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Sect. 1. The Position of Sparta and Career of Pausanias

The Persian war, in its effects on Greece, illustrates the operation of a general law which governs human societies. Pressure from without, whether on a nation or a race, tends to promote unity and cohesion within. In the case of a nation the danger of foreign attack increases the sense of unity among individual citizens and strengthens the central power. In the case of a race, it tends to weld the individual communities into a nation or a federation. In the latter case, the chance of realising a complete or permanent unity depends partly on the strength and the duration of the external pressure, partly upon the degree of strength in the instinct for independence which has hitherto hindered the political atoms from cohesion. The Persian danger produced a marked tendency towards unity, but the pressure was acute only for a few years, and lasted in any form only for a few decades; and therefore that tendency was arrested, and the instinct for independence resumed its uncontested sway, before any scheme of Panhellenic federal government had become necessary. On the coast of Asia, where the danger was permanent, an union came into existence.

Now on these principles a philosopher might have predicted that an Hellenic union, whether whole or partial, whether of short or of long duration, would follow the repulse of the Persians; he might have predicted that such a great joint effort would react upon the domestic development of the victorious peoples. But no one could have foreseen what shape the union would take or how the reaction would be directed. The course of Grecian affairs entered upon a new and unexpected way. For the last forty years, Sparta had been the predominant power in continental Greece. She had become the head of a Peloponnesian League, and had intervened with effect in Greek affairs beyond the limits of the Peloponnesus. Her headship in the common resistance to Persia was recognised without murmur or dispute by the allies of northern Greece; in fact, her peninsular league may be said to have widened into the Panhellenic confederacy of the Isthmus. Her admirals had been commanders-in-chief at Salamis and at Mycale; and, if it were said that those naval victories could not be ascribed to Lacedaemonian skill or enterprise, Sparta could point to Thermopylae where her king had been gloriously defeated, to Cithaeron where her general and her spearsmen had won what was after all the decisive contest of the war. A political prophet would therefore have been tempted to predict that Sparta, universally acknowledged before the war to be the leading state of Greece, would after the war be able to convert leadership into dominion. A great national enterprise, conducted under her auspices to a splendid conclusion, must immensely increase the moral strength of her position, and might justly stimulate her ambition; moral power, by dexterous management, can soon be converted into material strength; in short, after the battle of Plataea, the Greek world seemed to lie at Sparta’s feet. If such calculations were made, they were doomed to disappointment. Lacedaemon had not the means, and the Lacedaemonian government had not the brains or the spirit to create the means, of carrying out an effective imperial policy.

For a state which aspired to a truly imperial position in Greece must inevitably be a sea-power. This was determined by the geographical and commercial conditions of the Greek world. So long as the Asiatic Greeks belonged to the Persian dominion, so long as the eastern waters of the Aegean were regarded as a Persian sea, Sparta might indeed hold a dominant position in a Hellas thus restricted. But when the world of free Hellenic states once more extended over the Aegean to the skirts of Asia and to Thrace, Sparta unless she became a sea-power could not extend her influence over this larger sea-bound Greece. She might retain her continental position, but her prestige must ultimately be eclipsed and her power menaced by any city which won imperial authority over the islands and coasts of the Aegean. This was what happened.

The Spartans were a people unable to adapt themselves to new conditions. Their city, their constitution, their spirit were survivals from mediaeval Greece. The government was conservative by tradition; reforms were unwelcome; a man of exceptional ability was regarded with suspicion. They continued to drill their hoplites in the fifth century as they had done in the sixth; the formation of a navy would have seemed to them as unpractical an idea as an expedition against the capital of Persia. And if we follow their conduct of the recent war, we see that their policy was petty and provincial. They had generally acted at the last moment; they had never shown the power of initiation; their view was so limited by the smaller interests of the Peloponnesus that again and again they almost betrayed the national cause. Failing to share in the progress of Greece, utterly wanting in the imperial instinct and the quality of imagination which accompanies it, the city of Lacedaemon was not marked out to achieve a political union of the Hellenic states. She was, however, able to prevent a rival from achieving it; but not before that rival had completely thrown her into the shade.

Unfortunately the events of the years succeeding the battle of Plataea are but very slightly known. Herodotus, who, about half a century later, completed the story, compact of fiction and history, of the Persian war, ends his work at the capture of Sestos. In the meantime the events of that full and momentous half-century had not been recorded, except by bits and scraps; the dates became confused, the details were forgotten; and, when Thucydides, some years after Herodotus, came to investigate the history of this period, the result of his research was a meagre narrative, in a very uncertain chronological setting. The growth of the Athenian empire is the central fact of the period; but before tracing it, we must pause—it will not be for long—over the misfortunes of Sparta.

