George Grote.

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

. (page 49 of 62)
Online LibraryGeorge GroteA history of Greece: from the earliest period to the close of the generation contemporary with Alexander the Great → online text (page 49 of 62)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

account of Xenophdn, though counte-
nanced by a passage in the Pseudo-
Platonic dialogue called Axiochns (e.
12X altogether loose and untrust-
worthy. It is plain to me that the
question was put without Sokratds,
and could be legally put by the re-
maining Prytanes, in spite of his re-
sistance. The word vvwtunria must
doubtless bear a meanixig somewhat
different here to its technical sense
before the dikastery; and different
also, I think, to the other sense which
Meier and Schdmann ascribe to it of a
formal engagement to prtfer at nmufuiwrt
«f>i€ cm incItctuMnt or ypa^i} tFaaav6'
ikmv. It seems to me here to denote
an objtetion takei^ cn/ormal groundt and
itatained bf wUk either tendered or
actuaUy (am to the dedeion of the
Prytarua or presidents. These latter
had to declare on which side the show
of hands in the assembly preponde-
rated; but there surely must hare
been eome power of calling in questicm
their decision if they declared falsely,
or if they put the question in a treache-
rous, perplexing, or obscure manner.
The Athenian assembly did not admit

of an appeal to % diTiaion, like ttie
Spartan assembly or like the Bodiih
House of Commons; thou^ thew
were many cases in whidi the Totes at
Athens were taken by pebbles in ai
urn, and not by show of hands.

Now it seems to me that MenekUs
here exercised the ptlTilege of calltaig
in question the dedsion of the Pry-
tanes, and constraining them to take
the Tote oTor again. He may havo
alleged that they did not make it
clearly understood wfaidi of the two
propositions was to be put to the vota
first— that they put the proposttfon ef
Kallixenns first, without ffiving dM
notice— or perhaps that toey mtae-
ported the numbers. By what fol-
lowed we see that he had good groondi
for his objection.

9Diod6r. xiii. 101. In regard to
these two component elonents of the
majority I doubt not that the state-
ment of Diod6rus is correct. Bat be
represents, quite erroneoudy, that the
generals were condemned by the vote
of the assembly, and led off from tiie
assembly to execution. The aseemhlT
only decreed that the subsequent un^
voting should take place, the result of
which was necessarily uncertain be-

forehand. Accordingly the ^
which Diod6rns represents Diomedon
to have made in the assembly, after
the vote of the assembly had been
declared, cannot be true history:—
"Athenians, I wish that the vote
which you have Just passed may prove
beneficial to the city. Do you tsks
care to fulfil those vows to Zeus SM4r«
Apollo, and the venerable goddeeaea,
under which we gained our viotoiy.
since fortune has prevented us froa
fulfilling them onrsetves." It is Ib*
possible that Diomedon can have ovlt

Digitized by VjOOQIC


able in namber. The six generals then at Athens— Perikl^ (son
of the great statesman of that name by Aspasia^ Diomedon,
ErasinidSs, Thrasyllus, Lysias, and Ari8tokratS8 - were then
delivered to the Eleven, and perished by the nsnal draught of
hemlock ; their property being confiscated, as Ae decree of the
aenate prescribed.

Beepecting the condemnation of these unfortunate men, pro-
nounced without any of the recognized tutelary inUj^ice
preliminaries for accused persons, there can be only o|^{|^,
one opinion. It was an act of violent injustice and E^HdSiK
illegality, deeply dishonouring the men who passed it ^J^^ttoil
and the Athenian character generally. In either case, maxims and
whether the generals were guilty or innocent, such **"
censure is deserved ; for judicial precautions are not less essential
in dealing with the guilty than with the innocent But it is
deserved in an aggravated form, when we consider that the men
against whom such injustice was perpetrated had just come from
achieving a glorious victory. Against the democratical con-
stitution of Athens it furnishes no ground for censure — ^nor
against the habits and feelings which that constitution tended to
implant in the individual citizen. Both the one and the other
strenuously forbade the deed ; nor could the Athenians ever have
so dishonoured themselves, if they had not, under a momentary
ferocious excitement, risen in insurrection not less against the
forms of their own democracy than against the most sacred
restraints of their habitual constitutional morality.

