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since they thus not only enable us to see, as in a mirror, an illustrious people, who have preceded us by thousands of generations, but induce all enlightened men to inquire, with a lively interest, into every thing that is connected with their history.
Doris, properly so called, was confined originally to the valley of the Pindus, whence it gradually spread, so as to include the sources of the Cephisus, and a narrow strip of land along Mount Eta, as far as the sea. Of the tribes that dwelt immediately beyond its boundaries nothing is known. The emigrants, who, pressed perhaps by a tide of population rushing from the north, quitted that confined territory, and spread themselves over the Peloponnese and some of the neighbouring islands, especially Crete, were, to those countries, what the Saxons were to England. They brought with them settled notions of law and liberty, which they established, wherever they went, by means of a variety of institutions, which it is the main object of this work to exhibit in a defined and accurate manner. Different writers have attempted, from time to time, to investigate the history of the laws of Solon and Lycurgus, and to attribute to accident, or to the genius and influence of particular individuals, the constitutions which governed Athens, Sparta, Corinth, and others of the ancient states of Greece. Muller has gone more profoundly into the subject than any of his predecessors. Tracing the incursions of the Dorians into several parts of southern Greece, shewing the power which they exercised by the establishment of their own mode of worship, he proves that it was to their superior knowledge and sagacity, that Greece was indebted for the best models of social organization which she possessed.
A political object has been ascribed, by some of our critics, to the author, in writing a work of this description, and it has been said that he evinces, throughout his labours, an anxiety to decry whatever was popular, and uphold all that was aristocratical, in the laws and institutions of which he treats. That Muller affects courtly sentiments, such as might sooth the royal ears of Austria and Prussia, cannot indeed be denied; but that he has rendered his history subservient to his interests or ambition, we must take it
upon ourselves to deny. He has displayed throughout his work an ardent attachment to truth, an indefatigable industry in arriving at it, and a manly firmness of mind in developing constitutions, which have certainly nothing in common with the systems of the German potentates. The impression, which naturally arises after an attentive perusal of his volumes, is very far from being unfriendly to rational liberty.
The first volume is occupied chiefly with the origin, the migrations, and the religion of the Dorians. Upon the second of these points, great difficulties stand in the way of a satisfactory explanation. It would appear, however, to be sufficiently proved from tradition, that their first colony was planted in Crete ; and that their most important expedition to the Peloponnese, which gave
of their power.
them for a long period the dominion of that peninsula, was much celebrated as the “return of the descendants of Hercules.” Their title of Heraclidæ was merely assumed, for they had no sort of right to it; but it served a political purpose, as, instead of unjustly invading, it made them appear as if they were only reconquering a country, which had belonged to their princes in former times. A great deal of learning is bestowed upon the history of this expedition, which is confused by a thousand traditionary tales. It is sufficient here to state that the Dorians, by successive conquests, established their supremacy in the most important districts of the Peloponnese, especially in Sparta, which became the principal seat
The author has endeavoured, with infinite labour, to trace the presence and influence of the Dorians, in other parts of the ancient Grecian territory, which have been most generally supposed to have been planted and organized by the lonians. His guiding star through the darkness of this part of his subject, is the worship of Apollo, the existence of which is, in his opinion, every where connected with Doric preponderance. We confess that we have derived some entertainment, but not a proportionate share of instruction, from this part of his labours. We could not but admire the prodigious mass of mythological knowledge which he has brought to bear upon it, but the result of the whole dissertation is not satisfactory. It ends, as it began, in conjecture.
