Johann Joachim Eschenburg.

Manual of classical literature : from the German of J.J. Eschenburg, with additions online

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most important. — In the period of colonization we notice the origin of the four princi-
pal dialects in the Greek language. (Cf. P. V. ^ 4.)

3. The 3d period comprehends the space (of five hundred and fifty years) from the
abolition of moiinrchxj to the Beginning of the Persian War, about 500 B. C.

In this period two of the Grecian states are chiefly conspicuous, Athens and Sparta;
and from the special attention of these states to provide themselves with a suitable
pohtical constitution and civil code, this portion of the history may be designated as
the period of laws.

Sparta found in Lycurgus her lawgiver. His institutions gave a permanent cast to
her character, and were not abolished until the last ages of Greece. — Many years
later, Athens received her constitution from the hands of Solon, who executed the
task unsuccessfully attempted by Draco. (Cf P. V. § 167; P. III. *^^3 8, 9.) — The
other principal incidents in the history of this period are the repeated wars of Sparta
with her neighbors the i\Iessenians, and the usurpation of Pisistratus and the fate of
his sons at Athens. — In the war Sparta at last was completely triumphant, but suf-
fered much from the devoted skill and patriotism of Aristomenes, the Messenian
general. It was in this struggle that the Spartans were so much indebted to the lame
poet of Athens, Tyrtaeus. (Cf P. V. 'J* 53.)

In the very time of Solon, Pisistratus contrived to obtain at Athens a sort of regal
authority, which he transmitted to his two sons. The father used his power to pro-
mote the glory and welfare of the state. Of the sons one was assassinated at a public
festival, and the other, being subsequently expelled, fled to Asia, and sought revenge
by instigating the Persians to invade his native country.

4. The 4ih period extends from the beginning to the Close of the Persian War,
460 B. C, a space of almost 50 years. To this age the Greeks ever after looked
back whh pride, and from its history orators of every nation have drawn their favorite
examples of valor and patriotism. The Persian invasion called forth the highest
energies of the people, and gave an astonishing impulse to Grecian mind. It may
properly be called the period of military glory.

The design of subjugating Greece originated in the ambition of Darius the Persian
king, the second in succession from Cyrus the Great. He found a pretext and occa-
sion for the attempt in a revolt of his (Sreek subjects in Asia Minor, in which Sardis,
the capital of Lydia, was pillaged and burnt. The war was carried on by three suc-
cessive kings, Darius, Xerxes, and Artaxerxes, but on neither of them did it confer
any glory; while the battles of Marathon, Thermopylae, Salamis, Mycale, and Platsa,
secured immortal honor to the Greeks. — A succession of splendid names adorns the
history of Athens during this period. Miltiades, Themistocles, Aristides, Cimon, and
Pericles, acted distinguished parts in the briUiant scene. Sparta also justly gloried
in the self-sacrifice of Leonidas and his three hundred brave companions. — The period
of the Persian war was the age of the highest elevation of the national character of the
Greeks. Before it, thei^ existed httle union comparatively between the diflTerent
states, and it was not till Athens had alone and successfully resisted the strength of
Persia at the battle of Marathon, that other states were aroused to effort against the
common enemy. In the confederation which followed, Sparta was the nominal head,
but the talents, which acuially controlled the pubhc affairs, were found in the states-
men of Athens. To Athens, therefore, the supremacy was necessarily transferred,
and before the close of the war she stood, as it were, the mistress of Greece.

5. The 5th period includes the portion from the close of the Persian war to the
Supremacy of Philip, B. C. 337. At the beginning of this period the general afiairs
of Greece were in a highly prosperous condition, and Athens was unrivaled in w^ealth
and magnificence under the influence of Pericles. — But a spirit of luxurious refine-
ment soon took the place of the disinterested patriotism of the preceding age, and the

10 a


manners of all classes became signally marked by corruption and licentiousness. This
may be designated as the period of luxury.

The history of the period presents several subjects of prominent interest. — One of
these is the protracted war between Athens and Sparta, termed the Peloponnesian.
Pericles was still in power when it commenced, but he soon fell a victim to the terrible
plague which desolated Athens. The unprincipled Cleon and the rash Alcibiades suc-
cessively gained the predominant influence. The war was continued with shght in-
termissions and various successes for nearly thirty years, and was ended by the battle
of .Egos Potamos, B. C. 405, in which Lysander, the Spartan king and general, gained
a hnal victory over the Athenians. By this event Athens lost her supremacy in
Greece, and was deprived even of her own hberties. Her walls were thrown down,
and a government of thirty tyrants imposed upon her citizens. To this, however, the
Athenians submitted but a few years. In 401 B.C. the Thirty were expelled.

