BOOK XI - The Library of History

Bibliotheca historica
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Page 237

CHAP. VI.

The inlarging of the Haven at Athens by Themistocles. The Treason of Pausanias, and the Justice of Aristides.

AT the end of the Year, Adimantus was chosen Archon of Athens, and Fabius Vibulanus, and L. Valerius were Consuls of Rome. At this time Themistocles for his excellent Government and ingenuity in state Policy, was in great esteem, not only at Athens, but over all Greece. Being hereby encouraged, he made it his Business (by further and greater Services) to enlarge the Bounds and Sovereignty of his Country: For confidering that there was no Haven at the Pyreum, and the Athenians were forced to make use of Phaleron for their Port, which was strait and incommodious, he contriv'd to turn that into an Harbour, which would require the least Charge, and yet would be the most beautiful and spacious Haven in all Greece, which being accomplished, he hop'd would conduce to the making the Athenians Masters of the Seas; who then had a great Fleet, and were famous for their many Victories at Sea.

By this means he hop'd the Ionians (being defcended from the same Ancestors) would be brought over to them, and so by their Assistance he should be able to restore all the Grecians in Asia to their Liberty, and thereby for ever oblige them to be Friends to the Athenians.

Moreover he concluded that the Islanders mov'd with the Athenians strength at Sea, would presently join with them, who were judg'd Persons that might be of great advantage or prejudice to them. And he very well understood that the Lacedemonians were very considerable at Land, but understood little of Sea-Affairs; but yet he kept all private to himself, being assured that the Lacedemonians would never suffer it to be done.

Therefore in a Publick Assembly, he told the Citizens that he had found out something of very great moment and advantage to the Commonwealth; but that it was not at present expedient to make it publick; being of that nature, that the fewer that were acquainted, the better; and therefore wished the People to chuse Two whom they could best trust, to whom he would discover the whole Design.

The People hereupon chose Two, Aristides and Xanthippus, not only because they were Men of Integrity and honest Principles, but that they emulated Themistocles, and secretly envy'd him for the Glory and Reputation he had amongst the People. When they had privately heard what he had design'd, and his Reasons, they made report unto the Assembly, that what Themistocles had contriv'd, was not only great, but of extraordinary advantage to the Commonwealth, and with ease to be effected. The People were presently taken with great admiration of the Man; and yet as soon struck with a suspition, lest by these Inventions and great Designs, he aim'd at the Sovereignty. Therefore they commanded he should forthwith discover his Purposes. But he told them again and again, that it was not for the publick good openly to reveal them.

The People now more admiring the Courage and Constancy of the Man, commanded him to reveal the business to the Senate privately; and if the Senate did judge that it was a matter feasible, and of certain advantage to the Publick, then whatever was necessary for the Execution of his Design should be granted to him. Upon which, when he had informed the Senate of the particulars, and when upon the Relation, all was judg'd both easie, and of highest Concern and Advantage to the Commonwealth, every thing at length was granted to him which he desired (in order to the effecting of his Design) with the approbation and consent of the People.

The Assembly then broke up with great admiration of Themistocles, every one expecting what would be the issue of their Counsels. And now being furnished with all things necessary, both as to Men and Money, he contriv'd how to delude the Lacedemonians a Second time; for he was assur'd, that as they had



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