by Aubrey Stewart and George Long
Aristeides, the son of Lysimachus, was of the tribe Antiochis, and the township of Alopekæ. There are various reports current about his property, some saying that he lived in poverty, and that on his death he left two daughters, who remained a long while unmarried because of their poverty; while this general opinion is contradicted by Demetrius of Phalerum in his book on Sokrates, where he mentions an estate at Phalerum which he knew had belonged to Aristeides, in which he was buried, and also adduces other grounds for supposing him to have been a wealthy man. First, he points out that Aristeides was Archon Eponymus, an office for which men were chosen by lot from the richest class, that of the Pentakosiomedimni, or citizens who possessed a yearly income of five hundred medimni of dry or liquid produce. Secondly, he mentions the fact that he was ostracised: now, ostracism never was used against poor men, but against those who descended from great and wealthy houses, and whose pride made them feared and disliked by their fellow citizens. Thirdly, and lastly, he writes that Aristeides placed in the temple of Dionysus tripods dedicated to the god by a victorious chorus, which even in my own time are still to be seen, and which bear the inscription: "The tribe Antiochis won the prize; Aristeides was choragus; Archestratus taught the chorus." Now this, which seems to be the strongest argument of all, is really the weakest. Epameinondas, whom all men know to have been born and to have passed his life in the greatest possible poverty, and Plato the philosopher, both exhibited excellent choruses, the former bearing the expense of a chorus of men playing on the flute, while the latter exhibited a cyclic chorus of boys. Plato's expenses were borne by Dionysius of Syracuse, and those of Epameinondas by Pelopidas and his friends. Good men do not always refuse to receive presents from their friends, but, though they would scorn to make money by them, they willingly receive them to further an honourable ambition. Panætius, moreover, proves that Demetrius is wrong in the matter of the tripods, because from the time of the Persian war to the end of the Peloponnesian war there are only two Aristeides recorded as victors, neither of whom can be identified with the son of Lysimachus, as the father of one of them was Xenophilus, and the other was a much more modern personage, as is proved by his name being written in the characters which came into use after the archonship of Eukleides, and from the name of the poet or teacher of the chorus, Archestratus, whose name we never meet with in the time of the Persian war, but who taught several choruses (that is, wrote several successful plays) during the Peloponnesian war. These remarks of Panætius must, however, be received with caution. As to ostracism, any man of unusual talent, nobility of birth, or remarkable eloquence, was liable to suffer from it, for Damon, the tutor of Perikles, was ostracised, because he was thought to be a man of superior intellect. Idomeneus tells us that Aristeides obtained the office of archon, not by lot, but by the universal voice of the people. Now, if he was archon after the battle of Platæa, as Demetrius himself admits, it is highly probable that his great reputation after such glorious successes may have obtained for him an office usually reserved for men of wealth. Indeed, Demetrius evidently tries to redeem both Aristeides and Sokrates from the reproach of poverty, as though he imagined it to be a great misfortune, for he tells us that Sokrates not only possessed a house, but also seventy minæ which were borrowed by Krito.
II. Aristeides became much attached to Kleisthenes, who established the democratic government after the expulsion of the sons of Peisistratus; but his reverence and admiration for Lykurgus the Lacedæmonian led him to prefer an aristocratic form of government, in which he always met with an opponent in Themistokles, the son of Neokles, the champion of democracy. Some say that even as children they always took opposite sides, both in play and in serious matters, and so betrayed their several dispositions: Themistokles being unscrupulous, daring, and careless by what means he obtained success, while the character of Aristeides was solid and just, incapable of deceit or artifice even in sport. Ariston of Keos tells us that their hatred of one another arose from a love affair. Stesilaus of Keos, the most beautiful youth of his time, was passionately adored by both of them with an affection which passed all bounds. Nor did they cease their rivalry when this boy's youthful bloom had passed away, but, as if this had merely been a preliminary trial, they each plunged into politics with great vigour and with utterly different views. Themistokles obtained a large following, and thus became an important power in the state, so that, when some one said to him that he would make a very good governor of Athens, provided he were just and impartial with all, he answered, "Never may I bear rule if my friends are to reap no more benefit from it than any one else."
Aristeides, on the other hand, pursued his way through political life unattended, because, in the first place, he neither wished to do wrong in order to please his friends, nor to vex them by refusing to gratify their wishes; and also because he observed that many men when they were supported by a strong party of friends were led into the commission of wrong and illegal acts. He, therefore, conceived that a good citizen ought to trust entirely to his own rectitude, both in word and in deed.
III. In spite of this, however, when Themistokles was using every kind of political manœuvre to thwart him, he was forced to retaliate by similar measures, partly in order to defend himself, and partly to check the power of his opponent, which depended on the favour shown him by the people. He thought it better that he should occasionally do the people some slight wrong than that Themistokles should obtain unlimited power. At last, when Themistokles even proposed some useful measure, he opposed it and threw it out. On this occasion he could not refrain from saying, as he left the public assembly, that the Athenians could not be saved unless they threw both himself and Themistokles into the barathrum. Another time he brought forward a bill, which was vehemently debated upon, but was at length carried. But just before the votes of the people were given, he, perceiving from what had been said that it would prove a bad law, withdrew it. Frequently he made use of other persons to bring forward propositions, lest the public should suffer from the contest which would otherwise take place between Themistokles and himself. Indeed, his evenness of temper was the more remarkable when contrasted with the changefulness of other politicians, for he was never unduly excited by the honours which were bestowed upon him, and bore misfortune with a quiet cheerfulness, thinking it to be his duty to serve his country, not merely without being paid for it in money, but without even gaining honour for so doing. This was the reason, I suppose, that when Æschylus's verses on Amphiaraus wore being recited in the theatre;
"Not just to seem, but just he loves to be;
And deep he ploughs his noble mind with thought,
To reap a harvest thence of great designs,"
all men turned and looked towards Aristeides, thinking that he came nearest to this ideal virtue.
IV. He stood up vigorously for justice, not merely when it was his interest and that of his friends, but when it was in favour of his enemies and contrary to his own personal feelings to do so. It is said that once when arguing a cause against one of his enemies in a court of law, the judges refused to hear the other party speak in his own defence, after listening to the speech of Aristeides, but were about to condemn him unheard. At this Aristeides came forward and vigorously supported his antagonist's claim to be allowed his legal right of reply. Again, when acting as arbitrator between two persons, one of them said that his adversary had done much wrong to Aristeides. "My good man," said he, "do not tell me of this, but tell me whether he has wronged you or not, for I am judging your cause, not my own."
When elected to administer the revenues of the state he proved that not only his own colleagues, but those who had previously held office, had embezzled large sums, especially Themistokles,
"A clever man, but with an itching palm."
