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is mythical, to the period of the first Olympiad. Ogyges
has the reputation of being the first king of a people who

186 Grecian States and Colonies. [Chap. XV.

claimed to be indigenous, about one hundred and fifty years
before the arrival of Cecrops, who came, it is supposed, from
Egypt, and founded Athens, and taught the simple but sav-
age natives a new religion, and the elements of civilized life,
1556 b. c. It received its name from the goddess Keith, in-
troduced by him from Egypt, under the name of Athena, or
Minerva. It was also called Cecropia, from its founder. Until
the time of Theseus it was a small town, confined to the
Acropolis and Mars Hill. This hero is the great


name of ancient Athenian legend, as Hercules is to
Greece generally. He cleared the roads of robbers, and
formed an aristocratical constitution, with a ting, who was
only the first of his nobles. But he himself, after having
given political unity, was driven away by a conspiracy of
nobles, leaving the throne to Menesthius, a descendant of the
ancient kings. This monarch reigned twenty-four years,
and lost his life at the siege 1 of Troy. The whole period of
the monarchy lies within the mythical age. Tradition makes

Codrus the last king, who was slain during an in-

Codrus. . .„ . .

vasion of the Dorians, b. c. 104o. Kesolvmg to
have no future king, the Athenians substituted the office of
archon, or ruler, and made his son, Medus, the superior mag-
istrate. This office remained hereditary in the family of
Codrus for thirteen generations. In b. c. 752, the duration of
the office was fixed for ten years. It remained in the
family of Codrus thirty-eight years longer, when it was left
open for all the nobles. In 683 b. c, nine archons were annu-
ally elected from the nobles, the first having superior dignity
The first of these archons, of whom any thing of import-
ance is recorded, was Draco, who governed Athens

Draco. . . ..

in the year 624 b. c, who promulgated writ-
ten laws, exceedingly severe, inflicting capital punishment
for slight offenses. The people grew weary of him and
his laws, and he was banished to JEgina, where he died, from
a conspiracy headed by Cylon, one of the nobles, who seized
the Acropolis, b. c. 612. His insurrection, however, failed,
and he was treacherously put to death by one of the archons,

Chap. XV.] Institutions of Solon. 187

which led to the expulsion of the whole body, and a change
in the constitution.

This Was effected by Solon, the Athenian sage and law-
giver — himself of the race of Codrus, whom the
Athenians chose as archon, with full power to make
new laws. Intrusted with absolute power, he abstained from
abusing it — a patriot in the most exalted sense, as well as
a poet and philosopher. Urged by his friends to make him-
self tyrant, he replied that tyranny might be a fair country,
only there was no way out of it.

When he commenced his reforms, the nobles, or Eupatridoe,
were in possession of most of the fertile land of Attica, while
the poorer citizens possessed only the sterile highlands. This
created an unhappy jealousy between the rich and poor. Be-
sides, there was another class that had grown rich by com-
merce, animated by the spirit of freedom. But their His inst it u -
influence tended to widen the gulf between the rich Uom -
and poor. The poor got into debt, and fell in the power of
creditors, and sunk to the condition of serfs, and many were
even sold in slavery, for the laws were severe against debtors,
as in ancient Rome. Solon, like Moses in his institution of
the Year of Jubilee, set free all the estates and persons that
had fallen in the power of creditors, and ransomed such as
were sold in slavery.

Having removed the chief source - of enmity between the
rich and poor, he repealed the bloody laws of Draco, and
commenced to remodel the political constitution. The fun-
damental principles which he adopted was a distribution of
power to all citizens according to their wealth. Lossofaris-
But the nobles were not deprived of their ascend- power.
ency, only the way was opened to all citizens to reach politi-
cal distinction, especially those who were enriched by com-
merce. He made an assessment of the landed property of all
the citizens, taking as the medium a standard of value which
was equivalent to a drachma of annual produce. The first
class, who had no aristocratic titles, were called Pentacosio
medimni, from possessing five hundred medimni or upward.

188 Grecian States and Colonies. [Chap. XV.

They alone were eligible to the archonship and other high
offices, and bore the largest share of the public burdens. The
second class was called Knights, because they were bound to
Different serve as cavalry. They filled the inferior offices,
classes. farmed the revenue, and had the commerce of the

country in their hands.

