in the confluence. In following the ever-renewed succession of violent political changes, the inferior capacity of regulated and pacific popular government, and the more unrestrained and voluptuous license, which the Sicilian and Italian Greeks[701] exhibit as compared with Athens and the cities of Greece proper,—we must call to mind that we are not dealing with pure Hellenism; and that the native element, though not unfavorable to activity or increase of wealth, prevented the Grecian colonist from partaking fully in that improved organization which we so distinctly trace in Athens from Solon downwards. How much the taste, habits, ideas, religion, and local mythes, of the native Sikels passed into the minds of the Sikeliots or Sicilian Greeks, is shown by the character of their literature and poetry. Sicily was the native country of that rustic mirth and village buffoonery which gave birth to the primitive comedy,—politicized and altered at Athens so as to suit men of the market-place, the ekklesia, and the dikastery,—blending, in the comedies of the Syracusan Epicharmus, copious details about the indulgences of the table (for which the ancient Sicilians were renowned) with Pythagorean philosophy and moral maxims,—but given with all the naked simplicity of common life, in a sort of rhythmical prose, without even the restraint of a fixed metre, by the Syracusan Sophrôn in his lost Mimes, and after[p. 373]wards polished as well as idealized in the Bucolic poetry of Theokritus.[702] That which is commonly termed the Doric comedy was in great part at least, the Sikel comedy taken up by Dorian composers,—the Doric race and dialect being decidedly predominant in Sicily: the manners thus dramatized belonged to that coarser vein of humor which the Doric Greeks of the town had in common with the semi-Hellenized Sikels of the circumjacent villages. Moreover, it seems probable that this rustic population enabled the despots of the Greco-Sicilian towns to form easily and cheaply those bodies of mercenary troops, by whom their power was sustained,[703] and whose presence rendered the continuance of popular government, even supposing it begun, all but impossible.

It was the destiny of most of the Grecian colonial establishments to perish by the growth and aggression of those inland powers upon whose coast they were planted,—powers which gradually acquired, from the vicinity of the Greeks, a military and political organization, and a power of concentrated action, such as they had not originally possessed. But in Sicily, the Sikels were not numerous enough even to maintain permanently their own nationality, and were ultimately penetrated on all sides by Hellenic ascendency and manners. We shall, nevertheless, come[p. 374] to one remarkable attempt, made by a native Sikel prince in the 82d Olympiad (455 B. C.),—the enterprising Duketius,—to group many petty Sikel villages into one considerable town, and thus to raise his countrymen into the Grecian stage of polity and organization. Had there been any Sikel prince endowed with these superior ideas at the time when the Greeks first settled in Sicily, the subsequent history of the island would probably have been very different; but Duketius had derived his projects from the spectacle of the Grecian towns around him, and these latter had acquired much too great power to permit him to succeed. The description of his abortive attempt, however, which we find in Diodorus,[704] meagre as it is, forms an interesting point in the history of the island.

Grecian colonization in Italy began nearly at the same time as in Sicily, and was marked by the same general circumstances. Placing ourselves at Rhegium (now Reggio) on the Sicilian strait, we trace Greek cities gradually planted on various points of the coast as far as Cumæ on the one sea, and Tarentum (Taranto) on the other. Between the two seas runs the lofty chain of the Apennines, calcareous in the upper part of its course, throughout middle Italy,—granitic and schistose in the lower part, where it traverses the territories now called the hither and the farther Calabria. The plains and valleys on each side of the Calabrian Apennines exhibit a luxuriance of vegetation extolled by all observers, and surpassing even that of Sicily;[705] and great as[p. 375] the productive powers of this territory are now, there is full reason for believing that they must have been far greater in ancient times. For it has been visited by repeated earthquakes, each of which has left calamitous marks of devastation: those of 1638 and 1783—especially the latter, whose destructive effects were on a terrific scale, both as to life and property[706]—are of a date sufficiently recent to admit of recording and measuring the damage done by each; and that damage, in many parts of the south-western coast, was great and irreparable. Animated as the epithets are, therefore, with which the modern traveller paints the present fertility of Calabria, we are warranted in enlarging their meaning when we conceive the country as it stood between 720-320 B. C., the period of Grecian occupation and independence; while the unhealthy air, which now desolates the plains generally, seems then to have been felt only to a limited extent, and over particular localities. The founders of Tarentum, Sybaris, Krotôn, Lokri, and Rhegium, planted themselves in situations of unexampled promise to the industrious cultivator, which the previous inhabitants had turned to little account: since the subjugation of the Grecian cities, these once rich possessions have sunk into poverty and depopulation, especially during the last three centuries, from insalubrity, indolence, bad administration, and fear of the Barbary corsairs.

The Œnotrians, Sikels, or Italians, who were in possession of these territories in 720 B. C., seem to have been rude petty communities,—procuring for themselves safety by residence on lofty eminences,—more pastoral than agricultural, and some of them consuming the produce of their fields in common mess, on a principle analogous to the syssitia of Sparta or Krête. King Italus was said to have introduced this peculiarity[707] among the southernmost portion of the Œnotrian population, and at the same time to have bestowed upon them the name of Italians, though they were also known by the name of Sikels. Through[p. 376]out the centre of Calabria between sea and sea, the high chain of the Apennines afforded protection to a certain extent both to their independence and to their pastoral habits. But these heights are made to be enjoyed in conjunction with the plains beneath, so as to alternate winter and summer pasture for the cattle: it is in this manner that the richness of the country is rendered available, since a large portion of the mountain range is buried in snow during the winter months. Such remarkable diversity of soil and climate rendered Calabria a land of promise for Grecian settlement: the plains and lower eminences being as productive of corn, wine, oil, and flax, as the mountains in summer-pasture and timber,—and abundance of rain falling upon the higher ground, which requires only industry and care to be made to impart the maximum of fertility to the lower: moreover, a long line of sea-coast,—though not well furnished with harbors,—and an abundant supply of fish, came in aid of the advantages of the soil. While the poorer freemen of the Grecian cities were enabled to obtain small lots of fertile land in the neighborhood, to be cultivated by their own hands, and to provide for the most part their own food and clothing, the richer proprietors made profitable use of the more distant portions of the territory by means of their cattle, sheep, and slaves.

Of the Grecian towns on this favored coast, the earliest as well as the most prosperous were Sybaris and Krotôn: both in the gulf of Tarentum,—both of Achæan origin, and conterminous with each other in respect of territory. Krotôn was placed not far to the west of the south-eastern extremity of the gulf, called in ancient times the Lakinian cape, and ennobled by the temple of the Lakinian Hêrê, which became alike venerated and adorned by the Greek resident as well as by the passing navigator: one solitary column of the temple, the humble remnant of its past magnificence, yet marks the extremity of this once celebrated promontory. Sybaris seems to have been planted in the year 720 B. C., Krotôn in 710 B. C.: Iselikeus was œkist of the former,[708] Myskellus of the latter. This large Achæan emi[p. 377]gration seems to have been connected with the previous expulsion of the Achæan population from the more southerly region of Peloponnesus by the Dorians, though in what precise manner we are not enabled to see: the Achæan towns in Peloponnesus appear in later times too inconsiderable to furnish emigrants, but probably in the eighth century B. C. their population may have been larger. The town of Sybaris was planted between two rivers, the Sybaris and the Krathis,[709] the name of the latter borrowed from a river of Achaia,—the town of Krotôn about twenty-five miles distant, on the river Æsarus. The primitive settlers of Sybaris consisted in part of Trœzenians, who were, however, subsequently expelled by the more numerous Achæans,—a deed of violence which was construed by the religious sentiment of Antiochus and some other Grecian historians, as having drawn down upon them the anger of the gods in the ultimate destruction of the city by the Krotoniates.[710]

The fatal contest between these two cities, which ended in the ruin of Sybaris, took place in 510 B. C., after the latter had subsisted in her prosperity for two hundred and ten years. And the astonishing prosperity to which both of them attained is a sufficient proof that during the most of this period they had remained in peace at least, if not in alliance and common Achæan brotherhood. Unfortunately, the general fact of their great size, wealth, and power, is all that we are permitted to know. The walls of Sybaris embraced a circuit of fifty stadia, or more than six miles, while those of Krotôn were even larger, and comprised not less than twelve miles:[711] a large walled circuit was advantageous for sheltering the movable property in the territory around, which was carried in on the arrival of an invading enemy. Both cities[p. 378] possessed an extensive dominion across the Calabrian peninsula from sea to sea; but the territorial range of Sybaris seems to have been greater and her colonies wider and more distant,—a fact which may, perhaps, explain the smaller circuit of the city.

The Sybarites were founders of Laus and Skidrus, on the Mediterranean sea in the gulf of Policastro, and even of the more distant Poseidonia,—now known by its Latin name of Pæstum, as well as by the temples which still remain to decorate its deserted site. They possessed twenty-five dependent towns, and ruled over four distinct native tribes or nations. What these nations were we are not told,[712] but they were probably different sections of the Œnotrian name. The Krotoniates also reached across to the Mediterranean sea, and founded (upon the gulf now called St. Euphemia) the town of Terina, and seemingly also that of Lametini.[713] The inhabitants of the Epizephyrian Lokri, which was situated in a more southern part of Calabria Ultra, near the modern town of Gerace, extended themselves in like manner across the peninsula, and founded upon the Mediterranean coast the towns of Hippônium, Medma, and Mataurum,[714] as well as Melæ and Itoneia, in localities not now exactly ascertained.

Myskellus of Rhypes in Achaia, the founder of Krotôn under the express indication of the Delphian oracle, is said to have thought the site of Sybaris preferable, and to have solicited permission from the oracle to plant his colony there, but he was admonished to obey strictly the directions first given.[715] It is farther[p. 379] affirmed that the foundation of Krotôn was aided by Archias, then passing along the coast with his settlers for Syracuse, who is also brought into conjunction in a similar manner with the foundation of Lokri: but neither of these statements appears chronologically admissible. The Italian Lokri (called Epizephyrian, from the neighborhood of cape Zephyrium) was founded in the year 683 B. C. by settlers from the Lokrians,—either the Ozolian Lokrians in the Krissæan gulf, or those of Opus on the Eubœan strait. This point was disputed even in antiquity, and perhaps both the one and the other may have contributed: Euanthus was the œkist of the place.[716] The first years of the Epizephyrian Lokri are said to have been years of sedition and discord. And the vile character which we hear ascribed to the primitive colonists, as well as their perfidious dealing with the natives, are the more to be noted, as the Lokrians, of the times both of Aristotle and of Polybius, fully believed these statements in regard to their own ancestors.

The original emigrants to Lokri were, according to Aristotle, a body of runaway slaves, men-stealers, and adulterers, whose only legitimate connection with an honorable Hellenic root arose from a certain number of well-born Lokrian women who accompanied them. These women belonged to those select families called the Hundred Houses, who constituted what may be called the nobility of the Lokrians in Greece proper, and their descendants continued to enjoy a certain rank and preëminence in the colony, even in the time of Polybius. The emigration is said to have been occasioned by disorderly intercourse between these noble Lokrian women and their slaves,—perhaps by intermarriage with persons of inferior station, where there had existed no re[p. 380]cognized connubium;[717] a fact referred, by the informants of Aristotle, to the long duration of the first Messenian war,—the Lokrian warriors having for the most part continued in the Messenian territory as auxiliaries of the Spartans during the twenty years of that war,[718] permitting themselves only rare and short visits to their homes. This is a story resembling that which we shall find in explanation of the colony of Tarentum. It comes to us too imperfectly to admit of criticism or verification; but the unamiable character of the first emigrants is a statement deserving credit, and very unlikely to have been invented. Their first proceedings on settling in Italy display a perfidy in accordance with the character ascribed to them. They found the territory in this southern portion of the Calabrian peninsula possessed by native Sikels, who, alarmed at their force, and afraid to try the hazard of resistance, agreed to admit them to a participation and joint residence. The covenant was concluded and sworn to by both parties in the following terms: “There shall be friendship between us, and we will enjoy the land in common, so long as we stand upon this earth and have heads upon our shoulders.” At the time when the oath was taken, the Lokrians had put earth into their shoes and concealed heads of garlic upon their shoulders; so that, when they had divested themselves of these appendages, the oath was considered as no longer binding. Availing themselves of the first convenient opportunity, they attacked the Sikels by surprise and drove them out of the territory, of which they thus acquired the exclusive possession.[719] Their first establishment was formed upon the headland itself, cape Zephyrium (now Bruzzano); but after three or four years the site of the town was moved to an eminence in the neighboring plain, in which the Syracusans are said to have aided them.[720]

[p. 381]In describing the Grecian settlers in Sicily, I have already stated that they are to be considered as Greeks with a considerable infusion of blood, of habits, and of manners, from the native Sikels: the case is the same with the Italiots, or Italian Greeks, and in respect to these Epizephyrian Lokrians, especially, we find it expressly noticed by Polybius. Composed as their band was of ignoble and worthless men, not bound together by strong tribe-feelings or traditional customs, they were the more ready to adopt new practices, as well religious as civil,[721] from the Sikels. One in particular is noticed by the historian,—the religious dignity called the Phialêphorus, or censer-bearer, enjoyed among the native Sikels by a youth of noble birth, who performed the duties belonging to it in their sacrifices; but the Lokrians, while they identified themselves with the religious ceremony, and adopted both the name and the dignity, altered the sex, and conferred it upon one of those women of noble blood who constituted the ornament of their settlement. Even down to the days of Polybius, some maiden descended from one of these select Hundred Houses, still continued to bear the title and to perform the ceremonial duties of Phialêphorus. We learn from these statements how large a portion of Sikels must have become incorporated as dependents in the colony of the Epizephyrian Lokri, and how strongly marked was the intermixture of their habits with those of the Greek settlers; while the tracing back among them of all eminence of descent to a few emigrant women of noble birth, is a peculiarity belonging exclusively to their city.

That a body of colonists, formed of such unpromising materials, should have fallen into much lawlessness and disorder, is noway surprising; but these mischiefs appear to have become so utterly intolerable in the early years of the colony, as to force upon every one the necessity of some remedy. Hence arose a phenomenon new in the march of Grecian society,—the first pro[p. 382]mulgation of written laws. The Epizephyrian Lokrians, having applied to the Delphian oracle for some healing suggestion under their distress, were directed to make laws for themselves;[722] and received the ordinances of a shepherd named Zaleukus, which he professed to have learned from the goddess Athênê in a dream. His laws are said to have been put in writing and promulgated in 664 B. C., forty years earlier than those of Drako at Athens.

That these first of all Grecian written laws were few and simple, we may be sufficiently assured. The only fact certain respecting them is their extraordinary rigor:[723] they seem to have enjoined the application of the lex talionis as a punishment for personal injuries. In this general character of his laws, Zaleukus was the counterpart of Drako. But so little was certainly known, and so much falsely asserted, respecting him, that Timæus the historian went so far as to call in question his real existence,[724]—against the authority not only of Ephorus, but also of Aristotle and Theophrastus. The laws must have remained, however, for a long time, formally unchanged; for so great was the aversion of the Lokrians, we are told, to any new law, that the man who ventured to propose one appeared in public with a rope round his neck, which was at once tightened if he failed to convince the assembly of the necessity of his proposition.[725] Of the government of the Epizephyrian Lokri we know only, that in[p. 383] later times it included a great council of one thousand members, and a chief executive magistrate called Kosmopolis: it is spoken of also as strictly and carefully administered.

The date of Rhegium (Reggio), separated from the territory of the Epizephyrian Lokri by the river Halex, must have been not only earlier than Lokri, but even earlier than Sybaris,—if the statement of Antiochus be correct, that the colonists were joined by those Messenians, who, prior to the first Messenian war, were anxious to make reparation to the Spartans for the outrage offered to the Spartan maidens at the temple of Artemis Limnatis, but were overborne by their countrymen and forced into exile. A different version, however, is given by Pausanias of this migration of Messenians to Rhegium, yet still admitting the fact of such migration at the close of the first Messenian war, which would place the foundation of the city earlier than 720 B. C. Though Rhegium was a Chalkidic colony, yet a portion of its inhabitants seem to have been undoubtedly of Messenian origin, and amongst them Anaxilas, despot of the town between 500-470 B. C., who traced his descent through two centuries to a Messenian emigrant named Alkidamidas.[726] The celebrity and power of Anaxilas, just at the time when the ancient history of the Greek towns was beginning to be set forth in prose, and with some degree of system, caused the Messenian element in the population of Rhegium to be noticed prominently; but the town was essentially Chalkidic, connected by colonial sisterhood with the Chalkidic settlements in Sicily,—Zanklê, Naxos, Katana, and Leontini. The original emigrants departed from Chalkis, as a tenth of the citizens consecrated by vow to Apollo in consequence of famine; and the directions of the god, as well as the invitation of the Zanklæans, guided their course to Rhegium. The town was flourishing, and acquired a considerable number of dependent villages around,[727] inhabited doubtless by cultivators of the indigenous population. But it seems to have been often at variance with the conterminous Lokrians, and received one severe defeat, in conjunction with the Tarentines, which will be hereafter recounted.

[p. 384]Between Lokri and the Lakinian cape were situated the Achæan colony of Kaulônia, and Skyllêtium; the latter seemingly included in the domain of Krotôn, though pretending to have been originally founded by Menestheus, the leader of the Athenians at the siege of Troy: Petilia, also, a hill-fortress north-west of the Lakinian cape, as well as Makalla, both comprised in the territory of Krotôn, were affirmed to have been founded by Philoktêtês. Along all this coast of the gulf of Tarentum, there were various establishments ascribed to the heroes of the Trojan war,[728]—Epeius, Philoktêtês, Nestor,—or to their returning troops. Of these establishments, probably the occupants had been small, miscellaneous, unacknowledged bands of Grecian adventurers,[729] who assumed to themselves the most honorable origin which they could imagine, and who became afterwards absorbed into the larger colonial establishments which followed; the latter adopting and taking upon themselves the heroic worship of Philoktêtês or other warriors from Troy, which the prior emigrants had begun.

During the flourishing times of Sybaris and Krotôn, it seems that these two great cities divided the whole length of the coast of the Tarentine gulf, from the spot now called Rocca Imperiale down to the south of the Lakinian cape. Between the point where the dominion of Sybaris terminated on the Tarentine side, and Tarentum itself, there were two considerable Grecian settlements,—Siris, afterwards called Herakleia, and Metapontium. The fertility and attraction of the territory of Siris, with its two rivers, Akiris and Siris, were well known even to the poet Archilochus[730] (660 B. C.), but we do not know the date at which it passed from the indigenous Chônians or Chaonians into the hands of Greek settlers. A citizen of Siris is mentioned among the suitors for the daughter of the Sikyonian Kleisthenês, (580-560 B. C.) We are told that some Kolophonian fugitives, emigrating to escape the dominion of the Lydian kings, attacked[p. 385] and possessed themselves of the spot, giving to it the name Polieion. The Chônians of Siris ascribed to themselves a Trojan origin, exhibiting a wooden image of the Ilian Athênê, which they affirmed to have been brought away by their fugitive ancestors after the capture of Troy. When the town was stormed by the Ionians, many of the inhabitants clung to this relic for protection, but were dragged away and slain by the victors,[731] whose sacrilege was supposed to have been the cause that their settlement was not durable. At the time of the invasion of Greece by Xerxês, the fertile territory of Siritis was considered as still open to be colonized; for the Athenians when their affairs appeared desperate, had this scheme of emigration in reserve as a possible resource;[732] and there were inspired declarations from some of the contemporary prophets, which encouraged them to undertake it. At length, after the town of Thurii had been founded by Athens, in the vicinity of the dismantled Sybaris, the Thurians tried to possess themselves of the Siritid territoiy, but were opposed by the Tarentines.[733] According to the compromise concluded between them, Tarentum was recognized as the metropolis of the colony, but joint possession was allowed both to Tarentines and Thurians. The former transferred the site of the city, under the new name Herakleia, to a spot three miles from the sea, leaving Siris as the place of maritime access to it.[734]

About twenty-five miles eastward of Siris, on the coast of the Tarentine gulf, was situated Metapontium, a Greek town which was affirmed by some to draw its origin from the Pylian companions of Nestor,—by others, from the Phocian warriors of Epe[p. 386]ius, on their return from Troy. The proofs of the former were exhibited in the worship of the Neleid heroes,—the proofs of the latter in the preservation of the reputed identical tools with which Epeius had constructed the Trojan horse.[735] Metapontium was planted on the territory of the Chônians or Œnotrians, but the first colony is said to have been destroyed by an attack of the Samnites,[736] at what period we do not know. It had been founded by some Achæan settlers,—under the direction of the œkist Daulius, despot of the Phocian Krissa, and invited by the inhabitants of Sybaris, who feared that the place might be appropriated by the neighboring Tarentines, colonists from Sparta and hereditary enemies in Peloponnesus of the Achæan race. Before the new settlers arrived, however, the place seems to have been already appropriated by the Tarentines; for the Achæan Leukippus only obtained their permission to land by a fraudulent promise, and, after all, had to sustain a forcible struggle both with them and with the neighboring Œnotrians, which was compromised by a division of territory. The fertility of the Metapontine territory was hardly less celebrated than that of the Siritid.[737]

Farther eastward of Metapontium, again at the distance of about twenty-five miles, was situated the great city of Taras, or[p. 387] Tarentum, a colony from Sparta founded after the first Messenian war, seemingly about 707 B. C. The œkist Phalanthus, said to have been an Herakleid, was placed at the head of a body of Spartan emigrants,—consisting principally of some citizens called Epeunaktæ, and of the youth called Partheniæ, who had been disgraced by their countrymen on account of their origin, and were on the point of breaking out into rebellion. It was out of the Messenian war that this emigration is stated to have arisen, in a manner analogous to that which has been stated respecting the Epizephyrian Lokrians. The Lacedæmonians, before entering Messenia to carry on the war, had made a vow not to return until they should have completed the conquest; a vow in which it appears that some of them declined to take part, standing altogether aloof from the expedition. When the absent soldiers returned after many years of absence consumed in the war, they found a numerous progeny which had been born to their wives and daughters during the interval, from intercourse with those (Epeunaktæ) who had stayed at home. The Epeunaktæ were punished by being degraded to the rank and servitude of Helots; the children thus born, called Partheniæ,[738] were also cut off from all the rights of citizenship, and held in dishonor. But the parties punished were numerous enough to make themselves formidable, and a conspiracy was planned among them, intended to break out at the great religious festival of the Hyacinthia, in the temple of the Amyklæan Apollo. Phalanthus was the secret chief of the conspirators, who agreed to commence their attack upon the authorities at the moment when he should put on his helmet. The leader, however, never intending that the scheme should be executed, betrayed it beforehand, stipulating for the safety of all those implicated in it. At the commencement of the festival, when the multitude were already assembled, a herald was directed to proclaim aloud, that Phalanthus would not on that day put on his helmet,—a proclamation[p. 388] which at once revealed to the conspirators that they were betrayed. Some of them sought safety in flight, others assumed the posture of suppliants; but they were merely detained in confinement, with assurance of safety, while Phalanthus was sent to the Delphian oracle to ask advice respecting emigration. He is said to have inquired whether he might be permitted to appropriate the fertile plain of Sikyon, but the Pythian priestess emphatically dissuaded him, and enjoined him to conduct his emigrants to Satyrium and Tarentum, where he would be “a mischief to the Iapygians.” Phalanthus obeyed, and conducted the detected conspirators as emigrants to the Tarentine gulf,[739] which he reached a few years after the foundation of Sybaris and Krotôn by the Achæans. According to Ephorus, he found these prior emigrants at war with the natives, aided them in the contest, and received in return their aid to accomplish his own settlement. But this can hardly have consisted with the narrative of Antiochus, who represented the Achæans of Sybaris as retaining, even in their colonies, the hatred against the Dorian name which they had contracted in Peloponnesus.[740] Antiochus stated that Phalanthus and his colonists were received in a friendly manner by the indigenous inhabitants, and allowed to establish their new town in tranquillity.

If such was really the fact, it proves that the native inhabitants of the soil must have been of purely inland habits, making no use of the sea either for commerce or for fishery, otherwise they[p. 389] would hardly have relinquished such a site as that of Tarentum,—which, while favorable and productive, even in regard to the adjoining land, was with respect to sea-advantages without a parallel in Grecian Italy.[741] It was the only spot in the gulf which possessed a perfectly safe and convenient harbor,—a spacious inlet of the sea is there formed, sheltered by an isthmus and an outlying peninsula, so as to leave only a narrow entrance. This inlet, still known as the Mare Piccolo, though its shores and the adjoining tongue of land appear to have undergone much change, affords at the present day a constant, inexhaustible, and varied supply of fish, especially of shell-fish; which furnish both nourishment and employment to a large proportion among the inhabitants of the contracted modern Taranto, just as they once served the same purpose to the numerous, lively, and jovial population of the mighty Tarentum. The concentrated population of fishermen formed a predominant element in the character of the Tarentine democracy.[742] Tarentum was just on the borders[p. 390] of the country originally known as Italy, within which Herodotus includes it, while Antiochus considers it in Iapygia, and regards Metapontium as the last Greek town in Italy.

Its immediate neighbors were the Iapygians, who, under various subdivisions of name and dialect, seem to have occupied the greater part of south-eastern Italy, including the peninsula denominated after them,—yet sometimes also called the Salentine,—between the Adriatic and the Tarentine gulf,—and who are even stated at one time to have occupied some territory on the south east of that gulf, near the site of Krotôn. The Iapygian name appears to have comprehended Messapians, Salentines, and Kalabrians; according to some, even Peuketians and Daunians, as far along the Adriatic as Mount Garganus, or Drion; Skylax notices in his time (about 360 B. C.) five different tongues in the country which he calls Iapygia.[743] The Messapians and Salen[p. 391]tines are spoken of as emigrants from Krête, akin to the Minoian or primitive Kretans; and we find a national genealogy which recognizes Iapyx son of Dædalus, an emigrant from Sicily. But the story told to Herodotus was, that the Kretan soldiers who had accompanied Minos in his expedition to recover Dædalus from Kamikus in Sicily, were on their return home cast away on the shores of Iapygia, and became the founders of Hyria and other Messapian towns in the interior of the country.[744] Brundusium also, or Brentesion, as the Greeks called it,[745] inconsiderable in the days of Herodotus, but famous in the Roman times afterwards, as the most frequented seaport for voyaging to Epirus, was a Messapian town. The native language spoken by the Iapygian Messapians was a variety of the Oscan: the Latin poet Ennius, a native of Rudiæ in the Iapygian peninsula, spoke Greek, Latin, and Oscan, and even deduced his pedigree from the ancient national prince or hero Messapus.[746]

We are told that during the lifetime of Phalanthus, the Tarentine settlers gained victories over the Messapians and Peuketians, which they commemorated afterwards by votive offerings at Delphi,—and that they even made acquisitions at the expense of the inhabitants of Brundusium,[747]—a statement difficult to believe, if we look to the distance of the latter place, and to the circumstance that Herodotus, even in his time, names it only as a harbor. Phalanthus too, driven into exile, is said to have found a hospitable reception at Brundusium, and to have died there. Of the history of Tarentum, however, during the first two hundred and[p. 392] thirty years of its existence, we possess no details; we have reason to believe that it partook in the general prosperity of the Italian Greeks during those two centuries, though it remained inferior both to Sybaris and to Krotôn. About the year 510 B. C., these two latter republics went to war, and Sybaris was nearly destroyed; while in the subsequent half-century, the Krotoniates suffered the terrible defeat of Sagra from the Lokrians, and the Tarentines experienced an equally ruinous defeat from the Iapygian Messapians. From these reverses, however, the Tarentines appear to have recovered more completely than the Krotoniates; for the former stand first among the Italiots, or Italian Greeks, from the year 400 B. C. down to the supremacy of the Romans, and made better head against the growth of the Lucanians and Bruttians of the interior.

Such were the chief cities of the Italian Greeks from Tarentum on the upper sea to Poseidonia on the lower; and if we take them during the period preceding the ruin of Sybaris (in 510 B. C.), they will appear to have enjoyed a degree of prosperity even surpassing that of the Sicilian Greeks. The dominion of Sybaris, Krotôn, and Lokri extended across the peninsula from sea to sea, and the mountainous regions of the interior of Calabria were held in amicable connection with the cities and cultivators in the plain and valley near the sea,—to the reciprocal advantage of both. The petty native tribes of Œnotrians, Sikels, or Italians, properly so called, were partially Hellenized, and brought into the condition of village cultivators and shepherds, dependent upon Sybaris and its fellow cities; a portion of them dwelling in the town, probably, as domestic slaves of the rich men, but most of them remaining in the country as serfs, penestæ, or coloni, intermingled with Greek settlers, and paying over parts of their produce to Greek proprietors.

