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at which time the Grecians began to decline, and continues to their final subjection by the Romans. The epocha of the utter ruin and downfall of the Greeks may be dated, partly from the taking and destruction of Corinth by the consul L. Mumniius, in 3858, partly from the extinction of the kingdom of the Seleucidæ in Asia by Pompey, in the year of the world 3939, and of the kingdom of the Lagidæ in Egypt by Augustus, anno mun. 3974. This last age includes in all 293 years.
Of these four ages, I shall in this place only touch upon the first two, in a very succinct manner, just to give the reader some general notion of that obscure period; because those times, at least a great part of them, have more of fable in them than of real history, and are wrapt up in such darkness and obscurity, as are very hard, if not impossible, to penetrate; and I have often declared already, that such a dark and laborious inquiry, though very useful for those that are anxious to make deep researches into history, does not come within the plan of my design.
The primitive origin of the Grecians. In order to arrive at any certainty with respect to the first origin of the Grecian nations, we must necessarily have recourse to the accounts we have of it in Holy Scripture.
Javan or lion (for in the Hebrew the same letters differently pointed form these two different names,*) the son of Japheth, and grandson of Noah, was certainly the father of all those nations that went under the general denomination of Greeks, though he has been looked upon as the father of the Ionians only, which were but one particular nation of Greeks. But the Hebrews, the Chaldeans, Arabians, and others, give no other appellation to the whole body of the Grecian nations, than that of Ionians. And for this reason, Alexander, in the predictions of Daniel,t is mentioned under the name of the king of Javan.
Javan had four sons, Elishah, Tarshish, Chittim, and Dodanim. As Javan was the original father of the Grecians in general, withoát doubt his four sons were the heads and founders of the chief tribes and principal branches of that nation, which became in succeeding ages so renowned for arts and arms.
Elishah is the same as Ellas, as it is rendered in the Chaldee translation, and the word "Eaanues, which was used as the common appelation of the whole people, in the same manner as the word 'Eands was of the whole country, has no other derivation. The very ancient city of Elis, in Peloponnesus, the Elysian fields, the river Elissus, or Ilissus, have long retained the marks of their being derived from Elishah, and have contributed more to preserve hua memory, than the historians themselves of the nation, who were inquisitive after foreign affairs, and but little acquainted with their own original; as they had little or no knowledge of the true religion, and did not carry their inquiries so high. Upon which account, they themselvès derived the words Hellenes and Iones from another fountain, as we shall see in the sequel; for I think myself obliged to give some account of their opinions also in this respect.
• Gen x. 2.
| Dan. viii. 21. | Hircus caprarum rex Græciæ; in the Hebrew rez Javan.
0 Gen x. 4.
Tarshish was the second son of Javan. He settled, as his brethren did, in some part of Greece, perhaps in Achaia, or the neighbouring provinces, as Elishah did in Peloponnesus.
It is not to be doubted but that Chittim was the father of the Macedonians, according to the authority of the first book of the Maccabees,* in the beginning of which it is said, that Alexander, the son of Philip the Macedonian, went out of his country, which was that of Cetthim, t (or Chittim,] to make war against Darius, king of Persia. And in the eighth chapter, speaking of the Romans and their victories over the last kings of Macedonia, Philip and Perseus,f the two last-mentioned princes are called kings of the Chittims.
Dodanim. It is very probable, that Thessaly and Epirus were the portion of the fourth son of Javan. The impious worship of Jupiter of Dodona, as well as the city Dodona; itself, are proofs that some remembrance of Dodanim had remained with the people, who derived their first establishment and origin from him.
This is all that can be said with any certainty concerning the origin of the Grecian nations. The Holy Scripture, whose design is not so satisfy our curiosity, but to nourish and improve our piety, after scattering these few rays of light, leaves us in utter darkness concerning the rest of their history: which therefore can be collected only from profane authors.
If we may believe Pliny,|| the Grecians were so called from the name of an ancient king, of whom they had but a very uncertain tradition. Homer, in his poems, calls them Hellenes, Danai, Argives, and Achaians. It is observable, that the word Græcus is not once used in Virgil.
