Charles Bucke.

Ruins of ancient cities : with general and particular accounts of their rise, fall, and present condition (Volume 1) online

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After having disposed his whole army in this
manner, he moved on to charge the enemy with the
whole weight of his column. They were strangely
surprised when they saw Epaminondas advance to-
wards them in this order, and resumed their arms,
~~ RofUn~


bridled their horses, and made all the haste they
could to their ranks.

Whilst Epaminondas marched against the enemy,
the cavalry that covered his flank on the left, the
best at that time in Greece, entirely composed of
Thebans and Thessalians, had orders to attack the
enemy's horse. The Theban general, whom nothing
escaped, had artfully bestowed bowmen, slingers and
dartmen, in the intervals of his horse, in order to
begin the disorder of the enemy's cavalry, by a pre-
vious discharge of a shower of arrows, stones, and
javelins, upon them. The other army had neglected
to take the same precaution, and had made another
fault, not less considerable, in giving as much depth
to the squadrons as if they had been a phalanx. By
this means their horse were incapable of supporting
long the charge of the Thebans. After having made
several ineffectual attacks with great loss, they were
obliged to retire behind their infantry.

In the mean time, Epaminondas, with his body of
foot, had charged the Lacedaemonian phalanx. The
troops fought on both sides with incredible ardour ;
both the Thebans and Lacedaemonians being resolved
to perish rather than yield the glory of arms to their
rivals. They began by fighting with the spear ; and
those first arms being soon broken in the fury of the
combat, they charged each other sword in hand. The
resistance was equally obstinate, and the slaughter
very great on both sides.

The furious slaughter on both sides having conti-
nued a great while without the victory's inclining to
either, Epaminondas, to force it to declare for him,
thought it his duty to make an extraordinary effort
in person, without regard to the danger of his own
life. He formed, therefore, a troop of the bravest
and most determined about him, and putting himself
at the head of them, he made a vigorous charge upon

VOL. r. BE


the enemy, where the kittle was most warm, and
wounded the general of the Lacedii-inonians with the
first javelin he threw. His troop, by his example,
having wounded or killed all that stood in their \\ ay,
broke and penetrated the phalanx. The gross of tin-
Tin-ban troops, animated by their general's example
and success, drove back the enemy upon his riidit and
left, and made a great slaughter of them. But some
troops of the Spartans, perceiving that Kpaminondas
abandoned himself too much to his ardour, suddenly
rallied, and returning to the fight, charged him with
a shower of javelins. Whilst he kept oft' part of
those darts, shunned some of them, fenced off others,
and was fighting with the most heroic valour, to
assure the victory to his army, a Spartan, named
Callicrates, gave him a mortal wound with a javelin
in the breast across his cuirass. The wood of the
javelin being broken off, and the iron head continuing
in the wound, the tonnent was insupportable, and
he fell immediately. The battle began around him
with new fury ; the one side using their utmost
endeavours to take him alive, and the other to save
him. The Thebans gained their point at last, and
carried him off, after having put the enemy to flight.
Epaminondas was carried into the camp. Tin
surgeons, after having examined the wound, declared
that he would expire as soon as the head of the dart
was drawn out of it. Those words gave all that were
present the utmost sorrow and affliction, who were
inconsolable on seeing so great a man about to die,
and to die without issue. For him, the only cone rn
he expressed, was about his arms, and the success of
the battle. When they showed him his shield, and
assured him that the Thebans had gained the victory ;
turning towards his friends with a calm and sen-no
air ; " Do not regard," said he, " this day as the end
of my life, but as the beginning of my happiness, and


the completion of ray glory. I leave Thebes triumph-
ant, proud Sparta humbled, and Greece delivered
from the yoke of servitude. For the rest, I do not
reckon that I die without issue; Leuctra and Man-
tinea are two illustrious daughters, that will not fail
to keep my name alive, and to transmit it to posterity."
Having spoken to this effect, he drew the head of the
javelin out of his wound, and expired.

Mantinea is also famous for another great battle,
viz., that between Philopoemen and Machanidas,
tyrant of Sparta*. The time for beginning the battle
approaching and the enemy in view, Philopoemen,
flying up and down the ranks of the infantry, en-
couraged his men in few but very strong expressions;
Most of them were even not heard ; but he was so
dear to his soldiers, and they reposed such confidence
in him, that they wanted no exhortations to fight
with incredible ardour. In a kind of transport they
animated their general, and pressed him to lead them
on to battle.