The same year was remarkable for two other events. The first was the accusation
of Socrates, one of the greatest and the best men of which paganism can boast. The trial
for some reason was delayed several years, but the result was utterly disgraceful to
the city and to all concerned (cf. P. V. § 171). The other memorable event was the
expedition of Curus the younger, the satrap of Lydia, against his brother, the king of
Persia. Ten thousand Greelis accompanied him in this enterprise. The march Irom
Sardis to the Euphrates, the fatal battle of Cunaxa, and the labors and dangers of the
10,000 in returning to their homes, are recorded by Xenophon with beautiful sinipli-
chy. — The assistance which the Greeks gave in this revolt of Cyrus, involved them
in another war with Persia. Sparta had, by the result of the Peloponnesian war,
gained the supremacy in Greece, and the other states, especially Athens, Thebes,
Argos, and Corinth, refused to aid her in the struggle which followed. They even
united in a league against her, and Athens furnished the commander to whom the
Persians were indebted for the almost entire destruction of the Spartan fleet. This
war was terminated by a treaty, B. C. 387, which weakened and humbled Sparta,
and was alike dishonorable to all the Greeks.

The two states which had for ages been pre-eminent in Greece, Athens and Sparta,
were now both depressed, and opportunity was afforded for a third to seek the as-
cendancy. This for a short time was secured to Thebes, chiefly by the talents of two
distinguished citizens, Pelopidas and Epaminondas. — But a war with Sparta shortly
consummated her glory and exhausted her strength ; she gained a brilhant victory in
the final battle of Mantinea, 363 B. C, but was in the same instant ruined by the
death of her general Epaminondas. — The successive downfall of three principal states,
Athens, Sparta, and Thebes, and the jealousies and dissensions connected therewith,
reduced Greece to a miserable condition. The general corruption and licentiousness,
already mentioned, increased the degradation. In a few years we find the Grecian
states embroiled in the Phocian or Sacred war, B. C. 357. (Cf. P. III. % 72.) This
commenced in the jealousies between the Thebans and the Phocians. The Spartans
and the Athenians, and ere long the Macedonians, became involved in it. Shortly
after this contest was terminated, a new Sacred war arose, called the Amphissian ; in
which the council of Amphictyons appointed Philip, king of Macedon, as general and
leader of their confederacy. Amid such dissensions, the ambitious Philip eagerly seized
a favorable moment for entering the Grecian territories. At Athens the single voice of
Demosthenes was lifted to warn the Greeks of his ultimate intentions, and to rouse
them to united resistance. A feeble alliance with Thebes was effected, but in vain.
The battle of Chaeronea, B. C. 337, made Philip the master of Greece.

6. The 6th period extends from the supremacy of Philip, gained by the battle of
Chaeronea, to the Capture of Corinth, 146 B. C. By the disastrous defeat at Chae-
ronea the genuine fire of the Grecian spirit was extinguished, and the subsequent his-
tory exhibits Uttle else than the steps by which the country was reduced to a dependent
irovince. We may therefore denominate this the period of decline and fall.

Alexander, who succeeded his father Philip as king of Macedon, and autocrat of
Greece, cast a sort of glory on the first years of this period by his extensive conquests.
Those, who love to trace the course of conquerors, will follow with interest his march
ffom the Hellespont to the Granicus, to Issus, to Tyre, to the Nile, to the desert of
Libj^a, to the Euphrates, and the Indus; but every reader will regret his follies at Per-
sepoHs and be disgusted by his beastly life and death at Babylon. — For twenty years
after Alexander's death the vast empire he had formed %vas asitated by the quarrels
among his generals. By the battle of Ipsus in Phrygia, B.C. 301, these contests were
terminated, and the empire was then divided into four kingdoms, one comprising Ma-
cedonia and Greece ; a second Thrace and Bithynia ; a third Egypt, Libya, Arabia,
Palestine, and Ccelosyria ; and a fourth called the kingdom of Syria, including all the
rest of Asia, even to the Indus.

