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got fo flrong a party on his fide, that he was enabled
to overpower this fenate ; and by the afliftance of Ephi-
altes he deprived them of the cognizance of moft of the


(3) Inftead of"l*;9s> fome learn- borough in Attica,
ed men are of opinion that we

flu>u!dread"Oir6E, and that Demo- (4) There were feveral courts
nideswas not of the ifland of los, of judicature in Athens, compofed
but of Oia which was a ward or of a certain number of the people,


P E.R I C L E S. 15

ctufes which before came under their jurifdiction. He
alfo procured Cimon to be banifhed by the oftracifm, as
a favourer of the Lacedaemonians, and an enemy to the
people ; although lie was inferior to none in wealth or
family, had obtained many fignal victories over the
Barbarians, and by the treafure and fpoils which he
took from them, had greatly enriched the city ; as we
have related in his life. Such was the authority of
Pericles with the common people.

The term of Cimon's baniihment as it was by oftra-
cifm, was limited by law to ten years. During this
interval, the Lacedaemonians made an incurfion with a
confiderable army into the territory of Tanagra. As
foon as the Athenians marched to oppofe them, Cimon
came and joined the army, taking his rank among
thofe of his own tribe ; for he hoped that by fharing
the danger of his countrymen, his actions would clear
him from the afperfion of being a friend to the Lacedae-
monians. But the friends of Pericles joining together
obliged him to retire as being an exile. This feems to
have been the caufe that Pericles exerted fuch uncom-
mon bravery in this engagement, and fignalized him-
felf for his intrepidity beyond all others. The friends
6f Cimon, who had been accufed with him by Pericles
of favouring the Lacedaemonians, all fell in this battle
without exception (6). The Athenians now repented of
their behaviour to Cimon, and regretted his abfence,
having been defeated upon the borders of Attica, and
expecting a more formidable attack the next fpring.
Pericles as foon as he perceived the difpofition of the
people, without hefitation complied with their defire,
and propofed a decree himfelf for recalling Cimon ; who
upon his return immediately concluded a peace between
the two ftates. For the Lacedaemonians loved Cimon as
much as they hated Pericles and the reft of the orators.


who were paid for their attend- pularity procured this fee to be
ance. Sometimes they each of increafed.

them received one Obolus for (5) Some account of thefe of-
every caufe which they decided ; fices is given in the life of Solon,
fometimes men who aimed at po- (6) See the life of Cimon.

(7) Cimop

16 fbe L I F E of

Soirte authors, however, fay that before Pericles pro-
pofed the decree for recalling Cimon, he made a private
compact with him by the mediation of Elpinice, Cimon's
fifter, the terms of which were that Cimon mould fail
with a fleet of two hundred mips, and have the com-
mand of the forces abroad, with which he was to ra-
vage the territories of the King of Perfia-, and that
Pericles mould govern at home. Elpinice is faid to
have been inftrumental in rendering Pericles more fa-
vourable to Cimon in a former inftance, when he was
under a capital profecution, and Pericles was appointed
by the people to be one of his accufers. When Elpinice
came to him to make her requeft in behalf of her bro-
ther, he replied with a fmile, " You are too old, Elpinice,
" you are too old to manage fuch affairs as thefe." At the
trial, however, he executed his office of accufer in a
flight manner, rofe up to fpeak but once, and of all
the accufers mowed the leaft fe verity againft Cimon (7).
What credit then can be given to Idomeneus (8), who
charges Pericles with having treacheroufly murdered
the orator Ephialtes, out of jealoufy and envy of his
reputation, though he was his intimate friend, and the
partner of his counfels in political affairs ? This ca-
lumny wherefbever he found it, has he vented with
great bitternefe againft a man, who, though perhaps
he was not in all refpects unblameable, yet certainly
had fuch a greatnefs of mind and high fenfe of honour
as was incompatible with an action fo favage and in-
human. The truth is, as we are informed by Ariflotle,
that Ephialtes being grown formidable to the nobles
and their party, and being fevere and inexorable in
profecuting all who had wronged and opprefied the
common people, his enemies formed a deiign againft
his life, and employed Ariftodicus of Tansgra to afiafli-
rate him privately. As for Cimon, he died in the ex*
pedition to Cyprus.


