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The Americana: a universal reference library, comprising the arts ..., Volume 10 online

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purpose. Leonidas allowed all the allies to de-
part, while he himself and his 300 Spartans.



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along with 700 Thespians who voluntarily re-
mained with them, held out until they were
completely annihilated (480 b.c).

The way through Fhocis and Boeotia was
now open to the Persians, who advanced into
Attica, and laid the city of Athens in ruins,
putting to death the small garrison. The women
and children belonging to Athens had by this
time, on the advice of Themistocles, been re-
moved to Salamis, uEgina, and Troezen, while
all the men capable of bearing arms served in
the fleet. It was to Themistocles that the de-
liverance of Greece was now chiefly due. The
united fleet of the Greeks had already contended
with success against that of the Persians off the
promontory of Artemisium, in Eubcea, and had
then sailed into the Saronic Gulf, whither it was
followed by the enemy. In this confined arm
of the sea, where there was no room for the
manoeuvring of the numerous ships of the enemy,
a decisive battle between the *.wo fleets took
Ijlace with the result that Themistocles had an-
ticipated, the total defeat of the Persians. This
battle is known as the battle of Salamis, from
the name of an island in the Saronic Gulf, and
was fought in the same year as Thermopylae
(480 b.c). Xerxes himself had been an eye-
witness of the battle and at once began a speedy
retreat with his land army through Thessaly,
Macedonia, and Thrace, a retreat which Themis-
tocles had hastened by causing the false report to
reach Xerxes, that it was the intention of the
Greeks to destroy the bridges of boats over the
Hellespont. Xerxes left behind him only 300,000
men in Thessaly. In the spring of the following
year (479) these advanced into Attica and com-
pelled the citizens once more to seek refuge in
Salamis ; but in the battle of Plataea the Greeks,
under the command of Pausanias, obtained so
complete a victory, that only 40,000 of the Per-
sians reached the Hellespont. On the same day
the remnant of the Persian fleet was attacked
and defeated by the Greeks off Mount Mycale,
near Samos on the Ionian coast of Asia.

By the brilliant part which the Athenians un-
der Themistocles had played against the Persians,
the influence of Athens had greatly increased
throughout Greece ; and this was further
strengthened by the fact that the war aginst Per-
sia, which still continued, was chiefly conducted
by sea, where Athens was much more powerful
than Sparta. From this date then begins the
period of the leadership or hegemony of Athens
m Greece, which continued to the close of the
Peloponnesian war, 404 b.c. Athens now exerted
her influence to form a confederacy including the
Greek islands and maritime towns as well as
Athens herself, the object of which was to pro-
vide for the continuance of the war by the pay-
ment into a common treasury at Delos, of a
fixed sum of money, and by furnishing ships for
the same purpose. In this confederacy Athens
of course had the lead, and gradually was able
to render tributary many of the islands and
smaller maritime states. In 469 B.C. the
victories won by the Athenians over the
Persians was crowned by the double victory of
Cimon, the son of Miltiades, oyer the fleet and
army of the Persians on the river Eurymedon,
in the south of Asia Minor ; and this victory was
followed by the Peace of Cimon, which secured
the freedom and independence of all Greek towns
and islands. Shortly after followed the bril-



liant administration of Pericles, during which
Athens reached the height of her political
grandeur, while at the same time she flourished
in trade, in arts, in science, and in literature.

The position of Athens, however, soon raised
up a number of enemies. Sparta regarded her
prosperity with jealousy; and the arrogance
of Athens had produced a pretty general feeling
of indignation and hatred. Two hostile con-
federacies were formed in Greece. At the head
of one of these confederacies was the city of
Athens, which was joined by all the Ionian states
of Greece, and more or less supported by the
democratic party in every state. At the head
of the other confederacy stood Sparta, which
was similarly joined by all the Dorian states, and
supported by the aristocratic party everywhere.
At last in 431 war was declared by Sparta on
the complaint of Corinth that Athens had fur-
nished assistance to the island of Corcyra in its
war against the mother city; and on that of
Megara, that the Megarean ships and merchan-
dise were excluded from all the ports and mar-
kets of Attica.

