by Isocrates

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Translated by J. A. Freese


IN the "Panegyricus," the most famous of all the writings of Isocrates, we first meet with a clear exposition of his dominant political idea--the formation of a union of the Greeks to carry on war against Persia. It takes its name from the "Panegyreis," or great public festivals, such as the Panathenaea at Athens, or the pan-Hellenic festival at Olympia.*1

Gorgias, Lysias, and others had already composed speeches which were delivered at Olympia (Olympiac speeches), and it is probable that Isocrates here has in mind the festival at Olympia. It is not likely that the speech was ever actually delivered, although we are told, on the authority of Philostratus, that it was. The retiring disposition of Isocrates, his lack of self-confidence, and his poorness of voice, seem to go against this. It is considered possible that he may have deputed some one else to deliver it for him; and that it afterwards was put into circulation by copies being sent round to the various Greek states.*2 According to the statement of Quintilian, Isocrates was ten years engaged in its composition. Its date is approximately fixed as the latter part of the summer of B.C. 380.

At the time when the speech was written Sparta was the ruling power in Greece, Artaxerxes II. was master of the Asiatic Greeks, and the Aegean was overrun by pirates, so that there was every need of someone to rouse the Athenians to re-assert their supremacy.

After apologizing for coming forward to speak, Isocrates proceeds to recount the services rendered by Athens to Hellas generally, and to particular states in early times, dwelling upon the rivalry of Athens and Sparta during the Persian wars. The first division of the speech concludes with a defence of the Athenians against the charge of having behaved with cruelty towards the confederate states, and a contrast between the past and present condition of the city, now that it is under the arbitrary rule of Sparta.

In the second part of the speech he recommends that Athens and Sparta should sink their differences, and agree upon united action, especially when such a favourable opportunity presents itself. The Persians, he says, are weak, and have their hands full: the misery of the Hellenes has reached its height, and, under the circumstances, even existing treaties should not prevent us from declaring war; and a united campaign against our hereditary foes will tend to enhance the reputation of the state.

The speech was written at the time when the Lacedaemonians were rulers of the Hellenes and we were in a state of humiliation. It summons the Hellenes to a campaign against the barbarians, and disputes with the Lacedaemonians the right to the headship of Hellas. Having adopted this as my theme, I prove that the city has been the cause of all the blessings enjoyed by the Hellenes. Having clearly marked off the subject of such benefits, and wishing to prove still more clearly that the headship belongs to Athens, I next attempt to show, in regard to these points, that it is the due of the city to receive honour much more by reason of the dangers it has faced in war than on account of all the other benefits it has conferred upon Hellas.

This argument was written by Isocrates himself, see Or. xv. §§ 57, 58.


[1.] I have often wondered that those who convene the great festivals*3 and have established athletic contests,*4 have deemed physical excellence worthy of such great rewards, and yet to those who have individually toiled for the public good, and have so formed their minds as to be able to benefit others as well as themselves, to these, I say, they have allotted no honour, [2.] for whom they ought to have had more consideration; for if the athletes were to acquire twice the strength they possess, no advantage would accrue to other men; but if one man were to conceive a wise thought all would reap the enjoyment of his understanding who were willing to share in it. [3.] Yet I was not so discouraged by this as to yield to indifference; but thinking that the reputation which my speech would win by its unassisted merit would be a sufficient reward, I am here to advise you concerning war against the barbarians*5 and harmony among ourselves. I am not unaware, that many of those who claim to teach the public,*6 have attempted this subject,[ 4.] but, in the first place, I hope to show such superiority that it may be thought that others*7 have as yet said nothing upon these matters, and at the same time I have already come to the conclusion that the best speeches are those which deal with the greatest subjects, display most clearly the ability of the speakers, and give most assistance to the audience; and of such speeches the present is one. [5.] Further, the occasion has not yet gone by, so as to render it useless now to make mention of these things. For it is only time to cease speaking when either the business in hand is over, and it is no longer necessary to take counsel about it, or when the discussion is seen to have reached its limit, so that other speakers have no means left of carrying it further. [6.] But so long as events are going on just as before, and what has been said is inadequate, how can we avoid applying thought and study to this address, which, if it be rightly carried out, will release us from our civil war, from the present confusion, and from most serious troubles? [7.] In addition to this, if it were possible to represent the same subjects in one way only, it might have been supposed a superfluous task to weary one's hearers by speaking again in the same fashion as former speakers; [8.] but since the nature of oratory renders it possible to describe the same things in many different ways--to bring great matters to a low level, and invest small things with importance; to tell old stories in modern fashion, and speak of recent events in the style of ancient history--we must no longer avoid those subjects on which others have spoken before us, but we must try to speak better than they.[ 9.] For the events which are past are left as a common heritage to us all, but to apply them in season, and form a right conception of each event, and to arrange*8 them aright in words is the peculiar gift of the wise. [10.] Now I think that a very great advance would be made in every pursuit, and especially in the practical study of literary expression,*9 if admiration and honour were to be bestowed in practical affairs not so much on those who take the first step in anything, as on those who bring it in each case to the most successful conclusion, and in oratory, not so much on those who seek a subject on which no one has ever spoken before, as on those who know how to treat their subject in a manner which is beyond the powers of anyone else.

[11.] And yet some find fault with discourses which are beyond the powers of common men,*10 and are over elaborated; and they have made so great a mistake as to judge compositions which have been written with the object of surpassing others by the standard of forensic contests about private contracts, as if both ought to be of the same kind, instead of the one being framed with a view to simplicity and the other for display; or as if they themselves could discern the happy mean, while a master of elaborate diction would not be able to speak in plain or simple language. [12.] Now it is clear that these men only commend those who are like themselves; but I have nothing to do with such, but I look to those who will accept no careless statements, but will indignantly reject them, and will seek to find something in my words which they will not find in others. To such hearers I will address myself on the subject before me, having first made bold to add a few words concerning myself. [13.] Others I see striving to mollify their audience in their introductory remarks, making excuses for what they propose to say, and alleging either that they have had to make their preparations offhand, or that it is difficult to find words adequate to the greatness of their subject-matter. [14.] But for me, if I do not do justice both to my subject and to my own reputation, and to the long experience of my life,*11 as well as to the time I have spent over this address, I bid you have no mercy for me, but hold me in ridicule and contempt; for there is nothing of that sort that I do not deserve to suffer, if, while making such great promises, I show no superiority to others. Let these remarks, then, serve as an introduction with regard to my personal pretensions.

[15.] Turning to public affairs, there are men who, as soon as ever they come forward to speak, advise us that we ought to make up our mutual enmities and turn against the barbarian, and they enumerate the calamities that have befallen us owing to the civil war, and the advantages that would arise from the proposed campaign against him. Now although these men speak truly, they do not start from the best point for enabling themselves to bring this about. [16.] The Hellenes are either subject to us or to the Lacedaemonians; for the forms of constitution by which they govern their states have divided most of them in this way.*12 Whoever, then, thinks that the others will unite in any good policy before he has reconciled those who are at their head, is a mere simpleton, and out of touch with practical affairs. [17.] But if a man does not merely aim at personal display, but wishes to effect something, he must seek for such arguments as shall persuade these two states to share and share alike, to divide the supremacy,*13 and to win from the barbarians those advantages which now they desire should accrue to them from the Hellenes. [18.] Now our commonwealth would be easily induced to take this course, but the Lacedaemonians are for the present still hard to persuade, for they have inherited an erroneous notion that it is their ancestral prerogative to be leaders; but if it be shown to them that this honour belongs to us rather than to them, they will soon waive their punctilious claims in this matter, and follow their interests.

[19.] Now other speakers ought to have started from this basis, and not to have given advice about matters of common agreement before instructing us on disputed points; but I especially am bound, for two reasons, to give most of my attention to this matter: first, if possible, that some useful result may be attained, and that we may cease from our mutual rivalry and unite in a war against the barbarians;[ 20.] and, secondly, if that is impossible, that I may point out who are those that stand in the way of the happiness of Hellas, and that it may be made clear to all that, as previously the old maritime empire of Athens was based on a just title, so now she has a good right to dispute the leadership. [21.] For, on the one hand, if the men who deserve honour in each sphere of action are those who have the most experience and the greatest power, it is beyond dispute that we have a right to recover the leadership which we formerly used to possess; for no one can point to any other state that is so pre-eminent in war by land as ours excels in maritime enterprises. [22.] And, on the other hand, if any think that this is not a fair criterion, but that fortune is too changeable for such a conclusion (since power never continues in the same hands), and claim that leadership, like any other prize, should be held either by those who first won this honour, or by those who have conferred the most benefits upon Hellas, I think that these too are on our side; [23.] for the further back one examines both these qualifications, the more we shall leave behind those who dispute our claim. For it is allowed that our commonwealth is the most ancient and the largest and most renowned in all the world; and, good as is this foundation of our claim, for what follows we have still greater right to be honoured. [24.] For we did not win the country we dwell in by expelling others from it,*14 or by seizing it when uninhabited, nor are we a mixed race collected together from many nations, but so noble and genuine is our descent, that we have continued for all time in possession of the land from which we sprang, being children of our native soil, and able to address our city by the same titles that we give to our nearest relations; [25.] for we alone among the Hellenes have the right to call our city at once nurse and fatherland and mother. Yet our origin is but such as should be possessed by a people who indulge in a reasonable pride, who have a just claim to the leadership of Hellas, and who bring to frequent remembrance their ancestral glories.

[26.] This will show the magnitude of the gifts with which fortune originally endowed us; the great benefits we have conferred upon others we shall best examine by a detailed narrative of the early history and achievements of our city; for we shall find that she has not only led the way in warlike enterprises, but is also the founder of nearly all the established institutions [27.] among which we dwell, and under which we carry on our public life, and by means of which we are enabled to live. Now of useful services we must of necessity prefer, not such as on account of their insignificance escape notice and are passed over in silence, but such as on account of their importance are spoken of and kept in memory by all men, both in former times and at the present day and in every place.

[28.] In the first place, then, the first need of our nature was supplied by the agency of our state; for even though the story is a mythical one, yet it is fit to be told even at the present day. When Demeter came into the country in her wandering, after the rape of Persephone,*15 and was kindly disposed to our forefathers on account of the services they rendered her, which can be told to none but the initiated, she bestowed two gifts which surpass all others: the fruits of the earth, which have saved us from the life of wild beasts, and the mystic rite,*16 the partakers in which have brighter hopes concerning the end of life and the eternity beyond,--[29.] under these circumstances Athens showed such love for men, as well as for the gods,*17 that, when she became mistress of these great blessings, she did not grudge them to the rest of the world, but shared her advantages with all. Now as to the festival, we to this day celebrate it every year;*18 and as to the fruits of the earth, Athens has once for all taught the uses to which they can be put, the operations which they require, and the benefits which arise from them. [30.] Indeed no one will venture to disbelieve this statement, after I have made a few additional remarks. For in the first place, the very considerations which would lead a man to despise the story on account of its antiquity, would give him probable reason to suppose that the events had actually happened; for that many have told the story of these events, and all have heard it, should make us regard it, though not recent, yet as worthy of belief. In the second place, we can not only take refuge in the fact that we have received the tradition and rumour from a distant period, but we can also produce greater proofs than this of these things. [31.] For most of the cities of Hellas, as a memorial of our old services, send to us each year first-fruits of their corn,*19 and those that omit to do so have often been commanded by the Pythia to pay the due proportion of their produce and perform their ancestral duties to our state. Yet can anything have stronger claims on our belief than that which is the subject of divine ordinance and of widespread approval in Hellas, where ancient story bears common witness to present deeds, and modern events agree with the legends of men of old? [32.] Besides this, if we leave all this out of consideration and take a survey from the beginning, we shall find that those who first appeared upon the earth did not at once find life in its present condition, but little by little procured for themselves its advantages. Whom then should we think most likely either to receive it as a gift from the gods or to win it by their own efforts? [33.] Surely those who are admitted to have been the first to exist, and are at once most highly gifted for the pursuits of life and most piously disposed towards the gods. Now what high honour ought to accrue to those who have produced such great blessings, it were a superfluous task to point out; for no one could find a reward commensurate with what has been achieved.

