Statesmen and Sages - C. F. Horne


(ABOUT 884—820 B.C.)


Scholars generally agree in the judgment that Lycurgus was a real person. It is probable that he was born in the ninth century B.C., and that, in the later part of the same century (850-820), he was an important, if not the principal, agent in the reconstruction of the Dorian state of Sparta, in the Peloponneseus. According to Herodotus, he was the uncle of King Labotas, of the royal line of Eurysthenes. Others, whom Plutarch follows, describe him as the uncle and guardian of King Charilaus, and therefore in the line of Procles. Either way his mythical lineage would be traced to Hercules. We are able to find no trustworthy records of the circumstances of his birth, and of the incidents of his childhood and youth. Plutarch, with all his diligence, found nothing. Nor could he sift and blend the varying stories of his later life and so construct a consistent and credible narrative. O. Muller says: "We have absolutely no account of him as an individual person."

Accordingly Lycurgus appears already in his maturity. We know what he was only from what he did. He has this imperishable honor, that he did something, and did it in such a manner and with such effect that the memory of him and his deeds has lasted until this late time, and bids fair to last throughout all time.

The following traditions concerning Lycurgus are commonly repeated. Polydectes, his brother, was king in Sparta. After the king's death a son was born to the widow. Lycurgus became his guardian and presented him to the magistrates as their future king. He was suspected by the queen's brother of a design to take the crown, and even of a purpose to destroy his infant nephew. Accordingly he went into exile. He remained some time in Crete, studying the institutions of the Dorian people of that island. He travelled extensively in Asia and was especially careful to observe the manners and customs of the Ionians. He found the poems of Homer, transcribed and arranged them, and caused them to be more generally known. The Egyptians claimed that he visited their country and derived much of his wisdom from them. Meanwhile the affairs of Sparta were in a critical condition and the king and the people alike desired his presence and his aid in restoring peace and renewing the prosperity of the community and the people of Laconia. Immediately upon his return he entered upon the work of framing a constitution and reconstructing the state. Notwithstanding much opposition and complaint from the classes obliged to make concessions and sacrifices for the common good, he secured the assent of the people to his legislation. Having seen the system in working order, he announced his purpose to leave the country for a period, and moved the citizens to take an oath that they would observe the laws until he should return. He departed to remain away to the end of his life, but first repaired to Delphi and obtained an oracle promising prosperity to the Spartans, so long as they should maintain faithfully the constitution.

Laconia was the southeastern portion of the peninsula. The soil was mainly mountain land and meagrely productive under toilsome and careful tillage. So much of it as was naturally fertile lay in the centre, shut in from the sea by the mountains. At the time of the Dorian immigration, it was occupied in part by the descendants of the old Pelasgian population and in part by a mixed people which had come in at different times and from various sources. Because of the limited area there was already considerable pressure between the several elements. Accordingly the Dorians and their Achæan and Æolian allies met with a stout resistance, and established themselves after an obstinate and long-continued struggle. They descended from the sources of the Eurotas and forced their way into the plains in the midst of the land. They seized the heights on the right bank of the river at a point where its channel is split by an island and it was most easy to cross the stream. The hill of Athene became the centre of the settlement. Their establishment in the land was a slow process. It is said Laconia was divided into six districts, with six capital cities, each ruled by a king. The immigrants were distributed among the inhabitants and lands were allotted to them, in return for which they recognized the authority of the kings and engaged to support them in power. They seem to have been adopted by the kings, as their kindred were in Crete, as the military guardians of their prerogatives. The result was inevitable. They who are intrusted to maintain power become conscious that it is really their own, take formal possession of it, and exercise it for their own ends.

Two leading families drew to themselves the central body of the Dorians, rallied the rest, gathered them all at one point, and made it the centre of the district and the seat of government. They were supported by families of common descent and recognized by the people of the land, who suffered no change in the circumstances of their life. These gave them homage, paid to them taxes, and united with their kindred in celebrating funeral rites at their tombs. Sparta became the capital of the whole country, while the former capitals became country towns.

But there were difficulties in the way of the new regime. There were conflicting claims between the two royal families. Both of them were in collision with families in all respects their equals as to lineage and rank. The older and newer elements of the mass of the population were mingled but not yet combined. Everywhere there was friction, with occasions enough for irritation and confusion. The descendants of the primitive races were attached to their ancient ways. The Dorians were not less, but more tenacious of their traditional customs. And they were conscious of their vantage and knew they were able to insist on their preferences. As the props of the royal houses they could hope to make terms with them, or withdraw and let them fall, or turn to cast them down. The kings were compelled, on the one hand, to exert themselves to hold in control a subject people, and, on the other, to check the headstrong Dorian warriors. There was danger of the disruption of the kingdom, a lapse into anarchy, the rise of opposing factions, and a conflict destructive alike and equally of the welfare of all classes of the people.

There was need of a statesman who could comprehend the problem, find a solution, commend it to the judgment of all classes, and gain their cordial consent to the renovation of the state upon a more equitable basis. He must be a man of large capacity, great attainments, thorough sincerity, earnest devotion, generous and self-sacrificing patriotism. He must have ability to conceive a high ideal, steadily contemplate it, and nevertheless consider the materials on which and the conditions under which he must do his work, maintain the sober judgment which discriminates between the ideal and the practicable, and exercise the rigid self-control which calmly renounces the best conceivable and resolutely attempts the best attainable. He must have regard to the ideas, sentiments, associations, sacred traditions, and immemorial customs of the several races and classes of the people. He must be prudently conservative and keenly cautious in shaping and applying new measures and methods. He must study and comprehend the inevitable oppositions of interests, and conceive modes of action which involve reasonable concessions accompanied by manifest compensations. He must ally himself with no party and yet command the confidence of all parties. What ever prior advantage he may have had in the matters of birth, rank, and association, he must use to conciliate those who would be asked to make the largest apparent sacrifices, and so turn it to account for the benefit of those who might otherwise suspect and distrust him and fall away from his influence. He must be able to explain and commend the system he might devise, convince the several parties of its wisdom,' persuade them to yield their preferences and accept the needful compromises, and move them to make a fair and full experiment of its provisions. Such a man was Lycurgus, if we may trust the persistent tradition that he was the framer of the new constitution and the second founder of the Dorian state of Sparta. From time to time the question has been raised, was the work of Lycurgus original or an imitation, shaped perhaps by his observations among the Dorian folk on the island of Crete? It does not matter what the answer shall be. The statesman who fitly adapts may be as wise and skilful as he who invents and creates. The man who loves his people, plans and labors for their good, will not peril their welfare by his experiments, disdaining the help of those who have wrought before him, and the guidance of his contemporaries in examples, the benign results of which he may have had opportunity to witness. The truth appears to be that Lycurgus had respect to the reverence of the people for the ancient ways, and retained as far as he was able the suitable elements of the primitive polity of the Homeric age. This was based on the Council of Chiefs or Elders and occasional meetings of an assembly of the people to listen and learn, to assent and give heed. From whatsoever sources he drew, he adapted the materials of his knowledge to the conditions under which his structure must be shaped, the circumstances under which it must get on its base and stand secure. Those who affirm the exemplary influence of the Cretan polity, hold fast to the tradition that Lycurgus visited the island and could not have failed to observe the features of society there, and could not have expelled from his mind the similarity of conditions among the two peoples and the expedients which the lawgiver of Crete had employed to meet and resolve the difficulties he encountered and secure the results he attained. It must, however, be remembered that similar peoples with common traditions and customs, under like circumstances may independently work out for themselves systems of society analogous. in many particulars and varying only by adaptation to special conditions. If Lycurgus perceived what was suitable to the exigency, wrought it into a plan, moved the people to accept it, brought harmony out of discord, order out of confusion, contentment out of unrest, prosperity out of impending calamity, and rescued the commonwealth for the time, he deserved abundant honor and still deserves a permanent rank among the notable statesmen of the world.

The constitution was unwritten. Its provisions were expressed in forms known as Rhætra. The kings were retained. Their power was a guaranty of unity. They maintained the continuity of civic life. Each was a check upon the other. They were held under restraint by the senate. Its composition and functions were now fixed. It met not only to deliberate and advise, but to perform judicial offices. In case of capital offences the kings sat with the elders, each having, with every other member, but a single vote. The members were thirty in number, one for each of the ten clans of each of the three tribes, the kings representing their clans and sitting as equals with equals, though presiding at the sessions. The elders must be of the age of sixty and upward, and were appointed for life. The ancient division of the people was preserved; the households were grouped in thirties, the thirties in clans, the clans in tribes. Their capital was Sparta. It was not a compact walled town. It stretched into the open country and Dorians lived along the entire valley of the Eurotas. Not only those dwelling at the ford of the river, but all were acknowledged as Spartans. The kings were required to summon the heads of the families in the assembly once every month. The place was designated. The session was brief. To encourage brevity there was no provision for seats, but the freemen stood. Elders and other public officers were chosen. Official persons made known new laws, declarations of war and peace and treaties. The people simply voted aye or nay. The decision was according to the volume of sound. The session closed with a military review.

The army: The Dorians had entered the land and held their place in it by force of arms. To maintain their power it was necessary to develop a military system and maintain a body of vigorous and able soldiers. All citizens were constituted guardians of the nation. To all their rights was attached the duty of military service. They composed a standing army. The valley became a camp. The men left their estates under the management of the women. The wife cared for the home, reared the young children, and superintended the laborers in the business of the farm. The soldier could not leave the valley or enter it without announcement. The older men visited their homes on "leave of absence," the younger by stealth at night. Emigration was desertion punishable by death. To have gold and silver was to risk the same penalty. The heavy iron money only could be held, and this was without value in foreign parts. The soldier was part of an animated machine. His simple duty was to obey. Speech was repressed. It became abrupt, brief, pithy. Relief was found at the Lesche, near the training-ground, where talk was often free and even merry. The whole aim of the discipline was to form the soldier. Marriage was delayed for the sake of vigorous offspring. The girls were trained for motherhood. They were subject to a system of athletic exercises, and engaged in contests of running, wrestling, and boxing. The boys were put under training at the age of eight years. They became accustomed to severe exercise, and were inured to patient and painful endurance. They were compelled to suffer hunger, thirst, cold, heat, and fatigue, and to bear torture without flinching or show of emotion. Their food was kept almost within the limits of war rations. To increase the amount and variety they were allowed to steal. But they were careful not to be detected, lest they should be severely punished. Likely this was a device for training them to stealthy and cautious movements. After the time of their maturity they continued gymnastic culture. They hunted the goats, boars, stags, and bears on the rugged heights of the Taygetus range. There was no system of liberal education; mental growth and development were not sought as ends. They were rather feared. Poetry and music were used to a limited degree, so far as they might be made conducive to forming the traits of the soldier.

While the Spartans were solely occupied in preparation for the art of war, it is evident there must have been a population as wholly given to the pursuit of the practical arts, or the community could not have existed. There were two classes of laborers. The Periœci dwelt in the rural townships. They were mainly of the mixed population of the land, but there were Dorians among them. They were freemen; they held lands, and enjoyed certain rights of local government, voting for their magistrates in their townships. More and more they were trained for military service and entered the ranks as heavy-armed infantry. Some of them were shepherds and herdsmen. From them came all the skilled workmen, who wrought in the quarries and mines, provided building materials, shaped iron implements, made woollen stuff and leathern wares. Their number was three times as great as that of the citizens of the capital city. But over all their townships the Spartans held sway through the kings, the senate, and the assembly. These facts exhibit the civil polity which became so common during Greek and Roman times, and obtained again in Italy after the fall of the empire and the barbarian invasions, up to the time of the Renaissance.

The Helots were a rural people dwelling on the lands of the Spartans which lay about the capital or in the Laconian towns. Some of them were in the country as villagers and rustics when the Dorians came. They remained upon their lands as they were before, but were forced to pay a part of the annual produce of barley, oil, and wine. Some of them were people made captive in the border wars. They were serfs. They were, however, wards of the state. No one could treat them as personal property. They could not be sold or given away. They belonged to the inventory of the farm. Their taxes were defined by law. More could not be exacted. They could not be harmed in person. They were of value to the state and therefore protected. More and more they were needed in the army, where they were respected and honored for energy and bravery. Grote says they were as happy as the peasantry of the most civilized and humane modern nations. They lived in their villages, enjoyed their homes and the companionship of their wives and children, and the common fellowship of their neighbors, with ample supply for their needs and comfort from the surplus product of their labor and apart from the eye of their masters. Still the Helot had in him the common sentiments of our nature. His state was servile and mean. It was not to be expected he would always remain content in his subjection to his superiors in social and civil life. More and more his discontent would menace the stability of the community. Especially when the exigencies of war should compel his rulers to place arms in his hands and enlist him for defence against the foreign foe, it would become necessary to keep close watch upon him and to use strong measures for the repression of his impulse toward freedom.

Judged by the highest standards, Lycurgus certainly did not form the Laconians into an ideal nationality. He set up a military sovereignty in the land, and this demanded that the citizens should be soldiers, live in the camp, and devote themselves solely to the art of war. It is likely he perceived the imperfections of the system, anticipated its reflex effect upon the character and manners of the Spartans, and foreknew its weakness and the consequent perils of the people when it should inevitably be put to stress and strain by the aspirations of the subject classes after freedom and social equality. Could he speak for himself, he would doubtless say, with Solon, that he had not done the best he knew but the best he could, that his constitution was provisional and suited to the time, and that it was designed to serve as a bridge over which his countrymen could cross a torrent and reach safely the solid ground on which they might securely stand to rearrange their polity and form themselves on a more equitable and generous basis into a real and happy commonwealth.


(514—449 B.C.)


Themistocles, who raised Athens from a subordinate position to her proud rank as leader of the Grecian States, was born about the year B.C., 514. He was the son of Nicocles, an Athenian of moderate fortune, who, however, was connected with the priestly house of the Lycomedæ; his mother, Abrotonon, or, according to others Euterpe, was not an Athenian citizen; and according to most authorities, not even a Greek, but either a native of Caria or of Thrace. The education which he received was like that of all Athenians of rank at the time, but Themistocles had no taste for the elegant arts which then began to form a prominent part in the education of Athenian youths; he applied himself with much more zeal to the pursuit of practical and useful knowledge. This, as well as the numerous anecdotes about his youthful wilfulness and waywardness, together with the sleepless nights which he is said to have passed in meditating on the trophies of Miltiades, are more or less clear symptoms of the character which he subsequently displayed as a general and a statesman. His mind was early bent upon great things, and was incapable of being diverted from them by reverses, scruples, or difficulties. The great object of his life appears to have been to make Athens great. The powers with which nature had endowed him were quickness of perception, an accurate judgment of the course which was to be taken on sudden and extraordinary emergencies, and sagacity in calculating the consequences of his own actions; and these were the qualities which Athens during her wars with Persia stood most in need of. His ambition was unbounded, but he was at the same time persuaded that it could not reach its end unless Athens was the first among the Grecian States; and as he was not very scrupulous about the means, that he employed for these ends, he came into frequent conflict with Aristides the Just, who had nothing at heart but the welfare of his country and no desire for personal aggrandizement.

In the year 483 B.C., when Aristides was sent into exile by ostracism, Themistocles, who had for several years taken an active part in public affairs, and was one of the chief authors of the banishment of his rival, remained in the almost undivided possession of the popular favor, and the year after, B.C. 482, he was elected archon eponymus of Athens. The city was at that time involved in a war with Ægina, which then possessed the strongest navy in Greece, and with which Athens was unable to cope. It was in this year that Themistocles conceived and partly carried into effect the plans by which he intended to raise the power of Athens. His first object was to increase the navy of Athens; and this he did ostensibly to enable Athens to contend with Ægina, but his real intention was to put his country in a position to meet the danger of a second Persian invasion, with which Greece was threatened. The manner in which he raised the naval power was this. Hitherto the people of Athens had been accustomed to divide among themselves the yearly revenues of the silver-mines of Laurion. In the year of his archonship these revenues were unusally large, and he persuaded his countrymen to forego their personal advantage, and to apply these revenues to the enlargement of their fleet. His advice was followed, and the fleet was raised to the number of two hundred sail. It was probably at the same time that he induced the Athenians to pass a decree that for the purpose of keeping up their navy, twenty new ships should be built every year. Athens soon after made peace with Ægina, as Xerxes was at Sardis making preparations for invading Greece with all the forces he could muster. At the same time Themistocles was actively engaged in allaying the disputes and hostile feelings which existed among the several states of Greece. He acted, however, with great severity toward those who espoused the cause of the Persians, and a Greek interpreter, who accompanied the envoys of Xerxes that came to Athens to demand earth and water as a sign of submission, was put to death for having made use of the Greek tongue in the service of the common enemy.

