The Boys' and Girls' Plutarch Being Parts of The "Lives" of Plutarch Edited for Boys and Girls With Introductions

Part 3 out of 8

third time chosen dictator, armed not only those under, but also
those over, the age of service; and taking a large circuit around
the mountain Maecius, undiscovered by the enemy, lodged his army
on their rear, and then by many fires gave notice of his arrival.
The besieged, encouraged by this, prepared to sally forth and join
battle; but the Latins and Volscians, fearing this exposure to any
enemy on both sides, drew themselves within their works, and
fortified their camp with a strong palisade of trees on every
side, resolving to wait for more supplies from home, and
expecting, also, the assistance of the Tuscans, their confederate.
Camillus, detecting their object, and fearing to be reduced to the
same position to which he had brought them, namely, to be besieged
himself, resolved to lose no time; and finding their rampart was
all of timber, and observing that a strong wind constantly at sun-
rising blew off from the mountains, after having prepared a
quantity of combustibles, about break of day he drew forth his
forces, commanding a part with their missiles to assault the enemy
with noise and shouting on the other quarter, whilst he, with
those that were to fling in the fire, went to that side of the
enemy's camp to which the wind usually blew, and there waited his
opportunity. When the skirmish was begun, and the sun risen, and a
strong wind set in from the mountains, he gave the signal of
onset; and, heaping in an immense quantity of fiery matter, filled
all their rampart with it, so that the flame being fed by the
close timber and wooden palisades, went on and spread into all
quarters. The Latins, having nothing ready to keep it off or
extinguish it, when the camp was now almost full of fire, were
driven back within a very small compass, and at last forced by
necessity to come into their enemy's hands, who stood before the
works ready armed and prepared to receive them; of these very few
escaped, while those that stayed in the camp were all a prey to
the fire, until the Romans, to gain the pillage, extinguished it.

These things performed, Camillus, leaving his son Lucius in the
camp to guard the prisoners and secure the booty, passed into the
enemy's country, where, having taken the city of the Aequians and
reduced the Volscians to obedience, he then immediately led his
army to Sutrium, not having heard what had befallen the Sutrians,
but making haste to assist them, as if they were still in danger
and besieged by the Tuscans. They, however, had already
surrendered their city to their enemies, and destitute of all
things, with nothing left but their clothes, and bewailing their
misfortune. Camillus himself was struck with compassion, and
perceiving the soldiers weeping, and commiserating their case,
while the Sutrians hung about and clung to them, resolved not to
defer revenge, but that very day to lead his army to Sutrium;
conjecturing that the enemy, having just taken a rich and
plentiful city, without an enemy left within it, nor any from
without to be expected, would be found abandoned to enjoyment, and
unguarded. Neither did his opinion fail him: he not only passed
through their country without discovery, but came up to their very
gates and possessed himself of the walls, not a man being left to
guard them, but their whole army scattered about in the houses,
drinking and making merry. Nay, when at last they did perceive
that the enemy had seized the city, they were so overloaded with
meat and wine that few were able so much as to endeavor to
escape,but either waited shamefully for their death within
doors,or surrendered themselves to the conqueror. Thus the city of
the Sutrians was twice taken in one day; and they who were in
possession lost it, and they who had lost regained it, alike by
the means of Camillus. For all which actions he received a triumph
which brought him no less honor and reputation than the two former
ones; for those citizens who before most regarded him with an evil
eye, and ascribed his successes to a certain luck rather than real
merit, were compelled by these last acts of his to allow the whole
honor to his great abilities and energy.

Of all he adversaries and enviers of his glory, Marcus Manlius was
the most distinguished, he who first drove back the Gauls when
they made their night attack upon the Capitol, and who for that
reason had been named Capitolinus. This man, affecting the first
place in the commonwealth, and not able by noble ways to outdo
Camillus's reputation, took that ordinary course toward usurpation
of absolute power, namely, to gain the multitude, those of them
especially that were in debt; defending some by pleading their
causes against their creditors, rescuing others by force, and not
suffering the law to proceed against them; insomuch that in a
short time he got great numbers of indigent people about him,
whose tumults and uproars in the forum struck terror into the
principal citizens. After that Quintius Capitolinus, who was made
dictator to suppress these disorders, had committed Manlius to
prison, the people immediately changed their apparel, a thing
never done but in great and public calamities, and the senate,
fearing some tumult, ordered him to be released. He, however,when
set at liberty, changed not his course, but was rather the more
insolent in his proceedings,filling the whole city with faction
and sedition. They chose, therefore, Camillus again military
tribune; and a day being appointed for Manlius to answer to his
charge, the prospect from the place where his trial was held
proved a great impediment to his accusers; for the very spot where
Manlius by night fought with the Gauls overlooked the forum from
the Capitol, so that, stretching forth his hands that way, and
weeping, he called to their remembrance his past actions, raising
compassion in all that beheld him. Insomuch that the judges were
at a loss what to do, and several times adjourned the trial,
unwilling to acquit him of the crime, which was sufficiently
proved, and yet unable to execute the law while his noble action
remained, as it were, before their eyes. Camillus, considering
this, transferred the court outside the gates to the Peteline
Grove, from whence there is no prospect of the Capitol Here his
accuser went on with his charge, and his judges were capable of
remembering the duly resenting his guilty deeds. He was convicted,
carried to the Capitol, and flung headlong from the rock; so that
one and same spot was thus the witness of his greatest glory, and
monument of his most unfortunate end. The Romans, besides, razed
his house, and built there a temple to the goddess they call
Moneta, ordaining for the future that none of the patrician order
should ever dwell on the Capitoline.

And now Camillus, being called to his sixth tribuneship, desired
to be excused, as being aged, and perhaps not unfearful of the
malice of fortune, and those reverses which seem to ensue upon
great prosperity. But the most apparent pretence was the weakness
of his body, for he happened at that time to be sick; the people,
however, would admit of no excuses, but, crying that they wanted
not his strength for horse or for foot service, but only his
counsel and conduct, constrained him to undertake the command, and
with one of his fellow-tribunes to lead the army immediately
against the enemy. These were the Praenestines and Volscians, who,
with large forces, were laying waste the territory of the Roman
confederates. Having marched out with his army, he sat down and
encamped near the enemy, meaning himself to protract the war, or
if there should come any necessity or occasion of fighting, in the
meantime to regain his strength. but Lucius Furius, his colleague,
carried away with the desire of glory, was not to e held in, but,
impatient to give battle, inflamed the inferior officers of the
army with the same eagerness; so that Camillus, fearing he might
seem out of envy to be wishing to rob the young man of the glory
of a noble exploit, consented, though unwillingly, that he should
draw out the forces, whilst himself, by reason of weakness, stayed
behind with a few in the camp. Lucius, engaging rashly, was
discomfited, when Camillus, perceiving the Romans to give ground
and fly, could not contain himself, but, leaping from his bed,
with those he had about him ran to meet them at the gates of the
camp, making his way through the flyers to oppose the pursuers; so
that those who had got within the camp turned back at once and
followed him, and those that came flying from without made head
again and gathered about him, exhorting one another not to forsake
their general. Thus the enemy, for that time, was stopped in his
pursuit. The next day Camillus, drawing out his forces and joining
battle with them, overthrew them by main force, and, following
close upon them, entered pell-mell with them into their camp, and
took it, slaying the greatest part of them. Afterwards, having
heard that the city of Satricum was taken by the Tuscans, and the
inhabitants, all Romans, put to the sword, he sent home to Rome
the main body of his forces and heaviest-armed, and, taking with
him the lightest and most vigorous soldiers, set suddenly upon the
Tuscans, who were in the possession of the city, and mastered
them, slaying some and expelling the rest; and so, returning to
Rome with great spoils, gave signal evidence of their superior
wisdom, who, not mistrusting the weakness and age of a commander
endowed with courage and conduct, had rather chosen him who was
sickly and desirous to be excused, than young men who were forward
and ambitious to command.

When, therefore, the revolt of the Tusculans was reported, they
gave Camillus the charge of reducing them, choosing one of his
five colleagues to go with him. And when every one was eager for
the place, contrary to the expectation of all, he passed by the
rest and chose Lucius Furius, the very same man who lately,
against the judgment of Camillus, had rashly hazarded and nearly
lost a battle; willing, at it should seem, to dissemble that
miscarriage, and free him from the shame of it. The Tusculans,
hearing of Camillus's coming against them, made a cunning attempt
at revoking their act of revolt; their fields, as in times of
highest peace, were full of ploughmen and shepherds; their gates
stood wide open, and their children were being taught in the
schools; of the people, such as were tradesmen, he found in their
workshops, busied about their several employments, and the better
sort of citizens walking in the public places in their ordinary
dress; the magistrates hurried about to provide quarters for the
Romans, as if they stood in fear of no danger and were conscious
of no fault. Which arts, though they could not dispossess Camillus
of the conviction he had of their treason, yet induced some
compassion for their repentance; he commanded them to go to the
senate and deprecate their anger, and joined himself as an
intercessor in their behalf, so that their city was acquitted of
all guilt and admitted to Roman citizenship. These were the most
memorable actions of his sixth tribuneship.

After these things, Licinius Stolo raised a great sedition in the
city, and brought the people to dissension with the senate,
contending, that of two consuls one should be chosen out of the
commons, and not both out of the patricians. Tribunes of the
people were chosen, but the election of consuls was interrupted
and prevented by the people. And as this absence of any supreme
magistrate was leading to yet further confusion, Camillus was the
fourth time created dictator by the senate, sorely against the
people's will, and not altogether in accordance with his own; he
had little desire for a conflict with men whose past services
entitles them to tell him that he had achieved far greater actions
in war along with them than in politics with the patricians, who,
indeed, had only put him forward now out of envy; that, if
successful, he might crush the people, or, failing, be crushed
himself. However, to provide as good a remedy as he could for the
present, knowing the day on which the tribunes of the people
intended to prefer the law, he appointed it by proclamation for a
general muster, and called the people from the forum into the
Campus, threatening to set heavy fines upon such as should not
obey. On the other side, the tribunes of the people met his
threats by solemnly protesting they would fine him fifty thousand
drachmas of silver, if he persisted in obstructing the people from
giving their suffrages for the law. Whether it were, then, that he
feared another banishment or condemnation, which would ill become
his age and past great actions, or found himself unable to stem
the current of the multitude, which ran strong and violent, he
betook himself, for the present, to his house, and afterwards, for
some days together, professing sickness, finally laid down his
dictatorship. The senate created another dictator; who, choosing
Stolo, leader of the sedition, to be his general of horse,
suffered that law to be enacted and ratified, which was most
grievous to the patricians, namely that no person whatsoever
should possess above five hundred acres of land. Stolo was much
distinguished by the victory he had gained; but, not long after
was found himself to possess more than he had allowed to others,
and suffered the penalties of his own law.