The chapters devoted to the political institutions of the Dorians, are, however, of a much more valuable and interesting character. To Englishmen particularly, inquiries into the constitutions of free states, must always be attractive, especially during a season when the elements of our own political system are daily undergoing the most searching discussion. We should much mistake the nature of those institutions, which the Dorians created and matured in Sparta, if we were to suppose that their object was to give to every man in the state, as great a portion of liberty as he could possess without injury to his fellow citizens. This would indeed express the notion of freedom, which prevails amongst us; which has been carried to the utmost bounds of practical expediency in the United States; and which has lately been acted upon with so much success in France. We must consider the Dorians always as Heraclidathat is to say, a species of nobility in themselves, who, after conquering Sparta, applied all their intelligence and power to the formation of a system of government, which should be most efficient for the purposes of public order, and the perpetuation of their own oligarchical supremacy. They constructed the machinery of the state, with a view to its being rendered an instrument in their hands for the maintenance of tranquillity, the repression of sedition in its very germs, the strict subordination of the citizens, upon a principle neither of slavery nor of freedom, but of symmetry, the rights of individuals being considered as nothing, the compactness of the state
every thing. They held it, in practice as well as in theory, to be the duty of the whole community to blend itself together, by the identity of its opinions and principles, and the direction of its actions, so as to become a single moral agent, guided by perfect unity of purpose. Upon this point Muller's observations are worthy of being transcribed.
Such an unity of opinions and actions can only be produced by the ties of some natural affinity, such as of a nation, a tribe, or a part of one, although in process of time the meaning of the terms state and nation became more distinct. The more complete the unity of feelings and principles is, the more vigorous will be the common exertions, and the more comprehensive the notion of the state. As this was in general carried to a wider extent among the Greeks than by modern nations, so it was perhaps nowhere so strongly marked as in the Dorian states, whose national views, with regard to political institutions, were most strongly manifested in the government of Sparta. Here the plurality of the persons composing the state was most completely reduced to unity; and hence, the life of a Spartan citizen was chiefly concerned in public affairs. The greatest freedom of the Spartan, as well as of the Greeks in general, was only to be a living member of the body of the state ; whereas that, which in modern times commonly receives the name of liberty, consists in having the fewest possible claims from the community; or, in other words, in dissolving the social union to the greatest degree possible, as far as the individual is concerned. What the Dorians endeavoured to obtain in a state was good order, the regular combination of different elements. The expression of King Archidamus, in Thucydides, that “it is most honourable, and, at the same time, most secure, for many persons to shew themselves obedient to the same order," was a fundamental principle of this race; and hence, the Spartans honoured Lycurgus so greatly, as having instituted the existing order of things, and called his son by the laudatory title of Eucosmus. For the same reason, the supreme magistrate among the Cretans was called Cosmus; among the Epizephyrian Locrians, Cosmopolis. Thus this significant word expresses the spirit of the Dorian government, as well as of the Dorian music and philosophy (the Pythagorean system). With this desire to obtain a complete uniformity, an attempt after stability is necessarily connected. For an unity of this kind having been once established, the next object is to remove whatever has a tendency to destroy it, and to repress all causes which might lead to a change : yet an attempt to exclude all alteration is never completely successful: partly on account of the internal changes which take place in the national character, and partly because causes operating from without, necessarily produce some modifications. These states, however, endeavour to retain, unchanged, a state of things once established and approved ; while others, in which from the beginning, the opinions of individuals have outweighed the authority of the whole, admit in the progress of time, of greater variety, and more changes and innovations, readily take up whatever is offered to them by accident of time and place, or even eagerly seek for opportunities of change. States of this description must soon lose all firmness and character, and fall to pieces from their own weakness; while those which never admit of innovation will, at last, after having long stood
as ruins in a foreign neighbourhood, yield to the general tide of human affairs, and their destruction is commonly preceded by the most complete anarchy.
