Plutarch, Pericles (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Plut. Per.].
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14.2When Pericles had said this, whether it was that they admired his magnanimity or vied with his ambition to get the glory of his works, they cried out with a loud voice and bade him take freely from the public funds for his outlays, and to spare naught whatsoever. And finally he ventured to undergo with Thucydides the contest of the ostracism, wherein he secured his rival's banishment, [Note] and the dissolution of the faction which had been arrayed against him.

ch. 15 15.1

Thus, then, seeing that political differences were entirely remitted and the city had become a smooth surface, as it were, and altogether united, he brought under his own control Athens and all the issues dependent on the Athenians,—tributes, armies, triremes, the islands, the sea, the vast power derived from Hellenes, vast also from Barbarians, and a supremacy that was securely hedged about with subject nations, royal friendships, and dynastic alliances. 15.2But then he was no longer the same man as before, nor alike submissive to the people and ready to yield and give in to the desires of the multitude as a steersman to the breezes. Nay rather, forsaking his former lax and sometimes rather effeminate management of the people, as it were a flowery and soft melody, he struck the high and clear note of an aristocratic and kingly statesmanship, and employing it for the best interests of all in a direct and undeviating fashion, 15.3he led the people, for the most part willingly, by his persuasions and instructions. And yet there were times when they were sorely vexed with him, and then he tightened the reins and forced them into the way of their advantage with a master's hand, for all the world like a wise physician, who treats a complicated disease of long standing occasionally with harmless indulgences to please his patient, and occasionally, too, with caustics and bitter drugs which work salvation. 15.4For whereas all sorts of distempers, as was to be expected, were rife in a rabble which possessed such vast empire, he alone was so endowed by nature that he could manage each one of these cases suitably, and more than anything else he used the people's hopes and fears, like rudders, so to speak, giving timely check to their arrogance, and allaying and comforting their despair. Thus he proved that rhetoric, or the art of speaking, is, to use Plato's words, [Note]“an enchantment of the soul,” and that her chiefest business is a careful study of the affections and passions, which are, so to speak, strings and stops of the soul, requiring a very judicious fingering and striking. 15.5The reason for his success was not his power as a speaker merely, but, as Thucydides says, [Note] the reputation of his life and the confidence reposed in him as one who was manifestly proven to be utterly disinterested and superior to bribes. He made the city, great as it was when he took it, the greatest and richest of all cities, and grew to be superior in power to kings and tyrants. Some of these actually appointed him guardian of their sons, but he did not make his estate a single drachma greater than it was when his father left it to him.

ch. 16 16.1

Of his power there can be no doubt, since Thucydides gives so clear an exposition of it, and the comic poets unwittingly reveal it even in their malicious gibes, calling him and his associates “new Peisistratidae,” and urging him to take solemn oath not to make himself a tyrant, on the plea, forsooth, that his preeminence was incommensurate with a democracy and too oppressive. 16.2Telecleides says that the Athenians had handed over to him With the cities' assessments the cities themselves, to bind or release as he pleases,
Their ramparts of stone to build up if he likes, and then to pull down again straightway,
Their treaties, their forces, their might, peace, and riches, and all the fair gifts of good fortune.
Telecleides; Kock, Com. Att. Frag. i. p. 220
And this was not the fruit of a golden moment, nor the culminating popularity of an administration that bloomed but for a season; nay rather he stood first for forty years [Note] among such men as Ephialtes, Leocrates, Myronides, Cimon, Tolmides, and Thucydides,
16.3and after the deposition of Thucydides and his ostracism, for no less than fifteen of these years did he secure an imperial sway that was continuous and unbroken, by means of his annual tenure of the office of general. During all these years he kept himself untainted by corruption, although he was not altogether indifferent to money-making; indeed, the wealth which was legally his by inheritance from his father, that it might not from sheer neglect take to itself wings and fly away, nor yet cause him much trouble and loss of time when he was busy with higher things, he set into such orderly dispensation as he thought was easiest and most exact. 16.4This was to sell his annual products all together in the lump, and then to buy in the market each article as it was needed, and so provide the ways and means of daily life. For this reason he was not liked by his sons when they grew up, nor did their wives find in him a liberal purveyor, but they murmured at his expenditure for the day merely and under the most exact restrictions, there being no surplus of supplies at all, as in a great house and under generous circumstances, but every outlay and every intake proceeding by count and measure.



Plutarch, Pericles (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Plut. Per.].
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