After affairs among the Greeks were tolerably settled, a detachment of the allied troops of the Greeks was sent out to take possession of Tempe, under the command of Themistocles of Athens, and Euænetus, of Sparta; but on finding that there they would be overwhelmed by the host of the barbarians, they returned to the Corinthian isthmus. When Xerxes arrived in Pieria, the Greek fleet took its post near Artemisium on the north coast of Eubœa, under the command of the Spartan admiral Eurybiades, under whom Themistocles condescended to serve in order not to cause new dissensions among the Greeks, although Athens alone furnished one hundred and twenty-seven ships, and supplied the Chalcidians with twenty others; while the Spartan contingent was incomparably smaller. When the Persian fleet, notwithstanding the severe losses which it had sustained by a storm, determined to sail round the eastern and southern coasts of Eubœa, and then up the Euripus, in order to cut off the Greek fleet at Artemisium, the Greeks were so surprised and alarmed that Themistocles had great difficulty in inducing them to remain and maintain their station. The Eubœans, who perceived the advantages of the plan of Themistocles, rewarded him with the sum of fifty talents, part of which he gave to the Spartan Eurybiades and the Corinthian Adimantus to induce them to remain at Artemisium. In the battle which then took place, the Greeks gained considerable advantage, though the victory was not decisive. A storm and a second engagement near Artemisium, severely injured the fleet of the Persians, but the Greeks also sustained great losses, as half of their ships were partly destroyed and partly rendered unfit for further service. When at the same time they received intelligence of the defeat of Leonidas, at Thermopylæ, the Greeks resolved to retreat from Artemisium, and sailed to the Saronic gulf.

Xerxes was now advancing from Thermopylæ, and Athens trembled for her existence, while the Peloponnesians were bent upon seeking shelter and safety in their peninsula, and upon fortifying themselves by a wall across the Corinthian isthmus. On the approach of the danger the Athenians had sent to Delphi to consult the oracle about the means they should employ for their safety, and the god had commanded Athens to defend herself behind wooden walls. This oracle, which probably had been given at the suggestion of Themistocles, was now also interpreted by him as referring to the fleet, and his advice to seek safety in the fleet was followed. He then further moved that the Athenians should abandon the city to the care of its tutelary deity, that the women, children, and infirm should be removed to Salamis, Ægina, or Trœzen, and that the men should embark in the ships. The fleet of the Greeks, consisting of three hundred and eighty ships, assembled at Salamis, still under the supreme command of Eurybiades. When the Persians had made themselves masters of Attica, and Athens was seen in flames at a distance, some of the commanders of the fleet, under the influence of fear, began to make preparation for an immediate retreat. Themistocles saw the disastrous results of such a course, and, exerted all his powers of persuasion to induce the commanders of the fleet to maintain their post; when all attempts proved ineffectual, Themistocles had recourse to threats, and thus induced Eurybiades to stay. The example of the admiral was followed by the other commanders also. In the meantime the Persian fleet arrived in the Saronic gulf, and the fears of the Peloponnesians were revived and doubled, and nothing seemed to be able to keep them together. At this last and critical moment Themistocles devised a plan to compel them to remain and face the enemy. He sent a message to the Persian admiral, informing him that the Greeks were on the point of dispersing, and that if the Persians would attack them while they were assembled, they would easily conquer them all at once, whereas it would be otherwise necessary to defeat them one after another.

This apparently well meant advice was eagerly taken up by the enemy, who now hastened, as he thought, to destroy the fleet of the Greeks. But the event proved the wisdom of Themistocles. The unwieldy armament of the Persians was unable to perform any movements in the narrow straits between the island of Salamis and the mainland. The Greeks gained a most complete and brilliant victory, for they only lost forty ships, while the enemy lost two hundred, or according to Ctesias, even five hundred. Very soon after the victory was decided, Xerxes with the remains of the fleet left the Attic coast and sailed toward the Hellespont. The battles of Artemisium and Salamis occurred in the same year, B.C. 480.

When the Greeks were informed of the departure of Xerxes, they pursued him as far as Andros, without gaining sight of his fleet, and Themistocles proposed to continue the chase. But he gave way to the opposition that was made to this plan, and consented not to drive the vanquished enemy to despair. The Greek fleet therefore only stayed some time among the Cyclades, to chastise those islanders who had been unfaithful to the national cause. Themistocles, in the meantime, in order to get completely rid of the king and his fleet, sent a message to him, exhorting him to hasten back to Asia as speedily as possible, for otherwise he would be in danger of having his retreat cut off. Themistocles availed himself of the stay of the Greek fleet among the Cyclades for the purpose of enriching himself at the cost of the islanders, partly by extorting money from them by way of punishment, and partly by accepting bribes for securing them impunity for their conduct. He was now, however, the greatest man in Greece, his fame spread everywhere, and all acknowledged that the country had been saved through his wisdom and resolution. But the confederate Greeks, actuated by jealousy, awarded to him only the second prize; at Sparta, whither he went, as Herodotus says, to be honored, he received a chaplet of olive-leaves—a reward which they had bestowed upon their own admiral Eurybiades—and the best chariot that the city possessed, and on his return three hundred knights escorted him as far as Tegea in Arcadia.

When the Persian army had been again defeated at Platæa and Mycale in B.C. 479, and when the Athenians had rebuilt their private dwellings, it was also resolved, on the advice of Themistocles, to restore the fortifications of Athens, but on a larger scale than they had been before, and more in accordance with the proud position which the city now occupied in Greece. This plan excited the fear and jealousy of the rival states, and especially of Sparta, which sent an embassy to Athens, and under the veil of friendship, which ill concealed its selfish policy, endeavored to persuade the Athenians not to fortify the city. Themistocles, who saw through their designs, undertook the task of defeating them with their own weapons. He advised his countrymen to dismiss the Spartan ambassadors, and to promise that Athenian envoys should be sent to Sparta to treat with them there respecting the fortifications. He himself offered to go as one of the envoys, but he directed the Athenians not, to let his colleagues follow him until the walls, on which all hands should be employed during his absence, should be raised to such a height as to afford sufficient protection against any attack that might be made upon them. His advice was followed, and Themistocles, after his arrival at Sparta, took no steps toward opening the negotiations, but pretended that he was obliged to wait for the arrival of his colleagues. When he was informed that the walls had reached a sufficient height, and when he could drop the mask with safety, he gave the Spartans a well deserved rebuke, returned home, and the walls were completed without any hindrance. He then proceeded to carry into effect the chief thing which remained to be done to make Athens the first maritime power of Greece. He induced the Athenians to fortify the three ports of Phalerum, Munychia, and Piræus by a double range of walls.

Athenians at Salamis


When Athens was thus raised to the station on which it had been the ambition of Themistocles to place it, his star began to sink, though he still continued for some time to enjoy the fruits of his memorable deeds. He was conscious of the services he had done his country, and never scrupled to show that he knew his own value. His extortion and avarice, which made him ready to do anything, and by which he accumulated extraordinary wealth, could not fail to raise enemies against him. But what perhaps contributed more to his downfall was his constant watchfulness in maintaining and promoting the interests of Athens against the encroachments of Sparta, which in its turn was ever looking out for an opportunity to crush him. The great men who had grown up by his side at Athens, such as Cimon, and who were no less indebted to him for their greatness in the eyes of Greece than to their own talents, were his natural rivals, and succeeded in gradually supplanting him in the favor of the people. They also endeavored to represent him as a man of too much power, and as dangerous to the public. The consequence of all this was that in B.C. 472, he was banished from Athens by the ostracism. He took up his residence at Argos, where he was still residing when, in the same year, B.C. 472, Pausanias was put to death at Sparta for his ambitious and treacherous designs, and his fate involved that of Themistocles. The Spartans, in their search to discover more traces of the plot of Pausanias, found a letter of Themistocles from which it was evident that he had been acquainted with his plans. This was sufficient for the Spartans to ground upon it the charge that Themistocles had been an accomplice in his crime, and ambassadors were forthwith sent to Athens to demand that he should suffer the same punishment as Pausanias.

This charge was no less welcome to his enemies at Athens than the discovery of his letter had been to the Spartans. Orders were consequently issued to arrest and convey him to Athens; and foreseeing that his destruction would be unavoidable if he should fall into the hands of his enemies, he fled to Corcyra, and thence to the opposite coast of Epirus, where he took refuge at the court of Admetus, king of the Molossians. On his arrival the king was absent, but his Queen Phthia received him kindly, and pointed out to him in what manner he might win the sympathy of Admetus. When the king returned home, Themistocles, seated on the hearth and holding the child of Admetus in his arms, implored the king not to deliver him up to his persecutors, who traced him to the court of the Molossians. It is stated that Themistocles was here joined by his wife and children. The king not only granted his request, but provided him with the means of reaching the coast of the Ægean, whence he intended to proceed to Asia and seek refuge at the court of the king of Persia. From Pydna he sailed, in a merchant ship to the coast of Asia Minor. At Ephesus he received such part of his property as his friends had been able to wrest from the hands of his enemies at Athens, together with that which he had left at Argos.

A few months after his arrival in Asia, Xerxes was assassinated (B.C. 465), and was after a short interval succeeded by Artaxerxes. Various adventures are told of Themistocles before he reached the residence of the Persian king. On his arrival he sent him a letter, in which he acknowledged the evils he had inflicted upon his predecessor; but at the same time claimed the merit of having saved him from destruction by his timely advice. He added that his present exile was only the consequence of his great zeal for the interests of the king of Persia. He did not ask for an immediate interview with the king, as he was yet unacquainted with the language and the manners of the Persians, to acquire which he requested a year's time. During this period he applied himself so zealously and with such success to these studies that at the close of the year; when he was presented to the king, he is said to have excited the jealousy of the courtiers, and was most kindly received by the king, to whom he held out prospects of conquering Greece by his assistance. The king became so attached to him, that Themistocles was always in his company.

But death overtook him at the age of sixty-five, before, any of his plans we're carried into effect. Most of the ancient writers state that he put an end to his life by poison, or according to another strange story, by drinking the blood of a bull, because he despaired of being able to fulfil his promises to the king. The motive for his suicide is very questionable. Reflection on his past life and upon the glory of his former rivals at Athens, are much more likely to have rendered him dissatisfied with life. Before he took the poison he is said to have requested his friends to convey his remains secretly to Attica, and in later times a tomb which was believed to contain them existed in Piræus. In the market-place of Magnesia a splendid monument was erected to his memory, and his descendants in that place continued to be distinguished by certain privileges down to the time of Plutarch.


(499—429 B.C.)


Pericles, the greatest statesman of ancient Greece, was born of distinguished parentage in the early part of the fifth century B.C. His father was that Xanthippus who won the victory over the Persians at Mycale, 479 B.C.; and by his mother, Agariste, the niece of the great Athenian reformer, Cleisthenes, he was connected with the princely line of Sicyon and the great house of the Alcmæonidæ. He received an elaborate education, but of all his teachers the one whom he most reverenced was the serene and humane philosopher, Anaxagoras. Pericles was conspicuous all through his career for the singular dignity of his manners, the Olympian grandeur of his eloquence, his "majestic intelligence" in Plato's phrase, his sagacity, probity, and profound Athenian patriotism. Both in voice and in appearance he was so like Pisistratus, who had once overturned the Athenian republic and ruled as a king, that for some time he was afraid to come forward in political life. When he entered on public life Aristides had only recently died, Themistocles was an exile, and Cimon was fighting the battles of his country abroad. Although the family to which he belonged was good, it did not rank among the first in either wealth or influence, yet so transcendent were the abilities of Pericles that he rapidly rose to the highest power in the state as the leader of the dominant democracy. The sincerity of his attachment to the popular party has been questioned, but without a shadow of evidence. At any rate, the measures which, either personally or through his adherents, he brought forward and caused to be passed, were always in favor of extending the privileges of the poorer class of the citizens, and, if he diminished the spirit of reverence for the ancient institutions of public life, he enlisted an immense body of citizens on the side of law. He extended enormously, if he did not originate, the practice of distributing gratuities among the citizens for military service, for acting as dicast and in the Ecclesia and the like, as well as for admission to the theatre—then really a great school for manners and instruction. Pericles seems to have grasped very clearly, and to have held as firmly, the modern radical idea, that as the state is supported by the taxation of the body of the citizens, it must govern with a view to general interests rather than to those of a caste alone. About 463, Pericles, through the agency of his follower, Ephialtes, struck a great blow at the influence of the oligarchy, by causing the decree to be passed which deprived the Areopagus of its most important political powers. Shortly after the democracy obtained another triumph in the ostracism of Cimon (461.) During the next few years the political course pursued by Pericles is less clearly intelligible to us, but it is safe to say that in general his attitude was hostile to the desire for foreign conquest or territorial aggrandizement, so prevalent among his ambitious fellow-citizens. Shortly after the battle of Tanagra (457), in which he showed conspicuous courage, Pericles magnanimously carried the measure for the recall of Cimon. His successful expeditions to the Thracian Chersonese, and to Sinope on the Black Sea, together with his colonies planted at Naxos, Andros, Oreus in Eubœa, Brea in Macedonia, and Ægina, as well as Thurii in Italy, and Amphipolis on the Strymon, did much to extend and confirm the naval supremacy of Athens, and afford a means of subsistence for her poorer citizens. But his greatest project was to form, in concert with the other Hellenic states, a grand Hellenic confederation in order to put an end to the mutually destructive wars of kindred peoples, and to make Greece one mighty nation, fit to front the outlying world. The idea was not less sagacious than it was grand. Had it been accomplished, the semi-barbarous Macedonians would have menaced the civilized Greeks in vain, and even Rome at a later period, might perhaps have found the Adriatic, and not the Euphrates, the limit of her empire. But the Spartan aristocrats were utterly incapable of appreciating such exalted patriotism, or of understanding the political necessity for it, and by their secret intrigues the well-planned scheme was brought to nothing. Athens and Sparta were already in that mood toward each other which rendered the disaster of the Peloponnesian war inevitable. When the Spartans, in 448, restored to the Delphians the guardianship of the temple and treasures of Delphi, of which they had been deprived by the Phocians, the Athenians immediately after marched an army thither and reinstated the latter. Three years later an insurrection broke out in the tributary Megara and Eubœa, and the Spartans again appeared in the field as the allies of the insurgents. The position of Athens was critical. Pericles wisely declined to fight against all his enemies at once. A bribe of ten talents sent the Spartans home, and the insurgents were then thoroughly subdued. The thirty years' peace with Sparta (445) left him free to carry out his schemes for the internal prosperity of Athens.

Cimon was now dead and was succeeded in the leadership of the aristocratic party by Thucydides, son of Melesias, who in 444 B.C. made a strong effort to overthrow the supremacy of Pericles by attacking him in the popular assembly for squandering the public money on buildings and in festivals and amusements. Thucydides made an effective speech; but Pericles immediately rose and offered to execute the buildings at his own expense, if the citizens would allow him to put his own name upon them instead of theirs. The sarcasm was successful. Thucydides was ostracized, and to the end of his life, Pericles reigned the undisputed master of the public policy of Athens. During the rest of his career "there was," says the historian Thucydides, "in name a democracy, but in reality a government in the hands of the first man." And the Athens of his day was the home of Æschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, Anaxagoras, Zeno, Protagoras, Socrates, as well as Myron and Phidias; while there flourished at the same time, but elsewhere in Greece, Herodotus, Hippocrates, Pindar, Empedocles, and Democritus. The centre of this splendid group was Pericles, of whom the truthful pen of Thucydides records that he never did anything unworthy of his high position, that he did not flatter the people or oppress his adversaries, and that with all his unlimited command of the public purse, he was personally incorruptible.

Soon after this the Samian war broke out, in which Pericles gained high renown as a naval commander. This war originated in a quarrel between Miletus and the island of Samos, in which Athens was led to take part with the former. The Samians, after an obstinate struggle, were beaten, and a peace was concluded (439). The position in which Athens then stood toward many of the Greek states was peculiar. Since the time of the Persian invasion, she had been the leader of the confederacy formed to resist the attacks of the powerful enemy, and the guardian of the confederate treasury kept in the isle of Delos. Pericles caused the treasury to be removed to Athens, and commuting the contingents of the allies for money, enormously increased the contributions to the patriotic fund, Athens herself undertaking to protect the confederacy. The grand charge against Pericles is that he applied the money thus obtained to other purposes than those for which it was designed; that, in short, he adorned and enriched Athens with the spoils of the allied states. To his mind Hellas was subordinate to Athens, and he confounded the splendor of the dominant city with the splendor of Greece, in a manner possible to a man of poetic imagination, hardly to a man of the highest honor. His enemies, who dared not attack himself, struck at him in the persons of his friends. Phidias was flung into prison for the impiety of introducing portraits of himself and Pericles into the battle of the Amazons depicted on the shield of the goddess Athena in the Parthenon; the brilliant Aspasia, the famous mistress of Pericles, was arraigned on a charge of impiety, and only acquitted through the eloquence of Pericles on her behalf; while the aged Anaxagoras was driven from the city.

