The Ancient Library

Scanned text contains errors.



b. c. 354. The vote for the expedition was passed j against the advice of Demosthenes, and in con­sequence of an application from Plutarchus, tyrant of Eretria, for assistance against callias. The Athenians, however, appear to have over-rated the strength of their party in the island, and neglected therefore to provide a sufficient force. The little army of Phocion was still further thinned by desertions, which he made no effort to check, remarking that those who fled were not good soldiers enough to be of use to the enemy, and that for his part he thought himself well rid of them, since their consciousness of their own mis­conduct would stop their mouths at home, and silence their slanders against him. In the course of the campaign he was drawn into a position at Tamynae, where defeat would have been fatal, and his danger was moreover increased by the rashness or treachery of his ally Plutarchus: but he gained the day by his skill and coolness after an obstinate engagement, and, dealing thenceforth with Plu­tarchus as an enemy, drove him from Eretria, and occupied a fortress named Zaretra, conveniently situated between the eastern and western seas, in the narrowest part of the island. All the Greek prisoners who fell into his hands here, he released, lest the Athenians should wreak their vengeance on them ; and on his departure, his loss was much felt by the allies of Athens, whose cause declined grievously under his successor, Molossus.

It was perhaps in b. c. 343 that, a conspiracy having been formed by Ptoeodorus and some of the other chief citizens in Megara to betray the town to Philip (Plut. Plioc. 15 ; comp. Dem. de Cor. pp. 242, 324, de Fats. Leg. pp. 435, 436), the Megarians applied to Athens for aid, and Phocion was sent thither in command of a force with which he fortified the port Nisaea, and joined it by two long walls to the city. The expedition, if it is to be referred to this occasion, was successful, and the design of the conspirators was baffled. In B. c. 341 Phocion commanded the troops which were despatched to Euboea, on the motion of De­mosthenes, to act against the party of Philip, and succeeded in expelling Cleitarchus and Philistides from Eretria and Oreus respectively, and establish­ing the Athenian ascendancy in the island. [cal­lias ; cleitarchus.] In b. c. 340, when the Athenians, indignant at the refusal of the Byzan-tians to receive Chares, who had been sent to their aid against Philip, were disposed to interfere no further in the war, Phocion reminded them that their anger should be directed, not against their allies for their distrust, but against their own generals, whose conduct had excited it. The people recognised the justice of this, and passed a vote for a fresh force, to the command of which Phocion himself was elected. On his arrival at Byzantium, he did not attempt to enter the city, but encamped outside the walls. Cleon, however, a Byzantian, who had been his friend and fellow-pupil in the Academy, pledged himself to his countrymen / for his integrity, and the Athenians were admitted into the town. Here they' gained the good opinion of all by their orderly and irre­proachable conduct, and exhibited the greatest courage and zeal against the besiegers. The result was that Philip was compelled to abandon his at­tempts on Perinthus and Byzantium, and to evacuate the Chersonesus, while Phocion took several of his ships, recovered some of the cities


which were garrisoned with Macedonian troops, and made descents on many parts of the coast, over-running and ravaging the enemy's territory. In the course of these operations, however, he re­ceived some severe wounds, and was obliged to sail away. According to Plutarch, Phocion, after this success of the Athenian arms, strongly recom­mended peace with Philip. His opinion we know was over-ruled, and the counsels of Demosthenes prevailed ; and the last desperate struggle, which ended in 338 so fatalIv for Greece at Chaeroneia,

*/ 7

was probably regarded by Phocion with little of sympathy, and less of hope. When, however, Philip had summoned all the Greek states to a general congress at Corinth, and Demades pro­posed that Athens should send deputies thither, Phocion advised his countrymen to pause until it should be ascertained what Philip would demand of the confederates. His counsel was again re­jected, but the Athenians afterwards repented that they had not followed it, when they found contri­butions of ships and cavalry imposed on them by the congress. On the murder of Philip in 336 be­coming known at Athens, Demosthenes proposed a public sacrifice of thanksgiving for the tidings, and the establishment of religious honours to the me­mory of the assassin Pausanias ; but Phocion re­sisted the proposal on the- two-fold ground, that such signs of joy betokened a mean spirit, and that, after all, the army which had conquered at Chaeroneia was diminished only by one man. The second reason he could hardly expect to pass cur­rent, so transparent is its fallacy ; but it seems that, on the whole, his representations succeeded in checking the unseemly exultation of the people. When, in b. c. 335, Alexander was marching towards Thebes, Phocion rebuked Demosthenes for his invectives against the king, and complained that he was recklessly endangering Athens, and after the destruction of Thebes, he advised the Athenians to comply with Alexander's demand for the surrender of Demosthenes and other chief orators of the anti-Macedonian party, urging at the same time on these objects of the conqueror's anger the propriety of devoting themselves for the public good, like those ancient heroines, the daugh­ters of Leos and the Hyacinthides. This proposal, however, the latter portion of which sounds like sarcastic irony, was clamorously and indignantly rejected by the people, and an embassy was sent to Alexander, which succeeded in deprecating his resentment [demades]. According to Plutarch, there were two embassies, the first of which Alex­ander refused to receive, but to the second he gave a gracious audience, and granted its prayer, chiefly from regard to Phocion, who was at the head of it. (See Plut. PJioc. 17, Dem, 23 ; Arr. Anal. i. 10 ; Diod. xvii. 15.) From the same author we learn that Alexander ever continued to treat Phocion with the utmost consideration, and to cultivate his friendship, influenced no doubt, in great measure, by respect for his character, but not without an eye at the same time to his political sentiments, which were favourable to Macedonian ascendancy. Thus he addressed letters to him with a mode of salutation (%afpe^), which he adopted to no one else except Antipater. He also pressed upon him valuable presents, and desired Craterus, whom he sent home with the veterans in b. c. 324, to give him his choice of four Asiatic cities. Phocion, however, persisted in refusing all such offers, beg-

About | First



page #  
Search this site
All non-public domain material, including introductions, markup, and OCR © 2005 Tim Spalding.
Ancient Library was developed and hosted by Tim Spalding of