Machanidas marched his infantry in a kind of
column, as if he intended to begin the battle by charg-
ing the right wing ; but when he "was advanced to a
proper distance, he on a sudden made his infantry
wheel about, in order that it might extend to his
right, and make a front equal to the left of the
Achseans ; and, to cover it, he caused all the chariots
laden with catapult* to advance forward. Philopoe-
men plainly saw that his intention was to break his
infantry, by overwhelming it with darts and stones :
however, he did not give him time for it. The first
charge was very furious. The light-armed soldiers
advancing a little after to sustain them, in a moment
the foreign troops were universally engaged on both
sides ; and, as in this attack they fought man to man,
the battle was a long time doubtful. At last the
* Rollin.

EE 2

420 nrixs OP ANnr.NT

foreigners in the tyrant's army had tin 1 advant
their numbers and dexterity, acquired ly experience,
giving them the superiority. The Illyrians and
cuirassiers, who sustained the foreign soldiers in 1'hi-
lopoemen's army, could not withstand so furious a
charge. They were entirely broken, and fled with tin;
utmost precipitation towards Mantinea, about a milo
from the field of battle.

Philopoamen seemed now lost to all hopes. " On
this occasion," says Polybius, " appeared the truth of
a maxim, which cannot reasonably be contested, That
the events of war are generally successful or unfor-
tunate, only in proportion to the skill or ignorance of
the generals who command in them. Philopo?men, so
far from desponding at the ill success of the first
charge, or being in confusion, was solely intent upon
taking advantage of the errors which the enemy
might commit." Accordingly, they were guilty of a
great one. Machanidas, after the left wing was
routed, instead of improving that advantage, by
charging in front that instant with his infantry tho
centre of that of the enemies, and taking it at tho
same time in flank with his victorious wintr, and
thereby terminating the whole affair, suffers himself,
like a young man, to be hurried away by the fire and
impetuosity of his soldiers, and pursues, without order
or discipline, those who were flying.

Philopoemen, who had retired to his infantry in
the centre, takes the first cohorts, commands them to
wheel to the left, and at their head marches and seizes
the post which Machanidas had abandoned. By this
movement he divided the centre of the enemies'
infantry from his right wing. He then commanded
these cohorts to stay in the post they had just seized,
till further orders; and at the same time directed a
Megalapolitan to rally all the Illyrians, cuirassiers,
and foreigners, who, without quitting their ranks, and


flying as the rest had done, had drawn off, to avoid
the fury of the conqueror ; and with these forces to
post himself on the flank of the infantry in his centre,
to check the enemy in their return from the pursuit.

This Megalapolitan was named Polyinus ; but not
the historian, as many writers have imagined.

The Lacedaemonian infantry, elated with the first
success of their wing, without waiting for the signal,
advanced with their pikes lowered towards the
Achasans, as far as the brink of the ditch. This was the
decisive point of time for which Philopcemen had long
waited, and thereupon he ordered the charge to be
sounded. His troops levelling their pikes, fell with
dreadful shouts on the Lacedemonians. These, who
at their descending into the ditch, had broken their
ranks, no sooner saw the enemy above them, but
immediately fled.

To complete the glory of this action, the business
now was to prevent the tyrant from escaping the
conqueror. This was Philopoemen's only object.
Machauidas, on his return, perceived that his army
fk'd ; when, being sensible of his error, he endeavoured,
but in vain, to force his way through the Acha?ans.
His troops, perceiving that the enemy were masters
of the bridge which lay over the ditch, were quite
dispirited, and endeavoured to save themselves as well
as they could. Machanidas himself, finding it impos-
sible to pass the bridge, hurried along 'the side of the
ditch, in order to find a place for getting over it.
Philopoemen knew him by his purple mantle, and the
trappings of his horse : so he passed the ditch, in order
to stop the tyrant. The latter having found a part of
the ditch which might easily be crossed, clapped spurs
to his horse, and sprang forward in order to leap over.
That very instant Philopcemen threw his javelin at
him, which laid him dead in the ditch. The tyrant's
head being struck off, and carried from rank to rank,


gave new courage to the victorious Arlia>ans. They
pursued the fugitives with incredible ardour as far as
Tegea, entered the city with them, and, bein<: now
masters of the field, the very next day they em :nn]>l
on the banks of the Eurotas. The Achseans did not
lose many men in this battle, but the Lacedemonians
lost four thousand, without including the prisoners,
who were still more numerous. The baggage and
arms were also taken by the Achseans.

