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The remodeling of the ship of theseus in the case of the spirit of athens

You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at www. Plutarch's Lives, Volume I of 4 Author: November 12, 2004 [eBook 14033] Language: English Character set encoding: Didymus the grammarian, in the book about Solon's laws which he wrote in answer to Asklepiades, quotes a saying of one Philokles, that Solon was the son of Euphorion, which is quite at variance with the testimony of all other writers who have mentioned Solon: Herakleides of Pontus relates that the mother of Solon was first cousin to the mother of Peisistratus.

Peisistratus is even said to have dedicated the statue of Love in the Academy where those who are going to run in the sacred torch-race light their torches.

According to Hermippus, Solon, finding that his father had by his generosity diminished his fortune, and feeling ashamed to be dependent upon others, when he himself was come of a house more accustomed to give than to receive, embarked in trade, although his friends were eager to supply him with all that he could wish for.

Some, however, say that Solon travelled more with a view to gaining experience and learning than to making money. He was indeed eager to learn, as he wrote when an old man, "Old to grow, but ever learning," but disregarded wealth, for he wrote that he regarded as equally rich the man who owned Gold and broad acres, corn and wine; And he that hath but clothes and food, A wife, and youthful strength divine.

Yet elsewhere he has written, but I long for wealth, not by fraud obtained, For curses wait on riches basely gained. There is no reason for an upright statesman either to be over anxious for luxuries or to despise necessaries. At that period, as Hesiod tells us, "Work was no disgrace," nor did trade carry any reproach, while the profession of travelling merchant was even honourable, as it civilised barbarous tribes, and gained the friendship of kings, and learned much in many lands.

Some merchants founded great cities, as, for example, Protis, who was beloved by the Gauls living near the Rhone, founded Marseilles. It is also said that Thales the sage, and Hippocrates the mathematician, travelled as merchants, and that Plato defrayed the expenses of his journey to Egypt by the oil which he disposed of in that country.

Solon's extravagance and luxurious mode of life, the remodeling of the ship of theseus in the case of the spirit of athens his poems, which treat of pleasure more from a worldly than a philosophic point of view, are attributed to his mercantile training; for the great perils of a merchant's life require to be paid in corresponding pleasures.

Yet it is clear that he considered himself as belonging to the class of the poor, rather than that of the rich, from the following verses: Some say that he endeavoured to throw his laws into an epic form, and tell us that the poem began— "To Zeus I pray, great Cronos' son divine, To grant his favour to these laws of mine.

As to natural science, his views are very crude and antiquated, as we see from the following verses: Their reputation was greatly increased by the tripod which was sent to all of them and refused by all with a gracious rivalry.

The story goes that some men of Cos were casting a net, and some strangers from Miletus bought the haul of them before it reached the surface.

The net brought up a golden tripod, the same which, it is said, Helen threw into the sea at that spot, in accordance with some ancient oracle, when she was sailing away from Troy.

A dispute arose at first between the strangers and the fishermen; afterwards it was taken up by their respective cities, who even came to blows about it.

Finally they consulted the oracle at Delphi, which ordered it to be given to the wisest. Now it was first sent to Miletus, to Thales, as the men of Cos willingly gave it to that one man, although they had fought with all the Milesians together about it. Thales said that Bias was wiser than himself, and sent it to him; and by him it was again sent to another man, as being wiser yet.

So it went on, being sent from one to another until it came to Thales a second time, and at last was sent from Miletus to Thebes and consecrated to Apollo Ismenius. This is the more common version of the story, although some say that it was not a tripod but a bowl sent by Croesus, others that it was a drinking-cup left behind by one Bathykles.

Anacharsis is said to have met Solon, and afterwards Thales in private, and to have conversed with them. He was at this time engaged in politics, and was composing his laws.

Anacharsis, when he discovered this, laughed at Solon's undertaking, if he thought to restrain the crimes and greed of the citizens by written laws, which the remodeling of the ship of theseus in the case of the spirit of athens said were just like spiders' webs; for, like them, they caught the weaker criminals, but were broken through by the stronger and more important.

To this Solon answered, that men keep covenants, because it is to the advantage of neither party to break them; and that he so suited his laws to his countrymen, that it was to the advantage of every one to abide by them rather than to break them. Nevertheless, things turned out more as Anacharsis thought than as Solon wished. Anacharsis said too, when present at an assembly of the people, that he was surprised to see that in Greece wise men spoke upon public affairs, and ignorant men decided them.

When Solon went to Thales at Miletus, he expressed his wonder at his having never married and had a family. Thales made no answer at the time, but a few days afterwards arranged that a man should come to him and say that he left Athens ten days before.