And now the contention about election of consuls coming on (which
was the main point and original cause of the dissension, and had
throughout furnished most matter of division between the senate
and the people), certain intelligence arrived, that the Gauls
again, proceeding from the Adriatic Sea, were marching in vast
number upon Rome. On the very heels of the report followed
manifest acts also of hostility; the country through which they
marched was all wasted, and such as by flight could not make their
escape to Rome were dispersing and scattering among the mountains.
The terror of this war quieted the sedition; nobles and commons,
senate and people together, unanimously chose Camillus the fifth
time dictator; who, though very aged, not wanting much of
fourscore years, yet, considering the danger and necessity of his
country, did not, as before, pretend sickness, or depreciate his
own capacity, but at once undertook the charge, and enrolled
soldiers. And, knowing that the great force of the barbarians lay
chiefly in their swords, with which they laid about them in a rude
and inartificial manner, hacking and hewing the head and
shoulders, he caused head-pieces entire of iron to be made for
most of his men, smoothing and polishing the outside, that the
enemy's swords, lighting upon them, might either slide off or be
broken; and fitted also their shields with a little rim of brass,
the wood itself not being sufficient to bear off the blows.
Besides, he taught his soldiers to use their long javelins in
close encounter, and, by bringing them under their enemy's swords,
to receive their strokes upon them.

When the Gauls drew near, about the river Anio, dragging a heavy
camp after them, and loaded with infinite spoil, Camillus drew
forth his forces, and planted himself upon a hill of easy ascent,
and which had many dips in it, with the object that the greatest
part of his army might lie concealed, and those who appeared might
be thought to have betaken themselves, through fear, to those
upper grounds. And the more to increase this opinion in them, he
suffered them, without any disturbance, to spoil and pillage even
to his very trenches, keeping himself quiet within his works,
which were well fortified; till, at last, perceiving that part of
the enemy were scattered about the country foraging, and that
those that were in the camp did nothing day and night but drink
and revel, in the night time he drew up his lightest-armed men,
and sent them out before to impede the enemy while forming into
order, and to harass them when they should first issue out of the
their camp; and early in the morning brought down his main body,
and set them in battle array in the lower round, numerous and
courageous army, not, as the barbarians had supposed, an
inconsiderable and fearful division. The first thing that shook
the courage of the Gauls was, that their enemies had, contrary to
their expectation, the honor of being aggressors. In the next
place, the light-armed men, falling upon them before they could
get into their usual order or range themselves in their proper
squadrons, so disturbed and pressed upon them, that they were
obliged to fight at random, without any order at all. But at last,
when Camillus brought on his heavy-armed legions, the barbarians,
with their swords drawn, went vigorously to engage them; the
Romans, however, opposing their javelins, and receiving the force
of their blows on those parts of the defences which were well
guarded with steel, turned the edge of their weapons, beingmade of
a soft and ill-tempered metal, so that their swords bent and
doubled up in their hands; and their shields were pierced through
and through, and grew heavy with the javelins that stuck upon
them. And thus forced to quit their own weapons, they endeavored
to take advantage of those of their enemies, laid hold of the
javelins with their hands, and tried to pluck them away. But the
Romans, perceiving them now naked and defenceless, betook
themselves to their swords, which they so well used, that in a
little time great slaughter was made in the foremost ranks, while
the rest fled over all parts of the level country; the hills and
upper grounds Camillus had secured beforehand, and their camp they
knew it would not be difficult for the enemy to take, as, through
confidence of victory, they had left it unguarded. This fight, it
is stated, was thirteen years after the sacking of Rome; and from
henceforward the Romans took courage, and surmounted the
apprehensions they had hitherto entertained of the barbarians,
whose previous defeat they had attributed rather to pestilence and
a concurrence of mischances than to their own superior valor. And,
indeed, this fear had been formerly so great, that they made a
law, that priests should be excused from service in war, unless in
an invasion from the Gauls.

This was the last military action that Camillus ever performed;
for the voluntary surrender of the city of the Velitrani was but a
mere accessory to it. But the greatest of all civil contests, and
the hardest to be managed, was still to be fought out against the
people; who, returning home full of victory and success, insisted,
contrary to established law, to have one of the consuls chosen out
of their own body. The senate strongly opposed it, and would not
suffer Camillus to lay down his dictatorship, thinking, that,
under the shelter of his great name and authority, they should be
better able to contend for the power of the aristocracy. But when
Camillus was sitting upon the tribunal, dispatching public
affairs, an officer, sent by the tribunes of the people, commanded
him to rise and follow him, laying his and upon him, as ready to
seize and carry him away; upon which, such a noise and tumult as
was never heard before, filled the whole forum; some that were
about Camillus thrusting the officer from the bench, and the
multitude below calling out to him to bring Camillus down. Being
at a loss what to do in these difficulties, he yet laid not down
his authority, but, taking the senators along with him, he went to
the senate-house; but before he entered, besought the gods that
they would bring these troubles to a happy conclusion, solemnly
vowing, when the tumult was ended, to build a temple to Concord. A
great conflict of opposite opinions arose in the senate; but, at
last, the most moderate and most acceptable to the people
prevailed, and consent was given, that of two consuls, one should
be chosen from the commonalty. When the dictator proclaimed this
determination of the senate to the people, at the moment pleased
and reconciled with the senate, as they could not well otherwise
be, they accompanied Camillus home with all expressions and
acclamations of joy; and the next day, assembling together, they
voted a temple of Concord to be built, according to Camillus's
vow, facing the assembly and the forum; and to the feasts, called
the Latin holidays, they added one day more, making four in all;
and ordained that, on the present occasion the whole people of
Rome should sacrifice with garlands on their heads.

In the election of consuls held by Camillus, Marcus Aemilius was
chosen of the patricians, and Lucius Sextius the first of the
commonalty; and this was the last of all Camillus's actions. In
the year following, a pestilential sickness infected Rome, which,
besides an infinite number of the common people, swept away most
of the magistrates, among whom was Camillus; whose death cannot be
called premature, if we consider his great age, or greater
actions, yet was he more lamented than all the rest put together
that then died of that distemper.


We are inspired by acts of virtue with an emulation and eagerness
that may lead on to imitation. In other things there does not
immediately follow upon the admiration and liking of the thing
done, any strong desire of doing the like. Nay, many times, on the
very contrary, when we are pleased with the work, we slight and
set little by the workman or artist himself, as, for instance, in
perfumes and purple dyes, we are taken with the things themselves
well enough, but do not think dyers and perfumers otherwise than
low and sordid people. It was not said amiss by Antisthenes, when
people told him that one Ismenias was an excellent piper, "It may
be so, but he is a wretched human being, otherwise he would not
have been an excellent piper." And King Philip, to the same
purpose, told his son Alexander, who once at a merry meeting
played a piece of music charmingly and skillfully, "Are you not
ashamed, my son, to play so well?" For it is enough for a king or
prince to find leisure sometimes to hear others sing, and he does
the muses quite honor enough when he pleases to be but present,
while others engage in such exercises and trials of skill.

He who busies himself in mean occupations produces, in the very
pains he takes about things of little or no use, an evidence
against himself of his negligence and indisposition to what is
really good. Nor did any generous and ingenuous young man, at the
sight of the statue of Jupiter at Pisa, ever desire to be a
Phidias, or, on seeing that of Juno at Argos, long to be a
Polycletus, or feel induced by his pleasure in their poems to wish
to be an Anacreon or Pliletas or Archilochus. But virtue, by the
bare statement of its actions, can so affect men's minds as to
create at once both admiration of the things done and desire to
imitate the doers of them. The goods of fortune we would possess
and would enjoy; those of virtue we long to practice and exercise;
we are content to receive the former from others, the latter we
wish others to experience from us.

And so we have thought fit to spend our time and pains in writing
of the lives of famous persons; and have composed this tenth book
upon that subject, containing the life of Pericles, and that of
Fabius Maximus, who carried on the war against Hannibal, men
alike, as in their other virtues and good parts, so especially in
their mild and upright temper and demeanor, and in that capacity
to bear the cross-grained humors of their fellow-citizens and
colleagues in office which made them both most useful and
serviceable to the interests of their countries. Whether we take a
right aim at our intended purpose, it is left to the reader to
judge by what he shall find here.

Pericles was of the tribe of Acamantis, and the township
Cholargus, of the noblest birth both on his father's and mother's
side. Xanthippus, his father, who defeated the king of Persia's
generals in the battle at Mycale, took to Wife Agariste, the
grandchild of Clisthenes, who drove out the sons of Pisistratus,
and nobly put and end to their tyrannical usurpation, and moreover
made a body of laws, and settled a model of government admirably
tempered and suited for the harmony and safety of the people.

Pericles in other respects was perfectly formed physically, only
his head was somewhat longish and out of proportion. For which
reason almost all the images and statues that were made of him
have the head covered with a helmet, the workmen not apparently
being willing to expose him. The poets of Athens called him
"Schinocephalos," or squill-head, from "schinos," a squill, or

Pericles was a hearer of Zeno, the Eliatic, who treated of natural
philosophy in the same manner as Parmenides did, but had also
perfected himself in an art of his own for refuting and silencing
opponents in argument; as Timon of Phlius describes it,--

Also the two-edged tongue of mighty Zeno, who,
Say what one would, could argue it untrue.

But he saw most of Pericles, and furnished him most especially
with a weight and grandeur of sense, superior to all arts of
popularity, and in general gave him his elevation and sublimity of
purpose and of character, was Anaxagoras of Clazomenae; whom the
men of those times called by the name of Nous, that is mind, or
intelligence, whether in admiration of the great and extraordinary
gift he displayed for the science of nature, or because he was the
first of the philosophers who did not refer the first ordering of
the world to fortune or chance, nor to necessity or compulsion,
but to a pure, unadulterated intelligence, which in all other
existing mixed and compound things acts as a principle of
discrimination, and of combination of like with like.

For this man, Pericles entertained an extraordinary esteem and
admiration, and, filling himself with this lofty and, as they call
it, up-in-the-air sort of thought, derived hence not merely, as
was natural, elevation of purpose and dignity of language, raised
far above the base and dishonest buffooneries of mob-eloquence,
but, besides this, a composure of countenance, and a serenity and
calmness in all his movements, which no occurrence whilst he was
speaking could disturb, a sustained and even tone of voice, and
various other advantages of a similar kind, which produced the
greatest effect on his hearers. Once, after being reviled and ill-
spoken of all day long in his own hearing by some abandoned fellow
in the open market-place where he was engaged in the despatch of
some urgent affair, he continued his business in perfect silence,
and in the evening returned home composedly, the man still dogging
him at the heels, and pelting him all the way with abuse and foul
language; and stopping into his house, it being by this time dark,
he ordered one of hi servants to take a light and to go along with
the man and see him safe home.

Nor were these the only advantages which Pericles derived from
Anaxagoras's acquaintance; he seems also to have become, by his
instructions, superior to that superstition with which an ignorant
wonder at appearances, for example, in the heavens, possesses the
minds of people unacquainted with their causes, eager for the
supernatural, and excitable through an inexperience which the
knowledge of natural causes removes, replacing wild and timid
superstition by the good hope and assurance of an intelligent

There is a story that once Pericles had brought to him from a
country farm of his, a ram's head with one horn, and that Lampon,
the diviner, upon seeing the horn grow strong and solid out of the
midst of the forehead, gave it as his judgement that, there being
at that time two potent factions, parties, or interests in the
city, the one of Thucydides and the other of Pericles, the
government would come about to that one of them in whose ground or
estate this token or indication of fate had shown itself. But that
Anaxagoras, cleaving the skull in sunder, showed to the bystanders
that the brain had not filled up its natural place, but being
oblong, like an egg, had collected from all parts of the vessel
which contained it, in a point to that place from whence the root
of the horn took its rise. And that, for the time, Anaxagoras was
much admired for his explanation by those that were present; and
Lampon no less a little while after, when Thucydides was
overpowered, and the whole affairs of the state and government
came into the hands of Pericles.