For this cause Themistokles, when Aristeides' accounts were audited, prosecuted him on a charge of malversation, and, according to Idomeneus, obtained a verdict.
However, the better class of citizens being grieved at this, not only remitted the fine, but at once elected him to the same office. He now pretended to regret his former rigour, and was much more remiss in performing his duties, which rendered him very popular with those who were in the habit of embezzling the public money, so that they were loud in his praise, and canvassed the people on his behalf, trusting that he might be re-elected archon. But when the voting was about to begin, he rose and rebuked the Athenians. "When," he said, "I did you true and honourable service, I was disgraced by you; now, when I have permitted much of the public money to be stolen, I am thought to be an excellent citizen. But I myself am more ashamed of the honour which you now pay me, than I am of my former conviction, and I am sorry for you, because among you it is esteemed more honourable to abet evil-doers than to guard the national property."
By speaking thus and exposing the peculation which was being practised, he closed the mouths of all those who were so loudly commending him as an honest man, but gained the applause of all true and honourable men.
V. When Datis was sent by Darius, nominally to punish the Athenians for the burning of Sardis, but really to enslave the whole of Greece, he landed at Marathon, and commenced laying waste the country. Of the ten generals appointed by the Athenians for the conduct of the war, Miltiades had the highest reputation, while Aristeides held the second place. He used his influence in the council of war to support the proposition of Miltiades to fight the enemy at once, and also, as each general had sole command for one day, when his day came round, he gave it to Miltiades, thus teaching his colleagues that obedience to those who know how to command is not any disgrace, but a noble and useful act. By this means he was enabled to put an end to the rivalries between the generals, and to strengthen Miltiades by concentrating in him the power which had before been passed from hand to hand. In the battle the Athenian centre was hard pressed, as the Persians resisted longest in that part of their line which was opposed to the tribes Leontis and Antiochis. Here Themistokles and Aristeides each showed conspicuous valour, fighting side by side, for the former was of the tribe Leontis, the latter of the tribe Antiochis. After the victory was won, and the Persians forced into their ships, they were observed not to sail towards the Archipelago, but to be proceeding in the direction of Athens. Fearing that they might catch the city defenceless, the Athenians determined to hurry back with nine tribes to protect it, and they accomplished their march in one day. Aristeides, with his own tribe, was left to guard the prisoners and the plunder, and well maintained his reputation. Although gold and silver was lying about in heaps, with all kinds of rich tapestry and other countless treasures, he would neither touch them himself nor allow the others to do so, though some helped themselves without his knowledge. Among these was Kallias, the torch-bearer in the Eleusinian mysteries. One of the prisoners, taking him for a king because of his long hair and fillet, fell on his knees before him, and having received his hand as a pledge for his safety pointed out to him a great store of gold concealed in a pit. Kallias now acted most cruelly and wickedly. He took the gold, and killed the poor man for fear that he should tell it to the others. It is said that ever afterwards the descendants of Kallias were jeered at by the comic poets, as being of the family of the man who found the gold in the pit.
Immediately after those events, Aristeides was chosen as Archon Eponymus, that is, the archon who gives his name to the year. Demetrius of Phalerum says that he filled this office shortly before his death, and after the battle of Platæa. But in the public records of Athens one cannot find any archon of the name of Aristeides among the many who filled the office after Xanthippides, in whose archonship Mardonius was defeated at Platæa, whereas the name of Aristeides does occur next to that of Phanippus, in whose archonship the victory at Marathon was won.
VI. Of all the virtues of Aristeides his justice was that which chiefly commended itself to the people, being that which is of most value in ordinary life. Hence it was that he, although a poor man of mean birth, yet gained for himself the truly imperial title of the Just; a title which has never been emulated by kings and despots, who delight in being called the City-taker, the Thunderbolt, or the Victorious, while some are known as the Eagle or the Hawk, because apparently they prefer strength and lawless violence to justice and goodness. Yet for all this, the gods, to whom they so presumptuously liken themselves, excel mankind chiefly in three attributes, namely in immortality, in power, and in goodness, whereof goodness is by far the most glorious and divine quality. Mere empty space, and all the elements possess immortality, while earthquakes, thunderbolts, violent winds and rushing waters have great power, but justice and equity belong to the gods alone, because of the reason and intelligence which they possess. Now most men regard the gods with admiration, with fear, and with reverence; with admiration, because they are eternal and unchangeable; with fear, because of their power and dominion, with reverence and love because of their justice. Yet men covet immortality, which no flesh can attain to; and also power, which depends mostly upon fortune; while they disregard virtue, the only godlike attribute which it is in our power to obtain; not reflecting that when a man is in a position of great power and authority he will appear like a god if he acts justly, and like a wild beast if he does not.
VII. The character of Aristeides for justice at first made him beloved by the people, but afterwards it gained him their ill-will, chiefly because Themistokles circulated reports that Aristeides had practically closed the public courts of justice by the fact of all cases being referred to him as arbitrator, and that he was virtually king of Athens, although he had not yet surrounded himself with a body-guard. By this time too the common people, elated with their victory at Marathon, and thinking themselves capable of the greatest exploits, were ill pleased at any private citizen being exalted above the rest by his character and virtues. They flocked into the city from all parts of the country and ostracised Aristeides, veiling their envy of his glory under the pretence that they feared he would make himself king. This custom of ostracism was not intended as a punishment for crime, but was called, in order to give it a plausible title, a check to excessive power. In reality, it was nothing more than a safety-valve, providing a vent for the dislike felt by the people for those whose greatness offended them. It did no irreparable injury to those who fell under its operation, but only banished them for a space of ten years. In later times mean and contemptible persons were subjected to ostracism, until at last, after the ostracism of Hyperbolus the practice was discontinued. The ostracism of Hyperbolus is said to have been brought about in the following manner. Alkibiades and Nikias, the two most powerful citizens in the state, were at the head of two rival parties. The people determined to apply the ostracism to them, and would certainly have banished one or the other of them. They, however, came to terms with one another, combined their several factions, and agreed to have Hyperbolus banished. The people, enraged at this, and thinking that they had been treated with contempt, abolished the practice of ostracism. The way in which it was conducted was as follows. Each man took an oyster-shell, wrote upon it the name of the citizen whom he wished to be banished, and then carried it to a place in the market-place which was fenced off with palings. The archons now first of all counted the whole number of shells; for if the whole number of voters were less than six thousand, the ostracism was null and void. After this, they counted the number of times each name occurred, and that man against whom most votes were recorded they sent into exile for ten years, allowing him the use of his property during that time. Now while the shells were being written upon, on the occasion of which we have been speaking, a very ignorant country fellow is said to have brought his shell to Aristeides, who was one of the bystanders, and to have asked him to write upon it the name of Aristeides. Aristeides was surprised, and asked him whether Aristeides had ever done him any harm. "No," answered the man, "nor do I know him by sight, but I am tired of always hearing him called 'The Just.'" When Aristeides heard this he made no answer, but wrote his name on the man's shell and gave it back to him. When he was leaving the city he raised his hands to heaven, and prayed exactly the opposite prayer to that of Achilles, that no crisis might befall the Athenians which would compel them to remember Aristeides.
