Графични страници
PDF файл
ePub

carries on the history of the Grecian colonies in Italy and Sie çily to the same period.--Here the volume is concluded.

The reader will perceive, that the compass of upwards of four hundred pages, in a small type, allotted to a period of about ninety years of Grecian history alone, will not require a very scanty or jejune abridgment of the facts ; and the truth is, that we meet throughout with much more detail than the proposed plan of the work had taught us to expect. This, however, as it is, in the main, judiciously performed (except the very frange deviation, already noticed, in the Homeric history), ought not to be the subject of objection. The author has given us something better than he promised, a full history instead of an abridgment. The only evil likely to attend it is the multiplication of volumes, which, if the whole subject be continued on the present plan, must be considerable ; and very disproportioned to the extent of the History of Modern Europe, come pared with the multiplicity of facts included in that work. To insert the long harangues inserted by the Greek historians, was certamly not the plan to be recommended to an author, whose object was to compress his subject. The purport of them might have been very briefly given, which was the utmost that accuracy could have required, since the whole expreffion of them is well known to have been the fabrication of the writers.

In relating the History of Cyrus, Dr. Russel prefers the authority of Xenophon to that of Herodotus; and his reasons for so doing are affigned at large in a judicious note, at the 41st page of this volume, where he supports his own opinion by the great authority of Prideaux and Sir Walter Raleigh. In this much controverted point, we also incline to hold the same opinion ; for though there can be no doubt but that the Cyropædia, as to its minute circumstances, is a romance; yet the outline may be.not the less authentic ; and the opportunities of Xenophon for knowing the truth were certainly more favourable ihan those of any other Greek historian. Whoever will amuse himself with comparing this delightful work of Xenophon with his Memorabilia of Socrates, will perceive that he has contrived to interweave into the discourses of Cyrus almost all the mo

rality of his beloved mafter there delivered, and sometimes : nearly in the same words. Nevertheless, the history which was

to be the vehicle of all this, might as well be true as false ; and it is nore likely, ihat the knowledge: how well this history would bear this application, suggested the work, than that the history was feigned for the purpose of conveying the morality: the morality, indeed, would have lost some part of its effect, had it been known to have no kind of foundation in true hifa

tory,

[ocr errors]

tory. Cyrus, giving wise directions on a peaceful death-bed, would have but little weight with those who knew that he died amidst the tumult of war, and by the hands of barbarous enemies; and he might have talked as wisely in his camp as in his palace, perhaps yet more impressively, had the same philosopher supplied his speeches.

Having little further, that is of importance to remark, concerning the conduct of this history, which is in general sensible and judicious, we shall content ourselves with giving specimens of the style and mode of execution. The speeches taken from Herodotus, and others, are in general shortened and altered, according to the taste of the writer. That of Artabanes dirsuading Xerxes from the invasion of Greece, is reduced to about half the length of the originals. The reply of Xerxes to him is, perhaps, not shortened, but is otherwise modified; whether judiciously, or not, the reader may decide from a comparison of the two. We shall give the speech, for this purpose ; first, as it stands in an English translation of Herodotus, and then as it is new-modelled by Dr. Ruifel.

HERODOTUS.
Book vii. ch. i.-When Atarbanes had finished, Xerxes thus
angrily replied: “ Artabanes, you are my father's brother,
" which alone prevents your receiving the chastisement due to

your foolish speech. This mark of ignominy fall, how-
ever,

adhere to you; as you are so dastardly and mean, you “ shall not accompany me to Greece, but remain at home, the

companion of our women. Without your assistance, I shall

proceed in the accomplishment of my designs; for I should so ill deserve to be esteemed the son of Darius, who was the “ son of Hystafpes, and reckoned among his ancestors, Arsa“ mis, Arinnis, Teispeus, Cyrus, Cambyses, Teispeus, and " Achæmenes, if I did not gratify my revenge upon the Athe" nians. I am well assured, that if we, on our parts, were “ tranquil, they would not, but would invade and ravage our “ country. This we may reasonably conclude, from their

burning of Sardis, and their incursions into Asia. Neither

party can therefore recede; we must advance to the attack « of the Greeks, or we must prepare to fustain their's ; we ... muft either submit to them, or they to us; in enmities like these, there can be no medium : injured, as we have been, ci it becomes us to seek for revenge ; for I am determined to " know what evil is to be dreaded from those whom Pelops “ the Phrygian, the fave of my ancestors, so effectually sub

"o dued,

66

Hh4

[ocr errors]

de dued, that, even to this day, they, as well as their country, “ are distinguished by his name. -Beloe's Translation.

