« AnteriorContinuar »
to his word, and to the engagements into which he has entered, as an effect of pusillanimity, incapacity, and want of understanding; and whose opinion, in short, is, that a man is unqualified for government, if he does not prefer reasons and considerations of state, before the exact observation of treaties, though concluded in ever so solemn and sacred a man
The Asiatic nations, continues Xenophon, soon imitated their prince, who became their example and instructor in double-dealing and treachery. They soon gave themselves up to violence, injustice, and impiety: and from thence proceeds that strange alteration and difference we find in their manners, as also the contempt they conceived for their sovereigns, which is both the natural consequence and punishment of the little regard princes pay to the most sacred and awful solemnities of religion.
Surely the oath, by which treaties are sealed and ratified, and the Deity brought in not only as present, but as guarantee of the conditions stipulated, is a most sacred and august ceremony, very proper for the subjecting of earthly princes to the supreme Judge of heaven and earth, who alone is qualified to judge them; and for the keeping of all human majesty within the bounds of its duty, by making it appear before the majesty of God, in respect of which it is as nothing. Now, if princes will teach their people not to stand in fear of the Supreme Being, how shall they be able to secure their respect and reverence to themselves? When once that fear comes to be extinguished in the subjects as well as in the prince, what will become of fidelity and obedience, and by what stays or pillars shall the throne be supported? Cyrus had good reason to say, that he looked upon none as good servants and faithful subjects, but such as had a sense of religion, and a reverence for the Deity: nor is it at all astonishing, that the contempt which an impious prince, who has no regard to the sanctity of oaths, shows of God and religion, should shake the very foundations of the firmest and best established empires, and sooner or later occasion their utter destruction. Kings, says Plutarch, when any revolution happens in their dominions, are apt to complain bitterly of their subjects' unfaithfulness and disloyalty: but they do them wrong; and forget, that it was themselves who gave them the first lessons of their disloyalty, by showing no regard to justice and fidelity, which on all occasions they sacrificed without scruple to their own particular inter
a Cyrop 1. viii. p. 204.
b Plut. in Pyrrh. p. 390.
THE ORIGIN AND FIRST SETTLEMENT
OF THE SEVERAL
STATES AND GOVERNMENTS
Of all the countries of antiquity, scarce have any been so highly celebrated, or furnished history with so many valuable monuments and illustrious examples, as Greece. In what light soever she is considered, whether for the glory of her arms, the wisdom of her laws, or the study and improvement of arts and sciences, all these she carried to the utmost degree of perfection; and it may truly be said, that in all these respects she has in some measure been the school of mankind.
It is impossible not to be very much interested in the history of such a nation; especially when we consider that it has been transmitted to us by writers of the most consummate merit, many of whom distinguished themselves as much by their swords, as by their pens; and were as great_commanders and able statesmen, as excellent historians. I confess, it is a vast advantage to have such men for guides; men of an exquisite judgment and consummate prudence; of a just and perfect taste in every respect; and who furnish not only the facts and thoughts as well as the expressions wherewith they are to be represented; but, what is more, furnish all the proper reflections that are to accompany those facts; and which are the most useful improvements resulting from history. These are the rich sources from whence I shall draw all that I have to say, after I have previously inquired into the first origin and establishment of the Grecian states. As this inquiry must be dry, and not capable of affording much delight to the reader, I shall be as brief as possible. But before I enter upon that, I think it necessary to draw a kind of sho plan of the situation of the country, and of the several p that compose it.
A GEOGRAPHICAL DESCRIPTION OF ANCIENT GREECE.
Ancient Greece, which is now the south part of Turkey in Europe, was bounded on the east by the gean 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.
The constituent parts of ancient Greece are, Epirus, Peloponnesus, Greece properly so called, Thessaly, and Macedonia.
Epirus. This province is situated to the west, and divided from Thessaly and Macedonia by mount Pindus, and the Acroceraunian mountains.
The principal inhabitants of Epirus are, the Molossians, whose chief city is Dodona, famous for the temple and oracle of Jupiter. The Chaonians, whose principal city is Oricum. The Thesprotians, whose city is Buthrotum, where was the palace and residence of Pyrrhus. The Acarnanians, whose! city is Ambracia, which gives its name to the gulf. Near to this stood Actium, famous for the victory of Augustus Cæsar, who built over-against that city, on the other side of the gulf, a city named Nicopolis. There were two little rivers in Epi rus, very famous in fabulous story, Cocytus and Acheron.
Epirus must have been very well peopled in former times; as a Polybius relates, that Paulus Æmilius, after having defeated Perseus, the last king of Macedonia, destroyed seventy cities in that country, the greatest part of which belonged to the Molossians; and that he carried away from thence no less than 150,000 prisoners.
Peloponnesus. This is a peninsula, now called the Morea, joined to the rest of Greece only by the isthmus of Corinth, that is but six miles broad. It is well known, that several princes have attempted in vain to cut through this isthmus.
