John Lord.

Anceint states and empires online

. (page 31 of 55)
Online LibraryJohn LordAnceint states and empires → online text (page 31 of 55)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


until the Roman conquest.

Having obtained this place, he commenced, without a de-
claration of war against Athens, a series of hostile measures,
while he professed to be her friend. He deprived her of her
hold upon the Thermaic Gulf, conquered Pydna Dup ij C i t y of
and Potidsea, and conciliated Olynthus. His phlli P-
power was thus so far increased that he founded a new city,
called Philippi, in the regions where his gold mines yielded
one thousand talents yearly. He then married Olympias,
daughter of a prince of the Molossi, who gave birth, in the
year b. c. 356, to a son destined to conquer the world.

The capture of Amphipolis by Philip was, of course, fol-
lowed by war with Athens, which lasted twelve ¥arwlth
years. And this war commenced at a time Athens Athens -
was in great embarrassments, owing to the social war.

But he was aided by another event of still greater import-
ance — the sacred war, which for a time convulsed The sacred
the Hellenic world, and which grew out of the war -
accusation of Thebes, before the Amphictyonic Council, that
Sparta had seized her citadel in time of profound peace. The
sentence of the council, that Sparta should pay a fine of five
hundred talents, was a departure of Grecian custom, and
Sparta refused to pay it, which refusal led to her exclusion
from the council, the Delphic temple, and the Pythian
games, and this exclusion again arrayed the different States
of Greece against each other, as to the guardianship of the
Oracle itself.

Philip of Macedon seized this opportunity, when so many
States were engaged in war, to prosecute his schemes. He
attacked Methone, the last remaining possession of Athens
on the Macedonian coast, and captured the city, and then
advanced into Thessaly against the despots of Pherse, who
invoked the aid of Onomarchus, now very powerful.

It was at this time, b. c. 353, that Demosthenes, the orator,
appeared before the Athenian people. He was about twenty-



360 Philip of Macedon. [Chap. XXIV.

seven years of age, and the wealth of his father secured him
Demos- great advantages in education. His father died
thenes. while he was young, and his property was confid-

ed to the care of guai'dians, named in his father's will. But
they administered the property with such negligence, that
only a small sum came to Demosthenes when he attained his
civil majority, at the age of sixteen. After repeated com-
plaints, he brought a judicial action against one of the guar-
dians, and obtained verdict against him to the extent of ten
talents. But the guardian delayed the payment, and De-
mosthenes lost nearly all his patrimony. He had, however,
received a good education, and in spite of a feeble constitu-
tion, he mastered all the learning of the age. His family
influence enabled him to get an early introduction to public
affairs, and he proceeded to train himself as a speaker, and a
writer of speeches for others. He put himself under the
teaching of a famous rhetorician, Isreus, and profited by
„. the discourses of Plato and Isocrates then in the

His accom-
plishments, height of their fame. He also was a great student

of Thucydides, and copied his whole history, with his own
hand, eight times. He still had to contend against a poor
voice, and an ungraceful gesticulation ; but by unwearied
labor he overcame his natural difficulties so as to satisfy the
most critical Athenian audience. But this conquest in self-
education was only made by repeated trials and humiliations,
and it is said he even spoke with pebbles in his mouth, and
prepared himself to overcome the noise of the Assembly by
declaiming in stormy weather on the sea-shore. He sometimes
passed two or three months in a subterranean chamber,
practicing by day and by night, both in composition and de-
clamation, such pains did those old Greeks take to perfect
themselves in art ; for public speaking is an art, as well as
literary composition. He learned Sophocles by heart, and
took lessons from actors even to get the true accent. It was
several years before he was rewarded with success, and then
his delivery was full of vehemence and energy, but elaborate
and artificial. But it was not mere labor which made De-



Chap. XXIV.] Demosthenes. 361

mosthenes the greatest orator of antiquity, and perhaps, of
all ages and nations, hut also natural genius. His self-
training merely developed the great qualities of which he
was conscious, as was Disraeli when he made his early fail-
ures in Parliament. Without natural gifts of eloquence, he
might have worked till doomsday without procluc- His CTreat
ing the extraordinary effect which is ascribed to el °aieuce.
him, for his speeches show great insight, genius, and natural
force, as well as learning, culture, and practice; so that they
could be read like the speeches of Burke and Webster, with
great effect. He had great political sagacity, moral wisdom,
elevation of sentiment, and patriotic ardor, as well as art.
He would have been great, if he had stammered all his life.
He composed speeches for other great orators before he
had confidence in his own eloquence.

