Letter VII., To Timotheos.
4. To Timotheos
[Ep. VII.]—Klearchos, a citizen of Herakleia on the Euxine, had been a pupil of Isokrates, and also of Plato. He was recalled from Athens to Herakleia by the nobles, who wished for his help against the people. He changed sides, became a demagogue, and then, in 364 B.C., tyrant1
. His reign was cruel2
. He died in 353, leaving his brother Satyros guardian of his two sons Timotheos and Dionysios, and regent for the elder. Satyros seems to have ruled at least for some years, and worse even than Klearchos. But he was true to his nephews, and in due time gave up the royal power into the hands of Timotheos, who reigned from about 346 to 338. Timotheos then ‘began to make the government milder and more democratic; so that for his deeds he was called no more tyrant, but benefactor and saviour3
.’ He afterwards shared the power with his brother Dionysios, who succeeded him.
The date of this Letter can be only
approximately fixed. Timotheos had now had time to show himself a good ruler. The year 345 B.C. would probably not be far wrong.
‘You have probably often heard of the old friendship
between your family and me; and I rejoice to learn that you are ruling more nobly and more wisely than your father. His failings will but redound to your praise. (§§ 1—2.) Think by what means, with what aid, by what counsels you may repair your city's misfortunes—encourage the citizens to steady industry,—and make their lives and happiness more secure. A foolish king harasses and pillages his subjects. A wise one consults at once their happiness and his own safety; ruling so that none will plot against him, but guarding his own life as if it were in danger from all. You have no motive for incurring hatred in amassing wealth; your father has left you rich. (§§ 3—6.) If your objects are more money and more power, seek advice elsewhere; but if you prefer honesty and a good name, attend to my words and to worthy examples. Such an example is Kleommis of Methymna, under whom the whole community lives securely; who restores exiles and trusts the citizens with arms,—fearing no evil, or content to suffer if his generous confidence is belied. (§§ 7—9.)
‘Autokrator, the bearer of this letter, is my friend; our pursuits are the same, and I have often been helped by his skill. For these reasons I would have you use him well. Do not marvel that I thus write to you, though I never made any request of your father Klearchos. When he was with us, all agreed about his kindliness; but after he got power he was said to have changed. I was estranged from him; but your friendship would be prized by me. Farewell; if you want any thing from here, write.’ (§§ 10—13.)