Pericles, while yet but a young man, stood in considerable
apprehension of the people, as he was thought in face and figure
to be very like the tyrant Pisitratus, and those of great age
remarked upon the sweetness of his voice, and his volubility and
rapidity in speaking, and were struck with amazement at the
resemblance. But when Aristides was now dead, and Themosticles
driven out, and Cimon was for the most part kept abroad by the
expeditions he made in parts out of Greece, Pericles, seeing
things in this posture, now advanced and took his side, not with
the rich and few, but with the many and poor, contrary to his
natural bent, which was far from democratical; but, most likely,
fearing he might fall under suspicion of aiming at arbitrary
power, and seeing Cimon on the side of the aristocracy, and much
beloved by the better and more distinguished people, he joined the
party of the people, with a view at once both to secure himself
and procure means against Cimon.

He immediately entered, also, on quite a new course of life and
management of his time. For he was never seen to walk in any
street but that which led to the market-place and the council-
hall, and he avoided invitations of friends to supper, and all
friendly visits and intercourse whatever; in all the time he had
to do with the public, which was not a little, he was never known
to have gone to any of his friends to a supper, except that once
when his near kinsman Euryptolemus married, he remained present
till the ceremony of the drink-offering, and then immediately rose
from the table and went his way. For these friendly meetings are
very quick to defeat any assumed superiority, and in intimate
familiarity an exterior of gravity is hard to maintain. Real
excellence, indeed, is best recognized when most openly looked
into; and in really good men, nothing which meets the eyes of
external observers so truly deserves their admiration, as their
daily common life does that of their nearer friends. Pericles,
however, to avoid any feeling of commonness, or any satiety on the
part of the people, presented himself at intervals only, not
speaking on every business, nor at all times coming into the
assembly, but, as Critoaus says, reserving himself, like the
Salaminian galley, for great occasions, while matters of lesser
importance were despatched by friends or other speakers under his
direction. And of this number we are told Ephialtes made one, who
broke the power of the council of Areopagus, giving the people,
according to Plato's expression, so copious and so strong a
draught of liberty, that, growing wild and unruly, like an
unmanageable horse, it, as the comic poets say, -

"--got beyond all keeping in,
Champing at Euboea, and among the islands leaping in."

The style of speaking most consonant to his form of life and the
dignity of his views he found, so to say, in the tones of that
instrument with which Anaxagoras had furnished him; of his
teaching he continually availed himself, and deepened the colors
of rhetoric with the dye of natural science.

A saying of Thucydides, the son of Melesias, stands on record,
spoken by him by way of pleasantry upon Pericles's dexterity.
Thucydides was one of the noble and distinguished citizens, and
had been his greatest opponent; and, when Archidamus, the king of
the Lacedaemonians, asked him whether he or Pericles were the
better wrestler, he made this answer: "When I," said he, "have
thrown him and given him a fair fall, he by persisting that he had
no fall, gets the better of me, and makes the bystanders, in spite
of their own eyes, believe him."

The rule of Pericles has been described as an aristocratical
government, that went by the name of a democracy, but was, indeed,
the supremacy of a single great man; while many say, that by him
the common people were first encouraged and led on to such evils
as appropriations of subject territory, allowances for attending
theatres, payments for performing public duties, and by these bad
habits were, under the influence of his public measures, changed
from a sober, thrifty people, that maintained themselves by their
own labors, to lovers of expense, intemperance, and license.

At the first, as has been said, when he set himself against
Cimon's great authority, he did caress the people. Finding himself
come short of his competitor in wealth and money, by which
advantages the other was enabled to take care of the poor,
inviting every day some one or other of the citizens that was in
want to supper, and bestowing clothes on the aged people, and
breaking down the hedges and enclosures of his grounds, that all
that would might freely gather what fruit they pleased. Pericles,
thus outdone in popular arts, turned to the distribution of the
public moneys; and in a short time having bought the people over,
what with moneys allowed for shows and for service on juries, and
what with the other forms of pay and largess, he made use of them
against the council of Areopagus, and directed the exertions of
his party against this council with such success, that most of
those causes and matters which had been formerly tried there, were
removed from its cognizance; Cimon, also, was banished by
ostracism as a favorer of the Lacedaemonians and a hater of the
people, though in wealth and noble birth he was among the first,
and had won several most glorious victories over the barbarians,
and had filled the city with money and spoils of war. So vast an
authority had Pericles obtained among the people.

The ostracism was limited by law to ten years; but the
Lacedaemonians, in the meantime, entering with a great army into
the territory of Tanagra, and the Athenians going out against the,
Cimon, coming from his banishment before his time was out, put
himself in arms and array with those of his fellow-citizens that
were of his own tribe, and desired by his deeds to wipe off the
suspicion of his favoring the Lacedaemonians, by venturing his own
person along with his countrymen. But Pericles's friends,
gathering in a body, forced him to retire as a banished man. For
which cause also Pericles seems to have exerted himself more than
in any other battle, and to have been conspicuous above all for
his exposure of himself to danger. All Cimon's friends, also, to a
man, fell together side by side, whom Pericles had accused with
him of taking part with the Lacedaemonians. Defeated in this
battle on their own frontiers, and expecting a new and perilous
attack with return of spring, the Athenians now felt regret and
sorrow for the loss of Cimon, and repentance for their expulsion
of him. Pericles, being sensible of their feelings, did not
hesitate or delay to gratify it, and himself made the motion for
recalling him home. He, upon his return, concluded a peace betwixt
the two cities; for the Lacedaemonians entertained as kindly
feelings towards him as they did the reverse towards Pericles and
the other popular leaders.

Cimon, while he was admiral, ended his days in the Isle of Cyprus.
And the aristocratical party, seeing that Pericles was already
before this grown to be the greatest and foremost man of all the
city, but nevertheless wishing there should be somebody set up
against him, to blunt and turn the edge of his power, that it
might not altogether prove a monarchy, put forward Thucydides of
Alopece, a discreet person, and a near kinsman of Cimon's, to
conduct the opposition against him. 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, however, unedifying. 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, at the same
time learning and practicing 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 Bisaltae, 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 which gave most pleasure and ornament to the city of Athens,
and the greatest admiration and even astonishment to all
strangers, and that which now is Greece's only evidence that the
power she boasts of and her ancient wealth are no romance or idle
story, was his construction of the public and sacred buildings.

The materials were stone, brass, ivory, gold, ebony, and cypress-
wood; the artisans 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, wagoners, rope-makers, flax-workers, shoe-makers
and leather-dressers, road-makers, miners. And every trade in the
same nature, as a captain in an army has his particular company of
soldiers under him, had its own hired company of journeymen and
laborers belonging to it banded together as in array, to be as it
were the instrument and body for the performance of the service of
these public works distributed plenty through every age and

As then grew the works up, no less stately in size than exquisite
in form, the workmen striving to outvie the material and the
design with the beauty of their workmanship, yet the most
wonderful thing of all was the rapidity of their execution.
Undertakings, any one of which singly might have required, they
thought, for their completion, several successions and ages of
men, were every one of them accomplished in the height and prime
of one man's political service. Although they say, too, that
Zeuxis once, having heard Agatharchus, the painter, boast of
despatching his work with speed and ease, replied, "I take a long
time." For ease and speed in doing a thing do not give the work
lasting solidity or exactness of beauty; the expenditure of time
allowed to a man's pains beforehand for the production of a thing
is repaid by way of interest with a vital force for its
preservation when once produced. For which reason Pericles's works
are especially admired, as having been made quickly, to last long.
For every particular piece of his work was immediately, even at
that time, for its beauty and elegance, antique; and yet in its
vigor and freshness looks to this day as if it were just executed.
There is a sort of bloom of newness upon those works of his,
preserving them from the touch of time, as if they had some
perennial spirit and undying vitality mingled in the composition
of them.

Phidias had the oversight of all the works, and was surveyor-
general, though upon the various portions other great masters and
workmen were employed. For Callicrates and Ictinus built the
Parthenon; the chapel at Eleusis, where the mysteries were
celebrated, was begun by Coroebus, who erected the pillars that
stand upon the floor or pavement, and joined them to the
architraves; and after his death Metagenes of Xypete added the
frieze and the upper line of columns; Xenocles of Cholargus roofed
or arched the lantern on the top of the temple of Castor and
Pollux; and the long wall, which Socrates says he himself heard
Pericles propose to the people, was undertaken by Callicrates.

The Odeum, or music-room, which in its interior was full of seats
and ranges of pillars, and outside had its roof made to slope and
descend from one single point at the top, was constructed, we are
told, in imitation of the king of Persia's Pavilion; this likewise
by Pericles's order; which Cratinus again, in his comedy called
The Thracian Women, made an occasion of raillery, -

So, we see here,
Jupiter Long-pate Pericles appear,
Since ostracism time he's laid aside his head,
And wears the new Odeum in its stead.

Perils, also eager for distinction, then first obtained the decree
for a contest in musical skill to be held yearly at the
Panathenaea, and he himself, being chosen judge, arranged the
order and method in which the competitors should sing and play on
the flute and the harp. And both at that time, and at other times
also, they sat in this music-room to see and hear all such trials
of skill.

The propylaea, or entrances to the Acropolis, were finished in
five years' time, Mnesicles being the principal architect. A
strange accident happened in the course of building, which showed
that the goddess was not averse to the work, but was aiding and
co-operating to bring it to perfection. One of the artificers, the
quickest and the handiest workmen among them all, with a slip of
his foot, fell down from a great height, and lay in a miserable
condition, the physician having no hopes of his recovery. When
Pericles was in distress about this, Athenia appeared to him at
night in a dream, and ordered a course of treatment which he
applied, and in a short time, and with great ease, cured the man.
And upon this occasion it was that he set up a brass statue of
Athena, surnamed Health, in the citadel near the altar, which they
say was there before. But it was Phidias who wrought the goddess's
image in gold, and he has his name inscribed on the pedestal as
the workman of it; and indeed the whole work in a manner was under
his charge, and he had, as we have said already, the oversight
over all the artists and workmen, through Pericles's friendship
for him.

When the orators, who sided with Thucydides and his party, were at
one time crying out, as their custom was, against Pericles, as one
who squandered away public money and made havoc of the state
revenues, he rose in the open assembly and put the question to the
people, whether they thought that he had laid out much; and
saying, "Too much, a great deal," "Then," said he, "since it is
so, let the cost not go to your account, but to mine; and let the
inscription upon the buildings stand in my name." When they heard
him say thus, whether it were out of a surprise to see the
greatness of his spirit, or out of emulation of the glory of the
works, they cried aloud, bidding him to spend on, and lay out what
he thought fit from the public purse, and to spare no cost, till
all were finished.

At length, coming to a final contest with Thucydides, which of the
two should ostracize the other out of the country, and, having
gone through this peril, he threw his antagonist out, and broke up
the confederacy that had been organized against him. So that now
all schism and division being at an end, and the city brought to
evenness and unity, he got all Athens and all affairs that
pertained to the Athenians into his own hands, their tributes,
their armies and their galleys, the islands, the sea, and their
wide-extended power, partly over other Greeks and partly over
barbarians, and all that empire which they possessed, founded and
fortified upon subject nations and royal friendships and

After this he was no longer the same man he had been before, nor
as tame and gentle and familiar as formerly with the populace, so
as readily to yield to their pleasures and to comply with the
desires of the multitude, as a steersman shifts with the winds.
Quitting that loose, remiss, and, in some cases, licentious court
of the popular will, he turned those soft and flowery modulations
to the austerity of aristocratical and regal rule; but, employing
this uprightly and undeviatingly for the country's best interests,
he was able generally to lead the people along, with their own
will and consent, by persuading and showing them what was to be

The source of this predominance was not barely his power of
language, but, as Thucydides the historian assures us, the
reputation of his life, and the confidence felt in his character;
his manifest freedom from every kind of corruption, and
superiority to all considerations of money. Notwithstanding he had
made the city of Athens, which was great of itself, as great and
rich as can be imagined, and though he were himself in power and
interest more than equal to many kings and absolute rulers, who
some of them also bequeathed by will their power to their
children, he for his part, did not make the patrimony his father
left him greater than it was by one drachma.