Dr. RUSSEL. • Transported with rage, and ftung with indignation, at the dife courging speech of Artabanus, Xerxes, after reproaching him with cowardice, replied thus " Without thee, I shall be able to execute “ my enterprise. Nor should I be the son of Darius, who derived his 4 blood from Hystaspes, through a long line of royal ancestors, unless I " thirited for vengeance upon the Athenians ; well knowing, that if as we remain quiet, they will not be inactive, but following the dictates “ of their reitless disposition, will enter our territories with an army. “ We may judge of their future intentions by their past hoftilities, “ Have they not dared to invade Alia, and burn Sardis ?-Both we « and they have advanced too far to recede, and must either resolve to conquer or serve. All our dominions mult fall under the

power

of of the Greeks, or their country muft become an accession to the Persian “ empire. No other alternative remains, for terminating our mutual " enmity. They were the aggressors; and we must seek revenge, og

sacrifice our national honour.'

The following paffage, in the famous speech of Demaratus to Xerxes, is oddly turned, and indeed misrepresented, by our historian. According to Herodotus, he replied: "Poverty was, even from the first, nursed up with Greece; but her virtue “ she has acquired by the discipline of wisdom and strict law ; " by means of which she has repelled both poverty and tyran

ny. ."* According to Dr. Rullel, he faid: “ Greece, who " had for her nurse poverty, the guest of virtue, was, by them, in “ old times, taught wisdom, and inured to discipline, which “ have enabled her to conquer want, and expel tyranny." Were the sentiment improved by the alteration, we should not object, but in the modern speech, poverty and virtue teach wisdom and discipline, which remove want and tyranny; that is, with only one immediate ttep. Poverty removes want ; whereas, in the Greek, poverty is the native companion of Greece, but virtue is adventitious; not introduced by her, but by wisdom and legal discipline; by means of which poverty is herself removed, and also tyranny

The following description of the engagement at Salamis may serve as a good specimen of the author's style:

“ The Athenians formed the left wing of the Græcian fleet, extend

* In the original thus:

Τη Ελλαδι τενιη μεν αιει κεο7ε συντροφος εςι' αρετη δε επακετο εςι, απο τε σοφίης κατεργασμενη και νομε ισχυει τη διαχεωμενη η Ελλας, την πενιην απαμύνετας, και την δεσποσυνεν. vii. 102.

1

ing towards Elusis, and fronting the Phænicians; and the Lacedæmonians, and their Peloponnesian confederates, occupied the Græcian right wing, which extended toward the Peiræus, and was opposed to the Ionians and other Asiatic Greeks, who constituted the enemy's left. wing. The Æginetes and Megareans seem to have composed the centre of the Græcian feet, and to have fronted the Cyprians, Pamphylians, and the remnant of the Cilician squadron. The engagement, as we have already seen, was begun in consequence of an Athenian ship breaking out of the line, and closing with one of the Barbarian navy. That ship was commanded by Aminias the brother of Æschylus; and, if we may believe the poet, funk her antagonist.

