F Heritage History | Story of the Greeks by Helene Guerber
Contents 
Front Matter 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

Story of the Greeks - Helene Guerber




Death of Pericles

Although the Athenian fleet had caused much damage, and had come home victorious, the Spartan army was still in Attica. The Spartans had been awed and frightened by the eclipse, but they did not give up their purpose, and continued the war.

The Athenians remained within the city walls, not daring to venture out lest they should meet with a defeat, and they soon began to suffer greatly. As there were not enough water and food for the crowded multitude, a terrible disease called the plague soon attacked the people. This sickness was contagious, and it spread rapidly. On all sides one could see the dead and dying. The sufferers were tormented by a burning thirst; and as there was soon no one left to care for the sick, they painfully dragged themselves to the sides of the fountains, where many of them died.

Not only were the sick uncared for, but it was also nearly impossible to dispose of the dead; and the bodies lay in the streets day after day, waiting for burial.

When the Athenians were in the greatest distress, Pericles heard that there was a Greek doctor, named Hippocrates, who had a cure for the plague; and he wrote to him, imploring his help.

Hippocrates received Pericles' letter at the same time that a message arrived from Artaxerxes, King of Persia. The king asked him to come and save the Persians, who were suffering from the same disease, and offered the doctor great wealth.

The noble doctor did not hesitate a moment, but sent away the Persian messenger, saying that it was his duty first to save his own countrymen. Then he immediately set out for the plague-stricken city of Athens, where he worked bravely night and day.

His care and skill restored many sufferers; and, although thousands died of the plague, the remaining Athenians knew that they owed him their lives. When the danger was over, they all voted that Hippocrates should have a golden crown, and said he should be called an Athenian citizen,—an honor which they seldom granted to any outsider.

The plague had not only carried away many of the poorer citizens, but had also stricken down the nobles and the rich. Pericles' family suffered from it too. All his children took it and died, with the exception of one.

The great man, in spite of his private cares and sorrows, was always in and out among the people, helping and encouraging them, and he finally caught the plague himself.

His friends soon saw, that, in spite of all their efforts, he would die. They crowded around his bed in tears, praising him in low tones, and saying how much he had done for the Athenians and for the improvement of their city.

"Why," said one of them warmly, "he found the city bricks, and leaves it marble!"

Pericles, whose eyes had been closed, and who seemed unconscious, now suddenly roused himself, and said, "Why do you mention those things? They were mostly owing to my large fortune. The thing of which I am proudest is that I never caused any fellow-citizen to put on mourning!"

Pericles then sank back, and soon died; but his friends always remembered that he had ruled Athens for more than thirty years without ever punishing anyone unjustly, and that he had always proved helpful and merciful to all.