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people about them. These circumstances induce me to believe, that their language has experienced no change.
LVIII. I am also of opinion, that the Hellenian tongue is not at all altered. When first they separated themselves from the Pelasgians, they were neither numerous nor powerful. They have since progressively increased; having incorporated many nations, Barbarians and others, with their
The Pelasgians have always avoided this mode of increasing their importance; which may be one reason, probably, why they never have emerged from their original and barbarous condition.
LIX. Of these nations, Cresus had received information, that Athens suffered much from the oppression of Pisistratus the son of Hippocrates, who at this time possessed the supreme authority. The father of this man, when he was formerly a private spectator of the Olympic games, beheld a wonderful prodigy: Having sacrificed a victim, the brazen vessels, which were filled with the flesh and with water, boiled up and overflowed without the intervention of fire. Chilon the Lacedæmonian, who was an accidental witness of the fact, advised Hippocrates, first of all, not to marry a woman likely to produce him children : secondly, if he was already married, to repudiate his wife ;
but if he had then a son, by all means to expose him. Hippocrates was not at all disposed to follow this counsel, and had afterwards this son Pisistratus. A tumult happened betwixt those who dwelt on the sea-coast, and those who inhabited the plains : of the former, Megacles the son of Alcmeon was leader, Lycurgus, son of Aristolaides, was at the head of the latter. Pisistratus took this opportunity of accomplishing the views of his ambition. Under pretence of defending those of the mountains, he assembled some factious adherents, and put in practice the following stratagem: He not only wounded himself, but his mules75, which he drove into the forum, affecting to have made his escape from the enemy, who had attacked him in a country excursion. He claimed, therefore, the protection of the people, in return for the services which he had performed in his command against the Megarians?“, by his capture
75 Wounded himself, but his mules.]—Ulysses, Zopyrus, and others, availed themselves of similar artifices for the advantage of their country; but Pisistratus practised his, to depress and enslave his fellow-citizens. This occasioned Solon to say to him, “ Son of Hippocrates, you ill apply the stratagem of Homer's Ulysses : he wounded his body, to delude the public enemies; you wound your's, to beguile your countrymen.”-Larcher.
76 Command against the Megarians.]—The particulars of this affair are related by Plutarch, in his Life of Solon.—T.
When the Athenians, tired out with a long and troublesome war against the Megarensians for the isle of Salamis, made a
of Nisæa, and by other memorable exploits. The Athenians were deluded by his artifice, and as
law that no one for the future, under pain of death, should, either by speech or writing, propose that the city should assert its claims to that island, Solon was very uneasy at so dishonourable a decree, and seeing a great part of the youth desirous to begin the war again, being restrained from it only by fear of the law, he feigned himself insane; and a report spread from his house into the city, that he was out of his senses. Privately, however, he had composed an elegy, and got it by heart in order to repeat it in public; thus prepared, he sallied out unexpectedly into the market-place with a cap upon his head. A great number of people flocking about him there, he got upon the herald's stone, and sung the elegy, which begins thus
Hear and attend: from Salamis I came
This composition is entitled Salamis, and consists of an hundred very beautiful lines. When Solon had done, his friends began to express their admiration, and Pisistratus, in particular, exerted himself in persuading the people to comply with his directions, whereupon they repealed the law, once more, undertook the war, and invested Solon with the command. The common account of his proceedings is this : he sailed with Pisistratus to Colias, and having seized the women, who, according to the custom of the country, were offering sacrifice to Ceres there, he sent a trusty person to Salamis, who was to pretend he was a deserter, and to advise the Megarensians, if they had a mind to seize the principal Athenian nations, to set sail immediately for Colias. The Megarensians readily embracing the proposal, and sending out a body of men, Solon discovered the ship as it put off from the island, and causing the women directly to withdraw, ordered a number of young men whose faces were yet smooth,
signed some of their chosen citizens as his guard”, armed with clubs, instead of spears. These seconded the purpose of Pisistratus, and seized the citadel. He thus obtained the supreme power; but he neither changed the magistrates nor altered the laws: he suffered every thing to be conducted in its ordinary course; and his government was alike honourable to himself 78 and useful to the
to dress themselves in their habits, caps, and shoes. Thus with weapons concealed under their clothes, they were to dance and play by the sea-side, till the enemy was landed, and the vessel near enough to be seized. Matters being thus ordered, the Megarensians were deceived with the appearance, and ran confusedly on shore, strivirig which should first lay hold on the women. But they met with so warm a reception, that they were cut off to a man, and the Athenians embarking immediately for Salamis, took possession of the island.
77 As his guard.]—The people being assembled to deliberate on the ambuscade which Pisistratus pretended was concerted against him, assigned him fifty guards for the security of his person. Ariston proposed the decree; but when it was once passed, the people acquiesced in his taking just as many guards as he thought proper. Solon, in a letter to Epemenides, preserved in Diogenes Laertius, but which seems to be spurious, says, that Pisistratus required four hundred guards; which, notwithstanding Solon's remonstrances, were granted him. Polyænus says they assigned him three hundred.- Larcher. A similar stratagem was executed by Dionysius, tyrant of Syracuse, and with similar success. The account is given at length by Diodorus Siculus, book 21 and 95.
78 Honourable to himself.]-Pisistratus, says Plutarch, was not only observant of the laws of Solon himself, but obliged
city. The factions of Megacles and Lycurgus afterwards united, and expelled him from Athens.
LX. By these means Pisistratus became for the first time master of Athens, and obtained an authority which was far from being secure.
The parties, however, which effected his expulsion, presently disagreed. Megacles, being hard pressed by his opponent, sent proposals to Pisistratus, offering him the supreme power, on condition of his marrying his daughter. Pisistratus acceded to the terms; and a method was concerted to accomplish his return, which to me seems exceedingly preposterous. The Grecians, from the remotest times, were distinguished from the Barbarians by their acuteness; and the Athenians, upon whom this trick was played, were of all the Greeks the most eminent for their sagacity. There was a Pæaniean woman, whose name was Phya79; she wanted but three digits of being four cubits high, and was, moreover, remarkably beautiful. She was dressed in a suit of armour, placed in a chariot, and decorated with the greatest possible
his adherents to be so too. Whilst in the enjoyment of the supreme authority, he was summoned before the Areopagus, to answer for the crime of murder. He appeared with modesty to plead his cause. His accuser did not think proper to appear. The same fact is related by Aristotle.—Larcher.
79 Phya.]-There is here great appearance of ficțion. Phya means air, or personal courage. Ειδος τε, μεγεθος τε, φυην τ' αγχιστα εoικώς.
Il. 2d. T. Vox. I.