Diodorus Siculus

BOOK XI - The Library of History

Page 244


The Malice of the Lacedemonians against Themistocles, and his Banishment. His Praise.

THE next Year Praxiergus being Archon of Athens, Aulus Virgilius Tricostus, and C. Servilius, Roman Consuls; the Eleans who before lived dispers'd in several little Villages, now imbody'd themselves into one City, call'd Elis. The Lacedemonians observing how Sparta was contemn'd and evil spoken of by reason of the Treachery of Pausanias, and how the Name of Athens grew famous for their Loyalty and Faithfulness one to another, endeavour'd all they could to stain the Athenians with the same Blot of Ignominy. And therefore for as much as Themistocles was a Man of great Repute and Esteem amongst the Athenians, they accuse him of Treason, as if he consulted with Pausanias how to betray Greece to Xerxes. And the more to provoke the Enemies of Themistocles, and to stir them up to accuse him, they made use both of Bribes and false Insinuations, affirming that Pausanias discover'd his Treasonable Design of betraying Greece unto Themistocles, and solicited him to join with him both in Counsel and aid other ways: But though Themistocles would not then agree to do that, yet he did not look upon himself obliged to discover his Friend. However (notwithstanding the Potency of his Adversaries) Themistocles was clearly acquitted, and his Name grew more famous amongst the Athenians, for he was greatly beloved by the Citizens for the former eminent Services he had done the Commonwealth. But afterwards (when by reason of his Popularity, he became suspected by some, and envy'd by others) unmindful of his former Deserts) they determin'd both to weaken his Authority, and to bring down the height of his Spirit. In the first place therefore, they Banish'd him the City, by the Judgment of Ostracism. This Law was instituted at Athens, after the Tyrants were expell'd out of the City by Pisistratus: And the Law was thus; Every Citizen writ the Name of him in a Shell, whom they most suspected to be in a capacity. (by reason of his Power and Interest) to overturn the Popular Government; and he whose Name was writ in most of the Shells, was forthwith Banished for the space of Five Years. And this Law was used at Athens, not so much as a punishment for any particular Offence, as to humble the Spirits of proud and aspiring Men, and by their Banishment to reduce them to more Moderation and Submission.

Themistocles thus banish'd from his Country, went to Argos; which when known by the Lacedemonians (supposing now they had a fair opportunity to ruin him,) they sent again Embassadors to Athens, to accuse him as being in Conspiracy with Pausanias in his Treason; alledging that those Injuries which did concern all Greece in general, should not be determin'd by the Athenians only, but by a Common Council of Greece, which was wont upon such occasions to be assembled at Sparta. Themistocles considering that the Lacedemonians were resolv'd to expose the Athenians to Shame and Contempt, and that they of Athens were as ready to oppose them, in defending their Country against the Crime objected, he concluded that the matter concerning him, would be agreed to be heard in a Common and General Assembly of the Grecians at Sparta: And he had had experience, that the Lacedemonians were guided more by Interest and Favour, than by the Rules of Justice, as by a late Experiment was apparent in a Judgment they lately gave, in a Cause between them of Argos and Athens: For they that were Judges in that Assembly, were so envious against the Athenians, that though the Athenians provided more Ships for the late War, than all the Grecians beside; yet they judg'd them worthy of no more Honour than any of the rest of the Greeks: For these Reasons he judg'd it not advisable to trust to that Assembly at Sparta; for from his late defence made at Athens, they took occasion to renew their Accusation; for in his Justification he had confess'd he had received Letters from Pausanias, to perswade him to joyn with him in his Treason, conceiving this would be a strong Argument for the support of his Innocency; in

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