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Title: Seeing Europe with Famous Authors, Volume 8 - Italy and Greece, Part Two
Author: Halsey, Francis W. (Francis Whiting), 1851-1919 [Editor]
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Seeing Europe with Famous Authors, Volume 8 - Italy and Greece, Part Two" ***

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  [Illustration: THE PARTHENON]







  _Editor of "Great Epochs in American History"
  Associate Editor of "The World's Famous Orations"
  and of "The Best of the World's Classics," etc._




  Vol. VIII




  [_Printed in the United States of America_]


  Italy, Sicily, and Greece--Part Two



  IN THE STREETS OF GENOA--By Charles Dickens                          1

  MILAN CATHEDRAL--By Hippolyte Adolphe Taine                          4

  PISA'S FOUR GLORIES--By Hippolyte Adolphe Taine                      7

      Nelly Erichson                                                  11


  IN AND ABOUT NAPLES--By Charles Dickens                             18

  THE TOMB OF VIRGIL--By Augustus J. C. Hare                          24

  TWO ASCENTS OF VESUVIUS--By Johann Wolfgang von Goethe               26

  ANOTHER ASCENT--By Charles Dickens                                  31

  CASTELLAMARE AND SORRENTO--By Hippolyte Adolphe Taine               37

  CAPRI--By Augustus J. C. Hare                                       42

  POMPEII--By Percy Bysshe Shelley                                    45


  VERONA--By Charles Dickens                                          52

  PADUA--By Theophile Gautier                                         55

  FERRARA--By Theophile Gautier                                       59

  LAKE LUGANO--By Victor Tissot                                       62

  LAKE COMO--By Percy Bysshe Shelley                                  64

  BELLAGIO ON LAKE COMO--By W. D. M'Crackan                           66

  THE REPUBLIC OF SAN MARINO--By Joseph Addison                       69

  PERUGIA--By Nathaniel Hawthorne                                     73

  SIENA---By Mr. and Mrs. Edwin H. Blashfield                         75

  THE ASSISSI OF ST. FRANCIS--By Hippolyte Adolphe Taine              78

  RAVENNA--By Edward A. Freeman                                       80

  BENEDICTINE SUBIACO--By Augustus J. C. Hare                         83

  ETRUSCAN VOLTERRA--By William Cullen Bryant                         86

  THE PAESTUM OF THE GREEKS--By Edward A. Freeman                     88


  PALERMO--By Will S. Monroe                                          91

  GIRGENTI--By Edward A. Freeman                                      93

  SEGESTE--By Johann Wolfgang von Goethe                              97

  TAORMINA--By Johann Wolfgang von Goethe                             99

  MOUNT ÆTNA--By Will S. Monroe                                      101

  SYRACUSE--By Rufus B. Richardson                                   104

  MALTA--By Theophile Gautier                                        107


  ARRIVING IN ATHENS--THE ACROPOLIS--By J. P. Mahaffy                112

  A WINTER IN ATHENS HALF A CENTURY AGO--By Bayard Taylor            119

  THE ACROPOLIS AS IT WAS--By Pausanias                              122

  THE ELGIN MARBLES--By J. P. Mahaffy                                127

  THE THEATER OF DIONYSUS--By J. P. Mahaffy                          130

  WHERE ST. PAUL PREACHED--By J. P. Mahaffy                          134

  FROM ATHENS TO DELPHI ON HORSEBACK--By Bayard Taylor               136

  CORINTH--By J. P. Mahaffy                                          140

  OLYMPIA--By Philip S. Marden                                       143

  THE TEMPLE OF ZEUS AT OLYMPIA AS IT WAS--By Pausanias              146

  THERMOPYLÆ--By Rufus B. Richardson                                 152

  SALONICA--By Charles Dudley Warner                                 155

  FROM THE PIERIAN PLAIN TO MARATHON--By Charles Dudley Warner       157

  SPARTA AND MAINA--By Bayard Taylor                                 160

  MESSENIA--By Bayard Taylor                                         164

  TIRYNS AND MYCENÆ--By J. P. Mahaffy                                169


  A TOUR OF CRETE--By Bayard Taylor                                  175

  THE COLOSSAL RUINS AT CNOSSOS--By Philip S. Marden                 179

  CORFU--By Edward A. Freeman                                        182

  RHODES--By Charles Dudley Warner                                   185

  MT. ATHOS--By Charles Dudley Warner                                189





































(See Vol. VII for article on these doves)]

Courtesy John C. Winston Co.]

(Base of the old Campanile at the right)]




[Illustration: LAKE LUGANO]

(Cadore is in the Italian part of the Dolomites)]



[Illustration: MILAN CATHEDRAL
(See Vol. VII for article on Milan Cathedral)]

(See Vol. VII for article on Pisa)]





The great majority of the streets are as narrow as any thoroughfare can
well be, where people (even Italian people) are supposed to live and
walk about; being mere lanes, with here and there a kind of well, or
breathing-place. The houses are immensely high, painted in all sorts of
colors, and are in every stage and state of damage, dirt, and lack of
repair. They are commonly let off in floors, or flats, like the houses
in the old town of Edinburgh, or many houses in Paris....

When shall I forget the Streets of Palaces: the Strada Nuova and the
Strada Baldi! The endless details of these rich palaces; the walls of
some of them, within, alive with masterpieces by Vandyke! The great,
heavy, stone balconies, one above another, and tier over tier; with here
and there, one larger than the rest, towering high up--a huge marble
platform; the doorless vestibules, massively barred lower windows,
immense public staircases, thick marble pillars, strong dungeon-like
arches, and dreary, dreaming, echoing vaulted chambers; among which the
eye wanders again, and again, and again, as every palace is succeeded by
another--the terrace gardens between house and house, with green arches
of the vine, and groves of orange-trees, and blushing oleander in full
bloom, twenty, thirty, forty feet above the street--the painted halls,
moldering and blotting, and rotting in the damp corners, and still
shining out in beautiful colors and voluptuous designs, where the walls
are dry--the faded figures on the outsides of the houses, holding
wreaths, and crowns, and flying upward, and downward, and standing in
niches, and here and there looking fainter and more feeble than
elsewhere, by contrast with some fresh little Cupids, who on a more
recently decorated portion of the front, are stretching out what seems
to be the semblance of a blanket, but is, indeed, a sun-dial--the steep,
steep, up-hill streets of small palaces (but very large palaces for all
that), with marble terraces looking down into close by-ways--the
magnificent and innumerable churches; and the rapid passage from a
street of stately edifices, into a maze of the vilest squalor, steaming
with unwholesome stenches, and swarming with half-naked children and
whole worlds of dirty people--make up, altogether, such a scene of
wonder; so lively, and yet so dead; so noisy, and yet so quiet; so
obtrusive, and yet so shy and lowering; so wide-awake, and yet so fast
asleep; that it is a sort of intoxication to a stranger to walk on, and
on, and on, and look about him. A bewildering phantasmagoria, with all
the inconsistency of a dream, and all the pain and all the pleasure of
an extravagant reality!...

In the streets of shops, the houses are much smaller, but of great size
notwithstanding, and extremely high. They are very dirty; quite
undrained, if my nose be at all reliable; and emit a peculiar fragrance,
like the smell of very bad cheese, kept in very hot blankets.
Notwithstanding the height of the houses, there would seem to have been
a lack of room in the city, for new houses are thrust in everywhere.
Wherever it has been possible to cram a tumble-down tenement into a
crack or corner, in it has gone. If there be a nook or angle in the wall
of a church, or a crevice in any other dead wall, of any sort, there you
are sure to find some kind of habitation; looking as if it had grown
there, like a fungus. Against the Government House, against the old
Senate House, round about any large building, little shops stick close,
like parasite vermin to the great carcass. And for all this, look where
you may; up steps, down steps, anywhere, everywhere; there are irregular
houses, receding, starting forward, tumbling down, leaning against their
neighbors, crippling themselves or their friends by some means or other,
until one, more irregular than the rest, chokes up the way, and you
can't see any further.



The cathedral, at the first sight, is bewildering. Gothic art,
transported entire into Italy at the close of the Middle Ages,[3]
attains at once its triumph and its extravagance. Never had it been seen
so pointed, so highly embroidered, so complex, so overcharged, so
strongly resembling a piece of jewelry; and as, instead of coarse and
lifeless stone, it here takes for its material the beautiful lustrous
Italian marble, it becomes a pure chased gem as precious through its
substance as through the labor bestowed on it. The whole church seems to
be a colossal and magnificent crystallization, so splendidly do its
forests of spires, its intersections of moldings, its population of
statues, its fringes of fretted, hollowed, embroidered and open
marblework, ascend in multiple and interminable bright forms against the
pure blue sky.

Truly is it the mystic candelabra of visions and legends, with a hundred
thousand branches bristling and overflowing with sorrowing thorns and
ecstatic roses, with angels, virgins, and martyrs upon every flower and
on every thorn, with infinite myriads of the triumphant Church springing
from the ground pyramidically even into the azure, with its millions of
blended and vibrating voices mounting upward in a single shout,

We enter, and the impression deepens. What a difference between the
religious power of such a church and that of St. Peter's at Rome! One
exclaims to himself, this is the true Christian temple! Four rows of
enormous eight-sided pillars, close together, seem like a serried hedge
of gigantic oaks. Their strange capitals, bristling with a fantastic
vegetation of pinnacles, canopies, foliated niches and statues, are like
venerable trunks crowned with delicate and pendent mosses. They spread
out in great branches meeting in the vault overhead, the intervals of
the arches being filled with an inextricable network of foliage, thorny
sprigs and light branches, twining and intertwining, and figuring the
aerial dome of a mighty forest. As in a great wood, the lateral aisles
are almost equal in height to that of the center, and, on all sides, at
equal distances apart, one sees ascending around him the secular

Here truly is the ancient Germanic forest, as if a reminiscence of the
religious groves of Irmensul. Light pours in transformed by green,
yellow and purple panes, as if through the red and orange tints of
autumnal leaves. This, certainly, is a complete architecture like that
of Greece, having, like that of Greece, its root in vegetable forms. The
Greek takes the trunk of the tree, drest, for his type; the German the
entire tree with all its leaves and branches. True architecture,
perhaps, always springs out of vegetal nature, and each zone may have
its own edifices as well as plants; in this way oriental architectures
might be comprehended--the vague idea of the slender palm and of its
bouquet of leaves with the Arabs, and the vague idea of the colossal,
prolific, dilated and bristling vegetation of India.

In any event I have never seen a church in which the aspect of northern
forests was more striking, or where one more involuntarily imagines long
alleys of trunks terminating in glimpses of daylight, curved branches
meeting in acute angles, domes of irregular and commingling foliage,
universal shade scattered with lights through colored and diaphanous
leaves. Sometimes a section of yellow panes, through which the sun
darts, launches into the obscurity its shower of rays and a portion of
the nave glows like a luminous glade. A vast rosace behind the choir, a
window with tortuous branchings above the entrance, shimmer with the
tints of amethyst, ruby, emerald and topaz like leafy labyrinths in
which lights from above break in and diffuse themselves in shifting
radiance. Near the sacristy a small door-top, fastened against the wall,
exposes an infinity of intersecting moldings similar to the delicate
meshes of some marvelous twining and climbing plant. A day might be
passed here as in a forest, in the presence of grandeurs as solemn as
those of nature, before caprices as fascinating, amid the same
intermingling of sublime monotony and inexhaustible fecundity, before
contrasts and metamorphoses of light as rich and as unexpected. A mystic
reverie, combined with a fresh sentiment of northern nature, such is the
source of Gothic architecture.



There are two Pisas--one in which people have lapsed into ennui, and
live from hand to mouth since the decadence, which is in fact the entire
city, except a remote corner; the other is this corner, a marble
sepulcher where the Duomo, Baptistery, Leaning Tower and Campo-Santo
silently repose like beautiful dead beings. This is the genuine Pisa,
and in these relics of a departed life, one beholds a world.

In 1083 in order to honor the Virgin, who had given them a victory over
the Saracens of Sardignia, they [the Pisans] laid the foundations of
their Duomo. This edifice is almost a Roman basilica, that is to say a
temple surmounted by another temple, or, if you prefer it, a house
having a gable for its façade which gable is cut off at the peak to
support another house of smaller dimensions. Five stories of columns
entirely cover the façade with their superposed porticos. Two by two
they stand coupled together to support small arcades; all these pretty
shapes of white marble under their dark arcades form an aerial
population of the utmost grace and novelty. Nowhere here are we
conscious of the dolorous reverie of the medieval north; it is the fête
of a young nation which is awakening, and, in the gladness of its recent
prosperity, honoring its gods. It has collected capitals, ornaments,
entire columns obtained on the distant shores to which its wars and its
commerce have led it, and these ancient fragments enter into its work
without incongruity; for it is instinctively cast in the ancient mold,
and only developed with a tinge of fancy on the side of finesse and the
pleasing. Every antique form reappears, but reshaped in the same sense
by a fresh and original impulse.

The outer columns of the Greek temple are reduced, multiplied and
uplifted in the air, and from a support have become an ornament. The
Roman or Byzantine dome is elongated and its natural heaviness
diminished under a crown of slender columns with a miter ornament, which
girds it midway with its delicate promenade. On the two sides of the
great door two Corinthian columns are enveloped with luxurious foliage,
calyxes and twining or blooming acanthus; and from the threshold we see
the church with its files of intersecting columns, its alternate courses
of black and white marble and its multitude of slender and brilliant
forms, rising upward like an altar of candelabra. A new spirit appears
here, a more delicate sensibility; it is not excessive and disordered as
in the north, and yet it is not satisfied with the grave simplicity, the
robust nudity of antique architecture. It is the daughter of the pagan
mother, healthy and gay, but more womanly than its mother.

She is not yet an adult, sure in all her steps--she is somewhat awkward.
The lateral façades on the exterior are monotonous; the cupola within
is a reversed funnel of a peculiar and disagreeable form. The junction
of the two arms of the cross is unsatisfactory and so many modernized
chapels dispel the charm due to purity, as at Sienna. At the second
glance however all this is forgotten, and we again regard it as a
complete whole. Four rows of Corinthian columns, surmounted with
arcades, divide the church into five naves, and form a forest. A second
passage, as richly crowded, traverses the former crosswise, and, above
the beautiful grove, files of still smaller columns prolong and
intersect each other in order to uphold in the air the prolongation and
intersection of the quadruple gallery. The ceiling is flat; the windows
are small, and for the most part, without sashes; they allow the walls
to retain the grandeur of their mass and the solidity of their position;
and among these long, straight and simple lines, in this natural light,
the innumerable shafts glow with the serenity of an antique temple....

Nothing more can be added in relation to the Baptistery or the Leaning
Tower; the same ideas prevail in these, the same taste, the same style.
The former is a simple, isolated dome, the latter a cylinder, and each
has an outward dress of small columns. And yet each has its own distinct
and expressive physiognomy; but description and writing consume too much
time, and too many technical terms are requisite to define their
differences. I note, simply, the inclination of the Tower. Some suppose
that, when half constructed, the tower sank in the earth on one side,
and that the architects continued on; seeing that they did continue
this deflection was only a partial obstacle to them. In any event, there
are other leaning towers in Italy, at Bologna, for example; voluntarily
or involuntarily this feeling for oddness, this love of paradox, this
yielding to fancy is one of the characteristics of the Middle Ages.

In the center of the Baptistery stands a superb font with eight panels;
each panel is incrusted with a rich complicated flower in full bloom,
and each flower is different. Around it a circle of large Corinthian
columns supports round-arch arcades; most of them are antique and are
ornamented with antique bas-reliefs; Meleager with his barking dogs, and
the nude torsos of his companions in attendance on Christian mysteries.
On the left stands a pulpit similar to that of Sienna, the first work of
Nicholas of Pisa (1260), a simple marble coffer supported by marble
columns and covered with sculptures. The sentiment of force and of
antique nudity comes out here in striking features. The sculptor
comprehended the postures and torsions of bodies. His figures, somewhat
massive, are grand and simple; he frequently reproduces the tunics and
folds of the Roman costume; one of his nude personages, a sort of
Hercules bearing a young lion on his shoulders, has the broad breast and
muscular tension which the sculptors of the sixteenth century admired.

The last of these edifices, the Campo-Santo, is a cemetery, the soil of
which, brought from Palestine, is holy ground. Four high walls of
polished marble surround it with their white and crowded panels.
Inside, a square gallery forms a promenade opening into the court
through arcades trellised with ogive windows. It is filled with funereal
monuments, busts, inscriptions and statues of every form and of every
age. Nothing could be simpler and nobler. A framework of dark wood
supports the arch overhead, and the crest of the roof cuts sharp against
the crystal sky. At the angles are four rustling cypress trees,
tranquilly swayed by the breeze. Grass is growing in the court with a
wild freshness and luxuriance. Here and there a climbing flower twined
around a column, a small rosebush, or a shrub glows beneath a gleam of
sunshine. There is no noise; this quarter is deserted; only now and then
is heard the voice of some promenader which reverberates as under the
vault of a church. It is the veritable cemetery of a free and Christian
city; here, before the tombs of the great, people might well reflect
over death and public affairs.



Few cities have preserved their medieval walls with such loving care as
Pisa. The circuit is complete save where the traveler enters the city;
and there, alas, a wide breach has been made by the restless spirit of
modernity. But once past the paltry barrier and the banal square, with
its inevitable statue of Victor Emanuel, that take the place of the old
Porta Romana, one quickly perceives that the city is a walled one.
Glimpses of battlements close the vistas of the streets, and green
fields peep through the open gates, marking that abrupt transition
between town and country peculiar to a fortified city.

The walls are best seen from without. An admirable impression of them
can be had on leaving the city by the Porta Lucchese. Turning to the
left, after passing a crucifix overshadowed by cypresses, we come to the
edge of a stretch of level marshy meadows, gaily pied in spring with
orchids and grape hyacinths. Above our heads the high air vibrates with
the song of larks. Before us is the long line of the city walls. Strong,
grim and gray, they look with nothing to break the outline of square
battlements against the sky, but that majestic groups of domes and
towers for whose defense they were built. At the angle of the wall to
the right is a square watch-tower, backed by groups of cypresses that
rise into the air like dark flames. Its little windows command the flat
plain as far as the horizon. How easy to imagine the warning blast of
the warder's trumpet as he caught sight of a distant enemy, and the wall
springing into life at the sound. Armed men buckling on their harness
would swarm up ladders to the battlements, the catapult groan and squeak
as its lever was forced backward, and at the sharp word of command the
first flight of arrows would be loosed.

But the dream fades, and we pass on to the angle of the wall where the
cypresses stand. From the picturesque Jews' cemetery, to which access is
easy, the structure of the walls can be studied in detail because the
hand of the restorer has been perforce withheld within its gates. The
wall is some forty feet high, built of stone from the Pisan hills,
weathered for the most part to a grayish hue. The masonry of the lower
half is good. The blocks of stone are large and well laid. Those of the
upper half are smaller and the masonry is in places careless and
irregular. The red brick battlements are square. At short intervals
there are walled-up gateways, round-headed or ogival in form, and the
whole surface is rent and patched. Centuries of war and earthquakes,
rain and fire, have given it a pleasant irregularity, the record of
violent and troublous times.

The city can be reentered by the Porta Nuova, only a few yards to the
left of the cemetery. So venerable do these battered walls look that we
need the full evidence of history to realize that they had more than one
predecessor. The memory even of the first walls of Pisa, an ancient city
when Rome was young, has been lost. The earliest record of which we know
anything appears on a map of the ninth century drawn by one Bonanno; a
map, we should rather say professing to be of the ninth century, for
churches of the thirteenth century are marked upon it, so it must either
have been made, or the churches inserted, then....

The ancient walls were practically swept away by the prosperity of Pisa.
Beside the Balearic Islands she had conquered Carthage, the Lipari
Islands, Elba, Corsica, and Palermo, and her galleys poured their spoils
into the Pisan port. She traded with the East, and was successful in
commerce as in war. Her inhabitants increased rapidly. They could no
longer be penned within the narrow limits of the old wall, but
overflowed in all directions beyond it. Not only was the Borgo thickly
populated, but a whole new region called Forisportae, sprang up.

So masked was the wall by houses, built into it and huddling against it
both on the outside and the inside, that it seems to have been actually
invisible. So much so that contemporary chroniclers spoke of Pisa as
without walls, and attributed her safety to the valor of her citizens
and the multitude of her towers. The ancient wall was evidently so
hidden and decayed that Pisa must be regarded as a defenseless city in
the twelfth century. It is curious that her citizens should have
neglected their own safety at a time when they were masters of
fortification and defense; when their fame in these arts had reached as
far as Egypt and Syria, and when the Milanese came to them to beg for

The external appearance of an Italian city in the twelfth century was so
unlike anything we are accustomed to in modern times that a strong
effort of the imagination is needed to conceive it. Seen from a distance
the walls enclosed, not houses, but a forest of tall square shafts,
rising into the sky like the crowded chimney stacks in a manufacturing
town but far more thickly set together. The city appeared, to use a
graphic contemporary metaphor, like a sheaf of corn bound together by
its walls.


San Gimignano, tho most of its towers have perished long ago, helps us
to imagine faintly what Italian towns were like in the days of Frederick
Barbarossa or his grandson Frederick II. For most of the houses were
actually towers, long rectangular columns, vying with each other in
height and crowded close together on either side of the narrow, airless,
darkened streets. Sometimes they were connected with one another by
wooden bridges, and all were furnished with wooden balconies used in
defensive and offensive warfare with their neighbors.

Cities full of towers were common all over southern France and central
Italy, but Tuscany had more than any other state, and those of Pisa were
the most famous of all. The habit of building and dwelling in towers
rather than in houses may have arisen from the difficulty of expanding
laterally within an enclosed city; but a stronger reason may be found in
the dangers and uncertainty of life in a period when a man might be
attacked at any moment by his fellow-citizen, as well as by the enemy of
the state. It was a distinct military advantage to overlook one's
neighbor, who might be an enemy; and towers rose higher and higher. The
spirit of emulation entered, and rich nobles gloried in adding tower to
tower and in looking down on all rivals.

But whatever the cause of their existence, they were picturesque, and
must have presented a gallant sight on the eve of a high festival. The
tall shafts were tinged with gold by the western sun, their battlements
crowned with three fluttering banners--the eagle of the Emperor, the
white cross of the Commune, and the device of the People--looking as tho
a cloud of many-colored butterflies were hovering over the city.

Again, how dramatic the scene when the city was rent by one of the
perpetually recurring faction-fights. Light bridges with grappling-irons
were thrown from tower to tower, doors and windows were barricaded,
balconies and battlements lined with men in shining mail, bearing the
fantastic device of their leader on helm and shield. Mangonels, or
catapults, huge engines stationed on the roofs of the towers, sent
masses of stone hurtling through the air, whistling arbelast bolts and
clothyard shafts flew in thick showers, boiling oil or lead rained down
on the heads of those who ventured down to attack the doors, and arrows,
with Greek fire attached, were shot with nice aim into the wooden
balconies and bridges. Vile insults were hurled where missiles failed to
strike. The shouts and shrieks of the combatants were mingled with the
crash of a falling tower or with the hissing of a fire-arrow. Where
those struck, a red glow arose and a thick cloud of smoke enveloped the

Altho it is evident that towers were very numerous in Pisa, it is
difficult to arrive at their precise number. The chroniclers differ
greatly in their estimates. Benjamin da Tudela, for instance, says that
there were 10,000 in the twelfth century; while Marangone puts the
number at 15,000 and Tronci at 16,000. These are round numbers such as
the medieval mind loved, but we have abundant evidence that they are not
much exaggerated. An intarsia panel in the Duomo, shows how closely the
towers were packed together, while the mass of legislation relating to
them was directed against abuses that could only have arisen if their
number was very large.





So we go, rattling down-hill, into Naples. A funeral is coming up the
street, toward us. The body, on an open bier, borne on a kind of
palanquin, covered with a gay cloth of crimson and gold. The mourners,
in white gowns and masks. If there be death abroad, life is well
represented too, for all Naples would seem to be out of doors, and
tearing to and fro in carriages. Some of these, the common Vetturino
vehicles, are drawn by three horses abreast, decked with smart trappings
and great abundance of brazen ornament, and always going very fast. Not
that their loads are light; for the smallest of them has at least six
people inside, four in front, four or five more hanging behind, and two
or three more, in a net or bag below the axle-tree, where they lie
half-suffocated with mud and dust.

Exhibitors of Punch, buffo singers with guitars, reciters of poetry,
reciters of stories, a row of cheap exhibitions with clowns and
showmen, drums, and trumpets, painted cloths representing the wonders
within, and admiring crowds assembled without, assist the whirl and
bustle. Ragged lazzaroni lie asleep in doorways, archways, and kennels;
the gentry, gaily drest, are dashing up and down in carriages on the
Chiaja, or walking in the Public Gardens; and quiet letter-writers,
perched behind their little desks and inkstands under the Portico of the
Great Theater of San Carlo, in the public street, are waiting for

Why do the beggars rap their chins constantly, with their right hands,
when you look at them? Everything is done in pantomime in Naples, and
that is the conventional sign for hunger. A man who is quarreling with
another, yonder, lays the palm of his right hand on the back of his
left, and shakes the two thumbs--expressive of a donkey's ears--whereat
his adversary is goaded to desperation. Two people bargaining for fish,
the buyer empties an imaginary waistcoat pocket when he is told the
price, and walks away without a word, having thoroughly conveyed to the
seller that he considers it too dear. Two people in carriages, meeting,
one touches his lips, twice or thrice, holding up the five fingers of
his right hand, and gives a horizontal cut in the air with the palm. The
other nods briskly, and goes his way. He has been invited to a friendly
dinner at half-past five o'clock, and will certainly come.

All over Italy, a peculiar shake of the right hand from the wrist, with
the forefinger stretched out, expresses a negative--the only negative
beggars will ever understand. But, in Naples, those five fingers are a
copious language. All this, and every other kind of out-door life and
stir, and maccaroni-eating at sunset, and flower-selling all day long,
and begging and stealing everywhere and at all hours, you see upon the
bright sea-shore, where the waves of the Bay sparkle merrily....

Capri--once made odious by the deified beast Tiberius--Ischia, Procida,
and the thousand distant beauties of the Bay, lie in the blue sea
yonder, changing in the mist and sunshine twenty times a day; now close
at hand, now far off, now unseen. The fairest country in the world, is
spread about us. Whether we turn toward the Miseno shore of the splendid
watery amphitheater, and go by the Grotto of Posilipo to the Grotto del
Cane and away to Baiae, or take the other way, toward Vesuvius and
Sorrento, it is one succession of delights. In the last-named direction,
where, over doors and archways, there are countless little images of San
Gennaro, with this Canute's hand stretched out, to check the fury of the
burning Mountain, we are carried pleasantly, by a railroad on the
beautiful Sea Beach, past the town of Torre del Greco, built upon the
ashes of the former town destroyed by an eruption of Vesuvius, within a
hundred years; and past the flat-roofed houses, granaries, and maccaroni
manufacturies; to Castellamare, with its ruined castle, now inhabited by
fishermen, standing in the sea upon a heap of rocks.

Here, the railroad terminates; but, hence we may ride on, by an unbroken
succession of enchanting bays, and beautiful scenery, sloping from the
highest summit of Saint Angelo, the highest neighboring mountain, down
to the water's edge--among vineyards, olive-trees, gardens of oranges
and lemons, orchards, heaped-up rocks, green gorges in the hills--and by
the bases of snow-covered heights, and through small towns with
handsome, dark-haired women at the doors--and pass delicious summer
villas--to Sorrento, where the poet Tasso drew his inspiration from the
beauty surrounding him. Returning, we may climb the heights above
Castellamare, and looking down among the boughs and leaves, see the
crisp water glistening in the sun; and clusters of white houses in
distant Naples, dwindling, in the great extent of prospect, down to
dice. The coming back to the city, by the beach again, at sunset; with
the glowing sea on one side, and the darkening mountain (Vesuvius), with
its smoke and flame, upon the other, is a sublime conclusion to the
glory of the day.

That church by the Porta Capuna--near the old fisher-market in the
dirtiest quarter of dirty Naples, where the revolt of Masaniello
began--is memorable for having been the scene of one of his earliest
proclamations to the people, and is particularly remarkable for nothing
else, unless it be its waxen and bejeweled Saint in a glass case, with
two odd hands; or the enormous number of beggars who are constantly
rapping their chins there, like a battery of castanets. The cathedral
with the beautiful door, and the columns of African and Egyptian granite
that once ornamented the temple of Apollo, contains the famous sacred
blood of San Gennaro or Januarius, which is preserved in two phials in a
silver tabernacle, and miraculously liquefies three times a year, to the
great admiration of the people. At the same moment, the stone (distant
some miles) where the Saint suffered martyrdom, becomes faintly red. It
is said that the officiating priests turn faintly red also, sometimes,
when these miracles occur.

The old, old men who live in hovels at the entrance of these ancient
catacombs, and who, in their age and infirmity, seem waiting here, to be
buried themselves, are members of a curious body, called the Royal
Hospital, who are the official attendants at funerals. Two of these old
specters totter away, with lighted tapers, to show the caverns of
death--as unconcerned as if they were immortal. They were used as
burying-places for three hundred years; and, in one part, is a large pit
full of skulls and bones, said to be the sad remains of a great
mortality occasioned by a plague. In the rest, there is nothing but
dust. They consist, chiefly, of great wide corridors and labyrinths,
hewn out of the rock. At the end of some of these long passages, are
unexpected glimpses of the daylight, shining down from above. It looks
as ghastly and as strange; among the torches, and the dust, and the dark
vaults; as if it, too, were dead and buried.