In the first part of the Peloponnesian war
the Spartans had considerable successes, while
a great calamity befell the Athenians, who had
collected all the inhabitants of the country dis-
tricts of Attica within the walls of the city ; and
in consequence a pestilence broke out which
carried off thousands of the inhabitants, and
among them Pericles himself. From this blow,
however, the city soon recovered, and in 425 the
early successes of the Spartans in Attica were
compensated by the capture of Pylos in Messenia
by the Athenian general Demosthenes, who at the
same time succeeded in shutting up 400 Spartans
in the small island of Sphacteria, opposite Pylos,
where they were ultimately starved into surren-
der. The person to whom the surrender was
made was the demagogue Cleon, who, in conse-
quence of his military successes, obtained the
command of an army which was sent to operate
against the Spartan general Brasidas in Thrace.
But in 422 he was defeated by Brasidas before
the town of Amphipolis, and himself slain, after
which the opposite party in Athens got the upper
hand, and concluded the peace with Sparta
known as the Peace of Nicias (421 B.C.).

The effect of this peace was to divide the
Spartans and the Corinthians, who had hitherto
been allies. The latter united themselves with
Argos, Elis and some of the Arcadian towns to
wrest from Sparta the hegemony of the Pelo-
ponnesus. In this design they were supported
by Alcibiades, a nephew of Pericles, a man of
handsome figure and great personal accomplish-
ments. The war which was now waged between
Sparta and Corinth with her allies resulted,
however, in favor of the former, whose arms
were victorious at the battle of Mantinea in
418.

Soon after this the Athenians resumed hos-
tilities, fitting out in 415 B.C. a magnificent army
and fleet, under the command of Alcibiades,
Nicias, and Lamachus, for the reduction of the
Dorian city of Syracuse in Sicily. This under-
taking, which renewed the race hatred between
Sparta and Athens, was a complete failure.
Alcibiades was accused in his absence of several
offenses against religion and the constitution,
and deprived of his command. Thirsting for
revenge, he betook himself to Sparta, and ex-



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liorted the city to renew the war with Athens.
By his advice one Spartan army was despatched
to Attica, where it took up such a position as
prevented the Athenians from obtaining supplies
from Euboea, while another was sent under
Gylippus to assist their kindred in Sicily. These
steps were ruinous to Athens. Lamachus fell
in the siege of Syracuse, and the Athenian fleet
was totally destroyed. The reinforcements sent
out under Nicias and Demosthenes were de-
feated (413 B.C.) by the combined Spartan and
Syracusan armies. All the Athenians who es-
caped death were made captives and compelled
to work as slaves in the quarries of Sicily, al-
though it may be mentioned as an interesting
fact that many of these captives obtained their
liberty by being able to recite fragments of
Euripides.

After this disaster many of the allies of
Athens joined the Spartans, who now pressed
on the war with greater energy. The Atheni-
ans recalled Alcibiades, who returned in 407,
and was received by his fellow-citizens with
enthusiasm as their expected deliverer, A few
months later he was again an exile, having been
deprived of the command because one of his
subordinates had lost a naval battle fought off
Ephesus in his absence. During the rest of the
war the Athenians had only one success, the
naval victory won off the islands of Arginusae
over the Spartan Callicratidas in 406. In the
following year (405) the Spartans made them-
selves masters of the whole of the Athenian
fleet except nine vessels, while the majority of
the crews were on shore at ^Egospotamos on
the Hellespont. The Spartans now easily sub-
dued the islands and states that still maintained
their allegiance to the Athenians, and laid siege
to Athens itself. In 404 B.C. the war was ter-
minated by the Athenians' surrender. Sparta
immediately imposed upon Athens an aristocratic
form of government, placing the supreme power
in the hands of the Thirty Tyrants. Only a
year later, however (403), Thrasybulus was able
to overthrow this hated rule and re-establish the
democracy.

The fall of Athens resulted in Sparta's lead-
ership or hegemony in Greece, which lasted till
the battle of Leuctra, 371 b.c The Spartans
now abused their power and speedily roused the
hatred and jealousy of the other states. The
Greek states which had up to this time been,
and still continued to be, leaders, had now lost
almost entirely their manliness and independent
spirit, and no longer maintained the hereditary
war against Persia, but each sought the aid of
that power for its own purpose. The Spar-
tans did indeed send an expedition into Asia
Minor, but it came to nothing ; and the states of
Greece, the Spartans included, at last, in 387,
agreed to the disgraceful Peace of Antalcidas,
by which the whole of the west coast of Asia
Minor was ceded to the Persians, and the Greek
colonies there thus deprived of the independence
that had been secured to them by the Peace of
Cimon.