But this dependence, though accomplished in the first instance by force, was yet not upheld exclusively by force,—it was to a great degree the result of an organized march of life, and of more productive cultivation brought within their reach,—of new wants, both created and supplied,—of temples, festivals, ships, walls, chariots, etc., which imposed upon the imagination of the rude landsman and shepherd. Against mere force the natives could[p. 393] have found shelter in the unconquerable forests and ravines of the Calabrian Apennines, and in that vast mountain region of the Sila, lying immediately behind the plains of Sybaris, where even the French army, with its excellent organization, in 1807, found so much difficulty in reaching the bandit villagers.[748] It was not by arms alone, but by arms and arts combined,—a mingled influence, such as enabled imperial Rome to subdue the fierceness of the rude Germans and Britons,—that the Sybarites and Krotoniates acquired and maintained their ascendency over the natives of the interior. The shepherd of the banks of the river Sybaris or Krathis not only found a new exchangeable value for his cattle and other produce, becoming familiar with better diet and clothing, and improved cultivation of the olive and the vine,—but he was also enabled to display his prowess, if strong and brave, in the public games at the festival of the Lakinian Hêrê, or even at the Olympic games in Peloponnesus.[749] It is thus that we have to explain the extensive dominion, the great population and the wealth and luxury of the Sybarites and Krotoniates,—a population of which the incidental reports as given in figures are not trustworthy, but which we may well believe to have been very numerous. The native Œnotrians, while unable to combine in resisting Greek force, were at the same time less widely distinguished from the Greeks, in race and language, than the Oscans of middle Italy, and therefore more accessible to Greek pacific influences; while the Oscan race seem to have been both fiercer in repelling the assaults of the Greeks, and more intractable as to their seductions. Nor were the Iapygians modified by the neighborhood of Tarentum, in the same degree as the tribes adjoining to Sybaris and Krotôn were by their contact with those cities. The dialect of Tarentum,[750] as well as of Herakleia,[p. 394] though a marked Doric, admitted many local peculiarities, and the farces of the Tarentine poet Rhinthon, like the Syracusan Sophron, seem to have blended the Hellenic with the Italic in language as well as in character.

About the year 560 B. C., the time of the accession of Peisistratus at Athens, the close of what may properly be called the first period of Grecian history, Sybaris and Krotôn were at the maximum of their power, which each maintained for half a century afterwards, until the fatal dissension between them. We are told that the Sybarites, in that final contest, marched against Krotôn with an army of three hundred thousand men: fabulous as this number doubtless is, we cannot doubt that, for an irruption of this kind into an adjoining territory, their large body of semi-Hellenized native subjects might be mustered in prodigious force. The few statements which have reached us respecting them touch, unfortunately, upon little more than their luxury, fantastic self-indulgence, and extravagant indolence, for which qualities they have become proverbial in modern times as well as in ancient. Anecdotes illustrating these qualities were current, and served more than one purpose, in antiquity. The philosopher recounted them, in order to discredit and denounce the character which they exemplified,—while among gay companies, “Sybaritic tales,” or tales respecting sayings and doing of ancient Sybarites, formed a separate and special class of excellent stories, to be told simply for amusement,[751]—with which view witty romancers[p. 395] multiplied them indefinitely. It is probable that the Pythagorean philosophers (who belonged originally to Krotôn, but maintained themselves permanently as a philosophical sect in Italy and Sicily, with a strong tinge of ostentatious asceticism and mysticism), in their exhortations to temperance and in their denunciations of luxurious habits, might select by preference examples from Sybaris, the ancient enemy of the Krotonians, to point their moral,—and that the exaggerated reputation of the city thus first became the subject of common talk throughout the Grecian world; for little could be actually known of Sybaris in detail, since its humiliation dates from the first commencement of Grecian contemporaneous history. Hekatæus of Milêtus may perhaps have visited it in its full splendor, but even Herodotus knew it only by past report, and the principal anecdotes respecting it are cited from authors considerably later than him, who follow the tone of thought so common in antiquity, in ascribing the ruin of the Sybarites to their overweening corruption and luxury.[752]

Making allowance, however, for exaggeration on all these accounts, there can be no reason to doubt that Sybaris, in 560 B. C., was one of the most wealthy, populous, and powerful cities of the Hellenic name; and that it also presented both comfortable abundance among the mass of the citizens, arising from the easy[p. 396] attainment of fresh lots of fertile land, and excessive indulgences among the rich,—to a degree forming marked contrast with Hellas proper, of which Herodotus characterized poverty as the foster-sister.[753] The extraordinary productiveness of the neighboring territory,—alleged by Varro, in his time, when the culture must have been much worse than it had been under the old Sybaris, to yield an ordinary crop of a hundred-fold,[754] and extolled by modern travellers, even in its present yet more neglected culture,—has been already touched upon. The river Krathis,—still the most considerable river of that region,—at a time when there was an industrious population to keep its water-course in order, would enable the extensive fields of Sybaris to supply abundant nourishment for a population larger perhaps than any other Grecian city could parallel. But though nature was thus bountiful, industry, good management, and well-ordered government were required to turn her bounty to account: where these are wanting, later experience of the same territory shows that its[p. 397] inexhaustible capacities may exist in vain. That luxury, which Grecian moralists denounced in the leading Sybarites, between 560 and 510 B. C., was the result of acquisitions vigorously and industriously pushed, and kept together by an orderly central force, during a century and a half that the colony had existed. Though the Trœzenian settlers who formed a portion of the original emigrants had been expelled when the Achæans became more numerous, yet we are told that, on the whole, Sybaris was liberal in the reception of new emigrants to the citizenship,[755] and that this was one of the causes of its remarkable advance. Of these additional comers, we may presume that many went to form its colonies on the Mediterranean sea, and some to settle both among its four dependent inland nations, and its twenty-five subject towns. Five thousand horsemen, we are told, clothed in showy attire, formed the processional march in certain Sybaritic festivals,—a number which is best appreciated by comparison with the fact, that the knights or horsemen of Athens, in her best days, did not exceed twelve hundred. The Sybaritic horses, if we are to believe a story purporting to come from Aristotle, were taught to move at the sound of the flute; and the garments of these wealthy citizens were composed of the finest wool from Milêtus in Ionia,[756]—the Tarentine wool not having then acquired the distinguished renown which it possessed five centuries afterwards towards the close of the Roman republic. Next to the great abundance of home produce,—corn, wine, oil, flax, cattle, fish, timber, etc.,—the fact next in importance which we hear respecting Sybaris is, the great traffic carried on with Milêtus: these two cities were more intimately and affectionately connected together than any two Hellenic cities within the knowledge of Herodotus.[757] The tie between Tarentum and Knidus was also of a very intimate character,[758] so that the great intercourse, personal as well as commercial, between the Asiatic and the Italic[p. 398] Greeks, appears as a marked fact in the history of the sixth century before the Christian era.

In this respect, as well as in several others, the Hellenic world wears a very different aspect in 560 B. C. from that which it assumed a century afterwards, and in which it is best known to modern readers. At the former period, the Ionic and Italic Greeks are the great ornaments of the Hellenic name, and carried on a more lucrative trade with each other, than either of them maintained with Greece proper; which both of them recognized as their mother-country, though without admitting anything in the nature of established headship. The military power of Sparta is indeed at this time great and preponderant in Peloponnesus, but she has no navy, and she is only just essaying her strength, not without reluctance, in ultramarine interference. After the lapse of a century, these circumstances change materially. The independence of the Asiatic Greeks is destroyed, and the power of the Italic Greeks is greatly broken; while Sparta and Athens not only become the prominent and leading Hellenic states, but constitute themselves centres of action for the lesser cities, to a degree previously unknown.

It was during the height of their prosperity, seemingly, in the sixth century B. C., that the Italian Greeks either acquired for, or bestowed upon, their territory the appellation of Magna Græcia, which at that time it well deserved; for not only were Sybaris and Krotôn then the greatest Grecian cities situated near together, but the whole peninsula of Calabria may be considered as attached to the Grecian cities on the coast. The native Œnotrians and Sikels occupying the interior had become Hellenized, or semi-Hellenized, with a mixture of Greeks among them,—common subjects of these great cities; so that the whole extent of the Calabrian peninsula, within the line which joins Sybaris with Poseidonia, might then be fairly considered as Hellenic territory. Sybaris maintained much traffic with the Tuscan towns in the Mediterranean, and the communication between Greece and Rome, across the Calabrian isthmus,[759] may perhaps have been easier during the time of the Roman kings—whose expulsion was nearly contemporaneous with the ruin of Sybaris—than it[p. 399] became during the first two centuries of the Roman republic. But all these relations underwent a complete change after the breaking up of the power of Sybaris in 510 B. C., and the gradual march of the Oscan population from middle Italy towards the south. Cumæ was overwhelmed by the Samnites, Poseidonia by the Lucanians; who became possessed not only of these maritime cities, but also of the whole inland territory—now called the Basilicata, with part of the hither Calabria—across from Poseidonia to the neighborhood of the gulf of Tarentum: while the Bruttians,—a mixture of outlying Lucanians with the Greco-Œnotrian population once subject to Sybaris, speaking both Greek and Oscan,[760]—became masters of the inland mountains in the farther Calabria, from Consentia nearly to the Sicilian strait. It was thus that the ruin of Sybaris, combined with the spread of the Lucanians and Bruttians, deprived the Italian Greeks of that inland territory which they had enjoyed in the sixth century B. C., and restricted them to the neighborhood of the coast. To understand the extraordinary power and prosperity of Sybaris and Krotôn, in the sixth century B. C., when the whole of this inland territory was subject to them, and before the rise of the Lucanians, and Bruttians, and when the name Magna Græcia was first given, it is necessary to glance by contrast at these latter periods; more especially since the name still continued to be applied by the Romans to Italian Greece after the contraction of territory had rendered it less appropriate.

Of Krotôn at this early period of its power and prosperity we know even less than of Sybaris. It stood distinguished both for the number of its citizens who received prizes at the Olympic games, and for the excellence of its surgeons or physicians. And what may seem more surprising, if we consider the extreme present insalubrity of the site upon which it stood, it was in ancient times proverbially healthy,[761] which was not so much the case with the more fertile Sybaris. Respecting all these cities of Italian Greeks, the same remark is applicable as was before made in reference to the Sicilian Greeks,—that the intermixture of the native population sensibly affected both their character and habits. We have no information respecting their government[p. 400] during this early period of prosperity, except that we find mention at Krotôn, as at the Epizephyrian Lokri, of a senate of one thousand members, yet not excluding occasionally the ekklesia, or general assembly.[762] Probably, the steady increase of their dominion in the interior, and the facility of providing maintenance for new population, tended much to make their political systems, whatever they may have been, work in a satisfactory manner. The attempt of Pythagoras and his followers to constitute themselves a ruling faction as well as a philosophical sect, will be recounted in a subsequent chapter. The proceedings connected with that attempt will show that there was considerable analogy and sympathy between the various cities of Italian Greece, so as to render them liable to be acted on by the same causes. But though the festivals of the Lakinian Hêrê, administered by the Krotoniates, formed from early times a common point of religious assemblage to all,[763]—yet the attempts to institute periodical meetings of deputies, for the express purpose of maintaining political harmony, did not begin until after the destruction of Sybaris, nor were they ever more than partially successful.

One other city, the most distant colony founded by Greeks in the western regions, yet remains to be mentioned; and we can do no more than mention it, since we have no facts to make up its history. Massalia, the modern Marseilles, was founded by the Ionic Phokæans in the 45th Olympiad, about 597 B. C.,[764] at the time when Sybaris and Krotôn were near the maximum of their power,—when the peninsula of Calabria was all Hellenic, and when Cumæ also had not yet been visited by those calamities which brought about its decline. So much Hellenism in the south of Italy doubtless facilitated the western progress of the[p. 401] adventurous Phokæan mariner. It would appear that Massalia was founded by amicable fusion of Phokæan colonists with the indigenous Gauls, if we may judge by the romantic legend of the Protiadæ, a Massaliotic family or gens existing in the time of Aristotle. Euxenus, a Phokæan merchant, had contracted friendly relations with Nanus, a native chief in the south of Gaul, and was invited to the festival in which the latter was about to celebrate the marriage of his daughter Petta. According to the custom of the country, the maiden was to choose for herself a husband among the guests, by presenting him with a cup: through accident, or by preference, Petta presented it to Euxenus, and became his wife. Prôtis of Massalia, the offspring of this marriage, was the primitive ancestor and eponym of the Protiadæ. According to another story respecting the origin of the same gens, Protis was himself the Phokæan leader who married Gyptis, daughter of Nannus king of the Segobrigian Gauls.[765]

Of the history of Massalia we know nothing, nor does it appear to have been connected with the general movement of the Grecian world. We learn generally that the Massaliots administered their affairs with discretion as well as with unanimity, and exhibited in their private habits an exemplary modesty,—that although preserving alliance with the people of the interior, they were scrupulously vigilant in guarding their city against surprise, permitting no armed strangers to enter,—that they introduced the culture of vines and olives, and gradually extended the Greek alphabet, language, and civilization among the neighboring Gauls,—that they possessed and fortified many positions along the coast of the gulf of Lyons, and founded five colonies along the eastern coast of Spain,—that their government was oligarchical, consisting of a perpetual senate of six hundred persons, yet admitting occasionally new members from without, and a small council of fifteen members,—that the Delphinian Apollo and the Ephesian Artemis were their chief deities, planted as guardians of their outlying posts, and transmitted to their colonies.[766] Although it is common to represent a deliberate march[p. 402] and steady supremacy of the governing few, with contented obedience on the part of the many, as the characteristic of Dorian states, and mutability not less than disturbance as the prevalent tendency in Ionia,—yet there is no Grecian community to whom the former attributes are more pointedly ascribed than the Ionic Massalia. The commerce of the Massaliots appears to have been extensive, and their armed maritime force sufficiently powerful to defend it against the aggressions of Carthage,—their principal enemy in the western Mediterranean.


On the eastern side of the Ionian sea were situated the Grecian colonies of Korkyra, Leukas, Anaktorium, Ambrakia, Apollonia, and Epidamnus.

Among these, by far the most distinguished, for situation, for wealth, and for power, was Korkyra,—now known as Corfu, the same name belonging, as in antiquity, both to the town and the island, which is separated from the coast of Epirus by a strait varying from two to seven miles in breadth. Korkyra was founded by the Corinthians, at the same time, we are told, as Syracuse. Chersikratês, a Bacchiad, is said to have accompanied Archias on his voyage from Corinth to Syracuse, and to have been left with a company of emigrants on the island of Korkyra, where he founded a settlement.[767] What inhabitants he found there, or how[p. 403] they were dealt with, we cannot clearly make out. The island was generally conceived in antiquity as the residence of the Homeric Phæakians, and it is to this fact that Thucydidês ascribes in part the eminence of the Korkyræan marine.[768] According to another story, some Eretrians from Eubœa had settled there, and were compelled to retire. A third statement represents the Liburnians[769] as the prior inhabitants,—and this perhaps is the most probable, since the Liburnians were an enterprising, maritime, piratical race, who long continued to occupy the more northerly islands in the Adriatic along the Illyrian and Dalmatian coast. That maritime activity, and number of ships, both warlike and commercial, which we find at an early date among the Korkyræans, and in which they stand distinguished from the Italian and Sicilian Greeks, may be plausibly attributed to their partial fusion with preëxisting Liburnians; for the ante-Hellenic natives of Magna Græcia and Sicily, as has been already noticed, were as unpractised at sea as the Liburnians were expert.

At the time when the Corinthians were about to colonize Sicily, it was natural that they should also wish to plant a settlement at Korkyra, which was a post of great importance for facilitating the voyage from Peloponnesus to Italy, and was farther convenient for traffic with Epirus, at that period altogether non-Hellenic. Their choice of a site was fully justified by the prosperity and power of the colony, which, however, though sometimes in combination with the mother-city, was more frequently alienated from her and hostile, and continued so from an early period throughout most part of the three centuries from 700-400 B. C.[770] Perhaps also Molykreia and Chalkis,[771] on the south-western coast of Ætolia, not far from the mouth of the Corinthian gulf, may have been founded by Corinth at a date hardly less early than Korkyra.

It was at Corinth that the earliest improvements in Greek ship-building, and the first construction of the trireme or war[p. 404]ship with a triple bank of oars, was introduced, and it was probably from Corinth that this improvement passed to Korkyra, as it did to Samos. In early times, the Korkyræan navy was in a condition to cope with the Corinthian, and the most ancient naval battle known to Thucydidês[772] was one between these two states, in 664 B. C. As far as we can make out, it appears that Korkyra maintained her independence, not only during the government of the Bacchiads at Corinth, but also throughout the long reign of the despot Kypselus, and a part of the reign of his son Periander. But towards the close of this latter reign, we find Korkyra subject to Corinth; and the barbarous treatment inflicted by Periander, in revenge for the death of his son, upon three hundred Korkyræan youths, has already been recounted in a former chapter.[773] After the death of Periander, the island seems to have regained its independence, but we are left without any particulars respecting it, from about 585 B. C. down to the period shortly preceding the invasion of Greece by Xerxes,—nearly a century. At this later epoch the Korkyræans possessed a naval force hardly inferior to any state in Greece. The expulsion of Kypselids from Corinth, and the reëstablishment of the previous oligarchy, or something like it, does not seem to have reconciled the Korkyræans to their mother-city; for it was immediately previous to the Peloponnesian war that the Corinthians preferred the bitterest complaints against them,[774] of setting at nought those obligations which a colony was generally understood to be obliged to render. No place of honor was reserved at the public festivals of Korkyra for Corinthian visitors, nor was it the practice to offer to the latter the first taste of the victims sacrificed,—observances which were doubtless respectfully fulfilled at Ambrakia and Leukas. Nevertheless, the Korkyræans had taken part conjointly with the Corinthians in favor of Syracuse, when that city was in imminent danger of being conquered and enslaved by Hippokratês[775] despot of Gela (about 492 B. C.),—an incident which shows that they were not destitute of generous sympathy with sister states, and leads us to imagine that their alienation[p. 405] from Corinth was as much the fault of the mother-city as their own.

The grounds of the quarrel were, probably, jealousies of trade,—especially trade with the Epirotic and Illyrian tribes, wherein both were to a great degree rivals. Safe at home, and industrious in the culture of their fertile island, the Korkyræans were able to furnish wine and oil to the Epirots on the main-land in exchange for the cattle, sheep, hides, and wool of the latter,—more easily and cheaply than the Corinthian merchant. And for the purposes of this trade, they had possessed themselves of a peræa or strip of the main-land immediately on the other side of the intervening strait, where they fortified various posts for the protection of their property.[776] The Corinthians were personally more popular among the Epirots than the Korkyræans;[777] but it was not until long after the foundation of Korkyra that they established their first settlement on the main-land,—Ambrakia, on the north side of the Ambrakiotic gulf, and near the mouth of the river Arachthus. It was during the reign of Kypselus, and under the guidance of his son Gorgus, that this settlement was planted, which afterwards became populous and considerable. We know nothing respecting its growth, and we hear only of a despot named Periander as ruling in it, probably related to the despot of the same name at Corinth.[778] Periander of Ambrakia was overthrown by a private conspiracy, provoked by his own brutality, and warmly seconded by the citizens, who lived constantly afterwards under a popular government.[779]

Notwithstanding the long-continued dissensions between Korkyra and Corinth, it appears that four considerable settlements on this same line of coast were formed by the joint enterprise of both,—Leukas and Anaktorium, to the south of the mouth of the Ambrakiotic gulf,—and Apollonia and Epidamnus, both in the territory of the Illyrians, at some distance to the north of the Akrokeraunian promontory. In the settlement of the two latter,[p. 406] the Korkyræans seem to have been the principals,—in that of the two former, they were only auxiliaries; and it probably did not suit their policy to favor the establishment of any new colony on the intermediate coast opposite to their own island, between the promontory and the gulf above mentioned. Leukas, Anaktorium, and Ambrakia are all referred to the agency of Kypselus the Corinthian, and the tranquillity which Aristotle ascribes to his reign may be in part ascribed to the new homes thus provided for poor or discontented Corinthian citizens. Leukas was situated near the modern Santa Maura: the present island was originally a peninsula, and continued to be so until the time of Thucydidês; but in the succeeding half-century, the Leukadians cut through the isthmus, and erected a bridge across the narrow strait connecting them with the main-land. It had been once an Akarnanian settlement, named Epileukadii, the inhabitants of which falling into civil dissension, invited one thousand Corinthian settlers to join them. The new-comers choosing their opportunity for attack, slew or expelled those who had invited them, made themselves masters of the place with its lands, and converted it from an Akarnanian village into a Grecian town.[780] Anaktorium was situated a short distance within the mouth of the Ambrakian gulf,—founded, like Leukas, upon Akarnanian soil, and with a mixture of Akarnanian inhabitants, by colonists[p. 407] under the auspices of Kypselus or Periander. In both these establishments Korkyræan settlers participated;[781] in both, also, the usual religious feelings connected with Grecian emigration were displayed by the neighborhood of a venerated temple of Apollo overlooking the sea,—Apollo Aktius near Anaktorium, and Apollo Leukatas near Leukas.[782]

Between these three settlements,—Ambrakia, Anaktorium, and Leukas,—and the Akarnanian population of the interior, there were standing feelings of hostility; perhaps arising out of the violence which had marked the first foundation of Leukas. The Corinthians, though popular with the Epirots, had been indifferent or unsuccessful in conciliating the Akarnanians. It rather seems, indeed, that the Akarnanians were averse to the presence or neighborhood of any powerful seaport; for in spite of their hatred towards the Ambrakiots, they were more apprehensive of seeing Ambrakia in the hands of the Athenians than in that of its own native citizens.[783]

The two colonies, north of the Akrokeraunian promontory, and on the coast-land of the Illyrian tribes,—Apollonia and Epidamnus,—were formed chiefly by the Korkyræans, yet with some aid and a portion of the settlers from Corinth, as well as from other Doric towns. Especially it is to be noticed, that the œkist was a Corinthian and a Herakleid, Phalius the son of Eratokleidês,—for, according to the usual practice of Greece, whenever a city, itself a colony, founded a sub-colony, the œkist of the latter was borrowed from the mother-city of the former.[784] Hence the Corinthians acquired a partial right of control and interference in the affairs of Epidamnus, which we shall find hereafter leading to important practical consequences. Epidamnus,—better known under its subsequent name Dyrrhachium,—was situated on an isthmus on or near the territory of the Illyrian tribe called Taulantii, and is said to have been settled about 627[p. 408] B. C. Apollonia, of which the god Apollo himself seems to have been recognized as œkist,[785] was founded under similar circumstances, during the reign of Periander of Corinth, on a maritime plain both extensive and fertile, near the river Aôus, two days’ journey south of Epidamnus.

Both the one and the other of these two cities seem to have flourished, and to have received accession of inhabitants from Triphylia in Peloponnesus, when that country was subdued by the Eleians. Respecting Epidamnus, especially, we are told that it acquired great wealth and population during the century preceding the Peloponnesian war.[786] A few allusions which we find in Aristotle, too brief to afford much instruction, lead us to suppose that the governments of both began by being close oligarchies, under the management of the primitive leaders of the colony,—that in Epidamnus, the artisans and tradesmen in the town were considered in the light of slaves belonging to the public,—but that in process of time, seemingly somewhat before the Peloponnesian war, intestine dissensions broke up this oligarchy,[787] substituted a periodical senate, with occasional public[p. 409] assemblies, in place of the permanent phylarchs, or chiefs of tribes, and thus introduced a form more or less democratical, yet still retaining the original single-headed archon. The Epidamnian government was liberal in the admission of metics, or resident aliens,—a fact which renders it probable that the alleged public slavery of artisans in that town was a status carrying with it none of the hardships of actual slavery. It was through an authorized selling agent, or polêtês, that all traffic between Epidamnus and the neighboring Illyrians was carried on,—individual dealing with them being interdicted.[788] Apollonia was in one respect pointedly distinguished from Epidamnus, since she excluded metics, or resident strangers, with a degree of rigor hardly inferior to Sparta. These few facts are all that we are permitted to hear respecting colonies both important in themselves and interesting as they brought the Greeks into connection with distant people and regions.

The six colonies just named,—Korkyra, Ambrakia, Anaktorium, Leukas, Apollonia, and Epidamnus,—form an aggregate lying apart from the rest of the Hellenic name, and connected with each other, though not always maintained in harmony, by analogy of race and position, as well as by their common original from Corinth. That the commerce which the Corinthian merchants carried on with them, and through them with the tribes in the interior, was lucrative, we can have no doubt; and Leukas and Ambrakia continued for a long time to be not merely faithful allies, but servile imitators, of their mother-city. The commerce of Korkyra is also represented as very extensive, and carried even to the northern extremity of the Ionic gulf. It would seem that they were the first Greeks to open a trade and to establish various settlements on the Illyrian and Dalmatian coasts, as the Phokæans were the first to carry their traffic along the Adriatic coast of Italy: the jars and pottery of Korkyra enjoyed great reputation throughout all parts of the gulf.[789] The[p. 410] general trade of the island, and the encouragement for its shipping, must probably have been greater during the sixth century B. C., while the cities of Magna Græcia were at the maximum of their prosperity, than in the ensuing century, when they had comparatively declined. Nor can we doubt that the visitors and presents to the oracle of Dodona in Epirus, which was distant two days’ journey on landing from Korkyra, and the importance of which was most sensible during the earlier periods of Grecian history, contributed to swell the traffic of the Korkyræans.

It is worthy of notice that the monetary system established at Korkyra was thoroughly Grecian and Corinthian, graduated on the usual scale of obols, drachms, minæ, and talents, without including any of those native Italian or Sicilian elements which were adopted by the cities in Magna Græcia and Sicily. The type of the Corinthian coins seems also to have passed to those of Leukas and Ambrakia.[790]

Of the islands of Zakynthus and Kephallenia, Zante and Cephalonia, we hear very little: of Ithaka, so interesting from the story of the Odyssey, we have no historical information at all. The inhabitants of Zakynthus were Achæans from Peloponnesus: Kephallenia was distributed among four separate city governments.[791] Neither of these islands play any part in Grecian history until the time of the maritime empire of Athens, after the Persian war.

[p. 411]


Some notice must be taken of those barbarous or non-Hellenic nations who formed the immediate neighbors of Hellas, west of the range of Pindus, and north of that range which connects Pindus with Olympus,—as well as of those other tribes, who, though lying more remote from Hellas proper, were yet brought into relations of traffic or hostility with the Hellenic colonies.

Between the Greeks and these foreign neighbors, the Akarnanians, of whom I have already spoken briefly in my preceding volume, form the proper link of transition. They occupied the territory between the river Achelôus, the Ionian sea, and the Ambrakian gulf: they were Greeks, and admitted as such to contend at the Pan-Hellenic games,[792] yet they were also closely connected with the Amphilochi and Agræi, who were not Greeks. In manners, sentiments, and intelligence, they were half-Hellenic and half-Epirotic,—like the Ætolians and the Ozolian Lokrians. Even down to the time of Thucydidês, these nations were subdivided into numerous petty communities, lived in unfortified villages, were frequently in the habit of plundering each other, and never permitted themselves to be unarmed: in case of attack, they withdrew their families and their scanty stock, chiefly cattle, to the shelter of difficult mountains or marshes. They were for the most part light-armed, few among them being trained to the panoply of the Grecian hoplite; but they were both brave and skilful in their own mode of warfare, and the sling, in the hands of the Akarnanian, was a weapon of formidable efficiency.[793]

Notwithstanding this state of disunion and insecurity, however, the Akarnanians maintained a loose political league among them[p. 412]selves, and a hill near the Amphilochian Argos, on the shores of the Ambrakian gulf, had been fortified to serve as a judgment-seat, or place of meeting, for the settlement of disputes. And it seems that Stratus and Œniadæ had both become fortified in some measure towards the commencement of the Peloponnesian war. The former, the most considerable township in Akarnania, was situated on the Achelôus, rather high up its course,—the latter was at the mouth of the river, and was rendered difficult of approach by its inundations.[794] Astakus, Solium, Palærus, and Alyzia, lay on or near the coast of the Ionian sea, between Œniadæ and Leukas: Phytia, Koronta, Medeôn, Limnæa, and Thyrium, were between the southern shore of the Ambrakian gulf and the river Achelôus.

The Akarnanians appear to have produced many prophets. They traced up their mythical ancestry, as well as that of their neighbors the Amphilochians, to the most renowned prophetic family among the Grecian heroes,—Amphiaraus, with his sons Alkmæôn and Amphilochus: Akarnan, the eponymous hero of the nation, and other eponymous heroes of the separate towns, were supposed to be the sons of Alkmæôn.[795] They are spoken of, together with the Ætolians, as mere rude shepherds, by the lyric poet Alkman, and so they seem to have continued with little alteration until the beginning of the Peloponnesian war, when we hear of them, for the first time, as allies of Athens and as bitter enemies of the Corinthian colonies on their coast. The contact of those colonies, however, and the large spread of Akarnanian accessible coast, could not fail to produce some effect in socializing and improving the people. And it is probable that this effect would have been more sensibly felt, had not the Akarnanians been kept back by the fatal neighborhood of the Ætolians, with whom they were in perpetual feud,—a people the most unprincipled and unimprovable of all who bore the Hellenic[p. 413] name, and whose habitual faithlessness stood in marked contrast with the rectitude and steadfastness of the Akarnanian character.[796] It was in order to strengthen the Akarnanians against these rapacious neighbors, that the Macedonian Kassander urged them to consolidate their numerous small townships into a few considerable cities. Partially, at least, the recommendation was carried into effect, so as to aggrandize Stratus and one or two other towns; but in the succeeding century, the town of Leukas seems to lose its original position as a separate Corinthian colony, and to pass into that of chief city of Akarnania,[797] which is lost only by the sentence of the Roman conquerors.