VIII. However, three years afterwards, when Xerxes was advancing upon Attica through Thessaly and Bœotia, the Athenians annulled their decree, and permitted all exiles to return, being especially afraid of Aristeides, lest he should join the enemy and lead many of the citizens to desert with him. In this they took a very false view of his character, for even before this decree he had never ceased to encourage the Greeks to defend their liberty, and after his return, when Themistokles was in sole command of the forces of Athens, he assisted him in every way by word and deed, cheerfully raising his bitterest enemy to the highest position in the state, because the state was benefited thereby.
When Eurybiades and his party were meditating a retreat from Salamis, the Persian ships put to sea at night and hemmed them in, surrounding both the strait and the islands. No one knew that escape was impossible, but Aristeides sailed from Ægina, passed safely through the enemy's fleet by a miracle, and while it was still night proceeded straight to the tent of Themistokles. Here he called him out, and when they were alone together, he said: "We two, Themistokles, if we are wise, must cease our vain and silly rivalry with one another, and begin a more generous contest to preserve our country, you acting as general and chief, while I help and advise you. Already I perceive that you alone take a right view of the crisis, end desire to fight a battle in the narrow waters as quickly as possible. Now, while your allies have been opposing you, the enemy have been playing your game, for the sea, both in our front and rear, is full of their ships, so that the Greeks even against their will must play the man and fight; for no way of escape is left for them." To this Themistokles answered, "I would not willingly, Aristeides, be overcome by you in generosity on this occasion; and I shall endeavour, in emulation of this good beginning which you have made, to surpass it by the glory of my exploits." At the same time he explained the trick which he had played on the barbarian, and begged Aristeides to argue with Eurybiades, and point out how impossible it was for the Greeks to be saved without fighting; for he thought that the opinion of Aristeides would have more weight than his own. Consequently, when in the assembly of the generals Kleokritus the Corinthian attacked Themistokles, and said that even Aristeides did not approve of his plans, because he was present and said nothing, Aristeides answered that he would not have been silent if Themistokles had not spoken to the purpose, but that as it was he held his peace, not for any love he bore him, but because his counsel was the best.
IX. While the Greek admirals were engaged in these discussions, Aristeides, perceiving that Psyttaleia, a small island in the straits near Salamis, was full of the enemy, placed some of the boldest Athenians on board of small boats, attacked the Persians, and slew them to a man, except a few of the chiefs, who wore taken alive. Among these were the three children of Sandauke the sister of the Persian king, whom he at once sent to Themistokles, and it is said that in accordance with some oracle they were sacrificed to Dionysus Omestes, at the instance of the prophet Euphrantides. Aristeides now lined the shores of the islet with soldiers, ready to receive any vessel which might be cast upon it, in order that neither any of his friends might be lost, nor any of the enemy take refuge upon it. Indeed, the severest encounter between the two fleets and the main shock of the battle seems to have taken place at that spot; wherefore the trophy that marks the victory stands on the isle of Psyttaleia.
After the battle was won, Themistokles, wishing to feel Aristeides's opinion, said to him that they had done a good work, but that a greater one remained, which was to shut up Asia in Europe by sailing as quickly as possible to the Hellespont, and destroying the bridge of boats there. Aristeides answered that he must never propose such a plan, but must take measures to drive the Persians out of Greece as quickly as possible, for fear that so great a multitude, shut up there without the means of retreat, should turn to bay and attack them with the courage of despair. Upon this, Themistokles again sent the eunuch Arnakes, a prisoner, on a secret errand to tell the Persian king that when all the Greeks wished to sail to the Hellespont and destroy the bridge of boats, he had dissuaded them from doing so, wishing to save the king's life.
X. At this Xerxes became terrified, and at once hurried back to the Hellespont. Mardonius, with about three hundred thousand of the best troops remained behind, and was a formidable enemy, trusting in his land force, and sending defiant proclamations to the Greeks. "You," he said, "with your ships have beaten landsmen that knew not how to handle an oar; but the land of Thessaly is wide, and the plain of Bœotia is a fair place for good horsemen and heavy armed soldiers to fight upon."
To the Athenians he sent privately proposals from the Great King, who offered to rebuild their city, present them with a large sum of money, and make them lords over all Greece, if they would desist from the war. The Lacedæmonians, hearing this, were much alarmed, and sent ambassadors to beg the Athenians to send their wives and children to Sparta, and offering to support their old people, as the Athenians were in great distress for food, having lost their city and their country. However, after listening to the Lacedæmonian ambassadors, at the instance of Aristeides they returned a spirited answer, saying that they could forgive their enemies, who knew no better, for supposing that everything could be bought with money, but that they were angry with the Lacedæmonians for only regarding the present poverty and distress of the Athenians, and that forgetting how bravely they had fought, they should now offer them food to bribe them to fight for Greece. Having passed this motion Aristeides called the ambassadors back into the assembly, and bade them tell the Lacedæmonians that there was not as much gold in the world, either above or under-ground, as the Athenians would require to tempt them to betray Greece.
In answer to the herald sent from Mardonius he pointed to the sun, and said: "As long as yonder sun shall continue its course the Athenians will be enemies to the Persians, because of their ravaged lands and desecrated temples." Further, he made the priests imprecate curses on any one who had dealings with the Persians or deserted the Greek cause.
When Mardonius invaded Attica a second time, the Athenians again took refuge in Salamis. Aristeides was sent to Lacedæmon and upbraided the Spartans with their slowness and indifference, for allowing the enemy to take Athens a second time, and begged them to help what remained of Greece. The Ephors, on hearing this, pretended to pass the rest of the day in feasting and idleness, for it was the festival of the Hyacinthia; but at nightfall they chose five thousand Spartans, each attended by seven Helots, and sent them off without the knowledge of the Athenian embassy. So when Aristeides next day resumed his reproachful strain, they answered with mocking laughter, that he was talking nonsense and was asleep, for that the army was by this time at the tomb of Orestes in its march against the strangers (by strangers they meant the Persians). To this Aristeides answered that it was a sorry jest to have deceived their friends instead of their enemies. These particulars are related by Idomeneus, but in the decree of Aristeides for sending ambassadors it is not his name, but those of Kimon, Xanthippus, and Myronides that are mentioned.
