Pericles, (Perikles). The greatest of Athenian statesmen. He
was the son of Xanthippus and Agariste, both of whom belonged to the noblest families
of Athens. The fortune of his parents procured for him a careful education, which
his extraordinary abilities and diligence turned to the best account. He received
instruction from Damon, Zeno of Elea, and Anaxagoras. With Anaxagoras he lived
on terms of the most intimate friendship till the philosopher was compelled to
retire from Athens. From this great and original thinker Pericles was believed
to have derived not only the cast of his mind, but the character of his eloquence,
which, in the elevation of its sentiments and the purity and loftiness of its
style, was the fitting expression of the force and dignity of his character and
the grandeur of his conceptions. Of the oratory of Pericles no specimens remain
to us, but it is described by ancient writers as characterized by singular force
and energy. He was described as thundering and lightening when he spoke, and as
carrying the weapons of Zeus upon his tongue.
In B.C. 469 Pericles began to take part in public affairs, forty years before his death, and was soon regarded as the head of the more democratic part in the State in opposition to Cimon. He gained the favour of the people by the laws which he succeeded in passing for their benefit. Thus it was enacted through his means that the citizens should receive from the public treasury the price of their admittance to the theatre, amounting to two oboli apiece; that those who served in the courts of the Heliaea should be paid for their attendance; and that those citizens who served as soldiers should likewise be paid. It was at his instigation that his friend Ephialtes proposed, in 461, the measure by which the Areopagus was deprived of those functions which rendered it formidable as an antagonist to the popular party. This success was followed by the ostracism of Cimon, who was charged with Laconism, and Pericles was thus placed at the head of public affairs at Athens. Pericles was distinguished as a general as well as a statesman, and frequently commanded the Athenian armies in their wars with the neighbouring States. In 454 he commanded the Athenians in their campaigns against the Sicyonians and Acarnanians; in 448 he led the army which assisted the Phocians in the Sacred War; and in 445 he rendered the most signal service to the State by recovering the island of Euboea, which had revolted from Athens. Cimon had been previously recalled from exile without any opposition from Pericles, but had died in 449. On his death the aristocratic party was headed by Thucydides, the son of Melesias; but on the ostracism of the latter in 444 the organized opposition of the aristocratic party was broken up, and Pericles was left without a rival. Throughout the remainder of his political course [p. 1202] no one appeared to contest his supremacy; but the boundless influence which he possessed was never perverted by him to sinister or unworthy purposes. So far from being a mere selfish demagogue, he neither indulged nor courted the multitude. The next important event in which Pericles was engaged was the war against Samos, which had revolted from Athens, and which he subdued after an arduous campaign, 440. The poet Sophocles was one of the generals who fought with Pericles against Samos.
For the next ten years, till the outbreak of the Peloponnesian War, the Athenians were not engaged in any considerable military operations. During this period Pericles devoted especial attention to the Athenian navy, as her supremacy rested on her maritime superiority, and he adopted various judicious means for consolidating and strengthening her empire over the islands of the Aegaean. The funds derived from the tribute of the allies and from other sources were, to a large extent, devoted by him to the erection of those magnificent temples and public buildings which rendered Athens the wonder and admiration of Greece. Under his administration the Propylaea and the Parthenon and the Odeum were erected as well as numerous other temples and public buildings. With the stimulus afforded by these works architecture and sculpture reached their highest perfection, and some of the greatest artists of antiquity were employed in erecting or adorning the buildings. The chief direction and oversight of the public edifices was intrusted to Phidias. These works, calling into activity almost every branch of industry and commerce at Athens, diffused universal prosperity while they proceeded, and thus contributed in this, as well as in other ways, to maintain the popularity and influence of Pericles. But he still had many enemies, who were not slow to impute to him base and unworthy motives. From the comic poets Pericles had to sustain numerous attacks. They exaggerated his power, spoke of his party as Pisistratids, and called upon him to swear that he was not about to assume the tyranny. His high character and strict probity, however, rendered all these attacks harmless. But as his enemies were unable to ruin his reputation by these means, they attacked him through his friends. His friends Phidias and Anaxagoras, and his mistress Aspasia, were all accused before the people. Phidias was condemned and cast into prison; Anaxagoras was also sentenced to pay a fine and leave Athens; and Aspasia was only acquitted through the entreaties and tears of Pericles.
The Peloponnesian War has been falsely ascribed to the ambitious schemes of Pericles. It is true that he counselled the Athenians not to yield to the demands of the Lacedaemonians, and he pointed out the immense advantages which the Athenians possessed in carrying on the war; but he did this because he saw that war was inevitable; and that as long as Athens retained the great power which she then possessed, Sparta would never rest contented. On the outbreak of the war in 431 a Peloponnesian army under Archidamus invaded Attica; and upon his advice the Athenians conveyed their movable property into the city and their cattle and beasts of burden to Euboea, and allowed the Peloponnesians to desolate Attica without opposition. Next year (430), when the Peloponnesians again invaded Attica, Pericles pursued the same policy as before. In this summer a plague made its appearance in Athens. The Athenians, being exposed to the devastation of the war and the plague at the same time, began to turn their thoughts to peace, and looked upon Pericles as the author of all their distresses, inasmuch as he had persuaded them to go to war. Pericles attempted to calm the public ferment; but such was the irritation against him that he was sentenced to pay a fine. The ill-feeling of the people having found this vent, Pericles soon resumed his accustomed sway, and was again elected one of the generals for the ensuing year (429). Meantime Pericles had suffered in common with his fellow-citizens. The plague carried off most of his near connections. His son Xanthippus, a profligate and undutiful youth, his sister, and most of his intimate friends died of it. Still he maintained unmoved his calm bearing and philosophic composure. At last his only surviving legitimate son, Paralus, a youth of greater promise than his brother, fell a victim. The firmness of Pericles then at last gave way; as he placed the funeral garland on the head of the lifeless youth, he burst into tears and sobbed aloud. He had one son remaining, his child by Aspasia; and he was allowed to enroll this son in his own tribe and give him his own name. In the autumn of 429 Pericles himself died of a lingering sickness. He survived the commencement of the war two years and six months. The name of the wife of Pericles is not mentioned. She had been the wife of Hipponicus, by whom she was the mother of Callias. She bore two sons to Pericles, Xanthippus and Paralus. She lived unhappily with Pericles, and a divorce took place by mutual consent, when Pericles connected himself with Aspasia. Of his strict probity he left the decisive proof in the fact that at his death he was found not to have added a single drachma to his hereditary property. His greatest fault as a statesman was his inability to see that personal government in the long run is injurious to a nation; for it impairs the capacity of the people for self-government, and on the death of the chief leaves them helpless and inexperienced. On his death-bed his friends were commenting on his victories and triumphs, when he interrupted them with the remark, "That which you have left unnoticed is that of which I am the proudest; no Athenian ever wore mourning through any act of mine." His life is sketched for us by Thucydides and Plutarch.
This text is from: Harry Thurston Peck, Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities. Cited June 2002 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks
Periclaes (Perikles). The greatest of Athenian statesmen, was the son of Xanthippus,
under whose command the victory of Mycale was gained, and of Agariste, the great
grand-daughter of Cleisthenes,
tyrant of Sicyon, and niece of Cleisthenes,
the founder of the later Athenian constitution (Herod. vi. 131; comp. Cleisthenes).
Both Herodotus (l. c.) and Plutarch have thought the story, that before his birth
his mother dreamed that she gave birth to a lion, of sufficient interest to deserve
recording. Pericles belonged to the deme Cholargos in the tribe Acamantis. The
date of his birth is not known. The early period of his life was spent in retirement,
in the prosecution of a course of study in which his noble genius found the most
appropriate means for its cultivation and expansion; till, on emerging from his
obscurity, his unequalled capabilities rapidly raised him to that exalted position
which thence-forwards he maintained throughout the whole of his long and brilliant
career till his death. His rank and fortune enabled him to avail himself of the
instructions of all those who were most eminent in their several sciences and
professions. Music, which formed so essential an element in the education of a
Greek, he studied under Pythocleides (Aristot. ap. Plut. Per. 3; Plat. Alcib).
The musical instructions of Damon were, it is said, but a pretext; his real lessons
having for their subject political science. Pericles was the first statesman who
recognised the importance of philosophical studies as a training for his future
career; he devoted his attention to the subtleties of the Eleatic school, under
the guidance of Zeno of E!ea. But the philosopher who exercised the most important
and lasting influence on his mind, and to a very large extent formed his habits
and character, was Anaxagoras. With this great and original thinker, the propounder
of the sublimest doctrine which Greek philosophy had yet developed, that the arrangements
of the universe are the dispositions of an ordering intelligence, Pericles lived
on terms of the most intimate friendship, till the philosopher was compelled to
retire from Athens. From him Pericles was believed to have derived not only the
cast of his mind, but the character of his eloquence, which, in the elevation
of its sentiments, and the purity and loftiness of its style, was the fitting
expression of the force and dignity of his character and the grandeur of his conceptions.
Of the oratory of Pericles no specimens remain to us, but it appears to have been
characterised by singular force and energy. He was described as thundering and
lightening when he spoke, and as carrying the weapons of Zeus upon his tongue
(Plut. Moral.; Diod. xii. 40; Aristoph. Acharn. 503; Cic. de Orat. iii. 34; Quintil.
x. 1.82). The epithet Olympius which was given to him was generally understood
as referring to his eloquence. By the unanimous testimony of ancient authors his
oratory was of the highest kind (Plat. Phaedr.). His orations were the result
of elaborate preparation; he used himself to say that he never ascended the bema
without praying that no inappropriate word might drop from his lips (Quintil.
xii. 9.13). According to Suidas (s. v. Perikl.), Pericles was the first who committed
a speech to writing before delivery. The influence of Anaxagoras was also traced
in the deportment of Pericles, the lofty bearing and calm and easy dignity of
which were sustained by an almost unrivalled power of self-command. The most annoying
provocation never made him forsake his dignified composure. His voice was sweet,
and his utterance rapid and distinct; in which respect, as well as in his personal
appearance, he resembled Peisistratus. His figure was graceful and majestic, though
a slight deformity in the disproportionate length of his head furnished the comic
poets of the day with an unfailing theme for their pleasantry, and procured him
the nicknames of schinokethalos and kephalegeretes.
In his youth he stood in some fear of the people, and, aware of the resemblance which was discovered in him to Peisistratus, he was fearful of exciting jealousy and alarm; but as a soldier he conducted himself with great intrepidity. However, when Aristeides was dead, Themistocles ostracised, and Cimon much engaged in military expeditions at a distance from Greece, he began to take a more active part in the political movements of the time. In putting himself at the head of the more democratical party in the state, there can be no question that he was actuated by a sincere predilection. The whole course of his political career proves such to have been the case. There is not the slightest foundation for the contrary supposition, except that his personal character seemed to have greater affinities with the aristocratical portion of the community. If he ever entertained the slightest hesitation, his hereditary prepossessions as the grand-nephew of Cleisthenes would have been quite sufficient to decide his choice. That that choice was determined by selfish motives, or political rivalry, are suppositions which, as they have nothing to rest upon, and are contradicted by the whole tenor of his public life, are worth absolutely nothing.
As his political career is stated to have lasted above forty years (Plut. Cic. l.c.), it must have been somewhat before B. C. 469 when he first came forward. He then devoted himself with the greatest assiduity to public affairs; was never to be seen in the streets except on his way to the place of assembly or the senate; and withdrew [p. 193] entirely from the convivial meetings of his acquaintance, once only breaking through this rule to honour the marriage of his nephew Euryptolemus, and admitting to his society and confidence only a few intimate friends. He took care, however, not to make himself too cheap, reserving himself for great occasions, and putting forward many of his propositions through his partisans. Among the foremost and most able of these was Ephialtes.
The fortune of Pericles, which, that his integrity might be kept free even from suspicion, was husbanded with the strictest economy under the careful administration of his steward Euangelus, insomuch as even to excite the discontent of the women of his household, was not sufficient to enable Pericles qut of his private resources to vie with the profuse liberality of Cimon. Accordingly, to ingratiate himself with the people, he followed the suggestion of his friend Demonides, to make the public treasury available for similar objects, and proposed a series of measures having for their object to provide the poorer citizens not only with amusement, but with the means of subsistence. To enable them to enjoy the theatrical amuseents, he got a law passed that they should receive from the public treasury the price of their admittance, amounting to two obluses apiece. The measure was unwise as a precedent, and being at a later period carried to a much greater extent in connection with various other festivals led to the establishment of the Theoric fund. Another measure, in itself unobjectionable and equitable, was one which ordained that the citizens who served in the courts of the Heliaea should be paid for their attendance (misthos dikastikos--to heliastikon). It was of course not in the power of Pericles to foresee the mischievous increase of litigation which characterised Athens at a later time, or to anticipate the propositions of later demagogues by whom the pay was tripled, and the principle of payment extended to attendance at the public assembly: a measure which has been erroneously attributed to Pericles himself. According to Ulpian (ad Demosth. peri suntax.) the practice of paying the citizens who served as soldiers was first introduced by Pericles. To affirm that in proposing these measures Pericles did violence to his better judgment in order to secure popularity, would be to do him a great injustice. The whole course of his administration, at a time when he had no rival to dispute his pre-eminence, shows that these measures were the results of a settled principle of policy, that the people had a right to all the advantages and enjoyments that could be procured for them by the proper expenditure of the treasures of which they were masters. That in proposing them he was not insensible to the popularity which would accrue to their author, may be admitted without fixing any very deep stain upon his character. The lessons of other periods of history will show that the practice of wholesale largess, of which Cimon was beginning to set the example, is attended with influences even more corrupting and dangerous. If Pericles thought so, his measures, though perverted to mischief through consequences beyond his foresight or control, must be admitted to have been wise and statesmanlike, and not the less so because they were dexterously timed for the advancement of his personal influence.
The first occasion on which we find the two rival parties assuming anything like a hostile attitude towards each other, was when Cimon, on his return from Thasos, was brought to tria. Pericles was one of those appointed to conduct the impeachment. But whether the prosecution was not according to his wishes, or he had yielded to the intercession of Elpinice, he only rose once, for form's sake, and put forth none of his eloquence. The result, according to Plutarch, was, that Cimon was acquitted. It was shortly after this, that Pericles, secure in the popularity which he had acquired, assailed the aristocracy in its strong-hold, the Areiopagus. Here, again, the prominent part in the proceedings was taken by Ephialtes, who in the assembly moved the psephisma by which the Areiopagus was deprived of those functions which rendered it formidable as an antagonist to the democratical party. The opposition which Cimon and his party might have offered was crippled by the events connected with the siege of Ithome; and in B. C. 461 the measure was passed. That Pericles was influenced by jealousy because, owing to his not having been archon, he had no seat in the council, or that Ephialtes seconded his views out of revenge for an offence that had been given him in the council, are notions which, though indeed they have no claims to attention, have been satisfactorily refuted. Respecting the nature of the change effected in the jurisdiction of the Areiopagus, the reader is referred to the Dictionary of Antiquities, art. Areiopagus. This success was soon followed by the ostracism of Cimoin, who was charged with Laconism.
In B. C. 457 the unfortunate battle of Tanagra took place. The request made by Cimon to be allowed to take part in the engagement was rejected through the influence of the friends of Pericles; and Cimon having left his panoply for his friends to fight round, Pericles, as if in emulation of them, performed prodigies of valour. We do not learn distinctly what part he took in the movements which ensued. The expedition to Egypt he disapproved of; and through his whole career he showed himself averse to those ambitious schemes of foreign conquest which the Athenians were fond of cherishing; and at a later period effectually withstood the dreams of conquest in Sicily, Etruria. and Carthage, which, in consequence of the progress of Greek settlements in the West, some of the more enterprising Athenians had begun to cherish. In B. C. 454, after the failure of the expedition to Thessaly, Pericles led an armament which embarked at Pegae, and invaded the territory of Sicyon, routing those of the Sicyonians who opposed him. Then, taking with him some Achaean troops, he proceeded to Acarnania, and besieged Oeniadae, though without success (Thucyd. i. 111). It was probably after these events, that the recal of Cimon took place. If there was some want of generosity in his ostracism, Pericles at least atoned for it by himself proposing the decree for his recal. The story of the private compact entered into between Pericles and Cimon through the intervention of Elpinice, that Cimon should have the command abroad, while Pericles took the lead at home, is one which might safely have been questioned had it even rested on better authority than that of the gossip-mongers through whom Plutarch became acquainted with it.
It was not improbably about this time that Pericles took some steps towards the realisation of a noble idea which he had formed, of uniting all the Grecian states in one general confederation. He got a decree passed for inviting all the Hellenic states in Europe and Asia to send deputies to a congress, to be held at Athens, to deliberate in the first place about rebuilding the temples burnt by the Persians, and providing the sacrifices vowed in the time of danger; but also, and this was the most important part of the scheme, about the means of securing freedom and safety of navigation in every direction, and of establishing a general peace between the different Hellenic states. To bear these proposals to the different states, twenty men were selected of above fifty years of age, who were sent in detachments of five in different directions. But through the jealousy and counter machinations of Sparta, the project came to nothing.
In B. C. 448 the Phocians deprived the Delphians of the oversight of the temple and the guardianship of the treasures in it. In this they seem at least to have relied on the assistance of the Athenians, if the proceeding had not been suggested by them. A Lacedaemonian force proceeded to Phocis, and restored the temple to the Delphians, who granted to Sparta the right of precedence in consulting the oracle. But as soon as the Lacedaemonians had retired, Pericles appeared before the city with an Athenian army, replaced the Phocians in possession of the temple, and had the honour which had been granted to the Lacedaemonians transferred to the Athenians (Thucyd. i. 112). Next year (B. C. 447), when preparations were being made by Tolmides, to aid the democratical party in the towns of Boeotia in repelling the efforts and machinations of the oligarchical exiles, Pericles opposed the measure as rash and unseasonable. His advice was disregarded at the time; but when, a few days after, the news arrived of the disaster at Coroneia, he gained great credit for his wise caution and foresight. The ill success which had attended the Athenians on this occasion seems to have aroused the hopes of their enemies; and when the five years' truce had expired (a. c. 445), a general and concerted attack was made on them. Euboea revolted; and before Pericles, who had crossed over with an army to reduce it, could effect anything decisive, news arrived of a revolution in Megara and of the massacre of the greater part of the Athenian garrison, the rest of whom had fled to Nisaea; and intelligence was also brought of the approach of a Lacedaemonian army under the command of Pleistoanax, acting under the guidance of Cieandridas. Pericles, abandoning Euboea for the present, at once marched back to Athens. The Peloponnesians had already begun to ravage the country; Pericles, with his usual prudence, declined the risk of a battle; he found a bribe(1) a simpler and safer way of getting rid of the enemy. When this more important enemy had been disposed of, Pericles returned to Euboea with an armament of 50 galleys and 5000 heavy-armed soldiers, by which all resistance was overpowered. The land-owners of Chalcis (or at least some of them) were stripped of their estates. On the Histiaeans, who had given deeper provocation by murdering the whole crew of an Athenian galley which fell into their hands, a severer vengeance was inflicted. They were expelled from their territory, on which was settled a colony of 2000 Athenians, in a new town, Oreus, which took the place of Histiaea. These events were followed by the thirty years' truce, the Athenians consenting to evacuate Troezen, Pegae, Nisaea, and Achaea. The influence of the moderate counsels of Pericles may probably be traced in their consenting to submit to such terms. The conjecture hazarded by Bishop Thirlwall (vol. iii. p. 44), that the treaty was the work of the party opposed to Pericles, seems improbable. It may at least be assumed that the terms were not opposed by Pericles. The moment when his deeply-rooted and increasing influence had just been strengthened by the brilliant success which had crowned his exertions to rescue Athens from a most perilous position, would hardly have been chosen by his political opponents as one at which to set their policy in opposition to his.
After the death of Cimon the aristocratical party was headed by Thucydides, the son of Melesias. He formed it into a more regular organization, producing a more marked separation between it and the democratical party. Though a better political tactician than Cimon, Thucydides was no match for Pericles, either as a politician or as an orator, which, indeed, he acknowledged, when once, being asked by Archidamus whether he or Pericles was the better wrestler, he replied that when he threw Pericles the latter always managed to persuade the spectators that he had never been down. The contest between the two parties was brought to an issue in B. C. 444. Thucydides and his party opposed the lavish expenditure of the public treasure on the magnificent and expensive buildings with which Pericles was adorning the city, and on the festivals and other amusements which he instituted for the amusement of the citizens. In reply to the clamour which was raised against him in the assembly, Pericles offered to discharge the expense of the works, on condition that the edifices should be inscribed with his name, not with that of the people of Athens. The assembly with acclamation empowered him to spend as much as he pleased. The contest was soon after decided by ostracism, and Pericles was left without a rival; nor did any one throughout the remainder of his political course appear to contest his supremacy. Nothing could be more dignified or noble than the attitude which under these circumstances he assumed towards the people. The boundless influence which he possessed was never perverted by him to sinister or unworthy purposes. So far from being a mere selfish demagogue, he neither indulged nor courted the multitude. "As long as he was at the head of the state in peace he administered its affairs with moderation, and kept a safe guard over it, and it became in his time very great. Being powerful on the ground both of his reputation and of his judgment, and having clearly shown himself thoroughly incorruptible, he restrained the multitude with freedom, and was not so much led by it as himself led it, because he did not seek to acquire power by unworthy means, bringing forward propositions which would gratify the people, but on the ground of his high character being able to speak in opposition even to its angry feelings. And so, whenever he saw them insolently confident beyond what the occasion justified, by his speeches he reduced them to a more wary temper, and when on the other hand they were unreasonably alarmed, he restored them again to confidence. And there was in name a democracy, but in reality a government in the hands of the first man" (Thucyd. ii. 65). After the ostracism of Thucydides the organized opposition of the aristocratical party was broken up, though, as we shall see, the malevolence of the enemies of Pericles exposed him subsequently to some troublesome contests.