Teleclides says the Athenians had surrendered to him -

The tributes of the cities, and, with them, the cities, too, to do
with them as he pleases, and undo;
To build up, if he likes, stone walls around a town; and again, if
so he likes, to pull them down;
Their treaties and alliances, power, empire, peace, and war, their
wealth and their success forevermore.

Nor was all this the luck of some happy occasion; nor was it the
mere bloom and grace of a policy that flourished for a season; but
having for fifty-five years together maintained the first place
among statesmen, in the exercise of one continuous unintermitted
command in the office, to which he was annually reelected, of
General, he preserved his integrity unspotted; though otherwise he
was not altogether idle or careless in looking after his pecuniary
advantage; his paternal estate, which of right belonged to him, he
so ordered that it might neither through negligence be wasted or
lessened, nor yet, being so full of business as he was, cost him
any great trouble or time with taking care of it; and put it into
such a way of management as he thought to be most easy for
himself, and the most exact. All his yearly products and profits
he sold together in a lump, and supplied his household needs
afterward by buying everything that he or his family wanted out of
the market. Upon which account, his children, when they grew to
age, were not well pleased with his management; since there was
not there, as is usual in a great family and a plentiful estate,
anything to spare, or over and above; but all that went out or
came in, all disbursements and all receipts, proceeded as it were
by number and measure. His manager in all this was a single
servant, Evangelus by name, a man either naturally gifted or
instructed by Pericles so as to excel every one in this art of
domestic economy.

The Lacedaemonians beginning to show themselves troubled at the
growth of the Athenian power, Pericles, on the other hand, to
elevate the people's spirit yet more, and to raise them to the
thought of great actions, proposed a decree to summon all the
Greeks in what part soever, whether of Europe or Asia, every city,
little as well as great, to send their deputies to Athens to a
general assembly or convention, there to consult and advise
concerning the Greek temples which the barbarians had burnt down;
and also concerning the navigation of the sea, that they might
henceforward all of them pass to and fro and trade securely, and
be at peace among themselves.

Nothing was effected, nor did the cities meet by their deputies,
as was desired; the Lacedaemonians, as it is said, crossing the
design underhand, and the attempt being disappointed and baffled
first in Peloponnesus. I thought fit, however, to introduce the
mention of it, to show the spirit of the man and the greatness of
his thoughts.

In his military conduct he gained a great reputation for wariness;
he would not by his good-will engage in any fight which had much
uncertainty or hazard; he did not envy the glory of generals whose
rash adventures fortune favored with brilliant success, however
they were admired by others; nor did he think them worthy his
imitation, but always used to say to his citizens that, so far as
lay in his power, they should continue immortal, and live forever.
Seeing Tolmides, the son of Tolmaeus, upon the confidence of his
former successes, and flushed with the honor his military actions
had procured him, making preparation to attack the Boeotians in
their own country, when there was no likely opportunity, and that
he had prevailed with the bravest and most enterprising of the
youth to enlist themselves as volunteers in the service, who
besides his other force made up a thousand, he endeavored to
withhold him, and advised him against it in the public assembly,
telling him in a memorable saying of which still goes about, that,
if he would not take Pericles's advice, yet he would not do amiss
to wait and be ruled by time, the wisest counselor of all. This
saying, at that time, was but slightly commended; but, within a
few days after, when news was brought that Tolmides himself had
been defeated and slain in battle near Coronea, and that many
brave citizens had fallen with him, it gained him great repute as
well as good-will among the people, for wisdom and for love of his

But of all his expeditions, that to the Chersonese gave most
satisfaction and pleasure, having proved the safety of the Greeks
who inhabited there. For not only by carrying along with him a
thousand fresh citizens of Athens he gave new strength and vigor
to the cities, but also by belting the neck of land, which joins
the peninsula to the continent, with bulwarks and forts from sea
to sea, he put a stop to the inroads of the Thracians, who lay all
about the Chersonese, and closed the door against a continual and
grievous war, with which that country had been long harassed,
lying exposed to the encroachments and influx of barbarous
neighbors, and groaning under the evils of a predatory population
both upon and within its borders.

Entering also the Euxine Sea with a large and finely equipped
fleet, he obtained for the Greek cities any new arrangements they
wanted, and entered into friendly relations with them; and to the
barbarous nations, and kings and chiefs round about them,
displayed the greatness of the power of the Athenians, their
perfect ability and confidence to sail wherever they had a mind,
and to bring the whole sea under his control. He left the
Sinopians thirteen ships of war, with soldiers under the command
of Lamachus, to assist them against Timesileus the tyrant; and,
when he and his accomplices had been thrown out, obtained a decree
that six hundred of the Athenians that were willing should sail to
Sinope and plant themselves there with the Sinopians, sharing
among them the houses and land which the tyrant and his party had
previously held.

But in other things he did not comply with the giddy impulses of
the citizens, nor quit his own resolutions to follow their
fancies, when, carried away with the thought of their strength and
great success, they were eager to interfere again in Egypt, and to
disturb the king of Persia's maritime dominions. Nay, there were a
good many who were, even then, possessed with that unblest and
unauspicious passion for Sicily, which afterward the orators of
Alciabes's party blew up into a flame. There were some also who
dreamt of Tuscany and of Carthage, and not without plausible
reason in their present large dominion and the prosperous course
of their affairs.

But Pericles curbed this passion for foreign conquest, and
unsparingly pruned and cut down their ever-busy fancies for a
multitude of undertakings, and directed their power for the most
part to securing and consolidating what they had already got,
supposing it would be quite enough for them to do, if they could
keep the Lacedaemonians in check; to whom he entertained all along
a sense of opposition; which, as upon many other occasions, he
particularly showed by what he did in the time of the holy war.
The Lacedaemonians, having gone with an army to Delphi, restored
Apollo's temple, which the Phocians had got into their possession,
to the Delphians; immediately after their departure, Pericles,
with another army, came and restored it to the Phocians. And the
Lacedaemonians having engraven the record of their privilege of
consulting the oracle before others, which the Delphians gave
them, upon the forehead of the brazen wolf which stands there, he,
also, having received from the Phocians the like privilege for the
Athenians, had it cut upon the same wolf of brass, on his right

When Pericles, in giving up his accounts, stated a disbursement of
ten talents, as laid out upon fit occasion, the people, without
any question, nor troubling themselves to investigate the mystery,
freely allowed it. And some historians, in which number is
Theophtastus the philosopher, have given it as a truth that
Pericles every year used to send privately the sum of ten talents
to Sparta, with which he complimented those in office, to keep off
the war; not to purchase peace either, but time, that he might
prepare at leisure, and be the better able to carry on war

After this, having made a truce between the Athenians and
Lacedaemonians for thirty years, he ordered, by public decree, the
expedition against the Isle of Samos, on the ground, that, when
they were bid to leave off their war with the Milesians, they had
not complied. For the two states were at war for the possession of
Priene; and the Samians, getting the better, refused to lay down
their arms and to have the controversy betwixt them decided by
arbitration before the Athenians. Pericles, therefore, fitting out
a fleet, went and broke up the oligarchal government at Samos,
and, taking fifty of the principal men of the town as hostages,
and as many of their children, sent them to the Isle of Lemnos,
there to be kept, though he had offers, as some relate, of a
talent apiece for himself from each one of the hostages, and of
many other presents from those who were anxious not to have a
democracy. Moreover, Pissuthnes the Persian, one of the king's
lieutenants, bearing some good-will to the Samians, sent him ten
thousand pieces of gold to excuse the city. Pericles, however,
would receive none of all this; but after he had taken that course
with the Samians which he thought fit, and set up a democracy
among them, sailed back to Athens.

But they, however, immediately revolted, Pissuthnes having privily
got away their hostages for them, and provided them with means for
war. Whereupon Pericles came out with a fleet a second time
against them, and found them not idle nor slinking away, but
manfully resolved to try for the dominion of the sea. The issue
was, that, after a sharp sea-fight about the island called Tragia,
Pericles obtained a decisive victory, having with forty-four ships
routed seventy of the enemy's, twenty of which were carrying

Together with his victory and pursuit, having made himself master
of the port, he laid siege to the Samians, and blocked them up,
who yet, one way or other, still ventured to make sallies, and
fight under the city walls. But after another greater fleet from
Athens had arrived, and the Samians were now shut up with a close
leaguer on every side, Pericles, taking with him sixty galleys,
sailed out into the main sea, with the intention, as most authors
give the account, to meet a squadron of Phoenician ships that were
coming for the Samians' relief, and to fight them at as great a
distance as could be from the island; but, as Stesimbrotus says,
with a design of putting over to Cyprus; which does not seem to be
probable. But whichever of the two was his intent, it seems to
have been a miscalculation. For on his departure, Melissus, the
son of Ithagenes, a philosopher, being at that time general in
Samos, despising either the small number of ships that were left
or the inexperience of the commanders, prevailed with the citizens
to attack the Athenians. And the Samians having won the battle and
taken several of the men prisoners, and disabled several of the
ships, were masters of the sea, and brought into port all
necessities they wanted for the war, which they had not before.
Aristotle says, too, that Pericles himself had been once before
this worsted by the Milissus in a sea-fight.

The Samians, that they might requite an affront which had before
been put upon them, branded the Athenians whom they took
prisoners, in their foreheads, with the figure of an owl. For so
the Athenians had marked them before with a Samaena, which is a
sort of ship, low and flat in the prow, so as to look snub-nosed,
but wide and large and well-spread in the hold, by which it both
carries a large cargo and sails well. And so it was called,
because the first of that kind was seen at Samos, having been
built by order of Polycrates the tyrant. These brands upon the
Samians' foreheads, they say, are the allusion in the passage of
Aristophanes, where he says, --

For, oh, the Samians are a lettered people.

Pericles, as soon as news was brought to him of the disaster that
had befallen his army, made all the haste he could to come in to
their relief, and having defeated Melissus, who bore up against
him, and put the enemy to flight, he immediately proceeded to hem
them in with a wall, resolving to master them and take the town,
rather with some cost and time than with the wounds and hazards of
his citizens. But as it was a hard matter to keep back the
Athenians, who were vexed at the delay, and were eagerly bent to
fight, he divided the whole multitude into eight parts, and
arranged by lot that that part which had the white bean should
have leave to feast and take their ease, while the other seven
were fighting. And this is the reason, they say, that people, when
at any time they have been merry, and enjoyed themselves, call it
white day, in allusion to this white bean.