(7) Cimon however was fined favour.

fifty talents, and narrowly efcaped (8) Idomeneus of Lampfacus, a

a capital fen tence having only a difciple of Epicurus. He wrote an

majority of three votes in his account


The nobles obferving how greatly the authority of Pe-
ricles was increafed, and that he was now the chief man
in the flate, were defirous that he mould have Tome op-
ponent to his adminiftration, who might give a check to
his power, and prevent the government from becoming
intirely monarchical. The perfon fixed upon by them
for this purpofe, was Thucydides of the ward of A16-
pece, a man of great prudence and moderation, and bro-
ther-in-law to Cimon. He was, indeed, inferior to Cimon
in military excellence, but he furpafled him in his foren-
fick and political talents ; and by conftahtly attending in
the city, and oppofing Pericles in the publick aflemblies,
he foon reduced the government to an equilibrium : for
he no longer fuffered thofe of fuperior rank to mingle
with the commonalty, as they ufed to do before, by
which they in great meafure loft their diftindion ; but
by feparating them from the populace, and by uniting
the power of them all into one fum, he produced a
force fufficient to counterbalance the power of the oppo-
fite faction. There was, indeed, from the beginning a
kind of doubtful feparation, like a flaw in a piece of
iron, which feemed to denote that the popular party and
the ariftocratical were not perfectly one, though they
were not perfectly divided. But by the contention and
ambition of Pericles and Thucydides, the city was quite
broken in two, and one of the parts was called the Peo-
ple, the other the Nobility. Pericles after this, more than
ever gave the reins to the people, and employed his whole
power in gratifying them, contriving perpetually to en-
tertain them with fome fplendid publick fpedacle, fefti-
val or proceiTion ; and while he indulged them with thefe
elegant amufements, he managed them at his pleafure.
Befide this, he fent out every year fixty gallies, which
were manned by a considerable number of the citizens
they were employed in this fervice for eight months (9),
and while they received their pay, at the fame time im-
proved themfelves in the art of navigation. He alfo lent a


account of Socrates's fcholars, and p? ; and according to this read-

an hiftory of Samothracla. ing the pafl'agemull be tranflated,

(9) Some inftead of /*>? read " their pay was eighc Minx,
VOL. II. B (0 The

j8 Tto L I F E of

colony of a thoufand inhabitants to Cherfonefus, five hun-
dred to Naxus, half that number to Andros, a thoufand
among the Bifaltae in Thrace, and a thoufand into Italy
when the city of Sybaris (which they called Thurii) was
built. His defign in this was to ( rid the city of a multitude
of idle people, who merely from their idlenefs become
turbulent and feditious, to alleviate the neceflities of the
commonalty, and to prevent the defection of their allies,
thefe new inhabitants being a kind of garrifon which
kept them ii\ awe and fecured their, fidelity.

But that which was the chief delight and ornament
of Athens, and the wonder of flrangers, was the magni-
ficence of the temples and publick buildings that he
erected, which are of themfelves a fufficient proof that
thofe accounts are not fabulous which are given of the
wealth and power of ancient Greece. Yet no part of
the publick conduct of Pericles was cenfured by his ene-
mies with more vehemence and malignity than this.
They continually exclaimed in the publick aflemblies,
" That he had brought a difgrace and reproach upon
" the people of Athens, by removing from Delos the pub-
" lick treafure of Greece, and taking it into his own cuf-
" tody ; that he had cut off the only plaufible pretence
" for fuch an action, which was, that the treafure being
" before in danger from the Barbarians, it was neceflary
*' to lodge it in fome place of fafety ; that all the dates
" of Greece mud think themfelves fhamefully wronged
** and infulted, when they law the money which they had
" contributed towards the neceflary expences of the war,
'^employed by the Athenians only in decorating theircity
" like a vain fantaftick woman, and adorning it with fta-
" tines, and temples which coft a thoufand talents." (i)
Pericles, on the other hand, reprefented to the people,
l< that while they kept theBarbarians at a diftance and de-
" fended their allies, "they were not accountable to them
" for the fums which they had received, fince the allies
" had not furnifhed either horfes, (hips, or men, but only
u money, which is no longer the property of the giver,


(i) The Parthenon or temple of Minerva is faid to have coft a
thoufand talents.