[34.] So much then concerning the greatest of our good works, first accomplished and most universal in its effects. But, in the same period, Athens, seeing the barbarians occupying the greater part of the country,*20 and the Hellenes confined in a small space and driven by scarcity of land into intestine conspiracies and civil wars, and perishing, either from want of daily necessities or in war, [35.] was not content to leave things so, but sent forth leaders into the states who took those most in need of subsistence, made themselves their generals and conquered the barbarians in war, founded many states on both continents,*21 colonized all the islands,*22 and saved both those who followed them and those who stayed behind; [36.] For to the latter they left the home country sufficient for their needs, and the former they provided with more territory than they already possessed; for they acquired all the surrounding districts of which we are now in occupation. In this way too they afforded great facilities to those who in later times*23 wished to send out colonists and to imitate our state; for it was not necessary for them to run risk in acquiring new territory, but they could go and live on land which we had marked out. [37.] Now who can show a leadership more ancestral than one which arose before most Hellenic cities were founded, or more beneficial than one which drove the barbarians from their homes, and led on the Hellenes to such prosperity?

[38.] Yet, after aiding in the accomplishment of the most pressing duties, Athens did not neglect the rest, but deemed it the first step only in a career of beneficence to find food for those in want, a step which is incumbent upon a people who aim at good government generally, and thinking that life which was limited to mere subsistence was not enough to make men desire to live, she devoted such close attention to the other interests of man, that of all the benefits which men enjoy, not derived from the gods but which we owe to our fellow-men, none have arisen without the aid of Athens, and most of them have been brought about by her agency. [39.] For finding the Hellenes living in lawlessness and dwelling in a scattered fashion,*24 oppressed by tyrannies or being destroyed by anarchy, she also released them from these evils, either by becoming mistress of them or by making herself an example; for she was the first to lay down laws and establish a constitution. [40.] This is clear from the fact that, when men in the earliest times introduced indictments for homicide,*25 and determined to settle their mutual disputes by argument and not by violence, they followed our laws in the mode of trial which they adopted.

Nay more, the arts also, whether useful for the necessities of life or contrived for pleasure, were by her either invented or put to proof and offered to the rest of the world for their use. [41.] In other respects, moreover, she ordered her administration in such a spirit of welcome to strangers*26 and of friendliness to all, as to suit both those who were in want of money*27 and those who desired to enjoy the wealth they possessed, and not to fail in serving either the prosperous, or those who were unfortunate in their own states,*28 but so that each of these classes finds with us a delightful sojourn or a safe refuge. [42.] And further, since the territory possessed by the several states was not in every case self-sufficing, but was defective in some products and bore more than was sufficient of others, and much embarrassment arose where to dispose of the latter, and from whence to import the former, she provided a remedy for these troubles also; for she established the Piraeus*29 as a market in the centre of Hellas, of such superlative excellence that articles, which it is difficult for the several states to supply to each other one by one, can all be easily procured from Athens.

[43.] Now those who established the great festivals are justly praised for handing down to us a custom which leads us to make treaties with one another, to reconcile the enmities that exist among us,*30 and to assemble in one place; besides that, in making common prayers and sacrifices*31 we are reminded of the original bond of kinship between us, and are more kindly disposed towards each other for the future, we renew old friendships and make new ones, [44.] and neither for ordinary men*32 nor for those of distinguished qualities is the time idly spent, but by the concourse of Hellenes opportunity arises for the latter to display their natural excellences, and for the former to be spectators of their mutual contests, and neither spend their time dissatisfied, but each has whereof to be proud, the spectators when they see the competitors toiling on their behalf, and the competitors when they think that everyone has come to look at them. Great then as are the benefits we derive from the assemblies, in these respects, too, our state is not left behind. [45.] For indeed she can show many most beautiful spectacles,*33 some passing all bounds in expenditure,*34 others of high artistic repute,*35 and some excelling in both these respects; then, the multitude of strangers who visit us is so great, that if there is any advantage in mutual intercourse, that also has been compassed by her. In addition to this, you can find with us the truest friendships and the most varied acquaintanceships; and, moreover, see contests not merely of speed and strength, but also of oratory and mind,*36 and in all other productions of art, and for these the greatest prizes*37

[46.] For in addition to those which the state herself offers, she also helps to persuade others to bestow the like; for those recognised by us receive such credit as to be universally approved. Apart from this, whereas the other festivals*38 are assembled at long intervals and soon dispersed, our state, on the contrary, is for those who visit her one long festival without ceasing.

[47.] Practical philosophy, moreover, which helped to discover and establish all these institutions, which at once educated us for action and softened our mutual intercourse, which distinguished calamities due to ignorance from those which spring from necessity, and taught us to avoid the former and nobly to endure the latter, was introduced by Athens; she also paid honour to eloquence, which all men desire, and begrudge to those who are skilled in it: [48.] for she was aware that this is the only distinguishing characteristic which we of all creatures possess, and that by this we have won our position of superiority to all the rest of them; she saw that in other spheres of action men's fortunes are so capricious that often in them the wise fail and the foolish succeed, and that the proper and skilful use of language is beyond the reach of men of poor capacity,*39 but is the function of a soul of sound wisdom, [49.] and that those who are considered clever or stupid differ from each other mainly in this respect; she saw, besides, that men who have received a liberal education from the very first are not to be known by courage, or wealth, or such-like advantages, but are most clearly recognised by their speech, and that this is the surest token which is manifested of the education of each one of us, and that those who make good use of language are not only influential in their own states, but also held in honour among other people. [50.] So far has Athens left the rest of mankind behind in thought and expression that her pupils have become the teachers of the world, and she has made the name of Hellas distinctive no longer of race but of intellect, and the title of Hellene a badge of education rather than of common descent.

[51.] But that I may not seem to be lingering over details of my subject when I proposed to treat of the whole, nor to be eulogizing Athens on these grounds from inability to praise her for her achievements in war, I will say no more to those who take pride in what I have mentioned; but I think that our forefathers deserve to be honoured as much for the dangers they incurred as for the rest of their services. [52.] Neither small nor few nor obscure were the struggles they endured, but many and terrible and great, some for their own country, others for the general liberty; for during the whole time they did not cease to open their state to all, and were the champions of those among the Hellenes who from time to time were the victims of oppression. [53.] For that very reason some accuse us of a foolish policy, in that we have been accustomed to support the weaker, as if such arguments did not rather justify our admirers. For it was not in ignorance of the superiority of great alliances in regard to security that we took these counsels concerning them, but, while knowing much more accurately than other men the results of such a course, we nevertheless preferred to help the weak even against our interest rather than for profit's sake to join in the oppressions of the strong.

[54.] Now the character and the strength of Athens may be seen from the supplications which have been addressed to us in times past. I will pass over those of recent occurrence*40 or small importance;*41 but long before the Trojan war (for it is fair to borrow proofs from that time in a dispute about ancestral claims) there came the sons of Heracles, and a little before them Adrastus, the son of Talaus, King of Argos;*42

[55.] the latter came from his expedition against Thebes, in which he had been defeated, being unable without aid to recover the bodies of those who had been slain under the Cadmea,*43 and calling on our state to render assistance in a misfortune that may happen to all, and not to suffer those who had died in war to go unburied, nor an old custom and ancestral usage to be broken; [56.] the sons of Heracles*44

came fleeing from the enmity of Eurystheus, and, passing over all other states as not likely to be able to help them in their calamities, they thought our state alone adequate to make recompense for the benefits which their father had conferred upon all mankind. [57.] From these circumstances, then, it is easy to see that even at that time our state possessed a kind of supremacy; for who would care to sue for help either to the weaker, or to those subject to others, passing by those possessed of greater power, especially on affairs not of private but of public interest, the care of which would naturally fall upon those who claimed to stand at the head of Hellas? [58.] Further, they are shown not to have been disappointed of the hopes which caused them to take refuge with our forefathers. For they took up arms, first on behalf of those who had fallen in battle against the Thebans, and secondly on behalf of the sons of Heracles against the power of Eurystheus, and by an attack on the former forced them to give up the dead to their kindred for burial,*45 and, when the Peloponnesian followers of Eurystheus invaded our territory, they went out against them and conquered them in battle, and made him to cease from his insolence. [59.] Now these deeds added a fresh glory to the reputation they had already won by their previous achievements. For they did not act half-heartedly, but so revolutionized the fortunes of each of these monarchs, that the one who thought fit to supplicate us went away, having in the teeth of his foes achieved all that he wanted, while Eurystheus, expecting to prevail by force, was taken captive and himself compelled to become a suppliant; [60.] and, although on one who transcended human nature, who though begotten of Zeus was still mortal, but had the strength of a god, he had spent all his life in casting commands and insults, yet, when he offended against us, he met with such a reverse of fortune that he came into the power of his own sons and ended his days in contumely.*46 [61.] Now many as are the services we have rendered to Lacedaemon,*47 there is only one of which it has fallen to me to speak; seizing as an opportunity the deliverance which was won for them by us, the ancestors of those who now reign in Lacedaemon,*48 and descendants of Heracles, went down into Peloponnesus, occupied Argos and Lacedaemon and Messene, became the founders of Sparta, and were the originators of all their present greatness. [62.] These things they should have remembered and never have invaded this country,*49 from which their forefathers set out and won such prosperity, nor have brought into danger the state which bore the brunt of battle in the cause of the sons of Heracles, nor, while bestowing the crown upon his posterity, should they have thought fit to enslave the state*50 which brought deliverance to his race. [63.] Now if we must leave out of consideration gratitude*51 and courtesy and, returning to the original question, consider the matter strictly, it is surely not an ancestral custom that aliens should rule over the children of the soil, the recipients of kindness over their benefactors, suppliants over those who gave them welcome.

[64.] But I have yet a shorter way of proving my contention. Of the Hellenic states, with the exception of ours, Argos, Thebes, and Lacedaemon were the greatest in former times and still continue to be so. Now so great was the manifest superiority of our ancestors over all others, that on behalf of the defeated Argives they dictated terms to Thebes in the height of her pride, [65.] and on behalf of the sons of Heracles they conquered in battle the Argives and the rest of the Peloponnesians, and rescued the founders of Sparta and the leaders of the Lacedaemonians from the dangers of their contest against Eurystheus. So that I do not know what clearer demonstration could be made of their sovereign power in Hellas.

[66.] Now I ought, I think, to speak also of the achievements of Athens against the barbarians, especially as the leadership of Hellas against them was the original subject of my speech. Now if I were to enumerate all the perils we went through I should be telling too long a tale; but in dealing with the greatest of them I will try to adopt the same method of narration that I followed just now. [67.] For the races best fitted for rule and the possessors of the widest imperial power are the Scythians, the Thracians, and the Persians, and it happens that all these have had hostile designs against us, and that our state has fought decisively against all of them. Now what argument will be left for my opponents, if I can prove that, if any of the Hellenes were unable to get justice, it was to Athens that they directed their petitions, and that, when barbarians wished to enslave Hellas, Athens was the first object of their attacks ?

