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AMPHICTYON, the third king of Athens, procured a confederacy between 12 nations, which assembled twice a year at Thermopyla, there to offer their common sacrifices, and to consult together upon their affairs in general, as also upon the affairs of each nation in particular. This convention was called the Assembly of the Amphictyons.
The reign of ERECTHEUS is remarkable for the arrival of Ceres in Attica, after the rape of her daughter Proserpine; as also for the institution of the mysteries at Eleusis.
The reign of GEUS, the son of Pandion, is the most illustrious period of the history of the heroes. In his time are placed the expedition of the Argonauts; the celebrated labours of Hercules; the war of Minos, second king of Crete, against the Athenians; the story of Theseus and Ariadne.
THESEUS Succeeded his father Egeus. Cecrops had divided Attic into 12 boroughs, or 12 districts, separated from each other. Theseus brought the people to understand the advantages of common government, and united the twelve boroughs into one city, or body-politic, in which the whole authority was united.
CODRUS was the last king of Athens; he devoted himself to die for his people.
After him 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, that is to say, president or governor. The first Archontes were for life; but the Athenians, growing weary of a government which they still thought bore too great a resemblance to royal power, made their Archontes elective every ten years, and at last reduced it to an annual office.
Thebes. Cadmus, who came by sea from the coast of Phoenicia, that is, from about Tyre and Sidon, seized upon that part of the country which was afterwards called Bootia. He built there the city of Thebes, or at least a citadel, which from his own name he called Cadmea, and there fixed the seat of his power and dominion.
The fatal misfortune of Laius, one of his successors, and of Jocasta his wife, of Edipus their son, of Eteocles and Polynices, who were born of the incestuous marriage of Jocasta with Edipus, have furnished ample matter for fabulous narration and theatrical representations.
Sparta, or Lacedæmon. It is supposed that LELEX, the first king of Laconia, began his reign about 1516 years before the Christian æra.
TYNDARUS, the ninth king of Lacedæmon, had, by Leda, Castor and Pollux, who were twins, besides Helena, and
a A. M 2720. Ant. J. C. 1284.
A. M, 2549, Ant J. C. 1455
b A. M. 2934. Ant. J. C.10705
Clytemnestra, the wife of Agamemnon, king of Mycena. Having survived his two sons, the twins, he began to think of choosing a successor, by looking out for a husband for his daughter Helena. All the pretenders to this princess bound themselves by oath, to abide by, and entirely to submit to the choice which the lady herself should make, who determined in favour of Menelaus. She had not lived above three years with her husband, before she was carried off by Alexander Paris, son of Priam, king of the Trojans ; which rape was the cause of the Trojan war. Greece did not properly begin to know or experience her united strength, till the famous siege of that city, where Achilles, the Ajaxes, Nestor, and Ulysses, gave Asia sufficient reason to forebode her future subjection to their posterity. The Greeks took Troy after a ten years siege, much about the time that Jephtha governed the people of God, that is, according to Archbishop Usher, in the year of the world 2820, and 1184 years before Jesus Christ. This epocha is famous in history, and should carefully be remembered, as well as that of the Olympiads.
An Olympiad is the revolution of four complete years, from one celebration of the Olympic games to another. We shall elsewhere give an account of the institution of these games, which were celebrated every four years near the town of Pisa, otherwise called Olympia.
The common æra of the Olympiads begins in the summer of the year of the world 3228, 776 years before Jesus Christ, from the games, in which Corebus won the prize in the foot
Fourscore years after the taking of Troy, the Heraclidæ re-entered Peloponnesus, and seized Lacedæmon, where two brothers, Eurysthenes and Procles, sons of Aristodemus, began to reign together, and from their time the sceptre always continued jointly in the hands of the descendants of those two families. Many years after this, Lycurgus instituted that body of laws for the Spartan state, which rendered both the legislator and republic so famous in history. I shall speak of them at large in the sequel.
a Corinth. Corinth began later than the other cities I have been speaking of, to be governed by kings of its own. It was at first subject to those of Argos and Mycena ; at last Sisyphus, the son of olus, made himself master of it. But his descendants were dispossessed of the throne by the Heraclidæ, about 110 years after the siege of Troy.
The regal power after this came to the descendants of Bacchis, under whom the monarchy was changed into an aristocracy, that is, the reins of the government were in the hands of the elders, who annually chose from among them
a A. M. 2376. Ant. J. C. 1376.
selves a chief magistrate, whom they called Prytanis. At last Cypselus having gained the people, usurped the supreme authority, which he transmitted to his son Periander; who was ranked among the Grecian sages, on account of the love he bore to learning, and the protection and encouragement he gave to learned men.
a Macedonia. It was a long time before the Greeks paid any great attention to Macedonia. Her kings living retired in woods and mountains, seemed not to be considered as a part of Greece. They pretended, that their kings, of whom Caranus was the first, were descended from Hercules. Philip and his son Alexander raised the glory of this kingdom to a very high pitch. It had subsisted 471 years before the death of Alexander, and continued 155 more, till Perseus was defeated and taken by the Romans; in all 626 years.
COLONIES OF THE GREEKS SENT INTO ASIA MINOR,
We have already observed, that, fourscore years after the taking of Troy, the Heraclide recovered Peloponnesus, after having defeated the Pelopida, that is, Tisamenes and Penthilus, sons of Orestes; and that they divided the kingdoms of Mycena, Argos, and Lacedæmon, among them.
