Oldalképek
PDF
ePub

HISTORY OF GREECE.

In consequence of Greece having been divided into a number of petty states, each of which maintained its own political independence, the history of the country necessarily assumes the character of a number of separate narratives. The Greeks, in the different states, did not consider themselves as constituting a single nation or people, although they were in some measure united by similarity of origin, language, religion, and manners. It was not, indeed, till a comparatively late period that they had any name for the entire country; the name then assumed was Hellas. The term Grecia (Greece) was conferred by the Romans, and has since been generally employed.

EARLY HISTORY AND MYTHOLOGY. The history of the Grecian states commences about 1800 years before Christ, when the Egyptians on the opposite side of the Mediterranean were in a high state of civilisation ; but the portion of history which precedes 884 B.c. is understood to be fabulous, and entitled to little credit. According to the Greek poets, the original inhabitants of the country, denominated Pelasgians, were a race of savages, who lived in caves, and clothed themselves with the skins of wild beasts. Uranus, an Egyptian prince, landed in the country, and became the father of a family of giants, named

Titans, who rebelled against, and dethroned him. His GREECE is a peninsula situated on the northern shore son Saturn, who reigned in his stead, in order to preof the Mediterrancan, between the Ionian and Ægean vent the like misfortune from befalling himself, ordered Seas. As a country, it is beautifully diversified by hills all his own children to be put to death as soon as they and valleys, like Wales or the Highlands of Scotland. were born. But one named Jupiter was concealed by Some of the hills are so high as to be constantly covered the mother, and reared in the island of Crete, from with snow; while the low districts enjoy a mild cli- which in time he returned, and deposed his father. mate, and are of extreme fertility-several of them, The Titans, jealous of this new prince, rebelled against as Tempe and Arcadia, being spoken of with rapture by him, but were vanquished and expelled for ever from the poets of ancient times. As the country is much the country. divided by hills and indentations of the sea, it was Jupiter divided his dominions with his brothers Neppartitioned, from an early period, into a number of tune and Pluto. The countries which he reserved to petty states, which were under separate governments, himself he governed with great wisdom, holding his and often at war with each other. The southern part court on Mount Olympus, a hill in Thessaly, 9000 feet of the peninsula, anciently styled the Peloponnesus, in height, and the loftiest in Greece. Any truth which and now the Morea, was divided into Laconia (con- there might be in the story of the Titans and their taining Sparta), Argolis, Achaia, Arcadia, Elis, and princes was completely disguised by the poets, and by Messenia, each of which was only about the size of a the popular imagination. Saturn, Jupiter, Neptune, moderate English county. Middle Greece (now Liva- and Pluto, were looked back to, not as mortals, but as dia), to the north of the Peloponnesus, and connected deities; and the top of Mount Olympus was supposed with it by the Isthmus of Corinth, on which lay the city to be the heavenly residence of the gods, by whom the of that name, contained Attica (in which was the city affairs of mortals were governed. And for ages after of Athens), Megaris, Bocotia (in which was the city of the dawn of philosophy, these deified sons of Saturn, Thebes), Phocis, Locris, Doris, Ætolia, and Acarnania, and numberless others connected with them, were the Northern Greece contained Thessaly (now the district of objects of the national worship, not only among the Jannina), Epirus (now Albania), and Macedonia (now Greeks, but also among the Roinans. Filiba Vilajeti), the last of which did not, however, At an uncertain but very early date an Asiatic belong to Greece till a comparatively late period. people named the Hellenes immigrated into Greece,

To the east of Greece proper lay the numerous in some cases expelling the Pelasgi, and in others islands of the Ægean Sea, otherwise denominated the intermingling with them, so that in process of time all Archipelago; with which may be included certain islands the inhabitants of Greece came to be called Hellenes. lying in the Mediterranean Sea in the same direction, They were, however, divided into several tribes, the the principal of which were Rhodes, Cyprus, and the principal of which were the Dorians, Æolians, and Cyclades. To the south lay Cythera (now Cerigo) and Ionians, each of whom spoke a dialect differing in Crete (now Candia). To the west, in the Ionian Sea, some respects from those made use of by the others. lay Corcyra (Corfu), Cephalonia, Ithaca, and others, These dialects were named the Doric, Æolic, and Ionic, now constituting the distinct confederacy of the Ionian in reference to the tribes which used them; and a Islands, under protection of Great Britain.