[68.] Now although the Persian war is the most famous that has taken place, yet ancient events are equally good evidence in a dispute about ancestral claims. For, when Hellas was still of low estate, there came into our country Thracians*52 under Eumolpus, the son of Poseidon, and Scythians under the Amazons,*53 the daughters of Ares, not at the same time, but at the times when their rule extended as far as Europe; hating as they did the whole race of the Hellenes, they directed their complaints against us in particular, thinking that in this way they would encounter one state only and yet at the same time become masters of all. [69.] They did not, however, succeed, but in conflict with our ancestors alone they were destroyed as utterly as if they had made war against all mankind. Now the magnitude of the disasters which befell them is perfectly clear; for the traditions on this subject would never have lasted for so long, had not the actual events been unparalleled. [70.] It is said of the Amazons that, of those who came, not one went back again, and that those who were left behind were driven from power on account of the disaster which had happened here, and of the Thracians that, whereas in previous times they had been living as our immediate neighbours,*54 owing to the campaign which then took place they fell back so far, that in the intervening territory many nations and various races and great cities were established.

[71.] Now honourable indeed are these deeds, and befitting those who dispute for the leadership; but akin to those which I have mentioned, and such as were to be expected from the descendants of men so great, were the achievements of those who made war against Darius and Xerxes.*55 For although that was the greatest war ever set on foot, and never had so many perilous struggles taken place at one and the same time--against enemies who fancied themselves irresistible on account of their numbers, and allies*56 who considered their valour unsurpassable--our ancestors conquered both, [72.] in the way that was suitable in each case, and proving superior in the face of every danger, earned as an immediate reward the meed of valour,*57 and not long afterwards obtained the dominion of the sea, at the gift of the rest of the Hellenes, and without dispute from those who now seek to rob us of it.*58

[73.] Now let no one think me ignorant that the Lacedaemonians, too, in those critical times deserved credit for many good services to Hellas; but on this account I have even more reason to praise our state, in that, in conflict with such great competitors, she proved so far superior to them. But I wish to speak a little more at length about these two states, and not to skim over the subject too quickly, that it may be to us a memorial, both of the valour of our ancestors and of the hatred of the barbarians. [74.] And yet I am not unaware that it is difficult for one who comes latest to the task to speak of a subject long ago occupied by previous speakers, and on which those citizens best able to speak have often spoken on the occasion of public funerals;*59 for it follows that the chief part must have been already used up, and only a few unimportant points omitted. Nevertheless, starting from what still remains to be said, since it is convenient for my purpose, I must not shrink from making mention concerning them.

[75.] Now I think that the greatest services have been rendered and the greatest praises deserved by those who exposed their persons in the forefront of danger for the sake of Hellas; yet it is not fair either to forget those who lived before this war and held power in these two states respectively. For they it was who trained beforehand those coming after them, inclined the multitude to virtue, and created formidable antagonists for the barbarians. [76.] For they did not despise the public interests, nor enjoy the resources of the state as their own, while neglecting her interests as no concern of theirs; but they were as solicitous for the common welfare as for their own domestic happiness, and at the same time properly stood aloof from matters which did not affect them. They did not estimate happiness by the standard of money, but they thought that the surest and best wealth was possessed by the man who pursued such conduct as would enable him to gain the best reputation for himself and leave behind the greatest fame for his children. [77.] They did not emulate one another's shameless audacity, nor cultivate effrontery in their own persons, but deemed it more terrible to be ill-spoken of by their fellow-citizens than to die nobly for the state, and were more ashamed of public errors than they are now of their own personal faults. [78.] The reason of this was that they took care that their laws should be exact and good, those concerned with the relations of everyday life even more than those that had to do with private contracts. For they knew that good men and true will have no need of many written documents, but, whether on private or public matters, will easily come to an agreement by the aid of a few recognised principles. [79.] Such was their public spirit, that the object of their political parties was to dispute, not which should destroy the other and rule over the rest, but which should be first in doing some service to the state; and they organized their clubs, not for their private interests, but for the benefit of the people. [80.] They pursued the same method in their dealings with other states, treating the Hellenes with deference and not with insolence, considering that their rule over them should be that of a general, not of a despot, and desiring to be addressed as leaders rather than masters, and to be entitled saviours and not reviled as destroyers; they won over states by kindness instead of overthrowing them by force; [81.] they made their word more trustworthy than their oath is now, and thought it their duty to abide by treaties as by the decrees of necessity; not proud of their power so much as ambitious to live in self-restraint, they thought it right to have the same feelings towards their inferiors as they expected their superiors to have towards them, and they considered their own cities as merely private towns, while they looked upon Hellas as their common fatherland. [82.] Possessed of such ideas, and educating the younger generation in such manners, they brought to light such valiant men in those who fought against the barbarians from Asia, that no one, either poet or sophist,*60 has ever yet been able to speak in a manner worthy of their achievements. And I can readily excuse them; for it is just as hard to praise those who have surpassed the virtues of other men as those who have never done anything good; for whereas the latter have no deeds to support them, the former have no language befitting them. [83.] For what language could be commensurate with the deeds of men who were so far superior to those who made the expedition against Troy, that, while they spent ten years against one city, those men in a short time defeated the whole might of Asia, and not only saved their own countries but also liberated the whole of Hellas? And what deeds or toils or dangers would they have shrunk from attempting in order to win living reputations, when they were so readily willing to lose their lives for the sake of a posthumous fame? [84.] And I even think that the war must have been contrived by one of the gods in admiration of their valour, that men of such quality should not remain in obscurity nor end their lives ingloriously, but should be thought worthy of the same rewards as those children of the gods who are called demi-gods; for even their bodies the gods rendered up to the inflexible laws of nature, but made immortal the memory of their valour.

[85.] Now, continuous as was the jealousy between our ancestors and the Lacedaemonians, yet in those times they exercised their rivalry for the highest objects, considering themselves to be not enemies but competitors, and not courting the barbarian with a view to the servitude of Hellas, but having one aim in the common safety, their only rivalry being which of them should achieve it. Now the first proof they gave of their high qualities was on the occasion of the expedition sent by Darius: [86.] for when the enemy landed in Attica our ancestors on their part did not wait for their allies;*61 but, treating the public peril as if it were their own, they went with their own forces alone*62 to meet a foe who had despised the whole of Hellas, prepared with their small numbers to encounter many myriads, as if other men's lives and not their own were at stake; and the Lacedaemonians no sooner heard of the war in Attica than, neglecting everything else, they came to help us, making as much haste as if their own country were being laid waste. [87.] A proof of their rapidity and emulation is that our ancestors are said on one and the same day*63 to have heard of the landing of the barbarians, marched out to protect the borders of their territory, fought a victorious engagement and set up a trophy over their enemies, while the Lacedaemonians in three days and as many nights traversed twelve hundred stadia
*64 in marching order. So strenuously did they hasten, the one to share in the dangers, and the others to fight before reinforcements should arrive.*65

[88.] The next occasion was that of the subsequent expedition, which Xerxes led in person,*66 leaving his royal residence and making bold to become a general, and collecting all Asia together; in the description of whose fall the highest flights of eloquence have fallen short of the reality. [89.] He reached such a pitch of arrogance that, deeming it a small task to subdue Hellas, and wishing to leave such a memorial behind him as human nature cannot attain to, he did not cease till he had devised and forced to completion the feat which is in everyone's mouth, of sailing with his army across the mainland and marching on foot through the sea, by bridging the Hellespont, and cutting a canal through Athos.

[90.] It was one, then, of such lofty pride and such great achievements, master of so many men, that they went to encounter, dividing the risk between them,--the Lacedaemonians to Thermopylae*67 against his land forces, choosing a thousand of their number and taking a few of their allies with them, intending in the narrow pass to bar their further advance, and our ancestors to Artemisium,*68 having manned sixty triremes against the whole fleet of the enemy. [91.] And they took heart to do these things, not so much from contempt of their enemies as in rivalry with each other, the Lacedaemonians envying our state the battle of Marathon and seeking to do the like, and fearing lest twice in succession Athens should bring deliverance to the Hellenes, while our people on their part wished above all to preserve their existing fame, and to make it clear to all that their former victory too was due to valour and not to luck, and in the next place also to encourage the Hellenes to undertake a sea-fight, by proving to them that in naval ventures just as in those by land it is the prowess of the common people that prevails. [92.] But though they displayed equal daring, their fortunes were not alike; the Lacedaemonians were destroyed--their spirits were victorious--their bodies only fainted and failed (for indeed it would be a sin to say that they were defeated; for no one of them deigned to flee); our ancestors on their part defeated the advanced squadron, but when they heard that the enemy were masters of the pass, they sailed back home, [arranged affairs in the city], and directed the remainder of their efforts so well, that, many and glorious as were their previous achievements, they excelled yet more in the closing scene of their perils. [93.] For all the allies were in despondency, and the Peloponnesians were fortifying the Isthmus*69 and seeking only their own safety, while the other states had become subject to the barbarians and were serving in their ranks, except such as were neglected on account of their insignificance; one thousand two hundred triremes were sailing against them, and an innumerable land force was on the point of invading Attica; yet, although they could see no gleam of deliverance, but were bereft of allies and disappointed of all their hopes,--[94.] though they might have not merely escaped the dangers besetting them, but have received special distinctions,*70 which the Great King offered them in the belief that, if he added the fleet of our state to his forces, he would immediately conquer Peloponnesus as well,--they would hear nothing of his gifts, nor did they in anger against the Hellenes for their betrayal gladly hasten to make terms with the barbarians, [95.] but for their own part they made ready to fight for freedom, and forgave the others for preferring slavery. For they considered that, though the humble states were right in seeking safety by every means, those which claimed to be at the head of Hellas could not possibly try to escape their peril, but that, just as for men of truth and honour it is more preferable to die honourably than to live in disgrace, so too for states of high position it is more profitable to disappear from among men than to be seen in a state of slavery.

[96.] Now it can be shown that such were their thoughts; for as they were not able to marshal their forces against both the hostile armaments at the same time, they took with them all the multitude from the city and sailed out to the neighbouring island, that they might encounter each force in turn.*71 Now how could men be shown better or more loyal to Hellas than they, who, to avoid bringing slavery on the rest, endured to look calmly upon their city made desolate, their land being laid waste, their sanctuaries plundered and their temples burnt, and the whole war centred upon their own country? [97.] And indeed, even this did not satisfy them, but they were ready to maintain a sea-fight single-handed against one thousand two hundred triremes. Yet they were not permitted to do so; for the Peloponnesians, put to shame by their valour, and thinking that, if our men were destroyed first, they themselves would not escape either, whereas, if they succeeded, they would bring dishonour upon their own states, were compelled to share the peril. Now as to the din which arose in the engagement, the cries, and the shouts of encouragement, which are common to all sea-fights, I do not know that I need spend time in describing them; [98.] but what is peculiar to this engagement, and worthy of the leadership of Hellas, and in harmony with what has been said before, this it is my duty to tell of. So far was our state superior when its power was unimpaired, that after being laid waste it contributed, in the first place, for the battle on behalf of Hellas, more triremes than all the rest who joined in the fight, and, in the second place, no one is so hostile to us that he would not allow that it was by reason of the sea-fight that we conquered in the war, and that this fight was brought about by Athens. [99.] Now when an expedition against the barbarians is being proposed, who ought to have the leadership? Surely they who in the former war won the greatest fame, having often borne the brunt on their own shoulders, and in united contests having gained the prize of valour? Surely they who abandoned their own country for the general deliverance, and who not only in olden times founded most of the Hellenic states, but also in later days rescued them from the greatest disasters? Should we not be most hardly treated, if, after having endured the largest share of troubles, we should be thought worthy of a lesser share of honours, and, after having in those days occupied the foremost post, should now be compelled to follow the lead of others?

