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and dissipated as even to give rise to a proverb. The prosperity of these places was due to two causes: they were not only the centres of great agricultural districts, but carried on also an active commerce in all directions, the dense population of the mother country offering themi a steady and profitable market; they also maintained an active traffic with all the Mediterranean cities; thus, if they furnished Athens with corn, they also furnished Carthage with oil. In the Greek cities connected with this colonial system, especially in Athens, the business of ship-building and navigation was so extensively prosecuted as to give a special character to public life. In other parts of Greece, as in Sparta, it was altogether diffurent. Iu that state the laws of Lycurgus had abolished private property; all things were held in common; savage life was reduced to a system, and therefore there was vo object in commerce. But in Athens, commerce was regarded as being so far from dishonourable that some of the most illustriou- men, whose names have descended to us as philosophers, were occupied with mercantile pursuits. Aristotle kept a druggist's shop in Athens, and l’lato sold oil in Egypt.
It was the intention of Athens, had she succeeded in the conquest of Sicily, to make an attempt upon Carthage, foreseeing therein the dominion of the Mediterranean, as was actually realized subsequently by Rome. The destruction of that city constituted the point of ascendency in the history of the Great Republic. Carthage stood upon a peninsula forty-five miles round, with a neck only three miles across. Her territory has been estimated as having a sea-line of not less than 1400 miles, and containing 300 towns; she had also possessions in Spain, in Sicily, and other Mediterranean islands, acquired, not by conquest, but by colonization. In the silver mines of Spain she employed not le-s than forty thousand men. In these respects she was guided by the maxims of her Phænician ancestry, for the Tyrians had colonized for depôts, and had forty stations of that kind in the Mediterranean. Indeed, Carthage herself originated in that way, owing her development to the poition she held at che junction of the east and west basins. The Carthagirian
merchants did not carry for hire, but dealt in their
commodities. This implied an extensive system Carthaginian Fupressacy in of depôts and bonding. They had anticipated the Mediter- many of the devices of modern commerce. They
effected insurances, made loans on bottomry, and it has been supposed that their leathern inoney may have been of the nature of our bank notes.
In the preceding chapter we have spoken of the attempts Attempts of of the Asiatics on Egypt and the south shore of the Persians the Mediterranean ; we have now to turn to in the M their operations on the north shore, the conse diterranean. quences of which are of the utmost interest in the history of philosophy. It appears that the cities of Asia Minor, after their contest with the Lydian kings, had fallen an easy prey to the Persian power. It remained, therefore, only for that power to pass to the European continent. A pretext is easily found where the policy is so clear. So far as the internal condition of Greece was concerned, nothing could be more tempting to an invader. There seemed to be no bond of union between the different towns, and, indeed, the more prominent ones might be regarded as in a state of chronic revolution. In Athens, since B.C. 622, the laws of Draco had been supplanted by those of Solon; and again and again the government had been seized by violence or gained through intrigue by one adventurer after another. Under these Contest le
with circumstancethe Persian king passed an army tween them into Europe. The military events of both this
I the Greeks. and the succeeding invasion under Xerxes have been more than sufficiently illustrated by the brilliant imagination of the lively Greeks. It was needless, however, to devise such fictions as the million of men who crossed into Europe, or the two hundred thousand who lay dead upon the field after the battle of Platæa. If there were not such stubborn facts as the capture and burning The fifty of Athens, the circumstance that these wars years' war, lasted for fifty years would be sufficient to inand eventual supremacy form us that all the advantages were not on one of Athens. side. Wars do not last so long without bringing upon both parties disasters as well as conferring glories; and had these been as exterminating and over
whelming as classical authors have supposed, our surprise may well be excited that the Persian annals have preserved so little memory of them. Greece did not perceive that, if posterity must take her accounts as true, it must give the palm of glory to Persia, who could, with unfaltering perseverance, persist in attacks illustrated by such unparalleled catastrophes. She did not perceive that the annals of a nation may be more splendid from their exhibiting a courage which could bear up for half a century against continual disasters, and extract victory at last from defeat.
