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Tiribazus, they say, when an attempt was made by the Persians to arrest him, drew his sword, being a man of great strength, and fought desperately. But when the men protested and cried out that they were arresting him by the King's command, he instantly threw down his sword and held out his hands to be bound. 1 Is not what actually happens just like this ? The rest of men fight desperately against misfortunes, and force their way through difficulties, contriving for themselves means to escape and avert things undesired ; but the superstitious man, without a word from anybody, says all to himself, ‘This you have to undergo, poor soul, by the dispensation of Providence and by God's command,’ and casts away all hope, gives himself up, runs away, and repulses those who would help him.

Many ills of no great moment are made to result fatally by men's superstition. Midas of old, dispirited and disturbed, as it appears, as the result of some dreams, reached such a state of mind that he committed suicide by drinking bull's blood. 2 And Aristodemus, king of the Messenians in the war against the Spartans, when dogs howled like wolves, and quitch-grass began to grow around his ancestral [p. 479] hearth, and the seers were alarmed by these signs, lost heart and hope by his forebodings, and slew himself by his own hand.3 It would perhaps have been the best thing in the world for Nicias, general of the Athenians, to have got rid of his superstition in the same way as Midas and Aristodemus,rather than to be affrighted at the shadow on the moon in eclipse and sit inactive while the enemy's wall was being built around him, and later to fall into their hands together with forty thousand men, who were either slain or captured alive, and himself meet an inglorious end.4 For the obstruction of light caused by the earth's coming between sun and moon is nothing frightful, nor is the meeting of a shadow with the moon at the proper time in its revolutions anything frightful, but frightful is the darkness of superstition falling upon man, and confounding and blinding his power to reason in circumstances that most loudly demand the power to reason.

Glaucus, see, the mighty ocean Even now with billows roars, Round about the Gyrian summits Sheer in air a dark cloud soars, Sign of storm . . . ;5
when the pilot sees this, he prays that he may escape the storm, and calls upon the Saviours,6 but while he is praying he throws the helm over, lowers the yard, and [p. 481]
Furling the big main sail, Hastens to make his escape Out from the murky sea.7
Hesiod advises 8 that the farmer before ploughing and sowing should Pray to Zeus of the world below and to holy Demeter with his hand on the plough-handle ; and Homer says 9 that Ajax, as he was about to engage in single combat with Hector, bade the Greeks pray to the gods for him, and then, while they were praying, donned his armour; and when Agamemnon enjoined 10 on the fighting men,
See that each spear is well sharpened, and each man's shield in good order,
at the same time he asked in prayer from Zeus,
Grant that I raze to the level of earth the palace of Priam;11
for God is brave hope, not cowardly excuse. But the Jews, 12 because it was the Sabbath day, sat in their places immovable, while the enemy were planting ladders against the walls and capturing the defences, and they did not get up, but remained there, fast bound in the toils of superstition as in one great net.

1 Plutarch, in his Life of Artaxerxes, chap. xxix. (p. 1026 C), represents Tiribazus as fighting to the end, but this may have bee on another occasion.

2 Plutarch, in trying to be a physician of the soul to cure superstition, has here unwittingly turned homeopath. Cf. B. Perrin's note on chap. xxxi. (p. 128 A) of the Life of Themistocles in Plutarch's Themistocles and Aristides (New York, 1901), page 256. To the references there given should be added Nicander, Alexipharmaca, 312.

3 Other portents which disheartened Aristodemus are related by Pausanias, iv. 13.

4 The details regarding Nicias are to be found in Thucydides, vii. 35-87, and in Plutarch's Life of Nicias, chap. xxiii. (p. 538 D) ff.

5 A fragment from Archilochus; cf. Bergk, Poet. Lyr. Graec. ii. p. 696, Archilochus, No. 54.

6 Castor and Pollux.

7 Cf. Bergk, Poet. Lyr. Graec. iii. p. 730; Plutarch, Moralia, 475 F, and Nauck, Trag. Graec. Frag. p. 910, Adespota, No. 377.

8 Works and Days, 465-8.

9 Homer, Il. vii. 193 ff.

10 Ibid.ii. 382.

11 Adapted from Homer, Il. ii. 413-414.

12 Perhaps the reference is to the capture of Jerusalem by Pompey in 63 B.C. (cf. Dio Cassius, xxxvii. 16), or possibly to its capture by Antony in 28 B.C. (cf. Dio Cassius, xlix. 22). Cf. also Josephus, Antiquitates Jud. xii. 6. 2, and 1 Maccabees, ii. 32 ff.

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