[100.] Now up to this point I know that all will allow that our state had rendered more services than any other, and would be fairly entitled to the leadership; but after this, some begin to accuse us on the ground that, when we succeeded to the empire of the sea, we became a source of much mischief to Hellas, and in this connection they reproach us with the enslavement of the Melians*72 and the destruction of the Scionaeans.*73

[101.] Now I think, in the first place, that it is no indication that we ruled badly, that some of those who made war against us are shown to have been severely chastised, but it is a much stronger proof of the excellence of our government of our allies, that of the states which were subject to us not one met with such disasters. [102.] In the second place, if any others had dealt with similar affairs in a more lenient spirit, they might have good reason to censure us; but since this is not the case, and at the same time it is impossible to govern states so many in number without chastising those who commit offences, do we not even deserve praise for that we were able to hold our empire longest with least harshness?*74

[103.] I think all are of opinion that those will prove to be the best rulers of Hellas, under whom their subjects are found to fare best. Under our leadership, then, more than any other, we shall find that both private households increased in prosperity and that cities became great. [104.] For we did not envy the growing cities nor cause disorder within them by planting side by side opposing forms of constitution,*75 that the inhabitants might fall into factions and each party court our favour, but, considering the harmony of our allies to be a common benefit, we governed all the states on the same principles; our policy regarding them was that of allies and not of masters, exercising a general superintendence, and yet allowing them to be individually free; [105.] we helped the people, and made war against arbitrary power,*76 thinking it monstrous that the many should be subject to the few, and that those who are poorer in substance than others, but in other respects no whit inferior, should be driven from office, and more, that, in a country common to all, some should be despots and others mere settlers,*77 and that those who are citizens by nature should by law be deprived of all share in the administration.

[106.] Having such grounds of complaint against oligarchies, and more than these, we set up in the other states the same constitution as our own, which I see no need for commending at length, especially as I can give an account of it in a few words. For under it they continued living*78 for seventy years unacquainted with tyrannies, free as regarded the barbarians, undisturbed by faction amongst themselves, and at peace with all men. [107.] For these reasons wise men ought far rather to be grateful to us than cast in our teeth the settlements which we used to send out*79 to thinly populated cities to secure protection to their territories, and not for the sake of aggrandizement. And there is proof of this; our territory was the smallest in proportion to the number of our citizens,*80 and our empire the greatest, and we possessed triremes not only twice as numerous as all the rest together, [108.] but fit to encounter twice their number;*81 further, although close within reach of Attica there lay Euboea, which was by nature well adapted for the mastery of the sea, and in other respects possessed superior merits to all the other islands;*82 although we could command it more easily than our own country, and, in addition to that, knew that both among Hellenes and among barbarians the highest reputation was possessed by those who, by driving their neighbours from their homes, secured for themselves a life of plenty and ease, nevertheless none of these considerations induced us to commit any wrong against the inhabitants of the island, [109.] but we alone, I say, among those who attained to great power, suffered ourselves to live in less abundance than those who were taunted with being our slaves.*83 Moreover, if we had wished for aggrandizement, we should not surely have coveted the territory of Scione,*84 which it is known we handed over to the Plataeans*85 who took refuge with us, and yet have passed over a country sufficient to have enriched us all.

[110.] Such then having been our character, and such the assurance that we have given of not coveting the property of others, those men dare to accuse us who took part in the decarchies,*86 dragged their own countries through the mire, and made the wrongs done in former times seem small, while they left to future followers of wickedness no chance of surpassing them; while professing Laconian sympathies, they practiced the reverse of their professions, and while lamenting the sad fate of the Melians, they did not hesitate to do irremediable injuries to their own countrymen. [111.] For what form of oppression escaped them? or what deed of shame or cruelty did they not perpetrate? They deemed the most lawless to be most faithful, they courted traitors as benefactors, and chose to be slaves to one of the Helots,*87 so as to outrage their own country; they honoured the assassins and murderers of their fellow-citizens more than their own parents, [112.] and brought us all to such a pitch of savagery, that whereas in former times, on account of the prevailing happiness, each of us found many to sympathize with us even in small misfortunes, under their rule, owing to the multitude of our own peculiar ills, we left off pitying each other; for they left no one sufficient leisure to share another's sorrow. [113.] Whom did these tyrants not reach? Or who was so remote from public life that he was not compelled to come into close contact with the calamities into which such creatures plunged us? Then, they are not ashamed of their lawless treatment of their own states or of their unjust accusations against ours, but in addition to their other offences they even venture to speak of the lawsuits and indictments*88 which at times have occurred amongst us, when they themselves put to death more men untried in three months*89 than our state brought to trial during the whole time of its supremacy. [114.] The banishments and seditions, the confounding of laws and political revolutions, nay more, the outrages upon children, the insults to women, the confiscations--who could recount them? Only I can say this much on the whole matter, that the acts of wrong committed in our time might easily have been abolished by a single decree of the assembly, but the massacres and the lawlessness which took place under them cannot be repaired by anyone. [115.] Indeed, even the present peace,*90 and the independence which is inscribed in treaties, but is not to be found in the states, are not preferable to our empire. For who would desire a condition of things in which pirates hold the sea*91 and targeteers*92 occupy the cities, [116.] and, instead of making war against strangers in defence of their country, the citizens fight with each other inside the walls; more cities have been taken in war than before we concluded the peace, and on account of the frequency of revolutions the inhabitants of the cities live in greater despondency than those who have been punished with exile; for the former dread the future, while the latter are continually expecting to return home.

[117.] So far removed are the states from liberty and independence, that some are under despots,*93 some are governed by harmosts, some have been dismantled, and of others the barbarians have become masters;*94 those barbarians whom, when they dared to cross into Europe and conceived prouder thoughts than became them, we treated in such fashion, [118.] that they not only ceased making expeditions against us, but even had to endure the devastation of their own country,*95 and though they sailed round with a thousand and two hundred ships we reduced them to such a depth of humiliation that they did not launch a vessel of war on this side of Phaselis,*96 but kept quiet and awaited their opportunity, and had no confidence in their strength at the time. [119.] And that this was owing to the prowess of our ancestors, the calamities of the state have clearly shown; for from the time that we were deprived of our empire, the troubles of Hellas began. For after the defeat in the Hellespont,*97 when others acquired the leadership, the barbarians were victorious in naval battles,*98 and ruled the sea, occupied most of the islands, landed on Laconian territory,*99 took Cythera by storm, and sailed round the whole of Peloponnesus inflicting damage. [120.] The magnitude of the change can be best seen at a glance by reading over side by side the treaties entered into under our empire*100 and those which now stand recorded. In those days we shall be found marking the limits of the King's rule, assessing some of their tributes, and forbidding him to make use of the sea; whereas now it is he who manages the affairs of Hellas, dictates what each must do, and all but sets up governors*101 in the cities. [121.] For with this exception what else is left undone? Was he not master of the war, did he not direct peace negotiations, and has he not been established our chief-president at the present time?*102 Are we not drifting into his hands as into those of a master, ready to blame each other for the result? Do we not address him as "The Great King," as if we were prisoners of war? Do we not in our wars against each other place in him our hopes of a safe issue, when he would gladly destroy us both?*103

[122.] Bearing all this in mind, it is but right to be indignant at the existing condition of things, and to mourn the loss of our leadership, and to censure the Lacedaemonians in that, although in the beginning they undertook the war*104 as if with the purpose of liberating the Hellenes, at the close they have visited so many of them with betrayal, and have caused the Ionians to revolt*105 from our state, from which they emigrated and by whose influence they were often saved from danger, and have given them over to the barbarians, against whose will they possess their territory, and with whom they have never ceased fighting. 123. In former days the Lacedaemonians were indignant when we desired to rule over some people in a lawful manner; now, on the contrary, they take no heed of these states, when reduced to such slavery, that it is not enough for them to be subject to tribute and to see their citadels occupied by their enemies, but in addition to the public calamities they suffer in their own persons harsher treatment than our bought slaves;*106 for no one of us ill-treats his servants in such fashion as they chastise free men. [124.] But the greatest of their miseries is the being compelled to carry arms in the very cause of slavery, and to fight against those who claim to be free, when the perils they undergo are of such a nature that if defeated they will be immediately destroyed, and if successful will be more deeply enslaved for all future time. [125.] Whom should we consider responsible for these things but the Lacedaemonians, who, great as is their strength, suffer their own allies to be brought to such a depth of misery, and the barbarian to establish his own sway by the aid of the might of the Hellenes? Again, though in former times they used to expel tyrants,*107 and give support to the people, they have now changed so completely that they go to war with constitutional governments and help to establish monarchies. [126.] Mantinea, for instance, after peace was concluded, they laid in ruins, they seized the Cadmea of Thebes, and are now besieging the Olynthians*108 and the Phliasians, and they are assisting Amyntas,*109 the king of the Macedonians, and Dionysius, the tyrant of Sicily, and the barbarian*110 who is master of Asia, to extend their power as widely as possible. [127.] Yet is it not strange that the leaders of Hellas should establish one man as master of human beings so numerous that it is not even easy to ascertain their number, and yet should not allow the greatest states to have control even of themselves, but should compel them to suffer slavery or to incur the greatest calamities? [128.] But the most monstrous thing of all is to see those who claim to have the leadership fighting every day against the Hellenes, and united in alliance for all time with the barbarians.

[129.] Now let no one suppose that I am ill-tempered because I have called attention to these matters in rather severe language, after having said at starting that my speech would be directed to reconciliation; for it is not in order to denounce the Lacedaemonians to others that I have thus spoken of them, but that I may cause them, as far as my words can effect this, to give up their present manner of thinking. [130.] But it is not possible to turn them from their faults or to persuade them to desire a different course of action, without vigorously censuring their present conduct; and we ought to consider that it is those who abuse maliciously that accuse, while those who say the same that good may come merely admonish. For the same language should be differently understood according to the purpose with which it is spoken. [131]. Now we have this too to censure them for, that though in the case of their own state they compel the neighbouring inhabitants*111 to be Helots to it, yet for the general body of their allies they establish no such institution, though it is within their power, by making up their quarrel with us, to make all the barbarians dependents*112 of united Hellas. [132.] Yet those who have high thoughts by nature and not by reason of good fortune ought to attempt deeds of that kind, far rather than to impose tribute upon the islanders,*113 whom it is right for us to pity, when we see them for their part being compelled on account of scarcity of land to cultivate mountains, while the dwellers on the mainland*114 owing to abundance of territory leave most of it idle and have acquired their great wealth from the portion of which they reap the fruits. [133.] Now I think that if men were to come from some other region and be spectators of the present state of things, they would find both of us guilty of great madness, for thus incurring risk about trifles, when it is within our power to enjoy great possessions in security, and for ruining our own territory while neglecting to reap the fruits of Asia. [134.] To the King of course nothing is more important than the consideration of means to prevent us ever ceasing from making war against each other; but we are so far from embroiling any of his affairs or causing revolts, that even the troubles which by chance have come upon him we endeavour to help him to suppress, since even of the two armies in Cyprus*115 we allow him to employ the one and to besiege the other, both of them composed of Hellenes. [135.] For not only do those who have revolted both stand on friendly terms with us and surrender themselves to the Lacedaemonians, but of those serving with Tiribazus and of the land forces the most serviceable portion has been levied from these parts, *116 and of the fleet the greater part has sailed together from Ionia; these would much sooner have been uniting to sack Asia than encountering each other for the sake of trifles. [136.] On these things we bestow no thought, but we dispute about the Cyclades islands, while we have so lightly handed over to the barbarian cities so many in number and forces so considerable. For this reason it is that he is in possession in one quarter, threatens to become so in another, and is forming hostile schemes in a third, having conceived a just contempt for us all. [137.] For he has achieved what none of his ancestors have yet done; Asia, it has been admitted both on our part and on that of the Lacedaemonians, belongs to the King, and the Hellenic states he has brought so completely into his power, as to raze some of them to the ground and build fortresses in others. And all these things are due to our folly, not to his power.

