Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

66 On you

handsome young man who had formerly avoided, but now in his glory courted him, “ Time, young man, has taught us both a lesson." He said that the Athenians did not honour him or admire him, but made as it were a sort of plane-tree of him ; sheltered themselves under him in bad weather, and as soon as it was fine, plucked his leaves and cut his branches. When the Seriphian told him that he had not obtained this honour by himself, but by the greatness of his city, he replied, “ You speak truth; should never have been famous if I had been of Seriphus; nor you, had you been of Athens." When another of the generals, who thought he had perförmed a considerable service for the Athenians, boastingly compared his actions with those of Themistocles, he told him that once upon a time the Day after the Festival found fault with the Festival ; there is nothing but hurry and trouble and preparation, but when I come everybody sits down quietly and enjoys himself;" which the Festival admitted was true, buc " if I had not come first, you would not have come at all.

“Even so," he said, “ if Themistocles had not come before, where had you been now ?” Laughing at his own son, who got his mother, and by his mother's means, his father also, to indulge him, he told him that he had the most power of any one in Greece, “for the Athenians comniand the rest of Greece, I command the Athenians, your mother commands me, and you command your

mother." Loving to be singular in all things, when he had land to sell, he ordered the crier to give notice that there were good neighbours near it. Of two who courted his daughter, he preferred the man of worth to the one who was rich, saying he de

[blocks in formation]

тап.

sired a man without riches, rather than riches without a

Such was the character of his sayings. Immediately after the war, he set about to rebuild 19 and fortify the city of Athens, bribing, as Theopompus reports, the Lacedæmonian Ephors not to be against it, but, as most relate it, overreaching and deceiving them. For, under pretext of an embassy, he went to Sparta, whereupon the Lacedæmonians charging him with rebuilding the walls, and Polyarchus coming on purpose from Ægina to denounce it, he denied the fact, bidding them send people to Athens to see whether it were so or no; by which delay he got time for the building of the wall, and also placed these ambassadors in the hands of his countrymen as hostages for him; and so, when the Lacedæmonians knew the truth, they did him no hurt, but, suppressing all display of the anger which they felt, sent him away. Next he proceeded to establish the Piræus, observing the great natural advantages of the harbours there*, and desirous to unite the whole city with the

sea,

and to reverse, in a manner, the policy of the ancient Athenian kings; who, endeavouring to withdraw their subjects from the sea, and to accustom them to live, not by sailing about, but by planting and tilling the earth, spread the story of the dispute between Minerva and Neptune for the sovereignty of Athens, in which Minerva, by producing to the judges the olive tree, was declared to have won; whereas Themistocles did not only knead up, as Aristophanes says, the port

* The old ports of Athens had been Munychia and Phalerum. The new harbour, Piræus, contained, it was said, three separate harbours in one : Cantharus, Zea, and Aphrodisium.

and the city into one, but made the city absolutely the dependent and the adjunct of the port, and the land of the sea, which increased the power and confidence of the people against the nobility; the strength of the state being now in its sailors and boatswains and pilots.

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

Thus it was one of the orders of the thirty tyrants, that the speaker's stand in the assembly at the Pnyx,

[blocks in formation]

which had faced towards the sea, should be turned round towards the land; implying their opinion that the empire by sea had been the origin of the democracy, and that the farming population were not so much opposed to oligarchy.

Themistocles, however, entertained yet higher 20 thoughts, with a view to naval supremacy. For after the departure of Xerxes, when the Grecian fleet had come into Pagase, where they wintered, Themistocles, in a public oration to the people of Athens, told them that he could tell them a design that would tend greatly to their interests and safety, but it was of such a nature, that it could not be made generally public. The Athenians ordered him to impart it to Aristides only; and, if he approved of it, to put it in practice. And when Themistocles had disclosed to him that his design was to burn the Grecian fleet in the arsenal of Pagasæ, Aristides coming out to the people, gave this report of the secret of Themistocles, that no proposal could be more politic or more dishonourable, ; on which the Athenians commanded Themistocles to think no farther of it. When the Lacedæmonians proposed, at the general council of the Amphictyonians, that the representatives of those cities which were not in the league, nor had fought against the Persians, should be excluded, Themistocles, fearing that the Thessalians, with those of Thebes, Argos, and others, being thrown out of the council, the Lacedæmonians would become wholly masters of the votes, and do what they pleased,' supported the deputies of the cities, and prevailed with the members then sitting to alter their opinion in this point, showing them that there were but one and thirty cities

21

which had partaken in the war, and that most of these also were very

small;

how intolerable would it be, if the rest of Greece should be excluded, and the general council should come to be ruled by two or three great cities. By this chiefly he incurred the displeasure of the Lacedæmonians, whose honours and favours were now shown to Cimon, with a view to raising up him as a rival in the state to Themistocles.

He was also burdensome to the confederates, sailing about the islands and collecting money from them. Herodotus says, that requiring money of those of the island of Andros, he told them that he had brought with him two goddesses, Persuasion and Force; and they answered him that they also had two great goddesses to withhold them from giving him any money, Poverty and Impossibility. And Timocreon, the Rhodian poet, reprehends him somewhat bitterly for being wrought upon by money to let some who were banished return, while abandoning, for money's sake also, himself, who his guest and friend. The verses are these : Pausanias you may praise, and Xanthippus he be for, For Leutychidas a third ; Aristides, I proclaim, From the sacred Athens came The one true man of all ; for Themistocles Latona doth abhor, The liar, traitor, cheat, who to gain his filthy pay, Timocreon, his friend, neglected to restore To his native Rhodian shore; Three silver talents took, and departed (curses with him) on his

way, Restoring people here, expelling here, and killing there, Filling evermore his purse; and at the Isthmus gave a treat, To be laughed at, of cold meat ; Men ate, and prayed the gods, to take their host, the sooner the

better, elsewhere

was

« AnteriorContinuar »