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best allies, and crippled their resources, at the critical time when they were engaged in hostilities with Philip. This mattered less while the war was carried on at a distance. Though Philip captured their towns on the coast of Macedonia and Thrace, they retained most of the Ægæan islands, and were able to annoy him by their navy. But when Philip, having reduced Thessaly and Phocis, was in a condition to carry the war into Attica, then was felt the want of that foresight, which should have provided long beforehand a national force capable of repelling invasion. The extraordinary exertions of Demosthenes contrived even then to procure allies, and to bring the contest to a doubtful issue. A few more men and a little better discipline and generalship might have turned the scale the other way. To illustrate the matter by a few striking facts-At Marathon, where Athens fought for her existence, her heavy-armed were 10,000. At Tanagra and at Charonea, where she fought for her independence, they were scarcely 12,000. In the expedition against Syracuse she lost in men, including all kinds of force, upwards of 60,000, besides all her ships and materials of war. At Tanagra the scale was turned against her by the desertion of the Thessalian horse. Had she been able to bring ten thousand horse into action against Philip, she might have won Charonea, or prevented his taking the field.
What is done cannot be undone; yet it may be read as a lesson to future time. Athens fell for the reasons above indicated; because her people, though buoyant with spirit and energy, though proud of their imperial sway and ambitious of its extension, had not the prudence to organise, to cement, to consolidate; they did not discipline their strength, nor make the most of their resources; consequently, though they could gain dominion, they could not keep it. Was this the fault of their political institutions? No. It is attributable rather to the want of historical experience.
But the real empire of Athens-that which was destined to be the most glorious, the most extended, and the most durable-was not one of material power, nor of commercial prosperity, but an empire of art, science, and literature. With this she was to conquer not armies and fortresses, but the minds and souls of men, and to establish over them a peaceful and civilising sway.
Solon, in the beginning of the sixth century before Christ, had given them a code of laws admirable for its wisdom and moderation, for its practical character, for the skill by which it reconciled opposing classes to each other, and provided for the growing wants of a people who were rising into mental activity and national power. Notwithstanding the intervening usurpation of Pisistratus, the Solonian institutions took root in the mind of Athens, and produced their fruits at a later period. The Persian wars not only roused up the popular energies, but gave the impulse to that genius in art and poetry, which astonished the world. Then Phidias and his scholars; then Ictinus, Callicrates, Mnesicles, Callimachus, Corobus, Metagenes,
displayed their wonderful talents in architecture and sculpture. The Parthenon and Propylæa, the Odeum, the temple of Eleusis, the colossal image of Pallas, and the other magnificent productions of that period, were the most glorious trophies of Marathon and Salamis. Athens then became one of the principal seats of pictorial art, and though the greatest painters did not happen to be natives of her city, she had her own Micon, her Pleistænetus, Panænus, Apollodorus; while she excited emulation, and gave encouragement to all.
"Before the Persian war" says Thirlwall-" Athens had contributed less than many other cities, her inferiors in magnitude and in political importance, to the intellectual progress of Greece. She had produced no artists to be compared with those of Argos, Corinth, Sicyon, Egina, Laconia, and of many cities both in the eastern and western colonies. She could boast of no poets so celebrated as those of the Ionian and Eolian schools. But her peaceful glories quickly followed and outshone that of her victories, conquests, and political ascendancy. In the period between the Persian and Peloponnesian wars, both literature and the fine arts began to tend towards Athens, as their most favoured seat. For here, above all other parts of Greece, genius and talents were encouraged by an ample field of exertion, by public sympathy and applause, as well as by the prospect of other rewards, which however were much more sparingly bestowed. Accordingly it was at Athens that architecture and sculpture reached the highest degree of perfection which either ever attained in the ancient world, and that Greek poetry was enriched with a new kind of composition, the drama, which united the leading features of every species before cultivated in a new whole, and exhibited all the grace and vigour of the Greek imagination, together with the full compass and the highest refinement of the form of the language peculiar to Attica."