[138.] Yet some admire the greatness of the King's power, and say that he is hard to war with, enumerating the many revolutions which he has brought upon the Hellenes. But I think those who speak thus are promoting instead of discouraging the campaign; for if, when we are agreed and he is beset with disorder, he is likely to be difficult to make war against, surely we should dread exceedingly the hour when the affairs of the barbarians are settled and they are of one mind, while we are at war with each other as we are now. [139.] Yet supposing that they agree with what I say, even then they do not form a right opinion of his power. For if they had shown him to have in former times got the better of both states at once, they might reasonably have tried to frighten us now also; but if this has not been so, but, on the contrary, it was when we and the Lacedaemonians were at variance, that by supporting one side or the other he made that side more brilliantly successful, that is no indication of his strength. For in such crises small forces often exercise great influence in turning the scale; for of the Chians*117 too I might make this remark, that whichever party they determined to support was stronger by sea. [140.] However, it is not fair to judge of the King's power from what came about with the help of one or other of us, but from the wars he has fought by himself on his own account. And in the first place, when Egypt revolted, what did he achieve against those who held it?*118 Did not he on his part send down to that war the most distinguished of the Persians, Abrocomas and Tithraustes and Pharnabazus,*119 and did not they, after staying three years and suffering more evils than they inflicted, in the end depart with such dishonour, that those who had revolted are no longer content with freedom, but are beginning to seek to extend their rule over their neighbours? [141.] After that followed his operations against Evagoras, who rules but one city,*120 and in the treaties*121 is given up to the enemy, and, living as he does in an island, has been in former times defeated by sea,*122 and to defend his territory has only three thousand targeteers; nevertheless, even so humble a power the King cannot overcome in war, but he has already spent six years, and if we must judge of the future by the past, there is much more reason to expect the revolt of another, before he is forced to surrender; such is the natural slowness displayed by the King in his undertakings.

[142.] Again, in the Rhodian war,*123 with the allies of the Lacedaemonians friendly to him on account of the harshness of their governments, with the advantage of the services we rendered, and with Conon as his general, who was the most careful of generals, the most faithful to Hellas, and the most experienced in the dangers of war,--even with such a man to fight beside him, he for three years suffered the fleet, which had the main task of defending Asia, to be blockaded by one hundred triremes only, and deprived his soldiers of fifteen months' pay, so that, as far as it depended on him, they would have been destroyed many times over, but by reason of the impending [danger]*124 and of the alliance contracted with Corinth, they now and again with difficulty won naval victories. [143.] Now these are the most kingly and glorious of his achievements, whereof those who wish to magnify the power of the barbarians never cease to speak. So that no one can say that I do not use my examples fairly, nor that I linger over small matters, passing by his greatest actions; [144.] for, in the wish to avoid this imputation, I have gone through the most famous of his deeds, not failing either to remember the following facts,--that Dercylidas*125 with a thousand hoplites extended his rule over Aeolis,*126 that Draco, having occupied Atarneus*127 and collected three thousand peltasts, desolated the plain of Mysia, that Thibron, taking across a slightly larger force, laid waste the whole of Lydia,*128 and that Agesilaus by the help of Cyrus's army*129 almost became master of the territory on this side the Halys. [145.] Nay more, one need not fear even the army which follows the King, nor the courage of the Persians; for they too were manifestly proved by those who went up with Cyrus*130 to be no better than the dwellers by the sea.*131 I pass over all the other battles in which they were defeated, and I assume that they were divided by factions and were not heartily willing to fight to the death against the king's brother. [146.] But, when after the death of Cyrus,*132 all the inhabitants of Asia united, even under those favourable circumstances they fought so disgracefully, as to leave not a word for those to say who have been accustomed to praise Persian courage. For when they fell in with six thousand Hellenes, not chosen according to merit, but such as owing to their needy circumstances were not able to live in their own states, who were ignorant of the country, destitute of allies, betrayed by those who had gone up with them,*133 and bereft of the leader in whose footsteps they had followed, [147.] they were so far from being a match for them, that the King, embarrassed by the condition of affairs and having a small opinion of the force around him, went so far as to seize the commanders of the auxiliaries when under the protection of a truce,*134 thinking that, if he effected this outrage, he would throw their army into confusion, and preferred to offend against the gods rather than to meet them in open contest. [148.] And when he failed in his plot, and the soldiers stood by each other and bore their calamity nobly, he sent with them on their return Tissaphernes and his cavalry, in spite of whose hostile designs throughout the whole of their journey, our countrymen reached their destination as safely as if they had been escorted by them, having most fear of the uninhabited part of the country and considering it the greatest advantage to meet as many of the enemy as possible. [149.] Let me sum up what I have said: although they had not set out for plunder nor taken so much as a village, but had taken the field against the King himself, yet they came down in greater security than those who go on embassies to him to court his friendship. So that the Persians seem to me in every part of the world to have clearly manifested their cowardice; not only on the coast-line of Asia have they suffered many defeats, but when they crossed into Europe they paid the penalty (for some of them perished miserably, and others escaped with dishonour), and they have finished by becoming objects of ridicule in sight of the King's palace itself.*135

[150.] Now not one of these things has happened unaccountably, but they have all come to pass naturally; for it is not possible that men whose rearing and political constitution is of such a nature should set up a trophy over their enemies in battle any more than they can partake of virtue generally. For how, with their habits of life, could either a skilful general or a good soldier arise amongst them, seeing that the greater part of them are a disorderly mob without experience of danger, enervated for war, but for servitude better trained than our household slaves? [151.] Those, again, who are in greatest repute among them have never yet lived a life of equality, common intercourse, or citizenship, but spend all their time either as oppressors or as slaves--the surest way for men to have their characters corrupted; their bodies they pamper through their riches, and their souls they render abased and fearful through their monarchical government; they are subjected to inspection on the very threshold of the royal palace, fall prostrate before the King, and in every way practice humiliation, worshipping a mortal man and addressing him as a deity, and holding the gods of less account than men.

[152.] For this reason it is that those of them who come down to the sea, whom they call satraps, do not disgrace their home education, but continue in the same habits, faithless towards their friends and cowardly towards their enemies, and living lives of humiliation on the one side and arrogance on the other, they despise their allies while they court their enemies. [153.] The armament of Agesilaus, for instance, they fed for eight months at their own expense,*136 and yet deprived of their pay for twice that length of time those who were fighting their battle; they distributed one hundred talents to those who captured Cisthene,*137 and yet those who joined them in their expedition against Cyprus they treated with worse indignities than their prisoners. [154.] To speak briefly and not in detail but generally, did anyone who fought against them ever come off without success, or did anyone who was subject to them ever end his life without suffering maltreatment? There was Conon who held command in the cause of Asia and overthrew the Lacedaemonian empire--had they not the hardihood to seize him for execution,*138 whereas they deemed Themistocles, who defeated them at sea in the cause of Hellas, worthy of the richest presents?*139 [155.] How then can we esteem the friendship of these men, who punish their benefactors, and so openly flatter those who do them injury? To which of us have they not done wrong? For how long have they ceased from plotting against the Hellenes? What is there in our land that is not hateful to them, who did not scruple in the earlier war to plunder and set on fire the very images and temples of the gods? [156.] For this reason the Ionians too deserve commendation for invoking curses by their burnt sanctuaries on any who should disturb them*140 or wish to restore them again to their ancient condition, not from any lack of the means to rebuild them, but that they might be to posterity for a memorial of the impiety of the barbarians, and that no one should trust those who ventured to commit such wrongs against heaven, but that men should, on the contrary, beware of them and fear them, seeing that they made war not only against our persons but also against that which is consecrated to the gods.

[157.] Now I have a similar tale to tell of our fellow-countrymen too. For they also, although, as regards all others, with whom they have been at war, they are no sooner reconciled to them than they forget their past enmity, yet to the continental peoples they feel no gratitude even when they receive favours from them; in such unceasing remembrance do they keep their anger against them. Our fathers, again, condemned many to death for the crime of Medism,*141 and in their public assemblies even at the present day, before transacting any other business, they invoke curses on any citizen who proposes to send an embassy to negotiate peace with the Persians; and the Eumolpidae and the Ceryces,*142 in the celebration of the mysteries, on account of their hatred of the Persians warn all other barbarians, as if they were murderers, to keep away from the sacred rites. [158.] Our feelings are naturally so hostile to them, that the very stories that we are most pleased to linger over are those of the Trojan and Persian wars, by which we can learn of their misfortunes. And you will find that, while the war against barbarians has afforded us hymns of praise, war against the Hellenes has been a source of lamentations, and that the former are sung at our feasts, while the latter we remember in our misfortunes. [159.] I think indeed that even the poetry of Homer has acquired a greater reputation for the noble way in which he praised those who fought against the barbarians, and that it was on this account that our ancestors gave to his genius a place of honour both in musical contests and in the education of the young,*143 that by often hearing his epics we may fully understand the enmity which exists between us and them, and that, in emulation of the virtue of those who fought against Troy, we may strive after deeds such as theirs.

[160.] It seems to me, therefore, that the motives for going to war with them are exceedingly many, and chief of all the present opportunity, which must not be thrown away; for indeed it is a disgrace to remember an opportunity when it is past instead of using it while it is present. For what further advantage could we even wish to accrue to us in prospect of a war with the King, beyond those which we now possess? [161.] Have not Egypt and Cyprus revolted from him, Phoenicia and Syria been reduced to desolation by reason of the war, and Tyre, on which he greatly prided himself, been seized by his enemies?*144 And of the cities in Cilicia, the majority are held by our supporters,*145 and the rest it is not difficult to win; and Lycia*146 no Persian has ever yet completely subdued. [162.] Hecatomnus, the satrap of Caria, has in reality been now for a long time disaffected, and will declare himself whenever we wish it. From Cnidus to Sinope Hellenes live along the coast of Asia, whom there is no need to persuade to go to war, but merely to refrain from hindering them. Now with such bases of operations to our hand, and with Asia beset by so formidable a war, why need we scan too minutely the future issue? For when they are unequal to small portions of our power*147 it is clear how they would be situated if they were compelled to make war against the whole. [163.] The matter stands thus: if the barbarian should hold more strongly the cities on the sea-coast, placing in them larger garrisons than at present, possibly the islands also which are near the mainland, such as Rhodes, Samos, and Chios, would turn aside to follow his fortunes; but if we were to seize these cities first, it is probable that the inhabitants of Lydia and Phrygia and the upper country generally would be in the power of a force operating from those points.*148 [164.] Therefore we must hasten and make no delay, that we may not suffer the same fate as our fathers. For they, by being later in the field than the barbarians and abandoning some of their allies*149 were compelled to fight with inferior numbers against a large force, whereas it was open to them by crossing in time on to the mainland to have overcome each nation one after the other with the whole power of Hellas. [165.] For experience teaches us that, when making war against men who are being collected from many places, we ought not to wait until they are upon us, but to attack them while still dispersed. Our fathers, it is true, though committing all these errors at the first, retrieved them after passing through the severest struggles in our history; but we, if we are wise, will be on our guard from the beginning, and try to be the first to establish a force in the country of Lydia and Ionia, [166.] knowing that the King too rules the continental peoples, not by a willing allegiance, but by having at command a greater force than they severally possess; now when we take across a stronger force than his, which we could easily do if we so determined, we shall enjoy the fruits of all Asia in security. And it is a much nobler thing to fight with him for his kingdom than to wrangle among ourselves for the leadership of Hellas.