Passing over the borders of Akarnania, we find small nations or tribes not considered as Greeks, but known, from the fourth century B. C. downwards, under the common name of Epirots. This word signifies properly, inhabitants of a continent, as opposed to those of an island or a peninsula, and came only gradually to be applied by the Greeks as their comprehensive denomination to designate all those diverse tribes, between the Ambrakian gulf on the south and west, Pindus on the east, and the Illyrians and Macedonians to the north and north-east. Of these Epirots, the principal were,—the Chaonians, Thesprotians, Kassôpians, and Molossians,[798] who occupied the country inland as well as maritime along the Ionian sea, from the Akrokeraunian mountains to the borders of Ambrakia in the interior of the Ambrakian gulf. The Agræans and Amphilochians dwelt eastward of the last-mentioned gulf, bordering upon Akarnania: the Athamânes, the Tymphæans, and the Talares, lived along the western skirts and high range of Pindus. Among these various tribes it is difficult to discriminate the semi-Hellenic from the non-Hellenic; for Herodotus considers both Molossians and Thesprotians as Hellenic,—and the oracle of Dôdôna, as well as the Nekyomanteion, or holy cavern for evoking the dead, of Acheron, were both in the territory of the Thesprotians, and both, in the time of the historian, Hellenic. Thucydidês, on the other hand, treats both Molossians and Thesprotians as barbaric, and Strabo says[p. 414] the same respecting the Athamânes, whom Plato numbers as Hellenic.[799] As the Epirots were confounded with the Hellenic communities towards the south, so they become blended with the Macedonian and Illyrian tribes towards the north. The Macedonian Orestæ, north of the Cambunian mountains and east of Pindus, are called by Hekatæus a Molossian tribe; and Strabo even extends the designation Epirots to the Illyrian Paroræia and Atintânes, west of Pindus, nearly on the same parallel of latitude with the Orestæ.[800] It must be remembered, as observed above, that while the designations Illyrians and Macedonians are properly ethnical, given to denote analogies of language, habits, feeling, and supposed origin, and probably acknowledged by the people themselves,—the name Epirots belongs to the Greek language, is given by Greeks alone, and marks nothing except residence on a particular portion of the continent. Theopompus (about 340 B. C.) reckoned fourteen distinct Epirotic nations, among whom the Molossians and Chaonians were the principal. It is possible that some of these may have been semi-Illyrian, others semi-Macedonian, though all were comprised by him under the common name Epirots.[801]

Of these various tribes, who dwelt between the Akrokeraunian promontory and the Ambrakian gulf, some, at least, appear to have been of ethnical kindred with portions of the inhabitants of southern Italy. There were Chaonians on the gulf of Tarentum, before the arrival of the Greek settlers, as well as in Epirus; we do not find the name Thesprotians in Italy, but we find there a town named Pandosia, and a river named Acheron, the same as[p. 415] among the Epirotic Thesprotians: the ubiquitous name Pelasgian is connected both with one and with the other. This ethnical affinity, remote or near, between Œnotrians and Epirots, which we must accept as a fact without being able to follow it into detail, consists at the same time with the circumstance,—that both seem to have been susceptible of Hellenic influences to an unusual degree, and to have been moulded, with comparatively little difficulty, into an imperfect Hellenism, like that of the Ætolians and Akarnanians. The Thesprotian conquerors of Thessaly passed in this manner into Thessalian Greeks, and the Amphilochians who inhabited Argos on the Ambrakian gulf, were Hellenized by the reception of Greeks from Ambrakia, though the Amphilochians situated without the city, still remained barbarous in the time of Thucydidês:[802] a century afterwards, probably, they would be Hellenized, like the rest, by a longer continuance of the same influences,—as happened with the Sikels in Sicily.

To assign the names and exact boundaries of the different tribes inhabiting Epirus, as they stood in the seventh and sixth centuries B. C., at the time when the western stream of Grecian colonization was going on, and when the newly established Ambrakiots must have been engaged in subjugating or expelling the prior occupants of their valuable site,—is out of our power. We have no information prior to Herodotus and Thucydidês, and that which they tell us cannot be safely applied to a time either much earlier or much later than their own. That there was great analogy between the inland Macedonians and the Epirots, from Mount Bermius across the continent to the coast opposite Korkyra, in military equipment, in the fashion of cutting the hair, and in speech, we are apprized by a valuable passage of Strabo; who farther tells us, that many of the tribes spoke two different languages,[803]—a fact which at least, proves very close[p. 416] intercommunion, if not a double origin and incorporation. Wars, or voluntary secessions and new alliances, would alter the boundaries and relative situation of the various tribes. And this would be the more easily effected, as all Epirus, even in the fourth century B. C., was parcelled out among an aggregate of villages, without any great central cities; so that the severance of a village from the Molossian union, and its junction with the Thesprotian (abstracting from the feelings with which it might be connected), would make little practical difference in its condition or proceedings. The gradual increase of Hellenic influence tended partially to centralize this political dispersion, enlarging some of the villages into small towns by the incorporation of some of their neighbors; and in this way, probably, were formed the seventy Epirotic cities which were destroyed and given up to plunder on the same day, by Paulus Emilius and the Roman senate. The Thesprotian Ephyrê is called a city, even by Thucydidês.[804] Nevertheless, the situation was unfavorable to the formation of considerable cities, either on the coast or in the interior, since the physical character of the territory is an exaggeration of that of Greece,—almost throughout, wild, rugged, and mountainous. The valleys and low grounds, though frequent, are never extensive,—while the soil is rarely suited, in any continuous spaces, for the cultivation of corn: insomuch that the flour for the consumption of Janina, at the present day, is transported from Thessaly over the lofty ridge of Pindus, by means of asses and mules;[805] while the fruits and vegetables are brought from Arta, the territory of Ambrakia. Epirus is essentially a pastoral country: its cattle as well as its shepherds and shepherd’s dogs were celebrated throughout all antiquity; and its population then, as now, found divided village residence the most suitable to their means and occupations. In spite of this natural tendency, however, Hellenic influences were to a certain extent efficacious, and[p. 417] it is to them that we are to ascribe the formation of towns like Phœnikê,—an inland city a few miles removed from the sea, in a latitude somewhat north of the northernmost point of Korkyra, which Polybius notices as the most flourishing[806] of the Epirotic cities at the time when it was plundered by the Illyrians in 230 B. C. Passarôn, the ancient spot where the Molossian kings were accustomed on their accession to take their coronation-oath, had grown into a considerable town, in this last century before the Roman conquest; while Tekmôn, Phylakê, and Horreum also became known to us at the same period.[807] But the most important step which those kings made towards aggrandizement, was the acquisition of the Greek city of Ambrakia, which became the capital of the kingdom of Pyrrhus, and thus gave to him the only site suitable for a concentrated population which the country afforded.

If we follow the coast of Epirus from the entrance of the Ambrakian gulf northward to the Akrokeraunian promontory, we shall find it discouraging to Grecian colonization. There are none of those extensive maritime plains which the gulf of Tarentum exhibits on its coast, and which sustained the grandeur of Sybaris and Krotôn. Throughout the whole extent, the mountain-region, abrupt and affording little cultivable soil, approaches near to the sea,[808] and the level ground, wherever it exists, must be commanded and possessed, as it is now, by villagers on hill-sites, always difficult of attack and often inexpugnable. From hence, and from the neighborhood of Korkyra,—herself well situated for traffic with Epirus, and jealous of neighboring rivals,—we may understand why the Grecian emigrants omitted this unprofitable tract, and passed on either northward to the maritime plains of Illyria, or westward to Italy. In the time of Herodotus and Thucydidês, there seems to have been no Hellenic settlement between Ambrakia and Apollonia. The harbor called Glykys Limên, and the neighboring valley and plain, the most considerable in Epirus, next to that of Ambrakia, near the junction of[p. 418] the lake and river of Acheron with the sea, were possessed by the Thesprotian town of Ephyrê, situated on a neighboring eminence; perhaps also, in part, by the ancient Thesprotian town of Pandosia, so pointedly connected, both in Italy and Epirus, with the river Acheron.[809] Amidst the almost inexpugnable mountains and gorges which mark the course of that Thesprotian river, was situated the memorable recent community of Suli, which held in dependence many surrounding villages in the lower grounds and in the plain,—the counterpart of primitive Epirotic rulers in situation, in fierceness, and in indolence, but far superior to them in energetic bravery and endurance. It appears that after the time of Thucydidês, certain Greek settlers must have found admission into the Epirotic towns in this region. For Dêmosthenês[810] mentions Pandosia, Buchetia, and Elæa, as settlements from Elis, which Philip of Macedon conquered and handed over to his brother-in-law the king of the Molossian Epirots; and Strabo tells us that the name of Ephyrê had been changed to Kichyrus, which appears to imply an accession of new inhabitants.

Both the Chaonians and Thesprotians appear, in the time of Thucydidês, as having no kings: there was a privileged kingly race, but the presiding chief was changed from year to year. The Molossians, however, had a line of kings, succeeding from father to son, which professed to trace its descent through fifteen generations downward, from Achilles and Neoptolemus to Tharypas about the year 400 B. C.; they were thus a scion of the great Æakid race. Admêtus, the Molossian king to whom Themistoklês presented himself as a suppliant, appears to have lived in the simplicity of an inland village chief. But Arrybas, his[p. 419] son or grandson, is said to have been educated at Athens, and to have introduced improved social regularity into his native country: while the subsequent kings both imitated the ambition and received the aid of Philip of Macedon, extending their dominion[811] over a large portion of the other Epirots: even in the time of Skylax, they covered a large inland territory, though their portion of sea-coast was confined. From the narrative of Thucydidês, we gather that all the Epirots, though held together by no political union, were yet willing enough to combine for purposes of aggression and plunder. The Chaonians enjoyed a higher military reputation than the rest,—but the account which Thucydidês gives of their expedition against Akarnania exhibits a blind, reckless, boastful impetuosity, which contrasts strikingly with the methodical and orderly march of their Greek allies and companions.[812] We may here notice, that the Kassopæans, whom Skylax places in the south-western portion of Epirus between the Acheron and the Ambrakian gulf, are not noticed either by Herodotus or Thucydidês: the former, indeed, conceives the river Acheron and the Thesprotians as conterminous with the Ambrakiotic territory.

To collect the few particulars known respecting these ruder communities adjacent to Greece, is a task indispensable for the just comprehension of the Grecian world, and for the appreciation of the Greeks themselves, by comparison or contrast with their contemporaries. Indispensable as it is, however, it can hardly be rendered in itself interesting to the reader, whose patience I have to bespeak by assuring him that the facts hereafter to be recounted of Grecian history would be only half understood without this preliminary survey of the lands around.


[1] Thucyd. i, 13.

[2] Thucyd. i, 13.

[3] Plutarch, Amator. Narrat. c. 2, p. 772; Diodor. Fragm. lib. viii, p. 26. Alexander, Ætolus (Fragm. i, 5, ed. Schneidewin), and the Scholiast ad Apollon. Rhod. iv, 1212, seem to connect this act of outrage with the expulsion of the Bacchiadæ from Corinth, which did not take place until long afterwards.

[4] The first account seems referred to Dêmôn (an author of about 280 B. C., and a collector of Attic archæology, or what is called Ἀτθιδόγραφος. See Phanodêmi, Dêmônis, Clitodêmi, atque Istri, Ἀτθίδων, Fragmenta, ed. Siebelis, Præfatio, pp. viii-xi), and is given as the explanation of the locution—ὁ Διὸς Κόρινθος. See Schol. ad Pindar. Nem. vii, ad finem; Schol. Aristophan. Ran. 440: the Corinthians seem to have represented their eponymous hero as son of Zeus, though other Greeks did not believe them (Pausan. ii, 1, 1). That the Megarians were compelled to come to Corinth for demonstration of mourning on occasion of the decease of any of the members of the Bacchiad oligarchy, is, perhaps, a story copied from the regulation at Sparta regarding the Periœki and Helots (Herod. vi, 57; Pausan. iv, 14, 3; Tyrtæus, Fragm.). Pausanias conceives the victory of the Megarians over the Corinthians, which he saw commemorated in the Megarian θησαυρὸς at Olympia, as having taken place before the 1st Olympiad, when Phorbas was life-archon at Athens: Phorbas is placed by chronologers fifth in the series from Medon, son of Codrus (Pausan. i, 39, 4; vi, 19, 9). The early enmity between Corinth and Megara is alluded to in Plutarch, De Malignitate Herodoti, p. 868, c. 35.

The second story noticed in the text is given by Plutarch, Quæstion. Græc. c. 17, p. 295, in illustration of the meaning of the word Δορύξενος.

[5] Pausanias, i, 44, 1, and the epigram upon Orsippus in Boeckh, Corpus Inscript. Gr. No. 1050, with Boeckh’s commentary.

[6] See a striking passage in Plutarch. Præcept. Reipubl. Gerend. c. 5, p. 801.

[7] Plutarch, Pyrrh. c. 5. Aristot. Polit. v, 9, 1.

[8] Aristot. Polit. v, 9, 1.

[9] See this subject discussed in the admirable collection of letters, called the Federalist, written in 1787, during the time when the federal constitution of the United States of America was under discussion.—Letters 9, 10, 14, by Mr. Madison.

“Il est de la nature d’une république (says Montesquieu, Esprit des Loix, viii, 16) de n’avoir qu’un petit territoire: sans cela, elle ne peut guère subsister.”

[10] David Hume, in his Essay xii (vol. i, p. 159, ed. 1760), after remarking “that all kinds of government, free and despotic, seem to have undergone in modern times (i. e. as compared with ancient) a great change for the better, with regard both to foreign and domestic management,” proceeds to say:—

“But though all kinds of government be improved in modern times, yet monarchical government seems to have made the greatest advances towards perfection. It may now be affirmed of civilized monarchies, what was formerly said in praise of republics alone, that they are a government of laws, not of men. They are found susceptible of order, method, and constancy to a surprising degree. Property is there secure; industry encouraged; the arts flourish; and the prince lives secure among his subjects, like a father among his children. There are, perhaps, and have been for two centuries, near two hundred absolute princes, great and small, in Europe; and allowing twenty years to each reign, we may suppose that there have been in the whole two thousand monarchs, or tyrants, as the Greeks would have called them; yet of these there has not been one, not even Philip the Second of Spain, so bad as Tiberius, Caligula, Nero, Domitian, who were four in twelve amongst the Roman emperors. It must, however, be confessed, that though monarchical governments have approached nearer to popular ones in gentleness and stability, they are still much inferior. Our modern education and customs instil more humanity and moderation than the ancient, but have not as yet been able to overcome entirely the disadvantages of that form of government.”

[11] See the Lectures of M. Guizot, Cours d’Histoire Moderne, Leçon 30, vol. iii, p. 187, edit. 1829.

[12] M. Augustin Thierry observes, Lettres sur l’Histoire de France, Lettre xvi, p. 235:—

“Sans aucun souvenir de l’histoire Grecque ou Romaine, les bourgeois des onzième et douzième siècles, soit que leur ville fut sous la seigneurie d’un roi, d’un comte, d’un duc, d’un évêque ou d’une abbaye, allaient droit à la république: mais la réaction du pouvoir établi les rejetait souvent en arrière. Du balancement de ces deux forces opposées résultait pour la ville une sort de gouvernement mixte, et c’est ce qui arriva, en général, dans le nord de la France, comme le prouvent les chartes de commune.”

Even among the Italian cities, which became practically self-governing, and produced despots as many in number and as unprincipled in character as the Grecian (I shall touch upon this comparison more largely hereafter), Mr. Hallam observes, that “the sovereignty of the emperors, though not very effective, was in theory always admitted: their name was used in public acts and appeared upon the coin.”—View of the Middle Ages, part i, ch. 3, p. 346, sixth edit.

See also M. Raynouard, Histoire du Droit Municipal en France, book iii, ch. 12, vol. ii. p. 156: “Cette séparation essentielle et fondamentale entre les actes, les agens du gouvernement—et les actes, les agens de l’administration locale pour les affaires locales—cette démarcation politique, dont l’empire Romain avoit donné l’exemple, et qui concilioit le gouvernement monarchique avec une administration populaire—continua plus ou moins expressément sous les trois dynasties.”

M. Raynouard presses too far his theory of the continuous preservation of the municipal powers in towns from the Roman empire down to the third French dynasty; but into this question it is not necessary for my purpose to enter.

[13] In reference to the Italian republics of the Middle Ages, M. Sismondi observes, speaking of Philip della Torre, denominated signor by the people of Como, Vercelli, and Bergamo, “Dans ces villes, non plus que dans celles que son frère s’était auparavant assujetties, le peuple ne croyoit point renoncer à sa liberté: il n’avoit point voulu choisir un maître, mais seulement un protecteur contre les nobles, un capitaine des gens de guerre, et un chef de la justice. L’expérience lui apprit trop tard, que ces prérogatives réunies constituoient un souverain.”—Républiques Italiennes, vol. iii, ch. 20, p. 273.

[14] Herod. iii, 80. Νóμαιά τε κινεῖ πάτρια, καὶ βιᾶται γυναῖκας, κτείνει τε ἀκρίτους.

[15] Euripides (Supplices, 429) states plainly the idea of a τύραννος, as received in Greece the antithesis to laws:—

Οὐδὲν τυράννου δυσμενέστερον πόλει·

Ὅπου, τὸ μὲν πρώτιστον, οὔκ εἰσιν νόμοι

Κοινοὶ, κρατεῖ δ᾽ εἷς, τὸν νόμον κεκτημένος

Αὐτὸς παρ᾽ αὑτῷ.

Compare Soph. Antigon. 737. See, also, the discussion in Aristot. Polit. iii, sect. 10 and 11, in which the rule of the king is discussed in comparison with the government of laws; compare also iv, 8, 2-3. The person called “a king according to law” is, in his judgment, no king at all: Ὁ μὲν γὰρ κατὰ νόμον λεγόμενος βασιλεὺς οὔκ ἐστιν εἶδος καθάπερ εἴπομεν βασιλείας (iii, 11, 1).

Respecting ἰσονομίη, ἰσηγορίη, παῤῥησία,—equal laws and equal speech,—as opposed to monarchy, see Herodot. iii, 142, v. 78-92; Thucyd. iii, 62; Demosthen. ad Leptin. c. 6, p. 461; Eurip. Ion. 671.

Of Timoleon it was stated, as a part of the grateful vote passed after his death by the Syracusan assembly,—ὅτι τοὺς τυράννους καταλύσας,—ἀπέδωκε τοὺς νόμους τοῖς Σικελιώταις (Plutarch. Timoleon. c. 39).

See Karl Fried. Hermann, Griech. Staatsalterthümer, sect. 61-65.

[16] See the account of Deiokês, the first Median king, in Herodotus, i, 98, evidently an outline drawn by Grecian imagination: also, the Cyropædia of Xenophon, viii, 1, 40; viii, 3, 1-14; vii, 5, 37 ... οὐ τούτῳ μόνῳ ἐνόμιζε (Κῦρος) χρῆναι τοὺς ἄρχοντας τῶν ἀρχομένων διαφέρειν τῷ βελτίονας αὐτῶν εἶναι, ἀλλὰ καὶ καταγοητεύειν ᾤετο χρῆναι αὐτοὺς, etc.

[17] David Hume, Essay xvii, On the Rise and Progress of the Arts and Sciences, p. 198, ed. 1760. The effects of the greater or less extent of territory, upon the nature of the government, are also well discussed in Destutt Tracy, Commentaire sur l’Esprit des Loix de Montesquieu, ch. viii.

[18] Aristot. Polit. iii, 9, 7; iii, 10, 7-8.

M. Augustin Thierry remarks, in a similar spirit, that the great political change, common to so large a portion of mediæval Europe in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, whereby the many different communes or city constitutions were formed, was accomplished under great varieties of manner and circumstance; sometimes by violence, sometimes by harmonious accord.

“C’est une controverse qui doit finir, que celle des franchises municipales obtenues par l’insurrection et des franchises municipales accordées. Quelque face du problême qu’on envisage, il reste bien entendu que les constitutions urbaines du xii et du xiii siècle, comme toute espèce d’institutions politiques dans tous les temps, ont pu s’établir à force ouverte, s’octroyer de guerre lasse ou de plein gré, être arrachées ou sollicitées, vendues ou données gratuitement: les grandes révolutions sociales s’accomplissent par tous ces moyens à la fois.”—(Aug. Thierry, Récits des Temps Mérovingiens, Préface, p. 19, 2de édit.)

[19] Aristot. Polit. iii, 10, 7. Ἐπεὶ δὲ (i. e. after the early kings had had their day) συνέβαινε γίγνεσθαι πολλοὺς ὁμοίους πρὸς ἀρετὴν, οὔκετι ὑπέμενον (τὴν Βασίλειαν), ἀλλ’ ἐζήτουν κοινόν τι, καὶ πολίτειαν καθίστασαν.

Κοινόν τι, a commune, the great object for which the European towns in the Middle Ages, in the twelfth century, struggled with so much energy, and ultimately obtained: a charter of incorporation, and a qualified privilege of internal self-government.

[20] The definition of a despot is given in Cornelius Nepos, Vit. Miltiadis, c. 8: “Omnes habentur et dicuntur tyranni, qui potestate sunt perpetuâ in eâ civitate, quæ libertate usa est:” compare Cicero de Republicâ, ii, 26, 27; iii, 14.

The word τύραννος was said by Hippias the sophist to have first found its way into the Greek language about the time of Archilochus (B. C. 660): Boeckh thinks that it came from the Lydians or Phyrgians (Comment. ad Corp. Inscrip. No. 3439).

[21] Aristot. Polit. v, 8, 2, 3, 4. Τύραννος—ἐκ προστατικῆς ῥίζης καὶ οὐκ ἄλλοθεν ἐκβλαστάνει (Plato, Repub. viii, c. 17, p. 565). Οὐδενὶ γὰρ δὴ ἄδηλον, ὅτι πᾶς τύραννος ἐκ δημοκόλακος φύεται (Dionys. Halic. vi, 60): a proposition decidedly too general.

[22] Aristot. iii, 9, 5; iii, 10, 1-10; iv, 8, 2. Αἰσυμνῆται—αὐτοκράτορες μόναρχοι ἐν τοῖς ἀρχαίοις Ἕλλησι—αἱρετὴ τυραννίς: compare Theophrastus, fragment. περὶ Βασιλείας, and Dionys. Hal. A. R. v, 73-74; Strabo, xiii, p. 617; and Aristot. Fragment. Rerum Publicarum, ed. Neumann, p. 122, Κυμαίων Πολιτεία.

[23] Aristot. Polit. v, 8, 2, 3, 4; v, 4, 5. Aristotle refers to one of the songs of Alkæus as his evidence respecting the elevation of Pittakus: a very sufficient proof doubtless,—but we may see that he had no other informants, except the poets, about these early times.

[24] Dionys. Hal. A. R. vii, 2, 12. The reign of Aristodemus falls about 510 B. C.

[25] Thucyd. i, 17. Τύραννοι δὲ ὅσοι ἦσαν ἐν ταῖς Ἑλληνικαῖς πόλεσι, τὸ ἐφ᾽ ἑαυτῶν μόνον προορώμενοι ἔς τε τὸ σῶμα καὶ ἐς τὸ τὸν ἴδιον οἶκον αὔξειν δι᾽ ἀσφαλείας ὅσον ἐδύναντο μάλιστα, τὰς πόλεις ᾤκουν.

[26] Wachsmuth (Hellenische Alterthumskunde, sect. 49-51) and Tittmann (Griechisch. Staatsverfassungen, pp. 527-533) both make too much of the supposed friendly connection and mutual good-will between the despot and the poorer freemen. Community of antipathy against the old oligarchy was a bond essentially temporary, dissolved as soon as that oligarchy was put down.

[27] Aristot. Polit. v, 4, 4; 7, 3. Ἐπὶ δὲ τῶν ἀρχαίων, ὅτε γένοιτο ὁ αὐτὸς δημαγωγὸς καὶ στρατηγὸς, εἰς τυραννίδα μετέβαλλον· σχεδὸν γὰρ οἱ πλεῖστοι τῶν ἀρχαίων τυράννων ἐκ δημαγωγῶν γεγόνασι. Αἴτιον δὲ τοῦ τότε μὲν γενέσθαι, νῦν δὲ μὴ, ὅτι τότε μὲν, οἱ δημαγωγοὶ ἦσαν ἐκ τῶν στρατηγούντων· οὐ γάρ πω δεινοὶ ἦσαν λέγειν· νῦν δὲ, τῆς ῥητορικῆς ηὐξημένης, οἱ δυνάμενοι λέγειν δημαγωγοῦσι μὲν, δι’ ἀπειρίαν δὲ τῶν πολεμικῶν οὐκ ἐπιτίθενται, πλὴν εἴ που βραχύ τι γέγονε τοιοῦτον.

[28] Aristot. Polit. v, 8, 20. The whole tenor of this eighth chapter (of the fifth book) shows how unrestrained were the personal passions,—the lust as well as the anger,—of a Grecian τύραννος.

Τόν τοι τύραννον εὐσεβεῖν οὐ ῥᾴδιον (Sophokles ap. Schol. Aristides, vol. iii, p. 291, ed. Dindorf).

[29] Aristot. Polit. iii, 8, 3; v, 8, 7. Herodot. v, 92. Herodotus gives the story as if Thrasybulus had been the person to suggest this hint by conducting the messenger of Periander into a cornfield and there striking off the tallest ears with his stick: Aristotle reverses the two, and makes Periander the adviser: Livy (i, 54) transfers the scene to Gabii and Rome, with Sextus Tarquinius as the person sending for counsel to his father at Rome. Compare Plato, Republ. viii, c. 17, p. 565; Eurip. Supplic. 444-455.

The discussion which Herodotus ascribes to the Persian conspirators, after the assassination of the Magian king, whether they should constitute the Persian government as a monarchy, an oligarchy, or a democracy, exhibits a vein of ideas purely Grecian, and altogether foreign to the Oriental conception of government: but it sets forth,—briefly, yet with great perspicuity and penetration,—the advantages and disadvantages of all the three. The case made out against monarchy is by far the strongest, while the counsel on behalf of monarchy assumes as a part of his case that the individual monarch is to be the best man in the state. The anti-monarchical champion Otanes concludes a long string of criminations against the despot, with these words above-noticed: “He subverts the customs of the country: he violates women: he puts men to death untried.” (Herod. iii, 80-82.)

[30] Thucyd. ii, 63. Compare again the speech of Kleon, iii, 37-40,—ὡς τυραννίδα γὰρ ἔχετε αὐτὴν, ἣν λαβεῖν μὲν ἄδικον δοκεῖ εἶναι, ἀφεῖναι δὲ ἐπικίνδυνον.

The bitter sentiment against despots seems to be as old as Alkæus, and we find traces of it in Solon and Theognis (Theognis, 38-50; Solon, Fragm. vii, p. 32, ed. Schneidewin). Phanias of Eresus had collected in a book the “Assassinations of Despots from revenge.” (Τυράννων ἀναιρέσεις ἐκ τιμωρίας,—Athenæus, iii, p. 90; x, p. 438.)

[31] See the story of Mæandrius, minister and successor of Polykratês of Samos, in Herodotus, iii, 142, 143.

[32] Thucyd. vi, 54. The epitaph of Archedikê, the daughter of Hippias (which was inscribed at Lampsakus, where she died), though written by a great friend of Hippias, conveys the sharpest implied invective against the usual proceedings of the despots:—

Ἡ πατρός τε καὶ ἀνδρὸς ἀδελφῶν τ᾽ οὖσα τυράννων

Παιδῶν τ᾽, οὐχ ᾕρθη νοῦν ἐς ἀτασθαλίην (Thuc. vi, 59).

The position of Augustus at Rome, and of Peisistratus at Athens, may be illustrated by a passage in Sismondi, Républiques Italiennes, vol. iv, ch. 26, p. 208:—

“Les petits monarques de chaque ville s’opposaient eux-mêmes à ce que leur pouvoir fût attribué à un droit héréditaire, parce que l’hérédité aurait presque toujours été retorquée contre eux. Ceux qui avaient succédé à une république, avaient abaissé des nobles plus anciens et plus illustres qu’eux: ceux qui avaient succédé à d’autres seigneurs n’avaient tenu aucun compte du droit de leurs prédécesseurs, et se sentaient intéressés à le nier. Ils se disaient donc mandataires du peuple: ils ne prenaient jamais le commandement d’une ville, lors même qu’ils l’avaient soumise par les armes, sans se faire attribuer par les anciens ou par l’assemblée du peuple, selon que les uns ou les autres se montraient plus dociles, le titre et les pouvoirs de seigneur général, pour un an, pour cinq ans, ou pour toute leur vie, avec une paie fixée, qui devoit être prise sur les deniers de la communauté.”

[33] Consult, especially, the treatise of Xenophon, called Hiero, or Τυραννικὸς, in which the interior life and feelings of the Grecian despot are strikingly set forth, in a supposed dialogue with the poet Simonides. The tenor of Plato’s remarks in the eighth and ninth books of the Republic, and those of Aristotle in the fifth book (ch. 8 and 9) of the Politics, display the same picture, though not with such fulness of detail. The speech of one of the assassins of Euphrôn (despot of Sikyon) is remarkable, as a specimen of Grecian feeling (Xenoph. Hellen. vii, 3, 7-12). The expressions both of Plato and Tacitus, in regard to the mental wretchedness of the despot, are the strongest which the language affords: Καὶ πένης τῇ ἀληθείᾳ φαίνεται, ἐάν τις ὅλην ψυχὴν ἐπίστηται θεάσασθαι, καὶ φόβου γέμων διὰ παντὸς τοῦ βίου, σφαδασμῶν τε καὶ ὀδυνῶν πλήρης ... Ἀνάγκη καὶ εἶναι, καὶ ἔτι μᾶλλον γίγνεσθαι αὐτῷ ἢ πρότερον διὰ τὴν ἀρχὴν, φθονερῷ, ἀπίστῳ, ἀδίκῳ, ἀφίλῳ, ἀνοσίῳ, καὶ πάσης κακίας πανδοκεῖ τε καὶ τροφεῖ, καὶ ἐξ ἁπάντων τούτων μάλιστα μὲν αὐτῷ δυστυχεῖ εἶναι, ἔπειτα δὲ καὶ τοὺς πλησίον αὑτῷ τοιούτους ἀπεργάζεσθαι (Republic, ix, p. 580).

