So much, then, for his public troubles; they were likely soon to cease, now that the multitude had stung him, as it were, and left their passion with their sting; but his domestic affairs were in a sorry plight, since he had lost not a few of his intimate friends during the pestilence, and had for some time been rent and torn by a family feud. The eldest of his legitimate sons, Xanthippus, who was naturally prodigal, and had married a young and extravagant wife, the daughter of Tisander, the son of Epilycus, was much displeased at his father's exactitude in making him but a meagre allowance, and that a little at a time.
Accordingly, he sent to one of his father's friends and got money, pretending that Pericles bade him do it. When the friend afterwards demanded repayment of the loan, Pericles not only refused it, but brought suit against him to boot. So the young fellow, Xanthippus, incensed at this, fell to abusing his father, publishing abroad, to make men laugh, his conduct of affairs at home, and the discourses which he held with the sophists.
For instance, a certain athlete had hit Epitimus the Pharsalian with a javelin, accidentally, and killed him, and Pericles, Xanthippus said, squandered an entire day discussing with Protagoras whether it was the javelin, or rather the one who hurled it, or the judges of the contests, that
‘in the strictest sense’ ought to be held responsible for the disaster. Besides all this, the slanderous charge concerning his own wife Stesimbrotus says was sown abroad in public by Xanthippus himself, and also that the quarrel which the young man had with his father remained utterly incurable up to the time of his death,—for Xanthippus fell sick and died during the plague.
Pericles lost his sister also at that time, and of his relatives and friends the largest part, and those who were most serviceable to him in his administration of the city. He did not, however, give up, nor yet abandon his loftiness and grandeur of spirit because of his calamities, nay, he was not even seen to weep, either at the funeral rites, or at the grave of any of his connections, until indeed he lost the very last remaining one of his own legitimate sons, Paralus.
Even though he was bowed down at this stroke, he nevertheless tried to persevere in his habit and maintain his spiritual greatness, but as he laid a wreath upon the dead, he was vanquished by his anguish at the sight, so that he broke out into wailing, and shed a multitude of tears, although he had never done any such thing in all his life before.