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4. Thus the fanciful pictures of a strong imagination are taught to assume a serious severity, and tend to deceive the reader still more, by offering, in the garb of truth, what had been only meant to delight and allure him.
5. The fabulous age, therefore, of Greece must have no place in history. It is now too late to separate those parts which may have a real foundation in nature from those which owe their existence wholly to the imagination. There are no traces left to guide us in that intricate pursuit. The dews of the morning are past, and it is in vain to attempt continuing the chase in meridian splendour. It will be sufficient, therefore, for us to observe, that Greece, like most other countries, of whose origin we have any notice, was at first divided into a number of petty states, each commanded by its own sovereign.
6. Ancient Greece, which is now the south part of Turkey in Europe, is bounded on the east by the Egean sea, now called the Archipelago; on the south by the Cretan or Candian sea ; on the west by the Ionian sea; and on the north by Illyria and Thrace. Of such very narrow extent, and so very contemptible with regard to territory was that country which gave birth to all the arts of war and peace; which produced the greatest generals, philosophers, poets, painters, architects, and statuaries that the world ever boasted; which overcame the most powerful monarchs, and dispersed the most numerous armies that ever were brought into the field, and at last became the instructer of all mankind.
7. It is said in scripture that Javan, the son of Japeth, was the father of all those nations that went under the general denomination of Greeks. Of his four sons, Elisha, or Elias, is said to have given name to the Eadexes, a general name by which the Greeks were known. Tharşis, the second son, is thought to have settled in Achaia ; Chittim settled in Macedonia; and Dodanim, the fourth son, in Thessaly in Epirus. How they portioned out the country, what revolutions they experienced, or what wars they maintained, are utterly unknown. And indeed the history of petty barbarous states, if known, would hardly recompense the trouble of inquiry.
8. In those early times, kingdoms were but inconsiderable; a single city, with a few leagues of land, was often honoured with that magnificent appellation; it would therefore embarrass history to enter into the domestic privacy of every little state, as it would be rather a subject for the economist than the politician. It will suffice to observe, that Sicyon is said to have been the most ancient kingdom of Greece. The beginning of this petty suvereignty is placed by historians in the year of the world, one
thousand mine hundred and fifteen; before Jesus Christ, two thousand eighty-nine ; and before the first Olympiad, one thousand three hundred and thirteen. The first king was Ægialeus. Its duration is said to have been a thousand years.
9. The kingdom of Argos, in Peloponnesus, began a thousand and eighty years before the first Olympiad, in the time of Abraham. The first king was Inachus.
2 10. The kingdom of Mycænæ succeeded. The seat o. government was translated thither from Argos by Perseus, the grandson of Acrisius, the last king of that country, whom Perseus unfortunately slew. The kings who reigned at Mycanæ after Perseus, were Electryon, Sthenelus, and Eurystheus; the latter of whom was driven out by the Heraclidæ, or the descendants of Hercules, who made themselves masters of Peloponnesus.
11. The kingdom of Athens was first founded by Ce-am crops, an Egyptian. This prince, having settled in Attica, divided the whole country subject to him into Z twelve districts, and also established a court for judging causes, entitled the areopagus. Amphictyon, the third king of Athens, procured a confederacy among the twelve states of Greece, which assembled twice a year at Thermopylæ, there to offer up common sacrifices, and to consult for the common interests of the association. Theseus, one of the succeeding kings of this state, united the twelve boroughs of Cecrops into one city.
12. Codrus was the last of this line; he devoted himself to death for his people. The Heraclidæ having made an irruption as far as the gates of Athens, the oracle declared that they should be conquerors whose king should fall in this contest. To take the earliest advantage, therefore, of this answer, Codrus disguised himself in the habit of a peasant, and provoking one of the enemy's soldiers, was killed by him. Whereupon, the Athenians sent a herald to demand the body of their hing, which message struck such a damp into the enemy, that they departed without striking arother blow.
13. After Codrus, the title of king was extinguished among the Athenians. Medon, his son, was set at the head of the commonwealth, with the title of archon, which signifies chief governor. The first of this denomination had their places for life, but the Athenians growing weary of a government which repressed their love of freedom, they abridged the term of the archon's power to ten years, and at last made the office elective every year.
14. The kingdom of Thebes was first founded by " Cadmus. This hero coming by sea from the coast of 2049. Phænicia, settled in that part of the country which was afterwards called Bæotia. He there built the city of Thebes, which, from his own name, he called Cadmæa, and there fixed his seat of power and dominion. The adventures of his unhappy posterity, Laius, Jocasto, Oedipus, Eteocles, and Polynices, make a shining figure among the poetical fictions of that period.
15. The kingdom of Sparta or Lacedæmon, is supposed to have been first instituted by Lelia. Helena, the tenth in succession from this monarch, is equally famous for her beauty and infidelity. She had not lived above three years with her husband, Menelaus, before she was carried off by Paris, the son of Priam, king of Troy. This seems to be the first occasion in which the Greeks united in one common cause. The Greeks took Troy, after a ten years' siege, much about the time that Jephthah was the judge in Israel.