In contrast with Demosthenes, who was rich, was Phocion,
who remained poor, and would receive neither money nor
gifts. He went barefoot, like Socrates, and had

° . . Phocion.

only one female slave in his household, was per-
sonally incorruptible, and also brave in battle, so that he
was elected to the office of strategus, or general, forty-five
times, without ever having solicited place or been present at
the election. He had great contempt of fine speeches, yet
was most effective as an orator for his brevity, good sense,
and patriotism, and despised the "warlike eloquence, un-
warlike despotism, paid speech-writing, and delicate habits
of Demosthenes."

This Athenian, with Spartan character and habits, was
opposed to the war with Philip, and was therefore the lead-
ing opponent of Demosthenes, whose foresight and Different po-

. , , , . , , '■ ' „ licy of these

cacacity led mm to penetrate the schemes 01 the two leaders.
Macedonian king. But the Athenians were generally in-
duced to a peace policy in degenerate times, and did not
sympathize with the lofty principles which Demosthenes
declared, and hence the influence of Phocion, though of com-
manding patriotism and morality, was mischievous, while that
of Demosthenes was good. The citizens of Athens, enrich-



362 Philip of Macedon. [Chap. XXIV.

ed by commerce and enervated by leisure, were at this time
averse to the burdens of military service, and formed a striking
contrast to their ancestors one hundred years earlier, in the
time of Pericles. In the time of Demosthenes, they sought
home pleasures, the refinements of art, and the enjoyments
of cultivated life, not warlike enterprises. And this decline
in military spirit was equally noticeable in the cities of the
Peloponnesus. And hence the cities of Greece resorted to
mercenaries, like Carthage, and intrusted to them the de-
fense of their liberties. The warlike spirit of ancient Sparta
and Athens now was pre-eminent in Macedonia, where the
people were poor, hardy, adventurous and bold.

It was against these warlike Macedonians, rude and hardy,
that the refined Athenians were now to contend, led by a
prince of uncommon military talents and insatiable ambition,
and who joined craft -to bravery and genius. Demosthenes
in vain invoked the ancient spirit which had inspired the
heroes of Marathon.

In the year 353 b. c, Philip attacked Lycophron, of Pherre,
in Thessaly. Onomarchus, then victorious over the Thebans,
Conquests of advanced against Philip, and defeated him in two
Thessaly. battles, so that the Macedonian army withdreAV
from Thessaly. But Philip repaired his losses, marched
again into Thessaly, defeated the Phocians, and slew Ono-
marchus. His conquest of Pherre was now easy, and he
rapidly made himself master of all Thessaly, and expelled
Lycophron. He then marched to Thermopylae, to the great
Threatens alarm of Athens, which sent a force to resist him,
Greece. which force succeeded in defending the pass, and

keeping Philip, for a time, from entering Southern Greece.
The Phocians also rallied, again availed themselves of the
treasure of Delphi, and melted down the golden ornaments
and vessels which Crcesus, the Lydian king, had given one hun-
dred years before, among which were three hundred and
sixty golden goblets, from the proceeds of which a new
army of mercenaries was raised.

The power of Philip was now exceedingly formidable, and



Chap. XXIV.] Successes of Philip. 363

his successes inspired great alarm throughout Greece, as
would appear from the first Philippic of Demos- No generals

. -i • -i ■ i • i-> s-i fit to cope

thenes, delivered in b. c. 352. But the Grecian with him.
States had no general able to cope with him on the land,
while he created a navy to annoy the Athenians at sea.
For a time, however, the efforts of Philip were diverted
from Southern and Central Greece, in order to conquer the
Olynthians. They were his neighbors, and had Philip

i i • it i i i • f-i »i • conquers tho

been bis allies ; but the expulsion of the Athenians Olynthians.
from the coast of Thrace and Macedonia now alarmed the
Olynthians, together with the increasing power of Philip, so
that they concluded a treaty of peace with Athens. Hos-
tilities broke out in the year 350 b. c, and Demosthenes put
forward all his eloquence to excite his countrymen to vigor-
ous Avar. Athens, partially aroused, sent a body of* mer-
cenaries to the assistance of Olynthus, one of the most
flourishing of the cities of Chalcidia, southeast of Macedonia.
But before effective aid could be rendered, the island of
Euboea, through the intrigues of Philip, revolted Revo i t of
from Athens. It was in an expedition to recover Eubcea -
that island that Demosthenes served as a hoplite in the army,
under Phocion as general. It was not till the summer of
b. c. 348 that this territory was recovered by Athens. In the
year following, Athens made great exertions in behalf of
Olynthus, and amid great financial embarrassments. Three
expeditions were sent into Chalcidia, under the command of
Chares, numbering altogether four thousand Athenians and
ten thousand mercenaries. But they were powerless against
the conquering arms of Philip, who completely Eava „ es f
overrun and devastated the peninsula, taking thir- Eluh P-
ty-two cities, and selling the people for slaves. At last
Olynthus fell, b. c. 347, and the spoils of this old Hellenic city
were divided among the soldiers of the conqueror, who
celebrated his victories by a splendid festival.

