CHAPTER V.

Change of Manners in Athens. - Begun under the Pisistratidae. - Effects of the Persian War, and the intimate Connexion with Ionia. - The Hetaerae. - The Political Eminence lately acquired by Athens. - The Transfer of the Treasury from Delos to Athens. - Latent Dangers and Evils. - First, the Artificial Greatness of Athens not supported by Natural Strength. - Secondly, her pernicious Reliance on Tribute. - Thirdly, Deterioration of National Spirit commenced by Cimon in the Use of Bribes and Public Tables. - Fourthly, Defects in Popular Courts of Law. - Progress of General Education. - History. - Its Ionian Origin. - Early Historians. - Acusilaus. - Cadmus. - Eugeon. - Hellanicus. - Pherecides. - Xanthus. - View of the Life and Writings of Herodotus. - Progress of Philosophy since Thales. - Philosophers of the Ionian and Eleatic Schools. - Pythagoras. - His Philosophical Tenets and Political Influence. - Effect of these Philosophers on Athens. - School of Political Philosophy continued in Athens from the Time of Solon. - Anaxagoras. - Archelaus. - Philosophy not a thing apart from the ordinary Life of the Athenians.

I. Before we pass to the administration of Pericles - a period so brilliant in the history not more of Athens than of art - it may not be unseasonable to take a brief survey of the progress which the Athenians had already made in civilization and power (B. C. 449).

The comedians and the rhetoricians, when at a later period they boldly represented to the democracy, in a mixture of satire and of truth, the more displeasing features of the popular character, delighted to draw a contrast between the new times and the old. The generation of men whom Marathon and Salamis had immortalized were, according to these praisers of the past, of nobler manners and more majestic virtues than their degenerate descendants. "Then," exclaimed Isocrates, "our young men did not waste their days in the gambling-house, nor with music-girls, nor in the assemblies, in which whole days are now consumed then did they shun the Agora, or, if they passed through its haunts, it was with modest and timorous forbearance - then, to contradict an elder was a greater offence than nowadays to offend a parent - then, not even a servant of honest repute would have been seen to eat or drink within a tavern!" "In the good old times," says the citizen of Aristophanes [210], "our youths breasted the snow without a mantle - their music was masculine and martial - their gymnastic exercises decorous and chaste. Thus were trained the heroes of Marathon!"

In such happy days we are informed that mendicancy and even want were unknown. [211]

It is scarcely necessary to observe, that we must accept these comparisons between one age and another with considerable caution and qualification. We are too much accustomed to such declamations in our own time not to recognise an ordinary trick of satirists and declaimers. As long as a people can bear patiently to hear their own errors and follies scornfully proclaimed, they have not become altogether degenerate or corrupt. Yet still, making every allowance for rhetorical or poetic exaggeration, it is not more evident than natural that the luxury of civilization - the fervour of unbridled competition, in pleasure as in toil - were attended with many changes of manners and life favourable to art and intellect, but hostile to the stern hardihood of a former age.