The third class was called Zeugita? (yokesmen), from their
ability to keep a yoke of oxen. They were small farmers,
and served in the heavy-armed infantry, and were subject to
a property-tax. All those whose incomes fell short of two
hundred medimni formed the fourth class, and served in the
light-armed troops, and were exempt from property-tax, but
disqualified for public office, and yet they had a vote in pop-
ular elections, and in the judgment passed upon archons at
the expiration of office, " The direct responsibility of all the
magistrates to the popular assembly, was the most demo-
cratic of all the institutions of Solon; and though the gov-
otherpoiiti- eminent was still in the hands of the oligarchy,
cai changes. g i on clearly foresaw, if he did not purposely pre-
pare for, the preponderance of the popular element." " To
guard against hasty measures, he also instituted the Senate
of four hundred, chosen year by year, from the four Ionic
tribes, whose office was to prepare all business for the popular
assembly, and regulate its meetings. The Areopagus retained
its ancient functions, to which Solon added a general over-
sight over all the public institutions, and over the private
life of the citizens. He also enacted many other laws for
the administration of justice, the regulation of social life,
the encouragement of commerce, and the general prosperity
of the State." His whole legislation is marked by wisdom
and patriotism, and adaptation to the circumstances of the
people who intrusted to him so much power and dignity.
The laws were, however, better than the people, and his legis-
lative wisdom and justice place him among the great bene-
factors of mankind, for who can tell the ultimate influence
of his legislation on Rome and on other nations. The most
beautiful feature was the responsibility of the chief magis-

Chap. XV.] Pisistrafots. 189

trates to the people who elected them, and from the fact that
they could subsequently be punished for bad conduct was
the greatest security against tyranny and peculation.

After having given this constitution to his countrymen,
the lawgiver took his departure from Athens, for Departure of

i • -.• •. it , i Solon from

ten years, binding the people by a solemn oath Athens.
to make no alteration in his laws. He visited Egypt, Cyprus,
and Asia Minor, and returned to Athens to find his work
nearly subverted by one of his own kinsmen. Pisistratus,
of noble origin, but a demagogue, contrived, by his arts and
prodio-alitv, to secure a eruard, which he increased,


and succeeded in seizing the Acropolis, b. c. 560,
and in usurping the supreme authority — so soon are good
laws perverted, so easily are constitutions overthrown, when
demas;og;ues and usurpers are sustained bv the

00 . r . J His reign.

people. A combination of the rich and poor
drove him into exile ; but their divisions and hatreds favored
his return. Again he was exiled by popular dissension, and
a third time he regained his power, but only by a battle.
He sustained his usurpation by means of Thracian mercen-
aries, and sent the children of all he suspected as hostages
to Naxos. He veiled his despotic power under the forms of
the constitution, and even submitted himself to the judgment
of the Areopagus on the charge of murder. He kept up his
popularity by generosity and affability, by mingling freely
with the citizens, by opening to them his gardens, by adorn-
ing the city with beautiful edifices, and by a liberal patronage
of arts and letters. He founded a public library, and collected
the Homeric poems in a single volume. He ruled benefi-
cently, as tyrants often have, — like Cajsar, like Richelieu, like
Napoleon, — identifying his own glory with the welfare of th«
State. He died after a successful reign of thirty-three year?
b. c . 527, and his two sons, Hippias and Hipparchus, succeedt
him in the government, ruling, like their father, at first wisely
but despotically, cultivating art and letters and friendship
of great men. But sensual passions led to outrages which
resulted in the assassination of Hipparchus. Hippias, having

190 Grecian States and Colonies. [Chap. XT.

punished the conspirators, changed the spirit of the gov-
ernment, imposed arbitrary taxes, surrounded

Ilippias. ' l j.j

himself with an armed guard, and ruled tyran-
nically and cruelly". After four years of despotic goA r ern-
ment, Athens was liberated, chiefly by aid of the Lace-
dasmonians, now at the highest of their power. Hippias
retired to the court of Persia, and planned and guided the
attack of Darius on Greece — a traitor of the most infamous
kind, since he combined tyranny at home with the coldest
treachery to his country. His accursed family were doomed
to perpetual banishment, and never succeeded in securing a
pardon. Their power had lasted fifty years, and had been
fatal to the liberties of Athens.