In pursuance of their policy, the Persians extended their dominion to Cyrene and Barca on the south, as well as to Thrace and Macedonia on the north. The Persian wars gave rise to that wonderful development in Greek art which has so worthily excited the admiration of subsequent ages. The assertion is quite true that after those wars the Greeks could form in sculpture living men. On the part of the Persians, these military undertakings were not of the base kind so common in antiquity; they were the carrying out of a policy conceived with great ability, their object being to obtain countries for tribute and not for devastation. The great critic Niebuhr, by whose opinions I am guided in the views I express of these events, admits that the Greek accounts, when examined, present little that was possible. The Persian empire does not seem to have suffered at all; and Plato, whose opinion must be considered as of very great authority, says that, on the whole, the Persian wars reflect extremely little honour on the Greeks. It was asserted that only thirty-one towns, and most of them small ones, were faithful to Greece. Treason to her seems for years in succession to have infected all her ablest men. It was not Pausanias alone who wanted to be king under the supremacy of Persia. Such a satrap would have borne about the same relation to the great king as the modern pacha does to the grand seignior. However, we must do justice to those able men. A king was what Greece in reality required : had she secured one at this time strong enough to hold her conflicting interests in check, she would have become the mistress of the world. Her leading men saw this.
The elevating effect of the "ersian wars was chiefly felt in Athens. It was there that the grand development of
pure art, literature, and science took place. As The consequence is her to Sparta, she remained barbarous as she had vast intellec- ever been; the Spartans continuing robbers and tual progress
- impostors, in their national life exhibiting not a single feature that can be commended. Mechanical art reached its perfection at Corinth ; real art at Athens, finding a multitude not only of true, but also of new expressions. Before Pericles the only style of architecture was the Doric; his became at once the age of perfect beauty. It also became the age of freedom in thinking Her progress and departure from the national faith. In this in ar. respect the history of Pericles and of Aspasia is very significant. His, also, was the great age of oratory, but of oratory leading to delusion, the democratical forms of Athens being altogether deceptive, power ever remaining in the hands of a few leading men, who did everything. The true popular sentiment, as was almost always the case under those ancient republican institutions, could find for itself no means of expression. The great men were only too prone to regard their fellow-citizens as a rabble, mere things to be played off against one another, and to consider that the objects of life are dominion and lust, that love, self-sacrifice, and devotion are fictions; that oaths are only good for deception.
'Though the standard of statesmanship, at the period of the Persian wars, was very low, there can be no doubt that among the Greek leaders were those who clearly understood the causes of the Asiatic attack; and hence, with an instinct of self-preservation, defensive alliances were continually The treaty maintained with Egypt. When their valour and with Persia. endurance had given to the Greeks a glorious issue to the war, the articles contained in the final treaty manifest clearly the motives and understandings of both parties. No Persian vessel was to appear between the Cyanean Rocks and Chelidonian Islands ; no Persian army to approach within three days' journey of the Mediterranean Sea, B.C. 449.
To Athens herself the war had given political supremacy. We need only look at her condition fifty years after the
of policy and
battle of Platæa. She was mistress of more than a thousand miles of the coast of Asia Minor; she held as dependencies more than forty islands ; she controlled the straits between Europe and Asia ; her fleets ranged the Mediterranean and the Black Seas ; she had monopolized the trade of all the adjoining countries; her magazines were full of the most valuable objects of commerce. From the ashes of the Persian fire she had risen up so supremely beautiful that her temples, her statues, her works of art, in
She become their exquisite perfection, have since had no the c ntre parallel in the world. Her intellectual supre- of policy and macy equalled her political. To her, as to a focal" point, the rays of light from every direction converged. The philosophers of Italy and Asia Minor directed their steps to her as to the acknowledged centre of mental activity. As to Egypt, an utter ruin had befallen her since she was desolated by the Persian arms. Yet we must not therefore infer that thorigh, as conquerors, the Persians had trodden out the most aged civilization on the globe, as sovereigns they were haters of knowledge, or merciless as kings. We must not forget that the Greeks of Asia Minor were satisfied with their rule, or, at all events, preferred rather to remain their subjects than to contract any permanent political connexions with the conquering Greeks of Europe.
In this condition of political glory, Athens became not only the birth-place of new and beautiful productions of art, founded on a more just appreciation of the true than had yet been attained to in any previous age of the world (which, it may be added, have never been surpassed, if, indeed, they have been equalled since', she also became the receptacle for every philosophical opinion, new and old. Ionian, Italian, Egyptian, Persian, all were brought to her, and contrasted and compared together. Indeed, the philosophical celebrity of Greece is altogether due to Athens. The rest of the country participated but little in the cultivation of learning. It is a popular error that Greece, in the aggregate, was a learned country.
We have already seen how the researches of individual inquirers, passing from point to point, had conducted them, in many instances, to a suspicion of the futility of human