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A history of Greece: from the earliest period to the close of the generation contemporary with Alexander the Great online

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At this moment the most recent events which had occurred at
Athens (presently to be told) were not known, and the democracy
was considered as still subsisting there.^

To stand by the assailed democracy of Samos, and to preserve
llie Athe- the island itself^ now the mainstay of the shattered
^SSfSk*** Athenian empire, were motives more than sufficient
<^ the to awaken the Athenian leaders thus solicited. Com-

conspiiaoj mencing a personal canvass among the soldiers and
atsamot. seamen, and invoking their interference to avert th«
overthrow of the Samian democracy, they found the general
sentiment decidedly in their £&vour, but most of all among the
Parali, or crew of the consecrated public trireme called the
Paitdus. These men were the picked seamen of the state ; each
of them not merely a freeman, but a full Athenian citizen ;
receiving higher pay than the ordinary seamen, and known as
devoted to tiie democratical constitution, with an active repug-
nance to oligarchy itself as well as to everything which scented
of it* The vigilance of Leon and Diomedon on the defensive
side counteracted the machinations of their colleague CharmlnujB,
along with the conspirators ; and provided, for the Samian de-
mocracy, fiuthful auxiliaries constandy ready for action. Presently
the conspirators made a violent attack to overthrow the govern-
ment ; but though they chose their own moment and opportunity,

IThneyd. tlSi. 78, 74. ovk i^^tow IA<vMpovt varras . , . iv r§ tn^

Ae. v«vf.

. , , ovykp Mcaar «w rovt rrrpm^ PdthoUos caUed the PSUmhts^p^v.

movlovt opxAi^raf . Ac ako¥ rov ^m^v, " the clob, ita^ OT

SThuo^d. Tiii. 78. mI o^x ^«^a va»M of the people" (AristoteL Bhe-

rov« IlapaAovf , ai^pav *A9i|raiovt re icai toiic iiL 8)i



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Chap. LXn. CX>li8FiaACY AT ATHJEKS. 259

they still found themselves thoroughly worsted in the straggle,
especially through the energetic aid of the ParalL Thirty of
their number were slain in the contest, and three of the most
guilty afterwards condemned to banishment The victorious
party took no further revenge, even upon the remainder of the
three hundred conspirators — granted a general amnesty — and did
their best to re-establish constitutional and harmonious working
of the democracy.^

Chsereas, an Athenian trierarch, who had been forward in the
contest, was sent in the Paralus itself to Athens, to ThePandu
make communication of what had occurred. But this At^iuwith
democratical crew, on reaching their native city, theiMwi.
instead of being received with that welcome which they doubt-
less expected, found a state of things not less odious than
surprising. The democracy of Athens had been subverted :
instead of the Senate of Five Hundred and the assembled
people, an oligarchy of Four Hundred, self-installed persons
were enthroned with sovereign authority in the Senate House.
The first order of the Four Hundred, on hearing that the Paralus
had entered Peirnus, was to imprison two or three of the ci-ew,
and to remove all l^e rest from their own privileged trireme
aboard a common trireme, with orders to depart forthwith and to
cruise near Eubcea. The conunander Chsereas found means to
etd^ and returned back to Samoa to tell the unwelcome
newsL*

The steps, whereby this oligarchy of Four Hundred had been
gradually raised up to their new power must be PrognMol
taken up from the time when Peisander quitted ^J|J^j£^
Athens, — after having obtained the vote of the public JJ^^JJL
assembly authorixing him to treat with Alkibiadls dexuroot
and Tissaphernds,— and after having set on foot a JJ^fli^
joint organization and conspiracy of all the anti- Antiphoa.
popular clubs, which fell under the management especially of
Antiphan and Theramends, afterwards aided by Fhrynichus.
All the members of that board of Elders called I^btlli, who had
been named after the defeat in Sicily— with Agnon, father of

1 Tbneyd. viU. 7S. c«i rpUKoym iup nit 3* ^tAAotf vh luniautaKOvmx dVM-
M T«*t mi(rutr4/nm 4vyn iCWMvay * ' Thucyd. viii. 74.