fourth, which was afterwards formed from the Ionic, Besides having possession of these various districts was named the Attic, from its being spoken by the on the mainland, and islands on both sides of the inhabitants of Attica. peninsula, the Greeks in the course of time acquired In the year 1856 B.C., Inachus, a Phænician advencolonies in Sicily and Southern Italy, as well as on the turer, is said to have arrived in Greece at the head of coast of Asia Minor, adjacent to the islands in the a small band of his countrymen. Phænicia, a petty Ægean Sea. The principal of these Asiatic possessions state on the coast of the Mediterranean, in Asia Minor, was lonia, a beautiful and fertile country, the capital was at this time one of a few countries, including Egypt of which was Ephesus.

and Assyria, in which some degree of civilisation preNo. 56.

81

[graphic]

vailed, while all the rest of the people of the earth | Amphitryon, king of Thebes, by whom the infant Hier. remained in their original barbarism, like the Pelas-cules was adopted as his son. While yet a child in the gians before the supposed arrival of Uranus. Naviga- cradle, he is fabled to have crushed to death two snakes tion for the purposes of commerce, and the art of writ- which the goddess Juno had sent to destroy him. After ing, are said to have originated with the Phænicians. he grew up, he performed many heroic and extraordi. On their arrival in Greece, Inachus and his friends nary actions, commonly called his • labours.' Among founded the city of Argos, at the head of what is now these was his killing a dreadful lion, by clasping his called the Gulf of Napoli, in the Peloponnesus. arms round its neck, and so choking it.

Three hundred years after this event (1556 B.c.), a Another of the fabled labours of Hercules was his colony, led by an Egyptian named Cecrops, arrived in destroying the Hydra of Lerna. This was a monstrous Attica, and founded the celebrated city of Athens, for- seven-headed serpent, which haunted the small lake of tifying a high rock which rose precipitously above the Lerna, now Molini, in Argolis, and filled with terror site afterwards occupied by the town.

the inhabitants of the whole of that part of the coun. Egypt is situated in the north-eastern part of Africa. try. Hercules dauntlessly attacked it, and struck off It is bounded on the north by the Mediterranean Sea, several of its heads with his club. But these wonderful and is watered by the great river Nile, the periodical heads were no sooner beaten off than they grew on again, overflowings of which, by supplying the moisture neces- so that it seemed an impossibility to kill a monster sary for vegetation, render the soil very fertile. From whose injuries were so quickly repaired. At last, one this country, which had at a very early period made of the companions of Hercules having, at the hero's considerable advances in some of the arts and sciences request, seared with a hot iron the necks of the hydra (see ANCIENT HISTORY), Cecrops imported much valu- as fast as each decapitation was accomplished, it was able knowledge to the rude inhabitants of Attica, whom discovered that the heads did not spring again, and he had persuaded or obliged to acknowledge him as Hercules was thus enabled to complete the destruction their chief or king. He placed his rocky fastness under of this terrible reptile. the protection of an Egyptian goddess, from whose Another achievement of this hero, to which allusion Greek name, Athena (afterwards changed by the Latins is often made by modern writers, was the cleansing of into Minerva), the city which subsequently rose around the stables of Augéus, king of Elis, in which three the eminence was called Athens.

hundred cattle had been kept for thirty years, without About the year 1493 B. C., Cadmus, a Phænician, any attempt having been made during all that time to founded the city of Thebes in Bæotia ; and among remove the accumulating filth. This much-required other useful things which he communicated to the purification the hero accomplished by turning into the Greeks, he is said to have taught them alphabetical stables a river which flowed in the vicinity. Hercules writing, although it is certain that that art did not also undertook an expedition for the purpose of carrycome into common use in Greece until several centuries ing off the cattle of Geryon, king of Gades, now Cadiz, after this period.