The conquerors, struck with admiration at the
conduct of their general, to whom the victory was
entirely owing, erected a brazen statue to him in the
same attitude in which he had killed the tyrant ;
which statue they afterwards placed in the temple
of Apollo at Delphos.

Mantinea* was richly decorated with public edi-
fices. It had eight temples, besides a theatre, a sta-
dium, and hippodrome, and several other monuments ;
many of which are enumerated by Pausanias.

Some imperfect remains of the theatre are still
visible ; the walls of which resemble those round the
town. But none of the sites of the temples or of
the other structures can be identified ; and every-
thing, except the walls which enclose the city, is in
a state of total dilapidation.

These walls were composed of unbaked bricks, which
resisted, even better than stone, the impulse of war-
like engines ; but were not proof against the effects of
water. For ore of the kings of Sparta, form in.: a diti-li
round the town, and carrying the river Ophis to flow
into it, dissolved the fabric of the walls. They en-
close a circle, in which the city stood. They un-
fortified with towers, most of which are square ;
others are of circular forms. The whole exhibits an
interesting and very perfect example of Grec'nn
fortification. There were eight gates ; not one of which,


however, retains its lintel. The walls are surrounded
by a fosse, which is still supplied by the Ophis*.


MARATHON, which was originally one of the four
cities, founded by an Attic king, who gave it his
name, is now little better than a village. The plain
in which it is situated is, says Mr. Dodwell, " one
of the prettiest spots in Attica, and is enriched with
many kinds of fruit-trees : particularly walnuts, figs,
pomegranates, pears, and cherries. On our arrival,
the fine country girls, with attractive looks and
smiling faces, brought us baskets of fruit. Some of
them appeared unwilling to accept our money in
return; and the spontaneous civility and good-humour
of the inhabitants soon convinced us that we were in
Attica, where they are more courteous to strangers
than in other parts of Greece."

This city was but a small one, indeed it was often
called a village ; yet a deathless interest is attached
to it ; for just beside it was fought the battle between
the Persians and the Athenians, which is, even at
this day, more known and respected than any other
recorded in history. "We shall, therefore, give an
abstract of the account of the battle, as it is stated in
Rollin, and then show in what condition the city is
at the present time.

M'iltiades, like an able captain, endeavoured, by
the advantage of the ground, to gain what he wanted
in strength and number. He drew up his army at
the foot of a mountain, that the enemy should not be
able to surround him, or charge him in the rear.
On the two sides of his army he caused large trees
to be cut and thrown down, in order to cover his
flanks, and render the Persian cavalry useless. Datis,
their commander, was sensible that the place was
not advantageous for him : but, relying upon the

Rollic; Dodwell; "Williams.

424 Ki'i.xs or A.N( II:N r 1 1

iiumbcr of his troops, which was infinitely eupe-
rior to that of the Athenians, he drtermined to
engage. The Athenians did not wait for the enemy's
charging them. As soon as the signal fur battle was
given, they ran against the enemy with all the fury
imaginable. The Persians looked upon this first ~i \>
of the Athenians as a piece of madness, eonsidcrin^
their army was so small, and utterly destitute both
of cavalry and archers; but they were quickly un-
iK-ccived. Herodotus observes, that " this was the
first time the Grecians began an engagement by run-
ning in this manner." The battle was fierce and
obstinate. Miltiades had made the wings of his
army exceedingly strong, but had left the main body
more weak, and not deep ; the reason of which
aeems manifest enough. Having but ten thousand
men to oppose to such a numerous army, it was
impossible for him either to make a large front, or
to give an equal depth to his battalion. He was
therefore obliged to take his choice ; and he imagined
that he could gain the victory in no other way than
by the efforts he should make with his two wings,
in order to break and disperse those of the Persians ;
not doubting, but when his wings were once victo-
rious, they should be able to attack the enemy's
main body in flank, and complete the victory with-
out much difficulty.* The Persians then attacked
the main body of the Grecian army, and made their
greatest effort particularly upon their front. This
was led by Aristides'and Themistocles, who sup-
ported it a long time with an intrepid courage and
bravery, but were at length obliged to give ground.
At that very instant came up their two victorious
wings, which had dispersed those of the enemy, and
put them to flight. Nothing could be more seasou-