A few years after the commencement of the 30 years' truce a war broke out between Samos and Miletus about the towns of Priene and Anaea. The Milesians, being vanquished, applied for help to Athens, and were backed by the democratical party in Samos itself. So favourable an opportunity for carrying out the policy which Athens pursued towards her allies was quite sufficient to render the intervention of Aspasia unnecessary for the purpose of inducing Pericles to support the cause of the Milesians. The Samians were commanded to desist from hostilities, and submit their dispute to the decision of an Athenian tribunal. This they showed themselves slow to do, and Pericles was sent with a fleet of 40 galleys to enforce the commands of the Athenians. He established a democratical constitution in Samos, and took 100 hostages from the oligarchical party, which he lodged in Lemnos. He also levied a contribution of 80 talents. The bribe of a talent from each of the hostages, with a large sum besides from the oligarchical party and from Pissuthnes, the satrap of Sardes, is said to have been offered to Pericles to induce him to relinquish his intention, and of course refused. He then returned, leaving a small garrison of Athenians in Samos. When he had left, a body of Samians, who had left the island as he approached, having concerted measures with Pissuthnes, recovered the hostages, overpowered the Athenian garrison and their political opponents, and renounced the Athenian alliance. A Phoenician fleet was promised to assist them; the enemies of Athens in Greece were urged, though without success, to take up the cause of the Samians; and Byzantium was induced to join in the revolt. Pericles, with nine colleagues and a fleet of 60 vessels, returned to put down the revolt. Detachments were sent to get reinforcements from the other allies, and to look out for the Phoenician fleet. With the remaining ships, amounting to 44 in number, Pericles attacked a Samian fleet of 70, as it was returning from Miletus, and gained the victory. Having received reinforcements, he landed a body of troops, drove the Samians within the walls, and proceeded to invest the town. A victory, though probably a slight one, was gained by the Samians under the command of Melissus, and Pericles, with 60 ships, sailed to meet the Phoenician fleet. In his absence, the force which he had left behind was defeated, and the Samians exerted themselves actively in introducing supplies into the town. On the return of Pericles they were again closely besieged. An additional squadron of 40 ships was sent from Athens under the command of Hagnon, Phormion, and Thucydides. The Samians, being again decisively defeated in a sea-fight, were closely blockaded. Though Pericles is said to have made use of some new kinds of battering engines, the Samians held out resolutely, and murmurs were heard among the Athenian soldiers, whose dissolute habits (comp. Athen. xiii.) soon rendered them weary of the tedious process of blockade. There is a story that, in order to pacify them, Pericles divided his army into eight parts, and directed them to cast lots, the division which drew a white bean being allowed to feast and enjoy themselves, while the others carried on the military operations. At the end of nine months the Samians capitulated, on condition that they should give up their ships, dismantle their fortifications, and pay the cost of the siege by instalments. Their submission was speedily followed by that of the Byzantines. On his return to Athens, Pericles celebrated with great magnificence the obsequies of those who had fallen in the war. He was chosen to deliver the customary oration. At its close the women who were present showered upon him their chaplets and garlands. Elpinice alone is said to have contrasted his hardwon triumph with the brilliant victories of her brother Cimon. Pericles had indeed good reason to be proud of his success; for Thucydides (viii. 76) does not scruple to say that the Samians were within a very little of wresting from the Athenians their maritime supremacy. But the comparison with the Trojan War, if ever really made, was more likely to have come from some sycophantic partisan, than from Pericles himself (Plut. l.c.; Thucyd. i. 115--117; Diod. xii. 27, 28; Suidas, s. v. Samion ho demos ; Aelian, V. H. ii. 9; Aristoph. Aclitarn. 850).
Between the Samian war, which terminated in B. C. 440, and the Peloponnesian war, which began in B. C. 431, the Athenians were not engaged in any considerable military operations. On one occasion, though the date is uncertain, Pericles conducted a great armament to the Euxine, apparently with very little object beyond that of displaying the power and maritime supremacy of the Athenians, overawing the barbarians, and strengthening the Athenian influence in the cities in that quarter. Sinope was at the time under the power of the tyrant Timesilaus. Application was made to Pericles for assistance to expel the tyrant. A body of troops, which was left under the command of Lamachus, succeeded in effecting this object, and a body of 600 Athenians was afterwards sent to take possession of the confiscated property of the tyrant and his partisans.
While the Samian war was a consequence of the policy which Athens exercised towards her allies, the issue of it tended greatly to confirm that direct authority which she exercised over them. This policy did not originate with Pericles, but it was quite in accordance with his views, and was carried out by him in the most complete manner. By the commutation of military service for tribute, many of the allied states had been stripped of their means of defence in the time of Cimon. It appears, however, to have been on the proposition of Pericles that the treasure of the confederacy was removed from Delos to Athens (about B. C. 461), and openly appropriated to objects which had no immediate connection with the purpose for which the confederacy was first formed, and the contributions levied. In justification of this procedure, Pericles urged that so long as the Athenians fulfilled their part of the compact, by securing the safety of their allies against the attacks of the Persian power, they were not obliged to render any account of the mode in which the money was expended; and if they accomplished the object for which the alliance was formed with so much vigour and skill as to have a surplus treasure remaining out of the funds contributed by the allies, they had a right to expend that surplus in any way they pleased. Under the administration of Pericles the contributions were raised from 460 to 600 talents. The greater part of this increase may have arisen from the commutation of service for money. There is nothing to show that any of the states were more heavily burdened than before. The direct sovereignty which the Athenians claimed over their allies was also exercised ill most instances in establishilng or supporting democratieal government, and in compelling all those who were reduced to the condition of subject allies to refer, at all events, the more important of their judicial causes to the Athenian courts for trial. Pericles was not insensible to the real nature of the supremacy which Athens thus exercised. He admitted that it was of the nature of a tyranny (Thucyd. ii. 63). In defence of the assumption of it he would doubtless have urged, as the Athenian ambassadors did at Sparta, that the Athenians deserved their high position on account of their noble sacrifices in the cause of Greece, since any liberty which the Greek states enjoyed wastile result of that self-devotion; that the supremacy was offered to them, not seized by force; and that it was the jealousy and hostility of Sparta which rendered it necessary for the Athenians in self-defence to convert their hegemony into a dominion, which every motive of national honour and interest urged them to maintain; that the Athenians had been more moderate in the exercise of their dominion than could have been expected, or than any other state would have been under similar circumstances; and that the right of the Athenians had been tacitly acquiesced in by the Lacedaemonitans themselves until actual causes of quarrel had arisetn between them (Thucyd. i. 73, especially 75, 76). In point of fact, we find the Corinthians at an earlier period, in the congress held to deliberate respecting the application of the Samians, openly laying down the maxim that each state had a right to punish its own allies (Thucyd. i. 40). If Pericles did not rise above the maxims of his times and country, his political morality was certainly not below that of the age; nor would it be easy even in more modern times to point out a nation or statesman whose procedure in similar circumstances would have been widely different.
The empire which arose out of this consolidation of the Athenian confederacy, was still further strengthened by planting colonies, which commonly stood to the parent state in that peculiar relation which was understood by the term klerouchoi (see Colonia). Colonies of this kind were planted at Oreus in Euboea, at Chalcis, in Naxos, Andros, among the Thracians, and in the Thracian Chersonesus. The settlement at Sinope has been already spoken of. The important colony of Thurii was founded in B. C. 444. Amphipolis was founded by Hagnon in B. C. 437. These colonies also served the very important purpose of drawing off from Athens a large part of the more troublesome and needy citizens, whom it might have been found difficult to keep employed at a time when no military operations of any great magnitude were being carried on. Pericles, however, was anxious rather for a well consolidated empire than for an extensive dominion, and therefore refused to sanction those plans of extensive conquest which many of his contemporaries had begun to cherish. Such attempts, surrounded as Athens was by jealous rivals and active enemies, he knew would be too vast to be attended with success.
Pericles thoroughly understood that the supremacy which it was his object to secure for Athens rested on her maritime superiority. The Athenian navy was one of the objects of his especial care. A fleet of 60 galleys was sent out every year and kept at sea for eight months, mainly, of course, for the purpose of training the crews, though the subsistence thus provided for the citizens who served in the fleet was doubtless an item in his calculations. To render the communication between Athens and Peiraeeus still more secure, Pericles built a third wall between the two first built, parallel to the Peiraic wall.
The internal administration of Pericles is characterised chiefly by the mode in which the public treasures were expended. The funds derived from the tribute of the allies and other sources were devoted to a large extent to the erection of those magnificent temples and public buildings which rendered Athens the wonder and admiration of Greece. A detailed description of the splendid structures which crowned the Acropolis, belongs rather to an account of Athens. The Propylaea, and the Parthenon, with its sculptured pediments and statue of Athene, exhibited a perfection of art never before seen, and never since surpassed. Besides these, the Odeum, a theatre designed for the musical entertainments which Pericles appended to the festivities of the Panathenaea, was construtcted under his direction; and the temples at Eleusis and other places in Attica, which had been destroyed by the Persians, were rebuilt. The rapidity with which these works were finished excited astonishment. The Propylaea, the most expensive of them, was finished in five years. Under the stimulus afforded by these works architecture and sculpture reached their highest perfection, and some of the greatest artists of antiquity were employed in erecting or adorning the buildings. The chief direction and oversight of the [p. 197] public edifices was entrusted to Pheidias, under whose superintendence were employed his two pupils Alcamenes and Agoracritus, Ictinus and Callicrates the architects of the Parthenon, Mnesicles the architect of the Propylaea, Coroebus the architect who began the temple at Eleusis, Callimachus, Metagenes, Xenocles and others. These works calling into activity, as they did in various ways, almost every branch of industry and commerce at Athens, diffused universal prosperity while they proceeded. Such a variety of instruments and materials were now needed, that there could hardly be an artisan in the city who would not find scope for his industry and skill; and as every art required the services of a number of subordinate labourers, every class of the labouring citizens found employment and support. This, however, though a most important object, and one which Pericles had distinctly in view, was not the only one which he set before himself in this expenditure. Independently of the gratification of his personal taste, which in this respect accorded with that of the people, his internal and external policy formed parts of one whole. While he raised A tiens to that supremacy which in his judgment she deserved to possess, on account both of the natural capabilities of the people and the glorious sacrifices which the had made for the safety and freedom not of themselves only but of Greece, the magnificent aspect which the city assumed under his directions was designed to keep alive among the people a present consciousness of their greatness and power (Comp. Demosth. Aristocr.) This feature of his policy is distinctly expressed in the speech delivered by him over the slain in the first winter of the Peloponnesian war, a speech equally valuable as an embodiment of his views, whether the sentiments contained in it be, as is most probable, such as he actually delivered, or such as his contemporary Thucydides knew him to entertain (Thucyd. ii. 35--46). He calls upon the survivors to resolve that the spirit they cherish towards their enemies shall be no less daring than that of those who had fallen; considering not alone the immediate benefit resulting from repelling their enemies, but rather the power of the city, contemplating it in reality daily, and becoming lovers (erastas) of it; and whenever it seems to them to be great, considering that men acquired this magnificence by daring, and judging what was necessary, and maintaining a sense of honour in action (c. 43). The design of his policy was that Athens should be thoroughly prepared for war, while it contained within itself every thing that could render the citizens satisfied with peace; to make them conscious of their greatness, and inspire them with that self-reliance and elastic vigour, which was a surer safeguard than all the jealous measures resorted to by the Spartans (c. 36--39). Nothing could well be further from the truth than the estimate Plato formed of the policy of Pericles, if he makes Socrates express his own views, in saying that Pericles made the Athenians idle, and cowardly, and talkative, and money-loving, by first accustoming them to receive pay (Gory. p. 515, e.). The great object of Pencles was to get the Athenians to set before themselves a great ideal of what Athens and an Athenian ought to be. His commendations of the national characteristics partook quite as much of the nature of exhortation as of that of praise. This object, of leading the Athenians to value highly their station and privileges as Athenian citizens, may doubtless be traced in the law which he got passed at an early period, that the privileges of citizenship should be confined to those whose parents were both Athenians; a law which was called into exercise ill B. C. 444, on the occasion of a present of corn being sent by Psammetichus from Egypt, to be distributed among the Athenian citizens. At the scrutiny which was set on foot only about 14,000 were found to be genuine Athenians, nearly 5000 being discovered to be aliens. That he had not miscalculated the effect likely to be produced on the minds of his fellowcitizens, is shown by the interest and pride which they took in the progress and beauty of the public works. When it was a matter or discussion in the assembly whether marble or ivory should be used in the construction of the great statue of Athene, the latter was selected, apparently for scarcely any other reason than that it was the more costly. We have already seen that the bare idea of having their name disconnected with the works that adorned their city, was sufficient to induce them to sanction Pericles in his lavish application of the public treasures. Pity, that an expenditure so wise in its ends, and so magnificent in its kind, should have been founded on an act of appropriation, which a strict impartiality cannot justify, though a fair consideration of all the circumstances of the age and people will find much to palliate it. The honesty of the objections raised against it by the enemies of Pericles on the score of its injustice is very questionable. The issue of the opposition of Thucydides and his party has already been noticed.
It was not the mere device of a demagogue anxious to secure popularity, but a part of a settled policy, which led Pericles to provide amusement for the people in the shape of religious festivals and musical and dramatic entertainments. These were at the same time intended to prepare the citizens by cheerful relaxation and intellectual stimulus for enduring the exertions necessary for the greatness and well-being of the state, and to lead them, as they became conscious of the enjoyment as well as dignity of their condition, as Athenian citizens, to be ready to put forth their most strenuous exertions in defending a position which secured to them so many advantages (Thucyd. ii. 38, 40). The impulse that would be given to trade and commerce by the increase of requirements on the part of the Athenians was also an element in his calculations (Thueyd. ii. 38). The drama especially characterised the age of Pericles. From the comic poets Pericles had to sustain numerous attacks. Their ridicule of his personal peculiarity coull excite nothing more than a passing laugh. More serious attempts were made by them to render his position suspicious in the eyes of the people. They exaggerated his power, spoke of his party as Peisistratids, and called upon him to swear that he was not about to assume the tyranny. Cratinus threw out insinuations as to the tardiness with which the building of the third long wall to Peiraeeus proceeded. His connection with Aspasia was made the ground of frequent sallies (Plut. Per. 24). His high character and strict probity, however, rendered all these attacks harmless. But that Pericles was the author of a law passed B. C. 440, restraining the exhibition of comedy, is not probable (Cic. de Rep. iv. 10, 11). The enemies of Pericles, unable to ruin his reputation by these means, attacked him through his friends. A charge was brought against Pheidias of appropriating part of the gold destined to adorn the statue of the goddess on the Acropolis; and Menon, a workman who had been employed by Pheidias, was suborned to support the charge. By the directionof Pericles, however, the golden ornaments had been so fixed as to admit of being taken off. Pericles challenged the accusers to weigh them. They shrank from the test, but the probity of Pheidias was established. This charge having been fruitless, a second attack was made on him for having in the sculpture on the shield of the goddess, representing the battle with the Amazons, introduced portraits of himself and Pericles. To support this charge, again Menon was brought forward, and Pheidias was cast into prison as having shown dishonour to the national religion. According to Plutarch he died there, either by poison, or by a natural death.
The next attack was intended to wound Pericles on a still more sensitive side. The connection between Pericles and Aspasia, and the great ascendancy which she had over him, has already been spoken of in the article Aspasia (Respecting the benefit which the oratory of Pericles was supposed to have derived from her instructions, see Plat. Menex.). The comic poet Hermippus instituted a prosecution against her, on the ground of impiety, and of pandering to the vices of Pericles by corrupting the Athenian women; a charge beyond all doubt as slanderous as that made against Pheidias of doing the same under pretence of admitting Athenian ladies to view the progress of his works. Apparently, while this trial was pending, Diopeithes got a decree passed that those who denied the existence of the gods, or introduced new opinions about celestial phaenomena, should be informed against and impeached according to the process termed eisangelia (see Eisangelia). This decree was aimed at Anaxagoras, and through him at Pericles. Another decree was proposed by Dracontides, that Pericles should give in an account of his expenditure of the public money before the Prytanes, who were to conduct the trial with peculiar solemnity. On the amendment of Agnon it was decreed that the trial should take place before 1500 dicasts. Aspasia was acquitted, though Pericles was obliged to descend to entreaties and tears to save her. The fate of Anaxagoras is uncertain. Of the proceedings against Pericles himself we hear nothing further (Plut. l. c. ; Athen. xiii, where several of the gossiping stories about Pericles will be found; Diod. xii. 39; Diog. Laert. ii. 12). It was the opinion entertained by many ancient writers that the dread of the impending prosecution was at least one of the motives which induced Pericles to hurry on the outbreak of the war with Sparta. That this unworthy charge was a false one is abundantly evident from the impartial and emphatic statements of Thucydides. The honesty of Pericles was unimpeachable, and the outbreak of hostilities inevitable.
When the Corcyraeans applied to Athens for assistance against Corinth, one of their main arguments was that hostilities between the rival confederacies could not be postponed much longer. Pericles doubtless foresaw this when by his advice a defensive alliance was contracted with the Corcyraeans, and ten galleys sent to assist them, under Lacedaemonius the son of Cimon, which were only to be brought into action in case a descent upon the territories of the Corcyraeans were threatened. Plutarch represents Pericles as sending so small a force through jealousy of the family of Cimon. Pericles might safely have defied the rivalry of a much more formidable person than Lacedaemonius. A larger squadron of 20 ships was sent out not long after, in case the force first sent should prove too small (Thucyd. i. 31--54). The measures taken by the Athenians with respect to Potidaea doubtless had the sanction of Pericles, if they were not suggested by him (Thucyd. i. 56). After war had been declared by the congress of the Peloponnesian alliance, as the members of it were not in a condition to commence hostilities immediately, various embassies were sent to Athens, manifestly rather with the intention of multiplying causes of hostility, than with a sincere intention to prevent the outbreak of war. The first demand made was, that the Athenians should banish all that remained of the accursed family of the Alcmaeonids. This was clearly aimed at Pericles, who by his mother's side was connected with that house. The design of the Lacedaemonians was to render Pericles an object of odium when the difficulties of the war came to be felt by the Athenians, by making it appear that he was the obstacle in the way of peace (Thucyd. i. 127). The demand was disregarded, and the Lacedaemonians in their turn directed to free themselves from the pollution contracted by the death of Pausanias. Subsequent demands were made that the Athenians should raise the siege of Potidaea, restore Aegina to independence, and especially repeal the decree against the Megarians, by which the latter were excluded, on pain of death, from the agora of Athens, and from all ports in the Athenian dominions. One of the scandalous stories of the time represented this decree as having been procured by Pericles from private motives, some Megarians having carried off two girls belonging to the train of Aspasia (Aristoph. Acharn. 500). There was quite sufficient ground for the decree in the long-standing enmity between the Athenians and Megarians, which, just before the decree was passed on the motion of Charinus, had been inflamed by the murder of an Athenian herald, who had been sent to obtain satisfaction from the Megarians for their having encroached upon the consecrated land that lay between the territories of the two states. This demand of the Lacedaemonians was succeeded by one that the Athenians should leave all Greek states independent, that is, that Athens should relinquish her empire, intimations being given that peace might be expected if these conditions were complied with. An assembly was held to deliberate on the answer to be given to the Lacedaemlonians. The true motives which actuated Pericles in resisting these demands are given by Thucydides in the speech which he puts into his mouth on the occasion (i. 140--144). Pericles judged rightly in telling the Athenians that the demands made of them, especially that about Megara, [p. 199] which was most insisted on, were mere pretexts by which the Lacedaemonians were trying the spirit and resolution of the Athenians; and that in that point of view, involving the whole principle of submission to Sparta, it became of the utmost importance not to yield. He pointed out the advantages which Athens, as the head of a compact dominion, possessed over a disjointed league like that of the Peloponnesians, which, moreover, had not at its immediate command the resources necessary for carrying on the war, and would find the greatest difficulty in raising them ; showed how impossible it was that the Peloponesians should be able to cope with the Athenians by sea, and how utterly fruitless their attack would be while Athens remained mistress of the sea. The course which he recommended therefore was, that the Athenians should not attempt to defend their territory when invaded, but retire within the city, and devote all their attention to securing the strength and efficiency of their navy, with which they could make severe retaliations on the territories of their enemies; since a victor by land would be of no service, and defeat would immediately be followed by the revolt of their subject allies. He warned them, however, that they must be content with defending what they already possessed, and must not attempt to extend their dominion. War, he bade them observe, could not be avoided; and they would the iss feel the ill effects of it, if they met their antagonists with alacrity. At his suggestion the Athenians gave for answer to the Lacedaemonian ambassadors, that they would rescind the decree against Megara if the Lacedaemonians would cease to exclude strangers from intercourse with their citizens; that they would leave their allies independent if they were so at the conclusion of the treaty, and if Sparta would grant real independence to her allies; and that they were still willing to submit their differences to arbitration.
In one sense, indeed, Pericles may be looked upon as the author of the Peloponnesian war, inasmuch as it was mainly his enlightened policy which had raised Athens to that degree of power which produced in the Lacedaemonians the jealousy and alarm which Thucydides (i. 23) distinetly affirms to have been the real cause of the Peloponnesian war. How accurately Pericles had ealculated the resources of Athens, and how wisely he had discerned her true policy in the war, was rendered manifest by the spirited struggle which she maintained even when the Peloponnesians were supplied with Persian gold, and by the irreparable disasters into which she was plunged by her departure from the policy enjoined by Pericles.
In the spring of B. C. 431 Plataea was seized. Both sides prepared with vigour for hostilities ; and a Peloponnesian army having assembled at the isthmus, another embassy was sent to the Athenians by Archidamus to see if they were disposed to yield. In accordance with a decree which Pericles had had passed, that no herald or embassy should be received after the Lacedaemonians had taken the field, the ambassador, Melesippus, was not suffered to enter the city. Pericles, suspecting that Archidamus in his invasion might leave his property untouched, either out of private friendship, or by the direction of the Peloponnesians, in order to excite odium against him, leclared in an assembly of the people that if his lands were left unravaged, he would give them up to be the property of the state (Thucyd. ii. 13). He took the opportunity at the same time of giving the Athenians an account of the resources they had at their command. Acting upon his advice they conveyed their moveable property into the city, transporting their cattle and beasts of burden to Euboea. When the Peloponnesian army advanced desolating Attica, the Athenians were clamorous to be led out against the enemy, and were angry with Pericles because he steadily adhered to the policy he had recommended. He would hold no assembly or meeting of any kind. He, however, kept close guard on the walls, and sent out cavalry to protect the lands near the city. While the Peloponnesian army was in Attica, a fleet of 100 ships was sent round Peloponnesus (Thucyd. ii. 18). The foresight of Pericles may probably be traced in the setting apart 1000 talents, and 100 of the best sailing galleys of the year, to be employed only in case of an attack being made on Athens by sea. Any one proposing to appropriate them to any other purpose was to suffer death. Anotller fleet of thirty ships was sent along the coasts of Locris and Euboea: and in this same summer the population of Aegina was expelled, and Athenian colonists sent to take possession of the island. An alliance was also entered into with Sitalces, king of Thrace. In the autumn Pericles in person led an army into Megaris, and ravaged most of the country. The decree against Megara before spoken of enacted that the Athenian generals on entering office should swear to invade Megaris twice a year (Plut. l.c.; Thuicyd. iv. 66). In the winter (B. C. 431--430), on the occasion of paying funeral honours to those who had fallen in the course of the hostilities, Pericles was chosen to deliver the oration (Thucyd. ii. 35--46). In the summer of the next year, when the Peloponnesians invaded Attica, Pericles pursued the same policy as before. In this summer the plague made its appearance in Athens (Thucyd. ii. 48). An armament of 100 ships (Thucyd. ii. 56) was conducted by Pericles in person to the coast of Peloponnesus. An eclipse of the sun which happened just before the fleet set sail afforded Pericles an opportunity of applying the astronomical knowledge which he had derived from Anaxagoras in quieting the alarm which it occasioned (Plut. Per. 35).
