chapter  IV
30 Pages

THE UNIFICATION OF GREECE

It was this which had in former days allied the combatants of Salamis and Platsea, of Himera and of Cumee against the Persians, the Carthaginians and the Etruscans. The brotherhood of arms which had saved Greece was sung enthusiastically by contemporary poets. Pindar, although the son of a town unfaithful to the national cause, found magnificent strains in which to salute Athens " enwreathed with violets, the rampart of Hellas," and associated with her in glory iEgina, Sparta and Syracuse. 1 In the Persians of jEschylus the sublime psean which preludes victory is

a call to the " children of the Hellenes " united to deliver the temples of their gods and the tombs of their ancestors. 1 All these memories Herodotus transmitted to posterity in order above all to render homage to the Athens which he cherished as a foster mother, but also to show tha t the object at stake in the struggle had been the destiny of a race, of a language, of a religion, of a whole civilization. 2

In the midst of the Peloponnesian war when Grecian hands were freely shedding Grecian blood, voices were raised protesting tha t these were fratricidal struggles, tha t honour demanded tha t instead of emulously begging for Persian gold, all should march out united against tha t people. If Aristophanes never wearied of imploring for peace, it was not only because he believed it to be essential for the peasants of all the belligerent cities, but also because he remembered the kinship of the " Panhellenes " which asserted itself before the sanctuaries of the Amphictyonies and which ought to unite them against the barbarians. 3 Thucydides probably shared these ideas, at least as far as the Persians were concerned: this man, who kept before his eyes so lofty a conception of historic veracity and the duties which it imposed, did not dare, doubtless from feelings of patriotic shame, to mention the peace of Callias, and, whilst he recounts the humiliating conduct of the Lacedaemonians at the court of the Great King, 4 he is silent concerning the negotiations, equally dishonourable, which the Athenians in their turn engaged upon. Even on the opposite side one sees Callicratidas, one of the noblest figures of the time, blushing for the Persian alliance, opposing to the inexpiable hatreds of the cities the idea of Greek solidarity, working for a general reconciliation.