Gambar halaman

all the ethnic elements in his state. That might do for the capital of a satrapy. For the capital of the world, which Antigonus and his son, Demetrius Poliorcetes, strove to reunite under one government, more was needed. Hence they sought to make Antigoniathe later Antioch—a new Athens in very truth by transplanting to the Orontes to be its first settlers a colony taken directly from Athens, thus seeking to give an Attic atmosphere to their court in the way adopted three years earlier by Ophelas of Cyrene, who, on starting to join Agathocles for the overthrow of the Carthaginian Empire, took with him an Athenian queen and a large body of Athenian settlers. They were to give a pure Hellenic heart to the great kingdom which he hoped to found in the territory to be conquered in Africa.

There can be little doubt that Athens was regarded by the Macedonian nobles in Alexander's entourage as the bearer of the purest Hellenic culture, and that an effort was made to inoculate their new acquisitions with it by colonies judiciously planted.

At the end of the third century B.C.-despite the marvellous rise of Alexandria, Antioch, and Pergamum, and the fierce competition of Rhodes, coincident though they were with the commercial and political prostration of Attica--the esteem of Athens and the Athenians was not less in the Hellenistic courts. An intelligent and observant traveller from Asia Minor who visited Attica at about this time writes in the hacked style then common:

Thence to Athens. The road is pleasant, the land all cultivated, the prospect inviting. The city is everywhere dry, water being scarce; and because of its age the streets and blocks are irregular. Most of the houses are mean, the nice ones few. A stranger would doubt, on seeing it first, if this were really the renowned city of the Athenians. After a little, however, he would be convinced. An Odeum, the finest in the world; a notable theatre, large and excellent; a costly temple of Athena, far-visible and well worth a visit, overlooking the theatre—the so-called Parthenon. It makes a great impression upon the spectator. An Olympieum, half finished, but displaying the general plan. It would be the best there is, if it were completed. Three gymnasia-Academia, Lyceum, and Cynosarges—with grounds thickly wooded and grassy, schools of philosophers of every shade of opinion. ... There are banquets of all sorts, many snares and recreations of the spirit, unceasing shows. ... Its inhabitants throw open its opportunities freely and are thus kind and helpful to all artists who happen along. The city is an admirable school of sculpture. . . . Some of the people belong to Attica, others are Athenians. The Atticans are inquisitive gossips, insincere, prone to blackmail and to pry into the private affairs of strangers. The Athenians are great-souled, simple in their manners, reliable custodians of friendship. Some informers run about in the city harassing wealthy visitors, but should the demos catch them, theirs would be a hard fate. The genuine Athenians are keen art critics and unwearying patrons of plays, concerts, and lectures. In a word, Athens surpasses other cities in all that makes for the enjoyment and betterment of life by as much as other cities surpass the country. Be on your guard most especially against the courtesans lest you unwittingly meet a pleasant destruction.

The cynosure of Greece was thus Athens still; and the kings of the East and West vied with one another to add brilliancy to its fêtes, gifts to its treasury, and promenades, bazaars, and temples to its squares. To live at Athens was the proper way for a prince to round off his education, and finer qualities of mind and manners were expected of an Athenian scientist than of one from elsewhere. Hence it was not unnatural that, when Antiochus Epiphanes undertook to press more vigorously the measures which his ancestors had taken to insure the domination of Hellenism in Asia, he colonized Antioch anew from Athens, copied Attic institutions and Attic months, bestowed special privileges upon all Athenians resident in his empire, and chose Athens to receive along with Antioch a temple worthy, as Livy says, of the grandeur of Zeus—the deity, manifest in the king's own person, in whose worship he sought to unite his subjects of every race and language.

Rome too succumbed to the estimate current in the world of culture; and, after the final establishment of her hegemony in the East, she singled Athens out for special favors. In return for Lemnos, Imbros, Scyros, and Delos, which she restored to their common metropolis in 166 B.C., she received ten years later her first instruction in art and philosophy from the most eminent sculptors and philosophers of that city. Never had the cultural supremacy of Athens been more unquestioned than in the middle of the second century B.C.

Athens [affirmed the Amphictyonic Council] was the inaugurator of all human blessings, the guide of men from the life of beasts to gentle culture, the establisher, in fact, of the social organism altogether. This service she rendered through the dissemination of her Mysteries which inculcated the sovereign value of mutual aid and confidence among men, and through passing on to others the education and laws with which the gods had dowered her. Grain too, though given to her as her special property, she made everybody's heritage. She originated music and dramatic art, created and developed tragedy and comedy, and first established thymelic and histrionic contests.

This eulogy was embodied in a decree enacted in 117 B.C.; but already at that time men had begun to distinguish the Athenians from their ancestors. It was now that Polybius interpreted the preceding century of Greek history to the disadvantage of Athens, which he represented as a nest of pampered parasites; and the Romans, whose practical sense made it difficult for them to admit


that a people devoid of power might be possessed of virtue, began to treat the Athenians with a condescension allied to contempt which found expression in the memorable remark made by Sulla in 86 B.C. that he had spared the living because of the illustrious dead. A century later an officer high in the service of Tiberius described the inhabitants of Attica as "not Athenians, who have been exterminated by innumerable disasters, but the very dregs of humanity, to whom for a Roman to show courtesies is a dishonor to the Roman name ". Athens was never so low in the judgment of its contemporaries as at the time of the first two princes.