And Tacitus, in the well-known passage (Annal. vi, 6): “Neque frustra præstantissimus sapientiæ firmare solitus est, si recludantur tyrannorum mentes, posse aspici laniatus et ictus: quando ut corpora verberibus, ita sævitiâ, libidine, malis consultis, animus dilaceretur. Quippe Tiberium non fortuna, non solitudines, protegebant, quin tormenta pectoris suasque ipse pœnas fateretur.”

It is not easy to imagine power more completely surrounded with all circumstances calculated to render it repulsive to a man of ordinary benevolence: the Grecian despot had large means of doing harm,—scarcely any means of doing good. Yet the acquisition of power over others, under any conditions, is a motive so all-absorbing, that even this precarious and anti-social sceptre was always intensely coveted,—Τυραννὶς, χρῆμα σφαλερὸν, πολλοὶ δὲ αὐτῆς ἐρασταί εἰσι (Herod. iii, 53). See the striking lines of Solon (Fragment, vii, ed. Schneidewin), and the saying of Jason of Pheræ, who used to declare that he felt incessant hunger until he became despot,—πεινῇν, ὅτε μὴ τυραννοῖ· ὡς οὐκ ἐπιστάμενος ἰδιώτης εἶναι (Aristot. Polit. iii, 2, 6).

[34] See the beautiful Skolion of Kallistratus, so popular at Athens, xxvii, p. 456, apud Schneidewin, Poet. Græc.—Ἐν μύρτου κλαδὶ τὸ ξίφος φορήσω, etc.

Xenophon, Hiero, ii, 8. Οἱ τύραννοι πάντες πανταχῆ ὡς διὰ πολεμίας πορεύονται. Compare Isokrates, Or. viii (De Pace), p. 182; Polyb. ii, 59; Cicero, Orat. pro Milone, c. 29.

Aristot. Polit. ii, 4, 8. Επεὶ ἀδικοῦσί γε τὰ μέγιστα διὰ τὰς ὑπερβολὰς, ᾿αλλ᾽ οὐ διὰ τἀναγκαῖα· οἶον τυραννοῦσιν, οὐχ ἵνα μὴ ῥιγῶσι· διὸ καὶ αἱ τιμαὶ μεγάλαι, ἂν ἀποκτείνῃ τις, οὐ κλέπτην, ἀλλὰ τύραννον.

There cannot be a more striking manifestation of the sentiment entertained towards a despot in the ancient world, than the remarks of Plutarch on Timoleon, for his conduct in assisting to put to death his brother, the despot Timophanês (Plutarch, Timoleon, c. 4-7, and Comp. of Timoleon with Paulus Æmilius, c. 2). See also Plutarch, Comparison of Dion and Brutus, c. 3, and Plutarch, Præcepta Reipublicæ Gerendæ, c. 11, p. 805; c. 17, p. 813; c. 32, p. 824,—he speaks of the putting down of a despot (τυραννίδων κατάλυσις) as among the most splendid of human exploits,—and the account given by Xenophon of the assassination of Jason of Pheræ, Hellenic. vi, 4, 32.

[35] Livy, xxxviii, 50. “Qui jus æquum pati non possit, in eum vim haud injustam esse.”

[36] Plutarch, Sept. Sapient. Conviv. c. 2, p. 147,—ὡς ἐρωτηθεὶς ὑπὸ Μολπαγόρου τοῦ Ἴωνος, τί παραδοξότατον εἴης ἑωρακὼς, ἀποκρίναιο, τύραννον γέροντα.—Compare the answer of Thales, in the same treatise, c. 7, p. 152.

The orator Lysias, present at the Olympic games, and seeing the theors of the Syracusan despot Dionysius also present, in tents with gilding and purple, addressed an harangue, inciting the assembled Greeks to demolish the tents (Lysiæ Λόγος Ὀλυμπιακὸς, Fragm. p. 911, ed. Reisk.; Dionys. Halicar. De Lysiâ Judicium, c. 29-30). Theophrastus ascribed to Themistokles a similar recommendation, in reference to the theôrs and the prize-chariots of the Syracusan despot Hiero (Plutarch, Themistokles, c. 25).

The common-places of the rhetors afford the best proof how unanimous was the sentiment in the Greek mind to rank the despot among the most odious criminals, and the man who put him to death among the benefactors of humanity. The rhetor Theon, treating upon common-places, says: Τόπος ἐστὶ λόγος αὐξητικὸς ὁμολογουμένου πράγματος, ἤτοι ἁμαρτήματος, ἢ ἀνδραγαθήματος. Ἐστὶ γὰρ διττὸς ὁ τόπος· ὁ μέν τις, κατὰ τῶν πεπονηρευμένων, οἷον κατὰ τυράννου, προδότου, ἀνδροφόνου, ἀσώτου· ὁ δέ τις, ὑπὲρ τῶν χρηστόν τι διαπεπραγμένων· οἷον ὑπὲρ τυραννοκτόνου, ἀριστέως, νομοθέτου. (Theon, Progymnasmata, c. vii, ap. Walz. Coll. Rhett. vol. i, p. 222. Compare Aphthonius, Progymn. c. vii, p. 82 of the same volume, and Dionysius Halikarn. Ars Rhetorica, x, 15, p. 390, ed. Reiske.)

[37] Thucyd. i, 13.

[38] Aristot. Polit. iv, 3, 2; 11, 10. Aristot. Rerum Public. Fragm. ed. Neumann. Fragm. v. Εὐβοέων πολιτεῖαι, p. 112; Strabo, x, p. 447.

[39] Aristot. Polit. v, 9, 21. An oracle is said to have predicted to the Sikyonians that they would be subjected for the period of a century to the hand of the scourger (Diodor. Fragm. lib. vii-x; Fragm. xiv, ed. Maii).

[40] Herodot. vi, 126; Pausan. ii, 8, 1. There is some confusion about the names of Orthagoras and Andreas; the latter is called a cook in Diodorus (Fragment. Excerpt. Vatic. lib. vii-x, Fragm. xiv). Compare Libanius in Sever. vol. iii, p. 251, Reisk. It has been supposed, with some probability, that the same person is designated under both names: the two names do not seem to occur in the same author. See Plutarch, Ser. Numin. Vind. c. 7, p. 553.

Aristotle (Polit. v, 10, 3) seems to have conceived the dominion as having passed direct from Myrôn to Kleisthenês, omitting Aristônymus.

[41] Pausan. vi, 19, 2. The Eleians informed Pausanias that the brass in these alcoves came from Tartessus (the south-western coast of Spain from the Strait of Gibraltar to the territory beyond Cadiz): he declines to guarantee the statement. But O. Müller treats it as a certainty: “Two apartments inlaid with Tartessian brass, and adorned with Doric and Ionic columns. Both the architectural orders employed in this building, and the Tartessian brass, which the Phocæans had then brought to Greece in large quantities from the hospitable king Arganthonius, attest the intercourse of Myrôn with the Asiatics.” (Dorians, i, 8, 2.) So also Dr. Thirlwall states the fact: “Copper of Tartessus, which had not long been introduced into Greece.” (Hist. Gr. ch. x, p. 483, 2d ed.) Yet, if we examine the chronology of the case, we shall see that the 33d Olympiad (648 B. C.) must have been earlier even than the first discovery of Tartessus by the Greeks,—before the accidental voyage of the Samian merchant Kôlaeus first made the region known to them, and more than half a century (at least) earlier than the commerce of the Phocæans with Arganthonius. Compare Herod. iv. 152; i, 163, 167.

[42] Herodot. v. 67.

[43] See above, vol. ii, p. 129, part i, ch. 21.

[44] Herod. v, 67. Τοῦτον ἐπεθύμησε ὁ Κλεισθένης, ἐόντα Ἀργεῖον, ἐκβαλεῖν ἐκ τῆς χώρης.

[45] Herod. v, 67. Ἐφρόντιζε μηχανὴν τῇ αὐτὸς ὁ Ἄδρηστος ἀπαλλάξεται.

[46] Ἐπαγαγόμενος δὲ ὁ Κλεισθένης τὸν Μελάνιππον, τέμενος οἱ ἀπέδεξε ἐν αὐτῷ τῷ πρυτανηΐῳ, καί μιν ἐνθαῦτα ἵδρυσε ἐν τῷ ἰσχυροτάτῳ. (Herod. ib.)

[47] Julius Pollux, iii, 83; Plutarch, Quæst. Græc. c. 1, p. 291; Theopompus ap. Athenæum, vi, p. 271; Welcker, Prolegomen. ad Theognid. c. 19, p. xxxiv.

As an analogy to this name of Konipodes, we may notice the ancient courts of justice called Courts of Pie-powder in England, Pieds Poudrés.

[48] Aristot. Polit. v, 9, 21; Pausan. x, 7, 3.

[49] Herod, v, 68. Τούτοισι τοῖσι οὐνόμασι τῶν φυλέων ἐχρέωντο οἱ Σικυώνιοι, καὶ ἐπὶ Κλεισθένεος ἄρχοντος, καὶ ἐκείνου τεθνεῶτος ἔτι ἐπ᾽ ἔτεα ἑξήκοντα· μετέπειτα μέντοι λόγον σφισι δόντες, μετέβαλον ἐς τοὺς Ὑλλέας καὶ Παμφύλους καὶ Δυμανάτας· τετάρτους δὲ αὐτοῖσι προσέθεντο ἐπὶ τοῦ Ἀδρήστου παιδὸς Αἰγιαλέος τὴν ἐπωνυμίην ποιεύμενοι κεκλῆσθαι Αἰγιαλέας.

[50] The chronology of Orthagoras and his dynasty is perplexing. The commemorative offering of Myron at Olympia is marked for 648 B. C., and this must throw back the beginning of Orthagoras to a period between 680-670. Then we are told by Aristotle that the entire dynasty lasted one hundred years; but it must have lasted, probably, somewhat longer, for the death of Kleisthenês can hardly be placed earlier than 560 B. C. The war against Kirrha (595 B. C.) and the Pythian victory (582 B. C.) fall within his reign: but the marriage of his daughter Agaristê with Megaklês can hardly be put earlier than 570 B. C., if so high; for Kleisthenês the Athenian, the son of that marriage, effected the democratical revolution at Athens in 509 or 508 B. C.: whether the daughter, whom Megaklês gave in marriage to Peisistratus about 554 B. C., was also the offspring of that marriage, as Larcher contends, we do not know.

Megaklês was the son of that Alkmæon who had assisted the deputies sent by Crœsus of Lydia into Greece to consult the different oracles, and whom Crœsus rewarded so liberally as to make his fortune (compare Herod. i, 46; vi, 125): and the marriage of Megaklês was in the next generation after this enrichment of Alkmæon,—μετὰ δὲ, γενεῇ δευτέρῃ ὕστερον (Herod. vi, 126). Now the reign of Crœsus extended from 560-546 B. C. and his deputation to the oracles in Greece appears to have taken place about 556 B. C.; and if this chronology be admitted, the marriage of Megaklês with the daughter of the Sikyonian Kleisthenês cannot have taken place until considerably after 556 B. C. See the long, but not very satisfactory, note of Larcher, ad Herodot. v, 66.

But I shall show grounds for believing, when I recount the interview between Solon and Crœsus, that Herodotus in his conception of events misdates very considerably the reign and proceedings of Crœsus as well as of Peisistratus: this is a conjecture of Niebuhr which I think very just, and which is rendered still more probable by what we find here stated about the succession of the Alkmæonidæ. For it is evident that Herodotus here conceives the adventure between Alkmæon and Crœsus as having occurred one generation (about twenty-five or thirty years) anterior to the marriage between Megaklês and the daughter of Kleisthenês. That adventure will thus stand about 590-585 B. C., which would be about the time of the supposed interview (if real) between Solon and Crœsus, describing the maximum of the power and prosperity of the latter.

[51] Müller, Dorians, book i, 8, 2; Thirlwall, Hist. of Greece, vol. i, ch. x, p. 486, 2d ed.

[52] Herod. vi, 127-131. The locution explained is,—Οὐ φροντὶς Ἱπποκλείδῃ: compare the allusions to it in the Parœmiographi, Zenob. v, 31; Diogenian. vii, 21; Suidas, xi, 45, ed. Schott.

The convocation of the suitors at the invitation of Kleisthenês from all parts of Greece, and the distinctive mark and character of each, is prettily told, as well as the drunken freak whereby Hippokleidês forfeits both the favor of Kleisthenês, and the hand of Agaristê, which he was on the point of obtaining. It seems to be a story framed upon the model of various incidents in the old epic, especially the suitors of Helen.

On one point, however, the author of the story seems to have overlooked both the exigencies of chronology and the historical position and feelings of his hero Kleisthenês. For among the suitors who present themselves at Sikyôn in conformity with the invitation of the latter, one is Leôkêdês, son of Pheidôn the despot of Argos. Now the hostility and vehement antipathy towards Argos, which Herodotus ascribes in another place to the Sikyonian Kleisthenês, renders it all but impossible that the son of any king of Argos could have become a candidate for the hand of Agaristê. I have already recounted the violence which Kleisthenês did to the legendary sentiment of his native town, and the insulting names which he put upon the Sikyonian Dorians,—all under the influence of a strong anti-Argeian feeling. Next, as to chronology: Pheidôn king of Argos lived some time between 760-730; and his son can never have been a candidate for the daughter of Kleisthenês, whose reign falls 600-500 B. C. Chronologers resort here to the usual resource in cases of difficulty: they recognize a second and later Pheidôn, whom they affirm that Herodotus has confounded with the first: or they alter the text of Herodotus, and in place of “son of Pheidôn,” read “descendant of Pheidôn.” But neither of these conjectures rests upon any basis: the text of Herodotus is smooth and clear, and the second Pheidôn is nowhere else authenticated. See Larcher and Wesseling, ad loc.; compare also vol. ii, p. 419, part ii, ch. 4, of this History.

[53] Plutarch, De Herod. Malign. c. 21, p. 859.

[54] Pausan. ii, 4, 9.

[55] Aristot. Polit. v, 9, 22; Herodot. v, 92. The tale respecting Kypselus, and his wholesale exaction from the people, contained in the spurious second book of the Œconomica of Aristotle, coincides with the general view of Herodotus (Aristot. Œconom. ii, 2); but I do not trust the statements of this treatise for facts of the sixth or seventh centuries B. C.

[56] Aristot. Polit. v, 9, 2-22; iii, 8, 3; Herodot. v, 92.

[57] Ephorus, Frag. 106, ed. Marx.; Herakleidês Ponticus, Frag. v, ed. Köhler; Nicolaus Damasc. p. 50, ed. Orell.; Diogen. Laërt. i, 96-98; Suidas, v. Κυψελίδων ἀνάθημα.

[58] Herodot. iii, 47-54. He details at some length this tragical story. Compare Plutarch, De Herodoti Malignitat. c. 22, p. 860.

[59] Aristot. Polit. v, 3, 6; 8, 9. Plutarch, Amatorius, c. 23, p. 768, and De Serâ Numinis Vindictâ, c. 7, p. 553. Strabo, vii, p. 325; x, p. 452. Scymnus Chius, v, 454, and Antoninus Liberalis, c. iv, who quotes the lost work called Ἀμβρακικὰ of Athanadas.

[60] See Mr. Clinton, Fasti Hellenici, ad ann. 625-585 B. C.

[61] Pausan. v, 2, 4; 17, 2. Strabo, viii, p. 353. Compare Schneider, Epimetrum ad Xenophon. Anabas. p. 570. The chest was seen at Olympia, both by Pausanias and by Dio Chrysostom (Or. xi, p. 325, Reiske).

[62] Plutarch, De Herodot. Malign. c. 21, p. 859. If Herodotus had known or believed that the dynasty of the Kypselids at Corinth was put down by Sparta, he could not have failed to make allusion to the fact, in the long harangue which he ascribes to the Corinthian Sosiklês (v, 92). Whoever reads that speech, will perceive that the inference from silence to ignorance is in this case almost irresistible.

O. Müller ascribes to Periander a policy intentionally anti-Dorian,—“prompted by the wish of utterly eradicating the peculiarities of the Doric race. For this reason he abolished the public tables, and prohibited the ancient education.” (O. Müller, Dorians, iii, 8, 3.)

But it cannot be shown that any public tables (συσσίτια), or any peculiar education, analogous to those of Sparta, ever existed at Corinth. If nothing more be meant by these συσσίτια than public banquets on particular festive occasions (see Welcker, Prolegom. ad Theognid. c. 20, p. xxxvii), these are noway peculiar to Dorian cities. Nor does Theognis, v, 270, bear out Welcker in affirming “syssitiorum vetus institutum” at Megara.

[63] Aristot. Polit. v, 4, 5; Rhetor. i, 2, 7.

[64] Plutarch, Quæst. Græc. c. 18, p. 295.

[65] Aristot. Polit. iv, 12, 10; v, 2, 6; 4, 3.

[66] Theognis, vv. 682, 715, 720, 750, 816, 914, Welcker’s edition:—

Τῶν εἴη μέλαν αἷμα πιεῖν, etc.

[67] Theognis, v, 20.—

Κύρνε, πόλις μὲν ἔθ᾽ ἥδε πόλις, λαοὶ δὲ δὴ ἄλλοι,

Οἳ πρόσθ᾽ οὕτε δίκας ᾔδεσαν οὔτε νόμους,

Ἀλλ᾽ ἀμφὶ πλευρῇσι δορὰς αἰγῶν κατέτριβον,

Ἔξω δ᾽ ὥστ᾽ ἔλαφοι τῆσδ’ ἐνέμοντο πόλεος.

[68] See, especially, the lines from 500-560, 816-830, in Welcker’s edition.

[69] Consult the Prolegomena to Welcker’s edition of Theognis; also, those of Schneidewin (Delectus Elegiac. Poetar. pp. 46-55)

The Prolegomena of Welcker are particularly valuable and full of instruction. He illustrates at great length the tendency common to Theognis, with other early Greek poets, to apply the words good and bad, not with reference to any ethical standard, but to wealth as contrasted with poverty,—nobility with low birth,—strength with weakness,—conservative and oligarchical politics as opposed to innovation (sect. 10-18). The ethical meaning of these words is not absolutely unknown, yet rare, in Theognis: it gradually grew up at Athens, and became popularized by the Socratic school of philosophers as well as by the orators. But the early or political meaning always remained, and the fluctuation between the two has been productive of frequent misunderstanding. Constant attention is necessary when we read the expressions οἱ ἀγαθοὶ, ἐσθλοὶ, βέλτιστοι, καλοκἀγαθοὶ, χρηστοὶ, etc., or on the other hand, οἱ κακοὶ, δειλοὶ, etc., to examine whether the context is such as to give to them the ethical or the political meaning. Welcker seems to go a step too far, when he says that the latter sense “fell into desuetude, through the influence of the Socratic philosophy.” (Proleg. sect. 11, p. xxv.) The two meanings both remained extant at the same time, as we see by Aristotle (Polit. iv, 8, 2),—σχεδὸν γὰρ παρὰ τοῖς πλείστοις οἱ εὔποροι, τῶν καλῶν κἀγαθῶν δοκοῦσι κατέχειν χώραν. A careful distinction is sometimes found in Plato and Thucydides, who talk of the oligarchs as “the persons called super-excellent,”—τοὺς καλοὺς κἀγαθοὺς ὀνομαζομένους (Thucyd. viii, 48),—ὑπὸ τῶν πλουσίων τε καὶ καλῶν κἀγαθῶν λεγομένων ἐν τῇ πόλει (Plato, Rep. viii, p. 569).

The same double sense is to be found equally prevalent in the Latin language: “Bonique et mali cives appellati, non ob merita in rempublicam, omnibus pariter corruptis: sed uti quisque locupletissimus, et injuriâ validior, quia præsentia defendebat, pro bono habebatur.” (Sallust, Hist. Fragment. lib. i, p. 935, Cort.) And again, Cicero (De Republ. i, 34): “Hoc errore vulgi cum rempublicam opes paucorum, non virtutes, tenere cœperunt, nomen illi principes optimatium mordicus tenent, re autem carent eo nomine.” In Cicero’s Oration pro Sextio (c. 45) the two meanings are intentionally confounded together, when he gives his definition of optimus quisque. Welcker (Proleg. s. 12) produces several other examples of the like equivocal meaning. Nor are there wanting instances of the same use of language in the laws and customs of the early Germans,—boni homines, probi homines, Rachinburgi, Gudemänner. See Savigny, Geschichte des Römisch. Rechts im Mittelalter, vol. i, p. 184; vol. ii, p. xxii.

[70] Herod. vi. 128.

[71] Justin. ii, 7.

[72] Pausan. i, 3, 2; Suidas, Ἱππομένης; Diogenian. Centur. Proverb. iii, 1. Ἀσεβέστερον Ἱππομένους.

[73] See Boeckh on the Parian Marble, in Corp. Inscrip. Græc. part 12, sect. 6, pp. 307, 310, 332.

From the beginning of the reign of Medôn son of Kodrus, to the first annual archon Kreôn, the Parian Marble computes 407 years, Eusebius 387.

[74] Philochorus ap. Strabo, ix, p. 396. See Schömann, Antiq. J. P. Græc. b. v, sect. 2-5.

[75] Strabo, ix, p. 392. Philochorus and Andrôn extended the kingdom of Nisus from the isthmus of Corinth as far as the Pythium (near Œnoê) and Eleusis (Str. ib.); but there were many different tales.

[76] Pollux, viii, c. 9, 109-111.

[77] Iôn, the father of the four heroes after whom these tribes were named, was affirmed by one story to be the primitive civilizing legislator of Attica, like Lykurgus, Numa, or Deukaliôn (Plutarch. adv. Kolôten, c. 31, p. 1125).

[78] Thus Euripides derives the Αἰγικορεῖς, not from αἲξ, a goat, but from Αἰγὶς, the Ægis of Athênê (Ion. 1581): he also gives Teleontes, derived from an eponymous Teleôn, son of Iôn, while the inscriptions at Kyzikus concur with Herodotus and others in giving Geleontes. Plutarch (Solon, 25) gives Gedeontes. In an Athenian inscription recently published by Professor Ross (dating, seemingly, in the first century after the Christian era), the worship of Zeus Geleôn at Athens has been for the first time verified,—Διὸς Γελέοντος ἱεροκήρυξ (Ross, Die Attischen Demen, pp. vii-ix. Halle 1846).

[79] Plutarch (Solon, c. 25); Strabo, viii, p. 383. Compare Plato, Kritias, p. 110.

[80] Boeckh, Corp. Inscr. Nos. 3078, 3079, 3665. The elaborate commentary on this last-mentioned inscription, in which Boeckh vindicates the early historical reality of the classification by professions, is noway satisfactory to my mind.

K. F. Hermann (Lehrbuch der Griechischen Staats Alterthümer, sect. 91-96) gives a summary of all that can be known respecting these old Athenian tribes. Compare Ilgen, De Tribubus Atticis, p. 9, seq.; Tittmann, Griechische Staats Verfassungen, pp. 570-582; Wachsmuth, Hellenische Alterthumskunde, sect. 43, 44.

[81] About the naukraries, see Aristot. Fragment. Rerum Public., p. 89, ed. Neumann; Harpokration, vv. Δήμαρχος, Ναυκραρικὰ; Photius, v. Ναυκραρία; Pollux, viii, 108; Schol. ad Aristoph. Nubes, 37.

Οἱ πρυτάνεις τῶν Ναυκράρων, Herodot. v, 71: they conducted the military proceedings in resistance to the usurpation of Kylôn.

The statement that each naukrary was obliged to furnish one ship can hardly be true of the time before Solon: as Pollux states it, we should be led to conceive that he only infers it from the name ναύκραρος (Pollux, viii, 108), though the real etymology seems rather to be from ναίω (Wachsmuth, Hellen. Alt. sect. 44, p. 240). There may be some ground for believing that the old meaning, also, of the word ναύτης connected it with ναίω; such a supposition would smooth the difficulty in regard to the functions of the ναυτόδικαι as judges in cases of illicit admission into the phratores. See Hesychius and Harpokration, v. Ναυτόδικαι; and Baumstark, De Curatoribus Emporii, Friburg, 1828, p. 67, seq.: compare, also, the fragment of the Solonian law, ἢ ἱερῶν ὀργίων ἢ ναῦται, which Niebuhr conjecturally corrects. Rom. Gesch. v. i, p. 323, 2d ed.; Hesychius, Ναυστῆρες—οἱ οἰκέται. See Pollux, Ναῦλον, and Lobeck, Ῥηματικὸν, sect. 3, p. 7; Ἀειναῦται παρὰ Μιλησίοις? Plutarch, Quæst. Græc. c. 32, p. 298.

[82] Meier, De Gentilitate Atticâ, pp. 22-24, conceives that this numerical completeness was enacted by Solon; but of this there is no proof, nor is it in harmony with the general tendencies of Solon’s legislation.

[83] So in reference to the Anglo-Saxon Tythings and Hundreds, and to the still more widely-spread division of the Hundred, which seems to pervade the whole of Teutonic and Scandinavian antiquity, much more extensively than the tything;—there is no ground for believing that these precise numerical proportions were in general practice realized: the systematic nomenclature served its purpose by marking the idea of graduation and the type to which a certain approach was actually made. Mr. Thorpe observes, respecting the Hundred, in his Glossary to the “Ancient Laws and Institutes of England,” v. Hundred, Tything, Frid-Borg, etc. “In the Dialogus de Scaccario, it is said that a Hundred ‘ex hydarum aliquot centenariis, sed non determinatis, constat: quidam enim ex pluribus, quidam ex paucioribus constat.’ Some accounts make it consist of precisely a hundred hydes, others of a hundred tythings, others of a hundred free families. Certain it is, that whatever may have been its original organization, the Hundred, at the time when it becomes known to us, differed greatly in extent in various parts of England.”

[84] See the instructive inscription in Professor Ross’s work (Über die Demen von Attika, p. 26) of the γένος Ἀμυνανδριδῶν, commemorating the archon of that gens, the priest of Kekrops, the Ταμίας, or treasurer, and the names of the members, with the deme and tribe of each individual. Compare Bossler, De Gent. Atticis, p. 53. About the peculiar religious rites of the gens called Gephyræi, see Herodot. v, 61.

[85] Φυλαὶ γενικαὶ, opposed to φυλαὶ τοπικαί.—Dionys. Hal. Ant. Rom. iv, 14.

[86] Plato, Euthydem. p. 302; Aristot. ap. Schol. in Platon. Axioch. p. 465, ed. Bek. Ἀριστοτέλης φησί· τοῦ ὅλου πλήθους διῃρημένου Ἀθήνῃσιν εἴς τε τοὺς γεωργοὺς καὶ τοὺς δημιουργοὺς, φυλὰς αὐτῶν εἶναι τέσσαρας, τῶν δὲ φυλῶν ἑκάστις μοιρὰς εἶναι τρεῖς, ἃς τριττύας τε καλοῦσι καὶ φρατρίας· ἑκάστης δὲ τούτων τριάκοντα εἶναι γένη, τὸ δὲ γένος ἐκ τριάκοντα ἀνδρῶν συνιστάναι· τούτους δὴ τοὺς εἰς τα γένη τεταγμένοις γεννήτας καλοῦσι. Pollux, viii, 3. Οἱ μετέχοντες τοῦ γένους, γεννῆται καὶ ὁμογάλακτες· γένει μὲν οὐ προσήκοντες, ἐκ δὲ τῆς συνόδου οὕτω προσαγορευόμενοι: compare also iii, 52; Mœris. Atticist. p. 108.

Harpokrat. v. Ἀπόλλων Πατρῷος, Θεοίνιον, Γεννῆται, Ὀργεῶνες, etc. Etymol. Magn. v. Γεννῆται; Suidas, v. Ὀργεῶνες; Pollux, viii, 85; Demosthen. cont. Eubulid. p. 1319, εἶτα φράτορες, εἶτα Ἀπόλλωνος πατρῴου καὶ Διὸς ἑκρίου γεννῆται; and cont. Neæram, p. 1365. Isæus uses ὀργεῶνες as synonymous with γεννῆται (see Orat. ii, pp. 19, 20-28, ed. Bek.). Schömann (Antiq. J. P. Græc. § xxvi) considers the two as essentially distinct. Φρήτρη and φῦλον both occur in the Iliad, ii, 362. See the Dissertation of Buttmann Über den Begriff von φρατρία (Mythologus, c. 24, p. 305); and that of Meier, De Gentilitate Atticâ, where the points of knowledge attainable respecting the gentes are well put together and discussed.

In the Theræan Inscription (No. 2448 ap. Boeckh. Corp. Inscr., see his comment, page 310) containing the testament of Epiktêta, whereby a bequest is made to οἱ συγγενεῖς—ὁ ἀνδρεῖος τῶν συγγενῶν,—this latter word does not mean kindred or blood relations, but a variety of the gentile union—“thiasus,” or “sodalitium.” Boeckh.

[87] Herodot. ii, 143. Ἑκαταίῳ—γενεηλογήσαντί τε ἑωυτὸν καὶ ἀναδήσαντι τὴν πατριὴν ἐς ἑκκαιδέκατον θεόν. Again, γενεηλογήσαντι ἑωυτὸν, καὶ ἀναδήσαντι ἐς ἑκκαιδέκατον θεόν. The Attic expression,—ἀγχίστεια ἱερῶν καὶ ὁσίων,—illustrates the intimate association between family relationship and common religious privileges.—Isæus, Orat. vi, p. 89, ed. Bek.