Ephorus, the historian, tells us besides, that Pericles made use
of engines of battery in this siege, being much taken with the
curiousness of the invention, with the aid and presence of Artemon
himself, the engineer, who, being lame, used to be carried about
in a litter, where the works required his attendance, and for that
reason was called Periphoretus. But Heraclides Ponticus disproves
this out of Anacreon's poems, where mention is made of this
Artemon Periphoretus several ages before the Samian war, or any of
these occurrences. And he says that Artemon, being a man who loved
his ease, and had a great apprehension of danger, for the most
part kept close within doors, having two of his servants to hold a
brazen shield over his head, that nothing might fall upon him from
above; and if he were at any time forced upon necessity to go
abroad, that he was carried about in a little hanging-bed, close
to the very ground, and that for this reason he was called

In the ninth month, the Samians surrendering themselves and
delivering up the town, Pericles pulled down their walls, and
seized their shipping, and set a fine of a large sum upon them,
part of which they paid down at once, and they agreed to bring in
the rest by a certain time, and gave hostages for security.
Pericles, however, after the reduction of Samos, returning back to
Athens, took care that those who died in the war should be
honorably buried, and made a funeral harangue, as the custom is,
in their commendation at their graves, for which he gained great
admiration. As he came down from the stage on which he spoke, all
the women except Elpinice, the aged sister of Cimon, came out and
complimented him, taking him by the hand, and crowning him with
garlands and ribbons, like a victorious athlete in the games.

After this was over, the Peloponnesian war beginning to break out
in full tide, he advised the people to send help to the
Corcyraeans, who were attacked by the Corinthians, and to secure
to themselves an island possessed of great naval resources, since
the Peloponnesians were already all but in actual hostilities
against them. Archidamus, the king of the Lacedaemonians,
endeavoring to bring the greater part of the complaints and
matters in dispute to a fair determination, and to pacify and
allay the heats of the allies, it is very likely that the war
would not upon any other grounds of quarrel have fallen upon the
Athenians, could they have been prevailed upon to be reconciled
with the inhabitants of Megara.

The true occasion of the quarrel is not easy to find out. The
worst motive of all, which is confirmed by most witnesses, is to
the following effect. Phidias the Moulder had, as has before been
said, undertaken to make the statue of Athena. Now he, being
admitted to friendship with Pericles, and a great favorite of his,
had many enemies upon this account, who envied and maligned him;
and they, to make trial in a case of his what kind of judges the
commons would prove, should there be occasion to bring Pericles
himself before them, having tampered with Menon, one who had been
a workman with Phidias, stationed him in the marketplace, with a
petition desiring public security upon his discovery and
impeachment of Phidias. The people admitting the man to tell his
story, and, the prosecution proceeding in the assembly, there was
nothing of theft or cheat proved against him; for Phidias, from
the very first beginning, by the advice of Pericles, had so
wrought and wrapt the gold that was used in the work about the
statue, that they might take it all off and make out the just
weight of it, which Pericles at that time bade the accusers do.
But the repudiation of his works was what brought envy upon
Phidias, especially that where he represents the fight of the
Amazons upon the goddesses' shield, he had introduced a likeness
of himself as a bald old man holding up a great stone with both
hands, and had put in a very fine representation of Pericles
fighting with an Amazon. And the position of the hand, which holds
out the spear in front of the face, was ingeniously contrived to
conceal in some degree the likeness, which, meantime, showed
itself on either side.

Phidias then was carried away to Prison, and there died of a
disease; but, as some say, of poison administered by the enemies
of Pericles, to raise a slander, or a suspicion at least, as
though he had procured it. The informer Menon, upon Glycon's
proposal, the people made free from payment of taxes and customs,
and ordered the generals to take care that nobody should do him
any hurt. And Pericles, finding that in Phidias's case he had
miscarried with the people, being afraid of impeachment, kindled
the war, which hitherto had lingered and smothered, and blew it up
into a flame; hoping, by that means, to disperse and scatter these
complaints and charges, and to allay their jealousy; the city
usually throwing herself upon him alone, and trusting to his sole
conduct, upon the urgency of great affairs and public dangers, by
reason of his authority and the sway he bore.

These are given out to have been the reasons which induced
Pericles not to suffer the people of Athens to yield to the
proposals of the Lacedaemonians; but their truth is uncertain.

The Lacedaemonians, therefore, and their allies, with a great
army, invaded the Athenian territories, under the conduct of king
Archidamus, and laying waste the country, marched on as far as
Acharnae, and there pitched their camp, presuming that the
Athenians would never endure that, but would come out and fight
them for their country's and their honor's sake. But Pericles
looked upon it as dangerous to engage in battle, to the risk of
the city itself, against sixty thousand men-at-arms of
Peloponnesians and Boeotians; for so many they were in number that
made the inroad at first; and he endeavored to appease those who
were desirous to fight, and were grieved and discontented to see
how things went, and gave them good words, saying, that "trees,
when they are lopped and cut, grow up again in a short time, but
men, being once lost, cannot easily be recovered." He did not
convene the people into an assembly, for fear lest they should
force him to act against his judgement; and many of his enemies
threatened and accursed him for doing as he did, and many made
songs and lampoons upon him, which were sung about the town to his
disgrace, reproaching him with the cowardly exercise of his office
of general, and the tame abandonment of everything to the enemy's

Cleon, also, already was among his assailants, making use of the
feeling against him as a step to the leadership of the people, as
appears in the anapaestic verses of Hermippus.

Satyr-king, instead of swords,
Will you always handle words?
Very brave indeed we find them,
But a Teles lurks behind them. (Teles was apparently some
notorious coward.)
Yet to gnash your teeth you're seen,
When the little dagger keen,
Whetted every day anew,
Of sharp Cleon touches you.

Pericles, however, was not at all moved by any attacks, but took
all patiently, and submitted in silence to the disgrace they threw
upon him and the ill-will they bore him; and, sending out a fleet
of a hundred galleys to Peloponnesus, he did not go along with it
in person, but stayed behind, that he might watch at home and keep
the city under his own control, till the Peloponnesians broke up
their camp and were gone. Yet to soothe the common people, jaded
and distressed with the war, he relieved them with distributions
of public moneys, and ordained new divisions of subject land. For
having turned out all the people of Aegina, he parted the island
among the Athenians, according to lot. Some comfort, also, and
ease in their miseries, they might receive from what their enemies
endured. For the fleet, sailing round the Peloponnesus, ravaged a
great deal of the country, and pillaged and plundered the towns
and smaller cities; and by land he himself entered with an army
the Megarian country, and made havoc of it all. Whence it is clear
that the Peloponnesians, though they did the Athenians much
mischief by land, yet suffering as much themselves from them by
sea, would not have protracted the war to such a length, but would
quickly have given it over, as Pericles at first foretold they
would, had not some divine power crossed human purposes.

In the first place, the pestilential disease, or plague, seized
upon the city, and ate up all the flour and prime of their youth
and strength. Upon occasion of which the people, distempered and
afflicted in their souls, as well as in their bodies, were utterly
enraged like madmen against Pericles, and, like patients grown
delirious, sought to lay violent hands on their physician, or, as
it were, their father.

Finding the Athenians ill affected and highly displeased with him,
he tried and endeavored what he could to appease and re-encourage
them. But he could not pacify or allay their anger nor persuade or
prevail with them anyway, til they freely passed their votes upon
him, resumed their power, took away his command from him, and
fined him in a sum of money.

After this, public troubles were soon to leave him unmolested; the
people, so to say, discharged their passion in their stroke, and
lost their stings in the wound. But his domestic concerns were in
an unhappy condition, many of his friends and acquaintance having
died in the plague time, and those of his family having long since
been in disorder and in a kind of mutiny against him. For the
eldest of his sons, Xanthippus by name, being naturally prodigal,
and marrying a young and expensive wife, was highly offended at
his father's economy in making him but a scanty allowance, by
little and little at a time. He sent therefore, to a friend one
day, and borrowed some money of him in his father Pericles's name,
pretending it was by his order. The man coming afterward to demand
the debt, Pericles was so far from yielding to pay it, that he
entered an action against him. Upon which the young man,
Xanthippus, thought himself so ill used and disobliged, that he
openly reviled his father; telling first, by way of ridicule,
stories about his conversations at home, and the discourses he had
with the sophists and scholars that came to his house. As for
instance, how one who was a practicer of the five games of skill,
* having with a dart or javelin unawares against his will struck
and killed Epitimus the Pharsalian, his father spent a whole day
with Protagoras in a serious dispute, whether the javelin, or the
man that threw it, or the masters of the games who appointed these
sports, were, according to the strictest and best reason, to be
accounted the cause of this mischance. And in general, this
difference of the young man's with his father, in the breach
betwixt them, continued never to be healed or made up til his
death. For Xanthippus died in the plague time of the sickness. At
which time Pericles also lost his sister, and the greatest part of
his relations and friends, and those who had been most useful and
serviceable to him in managing the affairs of state. However, he
did not shrink or give in on these occasions, nor betray or lower
his high spirit and even the greatness of his mind under all his
misfortunes; he was not even so much as seen to weep or to mourn,
or even attend the burial of his friends or relations, till at
last he lost his only remaining son. Subdued by this blow, yet
striving still, as far as he could, to maintain his principle, and
yet to preserve and keep up the greatness of his soul, when he
came, however, to perform the ceremony of putting a garland of
flowers on the head of the corpse, he was vanquished by his
passion at the sight, so that he burst into exclamations, and shed
copious tears, having never done any such thing in all his life

The city having made trial of other generals for the conduct of
war, and orators for business of state, when they found there was
no one who was of weight enough for such a charge, or of authority
sufficient to be trusted with so great a command, regretted the
loss of him, and invited him again to address and advise them, and
to resume the office of general. He, however, lay at home in
dejection and mourning; but was persuaded by Alcibiades and others
of his friends to come abroad and show himself to the people; who
having, upon his appearance, made their acknowledgements, and
apologized for their untowardly treatment of him, he undertook the
public affairs once more.

About this time, it seems, the plague seized Pericles, not with
sharp and violent fits, as it did others that had it, but with a
dull and lingering distemper, attended with various changes and
alterations, leisurely, by little and little, wasting the strength
of his body, and undermining the noble faculties of his soul.

When he was now near his end, the best of citizens and those of
his friends who were left alive, sitting about him, were speaking
of the greatness of his merit, and his power, and reckoning up his
famous actions and the number of his victories; there were no less
than nine trophies which, as their chief commander and conqueror
of their enemies, he had set up, for the honor of the city. They
talked thus among themselves, as though he were unable to
understand or mind what they said, but had now lost his
consciousness. He had listened, however, all the while, and
attended to all, and speaking out among them, said, that he
wondered they should commend and take notice of things which were
as much owing to fortune as to anything else, and had happened to
many other commanders, and, at the same time, should not speak or
make mention of that which was the most excellent and greatest
thing of all. "For," said he, "no Athenian through my means, ever
wore mourning."

He was indeed a character deserving our high admiration, not only
for his equable and mild temper, which all along, in the many
affairs of his life, and the great animosities which he incurred,
he constantly maintained; but also for the high spirit and feeling
which made him regarded the noblest of all his honors, that, in
the exercise of such immense power, he never had gratified his
envy or his passion, nor ever had treated any enemy as
irreconcilably opposed to him. And to me it appears that this one
thing gives an otherwise childish and arrogant title a fitting and
becoming significance; so dispassionate a temper, a life so pure
and unblemished, in the height of power and place, might well be
called "Olympian," in accordance with our conceptions of divine
beings, to whom, as the natural of all good and of nothing evil,
we ascribe the rule and government of the world.

The course of public affairs after his death produced a quick and
speedy sense of the loss of Pericles. Those who, while they live,
resented his great authority, as that which eclipsed themselves,
presently after quitting the stage, making trial of other orators
and demagogues, readily acknowledged that there never had been in
nature such a disposition as his was, more moderate and reasonable
in the height of that state he took upon him, or more grave and
impressive in the mildness which he used.