“ Animated by this daring exploit, the confederated Greeks raised the war-song, while the trumpets founded the charge. The battle, which ensued, was hot and obftinate ; for the Barbarians and Afiatic Greeks, assured that their behaviour was noticed by the Persian monarch, who had separated them into national squadrons, in order to inspire them with emulation, as well as to enable them to preserve concert, and whose superb throne was seated under mount Ægaleos, on the most elevated part of the neighbouring shore, exerted themselves with intrepid courage. But no sooner were their headmost ships defeated, and their line broken, by the Athenians and Æginetes, than all was uproar and confusion. For want of room to act, the ships which had not yet been engaged, in prefsing forward, fell foul of thofe that were disabled, and the bay of Salamis became one immense w

wreck. “ About the same time that the Barbarian right wing was thrown into disorder by the Athenians, the Lacedemonians, and their Peloponnesian ailociates, had brokon the Asiatic Greeks, on the left. The Phenici. ans, as an apology for their discomfiture, accused the Ionians of treachéry ; but Xerxes was witness to the gallant exploits, and bore honour. able testimony to the valour of his Græcian allies. Thus defeated on both wings, and all ruin in the centre, the naval arrrament of the Great King had recourse to flight, and made the best of its

way

toward Phaleron. But it suffered severely, before it could reach that port. For the Athenians deftroyed those Alying ships, which ventured to refift in the general rout; while the Æginetes, who guarded the firaits of Salamis, did no less execution upon such as escaped out of the battle. Forty Grecian ships are said to have been funk or rendered unfit for service, and two hundred fail of the Barbarian fleet perished in this engagement. The Grecian seamen faved themselves by swimming; but most of the Barbarians being less skilled in that art, and having no place of refuge, shared the same fate with their fhips, being literally buried in the wayes.

“ The confederated Greeks, however, made no distant pursuit. Satiffied with their victory, they employed themselves in collecting the wreck that floated in the coait of Salamis, and in preparing for a pew engagement. Meanwhile Arifteides, taking with him a chosen body of men, all of Athenian blood, passed over to Plyttalea, and put to the {word the Persian troops, which had been landed in that island." P.256.

The character of Çimon is thus collected by Dr. Ruffel from Plutarch:

“ Cimon,

[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]

“ Cimon, after the expulfion of Themiftocles, had no equal in Athens ; Aristedes, his venerated friend, being now in the decline of life, and little more than the spectator of his triumphs. Cimon took a more certain road to popularity, than either Aristeides or Themiftocles. Instead of despising money like the former, or hoarding it like the latter, unless when expended on some magnificent public fpectacle, he paid a prudent attention to wealth, but without discovering any marks of rapacity; and being enriched by the Perfian fpoils, he revived the ancient fpirit of hospitality. He kept a public table, if not for all the Athenians, at least for his partizans : and being naturally of a social disposition, he drank deep with his guefts. Hence the following verses of Eupolis, quoted by Plutarch :

" He's not a villain but a debauchee,

Whose careless heart is stole by wine and women.”
“ And those of Cratinus, the comic poet, in one of his pieces en,
titled Archilcchi:

• Even I Metrobius, though a scrivener, hoped
“ To pass a cheerful and a fleck old age,
“ And fare to my last hour at Cimon's table ;
“ Cimon! the best and noblest of the Greeks,

Whofe wide-Spread bounty vied with that of Heaven."
“ Gorgias, the Leontine, therefore bears juft testimony to his
character, in saying, That he got riches to use them; and used them fog
as to be honoured on their account.

It accordingly appears, that although Cimon, in his convivial meetings, might often exceed the bounds of temperance, his generous hospitality did not lead him to neglect the service of his country. The year after the taking of Naxus, he failed with the confederate fleet to the Asiatic coast, and added to the maritime league all the Græcian cities in Caria and Lycia; which, on being assured of fupport, revolted from the Persian monarch, and put themselves under the protection of Athens. Such towns as belonged to the natives, and were held by Persian garrisons, Cinon reduced.” P. 343.

In giving an account of the Sicilian Kings, Dr. Russel extracts the characters of Theron and Hiero, from Pindar, which he gives in West's translation, and even inserts a very long pallage on the victory of the latter at the Pythian games. This, though not absolutely to be reprehended, savours a little of what we have once or twice in our progress been inclined to suspect, a dcfire to swell rather than to compress the matter, of the history. 'Leaving this, however, to the judgment of the readers, we shall, for the present, bid farewel to Dr. Russel, and wait with patience till he gives us his fucceeding volumes,

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]

ART.

« ПредишнаНапред »