in Spain. Geryon is represented as having been a The city of Corinth, situated on the narrow isthmus monster with three heads, and a proportionate supply which connects the Peloponnesus with the mainland of of arms and legs, and to have ruled over the greater Greece, was founded in the year 1520 B. C., and from its part of Spain with the utmost cruelty. He was killed very advantageous position on the arm of the sea to by Hercules, who brought away his valuable flocks in which it anciently gave a name, but which is now triumph. In this expedition he is said to have formed known as the Gulf of Lepanto, it very soon became a the Strait of Gibraltar, in order to open a communicaplace of considerable commercial importance. Sparta tion between the Mediterranean and Atlantic, by rendor Lacedæmon, the celebrated capital of Laconia in the ing asunder Spain and Africa, which had until then Peloponnesus, is said to have been founded about 1520 been united. Two mountains, Calpe and Abyla (one B. c. by Lelex, an Egyptian.

on each side of the Strait), raised by him in the execuIn the year 1485 B.C., an Egyptian named Danäus, tion of this task, were called the Pillars of Hercules, accompanied by a party of his countrymen, arrived at and the appellation is not unfrequently made use of Argos, the inhabitants of which must have been at by authors even at the present day. that period in an exceedingly rude state, since it is After many adventures in foreign countries, he resaid that he excited their gratitude so much by teach- turned to the Peloponnesus, where he took to wife a ing them to dig wells, when the streams from which lady named Dejanira. For a while they lived happily they were supplied with water were dried up with the together; but at last, believing that Hercules had beheat, that they elected him as their king.

come less attached to her than formerly, his consort Fully more than a century after this period (about presented him with a tunic steeped in a mixture, which 1350 B.c.), Pelops, the son of a king of Phrygia, a she expected to operate as a charm in regaining for her country in Asia Minor, settled in that part of Greece his affections, but which was, in reality, a deadly poison, which was afterwards called from him Peloponnesus, artfully placed in her hands by an enemy. As soon as or the island of Pelops, where he married the daughter Hercules had put on this fatal garment, he was attacked of one of the native princes, whom he afterwards suc- with the most excruciating pain, and being anxious to ceeded on the throne.' In the course of his long reign, put a period as speedily as possible to his agonies, he he found means to strengthen and greatly extend his stretched himself upon a funeral pile, and causing & influence in Greece, by forming matrimonial alliances friend to set it on fire, was burned to ashes. His spirit between various branches of his own house and the other is said to have ascended to heaven in a chariot drawn royal families of the Peloponnesus. Agamemnon, king by four horses, which Jupiter, the king of the gods, of Mycenæ, in Argolis, who was, according to the poet transmitted to earth for the purpose, and Juno, the Homer, the commander-in-chief of the Greeks at the celestial queen, gave him her daughter Hebe as his siege of Troy, and Meneläus, king of Sparta, on ac- wife. Dejanira, on learning the unfortunate result of count of whose wrongs that war was undertaken, were her attempt to recover her husband's love, put an end descended from this Phrygian adventurer.

to her own life in despair. Hercules, a Theban prince, was another of the de- Such are the wild fictions which have been handed scendants of Pelops. The numerous and extraordinary down respecting Hercules, who was in reality nothing feats of strength and valour of Hercules excited the more than a Greek prince of great valour and bodily admiration of his contemporaries, and being afterwards strength. Having been expelled from Mycenæ by a exaggerated and embellished by the poets, caused him rival claimant of the throne of that state, he appears at length to be regarded as a person endowed with super- to have spent the greater part of his life in wandering natural powers, and even to be worshipped as a god. over Greece at the head of a band of military followers,