No such calamity had befallen Greece for a century as the
conquest of Chalcidia, and it filled Athens with unspeakable
alarms. iEschines, the rival of Demosthenes as an orator ?



364 Philip of Macedon. [Chap. xxiv.

now joined with him in denouncing Philip as the common
enemy of Greece. Aristodemus was sent to him with propo
sitions of peace, and Philip professed to entertain them
favorably, with his characteristic duplicity.

Meanwhile the sacred war had impoverished the Phocians,
and there were dissensions among themselves. Their temple
The temple of Delphi had already been stripped of the enor-

of Delphi J J l r

robbed. mous sum or ten thousand talents, eleven million

five hundred thousand dollars, probably equal in our times
to two hundred and thirty million dollars ; so that it must
have been richer, when the relative value of gold and silver
is considered, than any church in Christendom. The treas-
ures of the temple, enriched for three hundred years by offer-
ings from all parts of the world, still enabled the Phocians
to maintain war with Thebes. At last the Thebans invoked
the aid of Philip, and a Macedonian army, under Parmenio,
advanced as far as Thessaly. But the Phocians, in alarm,
entreated both Sparta and Athens for assistance. The
crisis was great, for if Philip should once secure the Pass of
Thermopylae, all Southern Greece was in imminent danger.
The whole defense of Greece now turned upon this Pass, of as
much importance to Philip as to Athens and Sparta, for it
was the only road into Greece. Envoys were again sent
from Athens to Philip, to learn on what conditions peace
could be secured, among whom were Demosthenes and iEs-
chines. But he would grant no better terms than that each
party should retain what they already possessed, and the
Encroach- Athenians consented. Philip reaped all the ad-

ments of x m *

Philip. vantages of a peace, which gave him the possession

of the cities and territory he had taken. The Phocians were
left out in the negotiations, a fatal step, since it required the
united forces of Greece from preventing the further encroach-
ments of the Macedonian king. He had now leisure for the
completion of the conquest of Thrace. When this was coui-
His dupiici- pleted, he marched toward Thermopylae, which was

ties ami in- 1 . ' ,

trigues. held by the Phocians, carefully veiling his real in-

tentions, and even pretending that his advance to the south



Chap. XXIV.] Philip master of ThermqpylcB. 365

was for the purpose of reconstituting the Boeotian cities and
putting down Thebes. His real object was to surprise the
Pass, for he was a man who had very little respect to treaties,
promises, or oaths. All this while he contrived to deceive
Athens and the Phocians, with the connivance of ^Eschines,
whom he had bribed or cheated. But he did not deceive
Demosthenes, who entreated his countrymen to make a stand
against him, even at the eleventh hour, for he was then with-
in three days' march of the Pass. But the eloquence and
warnings of Demosthenes were in vain. The people went
with iEschines, who persuaded them that Philip was friendly
to Athens and only hostile to Thebes. It was the design of
Philip to detach Athens from the Phocians, and thus make his
conquest easier ; and he succeeded by his falsehoods and in-
trigues. Under these circumstances, the Phocians PMiip ob-

, , _-,. ... . . . , , , tains posses-

surrendered to Philip the pass, which they ought sion of the

' passot'Ther-

to have defended at all hazard, and the king re- mopyiae.
tired to Phocis, but still professed the greatest friendship for
Athens, with whom he made peace.