It is unnecessary to give a detailed account of all that Pericles did to make his native city the most glorious in the ancient world. Greek architecture and sculpture under his patronage reached perfection. To him Athens owed the Parthenon, the Erechtheum, left unfinished at his death, the Propylæa, the Odeum, and numberless other public and sacred edifices; he also liberally encouraged music and the drama; and during his life, industry and commerce were in so flourishing a condition that prosperity was universal in Attica.

At length, in 431, the long foreseen and inevitable Peloponnesian war broke out between Athens and Sparta. The plan of Pericles was for Athens to adopt a defensive attitude, to defend the city itself, leaving Attica to be ravaged by the enemy, but to cripple the power of Sparta by harassing its coasts. The story of the war must be told elsewhere; here it is enough to say that the result was unfavorable to Athens for reasons for which Pericles was only in small part to blame. He trusted in the ultimate success of Athens, both from her superior wealth and from her possessing the command of the sea, but he had not calculated upon the deterioration in her citizens' spirit, nor upon the robust courage of the Bœotian and Spartan infantry. Nor was his advice to keep behind the city walls rather than face the enemy in the field, best calculated to arouse the Athenians' courage. The plague ravaged the city in 430, and in the autumn of the following year, Pericles died after a lingering fever. His two sons had been carried off by the plague, he had been harassed by a charge of peculation brought by Cleon, and the actual infliction of a fine by the dicastery, while he had been without office from July, 430, to July, 429, but before the last he recovered his hold over the Ecclesia, and was gratified in the closing days of his life by its legitimation of his and Aspasia's son.

As a statesman his greatest fault was a failure to foresee that personal government is ultimately ruinous to a nation. He taught the people to follow a leader, but he could not perpetuate a descent of leaders like himself. Hence we cannot wonder, when days of trouble broke over Athens, how that men spoke bitterly of Pericles and all his glory. Yet he was a lofty-minded statesman, inspired by noble aspirations, and his heart was full of a noble love for the city and her citizens. Plutarch tells the story that, as he lay dying and apparently unconscious, his friends around his bed were passing in review the great achievements of his life, and the nine trophies which he had erected at different times for so many victories. The dying patriot quietly interrupted with the characteristic sentence: "What you praise in my life belongs partly to good fortune, and is, at best, common to me with many generals. But that of which I am proudest, you have left unnoticed—no Athenian has ever put on mourning through any act of mine."


(468—399 B.C.)


Socrates, who, by the consent of all antiquity, has been considered as the most virtuous and enlightened of Pagan philosophers, was a citizen of Athens, and belonged to the town of Alopecé.

He was born in the fourth year of the 77th Olympiad. His father, Sophroniscus, was a sculptor; and his mother, Phanarete, a midwife. He first studied philosophy under Anaxagoras, and next under Archelaus, the natural philosopher. But finding that all these vain speculations concerning natural objects served no useful purpose, and had no influence in rendering the philosopher a better man, he devoted himself to the study of ethics; and (as Cicero, in the third book of his Tusculan Questions, observes) may be said to be the founder of moral philosophy among the Greeks. In the first book, speaking of him still more particularly and more extensively, he expresses himself thus: "It is my opinion (and it is an opinion in which all are agreed) that Socrates was the first who, calling off the attention of philosophy from the investigation of secrets which nature has concealed (but to which alone all preceding philosophers had attached themselves), engaged her in those things which concern the duties of common life; his object was to investigate the nature of virtue and vice; and to point out the characteristics of good and evil; saying, that the investigation of celestial phenomena was a subject far above the reach of our powers; and that even were they more within the reach of our faculties, it could have no influence in regulating our conduct."

That part of philosophy, then, whose province is the cultivation of morals, and which embraces every age and condition of life, he made his only study. This new mode of philosophizing was the better received on this account, that he who was the founder of it, fulfilling with the most scrupulous care all the duties of a good citizen, whether in peace or in war, enforced by example the precepts which he taught.

Of all the philosophers who have acquired celebrity, he (as Lucian in his dialogue of the Parasite remarks) was the only one that ever subjected himself to the hardships of war. He served two campaigns, in both of which, though unsuccessful, he served in person and exhibited a manly courage. In the one, he saved the life of Xenophon, who when retreating, had fallen from his horse and would have been killed by the enemy, had not Socrates taking him upon his shoulders, removed him from the danger and carried him several furlongs, till his horse, which had run off, was brought back. This fact is related by Strabo.

In his other campaign, the Athenians having been entirely defeated and put to flight, Socrates was the last to retreat, and showed such a stern aspect that the pursuers of those who fled, seeing him every moment ready to turn upon them, never had the boldness to attack him. This testimony is given him by Athenæus.

After these two expeditions, Socrates never set a foot out of Athens. In this, his conduct was very different from that of the other philosophers, who all devoted a part of their life to travelling, that by intercourse with the learned of other countries they might acquire new knowledge. But as that kind of philosophy to which Socrates limited himself led a man to use every effort to know himself rather than to burden his mind with knowledge which has no influence on moral conduct, he thought it his duty to dispense with tedious travelling, in which nothing was to be learned which he might not learn at Athens among his countrymen, for whose reformation, besides, he thought his labors ought to be devoted, rather than to that of strangers. And as moral philosophy is a science which is taught better by example than by precept, he laid it down as a rule to himself, to follow and practise all that right reason and the most rigid virtue could demand.

It was in compliance with this maxim that, when elected one of the senators of the city, and having taken the oath to give his opinion "according to the laws," he peremptorily refused to subscribe to the sentence by which the people, in opposition to the laws, had condemned to death nine officers; and though the people took offence at it, and some of the most powerful even threw out severe menaces against him, he always firmly adhered to his resolution; thinking it inconsistent with the principles of a man of virtue or honor, to act contrary to his oath merely to please the people. Except on this single occasion, we know not whether he ever acted in a civil capacity; but insulated as the occasion was, he, acquired such reputation by it at Athens, for probity and the other virtues, that he was more respected there than the magistrates themselves.

He was very careful of his person, and blamed those who paid no attention to themselves, or who affected exterior negligence. He was always neat, dressed in a decent, becoming manner; observing a just medium between what might seem gross and rustic, and what savored of pride and effeminacy.

Though furnished with few of the blessings of fortune, he always maintained perfect disinterestedness by receiving no remuneration from those who attended on his instructions. By such conduct he condemned the practice of the other philosophers, whose custom it was to sell their lessons, and to tax their scholars higher or lower, according to the degree of reputation they had acquired.

Thus Socrates, as Xenophon relates, used to say that he could not conceive how a man, whose object it was to teach virtue, should think of turning it to gain; as if to form a man of virtue, and to make of his pupil a good friend, were not the richest advantages and the most solid profit with which his cares could be rewarded.

It must further be remarked that Socrates kept no class, as did the other philosophers, who had a fixed place where their scholars assembled, and where lectures were delivered to them at stated hours. Socrates' manner of philosophizing consisted simply in conversing with those who chanced to be where he was, without any regard to time or place.

He was always poor; but in his poverty so contented; that though to be rich was within the reach of a wish, by receiving the presents which his friends and scholars often urged him to accept, he always returned them; to the great displeasure of his wife, who had no relish for carrying philosophy to such a height. In regard to food and clothes, so hardy was his manner of life that Antiphon, the Sophist, sometimes reproached him, by saying that he had not a slave so miserable as would be contented with it: "For," said he, "your food is disgustingly mean; besides, not only are you always very poorly dressed, but winter or summer you have the same robe; and never anything above it: with this, you on all occasions, go bare-foot."

But Socrates proved to him that he was greatly mistaken if he thought that happiness depended on wealth or finery; and that, poor as he might seem to him, he was in fact happier than he. "I consider," said he, "that as to want nothing is the exclusive prerogative of the gods, so the fewer wants a man has, the nearer he approaches to the condition of the gods."

It was impossible that virtue so pure as that of Socrates should have no effect in exciting admiration, especially in a city such as Athens, where that example must have appeared very extraordinary. For those very persons who have not the happiness to follow virtue themselves, cannot refrain from doing justice to those who do follow it. This soon gained Socrates the universal esteem of his fellow-citizens, and attracted to him many scholars of every age; by whom the advantages of listening to his instructions, and engaging in conversation with him, were preferred to the most fascinating pleasure and the most agreeable amusements.

41 What rendered the manner of Socrates pecurliarly engaging was, that though in his own practice he maintained the most rigid severity, yet to others he was in the highest degree gentle and complaisant. The first principle with which he wished to inspire youthful auditors was piety and reverence for the gods; he then allured them as much as possible to observe temperance, and to avoid voluptuousness; representing to them how the latter deprives a man of liberty, the richest treasure of which he is possessed.

His manner of treating the science of morals was the more insinuating, as he always conducted his subject in the way of conversation and without any apparent method. For without proposing any point for discussion, he kept by that which chance first presented. Like one who himself wished information, he first put a question, and then, profiting by the concessions of his respondent, brought him to a proposition subversive of that which in the beginning of the debate had been considered a first principle. He spent one part of the day in conferences of this kind on morals. TO these everyone was welcome, and according to the testimony of Xenophon, none departed from them without becoming a better man.

Though Socrates has left us nothing in writing, yet by what we find in the works of Plato and Xenophon, it is easy to judge both of the principles of his ethical knowledge and of the manner in which he communicated them. The uniformity observable (especially in his manner of disputing), as transmitted by these two scholars of Socrates, is a certain proff of the method which he followed.

It will be difficult to conceive how a person who exhorted all men to honor the gods, and who preached, so to speak, to the young to avoid and abandon every vice, should himself be condemned to death for impiety against the gods received at Athens, and as a corrupter of youth. This infamously unjust proceeding took place in a time of disorder and under the seditious government of the thirty tyrants. The occasion of it was as follows:

Critias, the most powerful of these thirty tyrants, had formerly, as well as Alciabiades, been a disciple of Socrates. But both of them being weary of philosophy the maxims of which would not yield to their ambition and intemperance they, at length, totally abandoned it. Critias, though formerly a scholar of Socrates, became his most inveterate enemy. This we aer to trace to that firmness with which Socrates reproached him for a certain shameful vice; and to those means by which he endeavored to thwart his indulging in it. Hence it was that Critias, having become one of the thirty tyrants, had nothing more at heart than the destruction of Socrates, who, besides, not being able to brook their tyranny, was wont to speak against them with much freedom. For, seeing that they were always putting to death citizens and powerful men, he could not refrain from observing, in a company where he was, that if he to whom the care of cattle was committed, exhibited them every day leaner and fewer in number, it would be very strange if he would not himself confess that hew was a bad cow-herd.

Critias and Charicles, two of the most powerful of the thirty tyrants, feeling the weight of the allusion fall upon themselves, first enacted that no one should teach in Athens the art of reasoning. Although Socrates never had professed that art, yet it was easy to discover that he was aimed at; and that it was intended thus to deprive him of the liberty of conversing as usual, on moral subjects, with those who resorted to him.

That he might have a precise explanation of this law, he went to the two authors of it; but as he embarrassed them by the subtlety of his questions, they plainly told him that they prohibited him from entering into conversation with young people.

But, seeing Socrates' reputation was so great that to attack him and serve him with an indictment would have drawn upon them public odium, it was thought necessary to begin by discrediting him in the view of the public. This was attempted by the comedy of Aristophanes entitled "The Clouds," in which Socrates was represented as teaching the art of making that which is just appear unjust.



The comedy having had its effect, by the ridicule which it threw upon Socrates, Melitus brought a capital accusation against him, in which he alleged; first, that he did not honor those as gods, who were acknowledged such at Athens, and that he was introducing new ones; secondly, that he corrupted the youth; that is to say, that he taught them not to respect their parents, or the magistrates. The accuser required that for these two crimes he should be condemned to death.

Enraged as the tyrants were (and especially Critias and Charicles) against Socrates, it is certain that they would have been very reluctant to condemn him, had he availed himself in the least of the favorable circumstances in his case. But the intrepidity and resolution with which he heard the accusation, refusing even to pay any fine, as that would have been to avow himself in some degree culpable; and especially the firmness with which he addressed the judges when called upon to state the punishment which he thought he deserved, enraged them against him. For, with confidence in his integrity, he answered them, "That he thought he deserved to be maintained at the public expense during the rest of his life." This whetted afresh the resentment of the thirty tyrants, who caused him now to be condemned to death.

Lysias, a very eloquent philosopher, had composed an apologetical oration that Socrates might avail himself of it, and pronounce it before the judges, when called to appear before them. Socrates having heard it, acknowledged it to be a very good one, but returned it, saying that it did not suit him. "But why," replied Lysias, will it not suit you, since you think it a good one?"

"Oh, my friend!" returned Socrates, "may there not be shoes and different articles of dress very good, in themselves, and yet not suitable for me?"

The fact is, though the oration was very fine and energetic, yet the manner in which it was conducted, did not suit the uprightness and candor of Socrates.

Now condemned to death, Socrates was put into prison, where some days after, he died by drinking the poison hemlock. For this was the instrument of death, then used by the Athenians, in the case of those who were condemned for capital crimes.

According to Diogenes Laërtius, Socrates was twice married, but of the two wives he has given him, we know nothing except of the famous Xantippè, by whom he had a son named Tamprocles; Xantippè rendered herself celebrated by her ill-humor, and by the exercise which she afforded to the patience of Socrates. He had married her, he said, from a persuasion that if he were able to bear with her bad temper, there could be nothing which he might not support.

He died in the first year of the 95th Olympiad, aged seventy.


(412—323 B.C.)


Diogenes the Cynic, son of Icesius a banker, was born about the 91st Olympiad, in Sinope, a city of Paphlagonia. He was accused of having forged money, in concert with his father. Icesius was arrested, and died in prison. Alarmed at the fate of his father, Diogenes fled to Athens. When he had arrived at that city, he inquired for Antisthenes; but the latter, having resolved never to take a scholar, repulsed him and beat him off with his stick. Diogenes was by no means discouraged by this treatment. "Strike—fear not," said he to him, bowing his head; "you shall never find a stick hard enough to make me run off, so long as you continue to speak." Overcome by the importunity of Diogenes, Antisthenes yielded, and permitted him to become his scholar.

Banished from his native country and without any resource, Diogenes was reduced to great indigence. He perceived one day, a mouse running briskly up and down, without any fear of being surprised by the approach of night, without any anxiety about a lodging-place, and even without thinking of food. This reconciled him to his misery. He resolved to live at his ease, without constraint, and to dispense with everything which was not absolutely necessary for the preservation of life. He doubled his cloak, that by rolling himself up in it, it might serve the purposes both of a bed and of a coverlet. His movables consisted of a bag, a jug, and a staff; and wherever he went he always carried his furniture along with him. His stick, however; he used only when he went to the country, or on some emergency. Persons really lame were, he said, neither the deaf nor the blind, but those who had no bag.

He always went barefoot, nor did he wear sandals even when the ground was covered with snow. He endeavored also to accustom himself to eat raw flesh, but this was a point of perfection to which he never could arrive. He entreated a person of his acquaintance to afford him some little hole in his lodging, to which he might occasionally retire. But as he was dilatory in giving him a positive answer he took possession of an earthen tub, which he always carried about with him, and which was the only house he ever had. In the heat of summer when the fields were scorched by the sun, he used to roll among the burning sands, and in winter to embrace statues covered with snow, that he might accustom himself to endure without pain the inclemencies of heat and cold.

He treated everyone with contempt. He accused Plato and his scholars of dissipation, and of the crime of loving good cheer. All the orators he styled "the slaves of the people." Crowns were, he said, as brittle marks of glory as bubbles of water, which burst in the formation; that theatrical representations were the wonder of fools only. In a word, nothing escaped his satiric humor.

He ate, he spoke, he slept, without discrimination, wherever chance placed him. Pointing to Jupiter's porticos on one occasion, he exclaimed: "How excellent a dining-room the Athenians have built for me there!"

He frequently said: "When I consider the rulers, the physicians, and the philosophers whom the world contains, I am tempted to think man considerably elevated by his wisdom above the brutes; but when, on the other hand, I behold augurs, interpreters of dreams, and people who can be inflated with pride on account of their riches or honors, I cannot help thinking him the most foolish of all animals."