The Athenians, being exposed to the devastation of the war and the plague at the same time, not unnaturally began to turn their thoughts to peace, and looked upon Pericles as the author of all their distresses, inasmuch as he had persuaded them to go to war. Pericles was unable to prevent the sending of an embassy to Sparta, with proposals for peace. It was however fruitless. Pericles then called an assembly , and endeavoured to bring the people to a better mind; set forth the grounds they had for hoping for success; pointed out the unreasonableness of being cast down and diverted from a course of action deliberately taken up by an unforeseen accident like that of the plague, and especially the injustice of holding him in any way responsible for the hardships they were suffering on account of it. It was impossible now to retreat ; their empire must be defended at any sacrifice, for it was perilous to abandon it (Thucyd. ii. 60--64). Though his speech to some extent allayed the public ferment, it did not remove from their minds the irritation they felt. Clecn appears among his [p. 200] foremost enemies. According to Plutarch a decree was passed that Pericles should be deprived of his command and pay a fine, the amount of which was variously stated. Thucvdides merely says that he was fined. The ill feeling of the people having found this vent, Pericles soon resumed his accustomed sway, and was again elected one of the generals for the ensuing year.
The military operations of B. C. 429 were doubtless conducted under the general superintendence of Pericles, though he does not appear to have conducted any in person. The plague carried off most of his near connections. His son Xanthippus, a profligate and undutiful youth, his sister, and most of his intimate friends died of it. Still Pericles maintained unmoved his calm bearing and philosophic composure, and did not even attend the funeral rites of those who were carried off. At last his only surviving legitimate son, Paralus, a youth of greater promise than his brother, fell a victim. The firmness of Pericles then at last gave way; as he placed the funeral garland on the head of the lifeless youth he burst into tears and sobbed aloud. He had one son remaining, his child by Aspasia. Either by a repeal of the law respecting legitimacy which he himself had before got passed, or by a special vote, he was allowed to enrol this son in his own tribe and give him his own name. In the autumn of B. C. 429 Pericles himself died of a lingering sickness, which, if a variety of the plague, was not attended by its usual violent symptoms, but was of such a nature that he wasted away by slow degrees. Theophrastus preserved a story, that he allowed the women who attended him to hang an amulet round his neck, which he showed to a friend to indicate the extremity to which sickness had reduced him, when he could submit to such a piece of superstition. When at the point of death, as his friends were gathered round his bed, recalling his virtues and successes and enumerating his triumphs (in the course of his military career, in which he was equally remarkable for his prudence(2) and his courage, he had erected as many as nine trophies), overhearing their remarks, he said that they had forgotten his greatest praise: that no Athenian through his means had been made to put on mourning. He survived the commencement of the war two years and six months (Thuc. ii. 65). His death was an irreparable loss to Athens. The policy he had laid down for the guidance of his fellow-citizens was soon departed from; and those who came after him being far inferior to him in personal abilities and merit and more on a level with each other, in their eagerness to assume the reins of the state, betook themselves to unworthy modes of securing popular favour, and, so far from checking the wrong inclinations of the people, fostered and encouraged them, while the operations of the forces abroad and the counsels of the people at home were weakened by division and strife (Thuc. ii. 65).
The name of the wife of Pericles is not mentioned. She had been the wife of Hipponicus, by whom she was the mother of Callias. She bore two sons to Pericles, Xanthippus and Paralus. She lived unhappily with Pericles, and a divorce took place by mutual consent, when Pericles connected himself with Aspasia by a tie as close as the law allowed. His union with her continued in uninterrupted harmony till his death. It is possible enough that Aspasia occasioned the alienation of Pericles from his wife; but at the same time it appears that she had been divorced by her former husband likewise. By Aspasia Pericles had one son, who bore his name. Of his strict probity he left the decisive proof in the fact that at his death he was found not to have added a single drachma to his hereditary property. Cicero (Brut. 7. 27, de Orut. ii. 22. 93) speaks of written orations by Pericles as extant. It is not unlikely that he was deceived by some spurious productions bearing his name (Quint. I. O. iii. 1). He mentions the tomb of Pericles at Athens (de Fin. v. 2). It was on the way to the Academy (Paus. i. 29.3). There was also a statue of him at Athens (Paus. i. 28. § 2). (Plut. Pericles)
(1) When, some time after, in a transient outbreak of ill-feeling, Pericles was called upon to submit his accounts for inspection, there appeared an item of ten talents spent for a necessary purpose. As the purpose to which the sum had been applied was tolerably well understood, the statenent was allowed to pass without question (Aristoph. Nub. 832, with the Scholiast; Thucyd. ii. 21). It was probably this incident which gave rise to the story which Plutarch found in several writers, that Pericles, for the purpose of postponing the Peloponnesian war, which he perceived to be inevitable, sent ten talents yearly to Sparta, with which he bribed the most influential persons, and so kept the Spartans quiet; a statement which, though probably incorrect, is worth noting, as indicating a belief that the war was at any rate not hurried on by Pericles out of private motives.
(2) He used to say that as far as their fate depended upon him, the Athenians should be immortal.
This text is from: A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890) (eds. William Smith, LLD, William Wayte, G. E. Marindin). Cited June 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks
Pericles, Plutarch, Lives (ed. Bernadotte Perrin)
Pericles. On seeing certain wealthy foreigners in Rome carrying puppies and young monkeys about in their bosoms and fondling them, Caesar asked, we are told, if the women in their country did not bear children, thus in right princely fashion rebuking those who squander on animals that proneness to love and loving affection which is ours by nature, and which is due only to our fellow-men. Since, then, our souls are by nature possessed of great fondness for learning and fondness for seeing, it is surely reasonable to chide those who abuse this fondness on objects all unworthy either of their eyes or ears, to the neglect of those which are good and serviceable. Our outward sense, since it apprehends the objects which encounter it by virtue of their mere impact upon it, must the exercise of his mind every man, if he pleases, has the natural power to turn himself away in every case, and to change, without the least difficulty, to that object upon which he himself determines. It is meet, therefore, that he pursue what is best, to the end that he may not merely regard it, but also be edified by regarding it. A color is suited to the eye if its freshness, and its pleasantness as well, stimulates and nourishes the vision; and so our intellectual vision must be applied to such objects as, by their very charm, invite it onward to its own proper good. Such objects are to be found in virtuous deeds; these implant in those who search them out a great and zealous eagerness which leads to imitation. In other cases, admiration of the deed is not immediately accompanied by an impulse to do it. Nay, many times, on the contrary, while we delight in the work, we despise the workman, as, for instance, in the case of perfumes and dyes; we take a delight in them, but dyers and perfumers we regard as illiberal and vulgar folk. Therefore it was a fine saying of Antisthenes, when he heard that Ismenias was an excellent piper: "But he's a worthless man", said he, "otherwise he wouldn't be so good a piper". And so Philip2 once said to his son, who, as the wine went round, plucked the strings charmingly and skilfully, "Art not ashamed to pluck the strings so well"? It is enough, surely, if a king have leisure to hear others pluck the strings, and he pays great deference to the Muses if he be but a spectator of such contests.
Labour with one's own hands on lowly tasks gives witness, in the toil thus expended on useless things, to one's own indifference to higher things. No generous youth, from seeing the Zeus at Pisa or the Hera at Argos, longs to be Pheidias or Polycleitus; nor to be Anacreon or Philetas or Archilochus out of pleasure in their poems. For it does not of necessity follow that, if the work delights you with its grace, the one who wrought it is worthy of your esteem. Wherefore the spectator is not advantaged by those things at sight of which no ardor for imitation arises in the breast, nor any uplift of the soul arousing zealous impulses to do the like. But virtuous action straightway so disposes a man that he no sooner admires the works of virtue than he strives to emulate those who wrought them. The good things of Fortune we love to possess and enjoy; those of Virtue we love to perform. The former we are willing should be ours at the hands of others; the latter we wish that others rather should have at our hands. The Good creates a stir of activity towards itself, and implants at once in the spectator an active impulse; it does not form his character by ideal representation alone, but through the investigation of its work it furnishes him with a dominant purpose. For such reasons I have decided to persevere in my writing of Lives, and so have composed this tenth book, containing the life of Pericles, and that of Fabius Maximus, who waged such lengthy war with Hannibal. The men were alike in their virtues, and more especially in their gentleness and rectitude, and by their ability to endure the follies of their peoples and of their colleagues in office, they proved of the greatest service to their countries. But whether I aim correctly at the proper mark must be decided from what I have written.
Pericles was of the tribe Acamantis, of the deme Cholargus, and of the foremost family and lineage on both sides. His father, Xanthippus, who conquered the generals of the King at Mycale (479 BC), married Agariste, granddaughter of that Cleisthenes who, in such noble fashion, expelled the Peisistratidae and destroyed their tyranny, instituted laws, and established a constitution best tempered for the promotion of harmony and safety. She, in her dreams, once fancied that she had given birth to a lion, and a few days thereafter bore Pericles.
His personal appearance was unimpeachable, except that his head was rather long and out of due proportion. For this reason the images of him, almost all of them, wear helmets, because the artists, as it would seem, were not willing to reproach him with deformity. The comic poets of Attica used to call him "Schinocephalus", or Squill-head (the squill is sometimes called "schinus"). So the comic poet Cratinus, in his "Cheirons", says: "Faction and Saturn, that ancient of days, were united in wedlock; their offspring was of all tyrants the greatest, and lo! he is called by the gods the head-compeller". And again in his "Nemesis": "Come, Zeus! of guests and heads the Lord!" And Telecleides speaks of him as sitting on the acropolis in the greatest perplexity, "now heavy of head, and now alone, from the eleven-couched chamber of his head, causing vast uproar to arise". And Eupolis, in his "Demes", having inquiries made about each one of the demagogues as they come up from Hades, says, when Pericles is called out last:
The very head of those below hast thou now brought. Eupolis, Demes
His teacher in music, most writers state, was Damon (whose name, they say, should be pronounced with the first syllable short); but Aristotle (Plato, rather, in Plat. Alc. 1 118c.) says he had a thorough musical training at the hands of Pythocleides. Now Damon seems to have been a consummate sophist, but to have taken refuge behind the name of music in order to conceal from the multitude his real power, and he associated with Pericles, that political athlete, as it were, in the capacity of rubber and trainer. However, Damon was not left unmolested in this use of his lyre as a screen, but was ostracized for being a great schemer and a friend of tyranny, and became a butt of the comic poets. At all events, Plato (Plato the comic poet) represented some one as inquiring of him thus:
In the first place tell me then, I beseech thee, thou who art
The Cheiron, as they say, who to Pericles gave his craft.
Pericles was also a pupil of Zeno the Eleatic, who discoursed on the natural world, like Parmenides, and perfected a species of refutative catch which was sure to bring an opponent to grief; as Timon of Phlius expressed it:
His was a tongue that could argue both ways with a fury resistless,
Zeno's; assailer of all things. Timon, unknown
But the man who most consorted with Pericles, and did most to clothe him with a majestic demeanor that had more weight than any demagogue's appeals, yes, and who lifted on high and exalted the dignity of his character, was Anaxagoras the Clazomenian, whom men of that day used to call "Nous", either because they admired that comprehension of his, which proved of such surpassing greatness in the investigation of nature; or because he was the first to enthrone in the universe, not Chance, nor yet Necessity, as the source of its orderly arrangement, but Mind (Nous) pure and simple, which distinguishes and sets apart, in the midst of an otherwise chaotic mass, the substances which have like elements.
This man Pericles extravagantly admired, and being gradually filled full of the so-called higher philosophy and elevated speculation, he not only had, as it seems, a spirit that was solemn and a discourse that was lofty and free from plebeian and reckless effrontery, but also a composure of countenance that never relaxed into laughter, a gentleness of carriage and cast of attire that suffered no emotion to disturb it while he was speaking, a modulation of voice that was far from boisterous, and many similar characteristics which struck all his hearers with wondering amazement. It is, at any rate, a fact that, once on a time when he had been abused and insulted all day long by a certain lewd fellow of the baser sort, he endured it all quietly, though it was in the marketplace, where he had urgent business to transact, and towards evening went away homewards unruffled, the fellow following along and heaping all manner of contumely upon him. When he was about to go in doors, it being now dark, he ordered a servant to take a torch and escort the fellow in safety back to his own home.
The poet Ion, however, says that Pericles had a presumptuous and somewhat arrogant manner of address, and that into his haughtiness there entered a good deal of disdain and contempt for others; he praises, on the other hand, the tact, complaisance, and elegant address which Cimon showed in his social intercourse.But we must ignore Ion, with his demand that virtue, like a dramatic tetralogy, have some sort of a farcical appendage. Zeno, when men called the austerity of Pericles a mere thirst for reputation, and swollen conceit, urged them to have some such thirst for reputation themselves, with the idea that the very assumption of nobility might in time produce, all unconsciously, something like an eager and habitual practice of it.
These were not the only advantages Pericles had of his association with Anaxagoras. It appears that he was also lifted by him above superstition, that feeling which is produced by amazement at what happens in regions above us. It affects those who are ignorant of the causes of such things, and are crazed about divine intervention, and confounded through their inexperience in this domain; whereas the doctrines of natural philosophy remove such ignorance and inexperience, and substitute for timorous and inflamed superstition that unshaken reverence which is attended by a good hope. A story is told that once on a time the head of a one-horned ram was brought to Pericles from his country-place, and that Lampon the seer, when he saw how the horn grew strong and solid from the middle of the forehead, declared that, whereas there were two powerful parties in the city, that of Thucydides and that of Pericles, the mastery would finally devolve upon one man,--the man to whom this sign had been given. Anaxagoras, however, had the skull cut in two, and showed that the brain had not filled out its position, but had drawn together to a point, like an egg, at that particular spot in the entire cavity where the root of the horn began. At that time, the story says, it was Anaxagoras who won the plaudits of the bystanders; but a little while after it was Lampon, for Thucydides was overthrown, and Pericles was entrusted with the entire control of all the interests of the people.
Now there was nothing, in my opinion, to prevent both of them, the naturalist and the seer, from being in the right of the matter; the one correctly divined the cause, the other the object or purpose. It was the proper province of the one to observe why anything happens, and how it comes to be what it is; of the other to declare for what purpose anything happens, and what it means. And those who declare that the discovery of the cause, in any phenomenon, does away with the meaning, do not perceive that they are doing away not only with divine portents, but also with artificial tokens, such as the ringing of gongs, the language of fire-signals, and the shadows of the pointers on sundials. Each of these has been made, through some causal adaptation, to have some meaning. However, perhaps this is matter for a different treatise.
As a young man, Pericles was exceedingly reluctant to face the people, since it was thought that in feature he was like the tyrant Peisistratus; and when men well on in years remarked also that his voice was sweet, and his tongue glib and speedy in discourse, they were struck with amazement at the resemblance. Besides, since he was rich, of brilliant lineage, and had friends of the greatest influence, he feared that he might be ostracized, and so at first had naught to do with politics, but devoted himself rather to a military career, where he was brave and enterprising. However, when Aristides was dead (Soon after 468 B.C.) and Themistocles in banishment (after 472 B.C.) and Cimon was kept by his campaigns for the most part abroad, then at last Pericles decided to devote himself to the people, espousing the cause of the poor and the many instead of the few and the rich, contrary to his own nature, which was anything but popular. But he feared, as it would seem, to encounter a suspicion of aiming at tyranny, and when he saw that Cimon was very aristocratic in his sympathies, and was held in extraordinary affection by the party of the "Good and True", he began to court the favour of the multitude, thereby securing safety for himself, and power to wield against his rival. Straightway, too, he made a different ordering in his way of life. On one street only in the city was he to be seen walking,--the one which took him to the market-place and the council-chamber. Invitations to dinner, and all such friendly and familiar intercourse, he declined, so that during the long period that elapsed while he was at the head of the state, there was not a single friend to whose house he went to dine, except that when his kinsman Euryptolemus gave a wedding feast, he attended until the libations were made, and then straightway rose up and departed. Conviviality is prone to break down and overpower the haughtiest reserve, and in familiar intercourse the dignity which is assumed for appearance's sake is very hard to maintain. Whereas, in the case of true and genuine virtue, "fairest appears what most appears", and nothing in the conduct of good men is so admirable in the eyes of strangers, as their daily walk and conversation is in the eyes of those who share it.
And so it was that Pericles, seeking to avoid the satiety which springs from continual intercourse, made his approaches to the people by intervals, as it were, not speaking on every question, nor addressing the people on every occasion, but offering himself like the Salaminian trireme, as Critolaus says, for great emergencies. The rest of his policy he carried out by commissioning his friends and other public speakers. One of these, as they say, was Ephialtes, who broke down the power of the Council of the Areiopagus, and so poured out for the citizens, to use the words of Plato, too much "undiluted freedom", by which the people was rendered unruly, just like a horse, and, as the comic poets say, "no longer had the patience to obey the rein, but nabbed Euboea and trampled on the islands".
Moreover, by way of providing himself with a style of discourse which was adapted, like a musical instrument, to his mode of life and the grandeur of his sentiments, he often made an auxiliary string of Anaxagoras, subtly mingling, as it were, with his rhetoric the dye of natural science. It was from natural science, as the divine Plato says, that he "acquired his loftiness of thought and perfectness of execution, in addition to his natural gifts", and by applying what he learned to the art of speaking, he far excelled all other speakers. It was thus, they say, that he got his surname; though some suppose it was from the structures with which he adorned the city, and others from his ability as a statesman and a general, that he was called Olympian. It is not at all unlikely that his reputation was the result of the blending in him of many high qualities. But the comic poets of that day who let fly, both in earnest and in jest, many shafts of speech against him, make it plain that he got this surname chiefly because of his diction; they spoke of him as "thundering" and "lightening" when he harangued his audience, and as "wielding a dread thunderbolt in his tongue".
There is on record also a certain saying of Thucydides, the son of Melesias, touching the clever persuasiveness of Pericles, a saying uttered in jest. Thucydides belonged to the party of the "Good and True", and was for a very long time a political antagonist of Pericles. When Archidamus, the king of the Lacedaemonians, asked him whether he or Pericles was the better wrestler, he replied: "Whenever I throw him in wrestling, he disputes the fall, and carries his point, and persuades the very men who saw him fall".
The truth is, however, that even Pericles, with all his gifts, was cautious in his discourse, so that whenever he came forward to speak he prayed the gods that there might not escape him unawares a single word which was unsuited to the matter under discussion. In writing he left nothing behind him except the decrees which he proposed, and only a few in all of his memorable sayings are preserved, as, for instance, his urging the removal of Aegina as the "eye-sore of the Piraeus", and his declaring that he "already beheld war swooping down upon them from Peloponnesus". Once also when Sophocles, who was general with him on a certain naval expedition (Against Samos, 440-439 B.C.) praised a lovely boy, he said: "It is not his hands only, Sophocles, that a general must keep clean, but his eyes as well". Again, Stesimbrotus says that, in his funeral oration over those who had fallen in the Samian War, he declared that they had become immortal, like the gods; "the gods themselves", he said, "we cannot see, but from the honors which they receive, and the blessings which they bestow, we conclude that they are immortal". So it was, he said, with those who had given their lives for their country.
Thucydides describes the administration of Pericles as rather aristocratic, "in name a democracy, but in fact a government by the greatest citizen". But many others say that the people was first led on by him into allotments of public lands, festival-grants, and distributions of fees for public services, thereby falling into bad habits, and becoming luxurious and wanton under the influence of his public measures, instead of frugal and self-sufficing. Let us therefore examine in detail the reason for this change in him.
In the beginning, as has been said, pitted as he was against the reputation of Cimon, he tried to ingratiate himself with the people. And since he was the inferior in wealth and property, by means of which Cimon would win over the poor -furnishing a dinner every day to any Athenian who wanted it, bestowing raiment on the elderly men, and removing the fences from his estates that whosoever wished might pluck the fruit- Pericles, outdone in popular arts of this sort, had recourse to the distribution of the people's own wealth. This was on the advice of Damonides, of the deme Oa, as Aristotle has stated.
And soon, what with festival-grants and jurors' wages and other fees and largesses, he bribed the multitude by the wholesale, and used them in opposition to the Council of the Areiopagus. Of this body he himself was not a member, since the lot had not made him either First Archon, or Archon Thesmothete, or King Archon, or Archon Polemarch. These offices were in ancient times filled by lot, and through them those who properly acquitted themselves were promoted into the Areiopagus. For this reason all the more did Pericles, strong in the affections of the people, lead a successful party against the Council of the Areiopagus. Not only was the Council robbed of most of its jurisdiction by Ephialtes, but Cimon also, on the charge of being a lover of Sparta and a hater of the people, was ostracized (461 B.C.) -a man who yielded to none in wealth and lineage, who had won most glorious victories over the Barbarians, and had filled the city full of money and spoils, as is written in his Life. Such was the power of Pericles among the people.
Now ostracism involved legally a period of ten years' banishment. But in the meanwhile (457 B.C.) the Lacedaemonians invaded the district of Tanagra with a great army, and the Athenians straightway sallied out against them. So Cimon came back from his banishment and stationed himself with his tribesmen in line of battle, and determined by his deeds to rid himself of the charge of too great love for Sparta, in that he shared the perils of his fellow-citizens. But the friends of Pericles banded together and drove him from the ranks, on the ground that he was under sentence of banishment. For which reason, it is thought, Pericles fought most sturdily in that battle, and was the most conspicuous of all in exposing himself to danger. And there fell in this battle all the friends of Cimon to a man, whom Pericles had accused with him of too great love for Sparta. Wherefore sore repentance fell upon the Athenians, and a longing desire for Cimon, defeated as they were on the confines of Attica, and expecting as they did a grievous war with the coming of spring. So then Pericles, perceiving this, hesitated not to gratify the desires of the multitude, but wrote with his own hand the decree which recalled the man. Whereupon Cimon came back from banishment and made peace (450B.C.) between the cities. For the Lacedaemonians were as kindly disposed towards him as they were full of hatred towards Pericles and the other popular leaders.
Some, however, say that the decree for the restoration of Cimon was not drafted by Pericles until a secret compact had been made between them, through the agency of Elpinice, Cimon's sister, to the effect that Cimon should sail out with a fleet of two hundred ships and have command in foreign parts, attempting to subdue the territory of the King, while Pericles should have supreme power in the city. And it was thought that before this, too, Elpinice had rendered Pericles more lenient towards Cimon, when he stood his trial on the capital charge of treason (463 B.C.). Pericles was at that time one of the committee of prosecution appointed by the people, and on Elpinice's coming to him and supplicating him, said to her with a smile: "Elpinice, thou art an old woman, thou art an old woman, to attempt such tasks". However, he made only one speech, by way of formally executing his commission, and in the end did the least harm to Cimon of all his accusers.