According to the poets, Hercules was the son of the sometimes attacking and destroying the robber chiefs god Jupiter, and of Alcmena, daughter of Electryone, and petty tyrants who at that rude and unsettled peking of Mycenæ. Before his birth, his mother married riod abounded in all parts of the country, and on other occasions engaging in predatory expeditions himself. Theseus was advised to cross to Attica by water. But His character bears no slight resemblance to that of his lofty spirit could not brook the idea of shrinking the military chieftains who flourished in our own coun- from danger, and he resolved to proceed to his destitry a few hundred years ago, and who, with somewhat nation overland. Hercules had before this time deconfused notions of right and wrong, were equally ready stroyed many of the robber chiefs who infested Greece, to succour the weak against a powerful oppressor, and but notwithstanding all his exertions, there were numto attack and plunder an enemy, or even, in many bers still remaining; and as Theseus proceeded along cases, an unoffending neighbour, whose numerous flocks the coasts of the Saronic gulf, he encountered and disoffered a tempting booty.

comfited not a few of these marauders. Among others, During the lifetime of Hercules (1263 B.C.), Jason, he is said to have destroyed a cruel chieftain named a prince of Thessaly, made a voyage to Colchis, a Procrustes, who had a bed on which he stretched his country on the eastern side of the Euxine or Black captives, shortening or lengthening their bodies to corSea. His enterprise was afterwards greatly celebrated respond with the size of the bed, by either barbarously under the name of the Argonautic Expedition, from cutting off a portion of their limbs, or racking them Argo, the vessel in which he sailed. This ship is gene-out, as the case might be. After many toils and perils, rally referred to by the ancients as the first that ever Theseus arrived safe in Athens; and Ægeus, recogventured on a long voyage. It is uncertain what was nising him by the tokens he brought, presented him to the real object of the Argonautic expedition, although the people as the heir to the throne. it seems probable that, as Colchis was rich in mines The fame of his warlike exploits rendered Theseus a of gold and silver, Jason and his companions, among favourite with the Athenians; and soon after his arrival whom were Hercules and several other persons of dis- among them, he took a step which greatly added to his tinction, were actuated by a desire to rob the country popularity. In consequence of their want of success in of some of its valuable metals. The poets, however, a war with Minos, a celebrated king of Crete, the tell us a different story. Phryxus and Hellé, the son Athenians had been obliged to send to that sovereign and daughter of Athamus, king of Thebes, being com- an annual tribute of seven young men and as many pelled, according to the poetical account, to quit their young girls. These victims, it is probable, were, on native country to avoid the cruelty of their stepmother, their arrival in Crete, condemned to slavery; but the mounted on the back of a winged ram with a fleece of popular belief of those superstitious times was, that gold, and were carried by this wonderful animal through they were thrown into a labyrinth constructed by an the air towards Colchis, where an uncle of theirs, named ingenious person named Dædalus, where they were Ætes, was king. Unfortunately, as they were passing devoured alive by a monster called a Minotaur (taurus, over the strait now called the Dardanelles, which con- a bull), one-half of whose body resembled a man, and Tiects the Ægean Sea with the Propontis, or Sea of the other a bull. Marmora, Helle became giddy, and falling into the When the time came round for selecting by lot the water, was drowned. From her, says the legend, the annual victims, Theseus, observing the horror of those strait was named the Hellespont, or Sea of Helle. on whom the lot fell, and the deep sympathy which

When Phryxus arrived in Colchis, he sacrificed his was universally felt for their unhappy fate, resolved winged ram to Jupiter, in acknowledgment of divine to make a bold eftort to obtain the abrogation of the protection, and deposited its golden fleece in the same cruel tribute. For that purpose he voluntarily enrolled deity's temple. He then married the daughter of Ætes, himself as one of the victims, and was sent to Crete but was afterwards murdered by that king, who wished along with the others. On his arrival there, he was to obtain possession of the golden fleece. To avenge well received by Minos, who had already heard of his Phryxus's death, Jason, who was his relation, under heroic deeds, and who admired the warmth of that took the expedition to Colchis, where, after performing patriotism which had led the Athenian prince thus to several marvellous exploits, he not only obtained the offer himself up a voluntary sacrifice for the benefit of golden fleece, but persuaded Medea, another daughter his country. of King Ætes, to become his wife, and to accompany On further acquaintance, Minos conceived so high him back to Greece.