After the imagination of the people had been excited by the sublime muse of Eschylus, their ears charmed and their taste refined by the graceful composition of Sophocles and Euripides, and after the theatre had resounded with the wild drolleries of the comic poets, then, and not before, arose the prose literature of Athens. Thucydides, somewhere about the year B. C. 456, had heard the father of history recite a portion of his marvellous work at the Olympic games. drew tears from his eyes, and awakened in him the spirit of emulation; so says the story. There had been prose composition before Herodotus, but none of it had survived. Pherecydes of Scyros had written mythical narratives and discourses: Xanthus of Lydia, Cadmus and Hecateus of Miletus had applied prose to historical subjects: but Herodotus was the first who handled his subjects in such a manner as to deserve the title of historian. A Halicarnassian by birth, he became in his middle age an admirer of Athenian institu tions, and even drew some of his inspiration from Athens. In the year B. C. 448 he read a portion of his history at the Panathenaic
festival, and received a reward of ten talents. At a later period he accompanied the Athenian colony to Thurii. It has been observed by Lytton Bulwer, that "something of the art of Sophocles may be traced in the easy skill of his narratives, and the magic yet tranquil energy of his descriptions." Donaldson has noticed the same thing, and expressed an opinion in some part of his writings, (I speak from memory,) that Herodotus, in the revising of his history, may have adopted some of the language of Sophocles. The concluding lines of the Edipus strikingly remind one of the speech of Solon to Crœsus. But here Sophocles most probably borrowed from the historian.
The history of the Peloponnesian war has become a household book in England. The merits of Thucydides as an historian, and his defects as a writer, are pretty fairly stated by Cicero in the subjoined passage from the Orator: (8. q) Xenophon committed errors as an historian; yet is there not a wonderful charm about his Cyropædia and Anabasis? Cicero calls his language sweeter than honey, and the voice of the Muses:
Thucydides res gestas et bella narrat, et prælia, graviter sane et probe; sed nihil ab eo transferri potest ad forensem usum et publicum. Ipsæ illæ conciones ita multas habent obscuras abditasque sententias, vix ut intelligantur: quod est in oratione civili vitium vel maximum. Quæ est autem in hominibus tanta perversitas, ut, inventis frugibus, glande vescantur? An victus hominum Atheniensium beneficio excoli potuit, oratio non potuit? Quis porro unquam Græcorum rhetorum a Thucydide quidquam duxit? At laudatus est ab omnibus: fateor: sed ita, ut rerum explicator prudens, severus, gravis; non ut in judiciis versaret causas, sed ut in historiis bella narraret. Itaque nunquam est numeratus orator. Nec vero, si historiam non scripsisset, nomen ejus extaret, cum præsertim fuisset honoratus et nobilis. Hujus tamen nemo neque verborum neque sententiarum gravitatem imitatur; sed, cùm mutila quædam et hiantia locuti sunt, quæ vel sine magistro facere potuerunt, germanos se putant esse Thucydidis. Nactus sum etiam qui Xenophontis similem esse se cuperet; cujus sermo est ille quidem melle dulcior, sed a forensi strepitu remotissimus."
From the time when prose literature commenced at Athens to the time of her decay as a republic, there was no lack of writers there. The city was illuminated with a variety of publications-speeches, essays, pamphlets and treatises, on questions of politics and public economy, on agriculture and mining, on natural history, poetry, rhetoric, ethics and metaphysics. The names of Antiphon, Isocrates, Plato, Antisthenes, Aristotle, Theophrastus, and others, immediately occur to us. Philosophy, during the time I am speaking of, received its greatest development at Athens. Its origin is referable to a much earlier period. Apart from its connexion with religion and poetry, the philosophy of the Greeks may be said to have begun with the seven sages, of whom Athenian Solon was one, in the sixth century.
Thales of Miletus was a mathematician and astronomer. He and his pupil Anaximenes made known to the world their speculations on cosmogony and the nature of the Deity. Subtle theories were propounded by those of the Eleatic school, Xenophanes, Parmenides, and Zeno. Pythagoras taught his doctrine of the transmigration of souls, and communicated discoveries in geometry and other science. Anaxagoras first promulgated a belief in the unity of the Godhead, for which the Athenians, intolerant as yet of any tenets inconsistent with the established religion, threw him into prison, and he was with difficulty extricated by his friend Pericles. Something in the nature of philosophy was infused into the public mind through the medium of the drama, chiefly by the writings of Euripides. The Sophists (as they were called) gave lectures, and taught the art of subtle disputation. But he who most effectually contributed to rouse the true spirit of philosophical inquiry was the man, whose name stands pre-eminent in the heathen world for wisdom and virtue, whom the Delphic oracle pronounced to be the wisest of men, viz. Socrates, the son of Sophroniscus.