Whoever it was, Sosius, that wrote the poem in honor of
Alcibiades, upon his winning the chariot-race at the Olympian
Games, whether it was Euripedes, as is most commonly thought, or
some other person he tells us, that to a man's being happy it is
pre-eminently requisite that he should be born in "some famous

But if anybody undertakes to write a history, that has to be
collected from materials gathered by observation and the reading
of works not easy to be got in all places, nor written always in
his own language, but many of them foreign and dispersed in other
hands, for him, undoubtedly, it is above all things most
necessary, to reside in some city of good note, devoted to liberal
arts, and populous; where he may have plenty of all sorts of
books, and upon inquiry may hear and inform himself of such
particulars as, having escaped the pens of writers, are more
faithfully preserved in the memories of men.

But for me, I live in a little town, where I am willing to
continue, lest it should grow less; and having had no leisure,
while I was in Rome and other parts of Italy, to practice myself
in the Roman language, on account of public business and of those
who came to be instructed by me in philosophy, it was very late,
and in the decline of my age, before I applied myself to the
reading of Latin authors. But to appreciate the graceful and ready
pronunciation of the Roman tongue, to understand the various
figures and connection of words, and such other ornaments, in
which the beauty of speaking consists, is, I doubt not, an
admirable and delightful accomplishment; but it requires a degree
of practice and study which is not easy, and will better suit
those who have more leisure, and time enough yet before them for
the occupation.

And so in this book of my Parallel Lives, in giving an account of
Demosthenes and Cicero, my comparison of their natural
dispositions and their characters will be formed upon their
actions and their lives as statesmen, and I shall not pretend to
criticise their orations one against the other, to show which of
the two was the more charming or the more powerful speaker. For
there, as Ion says,

We are but like a fish upon dry land.

The divine power seems originally to have designed Demosthenes and
Cicero upon the same plan, giving them many similarities in their
natural characters, as their passion for distinction and their
love of liberty in civil life, and their want of courage in
dangers and war, and at the same time also to have added many
accidental resemblances. I think there can hardly be found two
other orators, who, from small and obscure beginnings, became so
great and mighty; who both contested with kings and tyrants; both
lost their daughters, were driven out of their country, and
returned with honor; who, flying from thence again, were both
seized upon by their enemies, and at last ended their lives with
the liberty of their countrymen. So that if we were to suppose
that there had been a trial of skill between nature and fortune,
as there is sometimes between artists, it would be hard to judge,
whether that succeeded best in making them alike in their
dispositions and manners, or this, in the coincidences of their
lives. We will speak of the eldest first.

Demosthenes, the father of Demosthenes, was a citizen of good rank
and quality, as Theopompus informs us, surnamed the Sword-maker,
because he had a large workhouse, and kept servants skilful in
that art at work. Demosthenes, when only seven years old, was left
by his father in affluent circumstances, the whole value of his
estate being little short of fifteen talents, but was wronged by
his guardians, part of his fortune being embezzled by them, and
the rest neglected; insomuch that even his teachers were defrauded
of their salaries. This was the reason that he did not obtain the
liberal education that he should have had; besides that on account
of weakness and delicate health, his mother would not let him
exert himself, and his teachers forebore to urge him. He was
meagre and sickly from the first, and hence had the nickname of
Batalus, given him, it is said, by the boys, in derision of his
appearance; Batalus being a certain enervated flute-player, in
ridicule of whom Antiphanes wrote a play.

The first occasion of his eager inclination to oratory, they say,
was this. Callistratus, the orator, was to plead in open court for
Oropus, and the expectation of the issue of that cause was very
great, as well for the ability of the orator, who was then at the
height of his reputation, as also for the fame of the action
itself. Therefore, Demosthenes, having heard the tutors and
schoolmasters agreeing among themselves to be present at this
trial, with much importunity persuades his tutor to take him along
with him to the hearing; who, having some acquaintance with the
doorkeepers, procured a place where the boy might sit unseen, and
hear what was said. Callistratus having got the day, and being
much admired, the boy began to look upon his glory with emulation,
observing how he was courted on all hands, and attended on his way
by the multitude; but his wonder was more than all excited by the
power of his eloquence, which seemed able to subdue and win over
any thing. From this time, therefore, bidding farewell to other
sorts of learning and study, he now began to exercise himself, and
to take pains in declaiming, as one that meant to be himself also
an orator. He made use of Isaeus as his guide to the art of
speaking, though Isocrates at that time was giving lessons;
whether, as some say, because he was an orphan, and was not able
to pay Isocrates his appointed fee of ten minae, or because he
preferred Isaeus's speaking, as being more business-like and
effective in actual use.

As soon, therefore, as he was grown up to man's estate, he began
to go to law with his guardians, and to write orations against
them; who, in the meantime, had recourse to various subterfuges
and pleas for new trials, and Demosthenes, though he was thus, as
Thucydides says, taught his business in dangers, and by his own
exertions was successful in his suit, was yet unable for all this
to recover so much as a small fraction of his patrimony. He only
attained some degree of confidence in speaking, and some competent
experience in it. And having got a taste of the honor and power
which are acquired by pleadings, he now ventured to come forth,
and to undertake public business. And, as it is said of Laomedon,
the Orchomenian, that by advice of his physician, he used to run
long distances to keep off some disease of his spleen, and by that
means having, through labor and exercise, framed the habit of his
body, he betook himself to the great garland games, and became one
of the best runners at the long race; so it happened to
Demosthenes, who, first venturing upon oratory for the recovery of
his own private property, by this acquired ability in speaking,
and at length, in public business, as it were in the great games,
came to have the pre-eminence of all competitors in the assembly.
But when he first addressed himself to the people, he met with
great discouragements, and was derided for his strange and uncouth
style, which was cumbered with long sentences and tortured with
formal arguments to a most harsh and disagreeable excess. Besides,
he had, it seems, a weakness in his voice, a perplexed and
indistinct utterance and a shortness of breath, which, by breaking
and disjointing his sentences, much obscured the sense and meaning
of what he spoke. So that in the end, being quite disheartened, he
foresook the assembly; and as he was walking carelessly and
sauntering about the Piraeus, Eunomus, the Thriasian, then a very
old man, seeing him, upbraided him, saying that his diction was
very much like that of Pericles, and that he was wanting to
himself through cowardice and meanness of spirit, neither bearing
up with courage against popular outcry, nor fitting his body for
action, but suffering it to languish through mere sloth and

Another time, when the assembly had refused to hear him, and he
was going home with his head muffled up, taking it very heavily,
they relate that Satyrus, the actor followed him, and being his
familiar acquaintance, entered into conversation with him. To whom
Demosthenes bemoaned, that although he had been the most
industrious of all the pleaders, and had spent almost the whole
strength and vigor of his body in that employment, he could not
yet find any acceptance with the people, while drunken sots,
mariners, and illiterate fellows were heard, and had the hustings
for their own. "You say true, Demosthenes," replied Satyrus, "but
I will quickly remedy the cause of all this, if you will repeat to
me some passage out of Euripides or Sophocles." When Demosthenes
had pronounced one, Satyrus presently taking it up after him, gave
the same passage, in his rendering of it, such a new form, by
accompanying it with the proper mien and gesture, that to
Demosthenes it seemed quite another thing. By this being convinced
how much grace and ornament language acquires from action, he
began to esteem it a small matter, and as good as nothing for a
man to exercise himself in declaiming, if he neglected enunciation
and delivery. Hereupon he built himself a place under ground to
study in (which was still remaining in our time), and hither he
would come constantly every day to form his action, and to
exercise his voice; and here he would continue, oftentimes without
intermission, two or three months together, shaving one half of
his head, so that for shame he might not go abroad, though he
desired it never so much.

Nor was this all, but he also made his conversation with people
abroad, his common speech, and his business, subservient to his
studies, taking from hence occasions and arguments as matter to
work upon. For as soon as he was parted from his company, down he
would go at once into his study, and run over everything in order
that had passed, and the reasons that might be alleged for and
against it. Any speeches, also, that he was present at, he would
go over again with himself, and reduce into periods; and whatever
others spoke to him, or he to them, he would correct, transform,
and vary in several ways. Hence it was, that he was looked upon as
a person of no great natural genius, but one who owed all the
power and ability he had in speaking to labor and industry. He was
very rarely heard to speak off-hand, but though he were by name
frequently called upon by the people, as he sat in the assembly,
yet he would not rise unless he had previously considered the
subject, and come prepared for it. So that many of the popular
pleaders used to make it a jest against him; and Pytheas once,
scoffing at him, said that his arguments smelt of the lamp. To
which Demosthenes gave the sharp answer, "It is true, indeed,
Pytheas, that your lamp and mine are not conscious of the same
things." To others, however, he would not deny it, but would admit
frankly enough, that he neither entirely wrote his speeches
beforehand, nor yet spoke wholly extempore. And he would affirm,
that it was the more truly popular act to use premeditation, such
preparation being a kind of respect to the people.

How then, some may say, was it, that Aeschines speaks of him as a
person much to be wondered at for his boldness in speaking? And,
when Lamachus, the Myrinaean, had written a panegyric upon king
Philip and Alexander, in which he uttered many things in reproach
of the Thebans and Olynthians, and at the Olympic Games recited it
publicly, Demosthenes, then rising up, and recounting historically
and demonstratively what benefits and advantages all Greece had
received from the Thebans and Chalcidians, and on the contrary,
what mischiefs the flatterers of the Macedonians had brought upon
it, so turned the minds of all that were present that the sophist,
in alarm at the outcry against him, secretly made his way out of
the assembly. But Demosthenes, it would seem, regarded the reserve
and sustained manner of Pericles, and his forbearing to speak on
the sudden, or upon every occasion, as being the things to which
he principally owed his greatness, and this he followed, and
endeavored to imitate, neither wholly neglecting the glory which
present occasion offered, nor yet willing too often to expose his
faculty to the mercy of chance. For, in fact, the orations which
were spoken by him had much more of boldness and confidence in
them than those that he wrote. Eratosthenes says that often in his
speaking he would be transported into a kind of ecstasy, and
Demetrius, that he uttered the famous metrical adjuration to the

By the earth, the springs, the rivers, and the streams,

as a man inspired, and beside himself. One of the comedians calls
him a rhopoperperethras--a loud declaimer about petty matters;
from rhopos, small wares, and perperos, a loud talker; and another
scoffs at him for the use of antithesis: --

And what he took, took back; a phrase to please
The very fancy of Demosthenes.

Unless, indeed, this also is meant by Antiphanes for a jest upon
the speech on Halonesus, which Demosthenes advised the Athenians
not to take at Philip's hands, but to take back.

All, however, used to consider Demades, in the mere use of his
natural gifts, an orator impossible to surpass, and that in what
he spoke on the sudden, he excelled all the study and preparation
of Demosthenes. And Ariston, the Chian, has recorded a judgment
which Theophrastus passed upon the orators; for being asked what
kind of orator he accounted Demosthenes, he answered, "Worthy of
the city of Athens;" and then, what he thought of Demades, he
answered, "Above it." And the same philosopher reports, that
Polyeuctus, the Sphettian, one of the Athenian politicians about
that time, was wont to say that Demosthenes was the greatest
orator, but Phocion the ablest, as he expressed the most sense in
the fewest words. And, indeed, it is related, that Demosthenes
himself, as often as Phocion stood up to plead against him, would
say to his acquaintance, "Here comes the knife to my speech." Yet
it does not appear whether he had this feeling for his powers of
speaking, or for his life and character, and meant to say that one
word or nod from a man who was really trusted, would go further
than a thousand lengthy periods from others.