XI. He was elected general with unlimited powers, and proceeded to Platæa with eight thousand Athenians. Here he was met by Pausanias, the commander-in-chief of the Greek forces, with the Spartan contingent, and the rest of the Greek troops joined them there. The Persian army was encamped along the course of the river Asopus. On account of its enormous size it was not contained in a fortified camp, but a quadrangular wall was constructed round the baggage and most valuable material. Each side of this square was ten furlongs in length.
Tisamenus of Elis, the prophet, now told Pausanias and all the Greeks that they would win the victory if they stood on the defensive and did not attack. Aristeides sent to Delphi, and received a response from the oracle, that the Athenians would conquer if they prayed to Zeus, to Hera of Kithæron, and to Pan and the nymphs Sphragitides, and if they sacrificed to the heroes Androkrates, Leukon, Peisander, Damokrates, Hypsion, Aktaion, and Polyïdus, and if they would fight in their own territory, in the plain of Demeter of Eleusis and her daughter.
This oracle greatly disturbed Aristeides. The heroes to whom he was bidden to sacrifice are the original founders of the city of Platæa, and the cave of the nymphs called Sphragitides, is on one of the peaks of Kithæron, looking towards the point where the sun sets in summer. It is said that there was formerly an oracle there, and that many of the people became possessed, and were called "nympholeptæ." But as to the plain of the Eleusinian Demeter, and the promise of victory to the Athenians if they fought in their own country, this meant no less than to recall them to Attica and forbid their taking any further part in the war. Whilst Aristeides was thus perplexed, Arimnestus, the general of the Platæans, saw a vision in his sleep. In his dreams he thought that Zeus the Preserver appeared and enquired of him what the Greeks had decided to do, and that he answered, "Lord, to-morrow we shall lead away the army to Eleusis, and fight the Persians there, according to the oracle." Upon this the god answered, that they had missed the meaning of the oracle, for the places mentioned were near Platæa, where they themselves were encamped, and if they sought they would find them. Arimnestus, after this distinct vision, awoke. He at once sent for the oldest and most learned of the citizens of Platæa, and after debating the matter with them, discovered that near Hysiæ, under Mount Kithæron, stood a very ancient temple, dedicated to the Eleusinian Demeter and her daughter. He immediately took Aristeides with him and proceeded to the spot, which was excellently placed for the array of an infantry force in the presence of an overwhelming cavalry, because the spurs of Mount Kithæron, where they run down into the plain by the temple, render the ground impassable for cavalry. Close by is the chapel of the hero Androkrates, in the midst of a thick matted grove of trees. In order, however, that the oracle might in no way be defective in its promise of victory, Arimnestus proposed, and the Platæans decreed, that the boundary marks of their territory on the side towards Attica should be removed, and the country given to the Athenians, so that they might fight in their own land for Greece, according to the oracle. This noble act of the Platæans became so famous in later times, that, many years afterwards, Alexander the Great himself, when he had conquered all Asia, caused the walls of Platæa to be rebuilt, and made proclamation at the Olympian games by a herald, "that the king bestowed this honour upon the Platæans in memory of their magnanimous conduct in giving up their territory, and venturing their lives on behalf of the Greeks in the Persian war."
XII. A controversy arose between the Athenians and the men of Tegea about their respective places in the line of battle. The Tegeans argued that if the Lacedæmonians had the right wing, they ought to be posted on the left; and they spoke at great length about the achievements of their ancestors, as entitling them to that honour. The Athenians were vexed at their pretensions, but Aristeides said: "The present time is not suitable for disputing with the Tegeans about bravery; but to you, men of Sparta, and to the rest of the Greeks, we say that a particular post neither confers courage nor takes it away, but, that in whatever part of the line you may think fit to place us, we will endeavour so to array our ranks and fight the enemy as not to impair the honour which we have gained in former battles. We did not come hither to quarrel with our allies, but to fight the enemy; not to boast about our ancestors, but to fight bravely for Greece. The coming struggle will clearly show to all the Greeks the real worth and value of each city, each general, and each single citizen." When the council of generals heard this speech, they allowed the claim of the Athenians, and gave up the left wing to them.
XIII. While the cause of Greece was thus trembling in the balance, and Athens was especially in danger, certain Athenians of noble birth, who had lost their former wealth during the war, and with it their influence in the city, being unable to bear to see others exalted at their expense, met in secret in a house in Platæa and entered into a plot to overturn the free constitution of Athens. If they could not succeed in this, they pledged themselves to ruin, the city and betray it to the Persians. While these men were plotting in the camp, and bringing many over to their side, Aristeides discovered the whole conspiracy. Afraid at such a crisis to take any decisive step, he determined, while carefully watching the conspirators, yet not at once to seize them all, not knowing how far he might have to proceed if he acted according to strict justice. From all the conspirators he arrested eight. Two of these, who would have been the first to be put on their trial, Æschines of Lampra, and Agesias of Acharna, made their escape out of the camp, and Aristeides pardoned the others, as he wished to give an opportunity to those who believed themselves unsuspected, to take courage and repent. He also hinted to them that the war afforded them a means of clearing themselves from any suspicion of disloyalty by fighting for their country like good men and true.
XIV. After this, Mardonius made trial of Grecian courage, by sending the whole of his cavalry, in which he was much the stronger, to attack them where they were, all except the Megarians, encamped at the foot of Mount Kithæron, in an easily-defended rocky country. These men, three thousand in number, were encamped nearer the plain, and suffered much from the attacks of the horsemen, who surrounded them on all sides. They sent a messenger in great haste to Pausanias, begging him to send assistance, as they could not by themselves resist the great numbers of the barbarians. Pausanias, hearing this, and seeing the camp of the Megarians overwhelmed with darts and arrows, while the defenders were huddled together in a narrow compass, knew not what to do. He did not venture to attack cavalry with the heavy-armed Lacedæmonian infantry, but offered it as an opportunity for winning praise and honour, to the generals who were with him, that they should volunteer to go to help the Megarians in their extremity. All hesitated, but Aristeides claimed the honour for the Athenians, and sent the bravest of his captains, Olympiodorus, with three hundred picked men, besides some archers. As they quickly got into array and charged at a run, Masistius, the leader of the enemy, a man of great bodily strength and beauty, seeing them, wheeled round his horse, and rode to attack them. They sustained his attack and closed with his horsemen, and a sharp struggle took place, both parties fighting as though the issue of the war depended on their exertions. The horse of Masistius was at length wounded by an arrow and threw his rider. Encumbered by his armour, Masistius was too heavy for his own men to carry him away, but also was protected by it from the stabs of the Athenians who fell upon him, for not only his head and breast, but his limbs also were protected by brass and iron. Some one, however, drove the spike at the lower end of his spear through the eye-hole of the helmet, and then the rest of the Persians abandoned the body and fled. The Greeks discovered the importance of their exploit, not from the number of the dead, for but few had fallen, but from the lamentations of the enemy. They cut off their own hair, and the manes of their horses and mules, in sign of mourning for Masistius, and filled the whole plain with weeping and wailing, having lost a man who for courage and high position, was second only to Mardonius himself.