The exceeding rusticity of the first Grecians would appear incredible, if we could call in question the testimony of their own historians upon that point. But a people so vain of their origin as to adorn it by fiction and fables, would never think of inventing any thing in its disparagement. Who would imagine that the people, to whom the world is indebted for all her knowledge in literature and the sciences, should be descended from mere savages, who knew no other law than force, were ignorant even of agriculture, and fed
† Egressus de terrâ Cethim. I Philippum et Perseum Cetheorum και Δωδώνη από Δωδώνου του Διός και Ευρώπης. Stephanus. || Lib. iv. c 7
" Pausan. I. vüi. p. 455, 456.
* 1 Macc. i. 1.
on herbs and roots like the brute beasts? And yet this appears plainly to be the case, from the divine honours they decreed to the person* who first taught them to feed upon acorns as a more delicate and wholesome nourishment than herbs. There was still a great distance from this first improvement to a state of urbanity and politeness. Nor did they indeed arrive at the latter, till after a long process of time.
The weakest were not the last to understand the necessity of living together in society, in order to defend themselves against violence and oppression.” At first they built single houses at a distance from one another; the number of which insensibly increasing, formed in time towns and cities. But the bare living together in society was not sufficient to polish such a people. Egypt and Phænicia had the honour of doing this. Both these nations contributed to instruct and civilize the Grecians,t by the colonies they sent among them. The latter taught them navigation, writing, and commerce; the former, the knowledge of their laws and polity, gave them a taste for arts and sciences, and initiated them into her mysteries.
Greece,f in her infant state, was exposed to great commotions and frequent revolutions; because, as the people had no settled correspondence, and no superior power to give laws to the rest, every thing was determined by-force and violence. The strongest invaded the lands of their neighbours, which they thought more fertile and delightful than their own, and dispossessed the lawful owners, who were obliged to seek new settlements elsewhere. As Attica was a dry and barren country, its inhabitants had not the same invasions and outrages to fear, and therefore consequently kept themselves in possession of their ancient territories; for which reason they took the name of autózbores, that is, men born in the country where they lived, to distinguish themselves from the rest of the nations, that had almost all transplanted themselves from place to place.
Such were in general the first beginnings of Greece. We must now enter into a more particular detail, and give a brief account of the establishment of the several different states whereof the whole country consisted.
ARTICLE IV. The different states into which Greece was divided. In those early times kingdoms were but inconsiderable, and of very small extent, the title of kingdom being often given to a single city, with a few leagues of land depending upon it. A. M. 1915. Sicyon. The most ancient kingdom of Greece was Ant. J. C. 2089. that of Sicyon ; whose beginning is placed by Eusebius 1313 years before the first Olympiad. Its duration is believed to have been 1000 years. * Pelasgus.
† Heród. I. ii. c. 58. I. v. c. 58–60. Plin. I. v. c. 12. I. vii. C. 56. # Thucyd. lib. i. p. 2
Euseb. in Chron.
A. M. 2148.
A. M. 2530.
ARGOs. The kingdom of Argos, in Peloponnesus, Ant. J. C. 1856. began 1080 years before the first Olympiad, in the time of Abraham. The first king of it was Inachus. His successors were, his son PHORONEUS; APIs; Argus, from whom the country took its name; and after several others, GELANOR, who was dethroned and expelled his kingdom by DANAUS, the Egyptian. The
successors of this last were LYNCEUS, the son of his Ant. J. C. 1474. brother Ægyptus, who alone, of fifty brothers, escaped the cruelty of the Danaides; then Abas, PROTEUS, and ACRISICS.
Of Danae, daughter to the last, was born Perséus, who having, when he was grown up, unfortunately killed his grandfather, Acrisius, and not being able to bear the sight of Argos, where he committed that involuntary murder, withdrew to Mycenæ, and there fixed the seat of his kingdom.
MYCENÆ. Perseus then translated the seat of the kingdom from Argos to Mycenæ. He left several sons behind him; among others, Alcæus; Sthenelus, and Electryon. Alcæus was the father of Amphitryon; Sthenelus of Eurystheus; and Electryon of Alcmena. Amphitryon married Alcmena, upon whom Jupiter begat Hercules.