If we wanted proof of this, the facts of the immediate future
would abundantly supply it After a short time had elapsed,
every man in A^ens became heartily ashamed of the deed.^ A
vote of the public assembly was passed,' decreeing that those
who had misguided the people on this occasion ought to be

a speech of this nature, dnoe he was waa no opportonity for saying it to the
not then a condemned man ; and after aiaembled people,
the condemnatory toU, no assembly 1 1 translate here literally the Ian-
can well hare been held, since the fToa^ of Sokiatte in his Defence
sentence was peremptory, that the (Plato, ApoL c. 20>— mpcv^^uK* <k «r

generals, if condemned, should be r^ v<rrip*f x?^¥*f v&a-tr^fitr Mo^c ,
onded orer to the Eleven. The > Xenoph. HeUen. i. 7, 86. This vote

sentiment, howoTcr, is one so nataral of the public assemble was known at

for Diomedon to express that he may Athens by the name m ProbolS. The

w^ be imagined to have said some- assembled people discharced on this

thing of the kind to the presiding occasion an anto-Judidal function,

Archon or to the Bleren, though there something like that of a Orsnd Jury.

Digitized by VjOOQIC


brouglit to judicial trial ; that Eallixenus, with four others,
g^„^g|. ^ diould be among the number ; and that bail should
mnteooe of be taken for their appearance. This was accordingly
aoonafter- done, and the parties were kept under custody of the
^^Stand^ sureties themselves, who were responsible for their
?iui?' appearance on the day of trial But presently

both foreign misfortunes and internal sedition began
to press too heavily on Athens to leave any room for other
thoughts, as we shall see in the next chapter. Kailiienus and
his accomplices found means to escape before the day of trial
arrived, and remained in exile until after the dominion of the
Thirty and the restoration of the democracy. Eallixenus then
returned under the general amnesty. But the general amnesty
protected him only against legal pursuit, not against the hostile
memory of the people. " Detested by all, he died of hunger,"
says Xenophdn ' — a memorable proof how much the condemna-
tion of these six generals shocked the standing democratieal
sentiment at Athens.

From what cause did this temporary burst of wrong arise, so
Qggggg Qf foreign to the habitual character of the people 1 E^en
^JS*^ under the strongest political provocation, and towards
the most hated traitors (as Euryptolemus himself
remarked by citing the case of Aristarchus), after the Four
Hundred as well as after the Thirty, the Athenians never com-
mitted the like wrong — ^never deprived an accused party of the
customary judicial securities. How, then, came they to do it
here, where the generals condemned were not only not traitocs,
but had just signalized themselves by a victorious combat? No
Theramenis could have brought about this phssnomenon; so
deep-laid oligarchical plot is, in my judgment, to be called in as
an explanatioA.* The true explanation is different, and of serious
moment to state. Political hatred, intense as it might be, was
never dissociated, in the mind of a citizen of Athens, £rom the
democratieal forms of procedure ; but the men, who stood oat
here as actors, had broken loose from the obligations of citizen-
ship and commonwealth, and surrendered themselves, heart and

iXenoph. Hellen. i. 7, 85. iuv94» Forohhammer, and boiim other kvmd
IUV09 vwb nxuTwy, Kifif ivi0a¥9v, men ; bat, in my opinion, it i* Bflubv

s This is the supposition of SieTors, prored nor probable.