Demetrius, the Phalerian, tells us, that he was informed by
Demosthenes himself, when old, that the ways he made use of to
remedy his natural bodily infirmities and defects were such as
these: his inarticulate and stammering pronunciation he overcame
and rendered more distinct by speaking with pebbles in his mouth;
his voice he disciplined by declaiming and reciting speeches or
verses when he was out of breath, while running or going up steep
places; and that in his house he had a large looking-glass, before
which he would stand and go through his exercises. It is told that
some one once came to request his assistance as a pleader, and
related how he had been assaulted and beaten. "I am sure," said
Demosthenes, "nothing of the kind can have happened to you." Upon
which the other, raising his voice, exclaimed loudly, "What,
Demosthenes, nothing has been done to me?" "Ah," replied
Demosthenes, "now I hear the voice of one that has been injured
and beaten." Of so great consequence towards the gaining of belief
did he esteem the tone and action of the speaker. When a thief,
who had the nickname of the Brazen, was attempting to upbraid him
for sitting up late, and writing by candlelight, "I know very
well," said he, "that you had rather have all lights out; and
wonder not, O ye men of Athens, at the many robberies which are
committed, since we have thieves of brass and walls of clay."

His first entering into public business was about the time of the
Phocian war. But the object which he chose for himself in the
commonwealth was noble and just, the defence of the Greek against
Philip; and in this he behaved himself so worthily that he soon
grew famous, and excited attention everywhere for his eloquence
and courage in speaking. He was admired through all Greece, the
king of Persia courted him, and by Philip himself he was more
esteemed than all the other orators. His very enemies were forced
to confess that they had to do with a man of mark; for such a
character even Aeschines and Hyperides give him, where they accuse
and speak against him.

Demosthenes would never turn aside or prevaricate, either in word
or deed. Panaetius, the philosopher, said, that most of his
orations were written, as if they were to prove this one
conclusion: that only what is honest and virtuous is to be chosen;
as that of the Crown, that against Aristocrates, that for the
Immunities, and the Philippics; in all which he persuades his
fellow-citizens to pursue not that which seems most pleasant,
easy, or profitable; but declares over and over again, that they
ought in the first place to prefer that which is just and
honorable, before their own safety and preservation.

Excepting only Phocion, he far surpassed, even in his life and
manners, the other orators of his time. None of them addressed the
people so boldly; he attacked the faults, and opposed himself to
the unreasonable desires of the multitude, as may be seen in his
orations. Theopompus writes, that the Athenians having by name
selected Demosthenes, and called upon him to accuse a certain
person, he refused to do it; upon which the assembly being all in
an uproar, he rose up and said, "Your counselor, whether you will
or no, O ye men of Athens, you shall always have me; but a
sycophant or false accuser, I shall never be." And his conduct in
the case of Antiphon was perfectly aristocratical; whom, after he
had been acquitted in the assembly, he took and brought before the
court of Areopagus, and, setting at naught the displeasure of the
people, convicted him there of having promised Philip to burn the
arsenal; whereupon the man was condemned by that court, and
suffered for it. He accused, also, Theoris, the priestess, among
other misdemeanors, of having instructed and taught the slaves to
deceive and cheat their masters, for which the sentence of death
was passed upon her, and she was executed.

It was evident, even in time of peace, what course Demosthenes
would steer in the commonwealth; for whatever was done by the
Macedonian, he criticised and found fault with, and upon all
occasions was stirring up the people of Athens, and inflaming them
against him. Therefore, in the court of Philip, no man was so much
talked of, or of so great account as he; and when he came thither,
as one of the ten ambassadors who was sent into Macedonia, his
speech was answered with most care and exactness. But in other
respects, Philip entertained him not so honorably as the rest,
neither did he show him the same kindness and civility with which
he applied himself to the party of Aeschines and Philocrates. So
that, when the others commended Philip for his able speaking, his
beautiful person, nay, and also for his good companionship in
drinking, Demosthenes could not refrain from cavilling at these
praises; the first, he said, was a quality which might well enough
become a rhetorician, the second a woman, and the last was only
the property of a sponge; no one of them was the proper
commendation of a prince.

Not long after, he undertook an embassy through the States of
Greece, which he solicited and so far incensed against Philip,
that a few only excepted, he brought them all into a general
league. So that, besides the forces composed of the citizens
themselves, there was an army consisting of fifteen

thousand foot and two thousand horse, and the money to pay these
strangers was levied and brought in with great cheerfulness. On
which occasion it was, says Theophrastus, on the allies requesting
that their contributions for the war might be ascertained and
stated, Crobylus, the orator, made use of the saying, "War can't
be fed at so much a day." Now was all Greece up in arms, and in
great expectation what would be the event. The Euboeans, the
Achaeans, the Corinthians, the Megarians, the Leucadians, and
Corcyraeans, their people and their cities, were all joined
together in a league. But the hardest task was yet behind, left
for Demosthenes, to draw the Thebans into this confederacy with
the rest. Their country bordered next upon Attica, they had great
forces for the war, and at that time they were accounted the best
soldiers of all Greece, but it was no easy matter to make them
break with Philip, who by many good offices, had so lately obliged
them in the Phocian war; especially considering how the subjects
of dispute and variance between the two cities were continually
renewed and exasperated by petty quarrels, arising out of the
proximity of their frontiers.

But after Philip, puffed up with his good success at Amphissa, on
a sudden surprised Elatea and possessed himself of Phocis, the
Athenians were in a great consternation, none durst venture to
rise up to speak, all were at a loss, and the whole assembly was
in silence and perplexity. In this extremity of affairs,
Demosthenes was the only man who appeared, his counsel to them
being alliance with the Thebans. And having in other ways
encouraged the people, and, as his manner was, raised their
spirits up with hopes, he, with some others was sent ambassador to
Thebes. To oppose him, as Marsyas says, Philip also sent thither
his envoys. Now the Thebans, in their consultations, were well
enough aware what suited best with their own interest, but every
one had before his eye the terrors of war, and their losses in the
Phocian troubles were still recent: but such was the force and
power of the orator, fanning up their courage, and firing their
emulation, that, casting away every thought of prudence, fear, or
obligation, in a sort of divine possession, they chose the path of
honor, to which his words invited them. And this success, thus
accomplished by an orator, was thought to be so glorious and of
such consequence, that Philip immediately sent heralds to treat
and petition for a peace: all Greece was aroused, and up in arms
to help. And the commanders-in-chief, not only of Attica, but of
Boeotia, applied themselves to Demosthenes, and observed his
directions. He managed all the assemblies of the Thebans, no less
than those of the Athenians; he was beloved both by the one and by
the other, and exercised the same supreme authority with both; and
that not by unfair means, or without just cause, but it was no
more than was due to his merit.

But there was, it should seem, some divinely-ordered fortune,
commissioned, in the revolution of things, to put a period at this
time to the liberty of Greece, which opposed and thwarted all
their actions, and by many signs foretold what should happen. Such
were the sad predictions uttered by the Pythian priestess, and
this old oracle cited out of the Sibyl's verses:

The battle on Thermodon that shall be
Safe at a distance I desire to see,
Far, like an eagle, watching in the air.
Conquered shall weep, and conqueror perish there.

This Thermodon, they say, is a little rivulet here in our country
in Chaeronea, running into the Cephisus. But we know of none that
is so called at the present time; and can only conjecture that the
streamlet which is now called Haemon, and runs by the Temple of
Hercules, where the Greeks were encamped, might perhaps in those
days be called Thermodon.

But of Demosthenes it is said, that he had such great confidence
in the Greek forces, and was so excited by the sight of the
courage and resolution of so many brave men ready to engage the
enemy, that he would by no means endure they should give any heed
to oracles, or hearken to prophecies, but gave out that he
suspected even the prophetess herself, as if she had been tampered
with to speak in favor of Philip. He put the Thebans in mind of
Epaminondas, the Athenians of Pericles, who always took their own
measures and governed their actions by reason, looking upon things
of this kind as mere pretexts for cowardice. Thus far, therefore,
Demosthenes acquitted himself like a brave man. But in the fight
he did nothing honorable, nor was his performance answerable to
his speeches. For he fled, deserting his place disgracefully, and
throwing away his arms, not ashamed, as Pytheas observed, to belie
the inscription written on his shield, in letters of gold, "With
good fortune."

In the meantime Philip, in the first moment of victory, was so
transported with joy, that he grew extravagant, and going out,
after he had drunk largely, to visit the dead bodies, he chanted
the first words of the decree that had been passed on the motion
of Demosthenes,

The motion of Demosthenes, Demosthenes's son,

dividing it metrically into feet, and marking the beats.

But when he came to himself, and had well considered the danger he
was lately under, he could not forbear from shuddering at the
wonderful ability and power of an orator who had made him hazard
his life and empire on the issue of a few brief hours. The fame of
it also reached even to the court of Persia, and the king sent
letters to his lieutenants, commanding them to supply Demosthenes
with money, and to pay every attention to him, as the only man of
all the Greeks who was able to give Philip occupation and find
employment for his forces near home, in the troubles of Greece.

At this time, however, upon the ill success which now happened to
the Greeks, those of the contrary faction in the commonwealth
turned upon Demosthenes, and took the opportunity to frame several
informations and indictments against him. But the people not only
acquitted him of these accusations, but continued towards him
their former respect, and when the bones of those who had been
slain at Chaeronea were brought home to be solemnly interred,
Demosthenes was the man they chose to make the funeral oration.
The speech, therefore, was spoken by Demosthenes. But the
subsequent decrees he would not allow to be passed in his own
name, but made use of those of his friends, one after another,
looking upon his own as unfortunate and inauspicious; till at
length he took courage again after the death of Philip, who did
not long outlive his victory at Chaeronea. And this, it seems, was
that which was foretold in the last verse of the oracle,

Conquered shall weep, and conqueror perish there.