When taking a walk one day, he observed a child drinking from the hollow of his hand. He felt greatly affronted at the sight. "What!" exclaimed Diogenes, "do children know better than I do with what things a man ought to be contented?" Upon which he took his jug out of his bag, and instantly broke it, as a superfluous movable.

The province in philosophy to which Diogenes attached himself, was that of morals. He did not, however, entirely neglect the other sciences. He was possessed of lively parts, and easily anticipated objections.

As he was one day discoursing on a very serious and important subject everyone passed by without giving himself the least concern about what Diogenes was saying. Upon this, he began to sing. The people crowded about him. He immediately seized the opportunity of giving them a severe reprimand for flocking about him and attending with eagerness to a mere trifle, while they would not so much as listen to things of the greatest importance.

Walking out once at noon, with a lighted torch in his hand, he was asked what he was in quest of. "I am searching for a man," said he. On another occasion he called out in the middle of a street: "Ho! men—men." A great many people assembling around him, Diogenes beat them away with his stick, saying "I was calling for men."

Alexander passing through Corinth on one occasion, had the curiosity to see Diogenes, who happened to be there at that time. He found him basking in the sun in the grove Craneum, where he was cementing his tub. "I am," said he to him, "the great king Alexander." "And I," replied the philosopher, "am the dog Diogenes." "Are you not afraid of me?" continued Alexander. "Are you good or bad?" returned Diogenes. "I am good," rejoined Alexander. "And who would be afraid of one who is good?" replied Diogenes.

Alexander admired the penetration and free manners of Diogenes. After some conversation, he said to him: "I see, Diogenes, that you are in want of many things; and I shall be happy to have an opportunity of assisting you: ask of me what you will." "Retire a little to one side then," replied Diogenes; "you are depriving me of the rays of the sun."

It is no wonder that Alexander stood astonished at seeing a man so completely above every human concern. "Which of the two is richest?" continued Diogenes: "he who is content with his cloak and his bag, or he for whom a whole kingdom is not sufficient, but who is daily exposing himself to a thousand dangers in order to extend its limits?" Alexander's courtiers felt indignant that so great a king should do so much honor to such a dog as Diogenes, who did not even rise from his place. Alexander perceived it, and turning about to them said: "Were I not Alexander, I should wish to be Diogenes."



As Diogenes was one day going to Egina, he was taken by pirates, who brought him to Crete, and exposed him to sale. He did not appear to be in the least disconcerted, nor to feel the least uneasiness on account of his misfortune. Seeing one Xeniades, corpulent and well-dressed, "I must be sold to that person," said he, "for I perceive he needs a master. Come, child," said he to Xeniades, as he was coming up to purchase him, "come, child, buy a man." Being asked what he could do, he said he had the talent of commanding men. "Crier," said he, "call out in the market, If anyone needs a master, let him come here and purchase one."

Xeniades charged him with the instruction of his children, a task which Diogenes performed with great fidelity. He made them commit to memory the finest passages of the poets, with an abridgment of his own philosophy, which he composed on purpose for them. He made them exercise themselves in running, wrestling, hunting, horsemanship, and in using the bow and the sling. He accustomed them to very plain fare, and in their ordinary meals to drink nothing but water. He ordered them to be shaven to the skin. He brought them with him into the streets very carelessly dressed, and frequently without sandals and tunics. These children had a great affection for Diogenes, and took particular care to recommend him to their parents.

When Diogenes was in slavery, some of his friends used their interest to procure him his liberty. "Fools!" said he, "you are jesting. Do you not know that the lion is not the slave of them who feed him? They who feed him are his slaves."

Diogenes one day heard a herald publish that Dioxippus had conquered men at the Olympic games. "Say slaves and wretches," said he to them. "It is I who have conquered men."

When it was said to him, "You are old, you must take your ease," he said, "What? must I slacken my pace at the end of my course? Would it not be fitter that I should redouble my efforts?"

When walking in the streets, he observed a man let fall some bread which he was ashamed to lift. In order to show him that a man ought never to blush, when he is desirous to save anything, Diogenes collected the fragments of a broken bottle and carried them through the town. "I am like good musicians," said he, "who leave the true sound that others may catch it." To one who came to him to be his disciple, he gave a gammon of bacon to carry and desired him to follow him. Ashamed to carry it through the streets, the man threw it down and made off. Diogenes meeting him a few days after, said to him, "What? has a gammon of bacon broken our friendship?"

After reflecting on his life, Diogenes smiling said: "That all the imprecations generally uttered in tragedies had fallen upon him; that he had neither house, nor city, nor country; and that, in a state of indigence he lived from day to day; but that to fortune he opposed firmness; to custom, nature; and reason to the disorders of the soul."

Diogenes was greatly beloved and highly esteemed by the Athenians. They publicly scourged one who had broken his tub, and gave the philosopher another.

He was one day asked where he chose to be buried after his death? He replied: "In an open field." "How!" said one, "are you not afraid of becoming food for birds of prey and wild beasts?" "Then I must have my stick beside me," said Diogenes, "to drive them away when they come." "But," resumed the other, "you will be devoid of all sensation." "If that be the case," replied he, "it is no matter whether they eat me or not, seeing I shall not be sensible to it."

Some say that having arrived at the age of ninety, he ate a neat's-foot raw, which caused indigestion to such a degree that he burst. It is said by others that feeling himself burdened with age, he retained his breath, and was thus the cause of his own death. His friends coming next day, found him muffled up in his cloak. Upon first discovering him they doubted whether he were not asleep (which with him, was very unusual); they were soon convinced that he was dead. There was a great dispute among them about who should bury him; but when on the eve of breaking out into open violence, the magistrates and old men of Corinth opportunely arrived to appease the disturbance.

Diogenes was buried beside the gate lying toward the isthmus. There was erected, beside his tomb, a dog of Parian marble. The death of this philosopher happened in the first year of the 114th Olympiad, on the same day that Alexander died at Babylon.


(385—322 B.C.)


Demosthenes, the foremost orator of all history, was born in Athens about July in the year 385 B.C. His father, also named Demosthenes, a manufacturer of swords, was a gentleman widely and justly esteemed. His mother was Cleobule, the daughter of Gylon by a Scythian lady. The father died when the son was about seven years of age, leaving an estate of fourteen or fifteen talents, equal to some $200,000 now. The guardians partly embezzled, partly wasted the property, and the young orator's first law business, occupying several years, was the prosecution of these criminals to recover what he might. His success was but partial, yet his patrimony, with what he earned, always kept him in relative affluence, spite of his expensive tastes and great public and private munificence. As a boy he was weak, and did not avail himself of the physical training then usual among Greek youth of good families. He, however, employed the best teachers in his studies and his mental education was thorough. To Thucydides and the old rhetoricians he was ardently devoted, and these, with personal instruction by the orator Isæus, did most to form his style.

The early years of Demosthenes's manhood were spent in preparing speeches for sale, in instructing pupils in rhetoric, and in the severe and painstaking education of himself as a public speaker. His resolution in overcoming obstacles is much dwelt upon by ancient writers. He at first lisped and stammered and had a weak voice. To cure these faults he enunciated with pebbles in his mouth and declaimed while walking uphill and by the roaring breakers of the sea-shore. He shut himself in an underground study, which he constructed for the purpose, and practised going through long trains of thought there alone. "When he went out upon a visit or received one," says Plutarch, "he would take something that passed in conversation, some business or fact that was reported to him, for a subject to exercise himself upon. As soon as he had parted from his friends, he went to his study, where he repeated the matter in order as it passed, together with the arguments for and against it. The substance of the speeches which he heard he committed to memory, and afterward reduced them to regular sentences and periods, meditating a variety of corrections and new forms of expression, both for what others had said to him and he had addressed to them. Hence it was concluded that he was not a man of much genius, and that all his eloquence was the effect of labor. A strong proof of this seemed to be that he was seldom heard to speak anything extempore, and though the people often called upon him by name as he sat in the assembly, to speak to the point debated, he would not do it unless he came prepared." It is related that when in speaking he happened to be thrown into confusion by any occurrence in the assembly, the orator Demades, the foremost extempore speaker of the age, often arose and supported him in an extempore address, but that he never did this for Demades. Demosthenes was not, however, the slave of manuscript or memory. He declared that "he neither wrote the whole of his orations nor spoke without first committing part to writing." There was said to be greater spirit and boldness in his impromptu speeches than in those which he had elaborately prepared. People thought that sometimes when he spoke out thus on a sudden, his eloquence was inspired from above, as when once he uttered, in regular though unpremeditated verse, the forceful oath:

"By earth, by all her fountains, streams, and floods."

Demosthenes's first speeches were harsh and obscure. The sentences were too long, the metaphors violent and inapt. On the occasion of his first set address before a public assembly he even broke down. He was, however, indomitable in his determination and efforts to speak well, and persevered until at last the most critical heard him with delight. Notwithstanding certain defects which nice critics very early remarked, such as undue vehemence, argumentation and intensity too long sustained, and, in general, lack of variety and relief, Demosthenes's oratory is worthy the exalted regard which the best readers have in all ages accorded to it. His thought is always lucid and weighty, his argument fair and convincing, his diction manly and solid. He never uses a superfluous or a far-fetched word, never indulges in flowers, word-painting, or rhetorical trickery of any kind. He shows no trace of affectation, no effort to surprise or to be witty. He depends for effect upon truth logically and earnestly presented. If such a style, everywhere perfectly kept up, was in any degree artificial, how matchless the art which concealed the art! So plain and straightforward are many of the speeches, that one is tempted to refer their wonderful power when spoken, to some richness of elocution not appreciable now. Says Hume, treating of Demosthenes' manner, "Could it be copied, its success would be infallible over a modern assembly. It is rapid harmony exactly adjusted to the sense. It is vehement reasoning without any appearance of art; it is disdain, anger, boldness, freedom, involved in a continued stream of argument; and, of all human productions, the orations of Demosthenes present to us the models which approach nearest to perfection." ("Essay of Eloquence." Comp. Lord Brougham's Works, vii., 59 foll.)



Demosthenes was between twenty-five and thirty when Philip of Macedon began his astonishing career of conquest. It was soon clear that he was to be the rival of Athens for the headship of Greece. Demosthenes became the champion of the Athenian cause, and henceforth, so long as he lived, used all his powers against Macedonian aggressions. Most of his best speeches relate to this issue. His eloquence, argument, and personal influence won nearly all the Grecian states to a coalition that, for a time, successfully forbade Philip to set foot in Greece proper. Only Thebes and Sparta stood out, and when Philip, daring them all, ventured south and conquered Phocis, even the Thebans yielded to Demosthenes's pleas and joined the league. In vain, however. At the decisive battle of Chæronea, B.C. 338, Philip was entirely victorious. The allies fled, Demosthenes himself among them, leaving Philip to become at his leisure the master of every city so far south at least as the northern confines of Sparta. He might have realized his wish at once but for his excesses. He drank himself drunk, dancing over his slain foes, and beating time in maudlin song to the caption of the Athenian decree which Demosthenes had procured against him. But it is said that when sober again he trembled to remember "the prodigious power of that orator who had obliged him to put both empire and life on the cast of a day." Two years after the battle of Chæronea Philip is stricken down by the assassin Pausanias. Alexander mounts the throne, a youth of twenty. Greece flies to arms against him, not dreaming that a greater than Philip is here. Marching quickly against the Thracians and the Illyrians, who at once succumb, he volts to smite rebellious Thebes and Athens, whom Demosthenes's incessant appeals have again induced to take the field. In spite of him, the Athenians now basely desert the Thebans, leaving them to stand the entire fury of the war alone. Greece is thus soon quieted again, and the boy warrior, leaving Antipater behind with a sufficient home guard, crosses to Asia never to return. Once, later, when Harpalus, Alexander's renegade treasurer, came to Athens with his bags of Asiatic gold, and again after Alexander's death, it for a moment seemed possible to throw off Macedonia's yoke. Each time the orator led in an attempt to do this, but failed. Fined fifty talents for taking some of Harpalus' gold, he fled from Athens, living for a time in Trœzen and Ægina. The new hope for the former Greek regime evoked by Alexander's death was brief. Athens recalled Demosthenes and he made a successful tour of the cities to rally them against Antipater. Antipater, however, was too strong, and his victory at Cranon, B.C. 322, fully restored Macedonia's supremacy. Pursued to Calaurea by Antipater's emissaries, Demosthenes fled for refuge to the temple of Neptune there, took poison, which he had long carried with him for that purpose, and died, aged sixty-two.

It is clear that both the Macedonian conquerors deemed Demosthenes their most powerful foe. Drunk or sober, Philip thought constantly of him as the great force to be reckoned with. When he with nine other deputies visited Philip's court, it was Demosthenes's speech to which Philip felt called to give special reply, treating him with argument, while bestowing his choicest hospitality upon the others. Æschines and Philocrates accordingly came home full of praise for Philip. He was eloquent, they said, handsome, and could drink more liquor than any other man. Demosthenes, showing for the nonce some wit, ridiculed these traits, the first as that of a sophist, the second as that of a woman, the third as that of a sponge. "The fame of Demosthenes reached the Persian court; and the king wrote letters to his lieutenants commanding them to supply him with money and to attend to him more than 'to any other man in Greece; because he best knew how to make a diversion in his favor by raising fresh troubles and finding employment for the Macedonian arms nearer home. This Alexander afterward discovered by letters of Demosthenes which he found at Sardis, and the papers of the Persian government expressing the sums which had been given him." (Plutarch.)

The moral character of Demosthenes was fiercely assailed during his life, the chief charges being vacillation, unchastity, cowardice, and the receipt of bribes. In weighing these accusations we must remember that they were inspired by personal hatred, and that public life in Demosthenes's day was characterized by almost inconceivable strife and bitterness. There was probably considerable ground for all the allegations, except, perhaps, that of infirmity in purpose. Plutarch believes that the orator was "vindictive in his nature and implacable in his resentments." But the same author wonders how Theopompus could say that he was a man of no steadiness, since it appeared that "he abode by the party and the measures which he first adopted, and was so far from quitting them during his life that he forfeited his life rather than forsake them." "He was never a time-server either in his words or in his actions. The key of politics which he first touched he kept to without variation." But he certainly lacked physical courage. At Chæronea, a battle which he himself had brought on, he fled ignominiously, throwing away his arms. His cowardice was recognized in the inscription upon the pedestal of the bronze statue which the Athenians erected to him.

"Divine in speech, in judgment, too, divine,

Had valor's wreath, Demosthenes, been thine,

Fair Greece had still her freedom's ensign borne,

And held the scourge of Macedon in scorn."

It is equally certain that he loved gold too well, and sometimes took it when it should have burnt his hands.

For all this, Demosthenes's character was rather a noble one for that age. Among the distinguished Athenians of the day, only Phocion's outshone it. Nearly all that Demosthenes's foes cite to his discredit seems weak considering the known vices of the period, while much of it, as when they taunt him with always drinking water instead of wine, implies on his part a creditable strength of will, which is further attested by his self-discipline in mastering his chosen art. What, after all, speaks the most strongly for the orator's character is the serious moral tone of his orations. This cannot have been simulated, and hence cannot have proceeded from a man with a vicious nature.

The esteem in which Demosthenes was held at Athens is seen in what occurred soon after the battle of Chæronea, an event which led to Demosthenes' greatest oratorical effort. One Ctesiphon had proposed that the people reward Demosthenes' public services by the gift of a golden crown, and the senate had passed a bill to this effect, for submission to the vote of the assembly. Æschines denied that the orator's conduct gave him any right to be thus honored, and prosecuted Ctesiphon for bringing forward an unconstitutional measure. After years of delay, the trial came on in B.C. 330, Æschines delivering his famous address against Ctesiphon, really an adverse critical review of Demosthenes's public and private life to that time, to which Demosthenes replied by his immortal Oration on the Crown. Demosthenes gained a surprising victory. Although the judges were nearly all of the Macedonian party, Æschines did not secure for his cause a fifth part of their votes, a fact which, according to Athenian law, subjected him to a fine of a thousand drachmas for provoking the litigation. He at once left Athens and never returned.

The most recent judgment of Demosthenes as a statesman differs much from that in which nearly all the standard English and American authorities since Grote agree. Till lately it has been common to think of Athens as a real democracy, favorable to freedom, the bulwark of liberty then for Greece and the world. Philip has been deemed a mere barbarian, whose victory was certain to be, and was, the death of Grecian liberty. This being so, Demosthenes, in opposing Philip and his son Alexander, was not only a sincere patriot but a wise one. This is the view of Greek politics then which one gets from Demosthenes himself. Readers of his masterly orations insensibly adopt it, without due reflection upon the evidence now available to substantiate a different one. Demosthenes is understood to argue for a constitutional form of government, which, to all lovers of such, is an additional reason for siding with him. Grote's history urges the same view in a most enthusiastic and unhesitating way, and has had enormous influence in disseminating it. Thucydides, the original Greek historian most read in our time, makes the fate of everything good in Greece turn upon that of Athens. This great author so trains us in his manner of thought as to disqualify us from coolly considering the question whether the fortunes of Greece might not have risen or fallen in some other way.