an opinion of Theseus, that he gave him his daughter One of the persons associated with Jason in the Ariadné in marriage, and relinquished his claim to the Argonautic expedition was Theseus, a hero almost as humiliating tribute which he had hitherto exacted celebrated as Hercules himself. His father, Ægéus, from the Athenians. Theseus then returned to Athens, was king of Athens, and his mother, Æthra, was the where he was received with every demonstration of daughter of Pitthens, king of Trezen, in Argolis. An public respect. Annual sacrifices and festivals were insurrection which broke out in Attica obliged Ægeus instituted in commemoration of his patriotic conto leave Æthra at her father's court, before Theseus duct, and the vessel in which he had made his voyage was born, and to repair in haste to Athens. Before his to Crete was carefully preserved for many centuries, departure, he conducted his wife to a lonely spot in being from time to time repaired, until at last it bethe vicinity of Trezen, where there stood a large rock came a question, which was gravely discussed by the with a cavity in the centre. In this hollow he placed learned, whether it was or was not to be still regarded a pair of sandals and a hunting-knife, and after cover- as the vessel of Theseus, after its several parts had ing them over with a piece of marble of great weight, been so frequently renewed. he addressed Æthra in the following words : If our Theseus succeeded his father on the Athenian throne child shall prove a boy, let his removal of this stone (1234 B.c.), and by his wise regulations greatly consobe one day the proof of his strength; when he can do lidated the strength and increased the prosperity of his this, inform him of his parentage, and send him with kingdom. Cecrops, the founder of Athens, had divided the tokens it covers to me in Athens.'

Attica into twelve districts, each of which possessed its When Theseus had arrived at manhood, his mother, own magistracy and judicial tribunals. As the country remembering the words of Ægéus, took him to the rock advanced in wealth and population, these districts bewhere the tokens were deposited, and desired him to came less closely connected with each other, and at the try to lift off the mass of marble which his father had period of the accession of Theseus, they could hardly placed above them. Being a youth of uncommon be regarded in any other light than as so many little strength, he accomplished this with ease, upon which independent communities, whose perpetual disputes Æthra communicated to him the rank of his father, kept the whole district in broils and confusion. But and giving him the sandals and the hunting-knife, Theseus had influence enough with all parties to obtain charged him to bear them to Ægeus at Athens. their consent to the abolition of the separate jurisdic

Trezen, where the young prince of Athens was nur- tions, and to the fixing of all civil and judicial authotured, lay on the western shore of the gulf which sepa- rity in the capital. He at the same time voluntarily rates the Peloponnesus from Attica. As the journey resigned into their hands a portion of his own power. to Athens by land was both circuitous and dangerous, Having divided the people into three classes--the nobles,

the artisans, and the cultivators of the soil—he intrusted | Pelops, and this successful suitor, on the death of Tynthe first of these with the administration of public darus, was raised to the Spartan throne. affairs, and the dispensation of justice, while he conferred upon every freeman or citizen, without distinc- At this period, in the north-western part of Asia tion of class, a yote in the legislative assemblies. The Minor, on the shores of the Hellespont and the Ægean command of the army, and the presidency of the state, Seas, there existed a kingdom, the capital of which was he retained in his own person.

a large and well-fortified city named Troy, or Ilium. To strengthen the political union of the various dis- Priam, the king of Troy, had a son whose name was tricts of his kingdom by the tie of a common religion, Paris; and this young chief, in the course of a visit to he instituted a solemn festival, to be celebrated annu. Greece, resided for a time in Sparta at the court of ally at Athens by all the inhabitants of Attica, in Menelaus, who gave the Asiatic stranger a very friendly honour of Minerva, the tutelary deity of the city. This reception. Charmed with Helen's beauty, Paris emfestival he denominated Panathenæa, or the Feast of ployed the opportunity afforded by a temporary abseuce all the Athenians, the name by which the whole of the of her husband to gain her affections, and persuade her people of Attica were thenceforth called.