To the first of these the Grecian states belonged. Patriotic individuals sought to


arouse their countrymen to cast off the Macedonian yoke ; but jealousy between the
states and the universal corruption of morals rendered their exertions fruitless. All
that is really honorable and memorable in the proper affairs of the Greeks at this
period, is found in the history of the Achaean 'league. — The Achaean league was origi-
nally a confederacy between twelve small cities of Achaia, established very earfy,
when the Grecian states first assumed the popular instead of the regal form. It took
scarcely any part in the perpetual conflicts between the other republics, and was neutral
even in the Peloponnesian war.

The Macedonian kings had dissolved it, but it was revived about 280 B. C. Subse-
quently h was enlarged, and Corinth became the head and capital. Under the presi-
dency of Philopoemen, B. C. 200 to ISO, it rose so high in power and reputation, that
its alliance was sought by some of the governments of Asia. Had the other states at
this time risen above the foul and mean spirit of envy, the independence of Greece
might probably have been restored. But unhappily the Romans were requested by
one of the states to aid them against the Macedonians. The Romans gladly embraced
the opportunity, and shortly alter this a Roman general led as a captive to grace his
triumph the last king of Macedon, 167 B. 0.

Nothing but the Achaean league now presei-ved southern Greece from falling an in-
stant prey to Roman ambhion. The remaining vigor of the confederacy averted this
destiny for twenty years; then it came, under the pretext of just punishment for insult
upon Roman ambassadors. The legions of Rome poured upon Achaia, Corinth was
taken, and with all its wealth and splendor committed to the flames and consumed to
ashes. This completed the subjugation of the country, which became of course a
province of Rome.

The principal helps in the study of the Grecian history are mentioned, P. V. § 7. 7. (d).— A good elementary work is Pinnoch't
improved edition of G ol Jsm ilh's Hisfory o/ Greece. &c. Philad. 1S36. 12.— A valuable text-book and guide to deepei research;
.i. H. L. Heeren, Slates of Antiquity, translated from German by G. Bancroft, Northampt. 1 828. 8.— For the later periods of Gre-
cian history ; /. Gast, Hist, of Greece from accession of Alexander till the final subjection to the Romans. Loud. 1782. 4,— .BreiJer-
lauch, Geschichte der Ach.Ler ond ibres Bundes. Lpz. 17S2,

§ 214. II. Rome, The history of Rome extends through a space of more than 1200
years; which may be divided, hke the Grecian history, into six periods.

1. The 1st period includes the time from the Building of the City, B. C. 752, to
the Expulsion of Tarquin, B. C. 509. It may be called the Period of the Kings, or
of Eegal Power.

The Roman historians have left a particular account of this period, beginning with
the very founders of the city, Romulus and Remus, whose descent is tracetf from
jEneas the hero of Virgil. But many have doubted whether this portion of the Roman
history is entitled to much credit, and some have even contended that it is altogether
fabulous. (P. V. ^ 510.) — Seven kings are said to have reigned (P. III. §§ 193^240).
One of the most important events of this period, was a change in the constitution
effected by the sixth king, Servius Tulhus, introducing the Comitia Centuriata. He
divided the citizens into classes, and subdivided the classes into centuries, making a
much larger number of centuries in the richer classes than in the poorer. (P. III. § 252.)
— The reign of the second king, Numa, is remembered, on account of his influence on
the affairs of religion ; as he instituted many of the religious ceremonies and several
classes of priests. — During the period of the kings, 244 years, the Roman territory was
of very hmited extent, and the people were often involved in war with the several
states in their immediate vicinity. Tarquin the Proud, the last king, was engaged m
the siege of an enemy's city only sixteen miles from Rome, when his son committed
the outrage upon the person of Lucretia, which led to the banishment of the family and
the overthrow of the regal government.

2. The 2d period extends from the expulsion of the Kings to the time when the Ple-
beians were admitted to the Offices of state, about 300 B.C. At the beginning of
this period the government was a thorough aristocracy, but at the close of it had be-
come a full democracy. It included over 200 years, and may be designated as the
period of the Plebeian and Patrician contests, or oi Party strife.

