George Grote.

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

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indeed, that whoever wishes to cut short your government, and
strengthens those who conspire against you, deserves justly the
severest punishment But to whom does this charge best apply t
To him or to me ? Look at the behaviour of each of us, and then
judge for yourselves. At first we were all agreed, so far as the
condemnation of the known and obnoxious demagogues. But
when Kritias and his friends began to seize men of station and
dignity, then it was that I b^i;an to oppose them. I knew that
the seizure of men like Leon, Nikias, and Antiphon would make
the best men in the city your enemies. I opposed the execution



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CHAP. LXV. REPLY OF THERAHEN^ TO KRITIAS. 471

of the meticfl, well aware that all that hody would he alienated.
I oppoeed the disanning of the citizens and the hiring of foreign
guards. And when I saw that enemies at home and exiles
abroad were multiplying against you, I dissuaded you from
banishing Thrasybulus and Anytus, whereby you only furnished
the exiles with competent leadeis. The man who gives you this
advice, and gives it you openly, is he a traitor— or is he not
rather a genuine friend ? It is you and your supporters, Eritias,
who^ by your murders and robberies, strengthen the enemies of
the government and betray your friends. Depend upon it that
Thrasybulus and Anytus are much better pleased with your
policy than tliey would be with mine. You accuse me of having
betrayed the Four Hundred ; but I did not desert them until
they were themselves on the point of betraying Athens to her
enemies. You call me The Buskin, as trying to fit both parties.
But what am I to call ^ou, who fit neither of themi who under
the democracy were the most violent hater of the people— and
who under the oligarchy have become equally violent as a hater
of oligarchical merit 7 I am, and always have been, Eritias, an
enemy both to extreme democracy and to oligarchical tyranny.
I desire to constitute our political community out of those who
can serve it on horseback and with heavy armour : — I have pro-
posed this once, and I still stand to it I side not either with
democrats or despots, to the exclusion of the dignified citizens.
Prove that I am now, or ever have been, guilty of such crime, and
I shall confess myself deserving of ignominious death.''

This reply of TheranienSs was received with such a shout of
applause by the majority of the senate, as showed that Extreme
they were resolved to acquit him. To the fierce anti- ^^lence
pathies of the mortified Kntias, the idea of failure was and the
intolerable : indeed he had now carried his hostility TWrty-
to such a x>oint that the acquittal of his enemy would have been
his own ruin. After exchanging a few words with the Thirty,
he retired for a few moments, and directed the Eleven with the
body of armed satellites to press close on the railing whereby the
senators were fenced round, while the court before the senate-
house was filled with the mercenary hoplitee. Having thus got
his force in hand, Eritias returned and again addressed the
senate :— " Senators (said he), I think it the duty of a good presi-



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478 TH£ THIRTT AT ATHKKS. PART IL

dent, when he sees his friends around him duped, not to let them
follow their own counseL This is what 1 am now going to do :
indeed, these men, whom you see pressing upon us ftom without,
tell us plainly that they will not tolerate the acquittal of one
manifestly working to the ruin of the oligarchy. It is an article
of our new constitution that no man of tiie Select Three Thou-
sand shall be condemned without your vote, but that any man
not included in that list may be condemned by the Thirty. Now
I take upon me, with the concurrence of all my colleagues, to
strike this Theramends out of that list ; and we, by our authority,
condemn him to death."

Though Theramen^ had already been twice concerned in
putting down the democracy, yet such was the habit
tion of The- of all Athenians to look for protection from constitu-
ramente. tional forms, that he probably accounted himself safe
under the favourable verdict of the senate, and was not prepared
for the monstrous and despotic sentence which he now heard
from his enemy. He sprang at once to the Senatorial Hearth—
the altar and sanctuary in tibe interior of the senate-house— and
exclaimed :—^* I too, senators, stand as your suppliant, asking
only for bare justice. Let it be not in the power of Kritias to
strike out me or any other man whom he chooses : — let my sen-
tence as well as yours be passed according to the law which these
Thirty have themselves prepared. I know but too well that
this ^tar will be of no avail to me as a defence ; yet I shall at
least make it plain that these men are as impious towards the
gods as they are nefarious towards men. As for you, worthy
senators, I wonder that you will not stand forward for your own
personal safety, since you must be well aware that your own
names may be struck out of the Three Thousand just as easily as
mine."