Pausanias, the son of Cleombrotus, had shown, it must be allowed, remarkable military ability in conducting the campaign of Plataea. But his talents as a politician were not equal to his talents as a general. Leaping into fame by his victory, he was led into attempting to play a part for which he was too slight a man. (478-477-B.C.) Sparta sent him out, in command of a squadron of ships supplied by her allies, to continue the work of emancipating the eastern Greeks. He sailed first to Cyprus and was successful in delivering the greater part of the island from Persian rule. He then proceeded to Byzantium and expelled the Persian garrison. But here his conduct became ambiguous; he began to play a game of his own. He connived at the escape of some kinsmen of Xerxes who were in the city; and he committed various acts of insolence and oppression to the Greeks. He behaved more as a tyrant than as a general; and he completely ruined all chances that his country had of remaining at the head of the confederacy which the Persian invasion had called into being. The eastern Greeks placed themselves under the protection and headship of Athens. This step was inevitable; the maritime power of Athens marked her out to be leader in the prosecution of the war beyond the sea. But the conduct of Pausanias at Byzantium may well have been the occasion of the formal transference of the leadership of the confederacy from Sparta to Athens. At Sparta itself the reports of the doings of the general aroused alarm and anxiety. He was recalled to answer the charges. It was said that he wore Persian dress, and was attended by an Asiatic bodyguard in his journey through Thrace. For he had indeed been intriguing with the Persian court. The victor of Plataea offered to enslave his own city and the rest of Hellas to Xerxes, and to seal the compact by marrying his daughter. His overtures were welcomed by the Great King; and Pausanias, being a small man and elated by vanity, was unable to refrain from betraying, in little things, his treacherous designs. The Persian intrigue, however, could not at this time be proved against him; he was punished only for some acts of injury which he had done to particular persons. He was not sent out again; but he subsequently hired a trireme for himself and returned to the scene of his former intrigues. He resumed possession of Byzantium and thus controlled the inner gate of the Euxine; and he succeeded almost immediately in capturing Sestos, which gave him control of the outer gate also. This was too much for the Athenians who were extending their political and commercial interests in those regions, and they sent out a squadron under Cimon, the son of Miltiades, who recovered Sestos and drove Pausanias out of Byzantium. The Spartan government, hearing that he was intriguing in the Troad, sent a herald commanding him to return home. He obeyed the summons, believing that he could compass an acquittal by bribes; but it seems that he was already devising a daring and dangerous plan against the constitution of his own city. The Ephors threw him into prison; but it was difficult to procure evidence of his guilt. He was released and challenged inquiry. Everybody knew that he had not only negotiated with Persia but that he had prepared the way for a revolt of the Helots by promising them emancipation. He dreamed of converting the Spartan state into a true monarchy. But there were not clear enough proofs to act upon, until a confidential servant turned informer. Pausanias had entrusted him with a letter to Artabazus, but the man, who had noticed that none of the messengers who had been previously dispatched on the same errand, ever returned, broke the seal and read in the letter the order for his own death. He showed the letter to the Ephors, and they, wishing to have proof against Pausanias from his own mouth, contrived a stratagem. A hut with a partition was erected at the sanctuary of Taenarus. They concealed themselves in one room and the man remained in the other as a suppliant. Pausanias came to discover why he was there; the man told him of the letter and reproached him. In the conversation, Pausanias admitted the whole truth. But he received a hint of his danger and fled to the temple of Athena of the Brazen House. He took refuge in a small covered building adjoining the shrine. The Ephors had the doors built up and starved him to death. As he was dying they brought him out, and by the command of the Delphic god he was buried at the entrance to the sacred enclosure. But the starvation within the precincts was an offence against the goddess and brought a curse upon the Spartans. To expiate this they dedicated two brazen statues to Athena of the Brazen House.

Though the adventures of Pausanias are of no great consequence, his career is typical of the Spartan abroad; and it throws some light on years of which we know very little. The Spartan government had sent out another general to replace Pausanias in the Hellespont, but the allies would have no more dealings with Spartan generals; and Sparta made no further attempt to win back the allegiance which the Aegean and Asiatic Greeks had transferred to Athens. On the other hand, she made some attempts at extending her power on the mainland and forming a continental federation. She cast her eyes upon Thessaly, and perhaps hoped that if she brought the far north under her sway, she could extend her influence southward to the Crisaean gulf and form a Lacedaemonian empire on the basis of the Amphictionic league of northern Greece. She sent forth an army under king Leotychidas, who landed in the Pagasaean bay, and showed that he could have easily subjugated the Thessalian states. But like many a Spartan general, he could not resist silver and gold; and the Aleuad princes saved their power by bribing the invader. His guilt was evident, and when he returned home he was condemned to death. He saved himself by fleeing to Tegea, where Athena’s sanctuary was ever the refuge of a Spartan king in the day of danger. It is possible that Sparta gained some influence in Thessaly by this enterprise, in which she employed the Peloponnesian fleet; but she made no conquest. Nor did her attempt to reorganise the Amphictionic federation prosper better. She proposed to expel from this league all those states which had joined the Mede—this was joined the federation against the Mede—this was aimed at Argos. But through the influence of Themistocles, who represented Athens, the proposal was thrown out. The activity of Themistocles in defeating the designs of Sparta at this period is reflected in the story that he induced the Athenians to set fire to the Peloponnesian fleet in Thessalian waters.

Sparta was unable to prosecute any further plans of empire beyond her own peninsula; she was soon compelled to fight for her position within the Peloponnesus itself. Argos had now recovered somewhat from the annihilating blow which had been dealt her by king Cleomenes, and was entering upon a new constitutional development which was ultimately to shape itself into a democracy. Most of the small towns, which had taken advantage of the prostration of their mistress to throw off her yoke, such as Hysiae and Orneae, were brought back to their allegiance. It might have been harder s to cast out the slave lords of Tiryns from their Cyclopean fortress; but a prophet from Phigalia came and stirred them up against Argos; they took the offensive, endured a defeat, and Tiryns was recovered. Thus re-arising, Argos was able to support the Arcadian cities in a combination against the power of Sparta. She entered into alliance with Tegea, but outside the walls of that city the joint forces of the two allies were smitten by the hoplites of Lacedaemon. Yet the city was not taken, and the epitaph of the fallen warriors told how “their bravery hindered the smoke of blazing Tegea from mounting to the sky.” Soon after this we find all the Arcadian cities leagued against Sparta,—all except the Mantineans who were never ready to join hands with their Tegeate neighbours. This time Argos sent no help. The Arcadian league sustained a crushing defeat at Dipaea, and Tegea was forced to submit. Thus, through the energy of the young king Archidamus, Sparta maintained her position, but there were grave causes for anxiety in the future. She had to behold the synoecism of the villages of Elis into a city with a democratic constitution; that was a danger m the west. Regenerate Argos was a danger in the east. And even in Arcadia, Sparta was constrained reluctantly to recognise the new synoecism of the Mantinean villages, as a mark of gratitude to the community for holding aloof from the Arcadian league.