The present burial-place lies out yonder, on a hill between the city and
Vesuvius. The old Campo Santo with its three hundred and sixty-five
pits, is only used for those who die in hospitals, and prisons, and are
unclaimed by their friends. The graceful new cemetery, at no great
distance from it, tho yet unfinished, has already many graves among its
shrubs and flowers, and airy colonnades. It might be reasonably objected
elsewhere, that some of the tombs are meretricious and too fanciful; but
the general brightness seems to justify it here; and Mount Vesuvius,
separated from them by a lovely slope of ground, exalts and saddens the

If it be solemn to behold from this new City of the Dead, with its dark
smoke hanging in the clear sky, how much more awful and impressive is
it, viewed from the ghostly ruins of Herculaneum and Pompeii!

Stand at the bottom of the great market-place of Pompeii, and look up
the silent streets, through the ruined temples of Jupiter and Isis, over
the broken houses with their inmost sanctuaries open to the day, away to
Mount Vesuvius, bright and snowy in the peaceful distance; and lose all
count of time, and heed of other things, in the strange and melancholy
sensation of seeing the Destroyed and the Destroyer making this quiet
picture in the sun. Then, ramble on, and see, at every turn, the little
familiar tokens of human habitation and everyday pursuits, the chafing
of the bucket-rope in the stone rim of the exhausted well; the track of
carriage-wheels in the pavement of the street; the marks of
drinking-vessels on the stone counter of the wine-shop; the amphoræ in
private cellars, stored away so many hundred years ago, and undisturbed
to this hour--all rendering the solitude and deadly lonesomeness of the
place, ten thousand times more solemn, than if the volcano, in its fury,
had swept the city from the earth, and sunk it in the bottom of the sea.



A road to the right at the end of the Chiaja, leads to the mouth of the
Grotto of Posilipo, above which those who do not wish to leave their
carriages may see, high on the left, close above the grotto, the ruined
columbarium known as the Tomb of Virgil. A door in the wall, on the left
of the approach to the grotto, and a very steep staircase, lead to the
columbarium, which is situated in a pretty fruit-garden.

Virgil desired that his body should be brought to Naples from
Brundusium, where he died, B.C. 19, and there is every probability that
he was buried on this spot, which was visited as Virgil's burial-place
little more than a century after his death by the poet Statius, who was
born at Naples, and who describes composing his own poems while seated
in the shadow of the tomb. If further confirmation were needed of the
story that Virgil was laid here, it would be found in the fact that
Silius Italicus, who lived at the same time with Statius, purchased the
tomb of Virgil, restored it from the neglect into which it had fallen,
and celebrated funeral rites before it.

The tomb was originally shaded by a gigantic bay-tree, which is said to
have died on the death of Dante. Petrarch, who was brought hither by
King Robert, planted another, which existed in the time of Sannazaro,
but was destroyed by relic-collectors in the last century. A branch was
sent to Frederick the Great by the Margravine of Baireuth, with some
verses by Voltaire. If from no other cause, the tomb would be
interesting from its visitors; here Boccaccio renounced the career of a
merchant for that of a poet, and a well-known legend, that St. Paul
visited the sepulcher of Virgil at Naples, was long commemorated in the
verse of a hymn used in the service for St. Paul's Day at Mantua.

The tomb is a small, square, vaulted chamber with three windows. Early
in the sixteenth century a funeral urn, containing the ashes of the
poet, stood in the center, supported by nine little marble pillars. Some
say that Robert of Anjou removed it, in 1326, for security to the Castel
Nuovo, others that it was given by the Government to a cardinal from
Mantua, who died at Genoa on his way home. In either event the urn is
now lost.

It is just beneath the tomb that the road to Pozzuoli enters the famous
Grotto of Posilipo, a tunnel about half a mile long, in breadth from 25
to 30 feet, and varying from about 90 feet in height near the entrance,
to little more than 20 feet at points of the interior. Petronius and
Seneca mention its narrow gloomy passage with horror, in the reign of
Nero, when it was so low that it could only be used for foot-passengers,
who were obliged to stoop in passing through.

In the fifteenth century King Alphonso I. gave it height by lowering the
floor, which was paved by Don Pedro di Toledo a hundred years later. In
the Middle Ages the grotto was ascribed to the magic arts of Virgil. In
recent years it has been the chief means of communication between Naples
and Baiae, and is at all times filled with dust and noise, the
flickering lights and resounding echoes giving it a most weird effect.
However much one may abuse Neapolitans, we may consider in their favor,
as Swinburne observes, "what a terror this dark grotto would be in



At the foot of the steep ascent, we were received by two guides, one
old, the other young, but both active fellows. The first pulled me up
the path, the other Tischbein[9]--pulled I say, for these guides are
girded round the waist with a leathern belt, which the traveler takes
hold of, and being drawn up by his guide, makes his way the easier with
foot and staff. In this manner we reached the flat from which the cone
rises; toward the north lay the ruins of the summit.

A glance westward over the country beneath us, removed, as well as a
bath could, all feeling of exhaustion and fatigue, and we now went round
the ever-smoking cone, as it threw out its stones and ashes. Wherever
the space allowed of our viewing it at a sufficient distance, it
appeared a grand and elevating spectacle. In the first place, a violent
thundering toned forth from its deepest abyss, then stones of larger and
smaller sizes were showered into the air by thousands, and enveloped by
clouds of ashes. The greatest part fell again into the gorge; the rest
of the fragments, receiving a lateral inclination, and falling on the
outside of the crater, made a marvelous rumbling noise. First of all the
larger masses plumped against the side, and rebounded with a dull heavy
sound; then the smaller came rattling down; and last of all, drizzled a
shower of ashes. All this took place at regular intervals, which by
slowly counting, we were able to measure pretty accurately.

Between the summit, however, and the cone the space is narrow enough;
moreover, several stones fell around us, and made the circuit anything
but agreeable. Tischbein now felt more disgusted than ever with
Vesuvius, as the monster, not content with being hateful, showed an
inclination to become mischievous also.

As, however, the presence of danger generally exercises on man a kind of
attraction, and calls forth a spirit of opposition in the human breast
to defy it, I bethought myself that, in the interval of the eruptions,
it would be possible to climb up the cone to the crater, and to get back
before it broke out again. I held a council on this point with our
guides under one of the overhanging rocks of the summit, where, encamped
in safety, we refreshed ourselves with the provisions we had brought
with us. The younger guide was willing to run the risk with me; we
stuffed our hats full of linen and silk handkerchiefs, and, staff in
hand, we prepared to start, I holding on to his girdle.

The little stones were yet rattling around us, and the ashes still
drizzling, as the stalwart youth hurried forth with me across the hot
glowing rubble. We soon stood on the brink of the vast chasm, the smoke
of which, altho a gentle air was bearing it away from us, unfortunately
veiled the interior of the crater, which smoked all round from a
thousand crannies. At intervals, however, we caught sight through the
smoke of the cracked walls of the rock. The view was neither instructive
nor delightful; but for the very reason that one saw nothing, one
lingered in the hope of catching a glimpse of something more; and so we
forgot our slow counting. We were standing on a narrow ridge of the
vast abyss; of a sudden the thunder pealed aloud; we ducked our heads
involuntarily, as if that would have rescued us from the precipitated
masses. The smaller stones soon rattled, and without considering that we
had again an interval of cessation before us, and only too much rejoiced
to have outstood the danger, we rushed down and reached the foot of the
hill together with the drizzling ashes, which pretty thickly covered
our heads and shoulders....

The news [two weeks later] that an eruption of lava had just commenced,
which, taking the direction of Ottajano, was invisible at Naples,
tempted me to visit Vesuvius for the third time. Scarcely had I jumped
out of my cabriolet at the foot of the mountain, when immediately
appeared the two guides who had accompanied us on our previous ascent. I
had no wish to do without either, but took one out of gratitude and
custom, the other for reliance on his judgment--and the two for the
greater convenience. Having ascended the summit, the older guide
remained with our cloaks and refreshment, while the younger followed me,
and we boldly went straight toward a dense volume of smoke, which broke
forth from the bottom of the funnel; then we quickly went downward by
the side of it, till at last, under the clear heaven, we distinctly saw
the lava emitted from the rolling clouds of smoke.

We may hear an object spoken of a thousand times, but its peculiar
features will never be caught till we see it with our own eyes. The
stream of lava was small, not broader perhaps than ten feet, but the way
in which it flowed down a gentle and tolerably smooth plain was
remarkable. As it flowed along, it cooled both on the sides and on the
surface, so that it formed a sort of canal, the bed of which was
continually raised in consequence of the molten mass congealing even
beneath the fiery stream, which, with uniform action, precipitated right
and left the scoria which were floating on its surface. In this way a
regular dam was at length thrown up, in which the glowing stream flowed
on as quietly as any mill-stream. We passed along the tolerably high
dam, while the scoria rolled regularly off the sides at our feet. Some
cracks in the canal afforded opportunity of looking at the living
stream, from below, and as it rushed onward, we observed it from above.

A very bright sun made the glowing lava look dull; but a moderate steam
rose from it into the pure air. I felt a great desire to go nearer to
the point where it broke out from the mountain; there my guide averred,
it at once formed vaults and roofs above itself, on which he had often
stood. To see and experience this phenomenon, we again ascended the
hill, in order to come from behind to this point. Fortunately at this
moment the place was cleared by a pretty strong wind, but not entirely,
for all round it the smoke eddied from a thousand crannies; and now at
last we stood on the top of the solid roof (which looked like a hardened
mass of twisted dough), but which, however, projected so far outward,
that it was impossible to see the welling lava.

We ventured about twenty steps further, but the ground on which we stept
became hotter and hotter, while around us rolled an oppressive steam,
which obscured and hid the sun; the guide, who was a few steps in
advance of me, presently turned back, and seizing hold of me, hurried
out of this Stygian exhalation.

After we had refreshed our eyes with the clear prospect, and washed our
gums and throat with wine, we went round again to notice any other
peculiarities which might characterize this peak of hell, thus rearing
itself in the midst of a Paradise. I again observed attentively some
chasms, in appearance like so many vulcanic forges, which emitted no
smoke, but continually shot out a steam of hot glowing air. They were
all tapestried, as it were, with a kind of stalactite, which covered the
funnel to the top, with its knobs and chintz-like variation of colors.
In consequence of the irregularity of the forges, I found many specimens
of this sublimation hanging within reach, so that, with our staves and a
little contrivance, we were able to hack off a few, and to secure them.
I saw in the shops of the dealers in lava similar specimens, labeled
simply "Lava"; and I was delighted to have discovered that it was
volcanic soot precipitated from the hot vapor, and distinctly exhibiting
the sublimated mineral particles which it contained.



No matter that the snow and ice lie thick upon the summit of Vesuvius,
or that we have been on foot all day at Pompeii, or that croakers
maintain that strangers should not be on the mountain by night, in such
unusual season. Let us take advantage of the fine weather; make the best
of our way to Resina, the little village at the foot of the mountain;
prepare ourselves, as well as we can, on so short a notice, at the
guide's house, ascend at once, and have sunset half-way up, moonlight at
the top, and midnight to come down in!

At four o'clock in the afternoon, there is a terrible uproar in the
little stable-yard of Signor Salvatore, the recognized head guide, with
the gold band round his cap; and thirty under-guides who are all
scuffling and screaming at once, are preparing half-a-dozen saddled
ponies, three litters, and some stout staves, for the journey. Every one
of the thirty quarrels with the other twenty-nine, and frightens the six
ponies; and as much of the village as can possibly squeeze itself into
the little stable-yard, participates in the tumult, and gets trodden on
by the cattle.

After much violent skirmishing, and more noise than would suffice for
the storming of Naples, the procession starts. The head guide, who is
liberally paid for all the attendants, rides a little in advance of the
party; the other thirty guides proceed on foot. Eight go forward with
the litters that are to be used by and by; and the remaining
two-and-twenty beg. We ascend, gradually, by stony lanes like rough
broad flights of stairs, for some time. At length, we leave these, and
the vineyards on either side of them, and emerge upon a bleak, bare
region where the lava lies confusedly, in enormous rusty masses; as if
the earth had been plowed up by burning thunder-bolts. And now, we halt
to see the sunset. The change that falls upon the dreary region and on
the whole mountain, as its red light fades, and the night comes on--and
the unutterable solemnity and dreariness that reign around, who that has
witnessed it, can ever forget!

It is dark, when after winding, for some time, over the broken ground,
we arrive at the foot of the cone, which is extremely steep, and seems
to rise, almost perpendicularly, from the spot where we dismount. The
only light is reflected from the snow, deep, hard, and white, with which
the cone is covered. It is now intensely cold, and the air is piercing.
The thirty-one have brought no torches, knowing that the moon will rise
before we reach the top. Two of the litters are devoted to the two
ladies; the third, to a rather heavy gentleman from Naples, whose
hospitality and good-nature have attached him to the expedition, and
determined him to assist in doing the honors of the mountain. The rather
heavy gentleman is carried by fifteen men; each of the ladies by
half-a-dozen. We who walk, make the best use of our staves; and so the
whole party begin to labor upward over the snow--as if they were toiling
to the summit of an antediluvian Twelfth-cake.

We are a long time toiling up; and the head guide looks oddly about him
when one of the company--not an Italian, tho an habitué of the mountain
for many years: whom we will call, for our present purpose, Mr. Pickle
of Portici--suggests that, as it is freezing hard, and the usual footing
of ashes is covered by the snow and ice, it will surely be difficult to
descend. But the sight of the litters above, tilting up, and down, and
jerking from this side to that, as the bearers continually slip, and
tumble, diverts our attention, more especially as the whole length of
the rather heavy gentleman is, at that moment, presented to us
alarmingly foreshortened, with his head downward.

The rising of the moon soon afterward, revives the flagging spirits of
the bearers. Stimulating each other with their usual watchword,
"Courage, friend! It is to eat maccaroni!" they press on, gallantly, for
the summit.

From tingeing the top of the snow above us with a band of light, and
pouring it in a stream through the valley below, while we have been
ascending in the dark, the moon soon lights the whole white mountain
side, and the broad sea down below, and tiny Naples in the distance, and
every village in the country round. The whole prospect is in this lovely
state, when we come upon the platform on the mountain-top--the region of
fire--an exhausted crater formed of great masses of gigantic cinders,
like blocks of stone from some tremendous waterfall, burned up; from
every chink and crevice of which, hot, sulfurous smoke is pouring out;
while, from another conical-shaped hill, the present crater, rising
abruptly from this platform at the end, great sheets of fire are
streaming forth; reddening the night with flame, blackening it with
smoke, and spotting it with red-hot stones and cinders, that fly up into
the air like feathers, and fall down like lead. What words can paint the
gloom and grandeur of this scene!

The broken ground; the smoke; the sense of suffocation from the sulfur;
the fear of falling down through the crevices in the yawning ground; the
stopping, every now and then, for somebody who is missing in the dark
(for the dense smoke now obscures the moon); the intolerable noise of
the thirty; and the hoarse roaring of the mountain; make it a scene of
such confusion, at the same time, that we reel again. But, dragging the
ladies through it, and across another exhausted crater to the foot of
the present volcano, we approach close to it on the windy side, and then
sit down among the hot ashes at its foot, and look up in silence;
faintly estimating the action that is going on within, from its being
full a hundred feet higher, at this minute, than it was six weeks ago.

There is something in the fire and roar, that generates an irresistible
desire to get nearer to it. We can not rest long, without starting off,
two of us on our hands and knees, accompanied by the head guide, to
climb to the brim of the flaming crater, and try to look in. Meanwhile,
the thirty yell, as with one voice, that it is a dangerous proceeding,
and call to us to come back; frightening the rest of the party out of
their wits.

What with their noise, and what with the trembling of the thin crust of
ground, that seems about to open underneath our feet and plunge us in
the burning gulf below (which is the real danger, if there be any); and
what with the flashing of the fire in our faces, and the shower of
red-hot ashes that is raining down, and the choking smoke and sulfur; we
may well feel giddy and irrational, like drunken men. But, we contrive
to climb up to the brim, and look down, for a moment, into the hell of
boiling fire below. Then, we all three come rolling down; blackened, and
singed, and scorched, and hot, and giddy; and each with his dress alight
in half-a-dozen places.

You have read, a thousand times, that the usual way of descending, is,
by sliding down the ashes; which, forming a gradually-increasing ledge
below the feet, prevent too rapid a descent. But, when we have crossed
the two exhausted craters on our way back, and are come to this
precipitous place, there is (as Mr. Pickle has foretold) no vestige of
ashes to be seen; the whole being a smooth sheet of ice.

In this dilemma, ten or a dozen of the guides cautiously join hands, and
make a chain of men; of whom the foremost beat, as well as they can, a
rough track with their sticks, down which we prepare to follow. The way
being fearfully steep, and none of the party--even of the thirty--being
able to keep their feet for six paces together, the ladies are taken out
of their litters, and placed, each between two careful persons; while
others of the thirty hold by their skirts, to prevent their falling
forward--a necessary precaution, tending to the immediate and hopeless
dilapidation of their apparel. The rather heavy gentleman is abjured to
leave his litter too, and be escorted in a similar manner; but he
resolves to be brought down as he was brought up, on the principle that
his fifteen bearers are not likely to tumble all at once, and that he is
safer so, than trusting to his own legs.

In this order, we begin the descent; sometimes on foot, sometimes
shuffling on the ice; always proceeding much more quietly and slowly
than on our upward way; and constantly alarmed by the falling among us
of somebody from behind, who endangers the footing of the whole party,
and clings pertinaciously to anybody's ankles. It is impossible for the
litter to be in advance, too, as the track has to be made; and its
appearance behind us, overhead--with some one or other of the bearers
always down, and the rather heavy gentleman with his legs always in the
air--is very threatening and frightful. We have gone on thus, a very
little way, painfully and anxiously, but quite merrily, and regarding it
as a great success--and have all fallen several times, and have all been
stopt, somehow or other, as we were sliding away when Mr. Pickle of
Portici, in the act of remarking on these uncommon circumstances as
quite beyond his experience, stumbles, falls, disengages himself, with
quick presence of mind, from those about him, plunges away head
foremost, and rolls, over and over, down the whole surface of the cone!

Giddy, and bloody, and a mere bundle of rags, is Pickle of Portici when
we reach the place where we dismounted, and where the horses are
waiting; but, thank God, sound in limb! And never are we likely to be
more glad to see a man alive and on his feet, than to see him
now--making light of it too, tho sorely bruised and in great pain. The
boy is brought into the Hermitage on the Mountain, while we are at
supper, with his head tied up; and the man is heard of, some hours
afterward. He, too, is bruised and stunned, but has broken no bones; the
snow having, fortunately, covered all the larger blocks of rock and
stone, and rendered them harmless.



The sky is almost clear. Only above Naples hangs a bank of clouds, and
around Vesuvius huge white masses of smoke, moving and stationary. I
never yet saw, even in summer at Marseilles, the blue of the sea so
deep, bordering even on hardness. Above this powerful lustrous azure,
absorbing three-quarters of the visible space, the white sky seems to be
a firmament of crystal. As we recede we obtain a better view of the
undulating coast, embraced in one grand mountain form, all its parts
uniting like the members of one body. Ischia and the naked promontories
on the extreme end repose in their lilac envelop, like a slumbering
Pompeiian nymph under her veil. Veritably, to paint such nature as this,
this violet continent extending around this broad luminous water, one
must employ the terms of the ancient poets, and represent the great
fertile goddess embraced and beset by the eternal ocean, and above them
the serene effulgence of the dazzling Jupiter.

We encounter on the road some fine faces with long elegant features,
quite Grecian; some intelligent noble-looking girls, and here and there
hideous mendicants cleaning their hairy breasts. But the race is much
superior to that of Naples, where it is deformed and diminutive, the
young girls there appearing like stunted, pallid grisets. The railroad
skirts the sea a few paces off and almost on a level with it. A harbor
appears blackened with lines of rigging, and then a mole, consisting of
a small half-ruined fort, reflecting a clear sharp shadow in the
luminous expanse. Surrounding this rise square houses, gray as if
charred, and heaped together like tortoises under round roofs, serving
them as a sort of thick shell.

On this fertile soil, full of cinders, cultivation extends to the shore
and forms gardens; a simple reed hedge protects them from the sea and
the wind; the Indian fig with its clumsy thorny leaves clings to the
slopes; verdure begins to appear on the branches of the trees, the
apricots showing their smiling pink blossoms; half-naked men work the
friable soil without apparent effort; a few square gardens contain
columns and small statues of white marble. Everywhere you behold traces
of antique beauty and joyousness. And why wonder at this when you feel
that you have the divine vernal sun for a companion, and on the right,
whenever you turn to the sea, its flaming golden waves.

With what facility you here forget all ugly objects! I believe I passed
at Castellamare some unsightly modern structures, a railroad station,
hotels, a guard-house, and a number of rickety vehicles hurrying along
in quest of fares. This is all effaced from my mind; nothing remains but
impressions of obscure porches with glimpses of bright courts filled
with glossy oranges and spring verdure, of esplanades with children
playing on them and nets drying, and happy idlers snuffing the breeze
and contemplating the capricious heaving of the tossing sea.

On leaving Castellamare the road forms a corniche[12] winding along the
bank. Huge white rocks, split off from the cliffs above, lie below in
the midst of the eternally besieging waves. On the left the mountains
lift their shattered pinnacles, fretted walls, and projecting crags, all
that scaffolding of indentations which strike you as the ruins of a line
of rocked and tottering fortresses. Each projection, each mass throws
its shadow on the surrounding white surfaces, the entire range being
peopled with tints and forms.

Sometimes the mountain is rent in twain, and the sides of the chasm are
lined with cultivation, descending in successive stages. Sorrento is
thus built on three deep ravines. All these hollows contain gardens,
crowded with masses of trees overhanging each other. Nut-trees, already
lively with sap, project their white branches like gnarled fingers;
everything else is green; winter lays no hand on this eternal spring.
The thick lustrous leaf of the orange-tree rises from amid the foliage
of the olive, and its golden apples glisten in the sun by thousands,
interspersed with gleams of the pale lemon; often in these shady lanes
do its glittering leaves flash out above the crest of the walls. This is
the land of the orange. It grows even in miserable court-yards,
alongside of dilapidated steps, spreading its luxuriant tops everywhere
in the bright sunlight. The delicate aromatic odor of all these opening
buds and blossoms is a luxury of kings, which here a beggar enjoys for

I passed an hour in the garden of the hotel, a terrace overlooking the
sea about half-way up the bank. A scene like this fills the imagination
with a dream of perfect bliss. The house stands in a luxurious garden,
filled with orange and lemon-trees, as heavily laden with fruit as those
of a Normandy orchard; the ground at the foot of the trees is covered
with it. Clusters of foliage and shrubbery of a pale green, bordering on
blue, occupy intermediate spaces. The rosy blossoms of the peach, so
tender and delicate, bloom on its naked branches. The walks are of
bright blue porcelain, and the terrace displays its round verdant
masses overhanging the sea, of which the lovely azure fills all space.

I have not yet spoken of my impressions after leaving Castellamare. The
charm was only too great. The pure sky, the pale azure almost
transparent, the radiant blue sea as chaste and tender as a virgin
bride, this infinite expanse so exquisitely adorned as if for a festival
of rare delight, is a sensation that has no equal. Capri and Ischia on
the line of the sky lie white in their soft vapory tissue, and the
divine azure gently fades away surrounded by this border of brightness.

Where find words to express all this? The gulf seemed like a marble vase
purposely rounded to receive the sea. The satin sheen of a flower, the
soft luminous petals of the velvet orris with shimmering sunshine on
their pearly borders, such are the images that fill the mind, and which
accumulate in vain and are ever inadequate. The water at the base of
these rocks is now a transparent emerald, reflecting the tints of topaz
and amethyst; again a liquid diamond, changing its hue according to the
shifting influences of rock and depth; or again a flashing diadem,
glittering with the splendor of this divine effulgence.



The Island of Capri (in the dialect of the people Crapi), the ancient
Capreae, is a huge limestone rock, a continuation of the mountain range
which forms the southern boundary of the Bay of Naples. Legend says that
it was once inhabited by a people called Teleboae, subject to a king
called Telon. Augustus took possession of Capreae as part of the
imperial domains, and repeatedly visited it. His stepson Tiberius (A.D.
27) established his permanent residence on the island, and spent the
latter years of his life there, abandoning himself to the voluptuous
excesses which gave him the name of Caprineus....

The first point usually visited in Capri is the Blue Grotto (Grotta
Azzurra), which is entered from the sea by an arch under the wall of
limestone cliff, only available when the sea is perfectly calm. Visitors
have to lie flat down in the boat, which is carried in by the wave and
is almost level with the top of the arch. Then they suddenly find
themselves in a magical scene. The water is liquid sapphire, and the
whole rocky vaulting of the cavern shimmers to its inmost recesses with
a pale blue light of marvelous beauty. A man stands ready to plunge into
the water when the boats from the steamers arrive, and to swim about;
his body, in the water, then sparkles like a sea-god with phosphorescent
silver; his head, out of the water, is black like that of a Moor.
Nothing can exaggerate the beauty of the Blue Grotto, and perhaps the
effect is rather enhanced than spoiled by the shouting of the boatmen,
the rush of boats to the entrance, the confusion on leaving and reaching
the steamers.

That the Grotta Azzurra was known to the Romans is evinced by the
existence of a subterranean passage, leading to it from the upper
heights, and now blocked up; it was also well known in the seventeenth
century, when it was described by Capraanica. There are other beautiful
grottoes in the cliffs surrounding the island, the most remarkable being
the natural tunnel called the Green Grotto (Grotta Verde), under the
southern rocks, quite as splendid in color as the Grotta Azzurra
itself--a passage through the rocks, into which the boat glides (through
no hole, as in the case of the Grotta Azzurra) into water of the most
exquisite emerald. The late afternoon is the best time for visiting this
grotto. Occasionally a small steamer makes the round of the island,
stopping at the different caverns.

On landing at the Marina, a number of donkey women offer their services,
and it will be well to accept them, for the ascent of about one mile, to
the village of Capri is very hot and tiring. On the left we pass the
Church of St. Costanzo, a very curious building with apse, cupola, stone
pulpit, and several ancient marble pillars and other fragments taken
from the palaces of Tiberius.

The little town of Capri, overhung on one side by great purple rocks,
occupies a terrace on the high ridge between the two rocky promontories
of the island. Close above the piazza stands the many-domed ancient
church, like a mosque, and so many of the houses--sometimes of dazzling
whiteness, sometimes painted in gay colors--have their own little domes,
that the appearance is quite that of an oriental village, which is
enhanced by the palm-trees which flourish here and there. In the piazza
is a tablet to Major Hamill, who is buried in the church. He fell under
French bayonets, when the troops of Murat, landing at Orico, recaptured
the island, which had been taken from the French two years and a half
before (May, 1806) by Sir Sidney Smith.

Through a low wide arch in the piazza is the approach to the principal
hotels. There is a tiny English chapel. An ascent of half an hour by
stony donkey-paths leads from Capri to the ruins called the Villa
Tiberiana, on the west of the island, above a precipitous rock 700 feet
high, which still bears the name of Il Salto....

The visitor who lingers in Capri may interest himself in tracing out the
remains of all the twelve villas of Tiberius. A relief exhibiting
Tiberius riding a led donkey, as modern travelers do now, was found on
the island, and is now in the museum at Naples. Capri has a delightful
winter climate, and is most comfortable as a residence. The natives are
quite unlike the Neapolitans, pleasant and civil in their manners, and
full of courtesies to strangers. The women are frequently beautiful.



We have been to see Pompeii, and are waiting now for the return of
spring weather, to visit, first, Paestum, and then the islands; after
which we shall return to Rome. I was astonished at the remains of this
city; I had no conception of anything so perfect yet remaining. My idea
of the mode of its destruction was this: First, an earthquake shattered
it, and unroofed almost all its temples, and split its columns; then a
rain of light small pumice-stones fell; then torrents of boiling water,
mixed with ashes, filled up all its crevices. A wide, flat hill, from
which the city was excavated, is now covered by thick woods, and you see
the tombs and the theaters, the temples and the houses, surrounded by
the uninhabited wilderness.

We entered the town from the side toward the sea, and first saw two
theaters; one more magnificent than the other, strewn with the ruins of
the white marble which formed their seats and cornices, wrought with
deep, bold sculpture. In the front, between the stage and the seats, is
the circular space, occasionally occupied by the chorus. The stage is
very narrow, but long, and divided from this space by a narrow enclosure
parallel to it, I suppose for the orchestra. On each side are the
consuls' boxes, and below, in the theater at Herculaneum, were found two
equestrian statues of admirable workmanship, occupying the same place
as the great bronze lamps did at Drury Lane. The smallest of the
theaters is said to have been comic, tho I should doubt. From both you
see, as you sit on the seats, a prospect of the most wonderful beauty.

You then pass through the ancient streets; they are very narrow, and the
houses rather small, but all constructed on an admirable plan,
especially for this climate. The rooms are built round a court, or
sometimes two, according to the extent of the house. In the midst is a
fountain, sometimes surrounded with a portico, supported on fluted
columns of white stucco; the floor is paved with mosaic, sometimes
wrought in imitation of vine leaves, sometimes in quaint figures, and
more or less beautiful, according to the rank of the inhabitant. There
were paintings on all, but most of them have been removed to decorate
the royal museums. Little winged figures, and small ornaments of
exquisite elegance, yet remain. There is an ideal life in the forms of
these paintings of an incomparable loveliness, tho most are evidently
the work of very inferior artists. It seems as if, from the atmosphere
of mental beauty which surrounded them, every human being caught a
splendor not his own.