* Tliis w:i the same plan ai Haunibal fullowtd afterward* at the
battle of Can no*.


able for the main body of the Grecian army, which
began to be broken, being quite borne down by the
number of the Persians. The scale was quickly
turned, and the barbarians were entirely routed.
They all betook themselves to their heels and fled ;
not towards their camp, but to their ships, that they
might escape. The Athenians pursued them thither,
and set their ships on fire. They took, also, seven of
their ships. They had not above two hundred men
killed on their side in this engagement ; whereas, on
the side of the Persians, above six thousand were
slain, without reckoning those who fell into the sea,
as they endeavoured to escape, or those that were
consumed with the ships set on fire. Immediately
after the battle, an Athenian soldier, still reeking
with the blood of the enemy, quitted the army, and
ran to Athens to carry his fellow-citizens the happy
news of the victory. When he arrived at the
magistrate's house, he only uttered two or three
words : " Rejoice, rejoice, the victory is ours !" and
fell down dead at their feet.

In an excavation, made in one of the tumuli, some
years ago, were found a number of busts ; of Socra-
tes, Lucius Terns, and Marcus Aurelius, with another
of an unknown person, sculptured with great care, and
happily finished.

The unknown bust is supposed to be that of
Herodes Atticus, a native of this city, and greatly
distinguished. His history is exceedingly curious.
"We take it from Sir George Wheler.

" He flourished about the time of the emperors
Trajan, Adrian, Antoninus Pius, and Marcus Au-
relius. His grandfather Hipparchus, or as Suidas
has it, Plutarchus, was well to pass in the world,
but having been accused of some tyrannical prac-
tices, used towards the people, the emperor confis-
cated all his estates ; so that his son, Atticus, father

426 RUINS or men NT CITIES.

of this Herod, lived afterwards in Athens in n mean
condition ; until, having found a great hidden tn-a-
sure in his own house, near the theatre, he became
on a sudden very rich. He was not more fortunate
in lending it, than prudent in getting it confirmed
on himself; for well knowing, should it come to be
discovered, he should be obliged to give an account
of it to the emperor, he wrote thus: 'My lie^e,
I have found a treasure in my house ; what do you
command that I should do with it ?' The emperor
answered him, ' That he should make use of what he
had found.' But Atticus, yet fearing that he might
lx) in danger of some trouble, when the greatness
of the treasure should come to be known, wrote a
second time to the emperor, professing ingenuously,
that the treasure he had written to him about was too
great a possession for him, and exceeded the capacity
of a private man. But the emperor answered him
again with the same generosity, * Abuse, also, if
thou wilt, the riches thou hast so accidentally come
by; for they are thine.' By this means, Atticus
became again extremely rich and powerful, having
married a wife also that was very rich, whence it
came to pass that his son and heir Herodes far
surpassed his father both in wealth and magnifi-
cence, and became the founder of many stately
edifices in sundry parts of Greece ; and, dying, left
by his will ten crowns to every citizen of Athens.
Neither did he partake less of virtue and merit
than he did of fortune ; being very learned, and so
eloquent, that he was called the tongue of Athens ;
having been the disciple of the famous Phavorinus.
Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Vcrus, emperors of
his time, made it their glory that they had been
his auditors. His entire name was Tiberius Clau-
dius Atticus Herodes ; as I prove by an inscription
that is at Athens, in the house of Signor Nicoli


Limbonia." Thus far, Sir George Wheler. Chan-
dler goes on to observe, that Herodes Atticus directed
his freed-men to bury him at Marathon ; where he
died, at the age of seventy-six. But the Ephebi,
or young men of Athens, transported his body on
their shoulders to the city, a multitude meeting the
bier, and weeping like children for the loss of a