But the senate remained passive and stupefied by fear, in spite
of these moving words ; which, perhaps, were not perfectly heard,
since it could not be the design of Kritias to permit his enemy to
speak a second time. It was probably while Theramenis was
yet speaking, that the loud voice of the herald was heard, calling
the Eleven to come forward and take him into custody. The
Eleven advanced into the senate, headed by their brutal chief
Satyrus, and followed by their usual attendants. They went



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CHAP LXV. CONDEMKATION OF THSRAMBN^ 473

strai^t up to the altar, from whence Satynis, aided bj the at-
tendants, dragged him by main force, while EritiaB said to them
— " We hand over to you this man Theramends, condemned ac-
cording to the law. Seize him, carry him off to prison, and there
do the needful" Upon which, Theramends was dragged out of
the senate-house and carried in custody through the market-
place, exclaiming with a loud voice against the atrocious treat-
ment which he was suffering. '* Hold your tongue (said Satyrus
to him), or you will suffer for it"—-" And if I do hold my tongue
(replied TheramenfisX shall not I suffer for it also ?"

He was conveyed to prison, where the usual draught of hem-
lock was speedily administered. After he had swal- ^^
lowed it, there remained a drop at the bottom of the Them.***
cup, which he jerked out on the floor (according to JJSJjjSkion
the playftd convivial practice called the Kottabus, hfacha-
which was supposed to furnish an omen by its sound '****'*
in falling, and after which the person who had jnst drunk handed
the goblet to the guest whose turn came next) — "Let this (said
he) be for the gentle Kritias".*

The scene just described, which ended in the execution of
Theramen^ is one of the most striking and tragical in ancient
history, in spite of the bald and meagre way in which it is
recounted by Xenoph6n, who has thrown all the interest into
the two speeches. The atrocious injustice by which Theramen^
perished— as well as the courage and self-possession which he
displayed at the moment of danger, and his cheerfulness even
in the prison, not inferior to that of Sokrat^ three years
afterwards— naturally enlist the warmest sympathies of the
reader in his favour, and have tended to exalt the positive
estimation of his character. During the years immediately
succeeding the restoration of the democracy,^ he was extolled
and pitied as one of the first martyrs to oligarchical violence :
later authors went so far as to number him among the chosen
pupils of Sokrat^* But though Theramende here became the

1 Xenoph. HcUen. ii. 8. M. wud to protect Theramente, when

"See Lysiu, Or. zii. oont Era- Hatyms was draccing him from the

torth. s. 00. altar. Plutarch <Vit. X. Oiat p. SSS)

s Dioddr. zIt. 5. Dioddms tells ns ascribes the same act of generoi.s for-

that SokmtSs and two of his friends wanlness to /ioAnU#<. There is no good

were the only persons who stood for- ground for beUoTing it, either oTone



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474 THE THIRTT AT ATHENS. Pabi IL

▼ictim of a much worse num than himself^ it will not for that
reason be proper to accord to him our admiration, which his
own conduct will not at aU be found to deeerre. The reproaches
of Eritias against him, founded on his conduct during the
previous conspiracy of the Pour Hundred, were in the main
well founded. After having been one of the foremost ong:inator8
of that conspiracy, he deserted his comrades as soon as he saw
that it was likely to fsdl. Eritias had doubtless present to his
mind the fate of Antiphon, who had been condemned and
executed under the accusation of TheramenSs — ^together with a
reasonable conviction that the latter would again turn against
his colleagues in the same manner, if circumstances should
encourage him to do sa Moreover, Eritias was not wrong in
denouncing the perfidy of Theramen^s with r^:ard to the
generals after the battle of Arginusse ; the death of whom he
was partly instrumental in bringing about, though only as an
auxiliary cause, and not with that extreme stretch of nefarious
stratagem which Xenoph6n and others have imputed to him.
He was a selfish, cunning, and faithless man— ready to enter
into conspiracies, yet never foreseeing their consequences— and
breaking faith to the ruin of colleagues whom he had first
encouraged, when he found them more consistent and thorough-
going in crime than himself.^
Such high-handed violence, by Eritias and the majority of the

Thirty — carried through, even against a member of
tyranny of their own Board, by intimidation of the senate— left
^TW^** a feeling of disgust and dissension among their own

partisans firom which their power never recovered.

or of the other. Nona but senators Hit admiration for the manner of

were present : and as this senate had death of Theramente doubtlesi ooa*

been chosen by the Thirty, it is not tribnted to make him rank that Athe-

Ukelv that either Sokratte or Iso- nian with Themistoklte and PwikUs

krates were among its members. If (De Orat iiL 16, 5itX Aristotle too

Hokratte had been a member of it, the (Plntarch, Nikias, c. 2) roeaks with

fact would have been noticed and estemn of Theraroente, ranking him is

brooght out in connexion with his the same general category with MikiM

subsequent trial. and Thncvdidte (son of MelesiuX

The manner in which Plutarch thou|^ with oonaderable dedacdos

(Consolat ad. Apollon. c. 6, p. 106) and blame on the score of duplicity,

states the death of Theramente—tiiai ^ The epithets applied by Ansto-

he was ** tortured to death " by the phante to Theramenee (Ban. Ml— 808>

Thirty— is an instance of his loose coincide pretty exactly with those in

■peaking. the speech Qust noticed) which Xeos-

Compare Cicero about the death of ph6n ascribes to Krttias tgainA

Theramento (Tuscul. Disp. L 40, 00). him.