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260 OLIGABCHY OF THE FOUR HUNDBSD. PART IL

Theramen^ at their bead ^ — ^together with many other leading
citizens, some of whom had been connted among the firmest
friends of the democracy, joined the conspiracy ; while the
oligarchical and the neutral rich came into it with ardour ; so
that a body of partisans was formed both numerous and well
provided with money. Antiphon did not attempt to bring them
together, or to make any public demonstration, armed or
unarmed, for the purpose of overawing actual authorities. He
permitted the senate and the public assembly to go on meeting
and debating as usual ; but his partisans, neither tihe names nor
the numbers of whom were publicly known, received from him
instructions both when to speak and what language to hold.
The great topic upon which they descanted was the costliness
of democratical institutions in the present distressed state of the
finances, when tribute from the allies could no longer be
reckoned upon — ^the heavy tax imposed upon the state by paying
the Senators, the Dikasts, the Ekklesiasts or citizens who
attended the public assembly, &c. The state could now afford to
pay none but those soldiers who fought in its defence, nor on^t
any one else to touch the public money. It was essential (they
insisted) to exclude from the political franchise all except a
select body of Five Thousand, composed of those who were best
able to do service to the city by person and by purse.
The extensive disfranchisement involved in this last proposition
was quite sufficiently shocking to the ears al an
oftiS^n- Athenian assembly. But in reality the propodtioii
julSeaSoiifc ^^ ^*®®^^ * juggle, never intended to become reality,
naming live and representing something far short of what Anti-
Thousand 1 -11. • . 11 . .
citizens to phon and his partisans intended. Their design

TOii^S**** ^*® *^ appropriate the powers of government to
mmcliise themselves simply, without control or partnership;
^' leaving this body of Five Thousand not merely
unconvened, but non-existent, as a mere empty name to impose
upon the citizens generally. Of such real intention, however,
not a word was as yet spoken. The projected body of Five
Thousand was the theme preached upon by all the party orators;

1 Thuoyd. Tiii. 1. About (he ooun- Respecting the activity of Agnon,

tenance which all these Probiili lent as one of the Probddi, in the nmo

to the conspimcy, see Aristotle, Bhe- cause, see Lysias, Orat zii. cent Bra-

toiU. ilL 18. 2. tostben. c. 11, p. 426 Beisk. sect. M.



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CHAP. LXn. 8T8TE3iATIC ASSASSINATIONS. 261

yet without submittiiig any substantive motion for the change,
which could not be yet done without illegality.

Even thus indirectly advocated, the project of cutting down
the franchise to Five Thousand, and of suppressing ^^^^.^^
all the paid civil functions, was a change sufficiently tion of the
violent to caU forth abundant opponents. For such ^^|!![ken by
opponents Antiphon was fully prepared. Of the men ^^]^^
who thus stood forward in opposition, either all, or at oligarchical
least all the most prominent, were successfully taken '*^*
off by private assassination. The first of them who thus perished
was Androklds, difitinguished as a demagogue or popular speaker,
and marked out to vengeance not only by that circumstance, but
by the further hct that he had been among the most vehement
accusers of Alkibiad^ before his exile. For at this time the
breach of Peisander with Tissaphem6s and Alkibiades had not
yet become known at Athens, so that the latter was still supposed
to be on the point of returning home as a member of the contem-
plated oligarchical government After Androkl^, many other
speakers of simUar sentiments perished in the same way, by
unknown hands. A band of Grecian youths, strangers got
together from different cities,^ was organized for the business :
the victims were all chosen on the same special ground, and the
deed was so skilfully perpetrated that neither director nor
instrument ever became known. After these assassinations —
sure, special, secret, and systematic, emanating from an unknown
Directory like a Vehmic tribunal— had continued for some time,
the terror which they inspired became intense and universaL
No justice could be had, no inquiry could be instituted, even for
the death of the nearest and dearest relative. At last, no man
dared to demand or even to mention inquiry, looking upon
himself as fortunate that he had escaped the same fate in his own
person. So finished an organization and such well-aimed blows
raised a general belief that the conspirators were much more
numerous than they were in reality. And as it turned out that

iTbnoyd. TiU. 60. ol aiicoo-i koi unions, fonnerly spoken of. But I

Acctrbr utr* avrmv (that is, along with cannot think that Thncydidto wonld

the Foot Hundred) 'EAAifMs vcaviVicot, use snch an expression to designate

oZc cxp«*vTo f Z ri vov ^'ot x'*^povpy9iy. Athenian citizens ; neither is it pro*

Dr. Anold explaim the words bable that Athenian citizens wonld he

^AAiiK«? yforiVicot to mean some of the emploj'ed in repeated acts of snch a

members of the aristocratical clubs or character.