Master now of Phocis, with a triumphant army, he openly
joined the Thebans and restored the Temple of Delphi to its
inhabitants, and convoked the Amphictyonic Council, which
dispossessed the Phocians of their place in the Andis
assembly, and conferred it upon Philip. The ^ as t er of f
unhappy Phocians were now reduced to a state of Greece.
utter ruin. Their towns were dismantled, and their villages
were not allowed to contain over fifty houses each. They
were stripped, and slain, and their fields laid waste. Philip
was now master of the keys of Greece, and the recognized
leader of the Amphictyonic Council. Athens had secured
an inglorious peace with her enemy, through the corruption
of her own envoys, b. c. 346, and was soon to reap the penalty
of her credulity and indolence. She allowed herself to be
deceived, and Philip, in co-operation with Thebes, the enemy
of Athens, presently threw oif the mask and disgracefully re-
newed the war with Athens. He had gained his object by
bribery and falsehood. It is mournful that the Athenians



306 Philip of Macedon. [Chap. XXIV.

should not have listened to the warnings of the most saga-
cious patriot who adorned those degenerate times, but the
influence of iEschines was then paramount, and he was sold
to Philip. He cried peace, when there was no peace. The
great error of Athens was in not rendering timely assist-
ance to the Phocians, who possessed the Pass of Thermopylae,
although they had brought upon themselves the indignation
of Greece by the seizure of the Delphic treasures.

The victories and encroachments of Philip, within the line
Lamenta- of common Grecian defense, were profoundly

tionsofOe- r .

mosthenes. lamented by Demosthenes, and he now felt that it
was expedient to keep on terms of peace with so powerful
and unscrupulous and cunning a man. Isocrates wished
Philip to reconcile the four great cities of Greece, Sparta,
Athens, Thebes, and Argos, put himself at the head of their
united forces, and Greece generally, invade Persia, and
liberate the Asiatic Greeks. But this was putting the
Hellenic world under one man, and renouncing the inde-
pendence of States and the autonomy of cities — the great
principles of Grecian policy from the earliest historic times,
and therefore a complete subversion of Grecian liberties, and
the establishment of a centralized power under Philip, whose
patrimonial kingdom was among the least civilized in
Greece.

The peace between Philip and Athens lasted, without any
Philip's formal renunciation, for six years, during which
encroach.- tne Macedonian king pursued his aggressive
meats. policy and his intrigues in all the States of Greece.

His policy was precisely that of Rome when it meditated
the conquest of the world, only his schemes were confined
chiefly to Greece. Every year his power increased, while the
States of Greece remained inactive and uncombined — a proof
of the degeneracy of the times — certainly in regard to self-
sacrifices to secure their independence. Demosthenes plainly
His insatiate saw tne approaching absorption of Greece in the
ambition. Macedonian dominion, unless the States should
unite for common defense ; and he took every occasion



Chap. XXIV.] Demosthenes arouses Athens. 387

to denounce Philip, not only in Athens, hut to the envoys
of the different States. The counsels of the orator were
a bitter annoyance to the despot, who sent to Athens
letters of remonstrance.

At last an occasion was presented for hostilities by the
refusal of the Athenians to allow Philip to take posses-
sion of the island of Halicarnassus, claiming the island as
their own. Reprisals took place, and Philip demanded
the possession of the Hellespont and Bosphorus, and the
Greek cities on their coast, of the greatest value to Athens,
since she relied upon the possession of the straits for the
unobstructed importation of corn. The Athenians now
began to realize the encroaching ambition of Philip, and
to listen to Demosthenes, who, about this time, Athens at
b.c. 341, delivered his third Philippic. From last aroused

' i i by Deuios-

this time to the battle of Chseronea, the influence tbenes -
of Demosthenes was greater than that of any other man
in Athens, which too late listened to his warning voice.
Through his influence, Euboea was detached from Philip,
and also Byzantium, and they were brought into alli-
ance with Athens. Philip was so much 'chagrined that
he laid siege to Perinthus, and marched through the
Chersonese, which was part of the Athenian territory, upon
which Athens declared war. Philip, on his side, issued a
manifesto declaring his wrongs, as is usual with conquerors,
and announced his intention of revenge. The Athenians
fitted out a fleet and sent it under Chares to the Helles-
pont. Philip prosecuted, on his part, the siege of Perin-
thus, on the Propontis, . with an army of thirty gie(re of
thousand men, with a great number of military Pennthus -
engines. One of his movable towers was one hundred
and twenty feet high, so that he was able to drive away
the defenders of the walls by missiles. He succeeded in
driving the citizens of this strong town into the city, and it
would have shared the fate of Olynthus, had it not been
relieved by the Byzantine and Grecian mercenaries. Philip
was baffled, after a siege of three months, and turned his



308 Philip of Macedon. [Chap. XXIV.

forces against Byzantium, but this town was also relieved by
the Athenians, and the inhabitants from the islands of the
iEgean. These operations lasted six months, and were the
greatest adverses which Philip had as yet met with. A vote
of thanks was decreed by the Athenians to Demosthenes,
who had stimulated these enterprises. Philip was obliged
Philip with- to withdraw from Byzantium, and retreated to

draws from ., . , .