[88] Isæus, Or. vi, p. 61; ii, p. 38; Demosth. adv. Makartatum, pp. 1053-1075; adv. Leochar. p. 1093. Respecting this perpetuation of the family sacred rites, the feeling prevalent among the Athenians is much the same as what is now seen in China.

Mr. Davis observes: “Sons are considered in this country, where the power over them is so absolute through life, as a sure support, as well as a probable source of wealth and dignities, should they succeed in learning. But the grand object is, the perpetuation of the race, to sacrifice at the family tombs. Without sons, a man lives without honor or satisfaction, and dies unhappy; and as the only remedy, he is permitted to adopt the sons of his younger brothers.

“It is not during life only, that a man looks for the service of his sons. It is his consolation in declining years, to think that they will continue the performance of the prescribed rites in the hall of ancestors, and at the family tombs, when he is no more: and it is the absence of this prospect which makes the childless doubly miserable. The superstition derives influence from the importance attached by the government to this species of posthumous duty: a neglect of which is punishable, as we have seen, by the laws. Indeed, of all the subjects of their care, there are none which the Chinese so religiously attend to as the tombs of their ancestors, conceiving that any neglect is sure to be followed by worldly misfortune.”—(The Chinese, by John Francis Davis, chap. ix, pp. 131-134. ed. Knight, 1840.)

Mr. Mill notices the same state of feeling among the Hindoos.—(History of British India, book ii, chap. vii. p. 381, ed. 8vo.)

[89] Xenoph. Hellen. i, 5, 8; Herodot. i, 147; Suidas, Ἀπατουρία—Ζεὺς Φράτριος—Ἀθηναία φρατρία, the presiding god of the phratric union.—Plato, Euthydem. c. 28, p. 302; Demosth. adv. Makart. p. 1054. See Meier, De Gentilitate Atticâ, pp. 11-14.

The πάτριαι at Byzantium, which were different from θίασοι, and which possessed corporate property (τά τε θιασωτικὰ καὶ τὰ πατριωτικὰ, Aristot. Œconomic. ii, 4), are doubtless the parallel of the Athenian phratries.

[90] Dikæarchus ap. Stephan. Byz. v. Πατρὰ; Aristot. Polit. i, 1, 6: Ὁμοσιπύος and ὁμοκάπνους are the old words cited by the latter from Charondas and Epimenidês.

[91] Niebuhr, Römische Geschichte, vol. i, pp. 317-337. Varro’s language on that point is clear: “Ut in hominibus quædam sunt cognationes et gentilitates, sic in verbis. Ut enim ab Æmilio homines orti Æmilii et gentiles, sic ab Æmilii nomine declinatæ voces in gentilitate nominali.” Paul. Diacon. p. 94. “Gentilis dicitur ex eodem genere ortus, et is qui simili nomine appellatur,” etc. See Becker, Handbuch der Römischen Alterthümer, part 2, abth. 2, p. 36.

The last part of the definition ought to be struck out for the Grecian gentes. The passage of Varro does not prove the historical reality of the primitive father, or genarch, Æmilius, but it proves that the members of the gens believed in him.

Dr. Wilda, in his learned work, “Das Deutsche Strafrecht,” (Halle, 1842,) dissents from Niebuhr in the opposite direction, and seems to maintain that the Grecian and Roman gentes were really distant blood relations (p. 123). How this can be proved, I do not know: and it is inconsistent with the opinion which he advances in the preceding page (p. 122), very justly,—that these quasi families are primordial facts in early human society, beyond which we cannot carry our researches. “The farther we go back in history, the more does the community exhibit the form of a family, though in reality it is not a mere family. This is the limit of historical research, which no man can transgress with impunity,” (p. 122).

[92] Diogen. Laërt. v, 1.

[93] See Colonel Leake’s Travels in Northern Greece, ch. 2, p. 85 (the Greek word φράτριαι seems to be adopted in Albania); Boué, La Turquie en Europe, vol. ii, ch. 1, pp. 15-17; chap. 4, p. 530; Spenser’s View of the State of Ireland (vol. vi, pp. 1542-1543, of Tonson’s edition of Spenser’s Works, 1715); Cyprien Robert, Die Slaven in Turkey, b. 1, chs. 1 and 2.

So, too, in the laws of king Alfred in England, on the subject of murder, the guild-brethren, or members of the same guild, are made to rank in the position of distant relatives, if there happen to be no blood relatives:—

“If a man, kinless of paternal relatives, fight and slay a man, then, if he have maternal relatives, let them pay a third of the wēr: his guild-brethren a third part: for a third let him flee. If he have no maternal relatives, let his guild-brethren pay half: for half let him flee.... If a man kill a man thus circumstanced, if he have no relatives, let half be paid to the king, half to his guild-brethren.” (Thorpe, Ancient Laws and Institutes of England, vol. i, pp. 79-81.) Again, in the same work, Leges Henrici Primi, vol. i, p. 596, the ideas of the kindred and the guild run together in the most intimate manner: “Si quis hominem occidat,—Si eum tunc cognatio sua deserat, et pro eo gildare nolit,” etc. In the Salic law, the members of a contubernium were invested with the same rights and obligations one towards the other (Rogge, Gerichtswesen der Germanen, ch. iii, p. 62). Compare Wilda, Deutsches Strafrecht, p. 389, and the valuable special treatise of the same author (Das Gildenwesen im Mittelalter. Berlin, 1831), where the origin and progress of the guilds from the primitive times of German heathenism is unfolded. He shows that these associations have their basis in the earliest feelings and habits of the Teutonic race,—the family was, as it were, a natural guild,—the guild, a factitious family. Common religious sacrifices and festivals,—mutual defence and help, as well as mutual responsibility,—were the recognized bonds among the congildones: they were sororitates as well as fraternitates, comprehending both men and women (deren Genosser wie die Glieder einer Familie enge unter einander verbunden waren, p. 145). Wilda explains how this primitive social and religious phratry (sometimes this very expression fratria is used, see p. 109) passed into something like the more political tribe, or phylê (see pp. 43, 57, 60, 116, 126, 129, 344). The sworn commune, which spread so much throughout Europe in the beginning of the twelfth century, partakes both of the one and of the other,—conjuratio,—amicitia jurata (pp. 148, 169).

The members of an Albanian phara are all jointly bound to exact, and each severally exposed to suffer, the vengeance of blood, in the event of homicide committed upon, or by, any one of them (Boué, ut supra).

[94] See the valuable chapter of Niebuhr, Röm. Gesch. vol. i, pp. 317, 350, 2d edit.

The Alberghi of Genoa in the Middle Ages were enlarged families created by voluntary compact: “De tout temps (observes Sismondi) les familles puissantes avaient été dans l’usage, à Gênes, d’augmenter encore leur puissance en adoptant d’autres familles moins riches, moins illustres, ou moins nombreuses,—auxquelles elles communiquoient leur nom et leurs armes, qu’elles prenoient ainsi l’engagement de protéger,—et qui en retour s’associoient à toutes leurs quérelles. Les maisons dans lesquelles on entroit ainsi par adoption, étoient nommées des alberghi (auberges), et il y avoit peu de maisons illustres qui ne se fussent ainsi récrutées a l’aide de quelque famille étrangère.” (Républiques Italiennes, t. xv, ch. 120, p. 366.)

Eichhorn (Deutsche Staats und Rechts-Geschichte, sect. 18, vol. i, p. 84, 5th edit.) remarks in regard to the ancient Germans, that the German “familiæ et propinquitates,” mentioned by Tacitus (Germ. c. 7), and the “gentibus cognationibusque hominum” of Cæsar (B. G. vi. 22), bore more analogy to the Roman gens than to relationship of blood or wedlock. According to the idea of some of the German tribes, even blood-relationship might be formally renounced and broken off, with all its connected rights and obligations, at the pleasure of the individual: he might declare himself ἐκποιητὸς, to use the Greek expression. See the Titul. 63 of the Salic law, as quoted by Eichhorn, l. c.

Professor Koutorga of St. Petersburg (in his Essai sur l’Organisation de la Tribu dans l’Antiquité, translated from Russian into French by M. Chopin, Paris, 1839) has traced out and illustrated the fundamental analogy between the social classification, in early times, of Greeks, Romans, Germans, and Russians (see especially, pp. 47, 213). Respecting the early history of Attica, however, many of his positions are advanced upon very untrustworthy evidence (see p. 123, seq.).

[95] Pindar, Pyth. viii, 53; Isthm. vi, 92; Nem. vii, 103; Strabo, ix, p. 421; Stephan. Byz. v. Κῶς; Herodot. v, 44; vii, 134; ix, 37; Pausan. x, 1, 4; Kallimachus, Lavacr. Pallad. 33; Schol. Pindar. Pyth. ii. 27; Aristot. Pol. v, 8, 13: Ἀλευάδων τοὺς πρώτους, Plato, Menon. 1, which marks them as a numerous gens. See Buttmann, Dissert. on the Aleuadæ in the Mythologus, vol. ii, p. 246. Bacchiadæ at Corinth, ἐδίδοσαν καὶ ἤγοντο ἐξ ἀλλήλων (Herod. v, 92).

[96] Harpokration, v. Ἐτεοβουτάδαι, Βουτάδαι; Thucyd. viii, 53; Plutarch, Theseus, 12; Themistoklês, 1; Demosth. cont. Neær. p. 1365: Polemo ap. Schol. ad Soph. Œdip. Kol. 489; Plutarch, Vit. x, Orator. pp. 841-844. See the Dissertation of O. Müller, De Minervâ Poliade, c. 2.

[97] Demosth. cont. Neær. p. 1365. Tittmann (Griechische Staatsverfass, p. 277) thinks that every citizen, after the Kleisthenean revolution, was of necessity a member of some phratry, as well as of some deme: but the evidence which he produces is, in my judgment, insufficient. The ideas of the phratry and the tribe are often confounded together; thus the Ægeidæ of Sparta, whom Herodotus (iv, 149) calls a tribe, are by Aristotle called a phratry of Thebans (ap. Schol. ad Pindar. Isthm. vii, 18). Compare Wachsmuth, Hellenische Alterthumskunde, sect. 83, p. 17.

A great many of the demes seem to have derived their names from the shrubs or plants which grew in their neighborhood (Schol. ad Aristophan. Plutus, 586, Μυρρινοῦς, Ῥαμνοῦς, etc.).

[98] For example, Æthalidæ, Butadæ, Kothôkidæ, Dædalidæ, Eiresidæ, Epieikidæ, Erœadæ, Eupyridæ, Echelidæ, Keiriadæ, Kydantidæ, Lakiadæ, Pambôtadæ, Peritheidæ, Persidæ, Semachidæ, Skambônidæ, Sybridæ, Titakidæ, Thyrgonidæ, Hybadæ, Thymœtadæ, Pæonidæ, Philaidæ, Chollidæ: all these names of demes, bearing the patronymic form, are found in Harpokration and Stephanus Byz. alone.

We do not know that the Κεραμεῖς ever constituted a γένος, but the name of the deme Κεραμεῖς is evidently given, upon the same principle, to a place chiefly occupied by potters. The gens Κοιρώνιδαι are said to have been called Φιλιεῖς (? Φλυεῖς) and Περιθοῖδαι as well as Κοιρώνιδαι: the names of gentes and those of demes seem not always distinguishable.

The Butadæ, though a highly venerable gens, also ranked as a deme (see the Psephism about Lykurgus in Plutarch, Vit. x. Orator, p. 852): yet we do not know that there was any locality called Butadæ. Perhaps some of the names above noticed may be simply names of gentes, enrolled as demes, but without meaning to imply any community of abode among the members.

The members of the Roman gens occupied adjoining residences, on some occasions,—to what extent we do not know (Heiberg, De Familiari Patriciorum Nexu, ch. 24, 25. Sleswic, 1829).

We find the same patronymic names of demes and villages elsewhere: in Kôs and Rhodes (Ross, Inscr. Gr. ined., Nos. 15-26. Halle, 1846); Lêstadæ in Naxos (Aristotle ap. Athenæ. viii, p. 348); Botachidæ at Tegea (Steph. Byz. in v); Branchidæ, near Miletus, etc.; and an interesting illustration is afforded, in other times and other places, by the frequency of the ending ikon in villages near Zurich in Switzerland,—Mezikon, Nennikon, Wezikon, etc. Blüntschli, in his history of Zurich, shows that these terminations are abridgments of inghoven, including an original patronymic element,—indicating the primary settlement of members of a family, or of a band bearing the name of its captain, on the same spot (Blüntschli, Staats und Rechts Geschichte der Stadt Zurich, vol. i, p. 26).

In other Inscriptions from the island of Kôs, published by Professor Ross, we have a deme mentioned (without name), composed of three coalescing gentes, “In hoc et sequente titulo alium jam deprehendimus demum Coum, e tribus gentibus appellatione patronymicâ conflatum, Antimachidarum, Ægiliensium, Archidarum.” (Ross, Inscript. Græc. Ined. Fascic. iii, No. 307, p. 44. Berlin, 1845.) This is a specimen of the process systematically introduced by Kleisthenês in Attica.

[99] Plutarch, Solon. 21. We find a common cemetery exclusively belonging to the gens, and tenaciously preserved (Demosth. cont. Eubulid. p. 1307; Cicero, Legg. ii, 26).

[100] Demosth. cont. Makartat. p. 1068. See the singular additional proviso in Plutarch, Solon, c. 20.

[101] See Meursius, Themis Attica, i, 13.

[102] That this was the primitive custom, and that the limitation μέχρις ἀνεψιαδῶν (Meier, De Bonis Damnat. p. 23, cites ἀνεψιαδῶν καὶ φρατόρων) was subsequently introduced (Demosth. cont. Euerg. et Mnesib. p. 1161), we may gather from the law as it stands in Demosth. cont. Makartat. p. 1069, which includes the phrators, and therefore, à fortiori, the gennêtes, or gentiles.

The same word γένος is used to designate both the circle of nameable relatives, brothers, first cousins (ἀγχιστεῖς, Demosth. cont. Makartat. c. 9, p. 1058), etc., going beyond the οἶκος,—and the quasi-family, or gens. As the gentile tie tended to become weaker, so the former sense of the word became more and more current, to the extinction of the latter. Οἱ ἐν γένει, or οἱ προσήκοντες, would have borne a wider sense in the days of Drako than in those of Demosthenes: Συγγενὴς usually belongs to γένος in the narrower sense, γεννήτης to γένος in the wider sense; but Isæus sometimes uses the former word as an exact equivalent of the latter (Orat. vii, pp. 95, 99, 102, 103, Bekker). Τριακὰς appears to be noted in Pollux as the equivalent of γένος, or gens (viii, 111), but the word does not occur in the Attic orators, and we cannot make out its meaning with certainty: the Inscription of the Deme of Peiræeus given in Boeckh (Corp. Insc. No. 101, p. 140,) rather adds to the confusion by revealing the existence of a τριακὰς constituting the fractional part of a deme, and not connected with a gens: compare Boeckh’s Comment. ad loc. and his Addenda and Corrigenda, p. 900.

Dr. Thirlwall translates γένος, house; which I cannot but think inconvenient, because that word is the natural equivalent of οἶκος,—a very important word in reference to Attic feelings, and quite different from γένος (Hist. of Greece, vol. ii, p. 14, ch. 11). It will be found impossible to translate it by any known English word which does not at the same time suggest erroneous ideas: which I trust will be accepted as my excuse for adopting it untranslated into this History.

[103] Demosthen. cont. Makartat l. c.

[104] See Æschines de Falsâ Legat. p. 292, c. 46; Lysias cont. Andokid. p. 108; Andokid. de Mysteriis, p. 63, Reiske; Deinarchus and Hellanikus ap. Harpokration. v. Ἱεροφάντης.

In case of crimes of impiety, particularly in offences against the sanctity of the Mysteries, the Eumolpidæ had a peculiar tribunal of their own number, before which offenders were brought by the king archon. Whether it was often used, seems doubtful; they had also certain unwritten customs of great antiquity, according to which they pronounced (Demosthen. cont. Androtion. p. 601; Schol. ad Demosth. vol. ii, p. 137, Reiske: compare Meier and Schömann, Der Attische Prozess, p. 117). The Butadæ, also, had certain old unwritten maxims (Androtion ap. Athenæ. ix, p. 374).

Compare Bossler, De Gentibus et Familiis Atticæ, p. 20, and Ostermann, De Præconibus Græcor. sect. 2 and 3 (Marburg, 1845).

[105] Lykurgus the orator is described as τὸν δῆμον Βουτάδης, γένους τοῦ τῶν Ἐτεοβουταδῶν (Plutarch, Vit. x. Orator. p. 841).

[106] In an inscription (apud Boeckh. Corpus Inscrip. No. 465).

Four names of the phratries at the Greek city of Neapolis, and six names out of the thirty Roman curiæ, have been preserved (Becker, Handbuch der Römischen Alterthümer, p. 32; Boeckh, Corp. Inscript. ii, p. 650).

Each Attic phratry seems to have had its own separate laws and customs, distinct from the rest, τοῖς φράτορσι, κατὰ τοὺς ἐκείνων νόμους (Isæus, Or. viii, p. 115, ed. Bek.; vii, p. 99; iii, p. 49).

Bossler (De Gentibus et Familiis Atticæ, Darmstadt, 1833), and Meier (De Gentilitate Atticâ, pp. 41-54) have given the names of those Attic gentes that are known: the list of Meier comprises seventy-nine in number (see Koutorga, Organis. Trib. p. 122).

[107] Tittmann (Griech. Staats Alterthümer, p. 271) is of opinion that Kleisthenês augmented the number of phratries, but the passage of Aristotle brought to support this opinion is insufficient proof (Polit. vi, 2, 11). Still less can we agree with Platner (Beyträge zur Kenntniss des Attischen Rechts, pp. 74-77), that three new phratries were assigned to each of the new Kleisthenean tribes.

Allusion is made in Hesychius, Ἀτριάκαστοι, Ἔξω τριακάδος, to persons not included in any gens, but this can hardly be understood to refer to times anterior to Kleisthenês, as Wachsmuth would argue (p. 238).

[108] The language of Photius on this matter (v. Ναυκραρία μὲν ὁποῖόν τι ἡ συμμορία καὶ ὁ δῆμος· ναύκραρος δὲ ὁποῖόν τι ὁ δήμαρχος) is more exact than that of Harpokration, who identifies the two completely,—v. Δήμαρχος. If it be true that the naukraries were continued under the Kleisthenean constitution, with the alteration that they were augmented to fifty in number, five to every Kleisthenean tribe, they must probably have been continued in name alone without any real efficiency or function. Kleidêmus makes this statement, and Boeckh follows it (Public Economy of Athens, l. ii, ch. 21, p. 256): yet I cannot but doubt its correctness. For the τριττὺς (one-third of a Kleisthenean tribe) was certainly retained and was a working and available division (see Dêmosthenês de Symmoriis, c. 7, p. 184), and it seems hardly probable that there should be two coexistent divisions, one representing the third part, the other the fifth part, of the same tribes.

[109] Strabo, ix, p. 396.

[110] Strabo, ix, p. 396, πετρὰ ἐν πεδίῳ περιοικουμένη κύκλῳ. Euripid. Ion, 1578, σκόπελον οἳ ναίουσ᾽ ἐμόν (Athênê).

[111] Thucyd. ii, 15; Theophrast. Charact. 29, 4. Plutarch (Theseus, 24) gives the proceedings of Theseus in greater detail, and with a stronger tinge of democracy.

[112] Pausan. i, 2, 4; 38, 2; Diodor. Sicul. iv, 2; Schol. ad Aristophan. Acharn. 242.

The Athenians transferred from Eleutheræ to Athens both a venerable statue of Dionysus and a religious ceremony in honor of that god. The junction of the town with Athens is stated by Pausanias to have taken place in consequence of the hatred of its citizens for Thebes, and must have occurred before 509 B. C., about which period we find Hysiæ to be the frontier deme of Attica (Herodot. v, 72; vi, 108).

[113] Thucyd. ii, 15, 16. οὐδὲν ἄλλο ἢ πόλιν τὴν ἑαυτοῦ ἀπολείπων ἕκαστος,—respecting the Athenians from the country who were driven into Athens at the first invasion during the Peloponnesian war.

[114] Etymologicon Magn. v. Ἐπακρία χωρά; Strabo, viii, p. 383; Stephan. Byz. v. Τετράπολις.

The τετράκωμοι comprised the four demes, Πειραῖεις, Φαληρεῖς, Ξυπετεῶνες, Θυμοίταδαι (Pollux, iv, 105): whether this is an old division, however, has been doubted (see Ilgen, De Tribubus Atticis, p. 51).

The Ἐπακρέων τριττὺς is mentioned in an inscription apud Ross (Die Demen von Attika, p. vi). Compare Boeckh ad Corp. Inscr. No. 82: among other demes, it comprised the deme Plôtheia. Mesogæa also (or rather the Mesogei, οἱ Μεσόγειοι) appears as a communion for sacrifice and religious purposes, and as containing the deme Batê. See Inscriptiones Atticæ nuper repertæ duodecim, by Ern. Curtius; Berlin, 1843; Inscript. i, p. 3. The exact site of the deme Batê in Attica is unknown (Ross, Die Demen von Attica, p. 64); and respecting the question, what portion of Attica was called Mesogæa, very different conjectures have been started, which there appears to be no means of testing. Compare Schömann de Comitiis, p. 343, and Wordsworth, Athens and Attica, p. 229, 2d edit.

[115] Dikæarchus, Fragm. p. 109, ed. Fuhr; Plutarch, Theseus, c. 33.

[116] Such as that between the Pallenæans and Agnusians (Plutarch, Theseus, 12).

Acharnæ was the largest and most populous deme in Attica (see Ross, Die Demen von Attika, p. 62; Thucyd. ii, 21); yet Philochorus does not mention it as having ever constituted a substantive πόλις.

Several of the demes seem to have stood in repute for peculiar qualities, good or bad: see Aristophan. Acharn. 177, with Elmsley’s note.

[117] Strabo, ix, p. 396; Plutarch, Theseus, 14. Polemo had written a book expressly on the eponymous heroes of the Attic demes and tribes (Preller. Polemonis Fragm. p. 42): the Atthidographers were all rich on the same subject: see the Fragments of the Atthis of Hellanikus (p. 24, ed. Preller), also those of Istrus, Philochorus, etc.

[118] J. H. Voss, Erlaüterungen, p. 1: see the Hymn, 96-106, 451-475: compare Hermesianax ap. Athen. xiii, p. 597.

[119] Herodot. i, 30.

[120] Dikæarch. Vita Græciæ, p. 141, Fragm. ed. Fuhr.

[121] Plutarch, Theseus, c. 25: Dionys. Hal. ii, 8.

[122] Etymologic. Magn. Εὐπατρίδαι—οἱ αὐτὸ τὸ ἄστυ οἰκοῦντες, καὶ μετέχοντες τοῦ βασιλικοῦ γένους, καὶ τὴν τῶν ἱερῶν ἐπιμέλειαν ποιούμενοι. The βασιλικὸν γένος includes not only the Kodrids, but also the Erechtheids, Pandionids, Pallantids, etc. See also Plutarch, Theseus, c. 24; Hesychius, Ἀγροιῶται.

Yet Isokratês seems to speak of the great family of the Alkmæonidæ as not included among the eupatridæ. (Orat. xvi, De Bigis, p. 351, p. 506, Bek.)

[123] Meier und Schömann, Der Attische Prozess. Einleitung, p. 10.

[124] Plutarch, Solon, c. 19; Aristotle, Polit. ii. 9, 2; Cicero, De Offic. i. 22. Pollux seems to follow the opinion that Solon first instituted the senate of areopagus (viii, 125).

[125] Pollux, viii, 89-91.

[126] We read the θεσμοθέτων ἀνάκρισις in Demosthen. cont. Eubulidem, c. 17, p. 1319, and Pollux, viii, 85; a series of questions which it was necessary for them to answer before they were admitted to occupy their office. Similar questions must have been put to the archon, the basileus, and the polemarch: so that the words θεσμοθέτων ἀνάκρισις may reasonably be understood to apply to all the nine archons, as, indeed, we find the words τοὺς ἐννέα ἄρχοντας ἀνακρίνετε shortly afterwards, p. 1320.

[127] Respecting the word θέμιστες in the Homeric sense, see above, vol. ii, ch. xx.

Both Aristotle (Polit. ii, 9, 9) and Dêmosthenês (contr. Euerg. et Mnêsibul. c. 18, p. 1161) call the ordinances of Drako νόμοι, not θεσμοί. Andokidês distinguishes the θεσμοὶ of Drako and the νόμοι of Solon (De Mysteriis, p. 11). This is the adoption of a phrase comparatively modern; Solon called his own laws θεσμοί. The oath of the περίπολοι ἔφηβοι (the youth who formed the armed police of Attica during the first two years of their military age), as given in Pollux (viii, 106), seems to contain at least many ancient phrases: this phrase,—καὶ τοῖς θεσμοῖς τοῖς ἱδρυμένοις πείσομαι,—is remarkable, as it indicates the ancient association of religious sanction which adhered to the word θεσμοί; for ἱδρύεσθαι is the word employed in reference to the establishment and domiciliation of the gods who protected the country,—θέσθαι νόμους is the later expression for making laws. Compare Stobæus De Republic. xliii, 48, ed. Gaisford, and Dêmosthen. cont. Makartat. c. 13, p. 1069.

[128] Ὅτε θεσμὸς ἐφάνη ὅδε,—such is the exact expression of Solon’s law (Plutarch, Solon, c. 19); the word θεσμὸς is found in Solon’s own poems, θεσμοὺς δ᾽ ὁμοίους τῷ κακῷ τε κἀγαθῷ.

[129] Aristot. Polit. ii, 9, 9; Rhetoric. ii. 25, 1; Aulus Gell. N. A. xi, 18; Pausanias, ix, 36, 4; Plutarch, Solon, c. 19; though Pollux (viii, 42) does not agree with him. Taylor, Lectt. Lysiacæ, ch. 10.

Respecting the θεσμοὶ of Drako, see Kuhn. ad Ælian. V. II. viii, 10. The preliminary sentence which Porphyry (De Abstinentiâ, iv, 22) ascribes to Drako can hardly be genuine.

[130] Pausanias, ix, 36, 4. Δράκοντος Ἀθηναίοις θεσμοθετήσαντος ἐκ τῶν ἐκείνου κατέστη νόμων οὓς ἔγραφεν ἐπὶ τῆς ἀρχῆς, ἄλλων τε ὁπόσων ἄδειαν εἶναι χρή, καὶ δὴ καὶ τιμωρίας μοιχοῦ: compare Dêmosthen. cont. Aristokrat. p. 637; Lysias de Cæde Eratosthen. p. 31.

[131] Harpokration, vv. Ἐφέται, Ἐπὶ Δελφινίῳ, Ἐπὶ Παλλαδίῳ, Ἐν Φρεαττοῖ; Pollux, viii, 119, 124, 125; Photius, v. Ἐφέται; Hesychius, ἐς Φρέατου; Dêmosthen. cont. Aristokrat. c. 15-18, pp. 642-645; cont. Makartat. c. 13, p. 1068. When Pollux speaks of the five courts in which the ephetæ judged, he probably includes the areopagus (see Dêmosth. cont. Aristokrat. c. 14, p. 641).

About the judges ἐν Φρεαττοῖ, see Aristot. Polit. iv, 13, 2. On the general subject of this ancient and obscure criminal procedure, see Matthiæ, De Judiciis Atheniensium (in Miscellan. Philologie, vol. i, p. 143, seq.); also Schömann, Antiq. Jur. Pub. Att. sect. 61, p. 288; Platner, Prozess und Klagen bey den Attikern, b. i, ch. 1; and E. W. Weber, Comment. ad Dêmosthen. cont. Aristokrat. pp. 627, 641; Meier und Schömann, Attisch. Prozess, pp. 14-19.

I cannot consider the ephetæ as judges in appeal, and I agree with those (Schömann, Antiq. Jur. Pub. Gr. p. 171; Meier und Schömann, Attisch. Prozess, p. 16; Platner, Prozess und Klagen, t. i, p. 18) who distrust the etymology which connects this word with ἐφέσιμος. The active sense of the word, akin to ἐφίεμαι (Æsch. Prom. 4) and ἐφετμὴ, meets the case better: see O. Müller, Prolegg. ad Mythol. p. 424 (though there is no reason for believing the ephetæ to be older than Drako): compare, however, K. F. Hermann, Lehrbuch der Griechischen Staats Alterthümer, sects. 103, 104, who thinks differently.

The trial, condemnation, and banishment of inanimate objects which had been the cause of death, was founded on feelings widely diffused throughout the Grecian world (see Pausan. vi, 11, 2; and Theokritus, Idyll, xxiii, 60): analogous in principle to the English law respecting deodand, and to the spirit pervading the ancient Germanic codes generally (see Dr. C. Trümmer, Die Lehre von der Zurechnung, c. 28-38. Hamburg, 1845).

The Germanic codes do not content themselves with imposing a general obligation to appease the relatives and gentiles of the slain party, but determine beforehand the sum which shall be sufficient to the purpose, which, in the case of involuntary homicide, is paid to the surviving relatives as a compensation; for the difference between culpable homicide, justifiable homicide, and accidental homicide, see the elaborate treatise of Wilda, Das Deutsche Strafrecht, ch. viii, pp. 544-559, whose doctrine, however, is disputed by Dr. Trümmer, in the treatise above noticed.