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CHAP. LXV. INCREASED TYRANNY OF THE THIRTY. 475

Its inunediate effect, however, was to render them, apparently
and in their own estimation, more powerful than ever. All
open manifestation of dissent being now silenced, they proceeded
to the uttermost limits of cruel and licentious tyranny. They
made proclamation that every one not included in the list of
Three Thousand should depart without the walls, in order that
they might be undisturbed masters within the city : a policy
before resorted to by Periander of Corinth and other Grecian
despots.' The numerous fugitives expelled by this order
distributed themselves partly in Peirseus, partly in the various
demes of Attica. Both in one and the other, however, they were
seized by order of the Thirty, and many of them put to death,
in order that their substance and lands might be appropriated
either by the Thirty themselves or by some favoured partisan.^
The denunciations of Batrachus, i£schylid^ and other delators
became more numerous than ever, in order to obtain the seizure
and execution of their private enemies ; and the oligarchy were
willing to purchase any new adherent by thus gratifying his
antipathies or his rapacity.^ The subsequent orators afiirmed
that more than 1500 victims were put to death without trial by
the thirty :* on this numerical estimate little stress is to be laid,
but the total was doubtless prodigious. It became more and
more plain that no man was safe in Attica, so that Athenian
emigrants, many in great poverty and destitution, were multiplied
throughout the neighbouring territories — in M^^a, Thebes,
Ordpus, Chalkis, Argos, &c.* It was not everywhere that these
distressed persons could obtain reception, for Uie Lacedssmonian
government, at the instance of the Thirty, issued an edict
prohibiting all the members of their confederacy from harbour-
ing fugitive Athenians : an edict which these cities generously
disobeyed,' though probably the smaUe^ Peloponnesian cities

1 Xenophdn, HeU«n. iL 4, 1 : LytUs, log. 8. 20 ; Or. xxri. oont. Evandr. s. 2S.

Oral. xu. cont. Eratotth. t. 07 ; Orat * MschindB, Fals. LegaL c. U, p.

xxxL oont Philon. s. 8, 9 ; Herakleid. 206. and cont. Ktesiph. c 86, p. 465 ;

Pontic c. 5 ; Diogen. Laert L 96. iBokratds, Or. iv. Panegyr. a. 131 ; Or.

sXenopb. UeUen. L c i^or ii U tU. Aroopag. s. 76.

ritp xwp^*'* (*"* avrol «at oi ^lAot roift ' Xenoph. HeUen. IL 4, 1 ; Dloddr.

roi^v iypcift ixoitv • ^tvy6yTmy ii it xW. 6 ; Lysias. Or. xxiv. t. 28 ; Or.

rbv Ilf UMUA, KoX tyrwvBtp voAAov« ayor* XXXi Cont Philon. ■. 10.

ret, fWvAi)o-ay Uiyapa col ^fiat rmp * Lysias, Or. xiL oout Bratoath.

vvoYMpovFTMir. 8. 08, V9 — wairrax69w iKicjMvrr6fit¥oi .

sLyaias, Or. xiL cont. Bratoath. ■. Plutarch, Lyitand. c. 99: l>iod6r. xiv.

49 ; Or. xxT. Democrat Subvera. Apo- 6 ; Demoath. de Bhod. libert. c. 10.



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476 THE THIBTY AT ATHEN& Paw IL

complied. Without doubt this decree was procured bv Lyvander,
while his influence still continued nTiimpitiriid,
But it was not only against the lives, properties, and liberties

of Athenian citizens that the Thirty made war. They
forbid^^ were not less solicitous to extinguish the intellectaal
t«icl^ff! force and education of the city : a project so perfectly