The present writer believes the above theory to be almost entirely an error. Doubtless Demosthenes was honest, but he was mistaken in his views of what was best for Greece and even for Athens. Philip and Alexander, however selfish, were neither in purpose nor in fact so hostile to Greek freedom as the mighty orator makes out. Inordinate ambition possessed both. In this they are to be ranked with Napoleon and Julius Cæsar rather than with Washington. They, however, clearly saw the vanity of the old Greek regime, the total uselessness of trying to unify Greece or to make her independent of Persia through any of the devices paraded by the politicians. Therefore, with patriotism and philanthropy enough to give their cause a certain moral, glow in their minds, they set out by force of arms—the only possible way to succeed—first, to unify Greece, and next, to make her eternally independent of Persia. Since Gustav Droysen, in his "Alexander the Great," led off with this theory, the best writers upon Greek history have gradually adopted it, deserting Grote more and more. Droysen went too far. With him Alexander was the veritable demigod whom he sottishly decreed that his subjects should see in him. Droysen, of course, has too little respect for Demosthenes's policy. Victor Duruy is the only late writer of note who still blows the trumpet for our old orator as a statesman. He says that "the result of the Macedonian dominion was the death of European Greece," and he calls it the immortal glory of Demosthenes to have perceived this; yet even he admits that "the civilization of the world gained" by the Macedonian conquest, and hence, after all, places himself, "from the point of view of the world's history, on the side of Philip and his son." The tendency of writers upon this period is thus to exalt the man with a great national policy in his head though with a sword in his hand, at the expense of him who, never so honestly, dinned the populace with his high-sounding pleas for an obstructive course.

We are learning that republicanism or democracy, whichever one pleases to call it, was in ancient times a very different thing from aught that now exists under either name. The various republics of Greece and the republic of Rome were nothing but oligarchies, often atrociously tyrannical. Even at their best estate the rights of individuals in them, of their citizens even, were far less perfectly guarded than in some pretty absolute monarchies of later times.

"The Athenian imperial democracy was no popular government. In the first place there was no such thing as representation in their constitution. Those only had votes who could come and give them at the general assembly, and they did so at once upon the conclusion of the debate. There was no Second Chamber or Higher Council to revise or delay their decisions; no crown; no High Court of Appeal to settle claims against the state. The body of Athenian citizens formed the assembly. Sections of this body formed the jury to try cases of violation of the constitution either in act or in the proposal of new laws.

"The result was that all outlying provinces, even had they obtained votes, were without a voice in the government. But as a matter of fact they had no votes, for the states which became subject to Athens were merely tributary; and nothing was further from the ideas of the Athenians than to make them members of their Imperial Republic, in the sense that a new State is made a member of the American Republic.

"This it was which ruined even the great Roman republic, without any military reverses, and when its domination of the world was unshaken. Owing to the absence of representation, the empire of the Roman republic was in the hands of the city population, who were perfectly incompetent, even had they been in real earnest, to manage the government of the vast kingdoms their troops had conquered. In both cases the outsiders were governed wholly for the benefit of city crowd.

"The mistakes and the injustices which resulted in the Roman executive were such that any able adventurer could take advantage of the world-wide discontent, and could play off one city faction against the other. It is not conceivable that any other general course of events would have taken place at Athens, had she become the ruler of the Hellenic world. Her demos regarded itself as a sovran, ruling subjects for its own glory and benefit; there can therefore be no doubt that the external pressure of that wide discontent, which was the primary cause of the Peloponnesian war, would have co-operated with politicians within, if there were no enemies without, and that ambitious military chiefs, as at Rome, would have wrested the power from the sovran people either by force or by fraud." (Mahaffy, "Problems in Greek History," 98 foll.)

In other words, however distressing the ills which might happen to Athens through Philip's success, they could not be worse than those which were sure to beset her in any event; while for Greece as a whole, Philip's victory would mean unity and peace such as could have been secured in no other way.

This splendid possibility, which must have impressed the minds of Phocion and Philip, is obscured to our thought by the untimely death of both the great Macedonian generals, before their plans had any time to bear fruit. Desperate chaos follows Alexander's death of course; and when, little by little, order is evolved, it is a new order, not the old one. Never again does Athens sit there as a queen looking out upon her Ægean, but her day of political glory is ended forever.

It is natural to trace all this wild disorder, involving the decline of Athens, the wars of Alexander's successors, small and great, and also the Roman conquest at last, to Philip's victory at Chæronea. As we read the tangled and bloody record, we say to ourselves: Oh, how much better all would have been had the Athenians roused at the cry of Demosthenes, and beaten Philip instead of being beaten! We assume that had this happened Greece would have kept on its old splendid way, able to have conquered Rome herself when Rome came. Philip ruined Greece; the advice of Demosthenes, had it been followed, would have saved her.

Superficially considered, all this seems clever reasoning; but it is in fact a stupendous fallacy. Post hoc ergo proper hoc. Philip conquered and subsequently things went ill with Greece. A man looked at Mars and subsequently had the cholera.

Let us no longer argue so childishly: The evils that befell Hellas were not at all those which Demosthenes prophesied. They are no proof of his foresight. From the point of view of his wishes they were entirely accidental. To see this we need only inquire what would in all probability have come to pass had Alexander lived. One may heavily discount Droysen's adoration of the young conqueror, and yet, from what he achieved while alive and the way in which he achieved it, believe that immeasurable blessings to Greece and to humanity would have resulted from a lengthening of his days. I cannot think it rash to affirm that ten or twenty years added to Alexander's career would probably have changed subsequent history in at least three colossal particulars:

1. Probably Greece would have been more happily, perfectly, and permanently cemented together than was the case, or could in any other way have been the case.

2. Probably Greece would not only have been at last forever free from Asia but would also have become Asia's lord, and this in a manner truly beneficial to both lands.

3. Probably Greece would have ruled Rome instead of being ruled by Rome, and this, too, in such wise as to have benefited both, and the world as well.


(384—322 B.C.)

Aristotle and Student

Of all the philosophers of antiquity, Aristotle was one of the most celebrated; and in every seat of learning, his name, even at this day, is held in esteem.

He was son of Nicomachus, a physician, and friend of Amyntas, king of Macedonia, and was descended from Machaon, son of Æsculapius. He was born at Stagira, a city of Macedonia, in the first year of the 99th Olympiad. He lost his father and mother in his infancy, and was very much neglected by those who had the charge of his education.

In his early years he dissipated almost all his patrimony in libertinism and debauchery. At first he became a soldier; but the profession of arms not suiting his turn of mind, he went to Delphi to consult the Oracle, and fix his determination. By the response of the Oracle, he was directed to go to Athens and pursue the study of philosophy. He was then in his eighteenth year. For twenty years he studied in the academy under Plato, and as he had spent all his inheritance, he was induced, in order to procure a subsistence, to vend medicines at Athens.

Aristotle ate little and slept less. So strong was his passion for study, that in order to resist the oppression of sleep, he kept at his bedside a brazen basin, over which when in bed, he stretched one of his hands in which he held an iron ball, that if he should fall asleep, the noise of the ball dropping into the basin might awake him instantly.

According to Lærtius his voice was shrill and squeaking, his eyes small, his legs slender, and he dressed magnificently.

Aristotle was a man of acute parts, and one who easily comprehended the most difficult questions. He soon became master of the doctrines of Plato, and distinguished himself among the other academicians. No question was decided in the academy without the opinion of Aristotle, though it was often subversive of that of Plato. By all his fellow-students he was considered as a prodigy of genius, and his opinions were often followed, in opposition to those of his master. Aristotle left the academy. This excited the resentment of Plato. He could not refrain from treating him as a rebel, comparing him to the chick which pecks its dam.

The Athenians appointed him ambassador to Philip, king of Macedonia, father of Alexander the Great. Aristotle, having spent some time in Macedonia in settling the affairs of the Athenians, found, upon his return, that Xenocrates had been chosen master of the academy. Seeing that place thus filled he said, "It would be a shame for me to be silent, when Xenocrates speaks." He accordingly established a new sect, and taught doctrines different from those of his master Plato.

The celebrity of Aristotle, who now surpassed all his contemporaries in every kind of science, especially in the departments of philosophy and politics, induced Philip, king of Macedonia, to offer him the care of the education of his son Alexander, then fourteen years of age. Aristotle accepted. He continued Alexander's preceptor for eight years; and according to the testimony of Plutarch, taught him some secret doctrines which he communicated to none other.

The study of philosophy did not render the manners of Aristotle austere. He applied to business, and took an interest in everything that passed at the court of Macedonia. From respect to this philosopher, Philip rebuilt Stagira, his native city, which had been destroyed during the wars, and restored to their possessions all the inhabitants, of whom some had fled and others had been reduced to slavery.

When Alexander's education was finished, Aristotle returned to Athens, where he was well received on account of the mildness with which, for his sake, that city had been treated by Philip. He fixed upon a place in the Lyceum highly beautified with avenues of trees, where he established his school. He used to walk about when teaching and from this circumstance his sect was called Peripatetic. The Lyceum was soon thronged by a concourse of students whom Aristotle's reputation had drawn together from every quarter of Greece.

Alexander recommended to him to attend particularly to experiments in physical science. To facilitate his observations he sent him, besides 800 talents to defray expenses, a great number of huntsmen and fishermen to supply him from every quarter with subjects for experiment.

At that time Aristotle published his books of physics and metaphysics. Of this, Alexander who was now in Asia, got information. That ambitious prince, desirous of being in everything the first man in the world, was dissatisfied that the learning of his master should become common.

He showed his resentment by the following letter: "You have not done well in publishing your books on speculative science. If what you taught me be taught to men of all ranks, I shall then have nothing but in common with others. But I would have you consider that I had rather be superior to other men in abstract and secret knowledge, than to surpass them in power."

To appease this prince Aristotle sent him for answer, that he had published his books, but in such a way that in fact they were not published. By this he apparently meant, that his doctrines were laid down in a manner so embarrassed that it was impossible for any one ever to understand them.

Aristotle carefully investigated that question, the great object of moral philosophy, how men might be rendered happy in the present world. In the first place, he refutes the opinion of the voluptuous, who make happiness to consist in corporal pleasures. "Not only," said he, "are these pleasures fleeting, they are also succeeded by disgust; and while they enfeeble the body they debase the mind."

He next rejects the opinion of the ambitious, who place happiness in honors, and, with this object in view, pay no regard to the maxims of equity or the restraints of law. "Honor, he said, "exists in him who honors." "The ambitious," he adds, "desire to be honored in consequence of some virtue of which they wish themselves supposed to be possessed; that consequently, happiness consists in virtue, rather than in honors, especially as these are external and do not depend upon ourselves."

In the last place, he refutes the system of the avaricious, who constitute riches the supreme good. "Riches," he said, "are not desirable on their own account; they render him who possesses them unhappy, because he is afraid to use them. In order to render them really useful it is necessary to use and to distribute them, and not to place happiness in what is in itself detestable and not worth the having."

The opinion of Aristotle is that happiness consists in the most perfect exercise of the understanding and the practice of the virtues. The most noble exercise of the understanding, he considered to be speculation concerning natural objects; the heavens, the stars, nature, and chiefly the First Being. He observed, however, that without a competency of the good things of fortune suited to a man's situation in life, it was impossible to be perfectly happy, because without this we could neither have time to pursue speculation, nor opportunity to practise the virtues. Thus, for example, one could not please his friends; and to do good to those whom we love is always one of the highest enjoyments of fife.

"Happiness depends therefore," he said, "on three things: the goods of mind, as wisdom and prudence; the goods of the body, as beauty, health, strength; and the goods of fortune, as riches and nobility." Virtue he maintained, is not sufficient to render men happy; the goods of the body and of fortune are absolutely necessary; and a wise man would be unhappy were he to want riches or if his share of them were insufficient.

He affirmed, on the other hand: "Vice is sufficient to render men unhappy. Though in the greatest affluence and enjoying every other advantage, it is impossible for a man ever to be happy while the slave of vice. The wise man is not wholly exempted from the ills of life, but his share of them is small." "The virtues and vices," he said, "are not incompatible, for the same man, though intemperate, may be just and prudent."

He mentions three kinds of friendship; one of relationship, another of inclination, and a third of hospitality.

Elegant literature, he thinks, contributes greatly to produce a love of virtue; and the cultivation of letters he affirms to be the greatest consolation of age. Like Plato, he admitted the existence of a Supreme Being, to whom he attributed providence.

In his politics, he maintains that the monarchical form of government is the most perfect, because in other forms there are more rulers than one. An army under the conduct of one able commander, succeeds better than one conducted by several leaders; and while deputies, or chief men, are employed in assembling and deliberating, a monarch has already finished an expedition and executed his designs. The rulers of a republic do not care though they should ruin the state, provided they enrich themselves. Jealousies are engendered, divisions arise, and the republic is in danger of being finally destroyed and overthrown. In a monarchy, on the other hand, the interests of the prince are those of the state; and the state of course must flourish.

Aristotle was one day asked, "What does a man gain by telling a lie?" "Not to be believed," said he, "even when he tells the truth."

Having been blamed for giving alms to a bad man, he said: "It is not because he is bad, but because he is a man, that I have compassion for him."

To, his friends and scholars he used to say, that knowledge is to the soul what light is to the eyes; and that mellowness of the fruit makes up for the bitterness of the root. When irritated against the Athenians, he reproached them with neglecting their laws, and using their corn; though possessed of the former, as well as the latter.

He was one day asked, "What it is that is soonest effaced?" "Gratitude," replied he. "What is hope?" "A waking man's dream."

Diogenes presented Aristotle with a fig. Aristotle very well knew that were he to refuse it, Diogenes would level his wit against him. He took the fig, therefore, and with a smile said, "Diogenes has at once lost his fig and the use he intended to make of it."

He said there were three things very necessary to children: Genius, exercise, and instruction. When asked the difference between the learned and the ignorant, he replied: "The same as between the living and the dead." "Knowledge," he said, "is an ornament in prosperity, and in adversity a refuge. Those who give children a good education, are much more their fathers than those who have begotten them; the latter communicate mere life to them; the former put it in their power to spend it comfortably." "Beauty," said he, "is a recommendation infinitely stronger than any kind of learning."

He was one day asked, What pupils should do to turn their instructions to the greatest advantage? "They must," said he, "always keep in view those before them, and never look back to those behind them."

A certain person was one day boasting of being the citizen of an illustrious state. "Do not value yourself upon that," said Aristotle; "rather ask yourself whether you deserve to be so?"

Reflecting on human life, he sometimes said: "There are some who amass riches with as much avidity as if they were to live forever; others are as careless about their possessions as if they were to die to-morrow."

When asked, what is a friend? he replied, "One soul animating two bodies." "How," said one to him, "ought we to act to our friends?" "As we would have them to act toward us," replied Aristotle. He used frequently to exclaim, "Ah! my friends, there is not a friend in the world!"

He was one day asked, "How it comes that we prefer beautiful women to those who are ugly?" "You now ask a blind man's question," returned Aristotle.

He was asked what advantage he had derived from philosophy?" To do voluntarily," replied he, "what others do through fear of the laws."

It is said that during his stay at Athens he was intimate with an able Jew, by whom he was accurately instructed in the science and religion of the Egyptians, for the acquisition of which everyone at that time used to go to Egypt itself.

Having taught in the Lyceum for thirteen years with great reputation, Aristotle was accused of impiety by Eurimedon, priest of Ceres. He was so overwhelmed with the recollection of what Socrates had suffered that he hastily left Athens and retired to Chalcis in Eubœa. It is said by some that he there died of vexation because he could not discover the cause of the flux and reflux of the Euripus. By others it is added that he threw himself into that sea, and when falling said, "Let the Euripus receive me since I cannot comprehend it." And lastly, it is affirmed by others that he died of a colic in the sixty-third year of his age, two years after the death of his pupil, Alexander the Great.

By the Stagirites, altars were erected to him as a god.

Aristotle made a will, of which Antipater was appointed the executor. He left a son called Nicomachus, and a daughter who was married to a grandson of Demaratus, king of Lacedæmonia.


(287—212 B.C.)