The Lacedaemonians did not retire until their king Cleo-

menes formed a close friendship with Isagoras, the leader of

the aristocratic party — and no people were prouder of their

birth than the old Athenian nobles. Opposed to him was

Cleisthenes, of the noble family of the Alcmreon-


ids, who had been banished in the time of
Megacles, for the murder of Cylon, who had been treacher-
ously enticed from the sanctuary at the altar of Athena.
Cleisthenes gained the ear of the people, and prevailed over
Isagoras, and effected another change in the constitution, by
which it became still more democratic. He remodeled the
basis of citizenship, hei*etofore confined to the four Ionic
tribes ; and divided the whole country into demes, or parishes,
each of which managed its local affairs. All freemen were
enrolled in the demes, and became members of the tribes,
now ten in number, instead of the old four Ionian tribes. He
The inert- ase increased the members of the senate from four to five
ate. hundred, fifty members being elected from each

tribe. To this body was committed the chief functions of ex-
ecutive government. It sat in permanence, and was divided
into ten sections, one for each tribe, and each section or com.
mittee, called prytany, had the presidency of the senate and
ecclesia during its term. Each piytany of fifty members was
subdivided into committees of ten, each of which held the

Chap. XV.] Cleisthenes. 191

presidency for seven days, and ont of these a chairman was
chosen by lot every day, to preside in the senate and assem-
bly, and to keep the keys of the Acropolis and treasury, and
public seal. Nothing shows jealousy of power more than
the brief term of office which the president exercised.

The ecclesia, or assembly of the people, was the arena for
the debate of all public measures. The archons

. . The ecclesia.

were chosen according to the regulations of Solon,
but were stripped of their power, which was transferred to
the senate and ecclesia. The generals were elected by the
people annually, one from each tribe. They were called
strategi, and had also the direction of foreign affairs. It
was as first strategus that Pericles governed — " prime min-
ister of the people."

In order to guard against the ascendency of tyrants — the
great evil of the ancient States, Cleisthenes devised the in-
stitution of ostracism, by which a suspected or

tit -ir-i- Ostracism.

obnoxious citizen could be removed from the city
for ten years, though practically abridged to five. It simply
involved an exclusion from political power, without casting
a stigma on the character. It was virtually a retirement,
during which his property and rights remained intact, and
attended with no disgrace. The citizens, after the senate had
decreed the vote was needful, were required to write a name
in an oyster shell, and he who had less than six thousand
votes was obliged to withdraw within ten days from the
city. The wisdom of this measure is proved in the fact that
no tyrannical usurpation occurred at Athens after that, of
Pisistratus. This revolution which Cleisthenes effected was
purely democratic, to which the aristocrats did not submit
without a struggle. The aristocrats called to their aid the
Spartans, but without other effect than creating that long
rivalry which existed between democracy and oligarchy in
Greece, in which Sparta and Athens were the representa-

About this time began the dominion of Athens over the
islands of the ^Egean, and the system of colonizing conquered

192 Grecian States and Colonies. [Chap. XV.

States. This was the period which immediately preceded
the Persian wars, when Athens reached the climax of political

Next in importance to the States which have been briefly
mentioned was Boeotia, which contained fourteen

Bceotia. ,

cities, united in a confederacy, of which Thebes
took the lead. They were governed by magistrates, called
boetarchs, elected annually. In these cities aristocratic
institutions prevailed. The people were chiefly of iEolian
descent, with a strong mixture of the Dorian element, and
were dull and heavy, owing, probably, to the easy facilities
of support, in consequence of the richness of the soil.

At the west of Boeotia, Phocis, with its small territory,
arained great consideration from the possession


of the Delphic oracle ; but its people thus far, of
Achrean origin, played no important part in the politics of

North of the isthmus lay the extensive plains of Thessaly,
inclosed bv lofty mountains. Nature favored this

Thessaly. , . ^ P t • 1

State more than any other in Greece lor political
pre-eminence, but inhabitants of iEolian origin were any
thing but famous. At first they were governed by kings, but
subsequently an aristocratic government prevailed. They
were represented in the Amphictyonic Council.