To trace the attitude of Athens towards the Hellenistic states is of course impossible here—it differed so much at different times and in the case of different dynasties. It will suffice to note that opinion in Athens itself was generally divided ; that one faction—the aristocratic or oligarchic--sought a haven for Athens and the government for itself by doing the will of Macedon; while another—that of the demos—strove for complete freedom within and complete independence in foreign politics; and a third—that of the moderatesaimed at the isolation of Athens, at securing its autonomy under a sort of international guarantee. Twice in the first century after Philip's death (in 301–295 and in 276–266 B.C.) the faction last mentioned carried its policy into effect by its own strength, but it was not till the demos abandoned its imperialistic traditions, during an unhappy generation of dependence upon Macedon ( 261–230 B.C.), and, taking the form of a tory democracy, accepted the doctrines of the moderates, that internal stability was achieved. The internationalizing of Athens was effected by the agreement of all the powers, the consent of Achaea, Aetolia, Boeotia, Macedon, Pergamum, Crete, Syria, Egypt, and Rome being still a matter of • knowledge. The Ptolemies, however, in 224 B.C., made themselves in a special way responsible for the maintenance of the integrity of Athens; but in 200 B.C. Philip of Macedon ignored its neutrality and treated Attica with all the rigor of the new warfare which the Romans had introduced, whereupon the Athenians sent out a cry of horror, which, since the power of Egypt was prostrated in the same year by the great defeat at Panium, helped to bring the Italian Confederation definitely into the East. Rome thereupon became the guarantor of the position of Athens and the upholder of the tory democracy; so that the era of peace and stability was prolonged for almost an entire century. After the time of the Gracchi, however, the contemptuous attitude of the Roman senators and the outrageous behavior of the Roman business men, especially on Delos, alienated the sympathies of the Athenian government and people. At the same time the division of the Roman aristocracy against itself and the outbreak of the urban proletariate, which accompanied the slave wars, the Teutonic peril, and the revolt of the client states, weakened the prestige of Rome; whereupon a disturbance occurred in Attica also, and a narrow commercial aristocracy seized the government in the hope of improving the conditions of Athenian trade and of preventing the city from breaking loose from Rome. It was the Social War which here as elsewhere fed the hopes of those whom Rome oppressed, and when it became clear that if unaided the Italians must fail to break the power of the common enemy a popular upheaval in Athens hurled the Roman partizans from the seat of power and the city joined Mithradates. Subsequently it was only a Roman municipality.

To trace the change of Athenian institutions under the pressure of Hellenistic ideas is also impossible here; for the development was not without set-backs and was unconscious for the most part, and hence very gradual. It will be sufficient to note that administration by the citizens themselves—be they all the people, or a few, or the men of property—by means of scores of committees constituted (by the lot ordinarily) of new men each year and holding office under the most jealous scrutiny for a single twelvemonth, went eventually out of use. During the storms of the age of the diadochi, which was the first critical period in the history of Athenian administration, many old offices were dropped and a few new ones were created to take their place. Athens had to reef sail while passing through the rough seas; besides, she had long had too much canvas for the size of the hull. The term of office, however, was lengthened in one instance only, that of the general superintendent of the administration. Repetition in the tenure of the new offices was generally prohibited; and the safeguards were left so far as possible · undisturbed. But popular election was substituted for allotment in the designation of the most important officials, while at the same time the committees were replaced by single magistrates, or, where one was needed for Athens and another for the Piraeus, by two; and, when retained in form, were dissolved in fact in such a way that each member obtained his own department, the only notable exception being that of the archons, whose number was fixed at nine in order to leave unchanged the composition and size of the Areopagite council. The advantages of special fitness and inclination, and of personal liberty and responsibility, for administrative work were thus recognized, and by classifying the governors of the dependencies obtained in 166 B.C. with the military officials, in whose case reelection was always practised, the possibility of utilizing experience

was obtained; but the demos made a very sparing use of re-election and exercised the same sharp control over its officials as of old; hence the commercial oligarchy which came to power in 103 B.C. relieved magistrates from the judicial audit and permitted and promoted re-election everywhere, so that henceforth a man could look forward to an extended career in the public service as had been the case in the Hellenistic monarchies from the start.

As is well known, the Hellenistic period opened with a great migration from Greece into the Persian Empire. Hundreds of new poleis were founded out of citizens drawn from every part of the Greek world. The growth and prosperity, the very existence in fact, of many of them depended upon their attractiveness to settlers. In these circumstances there could be no thought of illiberality in the granting of civic rights. Hence the franchise was generally thrown open to all worthy comers. Since at the same time Rome put in practice a similar policy in Italy, there came from all quarters pressure on the old city-states of Greece to abandon their civic exclusiveness. This demand did not come alone. Into the new towns were drawn the natives who lived in the vicinity of each, so that their population was far from homogeneous in race and racial customs. A Macedonian who took an Egyptian, an Ionian who took

. a Syrian, woman to wife must devise a new set of conventions for the performance of their social duties. A Greek girl installed in a new home in Elephantine on the Nile or Seleucia on the Tigris was dependent upon her own resources to a much greater degree than was one who remained at home surrounded by her kinsmen and within easy reach of her natural guardian. She must be given freedom of access to the courts and personal right to hold property without which she would be entirely at the mercy of her husband. In other words, her parents were bound to see that privileges were guaranteed to her in the marriage contract which they would not think of demanding for their daughters who married their neighbors' sons. The instability of life, the enormous increase of opportunity to move from one place to another, made new safeguards of the home advisable. The consequence was that everywhere in the new world the old rules of society were being abandoned and new ones, of which as in America in similar circumstances-a marked characteristic was an enlargement of woman's liberties, were being formed to take their place. There had been no such occasion for the creation of a new social régime since the seventh century B.C. In Athens there dwelt one alien and at least two slaves to every pair of citizen status, and, since many of them came from the East, the peril of political and social contamination was imminent. And with

[ocr errors]


« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »