The Ancient Library

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naval power, the improvement of their ports would contribute to the increase of it. For Themistocles was the first who declared that the Athenians must make the sea their element, and he took the first steps towards this object. His policy was not to let the fortune of the Athenians depend on the fate of their city Athens ; but if they were ever hard pressed, his advice was that they should leave it for the Peiraeeus, which he designed to make so strong that a few men could defend it, while the rest could embark in the fleet. The building of the walls which connected Athens with Peiraeeus and Phalerum was later, and accomplished about b. c. 456. (Thucyd. i. 107.)

The influence of Themistocles does not appear to have survived the expulsion of the Persians from Greece and the fortification of the ports. He was probably justly accused of enriching himself by unfair means, for he had no scruples about the way of accomplishing an end. A story is told by Plutarch in his Lives of Aristides and Themistocles, that after the retreat of the fleet of Xerxes, when the Greek -fleet was wintering at Pagasae, Themistocles told the Athenians in the public assembly that he had a scheme to propose which was beneficial to the state, but could not be expounded to the many. Aristides was named to receive the secret, and to report upon it. His re­port was that nothing could be more profitable than the scheme of Themistocles, but nothing more un­just ; and the Athenians abided by the report of Aristides. His project was to burn the Greek fleet, and thus confirm the naval supremacy of Athens. Themistocles resisted the proposal of the Lacedaemonians to exclude from the Amphictyonic assembly those states which had not aided the Greeks against Xerxes, for such a measure, he argued, would put the whole power of the Am­phictyonic federation in the hands of two or three of the chief states. He succeeded in defeating this scheme, and thus incurred the enmity of the Spar­tans, who supported his rival Cimon. (Plut. Thc-mist. 20.) If this affair took place soon after the battle of Salamis, it will help to account for the disappearance of Themistocles from the stage. In B. c. 471 he was ostracised from Athens, and re­tired to Argos. He had now leisure to think of the old gallies and his father's lessons.

Pausanias, being detected in a treacherous cor­respondence with the Persian king, lost his life, and the Lacedaemonians sent persons to Athens to accuse Themistocles of being privy to the designs of Pausanias. (Thucyd. i. 135 ; Plut. TJiemist. 23.) The Athenians, either convinced of his guilt or af­fecting to be convinced, sent off persons with the La­cedaemonians with instructions to arrest Themisto­cles wherever they should find him. (b. c. 466.) But Themistocles, hearing of what was designed against him, fled from Argos to Corcyra, the inhabitants of which owed him some obligations; but as the Cor-cyraeans were afraid to keep him for fear of incur­ring the hostility of Athens and Sparta, they took Themistocles across to the main land. Being fol­lowed by his pursuers, he took refuge in the house of Admetus, king of the Molossi, who happened to be from home. Admetus was no friend to The­mistocles, but his wife, at the entreaty of the fugi­tive, told him that he would be protected if he would take their child in his arms, and sit on the hearth. The king soon came in, and respecting his suppliant attitude, raised him up, and refused


to surrender him to the Lacedaemonian and Athe­nian agents. He also sent him to Pydna on the coast of the Aegean, where Themistocles found a merchant vessel bound for Ionia. The vessel was carried by the weather close to the Athenian ar­mament, which was blockading Naxos, on which Themistocles discovered himself to the master, and told him, that if he did not carry him off safely, he would inform the Athenians that he was aiding him to escape for a sum of money. The master kept his vessel tossing off the island a whole day and night to avoid the risk of landing, and at last safely reached Ephesus. Themistocles, who re­ceived money from his friends at Athens, and from Argos, where he had money, rewarded the master for his pains.

Xerxes was now dead (b. c. 465), and Arta-xerxes was on the throne. Themistocles went up to visit the king at his royal residence, in company with a Persian, and on his arrival he sent the king a letter, in which he told him that he had done the greatest damage to the cause of the king's father, when out of necessity he fought against him, but that he had done him still greater ser­vices, by which he meant his information as to the intended retreat of the Greeks from Salamis, and the not breaking down of the bridge over the Hel­lespont, the merit of which he falsely claimed: he said that he could do the king good service, and that his life was sought by the Greeks on account of his friendship to the king ; he prayed that he might be allowed to wait a year, and then to ex­plain personally what brought him there. The­mistocles was too cunning to entrust his business to an interpreter. In a year he made himself master of the Persian language and the Persian usages, and, being presented to the king, he ob­tained the greatest influence over him, and such as no Greek ever before enjoyed ; partly owing to the high reputation and the hopes that he gave to the king of subjecting the Greeks to the Persians. The king gave him a handsome allowance, after the Persian fashion ; Magnesia supplied him with bread nominally, but paid him annually fifty ta­lents. Lampsacus supplied wine, and Myus the other provisions. Before he could accomplish any thing he died ; some say that he poisoned himself, finding that he could not perform his promise to the king. A monument was erected to his memory in the Agora of Magnesia, which place was within his government. It is said that his bones were secretly taken to Attica by his relations, and pri­vately interred there. Themistocles was, according to Plutarch, sixty-five years of age when he died, and if he was born b. c. 514, he died in b. c. 449. He left several sons and daughters. The descend­ants of Themistocles enjoyed certain honours in Magnesia in Plutarch's time. A tomb called that of Themistocles existed in the Peiraeeus in the- time of Pausanias (i. 1): Pausanias mentions also a portrait of Themistocles in the Parthenon: he says, it appears that the sons of Themistocles re­turned to Athens, and dedicated the painting in the Parthenon in which Themistocles was repre­sented : it was probaby an historical piece, in which Themistocles appeared as an actor. (Compare Pans. i. 26 and 37.)

The great abilities of Themistocles are thus briefly characterised by Thucydides (i. 138): — " Themistocles was the strongest example of the power of natural talent, and in this respect is par-

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