16. Corinth began later than the other cities above mentionAm ed to be formed into a state, or to be governed by its
kings. It was at first subject to Argos and Mycænæ ; 2628.
but Sisyphus, the son of Æolus, made himself master in of it ; and when his descendants were dispossessed,
• Bachis assumed the reins of power. The government w0V. after this became aristocratical, a chief magistrate being annually chosen by the name of prytanni. At last Cypselus having gained the people, usurped the supreme authority, which he transmitted to his son Periander, who was ranked among the seven wise men of Greece, from the love he bore to learning, and his encouragement of its professors.
17. The kingdom of Macedonia was first governed by Caranus, descended from Hercules, and subsisted from his time till the defeat of Perseus by the Romans, a space of six hundred and twenty-six years,
18. Such is the picture Greece offers in its earliest infancy, A combination of little states, each governed by its respective sovereign, yet all uniting for their mutual safety and general advantage. Still, however, their intestine contentions were carried on with great animosity; and as it happens in all petty states under the dominion of a single commander, the jealousies of the princes were a continual cause of discord. From this distressful situation, those states, by degrees began to emerge ; a different spirit began to seize the people, and, sick of the contentions of their princes, they desired to be free. A spirit of liberty prevailed all over Greece; and a general change of government was effected in every part of the country except in Mace
donia. Thus monarchy gave way to a republican government, which, however, was diversified into as many various forms as there were different cities, according to the different genius and peculiar character of each people.
19. All these cities, though seemingly different from each other in their laws and interest, were united with each other by one common language, one religion, and a national pride that taught them to consider all other nations as barbarous and feeble. Even Egypt itself, from whence they had derived many of their arts and institutions, was considered in a very subordinate light, and rather as a half barbarous predecessor, than an enlightened rival.
20. To make this union among the states of Greece still stronger, there were games instituted in different parts of the country, with rewards for excellence in every pursuit. These sports were instituted for very serious and useful purposes : they afforded an opportunity for the several states meeting together; they gave them a greater zeal for their common religion ; they exercised the youth for the purposes of war, and increased that vigour and activity which was then of the utmost importance in deciding the fate of a battle.
21. But their chief bond of union arose from the council of the Amphictyons, which was instituted by Amphictyon king of Athens, as is already mentioned, and was appointed to be held twice a year at Thermopylæ, to deliberate for the general good of those states of whose deputies it was composed. The states who sent deputies to the council, were twelve, namely, the
Thessalians, the Thebans, the Dorians, the Ionians, the Perhaabeans, the Magnates, the Locrians, the Oetans, the Pthiotes, the Maleans, the Phocians, and the Dolopians.
22. Each of those cities which had a right to assist at the Amphictyonic council, was obliged to send two deputies to every meeting. The one was entitled the hieromnemon, who took care of the interests of religion, the other was called the pylagoras, and had in charge the civil interest of his community. Each of these deputies, however differing in their functions, enjoyed an equal power of determining all affairs relative to the general interests of Greece.
23. But, although the number of deputies seems to have been settled originally so as to answer the number of votes which each city was allowed, yet in process of time, or some extraordinary occasions, the principal cities assumed a power of sending more than one pylagoras to assist in a critical emergency, or to serve the purposes of a faction.
24. When the deputies, thus appointed, appeared to execute their commission, after offering up sacrifices to Apollo, Diana, Latona, and Minerva, they took an oath, implying, that they would never subvert any city of the Amphictyons, never stop the course of waters, either in war or peace, and that they would oppose any attempts to lessen the reverence and authority of the gods, to whom they had paid their adoration. Thus, all offences against religion, all instances of impiety and profanation, all contests between the Grecian states and cities, came under the particular cognizance of the Amphictyons, who had a right to determine, to impose fines, and even to levy forces, and to make war against those who offered to rebel against their sovereign authority.
25. These different motives to confederacy united the Greeks for a time into a body of great power, and greater emulation. By this association, a country not half so large as England, was able to dispute the empire of the earth with the most powerful monarchs of the world. By this association, they not only made head against the numerous armies of Persia ; but dispersed, routed, and destroyed them, reducing their pride so low, as
to make them submit to conditions of peace as shameful to the . conquered as glorious to the conquerors.
26. But among all the cities of Greece there were two that by their merit, their valour, and their wisdom, particularly distinguished themselves from the rest, these were Athens and Lacedæmon. As these cities served as an example of bravery or learning to the rest, and as the chief burden of every foreign war devolved upon them, it will be proper to enter into their particular history with greater minuteness, and to give the reader some idea of the genius, character, manners, and government of their respective inhabitants.
Of the Government of Sparta, and the Laws of Lycurgus.
1. ALTHOUGH the kingdom of Lacedæmon was not so considerable as that of Athens, yet as it was of much earlier institution, it demands our first attention. Lacedæmon, as observed before, was in the beginning governed by kings, of which thirteen held the reins of power in succession, of the race of the Pelopidæ. As, during this dark interval, there was no fixed laws to limit the prerogative, and no ideas of true government among the people, it does not appear that there were any considerable encroachments made either on the side of the king or that of the people.