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preliminaries and lived “ more pecudum” with the first females who came in their way; a state of barbarism from which it is said they were reclaimed by Cecrops. But, to whomsoever this fable may trace its origin, it is evidently unworthy of the slightest credit. Of times sunk in such an abyss of ignorance no record could remain, or even of many succeeding revolutions of manners touching close upon the orbit of civilisation. If, however, the tradition arose originally out of any real innovation in manners, it may refer to the partial abolition of polygamy, which, whether made by Cecrops or not, was an important step in the progress of the Greeks towards polished life.
But if Cecrops ever lived, and should not be regarded as a mere mythological creation, we must still reject the comparatively modern tradition which fetches him from Egypt. Coming from the East, he would more probably have instituted polygamy than the contrary. In every point of view the tradition is absurd; for it at once represents the people of Attica as savages, and as having made considerable advances in the science of civil government. They have already emerged from the state of patriarchal rule, not by any means the lowest, and have arrived at the monarchical period in the history of society—for Cecrops marries the daughter of king Actæos—yet have not made the first step in refine
1 Athen. xiii. 2. Mr. Mitford defers too much to “the tradi“ tions received in the polished “ages” when, upon the authori. ty of such traditions and of such writers as Justin (ii. 6.), he appears to conclude that, before the time of Cecrops, the people of Attica were in knowledge and civilisation inferior to the wildest savages. Hist. of Greece, i. 58. Upon legends and authors of this description no reliance can be placed. If society existed, every.
thing “indispensable " to society also existed; therefore, if marriage be so, it could not be unknown. Besides, how happens it that this same Cecrops who instituted marriage did not likewise teach them to sow corn, which, if Egypt was, when he left it, a civilised country, must have been as familiar to him as matrimony? This most necessary acquisition, however, they were left to make many ages afterwards, during the reign of Erechtheus. Justin, ii. 6.
ment,' have not passed the barrier dividing the rudest savage from even the barbarian,-had not made the discovery that, for the preservation of society, children must be cared for and maintained, which is impossible until they have other fathers than the community. We must, therefore, reject this Cecropian legend, and acknowledge that, from the earliest times of which any record remains, the people of Hellas married and were given in marriage.
Whatever the original practice of the Greeks may have been, traces of polygamy long continued discernible in their manners. Heracles maintained a seraglio worthy of an Ottoman sultan. His wives, indeed, like those of a wandering Brahmin, were scattered at convenient points over the country, that, whithersoever he roamed, he might find lodging and entertainment; but, as rumours of his different establishments travelled about, the jealousy of the ladies was at last excited and proved fatal to him. Ægeus, too, and his brother Pallas, old Priam, Agamemnon, Theseus, and nearly every public man in the heroic · times, are represented as possessing a harem. Indeed, to judge by the practice of princes, it would seem
as if polygamy were the law of every land; so liabitual is it with them to transgress, in this point, against public opinion. A report, still current among certain writers, represents Socrates with two wives, the gentle nature of Xantippe encouraging him, perhaps, to venture on a second! But even that diligent retailer of scandal, Athenaus,' rejects this story, which, no doubt, originated with some sophist, who owed the philosopher a grudge. If not in the son of Sophroniscos, however, at least in Philip of Macedon, the kings of heroic times found an exact imitator. This Pellaan fox, though he did not, like the Persian monarch, lead about with him an army of concubines in his military expeditions, yet, from policy or other motives, contracted numerous marriages, as many, perhaps, as Heracles. Satyros las bequeathed to us a curious account of his majesty's matrimonial exploits. During his long reign, of from twenty to four-and-twenty years, the dishes of one nuptial feast had scarcely time to cool before a new one was in preparation. It was nothing but truffles and rich soup froin June till June. I am unable to furnish a list of all the ladies who claimed, through Philip's diffusive love, to be queens of Macedon ; but it may be proper to name a few, to show how the morals of his subjects must have been improved by his example. The first lady whose landed attractions won Philip's heart was andatè, an Illyrian, by whom he had a daughter, called ('ynna. To her succeeded Phila, sister of Derda and Macatè. His next wives were two Thessalian women, Pherè of Vikesipolis, mother of Thessalonia, and Philinna of Larissa, mother of Aridæos. Had he sought merely the women these might have sufficed; but Philip had other views, and, finding marriage a still more expeditious method of extending his dominions even than conquest, he forth with added to the list Olympias, who brought him the kingdom of Molossia in dowry, and, as everyone knows, was mother of Alexander. Had the crafty prince stopped here, posterity, overlooking his immorality, might have applauded his prudence. But, elated by success, he proceeded to augment the number of his queens. To Olympias succeeded Meda, daughter of Cithalas, king of Thrace; and, lastly, Cleopatra, sister of Hippostratos, and niece of Attalos. By this time he was somewhat advanced in years, for Alexander, son of Olympias, approached manhood. At the feast given in honour of this new marriage, when the wine had circulated, as was customary among Macedonians, Attalos, who had probably drunk deep, observed, “ At length we shall have legitimate princes, not bastards !” Alexander, who was present, in resentment of the affront, threw his goblet in the face of Attalos, who saluted him in the same way. Upon this, perceiving how matters were likely to proceed, Olympias fled to Molossia, Alexander into Illyria. Philip lived to have by Cleopatra one daughter, Europa; but, shortly afterwards, at the instigation, it is supposed of Olympias and Alexander, was murdered by Pausanias.
1 Deipnosoph. xiii. 2. — Compare the account in Diogenes Laertius, ü. 5. 10,- The conduct of Socrates, who married San. tippe to prove the goodness of his temper, was imitated, we are told, by a Christian lady, who “ desired of St. Athanasius to • procure for her, out of the wi
"dows ted from the ecclesiastical
Ordinary individuals, however, were restrained from the commission of such immoralities by the laws, more particularly at Athens, where marriage was contemplated with all the reverence due to the great palladium of civilisation. As a necessary consequence, celibacy could be no other than disreputable, so that, to a man ambitious of public honour, the possession of a wife and children was no less indispensable than the means of living.' Among the Spartans, bachelors were delivered over to the tender mercies of the women, and subjected to very heavy penalties. During the celebration of certain festivals they were seized by a crowd of petulant viragoes, each able to strangle an ox," and dragged in derision round the altars of the gods, receiving from the fists of their gentle tormentors such blows as the regular practice of boxing had taught the young ladies to inflict.3
1 Athen. xiii. 5.
“And ladies sometimes hit exceeding hard.” But we shall be the less inclined to judge uncharitably of this somewhat unfeminine custom, if we consider that, in the ancient world, no less than in the modern, unmarried and childless women were held but in slight esteem. And this feeling, which never for a moment slumbers in society, teaches better than the cant of a thousand sentimentalists what the true origin of love is.
Of the impediments to marriage arising, among ancient nations, from relationship or consanguinity, very little is with certainty known. In the heroic ages, all unions excepting those of parents with their children appear to have been lawful; for, in the Odyssey, we find the six sons of Æolos joined in marriage with their six sisters, the manners of the olden times, abandoned on earth, still lingering among the gods.
Iphidamos has to wife his mother's sister, and Alcinoos, by no means a profligate or immoral prince, is united with his brother's daughter ; 5 Deiphobos, after Paris's death, takes possession of Helen, and Helenos, the seer, is united in wedlock with Andromache, the widow of his brother Hector. But without alleging any further examples, we may, from