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26S



OUOABOHT OF THE FOUR HUKDRBD.



Part II.



there were persons among them who had before been accounted
hearty democrats,^ so at last dismay and mistrust became uniyer-
sally prevalent No one dared even to express indignation at the
murders going on, much less to talk about redress or revenge, for
fear that he might be communicating with one of the unknown
conspirators. In the midst of this terrorism, all opposition
ceased in the senate and public assembly, so that the speakers of
the conspiring oligarchy appeared to carry an unanimous assent.'
Such was the condition to which things had been brought in
Athens, by Antiphon and the oligarchical conspirators
acting under his direction, at the time when Peisand^
and the five envoys arrived thither returning from
Samos. It is probable that they had previously trans-
mitted home from Samos news of the rupture with
Alkibiad^ and of the necessity of prosecuting the
conspiracy without further view either to him or to
the Persian alliance. Such news would probably be acceptable
both to Antiphon and Phrynichus, both of them personal enemies
of Alkibiad^ ; especially Phrynichus, who had pronounced him
to be incapable of fraternizing with an oligarchical revolution.*
At any rate, the plans of Antiphon had been independent of all
view to Persian aid, and had been directed to carry the revolution
by means of naked, exorbitant, and well-directed fear, without
any intermixture of hope or any prospect of public benefit.



Beturnof
Peisander
to Athens—
oligarchical
goyernment
eetabliflhed
iQ several of
the allied
oitiee.



1 Bren Peisander himself had pro-
Iteaed (he strongest attachment to the
democracy, coupled with exaggerated
▼iolenoe against parties suspected of
oligarchical plots, four years before,
in the inTesugations which followed
on the mutilation of the Hemin at
Athens (AndoUdds de Myster. c. 9, 10,
sect. 86-48).

It is a f^ict that Peisander was one
of the prominent moTers on both these
two occasions, four years apart And
if we could beiieTe Isokratte (de Bigis,
■ect 4—7. p. 847X the second of the
two occasions was merely the continu-
ance and consummation of a plot,
which had been projected and begun
on the first, and in which the consmra-
tors had endeavoured to enlist Alkl-
biadds. The latter refused (so his son.
the speaker in the above-mentioned
oration, contends) in consequence of
his attachment to the democracy ;



upon which the oligarchical oonsplia-
tors, incensed at his refusal, got up the
charge of irreligion against him and
procured his banishment

Though Droysen and Wattenbach
(De Quadringentonim Athenis Fte-
tione, pp. 7, 8, Berlin. 1842) place confl-
dence, to a coDviderable extent, in this
manner of putting the facts, I consider
ft to be nothing Detter than complete
perversion, irreconcilable with Thn-
cydidte, confounding together facts
unconnected in themselves as wefl as
separated by a long interval of time
and introducing unreal causes, for the
purpose of making out C^hat was
certainly not tme) that AUdbi&dte was
a faithful friend of the demootaey.
and even a sufferer in its behalt

» Thucyd. viiL W.

'Thucyd. viiL S8. voiu^mr ovk ^
voTt avT^K (AUdbiadte) «eard r% «Ub«



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QHAP. LXn. RETURN OF PXI8ANDBR. 263

Peisaiider found the reign of terror fully matured. He bad not
come direct from Samoe to Athens, but had halted in hiB voyage
at various allied dependencies — while the other five envoys, as
well as a partisan named Diotreph^ had been sent to Thasoe
and elsewhere;^ all for the same purpose, of putting down
democracies in those allied cities where they existed, and
establishing oligarchies in their room. Peisander made this
change at T^os, Andros, Earystus, Aegina, and elsewhere ;
collecting from these several places a regiment of 300 hoplites,
which he brought with him to Athens as a sort of body-guard to
his new oligarchy.' He could not know, until he reached
Peiraeus, the full success of the terrorism organized by Antiphon
and the rest ; so that he probably came prepared to surmount a
greater resistance than he actually found. As the fsLcta stood, so
completely had the public opinion and spirit been subdued, that
he was enabled to put the finishing stroke at once. His arrival
was the signal for consummating the revolution ; first, by an
extorted suspension of the tutelary constitutional sanction — next,
by the more direct employment of armed force.