[167.] Now it is right to undertake the campaign in the present generation, that those who have had their share of troubles may also enjoy success and not spend all their life in evil days. Sufficient is the past, in which every form of calamity has taken place. Many as are the evils attached to the natural condition of men, we ourselves have invented more evils in addition to those which necessity imposes, creating wars and factions in our midst, [168.] so that some are lawlessly put to death in their own states, while others wander with wives and children in a foreign land, and many, forced into mercenary service by the want of daily necessities, die fighting for foes against friends. At this no one has ever yet shown indignation, yet they see fit to weep over the tales of calamity composed by poets, while, beholding with indifference the real woes, many and terrible, which are caused by war, they are so far from feeling pity that they even rejoice more at one another's troubles than at their own good fortune. [169.] Many perhaps would even ridicule my simplicity, were I to mourn over the misfortunes of individuals in times like these, in which Italy has become a wasted land, Sicily has been enslaved,*150 and so many states have been given up to the barbarians,*151 while the remaining portions of Hellas are in the midst of the greatest dangers.

[170.] I wonder that those who are in power in our states consider that it befits them to hold their heads high, when they have never yet been able by word or thought to help in matters of such importance. For, were they worthy of their present reputation, they ought, neglecting everything else, to have made proposals and taken counsel concerning the war against the barbarians. [171.] For by chance they might together have accomplished something; and even had they abandoned the attempt from weariness, yet they would at least have left their words behind them as oracles for the future. But as it is, those who are in the highest positions of honour concern themselves with small matters, and have left it to us who stand aloof from public life to give advice on such weighty affairs.

[172.] Nevertheless the more narrow-minded our leaders prove to be, the more vigorously must the rest of us consider how to be rid of our present enmity. As things are, it is to no purpose that we make our treaties of peace; for we do not settle our wars, but only defer them, and wait for the time when we shall be able to inflict some irremediable injury on one another. [173.] Our duty, on the contrary, is to put aside these plottings and apply ourselves to those undertakings which will enable us both to dwell in greater security in our cities and to feel greater confidence in one another. Now the word to be said on this subject is a simple and easy one; we cannot enjoy a sure peace unless we make war in common against the barbarians, nor can Hellas be made of one mind until we secure our advantages from the same enemies and meet our perils in the face of the same foes.*152 [174.] When these things are achieved, when we have removed the poverty surrounding our life, which breaks up friendships, perverts to enmity the ties of kindred, and throws all mankind into wars and seditions, it must follow that we shall be of one mind and our mutual goodwill will be real. For these reasons we must consider it all-important as speedily as possible to banish our domestic war to the continent, since the one advantage we can derive from our internal struggles would be the resolve to use against the barbarian the lessons of experience we have gained from them.

[175.] But, it will be said, may it not be best on account of the treaty*153 to wait a little and not to press on and make the expedition too quickly? It is the states which have been liberated through this treaty that feel gratitude to the King, on the ground that they have obtained this independence through him, while those which have been given up to the barbarians reproach mainly the Lacedaemonians, and in a lesser degree all the others who were parties to the peace, on the ground that by them they have been forced into slavery. Must it not therefore be right to dissolve this agreement, from which such a feeling has arisen that it is the barbarian who cares for Hellas and is the guardian of her peace, and that among us are to be found those who outrage and ill-use her? [176.] But the most ridiculous thing of all is, that of the terms written in the agreements it is the worst that we find ourselves guarding. For those which restore to independence the islands and the states in Europe have long been broken and remain idly on the records;*154 but those which bring us shame and have given up many of our allies, remain in force and all hold them binding. These we must destroy and not leave them for a single day, considering them to be dictates, not agreements. For who does not know that those are agreements which stand equally and fairly to both sides, but that those are dictates which unjustly put one side at a disadvantage? [177.] For this reason, too, we could justly complain of those who negotiated this peace, that, although sent by Hellas, they made the treaty in the interest of the barbarians. For whether it was determined that we should each keep our own country, or should also extend our rule over the territory conquered in war, or should retain what we were already in possession of at the time of the peace, their duty was to define some one of these courses, lay down a common principle of justice, and on that basis conclude the treaty. [178.] But in fact they allotted no distinction to our state or to Lacedaemon, but established the barbarian as lord of all Asia, as if we had gone to war on his behalf, or as if the Persian empire were of old standing and we but recent inhabitants of our cities, and it were not rather the fact that they have but lately held this high position, while we have for all time been the ruling powers in Hellas. [179.] I think, however, that I shall better show the want of respect that has befallen us and the preference which has been shown to the King by putting the matter in this way. Whereas the whole earth lying beneath the firmament is divided into two portions,*155 the one called Asia and the other Europe, he has taken by the treaty one half, as if he were dividing the world with Zeus instead of making an agreement with men. [180.] And this is the agreement which he has compelled us to inscribe on pillars of stone and to dedicate in our common temples,*156 a far fairer trophy than any to be won in battles; for the trophies of battle are on account of small events and isolated successes, but this agreement is established to commemorate the whole war and concerns the whole of Hellas.

[181.] For these things it is but right that we should feel indignation and consider how we shall take vengeance for the past and set the future on a light footing. For it is a disgrace that, while in private life we think it fitting to use the barbarians as domestic servants, we should in public affairs suffer so many of our allies to be in slavery to them, and that, whereas those who lived in the time of the Trojan war did for the rape of one woman all join so heartily in the indignation of those who had suffered the wrong, that they did not cease to carry on the war until they had laid in ruins the city of the man who had dared to commit the offence, [182.] we on the contrary wreak no public vengeance for outrages which are being inflicted upon the whole of Hellas, though it is in our power to achieve things worthy of aspiration. For it is only a war of this kind which is better than peace, a war more like a sacred embassy*157 than a campaign, and to the interest of both parties, both those who prefer to live in quiet and those who desire to go to war; for it would enable the former to reap in security the fruits of their own possessions, and the latter to acquire great riches out of the possessions of others.

[183.] Now in many directions it will be found on consideration that this course of action is most to our profit. For consider: against whom should war be made by those who desire no selfish aggression, but look to justice alone? Surely against those who formerly did injury to Hellas, are now scheming against us, and always entertain hostile feelings towards us. [184.] Against whom may envy be fairly cherished by men who are not altogether given over to an unmanly jealousy, but indulge this feeling with discretion?*158 Surely against those who have encompassed themselves with power too great for men to hold, and yet are deserving of less than those who are unfortunate in our country. Against whom should a campaign be conducted by those who wish to act as pious men and at the same time desire their own advantage? Surely against those who are both our natural and our ancestral enemies, who possess the highest prosperity with the smallest power of striking a blow in its defence. Now the Persians are open to all these reproaches. [185.] Moreover, we shall not even trouble the states by levying soldiers from them, which is now a most severe burden to them in our civil war; for I think that far fewer will wish to stay behind than will desire to follow in our train. For who, be he young or old, has a heart so unmoved that he will not wish to take his part in this expedition, an expedition generalled by Athenians and Lacedaemonians, mustering on behalf of the freedom of the allies, going forth at the bidding of all Hellas, and marching to the chastisement of the barbarians? [186.] What fame, and name, and glory must we deem that these men, who have been foremost in so great an enterprise, will enjoy while living, or dying, will leave behind them? For whereas they who fought against Alexander*159 and took one city were deemed worthy of such praises, what eulogies must we expect will be won by the conquerors of all Asia? For surely everyone who has the gift of poetry or the power of speech will toil and study in the wish to leave behind him for all time a memorial at once of his own genius and of their valour?

[187.] Now I do not find myself of the same opinion at the present moment as at the beginning of my speech. Then I thought I should be able to speak in a fashion worthy of my subject; now I cannot attain to its magnitude, and much that I thought of has escaped me. You must then for yourselves consider together what happiness we should gain by turning against the inhabitants of the continent the war which now besets us here, and by transferring to Europe the happiness of Asia. [188.] You must not go away hearers and no more, but the men of action should with mutual exhortation endeavour to reconcile our state to that of the Lacedaemonians, while those who dispute the palm of oratory should cease to write concerning fiduciary deposit*160 and the other trifling subjects of their conversation, and should rather direct their rivalry against this discourse, and consider how to speak better than I have done on the same subject, [189.] reflecting that it does not befit those who promise great things to occupy themselves with trifles,*161 nor to engage in arguments from which the lives of their audience will gain no advantage by conviction, but to employ discussions, by the realization of which they will not only themselves be relieved from their present embarrassment, but will also be regarded as the source of great blessings to others.

[NOTES (*#)
1. Gillies, in his translation of this speech, wrongly gives the title as "Panegyrick of Athens."

2. See Sandys, Introd., p. xli.

3. The national festivals of the Olympian, Isthmian, Nemean, and Pythian games, with reference also to the special festivals of different states, such as the Dionysia at Athens and the Hecatombaea at Argos.

4. The Pentathlum (jumping, running, quoit-throwing, javelin-throwing, and wrestling), and the Pancratium (boxing and wrestling combined).

5. A very common term for those who could not speak Greek, not necessarily "barbarians," as we understand the word.

6. For the Sophists, or professors of wisdom, see Introd., §§1, 7. The special reference here is to Gorgias.

7. Another rendering is: "that it may appear to others (i.e., my audience) that nothing has as yet been said."

8. Others simply "to represent." The translation given refers to the threefold duty of the orator as given in Cicero, Orator. xiv. 43, "tria videnda sunt oratori: quid dicat et quo quidque loco et


9. See Introd., §6, for the meaning of the term "philosophy '' in the writings of Isocrates.

10. Or, "which are beyond the range of (i.e., are over the heads of ) ordinary hearers."

11. He was in his fifty-seventh year.

12. Into democracies under Athens, or oligarchies under Sparta.

13. Athens receiving the supremacy on sea, Sparta on land.

14. Like the Spartans at the time of the Dorian immigration into Peloponnesus.

15. Persephone (Proserpine), the daughter of Demeter (Ceres), while gathering flowers in the vale of Henna in Sicily, was carried off by Dis (Pluto) to the lower world. Her distracted mother, wandering over the whole world in search of her, amongst other places came to Eleusis in Attica, where she was hospitably received by Celeus, king of the country. She remained there for a year, and cursed the earth with barrenness, until a bargain was made with Jupiter, by which Proserpine was to spend six months of the year with her mother. Ceres then removed the curse of barrenness: and, to show her gratitude for her hospitable reception, she established her religious worship in the country, Celeus himself, together with Triptolemus, Diocles, and Eumolpus, being constituted its interpreters. The Hierophant, or high priest of her mysteries, was always chosen from the Eumolpidae. Triptolemus is also said to have been taught by Ceres the art of sowing and ploughing, which he communicated to the world.

16. The Eleusinian mysteries.

17. Others render, "and was so beloved of the gods."

18. The Eleusinian mysteries were celebrated every year in the month of Boëdromion (April), and lasted twelve days.

19. The story is that, during a general famine in Hellas, the Athenians were ordered by the Delphic oracle to offer a sacrifice, called Proërosia, since it was offered at the time of seed-sowing, to Demeter on behalf of the rest of the Hellenes. Thereupon the famine ceased. Out of gratitude the first-fruits of all Hellas were afterwards sent to Athens.

20. i.e., the country possessed by the Hellenes in the time of Isocrates. In mythical times Greece was limited to Peloponnesus and Attica, the rest of the country being in the possession of barbarian races, such as the Thracians, Carians, and Caucasians.

21. i.e., Europe and Asia, Africa not being reckoned separately, but regarded as divided between the other two continents; Herodotus, however, reckons three divisions of the world. In Europe the reference is perhaps to the colonies founded by Miletus on the Euxine Sea: others, however, consider that Isocrates means the important colonies of Thurii and Amphipolis, being thus guilty of an anachronism, as these were not founded till later (B.C. 443 and B.C. 437).