When Solon inquired of him, whether anything new had happened at Athens, the man answered, as Thales had instructed him, that "there was no news, except the death of a young man who had been escorted to his grave by the whole city. He was the son, they told him, of a leading citizen of great repute for his goodness, but the father was not present, for they said he had been travelling abroad for some years.

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The stranger said that it was. Solon was proceeding to beat his head and show all the other marks of grief, when Thales stopped him, saying with a smile, "This, Solon, which has the power to strike down so strong a man as you, has ever prevented my marrying and having children. But be of good courage, for this tale which you have been told is untrue. It is a strange and unworthy feeling that prompts a man not to claim that to which he has a right, for fear that he may one day lose it; for by the same reasoning he might refuse wealth, reputation, or wisdom, for fear of losing them hereafter.

We see even virtue, the greatest and most dear of all possessions, can be destroyed by disease or evil drugs; and Thales by avoiding marriage still had just as much to fear, unless indeed he ceased to love his friends, his kinsmen, and his native land. But even he adopted his sister's son Kybisthus; for the soul has a spring of affection within it, and is formed not only to perceive, to reflect, and to remember, but also to love.

If it finds nothing to love at home, it will find something abroad; and when affection, like a desert spot, has no legitimate possessors, it is usurped by bastard children or even servants, who when they have obtained our love, make us fear for them and be anxious about them.

So that one may often see men, in a cynical temper, inveighing against marriage and children, who themselves shortly afterwards will be plunged into unmanly excesses of grief, at the loss of their child by some slave or concubine. Some have even shown terrible grief at the death of dogs and horses; whereas others, who have lost noble sons, made no unusual or unseemly exhibition of sorrow, but passed the remainder of their lives calmly and composedly.

Indeed it is weakness, not affection, which produces such endless misery and dread to those who have not learned to take a rational view of the uncertainty of life, and who cannot enjoy the presence of their loved ones because of their constant agony for fear of losing them. We should not make ourselves poor for fear of losing our property, nor should we guard ourselves against a possible loss of friends by making none; still less ought we to avoid having children for fear that our child might die.

But we have already dwelt too much upon this subject. After a long and harassing war with the Megarians about the possession of the Island of Salamis, the Athenians finally gave up in sheer weariness, and passed a law forbidding any one for the future, either to speak or to write in favour of the Athenian claim to Salamis, upon pain of death.

Solon, grieved at this dishonour, and observing that many of the younger men were eager for an excuse to fight, but dared not propose to do so because of this law, pretended to have lost his reason.

His family gave out that he was insane, but he meanwhile composed a poem, and when he had learned it by heart, rushed out into the market-place wearing a small felt cap, and having assembled a crowd, mounted the herald's stone and recited the poem which begins with the lines— "A herald I from Salamis am come, My verse will tell you what should there be done.

After he had sung it, his friends began to commend it, and Peisistratus made a speech to the people, which caused such enthusiasm that they abrogated the law and renewed the war, with Solon as their leader. The common version of the story runs thus: Solon sailed with Peisistratus to Kolias, where he found all the women of the city performing the customary sacrifice to Demeter Ceres.

At the same time, he sent a trusty man to Salamis, who represented the remodeling of the ship of theseus in the case of the spirit of athens as a deserter, and bade the Megarians follow him at once to Kolias, if they wished to capture all the women of the first Athenian families.

The Megarians were duped, and sent off a force in a ship. As soon as Solon saw this ship sail away from the island, he ordered the women out of the way, dressed up those young men who were still beardless in their clothes, headdresses, and shoes, gave them daggers, and ordered them to dance and disport themselves near the seashore until the enemy landed, and their ship was certain to be captured. So the Megarians, imagining them to be women, fell upon them, struggling which should first seize them, but they were cut off to a man by the Athenians, who at once sailed to Salamis and captured it.

Others say that the island was not taken in this way, but that first of all Solon received the following oracular response from Apollo at Delphi: His next act was to raise five hundred Athenian volunteers, who by a public decree were to be absolute masters of the island if they could conquer it.

With these he set sail in a number of fishing-boats, with a triaconter or ship of war of thirty oars, sailing in company, and anchored off a certain cape which stretches towards Euboea.

The Megarians in Euboea heard an indistinct rumour of this, and at once ran to arms, and sent a ship to reconnoitre the enemy. This ship, when it came near Solon's fleet, was captured and its crew taken prisoners. On board of it Solon placed some picked men, and ordered them to make sail for the city of Salamis, and to conceal themselves as far as they could.