An act of violence committed by a Spartan
general in Thebes in 380 in the end led to the
complete downfall of that city. The aristocratic
party in Thebes, when the Spartan army hap-
pened to be in the neighborhood, prevailed upon
the general to give his assistance in overthrow-
ing their opponents and establishing an aristo-
cratic government. A number of the less prom-



inent members of the defeated party, among
them Pelopidas, made their escape to Athens,
where they got the support and assistance of the
democratic party there. They soon returned in
disguise to their own city, surprised and mur-
dered the leaders of the aristocratic -party/ ex-
pelled' the "Spartan garrison, and again set up a
democratic government. These circumstances
give a good idea of the fury of party strife which
was then general in the Greek cities. The im-
mediate result of this counter-revolution in
Thebes was a war with Sparta, the heroes of
which were Epaminondas and Pelopidas, who
were then at the head of affairs in Thebes. In
the course of the war the Spartans invaded Bce-
otia, but were so completely defeated at Leuctra
in 371 ec that they never fully recovered from
the blow.

With this victory Thebes won hegemony in
Greece, which she maintained during the life-
time of Epaminondas, whose policy it was to
keep down the power of Sparta by strengthen-
ing the surrounding states. From him the,
Messenians recovered their freedom, and by his
advice the cities of Arcadia formed themselves
into a confederacy, and built the city of Mega-
lopolis. This policy was at first successful, but
in a few years the confederacy began itself to
strive after the supremacy, and joined them-
selves with this object to the Spartans. Epa-
minondas then invaded the Peloponnesus, but
although the Thebans totally defeated the Spar-
tans and Arcadians in the battle of Mantinea
(362), yet the victory being won with the loss
of their great general, the Thebans could no
longer boast with justice of supremacy in
Greece. Pelopidas had died two years before.

Two years after the death of Epaminondas,
Philip, the father of Alexander the Great, be-
came king of Macedonia. He was a man of
great ability as a soldier and a ruler, an ad-
mirer of the Greek character, and a lover of
Greek art and literature. He perceived, how-
ever, the weakness of the Greeks, arising from
their want of unity, and waited for an oppor-
tunity of interfering in the affairs of their coun-
try, with the view of ultimately making him-
self master of it An occasion for interference
was furnished him by the Sacred war (355-46).
The Phodans having taken possession of some
of the land belonging to the sanctuary of Delphi,
the Amphictyonic League condemned them to
pay a fine and restore the land they had taken.
This was refused and the league imposed upon
the Thebans the task of forcing the Phocians
to submit, but in their rocky strongholds the
Phocians were able to resist all the efforts of
their assailants, who at last called in the aid of
Philip of Macedon, With his help the Phocians
were subdued, they themselves expelled from
the league, and their place given to Philip.

It was not, however, till the Locrian war
(339-8) that Philip acquired a firm hold in
Greece. The Locrians had committed the same
offense ac that of the Phocians, and when they
likewise refused to pay the fine imposed upon
them by the league, Philip, as one of the mem-
bers, received the charge of punishing them.
The advance of Philip was at £rst witnessed
with comparative indifference or tne states of
Greece, but when his real designs Decame ap-
parent the Athenians, on the aatnce ci i>— «ne-
thenes, hastily concluded an al nance with tr.-
Thebans, and an army was sent out to oppose



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him. The battle of Chaeronea (338) turned out,
however, disastrously for the Greeks, who saw
thejr whole .country, laid at the feet of Philip.
But the conqueror treated his new subjects with
mildness, wishing to reconcile them to the
Macedonian yoke, and to win their co-operation
in his projected invasion of the rotten empire
of Persia. He collected a large army, of which
he got himself declared commander-in-chief by
the Amphictyonic League in an assembly held
at Corinth in 337 b.c ; before he was able to
start he was assassinated 336 b.c

The design of Philip on Persia was taken up
and carried out by his son Alexander the Great,
during whose absence Antipater was left behind
as governor of Macedonia and Greece. Soon
after the departure of Alexander, Agis III. of
Sparta headed a rising against Antipater. He
was defeated, however, in the battle of Mega-
lopolis in 330 b.c, and no other attempt was
made by the Greeks to recover their liberty for
nearly 100 years. At the close of the wars
which followed the death of Alexander, and
which resulted in the division of his empire,
Greece remained with Macedonia.