to elope with him to Troy. It was not, according to The wise and liberal policy of Theseus caused Attica the old poets, to his personal attractions, great as they to advance considerably beyond the other states of were, that Paris owed his success on this occasion, but Greece in prosperity and civilisation; and the ancient to the aid of the goddess of Love, whose favour he had historian, Thucydides, informs us that the Athenians won by assigning to her the palm of beauty, on an were the first of the Greeks who laid aside the military occasion when it was contested between her and two dress and arms, which till now had been constantly other female deities. worn. The example of Athens was not lost on the other When Menelaus returned home, he was naturally Grecian communities, all of which gradually adopted, wroth at finding his hospitality so ill requited; and to a greater or less extent, those political institutions after having in vain endeavoured, both by reinonstrances which had conferred so many advantages upon Attica, and threats, to induce the Trojans to send himn back

Notwithstanding the judicious and exemplary con- his queen, he applied to the princes who had formerly duct of Theseus in the early part of his reign, he been Helen's lovers, and called upon them to aid him, appears to have afterwards allowed his restless and according to their oaths, in recovering her from her adventurous disposition to hurry him into many extra- seducer. They obeyed the summons; and all Greece vagances, and even crimes, by which he forfeited the being indignant at the insult offered to Menelaus, a respect of his people, and brought disgrace and sufier- general muster of the forces of the various states took ing on his latter years. If we inay believe the tradi- place at Aulis, a seaport town of Baotia, preparatory tionary accounts, he accompanied Hercules in some of to their crossing the digean to the Trojan shore. This his celebrated expeditions, and assisted by Pirithiciis, is supposed to have happened in the year 1194 B.C. a king of Thessaly, engaged in many martial and pre- Of the chiefs assembled on this occasion, the most datory adventures, conformably rather with the very celebrated were Agamemnon, king of Mycenæ; Meneimperfect morality and rude manners of the age, than laus, king of Sparta; Ulysses, king of Ithaca; Nestor, with his own previous character. There reigned in king of Pylos; Achilles, son of the king of Thessaly; Lacedæmon at this period a king named Tyndarus, Ajax, of Salainis; Diomedes, of Ætolia; and Idomewho had a beautiful daughter called Helen, and ac- neus, of Crete. Agamemnon, the brother of the injured cording to the ancient historians, Theseus and his friend Menelaus, was elected commander-in-chief of the cona Pirithous formed the design of stealing away this young federated Greeks. According to some ancient authors, lady, and a princess of Epirus named Proserpine. this general was barbarous enough to sacrifice his They succeeded in carrying off Helen; but in their daughter Iphigenia, to induce the gods to send a attempt to obtain Proserpine, they fell into the hands favouring gale to the Grecian fleet when it was detained of her father, by whom Pirithous was put to death, and by contrary winds in the port of Aulis; but as the Theseus thrown into prison. Meanwhile, Castor and earliest writers respecting the Trojan war make no Pollux, the twin-brothers of llelen, who were after- mention of this unnatural act, it is to be hoped that it wards deified, and whose names have been bestowed never was perforined. upon one of the signs of the Zodiac (Gemini), rescued The Grecian arinament consisted of about 1200 vestheir sister from the men to whom Theseus had given sels, with from 50 to 120 men in each, and the army her in charge, and ravaged Attica in revenge for the which warred against Troy is supposed to have amounted injury they had received from its king.

altogether to about 100,000 men, The Trojans, although Theseus was afterwards released from imprisonment reinforced by auxiliary bands from Assyria, Thrace, by the assistance of Hercules, and returned home; but and Asia Minor, were unable to withstand the Greeks the Athenians had become so offended with his conduct, in the open country, and they therefore soon retired and were so augry at bis having exposed them to ill. within the walls of their city. treatment from the Lacedæmonians by his wicked In those early times men were unskilled in the art attempt upon llelen, that they refused to receive him of reducing fortified places, and the Greeks knew of no again as their sovereign. lle therefore withdrew into speedier way of taking Troy than blockading it till exile, and soon after died in the island of Scyros. The the inhabitants should be compelled by famine to surAthenian people, however, never forgot the benefits he render. But here a new difficulty arose.