At Rome, according to the Twelve Tables, and earlier, involuntary homicide was to be expiated by the sacrifice of a ram (Walter, Geschichte des Römisch. Rechts, sect. 768).

[132] Dêmosthen. cont. Euerg. et Mnêsib. p. 1161.

[133] Dêmosthen. cont. Aristokrat. p. 647. τοσούτοις δικαστηρίοις, ἃ θεοὶ κατέδειξαν, καὶ μετὰ ταῦτα ἄνθρωποι χρῶνται πάντα τὸν χρόνον, p. 643.—οἱ ταῦτ᾽ ἐξαρχῆς τὰ νόμισμα διαθέντες, οἵτινές ποθ᾽ ἦσαν, εἴθ᾽ ἥρωες, εἴτε θεοί. See also the Oration cont. Makartat. p. 1069; Æschin. cont. Ktesiphon. p. 636; Antiph. De Cæde Herodis, c. 14.

The popular dikastery, in the age of Isokratês and Dêmosthenês, held sittings ἐπὶ Παλλαδίῳ for the trial of charges of unintentional homicide,—a striking evidence of the special holiness of the place for that purpose (see Isokrat. cont. Kallimachum, Or. xviii, p. 381; Dêmosth. cont. Neær. p. 1348).

The statement of Pollux (viii, 125), that the ephetæ became despised, is not confirmed by the language of Dêmosthenês.

[134] Plutarch, Solon, c. 19; Aristot. Polit. ii, 9, 2.

[135] Read on this subject the maxims laid down by Plato (Legg. xii, p. 941). Nevertheless, Plato copies, to a great degree, the arrangements of the ephetic tribunals in his provisions for homicide (Legg. ix. pp. 865-873).

[136] I know no place in which the special aptitude of particular localities consecrated each to its own purpose, is so powerfully set forth, as in the speech of Camillus against the transfer of Rome to Veii (Livy, v, 52).

[137] The narrative is given in Thucyd. i, 126; Herod. v, 71; Plutarch, Solon, 12.

[138] Aristophan. Equit. 445, and the Scholia; Herodot. v, 70.

[139] Plutarch, Solon, c. 12. If the story of the breaking of the cord had been true, Thucydidês could hardly have failed to notice it; but there is no reason to doubt that it was the real defence urged by the Alkmæônids.

When Ephesus was besieged by Crœsus, the inhabitants sought protection to their town by dedicating it to Artemis: they carried a cord from the walls of the town to the shrine of the goddess, which was situated without the walls (Herod. i, 26). The Samian despot Polykratês, when he consecrated to the Delian Apollo the neighboring island of Rhêneia, connected it with the island of Delos by means of a chain (Thucyd. iii, 104).

These analogies illustrate the powerful effect of visible or material continuity on the Grecian imagination.

[140] Herodot. i, 61.

[141] See Thucyd. v, 16, and his language respecting Pleistoanax of Sparta.

[142] Plutarch, Solon, c. 12. Καὶ φόβοι τινὲς ἐκ δεισιδαιμονίας ἅμα καὶ φάσματα κατεῖχε τὴν πόλιν, etc.

[143] Lobeck, Aglaophamus, ii, p. 313; Hoeckh, Kreta, iii, 2, p. 252.

[144] The statements respecting Epimenidês are collected and discussed in the treatise of Heinrich, Epimenides aus Kreta. Leipsic, 1801.

[145] Diogen. Laërt. i, 114, 115.

[146] Plutarch, Solon, c. 12; Diogen. Laërt. i, 109-115; Pliny, H. N. vii, 52. θεοφιλὴς καὶ σοφὸς περὶ τὰ θεῖα τὴν ἐνθουσιαστικὴν καὶ τελεστικὴν σοφίαν, etc. Maxim. Tyrius, xxxviii, 3, δεινὸς τὰ θεῖα, οὐ μαθὼν ἀλλ᾽ ὕπνον αὐτῷ διηγεῖτο μακρὸν καὶ ὄνειρον διδάσκαλον.

Ἰατρόμαντις, Æschyl. Supplic. 277; Καθαρτὴς, Iamblichus, Vit. Pythagor. c. 28.

Plutarch (Sept. Sapient. Conviv. p. 157) treats Epimenidês simply as having lived up to the precepts of the Orphic life, or vegetable diet: to this circumstance, I presume, Plato (Legg. iii, p. 677) must be understood to refer, though it is not very clear. See the Fragment of the lost Krêtes of Euripides, p. 98, ed. Dindorf.

Karmanor of Tarrha in Krete had purified Apollo himself for the slaughter of Pytho (Pausan. ii, 30, 3).

[147] Plutarch, De Musicâ, pp. 1134-1146; Pausanias, i, 14, 3.

[148] Cicero (Legg. ii, 11) states that Epimenidês directed a temple to be erected at Athens to Ὕβρις and Ἀναίδεια (Violence and Impudence): Clemens said that he had erected altars to the same two goddesses (Protrepticon, p. 22): Theophrastus said that there were altars at Athens (without mentioning Epimenidês) to these same (ap. Zenobium, Proverb. Cent. iv, 36). Ister spoke of a ἱερὸν Ἀναιδείας at Athens (Istri Fragm. ed. Siebelis, p. 62). I question whether this story has any other foundation than the fact stated by Pausanias, that the stones which were placed before the tribunal of areopagus, for the accuser and the accused to stand upon, were called by these names,—Ὕβρεως, that of the accused; Ἀναιδείας, that of the accuser (i, 28, 5). The confusion between stones and altars is not difficult to be understood. The other story, told by Neanthês of Kyzikus, respecting Epimenidês, that he had offered two young men as human sacrifices, was distinctly pronounced to be untrue by Polemo: and it reads completely like a romance (Athenæus, xiii, p. 602).

[149] Plutarch. Præcept. Reipubl. Gerend. c. 27, p. 820.

[150] Diogen. Laërt. l. c.

[151] Plato, Legg. i, p. 642; Cicero, De Divinat. i, 18; Aristot. Rhet. iii, 17.

Plato places Epimenidês ten years before the Persian invasion of Greece, whereas his real date is near upon 600 B. C.; a remarkable example of carelessness as to chronology.

[152] Respecting the characteristics of this age, see the second chapter of the treatise of Heinrich, above alluded to, Kreta und Griechenland in Hinsicht auf Wunderglauben.

[153] Plato, Kratylus, p. 405; Phædr. p. 244.

[154] Eurip. Hippolyt. 957; Plato, Republ. ii, p. 364; Theophrast. Charact. c. 16.

[155] Herodot. i, 60.

[156] Plutarch, Solon, i; Diogen. Laërt. iii, 1; Aristot. Polit. iv, 9, 10.

[157] Plutarch, Solon, v.

[158] Plutarch, Solon, viii. It was a poem of one hundred lines, χαριέντως πάνυ πεποιημένων.

Diogenês tells us, that “Solon read the verses to the people through the medium of the herald,”—a statement not less deficient in taste than in accuracy, and which spoils the whole effect of the vigorous exordium, Ἀυτὸς κήρυξ ἦλθον ἀφ᾽ ἱμερτῆς Σαλαμῖνος, etc.

[159] Plutarch, l. c.; Diogen. Laërt. i, 47. Both Herodotus (i, 59) and some authors read by Plutarch ascribed to Peisistratus an active part in the war against the Megarians, and even the capture of Nisæa, the port of Megara. Now the first usurpation of Peisistratus was in 560 B. C., and we can hardly believe that he can have been prominent and renowned in a war no less than forty years before.

It will be seen hereafter—see the note on the interview between Solon and Krœsus, towards the end of this chapter—that Herodotus, and perhaps other authors also, conceived the Solonian legislation to date at a period later than it really does; instead of 594 B. C., they placed it nearer to the usurpation of Peisistratus.

[160] Plutarch, Solon, κυρίους εἶναι τοῦ πολιτεύματος. The strict meaning of these words refers only to the government of the island; but it seems almost certainly implied that they would be established in it as klêruchs, or proprietors of land, not meaning necessarily that all the preëxisting proprietors would be expelled.

[161] Plutarch, Solon, 8, 9, 10. Daïmachus of Platæa, however, denied to Solon any personal share in the Salaminian war (Plutarch, comp. Solon and Public. c. 4).

Polyænus (i, 20) ascribes a different stratagem to Solon: compare Ælian, V. H. vii, 19. It is hardly necessary to say that the account which the Megarians gave of the way in which they lost the island was totally different: they imputed it to the treachery of some exiles (Pausan. i, 40, 4): compare Justin, ii, 7.

[162] Aristot. Rhet. i, 16, 3.

[163] Plutarch, Solon, 10: compare Aristot. Rhet. i, 16. Alkibiadês traced up his γένος to Eurysakês (Plutarch, Alkibiad. c. 1); Miltiadês traced up his to Philæus (Herodot. vi, 35).

According to the statement of Hêreas the Megarian, both his countrymen and the Athenians had the same way of interment: both interred the dead with their faces towards the west. This statement, therefore, affords no proof of any peculiarity of Athenian custom in burial.

The Eurysakeium, or precinct sacred to the hero Eurysakês, stood in the deme of Melitê (Harpokrat. ad v), which formed a portion of the city of Athens.

[164] Æschin. Fals. Legat. p. 250, c. 14.

[165] Plutarch, Solon, c. 13. The language of Plutarch, in which he talks of the pedieis as representing the oligarchical tendency, and the diakrii as representing the democratical, is not quite accurate when applied to the days of Solon. Democratical pretensions, as such, can hardly be said to have then existed.

[166] Plutarch, Solon, 13. Ἅπας μὲν γὰρ ὁ δῆμος ἦν ὑπόχρεως τῶν πλουσίων· ἢ γὰρ ἐγεώργουν ἐκείνοις ἕκτα τῶν γινομένων τελοῦντες, ἑκτημόριοι προσαγορευόμενοι καὶ θῆτες· ἢ χρέα λαμβάνοντες ἐπὶ τοῖς σώμασιν, ἀγώγιμοι τοῖς δανείζουσιν ἦσαν· οἱ μὲν αὐτοῦ δουλεύοντες, οἱ δὲ ἐπὶ τῇ ξένῃ πιπρασκόμενοι. Πολλοὶ δὲ καὶ παῖδας ἰδίους ἠναγκάζοντο πωλεῖν, καὶ τὴν πόλιν φεύγειν διὰ τὴν χαλεπότητα τῶν δανειστῶν. Οἱ δὲ πλεῖστοι καὶ ῥωμαλεώτατοι συνίσταντο καὶ παρεκάλουν ἀλλήλους μὴ περιορᾷν, etc.

Respecting these hektêmori, “tenants paying one-sixth portion,” we find little or no information: they are just noticed in Hesychius (v. Ἑκτήμοροι, Ἐπίμορτος) and in Pollux, vii, 151; from whom we learn that ἐπίμορτος γῆ was an expression which occurred in one of the Solonian laws. Whether they paid to the landlord one-sixth, or retained for themselves only one-sixth, has been doubted (see Photius, Πελάται).

Dionysius Hal. (A. R. ii, 9) compares the thêtes in Attica to the Roman clients: that both agreed in being relations of personal and proprietary dependence is certain; but we can hardly carry the comparison farther, nor is there any evidence in Attica of that sanctity of obligation which is said to have bound the Roman patron to his client.

[167] So the Frisii, when unable to pay the tribute imposed by the Roman empire, “primo boves ipsos, mox agros, postremo corpora conjugum et liberorum, servitio tradebant.” (Tacit. Annal. iv, 72.) About the selling of children by parents, to pay the taxes, in the later times of the Roman empire see Zosimus, ii, 38; Libanius, t. ii, p. 427, ed. Paris, 1627.

[168] See the Fragment περὶ τῆς Ἀθηναίων πολιτείας, No. 2, Schneidewin.

Δήμου θ᾽ ἡγεμόνων ἄδικος νόος, οἶσιν ἕτοιμος

Ὕβριος ἐκ μεγάλης ἄλγεα πολλὰ παθεῖν.

... Οὔθ᾽ ἱερῶν κτεάνων οὔτε τι δημοσίων

Φειδόμενοι, κλέπτουσιν ἐφ᾽ ἁρπαγῇ ἄλλοθεν ἄλλος,

Οὐδὲ φυλάσσονται σεμνὰ δίκης θέμεθλα.

... Ταῦτα μὲν ἐν δήμῳ στρέφεται κακά· τῶν δὲ πενιχρῶν

Ἱκνεῦνται πολλοὶ γαῖαν ἐς ἀλλοδαπὴν

Πραθέντες, δεσμοῖσι τ᾽ ἀεικελίοισι δεθέντες.

[169] Aristot. Polit. γίγνονται δὲ αἱ στάσεις οὐ περὶ μικρῶν, ἀλλ᾽ ἐκ μικρῶν.

[170] Livy, ii, 23; Dionys. Hal. A. R. vi, 26: compare Livy, vi, 34-36.

“An placeret, fœnore circumventam plebem, potius quam sorte creditum solvat, corpus in nervum ac supplicia dare? et gregatim quotidie de foro addictos duci, et repleri vinctis nobiles domos? et ubicumque patricius habitet, ibi carcerem privatum esse?”

The exposition of Niebuhr, respecting the old Roman law of debtor and creditor (Röm. Gesch. i, p. 602, seq.; Arnold’s Roman Hist., ch. viii, vol. i, p. 135), and the explanation which he there gives of the nexi, as distinguished from the addicti, have been shown to be incorrect by M. von Savigny, in an excellent Dissertation Über das Altrömische Schuldrecht (Abhandlungen Berlin Academ. 1833, pp. 70-73), an abstract of which will be found in an Appendix, at the close of this chapter.

[171] See Plutarch, Solon, 14; and above all the Trochaic tetrameters of Solon himself, addressed to Phôkus, Fr. 24-26, Schneidewin:—

Οὐκ ἔφυ Σόλων βαθύφρων, οὐδὲ βουλήεις ἀνήρ,

Ἐσθλὰ γὰρ θεοῦ δίδοντος, αὐτὸς οὐκ ἐδέξατο.

Περιβαλὼν δ᾽ ἄγραν, ἀγασθεὶς οὐκ ἀνέσπασεν μέγα

Δίκτυον, θυμοῦ θ’ ἁμαρτῆ καὶ φρενῶν ἀποσφαλείς.

[172] Aristides, Περὶ τοῦ Παραφθέγματος, ii, p. 397; and Fragm. 29, Schn. of the Iambics of Solon:—

... εἰ γὰρ ἤθελον

Ἃ τοῖς ἐναντίοισιν ἥνδανεν τότε,

Αὖθις δ᾽ ἃ τοῖσιν ἁτέροις δρᾶσαι ...

Πολλῶν ἂν ἀνδρῶν ἥδ᾽ ἐχηρώθη πόλις.

[173] See the valuable fragment of his Iambics, preserved by Plutarch and Aristidês, the expression of which is rendered more emphatic by the appeal to the personal Earth, as having passed by his measures from slavery into freedom (compare Plato, Legg. v, pp. 740-741):—

Συμμαρτυροίη ταῦτ᾽ ἂν ἐν δίκῃ Χρόνου

Μήτηρ, μεγίστη δαιμόνων Ὀλυμπίων,

Ἄριστα, Γῆ μέλαινα, τῆς ἐγώ ποτε

Ὅρους ἀνεῖλον πολλαχῇ πεπηγότας,

Πρόσθεν δὲ δουλεύουσα, νῦν ἐλευθέρα.

Πολλοὺς δ᾽ Ἀθήνας, πατρίδ᾽ εἰς θεόκτιτον

Ἀνήγαγον πραθέντας, ἄλλον ἐκδίκως,

Ἄλλον δικαίως· τοὺς δ᾽ ἀναγκαίης ὕπο

Χρειοῦς φυγόντας, γλῶσσαν οὔκετ᾽ Ἀττικὴν

Ἱέντας, ὡς ἂν πολλαχῇ πλανωμένους·

Τοὺς δ’ ἐνθάδ᾽ αὐτοῦ δουλίην ἀεικέα

Ἔχοντας, ἤδη δεσπότας τρομευμένους,

Ἐλευθέρους ἔθηκα.

also Plutarch, Solon, c. 15.

[174] Plutarch, Solon, c. 23: compare c. 13. The statement in Sextus Empiricus (Pyrrhon. Hypot. iii, 24, 211), that Solon enacted a law permitting fathers to kill (φονεύειν) their children, cannot be true, and must be copied from some untrustworthy authority: compare Dionys. Hal. A. R. ii, 26, where he contrasts the prodigious extent of the patria potestas among the early Romans, with the restrictions which all the Greek legislators alike,—Solon, Pittakus, Charondas,—either found or introduced: he says, however, that the Athenian father was permitted to disinherit legitimate male children, which does not seem to be correct.

Meier (Der Attische Prozess, iii, 2, p. 427) rejects the above-mentioned statement of Sextus Empiricus, and farther contends that the exposure of new-born infants was not only rare, but discountenanced as well by law as by opinion; the evidence in the Latin comedies to the contrary, he considers as manifestations of Roman, and not of Athenian, manners. In this latter opinion I do not think that he is borne out, and I agree in the statement of Schömann (Ant. J. P. Græc. sect. 82), that the practice and feeling of Athens as well as of Greece generally, left it to the discretion of the father whether he would consent, or refuse, to bring up a new-born child.

[175] Plutarch, Solon, c. 15. See the full exposition given of this debasement of the coinage, in Boeckh’s Metrologie, ch. ix, p. 115.

M. Boeckh thinks (ch. xv, s. 2) that Solon not only debased the coin, but also altered the weights and measures. I dissent from his opinion on this latter point, and have given my reasons for so doing, in a review of his valuable treatise in the Classical Museum, No. 1.

[176] Plutarch, Solon, c. 19. In the general restoration of exiles throughout the Greek cities, proclaimed first by order of Alexander the Great, afterwards by Polysperchon, exception is made of men exiled for sacrilege or homicide (Diodor. xvii, 109; xviii, 8-46).

[177] Plutarch, Solon, c. 15. οὐδὲ μαλακῶς, οὐδ᾽ ὑπείκων τοῖς δυναμένοις, οὐδὲ πρὸς ἡδονὴν τῶν ἑλομένων, ἔθετο τοὺς νόμους, etc.

[178] Plutarch, Solon, c. 16.

[179] See above, vol. ii, part ii, ch. vi.

[180] Plutarch, l. c. ἔθυσάν τε κοινῇ, Σεισάχθειαν τὴν θυσίαν ὀνομάζοντες, etc.

[181] The anecdote is again noticed, but without specification of the names of the friends, in Plutarch, Reipub. Gerend. Præcep. p. 807.

[182] Plutarch, Solon, c. 15. The statement of Dionysius of Hal., in regard to the bearing of the seisachtheia, is in the main accurate,—χρεῶν ἄφεσιν ψηφισαμένην τοῖς ἀπόροις (v, 65),—to the debtors who were liable on the security of their bodies and their lands, and who were chiefly poor,—not to all debtors.

Herakleidês Pontic. (Πολιτ. c. 1) and Dio Chrysostom (Or. xxxi, p. 331) express themselves loosely.

Both Wachsmuth (Hell. Alterth. v. i, p. 249) and K. F. Hermann (Gr. Staats Alter. c. s. 106) quote the heliastic oath, and its energetic protest against repudiation, as evidence of the bearing of the Solonian seisachtheia. But that oath is referable only to a later period; it cannot be produced in proof of any matter applicable to the time of Solon; the mere mention of the senate of Five Hundred in it, shows that it belongs to times subsequent to the Kleisthenean revolution. Nor does the passage from Plato (Legg. iii, p. 684) apply to the case.

Both Wachsmuth and Hermann appear to me to narrow too much the extent of Solon’s measure in reference to the clearing of debtors. But on the other hand, they enlarge the effect of his measures in another way, without any sufficient evidence,—they think that he raised the villein tenants into free proprietors. Of this I see no proof, and think it improbable. A large proportion of the small debtors whom Solon exonerated were probably free proprietors before; the existence of the ὅροι, or mortgage pillars, upon their land proves this.

[183] That which Solon did for the Athenian people in regard to debts, is less than what was promised to the Roman plebs (at the time of its secession to the Mons Sacer in 491 B. C.) by Menenius Agrippa, the envoy of the senate, to appease them, but which does not seem to have been ever realized (Dionys. Hal. vi, 83). He promised an abrogation of all the debts of debtors unable to pay, without exception,—if the language of Dionysius is to be trusted, which probably it cannot be.

Dr. Thirlwall justly observes respecting Solon, “He must be considered as an arbitrator, to whom all the parties interested submitted their claims, with the avowed intent that they should be decided by him, not upon the footing of legal right, but according to his own view of the public interest. It was in this light that he himself regarded his office, and he appears to have discharged it faithfully and discreetly.” (History of Greece, ch. xi. vol. ii, p. 42.)

[184] Dêmosthen. cont. Timokrat. p. 746. οὐδὲ τῶν χρεῶν τῶν ἰδίων ἀποκοπὰς, οὐδὲ γῆς ἀναδασμὸν τῆς Ἀθηναίων, οὐδ᾽ οἰκιῶν (ψηφιοῦμαι): compare Dio Chrysostom, Orat. xxxi, p. 332, who also dwells upon the anxiety of various Grecian cities to fix a curse upon all propositions for χρεῶν ἀποκοπὴ and γῆς ἀναδασμός. What is not less remarkable is, that Dio seems not to be aware of any one well-authenticated case in Grecian history, in which a redivision of lands had ever actually taken place—ὃ μηδ᾽ ὅλως ἴσμεν εἴ ποτε συνέβη. (l. c.)

For the law of debtor and creditor, as it stood during the times of the Orators at Athens, see Heraldus, Animadv. ad Salmasium, pp. 174-286; Meier und Schömann, Der Attische Prozess, b. iii, c. 2, p. 497, seqq. (though I doubt the distinction which they there draw between χρέος and δανεῖον); Platner, Prozess und Klagen, b. ii, absch. 11, pp. 349, 361.

There was one exceptional case, in which the Attic law always continued to the creditor that power over the person of the insolvent debtor which all creditors had possessed originally,—it was when the creditor had lent money for the express purpose of ransoming the debtor from captivity (Dêmosthen. cont. Nikostr. p. 1249),—analogous to the actio depensi in the old Roman law.

Any citizen who owed money to the public treasury, and whose debt became overdue, was deprived for the time of all civil rights until he had cleared it off.

Diodorus (i, 79) gives us an alleged law of the Egyptian king Bocchoris, releasing the persons of debtors and rendering their properties only liable, which is affirmed to have served as an example for Solon to copy. If we can trust this historian, lawgivers in other parts of Greece still retained the old severe law enslaving the debtor’s person: compare a passage in Isokratês (Orat. xiv, Plataicus, p. 305; p. 414, Bek.)

[185] Aristot. Polit. i, 4, 23; Cato ap. Cicero. de Offic. ii, 25. Plato, in his Treatise de Legg. (v, p. 742) forbids all lending on interest: indeed, he forbids any private citizen to possess either gold or silver.

To illustrate the marked difference made in the early Roman law, between the claim for the principal and that for the interest, I insert in an Appendix, at the end of this chapter, the explanation given by M. von Savigny, of the treatment of the nexi and addicti,—connected as it is by analogy with the Solonian seisachtheia.

[186] Aristot. Polit. i, 4, 23. Τὴς δὲ μεταβλητικῆς ψεγομένης διακίως (οὐ γὰρ κατὰ φύσιν, ἀλλ᾽ ἀπ᾽ ἀλλήλων ἔστιν), εὐλογώτατα μισεῖται ἡ ὀβολοστατική, etc. Compare Ethic. Nikom. iv, 1.

Plutarch borrows from Aristotle the quibble derived from the word τόκος (the Greek expression for interest), which has given birth to the well-known dictum of Aristotle,—that money being naturally barren, to extract offspring from it must necessarily be contrary to nature (see Plutarch, De Vit. Ær. Al. p. 829).

[187] Tacit. Germ. 26. “Fœnus agitare et in usuras extendere, ignotum: ideoque magis servatur quam si vetitum esset,” (c. 21.) “Gaudent muneribus: sed nec data imputant, nec acceptis obligantur.”

[188] Hesiod, Opp. Di. 647, 404. Βούληαι χρέα τε προφυγεῖν, καὶ λιμὸν ἀτερπῆ. Some good observations on this subject are to be found in the excellent treatise of M. Turgot, written in 1763, “Mémoire sur les Prêts d’Argent:”—

“Les causes qui avoient autrefois rendu odieux le prêt à intérêt, ont cessé d’agir avec tant de force.... De toutes ces circonstances réunies, il est résulté que les emprunts faits par le pauvre pour subsister ne sont plus qu’un objet à peine sensible dans la somme totale d’emprunts: que la plus grande partie des prêts se font à l’homme riche, ou du moins à l’homme industrieux, qui espère se procurer de grands profits par l’emploi de l’argent qu’il emprunte.... Les prêteurs sur gage à gros intérêt, les seuls qui prêtent véritablement au pauvre pour ses besoins journaliers et non pour le mettre en état de gagner, ne font point le même mal que les anciens usuriers qui conduisoient par degrés à la misère et à l’esclavage les pauvres citoyens auxquels ils avoient procuré des secours funestes.... Le créancier qui pouvait réduire son débiteur en esclavage y trouvait un profit: c’étoit un esclave qu’il acquérait: mais aujourd’hui le créancier sait qu’en privant son débiteur de la liberté, il n’y gagnera autre chose que d’être obligé de le nourrir en prison: aussi ne s’avise-t-on pas de faire contracter à un homme qui n’a rien, et qui est réduit à emprunter pour vivre, des engagemens qui emportent la contrainte par corps. La seule sûreté vraiment solide contre l’homme pauvre est le gage: et l’homme pauvre s’estime heureux de trouver un secours pour le moment sans autre danger que de perdre ce gage. Aussi le peuple a-t-il plutôt de la reconnoissance pour ces petits usuriers qui le secourent dans son besoin, quoiqu’ils lui vendent assez cher ce secours.” (Mémoire sur les Prêts d’Argent, in the collection of Œuvres de Turgot, by Dupont de Nemours, vol. v, sects. xxx, xxxi, pp. 326, 327, 329, written in 1763.)

[189] “In Bengal (observes Adam Smith, Wealth of Nations, b. i, ch. 9, p. 143, ed. 1812) money is frequently lent to the farmers at 40, 50, and 60 per cent., and the succeeding crop is mortgaged for the payment.”

Respecting this commerce at Florence in the Middle Ages, M. Depping observes: “Il semblait que l’esprit commercial fût inné chez les Florentins: déjà aux 12me et 13me siècles, on les voit tenir des banques et prêter de l’argent aux princes. Ils ouvrirent partout des maisons de prêt, marchèrent de pair avec les Lombards, et, il faut le dire, ils furent souvent maudits, comme ceux-ci, par leurs débiteurs, à cause de leur rapacité. Vingt pour cent par an était le taux ordinaire des prêteurs Florentins: et il n’était pas rare qu’ils en prissent trente et quarante.” Depping, Histoire du Commerce entre le Levant et l’Europe, vol. i, p. 235.

Boeckh (Public Economy of Athens, book i, ch. 22) gives from 12 to 18 per cent. per annum as the common rate of interest at Athens in the time of the orators.

The valuable Inscription (No. 1845, in his Corpus Inser. Pars viii, p. 23, sect. 3) proves, that at Korkyra a rate of 2 per cent. per month, or 24 per cent. per annum, might be obtained from perfectly solvent and responsible borrowers. For this is a decree of the Korkyræan government, prescribing what shall be done with a sum of money given to the state for the Dionysiac festivals,—placing that money under the care of certain men of property and character, and directing them to lend it out exactly at 2 per cent. per month, neither more nor less, until a given sum shall be accumulated. This Inscription dates about the third or second century B. C., according to Boeckh’s conjecture.

The Orchomenian Inscription, No. 1569, to which Boeckh refers in the passage above alluded to, is unfortunately defective in the words determining the rate of interest payable to Eubulus: but there is another, the Theræan Inscription (No. 2446), containing the Testament of Epiktêta, wherein the annual sum payable in lieu of a principal sum bequeathed, is calculated at 7 per cent.; a rate which Boeckh justly regards as moderate considered in reference to ancient Greece.

[190] Cæsar, B. G. i, 4, respecting the Gallic chiefs and plebs: “Die constitutâ causæ dictionis, Orgetorix ad judicium omnem suam familiam, ad hominum millia decem, undique coëgit: et omnes clientes, obœratosque suos, quorum magnum numerum habebat, eodem conduxit: per eos, ne caussam diceret, se eripuit.” Ibid. vi, 13: “Plerique, cum aut ære alieno, aut magnitudine tributorum, aut injuriâ potentiorum, premuntur, sese in servitutem dicant nobilibus. In hos eadem omnia sunt jura, quæ dominis in servos.” The wealthy Romans cultivated their large possessions partly by the hands of adjudged debtors, in the time of Columella (i, 3, 14): “More præpotentium, qui possident fines gentium, quos ... aut occupatos nexu civium, aut ergastulis, tenent.”

According to the Teutonic codes also, drawn up several centuries subsequently to Tacitus, it seems that the insolvent debtor falls under the power of his creditor and is subject to personal fetters and chastisement (Grimm, Deutsche Rechts Alterthümer, pp. 612-615): both he and Von Savigny assimilate it to the terrible process of personal execution and addiction in the old law of Rome, against the insolvent debtor on loan. King Alfred exhorts the creditor to lenity (Laws of King Alfred, Thorpe, Ancient Laws of England, vol. i, p. 53, law 35).