The history of Macedonia is obscure till the time of the
Persian wars; but its kings claimed an Heraclid
origin. The Doric dialect predominated in a
rude form.

Epirus, west of Thessaly and Macedonia, was inhabited by
various tribes, under their own princes, until the
kings of Molossus, claiming descent from Achil-
les, founded the dynasty which was so powerful under

There is but little interest connected with the States of
Greece, before the Persian wars, except Sparta, Athens, and
Corinth ; and hence a very brief notice is all that is needed.
But the Grecian colonies are of more importance. They

Chap. XV.] The Ionian Cities. 193

were numerous in the islands of the iEgean Sea, in Epirus,
and in Asia Minor, and even extended into Italy, Grecian coio-
Sicily, and Gaul. They were said to be planted mes "
as early as the Trojan war by the heroes who lived to re-
turn — by Agamemnon on the coast of Asia ; by the sons
of Theseus in Thrace ; by Ialmenus on the Euxine ; by Dio-
med and others in Italy. But colonization, to any extent,
did not take place until the ^Eolians invaded Boeotia, and
the Dorians, the Peloponnesus. The Achseans, driven from
their homes by the Dorians, sought new seats in the East,
under chieftains who claimed descent from Agamemnon and
other heroes who went to the siege of Troy. They settled,
first, on the Isle of Lesbos, where they founded six cities.
Others made settlements on the mainland, from the Hermes
to Mount Ida. But the greatest migration was made by the
Ionians, who, dislodged by Achseans, went first to Attica, and
thence to the Cyclades and the coasts of Asia, afterward
called Ionia. Twelve independent States were gradually
formed of divers elements, and assumed the Ionian name.
Among those twelve cities, or States, were Samos, Chios,
Miletus, Ephesus, Colophon, and Phocaea. The The Ionian

t L L , cities in Asia

purest Ionian blood was found at Miletus, the seat Minor.
of Neleus. These cities were probably inhabited by other
races before the Ionians came. To these another was subse-
quently added — Smyrna, which still retains its ancient name.
The southwest corner of the Asiatic peninsula, about the
same time, was colonized by a body of Dorians, accom-
panied by conquered Achseans, the chief seat of which was
Halicarnassus. Crete, Rhodes, Cos, and Cnidus, were col-
onized also by the same people ; but Rhodes is the parent
of the Greek colonies on the south coast of Asia Minor. A
century afterward, Cyprus was founded, and then Sicily was
colonized, and then the south of Italy. They were suc-
cessively colonized by different Grecian tribes, Achaean or
JEolian, Dorian, and Ionian. But all the colonists had to
contend with races previously established, Iberians, Phoeni-
cians, Sicanians, and Sicels. Among the Greek cities in

194 Grecian States and Colonies. [Chap. xv.

Sicily, Syracuse, founded by Dorians, was the most import-
ant, and became, in turn, the founder of other cities. Sybaris
and Croton, in the south of Italy, were of Achaean origin.
The Greeks even penetrated to the northern part of Africa,
and founded Cyrene ; while, on the Euxine, along the north
coast of Asia Minor, Cyzicus and Sinope arose. These mi-
grations were generally undertaken with the approbation and
encouragement of the mother States. There was no colo-
nial jealousy, and no dependence. The colonists, straitened
for room at home, carried the benedictions of their fathers,
and were emancipated from their control. Sometimes the
colony became more powerful than the parent State, but
both colonies and parent States were hound together by
strong ties of religion, language, customs, and interests. The
colonists uniformly became conquerors whei*e they settled,
but ever retained their connection with the mother country.
And they grew more rapidly than the States from which
they came, and their institutions were more democratic.
The Asiatic colonies especially, made great advances in civil-
ization by their contact with the East. Music, poetry, and
art were cultivated with great enthusiasm. The Ionians
took the lead, and their principal city, Miletus, is said to
have planted no less than eighty colonies. The greatness of
Ephesus was of a later date, owing, in part, to the splendid
temple of Artemis, to which Asiatics as well as Greeks
made contributions. One of the most remarkable of the
Greek colonies was Cyrene, on the coast of Africa, which was
of peculiar beauty, and was famous for eight hundred years.
So the Greeks, although they occupied a small territory,
yet, by their numerous colonies in all those parts watered by
the Mediterranean, formed, if not politically, at least socially,
Political im- a poAverful empire, and exercised a vast influence
the colonies, on the civilized world. From Cyprus to Mar-
seilles — from the Crimea to Cyrene, numerous States spoke
the same language, and practiced the same rites, which were
observed in Athens and Sparta. Hence the great extent of
country in Asia and Europe to which the Greek language