No arrangehad in his wiser days conferred upon the state; and ments had been made for supplying the invaders with many centuries after his death, his bones, or some provisions during a lengthened siege; and after they which were supposed to be his, were conveyed to had plundered and laid waste the surrounding country, Athens with great pomp, and a splendid temple was they began to be in as great danger of starvation as erected above them to his meinory.

the besieged. The supplies which arrived from Greece The Lacedæmonian princess who was stolen away by were scanty and irregular, and it became necessary Theseus afterwards becaine the occasion of a celebrated to detach a part of the beleaguering forces to cultivate war. The fame of lier great beauty having spread far the plains of the Chersonesus of Thrace, in order to and wide, many of the princes of Greece asked her from raise crops for the support of themselves and their her father Tyndarus in marriage; but he, being fearful brethren in arms, of incurring the enmity of the rejected suitors, declined The Grecian army being thus weakened, the Trojans showing a preference for any of them. Assembling them were encouraged to make frequent sallies, in which they all, he bound them by an oath to acquiesce in the selec- were led generally by the valiant Ilector, Priain's eldest tion which llelen herself should make, and to protect and noblest son. Many skirmishes took place, and her against any atteinpts which might afterwards be innumerable deeds of individual heroism were permade to carry her off from the husband of her choice. formed, all of which led to no important result, for the Jelen gave the preference to Menelaus, a grandson of opposing armies were so equally matched, that neither could obtain any decisive advantage over the other. I would appear, gave offence to the new rulers of the At length, after a siege of no less than ten years, Peloponnesian states, and war was commenced between in the course of which some of the most distinguished the Dorians and the Athenians. In the year 1070 B.C., leaders on both sides were slain, Troy was taken, its Attica was invaded by a numerous army of the Peloinhabitants slaughtered, and its edifices burnt and ponnesians, and Athens itself seemed menaced with razed to the ground.

destruction. This emergency produced a display of According to the poets, it was by a stratagem that patriotic devotion on the part of Codrus, the Athenian this famous city was at last overcome. They tell us king, which has rarely been paralleled in the annals that the Greeks constructed a wooden horse of prodi- of mankind, and deserves to be held in everlasting gious size, in the body of which they concealed a number remembrance :of armed men, and then retired towards the sea-shore, At Delphi in Phocis there was a temple of Apollo, to induce the enemy to believe that the besiegers had to the priests of which the Greeks were wont to apply given up the enterprise, and were about to return home. for information regarding future events, in the same Deceived by this mancuvre, the Trojans brought the manner as the people of comparatively recent times gigantic horse into the city, and the men who had been were accustomed to consult astrologers, soothsayers, concealed within it, stealing out in the night-time, and other artful impostors on similar questions. Now unbarred the gates, and admitted the Grecian army Codrus had learned that the Peloponnesians had rewithin the walls. The siege of Troy forms the subject ceived at Delphi a prophetical response, to the effect of Homer's sublime poem, the 'Iliad,’ in which the real that they should not be victorious in the war, if they events of the war are intermingled with many fictitious did not kill the Athenian king. Determined to save and supernatural incidents.

his country at the expense his own life, Codrus dis

guised himself in a peasant's dress, and entering the The Greek princes discovered that their triumph over Peloponnesian camp, provoked a quarrel with a soldier, Troy was dearly paid for by their subsequent sufferings, by whom he was killed. and the disorganisation of their kingdoins at home. It was not long until the dead body was recognised Ulysses, if we may believe the poets, spent ten years in to be that of the Athenian king, and the Peloponnewandering over seas and lands before arriving in his sians, remembering the condition on which the oracle island of Ithaca. Others of the leaders died or were had promised them success, were afraid to continue shipwrecked on their way home, and several of those the contest any longer, and hastily retreated into their who succeeded in reaching their own dominions, found own territories. The Athenians were filled with admi. their thrones occupied by usurpers, and were compelled ration when they heard of the noble conduct of their to return to their vessels, and seek in distant lands a monarch, and in the height of their gratitude, they place of rest and security for their declining years. declared that none but Jupiter was worthy of being But the fate of Agamemnon, the renowned general of their king after such a prince as Codrug. the Greeks, was the most deplorable of all. On his re- It is supposed that they were partly induced to make turn to Argos, he was assassinated by his wife Clytem- this declaration by finding the sons of Codrus evince an nestra, who had formed an attachment during his inclination to involve the country in a civil war regardabsence to another person. Agamemnon's son, Orestes, ing the succession to the throne. The Athenians therewas driven into exile, but afterwards returned to Argos, fore abolished royalty altogether, and appointed Medon, and putting his mother and her accomplices to death, Codrus's eldest son, under the title of Archon, as chief established himself upon the throne.

