UNIVERSAL HISTORY-THE ANCIENT WORLD.
CHAPTER XLII-THE HELLENIC DAWN.
At what time and in what manner the states of Hellas were first colonized can not now-
perhaps never will-be known. History opens I upon the scene with settled tribes, walled
cities, and petty kings already established in the country. Still, at the very dawn of
Greek history, we are met with a commotion among the tribes, a general jostling of one
race by another to the extent of undoing a previous condition and the establishment of a
new in its stead. One of the earliest of these movements is that of the Boeotians from
Thessaly into their own country, known as the Boeotian Migration. Their original seat was
in the district of AEolis in Central Thessaly, from which position they were driven by the
incoming of rude tribes from Epirus. Being thus dispossessed, the Boeotians moved to the
south and obtained a footing in the country afterwards called Boeotia. There was thus
begun from the north a movement which jostled tribe after tribe of the primitive Hellenes
from their seats until nearly all the states had felt the influence of the agitation. The
date of this migration is uncertain. Presumably, the event was subsequent to the Trojan
War; for neither this migration of the Boeotians, nor the later one of the Dorians, is
mentioned in the Iliad or Odyssey.
It is not improbable that the removal of the Boeotians into Central Greece gave the
initial impulse in the larger and more important movement of the Dorians, known as the
Dorian Migration or the Return of the Heraclidae. Here there is a mingling of history and
fable. It is easy to see how the people, displaced by the Boeotians from their little
state of Doris in Central Greece, would in turn fall upon some of the tribes further
south, and that thus the wave of agitation would roll on into Peloponnesus. But tradition
has taken up the lay and gives a more elaborate account of the movement.
The Dorians, according to their belief, had original claims in Peloponnesus. These claims
were based upon the relations of this people with the descendants of Heracles. To him
belonged the rightful sovereignty of Southern Greece; but of this he was deprived by the
wiles of Hera, who contrived to have Eurystheus preferred for the kingdom of Argos.
Heracles was condemned to service, and his. descendants to exile. Under the lead of
Hyllus, the son of Heracles, they had attempted to regain their lost patrimony; but Hyllus
was slain by Echemus of Tegea, and they themselves were bound to renounce all efforts at
recovery for the space of a hundred years. Finally, however, the century elapsed, and the
grandsons of Hyllus-Temenus, Cresphontes, and Aristodemus-determined to recover their
birthright. In this effort they were joined by the Dorians, who retained a grateful
recollection of how Heracles, in former times, had aided their king AEgimius in a war with
the Lapithae. So the Heraclidae and the Dorians made common cause in the attempt to gain
possession of Peloponnesus.
Meanwhile, the sons of Heracles were warned by an oracle not to attempt to pass through
the isthmus of Corinth, but to cross the gulf at its mouth. They were given free passes
through AEtolia, the king himself acting as their guide. The Ozolian Locrians, also, lent
their aid by giving them a harbor in which to construct the necessary ships, and this
place was henceforth known as Naupactus or Shiptown. Aristodemus died here, but his two
sons, Eurysthenes and Procles, and the remaining brothers led the people across the gulf
At this time the most powerful chief in Peloponnesus was Tisamenus, son of Arestes.
Against him the Heraclidae and the Dorians marched, and he was defeated in battle.
Gathering his subjects together, however, he