Digitized by VjOOQIC


sou], to the bamlj sympathice and antipathies — ^feelin^B, first
kindled, and justly kindled, by the thought tiliat their friends
and relatiyes had been left to perish nnheeded on the wrecks ;
next, inflamed into pretematoral and overwhelming violence by
the festival of the Apatnria, where all the reUgions traditions
connected with the ancient family tie, all those associations which
imposed upon the relatives of a murdered man the duty of pur-
suing the murderer, were expanded into detail, and worked up
by their appropriate renovating solemnity. The garb of mourn-
ing and the shaving of the head — phsenomena unknown at
Athens either in a political assembly or in a religions festival —
were symbols of temporary transformation in the internal man.
He could think of nothing but his drowning relatives, together
with Ae generals as having abandoned them to death, and his
own duty, as survivor, to ensure to them vengeance and satisfiic-
tion for such abandonment Under this self-justifying impulse,
the shortest and surest proceeding appeared the best, whatever
amount of political wrong it might entail ; ^ nay, in this case it
appeared the only proceeding really sure, since the interposition
of the proper judicial delays, coupled with severance of trial on
snccessive days according to the psephism of Eanndnus, would
probably have saved the lives of five out of the six generals, if
not of all the six. When we reflect, that such absorbing senti-
ment was common, at one and the same time, to a large propor-
tion of the Athenians, we shall see the explanation of that
misguided vote, both of the Senate and of the Ekklesia, which
sent the six generals to an illegal ballot^ and of the subsequent
ballot which condemned them. Such is the natural behaviour
of those who, having for the moment forgotten their sense of
political commonwealth, become degraded into exclusive feunily-
men. The &mily affections, productive as tiiey are of much
gentle sympathy and mutual happiness in the interior circle, are

1 If Thacydidte had Ured to eon- antipathies of f%otioii, of narrow poll-

tiBoe 111* history so far down as to tica) brotherhood or conspiracy for the

include this memorable event, he attainment and maintenance of power

would have foond occasion to notice —as most powerfol in generating eril

r6 fvryvv^ (kinship) as behig not less deeds ; had he described the proceed-

oapttue of dirpo^ao^ioTos roXfia (un- ings after the battle of Arginnsn, he

■eropaloas darinf ) than t6 4ratpiffi$r wonld hare seen that the sentiment of

(faction^ In his reflections on the kinship, looked at on its antipathetio

Korkyrnan disturbances ^iii. 82) he is or rindictiTe side. Is pregnant with th#

led to dwell chiefly on the latter— the like tendencies.

Digitized by VjOOQIC


also liable to generate disregard, malice, sometiinee even ferodoni
▼engeanoe^ towards othera Powerful towards good generally,
they are not less powerfol occasionally towards evil; and reqnin^
not less than the selfish propensities, constant sabordinatiiig
control from that moral reason which contemplates for its end
the security and happiness of all. And when a man, either from
low dvilinition, has never known this large moral reason— or
when, from some accidental stimtdus, righteous in the origin,
but wrought up into frinaticism by the conspiring force of
religious as well as feunily sympathies, he comes to place hit
pride and virtue in discarding its supremacy — there is scarcdj
any amount of evil or injustice which he may not be led to
perpetrate, by a blind obedience to the narrow instincts of
relationship. ^Ces p^res de famille sont capables de tout," was
the satiricid remark of Talleyrand upon the gross public jobbing
so largely practised by those who sought place or promotion for
their sons. The same words, understood in a far more awful
sense, and generalized for other cases of relationship, sum up the
moral of this melancholy proceeding at Athens.

