Page images

For in truth the sides of the maiden's tunic were not fastened together at the skirt, and so fow open and exposcil tho thigh as they walked, which is most clearly alluded to in the lines of Sophoklos

"She that wanders nigh,

With scanty skirt that shows the thigh,
A Spartun maiden fair and free,

On this account they are said to have become bolder than they should lo, and to have first shown this spirit towards their huslanıls, ruling uncontrolled over their households, and afterwards in public matters, where they freely ex. pressed their opinions upon the most important subjects. On the other hand, Numa preserved that respect and honour duo froin men to matrons which they had met with under Romulus, who paid them these honours to atone for having carricd then off by force, but ho implantel in them habits of molesty, sobriety, and silence, forbidding them oven to touch wino, or to speak even when necessary except in their husbands' presence. It is stated that onco, because a woman pleadled her own causo in the Forum, the Senato sent to ask the oraclo what this strango cvent might portend for the state.

A great proof of tho obedience and modesty of tho most part of them is the way in which the names of thoso who dil any wrong is remembered. For, just as in Greece, historians record tho names of those who first made war against their own kindred or murdered their parents, so the Ruinans tell us that tho first man who put away his wifu was Spurius Carvilius, nothing of the kind having happened in Romo for two hundral and thirty years from its foundation; and that the wifo of Pinarius, Thalwa by name, was tho first to quarrel with her mother-in-law Gegania in the reign of Tarquinius Superbus-80 well and orderly wero marriages arranged by this lawgiver.

IV. The rest of their laws for tho training and marriage of maidons agreo with one another, although Lykurgus put off the timo of marriage till thoy wero full-grown, in order that their intercourse, demanded as it was by nature, mig at produre love and friendship in the married pair

[ocr errors]


slionld be at peace and friendly with her neighbours, ceased immediately upon his death; at once the doublegated temple, which he kept closed as if he really kept war locked in it, had both its gates thrown


and filled Italy with slaughter. His excellent and righteous policy did not last for a moment, for the people were not educated to support it, and therefore it could not be lasting. But, it may be asked, did not Rumo flourish by her wars? It is hard to answer such a question, in an ago which values wealth, luxury, and dominion more than a gentle peaceful life that wrongs no ono and suffices for itself. Yet this fact seems to toll for Lykurgus, that the Romans gained such an enormous increase of power by departing from Numa's policy, while the Lacedæmonians, as soon as they fell away from the disciplino of Lykurgus, having been the haughtiest became tho most contemptible of Greeks, and not only lost their supremacy, but had even to strugglo for their baro existence. On the other hand, it was truly glorious for Numa that he was stranger and sent for by the Romans to be their king; that he effected all his reforms without violence, and ruled a city composed of discordant elements without any armed forco such as Lykurgus had to assist him, winning over all men and reducing them to order by his wisdom and justice.

[ocr errors]


"Gold and broad acres, corn and wino;

And he thot bath but clothes and food,
A wife, and youthful strengthe divine."

Yet elsen diere he has writton, but

[ocr errors]

" I long for wealth, not by fmud obtained,

For curses wait on riches basely gained."
There is no reason for an upright statesman either to bo
over anxious for luxuries or to despise necessaries. At
that period, as Hesiod tells us, “Work was no disgrace,"
nor did trado carry any reproach, whilo the profession of
travelling merchant was even honourable, as it civilised
barbarous tribes, and gained the friendship of kings, and
icarned much in many lands. Some merchants founded
grcat cities, as, for example, Protis, who was beloved by tho
Gauls living near the Rhone, founded Marseilles. It is
also said that Thales the sage, and Hippocrates the mathe-
matician, travelled as merchants, and that Plato defrayed
tho expenses of his journey to Egypt by the oil which he
disposed of in that country.

III. Solon's extravagance and luxurious mode of life,
and his poems, which treat of pleasure more from a
worldly than a philosophic point of view, are attributed
to his mercantile training; for the great perils of a
merchant's life rcquire to be paid in corresponding
pleasures. Yet it is clear that he considered himself as
belonging to the class of the poor, rather than that of the
rich, from the following verses :

“ The base are rich, tho good are poor; and yet

Our virtue for their gold wo would not change;
For that at least is ours for evermore,

Whilo wealth wo see from band to hand doth range.”


Iis poetry was originally written merely for his own
amusemont in his loisure hours ; but afterwards he intro-
duced into it philosophio sentiments, and interwove
political events with his poems, not in order to record
them historically, but in some cases to explain his own
conduct, and others to instruct, encourage, or rebuke
tbs Athenians. Some say that he ondeavoured to throw

« PreviousContinue »