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character of this prince, [8] who was famous for his mildness and moderation. [h] Besides, is it probable, that Cyrus, who was marching to the conquest of Babylon, should squander time so precious to him in this manner, spend the ardour of his troops in so useless a labour, and lose the opportunity of surprising the Babylonians, by amusing himself by making war upon a river, instead of carrying his arms against the enemy y?

But what absolutely decides in favour of Xenophon, is the agreement of his account with the holy scripture, where we see that Cyrus was so far from raising the empire of the Persians upon the ruins of that of the Medes, as Herodotus remarks, that those two nations acted in concert in the siege of Babylon, and joined their forces to destroy that formida

ble power,

Whence then could so great a difference arise between these two historians? Herodotus will tell us. In the very passage, where he relates the birth of Cyrus, and in that where he speaks of his death, he informs us, there were then very different manners of reporting these two great events. Ilerodotus followed that which was most agreeable to his own fancy; and we know he was fond of any thing extraordinary and wonderful, and very easily gave credit to it, Xenophon was more serious and less credulous; and he tells us in the beginning of his history, that he had very carefully enquired into the birth of Cyrus, his character and education.

We must not conclude from what I have said, that Herodotus is not to be credited in any thing, because he is sometimes mistaken; this rule would be false and

[ɛ] Tully observes, that during ... huc omnem transtulit belli aphis whole reign he never let an paratum... Periit itaque & tempus, angry word tall from him; cujus magna in magnis rebus jactura;, summo in imperio nemo unquam & militum ardor, quem inutilis la. verbum ulluin asperius audivit. bor fregit ; & occasio aggrediendi Ep. 2. ad Quint. Fratr.

imparatos, dum ille bellum indic[b] Cùm Babylonem oppugnatu. tum hosti cum Aumine gerit. Senec. rus festinaret ad bellum, cujus inaxi- lib. 3. de Ira. cap. 21. ma momenta in occasionibus sunt


unjust; as we should be to blame to believe every thing an author says, because he sometimes speaks truth. Truth and falshood may be found together; but the reader's judgment and prudence consist in knowing how to distinguish them, in pointing them out by certain peculiar circumstances, and in making a just trial and separation of them. And to this judgment in discerning what is true or false the boys should be early accustomed.




My design in this second piece of history is to give some idea of the superiority of the Athenians for several years over all Greece, and to lay open by what means and degrees they arrived at that height of power. The principal persons who in the space of time we speak of, contributed most to the establishment and support of the power of this republic, though by very different qualifications, were Themistocles, Aristides, Cimon, and Pericles.

Themistocles indeed laid the foundation of this new power by one single piece of advice, in turning the whole power

and views of the Athenians towards the sea. Cimon brought these naval forces into service by his maritime expeditions, which reduced the Persian empire to the very brink of ruin. Aristides supplied the expences of the war by his wise economy in the management of the public treasure. And Pericles, by his prudence supported and augmented what the others had acquired, in mixing the gentle exercises of peace with the tumultuous expeditions of war. Thus the rise of the Athenians was owing to the happy concurrence and mixture of the policy of Themistocles, the activity of Cimon, the disinterestedness of Aristides, and the wisdom of Pericles; so that if any one of these causes had been wanting, Athens would never have obtained the supremacy of Greece.


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The good success of the battle of Marathon, where Themistocles was present, first kindled in his heart that thirst of glory, which followed him ever after, and sometimes carried him too far. The trophies of Miltiades, he said, left him no rest either by day or night.

He resolved from that time to make his name and ''country illustrious by some great action, and render it superior to Lacedæmon, which had long lorded it over all Greece. With this view he judged it would be expedient to turn all the force of Athens towards the sea, seeing that as it was weak by land, that was the only means of making it necessary to its allies

, and formidable to its enemies. Covering therefore his designs under the plausible pretext of the war against the Æginetæ, he caused a fleet of an hundred ships to be built, which soon after was a great instrument in contributing to the safety of Greece.