First, he convoked a public assembly, in which he proposed a
decree, naming ten commissioners, with full powers, Conramma.
to prepare propositions for such political reform as ^^olution
they should think advisable, and to be ready by a at Athen*—
given day.* According to the usual practice, this aawmblTat
decree must previously have been approved in the KoWniw.

1 Thncyd. TiiL 04. Hermann, Lebrbnch der GrlechiBchen

s Thncyd. viii. 66. oi ii ofu^i vhw Staats-Alierthfimer, sect 1S7, note 12 :

Uuaayipoy wapaw\4ovTiv re, wa- compare also Wattenbach. De Qaad-

mMSoim, T«*« <if/A«v« iyraZf rinirentor. Factione. n. 88^. I CttJinot

vdAco-i KardKvp. kux ofia I <r r i y 1

A^* 6r YM^iMr koi bwkiras ix^vr^t 1

^Cvut ovroif (vitfiaxovt ^kBov t^^rkt ]

*iMivat. icol Karmkttfipdvovat ri. irKtiirra 1

We m.%T ea^er from c. 69 tha« the 1

places wbicn I have named in the text t

were among thoae Tisited by Feisander: 1

all of them lay very much in hia way (

from Samoa to Athens. i

*Thacyd. viii. 67. cat irpwror /Up i

rbr i^iMP ^vKki^atrnt «Ivoy yptiiaiv^lium \

JLfipmi iXia^ok ^vyyoa^caf avro- 1

x^aropas, royrovt oi j^vyyj»a^arrac I

yptifufp i<nvrfK9iv cc rhv i^iiov it iffupatf c

pmr^p, K9§' on aptora i^ ir^Xif ol4n7<r«Teu. 1

In spite of certain passages found in i

Soidas and Harpokrati6n (see K. F. 1



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264 OUOUICHY OP THE FOUB HUNDRED. Part IL

Senate of Five Hundred, before it was submitted to the
people. Such was doubtless the case in the present instance,
so that the decree passed without any opposition. On the day
fixed, a &esh assembly met, which Peisander and his partisans
caused to be held, not in the usual place (called the Pnyx) within
the city walls, but at a place called Kol6nus, ten stadia (rather
more than a mile) without the walls,^ north of the dty. Eoldnus
was a temple of Poseiddn, within the precinct of which the
assembly was enclosed for the occasion. Such an assembly was
not likely to be numerous, wherever held,' since there could be
little motive to attend when freedom of debate was extinguished ;
but the oligarchical conspirators now transferred it without the
walls ; selecting a narrow area for the meeting — in order that
they might lessen still further the chance of a numerous attend-
ance — of an assembly which they fully designed should be the
last in the history of Athens. They were thus also more out of
the reach of an armed movement in the city, as well as enabled
to post their own armed partisans around, under colour of pro-
tecting the meeting against disturbance by the Lacedaemonians
from Dekeleia.
The proposition of the newly-appointed Decemvirs (probably

Peisander, Antiphon, and other partisans themselves)
oftbe **" ^*B exceedingly short and simple. They merely
P^womftn. °^®^®^ ^^ abolition of the celebrated Graphs Parano-

m6n ; that is, they proposed that every Athenian
citizen should have full liberty of making any anti-constitutional
proposition that he chose — and that every other citizen should
be interdicted, under heavy penalties, from prosecuting him by

1 Thnc^d. tUL 67. ctcito, iw9t8^ n indeed there seems reason to inufiiiiie
iindfta i4>r}K€f ^vpiKkjiirav ri^y ««- that two distinct Demes bore this 8



ffAi}<rtav cf rh¥ KdAuvor (cori t ' Itpby name Qiee Boeckh, in the Ck>mmentar7

no<rci<wvos «^M irtiAflMf, Airtxov vraBtovt appended to his translation of the An-

liiXiirra fi^jca), Ac. tigond of Sophoklds, pp. 190, 191 ; and

The Tery remarkable word $vv4- Boss, Die Demen von Attika, pp. 10. 11).