A striking evidence of the alteration of the character and circumstances of debtors, between the age of Solon and that of Plutarch, is afforded by the treatise of the latter, “De Vitando Ære Alieno,” wherein he sets forth in the most vehement manner the miserable consequences of getting into debt. “The poor” he says, “do not get into debt, for no one will lend them money (τοῖς γὰρ ἀπόροις οὐ δανείζουσιν, ἀλλὰ βουλομένοις εὐπορίαν τινα ἑαυτοῖς κτᾶσθαι καὶ μάρτυρα δίδωσι καὶ βεβαιώτην ἄξιον, ὅτι ἔχει πιστεύεσθαι): the borrowers are men who have still some property and some security to offer, but who wish to keep up a rate of expenditure beyond what they can afford, and become utterly ruined by contracting debts.” (Plut. pp. 827, 830.) This shows how intimately the multiplication of poor debtors was connected with the liability of their persons to enslavement. Compare Plutarch, De Cupidine Divitiarum, c. 2, p. 523.

[191] Levitic. 25: 35-36; Deuteron. 23: 20. This enactment seems sufficiently intelligible; yet M. Salvador (Histoire des Institutions de Moïse, liv. iii, ch. 6) puzzles himself much to assign to it some far-sighted commercial purpose. “Unto thy brother thou shalt not lend upon usury, but unto a stranger thou mayst lend upon usury:”—it is of more importance to remark that the word here translated usury really means any interest for money, great or small;—see the opinion of the Sanhedrim of seventy Jewish doctors, assembled at Paris in 1807, cited in M. Salvador’s work, l. c.

The Mosaic law, therefore, (as between Jew and Jew, or even as between Jew and the μέτοικος, or resident stranger, distinguished from the foreigner,) went as far as the Koran in prohibiting all taking of interest. That its enactments were not much observed, any more than those of the Koran, we have one proof at least in the proceeding of Nehemiah at the building of the second temple,—which presents so curious a parallel in many respects to the Solonian seisachtheia, that I transcribe the account of it from Prideaux, Connection of Sacred and Profane History, part i, b. 6, p. 290:—

“The burden which the people underwent in the earning on of this work, and the incessant labor which they were enforced to undergo to bring it to so speedy a conclusion, being very great, ... care was taken to relieve them from a much greater burden, the oppression of usurers; which they then in great misery lay under, and had much greater reason to complain of. For the rich, taking advantage of the necessities of the meaner sort, had exacted heavy usury of them, making them pay the centesima for all moneys lent them; that is, 1 per cent. for every month, which amounted to 12 per cent. for the whole year; so that they were forced to mortgage their lands, and sell their children into servitude, to have wherewith to buy bread for the support of themselves and their families; which being a manifest breach of the law of God, given them by Moses (for that forbids all the race of Israel to take usury of any of their brethren), Nehemiah, on his hearing hereof, resolved forthwith to remove so great an iniquity; in order whereto he called a general assembly of all the people, where having set forth unto them the nature of the offence, how great a breach it was of the divine law, and how heavy an oppression upon their brethren, and how much it might provoke the wrath of God against them, he caused it to be enacted by the general suffrage of that whole assembly, that all should return to their brethren whatsoever had been exacted of them upon usury, and also release all the lands, vineyards, olive-yards, and houses, which had been taken of them upon mortgage on the account hereof.”

The measure of Nehemiah appears thus to have been not merely a seisachtheia such as that of Solon, but also a παλιντοκία, or refunding of interest paid by the debtor in past time,—analogous to the proceeding of the Megarians on emancipating themselves from their oligarchy, as recounted above, chapter ix, p. 44.

[192] In every law to limit the rate of interest, it is of course implied that the law not only ought to fix, but can fix, the maximum rate at which money is to be lent. The tribunes at Rome followed out this proposition with perfect consistency: they passed successive laws for the reduction of the rate of interest, until at length they made it illegal to take any interest at all: “Gemecium, tribunum plebis, tulisse ad populum, ne fœnerari liceret.” (Liv. vii, 42.) History shows that the law, though passed, was not carried into execution.

[193] Boeckh (Public Econ. of Athens, b. i, ch. 22, p. 128) thinks differently,—in my judgment, contrary to the evidence: the passages to which he refers, especially that of Theophrastus, are not sufficient to sustain his opinion, and there are other passages which go far to contradict it.

[194] Lysias cont. Theomnêst. A. c. 5, p. 360.

[195] Cicero, De Officiis, i, 42.

[196] Plato, Legg. iii, p. 684. ὡς ἐπιχειροῦντι δὴ νομοθέτῃ κινεῖν τῶν τοιούτων τι πᾶς ἀπαντᾷ, λέγων, μὴ κινεῖν τὰ ἀκίνητα, καὶ ἐπαρᾶται γῆς τε ἀναδασμοὺς εἰσηγούμενον καὶ χρεῶν ἀποκοπὰς, ὥστ᾽ εἰς ἀπορίαν καθίστασθαι πάντα ἄνδρα, etc.: compare also v, pp. 736-737, where similar feelings are intimated not less emphatically.

Cicero lays down very good principles about the mischief of destroying faith in contracts; but his admonitions to this effect seem to be accompanied with an impracticable condition: the lawgiver is to take care that debts shall not be contracted to an extent hurtful to the state: “Quamobrem ne sit æs alienum, quod reipublicæ noceat, providendum est (quod multis rationibus caveri potest): non, si fuerit, ut locupletes suum perdant, debitores lucrentur alienum,” etc. What the multæ rationes were, which Cicero had in his mind, I do not know: compare his opinion about fœneratores, Offic. i, 42 ii, 25.

[197] See Plutarch’s Life of Agis, especially ch. 13, about the bonfire in which the κλάρια, or mortgage-deeds, of the creditors were all burnt, in the agora of Sparta: compare also the comparison of Agis with Gracchus, c. 2.

[198] “Græcâ fide mercari.” Polybius puts the Greeks greatly below the Romans in point of veracity and good faith (vi, 56); in another passage, he speaks not quite so confidently (xviii, 17). Even the testimony of the Roman writers is sometimes given in favor of Attic good faith, not against it—“ut semper et in omni re, quicquid sincerâ fide gereretur, id Romani, Atticâ fieri, prædicarent.” (Velleius Paterc. ii, 23.)

The language of Heffter (Athenäische Gerichts Verfassung, p. 466), especially, degrades very undeservedly the state of good faith and credit at Athens.

The whole tone and argument of the Oration of Dêmosthenês against Leptinês is a remarkable proof of the respect of the Athenian dikastery for vested interests, even under less obvious forms than that of pecuniary possession. We may add a striking passage of Dêmosthenês cont. Timokrat. wherein he denounces the rescinding of past transactions (τὰ πεπραγμένα λῦσαι, contrasted with prospective legislation) as an injustice peculiar to an oligarchy, and repugnant to the feelings of a democracy (cont. Timokrat. c. 20, p. 724; c. 36, 747).

[199] A similar credit, in respect to monetary probity, may be claimed for the republic of Florence. M. Sismondi says, “Au milieu des révolutions monétaires de tous les pays voisins et tandis que la mauvaise foi des gouvernemens altéroit le numéraire d’une extrémité à l’autre de l’Europe, le florin ou séquin de Florence est toujours resté le même: il est du même poids, du même titre: il porte la même empreinte que celui qui fut battu en 1252.” (Républiques Italiennes, vol. iii, ch. 18, p. 176.)

M. Boeckh (Public Econ. of Athens, i, 6; iv, 19), while affirming, justly and decidedly, that the Athenian republic always set a high value on maintaining the integrity of their silver money,—yet thinks that the gold pieces which were coined in Olymp. 93, 2, (408 B. C.) under the archonship of Antigenês (out of the golden ornaments in the acropolis, and at a time of public embarrassments) were debased and made to pass for more than their value. The only evidence in support of this position appears to be the passage in Aristophanês (Ran. 719-737) with the Scholia; but this very passage seems to me rather to prove the contrary. “The Athenian people (says Aristophanês) deal with their public servants as they do with their coins: they prefer the new and bad to the old and good.” If the people were so exceedingly, and even extravagantly, desirous of obtaining the new coins, this is a strong proof that they were not depreciated, and that no loss was incurred by giving the old coins in exchange for them.

[200] “Sane vetus Urbi fœnebre malum (says Tacitus, Ann. vi, 16) et seditionum discordiarumque creberrima causa,” etc: compare Appian, Bell. Civil. Præfat.; and Montesquieu, Esprit des Lois, l. xxii, c. 22.

The constant hopes and intrigues of debtors at Rome, to get rid of their debts by some political movement, are nowhere more forcibly brought out than in the second Catilinarian Oration of Cicero, c. 8-9: read also the striking harangue of Catiline to his fellow-conspirators (Sallust, B. Catilin. c. 20-21).

[201] The insolvent debtor, in some of the Bœotian towns, was condemned to sit publicly in the agora with a basket on his head, and then disfranchised (Nikolaus Damaskenus, Frag. p. 152, ed. Orelli).

According to Diodorus, the old severe law against the body of a debtor, long after it had been abrogated by Solon at Athens, still continued in other parts of Greece (i, 79).

[202] Solon, Frag. 27, ed. Schneid.—

Ἃ μὲν ἄελπτα σὺν θεοῖσιν ἤνυσ᾽, ἄλλα δ’ οὐ μάτην


[203] Plutarch, Solon, 18-23; Pollux, viii. 130; Aristot. Polit. ii, 9, 4; Aristot. Fragm. περὶ Πολιτείων, Fr. 51, ed. Neumann; Harpokration and Photius, v. Ἱππάς; Etymolog. Mag. Ζευγίσιον, Θητικόν; the Etym. Mag. Ζευγίσιον, and the Schol. Aristoph. Equit. 627, recognize only three classes.

He took a medimnus (of wheat or barley?) as equivalent to a drachm, and a sheep at the same value (ib. c. 23).

The medimnus seems equal to about 1 2/5 (1·4) English imperial bushel: consequently 500 medimni = 700 English imperial bushels, or 87 1/2 quarters.

[204] The excellent explanation of the Solonian (τίμημα) property-schedule and graduated qualification, first given by Boeckh, in his Staatshaushaltung der Athener (b. iii, c. 5), has elucidated a subject which was, before him, nothing but darkness and mystery. The statement of Pollux (viii, 130), given in very loose language, had been, before Boeckh, erroneously apprehended; ἀνήλισκον εἰς τὸ δημόσιον, does not mean the sums which the pentakosiomedimnus, the hippeus, or the zeugite, actually paid to the state, but the sums for which each was rated, or which each was liable to pay, if called upon: of course, the state does not call for the whole of a man’s rated property, but exacts an equal proportion of it from each.

On one point I cannot concur with Boeckh. He fixes the pecuniary qualification of the third class, or zeugites, at one hundred and fifty drachms, not at two hundred. All the positive testimonies (as he himself allows, p. 31) agree in fixing two hundred, and not one hundred and fifty; and the inference drawn from the old law, quoted in Dêmosthenês (cont. Makartat. p. 1067) is too uncertain to outweigh this concurrence of authorities.

Moreover, the whole Solonian schedule becomes clearer and more symmetrical if we adhere to the statement of two hundred drachms, and not one hundred and fifty, as the lowest scale of zeugite income; for the scheduled capital is then, in all the three scales, a definite and exact multiple of the income returned,—in the richest class it is twelve times,—in the middle class, ten times,—in the poorest, five times the income. But this correspondence ceases, if we adopt the supposition of Boeckh, that the lowest zeugite income was one hundred and fifty drachms; for the sum of one thousand drachms (at which the lowest zeugite was rated in the schedule) is no exact multiple of one hundred and fifty drachms. In order to evade this difficulty, Boeckh supposes that the adjustment of income to scheduled capital was effected in a way both roundabout and including nice fractions: he thinks that the income of each was converted into capital by multiplying by twelve, and that, in the case of the richest class, or pentakosiomedimni, the whole sum so obtained was entered in the schedule,—in the case of the second class, or hippeis, five-sixths of the sum,—and in the case of the third class, or zeugites, five-ninths of the sum. Now this process seems to me rather complicated, and the employment of a fraction such as five-ninths (both difficult and not much above the simple fraction of one-half) very improbable: moreover, Boeckh’s own table, p. 41, gives fractional sums in the third class, when none appear in the first or second.

Such objections, of course, would not be admissible, if there were any positive evidence to prove the point. But in this case they are in harmony with all the positive evidence, and are amply sufficient, in my judgment, to countervail the presumption arising from the old law on which Boeckh relies.

[205] See Boeckh, Staatshaushaltung der Athener, ut suprà. Pollux gives an Inscription describing Anthemion son of Diphilus,—Θητικοῦ ἀντὶ τέλους ἱππάδ᾽ ἀμειψάμενος. The word τελεῖν does not necessarily mean actual payment, but “the being included in a class with a certain aggregate of duties and liabilities,”—equivalent to censeri (Boeckh, p. 36).

Plato, in his treatise De Legibus, admits a quadripartite census of citizens, according to more or less of property (Legg. v, p. 744; vi, p. 756). Compare Tittmann, Griechische Staats Verfassungen pp. 648, 653; K. F. Hermann, Lehrbuch der Gr. Staats Alt. § 108.

[206] Plutarch, Solon, 18, 19, 23; Philochorus, Frag. 60, ed. Didot. Athenæus, iv, p. 168; Valer. Maxim. ii, 6.

[207] Meursius, Solon, passim; Sigonius, De Republ. Athen. i, p. 39 (though in some passages he makes a marked distinction between the time before and after Kleisthenês, p. 28). See Wachsmuth, Hellenische Alterthumskunde, vol. i, sects. 46, 47; Tittmann, Griechische Staatsverfassungen, p. 146; Platner, Der Attische Prozess, book ii, ch. 5, pp 28-38; Dr. Thirlwall, History of Greece, vol. ii, ch. xi, pp. 46-57.

Niebuhr, in his brief allusions to the legislation of Solon, keeps duly in view the material difference between Athens as constituted by Solon, and Athens as it came to be after Kleisthenês; but he presumes a closer analogy between the Roman patricians and the Athenian eupatridæ than we are entitled to count upon.

[208] Dêmosthen. cont. Timokrat. p. 746. Æschinês ascribes this oath to ὁ νομοθέτης (c. Ktesiphon. p. 389).

Dr. Thirlwall notices the oath as prescribed by Solon (History of Greece, vol. ii, ch. xi, p. 47).

So again Dêmosthenês and Æschinês, in the orations against Leptinês (c. 21, p. 486) and against Timokrat. pp. 706-707,—compare Æschin. c. Ktesiph. p. 429,—in commenting upon the formalities enjoined for repealing an existing law and enacting a new one, while ascribing the whole to Solon,—say, among other things, that Solon directed the proposer “to post up his project of law before the eponymi,” (ἐκθεῖναι πρόσθεν τῶν Ἐπωνύμων): now the eponymi were (the statues of) the heroes from whom the ten Kleisthenean tribes drew their names, and the law making mention of these statues, proclaims itself as of a date subsequent to Kleisthenês. Even the law defining the treatment of the condemned murderer who returned from exile, which both Dêmosthenês and Doxopater (ap. Walz. Collect. Rhetor. vol. ii, p. 223) call a law of Drako, is really later than Solon, as may be seen by its mention of the ἄξων (Dêmosth. cont. Aristok. p. 629).

Andokidês is not less liberal in his employment of the name of Solon (see Orat. i, De Mysteriis, p. 13), where he cites as a law of Solon, an enactment which contains the mention of the tribe Æantis and the senate of five hundred (obviously, therefore, subsequent to the revolution of Kleisthenês), besides other matters which prove it to have been passed even subsequent to the oligarchical revolution of the four hundred, towards the close of the Peloponnesian war. The prytanes, the proëdri, and the division of the year into ten portions of time, each called by the name of a prytany,—so interwoven with all the public proceedings of Athens,—do not belong to the Solonian Athens, but to Athens as it stood after the ten tribes of Kleisthenês.

Schömann maintains emphatically, that the sworn nomothetæ, as they stood in the days of Dêmosthenês, were instituted by Solon; but he admits at the same time that all the allusions of the orators to this institution include both words and matters essentially post-Solonian, so that modifications subsequent to Solon must have been introduced. This admission seems to me fatal to the cogency of his proof: see Schömann, De Comitiis, ch. vii, pp. 266-268; and the same author, Antiq. J. P. Att. sect. xxxii. His opinion is shared by K. F. Hermann, Lehrbuch der Griech. Staats Alterth. sect. 131; and Platner, Attischer Prozess, vol. ii, p. 38.

Meier, De Bonis Damnatorum, p. 2, remarks upon the laxity with which the orators use the name of Solon: “Oratores Solonis nomine sæpe utuntur, ubi omnino legislatorem quemquam significare volunt, etiamsi a Solone ipso lex lata non est.” Herman Schelling, in his Dissertation De Solonis Legibus ap. Oratt. Attic. (Berlin, 1842), has collected and discussed the references to Solon and to his laws in the orators. He controverts the opinion just cited from Meier, but upon arguments no way satisfactory to me (pp. 6-8); the more so, as he himself admits that the dialect in which the Solonian laws appear in the citation of the orators can never have been the original dialect of Solon himself (pp. 3-5), and makes also substantially the same admission at Schömann, in regard to the presence of post-Solonian matters in the supposed Solonian laws (pp. 23-27).

[209] See Boeckh, Public Economy of Athens, book ii, c. 15.

[210] Demosthen. cont. Timokrat. c. 26, p. 731: compare Aristophanês Ekklesiazus. 302.

[211] Herodot. i, 29; Plutarch, Solon, c. 25. Aulus Gellius affirms that the Athenians swore, under strong religious penalties, to observe them forever (ii, 12).

[212] Livy iii, 34.

[213] Solon, Fragm. ii, 3, ed. Schneidewin:—

Δήμῳ μὲν γὰρ ἔδωκα τόσον κράτος, ὅσσον ἐπαρκεῖ,

Τιμῆς οὔτ᾽ ἀφελὼν, οὔτ᾽ ἐπορεξάμενος·

Οἳ δ᾽ εἶχον δύμαμιν καὶ χρήμασιν ἦσαν ἀγητοὶ,

Καὶ τοῖς ἐφρασάμην μηδὲν ἀεικὲς ἔχειν.

Ἔστην δ᾽ ἀμφιβαλὼν κρατερὸν σάκος ἀμφοτέροισι,

Νικᾷν δ᾽ οὐκ εἴασ᾽ οὐδετέρους ἀδίκως.

The reading ἐπαρκεῖ in the first line is not universally approved: Brunck adopts ἐπαρκεῖν, which Niebuhr approves. The latter construes it to mean, “I gave to the people only so much power as could not be withheld from them.” (Röm. Geschicht. t. ii, p. 346, 2d ed.) Taking the first two lines together, I think Niebuhr’s meaning is substantially correct, though I give a more literal translation myself. Solon seems to be vindicating himself against the reproach of having been too democratical, which was, doubtless, addressed to him in every variety of language.

[214] Aristot. Polit. ii, 9, 4. Ἐπεὶ Σόλων γ᾽ ἔοικε τὴν ἀναγκαιοτάτην ἀποδιδόναι τῷ δημῳ δύναμιν, τὸ τὰς ἀρχὰς αἱρεῖσθαι καὶ εὐθύνειν· μηδὲ γὰρ τούτου κύριος ὢν ὁ δῆμος, δοῦλος ἂν εἴη λαὶ πολέμιος.

In this passage respecting Solon (containing sections 2, 3, 4 of the edition of M. Barthélemy St. Hilaire), Aristotle first gives the opinion of certain critics who praised Solon, with the reasons upon which it is founded; next, the opinion of certain critics who blamed him, with their reasons; thirdly, his own judgment. The first of these three contains sect. 2 (from Σόλωνα δ᾽ ἔνιοι, down to τὰ δικαστήρια ποιήσας ἐκ πάντων). The second contains the greater part of sect. 3 (from Διὸ καὶ μέμφονταί τινες αὐτῷ, down to τὴν νῦν δημοκρατίαν). The remainder is his own judgment. I notice this, because sections 2 and 3 are not to be taken as the opinion of Aristotle himself, but of those upon whom he was commenting, who considered Solon as the author of the dikasteries selected by lot.

[215] Herodot. v, 69. τὸν Ἀθηναίων δῆμον, πρότερον ἀπωσμένον πάντων, etc.

[216] Herodot. v, 66-69. Οὗτοι οἱ ἄνδρες (Kleisthenês and Isagoras) ἐστασίασαν περὶ δυνάμεως· ἑσσούμενος δὲ ὁ Κλεισθένης τὸν δῆμον προσεταιρίζεται ...

... Ὡς γὰρ δὴ τὸν Ἀθηναίων δῆμον, πρότερον ἀπωσμένον πάντων, τότε πρὸς τὴν ἑωϋτοῦ μοίρην προσεθήκατο, (Kleisthenês) τὰς φυλὰς μετωνόμασε ... ἦν δὲ, τὸν δῆμον προσθέμενος πολλῷ κατύπερθε τῶν ἀντιστασιώτεων.

As to the marked democratical tendency of the proceedings of Kleisthenês, see Aristot. Polit. vi, 2, 11; iii, 1, 10.

[217] Lysias cont. Theomnest. A. c. 5, p. 357, who gives ἐὰν μὴ προστιμήσῃ ἡ Ἡλίαια as a Solonian phrase; though we are led to doubt whether Solon can ever have employed it, when we find Pollux (vii, 5, 22) distinctly stating that Solon used the word ἐπαίτια to signify what the orators called προστιμήματα.

The original and proper meaning of the word Ἡλίαια is, the public assembly (see Tittmann, Griech. Staatsverfass. pp. 215-216); in subsequent times we find it signifying at Athens—1. The aggregate of six thousand dikasts chosen by lot annually and sworn, or the assembled people considered as exercising judicial functions; 2. Each of the separate fractions into which this aggregate body was in practice subdivided for actual judicial business. Ἐκκλησία became the term for the public deliberative assembly properly so called, which could never be held on the same day that the dikasteries sat (Dêmosthen. cont. Timokrat. c. 21, p. 726): every dikastery is in fact always addressed as if it were the assembled people engaged in a specific duty.

I imagine the term Ἡλίαια in the time of Solon to have been used in its original meaning,—the public assembly, perhaps with a connotation of employment in judicial proceeding. The fixed number of six thousand does not date before the time of Kleisthenês, because it is essentially connected with the ten tribes; while the subdivision of this body of six thousand into various bodies of jurors for different courts and purposes did not commence, probably, until after the first reforms of Kleisthenês. I shall revert to this point when I touch upon the latter, and his times.

[218] The statement of Plutarch, that Solon gave an appeal from the decision of the archon to the judgment of the popular dikastery (Plutarch, Solon, 18), is distrusted by most of the expositors, though Dr. Thirlwall seems to admit it, justifying it by the analogy of the ephetæ, or judges of appeal, constituted by Drako (Hist. of Greece, vol. ii, ch. xi, p. 46).

To me it appears that the Drakonian ephetæ were not really judges in appeal: but be that as it may, the supposition of an appeal from the judgment of the archon is inconsistent with the known course of Attic procedure, and has apparently arisen in Plutarch’s mind from confusion with the Roman provocatio, which really was an appeal from the judgment of the consul to that of the people. Plutarch’s comparison of Solon with Publicola leads to this suspicion,—Καὶ τοῖς φεύγουσι δίκη, ἐπικαλεῖσθαι τὸν δῆμον, ὥσπερ ὁ Σόλων τοὺς δικαστὰς, ἔδωκε (Publicola). The Athenian archon was first a judge without appeal; and afterwards, ceasing to be a judge, he became president of a dikastery, performing only those preparatory steps which brought the case to an issue fit for decision: but he does not seem ever to have been a judge subject to appeal.

It is hardly just to Plutarch to make him responsible for the absurd remark that Solon rendered his laws intentionally obscure, in order that the dikasts might have more to do and greater power: he gives the remark, himself, only with the saving expression λέγεται, “it is said;” and we may well doubt whether it was ever seriously intended even by its author, whoever he may have been.

[219] Kratinus ap. Plutarch. Solon. 25.—

Πρὸς τοῦ Σόλωνος καὶ Δράκοντος, οἷσι νῦν

Φρύγουσιν ἤδη τὰς κάχρυς τοῖς κύρβεσιν.

Isokratês praises the moderate democracy in early Athens, as compared with that under which he lived; but in the Orat. vii (Areopagitic.) he connects the former with the names of Solon and Kleisthenês, while in the Orat. xii (Panathenaic.), he considers the former to have lasted from the days of Theseus to those of Solon and Peisistratus. In this latter oration he describes pretty exactly the power which the people possessed under the Solonian constitution,—τοῦ τὰς ἀρχὰς καταστῆσαι καὶ λαβεῖν δίκην παρὰ τῶν ἐξαμαρτανόντων, which coincides with the phrase of Aristotle—τὰς ἀρχὰς αἱρεῖσθαι καὶ εὐθύνειν,—supposing ἀρχόντων to be understood as the substantive of ἐξαμαρτανόντων.

Compare Isokratês, Or. vii, p. 143 (p. 192 Bek.) and p. 150 (202 Bek.) and Orat. xii, pp. 260-264 (351-356 Bek.).

[220] Cicero, Orat. pro Sext. Roscio, c. 25; Ælian, V. H. viii, 10.

[221] This seems to be the opinion of Dr. Thirlwall, against Wachsmuth though he speaks with doubt. (History of Greece, vol. ii, ch. 11, p. 48, 2d ed.)

[222] Plutarch, Solon, 23-25. He particularly mentions the sixteenth ἄξων: we learn, also, that the thirteenth ἄξων contained the eighth law (c. 19): the twenty-first law is alluded to in Harpokration, v. Ὅτι οἱ ποιητοί.

Some remnants of these wooden rollers existed in the days of Plutarch, in the Athenian prytaneium. See Harpokration and Photius, v. Κύρβεις; Aristot. περὶ Πολιτειῶν, Frag. 35, ed. Neumann; Euphorion ap. Harpokrat. Ὁ κάτωθεν νόμος. Bekker, Anecdota, p. 413.

What we read respecting the ἄξονες and the κύρβεις does not convey a clear idea of them. Besides Aristotle, both Seleukus and Didymus are named as having written commentaries expressly about them (Plutarch, Solon, i; Suidas, v. Ὀργεῶνες; compare also Meursius, Solon, c. 24; Vit. Aristotelis ap. Westermann. Vitarum Scriptt. Græc. p. 404), and the collection in Stephan. Thesaur. p. 1095.

[223] Plutarch, Solon, c. 17; Cyrill. cont. Julian, v, p. 169, ed. Spanheim. The enumeration of the different admitted justifications for homicide, which we find in Dêmosth. cont. Aristokrat. p. 637, seems rather too copious and systematic for the age of Drako; it may have been amended by Solon, or, perhaps, in an age subsequent to Solon.

[224] See Boeckh, Public Economy of the Athenians, book iii, sect. 5. Tittmann (Griechisch. Staatsverfass. p. 651) and others have supposed (from Aristot. Polit. ii, 4, 4) that Solon enacted a law to limit the quantity of land which any individual citizen might acquire. But the passage does not seem to me to bear out such an opinion.

[225] Plutarch, Solon, 24. The first law, however, is said to have related to the insuring of a maintenance to wives and orphans (Harpokration, v. Σῖτος).

By a law of Athens (which marks itself out as belonging to the century after Solon, by the fulness of its provisions, and by the number of steps and official persons named in it), the rooting up of an olive-tree in Attica was forbidden, under a penalty of two hundred drachms for each tree so destroyed,—except for sacred purposes, or to the extent of two trees per annum for the convenience of the proprietor (Dêmosthen. cont. Makartat c. 16, p. 1074).

[226] Plutarch, Solon, 22. ταῖς τέχναις ἀξίωμα περιέθηκε.

[227] Plutarch, Solon, 22-24. According to Herodotus, Solon had enacted that the authorities should punish every man with death who could not show a regular mode of industrious life (Herod. ii, 177; Diodor. i, 77).

So severe a punishment is not credible; nor is it likely that Solon borrowed his idea from Egypt.

According to Pollux (viii, 6) idleness was punished by atimy (civil disfranchisement) under Drako: under Solon, this punishment only took effect against the person who had been convicted of it on three successive occasions. See Meursius, Solon, c. 17; and the “Areopagus” of the same author, c. 8 and 9; and Taylor, Lectt. Lysiac. cap. 10.

[228] Xenophon, De Vectigalibus, iii, 2.

[229] Thucyd. ii, 40 (the funeral oration delivered by Periklês),—καὶ τὸ πένεσθαι οὐχ ὁμολογεῖν τινι αἰσχρὸν, ἀλλὰ μὴ διαφεύγειν ἔργῳ αἴσχιον.

[230] Herodot. ii, 167-177: compare Xenophon, Œconomic. iv, 3.

The unbounded derision, however, which Aristophanes heaps upon Kleôn as a tanner, and upon Hyperbolus as a lamp-maker, proves that, if any manufacturer engaged in politics, his party opponents found enough of the old sentiment remaining to turn it to good account against him.

[231] This seems the just meaning of the words, ἐν τῷ γένει τοῦ τεθνηκότος ἔδει τὰ χρήματα καὶ τὸν οἶκον καταμένειν, for that early day (Plutarch, Solon, 21): compare Meier, De Gentilitate Atticâ, p. 33.

[232] Tacitus, German, c. 20; Halhed, Preface to Gentoo Code, p. i, iii; Mill’s History of British India, b. ii, ch. iv, p. 214.