Thus it was not given to Sparta to strike out a new path; the Persian war left her much where she was before. She had, if anything, diminished rather than increased her prestige, and she had shown the world that she was destined to remain in the old Peloponnesian groove. In the meantime another city had been advancing with rapid strides along a new path, compassing large enterprises, and establishing a large empire.


Sect. 2. The Confederacy of Delos

The lukewarmness of Sparta, exhibited in her failure to follow up the battle of Mycale, had induced the Ionian and other Asiatic Greeks to place themselves under the leadership of Athens. Thus was formed the voluntary confederacy on which an Athenian empire was to rise. The object was not only to protect the rescued cities from reconquest by the barbarian, but also to devastate the country of the Great King, in order to obtain by rapine a set-off against the expenses and losses of the war. The treasury of the league was established in the sacred island of Delos, the ancient centre of Ionian worship, and it was hence called the Confederacy of Delos. The capture of Sestos was its first achievement.

The league included the Ionian and Aeolian cities of Asia; the islands adjacent to the coast from Lesbos to Rhodes; a large number of towns on the Propontis, and some in Thrace; most of the Cyclades; and Euboea except its southern city Carystus. It was a league of sea-states, and therefore the basis of the contract was that each state should furnish ships to the common fleet But most of the members were small and poor; many could not equip more than one or two ships; many could do no more than contribute a part of the expense to the furnishing of a single galley. To gather together a number of small and scattered contingents at a fixed time and place was always a matter of difficulty; nor was such a miscellaneous armament easily managed. It was therefore arranged that the smaller states, instead of furnishing ships, should pay a yearly sum of money to a common treasury. It is uncertain how the amount of these payments was fixed. It seems probable that a calculation was made that all the states, which undertook to pay in money, ought to have been able to contribute between them 100 ships; and that the annual sum of 460 talents was taken as the equivalent of this contribution. Then a careful estimate was made of the resources and capacities of each city; and that sum was proportionally distributed among them. The valuation of the wealth of the confederate cities and the determination of the “contribution” of each was a work of great difficulty and responsibility; and it was devolved upon Aristides, whose discretion, and the respect in which he was held, fitted him eminently for the task. His valuation remained in force for more than fifty years. Thus from the very beginning the Confederacy consisted of two kinds of members, those who furnished ships and those who paid an equivalent in money—a phoros, as it was called; and the second class was far the larger. For besides those who could only furnish a ship or two, or even part of a ship, many of the larger cities preferred the system of money payments, which did not oblige their burghers to leave home. The tribute was collected by ten Athenian officers, who bore the title of Hellenotamiae, “treasurers of the Greeks.” The Council of the Confederates met at Delos, where the treasury was, and each member had an equal voice. The large number of votes enabled Athens easily to control the proceedings of the Council; she could influence the smaller states, and the number of these votes overcame the weight of any opposition which the larger states could offer. As leader of the Confederacy, Athens had the executive entirely in her hands, and it was of the highest significance that the treasurers were not selected from the whole body of Confederates but were Athenian citizens. Thus from the first Athens held in her hands the means of gradually, and without any violent revolution, transforming the naval union into a naval empire.

While the name of Aristides is connected most closely with the foundation of the Confederacy, there is no doubt that it was due to his rival Themistocles that Athens took the tide of fortune at the flood. Themistocles had made his city a sea-power; and this feat approved him the greatest of all her statesmen. He was a man of genius. The most reserved of all historians, Thucydides, turns aside to praise his unusual natural gifts  his power of divining what was likely to happen, and his capacity for dealing with difficult situations. We should have expected that the guidance of the policy of Athens, the organisation of the new Confederacy, would have been entirely entrusted to Themistocles. Half a century later, when the democratic development of Athens had advanced farther, this would probably to have been the case. But at this time a man without powerful connexions could not long maintain his influence over the people. Themistocles had no party behind him, and the exceptional ability of the man is shown by nothing so much as by the fact that in spite of this disadvantage he played such a great part. His rivals, Aristides and Xanthippus, were representative of the old and considerable party of the Coast, which was associated with the family of Megacles and Cleisthenes, to which the wife of Xanthippus belonged. They are the leaders at Plataea and Mycale; the name of Themistocles does not appear in the second year of the Persian war. The circumstance that Themistocles was not a party leader, that there was no protracted period during which Athens submitted to his influence, might easily lead us to underrate his importance. Though he was not formally or officially the founder of the Confederacy, yet, when Athens undertook the leadership and entered upon the new paths which then opened out before her, she was under the spell of a spirit of which he had been the clearest and earliest interpreter. But his influence had not yet passed away; and, while the fleet was building an empire in the east, there was work for him to do amid the ruins of Athens.


Sect. 3. The Fortification of Athens and the Piraeus

Themistocles, as we saw, made Athens a sea-power. Under his guidance she threw her chief energy into the development of a navy; but, if she had followed that guidance more fully, she would have now cut herself more boldly adrift from the ties which attached her to the continent. It often occurred to the Athenians to regret that Athens was not an island; “if we were islanders,” they thought, “we could defy the world.” There would always be the Boeotian and the Megarian frontiers. But, if a series of strong fortresses had been regularly maintained on these frontiers, and if Athenian politicians had resolutely eschewed a continental policy, it might have been possible to spend practically all their strength on their ships. In any case, when Athens decided to enter upon a new career, her true policy would have been to come down to the Piraeus. She should have left her old city round the Acropolis and migrated to the shore of the sea which was henceforward to shape her history. The position of the Acropolis was a fatality for Athens; it was too far from the sea and at the same time too near. If it had been as far from the coast as Acharnae, the citizens would almost certainly at this period have transferred their hearths and temples to the hill of Munychia and the shores of the Piraeus. But it was near enough to admit of tolerably quick communication with the harbour; and this geographical circumstance at once saved the old town and weakened the new city. Expediency will induce a monarch, but nothing except necessity will persuade a free people, to take the momentous resolution of leaving the spot where the homes and temples of the community have stood for centuries—the place associated with their dearest memories, their hopes and their fears.