«X7)(ray, here nsed rejecting the It is in the grove of the EnmenidM,

assembly, appears to me to refer (not, hard by this temple of Poseiddn. that

as Dr. Arnold supposes in his note, to Sophoklds has laid the scene of his im-

any existing practice observed even in mortal drama, the ^dipus Kolonena.
the usual assemblies which met in the 2 Compare the statement in Lysias

Pnyx, bnt rather) to a departure from (Orat. xiu cont. Eratosth. a. 76, p. 127)

the usual practice, and the employ- respecting the small numben who

ment of a stratagem in reference to attended and voted at the assembly by

thisiMurticular meeting. which the subsequent oligarchy of

Kol6nus was one of the Attic Demes: Thirty was named.



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Chap, lxil last ASSEMBLY AT kol6nus. 266

Graphs Paranomdn (indictment on the score of informalitj,
ille^ity, or unconstitutionality), or from doing him any other
mischief. This proposition was adopted without a single dissen-
tient It was thought more formal by the directing chiefs to
sever this proposition pointedly from the rest, and to put it,
singly and apart, into the mouth of the special commissioners ;
since it was the legalizing condition of every other positive
change which they were about to move afterwards. Full liberty
being thus grants to make any motion, however anti-constitu-
tional, and to dispense with all the established formalities, such
as preliminary authorization by the senate, Peisander now came
forward with his substantive propositions to the following
effect : —

1. All the existing democratical magistracies were suppressed
at once, and made to cease for the fature. 2. No civil
functions whatever were hereafter to be salaried. 3. J^^JiSittt
To constitute a new government, a committee of five fTjJJJS* ^
persons were named forthwith, who were to choose a —oligarchy
larger body of one hundred (that is, one hundred HiuSKd.
including the five choosers themselves). Each indivi-
daal, out of this body of one hundred, was to choose three
persons. 4 A body of Four Hundred was thus constituted, who
were to take their seat in the Senate-house, and to carry on the
government with unlimited powers, according to their own
discretion. 5. They were to convene the Five Thousand, when-
ever they might think fit^ All was passed without a dissentient
voice.

The invention and employment of this imaginary aggregate of
Five Thousand was not the least dexterous among the -.^^
combinations of Antiphon. No one knew who these and nomi-
Five Thousand were : yet the resolution, just adopted, SIte"Sjed
purported — not that such a number of citizens should ™ ^^JIJh.
be singled out and constituted, either by choice, or by
lot, or in some determinate manner which should exhibit them
to the view and knowledge of others — but that the Four Hun-
dred should convene The Five Thousandj whenever they thought



1 Thncyd. Tin. 67. ii<B6irratikmvr9i^ r«Kp«ropac, xal rove wtvraKt^^
. rrpojcoaiovc ivrat it rh fiwktvnipiop, X»^' .>. ^ ^ . / t . . _.

apx«iy Svg kp ifMrrm, yiyrMO'KMO'iy, air ooKfj.



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266 OLIGABCHY OF THS FOUR HUNDRED. Part IL

proper : thus assuming the latter to be a list already made up
and notorious, at least to the Four Hundred themselves. The
real fact was that the Five Thousand existed nowhere except in
the talk and proclamations of the conspirators, as a supplement
of fictitious auxiliaries. They did not even exist as individual
names on paper, but simply as an imposturous nominal aggregate.
The Four Hundred now installed formed the entire and exclusive
rulers of the state.^ But the mere name of the Five Thousand,
though it was nothing more than a name, served two important
purposes for Antiphon and his conspiracy. First, it admitted of
being falsely produced (especially to the armament at Samos) as
proof of a tolerably numerous and popular body of equal, qualified,
concurrent citizens — all intended to take their turn by rotation
in exercising the powers of government ; thus lightening the
odium of extreme usurpation to the Four Hundred, and pawmng
them off merely as the earliest section of the Five Thousand, put
into office for a few months, and destined at the end of that
period to give place to another equal section.' Next, it
immensely augmented the means of intimidation possessed by
the Four Hundred at home, by exaggerating the impression of
their supposed strength. For the citizens generally were made
to believe that there were five thousand real and living partners
in the conspiracy ; while the fact that these partners were not
known and could not be individually identified, rather aggravated
the reigning terror and mistrust — since every man, suspecting

