Abbildungen der Seite

teem; he made him marry a lady descended from one of the noblest families in Persia; gave him a palace and an equipage suitable to it, and settled a noble pension on him. He used to carry him abroad on his parties of hunting, and to every banquet and entertainment; and sometimes conversed privately with him, so that the lords of the court grew jealous and uneasy on that account. He even presented him to the princesses, who bonoured him with their esteem and received his visits. It is observed, as a proof of the peculiar fa. vour showed him, that by the king's special order, Themistocles was admitted to hear the lectures and discourses of the magi, and was instructed by them in all the secrets of their philosophy.

Another proof of his great credit is related. Demaratus of Sparta, who was then at court, being commanded by the king to ask any thing of him, he desired that he might be suffered to make his entry on horseback, into the city of Sardis, with the royal tiara on his head ; a ridiculous vanity! equally unworthy of the Grecian grandeur, and simplicity of a Lacedæmonian! The king, exasperated at the insolence of his demand, expressed his disgust in the strongest terms, and seemed resolved not to pardon him ; but Themistocles having interceded, the king restored him to favour.

In dne, Themistocles was in such great credit, that under the succeeding reigns, in which the affairs of Persia were still more lended with those of Greece, whenever the kings were desirous of drawing over any Greek to their interest, they used to declare expressly in their letters, that be should be in greater favour with them than Themistocles had been with king Artaxerxes.

It is said also, that Themistocles, when in his most flourishing condition in Persia, and was honoured and esteemed by all the world, who were emulous in making their court to him, said one day, when his table was covered magnificently, “children, we should have been ruined, if we had not been ruined.

But at last it was judged necessary for the king's interest that Themistocles should reside in some city of Asia Minor, that he might be ready on any occasion which should present itself; accordingly he was sent to Magnesia, situated on the Meander; and for his subsistence, besides the whole revenues of that city, which amounted to fifty talents* annually, he had those of Myus and Lampsacus assigned him. One of the cities was to furnish him with bread, another with wine, and a third with other provisions. Some authors add two more, viz. for his furniture and clothes. Such was the custom of the ancient kings of the East : instearl of settling pensions on persons they rewarded, they gave them cities, and sometimes even provinces, which, under the name of bread, wine, &c. were to furnish them abundantly with all things necessary for supporting, in a magnificent manner, their family and equipage. Themistocles lived for some years in Magnesia in the utmost splendour, till he came to his end in the manner which will be related hereafter.

SECTION III. -CIMON BEGINS TO MAKE A FIGURE AT ATHENS. THE Athenians having lost one of their most distinguished citizens, as well as ablest generals, by the banishment of Themistocles, endeavoured to retrieve that loss, by bestowing the command of the armies on Cimon, who was not inferior to him in merit.f

He spent his youth in such excesses as did him no honour, and presaged no good with regard to his future conduct. The example of this illustrious Athenian, who passed his juvenile years in so dissolute a manner, and afterwards rose to so exalted a pitch of glory, shows, that parents must not always despair of the happiness of a son, when wild and irregular in his youth ; especially when nature has endued him with genius, goodness of heart, generous inclinations, and esteem for persons of merit. I Such was the character of Cimon.

[ocr errors]

1 A. M. 3533.

* Fifty thousand crowns, or about $50,000.
Ant. J. C. 471. Diod. l. xi. Plut. in Cim. p. 482-483.
Plut. in Cim.



P. 45,

The dishonour he had drawn upon himself having prejudiced the people against him, he at first was very ill received by them; when, being discouraged by this repulse, he resolved to lay aside all thoughts of concerning himself with the affairs of the public. But Aristides, perceiving that his dissolute turn of mind was united with many fine qualities, consoled him, inspired him with hope, pointed out the paths he should take, instilled good principles into him, and did not a little contribute, by the excellent instructions he gave him, and the affection he expressed for him on all occasions, to make him the man he afterwards appeared. What more important service could be have done his country?