Lastly, it must never be forgotten that the generals themaelves
Q^ji„tBl»^ ^^^ *^ largely responsible in the case. Throu^
notinno- the unjustifiable fury of tiie movement i^ijaiiist them,
oen men. ^^^ perished like innocent men — ^without trial—
** wauditi et vndefentif tamquam innocefUeSy perierunt " ; but it does
not follow that they were really innocent I feel persuaded that
neither with an English, nor French, nor American fleet oonld
such events have taken place as those which followed the rictiny
of ArginussB. Neither admiral nor seaman, after gaining a yictarj
and driving off the enemy, could have endured the thoughts of
going back to their anchorage, leaving their own disabled wrecks
unmanageable on the waters, with many living comrades aboardt
helpless, and depending upon extraneous succour for all their
chance of escape. That t^e generals at Arginusse did this stands
confessed by their own advocate Euryptolemus,^ though thej

IXenoph. HeUen. L 7, 20. ivtl rovf vp^MtTvA)fn|r«oAe^'o««TVnQ(<^
• if T1IV ynw KarinK*

Kifttaii Saec^raK aKcupciortfat ra Mtvavia «-\r«»(n* «ai So^ovrwv rm^rwr, Ac.
«ai Tov« rovoyovc, E^mat^iJ^ 6<, iv\ I rem&rJMd a few pa^ei before tint

al. 'Vf* rovf vpo«MtTvAifn|r«oAefuo«(TV*Q(*^
a V fi a X i f 'r^¥ vktlv flurayrac • Opa«vAAK^ *

Digitized by VjOOQIC

Chap. LXIV. 002n>UCT 07 THE OSNSBAL8. 429

must have known well Uie condition of diBabled ships after a
naval combat, and some ships even of the victorious fleet were
sure to be disabled. If these generals, after their victory, instead
of sailing back to land, had employed themselves first of all in
visiting the crippled ships, there would have been ample time to
perform this duty, and to save all the living men aboard before
the storm came on. This is the natural inference, even upon
their own showing; this is what any English, French, or American
naval commander would have thought it an imperative duty to
do. What degree of blame is imputable to Theramen^ and how
fiur the generals were discharged by shifting the responsibility to
him, is a point which we cannot now determine. But the storm,
which is appealed to as a justification of both, rests upon evidence
too questionable to serve that purpose, where the neglect of duty
was 80 serious, and cost the lives probably of more than 1000
brave men. At least the Athenian people at home, when they
beard the criminations and recriminations between the generals
on one side and Theramente on the other^each of them in his
character of accuser implying that the storm was no valid obstacle,
though each, if pushed for a defence, fell back upon it as a resource
in ease of need — the Athenian x>eople could not but look upon
the storm more as an afterthought to excuse previous omissions
than as a terrible reality nullifying all the ardour and resolution
of men bent on doing their duty. It was in this way that the
intervention of Theramends chiefly contributed to the destruc-
tion of the generals, not by those manoeuvres ascribed to him m
Xenophdn : he destroyed all belief in the storm as a real and
all-covering hindrance. The general impression of the public at
Athens — in my opinion, a natural and unavoidable impression —
was that there had been most culpable negligence in r^ard to
the wrecks, through which negligence alone the seamen on board
perished. This negligence dishonours, more or less, the arma-
ment at Arginusse as well as the generals ; but the generals were
the persons responsible to the public at home, who felt for the
fate of the deserted seamen more justly as well as more generously
than their comrades in the fleet

th* CAM of Simiiiiidte stood in tome the fleet thoold at onee go sgiln to

measiire aiMbrt from that of the other MitylAnS, which would of coarse hate

cenaalt. He proposed, according to left the men on the wrecks to their

ibis speech of Boryptolemns, that all fate.