XV. After this cavalry action, both the parties remained quiet for a long time, for the soothsayers foretold victory both to the Greeks and to the Persians if they fought in self-defence, but foretold defeat if they attacked. At length Mardonius, as he only had provisions for a few days longer, and as the Greek army kept growing stronger by the continual reinforcements which it received, determined, sorely against his will, to delay no longer, but to cross the Asopus at daybreak and fall upon the Greeks unexpectedly. In the evening he gave orders to his captains to this effect. About midnight a solitary horseman rode up straight to the Greek camp. He bade the guard send for Aristeides the Athenian, who was at once brought, when the stranger spoke as follows:
"I am Alexander of Macedon, and I have come hither at the greatest risk to myself to do you a service, for fear you should be taken by surprise. Mardonius will attack to-morrow, not because he has any new hope of success, but because he is destitute of provisions, although the soothsayers all forbid him to fight because the sacrifices and oracles are unfavourable, and the army is disheartened. Thus he is forced to put all on a venture, or else to starve if he remains quiet." When he had said this, Alexander begged Aristeides to keep the secret to himself, and communicate it to no one else. Aristeides, however, answered that it would not be right for him to conceal it from Pausanias, who was commander-in-chief. Before the battle he said that he would keep it secret from every one else, but that if Greece was victorious, all men then should know the good service so bravely rendered by Alexander. After these words the king of Macedon rode away, and Aristeides, proceeding to the tent of Pausanias, told him the whole matter; they then sent for the other generals, and ordered them to keep the troops under arms, as a battle was expected.
XVI. At this time, Herodotus tells us, Pausanias asked Aristeides to remove the Athenians from the left to the right wing, so as to be opposite to the native Persian troops, on the ground that they would be better able to contend with them, because they understood their mode of fighting, and were confident because they had beaten them once before, while he with the Spartans would take the left wing of the army, where he would be opposed to those Greeks who had taken the Persian side. Most of the Athenian generals thought this a silly and insolent proceeding of Pausanias, that he should leave all the other Greeks in their place, and march them backwards and forward like helots, only to place them opposite the bravest troops of the enemy. Aristeides, however, said that they were entirely mistaken, for a few days before they had been wrangling with the Tegeans for the honour of being posted on the left wing, and had been delighted when they obtained it; but now, when the Lacedæmonians of their own free will yielded the right wing to them, and in some sort offered them the post of honour in the whole army, they were not delighted at it, and did not consider what an advantage it was to have to fight against foreign barbarians, and not against men of their own race and nation. After these words, the Athenians cheerfully exchanged places with the Lacedæmonians, and much talk went on among them as each man reminded his comrades that the Persians who would come to attack them were no braver, nor better armed than those whom they had defeated at Marathon, but that they had the same bows and arrows, the same embroidered robes and gold ornaments on their effeminate bodies, while we, they said, have arms and bodies such as we had then, and greater confidence because of our victories. We also fight, not merely as other Greeks do, in defence of our city and territory, but for the trophies of Marathon and Salamis, lest the battle of Marathon should be thought to have been won more by Miltiades and Fortune, than by the valour of the Athenians. With such encouraging talk as this the Athenians took up their new position; but the Thebans discovered what had been done from deserters and told Mardonius. He at once, either from fear of the Athenians, or from a chivalrous wish to fight the Spartans himself, led the native Persian troops to his right wing, and ordered the renegade Greeks to take ground opposite the Athenians. When these changes were being observed, Pausanias returned to his original position on the right. Mardonius then returned to the left as before, and the day passed without an engagement. The Greeks now determined in a council of war, to remove their camp to a place farther away and better supplied with water, because they were prevented from using the springs near where they were by the enemy's great superiority in cavalry.
XVII. When night fell the generals began to lead the army to the place selected for a new camp. The soldiers were very unwilling to follow them thither and keep together in a body, but as soon as they quitted their first entrenchments, most of them made for the city of Platæa; and there was much confusion as they wandered about and pitched their tents here and there. The Lacedæmonians, much against their will, chanced to be left behind, and quite separated from the rest. One Amompharetus, a spirited and daring man, who had long been eager to fight, and chafed much at the long delays and countermarches which had taken place, now cried aloud that this change of position was no better than a cowardly flight. He refused to leave his post, and said that he and his company would stand where they were, and withstand Mardonius alone. When Pausanias came and assured him that the Greeks in council had decided upon this measure, Amompharetus heaved up a huge stone with both his hands and flinging it down at the feet of Pausanias, said, "With this pebble I give my vote for battle, and for disregarding the cowardly counsels of other Greeks." Pausanias, not knowing what to do, sent to the Athenians, who were already on the march, begging them to wait and support them, while he set off with the rest of the Spartans in the direction of Platæa, hoping thus to make Amompharetus move.
While these movements were being executed day broke, and Mardonius, who had perceived that the Greeks were leaving their camp, at once marched in order of battle to attack the Lacedæmonians, the Persians shouting and clattering their arms as though they were not going to fight, but to destroy the Greeks as they retreated, which indeed they very nearly succeeded in doing; for Pausanias, when he saw what was taking place, halted his own men, and placed them in battle array, but either because of his anger at Amompharetus, or his excitement at the suddenness of the attack, forgot to send any orders to the main body of the Greeks.
For this reason they came up not in a regular body, but straggling, and after the Lacedæmonians wore already engaged. Pausanias was busy sacrificing to the gods, and as the sacrifices were unfavourable, he ordered the Lacedæmonians to hold their shields quietly rested on the ground at their feet and await his orders, without attempting any resistance, while he sacrificed again. The enemy's cavalry was now close at hand, their arrows reached the Lacedæmonians and killed several of them. It was at this moment that Kallikrates, the tallest and handsomest man in the whole Greek army, is said to have been mortally wounded by an arrow. When dying, he said that he did not lament his death, for he left his home meaning to lay down his life for Greece, but that he was grieved that he had never exchanged blows with the enemy before he died. At this time the Lacedæmonians were offering no resistance to the assaults of the enemy, but were standing still in their ranks, shot at by the arrows of the enemy, awaiting the time when it should be the will of the gods and their general that they should fight. Some writers tell us that while Pausanias was offering sacrifice and prayer a little beyond the ranks, some Lydians suddenly fell upon him, and began to plunder the sacrificial vessels, but that Pausanias, and those with him, having no arms, drove them away with sticks and whips; in memory of which they beat young men on the altar at Sparta at the present day, and afterwards lead what is called the Lydian procession.