In one house you see how the bed-rooms were managed; a small sofa was
built up, where the cushions were placed; two pictures, one representing
Diana and Endymion, the other Venus and Mars, decorate the chamber; and
a little niche, which contains the statue of a domestic god. The floor
is composed of a rich mosaic of the rarest marbles, agate, jasper, and
porphyry; it looks to the marble fountain and the snow-white columns,
whose entablatures strew the floor of the portico they supported. The
houses have only one story, and the apartments, tho not large, are very
lofty. A great advantage results from this, wholly unknown in our

The public buildings, whose ruins are now forests, as it were, of white
fluted columns, and which then supported entablatures, loaded with
sculptures, were seen on all sides over the roofs of the houses. This
was the excellence of the ancients. Their private expenses were
comparatively moderate; the dwelling of one of the chief senators of
Pompeii is elegant indeed, and adorned with most beautiful specimens of
art, but small. But their public buildings are everywhere marked by the
bold and grand designs of an unsparing magnificence. In the little town
of Pompeii (it contained about twenty thousand inhabitants), it is
wonderful to see the number and the grandeur of their public buildings.
Another advantage, too, is that, in the present case, the glorious
scenery around is not shut out, and that, unlike the inhabitants of the
Cimmerian ravines of modern cities, the ancient Pompeiians could
contemplate the clouds and the lamps of heaven; could see the moon rise
high behind Vesuvius, and the sun set in the sea, tremulous with an
atmosphere of golden vapor, between Inarime and Misenum.

We next saw the temples. Of the temples of Aesculapius little remains
but an altar of black stone, adorned with a cornice imitating the scales
of a serpent. His statue, in terra-cotta, was found in the cell. The
temple of Isis is more perfect. It is surrounded by a portico of fluted
columns, and in the area around it are two altars, and many ceppi for
statues; and a little chapel of white stucco, as hard as stone, of the
most exquisite proportion; its panels are adorned with figures in
bas-relief, slightly indicated, but of a workmanship the most delicate
and perfect that can be conceived.

They are Egyptian subjects, executed by a Greek artist, who has
harmonized all the unnatural extravagances of the original conception
into the supernatural loveliness of his country's genius. They scarcely
touch the ground with their feet, and their wind-uplifted robes seem in
the place of wings. The temple in the midst raised on a high platform,
and approached by steps, was decorated with exquisite paintings, some of
which we saw in the museum at Portici. It is small, of the same
materials as the chapel, with a pavement of mosaic, and fluted Ionic
columns of white stucco, so white that it dazzles you to look at it.

Thence through the other porticos and labyrinths of walls and columns
(for I can not hope to detail everything to you), we came to the Forum.
This is a large square, surrounded by lofty porticos of fluted columns,
some broken, some entire, their entablatures strewed under them. The
temple of Jupiter, of Venus, and another temple, the Tribunal, and the
Hall of Public Justice, with their forest of lofty columns, surround the
Forum. Two pedestals or altars of an enormous size (for, whether they
supported equestrian statues, or were the altars of the temple of Venus,
before which they stand, the guide could not tell), occupy the lower end
of the Forum. At the upper end, supported on an elevated platform,
stands the temple of Jupiter. Under the colonnade of its portico we sat
and pulled out our oranges, and figs, and bread, and medlars (sorry
fare, you will say), and rested to eat.

Here was a magnificent spectacle. Above and between the multitudinous
shafts of the sun-shining columns was seen the sea, reflecting the
purple heaven of noon above it, and supporting, as it were, on its line
the dark lofty mountains of Sorrento, of a blue inexpressibly deep, and
tinged toward their summits with streaks of new-fallen snow. Between was
one small green island. To the right was Capreae, Inarime, Prochyta, and
Misenum. Behind was the single summit of Vesuvius, rolling forth volumes
of thick white smoke, whose foam-like column was sometimes darted into
the clear dark sky, and fell in little streaks along the wind. Between
Vesuvius and the nearer mountains, as through a chasm, was seen the main
line of the loftiest Apennines, to the east.

The day was radiant and warm. Every now and then we heard the
subterranean thunder of Vesuvius; its distant deep peals seemed to shake
the very air and light of day, which interpenetrated our frames with the
sullen and tremendous sound. This sound was what the Greeks beheld
(Pompeii, you know, was a Greek city). They lived in harmony with
nature; and the interstices of their incomparable columns were portals,
as it were, to admit the spirit of beauty which animates this glorious
universe to visit those whom it inspired. If such is Pompeii, what was
Athens? What scene was exhibited from the Acropolis, the Parthenon, and
the temples of Hercules, and Theseus, and the Winds? The island and the
Ægean sea, the mountains of Argolis, and the peaks of Pindus and
Olympus, and the darkness of the Boeotian forests interspersed?

From the Forum we went to another public place; a triangular portico,
half enclosing the ruins of an enormous temple. It is built on the edge
of the hill overlooking the sea. That black point is the temple. In the
apex of the triangle stands an altar and a fountain, and before the
altar once stood the statue of the builder of the portico. Returning
hence, and following the consular road, we came to the eastern gate of
the city. The walls are of an enormous strength, and enclose a space of
three miles. On each side of the road beyond the gate are built the
tombs. How unlike ours! They seem not so much hiding-places for that
which must decay, as voluptuous chambers for immortal spirits. They are
of marble, radiantly white; and two, especially beautiful, are loaded
with exquisite bas-reliefs. On the stucco-wall that encloses them are
little emblematic figures, of a relief exceedingly low, of dead and
dying animals, and little winged genii, and female forms bending in
groups in some funereal office. The high reliefs represent, one a
nautical subject, and the other a Bacchanalian one.

Within the cell stand the cinerary urns, sometimes one, sometimes more.
It is said that paintings were found within, which are now, as has been
everything movable in Pompeii, removed, and scattered about in royal
museums. These tombs were the most impressive things of all. The wild
woods surround them on either side; and along the broad stones of the
paved road which divides them, you hear the late leaves of autumn shiver
and rustle in the stream of the inconstant wind, as it were, like the
step of ghosts. The radiance and magnificence of these dwellings of the
dead, the white freshness of the scarcely-finished marble, the
impassioned or imaginative life of the figures which adorn them,
contrast strangely with the simplicity of the houses of those who were
living when Vesuvius overwhelmed them.

I have forgotten the amphitheater, which is of great magnitude, tho much
inferior to the Coliseum. I now understand why the Greeks were such
great poets; and, above all, I can account, it seems to me, for the
harmony, the unity, the perfection, the uniform excellence, of all their
works of art. They lived in a perpetual commerce with external nature,
and nourished themselves upon the spirit of its forms. Their theaters
were all open to the mountains and the sky. Their columns, the ideal
types of a sacred forest, with its roof of interwoven tracery, admitted
the light and wind; the odor and the freshness of the country penetrated
the cities. Their temples were mostly upaithric; and the flying clouds,
the stars, or the deep sky, were seen above.





I had been half afraid to go to Verona, lest it should at all put me out
of conceit with Romeo and Juliet. But, I was no sooner come into the old
Market-place, than the misgiving vanished. It is so fanciful, quaint,
and picturesque a place, formed by such an extraordinary and rich
variety of fantastic buildings, that there could be nothing better at
the core of even this romantic town; scene of one of the most romantic
and beautiful of stories.

It was natural enough, to go straight from the Market-place, to the
House of the Capulets, now degenerated into a most miserable little inn.
Noisy vetturini and muddy market-carts were disputing possession of the
yard, which was ankle-deep in dirt, with a brood of splashed and
bespattered geese; and there was a grim-visaged dog, viciously panting
in a doorway, who would certainly have had Romeo by the leg, the moment
he put it over the wall, if he had existed and been at large in those
times. The orchard fell into other hands, and was parted off many years
ago; but there used to be one attached to the house--or at all events
there may have been--and the Hat (Cappello), the ancient cognizance of
the family, may still be seen, carved in stone, over the gateway of the
yard. The geese, the market-carts, their drivers, and the dog, were
somewhat in the way of the story, it must be confessed; and it would
have been pleasanter to have found the house empty, and to have been
able to walk through the disused rooms. But the Hat was unspeakably
comfortable; and the place where the garden used to be, hardly less so.
Besides, the house is a distrustful, jealous-looking house as one would
desire to see, tho of a very moderate size. So I was quite satisfied
with it, as the veritable mansion of old Capulet, and was
correspondingly grateful in my acknowledgments to an extremely
unsentimental middle-aged lady, the Padrona of the Hotel, who was
lounging on the threshold looking at the geese.

From Juliet's home, to Juliet's tomb, is a transition as natural to the
visitor, as to fair Juliet herself, or to the proudest Juliet that ever
has taught the torches to burn bright in any time. So, I went off, with
a guide, to an old, old garden, once belonging to an old, old convent, I
suppose; and being admitted, at a shattered gate, by a bright-eyed woman
who was washing clothes, went down some walks where fresh plants and
young flowers were prettily growing among fragments of old wall, and
ivy-covered mounds; and was shown a little tank, or water-trough, which
the bright-eyed woman--drying her arms upon her 'kerchief--called "La
tomba di Giulietta la sfortunáta." With the best disposition in the
world to believe, I could do no more than believe that the bright-eyed
woman believed; so I gave her that much credit, and her customary fee in
ready money. It was a pleasure, rather than a disappointment, that
Juliet's resting-place was forgotten. However consolatory it may have
been to Yorick's Ghost, to hear the feet upon the pavement overhead,
and, twenty times a day, the repetition of his name, it is better for
Juliet to lie out of the track of tourists, and to have no visitors but
such as come to graves in spring-rain, and sweet air, and sunshine.

Pleasant Verona! With its beautiful old palaces, and charming country in
the distance, seen from terrace walks, and stately, balustraded
galleries. With its Roman gates, still spanning the fair street, and
casting, on the sunlight of to-day, the shade of fifteen hundred years
ago. With its marble-fitted churches, lofty towers, rich architecture,
and quaint old quiet thoroughfares, where shouts of Montagues and
Capulets once resounded.

  And made Verona's ancient citizens
  Cast by their grave, beseeming ornaments,
  To wield old partisans.

With its fast-rushing river, picturesque old bridge, great castle,
waving cypresses, and prospect so delightful, and so cheerful! Pleasant
Verona! In the midst of it, in the Piazza di Brá--a spirit of old time
among the familiar realities of the passing hour--is the great Roman
Amphitheater. So well preserved, and carefully maintained, that every
row of seats is there, unbroken. Over certain of the arches, the old
Roman numerals may yet be seen; and there are corridors, and staircases,
and subterranean passages for beasts, and winding ways, above ground and
below, as when the fierce thousands hurried in and out, intent upon the
bloody shows of the arena. Nestling in some of the shadows and hollow
places of the walls, now, are smiths with their forges, and a few small
dealers of one kind or other; and there are green weeds, and leaves, and
grass, upon the parapet. But little else is greatly changed.

When I had traversed all about it, with great interest, and had gone up
to the topmost round of seats, and turning from the lovely panorama
closed in by the distant Alps, looked down into the building, it seemed
to lie before me like the inside of a prodigious hat of plaited straw,
with an enormously broad brim and a shallow crown; the plaits being
represented by the four-and-forty rows of seats. The comparison is a
homely and fantastic one, in sober remembrance and on paper, but it was
irresistibly suggested at the moment, nevertheless.



Padua is an ancient city and exhibits a rather respectable appearance
against the horizon with its bell-turrets, its domes, and its old walls
upon which myriads of lizards run and frisk in the sun. Situated near a
center which attracts life to itself, Padua is a dead city with an
almost deserted air. Its streets, bordered by two rows of low arcades,
in nowise recall the elegant and charming architecture of Venice. The
heavy, massive structures have a serious, somewhat crabbed aspect, and
its somber porticos in the lower stories of the houses resemble black
mouths which yawn with ennui.

We were conducted to a big inn, established probably in some ancient
palace, and whose great halls, dishonored by vulgar uses, had formerly
seen better company. It was a real journey to go from the vestibule to
our room by a host of stairways and corridors; a map of Ariadne's thread
would have been needed to find one's way back. Our windows opened upon a
very pleasant view; a river flows at the foot of the wall--the Brenta or
the Bacchiglione, I know not which, for both water Padua. The banks of
this watercourse were adorned with old houses and long walls, and trees,
too, overhung the banks; some rather picturesque rows of piles, from
which the fishermen cast their lines with that patience characteristic
of them in all countries; huts with nets and linen hanging from the
windows to dry, formed under the sun's rays a very pretty subject for a

After dinner we went to the Café Pedrocchi, celebrated throughout all
Italy for its magnificence. Nothing could be more monumentally classic.
There are nothing but pillars, columnets, ovolos, and palm leaves of the
Percier and Fontain kind, the whole very fine and lavish of marble.
What was most curious was some immense maps forming a tapestry and
representing the different divisions of the world on an enormous scale.
This somewhat pedantic decoration gives to the hall an academic air; and
one is surprized not to see a chair in place of the bar, with a
professor in his gown in place of a dispenser of lemonade.

The University of Padua was formerly famous. In the thirteenth century
eighteen thousand young men, a whole people of scholars, followed the
lessons of the learned professors, among whom later Galileo figured, one
of whose bones is preserved there as a relic, a relic of a martyr who
suffered for the truth. The façade of the University is very beautiful;
four Doric columns give it a severe and monumental air; but solitude
reigns in the class-rooms where to-day scarcely a thousand students can
be reckoned....

We paid a visit to the Cathedral dedicated to Saint Anthony, who enjoys
at Padua the same reputation as Saint Januarius at Naples. He is the
"genius loci," the Saint venerated above all others. He used to perform
not less than thirty miracles each day, if Casanova[17] is to be
believed. Such a performance fairly earned for him his surname of
Thaumaturge, but this prodigious zeal has fallen off greatly.
Nevertheless, the reputation of the saint has not suffered, and so many
masses are paid for at his altar that the number of the priests of the
cathedral and of days in the year are not sufficient. To liquidate the
accounts, the Pope has granted permission, at the end of the year, for
masses to be said, each, one of which is of the value of a thousand; in
this fashion Saint Anthony is saved from being bankrupt to his faithful

On the place which adjoins the cathedral, a beautiful equestrian statue
by Donatello, in bronze, rises to view, the first which had been cast
since the days of antiquity, representing a leader of banditti:
Gattamelata, a brigand who surely did not deserve that honor. But the
artist has given him a superb bearing and a spirited figure with his
baton of a Roman emperor, and it is entirely sufficient....

One thing which must not be neglected in passing through Padua is a
visit to the old Church of the Arena, situated at the rear of a garden
of luxuriant vegetation, where it would certainly not be conjectured to
be located unless one were advised of the fact. It is entirely painted
in its interior by Giotto. Not a single column, not a single rib, nor
architectural division interrupts that vast tapestry of frescoes. The
general aspect is soft, azure, starry, like a beautiful, calm sky;
ultramarine dominates; thirty compartments of large dimensions,
indicated by simple lines, contain the life of the Virgin and of her
Divine Son in all their details; they might be called illustrations in
miniature of a gigantic missal. The personages, by naïve anachronisms
very precious for history, are clothed in the mode of the times in which
Giotto painted.

Below these compositions of the purest religious feeling, a painted
plinth shows the seven deadly sins symbolized in an ingenious manner,
and other allegorical figures of a very good style; a Paradise and a
Hell, subjects which greatly imprest the minds of the artists of that
epoch, complete this marvelous whole. There are in these paintings weird
and touching details; children issue from their little coffins to mount
to Paradise with a joyous ardor, and launch themselves forth to go to
play upon the blossoming turf of the celestial garden; others stretch
forth their hands to their half-resurrected mothers. The remark may also
be made that all the devils and vices are obese, while the angels and
virtues are thin and slender. The painter wishes to mark the
preponderance of matter in the one class and of spirit in the other.



Ferrara rises solitary in the midst of a flat country more rich than
picturesque. When one enters it by the broad street which leads to the
square, the aspect of the city is imposing and monumental. A palace with
a grand staircase occupies a corner of this vast square; it might be a
court-house or a town hall, for people of all classes were entering and
departing through its wide doors....

The castle of the ancient dukes of Ferrara, which is to be found a
little farther on, has a fine feudal aspect. It is a vast collection of
towers joined together by high walls crowned with a battlement forming
a cornice, and which emerge from a great moat full of water, over which
one enters by a protected bridge. The castle, built wholly of brick or
of stones reddened by the sun, has a vermilion tint which deprives it of
its imposing effect. It is too much like a decoration of a melodrama.

It was in this castle that the famous Lucretia Borgia lived, whom Victor
Hugo has made such a monster for us, and whom Ariosto depicts as a model
of chastity, grace and virtue; that blonde Lucretia who wrote letters
breathing the purest love, and some of whose hair, fine as silk and
shining as gold, Byron possest. It was there that the dramas of Tasso
and Ariosto and Guarini were played; there that those brilliant orgies
took place, mingled with poisonings and assassinations, which
characterized that learned and artistic, refined and criminal, period of

It is the custom to pay a pious visit to the problematical dungeon in
which Tasso, mad with love and grief, passed so many years, according to
the poetic legend which grew up concerning his misfortune. We did not
have time to spare and we regretted it very little. This dungeon, a
perfectly correct sketch of which we have before our eyes, consists only
of four walls, ceiled by a low arch. At the back is to be seen a window
grated by heavy bars and a door with big bolts. It is quite unlikely
that in this obscure hole, tapestried with cobwebs, Tasso could have
worked and retouched his poem, composed sonnets, and occupied himself
with small details of toilet, such as the quality of the velvet of his
cap and the silk of his stockings, and with kitchen details, such as
with what kind of sugar he ought to powder his salad, that which he had
not being fine enough for his liking. Neither did we see the house of
Ariosto, another required pilgrimage. Not to speak of the little faith
which one should place in these unauthenticated traditions, in these
relics without character, we prefer to seek Ariosto in the "Orlando
Furioso," and Tasso in the "Jerusalem Délivrée" or in the fine drama of

The life of Ferrara is concentrated on the Plaza Nuova, in front of the
church and in the neighborhood of the castle. Life has not yet abandoned
this heart of the city; but in proportion as one moves away from it, it
becomes more feeble, paralysis begins, death gains; silence, solitude,
and grass invade the streets; one feels that one is wandering about a
Thebes peopled with ghosts of the past and from which the living have
evaporated like water which has dried up. There is nothing more sad than
to see the corpse of a dead city slowly falling into dust in the sun and
rain. One at least buries human bodies.



On emerging from the second tunnel,[20] beyond a wild and narrow gorge,
there lies suddenly before us, as in a gorgeous fairyland or in the
landscape of a dream, the blue expanse of Lake Lugano, with its setting
of green meadows and purple mountains, with the many-colored village
spires, and the great white fronts of the hotels and villas. Oh, what a
wonderful picture!

We feel as if we were going down into an enchanted garden that has been
hidden by the great snowy walls of the Alps. The air is full of the
perfume of roses and jessamine. The hedges are in flower, butterflies
are dancing, insects are humming, birds are singing. Up above, in the
mountain, is snow, ice, winter, and silence; here there is sunshine,
life, joy, love--all the living delights of spring and summer. Golden
harvests are shining on the plains, and the lake in the distance is like
a piece of the sky brought down to earth.

Lugano is already Italy, not only because of the richness of the soil
and the magnificence of the vegetation, but also as regards the
language, the manners, and the picturesque costumes. In each valley the
dress is different; in one place the women wear a short skirt, an apron
held in by a girdle, and a bright colored bodice; in another they wear a
cap above which is a large shady hat; in the Val Maroblio they have a
woolen dress not very different from that of the Capuchins.

The men have not the square figure, the slow, heavy walk of the people
of Basle and Lucerne; they are brisk, vigorous, easy; and the women have
something of the wavy suppleness of vine branches twining among the
trees. These people have the happy, childlike joyousness, the frank
good-nature, of those who live in the open air, who do not shut
themselves up in their houses, but grow freely like the flowers under
the strong, glowing sunshine.

At every street corner sellers are sitting behind baskets of
extraordinary vegetables and magnificent fruit; and under the arcades
that run along the houses, big grocers in shirt sleeves come at
intervals to their shop doors to take breath, like hippopotami coming
out of the water for the same purpose. In this town, ultramontane in its
piety, the bells of churches and convents are sounding all day long, and
women are seen going to make their evening prayer together in the
nearest chapel.

But if the fair sex in Lugano are diligent in frequenting the churches,
they by no means scorn the cafés. After sunset the little tables that
are all over the great square are surrounded by an entire population of
men and women. How gay and amusing those Italian cafés are! full of
sound and color, with their red and blue striped awnings, their advance
guard of little tables under the shade of the orange-trees, and their
babbling, stirring, gesticulating company. The waiters, in black vests
and leather slippers, a corner of their apron tucked up in their belt,
run with the speed of kangaroos, carrying on metal plates syrups of
every shade, ices, sweets in red, yellow, or green pyramids. Between
seven and nine o'clock the whole society of Lugano defiles before you.
There are lawyers with their wives, doctors with their daughters,
bankers, professors, merchants, public officials, with whom are
sometimes misted stout, comfortable, jovial-looking canons, wrapping
themselves in the bitter smoke of a regalia, as in a cloud of incense.



We have been to Como, looking for a house. This lake exceeds anything I
ever beheld in beauty, with the exception of the arbutus islands of
Killarney. It is long and narrow, and has the appearance of a mighty
river winding among the mountains and the forests. We sailed from the
town of Como to a tract of country called the Tremezina, and saw the
various aspects presented by that part of the lake. The mountains
between Como and that village, or rather cluster of villages, are
covered on high with chestnut forests (the eating chestnuts, on which
the inhabitants of the country subsist in time of scarcity), which
sometimes descend to the very verge of the lake, overhanging it with
their hoary branches. But usually the immediate border of this shore is
composed of laurel-trees, and bay, and myrtle, and wild fig-trees, and
olives which grow in the crevices of the rocks, and overhang the
caverns, and shadow the deep glens, which are filled with the flashing
light of the waterfalls. Other flowering shrubs, which I can not name,
grow there also. On high, the towers of village churches are seen white
among the dark forests.

Beyond, on the opposite shore, which faces the south, the mountains
descend less precipitously to the lake, and altho they are much higher,
and some covered with perpetual snow, there intervenes between them and
the lake a range of lower hills, which have glens and rifts opening to
the other, such as I should fancy the abysses of Ida or Parnassus. Here
are plantations of olive, and orange, and lemon trees, which are now so
loaded with fruit, that there is more fruit than leaves--and vineyards.
This shore of the lake is one continued village, and the Milanese
nobility have their villas here. The union of culture and the untameable
profusion and loveliness of nature is here so close, that the line where
they are divided can hardly be discovered.

But the finest scenery is that of the Villa Pliniana; so called from a
fountain which ebbs and flows every three hours, described by the
younger Pliny, which is in the courtyard. This house, which was once a
magnificent palace, and is now half in ruins, we are endeavoring to
procure. It is built upon terraces raised from the bottom of the lake,
together with its garden, at the foot of a semicircular precipice,
overshadowed by profound forests of chestnut. The scene from the
colonnade is the most extraordinary, at once, and the most lovely that
eye ever beheld. On one side is the mountain, and immediately over you
are clusters of cypress-trees, of an astonishing height, which seem to
pierce the sky.

Above you, from among the clouds, as it were, descends a waterfall of
immense size, broken by the woody rocks into a thousand channels to the
lake. On the other side is seen the blue extent of the lake and the
mountains, speckled with sails and spires. The apartments of the
Pliniana are immensely large, but ill-furnished and antique. The
terraces, which overlook the lake, and conduct under the shade of such
immense laurel-trees as deserve the epithet of Pythian, are most



The picture of the promontory of Bellagio is so beautiful as a whole
that the traveler had better stand off for awhile to admire it at a
distance and at his leisure. Indeed it is a question whether the lasting
impressions which we treasure of Bellagio are not, after all, those
derived from across the lake, from the shore-fronts of Tremezzo,
Cadenabbia, Menaggio, or Varenna.

A colossal, conquering geological lion appears to have come up from the
south in times immemorial, bound for the north, and finding further
progress stopt by the great sheet of water in front of him, seems to
have halted and to be now crouching there with his noble head between
his paws and his eyes fixt on the snow-covered Alps. The big white house
on the lion's neck is the Villa Serbelloni, now used as the annex of a
hotel, and the park of noble trees belonging to the villa forms the
lion's mane. Hotels, both large and small, line the quay at the water's
edge; then comes a break in the houses, and stately Villa Melzi is seen
to stand off at one side. Villa Trotti gleams from among its bowers
farther south; on the slope Villa Trivulzio, formerly Poldi, shows
bravely, and Villa Giulia has cut for itself a wide prospect over both
arms of the lake. At the back of this lion couchant, in the middle
ground, sheer mountain walls tower protectingly, culminating in Monte

The picture varies from hour to hour, from day to day, and from season
to season. Its color-scheme changes with wind and sun, its sparkle comes
and goes from sunrise to sunset; only its form remains untouched through
the night and lives to delight us another day. As the evening wears on,
lights appear one by one on the quay of Bellagio, until there is a line
of fire along the base of the dark peninsula. The hotel windows catch
the glare, the villas light their storied corridors, and presently
Bellagio, all aglow, presents the spectacle of a Venetian night mirrored
in the lake.

By this time the mountains have turned black and the sky has faded. It
grows so still on the water that the tinkle of a little Italian band
reaches across the lake to Cadenabbia, a laugh rings out into the quiet
air from one of the merry little rowboats, and even the slight clatter
made by the fishermen, in putting their boats to rights for the night
and in carrying their nets indoors, can be distinguished as one of many
indications that the day is done.

When we land at Bellagio by daylight, we find it to be very much of a
bazaar of souvenirs along the water-front, and everybody determined to
carry away a keepsake. There is so much to buy--ornamental olive wood
and tortoise-shell articles, Como blankets, lace, and what may be
described in general terms as modern antiquities. These abound from shop
to shop; even English groceries are available. Bellagio's principal
street is suddenly converted at its northern end into a delightful
arcade, after the arrangement which constitutes a characteristic charm
of the villages and smaller towns on the Italian lakes; moreover, the
vista up its side street is distinctly original. This mounts steeply
from the waterside, like the streets of Algiers, is narrow and
constructed in long steps to break the incline.



The town and republic of St. Marino stands on the top of a very high and
craggy mountain. It is generally hid among the clouds, and lay under
snow when I saw it, though it was clear and warm weather in all the
country about it. There is not a spring or fountain, that I could hear
of, in the whole dominions; but they are always well provided with huge
cisterns and reservoirs of rain and snow water. The wine that grows on
the sides of their mountain is extraordinarily good, much better than
any I met with on the cold side of the Apennines.

This mountain, and a few neighboring hillocks that lie scattered about
the bottom of it, is the whole circuit of these dominions. They have
what they call three castles, three convents, and five churches and can
reckon about five thousand souls in their community.[24] The
inhabitants, as well as the historians who mention this little republic,
give the following account of its origin. St. Marino was its founder, a
Dalmatian by birth, and by trade a mason. He was employed above thirteen
hundred years ago in the reparation of Rimini, and after he had finished
his work, retired to this solitary mountain, as finding it very proper
for the life of a hermit, which he led in the greatest rigors and
austerities of religion. He had not been long here before he wrought a
reputed miracle, which, joined with his extraordinary sanctity, gained
him so great an esteem, that the princess of the country made him a
present of the mountain, to dispose of at his own discretion. His
reputation quickly peopled it, and gave rise to the republic which calls
itself after his name.

So that the commonwealth of Marino may boast, at least, of a nobler
original than that of Rome, the one having been at first an asylum for
robbers and murderers, and the other a resort of persons eminent for
their piety and devotion. The best of their churches is dedicated to the
saint, and holds his ashes. His statue stands over the high altar, with
the figure of a mountain in its hands, crowned with three castles, which
is likewise the arms of the commonwealth. They attribute to his
protection the long duration of their state, and look on him as the
greatest saint next the blessed virgin. I saw in their statute-book a
law against such as speak disrespectfully of him, who are to be punished
in the same manner as those convicted of blasphemy.

This petty republic has now lasted thirteen hundred years,[25] while all
the other states of Italy have several times changed their masters and
forms of government. Their whole history is comprised in two purchases,
which they made of a neighboring prince, and in a war in which they
assisted the pope against a lord of Rimini. In the year 1100 they bought
a castle in the neighborhood, as they did another in the year 1170. The
papers of the conditions are preserved in their archives, where it is
very remarkable that the name of the agent for the commonwealth, of the
seller, of the notary, and the witnesses, are the same in both the
instruments, tho drawn up at seventy years' distance from each other.
Nor can it be any mistake in the date, because the popes' and emperors'
names, with the year of their respective reigns, are both punctually set
down. About two hundred and ninety years after this they assisted Pope
Pius the Second against one of the Malatestas, who was then, lord of
Rimini; and when they had helped to conquer him, received from the pope,
as a reward for their assistance, four little castles. This they
represent as the flourishing time of the commonwealth, when their
dominions reached half-way up a neighboring hill; but at present they
are reduced to their old extent....