z This


" but of the receiver, provided he performs the con^-
" ditions on which it was paid ; that the city being well
fi fupplied with every thing neceifary for fupporting the
** war, the fuperfhiity of their treafure fhould be fpent
Ct on fuch works as when finifhed would be an eternal
" monument of their glory, and during the execution
" of them would diffufe riches and plenty among the
*' people ; for fo many kinds of labour, aud fuch a
" variety of iriftruraents and materials being requifite
*' in thefe undertakings, every art would be exerted^
" and every hand employed, every citizen would be in
u pay of the ftate, and the city would be not only
" beautified, but maintained by itlelf." For as thofe who
were of proper age and ftrength to bear arms, wefe
paid by the publick as foldiers, he was unwilling that
thofe who followed more fervile occupations, and were
not enlifled in the army, mould be excluded from
their mare of profit, or receive it while they re-
mained idle and inactive. He therefore employed the
common people in great and magnificent works, to ac~
complilh which a great variety of artificers and a con-
fiderable length of time was necefTary ; and thus all who
remained at home had an equal claim to be benefited
by the publick money, with thofe who were in fervice
abroad either at fea, in garrifon, or in the army. For
the different materials, fuch as ftone, brafs, ivory, gold,
ebony, and cyprefs, furnifhed employment to carpen-
ters, mafons, brafiers, goldfmiths, turners and other ar-
tificers, who manufactured them -, the conveyance of*
them by fea employed merchants and feilors, and by
land wheelwrights, ropemakers, carriers and other la-^
bourers -, and every art occupied a number of the
lower people ranged in a due fubordination, \vho like
foldiers under the command of a General, executed
the fervice that was ailigned them ; fo that by the ex-
ercife of thefe different arts, plenty was diffufed among
perfons of every rank and condition. Notwithftand-
ing the aftonifhing magnitude of thefe ftrudures and
the inimitable beauty and perfection of the workman-
fliip, every artificer being ambitious that the elegance

B a of

2 o The LIFE of

of the execution might furpaf* even the magnificence
of the defign yet the fpeed with which they were
accomplifhed was flill more wonderful. For all thofe
works, each of which feemed to require the labour
of fucceflive generations, were finifhed not in one age
only, but during the prime of one adminiftration. It
is faid that Zeuxis when he heard Agatharchus boaft
that he finifhed his pictures in a fhort time > replied,
" Mine coft me a great deal of time." For fuch works
as are haflily performed have rarely a permanent
ftrength or confummate beauty. But labour is a kind
of loan to time, which is repaid by the durablenefs of
that which it produces. For this reafon the ftructures
which Pericles raifed are the more admirable, that be-
ing compleated in fo fhort a time,, they yet had fuch a
lafting beauty , for as they had when they were new the
venerable afpect of antiquity, fb now they are old, they
have the frefhnefs of a modern work. They feem to
be preferved from the injuries of time by a kind of vi-
tal principle, which produces a vigour that cannot be
impaired, and a bloom that will never fade.

Pericles committed the direction and fuperintendance
of thefe publick edifices to Phidias : though many o-
ther confiderable architects were likewife employed in
erecting them. The Parthenon or temple of Minerva
(2) was built by Callicrates and Ictinus. Coroebus be-
gan the temple of initiation at Eleufis, but died as foon
as he had finifhed die lower rank of columns with their
architraves. Metagenes of Xypete added the reft of
the entablature and the upper row of columns, and
Xenocles of Cholargus built the dome on the top. The
long wall, the building of which Socrates fays he heard
Pericles recommend to the people, was undertaken by
Callicrates. Cratinus ridicules this work as proceeding
very flowly, in thefe lines>


(2) This temple was alfo cal- ftroyed by the Perfians, Pericles
led Hecatompedon, becaufe ori- rebuilt it in a different form,
ginally it was an hundred feet and greatly enlarged it.
fquare. But it having been de- (3) This ftattte was of gold



To build the wall with words he often tries $
If hands mujl raife ;/, // will never rife.

The Odeum or mufick-theatre, which was likewife
built by the direction of Pericles, had within it a great
number of feats and rows of pillars ; the roof was of a
conical figure, in imitation, as it is faid, of the King of
Perfia's pavillion. Cratinus takes occafion from this like-
wife to lidicule him in his play called Thrattae.

Here comes our Jove, efcaped an exile's doom ;
And on his head behold the mufick-room !