Byzantium, attack the fecytmans. An important reform in the
administration of the marine was effected by Demosthenes,
although opposed by the rich citizens and by JEschines.

While these events transpired, a new sacred war was de-
Another clared by the Amphictyonic Council against the
sacred war. Locrians of Amphissa, kindled by JEschines, which
more than compensated Philip for his repulse at Byzantium,
bringing advantage to him and ruin to Grecian liberty. But
the Athenians stood aloof from this suicidal war, when all
the energies of Greece were demanded to put down the
encroachments of Philip. As was usual in these intestine
troubles, the weaker party invoked the aid of a foreign
Ruinous to power, and the Amphictyonic Assembly, intent on
ei-ties. punishing Amphissa, sought assistance from Philip.

He, of course, accepted the invitation, and marched south
through Thermopylae, proclaiming his intention to avenge
the Delphian god. In his march he took Nicoea from the
Thebans, and entered Phocis, and converted Elatea into a
permanent garrison. Hitherto he had only proclaimed him-
self as a general acting under the Amphictyonic vote to
avenge the Delphian god, — now he constructed a military
post in the heart of Greece.

Thebes, ever since the battle of Leuctra, had been opposed
Alliance of to Athens, and even now unfriendly relations

Thebes and . nl .. . _,. ... , .

Athens. existed between the two cities, and Philip hoped

that Thebes would act in concert with him against Athens.
But this last outrage of Philip exceedingly alarmed Athens,
and Demosthenes stood up in the Assembly to propose
an embassy to Thebes with offers of alliance. His advice
was adopted, and he was dispatched with other envoys to



Chap, xxiv.] Battle of Chcero7iea. 369

Thebes. The Athenian orator, in spite of the influence
of the Macedonian envoys, carried his point with the Theban
Assembly, and an alliance was formed between Thebes and
Athens. The Athenian army marched at once to Thebes,
and vigorous measures were made at Athens for the
defensive war which so seriously threatened the loss of
Grecian liberty. The alliance was a great disappointment to
Philip, who remained at Phocis, and sent envoys to Sparta,
inviting the Peloponnesians to join him against Amphissa.
But the Thebans and Athenians maintained their ground
against him, and even gained some advantages. Among
other things, they reconstituted the Phocian towns. The
Athenians and their allies had a force of fifteen thousand
infantry and two thousand cavalry, and Demosthenes was
the war minister by whom these forces were col- E enewea
lected. These efforts on the part of Thebes and ™"^ P r f

I para tions of

Athens led to renewed preparations on the part Phili P-
of Philip. He defeated a large body of mercenaries, and took
Amphissa. Unfortunately, the Athenians had no general
able to cope with him, and it was the work of Demosthenes
merely to keep up the courage of his countrymen and incite
them to effort.

At last, in the month of August, Philip, with thirty thou-
sand foot and two thousand horse, met the allied Greeks at
Chaeronea, the last Boeotian town on the frontiers „ ... ,

Battle of

of Phocis. The command of the armies of the Chseronea.
allies was shared between the Thebans and Athenians, but
their movements were determined by a council of civilians
and generals, of which Demosthenes was the leading spirit.
Philip, in this battle, which decided the fortunes of Greece,
commanded the rigrht wins:, opposed to the Ti . . .

~ " r J- Its decisive

Athenians, and his son Alexander, the left wing, character.
opposed to the Thebans. The Macedonian phalanx, or-
ganized by Philip, was sixteen deep, with veteran soldiers
in the front. The Theban " Sacred Band" was overpow-
ered and broken by its tremendous force, much increased

by the long pikes which projected in front of the foremost
24



370 Philip of Macedon. [Chap. XXIY.

soldiers. But the battle was not gained by the phalanx
alone. The organization of the Macedonian army

Macedonian °

phalanx. was perfect, with many other sorts of troops, body-
guards, light hoplites, light cavalry, bowmen, and slingers.
One thousand Athenians were slain, and two thousand more
were made captives. The Theban loss was still greater.

Unspeakable was the grief and consternation of Athens,
when the intelligence reached her of this decisive victory.
Desperate A resolution was at once taken for a vigorous



Online LibraryJohn LordAnceint states and empires → online text (page 31 of 55)