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Pericles   


Pericles got a hundred and fifty galleys ready, and having embarked
many tried soldiers, both foot and horse, was about to sail out, giving
great hope to his citizens, and no less alarm to his enemies, upon
the sight of so great a force. And now the vessels having their complement
of men, and Pericles being gone aboard his own galley, it happened
that the sun was eclipsed, and it grew dark on a sudden, to the affright
of all, for this was looked upon as extremely ominous. Pericles, therefore,
perceiving the steersman seized with fear and at a loss what to do,
took his cloak and held it up before the man's face, and screening
him with it so that he could not see, asked him whether he imagined
there was any great hurt, or the sign of any great hurt in this, and
he answering No, "Why," said he, "and what does that differ from this,
only that what has caused that darkness there, is something greater
than a cloak?" This is a story which philosophers tell their scholars.
Pericles, however, after putting out to sea, seems not to have done
any other exploit befitting such preparations, and when he had laid
siege to the holy city Epidaurus, which gave him some hope of surrender,
miscarried in his design by reason of the sickness. For it not only
seized upon the Athenians, but upon all others, too, that held any
sort of communication with the army. Finding after this the Athenians
ill-affected and highly displeased with him, he tried and endeavoured
what he could to appease and re-encourage them. But he could not pacify
or allay their anger, nor persuade or prevail with them any way, till
they freely passed their votes upon him, resumed their power, took
away his command from him, and fined him in a sum of money; which
by their account that say least, was fifteen talents, while they who
reckon most, name fifty. The name prefixed to the accusation was Cleon,
as Idomeneus tells us; Simmias, according to Theophrastus; and Heraclides
Ponticus gives it as Lacratidas.
After this, public troubles were soon to leave him unmolested; the
people, so to say, discharged their passion in their stroke, and lost
their stings in the wound. But his domestic concerns were in an unhappy
condition, many of his friends and acquaintance having died in the
plague time, and those of his family having long since been in disorder
and in a kind of mutiny against him. For the eldest of his lawfully
begotten sons, Xanthippus by name, being naturally prodigal, and marrying
a young and expensive wife, the daughter of Tisander, son of Epilycus,
was highly offended at his father's economy in making him but a scanty
allowance, by little and little at a time. He sent, therefore, to
a friend one day and borrowed some money of him in his father Pericles's
name, pretending it was by his order. The man coming afterward to
demand the debt, Pericles was so far from yielding to pay it, that
he entered an action against him. Upon which the young man, Xanthippus,
thought himself so ill-used and disobliged that he openly reviled
his father; telling first, by way of ridicule, stories about his conversations
at home, and the discourses he had with the sophists and scholars
that came to his house. As, for instance, how one who was a practicer
of the five games of skill, having with a dart or javelin unawares
against his will struck and killed Epitimus the Pharsalian, his father
spent a whole day with Protagoras in a serious dispute, whether the
javelin, or the man that threw it, or the masters of the games who
appointed these sports, were, according to the strictest and best
reason, to be accounted the cause of this mischance. Besides this,
Stesimbrotus tells us that it was Xanthippus who spread abroad among
the people the infamous story concerning his own wife; and in general
that this difference of the young man's with his father, and the breach
betwixt them, continued never to be healed or made up till his death.
For Xanthippus died in the plague time of the sickness. At which time
Pericles also lost his sister, and the greatest part of his relations
and friends, and those who had been most useful and serviceable to
him in managing the affairs of state. However, he did not shrink or
give in upon these occasions, nor betray or lower his high spirit
and the greatness of his mind under all his misfortunes; he was not
even so much as seen to weep or to mourn, or even attend the burial

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