Had Themistocles been a tyrant, we may venture to suppose that he would have left Athens unfortified, built his palace on Munychia, and made Piraeus the centre of government—the city; so that in a few years the old town would have sunk into decay. But since Athens was to remain as before, notwithstanding the new development, and since this new development made the Piraeus of greater strategic importance, it became necessary to fortify and defend two towns within five miles’ distance of each other.

After Plataea, the Athenians brought back their families and goods to their desolate habitation. Little of the old town wall was still standing, and they proceeded to build a new wall. The work was done in haste; the material of older buildings and even grave­stones were used. The traces of haste can be detected in some of the remains of this wall of Themistocles, near the Dipylon Gate in the north-west of the city. For it was by the advice and under the inspiration of Themistocles that the work was wrought. It embraced a larger circuit than the old enclosure which Pisistratus had destroyed; on the south side it followed the heights of the Pnyx group of hills, and approached the Ilisus. The Peloponnesians looked with jealousy at the rise of the Athenian walls. The activity of Athens in the Persian war and her strong navy made them suspect her ambitions. But they could not prevent her from strengthening her town. The Lacedaemonians sent an embassy, to deprecate fortifications, and to invite the Athenians instead of fortifying their own town to join Sparta in demolishing all fortifications in Greece. But they were not in a position to do more than remonstrate. As the name of Themistocles was associated with the wall, it was inevitable that an anecdote should be circulated, to illustrate the resources and wiles of the Attic Odysseus. At his suggestion, the Spartan envoys were sent back with the answer that the Athenians would send an embassy. When they were gone, he started himself, as one of the ambassadors, but his colleagues were to remain behind till the wall had reached the lowest defensible height. In the meantime, the whole population, men, women, and children, were to press on the work. Having arrived at Sparta, he delayed presenting himself before the assembly, and when he was asked why, he said that his colleagues had been detained and that he expected them every day. Meanwhile persons arriving from Athens assured the Spartans that the wall was being built. Themistocles asked them not to be deceived by such rumours, but to send men of their own to discover whether it was true. At the same time he sent a message to Athens, with instructions that the envoys from Sparta should be detained till he and his colleagues had returned. The wall had now reached a sufficient height; and, the other ambassadors having arrived, Themistocles appeared before the assembly, and declared that Athens had walls and could defend her people. In future, he said, if the Lacedaemonians or their allies have any communication to make, they must deal with us as with men who are capable of deciding their own and Greece’s interests. The Lacedaemonians had to put as good a face on the matter as they could. The story has significance in representing Athens as now formally declaring herself the peer of Sparta.

The fortification of Piraeus was likewise taken in hand. A thick wall was built all round the Munychian peninsula, keeping close to the sea, and was continued along the north side of the harbour of Cantharus,—or the Harbour, as it was simply called,— and out to the promontory of Eetionea. The entrances to this chief Harbour and to the two small havens of Munychia and Zea on the east side of the peninsula were fortified by moles.

In the course of the next twenty years the Athenians came to see the disadvantage of the two towns, which ought to have been one. It was borne in upon their statesmen that in the case of an enemy invading Attica with a powerful army, the communications between Athens and the Piraeus might be completely severed, and the folk of the city be cut off from their ships. In order to meet this danger— which would have been most simply met by deserting Athens—a new device was imagined. It was resolved to transform the two towns into a double town, girt by a continuous line of fortification. Two diverging walls were built, to connect Athens with the sea. The northern joined the Piraeus wall, near the Harbour, the southern ran down to the roadstead of Phaleron. By these Long Walls, costly to build and costly to defend, Athens sought to rectify a mistake and adapt her topography to her role of mistress of the sea.

But though this device of Athens to conciliate her past history with her future seems clumsy enough, it answered its purpose fairly well. Her naval power was based upon the only sure foundation, a growing naval commerce. This, in its turn, depended upon the increase of Attic industries, which may be estimated by the enormous number of resident aliens or metics, who settled in Athens or Piraeus for the purpose of manufacture and trade. These metics, who seem to have ultimately approached the number of 10,000, were liable to the same ordinary burdens as the citizens, and, when a property-tax was imposed in time of war, they were taxed at a higher rate. We may well believe that Themistocles was concerned to encourage the growth of a class of inhabitants who were directly or indirectly so profitable to the community. But in our scanty and vague records of this momentous period, it is impossible to define the activity of Themistocles.

We know that he wished to introduce a system by which a certain number of triremes should be added to the fleet every year; but this idea was not adopted; new ships were built from time to time according as they were needed. But a new system of furnishing them was introduced. The state supplied only the hull and some of the rigging; the duty and expense of fitting the galley, launching it complete, and training the oarsmen, were laid upon the most wealthy burghers, each in his turn. This public burden was called the trierarchy, and the trierarch, who sailed with his ship, was responsible for the good repair of the trireme at the end of the period of his office. One hundred and seventy oarsmen composed of hired foreigners and slaves, but chiefly of the poorest class of the citizens, propelled each galley; there was a crew of twenty men, to manage the vessel, including the keleustes who set the time to the oarsmen; and there were, besides, ten soldiers.

As their navy was from henceforth to be the chief arm of their military power, the Athenians were obliged to make a necessary change in the constitution of their highest military command. Two courses were open to them. They might leave the board of generals as it was, each general being the captain of the hoplites of his own tribe, and institute a new board of admirals. If this arrangement had been made, it would have been necessary to assign to the admirals a higher authority, for the purpose of conducting joint operations by land and sea, so that the position of generals would have been reduced to that of subordinate officers. The other course was to make the generals supreme commanders by land and sea alike—and such had been their virtual position during the Persian invasion. This second plan was adopted, and as a logical consequence the generals were no longer elected one from each tribe, but from the in some temporary fashion to receive the ancient wooden image, which had probably been lodged in a secret hiding-place. It is not clear that they attempted any complete or partial restoration of the younger temple, the House of a Hundred Feet; perhaps they simply swept away the ruins. Probably the walls and columns still partly stood, but the roof and all the woodwork had been destroyed, and the sculptures which adorned the pediments had been cast down and shattered. The limbs and trunks of the giants, strewn among the ruins, were cast away into the rubbish heaps, from which they have been drawn forth recently into new honour, as precious relics of the early art of Greece. In any case, even if they rebuilt in some sort the dismantled temple, the burghers of Athens were not content; they resolved that the lady of their city should have an ampler and more glorious dwelling-house. It was probably when Themistocles was still their guiding statesman that the plan was laid of a second temple near the southern brink of the hill- The foundations of this new temple are still to be seen; but it was never carried out as it was designed; when the time came to rear the walls, the plan was entirely altered; and, as we shall see hereafter, the Parthenon arose Paon the foundations which were intended for a building of wholly different proportions.