The chief officers of the commonwealth are the two capitaneos, who have
such a power as the old Roman consuls had, but are chosen every six
months. I talked with some that had been capitaneos six or seven times,
tho the office is never to be continued to the same persons twice
successively. The third officer is the commissary, who judges in all
civil and criminal matters. But because the many alliances, friendships,
and intermarriages, as well as the personal feuds and animosities, that
happen among so small a people might obstruct the course of justice, if
one of their own number had the distribution of it, they have always a
foreigner for this employ, whom they choose for three years, and
maintain out of the public stock. He must be a doctor of law, and a man
of known integrity. He is joined in commission with the capitaneos, and
acts something like the recorder of London under the lord mayor. The
commonwealth of Genoa was forced to make use of a foreign judge for many
years, while their republic was torn into the divisions of Guelphs and
Ghibelines. The fourth man in the state is the physician, who must
likewise be a stranger, and is maintained by a public salary. He is
obliged to keep a horse, to visit the sick, and to inspect all drugs
that are imported. He must be at least thirty-five years old, a doctor
of the faculty, and eminent for his religion and honesty, that his
rashness or ignorance may not unpeople the commonwealth. And, that they
may not suffer long under any bad choice, he is elected only for three

The people are esteemed very honest and rigorous in the execution of
justice, and seem to live more happy and contented among their rocks and
snows, than others of the Italians do in the pleasantest valleys of the
world. Nothing, indeed, can be a greater instance of the natural love
that mankind has for liberty, and of their aversion to an arbitrary
government, than such a savage mountain covered with people, and the
Campania of Rome, which lies in the same country, almost destitute of



We pursued our way, and came, by and by, to the foot of the high hill on
which stands Perugia, and which is so long and steep that Gaetano took a
yoke of oxen to aid his horses in the ascent. We all, except my wife,
walked a part of the way up, and I myself, with J----[27] for my
companion, kept on even to the city gate, a distance, I should think, of
two or three miles, at least. The lower part of the road was on the edge
of the hill, with a narrow valley on our left; and as the sun had now
broken out, its verdure and fertility, its foliage and cultivation,
shone forth in miraculous beauty, as green as England, as bright as only

Perugia appeared above us, crowning a mighty hill, the most picturesque
of cities; and the higher we ascended, the more the view opened before
us, as we looked back on the course that we had traversed, and saw the
wide valley, sweeping down and spreading out, bounded afar by mountains,
and sleeping in sun and shadow. No language nor any art of the pencil
can give an idea of the scene....

We plunged from the upper city down through some of the strangest
passages that ever were called streets; some of them, indeed, being
arched all over, and, going down into the unknown darkness, looked like
caverns; and we followed one of them doubtfully, till it opened, out
upon the light. The houses on each side were divided only by a pace or
two, and communicated with one another, here and there, by arched
passages. They looked very ancient, and may have been inhabited by
Etruscan princes, judging from the massiveness of some of the foundation
stones. The present inhabitants, nevertheless, are by no means princely,
shabby men, and the careworn wives and mothers of the people, one of
whom was guiding a child in leading-strings through these antique
alleys, where hundreds of generations have trod before those little
feet. Finally we came out through a gateway, the same gateway at which
we entered last night.

The best part of Perugia, that in which the grand piazzas and the
principal public edifices stand, seems to be a nearly level plateau on
the summit of the hill; but it is of no very great extent, and the
streets rapidly run downward on either side. J---- and I followed one of
these descending streets, and were led a long way by it, till we at last
emerged from one of the gates of the city, and had another view of the
mountains and valleys, the fertile and sunny wilderness in which this
ancient civilization stands.

On the right of the gate there was a rude country path, partly overgrown
with grass, bordered by a hedge on one side, and on the other by the
gray city wall, at the base of which the tract kept onward. We followed
it, hoping that it would lead us to some other gate by which we might
reenter the city; but it soon grew so indistinct and broken, that it was
evidently on the point of melting into somebody's olive-orchard or
wheat-fields or vineyards, all of which lay on the other side of the
hedge; and a kindly old woman of whom I inquired told me (if I rightly
understood her Italian) that I should find no further passage in that
direction. So we turned back, much broiled in the hot sun, and only now
and then relieved by the shadow of an angle or a tower.



That admirers of minute designs and florid detail could appreciate
grandeur as well, no one can doubt who has seen the plans of the Sienese
cathedral. Its history is one of a grand result, and of far grander, tho
thwarted endeavor, and it is hard to realize to-day, that the church as
it stands is but a fragment, the transept only, of what Siena willed.
From the state of the existing works no one can doubt that the brave
little republic would have finished it had she not met an enemy before
whom the sword of Monteaperto was useless. The plague of 1348 stalked
across Tuscany, and the chill of thirty thousand Sienese graves numbed
the hand of master and workman, sweeping away the architect who planned,
the masons who built, the magistrates who ordered, it left but the
yellowed parchment in the archives which conferred upon Maestro Lorenzo
Maitani the superintendence of the works.

The façade of the present church is amazing in its richness, undoubtedly
possesses some grand and much lovely detail, and is as undoubtedly
suggestive, with its white marble ornaments upon a pink marble ground,
of a huge, sugared cake. It is impossible to look at this restored
whiteness with the sun upon it; the dazzled eyes close involuntarily and
one sees in retrospect the great, gray church front at Rheims, or the
solemn façade of Notre Dame de Paris. It is like remembering an organ
burst of Handel after hearing the florid roulades of the mass within the

The interior is rich in color and fine in effect, but the northerner is
painfully imprest by the black and white horizontal stripes which,
running from vaulting to pavement, seem to blur and confuse the vision,
and the closely set bars of the piers are positively irritating. In the
hexagonal lantern, however, they are less offensive than elsewhere,
because the fan-like radiation of the bars above the great gilded
statues breaks up the horizontal effect. The decoration of the
stone-work is not happy; the use of cold red and cold blue with gilt
bosses in relief does much to vulgarize, and there is constant sally in
small masses which belittles the general effect. It is evident that the
Sienese tendency to floridity is answerable for much of this, and that
having added some piece of big and bad decoration, the cornice of papal
head, for instance, they felt forced to do away with it or continue it

But this fault and many others are forgotten when we examine the detail
with which later men have filled the church. Other Italian cathedrals
possess art-objects of a higher order; perhaps no other one is so rich
in these treasures. The great masters are disappointing here. Raphael,
as the co-laborer of Pinturicchio, is dainty, rather than great, and
Michelangelo passes unnoticed in the huge and coldly elaborate
altar-front of the Piccolomini. But Marrina, with his doors of the
library; Barili, with his marvelous casing of the choir-stalls;
Beccafumi, with his bronze and neillo--these are the artists whom one
wonders at; these wood-carvers and bronze-founders, creators of the
microcosmic detail of the Renaissance which had at last burst
triumphantly into Siena.

This treasure is cumulative, as we walk eastward from the main door,
where the pillars are a maze of scroll-work in deepest cutting, and by
the time we reach the choir the head fairly swims with the play of light
and color. We wander from point to point, we finger and caress the
lustrous stalls of Barili, and turn with a kind of confusion of vision
from panel to panel; above our heads the tabernacle of Vecchietta, the
lamp bearing angels of Beccafumi make spots of bituminous color, with
glittering high-lights, strangely emphasizing their modeling; from these
youths, who might be pages to some Roman prefect, the eye travels upward
still further, along the golden convolutions of the heavily stuccoed
pilasters to the huge, gilded cherubs' heads that frame the eastern

It is incredible that these frescoes are four hundred years old. Surely
Pinturicchio came down from his scaffolding but yesterday. This is how
the hardly dried plaster must have looked to pope and cardinal and
princes when the boards were removed, and when the very figures on these
walls--smart youths in tights and slashes, bright-robed scholars,
ecclesiastics caped in ermine, ladies with long braids bound in nets of
silk--crowded to see themselves embalmed in tempera for curious
after-centuries to gaze upon.



On the summit of an abrupt height, over a double row of arcades, appears
the monastery; at its base a torrent plows the soil, winding off in the
distance between banks of boulders; beyond is the old town prolonging
itself on the ridge of the mountain. We ascend slowly under the burning
sun, and suddenly, at the end of a court surrounded by slender columns,
enter within the obscurity of the cathedral. It is unequalled; before
having seen it one has no idea of the art and the genius of the Middle
Ages. Append to it Dante and the "Fioretti" of St. Francis, and it
becomes the masterpiece of mystic Christianity.

There are three churches, one above the other, all of them arranged
around the tomb of St. Francis. Over this venerated body, which the
people regard as ever living and absorbed in prayer at the bottom of an
inaccessible cave, the edifice has arisen and gloriously flowered like
an architectural shrine. The lowest is a crypt, dark as a sepulcher,
into which the visitors descend with torches; pilgrims keep close to the
dripping walls and grope along in order to reach the grating.

Here is the tomb, in a pale, dim light, similar to that of limbo. A few
brass lamps, almost without lights, burn here eternally like stars lost
in mournful obscurity. The ascending smoke clings to the arches, and the
heavy odor of the tapers mingles with that of the cave. The guide trims
his torch; and the sudden flash in this horrible darkness, above the
bones of a corpse, is like one of Dante's visions. Here is the mystic
grave of a saint who, in the midst of corruption and worms, beholds his
slimy dungeon of earth filled with the supernatural radiance of the

But that which can not be represented by words is the middle church, a
long, low spiracle supported by small, round arches curving in the
half-shadow, and whose voluntary depression makes one instinctively
bend his knees. A coating of somber blue and of reddish bands starred
with gold, a marvelous embroidery of ornaments, wreaths, delicate
scroll-work, leaves, and painted figures, covers the arches and ceilings
with its harmonious multitude; the eye is overwhelmed by it; a
population of forms and tints lives on its vaults; I would not exchange
this cavern for all the churches of Rome!

On the summit, the upper church shoots up as brilliant, as aerial, as
triumphant, as this is low and grave. Really, if one were to give way to
conjecture, he might suppose that in these three sanctuaries the
architect meant to represent the three worlds; below, the gloom of death
and the horrors of the infernal tomb; in the middle, the impassioned
anxiety of the beseeching Christian who strives and hopes in this world
of trial; aloft, the bliss and dazzling glory of Paradise.



With exceptions, all the monuments of Ravenna belong to the days of
transition from Roman to Medieval times, and the greater part of them
come within the fifth and sixth centuries. It was then that Ravenna
became, for a season, the head of Italy and of the Western world. The
sea had made Ravenna a great haven: the falling back of the sea made her
the ruling city of the earth. Augustus had called into being the port of
Caesarea as the Peiraieus of the Old Thessalian or Umbrian Ravenna.
Haven and city grew and became one; but the faithless element again fell
back; the haven of Augustus became dry land covered by orchards, and
Classis arose as the third station, leaving Ravenna itself an inland

Again has the sea fallen back; Caesarea has utterly perished; Classis
survives only in one venerable church; the famous pine forest has grown
up between the third haven and the now distant Hadriatic. Out of all
this grew the momentary greatness of Ravenna. The city, girded with the
three fold zone of marshes, causeways, and strong walls, became the
impregnable shelter of the later Emperors; and the earliest Teutonic
Kings naturally fixt their royal seat in the city of their Imperial
predecessors. When this immediate need had passed away, the city
naturally fell into insignificance, and it plays hardly any part in the
history of Medieval Italy. Hence it is that the city is crowded with the
monuments of an age which has left hardly any monuments elsewhere.

In Britain, indeed, if Dr. Merivale be right in the date which he gives
to the great Northern wall, we have a wonderful relic of those times;
but it is the work, not of the architect, but of the military engineers.
In other parts of Europe also works of this date are found here and
there; but nowhere save at Ravenna is there a whole city, so to speak,
made up of them. Nowhere but at Ravenna can we find, thickly scattered
around us, the churches, the tombs, perhaps the palaces, of the last
Roman and the first Teutonic rulers of Italy. In the Old and in the New
Rome, and in Milan also, works of the same date exist; but either they
do not form the chief objects of the city, or they have lost their
character and position through later changes. If Ravenna boasts of the
tombs of Honorius and Theodoric, Milan boasts also, truly or falsely, of
the tombs of Stilicho and Athaulf. But at Milan we have to seek for the
so-called tomb of Athaulf in a side-chapel of a church which has lost
all ancient character, and the so-called tomb of Stilicho, tho placed in
the most venerable church of the city, stands in a strange position as
the support of a pulpit.

At Ravenna, on the other hand, the mighty mausoleum of Theodoric, and
the chapel which contains the tombs of Galla Placidia, her brother, and
her second husband, are among the best known and best preserved
monuments of the city. Ravenna, in the days of its Exarchs, could never
have dared to set up its own St. Vital as a rival to Imperial St.
Sophia. But at St. Sophia, changed into the temple of another faith, the
most characteristic ornaments have been hidden or torn away, while at
St. Vital Hebrew patriarchs and Christian saints, and the Imperial forms
of Justinian and his strangely-chosen Empress, still look down, as they
did thirteen hundred years back, upon the altars of Christian worship.
Ravenna, in short, seems, as it were, to have been preserved all but
untouched to keep up the memory of the days which were alike Roman,
Christian, and Imperial.



One of the excellent mountain roads constructed by Pius IX. leads
through a wild district from Olevano to Subiaco. A few miles before
reaching Subiaco we skirt a lake, probably one of the Simbrivii Lacus
which Nero is believed to have made by damming up the Anio. Here he
fished for trout with a golden net, and here he built the mountain villa
which he called Sublaqueum--a name which still exists in Subiaco.

Four centuries after the valley had witnessed the orgies of Nero, a
young patrician of the family of the Anicii-Benedictus, or "the blessed
one," being only fourteen at the time, fled from the seductions of the
capital to the rocks of Mentorella, but, being followed thither, sought
a more complete solitude in a cave above the falls of the Anio. Here he
lived unknown to any except the hermit Romanus, who daily let down food
to him, half of his own loaf, by a cord from the top of the cliff. At
length the hiding-place was revealed to the village priest in a vision,
and pilgrims flocked from all quarters to the valley. Through the
disciples who gathered around Benedict, this desolate ravine became the
cradle of monastic life in the West, and twelve monasteries rose amid
its peaks under the Benedictine rule....

Nothing can exceed the solemn grandeur of the situation of the convent
dedicated to St. Scholastica, the sainted sister of St. Benedict, which
was founded in the fifth century, and which, till quite lately, included
as many as sixteen towns and villages among its possessions. The scenery
becomes more romantic and savage at every step as we ascend the winding
path after leaving St. Scholastica, till a small gate admits us to the
famous immemorial Ilex Grove of St. Benedict, which is said to date from
the fifth century, and which has never been profaned by ax or hatchet.
Beyond it the path narrows, and a steep winding stair, just wide enough
to admit one person at a time, leads to the platform before the second
convent, which up to that moment is entirely concealed. Its name, Sacro
Speco, commemorates the holy cave of St. Benedict.

At the portal, the thrilling interest of the place is suggested by the
inscription--"Here is the patriarchal cradle of the monks of the West
Order of St. Benedict." The entrance corridor, built on arches over the
abyss, has frescoes of four sainted popes, and ends in an ante-chamber
with beautiful Umbrian frescoes, and a painted statue of St. Benedict.
Here we enter the all-glorious church of 1116, completely covered with
ancient frescoes. A number of smaller chapels, hewn out of the rock, are
dedicated to the sainted followers of the founder. Some of the paintings
are by the rare Umbrian master Concioli. A staircase in front of the
high altar leads to the lower church. At the foot of the first flight of
steps, above the charter of 1213, setting forth all its privileges, is
the frescoed figure of Innocent III., who first raised Subiaco into an
abbacy; in the same fresco is represented Abbot John of Tagliacozzo,
under whom (1217-1277) many of the paintings were executed.

On the second landing, the figure of Benedict faces us on a window with
his finger on his lips, imposing silence. On the left is the coro, on
the right the cave where Benedict is said to have passed three years in
darkness. A statue by Raggi commemorates his presence here; a basket is
a memorial of that lowered with his food by St. Romanus; an ancient bell
is shown as that which rang to announce its approach. As we descend the
Scala Santa trodden by the feet of Benedict, and ascended by the monks
upon their knees, the solemn beauty of the place increases at every
step. On the right is a powerful fresco of Death mowing down the young
and sparing the old; on the left, the Preacher shows the young and
thoughtless the three states to which the body is reduced after death.
Lastly, we reach the Holy of Holies, the second cave, in which Benedict
laid down the rule of his order, making its basis the twelve degrees of
humility. Here also an inscription enumerates the wonderful series of
saints, who, issuing from Subiaco, founded the Benedictine Order
throughout the world.



For several miles before reaching Volterra, our attention was fixt by
the extraordinary aspect of the country through which we were passing.
The road gradually ascended, and we found ourselves among deep ravines
and steep, high, broken banks, principally of clay, barren, and in most
places wholly bare of herbage, a scene of complete desolation, were it
not for a cottage here and there perched upon the heights, a few sheep
attended by a boy and a dog grazing on the brink of one of the
precipices, or a solitary patch of bright green wheat in some spot where
the rains had not yet carried away the vegetable mold.

In the midst of this desolate tract, which is, however, here and there
interspersed with fertile spots, rises the mountain on which Volterra is
situated, where the inhabitants breathe a pure and keen atmosphere,
almost perpetually cool, and only die of pleurisies and apoplexies;
while below, on the banks of the Cecina, which in full sight winds its
way to the sea, they die of fevers. One of the ravines of which I have
spoken--the "balza," they call it at Volterra--has plowed a deep chasm
on the north side of this mountain, and is every year rapidly
approaching the city on its summit. I stood on its edge and looked down
a bank of soft, red earth five hundred feet in height. A few rods in
front of me I saw where a road had crossed the spot in which the gulf
now yawned; the tracks of the last year's carriages were seen reaching
to the edge on both sides. The ruins of a convent were close at hand,
the inmates of which, two or three years since, had been removed by the
Government to the town for safety....

The antiquities of Volterra consist of an Etruscan burial-ground, in
which the tombs still remain, pieces of the old and incredibly massive
Etruscan wall, including a far larger circuit than the present city, two
Etruscan gates of immemorial antiquity, older, doubtless, than any thing
at Rome, built of enormous stones, one of them serving even yet as an
entrance to the town, and a multitude of cinerary vessels, mostly of
alabaster, sculptured with numerous figures in "alto relievo." These
figures are sometimes allegorical representations, and sometimes embody
the fables of the Greek mythology. Among them are many in the most
perfect style of Grecian art, the subjects of which are taken from the
poems of Homer; groups representing the besiegers of Troy and its
defenders, or Ulysses with his companions and his ships. I gazed with
exceeding delight on these works of forgotten artists, who had the
verses of Homer by heart--works just drawn from the tombs where they had
been buried for thousands of years, and looking as if fresh from the



Few buildings are more familiar than the temples of Paestum; yet the
moment when the traveler first comes in sight of works of untouched
Hellenic skill is one which is simply overwhelming. Suddenly, by the
side of a dreary road, in a spot backed indeed by noble mountains, but
having no charm of its own, we come on these works, unrivaled on our
side of the Hadriatic and the Messenian strait, standing in all their
solitary grandeur, shattered indeed, but far more perfect than the mass
of ruined buildings of later days. The feeling of being brought near to
Hellenic days and Hellenic men, of standing face to face with the
fathers of the world's civilization, is one which can never pass away.
Descriptions, pictures, models, all fail; they give us the outward form;
they can not give us the true life.

The thought comes upon us that we have passed away from that Roman world
out of which our own world has sprung into that earlier and fresher and
brighter world by which Rome and ourselves have been so deeply
influenced, but out of which neither the Roman nor the modern world can
be said to spring. There is the true Doric in its earliest form, in all
its unmixed and simple majesty. The ground is strewed with shells and
covered with acanthus-leaves; but no shell had suggested the Ionic
volute, no acanthus-leaf had suggested the Corinthian foliage. The vast
columns, with the sudden tapering, the overhanging capitals, the stern,
square abacus, all betoken the infancy of art. But it is an infancy like
that of their own Hêraklês; the strength which clutched the serpent in
his cradle is there in every stone. Later improvements, the improvements
of Attic skill, may have added grace; the perfection of art may be found
in the city which the vote of the divine Assembly decreed to Athênê; but
for the sense of power, of simplicity without rudeness, the city of
Poseidon holds her own. Unlike in every detail, there is in these
wonderful works of early Greek art a spirit akin to some of the great
churches of Romanesque date, simple, massive, unadorned, like the
Poseidônian Doric.

And they show, too, how far the ancient architects were from any slavish
bondage to those minute rules which moderns have invented for them. In
each of the three temples of Paestum differences both of detail and of
arrangement may be marked, differences partly of age, but also partly of
taste. And some other thoughts are brought forcibly upon the mind. Here
indeed we feel that the wonders of Hellenic architecture are things to
kindle our admiration, even our reverence; but that, as the expression
of a state of things which has wholly passed away, nothing can be less
fit for reproduction in modern times.

And again, we may be sure that the admiration and reverence which they
may awaken in the mind of the mere classical purist is cold beside that
which they kindle in the mind which can give them their true place in
the history of art. The temples of Paestum are great and noble from any
point of view. But they become greater and nobler as we run over the
successive steps in the long series by which their massive columns and
entablatures grew into the tall clusters and soaring arches of
Westminster and Amiens.





While not one of the original Hellenic city-states, Palermo has a superb
location on the northern shores of the central island of the central
sea; its harbor is guarded by the two picturesque cliffs and the fertile
plain that forms the "compagne" is hemmed in by a semicircular cord of
rugged mountains. "Perhaps there are few spots upon the surface of the
globe more beautiful than Palermo," writes Arthur Symonds. "The hills on
either hand descend upon the sea with long-drawn delicately broken
outlines, so delicately tinted with aerial hues at early dawn or beneath
the blue light of a full moon the panorama seems to be some fabric of
fancy, that must fade away, 'like shapes of clouds we form,' to nothing.
Within the cradle of these hills, and close upon the tideless water,
lies the city. Behind and around on every side stretches the famous
Conco d'Oro, or golden shell, a plain of marvelous fertility, so called
because of its richness and also because of its shape; for it tapers to
a fine point where the mountains meet, and spreads abroad, where they
diverge, like a cornucopia. The whole of this long vega is a garden,
thick with olive-groves and orange trees, with orchards of nespole and
palms and almonds, with fig-trees and locust-trees, with judas-trees
that blush in spring, and with flowers as multitudinously brilliant as
the fretwork of sunset clouds."

During the days of Phoenician and Carthagenian supremacy Palermo was a
busy mart--a great clearing-house for the commerce of the island and
that part of the Mediterranean. But during the days of the Saracens it
became not only a very busy city but also a very beautiful city. The
Arabian poets extolled its charms in terms that sound to us exceedingly
extravagant. One of them wrote: "Oh how beautiful is the lakelet of the
twin palms and the island where the spacious palace stands. The limpid
waters of the double springs resemble liquid pearls, and their basin is
a sea; you would say that the branches of the trees stretched down to
see the fishes in the pool and smile at them. The great fishes in those
clear waters, and the birds among the gardens tune their songs. The ripe
oranges of the island are like fire that burns on boughs of emerald; the
pale lemon reminds me of a lover who has passed the night in weeping for
his absent darling. The two palms may be compared to lovers who have
gained an inaccessible retreat against their enemies, or raise
themselves erect in pride to confound the murmurs and the ill thoughts
of jealous men. O palms of two lakelets of Palermo, ceaseless,
undisturbed, and plenteous days for ever keep your freshness."

With the coming of the Normans Palermo enjoyed even greater prosperity
than had been experienced under the liberal rule of the Saracens. This
was the most brilliant period in the history of the city. The population
was even more mixed than during Moslem supremacy. Besides the Greeks,
Normans, Saracens, and Hebrews, there were commercial colonies of Slavs,
Venetians, Lombardians, Catalans, and Pisans.

The most interesting public monuments at Palermo date from the Norman
period; and while many of the buildings are strikingly Saracenic in
character and recall similar structures erected by the Arabs in Spain,
it will be remembered that the Normans brought no trained architects to
the island, but employed the Arabs, Greeks, and Hebrews who had already
been in the service of the Saracen emirs. But the Arab influence in
architecture was dominant, and it survived well into the fourteenth



The reported luxury of the Sikeliot cities in this age is, in the
double-edged saying of Empedocles, connected with one of their noblest
tastes. They built their houses as if they were going to live for ever.
And if their houses, how much more their temples and other public
buildings? In some of the Sikeliot cities, this was the most brilliant
time of architectural splendor. At Syracuse indeed the greatest
buildings which remain to tell their own story belong either to an
earlier or to a later time. It is the theater alone, as in its first
estate a probable work of the first Hierôn, which at all connects itself
with our present time. But at Akragas[36] and at Selinous the greatest
of the existing buildings belong to the days of republican freedom and
independence. At Akragas what the tyrant began the democracy went on
with. The series of temples that line the southern wall are due to an
impulse which began under Thêrôn and went on to the days of the
Carthaginian siege.

Of the greatest among them, the temple of Olympian Zeus, this is
literally true. There can be little doubt that it was begun as one of
the thank-offerings after the victory of Himera, and it is certain that
at the coming of Hannibal and Hamilkôn it was still so far imperfect
that the roof was not yet added. It was therefore in building during a
time of more than seventy years, years which take in the whole of the
brilliant days of Akragantine freedom and well-being.

To the same period also belong the other temples in the lower city,
temples which abide above ground either standing or in ruins, while the
older temples in the akropolis have to be looked for underneath
buildings of later ages. It was a grand conception to line the southern
wall, the wall most open to the attacks of mortal enemies, with this
wonderful series of holy places of the divine protectors of the city. It
was a conception due, we may believe, in the first instance, to Thêrôn,
but which the democracy fully entered into and carried out. The two best
preserved of the range stand to the east; one indeed occupies the
southeastern corner of the fortified enclosure.

Next in order to the west comes the temple which bears a name not
unlikely, but altogether impossible and unmeaning, the so-called temple
of Concord. No reasonable guess can be made at its pagan dedication; in
the fifteenth century of our era it followed the far earlier precedent
of the temples in the akropolis. It became the church of Saint Gregory,
not of any of the great pontiffs and doctors of the Church, but of the
local bishop whose full description as Saint Gregory of the Turnips can
hardly be written without a smile. The peristyle was walled up, and
arches were cut through the walls of the cella, exactly as in the great
church of Syracuse. Saint Gregory of Girgenti plays no such part in the
world's history as was played by the Panagia of Syracuse; we may
therefore be more inclined to extend some mercy to the Bourbon king who
set free the columns as we now see them. When he had gone so far, one
might even wish that he had gone on to wall up the arches. In each of
the former states of the building there was a solid wall somewhere to
give shelter from the blasts which sweep round this exposed spot. As the
building now stands, it is, after the Athenian house of Theseus and
Saint George, the best preserved Greek temple in being. Like its fellow
to the east, it is a building of moderate size, of the middle stage of
Doric, with columns less massive than those of Syracuse and Corinth,
less slender than those of Nemea.

Again to the west stood a temple of greater size, nearly ranging in
scale with the Athenian Parthenon, which is assigned, with far more of
likelihood than the other names, to Hêraklês. Save one patched-up column
standing amid the general ruin, it has, in the language of the prophet,
become heaps. All that is left is a mass of huge stones, among which we
can see the mighty columns, fallen, each in its place, overthrown, it is
clear, by no hand of man but by those powers of the nether world whose
sway is felt in every corner of Sicilian soil.

These three temples form a continuous range along the eastern part of
the southern wall of the city. To the west of them, parted from them by
a gate, which, in Roman times at least, bore, as at Constantinople and
Spalato, the name of Golden, rose the mightiest work of Akragantine
splendor and devotion, the great Olympieion itself. Of this gigantic
building, the vastest Greek temple in Europe, we happily have somewhat
full descriptions from men who had looked at it, if not in the days of
its full glory, yet at least when it was a house standing up, and not a
ruin. As it now lies, a few fragments of wall still standing amid
confused heaps of fallen stones, of broken columns and capitals, no
building kindles a more earnest desire to see it as it stood in the days
of its perfection.

 Courtesy International Mercantile Marine Co.]


Courtesy L. C. Page & Co.]





 Courtesy L. C. Page & Co.]

 Courtesy L. C. Page & Co.]

 Courtesy Houghton, Mifflin Co.]

Courtesy Houghton, Mifflin Co.]

Courtesy Houghton, Mifflin Co.]

Courtesy Houghton, Mifflin Co.]

Courtesy Houghton, Mifflin Co.]

(Minoan civilization in Crete antedates the Homeric age--perhaps by many
centuries)    Courtesy Houghton, Mifflin Co.]



The temple of Segeste was never finished; the ground around it was never
even leveled; the space only being smoothed on which the peristyle was
to stand. For, in several places, the steps are from nine to ten feet in
the ground, and there is no hill near, from which the stone or mold
could have fallen. Besides, the stones lie in their natural position,
and no ruins are found near them.

The columns are all standing; two which had fallen, have very recently
been raised again. How far the columns rested on a socle is hard to say;
and without an engraving it is difficult to give an idea of their
present state. At some points it would seem as if the pillars rested on
the fourth step. In that case to enter the temple you would have to go
down a step. In other places, however, the uppermost step is cut
through, and then it looks as if the columns had rested on bases; and
then again these spaces have been filled up, and so we have once more
the first case. An architect is necessary to determine this point.

The sides have twelve columns, not reckoning the corner ones; the back
and front six, including them. The rollers on which the stones were
moved along, still lie around you on the steps. They have been left in
order to indicate that the temple was unfinished. But the strongest
evidence of this fact is the floor. In some spots (along the sides) the
pavement is laid down; in the middle, however, the red limestone rock
still projects higher than the level of the floor as partially laid; the
flooring, therefore, can not ever have been finished. There is also no
trace of an inner temple. Still less can the temple have ever been
overlaid with stucco; but that it was intended to do so, we may infer
from the fact that the abaci of the capitals have projecting points
probably for the purpose of holding the plaster. The whole is built of a
limestone, very similar to the travertine; only it is now much fretted.
The restoration which was carried on in 1781, has done much good to the
building. The cutting of the stone, with which the parts have been
reconnected, is simple, but beautiful.