As I am not writing a history of Socrates, I stop not to enter into a discussion concerning his character, or his opinions, or the nature of his teaching. Enough to say, that he believed in the immortality of the soul; he was practically, as well as theoretically, a good man; as he had been a brave soldier, so was he a lover of truth, and a detester of humbug and affectation. He taught, by precept and example, the duties of patience and fortitude, of being firm in action and mild in language. The more abstruse doctrines ascribed to him in the Platonic dialogues probably represent the opinions of Plato himself rather than his master. Socrates however gave the impulse to those inquiries, which his disciples so ardently pursued. From his school sprang, directly or indirectly, the various sects of philosophers, whose doctrines were soon to be carried to the farthest ends of the Grecian world, and three centuries afterwards enlightened the mind of the illustrious Roman who has discoursed about them so copiously:
"Socrates mihi videtur, id quod constat inter omnes, primus a rebus occultis, et ab ipsa natura involutis, in quibus omnes ante eum philosophi occupati fuerunt, avocavisse philosophiam, et ad vitam communem adduxisse: ut de virtutibus et vitiis, omninoque de bonis rebus et malis quæreret; coelestia autem vel procul esse a nostra cognitione censeret, vel, si maxime cognita essent, nihil tamen ad bene vivendum. Hic in omnibus fere sermonibus, qui ab iis, qui illum audierunt, perscripti varie, copiose sunt, ita disputat, ut nihil affirmet ipse, refellat alios; nihil se scire dicat, nisi id ipsum; eoque præstare ceteris, quod illi, quæ nesciant, scire se putent; ipse se nihil scire, id unum sciat; ob eamque rem se arbitrari ab Apolline omnium sapientissimum esse dictum, quod hæc esset una omnis sapientia, non arbitrari sese scire, quod nesciat: quæ cum diceret
constanter, et in eâ sententiâ permaneret, omnis ejus oratio tum in virtute laudandâ, et in omnibus hominibus ad virtutis studium colortandis consumebatur, ut e Socraticorum libris, maximeque Platonis intelligi potest. Platonis autem auctoritate, qui varius et multiplex et copiosus fuit, una et consentiens duobus vocabulis philosophiæ forma instituta est, Academicorum et Peripateticorum; qui rebus congruentes, nominibus differebant. Nam cum Speusippum, sororis filium, Plato philosophiæ quasi heredem reliquisset; duos autem præstantissimos studio atque doctrinâ, Xenocratem Chalcedonium, et Aristotelem Stagiritem; qui erant cum Aristotele, Peripatetici dicti sunt, quia disputabant inambulantes in Lyceo: illi autem, qui Platonis instituto in Academia, quod est alterum gymnasium, cœtus erant, et sermones habere soliti, e loci vocabulo nomen habuerunt. Sed utrique, Platonis ubertate completi, certam quandam disciplinæ formulam composuerunt, et eam quidem plenam ac refertam : illam autem Socraticam dubitationem de omnibus rebus et nullâ affirmatione adhibitâ consuetudinem disserendi reliquerunt. Ita facta est, quod minime Socrates probabat, ars quædam philosophiæ, et rerum ordo et descriptio disciplinæ: quæ quidem erat primo duobus, ut dixi, nominibus una; nihil enim inter Peripateticos et illam veterem Academiam differebat: abundantiâ quâdam ingenii præstabat, ut mihi videtur quidem, Aristoteles: sed idem fons erat utrisque, et eadem rerum expetendarum fugiendarumque partitio."-(Academ. Quæst. I. 4.)
Of Aristotle says the Roman elsewhere-"excepto Platone, haud scio an recte dixerim principem philosophorum." Not the born child of Athens, he was hers by adoption. Athens may fairly claim the man, who was so many years the disciple of Plato, and whose teaching has made the name of her Lyceum so renowned. Consider now for a moment, what Athens has done. In the course of three centuries she has either introduced, or encouraged and brought to perfection, legal and political science-architecture, sculpture, and painting-the drama, history, oratory; philosophy. Teachers of all kinds, emanating from the Socratic school, under the various names of Academics, Stoics, Peripatetics, Epicureans, become the instructors of the heathen world, and continue to be so, till a higher and more authoritative teacher comes to supersede them. This was the true empire of Athens. Her political power wanes and disappears; kingdoms rise and fall; revolution after revolution passes over the face of Europe as well as of Greece; yet new triumphs still come to the Alma Mater of Grecian learning; people of all nations congregate to the fountain of knowledge by her Acropolis, and her missionaries, including almost all of the Greek race, have gone over the world, to conquer it with civilisation. At first, the Egean and the coasts of Asia Minor are the scene of her activity; at a later period, we shall find, she forms the intellect of the colonies of Sicily and Magna Græcia; she has penetrated Italy, and is shedding the light of knowledge and