How, then, can one put trust in Idomeneus, who accuses Pericles of assassinating the popular leader Ephialtes, though he was his friend and a partner in his political program, out of mere jealousy and envy of his reputation? These charges he has raked up from some source or other and hurled them, as if so much venom, against one who was perhaps not in all points irreproachable, but who had a noble disposition and an ambitious spirit, wherein no such savage and bestial feelings can have their abode. As for Ephialtes, who was a terror to the oligarchs and inexorable in exacting accounts from those who wronged the people, and in prosecuting them, his enemies laid plots against him, and had him slain secretly by Aristodicus of Tanagra, as Aristotle says. As for Cimon, he died on his campaign in Cyprus (449 B.C.).
Then the aristocrats, aware even some time before this that Pericles was already become the greatest citizen, but wishing nevertheless to have some one in the city who should stand up against him and blunt the edge of his power, that it might not be an out and out monarchy, put forward Thucydides of Alopece, a discreet man and a relative of Cimon, to oppose him. He, being less of a warrior than Cimon, and more of a forensic speaker and statesman, by keeping watch and ward in the city, and by wrestling bouts with Pericles on the bema, soon brought the administration into even poise.
He would not suffer the party of the "Good and True", as they called themselves, to be scattered up and down and blended with the populace, as heretofore, the weight of their character being thus obscured by numbers, but by culling them out and assembling them into one body, he made their collective influence, thus become weighty, as it were a counterpoise in the balance. Now there had been from the beginning a sort of seam hidden beneath the surface of affairs, as in a piece of iron, which faintly indicated a divergence between the popular and the aristocratic programme; but the emulous ambition of these two men cut a deep gash in the state, and caused one section of it to be called the "Demos", or the People, and the other the "Oligoi", or the Few. At this time, therefore, particularly, Pericles gave the reins to the people, and made his policy one of pleasing them, ever devising some sort of a pageant in the town for the masses, or a feast, or a procession, "amusing them like children with not uncouth delights", and sending out sixty triremes annually, on which large numbers of the citizens sailed about for eight months under pay, practising at the same time and acquiring the art of seamanship. In addition to this, he despatched a thousand settlers to the Chersonesus (447 B.C.), and five hundred to Naxos, and to Andros half that number, and a thousand to Thrace to settle with the Bisaltae, and others to Italy, when the site of Sybaris was settled (444 B.C.), which they named Thurii. All this he did by way of lightening the city of its mob of lazy and idle busybodies, rectifying the embarrassments of the poorer people, and giving the allies for neighbors an imposing garrison which should prevent rebellion.
But that which brought most delightful adornment to Athens, and the greatest amazement to the rest of mankind; that which alone now testifies for Hellas that her ancient power and splendor, of which so much is told, was no idle fiction -I mean his construction of sacred edifices- this, more than all the public measures of Pericles, his enemies maligned and slandered. They cried out in the assemblies: "The people has lost its fair fame and is in ill repute because it has removed the public moneys of the Hellenes from Delos into its own keeping, and that seemliest of all excuses which it had to urge against its accusers, to wit, that out of fear of the Barbarians it took the public funds from that sacred isle and was now guarding them in a stronghold, of this Pericles has robbed it. And surely Hellas is insulted with a dire insult and manifestly subjected to tyranny when she sees that, with her own enforced contributions for the war, we are gilding and bedizening our city, which, for all the world like a wanton woman, adds to her wardrobe precious stones and costly statues and temples worth their millions".
For his part, Pericles would instruct the people that it owed no account of their moneys to the allies provided it carried on the war for them and kept off the Barbarians; "not a horse do they furnish", said he, "not a ship, not a hoplite, but money simply; and this belongs, not to those who give it, but to those who take it, if only they furnish that for which they take it in pay. And it is but meet that the city, when once she is sufficiently equipped with all that is necessary for prosecuting the war, should apply her abundance to such works as, by their completion, will bring her everlasting glory, and while in process of completion will bring that abundance into actual service, in that all sorts of activity and diversified demands arise, which rouse every art and stir every hand, and bring, as it were, the whole city under pay, so that she not only adorns, but supports herself as well from her own resources".
And it was true that his military expeditions supplied those who were in the full vigor of manhood with abundant resources from the common funds, and in his desire that the unwarlike throng of common laborers should neither have no share at all in the public receipts, nor yet get fees for laziness and idleness, he boldly suggested to the people projects for great constructions, and designs for works which would call many arts into play and involve long periods of time, in order that the stay-at-homes, no whit less than the sailors and sentinels and soldiers, might have a pretext for getting a beneficial share of the public wealth. The materials to be used were stone, bronze, ivory, gold, ebony, and cypress-wood; the arts which should elaborate and work up these materials were those of carpenter, moulder, bronze-smith, stone-cutter, dyer, worker in gold and ivory, painter, embroiderer, embosser, to say nothing of the forwarders and furnishers of the material, such as factors, sailors and pilots by sea, and, by land, wagon-makers, trainers of yoked beasts, and drivers. There were also rope-makers, weavers, leather-workers, road-builders, and miners. And since each particular art, like a general with the army under his separate command, kept its own throng of unskilled and untrained laborers in compact array, to be as instrument unto player and as body unto soul in subordinate service, it came to pass that for every age, almost, and every capacity the city's great abundance was distributed and scattered abroad by such demands.
So then the works arose, no less towering in their grandeur than inimitable in the grace of their outlines, since the workmen eagerly strove to surpass themselves in the beauty of their handicraft. And yet the most wonderful thing about them was the speed with which they rose. Each one of them, men thought, would require many successive generations to complete it, but all of them were fully completed in the heyday of a single administration. And yet they say that once on a time when Agatharchus the painter was boasting loudly of the speed and ease with which he made his figures, Zeuxis heard him, and said, "Mine take, and last, a long time". And it is true that deftness and speed in working do not impart to the work an abiding weight of influence nor an exactness of beauty; whereas the time which is put out to loan in laboriously creating, pays a large and generous interest in the preservation of the creation. For this reason are the works of Pericles all the more to be wondered at; they were created in a short time for all time. Each one of them, in its beauty, was even then and at once antique; but in the freshness of its vigor it is, even to the present day, recent and newly wrought. Such is the bloom of perpetual newness, as it were, upon these works of his, which makes them ever to look untouched by time, as though the unfaltering breath of an ageless spirit had been infused into them. His general manager and general overseer was Pheidias, although the several works had great architects and artists besides. Of the Parthenon, for instance, with its cella of a hundred feet in length, Callicrates and Ictinus were the architects; it was Coroebus who began to build the sanctuary of the mysteries at Eleusis, and he planted the columns on the floor and yoked their capitals together with architraves; but on his death Metagenes, of the deme Xypete, carried up the frieze and the upper tier of columns; while Xenocles, of the deme Cholargus, set on high the lantern over the shrine. For the long wall, concerning which Socrates says he himself heard Pericles introduce a measure, Callicrates was the contractor. Cratinus pokes fun at this work for its slow progress, and in these words:
Since ever so long now
In word has Pericles pushed the thing; in fact he does not budge it. Cratinus
The Odeum, which was arranged internally with many tiers of seats and many pillars, and which had a roof made with a circular slope from a single peak, they say was an exact reproduction of the Great King's pavilion, and this too was built under the superintendence of Pericles. Wherefore Cratinus, in his "Thracian Women", rails at him again:
The squill-head Zeus! lo! here he comes,
The Odeum like a cap upon his cranium,
Now that for good and all the ostracism is o'er.Cratinus
Then first did Pericles, so fond of honor was he, get a decree passed that a musical contest be held as part of the Panathenaic festival. He himself was elected manager, and prescribed how the contestants must blow the flute, or sing, or pluck the zither. These musical contests were witnessed, both then and thereafter, in the Odeum. The Propylaea of the acropolis were brought to completion in the space of five years, Mnesicles being their architect. A wonderful thing happened in the course of their building, which indicated that the goddess was not holding herself aloof, but was a helper both in the inception and in the completion of the work. One of its artificers, the most active and zealous of them all, lost his footing and fell from a great height, and lay in a sorry plight, despaired of by the physicians. Pericles was much cast down at this, but the goddess appeared to him in a dream and prescribed a course of treatment for him to use, so that he speedily and easily healed the man. It was in commemoration of this that he set up the bronze statue of Athena Hygieia on the acropolis near the altar of that goddess, which was there before, as they say. But it was Pheidias who produced the great golden image of the goddess, and he is duly inscribed on the tablet as the workman who made it. Everything, almost, was under his charge, and all the artists and artisans, as I have said, were under his superintendence, owing to his friendship with Pericles. This brought envy upon the one, and contumely on the other, to the effect that Pheidias made assignations for Pericles with free-born women who would come ostensibly to see the works of art. The comic poets took up this story and bespattered Pericles with charges of abounding wantonness, connecting their slanders with the wife of Menippus, a man who was his friend, and a colleague in the generalship, and with the bird-culture of Pyrilampes, who, since he was the comrade of Pericles, was accused of using his peacocks to bribe the women with whom Pericles consorted. And why should any one be astonished that men of wanton life lose no occasion for offering up sacrifices, as it were, of contumelious abuse of their superiors, to the evil deity of popular envy, when even Stesimbrotus of Thasos has ventured to make public charge against Pericles of a dreadful and fabulous impiety with his son's wife? To such degree, it seems, is truth hedged about with difficulty and hard to capture by research, since those who come after the events in question find that lapse of time is an obstacle to their proper perception of them; while the research of their contemporaries into men's deeds and lives, partly through envious hatred and partly through fawning flattery, defiles and distorts the truth.
Thucydides and his party kept denouncing Pericles for playing fast and loose with the public moneys and annihilating the revenues. Pericles therefore asked the people in assembly whether they thought he had expended too much, and on their declaring that it was altogether too much, "Well then", said he, "let it not have been spent on your account, but mine, and I will make the inscriptions of dedication in my own name". When Pericles had said this, whether it was that they admired his magnanimity or vied with his ambition to get the glory of his works, they cried out with a loud voice and bade him take freely from the public funds for his outlays, and to spare naught whatsoever. And finally he ventured to undergo with Thucydides the contest of the ostracism, wherein he secured his rival's banishment,1 and the dissolution of the faction which had been arrayed against him.
Thus, then, seeing that political differences were entirely remitted and the city had become a smooth surface, as it were, and altogether united, he brought under his own control Athens and all the issues dependent on the Athenians,--tributes, armies, triremes, the islands, the sea, the vast power derived from Hellenes, vast also from Barbarians, and a supremacy that was securely hedged about with subject nations, royal friendships, and dynastic alliances. But then he was no longer the same man as before, nor alike submissive to the people and ready to yield and give in to the desires of the multitude as a steersman to the breezes. Nay rather, forsaking his former lax and sometimes rather effeminate management of the people, as it were a flowery and soft melody, he struck the high and clear note of an aristocratic and kingly statesmanship, and employing it for the best interests of all in a direct and undeviating fashion, he led the people, for the most part willingly, by his persuasions and instructions. And yet there were times when they were sorely vexed with him, and then he tightened the reins and forced them into the way of their advantage with a master's hand, for all the world like a wise physician, who treats a complicated disease of long standing occasionally with harmless indulgences to please his patient, and occasionally, too, with caustics and bitter drugs which work salvation. For whereas all sorts of distempers, as was to be expected, were rife in a rabble which possessed such vast empire, he alone was so endowed by nature that he could manage each one of these cases suitably, and more than anything else he used the people's hopes and fears, like rudders, so to speak, giving timely check to their arrogance, and allaying and comforting their despair. Thus he proved that rhetoric, or the art of speaking, is, to use Plato's words, "an enchantment of the soul", and that her chiefest business is a careful study of the affections and passions, which are, so to speak, strings and stops of the soul, requiring a very judicious fingering and striking. The reason for his success was not his power as a speaker merely, but, as Thucydides says, the reputation of his life and the confidence reposed in him as one who was manifestly proven to be utterly disinterested and superior to bribes. He made the city, great as it was when he took it, the greatest and richest of all cities, and grew to be superior in power to kings and tyrants. Some of these actually appointed him guardian of their sons, but he did not make his estate a single drachma greater than it was when his father left it to him.
Of his power there can be no doubt, since Thucydides gives so clear an exposition of it, and the comic poets unwittingly reveal it even in their malicious gibes, calling him and his associates ?new Peisistratidae,? and urging him to take solemn oath not to make himself a tyrant, on the plea, forsooth, that his preeminence was incommensurate with a democracy and too oppressive. Telecleides says that the Athenians had handed over to him
With the cities' assessments the cities themselves, to bind or release as he pleases,
Their ramparts of stone to build up if he likes, and then to pull down again straightway,
Their treaties, their forces, their might, peace, and riches, and all the fair gifts of good fortune. Telecleides
And this was not the fruit of a golden moment, nor the culminating popularity of an administration that bloomed but for a season; nay rather he stood first for forty years (Reckoning roundly from 469 to 429 B.C.) among such men as Ephialtes, Leocrates, Myronides, Cimon, Tolmides, and Thucydides, and after the deposition of Thucydides and his ostracism, for no less than fifteen of these years did he secure an imperial sway that was continuous and unbroken, by means of his annual tenure of the office of general. During all these years he kept himself untainted by corruption, although he was not altogether indifferent to money-making; indeed, the wealth which was legally his by inheritance from his father, that it might not from sheer neglect take to itself wings and fly away, nor yet cause him much trouble and loss of time when he was busy with higher things, he set into such orderly dispensation as he thought was easiest and most exact. This was to sell his annual products all together in the lump, and then to buy in the market each article as it was needed, and so provide the ways and means of daily life. For this reason he was not liked by his sons when they grew up, nor did their wives find in him a liberal purveyor, but they murmured at his expenditure for the day merely and under the most exact restrictions, there being no surplus of supplies at all, as in a great house and under generous circumstances, but every outlay and every intake proceeding by count and measure. His agent in securing all this great exactitude was a single servant, Evangelus, who was either gifted by nature or trained by Pericles so as to surpass everybody else in domestic economy.
It is true that this conduct was not in accord with the wisdom of Anaxagoras, since that philosopher actually abandoned his house and left his land to lie fallow for sheep-grazing, owing to the lofty thoughts with which he was inspired. But the life of a speculative philosopher is not the same thing, I think, as that of a statesman. The one exercises his intellect without the aid of instruments and independent of external matters for noble ends; whereas the other, inasmuch as he brings his superior excellence into close contact with the common needs of mankind, must sometimes find wealth not merely one of the necessities of life, but also one of its noble things, as was actually the case with Pericles, who gave aid to many poor men. And, besides, they say that Anaxagoras himself, at a time when Pericles was absorbed in business, lay on his couch all neglected, in his old age, starving himself to death, his head already muffled for departure, and that when the matter came to the ears of Pericles, he was struck with dismay, and ran at once to the poor man, and besought him most fervently to live, bewailing not so much that great teacher's lot as his own, were he now to be bereft of such a counsellor in the conduct of the state. Then Anaxagoras -so the story goes- unmuffled his head and said to him, "Pericles, even those who need a lamp pour oil therein".
When the Lacedaemonians began to be annoyed by the increasing power of the Athenians, Pericles, by way of inciting the people to cherish yet loftier thoughts and to deem it worthy of great achievements, introduced a bill to the effect that all Hellenes wheresoever resident in Europe or in Asia, small and large cities alike, should be invited to send deputies to a council at Athens. This was to deliberate concerning the Hellenic sanctuaries which the Barbarians had burned down, concerning the sacrifices which were due to the gods in the name of Hellas in fulfillment of vows made when they were fighting with the Barbarians, and concerning the sea, that all might sail it fearlessly and keep the peace. To extend this invitation, twenty men, of such as were above fifty years of age, were sent out, five of whom invited the Ionians and Dorians in Asia and on the islands between Lesbos and Rhodes; five visited the regions on the Hellespont and in Thrace as far as Byzantium; five others were sent into Boeotia and Phocis and Peloponnesus, and from here by way of the Ozolian Locrians into the neighboring continent as far as Acarnania and Ambracia; while the rest proceeded through Euboea to the Oetaeans and the Maliac Gulf and the Phthiotic Achaeans and the Thessalians, urging them all to come and take part in the deliberations for the peace and common welfare of Hellas. But nothing was accomplished , nor did the cities come together by deputy, owing to the opposition of the Lacedaemonians, as it is said, since the effort met with its first check in Peloponnesus. I have cited this incident, however, to show forth the man's disposition and the greatness of his thoughts.
In his capacity as general, he was famous above all things for his
saving caution; he neither undertook of his own accord a battle involving much
uncertainty and peril, nor did he envy and imitate those who took great risks,
enjoyed brilliant good-fortune, and so were admired as great generals; and he
was for ever saying to his fellow-citizens that, so far as lay in his power, they
would remain alive forever and be immortals. So when he saw that Tolmides, son
of Tolmaeus, all on account of his previous good-fortune and of the exceeding
great honor bestowed upon him for his wars, was getting ready, quite inopportunely,
to make an incursion into Boeotia, and that he had persuaded the bravest and most
ambitious men of military age to volunteer for the campaign,--as many as a thousand
of them, aside from the rest of his forces,--he tried to restrain and dissuade
him in the popular assembly, uttering then that well remembered saying, to wit,
that if he would not listen to Pericles, he would yet do full well to wait for
that wisest of all counsellors, Time. This saying brought him only moderate repute
at the time; but a few days afterwards, when word was brought that Tolmides himself
was dead after defeat in battle near Coroneia (447 B.C.), and that many brave
citizens were dead likewise, then it brought Pericles great repute as well as
goodwill, for that he was a man of discretion and patriotism.
Of all his expeditions, that to the Chersonesus (447 B.C.) was held in most loving remembrance, since it proved the salvation of the Hellenes who dwelt there. Not only did he bring thither a thousand Athenian colonists and stock the cities anew with vigorous manhood, but he also belted the neck of the isthmus with defensive bulwarks from sea to sea, and so intercepted the incursions of the Thracians who swarmed about the Chersonesus, and shut out the perpetual and grievous war in which the country was all the time involved, in close touch as it was with neighboring communities of Barbarians, and full to overflowing of robber bands whose haunts were on or within its borders. But he was admired and celebrated even amongst foreigners for his circumnavigation of the Peloponnesus (453 B.C.), when he put to sea from Pegae in the Megarid with a hundred triremes.He not only ravaged a great strip of seashore, as Tolmides had done before him, but also advanced far into the interior with the hoplites from his ships, and drove all his enemies inside their walls in terror at his approach, excepting only the Sicyonians, who made a stand against him in Nemea, and joined battle with him; these he routed by main force and set up a trophy for his victory. Then from Achaia, which was friendly to him, he took soldiers on board his triremes, and proceeded with his armament to the opposite mainland, where he sailed up the Achelous, overran Acarnania, shut up the people of Oeniadae behind their walls, and after ravaging and devastating their territory, went off homewards, having shown himself formidable to his enemies, but a safe and efficient leader for his fellow-citizens. For nothing untoward befell, even as result of chance, those who took part in the expedition.
He also sailed into the Euxine Sea (Probably about 436. B.C.) with a large and splendidly equipped armament. There he effected what the Greek cities desired, and dealt with them humanely, while to the neighboring nations of Barbarians with their kings and dynasts he displayed the magnitude of his forces and the fearless courage with which they sailed whithersoever they pleased and brought the whole sea under their own control. He also left with the banished Sinopians thirteen ships of war and soldiers under command of Lamachus to aid them against Timesileos. When the tyrant and his adherents had been driven from the city, Pericles got a bill passed providing that six hundred volunteers of the Athenians should sail to Sinope and settle down there with the Sinopians, dividing up among themselves the houses and lands which the tyrant and his followers had formerly occupied. But in other matters he did not accede to the vain impulses of the citizens, nor was he swept along with the tide when they were eager, from a sense of their great power and good fortune, to lay hands again upon Egypt and molest the realms of the King which lay along the sea. Many also were possessed already with that inordinate and inauspicious passion for Sicily which was afterwards kindled into flame by such orators as Alcibiades. And some there were who actually dreamed of Tuscany and Carthage, and that not without a measure of hope, in view of the magnitude of their present supremacy and the full-flowing tide of success in their undertakings.
But Pericles was ever trying to restrain this extravagance of theirs, to lop off their expansive meddlesomeness, and to divert the greatest part of their forces to the guarding and securing of what they had already won. He considered it a great achievement to hold the Lacedaemonians in check, and set himself in opposition to these in every way, as he showed, above all other things, by what he did in the Sacred War (About 448 B.C.) The Lacedaemonians made an expedition to Delphi while the Phocians had possession of the sanctuary there, and restored it to the Delphians; but no sooner had the Lacedaemonians departed than Pericles made a counter expedition and reinstated the Phocians. And whereas the Lacedaemonians had had the "promanteia", or right of consulting the oracle in behalf of others also, which the Delphians had bestowed upon them, carved upon the forehead of the bronze wolf in the sanctuary, he secured from the Phocians this high privilege for the Athenians, and had it chiselled along the right side of the same wolf.
That he was right in seeking to confine the power of the Athenians within lesser Greece, was amply proved by what came to pass. To begin with, the Euboeans revolted (446 B.C.), and he crossed over to the island with a hostile force. Then straightway word was brought to him that the Megarians had gone over to the enemy, and that an army of the enemy was on the confines of Attica under the leadership of Pleistoanax, the king of the Lacedaemonians. Accordingly, Pericles brought his forces back with speed from Euboea for the war in Attica. He did not venture to join battle with hoplites who were so many, so brave, and so eager for battle, but seeing that Pleistoanax was a very young man, and that out of all his advisers he set most store by Cleandridas, whom the ephors had sent along with him, by reason of his youth, to be a guardian and an assistant to him, he secretly made trial of this man's integrity, speedily corrupted him with bribes, and persuaded him to lead the Peloponnesians back out of Attica. When the army had withdrawn and had been disbanded to their several cities, the Lacedaemonians, in indignation, laid a heavy fine upon their king, the full amount of which he was unable to pay, and so betook himself out of Lacedaemon, while Cleandridas, who had gone into voluntary exile, was condemned to death. He was the father of that Gylippus who overcame the Athenians in Sicily. And nature seems to have imparted covetousness to the son, as it were a congenital disease, owing to which he too, after noble achievements, was caugt in base practices and banished from Sparta in disgrace. This story, however, I have told at length in my life of Lysander.