Demosthenes had secret intelligence of the death of Philip, and
laying hold of this opportunity to prepossess the people with
courage and better hopes for the future, he came into the assembly
with a cheerful countenance, pretending to have had a dream that
presaged some great good fortune for Athens; and, not long after,
arrived the messengers who brought the news of Philip's death. No
sooner had the people received it, but immediately they offered
sacrifice to the gods, and decreed that Pausanias should be
presented with a crown. Demosthenes appeared publicly in a rich
dress, with a chaplet on his head, though it were but the seventh
day since the death of his daughter, as is said by Aeschines, who
upbraids him upon this account, and rails at him as one void of
natural affection towards his children. Whereas, Aeschines rather
betrays himself to be of a poor spirit, if he really means to make
wailings and lamentation the only signs of a gentle and
affectionate nature. I must commend the behavior of Demosthenes,
who leaving tears and lamentations and domestic sorrows to the
women, made it his business to attend to the interests of the

But now to return to my narrative. The cities of Greece were
inspirited once more by the efforts of Demosthenes to form a
league together. The Thebans, whom he had provided with arms, set
upon their garrison, and slew many of them; the Athenians made
preparations to join their forces with them; Demosthenes ruled
supreme in the popular assembly, and wrote letters to the Persian
officers who commanded under the king in Asia, inciting them to
make war upon the Macedonian, calling him child and simpleton. But
as soon as Alexander had settled matters in his own country, and
come in person with his army into Boeotia, down fell the courage
of the Athenians, and Demosthenes was hushed; the Thebans,
deserted by them, fought by themselves, and lost their city. After
which, the people of Athens, all in distress and great perplexity,
resolved to send ambassadors to Alexander, and amongst others,
made choice of Demosthenes for one; but his heart failing him for
fear of the king's anger, he returned back from Cithaeron, and
left the embassy. In the mean time, Alexander sent to Athens,
requiring eight of the orators to be delivered up to him,--
Demosthenes, Polyeuctus, Ephialtes, Lycurgus, Moerocles, Demon,
Callisthenes, and Charidemus. It was upon this occasion that
Demosthenes related to them the fable in which the sheep are said
to deliver up their dogs to the wolves; himself and those who with
him contended for the people's safety, being, in his comparison,
the dogs that defended the flock, and Alexander "the Macedonian
arch wolf." He further told them, "As we see corn-dealers sell
their whole stock by a few grains of wheat which they carry about
with them in a dish, as a sample of the rest, so you, by
delivering up us, who are but a few, do at the same time unawares
surrender up yourselves all together with us." The Athenians were
deliberating, and at a loss what to do, when Demades, having
agreed with the persons whom Alexander had demanded, for five
talents, undertook to go ambassador, and to intercede with the
king for them; and, whether it was that he relied on his
friendship and kindness, or that he hoped to find him satiated, as
a lion glutted with slaughter, he certainly went, and prevailed
with him both to pardon the men, and to be reconciled to the city.

So he and his friends, when Alexander went away, were great men,
and Demosthenes was quite put aside. Yet when Agis, the Spartan,
made his insurrection, he also for a short time attempted a
movement in his favor; but he soon shrunk back again, as the
Athenians would not take any part in it, and, Agis being slain,
the Lacedaemonians were vanquished. During this time it was that
the indictment against Ctesiphon, concerning the Crown, was
brought to trial. The action was commenced a little before the
battle in Chaeronea, when Chaerondas was archon, but it was not
proceeded with till about ten years after, Aristophon being then
archon. Never was any public cause more celebrated than this,
alike for the fame of the orators, and for the generous courage of
the judges, who, though at that time the accusers of Demosthenes,
were in the height of power, and supported by all the favor of the
Macedonians, yet would not give judgment against him, but
acquitted him so honorably, that Aeschines did not obtain the
fifth part of their suffrages on his side, so that, immediately
after, he left the city, and spent the rest of his life in
teaching rhetoric about the island of Rhodes, and upon the
continent in Ionia.

It was not long after that Harpalus fled from Alexander, and came
to Athens out of Asia; knowing himself guilty of many misdeeds
into which his love of luxury had led him, and fearing the king,
who was now grown terrible even to his best friends. Yet this man
had no sooner addressed himself to the people, and delivered up
his goods, his ships, and himself to their disposal, but the other
orators of the town had their eyes quickly fixed upon his money,
and came in to his assistance, persuading the Athenians to receive
and protect their suppliant. Demosthenes at first gave advice to
chase him out of the country, and to beware lest they involved
their city in a war upon an unnecessary and unjust occasion. But
some few days after, as they were taking an account of the
treasure, Harpalus, perceiving how much he was pleased with a cup
of Persian manufacture, and how curiously he surveyed the
sculpture and fashion of it, desired him to poise it in his hand,
and consider the weight of the gold. Demosthenes, being amazed to
feel how heavy it was asked him what weight it came to. "To you,"
said Harpalus, smiling, "it shall come with twenty talents." And
presently after, when night drew on, he sent him the cup with so
many talents. Harpalus, it seems, was a person of singular skill
to discern a man's covetousness by the air of his countenance, and
the look and movement of his eyes. For Demosthenes could not
resist the temptation, but admitting the present, like an armed
garrison, into the citadel of his house, he surrendered himself up
to the interest of Harpalus. The next day he came into the
assembly with his neck swathed about with wool and rollers, and
when they called on him to rise up and speak, he made signs as if
he had lost his voice. But the wits, turning the matter to
ridicule, said that certainly the orator had been seized that
night with no other than a silver quinsy. And soon after, the
people, becoming aware of the bribery, grew angry, and would not
suffer him to speak, or make any apology for himself, but ran him
down with noise; and one man stood up and cried out, "What, ye men
of Athens, will you not hear the cup-bearer?" So at length they
banished Harpalus out of the city; and fearing lest they should be
called to account for the treasures which the orators had
purloined, they made a strict inquiry, going from house to house.

Demosthenes resisted the inquisition, and proposed a decree to
refer the business to the court of Areopagus, and to punish those
whom that court should find guilty. But being himself one of the
first whom the court condemned, when he came to the bar, he was
fined fifty talents, and committed to prison; where, out of shame
of the crime for which he was condemned, and through the weakness
of his body, growing incapable of supporting the confinement, he
made his escape, by the carelessness of some and by the connivance
of others of the citizens. He did not show much fortitude in his
banishment, spending his time for the most part in Aegina and
Troezen, and, with tears in his eyes, looking towards the country
of Attica. The young men that came to visit and converse with him,
he deterred from meddling with state affairs, telling them, that
if at first two ways had been proposed to him, the one leading to
the speaker's stand and the assembly, the other going direct to
destruction, and he could have foreseen the many evils which
attend those who deal in public business, such as fears, envies,
calumnies, and contentions, he would certainly have taken that
which led straight on to his death.

But now happened the death of Alexander, while Demosthenes was in
this banishment which we have been speaking of. And the Greeks
were once again up in arms, encouraged by the brave attempts of
Leosthenes, who was then drawing a circumvallation about
Antipater, whom he held close besieged in Lamia. Pytheas,
therefore, the orator, and Callimedon, called the Crab, fled from
Athens, and taking sides with Antipater, went about with his
friends and ambassadors to keep the Greeks from revolting and
taking part with the Athenians. But, on the other side,
Demosthenes, associating himself with the ambassadors that came
from Athens, used his utmost endeavors and gave them his best
assistance in persuading the cities to fall unanimously upon the
Macedonians, and to drive them out of Greece. With this conduct
the people of Athens were so well pleased, that they decreed the
recall of Demosthenes from banishment. The decree was brought in
by Demon the Paeanian, cousin to Demosthenes. So they sent him a
ship to Aegina, and he landed at the port of Piraeus, where he was
met and joyfully received by all the citizens, not so much as an
Archon or a priest staying behind. And Demetrius, the Magnesian,
says, that he lifted up his hands towards heaven, and blessed this
day of his happy return, as far more honorable than that of
Alcibiades; since he was recalled by his countrymen, not through
any force or constraint put upon them, but by their own good-will
and free inclinations. There remained only his pecuniary fine,
which, according to law, could not be remitted by the people. But
they found out a way to elude the law. It was a custom with them
to allow a certain quantity of silver to those who were to furnish
and adorn the altar for the sacrifice of Jupiter Soter. This
office, for that turn, they bestowed on Demosthenes, and for the
performance of it ordered him fifty talents, the very sum in which
he was condemned.

Yet it was no long time that he enjoyed his country after his
return, the attempts of the Greeks being soon all utterly
defeated. And in the month of Pyanepsion following Demosthenes
died after this manner.

Upon the report that Antipater was coming to Athens, Demosthenes
with his party took their opportunity to escape privily out of the
city; but sentence of death was, upon the motion of Demades,
passed upon them by the people. They dispersed themselves, flying
some to one place, some to another; and Antipater sent about his
soldiers into all quarters to apprehend them. Archias, formerly an
actor, was their captain, and was thence called the exile-hunter.
This Archias finding Hyperides the orator, Aristonicus and
Himeraeus in Aegina, took them by force out of the temple of
Aeacus, whither they had fled for safety, and sent them to
Antipater, and put them all to death; and Hyperides, they say, had
his tongue cut out.

Demosthenes, he heard, had taken sanctuary at the temple of
Neptune at Calauria, and, crossing over thither in some light
vessels, as soon as he had landed himself, and the Thracian spear-
men that came with him, he endeavored to persuade Demosthenes to
accompany him to Antipater, as if he should meet with no hard
usage from him. But Demosthenes, in his sleep the night before,
had a strange dream. It seemed to him that he was acting a
tragedy, and contended with Archias for the victory; and though he
acquitted himself well, and gave good satisfaction to the
spectators, yet for want of better furniture and provision for the
stage, he lost the day. And so, while Archias was discoursing to
him with many expressions of kindness, he sat still in the same
posture, and looking up steadfastly upon him, said: "O Archias, I
am as little affected by your promises now as I used formerly to
be by your acting." Archias at this beginning to grow angry and to
threaten him, "Now," said Demosthenes, "you speak like the genuine
Macedonian oracle; before you were but acting a part. Therefore
forebear only a little, while I write a word or two home to my
family." Having thus spoken, he withdrew into the temple, and
taking a scroll, as if he meant to write, he put the reed into his
mouth, and biting it, as he was wont to do when he was thoughtful
or writing, he held it there for some time. Then he bowed down his
head and covered it. The soldiers that stood at the door,
supposing all this to proceed from want of courage and fear of
death, in derision called him effeminate, and faint-hearted, and
coward. And Archias, drawing near, desired him to rise up, and
repeating the same kind things he had spoken before, he once more
promised him to make his peace with Antipater. But Demosthenes,
perceiving that now the poison had pierced and seized his vitals,
uncovered his head, and fixing his eyes upon Archias, "Now," said
he, "as soon as you please you may commence the part of Creon in
the tragedy, and cast out this body of mine unburied. But, O
gracious Neptune, I, for my part, while I am yet alive, arise up
and depart out of this sacred place; though Antipater and the
Macedonians have not left so much as thy temple unpolluted." After
he had thus spoken and desired to be held up, because already he
began to tremble and stagger, as he was going forward, and passing
by the altar, he fell down, and with a groan gave up the ghost.

Ariston says that he took the poison out of a reed, as we have
shown before. And Eratosthenes also says that he kept the poison
in a hollow ring, which he wore about his arm. There are various
other statements made by the many authors who have related the
story, but there is no need to enter into their discrepancies; yet
I must not omit what is said by Demochares, the relation of
Demosthenes, who is of opinion, it was not by the help of poison
that he met with no sudden and so easy a death, but that by the
singular favor and providence of the gods he was thus rescued from
the cruelty of the Macedonians. He died on the sixteenth of
Pyanepsion, the most sad and solemn day of the Thesmophoria, which
the women observe by fasting in the temple of the goddess.

Soon after his death, the people of Athens bestowed on him such
honors as he had deserved. They erected his statue of brass; they
decreed that the eldest of his family should be maintained in the
Prytaneum; and on the base of his statue was engraven the famous

Had you for Greece been strong, as wise you were,
The Macedonian had not conquered her.

A little before we went to Athens, the following incident was said
to have happened. A soldier, being summoned to appear before his
superior officer, and answer to an accusation brought against him,
put a little gold which he had into the hands of Demosthenes's
statue. The fingers of this statue were folded one within another,
and near it grew a small plane-tree, from which many leaves,
either accidentally blown thither by the wind, or placed so on
purpose by the man himself, falling together, and lying round
about the gold, concealed it for a long time. In the end, the
soldier returned, and found his treasure entire, and the fame of
this incident was spread abroad. And many ingenious persons of the
city competed with each other, on this occasion, to vindicate the


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