Plutarch observes, that after Cimon had laid aside his juvenile extravagances, his conduct was in all things great and noble; and that he was not inferior to Miltiades either in courage or intrepidity, nor to Themistocles in prudence and sense, but that he was more just and virtuous than either of them; and that, without being at all inferior to them in military excellence, he surpassed them far in the practice of the moral virtues.*

It would be of great advantage to a state, if those who excel in professions of every kind, would take pleasure, and make it their duty to fashion and instruct such youths as are remarkable for the fertility of their genius and goodness of disposition. They would thereby have an opportunity of serving their country even after their death, and of perpetuating in it, and in the person of their pupils, a taste and inclination for true merit, and the practice of the wisest maxims.

The Athenians, shortly after Themistocles had left his country, having put to sea a fleet under the command of Cimon,the son of Miltiades, took Eion, on the banks of the Strymon, Amphipolis, and other places of Thrace; and as this was a very fruitful country, Cimon planted a colony in it, and sent ten thousand Athenians thither for that purpose.

The fate of Eion is too singular to be omitted here. Bogest was governor of it under the king of Persia, and acted with a zeal and fidelity for his sovereign, of which we have but few examples. Wnen besieged by Cimon and the Athenians, it was in his power to have capitulated upon honourable terms, and he might have retired to Asia with his family and all his effects. Being per. suaded however, that he could not do this with honour, he resolved to die rather than surrender. The city was assaulted with the utmost fury, and he defended it with incredible bravery. Being at last in the utmost want of provisions, he threw from the walls into the river Strymon all the gold and silver in the place; caused a pile to be set on fire, and aster having killed his wife, his children, and his whole family, he threw them into the midst of the flames, and then rushed into them himself. Xerxes could not but admire, and at the same time bewail, so surprising an example of generosity. The heathens, indeed, might give this name to what is rather savage ferocity and barbari.y. I

Cimon inade himself master also of the island of Scyros where he found the bones of Theseus, the son of Ægeus, who had fled from Athens to that city, and there ended his days. An oracle had commanded that search should be made after bis bones. Cimon put them on board his galley, adorned them magnificently, and carried them to his native country, nearly eight hundred years after Theseus had left it. The people received them with the highest expressions of joy; and to perpetuate the remembrance of this event, they founded a disputation or prize for tragic writers, which became very famous, and contributed exceedingly to the improvement of the drama, by the wonderful emulation it excited among the tragic poets, whose pieces were represented in it. For Sophocles having, in his youth, brought his first play on the stage, the archon, or chief magistrate, who presided at these games, observing there

* Plut. in Cim. p. 481. + Plutarch calls him Butis. Herodotus seems to place this history under Xerxes: but it is more probeer ble that it happened under Artaxerxes, his successor.

| Herod. I. vii. c. 107. Plut. P


was a strong faction among the spectators, prevailed with Cimon, and the rest of the generals, his colleagues, wbo were ten in number, and chosen out of each tribe, to sit as judges. The prize was adjudged to Sophocles, which so deeply aftlicted Æschylus, who till then had been considered as the greatest dramatic poet, that Athens became insupportable to him, and he withdrew to Sicily, where he died.

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

He made the best use of his riches, as Gorgias the rhetorician has happily expressed it in few, but strong and elegant words:t “Cimon,” says he, " amassed riches only to use them; and he employed them so as to acquire esteem and honour. We may here perceive, by the way, what was the scope and aim of the most exalted actions of the heathens; and with what justice Tertullian defined a pagan, however perfect he might appear, to be a vain-glorious animal, “animal gloriæ.” The gardens and orchards of Cimon were always open, by his order, to the citizens in general, who were allowed to gather whatever fruits they pleased. His table was daily covered frugally hut elegantly. It was entirely different from those delicate and sumptuous tables, to which only a few persons of great distinction are admitted ; and which are covered merely to display a vain magnificence or elegance of taste. That of Cimon was neat but abundant, and all the poor citizens were received at it without distinction. In thus banishing from his entertainments wbatever had the least air of ostentation and luxury, he reserved to himself an inexhaustible fund, not only for the expenses of his house, but for the wants of his friends, bis domestics, and a very great number of citizens ; demonstrating by this conduct, that he knew much better than most rich men, the true use and value of riches. I

He was always followed by some servants, who were ordered to slip privately some piece of money into the hands of such poor as they met, and to give clothes to those who were in want of them. He often buried such persons as had not left money enough behind them to defray the expenses of their funeral; and what is admirable, and which Plutarch does not fail to observe, he did not act in this manner to gain favour among the people, nor to purchase their votes; since we find him, on all occasions, declaring for the opposite faction, that is, in favour of such citizens as were most considerable for their wealth or authority.