22. Referring to the colonization of the Cyclades at the time of the Ionic migration.

23. Referring to the Dorian migration.

24. Cecrops, the first ruler of Attica, is said to have divided the country into twelve separate districts, each governed by a separate king, which were united by Theseus into a single state (see Or. x. §35). Thales proposed that the Ionians of Asia Minor should in like manner unite (Herodotus, i. 170).

25. With especial allusion to the court of Areopagus: see Introduction to Or. vii.

26. In contrast with the Spartan xenêlasiai, or "alien acts,'' which discouraged the presence of foreigners: cp. the boast of Pericles (Thucydides, ii. 39), "we open our city to all, and never exclude anyone by alien acts."

27. Alluding to the metoikoi, or resident aliens, who settled in Athens for purposes of trade.

28. Especially those who had been driven from home owing to their democratic proclivities.

29. The Piraeus was the great port of Athens, and, according to Thucydides, the mart of the whole world.

30. During these festivals a suspension of hostilities was ordered throughout the whole of Hellas, to enable all who were desirous of attending them to do so without hindrance or danger.

31. The sacrifices were offered on the first day of the festival by the theôroi, or special ambassadors deputed by the several states.

32. i.e., the spectators, non-competitors.

33. Public buildings, such as the Parthenon and the other "lions" of Athens, with reference also to the "sights" of the games and processions at the Panathenaea and Greater Dionysia.

34. Demosthenes, Philip., i. 50, says that larger sums were spent upon the Panathenaea and Dionysia than upon any armament, and that they were better attended and more magnificent than almost anything else in the world.

35. At the Panathenaea, besides the usual games, there were musical contests in the Odeum, recitations of epic poetry, and public disputations by rhetoricians, of which the "Panathenaicus"of Isocrates is a specimen.

36. Benseler takes the words of "expression and ideas" as exhibited in theatrical compositions.

37. Crowns of olive-branches and earthen vessels, filled with oil from the sacred olive trees, which were highly prized.

38. The Olympian and Pythian games were celebrated every four, the Isthmian and Nemean every three years, the Panathenaea annually.

39. Or, "ordinary poor men" who had not enough money to pay the fees for instruction in the art of oratory.

40. Such as the request of the Corcyreans for assistance against Corinth, which eventually led to the Peloponnesian war.

41. Such as the mission of Gorgias to Athens, at a time when the inhabitants of Leontini were oppressed by Syracuse.

42. The Thebans, after their victory over the seven princes who had attacked them under the leadership of Adrastus, refused to give back the bodies of their fallen enemies for burial: Adrastus then appealed for assistance to Theseus, who procured their restoration by force of arms, or, according to another account given by Isocrates himself (Or. xii. §169), by diplomatic representations.

43. The town galled Cadmea, founded by Cadmus, afterwards became the citadel of Thebes.

44. After the death of Heracles, his bitter enemy Eurystheus endeavoured to slay his three sons. They fled from Argos, and, after many wanderings, reached Attica, where they found shelter with Demophon. Eurystheus afterwards attacked the Athenians, but was defeated and taken prisoner, or, according to another account, slain by Hyllus, one of the sons of Heracles.

45. Cp. Herodotus, ix. 27, "When the Argives led their troops with Polynices against Thebes, and were slain and refused burial, it is our boast that we went out against the Cadmeians, recovered the bodies, and buried them at Eleusis in our own territory" (Rawlinson's translation, quoted by Sandys). The discrepancy between the account here given and that in the "Panathenaicus" is explained by the fact that, when that speech was written, Athens was on friendly terms with Thebes, and therefore Isocrates thought it politic to tone down the story.

46. Alcmene, the mother of Heracles, is said to have dug out his eyes.

47. During the Second Messenian War (B.C. 685-668), the Spartans, by command of the Delphic Oracle, applied to Athens for a leader. She sent them Tyrtaeus, a lame man and a schoolmaster, who so inspirited them by his martial songs, that they renewed the war, and in the end completely subjugated the Messenians. On another occasion, when the Spartans were besieging the ancient Messenian stronghold of Methone (B.C. 464), Cimon prevailed upon the Athenians to send himself with a large force to assist in the siege.

48. The descendants of Eurystheus and Proclus.

49. As they frequently did during the Peloponnesian war.

50. Referring to the rule of the Thirty Tyrants set up at Athens, with the co-operation of the Spartan Lysander, after the final defeat of the Athenians at Aegospotami (B.C. 405).

51. i.e., I will not dwell any longer on the ingratitude and discourtesy of Sparta.

52. These Thracians of the mythical period are said to have been an entirely different race from the later historical Thracians. According to the legend, Eumolpus, son of Poseidon, invaded Attica with a band of Thracians to assert his claim to the country as the property of his father Poseidon, but was defeated and slain together with his two sons.

53. The Amazons were a warlike tribe of women, dwelling at Thermodon, on the Pontus Euxinus (Black Sea). In consequence of their queen Hippolyte having been carried off by Theseus they invaded Attica, but were defeated.

54. In Eleusis.

55. For the history of the Persian Wars, consult Thirlwall or Grote.

56. Others refer this to the allies of the Athenians, especially the Lacedaemonians and Aeginetans.

57. After the battles of Artemisium and Salamis (both in B.C. 480). After the latter engagement the palm of individual merit was almost unanimously awarded to the Aeginetans.

58. At the time of the formation of the Confederacy of Delos (B.C. 477), when the allies, disgusted at the insolence of the Spartan Pausanias, begged Aristides to assume the command of the combined fleet.

59. Sandys gives the following list of funeral orations: (I) the speech of Pericles in honour of those who fell before Samos [which had revolted from Athens], B.C. 440; (2) the speech of Pericles in the first year of the Peloponnesian war (B.C. 431), see Thucydides ii. 35-46; (3) the oration of Gorgias; (4) the Logos epitaphios of Lysias, to commemorate those who fell in the Corinthian war (B.C. 394); (5) the Menexenus of Plato; (6) the speech of (?) Demosthenes, delivered after the battle of Chaeronea (B.C. 338); (7) the funeral oration of Hyperides over those who fell in the Lamian war.

60. Rhetoricians (elsewhere called logôn euretai), such as Gorgias.

61. The real reason why the Athenians did not wait for the Spartans was that there was no time to do so. The Spartans, from religious scruples, did not start until it was full moon, and when they arrived it was too late, as the battle (Marathon) was over.

62. As a matter of fact they were also aided by the Plataeans.

63. An exaggeration: according to Herodotus the Greeks were encamped for several days opposite the Persians.

64. About one hundred and fifty miles.

65. Miltiades really pushed on because he was afraid of disaffection amongst the soldiers.

66. Darius, on the contrary, only dispatched his generals to conduct the campaign.

67. The famous pass of Thermopylae, in Eastern Locris, ran between Mount Oeta and the sea. The hot springs--from which it derives its name--and a tumulus, believed to be that of the Spartans who fell with Leonidas, may still be seen. It is thus described by Herodotus: "at Thermopylae a steep and inaccessible mountain rises on the west side in the direction of Oeta: on the east side are the sea and marshes. There are warm springs in the pass, and an altar of Heracles stands near them. Going from Trachis to Hellas the road is but half a plethrum [fifty feet] wide, yet the narrowest part is not there, but just in front, and in the rear of Thermopylae, where there is only room for one vehicle."

68. A long beach in northern Euboea, so close to Thermopylae that what happened at one place could be seen from the other.

69. Of Corinth.

70. The headship of Greece and valuable presents. The offer was really made by Mardonius after the battle of Salamis, before the battle of Plataea in the following year (B.C. 479).

71. i.e. first by sea and then by land.

72. "In B.C. 416 the Athenians attacked and conquered Melos, which island and Thera were the only islands in the Aegean not subject to the Athenian supremacy. The Melians having rejected all the Athenian overtures for a voluntary submission, their capital was blockaded by sea and land, and after a few months surrendered. On the proposal, as it appears, of Alcibiades, all the adult males were put to death, the women and children sold into slavery, and the island colonized afresh by five hundred Athenians. This horrible proceeding was the more indefensible as the Athenians, having attacked the Melians in full peace, could not pretend that they were justified by the custom of war in slaying the prisoners. It was the crowning act of insolence and cruelty displayed during their empire, which from this period began rapidly to decline " (Smith, ''Smaller Hist. Greece," p. 113). See Thucydides, v. 84-116; Grote, "Hist. of Greece," ch. lvi.; Thirlwall, vol. iii. p. 361.

73. Scione, on the peninsula of Pallene (the most western of the three peninsulas or tongues of Chalcidice, the other two being Sithonia and Acte), revolted from Athens, through the influence of Brasidas, in B.C. 423: two years later it was captured by the Athenians, after having endured a blockade; its male inhabitants were put to death, the men and women made slaves, and the lands of the exterminated people granted to the Plataeans: see Thirlwall, vol. iii., pp. 293, 318.

74. Lit., "showing resentment against the smallest number possible." Isocrates himself, in Or. xii. § 65, says that the continuous rule of Athens lasted sixty-five years, i.e., from the establishment of the Confederacy of Delos to the destruction of the Athenian armament in Sicily (B.C. 477-413); in §106 (if the MS. reading be kept) he gives its duration as seventy years. Demosthenes gives it variously as forty-five years (B.C. 477-432, thus excluding the Peloponnesian war), sixty-five years, and seventy-three years (B.C. 477-405, the date of the destruction of the Athenian fleet at Aegospotami).

75. Others render "hostile states," established by Sparta (against whom this whole passage is directed) side by side, to act as a cheek upon one another.

76. i. e., oligarchies.

77. The term "settlers" or "resident aliens" is here used to express the condition of the governed class under an oligarchy.

78. i.e., our allies, during the seventy years (in round numbers) of the Athenian supremacy (B.C. 477-405). It should be observed that the reading (dietélesan) in the text from which the translation is made is a conjecture; the MS. reading is dietelésamen, "we, i.e., we Athenians," for the various objections against which see Benseler and Sandys.

79. See note on Or. viii. § 6.

80. The total population of Attica was reckoned at 500,000, its area at about 700 square miles.

81. i.e., the defensive power of Athens was four times greater than that of any other state.

82. It possessed excellent landing-places, and was famous for its iron and copper mines, its pasture and corn lands, and marble quarries near Carystus.

83. Another rendering is, "than these (i.e., the Euboeans), who gave occasion to us to enslave them," i.e., by their exposed position and the superior natural advantages they enjoyed they were a tempting prey.

84. See note on §100.

85. In B.C. 427, when Plataea was destroyed by the Peloponnesians for having supported Athens. Before its capture, two hundred and twelve of the inhabitants had managed to make good their escape to Athens, who afterwards settled them in Scione.

86. i.e., the supporters of Sparta and oligarchy in Athens and elsewhere. After the fall of Athens Lysander established an oligarchical council of Ten, called a Decarchy, under the control of a Spartan harmost or governor, in the various cities which had belonged to the Athenian Empire. The decarchies did not long remain in power, since they were regarded with jealousy by the Spartan government as partisans of Lysander.

87. The reference is to Lysander, the Spartan commander, who was one of the mothakes, or children of the Helots. These Helots were serfs bound to the soil, which they tilled for the Spartan proprietors; they were never sold, and fought as light-armed troops. What rendered their lot especially bitter was the fact that they were not strangers like the ordinary slaves in other parts of Greece, but were of the same race as their masters, being descendants of the old inhabitants. In later times they were treated with great cruelty.

88. dikê (a lawsuit) was a "private" action, referring to some personal injury; graphê (an indictment), a "public" action, referring to some injury to the property or violation of the rights of the state.

89. With special reference to the worst period of the eight months' rule of the Thirty Tyrants, during which 1,500 citizens were put to death.