Digitized by VjOOQIC


In spite, therefore, of the guilty proceeding to which a fonous
exaggeration of such sentiment drove the Athenians — ^in spite of
the sympathy which this has naturally and justly procured for
the condemned generals — ^the verdict of impartial history will
pronounce that the sentiment itself was wcU-foundedy and that
the generals deserved censure and disgrace. The Athenian people
might with justice proclaim to Aem — ^^ Whatever be the gnmdear
of your victory, we can neither rejoice in it ourselves, nor allow
you to reap honour from it, if we find that you have left miny
hundreds of those who helped in gaining it to be drowned on
board the wrecks, without making any effort to save tiiem, wben
•uch effort might well have proved successful ". And the eoa-
demnation here pronounced, while it served as a painful admoni-
tion to subsequent Athenian generals, provided at the same time
an efficacious guarantee for the preservation of combatants on the
wrecks or swimming for their lives after a naval victory. One
express case in point may be mentioned. Thirty years afterwaidi
(aa 376) the Athenian admiral Chabnas defeated, though nol
without considerable loes^ the Lacedemonian fleet near Naxoa
Had he pursued them vigorously, he might have completed his
victory by destroying all or most of them ; but reooUectang what
had happened after the battle of Arginusee, he abstained fitxn
pursuit, devoted his attention to the wrecks of his own fleet,
saved from death those citizens who were yet livings and pieked
up the dead for interment^

^Diodte.XT. 86. eMO-c, r«^« Bi r«rcXevrf c<r«ff

T9v6tuvot 6i OLmfiptmt)hri nH vporv- l#ailr« r. ct 3i m% ««pl ravrp «y^7**
fpHftmrof, Ktu wdaois rius rwr vokipjCmv r^ <at|UXct«r, Pf^MK Iv 4««rf« rv

kut rov iimjfiovt i(yafin|0«c't« r^t iv Here Dioddnu, m aUndfaig to At

'A^ii'oi^atc voMiMxi^t i* i Tovv vne^' tMktUe of AiginoMB, repeats the ib»

ffoyrac orpanyyoi^ « irjiiot c&rl iMyoAiw take which he had Wore made, M n

€vtpytaiat tfovdry v«pi^/3aX«r» curtao-A- the omission there conoenied ouj

lurot on rovs rrrcAnmiicbTaf Kara rinp dead bodies and not liTing men. Bat

vov/iaxiaif ovk c9af ay, «vAa^1}^ ^ vort when he describes irihat was done \fj

riff vt^tordiTfn hiuoiat ywojiiviit luwhf Ghabrias at Naxos, he pots forvaid

ptvvjf waBtip vopovAifa^Mu 6t^««p iro«^ the preserratioa of Mving dtiieiM.

rAc rov aMMMur, «[r«Xtfy«r« tAv not merely as a reaUtj, Mt m tht

wKitAw re^f 9law'^x^^^^^^*^t >no*t prominent realitj of the pn^*

ttal re^c iiip Iri C*"^** ^(«' nwiding.

Digitized by VjOOQIC






Thb yictorj of ArginussB gave for the time decisive mastery of
tlie Asiatic seas to the Athenian fleet, and is even b.c.400w
said to have so discouraged the Lacedflemonians as to Aiiend
indnce them to send propositions of peace to Athena g<^P^
But this statement is open to much doubt, and I think peace ftom
it most probable that no such propositions were made.^ ISens!^
Qreat as the victory was, we look in vain for any doabtfoL
positive results accruing to Athens. After an unsuccessful attempt
on Chios, the victorious fleet went to Samoe, where it seems to
have remained until the following year, without any further

1 The rtatement iwti on the aatho-
lity of Aristotle, as referred to br the
Scholiast on the last Terse of the Bants
of Arlstophante. And this, so far as I
know, is the only aothority; for when
Itr. Fynes Clinton (Fast Hellen. ad
ann. 408) says that JBschinte (De Fals.
Legate p. 88, c 24) mentions the OTor-
tnres of peace» I think that no one
who looks at that passage wHl be
Inclined to foond any inference npon

Against it we may obserre :—

1. Xenoph6n does not mention it.
TUs is something, though far from
being conclnsiTe when standing alone.

S. Dioddms does not mention it.

8. The terms alleged to have been
propos e d by the Lacedemonians are
ezaictly the same as those said to haTe
been proposed by them after the death
ef Mindaras at Kyzikus, via, :—

To OTacnate Dekeleia, and each
party to stand as they were. Not only

the terms are the same, bnt also the
person who stood prominent in opposi-
tion is in both cases the same— a<«o-
phon. The OTertnres after Areinnsn
are in fact a second edition of those
after the battle of Kydkns.

