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might, upon particular occafions, be the more expensive; for, as he loved to facrifice often, and to be fplendid in his entertainment of ftrangers, he stood in need of a plentiful revenue; yet he is accused by others, of being naturally parfimonious, and fordid to a degree.
Certain it is, that he exceeded all men in ambition and defire of honour. When he came to the Olympian games, and was fo fplendid in his equipage and entertainments, in his rich tents and furniture, that it was evidently his intention to outdo Cimon, he greatly difpleafed the Greeks; who thought that fuch magnificence was allowable in one who was a young gentleman, and of a great family, but was a proof of exceffive infolence in him, to carry himself thus high, who was but an upftart, and of no confiderable for
When he came to be great, and had won the favour of the people, he excited a party against Aristides, that expelled him, and banished him from the city by their public votes. And when Xerxes meditated his attack upon Greece, Themistocles got himself appointed general of the Athenians.
The king of Perfia now fending meffengers into Greece, with a Greek interpreter, to demand water and earth, as an acknowledgement of their fubjection and obedience to him; Themistocles, by the confent of the people, feized upon the interpreter, and put him to death, for prefuming to publish the orders and decrees of a foreign power in the Grecian language; and for this he was highly honoured by the Greeks, as he likewise was for what he did to Arthmius of Zelea, who, having brought gold from the king of Perfia to corrupt the Grecians, was, by an order from Themiftocles, degraded of his honour, and, together with his children and his pofterity, registered in the book of infamy.
But that which moft of all redounded to the credit of Themiftocles was, that he put an end to all the civil wars of Greece, compofed their differences, and perfuaded them to lay afide all enmity during the war with the Perfians.
Having taken upon himself the command of the Athenian forces, he immediately endeavoured to prevail upon the citizens to leave the city, and, embarking in their gallies, to meet the Perfians at a distance from Greece.
many oppofing this, he led a large army (the Lacedæmonians having joined him) into Tempe, that in fo narrow a valley, bounded on each fide with high rocks, he might the more easily defend the Theffalians, who had not as yet declared for Xerxes. But when they returned without having performed any thing, and it was known that not only Theffaly, but all the country as far as Boeotia, had yielded to the Perfians, the Athenians more willingly liftened to the advice of Themiftocles to fight by fea, and fent him with a fleet to guard the ftraits of Artemifium.
When the fleets of the different Grecian powers were joined, the general voice was for the Lacedæmonians taking the command, and Eurybiades to be their admiral. But the Athenians refufed to obey him, pretending that the right of command was due to them, as they furnished a greater number of fhips than all the reft of Greece; till Themiftocles, perceiving the danger of the conteft, yielded the command to Eurybiades, and prevailed on the Athenians to fubmit, by perfuading them, that if in this war they behaved themselves like men, the Grecians for the future would of their own accord give them the chief command. And by this moderation
deration of his, it is evident that he was the great author of the fafety of Greece, and exalted the Athenians to that height of glory, that they furpaffed their enemies in valour, and their friends and confederates in kindness and civility.
As foon as the Perfian armada appeared, Eurybiades, aftonished at the vast number of their fhips, was for retiring to that part of Peloponnefus where their land army may join; but this, Themistocles by ftratagem prevented, and feveral engagements took place. Though none of these were decisive, yet the experience which the Greeks gained thereby was of great advantage to them.
When the news arrived from Thermopyle to Artemifium, where the fleet lay, that Leonidas was flain, and that Xerxes had made himself mafter of all the paffages by land, Eurybiades returned back to Greece. Upon this occafion the Athenians had the command of the rear, the place of honour, as those who by their former actions had teftified both their fkill and courage in the
tion toward Athens, and the rest of the Greeks being only intent on fecuring Peloponnefus, the Athenians were so dispirited by this general defection, that the only expedient left for them was to abandon the city, and betake themselves to their fhips.
The people being unwilling to confent to this, Themistocles had recourfe to the priests, and, by their affiftance, produced fuch oracles, and put fuch interpretations on the figns and prodigies which appeared, that at length, after having removed their aged and infirm, together with the women and children, to Trazena, and recommended the city to the protection of Minerva, all fuch as were able to bear arms went on board their fleet.
Among the great actions of Themistocles, the return of Ariftides, whom he had caufed to be banished, was not the leaft. Perceiving that the people, at this melancholy juncture, regretted the absence of that great man, and fearing that he otherwise might go over to the Perfians in order to revenge himself, Themiftocles propofed a decree, that all those who had been banished for a time, fhould be permitted to return, to give their affistance both by their counsel and valour,