The evil implanted in man by nature spreads so imperceptibly, when the habit of wrong-doing is unchecked, he himself can set no limit to his shamelessness. — Cicero

Story of the Greeks - Helene Guerber




Hippias Driven out of Athens

Four years passed thus, and the Athenians were hoping that the time would soon come when they could get rid of Hippias. They were only too glad, therefore, when they at last found a way to drive him out of the town.

You must remember how Megacles had killed the men who came out of Athene's temple clinging to the cord they had fastened to her statue. Megacles, as you know, had been banished from Athens with all his family (the Alcmæonidæ) on account of this crime, but he had always hoped to be allowed to return.

Delphi
Delphi.


Meanwhile the beautiful temple at Delphi had been burned to the ground, and the people were very anxious to rebuild it. They therefore voted a certain sum of money for this purpose; and, as the Alcmæonidæ offered to do the work for the least pay, the contract was given to them.

The Alcmæonidæ faithfully carried out the plans, and used the money; but, instead of building the temple of brick, they made it of pure white marble, paying for the more costly material themselves.

The priests of Delphi were so pleased with the handsome new building, and with the generosity of the builders, that they were eager to do them a good turn. So, knowing that the Alcmæonidæ wanted to get back to Athens, they told the Spartans who came to consult the oracle, that Hippias should be driven away, and the Alcmæonidæ allowed to return to their native city.

As the people believed all the oracle said, the Spartans armed at once, and, helped by the Alcmæonidæ, began to make war against the Athenians. By a clever trick, they soon managed to capture the family of Hippias, and they refused to set them free unless the tyrant left Athens forever.

Thus forced to give in, Hippias left Athens, and withdrew with his family to Asia Minor. Here he spent all his time in trying to persuade the different cities to make war against Athens, offering to lead their armies, for he still hoped to regain his lost power.

The Athenians, delighted at the expulsion of the Pisistratidæ, as the driving-away of Hippias and his family is called in history, now dared to make statues in honor of their favorites Harmodius and Aristogiton, and openly expressed their regret that these brave young men had not lived to see their native city free.

Many songs were composed to celebrate the patriotism of the two friends; and these were sung on all public occasions, to encourage other youths to follow their example, lead good and virtuous lives, and be ready at any time to die, if need be, for the sake of their native land.

Leæna, too, received much praise, for the Athenian women never forgot how bravely she had endured torture rather than betray the men who had trusted her.

The Alcmæonidæ, having thus found their way back into the city, now began to play an important part in the government; and Clisthenes, their leader, urged the Athenians to obey again the laws which had been made by Solon.

These were slightly changed, however, so as to give more power to the people; and the government thus became more democratic than ever. Then, too, Clisthenes said that there should always be ten Athenian generals who should hold supreme command each for a day in turn.

He also made a law, to the effect that no man should be driven out of the city unless there were six thousand votes in favor of his exile. These votes were given in a strange way.

When a man was so generally disliked that his departure seemed best, all the Athenians assembled in the market place. Then each voter received a shell (Greek, ostrakon), and dropped it into a place made for that purpose. All in favor of banishment wrote upon their shells the name of the man they wished to exile. The others left theirs blank.

When all the votes had thus been cast, the shells were carefully counted, and, if six thousand bore the name of the same man, he was driven out of the city, or ostracized, as it was called from the name of the shell, for ten years.



Contents

Front Matter
Review

Early Inhabitants of Greece
The Deluge of Ogyges
Founding of Important Cities
Story of Deucalion
Daedalus and Icarus
The Adventures of Jason
Theseus Visits the Labyrinth
The Terrible Prophecy
The Sphinx's Riddle
Death of Oedipus
The Brothers' Quarrel
The Taking of Thebes
The Childhood of Paris
Muster of the Troops
Sacrifice of Iphigenia
The Wrath of Achilles
Death of Hector and Achilles
The Burning of Troy
Heroic Death of Codrus
The Blind Poet
The Rise of Sparta
The Spartan Training
The Brave Spartan Boy
Public Tables in Sparta
Laws of Lycurgus
The Messenian War
The Music of Tyrtaeus
Aristomenes' Escape
The Olympic Games
Milo of Croton
The Jealous Athlete
The Girls' Games
The Bloody Laws of Draco
The Laws of Solon
The First Plays
The Tyrant Pisistratus
The Tyrant's Insult
Death of the Conspirators
Hippias Driven out of Athens
The Great King
Hippias Visits Darius
Destruction of the Persian Host
Advance of the Second Host
The Battle of Marathon
Miltiades' Disgrace
Aristides the Just
Two Noble Spartan Youths
The Great Army
Preparations for Defense
Leonidas at Thermopylae
Death of Leonidas
The Burning of Athens
Battles of Salamis and Plataea
The Rebuilding of Athens
Death of Pausanias
Cimon Improves Athens
The Earthquake
The Age of Pericles
Teachings of Anaxagoras
Peloponnesian War Begins
Death of Pericles
The Philosopher Socrates
Socrates' Favorite Pupil
Youth of Alcibiades
Greek Colonies in Italy
Alcibiades in Disgrace
Death of Alcibiades
Overthrow of Thirty Tyrants
Accusation of Socrates
Death of Socrates
The Defeat of Cyrus
Retreat of the Ten Thousand
Agesilaus in Asia
A Strange Interview
The Peace of Antalcidas
The Theban Friends
Thebes Free Once More
The Battle of Leuctra
Death of Pelopidas
The Battle of Mantinea
The Tyrant of Syracuse
Damon and Pythias
The Sword of Damocles
Dion and Dionysius
Civil War in Syracuse
Death of Dion
Philip of Macedon
Philip Begins His Conquests
The Orator Demosthenes
Philip Masters Greece
Birth of Alexander
The Steed Bucephalus
Alexander as King
Alexander and Diogenes
Alexander's Beginning
The Gordian Knot
Alexander's Royal Captives
Alexander at Jerusalem
The African Desert
Death of Darius
Defeat of Porus
Return to Babylon
Death of Alexander
Division of the Realm
Death of Demosthenes
Last of the Athenians
The Colossus of Rhodes
The Battle of Ipsus
Demetrius and the Athenians
The Achaean League
Division in Sparta
Death of Agis
War of the Two Leagues
The Last of the Greeks
Greece a Roman Province