Chap. XV.] Grecian Colonics. 195

was familiar, and still more the arts which made Athens the
centre of a new civilization. Some of the most noted phil-
osophers and artists of antiquity were born in these colonies.
The power of Hellas was not a centralized empire, like
Persia, or even Rome, but a domain in the heart and mind
of the world. It was Hellas which worked out, in its various
States and colonies, great problems of government, as well
as social life. Hellas was the parent of arts, of poetry, of
philosophy, and of all aesthetic culture — the pattern of new
forms of life, and new modes of cultivation. It is this Gre-
cian civilization which appeared in full development as early
as five hundred years before the Christian era, which we now
propose, in a short chapter, to present — the era which immedi-
ately preceded the Persian wars.



We understand by civilization the progress which nations
Early civiii- have made in art, literature, material strength,
zatlon " social culture, and political institutions, by which

habits are softened, the mind enlarged, the soul elevated, and
a wise government, by laws established, protecting the weak,
punishing the wicked, and developing wealth and national

Such a civilization did exist to a remarkable degree among
the Greeks, which was not only the admiration of their own
times, but a wonder to all succeeding ages, since it was es-
tablished by the unaided powers of man, and affected the
relations of all the nations of Europe and Asia which fell
under its influence.

It is this which we propose briefly to present in this chap-
ter, not the highest developments of Grecian culture and
genius, but such as existed in the period immediately pre-
ceding the Persian wars.

One important feature in the civilization of Greece was
the progress made in legislation by Lycurgrus and

Legislation. .

Solon. But as this has been alluded to, we pass
on to consider first those institutions which were more
national and universal.

The peculiar situations of the various States, independent
of each other, warlike, encroaching, and ambitious, led
naturally to numerous wars, which would have been civil
wars had all these petty States been united under a common
government. But incessant wars, growing out of endless
causes of irritation, would have soon ruined these States,
and they could have had no proper development. Some-

Chap. XYL] The AmpMctyoniG Council. 197

thing was needed to restrain passion and heal dissensions
without a resort to arms, ever attended by dire calamities.
And something was needed to unite these various States, in
which the same language was spoken, and the same religion
and customs prevailed. This union was partially effected by
TheAmpMc- the Amphictyonic Council. It was a congress,
cii. composed of deputies from the different States,

and deliberating according to rules established from time
immemorial. Its meetings were held in two different places,
and were convened twice a year, once in the spring, at Del-
phi, the other in the autumn, near the pass of Thermopylae.
Delphi was probably the original place of meeting, and was,
therefore, in one important sense, the capital of Greece.
Originally, this council or congress was composed of depu-
ties from twelve States, or tribes — Thessalians, Boeotians,
Dorians, Ionians, Perrhoebians, Magnetes, Locrians, Octseans,
Phthiots, Achseans, Melians, and Phocians. These tribes
assembled together before authentic history commences, be-
fore the return of the Heracleids. There were other States
which were not represented in this league — Arcadia, Elis,
iEolia, and Acarnania; but the league was sufficiently
powerful to make its decisions respected by the greater part
of Greece. Each tribe, whether powerful or weak, had two
votes in the assembly. Beside those members who had the
exclusive power of voting, there were others, and more nu-
merous, who had the privilege of deliberation. The object
of the council was more for religious purposes than political,
although, on rare occasions and national crises, subjects of a
political nature were discussed. The council laid down the
rules of war, by which each State that was represented was
guaranteed against complete subjection, and the supplies of
war were protected. There was no confederacy against
foreign powers. The functions of the league were confined
to matters purely domestic ; the object of the league was the
protection of temples against sacrilege. But the council
had no common army to execute its decrees, which were
often disregarded. In particular, the protection of the Del-

198 Grecian Civilization. [Chap. XVI.

pine oracle, it acted with dignity and effect, whose responses
were universally respected.

As the Delphic oracle was the object which engrossed the

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