When Pericles, in rendering his accounts for this campaign, recorded an expenditure of ten talents as "for sundry needs", the people approved it without officious meddling and without even investigating the mystery. But some writers, among whom is Theophrastus the philosopher, have stated that every year ten talents found their way to Sparta from Pericles, and that with these he conciliated all the officials there, and so staved off the war, not purchasing peace, but time, in which he could make preparations at his leisure and then carry on war all the better. However that may be, he again turned his attention to the rebels, and after crossing to Euboea with fifty ships of war and five thousand hoplites, he subdued the cities there. Those of the Chalcidians who were styled Hippobotae, or Knights, and who were preeminent for wealth and reputation, he banished from their city, and all the Hestiaeans he removed from the country and settled Athenians in their places, treating them, and them only, thus inexorably, because they had taken an Attic ship captive and slain its crew.
After this, when peace had been made for thirty years between the Athenians and the Lacedaemonians, be got a decree passed for his expedition to Samos (440 B.C.), alleging against its people that, though they were ordered to break off their war against the Milesians, they were not complying.
Now, since it is thought that he proceeded thus against the Samians to gratify Aspasia, this may be a fitting place to raise the query what great art or power this woman had, that she managed as she pleased the foremost men of the state, and afforded the philosophers occasion to discuss her in exalted terms and at great length. That she was a Milesian by birth, daughter of one Axiochus, is generally agreed; and they say that it was in emulation of Thargelia, an Ionian woman of ancient times, that she made her onslaughts upon the most influential men. This Thargelia came to be a great beauty and was endowed with grace of manners as well as clever wits. Inasmuch as she lived on terms of intimacy with numberless Greeks, and attached all her consorts to the king of Persia, she stealthily sowed the seeds of Persian sympathy in the cities of Greece by means of these lovers of hers, who were men of the greatest power and influence. And so Aspasia, as some say, was held in high favour by Pericles because of her rare political wisdom. Socrates sometimes came to see her with his disciples, and his intimate friends brought their wives to her to hear her discourse, although she presided over a business that was any- thing but honest or even reputable, since she kept a house of young courtesans. And Aeschines says that Lysicles the sheep-dealer, a man of low birth and nature, came to be the first man at Athens by living with Aspasia after the death of Pericles. And in the "Menexenus" of Plato, even though the first part of it be written in a sportive vein, there is, at any rate, thus much of fact, that the woman had the reputation of associating with many Athenians as a teacher of rhetoric. However, the affection which Pericles had for Aspasia seems to have been rather of an amatory sort. For his own wife was near of kin to him, and had been wedded first to Hipponicus, to whom she bore Callias, surnamed the Rich; she bore also, as the wife of Pericles, Xanthippus and Paralus. Afterwards, since their married life was not agreeable, he legally bestowed her upon another man, with her own consent, and himself took Aspasia, and loved her exceedingly. Twice a day, as they say, on going out and on coming in from the market-place, he would salute her with a loving kiss.
But in the comedies she is styled now the New Omphale, now Deianeira, and now Hera. Cratinus flatly called her a prostitute in these lines:
As his Hera, Aspasia was born, the child of Unnatural Lust,
A prostitute past shaming. Cratinus, Cheirons
And it appears also that he begat from her that bastard son about whom Eupolis, in his "Demes", represented him as inquiring with these words:
And my bastard, doth he live? Eupolis, Demes
to which Myronides replies:
Yea, and long had been a man,
Had he not feared the mischief of his harlot-birth. Eupolis, Demes
So renowned and celebrated did Aspasia become, they say, that even Cyrus, the one who went to war with the Great King for the sovereignty of the Persians, gave the name of Aspasia to that one of his concubines whom he loved best, who before was called Milto. She was a Phocaean by birth, daughter of one Hermotimus, and, after Cyrus had fallen in battle, was carried captive to the King, and acquired the greatest influence with him. These things coming to my recollection as I write, it were perhaps unnatural to reject and pass them by.
But to return to the war against the Samians, they accuse Pericles of getting the decree for this passed at the request of Aspasia and in the special behalf of the Milesians. For the two cities were waging their war for the possession of Priene, and the Samians were getting the better of it, and when the Athenians ordered them to stop the contest and submit the case to arbitration at Athens, they would not obey. So Pericles set sail and broke up the oligarchical government which Samos had, and then took fifty of the foremost men of the state, with as many of their children, as hostages, and sent them off to Lemnos. And yet they say that every one of these hostages offered him a talent on his own account, and that the opponents of democracy in the city offered him many talents besides. And still further, Pissouthnes, the Persian satrap, who had much good-will towards the Samians, sent him ten thousand gold staters and interceded for the city. However, Pericles took none of these bribes, but treated the Samians just as he had determined, set up a democracy and sailed back to Athens. Then the Samians at once revolted, after Pissouthnes had stolen away their hostages from Lemnos for them, and in other ways equipped them for the war. Once more, therefore, Pericles set sail against them. They were not victims of sloth, nor yet of abject terror, but full of exceeding zeal in their determination to contest the supremacy of the sea. In a fierce sea-fight which came off near an island called Tragia, Pericles won a brilliant victory, with four and forty ships outfighting seventy, twenty of which were infantry transports.
Close on the heels of his victorious pursuit came his seizure of the harbor, and then he laid formal siege to the Samians, who, somehow or other, still had the daring to sally forth and fight with him before their walls. But soon a second and a larger armament came from Athens, and the Samians were completely beleaguered and shut in. Then Pericles took sixty triremes and sailed out into the main sea, as most authorities say, because he wished to meet a fleet of Phoenician ships which was coming to the aid of the Samians, and fight it at as great a distance from Samos as possible; but according to Stesimbrotus, because he had designs on Cyprus, which seems incredible. But in any case, whichever design he cherished, he seems to have made a mistake. For no sooner had he sailed off than Melissus, the son of Ithagenes, a philosopher who was then acting as general at Samos, despising either the small number of ships that were left, or the inexperience of the generals in charge of them, persuaded his fellow-citizens to make an attack upon the Athenians. In the battle that ensued the Samians were victorious, taking many of their enemy captive, and destroying many of their ships, so that they commanded the sea and laid in large store of such necessaries for the war as they did not have before. And Aristotle says that Pericles was himself also defeated by Melissus in the sea-fight which preceded this.
The Samians retaliated upon the Athenians by branding their prisoners in the forehead with owls; for the Athenians had once branded some of them with the samaena. Now the samaena is a ship of war with a boar's head design for prow and ram, but more capacious than usual and paunchlike, so that it is a good deep-sea traveller and a swift sailor too. It got this name because it made its first appearance in Samos, where Polycrates the tyrant had some built. To these brand-marks, they say, the verse of Aristophanes made riddling reference:
For oh! how lettered is the folk of the Samians! Aristophanes, Babylonians
Be that true or not, when Pericles learned of the disaster which had befallen his fleet, he came speedily to its aid. And though Melissus arrayed his forces against him, he conquered and routed the enemy and at once walled their city in, preferring to get the upper hand and capture it at the price of money and time, rather than of the wounds and deadly perils of his fellow-citizens. And since it was a hard task for him to restrain the Athenians in their impatience of delay and eagerness to fight, he separated his whole force into eight divisions, had them draw lots, and allowed the division which got the white bean to feast and take their ease, while the others did the fighting. And this is the reason, as they say, why those who have had a gay and festive time call it a "white day",--from the white bean.
Ephorus says that Pericles actually employed siege-engines, in his admiration of their novelty, and that Artemon the engineer was with him there, who, since he was lame, and so had to be brought on a stretcher to the works which demanded his instant attention, was dubbed Periphoretus. Heracleides Ponticus, however, refutes this story out of the poems of Anacreon, in which Artemon Periphoretus is mentioned many generations before the Samian War and its events. And he says that Artemon was very luxurious in his life, as well as weak and panic-stricken in the presence of his fears, and therefore for the most part sat still at home, while two servants held a bronze shield over his head to keep anything from falling down upon it. Whenever he was forced to go abroad, he had himself carried in a little hammock which was borne along just above the surface of the ground. On this account he was called Periphoretus.
After eight months the Samians surrendered, and Pericles tore down their walls, took away their ships of war, and laid a heavy fine upon them, part of which they paid at once, and part they agreed to pay at a fixed time, giving hostages therefor. To these details Duris the Samian adds stuff for tragedy, accusing the Athenians and Pericles of great brutality, which is recorded neither by Thucydides, nor Ephorus, nor Aristotle. But he appears not to speak the truth when he says, forsooth, that Pericles had the Samian trierarchs and marines brought into the market-place of Miletus and crucified there, and that then, when they had already suffered grievously for ten days, he gave orders to break their heads in with clubs and make an end of them, and then cast their bodies forth without burial rites. At all events, since it is not the wont of Duris, even in cases where he has no private and personal interest, to hold his narrative down to the fundamental truth, it is all the more likely that here, in this instance, he has given a dreadful portrayal of the calamities of his country, that he might calumniate the Athenians.
When Pericles, after his subjection of Samos, had returned to Athens, he gave honorable burial to those who had fallen in the war, and for the oration which he made, according to the custom, over their tombs, he won the greatest admiration. But as he came down from the bema, while the rest of the women clasped his hand and fastened wreaths and fillets on his head, as though he were some victorious athlete, Elpinice drew nigh and said: "This is admirable in thee, Pericles, and deserving of wreaths, in that thou hast lost us many brave citizens, not in a war with Phoenicians or Medes, like my brother Cimon, but in the subversion of an allied and kindred city". On Elpinice's saying this, Pericles, with a quiet smile, it is said, quoted to her the verse of Archilochus:
Thou hadst not else, in spite of years, perfumed thyself. West, Iambi et Elegi Graeci i. 205
Ion says that he had the most astonishingly great thoughts of himself for having subjected the Samians; whereas Agamemnon was all of ten years in taking a barbarian city, he had in nine months time reduced the foremost and most powerful people of Ionia.  And indeed his estimate of himself was not unjust, nay, the war actually brought with it much uncertainty and great peril, if indeed, as Thucydides (Thuc. 8.76.4) says, the city of Samos came within a very little of stripping from Athens her power on the sea.
After this, when the billows of the Peloponnesian War were already rising and swelling, he persuaded the people to send aid and succour to the Corcyraeans (433 B.C.) in their war with the Corinthians, and so to attach to themselves an island with a vigorous naval power at a time when the Peloponnesians were as good as actually at war with them. But when the people had voted to send the aid and succour, he despatched Lacedaemonius, the son of Cimon, with only ten ships, as it were in mockery of him. Now there was much good-will and friendship on the part of the house of Cimon towards the Lacedaemonians. In order, therefore, that in case no great or conspicuous achievement should be performed under the generalship of Lacedaemonius, he might so be all the more calumniated for his Iaconism, or sympathy with Sparta, Pericles gave him only a few ships, and sent him forth against his will. And in general he was prone to thwart and check the sons of Cimon, on the plea that not even in their names were they genuinely native, but rather aliens and strangers, since one of them bore the name of Lacedaemonius, another that of Thessalus, and a third that of Eleius. And they were all held to be the sons of a woman of Arcadia. Accordingly, being harshly criticized because of these paltry ten ships on the ground that he had furnished scanty aid and succour to the needy friends of Athens, but a great pretext for war to her accusing enemies, he afterwards sent out other ships, and more of them, to Corcyra,--the ones which got there after the battle (Thuc. 1.50.5).
The Corinthians were incensed at this procedure, and denounced the Athenians at Sparta, and were joined by the Megarians, who brought their complaint that from every market-place and from all the harbors over which the Athenians had control, they were excluded and driven away, contrary to the common law and the formal oaths of the Greeks; the Aeginetans also, deeming themselves wronged and outraged, kept up a secret wailing in the ears of the Lacedaemonians, since they had not the courage to accuse the Athenians openly. At this juncture Potidaea, too, a city that was subject to Athens, although a colony of Corinth, revolted, and the siege laid to her hastened on the war all the more.
Notwithstanding all, since embassies were repeatedly sent to Athens, and since Archidamus, the king of the Lacedaemonians, tried to bring to a peaceful settlement most of the accusations of his allies and to soften their anger, it does not seem probable that the war would have come upon the Athenians for any remaining reasons, if only they could have been persuaded to rescind their decree against the Megarians and be reconciled with them. And therefore, since it was Pericles who was most of all opposed to this, and who incited the people to abide by their contention with the Megarians, he alone was held responsible for the war.
They say that when an embassy had come from Lacedaemon to Athens to treat of these matters, and Pericles was shielding himself behind the plea that a certain law prevented his taking down the tablet on which the decree was inscribed, Polyalces, one of the ambassadors, cried: "Well then, don't take it down, but turn the tablet to the wall; surely there's no law preventing that". Clever as the proposal was, however, not one whit the more did Pericles give in. He must have secretly cherished, then, as it seems, some private grudge against the Megarians; but by way of public and open charge he accused them of appropriating to their own profane uses the sacred territory of Eleusis, and proposed a decree that a herald be sent to them, the same to go also to the Lacedaemonians with a denunciation of the Megarians. This decree, at any rate, is the work of Pericles, and aims at a reasonable and humane justification of his course. But after the herald who was sent, Anthemocritus, had been put to death through the agency of the Megarians, as it was believed, Charinus proposed a decree against them, to the effect that there be irreconcilable and implacable enmity on the part of Athens towards them, and that whosoever of the Megarians should set foot on the soil of Attica be punished with death; and that the generals, whenever they should take their ancestral oath of office, add to their oath this clause, that they would invade the Megarid twice during each succeeding year; and that Anthemocritus be buried honorably at the Thriasian gates, which are now called the Dipylum.
But the Megarians denied the murder of Anthemocritus, and threw the blame for Athenian hate on Aspasia and Pericles, appealing to those far-famed and hackneyed versicles of the "Acharnians":
Simaetha, harlot, one of Megara's womankind,
Was stolen by gilded youths more drunk than otherwise;
And so the Megarians, pangs of wrath all reeking hot,
Paid back the theft and raped of Aspasia's harlots two. Aristoph. Ach. 524-527
Well, then, whatever the original ground for enacting the decree -and it is no easy matter to determine this- the fact that it was not rescinded all men alike lay to the charge of Pericles. Only, some say that he persisted in his refusal in a lofty spirit and with a clear perception of the best interests of the city, regarding the injunction laid upon it as a test of its submissiveness, and its compliance as a confession of weakness; while others hold that it was rather with a sort of arrogance and love of strife, as well as for the display of his power, that he scornfully defied the Lacedaemonians.
But the worst charge of all, and yet the one which has the most vouchers, runs something like this. Pheidias the sculptor was contractor for the great statue, as I have said, and being admitted to the friendship of Pericles, and acquiring the greatest influence with him, made some enemies through the jealousy which he excited; others also made use of him to test the people and see what sort of a judge it would be in a case where Pericles was involved. These latter persuaded one Menon, an assistant of Pheidias, to take a suppliant's seat in the market-place and demand immunity from punishment in case he should bring information and accusation against Pheidias. The people accepted the man's proposal, and formal prosecution of Pheidias was made in the assembly. Embezzlement, indeed, was not proven, for the gold of the statue, from the very start, had been so wrought upon and cast about it by Pheidias, at the wise suggestion of Pericles, that it could all be taken off and weighed (Thuc. 2.13.5), and this is what Pericles actually ordered the accusers of Pheidias to do at this time.
But the reputation of his works nevertheless brought a burden of jealous hatred upon Pheidias, and especially the fact that when he wrought the battle of the Amazons on the shield of the goddess, he carved out a figure that suggested himself as a bald old man lifting on high a stone with both hands, and also inserted a very fine likeness of Pericles fighting with an Amazon. And the attitude of the hand, which holds out a spear in front of the face of Pericles, is cunningly contrived as it were with a desire to conceal the resemblance, which is, however, plain to be seen from either side.
Pheidias, accordingly, was led away to prison, and died there of sickness; but some say of poison which the enemies of Pericles provided, that they might bring calumny upon him. And to Menon the informer, on motion of Glycon, the people gave immunity from taxation, and enjoined upon the generals to make provision for the man's safety.
About this time also Aspasia was put on trial for impiety, Hermippus the comic poet being her prosecutor, who alleged further against her that she received free-born women into a place of assignation for Pericles. And Diopeithes brought in a bill providing for the public impeachment of such as did not believe in gods, or who taught doctrines regarding the heavens, directing suspicion against Pericles by means of Anaxagoras. The people accepted with delight these slanders, and so, while they were in this mood, a bill was passed, on motion of Dracontides, that Pericles should deposit his accounts of public moneys with the prytanes, and that the jurors should decide upon his case with ballots which had lain upon the altar of the goddess on the acropolis. But Hagnon amended this clause of the bill with the motion that the case be tried before fifteen hundred jurors in the ordinary way, whether one wanted to call it a prosecution for embezzlement and bribery, or malversation.
Well, then, Aspasia he begged off, by shedding copious tears at the trial, as Aeschines says, and by entreating the jurors; and he feared for Anaxagoras so much that he sent him away from the city. And since in the case of Pheidias he had come into collision with the people, he feared a jury in his own case, and so kindled into flame the threatening and smouldering war, hoping thereby to dissipate the charges made against him and allay the people's jealousy, inasmuch as when great undertakings were on foot, and great perils threatened, the city entrusted herself to him and to him alone, by reason of his worth and power. Such, then, are the reasons which are alleged for his not suffering the people to yield to the Lacedaemonians; but the truth about it is not clear.
The Lacedaemonians, perceiving that if he were deposed they would find the Athenians more pliant in their hands, ordered them to drive out the Cylonian pollution, in which the family of Pericles on his mother's side was involved, as Thucydides states (Thuc. 1.127.1). But the attempt brought a result the opposite of what its makers designed, for in place of suspicion and slander, Pericles won even greater confidence and honor among the citizens than before, because they saw that their enemies hated and feared him above all other men. Therefore also, before Archidamus invaded Attica with the Peloponnesians, Pericles made public proclamation to the Athenians, that in case Archidamus, while ravaging everything else, should spare his estates, either out of regard for the friendly tie that existed between them, or with an eye to affording his enemies grounds for slander, he would make over to the city his lands and the homesteads thereon.
Accordingly, the Lacedaemonians and their allies invaded Attica with a great host under the leadership of Archidamus the king. And they advanced, ravaging the country as they went, as far as Acharnae, where they encamped, supposing that the Athenians would not tolerate it, but would fight with them out of angry pride.Pericles, however, looked upon it as a terrible thing to join battle with sixty thousand Peloponnesian and Boeotian hoplites (those who made the first invasion were as numerous as that), and stake the city itself upon the issue. So he tried to calm down those who were eager to fight, and who were in distress at what the enemy was doing, by saying that trees, though cut and lopped, grew quickly, but if men were destroyed it was not easy to get them again. And he would not call the people together into an assembly, fearing that he would be constrained against his better judgement, but, like the helmsman of a ship, who, when a stormy wind swoops down upon it in the open sea, makes all fast, takes in sail, and exercises his skill, disregarding the tears and entreaties of the sea-sick and timorous passengers, so he shut the city up tight, put all parts of it under safe garrison, and exercised his own judgement, little heeding the brawlers and malcontents. And yet many of his friends beset him with entreaties, and many of his enemies with threats and denunciations, and choruses sang songs of scurrilous mockery, railing at his generalship for its cowardice, and its abandonment of everything to the enemy. Cleon, too, was already harassing him, taking advantage of the wrath with which the citizens regarded him to make his own way toward the leadership of the people,as these anapaestic verses of Hermippus show:
Thou king of the Satyrs, why pray wilt thou not
Take the spear for thy weapon, and stop the dire talk
With the which, until now, thou conductest the war.
While the soul of a Teles is in thee?
If the tiniest knife is but laid on the stone
To give it an edge, thou gnashest thy teeth,
As if bitten by fiery Cleon. Hermippus, Fates (Moirai)
However, Pericles was moved by no such things, but gently and silently underwent the ignominy and the hatred, and, sending out an armament of a hundred ships against the Peloponnesus, did not himself sail with it, but remained behind, keeping the city under watch and ward and well in hand, until the Peloponnesians withdrew. Then, by way of soothing the multitude, who, in spite of their enemies' departure, were distressed over the war, he won their favour by distributions of moneys and proposed allotments of conquered lands; the Aeginetans, for instance, he drove out entirely, and parcelled out their island among the Athenians by lot. And some consolation was to be had from what their enemies suffered. For the expedition around the Peloponnesus ravaged much territory and sacked villages and small cities, while Pericles himself, by land, invaded the Megarid and razed it all. Wherein also it was evident that though their enemies did the Athenians much harm by land, they suffered much too at their hands by sea, and therefore would not have protracted the war to such a length, but would have speedily given up, just as Pericles prophesied in the beginning, had not a terrible visitation from heaven thwarted human calculations.
As it was, in the first place, a pestilential destruction fell upon them (430 B.C. Cf. Thuc. 2.47-54) and devoured clean the prime of their youth and power. It weakened them in body and in spirit, and made them altogether wild against Pericles, so that, for all the world as the mad will attack a physician or a father, so they, in the delirium of the plague, attempted to do him harm, persuaded thereto by his enemies. These urged that the plague was caused by the crowding of the rustic multitudes together into the city, where, in the summer season, many were huddled together in small dwellings and stifling barracks, and compelled to lead a stay-at-home and inactive life, instead of being in the pure and open air of heaven as they were wont. They said that Pericles was responsible for this, who, because of the war, had poured the rabble from the country into the walled city and then gave that mass of men no employment whatever, but suffered them, thus penned up like cattle, to fill one another full of corruption, and provided them no change or respite.
Desiring to heal these evils, and at the same time to inflict some annoyance upon the enemy, he manned a hundred and fifty ships of war, and, after embarking many brave hoplites and horsemen, was on the point of putting out to sea, affording great hope to the citizens, and no less fear to the enemy in consequence of so great a force. But when the ships were already manned, and Pericles had gone aboard his own trireme, it chanced that the sun was eclipsed and darkness came on, and all were thoroughly frightened, looking upon it as a great portent. Accordingly, seeing that his steersman was timorous and utterly perplexed, Pericles held up his cloak before the man's eyes, and, thus covering them, asked him if he thought it anything dreadful, or portentous of anything dreadful. "No", said the steersman. "How then", said Pericles, "is yonder event different from this, except that it is something rather larger than my cloak which has caused the obscurity?" At any rate, this tale is told in the schools of philosophy. Well, then, on sailing forth, Pericles seems to have accomplished nothing worthy of his preparations, but after laying siege to sacred Epidaurus, which awakened a hope that it might he captured, he had no such good fortune, because of the plague. Its fierce onset destroyed not only the Athenians themselves, but also those who, in any manner soever, had dealings with their forces. The Athenians being exasperated against him on this account, he tried to appease and encourage them. He did not, however, succeed in allaying their wrath, nor yet in changing their purposes, before they got their hostile ballots into their hands, became masters of his fate, stripped him of his command, and punished him with a fine. The amount of this was fifteen talents, according to those who give the lowest, and fifty, according to those who give the highest figures. The public prosecutor mentioned in the records of the case was Cleon, as Idomeneus says, but according to Theophrastus it was Simmias, and Heracleides Ponticus mentions Lacratides.