Now, the supposition that on two
seyeral occasions the Lacedaamonians
made propositions of peace, and that
both are left unnotlcea by Xenoph6n,
appears to me highly improbable. In
reference to the propositions after the
battle of Kyzikus, the testimony of
Dioddrus outweighed, in my Jndgment,
the silence of Xenoph6n; bnt here Die-
d6ms is nilent also.

In addition to this, the exact same-
ness of the two alleged events makes
me think that the second is only a
duplication of the first* and that the
Scholiast, in citing from Aristotle, mis-
took the battle of Arginuste for that of
Kyzikus, which latter was by iar the
more dedsive of the two.

Digitized by VjOOQIC


moyements than were necessary Tor the pnrpoBe of procuring

Meanwhile Eteonikus, who collected the remains of the defeated
Bteonikofl Peloponnesian fleet at Chios, being left unsupplied
SLtal^~ with money by Cyrus, found himself much strait^ied,
of hii and was compelled to leave the seamen unpaid. Dur-

S^Si^Sia^ iiig the later summer and autumn, these men main-
rapprened. tained themselves by labouring for hire on the Chian
lands ; but when winter came, this resource ceased, so that they
found themselves unable to procure even clothes or shoes. In
such forlorn condition, many of them entered into a conspiracy
to assail and plunder the town of Chios : a day was named for
the enterprise, and it was agreed that the conspirators should
know each other by wearing a straw or reed. Informed of the
design, Eteonikus was at the same time intimidated by the nam-
ber of these straw-bearers : he saw that if he dealt with the con-
spirators openly and ostensibly, they might perhaps rush to
arms and succeed in plundering the town : at any rate a conflict
would arise in which many of the allies would be slain, which
would produce the worst effect upon all future operatLons.
Accordingly, resorting to stratagem, he took with him a guard of
fifteen men armed with daggers, and marched through the town
of Chios. Meeting presently one of these straw-bearers— a man
with a complaint in his eyes, coming out of a surgeon's house-
he directed his guards to put the man to death on the spot A
crowd gathered round, with astonishment as well as sympathy,
and inquired on what ground the man was put to death ; upon
which Eteonikus ordered his guards to reply, that it was becaose
he wore a straw. The news being diffused, the remaining persons
who wore straws became so alarmed as to throw their straws

Eteonikus availed himself of such panic to demand money
from the Chians, as a condition of carrying away his starving
and perilous armament Having obtained from them a month's
pay, he immediately put the troops on ship-board, taking pains
to encourage them and make them fancy that he was unacquainted
with the recent conspiracy.

The Chians and the other allies of Sparta presently assembled
1 Xenoph. HeUen. IL 1, l—i.

Digitized by VjOOQIC


at Ephesns to consul^ and resolved, in conjunction with Cyrus,
to despatch envoys to the Ephors, requesting that sniicita-
Lysander might be sent out a second time as admiraL ch?o«'aiid
It was not the habit of Sparta ever to send out the S"T***®"
same man as admiral a second time, after his year Lyaander
of service. Nevertheless the Ephors complied with ^^t out*
the request substantially ; sending out Arakus as ^^n.
admiral, but Lysander along with him under the title of secre-
tary, invested with all the real powers of command.

Lysander, having reached Ephesns about the beginning of
B.a 405, immediately applied himself with vigour to b.c 406.
renovate both Lacedsemonian power and his own Arrival of
influence. ITie partisans in the various allied cities, J*^^"^^^
whose favour he had assiduously cultivated during —zeal of
his last year's command — the dubs and factious com- sans^
binations which he had organized and stimulated into Cyrm,
a partnership of mutual ambition — all hailed his return with

Online LibraryGeorge GroteA history of Greece: from the earliest period to the close of the generation contemporary with Alexander the Great → online text (page 49 of 62)