The last efforts of the Greeks tc recover
their independence proceeded from the Achaeans,
who held the northern strip of the Peloponnesus.
This tribe is frequently mentioned by Homer as
taking a very prominent part in the Trojan war;
but during the historical period of Greece they
for the most part kept aloof from the quarrels
of the other states, and did not even furnish
assistance in repelling the Persian invasion.
They had taken part, though reluctantly, in the
Pdoponnesian war on the side of Sparta, and
had shared in the defeat of Megalopolis in 330
B.C. In the course of the first half of the 3d
century b.c several of the Achaean towns ex-
pelled the Macedonians, and revived an ancient
confederacy, which was now known as the
Achaean League. About the middle of this cen-
tury the league was joined by the town of Si-
cyon, the native city of Aratus, who soon after
became its leading spirit. Through his influence
it was joined also by Corinth, and then it began
to aim at acquiring the supremacy throughout
the Peloponnesus, and even throughout the
whole of Greece, as well as at delivering Greece
from the Macedonian yoke. In following out
the first of these aims Aratus and the league
came into collision with Sparta, which at that
time happened to be governed in near succession
by two kings, Agis I V. (244-240) and Cleomenes
(236-220), who had both something of the old
Lycurgan spirit in them. These, then, naturally
looked with jealousy on the efforts of Aratus,
and during the reign of Cleomenes a war broke
out between Sparta and the Achaean League.
The league was at first worsted, and was only
finally successful when Aratus, forgetting the
ultimate end of his efforts in the pursuit of
that which he had more immediately in view,
called m the aid of the Macedonians. In the
battle of Sellasia, in 222 b.c, Cleomenes was de-
feated and compelled to take to flight, and the
Macedonians became masters of Sparta. Aratus
died in 213, and his place was taken by Philopce-
men, «the last of the Greeks • who roused the
league once more to vigorous efforts, and grad-
ually succeeded in making it in some degree in-
dependent of Macedonia.

About' this time the Romans, who had just
<ome out victorious from a second war with

Vol. 10 — 14



Carthage, in which they had had to contend with
Hannibal, found an occasion to interfere in the
affairs of Greece. Philip V. of Macedon had
allied" himself during this war with Hannibal*
and, accordingly as soon as the war was con-
cluded, the Romans sent over Flamininus to
punish him for so doing, and in this war with
Philip the Romans were joined by the Achaean
League. Philip was defeated at the battle of
Cynoscephalae m 197 b.c, and was in consequence
obliged to agree to a peace, in which he recog-
nized the independence of Greece. To gratify
the Greek vanity Flamininus proclaimed the de-
liverance of Greece from the Macedonian yoke
at a celebration of the Isthmian games in 196
b.c ; but the Greeks soon felt that they had only
exchanged masters, that they were in reality,
although not in name, as much in subjection to
them as they had ever been to the Macedonians.
On this account the MtoMnns, who had formed
a league similar to that of the Achaeans, ap-
pealed for assistance against the Romans to
Anttochus the Great, king of Syria, one of the
kingdoms which had been .formed out of the
empire of Alexander: The appeal was listened
to ; but the help afforded was useless, 16r Anti-
ochus was defeated in a bloody battle at Mag-
nesia in Asia Minor in 190 B.C The ^tolians
were compelled to pay a money indemnity, and
to sacrifice some of their art treasures.

By this time the Achaean League was unques-
tionably supreme over all other powers within
Greece, having been joined by all the states of
the Peloponnesus. But the league itself was
in reality subject to Rome, the senate of which
assumed the right of regulating its proceedings;
and on one occasion, in 168 b.c, on the conclu-
sion of a war waged by the Romans against
Macedonia, the former carried off into Italy
1,000 of the noblest Achaeans, on the pretext that
they had furnished assistance to the Macedoni-
ans. Such was the condition of affairs until 147
b.c, when the league openly resisted a demand
made by the Roman senate, that Sparta, Corinth,
Argos, and other cities, should be separated
from it, in consequence of which a war ensued,
which was concluded in 146 b.c by the capture
of Corinth by the rude consul Mummius.

The independence of Greece was virtually
gone with the fall of Corinth. From this date
the prosperity of her cities rapidly declined, and
the last sparks of the ancient Greek patriotism
and love of independence became extinguished.
The various cities still retained, however, some-
thing of the qualities for which they had been
remarkable at the height of their glory. Athens
was still one of the centres of culture, and the
cradle of all kinds of new speculations. Many
Athenians left their native city and made a live-
lihood, although they gained little esteem, among
the Romans, as artists and scholars, actors and
dancers, poets and wits. The citizens of Sparta
continued to gratify their thirst for warfare as
well as their covetousness by serving as mer-
cenaries in foreign armies. Corinth was still
the home of luxury and vice.