It is scarcely possible to view the vast steamships of our day without reflecting that to a great master of mechanics, upward of two thousand years since, we in part owe the invention of the machine by which these mighty vessels are propelled upon the wide world of waters. This power is an application of "the Screw of Archimedes," the most celebrated of the Greek geometricians. He was born in Sicily, in the Corinthian colony of Syracuse, in the year 287 B.C., and when a very young man, was fortunate enough to enjoy the patronage of his relative Hiero, the reigning prince of Syracuse.

The ancients attribute to Archimedes more than forty mechanical inventions —among which are the endless screw; the combination of pulleys; an hydraulic organ, according to Tertullian; a machine called the HELIX, or screw, for launching ships; and a machine called loculus, which appears to have consisted of forty pieces, by the putting together of which various objects could be framed, and which were used by boys as a sort of artificial memory.

Archimedes is said to have obtained the friendship and confidence of Hiero by the following incident. The king had delivered a certain weight of gold to a workman, to be made into a crown. When the crown was made and sent to the king, a suspicion arose in the royal mind that the gold had been adulterated by the alloy of a baser metal, and he applied to Archimedes for his assistance in detecting the imposture; the difficulty was to measure the bulk of the crown without melting it into a regular figure; for silver being, weight for weight, of greater bulk than gold, any alloy of the former in place of an equal weight of the latter would necessarily increase the bulk of the crown; and at that time there was no known means of testing the purity of metal. Archimedes, after many unsuccessful attempts, was about to abandon the subject altogether, when the following circumstance suggested to his discerning and prepared mind a train of thought which led to the solution of the difficulty. Stepping into his bath one day, as was his custom, his mind doubtless fixed on the object of his research, he chanced to observe that, the bath being full, a quantity of water of the same bulk as his body must flow over before he could immerse himself. He probably perceived that any other body of the same bulk would have raised the water equally; but that another body of the same weight, but less bulky, would not have produced so great an effect. In the words of Vitruvius, "as soon as he had hit upon this method of detection, he did not wait a moment, but jumped. joyfully out of the bath, and running forthwith toward his own house, called out with a loud voice that he had found what he sought. For as he ran he called out, in Greek, "Eureka! Eureka!—I have found it! I have found it!" When his emotion had sobered down, he proceeded to investigate the subject calmly. He procured two masses of metal, each of equal weight with the crown—one of gold and the other of silver—and having filled a vessel very accurately with water, he plunged into it the silver, and marked the exact quantity of water that over-flowed. He then treated the gold in the same manner, and observed that a less quantity of water overflowed than before. He next plunged the crown into the same vessel full of water, and observed that it displaced more of the fluid than the gold had done, and less than the silver; by which he inferred that the crown was neither pure gold nor pure silver, but a mixture of both. Hiero was so gratified with this result as to declare that from that moment he could never refuse to believe anything Archimedes told him.

Travelling in Egypt, and observing the necessity of raising the water of the Nile to points which the river did not reach, as well as the difficulty of clearing the land from the periodical overflowings of the Nile, Archimedes invented for this purpose the screw which bears his name. It was likewise used as a pump to clear water from the holds of vessels; and the name of Archimedes was held in great veneration by seamen on this account. The screw may be briefly described as a long spiral with its lower extremity immersed in the water, which, rising along the channels by the revolution of the machine on its axis, is discharged at the upper extremity. When applied to the propulsion of steam-vessels the screw is horizontal; and being put in motion by a steam-engine, drives the water backward, when its reaction, or return, propels the vessel.

The mechanical ingenuity of Archimedes was next displayed in the various machines which he constructed for the defence of Syracuse during a three years' siege by the Romans. Among these inventions were catapults for throwing arrows, and ballistæ for throwing masses of stone; and iron hands or hooks attached to chains, thrown to catch the prows of the enemy's vessels, and then overturn them. He is likewise stated to have set their vessels on fire by burning-glasses; this, however, rests upon modern authority, and Archimedes is rather believed to have set the ships on fire by machines for throwing lighted materials.



After the storming of Syracuse, Archimedes was killed by a Roman soldier, who did not know who he was. The soldier inquired, but the philosopher, being intent upon a problem, begged that his diagram might not be disturbed; upon which the soldier put him to death. At his own request, expressed during his life, a sphere inscribed in a cylinder was sculptured on his tomb, in memory of his discovery that the solid contents of a sphere is exactly two-thirds of that of the circumscribing cylinder; and by this means the memorial was afterward identified. One hundred and fifty years after the death of Archimedes, when Cicero was residing in Sicily, he paid homage to his forgotten tomb. "During my quæstorship," says this illustrious Roman, "I diligently sought to discover the sepulchre of Archimedes, which the Syracusans had totally neglected, and suffered to be grown over with thorns and briars. Recollecting some verses, said to be inscribed on the tomb, which mentioned that on the top was placed a sphere with a cylinder, I looked round me upon every object at the Agragentine Gate, the common receptacle of the dead. At last I observed a little column which just rose above the thorns, upon which was placed the figure of a sphere and cylinder. This, said I to the Syracusan nobles who were with me, this must, I think, be what I am seeking. Several persons were immediately employed to clear away the weeds and lay open the spot. As soon as a passage was opened, we drew near, and found on the opposite base the inscription, with nearly half the latter part of the verses worn away. Thus would this most famous, and formerly most learned, city of Greece have remained a stranger to the tomb of one of its most ingenious citizens, had it not been discovered by a man of Arpinum."

To Archimedes is attributed the apophthegm: "Give me a lever long enough, and a prop strong enough, and with my own weight I will move the world." This arose from his knowledge of the possible effects of machinery; but however it might astonish a Greek of his day, it would now be admitted to be as theoretically possible as it is practically impossible. Archimedes would have required to move with the velocity of a cannon-ball for millions of ages to alter the position of the earth by the smallest part of an inch. In mathematical truth, however, the feat is performed by every man who leaps from the ground; for he kicks the world away when he rises, and attracts it again when he falls back.

Under the superintendence of Archimedes was also built the renowned galley for Hiero. It was constructed to half its height, by three hundred master workmen and their servants, in six months. Hiero then directed that the vessel should be perfected afloat; but how to get the vast pile into the water the builders knew not, till Archimedes invented his engine called the helix, by which, with the assistance of very few hands he drew the ship into the sea, where it was completed in six months. The ship consumed wood enough to build sixty large galleys; it had twenty tiers of bars and three decks; the middle deck had on each side fifteen dining apartments besides other chambers, luxuriously furnished, and floors paved with mosaics of the story of the "Iliad." On the upper deck were gardens with arbors of ivy and vines; and here was a temple of Venus, paved with agates, and roofed with Cyprus-wood; it was richly adorned with pictures and statues, and furnished with couches and drinking-vessels. Adjoining was an apartment of box-wood, with a clock in the ceiling, in imitation of the great dial of Syracuse; and here was a huge bath set with gems called Tauromenites. There were also on each side of this deck, cabins for the marine soldiers, and twenty stables for horses; in the forecastle was a fresh-water cistern which held 253 hogsheads; and near it was a large' tank of sea-water, in which fish were kept. From the ship's sides projected ovens, kitchens, mills, and other offices, built upon beams, each supported by a carved image nine feet high. Around the deck were eight wooden towers, from each of which was raised a breastwork full of loopholes, whence an enemy might be annoyed with stones, each tower being guarded by four armed soldiers and two archers. On this upper deck was also placed the machine invented by Archimedes to fling stones of 300 pounds weight and darts eighteen feet long, to the distance of 120 paces; while each of the three masts had two engines for throwing stones. The ship was furnished with four anchors of wood and eight of iron; and "the water-screw" of Archimedes, already mentioned, was used instead of a pump for the vast ship; "by the help of which one man might easily and speedily drain out the water, though it were very deep." The whole ship's company consisted of an immense multitude, there being in the forecastle alone 600 seamen. There were placed on board her 60,000 bushels of corn, 10,000 barrels of salt fish, and 20,000 barrels of flesh, besides the provisions for her company. She was first called the Syracuse, but afterward the Alexandria. The builder was Archias, the Corinthian shipwright. The vessel appears to have been armed for war, and sumptuously fitted for a pleasure-yacht, yet was ultimately used to carry corn. The timber for the main mast, after being in vain sought for in Italy, was brought from England. The dimensions are not recorded, but they must have exceeded those of any ship of the present day; indeed, Hiero, finding that none of the surrounding harbors sufficed to receive his vast ship, loaded it with corn and presented the vessel with its cargo to Ptolemy, King of Egypt, and on arriving at Alexandria it was hauled ashore, and nothing more is recorded respecting it. A most elaborate description of this vast ship has been preserved to us by Athenæus, and translated into English by Burchett, in his "Naval Transactions."

Archimedes has been styled the Homer of geometry; yet it must not be concealed that he fell into the prevailing error of the ancient philosophers—that geometry was degraded by being employed to produce anything useful. "It was with difficulty," says Lord Macaulay, "that he was induced to stoop from speculation to practice. He was half ashamed of those inventions which were the wonder of hostile nations, and always spoke of them slightingly, as mere amusements, as trifles in which a mathematician might be suffered to relax his mind after intense application to the higher parts of his science."

Marcus Tullius Cicero

(106—43 B.C.)


Marcus Tullius Cicero, the foremost orator of ancient Rome, one of her leading statesmen, and the most brilliant and accomplished of her men of letters, lived in those stirring later days of the Roman republic, that age of revolution and civil wars, in which an old and decaying order of things was passing away. It was the age of great and daring spirits, of Catiline, Cæsar, Pompey, Antony, with whose history Cicero's life is so closely intertwined.

Born 106 B.C., at an old Italian town, Arpinum in Latium, of a good family, and inheriting from his father, who was a man of considerable culture, a moderate estate, he went as a boy to Rome, and there, under the best teachers and professors, he learned law and oratory, Greek philosophy, and Greek literature, acquiring in fact the universal knowledge which he himself says in his essay "On the Orator" (De Oratore), an orator ought to possess. An orator in the ancient world, we should bear in mind, was first and chiefly a pleader of causes, causes both legal and political—speaker alike, as we should say, at the bar and in parliament. Hence the necessity for knowledge and information of every kind. Cicero's first important speech, in his twenty-sixth year, was the successful defence in a criminal trial of a client against one of the favorites of the all-powerful Sulla, then dictator. After a visit to Athens, and a tour in Asia Minor, where he profited by the society of eminent professors of rhetoric and men of letters, he returned to Rome, and at thirty years of age he was in the highest repute at the Roman bar.

In 76 B.C., having been elected quæstor (a financial secretary, as we may say) by a unanimous popular vote, he held an appointment in Sicily, where he won the good opinion of two highly important interests, apt at times to conflict, the traders and the revenue collectors. To this he owed the glory of his successful impeachment of the infamous Verres, in 70 B.C., which he undertook at the request of the Sicilian provincials. The bad man who had so hideously misgoverned them, felt himself crushed by Cicero's opening speech, and went into voluntary exile. Cicero was now a power in the state, and his rise up the official ladder was sure and rapid; in 66 B.C. he was prætor, and supported in a great political speech (Pro Lege Manilia) the appointment of Pompey to the conduct of the war with Mithridates, which in fact carried with it the supreme control of Asia and of the East. In 63 B.C., at the age of forty-four, he was consul, the highest dignity attainable to a Roman; in that memorable year he foiled by a bold promptitude, the revolutionary plot of Catiline, in which many distinguished Romans—Cæsar it was even said among them—were implicated. He was now at the height of his fame; "father of his country" he was actually called; for a brief space he was with all classes the great man of the day. But the tide soon turned; Cicero might have saved the country, but in saving it, it was said he had violated the constitution, according to which a Roman citizen could not be capitally punished but by the sentence of the people in regular assembly. As it was, Roman citizens guilty of complicity with Catiline had, at Cicero's instigation, been put to death simply by an order of the senate; this, it was said, was a dangerous precedent and Cicero must be held responsible for it. His bitter enemy, Clodius, now tribune, pressed the charge against him in inflammatory speeches specially addressed to the lowest class of citizens, and Cicero in despair left Rome in 58 B.C., and took refuge at Thessalonica. That same year saw the "father of his country" condemned to exile by a vote of the Roman people, and his house at Rome and his country houses at Formiæ and Tusculum plundered and ruined.

But in those revolutionary days the events of one year were reversed by those of the next; in 57 B.C., with new counsels and new tribunes, the people almost unanimously voted the recall of the exile, and Cicero was welcomed back to Rome amid an outburst of popular enthusiasm. But he was no longer a power in the world of politics; he could not see his way clearly; and he was so nervously sensitive to the fluctuations of public opinion that he could not decide between Pompey and the aristocracy on the one hand, and Cæsar and the new democracy on the other. His leanings had hitherto been toward Pompey and the senate and the old republic; but as time went on, he felt that Pompey was a half-hearted man, who could not be trusted, and that he would have ultimately to succumb to his far abler and more far-sighted rival, Cæsar. The result was that he lost the esteem of both parties, and came to be regarded as a mere trimmer and time-server. There was all that political indecision about him which may be often observed in eminent lawyers and men of letters. The age wanted strong men such as Cæsar; this Cicero certainly was not. He was gentle, amiable, very clever, and highly cultivated, but the last man in the world to succeed in politics. The later years of his life were spent chiefly in pleading at the bar and writing essays. In 52 B.C. he composed one of his finest speeches in defence of Milo, who had killed Clodius in a riot, and was then standing for the consulship; in this he was acting quite against the wishes of Pompey. In the following years (51–50 B.C.) he was in Asia, as governor of the province of Cilicia, and here the best side of his character showed itself in his just and sympathetic treatment of the provincials. In 49–48 B.C. he was with Pompey's army in Greece to fight for the old cause, of which, however, he well-nigh despaired, and after the decisive battle of Pharsalia, at which he was not present, he threw himself on the conqueror's mercy. Cæsar, who had certainly nothing to fear from him, received him kindly, and was a great friend to him from that day; but Cicero was not a happy man now that he could no longer make speeches in the senate or in the courts; to all this Cæsar's victory had for the time at least put at end. In the years 46, 45, 44 B.C., he wrote most of his chief works on rhetoric and philosophy, living in retirement and brooding mournfully over his griefs and disappointments. In 43 B.C., the year after Cæsar's death, he had once again the delight of having his eloquence applauded by the senate. In that year his famous speeches against Antony—Philippics, as he called them after the title of Demosthenes's orations against Philip of Macedon—were delivered. These cost him his life. As soon as Antony, Octavius (afterward the Emperor Augustus), and Lepidus had leagued themselves together in the so-called triumvirate for the settlement of the state, they followed the precedent of former revolutions, a proscription-list of their political enemies. All such were outlawed and given up to destruction. Cicero's name was in the fatal list. Old and feeble, he fled to his villa at Formiæ, pursued by the soldiers of Antony, and was overtaken by them as he was being carried in a litter down to the shore, where it had been his intention to embark. With a calm courage (which, to quote Macaulay's words) "has half redeemed his fame," he put his head out of the litter and bade his murderers strike. He died in the December of 43 B.C., in the sixty-third year of his age.

As an orator and a pleader Cicero undoubtedly stands in the first rank. Many of his speeches have come down to us. Of these the most famous, and perhaps the finest, are his speeches against Verres and against Catiline. Eloquence in those days of furious faction and revolution was a greater force than it is with us. As a politician he failed because he did not distinctly realize to himself that the old republic, the government of the senate and of the nobles, had been tried and had been found wanting. He had not the courage to face the great changes which he felt were impending. Pompey, the champion of the old order, was not a leader to whom he could look up with confidence. And so he wavered, and half acquiesced in Cæsar's triumph, even though he suspected that with that triumph the Rome which he had known and loved would pass away. To us it is as an essayist and as the writer of a multitude of letters to friends, full of miscellaneous information, that Cicero is particularly attractive; there is a gracefulness and refinement and elevation of tone about his writings which cannot fail to incline the reader to say with Erasmus, "I feel a better man for reading Cicero." His essays on "Old Age" and "on Friendship," his De Officiis, or "Whole Duty of Man," as we may paraphrase it, are good and pleasant reading such as we can all enjoy. There is no fairer picture in literature than of him sitting in the garden of his villa at Tusculum, surrounded by admiring friends, and engaged upon his "Tusculari disputations;" while his treatises on the " Nature of the Gods," and on the "True Ends of Human Life" (De Finibus), if they do not show any very deep and original thought, at least give us an insight into the teachings of the various philosophical schools.

Augustus Caesar

(63 B.C.—14 A.D.)


