ment of the hiftory of this colony, which fable has strangely altered".

When Cadmus faw himself in peaceable poffeffion of the country, he built a fortress, according to the custom of these first conquerors, which, from the name of its founder, was called Cadmeus *. As he wanted to increase the number of his fubjects, he first granted the favour of asylums, and gave an abfolute fecurity to all those who would fly for refuge to him . Cadmus fucceeded, and by this expedient made his city extremely populous. But he exposed it at the fame time to the jealousy of his neighbours, in that he protected criminals from the punishment they deserved.

There are few colonies from whom the Greeks have drawn fuch great advantages as from this of Cadmus. Greece is indebted to him for alphabetic writing, the art of cultivating the vine, and the forging and working of metals. I fhall take a proper notice of all these particulars in the fequel of this work.

Cadmus, after having reigned fome time in Beotia, faw a confpiracy formed which deprived him of the throne. Forced to retire, he looked for an afylum among the Encheleans. These people being at that time at war with the Illyrians, had received an answer from the oracle, which promised them victory if they marched under the conduct of Cadmus. They believed this; and having effectively put that prince at their head, they defeated the Illyrians. In acknowledgment of the fervice which Cadmus had done them, they chofe him king. There he finished his courfe. He died in that country..

The moment that Cadmus abandoned his rifing princi pality, Polydore his fon afcended the throne 1. I fhall

"See Apollod. 1. 3. p. 136.; Ovid. met. 1.3. init.; Palaephat. c. 6.; Bannier, explicat. des fables, t. 6. p. 117.

* Strab. 1. 9. p. 615.; Pauf. 19. c. 5.

y Potter, Archaeolog. Gr. 1. 2. c. 2. p. 213.

Romulus availed himself of the fame means to people Rome the more readily. Dion. Halic. 1. 2. p. 88.; T. Livius, 1. 1. n. 8.; Strabo, 1. 5. p. 352.; Plut. in Romulo, p. 22. E.

z Apollod. 1. 3. p. 143.; Strabo, l. 7. p. 503.; Pauf, 1. 9. c. 5.


Apollod. & Pauf. loco cit.

b lbid.




dwell no longer on the fucceffors of Cadmus. The family of that prince is but too well known by the fhocking miffortunes that overwhelmed it. The moft tragical catastrophes teem to have been the portion of his fucceffors. They continued to Xanthus the laft King of Thebes. The manner in which he perished, was the reafon that the government changed its form, and became republican.

A difference had arifen between the Athenians and Thebans about a city of which they difputed the poffeffion. The troops being in fight of each other, the two armies reflecting, that, in rifking a battle, there must be a great many killed on both fides, they agreed then, to fave the effufion of blood, to oblige the two kings themfelves to decide the quarrel of the two ftates. Timotheus, King of Athens, refufed the challenge, and refigned his royalty. Melanthus, to whom they offered it, accepted it, and killed the King of Thebes .


This event, joined to the misfortunes which feemed infeparable from the perfons of their fovereigns, gave the Thebans a diflike to royalty like the Athenians in this particular, who, on the death of Codrus, changed likewise the form of their government. But this change aggran dized the Athenians, whereas the Thebans, in lofing their kings, loft all their reputation. Athens become a republic, carried its glory to the highest pitch it was capable of arriving at. Thebes, on the contrary, could only languish for a long time. It was more than feven hundred years before it could arife from its obfcurity. At laft it got out of it by the reputation which the victories of Epaminondas and Pelopidas gave to their arms. This republic played but a fort fcene, it is true, but a moft brilliant one. But this is too foreign to our fubject to dwell upon it.

b Conon apud Phot. narrat. 39. p. 447.; Strabo, 1.9. p. 602.; Pauf. 1.9. c. 6.; Polyaen. ftrat. I. 1. c. 19.; Frontin. ftrat. 1. 2. n. 41.; Suidas, voce 'Απάτυρια, t. 2. p. 248.

Pauf. 1. 9. c. 6.

Pauf. ibid.; Herod.1. 9. n. 85.




Tis not with the origin of this city as with that of Athens, The beginning of Lacedæmon is abfolutely unknown. Its first years have been fo obfcured, that even fable itself has not found fufficient matter to embellish it. I fhall not therefore stop to examine the different traditions which have been handed down to us about the origin of this people, of whom we are not at all inftructed •. We must without doubt attribute the caufe of this to the contempt which at all times the Lacedæmonians had for letters .

Lelex is looked upon as the firft who is faid to have reigned over Laconia. Some fay that he was an Egyptian ; others, that he was originally of that country. They place the beginning of his reign 1516 years before the Chriflian æra. Of most of the kings who have poffeffed the throne from this prince to Oreftes, we fcarce know any thing but their names; we can no where find either the time that each prince reigned, or even the number of years which make up the fum of their reigns. Befides the little we know of their actions, prefents nothing worthy of detaining the reader. Yet we must except Oebalus, the eighth king of Sparta from Lelex.