Sect. 4. Ostracism and Death of Themistocles

For some years Themistocles divided the guidance of public affairs with Aristides and Xanthippus. He superintended the building of the walls, and we have already seen how he effectually opposed the designs of Sparta. But the man of genius had his weaknesses. Like most Greek statesmen, he was accessible to bribes, and perhaps he would hardly have cared to tell how he had become a rich man. It was more serious that his vanity betrayed him into committing public indiscretions. He built near his own house a shrine to “Artemis wisest in Council”, on the ground that the counsels which he had offered his country had been wiser than all others. In themselves such things were of little importance; but they conduced to unpopularity and gave opponents a handle for attack. The time and the immediate causes of the banishment of Themistocles are uncertain. Perhaps he tried to carry through measures which were too revolutionary for Aristides, though Aristides was a decided democrat. At all events he succumbed to a coalition of Aristides and Xanthippus, which was doubtless also supported by Cimon, who was rising into prominence through his military successes. Appeal was made to the trial of Ostracism; and the greater number of six thousand sherds bore the name of Themistocles. One of these fatal sherds, perhaps, still exists. The exiled statesman took up his abode in Argos. The presence there of such a crafty and active enemy was not agreeable to Sparta, and he was not left long in peace. When the Persian intrigues of Pausanias were disclosed, the Lacedaemonians discovered that Themistocles was implicated in the scandal. But though Themistocles held communications with Pausanias, communications of a compromising kind, it is not in the least likely that he was really guilty of any design to betray Greece to Persia; it is rather to be presumed that those communications were concerned with the schemes of Pausanias against the Spartan constitution. He was accused of high treason against his country; men were sent to arrest him and bring him to trial; and he fled to Corcyra. The Corcyraeans refused to keep him and he crossed over to Epirus, pursued by Lacedaemonian and Athenian officers. He was forced to stop at the house of Admetus king of the Molossians, though his previous relations with this king had not been friendly. In these western lands, we seem to be translated into a far older time and to visit the homestead of a Homeric king. Admetus was not at home, but Themistocles supplicated the queen and she directed him to take her child and seat himself by the hearth. When the king returned, Themistocles implored his protection; and Admetus hospitably refused to give him up to the pursuers. The Athenians, disappointed of their prey, condemned him as a traitor to outlawry, confiscating his property and dooming his descendants to loss of citizenship. Admetus sent the fugitive overland to Pydna in Macedonia. A vessel carried him to the shores of Ionia. For some years he lay hidden in towns on the Asiatic coast, but when Xerxes died and Artaxerxes came to the throne, he went up to Susa and intrigued at the Persian court. Thus circumstances drove him to follow the example of Pausanias; and, by a curious irony, the two men who might be regarded as the saviours of Greece, the hero of Salamis and the hero of Plataea, were perverted into framing plans for undoing their own work and enslaving the country which they had delivered. It may well have been, however, that Themistocles, who was an able and far-sighted man, merely intended to compass his own advantage at the expense of the Great King, and had no serious thought of carrying out any designs against Greece. He was, as we might expect, more successful than the Spartan schemer. He won high honour in Persia and was given the government of the district of Magnesia, where Magnesia itself furnished his table with bread, Lampsacus with wine, and Myus with meat.

Themistocles died in Magnesia, and the Magnesians gave him outside their walls the resting-place which was denied to him in his country. Nor were they content with this; they sought to associate his fame more intimately with their own city. They paid him the honour of a hero, and erected in their market-place a statue of the saviour of Greece, standing naked in the act of pouring a libation over an altar, below which lay a slain bull. It was not long before this scene was wilfully or ignorantly misunderstood and gave rise to a false story. Half a century after the death of Themistocles it was popularly supposed that he had poisoned himself with bull’s blood; and the absurd motive of despair at his inability to fulfil his promises to the Persian king was assigned for his self-slaughter. There can be little doubt that this tale, first circulated perhaps by malicious tongues at Athens, was suggested by the bull and the libation-dish in the monument of the Magnesian market-place.


Sect. 5. The Confederacy of Delos becomes an Athenian Empire

The conduct of the war which the Confederacy of Delos was waging against Persia had been entrusted to Cimon, the son of Miltiades. We have seen already how he drove Pausanias out of Sestos and Byzantium. His next exploit was to capture Eion, a town, near the mouth of the Strymon, and the most important stronghold of the Persians east of the Hellespont. The place was defended to the uttermost by Boges, its gallant commander, who refused all overtures; and when the food ran out he lit a great funeral pyre. He slew his wife and his children, his concubines and his slaves, and hurled them into the fire. He took all his gold and silver to the top of the wall and flung it into the waters of the Strymon. Then he leaped himself into the flames. Thus the Athenians captured a strong coast-fortress, and they were tempted by the rich cornfields and the forests of timber in the neighbourhood to make a permanent settlement at Eion; but the colonists whom they sent forth were destroyed by the Thracian natives. The day for the establishment of the Athenian power on the lower Strymon had not yet come.