Caius Julius Cæsar Octavianus Augustus, son of Caius Octavius and Atia (Julius Cæsar's niece), was born in 63 B.C. He was the first and greatest of the Roman emperors, in his way perhaps fully as great as his adoptive father, Julius Cæsar. The Octavian family came originally from Velitræ, in the country of the Volsci; and the branch to which Augustus belonged was rich and honorable. His father had risen to the rank of senator and prætor, but died in the prime of life, when Augustus was only four years old. Augustus was carefully educated in Rome under the guardianship of his mother and his step-father; and his talents recommended him to his great uncle, Julius Cæsar, who adopted him as his son and heir. At the time of Cæsar's assassination (44 B.C.), Augustus was a student under the celebrated orator Apollodorus, at Apollonia in Illyricum, whither, however, he had been sent chiefly to gain practical instruction in military affairs. He returned to Italy, and now first learning that he was his uncle's heir, assumed the name of Julius Cæsar Octavianus. The soldiers at Brundusium saluted him as Cæsar, but he declined their offers, and entered Rome almost alone. The city was at this time divided between the republicans and the friends of Mark Antony, but the latter, by adroit manoeuvres, had gained the ascendency, and enjoyed almost absolute power. At first, Augustus was haughtily treated by Antony, who refused to surrender Cæsar's property; but after some fighting, in which Antony was worsted and forced to flee across the Alps, Augustus, who had made himself a favorite with the people and the army, obtained the consulship and carried out Cæsar's will. He found an able advocate in Cicero, who at first had regarded him with contempt. To himself the great orator seemed to be laboring in behalf of the republic, whereas he really was only an instrument for raising Augustus to supreme power. When Antony returned from Gaul with Lepidus, Augustus threw off the republican mask, and joined them in establishing a triumvirate. He obtained Africa, Sardinia, and Sicily; Antony, Gaul; and Lepidus, Spain. Their power was soon made absolute by the massacre of those unfriendly to them in Italy, and by the victory at Philippi over the republicans under Brutus and Cassius. The Perusian war, excited by Fulvia, wife of Antony, seemed likely to lead to a contest between Augustus and his rival; but was ended by Fulvia's death, and the subsequent marriage of Antony with Octavia, sister of Augustus. Shortly afterward the Roman world was divided anew, Augustus taking the western half, and Antony the eastern. The contest for supremacy commenced. While Antony was lost in luxurious dissipation at the court of Cleopatra, Augustus was industriously striving to gain the love and confidence of the Roman people, and to damage his rival in public estimation. War was at length declared against the Egyptian queen, and at the naval battle of Actium (31 B.C.) Augustus was victorious, and became sole ruler of the whole Roman world. Antony soon afterward ended his life by suicide; and Cleopatra, learning of his death and believing that Augustus intended carrying her in chains to Rome, also killed herself, so that Augustus triumphed only over her dead body, which he found awaiting him. Antony's son by Fulvia, and Cæsarion, son of Cæsar and Cleopatra, were put to death; and in 29 B.C., after regulating affairs in Egypt, Greece, Syria, and Asia Minor, Augustus returned to Rome in triumph, and, closing the temple of Janus, proclaimed universal peace.

His subsequent measures were mild and prudent. To insure popular favor, he abolished the laws of the triumvirate, and reformed many abuses. Hitherto, since Cæsar's death, he had been named Octavian; but now the title of Augustus ("sacred " or "consecrated") was conferred on him. In his eleventh consulship (23 B.C.), the tribunician power was granted him for life by the senate. Republican names and forms still remained, but they were mere shadows; and Augustus, in all but name, was absolute monarch. In 21 B.C., on the death of Lepidus, he had the high title of Pontifex Maximus bestowed on him. The nation surrendered to him all the power and honor that it had to give.

Augustus and Cleopatra


After a course of victories in Asia, Spain, Pannonia, Dalmatia, Gaul, etc., Augustus (9 B.C.) suffered the one crushing defeat of his long rule, in the person of Quintilius Varus, whose army was annihilated by the Germans under Hermann. The loss so afflicted Augustus that for some time he allowed his beard and hair to grow, as a sign of deep mourning, and often exclaimed, "O Varus, Varus, give me back my legions!" Thenceforth he confined himself to plans of domestic improvements and reform, and so beautified Rome that it was said, "Augustus found the city built of brick, and left it built of marble." He also built citics in several parts of the empire; and altars were raised by the grateful people to commemorate his beneficence; while by a decree of the senate the name Augustus was given to the month Sextilis.

Though thus surrounded with honor and prosperity, Augustus was not free from domestic trouble. The abandoned conduct of his daughter Julia was the cause of sore vexation to him. He had no son, and his nephew Marcellus, and Caius and Lucius, his daughter's sons, whom he had appointed as his successors and heirs, as well as his favorite stepson, Drusus, all died early; while his stepson, Tiberius, was an unamiable character whom he could not love. Age, sorrow, and failing health warned him to seek repose; and, to recruit his strength, he undertook a journey to Campania; but his infirmity increased, and he died at Nola (14 "A.D., in the seventy-seventh year of his age. According to tradition, shortly before his death, he called for a mirror, arranged his hair neatly, and said to his attendants: "Did I play my part well? If so, applaud me!" Augustus had consummate tact and address as a ruler and politician, and made use of the passions and talents of others to forward his own designs. The good and great measures which marked his reign were originated mostly by himself. He encouraged agriculture, patronized the arts and literature, and was himself an author; though only a few fragments of his writings have been preserved. Horace, Virgil, Ovid, Propertius, Tibullus, and Livy—greatest of Latin poets, and scholars—belonged to the Augustan Age, a name since applied in France to the reign of Louis XIV, in England to that of Queen Anne.

St. Ambrose

(340—397 A.D.)

St. Ambrose

Biographical history presents few characters more interesting either to the statesman or the churchman than that of St. Ambrose. As a statesman—though but a small part of his life was devoted to the affairs of civil government—he showed great prudence, was sincerely devoted to the interests of his imperial master, and yet he was at the same time an uncompromising advocate and defender of the rights of the people. As a churchman he united a high degree of personal sanctity and a fatherly care of those intrusted to his pastoral vigilance—especially the poor—to an extraordinary firmness in maintaining the rights of the Church against imperial usurpation, and the purity of doctrine against the inroads of heresy.

St. Ambrose was born about the year 340, of a Roman of the same name who was at that time prefect of the pretorium in Gaul, a province which then embraced a large portion of western and southwestern Europe. Arles, Lyons, and Tréves contend for the honor of being his birthplace, but it is most probable that it was in the latter he first saw the light. Legends, too, are not wanting of extraordinary occurrences which took place during his infancy, that seemed to presage his future greatness. Be these as they may, his life and works, which are before the world, stand in need of no such embellishments, now that they have become matters of history. His father died in his infancy, and his mother returned to Rome, where her wealth and social position enabled her to give her children the best education possible; and none of them profited more by his opportunities than Ambrose. His attainments were numerous and varied, embracing, among other things, a thorough knowledge of the Greek language and literature, oratory of a high order, unusual skill in poetic composition, and a thorough acquaintance with music.

Having completed his education, he went to Milan to enter upon his public career. Here his learning, ability, and integrity were soon recognized, and preferments crowded thick upon him. But under all circumstances he remained true to himself; and, although then only a catechumen—or one undergoing instruction before embracing Christianity—he yet made the maxims of the Gospel the rule of his life and conduct. In a short time he was made governor of the provinces of Liguria and Æmelia, which embraced the greater part of Northern Italy. When setting out to assume the duties of that exalted position, he was told by one of those highest in authority, to "go and rule more as a bishop than a judge." Although but thirty years of age at the time of his appointment, he strove by his vigilance, mildness, and probity, to act upon that advice which seemed almost prophetic; for he was soon after called to the bishopric of Milan, as we shall presently have occasion to remark. The Arian heresy was then at the zenith of its power, and was at least secretly, and often openly, favored by the imperial authority. In few places was it more openly defiant than at Milan. Auxentius, the Arian bishop of that see, died in the year 374, and a serious tumult was raised during the election of his successor—the Arians and the orthodox Christians each contending for the mastery. In the discharge of his duties as governor, Ambrose entered the assembly, where by his firmness, prudence, and moderation he succeeded in restoring order. Tradition states that in a moment of tranquillity a child cried out: "Ambrose is bishop;" but, be that as it may, and it matters little, so great was the public appreciation of his merits, and so high was the esteem in which he was held, that he was immediately elected by acclamation. Alarmed at this determination of the people, he endeavored to escape the honor and remain in concealment till another election should take place; but the vigilance of the people prevented it. He then had recourse to another means of escape, urging that he was only a catechumen and could not lawfully be elected a bishop. But this, too, was overruled, when he insisted that being in the service of the emperor his permission was necessary. So far, however, from this availing, it had the opposite effect, for the Emperor Valentinian readily gave his consent, adding the flattering remark that he was very much pleased to know that the civil governors whom he had selected to rule the provinces of the Empire, were fit to be made bishops to rule the Church of God. Seeing the will of heaven so clearly manifested, Ambrose feared longer to refuse his acquiescence, and at the age of thirty-four he passed through the various ecclesiastical orders and was consecrated Bishop of Milan on December 7, 374.

Solicitude for the portion of the Church now entrusted to his pastoral care was thenceforth his only thought; and to his other numerous and profound acquirements he added that of a careful study of the scriptures. In those unhappy times storms were raging on all sides between the orthodox Christians and the Arians; and while he and the church of Milan were congratulated from all sides on the choice of so able a chief pastor, he clearly saw that his future life must be one of constant struggle with the civil power for the rights of the Church, and with the Arians for the purity of doctrine. But his extraordinary combination of gentleness and charity with firmness and courage never failed him, and in the end it proved equal to the task imposed upon him; and it has handed down his name as one of the noblest on the pages of the world's history. The better to free himself from unnecessary trammels, he at once disposed of his immense wealth to the poor, except so much of it as was necessary for the becoming maintenance of his household; and the administration of even this he committed to others.

The turbulent times through which the Church had passed and was still passing, had necessarily given rise to numerous abuses; and to the correction of these the newly consecrated bishop unsparingly devoted himself. But though this was destined to be a life-work, and though he met with a great measure of success, "it must needs be that scandals come," and no one can hope to eradicate entirely every abuse. Never was the Arian heresy so successfully dealt with as by him, and if he did not succeed in entirely destroying it, he did succeed in breaking its power and restoring greater tranquillity to the Church than it had enjoyed for a long term of years. Many elements combined to produce these consoling results; and since we are treating of an eminent churchman, it is necessary to attach due importance to his own personal sanctity, which was at once a rebuke to disregard of ecclesiastical discipline, a living illustration of what the true Christian should be, and an evidence of the purity of his motives and the sincerity of his conduct. This holiness had its effect too before the Throne of Grace, for the scriptures assure us that the prayers of the just man avail much. So long as we entertain the belief that Christ has established a church on earth, we must from necessity hold that He takes a lively interest in it, and blesses the labors of those who devote themselves to its extension. His eloquence, too, in the pulpit not only advanced the interests of religion, but also stimulated the zeal and guided the efforts of others of less ability. His numerous controversial works refuted the errors and sophistries of the enemies of religion, on the one hand, and on the other, explained and defended its tenets. Those who wished to tread the higher walks of the spiritual life, found in his several treatises on certain of the Christian virtues, a sure light to guide them in the way of perfection. Devoting his attention to the liturgy of divine worship, he added greatly to the attractiveness of the ceremonial, especially by a thorough revision of the church music that had previously been in use. But in the march of the human mind nothing now remains of the Ambrosian chant in its purity, save the "Exultet," as it is called, which is a hymn sung in the Latin Church during the blessing of the Paschal candle on Holy Saturday. Large numbers of his poetic compositions still remain, and are found for the most part in the Roman breviary. It may be said that his pen was never idle nor his voice hushed when the interests of religion could be promoted, and many of his writings remain to our day, a proof of his learning, an evidence of his zeal, and a monument to his courage. Among his successes in advancing the cause of religion must be mentioned his conversion, in 387, of St. Augustine, the greatest light of the Western Church. But he is better known to the world at large by his firmness in withstanding the usurpation of the secular power, and bringing those in high places to confess and repent of their faults. In doing this he had ever the best interests of mankind at heart.

Soon after his consecration as a bishop he wrote to the emperor, complaining of the corruption of some imperial governors; to whom Valentinian replied: "I have long since been acquainted with your freedom of speech, which did not deter me from consenting to your consecration. Continue to apply to our sins the remedies prescribed by the divine law." Even in our own day, not a few salutary laws are due to his humane influence. He prevailed on the Emperor Gratian to pass a law, among others, that no criminal should be executed within less than thirty days after sentence had been passed. He also succeeded, but with great difficulty, in having the pagan statues removed from the senate. He had also a law passed forbidding the Arians to rebuild or repair their churches. When the Empress Justina sent to him asking the use of certain churches for the celebration of Easter, he refused; and when threats were made he answered in language worthy of a Christian prelate: "Should you ask what is mine, as my land or my money, I would not refuse you, though all that I possess belongs to the poor; but you have no right to that which belongs to God." A year later, the Easter of 386, the same request was made, when the intrepid bishop answered "Naboth would not give up the inheritance of his ancestors, and shall I give up that of Jesus Christ?" It may perhaps be difficult for many in our day, when so little importance is attached to Christian unity, to appreciate the fearless action of this heroic person; but his biography would be imperfect in a very important particular if these points were passed over in silence; and before passing judgment on him we must bear in mind the rule of the historian and biographer, so frequently lost sight of, that persons and things must be judged by the times and circumstances in which they were placed. The times change and we change in them.

Perhaps the most remarkable event in the life of St. Ambrose, so far as the world at large will judge him, was his rebuke of the Emperor Theodosius. Instances like this are not rare, it is true, in the history of the Christian Church; but this one stands forth with more than ordinary prominence. The circumstances are briefly these: A sedition broke out in the city of Thessalonica, in which a number of officers and the commander of the imperial forces were slain. Theodosius, at the instigation of Rufinus, a military officer of prominence, sent a warrant to the commander of Illyricum to let the soldiers loose upon the city; a command that was carried out with great cruelty, and by which more than seven thousand persons, the innocent as well as the guilty, were massacred in the most inhuman manner. The grief of Ambrose on hearing this was extreme; and, in order to afford the emperor time to reflect, he withdrew from Milan, and addressed him a very touching letter exhorting him to repentance, assuring him at the same time that he, as bishop, would not receive his offerings nor perform the services of religion in his presence till he had done so. The prelate soon after returned to his episcopal city; and when the emperor appeared at the doors of the church to attend divine services, he forbade him to enter till he had done penance for his crime. Excuses and palliations were of no avail, and when the emperor urged that King David had sinned, he was told that as he had imitated David in his sin, he should also imitate him in his repentance; and the doors of the church were closed against him. The emperor returned to his palace, where for eight months he did penance for his fault; and he was not admitted to full communion till he had perfectly complied with the requirements of the bishop.

Ambrose and Theodosius


While to the general reader there may appear an unwonted severity, and even a tyrannical vindictiveness in this firmness of the holy prelate, his companions and those who knew his character best find in it an evidence of his zeal for the cause of religion, and his desire for the true conversion of the sinner; and the man of the world will find in him the champion of the poor and oppressed against the tyranny of power. It is a well-known fact of history that he did not cease, during all this time, to beseech heaven with prayers and tears for the emperor, whom he sincerely loved. But his character in this, as in all else, has withstood the test of time, and shines with undiminished lustre down the vista of ages.

St. Ambrose died about midnight before Holy Saturday, April 4, 397; and his body reposes in a vault, under the high altar of the basilica of Milan—the church that he had served so long and so well. His feast is kept in the Latin Church on December 7th, and he is justly regarded as one of the most illustrious doctors of the Church.

St. Augustine Of Hippo

(354—430 A.D.)

St. Augustine

Among the few great names which have most signally emblazoned the pages of history, and whose fame and influence have not been limited to their own age, country, or people, that of Augustine, saint and bishop, stands out pre-eminently as worthy of all the encomiums bestowed upon him by serious students of men and their times. He has been and is regarded as the greatest and most celebrated of theologians, the father and master of preachers of the Divine Word, the peer of the rarest and most enlightened minds, whose soaring is above all time. He has been given a place with Plato and Bossuet, with Cicero and St. Thomas, in the universal acclaim. Great in faith, great in thought, great in virtue, great in genius, he lived in the century of great men, towering above all. Athanasius was Patriarch of Alexandria and Cyril of Jerusalem; Gregory of Nyssa, Gregory of Nazianzen, and Basil the Great, formed a triumvirate of holy, eloquent, and erudite defenders of truth and justice; Ambrose was by his faith and piety illumining the See of Milan; the Christian Cicero, Chrysostom, was pouring forth at Constantinople streams of golden eloquence; Jerome, the hermit of Bethlehem, was giving his masterly expositions of Scripture. And Augustine arose in this galaxy of greatness and genius to shed glory on the land and church of Africa, which had seen its Tertullian and been adorned by its Cyprian. Contact with such men were an honor; drinking at their feet deep and wholesome draughts of purest wisdom were glory; but to have the notes of one's song arise above theirs as did Augustine's, were solid genius and lasting fame.