1 Thucyd. Tiii. 60. ^v Si rovro tv- Toi>« ir«vTaittax»Afo¥t |SouA*t«»

vpcWf irp6? Tov? vA«/ovf , ivtl i$ttp y9 apx<(>' «»^* /»*»' rrrptucoaim^, Uvrnx kmx

T^v ir6Ki¥ olmp icoi it«0i9Tavai l/MAAor. to ipyov, imKpvwrmno yap oimk hx

Plutarch, Alkibiad. C. 26. tmv wtpraicivxiXlmp r^ ortf^iart,

> Thucyd. TiiL 72. ir^irovn 6i it uri arrtxpv« Sriitcv dortv fioi4ktraim^«t9

^ytdfiopSiKaai^paf. . . . Md^ov- OKO/Ao^cir — ^oSoWfi«ro» fbi| r^

r«c — rcvraicio-x^Xioi hk 2ri cZcr, Skti Ao-i, mat wp6t riv. cIvmv

jcoi ov T9Tpajc6<rioi ftovovt i>i wpdirvoyTMt, rit ri 8»' ayroicr o-^ak^, mmi oi

viil. 86. Oi 5* an^yycAAor «« ovrc iwi rrrpdunSotoi did tovto ovic ^#cAor ro^t

lio^opf TM ir^XflMf ^ ^MrdUrrotf-tcyt- vcrra<ci<rx« Aio v« ovrc «tr«4,

voirOf akx* iirl irmnipCq. . . . tm^ oi ovrt/yi^oi'rafdf^AovfcTrai'r^

vcrr aict<rxiAiMy ore wdvrtt iv m«v Karaar^aai fMTtf;i^ovc, /oootfrovc

r^/ii^pc4 iitBi^owtv, Ac am<cpv( 6v 6nMor 4yovfMV04, t6 f «l

▼liL 89. oAAd TOv« irffKTa<ct<rx(* a^avit ^ofiov it cXA^Aovf

kiovt ipy^ tat l"l h¥6iiaTi Xfi^*"^ diro- wapi(ttp,

BtiKinivait KoX tV iroAiTCMW l<rairipaM Viii. 08.^ A^orr«« roj^t T€ wtvrm^

mm$i<rrdyai, iciO'yiAtovf dvo^^avtiK, col i<c r • t^

▼iU. 02. (After the Four Hundred r^wip it.4pt^,jlavTovtTrr(Mxivx*'kioit

had already been mnch oppoeed and tfoc^, rovt rrrpoKovCovt ivt^Bm,^ rim

humbled, and were on the point of ti riyK w6kw liaiUvi rp6wy ^M^tfctpcir,

being pat down) — j)y hi ftplbt r^ Ac.
oxAoK \ irapdjcA]}o-t« mk xP^^t ^^rt/t Compare alio c 97.



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ClUP. LXn. THE PIVB THOUSAND. 267

that his neigbboar might poedblj be among them, was afraid to
communicate his discontent or propose means for joint resistance.^
In both these two ways, the name and assumed existence of the
Five Thousand lent strength to the real Four Hundred conspira-
tors. It masked their usurpation while it increased their hold on
the respect and fears of the citizens.

As soon as the public assembly at Eoldnus had, with such
seeming unanimity, accepted all the propositions of The Four
Peisander, they were dismissed ; and the new regi- Sjjjf**
ment of Four Hundred were chosen and constituted thenuelTH
in the form prescribed. It now only remained to StS^hooie.

install them in the Senate-house. But this could not ezpeiung
- , . , 4. . y 11 the senator*

be done without force, smce the senators were already by armed



Online LibraryGeorge GroteA history of Greece: from the earliest period to the close of the generation contemporary with Alexander the Great → online text (page 31 of 62)