Eurystheus and Hercules came into the world the same day; but as the birth of the former was by Juno's management antecedent to that of the latter, Hercules was forced to be subject to him, and was obliged by his order to undertake the twelve labours, so celebrated in fabulous history.
'The kings who reigned at Mycenæ, after Perseus, were, ELECTRYON, STHEŅELUS, and EURYSTHEUS. The last, after the death of Hercules, declared open war against his descendants, apprehending they might some time or other attempt to dethrone him; which, as it happened, was done by the Heraclidæ ; for, having killed Eurystheus in battle, they entered victorious into Peloponnesus, and made themselves masters of the country. But, as this happened before the time determined by fate, a plague ensued, which, with the direction of an oracle, obliged them to quit the country. Three years after this, being deceived by the ambiguous expression of the oracle, they niade a second attempt, which likewise proved fruitless. This was about twenty years before the taking of Troy.
ATREUS, the son of Pelops, uncle by the mother's side to Eurystheus, was the latter's successor. And in this manner the crown came to the descendants of Pelops, from whom Peloponnesus, which before was called Apia, derived its name. The bloody hatred of the two brothers, Atreus and Thyestes, is known to all the world.
PLISTHENES, the son of Atreus, succeeded his father in the kingdom of Mycena, which he left to his son AGAMEMNON, who was succeeded by his son ORESTES. The kingdom of Mycenæ was filled with enormous and horrible crimes, from the time it came into the family of Pelops.
TISIMENES and PENTHILUS, sons of Orestes, reigned after their father, and were at last driven out of Peloponnesus by the Heraclidæ.
A. M. 2448.
ATHENS. CECROPS, a native of Egypt, was the founAnt. J. C. 1556. der of this kingdom. Having settled in Attica, he divided all the country subject to him into twelve districts. He it was who established the Areopagus.
This august tribunal, in the reign of his successor CRANAUS, adjudged the famous difference between Neptune and Mars. In his time happened Deucalion's flood. The deluge of Ogyges in Attica was much more ancient, and happened 1020 years before the first Olympiad, and consequently in the year of the world 2208.
Amphiction, the third king of Athens, procured a confederacy between twelve nations, which assembled twice a year at Thermopylæ, there to offer their common sacrifices, and to consult together upon their affairs in general, as also upon the affairs of each nation in particular. This convention was called the assembly of the Amphictyons.
The reign of ERECHTHEUS is remarkable for the arrival of Ceres in Attica, after the rape of her daughter Proserpine, as also for the institution of the mysteries at Eleusis.
The reign of ÆGEUS, the son of Pandion, is the most Ant. d. C. 1284. illustrious period of the history of the heroes. In his time are placed the expedition of the Argonauts; the celebrated labours of Hercules; the war of Minos, second king of Crete, against the Athenians; the story of Theseus and Ariadne.
THESEUS succeeded his father Ægeus. Cecrops had divided Attica into twelve boroughs, or twelve districts, separated from each other. Theseus brought the people to understand the advantages of common government, and united the twelve boroughs into one city or body politic, in which the whole authority was united.
CODRUs was the last king of Athens : he devoted himself to die for his people.
After him the title of king was extinguished among Ant. J. C. 1070. the Athenians. Menon, his son, was set at the head of the commonwealth, with the title of Archon, that is to say, pre. sident or governor. The first Archontes were for life; but the Athenians, growing weary of a government which they still thought bore too great a resemblance to royal power, made their Archontes elective every ten years, and at last reduced it to an annual office. A. M. 2549. Thebes. Cadmus, who came by sea from the coast Ant. J. C. 1455. of Phænicia, that is, from about Tyre and Sidon, seized upon that part of the country, which was afterwards called Bæo. tia. He built there the city of Thebes, or at least á citadel, which from his own name he called Cadmea, and there fixed the seat of his power and dominion.
The fatal misfortune of Laius, one of his successors, and of Jocasta his wife, of Edipus their son, of Etocles and Polynices, who were born of the incestuous marriage of Jocasta with Edipus, have fur. nished ample matter for fabulous narration and theatrical represen. tations.
A. M. 2934.