Pericles at this time was very eager to pafs a decree
for appointing a prize-contention in mufick during the
feftival of the Panathenaea ; and .as he was nominated
for judge and diftributer of the prizes, he gave direc-
tion in what manner the contending artifts mould ex-
hibit their performances, whether they fung or played
on the flute or on the lyre. From that time the prizes
in mufick were always contended for in the Odeum. The
porch of the citadel was built in five years by Mneficles
the architect. An extraordinary accident which hap-
pened during the progrefe of this building, rnanifeflly
(hewed that the Goddefs did not di (approve of the
work, but aflifted to advance and compleat it. For
the mofladlive and dextrous of the workmen, by. falling
from a great height, was bruifed in fuch a manner that
his life was defpaired of by the phyficians. Pericles
being extremely concerned at this misfortune, the God-
defs appeared to him in a dream, and prefcribed a
remedy, by the application of which the man foon re-
covered. In memory of this event he placed in the
citadel near the altar (which is faid to have been built
before) a brazen ftatue of Minerva the Goddefs of
health. The golden flatue of Minerva (3) was the
work of Phidias, whofe name is infcribed on the pe-


and ivory ; and we find a -de- readied down to her feet On
fcription of it in Paufanias. The her bread-plate was engraved
Goddefs was reprefented ftand- Medufa's head in ivory, and Vic-
ing, cloathed -in a tunick, that tory. She held a pike in her


tz The L I F E of

deftal. He, as we have faid before, had, through the
friendfhip of Pericles, the care of almoft all thefe pub-
lick works, and iuperintended the workmen. This not
only expofed him to envy, but occafioned fcandalous
reports concerning Pericles , who was accufed of vi-
fiting at the houfe of Phidias many women of reputable
families, who came thither under pretence of feeing the
flatues. The comick poets did not fail to improve
this flander, and to reprefent him as a man infamous
for his debaucheries. They accufed him of a criminal
familiarity with the wife of Menippus, who was his
friend and lieutenant in the army. And becaufe Py~
rilampes, who was likewife his intimate friend, kept a
great number of peacocks and other curious birds, it
was fuppofed that lie did this only for the fake of ma-
king prefents of them to thofe women who had granted
favours to Pericles. But can we wonder that men whofe
profefiion is that of ridicule and buffoonery, mould fa-
orifice the characters of the great and good to the envy
of the multitude, as if they were making an oblation to
fome malevolent Daemon ^ when even Stefimbrotus the
Thafian has dared to charge Pericles with fo ftrange
and incredible a wickednefs as an incefluous commerce
with the wile of his own fon ? Thus difficult is it to
difcover truth by hiftory ; fince thofe writers who live
after the events which they relate, muft on account of
the diftance of time be imperfectly acquainted with
them ; and thofe who are witniTes of them, are flrong-
ly tempted by envy and hatred, or by intereft and
friendfhip, to vitiate and pervert the truth.

As the orators of Thucydides's party continually ex-
claimed'againft Pericles, for having fquanderedthepublick
revenues, he one day afked the people in full aflembly,
" whether they thought his expences had been too great?"


hand, and at her feet lay her buck- nine feet high -, the vidory on the

ler, and a dragon, fuppofed to be breaft-plate was about four cu-

Eiithtlicnius. The Sphinx was bits ; and forty talents of goid were

'.efentcd on the middle of her employed upon it.

-oiece, with two griffins on (4) It appears from a paflage in

The ftatue was thirty Thucydides that thepubiick ftock



They replied, " Much too great. Then, (faid he) the ex-
" pence (hall not be yours, but mine ; and I will have my
" name infcribed on all thefe buildings (4)." The people,
upon this, either admiring the greatnefs of his fpirit,
or envying him the glory of fuch magnificent works,
cried out, " that he might fpend as much as he pleafed
*' without fparing the publick treafure."

Thucydides and Pericles at laft came to fuch an open
rupture, that it became neceflary for the one or the
other to be banifhed by the Oftracifm. Pericles gained
the vi dory, banimed Thucydides, and entirely defeated
his party. This contefl being at an end, and the peo-
ple no longer divided into two fadions, Pericles became
ible matter of Athens ; and all the affairs of the Athenians
were at his difpofal ; their revenues, their armies, their
fleets, the iflands, the fea, and the power which ac-
crued to them from other dates whether Greek or Bar-
barian, from thofe nations which were in fubjedion to
them, or from thofe which were in friendlhip and al-
liance with them.

