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the great preserver of Athens at the time of the Persian invasion,

, the great preserver of Athens at the time of the Persian invasion, owed no part of his celebrity or influence to the accident of his birth. He was born about 530 B. C. his father being Neocles, an Athenian of no illustrious family, and his mother an obscure woman, a Thracian by birth (according to the best authorities), and not of the best character. His disposition was naturally vehement, yet prudent; and Plutarch says that he was pronounced Y er y early by his preceptor, to be a person who would bring either great good or great evil to his country. Some of the ancients have said that he was dissolute in his youth, and for that reason disinherited; but this is positively denied by Plutarch. His ardent but honourable ambition was soon discovered; and contributed to put him on bad terms with Aristides, and some other leading men. He pushed himself forward in public business, and seeing that it was necessary for Athens to become a maritime power, persuaded the people to declare war against JEgina, and to build an hundred triremes. In these ships he exercised the people, and thus t>ave them those means of defence and aggrandizement which they afterwards employed with so much success. Yet it happened that he had no opportunity of distinguishing his military talents in his youth, being forty years of age at the time of the battle of Marathon; after which he was frequently heard to say “that the trophies of Miltiades disturbed his rest.” As a judge, he was strict and severe; in which office, being asked by Simonides to make some stretch of power in his behalf, he replied, “Neither would you be a good poet if you transgressed the laws of numbers, nor should 1 be a good judge, if I should hold the request of any one more, sacred than the laws.” Themistocles had so much credit with the people, as to get his rival Atistides banished by ostracism. In the Persian war, it was he who first interpreted the wooden walls mentioned by the oracle, to mean the Athenian ships: by his contrivance the fleet of Xerxes was induced to fight in a most disadvantageous situation off Sulamis, where it suffered a total defeat. For his whole conduct in this action he gained the highest honours, both at home and in Sparta. This was in 480, ten years after the battle of Marathon.