IV. After the Dorians obtained possession of the Peloponnesus, the whole face of Greece was gradually changed. The return of the Heraclidae was the true consummation of the Hellenic revolution. The tribes hitherto migratory became fixed in the settlements they acquired. The Dorians rose to the rank of the most powerful race of Greece: and the Ionians, their sole rivals, possessed only on the continent the narrow soil of Attica, though their colonies covered the fertile coast of Asia Minor. Greece thus reduced to two main tribes, the Doric and the Ionian, historians have justly and generally concurred in noticing between them the strongest and most marked distinctions, - the Dorians grave, inflexible, austere, - the Ionians lively, versatile, prone to change. The very dialect of the one was more harsh and masculine than that of the other; and the music, the dances of the Dorians, bore the impress of their severe simplicity. The sentiment of veneration which pervaded their national character taught the Dorians not only, on the one hand, the firmest allegiance to the rites of religion - and a patriarchal respect for age - but, on the other hand, a blind and superstitious attachment to institutions merely on account of their antiquity - and an almost servile regard for birth, producing rather the feelings of clanship than the sympathy of citizens. We shall see hereafter, that while Athens established republics, Sparta planted oligarchies. The Dorians were proud of independence, but it was the independence of nobles rather than of a people. Their severity preserved them long from innovation - no less by what was vicious in its excess than by what was wise in its principle. With many great and heroic qualities, they were yet harsh to enemies - cruel to dependants - selfish to allies. Their whole policy was to preserve themselves as they were; if they knew not the rash excesses, neither were they impelled by the generous emotions, which belong to men whose constant aspirations are to be better and to be greater; - they did not desire to be better or to be greater; their only wish was not to be different. They sought in the future nothing but the continuance of the past; and to that past they bound themselves with customs and laws of iron. The respect in which they held their women, as well as their disdain of pleasure, preserved them in some measure from the licentiousness common to states in which women are despised; but the respect had little of the delicacy and sentiment of individual attachment - attachment was chiefly for their own sex . The Ionians, on the contrary, were susceptible, flexile, and more characterized by the generosity of modern knighthood than the sternness of ancient heroism. Them, not the past, but the future, charmed. Ever eager to advance, they were impatient even of the good, from desire of the better. Once urged to democracy - democracy fixed their character, as oligarchy fixed the Spartan. For, to change is the ambition of a democracy - to conserve of an oligarchy. The taste, love, and intuition of the beautiful stamped the Greeks above all nations, and the Ionians above all the Greeks. It was not only that the Ionians were more inventive than their neighbours, but that whatever was beautiful in invention they at once seized and appropriated. Restless, inquisitive, ardent, they attempted all things, and perfected art - searched into all things, and consummated philosophy.
The Ionic character existed everywhere among Ionians, but the Doric was not equally preserved among the Dorians. The reason is evident. The essence of the Ionian character consisted in the spirit of change - that of the Dorian in resistance to innovation. When any Doric state abandoned its hereditary customs and institutions, it soon lost the Doric character - became lax, effeminate, luxurious - a corruption of the character of the Ionians; but no change could assimilate the Ionian to the Doric; for they belonged to different eras of civilization - the Doric to the elder, the Ionian to the more advanced. The two races of Scotland have become more alike than heretofore; but it is by making the highlander resemble the lowlander - and not by converting the lowland citizen into the mountain Gael. The habits of commerce, the substitution of democratic for oligarchic institutions, were sufficient to alter the whole character of the Dorians. The voluptuous Corinth - the trading Aegina (Doric states) - infinitely more resembled Athens than Sparta.
It is, then, to Sparta, that in the historical times we must look chiefly for the representative of the Doric tribe, in its proper and elementary features; and there, pure, vigorous, and concentrated, the Doric character presents a perpetual contrast to the Athenian. This contrast continued so long as either nation retained a character to itself; - and (no matter what the pretences of hostility) was the real and inevitable cause of that enmity between Athens and Sparta, the results of which fixed the destiny of Greece.
Yet were the contests of that enmity less the contests between opposing tribes than between those opposing principles which every nation may be said to nurse within itself; viz., the principle to change, and the principle to preserve; the principle to popularize, and the principle to limit the governing power; here the genius of an oligarchy, there of a people; here adherence to the past, there desire of the future. Each principle produced its excesses, and furnishes a salutary warning. The feuds of Sparta and Athens may be regarded as historical allegories, clothing the moral struggles, which, with all their perils and all their fluctuations, will last to the end of time.
V. This period is also celebrated for the supposed foundation of that assembly of the Grecian states, called the Amphictyonic Confederacy. Genealogy attributes its origin to a son of Deucalion, called Amphictyon.