in harmony both with the sentiment and practioe of
Sparta, that they counted on the support of their foreign alliesi
Among the ordinances which they promulgated was one, ezpravly
forbidding every one^ " to teach the art of words " ; if I may be
allowed to translate literally the Qreek expression, which bcm a
most comprehensive signification, and denoted every intentional
communication of logical, rhetorical, or argumentative improve-
ment — of literary criticism and composition — and of command
over those political and moral topics which formed the ordinary
theme of discussion. Such was the species of instruction which
Sokrat^ and other Sophists, each in his own way, conununicatod
to the Athenian youth. The great foreign Sophists (not Athe-
nianX such as Prodikus and Protagoras had been (though perhaps
neither of these two was now aliveX were doubtless no longer in
the city, under the calamitous circumstances which had been
weighing upon every citizen since the defeat of iEgospotami*
But there were abundance of native teachers or Sophists, inferior
in merit to these distinguished names, yet still habitually
employed, with more or less success, in communicating a specie!
of instruction held indispensable to every Liberal Atheniaiu
The edict of the Thirty was in fact a general suppression of the
higher dass of teachers or professors, above the rank of the
elementary (teacher of letters or) grammatist If such an edict
could have been maintained in force for a generation, combined
with the other mandates of the Thirty, the city out of which

1 Xenoph. Memor. L S, 81. «al iw the sea, bat they turned it so fts to

rot« v6tuHt «ypa^<» K&ymv rivyriv ii^i make It look towards the land, because

Stiivitt%r, — Isokrat^ cent. Sophist the marittme service and the M9oda^

Or. xiii. a 12. r^w vaiiwcnv rif k tmk tions connected with it were the chief

Aitfywr. stimolants of democratical sentiment

FlatarchCniemistoklte,cl9)aiBrm8 This stonrhas been often copied snd

that the Thirtj Oligarchs daring their reasserted as if it were an undoaUed

rale altered the poeition of the rostrum fact ; bat M. Forchhammer H^opo-



in the Pnyx (the place where the demo- graphic von Atben. p. tfSO. in Kicder
cratical pablic assemblies were held) : Phiiol. Stadien. 1841) has si " "^
the rostrnm had before looked towards he nntrue and even absard.



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Chap. lxy. intbllsctual taachino vorbidden— ^okratAs. 477

Sophoklde and Eoripidds Iiad just died, and in which Plato and
IsokraUs were iii yigoroua age (the former twenty-fiye, the latter
twenty-nine), would have heen degraded to the intellectual level
of the meanest communitj in Greece. It was not uncommon for
a Grecian despot to suppress all those assemblies wherein youths
came together for the purpose of common trainings either intel-
lectual or gymnastic, as well as the public banquets and clubs
or associations, as being dangerous to his authority, tending to
elevation of courage, and to a consciousness of political rights
among the citizens.^

The enormities of the Thirty had provoked severe comments
from the philosopher Sokrat^ whose life was spent g^^^*^
in conversation on instructive subjects with those and the
young men who sought his society, though he never ^'^'^^•
took money from any pupiL Such comments having excited
attention, Kritias and ChariklSs sent for him, reminded him of
the prohibitive law, and peremptorily commanded him to abstain
for the future from all conversation with youths, Sokratte met
the order by putting some questions, to those who gave it, m his
usual style of puzzling scrutiny ; destined to expose the vagueness
of the terms, and to draw the line — or rather to show Uiat no
definite line could be drawn — between that which was permitted
and that which was forbidden. But he soon perceived that his
interrogations produced only a feeling of di^^ust and wrath,
menacing to his own safety. The tyrants ended by repeating
their interdict in yet more peremptory terms, and by giving
Sokrat^ to understand that they were not ignorant of the
censures which he had cast upon them.'

Though our evidence does not enable us to make out the
precise dates of these various oppressions of the Thirty,



yet it seems probable that this prohibition of teaching seeuritv of

•*■' Thlrt"



Growing in-
w security of
must have been among their earlier enactments ; at ***® Thirty.
any rate, considerably anterior to the death of Theramen^ and
the general expulsion, out of the walls, of all except the privileged
Three Thousand. Their dominion continued, without any armed
opposition made to it, for about eight months from the capture
of Athens by Lysander, that is, from about April to December,
404 Ra The measure of their iniquity then became full. They
1 Ariftot PoUt ▼. 0, 8. > Xenoph. Hemorab. L 2, 88—80.



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478 THE THIRTY AT ATHENS. Part JL

had accamiilated against themselyes, both in Attica and among

the exiles in the circumjacent territories, suffering and exasperated

enemies ; while they had lost the sympathy of Thibes, Megan,

and Corinth, and were less heartily supported by Sparta.