XVIII. Pausanias was deeply grieved at what was taking place, seeing the priests offering sacrifice after sacrifice, not one of which pleased the gods; at last he turned his eyes towards the temple of Hera and wept. Holding up his hands he besought Hera of Mount Kithæron and all the other gods of the land of Platæa that if it were not the will of the gods that the Greeks should conquer, they might at any rate do some valorous deed before they died, and let their conquerors know that they had fought with brave and experienced warriors. When Pausanias prayed thus, the sacrifices at once became favourable and the soothsayers prophesied victory. The word was given to sot themselves in order of battle, and then at once the Lacedæmonian force resembled some fierce beast turning to bay and setting up his bristles, while the barbarians saw that they had to deal with men who were prepared to fight to the death. Wherefore they set up their great wicker shields in front of them, and from this shelter shot their arrows at the Lacedæmonians. But the latter advanced without breaking their ranks, overturned the line of wicker shields, and with, terrible thrusts of their spears at the faces and breasts of the Persians, laid many of them low by their fierce and well-disciplined charge. The Persians too fought bravely, and resisted for a long while, laying hold of the spears with their bare hands and breaking most of them in that manner, fighting hand to hand, with their scimitars and axes, and tearing the Lacedæmonians' shields out of their hands by force.
Meanwhile the Athenians had for a long time stood quietly awaiting the Lacedæmonians. When, however, they heard the shouting and noise of the battle, and a messenger, it is said, reached them from Pausanias, they marched with all speed to help him. As they were hurrying over the plain to where the shouts were heard, the Greeks who had taken the Persian side attacked them. At first when Aristeides saw them, he ran out far before the rest and besought them in a loud voice in the name of the gods of Greece not to hinder the Athenians when they were going to assist those who were venturing their lives on behalf of Greece. But when he saw that they took no notice of his appeal, he no longer attempted to help the Lacedæmonians, but attacked these troops, who numbered about fifty thousand. Of these the greater part gave way at once and retreated, because they saw their barbarian allies retreating, but a fierce battle is said to have raged where the Thebans were, because the best and noblest men of that state had eagerly taken the Persian side from the beginning, while the common people followed them, not of their free will, but being accustomed to obey the nobles.
XIX. Thus was the battle divided into two parts. The Lacedæmonians were the first to rout the Persians. A Spartan, named Arimnestus, killed Mardonius by a blow on the head with a stone, as the oracle in the temple of Amphiaraus had foretold to him. For Mardonius sent a Lydian thither, and another man, a Karian, to the oracle in the cave of Trophonius. This latter was spoken to in the Karian language by the prophet, but the other slept in the sacred enclosure round the temple of Amphiaraus, and in his dreams saw a servant of the god standing beside him and bidding him begone. When he refused to go, the figure cast a great stone at his head, so that he dreamed that he died of the stroke. This is the story which is told of Mardonius. The Persian fugitives were now driven to take shelter within their wooden fortification. Shortly after these events took place, the Athenians defeated the Thebans, who lost three hundred of their noblest citizens in that battle. After this there came a messenger to them, telling them that the Persians were being besieged in their fortified camp. Hearing this, the Athenians allowed the renegade Greeks to escape, and marched at once to the assault of the camp. Here they found the Lacedæmonians, who were not pressing the enemy, because they had no experience in sieges and attacks on fortified places. The Athenians forced their way in and took the camp with an immense slaughter of the enemy. It is said that out of three hundred thousand only forty thousand under Artabazus escaped. On the side of the Greeks fell only thirteen hundred and sixty men. Of these there were fifty-two Athenians of the Aiantid tribe, which, we are told by Kleidemus, distinguished itself beyond all others on that day. For this reason, the Aiantid tribe offered the sacrifice to the nymphs Sphragitides, ordered by the oracle for the victory, at the public expense. Of the Lacedæmonians, there fell ninety-one, and of the Tegeans sixteen. It is hard, therefore, to understand Herodotus when he says that these alone came to blows with the enemy, and that no other Greeks were engaged at all; for both the number of the slain and the tombs of the fallen prove that the victory was won by all the Greeks together. If only three cities had fought, and the rest had done nothing, they never would have inscribed on the altar:
"The Greeks in battle drove the Persian forth
By force of arms, and bravely Greece set free,
To Zeus Protector they this altar reared,
Where all might thank him for their victory."
This battle was fought on the day of the month Boedromion, according to the Athenian calendar; and on the twenty-sixth of the month Panemus according to that of the Bœotians, on which day the Hellenic meeting still takes place at Platæa, and sacrifice is offered to Zeus, the Protector of Liberty, in memory of this victory. The discrepancy of the dates is no marvel, seeing that even at the present day, when astronomy is more accurately understood, different cities still begin and end their months on different days.
XX. After the battle, as the Athenians would not assign the prize of valour to the Lacedæmonians, nor suffer them to set up a trophy, the common cause of Greece was within a little of being ruined by the quarrels of the two armies, had not Aristeides by argument and entreaty prevailed upon his colleagues, especially Leokrates and Myronides, to submit the dispute to the decision of all the Greeks. Upon this a council was held, at which Theogeiton of Megara said that the prize for valour ought to be given to another city, and not either to Athens or Sparta, if they did not wish to bring about a civil war. To this Kleokritus of Corinth made answer. All men expected that he would demand the honour for Corinth, which city had acquitted itself best, next to Athens and Sparta; but he made a very excellent and conciliatory speech, demanding that the prize should be bestowed on the Platæans, by which means neither of the claimants would be aggrieved. This proposal was agreed to by Aristeides on behalf of the Athenians, and by Pausanias on behalf of the Lacedæmonians. Having thus settled their differences, they set apart from the plunder eighty talents for the Platæans, with which they built the temple of Athena, and the shrine, and also decorated the temple with paintings, which even to this present day retain their lustre. The Lacedæmonians set up a trophy for themselves, and the Athenians another one apart. When they enquired at Delphi what sacrifice was to be offered, the oracle bade them set up an altar to Zeus the Protector of the Free, and not to sacrifice upon it until they had first put out all fires throughout the country, because it had been defiled by the presence of the barbarian, and had then fetched a new fire pure from pollution, from the hearth at Delphi, which is common to all Greece. The chiefs of the Greeks at once proceeded throughout the Platæan territory, forcing every one to extinguish his fire, even in the case of funeral piles, while Euchidas of Platæa, who promised that he would fetch fire as quickly as possible, proceeded to Delphi. There he purified his body, and having been besprinkled with holy water and crowned with laurel, took fire from the altar, set off running back to Platæa, and arrived there about sunset, having run a distance of a hundred and twenty-five miles in one day. He embraced his fellow citizens, handed the fire to them, fell down, and in a few moments died. The Platæans, to show their admiration of him, buried him in the temple of Artemis Eukleia, with this inscription on his tomb:
"Euchidas ran to Delphi and back again in one day."
