« AnteriorContinuar »
himself formidable to the oligarchical party, by being an uncompromising asserter of the people's rights in calling to account and prosecuting those who any way wronged them, his enemies lying in wait for him, by the hand of Aristodicus the Tanagræan, privately
dispatched him. 11 Cimon, while he was admiral, died in the isle of
Cyprus. And the aristocratical party feeling that PeriCimon, B.C. 449. cles was already before this grown to be the greatest
and foremost man of all the city, yet wishing there should be somebody in opposition against him, to blunt and turn the edge of his power, that it might not altogether be a monarchy, put forward Thucydides of Alopece, a discreet person, and a connection of Cimon's by marriage *, to conduct the opposition against him ; who, indeed, though less a soldier than Cimon was, yet was better versed in speaking and political business, and keeping close guard in the city, and engaging with Pericles on the hustings, in a short time brought the vernment to an equality of parties. For he would not suffer those who were called the honest and goodt to be scattered up and down and mix themselves, and be lost among the populace as formerly, diminishing and obscuring their superiority amongst the masses ; but taking them apart by themselves and uniting them in one body, by their combined weight he was able, as it were, upon the balance, to make a counterpoise to the other party. For indeed there was from the beginning a sort of concealed split, or seam, as it might be in
* The same who has already been mentioned, the son of Melesias.
† People of birth and education, the upper, or better, classes.
a piece of iron, marking the different popular and aristocratical tendencies; but the open rivalry and contention of these two opponents made the cut deep, and severed the city into the two parties called the people and the few. And so Pericles, at that time more than at any other, let loose the reins to the people, and made his policy subservient to their pleasure, contriving continually to have some great public show or solemnity, some banquet, or some procession or other in the town to please them, coaxing his countrymen like children, with such delights and pleasures as were not unedifying either. Besides that every year he sent out threescore galleys, on board of which there went numbers of the citizens, who were in pay eight months, learning at the same time and practising the art of seamanship. He sent, moreover, a thousand of them into the Chersonese as planters, to share the land among them by lot, and five hundred more into the isle of Naxos, and half that number to Andros; a thousand into Thrace to dwell among the Bisaltæ ; and others into Italy, when the city Sybaris, which now was called Thurii, was to be repeopled. And this he did to ease and discharge the city of an idle, and, by reason of their idleness, a busy, meddling crowd of people; and at the same time to meet the necessities and restore the fortunes of the poor townsmen, and to intimidate also and check their allies from attempting any change, by posting such garrisons, as it were, in the midst of them.
That, however, which gave most pleasure and orna- 12 ment to the city of Athens, and caused the greatest admiration and even astonishment to all strangers, and at this day is Greece's only evidence that the
power she boasts of and her ancient wealth is no romance or idle story, was his construction of the public and sacred buildings. Yet this was that of all his actions in the government which his enemies most looked askance upon and cavilled at in the popular assemblies, crying out how that the commonwealth of Athens had lost its reputation and was ill-spoken of abroad, for re
moving the common treasure of the Greeks * from the isle of Delos into their own custody; and how that their fairest excuse for so doing, namely, that they took it away
for fear the barbarians should seize it, and on purpose to secure it in a safe place, this Pericles had made unavailable, and how that “Greece cannot but resent it as a gross affront, and a piece of open tyranny, when she
* Those, namely, who were confederates of Athens : whose contributions for the common defence had at first been lodged at Delos.
HIS PUBLIC BUILDINGS.
sees the treasure which was contributed by her simply for the needs of the war wantonly lavished out by us upon our city, to gild her all over, and to adorn and set her forth, as it were some vain woman, hung round with precious stones and figures and temples, which cost a world of money.” Pericles on the other hand informed the people, that they were under no obligation to give account of those moneys to their allies, so long as they maintained their defence, and kept off the barbarians from attacking them ; while the allies, in the meantime, did not supply one horse or man or ship, but only found money for the service; "which money," said he, “is not theirs that give it, but theirs that receive it, if so be they perform the conditions upon which they receive it.” And that it was good reason, that now the city was sufficiently provided and stored with all things necessary for the war, they should convert the overplus of its wealth to such undertakings, as would hereafter, when completed, give them eternal honour, and for the present, while in process, freely supply all the inhabitants with plenty. With their variety of workmanship and of occasions for service, which summon all arts and trades and require all hands to be employed about them, they do actually put the whole city in a manner into state-pay; while at the same time she is both beautified and maintained by herself. For as those who are of age and strength for war are provided for and maintained in the armaments abroad, by their pay out of the public stock; so it being his desire and design that the undisciplined mechanic multitude that stayed at home should not go without their share of public salaries, and yet should not have them given them for sitting still and doing nothing, to that end he thought fit to bring in speedily these vast
projects of buildings and designs of works, that would be of some continuance before they were finished, and would give employment to numerous arts, so that the part of the people that stayed at home might, no less than those that were at sea or in garrisons, or on expeditions, have a fair and just occasion of receiving the benefit and having their share of the public moneys. The materials were stone, brass, ivory, gold, ebony, cypress-wood; and the arts or
West Front of the Parthenon.
trades that wrought and fashioned them were smiths and carpenters, moulders, founders and braziers, stone-cutters, dyers, goldsmiths, ivory-workers, painters, embroiderers, turners; those again that conveyed them to the town for use, merchants and mariners, and ship-masters by sea; and by land, cartwrights, cattle-breeders, waggoners, rope-makers, flax-workers, shoe-makers and leather-dressers, road-makers, miners. And every trade, in the same way as a captain in an army has his particular company
of soldiers under him, had its own hired