This prince efpoufed for his fecond marriage Gorgophona, daughter of Perfeus. That princefs was then widow of Perieres, King of Meflina. This is the firft example the Grecian history gives us of a widow's marrying *. Bv this marriage he had Tyndarus. His father declared him heir to his dominions, and he enjoyed them fome time. But Oebalus had had by Nicoftrata, his first wife, a fon called Hippocoon. This prince, affifted by the nobles of the

• See Bochart, le P. Pezron. le Clerc, bibliotheque univ. t. 6.

f Alian. var. hift. 1. 12. c. 50.

Pauf. 1. 1. c. 44.

k Jd.l. 2. c. 21. 1 Id. 1. 3. c. I.

Id. 1.3. init.
i Id. 1. 4. c. 2.
Meurf. de reg. Lac. c. 3.4.

F 2


[ocr errors]

country, claimed the throne in virtue of his right of feniority, declared war against Tyndarus", obliged him to give up the crown, and go to Sparta. Tyndarus retired to Theftius, and married his daughter Leda, fo well known in fable by her amours with Jupiter ». Hippocoon having fome time before drawn upon himself the wrath of Hercules, that hero maffacred him and all his children, and replaced Tyndarus upon the throne of Sparta ". But he only ceded that crown to him on condition that he gave it up again to his defcendents when they fhould come and demand it of him .

Tyndarus had, by his marriage with Leda, two fons twins, Caftor and Pollux, and two daughters, Helena and Clytemneftra. Authors are not agreed in what manner Caftor and Pollux perished. However it was, Tyndarus afflicted for the untimely lofs of his two fons, thought to repair it by chufing a fon-in-law worthy of his daughter, and capable of governing his kingdom. His defign was no fooner known, than all the princes of Greece offered themselves. They reckoned there were twenty-three rivals who afpired to the hand of Helen. This croud of competitors greatly embarraffed Tyndarus. He feared left the choice that he should make should bring on him the enmity of those who fhould be refused. Ulyffes, who was one of the number, then gave marks of that artifice which has always appeared in his conduct. He fuggefted to Tyndarus an expedient to get out of the difficulty without any difagreeable confe

[ocr errors]

Pauf. 1. 2. c. 18. p. 151.1.3. c. I.

Apollod. 1. 3. p. 173.;

Diod 1. 4. p. 278.; Strabo, 1. 10. p. 708.; Pauf. 1.

3. c. 21. p. 263.

P Apollod. 1. 3. p. 173.; Hygin. fab. 77. ; Strabo, 1. 10. p. 709. Apollod. 1. 2. p. 114.115.; Diod. 1. 4. p. 278.; Pauf. 1. 2. c. 18. p. 151.1. 3. c. 15. p. 244.

Diod. 1. 4. p. 278.; Pauf. p. 151.

Apollod. 1. 3. p. 174.; Hygin. fab. 78.

Apollod. 1. 3. p. 175.

It must have been that in thofe times the hopes of a crown furpaffed afl other confiderations; otherwife the rape of Helen by Thefeus, had made too much noife in Greece not to have cooled the ardor of the pretenders, efpecially as he was fufpected to have to Thefeus, Iphigenia, whom her aunt Clytemnestra took care to bring up as if fhe had been her own daughter. Pauf. 1. 2. c. 32.; Auton. liberal métam, c. 27.


[ocr errors]

quences. He advised him to make all the lovers of Helen fwear folemnly, that they would agree to the choice of that princess, and that they would all join themselves to him whom the had chofen, to defend him against any one who would difpute her with him. They all They all accept the propofition, each flattering himself that the choice of Helen will fall upon him. She determined in favour of Menelaus, brother of Agamemnon, who by that means became King of Sparta y. Scarce had the heen three years with this prince, when fhe was carried off by Paris, fon of Priam. Every one knows that this rape occafioned the war of Troy 2,

Before this event, Helen had had to Menelaus a daugh ter called Hermione. This princefs, on marrying Oreftes her coufin-german, brought as a dower to the prince the kingdom of Sparta. It was under the reign of Tifamenes his fon, that the defcendents of Hercules entered into Peloponnefus, and made themselves mafters of it eighty years after the taking of Troy. This event, one of the most confiderable in the Grecian hiftory, totally changed the face of that part of Europe, and brought upon it a dreadful revolution. This was the occafion of it.


[ocr errors]



ERSEUS had had, by his marriage with Andromeda, Alceus, Sthenelus, Hilas, Maftor, and Electrion. Alceus having married Hippomene, daughter of Meneceus, had

Apollod. 1. 3. p. 176.; Hygin. fab. 78.; Pauf. 1. 3. c. 23.

* Hygin. fab. 78.

y Ibid.

z Herodotus makes a very judicious reflection on this fubject. The Afia tics, fays he, look upon the taking away a man's wife as a most unjust action; but they think none but fools would try to revenge thofe that have been carried off, perfuaded that this could not have happened but with their own confent. 1. 1. n. 4.

a Apollod. 1. 3. p. 176.

с Apollod. 1. 2. p. 77. 78.;

Pauf. 1. 3. c. 1.: Hygin. fab. 122.
Diod, 1. 4. p. 254. .


« ElőzőTovább »