During these important eight months, the general feeling

Gradual al- throughout Greece had become materially different

terationof i)oth towards Athens and towards Sparta. At the
leeliiigin , i « « , ,

•Greeoe, moment when the long war was first brought to a

^tore of doeey fear, antipathy, and vengeance against Athens
Athens. had been the reigning sentiments, both among the
•confederates of Sparta and among the revolted members of the
•extinct Athenian empire — a sentiment which prevailed among
them indeed to a greater degree than among the Spartans
themselves — who resisted it, and granted to Athens a capituladon
at a time when many of their allies pressed for the harshest
measures. To this resolution they were determined partly by
the still remaining force of ancient sympathy — ^partly by the
odium which would have been sure to follow the act of expelling
the Athenian population, however it might be talked of before-
hand as a meet punishment — ^partly too by the policy of Lysander,
who contemplated the keeping of Athens in the same dependence
on Sparta and on himself^ and by the same means, as the other
outlying cities in which he had planted his Dekarchies.

So soon as Athens was humbled, deprived of her fleet and
Demand by ^^®^ P^^*^ *^^ rendered innocuous, the great bond
the allies of of common fear which had held the allies to Sparta
sfarain the disappeared ; and while the paramount antipathy on
^*}!^*^* the part of those allies towards Athens gradually died
fused by away, a sentiment of jealousy and apprehension ci
Sparta. Sparta sprang up in its place, on the part of the

leading states among them. For such a sentiment there was
more than one reason. Lysander had brought home not only a
large sum of money, but valuable spoils of other kinds, and
many captive triremes, at the close of the war. As the success
liad been achieved by the joint exertions of all the allies, so the
fruits of it belonged in equity to all of them jointly — not to
Sparta alone. The Thebans and Corinthians preferred a formal
•claim to be allowed to share ; and if the other allies abstained
from openly backing the demand, we may faiily presume that



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CHAP. LXV. INJUHTICfi OF THB BPARTANS. 479

it was not from anj different construction of the equity
of the case, but from fear of offending Sparta. In the
testimonial erected bj Ljsander at Delphi, commemorative of
the triumph, he had included not only his own brazen statue,
but that of each commander of the allied contingents ; thus
formally admitting the allies to share in the honorary results,
and tacitly sanctioning their daim to the lucrative results also.
Nevertheless the demand made by the Thebans and Corinthians
was not only repelled, but almost resented as an insult ; especially
by Lysander, whose influence was at that moment almost omni-
potent^

That the Lacedsomonians should have withheld from the allies
a share in this money demonstrates still more the great ascendency
of Lysander — ^because there was a considerable party at Sparta
itself, who protested altogether against the reception of so much
gold and silver, as contrary to the ordinances of Lykurgus, and
fatal to the peculiar mondity of Sparta. An ancient Spartan,
Skiraphidas or Phlogidas, took the lead in calling for exclusive
adherence to the old Spartan money — ^heavy iron difficult to
carry. It was not without difficulty that Lysander and his
friends obtained admission for the treasure into Sparta ; under
special proviso that it should be for the exclusive purposes of
the government, and that no private citizen should ever circulate
gold or silver.^ The existence of such traditionary repugnance
among the Spartans would have seemed likely to induce them to
be just towards their allies, since an equitable distribution ol
the treasure would have gone far to remove the difficulty ; yet
they nevertheless kept it alL

But besides such special offence given to the allies, the conduct
of Sparta in other ways showed that she intended to Unpani-
turn the victory to her own account Lysander was JSUj^en^ of
at this moment all-powerful, playing his own game Lysander.

iJiiitin(Ti 10) mentions the demand ooenrred CHellen. iU. 5, 6X He also

thns made and refused. Plntarch speciOes by name no one but the

(Lysaad. c 87) states the demand as Thebans as haring actually made the

haring been made by the Thebans demand; yet there is a subsequent

atoiM, which I disbelieve. Xeoophdn, passage which shows that not only the

according to the general diiorderly Corinthians, but other allies also, sym-

anangiHMntof facUfaihisHeUenika, pathiied in it (Ui. 6, 12).

iSSr22r'SS*M?t*sffiS?t^ tPhitarch. Ijsand.cn; Ptatanjh.

Its proper place, but aiiudeeto n on a in^ltut Lacon. d. 280.
subeeqnentoeeasion as having befora "■^■■*' mmwu. p. hw.



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480 THE THIBTT AT ATHEHS. Pakt H.

under the name of Sparta. His position was £sr greater
than that of the regent Paosanias had been after the victoiy
of Plataea ; and his talents for making use of the position in>
comparably superior. The magnitude of his snocesses, as wdl



Online LibraryGeorge GroteA history of Greece: from the earliest period to the close of the generation contemporary with Alexander the Great → online text (page 54 of 62)