As for Eukleia, most persons believe her to be Artemis, and worship her as that goddess; but some say that she was a daughter of Herakles and Myrto, the daughter of Menœtius, who was the sister of Patroklus, and who, dying a virgin, is worshipped by the Bœotians and Lokrians. An altar and image of her stands in every market-place in these countries, and those who are about to marry, sacrifice to her.
XXI. After this Aristeides proposed at a general assembly of all the Greeks, that all the cities of Greece should every year send deputies and religious representatives to the city of Platæa, and that every fifth year Eleutheria, or a festival in honour of Freedom, should be celebrated there. Also he proposed that there should be a general levy throughout Greece, for the war against the Persians, of ten thousand heavy armed troops, a thousand horse, and a hundred ships of war; and that the Platæans should be held inviolable, and consecrated to the service of the gods, to whom they offered sacrifice on behalf of all Greece. These things were ratified, and the people of Platæa undertook to make yearly sacrifices in honour of those who had fallen fighting for Greece, and whose bodies were buried there. This they perform even at the present day in the following fashion. On the sixteenth day of the month Maimakterion, which in the Bœotian calendar is called Alalkomenius, they make a procession headed by a trumpeter sounding the charge. After him follow waggons full of myrtle and garlands of flowers, a black bull, libations of wine and milk in jars, and earthenware vessels full of oil and perfume. These are carried by young men of noble birth, for no slave is allowed to take any part in the proceedings, because the men in whose honour the sacrifice is made, died fighting for liberty. Last of all comes the chief magistrate of Platæa, who, during the rest of his term of office, is not allowed to touch iron, or to wear clothes of any colour but white. On this day, however, he wears a scarlet tunic, takes an urn from the public record office in one hand, and a sword in the other, and proceeds through the middle of the city to the sepulchres. There he with his own hands draws water from the well, washes the head-stones of the graves, and anoints them with oil. After this he cuts the throat of the bull, places his bones on a funeral pile, and with prayer to Zeus, and Hermes who conducts men's souls into the nether world, he calls on the brave men who died for Greece, to come to the feast and drink the libations of blood. Next he mixes a large bowl of wine and water, pours out a cup for himself, and says, "I drink to those who died in defence of the freedom of Greece." This custom is observed even to this day by the Platæans.
XXII. After the return of the Athenians to their own city, Aristeides observed that they desired to adopt a democratic form of government. As he considered that the people had by their bravery deserved a share in the management of affairs, and likewise thought that it would be hard to turn them from their purpose as they had arms in their hands, and were confident in their strength because of the victories which they had won, he carried a decree that every citizen should have a share in the government, and that the archons should be chosen out of the whole body of Athenians.
When Themistokles told the Athenian assembly that he had in his mind a proposition most valuable to the state, which nevertheless could not be openly discussed, the people bade Aristeides alone listen to what it was and give his opinion upon it. Then Themistokles told Aristeides, that he meditated burning the entire fleet of the Greeks, as they lay drawn up on the beach, as by this means Athens would become the greatest state in Greece, and mistress of all the others. Aristeides, on hearing this, came forward to the assembly and said that the proposal of Themistokles, although most advantageous, was yet most wicked and unjust. When the people heard this, they forbade Themistokles to prosecute his design. So highly did the Athenians prize justice, and so well and faithfully did Aristeides serve them.
XXIII. Being sent as general, with Kimon as his colleague, to the war with Persia, he perceived that Pausanias and the other Spartan generals were harsh and insolent to their allies; and he himself, by treating them with kindness and consideration, aided by the gentle and kindly temper shown by Kimon in the campaign, gradually obtained supreme authority over them, not having won it by arms or fleets, but by courtesy and wise policy. The Athenians, already beloved by the Greeks, on account of the justice of Aristeides and the kindliness of Kimon, were much more endeared to them by the insolent brutality of Pausanias, who always spoke roughly and angrily to the chiefs of the various contingents of allies, and used to punish the common men by stripes, or by forcing them to stand all day with a heavy iron anchor on their shoulders. No one was permitted to obtain straw or forage for their horses, or to draw water from a well before the Spartans had helped themselves, and servants were placed with whips to drive away any who attempted to do so. Aristeides once endeavoured to complain of this to Pausanias, but he knitting his brows, rudely told him that he was not at leisure, and took no notice of his words. At this the generals and admirals of the Greek states, especially those from Chios, Samos, and Lesbos, besought Aristeides to make himself commander-in-chief, and rally round him all the allied cities, who had long desired to get rid of the Spartan supremacy and to take the side of Athens. He answered that he admitted the justice and even the necessity of their proposals, but that they must prove themselves to be in earnest by some act which would make it impossible for the great body of them to draw back. Upon this, Ouliades of Samos, and Antagoras of Chios conspired together, and off Byzantium, they ran on board of the ship of Pausanias, which was sailing before the rest. He on seeing this, rose up in a rage and threatened that in a short time he would let them know that they had not endangered his ship, but their own native cities. They in answer bade him go his way and be thankful for the victory at Platæa won under his command, for that it was which alone restrained the Greeks from dealing with him as he deserved. Finally they left him, and sailed away to join the Athenian ships. On this occasion the magnanimous conduct of the Lacedæmonians deserves high praise. When they perceived that the heads of their generals were being turned by the greatness of their power, they of their own accord withdrew from the supreme power, and no longer sent any generals to the wars, choosing rather to have moderate citizens who would abide by their laws at home, than to bear rule over the whole of Greece.
Even while the Lacedæmonians remained in command, the Greeks paid a certain contribution to pay the expenses of the war; and as they wished each city to be assessed to pay a reasonable sum, they asked the Athenians to appoint Aristeides to visit each city, learn the extent of its territory and revenues, and fix upon the amount which each was capable of contributing according to its means. Although he was in possession of such a power as this—the whole of Greece having as it were given itself up to be dealt with at his discretion—yet he laid down his office a poorer man than when he accepted it, but having completed his assessment to the satisfaction of all. As the ancients used to tell of the blessedness of the golden age, even so did the states of Greece honour the assessment made by Aristeides, calling the time when it was made, fortunate and blessed for Greece, especially when no long time afterwards it was doubled, and subsequently trebled. The money which Aristeides proposed to raise amounted to four hundred and sixty talents; to which Perikles added nearly a third part, for Thucydides tells us that at the commencement of the Peloponnesian war, the Athenians received six hundred talents a year from their allies. After the death of Perikles, the popular orators gradually raised the sum total to thirteen hundred talents. It was not so much that the money was required for the expenses of a long and costly war, as that these men had accustomed the people to largesses of money, dramatic representations, and the erection of statues and temples. Themistokles was the only man who had sneered at the great reputation which Aristeides had won by his assessment of the Greek states, saying that the praise which was lavished on him was not suitable to a man, but to a chest which kept money safe. This he said as a retort to a saying of Aristeides, who once, when Themistokles said that he thought it the most valuable quality for a general to be able to divine beforehand what the enemy would do, answered, "That, Themistokles, is very true, but it is also the part of an honourable general to keep his hands clean."