90. The peace of Antalcidas (B.C. 387), the terms of which were as follows: King Artaxerxes thinks it right that the Greek cities in Asia, and the islands of Clazomenae and Cyprus, should belong to himself; but that all the other Greek cities, both small and great, should be left independent, with the exception of Lemnos, Imbros, and Scyros, and that these should, as of old, belong to the Athenians.

91. After the naval power of Athens was broken, there was no one to keep the sea clear of pirates.

92. The "peltasts" strictly occupied a position between hoplites (or heavy-armed troops) and the light-armed. They were distinguished by the light, round buckler (peltê). They were chiefly foreign mercenaries.

93. Such as Dionysius of Syracuse and Jason of Pherae in Thessaly.

94. In consequence of the peace of Antalcidas.

95. Referring to the victory of Cimon, the son of Miltiades, over the Persians at the Eurymedon (B.C. 469).

96. After the Persian Wars, the boundaries beyond which the Persian ships of war were not allowed to pass were, on the north the Cyanean Islands on the Thracian Bosphorus, on the south the Chelidonian Islands near Phaselis on the frontiers of Lycia and Pamphylia.

97. The defeat at Aegospotami (B.C. 405).

98. Referring to the victory of Conon over the Spartan fleet at Cnidus in Caria (B.C. 394). Conon, after his defeat at Aegospotami, had fled to Cyprus, where he lived under the protection of Evagoras (see Or. ix. ); nine years later he was intrusted with the command of the Persian fleet by Pharnabazus.

99. In the year 393 Conon and Pharnabazus devastated Pherae in Messenia, and other parts of the coast of Laconia. They also conquered the island of Cythera (Cerigo), to the south of Peloponnesus, and sailed from thence to the Isthmus of Corinth.

100. "By the treaty of Callias (or Cimon, as it is sometimes called), according to which the Greek cities on the coast of Asia Minor were made independent, the Persian King was precluded from approaching the coast within the distance of a day's journey on horseback, and from sending any ship of war between the Cyanean islands at the mouth of the Bosphorus and the Chelidonian islands off the Lycian coast. Whether this peace was made after the battle of the Eurymedon or after Cimon's expedition to Cyprus has been a matter of controversy, and some historians have doubted whether such a peace was ever made."--C.R.K.

101. The word epistathmoi literally signified those who were intrusted with the care of the strongholds, and commanded the garrisons posted in them.

102. The Athenian boulê (or council of five hundred) was divided into ten bodies of fifty men, who were called Prytaneis, and all belonged to the same tribe. They acted as presidents both of the council and ekklêsia, or popular assembly, during thirty-five or thirty-six days, as the case might be, in order to complete the Athenian lunar year of three hundred and fifty-four days; each tribe exercised their functions in turn, and the period of office was called a Prytany. One of the fifty Prytaneis was chosen by lot to act as epistatês, or chairman for one day, during which he kept the public records and seal. The terms are here applied generally to express the great influence and power of the Persian king.

103. Sparta as well as Athens.

104. i.e., the Peloponnesian war. This was the plea put forward by the Spartan Brasidas (Thucydides, iv. 85).

105. Others render, "severed, detached," with reference to the peace of Antalcidas, by which the independence of the Greek cities in Asia Minor was declared: see note on §115.

106. "Bought slaves," in opposition to "house slaves " (vernae), who were born and brought up in the house, and were often on confidential terms with their masters.

107. Such as the Pisistratidae from Athens and the Cypselidae from Corinth.

108. The Lacedaemonians in B.C. 382 declared war against Olynthus; the Thebans entered into an alliance with the latter, and forbade any of their citizens to join the Lacedaemonian army in its operations. The town was not reduced till three years later. For Mantinea and Phlius, see note on Or. viii. § 100.

109. Amyntas II., father of Philip of Macedon. In B.C. 383 Olynthus had united the Greek towns of Chalcidice in an alliance against him, whereupon he sent envoys to Sparta to ask for assistance.

Dionysius the Elder of Syracuse, who was assisted by the Spartan Aristus to consolidate his power at home (B.C. 404).

110. Artaxerxes Mnemon.

111. The Messenians.

112. The word perioikoi, here translated "dependents," literally means "dwellers around the city," and was used to indicate the inhabitants of the country districts of Laconia, who possessed inferior political privileges to the Spartans in the city. They had no share in the government. They were distributed over one hundred townships, and appear to have been descendants of the older inhabitants of the country. Their position was between that of the Spartans, properly so called, and the Helots.

113. The inhabitants of the Cyclades (in the Aegean), and Leucas, Cythera, and Zacynthus, the soil of which was bare and rocky.

114. The subjects of the Persian king in Asia.

115. Evagoras, prince of Cyprus, revolted against Artaxerxes, who sent Tiribazus against him; Evagoras applied to Athens for assistance, which was granted: a similar request to Sparta was refused. See note on Or. ix. §64.

See Or. ix. (Evagoras) generally, esp. §§18, 49, 57.

116. From Greece and the Greek settlements of Ionia.

117. The revolt of the wealthy and populous island of Chios from Athens during the Peloponnesian war (B.C. 412), gave Sparta the superiority at sea, just as, later, after Conon's victory at Cnidus, its revolt from Sparta deprived her of that superiority.

118. Nothing further is known of this campaign against Egypt.

119. The Satraps of Syria, Ionia, and the district of the Hellespont.

120. Salamis in Cyprus, see Evagoras, §62.

121. The peace of Antalcidas, see §115.

122. In the naval engagement at Citium (B.C. 386).

123. The oppressions of the harmosts and decarchies caused an uprising against Sparta, and a league was formed between Thebes, Corinth, and Argos, which was afterwards joined by Athens. Conon had meanwhile been intrusted by the King of Persia with unlimited power to equip a fleet against Sparta, and, assisted materially by Evagoras, gained the important victory of Cnidus (B.C. 394), which restored the influence of Athens and enabled her to rebuild the long walls. The war was sometimes called the "War with Rhodes," because the principal naval operations took place in the neighbourhood of that island.

124. Blass brackets kindunon, in which case dia ton ephestôta must be rendered "thanks to their commander," i.e., Conon.

125. Tissaphernes had attacked the Ionian cities, at the time under the protection of Sparta. A considerable Lacedaemonian force under Thi(m)bron was sent to their assistance. Thi(m)bron, however, proved so inefficient that he was superseded by Dercylidas (B. C. 399).

126. Aeolis formed part of the satrapy of Pharnabazus; it included the upper valleys of Mt. Ida, and was so called from the Aeolian towns which peopled it.

127. Atarneus in Mysia, opposite Lesbos, a strong fortress held by a body of exiles from Chios, was taken, after an eight months' siege, by Dercylidas, who put a garrison into the place under the command of Draco, an Achaean of Pallene.

128. Some years later (about B. C. 390) Thi(m)bron was again sent out to Asia, where he ravaged the king's territory; but, owing to his carelessness, was slain by the satrap Struthas.

129. The remainder of the Greeks who had taken part in the expedition of Cyrus.

130. The 10,000 Greeks: see Xenophon's "Anabasis" and Thirlwall, iv. 283-324.

131. The troops from the Persian satrapies in Asia Minor.

132. He was slain at the battle of Cunaxa (B.C. 401).

133. The Persian troops under Ariaeus (Xenophon, "Anabasis," iii. 1, 2). The "leader" is Cyrus.

134. See Xenophon, "Anabasis," ii. 5.

135. Cunaxa was 500 stades (about sixty miles) from Babylon, according to Plutarch; according to Xenophon, 360 stades.

136. After the execution of Tissaphernes, his successor Tithraustes reopened negotiations with Agesilaus: an armistice of six months was concluded, and Agesilaus, by a subsidy of thirty talents, was induced to remove into the territory of Pharnabazus.

137. In Aeolis, on the sea-coast of Mysia. Nothing further is known about this incident nor that next mentioned.

138. After the success of Conon at Cnidus and the rebuilding of the Long Walls of Athens, "the Spartan government viewed with alarm his further operations, when he was proceeding to restore the Athenian dominion on the coasts and in the islands of the Aegean. It perceived that it was necessary to change its policy with regard to Persia, and for the present at least to drop the design of conquest in Asia, and to confine itself to the object of counteracting the efforts of the Athenians and making the Persian court subservient to these ends. For this purpose Antalcidas was sent to negotiate a peace with Tiribazus, to whom he made highly agreeable proposals. The latter did not venture openly to enter into alliance without his master's consent, but made no scruple about privately supplying Antalcidas with funds for a navy: and having drawn Conon to Sardis, threw him into prison, on the pretext that he had abused his trust, and had employed the king's forces for the aggrandizement of Athens'' (Thirlwall, iv. 433, 434). Conon afterwards escaped to Cyprus, where he died of illness.

139. In B.C. 471. Themistocles was ostracized for corrupt practices, and fled to the court of Persia, where he was treated with the greatest consideration by Artaxerxes, who loaded him with presents, and gave him Magnesia as a place of residence.

140. Or, "for invoking curses on any who should meddle with the burnt temples in any way."

141. In May or June, B.C. 479, about ten months after the retreat of Xerxes, the Persians again occupied Athens, the inhabitants of which had withdrawn to Salamis, seeing that no aid was to be expected from the Peloponnesians. Mardonius again endeavoured to win them to his alliance. His conditions were again refused. The senator Lycidas alone recommended their acceptance, in consequence of which he and his family were stoned to death by the populace.

142. The two priestly families of the Eumolpidae and Ceryces superintended the Eleusinian mysteries.

143. The recital of Homer's poems formed part of the agôn mousikos at the Panathenaic festival, and they were a subject for repetition at schools.

144. On the occasion of the Cyprian war, for which see §§141, 142, and Or. ix. §62.

145. Evagoras and the Cyprians.

146. Although forced by Harpagus to submit and to pay tribute in the shape of ships to Persia, the mountainous nature of the country insured to Lycia a certain independence.

147. Or the reference may be to Egypt, Cyprus, and other countries which the Persians were unable to recover.

148. i.e., from the Ionian cities on the coast.

149. The Ionians, who, after the burning of Sardis, were defeated near Ephesus, and in vain sought further assistance from Athens. The result was the subjugation of the Asiatic Greeks by Persia, the fate of the war being decided by the naval engagement at Lade, a small island off Miletus (B.C. 495).

150. Dionysius I., tyrant of Syracuse, in B.C. 389, had captured Caulon and Hipponium and transferred the inhabitants to Syracuse, and two years later destroyed Rhegium: he had also surrendered several Sicilian towns to the Carthaginians.

151. By the peace of Antalcidas.

152. i.e., the Persians. The sense is: We ought to give up the attempt to enrich ourselves at the expense of our Greek neighbours, and ought rather to endeavour to spoil the Persians: similarly, we ought to abandon our perpetual wars against one another, and to wage war against the Persians alone.

153. The peace of Antalcidas: see §115.

154. Lit. "pillars," on which important public documents such as treaties were transcribed.

155. See § 35.

156. See § 176. The pillars were placed inside or near the public temples.

157. The theôriai were festal missions to Delos, etc., and to the public games, which were conducted with great pomp and magnificence.

158. The more generally accepted rendering is: "By men who are not altogether devoid of courage, but exhibit it in due proportion." Others explain toutô pragmati as = anandria, while Benseler takes it as = pleonexia (the endeavour to aggrandize oneself at the expense of others).

159. The later name of Paris.

160. One of the forensic speeches (see Introduction) of Isocrates (that against Euthynus) treats of a deposit intrusted to Euthynus. The suit led to a literary feud. Antisthenes the Cynic, a pupil of Gorgias and Speusippus, attacked the speech of Isocrates.

161. See Or. x. §§1-13.


From Isocrates' Orations Vol. I, translated by J. H. Freese. London: George Bell & Sons, 1894.

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