Two consuls, chosen annually, first took the place of the king, and exercised almost
precisely the same power. All offices of state were forbidden to the Plebeians or com-
mon people, and filled exclusively by Patricians or descendants from, the Senators or
Patres. — The first step in the undermining of the aristocracy was the Valerian Lav/,
which allowed a citizen condemned to a disgraceful punishment to appeal from thn
magistrate to the people. Under the protection of this law. the people, discontented
with their poverty and hardships, ere long refused to enrol their names in the levies,
which the wars with the neighb-oring states demanded. This diflnculty led the Patri-
cians to invent a new ofl[ice ; that of Dictator (P. III. § 248). But the dissatisfaction


of the Plebeians was not to be thus removed. They united with the army and with-
drew to Mt. Sacer, B. C. 493. Reconcihation was effected by creating the office of
Tribunes, who were to be chosen annually from the Plebeians, and to possess the power
of a negative upon the decrees of the Consuls and even tlie Senate. (P. III. % 245.) —
This arrangement only led to new dissensions, the Tribunes generally making it their
object to oppose the Consuls and the Senate, and the Plebeian interest gradually en-
croaching upon the Patrician. — In a few years another fundamental change was efl^ected.
I'he important business of state htid, from the time of king Servius TuUius, been
transacted at the Comitia Centuriata, or assemblies voting by centuries. It was now,
B. C. 471, decided that such business might be transacted in the Comitia Tributa, or
assemblies voting by Tribes, in which the Plebeians held the control.

The next office created at Rome seems to have originated in the jealousy between
the two parties, the Patricians opposing, and the Plebeians favoring it. This was the
Decemvirate, B. C. 451, which superseded both consuls and tribunes, but continued
only three years, and then the two other offices were restored. — In a few years the
people made another advance, the Senate conceding, that six military tribunes, three
Patrician and three Plebeian, might be substituted instead of the two consuls. — Another
office was created during this period, the censorship ; two Censors being appointed to
take the census of the people every five years, and to watch over the pubhc morals. —
But this office does not appear to have originated in party animosity ; nor had it
any influence in heahng the dissensions between the higher and lower orders (of.
P. III. § 247) .

One grand object with the Plebeians yet remained unaccomplished. They were
not eligible to the more important offices of the state, and to remove this disability
they now bent all their energies. The struggle continued for many years, and occa-
sioned much unhappy disturbance, but terminated in their complete success; as they
gained admission to the consulship, the censorship, and finally to the priesthood, and
thus obtained a virtual equahty with the Patricians about B. C. 300.

During this period, so harassed by internal contests, Rome was engaged in fre-
quent wars. Three of them are most noticeable. The first was with thelEtrurians,
under king Porsenna, shortly after the expulsion of Tarquin, " a war fertile in exploits
of romantic heroism." — The second was with the city Veil, a proud rival of Rome. It
M^as at last taken by Camillus, B.C. 390, after a siege of ten years. — 'The last was
whh the Gauls, who invaded Italy under Brennus, and are sold to have taken Rome
and burned it to the ground, B. C. 385. Camillus, who had been forced by the cla-
mors of the populace to go into retirement, unexpectedly returned, and put to speedy
flight the barbarian conquerors.

3. The 3d period in the Roman history extends fi-om the final triumph of the Ple-
beians to the Capture of Carthage, B. C. 146.

Rome had hitherto been distracted wdth intestine feuds and dissensions, and hs.d
extended her dominion over but a small extent of territory. The admission of Ple-
beians to all tlie high offices of trust and distinction promoted the consohdation and
strength of the republic, and the career of conquest was soon commenced. This may
be reinembered as the period of the Punic Wars, or oi Foreign Conquests.

The first important conquest was that of the southern part of Italy, which resulted
from the war with the Samnites. Southern Italy was settled by Grecian colonies
{% 50), and contained at this time several cities, flourishing, wealthy, and refined by
letters and the arts. On their invitation Pyrrhus, the king of Epirus, passed over
from Greece with a large army and a train of elephants to aid them against the Ro-
mans, and was for a time successful, but finally, being totally; defeated at the battle
of Beneventum, B. C. 274, fled precipitately to his own dominions. The aUied states
and cities immediately submitted to Rome, who thus became mistress of Italy.

She now began to look abroad for acquisitions, and the island Sicily became an
object of desire. The pursuit of this object brought Rome into contact with Carthage,
which was now flourishing and powerful. The Carthaginians had settlements in
Sicily, and desired as well as the Romans the dominion of the whole island. Hence
sprang the first of the three Punic Wars. Sicily was chiefly settled by Greek colo-
nies. These colonies preferred independence, but, situated between Rome on one
side and Carthage on the other, w^ere in no condhion to resist both, and had only the
alternative of joining one against the other. They chose the side of the Romans in
the first Punic war, w^hich began B. C. 264, and was ended B. C. 241, by a treaty
exceedingly humiliating to Carthage. Sicily was made a Roman province, yet Syra-
cuse, the principal city, was allowed to retain an independent government. — The
tragic story of Regulus belongs to the first Punic war.