XXV. Aristeides, moreover, bound all the Greeks by an oath to keep the league against the Persians, and himself swore on behalf of Athens, throwing wedges of red hot iron into the sea after the oath was taken, and praying that the gods might so deal with those that broke their faith. But afterwards, when circumstances forced the Athenians to govern with a stronger hand, he bade the Athenians act as they pleased, for he would take upon himself any guilt of perjury which they might incur. And throughout his life Theophrastus observes that Aristeides, though scrupulously just in his dealings with his fellow-citizens, yet sometimes in dealing with other states was guided rather by advantage than by equity. For instance, when the Athenians were debating a proposal of the Samians, that the treasure of the league should be removed from Delos to Athens, a thing distinctly contrary to the articles of the alliance, Aristeides said that it was not just, but that it was expedient to do so. He himself, at the end of his life, after raising his city to be the ruler of so many people, remained in his original poverty, and took no less pride in his poverty than in the victories which he had won. This is proved by the following anecdote. Kallias, the torch-bearer in the Eleusinian mysteries, a relation of his, was being prosecuted on a capital charge by his private enemies. After speaking with great moderation upon the subject of the indictment, they used the following argument to the jury: "Gentlemen, you all know Aristeides the son of Lysimachus, whose name is renowned throughout Greece. How think you that man fares at home, when you see him appearing in public with such a worn-out cloak? May we not suppose when we see him shivering out of doors, that he has but little to eat at home, and is in want of common necessaries? Yet Kallias, the richest man in Athens, allows this man, who is his own cousin, to be in want, he and his wife and children, though he has often benefited by him and profited by his influence with you." Kallias, perceiving that the jury were especially wrought upon by this appeal and that it was likely to tell against him, called Aristeides into the court, and begged of him to bear witness to the jury that although he had often offered him money and begged him to accept it he had always refused, answering that he prided himself more upon his poverty than Kallias did upon his wealth; for one may see many persons making both a good and a bad use of riches, but it is hard to meet with a man who bears poverty with honour. Those only should be ashamed of poverty who are poor against their wills. When Aristeides bore witness to the truth of this, on behalf of Kallias, there was no one who heard him but left the court wishing rather to be poor like Aristeides than rich like Kallias. This story is preserved by Æschines, the companion of Sokrates.
Plato considers that this man alone, of all the great men of Athens, is worthy of mention by him. Themistokles, and Kimon, and Perikles, did indeed fill the city with public buildings, and money, and folly, but Aristeides in his political acts cared for nothing but virtue. One great proof of this is his kindly treatment of Themistokles. Though this man was his enemy throughout, and was the cause of his banishment by ostracism, yet when Themistokles gave him an opportunity of revenging himself in a similar manner he never remembered the injuries which he had received at his hands, but while Kimon, and Alkmæon, and many others, were endeavouring to drive him into exile and bringing all kinds of accusations against him, Aristeides alone never did or said anything against him, and did not rejoice over the spectacle of his enemy's ruin, just as he never envied his previous prosperity.
XXVI. Some writers say that Aristeides died in Pontus, to which country he had been sent on matters of state: while others say that he died of old age at Athens, respected and honoured by all his countrymen there. Kraterus of Macedonia tells us the following particulars about his end. After Themistokles went into exile the common people grew insolent and produced a numerous brood of informers, who constantly assailed the noblest and most powerful citizens through envy of their prosperity and influence. One of these men, Diophantus of Amphitrope by name, obtained a verdict against Aristeides on a charge of receiving bribes. It was stated that when he was regulating the assessment of the Ionians he received money from them to tax them more lightly. As he was unable to pay the fine of fifty minæ, which the court laid upon him, he left Athens and died somewhere in Ionia. But Kraterus offers no documentary evidence of this, neither of the sentence of his condemnation nor the decree of the people, although in general it is his habit to quote his authority for statements of this kind. And almost all others who have spoken of the harsh treatment of generals by the people mention the banishment of Themistokles, the imprisonment of Miltiades, the fine imposed on Perikles, and the suicide of Paches in court when sentence was pronounced against him, but although they speak of the banishment of Aristeides, they never allude to this trial and sentence upon him.
XXVII. Moreover, there is his tomb at Phalerum, which is said to have been constructed at the public expense, because he did not leave enough money to defray his funeral expenses. It is also related that his daughters were publicly married at the charges of the state, which provided them each with a dowry of three thousand drachmas. At the instance of Alkibiades, his son Lysimachus was also presented with a hundred silver mines, and as many acres of planted land, and in addition to this, an allowance of four drachmas a day. Kallisthenes also tells us that this Lysimachus leaving a daughter named Polykrite, she was assigned by the Athenians the same daily allowance of food as is bestowed upon the victors in the Olympian games. But Demetrius of Phalerum, Hieronymus of Rhodes, Aristoxenus the musician, and Aristotle, (if we are to believe the 'Treatise on Nobility' to be a genuine work of his) say, that Myrto, the granddaughter of Aristeides, lived in the house of Sokrates the philosopher, who was indeed married to another woman, but who took her into his house because she was a widow and destitute of the necessaries of life. These authors are sufficiently confuted by Panætius in his writings on Sokrates. Demetrius of Phalerum says, in his book about Sokrates, that he knew one Lysimachus, a very poor man, who dwelt near the Temple of Iacchus and made his living by the interpretation of dreams. Demetrius further states that he carried a bill before the Assembly by which this man's mother and sister were provided with a pension of three obols daily at the public expense. Demetrius, however, when himself a legislator, appointed that each of these women should receive a drachma instead of three obols a day. And we need not wonder at the people taking such care of the resident citizens, when we read that, hearing that the granddaughter of Aristogeiton was living in poverty at Lemnos, so poor that no one would marry her, they brought her back to Athens, gave her in marriage to a man of high birth, and bestowed upon her a farm at Potamus for a marriage portion. The city of Athens has shown many instances of this kindness and goodness of heart even down to our times, and is justly praised and admired for it.
Plutarch's Lives of the Noble Greeks and Romans
Alcibiades and Coriolanus - Alexander the Great and Julius Caesar - Aratus & Artaxerxes and Galba & Otho
- PLUTARCH: Lives of the noble Grecians and Romans (Complete and Unabridged)
- Plutarch's Lives: Exploring Virtue and Vice by Timothy E. Duff (Oxford UP: 2002 pb) ISBN 0199252742.
- Albin Lesky, A History of Greek Literature , Hackett Publishing Company; Reprint edition (November, 1996)
Medieval Greece / Byzantine Empire