Doriscus which commanded the mouth of the Hebrus was still in Persian hands, the attempts of the Athenian fleet to take it were successfully resisted, and we know not what befell it in the end. Perhaps it fell into the hands of the Thracians. The next enterprise of Cimon was the reduction of the rocky island of Scyrus, a stronghold of Dolopian pirates. While Athens was winning posts on the fringe of the Aegean, it was no less necessary for her to secure intermediate stations; and the importance of Scyrus was its position on the sea-road from Athens to western Thrace. The rude inhabitants were enslaved, and their place was taken by Attic Ho settlers; the island was in fact annexed to Attica. But Cimon won less glory by the conquest than by the discovery of the bones of Theseus. There was a Delphic oracle which bade the Athenians take up the bones of Theseus and keep them in an honourable resting-place, and perhaps there was a legend that the hero was buried in Scyrus. In any case, whether by chance or after a search, there was found in the island a grave containing a warrior’s corpse of heroic size. It was the corpse of Theseus; Cimon brought it back to Athens; and perhaps none of his exploits earned him greater popularity.

A few years later Cimon achieved what was the most brilliant success of his life. Hitherto he had been busy in the northern southward and strike a blow against the Persian power in the seas of Rhodes and Cyprus. It was not only high time, it was imperative; for Xerxes had equipped a great armament—his last resistance to the triumph of Greek arms. Cimon delivered both the Greek and the native coast towns of Caria from Persian rule, and constrained the Lycian communities to enrol themselves in the Confederacy of Delos. Then at the river Eurymedon in Pamphylia he found the Persian army and the Persian fleet; and overcame them in a double battle by land and sea, destroying 200 Phoenician ships. This victory sealed the acquisition of southern Asia Minor, from Caria to Pamphylia, for the Athenian federation.

The booty which was won in this battle was put to the use of fortifying the Athenian citadel which the Persians had dismantled. Themistocles, who laid his hopes on the Piraeus, would have been content that the Acropolis should have remained unwalled; but the conservative policy of Cimon decided that it should become again the fortress of Athens. The south wall was now built out of the spoils of the Eurymedon.

It could not be said that the Confederacy of Delos had failed to do its work. The victory on the Pamphylian river freed Greece from all danger on the side of the Persian empire; and Cimon soon followed up his success by reducing some places on the Thracian Chersonese which were still held by the barbarians. But in interval between the conquest of Scyrus and the battle of the Eurymedon, the confederate fleet had been set to do other work. It had been set to make war upon Greek states, which were unwilling to belong to the league. The first case was one of pure and simple coercion of a foreign city. Carystus, unlike the other cities of her island, had held aloof from the Confederacy; and this anomaly the shores of Attica. Carystus was subjugated, and made, in spite of herself, a member of the league. The second case was that of a confederate state which wished to be confederate no longer. Naxos seceded from the league, and the fleet of the allies reduced her by blockade. In the case of Carystus, the Confederacy could defend its act only by the plea of political necessity; in the case of Naxos, it could reasonably maintain its right of forcing the individual members to fulfil their obligations until the association should be dissolved by the common consent of all. But both acts alike seemed to be acts of tyrannical outrage on the independence of free states, and were an offence to public opinion in Greece. The oppression was all the worse, inasmuch as both Naxos and Carystus were deprived of their autonomy. They became in fact subjects of Athens. They are typical examples of the fashion in which the Athenian empire was built up. Athens was already forging the fetters with which she would bind her allies.

The victory of the Eurymedon left Athens free to pursue inevitable policy of transforming the Confederacy into an empire. The most powerful confederate state on the Thracian coast was the island city of Thasos. Possessing a considerable fleet, it was doubtless one of those cities which contributed ships. Athens was making new endeavours to plant a settlement on the Strymon and to lay hands on the traffic in those regions. Her interests collided with those of the Thasians, whose prosperity largely depended upon their trade in Thrace. A dispute arose about a gold mine and the islanders revolted. They hoped for support both from Macedonia and from Thrace, since both those countries were interested in excluding

Athens from the coast trade of the northern sea-board. They hoped too for help from Sparta; but the Lacedaemonians were hindered from sending succour by a revolt of the Helots. The fleet of the Thasians was defeated by Cimon, and after a long blockade they capitulated. Their walls were pulled down, their ships were handed over to Athens, they gave up all claim to the mine and the mainland, and agreed to pay whatever tribute was demanded.

The typical instances of these three island cities, Carystus, Naxos, and Thasos, exhibit the methods which Athenian policy followed in numerous cases which are not recorded. There were now three classes of members in the Confederacy of Delos; there were (1) the non-tributary allies which contributed ships; (2) the tributary allies which were independent; and (3) the tributary allies which were subject. As the Asiatic cities were declining in vigour, and disliked military service and absence from home, they mostly preferred to discharge their obligations by paying tribute. It was obviously for the interest of Athens that as many members as possible should contribute money, and as few as possible contribute ships. For the ships which the tribute money furnished out were simply an addition to her own fleet, because they were under her direct control. She consequently aimed at diminishing the members of the first class; and soon it consisted of only the three large and wealthy islands, Lesbos, Chios, and Samos. Again, it was to the interest of Athens to transfer the members of the second class into the third, and win control over the internal affairs of the cities. New members which it was an innovation which altered the original character of the league as a merely maritime confederacy. It seems probable that Athens tried to extend the duty of military service to her autonomous allies, and that this policy caused revolt ; a result which was not unwelcome to Athens, as it gave her opportunities to deprive them of autonomy. Ultimately, all the allies seem to have been liable to military service except the three states which furnished ships, Chios, Lesbos, and Samos.

As the process of turning the Alliance into an Empire advanced, Athens found herself able to discontinue the meetings of the Confederate assembly in the island of Delos. She could now act entirely as she deemed good without going through the form of consulting a body, whose decisions must necessarily be hers, as the great majority of the members were her own subjects. The formal establishment of her empire may be dated ten years after the war with Thasos, when the treasury of the league was transferred from Delos to Athens. This set the seal on the creation of the Athenian empire. The Confederacy of Delos no longer existed; and, though the term Alliance was always officially used, men no longer hesitated to use the word empire in ordinary speech. The tribute money thus passed from the protection of the Ionian Apollo to the custody of the goddess of the Acropolis; and, in return for her safe keeping, one mina for every talent of the yearly tribute was paid into her own treasury.