The site of the temple is singular; at the highest end of a broad and
long valley, it stands on an isolated hill. Surrounded, however, on all
sides by cliffs, it commands a very distant and extensive view of the
land, but takes in only just a corner of the sea. The district reposes
in a sort of melancholy fertility--every where well cultivated, but
scarce a dwelling to be seen. Flowering thistles were swarming with
countless butterflies, wild fennel stood here from eight to nine feet
high, dry and withered of the last year's growth, but so rich and in
such seeming order that one might almost take it to be an old
nursery-ground. A shrill wind whistled through the columns as if through
a wood, and screaming birds of prey hovered around the pediments.



When you have ascended to the top of the wall of rocks [at Taormina],
which rise precipitously at no great distance from the sea, you find two
peaks, connected by a semicircle. Whatever shape this may have had
originally from Nature has been helped by the hand of man, which has
formed out of it an amphitheater for spectators. Walls and other
buildings have furnished the necessary passages and rooms. Right across,
at the foot of the semicircular range of seats, the scene was built, and
by this means the two rocks were joined together, and a most enormous
work of nature and art combined.

Now, sitting down at the spot where formerly sat the uppermost
spectators, you confess at once that never did any audience, in any
theater, have before it such a spectacle as you there behold. On the
right, and on high rocks at the side, castles tower in the air--farther
on the city lies below you; and altho its buildings are all of modern
date, still similar ones, no doubt, stood of old on the same site. After
this the eye falls on the whole of the long ridge of Ætna, then on the
left it catches a view of the sea-shore, as far as Catania, and even
Syracuse, and then the wide and extensive view is closed by the immense
smoking volcano, but not horribly, for the atmosphere, with its
softening effect, makes it look more distinct, and milder than it
really is.

If now you turn from this view toward the passage running at the back of
the spectators, you have on the left the whole wall of the rocks between
which and the sea runs the road to Messina. And then again you behold
vast groups of rocky ridges in the sea itself, with the coast of
Calabria in the far distance, which only a fixt and attentive gaze can
distinguish from the clouds which rise rapidly from it.

We descended toward the theater, and tarried awhile among its ruins, on
which an accomplished architect would do well to employ, at least on
paper, his talent of restoration. After this I attempted to make a way
for myself through the gardens to the city. But I soon learned by
experience what an impenetrable bulwark is formed by a hedge of agaves
planted close together. You can see through their interlacing leaves,
and you think, therefore, it will be easy to force a way through them;
but the prickles on their leaves are very sensible obstacles. If you
step on these colossal leaves, in the hope that they will bear you, they
break off suddenly; and so, instead of getting out, you fall into the
arms of the next plant. When, however, at last we had wound our way out
of the labyrinth, we found but little to enjoy in the city; tho from the
neighboring country we felt it impossible to part before sunset.
Infinitely beautiful was it to observe this region, of which every point
had its interest, gradually enveloped in darkness.



By the ancients Ætna was supposed to be the prison of the mighty chained
giant Typhon, the flames proceeding from his breath and the noises from
his groans; and when he turned over earthquakes shook the island. Many
of the myths of the Greek poets were associated with the slopes of Ætna,
such as Demeter, torch in hand, seeking Persephone, Acis and Galatea,
Polyphemus and the Cyclops.

Ætna was once a volcano in the Mediterranean and in the course of ages
it completely filled the surrounding sea with its lava. A remarkable
feature of the mountain is the large number of minor cones on its
sides--some seven hundred in all. Most of these subsidiary cones are
from three to six thousand feet in height and they make themselves most
strongly felt during periods of great activity. The summit merely serves
as a vent through which the vapors and gases make their escape. The
natural boundaries of Ætna are the Alcantara and Simeto rivers on the
north, west, and south, and the sea on the east.

The most luxurious fertility characterizes the gradual slopes near the
base, the decomposed volcanic soil being almost entirely covered with
olives, figs, grapes, and prickly pears. Higher up is the timber zone.
Formerly there was a dense forest belt between the zone of cultivated
land and the tore of cinders and snow; but the work of forest
extermination was almost completed during the reign of the Spanish
Bourbons. One may still find scattered oak, ilex, chestnut, and pine
interspersed with ferns and aromatic herbs. Chestnut trees of surprizing
growth are found on the lower slopes. "The Chestnut Tree of the Hundred
Horses," for which the slopes of Ætna are famous, is not a single tree
but a group of several distinct trunks together forming a circle, under
whose spreading branches a hundred horses might find shelter.

Above the wooded zone Ætna is covered with miniature cones thrown up by
different eruptions and regions of dreary plateau covered with scoriae
and ashes and buried under snow a part of the year. While the upper
portions of the volcano are covered with snow the greater portion of the
year, Ætna does not reach the limit of perpetual snow, and the heat
which is emitted from its sides prevents the formation of glaciers in
the hollows. One might expect that the quantities of snow and rain which
fall on the summit would give rise to numerous streams. But the small
stones and cinders absorb the moisture, and springs are found only on
the lower slopes. The cinders, however, retain sufficient moisture to
support a rich vegetation wherever the surface of the lava is not too
compact to be penetrated by roots. The surface of the more recent lava
streams is not, as might be supposed, smooth and level, but full of
yawning holes and rents.

The regularity of the gradual slopes is broken on the eastern side by
the Valle del Bove, a vast amphitheater more than three thousand feet in
depth, three miles in width, and covering an area of ten square miles.
The bottom of the valley is dotted with craters which rise in gigantic
steps; and, when Ætna is in a state of eruption, these craters pour
forth fiery cascades of lava. The Monte Centenari rise from the Valle
del Bove to an elevation of 6,026 feet. At the head of the valley is the
Torre del Filosofo at an altitude of 9,570 feet. This is the reputed
site of the observatory of Empedocles, the poet and philosopher, who is
fabled to have thrown himself into the crater of Ætna to immortalize his

The lower slopes of Ætna--after the basin of Palermo--include the most
densely populated parts of Sicily. More than half a million people live
on the slopes of a mountain that might be expected to inspire terror.
"Towns succeed towns along its base like pearls in a necklace, and when
a stream of lava effects a breach in the chain of human habitations, it
is closed up again as soon as the lava has had time to cool." As soon as
the lava has decomposed, the soil produces an excellent yield and this
tempts the farmer and the fruit grower to take chances. Speaking of the
dual effect of Ætna, Freeman says: "He has been mighty to destroy, but
he has also been mighty to create and render fruitful. If his fiery
streams have swept away cities and covered fields, they have given the
cities a new material for their buildings and the fields a new soil rich
above all others."



The ruins of Syracuse are not to the casual observer very imposing. But
even these ruins have great interest for the archeologist. There is, for
example, an old temple near the northern end of Ortygia, for the most
part embedded in the buildings of the modern city, yet with its east end
cleared and showing several entire columns with a part of the architrave
upon them. And what a surprize here awaits one who thinks of a Doric
temple as built on a stereotyped plan! Instead of the thirteen columns
on the long sides which one is apt to look for as going with a
six-column front, here are eighteen or nineteen, it is not yet quite
certain which. The columns stand less than their diameter apart, and the
abaci are so broad that they nearly touch.

So small is the inter-columnar space that archeologists incline to the
belief that in this one Doric temple there were triglyphs only over the
columns, and not also between them as in all other known cases.
Everything about this temple stamps it as the oldest in Sicily. An
inscription on the top step, in very archaic letters, much worn and
difficult to read, contains the name of Apollo in the ancient form....
The inscription may, of course, be later than the temple; but it is in
itself old enough to warrant the supposition that the temple was
erected soon after the first Corinthian colonists established themselves
in the island. While the inscription makes it reasonably certain that
the temple belonged to Apollo, the god under whose guiding hand all
these Dorians went out into these western seas, tradition, with strange
perversity, has given it the name of "Temple of Diana." But it is all in
the family.

Another temple ruin on the edge of the plateau, which begins about two
miles south of the city, across the Anapos, one might also easily
overlook in a casual survey, because it consists only of two columns
without capitals, and a broad extent of the foundations from which the
accumulated earth has been only partially removed. This was the famous
temple of Olympian Zeus, built probably in the days of Hiero I., soon
after the Persian war, but on the site of a temple still more venerable.
One seeks a reason for the location of this holy place at such a
distance from the city. Holm, the German historian of Sicily, argues
with some plausibility that this was no mere suburb of Syracuse, but the
original Syracuse itself. In the first place, the list of the citizens
of Syracuse was kept here down at least to the time of the Athenian
invasion. In the second place, tradition, which, when rightly consulted,
tells so much, says that Archias, the founder of Syracuse, had two
daughters, Ortygia and Syracusa, which may point to two coordinate
settlements, Ortygia and Syracuse; the latter, which was on this temple
plateau, being subsequently merged in the former, but, as sometimes
happens in such cases, giving its name to the combined result.

Besides these temple ruins there are many more foundations that tell a
more or less interesting story. Then there are remains of the ancient
city that can never be ruined--for instance, the great stone quarries,
pits over a hundred feet deep and acres broad, in some of which the
Athenian prisoners were penned up to waste away under the gaze of the
pitiless captors; the Greek theater cut out of the solid rock; the great
altar of Hiero II., six hundred feet long and about half as broad, also
of solid rock. Then there is a mighty Hexapylon, which closed the
fortifications of Dionysius at the northwest at the point where they
challenged attack from the land side. With its sally-ports and rock-hewn
passages, some capacious enough to quarter regiments of cavalry, showing
holes cut in the projecting corners of rock, through which the
hitch-reins of the horses were wont to be passed, and its great
magazines, it stands a lasting memorial to the energy of a tyrant. But
while this fortress is practically indestructible, an impregnable
fortress is a dream incapable of realization. Marcellus and his stout
Romans came in through these fortifications, not entirely, it is true,
by their own might, but by the aid of traitors, against whom no walls
are proof.

One of the stone quarries, the Latomia del Paradiso, has an added
interest from its association with the tyrant who made himself hated as
well as feared, while Gelon was only feared without being hated. An
inner recess of the quarry is called the "Ear of Dionysius," and
tradition says that at the inner end of this recess either he or his
creatures sat and listened to the murmurs that the people uttered
against him, and that these murmurs were requited with swift and fatal
punishment. Certain it is that a whisper in this cave produces a
wonderful resonance, and a pistol shot is like the roar of a cannon; but
that people who had anything to say about the butcher should come up
within ear-shot of him to utter it is not very likely. Historians are
not quite sure that the connection of Dionysius with this recess is
altogether mythical, but that he shaped it with the fell purpose above
mentioned is not to be thought of, as the whole quarry is older than his
time, and was probably, with the Latomia dei Cappuccini, a prison for
the Athenians.



The city of Valetta, founded in 1566, by the grand master whose name it
bears, is the capital of Malta. The city of La Sangle, and the city of
Victoria, which occupy two points of land on the other side of the
harbor of the Marse, together with the suburbs of Floriana and Burmola,
complete the town; encircled by bastions, ramparts, counterscarps,
forts, and fortifications, to an extent which renders siege impossible!
If you follow one of the streets which surround the town, at each step
that you take, you find yourself face to face with a cannon. Gibraltar
itself does not bristle more completely with mouths of fire. The
inconvenience of these extended works is, that they enclose a vast
radius, and demand to defend them, in case of attack, an enormous
garrison; always difficult to maintain at a distance from the mother

From the height of the ramparts, one sees in the distance the blue and
transparent sea, broken into ripples by the breeze, and dotted with
snowy sails. The scarlet sentinels are on guard from point to point, and
the heat of the sun is so fierce upon the glacis, that a cloth stretched
upon a frame and turning upon a pivot at the top of a pole, forms a
shade for the soldiers, who, without this precaution, must inevitably be
roasted on their posts....

The city of Valetta, altho built with regularity, and, so to speak, all
in one "block," is not, therefore, the less picturesque. The decided
slope of the ground neutralizes what the accurate lines of the street
might otherwise have of monotony, and the town mounts by degrees and by
terraces the hillside, which it forms into an amphitheater. The houses,
built very high like those of Cadiz, terminate in flat roofs that their
inhabitants may the better enjoy the sea view. They are all of white
Maltese stone; a sort of sandstone easy to work, and with which, at
small expense, one can indulge various caprices of sculpture and
ornamentation. These rectilinear houses stand well, and have an air of
grandeur, which they owe to the absence of (visible) roofs, cornices,
and attics. They stand out sharply and squarely against the azure of the
heavens, which their dazzling whiteness renders only the more intense;
but that which chiefly gives them a character of originality is the
projecting balcony hung upon each front; like the "moucharabys" of the
East, or the "miradores" of Spain.

The palace of the grand masters--to-day the palace of the
government--has nothing remarkable in the way of architecture. Its date
is recent, and it responds but imperfectly to the idea one would form of
the residence of Villiers de I'lle Adam, of Lavalette, and of their
warlike ancestors. Nevertheless, it has a certain monumental air, and
produces a fine effect upon the great Place, of which it forms one
entire side. Two doorways, with rustic columns, break the uniformity of
the long façade; while an immense balcony, supported by gigantic
sculptured brackets, encircles the building at the level of the first
floor, and gives to the edifice the stamp of Malta. This detail, so
strictly local in its character, relieves what might be heavy and flat
in this architecture; and this palace, otherwise vulgar, becomes thus
original. The interior, which I visited, presents a range of vast halls
and galleries, decorated with pictures representing battles by sea and
land, sieges, and combats between Turkish galleys and the galleys of the
"Religion." ...

To finish with the knights, I turned my steps toward the Church of St.
John--the Pantheon of the Order. Its façade, with a triangular porch
flanked by two towers terminating in stone belfries, having for ornament
only four pillars, and pierced by a window and door, without sculpture
or decoration, by no means prepares the traveler for the splendor

The first thing which arrests the sight is an immense arch, painted in
fresco, which runs the whole length of the nave. This fresco, unhappily
much deteriorated by time, is the work of Matteo Preti, called the
Calabrese; one of those great second-rate masters, who, if they have
less genius, have often more talent than the princes of the art. What
there is of science, facility, spirit, expression, and abundant
resource, in this colossal picture, is beyond description.

Each section of the arch contains a scene from the life of St. John, to
whom the church is dedicated, and who was the patron of the Order.
These sections are supported, at their descent, by groups of
captives--Saracens, Turks, Christians, and others--half naked, or clad
in the remains of shattered armor, and placed in positions of
humiliation or constraint, who form a species of barbaric caryatides
strikingly suited to the subject. All this part of the fresco is full of
character, and has a force of coloring very rare in this species of
picture. These solid and massive effects give additional strength to the
lighter tone of the arch, and throw the skies into a relief and distance
singularly profound. I know no similar work of equal grandeur except the
ceiling by Fumiana in the Church of St. Pantaleone at Venice,
representing the life, martyrdom, and apotheosis of that saint. But the
style of the decadence makes itself less felt in the work of the
Calabrese than in that of the Venetian. In recompense of this gigantic
work, the artist had the honor, like Carravaggio, to be made a Knight
of the Order.

The pavement of the church is composed of four hundred tombs of knights,
incrusted with jasper, porphyry, verd-antique, and precious stones of
various kinds, which should form the most splendid sepulchral mosaics
conceivable. I say should form, because at the moment of my visit, the
whole floor was covered with those immense mats, so constantly used for
carpeting the southern churches--a usage which is explained by the
absence of pews or chairs, and the habit of kneeling upon the floor to
perform one's devotions. I regretted this exceedingly; but the crypt and
the chapel contain enough sepulchral wealth to offer some atonement.





There is probably no more exciting voyage, to any educated man, than the
approach to Athens from the sea. Every promontory, every island, every
bay, has its history. If he knows the map of Greece, he needs no
guide-book or guide to distract him; if he does not, he needs little
Greek to ask of any one near him the name of this or that object; and
the mere names are sufficient to stir up all his classical
recollections. But he must make up his mind not to be shocked at "Ægina"
or "Phalrum," and even to be told that he is utterly wrong in his way of
pronouncing them.

It was our fortune to come into Greece by night, with a splendid moon
shining upon the summer sea. The varied outlines of Sunium, on the one
side, and Ægina on the other, were very clear, but in the deep shadows
there was mystery enough to feed the burning impatience of seeing all in
the light of common day; and tho we had passed Ægina, and had come over
against the rocky Salamis, as yet there was no sign of Peiræus. Then
came the light on Psyttalea, and they told us that the harbor was right
opposite. Yet we came nearer and nearer, and no harbor could be seen.

The barren rocks of the coast seemed to form one unbroken line, and
nowhere was there a sign of indentation or of break in the land. But
suddenly, as we turned from gazing on Psyttalea, where the flower of the
Persian nobles had once stood in despair, looking upon their fate
gathering about them, the vessel had turned eastward, and discovered to
us the crowded lights and thronging ships of the famous harbor. Small it
looked, very small, but evidently deep to the water's edge, for great
ships seemed touching the shore; and so narrow is the mouth, that we
almost wondered how they had made their entrance in safety. But we saw
it some weeks later, with nine men-of-war towering above all its
merchant shipping and its steamers, and among them crowds of ferryboats
skimming about in the breeze with their wing-like sails. Then we found
out that, like the rest of Greece, the Peiræus was far larger than it

It differed little, alas! from more vulgar harbors in the noise and
confusion of disembarking; in the delays of its custom-house; in the
extortion and insolence of its boatmen. It is still, as in Plato's day,
"the haunt of sailors, where good manners are unknown." But when we had
escaped the turmoil, and were seated silently on the way to Athens,
almost along the very road of classical days, all our classical notions,
which had been seared away by vulgar bargaining and protesting,
regained their sway.

We had sailed in through the narrow passage where almost every great
Greek that ever lived had some time passed; now we went along the line,
hardly less certain, which had seen all these great ones going to and
fro between the city and the port. The present road is shaded with great
silver poplars, and plane trees, and the moon had set, so that our
approach to Athens was even more mysterious than our approach to the
Peiræus. We were, moreover, perplexed at our carriage stopping under
some large plane trees, tho we had driven but two miles, and the night
was far spent. Our coachman would listen to no advice or persuasion. We
learned afterward that every carriage going to and from the Peiræus
stops at this half-way house, that the horses may drink, and the
coachman take "Turkish delight" and water. There is no exception made to
this custom, and the traveler is bound to submit. At last we entered the
unpretending ill-built streets at the west of Athens....

We rose at the break of dawn to see whether our window would afford any
prospect to serve as a requital for angry sleeplessness. And there,
right opposite, stood the rock which of all rocks in the world's history
has done most for literature and art--the rock which poets, and orators,
and architects, and historians have ever glorified, and can not stay
their praise--which is ever new and ever old, ever fresh in its decay,
ever perfect in its ruin, ever living in its death--the Acropolis of

When I saw my dream and longing of many years fulfilled, the first rays
of the rising sun had just touched the heights, while the town below was
still hid in gloom. Rock, and rampart, and ruined fanes--all were
colored in uniform tints; the lights were of a deep rich orange, and the
shadows of dark crimson, with the deeper lines of purple. There was no
variety in color between what nature and what man had set there. No
whiteness shone from the marble, no smoothness showed upon the hewn and
polished blocks; but the whole mass of orange and crimson stood out
together into the pale, pure Attic air. There it stood, surrounded by
lanes and hovels, still perpetuating the great old contrast in Greek
history, of magnificence and meanness--of loftiness and lowness--as well
in outer life as in inward motive. And, as it were in illustration of
that art of which it was the most perfect bloom, and which lasted in
perfection but a day of history, I saw it again and again, in sunlight
and in shade, in daylight and at night, but never again in this perfect
and singular beauty....

I suppose there can be no doubt whatever that the ruins on the Acropolis
of Athens are the most remarkable in the world. There are ruins far
larger, such as the Pyramids, and the remains of Karnak. There are ruins
far more perfectly preserved, such as the great Temple at Paestum. There
are ruins more picturesque, such as the ivy-clad walls of medieval
abbeys beside the rivers in the rich valleys of England. But there is no
ruin all the world over which combines so much striking beauty, so
distinct a type, so vast a volume of history, so great a pageant of
immortal memories. There is, in fact, no building on earth which can
sustain the burden of such greatness, and so the first visit to the
Acropolis is and must be disappointing.

When the traveler reflects how all the Old World's culture culminated in
Greece--all Greece in Athens--all Athens in its Acropolis--all the
Acropolis in the Parthenon--so much crowds upon the mind confusedly that
we look for some enduring monument whereupon we can fasten our thoughts,
and from which we can pass as from a visible starting-point into all
this history and all this greatness. And at first we look in vain. The
shattered pillars and the torn pediments will not bear so great a
strain; and the traveler feels forced to admit a sense of
disappointment, sore against his will. He has come a long journey into
the remoter parts of Europe; he has reached at last what his soul had
longed for many years in vain; and as is wont to be the case with all
great human longings, the truth does not answer to his desire. The pang
of disappointment is all the greater when he sees that the tooth of time
and the shock of earthquake have done but little harm. It is the hand of
man--of reckless foe and ruthless lover--which has robbed him of his

Nothing is more vexatious than the reflection, how lately these splendid
remains have been reduced to their present state. The Parthenon, being
used as a Greek church, remained untouched and perfect all through the
Middle Ages. Then it became a mosque, and the Erechtheum a seraglio, and
in this way survived without damage till 1687, when, in the bombardment
by the Venetians under Morosini, a shell dropt into the Parthenon, where
the Turks had their powder stored, and blew out the whole center of the
building. Eight or nine pillars at each side have been thrown down, and
have left a large gap, which so severs the front and rear of the temple,
that from the city below they look like the remains of two different
buildings. The great drums of these pillars are yet lying there, in
their order, just as they fell, and some money and care might set them
all up again in their places; yet there is not in Greece the patriotism
or even the common sense to enrich the country by this restoration,
matchless in its certainty as well as in its splendor.

But the Venetians were not content with their exploit. They were, about
this time, when they held possession of most of Greece, emulating the
Pisan taste for Greek sculptures; and the four fine lions standing at
the gate of the arsenal in Venice still testify to their zeal in
carrying home Greek trophies to adorn their capital.

In its great day, and even as Pausanias saw it, the Acropolis was
covered with statues, as well as with shrines. It was not merely an Holy
of Holies in religion; it was also a palace and museum of art. At every
step and turn the traveler met new objects of interest. There were
archaic specimens, chiefly interesting to the antiquarian and the
devotee; there were the great masterpieces which were the joint
admiration of the artist and the vulgar. Even all the sides and slopes
of the great rock were honeycombed into sacred grottos, with their
altars and their gods, or studded with votive monuments. All these
lesser things are fallen away and gone; the sacred eaves are filled with
rubbish, and desecrated with worse than neglect. The grotto of Pan and
Apollo is difficult of access, and when reached, an object of disgust
rather than of interest. There are left but the remnants of the
surrounding wall, and the ruins of the three principal buildings, which
were the envy and wonder of all the civilized world.

The beautiful little temple of Athena Nike, tho outside the
Propylæa--thrust out as it were on a sort of great buttress high on the
right--must still be called a part, and a very striking part, of the
Acropolis. It is only of late years that it has been cleared of rubbish
and modern stone-work, thus destroying, no doubt, some precious traces
of Turkish occupation which the fastidious historian may regret, but
realizing to us a beautiful Greek temple of the Ionic Order in some
completeness. The peculiarity of this building, which is perched upon a
platform of stone, and commands a splendid prospect, is that its tiny
peribolus, or sacred enclosure, was surrounded by a parapet of stone
slabs covered with exquisite reliefs of winged Victories, in various
attitudes. Some of these slabs are now in the Museum of the Acropolis,
and are of great interest--apparently less severe than the school of
Phidias, and therefore later in date, but still of the best epoch, and
of marvelous grace. The position of this temple also is not parallel
with the Propylæa, but turned slightly outward, so that the light
strikes it at moments when the other building is not illuminated. At the
opposite side is a very well-preserved chamber, and a fine colonnade at
right angles with the gate, which looks like a guard-room. This is the
chamber commonly called the Pinacotheca, where Pausanias saw pictures or
frescoes by Polygnotus.



Our sitting-room fronted the south (with a view of the Acropolis and the
Areopagus), and could be kept warm without more labor or expense than
would be required for an entire dwelling at home. Our principal anxiety
was, that the supply of fuel, at any price, might become exhausted. We
burned the olive and the vine, the cypress and the pine, twigs of rose
trees and dead cabbage-stalks, for aught I know, to feed our one little
sheet-iron stove. For full two months we were obliged to keep up our
fire, from morning until night. Know ye the land of the cypress and
myrtle, where the flowers ever blossom, the beams ever shine? Here it
is, with almost snow enough in the streets for a sleighing party, with
the Ilissus frozen, and with a tolerable idea of Lapland, when you face
the gusts which drive across the Cephissian plain.

As the other guests were Greek, our mode of living was similar to that
of most Greek families. We had coffee in the morning, a substantial
breakfast about noon, and dinner at six in the evening. The dishes were
constructed after French and Italian models, but the meat is mostly
goat's flesh. Beef, when it appears, is a phenomenon of toughness.
Vegetables are rather scarce. Cow's milk, and butter or cheese
therefrom, are substances unknown in Greece. The milk is from goats or
sheep, and the butter generally from the latter. It is a white, cheesy
material, with a slight flavor of tallow. The wine, when you get it
unmixed with resin, is very palatable. We drank that of Santorin, with
the addition of a little water, and found it an excellent beverage....

Except during the severely cold weather, Athens is as lively a town as
may be. One-fourth of the inhabitants, I should say, are always in the
streets, and many of the mechanics work, as is common in the Orient, in
open shops. The coffee-houses are always thronged, and every afternoon
crowds may be seen on the Patissia Road--a continuation of Eolus
Street--where the King and Queen take their daily exercise on horseback.
The national costume, both male and female, is gradually falling into
disuse in the cities, altho it is still universal in the country. The
islanders adhere to their hideous dress with the greatest persistence.
With sunrise the country people begin to appear in the streets with
laden donkeys and donkey-carts, bringing wood, grain, vegetables, and
milk, which they sell from house to house....

Venders of bread and coffee-rolls go about with circular trays on their
heads, calling attention to their wares by loud and long-drawn cries.
Later in the day, peddlers make their appearance, with packages of cheap
cotton stuffs, cloth, handkerchiefs, and the like, or baskets of pins,
needles, buttons, and tape. They proclaim loudly the character and price
of their articles, the latter, of course, subject to negotiation. The
same custom prevails as in Turkey, of demanding much more than the
seller expects to get. Foreigners are generally fleeced a little in the
beginning, tho much less so, I believe, than in Italy....

The winter of 1857-58 was the severest in the memory of any inhabitant.
For nearly eight weeks, we had an alternation of icy north winds and
snow-storms. The thermometer went down to 20 degrees of Fahrenheit--a
degree of cold which seriously affected the orange-, if not the
olive-trees. Winter is never so dreary as in those southern lands, where
you see the palm trees rocking despairingly in the biting gale, and the
snow lying thick on the sunny fruit of the orange groves. As for the
pepper trees, with their hanging tresses and their loose, misty foliage,
which line the broad avenues radiating from the palace, they were
touched beyond recovery. The people, who could not afford to purchase
wood or charcoal, at treble the usual price, even tho they had hearths,
which they have not, suffered greatly. They crouched at home, in cellars
and basements, wrapt in rough capotes, or hovering around a mangal, or
brazier of coals, the usual substitute for a stove. From Constantinople
we had still worse accounts. The snow lay deep everywhere; charcoal sold
at twelve piastres the oka (twenty cents a pound), and the famished
wolves, descending from the hills, devoured people almost at the gates
of the city. In Smyrna, Beyrout, and Alexandria, the winter was equally
severe, while in Odessa it was mild and agreeable, and in St.
Petersburg there was scarcely snow enough for sleighing. All Northern
Europe enjoyed a winter as remarkable for warmth as that of the South
for its cold. The line of division seemed to be about the parallel of
latitude 45 degrees. Whether this singular climatic phenomenon extended
further eastward, into Asia, I was not able to ascertain. I was actually
less sensitive to the cold in Lapland, during the previous winter, with
the mercury frozen, than in Attica, within the belt of semi-tropical



To the Acropolis there is only one approach; it allows of no other,
being everywhere precipitous and walled off. The vestibules have a roof
of white marble, and even now are remarkable for both their beauty and
size. As to the statues of the horsemen, I can not say with precision
whether they are the sons of Xenophon, or merely put there for
decoration. On the right of the vestibules is the shrine of the Wingless
Victory. From it the sea is visible; and there Ægeus drowned himself, as
they say. For the ship which took his sons to Crete had black sails, but
Theseus told his father (for he knew there was some peril in attacking
the Minotaur) that he would have white sails if he should sail back a
conqueror. But he forgot this promise in his loss of Ariadne. And Ægeus,
seeing the ship with black sails, thinking his son was dead, threw
himself in and was drowned. And the Athenians have a hero-chapel to his
memory. And on the left of the vestibules is a building with paintings;
and among those that time has not destroyed are Diomedes and
Odysseus--the one taking away Philoctetes's bow in Lemnos, the other
taking the Palladium from Ilium. Among other paintings here is Ægisthus
being slain by Orestes; and Pylades slaying the sons of Nauplius that
came to Ægisthus's aid. And Polyxena about to have her throat cut near
the tomb of Achilles. Homer did well not to mention this savage act....

And there is a small stone such as a little man can sit on, on which
they say Silenus rested, when Dionysus came to the land. Silenus is the
name they give to all old Satyrs. About the Satyrs I have conversed with
many, wishing to know all about them. And Euphemus, a Carian, told me
that sailing once on a time to Italy he was driven out of his course by
the winds, and carried to a distant sea, where people no longer sail.
And he said that here were many desert islands, some inhabited by wild
men; and at these islands the sailors did not like to land, as they had
landed there before and had experience of the natives; but they were
obliged on that occasion. These islands he said were called by the
sailors Satyr-islands; the dwellers in them were red-haired, and had
tails at their loins not much smaller than horses....