The parts of Peloponnesus are Achaia, properly so called, whose chief cities are Corinth, Sicyon, Patræ, &c. Elis, in which is Olympia, otherwise called Pisa, seated on the river Alpheus, upon the banks of which the Olympic games used to be celebrated. Cyllene, the country of Mercury. Messenia, in which are the cities of Messene, Pylos, in the last of which Nestor was born, and Corona. Arcadia, in which stood the cities of Tegea, Stymphalos, Mantinea, and Megalopolis, Polybius's native place. Laconia, wherein stood Sparta, or Lacedæmon, and Amycle; mount Taygetus; the river Eurotas, and the cape of Tenarus. Argolis, in which was the city of Argos, called also Hippium, famous for the a Apud, Strab, 1. vii. p. 322.
temple of Juno; Nemea, Mycena, Nauplia, Troezene, and Epidaurus, wherein was the temple of Æsculapius.
Greece, properly so called.
The principal parts of this country were Ætolia, in which were the cities of Chalcis, Calydon, and Olenus. Doris, Locris, inhabited by the Ozola. Naupactum, now called Lepanto, famous for the defeat of the Turks in 1571. Phocis. Anticyra, Delphos, at the foot of mount Parnassus, famous for the oracles delivered there. In this country also was mount Helicon. Baotia. Orchomenos. Thespia, Charonea, Plutarch's native country. Platæa, famous for the defeat of Mardonius. Thebes. Aulis, famous for its port, from whence the Grecian army set sail for the siege of Troy. Leuctra, celebrated for the victory of Epaminondas. Attica. Megara. Eleusis. Decelia. Marathon, where Miltiades defeated the Persian army. Athens, whose ports were Piræus, Munychia, and Phalerus; and mountains Hymettus and Citharon. Locris.
Thessaly. The most remarkable towns of this province were Gomphi, Pharsalia, near which Julius Cæsar defeated Pompey. Magnesia. Methone, at the siege of which Philip lost his eye. Thermopyla, a narrow strait, famous for the vigorous resistance of 300 Spartans against Xerxes's numerous army, and for their glorious defeat. Phthia. Thebes. Larissa. Demetrias. The delightful valleys of Tempe, near the banks of the river Peneus. Olympus, Pelion, and Ossa, three mountains celebrated in fabulous story for the battle of the giants.
Macedonia. I shall mention only a few of the principal towns of this country. Epidamnus, or Dyrrachium, now called Durazzo. Apollonia. Pella, the capital of the country, and the native place of Philip, and of his son Alexander the Great. Ega. Edessa. Pallene. Olinthus, from whence the Olynthiacs of Demosthenes took their name. Torone. Acanthus. Thessalonica, now called Salonichi. Stagira, the place of Aristotle's birth. Amphipolis. Philippi, famous for the victory gained there by Augustus and Anthony over Brutus and Cassius. Scotussa. Mount Athos; and the river Strymon.
The Grecian Isles.
There is a great number of islands contiguous to Greece, that are very famous in history. In the Ionian sea, Corcyra, with a town of the same name, now called Corfu. Cephalene and Zacynthus, now Cephalona and Zante. Ithaca the country of Ulysses, and Dulichium, Near the promon
tory Malea, over-against Laconia, is Cythera. In the Sa ronic gulf, are Ægina, and Salamis, so famous for the seafight between Xerxes and the Grecians. Between Greece and Asia lie the Sporades; and the Cyclades, the most noted of which are Andros, Delos, and Paros,_anciently famous for the finest marble. Higher up in the Ægean sea is Eubœa, now Negropont, separated from the main land by a small arm of the sea, called Euripus. The most remarkable city of this isle was Chalcis. Towards the north is Scyrus, and, a good deal higher, Lemnos, now called Stalimene; and still further, Samothrace. Lower down is Lesbos, whose principal city was Mitylene, from whence the isle has since taken the name of Metelin. Chios, now Scio, renowned for excellent wine; and lastly, Samos. Some of these last mentioned isles are reckoned to belong to Asia. The island of Crete, or Candia, is the largest of all the isles contiguous to Greece. It has to the north the Ægean sea, or the Archipelago; and to the south the African ocean, Its principal towns were, Gortyna, Cydon, Gnossus; its mountains, Dicte, Ida, and Corycus. Its labyrinth is famous Over all the world.
The Grecians had colonies in most of these isles.
They had likewise settlements in Sicily, and in part of Italy, towards Calabria, a which places are for that reason called Græcia Magna.
But their grand settlement was in Asia Minor, and particularly in Æolis, Ionia, and Doris. The principal towns of Æolis, are, Cuma, Phocæa, Elea. Of Tonia, Smyrna, Clazomene, Teos, Lebedus, Colophon, and Ephesus. Of Doris, Halicarnassus and Cnidos.
They had also a great number of colonies dispersed up and down in different parts of the world, whereof I shall give some account, as occasion shall offer.
DIVISION OF THE GRECIAN HISTORY INTO FOUR SEVERAL
The Grecian History may be divided into four different ages, marked out by so many memorable epochas: all which together include the space of 2154 years.
The first age extends from the foundation of the several petty kingdoms of Greece, beginning with that of Sicyon, which is the most ancient, to the siege of Troy, and comprehends about 1000 years, namely, from the year of the world 1820, to the year 2820,
Strab. 1 vi. p. 253.
↳ Plim h vi, © 2