The Athenian empire embraced the Aegean Sea with its northern and eastern fringes, from Methone in the north-west to Lycian Phaselis in the south-east. The number of cities which belonged to it at its height was considerably more than 200. We can enumerate more than 260 names from official tribute lists. Large fragments of some of these lists have come down to us in the most trustworthy form—on the original stones themselves. They not only teach us the names of the subject cities, but they tell us the amount of tribute which many of these cities were called upon to pay. At the end of every fourth year the assessment of the tribute was readjusted, the burden was redistributed; and the evidence of the lists permits us to infer that the total amount of the revenue was maintained at 460 talents, as it had been originally fixed by Aristides. For a few years indeed it was temporarily raised to meet the pressure of exceptional needs; but in general it was maintained, and the accession of new members, instead of augmenting the total revenue, diminished proportionally the contributions of all the cities. Moreover every member had a voice in the assessment of its tribute, and could appeal, after the assessment had been made, to the popular courts of Athens.

One of the most important restrictions on the independence of the cities was the jurisdiction which the Athenians asserted in criminal cases. It was natural that all disputes between Athens and any of her subjects should be decided at Athens; and it was not unreason­able that if the burgher of any allied community committed an act of treason against the empire he should be tried in the imperial city.

But Athens sometimes claimed further rights of jurisdiction. In the case of Chalcis, she enacted that all cases in which the penalty was death, banishment, or the loss of civic rights should be sent for judgment to Athens. In this as in other matters, there were various arrangements with the various cities; and some doubtless had more freedom than others. In regard to lawsuits arising out of breach of contract between citizens of Athens and citizens of the allied states, such affairs were regulated by separate international agreements, and decided in the law-courts of the defendant’s city. In this matter, and it was important, Athens could take the credit of not using her power for the furtherance of her own interests; and it may some­times have happened that an Athenian was treated with somewhat less than fairness, when a subject folk had the chance of indulging their bitterness against one of their masters.

The Athenian Empire was dissolved half a century after the translation of the treasury from Delos to Athens. We shall see that it began to decline not many years after it had reached the height of its power. We must remember that the first principles of the political thought and political life of Greece were opposed to such an union. The sovereign city-state was the basis of the civilised Hellenic world, and no city-state was ready, if it could help it, to surrender any part of its sovereignty. In the face of a common danger, cities might be ready to combine together in a league, each parting with some of her sovereign powers to a common federal council but preserving the right of secession; and this was the idea of the Confederacy of Delos in its initial form. But even such a voluntary and partial surrender of sovereignty was regarded as a misfortune, so that when the motives which induced a city to join a federation became less strong and pressing, every member was anxious to gain its complete independence and resume the sovereign rights which it had laid down. Such being the free tendencies which swayed the peoples of Greece, it required a mighty arm and constant vigilance in a ruling state to keep her federation or empire together. An empire, however disguised, was always considered an injustice—a defiance to the political morality of Hellas. A Greek felt it a degradation of his dignity, or an infraction of his freedom, not to be the citizen of a free and sovereign city. And he felt this at many points if he belonged to one of the subject allies of Athens; since their self-government was limited in regard to domestic, as well as foreign, affairs. However liberal the general supervision of the mistress might be, the alliance with that mistress was a loss of the best of all good things, liberty, which means the right of governing one’s self. If Athens had adopted the policy which was so successfully adopted by Rome, the policy of enlarging herself by admitting the citizens of smaller states to her own citizenship, she might have built up a more enduring fabric of empire. But such a plan was incompatible with the political notions of the Greeks.

Sect. 6. Policy and Ostracism of Cimon

As the Persian War had brought out more vividly the contrast between Greek and barbarian and impressed the Greeks with the ideal unity of their race, so the Confederacy of Delos emphasised a division existing within the Greek race itself, the contrast of Dorian and Ionian. That division was largely artificial. It was the result of mistaken notions about the early history of Greece, and only within very restricted limits did it represent any natural line of cleavage in the Hellenic race. But it had come to be accepted as an axiom and was an important element in the situation. We must probably seek for the origin of the opposition between Dorian and Ionian, as a political doctrine, in the unity of the Peloponnesus. The actual geographical unity produced a political unity, when in the sixth century the Spartan power became dominant; and this was reinforced by the conception of its ethnical unity, as mainly a Dorian country. The identity and exclusiveness of Peloponnesian interests had been apparent at the time of the Persian invasion; and the Peloponnesus not only stood aloof from, but had the air of protesting against, the growth of the Athenian Confederacy. And this confederacy had taken upon itself from the very first an Ionian colour. Athens, believing that she was an Ionian city and the mother of the Ionians of Asia, was gathering her children about her. The shrine of the Delian Apollo, the great centre of Ionian worship, was chosen as the centre of the new Ionian union. The treasures of the league were in the Ionian Apollo’s keeping; and in his island the allies met to take counsel together. Thus the Dorian federation of the Peloponnesus under the headship of Sparta stood over against the Ionian federation of the Aegean under the headship of Athens.

For some years the antagonism lay dormant. Sparta was still an ally of Athens against the Mede, and the danger from Persia had not passed away. But the preservation of peace was also due, in some measure, to the policy of the men who guided the fortunes of Athens, Aristides and Cimon. The son of Miltiades had been at first regarded as a youth of little promise. His grandfather was nicknamed “Simpleton”; and he was supposed to have inherited a wit poorer than that of the ordinary Athenian. Fond of the wine­cup and leading a disorderly life, he was not a man of liberal education; and a writer of memoirs, who knew him, described him as Peloponnesian rather than Athenian—uncultivated but honest and downright. He lived with his step-sister Elpinice, and they both affected Lacedaemonian manners. Aristides seems to have discerned his military ability and to have introduced him to public life. His simplicity, geniality, and lavish hospitality rendered him popular; his military successes confirmed his influence. The two guiding principles of Cimon’s policy were the prosecution of the war against Persia, and the maintenance of good relations with the Lacedaemonians. He upheld the doctrine of dual leadership: Athens should be mistress of the seas, but she should recognise Sparta as the mistress on the continent. Cimon’s sympathy with Sparta and his connexions there became an important political fact, and undoubtedly helped to postpone a rupture between Sparta and Athens.