And as regards the temple which they call the Parthenon, as you enter it
everything portrayed on the gables relates to the birth of Athene, and
behind is depicted the contest between Poseidon and Athene for the soil
of Attica. And this work of art is in ivory and gold. In the middle of
her helmet is an image of the Sphinx--about whom I shall give an account
when I come to Boeotia--and on each side of the helmet are griffins
worked. These griffins, says Aristus the Proconnesian, in his poems,
fought with the Arimaspians beyond the Issedones for the gold of the
soil which the griffins guarded. And the Arimaspians were all one-eyed
men from their birth; and the griffins were beasts like lions, with
wings and mouth like an eagle. Let so much suffice for these griffins.
But the statue of Athene is full length, with a tunic reaching to her
feet; and on her breast is the head of Medusa worked in ivory, and in
one hand she has a Victory four cubits high, in the other hand a spear,
and at her feet a shield; and near the spear a dragon which perhaps is
Erichthonius. And on the base of the statue is a representation of the
birth of Pandora--the first woman, according to Hesiod and other poets;
for before her there was no race of women. Here too I remember to have
seen the only statue here of the Emperor Adrian; and at the entrance one
of Iphicrates, the celebrated Athenian general.

And outside the temple is a brazen Apollo said to be by Phidias; and
they call it Apollo, Averter of Locusts, because when the locusts
destroyed the land the god said he would drive them out of the country.
And they know that he did so, but they don't say how. I myself know of
locusts having been thrice destroyed on Mount Sipylus, but not in the
same way; for some were driven away by a violent wind that fell on them,
and others by a strong light that came on them after showers, and others
were frozen to death by a sudden frost. All this came under my own

There is also a building called the Erechtheum, and in the vestibule is
an altar of Supreme Zeus, where they offer no living sacrifice, but
cakes without the usual libation of wine. And as you enter there are
three altars: one to Poseidon (on which they also sacrifice to
Erechtheus according to the oracle), one to the hero Butes, and the
third to Hephæstus. And on the walls are paintings of the family of
Butes. The building is a double one; and inside there is sea-water in a
well. And this is no great marvel; for even those who live in inland
parts have such wells, as notably Aphrodisienses in Caria. But this well
is represented as having a roar as of the sea when the south wind blows.
And in the rock is the figure of a trident. And this is said to have
been Poseidon's proof in regard to the territory Athene disputed with

Sacred to Athene is all the rest of Athens, and similarly all Attica;
for altho they worship different gods in different townships, none the
less do they honor Athene generally. And the most sacred of all is the
statue of Athene in what is now called the Acropolis, but was then
called the Polis (city) which was universally worshiped many years
before the various townships formed one city; and the rumor about it is
that it fell from heaven. As to this I shall not give an opinion,
whether it was so or not. And Callimachus made a golden lamp for the
goddess. And when they fill this lamp with oil it lasts for a whole
year, altho it burns continually night and day. And the wick is of a
particular kind of cotton flax, the only kind indestructible by fire.
And above the lamp is a palm tree of brass reaching to the roof and
carrying off the smoke. And Callimachus, the maker of this lamp, altho
he comes behind the first artificers, yet was remarkable for ingenuity,
and was the first who perforated stone, and got the name of
"Art-Critic," whether his own appellation or given him by others.

In the temple of Athene Polias is a Hermes of wood (said to be a votive
offering of Cecrops), almost hidden by myrtle leaves. And of the antique
votive offerings worthy of record, is a folding-chair, the work of
Dædalus, and spoils taken from the Persians--as a coat of mail of
Masistius, who commanded the cavalry at Platæa, and a scimitar said to
have belonged to Mardonius. Masistius we know was killed by the Athenian
cavalry; but as Mardonius fought against the Lacedæmonians and was
killed by a Spartan, they could not have got it at first hand; nor is it
likely that the Lacedæmonians would have allowed the Athenians to carry
off such a trophy. And about the olive they have nothing else to tell
but that the goddess used it as a proof of her right to the country,
when it was contested by Poseidon. And they record also that this olive
was burnt when the Persians set fire to Athens; but tho burnt, it grew
the same day two cubits.

And next to the temple of Athene is the temple of Pandrosus; who was the
only one of the three sisters who didn't peep into the forbidden chest.
Now the things I most marveled at are not universally known. I will
therefore write of them as they occur to me. Two maidens live not far
from the temple of Athene Polias, and the Athenians call them the
"carriers of the holy things"; for a certain time they live with the
goddess, but when her festival comes they act in the following way, by
night: Putting upon their heads what the priestess of Athene gives them
to carry (neither she nor they know what these things are), these
maidens descend, by a natural underground passage, from an inclosure in
the city sacred to Aphrodite of the Gardens. In the sanctuary below they
deposit what they carry, and bring back something else closely wrapt up.
And these maidens they henceforth dismiss, and other two they elect
instead of them for the Acropolis.



Morosini[46] wished to take down the sculptures of Phidias from the
eastern pediment, but his workmen attempted it so clumsily that the
figures fell from their place and were dashed to pieces on the ground.

An observing traveler[47] was present when a far more determined and
systematic attack was made upon the remaining ruins of the Parthenon.
While he was traveling in the interior, Lord Elgin had obtained his
famous firman from the Sultan, to take down and remove any antiquities
or sculptured stones he might require, and the infuriated Dodwell saw a
set of ignorant workmen, under equally ignorant overseers, let loose
upon the splendid ruins of the age of Pericles. He speaks with much good
sense and feeling of this proceeding. He is fully aware that the world
would derive inestimable benefit from the transplanting of these
splendid fragments to a more accessible place, but he can not find
language strong enough to express his disgust at the way in which the
thing was done.

Incredible as it may appear, Lord Elgin himself seems not to have
superintended the work, but to have left it to paid contractors, who
undertook the job for a fixt sum. Little as either Turks or Greeks cared
for the ruins, he says that a pang of grief was felt through all Athens
at the desecration, and that the contractors were obliged to bribe
workmen with additional wages to undertake the ungrateful task. Dodwell
will not even mention Lord Elgin by name, but speaks of him with disgust
as "the person" who defaced the Parthenon. He believes that had this
person been at Athens himself, his underlings could hardly have behaved
in the reckless way they did, pulling down more than they wanted, and
taking no care to prop up and save the work from which they had taken
the support.

He especially notices their scandalous proceeding upon taking up one of
the great white marble blocks which form the floor or stylobate of the
temple. They wanted to see what was underneath, and Dodwell, who was
there, saw the foundation--a substructure of Peiræic sandstone. But when
they had finished their inspection they actually left the block they had
removed, without putting it back into its place. So this beautiful
pavement, made merely of closely-fitting blocks, without any artificial
or foreign joinings, was ripped up, and the work of its destruction
began. I am happy to add that, tho a considerable rent was then made,
most of it is still intact, and the traveler of to-day may still walk on
the very stones which bore the tread of every great Athenian.

The question has often been discust, whether Lord Elgin was justified in
carrying off this pediment, the metopes, and the friezes, from their
place; and the Greeks of to-day hope confidently that the day will come
when England will restore these treasures to their place. This is, of
course, absurd, and it may fairly be argued that people who would
bombard their antiquities in a revolution are not fit custodians of them
in the intervals of domestic quiet. This was my reply to an old Greek
gentleman who assailed the memory of Lord Elgin with reproaches.

I confess I approved of this removal until I came home from Greece, and
went again to see the spoil in its place in our great museum. Tho there
treated with every care--tho shown to the best advantage, and explained
by excellent models of the whole building, and clear descriptions of
their place on it--notwithstanding all this, it was plain that these
wonderful fragments lost so terribly by being separated from their
place--they looked so unmeaning in an English room, away from their
temple, their country and their lovely atmosphere--that one earnestly
wished they had never been taken from their place, even at the risk of
being made a target by the Greeks or the Turks. I am convinced, too,
that the few who would have seen them, as intelligent travelers, on
their famous rock, would have gained in quality the advantage now
diffused among many, but weakened and almost destroyed by the wrench in
associations, when the ornament is severed from its surface, and the
decoration of a temple exhibited apart from the temple itself. We may
admit, then, that it had been better if Lord Elgin had never taken away
these marbles. Nevertheless, it would be absurd to send them back. But I
do think that the museum on the Acropolis should be provided with a
better set of casts of the figures than those which are now to be seen
there. They look very wretched, and carelessly prepared....



Some ten or twelve years ago, a very extensive and splendidly successful
excavation was made when a party of German archeologists laid bare the
Theater of Dionysus--the great theater in which Æschylus, Sophocles,
and Euripides brought out their immortal plays before an immortal
audience. There is nothing more delightful than to descend from the
Acropolis, and rest awhile in the comfortable marble arm-chairs with
which the front row of the circuit is occupied. They are of the pattern
usual in the sitting portrait statues of the Greeks--very deep, and with
a curved back, which exceeds both in comfort and in grace any chairs
made by modern workmen.[49] Each chair has the name of a priest
inscribed on it, showing how the theater among the Greeks corresponded
to our cathedral, and this front row to the stalls of canons and

But unfortunately all this sacerdotal prominence is probably the work of
the later restorers of the theater. For after having been first
beautified and adorned with statues by Lycurgus (in Demosthenes' time),
it was again restored and embellished by Herodes Atticus, or about his
time, so that the theater, as we now have it, can only be called the
building of the second or third century after Christ. The front wall of
the stage, which is raised some feet above the level of the empty pit,
is adorned with a row of very elegant sculptures, among which one--a
shaggy old man, in a stooping posture, represented as coming out from
within, and holding up the stone above him--is particularly striking.
Some Greek is said to have knocked off, by way of amusement, the heads
of most of these figures since they were discovered, but this I do not
know upon any better authority than ordinary report. The pit or center
of the theater is empty, and was never in Greek days occupied by seats,
but a wooden structure was set up adjoining the stage, and on this the
chorus performed their dances, and sang their odes. But now there is a
circuit of upright slabs of stone close to the front seat, which can
hardly have been an arrangement of the old Greek theater. They are
generally supposed to have been added when the building was used for
contests of gladiators or of wild beasts; but the partition, being not
more than three feet high, would be no protection whatever from an
evil-disposed wild beast.

All these later additions and details are, I fear, calculated to detract
from the reader's interest in this theater, which I should indeed
regret--for nothing can be more certain than that this is the veritable
stone theater which was built when the wooden one broke down, at the
great competition of Æschylus and Pratinas; and tho front seats may have
been added, and slight modifications introduced, the general structure
can never have required alteration.

It is indeed very large, tho I think exaggerated statements have been
made about its size. I have heard it said that the enormous number of
30,000 people could fit into it--a statement I think incredible; for it
did not to me seem larger than, or as large as, other theaters I have
seen, at Syracuse, at Megalopolis, or even at Argos. But, no doubt, all
such open-air enclosures and sittings look far smaller than covered
rooms of the same size. This is certain, that any one speaking on the
stage, as it now is, can be easily and distinctly heard by people
sitting on the highest row of seats now visible, which can not, I fancy,
have been far from the original top of the house. And we may doubt that
any such thing were possible when 30,000 people, or a crowd approaching
that number, were seated. We hear, however, that the old actors had
recourse to various artificial means of increasing the range of their
voices. Yet there is hardly a place in Athens which forces back the mind
so strongly to the old days, when all the crowd came jostling in, and
settled down in their seats, to hear the great novelties of the year
from Sophocles or Euripides. No doubt there were cliques and cabals and
claqueurs, noisy admirers and cold critics, the supporters of the old,
and the lovers of the new, devotees and sceptics, wondering foreigners
and self-complacent citizens. They little thought how we should come,
not only to sit in the seats they occupied, but to reverse the judgments
which they pronounced, and correct with sober temper the errors of
prejudice, of passion, and of pride.



It was on this very Areopagus, where we are now standing, that these
philosophers of fashion came into contact with the thorough earnestness,
the profound convictions, the red-hot zeal of the Apostle Paul. The
memory of that great scene still lingers about the place, and every
guide will show you the exact place where the Apostle stood, and in what
direction he addrest his audience. There are, I believe, even some
respectable commentators who transfer their own estimate of St. Paul's
importance to the Athenian public, and hold that it was before the court
of the Areopagus that he was asked to expound his views. This is more
than doubtful. The "blasés" philosophers, who probably yawned over their
own lectures, hearing of a new lay preacher, eager to teach and
apparently convinced of the truth of what he said, thought the novelty
too delicious to be neglected, and brought him forthwith out of the
chatter and bustle of the crowd, probably past the very orchestra where
Anaxagoras' books had been proselytizing before him, and where the stiff
old heroes of Athenian history stood, a monument of the escape from
political slavery.

It is even possible that the curious knot of idlers did not bring him
higher than this platform, which might well be called part of Mars'
Hill. But if they chose to bring him to the top, there was no hindrance,
for the venerable court held its sittings in the open air, on stone
seats; and when not thus occupied, the top of the rock may well have
been a convenient place of retirement for people who did not want to be
disturbed by new acquaintances, and the constant eddies of new gossip in
the market-place.

It is, however, of far less import to know on what spot of the Areopagus
Paul stood, than to understand clearly what he said, and how he sought
to conciliate as well as to refute the philosophers who, no doubt,
looked down upon him as an intellectual inferior. He starts naturally
enough from the extraordinary crowd of votive statues and offerings, for
which Athens was remarkable above all other cities of Greece. He says,
with a slight touch of irony, that he finds them very religious indeed,
so religious that he even found an altar to a God professedly unknown,
or perhaps unknowable....

Thus ended, to all appearance ignominiously, the first heralding of the
faith which was to supplant all the temples and altars and statues with
which Athens had earned renown as a beautiful city, which was to
overthrow the schools of the sneering philosophers, and even to remodel
all the society and the policy of the world. And yet, in spite of this
great and decisive triumph of Christianity, there was something
curiously prophetic in the contemptuous rejection of its apostle at
Athens. Was it not the first expression of the feeling which still
possesses the visitor who wanders through its ruins, and which still
dominates the educated world--the feeling that while other cities owe
to the triumph of Christianity all their beauty and their interest,
Athens has to this day resisted this influence; and that while the
Christian monuments of Athens would elsewhere excite no small attention,
here they are passed by as of no import compared with its heathen

There are very old and very beautiful little churches in Athens,
"delicious little Byzantine churches," as Renan calls them. They are
very peculiar, and unlike what one generally sees in Europe. They strike
the observer with their quaintness and smallness, and he fancies he here
sees the tiny model of that unique and splendid building, the cathedral
of St. Mark at Venice. But yet it is surprizing how little we notice
them at Athens. I was even told--I sincerely hope it was false--that
public opinion at Athens was gravitating toward the total removal of
one, and that the most perfect, of these churches, which stands in the
middle of a main street, and so breaks the regularity of the modern



We left Athens on the 13th of April, for a journey to Parnassus and the
northern frontier of Greece. It was a teeming, dazzling day, with light
scarfs of cloud-crape in the sky, and a delicious breeze from the west
blowing through the pass of Daphne. The Gulf of Salamis was pure
ultramarine, covered with a velvety bloom, while the island and Mount
Kerata swam in transparent pink and violet tints. Crossing the sacred
plain of Eleusis, our road entered the mountains--lower offshoots of
Cithæron, which divide the plain from that of Boeotia....

We climbed the main ridge of the mountains; and, in less than an hour,
reached the highest point--whence the great Boeotian plain suddenly
opened upon our view. In the distance gleamed Lake Capaïs, and the hills
beyond; in the west, the snowy top of Parnassus, lifted clear and bright
above the morning vapors; and, at last, as we turned a shoulder of the
mountain in descending, the streaky top of Helicon appeared on the left,
completing the classic features of the landscape....

As we entered the plain, taking a rough path toward Platæa, the fields
were dotted, far and near, with the white Easter shirts of the people
working among the vines. Another hour, and our horses' hoofs were upon
the sacred soil of Platæa. The walls of the city are still to be traced
for nearly their entire extent. They are precisely similar in
construction to those of OEnoë--like which, also, they were
strengthened by square towers. There are the substructions of various
edifices--some of which may have been temples--and on the side next the
modern village lie four large sarcophagi, now used as vats for treading
out the grapes in vintage-time. A more harmless blood than once curdled
on the stones of Platæa now stains the empty sepulchers of the heroes.
We rode over the plain, fixt the features of the scene in our memories,
and then kept on toward the field of Leuktra, where the brutal power of
Sparta received its first check. The two fields are so near, that a part
of the fighting may have been done upon the same ground....

I then turned my horse's head toward Thebes, which we reached in two
hours. It was a pleasant scene, tho so different from that of two
thousand years ago. The town is built partly on the hill of the
Cadmeion, and partly on the plain below. An aqueduct, on mossy arches,
supplies it with water, and keeps its gardens green. The plain to the
north is itself one broad garden to the foot of the hill of the Sphinx,
beyond which is the blue gleam of a lake, then a chain of barren hills,
and over all the snowy cone of Mount Delphi, in Euboea. The only
remains of the ancient city are stones; for the massive square tower,
now used as a prison, can not be ascribed to an earlier date than the
reign of the Latin princes....

The next morning we rode down from the Cadmeion, and took the highway to
Livadia, leading straight across the Boeotian plain. It is one of the
finest alluvial bottoms in the world, a deep, dark, vegetable
mold--which would produce almost without limit, were it properly
cultivated. Before us, blue and dark under a weight of clouds, lay
Parnassus; and far across the immense plain the blue peaks of Mount
Oeta. In three hours we reached the foot of Helicon, and looked up at
the streaks of snow which melt into the Fountain of the Muses....

As we left Arachova, proceeding toward Delphi, the deep gorge opened,
disclosing a blue glimpse of the Gulf of Corinth and the Achaian
mountains. Tremendous cliffs of blue-gray limestone towered upon our
right, high over the slope of Delphi, which ere long appeared before us.
Our approach to the sacred spot was marked by tombs cut in the rock. A
sharp angle of the mountain was passed; and then, all at once, the
enormous walls, buttressing the upper region of Parnassus, stood
sublimely against the sky, cleft right through the middle by a terrible
split, dividing the twin peaks which gave a name to the place. At the
bottom of this chasm issue forth the waters of Castaly, and fill a stone
trough by the road-side. On a long, sloping mountain-terrace, facing the
east, stood once the town and temples of Delphi, and now the modern
village of Kastri.

As you may imagine, our first walk was to the shrine of the Delphic
oracle, at the bottom of the cleft between the two peaks. The hewn face
of the rock, with a niche, supposed to be that where the Pythia sat upon
her tripod, and a secret passage under the floor of the sanctuary, are
all that remain. The Castalian fountain still gushes out at the bottom,
into a large square enclosure, called the Pythia's Bath, and now choked
up with mud, weeds, and stones. Among those weeds, I discerned one of
familiar aspect, plucked and tasted it. Watercress, of remarkable size
and flavor! We thought no more of Apollo and his shrine, but delving
wrist-deep into Castalian mud, gathered huge handfuls of the profane
herb, which we washed in the sacred front, and sent to François for a

As the sun sank, I sat on the marble blocks and sketched the immortal
landscape. High above me, on the left, soared the enormous twin peaks of
pale-blue rock, lying half in the shadow of the mountain slope upheaved
beneath, half bathed in the deep yellow luster of sunset. Before me
rolled wave after wave of the Parnassian chain, divided by deep lateral
valleys, while Helicon, in the distance, gloomed like a thunder-storm
under the weight of gathered clouds. Across this wild, vast view, the
breaking clouds threw broad belts of cold blue shadow, alternating with
zones of angry orange light, in which the mountains seemed to be heated
to a transparent glow. The furious wind hissed and howled over the piles
of ruin, and a few returning shepherds were the only persons to be seen.
And this spot, for a thousand years, was the shrine where spake the
awful oracle of Greece.



The gulf of Corinth is a very beautiful and narrow fiord, with chains of
mountains on either side, through the gaps of which you can see far into
the Morea on one side, and into Northern Greece on the other. But the
bays or harbors on either coast are few, and so there was no city able
to wrest the commerce of these waters from old Corinth, which held the
keys by land of the whole Peloponnesus, and commanded the passage from
sea to sea. It is, indeed, wonderful how Corinth did not acquire and
maintain the first position in Greece.

But as soon as the greater powers of Greece decayed and fell away, we
find Corinth immediately taking the highest position in wealth, and even
in importance. The capture of Corinth, in 146 B.C., marks the
Roman conquest of all Greece, and the art-treasures carried to Rome seem
to have been as great and various as those which even Athens could have
produced. No sooner had Julius Cæsar restored and rebuilt the ruined
city, than it sprang at once again into importance, and among the
societies addrest in the Epistles of St. Paul, none seems to have lived
in greater wealth or luxury. It was, in fact, well-nigh impossible that
Corinth should die. Nature had marked out her site as one of the great
thoroughfares of the old world; and it was not till after centuries of
blighting misrule by the wretched Turks that she sank into the hopeless
decay from which not even another Julius Cæsar could rescue her.

The traveler who expects to find any sufficient traces of the city of
Periander and of Timoleon, and, I may say, of St. Paul, will be
grievously disappointed. In the middle of the wretched straggling modern
village there stand up seven enormous rough stone pillars of the Doric
Order, evidently of the oldest and heaviest type; and these are the only
visible relic of the ancient city, looking altogether out of place, and
almost as if they had come there by mistake. These pillars, tho
insufficient to admit of our reconstructing the temple, are in
themselves profoundly interesting. Their shaft up to the capital is of
one block, about twenty-one feet high and six feet in diameter. It is to
be observed, that over these gigantic monoliths the architrave, in which
other Greek temples show the largest blocks, is not in one piece, but
two, and made of beams laid together longitudinally. The length of the
shafts (up to the neck of the capital) measures about four times their
diameter, on the photograph which I possess; I do not suppose that any
other Doric pillar known to us is so stout and short.

Straight over the site of the town is the great rock known as the
Acro-Corinthus. A winding path leads up on the southwest side to the
Turkish drawbridge and gate, which are now deserted and open; nor is
there a single guard or soldier to watch a spot once the coveted prize
of contending empires. In the days of the Achæan League it was called
one of the fetters of Greece, and indeed it requires no military
experience to see the extraordinary importance of the place.

Next to the view from the heights of Parnassus, I suppose the view from
this citadel is held the finest in Greece. I speak here of the large and
diverse views to be obtained from mountain heights. To me, personally,
such a view as that from the promontory of Sunium, or, above all, from
the harbor of Nauplia, exceeds in beauty and interest any bird's-eye
prospect. Any one who looks at the map of Greece will see how the
Acro-Corinthus commands coasts, islands, and bays. The day was too hazy
when we stood there to let us measure the real limits of the view, and I
can not say how near to Mount Olympus the eye may reach in a suitable
atmosphere. But a host of islands, the southern coasts of Attica and
Boeotia, the Acropolis of Athens, Salamis and Ægina, Helicon and
Parnassus, and endless Ætolian peaks were visible in one direction;
while, as we turned round, all the waving reaches of Arcadia and
Argolis, down to the approaches toward Mantinea and Karytena, lay
stretched out before us. The plain of Argos, and the sea at that side,
are hidden by the mountains. But without going into detail, this much
may be said, that if a man wants to realize the features of these
coasts, which he has long studied on maps, half an hour's walk about the
top of this rock will give him a geographical insight which no years of
study could attain.



Olympia, like Delphi, is a place of memories chiefly. The visible
remains are numerous, but so flat that some little technical knowledge
is needed to restore them in mind. There is no village at the modern
Olympia at all--nothing but five or six little inns and a railway
station--so that Delphi really has the advantage of Olympia in this
regard. As a site connected with ancient Greek history and Greek
religion, the two places are as similar in nature as they are in general
ruin. The field in which the ancient structures stand lies just across
the tiny tributary river Cladeus, spanned by a footbridge.

Even from the opposite bank, the ruins present a most interesting
picture, with its attractiveness greatly enhanced by the neighboring
pines, which scatter themselves through the precinct itself and cover
densely the little conical hill of Kronos close by, while the grasses of
the plain grow luxuriantly among the fallen stones of the former temples
and apartments of the athletes. The ruins are so numerous and so
prostrate that the non-technical visitor is seriously embarrassed to
describe them, as is the case with every site of the kind.

All the ruins, practically, have been identified and explained, and
naturally they all have to do with the housing or with the contests of
the visiting athletes of ancient times, or with the worship of tutelary
divinities. Almost the first extensive ruin that we found on passing the
encircling precinct wall was the Prytaneum--a sort of ancient training
table at which victorious contestants were maintained gratis--while
beyond lay other equally extensive remnants of exercising places, such
as the Palæstra for the wrestlers. But all these were dominated,
evidently, by the two great temples, an ancient one of comparatively
small size sacred to Hera, and a mammoth edifice dedicated to Zeus,
which still gives evidence of its enormous extent, while the fallen
column-drums reveal some idea of the other proportions. It was in its
day the chief glory of the enclosure, and the statue of the god was even
reckoned among the seven wonders of the world. Unfortunately this
statue, like that of Athena at Athens, has been irretrievably lost. But
there is enough of the great shrine standing in the midst of the ruins
to inspire one with an idea of its greatness; and, in the museum above,
the heroic figures from its two pediments have been restored and set up
in such wise as to reproduce the external adornment of the temple with
remarkable success.

Gathered around this central building, the remainder of the ancient
structures having to do with the peculiar uses of the spot present a
bewildering array of broken stones and marbles. An obtrusive remnant of
a Byzantine church is the one discordant feature. Aside from this the
precinct recalls only the distant time when the regular games called all
Greece to Olympia, while the "peace of God" prevailed throughout the
kingdom. Just at the foot of Kronos a long terrace and flight of steps
mark the position of a row of old treasuries, as at Delphi, while along
the eastern side of the precinct are to be seen the remains of a portico
once famous for its echoes, where sat the judges who distributed the
prizes. There is also a most graceful arch remaining to mark the
entrance to the ancient stadium, of which nothing else now remains.

Of the later structures on the site, the "house of Nero" is the most
interesting and extensive. The Olympic games were still celebrated, even
after the Roman domination, and Nero himself entered the lists in his
own reign. He caused a palace to be erected for him on that
occasion--and of course he won a victory, for any other outcome would
have been most impolite, not to say dangerous. Nero was more fortunately
lodged than were the other ancient contestants, it appears, for there
were no hostelries in old Olympia in which the visiting multitudes could
be housed, and the athletes and spectators who came from all over the
land were accustomed to bring their own tents and pitch them roundabout,
many of them on the farther side of the Alpheios.



Many various wonders may one see, or hear of, in Greece; but the
Eleusinian mysteries and Olympian games seem to exhibit more than
anything else the Divine purpose. And the sacred grove of Zeus they have
from old time called Altis, slightly changing the Greek word for grove;
it is, indeed, called Altis also by Pindar, in the ode he composed for a
victor at Olympia. And the temple and statue of Zeus were built out of
the spoils of Pisa, which the people of Elis razed to the ground, after
quelling the revolt of Pisa, and some of the neighboring towns that
revolted with Pisa. And that the statue of Zeus was the work of Phidias
is shown by the inscription written at the base of it: "Phidias the
Athenian, the son of Charmides, made me."

The temple is a Doric building, and outside it is a colonnade. And the
temple is built of stone of the district. Its height up to the gable is
sixty-eight feet, and its length 2,300 feet. And its architect was
Libon, a native of Ellis.

And the tiles on the roof are not of baked earth; but Pentelican marble,
to imitate tiles. They say such roofs are the invention of a man of
Naxos called Byzes, who made statues at Naxos with the inscription:
"Euergus of Naxos made me, the son of Byzes, and descended from Leto,
the first who made tiles of stone."

This Byzes was a contemporary of Alyattes the Lydian, and Astyages (the
son of Cyaxares), the king of Persia. And there is a golden vase at each
end of the roof, and a golden Victory in the middle of the gable. And
underneath the Victory is a golden shield hung up as a votive offering,
with the Gorgon Medusa worked on it. The inscription on the shield
states who hung it up, and the reason why they did so. For this is what
it says: "This temple's golden shield is a votive offering from the
Lacedæmonians at Tanagra and their allies, a gift from the Argives, the
Athenians, and the Ionians, a tithe offering for success in war."

The battle I mentioned in my account of Attica, when I described the
tombs at Athens. And in the same temple at Olympia, above the zone that
runs round the pillars on the outside, are twenty-one golden shields,
the offering of Mummius the Roman general, after he had beaten the
Achæans and taken Corinth, and expelled the Dorians from Corinth. And on
the gables in bas-relief is the chariot race between Pelops and
OEnomaus; and both chariots in motion. And in the middle of the gable
is a statue of Zeus; and on the right hand of Zeus is OEnomaus with a
helmet on his head; and beside him his wife Sterope, one of the
daughters of Atlas. And Myrtilus, who was the charioteer of OEnomaus,
is seated behind the four horses. And next to him are two men whose
names are not recorded, but they are doubtless OEnomaus's grooms,
whose duty was to take care of the horses....

The carvings on the gables in front are by Pæonius of Mende in Thracia;
those behind by Alcamenes, a contemporary of Phidias and second only to
him as statuary. And on the gables is a representation of the fight
between the Lapithæ and the Centaurs at the marriage of Pirithous.
Pirithous is in the center, and on one side of him is Eurytion trying to
carry off Pirithous's wife, and Cæneus coming to the rescue, and on the
other side Theseus laying about among the Centaurs with his battle-ax;
and one Centaur is carrying off a maiden, another a blooming boy.
Alcamenes has engraved this story, I imagine, because he learned from
the lines of Homer that Pirithous was the son of Zeus, and knew that
Theseus was fourth in descent from Pelops. There are also in bas-relief
at Olympia most of the Labors of Hercules. Above the doors of the temple
is the hunting of the Erymanthian boar, and Hercules taking the mares
of Diomede the Thracian, and robbing Geryon of his oxen in the island of
Erytheia, and supporting the load of Atlas, and clearing the land of
Elis of its dung....