* This description expresses, though perhaps too forcibly, the difference between the Doric and Ionic races. The former had, of all the Grecians, the greatest veneration for antiquity; and not to degenerate from their fathers, was the strongest exhortation which a Spartan could hear: the latter, on the other hand, were in every thing fond of novelty, and delighted to excess in foreign communication; whence their cities were always built
on the sea, whereas the Dorians generally preferred an inland situation. The anxiety of the Dorians, and the Spartans in particular, to keep up the pure Doric character, and the customs of their ancestors, is strongly shewn by the prohibition to travel, and the exclusion of foreigners; an institution common both to the Spartans and Cretans, and which has been much misrepresented by ancient authors. It is very possible, as Plutarch thinks, that the severity of these measures was increased by the decline of all morals and discipline, which had arisen among the Ionians from the contrary practice; that race having, in the earliest times, fallen into a state of the greatest effeminacy and indolence, from their connection with their Asiatic neighbours; for how early was the period when the ancient constitution of the Grecian family degenerated among the Ionians into the slavery of the wife! how weak, effeminate, and luxurious do their ancient poets, Callinus and Asius, represent them! and if the legend describes even the daughters of Neleus, the founder of the colony, so completely destitute of morality, what must have been the condition of this people, when the wives of the Ionians had mixed with Lydian women! The warning voice of such examples might well stimulate the ancient lawgivers to draw in, with greater closeness, the iron bond of custom.'-vol. ii. pp. 1-5.
We bave then a most erudite, and, as far as we can judge, from some acquaintance with the works of the ancients, a very accurate account of the developement of the constitutions of the different Greek states, beginning with the heroic age, so charmingly described in different passages of the Iliad and Odyssey. Muller shews that, beyond all doubt, all these constitutions originated in a kind of Wittenagemote, like that from which we have derived our parliament, and which was principally composed of the aristocracy, the people being present to hear the debates, to express their feelings, perhaps, on important occasions, but having no deliberative voice in the assembly. In some of the states, the aristocratic principle was, in the course of time, merged in tyranny, or subverted by the power of the democracy.' The Doric form of government, that is to say the political institutions founded upon the ancient laws, usages, and traditions of the Dorians, was, as we have already intimated, most decidedly established in Sparta and Crete, where the power of that people was predominant. The legislation of Lycurgus was altogether based on Doric principles, his object being to keep the old as well as the young in complete subjection; to produce harmony and order by means of self control and manly virtue,
which were to be systematically infused into the minds of the citizens. Hence their education was considered as the first and most essential duty of the government, and a Doric state may be truly described as consisting of a body of men, who acknowledged one strict principle of order, and one unalterable rule of manners; and so subjecting themselves to this system, that scarcely any thing was unfettered by it, every action was influenced and regulateà by the recognised principles.'
The Dorians, in fact, contrived by their institutions to retain in their own hands, for many centuries, the government of the mass of the inhabitants, and it was to this end, as we have stated, that all their laws were forcibly directed. Hence, as we learn from Thucydides, when Brasidas harangued the Peloponnesians, he said to them,-“You are not come from states in which the many rule over the few, but the few over the many, having obtained their sovereignty in no other manner than by victory in the field.” It is not very surprising that a nation of this description should have altracted the enthusiastic admiration of a German scholar, considering the notions upon the subject of government, which prevail too generally amongst the learned men of that part of the continent.
In speaking of the subject classes in the Doric states, Muller corrects some popular errors with respect to the Helots, who are generally supposed to have been originally inhabitants of the maritime town of Helos, and to have been reduced by their conquerors to a condition of unqualified slavery. He suggests that they were called Helots, not from the town, but from the word EjAws, signifying prisoners, probably, who were taken in war. He shews that they were possessed of several political rights; that they belonged to the state, and not to individuals, that the state allowed them to be possessed by individuals, but reserved to itself the power of enfranchising them. The state could not sell them beyond the frontiers, nor could individuals, the author thinks, sell them at all, or even liberate them. Like the boors of Russia, before they were emancipated, the Helots were annexed to the landed property, which was inalienable in Sparta. On these lands they had certain fixed dwellings of their own, and particular services and payments were prescribed to them. They paid as rent a fixed measure of corn to their masters.' Thus they resembled in a great measure the villeins regardant, that is to say those who were annexed to the manor or land, under the Norman system in former ages in our own country.
Upon the subject of the divisions of the free citizens and public assemblies in the Doric states, the author's researches appear to have been extremely elaborate. It would seem, that to the popular assembly all citizens were admitted, who were above the age of thirty, and who had not been deprived of their rights by law. They so far exercised supreme power, that nothing could become a law without their consent, though they could not originate laws or