St. Augustine was born on November 13, A.D. 354, at the little town of Tagasta, in ancient Numidia, which is now Algeria. His father was an unassuming and honorable soul, though of humble and modest origin. His mother was the sainted Monica, who is so justly venerated on Christian altars. The early education of Augustine was received in his native village, with slender means and amidst meagre advantages. As a boy he manifested very little of those studious habits which were afterward to distinguish and elevate him to universal honor. At great sacrifice on his father's part, and with the princely generosity of a noted inhabitant of Tagasta, named Romanian, he was sent to the better equipped schools of the neighboring Madaura and later to Carthage. The schools of Carthage, though not so renowned and exceptional as those of Alexandria and Antioch, were yet among the most prominent of the Roman World. He was sixteen years of age when he was taken to this city, and after four years he had risen to the first place in the schools of rhetoric and had mastered all the branches of the liberal arts then taught. None could equal his penetration, none surpass him in the readiness of his answers or in the clearness of his expositions. The subtle distinctions and divisions of Aristotle were plain to him. And in the arena of philosophical disputation he knew no superior. He was particularly attracted to the study of eloquence; and the perusal of Cicero's "Hortensius" (which unfortunately has been lost in the vicissitudes of time) stirred his soul to higher flights and begot a noble enthusiasm for the imperishable beauty of wisdom, made him impatient of the evanescent hopes of men, and carried him onward to further quest of truth.

When his studies were completed, he returned in 370 to Tagasta and lodged with his wealthy patron and benefactor; for his father had died the year after his arrival in Carthage. Though here he began to teach grammar and kindred branches, he did not long remain at home; he soon departed again for Carthage, where his successes as a master surpassed those he had gained as a disciple. Led by his former fame and by the daily increasing applause which greeted the youthful professor of rhetoric, many gathered around him. He was then only twenty-three years of age. Among his pupils he numbered Licentius and Alypius—two names indissolubly bound up with the story of Augustine's life. His place among the learned and first men of that ancient city was made doubly secure when, at a public contest in poetry, he was awarded the prize, and was crowned with the laurel by the Proconsul„ Vindician, before the assembled people and most celebrated minds of the city.

Augustine and Monica


But while he was thus advancing in favor with men, while thirst for truth was burning him, he yielded to the seductions of the wealthy youth of his time; though he had been early trained by his pious mother in the love of virtue and the hatred of iniquity, yet the apparent austerity of virtue seemed now to affright him, and the pleasures of life and the allurements of vice captivated his ardent disposition; and while he never seems to have plunged into the extravagances and disorders common to so many of his companions, nor to have been guilty of crimes which spring from a cruel nature or very depraved instincts, he indulged in some pursuits which formed the prolific source of future profound grief. He loved ease, and was averse to self-denial and hardship—hence his indiscretions and follies. But the most distinguishing trait of his character was his honesty, and this feature redeemed and palliated his few irregularities.

The scholars of Carthage were anything but sober, industrious, modest, and orderly youths. They were indocile and turbulent; not only disturbing by their wild pranks the peace of the city, but interrupting by their noisy behavior and inattention the master's discourses and lectures. It was next to impossible to preserve any semblance of discipline in the classes. So Augustine left in disgust and set out for Rome, the ancient mistress of the world. He had been enamoured by her imperishable traditions and magnificent monuments of grandeur and art, by her memories of numerous great men, their genius and their works, by her history ever rich in majesty and glory. Induced by the consideration that he would find there the absence of unfavorable circumstances and the presence of stronger incentives to enthusiasm and high inspiration, he left his country and his mother, and in 383, with Alypius, his friend and pupil, he departed for this metropolis. But again he was doomed to disappointment. Though disciples were not wanting, and his chair was surrounded by a throng of earnest and strong students, he did not find the all-absorbing passion for wisdom and truth, for the sublime and beautiful, that he had fondly anticipated. There was not, indeed, the same degree of turbulence and disorder as at Carthage, but the magnificence and ostentation of the Roman family and 'life, their splendid palaces and festive orgies, could not but prove very injurious to habits of study. The youth had imbibed the venal corruption everywhere prevalent. Hence it not seldom happened that Roman scholars conspired to rob their master of his salary and desert his class in a body. Roman vileness and baseness disgusted Augustine even more than Punic insubordination. He therefore took advantage of a request made by the citizens of Milan of Symmachus who was then Prefect of Rome, that he would procure for them a professor of rhetoric. He accepted the proposal; and toward the close of the year 384 he was teaching at Milan.

Up to this time the soul of Augustine was not influenced by higher inspiration than pleasure, nor his mind by anything which did not correspond to his preconceived notions of philosophic accuracy. Nor was he yet a Christian by baptism, as it was the custom of the age to postpone the reception of this sacrament till later in life, both that it might be received with better dispositions and more fruit, and because sins and faults committed by the baptized possessed in their eyes and before God deeper malice and blacker ingratitude; they wished to avoid this evil. When a child, Augustine was so ill that his life was despaired of; the waters of regeneration were about to be poured over him; but he soon recovered and again the baptism was deferred. In Milan he was attracted by St. Ambrose's eloquent discourses on the Christian religion; and their simple and earnest character, their strong and convincing argument, their fervid and impassioned vein appealed to the young man's mind. His heart was touched by the manifest holiness of the good bishop's life and conduct, especially when he contrasted them with those of the Manicheans with whom he had so long been associated. The study of Platonic philosophy urged him on to celestial heights and made him gaze on the infinite nature of God. The Epistles of St. Paul riveted his attention in his search after purest truth, and joined to the pious prayers of the Sainted Monica, who thus drew down abundant grace divine, completed the miracle of his conversion. The wayward Augustine wept for his sins, the learned philosopher bowed his head in faith and humility before the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the truth of God as revealed by Him. After a period of seclusion which he spent from August (386) to the Easter solemnity of the next year, with Monica, Alypius, Licentius, and several others, at Cassiciacum in the suburbs of Milan, he was baptized by St. Ambrose on April 24th or 25th, A.D. 387.

Once a Christian, Augustine thought of returning to his native country. He desired to perfect himself in the Christian science and spirit, and to teach and defend among his own people Catholic doctrines and interests—henceforth to be the sole aim of his life. In August or September therefore of that same year he set out with his mother and friends for Africa. But the death of Monica at Ostia in Italy changed his plans. And after paying all the duties of religion and filial tenderness to this devoted mother, he went to Rome. But in the spring of the year 388 he finally set foot on his native shores. He betook himself immediately to the environs of Tagasta and found an asylum for study, contemplation, and prayer.

It happened that, prompted by zeal and affection, he went on one occasion in 391 to Hippo, which was on the Mediterranean Sea five leagues from Carthage, and the site of the present Bona, for the purpose of inducing a certain friend to join him in his solitude. While here he entered the church where the holy bishop, Valerius, was preaching to the people and complaining of his sad need of a priest to aid him in his duties, and especially to exercise the office of preaching, since an impediment in his speech rendered that duty very difficult and extremely painful for him. Preaching was the exclusive function of the bishop. And when Augustine as a priest assumed the duty, he was the first in priest's orders who had ever preached in presence of a bishop. And it was in that capacity that he arose in the Council of Hippo (393) and delivered his famous discourse on "Faith and its Creed." As Augustine entered the church while the bishop was making the above complaint, the congregation, who recognized him (for his fame had spread over all Africa), immediately, as if by divine inspiration, proposed him for the office of priest. Valerius was of course overjoyed; and after a short time which the saint requested for preparation, he was ordained and attached to the church of Hippo. The esteem in which the new priest was held, his apostolic labors, his eloquence, his piety, soon impelled the aged bishop to raise his sacerdotal co-laborer to the episcopal dignity and associate him still more closely with himself in the government of the See of Hippo. He was accordingly consecrated a little before Christmas of the year 395. And the subsequent thirty-five years were the busiest, the most arduous, and the most fruitful of his long and eventful career. His energy was indefatigable and extended in every direction. The religious movements of his time brought into play all the resources of his mind and heart. He combated heresies and reclaimed heretics. His correspondence embraced a multitude of subjects and was carried on with various parts of the Church. His zeal in preaching never knew rest, and his efforts in instructing the ignorant were ceaseless. He established centres of religious life for men and women, and composed for them a rule of life and spirit and principles that have not yet died. He was alive to the necessity of a zealous and energetic clergy whom he wished trained in the spirit and teachings of the Gospel maxims and counsels, and therefore formed the nucleus of a monastic clergy. He had begun the realization of this idea in the community which he established at Hippo just after his ordination as priest, and he perfected it when he was made bishop. Ten of those whom he trained in this his first monastery, became bishops of the various sees of Africa, including Alypius, who was sent to Tagasta, Possidius, his first biographer, and Fortunatus, who was his successor in the See of Hippo. During all this time he continued to wear the long black robe and hood and leathern girdle peculiar to the cenobites of the East, which he had donned at Milan shortly after his baptism when he laid aside the dress of his native Africa. Not only his vesture but also his daily life and practices were the same as those which are the privilege and glory of monks, nuns, and hermits. None surpassed him in austerities and self-denial, as none had surpassed him in philosophic lore at Carthage, and at Milan and Rome.

The magnificent effects of his extraordinary gifts, fertile ingenuity, and deep learning and broad mind; the influence of his genius on the thoughts and ideas of his own and succeeding ages, may be best gleaned from a brief survey of his writings. Augustine's early aim was to seek truth. He was perplexed with many doubts; he could not conceive the existence of anything real outside of physical bodies; and nothing around him completely and satisfactorily gave him answer. The Manicheans, who had occupied themselves with questions on the nature of God, the creation of the world, and the origin of evil, seemed to have attained on these points some tangible conclusions. For want of better Augustine defended their doctrines without participating in the excesses which distinguished those sectaries. But he felt himself alienated from them, partly because of the lack of the prestige of great men among them, and because he found Faustus, a Manichean bishop and the Goliath of their forces, ignorant of many simple subjects, and unable to give but vague and shallow responses to the questions that agitated his soul. He afterward had a famous controversy with this Faustus, and wrote against him thirty-three books. The results of Augustine's studies were that he was able to refute their attacks on Holy Scripture which they said had undergone serious changes, and to see the falsehood of their main postulate that good proceeds from a good principle and evil from an evil principle; and also to recognize the futility of their objection that the Christians spoke of a human form in God. Against this sect his principal writings are "On the Manners and Customs of the Catholic Church and those of the Manicheans;" "The Utility of Faith;" "The Two Souls," and a book against Adimantes, the disciple of Manes, in which he reconciles the contradictions alleged to exist between the Old and the New Testament.

From the Manicheans Augustine turned to the Academicians, who were a philosophical sect, and pretended that it was impossible for man to come to the possession of truth. Augustine had many conferences on this subject with his friends in his retreat at Cassiciacum; and the outcome was two books "On Order," and one on "The Blessed Life." These works discussed the matter thoroughly and left the philosophers no loophole of escape.

A more dangerous error, though purely local in its immediate surroundings, was the denial of the validity of Baptism when conferred by heretics. This contention had occasioned a schism in the church of Africa since the beginning of the fourth century. It received the name of Donatism from Donatus, schismatic Bishop of Carthage, who had been aided by another Donatus of Casæ Nigræ. In St. Augustine's time it had spread over the whole country. The Saint put forward the true idea of the Church and showed that the minister of a sacrament does not communicate to the recipient his own character of holiness or of guilt, that it is Christ Himself who baptizes and absolves and gives efficacy to sacramental signs. The cogency of his words, the clearness of his explanations, and his grace of manner led many of the Donatists to desire union with the Church, which he showed them, as Christ's Body, is one and indivisible. His chief works in this controversy are a letter to Maximinus, a Donatist bishop whom he brought back to Catholic Unity, the "Christian Combat," the "One Baptism," three books against Parmeian, letter to Glorius and three others, and a conference with Bishop Fortunatus, at Turbusum.

As if by divine inspiration he had laid down in a work on "Free Will," which he had begun at Rome, enlarged at Tagasta, and completed in 395, principles which afford sufficient answer to the errors of Pelagianism. This heresy broached novel teachings on man, the fall, and the state in which that fall had left the human race. St. Augustine, who had not been able to take part in the council of Carthage, where Pelagius was first condemned, brought out in clear light the true doctrine and nature and action of supernatural grace, and the effects of original sin on man's will and heart. His treatises on "Merit" and the "Remission of Sins," explained all the weakness of fallen nature, the need of divine grace to perform actions that conduce to eternal life, and the necessity and place of human effort in the work of justification and faith. As it was asserted that children should not be baptized because the sin of Adam was not transmitted to them, he wrote a book on the "Baptism of Children." In "Nature and Grace" and "Faith and its Works," "On the Grace of Jesus Christ" and "Original Sin," still further explanation and argument are given to establish Catholic truth.

Still another heresy was beginning to poison religious thought: Arianism, or the denial of the divinity of Jesus Christ, was invading the church of Africa. And the writings of St. Augustine against this movement are among his most luminous and brilliant works. He wrote three letters and fifteen books on the Trinity—these he commenced in 400 and completed in 416. Perhaps the clearest and plainest are the one hundred and twenty-four treatises (so called) on the Gospel of St. John, and ten on the First Epistle of the same Apostle. They were sermons or catechetical instructions and homilies, delivered during the year 416 to his flock, on the prevalent heresies but especially on the Arian. And his response to the five questions of Honorius, a citizen of Carthage, contains lucid expositions of some difficult portions of Scripture.

On Scripture matters, besides the works just mentioned, St. Augustine's enlightened views are found in twelve books on the "Literal Sense of Genesis; in these he seems to have divined all modern objections and theories about this work of Moses. On the seven first books of the Bible, he has left us seven treatises. "An Explanation of the Psalms," a correspondence with St. Jerome on the Epistle to the Galatians, four books on the agreement of the Evangelists, two on Gospel questions, and a book on "Things That are not Seen," should not be unknown to Biblical students.

Nor was the Pagan attitude toward Catholic Truth forgotten. He had passed through the phase, and knew the Pagan mind. He put down their difficulties, reasoned away their doubts, threw light on their darkness, led them on in truth, in The True Religion," "Eighty-three Questions," "The Christian Doctrine," and an early treatise on the "Immortality of the Soul."

But by far his greatest and most enduring works are his "Confessions" and "The City of God." The former, at once a poem, a history, and a treatise of philosophy, beautifully expresses the trials and efforts of a human soul striving for truth and happiness away from God, and the ecstatic sentiments of the same soul on the attainment of both truth and happiness in the faith and virtues of Jesus Christ and in His Gospel. The other, in eloquent and philosophical vein, discourses on the Church of God on earth and in heaven; shows the hollowness of all opinions, thoughts, and efforts contrary to the eternal order which is God; is, as it were, an encyclopedia of all that he had written before, an exhaustless summary of refutation against heresy and paganism, and an analysis of the glories and benefits of Christianity. St. Augustine in its composition occupied all the time from 413 to 426—the period of his momentous struggle against Pelagianism.

The lines of intellectual and religious thought which called forth the just mentioned and other productions of St. Augustine's brilliant genius, have continued all along the centuries even till now. The same movements exist; the same tendencies, though more intense in their working, actuate men toward truth; and the same obstacles impede their progress; objections, in other forms perhaps, yet substantially the same, are urged against the very points against which the sainted pontiff wrote and struggled—God, Creation, the Bible, Christ, human infirmity or human strength, man's power to attain truth unaided, and his freedom from any supernatural dependence. No wonder that Augustine, who had passed through all these phases of action, should have always been called upon for effective weapons in the warfare, and that he should have been the supreme authority in such questions for many an age in the Latin or Western Church. His sounds are as clear to-day, and his arguments are as convincing and potent. The student and the dialectician and the theologian can ill afford to be unfamiliar with the great doctor's thoughts.

All these writings everywhere evidence the beauty of his character, as his actions were ever in accord with evangelical perfection. There is wonderful power of mercy, compassion, and love, in all. He had been weak himself, hence he treated weakness with gentleness. Two things rendered him indulgent; a sad experience of the infirmities of human nature, and a profound knowledge of the depth of those infirmities. His virtues of humility, compassion, moderation, and generosity, all sprung from that, just as his deep faith and strong convictions of Christian truth were begotten of his fierce struggle with doubt and error and his long and ardent search for truth.

He died in honor on August 28th, A.D. 430. But men have not ceased to admire his genius, appreciate his labors, love his character; and thousands imitate his piety and are governed by his mandates of spiritual life.