[233] See the Dissertation of Bunsen, De Jure Hereditario Atheniensium. pp. 28, 29; and Hermann Schelling. De Solonis Legibus ap. Oratt. Atticos, ch. xvii.

The adopted son was not allowed to bequeathe by will that property of which adoption had made him the possessor: if he left no legitimate children, the heirs at law of the adopter claimed it as of right (Dêmosthen. cont. Leochar p. 1100; cont. Stephan. B. p. 1133; Bunsen, ut sup. pp. 55-58).

[234] Plutarch, Solon, 21. τὰ χρήματα, κτήματα τῶν ἐχόντων ἐποίησεν.

[235] According to Æschinês (cont. Timarch. pp. 16-78), the punishment enacted by Solon against the προαγωγὸς, or procurer, in such cases of seduction, was death.

[236] Plutarch, Solon, 20. These φερναὶ were independent of the dowry of the bride, for which the husband, when he received it, commonly gave security, and repaid it in the event of his wife’s death: see Bunsen, De Jure Hered. Ath. p. 43.

[237] Plutarch, l. c. The Solonian restrictions on the subject of funerals were to a great degree copied in the twelve tables at Rome: see Cicero, De Legg. ii, 23, 24. He esteems it a right thing to put the rich and the poor on a level in respect to funeral ceremonies. Plato follows an opposite idea, and limits the expense of funerals upon a graduated scale, according to the census of the deceased (Legg. xii, p. 959).

Dêmosthenês (cont. Makartat. p 1071) gives what he calls the Solonian law on funerals, different from Plutarch on several points.

Ungovernable excesses of grief among the female sex are sometimes mentioned in Grecian towns: see the μανικὸν πένθος among the Milesian women (Polyæn. viii, 63): the Milesian women, however, had a tinge of Karian feeling.

Compare an instructive inscription, recording a law of the Greek city of Gambreion in Æolic Asia Minor, wherein the dress, the proceedings, and the time of allowed mourning, for men, women, and children who had lost their relatives, are strictly prescribed under severe penalties (Franz, Fünf Inschriften und fünf Städte in Kleinasien, Berlin, 1840, p. 17). Expensive ceremonies in the celebration of marriage are forbidden by some of the old Scandinavian laws (Wilda, Das Gildenwesen im Mittelalter, p. 18).

[238] Plutarch, Solon, 23. Xenophanês, Frag. 2, ed. Schneidewin. If Diogenês is to be trusted, the rewards were even larger anterior to Solon: he reduced them (Diog. l. i, 55).

[239] Plutarch, Solon, c. 23. See Suidas, v. Φεισόμεθα.

[240] See the laws in Dêmosthen. cont. Timokrat. pp. 733-736. Notwithstanding the opinion both of Heraldus (Animadversion. in Salmas. iv, 8) and of Meier (Attischer Prozess, p. 356), I cannot imagine anything more than the basis of these laws to be Solonian,—they indicate a state of Attic procedure too much elaborated for that day (Lysias c. Theomn. p. 356). The word ποδοκάκκῃ belongs to Solon, and probably the penalty of five days’ confinement in the stocks, for the thief who had not restored what he had stolen.

Aulus Gell. (xi, 18) mentions the simple pœna dupli: in the authors from whom he copied, it is evident that Solon was stated to have enacted this law generally for all thefts: we cannot tell from whom he copied, but in another part of his work, he copies a Solonian law from the wooden ἄξονες on the authority of Aristotle (ii, 12).

Plato, in his Laws, prescribes the pœna dupli in all cases of theft, without distinction of circumstances (Legg. ix, p. 857; xii, p. 941); it was also the primitive law of Rome: “Posuerunt furem duplo condemnari, fœneratorem quadruplo.” (Cato, De Re Rusticâ, Proœmium),—that is to say, in cases of furtum nec manifestum (Walter, Geschichte des Römisch. Rechts. sect. 757).

[241] Plutarch, Solon, 24; Athenæ. iv, p. 137; Diogen. Laërt. i, 58: καὶ πρῶτος τὴν συναγωγὴν τῶν ἐννέα ἀρχόντων ἐποίησεν, εἰς τὸ συνειπεῖν,—where perhaps, συνδειπνεῖν is the proper reading.

[242] Plutarch, Solon, 20, and De Serâ Numinis Vindictâ, p. 550; Aulus Gell. ii, 12.

[243] See a case of such indifference manifested by the people of Argos, in Plutarch’s Life of Aratus, c. 27.

[244] Plutarch, Solon, 29; Diogen. Laërt. i, 59.

[245] Plutarch, Solon, 15.

[246] Herodot. i, 29. Σόλων, ἀνὴρ Ἀθηναῖος, ὃς Ἀθηναίοισι νόμους κελεύσασι ποιήσας, ἀπεδήμησε ἔτεα δέκα, ἵνα δὴ μή τινα τῶν νόμων ἀναγκάσθῃ λῦσαι τῶν ἔθετο· αὐτοὶ γὰρ οὐκ οἷοί τε ἦσαν αὐτὸ ποιῆσαι Ἀθηναῖοι· ὁρκίοισι γὰρ μεγάλοισι κατείχοντο, δέκα ἔτεα χρήσεσθαι νόμοισι τοὺς ἄν σφι Σόλων θῆται.

One hundred years is the term stated by Plutarch (Solon, 25).

[247] Plutarch, Solon, 26; Herodot. v, 113. The statements of Diogenês that Solon founded Soli in Kilikia, and that he died in Cyprus, are not worthy of credit (Diog. Laërt. i, 51-62).

[248] Plutarch tells us that several authors rejected the reality of this interview as being chronologically impossible. It is to be recollected that the question all turns upon the interview as described by Herodotus and its alleged sequel; for that there may have been an interview between Solon and Crœsus at Sardis, at some period between B. C. 594 and 560, is possible, though not shown.

It is evident that Solon made no mention of any interview with Crœsus in his poems; otherwise, the dispute would have been settled at once. Now this, in a man like Solon, amounts to negative evidence of some value for he noticed in his poems both Egypt and the prince Philokyprus in Cyprus, and had there been any conversation so impressive as that which Herodotus relates, between him and Crœsus, he could hardly have failed to mention it.

Wesseling, Larcher, Volney, and Mr. Clinton, all try to obviate the chronological difficulties, and to save the historical character of this interview, but in my judgment unsuccessfully. See Mr. Clinton’s F. H. ad ann. 546 B. C., and Appendix, c. 17, p. 298. The chronological data are these,—Crœsus was born in 595 B. C., one year before the legislation of Solon: he succeeded to his father at the age of thirty-five, in 560 B. C.: he was overthrown, and Sardis captured, in 546 B. C., by Cyrus.

Mr. Clinton, after Wesseling and the others, supposes that Crœsus was king jointly with his father Halyattês, during the lifetime of the latter, and that Solon visited Lydia and conversed with Crœsus during this joint reign in 570 B. C. “We may suppose that Solon left Athens in B. C. 575, about twenty years after his archonship, and returned thither in B. C. 565, about five years before the usurpation of Peisistratus.” (p. 300.) Upon which hypothesis we may remark:—

1. The arguments whereby Wesseling and Mr. Clinton endeavor to show that Crœsus was king jointly with his father, do not sustain the conclusion. The passage of Nikolaus Damaskenus, which is produced to show that it was Halyattês (and not Crœsus) who conquered Karia, only attests that Halyattês marched with an armed force into Karia (ἐπὶ Καρίαν στρατεύων): this same author states, that Crœsus was deputed by Halyattês to govern Adramyttium and the plain of Thêbê (ἄρχειν ἀποδεδειγμένος), but Mr. Clinton stretches this testimony to an inadmissible extent when he makes it tantamount to a conquest of Æolis by Halyattês, (“so that Æolis is already conquered.”) Nothing at all is said about Æolis, or the cities of the Æolic Greeks, in this passage of Nikolaus, which represents Crœsus as governing a sort of satrapy under his father Halyattês, just as Cyrus the younger did in after-times under Artaxerxês. And the expression of Herodotus, ἐπεί τε, δόντος τοῦ πατρὸς, ἐκράτησε τῆς ἀπχῆς ὁ Κροῖσος, appears to me, when taken along with the context, to indicate a bequest or nomination of successor, and not a donation during life.

2. The hypothesis, therefore, that Crœsus was king 570 B. C., during the lifetime of his father, is one purely gratuitous, resorted to on account of the chronological difficulties connected with the account of Herodotus. But it is quite insufficient for such a purpose; it does not save us from the necessity of contradicting Herodotus in most of his particulars; there may, perhaps, have been an interview between Solon and Crœsus in B. C. 570, but it cannot be the interview described by Herodotus. That interview takes place within ten years after the promulgation of Solon’s laws,—at the maximum of the power of Crœsus, and after numerous conquests effected by himself as king,—at a time when Crœsus had a son old enough to be married and to command armies (Herod, i, 35),—at a time, moreover, immediately preceding the turn of his fortunes from prosperity to adversity, first in the death of his son, succeeded by two years of mourning, which were put an end to (πένθεος ἀπέπαυσε, Herod. i, 46) by the stimulus of war with the Persians. That war, if we read the events of it as described in Herodotus, cannot have lasted more than three or four years,—so that the interview between Solon and Crœsus, as Herodotus conceived it, may be fairly stated to have occurred within seven years before the capture of Sardis.

If we put together all these conditions, it will appear that the interview recounted by Herodotus is a chronological impossibility: and Niebuhr (Rom. Gesch. vol. i, p. 579) is right in saying that the historian has fallen into a mistake of ten olympiads, or forty years; his recital would consist with chronology, if we suppose that the Solonian legislation were referable to 554 B. C., and not 594.

In my judgment, this is an illustrative tale, in which certain real characters,—Crœsus and Solon; and certain real facts,—the great power and succeeding ruin of the former by the victorious arm of Cyrus,—together with certain facts probably altogether fictitious, such as the two sons of Crœsus, the Phyrgian Adrastus and his history, the hunting of the mischievous wild boar on Mount Olympus, the ultimate preservation of Crœsus, etc., are put together so as to convey an impressive moral lesson. The whole adventure of Adrastus and the son of Crœsus is depicted in language eminently beautiful and poetical.

Plutarch treats the impressiveness and suitableness of this narrative as the best proof of its historical truth, and puts aside the chronological tables as unworthy of trust. Upon which reasoning Mr. Clinton has the following very just remarks: “Plutarch must have had a very imperfect idea of the nature of historical evidence, if he could imagine that the suitableness of a story to the character of Solon was a better argument for its authenticity than the number of witnesses by whom it is attested. Those who invented the scene (assuming it to be a fiction) would surely have had the skill to adapt the discourse to the character of the actors.” (p. 300.)

To make this remark quite complete, it would be necessary to add the words “trustworthiness and means of knowledge,” in addition to the “number,” of attesting witnesses. And it is a remark the more worthy of notice, inasmuch as Mr. Clinton here pointedly adverts to the existence of plausible fiction, as being completely distinct from attested matter of fact,—a distinction of which he took no account in his vindication of the historical credibility of the early Greek legends.

[249] Herod, i, 32. Ὦ Κροῖσε, ἐπιστάμενόν με τὸ θεῖον, πᾶν ἐὸν φθονερόν τε καὶ ταραχώδες, ἐπειρωτᾷς με ἀνθρωπηΐων πρηγμάτων πέρι. i, 34. Μετὰ δὲ Σόλωνα οἰχόμενον, ἔλαβεν ἐκ θεοῦ νέμεσις μεγάλη Κροῖσον, ὡς εἰκάσαι ὅτι ἐνόμισε ἑωϋτὸν εἶναι ἀνθρώπων ἁπάντων ὀλβιώτατον.

The hunting-match, and the terrible wild boar with whom the Mysians cannot cope, appear to be borrowed from the legend of Kalydôn. The whole scene of Adrastus, returning after the accident in a state of desperate remorse, praying for death with outstretched hands, spared by Crœsus, and then killing himself on the tomb of the young prince, is deeply tragic (Herod. i, 44-45).

[250] Herodot. i, 85.

[251] Herodot. i, 86, 87: compare Plutarch, Solon, 27-28. See a similar story about Gygês king of Lydia (Valerius Maxim. vii, 1, 2).

[252] Xenoph. Memorab. ii, 1, 21. Πρόδικος ὁ σοφὸς ἐν τῷ συγγράμματι τῷ περὶ Ἡρακλέους, ὅπερ δὴ καὶ πλείστοις ἐπιδείκνυται, etc.

[253] Herodot. vii, 10. φιλέει γὰρ ὁ θεὸς τὰ ὑπερέχοντα πάντα κολούειν.... οὐ γὰρ ἐᾷ φρονέειν μέγα ὁ θεὸς ἄλλον ἢ ἑωϋτόν.

[254] Herodot. i, 59. I record this allusion to Nisæa and the Megarian war, because I find it distinctly stated in Herodotus; and because it may possibly refer to some other later war between Athens and Megara than that which is mentioned in Plutarch’s Life of Solon as having taken place before the Solonian legislation (that is, before 594 B. C.), and therefore nearly forty years before this movement of Peisistratus to acquire the despotism. Peisistratus must then have been so young that he could not with any propriety be said to have “captured Nisæa” (Νισαιάν τε ἑλών): moreover, the public reputation, which was found useful to the ambition of Peisistratus in 560 B. C., must have rested upon something more recent than his bravery displayed about 597 B. C.; just as the celebrity which enabled Napoleon to play the game of successful ambition on the 18th Brumaire (Nov. 1799) was obtained by victories gained within the preceding five years, and could not have been represented by any historian as resting upon victories gained in the Seven Years’ war, between 1756-1763.

At the same time, my belief is that the words of Herodotus respecting Peisistratus do really refer to the Megarian war mentioned in Plutarch’s Life of Solon, and that Herodotus supposed that Megarian war to have been much more near to the despotism of Peisistratus than it really was. In the conception of Herodotus, and by what (after Niebuhr) I venture to call a mistake in his chronology, the interval between 600-560 B. C. shrinks from forty years to little or nothing. Such mistake appears, not only on the present occasion, but also upon two others: first, in regard to the alleged dialogue between Solon and Crœsus, described and commented upon a few pages above; next, in regard to the poet Alkæus and his inglorious retreat before the Athenian troops at Sigeium and Achilleium, where he lost his shield, when the Mityleneans were defeated. The reality of this incident is indisputable, since it was mentioned by Alkæus himself in one of his songs; but Herodotus represents it to have occurred in an Athenian expedition directed by Peisistratus. Now the war in which Alkæus incurred this misfortune, and which was brought to a close by the mediation of Periander of Corinth, must have taken place earlier than 584 B. C., and probably took place before the legislation of Solon; long before the time when Peisistratus had the direction of Athenian affairs,—though the latter may have carried on, and probably did carry on, another and a later war against the Mityleneans in those regions, which led to the introduction of his illegitimate son, Hegesistratus, as despot of Sigeium (Herod. v. 94-95).

If we follow the representation given by Herodotus of these three different strings of events, we shall see that the same chronological mistake pervades all of them,—he jumps over nearly ten olympiads, or forty years. Alkæus is the contemporary of Pittakus and Solon.

I have already remarked, in the previous chapter respecting the despots of Sikyôn (ch. ix.), another instance of confused chronology in Herodotus respecting the events of this period,—respecting Crœsus, Megaklês, Alkmæôn and Kleisthenês of Sikyôn.

[255] Aristot. Politic. v, 4, 5; Plutarch, Solon, 29.

[256] Plato, Republic, viii, p. 565. τὸ τυραννικὸν αἴτημα τὸ πολυθρυλλητὸν ... αἰτεῖν τὸν δῆμον φύλακάς τινας τοῦ σώματος, ἵνα σῶς αὐτοῖς ᾖ ὁ τοῦ δήμου βοηθός.

[257] Diog. Laërt. i, 49. ἡ βουλὴ, Πεισιστατίδαι ὄντες, etc.

[258] Plutarch, Solon, 29-30; Diog. Laërt. i, 50-51.

[259] Plutarch, Solon, 30; Diogen. Laërt. i, 49; Diodor. Excerpta., lib. vii-x, ed. Maii. Fr. xix-xxiv.

[260] Solon, Fragment 22, ed. Bergk. Isokratês affirms that Solon was the first person to whom the appellation Sophist—in later times carrying with it so much obloquy—was applied, (Isokratês, Or. xv, De Permutatione, p. 344; p. 496, Bek.)

[261] Plutarch, Solon, 32; Kratinus ap. Diogen. Laërt. i, 62.

[262] Aristidês, in noticing this story of the spreading of the ashes of Solon in Salamis, treats him as Ἀρχηγέτης of the island (Orat. xlvi, Ὑπὲρ τῶν τεττάρων, p. 172; p. 230, Dindorf). The inscription on his statue, which describes him as born in Salamis, can hardly have been literally true: for when he was born, Salamis was not incorporated in Attica; but it may have been true by a sort of adoption (see Diogen. Laërt. i, 62). The statue seems to have been erected by the Salaminians themselves, a long time after Solon: see Menage ad Diogen. Laërt. l. c.

[263] See Fiedler, Reisen durch Griechenland, vol. ii, p. 87.

[264] Herodot. viii, 46; Thucyd. vii, 57.

[265] Diodor. xiii, 47.

[266] Kallimachus, Hymn. ad Delum, 289, with Spanheim’s note; Theognis, v, 888; Theophrast. Hist. Plant. 8, 5.

See Leake, Travels in Northern Greece, vol. ii, ch. 14, p. 254, seq. The passage of Theognis leads to the belief that Kêrinthus formed a part of the territory of Chalkis.

[267] Skylax (c. 59) treats the island of Skyrus as opposite to Eretria, the territory of which must, therefore, have included a portion of the eastern coast of Eubœa, as well as the western. He recognizes only four cities in the island,—Karystus, Eretria, Chalkis, and Hestiæa.

[268] Mannert, Geograph. Gr. Röm. part viii, book i, c. 16, p. 248; Strabo, x, pp. 445-449.

[269] The seventh Oration of Dio Chrysostom, which describes his shipwreck near Cape Kaphareus, on the island of Eubœa, and the shelter and kindness which he experienced from a poor mountain huntsman, presents one of the most interesting pictures remaining, of this purely rustic portion of the Greek population (Or. vii, p. 221, seq.),—men who never entered the city, and were strangers to the habits, manners, and dress there prevailing,—men who drank milk and were clothed in skins (γαλακτοπότας ἀνὴρ, οὐρειβάτας, Eurip. Elektr. 169), yet nevertheless (as it seems) possessing right of citizenship (p. 238) which they never exercised. The industry of the poor men visited by Dion had brought into cultivation a little garden and field in a desert spot near Kaphareus.

Two-thirds of the territory of this Euboic city consisted of barren mountain (p. 232); it must probably have been Karystus.

The high lands of Eubœa were both uninhabited and difficult of approach, even at the time of the battle of Marathon, when Chalkis and Eretria had not greatly declined from the maximum of their power: the inhabitants of Eretria looked to τὰ ἄρκα τῆς Εὐβοίης as a refuge against the Persian force under Datis (Herod. vi, 100).

[270] Strabo, x, p. 445.

[271] Plutarch, Quæst. Græc. p. 296; Strab. x, p. 446 (whose statements are very perplexed); Velleius Patercul. i, 4.

According to Skymnus the Chian (v. 572), Chalkis was founded by Pandôrus son of Erechtheus, and Kêrinthus by Kothôn, from Athens.

[272] Strabo, x, p. 446,—Πὰρ δὲ Χαλκιδικαὶ σπάθαι (Alkæus, Fragm. 7, Schneidewin),—Χαλκιδικὸν ποτήριον (Aristophan. Equit. 237),—certainly belongs to the Euboic Chalkis, not to the Thrakian Chalkidikê. Boeckh, Staatshaushalt. der Athener, vol. ii, p. 284, App. xi, cites Χαλκιδικὰ ποτηρία in an inscription: compare Steph. Byz. Χαλκὶς.—Ναυσικλείτης Εὐβοίης, Homer, Hymn. Apoll. 219.

[273] See the mineralogical account of the islands in Fiedler (Reisen, vol. ii, pp. 88, 118, 562).

The copper and iron ore near Chalkis had ceased to be worked even in the time of Strabo: Fiedler indicates the probable site (vol. i, p. 443).

[274] Herodot. iii. 57. The Siphnians, however, in an evil hour, committed the wrong of withholding this tithe: the sea soon rushed in and rendered the mines ever afterwards unworkable (Pausan. x, 11, 2).

[275] Strabo, x, p. 448.

[276] Herodot. v, 31. Compare the accounts of these various islands in the recent voyages of Professor Ross, Reisen auf den Griechischen Inseln, vol. i, letter 2; vol. ii, letter 15.

The population of Naxos is now about eleven thousand souls; that of Andros fifteen thousand (Ross, vol. i, p. 28; vol. ii, p. 22).

But the extent and fertility of the Naxian plain perfectly suffice for that aggregate population of one hundred thousand souls, which seems implied in the account of Herodotus.

[277] Strabo, l. c.

[278] Herodot. v, 77; Aristoteles, Fragment. περὶ Πολιτειῶν, ed. Neumann, pp. 111-112: compare Aristot. Polit. iv, 3, 2.

[279] Hom. Hymn. Apoll. Del. 146-176; Thucyd. iii, 104:—

Φαίη κ᾽ ἀθανάτους καὶ ἀγήρως ἔμμεναι αἰεὶ,

Ὃς τότ᾽ ἐπαντιάσει᾽, ὅτ᾽ Ἰάονες ἄθροοι εἶεν·

Πάντων γάρ κεν ἴδοιτο χάριν, τέρψαιτο δὲ θυμὸν,

Ἄνδρας τ᾽ εἰσορόων καλλιζώνους τε γυναῖκας,

Νῆάς τ᾽ ὠκείας ἠδ᾽ αὐτῶν κρήματα πολλά.

[280] Thucyd. iii, 104.

[281] Thucyd. i, 6. διὰ τὸ ἁβροδίαιτον, etc.

[282] Herodot. i, 143. Οἱ μέν νυν ἄλλοι Ἴωνες καὶ οἱ Ἀθηναῖοι ἔφυγον τὸ οὔνομα, οὐ βουλόμενοι Ἴωνες κεκλῆσθαι,—an assertion quite unquestionable with reference to the times immediately preceding Herodotus, but not equally admissible in regard to the earlier times. Compare Thucyd. i, 124 (with the Scholium), and also v, 9; viii, 25.

[283] Thucyd. i, 15. The second Messenian war cannot have appeared to Thucydidês as having enlisted so many allies on each side as Pausanias represents.

[284] Strabo, viii, p. 448; Herodot. v, 99; Plutarch, Amator, p. 760,—valuable by the reference to Aristotle.

Hesiod passed over from Askra to Chalkis, on the occasion of the funeral games celebrated by the sons of Amphidamas in honor of their deceased father, and gained a tripod as prize by his song or recital (Opp. Di. 656). According to the Scholia, Amphidamas was king of Chalkis, who perished in the war against Eretria respecting Lelantum. But it appears that Plutarch threw out the lines as spurious, though he acknowledges Amphidamas as a vigorous champion of Chalkis in this war. See Septem Sapient. Conviv. c. 10, p. 153.

This visit of Hesiod to Chalkis was represented as the scene of his poetical competition with and victory over Homer. (See the Certamen Hom. et Hes. p. 315, ed. Göttl.)

[285] See the striking description of Chalkis given by Dikæarchus in the Βίος Ἑλλάδος (Fragment. p. 146, ed. Fuhr).

[286] Herodot. i, 94.

[287] See Boeckh’s Metrologie, c. 8 and 9.

[288] Euripid. Ion, 1546. κτίστορ᾽ Ἀσίαδος χθονός.

[289] Pausan. vii, 4, 6. Τοσαῦτα εἰρηκότα ἐς Χίους Ἴωνα εὑρίσκω· οὐ μέντοι ἐκεῖνός γε εἴρηκε, καθ᾽ ἥντινα αἰτίαν Χῖοι τελοῦσιν ἐς Ἰῶνας.

Respecting Samos, and its primitive Karian inhabitants, displaced by Patroklês, and Tembriôn at the head of Grecian emigrants, see Etymol. Mag. v. Ἀστυπάλαια.

[290] Herod. i, 146. ἐπεὶ, ὥς γε ἔτι μᾶλλον οὗτοι (i. e. the inhabitants of the Pan-Ionic Dodekapolis) Ἴωνές εἰσι τῶν ἄλλων Ἰώνων ἢ κάλλιόν τι γεγόνασι, μωρίη πολλὴ λέγειν· τῶν Ἄβαντες ἐξ Εὐβοίες εἰσὶν οὐκ ἐλαχίστη μοῖρα, τοῖσι Ἰωνίης μέτα οὐδὲ τοῦ οὐνόματος οὐδέν· Μίνυαι δὲ Ὀρχομένιοι ἀναμεμίχαται, καὶ Καδμεῖοι, καὶ Δρύοπες, καὶ Φωκέες ἀποδάσμιοι, καὶ Μολοσσοὶ, καὶ Ἀρκάδες Πελασγοὶ, καὶ Δωριέες Ἐπιδαύριοι, ἄλλα τε ἔθνεα πολλὰ ἀναμεμίχαται. Οἱ δὲ αὐτέων ἀπὸ τοῦ Πρυτανηΐου τοῦ Ἀθηναίων ὁρμηθέντες, καὶ νομίζοντες γενναιότατοι εἶναι Ἰώνων, οὗτοι δὲ οὐ γυναῖκας ἤγαγον εἰς τὴν ἀποικίην, ἀλλὰ Καείρας ἔσχον, τῶν ἐφόνευσαν τοὺς γονέας ... Ταῦτα δὲ ἦν γινόμενα ἐν Μιλήτῳ.

The polemical tone in which this remark of Herodotus is delivered is explained by Dahlmann on the supposition that it was destined to confute certain boastful pretensions of the Milesian Hekatæus (see Bähr, ad loc., and Klausen ad Hekatæi Frag. 225).

The test of Ionism, according to the statement of Herodotus, is, that a city should derive its origin from Athens, and that it should celebrate the solemnity of the Apaturia (i. 147). But we must construe both these tests with indulgence. Ephesus and Kolophôn were Ionic, though neither of them celebrated the Apaturia. And the colony might be formed under the auspices of Athens, though the settlers were neither natives, nor even of kindred race with the natives, of Attica.

[291] Herod. i, 142. Ephesus, Kolophôn, Lebedus, Teôs, Klazomenæ, Phokæa—αὗται αἱ πόλιες τῇσι πρότερον λεχθείσῃσι ὁμολογέουσι κατὰ γλῶσσαν οὐδὲν, σφὶ δὲ ὁμοφωνέουσι.

[292] Herodot. i, 146.

[293] Thucyd. vi, 17, about the Sicilian Greeks—ὄχλοις τε γὰρ ξυμμικτοῖς πολυανδροῦσιν αἱ πόλεις, καὶ ῥᾳδίας ἔχουσι τῶν πολιτειῶν τὰς μεταβολὰς καὶ ἐπιδοχάς.

[294] See Raoul Rochette, Histoire des Colonies Grecques, b. iv, c. 10, p. 93.

[295] Herodot. i, 170.

[296] Both Diodorus (xv, 49) and Dionysius of Halikarnassus (A. R. iv, 25) speak as if the convocation or festival had been formally transferred to Ephesus, in consequence of the insecurity of the meetings near Mykalê: Strabo on the contrary speaks of the Pan-Ionia as if they still in his time celebrated in the original spot (xiv, pp. 636-638), under the care of the Priêneans. The formal transfer is not probable: Thucydidês (iii, 104) proves that in his time the festival of Ephesia was practically the Pan-Ionic rendezvous, though Herodotus does not seem to have conceived it as such. See Guhl, Ephesiaca, part iii, p. 117; and K. F. Hermann, Gottesdienstliche Alterthümer der Griechen, c. 66, p. 343.

[297] The site of Milêtus is best indicated by Arrian, i, 19-20; see that of Phôkæa, Erythræ, Myonnêsus, Klazomenæ, Kolophôn, Teôs (Strabo, xiv, pp. 644-645; Pausan. vii, 3, 2; Livy, xxxvii, 27-31; Thucyd. viii, 31).

[298] Strabo. xiv, p. 635.

[299] Strabo, xiv, p. 633; Herod. ix, 97-99. Τὸ Ποσείδιον τῶν Μιλησίων. Strabo, xiv, p. 651.

[300] Strabo, xiv, p. 636; Vitruvius, iv, 1; Polyæn. viii, 35.

[301] Strabo, xiv, pp. 636-638.

[302] Thucyd. i, 116.

[303] Conon, Narrat. 29; Strabo, xiv, pp. 636-647.

The story in Parthenius about Leukippus, leader τῶν δεκατευθέντων ἐκ Φέρης υπ᾽ Ἀδμήτου, who came to the Ephesian territory and acquired possession of the place called Kretinæon, by the treachery of Leukophryê, daughter of Mandrolytos, whether truth or romance, is one of the notices of Thessalian migration into those parts (Parthen. Narrat. 6).

[304] Strabo, xiii, p. 621. See Niebuhr, Kleine Historische Schriften, p. 371, O. Müller, Etrusker, Einleitung ii, 5, p. 80. The evidence on which Müller’s conjecture is built seems, however, unusually slender, and the identity of Tyrrhênos and Torrhêbos, or the supposed confusion of the one with the other, is in no way made out. Pelasgians are spoken of in Trallês and Aphrodisias as well as in Ninoê (Steph. Byz. v. Νινόη), but this name seems destined to present n