So much, then, for his public troubles; they were likely soon to cease, now that the multitude had stung him, as it were, and left their passion with their sting; but his domestic affairs were in a sorry plight, since he had lost not a few of his intimate friends during the pestilence, and had for some time been rent and torn by a family feud. The eldest of his legitimate sons, Xanthippus, who was naturally prodigal, and had married a young and extravagant wife, the daughter of Tisander, the son of Epilycus, was much displeased at his father's exactitude in making him but a meagre allowance, and that a little at a time. Accordingly, he sent to one of his father's friends and got money, pretending that Pericles bade him do it. When the friend afterwards demanded repayment of the loan, Pericles not only refused it, but brought suit against him to boot. So the young fellow, Xanthippus, incensed at this, fell to abusing his father, publishing abroad, to make men laugh, his conduct of affairs at home, and the discourses which he held with the sophists. For instance, a certain athlete had hit Epitimus the Pharsalian with a javelin, accidentally, and killed him, and Pericles, Xanthippus said, squandered an entire day discussing with Protagoras whether it was the javelin, or rather the one who hurled it, or the judges of the contests, that ?in the strictest sense? ought to be held responsible for the disaster. Besides all this, the slanderous charge concerning his own wife Stesimbrotus says was sown abroad in public by Xanthippus himself, and also that the quarrel which the young man had with his father remained utterly incurable up to the time of his death,--for Xanthippus fell sick and died during the plague.
Pericles lost his sister also at that time, and of his relatives and friends the largest part, and those who were most serviceable to him in his administration of the city. He did not, however, give up, nor yet abandon his loftiness and grandeur of spirit because of his calamities, nay, he was not even seen to weep, either at the funeral rites, or at the grave of any of his connections, until indeed he lost the very last remaining one of his own legitimate sons, Paralus. Even though he was bowed down at this stroke, he nevertheless tried to persevere in his habit and maintain his spiritual greatness, but as he laid a wreath upon the dead, he was vanquished by his anguish at the sight, so that he broke out into wailing, and shed a multitude of tears, although he had never done any such thing in all his life before.
The city made trial of its other generals and counsellors for the conduct of the war, but since no one appeared to have weight that was adequate or authority that was competent for such leadership, it yearned for Pericles, and summoned him back to the bema and the war-office (429 B.C.). He was lying dejectedly at home because of his sorrow, but was persuaded by Alcibiades and his other friends to resume his public life. When the people had apologized for their thankless treatment of him, and he had undertaken again the conduct of the state, and been elected general, he asked for a suspension of the law concerning children born out of wedlock,--a law which he himself had formerly introduced,--in order that the name and lineage of his house might not altogether expire through lack of succession.
The circumstances of this law were as follows. Many years before this (451-450 B.C.), when Pericles was at the height of his political career and had sons born in wedlock, as I have said, he proposed a law that only those should he reckoned Athenians whose parents on both sides were Athenians. And so when the king of Egypt sent a present to the people of forty thousand measures of grain, and this had to be divided up among the citizens, there was a great crop of prosecutions against citizens of illegal birth by the law of Pericles, who had up to that time escaped notice and been overlooked, and many of them also suffered at the hands of informers. As a result, a little less than five thousand were convicted and sold into slavery, and those who retained their citizenship and were adjudged to be Athenians were found, as a result of this scrutiny, to be fourteen thousand and forty in number. It was, accordingly, a grave matter, that the law which had been rigorously enforced against so many should now be suspended by the very man who had introduced it, and yet the calamities which Pericles was then suffering in his family life, regarded as a kind of penalty which he had paid for his arrogance and haughtiness of old, broke down the objections of the Athenians. They thought that what he suffered was by way of retribution, and that what he asked became a man to ask and men to grant, and so they suffered him to enroll his illegitimate son in the phratry-lists and to give him his own name. This was the son who afterwards conquered the Peloponnesians in a naval battle at the Arginusae islands (406 B.C), and was put to death by the people along with his fellow-generals.
At this time, it would seem, the plague laid hold of Pericles, not with a violent attack, as in the case of others, nor acute, but one which, with a kind of sluggish distemper that prolonged itself through varying changes, used up his body slowly and undermined the loftiness of his spirit. Certain it is that Theophrastus, in his "Ethics", querying whether one's character follows the bent of one's fortunes and is forced by bodily sufferings to abandon its high excellence, records this fact, that Pericles, as he lay sick, showed one of his friends who was come to see him an amulet that the women had hung round his neck, as much as to say that he was very badly off to put up with such folly as that.
Being now near his end (He died in the autumn of 429 B.C.), the best of the citizens and those of his friends who survived were sitting around him holding discourse of his excellence and power, how great they had been, and estimating all his achievements and the number of his trophies,--there were nine of these which he had set up as the city's victorious general. This discourse they were holding with one another, supposing that he no longer understood them but had lost consciousness. He had been attending to it all, however, and speaking out among them said he was amazed at their praising and commemorating that in him which was due as much to fortune as to himself, and which had fallen to the lot of many generals besides, instead of mentioning his fairest and greatest title to their admiration; "for", said he, "no living Athenian ever put on mourning because of me".
So, then, the man is to be admired not only for his reasonableness and the gentleness which he maintained in the midst of many responsibilities and great enmities, but also for his loftiness of spirit, seeing that he regarded it as the noblest of all his titles to honor that he had never gratified his envy or his passion in the exercise of his vast power, nor treated any one of his foes as a foe incurable. And it seems to me that his otherwise puerile and pompous surname is rendered unobjectionable and becoming by this one circumstance, that it was so gracious a nature and a life so pure and undefiled in the exercise of sovereign power which were called Olympian, inasmuch as we do firmly hold that the divine rulers and kings of the universe are capable only of good, and incapable of evil. In this we are not like the poets, who confuse us with their ignorant fancies, and are convicted of inconsistency by their own stories, since they declare that the place where they say the gods dwell is a secure abode and tranquil, without experience of winds and clouds, but gleaming through all the unbroken time with the soft radiance of purest light, --implying that some such a manner of existence is most becoming to the blessed immortal; and yet they represent the gods themselves as full of malice and hatred and wrath and other passions which ill become even men of any sense. But this, perhaps, will be thought matter for discussion elsewhere.
The progress of events wrought in the Athenians a swift appreciation of Pericles and a keen sense of his loss. For those who, while he lived, were oppressed by a sense of his power and felt that it kept them in obscurity, straightway on his removal made trial of other orators and popular leaders, only to be led to the confession that a character more moderate than his in its solemn dignity, and more august in its gentleness, had not been created. That objectionable power of his, which they had used to call monarchy and tyranny, seemed to them now to have been a saving bulwark of the constitution, so greatly was the state afflicted by the corruption and manifold baseness which he had kept weak and grovelling, thereby covering it out of sight and preventing it from becoming incurably powerful.
This extract is from: Plutarch's Lives (ed. Bernadotte Perrin, 1914). Cited June 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains comments & interesting hyperlinks.
Aspasia. A celebrated woman, a native of Miletus. She came as an adventuress to
Athens, in the time of Pericles, and, by the combined charms of her person, manners,
and conversation, completely won the affection and esteem of that distinguished
statesman. Her station had freed her from the restraints which custom laid on
the education of the Athenian matron, and she had enriched her mind with accomplishments
which were rare even among men. Her acquaintance with Pericles seems to have begun
while he was still united to a lady of high birth, and we can hardly doubt that
it was Aspasia who first disturbed this union, although it is said to have been
dissolved by mutual consent. But after parting from his wife, who had borne him
two sons, Pericles attached himself to Aspasia by the most intimate relation which
the laws permitted him to contract with a foreign woman; and she acquired an ascendency
over him which soon became notorious, and furnished the comic poets with an inexhaustible
fund of ridicule and his enemies with a ground for serious charges. The Samian
War was ascribed to her interposition on behalf of her birthplace, and rumours
were set afloat which represented her as ministering to the vices of Pericles
by the most odious and degrading of offices. There was, perhaps, as little foundation
for this report as for a similar one in which Phidias was implicated ; though
among all the imputations brought against Pericles, this is that which it is the
most difficult clearly to refute. But we are inclined to believe that it may have
arisen from the peculiar nature of Aspasia's private circles, which, with a bold
neglect of established usage, were composed not only of the most intelligent and
accomplished men to be found at Athens, but also of matrons, who, it is said,
were brought by their husbands to listen to her conversation. This must have been
highly instructive as well as brilliant, since Plato did not hesitate to describe
her as the preceptress of Socrates, and to assert in the Menexenus that she both
formed the rhetoric of Pericles and composed one of his most admired harangues,
the celebrated funeral oration. The innovation, which drew women of free birth
and good standing into her company for such a purpose, must, even where the truth
was understood, have surprised and offended many, and it was liable to the grossest
misconstruction. And if her female friends were sometimes seen watching the progress
of the works of Phidias, it was easy, through his intimacy with Pericles, to connect
this fact with a calumny of the same kind.
There was another rumour still more dangerous, which grew out of the character of the persons who were admitted to the society of Pericles and Aspasia. No persons were more welcome at the house of Pericles than such as were distinguished by philosophical studies, and especially by the profession of new philosophical tenets. The mere presence of Anaxagoras, Zeno, Protagoras, and other celebrated men, who were known to hold doctrines very remote from the religious conceptions of the vulgar, was sufficient to make a circle in which they were familiar pass for a school of impiety. Such were the materials out of which the comic poet Hermippus formed a criminal prosecution against Aspasia. His indictment included two heads: an offence against religion, and that of corrupting Athenian women to gratify the passions of Pericles. The danger was averted; but it seems that Pericles, who pleaded her cause, found need of his most strenuous exertions to save Aspasia, and that he even descended, in her behalf, to tears and entreaties, which no similar emergency of his own could ever draw from him.
After the death of Pericles, Aspasia attached herself to a young man of obscure birth, named Lysicles, who rose through her influence in moulding his character to some of the highest employments in the Republic. (See Plut. Pericl.; Xen. Mem.ii. 6.)
This text is from: Harry Thurston Peck, Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities. Cited June 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks
Aspasia. The celebrated Milesian, daughter of Axiochus, came to reside at Athens, and there gained and fixed the affections of Pericles, not more by her beauty than by her high mental accomplishments. With his wife. who was a lady of rank, and by whom he had two sons, he seems to have lived unhappily; and, having parted from her by mutual consent, he attached himself to Aspasia during the rest of his life as closely as was allowed by the law, which forbade marriage with a foreign woman under severe penalties (Plut. Peric. 24; Demosth. c. Neaer.). Nor can there be any doubt that she acquired over him a great ascendancy; though this perhaps comes before us in an exaggerated shape in the statements which ascribe to her influence the war with Samos on behalf of Miletus in B. C. 440, as well as the Peloponnesian war itself (Plut. Peric. l. c.; Aristoph. Acharn. 497; Schol. ad loc.; comp. Aristoph. Pax, 587; Thuc. i. 115). The connexion, indeed, of Pericles with Aspasia appears to have been a favourite subject of attack in Athenian comedy (Aristoph. Acharn. l. c.; Plut. Peric. 24; Schol. ad Plat. Menex.), as also with certain writers of philosophical dialogues, between whom and the comic poets, in respect of their abusive propensities, Athenaeus remarks a strong family likeness (Athen. v. p. 220; Casaub. ad loc.). Nor was their bitterness satisfied with the vent of satire; for it was Hermippus, the comic poet, who brought against Aspasia the double charge of impiety and of infamously pandering to the vices of Pericles; and it required all the personal influence of the latter with the people, and his most earnest entreaties and tears, to procure her acquittal (Plut. Peric. 32; Athen. xiii). The house of Aspasia was the great centre of the highest literary and philosophical society of Athens, nor was the seclusion of the Athenian matrons so strictly preserved, but that many even of them resorted thither with their husbands for the pleasure and improvement of her conversation (Plut. Peric. 24); so that the intellectual influence which she ex ercised was undoubtedly considerable, even though we reject the story of her being the preceptress of Socrates, on the probable ground of the irony of those passages in which such statement is made (Plat. Menex.; Xen. Occon. iii. 14, Memor. ii. 6.36); for Plato certainly was no approver of the administration of Pericles (Gorg), and thought perhaps that the refinement introduced by Aspasia had only added a new temptation to the licentiousness from which it was not disconnected (Athen. xiii). On the death of Pericles, Aspasia is said to have attached herself to one Lysicles, a dealer in cattle, and to have made him by her instructions a first-rate orator (Aesch. ap. Plut. Peric. 24). For an amusing account of a sophistical argument ascribed to her by Aeschines the philosopher, see Cic. de Inxent. i. 31; Quintil. Inst. Orat. v. 11. The son of Pericles by Aspasia was legitimated by a special decree of the people, and took his father's name (Plut. Peric. 37). He was one of the six generals who were put to death after the victory at Arginusae.
This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited June 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks
Aspasia was the mistress of Pericles, the leader of Athens during the Classical Age. She was a hetaira, a trained and paid companion who accompanied upper-class men to the symposiums. According to some ancient sources she was skilled in rhetoric and took part in the intellectual discussions of the leading men in Athens, including Socrates. As the mistress of Pericles, she suffered attacks from his political enemies. Aspasia and Pericles had one son, who was later legitimized. After the death of Pericles she married Lysicles a man of humble birth who became a successful politician in Athens through her assistance. Factual information about Aspasia is difficult to locate in the ancient sources. Playwrights, biographers and other ancient authors use Aspasia to illustrate their views on philosophy, rhetoric and Pericles.
Modern scholars agree that the basic facts of Aspasia's life as recorded by Diodoros the Athenian (FGrHist 372 F 40 ), Plutarch (Plut. Per. 24.3 ) and the lexicographers are correct. She was born in the city of Miletus between 460-455 B.C., the daughter of Axiochus. Miletus, part of the Athenian empire, was one of the leading cities in Ionia, an area of Greek settlement located along the coast of Asia Minor.
It was probably in Ionia, before she left for Athens, that Aspasia was educated. Women in that part of the Greek world were generally given more of an education than women in Athens. As a hetaira she would have been trained in the art of conversation and of musical entertainment including singing, dancing and playing instruments.
Arriving in Athens as a free immigrant around 445 B.C., Aspasia worked as a hetaira. In fact Aspasia, which meant "Gladly Welcomed", was probably her professional name. Hetairai were much more than just high-class prostitutes. According to ancient literary sources and scenes from vase paintings, many hetairai were intelligent, beautiful, well-dressed and had fewer restrictions on their lives than the respectable, married women in Athens (Athenaeus, Deipnosophistae 583f. ). This description would also apply to Aspasia. As a hetaira, however, she would not have had financial security or any legal or family protection.
As the paid companion of aristocratic men Aspasia attended symposiums, drinking parties combined with political and philosophical discourse. At the symposiums she met the most influential and powerful men in Athens, including Pericles. Sometime around 445 B.C. Aspasia began to live with Pericles, who at that time was the leader of Athens. He had been divorced from his wife for five years, with whom he had two sons. According to Plutarch, it was an amiable divorce because the marriage was not a happy one (Plut. Per. 24.5).
Plutarch relates more information about Aspasia than any other ancient author. Unfortunately, Plutarch's Lives are full of distortions and historical inaccuracies. His purpose in the Lives was to exemplify the virtues and vices of great men, not to write history. In respect to Aspasia and Pericles he states that Pericles valued Aspasia's intelligence and political insight, but he emphasizes that Pericles' feelings for her were primarily erotic. This may be an attempt on Plutarch's part to remove the stigma from Pericles of having been overly influenced by a woman.
Plutarch describes the relationship between Aspasia and Pericles as a very happy one. He states that she was so loved by Pericles that he kissed her everyday when he left the house and again when he returned (Plut. Per. 24). Plutarch portrays Aspasia as the influential courtesan. He writes that Aspasia was trying to emulate Thargelia, a famous Milesian courtesan whose lovers were the most powerful men in Greece. Using her influence over these men Thargelia helped win Thessaly over to the Persians at the time of Xerxes' invasion.
Plutarch blames Aspasia for Pericles' decision to start the war against Samos, a wealthy and powerful member of the empire. The Milesians and the Samians were involved in a border dispute. The Samians refused to submit the conflict to Athenian arbitration. Supposedly, Aspasia pressured Pericles to take military action against Samos (Plut. Per. 25.1). Although it would have been natural for Aspasia to take the side of her native city, she and Pericles both must have realized that the loss of Samos to the empire would have meant the rapid end of Athenian domination of the Aegean.
The exact status of Aspasia's relationship with Pericles and her position in Pericles' household is disputed. While some say that she was his a pallake (concubine ), Plutarch (Plut. Per. 24) seems to imply, and Diodorus the Athenian (FGrHist 372 F 40) says, that she was his akoitis. She and Pericles had one son also named Pericles. As the mistress of Pericles' household and hostess to his friends and supporters, Aspasia participated in discussions revolving around politics and philosophy with the leading men of the Athenian empire. According to several ancient authors, Socrates respected her opinions (Plut. Per. 24.3; Xen. Ec. 3.15; Cicero, De Inventione 31.51). As a pallake she would have been outside of the legal, traditional role of an Athenian wife. Freed from the social restraints that tied married women to their homes and restricted their behavior, Aspasia was able to participate more freely in public life.
Strong evidence that Aspasia's role in Athens went beyond that of mistress to Pericles is given by Plato in the Menexenus. In this dialogue Plato has Socrates recite a funeral oration composed by Aspasia that glorifies the Athenians and their history. The Menexenus is a humorous vehicle for Plato to make a serious, but negative comment on rhetoric and popular opinion in Athens. Everything in Aspasia's speech is selected, arranged and stated by Plato in order to produce the greatest possible irony. By satirizing a speech "written" by Aspasia, Plato acknowledges her role as a leader of rhetoric in the Greek Classical Age.
In Cicero's book on rhetoric he uses as an example of the Socratic method a dialogue attributed to Aspasia by Aeschines a student of Socrates. In this dialogue Aspasia skillfully proves to a husband and wife that neither one of them will ever be truly happy with the other because they each desire the ideal spouse. Aeschines and another student of Socrates, Antisthenes, both wrote dialogues titled Aspasia. Unfortunately, only fragments of these works survive (Diogenes Laertius, Antisthenes 6.16).
Several ancient authors state that Aspasia herself operated a house of courtesans and trained young women in the necessary skills (Plut. Per. 24.3). Aristophanes and others refer to "Aspasia's whores" (Aristoph. Ach. 527). Although as Pericles' pallake she was taken care of financially, Aspasia may have been preparing for her future after the death of Pericles. According to Plutarch, she was known in Athens as a teacher of rhetoric. Perhaps these women were her pupils (Plut. Per. 34). Aspasia's hetairai would have had as patrons the elite men of Athens, especially the supporters of Pericles.
Around 438 B.C. Pericles' political enemies began attacking those close to him in court and eventually brought charges against Pericles himself. Soon Aspasia became a target. She was brought to trial on charges of impiety and of procuring free women. She was acquitted thanks to a passionate and tearful defense by Pericles (Plut. Per. 32.1-3). Although her political wisdom was valuable to Pericles, not having an Athenian citizen as a legal wife, but rather living with a foreign hetaira in an unofficial marriage may have been a political liability for him.
In the contemporary comedy The Acharnians, Aristophanes parodies the imputations that Aspasia had undue influence on Pericles' political decisions. One of his characters blames the start of the Peloponnesian War in 431 B.C. on the abduction of two of Aspasia's hetairai (Aristoph. Ach. 527-530). The joke worked because the audience knew that Aspasia had some influence on Pericles, but not enough to start a war.
The plague in Athens in 430 B.C. killed both of Pericles' sons by his first wife. This led him to ask for an exemption from the citizenship law, which he himself had enacted, for his illegimate son by Aspasia. The citizenship law decreed that only persons whose father and mother were both Athenians could be legal citizens. The people of Athens agreed to Pericles' request. His son was legitimized and made a citizen of Athens. He later became a general, but was executed in 406 B.C.
In 429 B.C. Pericles died from the plague. A year later Aspasia became involved with a sheep seller named Lysicles in another unofficial marriage. He was an uneducated man of humble birth who rose to prominence thanks to her guidance. She taught him how to speak in public and gave him the benefit of her valuable insights and personal contacts in Athenian politics (Plut. Per. 24.6; Scholia to Plato, Menexenus 235E). He was one of the new type of political leaders who came to prominence after the death of Pericles. This was probably the same group who had led the earlier attacks against Pericles and his friends, including Aspasia herself. Questions remain regarding Aspasia's decision to marry so quickly after Pericles' death. She might have been in need of a protector from Pericles' enemies. The selection of another politician as her husband might also suggest a desire to remain involved in the politics of Athens.
There is no information about Aspasia's life after this point. Although the actual extent of her influence on Athenian politics and society during Athens' most glorious period will never be certain, she did become one of the few women in the ancient Greek world to be noted and remembered. She became so famous that Cyrus, a prince of Persia, Athens' most hated enemy, gave the name Aspasia to his favorite concubine. Through the succeeding centuries ancient authors, including playwrights and biographers, used Aspasia as a well-known historical figure to illustrate their views on philosophy, politics, rhetoric, Pericles and Socrates.
The primary sources give little information about Aspasia. Plutarch relates more than the other ancient authors, but he seems almost wholly dependent on Athenian comedy and stories from the Socratic circle for his information, all of which is difficult to verify. The secondary sources tend to discuss Aspasia in relation to Pericles or Athenian politics and society.
Elizabeth Lynne Beavers, ed.
This text is cited June 2005 from Perseus Project URL bellow, which contains interesting hyperlinks
In the same winter the Athenians gave a funeral at the public cost to those who
had first fallen in this war. It was a custom of their ancestors, and the manner
of it is as follows. Three days before the ceremony, the bones of the dead are
laid out in a tent which has been erected; and their friends bring to their relatives
such offerings as they please.  In the funeral procession cypress coffins are
borne in cars, one for each tribe; the bones of the deceased being placed in the
coffin of their tribe. Among these is carried one empty bier decked for the missing,
that is, for those whose bodies could not be recovered. Any citizen or stranger
who pleases, joins in the procession: and the female relatives are there to wail
at the burial. The dead are laid in the public sepulchre in the most beautiful
suburb of the city, in which those who fall in war are always buried; with the
exception of those slain at Marathon, who for their singular and extraordinary
valor were interred on the spot where they fell. After the bodies have been laid
in the earth, a man chosen by the state, of approved wisdom and eminent reputation,
pronounces over them an appropriate panegyric; after which all retire. Such is
the manner of the burying; and throughout the whole of the war, whenever the occasion
arose, the established custom was observed. Meanwhile these were the first that
had fallen, and Pericles, son of Xanthippus, was chosen to pronounce their eulogium.