F-om this time he became a different perfbn. He
was no longer fo obfequious to the people, nor fo ready
to comply with all their wild and capricious defires.
The government was no longer adminiftered by court-
ing popular favour and indulging the paffions of the
multitude, but was changed into an ariftocratical, or
rather a monarchical form ; thus he confined by finder
mea"fures the former loofe and luxuriant harmony of the
flate ; and by an unblameable condud and a Heady
purfuit of the publick good, he obtained an abfolute
authority over the people, whom for the mofl part he
influenced by argument and perfuafion, though fbme-
times he diredly thwarted their inclinations, and obliged
them by force to purfue fuch meafures as were mofl


of the Athenians amounted to nine fhouid be at his own expence ; ef-

thoufand feven hundred talents, pecially fince Plutarch tells us in

of which Pericles had laid out in the fequel that he had not in the

thofe publick buildings three thou- leaft improved the eftate left him

fand feven hundred. How then by his father ?
could he tell the people that it

B 4 (5) ^

24 M* L l F E f

conducive to their welfare. His conduct towards the
people was like that of a phyfician in the cure of a
long and irregular 'diftemper, who fometimes indulges
his patient in the moderate ufe of fuch things as are
pleafant, and at other times prefcribes fuch fharp and
violent medicines as are moft efficacious and falutary.
He alone had the art of controuling thofe various paf-
lions and diforders which muft neceilarily fpring up in
a people whofe dominion was fo extefmve. Hope and
fear were the two engines by which he governed and
directed the multitude ^ by thefe he checked them when
they were too eager and impetuous, and animated them
when timorous and defponding. From this example
it appears that Rhetor ick is in reality what Plato calls
it, " The art of ruling the minds of men ; and that the
principal object of it is to manage the affedtions and
paiTions, which are to the foul what the ftrings are to
a mufical inftrument, and which will always obey the
will of the artift, when touched with delicacy and {kill.
The influence which Pericles acquired, was not, how-
ever, to be afcribed merely to his eloquence, but like-
wife, as Thucydides fays, to his unblemifhed integrity
and his contempt of riches, which procured him uni-
verfal efteem and veneration. For though he had
rendered that great city, ftill more great and opulent,
though his power exceeded that of many Kings and
tyrants, fome of whom hath bequeathed to their chil-
dren the fovoreignty which they had obtained ; yet he
never made the leaft addition to his paternal eflate.

Thucydides gives a full and juft account of the power
and authority of Pericles ; but the comick poets fpeak
on this fubje6t with their ufual malignity, calling his
friends and adherents " the new Pififlratidae," reprefenting
his authority as exceflive and in fuppor table, and difpro-
portioned to a popular flate, and requiring of him to
difclaim by oath all intentions of avfuming a tyranninal
power. Teleclides fays that the Athenians gave into his

Each town's whole tribute, and each town befides,
Which bound or free ', as he ordains, abides-,



The bulwark, 'which he bids to rife or fall ;
The Jirengtb, the treafure, happinefs and all.

Nor was this power of his a mere tranfitory thing,
which like a bloflbm flourifhed only during the fpring
of his admmiilration -, he for for forty years together held
the pre-eminence, and that among fuch men as Ephi-
altes, Leocrates, Myronides, Cimon, Tolmidas, Thucydi-
des ; and after the ruin and banifhment of Thucidides,
continued it ftill for no lefs than fifteen years. And tho*
his authority was unlimited, and the power of the fe-
veral annual magiflrates united in him, yet he kept
himfelf always untainted by avarice. Not that he was
carelefs of his fortune ; for he was equally felicitous
that his paternal eftate mould not be diminimed by neg-
ligence, and that the care of it fliould not engrofs too
much of his time and attention. His method of ma-
naging it was therefore fuch as appeared to him molt
eafy and moil exact. The yearly produce of his lands
he fold all at once, and from day to day bought in
the market the neceiTaries for his family. But his fons
when they grew up, and the women who lived with
him, were not at all pleafed with this parfimonious
ceconomy : they complained of their fcanty allowance,
and this minute calculation of the daily expences. For
there was none of that wafte and fuperfluity which is
common in great houfes and wealthy families ; the in-
come and the expence being accurately adjufled to
each other. The pedbn who aflifted him to manage
his affairs with this exadnefs and regularity was Evan-
gelus one of his fervants, a man who either by his na-
tural qualifications or by the inftructions of Pericles was
peculiarly fitted for fuch an employment. This con-
duct indeed was very unlike that of Anaxagoras, who
through a philofophical enthufiafm and contempt of
wealth, quitted his houfe and left his lands uncultivated.
But I think there is a wide difference between the life
of a fpeculative and of an active philofopher. The
former is employed in contemplations purely intellec-
tual and independent on every thing material and ex-
ternaj ; the latter applies his virtue to the fervice of fo-


26 The L I F E of

ciety, and the bufmefs of human life; to him, therefore,

Online LibraryPlutarchPlutarch's lives : in six volumes : translated from the Greek (Volume 2) → online text (page 2 of 42)