magistrate of the republic for life; the office to be hereAbout eighty years after the termination of the ditary in his family as long as its duties should be perTrojan war, an extensive revolution took place in the formed to the satisfaction of the assembly of the people. affairs of Greece, in consequence of the subjugation of And as Attica was overcrowded with the Peloponnenearly the whole Peloponnesus by the descendants of sian refugees, these, together with a large body of AtheHercules. It has already been mentioned that that nians, were sent into Asia Minor, under the charge of hero, who was a member of the royal family of Mycenæ Androclus and Neleus, the younger sons of Codrus, to or Argos, had been driven into exile by some more suc- plant colonies to the south of those already formed in cessful candidate for the throne of that state. After Eolia. The settlers founded twelve cities, some of the hero's death, his children sought refuge in Doris, the which afterwards rose to great wealth and splendour. king of which became subsequently so much attached Ionia was the name bestowed upon the district, in reto Hyllus, the eldest son of Hercules, that he consti- ference to the Ionic stock from which the Athenians tuted him the heir of his throne. Twice the Heracli- drew their descent. dæan princes unsuccessfully attempted to establish Several Dorian colonies in Caria, a province still themselves in the sovereignty of the Peloponnesus, farther south than Ionia, completed the range of Grewhich they claimed as their right; but on the third cian settlements along the western coast of Asia Minor. trial, they accomplished their object. In the year 1104 Cyprus, Rhodes, the coast of Thrace, and the islands of B. C., three brothers named Temenus, Cresphontes, and the Ægean Sea, together with a considerable portion of Aristodemus, said to have been the great-grandsons of Italy and Sicily, and even of France and Spain, were Hyllus, invaded the Peloponnesus at the head of the also colonised by bands of adventurers, who at various Dorians, and conquered the greater part of it, with the periods emigrated from Greece; so that, in process of exception of the province of Arcadia, the mountainous time, the Grecian race, language, religion, institutions, character of which enabled its inhabitants to defend it and manners, instead of being confined to the comparawith success against the invaders.

tively small country constituting Greece proper, were Temenus obtained the kingdom of Argos, Cresphontes diffused over a very extensive region, comprising the established himself in Messenia, and as Aristodemus fairest portions of Europe and of western Asia. had died during the war, his twin sons Eurysthenes While this work of colonisation was going forward, and Procles shared between them the throne of Sparta. the parent states of Greece were torn with internal disThe thrones of Corinth and Elis were occupied by other sensions, and were perpetually harassing each other in branches of the Heraclidæan family. The Dorian troops wars, of which the objects and incidents are now equally were rewarded with the lands of the conquered inhabi- uncertain. Almost all that is known of the history of tants, who were driven out of the Peloponnesus, or re- the two centuries immediately following the death of duced to slavery. Great numbers of the Peloponnesians, Codrus is, that they were characterised by great turbuwho were expatriated by the Dorian invaders, passed lence and confusion, and that, during their lapse, many over into Asia Minor, where they founded several colo- of the Grecian states and colonies followed the example nies in a district afterwards called Æolia, from the of Athens by abolishing monarchy. Others did not, name of the people by whom these colonies were estab- till a later period, become republican, and Sparta long lished. Others took refuge in Attica, where the Athe- retained the singular form of regal government estabpians received them in a friendly manner. This, it lished there at the accession of the twin brothers

« ElőzőTovább »