In this policy Aristides, the leader of the democracy, and Cimon, who was by no means in sympathy with the development of the democratic constitution, had pulled together. After the death of Themistocles they had the whole power in their hands, Cimon being continually re-elected as Strategos, and Aristides having the moral control of the sovereign Assembly. On the death of Aristides, Cimon remained the most powerful statesman in Athens, but his want of sympathy with democracy rendered it impossible that he should retain this power in a state which was advancing on the lines along which Athens was moving now. Younger statesmen arose and formed a party of opposition against Cimon and the oligarchs who rallied around him. The two chief politicians of this democratic party were Ephialtes, a man of unquestioned probity, whom the oligarchs disliked and feared, and Pericles, the son of Xanthippus, who now began to play a prominent part in the Assembly. After the conquest of Thasos, they charged Cimon with having received bribes from Alexander, the king of Macedon, who was supporting the Thasians, and with having failed to act against Macedonia as it was his duty to act. The accusation appears not to have been pressed hard, and Cimon was acquitted. But it was the first movement of an opposition which was speedily to bring about his fall.

Meanwhile Sparta herself had dealt a blow to his policy. When the victory of the Eurymedon dispelled the fears of Persia which had hovered over Greece till then, Sparta felt herself free to unseal her dormant jealousy of Athens at the first suitable opportunity, and she saw her opportunity in the war with Thasos. But unforeseen events at home hindered her, as we saw, from actual intervention against Athens. The Spartan citizens lived over a perpetual volcano—the servitude of their Perioeci and Helots. The fire which Pausanias thought of kindling burst forth eight years after his death. An earthquake had laid in ruins the villages which composed the town of Sparta, and a large number of the inhabitants were buried in the convulsion. The moment was chosen by the Messenian serfs to shake off the yoke of their detested masters. They annihilated in battle a company of 300 Spartans, but then they were smitten at Isthmus, an unknown place in Messenia, and sought refuge in the stronghold of Ithome. On that steep hill, full of the memories of earlier struggles, they held out for a few years. The Spartans were driven to ask the aid of allies; Plataea, Aegina, and Mantinea sent troops to besiege Ithome. They even asked Athens herself to succour them in their distress.

The democratic politicians lifted up their voices against the sending of any aid; and the event proved them to be perfectly right. But the Athenian folk listened to the counsels of Cimon, who drove home his doctrine of the dual leadership by two persuasive metaphors: “We must not leave Hellas lame; we must not allow Athens to lose her yoke fellow.” Cimon took 4000 hoplites to Messenia, but though the Athenians had a reputation for skill in besieging fortresses their endeavours to take Ithome failed. Then Sparta rounded and smote Athens in the face. She told the Athenians, alone of all the allies who were encamped around the hill, that she required their help no more. We are told that the Lacedaemonians were afraid “of the adventurous and revolutionary spirit ” of the Athenians. But it is strange indeed that they should have dealt thus with a force which was both procured and com­manded by a friend so staunch as Cimon.

This incident exploded the Laconian policy of Cimon; it exposed the futility of making sacrifices to court Sparta’s friendship, and it revealed the depth of Spartan jealousy. The opposition of Ephialtes and his party to the Messenian expedition received its justification. And meanwhile Ephialtes and Pericles had taken advantage of the absence of the conservative statesman to effect a number of radical reforms which were necessary to complete the democratic constitution. These reforms were extremely popular, and immensely increased the influence of the statesmen who carried them. When then Cimon returned with his policy discredited, they denounced him as a “Philo-Laconian,” and felt that they could safely attempt to ostracize him. An ostracism was held, and Cimon was banished. Soon Ostracism afterwards a mysterious crime was committed. Cimon’s chief of Cimon, antagonist Ephialtes was murdered, and no one ever ascertained with surety who the murderers were. He had many bitter foes among the Areopagites whom he had attacked singly and collectively; and there were perhaps some among them who would not have hesitated to wreak such vengeance on their assailant.

The Athenians had presently an opportunity of retaliating on Sparta for her contumely. The blockade of Ithome was continued, and the rebels at last capitulated. They were allowed to leave the Peloponnesus unharmed, on the condition that they should never return. The Athenians who had helped to besiege them now found them a shelter. They settled the Messenians in a new home at Naupactus, on the Corinthian Gulf, a place where they had recently established a naval station. In the Altis of Olympia we may see a memorial of this “Third Messenian War”—the round base or a statue of Zeus which the Lacedaemonians dedicated as a thank-offering for their victory; and we may read the inscribed verses in which they besought the lord Zeus of Olympus to accept the fair image graciously.

While the Lacedaemonians were wholly intent upon the long A siege of the Messenian fort, the Argives, free from the fear of attack reduces and on that side, had seized the occasion to lay siege to Mycenae. In the days of Argive greatness this stronghold can hardly have been other than an Argive fortress, and it was probably after the great victory of Cleomenes that with Spartan help the Mycenaeans won for brief space their ancient independence. During that brief space they had the glory of bearing a hand in the deliverance of Greece. On the summit of their primeval citadel, they built a temple where the old palace had stood; and they girdled the city below with a wall. They now defended the fortress for some time, but their supplies were cut off and they were forced to submit. The Argives let them depart whither they would and some found a refuge in Macedonia; but the old town was destroyed, all except the walls which were stronger than the forces of destruction. Argos was once more mistress of her plain.