The remodeling of the ship of theseus in the case of the spirit of athens

Meanwhile he with the remaining Athenians attacked the Megarian forces by land; and while the battle was at its hottest, the men in the ship succeeded in surprising the city. This story appears to be borne out by the proceedings which were instituted in memory of the capture. In this ceremony an Athenian ship used to sail to Salamis, at first in silence, and then as they neared the shore with warlike shouts.

Then a man completely armed used to leap out and run, shouting as he went, up to the top of the hill called Skiradion, where he met those who came by land. Close by this place stands the temple of Ares, which Solon built; for he conquered the Megarians in the battle, and sent away the survivors with a flag of truce.

However, as the Megarians still continued the war, to the great misery of both sides, they agreed to make the Lacedaemonians arbitrators and judges between them. Most writers say that Solon brought the great authority of Homer's 'Iliad' to his aid, by interpolating in the catologue of ships the two verses— "Ajax from Salamis twelve vessels good Brought, and he placed them where the Athenians stood," which he had read as evidence before the court.

Wishing, however, yet more thoroughly to prove his case against the Megarians, he based an argument on the tombs in the island, in which the corpses were buried, not in the Megarian, but in the Athenian manner. For the Megarians bury their dead looking towards the east, and the Athenians towards the west. But Hereas of Megara denies this, and says that the Megarians also bury their dead looking towards the west, and moreover, that each The remodeling of the ship of theseus in the case of the spirit of athens had a coffin to himself, while the Megarians place two or three bodies in one coffin.

However, Solon supported his case by quoting certain oracles from Delphi, in which the god addresses Salamis as Ionian. The Spartan arbitrators were five in number, their names being Kritolaidas, Amompharetus, Hypsichidas, Anaxilos, and Kleomenes. Solon's reputation and power were greatly increased by this, but he became much more celebrated and well-known in Greece by his speeches on behalf of the temple at Delphi, in which he urged the necessity of checking the insolent conduct of the people of Kirrha towards the temple, and of rallying in defence of the god.

The Amphiktyons, prevailed upon by his eloquence, declared war, as we learn from Aristotle, among other writers, in his book about the winners of the prize at the Pythian games, in which he attributes this decision to Solon. However, he was not made general in that war, as Hermippus relates, quoting from Evanthes of Samos; for Aeschines the orator does not mention him, and, in the records of Delphi, Alkmaeon, not Solon, is mentioned as general of the Athenians on that occasion.

Athens had long been suffering from the anger of the gods, which it had incurred by the treatment of Kylon's party. These conspirators took sanctuary in Athene's temple, but were induced by Megakles the archon to quit it and stand their trial.

They fastened a thread to the shrine of the goddess, and kept hold of it so as still to be under her protection. But as they were coming down from the Acropolis, just beside the temple of the Furies, the string broke, and Megakles and the other archons, thinking that the goddess rejected their appeal, seized them. Some of them were stoned to death outside the temple, and some who had fled for sanctuary to the altars were slain there.

Only those who fell as suppliants at the feet of the archons' wives were spared. After this the archons were called accursed, and were viewed with horror; moreover, the survivors of Kylon's party regained strength, and continued their intrigues against Megakles and the archons. At the time of which we are speaking these dissensions had reached their height, and the city was divided into two factions, when Solon, who was already a man of great reputation, came forward with some of the noblest Athenians, and by his entreaties and arguments prevailed upon those magistrates who were called accursed, to stand trial and be judged by a jury of three hundred citizens selected from the best families.

Myron of Phlya prosecuted, and the archons were found guilty, and forced to leave the country. The bodies of such of them as had died were dug up, and cast out beyond the borders of Attica. During these disorders the Athenians were again attacked by the Megarians, and lost Nisaea, and were again driven out of Salamis.

The city was also a prey to superstitious terrors, and apparitions were seen, so that the prophets, after inspecting their victims, said that the city was polluted and under a curse, and that it required purification.

Upon this they sent for Epimenides the Phaestian, of Crete, who is reckoned among the seven wise men of Greece, by some of those who do not admit Periander into their number.

He was thought to enjoy the favour of Heaven, and was skilled in all the lore of the sacred mysteries, and in the sources of divine inspiration; wherefore he was commonly reported to be the child of the nymph Balte, and to be one of the old Curetes of Crete revived.

He came to Athens and was a friend to Solon, assisting him greatly in his legislation. He remodelled their religious rites, and made their mourning more moderate, introducing certain sacrifices shortly after the funeral, and abolishing the harsh and barbarous treatment which women were for the most part subject to before in times of mourning.

Above all, by purifications and atoning sacrifices, and the erection of new temples, he so sanctified and hallowed the city as to make the minds of the people obedient to the laws, and easily guided into unity and concord.

It is said that he saw Munychia, and viewed it carefully for some time in silence.