Although he saw all the rest of the governors of his time enrich themselves by the plunder and oppression of the public, he was always incorruptible, and

* Plut. in Cim. p. 484. Φησί τον Κίμωνα τα χρήματα ατασθαι μεν ώς χρωτο, χρήσθαι δε ώς τιμωτο. Plut. in Cim. p. 484. Corn. Nep, in Cim. c. iv. Atlien. I. xii. P.



his hands were never stained with extortion, or the smallest present ; and he continued during his whole life, not only to speak, but to act sincerely, and without the least view of interest, whatever he thought might be of advantage to the commonwealth.*

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

No Grecian general ever gave so great a blow to the pride and haughtiness of the Persian monarch, as Cimon. After the barbarians had been driven out of Greece, he did not give them time to take breath, but sailed immediately after them with a fleet of upwards of two hundred ships, took their strongest cities, and brought over all their allies; so that the king of Persia had not one soldier left in Asia, from Ionia to Pamphylia. Still pursuing his design, be bravely attacked the enemy's fleet, though much stronger than his own. It lay near the mouth of the river Eurymedon, and consisted of three hundred and fifty sail of ships, supported by the land army on the coast. It was soon put to flight, and two hundred sail were taken, besides those that were sunk." A great number of the Persians had left their ships, and leaped into the sea, in order to join their land-army, which lay on the shore. It was very hazardous to attempt a descent in sight of the enemy; and to lead on troops which were already fatigued by their late battle, against fresh forces much superior in number. Cimon, however, finding that the whole army was eager to engage the barbarians, thought proper to take advantage of the ardour of the soldiers, who were greatly animated with their first success. He accordingly landed, and marched them directly against the barbarians, who waited resolutely for their coming up, and sustained the first onset with great valour; however, being at last obliged to give way, they broke and fled. A great slaughter ensued, and an infinite number of prisoners and immensely rich spoils were taken. Cimon, having in one day gained two victories which almost equalled those of Salamin and Platææ, to crown all, sailed out to meet a reinforcement of eighty-four Phænician ships, which were come from Cy. prus, to join the Persian feet, and knew nothing of what had passed. They were all either taken or sunk, and most of the soldiers were killed or drowned. I

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

* Plut. in Cim. p. 485. We do not find that the ancients made use of long boats in making descents; the reason of which perhaps was, that, as their galleys were flat-bottomed, they were brought to shore without any difficulty A. M. 353. Ant. J. C. 470. Plut. in Cim. P.

485-487 Thucyd. I. i. P. Diod. I. xi. p. 45-4%


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

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

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

Themistocles was in great perplexity on this occasion. On one side, the remembrance of the favours the king had heaped upon him; the positive assurances he had given that monarch, to serve him with the utmost zeal on all occasions; the earnestness of the king, who claimed his promise ; all these considerations would not permit him to refuse the commission. On the other şide, the love of his country, which the injustice and ill treatment of his fellow-citizens could not banish from his mind; his strong reluctance to sully the glory of his former laurels and mighty achievements, by so ignominious a step;


* Plut. de Gerend. Rep. p. 818. | Plut. in Cim. p. 407. Thucyd. 1. i. p. 66, 67. Diod. l. xi p. 53.

# Polyæn. Str. 1. ii.
# A. M. 3538 Ant. J. C. 466. Thucyd. 1. i. p. 92. Plut. in Themist, p. 127.

Polyæn. I. viii.

« ZurückWeiter »