XIX. (131) And moreover any one who considers the matter may find even among the brute beasts examples of the freedom which exists among men, as he may of all other human blessings. At all events, cocks are accustomed to contend with one another, and to display such an actual affection for danger, that in order to save themselves from yielding or submitting, even if they are inferior in power to their adversary they will not bear to be inferior in courage, for they endure even to death. (132) And Miltiades, the famous general of the Athenians, seeing this, when the king of the Persians having roused up all the might of Asia, was invading Europe with many myriads of soldiers, as if he were going to destroy all Greece with the mere shout of his army, having collected all the allies at the festival called the panathenaea, showed them a battle between these birds, thinking that the encouragement which they would derive from such a sight would be more powerful than any argument. (133) And he was not deceived, for when they had seen the patient enduring and honourable feeling of these irrational animals, which could not be subdued by any means short of death itself, they snatched up their arms and rushed eagerly to war, as resolving to fight against their enemies with their bodies, and being utterly indifferent to wounds and death, being willing to die for their freedom, so that at all events they might be buried in the still free soil of their native country; for there is nothing which acts so forcibly in the way of exhortation so as to improve the character, as an unhoped for success in the case of those whom men look upon as inferior to themselves. (134) Moreover the tragic writer, Ion, mentions the contentious spirit of those birds in the following lines:

“Nor though wounded in each limb,

Nor though his eyes with blows are dim,

Will he forget his might;

But still, though much fatigued, will crow,

Preferring death to undergo

Than slavery, or slight.”

(135) And why, then, should we think that wise men will not cheerfully encounter death in preference to slavery? And is it not absurd to imagine that the souls of young and nobly born men will turn out inferior to those of game-cocks in the contest of virtue, and will be barely fit to stand in the second place? (136) And yet who is there who has even the least tincture of education who does not know this fact, that freedom is a noble thing and slavery a disgraceful one, and that what is honourable belongs to virtuous men, and what is disgraceful to worthless ones? From which it is seen most undeniably, that no virtuous man can ever be a slave, not if ten thousand persons, with all imaginable deeds to prove themselves masters, threaten them; and that no foolish or worthless man can ever be free, not even if he were Croesus, or Midas, or the great king of Persia himself. (137) But the beauty of freedom, which is much celebrated, and the deformity of slavery, which is accursed, are continually borne witness to as having that character by the more ancient cities and nations whose existence has been of long duration, being as it were immortal among mortal things, and their testimony cannot err; (138) for, for what other object are councils and assemblies convened nearly every day, rather than about freedom, with a view to the confirmation of it if it is present, and to the acquisition of it if it is absent? And what other object have Greece and the nations of the barbarians ever had in all the continual seditions and wars which have taken place among or between those peoples, except to avoid slavery, and to obtain liberty? (139) On which account in all battles the chief exhortation of all captains, and commanders, and generals is this, “O soldiers and allies, let us now repel that greatest of all evils, slavery, which the enemy is attempting to bring upon us; let us never endure the loss of that greatest of all human blessings, liberty. This is the beginning and fountain of all happiness, from which all particular blessings flow.” (140) And it is for this reason that the most sharp-sighted of all the Greek nations, namely, the Athenians (for what the pupil is to the eye, or reasoning to the soul, that also is Athens to Greece), when they send out a solemn procession to the venerable goddesses, {17}{the Furies.} never allow any slave whatever to take any part in it, but perform everything concerning it by the agency of free men and women who are accustomed to such duties, even then not taking any chance persons, but only such as have cultivated a blameless innocence of life; since the most excellent of the youths prepare the cakes for the feast, looking upon that office as conducing (which indeed it does) to their credit and honour. (141) And it happened not long ago, when some actors were representing a tragedy, and repeating those iambics of Euripides:{18}{fragmenta Incerta, 495.}