When the proper time arrived, he advanced from the sepulchre to an elevated platform
in order to be heard by as many of the crowd as possible, and spoke as follows:
'Most of my predecessors in this place have commended him who made this speech part of the law, telling us that it is well that it should be delivered at the burial of those who fall in battle. For myself, I should have thought that the worth which had displayed itself in deeds, would be sufficiently rewarded by honors also shown by deeds; such as you now see in this funeral prepared at the people's cost. And I could have wished that the reputations of many brave men were not to be imperilled in the mouth of a single individual, to stand or fall according as he spoke well or ill. For it is hard to speak properly upon a subject where it is even difficult to convince your hearers that you are speaking the truth. On the one hand, the friend who is familiar with every fact of the story, may think that some point has not been set forth with that fulness which he wishes and knows it to deserve; on the other, he who is a stranger to the matter may be led by envy to suspect exaggeration if he hears anything above his own nature. For men can endure to hear others praised only so long as they can severally persuade themselves of their own ability to equal the actions recounted: when this point is passed, envy comes in and with it incredulity. However, since our ancestors have stamped this custom with their approval, it becomes my duty to obey the law and to try to satisfy your several wishes and opinions as best I may.
I shall begin with our ancestors: it is both just and proper that they should have the honor of the first mention on an occasion like the present. They dwelt in the country without break in the succession from generation to generation, and handed it down free to the present time by their valor. And if our more remote ancestors deserve praise, much more do our own fathers, who added to their inheritance the empire which we now possess, and spared no pains to be able to leave their acquisitions to us of the present generation. Lastly, there are few parts of our dominions that have not been augmented by those of us here, who are still more or less in the vigor of life; while the mother country has been furnished by us with everything that can enable her to depend on her own resources whether for war or for peace. That part of our history which tells of the military achievements which gave us our several possessions, or of the ready valor with which either we or our fathers stemmed the tide of Hellenic or foreign aggression, is a theme too familiar to my hearers for me to dilate on, and I shall therefore pass it by. But what was the road by which we reached our position, what the form of government under which our greatness grew, what the national habits out of which it sprang; these are questions which I may try to solve before I proceed to my panegyric upon these men; since I think this to be a subject upon which on the present occasion a speaker may properly dwell, and to which the whole assemblage, whether citizens or foreigners, may listen with advantage.
Our constitution does not copy the laws of neighboring states; we are rather a pattern to others than imitators ourselves. Its administration favors the many instead of the few; this is why it is called a democracy. If we look to the laws, they afford equal justice to all in their private differences; if to social standing, advancement in public life falls to reputation for capacity, class considerations not being allowed to interfere with merit; nor again does poverty bar the way, if a man is able to serve the state, he is not hindered by the obscurity of his condition. The freedom which we enjoy in our government extends also to our ordinary life. There, far from exercising a jealous surveillance over each other, we do not feel called upon to be angry with our neighbor for doing what he likes, or even to indulge in those injurious looks which cannot fail to be offensive, although they inflict no positive penalty. But all this ease in our private relations does not make us lawless as citizens. Against this fear is our chief safeguard, teaching us to obey the magistrates and the laws, particularly such as regard the protection of the injured, whether they are actually on the statute book, or belong to that code which, although unwritten, yet cannot be broken without acknowledged disgrace.
Further, we provide plenty of means for the mind to refresh itself from business. We celebrate games and sacrifices all the year round, and the elegance of our private establishments forms a daily source of pleasure and helps to banish the spleen; while the magnitude of our city draws the produce of the world into our harbor, so that to the Athenian the fruits of other countries are as familiar a luxury as those of his own.
If we turn to our military policy, there also we differ from antagonists. We throw open our city to the world, and never by alien acts exclude foreigners from any opportunity of learning or observing, although the eyes of an enemy may occasionally profit by our liberality; trusting less in system and policy than to the native spirit of our citizens; while in education, where our rivals from their very cradles by a painful discipline seek after manliness, at Athens we live exactly as we please, and yet are just as ready to encounter every legitimate danger. In proof of this it may be noticed that the Lacedaemonians do not invade our country alone, but bring with them all their confederates; while we Athenians advance unsupported into the territory of a neighbor, and fighting upon a foreign soil usually vanquish with ease men who are defending their homes. Our united force was never yet encountered by any enemy, because we have at once to attend to our marine and to despatch our citizens by land upon a hundred different services; so that, wherever they engage with some such fraction of our strength, a success against a detachment is magnified into a victory over the nation, and a defeat into a reverse suffered at the hands of our entire people. And yet if with habits not of labor but of ease, and courage not of art but of nature, we are still willing to encounter danger, we have the double advantage of escaping the experience of hardships in anticipation and of facing them in the hour of need as fearlessly as those who are never free from them.
Nor are these the only points in which our city is worthy of admiration.
We cultivate refinement without extravagance and knowledge without effeminacy; wealth we employ more for use than for show, and place the real disgrace of poverty not in owning to the fact but in declining the struggle against it. Our public men have, besides politics, their private affairs to attend to, and our ordinary citizens, though occupied with the pursuits of industry, are still fair judges of public matters; for, unlike any other nation, regarding him who takes no part in these duties not as unambitious but as useless, we Athenians are able to judge at all events if we cannot originate, and instead of looking on discussion as a stumbling-block in the way of action, we think it an indispensable preliminary to any wise action at all. Again, in our enterprises we present the singular spectacle of daring and deliberation, each carried to its highest point, and both united in the same persons; although usually decision is the fruit of ignorance, hesitation of reflection. But the palm of courage will surely be adjudged most justly to those, who best know the difference between hardship and pleasure and yet are never tempted to shrink from danger.  In generosity we are equally singular, acquiring our friends by conferring not by receiving favors. Yet, of course, the doer of the favor is the firmer friend of the two, in order by continued kindness to keep the recipient in his debt; while the debtor feels less keenly from the very consciousness that the return he makes will be a payment, not a free gift. And it is only the Athenians who, fearless of consequences, confer their benefits not from calculations of expediency, but in the confidence of liberality.
In short, I say that as a city we are the school of Hellas; while I doubt if the world can produce a man, who where he has only himself to depend upon, is equal to so many emergencies, and graced by so happy a versatility as the Athenian. And that this is no mere boast thrown out for the occasion, but plain matter of fact, the power of the state acquired by these habits proves. For Athens alone of her contemporaries is found when tested to be greater than her reputation, and alone gives no occasion to her assailants to blush at the antagonist by whom they have been worsted, or to her subjects to question her title by merit to rule. Rather, the admiration of the present and succeeding ages will be ours, since we have not left our power without witness, but have shown it by mighty proofs; and far from needing a Homer for our panegyrist, or other of his craft whose verses might charm for the moment only for the impression which they gave to melt at the touch of fact, we have forced every sea and land to be the highway of our daring, and everywhere, whether for evil or for good, have left imperishable monuments behind us. Such is the Athens for which these men, in the assertion of their resolve not to lose her, nobly fought and died; and well may well every one of their survivors be ready to suffer in her cause.
Indeed if I have dwelt at some length upon the character of our country, it has been to show that our stake in the struggle is not the same as theirs who have no such blessings to lose, and also that the panegyric of the men over whom I am now speaking might be by definite proofs established. That panegyric is now in a great measure complete; for the Athens that I have celebrated is only what the heroism of these and their like have made her, men whose fame, unlike at of most Hellenes, will be found to be only commensurate with their deserts. And if a test of worth be wanted, it is to be found in their closing scene, and this not only in the cases in which it set the final seal upon their merit, but also in those in which it gave the first intimation of their having any. For there is justice in the claim that steadfastness in his country's battles should be as a cloak to cover a man's other imperfections; since the good action has blotted out the bad, and his merit as a citizen more than outweighed his demerits as an individual. But none of these allowed either wealth with its prospect of future enjoyment to unnerve his spirit, or poverty with its hope of a day of freedom and riches to tempt him to shrink from danger. No, holding that vengeance upon their enemies was more to be desired than any personal blessings, and reckoning this to be the most glorious of hazards, they joyfully determined to accept the risk, to make sure of their vengeance and to let their wishes wait; and while committing to hope the uncertainty of final success, in the business before them they thought fit to act boldly and trust in themselves. Thus choosing to die resisting, rather than to live submitting, they fled only from dishonor, but met danger face to face, and after one brief moment, while at the summit of their fortune, escaped, not from their fear, but from their glory.
So died these men as became Athenians. You, their survivors, must determine to have as unaltering a resolution in the field, though you may pray that it may have a happier issue. And not contented with ideas derived only from words of the advantages which are bound up with the defence of your country, though these would furnish a valuable text to a speaker even before an audience so alive to them as the present, you must yourselves realize the power of Athens, and feed your eyes upon her from day to day, till love of her fills your hearts; and then when all her greatness shall break upon you, you must reflect that it was by courage, sense of duty, and a keen feeling of honor in action that men were enabled to win all this, and that no personal failure in an enterprise could make them consent to deprive their country of their valor, but they laid it at her feet as the most glorious contribution that they could offer. For this offering of their lives made in common by them all they each of them individually received that renown which never grows old, and for a sepulchre, not so much that in which their bones have been deposited, but that noblest of shrines wherein their glory is laid up to be eternally remembered upon every occasion on which deed or story shall fall for its commemoration. For heroes have the whole earth for their tomb; and in lands far from their own, where the column with its epitaph declares it, there is enshrined in every breast a record unwritten with no tablet to preserve it, except that of the heart. These take as your model, and judging happiness to be the fruit of freedom and freedom of valor, never decline the dangers of war. For it is not the miserable that would most justly be unsparing of their lives; these have nothing to hope for: it is rather they to whom continued life may bring reverses as yet unknown, and to whom a fall, if it came, would be most tremendous in its consequences. And surely, to a man of spirit, the degradation of cowardice must be immeasurably more grievous than the unfelt death which strikes him in the midst of his strength and patriotism!
Comfort, therefore, not condolence, is what I have to offer to the parents of the dead who may be here. Numberless are the chances to which, as they know, the life of man is subject; but fortunate indeed are they who draw for their lot a death so glorious as that which has caused your mourning, and to whom life has been so exactly measured as to terminate in the happiness in which it has been passed. Still I know that this is a hard saying, especially when those are in question of whom you will constantly be reminded by seeing in the homes of others blessings of which once you also boasted: for grief is felt not so much for the want of what we have never known, as for the loss of that to which we have been long accustomed. Yet you who are still of an age to beget children must bear up in the hope of having others in their stead; not only will they help you to forget those whom you have lost, but will be to the state at once a reinforcement and a security; for never can a fair or just policy be expected of the citizen who does not, like his fellows, bring to the decision the interests and apprehensions of a father. While those of you who have passed your prime must congratulate yourselves with the thought that the best part of your life was fortunate, and that the brief span that remains will be cheered by the fame of the departed. For it is only the love of honor that never grows old; and honor it is, not gain, as some would have it, that rejoices the heart of age and helplessness.
Turning to the sons or brothers of the dead, I see an arduous struggle before you. When a man is gone, all are wont to praise him, and should your merit be ever so transcendent, you will still find it difficult not merely to overtake, but even to approach their renown. The living have envy to contend with, while those who are no longer in our path are honored with a goodwill into which rivalry does not enter. On the other hand if I must say anything on the subject of female excellence to those of you who will now be in widowhood, it will be all comprised in this brief exhortation. Great will be your glory in not falling short of your natural character; and greatest will be hers who is least talked of among the men whether for good or for bad.
My task is now finished. I have performed it to the best of my ability, and in words, at least, the requirements of the law are now satisfied. If deeds be in question, those who are here interred have received part of their honors already, and I for the rest, their children will be brought up till manhood at the public expense: the state thus offers a valuable prize, as the garland of victory in this race of valor, for the reward both of those who have fallen and their survivors. And where the rewards for merit are greatest, there are found the best citizens.
And now that you have brought to a close your lamentations for your relatives, you may depart.'
Such was the funeral that took place during this winter, with which the first year of the war came to an end. (Thuc. 2.34.1-47.1) : Perseus Encyclopedia
This extract is from: Thucydides. The Peloponnesian War (ed. Richard Crawley, 1910). Cited June 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains comments & interesting hyperlinks.
The idea that democracy was best served by involving a cross-section
of the male citizenry received further backing in the 450s B.C. from the measures
proposed to the assembly by a wealthy aristocract named Pericles (c. 495-429 B.C.),
whose mother had been the niece of the famous democratic reformer Cleisthenes.
Pericles successfully proposed that state revenues be used to pay a daily
stipend to men who served on juries, in the Council of the Five Hundred,
and in other public offices filled by lot. The stipend was modest, in fact less
than a skilled worker could have made on a good day. Without the stipend, however,
poorer men would have found it virtually impossible to leave their regular work
to serve in these positions, which required much of a man's time. By contrast,
the board of ten annually elected generals--the most influential public officials,
who had broad responsibilities for the city-state's military, civil, and financial
affairs--were to receive no stipends despite the heavy demands of their post.
Mainly rich men like Pericles won election as generals because they were supposed
to have been able to afford the education and training required to handle this
top job and to have the personal wealth to serve without financial compensation.
They were compensated by the prestige conferred by election to their office. Like
Cleisthenes before him, Pericles was an aristocrat who became the most influential
leader in the Athens of his era by devising innovations to strengthen the egalitarian
tendencies of Athenian democracy. Pericles and others of his economic status had
inherited enough wealth to spend their time in politics without worrying about
money, but remuneration for poorer men serving in public offices was an essential
foundation of Athenian democracy, if it was truly going to be open to the majority
of men, who, along with their wives and children, had to work to support themselves
and their families. Above all, Pericles' proposal that jurors receive state stipends
made him overwhelmingly popular with the mass of ordinary male citizens. Consequently,
he was able to introduce dramatic changes in Athenian domestic and foreign policy
beginning in the 450s B.C.
The Citizenship Law of Pericles
In 451 B.C. Pericles introduced one of most striking proposals with his sponsorship of a law stating that henceforth citizenship would be conferred only on children whose mother and father both were Athenians. Previously, the offspring of Athenian men who married non-Athenian women were granted citizenship. Aristocratic men in particular had tended to marry rich foreign women, as Pericles' own maternal grandfather had done. Pericles' new law enhanced the status of Athenian mothers and made Athenian citizenship a more exclusive category, definitively setting Athenians off from all others. Not long thereafter, a review of the citizenship rolls was conducted to expel any who had claimed citizenship fraudulently. Together these actions served to limit the number of citizens and thus limit dilution of the advantages which citizenship in Athens' radical democracy conveyed on those included in the citizenry. Those advantages included, for men, the freedom to participate in politics and juries, to influence decisions that directly affected their lives, to have equal protection under the law, and to own land and houses in Athenian territory. Citizen women had less rights because they were excluded from politics, had to have a male legal guardian (kurios), who, for example, spoke for them in court, and were not legally entitled to make large financial transactions on their own. They could, however, control property and have their financial interests protected in law suits. Like men, they were entitled to the protection of the law regardless of their wealth. Both female and male citizens experienced the advantage of belonging to a city-state that was enjoying unparalleled material prosperity. Citizens clearly saw themselves as the elite residents of Athens.
Periclean Foreign Policy
Once he had gained political prominence in the 450s at Athens, Pericles devoted his attention to foreign policy as well as domestic proposals. His intial foreign policy encompassed dual goals: 1) continuing military action against the Persian presence in Egypt and the eastern Mediterranean and 2) greater attention to Athenian relations and disputes with other Greek states. This latter part of his policy reflected above all the growing hostility between Athens and Sparta. Hostilities with Sparta and its allies had become more and more frequent following the rebuff of Cimon's expedition to Sparta in 462 B.C. The former part of the policy suffered a severe setback when a campaign to liberate Egypt from Persian control ended with the catastrophic loss of over two hundred ships and their crews in 454 B.C. The Delian League treasury was thereupon transferred to Athens from Delos to move it farther away from a potential Persian raid. The decision to move the alliance's funds, apparently taken unilaterally, confirmed Athens' absolute superiority over the other allies. Even after the Egyptian disaster the Athenian assembly did not immediately renounce further action against the Persians. Cimon, now returned from the exile imposed by his ostracism, was in fact sent out in charge of a major naval expedition to the eastern Mediterranean to try to pry the large island of Cyprus from Persian control. When he was killed on this campaign in 450 B.C., however, the assembly apparently decided not to send out any further overseas expeditions against Persian territory. Rather, Athens would focus its military efforts on containing Spartan power in Greece and preventing the Delian League from disintegrating through revolts of allies. When neither Sparta nor Athens was able to achieve a clear-cut dominance in Greece in the battles that followed in the early 440s, Pericles in 445 engineered a peace treaty with Sparta designed to freeze the current balance of power in Greece for thirty years and thus preserve Athenian dominance in the Delian League.
The Breakdown of Peace
After making peace with Sparta in 445, Pericles was free to turn his attention to his political rivals at Athens, who were jealous of his dominant influence over the board of ten annually elected generals, the highest magistrates of Athenian democracy. When the voters in 443 expressed their approval of Pericles' policies by choosing to ostracize not him but rather his chief political rival, Thucydides (not the same man as the historian of the same name), Pericles' overwhelming political prominence was confirmed. He was thereafter elected general fifteen years in a row. His ascendency was again challenged, however, on the grounds that he mishandled the revolt in 441-439 of Samos, a valuable and consistently loyal Athenian ally in the Delian League. Instead of seeking a diplomatic solution to the dispute, Pericles quickly opted for a military response. A brutal struggle ensued that extended over three campaigning seasons and inflicted bloody losses on both sides before the Samians were forced to capitulate. With his judgment under attack for this incident, Pericles soon faced an even greater challenge as relations with Sparta worsened in the mid-430s. When the Spartans finally threatened war unless the Athenians ceased their support of some rebellious Spartan allies, Pericles prevailed upon the assembly to refuse all compromises. His critics claimed he was sticking to his hard line against Sparta and insisting on provoking a war in order to revive his fading popularity by whipping up a jingoistic furor in the assembly. Pericles retorted that no accommodation to Spartan demands was possible because Athens' freedom of action was at stake. By 431 B.C. the Thirty Years' Peace made in 445 B.C. had been shattered beyond repair. The protracted Peloponnesian War (as modern historians call it) began in that year, not to end until 404 B.C., and ultimately put an end to the Athenian Golden Age.
This text is from: Thomas Martin's An Overview of Classical Greek History from Homer to Alexander, Yale University Press. Cited June 2005 from Perseus Project URL below, which contains bibliography & interesting hyperlinks.
The Peloponnesian War put a stop to the most spectacular demonstration of the
confidence and pride that Pericles and his fellow citizens felt in their city-state
during the height of the Golden Age in the 440s and 430s B.C. In the early 440s
B.C. the assembly accepted Pericles' recommendation to initiate a public building
program of temples and other structures in public religious sanctuaries on a scale
seldom before seen in a Greek city-state. The new buildings seemed spectacular
not only because they were expensive but also because their large scale, decoration,
and surrounding open spaces contrasted so vividly with the private architecture
of Athens in the fifth century B.C.
Athenian Private Dwellings
Athenians lived in a variety of different kinds of private dwellings in the city proper, in its densely populated suburb around the main harbor of Piraeus, in villages of varying sizes scattered throughout the countryside of Attica, and, occasionally, in isolated farmsteads. The majority of city and suburban dwellers lived in apartment buildings, which could be several stories high. Most apartment dwellers probably crowded themselves and their families into no more space than a room or two, which they rented from the building's owner, because they could not afford a very high rent. Wealthier people in the city owned individual homes, but they frequently had a house and land in the countryside, too. Dwellers in the countryside owned or rented houses that varied in size from tiny bungalows to larger structures perhaps on the scale of a small modern house that might be accompanied by other farm buildings such as sheds. Indeed, Athenian private houses in both in the city and the country were generally modest in size.
Archaeology has not been able to reveal much detail about the homes of residents of Athens because the modern city covers the remains of almost all the residential districts of the ancient city and thus inhibits excavation. Nevertheless, we know that homes in ancient Athens were wedged haphazardly against one another along narrow, winding streets. Even the residences of rich people followed the same basic design of bedrooms, storerooms, and dining rooms grouped around open-air courtyards. Some houses had more than one story. The women and men of the household usually had rooms set apart for their separate use, especially if there were infants or small children in the family. These youngsters would be looked after in the women's quarters, but all members of the household would see each other frequently despite the notional division of the interior space of the home by gender and age. The architectural tradition of grouping the house's rooms around a courtyard facilitated contact among all the members of the household, who included the slaves of the family. Wall paintings or works of art were as yet uncommon as decoration in private homes. Sparse furnishings and simple furniture were the rule. Water for household needs had to be fetched from public fountains. This onerous and constant work was performed by women and the household's slaves. Sanitary facilities usually consisted of a pit dug just outside the front door. The pits were emptied by collectors paid to dump manure outside the city at a distance set by law.
Liturgies and Benefactions
The rich citizens of Athens were expected to benefit the public as a whole by spending their own money to increase the amenities of life for all. In the case of the civic duties called liturgies ("work for the people; public service"), the wealthy were legally obligated to provide financial benefits to the city-state. Especially costly liturgies included duties such as paying the costs of putting on drama in the annual public festivals of Athens or financing and serving as an officer on a warship in the city-state's fleet. In other cases the wealthy provided benefactions that were not obligatory but nevertheless also displayed their civic mindedness and generosity toward their fellow citizens. Such benefactions included providing animals for public sacrifices and the feasting on their roasted meat that followed and constructing public buildings and other architectural improvements in the city. Although the costs of liturgies and benefactions, which could be heavy, obviously were a drain on the resources of a family as a whole, they were normally peformed in the name of the male head of the household. Spending generously to provide benefits for the common good was regarded as a primary component of male aristocratic virtue. Generous benefactors of the public earned increased social eminence as their reward and perhaps greater favor with their fellow male citizens when they ran for elective office, such as that of general. Liturgies and benefactions performed by the rich in the interest of the city compensated to a certain extent for the lack of any regular income or property taxes.
Benefactions by Cimon and his family
Cimon, an aristocratic and wealthy man, gained great fame for his costly benefactions to his fellow citizens. He was renowned, for example, for opening his orchards to let others pick whatever they wanted, but his most famous benefactions were architectural. He paid to have landscaping with shade trees and running tracks installed in open areas of Athens, and he also footed the enormous bill for the construction of footings for defensive walls to link the urban center of Athens and the harbor at Piraeus some seven kilometers away. Cimon's brother-in-law also participated in the family tradition of benefiting Athens by paying for highly-visible public building projects. He had built as a gift to the city the renowned Painted Stoa. Stoas were narrow, colonnaded buildings open along one side, whose purpose was to provide shelter from sun or rain for these conversations. The Painted Stoa stood on the edge of the central open area, the agora, at the center of the city. The agora served both as a market area where merchants could set up small stalls and as a gathering place for Athenian men to discuss politics and every other issue affecting their lives in the city-state. It was the commercial and social heart of Athens. The crowds of men who came to the agora daily for conversation would cluster inside the Painted Stoa, whose walls were decorated with paintings of great moments in Greek history commissioned from the most famous painters of the time, Polygnotus and Mikon. That one of the stoa's paintings portrayed the battle of Marathon in which Cimon's father, Miltiades, had won glory was only appropriate, since the building had been paid for by the husband of Cimon's sister, probably with financial assistance from Cimon himself.