So great a revolution as this almost changed the face of the country, and made way for several very famous transmigrations. To understand these the better, and to have the clearer idea of the situation of many of the Grecian nations, as also of the four dialects or different idioms of speech, that prevailed among them, it will be necessary to look a little farther back into history.
¿Deucalion, who reigned in Thessaly, and under whom happened the flood that bears his name, had by Pyrrha his wife, two sons, Hellen and Amphictyon. The latter having driven Cranaus out of Athens reigned there in his place. Hellen, if we may believe the historians of his country, gave the name of Hellenes to the Greeks: he had three sons, Æolus, Dorus, and Xuthus.
Eolus, who was the eldest, succeeded his father, and, besides Thessaly, had Locris and Botia added to his dominions. Several of his descendants went into Peloponnesus with Pelops, the son of Tantalus, king of Phrygia, from whom Peloponnesus took its name, and settled themselves in Laconia.
a A. M. 3191. Ant. J. C. 18/3.
6 Strab. 1. viii. p. 383, & Pausan. 1. vii. p. 396, &C.
The country contiguous to Parnassus fell to the share of Dorus, and from him was called Doris.
Xuthus, compelled by his brothers, upon some particular disgust, to quit his country, retired into Attica, where he married the daughter of Erechtheus, king of the Athenians, by whom he had two sons, Achæus and Ion.
An involuntary murder, committed by Achæus, obliged him to retire to Peloponnesus, which was then called Egialea, of which one part was from him called Achaia. His descendants settled at Lacedæmon.
Ion, having signalized himself by his victories, was invited by the Athenians to govern their city, and gave the country his name; for the inhabitants of Attica were likewise called Ionians. The number of the citizens increased to such a degree, that the Athenians were obliged to send a colony of the Ionians into Peloponnesus, who likewise gave their name to the country they possessed.
Thus all the inhabitants of Peloponnesus, though composed of different people, were united under the names of Achæans and Ionians.
The Heraclidæ, fourscore years after the taking of Troy, resolved seriously to recover Peloponnesus, which of right belonged to them. They had three principal leaders, sons of Aristomachus, namely Temenus, Cresphontes, and Aristodemus; the last dying, his two sons, Euristhenes and Procles, succeeded him. The success of their expedition was as happy as the motive was just, and they recovered the possession of their ancient domain. Argos fell to Temenus, Messenia to Cresphontes, and Laconia to the two sons of Aristodemus.
Such of the Achæans as were descended from Æolus, and had hitherto inhabited Laconia, being driven from thence by the Dorians, who accompanied the Heraclide into Peloponnesus, after some wandering, settled in that part of Asia Minor which from them took the name of Æolis, where they founded Smyrna, and eleven other cities; but the city of Smyrna came afterwards into the hands of the Ionians, The Æolians became likewise possessed of several cities of Lesbos.
As for the Achæans of Mycena and Argos, being compelled to abandon their country to the Heraclide, they seized upon that of the Ionians, who dwelt at that time in a part of Peloponnesus. The latter fled at first to Athens, their original country, from whence they some time afterwards departed under the conduct of Nileas and Androcles, both sons of Codrus' and seized upon that part of the coast of Asia Minor which lies between Caria and Lydia, and from them was named Ionia; here they built twelve citios, Ephesus, Clazomera, Samos, &c.
a The power of the Athenians, who had then Codrus for their king, being very much augmented by the great number of refugees that had fled into their country, the Heraclide thought proper to oppose the progress of their power, and for that reason made war upon them. The latter were worsted in a battle, but still remained masters of Megaris, where they built Megara, and settled the Dorians in that country in the room of the Ionians.
One part of the Dorians continued in the country after the death of Codrus: another went to Crete; the greatest number settled in that part of Asia Minor which from them was called Doris, where they built Halicarnassus, Cnidus, and other cities, and made themselves masters of the island of Rhodes, Cos, &c.
THE GRECIAN DIALECTS.
It will now be more easy to understand what we have to say concerning the several Grecian dialects. These were four in number; the Attic, the Ionic, the Doric, and the Æolic. They were in reality four different languages, each of them perfect in its kind, and used by a distinct nation; but yet all derived from, and grounded upon the same original tongue. And this diversity of languages can no ways appear wonderful, in a country where the inhabitants consisted of different nations, that did not depend upon one another, but had each its particular territories.
1. The Attic dialect is that which was used in Athens and the country round about. This dialect has been chiefly used by Thucydides, Aristophanes, Plato, Isocrates, Xenophon, and Demosthenes.
2. The Ionic dialect was almost the same with the ancient Attic; but after it had passed into several towns of Asia Minor, and into the adjacent islands, which were colonies of the Athenians, and of the people of Achaia, it received a sort of new tincture, and did not come up to that perfect delicacy, which the Athenians afterwards attained to. Hippocrates and Herodotus writ in this dialect.
3. The Doric was first in use among the Spartans, and the people of Argos; it passed afterwards into Epirus, Libya, Sicily, Rhodes, and Crete. Archimedes and Theocritus, both of them Syracusans, and Pindar, followed this dialet.
4. The Æolic dialect was at first used by the Boeotians and their neighbours, and then in Æolis, a country in Asia Minor, between Ionia and Mysia, which contained 10 or 12 cities, that were Grecian colonies. Sappho and Alcæus of whose works very little remains, wrote in this dialect. We b Strab. p. 653.
a Strab. p. 393.