The image of the god is in gold and ivory, seated on a throne. And a
crown is on his head imitating the foliage of the olive tree. In his
right hand he holds a Victory in ivory and gold, with a tiara and crown
on his head; and in his left hand a scepter adorned with all manner of
precious stones, and the bird seated on the scepter is an eagle. The
robes and sandals of the god are also of gold; and on his robes are
imitations of flowers, especially of lilies. And the throne is richly
adorned with gold and precious stones, and with ebony and ivory. And
there are imitations of animals painted on it, and models worked on it.
There are four Victories like dancers, one at each foot of the throne,
and two also at the instep of each foot; and at each of the front feet
are Theban boys carried off by Sphinxes, and below the Sphinxes, Apollo
and Artemis shooting down the children of Niobe. And between the feet of
the throne are four divisions formed by straight lines drawn from each
of the four feet.

In the division nearest the entrance there are seven models--the eighth
has vanished no one knows where or how. And they are imitations of
ancient contests, for in the days of Phidias the contests for boys were
not yet established. And the figure with its head muffled up in a scarf
is, they say, Pantarcas, who was a native of Elis and the darling of
Phidias. This Pantarces won the wrestling-prize for boys in the 86th
Olympiad. And in the remaining divisions is the band of Hercules
fighting against the Amazons. The number on each side is twenty-nine,
and Theseus is on the side of Hercules. And the throne is supported not
only by the four feet, but also by four pillars between the feet. But
one can not get under the throne, as one can at Amyclæ, and pass inside;
for at Olympia there are panels like walls that keep one off.

At the top of the throne, Phidias has represented above the head of Zeus
the three Graces and three Seasons. For these too, as we learn from the
poets, were daughters of Zeus. Homer in the Iliad has represented the
Seasons as having the care of Heaven, as a kind of guards of a royal
palace. And the base under the feet of Zeus (what is called in Attic
"thranion") has golden lions engraved on it, and the battle between
Theseus and the Amazons--the first famous exploit of the Athenians
beyond their own borders. And on the platform that supports the throne
there are various ornaments round Zeus, and gilt carving--the Sun seated
in his chariot, and Zeus and Hera; and near is Grace. Hermes is close to
her, and Vesta close to Hermes. And next to Vesta is Eros receiving
Aphrodite, who is just rising from the sea and being crowned by
Persuasion. And Apollo and Artemis, Athene and Hercules, are standing
by, and at the end of the platform Amphitrite and Poseidon, and Selene
apparently urging on her horse. And some say it is a mule and not a
horse that the goddess is riding upon; and there is a silly tale about
this mule.

I know that the size of the Olympian Zeus both in height and breadth has
been stated; but I can not bestow praise on the measurers, for their
recorded measurement comes far short of what any one would infer from
looking at the statue. They make the god also to have testified to the
art of Phidias. For they say that when the statue was finished, Phidias
prayed him to signify if the work was to his mind; and immediately Zeus,
struck with lightning that part of the pavement where in our day is a
brazen urn with a lid.

And all the pavement in front of the statue is not of white but of black
stone. And a border of Parian marble runs round this black stone, as a
preservative against spilled oil. For oil is good for the statue at
Olympia, as it prevents the ivory being harmed by the dampness of the
grove. But in the Acropolis at Athens, in regard to the statue of Athene
called the Maiden, it is not oil but water that is advantageously
employed to the ivory; for as the citadel is dry by reason of its great
height, the statue being made of ivory needs to be sprinkled with water
freely. And when I was at Epidaurus, and inquired why they use neither
water nor oil to the statue of Æsculapius, the sacristans of the temple
informed me that the statue of the god and its throne are over a well.



We took Thermopylæ at our leisure, passing out from Lamia over the
Spercheios on the bridge of Alamana, at which Diakos, famous in ballad,
resisted with a small band a Turkish army, until he was at last captured
and taken to Lamia to be impaled....

It may be taken as a well-known fact that the Spercheios has since the
time of Herodotus made so large an alluvial deposit around its mouth
that, if he himself should return to earth, he would hardly recognize
the spot which he has described so minutely. The western horn, which in
his time came down so near to the gulf as to leave space for a single
carriage-road only, is now separated from it by more than a mile of
plain. Each visit to Thermopylæ has, however, deepened my conviction
that Herodotus exaggerated the impregnability of this pass. The mountain
spur which formed it did not rise so abruptly from the sea as to form an
impassable barrier to the advance of a determined antagonist. It is of
course difficult ground to operate on, but certainly not impossible.

The other narrow place, nearly two miles to the east of this, is still
more open, a fact that is to be emphasized, because many topographers,
including Colonel Leake, hold that the battle actually took place
there, as the great battle between the Romans and Antioches certainly
did. This eastern pass is, to be sure, no place where "a thousand may
well be stopt by three," and there can not have taken place any great
transformation here since classical times, inasmuch as this region is
practically out of reach of the Spercheios, and the deposit from the hot
sulfur streams, which has so broadened the theater-shaped area enclosed
by the two horns, can hardly have contributed to changing the shape of
the eastern horn itself.

Artificial fortification was always needed here; but it is very
uncertain whether any of the stones that still remain can be claimed as
parts of such fortification. It is a fine position for an inferior force
to choose for defense against a superior one; but while it can not be
declared with absolute certainty that this is not the place where the
fighting took place, yet the western pass fits better the description of
Herodotus. Besides this, if the western pass had been abandoned to the
Persians at the outset the fact would have been worth mentioning.

As to the heroic deed itself, the view that Leonidas threw away his own
life and that of the four thousand, that it was magnificent but not
strategy, not war, does not take into account the fact that Sparta had
for nearly half a century been looked to as the military leader of
Greece. It was audacious in the Athenians to fight the battle of
Marathon without them, and they did so only because the Spartans did not
come at their call. Sparta had not come to Thermopylæ in force, it is
true; but her king was there with three hundred of her best men. Only
by staying and fighting could he show that Sparta held by right the
place she had won. It had to be done. "So the glory of Sparta was not
blotted out."

One may have read, and read often, the description of the battle in the
school-room, but he reads it with different eyes on the spot, when he
can look up at the hillock crowned with a ruined cavalry barrack just
inside the western pass and say to himself: "Here on this hill they
fought their last fight and fell to the last man. Here once stood the
monuments to Leonidas, to the three hundred, and to the four thousand."

The very monuments have crumbled to dust, but the great deed lives on.
We rode back to Lamia under the spell of it. It was as if we had been in
church and been held by a great preacher who knows how to touch the
deepest chords of the heart. Euboea was already dark blue, while the
sky above it was shaded from pink to purple. Tymphrestos in the west was
bathed in the light of the sun that had gone down behind it. The whole
surrounding was most stirring, and there was ever sounding in our hearts
that deep bass note: "What they did here."



The city of Salonica lies on a fine bay, and presents an attractive
appearance from the harbor, rising up the hill in the form of an
amphitheater. On all sides, except the sea, ancient walls surround it,
fortified at the angles by large, round towers and crowned in the
center, on the hill, by a respectable citadel. I suppose that portions
of these walls are of Hellenic, and perhaps, Pelasgic date, but the most
are probably of the time of the Latin crusaders' occupation, patched and
repaired by Saracens and Turks. We had come to Thessalonica on St.
Paul's account, not expecting to see much that would excite us, and we
were not disappointed. When we went ashore we found ourselves in a city
of perhaps sixty thousand inhabitants, commonplace in aspect, altho its
bazaars are well filled with European goods, and a fair display of
Oriental stuffs and antiquities, and animated by considerable briskness
of trade. I presume there are more Jews here than there were in Paul's
time, but Turks and Greeks, in nearly equal numbers, form the bulk of
the population.

In modern Salonica there is not much respect for pagan antiquities, and
one sees only the usual fragments of columns and sculptures worked into
walls or incorporated in Christian churches. But those curious in early
Byzantine architecture will find more to interest them here than in any
place in the world except Constantinople. We spent the day wandering
about the city, under the guidance of a young Jew, who was without
either prejudices or information. On our way to the Mosque of St.
Sophia, we passed through the quarter of the Jews, which is much cleaner
than is usual with them. These are the descendants of Spanish Jews, who
were expelled by Isabella, and they still retain, in a corrupt form, the
language of Spain. In the doors and windows were many pretty Jewesses;
banishment and vicissitude appear to agree with this elastic race, for
in all the countries of Europe Jewish women develop more beauty in form
and feature than in Palestine. We saw here and in other parts of the
city a novel head-dress, which may commend itself to America in the
revolutions of fashion. A great mass of hair, real or assumed, was
gathered into a long, slender, green bag, which hung down the back and
was terminated by a heavy fringe of silver. Otherwise, the dress of the
Jewish women does not differ much from that of the men; the latter wear
a fez or turban, and a tunic which reaches to the ankles, and is bound
about the waist by a gay sash or shawl.

The Mosque of St. Sophia, once a church, and copied in its proportions
and style from its namesake in Constantinople, is retired, in a
delightful court, shaded by gigantic trees and cheered by a fountain. So
peaceful a spot we had not seen in many a day; birds sang in the trees
without disturbing the calm of the meditative pilgrim. In the portico
and also in the interior are noble columns of marble and verd-antique,
and in the dome is a wonderfully quaint mosaic of the Transfiguration.
We were shown also a magnificent pulpit of the latter beautiful stone
cut from a solid block, in which it is said St. Paul preached. As the
Apostle, according to his custom, reasoned with the people out of the
Scriptures in a synagogue, and this church was not built for centuries
after his visit, the statement needs confirmation; but pious ingenuity
suggests that the pulpit stood in a subterranean church underneath this.
I should like to believe that Paul sanctified this very spot with his
presence; but there is little in its quiet seclusion to remind one of
him who had the reputation when he was in Thessalonica of one of those
who turn the world upside down.



At early light of a cloudless morning we were going easily down the Gulf
of Thermæ or Salonica, having upon our right the Pierian plain; and I
tried to distinguish the two mounds which mark the place of the great
battle near Pydna, one hundred and sixty-eight years before Christ,
between Æmilius Paulus and King Perseus, which gave Macedonia to the
Roman Empire. Beyond, almost ten thousand feet in the air, towered
Olympus, upon whose "broad" summit Homer displays the ethereal palaces
and inaccessible abode of the Grecian gods. Shaggy forests still clothe
its sides, but snow now, and for the greater part of the year, covers
the wide surface of the height, which is a sterile, light-colored rock.
The gods did not want snow to cool the nectar at their banquets.

This is the very center of the mythologic world; there between Olympus
and Ossa is the Vale of Tempe, where the Peneus, breaking through a
narrow gorge fringed with the sacred laurel, reaches the gulf, south of
ancient Heracleum. Into this charming but secluded retreat the gods and
goddesses, weary of the icy air, or the Pumblechookian deportment of the
court of Olympian Jove, descended to pass the sunny hours with the
youths and maidens of mortal mold; through this defile marks of
chariot-wheels still attest the passage of armies which flowed either
way, in invasion or retreat; and here Pompey, after a ride of forty
miles from the fatal field of Pharsalia, quenched his thirst.

At six o'clock the Cape of Posilio was on our left, we were sinking
Olympus in the white haze of morning, Ossa, in its huge silver bulk, was
near us, and Pelion stretched its long white back below. The sharp cone
of Ossa might well ride upon the extended back of Pelion, and it seems a
pity that the Titans did not succeed in their attempt. We were leaving,
and looking our last on the Thracian coasts, once rimmed from Mt. Athos
to the Bosphorus with a wreath of prosperous cities. What must once
have been the splendor of the Ægean Sea and its islands, when every
island was the seat of a vigorous state, and every harbor the site of a
commercial town which sent forth adventurous galleys upon any errand of
trade or conquest!...

We ascended Mt. Pentelicus. Hymettus and Pentelicus are about the same
height--thirty-five hundred feet--but the latter, ten miles to the
northeast of Athens, commands every foot of the Attic territory; if one
should sit on its summit and read a history of the little state, he
would need no map.

Up to the highest quarries the road is steep, and strewn with broken
marble, and after that there is an hour's scramble through bushes and
over a rocky path. From these quarries was hewn the marble for the
Temple of Theseus, the Parthenon, the Propylæ, the theaters, and other
public buildings, to which age has now given a soft and creamy tone; the
Pentelic marble must have been too brilliant for the eye, and its
dazzling luster was, no doubt, softened by the judicious use of color.
Fragments which we broke off had the sparkle and crystalline grain of
loaf-sugar, and if they were placed upon the table one would
unhesitatingly take them to sweeten his tea. The whole mountain-side is
overgrown with laurel, and we found wild flowers all the way to the

We looked almost directly down upon Marathon. There is the bay and the
curving sandy shore where the Persian galleys landed; here upon a spur,
jutting out from the hill, the Athenians formed before they encountered
the host in the plain, and there--alas! it was hidden by a hill--is the
mound where the one hundred and ninety-two Athenian dead are buried. It
is only a small field, perhaps six miles along the shore and a mile and
a half deep, and there is a considerable marsh on the north and a small
one at the south end. The victory at so little cost, of ten thousand
over a hundred thousand, is partially explained by the nature of the
ground; the Persians had not room enough to maneuver, and must have been
thrown into confusion on the skirts of the northern swamp, and if over
six thousand of them were slain, they must have been killed on the shore
in the panic of their embarkation. But still the shore is broad, level,
and firm, and the Greeks must have been convinced that the gods
themselves terrified the hearts of the barbarians, and enabled them to
discomfit a host which had chosen this plain as the most feasible in all
Attica for the action of cavalry.



As we approached Sparta, the road descended to the banks of the Eurotas.
Traces of the ancient walls which restrained the river still remain in
places, but, in his shifting course, he has swept the most of them away,
and spread his gravelly deposits freely over the bottoms inclosed
between the spurs of the hills. Toward evening we saw, at a distance,
the white houses of modern Sparta, and presently some indications of the
ancient city. At first, the remains of terraces and ramparts, then the
unmistakable Hellenic walls, and, as the superb plain of the Eurotas
burst upon us, stretching, in garden-like beauty, to the foot of the
abrupt hills, over which towered the sun-touched snows of Taygetus, we
saw, close on our right, almost the only relic of the lost ages--the
theater. Riding across the field of wheat, which extended all over the
scene of the Spartan gymnastic exhibitions, we stood on the proscenium
and contemplated these silent ruins, and the broad, beautiful landscape.
It is one of the finest views in Greece--not so crowded with striking
points, not so splendid in associations as that of Athens, but larger,
grander, richer in coloring. Besides the theater, the only remains are
some masses of Roman brickwork, and the massive substructions of a small
temple which the natives call the tomb of Leonidas....

We spent the night in a comfortable house, which actually boasted of a
floor, glass windows, and muslin curtains. On returning to the theater
in the morning, we turned aside into a plowed field to inspect a
sarcophagus which had just been discovered. It still lay in the pit
where it was found, and was entire, with the exception of the lid. It
was ten feet long by four broad, and was remarkable in having a division
at one end, forming a smaller chamber, as if for the purpose of
receiving the bones of a child. From the theater I made a sketch of the
valley, with the dazzling ridge of Taygetus in the rear, and Mistra, the
medieval Sparta, hanging on the steep sides of one of his gorges. The
sun was intensely hot, and we were glad to descend again, making our way
through tall wheat, past walls of Roman brickwork and scattering blocks
of the older city, to the tomb of Leonidas. This is said to be a temple,
tho there are traces of vaults and passages beneath the pavement which
do not quite harmonize with such a conjecture. It is composed of huge
blocks of breccia, some of them thirteen feet long.

I determined to make an excursion to Maina. This is a region rarely
visited by travelers, who are generally frightened off by the reputation
of its inhabitants, who are considered by the Greeks to be bandits and
cut-throats to a man. The Mainotes are, for the most part, lineal
descendants of the ancient Spartans, and, from the decline of the Roman
power up to the present century, have preserved a virtual independence
in their mountain fastnesses. The worship of the pagan deities existed
among them as late as the eighth century. They were never conquered by
the Turks, and it required considerable management to bring them under
the rule of Otho....

Starting at noon, we passed through the modern Sparta, which is well
laid out with broad streets. The site is superb, and in the course of
time the new town will take the place of Mistra. We rode southward, down
the valley of the Eurotas, through orchards of olive and mulberry. We
stopt for the night at the little khan of Levetzova. I saw some cows
pasturing here, quite a rare sight in Greece, where genuine butter is
unknown. That which is made from the milk of sheep and goats is no
better than mild tallow. The people informed me, however, that they make
cheese from cow's milk, but not during Lent. They are now occupied with
rearing Paschal lambs, a quarter of a million of which are slaughtered
in Greece on Easter Day. The next morning, we rode over hills covered
with real turf, a little thin, perhaps, but still a rare sight in
southern lands. In two hours we entered the territory of Maina, on the
crest of a hill, where we saw Marathonisi (the ancient Gythium), lying
warm upon the Laconian Gulf. The town is a steep, dirty, labyrinthine
place, and so rarely visited by strangers that our appearance created
quite a sensation....

A broad, rich valley opened before us, crossed by belts of poplar and
willow trees, and inclosed by a semicircle of hills, most of which were
crowned with the lofty towers of the Mainotes. In Maina almost every
house is a fortress. The law of blood revenge, the right of which is
transmitted from father to son, draws the whole population under its
bloody sway in the course of a few generations. Life is a running fight,
and every foe slain entails on the slayer a new penalty of retribution
for himself and his descendants for ever.

Previous to the revolution most of the Mainote families lived in a state
of alternate attack and siege. Their houses are square towers, forty or
fifty feet high, with massive walls, and windows so narrow that they
may be used as loopholes for musketry. The first story is at a
considerable distance from the ground, and reached by a long ladder
which can be drawn up so as to cut off all communication. Some of the
towers are further strengthened by a semicircular bastion, projecting
from the side most liable to attack. The families supplied themselves
with telescopes, to look out for enemies in the distance, and always had
a store of provisions on hand, in case of a siege. Altho this private
warfare has been supprest, the law of revenge exists.

From the summit of the first range we overlooked a wild, glorious
landscape. The hills, wooded with oak, and swimming in soft blue vapor,
interlocked far before us, inclosing the loveliest green dells in their
embraces, and melting away to the break in Taygetus, which yawned in the
distance. On the right towered the square, embrasured castle of Passava
on the summit of an almost inaccessible hill--the site of the ancient
Las. Far and near, the lower heights were crowned with tall, white



The plain of Messenia is the richest part of the Morea. Altho its groves
of orange and olive, fig and mulberry, were entirely destroyed during
the Egyptian occupation, new and more vigorous shoots have sprung up
from the old stumps and the desolated country is a garden again,
apparently as fair and fruitful as when it excited the covetousness of
the Spartan thieves. Sloping to the gulf on the south, and protected
from the winds on all other sides by lofty mountains, it enjoys an
almost Egyptian warmth of climate. Here it was already summer, while at
Sparta, on the other side of Taygetus, spring had but just arrived, and
the central plain of Arcadia was still bleak and gray as in winter. As
it was market-day, we met hundreds of the country people going to
Kalamata with laden asses....

We crossed the rapid Pamisos with some difficulty, and ascended its
right bank, to the foot of Mount Evan, which we climbed, by rough paths
through thickets of mastic and furze, to the monastery of Vurkano. The
building has a magnificent situation, on a terrace between Mount Evan
and Mount Ithome, overlooking both the upper and lower plains of the
Pamisos--a glorious spread of landscape, green with spring, and touched
by the sun with the airiest prismatic tints through breaks of heavy
rain-clouds. Inside the courts is an old Byzantine chapel, with
fleurs-de-lis on the decorations, showing that it dates from the time of
the Latin princes. The monks received us very cordially, gave us a
clean, spacious room, and sent us a bottle of excellent wine for dinner.

We ascended Ithome and visited the massive ruins of Messene the same
day. The great gate of the city, a portion of the wall, and four of the
towers of defense, are in tolerable condition. The name of Epaminondas
hallows these remains, which otherwise, grand as they are, do not
impress one like the cyclopean walls of Tiryns. The wonder is, that they
could have been built in so short a time--eighty-five days, says
history, which would appear incredible, had not still more marvelous
things of the kind been done in Russia.

The next day, we rode across the head of the Messenian plain, crossed
the Mount Lycæus and the gorge of the Neda, and lodged at the little
village of Tragoge, on the frontiers of Arcadia. Our experience of
Grecian highways was pleasantly increased by finding fields plowed
directly across our road, fences of dried furze built over it, and
ditches cutting it at all angles. Sometimes all trace of it would be
lost for half a mile, and we were obliged to ride over the growing crops
until we could find a bit of fresh trail.

The bridle-path over Mount Lycæus was steep and bad, but led us through
the heart of a beautiful region. The broad back of the mountain is
covered with a grove of superb oaks, centuries old, their long arms
muffled in golden moss, and adorned with a plumage of ferns. The turf at
their feet was studded with violets, filling the air with delicious
odors. This sylvan retreat was the birthplace of Pan, and no more
fitting home for the universal god can be imagined. On the northern side
we descended for some time through a forest of immense ilex trees, which
sprang from a floor of green moss and covered our pathway with summer

We were now in the heart of the wild mountain region of Messenia, in
whose fastnesses Aristomenes, the epic hero of the state, maintained
himself so long against the Spartans. The tremendous gorge below us was
the bed of the Neda, which we crossed in order to enter the lateral
valley of Phigalia, where lay Tragoge. The path was not only difficult
but dangerous--in some places a mere hand's-breath of gravel, on the
edge of a plane so steep that a single slip of a horse's foot would have
sent him headlong to the bottom.

In the morning, a terrible sirocco levante was blowing, with an almost
freezing cold. The fury of the wind was so great that in crossing the
exposed ridges it was difficult to keep one's seat upon the horse. We
climbed toward the central peak of the Lycæan Hills, through a wild dell
between two ridges, which were covered to the summit with magnificent
groves of oak. Starry blue flowers, violets and pink crocuses spangled
the banks as we wound onward, between the great trunks. The temple of
Apollo Epicurius stands on a little platform between the two highest
peaks, about 3,500 feet above the sea.

On the day of our visit, its pillars of pale bluish-gray limestone rose
against a wintry sky, its guardian oaks were leafless, and the wind
whistled over its heaps of ruin; yet its symmetry was like that of a
perfect statue, wherein you do not notice the absence of color, and I
felt that no sky and no season could make it more beautiful. For its
builder was Ictinus, who created the Parthenon. It was erected by the
Phigalians, out of gratitude to Apollo the Helper, who kept from their
city a plague which ravaged the rest of the Peloponnesus. Owing to its
secluded position, it has escaped the fate of other temples, and might
be restored from its own undestroyed materials. The cella had been
thrown down, but thirty-five out of thirty-eight columns are still
standing. Through the Doric shafts you look upon a wide panorama of gray
mountains, melting into purple in the distance, and crowned by arcs of
the far-off sea. On one hand is Ithome and the Messenian Gulf, on the
other the Ionian Sea and the Strophades....

We now trotted down the valley, over beautiful meadows, which were
uncultivated except in a few places where the peasants were plowing for
maize, and had destroyed every trace of the road. The hills on both
sides began to be fringed with pine, while the higher ridges on our
right were clothed with woods of oak. I was surprised at the luxuriant
vegetation of this region. The laurel and mastic became trees, the pine
shot to a height of one hundred feet, and the beech and sycamore began
to appear. Some of the pines had been cut for ship-timber, but in the
rudest and most wasteful way, only the limbs which had the proper curve
being chosen for ribs. I did not see a single sawmill in the
Peloponnesus; but I am told that there are a few in Euboea and

As we approached Olympia, I could almost have believed myself among the
pine-hills of Germany or America. In the old times this must have been a
lovely, secluded region, well befitting the honored repose of Xenophon,
who wrote his works here. The sky became heavier as the day wore on, and
the rain, which had spared us so long, finally inclosed us in its misty
circle. Toward evening we reached a lonely little house, on the banks of
the Alpheus. Nobody was at home, but we succeeded in forcing a door and
getting shelter for our baggage. François had supper nearly ready before
the proprietor arrived. The latter had neither wife nor child, tho a few
chicks, and took our burglarious occupation very good-humoredly. We
shared the same leaky roof with our horses, and the abundant fleas with
the owner's dogs.



The fortress of Tiryns may fitly be commented on before approaching the
younger, or at least more artistically finished, Mycenæ. It stands
several miles nearer to the sea, in the center of the great plain of
Argos, and upon the only hillock which there affords any natural scope
for fortification. Instead of the square, or at least hewn, well-fitted
blocks of Mycenæ, we have here the older style of rude masses piled
together as best they would fit, the interstices being filled up with
smaller fragments. This is essentially cyclopean building. There is a
smaller fort, of rectangular shape, on the southern and highest part of
the oblong hillock, the whole of which is surrounded by a lower wall,
which takes in both this and the northern longer part of the ridge. It
looks, in fact, like a hill-fort, with a large inclosure for cattle
around it.

Just below the northeast angle of the inner fort, and where the lower
circuit is about to leave it, there is an entrance, with a massive
projection of huge stones, looking like a square tower, on its right
side, so as to defend it from attack. The most remarkable feature in the
walls are the covered galleries, constructed within them at the
southeast angle. The whole thickness of the wall is often over twenty
feet, and in the center a rude arched way is made--or rather, I believe,
two parallel ways; but the inner gallery has fallen in, and is almost
untraceable--and this merely by piling together the great stones so as
to leave an opening, which narrows at the top in the form of a Gothic
arch. Within the passage, there are five niches in the outer side, made
of rude arches in the same way as the main passage. The length of the
gallery I measured, and found it twenty-five yards, at the end of which
it is regularly walled up, so that it evidently did not run all the way
round. The niches are now no longer open, but seem to have been once
windows, or at least to have had some lookout points into the hill

It is remarkable that, altho the walls are made of perfectly rude
stones, the builders have managed to use so many smooth surfaces looking
outward, that the face of the wall seems quite clean and well built. At
the southeast corner of the higher and inner fort, we found a large
block of red granite, quite different from the rough, gray stone of the
building, with its surface square and smooth, and all the four sides
neatly beveled, like the portal stones at the treasury of Atreus. I
found two other similar blocks close by, which were likewise cut smooth
on the surface. The intention of these stones we could not guess, but
they show that some ornament, and some more finished work, must have
once existed in the inner fort. Tho both the main entrances have massive
towers of stone raised on their right, there is a small postern at the
opposite or west side, not more than four feet wide, which has no
defenses whatever, and is a mere hole in the wall.

The whole ruin is covered in summer with thistles, such as English
people can hardly imagine. The needles at the points of the leaves are
fully an inch long, extremely fine and strong, and sharper than any
two-edged sword. No clothes except a leather dress can resist them. They
pierce everywhere with the most stinging pain, and make antiquarian
research in this famous spot a veritable martyrdom, which can only be
supported by a very burning thirst for knowledge, or the sure hope of
future fame. The rough masses of stone are so loose that one's footing
is insecure, and when the traveler loses his balance, and falls among
the thistles, he will wish that he had gone to Jericho instead, or even
fallen among thieves on the way.

It is impossible to approach Mycenæ from any side without being struck
with the picturesqueness of the site. If you come down over the
mountains from Corinth, as soon as you reach the head of the valley of
the Inachus, which is the plain of Argos, you turn aside to the left, or
east, into a secluded corner--"a recess of the horse-feeding Argos," as
Homer calls it--and then you find on the edge of the valley, and where
the hills begin to rise one behind the other, the village of Charváti.
When you ascend from this place, you find that the lofty Mount Elias is
separated from the plain by two nearly parallel waves of land, which are
indeed joined at the northern end by a curving saddle, but elsewhere are
divided by deep gorges. The loftier and shorter wave forms the rocky
citadel of Mycenæ--the Argion, as it was once called.

I need not attempt a fresh description of the Great Treasury. It is in
no sense a rude building, or one of a helpless and barbarous age, but,
on the contrary, the product of enormous appliances, and of a perfect
knowledge of all the mechanical requirements for any building, if we
except the application of the arch. The stones are hewn square, or
curved to form the circular dome within, with admirable exactness. Above
the enormous lintel-stone, nearly twenty-seven feet long, and which is
doubly grooved, by way of ornament, all along its edge over the doorway,
there is now a triangular window or aperture, which was certainly filled
with some artistic carving like the analogous space over the lintel in
the gate of the Acropolis. Shortly after Lord Elgin had cleared the
entrance, Gell and Dodwell found various pieces of green and red marble
carved with geometrical patterns, some of which are reproduced in
Dodwell's book. Gell also found some fragments in a neighboring chapel,
and others are said to be built into a wall at Nauplia. There are
supposed to have been short columns standing on each side in front of
the gate, with some ornament surmounting them; but this seems to me to
rest on doubtful evidence, and on theoretical reconstruction. Dr.
Schliemann, however, asserts them to have been found at the entrance of
the second treasury which Mrs. Schliemann excavated, tho his account is
somewhat vague. There is the strongest architectural reason for the
triangular aperture over the door, as it diminishes the enormous weight
to be borne by the lintel; and here, no doubt, some ornament very like
lions on the other gate may have been applied.

There has been much controversy about the use to which this building was
applied, and we can not now attempt to change the name, even if we could
prove its absurdity. Pausanias, who saw Mycenæ in the second century
A.D., found it in much the same state as we do, and was no
better informed than we, tho he tells us the popular belief that this
and its fellows were treasure-houses like that of the Minyæ at
Orchomenus, which was very much greater, and was, in his opinion, one of
the most wonderful things in all Greece.