Public Funding of Buildings
Although rich Athenians sometimes personally financed the construction of buildings for the use of the public in classical Athens in keeping with the tradition that the wealthy should benefit their city-state, the most conspicuous and ultimately most famous architectural monuments of the fifth century were paid for by public revenues. Athens received revenues from many indirect taxes such as harbor fees and sales taxes. The extent to which Athens may have benefited from the tribute paid by the allies in the Delian League remains controversial because the ancient sources offer no detailed picture of the ways in which the tribute was expended. Some scholars think that Athens used part of the League funds, which were stored on the acropolis after the League's treasury was moved to Athens from the island of Delos in 454, to help finance the massive public building program initiated by Pericles in 447. Others argue, however, that the ancient evidence does not support this view.
The Scale of Athenian Public Buildings
The scale of Athenian public buildings varied according to the amount and kind of space required to fulfill their function. The complex of buildings on the agora's southwestern edge, for instance, consisted of modest-sized structures such as that in which the city-state's council of 500 held its frequent meetings and the public archives were kept. The larger meetings of the assembly, for which 6,000 attendees seems to have represented a quorum, did not take place in a building at all but rather convened in the open air on a hillside above the agora. There the architectural modifications were minimal: a speaker's platform hewn from the rock of the hillside, a retaining wall built up at the rear of the meeting area, and, eventually, a portico along the sides of the open area.
In 447 Pericles instigated a building project in Athens whose scale, cost, and magnificence provoked comment and controversy in its own time and has contributed enormously in later ages to the reputation of the Golden Age of Greece. The focus of the project's construction was the Athenian acropolis. The acropolis ("upper city" or "city-height") was the massive, mesa-like promontory that rose abruptly from the plain on which the city was built and towered over its center, the agora below. Here the original settlers of Athens had made their homes, and only slowly had the city expanded onto the plain at the foot of the looming citadel. A single access road, the "Sacred Way", wound up the slope from the agora to the acropolis and passed through a gate near the top at its western end. The two most conspicuous monuments constructed on the acropolis under Pericles' program were a huge marble temple of Athena (called the Parthenon) and a mammoth gate building (called the propylaia) straddling the western entrance to the acropolis. The purpose of the Parthenon was to house a costly new image of the goddess, over thirty feet high and made of gold and ivory. Elaborate carved sculptures decorated the outside of the Parthenon, which was surrounded by a colonnade of fluted columns. The propylaia, too, had columns, and one of its rooms apparently housed paintings, rather like a modern museum.
The Controversial Cost of the Periclean Program
The Parthenon and the propylaia alone easily cost more than the equivalent of a billion dollars in contemporary terms, a phenomenal sum for an ancient Greek city-state. The finances for the program perhaps came in part from the tribute paid by the members of the Delian League, although scholars debate to what extent allied funds were used. Funds certainly came from the financial reserves of the goddess, whose sanctuaries, like those of the other gods throughout Greece, received both private donations and public support. Pericles' program was so expensive, however, that his political enemies among the aristocrats railed at him for squandering public funds and ruining the city-state's budget. In response to the criticism, Pericles brought the issue before the assembly of male citizens: "Do you think I have spent too much?" he reportedly asked. "Entirely too much", they shouted back. "Fine", he retorted, "I will pay for the buildings myself and put my name on them instead of the people's". Shamed by the implication that they lacked pride in their city-state, the men in the assembly immediately changed their minds. In an uproar they authorized Pericles to spare no expense in spending public funds to finish the project.
The new temple built for Athena on the acropolis became known as the Parthenon, meaning "the house of the virgin goddess", from the Greek word for a virginal female, parthenos. As the patron godddess of Athens, Athena had long possessed another sanctuary on the acropolis. Its focus was an olive tree regarded as the sacred symbol of the goddess, who was believed to provide for the economic health of the Athenians. Athena's temple in this earlier sanctuary had largely been destroyed by the Persians in the invasion of 480 B.C. For thirty years, the Athenians purposely left the Acropolis in ruins as a memorial to the sacrifice of their homeland in that war. When Pericles urged the rebuilding of the Acropolis' temples, the assembly turned not to reconstruction of the olive-tree sanctuary, but rather to construction of the Parthenon. The Parthenon honored Athena not in her capacity as the provider of economic prosperity but as a warrior serving as the divine champion of Athenian military power. Inside the Parthenon, the gold and ivory statue, over thirty feet high, portrayed the goddess in battle armor and holding in her outstretched hand a six-foot statue of the figure of Victory (Nike in Greek).
The Parthenon's design
Like all Greek temples, the Parthenon itself was meant as a house for its deity, not as a gathering place for worshippers. In its general design, the Parthenon was representative of the standard architecture of Greek temples: a rectangular box on a raised platform, a plan that the Greeks probably derived from the stone temples of Egypt. The box, which had only one relatively small door at the front, was fenced in columns all around. Normally only priests and priestesses could enter the boxlike interior of the temple; public religious ceremonies took place around the open-air altar, which was located outside the east end of the temple. The soaring columns of the Parthenon were carved in the simple style called Doric, in contrast to the more elaborately decorative Ionic or Corinthian styles that have often been imitated in modern buildings. The facade of the United States Supreme Court Building in Washington, D.C., for example, is built in the Corinthian-style.
The Parthenon's special architecture
The Parthenon was special in its great size and elaborate decoration. Constructed from 20,000 tons of Attic marble, it stretched nearly 230 feet in length and a hundred feet wide, with eight columns across the ends instead of the six normally employed in Doric style, and seventeen instead of thirteen along the sides. These dimensions gave it a massive look conveying an impression of power. Since perfectly rectilinear architecture appears curved to the human eye, the Parthenon's architects ingeniously designed subtle curves and inclines in its architecture to produce an optical illusion of completely straight lines: the columns were given a slight bulge in their middles; the corner columns on the corners of the temple's raised platform were installed at a slight incline and closer together; the platform itself was made slightly convex. These technical refinements made the Parthenon appear ordered and regular in a way a building built entirely on straight lines would not. By overcoming the distortions of nature, the Parthenon's sophisticated architecture made a confident statement about human ability to construct order out of the entropic disorder of the natural world.
Sculpture on the Parthenon
The sculptural decoration of the Parthenon also proclaimed Athenian confidence about their city-state's relationship with the gods, whom the citizens regarded as their helpers and supporters. The Parthenon had sculptured panels along its exterior above the columns and tableaux of sculptures in the triangular spaces (pediments) underneath the roof line at both ends of the building. These decorations were part of the Doric architectural style, but the Parthenon also presented a unique sculptural feature. Carved in relief around the top of the walls inside the porch formed by the columns along the edges of the building's platform was a continuous band of figures. This sort of continuous frieze was usually put only on Ionic-style buildings. Adding an Ionic frieze to a Doric temple was a striking change meant to attract notice to its subject. The Parthenon's frieze depicted the Athenian religious ritual in which a procession of citizens paraded to the Acropolis to present to Athena in her olive-tree sanctuary a new robe woven by specially selected Athenian girls (the Panathenaic festival). Depicting the procession in motion, like a filmstrip in stone, the frieze showed men riding spirited horses, women walking along carrying sacred implements, and the gods gathering together at the head of the parade to observe their human worshippers. As usual in the sculptural decoration on Greek temples, the Parthenon frieze sparkled with brightly colored paint enlivening the figures and the background. Shiny metal attachments also brightened the picture, serving, for example, as the horsemen's reins.
The Significance of the Parthenon Frieze
No other city-state had ever before gone beyond the traditional function of temples in paying honor and glorifying its special deities by adorning, as the Athenians did on the Parthenon, a temple with representations of its citizens. Previously, the closest temples had come to a reference of such local significance had been to place sculptures in their pediments that depicted mythological scenes with particular meaning for the people of the locale in which temple had been built. The Parthenon, indeed, had such scenes in its pediments. The sculptures of the east pediment portrayed the birth of Athena, the patron deity of the Athenians, while the west pediment portrayed Athena and Poseidon, god of the sea, engaged in a contest to see who would become the patron deity of the Athenians by bestowing on them the greater blessing. The Parthenon frieze, however, achieved a new level of local reference. It made a unique statement about the relationship between Athens and the gods by showing its citizens in the company of the gods, even if the assembled deities carved in the frieze at the temple's eastern end were understood to be separated from and perhaps invisible to the humans in the procession depicted in the frieze. A temple adorned with pictures of citizens, albeit idealized citizens of perfect physique and beauty, amounted to a claim of special intimacy between the city-state and the gods, a statement of confidence that these honored deities favored the Athenians. Presumably this claim reflected the Athenian interpretation of their success in helping to turn back the Persians, in achieving leadership of a powerful naval alliance, and in controlling, from their silver mines and the allies' dues, an amount of revenue which made Athens richer than all its neighbors in mainland Greece. The Parthenon, like the rest of the Periclean building program, paid honor to the gods with whom the city-state was identified and expressed the Athenian view that the gods looked favorably on their empire. Their success, the Athenians would have said, proved that the gods were on their side.
...Colonies of Conquest, such as Alexander's various colonies in the East. There are none that are distinctly of this class in early Greek times. A subdivision of this class are Military Colonies, such as were to a great extent the colonies planted by Pericles in Thrace and the cleruchies...
The Athenian Colonies.
These belong to a later period than the greater mass of the other Greek colonies, and differ in the intention with which they were founded. They were more of the nature of cleruchies; but differ from cleruchies in the strict sense in that they were not planted on Hellenic land from which the inhabitants had been expelled, but were settlements effected on the territory of barbarian tribes. They were, however, similar to the cleruchies in the whole arrangement of their planting being directed by the state. We have remaining part of a charter directing the foundation of one of these colonies, that of Brea (cf. Plut. Pericl. 11) in Thrace, which was pre-eminently the country in which such colonies were founded, owing to its great wealth in wood and metals. Such a charter was called apoikia (Harpocr. s. v.). By the charter referred to a certain Democlides is appointed as leader of the colony (oikistes). A rider to the charter confined participation in the colony to the Zeugitae and Thetes, which shows one of the main purposes of the colonising policy of Pericles, viz. to free the city of the idle and so turbulent mob (Plut. l. c.). Sundry provisions as regards the religious duties to be observed by the colonists towards the mother-city were further stated, such as sending an ox for sacrifice at the Panathenaea: and a very strict proviso was enacted that this charter was to be final, so that the colonists should have fixity of tenure, and not be liable to be dispossessed by any vote of the easily-moved democracy at home. Orders were given to be ready to depart within thirty days. The state supplied arms and money for the colonists. When the colonists arrived, the lands were distributed to the colonists by geonomoi, which had been previously divided by geometrai. The oekist of such a colony received all the honours which the oekist of the colonies of earlier days had received (cf. Hagnon at Amphipolis, Thuc. v. 11). The great national Hellenic colony founded at Thurii under the superintendence of Athens, in 443 B.C., was established with the greatest method and completeness. There were very few Athenians among the colonists. It was connected with Athens by but a very slender tie, and was not mentioned as one of her allies in Thucydides' enumeration (ii. 9). A full account is given in Grote (v. 277) and Curtius (ii. 488). The colony of Amphipolis, founded about the same time, 437 B.C., was also of a very mixed population. It differed from Thurii, as it was founded partly because it was a convenient centre for getting ship timber from, and also for working the gold and silver mines in the neighbourhood; but principally it served military purposes, as being close to the bridge over the Strymon (Thuc. iv. 102). Hence it always remained a regular Athenian dependency. This forms a transition to
The Athenian Cleruchies.
All colonies in their relation to the mother-city may be divided into apoikiai and klerouchiai, i. e. are independent or dependent. But the ancients did not observe this distinction. Strabo calls all colonies without exception apoikiai. Thucydides (ii. 27, 70; v. 102) calls epoikoi those whom Diodorus and Plutarch, in relating the same events, call klerouchoi. However, Herodotus (v. 77; vi. 100) applies the term klerouchoi to those who were settled on the land of the hippobatae at Chalcis. Thucydides uses it (iii. 50) with reference to the Lesbian colonists, and Aristophanes (Nub. 205) shows that it was a term frequently used. Roscher lays it down as a law that the system of apoikiai gives place to that of klerouchiai, according as a state advances to a higher stage of development.
The main characteristics of the Athenian cleruchies were that they consisted solely of Athenians, were settled on Hellenic land, and were dependent. There were doubtless cleruchies sent out by other states, e. g. the Lerii from Miletus (Boeckh, Staatshaushaltung der Athener, ii. 457, ed. 3); but it is of the Athenian cleruchies that we alone have any detailed information.
The objects were to relieve the city of the idle and troublesome mob, to alleviate the distress of the poorer classes, to inspire fear into the allies, and keep watch that they should not take any hostile steps against Athens (Plut. Pericl. 11). An additional reason was sometimes to secure a supply of corn, as in the case of the colony to Hadria, which colony also served to protect the surrounding seas from pirates. The sending out of cleruchies formed one of the recognised portions of the democratic programme (Aristoph. Nub. 205). In their military aspect they corresponded to the Roman colonies. The Greek writers often call the Roman colonists klerouchoi (Dion. H. viii. 14; Plut. Flam. 2), and conversely Cicero (de Nat. Deor. i. 26, 72) calls the Athenian cleruchs sent to Samos landgrabbers (agripetae). The first cleruchs were those sent to occupy the land of the hippobatae at Chalcis, about 510 B.C., the first Hellenic town against which the right of the conqueror was enforced with harsh severity (Curtius, ii. 484). Gilbert gives a list of the cleruchs sent out between 460 and 427; and, even where the numbers are given, they amount to 9,450, and this does not reckon the cleruchs sent to Lemnos, Imbros, or Aegina.
The procedure adopted in sending out a cleruchy was doubtless similar to that of state-directed colonies, viz. by ordinary bill brought by the senate before the people, which defined the principal conditions on which the cleruchy was founded. The poorer classes of all the ten tribes were invited to send in their names, and the lot decided who were to get the lands, which were doubtless measured out prior to the departure of the colonists. They were led by an apoikistes or strategos (Arg. to Dem. de Chers.), and to be such a leader was esteemed a great honour (Pans. i. 27, 5). All the prayers and sacrifices for the success of the cleruchy were made on behalf of the state and at state expense, whereas in the apoikiai the consulting of the oracle and all religious duties were left to the initiative of the colonists and their leader.
As to the relations of the cleruchs to Athens:
(1) they remained Athenian citizens, as may be seen from inscriptions from the fifth century B.C., e. g. from Melos, Eponphes Athenaios Pandionidos phules Kutherrios, down to Roman times. The Lemnian and Imbrian cleruchs were Athenian citizens (Dem. Phil. i.34). In a list of killed we have Lemnion eg Murines, names with the Athenian tribes they belonged to added to them (C. I. A. i. 443). The official titles for the cleruchs were such as ho demos ho en Hephaistiai (Hyperid. pro Lycophr.13; cf. C. I. A. ii. 284), Athenaion hoi en Potidaiai katoikountes (Dem. de Halon.10), hoi en Murinei politai (C. I. A. ii. 593).
(2) There seems no definite proof that the state retained the supreme ownership of the lands; for in the inscription of 377 B.C. (C. I. A. ii. 17, 1. 29, 37) which Foucart refers to, and which speaks of private and public possessions in the land of the allies, the public possessions refer to mines and other such state property.
(3) That the cleruchs paid tribute, though maintained by Boeckh, has been completely disproved by Kirchhoff. He divides the Athenian cleruchies into, on the one hand, those settled on lands entirely conquered, from which the inhabitants were driven out, and those acquired by capitulation; and, on the other, those acquired in an amicable manner. In the former of these (e. g. Histiaea, Aegina, Potidaea, Scione, Torone) he proves that the lists which set down the amount of tribute to be paid do not refer to the time when the cleruchies held the land, but to a preceding time: for example, Hestiaea pays a tribute according to two lists; but these lists belong to 454 B.C., not to 446, as Boeckh says; and the Hestiaeans never appear on the lists after 446, the time cleruchs were sent to occupy their lands. As regards the second class of cleruchies (e. g. the Chersonesitae, Andros, Naxos, &c.), the sudden lowerings of the tribute appear inexplicable, unless we suppose it to be a compensation for the cession of their lands to Athenian cleruchs: for example, Andros had its tribute lowered between 427 and 425 from 12 to 6 talents, Imbros from 2 to 1 talent between 444 and 442; cf. Naxos, Lemnos.
(4) There is no evidence as to whether or not the cleruchi could alienate their lands: but their military functions render such a supposition unlikely. For a similar reason, as a general rule the cleruchi had to reside on their land. That the cleruchi of Lesbos were allowed to let the lands to the original owners for a rent and reside themselves at Athens (Thuc. iii. 50) is highly exceptional.
(5) The cleruchi certainly paid taxes for their property to their own cleruchic community (Aristot. Oec. ii. 6). For such property as some few may have retained in Attica, it is most likely that they had to pay eisphorai when such were required; but from muntera personalia, such as the various liturgies, they were of course exempt, as being absent from Athens on state service (cf. Dem. de Symm.16).
(6) As we have seen from the list of killed, the cleruchi served in the Athenian army on certain occasions (cf. Herod. viii. 46; Thuc. vii. 57); and, even when in their cleruchy, they had to obey strictly whatever orders for military service arrived from Athens (Herod. vi. 100; Dem. Epist. Phil. 16). Beside the cleruchi, there was generally a cavalry force, commanded in the case of Lemnos by an iPparchos (Dem. Phil. i. 27), which was supported by the cleruchi, and that as it seems sometimes grudgingly (Hyperid. pro Lycophr. 13).
(7) There appear to have been civil magistrates, too, occasionally sent by Athens to the cleruchies. Such are the archontes at Lesbos (Antiphon. de Caed. Herodis, 47), which are no doubt the same as the episkopoi (cf. Aristoph. Av. 1050). In later times we find epimeletai sent from Athens, as e. g. to Delos (C. I. G. 2286), Haliartos and Paros.
(8) As regards jurisdiction, as far as we can judge from the very fragmentary inscription in reference to the cleruchi of Hestiaea (C. I. A. i. 28, 29), some cases had to be tried within thirty days (dikai emmenoi) before the Nautodicae at Athens; others before judges chosen by lot out of the cleruchi themselves. The really important cases were tried at Athens: e. g. the murder of Herodes.
(9) Touching religion, a certain portion, generally a tenth of cleruchic lands, was set apart for the gods (Thuc. iii. 50). The cleruchi appear to have worshipped Athenian gods generally, though sometimes the native gods also. Each cleruchy sent an ox to be sacrificed at the Panathenaea (Schol. on Aristoph. Nub. 386; cf. C. I. A. i. 31). The Athenians also associated the cleruchies in their sacrifices.
But the cleruchi possessed a certain independence. They had the right of coining money, though only copper: e. g. the coins of Hephaestia and Myrina in Lemnos reproduce Attic emblems (Pallas and the owl), after the Athenian cleruchi had gone there in 387, while the coins prior to this have the attributes of Hermes and the Dioscuri. Towards the natives, who often, as in the case of Imbros and Lemnos, were reduced to the state of metics (Foucart, p. 393), the Attic cleruchi appear to have formed a strictly closed body, neither intermarrying (such indeed was not allowed by Attic law, Dem. Neaer. 17) nor having more intercourse than was absolutely necessary. The constitution of the cleruchic state was a miniature Athens, and Foucart (p. 373 ff.) has shown how their political procedure, and even the very names of their officers, changed with the changes at Athens.
Thus we find senate and people at Lemnos (C. I. A. ii. 592) and Imbros (Conze, Reise auf den lnseln des Thrakischen Meeres, p. 88), and a prytaneum at Hephaestia in Lemnos (C. I. A. l. c.). Ordinary political procedure consisted of preliminary discussion by the senate, and afterwards debate in the assembly, e. g. at Salamis (C. I. A. ii. 470, 1. 56: cf. 469, 1. 79; 594, 1. 22). We have some decrees of cleruchi already mentioned, though of rather late date (C. I. A. ii. 591-595; C. I. G. 2270). The date is given by archons both of the cleruchy and of Athens (C. I. A. ii. 594). In the Roman era the strategos epi tous hoplitas takes the place of the archon: so in Myrina (ib. 593). A grammateus tou demou first appears at Athens in 308 B.C. A similar grammateus is found in two contemporary inscriptions of Lemnos and Imbros (ib. 592; Conze, op. cit. p. 88). In the third century an agonothetes is first found under that name: at the same time we find one at Hephaestia (C. I. A. ii. 592).
The system of cleruchies, not unreasonable in itself, but prosecuted by the Athenian democracy with exceedingly great tyranny, and yet with no consistency and completeness as the Romans did their colonial system, was the most hated feature of the Athenian empire. Grote indeed does not think that it was looked on as a grievance, as it is not mentioned as such in Xenophon's Resp. Ath., nor in any of the anti-Athenian orations of Thucydides; and that the outcry raised against them at the time of the second confederacy was due to the islands fearing the return of the Athenian cleruchi, who, after the Peloponnesian war, had been driven away and deprived of their property, which had reverted to the insular proprietors (cf. Xen. Mem. ii. 8, 1; Symp. 4, 31). Isocrates (Paneg. 107) felt called upon to defend the system, and did so by asserting that it maintained peace and peopled depopulated lands. But the cities had been depopulated by the Athenians; they made a solitude and called it peace. So when Athens strove to re-organise her allied confederacy a second time in 377 B.C., she distinctly agreed to discontinue the system, and the convention (C. I. A. ii. 17, 11. 27, 36) declares that no land is to be held by Athens or an Athenian citizen within the territories of the allies. Yet in 366 B.C., on the conquest of Samos, she renewed the system in that island, which Demades (Athen. iii. 99 d) called the city's drain (tes poleos aporux). The Samians became exiles from their country (Paus. vi. 13, 5), and it is with reference to this occupation of Samos and the gradual absorption of the lands by the Athenian settlers that Craterus explains the proverb )*attiko\s pa/roikos of a neighbour who, called in to help you, finally ousts you of your possessions. There was no doubt a bitter feeling, not only on the part of the Samians, but of others who had been dispossessed by Athenian cleruchs. There is an interesting inscription in which we perceive the intrigues of the Samian exiles at the Macedonian court, and how Alexander promised to give back Samos to the Samians. He, however, did not do so; but it was effected by Perdiccas, according to the convention which followed the defeat of the Athenians in the Lamian War, 322 B.C.
This text is from: A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890) (eds. William Smith, LLD, William Wayte, G. E. Marindin). Cited June 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks
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