From the date above mentioned Greece re-
mained attached to the Roman empire. On the
division of the Roman empire it fell of course
to the eastern or Byzantine half. From 1204 to
1261 it formed a part of the Latin Empire of
the East, and was divided into a number of feu-
dal principalities. In the latter year it was re-
annexed to the Byzantine empire, with which



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it remained tD] it was conquered by the Turks
between 1460 and 1473. In 1699 the Morea
was ceded to the Venetians, but was recovered
by the Turks in 171 5. (For the history of the
present kingdom of Greece, see Greece, Mod-
ern.) Consult: Thirlwall, history of Greece ) ;
Grote, history of Greece* ; Bury, History of
Greece > (1900).

Cosmogony and Religion. — Nowhere did
polytheism develop itself into a brighter and
more beautiful system than among the ancient
Greeks. It was this circumstance no doubt that
led the Romans, when they became acquainted
with the literature and religion of the Greeks, to
blend the Greek system with that of the ancient
Italians, identifying the Greek deities with those
of their own pantheon. In this way the Greek
and Italian deities came to be confounded.

According to the view of the origin of all
things which in course of time grew up among
the Greeks, the universe was in the beginning a
formless mass, Chaos (confusion), from which
arose the a broad-bosomed p Earth (Greek, Gaia,
Gl; Latin, Tellus), the Lower World (Tar-
tarus), the darkness of Night (Greek, Nux;
Latin, Nox), the parent of Light, and the forma-
tive principle of Love (Greek, ErSs; Latin,
Amor), all of which were regarded as inde-
pendent divinities. From the womb of the
Earth proceeded the Heaven (Greek Ouranos;
Latin, Caelum) and the Ocean, and afterward
the Titans, creatures of superhuman size and
strength, who formed the first dynasty of gods.
The Titans were succeeded by a more genial
race of divinities endowed with intellectual as
well as physical qualities, who subdued the
Titans, and subsequently the Giants, another
race whom the Earth produced after the loss of
her first brood. In this second dynasty of gods
the supreme ruler was Zeus (Jupiter or Jup-
piter), the son of Kronos (Saturn), who after
the subjugation of the Titans and Giants ruled
in Olympus over «the middle air,* while his
brother Pluto reigned over the dark kingdom
of the lower world (Hades, Tartarus, Orcus),
and Poseidon (Neptune), armed with his tri-
dent, ruled in the sea. Like reverence was paid
to Hera (Juno), the sister and wife of 2eus,
and the queen of Heaven, the virgin Pallas
Athene (Minerva), a goddess armed with hel-
met and shield, and worshipped as the patroness
of all intellectual employments and useful inven-
tions, to the two children of Leto (Latona),
Apollo, the leader of the Muses (hence called
Musagetes) and the protector of the fine arts,
and his sister, the chaste huntress Artemis
(Diana), the goddess of the moon, to the daugh-
ter of Zeus, Aphrodite (Venus), the goddess
of love, Ares (Mars), the god of war, Hermes
(Mercury), the herald of the gods, and others
besides. In addition to these there was an in-
numerable host of inferior deities (Nymphs,
Nereids, Tritons, Horai, Sirens, Dryads and
Hamadryads, etc.), who presided over woods
and mountains, fields and meadows, rivers and
lakes, the seasons, etc. There was also a race
of heroes or demigods (Heracles or Hercules,
Perseus, etc.) tracing their origin from Zeus,
and forming a connecting link between gods
and men, while on the other hand the Satyrs
formed a connecting link between the race of
men and the lower animals. According to a
plausible theory, now less generally held than
formerly, these gods and demigods are nothing



else than the personified objects of nature (the
Sky or Upper Air, the Sun, the Ocean, the Air
in Motion, etc.), and were originally not con-
ceived as personified, in the strict sense of the
term, that is, as clothed in a human form, but
simply as the objects themselves, to which the
earliest races everywhere attributed a conscious
existence like their own, and that the mytholog-
ical tales relating to these deities and heroes-
were in their simplest form the natural expres-
sion of what human beings in their infancy be-
lieved to be done and felt by the very things
which they saw. Such is the theory of Max
Miiller, Mr. Cox, and others; but it will be
more appropriately expounded in the article



Online LibraryWilfrid RichmondThe Americana: a universal reference library, comprising the arts ..., Volume 10 → online text (page 55 of 185)