The inviolable affection Aristides bore to justice, obliged him upon several occasions to oppose Themistocles, who was not over scrupulous in that point, and managed so by his tricks and cabals, as to procure the banishinent of Aristides. In this kind of judgment the citizens gave their votes by writing the name of the person upon a shell, in Greek called ósparer, whence was derived the name of ostracism. A peasant upon this occasion who knew not how to write, and did not know Aristides, applied to himself, de. siring he would put the name of Aristides upon his shell. Why, says Aristides, has he done you any wrong, that you would thus condemn him? No, replied the other, I do not so much as know hiin, but I cannot endure to hear every body calling him Just. Aristides, without one word of answer, quietly takes his shell, writes his name upon it, and gives it to him back again. He took his leave with an earnest prayer, that the gods would not inflict any misfortune upon his country to make bim regretted. The great Camiilus in a like case did not follow his generosity, but offered up a quite different petition, [i] In exilium (1) Liv. lib. 5. n. 32.


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abiit, precatus, ab diis immortalibus, si innoxio sibi ea injuria fieret, primo quoque tempore desiderium sui civitati ingratæ facerent. Going into banish

ment, he prayed the immortal gods that he was con“demned unjustly, they would take the earliest op

portunity of making his ungrateful city regret his " loss." I shall hereafter examine what we are to think of the ostracisin, Aristides was very soon recalled.

The expedition of Xerxes against Greece hastened his return. All the allies united their forces to repel the common enemy.

They were then sensible how serviceable the prudent foresight of Themistocles was, who under another pretence had built an hundred gallies. They doubled this number upon the arrival of Xerxes. When they came to nominate the generalissimo, that was to command the fleet, the Athenians, who alone were masters of two thirds of the vessels, laid claim to the honour, and most justly. However, all the voices of the allies were unanimous in favour of Eurybiades the Lacedemonian. Themistocles, though young and very desirous of glory, judged that upon this occasion he ought to lay aside his own interest for the common good of his country; and telling the Athenians, that if they behaved with courage, the Greeks would soon of their own accord confer the command upon them, he persuaded them to yield to the Lacedæmonians as he did. I have elsewhere related with what moderation and prudence this young Athenian behaved both in the council of war, and at the battle of Salamis, whereof he had all the honour, though he was not the commander in chief.

From that glorious victory the reputation and credit of the Athenians very much increased. They be.haved with great modesty upon the occasion, and sought only to advance their power by honourable and just means Mardonius, who was left in Greece with an army of three hundred thousand men, made them very advantageous proposals in his master's name, to draw them off from the allies. lle promised entirely


to rebuild their city, which had been burnt down, to supply thein with large sums of money, and give them the command all over Greece. The Lacedæmomans terrified with the news, sent deputies to Athens, to dissuade them from a compliance, and offered to receive and provide for their wives, their children, and their old men, and furnish them with every thing else they wanted. Aristides was then in power. He answered that he excused the Barbarians, who valued nothing but gold and silver, for hoping to corrupt their fidelity by large promises; but he was surprised and displeased to see that the poverty and present misery of the Athenians should have such an effect upon the Lacedænionians, az to make them forget so much their valour and generosity, as to imagine they stood in need of their exhortation to fight manfully for the common safety of Greece, from the view of any rewards that they could offer; that they should tell their . republic, that all the gold in the world could not teinpt the Athenians, or make them abandon the detence of the common liberty; that they thanked the Lacedemonians however for their obliging offers, but they should take care to put their allies to no expence.

And then turning to the deputies of Mardonius, and stretching out his hand to the skies, “Know, says he, whilst yon sun shall continue his " course, the Athenians will be mortal enemies to the « Persians, and never cense to revenge upon

them “the ravage of their lands, and the burning of their " houses and temples.

Theinistocles in the mean time did not lose sight of the great project he had turined for supplanting the Lacedæmonians, and substituting the Athenians in their place; and without much concern about the choice of the means, be thought every thing just and good that promotes i atend. One dav in a full assemily of the citi:ens, he d cared that he had a design of great importance', but could not communicate it to the people, because the success of it der pended upon its being kepi segret; he desireu there


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