After a peace of twenty-three years, the second Punic war began in the .siege of
Saguntum in Spain, by Hannibal, B. C. 218. Having taken this city, Hannibal
crossed the Pyrenees and the Alps, and marched down upon Italy with a victorious


army. The Romans were defeated in three engagements before the memorable
battle of Cannae, in which they were completely conquered, and 40,000 of their troops
left dead on the field. But alter the battle of Cannaj the Carthaginians gained no ad
vantages. A king of Macedon came to their aid in vain. — Scipio, a Roman general,
having conquered Spain, passed over to Africa and carried the war to the very walls
of Carthage. Hannibal was recalled from Italy to defend the city, but was utterly
defeated by Scipio in the battle of Zama, B. C. 202, by which the second Punic war
ended even more disastrously than the llrst. In this war Syracuse in Sicily took part
with the Carthaginians, and was on that account besieged by the Romans. It was
ably defended by the scientific genius of Archimedes, but at length taken by Marcel-
lus, and made a part of the province of Sicily, B. C. 212.

The result of the second Funic war may be considered as the occasion which car-
ried the Roman arms into Asia. Hannibal, after the battle of Zama, fled to the pro-
tection of Antiochus, king of Syria. This led to a war which compelled the king to
cede to the Romans nearly the whole of Asia Minor, B. C. 190. — The interference
of the king of Macedon in the second Punic war also furnished the ground for a war
with him. which was the first step towards the conquest of Greece. A lew years
after,the Romans-, on the pretence of aiding the iEtolians, subjected Macedonia, B. C.
167. The Achaean league preserved the southern portions of the country a httle
longer ; but in twenty years these hkewise fell under the dominion of Rome by the
capture of Corinth, B. C. 146.

Carthage fell the same year with Corinth. The Romans had waged a third Punic
war, when the Carthaginians were greatly weakened by an unfortunate struggle with
the Numidians. The third Punic war continued but about three years, and termi-
nated in the entire destruction of Carthage, under circumstances of aggravated cruelty
and faithlessness on the part of the Romans.

4. The fourth period extends from the Capture of Carthage and Corinth to the
establishment of the Imperial Government by the battle of Actium, B. C. 31.
During this whole time the Roman history is a continued tale of domestic disturb-
ances. This may justly, therefore, be termed the period of the Civil Wars.

The very commencement of the period is marked by the disturbances which grew
out of the attempts of the two Gracchi. They successively endeavored to check the
growing corruption of the Senate, and to relieve the circumstances of the people ; but
both fell victims to their own zeal and the hatred of their enemies, Tiberius 133, and
Caius 121 B. C. Some have ascribed their efforts to ardent patriotism; others to
mere ambition. (Cf. Niebiihr's Rome, cited P. V. § 299. 7.) Not long aiier the fall of
Gracchus arose the Social war, by which the states of Italy demanded and obtained
of Rome the rights of citizenship, B. C. 90. — Scarcely was this ended, when the Ro-
mans began again to imbrue their hands in each other's blood in the fierce war of
Sylla and Marius, rival leaders in the republic. Two horrible massacres signalized
this contention. Sylla finally triumphed, and was made perpetual dictator, yet re-
signed his power at the end of four years, B. C. 78. The death of Sylla is so in fol-
lowed bv the famous conspiracy of Cataline, detected and subdued by the vigilance of
Cicero, B. C. 62.
_ Still Rome was distracted by parties, headed by ambitious men. — The first trium-
virate, a temporary coahtion between Pompey, Crassus, and Caesar, repressed the
flames of discord for a few years. Pompey had already added Syria to the Roman
possessions: CoBsar soon added Gaul. Crassus lost his life in an attempt to conquer
Parthia, B. C. 53. The death of Crassus broke the bond which held Caesar and
Pompey together, and they hastened to determine in the field of battle who should be
master of Rome. The contest was decided in the plains of Pharsalus in Thessaly,
by the entire defeat of Pompey, B. C. 48. Pompey fled to Egypt, but was beheaded
the instant he landed on the shore. For five years Caesar held the supreme power at

Online LibraryJohann Joachim EschenburgManual of classical literature : from the German of J.J. Eschenburg, with additions → online text (page 20 of 153)