The antiquities of this plain resolve themselves
into the tomb of the Athenians, the monument
of Miltiades, and the tomb of the Plateeans. Dr.
Clarke found also many interesting relics, for an
account of which we must refer to his Travels, in
order that we may find space for some beautiful
remarks, with which he closes his very agreeable
account. " If there be a spot upon earth, pre-emi-
nently calculated to awaken the solemn sentiments,
which such a view of nature is fitted to make upon
all men, it may surely be found in the plain of
Marathon ; where, amidst the wreck of generations,
and the graves of ancient heroes, we elevate our
thoughts towards HIM, * in whose sight a thousand
years are but as yesterday ;' where the stillness of
Nature, harmonizing with the calm solitude cf that
illustrious region, which once was a scene of the most
agitated passions, enables us, by the past, to deter-
mine of the future. In those moments, indeed, we
may be said to live for ages ; a single instant, by
the multitude of impressions it conveys, seems to
anticipate for us a sense of that eternity ' when
time shall be no more ;' when the fitful dream of
human existence, with all its turbulent illusions,
shall be dispelled ; and the last sun having set, in
the last of the world, a brighter dawn than ever
gladdened the universe, shall renovate the dominions
of darkness and of death." *

Rollin; Wheler; Barthelemyj Clarke; DodwelU



THIS city, situated in Arcadia, had one of the most
illustrious persons of ancient times for its founder,
Epaminondas. Its population was collected from
various small cities and towns of Arcadia.

Soon after its establishment, the inhabitants sent
to Plato for a code of laws. The philosopher ^^
much pleased with so flattering an offer ; but he
ultimately declined sending them one, because- In-
learned from a disciple, whom ho had sent to Mega-
lopolis, that the inhabitants would never consent to
an equality of property.

In 232 B. c., Megalopolis joined the Achaian
league, and was taken and ruined by Cleomenes.
At that period it was as large a city as Sparta. Its
most valuable paintings and sculptures were conveyed
to the Laconian capital, and great part of the city

The Athenians, soon after, beginning to see the
impropriety of not keeping up the balance of po\\< r
in Greece, Demosthenes signalised himself greatly in
endeavouring to persuade them to take part with the
Megalopolitans. " It has been a perpetual maxim
with us," said he, " to assist the oppressed against
the oppressor. We have never varied from this prin-
ciple. The reproach of changing, therefore, ought
not to fall upon us, but upon those whose injustice
and usurpation oblige us to declare against them."

" I admire the language of politicians," says Rollin.
'To hear them talk, it is always reason and the strictest
justice that determine them; but to see them act,
makes it evident that interest and ambition are the
sole rule and guide of their conduct. Their discourse
is an effect of that regard for justice, which nature
has implanted on the mind of man, and which they
eannot entirely shake off. There are few that ven-
ture to declare against that internal principle in their


expressions, or to contradict it openly. But there aro
also few who observe it with fidelity and constancy
in their actions. Greece never was known to have
more treaties of alliance than at the time we are now
speaking of, nor were they ever less regarded. This
contempt of religion, of oaths in states, is a proof of
their decline, and often denotes and occasions their
approaching ruin." The Athenians, moved by tho
eloquent discourse of Demosthenes, sent three thou-
sand foot and three hundred horse to the aid of Pa-
manes. Megalopolis was reinstated in its former
condition ; and the inhabitants, who had retired into
their own countries, were obliged to return.

Anacharsis, from whose travels we have gleaned
so many interesting anecdotes, says : " A small
river, called the Ilelisson, divides the city into two
parts, in both of which houses and public edifices
have been built, and are still building. That to the
north contains a tower, enclosed by a stone balus-
trade, and surrounded by some edifices and porticoes.
A superb bronze statue of Apollo, twelve feet high,
has been erected facing the temple of Jupiter. This
statue is a present from the Philagians, who contri-
buted with pleasure to the embellishments of the
new city. Some private individuals have done the
same. One of the porticoes bears the name of Aris-
tander, who caused it to be built at his own expense.
In the part to the south we saw a spacious edifice,
in which is held the assembly of the ten thousand
deputies, appointed to conduct the important affairs
of the state. The city contains a great number of
statues ; among others, we saw the work of two
Athenian artists, Cephisodorus and Xenophon, con-
sisting of a group, in which Jupiter is represented,

Online LibraryCharles BuckeRuins of ancient cities : with general and particular accounts of their rise, fall, and present condition (Volume 1) → online text (page 33 of 36)