Standing at the entrance, you look out upon the scattered masonry of the
walls of Mycenæ, on the hillock over against you. Close behind this is a
dark and solemn chain of mountains. The view is narrow and confined, and
faces the north, so that, for most of the day, the gate is dark and in
shadow. We can conceive no fitter place for the burial of a king,
within sight of his citadel, in the heart of a deep natural hillock,
with a great solemn portal symbolizing the resistless strength of the
barrier which he had passed into an unknown land. But one more remark
seems necessary. This treasure-house is by no means a Greek building in
its features. It has the same perfection of construction which can be
seen at Eleutheræ, or any other Greek fort, but still the really
analogous buildings are to be found in far distant lands--in the raths
of Ireland, and the barrows of the Crimea.

  "And yet how lovely in thine age of woe,
  Land of lost gods and godlike men, are thou!
  Thy vales of evergreen, thy hills of snow,
  Proclaim thee Nature's varied favourite now:
  Thy fanes, thy temples to the surface bow,
  Commingling slowly with heroic earth,
  Broke by the share of every rustic plough:

  "Yet are thy skies as blue, thy crags as wild:
  Sweet are thy groves, and verdant are thy fields,
  Thine olives ripe as when Minerva smiled,
  And still his honeyed wealth Hymettus yields;
  There the blithe bee his fragrant fortress builds,
  The freeborn wanderer of thy mountain air;
  Apollo still thy long, long summer gilds,
  Still in his beam Mendeli's marbles glare;
  Art, Glory, Freedom fail, but Nature still is fair."

                       --From Byron's "Childe Harold."





Crete lies between the parallels of 35 degrees and 36 degrees, not much
farther removed from Africa than from Europe, and its climate,
consequently, is intermediate between that of Greece and that of
Alexandria. In the morning it was already visible, altho some thirty
miles distant, the magnificent snowy mass of the White Mountains
gleaming before us, under a bank of clouds. By ten o'clock, the long
blue line of the coast broke into irregular points, the Dictynnæan
promontory and that of Akroteri thrusting themselves out toward us so as
to give an amphitheatric character to that part of the island we were
approaching, while the broad, snowy dome of the Cretan Ida, standing
alone, far to the east, floated in a sea of soft, golden light. The
White Mountains were completely enveloped in snow to a distance of 4,000
feet below their summits, and scarcely a rock pierced the luminous
covering. The shores of the Gulf of Khania, retaining their
amphitheatric form, rose gradually from the water, a rich panorama of
wheat-fields, vineyards and olive groves, crowded with sparkling
villages, while Khania, in the center, grew into distinctness--a
picturesque jumble of mosques, old Venetian arches and walls, pink and
yellow buildings, and palm trees. The character of the scene was Syrian
rather than Greek, being altogether richer and warmer than anything in

Khania occupies the site of the ancient Cydonia, by which name the Greek
bishopric is still called. The Venetian city was founded in 1252, and
any remnants of the older town which may have then remained, were quite
obliterated by it. The only ruins now are those of Venetian churches,
some of which have been converted into mosques, and a number of immense
arched vaults, opening on the harbor, built to shelter the galleys of
the Republic. Just beyond the point on which stands the Serai, I counted
fifteen of these, side by side, eleven of which are still entire. A
little further, there are three more, but all are choked up with sand,
and of no present use. The modern town is an exact picture of a Syrian
seaport, with its narrow, crooked streets, shaded bazaars, and turbaned
merchants. Its population is 9,500, including the garrison, according to
a census just completed at the time of our visit. It is walled, and the
gates are closed during the night....

Passing through the large Turkish cemetery, which was covered with an
early crop of blue anemones, we came upon the rich plain of Khania,
lying broad and fair, like a superb garden, at the foot of the White
Mountains, whose vast masses of shining snow filled up the entire
southern heaven. Eastward, the plain slopes to the deep Bay of Suda,
whose surface shone blue above the silvery line of the olive groves;
while, sixty miles away, rising high above the intermediate headlands,
the solitary peak of Mount Ida, bathed in a warm afternoon glow, gleamed
like an Olympian mount, not only the birthplace, but the throne of
immortal Jove. Immense olive trees from the dark-red, fertile earth;
cypresses and the canopied Italian pine interrupted their gray monotony,
and every garden hung the golden lamps of its oranges over the wall. The
plain is a paradise of fruitfulness....

In the morning, the horses were brought to us at an early hour, in
charge of a jolly old officer of gendarmes, who was to accompany us. As
far as the village of Kalepa, there is a carriage road; afterward, only
a stony path. From the spinal ridge of the promontory, which we crossed,
we overlooked all the plain of Khania, and beyond the Dictynnæan
peninsula, to the western extremity of Crete. The White Mountains, tho
less than seven thousand, feet in height, deceive the eye by the
contrast between their spotless snows and the summer at their base, and
seem to rival the Alps. The day was cloudless and balmy; birds sang on
every tree, and the grassy hollows were starred with anemones, white,
pink, violet and crimson. It was the first breath of the southern
spring, after a winter which had been as terrible for Crete as for

After a ride of three hours, we reached a broad valley, at the foot of
that barren mountain mass in which the promontory terminates. To the
eastward we saw the large monastery of Agia Triada (the Holy Trinity),
overlooking its fat sweep of vine and olive land.... In the deep, dry
mountain glen which we entered, I found numbers of carob-trees. Rocks of
dark-blue limestone, stained with bright orange oxydations, overhung us
as we followed the track of a torrent upward into the heart of this
bleak region, where, surrounded by the hot, arid peaks, is the Monastery
of Governato.

We descended on foot to the Monastery of Katholiko, which we reached in
half an hour. Its situation is like that of San Saba in Palestine, at
the bottom of a split in the stony hills, and the sun rarely shines upon
it. Steps cut in the rock lead down the face of the precipice to the
deserted monastery, near which is a cavern 500 feet long, leading into
the rock. The ravine is spanned by an arch, nearly fifty feet high.

At Agia Triada, as we rode up the stately avenue of cypresses, between
vineyards and almond trees in blossom, servants advanced to take our
horses, and the abbot shouted, "Welcome," from the top of the steps. We
were ushered into a clean room, furnished with a tolerable library of
orthodox volumes. A boy of fifteen, with a face like the young Raphael,
brought us glasses of a rich, dark wine, something like port, some jelly
and coffee. The size and substantial character of this monastery attests
its wealth, no less than the flourishing appearance of the lands
belonging to it. Its large courtyard is shaded with vine-bowers and
orange trees, and the chapel in the center has a façade supported by
Doric columns.



The ruins [of the Cnossos palace] lie at the east of the high road, in a
deep valley. Their excavation has been very complete and satisfactory,
and while some restorations have been attempted here and there, chiefly
because of absolute necessity to preserve portions of the structure,
they are not such restorations as to jar on one, but exhibit a fidelity
to tradition that saves them from the common fate of such efforts.
Little or no retouching was necessary in the case of the stupendous
flights of steps that were found leading up to the door of this
prehistoric royal residence, and which are the first of the many sights
the visitor of to-day may see.

It is in the so-called "throne room of Minos" that the restoring hand is
first met. Here it has been found necessary to provide a roof, that
damage by weather be avoided; and to-day the throne room is a dusky
spot, rather below the general level of the place. Its chief treasure is
the throne itself, a stone chair, carved in rather rudimentary
ornamentation, and about the size of an ordinary chair. The roof is
supported by the curious, top-heavy-looking stone pillars, that are
known to have prevailed not only in the Minoan but in Mycenæan period;
monoliths noticeably larger at the top than at the bottom, reversing the
usual form of stone pillar with which later ages have made us more
familiar. This quite illogical inversion of what we now regard as the
proper form has been accounted for in theory, by assuming that it was
the natural successor of the sharpened wooden stake. When the ancients
adopted stone supports for their roofs, they simply took over the forms
they had been familiar with in the former use of wood, and the result
was a stone pillar that copied the earlier wooden one in shape. Time, of
course, served to show that the natural way of building demanded the
reversal of this custom; but in the Mycenæan age it had not been
discovered, for there are evidences that similar pillars existed in
buildings of that period, and the representation of a pillar that stands
between the two lions on Mycenæ's famous gate has this inverted form.

Many hours may be spent in detailed examination of this colossal ruin,
testifying to what must have been in its day an enormous and impressive
palace. One can not go far in traversing it without noticing the traces
still evident enough of the fire that obviously destroyed it many
hundred, if not several thousand, years before Christ. Along the western
side have been discovered long corridors, from which scores of long and
narrow rooms were to be entered. These, in the published plans, serve to
give to the ruin a large share of its labyrinthine character. It seems
to be agreed now that these were the storerooms of the palace, and in
them may still be seen the huge earthen jars which once served to
contain the palace supplies. Long rows of them stand in the ancient
hallways and in the narrow cells that lead off them, each jar large
enough to hold a fair-sized man, and in number sufficient to have
accommodated Ali Baba and the immortal forty thieves. In the center of
the palace little remains; but in the southeastern corner, where the
land begins to slope abruptly to the valley below, there are to be seen
several stories of the ancient building. Here one comes upon the rooms
marked with the so-called "distaff" pattern, supposed to indicate that
they were the women's quarters.

The restorer has been busy here, but not offensively so. Much of the
ancient wall is intact, and in one place is a bathroom with a very
diminutive bathtub still in place. Along the eastern side is also shown
the oil press, where olives were once made to yield their coveted
juices, and from the press proper a stone gutter conducted the fluid
down to the point where jars were placed to receive it. This discovery
of oil presses in ancient buildings, by the way, has served in more than
one case to arouse speculation as to the antiquity of oil lamps such as
were once supposed to belong only to a much later epoch. Whether in the
Minoan days they had such lamps or not, it is known that they had at
least an oil press and a good one. In the side of the hill below the
main palace of Minos has been unearthed a smaller structure, which they
now call the "villa," and in which several terraces, have been uncovered
rather similar to the larger building above. Here is another throne
room, cunningly contrived to be lighted by a long shaft of light from
above falling on the seat of justice itself, while the rest of the room
is in obscurity.

It may be that it requires a stretch of the imagination to compare the
palace of Cnossos with Troy, but nevertheless there are one or two
features that seem not unlike the discoveries made by Dr. Schliemann on
that famous site. Notably so, it seems to me, are the traces of the
final fire, which are to be seen at Cnossos as at Troy, and the huge
jars, which may be compared with the receptacles the Trojan excavators
unearthed, and found still to contain dried peas and other things that
the Trojans left behind when they fled from their sacked and burning
city. Few are privileged to visit the site of Priam's city, which is
hard, indeed, to reach; but it is easy enough to make the excursion to
Candia and visit the palace of old King Minos, which is amply worth the
trouble, besides giving a glimpse of a civilization that is possibly
vastly older than even that of Troy and Mycenæ. For those who reverence
the great antiquities, Candia and its pre-classic suburb are distinctly
worth visiting, and are unique among the sights of the ancient Hellenic
and pre-Hellenic world.



From whichever side our traveler draws near to Corfu, he comes from
lands where Greek influence and Greek colonization spread in ancient
times, but from which the Greek elements have been gradually driven out,
partly by the barbarism of the East, partly by the rival civilization of
the West. The land which we see is Hellenic in a sense in which not even
Sicily, not even the Great Hellas of Southern Italy, much less than the
Dalmatian archipelago, ever became Hellenic. Prom the first historic
glimpse which we get of Korkyra,[64] it is not merely a land fringed by
Hellenic colonies; it is a Hellenic island, the dominion of a single
Hellenic city, a territory the whole of whose inhabitants were, at the
beginning of recorded history, either actually Hellenic or so thoroughly
hellenized that no one thought of calling their Hellenic position in
question. Modern policy has restored it to its old position by making it
an integral portion of the modern Greek kingdom.

To the south of the present town, connected with it by a favorite walk
of the inhabitants of Corfu, a long and broad peninsula stretches boldly
into the sea. Both from land and from sea, it chiefly strikes the eye as
a wooded mass, thickly covered with the aged olive trees which form so
marked a feature in the scenery of the island. A few houses skirt the
base, growing on the land side into the suburb of Kastrades, which may
pass for a kind of connecting link between the old and the new city. And
from the midst of the wood, on the side nearest to the modern town,
stands out the villa of the King of the Greeks, the chief modern
dwelling on the site of ancient Korkyra. This peninsular hill, still
known as Palaiopolis, was the site of the old Corinthian city whose name
is so familiar to every reader of Thucydides. On either side of it lies
one of its two forsaken harbors. Between the old and the new city lies
the so-called harbor of Alkinoos; beyond the peninsula, stretching far
inland, lies the old Hyllaic harbor, bearing the name of one of the
three tribes which seem to have been essential to the being of a Dorian

This last is the Corfu whose fate seems to have been to become the
possession of every power which has ruled in that quarter of the world,
with one exception. For fourteen hundred years the history of the island
is the history of endless changes of masters. We see it first a nominal
ally, then a direct possession, of Rome and of Constantinople; we then
see it formed into a separate Byzantine principality, conquered by the
Norman lord of Sicily, again a possession of the Empire, then a
momentary possession of Venice, again a possession of the Sicilian
kingdom under its Angevin kings, till at last it came back to Venetian
rule, and abode for four hundred years under the Lion of Saint Mark.
Then it became part of that first strange Septinsular Republic of which
the Czar was to be the protector and the Sultan the overlord. Then it
was a possession of France; then a member of the second Septinsular
Republic under the hardly disguised sovereignty of England; now at last
it is the most distant, but one of the most valuable, of the provinces
of the modern Greek kingdom.

Of the modern city there is but little to say. As becomes a city which
was so long a Venetian possession, the older part of it has much of the
character of an Italian town. It is rich in street arcades; but they
present but few architectural features; and we find none of those
various forms of ornamental window so common, not only in Venice and
Verona, but in Spalato, Cattaro, and Traü. The churches in the modern
city are architecturally worthless. They are interesting so far as they
will give to many their first impression of orthodox arrangement and
orthodox ritual. The few ecclesiastical antiquities of the place belong
to the elder city. The suburb of the lower slope of the hill contains
three churches, all of them small, but each of which has an interest of
its own.



Coming on deck the next morning at the fresh hour of sunrise, I found we
were at Rhodes. We lay just off the semicircular harbor, which is
clasped by walls--partly shaken down by earthquakes--which have noble,
round towers at each embracing end. Rhodes is, from the sea, one of the
most picturesque cities in the Mediterranean, altho it has little
remains of that ancient splendor which caused Strabo to prefer it to
Rome or Alexandria. The harbor wall, which is flanked on each side by
stout and round, stone windmills, extends up the hill, and becoming
double, surrounds the old town; these massive fortifications of the
Knights of St. John have withstood the onsets of enemies and the tremors
of the earth, and, with the ancient moat, excite the curiosity of this
so-called peaceful age of iron-clads and monster cannon. The city
ascends the slope of the hill and passes beyond the wall. Outside and on
the right toward the sea are a picturesque group of a couple of dozen
stone windmills, and some minarets and a church-tower or two. Higher up
the hill is sprinkled a little foliage, a few mulberry trees, and an
isolated palm or two; and, beyond, the island is only a mass of broken,
bold, rocky mountains. Of its forty-five miles of length, running
southwesterly from the little point on which the city stands, we can see
but little.

Whether or not Rhodes emerged from the sea at the command of Apollo, the
Greeks exprest by this tradition of its origin their appreciation of its
gracious climate, fertile soil, and exquisite scenery. From remote
antiquity it had fame as a seat of arts and letters, and of a vigorous
maritime power, and the romance of its early centuries was equaled if
not surpassed when it became the residence of the Knights of St. John. I
believe that the first impress of its civilization was given by the
Phoenicians; it was the home of the Dorian race before the time of the
Trojan War, and its three cities were members of the Dorian Hexapolis;
it was, in fact, a flourishing maritime confederacy strong enough to
send colonies to the distant Italian coast, and Sybaris and Parthenope
(modern Naples) perpetuated the luxurious refinement of their founders.
The city of Rhodes itself was founded about four hundred years before
Christ, and the splendor of its palaces, its statues and paintings gave
it a pre-eminence among the most magnificent cities of the ancient
world. If the earth of this island could be made to yield its buried
treasures as Cyprus has, we should doubtless have new proofs of the
influence of Asiatic civilization upon the Greeks, and be able to trace
in the early Doric arts and customs the superior civilization of the
Phoenicians, and of the masters of the latter in science and art, the

Naturally, every traveler who enters the harbor of Rhodes hopes to see
the site of one of the seven wonders of the world, the Colossus. He is
free to place it on either mole at the entrance of the harbor, but he
comprehends at once that a statue which was only one hundred and five
feet high could never have extended its legs across the port. The fame
of this colossal bronze statue of the sun is disproportioned to the
period of its existence; it stood only fifty-six years after its
erection, being shaken down by an earthquake in the year 224 B.C., and
encumbering the ground with its fragments till the advent of the Moslem

Passing from the quay through a highly ornamented Gothic gateway, we
ascended the famous historic street, still called the Street of the
Knights, the massive houses of which have withstood the shocks of
earthquakes and the devastation of Saracenic and Turkish occupation.
This street, of whose palaces we have heard so much, is not imposing; it
is not wide, its solid stone houses are only two stories high, and their
fronts are now disfigured by cheap Arab balconies; but the façades are
gray with age. All along are remains of carved windows. Gothic
sculptured doorways and shields and coats of arms, crosses and armorial
legends, are set in the walls, partially defaced by time and the respect
of Suleiman for the Knights, have spared the mementos of their faith and
prowess. I saw no inscriptions that are intact, but made out upon one
shield the words "voluntas mei est." The carving is all beautiful.

We went through the silent streets, waking only echoes of the past, out
to the ruins of the once elegant church of St. John, which was shaken
down by a powder-explosion some thirty years ago, and utterly flattened
by an earthquake some years afterward. Outside the ramparts we met, and
saluted, with the freedom of travelers, a gorgeous Turk who was taking
the morning air, and whom our guide in bated breath said was the
governor. In this part of the town is the Mosque of Suleiman; in the
portal are two lovely marble columns, rich with age; the lintels are
exquisitely carved with flowers, arms, casques, musical instruments, the
crossed sword and the torch, and the mandolin, perhaps the emblem of
some troubadour knight. Wherever we went we found bits of old carving,
remains of columns, sections of battlemented roofs. The town is
saturated with the old Knights. Near the mosque is a foundation of
charity, a public kitchen, at which the poor were fed or were free to
come and cook their food; it is in decay now, and the rooks were sailing
about its old, round-topped chimneys.

There are no Hellenic remains in the city, and the only remembrance of
that past which we searched for was the antique coin, which has upon
one side the head of Medusa and upon the other the rose (rhoda) which
gave the town its name. The town was quiet; but in pursuit of this coin
in the Jews' quarter we started up swarms of traders, were sent from
Isaac to Jacob, and invaded dark shops and private houses where Jewish
women and children were just beginning to complain of the morning light.
Our guide was a jolly Greek, who was willing to awaken the whole town in
search of a silver coin. The traders, when we had routed them out, had
little to show in the way of antiquities. Perhaps the best
representative of the modern manufactures of Rhodes is the wooden shoe,
which is in form like the Damascus clog, but is inlaid with more taste.
The people whom we encountered in our morning walk were Greeks or Jews.
The morning atmosphere was delicious, and we could well believe that the
climate of Rhodes is the finest in the Mediterranean, and also that it
is the least exciting of cities.



Beyond Thasos is the Thracian coast and Mt. Pangaus, and at the foot of
it Philippi, the Macedonian town where republican Rome fought its last
battle, where Cassius leaned upon his sword-point, believing everything
lost. Brutus transported the body of his comrade to Thasos and raised
for him a funeral pyre; and twenty days later, on the same field, met
again that specter of death which had summoned him to Philippi. It was
not many years after this victory of the Imperial power that a greater
triumph was won at Philippi, when Paul and Silas, cast into prison, sang
praises unto God at midnight, and an earthquake shook the house and
opened the prison doors.

In the afternoon we came in sight of snowy Mt. Athos, an almost
perpendicular limestone rock, rising nearly six thousand four hundred
feet out of the sea. The slender promontory which this magnificent
mountain terminates is forty miles long and has only an average breadth
of four miles. The ancient canal of Xerxes quite severed it from the
mainland. The peninsula, level at the canal, is a jagged stretch of
mountains (seamed by chasms), which rise a thousand, two thousand, four
thousand feet, and at last front the sea with the sublime peak of Athos,
the site of the most conspicuous beacon-fire of Agamemnon. The entire
promontory is, and has been since the time of Constantine, ecclesiastic
ground; every mountain and valley has its convent; besides the twenty
great monasteries are many pious retreats. All the sects of the Greek
church are here represented; the communities pay a tribute to the
Sultan, but the government is in the hands of four presidents, chosen by
the synod, which holds weekly sessions and takes the presidents,
yearly, from the monasteries in rotation. Since their foundation these
religious houses have maintained against Christians and Saracens an
almost complete independence, and preserved in their primitive
simplicity the manners and usages of the earliest foundations.

Here, as nowhere else in Europe or Asia, can one behold the
architecture, the dress, the habits of the Middle Ages. The good
devotees have been able to keep themselves thus in the darkness and
simplicity of the past by a rigorous exclusion of the sex always
impatient of monotony, to which all the changes of the world are due. No
woman, from the beginning till now, has ever been permitted to set foot
on the peninsula. Nor is this all; no female animal is suffered on the
holy mountain, not even a hen. I suppose, tho I do not know, that the
monks have an inspector of eggs, whose inherited instincts of aversion
to the feminine gender enable him to detect and reject all those in
which lurk the dangerous sex. Few of the monks eat meat, half the days
of the year are fast days, they practise occasionally abstinence from
food for two or three days, reducing their pulses to the feeblest
beating, and subduing their bodies to a point that destroys their value
even as spiritual tabernacles. The united community is permitted to keep
a guard of fifty Christian soldiers, and the only Moslem on the island
is the solitary Turkish officer who represents the Sultan; his position
can not be one generally coveted by the Turks, since the society of
women is absolutely denied him. The libraries of Mt. Athos are full of
unarranged manuscripts, which are probably mainly filled with the
theologic rubbish of the controversial ages, and can scarcely be
expected to yield again anything so valuable as the Tishendorf

At sunset we were close under Mt. Athos, and could distinguish the
buildings of the Laura Convent, amid the woods beneath the frowning
cliff. And now was produced the apparition of a sunset, with this
towering mountain cone for a centerpiece, that surpassed all our
experience and imagination. The sea was like satin for smoothness,
absolutely waveless, and shone with the colors of changeable silk, blue,
green, pink, and amethyst. Heavy clouds gathered about the sun, and from
behind them he exhibited burning spectacles, magnificent fireworks, vast
shadow-pictures, scarlet cities, and gigantic figures stalking across
the sky. From one crater of embers he shot up a fan-like flame that
spread to the zenith and was reflected on the water. His rays lay along
the sea in pink, and the water had the sheen of iridescent glass. The
whole sea for leagues was like this; even Lemnos and Samothrace lay in a
dim pink and purple light in the east. There were vast clouds in huge
walls, with towers and battlements, and in all fantastic shapes--one a
gigantic cat with a preternatural tail, a cat of doom four degrees long.
All this was piled about Mt. Athos, with its sharp summit of snow, its
dark sides of rock.


[1] From "Pictures from Italy." Dickens made his trip to Italy in 1844.

[2] From "Italy: Florence and Venice." By special arrangement with, and
by permission of, the publishers. Henry Holt & Co. Copyright, 1869.
Translated by John Durand.

[3] Begun in 1386. Its architects were Germans and Frenchmen.

[4] From "Italy: Florence and Venice." By special arrangement with, and
by permission of, the publishers, Henry Holt & Co. Copyright, 1869.
Translated by John Durand.

[5] From "The Story of Pisa." Published by E. P. Dutton & Co.

[6] From "Pictures From Italy."

[7] From "Cities of Southern Italy and Sicily."

[8] From "Travels in Italy."

[9] A German friend with whom Goethe was traveling.

[10] From "Pictures from Italy."

[11] From "Italy: Rome and Naples." By special arrangement with, and by
permission of, the publishers, Henry Holt & Co. Copyright, 1869.
Translated by John Durand.

[12] This term designates a road built along the rocky shore of a
seaside, being a figurative application of the architectural term
"cornice."--Translator's note.

[13] From "Cities of Southern Italy and Sicily."

[14] From a letter to Thomas Love Peacock, written in 1819.

[15] From "Pictures from Italy."

[16] From "Journeys in Italy." By special arrangement with, and by
permission of, the publishers, Brentano's. Copyright, 1902.

[17] The memoir writer.

[18] From "Journeys in Italy." By special arrangement with, and by
permission of, the publishers, Brentano's. Copyright, 1902.

[19] From "Unknown Switzerland." Published by James Pott & Co.
Politically, Lake Lugano is part Swiss and part Italian.

[20] The St. Gothard.

[21] From a letter to Thomas Love Peacock, written in 1818.

[22] From "The Spell of the Italian Lakes." By special arrangement with,
and by permission of, the publishers, L. C. Page & Co. Copyright, 1907.

[23] From "Remarks on Several Parts of Italy in the Years 1701, 1702,

[24] In the town are now about 1,500 people; in the whole territory of
the republic, 9,500. San Marino lies about fourteen miles southwest from

[25] At the present time, fourteen hundred years; so that San Marino is
the oldest as well as the smallest republic in the world.

[26] From "French and Italian Note-Books." By special arrangement with,
and by permission of, Houghton, Mifflin Co., publishers of Hawthorne's
works. Copyright, 1871, 1883, 1889.

[27] The author's son, Julian Hawthorne.

[28] From "Italian Cities." By special arrangement with, and by
permission of, the publishers, Charles Scribner's Sons. Copyright, 1900.

[29] From "Italy: Florence and Venice." By special arrangement with, and
by permission of, the publishers, Henry Holt & Co. Copyright, 1869.

[30] From "Historical and Architectural Sketches: Chiefly Italian."
Published by the Macmillan Co.

[31] From "Cities of Southern Italy and Sicily."

[32] From "Letters of a Traveler."

[33] From "Historical and Architectural Sketches: Chiefly Italian."
Published by the Macmillan Co.

[34] From "Sicily: The Garden of the Mediterranean." By special
arrangement with, and by permission of, the publishers, L. C. Page & Co.
Copyright, 1909.

[35] From "The History of Sicily." Published by the Macmillan Co.

[36] The Greek name for Girgenti.

[37] From "Travels in Italy."

[38] From "Travels in Italy."

[39] From "Sicily: The Garden of the Mediterranean." By special
arrangement with, and by permission of, the publishers, L. C. Page & Co.
Copyright, 1909.

[40] From "Vacation Days in Greece." By special arrangement with, and by
permission of, the publishers, Charles Scribner's Sons. Copyright, 1903.

[41] From "Constantinople." By special arrangement with, and by
permission of, the publishers, Henry Holt & Co. Copyright, 1875.

[42] From "Rambles and Studies in Greece." Published by the Macmillan

[43] From "Travels in Greece and Russia." Published by G. P. Putnam's

[44] From the "Description of Greece." Pausanias was a Greek traveler
and geographer who lived in the second century A.D.--in the time of the
Roman emperors, Hadrian and Marcus Aurelius.

[45] From "Rambles and Studies in Greece." Published by the Macmillan

[46] The Venetian commander who bombarded the Parthenon in 1687.

[47] Edward Dodwell (1767-1832), an English traveler and archeologist,
notable for his investigations in Greece when it had been little
explored, and author of various records of his work.--Author's note.

[48] From "Rambles and Studies in Greece." Published by the Macmillan

[49] This very pattern, in mahogany, with cane seats, and adapted, like
all Greek chairs, for loose cushions, was often used in Chippendale
work, and may still be found in old mansions furnished at that
epoch.--Author's note.

[50] From "Rambles and Studies in Greece." Published by the Macmillan

[51] From "Travels in Greece and Russia." Published by G. P. Putnam's

[52] From "Rambles and Studies in Greece." Published by the Macmillan

[53] From "Greece and the Aegean Islands." By special arrangement with,
and by permission of, the publishers, Houghton, Mifflin Co. Copyright,

[54] From the "Description of Greece." Pausanias wrote in the time of
Hadrian and Marcus Aurelius.

[55] From "Vacation Days in Greece." By special arrangement with, and by
permission of, the publishers, Charles Scribner's Sons. Copyright, 1903.

[56] From "In the Levant." By special arrangement with, and by
permission of, the publishers, Houghton, Mifflin Co. Copyright, 1875.
Salonica, formerly Turkish territory, was added to the territory of
Greece in 1913, under the terms of the treaty of peace that followed the
Balkan war against Turkey.

[57] From "In the Levant." By special arrangement with, and by
permission of, the publishers, Houghton, Mifflin Co. Copyright, 1875.

[58] From "Travels in Greece and Russia." Published by G. P. Putnam's

[59] From "Travels in Greece and Russia," Published by G. P. Putnam's

[60] From "Rambles and Studies in Greece." Published by the Macmillan

[61] From "Travels in Greece and Russia." Published by G. P. Putnam's

[62] From "Greece and the Ægean Islands." By special arrangement with,
and by permission of, the publishers, Houghton, Mifflin Co. Copyright,

[63] From "Sketches from the Subject and Neighbor Lands of Venice."
Published by the Macmillan Co.

[64] The ancient Greek name of Corfu.

[65] From "In the Levant." By special arrangement with, and by
permission of, the publishers, Houghton, Mifflin Co. Copyright, 1876.

[66] From "In the Levant." By special arrangement with, and by
permission of, the publishers, Houghton, Mifflin Co. Copyright, 1876. As
one of the results of the Balkan war of 1912-1913, Mt. Athos, which had
formerly been under Turkish rule, was added to the territory of Greece.
Nature made Mt. Athos a part of the mainland, but a canal was cut by
Xerxes across the lowland at the base of the lofty promontory, making it
an island. Some parts of this canal still remain.

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